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‘Security very essential in GCC development’


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150 FILS



Lebanese sheikh urges followers to join Syria jihad

Bayern thrash Barcelona 4-0

Indian freelance photographer wins KT contest




Legal panel vetoes govt plan to increase charges Lawyers suspend strike after meeting with judiciary

Max 31º Min 15º High Tide 10:48 & 23:16 Low Tide 04:40 & 17:14

By B Izzak KUWAIT: The National Assembly legal and legislative committee has informed the financial and economic affairs panel that the government-sponsored law to raise charges in public services could be in violation of the constitution. Rapporteur of the legal committee MP Yacoub Al-Sane said a letter was sent to the financial panel, stating that “there is a constitutional suspicion in the government request to raise charges through government decisions rather than through laws passed by the National Assembly”. The financial committee, which has already held a series of meetings over the controversial issue with the government, has sent the government’s draft law to the legal committee for a legal viewpoint. In its bill, the government wants a free hand in raising charges on public services which under the current law cannot be altered without passing legislation by the National Assembly. In 1993, the National Assembly passed a law stating that the government cannot increase charges in services without a new law passed by the Assembly. As a result, charges on essential services like electricity, water, health and the price of fuel remained almost unchanged for around two decades. The financial committee earlier this week met with Finance Minister Mustafa Al-Shamali who told the panel that the essential services of electricity, water and health will not be touched under the new law. But committee members told the government that they are not prepared to approve the law without improving those services. More meetings are expected to take place before the issue can be debated by the National Assembly. The government has repeatedly said that billions of dinars are spent every year to subsidized Continued on Page 13

KUWAIT: Photo shows a tree of tires in a garden in Yarmouk. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

French embassy in Libya bombed TRIPOLI: A car bomb hit France’s embassy in Libya yesterday, wounding two French guards and causing extensive damage in the first attack on a foreign mission since militants stormed the US consulate in Benghazi in September. Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdel Aziz branded the bombing a “terrorist act”, and French President Francois Hollande said Tripoli must act quickly to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice. The attack comes as Libya is plagued by a lack of security following the 2011 ouster of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi and as French forces Continued on Page 13

TRIPOLI: Libyan security forces and civilians gather outside across the street from the French embassy in Tripoli following a car bomb attack yesterday. — AFP

Qaeda rearms with Twitter CAIRO: Battered by a French-led military campaign in Mali, Al-Qaeda’s North African arm is trying something new to stay relevant: Twitter. The PR campaign by the terror network seeks to tap into social grievances and champion mainstream causes such as unemployment, all in bid to reverse decline and win new followers. The hearts-and-minds approach echoes an outreach program the group had been trying for years in Mali, where it provided food, services and cash to win over the locals. Continued on Page 13

Spain nabs suspects with Al-Qaeda links


Rights group wants ‘killer robots’ banned amid fears


Bahrain foils terror plot Two Bahraini girls detained DUBAI: Two Bahraini girls were arrested for allegedly having plotted to carry out an attack on Sakhir circuit during the weekend’s Formula One Grand Prix race, police said yesterday. Authorities arrested “two girls who were trying to carry out a terrorist act at Bahrain’s international circuit in the south, as the kingdom was hosting the Formula One race,” state news agency BNA quoted police as saying. The pair were arrested on Saturday, the second day of practice sessions, at one of the entrances to the Sakhir circuit, south of Manama, said public security chief General Tariq Hassan. He did not give the age of the girls but said one of them had concealed a pillow under her clothes and explained that this was a dry run “to test security measures.” The pair, identified as Nafisa AlAsfur and Rihanna Al-Musawi, are being held for 60 days on charges of seeking to “bomb the Sakhir circuit.”

The public security chief said 8,000 policemen had taken part in securing the race, against which thousands of Shiites had demonstrated the previous week. He said police had seized 1,000 petrol bombs, 137 tyres protesters were planning to set ablaze as well as 72 fire extinguishers which were to be used as bombs. The race took place without disruption despite the backdrop of daily clashes between protesters and police, in Shiite villages away from Sakhir. Strategically located just across the Gulf from Iran, Bahrain is home base to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet and is also a major offshore financial and services centre for its Arab neighbors in the oilrich Gulf. The Shiite Muslim-majority kingdom, ruled by a Sunni dynasty, was rocked by a month-long uprising in 2011, which was crushed with the help of Gulf troops led by neighboring Saudi Arabia. Continued on Page 13

SANABIS: Bahraini women hold stones during clashes with riot police following a protest in the village of Sanabis, west of Manama. — AFP

Violence kills 49 in Kirkuk KIRKUK: A wave of clashes and attacks involving Iraqi security forces, protesters and their supporters yesterday killed 49 people and prompted two Sunni ministers to quit, sending tensions soaring. The unrest, which also included the kidnapping of a soldier by armed protesters, was the worst to date linked to demonstrations in Sunni areas that erupted more than four months ago. The protesters have been demanding the resignation of Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and railing against the alleged targeting of their community by the authorities.

Yesterday’s violence broke out before dawn when security forces entered an open area where demonstrations have been held since January near Hawijah, west of Kirkuk province’s eponymous capital, according to army officers, who gave an overall toll of 27 people killed and around 70 wounded. But accounts differed as to the spark for the bloodletting in the northern Iraqi province. One of the officers, a brigadier general from the army division responsible for the area, said the operation was aimed at Sunni militants from a group known

as the Naqshbandiya Army, and that security forces only opened fire after they were fired upon. A second officer said 34 Kalashnikov assault rifles and four PKM machineguns were recovered at the scene. Two soldiers were killed and seven wounded in the operation, while the remainder of the casualties were a combination of protesters and militants, the officers said. Protesters, however, insisted the army had provoked the clashes. Security forces “invaded our sit-in today, burned the tents and opened fire indiscriminately and Continued on Page 13



Kuwait inks contract with 405 Egyptian teachers Bid to boost education levels CAIRO: The Kuwaiti Education Ministry’s committee on overseas contracts has finalized contracts with 405 Egyptian teachers, males and females, from various specialties and educational stages for school year 2013/2014, head of the committee Mohammad Al-Kandari said yesterday. A total of 1,656 male and female teachers have been tested and interviewed by the committee and the contracting procedures were finalized with 405 teachers in Mathematics, English, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, French, Physical Education, Music, and vocational areas of study such as carpentry, electricity, and electronics, Al-Kandari, also Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry for Public Education, said in a statement.

Furthermore, he affirmed that the contracted teachers enjoyed high professional skills and efficiency, expressing his appreciation at the same time to the committee’s significant effort in selecting best of the applicants. Also, Al-Kandari praised the efforts made by Kuwait Embassy and Cultural Office in Cairo to facilitate accomplishing the mission of his committee to the fullest. Meanwhile, Kuwaiti teachers who fail to meet teaching standards will be reassigned to perform clerical work, the education ministry has said. The decision aims to boost learning and teaching levels in the country and enhance the students’ academic aptitudes. Non-Kuwaiti teachers who do not perform according to standards will have their contracts with the educa-

tion ministry terminated, according to a report in Kuwaiti daily Al Jareeda on Sunday. The heads of educational districts will use their discretion and reports from inspectors to make the decisions regarding the status of the teachers. Nayef Al Hajref, the education minister, in his circular said that the reassignment of teachers could be implemented starting April 15. Until the new decision, the education ministry gave Kuwaiti teachers a grace period of two academic years to prove their competence. Teachers were reassigned only after failing over two years to meet the standards set by the education ministry. However, under the new rules, the education district head can now reassign a teacher any time in his or her first year.

Kuwait interested in developing cooperation with Azerbaijan KUWAIT: Kuwait is interested in developing cooperation with Azerbaijan in several directions, such as economy, tourism, and humanitarian issues, told Trend Azerbaijani Ambassador to Kuwait Tural Rzayev. “At this stage our goal is to implement a number of projects in such areas, as economy, education and culture. The main focus is on the implementation of these projects,” he said. According to him, companies of Kuwait are showing interest in Baku White City project, where they plan to take a major part. Urban Development Project Baku White City is conducted under the Decree of the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on the approval of the “Plan of complex measures on improvement of ecological situation in Azerbaijan in 2006-2010”. “Kuwait is one of the main oilextracting countries of the world. However unlike Azerbaijan the territory of the country is generally unsuitable for the development of agricultural industry. Fruitful farmlands make only 1-2 percent of the territory. In this regard the volume of agricultural products imported to the country on some positions makes 100 percent.Goods are imported to Kuwait even from such far-away countries, as Australia, New Zealand,

and also from the countries of Latin America. though Azerbaijan is much closer”, - the diplomat noted. According to him, at the moment there are some agricultural products of the Azerbaijani private companies appearing in the markets of Kuwait. Speaking about the opportunities of cooperation of two countries in the sphere of investments, the diplomat noted that both Azerbaijan and Kuwait are investors states. However this fact does not exclude the possibility of cooperation in the sphere of mutual investments. These questions are also considered by the parties, he noted. “Along with all this there is also a possibility of joint investment to the third countries. Azerbaijan and Kuwait are the oil-exporting countries, but even in this branch there is a cooperation and potential for the development of the relations”, the ambassador said. The good contract and legal base is developed for effective cooperation of the two countries in the economic area, the diplomat considers. According to him, in March the second meeting of the AzerbaijaniKuwaiti intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation by results of which five documents were signed was held in Baku.

As the ambassador noted, Kuwaitis actively acquire real estate in Azerbaijan also. “Naturally, all this is explained by political and economic stability in Azerbaijan, the prompt economic growth and increase of the authority of our country because of successful domestic and foreign policy of the leadership of Azerbaijan”, the diplomat told. One more direction of the cooperation of the two countries is tourism sector, the ambassador said. “Azerbaijan attracts Kuwaitis by its rich tourism potential. We pursue systematic information policy exactly in this direction. Periodically in Azerbaijan and Kuwait traditional Days of culture are spent. Together with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan info-tours are organized for representatives of travel agencies and journalists. All this leads to an interest increase to our country. Over the past year the number of tourists from Kuwait in Azerbaijan has increased five times compared to the previous years”, Rzayev told. As the diplomat noted, the political relations between the two countries were always at a high level. Kuwait always supported and continues to support Azerbaijan in the issue of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the diplo-

mat noted. “If we look at the recent history of Kuwait, we will meet a lot of parallels with our country. In August 1990, Kuwait was occupied by the regime of Saddam Hussein existing at that time in Iraq. In February 1991, after six-months occupation, it was released as a result of “Storm in the Desert” military operation held by coalition forces, according to the UN mandate. So the feeling of occupation of native lands, wars, losses relatives and close people is familiar to Kuwaitis, Rzayev told. According to him, Kuwait unambiguously supports the fair position of Azerbaijan in the ArmenianAzerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “ This position of Kuwait has remained firm, despite all the efforts of official Yerevan, many-thousand Armenian diaspora in Kuwait and even the pressure of the Armenian diaspora from other Arab countries”, the diplomat told. The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts.

KUWAIT: Health minister Dr Mohammed Al-Haifi yesterday launched the World Vaccination Week, that is simultaneously celebrated by the World Health Organization, which uses a new technique of injecting patients and vaccinating them.

Sheikh Salman supports work of Sharia committee KUWAIT: The Ministry of Information is keen on making use of the expertise of the higher consultative committee for completion of application of Islamic sharia in its general policies, said the top man in the ministry yesterday. Visiting the committee members, the minister of information and state minister for affairs of the youth Sheikh Salman Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah, met with committee president Dr Khalid Al-Mathkour to whom he expressed the ministry’s appreciation of the work being done by the committee in seeking to adapt sharia to the nation’s laws and legislative process.

The minister underscored his ministry’s interest in exchanging viewpoints with the committee on issues of general benefit to the society at large. By partnering with the committee, he said, the task would be easier to spotlight the positive and negative aspects of the society for further study or remedy. Dr Al-Mathkour, on his part, emphasized the imperative to promote all that is good among the younger generation, noting that such promotion could be in part achieved by joint work between the committee and the ministr y of information and that of affairs of the youth.— KUNA



Focus on knowledge, education Energy, Community Forum launched By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: The lack of awareness about energy consumption was a matter of worry for the participants at the Energy and Community Forum, held at Costa Del Sol Hotel on Monday and Tuesday. It was the second consecutive year that the Kuwait Energy and Community Forum (KECF) was being held. “This year, we convene to study important topics that have a great impact on our societies at a time when education was on a decline terms of quantity and quality, and the educational process was further declining across different academic grades. We desperately need an advanced education and illuminating knowledge,” said Hashim AlRifaai, the Chairman and Managing Director of Kuwait Gulf Oil Company, during the opening ceremony. Knowledge, education and the role of energy companies in strengthening the educational system was the focus of this year’s round table forum. “Over several months, the forum’s editorial board, comprising representatives of educational,

energy related, media and civil society organizations, had discussed the role of energy companies in improving education and spreading knowledge through financing scholarship programs aimed at sending Kuwaiti students to study in prestigious academic institutions around the world, offering financial support to universities and colleges and sponsoring student activities and events as well as nationwide campaigns to raise awareness about the importance of social responsibility,” he added. “In this round, we will review the results of an opinion poll of university and school students about the oil culture and studies focussing on the role of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) in dispatching Kuwaiti students to complete their education at prestigious universities and educational institutions in the world. The forum will also shed light on the best examples of corporate social responsibility in Kuwait and other countries,” concluded Al-Rifaai. On his part, Abdel Mohsen Al-Bannai, Executive Director of the Joint Program Production Institution and the Executive Director

Inspection campaigns continue in Ahmadi By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Under the supervision and in the presence of General Director of Ahmadi Governorate Security, Lt General Ayadh Al-Otaibi, the operations department at the Ministry of Interior continued its surprise inspection campaign. A surprise inspection to check traffic violations in different areas of the governorate resulted in 22 vehicles being detained for reckless driving. All the vehicles were sent to the detention garage. Eleven people were arrested and sent to the concerned authorities while 108 citations were handed out. One person was arrested during the surprise check for possessing 81 bottles of liquor. A hunting gun was also confiscated along with some bullets. Lt. General Al-Otaibi said the campaign will continue round the clock to stem violations and check outlaws. He said law will be applied to every one without exception. He reiterated the need for cooperation of the citizens and the expats, and urged everyone to report any violations. Meanwhile, security sources revealed that the assistant undersecretary for traffic affairs, Lt General Abdul Fattah Al Ali, has sent a memo to the office of the First Prime Minister and the Minister of Interior, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Hmoud, through Undersecretary General Ghazi Al-Omar asking for approval to deport 38 expats found committing traffic violations. In particular, permission was sought to deport those driving a vehicle without a valid driving license issued by the traffic department and using cars to transport passengers while these were not licensed for that purpose. Sources said that files of these expats were checked and major violations were conformed as having been committed. A final decision in this matter will be taken by minister Al-Hmoud. Sources said the memorandum was based on the instructions of the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior to implement the traffic laws strictly. They said the traffic department was not targeting the expats or citizens, but all it wanted to ensure was implementation of the traffic laws.


in brief

Role of Kuwaiti diplomacy KUWAIT: The security studies institute organized a public lecture in cooperation with the Al Raed security institute for training about the role of Kuwaiti diplomacy in achieving national security. The event was held under the patronage of Assistant Undersecretary for Training Affairs, General Ahmad Nawaf Al-Sabah. The Assistant Director of National Security College, Brigadier Fawzi AlSuweilem, and the Assistant Director of Strategic Studies Institute, Colonel Abdul Aziz Mijbil, were present on the occasion. The lecture was delivered by former secretary general for GCC Council and chairman of diplomatic strategic studies center, Ambassador Abdullah Yacoub Beshara, who emphasized the role of Kuwaiti leadership in achieving security. He explained how diplomacy is practiced successfully and reviewed Kuwait’s political history and geo-political situation. Diesel smuggling KUWAIT: Customs sources have revealed that Shuwaikh port customs officials were able to foil an attempt to smuggle 8x20 ft containers of diesel out of Kuwait by a number of Asian expats. An investigation is under way to find out details about the case. Mobile number transfer KUWAIT: Sources at the Ministry of Communication have revealed that subscribers can transfer mobile numbers among the three telecom companies in five weeks from now, after completion of the trials of the new service. The ministry started the probationary phase of the project on April 16, when the minister stated that the service will be available to subscribers within one and a half month at the latest. The sources said the ministry and the three telecom companies, along with the company entrusted with transferring the numbers, will be monitoring the probationary period of the project in order to avoid any obstacles that the project might face. The sources added that once the service is fully operational, subscribers can transfer their numbers from one company to another within 24 hours.

AMF to honor winners of creativity awards KUWAIT: The Arab Media Forum (AMF) announced the names of the winners of the 2013 Arab Media Creativity Awards who will be be honored at the launch of the forum’s 10th session in five days’ time at Regency Hotel in downtown Kuwait City. The awards at this year’s forum, which will be themed “Media and Peace”, will be expanded to include the cultural aspect of issues linked with the various functions of media, AMF Secretary-General Madhi Al-Khamis said. Among the names included on the winners list are Dr. Suad Al-Sabah and Yousef Al-Jasem both from Kuwait, Egyptian TV personality Laila Rustom and her compatriot renowned veteran poet Abdulrahman Al-Abanoudi, Nabil AlHamar of Bahrain and Mustafa Al-Agha of Syria. Al-Khamis noted that the forum’s executive committee carefully chose the winners in appreciation of their roles in the fields of media and culture in the Arab world and for their contributions to providing creative and distinctive media and cultural advocacy. — KUNA

of the Gulf Cooperation, highlighted the concept of ‘Oil Culture’. “As an institution concerned with media production in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, we opted to support this forum because we believe that social responsibility is a culture that must prevail, a knowledge that must be spread, a science that must be taught and a lifestyle that has to be generalized and applied in all institutions in the GCC countries,” he stated. “The culture of oil is one of our most important lines of production and we believe that its promotion will strengthen the knowledge among nationals across different generations. This is a very vital issue for people of countries whose economies depend mainly on oil production, and the world relies on them for energy required in its daily life,” stressed Al-Bannai. The forum focused on promoting culture and raising awareness to instill the concept of social responsibility. “We have sought, since the launch of this forum last year, to outline its features and identify its progressive plan in order to serve the

community and build a lasting partnership between energy companies and societal institutions,” he further said. “We have chosen knowledge, education and the culture of oil as the main topics for discussion all year round, and invited specialists and experts to join in. We will put up for discussion our media strategy to promote the culture of oil. We are sure that the support and promotion of the culture of oil will result in building a highly aware society. This will help monitor all the institutions. We believe in the importance of the concept of social responsibility, and we seek to spread it among all age groups in our Arab Gulf societies,” explained Al-Bannai. Journalist Iqbal Al-Ahmad, the Honorary President of the Kuwait Prize for Social Responsibility and member of Editorial Board of Kuwait Energy and Community Forum, described the forum as the forum for knowledge. “From a media perspective, I see this forum as a developing effort to build a knowledge society, just as I see it as a tool of intellectual and method-

ological reform across all institutions, of which energy companies are on top,” she pointed out. “This forum is one of the special and desperately needed events to create the aspired-after partnership between companies and the societies they operate in. I see it as a genuine partnership based on the noble goal of caring for people to show them that they are the key driving force for sustainable development. The closer companies are to the people, the more their goal will be to achieve human development and not just profits,” noted Al-Ahmad. “We seek to find comprehensive answers from the companies about their role in supporting different segments of the society. Through this dialogue, we aim to end confusion and suspicion about companies’ role in the society. As an oil producing country, we in Kuwait expect a lot from the oil sector, which is truly doing a good job in supporting the society, but people pin even higher hopes on it. This forum will shed light on the hopes and reality, and underline the gap that needs to be filled,” she concluded.


LOCAL In my view

In my view

‘Argo’ helps Iran’s dictatorship

No bad kafeels in e-wonderland

By Abolhassan Bani-Sadr


t was not my intention to write about the film “Argo.” I initially viewed it as another Hollywood movie that aimed to keep an audience on its toes through some combination of fact and fantasy, in order to cash in at the box office. It is, indeed, a well-made movie. However, when Michelle Obama presented its director, Ben Affleck, with the prize for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars, it also communicated a more political message that the film was approved by President Obama himself. I then felt that I needed to make my views of the movie clear, particularly as it mentions me. Near the start, the film correctly cites a quotation from me that I believed the Americans who were being held in the embassy would be freed very soon. That information was based on a conversation with Ayatollah Khomeini, in which he had said that they would be released within the following three to four days. The movie, however, presents this statement in an atmosphere which gives viewers the impression that the Iranian government supported the occupation of the embassy and that I was a lone voice in opposing it. This could not be further from the truth. For a start, soon after the occupation of the American Embassy, then-Foreign Minister Ebrahim Yazdi told the Council of Revolution (a transitional council operating prior to the formation of the postrevolutionary parliament) that he assumed the occupation of the embassy was an Israeli-CIA coup. Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan’s entire administration was against the occupation. Indeed, in the early days there was no talk of hostage-taking. The occupation was initially regarded as a short-term protest against the Shah’s admittance to the US, as the memory of the 1953 coup against Mohammad Mossadegh was still fresh in public memory. But as the event began to play a more impor tant role in domestic Iranian and American foreign politics, the protest was transformed into a hostage-taking that lasted for 444 days and had catastrophic consequences for Iran, the US and international politics. Soon after the occupation of the embassy, Bazargan resigned and I became responsible for the Foreign Ministry for a short while. During this time, I called all the ambassadors from the European and North American countries and told them that the occupation of the embassy was in fact a strike against the Iranian government; it was we who were being held hostage. I asked them to help us end it. Soon after, Iran had a presidential election. I openly opposed the hostage-taking throughout the election campaign, telling students that occupying an embassy in the heart of Tehran was a sign of cowardice rather than courage; that through revolution the Iranian people had forced US interference out the door, but that this act brought it back through a window. By this time, the clergy who were struggling to control the state had begun to support the occupation. One of their leaders in the Islamic Republican Party, Hassan Ayat, criticized me for defining the hostage-taking as illegal, inhumane and illegitimate. Despite this, I won the election with over 76 percent of the vote. Other candidates also were openly against hostage-taking, and overall, 96 percent of votes in that election were given to candidates who were against it. Hence, the movie misrepresents the Iranian government’s stand in regard to hostagetaking. It also completely misrepresents Iranians by portraying us as irrational people consumed by aggressive emotion, in contrast to the “Western” Americans, who were, as Edward Said once wrote, constructed as “rational, peaceful, liberal, logical” ... etc. We must ask why the film is based on this false dichotomy, and what political need is served by such putting Iranians in such a bad light. I was deposed in June 1981 as a result of a coup against me. After arriving in France, I told a BBC reporter that I had left Iran to expose the symbiotic relationship between Khomeinism and Reaganism. Ayatollah Khomeini and Ronald Reagan had organized a clandestine negotiation, later known as the “October Surprise,” which prevented the attempts by myself and then-US President Jimmy Carter to free the hostages before the 1980 US presidential election took place. The fact that they were not released tipped the results of the election in favor of Reagan. Two of my advisors, Hussein Navab Safavi and Sadr-al-Hefazi, were executed by Khomeini’s regime because they had become aware of this secret relationship between Khomeini, his son Ahmad, the Islamic Republican Party and the Reagan administration. Apart from this, I have a deeper concern about the way the film legitimizes clandestine CIA operations. The refusal of the CIA officer ( Tony Mendez, played by Affleck) to abandon the plan to rescue the Americans hiding in the Canadian embassy in light of information that a military operation was under way is reminiscent of the first attempted coup against Mossadegh’s democratic government in 1953. When this failed, the CIA asked its master spy, Kermit Roosevelt, to return to the US He refused and, with the help of monarchists and some clergymen, organized a second successful attempt three days later. This coup ended democracy in Iran and replaced it with what was to become 25 years of the Shah’s dictatorship. This resonance makes one wonder whether the film could ultimately, as some critics have suggested, “tilt the balance of US public opinion toward war” should the ongoing nuclear negotiations fail. The film has drawn public attention once again to this terrifying episode in both Iranian and US history. However, by falsifying, misrepresenting and taking critical facts out of context, it delivers a proCIA message at the cost of both the Iranian people and Iranian history. It does not help people understand that rather than being emblematic of the 1979 revolution, the hostage-taking enabled the forces of dictatorship we see today to overpower democratic struggles against the occupation of the US Embassy and all forms of violence in society. “Argo” may ultimately cost us even more time in securing a democratic future for Iran.

By Labeed Abdal


kuwait digest

Opportunity to improve image By Thaar Al Rashidi


eople do not trust anymore a promise that the government makes, and the government must first retrieve the lost trust that existed between it and citizen. The citizens were repeatedly let down by the government. Every project that the government promised the people was never implemented. No promise that the government made was ever fulfilled. Therefore, a picture of no trust has been formed in our mind very clearly. Any government, the incumbent one or any that follows, any minister, any undersecretary, any government official at any rank would not be believed even if he were to swear by the holy Quran every morning and evening. The real picture is that for every one now, all government promises are false. The government must seriously execute its promises now before making any new ones so that people can once again feel that it means business and seriously wants to execute the pending projects. There is right now a golden opportunity to improve its image since the current NA council is cooperative and does not object to the governmental plans. The budget is in the hands of the government. Since there is no real opposition, no one can hinder the government work. Thus, it no more has that excuse and must start working immediately. No one can stop it from performing. It should start building hospitals immediately in all governorates, and furnishing educational colleges for PAAET at Ardiya. It should be building the Al Shidadiya University in real terms and not just on the paper. It should start setting up government companies whose shares should go to the citizens. It must execute the power station projects. No one can stop the government from executing these projects in the course of a single year, as the budget is in the hands of the government. It can ask for whatever “extra budget as they might

desire” is required. It can even change the tender law and the bureaucratic paper trail. All of it can be done in less than a week. So, what excuse can the government have for not implementing and unrolling the growth plan? There is no excuse. Whatever the government needs, it has it in its right pocket. Whatever else it may need is there in its left pocket. What stops government from going ahead and improving its image, besides improving the country’s image? The answer is easier then you think. The government’s problems lie more inside than outside. Neither the majority opposition was the cause of the delay in projects nor were the grilling motions. Also, the political feud that went on in the theatre called the NA Council was also not responsible. It was the government versus government infighting - a feud among factions inside the government and other influential parties outside the government. The so-called majority is no more on the political scene, and everything has been left to the government. Yet there is no growth happening. If this continues, the Popular Bloc, Hadas and Nahj besides other majority groups will claim they were innocent and in no way responsible for hindering growth. The problem is the government versus government situation. More than nine months have passed that the majority is away from the political scene. Then why did the government not do what it wanted and why was it accusing the opposition of stopping it? Nine months and government did not give birth to a child, because its promises were barren. Even with such a “nice” National Assembly Council, the government could not achieve anything worth mentioning, and will not achieve. The feud inside the government will never end, and that is the reason behind all our political problems. — Al-Anba

The government must seriously execute its promises now before making any new ones so that people can once again feel that it means business and seriously wants to execute the pending projects. There is right now a golden opportunity to improve its image since the current NA council is cooperative and does not object to the governmental plans. The budget is in the hands of the government. Since there is no real opposition, no one can hinder the government work.

kuwait digest

Ammunition warehouse theft By Yousuf Al-Shihab


nce again, the security personnel at the Interior Ministry proved that they are able and can deal with anyone who wants to mess with Kuwaitís security. They have proved that they can deter anyone who steals, especially those who compromise the state’s security and encroach on the country’s assets. The case of theft at the Interior Ministryís ammunition warehouse was solved after extensive efforts and the determination to arrest the culprits at any price and by any means. Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Hmoud and his heroes followed up on the crime, and the resultant developments indicated that the security apparatus was working well despite the fact that some people committed violations. The fact that culprits were caught showed that no criminal can escape punishment, something proven by the security apparatus when it announced the arrest of those who entered the ammunition warehouse. They committed the heinous act as if they did not know that whoever wanted to harm Kuwait’s security was punished by Allah.

The nature of the theft and the tools used, besides the nature of the stolen material, did not make it an easy case to solve. No one could have found access to the ammunition, or even the warehouse unless these people planned their crime very carefully and considered all details before execution. There are many intertwining threads in this crime, as are there questions that need answers which will come from the interrogation of the suspects. Who is behind them, why did they steal the ammunition? All such aspects call for explanation, because it is not possible to say who committed the crime is the only accused. Rather, many others could be involved, and only God knows if such forces were also the ones who helped the policemen in arresting the culprits a few days after the crime. There was a sense of calm after the ammunition thieves were arrested. Policemen taught a lesson to all those who dare to compromise our security, and showed them that the hands of the law will reach them, no matter where they hide. — Al-Qabas

There are many intertwining threads in this crime, as are there questions that need answers which will come from the interrogation of the suspects. Who is behind them, why did they steal the ammunition? All such aspects call for explanation, because it is not possible to say who committed the crime is the only accused.

inking the renewal of driving license for expats with whether their residency permits were valid is one way to control a situation that had gone out of control. Not only expats but even the citizens cannot get their commercial licenses renewed without paying the fines due on account of traffic violations, or removing the illegal signboards on their shops or without paying up the fee for renewing their post office box. As we reach the age of cloud computing, where all our pictures, contact lists , short message service texts (SMSs), emails etc. are kept in the electronic cyber space the IT wizardry shows the extent to which our lives are spent online and how data is distributed in the age of data explosion. I think the rest of the world has surrendered to the new rules where we are not so keen to follow the old concerns about privacy just accept tens of terms and conditions with a simple click of the mouse, tick marking a small box proclaiming “Accept” after a quick scroll down the screen page. Accept it that there is an empire there somewhere at the top that also has a huge positives side where all that you need is to remember your email and password and you can enter the massive e-wonderland. All your history will be retrieved and, with back up options, you cannot remain sad any longer as all your good memories or nice clips you received from your friends shot when you bought your smart mobile phone at the shopping mall will be there for your instant enjoyment. There are no more excuses for any country to delay paperwork or keep old bureaucratic system running unless it wanted to actually do that intentionally, and keep the gates open for a battle between the old guard and the new. There are programs that can carry information in bulk that definitely makes for good safe keeping and organizing data. All government departments can benefit from these and with proper guidelines all work can be done online. So, words or actions that involve bad kafeels, wasta, illegal iqamas, visa trade, corruption and administrative terrorism will no longer exist. If anyone tried to do that, the new computer program will simply say ERROR and suggest that you run a Full System Scan; failing that, RESTART or REBOOT your computer. Presto! Once again you will be on a clean page to try again.

kuwait digest

The pride in escaping By Nabil Al-Fadhl


ur attitude towards and opinion about Musallam Al-Barrak has remained unchanged for years. The only thing that has changed is that many of those who used to disagree with us have now changed their opinions and agree with us. Therefore, those who think that we are gloating over what happened to Musallam cannot be more wrong. We would never rejoice at others’ tragedies or at anyone’s distress. We believe that the only people who we can deservedly gloat over are the ‘mercenary’ writers and satellite TV channel ‘wretches’ who have been dying to portray a dazzling image of Al-Barrak. These are the people who are nowadays suffering more than Al-Barrak himself because they fear they will lose credibility as far as their readers or viewers are concerned since they have been portraying an image of a legendary hero for years which has came undone within a matter of a few days. These people and their likes suddenly found themselves in the middle of a dilemma about how to explain what pride was there in running away and what dignity was there in fleeing. How would they justify their image of a heroic leader with the act of fleeing from justice? These people cannot explain how was it patriotic to drive the youth and juveniles into riots for which they might be sent to jail or which can ruin their careers? Does fighting corruption involve clashing with security forces, shooting at them and setting fires? I cannot imagine how much fabrication they would need to do to depict a glimmer of hope amidst the shameful darkness that has befallen their idol. Will the ‘famous’ poet now feel ashamed for reciting those poems or will he assume another incarnation as ‘Abbas’ (Barrak’s follower) and start making excuses for having fled from justice? What might She’fatt (a pro-Barrak writer) write about, after the idol has fallen Will he still make for headlines full of arrogance and snap at people using heroic terminology like ‘Never’ or will he beg for forgiveness? The crisis for Barrak’s media advocates is more serious than it is for Al-Barrak himself. Barrak is nothing more than a politician who was way too ambitious, more than his potential, and it were his friends in the media who helped him achieve his goals. However, this could not have gone on for too long because neither AlBarrak or his predecessors, nor his successors would have been able to deceive the people all the time. On the other hand, we fully sympathize with AlBarrak’s decision to escape implementation of the court’s verdict and know for sure that there are other hidden reasons. However, we believe that suffering claustrophobia justifies repeated attempts to escape. If such people had competent lawyers, they would have used this excuse to beseech the court to spare their clients the trauma of detention. Well, what happens to him is not as important as the fact that masks have started coming off his bullies’ faces and defenders in the media, including the one who once famously said: “Skies become angered and earth shakes at Musallam’s rage!” — Al-Watan



FAO to open office in Kuwait Rome hosts council meeting ROME: The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) opened the 146th meeting of its Council yesterday, with Kuwait delegate Faisal Al-Hasawi announcing that the organization suggested opening a representation office at Kuwait’s Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR). Inaugurating the meeting, FAO Director General Jose Graziano da Silva presented the 2014-15 Program of Work and Budget which calls for an increase of one percent of the Organization’s budget in real terms to support the Organization’s core work in fighting hunger and malnutrition and promoting sustainable agricultural development. The Director General also presented the accomplishments over the past year in cutting bureaucracy and other costs that will help the organization to operate more effectively, according to a statement by the organization. “We are speaking of an ambitious transformation that has just started. Its impact is not always immediately visible. But it is, nevertheless, essential so that FAO can function in the 21st century and fulfill the role for which it was created,” he said. Looking back over the past 16 months since he took the helm of the Organization, Graziano da Silva noted that in addition to the $6.5 million in savings that member countries mandated FAO to identify, the organization was able to cut costs by an additional $19.3 million. The total savings of $25.8 million, nearly four times of what was required, consisted

mostly of savings in administrative areas especially at FAO headquarters. Graziano da Silva also pointed out that this process made it possible to advance with the organization’s decentralization, which includes the creation of 55 professional posts worldwide while maintaining technical capacity at Headquarters. “As I have argued before, I believe that a strong presence in the field is the way to truly make FAO a knowledge organization with its feet on the ground, “ Graziano da Silva said. The Director General asked countries to consider efforts to deliver best value for money - the unprecedented savings, the overall reduction of established posts and the net increase in decentralized positions - when discussing the Program of Work and Budget. He underlined that the significant changes already undertaken, and those needed to continue the process, will mold a new FAO that drives toward its ultimate goals. “For the first time in FAO’s history its budget will be driven by the objectives and outcomes we aim to achieve, and not simply by the activities we carry out,” he added. On his part, Eng. Al-Hasawi, who leads Kuwait delegation to the meeting, said cooperation between his country and the UN agency made headway in the recent years. “Since he took office as Director General of the organization, Graziano da Silva has showed great interest in enhancing cooperation with the State of Kuwait in recognition of its active role in suppor ting the Organization’s activities worldwide,” he said. “In several meetings the Director General

expressed appreciation for Kuwait’s contributions to the organization’s efforts in combating poverty worldwide and realizing the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” AlHasawi went on. The Director General’s advisor has suggested in a recent meeting that the organization launches a representation office at PAAAFR in order to promote technical cooperation with Kuwait, he noted. The organization will send a senior-level delegation to Kuwait for talks with PAAAFR Chairman Eng. Jassem Al-Bader on the administrative and financial issues relating to the proposal, Eng. Al-Hasawi revealed. Commenting on the current FAO Council meeting, he said it constitutes a general conference and will give momentum to the Organization’s streamlining and reforms in the face of challenges such as the rising food prices,” he noted. Al-Hasawi congratulated Maria Helena Semedo on her appointment as the organization’s new Deputy Director General and regional representative for Africa. Graziano da Silva is scheduled to receive Director of the Economic Department of the Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry Sheikh Ali Khaled AlJaber Al-Sabah and Eng. Al-Hasawi at the Headquarters of the organization tomorrow to discuss the progress of bilateral cooperation. The FAO Council, made up of 49 member states meets at least four times between ordinary meetings of the organization’s General Conference to discuss the activities of the UN agency as well as the administrative and financial issues. —KUNA

MANAMA: Kuwait’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Sabah attends the meeting yesterday.

‘Security essential bloc in GCC development’ KUWAIT: “Maintaining and safeguarding security is an essential building bloc in GCC development and a key requirement in efforts aiming to support continued economic and social development in our region,” stressed First Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Sabah yesterday. The top official’s remarks came ahead of his departure to Bahrain where he is to head the Kuwaiti security delegation that would take part in the 14th Consultative Meeting of Interior Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The Undersecretary of the Bahraini Interior Ministr y had on Monday chaired the meetings of the undersecretaries of GCC interior ministries. On the ministerial meeting, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Sabah stressed, “the timing of this gathering is critical in view of the current state of affairs and security developments on regional and Arab level.” The minister expressed hope the meetings yield recommendations and

resolutions that rise up to current risks and challenge in the region. “In absence of security, there can be no development. Likewise in absence of stability, there can be no progress,” the minister remarked. The GCC interior ministers are meeting within the framework of cooperation and coordination over issues of countering terrorism, countering organized crime, and countering the drugs trade, he said, “as well as bolstering GCC cooperation on the dossiers of traffic and civil defense.” The recent dramatic changes in all areas and on global scale which accompanied startling scientific progress brought along some negative aspects that need be addressed, the senior Kuwaiti official stressed. “We need to double our effort and coordination on the security dossier to counter this challenge and curb any negative impact,” he noted. Upon arrival in Manama, the minister said that, “There is a strong wind of change blowing across the world, and we need to be fully alert and at the

ready to face the challenge of this period, if we are to avert danger and realize our objectives.” “ This could only be achieved through bolstering our solidarity and coordination,” and the security dossier is a prominent one for us at present. “And we are fully aware of that,” the minister noted. “Our aim is to safeguard the security of the region and the safety of its people and to safeguard development. This requires great, ceaseless, and wholehearted effort at present and in the near future with support of proper planning.” The minister relayed greetings of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah to King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa. He also expressed pleasure over meeting his GCC counterparts. Upon arrival, the Kuwaiti delegation was received by Bahraini Interior Minister Rashid bin Abdallah bin Ahmad Al-Khalifa, ministry officials, Kuwaiti Ambassador in Bahrain Sheikh Azzam Al-Sabah, and Kuwait Embassy staff. —KUNA

Adan Hospital to apply emergency classification system KUWAIT: The emergency department at Adan Hospital will be applying an emergency classification system early nex t month, which gives priority of providing medical services for patients based on their health condition instead of sequencing waiting numbers, Dr Marzouq Al-A zmi, Manager of Adan Hospital announced yesterday. The system is considered as the first advanced medical system that provides medical care for patients and gives them priority of entry to the physician based on their health condition, Dr Al-Azmi said, adding that the system would also enable the medical staff to reach patients of critical and emergency condition, and provide the appropriate resuscitation before the condition worsens and acquires dangerous complications. He mentioned that Adan Hospital is the largest hospital in Kuwait as it serves the country’s two biggest governorates, which are inhabited by around one million people, indicating that the emergency classification system

tends to organize patients traffic in the emergency department and among the hospital’s clinics. Moreover, he pointed out the hospital’s cooperation with

Dr Marzouq Al-Azmi

Canada’s McGill University in training the medical staff of emergency depar tment at Adan Hospital through organizing mini-training courses that were specialized in the area of emergency classification, indicating that total of 29 members of the department’s staff were trained and acquired certifi-

cates. On his part, Dr Reza Janna, director of the emergency department at Adan Hospital, said that the hospital has started a media campaign several days ago that aimed at educating patients of the hospital about impor tance of applying the emergency classification system in the department, as well as the benefits they would gain from applying it. He said that the department receives from 2,000 to 2,500 patients daily, from whom 35 to 40 are resuscitation conditions, noting that the rate is so high and is unavailable in most of the world’s countries. Furthermore, Dr Janna indicated that when applying the new system early next month; the patient would head to the sec tion of patient classification, where medical staff would be waiting to diagnose him/her in a fast and preliminary way in order to avoid crowdedness, adding that based on initial diagnosing; patient would be given one colored, out of three, card that displays level of his/her emergency condition. —KUNA

Kuwaiti force in Qatar for ‘Eagle Resolve’ drills KUWAIT: A force from the Kuwaiti Army headed to Qatar yesterday and is to take part in the “Eagle Resolve 2013” military maneuvers alongside forces from other countries. The maneuvers are planned to take place from April 21 to May 2. A statement by the Ministry of Defense said the officers are to undergo training specifically designed for command and training centers and the aspects of the training include crisis management, disaster response, countering threat, and countering offensive and terrorist activity. The army is taking part with a view of enhancing joint military cooperation and coordination and enhancing its own defensive capabilities, the statement said. The Kuwaiti force taking part in the drills is headed by Planning and Operations

Training Division Chief Colonel Fadhel AlSaadoun, and it includes officers and noncommissioned officers from all army units. The drills are taking part with integral participation of US Central Command (USCENTCOM). The multi-national annual naval, land, and air exercise is conducted at various locations throughout Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. Exercise Eagle Resolve demonstrates US Central Command dedication to GCC regional partners and the combined efforts to sustain regional security and stability, USCENTCOM said of the drills. “Eagle Resolve has been the premier USCENTCOM exercise with our Gulf partner nations since its inception in 1999,” stated USCENTCOM’s director of exercise s a n d t r a i n i n g M a j. G e n . R o b e r t Catalanotti. —KUNA

Doha Conference on Interfaith Dialogue kicks off DOHA: The 10th Doha Conference on Interfaith Dialogue under the title “Best Practices in Interfaith Dialogue” kicked off here yesterday. Some 500 participants from the followers of the three religions, Islam, Christianity and Judaism, from inside and outside Qatar besides 75 countries around the world are taking part.The conference is witnessing an active presence of researchers in the field of the science of comparative religion and representatives of bodies, organizations, institutions and universities interested in the field of interfaith dialogue to provide successful experiences and present their important achievements in this field. Minister of Justice Hassan bin Abdullah Al-Ghanem said in an opening speech that the three-day conference

focuses on four pillars; academic, justice, peace and conflict resolution, and the pillar of culture and media. He praised participants’ efforts in standing up with a humanitarian responsibility and a message of faith in the context of the hard and sincere work in the field of religious dialogue to build better ties within the framework of humanitarian brotherhood. He pointed out that the world today has become a small village and the communication and integration between religious followers are necessity and imposed by the nature of life. There is no place in the world for closed communities and scholars and wise men in the world agree on calls for dialogue and reject the culture of cancellation and exclusion, he added. —KUNA



Packets of heroin, tablets found in deserted area Scores injured in airport scuffle KUWAIT: A total of 150 packets of heroin and 1000 illicit tablets were found in a deserted area stretching between a house and a power transformer in Mubarak Al-Kabeer, prompting detectives to wait for a long time in the hope that the owner would come to collect it and will be thus identified, but eventually it was all in vain as no one showed up. A security source said Mubarak Al-Kabeer detectives were instructed by Assistant Undersecretary for Criminal Security Affairs, Maj Gen Abdelhameed Al-Awadhi, to launch an inspection campaign in the area to look for any security violations. The source said the detectives found the heroin and illicit tablets, packed in a plastic bag, and decided to stay put in the area to wait and see who comes to collect the drugs, but no claimant turned up, the contraband was taken to the Drugs Control Department. An investigation is on. Youth stabs father A security source said a youth stabbed his father after a loud exchange in Fintas area, an incident witnessed by a Kuwaiti citizen and his

wife when they were taking a walk there. The source said the eyewitness called the police who arrived with an ambulance and rushed the elderly man to the Adan Hospital where he succumbed to the stab wound even as doctors were trying to save him. Police arrested the son who was still carrying the knife. Preliminary investigations revealed that the youth’s parents had a dispute and he was taking his mother’s side when he ended up committing patricide. Scuffle at airport Several men were injured during a scuffle that broke out over a girl at the Kuwait International Airport. Security personnel at the airport were surprised with a number of young men exchanging blows while a girl stood near by. Some were injured in the scuffle and were taken to a hospital while the rest were taken to the Jleeb police station. A security source said interrogations revealed that eight young men competed with two others over the girl and this led to the fight.

Theft suspect A security source said a man driving along the Salmiya area found a person trying to break into a car. He caught the suspect and called the police who arrested him. The suspect confessed to three vehicle thefts he committed before. He was sent to the concerned authorities. Drunk driver The Hawally police patrol arrested a woman working for the Interior Ministry at the Mubarak Al-Kabeer traffic department for driving under the influence of alcohol. When police stopped her and asked for the ID, she claimed that she was a lieutenant at the immigration department. Strangely, she whipped out her civil ID and placed it on a sensitive area of her body, challenging, “Show me who is man enough among you to get my ID.” When the policeman insisted that she hand over to him her ID in a proper fashion, she insulted him, but once she realized they meant business, she gave them the ID. She was eventually arrested and sent to the Maidan Hawally police station. She was charged for falsely claiming she was a police officer.

Kuwait gifts $4 million to GW University WASHINGTON: Kuwait’s Ambassador to the US Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah delivered a gift of $4 million as an endowment for GW ’s Institute for Middle East Studies and for the Global Resources Center’s Middle East and North Africa Research Center at the Gelman Library. This is the second gift of its kind from His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber A-Sabah, in addition to a gift of $4.5 million in February 2011. GW University President Steven Knapp said on this occasion that the University is “grateful for the ongoing support of the Government of Kuwait and HH the Amir of Kuwait.” “We look forward to continuing to work together to strengthen the relationship between the US and the Middle East through research, education and policy engagement.” He said “we are very proud of this support,” which he affirmed is considered “vital.” For his part, Sheikh Salem said that Kuwait is keen on strengthening its relations with prestigious educational institutions in the US, especially those that have centers for Middle Eastern studies.

WASHINGTON: Kuwait’s Ambassador to the US Sheikh Salem AlSabah pictured with GW University President Steven Knapp. He reiterated “there is so much He shed light on the Kuwait Chair in GW University, saying “it false information out there; thereaims at informing the American fore we need the young American students of the facts about Kuwait brains to know what the Middle and the real Middle East as there is East is really about.” He affirmed that the Kuwait a misconception in the American media about our region so these Chair “is very active and it holds centers have an important role in many workshops and lectures that shed light on Kuwait, and also concorrecting such information.” “Now more than ever we need ducts research and studies on the institutes like that to put out to the Arabian Gulf region.” The ambassador affirmed that world about what the Middle East the relationship between the is really all about,” he stressed.

University and Kuwait is “old and we are very keen in the Embassy on further boosting it.” Also, Kuwait’s Cultural Attache Dr Abdulwahab Al-Dhufeiri affirmed that GW is one of the elite universities in the nation, which “we share distinctive relations with.” He added that the Kuwait Cultural Office is keen on further boosting these relations through expanding the number of Kuwaiti students in the University. He added “we are also keen on having a cultural exchange whether on research or sabbatical or academic levels.” “It was a significant opportunity to discuss these issues and work on opening new horizons in the near future,” and to see a “stronger academic cooperation,” he remarked. The Government of Kuwait has been a strong supporter of GW’s Middle East programs. In 2005 the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences established the Kuwait Chair for Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Affairs. In addition to financial support, many top Kuwaiti officials have participated in the Middle East Policy Forum at the Elliott School of International Affairs. — KUNA

KUWAIT: National Guard Facilities Protection Directorate carried out an exercise about how to quell a rebellion by a group of armed troops, and also showed how to inspect vehicles for weapons and explosives. Commander of Security Affairs Brig Khalid Rakan, Brig Zaid Mohammad and Commander of Facilities Protection Brigade Col Misfer Abdallah attended the exercise.

Minister hails Kuwait bird encyclopedia KUWAIT: Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah yesterday praised Kuwait Environment Protection Society (KEPS) for developing “Kuwait bird encyclopedia - the field guideline.” “This is the first such encyclopedia in the Middle East region; it’s a great achievement in the efforts of KEPS to preserve wildlife in the country,” the minister said while attending the ceremony to unveil the document this evening. “The encyclopedia documents over 400

species of migrant and domestic birds in Kuwait which enjoys a unique geographic location,” Sheikh Salman pointed out. “Though bird hunting is a long tradition in Kuwait, it becomes a crime against environment when hunters target endangered species or migrant birds which need protection,” he added. The ceremony was attended by Mahmoud Al-Shehab - the first Kuwaiti bird detective who offered great contribution to the conservation of wild birds in the country over four decades. — KUNA

CBK briefs ACA Students on basic banking information

EQUATE visits schools, diwaniyas to post ‘Stay Safe’ instructions KUWAIT: Through the variant activities of its campaign “Stay Safe”; EQUATE petrochemical company has visited several schools and

diwaniyas in several provinces to raise awareness of taking into account the safety standards at our homes.

