Page 1



Syria blast kills 13 as Russia bans civilian flights


UAE leader’s Britain visit clouded by ‘torture’ claims

Bollywood dynasties keep it in the family

Dortmund hang on at Real to secure berth in final

NO: 15795

violations draws outrage


150 FILS

7Deporting 8 expats 39for traffic 20 Labour union official, ex-MP blast ‘inhuman’ measures

Max 30º Min 19º High Tide 04:29 & 14:53 Low Tide 09:38 & 22:38

By B Izzak and A Saleh conspiracy theories

Some pet!!! By Badrya Darwish


ecently a story about a snake which was found in a kindergarten in Kuwait shocked us all. It was a long snake judging by the picture which was published on the front page of a local newspaper. Imagine if a child touched that snake and played with it. Luckily the snake was found by the harris of the school before it went inside the classrooms. They suspected that the snake was a runaway pet from a neighbourhood house. What a pet! A pet to me is a dog or a cat or a parrot in a cage that imitates my visitors or whistles when I come back home. In my opinion a snake is beyond a pet. Immediately after the story came out, our reporters did an interview with an official from the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) who provided a long list of rules when it comes to bringing different animals into Kuwait. It mattered if an animal was considered extinct or not, legal or illegal and the list goes on. I tell you that PAAAFR has strict rules. But the problem is in implementing and applying them. They are simply a decoration on the shelf of the authority and it seems nobody is implementing them. Maybe people take it lightly that a snake can crawl into a kindergarten or a wild beast can surprise you by jumping right in your face while you walk. This is what happened apparently. Coincidentally, I read a story by Waleed Al-Jassem who criticized the wild animals co-living in residential houses. I salute him for his article. He mentioned that one of his friends was in a tent not far from Surra. He went to his car and quickly rushed back into the tent with a pale face shivering and shouting: “There is a lion!” Just imagine! Many people have shared stories about wild animals on the loose in Kuwait. On Instagram for example, there was a wild tiger on a leash on the boat with his owner. People were posting congratulatory comments for his pet. Such pet owners are not hiding themselves. On the contrary, they boast with their pets by posting pictures online. Maybe nobody questions them about having such pets. Maybe they will learn a lesson if one of their kids or a member of their family gets hurt one day or if they get into serious trouble. Why can’t we in Kuwait learn until things turn serious? Why can’t we follow rules and regulations? Common sense should prevail. What is the fun in bringing in dangerous and wild species when we are not qualified to care for them. They might escape from their owners and hurt people. In any nation such animals belong to the zoos for people to see them. There they are protected and taken care of. If you love these animals so much, you can go and watch them in the zoo. Have a safe day!

Kuwait owed $11bn in Iraq war damages KUWAIT: Kuwait has received $2.43 billion in war reparations from Iraq since the start of the year and is still owed another $11.2 billion, a senior Kuwaiti official said yesterday. “Kuwait received $1.3 billion in January and $1.13 billion on April 25,” the official KUNA news agency cited Compensation Claims Commission chief Khaled Al-Mudhaf as saying. Speaking before the Geneva-based UN Compensation Commission, Mudhaf called on Baghdad to continue to deposit five percent of its oil revenues into the fund to ensure regular payments. Kuwait has so far received about $30 billion in war reparations out of about $41 billion decided by the UN compensation body established after Iraqi troops were driven out of Kuwait in 1991 following a sevenmonth occupation. — AFP

AMSTERDAM: Dutch King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima (right) and Princess Beatrix wave from the balcony of the Royal Palace yesterday. — AP

Willem-Alexander is sworn in Dutch king AMSTERDAM: The Netherlands’ Willem-Alexander was sworn in as Europe’s youngest monarch yesterday after his mother, queen Beatrix, abdicated and his country hailed the avowedly 21st-century king with a massive, orange-hued party. Beatrix, 75, shed a tear before signing the act of abdication at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, witnessed by WillemAlexander, 46, his Argentine-born Queen Maxima, 41, and members of the government. A cry went up from the 25,000 crowd in the Dam, the main square opposite the palace where the signing was shown on giant screens. Willem-Alexander, Maxima and Beatrix appeared in front of the crowds on the palace balcony,

bedecked in roses and oranges, before heading for the enthronement ceremony in the neighbouring Nieuwe Kerk. Beatrix accompanied the king and queen’s three daughters to the church, including their eldest, now Princess of Orange CatharinaAmalia, 9. The Dutch monarch is sworn in before a joint session of the houses of parliament in the deconsecrated church, rather than crowned, because church and royalty are separated in the Netherlands. The king entered the church at a stately pace with Maxima under an awning of fishing nets, an ancient tradition in the seafaring nation. Before taking his oath, the king thanked his “dear mother” for the Continued on Page 13

KUWAIT: Kuwait labour union and a former MP yesterday strongly criticized the interior ministry over reports of deporting hundreds of expatriates for committing “grave” traffic offenses. Head of the expatriate manpower office at Kuwait Labour Union Abdulrahman AlGhanem said the measure will be a black page in Kuwait’s human rights record, while former MP Abdullah Al-Turaiji said deporting expats for traffic offenses is illegal. The two were commenting on statements by interior ministry assistant undersecretary for traffic affairs Maj Gen Abdulfattah Al-Ali that 213 expatriates have been deported during the past few days for committing grave traffic violations. The violations included driving without a driver’s license, running the red traffic light for a second time, using private vehicles to carry passengers and exceeding speed limits by 40 km, said Ali, adding that he has received instructions from the interior minister to apply the traffic law strictly. Ghanem however said that the implementation of the threat to deport 100,000 expats every year over the next 10 years and deporting expat drivers like criminals “will never be forgotten by their peoples”. Ghanem said in a statement that deporting expats randomly will have far-reaching economic and social consequences. He said that authorities have failed to curb visa traders who recruited thousands of expatriates for money and as the ministry failed to punish those visa traders, it is now penalizing expatriates. He said the ministry has squarely put the blame on expatriates for the demographic imbalances and resorted to oppressive measures against them. He also strongly criticized humiliating expatriates and using inhuman methods against them. Ghanem expressed outrage over deporting expatriates for committing traffic offenses, insisting that the traffic law that is applicable to all and should be applied to expats through fines or withdrawing their driver’s licenses and not deporting them. He rejected correcting a mistake with a bigger one, adding that “deportation” is a simple word but has great economic and social effects. This contradicts the basics of human rights and deals with expatriates as if they are not humans who commit mistakes or violations, Ghanem said. Turaiji, a former senior interior ministry official, said on his Twitter account that there is no clause in the traffic law that allows for the deportation of expatriates. “If an expatriate is deported over a traffic offense, this will Continued on Page 13

Obama vows new bid to shut Gitmo Prison a ‘no man’s land’

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama answers questions during a new conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House yesterday. — AP

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama vowed yesterday to renew a push to close the US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, amid a growing hunger strike by inmates at the controversial jail. Calling the prison a legal “no man’s land,” Obama told a White House news conference he did not want any inmates to die and urged Congress to help him find a long-term solution that would allow for prosecuting terror suspects while shuttering Guantanamo. “I continue

Africans to lose as US axes visa lottery WASHINGTON: Africans could be the big losers as the United States reforms its immigration laws and eliminates the green card lottery, of which Africans are the main beneficiaries. Half of the 50,000 residence permits handed out each year are earmarked for Africans. It is a hugely popular program that has allowed hundreds of thousands of Africans to settle in America since the mid 1990s. But the ambitious reform project under debate now in Washington, which would provide papers for a million undocumented immigrants, contains a clause that would do away with the lottery. In its place would be a more selective immigration system based on skills, career and family ties. For years the lottery has been in the crosshairs of Republicans, who control the House of Representatives and say it adds no value to the American economy. “It’s clear that there are better ways to allocate visas than to randomly give

them out through a lottery system,” said Bob Goodlatte, the Republican who leads the House Judiciary Committee. “Our immigration laws shouldn’t be based on the luck of the draw; rather, they should be designed strategically to benefit our country.” The “diversity visa” as it is known formally, is set aside for people from countries that see relatively few emigrants depart for the United States. So Mexicans, Indians, Chinese and Filipinos, for instance, are not eligible. Africans quickly became the main ones to cash in. All applicants need is a high school diploma or two years of work experience. Between 2010 and 2012, one in five Africans who came to the United States to stay did so through the lottery. That made it the third most common method, at 21 percent of the total, after family reunification (43 percent) and refugee status or asylum seekers (23 percent). Continued on Page 13

to believe we have to close Guantanamo. I think it is critical for us to understand that Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe. “It is expensive. It is inefficient. It hurts us in terms of our international standing. It lessens cooperation with our allies on counterterrorism efforts. It is a recruiting tool for extremists. It needs to be closed,” he said. His tough words were the most extensive the president has delivered on Guantanamo for months and

reflected his frustration with Congress, which he blamed for blocking his efforts to shut the jail during his first term. A spreading hunger strike among inmates, who are protesting their indefinite detention without charges or trials, has put Guantanamo back in the headlines and placed Obama in a difficult position. The US president said it was “not a surprise to me” that there were “problems” at Guantanamo. Continued on Page 13

Firemen rescue girl left alone at home By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Firemen rescued a fouryear-old Arab girl who was left alone at home in Hawally yesterday morning and was about to jump from the balcony. Captain Mohmoud Qabazard said the girl’s parents had left her alone in the apartment and gone to fetch their children from school since they did not employ any maid nor had anyone else to babysit the girl. When the girl woke up, she found herself all alone and began crying hysterically. She went out to the balcony and was trying to jump but was saved by firefighters who broke open the door and rescued her. Fire department officials called upon citizens and the expats not to leave their children alone for even a short duration KUWAIT: Firemen are seen with a girl who of time as anything can happen in was rescued from the balcony of her home in Hawally yesterday. these crucial minutes.



Jumeirah Beach Hotel ready for opening Hotel chain holds GCC road show

Piers Schreiber, Vice President-Jumeirah Group

KUWAIT: Officials and some guests from Jumeirah Group pose here for souvenir photo before the road show held at the Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa ballroom — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

By Ben Garcia

that your experience will be crafted by your own expectations,” the Jumeirah Vice President said. Schreiber, who is also in charge of corporate communications and public affairs, said the hotel is designed to be a destination in itself. “We may not have luxurious tourism destinations here, but we have Jumeirah. We have fantastic facilities and we offer not just luxurious rooms, but also the best culinary and spa experience that one can ever have,” he added. Jumeirah plans to take pride in its seven restaurants, which will be opened inside the hotel. “Three of the seven specialized restaurants are going to open along with the hotel rooms for our guests on May 7. We recognized the fact that eating out at fine restaurants is a very important part of many Kuwaitis’ lives. So we are preparing for that. We will have the best restaurants that you can ever imagine. We hired the best chefs from all over the world to prepare the excellent menus,” Schreiber stated. He said the hotel also recognizes that the domestic market-Kuwaitis and people living in Kuwait - is and has always been one of its most important markets. Messilah Beach Hotel, according to Schreiber, is deeply entrenched in the hearts of Kuwaiti families. “I’ve heard about the history of old Messilah Hotel. People here have lots of fond memories about the hotel. Messilah Beach Hotel hosted hundreds of marriage ceremonies, cultural programs, big conferences, parties. Many Kuwaitis will come just to be reminded about their past. So we want to welcome them back at a new Jumeirah Hotel, which is now the most luxurious five star hotel in Kuwait,” Schreiber quipped. “In a few days or

KUWAIT: Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa has announced the soft opening of its luxurious property in Kuwait on May 7. The five-star hotel will be operated by Jumeirah Group, a global Dubai-based luxury hotel chain and a member of Dubai Holding. On Monday (April 29), Kuwait’s top tour operators and travel agencies had a sneak peek of the Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa when it hosted the hotel chain’s annual GCC road show. Speaking with the Kuwait Times, just before the road show began, Piers Schreiber, Vice President-Jumeirah Group, said the soft opening has been planned bearing in mind the beginning of summer in Kuwait. May and June are the months when Kuwaitis and expatriates have their summer vacation. The soft opening of the hotel will be on May 7, but the grand gala opening is scheduled for October. Jumeirah Group boasts a world-class portfolio of hotels and resorts, including the new Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa in Kuwait. “We own and operate many resorts in Dubai, but outside the UAE we only operate under our brand name, Jumeirah, and we deliver the promise of Jumeirah to our clients and loyal guests,” he said. “Jumeirah comes with the same promise here, too - the promise to be different. The idea behind this promise is to respect our guests. If you noticed, this hotel is really different - different in design and emphasis and different in style. But our golden rule of service remains: We deliver that promise by providing thoughtful and generous services to our guests, keeping in mind their individuality. And we promise

months we are expecting Kuwaitis to book their hotel rooms. They want to be with us and they also want to refresh their memories, but there will be other people from GCC countries, other than those from the corporate world,” he said. The hotel is located right in the Messilah area, along 30 Road (Fahaheel Expressway) and right at the tip of Sixth Ring Road. “We have the best location and a great combination of luxurious rooms and good quality Wi-Fi, along with less traffic congestion. We also have fantastic meeting rooms, ballrooms, and the biggest conference hall,” Schreiber pointed out. The hotel comprises 400 rooms and offers a perfect balance, from deluxe rooms right up to royal suites. “What is special about our design is the use of mashrabiya. We have used it over our windows to regulate the sun. It’s very traditionally Kuwaiti in that sense. Probably we’ll be displaying pictures of the old hotel, especially those of the part which was destroyed during the Iraqi occupation,” Schreiber stated. Asked about the prospect of growth and their expectations from the hotel industry business, he said: “We are entering Kuwait when the business is robust and the hotel industry is growing. Though we cannot predict the turnover, we’ve been noticing that the hotel industry is doing great nowadays,” Schreiber mentioned. He noted that Kuwait contributes significantly to the revenue growth of the GCC market business in the region, which has gone up by 41.2% compared with last year. Revenue in the first quarter of 2013 from the Kuwaiti market for hotels in Jumeirah’s Middle East, Africa and South Asia region grew by 56.6%, while Kuwaiti business at Jumeirah’s European

KUWAIT: Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa Kuwait management and staff.

hotels increased by 161%. Signifying the importance of guests from Kuwait staying in their properties, Jumeirah Group highlighted its 20 luxury hotels, resorts and residences across 11 destinations worldwide as participants got a first-hand insight into the first Jumeirah property to open in the Gulf region, outside of the UAE. “Kuwaitis are the most travelled people in the world. For example, in London we a noticed 400 percent increase in the number of Kuwaitis booked rooms in our hotels. We have a robust market in Kuwait right now,” Schreiber pointed out. With regard to the issue about protecting the environment, Schreiber noted that the subject had been considered during the construction of the project. “Concern for the environment has been a major consideration while building the hotel - from the chemicals we used, down to the air-conditioning unit. For example, our air- conditioning is designed to switch off automatically when there is no one using it. The design of the hotel itself is energy-saving in a sense, because of masrabiya,” he said. The hotel employs more than 500 workers, who are hired from different countries. “However beautiful the hotel is, the guest experience is always the primary concern of everybody in the hotel. We have prepared our staff, and the quality of service we give is reflected in the quality of training we provide. We believe in the value of our people and see to it that everybody in the family of Jumeirah is happy. These are what we call Jumeirah hallmarks: We follow three simple principles: One, greet the guest with a smile before the guest greets you. Simple but uni-

versal. Two, a guest’s request will never be turned down. We will always find ways to satisfy our guest. Three, treat everyone with respect, which means one should be kind and sensitive to each other. That is part of the Jumeirah hotel environment and will remain so wherever you go in Jumeirah,” he beamed. During the road show, representatives from Jumeirah Group properties in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Istanbul, London, Rome, Frankfurt, the Maldives and Baku met with top tour operators, travel agencies and clients in order to showcase the Jumeirah brand promise - stay different - as well as highlight promotions for the upcoming summer holidays. The road show will next travel move to Doha to showcase Jumeirah Group’s full range of luxurious and innovative offerings for business and leisure guests. Jumeirah properties include Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi; Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray and Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai; Jumeirah Dhevanafushi and Jumeirah Vittaveli in the Maldives; Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel in Shanghai; Jumeirah Frankfurt in Germany; Jumeirah Grand Hotel via Veneto in Rome; Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa in Mallorca, Spain; Pera Palace Hotel, Jumeirah in Istanbul; as well as Jumeirah Carlton Tower and Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel in London. Jumeirah Group also runs the luxury serviced residences brand, Jumeirah Living; the spa brand Talise; Jumeirah Restaurants; Wild Wadi Waterpark; The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management; and Sirius, its global loyalty programme. For more information on summer promotions, please visit

EQUATE earns ASSE Gold Award KUWAIT: EQUATE Petrochemical Company has earned the Gold Award 2013 from the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Kuwait Chapter for the fifth consecutive year in the Manufacturing category. On this occasion, EQUATE President & CEO Mohammad Husain said, “EQUATE pursues excellence at all relevant levels. As a world-class company, we strive to maintain the best Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) standards across the entire industrial sector in general and the petrochemical field in specific.” Husain added, “Best practices relevant to EH&S are not mere procedures and steps, yet they are related to the work environment of having distinguished human resources who continuously excel in performance and innovation, which have made EQUATE a pioneer in several fields. The health and safety of our employees and their families, as well as the whole community are our utmost priority.” Husain explained, “EQUATE’s pioneering practices have enabled it to become the first Kuwaiti organization to earn Responsible Care accreditation and certification, as

A group photo at ASSE Kuwait Award Ceremony well as launch the Middle east’s First Plant Water Recycling Project and Kuwait’s First CO2 Recovery Project.” Husain expressed utmost appreciation to EQUATE’s employees for their remarkable efforts to ensure their company’s success, as well as ASSE for its unwavering efforts to promote a sound EH&S culture. Established in 1995, EQUATE is an international joint venture between Petrochemical Industries Company

Arab Media Forum winds up KUWAIT: The Arab Media Forum wrapped up on Monday evening by holding several session on Arab media issues, with a constellation of Arab media figures participating. Addressing the session, Director General of the Arab Planning Institute Bader Malallah said Kuwait, in spite of all what was happening at home, was seeking to achieve comprehensive economic development. The country’s development plan came to address challenges and imbalances facing Kuwait, mainly state budget disequilibrium and extravagant investment spending, he said. He stressed the significance of supporting small-sized enterprises, pointing to a Kuwait-suggested Arab fund to back small-sized enterprises. In the sixth session of the forum, entitled: “The Press amid Comprehensive Media Changes,” Moroccan Minister of Communications Mustafa Al-Khalfi said investment in human resources in the media sector requires more support and training. He called on press and media organizations to attach more attention to the provision of training to their personnel. “Media and press institutions are required to focus more on training courses,” the Moroccan minister pointed out. Muataz Kokash, a media expert, said a

recent study showed that social networking services have managed to have strong presence in the media field. But, he said he was against the imposition of restrictions and controls on online press, which now have much influence on people. In the seventh session, Al-Derwaza Chief Editor Salah Al-Allaj said the whole society should shoulder responsibility for insults on social communication networks. “Undoubtedly, it’s a social responsibility in the first place,” Al-Allaj said. He believed that twitter bloggers, who have a large number of followers, do not necessarily observe ethical criteria. Nada Abdulsalam, a Lebanese media representative, said there is general talk on credibility and social networking services have helped in the promotion of information and news over the last couple of years. She believed that each social networking service has its own job that is different from that of mass media. Egyptian writer Mohammad Al-Jarhi said social networking services are now used by large numbers of Arab citizens. In Egypt alone, there are 13 million facebook users, including 10,000 journalists, he noted. One billion people view Youtube everyday, he said, adding that social networking service users have managed to topple ruling regimes.—KUNA

(PIC), The Dow Chemical Company (Dow), Boubyan Petrochemical Company (BPC ) and Qurain Petrochemical Industries Company (QPIC). Commencing production in 1997, EQUATE is the single operator of a fully integrated world-scale manufacturing facility producing over 5 million tons annually of highquality petrochemical produc ts which are marketed throughout the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe.

KJA participates in Jordan course KUWAIT: Kuwaiti journalists participated in a training program in Amman, Jordan that focused on online reporting and the relationship between news websites and freedom of speech, the Kuwait Journalists Association (KJA) said in a statement yesterday. The five -day event which kicked off yesterday is being held in cooperation with the Jadal Media Training Center. Titled ‘Online Media: Inevitability of developing journalists’ capabilities,’ the program features a number of Jordanian experts who will be delivering lectures about the relationship between the new forms of media and the official state media. Kuwait’s delegation is headed by K JA board member Jassem Kamal, and includes journalists Ghannam Al-Ghanim, Abdul-Aziz Hayat, Mohammad Ghadhanfari, Abdullah AlMajadi, Adel Adwani and Mohammad Hassan.



Zain honored for production of ‘Qattoura’ TV commercial

Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed AlQasemi and Kholoud Al-Feeli Zain Group Corpora tion

KUWAIT: Zain Group, a pioneer in mobile telecommunications in 8 markets across the Middle East and North Africa, has been honored by the Sharjah Media Corporation for its leading role in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and its use of creativity in educating youth about the environment. During the inaugural conference of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) for the Region of Central Asia and North Africa (CANA) that was held in Sharjah, Zain was honored for its production of “Qatoura”; a television commercial which teaches children the importance of water conservation. The honoring ceremony organized by the Sharjah Media Corporation and attended by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Patron of the United Arab Emirates Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) and Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Media Corporation, highlighted the CSR efforts of a number of companies and individuals who have played a role in enriching the

education of young people either through their writings, illustrations or other methods such as Zain’s ‘Qattoura’ (‘drop of water’ in Arabic) television commercial, which continues to raise awareness. The ‘Qattoura’ commercial is shown every evening at Sharjah’s giant musical fountain at Al Majaz Waterfront, and often receives applause from the audience. The fountain, the largest of its kind in the region, is 220 meters wide and shoots water up to 100 meters into the air. The ‘Qattoura’ television commercial was produced 5 years ago and is considered to be one of the first initiatives implemented by a Middle East telecom operator to deal with the issue of water conservation. The ‘Qattoura’ song, which has gone on to be adapted by many educational institutes, was written by the Kuwaiti writer, Heba Hammada who has worked with Zain on a number of creative projects, most recently Zain’s children’s theater performances. The commercial also attained remarkable viewership on YouTube, registering a

KUWAIT: Qatoura, a television commercial which teaches children the importance of water conservation. record number of downloads to reach The UAEBBY which was established in January 2010 as a non-profit organizaalmost 1.7 million views to date. In recent years, Zain’s commercials tion, organized and hosted the IBBY have focused on a series of inspira- conference, held for the first time in an tional and motivational messages with Arab country. The conference brings the aim of passing on values to its together people and organizations communities. The company continues from across the region that work in the to explore new and creative ways to children’s publishing industry, with the convey its CSR messages, and focuses aim of enhancing the status of chilon youth with the aim of instilling val- dren’s literature. This group includes ues and principles that equip young- authors, illustrators, publishers, libraristers to be responsible in their futures. ans and academic institutions.

Indian Embassy to issue tamper-proof passports Enhanced security features to help prevent fraud By Sajeev K Peter KUWAIT: The Indian Embassy, Kuwait will soon start issuing passports with improved security features in order to prevent fraud and counterfeiting of passports. “We will also start issuing passports with enhanced security features soon along with other Indian foreign missions across the world,” said Indian Ambassador Satish C

Mehta. The application forms currently in use would remain the same. The ambassador, however, did not elaborate on the improved security features that are being introduced to avoid misuse and fraud. The passports offices in India started issuing passports with additional security features from last month. India’s ministry of external affairs had proposed several security features with a view to making Indian passport tamper-proof follow-

KD5 million case being probed KUWAIT: Investigations are soon expected to begin in a case of misappropriation that reportedly happened in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor involving KD5 million of public funds, a local newspaper reported yesterday quoting a source privy to the developments. The case, dubbed as involving one of the largest scams in the ministry’s history, comes after four cases filed by Minister Thekra Al-Rashidi after assuming office earlier this year, all of which pertain to labor frauds. The issue which was reportedly overlooked by three successive ministers involves multiple incidents of alleged squandering, including one about manipulation of tenders pertaining to hiring vehicles for the ministry’s use. The misappropriation, according to the complaint, had cost the ministry KD5 million. In that regard, the source who spoke to Al-Rai on the condition of anonymity explained that some of the brandnew cars were never actually used, while others clocked suspiciously high mileage which indicated that they were used for long distance travel. “Both the cases indicated that subcontracting between the company and people within the ministry was involved,” said the source who expected “current and former undersecretaries and senior officials to be summoned for investigations.” In other news, the Charity Organizations and Foundations Department in the MSAL has reportedly received nearly 25 requests as of Monday to obtain licenses to collect donations during the upcoming holy month of Ramadan. As per a system put in place by the ministry in 2003, charity organizations are required to register with the department before Ramadan in order to obtain permission for collecting donations throughout the holy month. These donations can only be forwarded through bank account deductions and using the K-Net service for easier tracking. Cash donations are prohibited. The ministry collects receipt books after Ramadan to match the total amount collected for charity and can detect any possible violations. According to the source who spoke to Al-Jarida on the condition of anonymity, the ministry recorded the smallest number of violations last year, ninth since the ‘Ramadan Charity Project’ was implemented.

Draft law to form food authority KUWAIT: National Assembly approved a draft law for the formation of an authority tasked with food and nutrition before referring the issue to the cabinet, in a regular session yesterday. The body will be responsible for practicing all the functions, currently being carried out by several state bodies, related to the issue, thus relieving the burden on financial and human resources, enabling transparency and facilitating the flow of information, explained the descriptive memo which accompanied the legislation. It will also work to ensure the safety and quality of food, holding those who try to breach regulations on these standards accountable. Additionally, the draft law, from article 1 to 11, provides a detailed description of the authority board hierarchy’s structural roles, its dos and don’ts, the mechanism of its meetings and decision-making process and the role of a minister, who will be placed in charge of the eventual state body. Article 12 warns against the trading of imported food ahead of determining its suitability for human consumption in accordance with national standards. And, article 13 highlights penalties ensued as a result of breaching the notice, including a temporary closure, for a period of no more than three months as a first warning, the confiscation of a license for an identical period as a second and the complete withdrawal of a business license if the breach were to be repeated for a third time. If the offender were to be found guilty of the offence, local courts have the right, according to article 14, to demand the offence be declared in local papers, the costs of which shall be carried by the defendant. The apparent minister who will head the body, according to article 16, has the right to authorise an investigation into the suitability of the imported foods, including the extraction and inspection of samples, carried out by the authority’s employees. Public prosecutors, alone, will be in charge of carrying out legal investigation, legal action and prosecution matters on the concerned crimes, adds article 17.— KUNA

ing several incidents of counterfeiting by fraudsters. Instances of fraudsters replacing photographs in order to make fake passports have been reported. According to sources, the new Indian passports will contain phantom images of the passport holder apart from the photographs currently appearing in the passport. The new passports have been issued with one ghost photograph which will contain

embedded details. The ghost photo in the passport will make it more secure and tamper-proof, the sources added. In the new passport, personal particulars of holders will be printed on the second page instead of the inner cover page. The other particulars of passport holders would be printed on page 35 instead of the last page. Similarly, the signature and seal of the passport issuing authority will be printed on

the front overleaf page instead of page one. The existing passports will be replaced by the new version only upon their expiry, the sources added. Talking about the new visa processing system, the ambassador informed that the Indian embassy in Kuwait would soon implement online visa application system replacing the current system after carrying out required systems up-gradation in the embassy.


LOCAL kuwait digest

Letters to Badrya

Anticorruption authority

‘Gulf dream’ at end phase

By Dr Yaqoub Al-Sharrah


he cabinet has already decided to set up an anti-corruption authority as per the directions of His Highness the Amir which will prevent misuse of the state departments and thwart anyone trying to exploit his authority to serve personal agendas. In many state departments, the ground situation reflects an increased exploitation on the part of officials over the years. There are cases of embezzlement, deception and lawbreaking. It is therefore not strange for Kuwait to establish an authority specialized in combating corruption, a step that many countries have already taken where similar departments help the state protect public property. Putting the anticorruption authority into effect as soon as possible is necessary, given its important role in enforcing the law as per needs of transparency and integrity. Unfortunately, however, our experience in enforcing important regulations is not a positive one. In fact, some laws end up being shelved and eventually forgotten. It is strange that Kuwait never saw a state official prosecuted on charges of corruption despite recurrent violations regarding public funds. Some of these are even mentioned in the annual State Audit Bureau reports. Combating corruption must be a task free of favoritism. Only then can it ensure that a wrongdoer is held accountable through appropriate measures. Fighting corrupting is not about ‘cleansing’ the society from erratic behavior because there is no such thing as a ‘model society,’ but it is important to combat it through law enforcement and spreading awareness among people, especially youngsters. It is not enough to penalize an official who uses his position for illegal profiteering. What is required is proper direction and awareness as well as strict and equal enforcement of the law. Bringing up a generation raised on the values of respect for the law is a main factor that can help change our behavior towards positive engagement with all components of the society. This requires proper education and well guided curricula aimed at inculcating patriotism and morality. The anticorruption authority will not be able to play an active role without the support of the state’s institutions because the goal we seek is not only to send the violators to court, but also to enhance certain values that act as self-deterrents against corrupt practices.—Al-Rai

kuwait digest

Govt playing with reality By Thaar Al-Rashidi


overnment has been playing with reality for the past six months as far as local political matters are concerned. Perhaps it is happening for the first time in the history of Kuwait’s government that it bid on something and ended up winning the bid. The government bid on the time factor, hoping that the opposition will destroy itself from the inside, that the public will become fed up of following the opposition and its activities like rallies, strikes, speeches and press releases. It turned out to be right. The government bid that the street will become fed up and it also turned out to be a winning bid. As far as the public’s nature was concerned, it just loved the new style. Some of those who supported the political activities found in these a new experience, sort of a “new style”. They had a “crush” on it, nothing more and nothing less. Their support to the opposition was not prompted by any conviction about principled reform, nor did they believe in the opposition’s agenda. In fact, most of the public did not know the opposition’s agenda in the first place, although it carried the banner of political reform. More important than this, the opposition, by raising its demands sky high, put forth certain reform-oriented amendments which were not feasible and could not be implemented. The extremists among the opposition also knew these to be impossible, and that these amounted to nothing but unachievable political sloganeering. The opposition made a bid that public will remain patient with it but it lost that bid; just as the government had bid that public will become fed up with the opposition and it won the bid.

Nothing in what I say here while making the point that the opposition is wrong means that I think the government is right. I mean it is time to see the reality of the political scene. While the influence of the opposition has subsided very much as compared to last year, the government seems to be winning. While the opposition tried to raise the hopes through certain demands to impossible levels, the government took the path of what was least real but achievable. Thus, reality won and impossible hopes lost. The opposition failed to promote itself outside the parliament. The members of the opposition had hoped that they will find support in the street after they lost their political strength, thanks to boycott of the elections. There is a simple reason for why this happened. None of the opposition members, except for “Hadas,” have a real political base. Yes, they do have a base which appreciates their work but you cannot depend on it in case of a situation where political maneuvering is required. It is a mistake to count on it, but then that is exactly what the majority did. It pinned its hopes on those who were appreciating its work, but the opposition lost since people became fed up by the incessantly repeated speeches and demands that were clearly not feasible. The opposition has a nice reform platform, but does not have a logical mechanism of achieving it, at least not one that factors in the reality. Therefore, its hopes collide with reality. It must discover that it has not been able to achieve what it had promised. It must review its calculations if it seriously wants to continue its political activities.—Al-Anbaa

kuwait digest

Restrictions on media freedom By Abdellatif Al-Duaij

Dear Ms. Badrya Darwish, Every country has a right to safeguard the interests of its citizens. But such drives in GCC countries are taking a wrong turn and governments are going an extra mile to ostensibly over-protect their national interests but may end up actually eliciting negative results. As you mentioned in the article, targeting expats cannot be a single point answer to all the problems in Kuwait. The new sets of rules which the government is planning to roll out will increase the cost of living which is already too high, thanks to a steep increase in house rent. For any expat, obtaining a driving license is a nightmare now. All these measures are coming at a time when governments across the world are inviting talented foreigners to their countries and encouraging them to bring their families. We don’t need the brilliance of an economist to understand the advantages that Kuwait or any country has when an expat lives with his or her family. They will spend most of their earnings here. No rule in the form of tax law or anything else can make him spend as much as he would do if he has his family with him. As you mentioned in the article, as long as Kuwait is not prepared to replace the expats with its own citizens, they are an inevitable choice. Driving them out overnight will have serious consequences for the people’s socio-economic life. On the other hand, expats have also started realizing that they have to look beyond the Gulf. The government of India has officially started to convince the people that the “Gulf dream” has reached its end phase and people who would like to find fortune abroad have to find new horizons. Antony Augustine An expat from India Dear Mom Badrya, Hope things are well. I just wanted to acknowledge your column about us expats. I was really happy reading it. I hope there are a lot of Kuwaitis like you who can understand us expats. I am Evelyn, a Filipino citizen, who earns a small salary but tries to survive through the difficulties. I am here in Kuwait to help my family even though it is difficult living here. The house is too expensive compared to what I earn. Still I am here and struggle and live in a small room. Madam, reading your column I felt here is hope. I wonder how will we cope since expats like us earn KD 150 as salary if they imposed such a tax on us? It will become so difficult to live. What will we send to our family back home? Thank you, and more power to you. God bless you. Evelyn I just read your story in the Kuwait Times (Military Atmosphere). At least, there is some one to speak about the problems faced by the expats. May Allah bless you. I have a request to make to you. Please write a few lines about another issue of interest to the expats. I am working in an airlines company as a porter and all the porters work for a very low salary of around KD 98. You can well imagine how we must be surviving with such a meager salary. If the government was to allow such low salaried people to work a part time job, then they will be able to earn some extra money. In any case, expats end up taking up these jobs illegally. It will be a good move to help the expats because they are also human beings. An expatriate


ur politicians are looking at us as toys. They are kidding with us. They make certain statements and announcements, and declare their well known stand. This adds to their prestige and improves their image in front of the people. But their true position, one that is not known publicly but should be, remains a secret till the issue blows over. The Speaker of the house assured us a few days ago that the unified media law will not go through without amendments. So, which law, Mr. Speaker, went through the National Assembly without amendments? Even after any law is discussed, differences remain and MPs keep fighting over these. This is a foregone conclusion and everyone knows it. The Speaker did not need to waste his time, and more importantly, my time, and that of many others by making worthless statements like these. What we want to know is the stand of the National Assembly and its Speaker towards civil liberties. What is required is to determine the kind of amendments that would have been brought forth regarding a law like the unified media law. Members of the democratic assembly were to announce their stand and underline the flaws and aberrations that the law was riddled with. A Speaker who believes in liberties was to announce his rejection of the law in principle, and may have threatened the government to withdraw it no matter what. Our National Assembly Speaker, instead, welcomed the law. Rather, he said it will be passed with some amendments. This, regrettably, shows a confidence in the government that came up with a crazy law like the unified media law, thinking it will be passed. Now, as the government was defeated and was forced to withdraw it, Mr. Ali Al-Rashid was supposed to be sorry because he did not take a democratic stand, which was to reject the proposed crazy law. All statements made by our information minister were good for nothing. These were as useless, and even more mysterious, than the statements of the National Assembly Speaker. We do not know why he cannot remain silent. He said earlier that his government did not intend to limit freedoms. This is like olives squeezed thrice. They are no good and must find their way to the trash. What does anyone mean by saying that Kuwait government will not curb freedoms? How will it curb what is already curbed, or more accurately do we have any freedoms left to be curbed, to start with? Unless the information minister means that his government will not introduce additional restrictions on media’s freedom. Is there anything that the government of which the information minister is a part did right? It is being backed by regressive forces who are now crying over freedom. Is there anything left on which they want to scribble “banned”? Have we been left with any freedom that has not been suppressed? Or, are there any restrictions still left that the information ministry wants to impose? — Al-Qabas

kuwait digest

Unified media law project By Sami Al-Nisf


ree media, the way it works in Kuwait, plays a good role as it does in any country in the world. It prevents oppression, limits violations and thefts. It makes the public a partner in what is going on in the country, and it tells officials about what goes on in the minds of the people. On the other hand, the social media, which is run by ordinary citizens who are not professionals and are not aware of punitive laws, could end up playing a negative role. Especially, when it focusses on national unity, and talks against certain persons or beliefs. Here comes the need to teach, educate and organize the media in such a way so as to prevent demeaning writing and promoting good performance. Contrary to what many media persons promote and repeat without thinking, all penalties are acceptable except imprisoning a journalist who might violate the national unity laws, or write against the beliefs of others. Personally, I see that huge financial penalties hurt the media and journalists more. All citizens, “starting from a minister to a guard,” face certain penalties whenever they make mistakes. Some stay for a short period in Kuwait’s luxury jails where there is no torture or killing. The luxury jail has become an easy path to achieve first positions in parliamentary elections for those who repeatedly lose these. The issue of huge financial penalties, which no one is talking about, is the one that hurts all those working in the concerned media organization since the penalty is not limited to the concerned person only. The media organization might face bankruptcy, and even closure, or may be forced to reduce the number and allowances of the employees, thanks to these penalties. Such fines may even force the concerned journalist to sell his house, thus making his family and his relatives suffer for no mistake on their part. Even if you were to ask a relative of a media person, whom I know very well, he may prefer going to jail to escape his daily predicament which is much like working for Joseph Stalin or Saddam Hussein. Last point: In Kuwait, the government earned the appreciation and cheers of private media men that was unprecedented in the history of Kuwait after the withdrawal of the proposed unified media law project.— Al-Anbaa



24,000 stateless residents fingerprinted in six months Files to be finalized this year

KUWAIT: A group photograph of the Kuwait Diving team members.

Kuwait Diving team showcases its experience at conference KUWAIT: The Kuwait Diving team held yesterday a workshop for the American Middle East Network for Dialogue at Stanford (AMENDS), showcasing the team’s efforts and strategies in protecting the environment. Head of Foreign Relations at Kuwait Diving Team Dhari Al-Huwaila said that AMENDS members were given and overview of the team’s responsibilities and activities since its inspection in December 1991 during a conference held at Stanford University in the state of California. He also indicated that the AMENDS members were also introduced to the upcoming missions to be carried out by the Kuwait Diving Team. The five-day conference, included workshops operated by the youth and covering field. —KUNA

who requested anonymity revealed that these 285 cases were part of 580 files for residents to be naturalized by early July. The parliament passed a bill last March doubling the number of people the government can naturalize each year to a maximum of 4,000. This came after the cabinet agreed to give priority in granting citizenship to stateless residents who meet the required conditions. Kuwait has a large community of stateless residents who demand citizenship as well as civil and social rights that they are deprived of, given their illegal residence status. The government in the meantime argues that some of them are Arabs or descendent of Arab people who deliberately disposed of their original passports after coming to Kuwait and now seek citizenship in the oil-rich country. The Kuwaiti government established the Central Agency for Illegal Residents in 2010 with a five-year ultimatum to sort out the stateless residents’ issue and identify those who meet conditions of naturalization, including residents whose Bedouin ancestors failed to register for citizenship following Kuwait’s independence more than fifty years ago. The Central Agency adopted measures within a year to grant stateless residents several rights

which include obtaining marriage, birth and death certificates, but their inability to help them achieve significant improvement in living conditions prompted several protests last year. The government also adopted last year a new form of security identifications for stateless residents, which were to be used as their main form of identification. The cards contained color-coded tags referring to the category under which a holder is recognized in state records, including those eligible for naturalization and others about whom the government claims to have proof that they belong to other countries. In a related note, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Dr. Adel AlFalah, was quoted by Al-Qabas yesterday as assuring that stateless residents in Kuwait will have equal opportunity to perform Hajj this year just as during previous years. The official’s statement clarified concerns that a quota system of nationalities for pilgrims to be allowed entrance to Saudi Arabia could introduce limits this year. “The fate of Bedouin pilgrims does not hang on the quotas’ volume,” he said, using the Arabic word for ‘without’ which is often used informally to refer to stateless residents, being a loose reference to the fact that they live without a nationality since birth. —Al-Rai, Al-Anba & Al-Qabas

Importance of Gulf crescent societies’ work highlighted Dhari Al-Huwaila

Demographic development in GCC countries KUWAIT: The Gulf and peninsula studies center of the research department at Kuwait University concluded its social, economic and cultural conference, titled “The demographic development in GCC countries.” The event was held under the patronage of Education and Higher Education Minister, Dr Nayef Al-Hajraf, with the support of Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences, and in cooperation with the Gulf employment development symposium. The second session of the conference dealt with “the features of the inhabitants’

KUWAIT: The Criminal Evidence General Department collected fingerprints of 24,000 stateless residents during the past six months, a step that is necessary for naturalization but is not an indication that such a process could be imminent. Security sources quoted in a report published by Al-Rai yesterday indicated that the fingerprints are required for “security and legal reasons” but did not provide more details aside from the fact that the step was taken “because the fingerprinted residents had no official papers in state departments.” They further indicated while speaking on the condition of anonymity that all those fingerprinted were aged between 20 and 30 years. Meanwhile, the same department, which is part of the Interior Ministry, continues to receive stateless residents for DNA profiling (genetic fingerprinting) with an average of 120 people a day, sent by the Citizenship General Department, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Justice and the Central Agency for Illegal Residents. The current plan calls for finalizing all files referred by the aforementioned departments before the end of the year. Meanwhile, Al-Anba reported quoting a Central Agency insider that files of 285 stateless residents have been referred last week to the cabinet for a decision on naturalization. The source

structure in the GCC countries and the main reasons for the demographic defects.” Dr Nizam Al-Shafee said, “The population grew largely in the GCC countries during the past 50 years, and the region became on attractive area for inhabitants after remaining repulsive all through history. International data shows that the number of people in these countries was around five million in 1950, rose to 13 million in 1980 and then to nearly 45 million in 2011. It is believed that the number will surpass 50 million by 2013.

KUWAIT: Chairman of Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) Barjas AlBarjas stressed the importance of the ninth meeting of the committee of the GCC red crescent societies’ heads, which was held in Bahrain to draw a roadmap for joint coordination of humanitarian, social and relief services. The meeting, which concluded on Monday, was keen on strengthening the Gulf national societies’ programs to counter the effects of war and disasters, improve rehabilitation and training programs, and possess necessary means to ensure that the aid is delivered at the appropriate times with maximum speed, Al-Barjas said yesterday. He noted that the meeting discussed important topics, including joint training, conferences, work-

shops, establishing a technical office for the Gulf Red Crescent societies as well as adopting guidelines in international law to respond to disasters and establishing a humanitarian work institute and an online link for the Red Crescent bodies. Al-Barjas noted that the meeting also stressed the importance of coordination between the GCC associations, societies and General Secretariat with regard to aid relief as well as unifying stances, especially during elections of International Red Cross and Red Crescent societies during the meetings of the general authority of the union, which is to take place in Sydney, Australia on Nov 12 this year. At the meeting, one of the resolutions was to hold regular meetings for the heads of national organizations and associations in accordance with

the periodic meetings of the GCC Supreme Council as the following one will be held in Kuwait in 2014, KRCS Chairman added. He mentioned that the Gulf national associations own cadres as well as necessary qualifications to operate on the humanitarian level, calling on all Gulf governments to support the efforts of these organizations on both humanitarian and relief levels. Al-Barjas praised the efforts of the GCC General Secretariat, which aim at promoting cooperation and coordination between the Gulf Red Crescent societies as well as the coordination between the GCC governmental, non-governmental and academic organizations to enhance their humanitarian role in the region and the world. —KUNA

Call for off on Labor Day KUWAIT: The world’s labor communities and unions celebrate the World Labor Day today, May 1st, which commemorates laborers’ fight against capitalism and their sacrifices in their quest for achieving their just demands in their ultimate desire to achieve universal social justice. Locally, Kuwait Labor Union chairperson, Fayez Al-Muttiri, expressed his congratulations to all employees and laborers, whether citizens or expats, on this occasion. He also stressed the union’s keenness on fulfilling the demands of laborer working in both the government and the oil sectors.



ITQAN Academy moved to GUST campus KUWAIT: Boubyan Bank (The Best Up-andComer Islamic Financial Institution in the world) announced the moving of ITQAN Academy to inside the campus of Gulf University for Science & Technology (GUST), as part of the continuous development plans witnessed in the Academy since its launch last July. The celebration for inauguration of the Academy’s new headquarters was attended by the Vice-Chairman of Boubyan Bank, Adel Abdul-Wahab Al-Majed, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of GUST Dr. Abdul-Rahman Al-Muhailan, Secretary-General of Kuwait’s Manpower & Government Restructuring Program (MGRP) for Manpower Affairs Fawzi Al-Majdali, GM - Human Resources Group, Adel Al-Hammad as well as a group of the Bank’s and the University’s executives and teaching staff members. Commenting on this event, Al-Majed said: “The moving of the Academy to the new headquarters represents a qualitative leap in its record as it has now become part of GUST’s campus, the fact that gives the Bank’s staff more privacy needed for professional academic study, whether for the students of bachelor’s degree, MBA or even training courses. “This leap forms a new, distinguished addition in the Academy’s short record that emphasizes the care paid by the Bank for its human resources and its ability and efforts to create more positive business atmosphere in a way that is ultimately reflected on their expertise and customer service,” he added. On his part, Adel Al-Hammad referred to the partnership between the Bank and GUST, which opened new vistas, whether through the type of programs provided or the distinguished lecturers, which will all contribute to the continuous development of the Bank’s staff. Al-Hammad pointed out that the number of the Bank’s staff who joined the Academy since its launch last July reached 112 employees, of which 56 employees in the MBA program and 56 in bachelor’s degree program in College of Business Administration. Al-Hammad added that this large number

of employees joining the Academy despite its short record is a manifestation of the Bank’s staff care to develop their capabilities and scientific qualifications and enhance their academic expertise side by side with their practical experience, which will have significant impact on customer service in the future. Noteworthy is that in cooperation with GUST under the Bank’s strategic partnership with the University, the Academic Partner, the Academy provides a number of training programs for the Bank’s staff, which give them the opportunity to get 55% of the of MBA credits, and 50% of bachelor’s credits. A group of the teaching staff of the University possessing academic and practical experience in addition to internationally certified trainers in training and development in Boubyan Bank have carried out these specialized training programs in many fields comprising accounting, finance, banking sciences, management and leadership for the Bank’s managers and staff joining ITQAN Academy as well as the MBA program and Bachelor’s degree in specialized administrative sciences. The Bank has recently made a new achievement by being honored by Kuwait’s Manpower and Government Restructuring Program (MGRP) for the Academy’s having the best training plan and specialized training and development programs for 2012 all over the private sector in Kuwait The Academy takes pride in this achievement made all over the private sector, especially that it is granted by an authority known for efficiency and striving to develop human resources and national cadres across all sectors. Since starting the implementation of its new strategy in 2010, the Bank takes into account that developing and growing the capabilities and expertise of human resources should be the key pillar through which it will be able realize all objectives related to success of this strategy, and the top executive management of the Bank regards this issue as a priority.

KUWAIT: Traffic department checkings in progress in Souq Sharq yesterday. — Photos by Fouad Al-Shaikh

No increases on traffic violation fees: Al-Ali Amendments need to go through NA, cabinet KUWAIT: The Ministry of Interior’s assistant undersecretary for traffic affairs and the director of the traffic directorate, Maj Gen Abdul Fattah Al-Ali denied any plans to increase the fines levied for traffic violations. “What has been going around across social networks is absolutely untrue and no official decision has been made yet,” he stressed. Further, Al-Ali stressed that any increase in fines or revenues that go to state treasury need special laws and legislations which has to be submitted and recommended to the cabinet by the interior minister, and then passed in parliament. “This bureaucratic and executive exercise has not taken place and the MOI did not request imposing stricter penalties of the sort,” he underlined. Al-Ali also explained that his predecessor, retired Lieutenant General Mustafa Al-Za’abi, and traffic sector commanders had prepared a proposal to increase the fines for traffic violations and toughen the penalties in general. “But some of the views and suggestions were not referred to either the cabinet or the parliament,” he added. Moreover, Al-Ali stressed that it had been decided to deport 213 expatriates for serious traffic violations committed last week such as jumping red traffic lights, driving without a valid license and using private vehicles as taxis. “Those decisions were not arbitrarily made as alleged by some people. The violators’ traffic violation records were taken into consideration and only those who had repeatedly committed the same violations in the past were deported. It is illogical that an expat driver with a record of jumping a red light ten

times and using a private vehicle as a taxi for six times or driving without a valid driver’s license for seven times continues to stay put in Kuwait in total disregard of all laws,” he explained. Al-Ali also pointed out that, according to the law, jumping traffic lights equals premeditated or attempted murder, using private vehicles as taxis constitutes a violation of labor and residency laws and driving without a license equals working without a work permit. “According to our criminal and penal laws, penalties for such violations include deportation. The law also authorizes the MOI to

deport expats in public interest in case they commit repeated crimes or violations,” he added. In addition, Al-Ali highlighted that such strict measures did not only involve expats. “All motorists are equal before the law, whether they are citizens or expats,” he stressed, noting that a traffic court had recently sentenced a citizen to three months in jail for repeatedly committing serious traffic violations. “Seven juvenile citizens were also referred to prosecution for the similar crime and were released on a bail of KD 500 each, which is equivalent to indicting them,” he emphasized.

