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150 Fils

Lebanon MPs put off election as Syria war rages

RAJAB 22, 1434 AH


US woman facing drug charge freed in Mexico

No: 15826


FIFA announce tougher sanctions for racism

Russia plans to sell 10 MiG fighters to Syria US, Germany to Moscow: Don’t send Assad missiles

MOSCOW: Russia’s MiG aircraft maker said yesterday it plans to sign a new agreement to ship at least 10 fighter jets to Syria, a move that comes amid international criticism of earlier Russian weapons deals with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. MiG’s director general, Sergei Korotkov, said a Syrian delegation was in Moscow to discuss the details of a new contract for the delivery of MiG-29 M/M2 fighters. In remarks carried by Russian news agencies, he said Syria wants to buy “more than 10” such fighters, but wouldn’t give the exact number. The significance of his comments was unclear. A MiG spokesman wouldn’t comment on Korotkov’s statement, and the MiG chief could be referring to a deal the company previously negotiated with Syria that apparently has been put on hold amid Syria’s brutal two-year civil war. More than 70,000 people have died in the fighting and millions of Syrians have fled the country. Russia has shielded Assad from UN sanctions and has continued to provide his regime with weapons despite the uprising against him that began in March 2011. Russian media reports say Syria placed an order a few years ago for 12 MiG-29 M2 fighters with an option of buying another 12. The Stockholm Peace Research Institute also has reported that Russia planned to provide Syria with 24 of the aircraft. The United States and Germany yesterday warned Russia not to endanger a planned peace conference for Syria or alter the balance of power in the Middle East by providing an advanced air defense system to President Bashar Assad’s embattled regime. Secretary of State John Kerry and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said the transfer of S-300 missile from Russia to Syria would prolong the country’s civil war, imperil attempts to form a transitional government through negotiation and hurt Israel’s strategic interests. “It is not helpful to have the S-300 transferred to the region while we are trying to organize this peace (conference) and create peace,” Kerry told reporters at a joint news conference with Westerwelle after they met at the State Department. Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council yesterday added the Syrian militant group Al-Nusra Front to its global sanctions list because of its links to Al-Qaeda. The group, a feared force battling President Bashar Al-Assad, is now subject to an international asset freeze and arms embargo, according to an announcement made by the Security Council’s Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee. France and Britain jointly sought Al-Nusra’s designation after blocking a demand by the Syrian government. Michigan woman killed Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad killed a 33-year-old Michigan woman who was a convert to Islam and a British man during an ambush on an opposition scouting mission north of the city of Idlib, Syrian state media said yesterday. Nicole Mansfield’s aunt, Monica Mansfield Speelman, told Reuters on Thursday the FBI had informed her that afternoon of the death of her niece, who was from Flint. Syrian state television aired footage showing the body of the woman, who was dressed in a full black hijab. The footage also showed her American ID.— Agencies

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LONDON: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II meets families of serving personnel as she visits the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery at Woolwich Barracks in south east London yesterday. Queen Elizabeth II marks the 60th anniversary of her coronation tomorrow.— AFP

Iran poll won’t alter nuke policy: Kerry WASHINGTON: Secretary of State John Kerry says he is not optimistic that Iran’s upcoming election will produce any change in the country’s nuclear ambitions, which the US and others believe are aimed at developing atomic weapons. Kerry said yesterday that any shift in Iran’s nuclear policy will come from the country’s supreme leader and not the winner of the June 14 presidential election. The supreme leader has final say on all state matters. Kerry told reporters at the State Department that the US would continue to pursue a peaceful resolution to the impasse but that time is running out. He said every month that goes by without Iran proving that its nuclear program is peaceful makes the world more dangerous. Iran insists its nuclear program is intended for civilian energy production. — AP

Hagel: Cyber threats pose ‘stealthy danger ABOARD A US MILITARY AIRCRAFT: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said yesterday that cyber threats posed a “quiet, stealthy, insidious” danger to the United States and other nations, and called for “rules of the road” to guide behavior and avoid conflict on global computer networks. Hagel said he would address cyber security in his speech today to the ShangriLa Security Dialogue in Singapore and the issue was likely to come up in a brief meeting with Chinese delegates on the margins of the conference. “Cyber threats are real, they’re terribly dangerous,” Hagel told reporters on his plane en route to the gathering. “They’re probably as insidious and real a threat (as there is) to the United States, as well as China, by the way, and every nation.” Cyber conflict could lead to

“quiet, stealthy, insidious, dangerous outcomes,” from taking down power grids to destroying financial systems or neutralizing defense networks, Hagel said. “That’s not a unique threat to the United States, (it affects) everybody, so we’ve got to find ways here ... working with the Chinese, working with everybody, (to develop) rules of the road, some international understandings, some responsibility that governments have to take,” he said. Hagel’s remarks came two days after news reports said the Defense Science Board - a committee of civilian experts who advise the Defense Department - had concluded that Chinese hackers have gained access to the designs of more than two dozen major US weapons systems in recent years. The Pentagon downplayed the report as outdated and overstated. — Reuters


US bases in Gulf on high alert Proposal to label Hezbollah a terrorist group to be discussed

KUWAIT: The arrested culprits who were caught burning electric wires are seen.

Arabs caught burning wires in Amghara area By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: A security source said that policemen guarding Amghara area caught some people Thursday evening burning electric wires. Police followed them when they left the burnt wires in the Darkeel area and they were caught red-handed when they returned. The suspects were Arabs who buy the wires from Amghara scrap area, burn it in Darkeel area, and then take the copper to sell it. It was found that they did not have fixed jobs in the country and have been doing it since February. They were sent to concerned authorities for deportation. Tire-burners caught Meanwhile, Bayan detectives sent two citizens to concerned authorities for burning tires in Siddiq area. The two escaped when they saw the police patrol but were still apprehended by the security forces.

KUWAIT: Abandoned tires in Siddiq area are seen.

KUWAIT: American bases in the Arabian Gulf have been put on high alert in anticipation of any kind of fallout to the security deterioration in Syria and Iraq, a local daily reported yesterday quoting a “senior military official” familiar with the subject. The senior Kuwaiti official requested anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the information to the press. He made these remarks to a local daily without providing any further details on the topic. The same report also quoted Undersecretary of Kuwait Foreign Ministry Khalid Al-Jarallah who described a proposed security agreement between the Gulf Cooperation Council countries as ‘a protective wall’. “The challenges we are facing are huge, which requires the presence of an impenetrable security system or structure for the GCC region”, he said at the conclusion of a training course for Foreign Ministry employees Thursday. The GCC agreement is still up for debate in the Kuwaiti parliament where some MPs argue that it contains articles which contradict the state’s constitution. Al-Qabas also reported that Al-Jarallah met Thursday with foreign ministers of permanent and non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the recent developments in the region. In other news, sources in the Kuwaiti government said that Kuwait will honor a Gulf Cooperation Council decision to list Hezbollah as a terrorist group, but indicated that such

decision is unlikely to happen. Bahrain’s Information Minister said Thursday that a proposal to label Hezbollah as a terrorist organization is going to be discussed during a meeting tomorrow for GCC foreign ministers. “The European Union is still unable to list Hezbollah as a terrorist group”, the sources told a local daily which had first published the proposal on Thursday’s issue. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not obtain permission from authorities to speak about the subject. Meanwhile, GCC sources told Al-Rai that a more ‘realistic’ solution would be listing the military wing of Hezbollah in the terror list while keeping the political wing off the list. On a separate note, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the United Kingdom, Alistair Burt, is set to arrive in Kuwait tomorrow to take part in the second UK-Kuwait Joint Steering Group meeting that takes place for the first time in Kuwait. The first meeting took place six months ago during a visit for HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah in London, during which the group was founded. The meeting comes after a delegation’s visit from Kuwait’s Defense Ministry to the UK during which they discussed matters of defense and security that pertain with the bilateral relations with the British Ministry of Defence. — Al-Qabas, Al-Rai

Gold medal conferred on Kuwaiti Speaker Al-Rashed YEREVAN: Yerevan State University yesterday awarded visiting Kuwait National Assembly Speaker Ali Fahad Al-Rashed with its prestigious gold medal. The medal was presented to Al-Rashed by Yerevan University Rector Aram Simonyan on the occasion of his visit to Armenia and the university campus. In a question and answer session in one of the university halls, Al-Rashed highlighted the deeply-rooted relations with Armenia as well as Kuwait’s stances on regional and international issues of common concern. In response to questions about Kuwait’s stance on the ongoing Syrian crisis, Al-Rashed pointed out that Kuwait is for immediate halt to the killing of civilians in Syria. “Kuwait is supporting the recent call for an international meeting in Geneva for finding a peaceful solution to the two year-bloody conflict,” he said. He shed light on Kuwait’s humanitarian aid to displaced Syrian people to help ease their suffering, citing His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s initiative to host an international conference for Syria donors in Kuwait in January which resulted in raising more than $1.5 billion of aid pledges to the Syrian people. Responding to a question on

Kuwaiti-Iraqi relations, Al-Rashed noted that Kuwaiti-Iraqi relations have undergone remarkable developments in the past few years. He urged the Iraqi government to fulfill its commitments as per relevant UN resolutions to help open a new chapter in relations and to remove Iraq from the UN Chapter VII. With regard to the impact of the so-called “Arab Spring” on Kuwait, the House Speaker said that “The spring of Kuwait started more than 50 years ago with the endorsement of the 1962 constitution which established a real democratic system in the Gulf nation”. Concerning the Kuwaiti-Armenian relations, Al-Rashed pointed out that he has discussed with Armenian officials means to bolster bilateral cooperation in all domains, particularly in the parliamentary, investment, education, culture, agriculture, and transport ones. He also disclosed that there are 7,000-10,000 Armenians living in Kuwait and they are receiving good care. In response to a demand from of a student that Kuwait increase its scholarships to Armenian students, AlRashed promised to raise the issue with Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf after returning to Kuwait. — KUNA

Co-ops union slams parliament over amendments KUWAIT: Kuwait’s union of co-operative societies launched a series of attacks against the parliament, accusing lawmakers of failure to attend to priorities as well as favoring merchants on the expense of the national good. “[The parliament] has proven to have a highly destructive force when it comes to dealing with developmental projects such as efforts which bred co-operative societies that have been pioneers in the field for the past 50 years, and had active role in protecting Kuwait from a food crisis during the Iraqi Invasion”, said Abdul-Aziz Al-Samhan, the President of the Union of Consumer Cooperative Societies. Al-Samhan’s statements came in response to a bill passed in the parliament recently which amended a number of clauses in the co-ops law that pertain with the election process for co-ops’ boards. “The parliament continues to prove its failure in administration and in dealing with

priorities as it stands unable to put the country on the right track for development”, he said in statements published yesterday in the local press. Al-Samhan also accused MPs of seeking merchants’ support ahead of a Constitutional Court ruling which could lead to the parliament’s dissolution. “The parliament continues to cater to merchants on the expense of the national good, and that in order to gain their support in elections expected after the Constitutional Court’s ruling”, he said. Moreover, Al-Samhan announced that the UCCS plans to challenge the amendments that the parliament passed with Kuwaiti courts. “Is there no developmental projects that the parliament needs to attend to before taking a hasty and historic decision regarding the co-ops?”, he asked. — Al-Rai

Jamila Al-Dawas

‘1,000 Projects’ expo set to begin KUWAIT: The Manpower and Government Restructuring Program (MGRP) announced yesterday that it is to organize a forthcoming exhibition showcasing various ambitious small and medium-sized projects by Kuwaiti youth. The four-day exhibition, entitled “1,000 Projects”, hosted by Kuwait International Fair (KIF), is due to kick off on June 5th at Kuwait International Fairground in Mishref. The exhibition aims to contribute to pushing forward economic growth and development in the country. Also, the expo aims to encourage young Kuwaitis to work in the private sector in order to attain their career ambitions, Jamila Al-Dawas, adviser in the department of small and medium-sized projects at MGRP, said in a press statement. As a desire to attract the largest segment of male and female youths to take part in the exhibition, MGRP is only charging nominal fees for participants registration, Al-Dawas indicated, adding that this is also to boost the applicants’ self-confidence, and contribute effectively in encouraging them to adopt small projects and work on developing them in accordance with local market needs. Currently, registration for “1,000 Projects” is witnessing a large turnout by male and female applicants, who are eager to take part and display their ambitious projects to the public, noted Al-Dawas. Furthermore, MGRP has provided all potentials for young Kuwaiti projects owners and creative talents of various specializations for their participation in the exhibition, AlDawas continued. — KUNA


‘High cost’ bills to be put on hold? MP Al-Harbash wins KD 60,000 libel compensation KUWAIT: Lawmakers could put on hold a number of draft laws after the government made it clear that regulations with high financial costs will be rejected, a local daily reported yesterday quoting parliamentary insiders. MP Faisal Al-Duwaisan made statements to a local daily on Thursday quoting Cabinet insiders who reportedly told him that the Cabinet plans to reject a bill passed by the parliament Wednesday to grant exceptional allowances to service-men. Sources in the parliament who spoke on the condition of anonymity indicated that there are intentions to postpone draft laws listed in the parliament’s agenda such as the housing loan, rent allowance as well as early retirement bills, in order to prevent them from facing the same fate. MP Abdullah Al-Ma’youf confirmed as well that the Cabinet “likely plans to reject the service-men exceptional allowances law”, but insisted at the same time that the law is going to be presented again during the beginning of the upcoming term if that happened “due to their importance”. Meanwhile, Al-Ma’youf revealed in his statements to a local daily Thursday that a grilling against Health Minister Mohammad Al-Haifi is currently in the works and could be filed before the end of the current term. He noted that the motion addresses “administrative and financial violations in addition to suspected manipulation in tenders and medicine deals”, and is going to be forwarded by three lawmakers, adding that he could be one of them. The parliament last Tuesday passed a request by the Cabinet to refer a grilling motion filed against First Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Hmoud Al-Sabah, to the parliament’s legislative committee to verify its constitutionality. “If the panel finds the motion to be valid, I don’t think any MP will agree on delaying it again”, Al-Ma’youf said. In other news, Interior Minister Al-Sabah replied to a question sent by MP Adel Al-Khurafi who requested an explanation for the term ‘security restrictions’ often used in official rhetoric to refer to classifications that disqualify stateless residents from claiming citizenship. “A security restriction is a crime committed or an action that threatens national security or causes social disintegration either through spoken words or action”, reads the response published yesterday by Al-Qabas. The minister further indicated that some restrictions are listed in files of stateless residents as “precautionary procedures to prevent criminal activity that might harm the national security in the future”. Moreover, the minister explained that naturalization is not granted for a family as a hole, but each individual is studied as a separate case and granted citizenship as long as he or she meets the conditions for that. On a different note, former MP Jamaan Al-Harbash won a court order Thursday requiring the owner of a news website to pay him KD 60,000 compensation for publishing false news which

More than 200 MEW employees to ‘retire’ KUWAIT: The Ministry of Electricity and Water prepared lists of senior officials and employees with at least 30 years of service under their belts to be referred to retirement as per a recent government decision aimed at creating job opportunities in the public sector. According to a report published yesterday in a local daily, MEW employees qualified for retirement have so far reached 230, including 22 directors of departments. A senior ministry official quoted anonymously in the report indicated in the meantime that the ministry is waiting for an official letter from the Civil Service Commission to start procedures to refer the staff members to retirement. The Cabinet’s decision stipulates immediate retirement for long-time public sector employees, including incentives for senior officials to encourage them to file for retirement. The incentive allows officials such as undersecretaries and assistant undersecretaries to receive half a salary added to their pensions, but only if they file for retirement before June 30. A recent report indicated there are at least 7,200 employees in state departments including 297 senior officials are qualified for retirement; the majority of whom are in the Ministry of Education with nearly 1,100. The new stipulations came as efforts are sought to tackle unemployment rates which reaches 4.9 percent of the national labor force in Kuwait; where job creation is considered a constitutional right for citizens. — Al-Qabas

prompted the former lawmaker to press libel charges. A source close to Al-Harbash indicated in the meantime that the former MP plans to appeal the ruling as he seeks to increase the compensation to KD 100,000. The case was filed after the website in

question published news alleging that Al-Harbash was summoned for investigations in the ‘multimillion deposits’ case in which a number of MPs were accused of receiving bribes from the government. — Al-Rai, Al-Qabas



Stamps recycling network busted Asian maid attempts suicide at embassy KUWAIT: Immigration police nabbed three people and search is ongoing for two other suspects in a major government stamps forgery operation which was busted on Thursday. Investigations were underway after police received information about illegal activities in which the suspects collected used stamps taken out from transactions at government services offices and then resold them at cheap prices. Detectives identified an Asian man who had access to the archive section of a state department as a prime suspect, and issued a warrant to enter his apartment. The man was arrested after a large number of recycled stamps were found in his place, and he soon provided the identity of his four accomplices. Police arrested two other suspects while two others were not found at their residence. The value of recycled stamps found in the three suspects’ apartments was estimated at KD 53,000. Asian expat’s dogs lose voice In order to avoid disturbing other tenants in the same building, an Asian woman had her two pet dogs undergo surgery to remove of their vocal cords, according to security sources. They said the woman told Salmiya policemen that the dogs were currently recovering at an animal hospital and that she had already booked flight tickets to take them on a vacation to her home country. Policeman injured in wedding attack A senior police officer was hospitalized after being attacked outside of a wedding hall where shooting was reported. Jahra police responded to an emergency call about random shooting heard during a wedding taking place in Al-Oyoun. Security officers led by head of the Taima police station Major Ghunaim Al-Atl headed to the scene,

and surrounded a group of drivers who were seen performing risky stunts at the hall’s parking lot. The suspects hurled stones as police officers approached, and Major Al-Atl was eventually able to capture one of them who in the meantime stabbed him in the neck and escaped. The officers rushed their colleague to the Jahra Hospital which allowed the suspects to escape. Major Al-Atl’s condition was described as stable. A case was filed for investigations. Officer escapes death A police officer narrowly escaped death after his car crashed into a water tanker in Al-Jahra on Thursday. Police and paramedics arrived to the scene shortly after the accident was reported, and they found the victim’s car stuck underneath the tanker whose driver had escaped. The man, identified as an officer in the correctional facilities department, was taken out of the wreckage and rushed to the Jahra Hospital. In the meantime, police obtained information of the truck and launched investigations in search for its driver. Fatal crash A motorist was killed during an accident reported Thursday morning in AlSulaibikhat. Police and paramedics rushed to a location at the Jahra Road where an accident involving a Japanesemade sedan was reported. They found that the car had crashed into a tree near the road after it reportedly lost balance and rolled over. The driver, a 32-year-old Saudi national, was pronounced dead on the scene before his body was taken to the forensic department. An investigation was opened into the accident. Attempted murder Maidan Hawally police are looking to summon a local resident for questioning in attempted murder charges pressed

by his wife. The officers were approached by a Syrian woman on Thursday and said that her husband put a kitchen knife against her neck during a domestic dispute early morning. She added that the man escaped when she screamed for help. Police obtained the Syrian man’s information to summon him for investigations. Drunken assaults A citizen was arrested for beating up his wife while he was drunk, said security sources, adding that the woman called the police when the husband picked up a fight with her on returning home. Another drunken citizen assaulted and insulted the security police officials stationed at Farwaniya hospital, said security sources. Case papers indicated that the man and a friend of his were shouting and insulting everybody at the casualty department. When the policemen asked for their IDs, the two got furious and assaulted them. Both men were eventually detained and referred to the police station. Illegal call-makers busted Four Asians were arrested for offering illegal long-distance-call services in Jleeb, said security sources. Asian maid attempts suicide at embassy An Asian housemaid deserted her sponsor’s house, because of her “sufferings” there. Instead of going to the police, she went to her country’s embassy in Da’eya, where she threatened to commit suicide by jumping from the roof of a building. However, both the policemen and the ambassador succeeded in talking her out of a suicide attempt, after the ambassador promised to solve her problem. No charges were pressed. — Al-Watan, AlRai, Al-Anba

Ahmad Mahmeed

NBK continues energy saving awareness drive KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) continues its energy conservation awareness campaign throughout all NBK’s premises and local branches. This initiative aims at raising awareness between employees, set a leading example and promotes efforts to reduce energy consumption. “The Energy Saving Awareness Campaign aims to raise employees’ awareness and promote best practice efforts to reduce energy consumption,” said Ahmad Al-Mahmeed, NBK Public Relations Officer. “This green initiative is applied during and after working hours. All employees are requested to highly participate in turning off the lights, computers and peripherals after work. NBK has taken the necessary measures to ensure the utmost rationalization of electricity consumption,” added Al-Mahmeed. NBK deems protection and conservation of the environment, an important aspect of corporate social responsibility. NBK’s environmental campaigns encourage the Kuwait community to adopt sustainable practices for protecting the environment and conserving energy through a range of initiatives. NBK is an environment-friendly bank and has launched a range of initiatives-including Beach cleanup, environmental awareness campaign to clean the campsites; and paper recycling- aimed at promoting environmental awareness.

Marina Hotel Kuwait begins internship with LOYAC interns KUWAIT: In its effort to proactively contribute to youth development, Marina Hotel Kuwait recently partnered with Lothan Youth Achievement Center (LOYAC) to work with the third batch of promising students for the hotels’ Summer Work Program 2013. LOYAC is one of the most renowned non-profit organizations in Kuwait which aims at empowering high school and college students with the skills needed to grow into highly effective leaders. The annual internship program offers college, university and high school students the opportunity to acquire first-hand experience in the hospitality industry. During the program, students from LOYAC will apprentice with the hotel for 40

days. Four promising students were selected to be novice at the hotel and were shown the different

aspects of the hotel and familiarized with the various departments including Food and Beverage and

KUWAIT: Nabil Hammoud is seen with Loyac students.

Housekeeping. Nabil Hammoud, General Manager of the hotel said: “We are very pleased to be partnering with LOYAC for the third year in a row through Safir International Hotel Management. It is our commitment to partner with LOYAC and give back to the community through the summer work program. Over the past three years the program enabled Kuwaiti youth to learn hands-on skills making them better prepared to embark on their professional careers.” “Students will get firsthand experience of being part of a team and that helps them develop in character, confidence and prepare them in the future for whatever decision they make. We are lucky to have the opportunity to host such

talented and ambitious students and wish them all success in their careers” further concluded Hammoud. The interns were allotted tasks and provided with hands on experience of a professional ambience with its daily functionalities. They gained invaluable insight into worklife and environment and attained a professional service orientation. They acquired the opportunity to understand the regulations of the hotel and have a realistic exposure which enabled them to choose an appropriate career upon graduation. At the end of their internship period. Students were assessed and given feedback on their performance by their direct mentor.

local SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2013

Joining the shale rush KUWAIT: Kuwait has announced it is conducting studies into the viability of extracting shale gas from recently identified reserves, although any commercial operation will likely be many years off. Despite its extensive natural gas reserves - estimated to be around 1.8trn cu metres - Kuwait is a net importer of the hydrocarbon. This is due in part to growing demand for electricity, which rises by about 6-8 percent each year, according to the Ministry of Electricity and Water. Planned industrial expansion, including in the gas-hungry downstream petrochemicals sector, will add to the draw upon resources. A report prepared by online sectoral publisher in midApril said Kuwait’s shale gas potential had only recently come into focus, due to the past concentration on conventional oil reserves. Although the report noted that data on the extent of the shale gas reserves were limited at best, it cited geologists as saying initial studies indicated substantial resources both on- and off-shore. In March 2013, Sami Al-Rushaid, chairman and managing director of the state-owned Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), announced that the firm had identified a commercially viable shale gas deposit. KOC will soon be moving to develop the resource, Al-Rushaid told a conference in Bahrain on March 10, but he did not give details as to the extent of the field, or when development work would begin. Al-Rushaid’s comments were further reinforced by remarks made by a senior Kuwaiti oil official in April. The official indicated that proposals to extract shale gas from fields in the north of the country were

By converting more of its power plants to gas, and using domestically sourced product, the country could free up much of the 300,000 barrels of oil per day it uses to fire its power plants. This could, in turn, generate around $11 billion in new revenue at current prices, as well as potentially prolonging the life of the oilfields. being reviewed. The extraction process will likely be difficult due to the complexity of the reservoir, but the use of advanced technology could allow daily production of 4.25m-5.6m cu metres of gas. If the production level referred to in the Reuters article can be achieved, it could eliminate the need to import gas to feed Kuwait’s electricity sector. By converting more of its power plants to gas, and using domestically sourced product, the country could free up much of the 300,000 barrels of oil per day it uses to fire its power plants. This could, in turn, generate around $11bn in new revenue at current prices, as well as potentially prolonging the life of the oilfields. To unlock this potential, and the reserves of shale gas, Kuwait would likely have to partner with foreign operators. The country does not have the experience or the technology to develop its shale gas fields, independent energy analyst Kamil AlHarami said in March. Kuwait will also have to set a time table for its unconventional gas program and keep to it if it wants to benefit from its resources, Al-Harami said. “If the Kuwaitis don’t specify a deadline for the project and don’t seek help from international companies, then their plans to develop the shale and sour gas deposits are just daydreams,” he said. While the plans to develop Kuwait’s shale gas deposits hold promise for the economy, there is also a potential downside, as there are concerns over the technology required to tap these reserves. Most shale gas is extracted by hydraulic fracking, which involves pumping large amounts of water, combined with sand and at times explosives, underground at high pressure. Although effective, the process can damage underground aquifers, putting domestic water supplies at risk, a very real concern for country with limited water resources, such as Kuwait. If salt water were used in the process, the potential for contamination of aquifers would be high, while using fresh water, possibly generated from desalination plants, could make extraction financially unviable. Newer technology, such as using gelled propane instead of water, or nitrogen foam mixed with the fracking fluid, is being tested and could reduce the amount of water required for the process, but it will likely be some time before such options are available, if proven successful and environmentally safe. Kuwait has time to weigh its options, and many of its conventional gas fields have yet to be fully developed. In the meantime, Kuwait can afford to wait until shale gas extraction and processing technology becomes cheaper, as economies of scale bring down the price. This will also allow time for the country to more accurately assess reserves and plan how best to use the new resource. —Oxford Business Group

KUWAIT: The Taiwanese Photovoltaic (PV) industry delegation is pictured.