The campaign met hundreds of students through visits to schools like “Kuwait Bilingual”, ”Raitta Bint Al Harith” and “Farwaniya intermediate school” where multiple events established with the students to raise their awareness of the need to maintain their safety and the safety of their families in their homes. “Stay Safe” also visited diwan Imad AbdulHadi in Meshrif area and Abdul Aziz Tammar in Shamiya area to communicate directly with citizens and residents to raise awareness of all the families of the importance of attention to our daily home behavior, and how to stay safe at home. The Vice-President for Technical Affairs in EQUATE Mohammed Al Bin Ali: “Stay Safe“ works to deliver important messages, as to abide the most important right practices related to safety in the home, such as use of kitchen equipment and power tools, escalators, different foods, monitor the children always and installing adequate lighting inside and outside the home as emphasize the need to use fire detectors in every home.” The campaign is still conducting its activities through Kuwait major malls, schools and diwaniyas to deliver its important awareness messages to all families in Kuwait, to have a safer life at our homes with our beloved ones.

KUWAIT: The Commercial Bank of Kuwait welcomed the Grade 6 and 7 male students from the American Creativity Academy with a visit to the bank’s special South Surra branch last week to attend a unique presentation created and conducted by the bank called My First Banking Knowledge. It discusses the importance and benefits of saving money as well as other topics and the students from ACA greatly benefited from the useful lessons that were conveyed in the presentation. The Commercial Bank of Kuwait created the presentation and made sure that it wasn’t too difficult for kids to understand but still had all the necessary information on why it is important to save money. It also talked about online banking, ATMs, the bank’s kids and youth accounts, as well as interest computation and the various services

that the bank provides. After the presentation, the kids are taken on a tour of the branch where they learned about the daily tasks of tellers and are shown how an ATM machine works. Each student is also awarded with a certificate signifying that they have completed the My First Banking Knowledge presentation. Staff from the Marketing department conducted the presentation to the students and walked them through the tour of the South Surra branch. The Commercial Bank of Kuwait considers the younger generation a vital aspect in shaping Kuwait’s bright future which is why the bank constantly strives to educate young Kuwaitis in many ways and help pave their way to success and happiness. Due the positive responses that Al Tijari is getting from all the schools, the presentations will continue until May.


US hospitals send hundreds of immigrants back home

Japan vows force if Chinese land on disputed islands Page 12

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PARIS: Pro gay marriage activists celebrate after French lawmakers legalized same-sex marriage, yesterday in Paris. Lawmakers legalized same-sex marriage after months of bruising debate and street protests that brought hundreds of thousands to Paris. — AP

France legalizes gay marriage PARIS: The French parliament yesterday defied months of angry protests by approving a bill that is to make France the 14th country worldwide to legalise same-sex marriages. But opponents to the law vowed to fight on, quickly filing a constitutional challenge and promising more demonstrations to pressure President Francois Hollande into backing down from signing the bill. In its second and final reading, the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, voted 331 to 225 to adopt the bill allowing homosexual marriages and adoptions by gay couples. Justice Minister Christiane Taubira hailed the adoption of the bill as a “historic” moment. “It grants new rights, stands firmly against discrimination (and) testifies to our country’s respect for the institution of marriage,” she said in a statement shortly after the vote. “This is a victory for equality, for democracy and for coexistence,” said Nicolas Gougain, a spokesman for Inter-LGBT, France’s leading gay rights group. “This law takes no rights away from anyone, it only grants rights to others. This is liberation after years of fighting for equality.” Shortly after the vote, lawmakers from rightwing parties said they had already filed a legal challenge with the constitutional council. Senators from the main opposition UMP and other right-wing parties said “the definition of marriage, a fundamental principle... cannot be modified by a simple law.” They also said provisions allowing adoption by gay couples violate “fundamental principles” of France, including “the principle of human dignity and equality”. UMP lawmakers in the National Assembly also filed a challenge. The council will have a month to make a ruling and opponents are hoping that in the meantime they can build up enough pressure to force Hollande, who has been steadfast in supporting the bill, to step back from signing

it. Former president Jacques Chirac shelved an unpopular employment law that had been passed by parliament in 2006, but Hollande is seen as unlikely to follow that precedent. The government also is confident that the constitutional challenge will be dismissed. “We have ensured that there is no legal weakness,” Family Minister Dominique Bertinotti said. “The constitutional council is sovereign but the government is serene. We’re confident.” Hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets in a series of protests against the bill, surprising many in a country that is predominantly Catholic but known for its secular traditions. The opposition turned increasingly nasty as the final vote approached. Some politicians received threats, a handful of demonstrations ended in violence and there was even a scuffle in parliament as the debate concluded in the small hours of Friday. The tensions have also been linked to a spike in hate crimes against the gay community that have included attacks on bars and two serious assaults in Paris. Hollande could scarcely have anticipated the scale of the opposition he would face over a reform that initially seemed to enjoy solid majority backing among French voters. But recent polls have suggested a campaign in which the Roman Catholic Church initially played the leading role has shifted opinion to the extent that the electorate is now fairly evenly split on both gay marriage and adoption. Hollande’s girlfriend, Valerie Trierweiler, has revealed that the president will be attending the marriages of gay friends once the legislation is on the statute books. In a Tweet after the vote, Trierweiler hailed Tuesday as a “historic day”, using the hashtag “#equalityforall”. France’s INSEE statistics agency says about 200,000 people declared themselves as living in same-sex couples in a 2011 study.— AFP

Spain arrests suspects with Al-Qaeda links MADRID: Spain yesterday arrested two men, one of Algerian and the other of Moroccan origin, who it said had links to Al-Qaeda militants in Mali. The interior ministry said the two had a “similar profile” to the suspects in the bombings at the Boston Marathonthough a judicial official said they had no concrete links to the US attacks. The men, arrested in different parts of the country, were “suspected members of a radical cell related to the terrorist organisation AQIM,” Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which has carried out attacks and kidnappings across north Africa, the ministry said. It said the Algerian, identified as Nou Mediouni, 23, and the Moroccan, Hassan El Jaaouani, 52, had “profiles” like those of the two men of Chechen origin living in the United States who are suspected of carrying out the deadly bombings last week in Boston. Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez-Diaz said Mediouni and El Jaaouani resembled the Boston suspects in that they appeared to be “lone wolves”-individuals who became radicalised despite not having previous links to organised groups. A judicial source who

asked not to be named said the two had no known concrete links to the US bombings. The interior ministry said Mediouni was arrested in Spain’s northern city of Zaragoza and Jaaouani in the southeastern city of Murcia after a year-long operation with the help of French and Moroccan police. The ministry said Mediouni was highly radicalised and was believed to have been recruited by Malibased AQIM members via an online militant forum. The network instructed him to travel to a “jihadi training camp” run by AQIM in northern Mali. His trip fell through when he was prevented from contacting AQIM due to security measures in Mali, where French and African forces have driven Islamist militants from their strongholds over recent months. Mediouni returned to Spain “highly frustrated at not having been able to ‘die like a martyr’ as he had wished,” the ministry said. It said El Jaaouani meanwhile had also been in contact with Mali-based AQIM leaders, one of whom was “directly linked” with the kidnapping and killing of two French nationals in Niger in 2011.— AFP



Palestinian to end hunger strike for freedom: Lawyer RAMALLAH: An Israeli-held Palestinian prisoner on a life-threatening hunger strike has agreed to end his fast in return for his early release, his lawyer said yesterday. Under terms of the deal, Samer Issawi, who has intermittently refused food since August 2012, is to be freed exactly eight months after he ends his strike, Jawad Boulos told AFP. The 33-year-old, currently in critical condition in a hospital near Tel Aviv, began taking vitamins again late on Monday after the agreement was reached with the authorities, Boulos said. The deal will allow him to return to his neighbourhood of Issawiya in annexed east Jerusalem. The Israeli army said “an agreement has been reached” according to which “Issawi will serve 17and-a-half months starting from the day of his arrest for the violation of the conditions of his release.” He won early release as part of a prisoner swap deal in October 2011, but was rearrested nine months later on July 7 and began refusing food on August 1. In recent weeks, Israel offered him an immediate release if he would accept exile to the

Hamas-governed Gaza Strip, and even proposed deporting him to an EU member state. But Issawi rejected both those proposals. He was first arrested in 2002 and sentenced to 26 years for militant activity in the leftist Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He was rearrested in July for violating the terms of the agreement by leaving east Jerusalem and travelling to the West Bank. An Israeli official said he had gone to the West Bank to establish “terror cells” with officials calling for him to serve out the remainder of his original sentence. His health has deteriorated significantly due to his prolonged fast. Israel holds around 4,700 Palestinians in its jails, including 169 in “administrative detention”-a procedure which allows suspects to be held without charge for renewable periods of up to six monthsand 235 minors. Issawi is the last of four Palestinian prisoners who were on extended hunger strikes in Israeli prisons, after two ended their fast in February and a third man from the West Bank was exiled last month to Gaza for 10 years. — AFP

REHOVOT: In this Monday, April 22, 2013 photo, people hold posters showing Palestinian prisoner on a hunger strike Samer Issawi outside a hospital in Rehovot, Israel. Issawi, who refused food for months, is expected to end his hunger strike yesterdaty after a deal was reached with Israeli authorities for his early release, his lawyer said. — AP

Morsi moves to defuse furore over judges Brotherhood accused of planning ‘judges’ massacre’

ADEN: Members of the Iranian vessel crew loaded with rockets and explosives that was seized in Yemeni territorial waters on January 23, stand for trial at the criminal court in Aden yesterday. The Yemeni government claimed that Iran supplied the weapons but Iran denies the country was involved in the shipment. — AFP

Lebanon Sunni sheikh urges followers to join Syria war BEIRUT: Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir, a controversial Lebanese Salafist leader, has urged his followers to join Syrian rebels fighting forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah. The call came as a second Sunni Lebanese sheikh called the fight against Assad’s regime a “jihadist duty”. “Today, everyone recognises the danger posed by the intervention of (Hezbollah chief Hassan) Nasrallah and his shabiha (proAssad militia) in Syria,” Assir told his followers late Monday. Syria’s opposition and activists have accused Iran-backed Hezbollah of sending elite fighters to battle alongside regime troops in Qusayr, an area of the central province of Homs near the Lebanese border. “Nasrallah and his shabiha have taken the decision to enter into these areas (Qusayr) in order to massacre the oppressed people there,” Assir added. “There is a religious duty on every Muslim who is able to do so... to enter into Syria in order to defend its people, its mosques and religious shrines, especially in Qusayr and Homs.” Assir said joining the fight in Homs was “especially a duty for the Lebanese because Lebanon provides the only gateway” into central Syria. He said his address mainly targeted “residents of the border areas,” but added: “This fatwa (religious decree) affects us all, especially those who have military experience.” Assir has seen his following swell in the past year, in part due to his firebrand speeches and staunch opposition to Hezbollah, the Shiite Lebanese movement allied with Assad’s regime. His popularity has grown amid a crisis in traditional Sunni Lebanese political groups, and a growing sectarian backlash from the Syria conflict. The majority of Syria’s rebels,

like the population, are Sunni Muslims, while Assad comes from the minority Alawite community, an offshoot of Shiite Islam. In his speech on Monday, Assir also announced the establishment of “free resistance battalions” in Sidon, the southern city where he is based. Addressing Sunnis in Lebanon, Assir called on “those who fear attack by Iran’s party (Hezbollah) to organise secret groups, and to buy weapons in order to be ready, should Nasrallah decide to attack them”. “Allahu akbar (God is greatest)! Death or humiliation!” his followers chanted. In the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, a second Sunni sheikh, Salem al-Rafii, echoed Assir’s call. “As Hezbollah sends fighters to defend Shiite areas... we will also send money and men to our Sunni brothers in Qusayr,” he said. While condemning Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria’s conflict, the Sunni head of Lebanon’s opposition March 14 movement, Saad Hariri, rejected calls for Lebanese Sunnis to join the fighting in Syria. “I call on all Lebanese to use all available peaceful to denounce (Hezbollah’s) participation... while I also declare my total rejection to... calls for jihad or sectarian tension,” said Hariri. “All the Lebanese know that such calls only act as a reflection of Hezbollah’s criminal path, and help it justify its actions,” he said in a statement. Calls for Lebanese Sunnis to wage “jihad” would only “push Lebanon towards the war that Assad wants for Lebanon”. Lebanon has adopted an official stance of neutrality in Syria’s war, which the UN says has left more than 70,000 people dead. Until 2005, Damascus dominated Lebanon politically and militarily for nearly 30 years, though it has since continued to exert significant influence through its allies on the small Mediterranean country. — AFP

Iran denies link with Canada terror suspects TEHRAN: Iran yesterday denied any links with an alleged terrorist plot that Canadian authorities claim was directed by al-Qaeda operatives in Iran and sought to derail a passenger train. Canadian authorities allege the suspects Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, and Raed Jaser, 35, had “direction and guidance” from al-Qaeda members in Iran, though there were no claims the planned attacks were state-sponsored by Tehran. Esseghaier is believed to be Tunisian and Jaser from the United Arab Emirates. Some al-Qaeda members had been allowed to stay in Iran after fleeing Afghanistan, but were under tight Iranian controls. Relations have been rocky between mainly Shiite Iran and the Sunni-led al Qaeda on many fronts for years. Iran was a strong opponent of the Taleban, which sheltered Osama bin Laden and others before the US-led invasion after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Many al-Qaida leaders also view Shiite Muslims with suspicion and hostility. Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters that there is “no firm evidence” of any Iranian involvement and groups such as al-Qaida have “no compatibility with Iran in both political and ideological fields.” “We oppose any terrorist and violent action that would jeopardize lives of inno-

cent people,” said Mehmanparast. He called the Canadian claims part of hostile policies against Tehran, and accused Canada of indirectly aiding al-Qaeda by joining Western support for Syrian rebels. Some Islamic militant factions, claiming allegiance to alQaeda, have joined forces seeking to topple the regime of Bashar Assad, one of Iran’s main allies in the region. “The same (alQaeda) current is killing people in Syria while enjoying Canada’s support,” said Mehmanparast. In a separate comment, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi called the claim by Canadian authorities “the most ridiculous fake words.” “I hope Canadian officials resort to more wisdom,” he said. The two countries have no diplomatic relations after Canada unilaterally closed its embassy in Tehran in 2012 and expelled Iranian diplomats from Ottawa. On Monday, Alireza Miryousefi, spokesman for the Iranian mission to the United Nations, said the terrorist network was not operating in Iran. “Iran’s position against this group is very clear and well known. (Al-Qaida) has no possibility to do any activity inside Iran or conduct any operation abroad from Iran’s territory,” Miryousefi said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press. “We reject strongly and categorically any connection to this story.” — AP

CAIRO: Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi’s Islamist allies acted yesterday to defuse a row over attempts to force out thousands of judges, sending a bitterly opposed judicial reform bill to a parliamentary committee for further consideration. After emergency talks with the Supreme Judicial Council and the prosecutor general on Monday, Mursi’s office issued a late-night statement saying the president considered protecting the independence of the judiciary was his constitutional duty. “The president confirmed definitively that he... does not accept any violation of the judiciary or insults against personalities of the judiciary,” it said. The secular and liberal opposition had condemned a draft law that would have imposed mandatory retirement on judges at 60 instead of 70, forcing out many senior judges who have angered the Islamists by annulling election laws and acquitting officials of ousted former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime. The political battle over the judiciary has become another obstacle to efforts by the United States, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund to promote political reconciliation to help Egypt fight a deep economic crisis. The speaker of the upper house of parliament, Muslim Brotherhood politician Ahmed Fahmy, told lawmakers the bill proposed by the moderate Islamist Wasat Party had been referred to the constitutional affairs committee, which would study it and compile a report. That means it will no longer be rushed through parliament on Wednesday as initially planned, allowing more time for consultation and possible compromise. Only days after the Brotherhood staged a mass demonstration in Cairo to demand a “purification” of the judiciary, its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, distanced itself from the draft. Sobhi Saleh, a senior FJP lawmaker, told Al Jazeera’s Egyptian news channel the bill was just a proposal. The opposition National Salvation Front said on Monday the law would eliminate more than 3,000 judges at a stroke, calling it prelude to the “Brotherhoodisation” of the judiciary, and called for demonstrations outside parliament. Judges, who denounced the bill as unconstitutional, are to hold another meeting

CAIRO: An Egyptian Salafi Muslim chants slogans in front of the Shura Council, the upper house of Parliament, during a protest in support of bearded police officers who were prevented from carrying out their work in the interior ministry, in Cairo, Egypt, yesterday. — AP

on Wednesday at which attendees said they would demand that any legislation affecting the judiciary be sent to them for review before it is ratified. Justice Minister Ahmed Mekky tendered his resignation on Saturday after the Brotherhood demonstration against the judiciary, seen by many Islamists as infested with Mubarak-era appointees hostile to Egypt’s 2011 democratic revolution. Local media quoted Mekky, who stood up for judges’ freedom under Mubarak’s rule, as saying he would only stay in his job if he received official guarantees regarding judicial independence. The constitutional court has repeatedly stymied Mursi’s legislative and election plans, and appeals courts have acquitted or released some former Mubarak officials charged with corruption and abuses of power. The clash highlights rival sources of legitimacy that have co-existed uneasily in Egypt since Arab Spring street protests toppled Mubarak. Most of the laws and judges date back to his authoritarian rule and some have

been used to frustrate the plans of new bodies elected since the uprising. Mubarak and his former interior minister were sentenced to life imprisonment last year for complicity in the killing of hundreds of demonstrators during the revolution, but an appeals court threw out the verdict in January and ordered a retrial, which has already stalled once and is due to start on May 11. Two courts have ordered Mubarak’s release since he has served the maximum permitted time in pre-trial custody, but the authorities have kept him in jail because he is facing other charges for which the detention term has not yet expired. Mursi has said he plans a cabinet reshuffle, expected next week, that Western officials hope may bring a more inclusive, politically balanced government and enable the NSF to drop plans to boycott parliamentary elections due later this year. However, the attempt to purge the judiciary has polarised Egyptian politics again, deepening opposition suspicions that the Brotherhood wants to monopolise rather than share power. — Reuters

Hagel in Riyadh as US, Saudi plan arms deal RIYADH: US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in Riyadh yesterday on his first trip to the Saudi kingdom, with which the United States is preparing to seal a major arms deal. Hagel flew in from as part of his regional tour, the first since he took office two months ago and which he began in Israel. Later yesterday he is expected to meet with Crown Prince and Defence Minister Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz. Syria’s bloody conflict in which tens of thousands have so far been killed as well as the controversial nuclear programme of Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran will top his agenda. He was scheduled to meet former deputy defence minister Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, but the official was sacked by a royal decree on Saturday. He was replaced by Prince Fahd bin Abdullah bin Mohammed, who has been commander of Saudi naval forces since 2002. Prince Khaled commanded Arab and Muslim armies in a USled coalition which evicted Iraqi occupation forces from Kuwait in the 1991 Gulf War. He had played a major role in sealing several arms deals with the United States, mainly in 2010 when the Pentagon said it plans to sell Saudi Arabia 84 F-15 fighter jets, 70 Apache attack helicopters, 72 tactical Black Hawk helicopters and 36 light helicopters, as well as upgrades for 70 used F-15s. The delivery of the weapons to the oil-rich kingdom, thought to be the largest ever single US arms sale, would be spread across 15 to 20 years. Hagel visit comes as the United States unveiled plans Friday to sell $10 billion worth of advanced missiles and aircraft to Israel, the

United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in a bid to counter the alleged threat posed by Iran. Under the package, which is still being finalised, the US government will sell 26 F-16 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates as well as sophisticated missiles for the warplanes, which officials would not specify. The UAE part of the arms deal comes to nearly $5 billion, officials said. Saudi Arabia would purchase the same advanced missiles

provided to the UAE, allowing Saudi fighters to strike ground targets at a safe distance. Hagel will next travel to Egypt and the Emirates. Americans are seeking to boost the capabilities of Arab allies while maintaining a longstanding US commitment to ensure Israel enjoys military superiority in the region. “This is one of the most complex and carefully orchestrated arms packages in American history,” said a US defence official. — AFP

RIYADH: US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, left, is welcomed by Saudi Crown Prince, Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense Salman bin Abdulaziz, center, during a meeting at his residence in Riyadh, yesterday. — AP



Spain fights to lose status as drug gateway to Europe MADRID: Spain, the main gateway into Europe for cocaine and hashish, has stepped up the fight against drug trafficking by rings which are shifting their tactics to keep their access to the lucrative European market. “We are winning battles but it will be difficult to win the war,” said the head of the anti-cocaine squad of the antidrugs unit of Spain’s national police force, Jose Antonio Rodriguez. “Traffickers have money on their side, a lack of scruples and they can develop their activities without limit.” Spain’s proximity to Morocco and its easy access to the Atlantic Ocean make it “a natural entry point for drug shipments for all of Europe,” said Rodriguez. Cocaine arrives in Spain from Latin America in Galicia, a nor thwestern

region whose rugged coastline is dotted with coves and inlets, and in the southern port of Cadiz, and is then shipped overland by truck to France, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. Spain seized 20.7 tonnes of cocaine last year, 24.9 percent more than in the previous year and 325.5 tonnes of hashish, down 8.5 percent from 2011, Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez-Diaz said Thursday. That represents 41.21 percent of the total amount of cocaine which was seized in Europe last year and 73.69 percent of the hashish, according to the minister. A record 49.65 tonnes of cocaine was seized in Spain in 2006. “Since then we have observed a clear downwards trend, which may be explained by changes in international

trafficking routes,” Spanish police wrote in a report last year. A multiplication of police operations against drug trafficking in Galicia has diver ted cocaine smugglers to the south of Europe, said Susanne Gratius, an analyst with FRIDE, a think tank specialising in European affairs, who wrote a report about the fight against drug trafficking for the European Parliament. “Very often drugs no longer arrive directly from Latin America, instead they pass through Africa using the traditional routes for hashish trafficking,” she said. Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal are countries used by traffickers to get cocaine from Latin America to Spain, she added. Latin American drug rings can rely on the help of strong local networks in

Africa to help move their narcotics to Europe, said Rodriguez. “We have found that groups in the region such as AlQaeda in the Islamic Maghreb cooperate with them, they get paid to transport drugs to north Africa,” he said. The make-up of drug rings sending cocaine to Spain has changed as well. The Colombian groups which dominated the trade in the 1980s have given way bit by bit to Mexican cartels, said Gratius. Drug traffickers’ interest in Europe has increased because demand from the continent for cocaine is growing, she added. Over the past decade the number of cocaine consumers in Europe has doubled while demand for the drug has plunged by 33 percent in the United States, she said.

In response European nations have reinforced regional cooperation as well as their cooperation with police forces in Latin America to stop the flow of cocaine. Hiding cocaine in banana shipments remains one of the favourite tactics used by traffickers. “Shipping containers are one of the points of entry for drugs that are used the most. Ports are very busy and perishable goods must leave very quickly,” said Rodriguez as he held up a plastic banana which was used to hide cocaine. “Traffickers never stop innovating. They have even used live animals,” he added as he showed X-ray images of a labrador which had been stuffed with packages of cocaine inside its body by smugglers. — AFP

US seek motive after Boston suspect charged ‘We will prosecute this terrorist’

TIERRA BLANCA: In this Wednesday March 6, 2013 photo, Jose Guadalupe Rodriguez-Saldana, 38, places orthopedic supports on his legs as his girlfriend, Edenida Alvarado, watches at his home in the town of Tierra Blanca, Veracruz state, Mexico. Rodriguez-Saldana and another friend suffered serious injuries during a car accident last May 2008 in northwestern Iowa. — AP

US hospitals send hundreds of immigrants back home DES MOINES: Days after they were badly hurt in a car accident, Jacinto Cruz and Jose Rodriguez-Saldana lay unconscious in an Iowa hospital while the American health care system weighed what to do with the two immigrants from Mexico. The men had health insurance from jobs at one of the nation’s largest pork producers. But neither had legal permission to live in the US, nor was it clear whether their insurance would pay for the long-term rehabilitation they needed. So Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines took matters into its own hands: After consulting with the patients’ families, it quietly loaded the two comatose men onto a private jet that flew them back to Mexico, effectively deporting them without consulting any court or federal agency. When the men awoke, they were more than 1,800 miles away in a hospital in Veracruz, on the Mexican Gulf Coast. Hundreds of immigrants who are in the US illegally have taken similar journeys through a little-known removal system run by hospitals seeking to curb high costs. A recent report compiled by immigrant advocacy groups made a rare attempt to determine how many people are sent home, concluding that at least 600 immigrants were removed over a five-year period, though there were likely many more. In interviews with immigrants, their families, attorneys and advocates, The Associated Press reviewed the obscure process known formally as “medical repatriation,” which allows hospitals to put patients on chartered international flights, often while they are still unconscious. Hospitals typically pay for the flights. “The problem is it’s all taking place in this unregulated sort of a black hole ... and there is no tracking,” said law professor Lori Nessel, director of the Center for Social Justice at Seton Hall Law School, which offers free legal representation to immigrants. Advocates for immigrants are concerned that hospitals could soon begin expanding the practice after full implementation of national health care reform, which will make deep cuts to the payments hospitals receive

for taking care of the uninsured. Health care executives say they are caught between a requirement to accept all patients and a political battle over immigration. National and state government don’t want to pay, said Dr. Mark Purtle, vice president of Medical Affairs for Iowa Health System, which includes Iowa Methodist Medical Center. Hospitals are legally required to care for all patients who need emergency treatment, regardless of citizenship status or ability to pay. Once a patient is stabilized, that funding ceases, along with the requirement to provide care. Many immigrant workers without citizenship are ineligible for Medicaid, the government’s insurance program for the poor and elderly. Civil rights groups say that sending patients back to their countries violates U.S. and international laws and unfairly targets one of the nation’s most defenseless populations. “They don’t have advocates, and they don’t have people who will speak on their behalf,” said Miami attorney John De Leon, who has been arguing such cases for a decade. Estimating the number of cases is difficult since no government agency or organization keeps track. The Center for Social Justice and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest have documented at least 600 immigrants who were involuntarily removed in the past five years for medical reasons. The figure is based on data from hospitals, humanitarian organizations, news reports and immigrant advocates who cited specific cases. But the actual number is believed to be significantly higher because many more cases almost certainly go unreported. Some patients who were sent home subsequently died in hospitals that weren’t equipped to meet their needs. Others suffered lingering medical problems because they never received adequate rehabilitation, the report said. The two Mexican workers in Iowa came to the US in search of better jobs and found work at Iowa Select Farms, which provided them with medical insurance even though they had no visas or other immigration documents.— AP

BOSTON: Investigators sought a motive for the Boston Marathon bombings yesterday after the surviving suspect was charged for his alleged role in the worst attacks in the United States since S eptember 11, 2001. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, who remains hospitalized, spoke only one word aloud at his bedside arraignment M onday, responding “no” when asked whether he could afford an attorney, according to a transcript of the hearing released Monday. But he was said to be alert as he heard the charges of using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction, and malicious destruction of property by means of deadly explosiveswhich carr y a possibly death penalty, if convicted. Three people died and some 200 were wounded in t win blasts at the Boston Marathon on April 15, the deadliest bombings on US soil since the 9/11 terror attacks involving hijacked airliners. Counter terrorism agents trained in interrogating “high-value” detainees are still hoping to get answers about the brothers’ possible motive, and learn whether other attacks were in the works. An unnamed US government source told CNN that “preliminary interviews with Tsarnaev indicate the two brothers fit the classification of self-radicalized jihadists,” and that international groups were not involved. The source said Tsarnaev told investigators his older brother was the leader and “wanted to defend Islam from attack .” Tsarnaev was caught af ter a massive manhunt that virtually shut down Boston and its suburbs on Friday. His brother and alleged accomplice Tamerlan, 26, had been killed in a chaotic overnight shootout with police. A clearer picture of Tsarnaev’s role in the attacks emerged with the release of an affidavit from an FBI agent on Monday, which revealed the teenager had been caught on film planting the second back pack bomb.

BOSTON: Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, mother of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the two men accused of setting off bombs near the Boston Marathon finish line on April 15, 2013 in Boston, is besieged by reporters as she walks with an unidentified man near her home in Makhachkala, Dagestan, southern Russia, yesterday. — AP

Sur veillance footage showed Tsarnaev, a naturalized US citizen of Chechen descent, calmly walking away from the scene after the first bomb was detonated, according to the affidavit. The unsealing of the federal charges against Tsarnaev, who suffered gunshot wounds to the head, neck , legs and hand before his capture late Friday, came as White House spokesman Jay Carney said he would not be deemed an “enemy combatant.” “We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice,” Carney said after some Republicans had called for Tsarnaev to have the same status as the “war on terror ” detainees held in Guantanamo Bay. At the arraignment, the federal judge said she found Tsarnaev “alert, mentally competent, and lucid,” according to the transcript. A first court hearing was set for May 30. Meanwhile, a week after the deadly attack Bostonians hon-

that included Berlusconi loyalists would be unacceptable. “The centre-right has destroyed Italy,” he said. At his swearing-in ceremony in parliament on Monday, Napolitano told the parties he had been reluctant to stay on as president and accused them of being “deaf” to the urgent need for reforms. He also threatened to resign if party leaders continued their “fatal stalling” on the formation of a new government-a drastic move that would plunge Italy into unprecedented instability. The trickiest meeting will be at 1630 GMT with leaders of the Democratic Party (PD), which has been badly divided since it came first in February elections but failed to win a parliamentary majority. The entire leadership of the leftist party stepped down on Friday after two of the presidential candidates it had proposed failed to win enough votes from the party’s own lawmakers in parliament. One favourite to lead the party is Matteo Renzi, the 38-year-old mayor of Florence, a reformer inspired by the examples of US President Barack Obama and former British prime minister Tony Blair.—AFP

brothers also apparently used two handguns and a BB gun in the shootout with police in the Boston suburb of Watertown. They are also believed to have shot dead a campus police officer at the M assachusetts Institute of Technology. Investigators are now probing a six-month trip made by Tamerlan in 2012 to Russia’s troubled regions of Dagestan and Chechnya, and whether he was radicalized or trained there. US Senator Lindsey Graham said the FBI and Russian intelligence may have missed warning signs and made basic errors like misspelling Tamerlan Tsarnaev ’s name, allowing him to travel to Russia undetected. “I’ve been told by the FBI that the reason that his name did not pop up in the system was because it was misspelled,” Graham said. “We don’t know if he misspelled it,” or if it was the fault of the airline, identified by Graham as Russian flagship Aeroflot. “We certainly missed it here.” —AFP

Fresh setback for Britain in battle to deport Abu Qatada

Italy’s Napolitano hosts talks to form government ROME: Italian President Giorgio Napolitano yesterday held a round of consultations with political leaders following his re-election in a new bid to end a twomonth deadlock on forming a government. The 87-year-old Napolitano met with the leaders of all the main parties in parliament and could announce his nominee for prime minister as soon as yesterday afternoon or today, observers said. The president will make his announcement “within a few hours”, Pino Pisicchio, head of the mixed parliamentary group in parliament told reporters after meeting the head of state in Rome. Napolitano is thought to favour a grand coalition arrangement including the leftist Democratic Party and the rightist People of Freedom party led by scandal-tainted former premier Silvio Berlusconi. But the small “Left, Ecology and Liberty” (SEL) party, which has been allied with the Democratic Party, said it would oppose such an arrangement-as did the right-wing “Brothers of Italy” party. “We are totally against the birth of a grand coalition government,” SEL leader Nichi Vendola said, adding that any cabinet

ored the victims with a moment of silence at 2:50 pm (1850 GMT) that was also observed in Washington, by President Barack Obama and lawmakers, and in New York, at the city’s stock exchange. Hundreds gathered outside the security cordon set up near the blast sites at the marathon finish line on Boylston Street to honor the dead and wounded. Some prayed, others left flowers. Church bells rang out across the city. Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said Sunday that the brothers, who had been living legally in the United States for more than a decade, had more homemade explosive devices and appeared to have been planning more attacks. He said federal authorities were trying to track down how and where the t wo suspec ts obtained firearms and explosive devices. An M -4 assault rifle was recovered in the boat where Dzhok har was captured, The New York Times reported. The

Jordanian terror suspect Abu Qatada.

LONDON: The British government faced a fresh setback yesterday in its long-running legal battle to deport radical preacher Abu Qatada, but insisted it would not give up trying to send him to Jordan. The Court of Appeal refused ministers permission to challenge its ruling last month that the terror suspect, also known as Omar Othman, cannot be deported to Jordan because of human rights concerns. “The Court of Appeal has refused permission” to the government to take the case to the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court, a spokesman for the Judicial Office told AFP. However, the refusal is not fatal to the case because ministers are entitled to ask the Supreme Court directly to hear their appealand officials indicated they would do exactly that. “We are disappointed with the Court of Appeal’s decision but will now request permission to appeal directly from the Supreme Court,” a spokesman for the interior ministry said. “The government remains committed to deporting this dangerous man and we continue to work with the Jordanians to address the outstanding legal issues preventing deportation.” There is huge frustration in London over the failure to deport a man considered “an exceptionally high-risk terrorist”, who has successfully blocked his removal for eight years.

A Spanish judge once branded him the right-hand man in Europe of Osama bin Laden, although Abu Qatada denies ever meeting the late Al-Qaeda leader. The preacher was convicted in Jordan of terrorism charges in his absence, and is likely to face a retrial if he is returned. But the European Court of Human Rights last year blocked his deportation over fears that evidence obtained through torture would be used against him in the new trial. The government sought fresh assurances from Jordan about his treatment, but a Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) judge in November ruled again that he could not be sent back, a decision that was upheld by the Court of Appeal last month. Faced with the stalemate, Home Secretary Theresa May, the interior minister, told a parliamentary committee hearing last week that she was looking at whether Abu Qatada could be prosecuted under British law. The cleric was sent back to jail last month after breaching the conditions of his release on bail. During his arrest, police searched his London home and recovered a cache of documents. “In the current situation, the breach of bail conditions and what was discovered in the house is being looked at to see whether that is evidence that would lead to a prosecution in this case,” May told lawmakers. — AFP



Afghan negotiators hold talks to free foreign hostages PULI ALAM: Afghan village elders were locked in talks with the Taleban yesterday in a bid to free 10 foreign and one Afghan hostage being held captive by the militia for a third day, officials said. The Taleban, who are fighting an 11-year insurgency against US-led NATO troops and the Afghan government, said earlier the captives were in good health and had been moved to a “safe area”. The militants seized the eight Turks, a Russian, a Kyrgyz man and an Afghan after their civilian helicopter made a forced landing due to bad weather on Sunday in a rugged eastern district part-controlled by the insurgents. It was the largest abduction of foreigners in almost six years and highlighted Afghanistan’s continuing insecurity as NATO troops prepare to pull out. Talks between village elders and the Taleban have “so far made good progress and we are optimistic for a good outcome”, said Din Mohammad Darvish, spokesman for the government of Logar province south of Kabul where the helicopter came

down. “It’s a bit early to say when the prisoners will be released,” he added. Abdul Wali Wakil, head of the elected provincial council, confirmed that a group of elders was holding negotiations. Wakil told AFP the hostages were fine apart from one Turk, who apparently suffers from heart problems and was sent medicine through the negotiators. Taleban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP that the captives “have been moved to a safe area, they have no health problem and they are fine”. Speaking by phone from an undisclosed location he said they were still in Afghanistan. There are sometimes fears that hostages can be smuggled across the porous border into Pakistan, where the Taleban and other militants have rear bases. The Mi-8 helicopter, carrying Turkish road engineers and with a Russian and Kyrgyz crew, landed in Azra district, not far from the Pakistan border. Asked what would happen to the group, Mujahid said: “The Taliban leadership will decide.” The helicopter took off from Khost province on

Sunday afternoon and was headed for Kabul when bad weather forced it to land. Afghan interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said a search for the group had begun but declined to give details for security reasons. A government official told AFP on condition of anonymity that authorities want tribal elders to negotiate with the Taleban, in preference to mounting a major military operation. Raids to release hostages in Afghanistan have not always ended in success. In October 2010, British aid worker Linda Norgrove was killed as US forces tried to rescue her from kidnappers in eastern Afghanistan. The last time a major group of foreigners was abducted in Afghanistan was in July 2007, when the Taleban seized 23 South Korean church volunteers travelling through the south by coach. The militants killed two men before releasing the rest, reportedly in return for ransom payments. The abduction sparked concern in Turkey, which

said its diplomats were holding “intensive talks” with Afghan authorities. Turkey, one of only two Muslimmajority members of NATO, has around 1,800 soldiers serving with the US-led International Security Assistance Force. But they do not take part in combat operations. The Taleban were ousted from power in 2001 by a US-led invasion and have been battling Afghan and foreign troops ever since. Afghan troops and police are increasingly on the frontline as foreign combat troops prepare to withdraw by the end of next year. Some 73 percent of all insurgent attacks in January-March were against Afghan soldiers or police and only four percent against foreign forces, according to a study by the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office. The report said insurgent attacks rose by 47 percent in the first quarter compared to JanuaryMarch 2012. Yesterday, officials said gunmen had also kidnapped nine Afghan deminers in the restive southern province of Kandahar. The Taleban denied any involvement. — AFP

India asks China to withdraw troops at disputed border China dismiss reports of an incursion

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales

Soldier charged in Afghan killings back in court JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD: Robert Bales, the US soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians during a 2012 rampage, is scheduled in court yesterday for another hearing. Defense lawyers for Bales and military prosecutors were to convene at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, south of Seattle. Bales is to be court-martialed on premeditated murder and other charges in the attack on two villages in southern Afghanistan. The Ohio native and father of two is accused of slaying mostly women and children during predawn raids on March 11, 2012. Bales, 39, has not entered a plea. The Army is seeking the death penalty. The US military has not executed anyone since 1961. The slayings last year drew such angry protests that the US temporarily halted combat operations in Afghanistan, and it was three weeks before American investigators could reach the crime scenes. Bales’ defense team has said the government’s case is incomplete, and outside experts believe a key issue going forward

will be to determine if Bales suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Bales served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. During a previous preliminary hearing, prosecutors built a strong eyewitness case against the veteran soldier, with troops recounting how they saw Bales return to the base alone, covered in blood. One soldier testified that Bales woke him up in the middle of the night, saying he had just shot people at one village and that he was heading out again to attack another. The soldier said he didn’t believe Bales and went back to sleep. Afghan witnesses questioned via a video link from a forward operating base near Kandahar City described the horror of that night. A teenage boy recalled how the gunman kept firing as youths scrambled, yelling: “We are children! We are children!” An Army criminal investigations command special agent testified earlier that Bales tested positive for steroids three days after the killings, and other soldiers testified that Bales had been drinking the evening of the massacre. — AP

RAWALPINDI: Supporters, right, of Pakistan’s former President and military ruler Pervez Musharraf scuffle with lawyers outside an anti-terrorism court, where Musharraf appeared in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, yesterday. Musharraf appeared before anti-terrorism court over the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s case, official said. — AP

Police defuse bomb near Musharraf’s house ISLAMABAD: Pakistani police say they have defused a car bomb near the house of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf. Islamabad police chief Bani Amin says the explosiveladen vehicle was found parked about 150 meters (500 feet) from the main gate of Musharraf’s house on the capital’s outskirts yesterday. The former military strongman is being held under house arrest in connection with a case involving his decision to fire senior judges while in power. Amin says police are investigating how the vehicle was able to approach Musharraf’s house. The Taleban have threatened to kill Musharraf, and suspected militants tried to assassinate him several times when he was in power from 1999-2008. Musharraf returned last month after four years in self-imposed exile to make a political comeback but has suffered multiple setbacks. Musharraf yesterday appeared before an anti-terrorism court for the first time over the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. Musharraf was driven to the court in Rawalpindi, the headquarters of the army he once led, from his plush villa on the edge of Islamabad where he is serving a two-week arrest order for other charges dating back to his 1999-2008 rule.Musharraf is accused of conspiracy to murder Bhutto, who died in a gun and suicide attack in December 2007. It is one of three cases he is fighting in the courts

since returning home last month after four years in self-imposed exile. His arrest and disqualification from contesting elections on May 11 have been a humiliating blow for the former ruler of nuclear-armed Pakistan, previously a key ally of US president George W. Bush in the war on terror. Despite a heavy police and paramilitary presence, scuffles broke out between lawyers and Musharraf supporters, who threw stones and beat each other with sticks outside the court building, an AFP reporter said. About 150 lawyers shouted: “Dog, dog, Musharraf dog!” while two dozen supporters chanted “Long live Musharraf!” “Today it was routine hearing of Benazir murder case and General Musharraf appeared for the first time in this case,” his lawyer Salman Safdar told AFP. Musharraf spent around 15 minutes in court and then another 15 minutes with his lawyer, before being driven back to his home. Nobody has been convicted or jailed for Bhutto’s assassination on December 27, 2007, in Rawalpindi, despite a long-running court case. In November 2011, the court indicted two police officers and five alleged Taleban militants over her assassination. In August 2010, it ordered the confiscation of Musharraf’s property and the freezing of his bank accounts in Pakistan over his failure, while in exile, to appear to answer questions related to her death. —Agencies

NEW DELHI: India has accused Chinese soldiers of launching an incursion far into Indian territory, in the latest flare-up of tension between the two Asian giants over their de facto boundary in the Himalayas. Chinese troops entered 10 kilometers (six miles) into Indian territory on April 15 and pitched tents in the Depsang valley in the Ladakh region of eastern Kashmir, an Indian official said yesterday. Indian army commanders have met at least two times with their Chinese counterparts, but Chinese troops remain in Indian-claimed territory, said Tsering Angchuk, a civil administrator in Ladakh. “They have not vacated the position so far,” he said. China dismissed reports of an incursion as Indian media speculation and said the border region has been peaceful. “The two parties have maintained good communication and coordination on the border issue,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said yesterday. A day earlier, Hua said Chinese troops had “patrolled the border line and did not go one step across the Line of Actual Control,” the unofficial boundary between the two countries. India says Chinese troops have repeatedly crossed the boundary in recent years, leaving trash with Chinese markings as evidence of their presence. However, Indian officials said the new incursion was far deeper into Indian-claimed ter-

ritory than before. Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai filed a protest over the incursion with the Chinese ambassador last week, an External Affairs Ministry official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media about the sensitive subject. Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said the problem was caused by different views of the “exact alignment of the border.” External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid played down the spat, saying the incident should not “reflect on the status of India’s relations with China.” “We are doing everything that needs to be done to protect India’s interests,” Khurshid said Monday. Defense analyst C. Uday Bhaskar from the National Maritime Foundation, a New Delhibased think tank, said the two countries’ large military presence along an undemarcated border was “undesirable.” “While incursions have occurred in the past, this was the first time that a platoon of Chinese soldiers, comprising around 50 men, have set up tents on the Indian side,” he said. “This raises potentially significant concerns on what would be China’s next step. Would they be setting up bunkers next? This is a very disturbing development,” Bhaskar said. Opposition parties accused Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government of not doing enough to counter Chinese arm-twisting. “China knows the Indian government is weak. We have

a powerless prime minister and they will try their best to take advantage of the situation,” said Yashwant Sinha, a former external affairs minister from the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. India and China - neighbors with more than 1 billion people each - have had chilly relations since they fought a border war in 1962. China claims around 90,000 square kilometers (35,000 square miles) of land in India’s northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, while India says China is occupying 38,000 square kilometers (15,000 square miles) of territory in the Aksai Chin plateau in the western Himalayas. The two sides have held 15 rounds of talks to resolve their border dispute, without making much progress. China is a longtime ally and weapons supplier to Pakistan, India’s bitter rival. The presence in India of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and the self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile also remain a source of tension between New Delhi and Beijing. China is also suspicious of New Delhi’s growing ties with the United States. Despite the territorial tensions, trade between India and China has soared, with China becoming India’s biggest trading partner. Twoway trade jumped from $5 billion in 2002 to nearly $75 billion in 2011, but declined slightly last year because of the global economic downturn. Trade remains heavily skewed in China’s favor, another source of worry for India.— AP

Indian jurist who pushed for new rape laws dies NEW DELHI: Jagdish Sharan Verma, the former Indian chief justice who helped lead the charge for tough new laws to protect women in the wake of a gang rape of a woman on a New Delhi bus, has died. He was 80. Verma died late Monday of multi-organ failure after a brief illness, said Dr. Yatin Mehta, an official at the Medanta Medicity hospital where he was being treated in a New Delhi suburb. A lifelong crusader for justice and a firm believer in the integrity of judges, Verma was known as the conscience-keeper of the Indian judiciary. After he retired as the country’s chief justice in 1998, he refused to take any job in the private sector to avoid the appearance of impropriety. But the government repeatedly turned to him for help. He was the head of India’s national panel on human rights and the first head of India’s national broadcasting standards authority. But his landmark service came earlier this year when he headed a government panel to examine the Indian criminal justice system’s treatment of violence against women. The panel was formed following the fatal gang rape in the capital in December. The case sparked protests and demands for changes in the way India treats its women. Verma’s commission received more than 80,000 suggestions on how to change Indian law and completed a 630-page report in just a month. It recommended stricter penalties for crimes against women, including death in extreme cases of rape. It also approved increasing the maximum seven-year sentence for rape to 20 years and imposing stiff punishments for crimes such as stalking, cyber stalking and voyeurism. Many of the panel’s recommendations swiftly became law. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh memorialized Verma not just for the “many pathbreaking judgments he delivered as a judge, but also for his deep sensitivity to the concerns of the common man and his fierce commitment to the public good.” In a statement, Singh said Verma had been generous in giving him advice, which

NEW DELHI: An Indian child poses with a placard as demonstrators participate in a protest in Allahabad yesterday, following the rape of a five-year old girl in New Delhi. — AFP he will miss.Meanwhile, a senior Indian government minister said yesterday that a new rape outrage showed that “something terrible” was happening to society as he extended an olive branch to demonstrators. Protests have been taking place across New Delhi since last week when it emerged that a five-year-old girl had been repeatedly raped over the course of nearly two days after being abducted from her home in a working class suburb. The attack has reignited anger over the shocking levels of sexual violence in India, which flared up in December after the fatal gang-rape of a student on a bus in the capital. In an interview with the NDTV network, Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said that authorities needed to listen to what the protesters had to say rather than simply

confront them. “We need to take protests on board as part of our democratic commitment. We can’t be upset that somebody is protesting... We need to be sensitive to people’s anger,” said Khurshid, who was previously the country’s law minister. “There’s something terrible happening in our society. It needs to be analysed, it needs to be studied, it needs to be uncovered.” Khurshid’s comments followed a weekend speech by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in which he called for a collective effort to “root out this sort of depravity from our society”. The five-year-old victim is recovering in a hospital after undergoing surgery for severe internal injuries suffered during her ordeal. Two men have been arrested on suspicion of rape and kidnap. — Agencies

Pakistan must play positive role in Afghanistan BRUSSELS: Pakistan must play a positive role in bringing stability to Afghanistan as foreign troops prepare to leave in 2014, the head of NATO said yesterday, before a US-chaired meeting that will try to ease friction between often feuding neighbours. US Secretary of State John Kerry will host talks between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and senior Pakistan officials in Brussels on Wednesday, with the aim of calming tension over border disputes and the stalled peace process. “If we are to ensure long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan we also need a positive engagement of Afghanistan’s neighbours, including Pakistan,” NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters as alliance foreign ministers met in Brussels to discuss NATO’s mission in Afghanistan. Today’s US-chaired meeting is part of a series of on-off discussions between Afghanistan and Pakistan at the behest of the United States. Rasmussen said he would meet

Karzai later yesterday. Afghanistan has grown increasingly frustrated with Pakistan over efforts to pursue a peace process involving the Taleban, suggesting that Islamabad is intent on keep Afghanistan unstable until after foreign combat forces have left at the end of 2014. US officials hope that Kerry, who has a good relationship with Karzai, can bring the parties back to the negotiating table and make constructive progress on an issue that has long-term security implications for Washington. Kerry said on Monday the aim of the meeting would be to “try to talk about how we can advance this process in the simplest, most cooperative and most cogent way, so that we wind up with both Pakistan’s and Afghanistan’s interests being satisfied, but, most importantly, with a stable and peaceful Afghanistan.” The talks follow weeks of tension with Pakistan over their 2,600 km (1,600 mile) border and stalled

peace efforts. Although there have been several meetings in Western capitals over the past few months in which representatives of the Taliban have met Afghan peace negotiators, there have been no signs of a breakthrough. Kabul accuses Pakistan of harbouring the Taleban leadership in the city of Quetta and using militants as proxies to counter the influence of India in Afghanistan. As well as Karzai and Kerry, Wednesday’s meeting will include Afghanistan’s defence minister, Bismillah Khan Mohammadi, Pakistan’s army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, and Pakistan’s foreign secretary, Jalil Jilani, the U.S. official said. NATO-led forces are expected to cede the lead role for security in Afghanistan this spring to Afghan soldiers, 12 years after the United States invaded Afghanistan to oust the Taliban government harbouring Osama bin Laden, the al Qaeda leader who masterminded the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. cities. —Reuters



China orders military chiefs to serve stints as junior soldiers BEIJING: Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered his top brass to spend two weeks as junior soldiers every few years as a way of boosting military morale - but sceptics doubt the move will do much more than polish his own credentials as commander in chief. Under the directive, published by the defence ministry, the temporary and symbolic demotion applies to lieutenant colonels and above - although it is primarily aimed at senior officers aged under 55 or who have not come up through the lower ranks.