Mystery behind ‘alcohol blackmail’ case resolved Hit-and-run suspect netted KUWAIT: The Shuwaikh police resolved the mystery behind a case in which a man accused his brothers-inlaw of blackmailing him in a deal involving alcohol trade. Investigations had been ongoing for two weeks ever since a Kuwaiti man charged his wife’s two brothers of stealing KD 9,000 at gunpoint. Detectives eventually found out that the money in question was actually part of a deal in which the complainant purchased 50 cartons of imported liquor at a total cost of KD 25,000. The man reportedly feigned he was being blackmailed after he found that the boxes were stuffed with salt packets. Police reportedly arrested the man’s brothers-in-law and sent the three to the proper authorities for further action. Suicide attempt A girl was hospitalized after she apparently tried to commit suicide at her family’s house in Sabah Al-Salem recently. According to the police report, an ambulance arrived at the Arab family’s house soon after the girl’s father made an emergency call after finding her unconscious. The woman, whose age was not specified in the news report, was admitted to the intensive care unit where tests revealed that she suffered complications from an overdose of medicines. A case was filed for investigations. Prank call Search is on for a man responsible for a bomb hoax call claiming bomb was planted in a Hawally school. Police, accompanied by explosives’ specialists, combed the private school after evacuating everyone, but eventually found no trace of explosives. Investigations went underway to identify the man who said in the emergency call that he ran into someone while dropping his daughter off to school who told him that bombs were planted around the school and were about to explode. Probe in attack Investigations were on to identify and arrest male suspects who reportedly attacked a man inside his Nugra apartment on Monday. Paramedics and police arrived at the scene shortly after receiving an emergency call and found the injured man lying in a pool of blood. The Egyptian man, who was rushed to the Mubarak Al-Kabeer

Hospital, said after receiving treatment that a group of unknown assailants barged into his apartment, attacked him with sharp objects and then escaped. Investigations are on to determine the circumstances behind the incident and the attackers’ motives. Illegal resident Hawally police arrested a man who had been living in Kuwait with an expired visa for seven years, during which he failed to send his five children to school. The Egyptian man raised suspicion when he claimed he had left his ID at home after he was stopped at a patrol operation. He was arrested after a fingerprint scan revealed that he was in violation of residency regulations for seven years. The man said that a KD 4,500 debt prevented him from renewing his visa

all these years. He also revealed that he had been unable to issue identifications for his five children, thereby depriving them of education during that period. The man was referred to the proper authorities for further action. Runaway driver A motorist was arrested on Monday following investigations which followed a hit-and-run accident reported recently in Sabah Al-Salem. Police were able to identify the runaway driver through descriptions of his vehicle provided by the victim at the Adan Hospital. The man was hospitalized after he sustained injuries when he was hit by the vehicle at a bus stop. The driver admitted to accidently hitting the pedestrian, and explained that he fled from the scene due to fear.

Citizen’s car robbed By Hanna Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: A citizen reported at the AlWaha police station about the robbery of his car from his driver. The car, a Land Cruiser, was being driven by his driver when he was stopped by two persons driving a small Japanese car. They stopped him near a co-operative society, threatened to slaughter him with a knife, and made off with the vehicle. A case of theft by force was recorded. Meanwhile, a Nepalese maid working for an Indian expat committed suicide at her sponsor’s house in Salmiya. Security sources said the maid hanged herself with a rope that she had tied to the ceiling fan in her room. The maid was 50 years old and a case was registered. Elsewhere, Hawally detectives detained a soldier for damaging vehicles with a screwdriver. Several complaints had been filed by citizens about their cars being damaged on purpose. Detective patrols monitoring the areas spotted a person getting out of his car and spoiling four cars parked in the street. As many as 25 cases were registered against the unknown perpetrator, who has finally been detected now. Road accidents A car accident at the Fahaheel Expressway opposite Al-Rumaithiya left a 73-year-old Kuwaiti woman with

back pain and a 24-year-old Kuwaiti woman with multiple injuries besides pain in the neck. A 40-year-old Kuwaiti woman involved in the same accident also seemed hurt in the pelvis and left shoulder as she complained of pain. All were taken to the Mubarak Hospital. A car accident at the Seventh Ring Road opposite Abdullah Al-Mubarak left a 24-year-old Kuwaiti man with pain in the back and neck. He was taken to the Farwaniya Hospital. A car accident at the Morocco Express Road opposite Al-Qadesiya left a 35-year-old Egyptian expat with fractures in the feet. He was taken to the Mubarak Hospital. A car accident at the Nowaiseeb Road resulted in pain in the right shoulder for a 52-year-old Saudi man and multiple injuries for a 25-year-old Saudi woman. Both were taken to the Al-Adan Hospital. A car accident at Fahaheel Expressway after Shuaiba Bridge resulted in different injuries for a 22year-old Kuwaiti man who was taken to the Al-Adan Hospital. A car accident at Sharq, near the Sharq fire station, left a 26-year-old Egyptian expat with an injury in the stomach and a 58-year-old woman from the Philippines with facial injuries. They were taken to the AlAmiri Hospital.


UAE president starts UK visit clouded by ‘torture’ claims

Outraged lawmakers look to change military justice Page 10

Page 8

DAMASCUS: Syrian Interior Minister Mohammed al-Shaar (3rd R) visits the site of a blast in the Marjeh district of Damascus yesterday. A blast in the central Damascus district of Marjeh killed at least 13 people, Syrian state television reported, a day after Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi survived a bomb attack elsewhere in the capital. — AFP

Bomb blast kills 13 in Damascus Obama cautious, hints at eventual action

KABUL: NATO soldiers walk under country member flags at a NATO base at Kabul International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, yesterday. The US-led coalition in Afghanistan says a roadside bomb has killed three of its service members. It said the attack occurred yesterday in southern Afghanistan. — AP

Bombs kill 3 NATO troops, 5 Afghans KABUL: Roadside bomb attacks in Afghanistan killed three NATO service members and five Afghans yesterday, officials said, clear evidence that the insurgents’ annual spring offensive is underway. The service members died in southern Afghanistan, the US-led coalition in Afghanistan said in a brief statement that provided no other information. In another attack in the south of the country, a roadside bomb in the Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar province killed three civilians and wounded five, said Jawed Faisal, a spokesman for the provincial governor. The Taleban and other insurgent groups make heavy use of roadside bombs. They are among the deadliest weapons in the Afghan war for civilians. In the north, in Archi district in the province of Kunduz, a roadside bomb killed two people, including a local police commander who had been credited with reducing the number of insurgent attacks in his area, said Abdul Nazar, a local council member. Commander Miran and his driver were killed and two other police officers were wounded when the car they were driving toward Kunduz City was destroyed by a bomb hidden on the road, said Nazar. Like many Afghans, Miran only used one name. The attacks came on the third day of what Taleban has called its spring offensive. The insurgents warned they would infiltrate enemy ranks to conduct “insider attacks” and target military and diplomatic sites with suicide bombers. In past years, spring has marked a significant upsurge in fighting between the Taliban and NATO forces along with their local allies. This fighting season is a key test, as the international coalition is scheduled to hand over security responsibilities to Afghan forces next year. Yesterday, Afghan and coalition security forces arrested two Taleban insurgents in Logar province, and on Monday Afghan security forces rushed to the assistance of local police under attack in Ghazni province and killed three insurgents and wounded four, NATO said in a statement. —AP

DAMASCUS: A bombing in the heart of Damascus killed at least 13 people yesterday, as US President Barack Obama said he would not be rushed to act on allegations Syria was using chemical weapons. The attack in Marjeh district came a day after Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Haqi survived a car bombing in an upscale neighbourhood of the capital. Russia, meanwhile, banned its civilian planes from Syrian airspace after the crew of one repor ted coming under threat over the war-hit country. Obama warned against rushing t o j u d g e m e n t o n S y r i a’s u s e o f chemical weapons but said proof of their use would trigger a “rethink” o f h i s re l u c t a n ce to u s e m i l i t a r y force. “I’ve got to make sure I’ve got the facts. That’s what the American p e o p l e wo u l d e x p e c t ,” h e t o l d a White House news conference. “If I can establish in a way that not only the United States but also the international community feel confident in the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, then that is a game changer,” he warned. State television said the latest Damascus blast k illed 13 people and wounded 70, and blamed “cowardly” terrorists-the regime term for

rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian Obser vator y for Human R ights repor ted 14 dead, i n c l u d i n g n i n e c i v i l i a n s a n d f i ve security forces members, in the attack near the old interior ministry. O fficial television showed smoke billowing over the scene, with the ministr y ’s windows blown out, a business complex devastated and cars damaged. Mutilated bodies could be seen in the street, and at least one body wrapped in a white sheet was laid out alongside an ambulance. Uniformed and plainclothes securit y fo rc e s c o u l d b e s e e n r u n n i n g near the scene, as residents fled. “What mistake have we committed? I was going to work. Look at the bodies. Is this the freedom they want?” a bystander told state media. On Monday, a car bomb targeted Haqi’s convoy as it passed through Mazzeh neighbourhood, killing one of his bodyguards and five other people, said the Observatory. Halqi, appointed premier in August 2012 after his predecessor Riad Hijab defected to the opposition, is the latest in a growing list of regime officials to be targeted for

assassination. In July 2012, a suicide bomb attack killed Syria’s defence minister and deput y defence minister and seriously wounded the interior minister. As bloodshed continued u n a b a t e d, t h e W h i t e H o u s e s a i d Obama raised “concern over Syrian chemical weapons” in a telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Obama is under pressure because he warned last year the use or movement of chemical weapons by Assad’s forces would cross a US “red line”. Key political players are saying his credibility is on the line, but the White House is seek ing precise intelligence into how and when such weapons may have been used. Wa s h i n g t o n h a s b e e n d e e p l y frustrated that Russia has blocked tougher action in the UN Security Council, including sanctions, against its long-time ally Syria. Ye s t e r d a y, R u s s i a’s a i r t r a n s p o r t agency banned all Russian civilian flights over Syria until fur ther notice. The ban comes after the crew of a char ter plane flying from the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to the Russian city of Kazan on

Monday said it had come under threat when it flew over Syria. The plane carrying 159 passengers said it detected “signs of combat actions” on the ground in Syria, Russian officials said without providing further details. I nter fax news agenc y, citing a source in Moscow, said unidentified assailants fired two land-to-air missiles at the plane. The aircraft did not suffer any damage and landed in Kazan on time. The Observatory said air raids on Tu e s d ay k i l l e d 1 5 p e o p l e o n t h e outskirts of Mennegh airport, near the northern city of Aleppo which rebels have been trying to capture for months. Wa r p l a n e s a l s o b o m b e d t h e Jubar area of Damascus, and areas of Homs, Raqa and Latakia provinces. On Monday, at least 159 people were k illed in nationwide v i o l e n c e , s a i d t h e O b s e r v a t o r y. Underlining the dangers of covering the conflict, Italian daily La Stampa said one of its journalists, Domenico Quirico, has not been heard from since April 9. Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders says seven journalists are now missing in Syria, while 23 others have been killed. — AFP



New hearing in UAE trial over ‘political plot’ ABU DHABI: The trial of 94 UAE Islamist dissidents accused of plotting to seize power in the Gulf state resumed yesterday as rights groups urged Britain to pressure the visiting Emirati president on their behalf. Only 86 defendants, including 13 women, were present at the top state security court, WAM state news agency reported. The rest are being tried in absentia. The hearing was adjourned until Monday after the court panel listened to defence testimony. Foreign press and rights groups are not allowed access to the trial, but 143 relatives of the defendants, as well as 21 Emirati journalists and represen-

tatives of two local rights groups, were present. Prosecutors say the accused, who were arrested between March and December 2012, are linked to the group Al-Islah, which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Attorney General Salem Kobaish said they would be tried for “having created and led a movement aimed at opposing the basic foundations on which the state’s political system is built and at seizing power.” The trial reconvened as UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan began a state visit to Britain, his first since he succeeded his father as a president of the federation of sheikhdoms in

2005. Eight rights groups urged the British government last week to press the UAE during Sheikh Khalifa’s visit on the “unfair trial” of dissidents. “The UAE has become a country where people who speak their mind get locked up, and those who get locked up face torture” said Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s Middle East director in a joint statement with other rights groups. A US State Department report this month said the UAE has significant human rights problems, including “arbitrary arrests, incommunicado detentions and lengthy pretrial detentions; limitations on citizens’ civil liberties... and citizens’ inability to

change their government.” “Other human rights problems included reports of police and prison guard brutality,” it said. “The government continued to interfere with citizens’ privacy rights, and placed some limits on freedom of movement.” The UAE dismissed the report as “unbalanced,” saying it ignored recent improvements, and insisted that it was committed to bettering its rights record. The trial is the largest in the history of the UAE, which has not seen any of the widespread proreform protests that have swept other Arab states. However, authorities have boosted a crackdown on dissent and calls for democratic reform. — AFP

Israel hails Arab League stance on land swaps ‘It’s definitely an important step, I welcome it’

WINDSOR: Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh greet the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Windsor Castle as he begins a State Visit to the UK. — AP

UAE president starts UK visit clouded by ‘torture’ claims WINDSOR: The UAE president began a two-day state visit to Britain yesterday, during which he will be treated to ceremonial splendour but will also face questions over claims of torture from three British men jailed in Dubai. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan, head of state of the United Arab Emirates, is being hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle, west of London. Yesterday’s programme focuses on meetings between royalty, with the queen hosting a state luncheon at which both heads of state were to make speeches. Today the president will meet Prime Minister David Cameron for talks, when the premier was to raise the case of three British men who claim they were tortured by Dubai police after being arrested on drugs charges. At the start of the visit, the president enjoyed a carriage procession through Windsor to the castle, which is thought to be the queen’s favourite residence and where she spends most of her weekends. Guardsmen from the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards in their scarlet tunics and bearskins formed a guard of honour. Cameron’s spokesman said nothing was off-limits for the talks on Wednesday, when asked if he would discuss the claims that the three men were beaten and given electric shocks after being arrested.

“Clearly we have a state visit, we have an opportunity to build and strengthen relations between our two countries and as part of that we’ll be talking about a wide range of issues which will include concern about these cases,” he said. “The prime minister’s clear there’s no no-go areas in this. “We’ve asked for a full impartial and independent investigation into the incidents.” Authorities in the UAE have dismissed the allegations, saying an internal investigation found them to be “baseless”. Today the president will also visit Westminster Abbey for a short private tour along with Prince Andrew, the queen’s second son. He was to lay a wreath at its tomb of the unknown warrior. The president was then to visit Clarence House, the official residence of Prince Charles, the queen’s oldest son and the heir to the throne. He was to view displays by The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, followed by a private meeting with Charles to round off the visit. Britain normally stages two state visits per year, aimed at strengthening the relationship with the visiting country. The last state visit by a UAE head of state was in 1989. Queen Elizabeth has made two state visits to the UAE, in 1979 and more recently in 2010. — AFP

Thousands needy after Sudan rebel attacks EL RAHAD: Thousands of Sudanese need food, water and shelter, a source in an aid organisation said yesterday, after they fled a widening rebel offensive that swept through a previously peaceful area. The source in Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) told AFP that several thousand from one district alone, Abu Kershola, had converged on the North Kordofan town of El Rahad. “They are in a miserable situation,” said the source, asking for anonymity. He said a team from HAC is in the area to assess people’s needs. An AFP photographer reported that government vehicles were still ferrying people on Monday night to three camps for displaced people in the El Rahad area. Some of the homeless had sought shelter in schools. Abu Kershola, in the far north of South Kordofan state, was one of several areas in North and South Kordofan which the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance said it attacked on Saturday. Insurgents yesterday claimed to still be

in control of Abu Kershola, where they said they seized an army garrison. Villagers from that area earlier told AFP they were living rough under trees after fleeing. The rebels briefly occupied Umm Rawaba, the second-largest town in North Kordofan. Residents complained their community had been left undefended as the insurgents shot up government buildings, hitting policemen. Government bombers and helicopters were in the air after the attack, they said. AFP’s photographer saw that the town’s power station had been left blackened and burned. The glass facade behind the colonnades of an official-looking three storey building had been shattered, while smaller buildings had been damaged by fire. Except for occasional rebel forays over the border from the conflict-plagued Darfur region, North Kordofan had been generally peaceful. SRF said they attacked as part of their strategy to reach the capital Khartoum and overthrow the 24-year regime of President Omar al-Bashir. — AFP

WEST BANK: Israeli police prevent Israeli settlers from blocking the main road near Palestinian village of Hawara during a protest following the killing of Israeli settler by a Palestinian man, yesterday. An Israeli settler was killed by a knife-wielding Palestinian in a stabbing attack at a bus stop in the northern West Bank, the army and police said.

JERUSALEM: Israel yesterday welcomed a shift in the terms of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative following top-level talks in Washington, with the proposal now endorsing the idea of mutuallyagreed land swaps with the Palestinians. The principle of land swaps has been affirmed by Israel and the Palestinians in previous rounds of talks but has never formed part of the Saudi initiative. Under the original plan, Arab states would forge full diplomatic relations with the Jewish state in exchange for a withdrawal from land it occupied during the 1967 Six Day War. Details of the revamped proposal emerged late on Monday following talks between top Arab League members and US Secretary of State John Kerry. Israel’s chief peace negotiator Tzipi Livni hailed the move as “very good news” in an interview with military radio. “It’s definitely an important step-I welcome it,” she said, although there was no immediate response from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Under terms of the original proposal, the Arab states would offer full diplomatic relations with Israel in exchange for “a total withdrawal by Israel to the June 4, 1967 lines” and the establishment of a Palestinian state. But Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim on Monday said that although a final deal should mean a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 lines, it could involve a “comparable and mutual agreed minor swap of the land” to reflect the realities of the burgeoning communities on the ground. “The Arab League delegation affirmed that agreement should be based on the two-state solution on the basis of the 4th of June 1967 lines, with the possible of comparable and mutual agreed minor swap of the land,” he said at joint press conference with Kerry. Such a position marks a departure from the original text of the proposal, and comes closer to the US position as laid out by US President Barack Obama in May 2011 that any agreement must be “based on the 1967 lines with mutually-agreed land swaps.” Since taking office on February 1, Kerry has plunged into the maelstrom of the IsraeliPalestinian conflict in the hope of breaking the impasse and seeing a resumption of some form of talks.

JERUSALEM: In this Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 file photo, former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni attends a news conference at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem. The Arab League’s decision to sweeten its decade-old proposal offering comprehensive peace with Israel has placed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a bind and swiftly exposed fissures in his new government. — AP He has suggested the Arab Peace Initiative could provide a framework for a future deal. Speaking to reporters, he hailed Monday’s discussion as “very positive, very constructive” and praised the Arab League’s “very important role... in bringing about a peace in the Middle East, and specifically by reaffirming the Arab Peace Initiative.” For Israel, the principle of swapping land is a way to hold on to densely-populated Jewish settlement blocs built on occupied Palestinian land. Although the Palestinians accept the idea of “minor and mutually-agreed land swaps” they have rejected outright any idea of letting Israel hold on to a large swathes of settlements. Until now, Netanyahu has categorically rejected outright any return to what he has said would be the “indefensible” lines before June 4, 1967, although Livni welcomed the softening of the Arab stance. “The things that were said last night were very

positive,” she said. “I hail the Arab League and its representatives who were in Washington over this step.” She said Israel was looking for anything which would break the current stalemate which has persisted since direct talks broke down in September 2010 over a thorny dispute about Israeli settlement building. “Let’s talk about it-we are ready for changes, something which will allow the Palestinians, I hope, to enter the (negotiating) room and make the necessary compromises,” she said. “It also gives a message to Israeli citizens: it is no longer just us ... talking with the Palestinians, there is a group of Arab states who are saying: you reach an agreement with the Palestinians and we will make peace with you, we will have normalisation with you.” Kerry has already travelled three times to the region and met with top Israeli and Palestinian officials in pursuit of what he has called “a quiet strategy” for reviving the diplomatic process.— AFP

Armed gunmen surround another Libyan ministry TRIPOLI: Gunmen demanding the sacking of former officials of the ousted Kadhafi regime surrounded the justice ministry yesterday, stepping up an action started at the foreign ministry, an official said. “Several armed men in vehicles equipped with anti-aircraft guns surrounded the ministry of justice,” spokesman Walid Ben Rabha told AFP. “They asked the minister and staff present to leave their offices and close the ministry.” An AFP photographer saw more than 20 pickup trucks loaded with machine guns, anti-aircraft guns and rocket launchers and said they had blocked access to the building. Dozens of gunmen making the same demand have kept the foreign ministry under siege since Sunday, paralysing its work. The interior ministry and national television station have also been attacked. On Monday, angry police officers firing their guns in the air stormed the interior ministry demanding higher wages. Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has denounced the encircling of the foreign ministry and other such attacks. On Sunday, he appealed to Libyans to support the government in resisting armed groups “who want to destabilise the country and terrorise foreigners and embassies,” but said the government would “not come into confrontation with anyone.” The government is struggling to assert its influence across the country, where former rebels who fought to unseat Moamer Kadhafi in 2011 still control large amounts of territory. The latest events illustrate a rise in violence in Tripoli, where a car bomb struck the French embassy last week, wounding two French guards and a girl living nearby. Gunmen have said they will lift their siege when their demands are met by a vote in the General National Congress-Libya’s highest political authority-on a bill calling for the expulsion of former regime employees from top government and political posts. The bill could affect several senior government figures and has roiled the country’s political class. Under pressure, Congress adjourned until Sunday to allow its various political blocs to seek consensus on the bill. That came as protesters gathered in central Tripoli’s Martyrs Square and planned to hold a sit-in later yesterday in front of the Congress. In March, demonstrators encircled the assembly itself, trapping members inside the building for several hours as they called for the adoption of the law. After the siege was lifted, gunmen targeted

TRIPOLI: Libyan gunmen surround the Libyan Justice Ministry demanding a ban against those who worked under the former regime of ousted leader Moamer Gaddafi from holding senior positions yesterday, in the capital Tripoli. —AFP Congress chief Mohammed Megaryef’s motorcade in western Libya as tribes from the towns of Nalut without causing any casualties. and Tiji clashed with heavy weapons after an arguIn other developments yesterday, clashes raged ment between two men, witnesses said. — AFP

Egypt walk-out at nuclear talks GENEVA: The United States said yesterday it regretted Egypt’s decision to walk out of U.N. talks on non-proliferation and still hoped all sides would agree to hold a conference on banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Egypt withdrew from nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) talks in Geneva on Monday in protest at what it called the failure to implement a 1995 resolution for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons - an implicit criticism of Israel, believed to be the only nuclear-armed country in the region. “We regret the Egyptian decision to leave the NPT Preparatory Committee meeting. It does not affect the U.S. commitment to convening a conference on a Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction,” Thomas Countryman, US. Assistant Secretary for International Security and Non-Proliferation, who heads the U.S. delegation, told Reuters. “We will continue to seek practical means to bring the parties together. We remain prepared to assist in any way requested, but leadership must also come from states of the region,” Countryman

said in comments sent by email. The conference, which was supposed to be held last December in Helsinki after being agreed at NPT talks in 2010, was postponed a month before without a new date being set. Western countries have voiced hope during the two-week session that the delayed conference could be convened this year. Iran and Syria called last week for a conference on banning nuclear weapons and urged major powers to stop helping Israel acquire nuclear technology. Egypt said it pulled out of the talks “to send a strong message of non-acceptance of the continued lack of seriousness in dealing with the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East”. Israel has not ratified the 1970 NPT and therefore is not attending the Geneva session which ends on Friday. US and Israeli officials have said a nuclear arms-free zone in the Middle East could not be a reality until there was broad ArabIsraeli peace and Iran curbed its nuclear programme, which Tehran denies has a weapons dimension. — Reuters



Jury to weigh fate of US abortion doctor in murder trial PHILADELPHIA: The murder case against a Philadelphia doctor accused of killing four infants and a patient during late-term abortions was expected to go to a jury yesterday. Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, who ran the now-shuttered Women’s Medical Society Clinic, faces the death penalty if convicted. The case focuses on whether the infants were born alive and then killed. A seven-woman, five-man jury in Common Pleas Court, where the trial is in its sixth week, was to begin deliberations on Tuesday, after receiving instructions from Judge Jeffrey Minehart. The charges against Gosnell and nine of his employees have added more fuel to the debate in the United States about late-term abortions. It is legal in Pennsylvania to abort a fetus up to 24 weeks into the pregnancy. Other states have recently put new restrictions on abortions, with

Arkansas banning them at 12 weeks and North Dakota at six weeks. Gosnell is charged with first-degree murder for delivering live babies during late-term abortions and then deliberately severing their spinal cords, prosecutors said. His defense contends there is no evidence the babies were alive after they were aborted. Defense lawyer Jack McMahon, in his closing argument on Monday, cited testimony by Medical Examiner Sam Gulino, who said none of the 47 babies tested randomly from the West Philadelphia clinic had been born alive. “You may not like that evidence, but it is the evidence,” McMahon said. Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron said in his closing argument that witnesses testified that one of the aborted babies was breathing before its neck was cut, another made a whining sound and another moved its arms

and legs. “You have three witnesses who saw a baby breathe and move, and he killed it,” Cameron said. The clinic that prosecutors call a “house of horrors” has been cited as powerful evidence by both abortion and anti-abortion rights groups. Reverend Frank Pavone, director of the antiabortion group Priests for Life, said the often gory trial testimony “will change the conversation ... It’ll help people engage and make them realize they’re not just talking about a theoretical idea.” Abortion-rights activists said Gosnell was an outlier among predominantly safe and legal abortion providers. “Gosnell ran a criminal enterprise, not a healthcare facility, and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” said Eric Ferrero, a spokesman for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Testimony has depicted a filthy clinic serving mostly low-income women in the largely

black community. McMahon said Gosnell was a physician who wanted to help his community. “Dr. Gosnell never turned down a desperate and troubled young lady because they didn’t have any money,” he said. Gosnell is also charged with murdering Karnamaya Mongar, 41, of Virginia, who died from a drug overdose after going to him for an abortion, prosecutors said. The defense lawyer said Mongar was given guideline amounts of the drug Demerol as an anesthesia during the abortion, as had hundreds of other women at the clinic. Gosnell, who has been in jail since his January 2011 arrest, is being tried along with Eileen O’Neill, a medical graduate student accused of billing patients and insurance companies as if she had been a licensed doctor. Eight other defendants have pleaded guilty to a variety of charges and are awaiting sentencing.— Reuters

New Italian premier to meet with German leader New government confirmed by Senate

VATICAN: In this March 23, 2013 file photo provided by the Vatican paper L’Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis, right, and Pope emeritus Benedict XVI meet in Castel Gandolfo. Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi said yesterday that retired Pope Benedict XVI is moving into his new retirement home in the Vatican gardens on Thursday. — AP

Pope Benedict to move back to Vatican

VATICAN CITY: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI will move back to the Vatican yesterday to live out his retirement in a restored convent close to where his successor now leads the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican said. Benedict has been living at the papal summer residence south of Rome since Feb. 28 when he became the first pope in modern times to abdicate. He stayed there while work was being done on the convent inside the Vatican where he is expected to live out the rest of his days. The presence of a reigning pope and a former one is a new situation, but experts say it would only cause difficulties if

Benedict tries to influence Pope Francis’s decisions, something he has promised not to do. Shortly before his resignation, Benedict, now 86 and in failing health, said he would be “withdrawing into prayer” and would live out his remaining days “hidden from the world”. Some Church scholars worry that in the event that Francis undoes some of Benedict’s policies while he is still alive, the former pope could become a lightning rod for conservatives and polarise the Church. Benedict now wears a simple white cassock without a cape, while Francis wears a white cassock with a short cape, the traditional garb for a pope. — Reuters

Most Muslims want sharia law, split on interpretation WASHINGTON: A majority of Muslims around the world want sharia law to be implemented in their countries but are split on how it should be applied, a Pew Research Center study has found. A comprehensive study titled “ The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society” conducted between 2008 and 2012 focused on 38,000 people in 39 countries and territories drawn from a global Muslim community of 2.2 billion people. A solid majority of Muslims, notably in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, were in favor of sharia-traditional Islamic law-being adopted as the law of the land. The percentage of those in favor of sharia being implemented as their country’s law varied from eight percent in Azerbaijan to 99 percent in Afghanistan. The study revealed many Muslims were in favor of applying sharia in the private sphere to settle family or property disputes. However, in most countries surveyed, there was less support for severe punishments, such as cutting off the hands of thieves or executing people who convert from Islam to another faith. A majority of Muslims are also in favor of freedom of religion, even while backing sharia. In Pakistan, for example, 84 percent of Muslims want sharia enshrined as official law but 75 percent believe non-Muslims are free to practice their religion. Around half of Muslims in the survey expressed concerns about religious

extremism, particularly in Egypt, Iraq and Tunisia. In most countries, a majority of Muslims said a wife must obey her husband, although a majority also said a woman should decide whether or not to wear a veil. Most Muslims said they do not feel tension between their religion and modern life, prefer a democratic regime, enjoy music or Western movies, even if such pastimes are sometimes regarded as undermining morality. An overwhelming majority viewed prostitution, homosexuality, suicide or alcohol consumption as immoral but there are sharp differences on issues such as polygamy. Only four percent polled in Bosnia and Herzegovina considered polygamy morally acceptable, against 87 percent in Niger. A strong majority surveyed said socalled honor killings could never be justified. The only exceptions came in Afghanistan and Iraq, where majorities condoned executions of women deemed to have shamed their families by engaging in premarital sex or adultery. Violence carried out in the name of Islam was also widely rejected. In the United States, 81 percent of Muslims said such violence can “never” be justified against a global median of 73 percent. Substantial minorities in Bangladesh, Egypt, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories said violence was permissible. — AFP

STRASBOURG: Sergei Vlasenko (R), lawyer of jailed opposition leader and former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, and Natasha Stretovych, her spokesperson, wait at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) before it ruled that Tymoshenko’s detention was unlawful but threw out accusations of ill-treatment, yesterday, in Strasbourg, eastern France. — AFP

BERLIN: Enrico Letta made his first trip abroad as Italy’s new premier yesterday, visiting Germany in his bid to persuade European leaders to ease the pressure on his country to pursue painful austerity measures. Letta, who has pledged to turn his country’s stalling economy around, was meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin late yesterday, only hours after winning his final vote of approval by the Senate in Rome. Merkel, a strong advocate of structural reforms, spending cuts and deficit reduction across Europe, has been much criticized during Italy’s election campaign for her tough stance. Newspapers and politicians - including some now backing Letta’s coalition government - have accused outgoing Premier Mario Monti’s government of being a mere stooge to “la Merkel” in Berlin. Analysts say Letta also seeks to reassure financial markets about his government’s seriousness by working closely with Germany, Europe’s biggest economy. However, Letta can expect little leniency from Merkel. The conservative leader - who is seeking re-election in September - has made it clear that no Italian government should be allowed to fall significantly behind on the reforms and deficit targets agreed within the 17-nation eurozone. European Union Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso was quick to congratulate Letta following the Senate’s approval yesterday, but reminded him of his “commitment to carry on the process of necessary reforms.” A spokesman for the EU’s top economic official, Commissioner Olli Rehn, also dashed any hopes for leeway. “We have full confidence in the government’s determination to achieve the goals agreed for this year,” Simon O’Connor said. The center-left Letta has pledged to respect Italy’s international commitments, but has also announced the immediate suspension of an unpopular tax on primary residences while he makes it fairer to less affluent taxpayers. He also pledged not to raise the sales tax and to reduce some payroll taxes, but has yet to explain how to handle the resulting shortfalls. “Reducing taxes is a priority,” Letta said Monday, promising he would “pinpoint a strategy to revive growth without interfering with the process to heal finances.” The 46year-old premier will also take his message to Paris, where he meets Wednesday with President Francois Hollande, and then to

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italy’s new prime minister Enrico Letta shake hands following a press conference yesterday at the Chancellery in Berlin. Letta’s first official trip abroad came a day after the new premier said his coalition government would act fast to reverse austerity, in a hard-hitting inaugural speech watched closely by Italy’s European partners — including Germany, the continent’s austerity champion. — AFP

Brussels. The European tour aims also to demonstrate that this government wants to remain at the heart of the decision-making in Europe. Asking for patience from his own people, Letta said before the Senate vote that the road to economic recovery and it is unreasonable to expect that “by tomorrow we can give immediate responses” to Italy’s economic woes. Italy, the eurozone’s third-largest economy, has suffered years of anemic growth and is currently in recession. The unemployment rate is 11.5 percent and almost 40 percent of those younger than 25 have no job, according to EU statistics. Italy’s debt burden has grown to over 120 percent of the country’s annual economic output - trailing only Greece’s debt level. The EU’s austerity policies of spending cuts and higher taxes since the bloc’s debt crisis erupted in 2010 has tried the patience of citizens in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy, lead-

ing to backlashes at the polls. EU leaders like Barroso have already hinted that they are considering granting economically struggling countries like Italy or Spain more time to meet their targets to avoid choking off growth. Letta leads a still to be tested grand coalition that includes former premier Silvio Berlusconi’s conservatives. “Italy still faces a significant risk from the potential fragility of the new coalition government and its temporary stability being endangered by conflict between its various factions,” said IHS Insight analyst Raj Badiani. Already, one key proposal - to put on hold a property on primary residences - was being picked apart by some of Letta’s key partners. Berlusconi said he will support the government only if the tax is repealed. But Italy’s three main unions balked at an across-theboard cut, saying the money is needed for key programs and should be abolished only for Italians with one residence. — AP

Terrorist sleeper cell dismantled in Mali BAMAKO: Police in Mali’s capital have dismantled a terrorist cell belonging to the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, or MUJAO, three officials confirmed yesterday. The presence of the cell confirms fears that the jihadist groups, which sprang up last year in northern Mali, have succeeded in travelling past the numerous roadblocks to the country’s most populous city. The cell was first discovered more than a month ago, Sougalo Togola, press officer for the Ministry of Internal Security, told The Associated Press by telephone. The information was confirmed by an intelligence official involved in the case, as well as by a member of the capital’s gendarmerie, or paramilitary police. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. “There was indeed a MUJAO cell in Bamako and it’s been dismantled,” said the intelligence agent. Photographs of the seven suspects were published Tuesday on, an online news portal which often publishes messages from the military. All seven have the last name “Diallo,” indicating they’re from the Peul ethnic group. MUJAO is led by commanders who splintered from alQaida in the Islamic Maghreb, the al-Qaida affiliate in North Africa. For years the fighters operated out of bases at the feet of the Sahara desert in the remote northern triangle of Mali. Then in March 2012, after a coup in Mali’s capital, they pushed south and succeeded in taking the important provincial capital of Gao, located 1,200 (750 miles) northeast of the capital. The jihadists actively recruited locals, including from the Peul ethnic group, from the villages around Gao, an area of the country where some communities were already practicing a more conservative form of Islam, known as Wahabism. Although the cell dismantled in Bamako was in its early stages, experts have long warned that Mali’s central government is too weak to stop the movement of potential jihadists to the capital. Security at even the most crucial buildings in the capital, like the National Assembly, is lax and if a mature cell was able to take hold in Bamako, the damage they could

do could be substantial, say experts. MUJAO, and the two other Islamic extremist groups controlling northern Mali, were ousted from the main cities in January, after a full-on military intervention by over 2,000 French troops. They have not succeeded, however, in flushing out entrenched cells in rural areas and since the French-led intervention there have been repeated suicide bombings in Gao, as well as in the other

two major northern cities - Kidal and Timbuktu. The cell dismantled in Bamako did not have the capacity to do significant damage, said the official with the gendarmerie in Bamako. “These are people who were based in the north and who received military training,” he said. “When the war started, they got spooked and they fled south. They are not experienced fighters.” — AP



Massachusetts voters to decide US Senate primary winners BOSTON: Massachusetts voters will decide today which Republican and Democratic candidates will win their party primaries and head to the state’s second special US Senate election in four years. The race to fill Secretary of State John Kerry’s former Senate seat has been overshadowed by the Boston Marathon bombings. A light turnout is expected. Two Democrats, both members of the state’s congressional delegation, and three Republicans are vying for their parties’ nominations. Even before the bombings, the campaign had failed to capture the attention of voters compared with the 2010 special election following the death of longtime Sen. Edward Kennedy. Former Republican

Sen. Scott Brown won the seat but was ousted last year in another high-profile race by Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren. A win would help Senate Democrats maintain a caucus edge of 55-45 as they press forward on major issues like immigration and gun control. The Marathon bombs disrupted the political race, forcing the candidates to temporarily suspend their campaigns. The bombings also brought national security and terrorism issues to the fore in a race that was expected to turn on questions of the economy, gun control, taxes, immigration and abortion. The Democratic primary pits US Rep. Edward Markey, who has staked out more

liberal positions, against fellow Rep. Stephen Lynch, a former ironworker who has tried to appeal to the party’s workingand middle-class base. Lynch, 58, has had to explain why he was the only member of the state’s House delegation to vote against President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law, while Markey, who won his first elected office while in law school, has fended off efforts to portray him as a Washington insider. Markey, 66, is better-funded, having raised $4.8 million through the end of the last reporting period, compared with $1.5 million for Lynch. He’s also benefited from outside spending. Of the more than $2.2 million spent by outside groups, nearly 84

percent went to Markey, an Associated Press review of Federal Election Commission reports found. The GOP primary race is pitting three candidates: former US Attorney for Massachusetts Michael Sullivan, businessman Gabriel Gomez and state Rep. Daniel Winslow, former legal counsel for ex-governor and 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Gomez, 47, has tried to portray himself as the new face of the Republican Party. The son of Colombian immigrants, Gomez learned English in kindergarten, then went on to become a Navy pilot and SEAL, earn an MBA at Harvard and launch a private equity career. Sullivan, 58, has pointed to his national

security resume, which includes helping investigate the Sept. 11 attacks and the failed attempt to blow up an airliner using shoe bombs. The 54-year-old Winslow said he’s the only candidate with experience in all three branches of the government. After 12 years as a private attorney, Winslow was appointed to a judgeship on the state’s district court in 1995. He served eight years and left to join Romney’s administration as chief legal counsel. The state’s top elections official, Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, has said fewer than one in five registered voters could end up casting ballots. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 pm. The special Senate election is June 25. — AP

Outraged lawmakers look to change military justice Sexual assault in the ranks is damaging institution WASHINGTON: Outrage over an Air Force officer’s decision to overturn a jury’s guilty verdict in a sexual assault case has Republicans and Democrats joining forces on ambitious legislation to change the military justice system. On both sides of the Capitol, lawmakers have interpreted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s recent proposal to essentially strip commanding officers of their ability to reverse criminal convictions of service members as an opening to revise the decades-old Uniform Code of Military Justice. Congress repeatedly has challenged the military’s lack of resolve in fighting sexual assault in its ranks, an offense considered far more prevalent than the reported cases of 3,192 in 2011, the most recent figure available. Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that because so few victims report the crime, the real number is closer to 19,000 assaults. Hagel acknowledged the problem earlier this month in announcing his proposal to eliminate the discretion of a commanding officer to reverse a court martial ruling, except for minor offenses, and to require a commanding officer to explain in writing any changes that are made. The crime of sexual assault in the ranks “is damaging this institution. There are thousands of victims in the department, male and female, whose lives and careers have been upended, and that is unacceptable,” the secretary said. A single case has set off a recent outcry in Congress. Lt. Col. James Wilkerson, a former inspector general at Aviano Air Base in Italy, was found guilty last year of charges of abusive sexual contact, aggravated sexual assault and three instances of conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman. The incident involved a female contractor. Wilkerson was sentenced to a year in prison and dismissal from the service, but Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, commander of the 3rd Air Force at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, reviewed the case and overturned the jury’s verdict of guilty. Franklin explained in a six-page letter to the Air Force secretary that he found Wilkerson and his wife more believable than the alleged victim. The ability of a commanding officer to reverse a jury verdict creates a single impression for victims of sexual assault in the military, Sen. Claire

McCaskill, D-Mo., told senior officers at a congressional hearing last week. Those women think “no matter what happens at the trial, no matter if they believe me, some general is going to decide I’m a slut,” McCaskill said, capturing the frustration and anger over the case. In the slow-moving Congress, law-

the discretion on whether to go to trial, and to largely strip commanding officers of the ability to toss out a verdict. “Our goal would be to remove all decision-making out of the chain of command about whether to prosecute a case and whether to bring a case to the chain of command,”

Lt Gen Craig Franklin makers are quickly writing legislation to change the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which was established in 1950 and was revised in 1968 and 1983. Separate measures in the House and Senate are expected to become provisions in annual defense policy bills, one of the few pieces of legislation that Congress passes every year. The Armed Services committees are expected to complete the bills in June. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., the new chairwoman of the Senate Armed Services personnel subcommittee, is working with members in both parties on legislation to give Judge Advocate General prosecutors

Gillibrand said in a recent interview. “And it would not just be for sexual assault. We’re looking at all violent crimes.” Commanding officers would retain their current authority in cases that are the equivalent of misdemeanors in the civilian courts under her measure. And under Hagel’s proposal, members of the military who are convicted could still appeal. Gillibrand said she also has been in contact with Defense Department lawyers, insisting that collaboration with the Pentagon is vital to ensuring that Congress gets the legislation right. “Everyone knows the current sys-

tem is not working. Everyone knows that 19,000 sexual assaults and rapes a year is unacceptable,” she said. “I think the military has been trying to grasp this for a while now without success and so they may need some outside assistance in looking at it freshly. ... It’s not one of those situations where they can say, ‘We got this,’ because they clearly don’t.” In the House, Reps. Mike Turner, ROhio, and Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., who have collaborated in the past on legislation to help sexual assault victims in the military, are again writing legislation to address the issue. This time, Turner said the focus is on reining in the power of commanding officers to ensure they cannot set aside a conviction for sexual assault. “Each year that we have advanced remedies to try to affect sexual assault in the military, we found something unique and egregious was in the Defense Department system that would re-victimize victims of sexual assault. The case of Gen. Franklin setting aside the sexual assault is absolutely one of those,” Turner said in an interview. “When we’ve talked to representatives at the Pentagon, they’ve indicated that they in no way ever foresaw that someone would supplant their opinion for that of a tribunal,” he said. Turner’s aggressive effort on the issue stems in part from the brutal death of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, 20, of Vandalia, Ohio, whose charred remains were found in the backyard of the North Carolina home of a former Marine corporal in January 2008. Lauterbach had accused Cesar Laurean of rape and of being the father of her unborn baby. The two were assigned to the same unit at the Camp Lejeune Marine base. A jury convicted Laurean of murder in the death of his pregnant colleague and he was sentenced to life in prison in August 2010. “The tragedy of the Maria Lauterbach case is the military knew she’d been subject to sexual assault, left her with the accused, told both of them that as soon as her baby was born that they would do DNA testing and then prosecute him. And then he murdered her and buried her to eliminate the evidence,”Turner said. “It’s just outrageous to think that she could be left in such a vulnerable position that resulted in her death.” —AP

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama holds a press conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC, yesterday. The President answered questions from the press on a variety of topics. —AFP

US still not sure who used chemical arms WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama strongly suggested yesterday he would consider military action against Syria if it can be confirmed that President Bashar Assad’s government used chemical weapons in the two-year-old civil war. At a White House news conference, the president also defended the FBI in regard to its efforts before the deadly bombing at the Boston Marathon two weeks ago. Asked about Syria, the president said that while there is evidence that chemical weapons were used inside the country, “we don’t know when they were used, how they were used. We don’t know who used them. We don’t have a chain of custody that establishes” exactly what happened. If it can be established that the Syrian government used chemical weapons, he added, “we would have to rethink the range of options that are available to us.” “Obviously there are options to me that are on the shelf right now that we have not deployed,” he said, noting that he had asked Pentagon planners last year for additional possibilities. On another topic, Obama responded with slight ridicule and humor when he was asked if he still had the political juice to push his agenda through Congress after an early second-term defeat on gun control legislation. “Golly, I might just as well pack up and go home,” he parried his questioner. Paraphrasing American humorist Mark Twain, he said, “Rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated at this point.” And he expressed confidence that Congress would approve sweeping immigration legislation that he is seeking.