Taiwan PV industry delegation in Kuwait By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: A Taiwanese Photovoltaic (PV) industry delegation touring the Middle East region from May 26 to June 6, 2013, spent three days in Kuwait, during which they met with officials from both the public and private sectors. The delegation will also visit Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar as part of the tour aimed at further developing the Middle Eastern market, expanding overseas sales and conducting trade diplomacy. The delegation comprised of 30 members, including representatives of major Taiwanese PV enterprises such as TSMC Solar, NexPower (UMC) and Green Energy Technology (Tatung), as well as experts from the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). The delegation called on representatives of decision-making bodies of large-scale power plant construction projects, commercial and industrial associations, large scale solar energy companies, hydroelectricity companies, and national scientific research institutes. Also, it held press conferences and networking events to raise the profile of Taiwan’s PV industry in the Middle East and expand business opportunities. As part of the visit, the Taiwanese delegation held a press conference on Thursday morning at the Sheraton Hotel. The Head of the Taiwanese delegation, Wang Jiang Yeh, noted that recently, certain changes to the renewable energy subsidy policies of European countries have led to a decline in the

European solar energy market. As a result, the industry’s focus has shifted to relatively new markets in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, which possess tremendous growth potential, he pointed out. As the world’s major supplier of oil and gas, the Middle East has long enjoyed great prosperity. “Nevertheless, to combat the climate change and reduce carbon dioxide levels, the Middle Eastern countries have actively invested resources in developing renewable energy. The Middle East enjoys abundant sunshine and is well positioned to develop solar energy,” he added. On the energy issue, he said that Taiwan is providing modern high technology solutions for the customers in different situations. “We provide good quality and high performance at low cost. As Kuwait is known for its desert with a very hot climate, we have solutions for dusty and humid weather conditions and high temperatures, as well. We are specialized to solve these problems. We provide desert related environment solutions,” stressed Wang Jiang Yeh. According to Dr Leo Shun, representative of the Taipei Commerce Office, the delegation was looking for a local partner or agent to sell their technology. Taiwan is the second world’s largest producer of solar cells. PV Taiwan is Asia’s premier international PV Exhibition that’s a perfect hub for the world market. This exhibition will be held in Taiwan from October 30 to November 1, 2013. “It will bring together leaders to pinpoint trends and opportunities. This exhibition will be a place to be for those working in the field or considering about entering it,” he further said.

KUWAIT: The attendees are pictured.

local SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2013

Kuwait stresses importance of human rights’ education GENEVA: Human rights’ education should be integrated in educational curriculums around the globe, said a Kuwait diplomat here yesterday. Speaking at the 23rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Diplomatic Attache at the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Abdullah Al-Saleh said that Kuwait integrated a human rights subject into the education curriculum as a step to plant in the seeds of respecting human dignity. He also noted that the Kuwaiti constitution, founded in 1961, encouraged notions of human rights and the respect of others beliefs. The official touched on the origins of education in Kuwait, noting that schools teaching basic writing and the Quran were present in Kuwait since 1800s. The diplomat also focused on educational statistics, revealing that there were over 561,862 educated people in the country with over 67,000 teachers providing their knowledge in around 1,359 public and private educational facilities. Kuwait successfully tackled the problem of illiteracy, bringing the number of uneducated people to 2.5 percent according to statistics in 2012, said Al-Saleh, affirming that education was provided for all people including the disabled. Al-Saleh also discussed higher education in Kuwait, noting that Kuwait University (KU) was established in 1966 as a step to offer knowledge seeker further develop their academic skills and careers.—KUNA

Kuwait wins best music award at Arab Song Fest TUNIS: Kuwait earned the award for best music composition at the 16th Arab Song Festival kicked off in Tunis, May 28. Kuwaiti composer Mohammad Al-Ruwaishid took the award home for a song that was written by Yagoub Al-Subai’e, mixed and mastered by Mohammad Al-Baijan and performed by Jassim Abdulemam. At the conclusion of the festival, late Thursday, Al-Ruwaishid said that the Kuwaiti participation was considered an encouragement to all artists to preserve and shine in all realms of arts and music. On his part, head of the Kuwaiti delegation to the event and senior official at Kuwait Television Mishary Al-Baijan noted that the two-day cultural event featured various artists from 13 different Arab countries. “This versatility provided a fertile ground to exchange cultural, artistic, and musical expertise.” Meanwhile, the golden microphone award went to Jordan, the jury award won by Iraq, best performance award seized by Tunisia, best lyrics award was taken by Sudan and best mixing and mastering award went to Morocco. The Arab Song Festival is a festival organized by the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) once every two years at its headquarters, in Tunis. The festival may be held in one of the Arab countries if its radio or television corporations wished to host one of its sessions. The Arab Song Festival aims to contribute to the development of Arab television song production and to upgrade its quality, as to meet the aspirations of member corporations. It provides an opportunity to contribute to the development of programming, artistic and cultural exchange over the satellite network. — KUNA

MSD brings hope to couples in Kuwait struggling to conceive 15% Kuwaiti couples facing fertility issues KUWAIT: During an event hosted at the Marina Hotel in Kuwait, MSD announced the launch of a new fertility treatment; Elonva (Corifollitropin alfa), expected to bring new hope to thousands of couples across the country. Already a global issue, infertility affects an estimated 48.5 million couples around the globe already. In medical terms, a couple is considered to have fertility issues, if they are unable to conceive after one year of unprotected, well-timed intercourse or after six months if a woman is 35 or older. For many patients the only hope of conceiving is through Assisted Reproductive Techniques (IUI or IVF) an intensive and expensive therapy which requires daily injections of gonadotropin to stimulate the development of egg cells. Considered to be one of the biggest breakthroughs in the treatment of infertility in the last 10 years, the new treatment option will allow patients to take a single injection of Corifollitropin Alfa, over the course of a week, rather than the daily injection of gonadotropin, traditionally prescribed. Talking about infertility in Kuwait, Mazen Altaruti, Managing Director of MSD in the Gulf, said “Infertility places a significant burden, both financial and emotional, on couples that are unable to conceive. In the Middle East, the emotional stigma is perhaps even higher due to the pressure couples face from family and friends to get pregnant right away. At MSD we are committed to addressing issues that most impact the lives of those in the communities in which we work and certainly infertility is one of these issues; with as much as 15 percent of couples in Kuwait already facing problems conceiving. To be able to raise awareness of this issue and educate couples on the reasons for infertility and the treatment options available, is crucial if we are to truly address the burden these couples face.” Adding to Mazen’s comments explaining why Assisted Reproductive Techniques (IUI or IVF) is used, Dr Fawzia A. AlQattan, Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Head of Unit at the AlHayat Medical Centre in Kuwait, said” For many patients Assisted Reproductive Techniques (IUI or IVF) present the last hope of conceiving a child, with this type of treatment offering a final option for

women who have blocked fallopian tubes, resulting from a viral or bacterial infection or as a result of complications in previous births, or in men with a low sperm count. To facilitate the process women are given a course of FollicleStimulating Hormone injections (FSH), which help to stimulate ovarian production which is known ovarian stimulation. The course usually requires a daily injection gondatropin, for a period of 10 days, a treatment regimen that is emotionally draining for most women who have gone through the process.” “In women, fertility rates started drop dramatically after the age of 35, and with greater urbanization and the growing role women are playing in the work

Reproductive Techniques (IUI or IVF), reducing the complexity and emotional burden that daily injections create by replacing seven daily injections that gonadotropin requires, with one single injection.” said Prof Majedah Komaikh AlAzemi, a Consultant in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine at the Maternity Hospital in Kuwait as well as a Professor at the Kuwait University. Professor Al-Azemi said “Studies have already shown that this treatment option offers the same efficacy as traditional infertility treatments and has been known to achieve more than 38 percent pregnancy success rates, from the first cycle, with up to 33 percent of women not needing complimentary

KUWAIT: The MSD officials are seen during an event to launch the fertility drug. force, the age at which women choose to have children is getting older. This creates a new challenge for many women, resulting in greater difficulty in conceiving. Traditionally, Assisted Reproductive Techniques (IUI or IVF) require a daily injection of gonadotropin, for a period of 10 days, a treatment regimen that is emotionally draining for most women who have gone through the process. Corifollitropin Alfa (Elonva) will offer a new option for women, who have to go through the process of Assisted

injections after the 7th day of stimulation.” The burden of infertility can be immense and have many emotional aspects. Feelings of anger, sadness and guilt are common and may affect selfesteem and self-image leading to isolation among involuntarily childless people. Prior to and during treatment these feelings can be manifested in depression, anxiety, relationship problems with partner, family and friends and an increased sense of self-blame and guilt, particularly for the partner experiencing fertility problem.

Hospital radiation leaks caused cancer: Sag’obi Asfour denies leaks at nuclear medicine units KUWAIT: Executive secretary general of the Renewable Energy Developmental Organization, Ghadeer Al-Sag’obi, said radiation leaks at several nuclear medicine units led to a number of doctors getting cancer. She also warned that many devices used at these units were also contaminated with radiation due to the lack of safety precautions taken there. “This also poses a threat to patients undergoing any form of radiology,” she stressed. Speaking at a press conference, AlSag’obi lamented the poor working conditions at various Ministry of Health

(MOH) facilities and hospitals. She said she had conveyed her concerns to the prime minister and sought his interference to remedy what she described as the “disastrous” situation in MOH. AlSag’obi also noted that her previous warnings about drinking water being contaminated with carcinogens in 2011 had not been taken seriously until the ministry finally admitted to the truth of her warnings. She added that Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) officials asked her to keep a lid on the water issue until they solved the problem, because the water

treatment process could take months. “We are surrounded by carcinogens everywhere in Kuwait”, she stated, pointing out that the soil had been contaminated as a result of military offensives during the liberation war and also because of the oil well fires, while water was contaminated with high levels of Bromides - at 25.6 micrograms per litre, while the maximum acceptable level, as per WHO specifications, is 10. Meanwhile, MOH’s assistant undersecretary for services affairs, Samir AlAsfour, said all radioactive materials used in hospitals were dealt with accord-

ing to international regulations and protocols. He also denied the occurrence of any leaks at any of the nuclear medicine units in various health zones. “We have standard safety measures that are followed by technicians and doctors operating and using nuclear medicine devices,” he stated, adding that the devices undergo periodic testing, in which radiation levels are for examined through the TLD technique. “Staff members found contaminated with radiation are immediately suspended and investigated is done to find out how they were exposed to radiation,” he concluded.


Libya becomes ‘the new Mali’ as attacks rise


Red Cross halts staff movement in Afghanistan


US woman facing drug charge freed in Mexico


MANILA: Firemen and rescue personnel look at damaged vehicles after large blocks of concrete fell from a condominium unit following an explosion at a high-end residential area in Manila yesterday, killing at least two people according to press reports. The cause and exact number of casualties have not been confirmed thus far as investigators continued to scour the scene of the blast .— AFP

Intel dilemma over new terror strategy Boston, London, Paris attacks baffle agencies PARIS: Intelligence agencies that have succeeded in thwarting many of Al-Qaeda’s plans for spectacular attacks are struggling to combat the terror network’s strategy of encouraging followers to keep to themselves, use off-the-shelf weapons and strike when they see an opportunity. In recent weeks - at the Boston marathon, in the streets of London and in the shadow of one of Paris’ most recognizable monuments - young men allegedly carried out attacks with little help, using inexpensive, widely available knives and explosives from everyday ingredients. In each of the attacks, suspects had previously been flagged to law enforcement and deemed not to be a priority. A tough debate is raging within the intelligence community - previously focused on searching for Al-Qaeda cells - on how to assess red flags without violating basic liberties. Confronting an overwhelming sea of mostly harmless individuals who act suspiciously, authorities are still struggling with questions about how and how much to keep tabs on people who spout jihadist rhetoric online or buy material that could be used to make explosives - or something innocuous. A French government report last week recommended a radical new approach in light of

the 2012 terror in which a French-born radical Muslim attacked French paratroopers and a Jewish school in Toulouse, killing seven people. It called for an overhaul of the country’s intelligence networks to combat the rising threat of militants working alone outside established terror networks. One of the report’s advisers, academic Mathieu Guidere, said last week’s attack showed that intelligence services haven’t learned their lesson. “They’re not originally made for fighting against this kind of threat. They’re intended to fight against cells, against groups, against organizations, but not against individuals,” he said. “It’s a question of adapting. That’s why there are the same errors in Boston, London and France. There was identification - but not detention - before the suspects passed into the realm of action.” Easier said than done, counters David Omand, who served as Britain’s first security and intelligence coordinator. “No reliable psychological test or checklist has been devised that can predict when such an individual may tip over into actually taking violent action,” Omand said in an emailed response to questions from The Associated Press. “Short of a police state on East German lines the number of such individuals who can be subject to

very intensive surveillance sufficient to detect preparations for violent action is but a small proportion of the total - and of course individuals can flip quickly even where they have been checked out previously.” Still, British, French and American officials are re-examining whether opportunities might have been lost in the run-up to the recent attacks. Guidere and other analysts say rapidly evolving technology and better recruitment of intelligence officers should allow authorities to better track patterns of dangerous behavior. Peter Felstead, editor of IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly, said the problem is the vast quantity of information that needs to be sifted through. “This is an area where the power of modern technology and traditional human intelligence and tradecraft need to be melded together, so that incidences of behavior that are not immediately apparent in isolation can be identified as part of a larger pattern,” Felstead wrote in an email. For its part, the US government has emphasized that local communities are most likely to spot unusual or suspicious behavior, and has encouraged more outreach to communities that might be vulnerable to radicalization. The federal government has led a nationwide suspicious activity reporting campaign and

trained local police to identify potential terrorrelated activities. “The best way to prevent violent extremism inspired by violent jihadists is to work with the Muslim American community - which has consistently rejected terrorism - to identify signs of radicalization and partner with law enforcement when an individual is drifting toward violence,” President Barack Obama said in a recent speech. Clearly, Al-Qaeda has placed a big bet on the lone wolf model as its own best hope of success. The first issue of Al-Qaeda’s in-house magazine, Inspire, in 2010 called on recruits to avoid plotting with others, to strike near home and to use whatever weapons were at hand. In all three recent attacks - allegedly by young radical Muslims in the US, Britain and France - that advice seemed to be followed nearly to the letter. Outside Paris, a young Frenchman who converted to Islam in his late teens was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of stabbing a soldier with a locally purchased pocketknife in the La Defense business area, near a modernized version of the Arc de Triomphe. Intelligence officials had been tracking the suspect, 22-year-old Alexandre Dhaussy, for several years. —AP


US report: Iran’s terrorism activity highest since 1990s Al-Qaeda’s Pakistan core group ‘continued to weaken’

FALLUJAH: Iraqis chant anti-government slogans as others wave representations of older national flags at an anti-government rally in Fallujah yesterday.—AP

Bomb and shooting claim 7 lives in Iraq BAGHDAD: A bomb exploded amid Sunni worshippers leaving a mosque in west Baghdad, one of two attacks yesterday that left seven dead in Iraq, officials said. Iraqi security forces are struggling to contain the country’s most relentless round of violence since the 2011 US military withdrawal. Over 30 Sunni mosques have been hit in the past two months and over 100 worshippers killed, in addition to attacks on Shiite neighborhoods, security forces, and other targets. Police officials said the bomb left by the side of the road at the Omar mosque killed four people and wounded 11 others as they were walking away after Friday prayers. Meanwhile, police said that two carloads of gunmen attacked a security checkpoint in the city of Fallujah early yesterday policemen, killing three. Two other policemen were also wounded in the attack in Fallujah, a former Al-Qaeda stronghold 65 kilometers (40 miles) west of Baghdad. Health workers confirmed the casualties. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media. The surge of attacks has sparked fears that the country could spiral into a new round of widespread sectarian bloodshed similar to that which brought the country to the edge of civil war in 2006-2007. Tension stemming from months of protests against the Shiite-led government by Iraq’s Sunni minority, many of whom feel they’ve been marginalized and unfairly treated since the 2003 US-led invasion, escalated sharply last month after a deadly crackdown by security forces on a Sunni protest camp. In a show of national unity, Shiite and Sunni worshippers held joint prayers yesterday in a Shiite mosque in downtown Baghdad amid tight security measures. Sunni cleric Khalid AlMulla urged the government and the Iraqi people to stop the bloodshed by uniting against “the terrorists who want to kill our sons in the name of Islam.” Sunni militants, including AlQaeda, have long targeted Iraq’s Shiite majority and government security forces. But the attacks on Sunnis mosques have raised the possibility that Shiite militias are also growing more active. “The blood that is being shed is precious Iraqi blood ... so we should say ‘Enough’ to these killings,” Al-Mulla said. Worshippers chanted, “Shiites and Sunnis are brothers.” — AP

Saudi king leaves for holiday in Morocco RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s elderly King Abdullah left the kingdom yesterday for a private holiday in Morocco, the state news agency (SPA) reported. The movements and health of senior royals in the world’s top oil exporter are closely watched because of their immense executive power. King Abdullah, who turned 90 this year, was shown on Saudi television this week after chairing a cabinet meeting for the first time in months. The king had an operation in November, one of several in recent years, which kept him in hospital for nearly a month. In his absence, 76-year-old Crown Prince Salman will run the kingdom’s daily affairs. Salman’s deputy is Prince Muqrin, who was appointed second deputy prime minister in January.— Reuters

WASHINGTON: Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism overseas underwent “a marked resurgence” in 2012, reaching levels not seen in 20 years, the US State Department charged on Thursday in its annual report on trends in political violence. The report cited a series of actual and planned attacks in Europe and Asia linked to Hezbollah, Iran’s Lebanon-based ally, including a July 2012 bombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israeli citizens and a Bulgarian, and wounded 32 others. “The year 2012 was ... notable in demonstrating a marked resurgence of Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism,” via Tehran’s elite Al-Quds force, its intelligence ministry, and Hezbollah, the report said. “Iran and Hezbollah’s terrorist activity has reached a tempo unseen since the 1990s.” There was no immediate reply to a request for comment from Iran’s mission to the United Nations. Last July, Iran’s UN ambassador denied his country’s involvement in the Bulgaria bombing, which he accused Israel of carrying out. “We have never, and will not, engage in such a despicable attempt on ... innocent people,” Ambassador Mohammed Khazaee said. The report’s release comes as US and European officials and intelligence agencies say Iran and Hezbollah have stepped up their military backing for the besieged government of Syrian President Bashar AlAssad. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Saturday publicly committed the group to an Assad victory over Syrian rebels who, like the Damascus government, have been accused of abuses in the two-year-old civil war. “Both Iran and Hezbollah are providing a broad range of critical support to the Assad regime, as it continues its brutal crackdown against the Syrian people,” the State Department report said. The report covers events in 2012 and does not include such incidents as the

Boston Marathon bombings in the United States or last week’s brutal killing of a British soldier on a London street. President Barack Obama last week announced he was shifting the United States away from a “boundless global war on terror” begun by his predecessor as a response to the Sept 11, 2001, attacks. While continuing to target militants, he said he would restrict deadly drone strikes abroad and seek once again to close the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. Overall, the State Department’s “Country Reports on Terrorism 2012” paints a mixed picture of efforts to counter violent extremism. It said that al Qaeda’s Pakistanbased core group “continued to weaken” and that losses in leadership have driven the group’s affiliates to become more independent, “setting their own goals and specifying their own targets.” Al Qaeda’s two

most dangerous franchises, Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and al Shabaab in Somalia, “have suffered significant setbacks,” it said. But at the same time, the tumultuous events set in motion by the “Arab Spring” revolutions have complicated the picture, the report said. The dispersal of weapons stocks following the fall of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi as well as the coup in Mali “presented terrorists with new opportunities,” it said. Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the report said, is seeking to establish a long-term presence in Syria “under the pseudonym of al-Nusrah Front,” an anti-Assad rebel group that the US government has designated a terrorist organization. Iraq was the site of three of the 10 most lethal attacks worldwide in 2012, it said, and 97 percent of the strikes whose perpetrator could be identified were attributed to AQI.—Reuters

TEHRAN: Iranian worshippers perform their Friday prayers at the Tehran University campus, in Tehran yesterday. — AP

Six Mexican tourists die in Egypt bus crash CAIRO: A bus carrying Mexican tourists overturned Thursday in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula before bursting into flame, killing at least six, according to the state news agency MENA. Head of emergency services for South Sinai governorate Khaled Abou Hashem

says that the bus was carrying tourists from Saint Catherine’s monastery to the Red Sea resort of Dahab. The accident occurred because of high speed driving, a security official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

MENA said another 25 people were injured. Road accidents are common in Egypt due to badly maintained roads and poor enforcement of traffic laws. According to a 2012 World Health Organization report, road accidents kill about 12,000 people each year in a population of about 90 million. — AP

Iranians back in Egypt after protests: Official CAIRO: Iranian tourists are expected back in Egypt yesterday after a twomonth moratorium on visas for travellers from the Shiite country following hardline Sunni Islamist protests, an Egyptian official said. A plane owned by private Egyptian carrier Air Memphis flew to Tehran to bring the tourists to Aswan in southern Egypt, said Sherif Ibrahim, chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority. The tourists will visit pharaonic sites, he added. Egypt’s civil aviation minister, Wael al-Maadawy, had already indicated the flights would resume after their sus-

pension in April, just a month after the first commercial flight from Tehran to Cairo in decades. Relations between the two countries thawed after Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was elected Egypt’s president last year. Both Morsi and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have visited each other’s capital in summits. But rapprochement between Egypt and Iran following a 2011 uprising that overthrew president Hosni Mubarak has been bitterly opposed by Egyptian Salafists. The ultra-conservative Sunni

Islamists on Morsi’s Islamist flank view Shiites as heretics. They have held protests against allowing Iranians to visit Egypt, itself once ruled by the Shiite offshoot Fatamid Dynasty centuries ago. Egypt and Iran severed ties after Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, which was deeply hostile to Cairo’s peace treaty with Israel. Egypt’s powerful intelligence agency has been deeply suspicious of Iran, and Mubarak’s government before his overthrow accused Tehran of plotting attacks in Egypt. —AFP