“It will help to purify the soul and be the prevention and cure for laziness, lax discipline, extravagance and other bureaucratic illnesses,” the official People’s Liberation Army Daily said of the measure in a commentary yesterday. The move recalled a similar one made by former paramount leader Mao Zedong in 1958, the newspaper added. Some political analysts said the gesture was likely part of Xi’s public campaign to be seen as tough on privilege and corruption, given that media reports of graft in the military are on the rise again after a 1990s crackdown.

“Xi Jinping would like to build his image and his power, showing to the whole nation that he will overcome the corruption problem,” said Johnny Lau, an independent writer and political analyst in Hong Kong. “But there is no change in anti-corruption regulations for the whole army.” “This shows that Xi Jinping can only do minor things to discourage corruption in the army,” he added. Under the directive, which also covers the People’s Armed Police, China’s domestic security force, senior officers must bring their own personal supplies and not accept lavish dinners or

gifts for the full 15 days, according to details published on the defence ministry’s website on Sunday. They will dine and bunk with junior cadres, it added. Leaders of central headquarters and military districts must serve as low-ranking troops once every five years, while lower-ranking officers must serve once every three or four years. Xi, who oversees the powerful Central Military Commission, has made fighting graft a central theme since assuming the top job in the ruling Communist Party and the military in November. He has

warned that corruption threatens the party’s survival. “For organisational chiefs and government functionaries, Central Military Commission leaders strongly emphasise that the grassroots are the foundation and basic support for building the army, strengthening basic modes of thought and establishing a bright path forward,” the defence ministry said. “To serve, one must serve genuinely.” Xi issued a directive last December banning army officials from binge drinking. —Reuters

Japan vows force if Chinese land on disputed islands Tokyo summons Chinese ambassador TOKYO: Japan’s prime minister vowed yesterday to “expel by force” any Chinese landing on islands at the centre of a territorial row, after eight Chinese government vessels sailed into the disputed waters. The latest clash over the archipelago upped the stakes in a tense diplomatic battle as nearly 170

day since Tokyo nationalised part of the island chain in September. The islands are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and are believed to harbour vast natural resources below the seabed. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to “expel by force” any Chinese landing on the islands in the East China

Diaoyu and Japan calls the Senkaku, around 8:00 am (2300 GMT Monday), the Japan Coast Guard said. “It is extremely deplorable and unacceptable that Chinese government ships are repeatedly entering Japanese territorial waters,” Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said. A group of Japanese national-

SENKAKU: A Japan Coast Guard vessel, right, shows a warning not to enter waters within one nautical mile from Senkaku Islands on its electric bulletin board to a Japanese pleasure boat, left, near the disputed islands, rear, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China in the East China Sea yesterday. —AP Japanese lawmakers visited the controversial Yasukuni war shrine in central Tokyo, seen as a potent symbol of Japan’s imperialist past, riling its neighbours China and South Korea. Tokyo summoned the Chinese ambassador to Japan after the state-owned Chinese ships entered its territorial waters while Beijing called the shrine visit an “attempt to deny Japan’s history of aggression”. The flotilla is the biggest to sail into the disputed waters in a single

Sea, and promised “decisive action”. “We would never allow a landing,” Abe told parliament in response to questions from lawmakers, adding: “It would be natural for us to expel by force if (the Chinese) were to make a landing,” he said. Chinese ships have frequently sailed around the five Tokyo-controlled islands in recent months sparking diplomatic clashes. The Chinese maritime surveillance ships entered the 12-nautical-mile zone off the islands, which China calls

ists said it had sent nine ships to the area around the islands, which are also claimed by Taiwan. In a separate territorial row, relations between Tokyo and South Korea have also been strained by a dispute over a Seoul-controlled chain of islets in the Sea of Japan (East Sea). Seoul on Monday shelved a planned trip by Foreign Minister Yun Byung-Se to Tokyo after two Japanese cabinet ministers visited the shrine over the weekend. The shrine is seen by Japan’s neighbours

as a symbol of its wartime aggression as it honours 2.5 million war dead, including 14 leading war criminals. Beijing also protested the visits. “No matter in what capacity or form Japanese leaders visit Yasukuni Shrine, in essence it is an attempt to deny Japan’s history of aggression through militarism,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters yesterday. “How Japan views history and deals with the Yasakuni Shrine is an important benchmark for its Asian neighbours and the international community to observe and understand what role Japan will play in the future.” South Korea meanwhile pressed Tokyo to “think hard” about the shrine visits. “The Yasukuni shrine is a place that glorifies war and enshrines war criminals,” foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tai-Young told reporters in Seoul. Upper house member of parliament Toshiei Mizuochi confirmed that 168 Japanese lawmakers visited the shrine yesterday morning-the annual visit usually draws a far smaller number of legislators. Suga, who is the Japanese government’s top spokesman, brushed off anger over the issue, saying yesterday it was a personal matter for lawmakers and Tokyo would not interfere. “A visit to the Yasukuni is the matter of beliefs, and Japan ensures freedom of faith,” he said. Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and Keiji Furuya, the chief of the National Public Safety Commission, separately visited the shrine on Sunday, while Internal Affairs Minister Yoshitaka Shindo also visited at the weekend. Japan’s premier did not make a pilgrimage but paid for equipment made of wood and fabric, bearing his name and title, which was used to decorate an altar. —AFP

Radioactive traces found from N Korea nuclear test VIENNA: Radioactive gases that could have come from North Korea’s nuclear test in February have unexpectedly been detected, a global monitoring body said yesterday, possibly providing the first “smoking gun” evidence of the explosion. But the April 9 measurement - almost two months after Pyongyang said it had carried out the underground detonation - gave no indication of whether plutonium or highly enriched uranium was used, it said. The time that had passed before the so-called

would increase international alarm as it could enable Pyongyang to greatly expand its arsenal. North Korea threatened nuclear attacks on the United States, South Korea and Japan after new U.N. sanctions were imposed in response to its latest atomic test. But U.S. officials have cast serious doubt on whether it could launch a nuclear missile. Pyongyang’s third nuclear test was registered virtually instantaneously via seismic signals around the world. But no radioactive traces that would have constituted conclusive proof were found in

BEIJING: US military officer General Martin Dempsey (L) meets with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi (R) during their meeting at the Zhongnanhai Leadership Compound in Beijing yesterday. Dempsey pays a rare visit to China as the Pacific powers discuss concern over tensions with North Korea, the Pentagon said. —AFP noble gases were picked up made it “very difficult” to distinguish between the two fissile materials, said spokeswoman Annika Thunborg of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO). The isolated east Asian state is believed to have tested plutonium bombs in its previous two such blasts, in 2006 and 2009. Any switch to uranium

the immediate weeks afterwards. The Vienna-based CTBTO, which has a worldwide network of monitoring stations, said in midMarch that it was highly unlikely any such radioactivity would be detected. But Tuesday’s statement said it made a significant detection of radioactive noble gases two weeks ago in Takasaki, Japan, about 1,000 km (620 miles) from the test site.

Lower levels were picked up at another station in Ussuriysk, Russia. “Two radioactive isotopes of the noble gas xenon were identified, xenon-131m and xenon133, which provide reliable information on the nuclear nature of the source,” it said. “Detection of radioactive noble gas more than seven weeks after an event is indeed unusual. We did not expect this and it did not happen in 2009,” the CTBTO added, referring to the reclusive country’s previous nuclear test. Large amounts of xenon gases are produced in fission, a nuclear reaction occurring both in nuclear arms and reactors. “We are confident that the (North Korean) test site is among the possible source regions,” the CTBTO said. But it could still not “exclude completely” that the radioactive traces came from somewhere else. North Korea’s February test yielded a stronger blast than its previous explosion four years ago, and Pyongyang said it had made progress in miniaturising an atomic weapon, essential to fitting it into the cone of a missile. Tension on the Korean peninsula soared after the test. While estimates of the explosive power of the latest test vary, most officials and experts assessed it was at least five kilotons - still smaller than the power of the atomic bomb the United States dropped on Hiroshima in World War Two. North Korea abandoned plutonium production six years ago in response to international pressure, but later acknowledged that it had built facilities to produce enriched uranium, which can also be used in bombs if refined to a high degree. Experts say plutonium, a byproduct of nuclear reactors, can be difficult to use as bomb material because specifications have to be precise. It could be easy for North Korea to make large quantities of highly enriched uranium. “It would not surprise me if they have been pursuing both paths to the bomb,” Siegfried Hecker, a prominent US scientist who has often visited North Korea, said in an interview published this month on a Stanford University website. The test-ban treaty was negotiated in the 1990s but has not taken effect because some holders of nuclear technology have not yet ratified it, including the United States and China. But the CTBTO already monitors possible breaches, deploying about 290 stations around the world to look out for signs of atomic tests, including seismic waves and radioactive traces. —Reuters

SICHUAN: Earthquake survivors rest in a military field hospital in the county seat of Lushan in Sichuan province, China, yesterday. The efforts under way in the mountainous province after a quake Saturday that killed nearly 200 people showed that the government has continued to hone its disaster reaction - long considered a crucial leadership test in China - since a much more devastating earthquake in 2008, also in Sichuan, and another one in 2010 in the western region of Yushu. —AP

China quake survivors face fragile future LUSHAN: Tens of thousands of homeless survivors of China’s devastating quake are living in makeshift tents or on the streets, facing shortages of food and supplies as well as an uncertain future. Saturday’s disaster has left at least 193 dead, 25 missing and more than 12,000 injured, and forced the evacuation of some 245,000 people in Sichuan province in China’s mountainous southwest, according to Chinese and UN data. Along Chonglu Road, which cuts through the heart of the worst-affected area in Sichuan’s Lushan county, hundreds of tents have been erected in front of piles of debris that were once orderly rows of homes. Many of the displaced headed for the relative safety of Lushan’s densely populated centre, spending their nights outdoors in sleeping bags on the grassy mounds surrounding Lushan People’s Hospital. But others have not left the rubble where their destroyed homes once stood, and instead sleep in tents they have erected themselves by using sticks and canvas, or in bright blue shelters provided by relief agencies. An elderly woman from the devastated village of Longmen sat forlornly in front of a pile of debris, and shrugged when asked where she was going to shelter that night as rain started to pour. “Nobody has offered me anywhere else to sleep,” she told AFP, pointing to her meagre dwelling-a sheet of canvas strung from two trees and a dirty blanket that lay on the floor beneath. “What else can I do?” Nearby, a woman called Ye Helian said that assistance offered by the government would not be enough to support her while she remained homeless. “I had a business sewing clothes for the community, and as I worked from home, I have no means of support,” she said. Others though said they counted themselves fortunate, as while they had lost their homes, their loved ones survived the quake and a terrifying succession of some 3,000 aftershocks. “That’s my house over there with the most damage,” said 38-year old Wu Yao, pointing to a flattened two-storey property. “My luck is fine. If it wasn’t, then I wouldn’t have anything.”

The rescue and relief effort has been hampered by the region’s forbidding landscape, with high-altitude roads blocked by boulders and landslides and emergency workers in fear of further sudden slippages. The People’s Liberation Army has used helicopters to airdrop supplies including bottled water and instant noodles to survivors in Lushan, the official Xinhua news agency reported. But state -run media have reported severe shortages of essential goods in many of the affected counties that together with Lushan lie within Ya’an city. China News Ser vice said that in Tianquan county, victims are in desperate need of water, food, quilts and medicine. And Beijing News reported that neighbouring Baoxing county was also suffering from a shortage of tents. Longmen town also lacks enough medication to treat the injured, as well as shelter materials, state media said. Thousands of volunteers have rushed to the region from across China but have now been told to avoid the quake-stricken area, after being blamed for traffic congestion that has also disrupted rescue efforts. “There are limits to how many volunteers we can absorb,” Han Bing, the top official in Baoxing, told the state -run Global Times, adding there were more than 3,000 unofficial volunteers in the county already. Problems facing the rescue effort have been “made worse by the number of ‘disaster gawkers’ who like to refer to themselves as ‘volunteers’ despite the fact that they ’ll often do more harm than good”, said the Economic Observer. One volunteer who travelled to the area was a soldier surnamed Li, who journeyed from Chengdu city several hours’ drive away. “I had to come to help, but I haven’t been able to get near the area as the roads are blocked,” he said. “There are probably too many people volunteering.” Chinese media have given blanket coverage to the aftermath of the 6.6 magnitude tremor, which struck close to the epicentre of an enormous 2008 quake that left 90,000 dead or missing. Donations have poured in from ordinary citizens, while many have expressed support for victims in Twitter-like microblogs. —AFP

Taiwan, Philippines sign crime-fighting pact TAIPEI: Taiwan announced yesterday it has signed a crime-fighting pact with the Philippines following a spate of Internet scams that ruffled ties between the two governments. The agreement is aimed at cracking down on criminals who exploit the lack of official diplomatic relations between the two sides, and could pave the way for similar accords with other Southeast Asian countries. Raymond Wang, of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Manila, and his Philippine counterpart Antonio Basilio, inked the mutual legal assistance agreement in Taipei on Friday, the foreign ministry said in a statement. “The pact has set a precedent for more of such agreements the country is seeking in the Southeast Asia,” it said. Under the deal, the two sides agree to assist each other in gathering evidence, freezing property owned by suspects, and deportations. Negotiations came about following a diplomatic row in February 2011 when the

Philippine government deported to the mainland 14 Taiwanese and 10 other Chinese suspects, who were arrested on allegations of swindling $20 million in an international scam targeting mainland China. Taipei insisted that the Taiwanese suspects should have been sent back to the island to face justice and threatened to freeze the hiring of Filipino workers. The dispute ended only after Manila sacked officials involved in the deportation of the Taiwanese nationals to China. Since that time, there have been several similar scams involving Taiwanese based in the Philippines. There are more than 80,000 Philippine workers in Taiwan, sending home hundreds of millions of dollars a year. China and Taiwan have been ruled separately since the end of a civil war in 1949, although Beijing claims the island. The Philippines has formal ties with China only but maintains economic and cultural links with Taiwan. —AFP



HWAIJA: The body of a gunman killed during clashes with Iraqi security forces lies on the ground in Hawija, 150 miles north of Baghdad, Iraq yesterday. Iraqi security forces backed by helicopters raided a Sunni protest camp before dawn yesterday, prompting clashes that killed scores of people in the area and significantly intensified Sunni anger against the Shiite-led government. — AP

French embassy in Libya bombed Continued from Page 1 are engaged in a battle against Islamist extremists in Mali, another North African country. The blast occurred around 7:10 am, Tripoli security chief Mahmud Al-Sherif said, after an explosives-laden car was parked outside the mission’s front door. Sherif said “this was not a suicide bombing,” adding that “we face several threats and enemies, and it is too early to point to any party in particular.” An AFP correspondent said the wall surrounding the property was destroyed and the embassy building extensively damaged, with one French employee saying “there’s nothing left of my office”. The explosion, which created a deep crater in the street, destroyed two cars parked nearby, damaged two neighboring villas and blew out the windows of a shop 200 meters away. A French source said one guard was seriously wounded and another lightly hurt in the attack on the mission, housed in a two-storey villa in the upmarket Gargaresh area. Interior Minister Ashur Shwayel said one of the guards had injuries to his back and head and was in stable condition after undergoing surgery. Libyan state news agency Lana added that a girl living in the neighborhood was also hurt. Jamal Omar, who lives across the street and whose face was slightly injured, said the car must have been parked only minutes before the explosion. “I was sweeping outside my house, and there wasn’t any car in front of the embassy. The explosion happened less than five minutes after I went back inside.” France condemned the “odious” attack. “In liaison with the Libyan authorities, the services of the state will do everything to establish the circumstances of this odious act and rapidly identify the perpetrators,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement. “This attack could have been absolute carnage. It was a matter of minutes: if the staff had been there this would have been a terrible tragedy,” Fabius told BFM Television. “This attack was meant to kill. France will not surrender,” he said. “This attack targeted not only France but all of the countries who are fighting against terrorist groups.” Fabius arrived yesterday afternoon in Libya where he was due to visit the scene of the attack and

then hold a news conference with Libya’s National Assembly chief Mohammed Al-Megaryef, officials said. Hollande said in a statement that “France expects the Libyan authorities to ensure that all possible light is shed on this unacceptable act so that the perpetrators are identified and brought to justice.” The anti-terrorism branch of the Paris prosecutors’ office has opened an investigation into the attack. The gendarmerie is sending 10 officers to the scene to boost security and to study the possibility of moving the embassy. Libya’s foreign minister declined to speculate on who carried out the attack or what the motive was. “We strongly condemn this act, which we regard as a terrorist act against a brother nation that supported Libya during the revolution” that ousted Gaddafi, Abdel Aziz said at the scene. “We regret this act and express our solidarity with the French government and people,” he added, announcing that a joint commission had been formed to investigate the attack. In particular, Shwayel said there were questions about where the embassy’s Libyan guards were when the bomb exploded, as they should have been outside on the street. The French primary and high schools, both located in the same neighborhood as the embassy, closed yesterday for an indefinite time, parents said. Shwayel said security had been stepped up around French interests in Libya, as well as at embassies of other countries. France, under then president Nicolas Sarkozy, led NATO air raids against Gaddafi’s forces under a UN resolution aimed at protecting civilians. Since Gaddafi’s fall, Libya has been hit by persistent insecurity, especially in the region of Benghazi, which has been hit by bombings and assassinations that have forced many Westerners to leave the eastern city. Four Americans, including ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed when heavily armed men overran the Benghazi mission on September 11, setting fire to much of the compound and then attacking a nearby annex. The violence in Libya is often blamed on radical Islamists persecuted under Gaddafi who now want to settle old scores, while security remains the prerogative of militias in a number of important areas. Armed jihadist groups hurt by the French intervention in northern Mali had threatened retaliation by attacking French interests across the world. — AFP

Bahrain foils terror plot Continued from Page 1 Elsewhere yesterday the interior minister of Bahrain, Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa, warned that Arab monarchies of the Gulf are endangered and must stand united. “The danger facing the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council concerns each and everyone of us and demands that we be united,” he said at a consultative meeting of GCC interior ministers in Manama, the BNA reported. Bahrain-which is a member of the GCC along with Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates-accuses Iran of backing the Shiite-led uprising in

the Sunni-ruled kingdom. Oman was also the site of a brief protest movement in 2011 which quickly subsided and several bloggers are on trial for “defaming” Sultan Qaboos. The UAE, spared by the unrest, has cracked down on activists calling for reform and is trying 94 Emirati Islamists over their alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood. On Thursday the UAE announced it had broken up an Al-Qaeda cell comprising seven Arabs who were plotting attacks in the Gulf state. An official statement on the official Emirati WAM news agency said the group was also “trying to extend its activities to reach some other countries in the region.” It did not elaborate. — AFP

Legal panel vetoes govt plan to increase... Continued from Page 1 essential services and commodities thus negatively impacting the budget and sharply raising spending while revenues remain almost solely reliant on oil income. MP Khaled Al-Shatti said yesterday that the government should present this draft law only after it had improved the level of public services. Meanwhile, Kuwait Lawyers Association has decided to suspend a rare strike that was scheduled for today after its chairman Khaled Al-Kundari met with the Supreme Judicial Council Chief Faisal Al-Marshed and senior judges. The association decided to go on strike after it said that its members were mistreated by security men and ministry of justice officials at the Palace of Justice during the trial of former opposition MP Mussallam Al-Barrak on Monday. During the trial, security men applied strict measures

in and around the Palace of Justice in Kuwait City and allowed the entry of authorized people into the complex while lawyers and others were checked and allowed entry after producing their Identity Cards. The association said that many cases were cancelled or postponed, claiming that clients’ interests were severely affected and as a result decided not to go to courts for one day. But Kundari said in a statement that the judicial council promised it will resolve any problem that may have resulted from the security measures and vowed it will coordinate with lawyers in the future. Kundari said the association will continue to demand apologies from the Interior and Justice ministries over the issue. Hundreds of the elite Special Forces backed with armored vehicles were deployed around the Palace of Justice while dozens of policemen stood guard inside the building and controlled entry.

Qaeda rearms with Twitter Continued from Page 1 This new campaign is more ambitious: It aims to allow Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, to move the fight at least partly off the battlefield by appealing to widespread concerns, such as the repression and a sense of injustice that galvanized the Arab Spring revolts. “This is our only means to communicate with the international public opinion, since we are terrorists according to the dictionary of America and its agents in the region,” AQIM’s media arm, Al-Andalus Media Foundation, said last week as part of an unusual question-and-answer session on Twitter. The remark came in response to a question about its choice to go virtual, one of dozens from journalists and others. The Al-Qaeda affiliate - known for its kidnapping raids in Mali and deadly attacks in its home base in Algeria - has had little trouble finding an audience. In its first two weeks on Twitter, it drew more than 5,000 followers, including some journalists and scholars. AQIM’s Algerian militants used a soft power strategy, including chocolates and even baby clothes, to try to gain acceptance from Malians whose help they needed to establish a foothold in the country’s vast north, according to accounts of locals documented in 2011 by The Associated Press. They are now casting a wider net, turning the heartsand-minds approach to countries across the region. And as the Syrian conflict monopolizes extremists’ attention - and draws jihadists - AQIM’s soft power push may be aimed at bringing its patch of northern Africa back into the spotlight. “We need all the specialties like such as medicine, chemistry, electronics and manufacturing arms and automatic media,” it said in answer to a question posted on Twitter, adding that it also needs “other scientific and management skills and, before all that, the students of Shariah (Islamic law) knowledge.” But even before the Twitter account was officially opened March 28, statements from AQIM’s media handlers addressed social, not military, concerns. AQIM emerged in 2006 from a previous movement of radical Algerian insurgents, and spread its extremism around a large area of the Sahara. By last year it reigned over northern Mali along with two other radical groups, meting out brutal punishment to those who refused its strict interpretation of Islamic law. Now, a French-led military intervention that began Jan. 11 has radical leaders and fighters on the run, in hiding or dead. In Algeria, Mali’s northern neighbor, AQIM was behind murderous attacks, including high-profile suicide bombings in 2007 against the UN mission and government buildings that left scores dead. It now manages only sporadic, if deadly, attacks. The group has direct links to jihadist groups in northern and western Africa and to Al-Qaeda central, notably to Aymen Al-Zawahri, who replaced Osama bin Laden as leader and who announced the formation of AQIM in 2006. The group is viewed as an ongoing threat by Western governments and nations around the region. The United States is backing the military intervention by France and a halfdozen African nations with intelligence surveillance. About 100 American troops were deployed in February to Mali’s neighbor, Niger, to man a base for unarmed drones

to conduct surveillance of AQIM and other jihadists. France says it will keep a long-term, 1,000-strong counterterrorism force in Mali even after the current fighting dies down. In statements and tweets in Arabic and awkward English, AQIM has lashed out against “Crusader France” and the nation’s president, Francois Hollande, who ordered the French intervention in Mali. On its first official day on Twitter, AQIM’s media arm issued a statement announcing the death of French hostage Philippe Verdon - not confirmed by France - and warning that others could be killed if the approximately 4,000 French troops in Mali are not withdrawn. AQIM is holding five other French citizens hostage in Mali. The organization’s media arm threatened France numerous times in its sprawling question-and-answer session on Twitter, calling on “all the Muslims to target France and its interests and subjects inside and outside France.” The media arm, in response to a question from The AP, said its new-style communications have “nothing to do with the military situation in Mali.” However, AQIM’s recent efforts to take up the causes of the people have coincided with its loss of a large number of fighters in Mali, as well as its hold over the country’s north. The propaganda campaign has focused, above all, on AQIM’s birthplace, Algeria, where the group is in a long arc of decline and has all but lost its firepower. Late Sunday, in their latest tweet, AQIM’s communicators linked to a statement that made the group sound more like an Algerian opposition party than a terrorist organization. As the country looks to next year’s presidential election, AQIM’s media handlers denounced the “thieves par ty ” of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and bemoaned “the lost confidence of those poor people who are suffering.” The media arm also is denouncing lack of free expression and reliable Internet access in Algeria and expressing support with unemployed protesters in oil- and gas-rich southern Algeria. A recent tweet expressed sympathy for the plight of Algeria’s municipal guards, armed citizens who once were the eyes and ears of Algerian security forces but are now being disbanded without recompense. The tweet said they will be spared pursuit by AQIM if they lay down their weapons. “This is a direct consequence of the Arab Spring,” JeanPaul Rouiller, director of the Geneva Center for Training and Analysis of Terrorism, said of AQIM’s communications campaign. “They are less violent in what they write, more social, trying to be more connected to the problems that people might face, and specifically in Algeria.” The Arab Spring, the popular revolts that started in Tunisia in 2010 and ousted autocrats around the Arab world, skipped Algeria. There, citizens mainly have sought calm after a long spiral of violence that killed an estimated 200,000 and peaked in the 1990s. With neighboring Tunisia and Libya restive after their Arab Spring rebellions, AQIM appears to think “that there are actions that they can trigger to push the situation a bit further,” Rouiller said. The organization “wants to be part of a second wave.” The Al-Qaeda offshoot is older than other affiliates but is playing social media catch-up with its more media-savvy terror counterparts.

Violence kills 49 in Kirkuk Continued from Page 1 killed and wounded dozens of protesters,” Abdulmalik Al-Juburi, a leader of the Hawijah sit-in said. “We only have four rifles to protect the sit-in, and there are no wanted people among us,” Juburi said. The dawn violence sparked revenge attacks. Thirteen gunmen were killed in attacks on army checkpoints in the Al-Rashad and Al-Riyadh areas of Kirkuk province, the army officers said. “There have been fierce clashes, which led to the killing of 13 revolutionaries against the policy of the government,” Juburi said. “When they heard the news about the killed and wounded in the sit-in, sons of the tribes from all the villages in Kirkuk cut the roads and attacked checkpoints and military headquarters and took control of some of the checkpoints for a short time,” he said. Armed protesters later killed six Iraqi soldiers and kidnapped a seventh near Ramadi, west of Baghdad, burning two armored personnel carriers and held the soldier at the site of their sit-in on the highway, police First Lieutenant Ibrahim Faraj said. Three Iraqi Kurdish soldiers

were killed and 20 people wounded when Sunni tribesmen attacked an army patrol near Sulaiman Bek in Salaheddin province, Mulla Karim Shukr, a senior Kurdish political party official, said. Two ministers quit in the wake of the initial violence yesterday, bringing the number of Sunni cabinet ministers who have resigned since March 1 to four. “The minister of education, Mohammed Ali Tamim, resigned from his post after the Iraqi army forces broke into the area of the sit-in in Kirkuk” province, an official from Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Al-Mutlak’s office said. Tamim is a member of Mutlak’s National Dialogue Front, and is from Hawijah. Parliament speaker Osama Al-Nujaifi later said at a news conference that science and technology minister Abdulkarim Al-Samarraie told him by telephone that he too was quitting. Agriculture minister Ezzedine Al-Dawleh quit on March 8 after a protester was killed in northern Iraq, and finance minister Rafa Al-Essawi, some of whose bodyguards were arrested on terrorism charges in December, announced his resignation at an anti-government demonstration on March 1. — AFP




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Alienation draws some vulnerable immigrants to jihad By Myra MacDonald n the United States, two Chechen immigrants are accused of the Boston Marathon bombings. In Canada, a doctoral student at a Montreal University is one of two non-citizens accused this week of plotting to derail a passenger train. The headlines in North America in the past week echo an issue that authorities have been grappling with for more than a decade: why do a tiny minority of men in immigrant communities in the West appear to be drawn to Islamist violence. In many cases, the motives need to be sought as much in psychology or sociology as in politics or religion, said Raffaello Pantucci, a counter-terrorism specialist at London’s Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) security think tank. “It’s a complicated mix of reasons, usually as much personal as they are transnational or global.” Young men could become vulnerable if they felt they were not advancing in society, or wanted to do something for their community and found a misguided means of doing so. “The broad conclusions are that they tend to be under a certain age (40s) and are Muslim males, though none of these are hard and fast rules - we have seen women involved and very recent converts. There is usually some kind of outside contact that pushes them along in the process,” Pantucci said. Some may have come into contact with radical Islamists on trips abroad, a possibility investigators are exploring in the case of the elder of the two Chechen brothers - 26year old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, killed in a firefight with police. Some fit the description given to his younger brother, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, well-liked and hard for those who knew him to imagine turning to violence. Take Omar Sheikh, for example, one of the earlier British men drawn into global jihad. As a schoolboy in north London, he loved to arm-wrestle in smoky pubs - drinking only milk - or play chess with friends. The son of a clothes’ merchant who had spent part of his school years in Pakistan, he was obsessed with academic success and dreamed of going to Harvard. “Omar was very likeable in lots of ways. When he was younger, he had this very roguish charm and was full of adventure,” said Daniel Flynn who was in his class at school. “He wouldn’t often fight but when he did, he would fight to stick up for other people. If any of the younger boys were being bullied, he would stand up for them,” said Flynn, now a Reuters journalist. Many years later, Omar Sheikh, now in jail in Pakistan, became infamous after he was convicted of involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal correspondent Daniel Pearl in Karachi in 2002. Then there was 23-year French-Algerian Mohammed Merah, who shot dead seven people in France last year before being killed by police. He came from a broken home in the poor suburbs and a background of petty crime, and preferred to visit nightclubs than going to the mosque. He was initially described as a “lone wolf”, but French police later said he had travelled to Afghanistan and Pakistan and had been interviewed by intelligence officials after a 2010 complaint for showing a young boy a video of beheadings. “We don’t have the capability to watch all of them,” France’s top anti-terrorist judge Marc Trevidic told Reuters earlier this year. “We accept that there are 4,000 deaths on the road every year, that there are serial killers....It’s really the only form of criminality where 100 percent success, 100 percent prevention, is demanded.” More recently, three men from the English city of Birmingham were convicted in February of plotting attacks which prosecutors said would have been the biggest since the July 7, 2007 London transport bombings which killed 52 people. Young British Pakistanis, they had been influenced by the American-Yemeni preacher Anwar Al-Awlaki, killed by a US drone attack in Yemen in 2011, and by the magazine he created, Inspire. The men were recorded discussing some of the plots mentioned in the magazine, including the idea of driving a harvester machine re-fitted with swords or blades into a crowd. Like some of the London transport bombers, they had travelled to Pakistan for training. But unlike the four suicide bombers in London, they had little support once they returned home - Al-Qaeda, according to western intelligence officials, has lost its capacity to provide direction from a distance. — Reuters


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Boston and the future of Islam in America By Reihan Salam ne of the central questions surrounding the Boston Marathon bombings is whether they portend a larger wave of terror attacks by homegrown Islamic radicals. The culprits, two brothers of Chechen origin, one of whom was a naturalized US citizen, had both lived in the country for more than a decade. While the older brother is reported to have been sullen, resentful and ill at ease in his adopted country, the younger brother was by all accounts a well-mannered kid, whose main vice was marijuana. Many fear that if these two men could turn viciously against the country that gave them refuge, the same might be true of at least some small number of their co-religionists. I grew up in a Muslim household in New York City’s polyglot outer boroughs, and the Tsarnaev brothers strike me, in broad outline, as recognizable figures. The younger brother’s Twitter feed, which has attracted wide attention, reads like dispatches from the collective id of at least a quarter of my high school classmates. Also recognizable is the brothers’ lowermiddle-class but gentrifying Cambridge milieu, which bears a strong resemblance to the neighborhood in which I was raised. So like many Americans of Muslim origin, I’ve been struggling to understand what exactly went wrong in their heads. How could a “douchebag” and a “stoner” - and here I’m paraphrasing the words of the Tsarnaev brothers’ acquaintances and friends - have committed one of the most gruesome terror attacks in modern American history? We might never have a good answer to this question, and certainly won’t have a good answer anytime soon. But what we


can do is get a sense of what we do and don’t know about US Muslims, and what it might mean for our future. Although I can’t claim to be representative of US Muslims as a whole, my experience leads me to believe that America’s Muslim community will grow more secular over time. My parents are originally from Bangladesh, a Muslimmajority country of 150 million that is currently in the throes of a violent clash over the role of Islam in public life. While Bangladesh has made impressive strides in a number of social indicators in recent decades, its poverty has sent large numbers of migrants to India, the Persian Gulf, Europe, Southeast Asia and, over the past two decades in particular, the United States. The Bangladeshi community has largely escaped notice in the United States, as it remains relatively small and when I was growing up, it was smaller still. My first years were thus spent not in a Bangladeshi enclave but rather in a neighborhood with a large Hasidic Jewish population. We later moved to a neighborhood that was home to large numbers of African evangelicals, Tibetan Buddhists, Russian Jews and South Asian Muslims. Although hard numbers are difficult to come by, New York City’s Muslim population appeared to have grown considerably over the course of my childhood. Head scarves and other traditional modes of dress are common in heavily Muslim precincts of Brooklyn and Queens, particularly among more recent immigrants. Yet it remains to be seen if this kind of very visible religious devotion will persist among second-generation South Asian Muslims, particularly if religious belief continues to fade in the population as a whole. I certainly haven’t seen it among my peers, but I know only a narrow spectrum of sec-

ond-generation South Asian Muslims. These people identify more as Asian Americans than as members of a global Islamic community. The best survey evidence offers only a limited and inconclusive portrait of America’s Muslim community. The Pew Research Center estimates that there are 2.75 million Muslims living in the United States, and that 63 percent were born outside of the country. Of this foreign-born slice of the Muslim population, 45 percent arrived in the United States after 1990 and 70 percent are naturalized US citizens. This population is incredibly diverse. Roughly 13 percent of all US Muslims are native-born African-Americans. Some US Muslims are highly educated professionals leading integrated lives, while others are less-skilled workers earning poverty-level incomes in ethnic enclaves. According to Pew, 69 percent of US Muslims claim that religion is an important part of their lives; 47 percent report attending worship services on a weekly basis. These numbers closely parallel the numbers for US Christians. It is also true, however, that one-fifth of US Muslims seldom or never attend worship services, a sure sign of secularization. Another sign is that a large majority of US Muslims appear to be comfortable with religious pluralism. Pew found that 56 percent of US Muslims believe that many different religions can lead to eternal life while 35 percent believe that only Islam will get you there. Similarly, 57 percent of US Muslims believe that there are many valid ways to interpret Islamic teachings, as opposed to 37 percent who maintain that only one interpretation is valid. Suffice it to say, the notion that many different religions are of equal value is not likely to be embraced by

the religiously orthodox. Indeed, one possibility is that this more relaxed approach to the demands of religion represents a way station on the road to abandoning religion entirely. Americans of all stripes are abandoning organized religion at a brisk pace. While less than a 10th of Americans born from 1928 to 1945 are religiously unaffiliated, the same is true of one-third of Americans born from 1990 to 1994, according to a Pew Research Center survey released late last year. This dynamic seems to apply to US Muslims as much as it applies to US Christians. Part of the reason could be that the hold of religious communities on our lives has grown more tenuous. Peter Skerry, a political scientist at Boston College who has been studying the cultural and political integration of US Muslims and Arabs for more than a decade, has observed that only one-third of US Muslims report going to a mosque for social or religious activities apart from regular services. It doesn’t appear that mosques have become the kernels of tightknit communities, as the churches that were so central to immigrant life a century ago did. Even if secularization does take hold, there is no reason to believe that religious extremism will fade away. Indeed, the opposite could come to pass, as a shrinking number of moderate Muslims leaves behind a more isolated core of orthodox Muslim believers who see themselves in conflict with an increasingly secular America. Even as the vast majority of US Muslims integrate into US cultural, political and economic institutions, some small minority might continue to find in Islam a convenient excuse for anti-American rhetoric and action. — Reuters

Why the marathon bombers succeeded By Scott Stewart hen seeking to place an attack like the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing into context, it is helpful to classify the actors responsible, if possible. Such a classification can help us understand how an attack fits into the analytical narrative of what is happening and what is likely to come. These classifications will consider such factors as ideology, state sponsorship and perhaps most important, the kind of operative involved. In a case where we are dealing with an apparent jihadist operative, before we can classify him or her we must first have a clear taxonomy of the jihadist movement. At Stratfor, we generally consider the jihadist movement to be divided into three basic elements: the Al-Qaeda core organization, the regional jihadist franchises, such as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and grassroots operatives who are radicalized, inspired and perhaps equipped by the other two tiers but who are not members of either. Within the three-tier jihadist movement there exist two distinct types of operatives. One of these is the professional terrorist operative, a person who is a member of the Al-Qaeda core or of one of the regional franchises. These individuals swear loyalty to the leader and then follow orders from the organization’s hierarchy. Second, there are amateur operatives who never join a group and whose actions are not guided by the specific orders of a hierarchical group. They follow a bottom-up or grassroots organizational model rather than a hierarchical or topdown approach. There is a great deal of variety among professional terrorists, especially if we break them down according to the functions they perform within an organization, roles including that of planners, finance and logistics specialists, couriers, surveillance operatives, bombmakers, et cetera. There is also a great deal of variety within the ranks of grassroots operatives, although it is broken down more by their interaction with formal groups rather than their function. At one end of the grassroots spectrum are the lone wolf operatives, or


This combination of undated file photos shows Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26 (left) and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. The FBI says the two brothers are the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, and are also responsible for killing an MIT police officer. — AP phantom cells. These are individuals or small groups who become radicalized by jihadist ideology, but who do not have any contact with the organization. In theory, the lone wolf/phantom cell model is very secure from an operational security standpoint, but as we’ve discussed, it takes a very disciplined and driven individual to be a true lone wolf or phantom cell leader, and consequently, we see very few of them. At the other end of the grassroots spectrum are individuals who have had close interaction with a jihadist group but who never actually joined the organization. Many of them have even attended militant training camps, but they didn’t become part of the hierarchical group to the point of swearing an oath of allegiance to the group’s leaders and taking orders from the organization. They are not funded and directed by the group. Indeed, Al-Qaeda trained tens of thousands of men in its training camps in Afghanistan, Sudan and Pakistan but very few of the men they trained actually ended up

joining Al-Qaeda. Most of the men the group instructed received basic military training in things like using small arms, hand-to-hand combat and basic fire and maneuver. Only the very best from those basic combat training courses were selected to receive advanced training in terrorist tradecraft techniques, such as bombmaking, surveillance, clandestine communications and document forgery. But even of the students who received advanced training in terrorist tradecraft, only a few were ever invited to join the Al-Qaeda core, which remained a relatively small vanguard organization. Many of the men who received basic training traveled to fight jihad in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya or returned home to join insurgent or militant groups. Others would eventually end up joining Al-Qaeda franchise groups in places like Yemen, Iraq, Libya and Algeria. Still others received some basic training but then returned home and never really put their new skills into practice. Most grassroots jihadists fall along a continuum that stretches between the lone wolf and someone who received advanced terrorist training but never joined AlQaeda or another formal militant group. Whether the two men suspected of carrying out the April 15 Boston Marathon attack knowingly followed AlQaeda’s blueprint for simple attacks by grassroots actors, their actions were fairly consistent with what we have come to expect from such operatives. Certainly based upon what we have seen of this case so far, the Tsarnaev brothers did not appear to possess sophisticated terrorist tradecraft. For example, regarding the bombs employed in the attack and during the police chase, everything we have seen still points to very simple devices, such as pipe bombs and pressure cooker devices. From a bombmaking tradecraft standpoint, we have yet to see anything that could not be fabricated by reading Inspire magazine, spending a little bit of time on YouTube and conducting some experimentation. As a comparison, consider the far larger and more complex improvised explosive device Anders Behring Breivik, the Oslo bomber, constructed. —Stratfor


S P ORTS Gayle smashes ton off 30 balls, makes 175 n.o MUMBAI: Explosive West Indies opener Chris Gayle smashed a century off 30 balls in an Indian Premier League match yesterday and finished on 175 not out, the highest ever Twenty20 innings. Playing for the Bangalore franchise, Gayle blasted 17 sixes and 13 fours off just 66 deliveries to take his team to a mammoth total of 263 for five wickets. Pune captain Aaron Finch watched helplessly as the 33-year-old Jamaican swatted the bowlers to all parts of the ground and some of the sixes flew out of the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium. Gayle’s 30-ball century eclipsed the 34-ball hundred scored by Australian Andrew Symonds for Kent against Middlesex in 2004. The left-hander also posted the highest individual score in a Twenty20 game, going past New Zealander Brendon McCullum’s 158. Flamboyant Pakistani Shahid Afridi holds the record of fastest international century in the 50-over format (37 balls) and South African Richard Richard Levi (45 balls) has made the quickest international T20 hundred. —Reuters

Former IPL chief Modi in tax trouble

Italian sprinter retires PARIS: Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi has ended his 18year professional career during which he claimed 48 stage wins in the grand Tours. “I feel that it is time to take some time for myself and try to find some new challenges,” the 39-year-old Petacchi said in a Lampre-Merida team statement yesterday. “I gave my best, as I always did in the 18 seasons as professional rider”. Petacchi, who turned professional in 1996, won six stages in the Tour de France, 22 in the Giro d’Italia and 20 in the Tour of Spain. His 2007 Giro results were erased after he failed a dope tests for the banned substance salbutamol, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) saying he had not been cautious enough in taking medication. A clever sprinter, Petacchi won the green jersey for points classification in the 2010 Tour de France, a feat he also achieved in the 2004 Giro and 2005 Tour of Spain. He also won the prestigious Milan-San Remo classic in 2005, one year after taking a record nine Giro stages. —Reuters

NEW DELHI: Lalit Modi, in self-imposed exile for three years since being charged with financial irregularities while running the Indian Premier League, has been slapped with a tax notice according to a media report. The Times of India said yesterday the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence issued a show-cause notice of $3.4 million to Modi for importing in 2008 an aircraft used by him for trips related to the IPL. “Investigations reveal that Lalit Modi orchestrated a series of events to acquire an aircraft for his personal use,” the newspaper quoted the notice as saying. “Peel Aviation (the aircraft leaser) is a corporate veil to mask the actual owner of the aircraft, Modi.” The notice said Modi created dummy companies in order to gain customs duty exemptions available for aircraft used for charter services. Modi, who was instrumental in putting together the cash-rich IPL in 2008, was accused by the Board of Control for Cricket in India of misappropriating more than $100 million as IPL commissioner. Modi, based in London, is also alleged to hold hidden stakes in three IPL teams: Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab. —AP

Red Sox sweep Athletics BOSTON: Mike Napoli hit a grand slam and drove in five runs, Will Middlebrooks busted out of a slump with a three-run homer as the Boston Red Sox rebounded from a doubleheader sweep by beating the Oakland Athletics 9-6 on Monday. The Red Sox, swept by Kansas City Sunday, scored three runs in the fourth and five in the fifth. Napoli’s fourth career slam keyed the five-run fifth and helped end Oakland’s eight-game winning streak against Boston. The Athletics dropped their season-high fourth straight. Felix Doubront (2-0) allowed three runs on three hits, walking five. He also threw two wild pitches and struck out eight in 6 2-3 innings. AJ Griffin (2-1) was tagged for a career-worst nine runs - seven earned - and eight hits in four-plus innings. WASHINGTON: Denard Span No. 2 of the Washington Nationals collides with Allen Craig No. 21 of the St. Louis Cardinals at first base after hitting a single in the eighth inning.—AFP

Cardinals defeat Nationals WASHINGTON: Yadier Molina drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning, backing Shelby Miller’s strong start Monday as the St. Louis Cardinals returned to the site of their Game 5 National League division series victory last season with a 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals. The other big hit for St. Louis was Allen Craig’s two-run double in the third. Miller (3-1) struck out eight in 6 2-3 innings, allowing two runs and four hits. All the Cardinals’ runs came against Dan Haren (1-3), who gave up three runs and six hits in five-plus innings. Edward Mujica pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save. The Cardinals have alternated wins and losses over their last nine games. Washington has lost seven of 10. GIANTS 5, DIAMONDBACKS 4 In San Francisco, Brandon Belt hit a game-winning single in the ninth inning after Buster Posey tied the score with a two-run homer in the eighth, and San Francisco rallied to beat Arizona for its seventh straight victory at home. Posey’s drive to straightaway center was his second homer of the year, both in the past two days. Belt’s first career game-ending hit came against Tony Sipp (1-1), who allowed a leadoff single to Andres Torres. Brandon Crawford sacrificed him to second. Jose Mijares struck out two in the ninth before yielding Cliff Pennington’s double. Sergio Romo (1-1) relieved in a double switch as Belt entered at first base. Romo retired pinchhitter Eric Hinske on a first-pitch grounder. Diamondbacks pitcher Wade Miley hit his first career home run and Eric Chavez also connected. PHILLIES 3, PIRATES 2 In Philadelphia, Jimmy Rollins hit a tiebreaking single in the sixth inning and Jonathan Pettibone had an impressive major league debut to lead Philadelphia past Pittsburgh. Pettibone allowed two runs and six hits, striking out six in 5 1-3 innings. Raul Valdes (1-0) got two outs in the sixth and Jonathan Papelbon finished

for his fourth save. Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin hit solo homers for the Pirates on a chilly night when the temperature dipped below 50 degrees. Pirates starter AJ Burnett gave up two runs and five hits, fanning seven in five innings. Jared Hughes (1-2) retired his first two batters in the sixth before running into trouble. REDS 5, CUBS 4 In Cincinnati, Jay Bruce hit a tying double and scored on Cesar Izturis’ two-out single in the 13th inning, rallying Cincinnati to a victory that gave Chicago its fourth straight loss. Luis Valbuena hit a two-run homer in the top of the 13th off Alfredo Simon (21) for a 4-2 Cubs lead. Michael Bowden (0-1) couldn’t hold it. He gave up a single by Xavier Paul, Brandon Phillips’ double and Bruce’s tworun double that tied it. Izturis’ single past diving shortstop Starlin Castro sent the Reds to their seventh victory in eight games on their homestand. Bruce also hit his first homer of the season to start Cincinnati’s comeback from a 2-0 deficit in the seventh. The Cubs have dropped seven of eight and 12 of 15, leaving them in last place in the NL Central at 5-13. David DeJesus hit a leadoff homer for Chicago. BREWERS 7, PADRES 1 In San Diego, Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer and Yuniesky Betancourt had a three-run shot off Jason Marquis in the first inning to help Milwaukee beat San Diego for its eighth straight victory. Kyle Lohse (1-1) went five innings, allowing one run and five hits, but left in the sixth after dislocating his left pinkie on a play at first base. He said he expects to make his next start. Marquis (1-2) was rocked for seven runs in four-plus innings as the Padres dropped their fourth in a row overall and sixth straight at home. The homer for Braun was his sixth of the season. He added an RBI single in the fifth and has 19 RBIs. —AP

RANGERS 7, ANGELS 6 In Anaheim, AJ Pierzynski hit a tiebreaking homer with two outs in the ninth inning, and Texas rallied from a late three-run deficit for a 7-6 win over the Angels. Mitch Moreland had three hits and drove in a run for the Rangers, who also got three hits from Elvis Andrus in their fourth consecutive victory, snapping the Angels’ three-game winning streak. Chris Iannetta doubled in the goahead run and Luis Jimenez got his first career RBIs on a two-run single while the Angels took a 6-3 lead in the sixth inning, but Texas tied it with three runs in the seventh. Pierzynski then hit his fourth homer of the season to right off Angels closer Ernesto Frieri (0-1). Tanner Scheppers (2-0) pitched two innings of one-hit relief for the Rangers, and Joe Nathan worked the ninth for his sixth save. Josh Hamilton had four hits against his former team after getting bumped out of the cleanup spot. ORIOLES 2, BLUE JAYS 1 In Baltimore, Nick Markakis singled home the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving the Orioles a victory over the Blue Jays. Toronto reliever Aaron Loup (1-2) began the ninth by hitting Chris Davis with a pitch. After a sacrifice bunt, Steve Pearce popped out and Nolan Reimold received an intentional walk before Alexi Casilla reached on a throwing error by shortstop Munenori Kawasaki that loaded the bases. Markakis then sliced an 0-2 pitch to the opposite field near the left-field line. Jim Johnson (1-1) worked a perfect ninth for the Orioles, now 5-2 on a nine-game homestand that ends today. RAYS 5, YANKEES 1 In St, Petersburg, Matt Moore became the first Rays pitcher to win his first four starts of a season, Ryan Roberts homered twice and Tampa Bay beat CC Sabathia and the Yankees. Moore (4-0) allowed one run, two hits, three walks and had nine strikeouts over eight innings. Roberts connected in the first and third to help the Rays take an early 5-0 lead. Yankees infielder Kevin Youkilis, who left Saturday’s game at Toronto with lower back stiffness, was a late

BOSTON: Junichi Tazawa No. 36 of the Boston Red Sox throws in the 8th inning in relief against the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park. —AFP Moyer (145) and Randy Johnson (130) as the only pitchers to reach 100 wins with the Mariners. Hernandez allowed five hits and struck out nine to lower his ERA to 2.08. Kyle Seager, Jesus Montero and Kendrys Morales all homered for the Mariners, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Rick Ankiel hit a solo homer in the seventh inning for the Astros, who dropped to 5-14 - the second-worst start in franchise history, according to STATS. They opened 4-20 in 1969. Houston starter Brad Peacock (12) yielded nine hits and seven runs both season highs - in 4 1-3 innings.—AP

against the White Sox. Cleveland had runners on first and second with one out in the eighth when Thornton (0-1) threw wildly to second while trying to pick off Drew Stubbs. Both runners moved up as the ball went into center field. Jason Kipnis struck out for the second out, but Cabrera hit a liner to center to give Cleveland a 3-2 lead.

scratch Monday after the back tightened up following batting practice. Sabathia (3-2) had a three-game winning streak end. The left-hander gave up five runs and seven hits over seven innings. INDIANS 3, WHITE SOX 2 In Chicago, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a clutch two-run single in his return to the lineup and the Indians used a throwing error by reliever Matt Thornton to rally for a victory over the White Sox. Justin Masterson (4-1) pitched seven effective innings to help the Indians win their third straight. They have won three of four this season

MARINERS 7, ASTROS 1 In Houston, Felix Hernandez pitched six scoreless innings for his 100th career win and Seattle homered three times to back him up in a victory over the Astros Hernandez (2-2) reached the milestone in his fourth try to join Jamie

MLB results/standings Boston 9, Oakland 6; Tampa Bay 5, NY Yankees 1; Baltimore 2, Toronto 1; St. Louis 3, Washington 2; Philadelphia 3, Pittsburgh 2; Cincinnati 5, Chicago Cubs 4 (13 innings); Cleveland 3, Chicago White Sox 2; Seattle 7, Houston 1; Texas 7, LA Angels 6; Milwaukee 7, San Diego 1; San Francisco 5, Arizona 4.