He also renewed his call for lawmakers to replace across-the-board federal spending cuts. The administration favors a comprehensive plan to reduce deficits through targeted spending cuts and higher taxes. Asked about the FBI’s investigation into a possible terrorist threat posed in the past by Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings who died in an escape attempt, the president said, “Based on what I’ve seen so far, the FBI performed its duties , the Department of Homeland Security did what it was supposed to be doing.” “But this is hard stuff,” he said of the work needed to ferret out security threats at home. He also said that “Russians have been very cooperative with us since the Boston bombing.” The bombing suspects are Russian natives who immigrated to the Boston area. Russian authorities told U.S. officials before the bombings they had concerns about the family, but Moscow has revealed details of wiretapped conversations only since the attack. Asked about a topic that links terrorism and his Obama’s legislative efforts, he said he would “re-engage with Congress” on the future of the prison for detainees at Guantanamo in Cuba. As a candidate for the White House in 2007 and 2008, Obama called for closing the base, which was set up as part of President George W. Bush’s response to the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Lawmakers objected and the facility remains open. Asked about a hunger strike by some detainees, he said, “I don’t want these individuals to die,” and he said the Pentagon was doing what it could to manage the situation. —AP

Boston suspect’s defense team gets major boost BOSTON: A prominent anti-death penalty lawyer who has managed to get life sentences for several high-profile clients, including the Unabomber, has joined the defense team representing the Boston Marathon bombing suspect. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been charged with using a weapon of mass destruction during the April 15 marathon. Three people were killed and more than 260 injured when two bombs exploded near the finish line. A judge on Monday approved the appointment of death penalty expert Judy Clarke to defend 19-year-old Tsarnaev. But judge Marianne

Bowler denied, at least for now, a request from Tsarnaev’s public defender, Miriam Conrad, to appoint a second death penalty lawyer - David Bruck, a professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law. Tsarnaev’s lawyers could renew their motion to appoint another death penalty expert if he is indicted, the judge said. Clarke’s clients have included the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, who killed three people and injured 23 during a nationwide bombing spree between 1978 and 1995; Susan Smith, a woman who famously drowned her two children; Atlanta Olympics

LOS ANGELES: In this April 26, 2013 file photo, Judy Clarke, a defense lawyer whose highprofile clients include “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph, and Tucson shooter Jared Lee Loughner, speaks at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. Clarke was appointed yesterday to the team representing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings. —AP

bomber Eric Rudolph; and most recently Jared Loughner, who shot former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head. All received life sentences instead of the death penalty. Clarke has rarely spoken publicly about her work and did not return a call seeking comment Monday. However, at a speech Friday at a legal conference in Los Angeles, she talked about how she had been “sucked into the black hole, the vortex” of death penalty cases 18 years ago when she represented Smith. “I got a dose of understanding human behavior, and I learned what the death penalty does to us,” she said. “I don’t think it’s a secret that I oppose the death penalty.” Bruck has directed Washington and Lee’s death penalty defense clinic, the Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse, since 2004. In other developments in the Boston case: FBI agents visited the home of the in-laws of the suspect’s brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and carried away several bags. The brother was killed in a gun battle with police. CNN reported at least one bag was labeled DNA samples. FBI spokesman Jason Pack confirmed agents went to the North Kingstown home of Katherine Russell’s parents Monday. Russell is Tsarnaev’s widow and has been staying there. Russell didn’t speak as she left her attorneys’ office in Providence. Attorney Amato DeLuca says she’s doing everything she can to assist with the investigation. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed terrorism coordination Monday in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. Obama expressed his “appreciation” for Russia’s close cooperation after the attack. The suspected bombers are Russian natives who immigrated to the Boston area. Russian authorities told US officials before the bombings they had concerns about the family, but only revealed details of wiretapped conversations since the attack. —AP

VALLEY SPRINGS: Teacher Cecilia Richardson ties a ribbon honoring murder vitim, Leila Fowler, at Jenny Lind Elementary School in Valley Springs, Calif., Monday. Authorities are searching for the killer of Fowler, 8, who was found murdered by her 12-year-old brother in the family’s Valley Springs home Saturday. —AP

Planes collide near LA WESTLAKE VILLAGE: Two small airplanes with a combined four people aboard collided in midair over the Southern California mountains, sending one crashing into a rocky ridge and killing its pilot while the second was able to maneuver a belly-flop landing on the fairway of a nearby golf course, officials said. Rescuers searched through the wreckage of the plane that crashed and sparked a fire in rocky terrain in Calabasas on Monday and found a body that was believed to be the only person aboard, Los Angeles County sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said. Firefighters responding to a report of a small wildfire at about 2 pm spotted the aircraft debris, put out the fire and began a search for survivors, county fire Inspector Quvondo Johnson said. The plane had taken off from Santa Monica Airport in order to test its engine. Three people on the plane that landed on a fairway while stunned golfers looked on

had minor injuries. One was hospitalized after complaining of back pain. Aaron Jesse, 47, said he had left work early for a round with friends at Westlake Golf Course and saw the low-flying plane hit a tree, spin around 180 degrees and land surprisingly gently. “Finally being a bad golfer paid off,” Jesse told the Los Angeles Times. “I hit it in the trees to the right. They landed 50 feet to the left of us in the center of the fairway. All we heard was a thud and then he made a gentle bounce and slid down the center of the fairway.” Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said a preliminary review of radar records showed the two flight-paths crossed just after 2 pm. The golf-course plane, a single-engine Cessna 172RG, was flying west at an altitude of 3,500 feet when the second plane, also a Cessna 172RG, approached from the east after leaving Santa Monica Airport. —AP



Imran Khan brazens out Pakistan campaign trail SARGHODA: You can’t lead a revolution and hide behind bullet-proof glass-at least not according to Imran Khan, wildcard contender for power at the ballot box in Pakistan next week. Visibly tired by 15-hour days, frenetic flying and driving round the country to address tens of thousands in a campaign dominated by threats and fear of attack, the cricket legend is nothing if not focused. “This is a revolution taking place,” he told AFP after a couple of days of hard campaigning in Punjab, his home province and the political backbone of Pakistan which elects a little over half the seats in the national assembly. “When I came to politics 17 years ago, I had already conquered my fear of dying because I knew I was going to challenge the status quo,” the 60-year-old said. But security is clearly a major preoccupation. Khan says he’s on the “top five hit list”. He may not use the bulletproof glass screens used by other politicians at public rallies, but he travels in an armoured car with an armed police escort. A rally in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, was cancelled on Sunday after attacks on rival parties killed more than 20 people. Attacks targeting the election campaign have so far killed nearly 60 people ahead of

the May 11 polls. “We couldn’t take a risk. It’s just too dangerous. I mean you can’t risk the life of other people,” the 60-year-old said. Khan has two sons by his ex-wife Jemima Khan, daughter of the late billionaire tycoon James Goldsmith, but they live in Britain and he has not seen them for several months. “My older son worries. You know he worries, obviously, because when he hears what’s going on in Pakistan,” he says. Khan and Nawaz Sharif, the two-time prime minister whose PML-N party is tipped to win, are the only two leaders addressing big rallies. The three main parties in the outgoing government, the PPP, the MQM and the ANP, have curtailed public gatherings in the face of direct Taleban threats. Khan’s campaign is about mobilising the masses, exploiting disaffection with a corrupt elite, tapping into anti-American sentiment that blames many of the countries woes on the United States and promising to fix a crippling power crisis. “If my politics is different... I can’t be standing behind a bullet-proof screen and connecting with the people,” he said. When he bounded up to the microphone in Sarghoda, a university and garrison town in the Punjab farm belt, he deliberately stepped in front, not behind the protective

screen party workers had hauled onto the podium. To his supporters he is the hero who led Pakistan’s cricket team to World Cup victory in 1992 and then set up the best cancer hospital in the country. He went into politics in 1996, founding his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (Movement for Justice) party determined to break the

stranglehold of dynastic politics. But only in October 2011, when he attracted a crowd of more than 100,000 — mostly young people, women and middle class voters-in his home town of Lahore, did he emerge from celebrity lightweight into serious contender. He claims to be leading a “tsunami” of

ISLAMABAD: Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) or Movement for Justice party Imran Khan gestures as he attends a general election campaign meeting in Murree, around 60 kms from Islamabad. — AFP

change, promising to improve governance and education, solve the energy crisis and balance the books by introducing tax reform and slashing expenditure. His core base is the emerging middle class, which is socially conservative. But to alarmed detractors he is “Taleban Khan”soft on Islamist militants and naive in his criticism of the US war on Al-Qaeda and the Taleban. He opposes US drone strikes and calls for peace talks with the Taleban, which the government blames for killing 30,000 people over the last decade. Although Khan believes he will be Pakistan’s next prime minister, analysts say he is more likely to secure 10-30 seats in the 342-member national assembly-a breakthrough that could make him kingmaker of an incoming coalition. But he refuses to share power with the PPP, which led the national government for the last five years, or PML-N, which has ruled Punjab, saying that his party will go into opposition if they do not win. Scathing about Sharif and President Asif Ali Zardari, he does, however, have words of pity for former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, who returned home last month from self-imposed exile only to be put under house arrest.— AFP

Retailers promise to compensate Bangladesh victims’ families Building owner brought to Dhaka court

SRINAGAR: Indian army soldiers inspect the parts after detecting and defusing a bomb on the outskirts of Srinagar, India, yesterday. Indian army in Kashmir yesterday defused the bomb planted by suspected rebels fighting against Indian rule alongside a highway on the outskirts of the region’s main city, the army said.— AP

Pakistan court ‘bans Musharraf for life’ PESHAWAR: A Pakistani court moved yesterday to ban former military ruler Pervez Musharraf from contesting elections for the rest of his life, a step which his aides immediately vowed to challenge. The retired general has been humiliated since returning last month from self-imposed exile to contest elections and is currently under house arrest. He will spend the May 11 general elections under lock and key, after an anti-terrorism court in the garrison city of Rawalpindi put him under house arrest for 14 days over the death of politician Benazir Bhutto in 2007. Just hours later, a court in the northwestern city of Peshawar dismissed an appeal against his disqualification from standing for election in the district of Chitral and banned him for life from running for parliament, lawyers said. The ban extended to the lower and upper houses of the federal parliament and to all provincial assemblies, lawyer Mohibullah Tarichvi told AFP. A spokesman for Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League party, Muhammad Amjad, was circumspect. “We can challenge it,” he told AFP. A court in the eastern city of Lahore is scheduled to rule May 7 on separate appeals against his disqualification for the current election in other seats. He applied to stand in a total of four constituencies. “If the court upholds the disqualification then we will go to the Supreme Court,” Amjad said. Musharraf had promised to

“save” the country from militancy and economic collapse but was barred from running as a candidate over charges dating back to his 1999-2008 rule. He will now spend polling day in his Islamabad villa, which has been designated as a jail, making his chances of even voting remote. Musharraf’s lawyer Ibrahim Satti told AFP that his client could request a postal vote but said a government-facilitated visit to a polling station would be unlikely “because of security concerns”. The retired general is also under house arrest for sacking judges when he imposed emergency rule in 2007. Musharraf is accused of conspiracy to murder former prime minister Bhutto, whose Pakistan People’s Party was elected into power in 2008 on a wave of sympathy over her death in a gun and suicide attack. Besides the sacking of judges, he faces a third legal case over the 2006 death of a Baluch rebel leader and has been threatened with death by the Taleban. Nobody has ever been convicted or jailed for Bhutto’s assassination. Musharraf’s government blamed the killing on Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, who denied any involvement and was killed in a US drone attack in 2009. But Bhutto’s son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who is PPP chairman, has accused Musharraf of her murder. In 2010 a UN report said Bhutto’s death could have been prevented and accused Musharraf’s government of failing to give her adequate protection. — AFP

CIA cash wrecks Afghan president’s image: Critics KABUL: Revelations that the CIA handed cash payments to Afghanistan’s presidential office provoked criticism but little surprise from opposition groups and transparency campaigners in Kabul yesterday. The New York Times reported on Monday that the US Central Intelligence Agency had delivered tens of millions of dollars in suitcases and backpacks to President Hamid Karzai’s office over the past decade. Karzai declined to deny the report, instead expressing his thanks to the spy agency for what he called “small” amounts of money that were put to good use such as helping ill and wounded Afghans. But critics said the secret payments undermined the president’s claim that he was fighting against US interference and trying to establish Afghan sovereignty. “Such money given to the office of the president is no doubt used to strengthen his position and weaken other democratic political groups,” Sayed Fazel Sancharaki, spokesman for the opposition National Coalition, told AFP. “ These payments highlight President Karzai’s lack of loyalty. It’s very unfortunate that such money is given in a non-transparent way and by foreign intelligence agencies.” Afghanistan relies on international aid to pay

its army and police and to fund most of its investments, but the Times said the CIA cash had been used to pay off warlords, lawmakers and others on whom Karzai relied for support. “Karzai is trying to give an independent picture of Afghanistan and of himself, and this definitely undermines his efforts,” Waheed Wafa, director of the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University, told AFP. More than 11 years after the Taleban were ousted, the president has taken an increasingly anti-US stance as he prepares to step down when elections are held next year. But news of the CIA payments has dealt a further blow to his hopes of leaving office with a reputation as a strong nationalist leader who stood up to foreign meddling. “His receiving cash from foreign agencies casts a big shadow over the independence and sovereignty of Afghanistan,” said Mahmoud Saikal, an anti-corruption campaigner and former deputy foreign minister. “This reveals he doesn’t believe that his Afghanistan is a functioning state. He believes in illegality and he uses such money to buy supporters, patronage and to rally power.” Karzai openly acknowledged in 2010 that Iran had made cash payments to one of his top aides.— AFP

DHAKA: Two Western retailers have promised to compensate families of garment workers killed while making their clothes in a Bangladesh factor y building that collapsed last week in the countr y ’s worst industrial accident. The pledge from Britain’s Primark and Canada’s Loblaw came after the owner of the collapsed R ana Plaza was brought before a court in Dhaka on Monday, where lawyers and protesters chanted “hang him, hang him”. At least 385 people were killed in the disaster, the latest incident to raise serious questions about worker safety and low wages in the poor South Asian country that relies on garments for 80 percent of its exports. With almost no hope left of finding further survivors, heavy machinery has been brought in to start clearing the mass of concrete and debris from the site in the commercial suburb of Savar, about 30 km (20 miles) from the capital Dhaka. Eight people have been arrested - four factory bosses, two engineers, building owner Mohammed Sohel R ana and his father, Abdul Khalek. Police are looking for a fifth factory boss, Spanish citizen David Mayor, although it was unclear whether he was in Bangladesh at the time of the accident. There were angry scenes as Rana, a local leader of the ruling Awami League’s youth front, was led into court on Monday wearing a helmet and protective police jacket, witnesses said. “Put the killer on the gallows, he is not worth any mercy or lenient penalty,” one onlooker outside the court shouted. Rana, who was arrested on Sunday by the elite Rapid Action Battalion apparently trying to flee to India, was ordered to be held on remand for 15 days for interrogation. Khalek, who officials said was named in documents as a legal owner of the Rana Plaza building, was arrested in Dhaka on Monday. Those being held face charges of faulty construction and causing unlawful death. Bangladesh does carry out the death penalty for murder and for most serious categories of manslaughter. About 2,500 people have been rescued from the wrecked building, which housed several factories on the upper floors, but hundreds of the mostly female workers who are thought to have been inside remain unaccounted for. The collapse was the third major industrial incident in five months in Bangladesh,

the second-largest exporter of garments in the world behind China. In November, a fire at the Tazreen Fashion factory in a suburb of Dhaka killed 112 people. The industry employs about 3.6 million people, most of them women, some of whom earn as little as $38 a month. Anger over the disaster has sparked days of protests and clashes. Many factories remained closed on Monday due to labour unrest and police used tear-gas to quell demonstrations. Primark, which was supplied by one of the factories operating at Rana Plaza, said on Monday that it was working with a local NGO to help victims of the disaster.

ensuring that victims and their families receive benefits now and in the future,” said spokeswoman Julija Hunter in an email. Primark and Loblaw operate under codes of conduct aimed at ensuring products are made in good working conditions. Spain’s fashion label Mango told its followers on Facebook at the weekend that it had not carried out a “social audit ” of Mayor’s company Phantom-Tak, with which it had an unfilled sample order, but would have done so had it gone on to place a full order. The International Labour Organisation (ILO), an agency of the United Nations, said it was sending a high-level mission to

DHAKA: Bangladeshi rescue workers search for survivors as they are seen through a hole in the roof a building that collapsed last Wednesday in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh. Hundreds of volunteers rushed to the site of a building that collapsed last week to rescue thousands of people trapped in the rubble. — AP “Primark will pay compensation to the victims of this disaster who worked for its supplier,” said the company, owned by FTSE 100-listed Associated British Foods. “This will include the provision of longterm aid for children who have lost parents, financial aid for those injured and payments to the families of the deceased.” Loblaw Companies Ltd, which had some of its Joe Fresh clothing line manufactured at Rana Plaza, said it too was offering compensation. “We are working to ensure that we will deliver support in the best and most meaningful way possible, and with the goal of

Bangladesh in the coming days. “Horror and regret must translate into firm action,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder in a statement. “Action now can prevent further tragedy.” Officials in Bangladesh have said the eight-storey complex had been built on swampy ground without the correct permits, and more than 3,000 workers - most of them young women - entered the building on Wednesday morning despite warnings that it was structurally unsafe. A bank and shops in the building closed after a jolt was felt and cracks were noticed on some pillars yesterday. — Reuters

Politician acquitted in anti-Sikh riots

NEW DELHI: In this Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2005 file photo, India’s ruling Congress party leader Sajjan Kumar talks on a mobile phone at an event in New Delhi. — AP

NEW DELHI: An Indian court acquitted a ruling Congress party leader yesterday of charges he incited mobs to kill Sikhs during the country ’s 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Former parliamentarian Sajjan Kumar had faced a possible death sentence if he had been convicted of inciting a mob in the capital to kill a family of Sikhs in the violence that followed the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards. More than 3,000 Sikhs were killed during the riots. After the ruling was read, an angry person in the courtroom threw a shoe at the judge, according to Indian media, and angry Sikhs gathered outside the courthouse to protest. “This will be a black spot on the judicial system of India,” Manjeet Singh, a local Sikh leader, told CNN-IBN television. Kumar’s lawyer, I.U. Khan, called the case an example of “malicious prosecution.” “It appears to be a case of no evidence,” he told CNN-IBN. The special court affiliated with the Central Bureau

of Investigation convicted five other defendants yesterday in the case. Kumar is facing at least one other case in connection with the riots, Khan said. The lengthy delay in a judgment in the case underscored both the slow pace of justice in India and the difficulty in bringing powerful people to trial. Gandhi was killed after violently suppressing a Sikh insurgency that culminated in an army assault on the Golden Temple, the holiest site in Sikhism, where militant Sikhs had taken refuge. In the days after her death, mobs of Hindus went from house to house across northern India, pulling Sikhs from their homes, hacking many to death and burning others alive. Top Congress par ty leaders have been accused of fomenting the violence.Earlier this month, a Delhi court reopened a case against a former minister from the Congress party who was accused of inciting a mob during the riots.— AP



China dissident’s brother says home attacked with bottles BEIJING: Security personnel in eastern China are carrying out a nightly harassment campaign against the brother of blind rights activist Chen Guangcheng, the two said yesterday, throwing rocks, bottles and dead poultry at his house for 12 nights in a row. The attacks on the village home of Chen Guangfu continued early yesterday, he said. Two cars parked outside his house in Shandong province, shining their headlights through the windows and again security personnel threw rocks and beer bottles at the house and into the yard, he

said. “This is a country of hoodlums, not a country of law,” Chen Guangcheng said of China from New York, where he is studying law at New York University. “If you have principles, if you do what is right, why are you afraid of people?” he said. “Why do these kinds of things in the middle of the night? What kind of person does this? Only thieves and the narrowminded, spreading unchecked. But that’s how the Communist Party is now.” Chen Guangcheng made world headlines last year when he escaped house arrest and spent 20 hours on the run alone

before meeting up with supporters who helped get him to Beijing where he was given refuge at the US Embassy. His escape caused a diplomatic tussle with the United States at a time when then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was visiting Beijing. He was then allowed permission to go to the United States to study. Chen Guangfu, 56, said the attacks started on April 18, the same day his brother had been put on a village Communist Party blacklist for his plans to visit Taiwan and, the party said, Tibet.

“They said he’s planning to go to Taiwan to work on Taiwan independence, and to go to Tibet to support Tibet independence,” Chen said. China claims selfruled Taiwan as its own and insists on eventual unification, by force if necessary. Chen Guangcheng has not said he would try to visit restive Tibet, which China has ruled with an iron hand since 1950. Chen, who campaigned for citizens’ rights including against forced sterilisations in China and who received a human rights award in the United States in January, has accepted an invitation to visit

Taiwan in June. Reached in at his home in Dongshigu village, Chen Guangfu said the security personnel arrived just after 2 am yesterday, around the same time they had been arriving since April 18. “They don’t speak, they just do this,” he said. “They throw things, put up little posters, they uproot my trees, pull out the vegetables my mother has been growing these kinds of things to try to scare us.” Police did not answer calls made from his phone, he said, and had refused to investigate the attacks. —Reuters

US, South Korea wrap up drills as tensions simmer Obama, Park Geun-Hye to hold summit in Washington SEOUL: The United States and South Korea yesterday wrapped up military drills at the centre of soaring tensions with North Korea, as Pyongyang ignored a new overture over a flagship joint industrial zone. The two-month-long “Foal Eagle” air, ground and naval field training exercise-which involved more than 10,000 US troops along with a far higher number of South Korean personnel-had

test in February. Relations between the two Koreas have been further soured by a row over the Kaesong factory park inside the North that was once a rare symbol of inter-Korea cooperation. Most remaining South Korean workers quit the complex early yesterday, but seven supervisors stayed to resolve administrative issues. It was unclear when they would return.

PAJU: US military vehicles cross Unification bridge, which leads to the demilitarized zone separating North Korea from South Korea near the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea, yesterday. The US-South Korean drills, which North Korea calls war preparations, ended Tuesday, the United States Forces Korea said. —AP infuriated Pyongyang. “The drill is over but the South Korean and US militaries will continue to watch out for potential provocations by the North, including a missile launch,” Seoul’s defence ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok told reporters. The North is still maintaining a number of missiles and missile launchers that were recently moved to its east coast in apparent preparation for a launch, Kim added. The Korean peninsula has been in a state of heightened military tension since the North carried out its third nuclear

The North did not respond to a plea by South Korean businessmen to visit Kaesong yesterday for talks aimed at averting its permanent closure, according to Seoul, despite hopes of an easing of tensions after the end of the drills. Pyongyang regularly denounces joint USSouth Korean exercises as a rehearsal for invasion, but Seoul and Washington have insisted the recent manoeuvres were defensive in nature. “With the military drills over, at least we can worry less about any accidental clash developing into a full-scale war,” said Paik Hak-Soon, a

North Korea expert at the Sejong Institute, a think-tank in Seoul. He said a planned summit in Washington on May 7 between the US President Barack Obama and South Korean leader Park Geun-Hye-who took office in February-could be more significant in setting the tone for inter-Korean relations. “If the North finds the outcome of the summit unsatisfying or unacceptable, that means we would have to live in constant fear of another military provocation near the border,” Paik said. Incensed by fresh UN sanctions and the joint South Korea-US military exercises, the North has spent weeks issuing blistering threats of missile strikes and war. The Foal Eagle exercises “are the main factor of pushing the situation on the Korean Peninsula to the brink of a nuclear war”, the newspaper of the North’s communist party, the Rodong Sinmun, said on Monday. “ The US and South Korean warmongers should bear in mind that they will not be able to escape a miserable doom if they ignite a nuclear war against the DPRK in the end,” it added. But after weeks of apocalyptic threats, the North’s state media has in recent days also reported on North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s visits to a football match and a health complex with his wife, in what was seen as a sign of easing tensions. Pyongyang has regularly accused the United States of preparing to launch a nuclear strike on its territory, and reacted furiously to the use of nuclear-capable B-52s and B-2 stealth bombers in the joint South-US drills. “This year’s exercise was far more aggressive and public in nature than previous drills,” Lee Jae-Joung, who served as the South’s unification minister from 2006 to 2008, said in a radio interview. “That prompted the North to take a more aggressive stance in turn, sparking the whole cycle of escalating tensions,” Lee added. South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported on Sunday that North Korea appeared to be preparing for a major live-fire military exercise of its own involving artillery units and air force jets. A North Korean artillery attack on a South Korean island in November 2010 killed four people. Seoul also holds Pyongyang responsible for the sinking of one of its naval vessels with the loss of 46 sailors the same year. —AFP

China says suspects met to study Quran

KUALA LUMPUR: Election campaign posters featuring Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his ruling National Front are on display in a suburb of Kuala Lumpur, yesterday. Malaysia will hold general elections on May 5 in what could be the toughest test of the ruling coalition’s 56-year grip on power in Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy. —AP

Anwar faces last, best shot in Malaysia vote KUALA LUMPUR: Cast into the political wilderness 15 years ago by Malaysia’s regime, Anwar Ibrahim faces his best and possibly last shot at vengeance in climactic elections on Sunday. The former heir-apparent to the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) is today its most feared enemy, having galvanised a diverse opposition that now dreams of unseating one of the world’s longest-serving governments. “I can be crazy in some ways, partly because I have gone through a lot,” Anwar, 65, told AFP in an interview. “But I just want to prove that you can run the country with good governance, eliminate corruption... and make Malaysia a mature democracy.” UMNO has towered over the moderate Muslim country through a coalition government since independence from Britain in 1957, but faces rising pressure over corruption and authoritarian tactics. Much of the credit for the changing landscape goes to the mercurial Anwar, whose charisma, oratorical skills and appeal across multi-ethnic Malaysia’s racial lines breathed life into a oncehapless opposition. His three-party Pakatan Rakyat (People’s Pact)

faces a formidable, dug-in foe, yet many analysts say the result is too close to call. An opposition victory would cap a remarkable journey for Anwar, whose chameleon career has transformed Malaysian politics. He was an Islamic student leader whose natural political skills caught the eye of authoritarian former premier Mahathir Mohamad, who dominated Malaysia for 22 years and fast-tracked Anwar to the top. Morphing into a reformist who was lionised in the West, Anwar looked set to succeed Mahathir. But a 1998 power struggle between them, in which Anwar criticised cronyism and graft, saw him unceremoniously sacked and later jailed on sodomy and corruption charges widely seen as politically motivated. His appearance in court with a black eye triggered global opprobrium and unprecedented anti-government protests in Malaysia, deeply polarising its politics. “The groundswell in Malaysian society today is a direct result. Many people became disillusioned,” said Ooi Kee Beng of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. —AFP

BEIJING: The perpetrators of deadly violence last week in China’s Xinjiang region held secret Quran study sessions and possessed extremist religious literature, authorities said yesterday, accusations likely to be used by Beijing as justification for its strict rules on Islam in the vast northwestern territory. The claims came amid new revelations about the April 23 clash in which 25 assailants, police officers and local government workers were killed near the city of Kashgar. It was one of the deadliest incidents of violence in Xinjiang since nearly 200 people were killed in a July 2009 ethnic riot in the regional capital, Urumqi. Police say they arrested 19 suspects and killed six others, all of them from the region’s native Turkic Uighur Muslim ethnic group. The group was led by Kasmu Memet, who began hosting the Quran study sessions in September, according to an account from the Xinjiang police that was posted to official websites. In March, they began manufacturing swords and conducting test explosions in preparation for carrying out a major attack this summer in densely populated areas of Kashgar, the account said. Although official media accounts of the incident have differed, yesterday’s report said the clash began after government inspectors discovered bomb making materials. The inspectors were then grabbed by the attackers and forced into their hideout. Other attackers then arrived at the hideout and ambushed officers rushing to the scene before setting the building on fire, killing those held inside, the report said. Two assailants were shot to death in the fighting. Members of the group then began rampaging through a market in the area and attacked the local township government headquarters, leading to the shooting death of one attacker, the report said. Three others then attacked a police barracks and records offices and were all killed, it said. The report did not further identify the literature that was found, but said the group also possessed three flags inscribed with slogans promoting Islamic holy war. A sprawling region that borders Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Xinjiang sees recurrent violence pitting members of the Turkic Muslim Uighur (pronounced WEE’-gur) group against the authorities and majority ethnic Han Chinese migrants. Beijing says China faces an organized terrorist threat from radical Muslim groups supported from overseas, but has provided little hard evidence. Many believe violence to be the product of resentments over Han migration, economic marginalization, and restrictions on Uighur culture and religious life. China imposes a raft of religious restrictions on Uighur religious life, including barring children and government employees from mosques, ordering young men to trim their beards and banning the wearing of veils by women. Beijing says it treats minorities fairly and spends billions of dollars on improving living standards in minority areas. — AP

This recent undated photograph obtained courtesy of Elizabeth Arnulfo shows Arnulfo Babiera (R), who applied for a US green card a decade ago, in the hopes of reuniting with his sister, Elizabeth Arnulfo (L), a naturalized citizen. —AFP

US green card limbo: For one Filipino, a long wait WASHINGTON: Arnulfo Babiera applied for a US green card a decade ago, in the hopes of reuniting with his sister, a naturalized citizen. But at the current rate, his wait could extend until 2027. Foreigners seeking to immigrate to the United States under a family reunification program may however see changes on the horizon, with a new reform seeking to resolve the four million cases in limbo, like that of Babiera. “That is my dream, going to the United States of America-to earn more, to support my family here. My income would be greater than it is here,” Babiera told AFP by telephone from his home in Davao, in the southern Philippines. Babiera, a 58-year-old employee of a recruitment agency, earned the right to come to the United States when his sister Elizabeth filed a green card application on his behalf in 2003. But US law places a cap on the number of green cards each year granted to a specific country to seven percent of the total. There are so many requests from China, Mexico, India and the Philippines that the wait seems endless. Applications are handled in the order in which they are received. For Filipino siblings of US citizens, immigration authorities are now processing applications filed in October 1989. Babiera could be waiting another 14 years. For Mexican brothers and sisters, authorities are looking at cases dating back to 1996. For the unmarried children of US citizens, the backlog dates to April 2006, no matter what the nationality. “I’ll be retired before he comes here, I think!” said 56-year-old Elizabeth Babiera, a nurse who lives in the Washington suburbs. “I have nobody here. I see the other families, they have all their brothers and sisters here, and I envy them.” The Babiera family

green card drama is the unfortunate consequence of a law that no longer corresponds to the reality of the flow of immigrants into the United States. Madeleine Sumption, an expert at the Migration Policy Institute, notes that between 4.3 million and 4.7 million people have earned the right to live in the United States on a permanent basis, but have been unable to move here. But a draft immigration reform bill unveiled earlier this month by a bipartisan group of US senators includes a clause that would speed up the processing of the family green card applications. From late 2014, and by 2021, all pending green card petitions should be handled. “The backlog is just not an efficient way to run an immigration system, and yet because the law has not changed for so long, it’s become the defining characteristic of how the policy functions here,” Sumption said. For backers of immigration reform, it is inconceivable to even think about creating a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented migrants in the United States before dealing with those who followed rules and waited at home. “They are at the back of the line. Everyone who applied before them legally goes first,” said Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a co-author of the bill. Whenever his green card comes through, Babiera will be one of the last foreigners to get one via a brother or sister. The reform proposal, which will be debated in Congress in the coming months, calls for the sibling green card clause to be abandoned. Only children and spouses of US citizens and permanent residents will qualify. US lawmakers henceforth want to prioritize immigration on the basis of employment, and not family ties. —AFP

MANILA: A resident carries their television as their area caught fire in suburban Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines yesterday. Fire officials are still investigating the cause which left about 200 families homeless. —AP

NEWS Africans to lose as US axes visa... Continued from Page 1

By comparison, in the same period only 10 percent of Europeans who became permanent residents and 3 percent of Asians did so through the lottery. “It has proven to be a way of helping those who come from the continent of Africa, those who come from a number of other areas where it is very difficult to get a visa,” said Sheila Jackson Lee, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, whose members are all Democrats. But in an effort to preserve the comprehensive reform being negotiated for months by the two parties, the Democrats and President Barack Obama agreed to ditch the lottery. Representative Charles Schumer, who authored the program in 1990, said it was impossible to keep it. Schumer said the system that will replace it in 2017 is merit-based and will also give Africans a chance. On average they are more educated than people from other continents. And English-speaking Africans would get a boost because of that language skill.

But Michael Fix of the Migration Policy Institute said: “It really probably won’t admit enough people to offset the effects of the loss of the diversity visa for some years after that. “It’s a long time away. It won’t be immediately offset by any means.” The diversity visas would vanish starting next year under the reform being negotiated. Only four percent of African immigrants - compared to 21 percent of Asians and 22 percent of Europeans received a green card for employment reasons in 2012. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People says the number of African immigrants will go down even with the merit-based system. “In essence, we’re concerned,” said Hilar y Shelton, the NAACP Washington bureau director. Dame Babou, who hosts a radio show that caters to Senegalese people in New York, said the scrapping of the lottery is disheartening for Africans. “Every year many people thought this was going to be their year,” Babou said. “Again, what is being eliminated is hope.” — AFP

Obama vows new bid to shut... Continued from Page 1 Out of 166 inmates held at the prison at the remote US naval base in southeastern Cuba, 100 are on hunger strike, according to the latest tally from military officers. And of those, 21 detainees are being fed through nasal tubes. “I don’t want these individuals to die. Obviously, the Pentagon is trying to manage the situation as best as they can, but I think all of us should reflect on why exactly are we doing this,” he said. Obama has long argued for prosecuting enemy combatants in civilian courts and transferring those cleared of wrongdoing to their home countries. As a candidate in 2008, Obama pledged to close the jail and announced plans to close Guantanamo immediately after entering office in 2009. But a majority of lawmakers, particularly Republicans, have insisted the jail should stay open, that the detainees are too dangerous to hold on the US mainland and that the suspects should only be tried before military tribunals. Obama said he would try again to per-

suade Congress to find a way to close the Guantanamo prison, which was set up by his predecessor, George W Bush, to hold those captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere after the attacks of Sept 11, 2001. “I’m going to reengage with Congress to try to make the case that this is not something that’s in the best interest of the American people. And it is not sustainable.” Obama warned the situation would only get worse and said it made no sense to hold more than 100 people in a “no man’s land” indefinitely - even after the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq and soon in Afghanistan. It is “contrary to who we are and our interests and it needs to stop,” Obama said, adding: “It is a hard case to make.” Rights groups, which have long branded the prison as a legal “black hole”, welcomed Obama’s remarks. “The writing is on the wall. It’s time for the failed Guantanamo experiment to end and for our nation to return to the values that have kept us strong,” Daphne Eviatar of Human Rights First said in a statement. — AFP

Willem-Alexander is sworn... Continued from Page 1 “many beautiful years during which she was our queen.” “I’m treading in your footsteps. I have a clear vision of my office. But no one knows what the future brings,” he said. “Wherever that path leads and however far it goes, I will carry your wisdom and warmth with me,” he said. The king swore “to preserve the independence and territory of the kingdom to the best of my ability ... so help me God.” His ermine-lined cloak has been criticised by animal rights activists in the Netherlands, but WillemAlexander noted that it is old and so no blood had recently been shed for it. MPs and senators then swore an oath to the king, although 16 MPs have refused to do so saying they have already pledged allegiance to the constitution. A who’s who of royals-in-waiting, including Britain’s Prince Charles, Spain’s Prince Felipe and Japan’s Prince Naruhito and his wife, Crown Princess Masako, attended the ceremony. Princess Masako is on her first trip abroad in nearly seven years, while Prince Charles also attended Beatrix’s enthronement in 1980. Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan and International Olympic Committee head Jacques Rogge also attended. Police escorted two republicans from in front of the royal palace shortly before the abdication after they brandished a large sign reading: “I’m not a subject”. They were escorted to an authorised protest area but police later apologised for detaining the anti-monarchists. Willem-Alexander is the first Dutch king since 1890 and the first of a new wave of relatively youthful European monarchs. “Beatrix has been queen for 33 years, our queen,” Ruud, 49, told AFP on the Dam after the abdication, a tear in his eye. “She was a stabilising factor and a symbol of our country. It’s sad to see her go after all these years, a page in our collective history is turning.” Amsterdam’s population was set to dou-

ble with around a million visitors flooding the city’s streets and canals to mark the abdication and enthronement. Over 10,000 police have been deployed in Amsterdam, with authorities saying they had arrested 70 people since Monday. The monarchy is popular in the Netherlands, but some question the cost of the royal household and republicans are seeking to get the king’s Ä825,000 million tax-free salary reduced. While Beatrix was known for her formal court, Willem-Alexander has already said that he will not be a “protocol fetishist”. Beatrix’s enthronement in 1980 was marred by violent protests and running street battles over a housing crisis that left the city looking like a war zone. Anti-royalists this time have been allotted six locations in Amsterdam to stage protests. But only around 100 republicans turned up for a protest at just one of the locations, an AFP correspondent reported. Preparations for the day had been overshadowed by a rancorous debate about the event’s official song, known as the Koningslied, which many considered ill-fitting, with its mix of traditional and rap music. The nation was to sing the Koningslied as one yesterday evening, just before the royal family headed off on a water pageant behind Amsterdam’s central train station. Maxima is largely responsible for having made her husband popular after an allegedly boozy youth which earned him the nickname “Prince Pils”. Ever smiling, she has mastered the Dutch language and even taken a charit y swim in Amsterdam’s canals, endearing herself further in a country that expects their royals to be at once normal and regal. Speaking ahead of the enthronement, Willem-Alexander said that “people can address me as they wish because then they can feel comfortable”. He stressed he wanted to “be a king that can bring society together, representative and encouraging in the 21st century”. — AFP

Deporting expats for traffic... Continued from Page 1 be considered as a violation of the law,” Turaiji said. MP Khaled Hussein AlShatti also urged the government not to mistreat expats and clearly explain how it plans to carry out its strategy to annually deport 100,000 expats. “We are totally with adjusting the imbalance in our population, deporting marginal unnecessary labor and fighting visa traffickers. I strongly support law enforcement on whoever violates the state’s laws, yet at the same time am against arbitrarily tightening the screws on expats,” he said, expressing his full rejection of “insulting” expats by deporting them. “Laws must be applied in compliance with international human rights and values,” he emphasized. Shatti agreed on measures to reduce the number of marginal laborers who have no work or jobs in Kuwait, provided this is done legally and in a civilized man-

ner. “Expats have outstanding roles in various fields in Kuwait,” he said, expressing his wish that annually deporting 100,000 expats will not be done arbitrarily and become a black spot in Kuwait’s human rights record. Shatti expressed surprise over deporting expats for committing traffic violations and stressed that this step might open the way wide for wasta, favoritism and abuse of powers in violation of basic human rights. In another development, the National Assembly yesterday passed a law calling to establish a Public Food Authority that will control the food sector, especially combating imports of expired foodstuff. The Assembly also approved another law to amend the commercial licences legislation issued more than 40 years ago and Commerce and Industry Minister Anas AlSaleh said the law will be implemented in less than three months to end red tape in issuing commercial licences.


Palestinian killed in Gaza by targeted Israeli strike In West Bank, Palestinian stabs settler to death GAZA/JERUSALEM: Israel yesterday launched its first targeted attack on a militant in Gaza since a war in November, killing a Palestinian jihadist in an air strike that put further strain on a five-month-old ceasefire. There was also bloodshed in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where for the first time since 2011, a Palestinian killed a Jewish settler. Israeli soldiers shot and wounded the attacker after he stabbed the man at a busy intersection. Both incidents held the potential of wider confrontation - along the Gaza frontier, where factions linked to al Qaeda have been carrying out intermittent rocket attacks, and in the West Bank, where clashes between stone-throwing Palestinians and the Israeli military intensified in recent months. Israel said the Palestinian killed in the air strike, Haitham Al-Meshal, 29, was a jihadi who was an expert in making rockets. It accused him of involvement in a rocket attack from Egypt’s Sinai peninsula against Israel’s Red Sea resort of Eilat on April 17, which had caused no injuries or damage. “I had said we would not sit by quietly and let this pass ... we will not accept a drizzle of fire from Gaza or from Sinai,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after the strike. In Gaza, Meshal’s body was wrapped in a black flag of the Salafi factions after the air strike, near a Hamas training camp. “The Sword of Islam” Salafi group, threatened to avenge his death, saying “the response will come very soon”. An Islamist website that carries statements from Al-Qaeda-related groups, described Meshal as a leader of Magles Shoura AlMujahideen, which claimed responsibility for the Eilat hit. Hamas appeared to take softer tone. A spokesman for the movement, Fawzi Barhoum, said the Israeli attack was “unjustified

URIF: Palestinians carry a wounded man during clashes with Israeli settlers in this West Bank village near Nablus yesterday after an Israeli settler was stabbed to death. — AFP and a dangerous escalation”, but he urged tory after the incident. “They are throwing Egypt to press Israel “to abide by calm and stop stones and attempted to set a house on fire. the aggression”. They also hurled rocks at a school bus and In the nearby West Bank, the killing of Eviatar smashed its windows. The situation is going Borovsky, 31, stoked anger among settlers, who from bad to worse. A mosque was also complained the military had failed to respond attacked,” Daghlas said. strongly to mounting stone-throwing incidents. Nine Palestinians have been killed by Israeli Borovsky’s attacker, who a military spokesman forces in the West Bank since the beginning of said grabbed his weapon after stabbing him, the year, mainly in clashes that have risen was identified as Salam Assad Az-Zaghal of the sharply in recent months, raising fears that a mainstream Fatah movement. Palestinian offi- third popular uprising, or Intifada, might be in cials said he was released two months ago from the offing. The Palestinians want to establish a an Israeli prison after serving a 3-1/2-year term. state in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official in the Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in a 1967 West Bank city of Nablus, said settlers launched war. Peace talks between the sides broke down “large-scale attacks” in four villages in the terri- in 2010. — Reuters





Founder and Publisher

YOUSUF S. AL-ALYAN Editor-in-Chief

ABD AL-RAHMAN AL-ALYAN EDITORIAL : 24833199-24833358-24833432 ADVERTISING : 24835616/7 FAX : 24835620/1 CIRCULATION : 24833199 Extn. 163 ACCOUNTS : 24835619 COMMERCIAL : 24835618 P.O.Box 1301 Safat,13014 Kuwait. E MAIL Website:


Maze behind EU ‘treaty change’ By Luke Baker f there are two words that tense the jaws of European policymakers and prompt a concerned sucking of teeth, they are treaty change. Like a nervous driver being told midroute that he needs a different map if he’s going to get where he’s going, no one is sure whether the outcome will be road rage, a car crash or a smoother, if longer, journey. So when German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble spoke his mind during a meeting in Dublin on April 13 and said a change to the EU’s treaty was necessary if Europe was to build a fully-fledged banking union, there was more than a little angst in the corridors of Brussels. In Schaeuble’s view, banking union - originally a threestep plan to create a single eurozone banking supervisor, a unified system for resolving problem banks and a single deposit-guarantee scheme - only makes sense if there are strict rules for restructuring and winding up bad lenders. Since those are not explicitly laid out in existing law, some changes would have to be made to the fundamental underpinnings of the union, he argued. “If we want European institutions for that,” said the lawyer, who measures his words carefully, “we will need a treaty change.” As with all pronouncements from Schaeuble over the past three years of crisis, the first question on policymakers’ lips was whether he was speaking for himself, as he often does, or if his views were shared by Chancellor Angela Merkel and represented a new red line. In this case, the answer remains unclear. Merkel has not expressed a definitive position on the issue, at least not in public, and senior officials in Brussels who have regular contact with Berlin say they are still unsure how to read the signals emanating from the chancellery. But in a sign that she has her doubts about the direction policy is moving in, especially ahead of elections in September when she will seek a third term, last week Merkel ruled out the deposit-guarantee part of the banking plan “for now”. That in itself was not a huge surprise. The idea of a fund where euro zone countries effectively cross-guarantee one another’s deposits was always going to make Germany and other northern European countries queasy, as it could mean them bailing out a string of shaky, highly indebted banking systems to the south. But it was the first time Merkel had been so explicit and again raised doubts about her overall commitment to banking union, which many see as the most important initiative Europe has undertaken to resolve the crisis. So what does Germany want? Does it really want treaty change, or is Schaeuble just bringing it up to stall on banking union? And if Germany were to get treaty change, would it suddenly like banking union more? When quizzed, hesitant policymakers in Brussels - after clenching their jaws and sucking their teeth - shrug apologetically. They wish they knew what Germany really wanted. But they do know two things: German elections are coming up and Germany’s constitutional court will probably have to be consulted, especially on the single resolution scheme. “Germany has always had cold feet about banking union,” says one EU official, convinced that Berlin is determined to stall until after the Sept. 22 vote, if not long beyond. Yet the reason why the words “treaty change” cause so much consternation is not so much down to the nitty-gritty of banking union. It’s about the interplay of member states and the very real risk that a minor opening of the treaty leads to a full-scale renegotiation of all 27 nations’ ties to the union - the dreaded opening of Pandora’s Box. The European Commission has said it is “100 percent sure” that it has the legal grounds to implement banking union without changing the treaty. But if Germany is convinced otherwise and other member states take its line, it may be impossible to move ahead without biting the bullet and tinkering with the fundamental law, a trying and cumbersome process that, depending on how it is done, can take up to 18 months or more. That immediately raises questions of timing. If Germany is in election mode until September, no serious discussions on either banking union or treaty change can take place until the end of the year, at the earliest. But the next round of European Parliament elections will be held in May 2014 and the European Commission and European Council will be reappointed only a few months later, making it all but impossible to have progress on any substantive issue until the new leadership is in place. That moves the debate into early 2015, which puts it in close proximity to Britain’s next election, expected in the spring of that year. Prime Minister David Cameron has already promised voters a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, as long as he is reelected and once he has renegotiated the UK’s relationship with the rest of the union - a promise already causing consternation from Berlin to Budapest.—Reuters


All articles appearing on these pages are the personal opinion of the writers. Kuwait Times takes no responsibility for views expressed therein. Kuwait Times invites readers to voice their opinions. Please send submissions via email to: or via snail mail to PO Box 1301 Safat, Kuwait. The editor reserves the right to edit any submission as necessary.

Italy’s politics turned upside down By Barry Moody ive months ago, Silvio Berlusconi was in steep decline and his party was in shambles. His centre-left enemies looked triumphant and sat on a 15-point opinion poll lead. Today that situation has turned 180 degrees. The centre-left is devastated by divisions and the 76-year-old media tycoon has an opinion poll lead ranging from five to eight points. The extraordinary upset is the result of powerful aftershocks from an electoral earthquake in February when the populist 5-Star Movement swept up a huge protest vote against Italy ’s politicians and grabbed an unprecedented 25 percent to become the third force in parliament. Now that the dust is starting to settle with the inauguration of a new broadbased coalition government led by centre-left politician Enrico Letta, it is possible to see more clearly the winners and losers from one of the most turbulent periods in recent Italian political history. One of the winners is Berlusconi. He has gone from a pale, indecisive figure last autumn to a position of strong influence over Letta’s government, helped greatly by the implosion of the centre-left and his own astonishing resurgence since he was forced from power in November 2011 as Italy faced a major financial meltdown. The four-times former premier’s unrivalled political and communication skills, despite the reputational damage from a string of sex and corruption scandals, are in stark contrast to the bungles of hapless centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani. Berlusconi had consistently said since the election that a grand coalition was the only way out of a vote that ended with parliament divided three ways and no group able to govern alone. He was also one of those pushing hardest


for the re-election of President Giorgio Napolitano against the 87-year-old head of state’s own wishes, as the only way to end a two-month impasse since the election. Berlusconi’s loyal protege Angelino Alfano is Letta’s deputy and the billionaire businessman has effective power of life and death over the government, giving him strong leverage to push through the centre-right’s policies led by abolition of a hated housing tax. In his inaugural speech on Monday, Letta quickly nodded to this demand by blocking the next instalment of the tax in June although he did not commit to abolishing it. “Berlusconi can kill the government from one day to the next,” respected commentator Sergio Romano told Reuters. This power is not unqualified, however. Berlusconi has resisted heavy pressure from his own party hardliners to go straight to elections, because doing so with the current flawed electoral law could end up with him in the same situation as the centre-left, which won a whisker thin majority in February but was then left unable to rule. In addition, Berlusconi seems intent on projecting an image of statesmanlike restraint and responsibility. The electorate is bitterly angry at the economic pain of a deep recession and demands immediate action to relaunch the economy rather than a return to uncertainty and electioneering. Romano says Berlusconi has also not given up his ambition to be the next Italian president, with Napolitano very unlikely to continue for a full 7-year term. Undoubtedly the biggest loser is the colourless and uninspiring Democratic Par ty (PD) leader Bersani, who has resigned after seeing party rebels sabotage his two choices for president. Bersani had already thrown away a com-

manding lead before the election and then obstinately pursued a policy of forging an alliance with Grillo, despite repeated rebuffs. Bersani’s problem is at the core of why the centre-left is falling apart. Its former communist left wing would not swallow the idea of allying with its traditional enemy Berlusconi and although it is now apparently reconciled to the Letta government, the party could still collapse at any time. The biggest winner of all is President Napolitano, who has succeeded in fending off further uncertainty in a snap new election and installing the coalition government he wanted as a bulwark against Grillo’s anti-establishment par ty. “Napolitano has been decisive. If it had not been for him we would now be in a major constitutional crisis,” Professor Gianfranco Pasquino of Johns Hopkins University told Reuters. The former communist, dubbed “King George”, has reinforced his status as Italy’s most popular politician by far. The whole formation of the Letta government is down to Napolitano’s protection and the assurances he wrung from the parties in exchange for his agreement to stay on as president. Castigating politicians for their failures in his own inaugural speech a week ago, Napolitano clearly threatened to resign if they did not act responsibly and form a government. Beppe Grillo’s storming success in February’s election may have been diluted since, although he remains a danger to the traditional politicians. A series of missteps during the latest stage of the crisis, including some illjudged inflammatory statements, may have lost him support and the formation of a credible government by establishment parties looks like a setback for him. “Grillo is now sliding towards the losing side because he has not really used the parliamentary power he has in a very

skilful way ... he is losing popularity. It is not a good moment for him,” Pasquino said. Success by Letta could further undermine Grillo. Letta, 46, has always operated very much out of the limelight but he is a respected, pro-European politician from the Democratic Party’s right wing and his government does appear to meet many of the electorate’s demands for change. He is the third youngest Italian prime minister, and his cabinet line-up has an average age of 53 in contrast to the much older composition of most governments. It also has a record number of 7 women ministers out of 21. It contains many lesser known faces, meeting voters’ demands for the end of dominance by a corrupt political “caste”. If Letta succeeds in maintaining unity in the uncomfortable left-right coalition, pushes through pro-growth policies, repeals the electoral law and makes other vital constitutional changes, he could pick up powerful momentum that would be bad news for Grillo. “I am convinced Grillo’s votes are borrowed votes, protest votes, votes denied to somebody else. If the government does well, if the situation improves, if they change the trend of unemployment and Letta gains popularity, Grillo’s votes will melt away,” Romano said. Letta’s momentum could also be bad news for Florence mayor Matteo Renzi, 38, who had seemed set to be the centre-left’s candidate in new elections but faces a far more difficult potential target in Letta than Bersani, as long as the new prime minister survives. While Renzi remains a potential game changer as a dynamic and articulate politician, he may now have to wait longer before he can move to centre-stage although he is still in pole position to take over the PD leadership from Bersani at a vote in the autumn. — Reuters

Assad fall would be best option for Israel By John Davison rebel victory in Syria’s civil war would be the most positive outcome for Israel despite fears of instability and a stronger jihadist presence on the Golan should the regime collapse, analysts say. The Syrian conflict has increasingly affected the Jewish state, as alarm mounts over the deployment of President Bashar Al-Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal and the potential for it to fall into the hands of non-state militant groups. The conflict has split the Israeli defence community into two camps - those who oppose the fall of Assad, and those who see his ouster as less dangerous for Israel. But experts believe a rebel victory would have the best geostrategic implications for Israel. “The defence advantages of Assad going outweigh the potential security risks,” said Jonathan Spyer, a senior researcher at the Global Research in International Affairs Centre in Herzliya, near Tel Aviv. The split in the intelligence community “to some degree reflects the split that existed prior to the uprising in Syria,” Spyer said. “The Assad regime is a dangerous force because of its alliance with Iran” but it is “not fanatical,” and has never supported hardline Islamist groups such as those leading the rebel fighting. These groups pose the lesser risk, he maintains. “The presence of fledgling armed groups on the border... is a concern. But Assad going would be a blow to Hezbollah, which is the most


powerful paramilitary force” opposing Israel in the region, Spyer said. Earlier this month, Israel implicitly admitted carrying out a January air strike on a weapons convoy in Syria thought to be en route to Lebanon’s Hezbollah - a long-time Damascus ally. Mike Herzog, former head of strategic planning in the Israeli army and a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, agreed. “Israel would be better off without the Assad regime,” he said, describing the Syrian president as “a lynchpin” connecting Iran and Hezbollah. “If the regime collapses this will be a very serious blow to Iran, Hezbollah and the whole axis. “This doesn’t come without risks - the risk of Islamists and

jihadists becoming a dominant force in a future Syria,” Herzog cautioned. But Assad clinging onto power would “outweigh the risk of Islamist elements coming to the fore. Of course that’s not something Israelis would like to see... (but they) have to choose between two evils,” he said. A victorious jihadist-dominated rebel force would not be able to form as cohesive and large-scale a threat to Israel as Assad, Iran and Hezbollah working together, Herzog said. “There are other elements in Syria. It’s a very complex mixture of ethnic and sectarian groups. It’s more likely to go in the direction of... areas controlled by different elements. We’re more likely to see this scenario than a central government with control over the whole of Syria,” he said. The perceived jihadist threat, whilst a concern, was far less

worrying than the “possibility of chemical or non-chemical weapons falling into wrong hands. This is a much more complicated challenge to deal with,” said Herzog. Eli Karmon, a senior fellow at the Institute for Policy and Strategy in Herzliya, also saw the fallout of Assad’s ouster as a more manageable threat. “The most important thing is to see the fall of the regime. This will provoke ... the weakening of Iran’s strategic position in the Middle East... and Hezbollah will be much more isolated and under pressure,” he said. Karmon acknowledged the opposing view in certain defence and strategic circles. “There are some who think the best thing would be to have the regime and opposition fighting as long as possible in order to weaken (both of ) them,” he told AFP. In any case, Israel cannot decisively influence the outcome of the Syrian conflict, the analysts noted, saying the best course of action for the Jewish state was to avoid involvement unless its security is directly threatened. Israel has already responded with fire to mortar and small arms fire spilling over the ceasefire line in the occupied Golan Heights this year. What is assumed in government is that “40 years of quiet along the northern border will come to an end,” Herzog said. At that stage, “both sides in the Israeli (intelligence) discussion would have to agree on the practical measures needed to be taken, which would boil down to strengthening border security,” said Spyer. — AFP


S P ORT S Fernando gets eight-year ban

FIFA’s Anti-Racism panel

Habana to join Toulon

BERNE: FIFA executive committee member Vernon Manilal Fernando of Sri Lanka has been banned for eight years for unethical behavior, soccer’s governing body said yesterday. Fernando was suspended following a two-day hearing of the FIFA ethics committee adjudicatory chamber, chaired by Hans-Joachim Eckert. “He was found guilty of several breaches of the FIFA code of ethics,” FIFA said in a statement. Fernando joined the executive committee in 2011 at the same Congress in which president Sepp Blatter was re-elected for a fourth mandate and pledged to clean up FIFA. Fernando was provisionally banned in March while Michael Garcia, head of the ethics committee’s investigative chamber, examined an alleged misuse of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) funds, a source close to FIFA said at the time. Fernando was a close ally of former FIFA executive committee member and AFC president Mohamed Bin Hammam. Bin Hammam was banned from football for life by FIFA following his involvement in the 2011 bribery scandal when he was standing against Blatter for president. Bin Hammam pulled out of the election over a cash-for-votes scandal at a meeting in Port of Spain. Fernando accompanied Bin Hammam on his ill-fated trip to Trinidad which precipitated the Qatari’s downfall. — Reuters

ZURICH: Internationals Kevin-Prince Boateng of Ghana and Jozy Altidore of the United States, who have both been racially abused while playing, were named as part of FIFA’s new anti-racism Task Force yesterday. The group, launched by FIFA president Sepp Blatter last month is being chaired by Jeffrey Webb, the president of CONCACAF, the confederation responsible for soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean. English Premier League referee Howard Webb, Theo Van Seggelen, the head of the global players union FIFPro, Marcel Mathier, chairman of FIFA’s disciplinary committee and Claudio Sulser, former chairman of FIFA’s ethics committee, are also on the 12-man panel. David Bernstein, the outgoing chairman of the English FA is included as is Piara Powar, the head of European antiracism body FARE. Blatter, announcing the Task Force when he visited Edinburgh last month, said there had to be stronger sanctions in force to tackle racism. “We have seen that fines achieve little, but point deductions and exclusion from competitions could be more effective measures,” he said. UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino said earlier this month it was planning to introduce a minimum 10-game ban for anyone found guilty of racism and that clubs could be forced to close part or all of their stadiums if fans racially abused players. — Reuters

PARIS: Heineken Cup finalists Toulon’s foreign shopping spree continued yesterday when they signed South Africa winger Bryan Habana for the next two seasons. “After Australian wing Drew Mitchell, South African Bryan Habana will garnish the ranks of the ‘Red and Black’ for the next two seasons,” Toulon said in a statement on their website ( Western Province/Stormers wing Habana, 29, won the 2007 World Cup with the Springboks and was voted the International Rugby Board (IRB) player of that year. Last week, Toulon announced that Australia wing Mitchell would join for the next two seasons from Waratahs. Mitchell, who has 60 caps with the Wallabies, will join during the European autumn, after the Four Nations. Both will reinforce the Toulon wings as Rudolffe Nicholas Wulf, Benjamin Lapeyre and David Smith all have limited international experience. Habana has scored 47 tries from 82 caps with South Africa. Toulon, who are backed by president Mourad Boudjellal’s personal money, have been relying on foreign players to mount their Top 14 and European Cup challenge. Only four French players featured in the Toulon team who beat Saracens 24-12 in the Heineken Cup semi-finals on Saturday.—Reuters

Athletics down Angels

ATLANTA: Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons (19) throws to first base from the infield dirt to force out Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond during the ninth inning. — AP

Braves win over Nationals ATLANTA: Andrelton Simmons hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the seventh inning, then made an eye-popping play to start the ninth as the Atlanta Braves beat the Washington Nationals 3-2 on Monday night and ended their four-game losing streak. Atlanta beat the Nationals for the eighth straight time dating to last season. The Braves swept three games at Washington earlier this month. Washington’s Stephen Strasburg ended his career-worst streak of losses in four straight starts. He allowed two runs in six innings. Nationals manager Davey Johnson said the pitcher has a little tightness in his right forearm and was seen by a doctor after his start. Johnson said the hard-throwing righty will be given medication. Strasburg, who is 1-4 with a 3.13 ERA, said he’ll be able to make his next scheduled start. Jordan Walden (1-0) struck out three in 1 23 hitless innings. Craig Kimbrel closed for his ninth save. Tyler Clippard (1-1) took the loss. REDS 2, CARDINALS 1 In St Louis, Mat Latos outpitched Adam Wainwright, extending his scoreless innings streak to 17, and Cincinnati got an RBI apiece from Joey Votto and Xavier Paul in a victory over St. Louis. Aroldis Chapman worked a perfect ninth for his sixth save, finishing off the third road victory in 11 games for the Reds and handing St. Louis its third straight loss. Yadier Molina had three of the Cardinals’ seven hits, including an RBI double off Jonathan Broxton that produced their first run in 17 innings. St. Louis stranded 10 runners. Wainwright (4-2) trailed just six pitches in. He walked two, one intentionally, after issuing just one free pass in 37 1-3 innings over his first five starts. Latos (2-0) worked around five hits and three walks in his sixth quality start in as many outings this season. The Reds have scored just four runs in his last three appearances. BREWERS 10, PIRATES 4 In Milwaukee, Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo hit one of five home runs for Milwaukee, which went back-to-back twice against Pittsburgh. Gallardo (3-1) also tossed three-hit ball over seven innings, retiring his final 13 batters while improving to 10-2 against Pittsburgh. He and Norichika Aoki hit consecutive homers in the fourth before Carlos Gomez and Yuniesky Betancourt repeated the feat in the fifth. Jean Segura also connected for the Brewers, who added three triples and matched a season high for runs. They hit backto-back homers twice in a game for the first time since 2005. Milwaukee is 45-7 against the Pirates at Miller Park since 2007, the best record by any team against a division opponent during that stretch. Pirates starter Wandy Rodriquez (2-1) walked four in a five-run first. Rodriguez, who entered with a 1.66 ERA, had walked three batters in his first four starts this season. CUBS 5, PADRES 3 In Chicago, Darwin Barney and Cody Ransom each drove in two runs as Chicago defeated San Diego. Barney hit a pair of RBI doubles and Ransom went 2 for 4 with a home run against the team that let him go this month. Both players also made nice defensive plays in the seventh inning with runners in scoring position to preserve the lead.