Libya becomes ‘the new Mali’ as attacks rise BAMAKO: Suicide attacks on a French-run mine and a military base in northern Niger have shown how an Islamist threat is spreading across the weak nations of the Sahara, meaning France may be tied down there for years to come. Regional rivalries are aggravating the problem for Paris and its Western allies, with a lack of cooperation between Saharan countries helping militants to melt away when they come under pressure and regroup in quieter parts of the vast desert. Security officials say lawless southern Libya has become the latest haven for al Qaeda-linked fighters after French-led forces drove them from strongholds in northern Mali this year, killing hundreds. “The south of Libya is what the north of Mali was like before,” said a senior

adviser to Mali’s interim President Diouncounda Traore, asking not to be named. Niger has said last week’s suicide raids, which killed 25 people at the army base and desert uranium mine run by France’s Areva, were launched from Libya. Amid growing tensions between the two countries, Libya has denied this. Chad, which played a leading role in the Mali campaign, said a man was shot dead in an attack on its consulate in the Libyan desert town of Sabha at the weekend. Smugglers have long used Libya’s poorly patrolled south - a crossroads of routes to Chad, Niger and Algeria - for trafficking drugs, contraband cigarettes and people to Europe. But the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 flooded the Sahara with

pillaged weapons and ammunition. Tuareg separatists used them to seize power in northern Mali, only to be ousted by even better-armed Islamists who set up training camps and imposed harsh Islamic law until the French forces arrived. The Islamists have also exploited Libya’s weakness. Veteran al Qaeda commander Moktar Belmokhtar bought weapons there after Gaddafi’s fall and his fighters passed through southern Libya to carry out a mass hostage-taking at an Algerian gas plant in January, in which 37 foreigners died. A spokesman for the MUJWA, an Al-Qaeda-linked group which controlled parts of Mali last year, told Mauritania’s al Akhbar news site that the Niger attack was not prepared in southern Libya. But Belmokhtar’s group said it also

took part. With no effective national army, Libya relies on local brigades to police its southern border region where at least 100 people died in ethnic violence last year. Tripoli’s failure to restore security there may be encouraging permanent Islamist camps and weapons stores, security officials say. France, which relies on neighboring Niger for one fifth of the uranium powering its nuclear reactors, has urged regional powers to cooperate to tackle the threat from Libya. “We’re extremely concerned that what’s happening in southern Libya could replicate what happened in Mali,” a French diplomatic source said, adding that the defense minister had raised the issue on a recent visit to Washington and London.—Reuters

Topless protesters could face Tunisia jail terms TUNIS: Three European women with radical activist group Femen, who were arrested after baring their breasts in Tunis, will be tried next week for public indecency and could be jailed, their lawyer said yesterday. “They will appear in court in Tunis on June 5... The trial will be an open hearing,” Souheib Bahri told AFP, information confirmed by French consular officials in Tunis. They will be tried for “public indecency” and an “attack on public morals,” crimes both punishable by six months in jail in socially conservative Tunisia, where the coalition government is headed by an Islamist party. They risk another 15 days in detention for offences against the Tunisian authorities. The three young women were identified by the Femen movement in Paris as Pauline Hillier and Marguerite Stern, both French, and Josephine Markmann from Germany. They were arrested on Wednesday as they held a topless protest outside the central courthouse in Tunis, the first such protest organized by radical feminist group in the Arab world. Their demonstration was held to demand the release of Amina Sboui, an 18-year-old Tunisian activist with their group who was detained earlier this month after protesting against Tunisia’s main Salafist group and painting the word “Femen” on a wall near a cemetery in Kairouan. The hardline Salafist had planned to hold their annual congress in the historic city south of Tunis, which is considered the country’s religious capital, despite a government ban. Sboui, better known by her pseudonym Tyler, went on trial on Wednesday for illegal possession of pepper spray-for which she received a fine-amid tensions outside the court, where dozens of angry Islamists demonstrated against the topless protests. The judge ordered that she be remanded in custody, to face separate charges next week of indecency and desecrating a cemetery, crimes punishable respectively by six months and two years in jail. But he left the door open for heavier sentences, referring to the “criminal conspiracy” section of the penal code and indicating that she could be accused of acting as part of an organized gang. Sboui sparked a scandal in March-and also a wave of international support-after posting topless pictures of herself on Facebook, drawing threats from Tunisia’s radical Islamists. Her mother, whom the young woman accused of holding her in captivity, later described her daughter as someone who suffers from chronic depression.— AFP

TUNIS: Tunisian Justice Minister Nadhir Ben Ammou speaks to journalists during a press conference yesterday in Tunis.—AFP

BEIRUT: A handout picture released by the Lebanese Parliament shows a general view of the parliamentary session in the Lebanese capital Beirut yesterday.— AFP

Lebanese parliament extends its term by 17 months BEIRUT: The Lebanese parliament postponed upcoming elections yesterday, extending its term 17 months because of deteriorating security conditions related to Syria’s civil war. The decision, which had been expected, marks the first time that parliament has had to extend its term since Lebanon’s own 15-year civil war ended in 1990, and underlines the growing turmoil in the country spilling over from the conflict in its neighbor. It is widely seen as a blow to Lebanon’s tradition of free elections, but it may help lower tensions at a critical time for the fragile and deeply divided country. Dozens of people have been killed in Lebanon over the past two years in clashes between pro- and anti-Syrian Lebanese groups, making it difficult to hold elections amid tension. Ninety-seven legislators in the 128-seat body voted in favor of extension in a session that lasted 10 minutes, state-run National News Agency said. The parliament postponed elections from June until November 2014. Yesterday’s decision also comes after rival blocs in the legislature failed to agree on a new elections law.

Both pro- and anti-Syrian blocs in parliament agreed on the extension, with one exception being the Free Patriotic Movement of Christian leader Michel Aoun. The FPM is the second largest bloc in parliament. Aoun and President Michel Suleiman have said they will challenge the extension, although that is unlikely to affect Friday’s decision given the size of the majority. Defenders say the decision was a necessary evil. “In order not to reach a (political) vacuum, it became necessary to see the extension of parliament’s term as a good thing, although it is not,” said legislator and former prime minister Fuad Saniora. “This step became necessary to avoid a vacuum as well as security breaches.” About 100 meters (yards) from the parliament building, dozens of pro-democracy activists held a protest and threw tomatoes at some lawmakers’ cars. They carried three fake coffins draped in Lebanese flags. “With deep sadness and shock we declare the death of democracy,” read a banner. Sectarian clashes tied to Syria’s war have broken out with increasing regularity in Lebanon, a country with a religious

divide that mirrors that of its neighbor. At least 28 people have been killed and more than 200 wounded this month in battles in the northern city of Tripoli recently as supporters and opponents of President Bashar Assad lobbed mortar shells and fired heavy machine guns at each other. That violence, coupled with the militant Lebanese Hezbollah group’s direct intervention in the Syrian conflict on the side of the Assad regime, has deeply shaken Lebanon, and it threatens to throw off the country’s precarious sectarian balance. The conflict also has forced some 500,000 Syrians to seek refuge in Lebanon, putting a severe strain on the country of 4 million to cope with the influx. UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly said in a statement that while it was “clearly important to ensure the continuity of institutions - it was a matter of regret that no agreement had been reached on elections.” He added that the United Nations would continue to encourage all parties in Lebanon to work for the “expeditious conduct of parliamentary elections in line with the country’s longstanding democratic tradition.” — AP



EU tells Israel to stop settlements expansion BRUSSELS: EU High Representative Catherine Ashton yesterday repeated the Union’s position that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, posing as a threat to the two-state solution. “The EU has repeatedly urged the Government of Israel to immediately end all settlement activities in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, in

line with its obligations under the Roadmap,” said Michael Mann, spokesman for Ashton, in a statement. He noted that the statement was issued in the light of recent media reports about renewed plans for Israeli settlements in and around East Jerusalem. “The EU has consistently maintained that negotiations remain the best way forward for resolving

the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and it reiterates that it will not recognise any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties, “ he said. “Unilateral action by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community,” added Mann. — KUNA

Emergency in Kyrgyzstan after gold mine clashes 92 arrested as protesters, troops battle

YOKOHAMA: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (third right) and Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi (second right) toast with guests during a welcome reception ahead of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama yesterday. — AFP

Japan to offer $10bn aid to Africa: Reports TOKYO: The Japanese government is to pledge at least $10 billion in aid to Africa for the next five years, reports said yesterday, as Tokyo prepared to host a major development conference for the resource-rich continent. Coupled with expected corporate investments, Japan’s public and private sectors look set to pour around three trillion yen ($30 billion) into Africa by 2018, as Japan Inc. rushes for a piece of the promising African market, the Nikkei said. Despite relatively long-standing connections, Japan’s importance to Africa has slipped behind that of China, whose more aggressive approach has given it five times the trading volume and eight times the direct investment. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will announce the government’s official development aid worth at least one trillion yen ($10 billion) at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), the business daily and the Sankei Shimbun said. The three-day, five-yearly conference will kick off today in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, with leaders of more than 40 African countries and senior figures from international organizations expected to be present. In Yokohama yesterday, Abe started a marathon session of meetings with leaders from African countries such as Somalia, Ethiopia and Liberia. He was scheduled to meet about 40 of them in three days, 10 of them yesterday. At the forum, Japanese officials will stress the need to boost trade and investment between the world’s third largest economy and Africa, in a bid to transform the relationship from an aid-led one to a business partnership. In addition to the aid, the Japanese government will also double to 500 billion yen a fund earmarked for providing loan guarantees and investment for infrastructure and resource development projects tied to Japanese firms, the Nikkei said. Earlier last month Abe pledged he would travel the world to promote Japanese road, rail and power grid technology in a bid to treble infrastructure exports to 30 trillion yen a year by 2020 as he seeks to jumpstart Japan’s slumbering economy. — AFP

BISHKEK: Kyrgyzstan yesterday declared a state of emergency after bloody clashes between security forces and protestors over the arrest of dozens of demonstrators who cut off power to a Canadian-owned gold mine they want nationalized. Prosecutors said that 92 people were arrested when security forces moved in to disperse the protest over the Kumtor mine, retake control of an electrical substation and dismantle their tents. But this in turn sparked a new protest yesterday morning as thousands of locals began a march to call for the release of those detained, clashing with security forces who fired tear gas and rubber bullets. At least 55 people, including a dozen members of the security forces, were wounded, the health ministry said in a statement. The protestors are demanding the nationalization of the Kumtor mine which has been wholly owned by the Canadian mining group Centerra Gold since it started operations in 1997. Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev on Friday declared a state of emergency in the Dzheti-Ogyzsky district of the Issyk-Kul region where the mine and electrical substation are located. The state of emergency will last until June 10 and a curfew will last from 9 pm to 6 am local time, the presidency said. Hundreds of people late Thursday stormed the local substation that supplies the high-altitude mine and cut off the electricity. Centerra Gold said its production at the mine, which is one of resource-poor Kyrgyzstan’s biggest assets, has been temporarily halted as a result. “All the organizers of the meeting at Kumtor will be punished in full accordance with the law. I guarantee that as

BARSKOON: Protesters surround a burning truck in Kyrgyz town of Barskoon yesterday. Hundreds of protesters have stormed the office a gold mine run by a Canadian-based company, demanding its nationalization and more social benefits. — AP president of the country,” said Atambayev. “We will not give them the chance to shake and destroy the country,” he added. Prime Minister Zhantoro Satybaldiyev blamed the unrest on the “enemies of Kyrgyzstan” and said that the government was prepared for “negative” developments of the situation in the region. Kyrgyz officials said power had been restored after the security operation but it was unclear if production at the mine would resume soon. “Ninety-two people have been arrested, these are those who took direct part in the action to cut off power to Kumtor,” Kyrgyzstan’s prosecutor general Aida Salyanova told reporters in Bishkek. Local media quoted eyewitnesses as saying 3,000 locals from the

Dzheti-Ogyzsky district where the substation is located then staged a march to demand their liberation. The crowd was blocking roads and even occupying local administration buildings, the reports said. One bus transporting special forces was set on fire and police in return used tear gas and fired rubber bullets. The government said that the mine’s operators now want to evacuate 1,000 workers from the facility which is located at an altitude of 4,000 metres (13,100 feet) near the scenic Lake Issyk Kul. The leader of the demonstrators, Ermek Dzhunushbayev, said he would continue to insist that the Kumtor mine either “works for the good of the Kyrgyz people or does not work at all”. — AFP

Thieves steal file on slain DR Congo activist KINSHASA: Thieves have stolen the legal case-file on Floribert Chebeya, a prominent human rights activist murdered in June 2010 in Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the association Voix des Sans Voix (VSV - Voice of the Voiceless), which he founded. On Wednesday night, the burglars broke into the offices of lawyer Jean-Marie Kabengela Ilunga and stole “a television set, a sum of money, books (and) a bag containing the file in the affair of Floribert Chebeya and Fidele Bazana”, his driver who disappeared, the non-governmental organization said in a statement received yesterday. Before this “evidently planned rob-

bery”, the lawyer received “anonymous phone calls”, VSV added. “The people at the other end of the line said not a word and this happened, strangely, whenever Mr Ilunga wanted to enter or leave his offices.” VSV “once more reiterates its deep concerns following the recurrent insecurity that has hung over the lawyers in the matter of the double murder” of Chebeya and his driver, who is presumed dead, the statement said. Chebeya, 47, was summoned on June 1, 2010, by the then chief of national police, General John Numbi, who later denied setting up any meeting, but was suspended from his duties over the affair.

Chebeya’s body was found the following day in his car and his wrists showed traces of having been handcuffed. Bazana’s body vanished completely. The murder of the well-known rights activist led to many protests and several arrests, while Western nations demanded clarification of the affair and appropriate legal action. On June 23, 2011, the military court in Kinshasa convicted the deputy chief of police special services, Colonel Daniel Mukalay, and sentenced him to death, together with three police officers tried in their absence because they had fled. A fourth was sent to jail and three others acquitted. — AFP


Germany revises population down by 1.5 million BERLIN: Germany has revised down its population by 1.5 million to 80.2 million in the first census since before the country’s 1990 reunification, the federal statistics office said yesterday. The new data shows that Germany’s population is not only ageing and shrinking-a key challenge for Europe’s biggest economy-but also smaller than previously thought and with fewer foreigners. The new census for the European Union’s most populous country measured the number of people who were living in Germany on May 9, 2011, said the federal office Destatis. It was Germany’s first census in more than two decades and revised down by 1.8 percent the previously assumed population of 81.7 million. That figure had long been deemed unreliable because the last census figures were taken in the former West Germany in 1987 and in the former East Germany in 1981. Of the new total, 74 million inhabitants or 92.3 percent were German nationals. About 6.2 million or 7.7 percent were foreign nationals — 1.1 million fewer than previously thought. Another 15 million people, or 19 percent of the population, had a firstor second-generation immigrant background. About 40 million people were in paid work and 2.1 million were out of work. In terms of

accommodation, almost 46 percent of households lived in their own homes, while more than half were renting. The latest figures were based on new surveys of about 10 percent of the population, cross-checked with a range of existing databases, but they are not the first to show a drop in Germany’s population. Germany suffers from one of the EU’s lowest birth rates, meaning its population is shrinking rapidly as immigration has failed to compensate for deaths outweighing births. The census showed “no significant change in the age structure” of the population, said the president of Destatis, Roderich Egeler, at a press conference. Merkel warned last October that the ageing population poses the biggest challenge of this century to Germany. “Like globalization, demographic change means we have to find new answers ... for us as a country and for us as a European Union to keep our place in the world economy,” Merkel said at the time. At a “demography summit” this month, Merkel warned that by 2030 Germany will have six million fewer working-age people, meaning that the country must be more open to skilled immigrants.—AFP

Turkish police break up Istanbul park protest ISTANBUL: Riot police used tear gas and pressurized water in a dawn raid yesterday to rout a peaceful demonstration by hundreds of people staging a sit-in to prevent the uprooting of trees at an Istanbul park. Several protesters were injured when a wall they climbed collapsed during a police chase, and a prominent journalist was hospitalized after being hit in the head by a tear gas canister, the private Dogan news agency reported. Police moved in to disperse the crowd on the fourth day of the protest against a government plan to revamp Istanbul’s main square, Taksim. Officers then clashed with angry demonstrators in surrounding areas. The protesters are demanding that the square’s park, Gezi, be protected. Many also aired grievances against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted government which has been displaying increasingly authoritarian and uncompromising tendencies in its third successive term in office. Last week, the government enacted a law restricting the sale and advertising of alcohol which has alarmed secular Turks who fear an encroachment on more liberal lifestyles. Earlier this week, the government went ahead with a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a disputed third bridge across the Bosporus Strait which some say will destroy the few remaining green areas of the city. It also named the bridge after a controversial Ottoman sultan believed to have ordered a massacre of a minority Shiite Muslim group, instead of choosing a more unitifying figure. Protesters in Gezi Park were seen holding up a large poster with a caricature depicting Erdogan as an Ottoman sultan with a caption that read: “The people won’t yield to you.” — AP

ISTANBUL: A protestor holds a placard that reads “Chemical Tayyip” during clashes with riot police early yesterday during a protest against the demolition of Taksim Gezi Park, in Taksim Square in Istanbul. — AFP

BERLIN: People walk across the Warschauer Bridge yesterday in Berlin. Germany has revised down its population by 1.5 million to 80.2 million in the first census since the country’s 1990 reunification, federal statistics office Destatis said. —AFP

London soldier was hit by car before fatal stabbing Court hears inquest in Rigby murder case

LONDON: Media are pictured outside Southwark Coroner’s Court before the inquest of murdered British soldier Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in London yesterday. After a short hearing the inquest was adjourned to a later date. — AFP LONDON: The British soldier killed by suspected Islamic extremists in London last week was run over before being attacked by two men armed with a cleaver and a knife, an inquest heard yesterday. The inquest in the brutal murder of Lee Rigby on May 22 in Woolwich, southeast London, was opened at Southwark Coroner’s Court in the capital before being adjourned. Later, Queen Elizabeth II was to visit the barracks in Woolwich where Rigby was based, in a trip arranged before his death. None of Rigby’s family attended the opening of the inquest, but they issued a statement calling for calm following a rise in community tensions after his death. “Lee would not want people to use his name as an excuse to carry out attacks against others,” they said. “We would not

wish any other families to go through this harrowing experience and appeal to everyone to keep calm and show their respect in a peaceful manner.” In a brief hearing, the coroner’s court heard the soldier, who was a recruiting officer, was killed as he returned home after a day working at the Tower of London, his regimental headquarters. The 25-year-old had to be identified by a dental expert, the court heard. A post-mortem examination had already found that he died from multiple cut and stab wounds. “On Wednesday May 22, at approximately 2.20 pm, Lee was returning to barracks after a day working at the Tower of London,” Detective Chief Inspector Grant Mallon told the hearing. “As he walked into Artillery Place (a road in Woolwich), a vehicle is seen to swerve into

the carriageway on which he was walking and strike him. “The two occupants of the vehicle then exit the vehicle and attack him with a cleaver and a knife.” Mallon, from Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command, said the soldier suffered “extensive and serious injuries” and investigations were continuing into those responsible. Security at the court was beefed up for the inquest, which will seek to establish the circumstances of Rigby’s death without apportioning blame. It was adjourned to a date yet to be confirmed. One man, Michael Adebowale, 22, has appeared in court charged with the soldier’s murder and another, Michael Adebolajo, 28, remains under arrest in hospital. Both men were shot by police at the scene. — AFP


Myanmar Muslims find shelter in Buddhist monastery LASHIO: More than 1,000 Muslims who fled Myanmar’s latest bout of sectarian violence huddled in a Buddhist monastery guarded by army soldiers as calm returned to this northeastern city, though burnt out buildings leveled by Buddhist rioters still smoldered. The army transported terrified Muslim families by the truckload out of a neighborhood in Lashio where overturned cars and motorcycles that had been charred a day earlier left black scars on the red earth. “We heard things could get worse, so we waved down soldiers and asked them for help,” said 59-year-old Khin Than, who arrived at the monastery Thursday morning with her four children and sacks of luggage along with several hundred other Muslims. “We left because we’re afraid of being attacked.” The violence in Lashio this week shows how anti-Muslim unrest has slowly spread across Myanmar since starting last year in western Rakhine state and hitting the central city of Meikhtila in March. President Thein Sein’s government, which inherited power from the military two years ago, has been heavily criticized for failing to contain the violence. In Lashio on Thursday, Buddhist monks organized meals for the newly arrived refugees, who huddled together in several buildings in the monastery compound. Although a few Buddhist men could still be seen Thursday riding motorbikes with crude weapons such as sharpened bamboo poles, no new violence was reported. Several banks and shops reopened as residents emerged to look at destroyed Muslim shops. Trucks of soldiers and police crisscrossed main roads. They guarded the ruins of Muslim businesses that were reduced to ashes on Tuesday and Wednesday, erecting roadblocks from twisted debris. At one corner, where the charred remains of a three-story building still smoldered, Muslim residents sorted through rubble for anything salvageable. One family packed electronics from their shop into the back of a truck. A woman who had fled a mob a day earlier was still in a state of shock. “These things should not happen,” said the woman, Aye Tin, a Muslim resident who slept overnight in a Red Cross compound. “Most Muslims are staying off the streets. They’re afraid they’ll be attacked or killed if they go outside.” The rioting began Tuesday after a Muslim man splashed gasoline on a Buddhist woman and set her on fire. Buddhist mobs responded by burning down several Muslim-owned shops, a mosque and an Islamic orphanage. Roving motorcyclists continued the violence on Wednesday, leaving one person dead and four injured. Presidential spokesman Ye Htut said 25 people had been detained so far. He said all those arrested were from Lashio. The violence is casting fresh doubt over whether Thein Sein’s government can or will act to contain the racial and religious intolerance plaguing a deeply fractured nation still struggling to emerge from half a century of military rule. Muslims, who account for about 4 percent of Myanmar’s roughly 60 million people, have been the main victims of the violence since it began last year, but so far most criminal trials have involved prosecutions of Muslims, not members of the Buddhist majority. — AP

PARO: Bhutanese men wearing traditional Bhutanese men’s outfits, called Gho, wait to cast their vote outside a polling station in Paro yesterday. Bhutan began its second ever parliamentary election yesterday, after polling officials trekked for up to seven days to reach voters in the most remote corners of the Himalayan kingdom. —AFP

LASHIO: Muslim people listen as Myanmar Union government’s Religious Affairs Minister San Sint addresses them at a monastery in Lashio yesterday. Troops patrolled the riot-scarred streets of a town in eastern Myanmar on May 30 where hundreds of Muslims fled their homes after a new outbreak of religious violence left at least one dead. —AFP

Red Cross halts all staff movement in Afghanistan Jalalabad office closed after attack KABUL: The International Committee of the Red Cross has halted all staff movement across Afghanistan and closed its office in Jalalabad which was hit by a deadly suicide and gun attack. The two-hour assault on Tuesday, which left one Afghan guard dead, was the first time ICRC offices have been targeted in Afghanistan since the organization began work there 26 years ago. An International Organization for Migration (IOM) complex in Kabul came under sustained attack less than a week earlier, and the two incidents raise the prospect of a new phase in the Taliban’s 12-year insurgency in which no organization is considered off-limits. The ICRC, with 1,800 employees nationwide, had 36 staff including six expatriates in Jalalabad, which is close to the Pakistani border and surrounded by some of Afghanistan’s most unstable districts. “All movements have been frozen throughout Afghanistan, there is not a single ICRC delegate or employee that is moving, taking the roads, today,” Jacques De Maio, ICRC’s South Asia chief, said in a statement released in Geneva on Thursday. “Our sub-delegation in Jalalabad has been closed, so we are reconnecting with the government and re-connecting with armed groups to determined what happened and why.” Jalalabad lies on the key route from the Pakistani border region-where many militants are based-to Kabul, and it has been the scene of repeated attacks in recent years. A message on the ICRC’s Twitter page had initially said that all the organisation’s activities across Afghanistan had been suspended. “As a consequence of the attack... people will not be getting valuable help such as food and medical aid,” the ICRC said on the social networking site.