Boston Baltimore NY Yankees Tampa Bay Toronto

American League Eastern Division W L 13 6 11 8 10 8 9 10 8 12

PCT .684 .579 .556 .474 .400

GB 2 2.5 4 5.5

Atlanta NY Mets Washington Philadelphia Miami

National League Eastern Division 13 5 9 8 10 9 9 11 4 15 Central Division 12 8 11 8 10 8 10 9 5 13

.600 .579 .556 .526 .278

0.5 1 1.5 6

Western Division 13 5 13 7 10 9 8 10 5 14

.722 .650 .526 .444 .263

1 3.5 5 8.5

Central Division Kansas City 10 7 Minnesota 8 7 Detroit 9 9 Cleveland 8 10 Chicago White Sox 7 12

.588 .533 .500 .444 .368

1 1.5 2.5 4

Cincinnati St. Louis Milwaukee Pittsburgh Chicago Cubs

Western Division 13 6 12 8 7 11 8 13 5 14

.684 .600 .389 .381 .263

1.5 5.5 6 8

Colorado San Francisco Arizona LA Dodgers San Diego

Texas Oakland LA Angels Seattle Houston

.722 .529 .526 .450 .211

3.5 3.5 5 9.5

From one extreme to another: Who will rise to the challenge in FX’s Al Batal? KUWAIT: There’s no slowing down for the fighters who’ve made it this far in ‘Al Batal’, the first all-Arab mixed martial arts (MMA) reality show from Fox International Channels, in partnership with iSee Entertainment and Events. Watch the region’s greatest amateur welterweight MMA fighters as they overcome challenges and battle each other in the first-ever locally-produced reality show of its kind. Who will prove themselves worthy to be crowned Al Batal (hero), and to walk away with AED75,000 in prize money, plus a multi-fight contract with the Abu Dhabi Fighting Championship? Episode two sees the top 12 MMA fighters facing extreme conditions that would make weaker men crumble. From the sweltering heat of the Liwa desert to the polar opposite, the two teams have to overcome gruelling challenges to receive a fabulous reward. All efforts are focused on winning, because the losing team will face elimination - and if one thing’s for certain in ‘Al Batal’, it’s that no-one wants to be sent home. Tune in at 10pm KSA/11pm UAE on April 17 to watch the premiere of Al Batal, exclusively on FX.



Canucks see off Blackhawks Cory Schneider made 24 saves for the Canucks, who have put some distance between themselves and slumping Minnesota in the past few weeks. Daniel Carcillo scored for Chicago, which trailed 1-0 after the first period and 3-0 after the second. Cory Crawford made 29 saves as the NHLleading Blackhawks made clinching first place overall a bit more difficult with a second straight loss. The Blackhawks are trying to win

VANCOUVER: Daniel Sedin had a goal and an assist to help the Vancouver Canucks lock up their fifth straight Northwest Division title with a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday. Jannik Hansen and Zack Kassian also scored for the Canucks, who won their eighth in a row at home and are guaranteed of home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Henrik Sedin added two assists and

their first Presidents’Trophy since 1991, when Mike Keenan was coach. Chicago has 73 points with three games remaining, while Pittsburgh has 70 with three games also left on its schedule. DUCKS 3, OILERS 0 In Edmonton, Viktor Fasth made 24 saves for his fourth shutout of the season and Anaheim beat Edmonton to clinch the Pacific Division title.

Ryan Getzlaf, Radek Dvorak and Sami Vatanen scored for the Ducks, who won back-to-back games in Edmonton to win their first division title since 2007 - the year they went on to win the Stanley Cup. The Oilers have lost eight of their last nine games and seem destined for yet another high draft pick in the offseason. Anaheim officially eliminated the Oilers from contention Sunday, making them the team with the longest active postseason drought at seven consecutive seasons. PENGUINS 3, SENATORS 1 In Ottawa, Tomas Vokoun made 34 saves and Dustin Jeffrey had a goal and an assist to lead Pittsburgh to its seventh straight victory with a win over Ottawa. Jarome Iginla and Tyler Kennedy also scored, and Brenden Morrow had two assists for the Penguins, who have already clinched first place in the Eastern Conference. Patrick Wiercioch scored and Craig Anderson stopped 21 shots for the Senators, who didn’t get any help when Winnipeg beat Buffalo 2-1. The Jets now trail the Senators and New York Rangers by just a single point for the final playoff spot in the conference. Both the seventh-place Rangers and eighth-place Senators have a game in hand on Winnipeg.

OTTAWA: Jean-Gabriel Pageau No. 44 of the Ottawa Senators defends against Jarome Iginla No. 12 of the Pittsburgh Penguins during an NHL game. —AFP

NHL results/standings Winnipeg 2, Buffalo 1; Pittsburgh 3, Ottawa 1; Detroit 4, Phoenix 0; Anaheim 3, Edmonton 0; Vancouver 3, Chicago 1.

Pittsburgh NY Islanders NY Rangers New Jersey Philadelphia

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L OTL 35 10 0 24 16 5 24 17 4 17 18 10 20 22 3

GF 153 134 120 106 124

GA 109 131 106 121 137

PTS 70 53 52 44 43

Boston Montreal Toronto Ottawa Buffalo

Northeast Division 27 12 5 27 13 5 25 15 5 23 16 6 19 21 6

123 139 138 109 119

97 120 124 99 140

59 59 55 52 44

Washington Winnipeg Carolina Tampa Bay Florida

Southeast Division 25 18 2 24 19 3 18 24 3 17 24 4 13 26 6

140 123 118 140 104

123 135 145 141 162

52 51 39 38 32

Chicago St. Louis Columbus Detroit Nashville

Western Conference Central Division 34 6 5 26 17 2 22 17 7 21 16 8 15 21 9

147 119 114 113 104

97 112 117 112 128

73 54 51 50 39

Vancouver Minnesota Calgary Edmonton Colorado

Northwest Division 26 13 7 24 18 3 19 22 4 17 21 7 15 23 7

124 116 123 111 109

111 119 149 127 142

59 51 42 41 37

Pacific Division Anaheim 29 11 6 134 112 64 Los Angeles 26 14 5 128 111 57 San Jose 24 14 7 118 109 55 Dallas 22 19 4 127 133 48 Phoenix 19 18 8 114 122 46 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L).

JETS 2, SABRES 1 In Buffalo, Antti Miettinen scored with 7:36 left to keep surging Winnipeg in the playoff race with a win over Buffalo. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 24 shots, including a huge glove save on Thomas Vanek with 5:45 left to preserve the victory. Winnipeg improved 6-0-1 in its past seven and moved within a point of the idle New York Rangers, who hold the East’s eighth and final playoff spot. The Jets also crept within a point of Southeast Division-leading Washington, setting up a critical showdown late yesterday, when Winnipeg travels to play the Capitals. Aaron Gagnon also scored for Winnipeg, while Vanek scored the lone goal for Buffalo. RED WINGS 4, COYOTES 0 In Detroit, Johan Franzen scored twice and Jimmy Howard had 34 saves to help Detroit beat Phoenix for two desperately needed points in the Red Wings’ push to make the playoffs. The Wings moved within a point of eighth-place Columbus in the Western Conference and are hoping to finish the last three games of the regular season strong enough to extend the franchise’s postseason streak to 22 years. Damien Brunner scored late in the first period and Valtteri Filppula had a power-play goal late in the second for Detroit, which had won only one of its previous six games. The Coyotes are five points behind the Blue Jackets and on the brink of elimination. —AP

Pirelli urged to keep tyres as they are

Andy Powell

Powell to join Wigan Warriors LONDON: Former Wales number eight Andy Powell will switch codes to join Wigan Warriors from rugby union team Sale Sharks, the Super League leaders said yesterday. The 31-year-old Powell has agreed a two-and-a-half-year contract and will leave Sale after two seasons next month. Powell won the last of his 23 Wales caps in 2012 and toured South Africa with the British and Irish Lions in 2009. The last high-profile rugby union player to switch to league was former Wales captain Gareth Thomas who joined Crusaders in 2010. “This is a good signing for us, reminiscent of Scott Quinnell who became a highly successful Wigan forward before returning to Union as an even better player,” Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan told the club’s web-

site ( “Andy is a strong and powerful rugby player and I am certain he will be able to make the switch of codes successfully. We are delighted to get his signature and this is a coup for the Wigan Club to acquire a player of his talent and potential.” Powell said he had always been interested in playing rugby league. “This is a fantastic opportunity for me and one I am really looking forward to,” he said. “I have always thought that a move to Rugby League could be an option for me at some point in my career and when I learned of Wigan Warriors’ interest I was excited about the chance to make the switch. “Wigan Warriors are the biggest name in Rugby League; they also have a rich history of Welsh connections over the years and are a huge name in the Principality.” —Reuters

LONDON: Red Bull have an agenda in complaining about this year’s tyres and the ‘vast majority’ of Formula One teams have urged Pirelli not to change them, according to the Italian company’s motorsport director Paul Hembery. After the first four races of the season, Pirelli have been in the headlines more than ever after introducing new compounds to encourage overtaking, mix up strategy and create more pitstops. There have been concerns that the races have become confusing for fans, while some drivers have moaned about having to pace themselves rather than being able to go flat out. Much of the criticism has come from champions Red Bull, who want the tyres to be longer-lasting and blamed excessive wear for their controversial use of ‘team orders’ in Malaysia last month. Hembery said he felt like ‘piggy in the middle’ and the situation was all “a bit weird really”. “We often sit down and go ‘what’s all this about?’,” the Briton, Pirelli’s main man in Formula One, told Reuters at last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix. “It’s the third year (of Pirelli being sole tyre supplier), it’s no different this year than any other year. We’ve given the challenge, some like it and some don’t. They all have the same challenge,” added the company’s motorsport director. “In the end we’ve had the vast majority of teams come to us and say: ‘Whatever you do don’t change anything’. “We might - because we have to, and because we see things that as tyre supplier we might want to change - but essentially they are saying: ‘Don’t change even if you are getting this (negative) media coverage.’ So it is rather strange.” Sebastian Vettel won for Red Bull in Bahrain, the triple champion’s second victory of the year, but team principal Christian Horner told reporters afterwards that he felt the tyres were still too “on an edge”. “The most vocal team has been Red Bull obviously, and for their reasons,” said Hembery. “The others, if they see one team pushing that way will push against that because they feel there’s a good reason why they (Red Bull) want to go in that direction.” Pirelli have been supported by Formula One supremo Ecclestone, who always likes a controversy or indeed anything that gets F1 talked about - but is also in favour of rewarding strategy and driver skills. “If the tyres lasted from January to December, there’d be something else to talk about,” 82-year-old billionaire Ecclestone told Reuters with a sigh. —Reuters

Greg LeMond

LeMond: ‘No vendetta’ against Armstrong AUSTIN: Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond says he has “no vendetta” against disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong and hopes professional cycling can clean up its sport. LeMond spoke Monday night at a University of Texas symposium on doping in sports. Despite more than a decade of clashes with Armstrong in a feud that he said pushed him out of cycling, LeMond was restrained in his criticism of the rider who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles in a doping scandal. Armstrong was just beginning his run of seven consecutive victories when LeMond publicly criticized his relationship with Italian sports doctor Michele Ferrari. Ferrari is now a central figure in the Armstrong case for his involvement in the US Postal Service doping program, and has been banned from sports for life. “I have no vendetta against Armstrong,” LeMond said. He also said “I don’t rejoice” over Armstrong being stripped of his victories, even though it means LeMond is now recognized as the only American winner of cycling’s most prestigious race. LeMond won the Tour de France in 1986, 1989 and 1990. Joining LeMond for the two-hour panel was his wife, Kathy, Betsy Andreu, a key witness against Armstrong and the wife of former Armstrong teammate Frankie Andreu, and Bill Bock, attorney for the US Anti-Doping Agency, which investigated Armstrong. Armstrong did not attend the symposium in the city where he lives and declined comment when reached by The Associated Press. Betsy Andreu said she

tried to meet with Armstrong, but he refused. “He didn’t trust me,” she said. LeMond said professional cycling won’t clean up its doping problem until drug testing is run by someone other than the sport’s governing body, the International Cycling Union known as UCI. “Drug testing has to be separated from UCI,” LeMond said. “It’s not a game.” LeMond said riders don’t trust the UCI, which has tried to defend itself against criticism that it helped Armstrong cover up doping offenses. LeMond noted that European legal authorities have pursued drug cheats in recent years. “I want to see cycling get to where I can say I can see a real winner,” LeMond said. Bock noted that UCI was highly critical of the USADA investigation and tried to stop it. “They demanded we drop the case,” Bock said. Andreu said doping in sports won’t clean up until athletes face criminal charges for cheating. A federal criminal grand jury had investigated Armstrong but prosecutors dropped the case in February 2012 without explanation. “Make doping a crime. Athletes don’t want to face jail,” Andreu said. LeMond said he believes cycling can clean up. “I’m hopeful,” LeMond said. “I’m not optimistic with UCI involved ... I love cycling. I believe cycling is an incredible sport.” Bock said cycling should remain vigilant about catching cheaters and should not treat Armstrong’s doping with his US Postal Service team as an isolated case. “The ultimate tragedy would be if this whole scenario would be viewed as the Lance Armstrong affair,” Bock said. —AP

LE CHABLE: Britain’s Christopher Froome smiles as he receives a Swiss cow bell as gift during the podium ceremony after winning the 7.45 km against the clock Tour de Romandie cycle prologue between Le Chable and Bruson. —AFP

Froome wins Tour of Romandie prologue LAUSANNE: Britain’s Chris Froome, the pre-race favorite, yesterday won the Tour of Romandie prologue, a 7.4km ride between Chable and Bruson, in a time of 13min 15secs. The Sky team leader overtook Spain’s Dani Moreno - the winner of last week’s Fleche Wallonne - in a strong finish and crossed the line six seconds ahead of American rider Andrew Talansky. Croatia’s Robert Kiserlovski, was third, 13 seconds adrift of first place, while Australia’s Richie Porte, a Sky team-mate of Froome, was fourth at 15secs. “It was just seven kilometres but uphill, which is unusual for a prologue,” Froome told Swiss television. “I hadn’t

raced for a month, since the Criterium International (which Froome won) and I wasn’t sure what kind of form I would be in. “To win the prologue is a good sign and I hope to defend the leader’s jersey for as long as possible this week but I know it will be difficult.” Wednesday’s first stage is a 176.4km ride from St-Maurice to Renens, just outside Lausanne, with the five-stage race concluding on Sunday. Froome will be hoping to not only win here but go on like the winners of the past two editions, Australian Cadel Evans and Froome’s Sky team-mate Bradley Wiggins, and win the Tour de France in the same year. —AFP



Godolphin’s boys in blue under a black cloud LONDON: The royal blue silks of Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin stables have become synonymous with two decades of elite racing success but the reputation of the Dubai ruler’s global operation has come under a doping cloud. Trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni, who last year won the world’s richest horse race - the Dubai World Cup - could lose his licence after admitting using banned steroids to dope thoroughbred horses in Britain. Eleven horses under Al Zarooni’s care in Newmarket, southern England — the headquarters of British flat racing — tested positive with samples found to contain traces of anabolic steroids, including leading 1,000 Guineas hope Certify (ethylestranol) and Ascot Gold Cup runner-up Opinion Poll (stanozolol). Emirati Al Zarooni has admitted making a “catastrophic error” while Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, United Arab Emirates Prime Minister and Dubai ruler was said to be “absolutely appalled” when told. The Sheikh, whose passion for horses helped transform Dubai into a world power in flat racing, has not yet com-

mented on the doping allegations on his official Twitter page, which he often uses to tweet his thoughts and government decisions. Godolphin, which takes its name from The Godolphin Arabian, one of the three foundation stallions imported into England nearly 300 years ago, have won 202 Group One races in 12 different countries since Sheikh Mohammed established training operations in Dubai and England in 1992. From the Al Quoz stable complex, with the gleaming high-rise skyline of Dubai as its backdrop, to the rolling gallops of Newmarket Heath, Godolphin have produced illustrious names such as Balanchine, Lammtarra, Daylami, Swain, Halling, Fantastic Light and Dubai Millennium. Leading British horse racing pundit and broadcaster Jim McGrath said it was “astonishing” that Al Zarooni had not realised he was in breach of Britain’s rules of racing. Al Zarooni, training for Godolphin since 2010, has said because the horses involved were not racing at the time, he

did not realise he was breaking rules. “Even allowing for the fact that in terms of years, he’s not been training for that long, but given his background and success he’s had already, that he claims he didn’t know the rules about the use of anabolic steroids - two words that are incredibly provocative in the field of any sport - is astonishing,” McGrath told Reuters. “It’s bad for the sport. From Sheikh Mohammed’s perspective, he’s someone who withdrew his representative from the Breeders’ Cup committee because of their stance on masking drugs. “When they refused to bring in a zero tolerance rule to the Breeders’ Cup he took his man away so when you take a hard and fast rule on drugs and then your own horses are found - 11 of them to have tested positive for the one drug that people raise their eyebrows at, then it’s obviously very embarrassing for him.” The race-day use of anti-bleeder medication Lasix in the United States is highly controversial in the sport and last month the Breeders’ Cup announced it was rescinding its plan to bar the use of

it in all of its 2013 races. The US is the only major racing jurisdiction that permits the use of raceday medication and the move prompted Oliver Tait, chief operating officer of Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley breeding operation, to resign from the Breeders’ Cup board. McGrath said not every racing country banned the use of anabolic steroids in “spelling” - when horses are out of training. “They certainly do here (in Britain) but in Australia, for example, they are probably saying so what?”, he said. “If your horse is out of training and you want to give it a tonic, in effect a boost, provided it’s out of training you can do so.” Al Zarooni’s lapse of judgement is all the more surprising given that the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) had warned that his Moulton Paddocks stable could be visited for spot tests this year after he was fined 1,000 pounds ($1,500) in 2012 after two of his horses tested positive for the painkiller propoxyphene.

BHA figures reveal a picture of isolated incidents of doping racehorses in Britain. In 2011, 7,619 samples were analysed from just short of 95,000 raceday runners and from those, 13 horses tested positive for a prohibited substance. None of the 13 revealed a performance enhancing drug. National Trainers Federation chief executive Rupert Arnold said the organisation was “stunned by the revelation of these positive tests”. “Godolphin’s reputation has been damaged but British horseracing should take confidence from the detection of this wrongful use of prohibited substances,” Arnold told Reuters. “The BHA has a stringent policy for testing horses in training, fully supported by the National Trainers Federation, to ensure everyone competes on an equal footing. “Trainers in Britain are well used to unannounced visits by BHA officials to test their horses. This testing happens regularly and this incident is extremely unusual.” —Reuters

Clippers edge Grizzlies

NEW YORK: Brooklyn Nets Brook Lopez (11) gets a shot off over Chicago Bulls Joakim Noah (13) during game two of their first round NBA playoff game at the Barclay Center. —AFP

LOS ANGELES: Chris Paul’s running jump shot with a tenth of a second left gave the Los Angeles Clippers a 93-91 victory over Memphis Grizzlies on Monday and a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series. Earlier at New York, Carlos Boozer had 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Joakim Noah played his way through a foot injury to make three fourthquarter baskets as the Chicago Bulls downed the Brooklyn Nets 90-82 to level their series at 1-1. Both the Clippers and the Grizzlies stayed on the court while the referees reviewed Paul’s last gasp play. It was declared good, leaving Memphis a tick of the clock to inbound the ball but not enough to get off a final shot. Paul finished with 24 points and nine assists, Blake Griffin added 21 points and eight rebounds and Jamal Crawford scored 15 points. Paul carried the Clippers over the final 3:46, scoring eight straight points, including a basket that gave them a 91-89 lead with 1:20 to play. Mike Conley scored a career playoff high 28 points while leading the Grizzlies’ fourthquarter charge that came up just short. He had 10 points in the period, while Darrell Arthur scored five straight to pull Memphis into an 89-all tie. Luol Deng bounced back from a poor opener with 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who became the first team to win a road game this postseason. Chicago held the Nets to two baskets in the third quarter to build a big enough lead to hold off a charge in the fourth. Noah finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who host Game 3 on Thursday. Brook Lopez scored 21 points for the Nets, who shot 35 percent from the field and were just 4 of 21 from 3-point range. Star point guard Deron Williams was 1 of 9, finishing with eight points. —AP

Disgraced Pakistani trio should help to fight corruption, says ICC DUBAI: Disgraced Pakistan trio Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir should stop “misleading the public ” and instead help cricket in “the fight against corruption”, International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Dave Richardson said yesterday. The careers of former Pakistan captain Butt and pace bowler Asif received their death k nell last week after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) threw out their appeals against lengthy spot-fixing bans. Butt, 28, Asif, 30, and Amir, 21, were banned by an ICC tribunal in 2011 after they were found guilty of arranging deliberate no-balls to be delivered in a 2010 Lord’s test against England. The “cash for no-balls” scandal also led to the trio being jailed in England for corruption and Richardson said that since the players have now exhausted all avenues of getting their bans reduced, they should start “coming clean about what really happened”. “ The guilt of these men has now been established on three separate occasions, in three separate sets of proceedings, and in three separate forums - first, before the independent AntiCorruption Tribunal, then in the English criminal courts, and now, finally, before the ultimate appeal body in spor t, the Cour t of Arbitration for Sport,” Richardson said in a statement. “ The time has now come for them to stop misleading the members of the public, especially the supporters of the Pakistan cricket team, and to publicly accept their parts in this corrupt conspiracy. “I am certain that both Butt and Asif have information that can be of great assistance... (in

the) ongoing fight against corruption in cricket.” Butt, the orchestrator of the plot, was banned for 10 years, with five of those suspended. Asif was banned for seven years, two of those suspended. Amir was given a five-year ban and did not lodge

Spot-fixing involves a player, or players, agreeing to perform to order. For example, a bowler might deliberately bowl consecutive wides in his second over or a batsman could make sure he does not reach double figures. As individual spot-fixing inci-

financial reward, choose to engage in corrupt practices,” added Richardson. “By so doing, they threaten the very fabric, essence and integrity of a sport played honestly and fairly by its overwhelming majority of participants and cherished

Spain’s Rafael Nadal hits a return in this file photo

Nadal to begin Barcelona campaign against Berlocq BARCELONA: Rafael Nadal will start his campaign at the Barcelona Open against Carlos Berlocq after the Argentine beat Daniel Gimeno-Traver 7-5, 6-4 on Tuesday to earn the right to face the second seed. Nadal, the world number five who stands behind compatriot and three-time losing finalist David Ferrer in the seedings at the Real Club de Tenis, insists his focus is on this tournament and not his preparation for next month’s French Open at Roland Garros. Having lost for the first time in 10 years at Monte Carlo on Sunday, in a final reverse against world number one Novak Djokovic, Nadal had said he needs to improve his physical condition ahead of a tilt at an eighth French Open crown. But even so, his focus right now is merely on winning an eighth title in Catalonia. “I play Barcelona, that’s my schedule. Roland Garros is very far (away),” said the 26-yearold. “I will try my best now to play a very good week in Barcelona, it’s a tournament that I love. “We have Barcelona, then we have Madrid, then we have Rome. I have enough time (before the French Open).” Nadal defeated the 63rd-ranked Berlocq when they met in the Sao Paolo quarterfinals in February as the former world number one made his return to tennis after seven months out with knee injuries. Nadal has won seven out of the last eight editions in Barcelona, missing out only in 2010 when he did not play due to injury. Third seed Tomas Berdych needed to

call on all his skill and resilience to qualify for the third round as he recovered to beat Nikolay Davydenko 3-6, 7-5, 6-4. Two-time semi-finalist Davydenko had a chance to win the match but let his one match point slip from his grasp in the tenth game of the second set when he returned long. That was all the incentive Berdych needed to take control and emerge victorious in two-and-a-half hours. The Czech took the second set on his third chance and ran away with the third, ending it on his ninth ace. German eighth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber also had a tough battle to reach the third round eventually prevailing in three sets over Russian Andrey Kuznetsov 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/2). Colourful Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis added to the current clay court misery of Fernando Verdasco as he knocked the 12th seed from the event. Gulbis won 6-3, 6-4, leaving the 2010 tournament champion with a 1-3 record on clay this season. In opening round play, Australian Bernard Tomic beat French qualifier Kenny De Schepper 6-4, 4-6, 6-2. It took the world number 47 just under two hours to advance to the second round as he put his opponent under pressure with 18 break points - 14 of which were saved. Spaniards Tommy Robredo and Albert Ramos advanced while Eduardo RogerVasselin of France defeated Czech Jan Hajek 6-2, 6-7 (1/7), 6-2. —AFP

Players to get huge Wimbledon windfall

DUBAI: International Cricket Council Chief Executive David Richardson speaks to the press in ICC headquarter. —AFP an appeal with CAS. The 2010 scandal was the second time in just over a decade that serious corruption was found in international cricket after the match-fixing furore in 2000 when three captains - South Africa’s Hansie Cronje, Saleem Malik of Pakistan and India’s Mohammed Azharuddin - were banned for life from all forms of cricket.

dents may have no influence on a game’s outcome, they are particularly difficult to detect and the Lord’s no-ball offences came to the authorities’ attention only after a sting operation by a British newspaper. “In my opinion, the single biggest threat to the viability and strength of the sport of cricket ... is that posed by those few unscrupulous individuals who, for unlawful

by millions of supporters across the globe. “The ICC and its member boards will continue to remain vigilant in our attempts to prevent corruption in the sport that we are charged with developing and protec ting around the world. On behalf of our stakeholders, we are committed to a zero-tolerance attitude towards any such corruption.” —Reuters

LONDON: Wimbledon organisers moved to justify a staggering 40 percent rise in total prize money yesterday that will make the pot at this year’s championships the biggest ever in tennis. Players at this year’s grasscourt grand slam, which starts on June 24, will receive a total of 22.6 million pounds ($34.45 million) with the men’s and women’s singles champions each pocketing 1.6 million pounds ($2.44 million). Last year’s Wimbledon singles champions earned 1.15 million pounds - 39 percent less. “These are significant increases and we have made them because we wanted to and not because we had to,” All England Club chairman Philip Brook told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday that also outlined a redevelopment of the site including putting a roof on Court One by 2019. “We understand and appreciate the difficulties for all players reaching the top echelons of our sport. It’s a long and expensive road to the top and it’s getting longer.” Asked if the rises were justifiable during a harsh economic climate in which many people struggled just to afford tickets for the prestigious tournament, he said Wimbledon had to compete with other major sporting events. “I know the economic climate is difficult, I accept that, but the world that we live in is a world where we are competing with other international tennis events and we also keep an

eye on what is happening in other sports. “We do think that this was a moment in time when we could respond to a subject that has been spoken about a lot over the last 18 months and we have chosen to make these increases this year because we feel it’s the right thing to do. “Fans won’t pay the price (through ticket increases),” he added. “It’s an affordable increase in terms of our overall operations here. “We’ve had early discussion about 2014 ticket prices and there won’t be any significant change to how we look at that.” Brook said there had been no pressure from the world’s leading players but said the increases reflected calls for more prize money for the lesser-ranked players who are often packing their bags after the early rounds. Players who lose in the opening three rounds at Wimbledon this year will be the chief beneficiaries of the prize money rises with increases of between 62 and 64 percent. Those who fail to survive a single match in the main draw at the championships will be rewarded with a 23,000-pound cheque, up from 14,500 pounds last year. “We started last year focusing the prizemoney increases on those that lose in the early rounds or qualifying,” Brook told Reuters. “These are not players who are superstars (but) players who are finding their way and not making a lot of money.” —Reuters



Five key players in Utd’s title success MANCHESTER: Manchester United succeeded Manchester City as Premier League champions on Monday after winning 3-0 at home to Aston Villa. Here, AFP Sports selects five players who played pivotal roles in United’s 13th Premier League title victory. DAVID DE GEA (ESP; goalkeeper) After a difficult debut season at Old Trafford, De Gea has established himself as United’s firstchoice goalkeeper. The 22-year-old Spaniard has made occasional high-profile mistakes, notably in the 3-2 win at home to Fulham in August and the 1-1 draw at Tottenham Hotspur in January, but he has also produced some outstanding performances. United manager Alex Ferguson praised him after the recent 2-2 draw at West Ham United, saying he had developed into “a really first-class goalkeeper”. RAFAEL DA SILVA (BRA; right-back) Having inherited Gary Neville’s number two shirt in pre-season, Rafael has demonstrated that he is capable of becoming the long-term

successor to the former England full-back on the right flank of the United defence. A doggedly tenacious defender, the Brazilian scored a fine goal in a 2-1 win at Liverpool in September and produced a goal-of-the-season contender with a 25-yard thunderbolt in a 2-0 win at Queens Park Rangers in February. MICHAEL CARRICK (ENG; central midfielder) Often overlooked by fans and pundits, Carrick has enjoyed his most accomplished season in a red shirt since his 2006 transfer from Tottenham. The 31-year-old has proved an unflappable presence in front of the United defence and his composed displays have enabled him to force his way into Roy Hodgson’s England team. Described as “a Rolls Royce of a player” by no less a judge than his feted United colleague Paul Scholes, Carrick was also nominated for the prestigious Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Players’ Player of the Year award. ROBIN VAN PERSIE (NED; striker) A £24 million ($37 million, 28 million euros)

Photo of the day

capture from Arsenal last year, van Persie took to life at United like a duck to water. After scoring within 10 minutes of his home debut against Fulham in August, he claimed a hat-trick at Southampton and went on to net crucial winners against Liverpool and Manchester City. The goals dried up in the spring, when he went 10 games without scoring, but strikes against Stoke City and West Ham, followed by a hattrick against Villa, took his tally of league goals to 24. DANNY WELBECK (ENG; striker) Welbeck may have only scored once in the league this season, but his industriousness and versatility have made him a key element of Ferguson’s squad. He created a sensation in March when he was preferred to Wayne Rooney in the starting line-up for the Champions League home game with Real Madrid, sparking speculation about Rooney’s future at Old Trafford. Quick, hard-working, and blessed with a marvellous deftness of touch, the 22-year-old has been shortlisted for the PFA Players’ Young Player of the Year award. —AFP

Twists and turns in battle for EPL crown MANCHESTER: Manchester United won the Premier League title race on Monday, cantering to the finish line with four games still to play. Here, AFP Sports looks at the twists and turns in the battle for the English crown over the last nine months of the 2012-13 campaign: AUGUST United’s bid to wrestle the title back from Manchester City starts in tame fashion with a lacklustre display in a 1-0 defeat at Everton, 24 hours after the champions kick off with a 3-2 home win over newly promoted Southampton. But Robin van Persie, who made his United debut as a substitute in that loss, gets Alex Ferguson’s men up and running with a goal on his Old Trafford debut in a 3-2 win over Fulham, while City are held to a 2-2 draw at Liverpool. SEPTEMBER Van Persie underlines why Ferguson was willing to spend £24 million ($37 million, 28 million euros) to lure him from Arsenal as the Dutch forward scores twice in the last three minutes to complete a hat-trick in a 3-2 win at Southampton. Van Persie makes the decisive intervention at Liverpool as well, his late penalty earning a 2-1 victory, but United’s run of four successive wins is ended by Tottenham Hotspur, whose 3-2 victory at Old Trafford is their first there since 1989. Fortunately for United, City’s draws with Stoke City and Arsenal hint at an unconvincing title defence. OCTOBER There is an ominous look to United as they thrash Newcastle United 3-0 at St James’ Park and then hit four against Stoke, before Javier Hernandez’s

late strike snatches a dramatic 3-2 win at nine-man Chelsea. That result leaves United one point behind early leaders Chelsea and one place ahead of City, who reel off three wins against Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City. NOVEMBER Van Persie takes just three minutes to score against his old club as Arsenal are beaten 2-1 at Old Trafford and the following weekend, Hernandez steals the spotlight with a double as United come from two goals down to win 3-2 at Aston Villa. A shock 1-0 defeat at Norwich City raises questions about United’s ability to retain top spot, but City cannot take advantage as a 0-0 draw at Chelsea in Rafael Benitez’s first match as Blues manager leaves Roberto Mancini’s men off the top heading into the busy festive programme. DECEMBER United’s leaky defence gives out plenty of gifts in the run up to Christmas, but a glut of goals from van Persie and Wayne Rooney secure five wins from six matches. A 4-3 victory at Reading is followed by an explosive Manchester derby, which United win 3-2 when van Persie curls in a deflected injury-time free-kick just moments after Pablo Zabaleta’s equaliser for City. City suffer another significant blow on December 23 as United fight back to beat Newcastle 4-3, while the champions crash 1-0 at Sunderland and fall seven points behind their title rivals. JANUARY Only Clint Dempsey’s last-gasp equaliser for Tottenham in a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane robs United of five successive wins to start the new year.

A 2-1 home victory against Liverpool is the pick of the bunch for United, while City win three of their four matches, including a 2-0 success at Arsenal, but they remain seven points behind. With third-place Chelsea already 13 points adrift, the title battle is reduced to a two-horse race. FEBRUARY United brush Fulham, Everton and Queens Park Rangers aside without conceding a goal to turn the screw on erratic City.Mancini’s team are held to a 2-2 draw by Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium and even more damaging is the 3-1 defeat that follows at Southampton. City bounce back to beat Chelsea 20, but the gap to United is now 13 points. MARCH Japan’s Shinji Kagawa scores a hat-trick in United’s 4-0 rout of Norwich and although narrow 1-0 wins over Reading and Sunderland do not win many style points, they ensure City have no chance to get back in the hunt. City’s lack of hunger to retain the title is clear for all to see as they slip to a damaging 2-0 defeat at Everton, leaving United a massive 15 points clear with the finish line in sight. APRIL City restore some pride with an impressive 2-1 victory at Old Trafford as Sergio Aguero bags a fine individual winner in the 78th minute after James Milner’s opener is cancelled out by a Vincent Kompany own goal. However, with one hand on the trophy, United have no need to fret and they can even afford a 2-2 draw at West Ham as City then crash to a 3-1 defeat at Tottenham-a result that allows Ferguson’s team to get the title celebrations started with victory at home to Aston Villa.—AFP

Jeff Provenzano baesjumps during the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX. —

English League champions MANCHESTER: Manchester United on Monday clinched the 20th English title in the club’s history. Here, we list the previous Premier League champions and the number of overall titles won by each club: Premier League winners 2012-13: Manchester United 2011-12: Manchester City 2010-11: Manchester United 2009-10: Chelsea 2008-09: Manchester United 2007-08: Manchester United 2006-07: Manchester United 2005-06: Chelsea 2004-05: Chelsea 2003-04: Arsenal 2002-03: Manchester United 2001-02: Arsenal 2000-01: Manchester United 1999-00: Manchester United 1998-99: Manchester United 1997-98: Arsenal 1996-97: Manchester United 1995-96: Manchester United 1994-95: Blackburn Rovers 1993-94: Manchester United 1992-93: Manchester United

LONDON: Manchester United’s Dutch striker Robin van Persie celebrates scoring his team’s first goal against Aston Villa —AFP

Man United’s championship of contrasts MANCHESTER: Relentless, but often ragged; record-breaking, but seldom ruthless-there have been two quite distinct faces to Manchester United’s 2012-13 Premier League championship success. On one hand, United’s dominance of this season’s title race has been exceptional. The 25 wins they accumulated in their first 30 games broke a Premier League record and they have left their rivals trailing to the extent that Chelsea’s record tally of 95 points from the 2004-05 season is now within sight. They have also scored at a rate of 2.29 goals per game, which makes them more prolific than 11 of manager Alex Ferguson’s 12 previous title-winning sides, with the 1999-2000 squad (2.55) the only exception. And yet, the suspicion persists that this is a far from vintage United team. Their signature performances have been improbable victories, many snatched with goals in the dying stages of matches, rather than one-sided triumphs over out-classed opponents. Indeed, United are on course to finish a season without having put five goals or more past an opposition team for the first time since 2006. And there was little dissent when Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini claimed, in the wake of his side’s 2-1 win at Old Trafford earlier this month, that the 12-point gap between the sides was not an accurate reflection of the true balance of power. The narrative that emerges is one of triumph through dogged determination, rather than flashes of inspiration, but United left-back Patrice Evra believes their resilience has been unfairly undersold. “The funny thing is, because it is Manchester United, people don’t give us a lot of credit,” he said. “Because it is Manchester United, they just say we have escaped. “We did not escape. This is character. This is personality. This is why we are here.” Though United have not vanquished adversaries with the devil-may-care abandon of previous Ferguson teams, few English league champions have amassed quite so many heart-

stopping last-gasp victories over the course of a single season. Prior to Christmas they seemed particularly impervious to discouragement, winning at Chelsea and City with late goals, rallying from two goals down to win 3-2 at Aston Villa, and edging Newcastle United 4-3 with a last-minute Javier Hernandez goal in a thrilling encounter at Old Trafford on December 26. According to Ferguson, his side’s hunger for victory took

LONDON: Manchester United’s English defender Rio Ferdinand celebrates after beating Aston Villa 3-0 to win the Premier League title at Old Trafford in this file photo. —AFP

hold as a direct response to the traumatic events of last season’s final day, when United had the title snatched from their grasp by Sergio Aguero’s stoppage-time winner for City against Queens Park Rangers. “We had a big job to do. The way we lost it, and the fact it was City, gave us an incentive,” said the United manager. “You have to admire the focus we have shown this season. We are resilient and the consistency has been good. Like all the previous teams, they never give in. That is a fact. “It is the history of the club more than anything. Once they have been here two or three years, the players buy into it. These are the qualities that have helped them to be where they are just now.” United’s success has been built on a collective will to win, rather than individual brilliance, although Robin van Persie’s 24 goals in his debut season have included some crucial strikes. David de Gea, Rafael da Silva, Danny Welbeck and, in particular, Michael Carrick, have also impressed, but Wayne Rooney’s future has been the subject of speculation ever since he was dropped to the bench for the bitter loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League. It remains, nonetheless, a young squad, with Hernandez, De Gea, Rafael, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Alexander Buttner, Tom Cleverley, Shinji Kagawa, Nick Powell and Welbeck all still below 25 years of age. Ferguson can also look forward to the arrival of livewire English winger Wilfried Zaha, who joined United in a deal reportedly worth up to £15 million ($23.7 million, 17.7 million euros) in January before being loaned back to Crystal Palace. Ferguson will be determined to avoid the mistakes made last year by City, who failed to substantially improve their squad in the close-season transfer window, to Mancini’s oftvoiced displeasure. What is certain is that Ferguson will waste little time looking back at the current campaign. Never one to stand still, he will already be plotting United’s assault on title number 21.—AFP

Titles won by each club Manchester United: 20 (1907-08, 1910-11, 1951-52, 1955-56, 1956-57, 1964-65, 1966-67, 1992-93, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1998-99, 1999-00, 2000-01, 2002-03, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2012-13) Liverpool: 18 (1900-01, 1905-06, 1921-22, 1922-23, 1946-47, 1963-64, 1965-66, 1972-73, 1975-76, 1976-77, 1978-79, 1979-80, 1981-82, 1982-83, 1983-84, 1985-86, 1987-88, 1989-90) Arsenal: 13 (1930-31, 1932-33, 1933-34, 1934-35, 1937-38, 1947-48, 1952-53, 1970-71, 1988-89, 1990-91, 1997-98, 2001-02, 2003-04) Everton: 9 (1890-91, 1914-15, 1927-28, 1931-32, 193839, 1962-63, 1969-70, 1984-85, 1986-87) Aston Villa: 7 (1893-94, 1895-96, 1896-97, 1898-99, 1899-00, 1909-10, 1980-81) Sunderland: 6 (1891-92, 1892-93, 1894-95, 1901-02, 1912-13, 1935-36) Chelsea: 4 (1954-55, 2004-05, 2005-06, 2009-10) Newcastle United: 4 (1904-05, 1906-07, 1908-09, 1926-27) Sheffield Wednesday: 4 (1902-03, 1903-04, 1928-29, 1929-30) Leeds United: 3 (1968-69, 1973-74, 1991-92) Wolverhampton Wanderers: 3 (1953-54, 1957-58, 1958-59) Huddersfield Town: 3 (1923-24, 1924-25, 1925-26) Manchester City: 3 (1936-37, 1967-68, 2011-12) Blackburn Rovers: 3 (1911-12, 1913-14, 1994-95) Preston North End: 2 (1888-89, 1889-90) Tottenham Hotspur: 2 (1950-51, 1960-61) Derby County: 2 (1971-72, 1974-75) Burnley: 2 (1920-21, 1959-60) Portsmouth: 2 (1948-49, 1949-50) Ipswich Town: 1 (1961-62) Nottingham Forest: 1 (1977-78) Sheffield United: 1 (1897-98) West Bromwich Albion: 1 (1919-20)



Goetze heading to rivals Bayern

ARGENTINA: Boca Juniors’ forward Juan Manuel Martinez (left) heads the ball during their Argentine First Division football match against Belgrano. —AFP

Union deny Lanus chance to go clear at top in Argentina BUENOS AIRES: Relegation candidates Union held Lanus 0-0 on Monday to deny them a return to sole leadership of the Argentine ‘Final’ championship. Newell’s Old Boys caught up with Lanus on Friday when they won 3-1 at Velez Sarsfield, winners of the ‘Inicial’ championship in the first half of the season. Lanus and Newell’s have 22 points each from 10 matches with River Plate in third place on 20 after Sunday’s 2-1 win away to Godoy Cruz in Mendoza. R iver ’s centre back Eder Alvarez Balanta chested home their winner from a free kick in only his third start for the team, earning plaudits from coach Ramon Diaz. Diaz compared Balanta with former River and Argentina captain Daniel Passarella, now the club’s president, for his confident forays into attack. “He has things of Passarella. He’s strong, left-footed and he wants to stand out. He’s helping us a lot,” said Diaz, whose team are title challengers in their first season back from their humiliating first relegation in 2011. Midfielder Manuel Lanzini put River ahead with a penalt y and for ward Facundo Castillon equalised in the 34th. River had striker Carlos Luna sent off for a dangerous tackle in the final minute. Union are 13th with 11 points but bottom of the relegation standings, a separate table based on teams’ average points over three seasons with three teams going down in June. The other teams facing a tough fight

against relegation in the last nine matches of the ‘Final’ are San Martin and Independiente, record seven times South American champions who have never been relegated. A change of coach in midweek with Miguel Angel Brindisi coming in for Americo Gallego did not have the desired effect as they lost 2-0 with 10 men at Atletico Rafaela, coached by one of their most noted former players, Jorge Burruchaga. “We are our only rivals,” said midfielder Rolfi Montenegro as the Red Devils continued to squander good scoring chances. Another big club struggling for form are Boca Juniors whose 0-0 draw at home to Belgrano did little to help them get over a 6-1 defeat at San Martin the previous weekend. To make matters worse, playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme came off after half an hour with a pulled muscle and looks set to miss the first leg of the Libertadores Cup last-16 tie at home to holders Corinthians on May 1, a repeat of last year’s final.—Reuters

Matches on TV (Local Timings)

UEFA CHAMPIONS League Dortmund v Real Madrid Aljazeera Sport +4 Aljazeera Sport HD 1


MUNICH: Borussia Dortmund said they were hugely disappointed by the transfer of Mario Goetze, one of the jewels of their youth academy, to arch-rivals Bayern Munich after the season but said they would overcome the midfielder’s surprise departure. The 20-year-old Goetze, who joined Dortmund as an eightyear-old, is regarded as one of the countr y ’s most talented young players, has already won two Bundesliga titles and played 22 times for Germany, having also represented them at various age levels. Losing one of their leading players to Bayern is a bitter pill for Dortmund to swallow and comes as an unwanted distraction on the eve of their Champions League semi-final first leg at home to Spanish giants Real Madrid. “I think there could have been a worse time to announce this four hours before the game,” said a relaxed-look ing Dor tmund coach Juergen Klopp. “I can say time does not heal all wounds but it helps the healing process. The reason we are all disappointed is because he is a great player and we would like to keep him.” Goetze used a release clause to opt out of his contract. “Mario Goetze and his agent informed Borussia Dortmund a few days ago that the player would like to trigger his release clause and move to Bayern Munich on July 1,” the club said on their website ( yesterday. Recently crowned Bundesliga champions Bayern confirmed the move in a “media explanation”, adding that they had intended to announce the signing after Dortmund had played today. “ We confirm that Mario Goetze will play for Bayern from July 1,” they said, adding that they would match Dortmund’s buyout clause. German media said Bayern would be paying around 37 million euros ($48.21 million) for Goetze which, if confirmed, would be the most ever spent on a German player. The move means that the technically gifted attacking mid-

Ivanovic eases past Petkovic STUTTGART: Former world number one Ana Ivanovic needed just 72 minutes to see off Germany’s Andrea Petkovic yesterday in the first round of Stuttgart’s WTA tournament. The 25-year-old Serbian, who won the 2008 French Open title on her way to being world number one that June, enjoyed a 6-3, 6-2 first-round win against wild-card Petkovic who is on her way back after a series of injuries. Petkovic was playing her first match since withdrawing mid-tournament in Charleston earlier this month due to a calf injury - and that was just her third tournament back from a knee injury earlier in the year. The only seeded player in

action on Tuesday, Nadia Petrova won a tight straight-setter against Germany’s match in Dinah Pfizenmaier. The eight-seeded Russian won 76(7/2), 6-4 winner against the 21-year-old qualifier. Both top seed Maria Sharapova, the reigning French Open champion, and China’s Li Na, second seed here, start on Thursday having been given byes for the clay-court event which serves as a warmup for May’s French Open. Australia’s Samantha Stosur, who reached the 2010 Stuttgart final, plays former world number one Jelena Jankovic of Serbia today, while fifth-seed Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic is up against wild-card Annika Beck of Germany.—AFP

GERMANY: (Left to right) Dortmund’s Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, Dortmund’s striker Marco Reus, Dortmund’s midfielder Mario Goetze and Dortmund’s midfielder Kevin Grosskreutz attend a training session.—AFP

fielder, who can also play on the wing, could face his future club in the Champions League final at Wembley on May 25. Bayern face Barcelona in the other semifinal, with the first leg in Munich later yesterday. Dor tmund, second in the Bundesliga, immediately appealed to their fans not to turn against Goetze as they chase Champions League glory. “Together with coach Juergen Klopp, sporting director Michael Zorc asks all Borussia Dortmund fans to unconditionally support Mario Goetze in the last games of the season, especially in the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid, just as they would any other Dortmund professional,” the statement said. Despite boasting average home attendances of some 80,000 and recent back-to-back

league titles, Dortmund have struggled to hang on to their top players. Playmaker Nuri Sahin left after helping Dortmund to win the 2011 Bundesliga crown and the Turk has since returned to the club on loan after unhappy stints at Real Madrid and Liverpool. Shinji Kagawa, who went from a little-known Japanese seconddivision player to one of the Bundesliga’s most prodigious talents in two seasons with Dortmund, joined Manchester United at the end of last season. Dortmund are also struggling to hold on to prolific Polish striker Robert Lewandowski. “Mario has not in the slightest decided against his team mate or the club but he is a player of Pep Guardiola,” said Klopp. “If there’s anyone to blame, it is me but I cannot become 15 centimetres

shorter and look like a Spaniard and play tika-taka football. “He wants to have this chance to work with this outstanding coach; he did not want to miss it.” Bayern Munich, on the other hand, appear to be collecting top- class players at will and Goetze’s move is likely to add to worries over their dominance in Germany. The Bavarians have already wrapped up the Bundesliga title, reached the German Cup final and won their last two domestic games by 6-1 scorelines, despite fielding weakened teams. Bayern, who signed Spanish midfielder Javi Martinez for 40 million euros at the start of this season, have won 18 of their 19 games in all competitions since the winter break, a run which included a 9-2 demolition of Hamburg SV. —Reuters

Celta beat Zaragoza in relegation showdown MADRID: Mario Bermejo struck in the second minute of added time to snatch a 2-1 comeback win for Celta Vigo at home to fellow La Liga strugglers Real Zaragoza on Monday that lifted the Galician club off the bottom of the table. The last-gasp victory, which prompted wild celebrations at Celta’s Balaidos stadium and sowed disbelief among the stunned Zaragoza players and coaching staff, left both sides still mired in the relegation places. Both have 27 points with six games left,

one less than 18th-placed Real Mallorca, with Celta in 19th and Zaragoza in 20th and last place due to an inferior head-to-head record. Cristian Sapunaru nodded Zaragoza ahead in the 26th minute before Alex Lopez steered a header into the net off the underside of the crossbar eight minutes before the break. Celta were on top in the frantic final stages and Bermejo clipped a Fabian Orellana cross into the net in the 92nd minute to secure what may prove a crucial

three points. “It was a very important goal in terms of our fight to stay in the first division,” Bermejo said in an interview with Spanish television broadcaster Cuatro. “We got into difficulties early on in the match and the fact we managed to battle back is crucial,” he added. Celta were promoted at the end of last season after five terms in the second division, while Zaragoza have flirted with relegation the past three campaigns after returning to the top division in 2008-09. —Reuters

India A team with team officials

India XI team with team officials

India, Pakistan festival cricket match KUWAIT: Under the auspicious of Kuwait Cricket, the much-awaited mega cricketing carnival, the annual India Vs. Pakistan festival cricket match is all set to be played at Kuwait University stadium on Friday, April 26, 2013.