Scott Hairston also homered for the Cubs. Kevin Gregg got the final out of the eighth with runners on second and third and worked a perfect ninth for his fourth save. After a 5-13 start to the season, the Cubs have won five of seven. Michael Bowden (1-1) got the win in relief of Jeff Samardzija, who struck out eight in five innings. Clayton Richard (0-3) gave up five runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings. GIANTS 6, DIAMONDBACKS 4 In Phoenix, Brandon Belt hit a two-run single in the eighth inning, helping San Francisco beat Arizona to end a five-game losing streak. Belt also had a solo homer in the second against Ian Kennedy. The first baseman broke a 4-all tie in the eighth after Brad Ziegler (1-1) gave up a leadoff double to Nick Noonan and walked two. Marco Scutaro had three hits and scored two runs for the World Series champions. Jean Machi (1-0) pitched a perfect seventh for his first major league win and Sergio Romo worked the ninth for his ninth save. The Diamondbacks scored all four of their runs in the fourth inning on homers off Matt Cain. Jason Kubel had a two-run shot and Eric Chavez and Martin Prado each hit a solo drive. MARLINS 4, METS 3 In Miami, Nick Green hit a game-winning sacrifice fly and Miami rallied for two runs in the 15th inning to hand New York its fifth consecutive loss. Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton limped out of the game in the 10th inning with a strained right hamstring and was placed on the 15-day disabled list after the game. Miami trailed 3-2 when Greg Dobbs singled with one out in the 15th against Shaun Marcum (0-2), a starter working out of the bullpen after the Mets ran out of relievers. Justin Ruggiano walked and Rob Brantly hit an RBI single to right. Green followed with a fly ball to left field, and Ruggiano scored easily. Green also tied the game with a sac fly in the ninth against Mets closer Bobby Parnell, preventing Matt Harvey from improving to 5-0. The Mets went 1 for 18 with runners in scoring position. The lone hit was Ruben Tejada’s infield single to score the tiebreaking run with two outs in the 15th. New York’s other runs were driven in by John Buck, who tied a team record with his ninth home run in April. The Marlins grounded into five double plays. Jon Rauch (1-2) gave up one run in three innings. The game lasted 5 hours, 31 minutes. By the end, the crowd of 15,605 had dwindled into the hundreds. ROCKIES 12, DODGERS 2 In Los Angeles, Nolan Arenado hit his first major league home run, and Wilin Rosario and Dexter Fowler also homered for the Rockies. Arenado, one of the Rockies’ top prospects playing in his second big league game, had his first three hits. His two-run homer in the fourth made it 12-0. Tyler Chatwood (1-0) shut out the Dodgers over six innings, striking out five with no walks. He also had three hits and two RBIs. Dodgers starter Ted Lilly (0-1) was finished after three innings, allowing five runs (four earned) and eight hits. Josh Wall fared even worse, giving up seven runs and eight hits in two innings. The Dodgers used five relievers, including utility infielder Skip Schumaker, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning. Jerry Hairston Jr. hit a two-run homer for the Dodgers. — AP

OAKLAND: Brandon Moss hit his second home run of the night with two outs in the bottom of the 19th inning to give the Oakland Athletics a 10-8 victory over the Los Angeles Angels early Tuesday in the longest major league game of the season. The teams were on the field for 6 hours, 32 minutes in a marathon game that ended at 1:41 a.m. on the West Coast. By time, it was the longest game ever played in Oakland and the longest in Angels history. Oakland slugger Yoenis Cespedes singled off the leftcenter wall against closer Ernesto Frieri to drive in the tying run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Los Angeles went ahead 8-7 in the 15th on Brett Anderson’s bases-loaded walk to J.B. Shuck, but the A’s tied it in the bottom half on Adam Rosales’ two-out single off Jerome Williams after a costly error by first baseman Albert Pujols. Pujols homered twice earlier in the game and finished with four hits and three RBIs. Mark Trumbo also went deep for the Angels and added a two-run double. The A’s finally pulled it out on Moss’ tworun shot off Barry Enright (0-1), making his first big league appearance this season. Jerry Blevins (2-0) worked 1 2-3 scoreless innings for the victory. It was the longest game in the majors since the Pittsburgh Pirates won 6-3 in 19 innings at St. Louis on Aug. 19 last year, according to STATS. INDIANS 9, ROYALS 0 In Kansas City, Ubaldo Jimenez pitched into the eighth inning, Ryan Raburn hit two home runs and Cleveland routed Kansas City to split their four-game series. Raburn hit a three-run shot in the fifth inning and a solo homer in the eighth. He finished with four hits and Jason Kipnis also went deep to pace a suddenly potent Indians offense. Not that all the offense was needed. Jimenez (1-2) allowed only two walks and an infield single by Billy Butler over his first seven innings. Otherwise, he kept the Royals off balance in a dazzling start that brought back memories of the pitcher who once threw a no-hitter for the Colorado Rockies. Meanwhile, Wade Davis (2-2) made a second straight miserable start for the Royals. The right-hander allowed eight runs, 12 hits and three walks in 4 2-3 innings. ASTROS 9, YANKEES 1 In New York, Carlos Corporan homered among his four hits and drove in four runs to lead Houston. In their first game at Yankee Stadium as an AL team, the Astros peppered Andy Pettitte (3-2) for 10 hits and seven runs, both season highs for the left-hander.

OAKLAND: Athleticsí Brandon Moss hits a game winning two-run home run against the Los Angeles Angels during the nineteenth inning of a baseball game. — AP

Brandon Barnes and Corporan had two-run doubles and Barnes added an RBI single and a double. Barnes and Corporan each set career highs for hits and RBIs. Houston bounced back from a four-game sweep in Boston with an enthusiastic win over the Yankees, who had just taken four straight from Toronto. The Astros had 17 hits in improving the AL’s worst record to 8-18. Lucas Harrell (3-2) pitched 6 1-3 innings to get the victory. Vernon Wells had an RBI single in the sixth for New York. TIGERS 4, TWINS 3 In Detroit, Prince Fielder’s three-run homer in the sixth inning put Detroit ahead, and the Tigers held on for their fourth straight win. Detroit trailed 3-1 when Andy Dirks reached on a bunt single and Miguel Cabrera walked. Fielder hit the first pitch to left-center for an opposite-field homer. That part of the fence is about 405 feet from home plate. Max Scherzer (3-0) allowed three runs and six hits in 7 1-3 innings. He struck out 10 without a walk. Drew Smyly finished the eighth and got the first two outs of the ninth before Joaquin Benoit earned his second save. Mike

Pelfrey (2-3) allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings. Josh Willingham went deep for Minnesota. MARINERS 6, ORIOLES 2 In Seattle, Michael Saunders homered in his first at-bat since coming off the disabled list and Joe Saunders pitched his eighth career complete game to lead Seattle over Baltimore in front of the smallest crowd in Safeco Field history. Kyle Seager had a two-run triple and Jason Bay added three hits as the Mariners won their third straight game for their longest winning streak of the season. Their latest victory came in front of 9,818 fans at the 14-year-old ballpark. Matt Wieters hit a two-run homer for Baltimore. Zach Britton (0-1) gave up six runs and 10 hits over six innings in his first start of the season after being called up from Triple-A Norfolk. Joe Saunders (2-3) yielded his first earned run at Safeco Field this season in his third home start, but went the distance for the first time since April 27, 2012. He allowed four hits, walked one and struck out two while improving to 8-0 at the Mariners’ home.—AP

Pishchalnikova given 10-year doping ban MOSCOW: Olympic discus silver medallist Darya Pishchalnikova has been given a 10-year doping ban after failing a drugs test for the second time, the Russian athletics federation (VFLA) said yesterday. A sample taken from Pishchalnikova in May last year was re-tested and proved positive for the anabolic steroid oxandrolone, the VFLA said on its website ( The VFLA annulled all of Pishchalnikova’s results from May 20, 2012, meaning she is set to lose her London Olympic medal. The Russian served a doping ban of two years nine months from July 2008 to April 2011. The 27-year-old was among seven leading female Russian athletes found guilty of manipulating drug samples before the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She won silver at the 2007 world championships in Osaka, Japan, but was stripped of the medal after the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) annulled all her results from May that year. In a separate case, European 800 metres champion Yelena Arzhakova was banned for two years, starting from Jan. 29, 2013, for showing an “abnormal haemoglobin profile in her biological passport”, the VFLA said. Arzhakova, 23, who finished sixth in the 800-metre Olympic final in London won by team mate Mariya Savinova, will have all her results from July 12, 2011 nullified, meaning she will be stripped of her European title. It was the latest in a series of doping offences by leading Russian athletes. VFLA chief Valentin Balakhnichyov said his country, which will host the world athletics champi-

Darya Pishchalnikova

onships in Moscow in August, had been wrongly singled out for being too soft on drugs cheats. In an interview with Reuters last week, he sounded a warning to potential doping offenders, saying he expected more cases to be revealed in the future. “We do more drugs

tests than any other country in the world. Some nations only do 500 tests a year. We did 3,500 tests last year alone and this year we plan to do over 4,000 tests in and out of competition, so don’t be surprised if you hear about a few more suspensions coming our way,” he said.— Reuters



Collins coming out will encourage more to follow suit NEW YORK: Times are changing for gays in American sports and National Basketball Association (NBA) player Jason Collins’ decision to come out will encourage others in the top leagues to be open about their sexuality. Two years ago, NBA great Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 for using an anti-gay slur against a referee and on Monday the five-time NBA champion applauded Collins for coming out as the first gay man in a major North American professional sports league. Bryant’s reaction illustrates, at the very least, the shift in what is considered acceptable language and behaviour in US professional sports, the days when insulting others by using a reference to homosexuality are coming to a close. Indeed Collins’s very public coming out via the front cover of Sports Illustrated magazine was greeted with a stream of supportive comments from within professional sports in the United States with only the slightest hint of any dissent. Mike Wallace, a wide receiver with the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins, tweeted his incomprehension that any male could prefer to be in a relationship with a man rather than a woman but was soon on the back foot. “All these beautiful women in the world and guys wanna mess with other guys, SMH (Shaking My Head),” Wallace tweeted before deleting the message and apologising for any offense caused. Wallace’s reaction was not dissimilar to that of San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver who made headlines before this year’s Super Bowl by saying he would not welcome a gay player into the team’s locker room. Culliver spent a pre-Super Bowl media session with scores of television cameras pointed in his face as he repeated his apology for an hour. Whether it is a genuine change of attitude

towards gays, reflected in several surveys of U.S. public attitudes, or a an understanding that homophobia is no longer acceptable, there is no doubt that professional sports are turning away from intolerance of gays. In many ways, sports are simply catching up with so much of American society where homophobic comments are unacceptable in the workplace and no one would even think to ask if gays would be accepted in the office. The question now is whether Collins’s move - and the widespread support for him - will lead to ath-

letes from other leagues following suit. “I feel a movement coming,” Robbie Rogers, the former U.S. national team soccer player who came out in February, tweeted on Monday shortly after Collins’s announcement. Gay rights and anti-discrimination groups certainly believe that Collins is making things easier for those who will come. “All of us have huge admiration for what Jason is doing,” said Patrick Burke, co-founder of equal rights advocacy group You Can Play. “Jason’s courage in stepping forward with his per-

LOS ANGELES: In this photo provided by ABC, NBA basketball veteran Jason Collins (left) poses with George Stephanopoulos during an interview. — AP

sonal story will provide athletes and fans with a new role model.” Campaigners hope that Collins’s move will help break down any fear that non-open gays may still have. “We hope his actions inspire confidence in others who might have been afraid to live their lives openly until now - both on and off the court,” said NOH8 Campaign co-founders Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley. Collins, in his Sports Illustrated article on Monday, cited his frustration at not being able to participate openly in the debate about same-sex marriage and that is a reminder that the issue of homosexuality in the sports arena does not exist in a vacuum. Sociologist Brian Powell at Indiana University Bloomington believes that what follows in sport now may follow a similar pattern to how the debate on marriage has unfolded. “I don’t think there will be a huge number of people coming out but there will be a probably a steady stream of people coming out, not unlike what happened last month when politicians came out in favor of same-sex marriage,” he told Reuters. “One day one person did and the next day another. I think the same will happen - it will be slower but there will be an increased number of players coming out.” The next generation of professional athletes in the United States are currently playing in college sports and Powell believes they will bring with them a fresh attitude. “What I hear, with college athletes, is the real question for them is whether or not their team mates do their job. Competence and ability to play comes before anything else,” he said. “The more athletes publicly come out, the more other athletes are going to be comfortable with this, simply because they can then stop thinking of it in terms of the person’s sexuality and focus on their performance.” —Reuters

Hawks and Nets triumph ATLANTA: Josh Smith scored 29 points as the Atlanta Hawks built a 17-point lead at halftime, then withstood an Indiana comeback over the final two quarters to level its first round playoff series with a 102-91 victory in Game 4 on Monday. After struggling much of the second half, Smith made every big play down the stretch. He swished a rare 3-pointer, came up with an offensive rebound to set up a 3 by Kyle Korver, then finished off a fast break with a right-handed dunk. Paul George scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half as the Pacers made a game of it but couldn’t come back from a 57-40 deficit at the break. Tied at two wins apiece, the series returns to Indianapolis for Game 5 tonight.

WASHINGTON: NHL/Thurgood Marshall College Fund scholarship winner Richard Lucas of the Ed Snider Hockey Foundation poses for photographs with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and the Stanley Cup after a briefing on the state of hockey with members of the Congressional Hockey Caucus in the Rayburn House Office Building. — AFP

Lockout forgotten as Stanley Cup chase begins TORONTO: The playoffs for a National Hockey League (NHL) season that nearly never was open yesterday with memories of a bitter labor dispute all but forgotten in favour of an intriguing race for the Stanley Cup. A compacted 48-game schedule that began in January with NHL players and owners apologizing to disgruntled fans and promising a season packed with unpredictable results delivered in spades, setting the stage for an equally fascinating playoffs. The top-ranked Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference and Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference begin as clear favorites to meet in a bestof-seven games Stanley Cup final that will be played in steamy late-June temperatures. But if there are any lessons to be taken from past years, it is that anything can happen. The Los Angeles Kings proved this just last season by sneaking in as an eighth seed and upsetting the Western Conference’s top three teams before defeating the New Jersey Devils to claim the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. The Kings are back in the postseason ready to open defense of their crown against the St. Louis Blues as part of a 16team playoff for hockey’s ‘Holy Grail.’ To get their names engraved on Lord Stanley’s famous mug, however, players must survive one of sports’ ultimate tests of endurance and win four punishing best-ofseven series before finally hoisting the silver Cup. No team knows more about the playoff grind than the Detroit Red Wings, who are in the postseason for a 22nd consecutive year while the Toronto Maple Leafs snapped what had been the longest active playoff drought by returning to the postseason for the first time since 2004. The Red Wings, who needed a win in their final regular season game to extend their streak, open against the Anaheim Ducks late yesterday while the Maple Leafs face the Boston Bruins in an Original Six matchup starting today. For hockey purists, the playoffs will provide a blast of nostalgia with all six original NHL franchises (Boston, Toronto, Detroit, Chicago, Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers) competing for the first time since 1996. The opening round will also feature the first playoff clash between clubs from Montreal and rival Ottawa since the Montreal Maroons and the original Senators franchise faced off in 1928.

Not since the Canadiens celebrated the last of their 24 Stanley Cups in 1993 has the treasured trophy been paraded through the streets of a Canadian city and the country is thirsting to see that drought end. Canadian attention will be focused on Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and the Vancouver Canucks, who will all carry the hopes of a hockey-mad nation into the playoffs and try to return the Cup to its spiritual home. Pittsburgh and Chicago enter the playoffs as the betting favorites with good reason after record-smashing seasons. The Blackhawks, who open against the Minnesota Wild, spent the entire campaign atop the West standings earning points in each of their first 24 games to shatter the longest previous season-opening streak of 16 games set by Anaheim. With plenty of firepower, led by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, the league’s stingiest defense and spectacular play from journeyman netminder Ray Emery, Chicago lost just seven times in regulation to claim the franchise’s second Presidents’ Trophy, as the NHL team with the best regular season record. In the East, the Penguins also took a run at the NHL record book reeling off 15 consecutive win in March to become the first team to post a perfect calendar month (minimum, 10 games). Already with a star-studded lineup featuring league most valuable players Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins loaded up for a Stanley Cup run at the trade deadline by adding former scoring champion Jarome Iginla from Calgary, Dallas forward Brenden Morrow and San Jose defenseman Douglas Murray. Crosby, who was putting together another MVP campaign, missed the last month of the schedule with a broken jaw but is expected to be on the ice when the Penguins open against the New York Islanders today. With Crosby fit and Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin back in top form fans are anticipating a potential showdown between the league’s two marquee players. Ovechkin opened the season in a funk but finished in a flurry by scoring 23 goals in his final 23 contests to capture the Rocket Richard trophy as the league’s top goal scorer. The Capitals and Rangers will meet in the playoffs for the fourth time in five seasons with Ovechkin going up against Henrik Lundqvist, the NHL’s reigning Vezina Trophy winner as top netminder. — Reuters

Nets 110, Bulls 91 In New York, Brook Lopez had 28 points and 10 rebounds, and Deron Williams added 23 points and 10 assists as the Nets cut the Bulls’ lead to 3-2 in their first-round playoff series. Andray Blatche scored 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter and Gerald Wallace had consecutive baskets down the stretch as the Nets finally pulled away in a game they led most of the way, but never by too much. Two days after rallying for a 142-134 triple-overtime victory, the Bulls were outscored 15-1 down the stretch and failed to set up a second-round series with Miami. Instead they will host Game 6 on Thursday. Rockets 105, Thunder 103 In Houston, the Rockets escaped elimination when Chandler Parsons scored 27 points and Patrick Beverley added 16 points with point guard Jeremy Lin out with a bruised chest muscle. Houston avoided a four-game sweep in the best-of-seven series. The Rockets led in the fourth quarter of each of the last two games only to end up losing. And it almost happened again Monday. Kevin Durant scored five quick points to cut the Rockets’ lead to two. James Harden missed two shots for Houston after that and the Thunder had a last chance. Reggie Jackson missed a jump shot and Serge Ibaka grabbed the rebound, but missed a layup at the buzzer. A stunned Ibaka fell to the court after the miss. Durant scored 38 points in Oklahoma City’s second game without injured All-Star guard Russell Westbrook. — AP

HOUSTON: Rockets’ Chandler Parsons (25) goes up for a shot as Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant (35) defends during the third quarter of Game 4 in a first-round NBA basketball playoff series. — AP

Peng stuns Bartoli at Portugal Open OEIRAS: China’s Peng Shuai showed little sign of a recent shoulder injury at the WTA Portugal Open yesterday as she knocked out French top seed Marion Bartoli in the first round 6-0, 16, 6-4. Peng, a 2010 semi-finalist in her only previous appearance at the

event, had just limited time to train after returning to her homeland to treat a shoulder injury following a Miami second-round loss more than a month ago. After receiving treatment in her hometown of Tianjin, she travelled on to Germany where she made light of

OEIRAS: China’s Shuai Peng returns the ball during her Portugal Open first round tennis match in Oeiras, outside Lisbon. Pong defeated topseeded Marion Bartoli from France 6-0, 1-6, 6-4. — AP

her meagre clay preparation by stunning Bartoli, the world number 14 who is on a poor run having lost her last four WTA matches dating back to mid-March. “I”m very happy to win in such windy conditions,” said the 27-yearold Peng, ranked 34th in the world. “The clay was blowing around a lot, making it even more difficult.” Peng won in an hour and threequarters as the erratic Bartoli produced eight double-faults and was broken five times. The quirky French player has reunited with her doctor father Walter as coach after several months of unsuccessful trials with other potential mentors including former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna, but is still looking for a win. “The first match on clay is always tough for me,” said Bartoli. “I had a lot of trouble finding my game and my feet on the court. “She was playing extremely well. I just tried my hardest and was able to play some good shots in the second set. I felt like the third was really close. “We both started to play quite well, but at 3-3 when I had 40-15 she hit quite a lucky return and that really hurt me. “It was a very difficult draw, but I think it is better for me to have those kind of matches early in the clay court season and try to improve for the big events coming up.” Elsewhere in the opening round, third seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

beat Shahar Peer 6-4, 6-4 but German number eight seed Julia Goerges lost to Monica Puig of Puerto Rico 7-6 (7/3), 6-2. Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan beat Swede Sofia Arvidsson 6-3, 6-4 to next face two-time grand slam winner and wild card entry Svetlana Kuznetsova. Wimbledon quarter-finalist Tamira Paszek has gone winless for three months since the Australian Open, with the 31st-ranked Austrian losing her seventh straight match as she went down 6-1, 6-3 to Romanian Monica Niculescu. Unseeded former French Open winner Francesca Schiavone repeated her win in last Sunday’s Marrakech WTA final over the same opponent as she beat Spain’s Lourdes Dominguez 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. In the men’s draw, France’s fifthseeded Julien Benneteau like compatriot Bartoli failed to justify his seeding as he lost to Spanish qualifier Pablo Carreno-Busta 6-3, 6-4. But Spain’s eighth seed Tommy Robredo secured a comeback win over compatriot Daniel GimenoTraver 2-6, 7-5, 6-3. Spaniard Albert Ramos will line up in the second round against number two seed Stanislas Wawrinka thanks to a defeat of Argentine Carlos Berlocq 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 6-3. Spain’s David Ferrer is top seed but will not start his campaign until the second round as the top four seeds receive byes. — AFP



Tebow left to wonder what’s next NEW YORK: Tim Tebow is one and done in New York. No more constant questions about his uncertain role with the Jets. No more criticism of the mostly non-existent wildcat offense. No more shirtless jogs in the rain after practice. Now, the popular but polarizing quarterback is left to wonder what’s left of his NFL career. Tebow was waived by the Jets on Monday morning when he showed up at the team’s facility ready to work out, the end of an embarrassingly unsuccessful one-season experiment in New York that produced more hype and headlines than production on the field. “Unfortunately,” coach Rex Ryan said in a three-paragraph news release issued by the team, “things did not work out the way we all had hoped.” It also left Tebow’s football future very much in doubt. “If he were to happen to call me, I would say, ‘Look, you’re starting over,’” former NFL GM Ted Sundquist said. “Tim Tebow needs to redefine who Tim Tebow is, in my opinion. He’s no longer a first-round quarterback.” That’s quite a fall for a player who came to New York in March 2012 as perhaps the biggest thing to hit Broadway since Joe Namath himself. There were billboards outside the Lincoln Tunnel in New Jersey welcoming Tebow, and sandwiches named after him at Manhattan delis. He also had a legion of fans who followed him because of his strong Christian beliefs, and in New York, he would be able to take advantage of countless media and marketing opportunities. And then, it all went terribly wrong. Or, more like it, the whole idea was completely flawed from the start. For Tebow. And for the Jets. “I think it’s fair to say,” Tebow said at the end of last season, “that I’m a little disappointed.” A year after he threw a TD pass to win a playoff game in overtime for Denver, the Heisman Trophy winner with two championships at Florida and a nationwide following may have suited up for the last time. “I don’t see any team giving him a chance because teams don’t want to deal with the following that comes with Tebow,” ESPN analyst and former NFL offensive lineman Damien Woody said. “Maybe Canada.” No NFL team has made a pitch to get him. The only nibble so far came from the Montreal Alouettes. They hold his rights in the Canadian Football League and said he could come compete for a job — as a backup. Tebow took to Twitter a few hours after being waived, citing a bible verse: “Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding,” Tebow wrote, “in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” The Jacksonville Jaguars have already ruled themselves out of giving Tebow a happy homecoming. But maybe the Chicago Bears, whose new head coach Marc Trestman tutored Tebow before the NFL draft in 2010, could give him a look as their backup. Perhaps the San Diego Chargers would take a chance on him, adding to the circus-like atmosphere they’ll likely endure after drafting Manti Te’o. New coach Mike McCoy was Tebow’s offensive coordinator in Denver during the 2011 season, when the quarterback took over the offense and led the Broncos to comeback after comeback. What about Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots? It would certainly give Belichick another chance to tweak the Jets. As far as the CFL, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether Tebow would even be open to a move north of the border. “If you can find a club that’s mature enough to handle it as an organization, then you’re going to find the right spot for him,” Sundquist said. “What I mean by that is all the media mania and that sort of thing.” Tebow was brought to New York to be a dynamic addition to the offense, a complement to Mark Sanchez and a merchandising touchdown for the Jets. Instead, he attempted just eight passes for 39 yards and rushed 32 times for 102 yards — and stunningly had no touchdowns. The move to part ways had been expected for months, and the decision was sealed when new general manager John Idzik took former West Virginia star Geno Smith in the second round of the NFL draft Friday, giving New York six quarterbacks on its roster at the time — and creating uncertainty about Sanchez’s future, as well. “Had this happened back in February, Tim might have had a chance to at least participate in free agency,” said 2002 NFL MVP quarterback Rich Gannon, now an analyst for CBS Sports and SiriusXM NFL Radio. “I don’t think there would have been a strong market for him, but at least he would’ve had that opportunity.” Gannon added that it’s an even tougher situation for Tebow now because more than 20 quarterbacks were either drafted or signed as undrafted free agents in the last few days. “Look, it’s a two-way street, though,” Gannon said. “It’s a business. The Jets were trying to find somebody, a dance partner. Sometimes that goes into the draft and teams are calling around. I’m sure the Jets were trying to shop Tebow, and I’m sure they kept getting denied.” This is the same guy who led the Broncos to the postseason in 2011, but became expendable when Denver signed Peyton Manning as a free agent. Tebow was acquired by the Jets for a fourth-round draft pick and $1.5 million in salary. He was introduced at the Jets’ facility to plenty of fanfare at a lavish news conference, with Tebow repeatedly saying he was “excited” to be in New York. —AP



Ali loves to watch the old Ali — daughter NEW YORK: The boxer who pummeled opponents with his words as well as with his fast fists rarely talks these days, and his dazzling footwork is a memory frozen on video tape and in the minds of millions of admirers. But the spirit and sparkle in 71-year-old Muhammad Ali’s eyes live on through a 30-year struggle against the effects of Parkinson’s disease, which has stricken about one million in the United States and six million worldwide. His daughter, Maryum (May May) Ali, said the man who famously dubbed himself “The Greatest” gets a big kick from watching old footage of himself. “That’s his favorite pastime. He loves to watch himself. He loves it,” May May told Reuters in an interview on the eve of the annual Parkinson’s Unity Walk to advance awareness and education that drew thousands to Central Park on Saturday. “It brings him joy, because he’s not that person any more but he can live through his old self. He loves to watch his fights. I love to watch him watching.” Ali was ranked among the 20 most influential Americans ever last year by Time Magazine for his humanitarianism and the inspiration he provided to people around the globe. While he has battled Parkinson’s, a progressive disorder in which dopamine levels in the brain decline affecting messages to nerves controlling movement and coordination, May May champions efforts to help educate and promote research into the disease. “He has 24-hour care and he needs assistance,” May May, at 45 the oldest of his nine children, said noting that his condition had worsened over the last three years. “His speech isn’t that great. “But my father chills out. He watches the Super Bowl, and he gets massages. When I go visit him it’s like a little sabbatical with him. I’m like chilling out with him.” A former rapper and comedian, an author and social activist, May May bears a strong resemblance to her father with her bright eyes, round face, pronounced cheekbones and spirit to match. She sounds just like the great man himself when she lapses into some of his familiar patter, before reminiscing about his difficult times after first showing symptoms. “I tell you what was hard for him. It was hard to go out and hear people talking about him,” she said. “Because he was proud and he didn’t want people feeling sorry for him, because I think he felt better

than what they thought he looked like.” Maintaining family life was important, she said, which led her sister, Rasheda Ali, to write a book called ‘I’ll Hold Your Hand So You Won’t Fall’. “It’s actually a children’s book for parents to know how to teach their kids about Parkinson’s.” “My father’s grandchildren thought my dad was sad or depressed, or didn’t like them or didn’t want to play, but it was just his face,” May May said. “It’s called the Parkinson’s mask, where the muscles in the face droop in a stoic look where you don’t look like you have any emotion. “His grandkids had watched old footage of him talking, acting crazy, rhyming, they see him and they think ‘he’s mad at us’. She (Rasheda) told them, ‘look at his eyes, see how much fun he’s having’.” “We saw slurring of the speech and slowness while he was (still) boxing,” said May May. “So there’s a really good chance that he had it much earlier than when he was diagnosed (in 1984). “We were thinking that whatever he had was

from boxing because other boxers have slurred speech.” She said her father was never in denial over his condition. “He was like ‘something’s happening’ and he was trying to figure it out. He was dealing with it. “The optimism he had, predicting rounds and calling the knockout and saying he was beautiful and standing up for his faith... he was always confident and optimistic. That was kind of how he was with his disease, too. “He’s the kind of guy that pushed his body to the limit. If boxing and what he went through in his career didn’t put him down, he was not letting shaky hands stop him from going out. That‘s just his make-up.” Ali continued to travel the world for decades. “He still travels,” she said. “He has three homes - in his hometown of Louisville, in Michigan and in Arizona in the winter. You still see him at baseball games sometimes. “He lives,” she said. “His spirit is still the same.” May May said Ali communicates with his eyes, with

Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazer in action in this file photo

his arms, and by “knocking”, illustrating by clicking the roof of her mouth with her tongue. “I guess that’s from his African roots. “It hasn’t been super sad for me until maybe the past three years because we have the education and understanding of it. That’s everything, because you’re able to enjoy them the way they are.” May May said her father never looked back after finally leaving the ring. “He always felt boxing was a means to an end. And that end was to help and serve others.” She said Ali, who refused to fight in the Vietnam War as a conscientious objector following his conversion to Islam, grew more and more spiritual. Ali had his world championship title taken away and his boxing licenses revoked before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned his conviction for his refusing induction. “I think if he hadn’t got Parkinson’s he would be an Imam,” May May said, projecting her father as a Muslim spiritual leader. “He would have been one of the main people on TV defending true Islam and in the time we’re living in right now, it would have been exceptional because people would have listened to him.” “He used to propagate Islam with pamphlets. Every time he would sign an autograph he would sign it on a Muslim pamphlet. That was his life. He spent all his time doing that. People don’t know that.” May May said he was humbled by the response he engendered. “‘I met the prime minister of Pakistan. I was at the White House’,” she recalled him saying. “‘A little old boy from Louisville, Kentucky. Anything can happen, anything can come true’.” Despite being a world figure, Ali got giddy himself around some of his early idols. “He would get excited when he saw Little Richard. He loved Little Richard,” May May said. “He was tickled, tickled, tickled by James Brown. I would never see my Dad get excited, but if he saw one of them...he loved his music, his oldies.” Asked about his legacy, May May said: “Depends on who you are. If you are Aryan nation you’re going to hate him for being a draft dodger. “I used to ask him, ‘how did you have the guts to stand up against the government?’ He said, ‘I learned who I truly was as a black man’. “He knew he was an equal human being and no one was going to take that away from him. And that was more important to him than a boxing career. “I’m a lot like my dad, and I’m proud to say it.” — Reuters

Warburton leads Lions but no place for Wilko SHEFFIELD: Stuart Bingham of England plays a shot as he takes on Ronnie O’Sullivan of England in their quarter-final match at the World Snooker Championships at The Crucible in Sheffield. — AFP

O’Sullivan hits top gear to close on semi-finals LONDON: Defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan produced a stunning burst of form to establish a 7-1 lead over Stuart Bingham in their quarter-final match at the World Championship yesterday. O’Sullivan is playing in his first major tournament in over a year and complained of feeling “tired and jaded” after overcoming Ali Carter in the second round, but the 37-year-old unleashed a devastating display against Bingham to close on the semi-finals. The four-time world champion produced two century breaks, including a break of 133 in the sixth frame, and five breaks of over 50 to leave Bingham clinging on for dear life at the Crucible in Sheffield. Bingham, the world number eight, final-

ly salvaged a measure of pride by edging the final frame of the session in the best-of25 frame contest, which resumes on Wednesday. Speaking on the BBC, former world champion Ken Doherty said: “He was fantastic. There’s nobody better to watch. It’s effortless, and that’s the beauty of his talent.” If he reaches the semi-finals, O’Sullivan will face either Shaun Murphy or Judd Trump. Murphy, the 2005 champion, established a 6-2 lead in the first session of their encounter, with Barry Hawkins leading China’s Ding Junhui 5-3 at the end of their opening session. The day’s other quarter-final saw Englishman Ricky Walden take a 6-2 lead over Welsh qualifier Michael White. — AFP

Salvador’s WCup stadium to spur Brazil northeast growth SALVADOR DE BAHIA: When laborer Brasilino de Santos helped build the stadium in this northeastern Brazilian metropolis in the late 1940’s, little could he imagine he would be back decades later toiling to modernize it for next year’s World Cup. Now 78, this grandson of a slave said he finally got recognition for his years of hard work when he got a hug from Bahia state Governor Jaques Wagner at the inauguration of Salvador’s renovated Arena Fonte Nova on April 7. “I did not imagine then that we would one day have the honor of hosting the World Cup,” Santos, one of 5,000 workers who rebuilt the 50,000-seat stadium, said during a meeting with visiting foreign journalists. “But for me, the most important thing was getting a hug from the governor,” he added, with tears in his eyes. Fonte Nova, rebuilt by the OAS and Odebrecht consortium at a cost of nearly $345 million, is one of the 12 stadiums that will host next year’s soccer World Cup. It is also one of six arenas to be used for the June 15-30 Confederations Cup, a dry run that for next year’s premier soccer event. The renovation has been a boon to the local economy. It gave a 39-year-old laborer who identifies himself only as Galego a chance to learn to read and write. “This site enabled many people to get ahead and to find work elsewhere. I was an assistant bricklayer and now I am a carpenter,” he added. One of the few women welders on the site, who only goes by the name Flor, said her nononsense demeanor helped her get a promotion as supervisor and a salary hike from $400 to $800. Much of Salvador, Brazil’s third most populous city with around 2.6 million people, is also a getting a facelift, including the historic cen-

ter and the port area, ahead of the World Cup. By next year, 60 percent of the neighborhoods will be equipped with high-speed Internet access. “All the (World Cup) host cities are tourist hubs which will benefit from the upgrading of infrastructures (ports, airports, urban mobility, telecommunications),” said Luis Fernandes, the executive director of the sports ministry. The federal government, he added, has invested $15 billion dollars to host the World Cup and the 2016 Rio summer Olympics. And Ney Campello, Bahia’s sports secretary, noted with pride that the first three host stadiums delivered to world governing body FIFA for next June’s Confederations Cup are located in northeastern cities: Fortaleza, Recife and Salvador. The Salvador project was funded through a public-private partnership between with the firms OAS and Fonte Nova Participacoes, which will manage the stadium for 15 years. The local government meanwhile had to borrow $210 million from the federal development bank BNDES and has 15 years to pay it back. Maintenance of the arena is estimated at $10 million a year, including 50 percent to be paid by the concession holder. The Bahia state government has just signed a $50 million contract over 10 years with Brazilian brewer Itaipava and the stadium was renamed “Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova”. Campello said all these investments will also help “professionalize football and improve the management of the indebted clubs”. “Bahia clubs are not doing well because of poor management. We need to change how their revenues are distributed,” he said, pointing to higher stadium attendance in Bahia and Pernambuco states than in the southeastern states of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. —AFP

LONDON: Wales star Sam Warburton was named yesterday as captain of the 2013 British and Irish squad for the tour of Australia but there was no place for England great Jonny Wilkinson. At 24, Warburton became the youngest Welsh Lions tour captain in Lions history, but both England captain Chris Robshaw and 2003 World Cup-winning star Wilkinson were left out of coach Warren Gatland’s 37-man squad. “Warren gave me a call, it’s been nine or 10 days since I found out and the biggest secret I’ve had to keep,” Warburton told a news conference in London. “It’s unbelievable, an accolade very few people achieve and it’s an unbelievable honor. Gatland added: “In the last two or three years he’s been the most successful captain in the northern hemisphere. “I have a huge amount of respect for Sam, he’s an absolute professional and he leads from the front.” The New Zealander said leaving the likes of Robshaw and Wilkinson out had been tough but said injuries could yet lead to late call-ups for those omitted from the original squad. “If you look at previous tours six to eight players get injured and there will be a group of back-up players who can be called upon.” Ireland great and 2005 Lions captain Brian O’Driscoll was included, with the centre chosen for his fourth successive tour with the combined side. Warburton led Wales to the 2011 World Cup semifinals only to be sent off in a narrow defeat by France in Auckland. After he missed the early part of the current European season through injury, Warburton starred against Scotland and in the record 30-3 thrashing of England that saw Wales secure the Six Nations title. But his leadership credentials were called into question after he appeared to want to concentrate on his own game during the Championship. Gatland, seconded from Wales to coach the Lions, selected 15 Welshmen in his squad-Wales’s largest Lions representation in 36 years when Welsh fly-half great Phil Bennett was the appointed captain for a losing tour of New Zealand. England provided 10 players including prop Matt Stevens, who missed the 2009 tour while serving a two-year drugs ban and retired from England duty after the 2011 World Cup. They also supplied brothers in scrum-half Ben

Sam Warburton Youngs and hooker Tom Youngs the first brothers in a Lions squad since England’s Rory and Tony Underwood and Scotland’s Gavin and Scott Hastings all toured New Zealand in 1993. Gatland included only two recognised fly-halves in Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton and England’s Owen Farrell-both of whom Wilkinson, speaking after kicking all of Toulon’s points in their 24-12 European Cup semi-final win over Farrell’s Saracens at Twickenham on Sunday, said should be chosen ahead of him. There were nine Ireland players selected by Gatland, himself a former Ireland coach but, surprisingly there was no place for hooker Rory Best. Scotland had three players in the Lions squad, including New Zealand-born wing Sean Maitland, the cousin of Australian ‘bad boy’ Quade Cooper, although scrum-half/fly-half Greig Laidlaw was left out. The Lions will be looking for their first series win since defeating South Africa in 1997.

As well as his squad, Gatland’s coaching party had a strong Welsh influence with Rob Howley, currently in caretaker charge of the Six Nations champions and kicking specialist Neil Jenkins-both former Lions-among his assistants. Also in the backroom staff were England’s Graham Rowntree (forwards coach) and defence chief Andy Farrell, Owen’s father, whose inclusion came at the expense of Gatland’s long-time assistant Shaun Edwards. A squad of 16 backs and 21 forwards-with Warburton one of 25 first-time Lionsis set to leave four weeks on Tuesday for Hong Kong where they begin their 10-match tour against the Barbarians on June 1. The Lions play the first of three Tests against the Wallabies on June 22. This will be the Lions’ first tour of Australia since a side coached by Gatland’s compatriot Graham Henry, New Zealand’s 2011 World Cup-winning supremo, lost a three-Test series 2-1. — AFP

Lions must get blend right to conquer Australia LONDON: It is no coincidence that so few British and Irish Lions teams return home with series victories as the challenge of blending players from four countries in a few short weeks to take on established test sides on home soil is immense. Two series wins, in South Africa in 1997 and Australia in 1989, from the last nine attempts tells its own story and with each passing tour it gets harder. With fewer warm-up games against increasingly weak opposition usually shorn of their test players, creating partnerships, defensive systems, lineout codes and the overall gelling of a squad of almost 40 players is a fiendishly tough challenge. That, however, is part of the enduring attraction of the Lions, the last remaining link with the old-time tours of the amateur game. It is also why there is a virtual guarantee that the test teams will contain several players who would not have featured in most people’s suggested lineups when the squad was announced as the coaches work tirelessly to get the blend just right. Martin Johnson was a late injury replacement on the 1993 tour of New Zealand but forced himself into the test team and four years later, the last

time the Lions won a series, the likes of Scotland prop Tom Smith and veteran wing John Bentley pressed past seemingly more thoroughbred names to play vital roles in the 2-1 win over the Springboks. Since then Matt Perry, Shane Byrne, Ugo Monye and others have impressed the coaches enough with their work in the tour games to earn test slots and this year’s tour of Australia is likely to throw up its own surprises. There were several in the 37-man squad announced by coach Warren Gatland yesterday. New Zealand-born Scotland winger Sean Maitland, who made his international debut in this year’s Six Nations, England prop Mako Vunipola, who has started only one test among his nine caps, and former England prop Matt Stevens, who retired from international rugby last year, were all unexpected choices. The bulk of the squad, however, is tried and tested, not least the 15 Welshman, including captain Sam Warburton, who have shown they can operate at the highest level with their Six Nations titles and run to the 2011 World Cup semi-finals. Warburton is a nailed-on starter in the back row but there is huge competition to play alongside him, illustrated by the absence of England

captain Chris Robshaw. Tom Croft, back from a broken neck and approaching the form that made him one of the leading players of the 2009 series, Toby Faletau, Jamie Heaslip, Dan Lydiate, Sean O’Brien and Justin Tipuric are a group of the highest quality and certainly one of the touring party’s strengths. There is plenty of variety in the second row and some power and feisty attitude in the front as the Lions will expect to have the better of the scrums. Behind them, however, they suffer somewhat in comparison with the Wallabies, whose creative, direct and off-the-cuff running routinely punches holes in the best-drilled defences, let alone one formed among a new team with just a few weeks of practice. There is no shortage of power in the midfield in the shape of Brian O’Driscoll, Manu Tuilagi and Welsh duo Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies but precious little guile. Gatland’s wide options look encouraging, with George North and Alex Cuthbert so impressive in the Six Nations, backed up by Tommy Bowe and the speedy Maitland and fullback is also a position of strength with Leigh Halfpenny, Rob Kearney and Stuart Hogg. —Reuters



Havelange quits, Blatter cleared of misconduct

PORTUGAL: Benfica’s Brazilian forward Rodrigo Lima (left) jumps for the ball during the Portuguese League football match against Maritimo. —AFP

Benfica hold off Maritimo LISBON: Portuguese Premier League leaders Benfica grabbed a nervous a 2-1 win at Maritimo on Monday thanks to a Lima penalty and a second-half own goal to keep their four-point lead over secondplaced Porto. Brazilian striker Lima grabbed an early opener from the spot for the Lisbon club who knew a win would bring them closer to a 33rd league title, but Maritimo defender Igor Rossi equalised for the hosts. Benfica came out strongly in the second half and Rossi turned villain for Maritimo when he deflected Eduardo Salvio’s cross into his own net after 72 minutes. “We became very anxious after the 1-0. I calmed the players down during the break and in the second half we played like champions,” Benfica coach Jorge Jesus told Portuguese television SportTV.