The ICRC maintains strict neutrality in the Afghan conflict and was thought to be protected from attack by its working relations with the Taleban and other insurgent groups. No militant group has claimed responsibility for Wednesday evening’s attack, in which one guard died at the start of the two-hour assault. “He was unarmed, defenceless, he was

to two government-run hospitals as well as technical and financial help to 47 clinics across the country run by the Afghan Red Crescent Society. It also visits prisoners held by both the Afghan authorities and the US-led NATO coalition, to monitor their treatment and living conditions. The abduction and murder last year of a British ICRC worker in south-

KABUL: Insurgents suspected of being from the Haqqani network are presented to the media at the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) headquarters in Kabul. — AFP protecting a compound from where hundreds of thousands of Afghans were getting valuable services,” De Maio said in the video statement. “It was a brutal, despicable and frankly senseless attack... there isn’t a single Afghan that would not recognise that we are strictly independent and humanitarian in what we do.” The ICRC provides medical support

west Pakistan prompted the organization to scale back its work there, closing offices in two major cities and cutting projects in the tribal northwest. The savage killing of Khalil Dale, whose mutilated body was found on the outskirts of the southwestern city of Quetta four months after he was kidnapped, triggered outrage and bewilderment in Pakistan.— AFP



Tiananmen Mothers slam Xi over reforms ‘President taking China towards Maoist orthodoxy’

NEW YORK: President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia (center) is presented with a World Statesman Award by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (left) and Appeal of Conscience Foundation President Rabbi Arthur Schneier (right) Thursday in New York. —AP

Indonesian leader gets religious ‘statesman’ award NEW YORK: Indonesia’s president has accepted a statesmanship award from a US interfaith foundation that says it hopes to encourage him to promote freedom of worship and tolerance in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation. Human rights groups and Indonesian religious organizations were appalled by Thursday’s award, saying President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has done too little to suppress a rising tide of violence against minority faiths. Rabbi Arthur Schneier with the Appeal of Conscience Foundation implicitly noted the controversy, saying, “You fully understand that the work is not complete. This is just a step in the right direction.” Yudhoyono, who did not mention religious rights, accepted the award in the name of all of Indonesia, saying “statesmanship can be collective.” He said he hoped for “a harmonious society founded in peace and prosperity.” The foundation has handed out its “world statesman” award for decades, without controversy, to leaders such as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Kissinger handed the award to Yudhoyono. President Barack Obama sent him a letter praising his award, as did East Timor’s former president, Jose Ramos-Horta, who guided the country to independence from Indonesian rule in 1999. But Usman Hamid, a noted activist with the Indonesian human rights group Kontras, questioned the foundation’s credibility in giving the award to the Indonesian president, who he said “is still far from protecting minorities from intolerance.” Indonesia is a secular country. The majority of its 210 million Muslims are Sunni, and most practice a moderate form of the faith. But the country’s religious affairs minister, Suryadharma Ali, called for the Ahmadiyah to be banned in 2011 and proposed last year that Shia Muslims convert to Sunni Islam. A researcher with Human Rights Watch, Andreas Harsono, said Yudhoyono’s administration has basically laid down the legal infrastructure that discriminates among religious minorities. “He makes them second-class citizens,” Harsono said.—AP

MANILA: Retired Police Maj Abner Afuang burns a Chinese flag to protest recent moves by China to sail its ship into the contested Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea yesterday in Manila.—AP

BEIJING: A group of families demanding justice for the victims of China’s 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown has denounced new President Xi Jinping for failing to launch political reforms, saying he was taking China “backwards towards Maoist orthodoxy”. The Tiananmen Mothers activist group has long urged the leadership to open a dialogue and provide a reassessment of the 1989 pro-democracy movement, bloodily suppressed on June 4 that year by the government which labeled it “counter-revolutionary”. In an open letter released yesterday through New York-based Human Rights in China, the group said Xi “has mixed together the things that were most unpopular and most in need of repudiation” during the time of former paramount leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, the latter who oversaw the suppression of the protests. “This has caused those individuals who originally harbored hopes in him in carrying out political reform to fall into sudden disappointment and despair,” the group said. Xi became Communist Party chief in November and president in March at a time of growing public pressure to launch longstalled political reforms. Some intellectuals had predicted that Xi would follow in the

footsteps of his father, Xi Zhongxun, a reformist former vice premier and parliament vice chairman. Xi has tried to project a softer and more open image than his predecessor, Hu Jintao. But Xi’s government has clamped down on free expression on the Internet and detained anti-corruption activists, giving no sign the party will ever brook dissent to its rule. The Tiananmen Mothers said they had not seen Xi “reflect upon or show remorse in the slightest for the sins committed during the three decades of Maoist communism”. “What we see, precisely, are giant steps backwards towards Maoist orthodoxy,” the group said. The leader of the Tiananmen Mothers group, Ding Zilin, called on Xi to “be courageous enough to take up the responsibility of history and pay the debts left by his predecessors”. “Everyone knows that a just resolution to the June 4 issue, a re-evaluation of June 4, will not happen by itself. It needs to be tied to progress in China’s political reform and democratisation,” Ding, 77, told Reuters this week. Asked about the letter, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China had long ago “reached a clear conclusion” about June 4. The successes of the past two

decades “shows that the path we have chosen serves the interest of the Chinese people”, he added. The government has already moved to limit the activities of dissidents ahead of the anniversary. Wu Lihong, an environmental activist from central China and one of the letter’s signatories, said he had been banned from travelling to the United States to receive an award. “They don’t want me bad-mouthing China to the Americans at this sensitive time of year,” he said by telephone. After initially tolerating the student-led demonstrations in the spring of 1989, the Communist Party sent troops to crush the protests on the night of June 3-4, killing hundreds. The topic remains taboo in China and the leadership has rejected all calls to overturn its verdict. A handful of people remain in prison, 24 years on, according to the Dui Hua Foundation, a US group that works for the release of Chinese political prisoners. While China grapples with thousands of protests a year, over everything from pollution to corruption and illegal land grabs, none of these demonstrations has even come close to becoming a national movement that could threaten the party’s rule. —AP

Stranded Dutch rower rescued from Indian Ocean SYDNEY: A Dutch adventurer rowing from Australia to Africa was rescued from the Indian Ocean yesterday after his boat collided with a massive oil tanker, leaving him injured and fearing for his life. Ralph Tuijn was well into his 9,000 kilometre (5,600 mile), 120-day journey from Western Australia when his boat was swamped on Wednesday after it hit the tanker. The rescue mission was triggered early Friday when Tuijn activated his distress beacon and a Myanmar-flagged merchant vessel nearby was sent to the scene, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said. “We have recovered him, he is currently on board the merchant vessel,” an AMSA spokeswoman told AFP. “The master reported that he was injured but we’re not sure of the full extent of his injuries just yet.” Ido Hurkmans, who spoke to Tuijn after the collision, said his friend saw the tanker when it was only 300 metres (1,000 feet) away, too late for him to avoid it. “He was just on a collision course. So he was just like, ‘OK I am going to die’,” Hurkmans told AFP. “Because surviving a crash from a tanker in a small rowing boat is not very likely.” Hurkmans said Tuijn, whose boat is only seven-metres (22-feet) long, had told him that the tanker had dragged him for a long time, during which he overturned four or five times before he finally broke free. The incident had left the adventurer anxious and in pain, with suspected cracked ribs and a broken finger. But Hurkmans said Tuijn was “back on his feet”

on the merchant vessel, which was headed for Nigeria. Australian authorities said the Dutchman was extremely lucky to have been picked up so soon from his remote location in the middle of the ocean, about 1,100 nautical miles west of the Cocos Islands. “It’s a pretty well travelled stretch of water but often merchant vessels can be three or four days away and this one was only a couple of hours away,” she said. Tuijn, who has previously rowed the

Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, left the Cocos on May 5. Another friend of Tuijn, Geoff Charters, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the adventurer would bounce back from the experience. “He’s a very experienced ocean rower and has dealt with a lot of different dangers on the ocean including lightning storms... I think that was the worst,” Charters said. “He’s been attacked by sharks and had close encounters with tankers on the Pacific.”—AFP

LIMA: Dutch rower Ralph Tuijn preparing his boat to row across the Pacific from his departure point, the Peruvian port of El Callao, 25 km north of Lima. Tuijn was rescued from the middle of the Indian Ocean after he was injured by a close call with a passing oil tanker as he attempts to row a 9,000 kilometer, 120-day journey from Australia to Africa. — AFP



US woman facing drug charge freed in Mexico Court dismisses charges after review

NEW YORK: Two young women embrace after leaving a rose wreath at the site of the fatal car crash that killed seven along Route 13 in Truxton, NY on Thursday. — AP

Responders shocked by NY truck crash that killed 7 TRUXTON, NY: Even seasoned firefighters said they couldn’t believe what they saw when they responded to a crash that killed seven people in upstate New York: A trailer hauling crushed cars broke free of the big rig that was pulling it, slashed across a rural, two-lane road and slammed into a mini-van whose driver tried desperately to avoid the runaway rig. Four children, ages 4 through 7, and three adults died in the crash Wednesday night in Truxton, about 25 miles south of Syracuse. Another adult was hospitalized in good condition. Police are investigating the cause of the crash. Ken Stone, first assistant chief of the Truxton Fire Department, said responders were deeply affected by a crash that seemed so improbable. “My god! What did we just go through?” he said of the firefighters’ reaction. “What did we just see? Did that just really happen?” “You get all that training and you’re not ready for it,” he said. “You can’t be if you’re human.” Stone was one of about 20 firefighters who responded. He said it appears the van’s driver saw the trailer coming and drove off the road trying to avoid it. “They tried to miss it, but he ran out of time,” said Stone. “All of a sudden, a trailer is coming at you and there’s no truck on it. “Tore it right apart,” he said. “It was humbling, especially young kids. It tears you up.” The accident Wednesday night claimed the lives of 26-year-old Teresa Bush and her daughters, 4-year-old Alexis and Jasmine, 5. Also killed were 21-year-old Lena Beckwith; Carino Vanorden, 24; Alyssa Mead, 7; and Tyler Mead, 4. Shawn Mead, the father of the two Mead children, was transported to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse where he was in good condition. All of the victims were from the local area. In a posting on a Facebook page that apparently belonged to Beckwith, she said she and Vanorden had been engaged since 2011. Officials said the trailer disconnected from the southbound rig and slammed into the northbound van, ripping it apart. Both vehicles came to rest on the shoulder of the two-lane road. Stone said a couple of victims were under the trailer, which had to be jacked up to get them out. He said they all likely died upon impact.—AP

NOGALES, Mexico: An Arizona woman held in a Mexico jail for a week on a drugsmuggling charge was freed after a court reviewed her case, including key security footage, and dismissed the allegations. Yanira Maldonado, 42, walked out of the prison on the outskirts of Nogales, Mexico and into her husband’s arms late Thursday night. She spoke briefly, thanking US state department officials, her husband, her lawyers and prison workers who made her stay comfortable. “Many thanks to everyone, especially my God who let me go free, my family, my children, who with their help, I was able to survive this test,” she said. The family’s lawyer in Nogales, Jose Francisco Benitez Paz, said a judge determined Thursday that she was no longer a suspect and all allegations against her were dropped. The couple planned to immediately return to Arizona, he said. “She lived through a nightmare,” he said after her release. Maldonado’s release came hours after court officials reviewed security footage that showed the couple boarding a commercial bus traveling from Mexico to Phoenix with only blankets, bottles of water and her purse in hand. US politicians portrayed her as a victim of a corrupt judicial system and demanded her release with Arizona congressmen saying they were working closely with Mexican authorities. The office of Sen Jeff Flake, RArizona, said earlier that he “has had multiple conversations with the deputy Mexican ambassador.” The judge had until late Friday to decide whether to free her or send her to another prison in Mexico while state officials continued to build their case. Prosecutors could appeal the ruling. Maldonado was arrested by the Mexican military last week after they found nearly 12 pounds (5.4 kilograms) of pot under her seat during a security checkpoint. Benitez noted that it was a fairly sophisticated smuggling effort that included packets of drugs attached to the seat bottoms with metal hooks - a task

that would have been impossible for a passenger. He said witness testimony and the surveillance video showed Yanira Maldonado was innocent. “There is justice in this country,” he said. Gary Maldonado said he was originally arrested after the pot was found under his wife’s bus seat, but after Yanira Maldonado begged the soldiers to allow her to come along to serve as a translator, the military officials decided to release him and arrest her instead. He said authorities originally demanded $5,000 for his wife’s release, but the bribe fell through. “Here, we are guilty until you are proven innocent,” he said after the court hearing. The Maldonados were traveling home to the Phoenix suburb of Goodyear after attending her aunt’s funeral in the city of Los Mochis when they were arrested. The bus passed through at least two checkpoints on the way to the border without incident. In the town of Querobabi in the border state of Sonora, all the passengers were ordered off the

bus and a soldier searched the interior as they waited. The soldier exited and told his superiors that packets of drugs had been found under seat 39, Yanira Maldonado’s, and another seat, number 42. Her husband was in seat 40. Gary Maldonado said a man sitting behind them on the bus fled during the inspection. He said the man might have been the true owner of the drugs. About 40 people were on the bus before the inspection, but Gary Maldonado said he was the only passenger who appeared American. Mexican officials provided local media with photos that they said were of the packages Maldonado is accused of smuggling. Each was about 5 inches high and 20 inches wide, roughly the width of a bus seat. The marijuana was packed into plastic bags and wrapped in tan packing tape. The couple had previously traveled on commercial buses through Mexico because they felt it was safer than driving a personal vehicle. — AP

NOGALES: Yanira Maldonado, 42, left, accompanied by her husband, Gary (center), speaks to an official after being released from a prison on the outskirts of Nogales, Mexico late Thursday. — AP

Gay rights cases could trail Obama in Africa

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama speaks in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, after a meeting with (from left) Senegal President Macky Sall; Malawi President Joyce Banda; Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma; and Cape Verde Prime Minister Jose Maria Pereira Neves. — AP

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama’s trip to Africa this month may result in a stark juxtaposition between the growing power of the gay rights movement in the US and the criminalization of homosexuality throughout the African continent. Obama is scheduled to be in Africa in late this month and early July - the same period in which the Supreme Court is likely to issue highly anticipated rulings on a pair of gay marriage cases. The court does not say in advance when its rulings will be issued, but the gay marriage cases are expected to be among the last decisions announced before the justices begin their summer break at the end of June. Homosexuality is considered a criminal offense in many African nations, including Senegal and Tanzania, two of the countries Obama will visit. South Africa, the third country on the president’s itinerary, has broad protections for homosexuals and is the only African country to legalize gay marriage. Gay rights activist Richard

Socarides said Obama could use the rulings as a “teachable moment” if the justices move to expand rights for same-sex couples. “If the timing works out so that he’s there, it may provide a perfect opportunity for him to speak out about the principles we value in our democracy and how we would hope that others follow it,” said Socarides, who worked in the White House during the Clinton administration. The White House wouldn’t say what role gay rights would play in Obama’s trip but noted that the administration “unequivocally advocates against violence and discrimination” against gays and lesbians, both in Africa and elsewhere around the world. One of the cases before the Supreme Court is a challenge to California’s voterapproved Proposition 8 that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The other seeks to strike down a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that denies to legally married same-sex couples

a range of benefits that generally are available to married heterosexuals. Obama supports overturning both measures. The president has frequently called on countries around the world to end discrimination against gays and lesbians. In 2011, he directed the State Department to “ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of” gays, lesbians and transgender people. That included having diplomats “combat the criminalization” of being gay by foreign governments. According to the State Department’s 2012 human rights report on Tanzania, consensual same-sex sexual conduct is illegal and carries a prison sentence of 30 years to life. The report also concluded that gays and lesbians face “societal discrimination that restricted their access to health care, housing and employment” and that there were no government efforts to combat such discrimination. Conditions are similar in Senegal, according to the State Department. —AP

Brent slips below $102; OPEC meeting kicks off



Euro shares slide, dollar climbs off 3-week low


IMF backs ‘Abenomics’, warns of downside risks


ECB turns 15

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NEW DELHI: An Indian laborer rests at a construction site in New Delhi yesterday. India’s economy expanded at its slowest pace in a decade last fiscal year, adding to pressure on the government to speed up economic reforms. — AP (See Page 18)

Euro-zone unemployment hits new record Italy’s rate up to over 40 percent LONDON: Unemployment across the 17 EU countries that use the euro hit another record high in April, official figures showed yesterday, the latest in a series of ignominious landmarks for the ailing single currency zone. Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, said yesterday that unemployment rose to 12.2 percent in April from the previous record of 12.1 percent the month before. Another 95,000 people joined the ranks of the unemployed, taking the total to 19.38 million. At this pace, unemployment in the eurozone could breach the 20 million mark this year. The figures, once again, mask big disparities among countries. While over one in four people are unemployed in Greece and Spain, Germany’s rate is stable at a low 5.4 percent. The differences are particularly stark when looking at the rates of youth unemployment. While Germany’s youth unemployment stands

at a relatively benign 7.5 percent, well over half of people aged 16 to 25 in Greece and Spain are jobless. Italy’s rate has ticked up to over 40 percent. “Youth joblessness at these levels risks permanently entrenched unemployment, lowering the rate of sustainable growth in the future,” said Tom Rogers, senior economic adviser at Ernst & Young. The differences reflect the varying performance of the euro economies - Greece, for example, is in its sixth year of a savage recession. Germany’s economy has until recently been growing at a healthy pace. As a whole, the euro-zone is in its longest recession since the euro was launched in 1999. The six quarters of economic decline is longer even than the recession that followed the financial crisis of 2008, though it’s not as deep. Part of the cause has been European governments’ focus on cutting debt by raising taxes

and slashing spending programs. With many governments still pulling back on spending and business and consumer confidence still low, economists do not expect any dramatic recovery to emerge over the coming months. The sharpest change in unemployment rates among the 17 euro countries was in Cyprus, which saw its jobless rate rise to 15.6 percent from 14.5 percent. The small Mediterranean island nation this year became the fifth euro country to seek financial assistance. The difference with the other bailouts was that the country was asked to raise a big chunk of its rescue money from bank depositors - a shock decision that led to a near twoweek shutdown of the banks and battered economic confidence. The European Central Bank has sought to make life easier for Europe’s hard-pressed businesses and consumers by cutting its main

interest rate to the record low 0.5 percent earlier this month. Another cut is possible, but most economists say it’s unlikely, even though the inflation rate is still under the ECB’s target of just below 2 percent. Eurostat said yesterday that inflation in the euro-zone rose to 1.4 percent in the year to May from the 38-month low of 1.2 percent recorded in April. It blamed rising food, alcohol and tobacco prices for the uptick. Analysts said the ECB is more likely to take measures to shore up lending to small and medium-sized businesses, one of the main job creators in Europe. Such companies are currently not taking out many loans for fear the economy might worsen and because banks are charging high rates. “So far the ECB’s actions have not translated into lower lending rates for businesses and households, failing to boost activity,” said Anna Zabrodzka, economist at Moody’s Analytics. — AP

business SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2013

Brent slips below $102; OPEC meeting kicks off LONDON: Oil prices dipped below $102 a barrel as statements from OPEC delegates at yesterday’s ministerial meeting in Vienna indicated members were in agreement over keeping the output target at 30 million barrels per day. The oil market is balanced with inventories at moderate levels, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Ali Al-Naimi told reporters yesterday. The top producer also said US shale oil production was not a concern. “OPEC should not be a big input,” said Petromatrix analyst Oliver Jakob, commenting on the day’s movement in prices. “There is lots of volatility in currencies.” Brent oil was 63 cents lower at $101.56 a barrel by 1011 GMT, extending its losses into a third straight session. US oil was down 80 cents at $92.81 a barrel. The dollar index was slightly stronger yesterday, climbing from a near three week low earlier this week. A stronger US currency makes dollar denominated commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies. On the other hand, oil prices were underpinned by a round of weak US economic data, indicating growth was slower than expected in the first

quarter and revealing a surprise rise in jobless claims rose on Thursday. The data was supportive because signs the

economy was still fragile helped reassure investors money policy would remain accommodative.

VIENNA: Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Secretary General, Libya’s Abdalla Salem El-Badri (center) answers to journalists during a press conference as part of the 163rd meeting of the OPEC conference (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) in Vienna yesterday. OPEC has agreed to hold its output ceiling at 30 million barrels of oil per day, Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said after a key meeting in Vienna. — AFP

Shell under the skin, 10 years after crisis New-look Shell pumps cash, bets big on technology, gas LONDON: A decade ago, Royal Dutch/Shell’s boss was fighting to close the gap between the truth about his company’s oil and gas reserves and the much larger figure in its accounts. He lost the fight, and his job. Scandal engulfed one of the world’s biggest companies, exposing years of neglect. Fast forward to May 2013, and the surprise news that chief executive Peter Voser will retire next year caused barely a ripple. Shell has recovered shareholder confidence. But while the risks may all be in the open now, they remain big. Multi-billion dollar Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) projects and a foray into the world’s most inhospitable drilling climate north of Alaska are among the Anglo-Dutch group’s heavier technology investment bets. Capital spending is spiraling, and its production from mature fields sputters. All the while, oil and gas prices look shaky. Some investors want Shell to pull in its horns and keep more for bigger dividends. Voser, who became finance director during the 2004 reserves crisis and CEO in 2009, is having none of it. “No. One learning out of all this, for every person in this organization now, is you spend capex through the cycle. Don’t try to read it, don’t slow down. It will cost you more when you want to grow afterwards,” he told Reuters last week. “I know a lot of investors and

analysts. They all think they can read the market ... slow down, grow later, shrink to grow, all these buzzwords, but one thing in our industry is very clear; it takes you five to seven years to recover a strategic slowdown ... The market changes its views in three to six months, and you can’t change that fast in our industry.” As Voser enters his last months in the job, Shell still suffers from underperforming production, an accidentprone exploration record offshore Alaska, and the running reputational sore of Nigeria, where spills, oil theft and pipeline sabotage are devastating the Niger Delta’s ecology and cost 60,000 barrels of oil a day in lost production. Much of its U.S. gas production is uneconomic at current prices. Cash flow has doubled to $46 billion in three years, and company predictions are above $40 billion until 2015, but 2013 capital spending will be $34 billion - $8 billion more than the company was planning for as recently as 2011, with no significant extra work on the calendar. Add in the $11 billion annual dividend and the level of cash generation looks more necessary than comfortable. Shell acknowledges it is “capital constrained”. Many of the challenges it faces are common to its peers. The big three, Exxon Mobil, Shell and Chevron, are absent from some of the most promising new provinces - prime deepwater

Brazilian acreage and the potentially prolific gas fields off east Africa. Aggressive service companies, smaller, nimbler rivals, and deep-pocketed statebacked National Oil Companies (NOCs) have muscled up as competitors. SPUTTERING GROWTH ENGINES There are also worries about the unpredictability of production from provinces like the North Sea, where mature assets generate cash for new projects. After a disappointing fourth quarter 2012, Deutsche Bank analysts said investors “are being asked to take a lot on trust”. First quarter results went on to delight the market. It’s a dispiriting pattern, said a 30-year Shell veteran. “We outperform in the first quarter. We do OK in the second, then the third quarter is bad and the fourth is worse. We just don’t get the up-time that others do.” Voser accepts this. “Consistency of operational performance is the big operational theme we are driving at Shell now since 2011 ... We are not yet there. But it is now firmly on the agenda of the frontline businesses to get that right, and the improvements we are seeing are very encouraging.” Ten years after the crisis, sheer scale, structural reform and bold investments have ensured survival and healed scars. The world number-two’s record on absolute returns - share appreciation plus reinvested dividends - shows the wounds were skindeep anyway. — Reuters

That said, efforts by central banks to stimulate economic output may only support oil prices for a limited time, according to Jefferies Bache oil analysts. “Eventually, bearish oil balances will become too difficult to ignore and enough liquidation will develop to send crude benchmarks to our long stated downside targets of $85 and $95 in WTI and Brent,” the analysts said. “In the meantime, some more choppy price action with a downward bias would appear to lie ahead.” The week ends with bearish inventory data at any rate, as the Energy Information Administration said US crude stockpiles rose 3 million barrels, against expectations of a draw in the week ending May 24. “Given where the inventories are, given where the economies are, oil is very expensive at these levels,” said Jonathan Barratt, chief executive of BarrattBulletin, a Sydney-based commodity research firm. Both Brent and the US benchmarks are expected to revisit their Thursday lows of $101.08 and $91.65, respectively, according to Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao. — Reuters