This traditional event, enjoyed by the large expat community will witness the tussle between the talented cricketers from the Indian & Pakistani sub-continent brushing their skills against each other. Both the teams have inducted some young blood to

the team along with the experienced & senior cricketers. This year there will be two teams each from the Indian & Pakistan side and the game will be of T20 format. The first match will be played at 1:30 PM between the Indian A team & Pakistan A team. The

Kuwait women’s cricket team will play an exhibition match which will commence at 5 PM. The main event, the match between India XI team Vs. Pakistan XI team will start at 7 PM. The prize distribution is scheduled at 10:00 PM. The function is to be graced by

the presence of I ndian Ambassador to Kuwait, Pakistan Ambassador to Kuwait, Great Briton Ambassador to Kuwait and many well known dignitaries from Indian & Pakistani community apart from a large cricket loving fraternity.

Gayle smashes ton off 30 balls, makes 175 n.o



Clippers edge Grizzlies


Disgraced Pakistani trio should help to fight corruption, says ICC Page 17

MUNICH: (Top) Bayern Munich’s Dutch midfielder Arjen Robben celebrates after scoring during UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg football match against Barcelona.(Above left) Bayern Munich’s players celebrate. (Above right) Bayern Munich’s striker Mario Gomez (left) controls the ball next to Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi. — AFP

Bayern thrash Barcelona 4-0 MUNICH: Bayern Munich are on the verge of their third Champions League final in four years after routing Barcelona 4-0 in yesterday’s semi-final, first leg. It was the Spanish giants worst European defeat since the 1997 group stage 4-0 loss to Dynamo Kiev. Germany star Thomas Mueller was Barca’s chief tormentor with goals in each half while striker Mario Gomez and Dutch wing Arjen Robben also netted to give Bayern a huge advantage for the return leg at the Camp Nou on May 1. The stunning performance came at the end of a remarkable day even by Bayern’s standards. First they announced they had signed young German star Mario Goetze from arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund for a reported 37 million euros.

Then it was reported that in March club president Uli Hoeness caught up in a tax evasion scandal, was arrested and released on bail after a police raid on his home. But he was at the Allianz Arena to witness an incredible night for the hosts. Barcelona’s Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi started, despite struggling with a hamstring injury since the start of the month, but the world player of the year was a shadow of his usual self. Bayern had an early penalty appeal turned down, but the hosts went ahead when Robben’s lobbed cross from a corner was headed across goal by centreback Dante for Mueller to place his header inside the far post on 24 minutes. Dante came to his side’s rescue at the

other end five minutes later after Pedro RodrÌguez’s cross from the right was heading straight for Messi at the back post, but the Brazilian got a toe to the ball. Bayern doubled their lead in the 49th minute as Gomez struck with his sixth goal in his last three games. Again, the Barcelona defence failed to deal with a corner as Robben’s ball from the right was nodded down when Mueller rose above Daniel Alves for Gomez to volley home on 49 minutes. Robben, who had been a constant menace to the Barca defence, grabbed the third on 73 minutes when the Dutchman skipped past Jordi Alba on the right, then slid his shot past Victor Valdes from a tight angle. However, the Barcelona players were

Tendulkar to bat on at 40 NEW DELHI: Record-breaking batsman Sachin Tendulkar turns 40 today with no plans to retire despite media speculation and recent form suggesting that age is finally catching up with the “Little Master”. Test and one-day cricket’s greatest run-scorer approaches the game with undiminished enthusiasm and insists he has much to offer despite slipping from the dizzying heights he reached earlier in his 24-year career. “People have been talking about my retirement since 2005, but that does not worry me at all,” Tendulkar chided reporters at a promotional event in New Delhi last week. “Your job is to write, my job is to play. I will stick to my job and you stick to yours.” Tendulkar, afforded almost religious status in India, burst onto the world cricket scene as a 16-year-old in 1989 and has played a record 198 Tests and 463 one-dayers, scoring an unprecedented 100 international hundreds. He was singled out by Don Bradman but the Australian legend’s Test average is one of the few marks that Tendulkar has been unable to threaten, with his 15,837 runs coming at 53.86. Bradman averaged 99.94, far more than anyone else. Questions over Tendulkar’s future mounted when he struggled for a year to score the ton he needed to take him to 100 centuries. He finally achieved the landmark against Bangladesh in Dhaka in March 2012. Tendulkar, who decided not to play Twenty20 internationals after just one match in 2006, announced his retirement from one-day cricket last December in a bid to prolong his glittering Test career. But his form in the five-day format has also dipped by his own stellar standards. He has scored just 1,145 runs in 21 Tests at an average of 31.80 since being part of India’s World Cup-winning team two years ago. And Tendulkar has not added to his tally of 51 Test centuries since making 146 against South Africa in Cape Town in January 2011. But despite his struggles with the bat, the veteran is

furious and protested to the referee as Alba had been body-checked by Mueller as he chased back after Robben inside the box. With the Barcelona defence in a shambles, Bayern grabbed the fourth on 82 minutes when Franck Ribery and David Alaba combined on the left for the latter to whip in a low ball which Mueller slid into the net for his second. Despite the advantage, Bayern know how tough life could be at the Camp Nou, having lost 4-0 on their last Champions League visit to Barcelona in the 2009 quarter-final, first leg which they went on to lose 5-1 on aggregate. Meanwhile, Bayern Munich’s president Uli Hoeness, at the centre of a German tax evasion scandal, was temporarily arrested last month during a

search of his home and released on bail worth five million euros ($6.5 million), said a media report yesterday. Despite the scandal surrounding the Bayern president, Hoeness was at Munich’s Allianz Arena yesterday to watch his team take on Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final, first-leg. Hoeness, whose case has become a political football in election-year Germany, earlier admitted to “a grave mistake” over his Swiss bank account and told the Bild Sport weekly that “I want to clear the air. The law offers that possibility”. But a report by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung pointed out that tax dodgers who voluntarily turn themselves in before they are in the crosshairs of the authorities are usually not arrested.

The Sueddeutsche reports in its edition that Hoeness was temporarily arrested on March 20 during a search of his home and released by the Munich investigating prosecutors only after posting bail worth five million euros. Under the terms of his bail Hoeness had to report to authorities twice a week, although this condition had now been lifted, said an advance version of the report. The newspaper said the charge on which Hoeness was arrested was not known. The 61-year-old president of Germany’s most successful club admitted in a media report last weekend to having first turned himself in to authorities in January over an unspecified amount of unpaid taxes on cash in a Swiss bank account.—AFP


Lewandowski knock unlikely to dent Dortmund’s focus

Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar refusing to follow fellow modern greats such as compatriot Rahul Dravid and Australia’s Ricky Ponting into retirement. Sunil Gavaskar, the first man to reach the 10,000-run milestone in Tests, suggested last year that Tendulkar’s reflexes were on the slide. Former Australian captain Steve Waugh also feels he is past his best. “He is not playing up to his standards,” Waugh said last week. “But he himself has to decide (on retirement).” When India succumbed to a Test series defeat against England at home in December, former skipper Sourav Ganguly backed calls for Tendulkar to quit. “He is getting a long rope because of what he has achieved,” Ganguly was quoted as saying by London’s Daily Telegraph newspaper. “As somebody watching it from outside, Tendulkar is not performing. “And I think if I were Tendulkar, I would go (retire).” But Kapil Dev, another ex-India skipper, says Tendulkar is fit and hungry for success even after so many years of gruelling cricket. “Sachin passes on both counts. He could go on for years if he wanted to,” he told AFP. Six months ago, Tendulkar admitted in a television interview that retirement had crossed his mind, but said he would take it series by series before making a final call. — AFP

BERLIN: An injury scare to Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski is unlikely to derail unbeaten Borussia Dortmund’s focus ahead of their Champions League semi-final first leg against Real Madrid today as they bid for their first final spot since 1997. Poland international Lewandowski, who scored for a 12th consecutive league game in their 2-0 win against Mainz 05 on Saturday, picked up a knock on his thigh but said he hoped to be fit in time for the match in Dortmund. “I felt some pain in the final minute (after a first-half knock) and hope it does not swell up,” he said after Dortmund secured their Champions League spot for next season. “I hope there’s enough time until today.” Lewandowski is Dortmund’s most prolific scorer in Europe this season with six goals and two assists in 10 games. “The game against Mainz was strange because we also kept thinking of the Madrid game. I want to score at least one goal every time I play and if I can achieve that against Madrid then even better.” For coach Juergen Klopp’s young team, which won consecutive Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012, it is a career highlight, with the 1997 Champions League winners back in the last four for the first time in 15 years. “This is the biggest game so far that my boys will have to play,” Klopp told reporters. The last time they reached this stage - in 1998 - it was Real who eliminated them en route to the title. The nine-time European champions are no strangers to Dortmund this season either with the Germans beating them in Dortmund and Real escaping with a last-gasp 2-2 draw in Madrid in the group stage. With central defender Mats Hummels and Jakub Blaszczykowski gradually hitting top form after their injury

breaks, Klopp has a full squad to choose from. “We are ready to give it everything we have against the biggest club in the world because if you reach the semi-final then you obviously want to get into that final,” Klopp said. Real’s 3-1 La Liga victory at home to Real Betis on Saturday came at a cost, with fullback Marcelo and midfielder Luka Modric picking up muscle injuries. Goalkeeper Diego Lopez and forward Karim Benzema complained of knocks but assistant coach Aitor Karanka said neither seemed serious. With right back Alvaro Arbeloa suspended, coach Jose Mourinho will have to shuffle his defence and is likely to switch Sergio Ramos over to replace his Spain team mate and bring France centre back Raphael Varane into the middle alongside Pepe. Still only 19, the pacy and athletic Varane, who was introduced to the club by former France and Real player Zinedine Zidane, has impressed with a series of mature performances this season, particularly against Real’s arch-rivals Barcelona. “This is a key position, and you must bring some security, that’s very important,” Varane told the club website ( “You must also communicate well and have a good sense of positioning. In this position you play a lot with your head, you have to think a lot, these are important skills to possess. “We have seen that they (Dortmund) are a very good team. They have not reached the semi-finals by chance, we saw in the group phase that they have a quality squad. We will need to be strong and play very well. “It’s true that they are a team who switch into attack very fast, they love attacking. That is our game as well, so those are always nice games to follow.”—Reuters


Gulf bond issuance may hit $37bn in 2013: Stanchart Page 22 New US homes sales rise 1.5% in March to 417K


NBK’s long-term deposit rating affirmed at Aa3

Page 25 CBK posts KD24.7m operating profit before provisions Page 26 Page 23

SYDNEY: A woman is reflected in a glass panel while monitoring the trading on the electronic screens at the Australian Stock Exchange in Sydney yesterday. Stocks in Australia pared earlier gains on the weaker Chinese data, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.9%. Local mining stocks, which are reliant on Chinese demand for commodities, fell, while large banks supported the market. — AFP

Gulf Bank posts KD7.9m net profit in Q1 2013 Total assets reached KD 4,966m KUWAIT: Gulf Bank yesterday announced a net profit of KD7.9 million for the first quarter of 2013, against KD7.4 million for the same period last year. In continuing with the strategy to build a fortress balance sheet, the precautionary general reserve was increased to KD159 million. As of end of March 2013, the Bank’s total assets were KD4,966 million, deposits stood at KD4,178 million and total shareholders’ equity was KD460 million. Commenting on the results, Omar Alghanim, Gulf Bank’s Chairman said: “These results reflect our continued hard work and focus on our customer-centric strategy, which is based on providing the best and fastest banking services in town. I am particularly encouraged by the performance of Gulf Bank’s business groups, which have been major drivers of this success.

“We will continue to maintain a balance sheet which is both strong enough to allow expansion and will protect the Bank against unforeseen changes in the market. The Bank is now in a strong position following the successful completion of its recovery plan. Looking forward, our professional and dedicated management team has developed a robust corporate strategy that will grow our business, build our market share, and help to develop a leading position for Gulf Bank in the Kuwaiti economy.” Referring to the recent improvement in Gulf Bank’s rating from Standard &Poor’s, Alghanim said: “The Bank’s credit rating has recently been upgraded by Standard & Poor’s from BBB to BBB+, and they affirmed the Bank’s positive outlook. This was our second rating upgrade in 18 months, and during that time, no other bank in the region was upgraded

• Total shareholders’ equity measured up to KD 460m

by S&P. This is an outstanding accomplishment which proves the Bank’s stability and the robustness of its strategy in today’s market.” Alghanim concluded by saying: “We will continue to focus on the needs of our customers, invest in our staff, develop our customer base, and deliver returns to our shareholders. At the same time, we will address new opportunities to grow and deliver excellence in corporate and consumer banking services, as well as seek to enhance the Bank’s reserves and financial capability. “ Gulf Bank was recognized as the Best Bank in Kuwait by The Banker, a leading Financial Times Publication, and has already won two important industry awards in this quarter, including: ‘Best Retail Customer Service’ award from Banker Middle East, and ‘Best Retail Bank in Kuwait’ for the third consecutive year by The Asian Banker.

Dubai index tops 2,000, Kuwait shares advance MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS

Omar Alghanim, Gulf Bank’s Chairman

Dubai flights rely on fuel refined from Iranian oil Refinery supplies Dubai airport via pipeline DUBAI: Fuel made from Iranian oil is legally powering thousands of flights a year out of Dubai’s booming airport, despite US pressure on buyers to shun Tehran’s petroleum exports. It may even fuel US allied military jets in the Middle East. Washington and the European Union have slashed Iran’s exports in half over the last year by leaning on importing countries to find alternative feedstock for their refineries. Meanwhile, close US ally Dubai, long a major user of Iranian light oil known as condensate, continues to process tens of thousands of barrels a day at an Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) refinery, according to oil industry sources and shipping data. ENOC then pumps the resulting fuel to Dubai airport, the world’s second busiest. ENOC’s chief executive declined to comment this week on how much Iranian oil the company was still importing and ENOC media relations did not respond to repeated requests for comment. US and European companies are not allowed to buy any Iranian refined oil products, under tough sanctions imposed by Washington to force Tehran to stop its nuclear activities.But any airline is free to use fuel made from Iranian oil in other countries, because once it passes through a refinery outside Iran it is no longer considered of

Iranian origin under sanctions. “In our view jet fuel from an Emirati refinery is Emirati jet fuel, it is not Iranian no matter what it was made from,” a US government official in Washington said. ENOC says it is the largest provider of jet fuel at Dubai International Airport (DXB) and that its portfolio boasts a growing number of military customers. One such customer is the US Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) which supplies planes at the Al Minhad airbase near Dubai, a hub for USallied forces in the Middle East. “DLA Energy does contract with ENOC International Sales, LLC to supply jet fuel to Al-Minhad Air Base,” a spokesman for the US Department of Defense said. “The contract was let in August 2011. This contract expires in August 2013.” It is not clear whether or not some of the fuel ENOC supplies under contract to the DLA come from ENOC’s Jebel Ali refinery near Dubai. A western government source said ENOC also buys some fuel produced in refineries in Bahrain and Kuwait. ENOC did not comment on whether some or all the fuel it supplies to the DLA is produced at Jebel Ali. But ENOC’s website says most of the jet fuel it supplies to the airport is pumped through a 60,000 barrel per day (bpd) pipeline from the refinery, and demand at the world’s fastest growing airport is rising so much that it is laying a second pipeline.

Iran exported about $7.5 billion worth of condensate from its main export facility at South Pars in the year ended March 20, 2013, according to Iranian media reports. ENOC was the biggest buyer of Iranian condensate in 2012, when its imports rose to an average of 127,000 bpd, according to analysts’ estimates. An executive order issued on July 31, 2012, gives US President Barack Obama the option to impose sanctions on buyers of Iranian condensate, but only if the US believes there is sufficient alternative supply to permit a significant reduction in volumes from Iran. ENOC announced in February it had secured about 20,000 bpd of condensate from Qatar to feed its 120,000 bpd refinery and said it was working to find more alternatives. The company has not announced further substitution deals, suggesting it has not yet found long-term alternative supplies. Ship tracking data on Reuters shows a vessel able to carry around a million barrels of oil shuttles between the refinery and South Pars once a week. A full tanker would carry enough to run the refinery at capacity for about a week. With shrinking export options, traders say Iran is likely to be selling its condensate fairly cheaply, helping ENOC offset multi-million dollar loses it has to take because it is obliged under UAE law to sell gasoline at a subsidized

rate. Dubai has been a key trading partner for Iran for decades, but the UAE is also one of Washington’s closest allies. The UAE is the largest export market for the United States in the Middle East, with Dubai flagship airline Emirates alone having placed a $24 billion order with Boeing in 2011, according to the website of the UAE Embassy in Washington. US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is touring the Gulf this week, with the US close to finalizing a deal to sell the UAE 25 F-16 Desert Falcon jets worth nearly $5 billion. Unless ENOC can find another 100,000 barrels per day of alternative supplies at competitive prices, the opening of a second pipeline due later this year could take more fuel made from Iranian oil into the tanks of international airlines. The existing pipeline can carry around 9.5 million litres of jet fuel a day - enough to fill up 44 Boeing 747s a day or 16,000 a year, although most routes do not use a full tank. ENOC is not the only jet fuel supplier, because its refinery and existing pipeline are not big enough to meet demand at DXB, where an average of around 470 flights a day took off in 2012. Several western oil companies also supply jet fuel to the airport - Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Chevron but they say they source it outside the UAE and in full compliance with sanctions on Iran. —Reuters

DUBAI: Dubai’s stock index closed above 2,000 points yesterday for the first time since November 2009, boosted by optimism over corporate earnings, while most other Gulf markets also ended in positive territory. The Dubai index advanced 1.8 percent to 2,021 points, breaking above a psychologically important level and taking yearto-date gains to 24.6 percent. It is the best-performing market in the region in 2013, thanks to increased optimism towards the emirate’s economy as its real estate market recovers from the 2009-2011 crash. The high number of shares changing hands yesterday - 255.1 million - bodes well for further gains, said Marwan Shurrab, vice president and chief trader at Gulfmena Investments. “If we break 2,000 with good turnover, it will point towards the second big rally of the year,” he said. Interest on Tuesday was mostly centred around mid-cap stocks, with Air Arabia 4.1 percent higher and Dubai Investments up 3.6 percent. They were the two most heavily traded shares. However, financial stocks continued their recent rise, with Emirates NBD, which gained 2.5 percent, at a nine-month high, and Dubai Islamic Bank, up 2.0 percent, flirting with a three-year peak. In Abu Dhabi, banking shares also performed well, with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank advancing 4.9 percent to its highest close since August 2008 and Union National Bank up 4.2 percent. First Gulf Bank advanced 2.3 percent to 15.40 dirhams, above a technical resistance level, according to Global Investment House. “If it trades above 15.17 dirhams, we expect it to continue rising and hit our price target of 15.63 dirhams and 16.20 dirhams in the coming trading sessions,” it said. The Abu Dhabi index climbed 1.1 percent to its highest close since October 2009. Kuwait also continued its upward trend, gaining 0.5 percent. It was the bourse’s third straight gain and a fresh 29-month high. “The market continues to push forth towards new boundaries,” said Fouad Darwish, head of brokerage at Global Investment House. “The fear of a market sell-off induced by profit-taking is no longer as haunting as it used to be. But we also do not negate the possibility nor the need for a correction movement in the coming days,” he said, adding that day traders in Kuwait were helping to provide some cushion to any selling pressure. Qatar’s benchmark posted its biggest one-day advance since Jan. 3 as it climbed 1.1 percent, helped by Industries Qatar. The stock jumped 4.0 percent - its largest one-day gain for more than two years - after posting estimate-beating first-quarter earnings on Monday. Egypt’s benchmark rose 0.4 percent, boosted by a 1.5 percent gain by heavyweight Orascom Construction. The firm said in a statement yesterday that it was in advanced talks with the Egyptian Tax Authority over the probe into alleged tax evasion in the sale of Orascom Building, a subsidiary, to French firm Lafarge. —Reuters



Gulf bond issuance may hit $37billion in 2013: StanChart Dubai to dominate regional issuance in 2013

BEIJING: A guide stands in front of an electronic board at the entrance of a bank in Beijing yesterday. Manufacturing activity in China slowed in April due to sluggish foreign demand, HSBC said, in a sign of further weakness in the world’s secondlargest economy. — AFP

DUBAI: Total US dollar denominated bond issues from the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are expected to hit $37 billion in 2013, dominated by sales from Dubai, according to a research report from Standard Chartered. The estimated figure is slightly higher than the $34 billion of total dollar issuance in 2012, the bank said. “Contrary to the normal trend in which Abu Dhabi Inc dominates GCC issuance, we expect Dubai Inc to dominate this year,” the bank said, adding that Dubai names were expected to issue a further $5 billion in the rest of this year. The bank said its estimates did not take into account any potential issuance from regional telecommunications operators Ooredoo (formerly Qatar Telecom) and Etisalat to fund a possible buyout of Maroc Telecom. Global bond issues from the GCC states so far this year are estimated to be 5 percent higher year-on-year. Much of that issuance has been

UAE eyes gasoline independence ABU DHABI: United Arab Emirates is set to become self sufficient in gasoline by the end of 2014, when its refining capacity will be boosted by the Ruwais plant expansion, an official from Abu Dhabi National Oil Company(ADNOC) said. “We’re trying to increase our capacity to meet domestic demand. We used to be balanced in gasoline, but due to rising demand that changed again,” the official who declined to be named said on the sidelines of an energy conference organized by Conference Connection. Heavy gasoline subsidies by the OPEC member have propelled demand to more than 5 million tons, according to analyst and ADNOC estimates. The UAE produces around 2.7 million tons and relies on imports for the rest, the official added. ADNOC produces the bulk of the UAE’s crude oil and refined oil products. It has also taken over the petrol stations in the northern emirates, where there were oil shortages in 2011 when the Dubai gov-

bank, issued $1 billion on Monday in a swift oneday deal. Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar are expected to dominate regional issuance this year, but Standard Chartered said Saudi dollardenominated issuance could be higher than anticipated if state owned corporate took advantage of market conditions. So far this year, Saudi Electricity Co is the only issuer from the kingdom to issue bonds internationally, pricing a $2 billion sukuk in March. Bahraini names may also issue. The sovereign has been a regular issuer of bonds in global markets in a bid to develop a yield curve and to plug its deficit, despite political instability in the country. Majority government owned Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco) is meeting investors this week for potentially its first international bond deal. Investors have indicated appetite for the deal will be buoyed by the opportunity to buy into a rare GCC corporate credit. — Reuters

ENRC chairman quits at board meeting

ernment owned Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), squeezed by a heavy subsidy bill, stopped supplying those Emirates. Abu Dhabi Oil Refining Company (TAKREER) has been working to expand the Ruwais complex, the UAE’s biggest refinery with a capacity of 415,000 barrels per day (BPD), which is located around 240 kilometers west of capital. The expansion will be in the form of a new plant adjacent to the existing plant and within the Ruwais industrial complex, the official said. The expansion is to double the refining capacity of Ruwais at an estimated cost of $10 billion. “We think the technical commissioning will be around late 2014,” the official said, adding that the country will “definitely” import gasoline this summer, while for next year, ADNOC will assess the market. “Next year around this time, we will know if we’d import or not for the summer,” the official said. —Reuters

Barclays banker for MENA FIs resigns DUBAI: Michael Helou, a Barclays banker who headed the British lender’s financial institutions group in the Middle East and North Africa, has resigned from the bank, three sources aware of the matter told Reuters. Helou was brought in by Barclays’ investment banking arm, Barclays Capital, from Rothschild in 2010 to lead the division which advises banks and other financial institutions in the region on mergers and acquisitions, fixed income and equity capital markets transactions. Dubai-based Helou left the bank few weeks ago, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter is not public. Both Barclays and Helou were not immediately available to comment on why he left and his plans for the future. Helou originally moved to Dubai in 2006 to set up Rothschild’s regional office. At Barclays, he worked on several prominent deals including Qatar Holding’s 2010 purchase of a stake in Santander’s Brazilian unit, and

dominated by Dubai, including a two-part $1.25 billion issue by the government, a $1 billion issue from state utility Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and $1.75 billion from flagship airline Emirates in two separate sales. Including bonds from Dubai based banks, total year to date issuance from the Emirate, which has benefited from a return of investor sentiment and an economic revival in some sectors, stands at $5.75 billion. Standard Chartered said it expected Abu Dhabi related names to issue about $8.5 billion, dominated by quasi-sovereign entities, potentially state investment fund Mubadala Development Co and Tourism Development Investment Co (TDIC), which have not tapped markets recently. The bank also predicted the Qatar sovereign would issue $4 billion, nearly half of total anticipated issuance from that country. Qatar National Bank, the state’s biggest

Kuwaiti lender Burgan Bank’s purchase of EFG Euro Bank’s Turkish unit, the sources said. He was also involved in the planned merger of Qatar’s Al Khaliji Commercial Bank and International Bank of Qatar, a deal which stalled in 2011 after the parties failed to agree terms. Middle Eastern deal activity has been picking up after a subdued period. Cash-rich Gulf Arab sheikhs and governments are buying European assets, lured in part by attractive valuations due to weak markets. Barclays topped the Middle Eastern M&A fee rankings for completed deals in 2012, according to Thomson Reuters data, raking in 9 percent of the overall fee pool in the segment. The Middle East, home to some of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, will be a key area for investment banks including Barclays in coming years, Barclays’ global vice-chairman for investment banking, Makram Azar, told Reuters in an interview last year. —Reuters

LONDON: The chairman of London listed Kazakh miner ENRC, Mehmet Dalman, may have resigned at a board meeting yesterday, said two sources close to the matter, which may prompt more senior departures from the embattled company. ENRC already faces an uncertain future as it struggles to move on from damaging boardroom battles, a break-neck expansion that has left it sitting on $5 billion of debt. It also faces allegations of corruption and a potential buyout. “Today is the day,” one of the sources said yesterday, adding the make or break meeting would discuss “how ENRC goes forward”. Dalman, director since ENRC listed in 2007, was named chairman last year when the company promised to clean up its boardroom and its strategy and boost its lagging shares. Since then, however, ENRC stock has continued to fall and a string of executive departures in the past weeks has fuelled long running corporate governance concerns. Complicating matters further, the company’s founding oligarchs said last week they were considering a buyout that would take ENRC private, even as the company investigates whistleblower allegations of illegal payments in Kazakhstan and potential wrongdoing in its African operations. Dalman, struggling in his bid to turn around the company’s fortunes and strengthen the board’s control over the group, has already spoken to some minority shareholders about his potential departure, one of the sources said. He has not made a final decision, but could announce his departure during the all day meeting, the sources said. A resignation would not be unexpected after weeks of market rumors over ENRC’s future and Dalman’s own. But it would still be a blow to a company that portrayed its chairman as a force for change, beefing up his role late last year by handing him some executive functions. The sources said potential replacements for Dalman included non-executive director Gerhard Ammann, head of a Swiss private bank. ENRC declined to comment. Directors of the FTSE said that 100 miners will also discuss the potential bid approach, announced on Friday, from ENRC’s founding shareholders and the Kazakh government. Together, the three founders and the government own more than 55 percent of ENRC

shares and could take the company private. They have to determine whether or not they intend to bid by May 17. News of a potential buyout came as the company’s shares hit their lowest point since the height of the financial crisis, while ENRC runs internal investigations into allegations of wrongdoing. The first probe, into Kazakhstan, has already been filed to UK authorities, while the second is ongoing. UK authorities have sent the miner demands for documents that could

signal the launch of a formal inquiry. At least one executive, ENRC’s head of Africa Victor Hanna, has taken leave of absence and was relieved of his duties, a separate source familiar with the company said earlier this week. Hanna has not been suspended. ENRC company is expected to appoint an investment bank to advise independent directors on the potential buyout. Lazard has worked for the board in the past, but declined to comment. Societe Generale is advising the bidding consortium. — Reuters

Dana Gas shareholders, OK sukuk restructuring DUBAI: Shareholders in Abu Dhabi listed energy firm Dana Gas approved a plan to restructure its $920 million Islamic bond, the company said. Last October Dana became the first company in the United Arab Emirates to miss repayment of a maturing bond, but it subsequently agreed new terms with a creditor committee representing bondholders, including investment firms Ashmore Group and BlackRock. Under the plan, the company will repay $70 million in cash, with the remaining $850 million split equally between two new five year sukuk, an ordinary Islamic bond and a convertible sukuk, which will pay an average coupon of 8 percent. The new sukuk will be issued on May 8. Dana Gas was hit by delays on payments for its supplies of natural gas to Egypt and Iraq’s Kurdistan region. Shareholder approval of the debt restructuring had been expected after Majid Jafar, chief executive of Crescent Petroleum, the biggest shareholder in Dana Gas, told Reuters in January that he supported the scheme. Crescent, based in the United Arab Emirates, owns 22 percent of Dana. Shareholder meetings to vote on the restructuring did not meet the required quorum on March 14 and March 21. “The restructuring will allow the company to

have a ‘breather’ for five more years, and we believe in its ability to meet the restructuring repayment schedule relying only on its own resources,” Quantum Investment Bank said in a research note yesterday. It initiated coverage of the Dana Gas sukuk with a “buy” recommendation and estimated fair value for the company’s shares at 0.84 dirhams, above its last market price of 0.48. “Dana Gas can now move for ward from a solid position, with a focus on receivables collection and strengthening the top management team, while selectively pursuing new growth opportunities,” Jafar said. Dana Gas, which posted a 20 percent increase in 2012 net profit on higher oil prices and lower costs, said last month it had collected a total of $73.7 million in receivables from its operations in Egypt and the Kurdistan region of Iraq in 2013. Those payments are equal to 12.5 percent of the $589 million outstanding receivables owed to Dana at the end of 2012. Of that total, about $353 million was owed by the Kurdistan Regional Government. Dana said on Monday that it had won a bid in Egypt to develop an offshore block in the Nile Delta, and had pre-qualified in Lebanon’s first offshore licensing round to explore for gas in deep-water exploration blocks. — Reuters

EXCHANGE RATES Irani riyal - cash

Commercial Bank of Kuwait US Dollar/KD GB Pound/KD Euro Swiss francs Canadian Dollar Australian DLR Indian rupees Sri Lanka Rupee UAE dirhams Bahraini dinars Jordanian dinar Saudi riyals Omani riyals Egyptian pounds

.2770000 .4310000 .3680000 .3020000 .2780000 .2940000 .0040000 .0020000 .0771240 .7513970 .3930000 .0720000 .7366120 .0370000

CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES US Dollar/KD .2841000 GB Pound/KD .4338920 Euro .3707360 Swiss francs .3043390 Canadian dollars .2795430 Danish Kroner .0497330 Swedish Kroner .0443660 Australian dlr .2963730 Hong Kong dlr .0365940 Singapore dlr .2291130 Japanese yen .0029600 Indian Rs/KD .0000000 Sri Lanka rupee .0000000 Pakistan rupee .0000000 Bangladesh taka .0000000 UAE dirhams .0773800 Bahraini dinars .7538810 Jordanian dinar .0000000 Saudi Riyal/KD .0757800 Omani riyals .7382100 Philippine Peso .0000000

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. Japanese Yen Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka Philippine Peso Thai Baht Irani riyal - transfer

ASIAN COUNTRIES 2.891 5.253 2.898 2.249 3.293 230.960 36.799 3.655 6.913 9.939 0.271

.2880000 .4470000 .3760000 .3170000 .2920000 .3020000 .0069000 .0035000 .0778990 .7589480 .4110000 .0770000 .7440150 .0440000 .2862000 .4370990 .3734770 .3065880 .2816100 .0501010 .0446940 .2985640 .0368650 .2308060 .0028810 .0052870 .0022880 .0029190 .0036810 .0779520 .7594530 .4048090 .0763400 .7436660 .0069870


Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd

GCC COUNTRIES 76.217 78.532 742.370 759.130 77.826

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash 40.900 Egyptian Pound - Transfer 40.827 Yemen Riyal/for 1000 1.333 Tunisian Dinar 178.840 Jordanian Dinar 403.620 Lebanese Lira/for 1000 1.917 Syrian Lier 3.105 Morocco Dirham 34.175 EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 285.700 Euro 372.550 Sterling Pound 436.410 Canadian dollar 279.000 Turkish lira 159.060 Swiss Franc 307.200 US Dollar Buying 284.500 GOLD 298.000 150.000 77.500

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

SELL DRAFT 297.13 282.20 305.71 374.12 285.10 438.63 2.96 3.672 5.249 2.251 3.290 2.903 77.69 759.11 40.83 406.16 741.99 78.73 76.16

Selling Rate 285.450 281.190 437.475 373.430 305.730 755.735 77.695 78.355 76.085 402.390 40.800 2.255 5.261 2.897 3.658 6.907 700.225 3.885 10.010 4.065 3.380 93.345

Bahrain Exchange Company CURRENCY

UAE Exchange Centre WLL COUNTRY Australian Dollar Canadian Dollar Swiss Franc Euro US Dollar Sterling Pound Japanese Yen Bangladesh Taka Indian Rupee Sri Lankan Rupee Nepali Rupee Pakistani Rupee UAE Dirhams Bahraini Dinar Egyptian Pound Jordanian Dinar Omani Riyal Qatari Riyal Saudi Riyal

Rate for Transfer US Dollar Canadian Dollar Sterling Pound Euro Swiss Frank Bahrain Dinar UAE Dirhams Qatari Riyals Saudi Riyals Jordanian Dinar Egyptian Pound Sri Lankan Rupees Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Bangladesh Taka Philippines Pesso Cyprus pound Japanese Yen Thai Bhat Syrian Pound Nepalese Rupees Malaysian Ringgit

SELL CASH 295.500 281.000 307.000 375.500 286.500 439.000 3.300 3.760 5.450 2.440 3.400 2.980 78.300 757.500 41.000 410.000 743.000 78.500 76.500

British Pound Czech Korune Danish Krone Euro Norwegian Krone Scottish Pound Swedish Krona Swiss Franc

BUY Europe 0.4289075 0.0061791 0.0460000 0.3676375 0.0447180 0.4267750 0.0395780 0.3001392

SELL 0.4379075 0.0181791 0.0510000 0.3751375 0.0499180 0.4342750 0.0445780 0.3071392

Australasia 0.2821250 0.2314000 0.0001154

0.2941250 0.2414000 0.0001154

Canadian Dollar Colombian Peso US Dollars

America 0.2711845 0.0001487 0.2833500

0.2801845 0.0001667 0.2855000

Bangladesh Taka Cape Vrde Escudo Chinese Yuan Eritrea-Nakfa

Asia 0.0036139 0.0031674 0.0451165 0.0165000

0.0036689 0.0033974 0.0501165 0.0196000

Australian Dollar New Zealand Dollar Uganda Shilling

Guinea Franc Hg Kong Dollar Indian Rupee Indonesian Rupiah Jamaican Dollars Japanese Yen Kenyan Shilling Malaysian Ringgit Nepalese Rupee Pakistan Rupee Philippine Peso Sierra Leone Singapore Dollar Sri Lankan Rupee Thai Baht

0.0000443 0.0342386 0.0051920 0.0000244 0.0028529 0.0028134 0.0033512 0.0893709 0.0031342 0.0028722 0.0064975 0.0000729 0.2261171 0.0019512 0.0095303

Bahraini Dinar Egyptian Pound Ethiopeanbirr Ghanaian Cedi Iranian Riyal Iraqi Dinar Jordanian Dinar Kuwaiti Dinar Lebanese Pound Moroccan Dirhams Nigerian Naira Omani Riyal Qatar Riyal Saudi Riyal Sudanese Pounds Syrian Pound Tunisian Dinar UAE Dirhams Yemeni Riyal

Arab 0.7508679 0.0388163 0.0129361 0.1486163 0.0000794 0.0001737 0.3971117 1.0000000 0.0001751 0.0219621 0.0012143 0.7305483 0.0777645.0785475 0.0756000 0.0480051 0.0031859 0.1779524 0.0763038 0.0012880

0.0000503 0.0373386 0.0052560 0.0000295 0.0038529 0.0029934 0.0035812 0.0963709 0.0033342 0.0029122 0.0069375 0.0000759 0.2321171 0.0022532 0.0101303 0.7593679 0.0408317 0.0194361 0.1504063 0.0000799 0.0002337 0.4046117 1.0000000 0.0001951 0.0459621 0.0018493 0.7415483 O.0762400 0.0485551 0.0034059 0.1839524 0.0777538 0.0013880

Al Mulla Exchange Currency US Dollar Euro Pound Sterling Canadian Dollar Japanese Yen Indian Rupee Egyptian Pound Sri Lankan Rupee Bangladesh Taka Philippines Peso Pakistan Rupee Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham Saudi Riyal *Rates are subject to change

Transfer Rate (Per 1000) 285.100 374.900 437.700 280.100 2.905 5.250 40.810 2.248 3.654 6.910 2.897 759.150 77.700 76.150



Lebanese CB chief sees better growth this year BEIRUT: Lebanon’s economic growth should increase to more than 2 percent in 2013, Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh said yesterday, noting stimulus plans were helping to eke out expansion in the country bordering war torn Syria. Lebanon is in its third year of relatively sluggish growth. “Real growth for this year is expected to be above 2 percent,” Salameh told Reuters at an economic conference in Beirut. “ If the political environment remains amenable, the season in which Lebanon achieves the most growth is between June and September. So it is possible that we could exceed this number.” The 2012 growth rate was estimated at 1.5 percent in an economy that is partially dependent on summer tourism from Gulf Arab states. Tourism dropped last year due to travel warnings, but some Lebanese officials have said they expect an increase in Gulf visitors this summer. Lebanon, a nation of about four million people, enjoyed GDP growth of around 7 to 8 percent annually from 2007 to 2010, but that fell off sharply in 2011 after the government collapsed

due to domestic political jockeying. Tensions further increased when the uprising against President Bashar AlAssad in Syria began a few months later. Sectarian tensions in Lebanon, which fought a ruinous civil war from 1975 to 1990, have been exacerbated by the conflict in Syria, where majority Sunni Muslims are fighting to overthrow Assad, who is from the Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shiite Islam. Salameh said his country’s stimulus plan, which includes housing loans, loans to the productive sector, and loans for the energy sector, should allow for a slight increase in growth this year. He said Lebanon’s economic conditions were better than in countries hit by the wave of protests that spread across the Arab world and toppled governments in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen. “Today, compared to what is happening in other non-oil producing Arab countries, Lebanon’s growth situation is positive. With our stimulus plan for credit we have strengthened possibilities for growth so that we would not have to face any decline or stagnation,” he told journalists. — Reuters

Piraeus Bank to stay private in $9.5bn capital boost ATHENS: Piraeus Bank, one of the four main Greek lenders, yesterday said it had mustered the necessary funds to remain private with a 7.3-billion-euro ($9.5 billion) recapitalization drive. “Given that Piraeus Bank has already agreed on the participation of BCP and Societe Generale in its capital increase, it has ensured the private sector’s minimum participation that safeguards the bank’s private character,” it said in an announcement. “The bank’s private character has been confirmed,” head of the Piraeus Banking Group Michalis Sallas told journalists. On Monday, Piraeus announced that it had acquired the entire share capital of Millenium Bank Greece, and that the bank’s parent company, Portuguese bank Millenium BCP, would invest 400 million euros in Piraeus’ planned capital increase. Another 170 million euros came from a deal in December to acquire Geniki Bank from France’s Societe Generale, Piraeus said. All four of Greece’s main lenders-National Bank, Piraeus, Alpha and Eurobank-are in the process of recapitalization as part of the terms included in Greece’s latest bailout deal. A sum of 50 billion euros from Greece’s EU-IMF rescue loans has been earmarked

for the recapitalization of Greek banks following the heavy losses they suffered by taking part in a writedown of privately-held Greek government bonds last year. To avoid effective nationalization, banks are required to raise 10 percent of the total recapitalisation from private investors. The Hellenic financial stability fund on Monday said the four main banks had already been allocated their share of 27.5 billion euros in prepayments and commitments. According to the finance ministry, the recapitalization process must be completed by the end of April. On Monday, Eurobank said it would no longer seek private funds but would recommend to shareholders a fully state-backed recapitalization instead. Even the head of Greece’s main union GSEE uncharacteristically expressed concern about the recapitalization issue yesterday. “We call on every Greek to back this effort from what little they have to save our entire banking system,” GSEE head Yiannis Panagopoulos said. “We are interested in keeping the banks Greek,” he told President Carolos Papoulias, adding that the effort should focus on National Bank, the country’s oldest and largest lender. — AFP

CBK posts KD24.7m operating profit before provisions Commercial Bank of Kuwait results for first quarter 2013 KUWAIT: Commercial Bank of Kuwait announced an operating profit of KD24.7 million (1Q2012: KD22.4 million) before provisions for the first quarter of 2013. This was allocated as specific and judgmental provisions against the loan and investment portfolios resulting in a net profit attributable to shareholders of the parent bank for three months to March 31, 2013 of KD0.8 million (1Q2012: KD0.3 million). Following the bank’s prudent policy of building a strong provision base and proactive recognition of problems, total provisions held with the bank as at the end of the 1st quarter amounted to KD114.5 million. Commenting on the bank ’s financial results, Fowzi Al-Ateeqi, Secretary to the Board, GM - Investment and the bank’s official spokesman said “Commercial Bank is moving well ahead according to its planned strategy that aims at strengthening the bank’s financial position, reduce the percentage of NPLs and generating income from the bank’s core business activities. The charge for Impairment and other provisions for credit facilities and investments was KD23.9 million for 1Q2013 compared to the KD 22.0 million of 1Q 2012. Asset quality indicators showed improvement with non-performing loans falling from 6.4 percent of total loans in 1Q 2012 to 2.9 percent of total loans in 1Q 2013.” Fowzi Al-Ateeqi further commented that the improvement in asset quality, stronger

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Sixteen Asia-Pacific countries are set to start talks next month on a free trade zone that would cover over half the world’s population, according to a document yesterday. The start of negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are planned despite deep rifts among potential members, including China, Japan and Southeast Asian nations, over rival territorial claims. Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), who will meet in Brunei today and tomorrow, are expected to focus on kick-starting the talks after launching the process last year at a regional summit in Phnom Penh. The leaders will note that “the

HSBC to shed 1,149 UK jobs in new round of cutbacks jobs would be affected by the latest plans, but the bank expects to redeploy just over 2,000 of the staff. It adds to 2,200 UK job cuts made a year ago. The bank employs just over 47,000 staff in Britain, or about 40,000 excluding its investment bank and head office. The cuts will mostly come from wealth management, where the bank said it is shifting advisors into its consumer retail banking business from June. Some 942 relationship management roles will go, including commercial banking financial advisor positions. Gulliver has cut 34,500 global jobs since taking over in early 2011, or 12 percent of staff, which has slashed annual costs by $3.6 billion. He is expected to say next month he is targeting another $1 billion of annual savings, which could result in anoth-

Fowzi Al-Ateeqi than twice the international ratio required by Basel II. Commercial Bank of Kuwait took the opportunity to thank the bank’s valued customers for their trust and confidence. Commercial Bank of Kuwait provides its corporate and retail customers with wide spectrum of banking products and services.

Asia-Pacific countries to start free trade talks

LONDON: The UK headquarters of HSBC at Canary Wharf in London. HSBC yesterday said it planned a net reduction of 1,149 British jobs under a shake-up of the global bank’s division that deals with high-depositing investors. — AFP

LONDON: HSBC is cutting 1,149 jobs in Britain in another round of redundancies to save money and slim down Europe’s biggest bank. These are part of a 3-year revival plan by Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver to reduce costs, raise returns and focus on profitable areas. Banks across the world are shedding thousands of staff to tr y to increase profitability, improve technology and cope with tougher regulations brought in after the financial crisis. In Britain, banks have axed thousands of jobs in response to new rules on how they sell investment products. HSBC said yesterday the latest cuts reflected the changing nature of customer behavior and regulation. The bank said its changes mean customers will have a single advisor for their banking and wealth management. HSBC said 3,166 UK

capital base and well managed liquidity ensures that positive trend will continue. The bank has set a balanced strategy that will focus on analyzing available growth opportunities according to the current economic situation with a particular emphasis on core business activities but more focus on profitability and less risky activities. At the same time, the bank will be participating in certain international operations, especially in the area of international trade finance and the international projects between and Kuwait and brotherly countries that will help the bank to return to high profitability levels. The bank is successfully pursuing its target on upgrading and improving the operational efficiencies by the development of technology used in providing customer services. The bank continues to demonstrate its cost leadership with operational efficiency a competitive advantage for the bank which continues to maintain one of the lowest cost/income ratios among Kuwait banks at 23.1 percent for the 1Q 2013. Commercial Bank’s total assets at the end of March 2013 reached KD 3.8 billion (December 2012: KD 3.7 billion) with shareholders equity of KD 555.2 million (December 2012: KD 552.1 million). The capital adequacy ratio at March 2013 is 19.34 percent which exceeds the minimum 12 percent required by the Central Bank of Kuwait. The bank continues to have a strong capital base with more

er 5,000 redundancies this year, analysts estimated. The latest round of cuts will also affect staff in support roles and commercial banking, where HSBC said it is cutting the number of business specialist roles and increasing the number of international business managers. Gulliver has axed jobs across North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, excluding Hong Kong. He said he expected to shed 30,000 jobs by taking out bureaucracy and underperforming businesses when he laid out a three-year revival plan in May 2011, but said he also wanted to add 15,000 in faster growing areas. Although he has surpassed his target to slice $3.5 billion off annual expenses, costs accounted for 62.8 percent of income last year, well above another target to get that ratio below 52 percent. — Reuters

negotiations will commence in May” in the Brunei capital of Bandar Seri Begawan, according to a draft of the chairman’s end-of-meeting statement obtained by AFP. “We looked forward to the broadening and deepening of existing (free trade agreements) and envisioned the RCEP to be a platform for future trade and investment integration in Asia and the rest of the world,” the draft stated, which is prepared by senior officials and could be changed. RCEP covers ASEAN’s 10 member countries-Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam-as well as Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. It aims to tie

together ASEAN’s bilateral free trade agreements with each trading partner, but excludes the United States which is leading talks for a rival trade pact called the TransPacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP currently involves 12 countries: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. “The RCEP provides an important platform for building trade liberalization within the Asia-Pacific, which is the world’s fastest growing region,”, Rajiv Biswas, chief regional economist at IHS Global Insight, told AFP. “ The initiative is very important as it includes the three major drivers of emerging markets growth-China, India and ASEAN.”