Benfica have 73 points from 27 matches and Porto 69. The league leaders host Fenerbahce on Thursday in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final having lost 1-0 in the first leg in Istanbul last week.—Reuters

Match on TV (Local Timings) UEFA Champions League Barcelona v Bayern 21:45 Aljazeera Sport +3 Aljazeera Sport +4 Aljazeera Sport HD1

Election day dawns for Asian soccer SINGAPORE: The Asian Football Confederation heads to the polls on Thursday to finally elect a new leader, but with question marks over the candidates and only a two-year term for the winner, hopes for reform at the crisis-hit body may have to be put on hold. United Arab Emirates soccer chief Yousuf Al Serkal, Saudi Arabian Hafez Al Medlej, Thailand’s Worawi Makudi and Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa of Bahrain are running to succeed disgraced former president Mohamed Bin Hammam, banned from football for life by FIFA for bribery in 2011. The AFC has been in limbo ever since with lengthy appeals by the Qatari proving unsuccessful, while Zhang Jilong’s interim leadership has been beset by numerous match fixing and graft scandals among member associations. Should Al Serkal or Al Medlej win the vote in Kuala Lumpur their attempts to bring about reform could be hampered by their lack of a voice at FIFA. The fourth AFC seat, reserved for the president, on the world governing body’s all-powerful executive committee cannot be taken up again until 2015. Worawi is the only candidate who already holds a FIFA ‘exco’ seat having retained his position at the top table of world soccer for another four years in 2011. Sheikh Salman has opted to enter a separate vote for a FIFA executive seat and runs against Qatar 2022 World Cup organiser Hassan Al Thawadi to replace Zhang. “How can we have a president who cannot have our voice in FIFA?” asked the Bahraini in an interview with Reuters earlier this month. “To have a candidate running for just one post and not another I regard as a compromise, a weak position just to accept what they can get.” Sheikh Salman looks to be favorite to claim a winning majority from the 47 member associations and has talked about bringing greater transparency to the AFC, but his critics have raised questions about the crackdown of a prodemocracy uprising at home in 2011. Two human rights groups called on FIFA President Sepp Blatter to remove the 46-year-old Manchester United-supporting member of the Bahraini royal family from the election, saying local players, referees and administrators were tortured for their part in the uprising.

Sheikh Salman denied the claims, and the accusations have not prevented the head of the influential Olympic Council of Asia, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad AlSabah, from backing his campaign. Al Serkal has promised to declare all benefits and expenses he accrues as president should he win the vote in a transparency campaign that has offered the most detailed pledges of the quartet. Al Serkal and Sheikh Salman have both tipped themselves for victory but with the duo likely to split the vote in the 13-member West Asian Soccer Federation, Al Medlej has emerged as a compromise candidate. The Saudi official has been considered an outsider and frequently talked about pulling out of the race unless Sheikh Salman and Al Serkal withdraw. His campaign has helped increase his profile, though, which could possibly help with the 2015 election, should he stand, when the AFC presidency reverts to a four-year term. The shorter term on offer this time is a result of Bin Hammam’s exit. The Qatari was elected unopposed as AFC president for a third four-year term in 2011, leaving two years on that cycle. Bin Hammam had been bidding to become the first Asia head of FIFA but his campaign ended in disgrace when he was found guilty of offering money to Caribbean voters in return for their backing in the election against Blatter. Accompanying Bin Hammam on that ill-fated trip to Trinidad was Worawi, who has also had to battle claims of wrongdoing during his 16 years as a FIFA executive committee member. The Thai says he has the backing of the Southeast Asian region’s 11 members but his hopes of attracting the eight votes in South Asia could have taken a hit by FIFA’s 90-day suspension of Sri Lankan ally Manil Fernando, who was also in Trinidad, for alleged misuse of AFC funds. These issues, along with the very real problems of matchfixing, disharmony among some members and a lack of professionalism among others leaves the winner of the election with a tough task to get the AFC moving in the right direction. Worawi told Reuters last week he was the man for the job but also acknowledged the scale of the task. “I don’t promise miracles,” the Thai said. “I am not a magician. I don’t have a magic wand.” —Reuters

BERNE: Joao Havelange has quit as FIFA’s honorary president while Sepp Blatter has been cleared of misconduct in the ISL bribery case, the final report into the matter by FIFA’s ethics committee said yesterday. The report, which brought the curtain down on a case which has clouded FIFA for the last decade, described Havelange’s behaviour as “morally and ethically reproachable” in his dealings with ISL, FIFA’s former marketing partner. The report by Hans-Joachim Eckert, head of the ethics committee’s adjudicatory chamber, cleared FIFA president Blatter, who was secretary-general at the time, of any wrongdoing. However, it added that Blatter had at one point been “clumsy” and questioned whether he should have known that ISL was making payments to top FIFA officials including Havelange, who was president from 1974 to 1998. It also said that former South America Football Confederation president and FIFA executive committee member Nicolas Leoz, who quit his posts last week citing ill-health, had taken “bribes” from ISL which went bankrupt in 2001. The report said that any action against 96year-old Brazilian Havelange, who resigned his position on April 18, and 84-year-old Parguayan Leoz would be “superfluous” following their resignations. “The ISL case is concluded for the ethics committee,” it said, adding that FIFA only introduced an ethics code in 2004. “No further proceedings related to the ISL matter are warranted against any other football official.” Details of the case were revealed last July when a Swiss prosecutor said in a legal document that Havelange and former executive committee member Ricardo Teixeira took multi-million bribes from ISL on World Cup deals in the 1990s. FIFA subsequently set up its own investigation led by Michael Garcia, a U.S. attorney who heads the investigatory chamber of the ethics committee. “It is clear that Havelange and Teixeira, as football officials, should not have accepted any bribe money, and should have had to pay it back since the money was in connection with the exploitation of media rights,” Eckert’s report said. “From money that passed through the ISMM/ISL Group, it is certain that not incon-

KUALA LUMPUR: The June 5, 1996 file photo shows then FIFA President Joao Havelange of Brazil (left) and then FIFA General Secretary Joseph Blatter of Switzerland attending the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Congress in Kuala Lumpur. —AP

siderable amounts were channelled to Havelange and to his son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira as well as to Nicolas Leoz, whereby there is no indication that any form of service was given in return by the them. “These payments were apparently made via front companies in order to cover up the true recipient and are to be qualified as “commissions”, known today as “bribes”,” the report said. “Leoz...claimed that all of the money he received from ISL was donated by him to a school project, but only in January 2008 eight years after he received it.” said the report, adding that the Paraguayan had not been “candid” with FIFA’s executive committee or the ethics investigation. It added: “There are... no indications whatsoever that President Blatter was responsible for a cash flow to Havelange, Teixeira or Leoz, or that he himself received any payments from the ISL Group, even in the form of hidden kick back payments. “It must be questioned, however, whether President Blatter knew or should have known

over the years before the bankruptcy of ISL that ISL had made payments (bribes) to other FIFA officials. “President Blatter’s conduct could not be classified in any way as misconduct with regard to any ethics rules.” Eckert also referred to a payment of 1.5 million Swiss francs ($1.60 million) which was sent to FIFA in 1997 and earmarked for Havelange. When it was brought to Blatter’s attention, he ordered it to be returned to ISL. Blatter told the investigation he did not suspect it was a commission. “The conduct of President Blatter may have been clumsy because there could be an internal need for clarification, but this does not lead to any criminal or ethical misconduct,” said the report. Blatter said he noted the report “with satisfaction” “I have no doubt that FIFA, thanks to the governance reform process that I proposed, now has the mechanisms and means to ensure that such an issue — which has caused untold damage to the reputation of our institution — does not happen again,” he said in a statement.—Reuters

Mariners in Asian knock-outs

DOHA: Saudi Al-Hilal club player Nawaf Shaker celebrates after scoring a goal against Qatar’s AlRayyan club during their AFC Champions League football match. —AP

AUSTRALIA: Kashiwa Reysol Kim Changsoo kicks the ball during the AFC Champions League football match against Central Coast Mariners of Australia. —AFP

SINGAPORE: Australia’s Central Coast Mariners reached the AFC Champions League knock-out phase for the first time in their history yesterday despite being thrashed 3-0 by Kashiwa Reysol. Second-half goals from Masato Kudo, Cleo, and Leandro Domingues left the Mariners with their hearts in their mouths but Suwon Bluewings did the Australian side a favour by hanging on for a 2-2 draw with Guizhou Renhe. China’s Guizhou equalised in the 87th minute but they could not find the all-important winner that would have taken them through at the Mariners’ expense behind Kashiwa, who were already qualified as winners of Group H. “That softens the blow a little bit, but Kashiwa are a quality side,” said Mariners coach Graham Arnold. “I thought we played very well up until the first goal and we had a chance with one getting cleared off the line but Kashiwa played very well. We’re through to the last 16 that’s the main thing. “We’re thankful to Suwon for helping us tonight.” In Group G, Beijing Guoan and Uzbekistan’s Bunyodkor also sealed their places in next month’s round of 16 as the final week of group games got into full swing. Beijing ground out a 0-0 scoreline against Japan’s Sanfrecce Hiroshima, who were already eliminated, while Bunyodkor ’s game with Pohang Steelers finished 1-1. The results mean Bunyodkor finish top of Group G with 10 points, ahead of Beijing in second spot. With Marcello Lippi’s Guangzhou Evergrande already qualified, China has more than one team in the last 16 for the first time since 2005. Pohang scored a 93rd-minute equaliser through Park Sung-Ho but it was far from enough as they needed to beat Bunyodkor by two goals to progress. Among late yesterday’s games, Al Hilal and Al Ain are both capable of qualifying along with Iran’s Esteghlal in Group D, while Group C is already decided with Al Ahli top and Al Gharafa second. Sixteen clubs were still in the running for the knock-out stages heading into this week’s final group games. Group E is so close that Buriram United and Vegalta Sendai may have to be separated by a tally of yellow and red cards or even a special lottery, depending on their results today. —AFP

Ferguson sets sights on United transfer targets LONDON: Manchester United manager Alex Fe rg u s o n re ve a l e d ye s te rd ay t h a t h e i s already plotting how to strengthen his squad during the close-season transfer window. United secured the Premier League title l a s t we e k , b u t w i t h r i v a l s C h e l s e a a n d Manchester City both expected to invest heavily in new players in a bid to bridge the gap next season, Ferguson says his side cannot afford to stand still in the transfer market.

“We’ve been doing a bit of work on that over the last three or four months, targeting w h o t h e p l aye r s a re t h a t we fe e l co u l d enhance us, make us better or help us maintain the level we’re at,” he told the club’s official magazine, Inside United. “Hopefully the players we bring into the club in the next year or so will be of the quality we need. We’re competitive in the marketwe’re not Chelsea or Manchester Cit y in terms of money, but we’re competitive.”

United have been linked with some highprofile strikers in recent weeks, including Robert Lewandowski of Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid’s Radamel Falcao, but Ferguson believes the squad already has solid foundations. “You have to look at the structure of the club at present, in terms of the number of first-team players we have at 23 or under,” Ferguson added. “David De Gea, Rafael, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Alex Buttner, Nick

Powell, Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck (are all 23 or under). Shinji K agawa and Chicharito (Javier Hernandez) are 24. Jonny Evans is 25 and Wayne Rooney is hitting his peak at 27. “Older players like Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand may be coming towards the end of their careers, but these younger players are the foundation for the next five or six years, irrespective of the players breaking through, like Adnan Januzaj, the Belgian boy, who’s really looking very good.”—AFP

Havelange quits, Blatter cleared of misconduct

Ali loves to watch the old Ali — daughter




Peng stuns Bartoli at Portugal Open

Page 16

SPAIN: Real Madrid’s defender Sergio Ramos (left) vies with Dortmund’s Polish striker Robert Lewandowski during the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg football match. — AFP

Dortmund hold on despite late Real rally MADRID: Borussia Dortmund qualified for only their second ever Champions League final as despite losing 2-0 to Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu they prevailed 4-3 on aggregate yesterday. Needing a huge turnaround from the first-leg last week Real seemed to have run out of steam after Gonzalo Higuain, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil had passed up early opportunities However, after Robert Lewandowski had smashed the underside of the bar and Diego Lopez prevented Ilkay Gundogan with an incredible save from close range, Madrid were given a lifeline in the 83rd minute when substitute Karim Benzema swept home Ozil’s low cross. And six minutes later they had real hope of an incredible comeback as captain Sergio Ramos rifled a shot into the roof of the net. Dortmund though withstood the Madrid onslaught in

an agonising five minutes of stoppage time to seal their place at the final in Wembley next month. For Real and coach Jose Mourinho it meant going out at the same stage for the third successive year. The intense atmosphere created by the home fans before kick-off was matched by their team’s energetic start and Higuain missed a great chance after just four minutes as he was slipped in by Ozil but Roman Weidenfeller stood up well to block his effort. Angel Di Maria and Ronaldo then saw efforts fly over and Dortmund suffered a big blow on 12 minutes when Mario Gotze pulled up with an injury after hitting a routine ball forward. However, whilst still playing with 10 men they had their best chance of the opening period as Lewandowski controlled a long free-kick from Gundogan but placed his shot too close to Lopez who made a comfortable save.

Seconds later Ronaldo had an even better chance as he too chested down a long ball before volleying straight into Weidenfeller’s body before Kevin Grosskreutz could even come on to take Dortmund back up to their full compliment. Ozil then had the best opportunity of the first-half as a lovely reverse ball from Di Maria put him clean through on goal but he pulled his shot wide of the near post. After a chastening first 15 minutes though Dortmund settled admirably as their patience in possession made an increasingly desperate Madrid chase shadows for periods of time. The Germans could even have gone into half-time ahead on the night when Jakub Blaszczykowski fluffed his attempt from Lukasz Piszczek’s intelligent cutback. Dortmund’s ascendancy continued after the break and Lewandowski sliced horribly over with a gilt-edged chance five minutes after the restart before unluckily seeing his fierce drive from a narrow angle come back out after strikPreview

Messi’s fitness key to Barca’s comeback hopes MADRID: Barcelona admit any chance the Catalans have of overturning a 4-0 first-leg defeat to Bayern Munich in their Champions League semi-final return today depends very much on the fitness of Lionel Messi. The World Player of the Year looked out of sorts in Munich last week as an energetic display from the hosts tore Barca to pieces, but Messi did come off the bench to score a wonderful individual goal and set-up a second for Alexis Sanchez in Barca’s 2-2 draw with Athletic Bilbao on Saturday. And Barcelona assistant manager Jordi Roura believes Messi has started to find his feet again after being troubled by a hamstring injury for the past month. “Messi is the best player in the world and obviously when you don’t have him you notice it. He makes the difference,” he told a press conference after the Athletic game. “He will continue with his recuperation after the injury. He was very good today and we hope that little by little he arrives at his best level. He will continue improving and the better Leo is the more chances we will have against Bayern.” Despite Messi not being at 100%, Barca’s principal problem in the first-

SPAIN: Barcelona’s midfielder Andres Iniesta takes part in a training session on the eve of the UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg football match against Bayern Munich. — AFP leg was their defending and manager Tito Vilanova has even more problems at the back with Jordi Alba suspended for today’s clash. Adriano does return from suspension and is expected to replace Alba, however the biggest doubt remains who will partner Gerard Pique in central defence. Javier Mascherano returned to light training on Monday well ahead of the schedule planned for him after suffering a lateral knee ligament injury against Paris Saint-

Germain on April 2 and he could be thrown straight back into the side, although Vilanova also has the option of using either Eric Abidal or Alex Song. Bayern by contrast will be able to welcome back striker Mario Mandzukic after he too missed the first-leg through suspension. And despite their comfortable lead, manager Jupp Heynckes has said he won’t rest any of his six firstteam regulars that could miss the final should they be booked at the Camp Nou.

Captain Philip Lahm, Dante, Javi Martinez, Luis Gustavo, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Gomez are all just one booking away from missing the showcase at Wembley should Bayern seal their passage into the final next month. “I won’t be making any concessions,” Heynckes told the club’s website. “I’ll select my best available team. The players will have to show great discipline, which means: no gestures, no unnecessary fouls, and they mustn’t let themselves be provoked. That’s the decisive factor.” And having once experienced losing a tie after winning the firstleg 5-1 when manager of Borussia Monchengladbach against Real Madrid in 1985, Heynckes is determined not to make the same mistake again. “We need the same attitude, willingness to run and good tactics,” he said. “Barcelona are still the best team in the world. We know they’re capable of stunning results at home, and they’ve overturned deficits in the past. Their pride has been wounded and they’ll give it everything they’ve got. We’ll need a top performance.” Both Dante and Jerome Boateng missed training on Monday but both are expected to line up in central defence as German international Toni Kroos remains Bayern’s only absentee through injury. — AFP

ing the underside of the bar. Mourinho threw on Benzema and Kaka as a last throw of the dice 10 minutes into the second-half but it seemed to be a fruitless move as Madrid lost their shape against a Dortmund side flowing with confidence. Another lovely move from the visitors saw Marco Reus tee up what seemed like a certain goal for Gundogan only for Lopez to somehow repel the ball with his trailing arm. The hosts were then given a glimmer of hope eight minutes from time when Kaka released Ozil and his cross was turned home by Benzema. And they were soon rampant when Benzema set-up Ramos to crash home a second six minutes later. However, a Ramos header that sailed wide in stoppage time was the closest they came to sealing a remarkable comeback as Dortmund booked their place to face either Barcelona, or more likely, Bayern Munich at Wembley. — AFP

Cavendish to lead Omega Giro bid PARIS: Isle of Man sprinter Mark Cavendish is the leading name in the Omega Pharma Quick-Step team for this year’s Giro d’Italia, which starts in Naples on Saturday. Cavendish, 27, will not however be able to count on the support of the Italian sprint veteran Alessandro Petacchi, who had been linked with a move to the team by local media. Petacchi had said after leaving the Lampre team last week that he needed a break from the sport but later admitted that he could be tempted by the prospect of teaming up with another leading sprinter, such as Cavendish. Cavendish, who has won eight stages on the Giro since 2008, will also be deprived of the support of the team’s other star names, including Belgium’s Tom Boonen, Germany’s time-trial specialist Tony Martin and Sylvain Chavanel of France. “The presence of a pure sprinter such as Mark will change our approach to the race if we compare it with our last participations,” said Omega Pharma spor ting director Davide Bramati. “I think an immediate important moment will be the first stage in Naples. Everyone wants to fight for the first (leader’s) Pink Jersey. “Besides Mark, we go into the race with experienced guys such as (Michal) Golas and (Jerome) Pineau who have experience going for the stage victories at the Giro,” Bramati added. Meanwhile, Spain’s state anti-doping agency said it would appeal a court ruling that blood bags confiscated from a medical

doctor who was sentenced yesterday to a year in prison for performing blood transfusions on top cyclists be destroyed. In her ruling Judge Julia Patricia Santamaria said Eufemiano Fuentes offered the blood doping treatments for money, posing a “significant risk to the health” of those receiving the blood and banned him from practising as a sports doctor for four years. She also refused to give the World AntiDoping Agency (WADA) or any other antidoping authority access to the 211 blood bags seized in 2006 from Fuentes’ apartments in police raids as part of the so-called “Operation Puerto” investigation. Instead she ordered the bags of blood, which could identify other sportsmen implicated in the scandal to be destroyed once any appeals have been settled. “All I can say is that I want to continue to work on this. For me, Operation Puerto is not over,” the director of Spain’s State AntiDoping Agency, Ana Munoz, told a news conference after the court issued its ruling. “I am going to ask the judge for any evidence of whatever nature, including the bags, so that these acts which she herself considers to be infractions can be judged by the competent authorities,” she added. During his trial Fuentes said he worked with clients from other sports including football, tennis, athletics and boxing but he did not name them. Under Spanish law Fuentes will not have to go to jail for a sentence of less than two years since he has no previous convictions. — AFP


Shell to become UAE’s Bab sour gas partner Page 22 US home prices rise, seen helping economic recovery


S&P affirms NBK’s ratings at A+, outlook stable

Page 23 KIPCO reports KD8.6m Q1 net profit

Page 25

Page 26

PARIS: France’s President Francois Hollande (center), next to Junior Minister for Cities Francois Lamy (left), addresses teachers and pupils in a school during a visit focused on youth’s employment in Les Mureaux, outside Paris yesterday.—AFP

France faces fresh recession threats Empty shops, tight wallets as consumer spending drops PARIS: French consumers bought fewer cars, tables and chairs, and clothes in the first part of the year, challenging the government’s pledge to steer the euro-zone’s second largest economy away from recession. Consumer spending accounts for more than half of France’s output and is the motor of the economy. It fell last year for the first time in 19 years. Record unemployment is still pushing households to keep their wallets closed. An unexpected rebound in March, largely due to heating staying on through cold weather, was not enough to stop a 0.4 percent January to March quarterly decline. The data prompted Jacques Creyssel, head of the FCD business federation, to warn of a fresh contraction in purchasing power this year. He called the March rebound of 1.3 percent “technical.” Philippe Waechter, chief economist at Natixis Asset Management, agreed.

“Household consumption will remain lifeless this year and I wouldn’t expect much change next year,” he said. An opinion poll showed last week that 77 percent of people reckon their purchasing power will contract this year after shrinking in 2012 for the first time in nearly 30 years. Some 58 percent of respondents plan to cut spending in the coming months, the Mediaprism survey showed. Even sectors which have long been more resilient are also feeling the pinch, with 40 percent of respondents saying in the survey that they will spend less on food. “We are in a particularly difficult time for consumption, including for food,” Creyssel said. His federation represents France’s major retailers including Carrefour and Casino. The hushed alleys of a large mass-market furniture shop on the edge of Paris are indicative of the dearth of spending by

households who are cutting back on all but the essentials. “ This place should be swarming with people on a Saturday, and there’s no one,” said vendor Hamid Ouafai, looking around, on a recent weekend, at the piles of boxes, lamps and chairs standing untouched around him in the Fly furniture shop. A quick look at his computer just before 2 pm that day told Ouafai that his section of the shop has grossed about 1,500 euros so far, far from the target, already revised down, of 7,000 euros for the day. “People don’t have money to spend anymore ... These are not happy days,” he said shaking his head. The household savings rate will be key to how consumption fares this year after the drop in consumer spending last year was mitigated by people digging into their savings. “Will it be the same in 2013? Looking at 2012 we would hope so but there is a risk. If households get more worried about unem-

ployment or worry that more tax increases could come they could increase rainy day savings,” said Cedric Audenis, head of economic forecasting at INSEE. “ We would rather expect a growth rebound to come from abroad, because our partners like Germany and the United States have better fundamentals and, at home, we don’t expect a rebound either from consumption or business investment,” he said. The government forecasts that household consumption will barely grow by 0.2 percent overall - this year and contribute to keeping the economy just out of recession. But many economists view the forecast as too optimistic and instead predict a slight contraction. In contrast, in EU powerhouse Germany, criticized in France for insisting on eurozone-wide austerity, consumer morale rose to its highest since October 2007, data showed. — Reuters

Euro-zone jobless hit fresh record amid anti-austerity ire BRUSSELS: European unemployment hit a fresh record in March with more than 19 million people out of work as calls mounted across the continent for governments to put the brakes on punishing austerity in favor of policies to spur growth. As recession continues to sap the eurozone and wider EU, the Eurostat data agency yesterday reported an extra 62,000 people joining unemployment queues in just four weeks in the 17-nation euro-zone as the jobless rate climbed for the 23rd consecutive month-hitting 12.1 percent in March. The frightening new figures, notably showing one out of four under-25s on the dole, but almost two in three in Greece and Spain, come amid an increasingly loud debate over the effects on jobs of the cost- cutting measures pushed by Germany and other austerity advocates. After calls from France for a switch, Italy’s new prime minister faces an early test of his vow to reverse a policy he says is extinguishing his country’s economic growth when he meets German Chancellor Angela Merkel later in the day. Enrico Letta embarks on his first official trip abroad as head of a coalition government a day after telling parliament that “I taly is dying from austerity alone. Growth policies cannot wait.” Last week even the European Commission, which since the outset of the crisis in 2008 had thrown its weight behind fiscal cuts, admitted the tide might be turning on austerity. While it was “fundamentally right”, said Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, “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.” Yet across Europe anger is rising against austerity as hard economic data fails to show a turn-around. Greece, the euro-zone nation hardest hit by unemployment, saw joblessness climb relentlessly to 27.2 percent in January, the latest available figures, from 26.3 percent in December. Last weekend, the Greek parliament agreed to fire another 14,000 civil servants as part of the belt-tightening measures demanded in return for EU-IMF bailouts. Meanwhile Portugal, another bailed-out nation facing one of the euro -zone’s sharpest rises in unemployment — 17.5 percent in March against 15.1 percent in February-sought to agree new spending cuts after its Constitutional Court rejected 1.3 billion euros worth of austerity measures. The court deemed discriminatory the cuts to civil servant salaries and pensions, also decided in response to demands by EU-IMF lenders. In Cyprus, which saw a huge month-to-month rise in unemployment to 14.2 percent against 10.7 percent the previous month, the parliament is to debate the terms of a tough 10-billioneuro EU-IMF bailout. Across the full 27-nation EU, yesterday’s data showed a total 26.5 million people out of work last month, or 10.9 percent, with 69,000 extra workers on the dole in March. “Unemployment in Europe remains unacceptably high,” said the EU’s employment and social affairs commissioner Laszlo Andor of the dramatic year-on-year rise. A year earlier joblessness stood at 11.0 percent in the euro-zone and 10.3 percent in the European Union. Recession, unemployment, lack of growth and poverty “have damaged trust in political and economic systems across Europe”, he said.

“To restore this trust is today the most important duty for national governments and for the EU.” In comparison, unemployment in the United States was at 7.6 percent in March and 4.3 percent in Japan in February. “The gap between the countries with the highest and lowest jobless rates remains extremely high,” Andor added, calling for demand-side interventions such as a lower taxes, structural reforms and training. The lowest unemployment rates were in Austria, which saw a slight fall to 4.7 percent and in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, where it remained unchanged at 5.4 percent. But the greatest cause for concern lay with youth unemployment.

In March, 24 percent of under-25s were jobless in the euro-zone, and 23.5 percent in the 27-nation EU against 22.5 percent and 22.6 percent a year earlier, respectively. In Greece it soared to a whopping 59.1 percent in January, the latest availa b l e f i g u re, a n d h i t 5 5 . 9 p e rc e n t i n Spain, 38.4 percent in Italy and 38.3 percent in Portugal. “Youth unemployment h a s p o t e n t i a l l y d i s a s t ro u s c o n s e quences, especially if it prolongs, as young people can be cut off not only from the labour market but from society as a whole,” Commissioner Andor added. “EU institutions and governments, business and social par tners at all levels need to do all they can to avoid a ‘lost generation’”. — AFP

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan bank customers line up outside a state-run Bank of Ceylon branch in the commercial hub of Pettah, in the capital Colombo yesterday. — AFP

UAE property stocks slide MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS DUBAI: Shares in Abu Dhabi’s Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real Estate fell yesterday after they reported mixed first-quarter earnings, weighing on the emirate’s main stock index. Aldar dropped 3.3 percent after its quarterly profit and revenue slumped by more than half. Shares in Sorouh, which will delist from the Abu Dhabi bourse in June and merge with Aldar, dipped 1.6 percent. Sorouh’s profit rose 21.6 percent, but revenue fell 35 percent. “There’s a big difference between what you see in the (property) market and what companies report in their earnings because they only record revenue from property sales when the property is delivered, not when it is sold,” said a regional property analyst on condition of anonymity. Despite yesterday’s earnings statements, “the sector seems to be picking up selectively and occupancy rates are improving.” Aldar shares are still up 13.3 percent in 2013 and Sorouh is up 48 percent. Aldar’s results were short of forecasts as gross profit margins fell to about 25 percent from 50 percent in previous quarters due to a change in its revenue mix, the analyst said. “Maybe that is why we’re seeing more selling pressure on Aldar’s shares - people were possibly hoping for more details on the merger, such as a specific timeline for when the process will be completed,” the analyst added. Abu Dhabi’s index slipped 0.2 percent, down for a second day in three since Thursday’s 4-1/2 year peak. Other Gulf markets were broadly positive, extending gains as an upbeat economic outlook buoyed investor sentiment. “We continue to operate against a very supportive backdrop - the underlying drivers of the economy are strong, there is high government spending, valuations are attractive and stocks offer very tempting yields in a low interest rate environment,” said Rami Sidani, Schroders Middle East head of investment. “The only risk for the rest of the year would be a significant deterioration on the global scene.” The Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Dubai benchmarks have all gained more than 20 percent this year, while the economies of the six Gulf Coooperation Council countries are forecast to grow by at least 3 percent in 2013, according to this week’s Reuters poll of analysts. Renewed buying in blue chip stocks lifted Dubai’s index to a new 3-1/2 year high on Tuesday, although it is still down 66 percent from its 2008 peak. “Fundamentals have improved substantially, yet UAE markets have lagged emerging markets since the global financial crisis,” added Schroders’ Sidani. “There is more to go given valuations remain attractive - we’re still way off peak levels, especially in blue chip stocks.” In Riyadh, loss-making Zain Saudi fell 4.9 percent to a week-low. After market hours, the loss-making telecommunications operator said it had extended $3 billion of loans due on Tuesday and Wednesday for up to five weeks. HSBC Bank Oman, which was formed last year by a merger of HSBC’s Oman unit and Oman International Bank, rose 1.0 percent as investors give a lukewarm response to the lender’s quarterly profit jump. “We’re not happy with the quality of the bank’s earnings - it’s still not able to secure decent non-interest business,” said Adel Nasr, United Securities’ brokerage manager. “The costs of the merger are still high and to see the synergies from the merger will take longer than we thought.” —Reuters



Shell to become UAE’s Bab sour gas partner Dutch giant fends off Total bid

TOKYO: A customer checks iPads at a booth of Japanese mobile communication giant Softbank at a Tokyo electronics shop yesterday. — AFP

Softbank chief defends Sprint takeover bid TOKYO: The head of Japanese mobile operator Softbank yesterday defended his proposed $20 billion takeover of US firm Sprint Nextel, which will see his already heavily indebted company taking on even more loans. Masayoshi Son said Softbank’s bid to buy 70 percent of Sprint ultimately offered a better deal for shareholders over the unsolicited $25.5 billion bid from American satellite-television provider DISH Network. “We will bring growth to Sprint which Sprint has not seen in many years,” Son told a press briefing in Japan, rejecting the rival DISH bid as inadequate and “very complicated”. The head of Japan’s third-biggest mobile operator painted his firm as the one with more experience in debt-financed takeovers and said Softbank’s bid could be consummated one year earlier than its rival. The firm had addressed US regulators’ concerns over national security tied to a foreign takeover of Sprint, he added. Earlier this month, Softbank said it was on track to seal the agreement, announced in October, by the end of July. If successful, the deal would become the biggest overseas acquisition by a Japanese firm. When asked if he thought Sprint shareholders

would choose his firm’s offer, Son said: “I’m sure they need a few days to digest. “Today is the first time I’m explaining our side of the story. “I’m very positive that when they understand this from 360 degrees... they will make the right choice, a prudent decision.” DISH said it was offering to buy Sprint, the third-largest US wireless carrier, for $17.3 billion in cash and $8.2 billion in stock. Charlie Ergen, DISH’s chairman, has said his firm’s proposal “clearly presents Sprint shareholders with a superior alternative to the pending Softbank proposal”. Son’s press briefing came after Softbank yesterday said its annual net profit had slipped 7.8 percent on investment-linked losses. The firm posted a net profit of 289.40 billion yen ($2.96 billion) on sales of 3.38 trillion yen, up 5.5 percent from a year earlier, it said. Softbank has benefited from growing demand at home for Apple’s iPhone and had been the only Japanese mobile operator to offer the smartphone until KDDI, the country’s second-largest operator, joined the fray. For the full year to March, SoftBank posted a 745-billion-yen operating profit, up 10.3 percent, thanks to a strengthening of its network and customer base. — AFP

Japan crude imports from Iran rise 4.5% TOKYO: Japan’s crude oil imports from Iran rose 4.5 percent in March from a year ago, the same month that the world’s third-largest oil importer won its third consecutive waiver from US sanctions on Tehran for reducing shipments from the country. Japan imported 1.39 million kilolitres (282,833 barrels per day), Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) data showed yesterday. Supplies from Iran rose by 46 percent from February. The increase was the first year-on-year rise in monthly imports since June 2012, according to METI data. Buyers of Iranian crude like Japan are required to steadily cut purchases as the United States and other western countries are seeking to choke off the Middle Eastern country’s revenue because of concerns about Tehran’s nuclear program. The US extended 180-day waivers on Iran sanc-

tions for Japan and 10 European Union nations last month. The waivers mean that banks in the countries won’t be shut out of the US financial system because of purchases of Iranian oil made after new sanctions were imposed on the country. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes but the United States and its European allies say it is aimed at developing an atomic weapon. Iran’s oil revenues have fallen by about 50 percent since tough EU and US measures were imposed last year, hurting business and cutting living standards for ordinary Iranians. Japan’s Ministry of Finance recently issued customscleared import data from Iran that showed purchases of Iranian oil fell 51 percent in March. The oil industry considers METI data as the more reliable benchmark because it tracks tanker arrivals. — Reuters

DUBAI: Royal Dutch Shell will partner Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC) in a multibillion-dollar project to develop the Bab sour gas field, the partners said yesterday. The choice of Shell ahead of rival bidder Total to help treat the potentially deadly gases in Bab offers Europe’s largest energy company a chance to prove the effectiveness of its latest gas technology. The 30-year Bab venture also puts the Anglo-Dutch giant in a strong position to renew its role in the UAE’s largest onshore oil concession, on which the Bab field stands, when that contract comes up for renewal early next year. “We value our long and successful partnership with ADNOC, and look forward to continuing to play a role in helping the United Arab Emirates meet its energy

needs,” Shell Chief Executive Peter Voser said in a statement. Shell had been widely expected to win the contract to develop Abu Dhabi’s Shah gas field in 2011, but lost out to Occidental Petroleum. UAE state news agency WAM said earlier on Tuesday that ADNOC would own 60 percent of the Bab joint venture’s equity and Shell would hold the rest. Total was overlooked for the Bab project despite a French charm offensive which included a visit to the UAE by French President Francois Hollande in January. Bab, and the almost as technically challenging Shah sour gas project, are vital to limit the UAE’s growing gas imports over the next decade. Shah, which was developed first because it is seen as less difficult than Bab to develop, is on track for completion by the

Abu Dhabi property firms’ income drops

Emaar Properties net profit slips 8% DUBAI: Dubai’s largest property developer Emaar Properties reported a worse than expected 8 percent drop in first-quarter net profit yesterday, hit by the costs of tapping into the recovery of house sales in the financial hub. The builder of the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, showed profit of 556 million dirhams ($151.4 million) in the quarter ended March 31, compared to 606 million dirhams in the same period a year ago, it said in a statement. A Reuters poll of six analysts had predicted an average net profit of 600 million dirhams. Revenue for the quarter was 2.11 billion dirhams, up 16 percent from 1.82 billion dirhams a year earlier. “The selling and marketing expenses is the main point this quarter,” said Loic Pelichet, assistant vice president at NBK Capital. “Emaar has picked up their development activity in the last two quarters and this has generated supplementary expenses for the company.” Costs of its selling, marketing, general and administrative expenses rose 26 percent to 531 million dirhams. Emaar has led a gradual recovery in the emirate’s property market over the last six months, largely on the back of speculative buyers returning to a home sales market which collapsed after the 2008 financial crisis. Shares of Emaar ended 1.3 percent higher on the Dubai stock market ahead of the earnings announcement. The stock has climbed 47.7 percent this year as the developer announced a series of new projects that were sold out within hours of launching. Its shopping malls and hospitality businesses was the biggest contributor accounting for 55 percent of the total revenue, the statement added. The developer has claimed huge successes in pre-sales of its recently launched projects, with investors queuing overnight to buy apartment and villas on a first-come-first-served basis.—Reuters

end of 2014. Because Bab sits in one of the fields that make up the UAE’s onshore oil concession, some industry observers believe the selection of Shell is likely to support its efforts to continue operating the oil fields for decades. The UAE oil concession system allows international energy companies to acquire equity in the OPEC member country’s hydrocarbon resources. Big western oil companies including Shell are long-standing partners with ADNOC in the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations but face rival bids to run the fields, which produce about 1.5 million barrels per day from Asian companies. Bids from international oil companies hoping to operate the onshore fields beyond 2014 are due by the start of October. — Reuters

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi’s Aldar Properties , set to come together in a state-backed merger with Sorouh Real Estate, reported lower quarterly earnings yesterday in a fresh indication of continued weakness in the UAE capital’s property sector. Aldar, Abu Dhabi’s largest developer and builder of the Formula One race track, said on Tuesday that both its quarterly revenue and net profit fell by more than half. Sorouh, which will delist from the Abu Dhabi bourse in June and merge with Aldar, reported a quarterly profit rise of 21.6 percent largely due to reversal of contingencies on some completed projects. Its revenue in the three months to March 31 fell by more than a third to 632.2 million dirhams. Shares of Aldar and Sorouh were down 3.3 percent and 1.6 percent respectively on the Abu Dhabi bourse at 0615 GMT. “The market is seeing continuous supply (of properties) but it is controlled and managed in phases to help the market absorb the supply,” said Sorouh’s chief operating officer Gurjit Singh. The company is on track to deliver 7,000 units by end of 2014. Developers in Abu Dhabi are strug-

gling to emerge from the property market collapse in 2009, when prices dropped by nearly 50 percent from its peak in 2008. Aldar was rescued with government aid of over $10 billion. In return, it sold assets to the government including the Ferrari World Theme Park. In a state-backed move to consolidate, the two developers decided to merge operations in March to create a real estate entity with assets in excess of $13 billion. Aldar made a quarterly profit of 154.3 million dirhams compared with 478.2 million dirhams in the prior-year period. Revenue for the quarter slumped to 1.6 billion dirhams compared to 3.6 billion dirhams in the first quarter of 2012. Meanwhile Sorouh, the smaller company among the two, reported a profit of 101.6 million dirhams compared with 83.6 million dirhams during the same period in 2012. This was largely due to other income of 36.6 million dirhams, which the company said was a reversal of contingencies on certain completed projects. Sorouh’s revenue for the quarter dropped 35 percent to 632.2 million dirhams. — Reuters

Islamic Bank of Britain narrows loss, gets capital from QIIB SYDNEY: Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB) narrowed its losses in 2012, Britain’s only sharia-compliant retail lender said, a week after it raised 10 million pounds ($15.5 million) from majority shareholder Qatar International Islamic Bank. IBB, which has struggled to turn a profit since its inception in 2004, posted a loss of 6.99 million pounds in 2012 versus a loss of 9 million pounds a year earlier. Home financing business helped narrow

“The additional 10 million pounds of capital will allow us to fund our asset growth and transformation program, as we head towards a more stable and in the long term profitable financial position,” Sultan Choudhury, IBB’s managing director, said in a statement. QIIB, which now owns 91 percent of IBB, has been in discussions since last June with Qatari lender Masraf Al-Rayan to sell a controlling stake in the British bank. — Reuters

the gap by nearly doubling to 117 million pounds in 2012 versus 61 million pounds a year earlier. The bank did not disclose personnel or administrative expenses, which in the past have represented the bulk of its costs. Last week, IBB raised 10 million pounds by placing 1 billion shares with QIIB at a price of 1 penny each, raising the number of its outstanding ordinary shares to 4.5 billion, according to regulatory filings.

EXCHANGE RATES Philippine Peso Thai Baht Malaysian ringgit

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

US Dollar/KD GB Pound/KD Euro Swiss francs Canadian dollars Danish Kroner Swedish Kroner Australian dlr Hong Kong dlr Singapore dlr Japanese yen Indian Rs/KD Sri Lanka rupee Pakistan rupee Bangladesh taka UAE dirhams Bahraini dinars Jordanian dinar Saudi Riyal/KD Omani riyals Philippine Peso

.2770000 .4310000 .3680000 .3020000 .2780000 .2940000 .0040000 .0020000 .0771240 .7513970 .3930000 .0720000 .7366120 .0370000 CUSTOMER TRANSFER RATES .2841000 .4338920 .3707360 .3043390 .2795430 .0497330 .0443660 .2963730 .0365940 .2291130 .0029600 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0000000 .0773800 .7538810 .0000000 .0757800 .7382100 .0000000

Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. Japanese Yen Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka

ASIAN COUNTRIES 2.914 5.257 2.893 2.245 3.285 231.950 36.752 3.653

.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

6.926 9.758 94.221

Omani Riyal Qatari Riyal Saudi Riyal

GCC COUNTRIES 76.110 78.422 741.330 758.070 77.717

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

Egyptian Pound - Cash Egyptian Pound - Transfer Yemen Riyal/for 1000 Tunisian Dinar Jordanian Dinar Lebanese Lira/for 1000 Syrian Lier Morocco Dirham

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

ARAB COUNTRIES 39.950 40.648 1.332 178.310 403.050 1.915 3.101 34.250

SELL DRAFT 297.58 284.80 304.50 374.85 284.85 444.60 2.98 3.669 5.245 2.245 3.289 2.897 77.62 758.45 40.69 405.80

Selling Rate 285.050 283.995 443.550 372.765 303.200 754.675 77.585 78.245 75.975 401.825 40.693 2.248 5.252 2.890 3.655 6.916 699.240 3.915 10.175 4.070 3.360 94.030

Bahrain Exchange Company

GOLD 298.000 150.000 77.500

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

743.000 78.500 76.500

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd

EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 285.300 Euro 375.450 Sterling Pound 444.780 Canadian dollar 282.480 Turkish lira 158.720 Swiss Franc 305.950 US Dollar Buying 284.100

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

741.34 78.66 76.09

SELL CASH 295.500 281.000 307.000 375.500 286.000 439.000 3.300 3.760 5.450 2.440 3.400 2.980 78.300 757.850 41.000 410.000

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



0.4352684 0.0061592 0.0459298 0.3671145 0.0447329 0.4304380 0.0394504 0.2977660

0.4442684 0.0181592 0.0509298 0.3746145 0.0499329 0.4379380 0.0444504 0.3047660

Australasia 0.2842764 0.2350484 0.0001114

0.2962764 0.2450484 0.0001114

Canadian Dollar Colombian Peso US Dollars

America 0.2738091 0.0001485 0.2829500

0.2828091 0.0001665 0.2851000

Bangladesh Taka Cape Vrde Escudo

Asia 0.0036111 0.0031627

0.0036661 0.0033927

Australian Dollar New Zealand Dollar Uganda Shilling

Chinese Yuan Eritrea-Nakfa 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

0.0450146 0.0164733 0.0000442 0.0341871 0.0051832 0.0000243 0.0028482 0.0028420 0.0033506 0.0889274 0.0031258 0.0028696 0.0064662 0.0000728 0.2266191 0.0022063 0.0093633

0.0500146 0.0195733 0.0000502 0.0372871 0.0052472 0.0000295 0.0038482 0.0030220 0.0035806 0.0959274 0.0033258 0.0029096 0.0069362 0.0000758 0.2328191 0.0022483 0.0099633

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 0.7498071 0.0386455 0.0128960 0.1484063 0.0000793 0.0001734 0.3965460 1.0000000 0.0001749 0.0218866 0.0012117 0.7295089 0.0776546 0.0754933 0.0479373 0.0031813 0.1759937 0.0761949 0.0012862

0.7583071 0.0406755 0.0193960 0.1501963 0.0000798 0.0002334 0.4040460 1.0000000 0.0001949 0.0458866 0.0018467 0.7405089 0.0784376 O.0761333 0.0484873 0.0034013 0.1819937 0.0776449 0.0013862

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

Transfer Rate (Per 1000) 284.700 375.000 444.400 282.650 2.950 5.251 40.640 2.244 3.653 6.915 2.895 758.200 77.550 76.050



Burgan Bank platinum sponsor of 2nd Youth Banking Conference KUWAIT: Burgan Bank announced its sponsorship of the Second Youth Banking Conference organized by Kuwait University’s College of Social Sciences. During the conference, which took place between the 17th and 18th of April, Chairman of Burgan Bank, Majed Essa Al-Ajeel discussed the importance of integrating the Kuwaiti youth in the Kuwaiti banking sector, and providing robust opportunities that held define their career path in a wide range of fields within the sector. During his discussion, Al-Ajeel noted that Burgan Bank achieved a Kuwaitization percentage of 67 %, a significant accomplishment for the bank, where it has consistently worked towards achieving its long-term strategic objectives of nurturing the best talent local talents, while also aligning itself with the developmental goals of the country. The Banking Conference is the first leading conference in the State of Kuwait that targets the youth age group of the society. Amongst its main goals is to introduce the varying banking options on a local level, to raise awareness about the banking sector in the country, and to develop an understanding of the banking system and the methods utilized. Moreover, the conference was also attended by Halah El-Sherbini, Burgan Bank’s Chief Human Resources and Development Officer - General

Manager. On her part, El-Sherbini mentioned that women’s role across the banking sector has been an instrumental one, of which they proved their abilities in the decision making process, placing plans, policies that are in line with the overall strategic objectives. El-Sherbini also highlighted that Burgan Bank adopts a learning-plus-application approach which helps in the development of employees’ skills, and help recruits to not only jumpstart their career but also equip them with necessary experience to play an important role in the nation’s business and economic development. Recently, Burgan Bank received the coveted “Best Employment Program in GCC” award by World Finance Magazine’s Annual GCC Investment and Development Awards. Burgan Bank presents a successful model of a private sector firm’s ability to attract young, ambitious Kuwaitis, provide them with the skills through structured training and development programs to mold them into successful Bankers. The Bank strives to invest in its employees, reward them with best-inclass benefit programs and pave the road for them to take advantage of the various career development and growth opportunities in the Bank. Established in 1977, Burgan Bank is the youngest

commercial Bank and third largest by assets in Kuwait, with a significant focus on the corporate and financial institutions sectors, as well as having a growing retail and private bank customer base. Burgan Bank has five majority owned subsidiaries, which include Gulf Bank Algeria - AGB (Algeria), Bank of Baghdad - BOB (Iraq & Lebanon), Jordan Kuwait Bank - JKB (Jordan) Tunis International Bank - TIB

(Tunisia), and fully owned Burgan Bank - Turkey, (collectively known as the “Burgan Bank Group”). The Bank has continuously improved its performance over the years through an expanded revenue structure, diversified funding sources, and a strong capital base. The adoption of state-of-the-art services and technology has positioned it as a trendsetter in the domestic market and within the MENA region.