Japan’s Iran crude imports fall to 9-month low in April TOKYO: Japan’s crude imports from Iran fell in April to the lowest in nine months, as refiners cut purchases because of uncertainty over whether sovereign insurance for tankers carrying Iranian oil would be extended beyond March. The United States and other Western countries slapped tough sanctions on Iran last year to choke off its oil revenue to force Tehran to halt a controversial nuclear program. As part of those measures, the EU banned insurance coverage for tankers carrying Iranian oil. To cope with the ban, Japan in June last year offered sovereign insurance guarantees. The arrangement has to be renewed every fiscal year, which in Japan ends on March 31. A provisional budget was approved on March 29, but uncertainty surrounding the renewal made buyers cut loadings, said a source directly involved in shipping Iranian oil. “There was a period of uncertainty,” said the source, who declined to be named because he is not authorized to talk to media. “Some companies decided not to load Iranian crude from late March.” A transport ministry official in charge of the scheme said new contracts covering three tankers were signed on April 1, compared with 13 ships that were covered up to March 31. The number of tankers covered by the government insurance is now at 8, the ministry official said. That means May imports are also likely to show a decline from a year earlier, because fewer ships were eligible to load Iranian oil during the month. Japan, the world’s third-biggest oil consumer, imported just 36,005 kilolitres (7,549 bpd) from Iran in April, data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) showed yesterday. That’s down 96 percent from the same month a year ago and the lowest level since Japan imported no Iranian crude in July 2012. Japan imported no crude from Iran in July last year because refiners were waiting for Tokyo to come up with the insurance arrangements for tankers carrying Iranian oil. — Reuters

business SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2013

S Korea promotes startups as it seeks economic shift SEOUL: Kwon Sunbeom’s future was mapped out. Talented in math and science, he attended a specialized high school and majored in electronic engineering at a prestigious university. Lifetime employment at one of South Korea’s towering conglomerates beckoned. Instead, while his peers were seeking jobs at Samsung and LG, he scaled back his studies and started a company with friends. Together they invented a garbage bin that compresses rubbish using solar power and wirelessly communicates to be collected when full. Using 50 million won ($44,000) of their own money and channeling the business in a garage spirit that made

Silicon Valley famous, they lived for a month in a shabby factory without air conditioning, subsisting on instant noodles, to make their first prototype. So far they have sold 31 of their “Smart Bins” to universities in Seoul and another 12 to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. “I saw a garbage bin overflowing with trash in the street one day and thought someone should press them down,” said Kwon. “Because there was no one, I thought it should be done by a machine. And because it was located outside, I thought it can use the solar energy as a power source.” Kwon, 25, is the kind of risk taker South Korea’s gov-

ernment says it wants to cultivate as it reckons with diminishing returns from years of reliance on statefavored companies known more for their massive scale and aggressive competitive instincts than bold thinking and creativity. The chaebol, as the conglomerates are known, helped transform South Korea into a wealthy industrialized powerhouse but are increasingly criticized as part of a fraying economic setup based on copycatting innovations from abroad. South Korea is also casting a nervous eye at up-and-coming Chinese companies such as Lenovo and ZTE that aspire to beat South Korean companies at their own game. —AP

SEOUL: A student throws trash into a solar energy-powered garbage bin created by Ecube Labs CEO Kwon Sunbeom at the Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. Instead, while his peers were seeking jobs at Samsung and LG, Kwon scaled back his studies and started a company with friends. — AP

Oil executives tune out the call of wild Arctic Failures, grounded Shell drillship reducing interest NY-AALESUND: The high Arctic, once the irresistible frontier for oil and gas exploration, is quickly losing its appeal as energy firms grow fearful of the financial and public relations risk of working in the pristine icy wilderness. The Arctic may hold 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its gas, but a series of blunders and failures there are making executives fight shy of such a sensitive area and turn their attention back to more conventional resources and the shale revolution. The turning point likely came on New Year’s eve, when Royal Dutch Shell’s drillship ran aground in rough waters off Alaska, setting off a public relations storm that inflicted much pain on the firm, made more acute by how little it had to show for the $4.5 billion it has spent on the Arctic since 2005. Shell promptly cancelled plans to drill off Alaska in 2013, and signals about its going back in 2014 are fading. “The whole Arctic, especially the American Arctic, was set back because of Shell’s issue,” Choo Chiau Beng, the Chief Executive of Keppel, the world’s biggest rig maker, told Reuters in the world’s northernmost settlement. The accident caused little damage and no spill, but it was a big lesson for firms looking for Arctic resources. “The interest to develop oil and gas is very high, but nevertheless there is more and more concern about the environment and the risk part of it,” said Harald Norvik, a board member at ConocoPhillips and a former CEO of Statoil, a pioneer in the Arctic. “We have been focusing on areas in the Arctic. Now we put our priorities into other areas, like Tanzania, Argentina and Texas. That is the logical

development,” he said. And companies simply cannot ignore the public debate about the potential environmental cost of work in the Arctic. “The reality is that going forward, the obvious demonstration of climate change in the Arctic will affect policymakers and boardrooms for years to come, and I see that more clearly now than five years ago or three years ago,” Norvik said. Glaciers near the world’s northernmost settlement, Ny-Aalesund, on Norway’s Svalbard islands, have been melting fast as the impact of climate change is amplified in the Arctic. Shell is not alone in its difficulties. Cairn Energy has spent $1.2 billion drilling off Greenland and found nothing, while Gazprom has called off its huge Shtokman natural gas project because high costs made the project unviable. And ConocoPhillips, which was working with Keppel to develop a landmark iceclass Arctic rig, has put the project on hold, and has shelved plans to drill in the Chukchi Sea next year. SHALE “Nobody’s coming for ice-class rigs,” Keppel’s Choo said. “Shale oil productivity is still being pushed ... and there’s a lot of areas that are underexplored, like Mexico, which probably has as much oil and gas as the US Gulf.” “These are relatively low-cost areas that can be tapped.” Shale oil is still relatively expensive but competes well on cost with deepwater projects, while shale gas, which has made the United States gas independent in just a few years, will likely conquer other countries as well. “There are cheaper resources elsewhere with a higher probability of success; shale is taking market share away because it’s lower risk and lower cost,”

said James Rogers, the CEO of Duke Energy, the biggest electricity distributor in the United States. Norvik agrees: “It’s not very low price, but it’s competitive with deepwater and less risky,” he said. “It will be developed at a much higher speed than we’re talking about right now. It will come into play in Russia, China, South Africa, Argentina and all over.” Shale oil, and to a greater extent gas, has made energy in the United States relatively cheap, reducing Washington’s need and appetite for supporting exploration off Alaska. For all that, Arctic oil and gas is not dead. Russia is still moving ahead, with Novatek and Total, on a 16.5 million tonne per year Yamal LNG facility on Siberia’s northern coast. It is considered a moderately challenging project where the real difficulty will be all-year-round transportation on an ice-heavy sea route. And ExxonMobil recently agreed with Rosneft to jointly explore 150 million acres off Russia’s northern coast. “I think Russia can move faster than any other country because Russia has a vested interest to develop its northern parts,” Keppel’s Choo said. Norway is also working in the Arctic, though its relatively warm and ice-free Barents Sea makes it less difficult. “There are many Arctics, with many characteristics; it’s not just a single region,” Runi Hansen, Statoil’s Arctic chief said. “For Statoil, the priorities haven’t changed, but elsewhere there have been setbacks, and some expectations were very high.” Given the size of the resource in the area oil firms are bound eventually to come back. “If it can be developed safely, then there is no reason it should not be developed,” Duke’s Rogers said. — Reuters

Euro shares slide, dollar climbs off 3-week low LONDON: The US dollar climbed off a threeweek low and share markets were volatile yesterday, as unexpectedly weak US economic data dampened expectations of an early scale-back of Federal Reserve stimulus. The dollar was just off a three-week low against a basket of six key currencies although a surprise fall in German retail sales put pressure on the euro as it dipped 0.3 percent to $1.3016. European shares dropped as much as 1 percent. Month-end factors and low volumes added to the data disappointment, but shares remained on course for their 12th straight month of gains having outperformed other parts of the world in recent weeks. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei had bounced 1.7 percent at the end of its worst week in over a year. “I still think if we look in the medium term, the momentum in equities is still intact,” said Peter Garnry, strategist at Saxo Bank. “For this momentum to stop it would require some kind of a political or market hiccup in Europe,” he added. In the debt market, German Bund futures edged up and peripheral euro-zone bonds weakened. Euro-zone inflation ticked up to 1.4 percent in May from 1.2 percent in April, according to data yesterday that may dampen the chances of an ECB rate cut next week although unemployment in the currency bloc hit a new record of 12.2 percent in April. The latest grim euro-zone jobless figures came a day after France and Germany agreed to draw up plans to have a full-time euro-zone president, hold more frequent meetings and speed the disbursement of 6 billion euros in EU funds to fight youth unemployment. Troubles also continue for those bordering the euro-zone. Lending to Britain’s businesses fell sharply in April, data from the Bank of England showed, dropping by the biggest margin so far in 2013, even as mortgage approvals edged higher. Commodity markets remained squarely focused on the Federal Reserve’s stimulus strategy which has been supporting global markets since the start of the financial crisis. — Reuters

business SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2013

IMF backs Japan’s ‘Abenomics’, but warns of risks Indian economy grows at slowest rate in a decade NEW DELHI: India’s economy grew by 5.0 percent in 2012/2013, its slowest annual rate in a decade, data showed yesterday in another blow to the corruption-hit government ahead of national elections due by next year. Low business confidence, slumping investment, high inflation and weak export demand from Western countries are blamed for the poor performance of the once-booming South Asian economy. In the fourth quarter to the end of March, gross domestic product grew by 4.8 percent yearon-year, slightly higher than the previous quarter when it expanded by 4.5 percent, according to the data from the statistics ministry. Despite government efforts to talk up the economy after a burst of pro-market reforms at the end of last year, most independent analysts see continuing slack demand and few quick fixes. “Growth momentum remains weak and the recovery subdued,” Siddhartha Sanyal, chief India economist with Barclays Capital said. In 2011/12, the economy grew by 6.2 percent, a sharp slowdown from the previous year when growth hit 9.3 percent. Global ratings agency Standard and Poor’s warned earlier this month that India faces at least “a one-in-three” chance of losing its prized sovereign grade rating amid new threats to economic growth and reforms. India’s BBBminus investment rating is already the lowest among its BRICS peers Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa, and cutting it to “junk status” would raise the country’s hefty borrowing costs. On the Bombay Stock Exchange, the benchmark 30-share Sensex index had lost nearly 2.0 percent in late afternoon trade, down 384.20 points at 19,831.20 as investors reacted to the data. The rupee, already trading near 12-month lows against the US currency, slipped to 56.6 to the dollar. “The government needs to go all-out to turn around investment sentiment,” said Yes Bank chief economist Shubhada Rao. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) this week lowered its projection of India’s GDP growth for this year to 5.3 percent, from 5.9 percent earlier. In the January-March quarter, the vital job-creating manufacturing sector increased output by just 2.6 percent, while production in the country’s mines shrank by 3.1 percent. The services sector comprising banks, insurance and real estate was a rare bright spot, showing growth of 9.1 percent. “We don’t yet have evidence of a strong recovery,” Montek Singh Ahluwalia, the deputy chairman of India’s influential state-run Planning Commission, told reporters. Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the figures were in line with expectations. He received a boost from a new official estimate for India’s strained public finances, showing the fiscal deficit last year shrunk to 4.89 percent instead of a previously reported 5.2 percent. The left-leaning government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been dogged by corruption scandals during its second term in office and has struggled to push through promised pro-business legislation. It is scheduled to face the electorate next year having been unable to sustain the scorching growth rates of the last decade which were frequently near 10 percent. In a brief reforming period last year, the government opened up the retail and aviation sectors to wider foreign investment and partly freed fuel prices to reduce its burgeoning subsidy bill. But faced with a hostile parliament and a shaky ruling coalition, it has since failed to pass mooted legislation to open up the insurance and pension sectors or a longdelayed law to simplify land acquisition. “The recent sessions of parliament have been less productive,” said Rao from Yes Bank. Government pressure has mounted on the central bank to ease borrowing costs after it raised interest rates aggressively in 2010 and 2011 to combat double-digit inflation last year. It has obliged by cutting interest rates three times in 2013, but Reserve Bank of India governor Duvvuri Subbarao has said the bank has “limited space” to ease monetary policy further due to the risk of inflation flaring up again. India’s wholesale inflation, its most widely watched measure, cooled last month to a surprise 41month low of 4.89 percent. But the consumer price index is at 9.39 percent, led mainly by high food and beverage prices.— AFP

FUKUSHIMA: A farmer Magoichi Shigihara checks radiation at his cucumber farm at Nihonmatsu city in Fukushima prefecture, 50km west of stricken nuclear power plant. Radiation leaked after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 is unlikely to cause any ill health effects in the future, a UN scientific committee drawing up a major new report said yesterday. — AFP TOKYO: The International Monetary Fund yesterday gave a cautious thumbs up to Japan’s economy-boosting efforts, but warned there are “considerable downside risks” if Tokyo doesn’t chop its huge national debt. The Washington-based IMF, which expects the world’s third-largest economy to grow 1.6 percent this year, said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his hand-picked team at the Bank of Japan were on the right track in their bid-dubbed “Abenomics”-to reverse years of falling prices. “The new policy framework... provides a unique opportunity to end decades-long deflation and sluggish growth, and reverse the rise of public debt. The rewards are potentially large,” the IMF said in an annual country report published yesterday. But Abe-whose plan to boost growth with big spending and aggressive central bank easing which has sharply weakened the yen-

must make good on pledges for more reforms, including bringing more women into the workforce, it added. “Despite the strong start, there are considerable downside risks to the outlook,” the IMF said. “Disappointing growth reforms that fail to raise private investment and employment could weaken the recovery, and slow the return to inflation.” Tackling Japan’s crushing debt-the worst among industrialised nations at more than twice the size of the economy-and a planned doubling of the nation’s sales tax to 10 percent by 2015 were crucial to putting Tokyo’s fiscal house in order, the IMF said. “Lack of concrete fiscal measures to bring down public debt, or a delay in the consumption tax increase, could elevate risks of a rise in government bond yields, which would undermine fiscal and financial

sector stability,” it said. Japan pays low interest rates on its debt, which is mainly held domestically, but a spike in yields in recent weeks has sparked concerns about Tokyo’s loan-servicing costs. “The work of ‘Abenomics’ has just begun,” David Lipton, the IMF’s first deputy managing director, told a Tokyo press briefing. “The government’s growth strategies, fiscal reforms...are essential for the strategy to be successful.” His comments come after the Bank of Japan unleashed a torrent of monetary easing and set a two-percent inflation target designed to reverse the years of deflation that have crimped private spending and business investment. Yesterday, the IMF said “we fully endorse” the target while repeating its view that a sharp decline in the yen, tumbling by about 25 percent against the dollar since late last year, would not devastate rival trading nations. —AFP

Japan factory output jumps Export powerhouse mired in deflation TOKYO: Japanese factories churned out a better-than-expected performance in April, but the upbeat data yesterday was tempered as the export powerhouse remained mired in deflation. Economists were combing through a string of data-including factory output and inflation-for signs an economy-boosting plan by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his hand-picked team at the Bank of Japan was taking hold. The policy prescription of big government spending and aggressive central bank easing to stoke the world’s third-largest economy, dubbed “Abenomics”, has helped push the yen into a steep decline which benefits Japan’s exporters. Investors cheered as the benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index soared nearly 60 percent since late last year before jawdropping volatility in the past week sent the headline Nikkei plunging more than five percent Thursday. It bounced back yesterday, rising 1.37 percent, as markets reacted to a weakening yen and economy ministry figures which showed an April factory output rise of 1.7 percent over a

month earlier. Japan’s April jobless rate was flat at a multi-year low of 4.1 percent. “There has been a clear recovery in demand for labor in manufacturing likely on the back of stabilization in exports and thus industrial production,” said Credit Agricole economist Yoshiro Sato. Huge infrastructure projects following Japan’s quake-tsunami disaster two years ago were helping prop up demand for workers, Sato added. Yesterday the International Monetary Fund kept its 1.6 percent growth forecast for Japan’s economy this year, giving Abe’s plan a thumbs up. The economy expanded again in the first quarter, confirming its exit from recession. But the IMF also warned of “considerable downside risks” if Japan doesn’t chop its massive national debt-the worst among industrialized nations at more than twice the size of the economy. A manufacturer survey yesterday showed Japanese producers remain cautious, expecting May factory output to be flat before slipping 1.4 percent in June. Household spending was also weaker than expected while consumer

prices fell 0.4 percent on-year in April, underscoring the tough task in reversing years of deflation that has crimped private spending and business investment. A small 0.1 percent increase in Tokyoarea prices for May, the first in about four years, offered some hope amid reports that luxury brands including Chanel and Germany’s Montblanc were set to raise their local prices by about 10 percent in response to the yen’s drop against the dollar. Apple was reportedly boosting the price of iPads sold in Japan by as much as 20 percent. “There are signs that price drops are coming to a halt,” said Masahiko Hashimoto, an economist at Daiwa Institute of Research. But “it is still difficult to say this is thanks to ‘Abenomics’ as it usually takes time for a pick up in the economy to be reflected in prices.” Deflation is a key target of Abe’s measures, as the Bank of Japan works to hit twopercent inflation within two years, but some observers-including several BoJ board members-have cast doubt on the ambitious target. —AFP

business SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2013

Frankfurt ‘Blockupy’ protesters surround ECB FRANKFURT: Thousands of demonstrators from the anti-capitalist Blockupy movement cut off access to the European Central Bank in Frankfurt yesterday to protest against policymakers’ handling of Europe’s debt crisis. Clasping signs with slogans such as “humanity before profit”, the protesters gathered in the rain to block roads including those leading to Deutsche Bank’s headquarters in the city’s financial district. The crowd, estimated by police at roughly 2,500 protesters, was met by armed police wearing helmets and riot gear and accompanied by Alsatian dogs. Trucks with water cannons stood by and a helicopter hovered overheard. At least 20 protesters held up inflatable mattresses with the slogan “War Starts Here” written on them. Police said some protesters had thrown stones and there were some clashes at the barricades, but the protest was generally peaceful so far. Europe’s Blockupy movement was formed after the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011. “The aim of this blockade is to prevent normal operations (at the ECB),” said Blockupy spokesman Martin Sommer, adding that some people who had tried to come to work had been sent home by the protesters. Governments struggling with large debt burdens have cut spending and raised taxes, contributing to widespread recession across the euro-zone, while many families are deep in debt or have lost their homes after property bubbles burst. The German economy has been relatively resilient to the crisis. Many of Frankfurt’s banks have urged staff to take Friday as holiday after a state holiday yesterday. The ECB said it had taken measures to remain operational and ensure the safety of its staff. The demonstration, held roughly a year after police detained hundreds of people for defying a temporary ban on protests at a similar four-day event in Frankfurt, precedes Europe-wide gatherings planned for June 1. — Reuters

Economic woes threaten to spoil Croatia’s EU party ZAGREB: Croatia is preparing lavish celebrations to mark its historic entry in the European Union on July 1, but tough economic times mean that many here are wary of cracking open the champagne too soon. While fireworks will light up the sky over Zagreb and other major cities as European dignitaries fly in to mark the culmination of Croatia’s 10-year bid, EU membership has lost its sparkle for many. Like many other eastern Europeans, Croatians embraced the idea of joining the EU as a way to anchor themselves to the West after years of being ruled from Belgrade as part of the former Yugoslavia and the bloodshed of the 1990s Balkan wars. Dijana Ivascanin firmly supported EU entry when Croatia’s bid was launched in 2003, but the crippling euro-zone debt crisis has since sown seeds of doubt in her mind. “I look at Greece and I’m scared,” said the 41-year-old architect, as Athens labors under its sixth year of recession.”The economic situation will not change for the better and it can only get worse. Everything will be more expensive and we will have less money,” she said. According to the most recent surveys, support for Croatia’s EU entry was some 56 percent. Last year’s referendum passed with 66 percent of the vote, but turnout was 43 percent. Heavily dependent on tourism revenue from its stunning Adriatic coast, Croatia’s economy has been either in recession or stagnant since 2009. Forecasts show it will contract by 0.4 percent this year. The nation of 4.2 million will be joining a bloc that is struggling with unemployment at 10.9 percent, nine countries in recession and a euro-zone debt crisis that shows little sign of abating. Croatia’s economy has suffered from the legacy of the 1991-1995 war, but it managed in the early 2000s to achieve some growth through foreign loans, state investments and household spending. But the 2008 financial crisis in the EU, which accounts for 60 percent of Croatian exports, sent the economy in a tailspin. To meet the criteria for joining the EU, Croatia passed a series of painful measures. These included extraditing to a UN war crimes court Croatia’s top officers, considered heroes by many at home, and improving minority rights for ethnic Serbs, with whom relations have remained strained since the war. Loss-making shipyards were shut down or restructured and a major clampdown on corruption ensued. Former prime minister Ivo Sanader was jailed for 10 years for corruption and several ministers and ruling party officials were also convicted for graft. Croatia is the second of the six countries that emerged from the collapse of former Yugoslavia to join the EU, after Slovenia in 2004. Serbia is vying for a date to begin accession talks.— AFP

FRANKFURT: Protesters try to move crash barriers as police use pepper spray to stop them outside the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt am Main, central Germany yesterday. Anti-globalization protesters are staging two day demonstrations in the city.— AFP

ECB turns 15 Single currency on the brink of disintegration FRANKFURT: Compared to most teenagers, the European Central Bank, which celebrates its 15th birthday today, has not exactly had an easy time of it. In 2008, when it was still a tender 10 years old, the ECB found itself at the heart of a crisis that threatened the very existence of the euro. And the Frankfurt-based institution has been fighting to stamp out the fires ever since. Frequently referred to as the “guardian of the euro” during its early years, the use of that moniker has receded as the single currency found itself on the brink of disintegration. Instead, Europe’s politicians have been all too eager to paint the ECB as either the scapegoat or savior in Europe’s long and debilitating sovereign debt crisis. Analysts said countless unforeseen challenges have forced the ECB to think on its feet since taking over monetary policy 15 years ago for the countries that share the euro, now numbering 17. But they testify that the bank has largely done a good job for such a young and untested institution. “There certainly have been enormous challenges, but they’ve managed to live up to them more than most of us would have expected,” said Ernst & Young Euro-zone Forecast economist Marie Diron. “Most observers would agree that monetary policy has been appropriate for much of this time. If there have been the odd mistakes, they’ve managed to correct them very quickly. But they’ve been learning on their feet,” the expert said. Berenberg Bank chief economist Holger Schmieding agreed. “The ECB

has delivered an average inflation rate of 2.05 percent, which is very close to its mandate of maintaining price stability,” Schmieding said. “In this respect, the ECB has done an excellent job, better than any other major central bank in the world and much better than the Bundesbank,” he said, referring to the once-mighty German central bank on which the ECB is largely modeled. Unlike the US Federal Reserve, which can actively take measures to support economic growth, the ECB’s overriding mandate is to keep a lid on inflation. The ECB’s detractors like to compare it unfavorably to the Fed. But Gilles Moec, head of European Economics research at Deutsche Bank, said such comparisons were unfair, given the different financial and institutional set-ups on either side of the Atlantic. Overall, he was “fairly positive about the (ECB’s) handling of the crisis given the constraints it faces,” Moec said. In a recent speech, ECB President Mario Draghi also seemed to suggest that the bank’s success in managing the crisis has been achieved by a process of learning by doing. “We have responded by deploying measures that ... have evolved as the crisis itself has morphed,” he said. As part of its anti-crisis armoury, the ECB has pumped unprecedented amounts of liquidity into the financial system to avert a dangerous credit crunch. And it launched a program, known as Outright Monetary Transactions, or OMTs, to buy up the sovereign debt of countries that are finding it difficult to tap the financial markets.