Potential members have said previously they are keen to make progress towards an RCEP, despite being engaged in diplomatic rows over various rival territorial claims in the region. China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia have competing claims to parts of the South China Sea, and tensions have escalated in recent years amid complaints of increased Chinese aggression. Meanwhile, China and Japan are locked in an even more tense dispute over islands in the East China Sea. In another territorial row, relations between Tokyo and Seoul have been strained by a dispute over a Seoul-controlled chain of islets in the Sea of Japan (East Sea). — AFP



Oil falls towards $99 on Chinese, German data LONDON: Brent crude oil fell towards $99 a barrel yesterday after weaker-than-expected manufacturing data from China and Germany darkened the outlook for fuel demand. June Brent crude was down $1.00 to $99.39 a barrel by 1008 GMT, while US crude for June delivery was down 86 cents at $88.33. The flash HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index for April fell to 50.5 in April from 51.6 a month earlier as new export orders shrank in China. The PMI’s 50-point level divides growth from contraction from the month before. The data followed lower-than-expected GDP growth for China in the first quarter which helped sparked a sharp sell-off last week. There was also a surprise decline in business activity

among German companies, although the overall euro zone services PMI rose slightly and met economists forecasts. “China and German data disappointed, so it’s not a big surprise that oil comes off and the technical picture points to another push lower,” Bjarne Schieldrop, an analyst at SEB in Oslo, said. He cited $99 and $97.60 as levels of support for oil, but said that, in the longer term, current prices presented buying opportunities. “Seasonal demand is likely to return, and with refineries coming back from maintenance we see now as a good time to get into the market,” he said. Brent settled above $100 on Monday for the first time in five sessions as traders saw oil below the psychological level

as a bargain. The benchmark has fallen 10 percent from about $111 in early April due to concerns about global growth. The decline has sparked speculation that OPEC could look again at supply at its May 31 meeting although Libya has said it would seek to increase its output quota. In response to China’s moderate growth, Saudi Arabia is expected to keep oil output steady throughout the second quarter after a 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) cut in the last two months of 2012. Violence in oil producing countries which raised supply worries helped prevent a sharper drop. At least 26 people were killed yesterday when Iraqi forces and Sunni Muslim protesters clashed after troops raided their anti-government demonstration camp near

Kirkuk, military sources said. Later in the day, at least seven people were killed and 17 more wounded when two roadside bombs targeted worshippers as they were leaving a Sunni Muslim mosque in southern Baghdad, police said. France’s embassy in Libya was hit by what appeared to be a car bomb yesterday, injuring two guards in the first such attack in the capital Tripoli since the end of the 2011 war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi. Fighting in Africa’s top energy producer Nigeria and a force majeure on its Bonny Light crude exports also helped to put a floor under Brent prices. The country’s oil production is beset by widespread oil theft which forced Royal Dutch Shell to shut its 150,000 bpd Nembe pipeline last week. —Reuters

Barroso: Tide turning against austerity in EU France, Spain seek more time BRUSSELS: The head of the European Commission has suggested that the tide may be turning against austerity just as major euro-zone economies France and Spain seek more time to bring down their deficits. Supporters of a policy switch away from austerity in the pursuit of growth hailed former Socialist Portuguese prime minister, Jose Manuel Barroso, for “waking from a coma” after he suggested the time may have come to rethink the bloc’s emphasis on belt-tightening during a Brussels panel discussion on Monday. But his remarks drew criticism too, yesterday for ringing “hollow” after Barroso failed to produce an alternative recipe for the 340 million people of a currency area battered by recession and unemployment. The word ‘austerity’ originates in ancient Greek and relates to the notion of ‘drying’. Barroso said that “while this policy is fundamentally right, I think it has reached its limits in many aspects, because a policy to be successful not only has to be properly designed. It has to have the minimum of political and social support.” Barroso said the European Union was only now in a position to contemplate fixing the flaws in patchwork national banking supervision that allowed the crisis to explode, with the creation of euro zonewide super-oversight led by the euro currency’s European Central Bank. But he conceded that this supervisory correction will “not respond to the concerns of the unemployed citizen in Greece or Portugal or many other countries we could quote.” Though perhaps not politically plausible, he said the goals of austerity must remain bedrock policy in order to create economic space for growth and job creation that is not “artificial”-that is, based on unsustainable public or private debt. Barroso’s comments come as the leader of the EU’s executive toys with a bid for a third term in Brussels-or a transfer to another branch of the EU power machine. Weeks away from new Commission assessments of French and Spanish requests to be given extra time to reduce the debt burden from public spending to within agreed EU limitsthe historical problem at the root of Greece’s collapse-Barroso did not offer any alternative to austerity.

A fellow of the London School of Economics, Sony Kapoor, took to Twitter yesterday to mock the weight attributed to Barroso’s observations of shifting political sands at a time when 26 million adults are out of work across the bloc. Besides, the politician’s “much belated questioning of austerity rings hollow,” Kapoor said, because he “merely said it’s politically difficult, not that it’s economic nonsense.” The economist summed up an argument he has maintained right through the crisis by terming austerity “mindless, arithmetically nonsensical, politically tone deaf, socially risky, intellectually indefensible and financially unsustainable.” Meanwhile new economic survey data released yesterday indicated that the euro-zone economy contracted for the 19th time in 20 months in April-amid worrying signs of a renewed decline in powerhouse Germany. Political and economic viewpoints rival to that of the EU have maintained throughout the crisis that large-scale pruning of government spending throughout the globally-important European economy would only succeed in stunting growth. The head of the Socialists and Democrats grouping in the European Parliament mocked Barroso yesterday “for waking up from his five -year coma and finally acknowledging the reality that austerity is neither effective nor socially viable.” In the parliament later yesterday, lawmakers voted on plans by EU leaders to redirect six billion Euros of spending towards the sore of youth unemployment-the rate among under-25s in Spain and Greece touching two thirds over the past year. Spain, the fourth-biggest economy after Germany, France and Italy, has little domestic room for maneuver, having posted the euro-zone’s largest 2012 deficit of 10.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), including the cost of recapitalizing banks hammered by the collapse of a real-estate bubble. France, while much better, still came in at 4.8 percent, with public debt also reaching a new record of 90.2 percent of GDP in 2012. The scale of the policy turnaround Barroso was referring to, though, might best be seen in Italy’s public debtwhich crossed 127 percent of output last year, a figure historically seen as unsustainable over the long term. — AFP

Storm clouds gather over South Africa’s consumers JOHANNESBURG: South Africans, it seems, just can’t stop spending. Roads in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban are jam-packed with more BMWs, Mercedes Benz and even Ferraris than you can shake a gearstick at. The country’s ubiquitous malls are filled with shoppers laden with enough bags to give Paris Hilton buyer’s remorse. The data behind the anecdotes of bling tell the same tale: consumer spending has increased every quarter since 2009. Retail sales have been wobbly since the global meltdown, but have jumped 3.8 percent in the last year. Yet all is not well among the great South African spending public. Consumers, it seems, are increasingly borrowing to survive-and often to pay for conspicuously ostentatious lifestylescreating what many worry is a time bomb for Africa’s largest economy. Johannesburg nurse Celia Mondi, 40, is one of those borrowing just to make ends meet. “My savings have been depleted. I have no choice but to borrow to afford basic needs,” she said. “Almost my entire pay check goes towards repayments of credit cards, loans and insurance,” said the single mother of two. “Cash is scarce.” The fact that people like Mondi are struggling has economists and policymakers worried. That is because she is part of the black middle class-dubbed “Black Diamonds”-that have been a pillar of the South African economy since the end of

apartheid in 1994. Reaping the benefits of the “Rainbow Nation”, Mondi and others obtained an economic standing that was impossible before apartheid was finally thrown aside in 1994. That meant access to mortgages, vehicle finance and many other forms of credit. But there are ominous signs the party appears to be coming to an end. According to the National Credit Regulator, there were 12 percent more applications for credit in December 2012 than September of the same year. Unsecured loans, with high interest rates, now make the bulk of applications. A fifth of creditactive consumers are failing behind in repayments by at least three months. Economist John Loos says households’ debt-to-disposable income ratio stands at 76 percent. And the health of the broader economy is not helping. Increased food, electricity and transport costs are eating further into already shredded pocketbooks. Inflation for March stood at 5.9 percent. Economists predict that inflation will breach six percent in the third quarter, with no relief in sight. To add to consumers’ woes the national energy regulator plans an eight percent electricity tariff hike over the next five years. The increase put an end to years of cheap electricity. Prices have also been pushed upward by a weakening of the rand, which has made imports more expensive. According to Loos, hiking interest rates, currently at 5.0 percent, could reduce household spending. —AFP



OECD backs Japan deflation fight TOKYO: The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development yesterday backed Japan’s bid to end years of deflation, but called on Tokyo to step up efforts to shrink its huge debt pile. In an annual country report, the 34-member OECD described the new government’s bid to reverse falling prices with huge stimulus measures as “most encouraging”. Deflation has dragged on growth in the world’s third-largest economy for at least 15 years with successive administrations unable to conquer the problem. But critics say the policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his hand-picked Bank of Japan team could inflate the country’s massive public debt, which at more than twice the size of the economy is the worst in the industrialized world. “Ending 15 years of deflation is a priority,” the report said. “The new government’s resolve to revitalize the economy through a three-pronged strategy combining bold monetary policy, flexible fiscal policy and a growth strategy, is most encouraging.” But it added that “stopping and reversing the rise in the debtto-GDP ratio is crucial”. Since landslide national elections in December, Abe has

pushed controversial big spending, easy money policies, dubbed “Abenomics”, that have fuelled optimism over an economy that has struggled for two decades. Despite warnings from some economists that the policies could fail, investors have cheered the moves, sending Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 soaring as the easing helps push down the value of the yen. A weaker currency tends to help Japan’s exporters and, in turn, lifts their shares. The yen’s rapid weakening in recent months has stoked criticism from abroad that Tokyo was engineering a currency devaluation to lift its economy at the expense of rival nations. But the OECD dismissed those fears yesterday, saying that the Bank of Japan’s “aggressive monetary easing will boost growth and inflation, in part through a weaker yen, although Japan is not targeting the exchange rate”. The comments come days after finance chiefs of the G20, following a meeting in Washington, gave a cautious endorsement of Japan’s huge monetary stimulus program, agreeing it was necessary to boost the country’s stagnant economy. OECD Secretary-General Angel

Gurria praised Abe’s policies at a Tokyo press briefing yesterday, saying “this is indeed an exciting time” for Japan. “ There is a feeling of optimism and

dynamism in the air and this is reflected in recent economic indicators. Confidence is coming back, both in firms and households,” he said after the report

TOKYO: Angel Gurria, Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) gestures during his press conference announcing the Economic Surveys of Japan 2013 at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo yesterday. — AFP

was published. Also yesterday, the OECD reiterated its calls on Japan to adopt deep reforms alongside its new economy boosting efforts, including controlling social security costs as a rapidly ageing population strains the public purse. Japan must address other key issues including social inequality while opening up the protected agriculture and electricity sectors, Gurria said. The report also urged the government to raise tax revenue while cutting spending to repair the country’s fiscal health. “Controlling expenditures, particularly for social security in the face of rapid population ageing, is key,” the report said. “Substantial tax increases will be needed as well, although this will also have a negative impact on growth.” The previous administration in Tokyo passed legislation to double Japan’s sales tax to 10 percent by 2015. The OECD also said Japan must work on its labor force mix, including bringing more women into the workforce, an area where Japan lags behind many developed economies. “Boosting labor force participation and productivity are essential,” the report said. — AFP

New US homes sales rise 1.5% in March to 417K Data points to sustained housing recovery

NEW YORK: A Delta Airlines jet flies past the company’s billboard at Citi Field, in New York. Delta Air Lines Inc reported quarterly financial results before the market opened yesterday. —AP

Delta posts small Q1 profit MINNEAPOLIS: Delta Air Lines said government spending cuts and weak demand from vacationers are hurting revenue this month. Lower fuel prices should help to offset the decline, the airline said yesterday. Automatic government spending cuts that took effect last month have been cutting into air travel at some airlines. Delta said demand from last-minute travelers - a category that can include people flying on government business - began to fall in the last part of March, and that demand from leisure travelers is softer, too. Delta said per-seat revenue will fall 2 percent to 3 percent this month. In response, the airline has been keeping a lid on flying, aiming to charge more for the seats that it does offer to passengers. During the first quarter, it cut flying capacity by 3 percent. It said capacity will be flat to up 1 percent in the second quarter. The

world’s second-biggest airline earned $7 million, or a penny per share, for the quarter that ended March 31. Not counting special items, it would have earned $85 million, or 10 cents per share - better than analysts had been expecting. The company reported net income of $124 million in the year-ago quarter, but excluding special items it lost $39 million, or 5 cents per share. Revenue rose 1 percent to $8.5 billion, matching analyst expectations. The first three months of the year are often money-losers for airlines. Delta says this was its best first-quarter operating profit in more than a decade. Yield, which is one way to measure fares, rose 2.1 percent. Delta’s oil refinery near Philadelphia lost $22 million because of ongoing supply disruptions from Superstorm Sandy and an outage in its gasoline production unit. — AP

Kenyatta pledges to cut red-tape, help industry NAIROBI: From his leather chair in the boardroom of Jamii Bora bank, Sam Kimani looks out over Kenya’s booming capital city and laments the bureaucracy and power cuts that drive up business costs and choke the supply of new homes. He points through the window at the stand by generator that is an inevitable expense in east Africa’s biggest economy, and he explains how the difficulties of tracking down land ownership documents perpetuate Kenya’s housing shortage. Kenya’s Land Registry is a place where “files get lost, so for six months you cannot register a charge,” said Kimani, Jamii Bora’s chief executive, referring to establishing land ownership for borrowing and building purposes. “It is a very big challenge and land registry must be reformed.” Bureaucracy is one of the shackles that bind an economy which could be growing much faster and lifting many more of Kenya’s 40 million people out of poverty. Newly elected President Uhuru Kenyatta has acknowledged the need to make official processes simpler. He has promised to ensure a more reliable power supply, attract more foreign investment and promote Kenyan products abroad. But in Nairobi, where the chugging of generators echoes round the office blocks, hotels and shopping malls whenever rain storms damage transmission lines or demand exceeds generation capacity, many remain skeptical. Kenya’s economy has yet to return to the 7 percent plus growth pace it reached in 2007 before election violence slammed the brakes on. The economy grew 4.5 to 5 percent in 2012, more slowly than some neighbors. “One of the problems we have in this country is the implementation of the good policies that are written down,” said Charles Kibiru, chief executive of property firm Thika Greens. “The incoming government needs to go an extra mile in the execution of the projects.” Kenyatta, the 51-year-old son of Kenya’s first president, won power in peaceful voting last month that has gone a long way to restore confidence in the country as one of Africa’s most stable democracies. The main share index is up six percent and the shilling currency has strengthened. But executives say the post-election glow will fade unless Kenyatta listed by Forbes as Kenya’s richest man, helps other landown-

ers and business leaders to create more jobs. For Kimani at Jamii Bora, one of the first targets for reform should be the land registry, where many of his 300,000 clients struggle with slow registration and multiple licensing requirements for construction permits. The government says Kenya needs to build 250,000 homes a year but for now constructs just 50,000. The Ministry of Lands says it is digitizing records, a project partly funded by Sweden and due to be completed in July 2014. That should cut the scope for backhanders now widely regarded as inevitable to get results. “We shall cut down on those cartels and brokers who charge for services like searching for a file,” a spokesman for the ministry told Reuters. “That is the way to end corruption.” Kenya has some way to go. Transparency International ranks it at 139 out of the 174 nations in its 2012 global corruption perception index. That was up from 154 out of 182 in 2011, but Kenya still lags some of its neighbors. Even so, wealth is being generated. Average income climbed to $820 in 2011, nearly double the 2003 average, according to the World Bank. That is still below the $1,025 needed to climb into the middle income category. “Kenya is doing well, but not well enough,” Kenyatta told lawmakers in a speech, adding his government aimed to spur economic growth to double digits to help make Kenya become a middle income nation “within a generation.” Such growth is unlikely unless Kenya can free entrepreneurs from the added costs of emergency power generation and bureaucratic blockages, business leaders say. It can take up to four days to finalize a new export order, according to Jackson Mutua, managing director of battery maker, Eveready East Africa. Mutua says this can require approvals from the tax revenue authority, the bureau of standards, the Ministry of Trade and other authorities. As for power, Kenyan industries pay 17.3 US cents per kilowatt hour while South African rivals pay 5.5 US cents, Mutua says. That figure does not include the essential cost of the private standby generators. “Out of 100 hours of manufacturing, 30 hours you have to spend using oil or incur the cost of downtime because you have no power, it is a choice manufacturers have to make,” he said. —Reuters

WASHINGTON: US sales of new homes rebounded in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 417,000. The increase added to evidence of a sustained housing recovery at the start of the spring buying season. The Commerce Department said yesterday that sales of new homes increased 1.5 percent. The gain brought the level higher than February’s pace of 411,000, though below January’s 445,000 - the fastest pace since July 2008. The median price of a new home rose to $247,000 in March. That’s 3 percent higher than a year ago. New-home sales are still below the 700,000 pace considered healthy by most economists. But the pace has increased 18.5 percent from a year ago. And most economists see more gains ahead. Steady job creation and near-record-

low mortgage rates are spurring more Americans to buy houses. The rise in demand is helping to boost sales and prices in most markets. Higher prices tend to make homeowners feel wealthier and encourage more spending. A limited supply of available homes has held back home sales of previously occupied homes. Those sales dipped in March from February, according to the National Association of Realtors. But sales of previously occupied homes were 10.3 percent higher in March than a year earlier. And the supply of homes increased for the second straight month after eight months of declines. That increase suggests more sellers are confident that the recovery will continue and they can sell at a good price. Low inventories of existing homes have

helped drive more construction of new homes. US homebuilders started work on more than 1 million new houses and apartments in March at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, the first time it had crossed that threshold in nearly five years. That reflected a surge in volatile apartment building. Single-family home construction fell in March after reaching the fastest in nearly five years. Still, a low supply of homes for sale is just one of several constraints that could limit sales. Since the housing bubble burst more than six years ago, banks have imposed tighter credit conditions and required larger down payments. That has made it harder for first-time homebuyers to qualify for the super-low mortgage rates that have resulted from the Federal Reserve’s efforts to ease credit. — AP

UK budget gap remains stubborn in 2012/13 LONDON: Britain’s budget deficit barely fell in the last 12 months despite a government austerity drive, official data showed yesterday, pointing to further pain to come. The fact borrowing fell at all will be some comfort for finance minister George Osborne, after a week when the International Monetary Fund cast doubt on his policies and ratings agency Fitch stripped Britain of its triple, a status. But yesterday’s figures from the Office of National Statistics underscore just how far Britain’s Conservative led coalition has to go to meet its central goal of balancing the public finances, as weak growth saps tax revenue and raises welfare costs. “There’s a small crumb to be had from the fact that borrowing is less than last year, but really that’s a political point not an economic one,” said David Tinsley, UK economist at BNP Paribas. “The government seems to be delivering on spending reductions, but it is failing on getting growth , and that’s why the fiscal position isn’t improving. It’s flat-lining.” The government’s preferred measure of public borrowing, which excludes some effects of bank bailouts and a one-off Royal Mail pension transfer, fell to 114.2 billion pounds ($174.1billion) in the tax year which ended in March. This equates to 7.4 percent of economic output, down from 7.9 percent in 2012/13, and is well below a peak of 11.2 percent just before the coalition came to power in May 2010. But it is still far higher than in most other major advanced economies as Britain struggles to deal with the long-term effects of the financial crisis. The economy has been broadly stagnant for the

past two years, and gross domestic product data tomorrow will show whether the economy has slipped back into technical recession for a third time in less than five years. Most of the fall in government borrowing was due to a scheme that transferred bond interest previously paid to the Bank of England back to the Treasury. Without this, the deficit would only have fallen to 7.8 percent of GDP. This year the government aims to cut the deficit to 6.8 percent of GDP, but economists warned even this could be hard, especially as some annual spending that would normally have taken place last year has been pushed into the current year. “The bigger test will be if he can continue to meet the forecasts for the years ahead, and we think it’s looking vulnerable because of the weakness of the euro area, which could decrease tax revenues and mean higher spending pressures.” Deficit reduction is already off course in Britain. In 2010 Osborne announced plans to eliminate Britain’s underlying budget deficit by 2014-15, but this now looks unlikely before 2016-17 at the earliest. This slippage has been largely due to weak growth, but how much is due to the knock on effect of turmoil in the euro zone, Britain’s main export market, and how much is down to a bigger than expected drag from austerity is disputed. Last week the IMF, previously a champion of Osborne’s policies said he may need to rethink the pace of deficit reduction due to the failure of growth to pick up, something the opposition Labor Party has been urging for a long time. Labor economics spokesman Ed Balls reiterated

this criticism yesterday, saying that the borrowing figures showed that the government’s policies were “totally self-defeating”. But the government insisted its policies were working, with the deficit down by one-third since 2010 and 1.25 million new private sector jobs created since then. Yesterday’s data showed that Central Government spending in 2012/13 was 1.8 percent up on the year, driven by a 5.6 percent rise in social benefits, which include old age pensions as well as welfare for those out-of-work. Tax revenue rose 1.8 percent. Full-year borrowing was in line with forecasts from the government’s budget watchdog last month, though the Office for Budget Responsibility warned that yesterday’s figures could still face major revisions as they were partly based on estimates. Data for March alone showed that public borrowing excluding financial sector interventions totaled 15.142 billion pounds, down from 16.694 billion pounds a year ago and just below economists’ forecasts of 15.5 billion pounds. But the UK Debt Management Office revised up its government bond issuance plans for the coming financial year by 4.7 billion pounds to 155.7 billion pounds, after a volatile cash measure of British borrowing turned out higher than expected in March and Britain’s total net public debt, excluding the direct costs of bailing out the country’s banks, is still much higher than before the financial crisis at a record 1.1858 trillion pounds or 75.4 percent of GDP. — Reuters

Global markets edge up, euro dips against dollar NEW YORK: Global equity markets rose yesterday while the euro dipped to a two-week low against the dollar, after weak German data raised concerns about the health of the eurozone economy, strengthening the view among some investors that the European Central Bank will further ease its monetary policy. Euro-zone shares extended gains, with the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares up 2 percent. Wall Street was on track for a third session of gains as strong earnings from a variety of sectors improved sentiment. The euro fell as low as $1.2971 and could break decisively out of the $1.30 to $1.32 range that has held for the past couple of weeks. It was last down 0.7 percent on the day at $1.2978. The latest Purchasing Managers’ Indexes (PMIs) for the euro area showed business activity in Germany shrank for the first time in five months in April, while a broader gauge of the wider 17-nation zone showed the region still mired in recession. The report also helped the yen to move higher and drove the commoditylinked Australian dollar to a six-week low against the US dollar. “Given the deteriorating fundamentals in the euro zone, the prospect of (an ECB rate cut) has certainly increased,” said Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy, at BK Asset Management in New York. “A rate cut would be the quickest and least expensive policy course.” The Dow Jones industrial average was up 120.37 points, or 0.83 percent, at 14,687.54. The

Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 11.45 points, or 0.73 percent, at 1,573.95. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 30.95 points, or 0.96 percent, at 3,264.50. Among top gainers on Wall Street, Netflix Inc impressed investors with solid subscriber growth and better-than-expected profits in the first quarter. The stock was up 23 percent at

$214.90. In Treasuries, the benchmark 10-year US Treasury note was unchanged with the yield at 1.6945 percent. The economic headwinds from China had earlier hit Asian shares, sending MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 0.3 percent. Chinese shares posted their worst daily loss in nearly a month. —Reuters

ATHENS: An employee of the Hellenic Defense Systems talks by megaphone outside the Finance Ministry in Athens yesterday during a demonstration against austerity and unemployment. — AFP



MF Global’s trustee sues former CEO Corzine NEW YORK: The trustee in the MF Global Holdings bankruptcy case has sued exCEO Jon Corzine and other former executives, alleging that they “failed to act in good faith” while running the company. The lawsuit, filed Monday in bankruptcy court in New York, says Corzine and two other top executives “dramatically changed” the company’s business plan after he became CEO in late 2010. They then failed to update controls and other systems that were already weak, the lawsuit said. Corzine then pushed the company into making big bets on bonds issued

by European countries, a move that proved disastrous during the implosion of the debt crisis the following summer. According to the lawsuit, the company’s controls were so bad that it couldn’t determine its liquidity levels in real time, a weakness that ultimately contributed to the company’s collapse in October 2011. It portrays Corzine and others as executives who were aware of the risks but purposefully ignored them. Corzine, who stepped down as MF Global CEO soon after the collapse, is the former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, a former

Democratic US senator and the former governor of New Jersey. Corzine and two of his top executives, the chief operating officer and the chief financial officer, “were repeatedly warned in reports, meetings, emails, and in-person exchanges - of the failures and need for improvements in the Company’s procedures and controls,” the lawsuits says. “Yet, instead of taking necessary steps to fix those problems,” Corzine and his deputies “pursued an even riskier business plan.” The lawsuit is notable not because of any significant revelations but because it rep-

resents an escalation in the battle between Corzine and the bankruptcy trustee, former FBI director Louis Freeh. Freeh is overseeing the wind-down of MF Global Holdings, which means he is trying to recover money for creditors. Earlier this month, Freeh filed a scathing report about Corzine and other executives with many of the same accusations. At the time, he said that he had already prepared a complaint against the former executives, but agreed to postpone filing it until after trying to resolve the issues through mediation. A Corzine spokesman at the time con-

demned the portrayal of the former CEO. Steven Goldberg, the spokesman, said the report ignored the fact that banks and other firms that were MF Global’s trading partners failed. They didn’t pay what they owed to MF Global, a key cause of the company’s collapse. It’s not the first lawsuit against Corzine: MF Global shareholders and customers have also filed complaints. A separate trustee, James Giddens, is in charge of recovering money for customers of the parent company’s broker-dealer, MF Global Inc. —AP

NBK’s long-term deposit rating affirmed at Aa3, outlook stable Moody’s: Rating reflects dominant domestic franchise KUWAIT: Moody’s Investors Service said that National Bank of Kuwait’s (NBK) rating reflects its dominant domestic franchise, consistent and above average core profitability, and robust financial fundamentals including good asset quality metrics

and strong capitalization. Moody’s has recently affirmed NBK’s Aa3/ Prime- 1 long- and shortterm deposit ratings and the bank’s C standalone bank financial strength rating (BFSR), equivalent to a baseline credit assessment of a3.

The outlook on the ratings is stable. In its latest credit opinion report, Moody’s stressed that NBK continues to report good and-better-thandomestic-peer asset quality metrics. NBK’s consistently high levels of core profitability remain a source of

strength. The agency expects that NBK will maintain comfortable capitalization metrics in 2013. Moody’s said that NBK’s size and domestic ranking places it in a preferential position to exploit larger credit opportunities compared to its domestic peers. The rating agency added that NBK has a stable deposit base and it would benefit from “flight to quality” in the event of non-intrinsic systemic problems. Moody’s said that NBK is the largest financial institution in Kuwait with a market share of just under 30% of consolidated system assets. NBK’s corporate banking is strong; the bank has historically acted as lead-financier for the majority of public contracts awarded to foreign companies. The bank is a leader in trade finance and one of the few indigenous banks with the capacity to structure and underwrite large capital market transactions. NBK has consistently been awarded the highest credit ratings of all banks in the region by the major international rating agencies: Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings. NBK is the only Arab bank to be listed among the world’s 50 safest banks seven times in a row.

New UK real estate investment product for Kuwaiti investors TREG to unveil project at Kuwait expo KUWAIT: Top Real Estate Group ( TREG) is delighted to announce the launch of a new UK real estate investment product to the Real Estate and Investment Exhibition 29th April 04th May 2013, in the Kuwait International Fairs Ground, Mishref - Hall 8. One Hockley, Nottingham is the ideal location for modern day student living. The student accommodation sector is now recognised as forming a critical component of a balanced investment portfolio and regarded by many professional investors as a serious and lucrative asset class. Student Property has performed exceptionally well compared to traditional investments over the last year. In fact, it has outperformed every other commercial property class and delivered consistent returns throughout the economic downturn. The student accommodation market is maturing as universities and colleges look to private sector to fulfil their accommodation needs. Subsequently, the sector has seen a rise in the number of high quality, purpose built residences. Currently 490,600 students source their accommodation through the private rented sector rather than through their universities, an increase of 154,500 since 2007. By investing in Student property, investors can receive a greater rental yield than standard residential investments. One Hockley,

Adrian Endersby, Business Development manager for TREG Nottingham is guaranteeing the investor a minimum 7.5 percent net yield for the first 2 years after completion. With property prices

starting from GBP 46,000, it allows all investors the opportunity to buy UK real estate. All properties are sold with a 999 year lease. Adrian Endersby, Business Development manager for TREG, says: “we are delighted to be introducing a new real estate investment product to the forthcoming exhibition. We have seen fantastic sales globally in a product which allows all levels of investors the opportunity to buy in the UK. Having worked in the UK real estate sector for the past 10 years, it is very rare to have the opportunity to gain such high guaranteed yields, normally reserved only for big institutional investors. We are very confident all levels of investor in Kuwait will find this product very easy to acquire and manage, whilst benefiting from income guaranteed by the developer. There are no hidden fees to pay and the purchaser can feel confident their investment property is being managed by an experienced professional team.” Talking of any possible risks to the investor, Adrian added: “investors must be careful when buying such attractive offers, clients must assess the documents and approvals required to build such projects. The project at One Hockley has insurance in place to guarantee the clients deposit until the project is completed.” The project is due for completion in July 2014 and is being displayed in partnership with Morphey Parsons Wright (MPW) at the exhibition.

Bernanke to miss session, hinting at early departure WASHINGTON: Ben Bernanke is intensifying speculation that this year will be his last as Federal Reserve chairman by deciding to skip the Fed’s annual August conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Jackson Hole has long been a high-profile platform for speeches by Fed chairmen. Since taking over the Fed in 2006, Bernanke has been the marquee speaker each year. In 2010, he used his speech to signal that the Fed could launch another bond-buying program. Stock prices jumped in response to his remarks. His second four-year term will end in January, and neither he nor President Barack Obama has signaled whether Bernanke will serve a third term. The Jackson Hole retreat, sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, will be held Aug. 22-24. A Fed spokesman said Monday that Bernanke won’t attend because of a “personal scheduling conflict.” He didn’t elaborate. Tim Duy, an economics professor at the University of Oregon and author of the FedWatch blog, said Bernanke’s decision suggests that he’ll leave the Fed in January. “I wonder if that indicates what we all believe,” Duy said. All eyes at the conference will likely instead focus on the Fed’s vice

chair, Janet Yellen, who is widely considered the front-runner to succeed Bernanke. Yellen, who previously led the San Francisco Fed, was appointed vice chair by Obama. Yellen has been a vocal supporter of Bernanke’s low interest rate policies, and

her selection would suggest that the Fed would continue those policies. And if Yellen is the keynote speaker at Jackson Hole this year, “that would just confirm her front-runner status,” said Zach Pandl, an economist at Columbia Management, an asset management firm. Pandl said it’s even possible Bernanke could inform the White House of his intention to leave, and Obama could publicly tap Yellen to succeed him, before Jackson Hole. About 140 central bankers, economists, academics and government officials

attend the annual conference, which is in its 37th year. In 2010, Bernanke used his speech to list the Fed’s options for stimulating a weak economy, including a second round of Fed bond purchases to try to keep borrowing costs low. That was the approach Bernanke eventually announced two months later. Several of Bernanke’s comments this year have caused observers to speculate that he is ready to leave after eight grueling years, which included the financial crisis and Great Recession, and likely resume teaching at Princeton University. Asked at a news conference last month about his plans, Bernanke said, “I don’t think that I’m the only person in the world who can manage the exit” from the Fed’s recordlow-rate policies and $3 trillion in bond holdings. The Fed has vastly expanded its portfolio through bond purchases intended to keep rates low to encourage borrowing, spending and investing. In congressional testimony in February, the normally circumspect Bernanke flashed impatience over criticism that the Fed under his leadership has escalated the risk of high inflation. Responding to a question from Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee

Republican, Bernanke said, “None of the things you said are accurate.” “He didn’t sound like someone who wanted to stick around in the job much longer,” Duy said. This year’s Jackson Hole conference will occur as even some members of the Fed’s policy committee are pushing to end its $85 billion-a-month in bond purchases, which began last year. That pressure could intensify by the time of the Jackson Hole conference, particularly if the economy has strengthened. Bernanke said in December that the Fed would continue buying Treasury securities and mortgage-backed bonds until substantial progress was made in reducing unemployment. The unemployment rate remains a still-high 7.6 percent. Assuming he does leave in January, Bernanke’s absence from Jackson Hole would contrast with the 2005 conference, the last one before Alan Greenspan ended his 18-year tenure as Fed chief. That conference featured numerous expressions of praise for Greenspan’s achievements at the Fed. Two years later, the financial crisis pushed the country into the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. —AP

MANILA: A homeless family lives on a makeshift house along a street in Manila yesterday. The Philippines has failed to make headway in cutting rampant poverty, with more than one in four citizens deemed poor despite the country’s economic growth, according to census figures released yesterday. —AFP

Philippines failing to tackle rampant poverty: Census MANILA: The Philippines has failed to make headway in cutting rampant poverty, with more than one in four citizens deemed poor despite the country’s economic growth, according to census figures released yesterday. The July 2012 poverty rate of 27.9 percent is practically unchanged from 2006 and 2009 data, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board. Filipinos forced to live on less than $0.62 a day are considered poor, according to the government’s poverty threshold. Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said under employment in rural areas, security problems in provinces facing insurgencies and warlords, and the falling price of a number of commodities such as sugar were mainly to blame. “If the problem of visible under employment in agriculture is addressed, then incomes of farmers would increase, poverty incidence would decrease, and we would not be compromising food security,” Balisacan said in a statement. The nation of about 100 million people posted 6.6 percent economic Growth last year, and this year obtained its first ever investment grade rating from Fitch Ratings. However the January 2013 jobless rate

stood at 7.1 percent, with a further 20.9 percent under employed, or working fewer than 40 hours a week. About 41.8 percent of the under-employed are in the farming sector, it said. Norio Usui, Senior Country Economist for the Manila based Asian Development Bank, said the government must solve the problem of jobless growth if it hoped to reduce poverty. “I am not surprised at all. The benefits of strong economic growth have not spilled over to the people because they still cannot find a job,” he told AFP in a telephone interview. He said the Philippines’ economic model depended on consumption, strong remittances from its large overseas workforce and the outsourcing industr y, which employs highly educated workers. However, the Philippines, with its weak industrial base, has stood out in the region, he added. “Why do you need a strong industrial base? To give jobs not only to the highly educated college graduates, but also to high school graduates,” Usui said. The government put the annual per capita poverty threshold at 9,385 pesos ($227.24). The state census board found that at least 28.6 percent of the population was considered poor in both 2006 and 2009. —AFP

GIC named Best Insurance Provider Middle East 2013 Global Banking & Finance Review KUWAIT: Gulf Insurance, the leading company in providing insurance services in Kuwait and the Middle East, has announced the winning of Global Banking and Finance Review awards 2013 in recognition to its innovative and comprehensive insurance solutions since the establishment in 1962. The awards honor companies that stand out in particular areas of expertise in the banking and finance industr y. The Corporate Communication & Investor Relation Manager Khaled Alsanousi said: “Gulf Insurance Company has been chosen in this category this year because of the company’s outstanding achievements in many areas of life and non-life insurance solutions and scored well in the following areas: ● For its innovative and comprehensive insurance solutions. ● Distinguished quality of products and superior customer service. ● Advanced technology system which links all its operations to the mainframe. ● Great moral approach to corporate social responsibility. Gulf Insurance Company is the largest insurance company in Kuwait in terms of written and retained premiums, with operations in both life and non-life insurance. Gulf Insurance has become one of the

Khaled Alsanousi largest insurance networks in the Middle East and North Africa, with companies in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Bahrain, Emirates and Kuwait. Its reported consolidated assets stand at $1.06 billion as at 31st December, 2012.

Euro-zone business activity still slumping: Survey BRUSSELS: Private sector business activity remained weak across the Euro zone in April, underscoring a gloomy medium term outlook for the 17 state economy, a widely watched survey showed yesterday. The Markit Euro-zone Composite Purchasing Managers Index registered 46.5 points, the same reading as March and well below the boom and bust line of 50 points indicating growth or recession. It was the 19th time in 20 months that the survey of thousands of Euro zone companies signaled a contraction in the single currency area’s economy. Both manufacturing and services sectors posted weak readings, with the powerhouse German economy seeing its first drop since November, while the French downturn eased, the researchers said. “The survey is signaling a worrying weakness in the economy at the start of the second quarter, with signs

that the downturn is more likely to intensify further in coming months rather than ease,” said Markit chief economist Chris Williamson. Although he highlighted cooling inflationary pressures, Williamson added, “The renewed decline in Germany will also raise fears that the region’s largest growth engine has moved into reverse, thereby acting as a drag on the region at the same time as particularly steep downturns persist in France, Italy and Spain.” Berenberg Bank economist Robert Wood noted that “the successful election of a president in Italy may resolve a little of the uncertainty. But we may be in for a rough few months before recovery takes hold again.” At Capital Economics, Ben May agreed that the latest PMI survey “provides another clear sign that a sustained economic recovery is probably still some way off.” —AFP



Glittering Sydney launch for Samsung S4 SYDNEY: The sails of one of the world’s most iconic buildings, the Sydney Opera House, were lit up with images shot by ordinary Australians yesterday for the glitzy “blue-carpet” launch of Samsung’s new phone. Samsung announced that Australia would be among the first countries to get the new Galaxy S4, which goes on sale globally this weekend in the latest high-tech salvo of its smartphone battle with Apple. It will cost Aus$899 (US$920) and orders will open today with full sales to begin in Sydney and Melbourne on Saturday. The cutting-edge touch screen device, which boasts an array of technological advances including eye-motion sensors that will pause a video when the user looks away, was unveiled last month at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. Samsung is touring the device in 11 cities worldwide including Sydney in a series of glamorous events aimed at ratcheting up hype ahead of this weekend’s sale, with costumed performers lining a blue carpet into the Opera House. Yoon Seung-Ro, Australian managing director of the South Korean consumer electronics giant, said Samsung was particularly proud to launch its latest gadget at the Opera House under a new tie-up with the world-famous venue. “Samsung was the number one selling smartphone brand globally in 2012 and we continue to be the number one growing smartphone brand in the world,” Yoon told the Sydney launch event, describing the brand’s “incredible success” in Australia. “This is the new benchmark in terms of innovation in smartphones,” he added of the S4. Samsung ran a contest among customers ahead of the Sydney event asking them to submit their photos for projection onto the Opera House sails, with hundreds of images selected to be screened over a six-hour window. The world’s largest technology firm by revenue hopes the S4 will cement its dominance in the lucrative smartphone market, where it is

SYDNEY: A photograph is projected onto the sails of the Opera House during the unveiling of the new Samsung GALAXY S 4 smartphone at the Sydney Opera House yesterday. —AFP photos

SYDNEY: The new Samsung Galaxy S 4 smartphone. the top maker worldwide with a 29 percent share and locked in a fierce battle with Apple. In Australia, Android devices-where

Spring epidemics in Skype: Watch out for Bitcoin fraudsters DUBAI: Kaspersky Lab experts have detected two malicious campaigns operating on Skype: in both cases cybercriminals are using social engineering methods to lure users to follow a malicious link with the promise of an interesting photo or video. Hacked or specially created Skype accounts are used to distribute the malicious links in both campaigns - one of which aims to fraudulently generate the Bitcoin virtual currency. The first attack was launched as early as March 1, but over the past 24 hours users clicked the malicious link an average of 2.7 times per second, or 10,000 times per hour. Those clicking the links are primarily in Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, China, Taiwan and Italy. When analyzing the code loaded to the victim’s PC, the company’s experts found a line that mentioned ‘Bitcoin wallet’. On Thursday, April 4 another similar attack was detected. Users were asked to follow a link, but the experts at Kaspersky Lab found that malware capable of generating the Bitcoin currency was being installed on computers. The Bitcoin currency system allows users to earn bitcoins in return for leasing out their computing resources. The virtual money can later be converted into another currency or used to pay for goods and services in online stores. Although the latest malicious campaign was only launched one day ago, it has rapidly gained momentum. By Thursday evening around 2,000 users were following the malicious link every hour, according to calculations by Dmitry Bestuzhev, Head of the Latin American Global Research & Analysis Team at Kaspersky Lab. The geographical distribution of the attack suggests users in Italy, Russia, Poland, Costa Rica, Spain, Germany and Ukraine are the main targets of this second malicious campaign. It seems unlikely to be a coincidence that the malicious campaign began when the Bitcoin exchange rate hit its historical peak. On April 5, the rate reached $132 per coin - a dramatic

SYDNEY: Samsung Australian Managing Director Seung Ro Yoon launches the new Samsung Galaxy S 4 smartphone at the Sydney Opera House.

growth compared to the 2011 rate of below $2 per coin. This is too tempting for cybercriminals to ignore, says Kaspersky Lab expert Sergey Lozhkin. “Of course cybercriminals couldn’t help but pay attention to Bitcoin. The Bitcoin currency transactions system itself implies full anonymity and that’s why cybercriminals started using it so actively. Underground forums are full of offers to buy and sell with Bitcoins. Drugs, arms, 0-day exploits, Trojans and viruses are bought and sold using the currency,” said Lozhkin. “Anonymous transactions are very hard to track and with so many currency exchange services - both legal and underground - it’s easy to lose track of the details with nobody any the wiser. This makes cybercriminals feel very safe. The Bitcoin architecture implies that more of them exists more hardware resources needed to mine. That’s why we are seeing malware that installs a Bitcoin miner module on victim computers, using their resources to mine Bitcoins and create a Bitcoinmining botnet that could be quite a good source of income for its owner.” Kaspersky Lab recommends that Skype users treat any messages arriving via Skype or any other Instant Messaging program with caution. Even if a message arrives from a person you know, it is possible that his/her computer has been infected and is controlled by cybercriminals. We also advise users to do the following to ensure their device stays secure: 1- Install and maintain an up-to-date advanced Internet Security solution 2- Keep the operating system up to date 3- Update all third-party applications 4- Use a secure browser to access the Internet 5- Practice safe computing. Use strong passwords that contain letters, numbers and symbols (?#!., etc...). Make sure you use a different password for each website or resource. 6- Use your common sense. Kaspersky Lab’s products detect the malicious programs used in both attacks.

Samsung is the major player-outsell Apple 58 percent to 36 percent, though Apple has cornered the tablet market with a 77 percent market share to Samsung’s seven

percent, according to the government’s communications regulator. So intense is their rivalry Apple took Samsung to court in Australia in 2011 accusing it of patent

infringements with its touchscreen technology, part of a broader global tussle in the US$100 billion tablet and smartphone market. —AFP

Former Google CEO shares vision in tech treatise SAN FRANCISCO: Some illuminating books already have been written about Google’s catalytic role in a technological upheaval that is redefining the way people work, play, learn, shop and communicate. Until now, though, there hasn’t been a book providing an unfiltered look from inside Google’s brain trust. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, who spent a decade as the company’s CEO, shares his visions of digitally driven change and of a radically different future in “The New Digital Age,” a book that goes on sale yesterday. It’s a technology treatise that Schmidt wrote with another ruminator, Jared Cohen, a former State Department adviser who now runs Google Ideas, the Internet company’s version of a think tank. The book is an exercise in “brainstorming the future,” as Schmidt put it in a recent post on Twitter - just one example of a cultural phenomenon that didn’t exist a decade ago. The ability for anyone with an Internet-connected device to broadcast revelatory information and video is one of the reasons why Schmidt and Cohen wrote the book. The two met in Baghdad in 2009 and were both struck by how Iraqis were finding resourceful ways to use Internet services to improve their lives, despite war-zone conditions. They decided it was time to delve into how the Internet and mobile devices are empowering people, roiling autocratic governments and forcing long-established companies to make dramatic changes. The three years they spent researching the book took them around the world, including North Korea in January over the objections of the US State Department. They interviewed an eclectic group that included former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Mexican mogul Carlos Slim Helu, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the former prime ministers of Mongolia and Pakistan. They also drew on the insights of a long list of Google employees, including co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

The resulting book is an exploration into the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead as the lines blur between the physical world around us and the virtual realm of the Internet. Schmidt and Cohen also examine the loss of personal privacy as prominent companies such as Google and lesser-known data warehouses such as Acxiom compile digital dossiers about our electronic interactions on computers, smartphones and at

check-out stands. “This will be the first generation of humans to have an indelible record,” Schmidt and Cohen predict. To minimize the chances of youthful indiscretions stamping children with “digital scarlet letters” that they carry for years, online privacy education will become just as important - if not more so - than sex education, according to Schmidt and Cohen. They argue parents should consider having a “privacy talk” with their kids well before they become curious about sex. Not surprisingly, the book doesn’t dwell on Google’s own practices, including privacy lapses that have gotten the company in trouble with regulators around the world. Among other things, Google has exposed the contact lists of its email

users while trying to build a now-defunct social network called Buzz. It scooped up people’s passwords and other sensitive information from unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Last year, Google was caught circumventing privacy controls on Safari Web browsers, resulting in a record $22.5 million fine by the US Federal Trade Commission. European regulators have a broad investigation open. Google apologized for those incidents without acknowledging wrongdoing. Schmidt and Cohen suggest that is an inevitable part of digital life. “The possibility that one’s personal content will be published and become known one day - either by mistake or through criminal interference - will always exist,” they write. The book doesn’t offer any concrete solutions for protecting personal privacy, though the authors suspect that calls for tougher penalties and more stringent regulations will increase as more people realize how much of their lives are now in a state of “near-permanent storage.” “The option to ‘delete’ data is largely an illusion,” Schmidt and Cohen write. People can choose not to put any of their information online, but those that eschew the Internet risk become irrelevant as online identities become increasingly important, the book asserts. Schmidt and Cohen foresee an option that will allow all of a person’s online accounts - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Netflix and various other subscriptions to be merged together into a “constellation” that will serve as a one-stop profile. If this book is right, there is no turning back from the revolution that is making Internet access as vital as oxygen and mobile devices as important as our lungs. As much disruption as there already has been since Google’s inception in 1998, Schmidt and Cohen contend that the most jarring changes are still to come as reductions in the cost of technology bring online another 5 billion people, mostly in less developed countries. At the same time, the combination

of more powerful microprocessors, much-faster Internet connections and entrepreneurial ingenuity will turn the stuff of science fiction into reality. Schmidt and Cohen are convinced that holograms will enable people to make virtual getaways to exotic beaches whenever they feel need. Nasal implants will alert us to the first signs of a cold. Virtual assistants - the kind Google is developing with Google Now and Apple with Siri - will become constant companions that influence when we shop and what we buy. Those assistants will generally steer us in directions drawn from an analyses of our personal preferences vacuumed off the Internet and stored in vast databases. These aren’t far-out concepts to the tech cognoscenti, or even younger generations who can barely remember what it was like to surf the Web on a dial-up modem, let alone use a typewriter. The ideas will be more unnerving to older generations still trying to figure out all the things that their smartphone can do. Schmidt, who will turn 58 on Saturday, can remember the days before there were personal computers. But he has been studying tech trends for decades, long before he became Google’s CEO in 2001 and became a mentor and confidant to company cofounders Page and Brin. That collaboration established him as one of the world’s best-known executives and minted him as a multibillionaire. Before joining Google, he was chief technology officer at Sun Microsystems and CEO of software maker Novell Inc. Many of the book’s themes expand upon topics that Schmidt regularly mused about in speeches and interviews that he gave as Google’s CEO. Some of his past remarks, particularly about the loss of privacy, rankled critics who believe Google had become too aggressive in trying to learn more about people’s individual interests so it could sell more ads, its chief source of revenue. —AP

Rights group launches campaign to ban ‘killer robots’ LONDON: A global rights group launched a campaign yesterday to ban Terminator-style “killer robots” amid fears the rise of drone warfare could lead to machines with the power to make their own decisions about killing humans. Human Rights Watch said it was creating an international coalition to call for a global treaty that would impose a “pre-emptive and comprehensive ban” on artificially intelligent weapons before they are developed. The New York-based group also warned of a possible “robotic arms race” if even one country took the step to allow such machines to enter service. “Lethal armed robots that could target and kill without any human intervention should never be built,” said Steve Goose, arms division director at Human Rights Watch, said at the launch in London of the “Campaign To Stop Killer Robots”. “A human should always be ‘in-the-loop’ when decisions are made on the battlefield. “Killer robots would cross moral and legal boundaries, and should be rejected as repugnant to

the public conscience.” The campaign includes several non-governmental organizations involved in previous successful efforts to ban anti-personnel landmines, cluster munitions, and blinding lasers. Activists wheeled out a home-made robot outside the Houses of Parliament in London for the launch of the campaign. The United States has led the way in military robots such as the unmanned drone aircraft that carry out attacks and surveillance in countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen. According to Britain’s Bureau of Investigative Journalism, CIA drone attacks in Pakistan have killed up to 3,587 people since 2004, up to 884 of them civilians. But these are controlled by human operators in ground bases and are not able to kill without authorization. Recent technical advances will soon allow not only the United States but also countries including China, Israel, Russia, and Britain to move towards fully autonomous weapons, Human Rights Watch warned.