US home prices rise, seen helping economic recovery Labor costs rise 0.3% in first quarter

A sign for pharmaceutical company Pfizer Incorporated headquarters is displayed on 42 Street in New York. — AFP

Pfizer Q1 profit up, but drugmaker cuts outlook NEW YORK: Pfizer Inc’s first-quarter net income rose 53 percent as the world’s second-largest drugmaker benefited from a gain related to a joint venture with China. But Pfizer’s results fell short of Wall Street’s expectations, and the company lowered its forecast for the year. The current quarter shows that Pfizer continues to struggle after losing US patent protection on some of its blockbuster drugs that bring in $1 million annually or more. When popular drugs go off patent, cheaper, generic versions of those medicines often pop in the market, and that competition cuts into sales of roughly two-thirds of Pfizer’s drugs. The biggest hit has been copycat versions of Pfizer’s cholesterol fighter Lipitor, which was the world’s best-selling drug for nearly a decade until it lost exclusivity in 2011 and in much of Europe last year. Sales of Lipitor, which once brought in about $13 billion a year, dropped 55 percent to $626 million in the first quarter. Like many other drugmakers, Pfizer has been cutting costs to boost profit, but there’s likely very little fat left to trim. Pfizer and most of its rivals also have been focusing on developing very-expensive drugs for rare disorders and on expanding sales in emerging markets such as China. But there’s a limit to how much money those strategies can generate. To please shareholders, the company also has been selling off nonpharmaceutical assets and using the proceeds to repurchase more shares. Indeed, Pfizer noted on Tuesday that it’s returned about $8

billion to shareholders so far this year in dividends and share repurchases. But some investors have been pushing for more divestitures. “They’re having trouble hitting their sales goals so they need to make up for it with financial moves, like buying back shares, that help prop up the stock price,” Erik Gordon, an analyst and professor at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, wrote in an email. During the first quarter, Pfizer, which is based in New York, said net income was $2.75 billion, or 38 cents per share, down from $1.79 billion, or 28 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, adjusted income was 54 cents per share, a penny less than the forecast of analysts surveyed by FactSet. Results were boosted by a $490 million gain from the transfer of some product rights to its joint venture in China. In the year-ago quarter, Pfizer took charges totaling $1.66 billion, for litigation, acquisition and other costs. Revenue in the latest quarter was $13.5 billion, down 9 percent from $14.89 billion a year earlier and below analysts’ expectations of $13.99 billion. Pfizer said unfavorable currency exchange rates reduced revenue by 1 percent, or 2 cents per share. The rest of the drop was due to lower sales, mostly due to generic competition of its schizophrenia drug Geodon, which got generic competition in the US last March, and for Lipitor. Sales of nearly two dozen other drugs - many former blockbuster medicines with annual sales of $1 billion or more also declined, mostly due to worsening generic competition. — AP

NICOSIA: Cypriot left-wing supporters attend a protest outside the parliament in the capital Nicosia yesterday. The Cypriot parliament was to debate a 10-billion-euro EU bailout, as the government warned that its rejection would have “catastrophic” consequences for the economy of the eastern Mediterranean island. — AFP

WASHINGTON: US home prices rose in February at their fastest annual rate in almost seven years, a fresh sign the housing market recovery will help counter the drag on the economy from government belt tightening. The S&P/Case Shiller index of 20 metropolitan areas showed single-family home prices rose 9.3 percent in February from a year earlier, according to a report released yesterday. The data reinforces the view that rising home prices could make Americans feel better about spending this year, helping counter a hit to economic growth from tax hikes and government spending cuts. That hit is already being felt. “The steady rise in home prices reinforces the current narrative of continued progress in the US housing market,” said Millan Mulraine, an economist at TD Securities in New York. Other recent data has pointed to less steam building in the housing market, but rising prices should give construction firms more incentive to build new homes and increase inventories. A dearth of homes on the market has been a recent factor holding back sales. The S&P/Case Shiller index showed prices gained 1.2 percent in February on a seasonally adjusted basis from January, topping forecasts for a 0.9 per-

cent gain. Following a spectacular collapse that fueled the 2007-09 recession, the housing sector appears to have turn a corner and adjusted prices have been rising since February 2012. Major US stock indexes were lower in early trade. A separate report showed US labor costs rose less than expected in the first quarter and pointed to benign

wage inflation, a potential sign the Federal Reserve has space to continue its monetary stimulus program. The Employment Cost Index increased 0.3 percent in the first quarter, the Labor Department said on Tuesday. However, the data may have been distorted by an error found in benefits data for sales and office workers, the depart-

A home is for sale in Auburn. Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller reported on home prices in February yesterday. — AP

Oman seeks $4bn loan for Duqm refinery MUSCAT: State-run Oman Oil Co is talking to bankers about raising a $4 billion loan to build an oil refinery in the southern coastal town of Duqm, a major part of the government’s effort to build the country’s industrial base. Oman unveiled a plan to build a large petrochemical complex alongside a $6 billion refinery in Duqm last year, as it seeks to expand downstream oil operations. “Oman Oil Co is sounding out local banks to raise $4 billion for the Duqm refinery,” a senior Omani commercial banker, who did not want to identified, told Reuters on the sidelines of an investment seminar yesterday. “I also believe it will soon appoint a lead arranger for this loan,” he added. Oman Oil Co is developing the 230,000 barrel-per-day refinery project with International Petroleum Investment Co, based in neighboring United Arab Emirates. It said last week it would build a 200 million barrel crude oil storage facility at Duqm, by far the world’s largest tank farm, at a cost of $1 billion. Gulf Arab oil producers may see the facility, lying outside the Strait of Hormuz, as insurance against potential shipping disruptions in the strait by Iran. The Omani government said last week it was seeking to raise $2.5 billion to expand an existing oil refinery at Sohar and pay for a previous loan. It also runs another refinery in the capital Muscat. Sultan Qaboos bin Said, Oman’s ruler for 42 years, has picked Duqm, once a sleepy fishing village, as the country’s next industrial centre, with investments of up to $15 billion targeted in petrochemicals and infrastructure over the next 10 years. “We are targeting $5 billion foreign investment at Duqm in the next five years,” finance minister Darwish Al-Balushi told reporters yesterday, adding that projects worth $18 billion were either built or planned in the town. “With all that investment, Duqm will help to diversify the economy away from oil income,” he said. Oman is also investing heavily in airport and port operations in the southern city of Salalah, near the border with Yemen. Oil production accounts for 77 percent of government revenues and half of output in the $76 billion economy. Balushi reiterated on Tuesday that the government would stick to its 2013 budget spending plan, despite a $22 slide in global oil prices to the current $103 per barrel over the last couple of months. “We are committed to 13 billion rial ($33.8 billion) spending this year. That will not change. If oil prices are at an average of $100 per barrel we will achieve a surplus in 2013,” he said. The finance ministry boosted planned 2013 expenditure by nearly 30 percent over its 2012 budget to 12.9 billion rials, pencilling in a deficit of 1.7 billion rials based on an assumed oil price of $85 per barrel. Since 2011, the government has hiked spending on welfare and job creation schemes to head off social unrest following a wave of protests in the Arab world. Oman’s consultative Shura Council approved in February a much higher minimum wage and curbs on foreign labour to help prevent any repeat of 2011 protests against joblessness. — Reuters

ment said. Workers’ benefits rose 0.1 percent during the quarter, the slowest pace since 1999. A Labor Department analyst said the data error probably did not have a major impact on that series. The department said benefits data for sales and office jobs had been left out of the calculations for the increase in overall benefits. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a 0.5 percent increase in overall labor costs. In the 12 months through March, compensation costs advanced 1.8 percent. Fed policymakers yesterday begin a two-day meeting on monetary policy, with results scheduled to be announced today. A recent slew of weak US growth data has raised expectations the Federal Reserve will keep its pace of bond buying at $85 billion a month. The Fed has kept overnight interest rates near zero since late 2008 and it has tripled its balance sheet to about $3 trillion through purchases of securities, which are aimed at pushing longer-term borrowing costs lower. Wages and salaries, which account for 70 percent of employment costs, increased 0.5 percent in the first quarter, up from a 0.3 percent gain in the fourth quarter. They were up 1.6 percent in the 12 months through March. — Reuters

Saudi summer crude burn to keep pressure on output DUBAI: Saudi Arabia faces another summer of heavy crude burning for power generation, with little more gas available and demand for cooling rising each year in the kingdom. Roughly half of Saudi gas supply still comes from its vast oilfields, so summer air conditioning demand supports high oil output levels because the kingdom needs more of both fuels for its power stations. There have been no big gas fields brought online since the Karan project ramped up production in 2012, and it is unclear whether this independent gas field will be able to run at full flow this summer. Saudi oil minister Ali Al-Naimi said on April 1 that Karan should be running at capacity “very soon,” but it is not clear whether it has been running below capacity because spring power demand was low or because it was still unable to run flat out. If Karan is able to run at full capacity all summer it should help reduce the total volume of crude burn compared to 2012, because it was not running at capacity until towards the end of last peak demand season.Sources familiar with Saudi oil policy said last week that they expected external demand for Saudi crude to remain steady from March through June 2013. But crude demand by Saudi power plants is set to surge from now until July, with a rise of 356,000 barrels per day seen from March-June 2011 and a jump of 400,000 bpd in the same period of 2012, government data published through the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (JODI) shows. So if crude export demand does remain steady, the inevitable Saudi oil demand jump means output will have to rise significantly. If Asian demand for Saudi crude falters, the surge in domestic demand should still support production, especially as any reduction in output would deal a double blow of depriving industry of gas feedstock while condemning even more oil to burn in power plants because there is less associated gas. Riyadh has long insisted that it adjusts oil supply to meet demand and not to steer prices. With Brent crude trading at around $104 a barrel on April 30, but the world economy still seen as fragile, Saudi oil policy makers will be wary of raising production significantly to meet their own demand. They had hoped Karan would dampen the annual crude burning bonanza last year, but exceptionally hot weather forced record vol-

umes of Saudi oil into power plant furnaces last summer. Were it not for Karan, combined with near record high crude output pumping out more associated gas, oil burning would have exceeded the record 763,250 barrels a day (bpd) used in power plants from June through September last year. Using stocks to meet the air-conditioning driven demand surge would avoid having to raise production above current levels of around 9.2 million bpd - a move which risks driving oil prices well below Saudi Arabia’s stated preferred level of around $100 a barrel. Saudi oil strategists will have to weigh the benefits of using crude stocks instead of raising well head production - considering that using stocks means less potential gas supplies from oilfields, which will further increase the amount of crude it needs to burn to keep the growing population cool. But as most oil traders do not find out about production levels until the next month, and because export volumes have greater influence over prices, the kingdom could raise output if it needs the oil without immediately impacting prices or increasing exports. But there is still some uncertainty over how much gas Karan will be able to supply, with one part of Saudi Aramco’s website saying it hit full capacity of 1.8 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) in summer 2012, and another saying the processing plant will reach full capacity by 2013. Saudi oil officials and Saudi Aramco spokespeople were unable to comment immediately on Karan’s operational status. A sharp rise in oil production from May to June 2011 enabled Saudi Arabia to satisfy its own surge in oil demand and boost exports to compensate for a fall in supplies during the Libyan civil war. Saudi oil exports have fallen relative to production in three of the four summers since 2009, when domestic demand has eaten into exports each year, JODI data shows. Meanwhile, stock withdrawals have remained relatively low, indicating that Saudi stocks have not been heavily used to support exports over summer. Saudi electricity use has risen by about 6 percent annually over the last decade, with summer peak demand more than doubling from 2002 to over 48 gigawatts in 2011, according to the national electricity regulator. — Reuters



BP Q1 profits surge on Russian JV sale LONDON: BP’s sale of its Russian joint venture helped it more than triple first-quarter profits, the oil company said yesterday in a further sign that its disposal program in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster is on track. It said its replacement cost profits rose to $16.5 billion from the $4.7 billion for the same period last year, largely reflecting a one-off gain from the sale of its stake in TNK-BP. The replacement cost figure omits gains or losses in inventories, making it similar to net profit figures used by US oil companies. BP’s non-replacement cost net profit was $16.6 billion against $5.7 billion this time last year. Group CEO Bob Dudley said the results “demonstrate the progress BP is making in delivering the performance milestones.” Investors certainly thought so, and the stock was trading 3.5 percent higher in London at 473 pence. BP announced last month that it was buying back $8 billion of shares using money from the sale of its stake in Russian joint venture TNK-BP to Rosneft. BP now holds a

total 19.75 percent interest in Rosneft. The results come at a very uneasy time for the company, which has been functioning under a cloud since the 2010 well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 workers. Some 200 million gallons of oil spilled, smearing the shoreline of several states and fouling the Gulf of Mexico. US government investigations blamed the spill on cost-cutting and time-saving decisions made by BP. A trial in New Orleans to determine the company’s civil liability just wrapped up its first phase. Billions are at stake. Even as it tries to deal with the aftermath of 2010, BP is streamlining and undergoing dramatic change, said equity analyst Keith Bowman of Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers. He said the oil giant continues to shrink, with production down 5 percent year-overyear, “although new production opportunities are being cultivated.” “In all, underlying progress is being made,” Bowman said. “However, until the uncertainty of US legal settlement is lifted, BP

remains a higher risk investment in a traditionally lower risk sector, with consensus opinion currently denoting a hold, albeit a strong one.” The first phase of the trial wrapped up earlier this month, featuring testimony by witnesses for the federal government, a team of private plaintiffs’ attorneys, rig owner Transocean Ltd. and cement contractor Halliburton. This part of the trial is meant to identify the causes behind the BP’s Macondo well blowout and will assign fault to the companies. The second phase of the trial will start in September. This part of the trial will explore BP’s efforts to stop the flow of oil - and assess how much spilled. “While the final decision rests with the court, BP believes the evidence and testimony presented at trial confirms that it was not grossly negligent and that the accident was the result of multiple causes, involving multiple parties,” the company said in a statement. The total charge for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill remained at $42.2 billion. — AP

BAYFIELD: Kourtney Hardwick, BP Florida operations manager, looks over a methane gas well site east of Bayfield, Colorado. BP PLC reported quarterly financial results yesterday.—AP

Why did Cypriot banks keep buying Greek bonds? NICOSIA: One day last October, a memory stick containing special software for deleting data was placed into a desktop computer at Bank of Cyprus. Within minutes, 28,000 files were erased, according to investigators who had wanted to copy the data for an official report into the collapse of the Cypriot banking system. The deleted files included emails sent and received in a crucial period in late 2009 and early 2010 when Bank of Cyprus, the biggest lender on the island, spent billions of euros buying Greek bonds - at a time when international banks were cutting exposure to the heavily indebted Athens government. Those Greek bonds lost most of their value in last year’s EU-sanctioned bailout, playing a key role in plunging Cyprus into an economic maelstrom. When banks turned to Cyprus’s own cash-strapped government for help in plugging holes in their balance sheets, Nicosia too needed an international rescue. Now people in the small euro zone republic, who have lost money and face years of grim austerity, want to know who decided to plough their savings into the doomed public accounts of their bigger neighbour, and why. But answers are proving elusive, not helped by the mysterious wiping of data at Bank of Cyprus. There has been public speculation about backroom diplomatic deals or misplaced solidarity with Cypriots’ fellow Greek-speakers. But executives at the failed banks argue that Greek bonds seemed a good investment at the time - though that view is at odds with that of many bankers elsewhere in Europe, who were doing all they could to limit their own exposures to Greece. The confidential report, prepared for the Cypriot central bank by global consultants Alvarez and Marsal, found that Bank of Cyprus had been willing, from 2009 onwards, to invest in risky, highyielding Greek debt in a bid to offset an erosion of its balance sheet from rising non-performing loans. The report, which Reuters has seen, alleges that bank executives may not have revealed details of bond purchases to board directors, avoided showing losses on the bonds, and may later have delayed external investigation of the bond purchases. In December 2009, managers told media and their own board that most of the bank’s Greek bondholdings had been sold - but the bank did not then disclose that it had almost immediately bought more. Bank of Cyprus has declined to comment on the report. Petros Clerides, the Cypriot attorney-general to whom a copy of the report was delivered, declined any comment on the matter. Much attention in the crisis has hitherto focused on allegations of poor management at Cyprus’s other big lender, Laiki Bank, formerly Marfin Popular. But the Alvarez and Marsal report, whose broad findings emerged earlier this month, raises questions, too, about the former management of Bank of Cyprus. The report noted “a culture whereby senior management decisions were not challenged”. Michael Olympios, who heads an investors’ association, Pasexa, that has complained of mismanagement, said: “There was clear corporate governance failure here, and a lack of disclosure to shareholders.” More broadly, he added: “If one wants to summarize the mess in our banking system, Lord Acton sums it up; power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Under last month’s bailout deal for the Cypriot state, Laiki is being closed and Bank of Cyprus is being recapitalized. Large depositors at Bank of Cyprus have seen virtually all of their deposits over an insured 100,000-euro ($131,000) threshold frozen and stand to see up to 60 percent of those converted into equity. Many in Cyprus, including hundreds of Russians who placed their faith in its once booming offshore banking products, feel they have been unfairly treated; bank depositors in Greece suffered no losses when that country was bailed out. “They should have bought from different governments rather than just Greece,” said Demetris Syllouris, who heads the Cyprus parliament’s ethics committee which is looking into the affair. “This caused 80 percent of the problem we are in.” Aside from the wisdom of its investment strategy, it is the communication of this strategy to investors that is in question. On Dec 10, 2009, Yiannis Kypri, a general manager at Bank of Cyprus, told a Cypriot website, Stockwatch, that the bank had “minimal exposure to Greek sovereign debt” after reducing its holdings from 1.8 billion euros to 0.1 billion. The same day, according to the investigators’ report, Andreas Eliades, then Bank of Cyprus’s group chief executive officer, instructed his treasury department to begin new pur-

chases of such bonds. With these new instructions, that day the bank bought debt worth 150 million euros, and a total of 400 million by the end of 2009, according to the consultants. There is, the report says, “no evidence” the public comment about “minimal exposure” to Greece was ever “retracted or subsequently corrected by any of the bank’s executives”. Kypri told Reuters he could say little while an official inquiry continues, but he was quoted by the investigators saying he had been unaware of the plan to return to buying Greek bonds. Andreas Eliades, who was chief executive until July 2012, told Reuters Kypri’s statement to Stockwatch referred only to a temporary sell-off in response to short-term market fluctuation. Another member of senior management at the time, Nicolas Karydas, gave investigators and Reuters the same explanation. On Dec. 11, the day after the bank resumed purchases of Greek bonds, Karydas told the bank’s board that most of its Greek bonds had been sold. But, the Alvarez and Marsal investigators, add: “The board was not informed that the repurchase of Greek government bonds had commenced the prior day, after the divesture.” Karydas, group general manager of risk management and markets, who left the bank at the end of August last year, rejected any suggestion the board was unaware of the investment strategy or that he misled the board. He said in an email response to Reuters “all the executives” agreed to a policy that included possible Greek bond purchases at a meeting in November 2009. “The ... suggestions ... were also approved by the board of directors in their Dec. 11 meeting,” Karydas said. “It seemed to be a consensus view that Greece would overcome the crisis.” By April 2010, the bank had expanded its holding of Greek government bonds to 2.4 billion euros, a third more than the amount Kypri had told Stockwatch had been sold four months before. The investigators said this went beyond the bank’s own approved 2-billioneuro limit but was approved retrospectively in May 2010. Eliades, the former group CEO, said that Greek bonds were still well rated at the time and in demand internationally: “We cannot judge, with today’s circumstances, actions which took place at a different time when Greek bonds had very high demand,” he said. “Everyone was buying into Greek bonds.” By comparison, however, data from “stress tests” carried out by EU authorities concerned about the health of their banks, showed that at the end of 2010, most of the 10 biggest banks on the continent, many times larger than the Cypriot lenders, held nothing like as much Greek debt as did Bank of Cyprus and Laiki. They had 2.2 billion and 3.3 billion euros respectively, outstripped among top 10 banks only by French giants BNP Paribas and Societe Generale. The same EU data showed that Britain’sBarclays had only 192 million euros and Lloyds none at all. As investors’ fears over the solvency of Greece grew, the value of the Greek bonds fell. The Bank of Cyprus made changes to the way it accounted for the bond holdings, according to the Alvarez and Marsal report, with the result that the growing potential losses were not spelled out to investors. In April 2010, it moved about 1.6 billion euros of Greek bonds from its trading account to its “held to maturity” book. This meant the bank did not have to mark down the value of the bonds. The accounting move was made on the grounds that Greece would redeem the bonds. The report authors said: “The justification provided does not appear to be strong.” Eliades told Reuters: “Nobody could possibly expect that a European country, in the euro, could possibly default.” Last year, however, the EU and IMF bailout terms relieved Greece of the need to repay up to 80 percent on its bonds, leaving the Bank of Cyprus with losses of 1.8 billion euros. The bank declined to respond to an allegation made in the report that data that could have been relevant to understanding why it bought so much Greek debt may have been deleted. That data, the authors say, was wiped from the computer of Christakis Patsalides, an executive involved in buying bonds, using special software on Oct. 18 last year. When investigators examined it, there was a 15-month gap in emails in 20092010. There is no suggestion Patsalides himself deleted them. He told investigators that he was unaware of any missing data, according to the report. Patsalides declined comment to Reuters but told investigators for the report that had thought the bank’s ceiling for its Greek bond holdings had been set at “too high a limit”. — Reuters


BUSINESS S&P affirms NBK’s ratings at A+, outlook stable KUWAIT: Standard & Poor’s, the international credit rating agency, affirmed the long-term credit ratings of National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) at A+, the highest in the Middle East. All the bank’s ratings carry a stable outlook. Earlier this month, Moody’s Investors Service has affirmed NBK’s Aa3/ Prime- 1 long- and short-term deposit ratings and the bank’s C standalone bank financial strength rating (BFSR), equivalent to a baseline credit assessment of a3, the highest in the Middle East. The outlook on the ratings is stable. In its latest report on NBK, Standard & Poor’s pointed out that NBK’s major rating strengths include the leading commercial position in its domestic market, strong capitalization on the back of good earning capacity, and more resilient asset quality than that of its peers. The agency added that NBK’s business position is strong. The bank’s business position will remain stable, underpinned by its leading position in Kuwait, long track record of good and stable performance, as well as good and experienced management. Standard & Poor’s assessed NBK’s capital and earnings as “strong,” mainly based on the bank’s level of capitalization and profitability. 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.

Alghanim Motors welcomes Honda Executive VP Tetsuo Iwamura KUWAIT: After officially announcing that Alghanim Motors has become the sole distributor of Honda Automobiles and Honda Power Products in Kuwait, Alghanim Motors welcomed Tetsuo Iwamura, Executive Vice President, Executive Officer and Representative Director of Honda Motor Co to Kuwait. Iwamura was accompanied by Shunichi Uchida, Director of Honda Middle East and Hesham Fahmy El Hawary, Senior General Manager Network & Development Honda Middle East. Marking Iwamura’s first time ever in Kuwait, Alghanim Motors has placed great importance on ensuring the guests were warmly welcomed, whereby Omar Kutayba Alghanim - Chief Executive Office, Alghanim Industries personally took the guests on an elaborate tour of the brand new Honda Alghanim facilities. The tour included a visit to the all-new Honda Alghanim showroom located in Safat Alghanim in Al-Rai; and the newly opened Honda Alghanim service center, located next to Alghanim Industries in Shuwaikh. Believing in Honda’s promising future in Kuwait, the visit serves as a milestone in marking the new partner-

ship with Alghanim Motors. Iwamura highly praised the modern design of the new car showroom as well as the level of technology and precision employed in the service center. Iwamura also applauded the professional and systematic processes at all Honda Alghanim facilities.

In turn, Alghanim expressed his pleasure in hosting Iwamura and the accompanying delegates, thanking them for their continuous support and confidence in the newly founded partnership, while highlighting the company’s promise to promoting both Honda and Alghanim Motors’ brand names, backed by Alghanim Industries’ trusted reputation in providing top-notch customer service. Alghanim also emphasized that Alghanim Motors is committed to reintroducing a wider range of Honda products in Kuwait and matching customers’ needs with the best sales and aftersales experience while meeting international standards.

Tetsuo Iwamura with Omar Kutayba Alghanim

Markets steady despite growing ECB rate talk

NEW DELHI: An Indian customer searches through products in a cosmetics shop in New Delhi yesterday. Food giant Unilever has announced a $5.4-billion offer to raise its stake in its Indian subsidiary. — AFP

Unilever makes $5.4bn offer to raise stake in India unit MUMBAI: Food giant Unilever yesterday announced a $5.4-billion offer to raise its stake in its Indian subsidiary, eyeing explosive sales of branded consumer items to the Asian country’s growing middle class. The Anglo-Dutch firm made an offer to buy another 22.5 percent of already majority-owned Hindustan Unilever (HUL) in a proposed deal that would increase its control to 75 percent. The offer, which saw HUL shares surge, is part of Unilever’s plan to increase its presence in emerging markets such as India, where HUL’s products such as skin fairness cream “Fair and Lovely” and Lux soaps are best-sellers. “This represents a further step in Unilever’s strategy to invest in emerging markets,” said Paul Polman, Unilever’s chief executive, in a statement. Polman said the “long heritage” and the “significant” growth potential of India’s economy make it a long-term priority for the group. Unilever has proposed buying 487 million shares at 600 rupees per share, a premium of 20.6 percent on the closing price on Monday, with purchases to begin in June. Analysts welcomed the move, which comes at a time when the consumer goods sector remains bright despite an overall slowdown in the Indian economy, which grew at an estimated five percent in last fiscal year. “India is one of the largest consumption stories going around in the world, which cannot be ignored,” said Anil Talreja, partner at consultancy Deloitte India. He said con-

sumption demand from the vast and growing middle-class was strong. “India is a consumption-led story and Unilever wants to consolidate its position and get a fair share of this consumption,” added Ankur Bisen, vice-president in retail and consumer goods at consultancy Technopak. India’s retail sector is estimated to be worth $490 billion, of which consumer goods constitute about 70 percent or $350 billion, according to Bisen. Last year, India’s Congress-led government relaxed legislation to allow foreign retailers such as US supermarket giant WalMart to set up shop in India and sell directly to Indian consumers to boost investment from abroad. On Monday, HUL reported a surprise 14.7 percent rise in net profit for the January-March quarter to 7.87 billion rupees ($145 million) in the three months to March, from 6.86 billion rupees a year earlier. Expectations had been for a profit of 7.5 billion rupees. As well as making top brands for the consumer products market, HUL has a huge distribution network stretching across thousands of supermarkets and small retailers in India. Shares in HUL, whose sales are watched by analysts as a barometer of consumer demand, were trading at 578.55 rupees later in morning trade, up 16.27 percent. Other consumer stocks also rose, with Colgate Palmolive up 4.76 percent to 1,470.0 rupees and Nestle India up 5.69 percent to a high of 4,988.5 rupees. — AFP

MOSCOW: European markets steadied yesterday following a strong performance the previous session despite growing expectations of an interest rate reduction from the European Central Bank later this week. The expectation that the ECB will cut its main interest rate from the already all-time low of 0.75 percent has grown sturdier after figures yesterday showed euro-zone unemployment up at another record high of 12.1 percent. But while the rise in unemployment was not much of a surprise, the sharp fall in inflation was. Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, said inflation rose 1.2 percent in the year to April, way down from the 1.7 percent rate recorded in March and markedly below market expectations for a modest decline to 1.6 percent. The preliminary April rate was the lowest since February 2010 and takes inflation even further below the ECB’s target of keeping inflation “close to but below” 2 percent. Given that expectations of a rate cut were largely factored in and following a solid session on Monday, stocks were solid, if unspectacular. “I think the reason for this mild response is that a rate cut has now already been priced into the markets,” said Craig Erlam, market analyst at Alpari. Germany’s DAX added 0.6 percent to 7,919.70 while France’s CAC-40 was 0.2 percent lower at 3,860.98. Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.3 percent to 6,438.94. The euro, which has dropped in recent days as investors priced in a rate cut, was trading 0.3 percent higher at $1.3143. Wall Street opened slightly lower after drug company Pfizer and other companies reported weak earnings. The earnings reports offset the impact of upbeat economic indicators. The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index

rose 9.3 percent in February, the most in almost seven years. Separately the New York-based Conference Board said its consumer confidence index rose to 68.1 points in April from 61.9 in March. The Dow was down 0.5 percent at 14,747.69 while the broader S&P 500 index was down 0.4 percent at 1,587.27. Stocks around the world have performed solidly over the past few weeks despite a run of mostly disappointing economic data. However, the upside for investors in stock markets is that the soft patch may mean the world’s central banks persevere with their easy and cheap monetary policies for longer than thought. “Risk appetite continues to be enlivened rather than encumbered by the slew of poor data this week, with investors choosing to rely on optimism that the Fed will leave its current stimulus in place and that the ECB will look to cut its key lending rate,” said Brenda Kelly, senior market strategist at IG. The US Federal Reserve will later in the day begin its two-day policy meeting. As the week progresses, investors will be positioning themselves for perhaps the most important data release of the month. On Friday, US nonfarm payrolls data for April will be published, a key gauge of employment in the world’s largest economy. Earlier, Asian stocks closed higher. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.7 percent to 22,737.01. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 1.2 percent to 1,963.95. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 1.3 percent to 5,191.20. However, Japanese data showing only modest improvement in manufacturing dampened sentiment there with Nikkei 225 index dropping 0.2 percent to close at 13,860.86. — AP

KSA, Egypt, Morocco lead efforts to evelop MENA’s renewable energy: Enrst& Young DUBAI: According to Ernst & Young’s “Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices”, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Morocco are leading the MENA region’s Renewable Energy efforts. The latest edition of the quarterly report showed that all three countries were highly ranked in terms of wind, solar, and all renewable indices, providing a benchmark for the rest of the MENA region to follow. Ernst & Young’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices ranks forty countries based on their renewable energy markets on a quarterly basis. Comprised by Ernst & Young’s Renewables Financial Advisors, the report takes an in-depth look at each country’s individual technologies, renewable infrastructures, wind and solar indices, as well as an overall renewables index. In addition, the report provides deep insights into the renewables market, the recent trends and advances, and the challenges and outlook predicted for the future. Nimer Abu Ali, MENA Head of Cleantech at Ernst & Young said: “We are very pleased to see the region’s dedication to green power. In addition to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco’s increased ranking in Ernst & Young’s report, the United Arab Emirates was also highly ranked. The UAE’s most notable performance was in the solar index, where it was ranked number 12. The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has made a significant concessional loan of $250 million to help support government-led and backed renewable projects in developing countries. We look forward to seeing the future contributions of the UAE and the rest of MENA to the renewable energy market.” The report’s solar index showed that Saudi Arabia

increased in ranking from 14 to 12, after Mecca Municipality’s recent announcement of its plans to build a solar power plant. This initiative, announced in Q4 2012, would make Mecca the first city in Saudi Arabia to develop a renewable energy project. The Kingdom’s IDEA Polysilicon Company (IPC) also has plans to reach financial close on the funding for its Yanbu project by the end of 2013. The project, which will cost $1.1 billion, aims to produce 10,000 metric tonnes of Polysilicon and 800 mega watts of solar Wafers per year, which will be used to produce solar panels for the whole Middle East region. Egypt rose by one point on the onshore wind index. The increase is attributed to Egypt’s recent announcement of its plans to hold an auction for the right to use land in the Gulf of Suez in order to build wind power plants, which will have a capacity of up to 600 MW. Morocco saw an increase in its ranking in the ‘All Renewables Index’, which provides an overall score for each country for all renewable energy technologies. This increase is attributed to a series of new initiatives it has been pursuing. Morocco recently announced its plans to install 4GW of wind and solar capacity by 2020 and the recent expansion of its project pipeline signified that its plans are still on track. In addition, in Q4 2012 the Moroccan government agreed to fund the first 160 MW phase of its flagship Ouarzazate CSP plant and is looking to proceed to the second phase by the end of 2013. There are also plans for an additional site, due in 2014. Morocco’s National Electricity and Water Office is also planning a wind project which will comprise of five separate wind farms.

EU mulls ways to protect bank depositors

TAIPEI: A woman purchases produce from a street vendor in New Taipei City yesterday. Taiwan said yesterday its economy grew slower than expected in the January-March quarter as exports were hit by sluggish demand in Europe, the US and China. — AFP

BRUSSELS: Depositors should be the very last to suffer losses when a bank collapses, according to a proposal being discussed by European Union countries and seen by Reuters, which would shield savers from the kind of losses they face in Cyprus. The idea comes as member countries finalize a new draft law for the European Union that could make losses for larger savers a permanent feature of future banking crises. EU officials, however, are nervous that such a regime will panic savers, prompting them to withdraw money. In the paper, outlining the process of ‘bailing in’ savers and other steps to deal with troubled banks, officials in Brussels said that it might be wise to put depositors behind all bondholders when dividing losses from a bank collapse. Small savers, with less than 100,000 euros, will, in any event, be protected. But officials also raise the possibility of allowing national exemptions from losses for big depositors in their country if a bank fails. By striking such a compromise, officials hope to rebuild confidence after a botched attempt earlier this year to impose losses on depositors in Cyprus - initially also aimed at small

savers although this was later changed. A more favorable treatment of big depositors in the new EU law, charting how to deal with failing banks in a regime that could start in 2015, is backed by the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Ireland, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, is also pushing for such concessions ahead of a meeting of EU finance ministers in May. “This would mean that they are not excluded from bail-in, but other creditors would first absorb losses to their capacity before eligible depositors are bailed-in,” officials said in the paper, dated April 29. Before any such softening of provisions, however, EU diplomats will need to convince Germany, which remains skeptical about making such concessions, according to one official familiar with the talks. Policymakers have sought to portray the losses suffered by depositors at two of Cyprus’s banks as a one-off, but experts believe it marks a change in approach in how Europe deals with troubled banks, sparing taxpayers who have been on the hook for previous bailouts. “After Cyprus, a number of states would like more clarity,” said one official who is involved in the discussions.—Reuters



flydubai debuts in Dushanbe Airline brings operations to 33rd country in its network

Ghaith Al-Ghaith and Jeyhun Efendi at a press conference in Dushanbe

KUWAIT: flydubai, Dubai’s innovative airline, inaugurated flights to Dushanbe yesterday with a ceremony in the Tajikistan capital. Speaking at a press conference ahead of the flight landing, flydubai’s CEO, Ghaith Al-Ghaith, said: “Today is an exciting day for flydubai as we start operations to our 33rd country. We are pleased to extend our reach in Central Asia and as the first UAE airline ser ving Dushanbe, look for ward to encouraging trade and developing further relations between our countries.” Early tomorrow morning, Al Ghaith will welcome inaugural flight, FZ777, at Dushanbe International Airport before returning to Dubai on board flight FZ778, which departs at 04:50. Operations begin one day after flydubai

took delivery of its latest aircraft from the Boeing factory in Seattle. The 737800 brings the airline’s total fleet to 29 aircraft. The start of services to Dushanbe ends a busy month for flydubai during which the airline also began flights to Mineralnye Vody, Russia, and the South Sudanese capital, Juba, bringing its operational network to 57 destinations across the Middle East, Southeast Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, Subcontinent and North & East Africa. Flight details Flights to Dushanbe operate twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays. Flight FZ777 is scheduled to depart Dubai Terminal 2 at 2205hrs, arriving at

Dushanbe International Airport the next day at 0230hrs local time. The return flight, FZ778, leaves Dushanbe on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 0450hrs, landing in Dubai at 0730hrs local time. Round trip fares Return fares to Dushanbe start at KD155 while return fares to Dubai from Dushanbe start at KD155, inclusive of 20kg checked baggage, 7kg hand baggage plus one small laptop bag or handbag and taxes. A seat with extra legroom costs KD7. Once on board, passengers can choose from a range of optional extras, including in-flight entertainment packages priced from 780fils or select from the varied menu of refreshments and duty free items.

KIPCO reports KD8.6m first quarter net profit Double-digit growth being delivered: Hayat KUWAIT: KIPCO - the Kuwait Projects Company - has announced net profit of KD8.6 million ($30.2 million), or 6.34fils ($2.23 cents) per share for the first three months of 2013 - an increase of 1 per cent compared to the KD8.5 million ($30.6 million) profit, or 6.20fils ($2.23 cents) per share, reported for the same period

last year. KIPCO’s total revenues for the first three months of 2013 increased by 18 per cent to KD145 million ($509 million) from KD123 million ($443 million) in the first quarter of 2012. The company also saw a 16 percent increase in operating profit for the first quarter of 2013 to KD29 mil-

Masaud Hayat, KIPCO’s Chief Executive Officer Banking

lion ($102 million) from the KD25 million ($90 million) reported in the first quarter of 2012. KIPCO’s consolidated assets increased in the first quarter of 2013, to KD7.3 billion ($25.6 billion) from KD7.2 billion ($25.6 billion) for the year end 2012. Earnings per share increased in the first quarter by 2 per cent to 6.34fils ($2.23 cents) compared to 6.2fils per share ($2.23 cents) for the first three months of 2012. Masaud Hayat, KIPCO’s Chief Executive Officer Banking, said the company’s revenue expectations outlined at its recent Investor’s Forum - were reflected in KIPCO’s first quarter results: “At our recent Shafafiyah Investor’s Forum, we said we expected double-digit revenue growth from our core companies during 2013. These first quarter results show that we are on target to meet this expectation with solid performances being delivered across all sectors. For

example, our financial services and media segments have both recorded a 26 percent increase in revenue for the first quarter. Our manufacturing industries have reported a 20 percent rise in revenue for the same period, while our real estate operations have recorded a similar increase. We are confident that these very positive trends will continue during 2013 and have a significant impact on our results as the year progresses.” The KIPCO Group is one of the biggest holding companies in the Middle East and North Africa, with consolidated assets of $26 billion as at 31 March, 2013. The Group has significant ownership interests in over 60 companies operating across 24 countries. The group’s main business sectors are financial services, media, real estate and manufacturing. Through its core companies, subsidiaries and affiliates, KIPCO also has interests in the education and medical sectors.

Mazaya Qatar Real Estate Co appoints new CEO KUWAIT: Mazaya Qatar Real Estate Development QSC has appointed engineer Hamad bin Ali Al-Hedfa as Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Seraj Al-Baker in a new step that the company believes will strengthen its efforts in bringing distinctive competencies to its workforce and help meet its corporate requirements. The changeover will take place today. Members of the Mazaya Qatar Board have all expressed their appreciation for the valued role and efforts that Al-Baker put into the position, and wished him the best in all his future endeavors. On the occasion of the announcement, Rashid Fahed Al-Naimi, Chairman of

Hamad bin Ali Al-Hedfa Mazaya Qatar Real Estate Development, said: “The Mazaya Qatar Board of Directors is keen to support and value the nation’s young and creative talent, giving them the opportunity to confirm their capabilities in the top management levels of our company. I’m glad to express the pleasure of the Board with this decision since it is consistent with the policy of the company to sup-

port this objective of investing in talented Qataris. “Eng Al-Hedfa has strategic and leadership experience in managing companies and projects, and boasts extensive knowledge in the local and international real estate markets. This decision also highlight our deep faith that young Qatari competencies are the ideal ones to create an added value to our company and its shareholders, and that the national affiliation, bolstered by experience, professionalism and constructive spirit, is the key factor in our institutional development and growth”. For his part, the new CEO said “I would like to thank the distinguished Board of Directors for granting me this trust, I will make sure with great faith that I will do my best to contribute to the development and growth of our company, to maintain and expand its position, and to succeed in the evolution of its projects and investments locally and internationally”. Eng Al-Hedfa has considerable technical and managerial experience, which he gained during his graduation in several positions, including at Qatar Gas, during which he participated in building the expansion projects both onshore and offshore during its development stages; after this he took over as CEO of Business Development at The First Investor. From there, he contributed to the development of the company and in turning it into an international player in the field of investments, which was expanded during his administration to reach the USA, Brazil, Russia, and Europe. Eng. Al-Hedfa is also a board member in several local and international companies. Eng Al-Hedfa received a bachelor’s degree with honors in Engineering from the University of Texas A&M in the USA. Through his new position, he seeks “to play a vital and important role in directing and managing the business, investments and projects of Mazaya Qatar, in the light of the great diversity and growth expected for its various activities and investments in the region”.

Al-Tajer Account, first account for business activities from ABK KUWAIT: Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait is here to offer business solutions combined with great service. As such ABK’s Al-Tajer account, tailored to cater to SMEs, especially retailers can add a fresh impetus to their business. Commenting on AlTajer Account, Stewart Lockie, General Manager of Retail Banking said, “At ABK we try to support a range of our merchant’s banking needs, with Al-Tajer we cover their business requirements, whether it’s a start up or an established one.” “Merchants can benefit well from the Al-Tajer Account. By installing their POS Terminal through ABK without an installation fee, and linking it to their Al-Tajer Account they can avail life time free cheque books, free credit card, free local and international telex transfers, and free access to Al-Tajer Account and POS detailed statements, in addition to many other benefits. I would encourage ABK’s merchants and other new merchants to open an Al-Tajer Account to enjoy varied advantages; it is an exceptional offer and one that your business needs to succeed!”

Emal wins debt deal ABU DHABI/LONDON: Emirates Aluminium has completed a significant portion of the $4 billion fundraising to expand its smelter development, with the remaining debt to be finalized in the coming weeks, the company said in a statement to Reuters yesterday. However, the statement made no reference to the bond issue that was supposed to be part of the overall funding package. ‘A significant portion of the debt financing package ($3.4 billion) was successfully closed in late March with commercial banks and Islamic financiers,’ the statement said. —Reuters

Mohamed Al-Saad, Vice President - MENA Equities Department representing Markaz at the Awards Ceremony

Markaz Islamic Fund receives Zawya Award KUWAIT: Kuwait Financial Centre “Markaz” announced that Markaz Islamic Fund won an award in Zawya MENA Asset Management Conference and Awards 2013 in the category of “Kuwait Equity Islamic”. The awards are evaluated by the renowned international agency, Thompson Reuters. The MENA Asset Management Awards 2013 is a prestigious event to celebrate the regional industry top performers and service providers through a certified, unique, transparent, and well respected rating system customized specifically to attend to the MENA Region needs. In light of this achievement, Mohamed Alsaad, Vice President - MENA Equities Department at Markaz said: “We are glad to have received this Zawya Award for our “Markaz Islamic Fund”. This achievement, among other awards, reaffirms Markaz’s position as a leading asset management firm that delivers superior performance. Our achievements are a result of our constant effort to meet the stated investment objectives across our diverse investment product range.” Alsaad added: “The award reflects our

prudent risk management policy at Markaz combined with our commitment to achieve the best performance for our clients by following a research driven methodology and investing in high quality assets. Our superior performance is due to our risk conscious approach and our commitment to constantly adjust risk as per the investment climate requirements.” Markaz’s track record in asset management in Kuwait and the GCC extends back to more than two decades. In 1983, the company started offering portfolio management services in the Kuwaiti Market. Markaz has been offering “Markaz Islamic Fund” since 2003. The fund aims to invest in Sharia Compliant equities in Kuwait and has won four Lipper Awards in the years 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Kuwait Financial Centre K.P.S.C “Markaz”, with total assets under management of over KD903 million ($3.2 billion) as of December 31, 2012, was established in 1974 has become one of the leading asset management and investment banking institutions in the Arabian Gulf Region. Markaz was listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) in 1997.

Alghanim Industries and Rasameel Investment Bank mark first sukuk issuance KUWAIT: Alghanim Industries and Rasameel Investment Bank recently announced the successful closing of YAAS Sukuk I Limited (Sukuk Al-Istithmar) which was issued on 8 April 2013. The Shariah compliant asset backed security is the first of several planned issuances for Alghanim Industries’ electronics and home furnishing retail credit (installment sales) business. The ground-breaking issuance YAAS Sukuk I entails both structural and originator provided credit enhancements established to mitigate risks attributed to comingling of funds, liquidity and potential loss. The KD12.5 million Sukuk was issued in two Classes of Certificates; KD10 million senior Class A Sukuk certificates with a profit of 6% pa and junior Class B of KD2.5 million Sukuk certificates with a profit 8% p.a. Furthermore, the issuance offers quarterly redemptions of principal and profit with a scheduled maturity tenor of 22 months, a weighted average repayment tenor of approximately 8 months. The Sukuk was privately placed with investors whereby 70% of the subscribers representing local Kuwaiti financial institutions and the remaining 30% by international firms. In addition, Alghanim Industries and Rasameel Structured Finance have recently

been awarded two prestigious awards by the Islamic Finance News (“IFN”) for the same transaction in the categories of ‘Global Sukuk Deal of the Year’ and ‘Kuwait Deal of the Year’. IFN is considered to be one of the industry’s leading Islamic finance publication companies. Omar K Alghanim, Chief Executive Officer of Alghanim Industries, said, “This issue is a major step for Alghanim Industries as it broadens the group’s access to public debt outlets and further diversifies our funding sources. In particular, it will give us greater freedom and flexibility as we continue the expansion of our electronics and home furnishings business.” Issam Z AlTawari, Chairman and Managing Director, Rasameel Structured Finance Company said, “The interest from investors for YAAS Sukuk I reflects the inclination toward low risk opportunities among business owners as it offers exceptional solutions for the investor and issuer, in terms of yield and risk appetite.” Al-Tawari added: “Rasameel’s success in the sale of Islamic issuing in the form of structured Sukuk for the first time in Kuwait to local and foreign investors clearly demonstrates their confidence in the company and Rasameel’s capacity and ability to introduce new products to capitalize debt that are compliant with Islamic Sharia.”

Boeing takes full-page ads in Japan papers TOKYO: Embattled plane-maker Boeing yesterday took out full-page advertisements in major Japanese newspapers as it tries to piece together its reputation in the wake of the worldwide Dreamliner grounding. The US manufacturer is fighting a rearguard action in Japan, the biggest single market for its troubled 787, which has been parked up around the globe since battery problems on two separate Japanese-owned planes in January. “We deeply apologize to Japanese customers and companies affected for the trouble and concern caused by our new Boeing 787,” Boeing said in the ad, which has a photograph of an airborne Dreamliner. “We have suspended all flights since the trouble over batteries on the 787 emerged, but we have introduced safety

measures to address all possible causes,” it said. “If any trouble such as heating emerges, new casing and exhaust systems will prevent any impact on the safety of flights and passengers and allow the plane to complete a safe flight to its destination,” it said. The advertisement came after a modified Dreamliner took to the skies over Tokyo on Sunday with top Boeing and All Nippon Airways (ANA) executives aboard. The US Federal Aviation Authority on Thursday issued a formal approval of Boeing’s 787 battery fix, clearing the way for the aircraft to fly again. ANA and domestic rival Japan Airlines (JAL) account for around half the 50 Dreamliners in service worldwide and regaining the confidence of Japan’s flying public will be

key if Boeing is to see returns on its vast investment in the next-generation plane. Despite Sunday’s successful test flight, it could be at least a month before all the battery fixes are put in place and the entire fleet is back in the air. Between mid January-when the 787s were grounded-and the end of May, ANA has cancelled a total of 3601 international and domestic flights, while JAL has cancelled or reduced a total of 766 flights, company spokesmen said yesterday. “We express our deep gratitude towards passengers, airlines, suppliers and the investigating authorities in each country... for their support on the occasion of resuming operations of the completely modified 787,” Boeing said in the ad.

The ad appeared in five national newspapers and a major regional paper, including the Yomiuri, the Asahi, and the Mainichi, three of the world’s four largest-selling newspapers, with combined morning edition sales of more than 21 million copies. Newspaper officials declined to discuss how much Boeing had paid for the ads, but Yomiuri company documents say a full page costs around 48 million yen ($490,000). The same document says a similar ad in the Asahi sells for around 40 million yen. JAL said yesterday its net profit in the fiscal year to March fell 8.0 percent to $1.8 billion, and added it was “trying to minimize” the financial impact from the three-month grounding. —AFP


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

China career boost can come with health risks Expat execs leaving because of pollution

Reliable protection from Sebamed KUWAIT: Sebamed deodorant range prevents body odour without impairing the natural function of the sweat glands, along with these other great benefits: • Supports and protects the natural barrier function of the skin’s acid mantle • With the pH value of 5.5 of healthy skin • Without preservatives and colour additives

• Without metal derivatives or harmful chemical additives • Active deodorizing ingredient triethyl citrate specifically inhibits growth and metabolism of bodyodour causing bacteria • Reliable protection • Does not impede the physiological functions of the sweat glands • pH value of 5.5 supports natural ecological system of the skin for natural deodorizing protection

NIVEA stress protect deo launched across GCC DUBAI: NIVEA has launched it Stress Protect Deodorant across the GCC, the latest anti-perspirant with a formula proven to protect against stress sweating. “Stress is sadly part of the daily routine in the GCC - whether it’s a big meeting, job interview or entertaining family and perspiration is one of the effects,” comments Dr Thomas Schmidt-Rose,

from the Research team at NIVEA Deodorant in Hamburg. “This type of ‘stress-induced sweating’ - as compared to sweating from heat or physical exertion - has a more rapid onset and smells stronger, making it hard to control.

NIVEA Stress Protect Deodorant has been specifically tested to also combat this stress sweating and guarantees extra deodorant protection. With NIVEA Stress Protect Deodorant: Stress Happens. Sweat Won’t.” NIVEA Stress Protect Deodorant is the only product available to help counteract stress sweating. It contains an innovative formula that combines Stress Protect Actives and a zinc complex to provide extra protection against stress sweating and body odour and 48 hour antiperspirant protection. Available for both men and women, the formulas are proven - in a product in use test method (Trier Social Stress Test) - to minimize sweat by up to 85 percent and significantly reduce the formation of body odour. At the same time, the formula contains avocado oil, which helps care for the underarm skin. To launch the new Stress Protect Deodorant in Europe, NIVEA Deo created a viral campaign where it illustrated a stressful scenario among consumers. The candidates were lured to the airport by their friends and were called out to be a suspect of a crime. The video has over 6.3 million viewers worldwide in just two months with Saudi Arabia topping the list with over 880 thousand views.