But executive board member Yves Mersch said recently that the ECB’s “most important unconventional measure” was that it had been “advocates of change.” “We have raised awareness of the need for profound transformations in our political economy and in our societies,” he said. Looking ahead, Diron at Ernst & Young said the main challenges facing the ECB will be the task of banking supervision across the whole euro area. Finding a monetary policy which can cope adequately with the heterogeneity of the euro area would also be very difficult, she said. During the years of Wim Duisenberg, who headed the ECB from its inception until 2003, and Jean-Claude Trichet, who ruled from 2003 until 2011, the central bank constantly stressed its one-sizefits-all view of monetary policy. While that was necessary to engender a unified and strong cultural identity, it meant the imbalances created by having the same interest rate for a whole range of different economies were more easily overlooked, one ECB source said. But since those imbalances are at the heart of the current crisis, the ECB is now having to rethink its communication strategy. “Communication wasn’t the ECB’s strong point. But that was in its nature, given the size of the governing council,” said Christian Bordes, professor in economic science in Paris. “Under Trichet, there was a tendency to use code words, which was probably not a very good idea and backfired a bit. Communication under Draghi has probably been a bit better,” said Diron at Ernst & Young. — AFP


How US Treasury’s tax loophole mistake saves companies billions 2 presidents failed to kill ‘check the box’ rule WASHINGTON: As the US economy crumbled in early 2009, President Barack Obama offered a plan that he said would save American jobs: a crackdown on corporate tax loopholes that encourage companies to send profits abroad to avoid paying billions of dollars in US taxes each year. Tax lobbyist Ken Kies was not worried. A decade earlier, he had led a fight to preserve a key loophole - known in Treasury Department shorthand as the “check the box” rule - when another Democratic president, Bill Clinton, had tried to kill it. “I told my clients, ‘Don’t sweat this. This is never going to happen,’” recalled Kies, who has advised corporate giants Microsoft and General Electric on the issue. Kies was right. Business groups rose up against Obama’s plan, arguing that it could damage US businesses already threatened by the weak economy. Democrats in Congress balked, Obama dropped the idea and the loophole survived. The story of the “check the box” loophole, which allows US companies to choose for themselves how to classify their subsidiaries for tax purposes, and a companion policy known as the “look-through” rule, shows how Washington bureaucrats, lobbyists and politicians have worked together sometimes wittingly - to save money for American corporations and deprive the federal government of billions in tax revenue each year. What began in 1996 as an effort by the Treasury Department to simplify the US tax code mistakenly ended up as a massive tax loophole for corporate America, which seized upon it and has never let go. Besides fueling an explosion in earnings that US companies keep abroad - now more than $1.8 trillion, the Commerce Department estimates, double the amount from less than a decade ago - the loophole has become a symbol of how difficult it can be to repeal a tax benefit once it becomes entrenched. At congressional hearings last week, several lawmakers blasted Apple Inc. for using the “check the box” loophole and other international tax strategies to avoid paying what they estimated as $9 billion in potential US taxes in 2012. Two of Apple’s most aggressive questioners, Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan and Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, have called for closing the “check the box” loophole. But even they have voted to keep it alive several times in recent years when it has been inserted into other legislation. Levin’s office did not respond to requests for a comment. McCain declined to comment for this story. “Once a policy mistake is made that is favorable to taxpayers, and particularly to big taxpayers, it is extremely difficult to reverse,” said a former Treasury Department official who helped write the “check the box” rule and was involved in Obama’s effort to repeal it. The former official spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the sensitive nature of the tax break. The “check the box” loophole which costs the United States about $10 billion per year, according to the White House - also has been a reflection of Washington’s

“revolving door” culture of policy-making and lobbying. Some of the bureaucrats who helped to write the rule went on to work for corporations that used it to lower their tax bills. They include William Morris, who was Treasury’s associate international tax coun-

the US Internal Revenue Service tried to figure out how to classify, and then tax, tens of thousands of corporate units. In 1996 the Treasury Department moved to simplify matters with a rule that enabled companies to “check the box” on a tax form to describe a given corporate entity - includ-

WASHINGTON: In this file photo, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J Russell George answers questions as the House Oversight Committee holds a hearing to investigate the extra scrutiny the Internal Revenue Service gave Tea Party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status. — AP sel when the rule was imposed. Morris, who did not respond to requests for comment on this story, joined GE in 2000 and is now director of the company’s global tax policy. The company, like many other big multinationals, keeps its tax burden well below the official US corporate rate of 35 percent in part by taking advantage of “check the box” and other international tax strategies. GE’s annual reports indicate that the company does so largely because many of its profits are directed to its vast network of foreign subsidiaries. In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in February, GE said its overseas affiliates were holding $108 billion in offshore profits, which is more than any other US company. Morris’s precise role in GE’s tax strategy is unclear. The company declined to comment for this story. Other former IRS and Treasury officials involved in shaping the tax loophole now hold senior positions at law and accounting firms in Washington and New York. BIRTH OF A LOOPHOLE Offshore tax shelters have bedeviled the US government virtually since the inception of the tax code in 1913. A 1962 compromise between President John Kennedy and Congress imposed US taxes on “passive” income such as royalties and interest earned abroad, but not on “active” income from regular business operations. That law, known as Subpart F, made the tax code increasingly complex as businesses grew larger and more diverse. The law was revised 10 times between 1969 and 1996 as

ing whether it was, for tax purposes, irrelevant, a so-called “disregarded entity.” For a company and its subsidiaries that all operate in the United States, the rule streamlined tax filing by allowing the subsidiaries’ income to be reported on the same forms as the parent company’s income. When applied to US-based multinational companies, however, the “disregarded entities” status could be used to set up highvolume subsidiaries in low-tax jurisdictions such as Luxembourg or Ireland. A key part of Apple’s tax strategy, for example, is having a subsidiary in Ireland that takes in all of the income from Apple’s retail stores in Europe. Treasury had given little thought to how the “check the box” rule might affect US-based multinational corporations, according to several people involved in the effort. Treasury officials realized they had created a massive loophole when they noticed a spike in cross-border financing shortly after the rule took effect. “The mistake was extending it to foreign entities,” Donald Lubick, Treasury’s top tax official at the time said. “That was apparent pretty quickly.” Clinton’s Treasury Department moved to revoke the “check the box” rule in early 1998. But multinational companies such as Hallmark, Coca-Cola, IBM and Philip Morris launched a full-court press to convince Congress to keep the rule in place. Enter Kies, a former tax specialist for Congress’ Joint Tax Committee who was eager to put his expertise and contacts to work as a tax lobbyist. Kies’s former Republican bosses Representative Bill Archer of Texas and

Senator William Roth of Delaware - accused the IRS and Treasury of overstepping their authority in trying to take away the loophole. Kies, meanwhile, says he pursued a strategy that he figured would resonate with businesses, lawmakers and regular citizens: He argued that eliminating the “check the box” loophole would damage U.S.based multinational companies by forcing them to pay more taxes not only in the United States, but also to high-tax nations such as France. Roth’s Senate Finance Committee passed a bill in April 1998 to prevent Treasury from making any changes to “check the box.” That language was watered down to a nonbinding resolution by the time the measure passed the Senate the next month, but Congress’ message was clear: Don’t mess with the loophole. Treasury soon gave up its effort to revoke it. “In light of that reception that this rule got on Capitol Hill, we withdrew the notice,” said Philip West, who was then the top international tax official at Treasury and now advises clients on international tax strategy for the law firm Steptoe & Johnson. ‘CHECK THE BOX’ GROWS UP By 2004, thanks in part to the “check the box” rule, US-based multinational corporations paid an effective tax rate of about 2.3 percent on $700 billion in foreign earnings, according to the Obama administration. To make “check the box” tougher to revoke, Kies and other corporate lobbyists urged Congress to turn the rule into a law. Congress did so in 2006 with legislation that became known as the “look through” rule. It bolstered the “check the box” loophole by giving corporations more latitude to move some types of income from one foreign unit to another without paying a tax. The “look through” rule became law with little debate, according to congressional records. It was tucked into a broad extension of other tax cuts. The 2006 law wasn’t permanent, but supporters have managed to extend it repeatedly by embedding it in large and important but unrelated pieces of legislation that were headed toward easy passage in Congress. That is what happened in 2009, when Obama threatened to cut the loophole. Congress has extended it temporarily twice since then as part of larger pieces of legislation. Both Levin and McCain voted to extend it in January as part of the legislation that kept the US government from going off the “fiscal cliff,” a package of across-theboard tax hikes and spending cuts that threatened to plunge the US economy into another recession. Both also voted to extend it in 2010 as part of a broad tax bill. Obama has not proposed a repeal of the loophole since 2009. During the Senate hearing last week on Apple’s tax strategy, Mark Mazur, Treasury’s assistant secretary for tax issues, said in written testimony that the Obama administration remained “concerned about the misuse of various incomeshifting devices, including misuse of the ‘check the box’ rules.” —Reuters


Carey, Minaj leaving ‘American Idol’


Youth beats ‘German curse’ to win US spelling title PAGE 28

Heidi Klum’s kisses a robot during the castingshow ‘Germany’s next Topmodel’ in Mannheim, southern Germany on May 30, 2013.—AFP



t’s a twist worthy of an M. Night Shyamalan film: Where is the prolific writer-director in the marketing of his latest work? “The Sixth Sense” filmmaker has seemingly been sidelined in the promotional efforts for “After Earth,” his sci-fi film opening yesterday starring Will and Jaden Smith as a father and son stranded on an

untamed earth. While Shyamalan’s name is the first to pop up in the credits at the conclusion of the Sony Pictures film, it’s been notably missing from trailers, TV commercials and marketing signage - a stark contrast to his previous films like “Unbreakable” and “Lady in the Water,” which were prominently billed as being “from writer-

Actors Will Smith, left, and Jaden Smith attend the ‘After Earth’ premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Wednesday in New York. — AP

director M Night Shyamalan.” “Night is, without a doubt, a world-class filmmaker who we were thrilled to team up with on this project,” said Jeff Blake, Sony’s worldwide marketing and distribution chairman, in a statement. “Together, we decided to focus our campaign on both the action and Will and Jaden given that ‘After Earth’ is an adventure story of a father and son.” Sony declined to make Shyamalan available for an interview with The Associated Press for this story, but he told Moviefone “there’s such a specific expectation that comes with a name. It’s nice to have people watch the movie and then have them talk about the storyteller. It’s a healthy balance. I am very involved with all the campaigns for my movies.” The film has so far amassed mostly bad reviews. Richard Corliss of Time called it “lifeless, eventless, humorless, virtually movieless,” while Scott Foundas of Variety wrote that “nowhere in evidence is the gifted ‘Sixth Sense’ director who once brought intricately crafted set pieces and cinematic sleight of hand to even the least of his own movies.”After the success of 1999’s “Sixth Sense” and 2000’s “Unbreakable,” Shyamalan was hailed by many as the next Alfred Hitchcock, but his brand tarnished after the critical failures of his last three films: the 2010 fantasy “The Last Airbender,” 2008 thriller “The Happening” and 2006 suspense “Lady in the Water,” his only film so far to tank at the box office. “He’s a fine filmmaker, but there are more reasons not to feature him than to feature him,” said Gene Del Vecchio, author of “Creating Blockbusters” and a marketing professor at

University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business. “The most obvious is that his star power has faded since ‘The Sixth Sense,’ both with critics and audiences.” Del Vecchio added that the other reasons it makes sense to downplay the 42-year-old filmmaker’s involvement include his lack of cachet in the sci-fi and action genres, as well as the fact he’s not the only writer of the film. (Will Smith is credited for creating the story, while Shyamalan shares screenwriting credit with “The Book of Eli” screenwriter Gary Whitta.) Despite his absence from the marketing of “After Earth,” some moviegoers are still aware it’s a Shyamalan film. According to a survey of 1,000 “After Earth” ticket buyers by online seller Fandango, 39 percent identified him as a key factor in wanting to see the film, while 80 percent said it was Will Smith who was the main reason they bought a ticket. Paul Dergarabedian, box office analyst for, said he expects “After Earth” to launch this weekend with $30 million in second place behind “Fast & Furious 6,” which debuted in the top position last week and has earned $130 million after six days of release in North America. “After Earth” reportedly cost $130 million to make. — AP


ock groups such as Boston and the J. Geils Band and comedians including Steven Wright are helping to raise money for victims of the deadly Boston Marathon bombing at a benefit concert. The Boston Strong Concert kicked of Thursday night with Boston playing songs including its 1970s hit “More Than a Feeling.” Lead singer Tommy DeCarlo told thousands of people at the TD Garden, “we are all Boston.” The show was to feature acts including Aerosmith, James Taylor, Jimmy Buffett, Dropkick Murphys and New Kids on the Block. Boston comic Lenny Clarke did a foul-mouthed, one-man reenactment of the capture of a bombing suspect. Concert proceeds will go to One Fund Boston, the compensation fund established by Gov. Deval (deh-VAL’) Patrick and Mayor Thomas Menino. The April 15 attack near the marathon’s finish line killed three people and hundreds more. — AP

Photo shows members of the band Atoms For Peace, from left, Flea, Joey Waronker, Thom Yorke, foreground center, Nigel Godrich and Mauro Refosco posing for a portrait in Los Angeles. — AP


File photo shows Steven Tyler, lead singer of American rock band Aerosmith performing in Singapore during the inaugural Social Star Awards concert. — AP

outhern California has been good for Thom Yorke. It’s the home base for his 4-year-old band Atoms For Peace, meaning he’s making occasional tough cross-continent commuter flights from the United Kingdom but also hiking up to Griffith Observatory and surfing with Atoms bassist Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The very English Radiohead frontman said Los Angeles is steadily working its magic on him. “I find it hard to work in Britain all the time,” Yorke said. “Because I’ve grown up with it and it’s what I know. And I’ve also grown up with the cynicism that’s in the genes. Sometimes it’s good to try and wash that out. Generally in my work, it’s really helped me a lot. And it’s fed back into the Radiohead thing too. Maybe it’s just getting old but I’m loosening up with all my ... stupid rules about what works, what doesn’t work.” The 44year-old first assembled Flea, Radiohead producer and multi-instrumentalist Nigel Godrich, Brazilian percussionist Mauro Refosco and drummer Joey Waronker to perform songs from his 2006 solo album “The Eraser.” A series of loose recorded LA

jam sessions followed, which Yorke and Godrich rearranged and remixed for nearly two years. The resulting album, “Amok,” was released in February and blends Yorke’s distinctive tenor vocals with complex layers of rhythm. A week after getting back together to rehearse for an upcoming tour, Yorke and Flea sat together at a picnic table last week outside their rehearsal space at producer Rick Rubin’s home. They’re less of an odd couple in person than you’d expect, finishing each other’s thoughts and reminiscing about their first meeting at a festival some 15 years ago.”You gave me a lift to the stage, that’s right,” Yorke told his bandmate, laughing. For everyone involved, who made their names performing with other groups, Atoms For Peace “feels like a musical vacation, like going on a field trip,” Flea said, smiling between sips of tea. As rehearsal began, band members struggled to match the electronic sounds and skittering beats that Yorke had blended with their original playing.—AP



Judges Mariah Carey, left, and Nicki Minaj, right, kiss Randy Jackson following a tribute to Jackson at the ‘American Idol’ finale at the Nokia Theatre at LA Live. — AP


op singer Mariah Carey and rapper Nicki Minaj will leave “American Idol” after just one season as judges on the singing contest show, following on the heels of longtime judge Randy Jackson who left amid a TV ratings slump. “Thank you American Idol for a life changing experience! Wouldn’t trade it for the world! Time to focus on the Music!!! “Minaj said on her Twitter page on Wednesday. Carey’s departure was also announced on Twitter by her public relations firm PMK BNC, which said the singer “says goodbye 2 idol” as she prepared to embark on a world tour. Carey, 43, joined the judging panel with Minaj, country singer Keith Urban and Jackson, a music producer, for the show’s 12th season. Carey reportedly earned $18 million while Minaj’s salary was reported to be $12 million and Urban’s was at $8 million for the season. Carey and Minaj, 30, grabbed headlines throughout the season for their on-camera arguments and offcamera feuding, with Carey saying in January that she had hired extra security following threats reportedly made against her by Minaj. Despite the added star power of Carey, Minaj and Urban, the show’s ratings slumped to the lowest in 12 seasons, with the May 16 season finale of “Idol” drawing 14.2 million to see vocal powerhouse Candice Glover win the competition.

Fox released statements following the announcements of both judges. “Mariah Carey is a true global icon - one of the most accomplished artists on the planet - and we feel extremely fortunate that she was able to bring her wisdom and experience to the ‘American Idol’ contestants this season,” Fox said. “Nicki Minaj is a superstar who brought a level of honesty and passion to ‘American Idol’” and who had a tremendous positive impact on so many contestants this season. Given her extremely busy career, we understand and respect her decision and wish her the best,” the network added after Minaj’s announcement. Jackson announced this month he would not return to the show next season. It was unclear whether Urban would. Pop singer and actress Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler left “Idol” in 2012 after two seasons and used their increased visibility from the show to relaunch their music careers. Fox, which is owned by News Corp, will also lose reality programming chief Mike Darnell, who said last week he would leave at the end of June. Darnell shepherded “American Idol” into a ratings juggernaut since its debut in 2002.—Reuters

egendary Entertainment, the Hollywood studio behind “The Hangover” franchise, is teaming with state-owned China Film Group to make more global blockbusters as it advances a delayed expansion in the rapidly growing Chinese movie market. Their deal is the latest example of growing collaboration between entertainment companies in the world’s two biggest movie markets. Legendary, which also made “Inception” and “The Dark Knight,” said its Chinese venture, Legendary East, signed an agreement with the Chinese company’s unit, China Film Co, on Thursday in Beijing. The deal calls for the companies to fund development and production of multiple films over three years. Their first collaborations will be announced in the coming months. Legendary said each is planned as a US-China co-production. That means they can get around China’s import restrictions that limit the number of foreign movies shown on the country’s 12,000 screens to 34 each year. The companies said they plan to produce movies for global audiences that will be “tentpole scale” - in other words, the big-budget, highly promoted productions that earn enough box-office revenue to support the whole studio, in the same way that a tentpole holds up a tent. No specific details were released. In a state-

In this undated file image released by Warner Bros, Christian Bale is shown as Batman in a scene from ‘The Dark Knight’ from 2008. — AP


File photo shows Australian movie star Toni Collette shares a light moment with Cameron Diaz on the red carpet at the Australian premier of their new movie ‘In Her Shoes’, in Melbourne. — AFP

ment, China Film Co. Chairman Han Sanping said the partnership will allow the companies to “make films that are more appealing to filmgoers, creating new genres that, through the magic of film, bring greater variety to audiences around the world.” Faced with stagnant boxoffice growth at home, Hollywood studios are keen to break into China, now the world’s second-biggest film market. Box-office receipts in China totaled $2.7 billion last year and pushed the country’s movie market past previous second-biggest, Japan, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. Legendary East was set up in 2011 with the aim of making one or two “major, eventstyle films” starting in 2013. But the company had remained quiet since then and a plan to raise $220.5 through a deal with a Hong Kong construction company was scuppered by rocky financial markets. — AP

ovie star Toni Collette yesterday was ordered to pay more than Aus$800,000 (US$770 million) in damages after being sued for failing to complete the purchase of a multi-million dollar Sydney house. Industrie clothing brand founders Nick and Susan Kelly sued the Oscar-nominated Australian actress and her musician husband David Galafassi and the Supreme Court in Sydney ruled in their favor. The court heard that Collette, known for her roles in “The Sixth Sense” and TV show “United States of Tara”, and Galafassi agreed to buy the Aus$6.35 million terrace in trendy Paddington in September 2011. But on the settlement day in December that year they backed out, claiming not to have enough money, having failed to sell another property in Sydney. The Kellys ultimately sold the house to another party for Aus$5.5 million, and

sought damages mostly made up of the fall in value of the property as well as the costs of resale and interest. Collette charged that the Kellys did not make a reasonable effort to get the best price for the property after their deal fell through, but Acting Justice William Windeyer disagreed. He ruled Susan Kelly had “made reasonable efforts to minimize her loss and took reasonable care in selling the property for the price which she did”. He also found there was a “clear, continuing act of repudiation” by Collette and Galafassi, who he said had no intention of completing the sale. — AFP


Palestinian, Azerbaijani and western European musicians present a symphony dedicated to two Palestinians killed in the West Bank during it’s first performance in Ramallah after producers overcame obstacles that had impeded one for the past three years. — AFP photos

symphony dedicated to two Palestinians killed in the West Bank has received its first performance in the Israeli-occupied territory after producers overcame obstacles that had impeded one for the past three years. “Symphony for Palestine” by Iranian composer Kayhan Kalhor is dedicated to an IsraeliPalestinian theatre director gunned down by a Palestinian militant in 2011 and a Palestinian 12-year-old shot dead in 2005 by Israeli soldiers who mistook his water pistol for a lethal weapon. Logistics and political factors had prevented “Symphony for Palestine” from going being taken to the West Bank since its launch three years ago, co-producers Markus Rindt and Benjamin Deiss said. “There were many (Palestinian) musicians we just couldn’t work with” due to restrictions of movement in place under the Israeli army, Deiss explained. All the Palestinian musicians on the project had to be ones based in annexed Arab east Jerusalem, with Israeli-issued ID cards that allow them freedom of movement, he said. And Iranian composer Kalhor was unable to attend because of


the hostile relations between Israel and Iran. “He was afraid he wouldn’t be able to return to his homeland after going through Israel,” Rindt said. “We only got visas for the Azerbaijanis on Friday last week,” he added. The symphony fuses eastern and western melodies and saw traditional Arabian lutes or ouds and Azerbaijani bowed kamanchehs and plucked qanuns backed by the German city of Dresden’s symphony orchestra, the Dresdner Sinfoniker. The concert, which features almost 30 musicians, will be also performed in east Jerusalem and in northern West Bank city of Jenin where slain producer Juliano Mer Khamis’s Freedom Theatre was based. Rindt said he hoped the families of both Mer Khamis and slain teen Ahmed Khatib whose parents donated his organs to five Israeli children could attend the Jenin perfomance. “That would be very special,” he said. The Palestinians on the project hoped the experience of travelling to Ramallah and Jenin would help their European fellow musicians understand the political situation better.


colleges in recent years - including a recent trip to Vanderbilt that went viral. He said in an interview that his favorite moment in school was cutting class to go play the piano in the auditorium. He also said he was greatly affected by one of his teachers. “I had a good chorus teacher and he encouraged me to become a musician. That’s my greatest memory of school - an adult said, ‘You should consider becoming a professional musician,’” he recalled. “I’d never heard (that) before in my life and that kind of changed my life.”—AP

illy Joel was back in high school. The singer surprised an assembly full of students at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in the borough of Queens on Thursday, appearing with Tony Bennett, who opened the school in 2001 through his Exploring the Arts program. Joel performed songs on two different pianos onstage - he sang “New York State of Mind” on one and “She’s Got a Way” on the other. In between his performances, he answered questions from students. The first: “What do you think is one of your biggest mistakes?” “My biggest mistake was signing a lot of contracts that I didn’t know what they were about,” said Joel, who released his first album in 1971. “I signed away a lot of my rights - record royalties, publishing rights, copyrights and it took me years to get that stuff back.” One male student asked for a hug as the audience cheered on, another had the 64-year-old sign his yearbook and a young girl got an autograph for her mother. The crowd of 400 students brought a playful side out of Joel, who was lively with the students. When asked who his favorite collaborator was, the Grammy winner answered: “Probably Elle Macpherson. That was a good collaboration,” he said of the Australian model he dated in the 1980s. One girl asked Joel if he would play “Uptown Girl.” “It’s my favorite song,” she gushed. “It sounds like crap without harmonies and drums,” Joel replied. “I can be your harmony,” she added to laughs. Joel did not graduate with his high school class and instead was given a diploma 25 years later. He has made a number of visits to

Billy Joel, left, and Tony Bennett pose on stage before a special master class school-wide assembly event for the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. — AP

“It took us a long time to pass through the checkpoint to get here from Jerusalem,” said oud (Arabian lute) player Emil Muin Bishara, originally from Nazareth. “This experience means the German musicians can see the Palestinians’ situation first-hand. They can sympathize with it but can’t fully understand it until they come here,” he said. Palestinian deputy information minister Mahmud Khalifa, who joined the sell-out crowd at the Ramallah Cultural Palace on Thursday, said the performance “brought people together.” “These concerts are important because they project a better image of Palestinians to the world, showing that it’s not just war and intifada here.” — AFP


alk show host, entrepreneur and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey used the struggles of her television network on Thursday to try to inspire Harvard graduates, saying they were armed with more tools of empowerment than any generation in history. In a commencement address at the Ivy League school outside Boston, Winfrey told the graduates that they were bound to stumble no matter how high they might rise, but that “there is no such thing as failure - failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.” She said she was asked to speak at Harvard after her newly launched Oprah Winfrey Network had been declared a flop by the media, and that she wondered what she might tell graduates “in the very moment when I had stopped succeeding.” Inspired by the words of a hymn and knowing she would be delivering the Harvard address, Winfrey, 59, said she found the determination to move forward. “I am here to tell you today, I have turned that network around,” she said. “Learn from every mistake because every experience, encounter and particularly mistakes are there to teach you and force you into being more of who you are, and then figure out what is the right next move.” Winfrey joined a long list of politicians, policy makers, captains of industry and authors - including Bill Gates and J.K. Rowling - who have offered their wisdom and advice to Harvard’s graduating classes.—Reuters


In this file photograph taken on December 10, 2007, Sidi tribal children play outside their homes in the village of Jambur, some 480 kms south-west of Ahmedabad. — AFP photos


he tiny Sidi community, descendants of ninth century African migrants, have lived quietly along India’s west coast for hundreds of years while never losing touch with their ancient traditions. “A Certain Grace”, a new book by Indian photographer Ketaki Sheth reveals how the community, many of whose members live in poverty, has assimilated in India while keeping its distinctive culture alive. At the book’s launch in Mumbai last month Sheth recalled her first brush with the community during a 2005 holiday in Gujarat state in western India. “I first saw the Sidi in Sirwan, a village in the middle of the forest given to them by the Nawab (Muslim prince) ... in recognition of their loyal services,” she said. “I was intrigued.” Estimated to number between 60,000-70,000 in a nation of 1.2 billion, the Sidi originate from a swathe of east Africa stretching southwards from Ethiopia. The fiercely proud community discourages marriage to non-Sidis and outsiders are unwelcome, as Sheth found out when she was greeted by a group of young men eyeing her suspiciously at the entrance to another village, Jambur. “If looks could kill, honestly, I would be dead. I could sense irritation, hostility, perhaps even resentment to this very obvious ‘outsider’,” she said. Two of those boys-”still angry and daunting”-would later turn up in a portrait shot by Sheth, their resistance apparently having faded over the five years she spent working on the project that blends portraiture and street photography. Jambur would become an occasional backdrop to her photographs, all shot in black and white using a manual camera. Often described as descendants of slaves brought to India by

Sidi musicians perform outside a mosque in the village of Jambur, some 480 kms south-west of Ahmedabad.