“If one or more country chooses to deploy fully autonomous weapons, others may feel compelled to abandon policies of restraint, leading to a robotic arms race,” it said. Fully autonomous robots that decide for themselves when to fire could be developed within 20 to 30 years, or “even sooner,” Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Law School said in a report in November on the same subject. Raytheon’s Phalanx gun system, deployed on US Navy ships, can search for enemy fire and destroy incoming projectiles all by itself. The X47B is a plane-sized drone able to take off and land on aircraft carriers without a pilot and even refuel in the air. Perhaps closest to the Terminator-type killing machine portrayed in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s action films is a Samsung sentry robot already being used in South Korea, with the ability to spot unusual activity, talk to intruders and, when authorized by a human controller, shoot them. —AFP

LONDON: US Nobel Peace laureate Jody Williams and International Committee for Robot Arms Control Chairman Professor Noel Sharkey pose with a mock “killer robot” in central London yesterday. —AFP


H E A LT H & S C I E N C E

Sour French farmers miss out on baby milk boom PARIS: Got milk? Too much, say French dairy farmers caught in a pricing squabble with supermarkets while missing out on the Chinese thirst for imported powdered milk. France famous worldwide for its cheeses, but many dairy farmers complain they are getting squeezed and are threatening to hang up their wellies in a sector already expected to shed 1,000 jobs in the coming months. For weeks French dairy farmers have been locked in negotiations with the country’s supermarkets over getting a hike of up to three cents (four US cents) per litre. Meanwhile, a lack of facilities has left French dairy farmers on the sidelines of a boom in the price of powdered milk, which is climbing “nearly 25 percent month on month”, according to Renaud

de Kerpoisson of the agro-industry consultancy ODA, with the 2007 record of $5,000 (nearly 4,000 euros) per ton set to be broken. That demand is being driven in particular by China, where scandals involving poisoned baby milk have touched off a thirst for foreign baby formula and powdered milk. Meanwhile, a severe drought has hit New Zealand, which last year produced 40 percent of the 1.9 million tons of powdered milk sold worldwide, according to the Gerard Calbrix, an economist at ATLA, a French dairy industry association. France is active in the sector. It produced 430,000 tons of powdered milk last year, according to industry sources, or 23 percent of the global total. However the country lacks enough drying facilities for

‘Cinnamon challenge’ poses serious danger WASHINGTON: Health experts have warned about serious risks from the “Cinnamon Challenge,” a game popular with US teens, who ingest a spoonful of the pungent spice, then try to refrain from drinking water. A study published in the journal Pediatrics warned that while the game may seem like harmless fun, many youth who play in end up taking a trip to the emergency room, and some even suffer lung damage. Over the past few years, it has become popular for youth to film themselves attempting the stunt, then gagging desperately as they try to refrain from drinking water for at least a minute. One such video on YouTube has garnered nearly 30 million views. But cinnamon is caustic, and trying to swallow it can cause choking, throat irritation, breathing trouble and even collapsed lungs, the Pediatrics report warned. “Cinnamon is a caustic powder composed of cellulose fibers, which are bio-resistant and bio-persistent. They neither dissolve nor biodegrade in the lungs,” said the study, which was released online. “It is prudent to warn that the Cinnamon Challenge has a high likelihood to be damaging to the lungs,” the study said. Pediatrics said at least 30 teens across the United States required medical attention after taking the challenge last year. — AFP

French farmers to cash in on rising prices. In particular “in springtime when there is more milk, we lack the capacity to transform” milk, said Gerard Picot, head of the industry association FNIL. French farmers have “extreme difficulties to add value to their production,” he noted. While 40 percent of their products are exported, French farmers have largely missed out on the growing appetite for dairy products of the expanding middle classes in emerging countries as only half of that goes outside of EU. But within a few years French dairy farmers should have more options as plans are underway for building 8 milk drying towers. One that has gathered much attention is by Chinese infant formula producer Synutra, which is making

its first foray abroad with the construction of two milk drying units in France’s western Brittany region. Synutra is bankrolling 90 percent of the 100 million euro tie-up with Sodiaal, France’s top and Europe’s fourth-largest dairy cooperative, and the project will be capable of processing 280 million litres of milk from 2015. “You don’t build a drying tower by snapping your fingers,” said Christele Josse, head of the FNCL federation of dairy cooperatives. In order to succeed in emerging markets she said French dairy companies would need to ensure top quality and safety standards and also learn how to manage the volatility of the price of milk. The record over the past decade hasn’t been encouraging as French exports of

butter and powdered milk have largely been loss making as the country’s products aren’t very competitive on the world market, noted Picot. “Financial tools must absolutely be put into place to protect margins,” said Josse. The Euronext exchange started powdered milk futures in 2010 to help dairy farmers, like other farmers, reduce their risks by locking into prices. This is all coming as the milk industry is approaching a major transformation with the end of milk quotas in the EU in March 2015. Josse said European dairy farmers are watching closely as the US market prepares to liberalize milk prices, which have been regulated by the federal government since the Great Depression. — AFP

China bird flu spreads H7N9 outbreak kills 21

MICHIGAN: This undated photo shows Dejah Reed, an Ypsilanti, Mich teen who was hospitalized for a collapsed lung after trying the cinnamon challenge. —AP

SHANGHAI: China yesterday said the H7N9 bird flu had spread to a new area as it confirmed the first case in the eastern province of Shandong in an outbreak which has so far killed 21 people. Since China announced on March 31 that the virus had been discovered in humans for the first time, most cases have been confined to the commercial hub Shanghai and three nearby provinces, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui. Beijing and the central province of Henan have also reported cases. The health ministry said a 36-year-old man living in Shandong’s Zaozhuang city was confirmed to have the virus, according to a statement on its website. That case brings the total number of confirmed infections to 105, according to official figures. Experts fear the prospect of such a virus mutating into a form easily transmissible between humans, which could then have the potential to trigger a pandemic. But the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday there was still no evidence H7N9 was spreading in a “sustained” way between people in China, though it was possible some family members may have infected one another. “Right now we do not see evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission”, said Keiji Fukuda, a top WHO influenza expert in a team visiting China to study H7N9. Health experts differentiate between “sustained” human-to-human transmission and limited transmission, in which family members or medical personnel caring for the ill become

infected. Chinese health officials have acknowledged so-called “family clusters”, where members of a single family have become infected, but have so far declined to put it down to

human-to-human transmission. The nine close contacts of the Shandong man were under medical observation, but so far were normal, the health ministry said. — AFP

BOZHOU: A bird flu patient surnamed Li (center) is escorted after his recovery and approval for discharge from the hospital in Bozhou, central China’s Anhui province. —AFP

Global leaders unite to give kids healthy start KUWAIT: More than 300 global leaders, health and development experts, vaccinators, celebrities, philanthropists, and business leaders will gather tomorrow in Abu Dhabi in the first Global Vaccine Summit to endorse the critical role that vaccines and immunization play in giving children a healthy start to life. Despite tremendous progress, one child still dies every 20 seconds from preventable diseases like pneumonia, rotavirus, measles, and meningitis. The Summit, focused on the power of vaccines, is being held during World Immunization Week (April 2430) to continue the momentum of the Decade of Vaccines-a vision and commitment to reach all people with the vaccines they need. Ending polio is a critical milestone in this vision. Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will deliver a key note to celebrate progress and honor the individuals, communities, partners and nations that have made success possible. The speech will be webcast live at “Vaccines work to save lives and protect children for a

lifetime,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “By investing in stronger immunization systems, we can protect our gains against polio and reach mothers and children with other health services.” The world is coming together around the Global Vaccine Action Plan, endorsed by nearly 200 countries last May, to develop better and more affordable vaccines and deliver them through stronger routine immunization systems. If we succeed, we can save more than 20 million lives and prevent nearly one billion illnesses by 2020. This will save nearly $12 billion in treatment costs and achieve more than $800 billion in economic gains as vaccinated children live longer, healthier, more productive lives. “The Global Vaccine Summit is an historic gathering of global leaders and innovators whose collaboration can have a significant and positive impact on ensuring a healthy global society. Under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, we remain committed to supporting the delivery of lifesav-

ing vaccines to children around the world,” said His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. “Immunization is one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent disease and safeguard young lives”, said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “The global success so far in fighting polio shows how far we can advance. Our great progress came thanks to an international alliance of partners. Today, we have a window of opportunity to end polio forever.” The Global Vaccine Summit is being held in partnership with His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the United Nations SecretaryGeneral Ban Ki-moon and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Summit attendees, including ministers of health, front-line health care workers, international non-governmental organizations and donors, will discuss how the global community can assure that children everywhere have access to vaccines, how the roadmap to polio eradication works, and the opportunities afforded

by new vaccine and delivery innovations. The full agenda for the Summit is available here. The organizing partners of the Global Vaccine Summit are: UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the GAVI Alliance, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The United Arab Emirates’ work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: In Januar y 2011, His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, pledged a total of $100 million - $50 million from each partner - for the purchase and delivery of vital vaccines that will save Afghan and Pakistani children and prevent disease for a lifetime. The partnership is resulting in the immunization of approximately five million children in Afghanistan against six deadly diseases, and will help the World Health Organization and UNICEF workers reach approximately 35 million children in Afghanistan and Pakistan with oral polio vaccines.


W H AT ’ S O N

ACK students victorious in the University Challenge



hat’s more fun than clicking a beautiful picture? Sharing it with others! Let other people see the way you see Kuwait - through your lens. Friday Times will feature snapshots of Kuwait through Instagram feeds. If you want to share your Instagram photos, email us at

Announcements NAFO ‘Samanwayam’ he 10th anniversary of NAFO Kuwait will be celebrated on May 10 at the American International School Auditorium from 6pm onwards. Indian Ambassador Satish C Mehta will inaugurate the event. Former Indian Ambassador to the US and the United Nations T P Sreenivasan and NSS Director Board Member Pandalam Sivankutty will be guests of honor. NAFO will also present an eclectic dance drama ‘Krishna’ which is conceived and choreographed by Padmashri Shobana. She will be accompanied by a 15-member troupe from Kalarpana Chennai and supported by Oscar winner Rasool Pookkutty. It has voice-overs in English by film personalities such as Irrfan Khan, Konkonasen, Shabaana Azmi, John Abraham, Prakash Raj, Stephen Devassy and P Rajeevan. For details, contact email:



tudents of the Australian College of Kuwait (ACK) outperformed their peers from other private universities and colleges in Kuwait, claiming first and second place in Mathematics and English, respectively, in the University Challenge Foundation Level competition. Held at the Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST) campus, the event witnessed student participation from GUST, the American University of Kuwait, Box Hill College Kuwait and ACK. Results of the competition reflect the advanced level and caliber of ACK’s students amongst their peers. The President of the Australian College of Kuwait, Professor Vishy Karri said: “I am very pleased that ACK secured first place in mathematics and second place in English in this competition. This is a tribute to our excellent Foundation Skills Program that has evolved systematically under the leadership of Dr. Sa’ad Al Omari (Dean of Academic Affairs) and Dr. Gad Elbeheri (Associate Dean Foundation & Academic Support) and their respective staff members.” He added: “The College has invested in servicing mathematics at all levels and winning 1st prize is a reflection of staff commitment to student learning. The

runner up prize in English is also evidence of our revised curriculum, leadership and academic innovation. I take this opportunity to congratulate the students and staff for their efforts and wish them

well in their future endeavors.” On her part, Dr. Pirin Erdogdu - Head of Mathematics, said: “We are extremely proud of our Foundation Skills Program students and their instructors. We are

delighted that our students have achieved so much in such a short period of time. Also, we would like to thank GUST staff and students for organizing this fun event.”

‘Shaastrotsav 2013’ haastrotsav, the Festival of Science, which is the most popular science and technology event in Kuwait, will be held on Friday, April 26. This year NSS College of Engineering Alumni (Kuwait Chapter) and the Institution of Engineers (India) Kuwait Chapter are jointly organizing ‘Shaastrotsav’ which will be held at Salmiya Indian Model School (SIMS), Kuwait. More than 400 students from various schools in Kuwait will be displaying their science and technology skills in the science project exhibition and various other competitions which will take place from 10 am to 5 pm. For details, website:


Konkani musical show nited Friends Club - Kuwait presents Kuwait Trio’s Konkani Songit Sanz (a Konkani musical evening) with fun filled comedy and songs, starring: Gracy Rodrigues, Clemmie Pereira, Irene Vaz, Lucy Aranha, Espy Crasto, Bab. Agnel, Katty de Navelim, Salu Faleiro, Gasper Crasto, Braz de Parra, Anthony D’Silva, Agnelo Fernandes, Seby & Seby, Zeferino Mendes, Lopes Bros., Comedian Nelson, Laurente Pereira & Cajetan de Sanvordem-Michael D’Silva-Mario de Majorda (Kuwait Trio). The show will be held on Friday, 10th May 2013 at 4 pm at the Indian Community School (Senior), Salmiya, Kuwait. Music will be provided by Maestro Shahu.


KALA-Balakalamela registeration alakalamela-2013, the art and cultural competition for Indian students in Kuwait, organized yearly by KALA-Kuwait is scheduled to be conducted on 3 May 2013 at Indian Public school, Salmiya. The completions are open for Indian students from Class 1 to 12 categorized as Sub Juniors (Class 1-4), Juniors (Class 5-8) and Seniors (9-12). The completions will be held for Bharathanatyam, Mohiniyattam, Folk Dance, Group Dance, Light Music, Classical Music, Fancy Dress, Elocution (English & Malayalam), Essay (English & Malayalam), Recitation (English & Malayalam) in 6 different stages in the venue. The registrations can be done through schools or directly through KALA web site ‘’ or directly handed over to any of the nearest KALA-units, or to sent to our e-mail ‘’ on or before 20 April 2013.


GUST students participate in International Conference 2013


nder the patronage of HRH Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the 14th Project Management Institute (PMI) Conference was held at the Kingdom of Bahrain from January 28-30, 2013. Enfowan Al Dabbous and Mashael Al Sharhan were the two students with a high GPA that were selected from GUST to attend the conference. They were from the eight students with the highest academic history

and GPA that were selected by the Kuwait Gulf Oil Company from four different universities around Kuwait. This prestigious international conference is evolving and serves as a forum for project management practitioners, engineers, planners, academicians and managers to interact, share their experience, improve their knowledge, and showcase their projects and best practices. Around 1,500 delegates from GCC major

companies, corporations, as well as prominent individual from the region and beyond attended the 14th conference. PMI was dedicated in fulfilling its role as a focal point for assisting its members and ensuring that the projects community gets more values. It was a very pleasant, beneficial and knowledgeable conference. It was a truly memorable and enriching experience that added a lot to our two GUST students.


McDonald’s Kuwait celebrates this year’s Earth Day with ‘Go Green’ event

IMAX film program Effective from 31st March 2013 Wednesday: ** 9:30am Showtime Available for Groups To The Arctic 3D 10:30am Tornado Alley 3D11:30am, 6:30pm, 9:30pm Flight of Butterflies 3D 12:30pm, 7:30pm Journey to Mecca 5:30pm Born to be Wild 3D 8:30pm Thursday: ** 9:30am Showtime Available for Groups Flight of Butterflies 3D 10:30am, 5:30pm, 8:30pm Born to be Wild 3D 11:30am Tornado Alley 3D 12:30pm, 7:30pm, 9:30pm To The Arctic 3D  6:30pm Friday: Fires of Kuwait 2:30pm Tornado Alley 3D 3:30pm, 5:30pm, 8:30pm To The Arctic 3D  4:30pm, 7:30pm Flight of Butterflies 3D  6:30pm Born to be Wild 3D 9:30pm

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cDonald’s Kuwait in celebration of Earth Day, a worldwide effort to stress the importance of environmental protection, collaborated with the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources andorganized the “Go Green” event at its Salwa Park branch. With the support of the Shabab Alkair Group, children from a wide range of local special needs organizations such as Al Kharafie Kids Center, Abeer 2, Kuwait English School and Autism organizations, as well as the McDonald’s family and members of the community that reside in Mishref and Salwa planted trees and flowers in the park, in hopes of restoring the greenery that is missing in the park’s landscape. McDonald’s Ambassador of Goodwill, Ronald McDonald joined in the effort and showed the children that their small contribution will have a huge impact on the beauty of their park, and that learning to protect the environment is an essential part of everybody’s duty in our community. More than 1000 plants were planted in different locations around the park, part of McDonald’s Kuwait commitment

to spread awareness on environmental sustainability and getting the community involved for a greener Kuwait. Commenting on the event, Mr. George Khawam, Marketing Director of McDonald’s Kuwait, said: “It is important for us to get involved with the community on Earth Day, it’s crucial that the community recognizes and celebrates this day to help spread awareness and do all that they can to help reduce the dangers to the environment.” Other activities during the event included, an arts and crafts session related to Earth Day and a fun and exciting photo booth, where the kids were able to take pictures and capture great moments during the event. The children were also encouraged to write poems about Earth day and their experiences which were later hanged in a designated area in the park. Mr. Khawam continued by saying “In order to raise awareness about Earth Day, the first step that we should take is educate our youth, getting the children involved inspires them to be more aware of their surroundings and at the same time make them appreciate Earth’s natural

environment.The ‘Go Green’ does more than just beautify an area ,it teaches the children to appreciate their environment and also encourages them to have an active and balanced lifestyles.”


W H AT ’ S O N


Sebamed goes Instagram

W From left to right, General Manager Nabil Hammoud with Carlos Slim Helu and Carlos Peralta

e are glad to inform you that we have launched our site on instagram. Follow us on @sebamedkuwait and (hashtag) #sebamedkuwait. We plan to launch a contest about the daily life with sebamed involving all family members, so follow us for more details, for the weekly contest and prizes. See page 7 For Details On Sebamed Contest.. Be Ready.. Join Us.. All Are Welcome.

Marina Hotel Kuwait welcomes Mexican business magnet Carlos Slim Helu


arina Hotel Kuwait recently welcomed Mexican business magnet, investor and philanthropist, Carlos Slim Helu, during his recent visit to Kuwait. Slim has been ranked by Forbes as the richest person in the world since 2010. He was accompanied by high ranking delegation including Carlos Peralta, Mexico’s largest industrial conglomerate, a

repeat guest at the Marina Hotel. Following their three-day stay at the hotel Carlos thanked Nabil Hammoud, Marina Hotel’s General Manager, and the hotel management for their efficiency and proficiency in taking care of all their needs. Nabil Hammoud, commented on the preference of Marina Hotel as a top notch hotel for VIPs, politicians, artists

and sportsmen. He said, “We take pride in receiving such a renowned businessman as Carlos Slim Helu and it is a privilege for us to have him stay at our hotel.” “Marina Hotel is a favorable hotel not only for celebrities but also the populace because of the unique traditional Kuwaiti culture along with modern amenities that it provides to its

guests. At Marina Hotel the guests always receives imperial attention to minute details. We hold the visit of Carlos Slim Helu as a matter of high esteem and it is an honor to host him in our premises.” Marina Hotel was prepared well in advance to make Carlos Slim Helu’s trip to Kuwait an enjoyable and a memorable experience.

Information EMBASSY OF AUSTRALIA The Australian Embassy Kuwait does not have a visa or immigration department. All processing of visas and immigration matters in conducted by The Australian Consulate-General in Dubai. Email: (VFS) (Visa Office); Tel: +971 4 355 1958 (VFS) - +971 4 508 7200 (Visa Office); Fax: +971 4 355 0708 (Visa Office). In Kuwait applications can be lodged at the Australian Visa Application Centre 4B 1st Floor, Al-Banwan Building Al-Qibla Area, Ali Al-Salem Street, opposite the Central Bank of Kuwait, Kuwait City, Kuwait. Working hours and days: 09:30 - 17:30; Sunday - Thursday. Or visit their website www.vfs-au-gcc-com for more information. Kuwait citizens can apply for tourist visas on-line at visa/e676.htm. nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF CANADA The Embassy of Canada in Kuwait does not have a visa or immigration department. All processing of visa and immigration matters including enquiries is conducted by the Canadian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Individuals who are interested in working, studying, visiting or immigrating to Canada should contact the Canadian Embassy in Abu Dhabi, website: or, E-mail: The Embassy of Canada is located at Villa 24, Al-Mutawakei St, Block 4 in Da’aiyah. Please visit our website at The Embassy of Canada is open from 07:30 to 15:30 Sunday through Thursday. The reception is open from 07:30 to 12:30. Consular services for Canadian citizens are provided from 09:00 until 12:00, Sunday through Wednesday. nnnnnnn

Pakistan Progressive Forum Kuwait celebrated the victory of new President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro in the recent election by cutting the cake at the Venezuelan Embassy in Kuwait. On this occasion PPFK members led by its founder Javaid Ahmad congratulated and showed solidarity towards the people of Venezuela. Picture shows from right to left: Essa Baloch, Mouhamed Riaz, Mrs Saleem Akhtar, Ambassador of Venezuela Hadel Mustafa Paolain, Javaid Ahmed, Amjad Ameen, Ali Murad & the counselor Alain Achutegui.

BAIA wows dance fans with Razzle Dazzle


he end of term 2 at The British Academy of International Arts (BAIA) was a flurry of hustle and bustle as the preparations for the annual dance gala ‘Razzle Dazzle’ were in full swing. Elaborate costumes including a range of different styled tutus could be seen in every studio and backstage. Students attended extra rehearsals and worked hard to bring the lighting and stage ideas together with their dancing On opening night the crowds gathered to enter the Shakespeare theatre at The British School of Kuwait while the students were busy backstage preparing their hair and makeup ready for curtain call at 7pm. An air of anticipation filled the theatre as the lights went down ready for the first number. The Grade 2 ballet students opened the evening with a beautiful rendition of ‘Beauty and the Beast’, their flowing pale yellow dresses sweeping the stage as they moved from figure of 8’s and diamond shapes on the stage. The end pose captivated the audience as they held statuesque positions as the music slowly faded- the applause continuing until the last dancer left the stage. The rest of Act 1 was filled with over 160 dance students- ranging from Primary (age 5) to Advanced 2 (age 18), some of the most famous classical ballet numbers could be heard including Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet and the Nutcracker. Act 2 brought a more lively, energetic feel to the Gala with the jazz, modern and tap students dancing to some of the best musical hits. Grade 4 modern’s version of ‘Footloose’ had the audience clapping along as they leaped and jived across the stage. The gala ended with a finale which lived up to its title of I Believe with all of the students taking a bow on stage along with their teachers Miss Claire and Miss Grace- smiles beaming across all of their faces from a fantastic first show. The students then performed two more shows due to popular demand on the following days, the dances never losing that first performance feel of energy and excitement. The dance students are now focusing on their RAD ballet exams at the end of April and the ISTD modern exams in May. All of their dedication and passion for the art of dance is evident for all to see and a joy to be shared with so many with an event like Razzle Dazzle.

EMBASSY OF CYPRUS In its capacity as EU Local Presidency in the State of Kuwait, the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus, on behalf of the Member States of the EU and associated States participating in the Schengen cooperation, would like to announce that as from 2nd October 2012 all Schengen States’ Consulates in Kuwait will use the Visa Information System (VIS). The VIS is a central database for the exchange of data on shortstay (up to three months) visas between Schengen States. The main objectives of the VIS are to facilitate visa application procedures and checks at external border as well as to enhance security. The VIS will contain all the Schengen visa applications lodged by an applicant over five years and the decisions taken by any Schengen State’s consulate. This will allow applicants to establish more easily the lawful use of previous visas and their bona fide status. For the purpose of the VIS, applicants will be required to provide their biometric data (fingerprints and digital photos) when applying for a Schengen visa. It is a simple and discreet procedure that only takes a few minutes. Biometric data, along with the data provided in the Schengen visa application form, will be recorded in the VIS central database. Therefore, as from 2nd October 2012, first-time applicants will have to appear in person when lodging the application, in order to provide their fingerprints. For subsequent applications within 5 years the fingerprints can be copied from the previous application file in the VIS. The Cypriot Presidency would like to assure the people of Kuwait and all its permanent citizens that the Member States and associated States participating in the Schengen cooperation, have taken all necessary technical measures to facilitate the rapid examination and the efficient processing of visa applications and to ensure a quick and discreet procedure for the implementation of the new VIS. nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF KENYA The Embassy of the Republic of Kenya wishes to inform the Kenyan community residents throughout Kuwait and the general public that the Embassy has acquired new office telephone numbers as follows: 25353982, 25353985 - Consular’s enquiries 25353987 - Fax Our Email address: nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF MEXICO The Embassy of Mexico to Kuwait has the pleasure to announce the opening of its Consular Section where visa applications are already being handled. The Consular Section is open to the public from Sundays-Thursdays 09.00-12.00 hrs. at Cliffs Complex in Salmiya, Villa No. 6 (3rd floor). nnnnnnn

EMBASSY GREECE The Embassy of Greece in Kuwait has the pleasure to announce that visa applications must be submitted to Schengen Visa Application Centre (VFS office) located at 12th floor, Al-Naser Tower, Fahad Al-Salem Street, Al-Qibla area, Kuwait City, (Parking at Souk Watia). For information please call 22281046 from 08:30 to 17:00 (Sunday to Thursday). Working hours: Submission from 08:30 to 15:30. Passport collection from 16:00 to 17:00. For visa applications please visit the following website nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF ALBANIA The Embassy of the Republic of Albania to the State of Kuwait would like to inform that on 03.04.2013, the new Albanian Ambassador, Kujtim Morina presented credential letters to His Highness, the Amir of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah. The address of the embassy is the same: Al - Zahra, Block 8, Street 802, Villa 169, Kuwait,P.O.BOX 3090, Safat 13131. The ebassy offers consular services as well. Working hours are from 9:00 to 14:00, Sunday through Thursday.



00:45 01:35 02:25 03:15 04:05 04:55 05:20 05:45 06:35 07:00 07:25 08:15 09:10 10:05 11:00 11:55 12:20 12:50 13:45 14:40 15:30 16:00 16:30 17:25 Baker 18:20 19:15 19:40 20:10 20:35 21:05 22:00 22:55 23:50

Monsters Inside Me Untamed & Uncut Wildest Islands Shamwari: A Wild Life World Wild Vet Call Of The Wildman Orangutan Island Shamwari: A Wild Life Wildlife SOS The Really Wild Show Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer Dogs 101: Specials Chris Humfrey’s Wildlife Wildest Islands Animal Cops Houston Call Of The Wildman Wildlife SOS RSPCA: On The Frontline Animal Precinct Wildest Islands Orangutan Island The Really Wild Show Dogs 101 Weird Creatures With Nick Groomer Has It Monkey Life Rescue Vet Call Of The Wildman Orangutan Island Wild Hawaii Wildest Islands Wild France Animal Cops Phoenix

00:40 Come Dine With Me 01:30 Masterchef: The Professionals 02:20 Gok’s Fashion Fix 03:10 Coastal Kitchen 03:35 Cash In The Attic 04:20 Bargain Hunt 05:05 Britain’s Dream Homes 05:55 Gok’s Fashion Fix 06:45 New Scandinavian Cooking 07:15 The Roux Legacy 07:50 Nigel Slater’s Simple Cooking 08:15 Homes Under The Hammer 09:10 Bargain Hunt 09:50 Antiques Roadshow 10:45 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 11:25 Masterchef: The Professionals 12:10 Come Dine With Me 13:00 The Roux Legacy 13:35 New Scandinavian Cooking 14:00 Cash In The Attic 14:45 Bargain Hunt 15:25 Antiques Roadshow 16:20 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 17:00 Homes Under The Hammer 17:55 Baking Mad With Eric Lanlard 18:20 The Good Cook 18:45 Baking Made Easy 19:10 New Scandinavian Cooking 19:40 Come Dine With Me 20:35 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 21:20 Antiques Roadshow 22:15 Bargain Hunt 23:00 Homes Under The Hammer 23:55 Cash In The Attic

00:45 01:35 02:25 03:00 03:30 03:55 04:20 04:45 05:00 05:25 05:45 06:00 06:25 06:50 07:15 07:40 08:05 08:30 08:55

Wacky Races Duck Dodgers Dastardly And Muttley Dexter’s Laboratory Wacky Races Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries Tom & Jerry The Garfield Show Bananas In Pyjamas Gerald McBoing Boing Jelly Jamm Ha Ha Hairies Bananas In Pyjamas Lazytown Krypto: The Super Dog Baby Looney Tunes Gerald McBoing Boing Cartoonito Tales Lazy Town

09:45 10:10 10:35 11:00 11:25 11:50 12:40 13:00 13:25 13:50 14:20 14:45 15:10 15:35 16:00 16:25 16:50 17:15 17:40 18:05 18:30 18:55 19:20 19:45 20:10 20:35 21:00 21:25 21:50 22:15 23:05 23:55

Baby Looney Tunes Krypto: The Super Dog Cartoonito Tales Jelly Jamm Gerald McBoing Boing Lazy Town Jelly Jamm Tom & Jerry Kids A Pup Named Scooby-Doo Moomins Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries Tiny Toon Adventures The 13 Ghosts Of Scooby-Doo Taz-Mania Tom & Jerry Tales Moomins The Garfield Show The Looney Tunes Show Tiny Toon Adventures Taz-Mania Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries The 13 Ghosts Of Scooby-Doo Pink Panther And Pals The Looney Tunes Show Taz-Mania Puppy In My Pocket What’s New Scooby-Doo? Looney Tunes Dexter’s Laboratory Tom & Jerry Tales Pink Panther And Pals Moomins

00:30 Grim Adventures Of... 01:20 Johnny Test 02:10 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 03:00 The Amazing World Of Gumball 03:25 Regular Show 03:50 Ben 10: Omniverse 04:15 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated 04:40 Powerpuff Girls 05:05 Evil Con Carne 05:30 Cow & Chicken 06:00 Casper’s Scare School 06:30 Angelo Rules 07:00 Dreamworks Dragons: Riders Of Berk 07:25 The Amazing World Of Gumball 07:45 Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated 08:10 Evil Con Carne 08:55 Adventure Time 09:45 Regular Show 10:35 Angelo Rules 11:25 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 12:15 Hero 108 13:05 Mucha Lucha ! 13:30 Angelo Rules 14:20 Evil Con Carne 15:10 Ben 10 16:00 Johnny Test 16:35 Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated 17:00 Ben 10: Omniverse 17:25 Dreamworks Dragons Riders Of Berk 17:50 The Amazing World Of Gumball

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Dual Survival Yukon Men Finding Bigfoot Mythbusters Border Security Auction Hunters Baggage Battles How Do They Do It? How It’s Made Sons Of Guns Mythbusters Ultimate Survival American Chopper Border Security Auction Hunters Baggage Battles How Do They Do It? How It’s Made Dual Survival Yukon Men Finding Bigfoot Border Security Auction Hunters Baggage Battles

16:00 Futurecar 16:55 American Chopper: Senior vs Junior:...

00:05 The Tech Show 00:30 Weird Connections 01:00 Prototype This 01:50 Weird Or What? 02:45 Scrapheap Challenge 03:35 Prototype This 04:25 Kings Of Construction 05:15 Gadget Show - World Tour 05:40 The Tech Show 06:05 The World’s Strangest UFO Stories 07:00 Space Pioneer 07:50 NASA’s Greatest Missions 08:40 Gadget Show - World Tour 09:05 The Tech Show 09:30 Smash Lab 10:25 Nextworld 11:15 Robocar 12:05 Moon Machines 13:00 NASA’s Greatest Missions 13:50 Weird Connections 14:20 Gadget Show - World Tour 14:45 The Tech Show 15:10 Space Pioneer 16:00 Smash Lab 16:55 Sci-Fi Saved My Life 17:45 Kings Of Construction 18:35 The World’s Strangest UFO Stories 19:30 Space Pioneer 20:20 NASA’s Greatest Missions 21:10 Gadget Show - World Tour 21:35 The Tech Show

00:10 00:35 01:25 02:15 03:05 03:55 04:45 05:35 06:00 06:25 06:40 07:30 07:55 08:45 09:35 10:25 11:15 12:05 12:30 13:20 13:45 14:35 15:25 15:50 16:15 16:40 17:00 17:30 17:50 17:55 18:20 18:40 18:45 19:10 19:35 20:00 20:25 21:15 21:40 22:05

Hannah Montana Forever Brandy & Mr Whiskers Replacements Emperor’s New School Brandy & Mr Whiskers Replacements Emperor’s New School Brandy & Mr Whiskers Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Doc McStuffins Hannah Montana A.N.T. Farm Jessie Good Luck Charlie Austin And Ally Shake It Up Suite Life On Deck Hannah Montana Wizards Of Waverly Place Jessie A.N.T. Farm Hannah Montana Good Luck Charlie Jessie Shake It Up A.N.T. Farm Austin And Ally Suite Life On Deck Minnie And You Suite Life On Deck Wizards Of Waverly Place Minnie And You That’s So Raven Cory In The House Good Luck Charlie Jessie Wizards Of Waverly Place Phil Of The Future Hannah Montana Jonas Los Angeles

06:00 Kid vs Kat 06:10 American Dragon 06:35 Iron Man Armored Adventures 07:00 Kickin It 07:25 Phineas And Ferb 07:50 Max Steel 08:15 Crash & Bernstein 08:40 Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja 09:05 Scaredy Squirrel 09:30 Ultimate Spider-Man 09:55 Zeke & Luther 10:20 Kick Buttowski


10:45 I’m In The Band 11:10 Pokemon: BW Rival Destinies 11:35 Rated A For Awesome 12:00 Mr. Young 12:25 American Dragon 12:50 Kick Buttowski 13:20 Pair Of Kings 13:45 Zeke & Luther 14:10 Kick Buttowski 14:35 I’m In The Band 15:00 Phineas And Ferb 15:25 Almost Naked Animals 15:50 Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja 16:15 Pair Of Kings 16:40 Mr. Young 17:05 Lab Rats 17:30 Slugterra 18:00 Kickin It 18:50 Phineas And Ferb 19:40 Mr. Young 20:05 Pair Of Kings 20:30 Crash & Bernstein 20:55 I’m In The Band 21:20 Rated A For Awesome 21:45 Rekkit Rabbit 22:10 Phineas And Ferb 22:35 Scaredy Squirrel 23:00 Programmes Start At 6:00am KSA

00:00 00:55 01:25 03:15 03:40 04:10 07:50 08:20 10:15 12:05 13:05 14:05 York 15:00 15:30 16:30 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 22:30 23:30

Scouted Style Star THS Style Star Extreme Close-Up THS Style Star Opening Act 30 Best & Worst Beach Bodies Khloe And Lamar Married To Jonas Kourtney & Kim Take New Style Star THS Extreme Close-Up Giuliana & Bill E! News Fashion Police THS Kourtney And Kim Take Miami Chasing The Saturdays E! News Chelsea Lately

00:05 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 00:30 Outrageous Food 00:55 Unwrapped 01:45 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Special 02:35 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 03:25 Unique Eats 03:50 Andy Bates Street Feasts 04:15 Andy Bates American Street Feasts 04:40 Chopped 05:30 Iron Chef America 06:10 Food Network Challenge 07:00 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 07:50 Unique Eats 08:15 Andy Bates Street Feasts 08:40 Andy Bates American Street Feasts 09:05 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 09:30 The Next Iron Chef 10:20 Extra Virgin 11:10 Everyday Italian 11:35 Unwrapped 12:00 Staten Island Cakes 12:50 Have Cake, Will Travel 13:15 Barefoot Contessa 14:05 Extra Virgin 14:30 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 15:20 Guy’s Big Bite 15:45 Chopped 16:35 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 17:00 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 17:25 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 18:15 Symon’s Suppers 18:40 Guy’s Big Bite 19:05 Tyler’s Ultimate 19:30 Chopped 21:10 Iron Chef America 22:00 Charly’s Cake Angels 22:50 Unique Sweets 23:15 Unique Sweets 23:40 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives

00:05 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 00:30 Outrageous Food 00:55 Unwrapped 01:20 Unwrapped 01:45 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Special 02:35 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 03:00 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 03:25 Unique Eats 03:50 Andy Bates Street Feasts 04:15 Andy Bates American Street Feasts 04:40 Chopped 05:30 Iron Chef America 06:10 Food Network Challenge 07:00 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 07:25 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 07:50 Unique Eats 08:15 Andy Bates Street Feasts 08:40 Andy Bates American Street Feasts 09:05 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 09:30 The Next Iron Chef 10:20 Extra Virgin 10:45 Extra Virgin 11:10 Everyday Italian 11:35 Unwrapped 12:00 Staten Island Cakes 12:50 Have Cake, Will Travel 13:15 Barefoot Contessa 13:40 Barefoot Contessa 14:05 Extra Virgin 14:30 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 14:55 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 15:20 Guy’s Big Bite 15:45 Chopped 16:35 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 17:00 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 17:25 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 17:50 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 18:15 Symon’s Suppers 18:40 Guy’s Big Bite 19:05 Tyler’s Ultimate 19:30 Chopped 20:20 Chopped 21:10 Iron Chef America 22:00 Charly’s Cake Angels 22:25 Charly’s Cake Angels 22:50 Unique Sweets 23:15 Unique Sweets 23:40 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives

00:30 01:20 02:05 02:55 03:45 04:30 05:20 06:10 07:00 07:50 08:15 08:40 09:05 09:30 10:20 11:10 12:00 12:50 13:40 14:30 15:20 15:45 16:10 17:00 17:50 18:40 19:30 20:20 21:10 22:00 22:50 23:40

Dr G: Medical Examiner A Haunting Couples Who Kill Deadly Women I Almost Got Away With It Dr G: Medical Examiner A Haunting FBI Case Files Mystery Diagnosis Street Patrol Street Patrol Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn FBI Case Files Disappeared Mystery Diagnosis Street Patrol Forensic Detectives On The Case With Paula Zahn Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? Disappeared FBI Case Files Forensic Detectives On The Case With Paula Zahn Disappeared Nightmare Next Door Couples Who Kill Nightmare Next Door Nightmare Next Door I Almost Got Away With It

00:00 BBC World News America 01:00 Newsday 01:30 Asia Business Report 01:45 Sport Today 02:00 Newsday 02:30 Asia Business Report 02:45 Sport Today 03:00 Newsday 03:30 Asia Business Report 03:45 Sport Today 04:00 BBC World News 04:30 Asia Business Report 04:45 Sport Today 05:00 BBC World News 05:30 Asia Business Report 05:45 Sport Today 06:00 BBC World News 06:30 Hardtalk 07:00 BBC World News 07:30 World Business Report 07:45 BBC World News 08:30 World Business Report 08:45 BBC World News 09:30 World Business Report 09:45 BBC World News 10:30 World Business Report 10:45 BBC World News 11:30 Hardtalk 12:00 BBC World News 12:30 World Business Report 12:45 Sport Today 13:00 BBC World News 14:00 GMT With George Alagiah 15:00 BBC World News 15:30 World Business Report 15:45 Sport Today 16:00 Impact With Mishal Husain 17:30 Hardtalk 18:00 Global With John Sopel 19:30 World Business Report 19:45 Sport Today 20:00 BBC World News 20:30 BBC Focus On Africa 21:00 World News Today With Zeinab Badawi 22:30 World Business Report 22:45 Sport Today 23:00 Business Edition With Tanya Beckett

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The Jeju Chronicles Going Local Kiev, Ukraine Tokyo, Japan Bangkok Underworld Escape from Argentina City Chase Rome, 2 Ep 2 Mexico Singapore The Black Diamonds The Jeju Chronicles Going Local Kiev, Ukraine Tokyo, Japan Bangkok Underworld Escape from Argentina City Chase Rome, 2 Vietnam Hawaiian Fusion Kuala Lumpur (aka Malaysia) The Journey Begins Again The Seafood Chronicles Kicked Out of Gansu Accra, Ghana Paris, France Saddam’s Iraq The Juggler Smuggler City Chase Rome, 3 The Journey Begins Again The Seafood Chronicles Hawaiian Fusion Kuala Lumpur (aka Malaysia) Ep 3 Belize Germany - Berlin Czech Republic

Maneater Manhunt Strike Force Kingdom of The Oceans Man v. Monster World’s Deadliest Animals Strike Force Hippo Hell Kingdom of The Oceans Man v. Monster World’s Deadliest Animals How Big Can It Get World’s Weirdest Wild Case Files Strike Force Moray Eels: Alien Empire Man v. Monster World’s Deadliest Animals Ultimate Animal Countdown Freaks & Creeps Wild Case Files Moray Eels: Alien Empire Man v. Monster World’s Deadliest Animals Ultimate Animal Countdown Freaks & Creeps

01: 01: 03: 04:4 06: 08: 10:4 12: 13: 15: 16: 18: 18: Ho


00:00 The Crazies-18 02:00 Fright Night-PG15 04:00 Friday Night Lights-PG15 06:00 The Ring-PG15 08:00 Interview With A Hitman 09:45 Mission: Impossible III-PG15 12:00 True Justice: One Shot, One Life-PG15 14:00 Interview With A Hitman 18:00 True Justice: One Shot, One Life-PG15 20:00 X-Men: First Class-PG15 22:30 Transformers: Dark Of The Moon-PG15

01:00 03:00 05:00 07:00 PG15 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00

Morning-PG15 Second Chances-PG15 Princess Lillifee-FAM What’s Wrong With VirginiaThe Darkest Hour-PG15 Second Chances-PG15 Ties That Bind-PG15 Return-PG15 Soldier Love Story-PG15 This Means War-PG15 The Devil Inside-18 Meet Monica Velour-R

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 The New Normal 02:00 South Park 03:00 Hot In Cleveland 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Hope & Faith 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:30 Hope & Faith 09:00 Hot In Cleveland 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 Ben And Kate 19:00 Modern Family 19:30 The Mindy Project 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Weeds 22:30 It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 07:30 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 12:30 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 16:30 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

Supernatural American Horror Story The Americans Greek House Of Cards Grey’s Anatomy Supernatural Emmerdale Coronation Street The Closer The Ellen DeGeneres Show Grey’s Anatomy House Of Cards Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show The Closer Supernatural Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show The Closer Touch Bones Castle The Client List Greek

00:00 02:00 04:00 06:00 08:00 10:00 11:45 14:00

Starship Troopers: Invasion The Crazies Fright Night Friday Night Lights The Ring Interview With A Hitman Mission: Impossible III True Justice: One Shot, One

Life 16:00 Interview With A Hitman 20:00 True Justice: One Shot, One Life 22:00 X-Men: First Class

00:00 Bridesmaids-18 02:15 Old School-18 04:00 Just Crazy Enough-PG15 06:00 Wayne’s World 2-PG15 08:00 Lying To Be Perfect-PG15 10:00 The Winning Season-PG15 12:00 Just Crazy Enough-PG15 14:00 Police Academy 7: Mission To Moscow-PG15 16:00 The Winning Season-PG15 18:00 While You Were Sleeping 20:00 A Little Help-18 22:00 Bridesmaids-18

02:45 S. Darko-PG15 04:30 The End Of The Affair-18 06:15 Gandhi-PG 09:30 Honey 2-PG15 11:30 Love Finds A Home-PG15 13:15 George Harrison: Living In The Material World-PG15 17:00 Love Takes Wing-PG15 19:00 Bruc-PG15 21:00 The Weather Man-18 22:45 An Officer And A Gentleman

01:00 Crisis Point-PG15 03:00 I Don’t Know How She Does It-PG15 05:00 War Horse-PG15 08:00 Marion Jones: Press PausePG15 09:00 Stolen Lives-PG15 11:00 Lady And The Tramp-FAM 13:00 Alpha And Omega-PG 15:00 Monte Carlo-PG15 17:00 Stolen Lives-PG15 19:00 The Artist-PG 21:00 Violet & Daisy-PG15 23:00 Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star-18

01:00 Moomins And The Comet Chase 02:45 The Apple & The Worm 04:15 Horrid Henry 06:00 A Monster In Paris 08:00 Toyz Goin’ Wild 10:00 Twigson 11:30 The Three Bears: Dreadful Dangers 13:00 Arthur’s Missing Pal 14:30 Horrid Henry 16:15 Ploddy Police Car 18:00 Twigson 20:00 Kung Fu Panda 2 22:00 Arthur’s Missing Pal 23:30 Ploddy Police Car

00:00 Prime Mover-PG15 02:00 According To Greta-PG15 04:00 Melinda And Melinda-PG15 06:00 Men In Black 3-PG 08:00 Jesse Stone: Innocents LostPG15 10:00 Dead Lines-PG15 12:00 New Year’s Eve-PG15 14:00 Men In Black 3-PG 16:00 Jesse Stone: Innocents LostPG15 18:00 Journey 2: The Mysterious Island-PG 20:00 Summer Coda-PG15 22:00 Carnage-PG15

01:00 Futbol Mundial 01:30 PGA Tour Highlights 02:30 PGA European Tour Highlights 03:30 NRL Full Time 04:00 International Rugby League 06:00 AFL Premiership Highlights 07:00 Snooker 11:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 12:00 Live Snooker

00:00 01:00 01:30 02:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 10:00 10:30 11:30 12:30 15:30 19:00 21:00 21:30 22:30 23:30

UFC Countdown NRL Full Time ICC Cricket 360 Snooker World Championship Super Rugby WWE Vintage Collection Super Rugby NRL Full Time Super Rugby AFL Premiership Highlights London Marathon Premier League Darts NHL Inside The PGA Tour Trans World Sport AFL Premiership Highlights Super Rugby

00:00 NRL Full Time 00:30 Top 14 Highlights 01:00 World Pool Masters 02:00 World Cup Of Pool 03:00 Golfing World 04:00 London Marathon 07:00 Golfing World 08:00 Ladies European Tour Highlights 09:00 World Pool Masters 10:00 World Cup Of Pool 11:00 Trans World Sport 12:00 Top 14 Highlights 12:30 ICC Cricket 360 13:00 Golfing World 14:00 Ladies European Tour Highlights 15:00 Futbol Mundial 15:30 World Pool Masters 16:30 World Cup Of Pool 17:30 Top 14 19:30 Rugby League Challenge Cup 21:00 Futbol Mundial 21:30 Ladies European Tour Highlights 22:30 ITU World Triathlon

01:00 UFC 03:00 Ping Pong World Championships 04:00 US Bass Fishing 05:00 NHL 07:00 WWE Vintage Collection 08:00 WWE NXT 09:00 Ping Pong World Championships 10:00 US Bass Fishing 11:00 NHL 13:00 WWE SmackDown 15:00 Advanture Challenge 16:00 UAE National Race Day Series 17:00 UFC Prelims 20:00 UFC 22:00 NHL

00:00 00:30 01:00 02:00 02:30 03:00 04:00 05:00 05:30 06:00 07:00 07:30 08:00 09:00 09:30 10:00 10:30 11:00 12:00 12:30 13:00 14:00 14:30 15:00 16:00 16:30 17:00 18:00 18:30 19:00 20:00 20:30 21:00 22:00 23:00

Pawn Stars Storage Wars Ancient Aliens Storage Wars Storage Wars Texas American Pickers Soviet Storm: WWII In The East Pawn Stars American Restoration Ancient Aliens Pawn Stars Storage Wars Soviet Storm: WWII In The East Pawn Stars American Restoration Pawn Stars Storage Wars Ancient Aliens Storage Wars Storage Wars Texas American Pickers Pawn Stars American Restoration Soviet Storm: WWII In The East Storage Wars Storage Wars Texas American Pickers Pawn Stars American Restoration Soviet Storm: WWII In The East Pawn Stars Storage Wars Ancient Aliens Ancient Aliens The Men Who Built America

Classifieds WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24, 2013




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FOR SALE Toyota Corolla 1.8, 2005 model, 145000 km, accident free, neat interior & exterior engine, gear, A/C & chassis in perfect condition, well maintained family used car. Price KD 1850 negotiable. Contact: 67739049. (C 4387) 24-4-2013 Fully furnished flat for sale in Burj Behbehani building opposite to Salmiya Garden. Big hall, 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, big kitchen. Swimming pool, Gym facility, underground parking and round the clock security available. Contact: 50701181. (C 4381)

Need a job in Kuwait, having master degree in business, K. Suresh Kumar (MBA) Mobile: 00919440707761. Relative in Kuwait contact Mr. Balu: 66195135. (C 4383) 21-4-2013

CHANGE OF NAME I, Pallemeera Mutterahamath, holder of Indian Passport No: E5586374 issued at Hyderabad on 13-06-2003, change my name to Pa Pallemeera Mukthiyar. (C 4386) 22-4-2013 I, Badham Shobha Rani of Indian Passport No. E8988357 embraced Islam, hence changed my name

Mitsubishi Galant 2013, white color, excellent condition, 6,000km, price KD 3,100/-. Contact: 50994848. (C 4382) 21-4-2013

to Maseera Fatima. (C 4380)

MATRIMONIAL American male looking for a good wife. Serious people only please! (C 4385)

112 Prayer timings

SITUATION WANTED Job wanted for Project/ Technical/ Sales Engineer with 3-1/2 year experience, have GCC driving license, familiar with Primavera & Autocad. Contact: 60374540. (C 4384) 22-4-2013













No: 15788




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Time 0:05 00:20 00:25 00:30 02:20 02:30 02:45 03:45 03:50 04:15 04:20 04:20 04:25 05:15 05:35 06:30 07:00 07:10 07:25 08:00 08:25 08:25 09:15 09:25 09:30 09:35 09:50 09:55 10:00 10:00 10:15 10:25 10:30 10:30 11:00 11:25 11:30 11:55 12:00 12:00 12:10 12:25 12:30 12:50 13:00 13:10 13:10 13:20 13:45 14:00 14:10 14:15

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s ta rs CROSSWORD 169

STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) ARIES How you deal with the unexpected arrival of a person will determine the success of an event or social gathering. An old flame or someone you’d have preferred not to deal with may be unavoidable now. Maybe the relationship isn’t yet over and resolution of some sort still requires attention on your part. This is a very emotional time for you. There’s a need to be nurtured and cared for and to share this experience with another person. Women in particular are a focus for this; your home and family environment, as well. Food may seem more important to you than ever before as you try to compensate for the lack of some emotional bond.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) There could be a purpose behind all the bickering and strong words taking place in your social sphere. Someone has a gripe and another wants to be heard, and the ball is in your court to be the mediator. An unexpected call could be the catalyst for a fuller social life. You are impulsively affectionate and flirtatious at this time, and you feel quite restless if you are in a stable, predictable relationship that offers little excitement. Also, your friends or love partner may behave in unexpected ways. Flexibility and open mindedness in your relationships is called for now.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

ACROSS 1. Electronic equipment that provides visual images of varying electrical quantities. 4. Difficult to penetrate. 12. An enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of many body compounds (e.g., epinephrine and norepinephrine and serotonin). 15. A recurring sleep state during which dreaming occurs. 16. Determined by measurement. 17. Electrical conduction through a gas in an applied electric field. 18. (informal) Of the highest quality. 19. Expose to fresh air, as of old clothing. 20. Any of various usually white herons having long plumes during breeding season. 21. Glazed yeast-raised doughnut-shaped roll with hard crust. 23. A low heavy horsecart without sides. 24. A constellation in the southern hemisphere near Telescopium and Norma. 25. Adornment consisting of a small piece of shiny material used to decorate clothing. 29. A city in southeastern South Korea. 31. English monk and scholar (672-735). 32. Causing alarm or fear. 37. A cord that is drawn through eyelets or around hooks in order to draw together two edges (as of a shoe or garment). 38. Relating to or characteristic of Arabs. 42. Activity involved in maintaining something in good working order. 45. The United Nations agency concerned with civil aviation. 47. Towards the side away from the wind. 48. A colorless and odorless inert gas. 49. Essential oil or perfume obtained from flowers. 50. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 51. A member of the people inhabiting the Aleutian Islands and western Alaska. 55. A correctional institution used to detain persons who are in the lawful custody of the government (either accused persons awaiting trial or convicted persons serving a sentence). 60. Dry brandy distilled in the Armagnac district of France. 65. A branch of the Tai languages. 66. A former British gold coin worth 21 chillings. 67. American Revolutionary patriot. 70. A master's degree in business. 71. Advanced in years. 72. Alternatively, a member of the family Nymphaeaceae. 74. Tag the base runner to get him out. 75. Type genus of the Ranidae. 76. An intellectual (who is bald?). 77. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. DOWN 1. Infestation of the pubic hair by crab lice. 2. A summary that repeats the substance of a longer discussion. 3. The ending of a series or sequence. 4. An alloy of mercury with another metal (usually silver) used by dentists to fill cavities in teeth. 5. Any of numerous hairy-bodied insects including social and solitary species. 6. The Italian region on the island of Sardinia.