Living in US raises risk of allergies WASHINGTON: Children born outside the United States have a lower risk of asthma, skin and food allergies, and living in the United States for a decade may raise a person’s allergy risk, said a study on Monday. The research in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that certain environmental exposures could trigger allergies later in life, overcoming the protective effects of microbial exposure in childhood. The study examined records from 2007-2008 phone surveys of nearly 92,000 people in the United States, where food and skin allergies have been on the rise in recent years. Conditions reported in the survey included asthma, eczema, hay fever, and food allergies. “Children born outside the United States had significantly lower prevalence of any allergic diseases (20.3 percent) than those born in the United States (34.5 percent),” said the study led by Jonathan Silverberg of St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York. “However, foreignborn Americans develop increased risk for allergic disease with prolonged residence in the United States,” it said. Children who were born outside the United States but came to live in the United States for longer than 10 years showed “significantly” higher odds of developing eczema or hay fever but not asthma or food allergies, said the research. It did not matter what age they were when they arrived. Foreign-born children who resided in the United States for 10 years or more had nearly five times higher likelihood of eczema and more than six times higher odds of hay fever compared with foreignborn children who lived in the US for up to two years. Silverberg said that the asthma levels seen in the study just missed

the cutoff for being statistically significant. “That is, the results may have become more significant if the study included a few thousand more children,” he said in an email to AFP. The study concluded that “duration of residence in the United States is a previously unrecognized factor in the epidemiology of atopic disease” and “foreign-born US residents might be at increased risk for later onset of allergic disease.” Previous research has shown that children who grow up in developing nations tend to have lower rates of allergies, and experts believe this is because they are exposed to more infections and microbes that build up their immune systems. Allergies are essentially a symptom of a hypersensitive immune system, reacting to substances that should normally be considered harmless. The JAMA study noted that the United States may not be alone in this phenomenon, since previous studies have found that immigrants in Italy, Israel, and Australia had lower allergy rates than natives. More research is needed to find out if allergies increase in those countries among immigrants who live there for long periods, said the study. “It’s not that living in the US is bad,” said Punita Ponda, a doctor in the division of pediatric allergy and immunology at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York. “Living in developed countries is probably thought of as a risk factor compared to living in developing countries,” explained Ponda, who was not involved in the study. “When you live in the US, you tend to lose some of that bacteria that is in the gut that protects you from allergies, and you take up the bacteria of the people around you.” —AFP

BEIJING: Whitney Foard Small loved China and her job as a regional director of communications for a top automaker. But after air pollution led to several stays in hospital and finally a written warning from her doctor telling her she needed to leave, Small packed up and left for Thailand. In doing so, the Ford Motor Co executive became another expatriate to leave China because of the country’s notoriously bad air. Other top executives whose careers would be boosted by a stint in the world’s second-largest economy and most populous consumer market are put off when considering the move. There is no official data on the numbers leaving because of pollution, but executive recruitment companies say it is becoming harder to attract top talent to China both expats and Chinese nationals educated abroad. The European Chamber of Commerce in China says foreign managers leave for many different reasons but pollution is almost always cited as one of the factors and is becoming a larger concern. If the polluted skies continue, companies may have to fork out more for salaries or settle for less qualified candidates. Failure to attract the best talent to crucial roles could result in missed commercial opportunities and other missteps. Poor air quality has also added to the complaints that foreign companies have about operating in China. Even though China’s commercial potential remains vast, groups representing foreign companies say doing business is getting tougher due to slowing though still robust economic growth, strict Internet censorship, limits on market access and intellectual property theft. China’s rapid economic development over the last three decades has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty but also ravaged the environment as heavy industry burgeoned, electricity demand soared and car ownership became a badge of status for the newly affluent in big cities. Health risks from pollution of air, water and soil have become a source of discontent with Communist Party rule among ordinary Chinese. Foreigners regularly check the air quality readings put out by the US Embassy and consulates on their Twitter feeds when deciding whether to go out for a run or let their children play outside. The pollution has become even more of a hot topic since January, when the readings in Beijing went off the scale and beyond what is considered hazardous by the US Environmental Protection Agency. On the worst days, skyscrapers disappeared into the capital’s murky skyline and masks multiplied on the streets and sold out at convenience stores. At the same time, China’s state media gave unprecedented coverage to the pollution following

months of growing pressure from a Chinese middle class that has become more vocal about the quality of its air. “January was probably the worst,” said Australian Andrew Moffatt, who worked for nine months in Beijing as regional manager for a chain of language schools before the pollution pushed him to return to Brisbane in March with his wife and 5-year-old son. “Back in November I had been sick and then we went on holiday to the beach in Hainan and it just reminded me of Australia and I just thought we could be breathing this quality air every single day rather than polluted air in Beijing,” he said. And it’s not only Beijing where the air pollution is driving expats away. Ford transferred its regional

my pulmonary doctor and it said you need to reconsider for your life’s sake what you’re doing and so that was it. I didn’t really have a choice, my doctor made it for me.” Ivo Hahn, the CEO of the China office of executive search consultants Stanton Chase, said that in the last six months, air pollution has become an issue for candidates they approach. “It pops up increasingly that people say ‘well we don’t want to move to Beijing’ or ‘I can’t convince my family to move to Beijing’,” he said. Two expats, one Western and one an overseas Chinese, recently turned down general manager and managing director positions because of the air pollution, he said. Hahn thinks this trend will only strengthen over the next one or two years because the

experience, China is one of the most desirable places because of the size of the market and growth and dynamism of the market,” said Christian Murck, the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in China. Carl Hopkins, Asia managing partner of legal search firm Major, Lindsey & Africa, said Chinese nationals who had studied abroad at top universities or business schools were reluctant to return unless they had elderly family to take care of. “There is an unwillingness for these people to return to China because they have got a better standard of living in the States or somewhere else than going to Beijing and Shanghai with its current issues with pollution,” Hopkins said, adding that this had become

BEIJING: In this Feb 28, 2013 photo, a giant electronic screen on Tiananmen Square shows an image of Tiananmen Gate under blue skies as part of a propaganda video on a polluted day. —AP headquarters from Bangkok to Shanghai in 2009. Four months after the move, Small, the director of communications, had her first major asthma attack. “I had never had asthma in my life, never ever had asthma before China,” said Small, who quit the country in May last year. Her asthma was exacerbated by an allergy to coal, which is the source of about 70 percent of China’s energy. Her allergy was first identified in 2005 after a six-week assignment in Beijing ended with her being hospitalized for three days in Hong Kong with her lung function at about 30 percent. In Shanghai, the asthma resurfaced. “Three hospitalizations later, my doctor said it was time to call it quits,” she said. Her frequent treatments - involving inhalers, steroids and a nebulizer in the mornings and evenings to get medication deep into her lungs - meant the medication became less effective. “I actually got a written warning from

highest-level executives generally “are not working primarily for their survival”. “ They normally get a decent pay, they are generally reasonably well taken care of, so the quality of life actually it does matter, particularly when they have children,” he said. Some, however, say that China has become too important economically for up-and-coming corporate executives to ignore. It generates a large and growing share of profits for global companies while still offering a vast untapped potential. Its auto industry, now the world’s largest by number of vehicles sold, is expected to outstrip the US and Europe combined by 2020 as car ownership rises from a low level of 50 vehicles per 1,000 people. “It’s increasingly important for people who want to have careers as managers in multinational companies to have international experience and as part of their career path, and in terms of international

more prevalent over the last year. Hahn said the effects of expats refusing to relocate to China aren’t going to be felt overnight, but eventually “either companies will have to pay a higher price overall because maybe candidates may have to commute as an example, or they may lower their standards or they may offer the position to somebody who may actually not be quite as qualified.” If the current trend hardens, it would have some economic impact, said Alistair Thornton, senior China economist at IHS in Beijing. “Expats contribute almost nothing to China’s growth because the numbers are just tiny, but intangibly they contribute quite a significant amount” by introducing foreign technology, best practices and Western management techniques “that Chinese companies are harnessing and using to drive growth,” said Thornton. He is leaving Beijing in June with air pollution one factor.— AP

BERLIN: Black bear brothers ‘Koda’ and ‘Kenai’ play with their mother in the bear enclosure at Tierpark yesterday. The male American black bear cubs were born on Jan 3. — AFP

Young obesity doubles death risk before 55 PARIS: Men who are obese in their early 20s are twice as likely as peers of average weight to die before reaching the age of 55, a study said yesterday. Writing in the journal BMJ Open, a team of researchers reported on a 33-year study of 6,500 Danish men who were 22 years old in 1955. Of the group, 1.5 percent or 97 were obese when they registered - which means they had a weight-to-height ratio (body mass index or BMI) of 30 or more, said the study authors. Most of

the group, 83 percent or 5,407, were within the “normal” weight range - classified as a BMI of anything between 18.5 and 25. Nearly half of the obese group were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure by age 55, had had a heart attack, a stroke or blood clots in the legs or lungs, or were dead. “They were... more than twice as likely to develop high blood pressure, have had a heart attack, or to have died,” said a statement. “Every unit

increase in BMI corresponded to an increased heart attack rate of five percent, high blood pressure and blood clot rates of 10 percent and an increased diabetes rate of 20 percent.” The authors warned that ill health and early deaths from obesity will “in decades to come, place an unprecedented burden on healthcare systems”. While the study was done only in men, the link was likely to also hold true for women, added the authors. — AFP

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


Girl gets windpipe made from stem cells CHICAGO: A 2-year-old girl born without a windpipe now has a new one grown from her own stem cells, the youngest patient in the world to benefit from the experimental treatment. Hannah Warren has been unable to breathe, eat, drink or swallow on her own since she was born in South Korea in 2010. Until the operation at a central Illinois hospital, she had spent her entire life in a hospital in Seoul. Doctors there told her parents there was no hope and they expected her to die. The stem cells came from Hannah’s bone marrow, extracted with a special needle inserted into her hip bone. They were seeded in a lab onto a plastic scaffold, where it took less than a week for them to multiply and create a new windpipe. About the size of a 3-inch tube of penne pasta, it was implanted April 9 in a nine-hour procedure. Early signs indicate the windpipe is working, Hannah’s doctors announced yesterday, although she is still on a ventilator. They believe she will eventually be able to live at home and lead a normal life. “We feel like she’s reborn,” said Hannah’s father, Darryl Warren. “They hope that she can do everything that a normal child can do but it’s going to take time. This is a brand new road that all of us are

on,” he said in a telephone interview. “This is her only chance but she’s got a fantastic one and an unbelievable one.” Only about one in 50,000 children worldwide are born with the same defect.

The stem-cell technique has been used to make other body parts besides windpipes and holds promise for treating other birth defects and childhood diseases, her doctors said. The operation brought together

SEOUL: In this July 13, 2012 photo, Hannah Warren, 2, poses with her parents Lee Young-mi and Darryl Warren at Seoul National University Hospital.— AP

an Italian surgeon based in Sweden who pioneered the technique, a pediatric surgeon at Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria who met Hannah’s family while on a business trip to South Korea, and Hannah born to a Newfoundland man and Korean woman who married after he moved to that country to teach English. Hannah’s parents had read about Dr Paolo Macchiarini’s success using stem-cell based tracheas but couldn’t afford to pay for the operation at his center, the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. So Dr Mark Holterman helped the family arrange to have the procedure at his Peoria hospital, bringing in Macchiarini to lead the operation. Children’s Hospital waived the cost, likely hundreds of thousands of dollars, Holterman said. Part of OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, the Roman Catholic hospital considers the operation part of their mission to provide charity care, but also views it as a way to champion a type of stem-cell therapy that doesn’t involve human embryos, the surgeons said. The Catholic church opposes using stem cells derived from human embryos in research or treatment. Macchiarini has been involved in 14 previous windpipe operations using

patients’ own stem cells - five using manmade scaffolds like Hannah’s but in adults; and nine using scaffolds made from cadaver windpipes, including one in a 10-yearold British boy. He said only one patient died, a 30-year-old man from Abingdon, Maryland, who had the operation in Nov 2011 to treat late-stage cancer of the windpipe. He died in March 2012 of uncertain causes, Macchiarini said. Similar methods have been used to grow bladders, urethras and last year a girl in Sweden got a lab-made vein using her own stem cells and a cadaver vein. Scientists hope to eventually use the method to create solid organs, including kidneys and livers, said Dr. Anthony Atala, director of Wake Forest University’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine. He said the operation on Hannah Warren “is really showing that the technique is workable.” Hannah had breathing difficulties at birth and Korean doctors soon discovered the missing windpipe. They reconfigured her esophagus so that a breathing tube could go down it from her mouth to her lungs. The esophagus normally runs behind the windpipe and carries food to the stomach.— AP


W H AT ’ S O N

Kuwait Marriott organizes ‘Beach Clean Up’ drive SEND US YOUR INSTAGRAM PICS


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 voiceovers in English by film personalities such as Irrfan Khan, Konkonasen, Shabaana Azmi, John Abraham, Prakash Raj, Stephen Devassy and P Rajeevan.



eriving from its global Spirit to Serve initiative, Kuwait Marriott Hotels recently organized a beach clean-up activity at the Kuwait Towers beach, where 25 associates participated along with George Aoun, General Manager of Kuwait Marriott Hotels and the management team. This initiative, which took place on Thursday, April 18th, was organized by Essa Ghadban, Cluster Director of Loss Prevention and JW Marriott Director of Government Relations, with the coordination of the Municipality of Kuwait. George Aoun emphasized on the importance of preserving the environment and how it plays a vital role in the ongoing corporate social responsibility of the hotel. Commenting on this drive, Aoun said: “This year, coming upon the Environmental Awareness Month, we as the Kuwait Marriott Hotels management team felt the need to host an extensive drive to include our bit for the earth and the environment of the country that we call ‘home’. It is important to encourage and educate people to keep coastal areas and beaches clean, and for that, we engage our likeminded employees and associates in such initiatives.” Marriott’s “Spirit to Serve” initiative is captured in uplifting human interest stories and important environmental issues across the world. Through drives like the beach clean-up, Marriott strives to be a responsible member of the local community. It continues to become an important role in people’s lives, and help them overcome adversity, embody a passion for service and achieve personal excellence.

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 SanvordemMichael 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 registration 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.


Once again Kuwait National English School in Hawally held successfully its annual Charity day. Games and fun for small children as well as for bigger such as soaking the teacher and many others were taking place. Parents, staff and students enjoyed the afternoon in a sunny day at Kuwait National English School. All the money raised on that occasion will be donated for charity to help the ones in needs through the Kuwaiti Red Crescent. Kuwait National English School likes to thank all the school community, sponsors and companies which helped on this annual Charity Day.


IMAX film program 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 Saturday: ** 9:30am Showtime Available for Groups Flight of Butterflies 3D  10:30am, 1:30pm, 8:30pm Tornado Alley 3D 11:30am, 2:30pm, 5:30pm, 7:30pm, 9:30pm To The Arctic 3D  12:30pm, 6:30pm Born to be Wild 3D 3:30pm Journey to Mecca 4:30pm Notes: All films are in Arabic. For English, headsets are available upon request. “Fires of Kuwait” is in English. Arabic headsets are available upon request. Film schedule is subject to changes without notice.

Write to us Send to What’s On upcoming events, birthdays or celebrations by email: Fax: 24835619 / 20

Musical evening at Gulf English School


n Monday, 29th April, a musical extravaganza was held at Gulf English School, Salmiyah. Students from all age groups across the Primary department took part, showcasing their talent. Pianists gave accomplished rendi-

tions of the music of Claude Debussy, J.S. Bach and Edvard Grieg, amongst other pieces. Other offerings came from a young violinist whose performance was both polished and inspired. The guitar ensemble and recorder ensemble played

in unison with great skill and knowledge of their instruments. There was also a collection of home-made instruments that were played wonderfully. The vocalists and drummers demonstrated how far they’d come under the tutelage of their music

teachers. The evening was coordinated by Samantha Hines, Musical Director, who organized the proceedings. It was attended by a full audience that included musiclovers, parents, relatives and the school Director Madame Hana Kahale.

Dr Sadhana Parashar visits IES, Bhavans


ndian Educational School, Bhavans hosted a splendid evening of thanks giving, a get together for an interactive session and a dinner, in honour of Dr Sadhana Parashar , Director- Training CBSE. Dr Sadhana Parashar and her team of four other resource persons, on an official visit for the CBSE-i training programme were given an elite floral welcome by the IES management. The invitees for the evening were the Principals and Heads of Departments of the Indian Schools of Kuwait. Mrs Divya Rajesh, Director, Bhavans Middle East welcomed the deferential gathering and declared the floor open for discussion. Invariable minds and erudite ambience were the hallmarks of the summit that lasted for about three hours in the IES auditorium. On an informally formal platform the educators discussed the 21st century learning techniques and teaching strategies introduced by the CBSE. The teaching community that teamed up at IES raised various queries pertaining to the new changes in the system and curriculum planning. To the many doubts raised on the conduct and results of PSA. The principals suggested the need to actively involve and take into account the opinions of the principals and teachers before new policies are framed. Dr Sadhana encouraged the teachers to prepare sample PSA papers based on this year’s PSA question papers to train the children. She insisted on the need to incorporate the type questions of PSA in the curriculum to

improve the logical reasoning and linguistic capabilities of the students. She enlightened the teachers on the new courses and streams offered at the +1 level. All the queries were dealt with in equal magnitude. Teachers emphasized the need to filter the difficult concepts in Grade 12 Mathematics to Grade 9 and 11 to which Dr Sadhana emphasized the need to prepare the students for entrance exams. She also added that the revision of the syllabi is done scientifically and meticulously by a team of professional and experienced teachers. Dr Sadhana Parashar requested the empanelled agent N.K Ramachandran Menon, Chairman, Bhavans Middle East to organize a nodal centre at Bhavans, Abu Dhabi to involve the teachers of the Middle East in the evaluation process. It will be a golden feather added to the cap of Bhavan. The team of Principals and Vice Principals and Heads of Departments eulogized Dr Sadhana Parashar and her team’s efforts in making the session a truly emboldening one and expressed their immense gratitude to the Chairman and the Principal for organizing an interactive session of such magnitude. N.K Ramachandran Menon , Chairman, Bhavans Middle East, expressed his gratitude to Dr Sadhana for gracing the occasion amidst her busy schedule. Principal T Premkumar appreciated the Principals and Heads of Departments of the Indian schools in Kuwait for making it to IES to be a part of the programme.


W H AT ’ S O N


TDP MLAs Kesav, Revanth to visit Kuwait


embers of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly and Telugu Desam Party leaders Payyavula Kesav and Revanth Reddy will arrive in Kuwait on a three-day visit. Pravasandhra Telugu Desam, Kuwait and TDP followers will organize a meeting this Friday at Carmel School, Khaitan at 4.30 pm to mark the successful completion of Telugu Desam President Chandra Babu Naidu’s marathon walk when he covered 2,807 kilometer in 208 days during a ‘paaday-

athra’ titled ‘Vasthunnaa Mee Kosam.’ Pravasandra TDP, Kuwait President M Subbarayudu Naidu, President Koduri Venkata Siva Rao, Secretary Malepati Suresh Babu Naidu and others are coordinating the meeting. TDP legislators Kesav and Revath wll attend the meeting as chief guests. Subbarayudu Naidu and other leaders called upon the Telugu community members in Kuwait to attend the meeting and make the event a big success.

Sebamed goes Instagram


e are glad to inform you that we launched our site on instagram. Follow us on @sebamedkuwait and (hashtag)#sebamedkuwait and send us your shots involving all family members and be the lucky winner of a valuable prize from Sebamed products.

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

The Regency launches ‘Maharajah’ every Wednesday


rom Wednesday May 1st The Regency is delighted to announce a delectable new culinary adventure showcasing the finest flavours of India from the northern, coastal and southern regions of India using the choicest ingredients complemented with The Regency’s unbeatable international service standards. The dazzling buffet menu has been concocted by no less than thirty of the hotel’s stellar Indian culinary team under the guidance of Roger Friggieri, the hotel’s award-winning Executive Chef from Malta. The spread will include a plethora of home-cooked favourites many of which will be cooked live, such as homemade paratha bread served with tasty dhal; the

delicious keralite crÍpe known as Appam, made with rice batter and coconut milk and fresh items cooked live on the Tikka Grill; this is in addition to a cornucopia of Indian desserts including the delicious creamy ice cream known as kulfi as well as the ever-popular halwa, laddu, barfi and jalebi. There are a range of crunchy salads and soups, all of which make great starters. Over a dozen diverse main courses make decisions difficult, choose from spicy dishes like the vindaloo curries, or the creamy korma, not forgetting popular vegetarian dishes made with potato, chickpeas or vegetables such as kalma vada, aloo jeera and channa peshawari.

From 7pm until 11pm each Wednesday Silk Road will be bedecked in true ‘Maharajah’ style down to the elegant national dress worn by the waiters and waitresses. With the pleasant weather upon us, weather permitting, the weekly promotion will be held on the terrace of Silk Road allowing guests to partake in the superb evenings, metres from the sparkling sea. Since its establishment in 1981 as a landmark beachfront property The Regency has prided itself on its celebrated standards of culinary excellence and timeless elegance. Kick start the weekend early with Maharajah and enjoy food fit for a King! A la carte choices are also available.

Fostering young entrepreneurs Following the success of their first joint project, Egyptian caricaturist Yasser Hussein cooperates for the second time with columnist Mustafa Fathi to design the cover of his new book that address media freedoms. Hussein is credited for designing the cover of Fathi’s ‘Home Delivery’; a book containing stories about young people who work in home delivery. The cooperation is carried out online and through Facebook.


he Student Association at the Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST) is arranging a seminar for Dr. Ayman Al Rowaih, who is a specialist in the Electronic Marketing for small and undeveloped projects. The seminar will take place on the GUST campus in W1-010 on May 6 and 7, 2013. The seminar will start at 6. pm each day and will feature discussions about business, innovation, technology and other topics related to Kuwaiti youth and entrepreneurship. Al Rowaih will also discuss how entrepreneurs can get the word out about their businesses. He will also discuss how important the social media in establishing an online market. He stated that “Social media is considered to be a tool for electronic marketing”. It will help people become network professionals and manage successful websites. Other common topics will be address in this seminar, such as direct investment in small businesses, technological integration, strategic thinking,

marketing and social media. For more information, visit The Gulf University for Science and Technology began operation in 2002 as the first private university in Kuwait. It is based on an American-style model of higher education and aims to serve the increasing educational demands of Kuwait and the Gulf region. It currently hosts over3, 000 full-time students. For further information on the university, visit

GUST students launch Management Club


he recently founded, student-run Management Club at the Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST) celebrated its launch by holding their very first series of seminars, and raffle draws on campus. It went on throughout the week for 4 days and had various speakers attend to share their personal tips and educate students about management and the steps of starting and running successful businesses. Students especially from the management and marketing departments were extremely excited about the week and did their best to attend all events specially the lectures. The speakers were: Shamlan Al-Bahar, owner of Pink Coffee, Areej Al-Kharafi, owner of Fortune Cookie boutique, Dhari AlMuawed, founder of Klue, Essa Behbehani, owner of Choowy Goowy, Fahad Al-Fulaij and Yousef Al-Saad, owners of The Gathering Bistro, Abdulrahman Al-Terkait and Bader Al-Omar, owners of The Breakfast Club, Latifa Al-Nassar, founder of Road Rush, Abdulaziz Al-Loughani, former owner of and Dhari AlWazzan, founder of P2BK. Each speaker did a great job of motivating students and inspiring them to start and run their own businesses by sharing stories with the audience about their experiences. They not only shared personal stories about getting up and starting with work, the speakers also educated students about the skills they need to manage their business successfully. They discussed the importance of working somewhere that motivates you, loving what you do, knowing what’s happening in your store/business, marketing your business so you gain customers and an audience. They also brought up the importance of building a relationship with employees and the importance of building a bond and trustful relationship with clients. The seminar ended with a draw for prizes and games to sign up and be a part of at the center of campus. It was overall extremely successful and the Management Club did a great job with organizing their first seminar and getting students involved. All staff and students that attended got the most out of what each speaker had to offer regarding tips and advice and left having gained knowledge about each business and its experiences.

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 VATICAN The Apostolic Nunciature (Embassy of the Holy See, Vatican in Kuwait presents its compliments to Kuwait Times Newspaper, and has the honor to inform the same that the Apostolic Nunciature has moved to a new location in Kuwait City. Please find below the new address: Yarmouk, Block 1, Street 2, Villa No: 1. P.O.Box 29724, Safat 13158, Kuwait. Tel: 965 25337767, Fax: 965 25342066. Email: 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, AlQibla 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 Al-Sabah. 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.



03:15 03:40 04:05 04:55 05:20 05:45 06:10 06:35 07:00 07:25 07:50 08:15 09:10 09:35 10:05 11:00 11:55 12:20 12:50 13:15 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

Shamwari: A Wild Life Shamwari: A Wild Life World Wild Vet Call Of The Wildman Baboons With Bill Bailey Shamwari: A Wild Life Shamwari: A Wild Life Wildlife SOS The Really Wild Show Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer Dogs 101 Chris Humfrey’s Wildlife Chris Humfrey’s Wildlife Wildest Africa Animal Cops Houston Call Of The Wildman Wildlife SOS RSPCA: On The Frontline SSPCA: On The Wildside Animal Precinct Wildest Africa Baboons With Bill Bailey The Really Wild Show Dogs 101 Weird Creatures With Nick Groomer Has It Monkey Life Rescue Vet Call Of The Wildman Baboons With Bill Bailey Wildest Africa Wildest Islands Wild France Animal Cops Phoenix

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 09:05 Bargain Hunt 09:50 Antiques Roadshow 10:40 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 11:25 Masterchef: The Professionals 12:10 Come Dine With Me 13:00 The Roux Legacy 13:30 New Scandinavian Cooking 13:55 Bargain Hunt 14:40 Cash In The Attic 15:25 Antiques Roadshow 16:15 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

03:00 03:30 03:45 04:00 04:30 04:45 05:00 05:30 05:45 06:00 06:30 07:00 07:30 07:45 08:00 08:30 08:45 09:00 09:30 09:45

Newsday Asia Business Report Sport Today BBC World News Asia Business Report Sport Today BBC World News Asia Business Report Sport Today BBC World News Hardtalk BBC World News World Business Report BBC World News BBC World News World Business Report BBC World News BBC World News World Business Report BBC World News

10:00 BBC World News 10:30 World Business Report 10:45 BBC World News 11:00 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 13:30 BBC World News 14:00 GMT With George Alagiah 14:30 GMT With George Alagiah 15:00 BBC World News 15:30 World Business Report 15:45 Sport Today 16:00 Impact With Mishal Husain 16:30 Impact With Mishal Husain 17:00 Impact With Mishal Husain 17:30 Hardtalk 18:00 Global With John Sopel 18:30 Global With John Sopel 19:00 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 21:30 World News Today With Zeinab Badawi 22:00 World News Today With Zeinab Badawi 22:30 World Business Report 22:45 Sport Today 23:00 Business Edition With Tanya Beckett 23:30 Hardtalk

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 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 23:30 23:55

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 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 Pink Panther And Pals Moomins

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 11:50 Ben 10: Ultimate Alien 12:15 Hero 108 12:40 Hero 108 13:05 Mucha Lucha ! 13:30 Angelo Rules 14:20 Evil Con Carne 15:10 Ben 10 15:35 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 18:15 Adventure Time 18:40 Regular Show 19:05 Total Drama World Tour 19:30 Total Drama: Revenge Of The Island 19:55 Starwars: The Clone Wars 20:20 Ben 10: Omniverse 20:45 Hero 108 21:10 Young Justice 21:35 Green Lantern: The Animated Series 22:00 Ben 10 22:25 Ben 10 22:50 Mucha Lucha ! 23:15 Mucha Lucha ! 23:40 Powerpuff Girls

03:00 Anderson Cooper 360 04:00 Piers Morgan Live 05:00 Quest Means Business 06:00 The Situation Room 07:00 World Sport 07:30 News Special 08:00 World Report 09:00 World Report 10:00 World Sport 10:30 Inside Africa 11:00 World Business Today 12:00 World One 12:30 Inside The Middle East 13:00 Amanpour 13:30 CNN Newscenter 14:00 Piers Morgan Live 15:00 News Stream 16:00 World Business Today 17:00 International Desk 18:00 Global Exchange 19:00 World Sport 19:30 Inside The Middle East 20:00 International Desk 21:00 Quest Means Business 22:00 Amanpour 22:30 CNN Newscenter 23:00 Connect The World With Becky Anderson

03:00 03:55 04:20 04:50 05:15 05:40 06:05 07:00 07:50 08:45 09:40 10:05 10:30 10:55 11:25 11:50 12:45 14:35

Mythbusters Border Security Auction Hunters Baggage Battles How Do They Do It? How It’s Made Sons Of Guns Mythbusters Ultimate Survival Flying Wild Alaska Border Security Auction Hunters Baggage Battles How Do They Do It? How It’s Made Dual Survival Finding Bigfoot Border Security

15:05 15:30 16:00 16:55 17:50 18:45 19:40 20:05 20:35 21:00 21:30 22:25 22:50 23:20

Auction Hunters Baggage Battles Futurecar Flying Wild Alaska Mythbusters Sons Of Guns How Do They Do It? How It’s Made Auction Hunters Baggage Battles You Have Been Warned Magic Of Science Magic Of Science Mythbusters

03:35 Prototype This 04:25 Man-Made Marvels Asia 05:15 Gadget Show - World Tour 05:40 The Tech Show 06:05 Race To Mars 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 Sci-Fi Saved My Life 11:15 Kings Of Construction 12:05 The World’s Strangest UFO Stories 13:00 NASA’s Greatest Missions 13:50 Patent Bending 14:20 Gadget Show - World Tour 14:45 The Tech Show 15:10 Space Pioneer 16:00 Punkin Chunkin 2010 16:55 Ecopolis 17:45 Man-Made Marvels Asia 18:35 Race To Mars 19:30 Space Pioneer 20:20 NASA’s Greatest Missions 21:10 Gadget Show - World Tour 21:35 The Tech Show 22:00 Space Pioneer 22:50 The Colony 23:40 Gadget Show - World Tour

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

Brandy & Mr Whiskers Brandy & Mr Whiskers Replacements Replacements Emperor’s New School Emperor’s New School Brandy & Mr Whiskers Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Doc McStuffins Suite Life On Deck A.N.T Farm A.N.T Farm Jessie Jessie Good Luck Charlie Good Luck Charlie Austin And Ally Bolt Prankstars Suite Life On Deck Hannah Montana Wizards Of Waverly Place Wizards Of Waverly Place Jessie A.N.T. Farm A.N.T. Farm Austin And Ally Austin And Ally Good Luck Charlie Jessie Shake It Up A.N.T. Farm Toy Story 2 Prankstars That’s So Raven Cory In The House Good Luck Charlie Jessie Wizards Of Waverly Place Wizards Of Waverly Place Phil Of The Future Hannah Montana Jonas Los Angeles Sonny With A Chance Wizards Of Waverly Place Wizards Of Waverly Place Hannah Montana

03:15 Style Star 03:40 Extreme Close-Up 04:10 THS 05:05 THS 06:00 THS 07:50 Style Star 08:20 Opening Act 09:15 Opening Act 10:15 15 Remarkable Celebrity Body Bouncebacks 12:05 Khloe And Lamar 12:35 Khloe And Lamar 13:05 Married To Jonas 13:35 Married To Jonas 14:05 Kourtney & Kim Take New York 15:00 Style Star 15:30 E!es 16:30 Extreme Close-Up 17:00 Chasing The Saturdays 17:30 Chasing The Saturdays 18:00 E! News 19:00 Fashion Police 20:00 E!es 21:00 Kourtney And Kim Take Miami 22:00 Chasing The Saturdays 22:30 E! News 23:30 Chelsea Lately


03:00 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 03:25 Unique Eats 03:50 Kid In A Candy Store 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 Kid In A Candy Store 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 Chef Hunter 12:50 Grill It! With Bobby Flay

13:15 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 13:40 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 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 Guy’s Big Bite 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

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 13:15 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

I Almost Got Away With It Dr G: Medical Examiner A Haunting Murder Shift Mystery Diagnosis Street Patrol Street Patrol Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Murder Shift Disappeared Mystery Diagnosis Street Patrol Street Patrol Forensic Detectives On The Case With Paula Zahn Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? Disappeared Murder Shift 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

03:30 Texasville 05:35 The Amityville Horror 07:30 Gate II 09:00 The Unforgiven 11:05 The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course 12:35 Saved 14:05 Swamp Thing 15:35 Lights! Action! Music! 16:35 Viva Maria! 18:30 Mgm’s Big Screen 18:45 A Star For Two 20:20 Kid Galahad 22:00 True Blood 23:40 Alice

03:30 Banged Up Abroad 04:25 City Chase Rome 05:20 Departures 06:15 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 06:40 Earth Tripping 07:10 Exploring The Vine 07:35 Kimchi Chronicles 08:05 Somewhere In China 09:00 Making Tracks 09:25 Making Tracks 09:55 Banged Up Abroad 10:50 Banged Up Abroad 11:45 City Chase Rome 12:40 Departures 13:35 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 14:00 Earth Tripping 14:30 Delinquent Gourmet 14:55 Kimchi Chronicles 15:25 Somewhere In China 16:20 Market Values 16:45 Market Values 17:15 Banged Up Abroad 18:10 Banged Up Abroad 19:05 City Chase Rome 20:00 Delinquent Gourmet 20:30 Kimchi Chronicles 21:00 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 21:30 Earth Tripping 22:00 Departures 22:55 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet 23:20 Market Values 23:50 Travel Madness

04:00 06:00 08:00 PG15 10:00 12:00 14:00 PG15 15:45 18:15 20:00 22:00

03:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 16:45 19:00 21:00 23:00

03:00 03:30 04:00 04:30 Leno 05:30 06:00 06:30 07:00 08:00

RoboCop 3-PG15 Season Of The Witch-PG15 True Justice: BrotherhoodTrue Justice: Blood Alley-PG15 Barricade-PG15 True Justice: BrotherhoodKingdom Of Heaven-PG15 Barricade-PG15 Alien-18 Gridlock’d-18

The Decoy Bride-PG15 Winx-FAM Blank Slate-PG15 The Decoy Bride-PG15 The Vow-PG15 Dangerous Flowers-PG15 Hidden Crimes-PG15 A Separation-PG15 Young Adult-PG15 Cleanskin-18 Husk-18

Breaking In Friends Seinfeld The Tonight Show With Jay Til Death Arrested Development Gary Unmarried Late Night With Jimmy Fallon Seinfeld

A SEPERATION ON OSN CINEMA 08:30 Til Death 09:00 Breaking In 09:30 How I Met Your Mother 10:30 Gary Unmarried 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Arrested Development 12:30 Seinfeld 13:00 Til Death 13:30 Gary Unmarried 14:00 Friends 15:00 How I Met Your Mother 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 Arrested Development 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 Ben And Kate 18:30 The Simpsons 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 23:00 Entourage 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

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

Greek House Of Cards Grey’s Anatomy Supernatural Emmerdale Coronation Street The Closer The Ellen DeGeneres Show Grey’s Anatomy The Americans 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 Treme

03:45 06:00 08:00 10:00 12:00 14:00 16:00 17:45 20:15 22:00

RoboCop 2 RoboCop 3 Season Of The Witch True Justice: Brotherhood True Justice: Blood Alley Barricade True Justice: Brotherhood Kingdom Of Heaven Barricade Alien

04:00 The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom-PG 06:00 Hop-PG 08:00 The First Wives Club-PG 10:00 Ernest Scared Stupid-PG15 12:00 The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom-PG 14:00 In Her Shoes-PG15 16:15 Ernest Scared Stupid-PG15 18:00 Turner & Hooch-PG15 20:00 The Switch-18 22:00 High School-18

03:00 05:00 07:15 09:00 11:00 PG15 13:00 15:00 17:00 18:45 21:00 23:15

Sleepy Hollow-PG15 Water For Elephants-PG15 Courage-PG15 Separate Lies-PG15 Taken Back: Finding HaleyKings Ransom-PG15 Separate Lies-PG15 Yona Yona Penguin-PG Mr. Nobody-PG15 The Preacher’s Wife-PG15 The Intouchables-U

04:30 Take Shelter-PG15 06:30 B-Girl-PG15 08:00 Into The Wind-PG15 09:00 The Adventures Of Tintin-PG 11:00 Lady And The Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure-FAM 12:30 Ring Of Deceit-PG15 14:15 The Phantom Of The Opera At The Royal Albert Hall-PG15 17:00 The Adventures Of Tintin-PG 19:00 Contagion-PG15 21:00 Locked In-PG15 23:00 The Five Year Engagement-18

04:30 Turandot 06:00 Tinker Bell And The Secret Of The Wings 08:00 Everyone’s Hero 10:00 Robots 11:30 The Adventures Of Don Quixote 13:00 Crab Island 14:30 Tinker Bell And The Secret Of The Wings 16:00 101 Dalmatians (1961) 18:00 Robots 20:00 Teo: The Intergalactic Hunter 22:00 Crab Island 23:30 Everyone’s Hero

03:00 MSNBC All In With Chris Hayes 04:00 MSNBC The Rachel Maddow Show 05:00 MSNBC The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell 06:00 NBC Nightly News 06:30 ABC World News With Diane Sawyer 07:00 Live NBC Nightly News 07:39 ABC Nightline 08:06 Live MSNBC The Rachel Maddow Show 09:00 MSNBC The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell 10:00 ABC World News Now 10:30 Live ABC World News Now 11:00 NBC Early Today 11:30 ABC America This Morning 12:00 ABC America This Morning 12:30 Live ABC America This Morning 13:00 Live ABC America This Morning 13:30 MSNBC First Look 14:00 Live NBC Today Show 17:57 Live MSNBC Hardball With Chris Matthews 18:38 Live MSNBC The Ed Show 19:19 Live MSNBC The Rachel Maddow Show 20:00 MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports 21:00 MSNBC Newsnation 22:00 MSNBC The Cycle 23:00 MSNBC Martin Bashir

04:00 Crisis Point-PG15 05:45 The Tree Of Life-PG15 08:00 A View From Here-PG15 10:00 The Big Year-PG 12:00 Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows-PG15 14:15 Rio-FAM 16:00 A View From Here-PG15 18:00 Damsels In Distress-PG15 20:00 Coriolanus-PG15 22:15 Outlaw Country-PG15

03:30 NRL Full Time 04:00 NRL Premiership 06:00 AFL Premiership Highlights 07:00 Snooker World Championship 11:00 Champions Tour Highlights 12:00 Live Snooker World Championship 16:00 NRL Full Time 16:30 Live Snooker World Championship 20:00 Futbol Mundial 20:30 PGA European Tour Weekly 21:00 Live Snooker World Championship

07:00 08:00 10:00 10:30 11:30 13:30 14:30 15:30 19:00 21:00 21:30 22:30 23:30

AFL Premiership Highlights Super Rugby NRL Full Time AFL Premiership Highlights European Challenge Cup Super Rugby PGA Tour Highlights Premier League Darts NHL Inside The PGA Tour Trans World Sport AFL Premiership Highlights Super Rugby

03:00 Super Rugby 05:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 06:00 Trans World Sport 07:00 Golfing World 08:00 PGA 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 Futbol Mundial 14:30 AFL Premiership Highlights 15:30 World Pool Masters 16:30 World Cup Of Pool 17:30 European Challenge Cup 19:30 Asian Tour Golf Show 20:00 Super League 21:30 Ladies European Tour Highlights 22:30 Champions Tour Highlights 23:30 Golfing World

03:00 04:00 05:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 16:00 16:30 17:00 17:30 20:30 22:30 23:30

Ping Pong World US Bass Fishing NHL WWE Vintage Collection WWE NXT Ping Pong World US Bass Fishing NHL WWE SmackDown European Le Mans Series UIM Powerboat Champs UIM Powerboat Champs UIM Powerboat Champs UFC NHL European Le Mans Series UIM Powerboat Champs

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

Chicagolicious Open House Videofashion News Videofashion Collections Clean House: New York Videofashion News Videofashion News Videofashion Daily Open House Dress My Nest Giuliana & Bill Tia And Tamera Kimora: Life In The Fab Lane Videofashion Specials Videofashion Collections Chicagolicious How Do I Look? How Do I Look? Built Built Chicagolicious Jerseylicious Giuliana & Bill Giuliana & Bill Kimora: House Of Fab Fashion Police

03:20 05:10 07:00 09:45 12:15 14:10 16:00 17:40 19:35 22:00

Ziegfeld Follies-FAM Never So Few-PG Raintree County-PG The Comedians-PG Bronco Billy-PG White Heat-PG Billy The Kid-PG Guns For San Sebastian-PG Anchors Aweigh-FAM Get Carter-18

Classifieds WEDNESDAY, MAY 1, 2013



1:30 PM 3:30 PM 5:15 PM 5:30 PM 8:15 PM 10:00 PM 12:05 AM 2:00 PM 4:00 PM 6:00 PM 8:00 PM 10:30 PM 12:30 AM 12:45 PM 3:15 PM 5:15 PM 7:45 PM 9:45 PM 12:15 AM 12:30 PM 2:30 PM 4:15 PM 5:00 PM 7:15 PM 9:00 PM 10:45 PM


12:45 PM 3:15 PM 5:45 PM 7:45 PM 10:15 PM


1:30 PM 3:30 PM 5:30 PM 8:00 PM 10:00 PM


1:15 PM 3:00 PM 4:45 PM 6:45 PM 8:30 PM 10:30 PM 12:15 AM 1:45 PM 3:30 PM 5:15 PM 7:00 PM 9:00 PM 10:45 PM 12:30 AM



12:30 PM 2:45 PM 5:15 PM 7:45 PM 9:45 PM 12:15 AM


1:15 PM 3:30 PM 6:00 PM 8:30 PM 10:45 PM 1:15 AM


2:30 PM 5:00 PM 7:30 PM 10:00 PM 12:30 AM


1:15 PM 3:15 PM 5:15 PM 7:15 PM 9:15 PM 11:15 PM 1:15 AM 2:15 PM 4:30 PM 6:45 PM 9:00 PM 11:30 PM


1:45 PM 4:00 PM 6:15 PM 8:30 PM 10:45 PM 1:00 AM


12:45 PM 2:45 PM 4:45 PM 6:45 PM 8:45 PM 10:45 PM 12:45 AM


1:00 PM 2:45 PM 4:45 PM 6:30 PM 8:30 PM 10:15 PM 12:05 AM


1:30 PM 3:30 PM 5:30 PM 7:30 PM 9:30 PM 11:30 PM


12:30 PM


2:15 PM 4:30 PM 6:15 PM 8:30 PM 10:15 PM 12:05 AM

2:00 PM 4:45 PM 7:15 PM 10:00 PM 12:15 AM


Sharing accommodation available for decent single person (male/female) with a separate room with attached bath in Amman Street near roundabout. Please call 5 pm to 10 pm 66321532. (C 4399) 1-5-2013 Sharing accommodation available for decent bachelor or family non smoking, Amman street, one big room, opposite to Al Rashed Hospital. Contact: 66232356. (C 4395) 28-4-2013

7:00 PM 10:00 PM 3:45 PM 6:45 PM 9:45 PM


5:45 PM 8:15 PM 10:45 PM


Prayer timings Fajr:


Automated enquiry about the Civil ID card is







3:45 PM



6:45 PM



10:00 PM

9:45 PM


6:15 PM 9:15 PM


6:00 PM 8:00 PM 10:00 PM


I, Kamalapuram Basheer, Indian Passport No: K9684632 change my name to Shaikh Basheer Ahmed. (C 4398) 29-4-2013


7:00 PM





Ministry of Interior website:

No: 15795

4:00 PM 7:00 PM 10:00 PM 7:00 PM 10:00 PM 3:30 PM 6:30 PM 10:00 PM


3:45 PM 6:45 PM




Time 00:15 00:20 00:40 01:45 01:55 02:25 02:30 03:10 03:15 03:20 03:30 04:20 04:35 05:50 06:15 06:20 06:30 06:40 07:25 07:30 07:45 07:50 08:05 08:20 08:25 08:30 08:50 09:00 09:10 09:15 09:25 09:30 10:40 10:55 11:00 11:00 11:30 11:35 11:45 12:00 12:05 12:10 12:15 12:45 13:00 13:10 13:15 13:25 13:40 13:45 13:50 13:55 14:00


575 500 788 538 640 535 787 134 824 303 357 857 127 510 215 982 177 462 777 542 144 786 166 63 219 618 405 674 774 606 572 102 61 647 129 402 489 417 229 859 307 136 217 372 146 59 975 239 185 981 135 636 574 772


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



Time 00:05 00:20 00:25 00:30 02:20 02:45 03:45 03:50 04:15 04:20 04:20 04:25 05:15 05:35 06:30 07:00 07:10 7:25 8:00 08:25 08:25 09:10 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 12:30 12:50 13:00 13:10 13:10 13:20 14:00 14:00 14:10 14:15

Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (


872 58 141 6693 576 673 617 503 792 773 641 238 135 304 824 538 128 858 511 216 184 266 982 471 145 64 220 134 404 619 571 62 120 361 331 648 351 403 171 417 308 230 860 381 137 301 218 373 205 60 147 554 283 415 528


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


stars CROSSWORD 176

STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) There’s not a lot you can do to avoid some last minute chores which require a lot of energy from you today. Though you’ve planned a quite out of the way sort of day, it’s not likely to happen that easily with these other matters pressing. You’re best to do what has to be done and reschedule your quiet time for the following day. A single rose can have as much of an impact on someone as a dozen if you’re trying to get a message across. Don’t assume that you need to be extravagant today to tell your heart throb that you care. Even a post it note saying I love you place in strategic locations can bring more than a smile to your relationship.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) You want at this time to take a good look at the limits, obligations, expectations and rules that bind you. You can commit yourself to staying with those that are useful, but you may want to change those which no longer serve your greatest good. This can be a very good time for making long range plans. Conversations have a particularly emotional, intimate, or nostalgic tone. Sharing memories and reminiscences, or discussing a very personal topic is likely now. You may have a significant communication (email, phone call, or personal discussion with someone who was once very important to you or with whom you have a long history. This is a good time to reflect, review, and get a perspective on emotional matters or things of the past.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)


1. East Indian tree bearing a profusion of intense vermilion velvet-textured blooms and yielding a yellow dye. 4. Lac purified by heating and filtering. 11. The dialect of Albanian spoken in northern Albania and Yugoslavia. 15. A sweetened beverage of diluted fruit juice. 16. Type genus of the Balaenidae. 17. Avatar of Vishnu. 18. Tag the base runner to get him out. 19. Elinvar is a trademark for a kind of nickelchromium steel used for watch springs because its elasticity is constant over a wide range of temperatures. 20. Make editorial changes (in a text). 21. (Old Testament) In Judeo-Christian mythology. 23. The basic unit of money in Peru. 24. Make a donation of. 26. Type genus of the Blattidae. 29. A hard gray lustrous metallic element that is highly corrosion-resistant. 31. Water frozen in the solid state. 32. Harsh or corrosive in tone. 35. Make less active or intense. 39. Austrian pianist and composer who studied with Beethoven and was a teacher of Liszt (1791-1857). 41. A heavy open wagon usually having two wheels and drawn by an animal. 43. A monocotyledonous genus of the family Iridaceae. 45. The sign language used in the United States. 46. Being one hundred more than two hundred. 47. Wood of a sumac. 49. The act of swimming. 51. A Loloish language. 53. Of or relating to Oman or its people. 54. Relating to or having the characteristics of bees. 55. (Scotland) A small loaf or roll of soft bread. 57. A sudden short attack. 58. Knowledge gained through tradition or anecdote. 59. Having the leading position or higher score in a contest. 62. A heavy odorless colorless gas formed during respiration and by the decomposition of organic substances. 63. Lacking or deprive of the sense of hearing wholly or in part. 69. A female domestic. 73. A small narrow pointed missile that is thrown or shot. 74. Type genus of the Otariidae. 75. Common Indian weaverbird. 76. (Old Testament) Adam's wife in JudeoChristian mythology. 79. A unit of absorbed ionizing radiation equal to 100 ergs per gram of irradiated material. 80. A doctor's degree in education. 81. Any plant of the genus Caragana having even-pinnate leaves and mostly yellow flowers followed by seeds in a linear pod. 82. A period marked by distinctive character or reckoned from a fixed point or event.

DOWN 1. (Irish) Mother of the Tuatha De Danann. 2. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 3. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 4. The compass point that is one point east of due south. 5. Naturally occurring crystalline sodium chloride. 6. Intelligence derived from non-communications electromagnetic radiations from foreign sources (other than radioactive sources). 7. A flowering shrub. 8. (New Testament) Disciple of Jesus. 9. (Irish) Mother of the ancient Irish gods. 10. Italian poet considered the national poet of modern Italy (1835-1907). 11. A small explosive bomb thrown by hand or fired from a missile. 12. Relating to the deepest parts of the ocean (below 6000 meters). 13. Expel, as of gases and odors. 14. A door-like movable barrier in a fence or wall. 22. A master's degree in literature. 25. A city of east central Mexico (west of Veracruz). 27. (informal) Of the highest quality. 28. An official prosecutor for a judicial district. 30. Having the wind against the forward side of the sails. 33. (Babylonian) Father of the gods. 34. A colorless flammable volatile liquid hydrocarbon used as a solvent. 36. (of persons) Highest in rank or authority or office. 37. Worthless people. 38. English aristocrat who was the first wife of Prince Charles. 40. The relative magnitudes of two quantities (usually expressed as a quotient). 42. A program under which employees regularly accumulate shares and may ultimately assume control of the company. 44. Being two more than ninety. 48. Sauce for pasta. 50. Great coolness and composure under strain. 52. At or near or toward the stern of a ship or tail of an airplane. 56. A public promotion of some product or service. 60. An upward movement (especially a rhythmical rising and falling). 61. Worn or shabby from overuse or (of pages) from having corners turned down. 64. Amino acid that is formed in the liver and converted into dopamine in the brain. 65. Essential oil or perfume obtained from flowers. 66. A small amount of residue. 67. A genus of Mustelidae. 68. Water falling in drops from vapor condensed in the atmosphere. 70. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 71. The eighth month of the civil year. 72. An informal term for a father. 77. A white trivalent metallic element. 78. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group.


You need to do something innovative, daring, unusual, liberating, exciting, and challenging. You are inclined to act on some of the wilder impulses and desires you feel from time to time. You crave stimulation. If you have an inventive streak, you could make a startling discovery or breakthrough now. Disagreements or differences of opinion and viewpoints arise now between you and a partner. You may have to speak your mind in a way that challenges or unnerves someone close to you. However, your mind is very active and sharp, and your reasoning power is good, so this is a good time to try and work things out or maybe even find some compromises.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) Relationship issues may bubble over now. Be careful not to let yourself get too hot headed if there are issues you need to resolve with your partner. It’s best to do so in a communicative way, talk about your problems and don’t bottle them up. Reaching out to an older relative or another mature, experienced person can mean a lot to you and be mutually beneficial now. You are feeling sober and realistic about love at this time, and are interested in being with people you respect and can depend upon, from your oldest true-blue friends to your newest confidant.

Leo (July 23-August 22) You could be most persuasive with others, and eloquent in speech and communication. The situation is a natural for self-expression and lends itself to your particular ideas and thoughts. You could be seen by others as just the person to be put in charge of some project requiring a conservative mind. There can be a fine line between an exciting adventure and risky behavior today, so try to stay on the safe side of the line. It’s a good time to engage but perhaps to not be the designated driver both literally and figuratively. Let someone else have some control so that you can be safely irresponsible for a while.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) This month can highlight your ability and inclination to choose well and faithfully respect new commitments and responsibilities. It will probably give you some great choices to embrace, and some real clunkers to avoid. Remember that anything you do is likely to get you more embroiled than you think. A sense of emotional coolness or detachment in personal relationships is the energy you are now entering. It’s ideas and goals that count for you now, more than personal concerns, and you may have little tolerance for people who do not operate at this level.