Arab and other troops, the Sidi mostly live in villages and towns along India’s west coast, with a few groups scattered across the rest of the country. Anthropologist Mahmood Mamdani, a professor at New York’s Columbia University, says many came to India not only as cheap labor but also as soldiers, with some rising quickly through the ranks and even acquiring royal titles. Successive waves of migration saw Portuguese invaders bring slave-soldiers from modern-day Mozambique to India, Mamdani writes in an introductory essay to Sheth’s book. “Their main attraction was not their cheapness, but their loyalty. In this context, slaves are best thought of as lifelong servants of ruling or upper caste families,” he writes. Those deemed most loyal were given land that is now home to villages inhabited exclusively by Sidis. Reinventing African tradition US-based academic Beheroze Shroff, who has studied the Sidi for years, told AFP that they, like other migrants, “have reinvented their traditions”. Some customs have disappeared, while others, involving music, dance and the addition of Swahili words to the Gujarati dialect spoken in Sidi settlements have survived. Shroff said that Gujarati Sidi Muslims in particular still practice “elaborate rituals and ceremonies, which involve drumming and ecstatic dancing called goma (a Swahili word that means drum, song and dance)”. “This is handed down, learned by each subsequent generation, from childhood,” said Shroff, who teaches at the University of California in Irvine. The Sidis, considered a marginalized tribe since 1956, have been the beneficiaries of affirmative action policies in India. The Sports Authority of India (SAI) even launched a special Olympics training centre in Gujarat in 1987, in an attempt to capitalize on the athleticism of the African-origin Sidis. That experiment ended nine years ago amid reports of petty politics and infighting among administrators but it produced a string of national-level athletes, such as Mumbai-based Juje Jackie Harnodkar, featured in Sheth’s book. Harnodkar is among few Sidis belonging to the middle-class. Most struggle to find jobs and literacy levels remain low as many can only afford to send their children to poorly-managed state schools. And many children like Sukhi-a young girl whose portrait is Sheth’s favourite of the 88 photographs featured in the book-attend school infrequently. “She did go to school when I last met her but very erratically. She must have been 10, 12 when I took that photo (2005) but when I asked her she wasn’t sure,” Sheth told AFP in an email. Sukhi’s striking portrait, her eyes downcast, her curly hair askew, was taken on Sheth’s first shoot in Jambur, she said. “The early morning light was flat because it was pre-monsoon, the bricks and cement behind her were static and graphic, and her stripey dress seemed to move like a river even though she was so still.”— AFP

Indian photographer Ketaki Seth poses with her book ‘A Certain Grace, The Sidi: Indians of African Descent’ in Mumbai.

Sidi tribal children eat fruit outside their homes in the village of Jambur.


Photo shows vacationers on the beach in Myrtle Beach.


yrtle Beach, this year celebrating the 75th anniversary of its incorporation, is the heart of South Carolina’s $16.5 billion tourism industry. Myrtle Beach is in the center of a 60-mile (100-kilometer) reach of beaches that attracts more than 14 million visitors a year to dozens of golf courses, hundreds of restaurants and tens of thousands of hotel, motel and other rental units. There’s shopping at hundreds of stores and nine live entertainment theaters with almost 12,000 seats. But there’s a lot to do for free. Here are some suggestions: The beach This is the reason people come to Myrtle Beach. In South Carolina, the beaches are public and there are regular beach access points. Some areas have lifeguards and some have umbrellas and chairs for rent, but all you really need is a beach blanket and a cool drink. There’s a beach for most every taste. Pawleys Island, to the south, is considered one of the oldest beach resorts on the East Coast with homes dating to the 1700s. The quiet beach is lined with weathered bungalows and proudly calls itself “arrogantly shabby.” In Myrtle Beach, the shore is lined with highrise hotels and condominiums and it’s just a short walk to grab a burger along busy Ocean Boulevard. If you bring a pet, check local regulations for hours when dogs can be on the beach.

Free concerts, kids stuff Summer means a lot of free entertainment. In Plyler Park, just off the boardwalk, the Hot Summer Nights series of free concerts and other events runs this year from June 3 to Aug. 31. On Mondays there are free kids carnivals, with concerts from reggae to rock and country to Dixieland other nights of the week. Every Wednesday there are fireworks over the ocean. Across town, at the Broadway at the Beach entertainment complex, there are free fireworks every Tuesday and most Fridays during the summer. North Myrtle Beach holds four free concerts on Friday evenings during the season in McLean Park while there are other concerts by the lake at Myrtle Beach’s Grand Park. As part of the Myrtle Beach birthday celebration, an oceanfront air show is set for June 28th through 30th.

A fisherman in a small boat near the River Walk in Conway.

The boardwalk The boardwalk runs along Myrtle Beach’s oceanfront business district. Just over a mile (1.6 kilometers) in length, it was completed three years ago at a cost of more than $6 million. It’s a great place to wander along the shore without getting your feet sandy or to just to sit and watch people enjoy their summer escape. At sunset you can watch the oceanfront SkyWheel, the tallest Ferris wheel in the eastern United States, spin lazily, illuminated by a million LED lights. The boardwalk is being extended another block and Mayor John Rhodes has said he would like the city to eventually build the world’s longest, running 4.6 miles (7.4 kilometers) along the shore.

gently flowing Waccamaw River, a great place to cool off on a sultry South Carolina afternoon. Conway, on the first Thursday of the month from June through November, hosts Alive After Five events as varied as a community gospel sing and a classic car show to an ice cream social. — AP

Photo shows the Franklin Burroughs-Simeon Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach, S.C. — AP photos Art museum If you want to get out of the sun for a bit, stop by the Franklin Burroughs-Simeon Chapin Art Museum. Admission is free, but donations are always accepted. Located on the south end of Myrtle Beach, part of the structure is an almost 90-year-old beach house moved to its present location about 30 years ago. The museum has 10 galleries and an art studio for workshops. Beginning June 6, the museum hosts “Animation B.C. (Before Computers),” an exhibit focusing on the development of animation in the 20th Century. It features original production art including Mickey Mouse and Dora the Explorer. Also this summer, the museum features an exhibit with 45 works of golf art - more than appropriate in an area with 102 golf courses.

Vacationers walk along the boardwalk.

Conway and the riverwalk Conway, located 15 miles (24 kilometers) inland from Myrtle Beach, is the old tobacco town dating to the early 1700s that millions simply drive past rushing to the shore. But you may want to slow down and stop. The historic district includes almost three dozen National Register of Historic Places sites. The city’s scenic River Walk connects to the business district and runs along the

Plyler Park, just off the boardwalk in Myrtle Beach.


Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUPs) volunteer Brian Valente, left, with his dog, Finn, greet the Bloom family with their 13-month-old son, Jacob, at the Los Angeles International Airport terminal. — AP photos


here’s a new breed of airport dog. They aren’t looking for drugs or bombs - they are looking for people who need a buddy, a belly to rub or a paw to shake. “His job is to be touched,” volunteer Kyra Hubis said about Henry James, her 5year-old golden retriever that works a few hours a week at the San Jose airport. “I am just standing there with him. They are talking to him. If I need to answer for him, I do. But I am at the end of his leash, he’s not at the end of mine.” Mineta San Jose International Airport is widely credited with introducing the first airport therapy dog in the days after Sept 11, 2001, when flights were grounded, passengers were stranded and reaching friends and relatives in the East was nearly impossible. Passengers were anxious and afraid. Enter Orion, owned by a volunteer airport chaplain who got permission to bring the dog to work. He made such a difference that San Jose formalized the program and now has nine dogs. Miami International Airport got onboard the program with one and Los Angeles International Airport has 30 and is hoping to expand its program. The dogs are intended to take the stress out of travel - the crowds, long lines and terrorism concerns. You never know why people are flying, said Heidi Huebner, director of volunteers at LAX, which launched Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUPs) in April. Travelers might be in town for a vacation, a funeral, to visit a sick family member or to attend a business meeting. “You can literally feel the stress levels drop, people start smiling, strangers start talking to each other and everybody walks away feeling really, really good,” Huebner said. Dogs have to be healthy, skilled, stable, well-mannered and able to work on a slack 4-foot leash, said Billie Smith, executive director of Wyomingbased Therapy Dogs, Inc., which certifies the LAX animals. They have to be comfortable with crowds, sounds, smells - and they need to pass through security like all airport workers. Handlers are taught to watch for people who fear or dislike dogs or those who might have allergies. In most cases, people approach the dogs, identifiable by the vests or bandannas they wear. Los Angeles’ dogs, which are featured on trading cards, are as varied as its airport passengers. There’s a long-haired Dalmatian, a Lab-pointer mix, a field spaniel, a poodle, three Australian Labradoodles, a Doberman and a 150-pound Irish wolfhound named Finn who has two tricks. “He looks you in the eye and lays down on the job,” said owner Brian Valente. “When I’m around Finn, it makes me feel like things are OK. When Finn’s around other people, they are OK. It’s almost instant, even if just for a moment,” Valente said. Miami’s sole dog, Casey, a 4-year-old golden retriever, is a star. She has her own website, fan mail, business cards and a role on “Airport 24/7: Miami,” a weekly reality show on the Travel Channel. “Casey is so pure and genuine,” explained Dickie Davis, director of terminal operations and customer service. “She’s not asking for anything or selling anything. She is just a love magnet.”

Travelers bound to India are greeted by volunteers with Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUPs) Brian Valente and his dog Finn, far left, and Lou Friedman and Hazel, second from left, as they walk around the Los Angeles International Airport terminal.

When Claudia McCaskill’s family recently flew home from vacation in Brazil she requested Casey meet the plane to greet her 5-year-old daughter, Carina, who is autistic. She knew Carina would be low on energy and patience and they still had a 2.5hour drive home to St Lucie. Casey and handler Liz Miller were there with a gift basket and Carina fell in love with the dog. “Thank you for visiting us at the airport so I would be happy,” Carina said in a video the family made for Casey. Now Carina wants to go back and see Casey again. “I can’t say how much we appreciate what they did for us. It not only helped our daughter, but us too,” McCaskill said. Despite all the smiles, there are also hard moments. Before departing from San Jose, a soldier kneeled down and told Henry James: “OK, buddy, you take care of the house while I am gone,” Hubis said. A woman who said her husband of 40 years told her he wanted a divorce that morning wept on Henry’s shoulder. “He just sat there,” Hubis said. “He knew. He can feel.”—AP

Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUPs) volunteers: Marwick Kane and Kai, far left, and Brian Valente, with his dog, Finn, center, walk around the Los Angeles International Airport terminal.

Volunteers with Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUPs) walk past the spider legged Theme Building.


Spellers Arvind Mahankali of Bayside Hills, New York, Pranav Sivakumar of Tower Lakes, Illinois, and Sriram Hathwar of Painted Post, New York, during the finals.


he US-born son of immigrants from India overcame his dread of German-derived words Thursday to win the 86th Scripps National Spelling Bee. Confetti rained on a suddenly speechless Arvind Mahankali, 13, from New York City, after he correctly spelled knaidel, a type of dumpling perhaps better known as a matzah ball. He becomes the sixth youth of south Asian heritage to win the coveted title in the last six years, and also the first male champion since 2008. Mahankali, the eldest son of an IT consultant father and a physician mother, had placed ninth in 2010, then third in 2011 and 2012. More often than not, it was obscure English words of Germanic origin that denied him victory. “The German curse has turned into a German blessing,” he quipped after besting eight other finalists in a nail-biting finale to nationally televised competition that kicked off Tuesday with 281 contestants from eight nations. Earlier in the evening, Mahankali aced such words as tokonoma (an alcove in a Japanese living room), kaumographer (someone who prints a design onto cloth with a hot iron), and galere (a group of people who have something in common). The forward-looking youngster plans to save the $30,000 cash prize-plus a $2,500 US savings bond-for college, where he hopes to get a doctorate degree in physics by the time he’s 23 years old. “I hope to make some kind of major contribution” after university, he said. “I’ll see how it looks.” Second place went to Pranav Sivakumar, 13, from Illinois, while Sriram Hathwar, 13, from New York, came in third. Amber Born, 14, from Massachusetts, a crowd-pleaser with her tension-breaking jokes, finished forth. The youngest finalist, Vanya Shivashankar, 11, from Kansas, the sister of 2009 champion Kavya Shivashankar, fell in the fifth round after a strong and engaging performance.

Arvind Mahankali holds the championship trophy.

The National Spelling Bee has been an American institution for decades. This year, more than 11 million children took part in local qualifying competitions in the United States and abroad. In a fresh twist, organizers announcedseven weeks before the championships at the Gaylord resort outside Washington-that contestants would for the first time be tested on vocabulary knowledge as well as spelling skills. Doing so has reaffirmed the bee’s educational purpose, in a time when some hard-driving parents have been using custom-made software to turn their offspring into bee-winners through hours upon hours of rote memorization. Mahankali’s father Srinivas Mahankali, who came to the United States from Hyderabad in southern Indian in the 1990s, said the family encouraged his interest in competitive spelling, but did not pressure him to win. “It’s an unpredictable thing. You can get any word in the dictionary. It’s unfair to expect anything in this,” he told AFP as his son fielded questions from reporters such as whether he’d ever eaten a knaidel. (He had not.) Both father and son agreed that education is the reason why the children of immigrants have come to dominate spelling bees. “They want to prove that they can learn the English language,” said the younger Mahankali, who is fluent in English and Telugu, the family’s native tongue, and picking up Spanish in school. “At home, my dad use to chant Telugu poems from forwards to backwards and backwards to forwards,” added Mahankali senior. “We value language a lot... Wealth is fickle, but education is number one.” — AFP

Confetti falls over Arvind Mahankali after the finals of the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee May 30, 2013.

Arvind Mahankali receives his trophy from president of the E.W. Scripps Company Rich Boehne.

Arvind Mahankali, 13, of Bayside Hills, NY, is congratulated by his family as confetti falls after he won the National Spelling Bee by spelling the word ‘knaidel’ correctly on Thursday. — AP/AFP photos


These pictures show scenes of the Disposition event by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in the Sant’Antonin church.


hinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei tells the story of his 2011 incarceration with an installation of six large rusty metal boxes in the nave of a Venetian church at the Biennale art festival. In the Baroque surroundings of St Antonino-a short walk from St Mark’s Square-the unusual display encourages visitors to peer inside the mysterious boxes to see what might be inside. Like a twisted doll house turned into a Chinese prison, the sculptures are scenes from his detention with the artist shown going about his daily tasks with two guards present all the time. In one he is sleeping as guards watch, then he is naked in the shower, pacing in his cell, eating a meal, talking and going to the toilet. The impression is of an overwhelming attack on the artist’s intimacy that immediately puts visitors ill at ease as they peer like voyeurs. The realism of the works echoes the traditional aesthetic of the communist country-rendered all the more unusual in the context of a church. The choice of a house of worship could be another gesture of provocation from Ai since China has difficult relations with the Catholic Church. The six boxes, which are around 1.5 meters (five feet) high and 3.5 meters long, have a sobriety that fits with the church’s theatrical elegance. The exhibition entitled “S.A.C.R.E.D” was installed by the Lisson Gallery (, based in London and Milan, and can be viewed until September 15.

“It is a personal statement and a political statement,” Greg Hilty, curatorial director of the gallery, told AFP. “It was a very traumatic experience for him. He needed to exorcise the trauma,” he said. “It is about a man’s search for identity,” he said. Ai has emerged as a fierce critic of the government in Beijing, often through his prolific use of the Internet and involvement in sensitive social campaigns. He was detained for 81 days in 2011 during a roundup of activists at the time of the Arab Spring popular uprisings, and on his release he was accused of tax evasion and barred from leaving the country for one year. The Chinese artist, who cannot be in Venice, because he has still not been returned his passport, described his detention in a video message published on his site last week. The video showed Ai under interrogation, marking a document with a red thumbprint and wearing a black hood labeled “Criminal” before being scrutinized by guards in the prison shower. Ai told AFP in Beijing that for the video he created an “exact model” of the room in which he was kept for much of the period. “There are so many political prisoners in China who are being kept in even worse conditions than I was,” he said. “When I was detained, the guards would ask me to sing songs for them... even in such a place people still have imagination.”— AFP

Visitors look at Ai Weiwei’s installation Bang at the German pavilion during the press preview of the 55th Venice art biennale in Venice. — AFP photos

technology SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2013

Google coming out with 2 new Android phones SAN FRANCISCO: Google revealed yesterday that it has two new sophisticated Android smartphones in the works, one of which will have the unprecedented distinction of being made in the United States. An HTC One smartphone customized to be “Google’s take on Android” will make its US debut on June 26 at a price of $599, the head of Android, Chrome and Google Apps said at an AllThingsD conference in California. “It’s a great device,” Google executive Sundar Pichai said during an on-stage interview. Google Edition handsets by Taiwanbased HTC will be compatible with carriers AT&T and T-Mobile. Pichai made the

disclosure a day after Motorola Mobility head Dennis Woodside said on the same stage that the company’s was preparing to release its first smartphone since being bought by Google. The smartphone would be called Moto X and be made in a facility near Fort Worth, Texas, Woodside said. “It is the first smartphone that is going to be built in the United States,” Woodside said, noting that the plant would employ about 2,000 people by August. “We think that it is going to allow us to innovate and iterate that much faster.” Components for Motorola smartphones will come from Taiwan, South

Korea, the United States and elsewhere with about 70 percent of the assembly done in Texas, Woodside said. Moto X would set itself apart from other smartphones with advanced use of sensors such as gyroscopes and accelerometers to make devices adapt to the conditions or circumstances in which they are being used, Woodside said. “It knows it is in my pocket or out of my pocket, and can anticipate use cases so it knows when I may want to take a picture and fires up the camera,” Woodside said, declining to show the smartphone on stage. “Imagine you are in the car,” he continued. “The device will know, whether on or off, it is

driving at 60 MPH (96 kilometers per hour) and it will act differently.” Google makes its Android operating system for mobile devices available free to electronics manufacturers. The company completed its $12.5 billion purchase of the Motorola unit-which makes smartphones and other devices-a year ago, eyeing both its mobile phone line, which uses Google’s Android platform, and some 17,000 valuable patents. Motorola Mobility was created in 2011 when USbased Motorola Inc split the company into a mobile devices unit and a government and public safety division known as Motorola Solutions.—AFP

Microsoft aims to simplify with Windows 8.1 SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft is trying to fix what it got wrong with its radical makeover of Windows. It’s making the operating system easier to navigate and enabling users to set up the software so it starts in a more familiar format designed for personal computers. The revisions to Windows 8 will be released later this year. The free update, called Windows 8.1, represents Microsoft’s concessions to long-time customers taken aback by the dramatic changes to an operating system that had become a staple in households and offices around the world during the past 20 years. Research group IDC has blamed Windows 8 for accelerating a decline in PC sales. With the release of Windows 8 seven months ago, Microsoft introduced a startup screen displaying applications in a mosaic of interactive tiles instead of static icons. The shift agitated many users who wanted the option to launch the operating system in a mode that resembled the old setup. That choice will be provided in Windows 8.1. However, Microsoft isn’t bringing back the start menu on the lower left corner of the screen. Windows has offered the button for accessing all programs and settings on every previous version of the operating system since 1995. Microsoft believes the startup screen replaces the need for a button, but its omission has ranked among the biggest gripes about Windows 8. Microsoft is hoping to quiet the critics by resurrecting an omnipresent Windows logo anchored in the lower left corner. Users will also be able to ensure their favorite applications, including Word and Excel, appear in a horizontal tool bar next to the Windows logo. Accessing apps outside the toolbar will still require using the tiles or calling them up in a more comprehensive search engine included in the Windows 8.1 updates. Microsoft Corp. announced its plans for Windows 8.1 in early May, but it didn’t offer details about what it will include until Thursday. The Redmond, Wash., company will provide a more extensive tour of Windows 8.1 and several new applications built into the upgrade at a conference for programmers in San Francisco, scheduled to begin June 26. Antoine Leblond, a Microsoft executive who helps oversee the operating system’s program management, said the ability to start PCs in the more familiar format is meant to ease the “cognitive dissonance” caused by Windows 8. Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi predicted the desktop option will spur more sales of Windows 8 computers. “Some people were getting fixated” on the desktop issue, Milanesi said. “This may cause more people who felt uncomfortable with Windows 8 to take a second look.” Microsoft made the dramatic overhaul to Windows in an attempt to expand the operating system’s franchise beyond personal computers that rely on keyboards and mice to smartphones and tablet computers controlled by a touch or swipe of the finger. But Windows 8 has been widely panned as a disappointment, even though Microsoft says it has licensed more than 100 million copies so far. Microsoft views Windows 8.1 as more than just a fix-it job. From its perspective, the tuneup underscores Microsoft’s evolution into a more nimble company capable of moving quickly to respond to customer feedback while also rolling out more innovations for a myriad of Windows devices - smartphones, tablets or PCs.—AP

WASHINGTON: This NASA artist’s conception obtained May 30, 2013 shows how families of asteroids are created. Over the history of our solar system, catastrophic collisions between asteroids located in the belt between Mars and Jupiter have formed families of objects on similar orbits around the sun. New data from NASA’s NEOWISE project, based on observations made by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), have revealed the sizes and reflectivity of members of these asteroids families. The findings are helping scientists better understand how the families formed and evolved.—AFP