7. A male monarch or emperor (especially of Russia prior to 1917). 8. Type genus of the Rutaceae. 9. United States chemist who discovered deuterium (1893-1981). 10. A toxic nonmetallic element related to sulfur and tellurium. 11. United States swimmer who in 1926 became the first woman to swim the English Channel (1903- ). 12. A percussion instrument consisting of a pair of hollow pieces of wood or bone (usually held between the thumb and fingers) that are made to click together (as by Spanish dancers) in rhythm with the dance. 13. Large west African tree having large palmately lobed leaves and axillary cymose panicles of small white flowers and one-winged seeds. 14. The cardinal number that is the sum of seven and one. 22. The principal dish of a meal. 26. Flower arrangement consisting of a circular band of foliage or flowers for ornamental purposes. 27. A machine for laying pavement. 28. A condition (mostly in boys) characterized by behavioral and learning disorders. 30. One of the two branches of the Finno-Ugric family of languages. 33. Lap at the front of a coat. 34. Red pear-shaped tropical fruit with poisonous seeds. 35. A small cake leavened with yeast. 36. A team of professional baseball players who play and travel together. 39. A legal document codifying the result of deliberations of a committee or society or legislative body. 40. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 41. The longer of the two telegraphic signals used in Morse code. 43. Animal food for browsing or grazing. 44. Blue sharks. 46. Sole genus of the family Naiadaceae. 52. A landlocked republic in eastern Africa. 53. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 54. A gonadotropic hormone that is secreted by the anterior pituitary. 56. A Bantu language spoken by the Kamba people in Kenya. 57. A genus of Lamnidae. 58. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 59. Jordan's port. 61. (anatomy) A fold or wrinkle or crease. 62. Dignified manner or conduct. 63. Open-heart surgery in which the rib cage is opened and a section of a blood vessel is grafted from the aorta to the coronary artery to bypass the blocked section of the coronary artery and improve the blood supply to the heart. 64. Informal terms for a (young) woman. 68. The syllable naming the first (tonic) note of any major scale in solmization. 69. Experiencing or showing sorrow or unhappiness. 73. A soft white precious univalent metallic element having the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal.


If you plan to mix business with pleasure you’re probably mistaken in thinking you could accomplish both fully. If you’re going to socialize make it a fun time, but business and fun will certainly not mix today. You’re entering a time of emotional directness and impulsiveness now, one marked by forceful and powerful feelings. Emotional beginnings, a fresh start, perhaps the establishment of new habit patterns are the energy at this time, just make sure they’re good ones, because they’ll set the tone for you for quite some time to come!

Cancer (June 21-July 22) Today you feel less competitive and ambitious about practical and mundane matters. The world of imagination, fantasy, art, music, or mysticism is very appealing to you now, and if you have talent in any of these areas, this can be a creative and fruitful time for you. You are likely to be far more critical of those close to you than you should be. Life’s pace may be a bit too slow for you at this time, which frustrates you so much that you may vent your frustrations on your loved ones. To maintain some semblance of harmony, keep your mind as busy as possible. Should you feel yourself hitting a boiling point, burn it off through exercise or try to lose yourself in a book or movie.

Leo (July 23-August 22) A clash of personalities could leave you feeling disheartened with an association that you had high hopes for. Someone could need your advice concerning something you experienced yourself only recently. Don’t let your mood stop you from attending the special dinner tonight, as there are people you need to see. You are in a mood to relax and enjoy quiet comfortable surroundings. Your family and friends are a source of particular pleasure and satisfaction, and you may wish to treat them or pamper them in some way. Appreciation for your home and a desire to make it more beautiful or comfortable is strong now also.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) This is a period of critical decisions and transition. A major change in your life can occur now (new job, relocating, ending a long-term relationship or beginning a new one, etc.). In fact, it is not unusual for several important changes of this nature to be occurring. Love, relationships, beauty, and pleasure are emphasized now. A new romance or friendship may occur or an old or current one may take a turn for the better. You feel especially attractive or friendly, and the warmth you radiate is noticed and appreciated by others in contact with you.

Word Search

Libra (September 23-October 22) Opportunities for friendship, pleasant associations and enjoyable social interactions occur now. Personal relationships are harmonious and rewarding. Also, financial transactions go smoothly for you and material benefits are possible at this time. Suppressed feelings can be transformed into compulsive actions all around, so it may be a good time to question motives, both your own and others’. Take a look around you today, you may appreciate and discover the beauty in your life and in those you are closest to. At the same time, everything could take on added value and importance in your emotional psyche. Be careful that you don’t overspend or indulge too much just to impress someone.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Your desire to make a fresh start, to take the initiative and strike out on your own, is a powerful drive right now. Your physical energy, will, and courage are intensified. Unless you channel your abundant energy into decisive action or vigorous work, accidents, anger, and irritability are likely at this time. Your enthusiasm and inner drive for living are very high now. This is a positive time when you express your feelings openly, you feel alive and interested in the world about you, and your love relationships are exciting and harmonious.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Tremendous internal changes, intense effort, relentless determination, compulsive and irrational drives, and strong assertion of your will are the key issues during this time period. This is a difficult time period when you want to make intense changes. This transit can last for a number of weeks. This is a time for you to shine! This is also a good time to begin something new, to initiate a relationship or project you may have been considering. You have an extra measure of energy and confidence now and will make a strong impression on those in your environment. You will be noticed more than usual.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) Today there’s an obstruction to your desires and no matter how hard you try to express yourself or put in motion those plans you have in mind, things could slide sideways. After a few hair-raising moments you may decide to simply retreat from confrontation and allow matters to take their own course today. Getting what you really want and moving toward achieving the things which are important to you may involve surrendering or eliminating something from your life at this time: perhaps an attitude, a situation, or a relationship that has been holding you back is the focus of this release.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Flexibility, thinking on your feet, and the ability to accommodate the unexpected will be called for now. The pace is very quick. You will be pulled in many directions at once, and tend to scatter your forces, jumping from one thing to the next. Positively, you may come up with some fresh, original plan or insight that may seem crazy at first, but which is likely to be quite useful. You could be driven more by instinct than by reason now. You are gripped by an almost fanatical and compulsive need to make fundamental changes in your life. Your compulsive urges take many forms, but a particularly strong one is the need to rid yourself of limitations, restrictions, and obstacles in a close relationship. Be careful you don’t burn a relationship that you really want to hold on to.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) Solid and steady progress in achieving career goals is highlighted now. If you are not happy with the kind of work you do, then investigate the possibilities of a change in your assigned duties at this time. Right now you may say the things you usually only think because you speak your mind without much thought, tact, or consideration of consequences, especially to people you disagree with. Unless you slow down a bit, this time period can be quite a headache and cause problems that last beyond the day. Verbal battles, disputes, and heated debates are very likely at this time.

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KUWAIT: Riyas Poyilli, the winner receiving his prize.

Rizalde Cayanan, the first runner-up receiving his prize.

Maryam Bishara, the second runner-up receiving her prize.

Indian freelance photographer wins first prize in KT contest Photo depicting dying tree, birds and sunrise won judges’ approval By Ben Garcia

Adnan Saad with a visitor in the gallery

A visitor takes a look at the photos.

A visitor takes a look at the photos.

Kuwait Times designer Sherif Ismail standing next to a visitor in the photo gallery.

(From right) Shereen Al-Monoufy, Monjed Salha, GM of Holiday Inn Salmiya, Adnan Saad and Maged Hanna.

A group photo.

A group photo.

KUWAIT: A photo depicting a dying tree with birds perched on its branches in the backdrop of a sunset won judges’ approval in the recently concluded 2013 Kuwait Times photography competition. The photo was taken by Riyas ‘Poyilli’ Moodadi, 33, a freelance photographer, for The Times (of India). At least it was how the people described his photograph as they examined it at the awards venue, Holiday Inn Salmiya, late on Sunday. But according to Riyas, the image which he took at sunset, was in fact an image of the dying branches and the backdrop which looked like a tree was actually an under-construction building (Central Bank Building) in Sharq. “I saw it to be very appropriate for the Kuwait Times theme, environmentally speaking,” said Moodadi as he started to explain his photo to this reporter. “I started to camp out close enough to the under construction Central Bank Building and waited for the right moment. In fact, to take that photo, I waited for about three hours. That was the photo which was rolling over and over again in my head before I took the snaps. Thank God, the hard work and the patience really paid off,” he quipped. A married man, with a three-year-old son, Moodadi said ever since he started working, he has been into photography. “I did not study photography but I can say I was trained by the best photographer back in India. So I know the rules in photography and I know how to shoot good photos,” he added. In fact, Moodadi has been feeding his family, courtesy his career as a photographer. “Although my wife has been helping me in a way since she is a professional accountant, but with my work as a photographer, I can manage my family well enough financially,” he added. It was his first time to win a photography contest although it was his second time to participate in the Kuwait Times annual photo competition. Unlike Moodadi, Rizalde Cayanan, 37, from Quezon City, Philippines, it was the pursuit of a hobby that landed him the second best award. He is currently employed as an audio technician in a private company for over six years now. The photo he contributed was an image taken back in 2011 during the ‘great sandstorm’ in Kuwait which claimed the lives of at least four people. The rushing sandstorm was captured by Rizalde’s camera as he was at the right place at the right moment. “We were at a meeting with my group, Light Benders, when the sandstorm happened. We were exactly at the rooftop of the building in Mangaf; so all of us were really excited to take photos. We all got good snaps but I got the best panoramic one, so I submitted the photo since the subject was about Kuwait’s environment,” he said. This was his first time to win a photography contest. Rizalde is married but his wife and only daughter are living in the Philippines. His way to express his own self and deal with his feelings of homesickness was through photography. “I am into landscape photography, not much into portraits. But I love taking photos because this is my way to deal with a very demanding job. It satisfies me when I click the best photos,” he said. The third winner was Maryam Bishara, a Kuwaiti working at Amiri Diwan Affairs. Her photograph depicted ‘the window to the future’ as she described her work. “I took the photo just three weeks ago. I thought it was beautiful and I believed it was the one Kuwait Times was looking for,” she said. “The photo was a combination of a dilapidated building in the backdrop of new Kuwait. I believe it was something beautiful, and so I submitted it without any hesitation. I knew my work could win and my instinct was right,” she noted. A mother of a five-year-old son, Maryam said she started her hobby only a few years back. “Please note that I am not a professional photographer. I work in the ministry and all I want is to take photos,” she said. The fourth prize was grabbed by Samina Ahmed followed by Lester Fuentes and Stevart Stephen in fifth and sixth positions. Kuwait Times’ environmentally-inspired photography contest was judged by three people from different backgrounds, including experienced and professional photographers. They included Olga Dunayeva from Ukraine, a dedicated housewife and also a photographer by hobby. The second judge was Mohammed Yousef from Lebanon. He is a film director and a design coordinator with the Al-Shaheed TV. The third judge was Harvey Pincis, a creative director and event manager at Dar AlAthar Al-Islamiya. Kuwait Times judges selected ten best images from amongst which the grand prize was declared. This competition would not have been possible without the support and trust of sponsors such as Burgan Bank and Ashraf & Co. The awards ceremony was held late last night at Al-Danah banquet hall of Hotel Holiday Inn Salmiya.



Adnan Saad and Maged Hanna honoring Soud Arai from Ashraf Shereen Al-Monoufy Marketing Manager of Holiday Inn Salmiya, Bozenna Grecka receiving her prize. & Co. Maged Hanna Director of Sales of Holiday Inn Salmiya and Adnan Saad Marketing Director of Kuwait Times are pictured.

Najwa Marafie receiving her prize.

Samina Ahmed, the fourth runner-up receiving her prize.

Raffle draw winners receiving their prizes.

A group picture shows the jury being honored by Ashraf & Co and Kuwait Times.


lifestyle M U S I C



US folk musician Richie Havens dead at 72


S folk musician Richie Havens, who opened the historic 1969 Woodstock musical festival and energized the crowd with his version of “Motherless Child/Freedom,” died of a heart attack on Monday at the age of 72, his talent agency said. Havens, who emerged from the New York folk scene in the 1960s and went on to sing for the Dalai Lama and President Bill Clinton, died at his home in Jersey City, New Jersey, Roots Agency President Tim Drake told Reuters. His family said a public memorial would be announced later and asked for privacy in the meantime. “Beyond his music, those who have met Havens will remember his gentle and compassionate nature, his light humor and his powerful presence,” his family said in a statement. Known for his driving acoustic guitar and soulful covers of songs by The Beatles, Bob Dylan and The Who, Havens used his music to champion the causes of per-

sonal freedom and brotherhood. He retired from touring three years ago and released what would be his final album “”Nobody Left to Crown” in 2008. Havens’ improvised version of the gospel song “Motherless Child” evolved into “Freedom” at Woodstock and became an anthem of the 1960s hippie generation. His per formance at Woodstock, where he opened the festival and played for three hours, proved a break-

File photo shows US musician Richie Havens performing during a concert for folk music legend Pete Seeger at Madison Square Garden in New York. — AFP photos Richie Havens posing at his hotel in Paris.

through and the inclusion of the song on the “Woodstock” concert movie broadened his audience.

A different version of “Freedom” was included on the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino’s award-winning 2012 slavery

era movie “Django Unchained.” In the 1970s, Havens branched out into acting appearing in the 1972 version of The Who’s rock opera “Tommy” and taking the lead role in the “Othello” inspired 1974 movie “Catch My Soul.” Havens sang at Clinton’s 1993 inauguration, performed several times for the Dalai Lama, and gave a show-stopping performance of “Just Like a Woman” at the all-star Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert in 1992. Other Havens hits included versions of Beatles classics “Here Comes the Sun” and “Strawberry Fields Forever,” and The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Havens was born in Brooklyn on Jan 21, 1941, the eldest of nine children, and began singing in neighborhood doo-wop groups. In the late 1950s, he went to Greenwich Village where he performed poetry, drew, and immersed himself in the folk music scene. In 1967, Havens released “Mixed Bag,” the first of some 25 albums. — Reuters

The kings of satire unleashed on OSN Japanese maestro Seiji Ozawa playing the piano during an interview with AFP at the French ambassador’s official residence in Tokyo. — AFP

Seiji Ozawa: A life in music from moped to maestro


ore than fifty years ago, a wiry young musician from a humble family slung his guitar on his back and boarded a cargo ship in Japan. Seiji Ozawa had pestered companies all over the country for sponsorship that would fund his voyage to Europe and help fulfill his dream of learning classical music in the place of its birth. Only one firmFuji Heavy Industries-was prepared to take a gamble on this precociously talented young man, supplying a moped to help him get around the continent. There was one condition: he had to fly a Japanese flag on the back of the bike wherever he went and do his part to promote a country whose economy was roaring into post-war life. After two months at sea, the ship docked in Marseille, disgorging Ozawa, his guitar, the scooter and the flag. It was the start of what would become a celebrated globe-spanning career as a conductor. In France he met Charles Munch-whom he called “Le Beau Charles” or “Handsome Charles”-a French conductor who was music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the man who would become his mentor. Ozawa first saw Munch at a 1959 international conducting competition in Besancon in the east of France. “They gave me the prize,” said Ozawa, speaking fluent English during an interview at the French ambassador’s residence in Tokyo. Ozawa’s victory brought him attention, but he said that witnessing Munch conduct left a profound impression. “(It was) fantastic. The flavor, when he smiled. He was usually like this,” he said, adopting the heavy frown that Munch was known for. “But when he smiled a little bit, the orchestra’s sound was completely different. When I saw it, I went absolutely gaga.” More than a decade later, Ozawa would step into Munch’s shoes at Boston, an orchestra he led for 29 years until 2002. Ozawa speaks with reverence of Herbert von Karajan, the principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, who towered over the world of classical music in the latter half of the 20th century. “Mr Maestro von Karajan invited me every year” as a guest conductor, he recalled. At the time “there was no Asian conductor, so I think he was worried about me.” Karajan demanded that his young prodigy devise the program he wanted to conduct directly with him, and without talking to the orchestra’s managerssomething almost unheard of for a guest conductor. “I would make my program every year (with Karajan) until he died,” Ozawa said. “I think he was worried because I am from the Orient, an Asian with no tradition. I may go for a crazy program,” he said, bursting into

peels of laughter. The roll call of orchestras over his career is impressive: New York Philharmonic (with Leonard Bernstein), Toronto Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and of course, Boston Symphony Orchestra and eight years at the helm of the Vienna State Opera. “God gave us this kind of music... I want to work with an orchestra,” he said. “Not having the taste of this with an orchestra could be difficult for me.” But in 2010 Ozawa was felled by cancer of the oesophagus and underwent surgery. A brief comeback later that year was put on ice and in 2011 he was treated for a hernia. In March last year he announced he would take a year off to concentrate on his recovery and has not conducted properly since. At 77 years old and after beating cancer, many people might consider slowing down. But far from a rallentando into retirement, Ozawa is keen to get back up to speed and cannot wait to pick up the baton again. “When I start conducting and the young people react to me, create music together, that moment is my life,” he said. His home comeback-with an orchestra and opera singers-is planned for August, but ahead of that there will be European events where he will lead his own students at the International Academy Switzerland, based in Geneva. His string quartet and ensemble will play Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings” on June 30. The conductor also plans Schoenberg’s “Verklarte Nacht (Transfigured Night)” with the young players from Europebut only for a rehearsal “to prepare for the next year”, he said. He will conduct Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings” in July with the Ozawa International Chamber Music Academy Okushiga in Japan. The acclaimed conductor now spends a significant amount of his time teaching and preparing for the two summer camps in Switzerland and Japan, while also leading the annual Ozawa Ongaku-juku music academies where promising young musicians are exposed to excellence. He is proud of the fact that those starting out in Asia now have so many more opportunities, but still tells all his charges that they must go to Europe to see where classical music was born and to feel it in its native setting. “There is cherry blossom in Washington, but it’s different” from that in Japan. And it is the same with classical music. “There are fantastic music schools in Beijing, Tokyo, Osaka or Seoul,” he said. But “you must go there,” to Europe. However, he adds, not necessarily on a scooter. — AFP

DUBAI: Expect nothing but fireworks on OSN Comedy HD as the masters of satire from the US and the Arab world come together yet again to share their views on everything from news to current events, politics and more. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart will host ‘Egypt’s Jon Stewart,’ Bassem Youssef, featuring unabashed political and social lampooning, at the same time attempting to bridge perception gaps of America and the Middle East. Tune in for the highly anticipated interview unedited and exclusively on OSN Comedy HD on Thursday, April 25, at 9pm KSA, with repeats on Friday, April 26 at 12:30am and 3:30pm KSA. ‘Bassem Youssef does my job in Egypt. I am an American satirist and Bassem is my hero,’ Jon had observed, as Time magazine honoured the Egyptian political satirist as among ‘The 100 Most Influential People in the World’ this year. A heart surgeon turned satirist, Bassem Youssef’s weekly show, Amreeka Bil Arabi, is a huge hit with viewers across the region airing exclusively on OSN Ya Hala! Shabab HD at 10pm KSA, every Wednesday. The show is a combination of a talk show, travel show, and a reality show showcasing

Bassem Youssef on OSN Bassem Youssef’s personal experiences exploring the ‘Arabic’ side of America through comedy. In an earlier meeting between Jon and Bassem last year, which has since gone viral, the two discussed life in

Frankfurt, Kaufmann, Stemme top opera honors F

File photo shows Chrissy Amphlett from the Australian rock band the ‘Divinyls’, playing the role of Judy Garland during the preview for ‘The Boy From Oz’ at the Entertainment Centre in Sydney. — AFP


leads tributes to Aussie rock legend Amphlett


ollywood star Russell Crowe led tributes yesterday to Australia’s “Queen of Rock” Chrissy Amphlett who died in New York after a long battle with cancer. “Dear Chrissie, The last time I saw you was in the (Sydney) Botanic Gardens, loving life and reciting verse. That’s how I’ll remember you, your boy, R,” Crowe tweeted. The charismatic Amphlett, the lead singer of The Divinyls and Australian rock’s original wild woman, passed away aged 53 on Monday, her husband Charley Drayton announced. “Christine Joy Amphlett succumbed to the effects of breast cancer and multiple sclerosis, diseases she vigorously fought with exceptional bravery and dignity,” he said in a statement. “She passed gently, in her sleep, surrounded by close friends and family.” Amphlett, who dressed on stage in a school uniform and fishnet stockings, shot to fame in the early 1980s with The Divinyls, the band she founded with her one-time boyfriend Mark McEntee and Air Supply’s Jeremy Paul. They released six albums between 1982 and 1996, peaking in 1991 with the success of the single “I Touch Myself”, which reached No.1 in Australia, No.10 in Britain and No.4 in the United States. The band reunited in 2006 when they were inducted into Australian music’s Hall Of Fame and toured the following year. Australian rocker Jimmy Barnes tweeted: “RIP my dear friend Chrissie, love you and will miss you.” Former Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett said: “Farewell to the finest of singers, great performer, a true star.” —AFP

French cinema shines hopeful spotlight on China

C This picture taken on April 22, 2013 shows French director Luc Besson looking at a movie projector as he prepares to give a speech during Beijing International Film Festival in Beijing. —AFP

Egypt and the disconnected way it is portrayed on national media. Stay tuned exclusively to OSN Comedy HD on Thursday, April 25th at 9pm KSA for what will be an unforgettable show.

inema is one of France’s greatest cultural exports but one market-China-remains largely untapped, and the industry is hoping President Francois Hollande can help pull the curtain back this week. Hollande arrives for his first state visit to Beijing on Thursday, in the starry trail of recent French visitors including movie directors such as Luc Besson and Jean-Jacques Annaud, and actors including Anne Parillaud. All agree that when it comes to the film market China is now the place to be, with the popularity of cinema soaring and a dozen big screens opening around the country every day. “China today is like the United States was in 1910,” said Pitof, a visual effects specialist who directed “Catwoman” starring Halle Berry, on the sidelines of two international film festivals held in Beijing. “China has the drive to export its culture to

the rest of the world, like the US did a century ago. But I get the feeling that Western culture is slowing down,” he said, noting the reliance in Hollywood on sequels and remakes. Pitof-who goes by one namecame to China to make “The Dragon Angel”, a family adventure film produced by Frenchman Igor Darbo, who left his job as a project-management consultant in Beijing to get into film production. Box-office receipts in China jumped 30 percent last year to 17 billion yuan ($2.7 billion), making it the world’s second-largest film market behind the US. And with the appeal of Chinese films failing to maintain the pace, foreign titles took the bulk of the money, scooping up just over half the revenue. But restrictions in China mean films are subjected to tight censorship, and there is an annual cap of just 34 foreign releases under highly sought-after revenue-sharing deals. —AFP

rankfurt Opera was crowned the world’s best opera company on Monday at the inaugural International Opera Awards which were set up to promote opera to a wider audience as it comes under increasing financial pressure. The award was one of 21 prizes announced at a ceremony in central London to kick off “ The Operas”, annual awards set up by Opera Magazine and British businessman Harry Hyman. German Jonas Kaufmann, often described as the “new king of tenors”, was crowned the best male singer after strong reviews from productions of “Carmen” and with his solo albums, Verismo Arias and Wagner, becoming bestsellers within weeks of release. Swedish soprano Nina Stemme, who received raves in Munich, Milan and Paris for her Wagner, beat five others including Joyce DiDonato and Sarah Connolly to be named best female singer. Briton Antonio Pappano, music director of Britain’s Royal Opera House, won the award for best conductor. The winners list said that under its intendant Bernd Loebe, the Frankfurt Opera had established itself as one of Europe’s best, with houses almost regularly filled to capacity for a mix of rarely performed works and more mainstream repertoire. Opera Magazine editor John Allison said he hoped the awards would bring more recognition to opera at an economically tough time when many opera houses were struggling due to a drop in private sponsorships and state subsidies. “Very few opera companies in the world are immune to the financial pinch,” Allison said, adding that this could stifle creativity and tempt opera companies “to play it safe”. Hyman said the awards were intended to broaden the audience for opera and encourage new talent by creating bursaries. “I hope they will become the Oscars of opera,” he said. The awards received 1,500 nominations from 41 countries and the winners decided by a 10-member jury made up of opera critics, opera house chiefs and singers. The award for the best new production went to “ The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov that was performed by the Netherlands Opera and directed by Russia’s Dmitri Tcherniakov, who also won the award for best director. The award for best world premiere was won by the favorite, “Written on Skin” by George Benjamin which premiered at the Aix-en-Provence festival in France before runs in several major opera

houses. The young singer award went to British soprano Sophie Bevan and the best newcomer, conductor or director, was won by Italian conductor Daniele Rustioni. A lifetime achievement award was given to George Christie, former chief executive of the British opera house Glyndebourne.

German Operatic tenor Jonas Kaufmann poses after winning the Male Singer and Reader’s Award. —AP Here is a list of winners in key categories. Opera Company: Frankfurt Opera Conductor: Antonio Pappano Male singer: Jonas Kaufmann Female singer: Nina Stemme Young singer: Sophie Bevan Director: Dmitri Tcherniakov World premiere: “Written on Skin” by George Benjamin, Aix-de-Provence New production: “The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh,” Netherlands Opera and Dmitri Tcherniakov Lifetime achievement award: George Christie Newcomer (conductor or director): Daniele Rustioni Orchestra: Metropolitan Opera Chorus: Cape Town Opera. —Reuters


lifestyle M U S I C



Psy’s ‘Gentleman’ hits

200 million YouTube views File photo shows Indian Bollywood director Dibakar Banerjee , actress Kalki Koechlin and actor Abha Deol watch a promotional trailer of their movie ‘Shanghai’ during a press conference in Bangalore. —AFP

India’s censored kisses to be shown for the first time A

File picture shows “Gangnam Style” star Psy performing during his concert “Happening” in Seoul. — AFP angnam Style” star Psy’s views set by “KONY 2012”-a docu- in and around Seoul including a highnew music video has gar- mentary about a Ugandan warlord end clothing store, restaurant and a nered 200 million views made by the charity group Invisible swimming pool. The storyline features the 35-yearon YouTube in the nine days since its Children. It was the video of release and smashed the video-shar- “Gangnam Style”, and in particular old singer playing pranks on women ing site’s record for single-day hits. Psy’s signature horse-riding dance, such as pulling their chairs away or The video of “Gentleman”-the much- that pushed him to global stardom untying a woman’s bikini top at a anticipated follow-up to the South after it was posted on YouTube and swimming pool. The new dance song was ranked yesterday in the top 10 on Korean singer’s global hit-reached the turned into a viral sensation. A satire on the luxury lifestyle of iTunes music stores in a number of 200-million milestones Monday after its April 13 debut, YouTube said in a Seoul’s upscale Gangnam district, it countries including Britain and has become the most-watched Canada and 12th on the US statement. “From a stats perspective, it’s one YouTube video of all time, registering Billboard’s Hot 100 music chart. It also of the biggest music video launches more than 1.5 billion views since it helped earn Psy six nominations for the web has ever seen,” the statement debuted last July. The “Gentleman” the 2013 Billboard Music Awards to said. The video recorded 38.4 million video shows Psy, wearing his signa- be held in Las Vegas in May, including views on April 14, destroying the pre- ture shades, performing his new hip- top dance song, top streaming song vious single-day record of 31 million swinging dance at various locations and top new artist. — AFP


new film festival is to showcase for the first time scenes from Bollywood movies deemed too racy for Indian viewers, including the first attempt at an on-screen kiss, organizers say. The “Cut-Uncut” festival in New Delhi will feature unedited versions of films which fell foul of the allpowerful Indian censor board that continues to vet movies before their release. Portrayals of sex, nudity, social unrest and violence can still be kept out of movie halls under India’s strict laws that were first drafted in 1952 and later amended in 1983. In the year of Bollywood’s 100-year anniversary, “Cut-Uncut” is being organized by the ministry of information and broadcasting to demonstrate its more open-minded approach, a ministry official said. “We want to be more liberal, stop enforcing the old rules and instead recognize artistic endeavor,” said an official in the min-

istry, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity. Until recently, “long kissing scenes, nudity and visuals depicting acts of rebellion against the government” were all censored, he explained. “With changing times, we want to have a fresh approach. Our aim is to change the old set of censor laws soon.”The festival beginning April 25 will open with a screening of the 1933 classic “Karma” starring Himanshu Rai and Devika Rani, whose onscreen kiss was considered the first in a Bollywood film and was deleted at the time. A 2004 documentary called the Final Solution, which looks at the highly sensitive subject of Hindu-Muslim religious rioting, will also be shown after it was banned for being “highly provocative.” These days Bollywood is awash with sexually suggestive material and scantily-clad leading ladies, but sex remains a taboo and films showing

kissing scenes are given an “adult” certificate limiting them to viewers over 18. The most popular films remain socalled “masala movies”, a mix of violence, romance and comedy for mainstream audiences, but there are more and more filmmakers working to reproduce the gritty reality of India on celluloid. Star director Dibakar Banerjee ran into trouble last year with the censor board over his film “Shanghai”. He had to delete two scenes depicting violence in the political thriller, including a high-caste character murdering a lowcaste victim. “I hated the idea of deleting the most powerful scenes from my movie but, well, I had to chop them otherwise the movie would have never seen the light of day,” he said. “Censorship has the power to kill the spirit of a film. It’s high time the government stops dictating what Indians should be watching,” he added. — AFP

Streisand feted by Clinton, Minnelli and friends

Kim says


for childbirth

ver since I can remember,” Barbra Streisand told a crowd at Lincoln Center Monday night, “people have been calling me bossy and opinionated.” She continued: “Maybe that’s because I am. Three cheers for bossy women!” The crowd roared. Of course, the crowd - which included the singer’s friends, Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, was roaring at pretty much anything connected to her all evening, as the legend of song and screen was honored for her film career with the

Honoree Barbra Streisand attends the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 40th Annual Chaplin Award Gala. —AP photos

40th annual Chaplin Award from the Film Society of Lincoln Center. The Streisand fans especially loved the film highlights, which covered everything from “Funny Girl” and “The Way We Were” to “The Owl and the Pussycat,” “What’s Up, Doc?” and “Meet the Fockers.” And then there was “Yentl” - the first Hollywood movie to be directed, produced, written and starred in by a woman, as the crowd was reminded. Streisand spoke of how hard it was to get funding to make the film. Producers, it seemed, weren’t as passionate as she was about the tale of a Jewish girl in Eastern Europe who so longed to study the Talmud that she disguised herself as a boy. It was only when Streisand agreed to turn the movie into a musical - and most importantly, sing in it herself - that she was able to go ahead with the project. “It’s funny how things always come back to music,” she said. “How it saves me.” Streisand, who turns 71 this week, is one of the few entertainers to have won Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony awards. Although she is perhaps most loved for her beautiful singing voice, she told the audience that as a young child, what she wanted most was to be an actress. But nobody really wanted “a 15-year-old Medea,” she noted. “Thank God I was given a good voice,” she said, explaining how her singing opened the doors to acting. Not that acting was so easy in the early going. At age 16, she recalled, she had to show in a scene that she was in love with a man. But she was not attracted to the actor, she said, so she placed a piece of chocolate cake nearby - so she could stare at that longingly, instead. For the awards gala, which raised $2 million for the film society - twice the previous

Catherine Deneuve high amount for the annual event Streisand was serenaded by Wynton Marsalis on trumpet, by Liza Minnelli, and by Tony Bennett, who closed the show with the song, “Smile,” fittingly a Charlie Chaplin song. Also appearing onstage to praise their friend and colleague were Michael Douglas, Catherine Deneuve (last year’s honoree), Amy Irving, Blythe Danner, George Segal, Ben Stiller, Pierce Brosnan and Kris Kristofferson. In video clips, Robert Redford - her “The

Backstreet Boys get Hollywood star ahead of world tour


oy band the Backstreet Boys - now all grown men - on Monday marked their 20th anniversary and their upcoming world tour by getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. “Backstreet is Back ... and we aren’t going anywhere,” Nick Carter, 33, told fans as all five members of the 1990s band gathered to unveil their star - located right next to another popular boy band, Boyz II Men. The close harmony singers were visibly emotional as they thanked their families and fans for their support over the years. “What an honor it is,” said Kevin Richardson, 40, holding back tears. “What a beautiful day. What another beautiful way to celebrate 20 years together.” Formed in 1993 in Florida, the Backstreet Boys went on to sell more than 130 million albums worldwide and score hits like “I Want It That Way,” and “Shape of My Heart.” The other members of the group are Brian Littrell, A.J. McLean and Howie Dorough. After several hiatuses in the 2000s and the departure of Richardson, the five original members officially got back together last year and will embark on a world tour in May, starting in China. Backstreet Boys are also due to release a new album this summer, and a music documentary in 2014. — Reuters

Kneeling from left Howie Dorough and Brian Littrell, and standing, from left, AJ McLean, Kevin Richardson and Nick Carter, of the music group, Backstreet Boys, pose for a photograph at the star ceremony where the band was honored on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. —AP

she’s ready

Michael Douglas and Catherine ZetaJones Way We Were” co-star - spoke of how he’d been warned before making the movie that Streisand was “a pain,” but discovered that she was “totally engaging to act with, beautiful, thorough and skilled.” And Omar Sharif, who played Nick Arnstein in “Funny Girl,” gave perhaps the most moving video tribute, talking about how incredible it was that he, an Egyptian actor, played a New York Jew in the 1968 film, and how she had become such a good friend. “We used to go to the cinema together,” Sharif said. “We paid for our tickets and sat there and watched.” It was Bill Clinton, though, who got the last word - before Streisand, that is - praising the singer as driven, in the best way. “Every great person is driven,” the former president said. “But if that person has massive talent, big brains and a bigger heart, you want to go along for the ride.” —AP

Jackson’s ex-doctor files appeal


ichael Jackson’s jailed former doctor filed an appeal Monday against his conviction for involuntary manslaughter over the US star’s 2009 death. Conrad Murray said prosecutors failed to prove the self-styled King of Pop was on a propofol drip the day he died from an overdose of the powerful sedative, which he was using to treat chronic insomnia. In a 231-page appeal filed by his lawyers in Los Angeles, he also alleged that the original trial judge excluded critical testimony used to convict him in November 2011. “The jury was not allowed to learn that when Jackson died, he owed (concert promoter) AEG close to $40 mil- File photo shows Michael lion, there were more than 30 Jackson’s doctor former lawsuits pending against him Dr Conrad Murray sitting and he owed millions of dol- in a courtroom during his lars” to US tax authorities, it involuntary manslaughter said. Prosecutors said that trial in Los Angeles. —AP Murray, now 60, hooked Jackson up to a continuous Intravenous Drip (IV) and left him alone and unmonitored, when Jackson went into respiratory arrest. But Murray’s attorney Valerie Wass said Murray had been weaning the 50-year-old Jackson off propofol for three days and only gave him a 25 milligram injection to help him sleep, before putting him on a saline drip. —AFP

Kim Kardashian from “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” attend the E! Network 2013 Upfront at the Manhattan Center. —AP


im Kardashian says she’s gotten more used to pregnancy, is more comfortable in her skin and is no longer feeling the aches and pains of expectant motherhood. “Now I think I’m past all the awkward phases and stages, and once you feel the baby kick it’s a whole new experience,” Kardashian said Monday while attending the E! Network Upfront in New York. “I finally really embrace it. I love it now, but it took a minute. It was a lot, you know, a lot of body changes and stuff.” The reality TV star has received a lot of scrutiny over how she’s chosen to dress her baby bump. For a while she avoided maternity clothes, wearing see-through tops and leather pants. The 32 year-old also opted to still wear designer clothing but in larger sizes that maybe weren’t meant for an expectant woman. Kardashian says she’s not only feeling better but is pretty calm about giving birth and isn’t nervous. “At the beginning that was what I feared the most, and now, I mean, it’s inevitable,” she said. “It’s gonna happen. I’m really not worried or nervous.” Kardashian and her baby’s father, rapper Kanye West, know the gender of their child but are keeping it a secret. She said she’s careful when she goes shopping to not give anything away. “We buy all white,” she said, laughing. “Or we’ll go and buy both (girls’ and boys’ clothing), and then no one will know.” Besides Kardashian’s belly, the cast of “Keeping up with the Kardashians” is getting bigger. The upcoming eighth season will include stepdad Bruce Jenner’s sons, Brandon and Brody Jenner, along with Brandon’s wife, Leah Jenner. Brandon and Brody Jenner’s mom is actress Linda Thompson, who was engaged to Elvis Presley. Kardashian said it only makes sense to feature her step-brothers on the show. “Our parents got married when I was 10 years old so people don’t see that side of our lives,” she said, “but they’ve been in our lives for so long so it’s fun to share that with everyone.” — AP

Kim says she’s ready for childbirth



“Public Display” by US artist John Miller is pictured during the media preview of the exhibition “Empire State. New York art now” at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome on April 22, 2013. The exhibition show how artists might reimagine urban life, and how the city of New York might continue to be a site of contestation. The exhibition will run till July 21. — AFP


ABBA The Museum to open in Stockholm

ans of the legendary Swedish disco group ABBA can hardly wait: in just a few weeks, Stockholm will open the doors to the world’s first museum dedicated to the iconic foursome. After “ABBA The Movie” in 1977, the “Mamma Mia” musical and movie, and a 2010 travelling museum exhibit, the world’s first permanent ABBA museum will open in central Stockholm on May 7. “We’re going to offer visitors a unique experience,” museum director Mattias Hansson tells AFP, revealing that they may even get a chance to speak live with a band member. After months of construction, the modern, blonde wood building in the leafy Djurgaarden neighbourhood is nearing completion. As opening day looms, convoys of trucks roll up to the site to deliver the furnishings and items that will make up the collection: flamboyant sequined costumes, gold records, and recreations of their recording studio and dressing rooms, among other things. Workers bustle to finish what will be a temple to the creators of some of the biggest hits of the 1970s, including Voulez Vous, Dancing Queen and Waterloo, the song that won the band the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest and thrust them onto the international scene. Through the museum’s big windows, passersby can catch a glimpse of a large main room. Few people have been authorised to

enter the premises, as organizers are intent on keeping things under wraps until the official opening. But they have let slip a few details. For example, fans who have dreamt of becoming the fifth member of the band will be able to appear on stage with the quartet and record a song with them thanks to a computer simulation. And in another room dedicated to the song “Ring, Ring”, a 1970s telephone will be on display. Only four people know the phone number: ABBA members Agnetha Faeltskog, AnniFrid (Frida) Lyngstad, Benny Andersson and Bjoern Ulvaeus, who may occasionally call to speak live with museum visitors. “It was Frida’s idea ... so of course she’ll call,” says curator Ingmarie Halling. The museum will naturally pay homage to ABBA’s music. “We have to have the best isolation in the world to be able to play different music in each room,” Hansson jokes. But he doesn’t expect visitors to flock to the museum to hear the group’s hits, since fans already know them by heart. Rather, they will get to relive the band’s active years and get a sense of their lives behind the scenes. ABBA last appeared on stage together in 1982, and split a year later. They have repeatedly refused to reunite. “We will never appear on stage again,” Ulvaeus said in a 2008 interview with Britain’s The Sunday Telegraph. “There is simply

no motivation to regroup. Money is not a factor and we would like people to remember us as we were,” he said. After the split, the band members each went their own way and they’ve rarely appeared in public together-in 2008, they attended the Stockholm premiere of the movie “Mamma Mia”-so getting all four involved in the making of the museum is a coup. Hallingthe band’s stylist from 1976 to 1980, an era she describes as “fun and magnificent”-has been instrumental in collaborating with them. “They’ve lent us lots of stuff and I call them to tell them my ideas and they say, ‘sure, go ahead!’,” Halling explains. As the person behind some of their glitzy and flamboyant costumes, Halling has made sure that many of their outfits are included in the exhibit. Visitors will also be “able to experience how the ABBA members’ lived their lives,” she says. The four will recount their own side of things in the museum’s audio guide. The group dominated the 1970s disco scene with their catchy melodies and kitsch dance routines. But their popularity has grown over the years beyond those seeking a little nostalgia from a bygone era. The 1999 musical “Mamma Mia”, and the 2008 film of the same name starring Meryl Streep, brought their music to a whole new generation of fans who weren’t alive in the 1970s. The group has sold some

Museum’ Mattias Hansson and the curator, Ingmarie Halling pose on April 17, 2013 near the construction site of the Swedish Music Hall of Fame. — AFP 378 million albums worldwide, outdone only old who headed the band’s official fan club in by Elvis Presley and the Beatles. “Our office is the 1980s. “ABBA is part of Sweden’s musical right next to Benny Andersson’s. When I tell history, it’s only right that there be a museum people in other countries that, and that I pass dedicated to them: they deserve it,” he said. him on the street sometimes, people are like: Tickets for the museum-which cost 23 euros, or ‘No! Really? He walks in the street just like $30 — are almost sold out for the first few that?’,” says Jeppe Wikstroem, an editor working weeks, going primarily to tourists from abroad, on a book of previously unpublished ABBA museum director Hansson said. Those who can’t get their hands on a ticket will have to be photographs. The museum’s website says it expects to content with a glimpse of some of the band’s attract a quarter of a million visitors in 2013. costumes on display at the arrival hall of “It’s very exciting,” says Micke Bayart, a 45-year Stockholm’s Arlanda airport. — AFP

Swiss watchmakers keep wary eye on China


he world’s biggest watch fair is set to open this week in Basel amid growing uncertainty over whether the industry can keep up its momentum and rake in another year of record sales in China. “The question at Baselworld will be to understand what is happening in mainland China,”

Kepler Capital Markets analyst Jon Cox told AFP ahead of the event, warning that the Chinese market prospects now seemed increasingly fragile. The Swiss watch industry has been on an unprecedented roll over the past three years, with sales systematically beating expecta-

People gather near a giant model watch by watchmaker ‘A. Lange & Soehne’, part of luxury goods group Richemont.

Photo shows a watch by watchmaker Piaget, part of luxury goods group Richemont, displayed during the opening day of the “Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie” (SIHH) a professional fair in fine watch making in Geneva. — AFP photos

tions and putting to shame naysayers urging it to brace for the pending crisis. Experts agree that much of the growth can be attributed to the Chinese consumer’s recent and seemingly insatiable appetite for luxury goods. In 2012, Swiss watch exports soared to historic altitudes, for the first time passing the 21-billion Swiss franc ($22-billion, 17-billion-euro) mark, with exports to China

accounting for 6.0 billion francs, or 28 percent of the total. But since late last year there have been numerous signs that the Chinese bonanza is winding down, as growth in the world’s second largest economy has slowed. Nick Hayek, the head of Swatch Group, which in addition to the famous brightly-coloured plastic watch brand also owns a long line of

high-end, luxury brands, like Breguet and Blancpain, cautioned investors at the beginning of March that the growth rates up to 30 percent they had grown accustomed to could not last in the long run. Financial analysts are meanwhile grappling to get a full picture of what is happening in the Chinese market, since Asian retailers in recent months have been working to lighten their inventories, possibly skewing the picture. Despite the vibes of uncertainty in the industry, the 1,460 exhibitors, including leading watch brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe and Omega, and some of the some of the biggest names in jewellery like LVMH’s Bulgari and Harry Winston, which was recently acquired by Swatch Group, are expected to put on a dazzling show. “This year at Baselworld, I think we’ll again see a big push on technological innovation, with more and more complications on the prestigious watch brands, and on new materials, Vontobel analyst Rene Weber analyst told AFP. A highlight of this year’s event, which is expected to draw some 100,000 visitors, could come from LVMH’s high-end brand Hublot, which has partnered with prestigious Italian carmaker Ferrari to make its new Masterpiece LaFerrari. —AFP

24 Apr 2013  
24 Apr 2013  

Kuwait Times