Word Search

Libra (September 23-October 22) Emotions burst out into laughter or song, playfulness abounds, and there can seem like there is no limit to what’s out there for you. Take the ball and run with it now and you’ll go far. It may be hard to take care of yourself when others at home or at work are insisting on attention. Do what you can to burn both ends of the candle, but don’t push too hard, you’ll just rain yourself without actually accomplishing all you want on either front. Emotions are strong and upbeat today. Any plans you begin today regarding a relationship will be firm and supportive and continue to evolve that way. Feelings of friendship and even love are at the top of the emotional list and it’s easy to see the good side of the people around you.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) You may find that while your attention is turned inward, nice surprises may be coming your way on the professional front, as your reputation gets a boost, perhaps from something you’d done long ago but had forgotten about. If someone offers you a free ride, by all means take it and don’t be modest, because you will deserve the extra attention. Things are not as mellow as they might be, but resolution and progress are possible through mutual recognition and compromise of any issues that you have the courage to bring up. This could impact your priorities and goals, but be ready to give in on small points in order to gain on the large ones.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Avoid confrontations right now, which will put you at a disadvantage, use subtler means to gain your ends when emotions run high. You’re now embarking on a trek into a land of dreams, not just passive daydreams, but vibrant visions of what may be. The time has come to stop looking at the world as it is and start asking why. At this time you are more temperamental, impassioned and inclined to act on the dictates of emotion and desire rather than reason, sounds like it’s just a cranky kind of day. Minor annoyances and others’ idiosyncrasies seem to aggravate you more than usual. You could be in a fighting mood so take a few deep breathes and hang on, but not to someone else’s throat!

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

CAPRICORN Your mind is directed inward now. Reflecting on your personal life, and the overall direction you are headed in, is very likely now. Thoughts of the past and the choices you made are also prominent. Making a decision regarding your home or your family life is favored at this time. You are powerfully attracted, emotionally and sexually, to someone you encounter at this time, and any romantic involvements you currently have are intensified. Expect fireworks! Also, your relationships can become tempestuous, especially if your partner is not as responsive or as loving as you would like.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Uncertainty and shifting grounds can mark the day’s outcomes, and confidence may retreat in the face of a challenge. Confrontation is the wrong game to play, but pulling out entirely is equally unsuitable. Take judicious compromise now and the resulting situation will improve, but don’t chase diminishing returns. Time for finding yourself able to respond to friends and lovers and enter into relationships with a renewed sense of love and compassion is the mood for the day. Real breakthroughs in any relationship can happen if you are willing to try some new or different approaches to a problem.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) Stop flying off the handle over unimportant issues, because one of the down-sides is that you won’t have any energy left for the important stuff. Something that has been playing on your mind for some time shows clear signs of resolving itself. Relaxation, enjoyment, and pleasure are emphasized for you now. This is not a time to push yourself or be involved in activities that require intense energy. Cooperative, harmonious relationships are more important to you at this time. You feel like socializing and being friendly.

Yesterday’s Solution

Yesterday’s Solution

Daily SuDoku

Yesterday’s Solution


i n f o r m at i o n For labor-related inquiries and complaints: Call MSAL hotline 128 GOVERNORATE Sabah Hospital


Amiri Hospital


Maternity Hospital


Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital


Chest Hospital


Farwaniya Hospital


Adan Hospital


Ibn Sina Hospital


Al-Razi Hospital


Physiotherapy Hospital






Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan

Fahaeel Makka St Abu Halaifa-Coastal Rd Mahboula Block 1, Coastal Rd

23915883 23715414 23726558


Modern Jahra Madina Munawara

Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92

24575518 24566622


Ahlam Khaldiya Coop

Fahad Al-Salem St Khaldiya Coop

22436184 24833967


New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan

Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11

24734000 24881201 24726638

Tariq Hana Ikhlas Hawally & Rawdha Ghadeer Kindy Ibn Al-Nafis Mishrif Coop Salwa Coop

Salmiya-Hamad Mubarak St Salmiya-Amman St Hawally-Beirut St Hawally & Rawdha Coop Jabriya-Block 1A Jabriya-Block 3B Salmiya-Hamad Mubarak St Mishrif Coop Salwa Coop

25726265 25647075 22625999 22564549 25340559 25326554 25721264 25380581 25628241






















Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh








Kaizen center


















Abdullah Salem




Industrial Shuwaikh






Bneid Al-Gar






Ayoun Al-Qibla










Maidan Hawally






W Hawally






New Jahra


West Jahra


South Jahra


North Jahra


North Jleeb








N Khaitan





PRIVATE CLINICS Ophthalmologists Dr. Abidallah Al-Mansoor 25622444 Dr. Samy Al-Rabeea 25752222 Dr. Masoma Habeeb 25321171 Dr. Mubarak Al-Ajmy 25739999 Dr. Mohsen Abel 25757700 Dr Adnan Hasan Alwayl 25732223 Dr. Abdallah Al-Baghly 25732223 Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) Dr. Ahmed Fouad Mouner 24555050 Ext 510 Dr. Abdallah Al-Ali 25644660 Dr. Abd Al-Hameed Al-Taweel 25646478 Dr. Sanad Al-Fathalah 25311996 Dr. Mohammad Al-Daaory 25731988 Dr. Ismail Al-Fodary 22620166 Dr. Mahmoud Al-Booz 25651426 General Practitioners Dr. Mohamme Y Majidi 24555050 Ext 123 Dr. Yousef Al-Omar 24719312 Dr. Tarek Al-Mikhazeem 23926920 Dr. Kathem Maarafi 25730465 Dr. Abdallah Ahmad Eyadah 25655528 Dr. Nabeel Al-Ayoobi 24577781 Dr. Dina Abidallah Al-Refae 25333501 Urologists Dr. Ali Naser Al-Serfy 22641534 Dr. Fawzi Taher Abul 22639955 Dr. Khaleel Abidallah Al-Awadi 22616660 Dr. Adel Al-Hunayan FRCS (C) 25313120 Dr. Leons Joseph 66703427 Psychologists /Psychotherapists


Plastic Surgeons Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalaf


Dr. Khaled Hamadi

Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari


Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rashed

Dr. Abdel Quttainah


Family Doctor Dr Divya Damodar


Psychiatrists Dr. Esam Al-Ansari


Dr Eisa M. Al-Balhan


Gynaecologists & Obstetricians DrAdrian arbe


Dr. Verginia s.Marin

2572-6666 ext 8321

Dr. Fozeya Ali Al-Qatan


Dr. Majeda Khalefa Aliytami


Dr. Ahmad Al-Khooly


Dr. Salem soso

22618787 General Surgeons

Dr. Amer Zawaz Al-Amer


Dr. Mohammad Yousef Basher


Internists, Chest & Heart Dr. Adnan Ebil


Dr. Mousa Khadada


Dr. Latefa Al-Duweisan


Dr. Nadem Al-Ghabra


Dr. Mobarak Aldoub


Dr Nasser Behbehani


Soor Center Tel: 2290-1677 Fax: 2290 1688

25665898 25340300

Dr. Zahra Qabazard


Dr. Sohail Qamar


Dr. Snaa Maaroof


Dr. Pradip Gujare


Dr. Zacharias Mathew


(1) Ear, Nose and Throat (2) Plastic Surgeon Dr. Abdul Mohsin Jafar, FRCS (Canada)


Dentists Dr Anil Thomas


Dr. Shamah Al-Matar


Dr. Anesah Al-Rasheed


Dr. Abidallah Al-Amer


Dr. Faysal Al-Fozan


Dr. Abdallateef Al-Katrash


Dr. Abidallah Al-Duweisan


Dr. Bader Al-Ansari


Neurologists Dr. Sohal Najem Al-Shemeri


Dr. Jasem Mola Hassan


Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman


Dr. Mohammad Al-Shamaly


Dr. Foad Abidallah Al-Ali


Kaizen center 25716707

Endocrinologist Dr. Abd Al-Naser Al-Othman


Dr. Ahmad Al-Ansari 25658888 Dr. Kamal Al-Shomr 25329924 Physiotherapists & VD Dr. Deyaa Shehab


Dr. Musaed Faraj Khamees


Rheumatologists: Dr. Adel Al-Awadi


Dr. Khaled Al-Jarallah


Internist, Chest & Heart DR.Mohammes Akkad

24555050 Ext 210

Dr. Mohammad Zubaid MB, ChB, FRCPC, PACC Assistant Professor Of Medicine Head, Division of Cardiology Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital Consultant Cardiologist Dr. Farida Al-Habib MD, PH.D, FACC Inaya German Medical Center Te: 2575077 Fax: 25723123


William Schuilenberg, RPC 2290-1677 Zaina Al Zabin, M.Sc. 2290-1677

Afghanistan 0093 Albania 00355 Algeria 00213 Andorra 00376 Angola 00244 Anguilla 001264 Antiga 001268 Argentina 0054 Armenia 00374 Australia 0061 Austria 0043 Bahamas 001242 Bahrain 00973 Bangladesh 00880 Barbados 001246 Belarus 00375 Belgium 0032 Belize 00501 Benin 00229 Bermuda 001441 Bhutan 00975 Bolivia 00591 Bosnia 00387 Botswana 00267 Brazil 0055 Brunei 00673 Bulgaria 00359 Burkina 00226 Burundi 00257 Cambodia 00855 Cameroon 00237 Canada 001 Cape Verde 00238 Cayman Islands 001345 Central African 00236 Chad 00235 Chile 0056 China 0086 Colombia 0057 Comoros 00269 Congo 00242 Cook Islands 00682 Costa Rica 00506 Croatia 00385 Cuba 0053 Cyprus 00357 Cyprus (Northern) 0090392 Czech Republic 00420 Denmark 0045 Diego Garcia 00246 Djibouti 00253 Dominica 001767 Dominican Republic 001809 Ecuador 00593 Egypt 0020 El Salvador 00503 England (UK) 0044 Equatorial Guinea 00240 Eritrea 00291 Estonia 00372 Ethiopia 00251 Falkland Islands 00500 Faroe Islands 00298 Fiji 00679 Finland 00358 France 0033 French Guiana 00594 French Polynesia 00689 Gabon 00241 Gambia 00220 Georgia 00995 Germany 0049 Ghana 00233 Gibraltar 00350 Greece 0030 Greenland 00299 Grenada 001473 Guadeloupe 00590 Guam 001671 Guatemala 00502 Guinea 00224 Guyana 00592 Haiti 00509 Holland (Netherlands) 0031 Honduras 00504 Hong Kong 00852 Hungary 0036 Ibiza (Spain) 0034 Iceland 00354 India 0091 Indian Ocean 00873 Indonesia 0062

Iran 0098 Iraq 00964 Ireland 00353 Italy 0039 Ivory Coast 00225 Jamaica 001876 Japan 0081 Jordan 00962 Kazakhstan 007 Kenya 00254 Kiribati 00686 Kuwait 00965 Kyrgyzstan 00996 Laos 00856 Latvia 00371 Lebanon 00961 Liberia 00231 Libya 00218 Lithuania 00370 Luxembourg 00352 Macau 00853 Macedonia 00389 Madagascar 00261 Majorca 0034 Malawi 00265 Malaysia 0060 Maldives 00960 Mali 00223 Malta 00356 Marshall Islands 00692 Martinique 00596 Mauritania 00222 Mauritius 00230 Mayotte 00269 Mexico 0052 Micronesia 00691 Moldova 00373 Monaco 00377 Mongolia 00976 Montserrat 001664 Morocco 00212 Mozambique 00258 Myanmar (Burma) 0095 Namibia 00264 Nepal 00977 Netherlands (Holland) 0031 Netherlands Antilles 00599 New Caledonia 00687 New Zealand 0064 Nicaragua 00505 Nigar 00227 Nigeria 00234 Niue 00683 Norfolk Island 00672 Northern Ireland (UK) 0044 North Korea 00850 Norway 0047 Oman 00968 Pakistan 0092 Palau 00680 Panama 00507 Papua New Guinea 00675 Paraguay 00595 Peru 0051 Philippines 0063 Poland 0048 Portugal 00351 Puerto Rico 001787 Qatar 00974 Romania 0040 Russian Federation 007 Rwanda 00250 Saint Helena 00290 Saint Kitts 001869 Saint Lucia 001758 Saint Pierre 00508 Saint Vincent 001784 Samoa US 00684 Samoa West 00685 San Marino 00378 Sao Tone 00239 Saudi Arabia 00966 Scotland (UK) 0044 Senegal 00221 Seychelles 00284 Sierra Leone 00232 Singapore 0065 Slovakia 00421 Slovenia 00386 Solomon Islands 00677


lifestyle G o s s i p

Zeta-Jones checks into mental health facility


he ‘Chicago’ actress is expected to complete a 30-day program as a “proactive” measure to help with her condition, which can cause high and low mood swings as well as depression. Cece Yorke, her representative, told People magazine: “Catherine has proactively checked into a health care facility. “Previously Catherine has said that she is committed to periodic care in order to manage her health in an optimum manner.” Catherine, 43, first sought medical help in 2011 when she spent time in a Connnecticut-based mental health facility. A friend of the star’s added that she simply wants doctors to monitor her medication this time, saying: “There was no big problem. This was just a good time to do it. She is in between projects. “This has always been part of the plan. She would manage her health. She is vigilant about it.” The Welsh beauty and her husband Michael Douglas - who have children Carys, 10, and Dylan, 12, together were last seen in public a week ago at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 40th Annual Chaplin Award Gala.

Sarah Harding ‘amazed’


he 31-year-old singer expects her former bandmate Kimberley Walsh will get engaged to her long-term partner Justin Scott some time soon, but she is shocked that she and none of the other members of the band - Cheryl Cole, Nicola Roberts, and Nadine Coyle - have started families. Asked if she can see anyone getting engaged, she said: “Kimberley has been with Justin [Scott] a very long time so I can see that happening. When’s he gonna put a ring on it? It’s been ages! I can’t believe none of us have done ‘a Saturdays’ and had kids or anything yet.” Although she is missing the group, Sarah is enjoying being “an individual” again but has vowed not to follow in Kimberley’s footsteps and take part in a show like ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. In an interview with the new issue of Britain’s Star magazine, she said: “Kimberley [Walsh] has been non-stop with the dancing. I don’t know how she got through that and the tour. The rehearsals nearly killed me! “Although I’m not a natural dancer so hopefully no one will ever ask me to go on ‘Strictly’. I’m more of the entertainer. I love getting a crowd going. But it is nice to be an individual now.”


Keira Knightley set to wed

he ‘Jack Reacher’ actress and her fiancÈ James Righton are planning to tie the knot in an intimate ceremony near Nice in front of 100 close friends and family members. A source told The Daily Mirror newspaper: “It’s all been a massively covert operation - her friends and family were only told recently about the ceremony. “They’ve all been told not to travel in big groups, to arrive separately and to all spread out where they’re staying so as not to draw attention to the wedding party.” The couple got engaged in May 2012 after meeting through mutual pal Alexa Chung, and Keira recently moved into a new home in East London with the Klaxons keyboardist. The 28-year-old actress - who previously dated her ‘Pride & Prejudice’ co-star Rupert Friend for five years - recently said they were in no rush to get married, hinting they would have a low-key ceremony when the time came. She joked: “I could have six fake weddings. God, that would be expensive. We’re not big-wedding types. I don’t need to have all that.

Peter Andre sad over JLS


he reality TV star and singer is good friends with the band - which consists of JB Gill, Marvin Humes, Aston Merrygold and Oritse Williams - and is upset they have decided to call it a day following the release of their greatest hits album ‘Goodbye’ and a farewell tour in December. Writing in his new! magazine column, he said: “I’m sad that JLS have split up, but I can understand why they wanted to go out on a high. “I’m good mates with all the lads from JLS and want to wish them the best of luck. Marvin Humes even invited me to his and Rochelle’s wedding last year, but I couldn’t go. I was gutted!” The 40-year-old star believes he and Oritse will become even better friends now he has signed up with his manager Claire Powell. Peter added: “Oritse Williams is now being managed by Claire Powell, who manages me, and I know she’s got lots of exciting stuff lined up for him. Being under the same management means we’ll probably get to hang out lots, which I’m looking forward to.”

Gwyneth Paltrow’s

‘unusual advice’


he actress was having dinner with friends including Chelsea Handler when the unnamed woman told them she was furious with her spouse after a huge bust up but Gwyneth told her to let go of her anger and gave her the unusual advice. Speaking on her late night chat show, Chelsea told the audience: “We were at a dinner party one night and this girl was asking for advice and Gwyneth is an amazing advice giver. “The woman was saying ‘I got into a big fight with my husband and I got home and I wanted to scream and yell’ and Gwyneth was like ‘Whatever you’re doing just do the opposite, just go at him with love and you give him a blow job.’” However, Gwyneth was embarrassed when her pal told the story, putting her head in her hands she said: “What if my mom is watching this show?” Gwyneth previously admitted she believes one of the reasons why her 10 year marriage has lasted is because she is willing to “compromise” in order to be there for Coldplay star Chris Martin.

‘Unloved’ Paris Jackson reaches out to her mom


he 15-year-old daughter of the late singer Michael Jackson has been spending time with her biological mother Debbie Rowe, who gave up all parental rights to Paris and her brother Prince Michael, 16, when they were younger, and her family are relieved it seems to have given the teenager a sense of stability. A source told People: “Paris has been going through a lot of teenage angst and feels a little bit unloved. So about three months ago Paris reached out to her mother and told her she wanted to establish a relationship with her. Debbie was open to it, and Katherine Jackson is supportive of the developing relationship. “Right now Paris is happy with the situation as it is.” Paris has spent time on Debbie’s ranch in Palmdale, Califorina, helping with her horses and has loved spending time away from Los Angeles. The source added: “She’s enjoyed telling friends how she’s helping take care of a pregnant mare on the ranch, and even how she was recently chased by a chicken.”

Chris Brown not mad with his dad


he 23-year-old rapper is still on probation for assaulting the ‘Stay’ hitmaker in 2009, and his father Clinton recently voiced his concern over their volatile relationship, saying they are both too “whimsical”, but Chris isn’t worried by his comments. A source told HollywoodLife: “Chris ain’t mad at his dad for saying that. He loves his dad. Chris is going to do him, regardless. It’s his relationship with Rihanna and no one else.” Although Clinton thinks Rihanna, 25 and Chris are better off apart, he admitted they were unlikely to listen to his point of view. He said: “I really didn’t want him and Rihanna back together - because they are two individuals who are whimsical. You don’t have the balance. “You have to have a balance in a relationship. You have to have someone who is spontaneous but you also need someone who is grounded and logical.


lifestyle G o s s i p

Geri Halliwell has a crush on Eric Bana


he 40-year-old singer finds the ‘Hulk’ actor attractive and hopes his wife Rebecca Gleeson doesn’t mind her admitting it. She said: “I really think he is fantastic. I quite fancy him, but I think he’s married isn’t he? Okay, but I hope his wife doesn’t mind me saying I think he’s incredibly talented and a very attractive man.” Meanwhile, Geri has just been signed up by ‘Australia’s Got Talent’ after her former Spice Girls bandmate Mel B had to pull out when her ‘X Factor’ bosses at Channel Seven argued she had an existing contract with the network and couldn’t leave them for the Channel Nine show. However, Mel is supportive, with Geri telling radio show ‘A Current Affair’: “She actually said I just want you to know I think you should do it cause you’re gonna have a great time and I love Australia. “I actually genuinely love the show, you know. I watch ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ and I’m a fan of the show. I think shows like that are brilliant and I love the opportunity they give to normal, everyday people.”

Michelle Dockery to be ‘Family Guy’ guest star


he 31-year-old actress - who is best known for playing Lady Mary Crawley on ‘Downton Abbey’ will lend her voice to an upcoming episode of the animated comedy. According to Entertainment Weekly, Michelle will “appear in a cutaway gag on the Griffins’ television playing... an aristocrat in a British period drama”. Celebrities who have recently appeared on ‘Family Guy’ include Jessica Biel, Drew Barrymore, Sofia Vergara, Ryan Reynolds, Johnny Depp, Elizabeth Banks and Kellan Lutz. Meanwhile, creator Julian Fellowes recently revealed there will be “tough times” for Lady Mary in ‘Downton Abbey’s fourth series. He insisted the new season will be a difficult one for Michelle’s alterego following the death of husband Matthew Crawley in the Christmas special, explaining: “There are tough times for Lady Mary I think we can say that.” She is also still dealing with the death of her sister Lady Sybil and Michelle has spoken about her sadness when Jessica Brown Findlay’s alter-ego was killed off, because the brunette beauty really misses her “distinctive” laugh.

Chelsea Handler doesn’t want kids


he 38-year-old chat show host admitted work is her priority and she doesn’t want to have kids and then have them raised by a nanny while she is busy. Speaking on ‘The Conversation with Amanda de Cadenet’, she explained: “I definitely don’t want to have kid. I don’t think I’d be a great mother. I don’t want to have a kid and have it raised by a nanny. I don’t have the time to raise a child. “Childhood was heartbreaking enough for anybody. I don’t know that I could handle my own child, especially if I had a girl, going through what I went through growing up. Not that it was so traumatic, but in many ways, it was in your own way.” While she has had an on/off romance with hotelier Andre Balazs over the past few years, Chelsea now believes the pair have worked out their differences and she says they are happier than ever.

Demi Moore reconciles with daughters


he 50-year-old actress was reportedly frozen out by Rumer, 24, Scout, 21, and Tallulah, 18, after they became tired of her constant partying but Rumer and Demi were spotted together in Los Angeles over the weekend, indicating they have buried the hatchet. The duo were in good spirits as they left a yoga class in West Hollywood and friends are hopeful their relationship is back on track. It was previously claimed Rumer and her sisters - whose father is Bruce Willis - were upset with their mother’s partying and wished she would maintain a lower profile following her split from Ashton Kutcher and subsequent rehab stint. A source said: “Rumer is really the one making the decision to do this as the oldest. Around the time Bruce’s wife Emma (Heming) had the baby (Mabel Ray), it was this scary sense of, ‘Demi went off her rocker again. “Bruce is now very much out of the spotlight and the kids were very happy about that. They started feeling that Demi needs to stay home and be more of a mother. She checked into rehab and they’d always been pushing for her to do that. (But) she came out partying and dancing on tables again.”

Jessica Simpson to mark daughter’s first birthday


he ‘Fashion Star’ mentor and her fiance Eric Johnson - who will welcome a son in July invited friends and family to an outdoor party at their Los Angeles home to wish Maxwell a happy birthday on Sunday. A source told Us Weekly: “They had ‘70s and ‘80s music playing on the speaker. Everybody was having a great time being outside. “Kids were swimming in the pool with a lifeguard watching, and many of them were swinging on swings and playing on a teeter totter.” Jessica, who “wore a floral tunic and looked great,” was joined by her younger sister Ashlee and pregnant best friend CaCee Cobb at the party. The source added: “They all hung out together.” Meanwhile, Jessica recently revealed Maxwell is closer to her father than Jessica so she is hoping her second child - which she knows to be a boy - will develop a special bond with her and become a “mamma’s boy”.

Taylor Swift spends $17 million on summer home


he ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ singer has splashed out on a mansion in Rhode Island’s Watch Hill, which is situated on a 5.23 acre estate, according to TMZ. Taylor, 23, is reported to have paid cash for the home, which was originally listed for $20 million. The savvy singer previously made almost $1 million profit on a property she bought to be closer to her now ex-boyfriend Conor Kennedy. Taylor purchased a house across the street his grandmother in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts last year for $4.8 million but was eager to get rid of the 13-room house when they split after a few months together and resold it for $5.675 million, earning her a profit of $875,000. Taylor previously tried to deny that she ever owned the property, telling Vanity Fair magazine: “People say that about me, that I apparently buy houses near every boy I like - that’s a thing that I apparently do. If I like you I will apparently buy up the real-estate market just to freak you out so you leave me.”


Russell Crowe digs up 50 trees

he ‘Les Miserables’ actor took on the mammoth task of digging trenches for his Plane Trees for drainage without the use of machinery at his home in Coffs Harbour, Australia, and insisted the heavy gardening work was a great workout. He wrote on his Twitter page: “1 hour and 20 mins pick and shovel digging trenches around Plane trees prepping them for mulch, holy s**t great work out, 2 down 48 to go ! (sic)” In a later update, however, the 49-yearold star appeared to be regretting his decision to garden unaided, tweeting: “2 hrs on the pick and shovel, 8 more trees. 40 to go ... getting that bitten off more than I can chew feeling (sic)” Explaining the reason for his digging marathon, the ‘Gladiator’ star said he was getting rid of surrounding kikuyu grass - which is often considered to be a toxic weed - to help his trees grow. —Agencies




he Cyndi Lauper-scored “Kinky Boots” has earned a leading 13 Tony Award nominations, with the British import “Matilda: The Musical” close behind with 12. “Kinky Boots” is based on the 2005 British movie about a real-life shoe factory that

(From left) Choreographer Jerry Mitchell, Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein pictured at the open house for the Upcoming Musical ‘Kinky Boots,’ at the Al Hirshfeld Theatre in New York. — AP

struggles until it finds new life in fetish footwear. Lauper’s songs and a story by Harvey Fierstein have made it a crowd-pleaser. “I walked my dog early this morning so I’d be back in time to listen to the announcement. It’s so great. It’s so great. I’m done crying a little bit. But I’m still thrilled and a little stunned,” Lauper said. The haul did not match the record number of nominations for a musical, which is 15, set by “The Producers” in 2001

and “Billy Elliot” in 2009. “ The Book of Mormon” nabbed 14 Tony nods in 2011. The leading actor in a play nominees are Tom Hanks for “Lucky Guy,” Nathan Lane for “The Nance,” Tracy Letts from “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”, David Hyde Pierce from “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” and Tom Sturridge from “Orphans.” “Matilda: The Musical” is a witty musical adaptation of the novel by Roald Dahl and is true to his bleak vision of childhood as a savage battleground. Both “Kinky Boots” and “Matilda” will compete for the best musical prize with the acrobatic “Bring It On: The Musical” and “A Christmas Story, The Musical,” adapted from the beloved holiday movie. Among the flurry of nominations, “Kinky Boots” also earned Fierstein a nod for best book, David Rockwell got one for sets, Jerry Mitchell for directing and for choreography, and nominations for its two leading men, Billy Porter and Stark Sands. Annaleigh Ashford earned a featured role nomination. “Matilda” earned nominations for choreography, Matthew Warchus’ directing, Chris Nightingale’s orchestrations, best book by Dennis Kelly, Tim Minchin for lyrics and songs, and Bertie Carvel for best leading role in a musical. Carvel, who played the same evil headmistress role in London, said he is enjoying his time in New York, although he did admit to being nervous about how Americans would react. “I feel like I’ve landed on happy shores,” he said. “The show is in great shape. People are loving it.” Minchin wasn’t going to get crazy following the nomination: “I’m going to have a coffee with my agent today. That’s about as crazy as I’m going to get. We’re a low-key bunch of people. We all just get on with it,” he said. Some big names snubbed this year were Al Pacino of “Glengarry Glen Ross,” Katie Holmes in “Dead Accounts,” Bette Midler in “I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers” and Scarlett

Johansson from the revival of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” The best musical revival candidates are “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” “Annie,” “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” and “Pippin,” which nabbed 10 nominations. Kenneth Posner had a great morning. The lighting designer got nominations for “Kinky Boots,” “Pippin” and “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.” He will face off against Hugh Vanstone, the lighting designer for “Matilda: The Musical.” The best play nominees are Richard Greenberg’s “The Assembled Parties,” Nora Ephron’s “Lucky Guy,” Colm Toibin’s “The Testament of Mary” and Christopher Durang’s “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.” Playwright Douglas Carter Beane earned a best book nomination for the lush, big musical “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” but not for his more intimate play “The Nance,” although it earned five nods. A veteran, he rolled with it yesterday morning. “You just have to really enjoy it when you get nominated and you have to just not care when you’re not,” he said. “It’s great to show I’m not just

this one thing. Just as actors like to show off their versatility, writers like to do it, too.” The nominations were announced Tuesday in a televised event co-hosted by Tony winner Sutton Foster and “Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson. The awards will be broadcast on CBS from Radio City Music Hall on June 9. The Tony committee also said playwright Larry Kramer, author of “The Normal Heart” and co-founder of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, will receive the Isabelle Stevenson Award for a “substantial contribution” on behalf of a charity or social service organization.—AP

This theater image released by The O+M Company shows the cast during a performance of the musical ‘Kinky Boots.’ The Cyndi Lauper-scored ‘Kinky Boots’ has earned a leading 13 Tony Award nominations. — AP


ith just a few episodes left of Season 7 and no renewal news yet, CBS’s “Rules of Engagement” takes a dramatic turn with Monday’s episode, titled “Timmy Quits.” Megyn Price, who plays Audrey, was given the chance to drive that episode home as its director. “I think the gift for me was that I was given a script that had depth and also comedy,” Price told TheWrap of her first crack at directing. “I had to direct David Spade, and Adhir Kalyan to go there,” she continued. “It’s a serious story that we’re talking about, but it’s completely entrenched in comedy. That’s a really tricky line to straddle, but it’s the only line that I find interesting.” On the episode, Russell (Spade) finally goes too far with assistant Timmy (Kalyan), which finally spurs him to resign. It’s a storyline that will continue through the end of the season. “It was important to me that we make this episode real so that it sets up the ending of our show,” Price says. The actress didn’t take shortcuts. Her part wasn’t minimized on the episode to give her more time to direct. The only part of the process she didn’t take part in was the one-camera preshoot without an audience. With plenty of experience directing theatre under her belt, she still wanted to make sure to prepare as much as possible. She did that by looking up some directors who she looked up to. “Obviously, the happy blessing is that I have worked for a number of TV comedy directors in my life as an actor,” she said. “It was an easy road for me. I called up the directors I loved the most, and said, ‘Can I be a puppy and follow you around?’ All of them said yes, so that was great. It was a very different experience watching a director from their chair rather than from the set, and I feel like I got the most incredible education.” One of the most surprising directing lessons she learned was from Andy Ackerman (“Seinfeld,” “Whitney”) about working with actors. “The truth is actors are very vulnerable people,” Price said. “Once you make a comedian or a comedic actor feel safe, then they can turn on the magic. If they don’t feel safe, they don’t feel comfortable being silly and letting go.”

‘House of Cards’, Frank Ocean top Webby Awards Price says none of her cast mates hazed her while she was on the job - quite the opposite. “When Patrick was in a scene with Krista Allen, who was our guest star, he would come to me and ask questions,” she recalled. “It was so sweet that he trusted me to help him through a scene with someone else, but when it was the two of us, we adopted our normal bravado and smart-aleck stuff that we do with each other.”— Reuters


odies tense and noses twitching, the dogs sniff the fertile hunting ground before them: a lower Manhattan alley, grimy, dim and perfect for rats. With a terse command “Now!” - the chase is on. Circling, bounding over and pawing at a mound of garbage bags, the four dogs quickly have rodents on the run. “Come on ... I mean, ‘Tally ho!’ says one of their owners,

Susan Friedenberg of New York takes a rat from Tanner, her Border Terrier, that caught the rodent as a group of dog owners gathered in lower Manhattan to let their various breeds hunt rats in New York. — AP

Susan Friedenberg. In a whirl of barks, pants and wagging tails, dogs tunnel among the bags and bolt down the alley as their quarry tries to scurry away. Within five minutes, the city has two fewer rats. In a scrappy, streetwise cousin of mannerly countryside fox hunts, on terrain far from the European farms and fields where many of the dogs’ ancestors were bred to scramble after vermin and foxes, their masters sport trash-poking sticks instead of riding crops and say it’s just as viable an exercise for the animals’ centuries-old skills. “It’s about maintaining the breed type through actual work,” says Richard Reynolds, a New Jersey-based business analyst and longtime dog breeder who might be considered the group’s organizer - if it would accept being called organized. Known with a chuckle as the Ryders Alley Trencher-fed Society - parse the acronym - the rodent-hunters have been scouring downtown byways for more than a decade, meeting weekly when weather allows. On a couple of recent nights, an eclectic group of ratters converged on an alley near City Hall about an hour after sunset. The lineups included two border terriers; a wire-haired dachshund; a Jack Russell terrier/Australian cattle dog mix; a Patterdale terrier, an intense, no-nonsense breed that’s uncommon in this country; and a feist, a type of dog developed in the American South to tree squirrels. “Get ‘im! Go!” Serge Lozach yelled as his cairn terrier, Hudson, streaked down an alley after a fleeing rat. Unlike many of the other owners, Lozach doesn’t breed or show dogs, but he has taken Hudson to several alley hunts.—AP


etflix’s groundbreaking “House of Cards” may be the first digital series nominated for a best drama Emmy. But it will start with a Webby. The Webby Awards are honoring “House of Cards” producers Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti with a Webby special achievement award. The political thriller, for which Netflix released all 13 episodes at once, proved that digital media can produce cable-quality drama. Netflix also won for best streaming media site. The 17th annual Webbys, which celebrate Internet achievement, was officially announced yesterday. Winners range from Justin Bieber (for the social media campaign for his fragrance launch) to The Onion (now with a record 19 total Webbys) to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog for The New York Times. The Webby person of the year is Frank Ocean, the R&B singer, whom the Webbys hailed “for proving the power of the Web as a medium for cultural change when he announced his bisexuality to his Tumblr community.” Singled out for outstanding comedic performance is Jerry Seinfeld, whose 10-episode Web series “Comedian in Cars Getting Coffee” showcased the “Seinfeld” star hanging out with comedian friends. Webby categories are split into a regular award, chosen by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, and a “people’s voice” award. The Australian rail safety public service campaign Dumb Ways to Die, which went viral, is an unlikely awards leader with seven Webbys. GIF file inventor Steve Wilhite also will be honored with a lifetime achievement award. While working at CompuServe in the 1980s, Wilhite created the compressed 8-bit GIF (or Graphics Interchange Format) that remains a popular tool for lo-fi viral sharing. Another special achievement award will go to President Barack Obama’s election campaign for its use of technology in last year’s presidential election. Claire Boucher, the Canadian synth-pop singer who performs under the name Grimes, is the Webby’s artist of the year. Other winners include HBO Go (four awards, including best media streaming service), Lady Gaga (for best celebrity-fan social presence), Conan O’Brien (for best celebrity-fan website) and The New York Times (best news social presence). A complete list of the awards will be posted later at: The awards will be handed out in a ceremony hosted by Patton Oswalt on May 21 in New York, and available to stream the following day. Acceptance speeches are famously limited to five words.— AP

Actor Kevin Spacey seen at the premiere of Netflix’s first original series, ‘House of Cards’ in Washington. — AP




pain once again is home to the world’s top restaurant. Avant-garde eatery El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain, was named to the No 1 spot on Restaurant magazine’s annual ranking of the world’s 50 best restaurants during a ceremony in London on Monday. Rene Redzepi’s innovative Danish restaurant Noma had held the honor for the past three years, after ousting renowned Spanish restaurant elBulli from the top spot in 2010. The three Michelin-starred El Celler is run by three brothers - Josep, Jordi and Joan Roca. It had been ranked No 2 for the past two years. Opened in 1986, El Celler is known for dishes that blend innovative cooking techniques with traditional ingredients, such as lobster parmentier with black trumpets and Iberian suckling pig with pepper sauce and garlic and quince terrine. Noma, which has a meticulous focus on indigenous ingredients, fell to No 2 on this year’s list. In third place is Modena, Italy’s Osteria Francescana, which has placed in the top 10 restaurants since 2010.

Six US restaurants made the list, but only one broke into the top 10 - Daniel Humm’s Eleven Madison Park in New York was No 5, up from 10th place last year. Thomas Keller’s Per Se in New York fell from sixth place to 11th, and his Yountville, Calif., restaurant The French Laundry, came in at No 47, down from 43rd. The French Laundry held the top spot in 2003 and 2004. Grant Achatz’ ulta-modernist Alinea in Chicago fell from seventh to 15th this year. It had been in the top 10 since 2009. Eric Ripert’s seafood-focused Le Bernardin in New York held fast at No 19, while Daniel Boulud’s Daniel in New York slipped from 25th to 29th. — AP Spanish Chefs Joan Roca (2nd left) Jordi Roca (2nd right) and Josep Roca (right) of El Celler de Can Roca Girona celebrate winning the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards 2013 at the Guildhall in London. — AFP


Indian Bollywood actor Aamir Khan poses with actress Juhi Chawla — AFP

Bollywood star Khan marks achievements


amir Khan says he’s happy he’s been able to entertain people during his quarter-century as a Bollywood star. His debut film, “Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak,” which premiered 25 years ago Monday, starred Khan opposite newcomer Juhi Chawla in a modern Romeo-and-Juliet tale that created box-office history. “I can’t believe how I have reached here, and I feel so happy from my heart that I was able to entertain people,” he told reporters at a press conference Monday. “I have tried to make a place for myself in each and every Indian heart, I feel very happy about this.” In the past decade, he’s become one of Bollywood’s names and has the cachet to make any project he chooses. Khan performed as a child actor in a couple of films, but his career took off with the success of “Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak.” Several films made through the 1990s were box-office hits. In 2001, Khan turned producer with “Lagaan,”or “Tax,” a film on poor farmers in British-ruled India challenging their oppressors to a cricket match. The acclaimed period drama was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign language film. After the success of “Lagaan,” Khan acted in some of the biggest hits of the decade, including “Dil Chahta Hai,” or “What the Heart Desires,” “Rang De Basanti” or “Color Me Yellow,” and “Ghajini.” He produced, directed and acted in “Taare Zameen Par,” or “Stars on the Ground,” about the journey of a misunderstood dyslexic child. His film “3 Idiots” examined the sorry state of India’s education system. He’s also thrown his weight behind social causes, joining anti-dam protesters and embracing an anti-corruption activist. Last year, Khan played host on an immensely popular television talk show which took up a slew of evils in Indian society, including the rampant abortion of female fetuses, caste discrimination and the slaying of brides in dowry disputes. The show, which made Indians confront some of the persistent flaws of modern India, was watched avidly by more than a third of the country. Khan says he sees his failures as being as important as his successes. “I give importance to my wrong steps because I have (had) the opportunity to learn from them and I was able to improve myself.” Known as a thinking person’s superstar, Khan’s latest movie was “Talaash” or “Search.” Time magazine named him this month to its list of the world’s 100 most influential people. — AP


Randy and Rebbi Jackson, brother and sister of the late pop star Michael Jackson arrive at Los Angeles Superior Court. — AFP

s Indian cinema turns 100 years old, one powerful Bollywood dynasty can trace the roots of their stardom almost right back to the birth of the national film industry. “We have been there throughout. All the milestones of cinema, there has been some Kapoor or the other,” says 60-year-old Rishi Kapoor, who has notched up nearly 150 Hindi film credits over a four-decade acting career. It started with grandfather Prithviraj, a silver screen pioneer from the 1920s. Then came his son, the legendary Raj Kapoor, known as “the Showman” and “India’s Charlie Chaplin” for his roles as a loveable tramp. Raj’s three sons followed him into acting, with Rishi leading the way as his generation’s romantic hero. Now Rishi’s son Ranbir, 30, is touted as “the future of Bollywood” and his niece Kareena is a leading actress. That’s not to mention the Kapoor spouses, cousins, in-laws and other relatives who have taken a shot at movie stardom with varying degrees of success. “The audiences have always welcomed us and given an opportunity and we’ve lived up to it,” Rishi tells AFP at his sprawling bungalow in the film capital Mumbai, which he shares with wife Neetu, an actress, and their rising star son. The three of them will appear together in the film “Besharam” (Shameless), which Rishi is just back from shooting in New Delhi. He jokes that he is done talking in interviews about his son, whose fame is fast eclipsing his own. “Whenever I talk about Ranbir... whatever I’ve said about him is in the headlines,” he says in theatrical mock anger. “The article’s about me, not my son!” But he is clearly delighted that Ranbir is continuing the family tradition, which he puts down to “our purpose, our resolve, our passion for cinema”. The lineage keeps producing talent-Ranbir won critical acclaim for his turn as the deaf-and-mute hero of last year’s hit “Barfi!”-but it also shows the power of a surname in an industry still mired in nepotism. As Indian cinema marks its centenar y this week, the main rivals to the title of “Bollywood’s first family” are the Bachchans. Veteran superstar Amitabh Bachchan married actress Jaya Bhaduri and their son Abhishek has followed them into the movies, albeit to much less acclaim, and married model and actress Aishwarya Rai. Among other famous film families are the Dutts, the Bhatts, the Deols, the Akhtars, the Chopras and the Johars. “I’m a brand ambassador of nepotism,” admitted director and producer Karan Johar at a recent conference on cinema in Mumbai. “If my father was not a film producer and he didn’t have that kind of contact with other illustrious filmmakers, I would probably have been a fashion designer, I would have been in the world of advertising.”

In showbiz worldwide it helps to have connections, but India is especially fond of its dynasties. In politics, 42-yearold Rahul Gandhi may run to be his family’s fourth-generation prime minister in polls next year. Indian businesses also tend to stay in the family, be they small roadside food stalls or sprawling conglomerates such as consumer goods giant Godrej and the Reliance energy and telecoms empires. “Networks count for a lot in India. It’s not just merit. If your father’s in the business, he has an established network and that’s very important,” says Dipankar Gupta, a former sociology professor. “Democracy tends to mask in India that the patron-client relationship is essential, it keeps things going at every level.” A few outsiders have managed to break into cinema. Johar’s nepotism comments were made at a panel titled “Gatecrashers who made the party: the Out of Towners in Bollywood”, which highlighted a handful who have shown it is possible.— AFP

Indian Bollywood Bachchan family pose during the launch of the ‘Madhushala - The House of Wine’ in tribute of the late Harivansh Rai Bachchan in Mumbai — AFP

Indian former President, Pratibha Patil (center) interacts with the wife of deceased film director Yash Chopra, Pamela Chopra (left) and Indian Bollywood film actor Hrithik Roshan during the Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagari Celebrate 100 years of Indian Cinema and the 144th Dadasaheb Phalke Jayanti Awards’ Ceremony in Mumbai yesterday.

In this file photo, Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor and her father and actor Randhir Kapoor attend the UTV STARS ‘Walk of the Stars’ promenade launch and the unveiling of a brass statue of legendary Bollywood actor Raj Kapoor, in Mumbai. — AFP photos

become the world’s biggest concert promoter through the doomed “This is it” series of concerts in London. “AEG had a problem and they wanted to fix it. And they didn’t care who got lost in the wash,” he said. “They were ruthless. They wanted to be number one at all costs.” “Michael Jackson, Dr Conrad Murray and AEG Live each played a part in the ultimate result, the death of Michael Jackson,” he said, but added: “Without AEG none of this would ever have occurred.” But Putnam, in his opening statement, said AEG simply did not see any red flags. “The truth is Mr. Jackson fooled everyone,” he said, showing rehearsal footage from two days before his death to illustrate how the singer had concealed his troubles in public. “He made sure that nobody knew his deepest, darkest secret,” aside from the doctors who prescribed him the drugs, Putnam said. Katherine Jackson, wearing a blue trouser suit, was greeted by fans shouting “We love you Mrs. Jackson” as she arrived for the start of the trial, expected to last at least three months. She is seeking billions of dollars in damages - $1.5 billion in lost income and an unspecified amount for emotional loss and other damages-on behalf of Jackson’s children Prince, 16, Paris, 14 and 11-year-old “Blanket.”

The elder pair could appear as witnesses, alongside a string of celebrities who may testify, including Quincy Jones, Diana Ross, and Spike Lee. Both of Jackson’s ex-wives, Lisa Marie Presley and Debbie Rowe, could also appear. The 50-year-old singer died at his Los Angeles mansion on June 25, 2009 from an overdose of propofol, administered by Murray to help the “Thriller” legend deal with chronic insomnia. At the time of his death, he was rehearsing for a series of 50 shows in London, organized with AEG, in an attempt to revive his career and ease his financial woes. Much could turn on who exactly was responsible for hiring and paying Murray a promised $150,000 a month, whether Jackson himself or AEG. Panish cited a string of emails at Monday’s opening session, including one about Murray from AEG executive Paul Gongaware to tour director Kenny Ortega 11 days before Jackson’s death, which clearly implicated AEG.—AFP

ichael Jackson’s mother accused the promoter of his doomed final tour Monday of sacrificing the troubled star in a “ruthless” pursuit of profit in the months before his 2009 death. At the opening of a trial pitting Katherine Jackson against AEG Live, her lawyer Brian Panish alleged the promoter was negligent in hiring doctor Conrad Murray, who was convicted in 2011 of causing Jackson’s death. But Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) lawyer Marvin Putnam argued the mega pop star had hidden the evidence of his addiction and health woes from everyone, including his family and the concert promoters. He claimed evidence presented at the trial will show that Jackson had used propofol-the anesthetic drug which caused his death-since the 1990s to help him sleep, and been repeatedly warned that it could kill him. “Mr Jackson got very good at hiding his addiction,” Putnam told the court, adding that “even his family and friends didn’t know” about his propofol abuse. Jackson’s 82-year-old mother sat impassively in the front row, flanked by his siblings Randy and Rebbie, as details of the self-styled King of Pop’s long-term drug and alcohol abuse were listed in court. Panish accused AEG of neglecting its duty of care to Jackson, as it strove to

Bollywood dynasties keep it in the family



Members of the public gather in Dam Square in front of the Royal Palace in central Amsterdam as Queen Beatrix abdicates and hands the throne to her son Prince Willem-Alexander yesterday. — AFP photos


housands of party-goers wearing orange suits, wigs and sunglasses, drunk, stoned or as-yet sober flooded Amsterdam yesterday set on catching a glimpse of their first king in over 120 years, Willem-Alexander. Over 25,000 people packed Amsterdam’s central Dam Square in front of the royal palace where Queen Beatrix signed her abdication.

A man with an inflatable orange crown on his head stands in front of a screen during the Queen’s abdication ceremony in Amsterdam yesterday.

added, dressed in an all-orange outfit, using a Dutch flag as a cape and his hair dyed bright orange. He was hoping to see the new king and Queen Maxima on the palace balcony. Streets around the royal palace were blocked off with typically Dutch obstacles: giant flower beds of tulips of every color. Some were frustrated not to be able to get onto the Dam in time for the abdication, after which people headed in their thousands to the city’s Museumplein. The large open space is home to the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, but today given over to concerts and partying. “This is fantastic!” said Anne Boonjer, 60 as she walked down to the Dam, recalling the riots that accompanied Beatrix’s investiture in 1980 because of a housing crisis. “I was here that day and it was truly awful, with bombs being thrown,” she said. Over 10,000 police are patrolling the event, and Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan warned ahead of the celebrations that police should be careful not to overreact. The ever-mercantile Dutch sold merchandise including brightly orange coloured T-shirts emblazoned with playing cards featuring the faces of Willem-Alexander and his Argentine-born wife Maxima: “King and Queen.”Amsterdam’s many immigrant workers also got in on the act, with a bicycle taxi driver from Georgia who only identified himself as “Bojuk” saying: “Today’s going to be good for business.” People made last-minute purchases of a range of gratuitously orange products, including vuvuzelas and cannabis lollypops.Some streets of the Dutch capital were littered with the detritus from celebrations of Queen’s Night on Monday, a sea of plastic glasses and crushed beer cans and puddles of vomit. Nico Silberie, 25, from Aruba, a Caribbean nation that forms part of the kingdom of the Netherlands, was tired but unbowed.—AFP

“Today is a day in which we get together as the Dutch and celebrate and the monarchy is of course a part of it,” Nick van Boor, 25 said, pushing his way through thronged streets. “We really hope we can catch a glimpse of them,” he

A woman cries during Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands’ Abdication ceremony as she watches it on a giant screen set up on Dam Square in Amsterdam yesterday.

A man wears an orange wig as he waits on Dam Square in Amsterdam yesterday ahead of Queen Beatrixí abdication and Prince Willem-Alexanderís enthronement.


idyaan - The Fashion Valley is a line of stitched & unstitched ensembles by the famous Pakistani Cricketer Icon Shahid Afridi. The cast was launched in 2011. Representative outlets were launched in Dubai, UAE and Karachi, Pakistan, subsequently. Shahid Afridi left no stone unturned in achieving excellence in the textile industry, which makes WIDYAAN an internationally recognized and applauded clothing brand today. Widyaan -the Fashion Valley has a proud name in the world of fashion and designs. It is a name of fashion itself. Ranging from uniquely designed patterns with exclusive cuts and embroidery to the vogue of the day, Widyaan is what exemplifies glamour. Widyaan - the fashion valley, Kuwait showcased the unique collection of Widyaan for the first time in the state of Kuwait on Saturday, 27th April 2013 at Kuwait Continental Hotel during a grand exhibition of 100 exclusive garments which was amica-

bly impressive. Being the exclusive effort of Adnan Afridi and his team of dedicated organizers, the event kicked off at 15:00 hours (local time) and was concluded satisfactorily at 23:00 hours. Throughout this time, people were welcomed by the traditions of the sub-continental valley wrapped artistically in a spirit of modernity. The event received an overwhelming response from the customers as well as the guests. Widyaan- the fashion valley, Kuwait shall be opening its own outlet in a few days. Customers from all over Kuwait will be given more opportunities to bring home the cultural art of Widyaan to stay with them for good. In order to avail the splendor of Widyaan, customers are requested to log on to their Facebook page WidyaanQ8, for any details or information pertaining to Widyaan.

1 May 2013  

Kuwait Times

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you