‘Start’ button returns to Windows software SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft unveiled an update to its latest Windows operating system Thursday that included a return of a “Start” button that had been missed by longtime users of the computer software. The tweaked version of the operating system, nicknamed Windows Blue, will be previewed on June 26 and will be a free update for users of Windows 8.1, according to the Redmond, Washington-based technology titan. “It’s Windows 8 even better,” Windows program management corporate vice president Antoine Leblond said in a blog post. “Windows 8.1 will deliver improvements and enhancements in key areas like personalization, search, the built-in apps, Windows Store experience and cloud connectivity.” Microsoft returned a well-known Windows logo to the lower left corner of computer screens in what was seen as a resurrection of a banished “Start” button missed by users. “Not only will Windows 8.1 respond to customer feedback, but it will add new features and functionality

that advance the touch experience and mobile computing’s potential,” Leblond said. Windows upgrades include Bingpowered searches that expand Internet queries to include searching apps and files on computers along with data stored in Microsoft’s online SkyDrive service. The update comes amid a lukewarm reception for Windows 8, an operating system released last year to help the software giant transition from personal computers to tablets and other mobile devices. It remained unclear whether the return of the “Start” button would placate Windows users who saw the icon as a simple way to get to tools or tasks laid out on desktop screens. “All I know is that something is back, but until I get my hands on Windows 8.1, I won’t know exactly what,” said analyst Michael Cherry of Directions On Microsoft, which specializes in tracking the software colossus. “I think the real problem is that there are no Windows 8 apps that are worth using, so everyone really just wants to get

to the desktop first.” Cherry took advantage of the option of customizing Windows 8 on his computer and thus opposes the return of the Start button. Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc said a public preview of Windows 8.1 will be available starting on June 26, timed with the Microsoft developer conference in San Francisco. Microsoft said recently it had sold than 100 million licenses for Windows 8 but that the update was planned after listening to customers. Some analysts say Microsoft was forced to act because of slow adoption of Windows 8, which made some radical changes to the design of the desktop. With Windows 8, Microsoft was trying to create a system that could be used on mobile touch screen devices while also serving the users of traditional PCs. Microsoft launched Windows 8 last October, revamping its flagship system in an effort to make inroads in the fastgrowing mobile segment. At the same time, it launched its Surface tablet computer.—AFP

technology SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2013

Asteroid company wants to put your face in space CAPE CANAVERAL: A privately owned asteroid mining firm, backed in part by Google Inc’s founders, launched a crowdfunding project to gauge public interest in a small space telescope that could serve as a backdrop for personal photographs, officials said. Planetary Resources, based in Bellevue, Washington, plans to build and operate telescopes to hunt for asteroids orbiting near Earth and robotic spacecraft to mine them for precious metals, water and other materials. It also plans an educational and outreach program to let students, museums, armchair astronomers and virtual travelers share use of a telescope through an initiative on Kickstarter, a website used to raise funds for creative projects. Planetary Resources aims to raise $1 million by June 30 to assess public appetite for participating in a space project. It expects to launch its first telescope in 2015. For a pledge of $25, participants can make use of a “space photo booth” by sending a picture to be displayed like a billboard on the side of the telescope with Earth in the background. Its image would then be snapped by a remote camera and transmitted back. Starting at $200, participants can use the telescope to look at an astronomical object. The Kickstarter campaign complements the company’s ongoing efforts to design and build its first telescope, called ARKYD. Investors include Google Chief Executive Larry Page and Chairman Eric Schmidt, as well as Ross Perot Jr, chairman of the real estate development firm Hillwood and The Perot Group. “All we are asking is for the public to tell us that they want something,” company co-founder Eric Anderson told reporters during a webcast press conference on Wednesday. “We’re not going to spend our time and resources to do something if people don’t want it and really the only way to prove that it’s something people want is to ask them for money,” he said. Planetary Resources is not the first space startup to turn to crowd-funding. Colorado-based Golden Spike, which plans commercial human expeditions to the moon, has launched two initiatives on Indiegogo, another Internetbased funding platform.— Reuters

Trip to Mars would likely exceed radiation limits for astronauts CAPE CANAVERAL: Radiation levels measured by NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover show astronauts likely would exceed current US exposure limits during a roundtrip mission to Mars, scientists said on Thursday. The rover landed on Mars in August to search for habitats that could have supported past microbial life. Results taken during Curiosity’s eight-month cruise to Mars indicate that astronauts would receive a radiation dose of about 660 millisieverts during a 360-day roundtrip flight, the fastest travel possible with today’s chemical rockets. That dosage does not include any time spent on the planet’s surface. A millisievert is a measurement of radiation exposure. NASA limits astronauts’ increased cancer risk to 3 percent, which translates to a cumulative radiation dose of between about 800 millisieverts and 1,200 millisieverts, depending on a person’s age, gender and other factors. “Even for the shortest of (Mars) missions, we are perilously close to the radiation career and health limits that we’ve established for our astronauts,” NASA’s chief medical officer Richard Williams told a National Academy of Sciences’ medical committee on Thursday. An astronaut living for six months on the International Space Station, which flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, receives a dosage of about 100 millisieverts. An abdominal X-ray scan generates about 10 millisieverts. At NASA’s request, the Institute of Medicine panel is looking into ethics and health standards for long-duration spaceflights. “We’re looking at that 3 percent standard and its applicability for exploration-type missions,” added NASA’s Edward Semones, spaceflight radiation health officer at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, during a conference call later with reporters. “The snapshot today is that we would exceed our limit,” Semones said. NASA also is looking into alternative propulsion technologies to speed up the trip to Mars and different types of spacecraft shielding. Information from Curiosity about how much and what type of radiation astronauts can expect on the Martian surface is due to be released later this year. The research was published in this week’s edition of the journal Science.— Reuters

Startup glasses overlay Internet on real world CALIFORNIA: While Google prepares to release eyewear that provides a window to the Web, a startup on the edge of its campus is readying glasses that overlay the Internet on the world in 3D. Atheer Labs on Thursday provided the first public look at prototype eyewear that lets people manipulate virtual objects, maps and more in the air in a style reminiscent of a scene in the film “Minority Report.” “The whole idea is that technology is becoming smart enough to wrap itself around you,” Atheer co-founder and chief executive Soulaiman Itani said while providing AFP a demonstration. “It is an opportunity of taking the Internet and making it much more immersive, connected and helpful in a non-intrusive way; like our hidden guardian angel.” Itani and Atheer chief technology officer Allen Yang described what their team is building as an extension of the trend of sophisticated mobile technology bringing Internet services to people when they want. “The next step, we believe, is natural interaction through computer vision,” Itani said. “We worked hard to do that in portable fashion,” he continued. “This is like putting the Xbox and the Kinect and the Internet in your pocket running on a battery.” Atheer is working on versions of the eyewear that access the Internet by wirelessly connecting to smartphones or Wi-Fi hotspots and which have telecom chip capabilities to link to mobile phone networks. A prototype device in the Atheer office in a building on the Google campus in the Silicon Valley city of Mountain View allowed a virtual map to be scanned with the turn of a head and virtual objects manipulated. News stories could have images come alive with what Itani and Yang called “Harry Potter style” pictures. “It is like the Internet now is stuck behind these windows we look through,” Itani said. “Breaking that and putting it in 3D around you everywhere is a great shift.” He gave the example of a wearer pausing to window shop and having discounts, exclusive items or other information pop

up for them to see. Atheer is designing voice controls and camera capabilities into the Android-powered eyewear, which will keep Internet imagery invisible until it is needed or until summoned with a gesture. “Our mobile 3D platform fundamentally alters the way people access information on the go, adding a natural interface that can be controlled with natural ges-

if any, talks they have had with Google about their project. “Google is really the pioneer in this field with Glass, and in many ways this complements that,” Yang said. Atheer is building a network of developers to craft useful or fun applications for the eyewear and partners for making the gear fashionable. A product wasn’t expected to be ready

CALIFORNIA: Atheer co-founder and chief executive Soulaiman Itani poses with the prototype glasses that overlay the Internet on the real world in 3D.—AFP tures and motions,” said Itani. To address the kinds of privacy concerns that have been expressed about Glass, Atheer is developing a way for businesses or property owners to detect when devices enter and ask that camera features be turned off. “It is basically a system for letting people say that on their land, you can’t take video without their permission,” Itani said. The system will include a way to verify if someone has disabled the eyewear camera. “In the end, these things are really decided by society,” Itani said. “Our role is to give them all the options. Itani and Yang would not discuss what,

for consumers until next year. Google Glass was a common sight early this month at a software developers conference in San Francisco, where software savants here shared visions of games, weather reports, news and more delivered to the Internet-linked eyewear. Glass connects to the Internet using Wi-Fi hot spots or, more typically, by being wirelessly tethered to mobile phones. Pictures or video are shared through the Google Plus social network. Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt said recently that it will take “a while” before consumer versions of Glass are available.—AFP

WASHINGTON: This NASA artist’s rendering obtained yesterday shows what capturing an asteroid could look like. NASA’s FY2014 budget proposal includes a plan to robotically capture a small near-Earth asteroid and redirect it safely to a stable orbit in the Earth-moon system where astronauts can visit and explore it. Performing these elements for the proposed asteroid initiative integrates the best of NASA’s science, technology and human exploration capabilities. It uses current and developing capabilities to find both large asteroids that pose a hazard to Earth and small asteroids that could be candidates for the initiative, accelerates the technology development activities in high-powered solar electric propulsion and takes advantage of the hard work on the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft.—AFP

TV listings SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2013

00:45 Monster Bug Wars 01:35 I’m Alive 02:25 Wildwives Of Savannah Lane 03:15 Shark Feeding Frenzy 04:05 Whale Wars 04:55 Shamwari: A Wild Life 05:20 Echo And The Elephants Of Amboseli 05:45 Animal Airport 06:10 Animal Airport 06:35 Wildlife SOS 07:00 Meerkat Manor 07:25 Dogs 101: Specials 08:15 Crocodile Hunter 09:10 Baby Planet 10:05 Monkey Life 10:30 Dick ‘n’ Dom Go Wild 11:00 Bondi Vet 11:25 The Really Wild Show 11:55 Wildest Islands 12:50 Wild France 13:45 Wild France 14:40 Wild France 15:30 Wild France 16:30 Wild France 17:25 Wild France 18:20 Speed Of Life 19:15 Mutant Planet 20:10 How Sharks Hunt 21:05 Roaring With Pride 22:00 My Cat From Hell 22:55 Karina: Wild On Safari 23:20 Karina: Wild On Safari 23:50 Untamed & Uncut

00:40 Food Poker 01:30 Masterchef: The Professionals 02:15 Gok’s Clothes Roadshow 03:05 To Build Or Not To Build? 03:30 Cash In The Attic 04:15 Bargain Hunt 05:00 House Swap 05:45 Gok’s Clothes Roadshow 06:35 To Build Or Not To Build? 07:00 Homes Under The Hammer 07:55 Homes Under The Hammer 08:50 Homes Under The Hammer 09:50 Homes Under The Hammer 10:40 Cash In The Attic 11:25 Come Dine With Me 12:15 Perfect Day 12:40 Baking Mad With Eric Lanlard 13:05 Baking Mad With Eric Lanlard 13:30 Food Poker 14:15 The Roux Legacy 14:50 Food And Drink 15:15 Bargain Hunt 16:00 Antiques Roadshow 17:00 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Specials 18:20 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 19:00 Celebrity MasterChef 19:55 Celebrity MasterChef 20:20 Come Dine With Me 21:15 Antiques Roadshow 22:15 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 23:00 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 23:45 Ty Pennington’s Homes For The Brave

00:00 00:30 01:00 01:30 02:00 02:30 03:00 03:10 03:30 04:00 04:30 05:00 05:10 Reeve 06:00 06:30 07:00 07:30 08:00 08:30 09:00 09:30 10:00 10:10 10:30 11:00 11:10 11:30

BBC World News America BBC World News America BBC World News Newsnight BBC World News Our World BBC World News Weekend World Talking Books BBC World News Horizons BBC World News Indian Ocean With Simon BBC World News Fast Track BBC World News The Culture Show BBC World News Middle East Business Report BBC World News Click BBC World News Weekend World Talking Books BBC World News Football Focus Horizons

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

Ben 10: Ultimate Alien Ben 10: Ultimate Alien Total Drama Island Total Drama Island Total Drama Island Total Drama Island Total Drama Island Star Wars: The Clone Wars Star Wars: The Clone Wars Evil Con Carne Ben 10 Ben 10 Mucha Lucha ! Mucha Lucha ! Powerpuff Girls

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

Amanpour World Sport Piers Morgan Live World Report Backstory Anderson Cooper 360 Piers Morgan Live Quest Means Business CNN Marketplace Africa The Situation Room World Sport Leading Women Fusion Journeys World Report CNN Marketplace Africa Backstory World Report CNN Marketplace Middle East Sanjay Gupta MD World Sport Winning Post The Gateway The Best Of The Situation Room World Report The Brief Amanpour Inside Africa Talk Asia I Report For CNN World Report On China News Special Backstory International Desk African Voices CNN Marketplace Europe CNN Marketplace Africa The Brief World Sport Open Court International Desk Inside Africa International Desk Leading Women

ARCTIC BLAST ON OSN ACTION HD 12:00 12:10 13:00 13:10 13:30 14:00 14:30 15:00 15:10 15:30 16:00 16:15 16:30 17:00 17:30 18:00 18:10 Reeve 19:00 19:30 20:00 20:30 21:00 21:15 21:30 22:00 22:30 23:00

BBC World News BBC World News BBC World News World Features Newsnight BBC World News Our World BBC World News Weekend World Talking Movies BBC World News Sport Today Fast Track BBC World News Dateline London BBC World News Indian Ocean With Simon

00:45 01:35 02:00 02:25 02:50 03:00 03:30 03:55 04:20 04:45 05:00

Wacky Races Duck Dodgers Duck Dodgers Dastardly And Muttley Dastardly And Muttley Dexter’s Laboratory Wacky Races Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries Tom & Jerry The Garfield Show Bananas In Pyjamas

BBC World News BBC World News BBC World News The Culture Show BBC World News Sport Today Fast Track BBC World News Click BBC World News

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

Gerald McBoing Boing Jelly Jamm Ha Ha Hairies Baby Looney Tunes Cartoonito Tales Krypto: The Super Dog Lazytown Gerald McBoing Boing Bananas In Pyjamas Jelly Jamm Ha Ha Hairies Baby Looney Tunes Cartoonito Tales Krypto: The Super Dog Lazytown Ha Ha Hairies Gerald McBoing Boing Baby Looney Tunes Jelly Jamm Tiny Toon Adventures What’s New Scooby Doo Tom And Jerry Tales The 13 Ghosts Of Scooby-Doo The 13 Ghosts Of Scooby-Doo Sylvester & Tweety Mysterie What’s New Scooby Doo Tom And Jerry Tales The Looney Tunes Show Taz-Mania Taz-Mania The 13 Ghosts Of Scooby-Doo The 13 Ghosts Of Scooby-Doo Tom And Jerry Tales Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries Moomins Duck Dodgers

00:30 Grim Adventures Of... 01:20 Johnny Test

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

00:15 Wheeler Dealers 01:10 Wheeler Dealers: Trading Up 02:05 Fifth Gear 03:00 Mythbusters 03:55 Border Security - Series 6 Specials 04:20 Auction Hunters 04:50 Storage Hunters 05:15 How Machines Work 05:40 How Stuff’s Made 06:05 Sons Of Guns 07:00 James May’s Man Lab 07:50 You Have Been Warned 08:45 Mythbusters 09:40 Mythbusters 10:30 Igenius 11:25 The Ipod Revolution 12:20 Fifth Gear 13:15 Fifth Gear 14:10 Fifth Gear 15:05 Fifth Gear 16:00 Fifth Gear 16:55 Fifth Gear 17:50 Wheeler Dealers: Trading Up 18:45 Gold Divers: Under The Ice 19:40 Alaska: The Last Frontier 20:35 Sons Of Guns 21:30 Storage Hunters 21:55 Storage Hunters 22:25 Storage Hunters 23:20 Storage Hunters 23:45 Death Row: The Final 24 Hours

00:05 00:30 01:00 01:50 02:45

How Tech Works Sci-Fi Science The Future Of... Sport Science Tech Toys 360

03:10 Tech Toys 360 03:35 The Future Of... 04:25 Engineered 05:15 The Gadget Show 05:40 How Tech Works 06:05 Meteorite Men 07:00 James May’s Man Lab 07:50 X-Machines 08:40 The Gadget Show 09:05 How Tech Works 09:30 Superships 10:25 Superships 11:20 Superships 12:10 Engineered 13:00 Engineered 13:50 Sci-Fi Science 14:20 The Gadget Show 14:45 How Tech Works 15:10 X-Machines 16:00 Unchained Reaction 16:55 Stephen Hawking’s Grand Design 17:45 Tech Toys 360 18:10 Tech Toys 360 18:35 X-Machines 19:30 James May’s Man Lab 20:20 James May’s 20th Century 20:45 James May’s 20th Century 21:10 The Gadget Show 21:35 How Tech Works 22:00 James May’s Man Lab 22:50 Dark Matters: Twisted But True 23:40 The Gadget Show

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

Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Brandy & Mr Whiskers Brandy & Mr Whiskers Emperor’s New School Replacements Replacements Brandy & Mr Whiskers Emperor’s New School Replacements Replacements Brandy & Mr Whiskers Brandy & Mr Whiskers Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Jake & The Neverland Pirates Jake & The Neverland Pirates Suite Life On Deck Toy Story Prankstars Good Luck Charlie Code: 9 Shake It Up Jessie Austin And Ally A.N.T Farm The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Dog With A Blog Prankstars A.N.T Farm Hannah Montana Austin And Ally Good Luck Charlie That’s So Raven A.N.T Farm Code: 9 Prankstars Dog With A Blog The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Bolt A.N.T Farm Code: 9 Jessie Shake It Up Austin And Ally A.N.T Farm Jessie Jessie Hannah Montana Jonas Sonny With A Chance Sonny With A Chance Wizards Of Waverly Place Wizards Of Waverly Place

00:00 Opening Act 00:55 Style Star 01:25 E! Investigates 03:15 Style Star 03:40 Extreme Close-Up 04:10 THS 05:05 THS 06:00 THS 07:50 Style Star 08:20 E! News 09:15 Keeping Up With The Kardashians

TV listings SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2013 10:15 11:10 12:05 13:05 14:05 15:00 15:30 16:00 16:30 17:00 17:30 18:00 19:00 19:30 20:00 20:30 21:00 21:30 22:30 23:30

E!es THS E! News Scouted Playing With Fire Chasing The Saturdays Chasing The Saturdays Chasing The Saturdays Chasing The Saturdays Chasing The Saturdays Chasing The Saturdays E! News Chasing The Saturdays Chasing The Saturdays Chasing The Saturdays Chasing The Saturdays Chasing The Saturdays Fashion Police E! News Chelsea Lately

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

Dr G: Medical Examiner A Haunting Scorned: Crimes Of Passion Most Evil I Almost Got Away With It Dr G: Medical Examiner A Haunting Nightmare Next Door Mystery Diagnosis Street Patrol Street Patrol Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? True Crime With Aphrodite Murder Shift Disappeared Mystery Diagnosis Street Patrol Street Patrol Forensic Detectives True Crime With Aphrodite Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? Disappeared Murder Shift Forensic Detectives True Crime With Aphrodite

17:50 18:15 18:40 19:05 19:30 20:20 21:10 22:00 22:25 22:50 23:15 23:40

Barefoot Contessa Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Chopped Chopped Ultimate Recipe Showdown Food Wars Food Wars Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives

00:45 International Open House 01:10 International Open House 01:40 Earth Tripping 02:05 Earth Tripping 02:35 David Rocco‚Äôs Dolce Vita 03:00 David Rocco‚Äôs Dolce Vita 03:30 My Sri Lanka With Peter Kuruvita 03:55 My Sri Lanka With Peter Kuruvita 04:25 Somewhere In China 05:20 On Surfari 05:45 On Surfari 06:15 Roam 06:40 Graham’s World 07:10 Extreme Tourist Afghanistan 08:05 Treks In A Wild World 08:30 Treks In A Wild World 09:00 Cycling Home From Siberia With Rob Lilwall 09:25 Cycling Home From Siberia With Rob Lilwall 09:55 Don’t Tell My Mother 10:50 International Open House 11:15 International Open House 11:45 George Clark’s Amazing Spaces 12:40 David Rocco‚Äôs Dolce Vita 13:05 David Rocco‚Äôs Dolce Vita 13:35 My Sri Lanka With Peter Kuruvita

14:00 My Sri Lanka With Peter Kuruvita 14:30 Somewhere In China 15:25 Scam City 16:20 Treks In A Wild World 16:45 Treks In A Wild World 17:15 Cycling Home From Siberia With Rob Lilwall 17:40 Cycling Home From Siberia With Rob Lilwall 18:10 Don’t Tell My Mother 19:05 On Surfari 19:30 On Surfari 20:00 Roam 20:30 Graham’s World 21:00 Extreme Tourist Afghanistan 22:00 Scam City 22:55 Finding Genghis 23:20 Finding Genghis 23:50 Don’t Tell My Mother

00:00 02:00 04:00 06:00 08:00 09:45 11:45 14:00 16:00 17:45 20:00 22:00

Exorcismus-18 Arena-18 Arctic Blast-PG15 Mission: Impossible II-PG15 Brake-PG15 The New Daughter-PG15 Mission: Impossible III-PG15 Brake-PG15 Superman vs. The Elite-PG15 Mission: Impossible III-PG15 The Corruptor-18 Backdraft-PG15

01:00 03:00 PG 05:00 07:00 09:00 10:45 13:00 15:00

Once Brothers-PG15 Marley & Me: The Puppy YearsThe Proud Family Movie-FAM The Game Of Their Lives-PG15 Once Brothers-PG15 John Carter-PG15 Enter The Phoenix-PG15 Twins Mission-PG15

17:00 Spy Kids: All The Time In The World-PG 19:00 Violet & Daisy-PG15 21:00 Cedar Rapids-18 23:00 Meet Monica Velour-R

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 Unsupervised 02:00 Unsupervised 02:30 Legit 03:00 Breaking In 03:30 Friends 04:00 Seinfeld 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Hope & Faith 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 Seinfeld 08:30 Hope & Faith 09:00 Breaking In 09:30 Go On 10:00 Cougar Town 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Arrested Development 12:30 Seinfeld 13:00 Hope & Faith 14:00 Friends 14:30 Cougar Town 15:00 Go On 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 Breaking In 18:30 Happy Endings 19:00 The Neighbors 19:30 The Office 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart

Disappeared Nightmare Next Door Couples Who Kill I Was Murdered Stalked: Someone’s Watching Stalked: Someone’s Watching On The Case With Paula Zahn

00:05 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 00:30 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 00:55 Unwrapped 01:20 Unwrapped 01:45 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 02:10 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 02:35 Heat Seekers 03:00 Heat Seekers 03:25 Food Wars 03:50 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 04:15 Unique Eats 04:40 Chopped 05:30 Iron Chef America 06:10 Food Network Challenge 07:00 Healthy Appetite With Ellie Krieger 07:25 Healthy Appetite With Ellie Krieger 07:50 Healthy Appetite With Ellie Krieger 08:15 Healthy Appetite With Ellie Krieger 08:40 Cooking For Real 09:05 Cooking For Real 09:30 Cooking For Real 09:55 Cooking For Real 10:20 Tyler’s Ultimate 10:45 Tyler’s Ultimate 11:10 Tyler’s Ultimate 11:35 Tyler’s Ultimate 12:00 Staten Island Cakes 12:50 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 13:15 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 13:40 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 14:05 Unique Sweets 14:30 Unique Sweets 14:55 Unique Sweets 15:20 Unique Sweets 15:45 Chopped 16:35 Barefoot Contessa 17:00 Barefoot Contessa 17:25 Barefoot Contessa

21:30 22:00 23:00 23:30

The Colbert Report Saturday Night Live Legit Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

00:00 01:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 15:00 16:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00

Eureka Survivor: Caramoan Red Widow Smash Eureka Smallville The Finder Last Resort Red Widow Survivor: Caramoan Smallville Eureka Smallville The Finder The Glades Criminal Minds White Collar Sons Of Anarchy

00:00 02:00 04:00 06:00 08:00 10:00 11:45 13:45 16:00 18:00 19:45 22:00

Fertile Ground Exorcismus Arena Arctic Blast Mission: Impossible II Brake The New Daughter Mission: Impossible III Brake Superman vs. The Elite Mission: Impossible III The Corruptor

00:00 Dazed And Confused-PG15 02:00 The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard-18 04:00 Back To The Future-PG15 06:00 Barnyard-PG 08:00 Snowmen-PG 10:00 Smooch-PG15 12:00 Back To The Future-PG15 14:00 Police Academy 4: Citizens On Patrol-PG15 16:00 Smooch-PG15 18:00 Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult-PG15 20:00 A Few Best Men-18 22:00 Dazed And Confused-PG15

01:00 Middle Men-18 03:00 Shadows & Lies-18 05:15 Dying Young-PG15 07:15 The Presidio-PG15 09:00 Every Jack Has A Jill-PG15 11:00 Would Be Kings-PG15 13:00 Trust-PG15 15:00 Every Jack Has A Jill-PG15 17:00 Super 8-PG15 19:00 The Last Gamble-18 21:00 Incendies-PG15 23:15 Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid-PG

00:00 Marley-PG15 02:30 Real Steel-PG15 04:45 Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Pt.2-PG15 07:00 A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song-PG 09:00 A Thousand Words-PG15 10:45 Real Steel-PG15 13:00 Marion Jones: Press PausePG15 14:00 We Bought A Zoo-PG 16:15 A Thousand Words-PG15 18:00 The Descendants-PG15 20:00 Phil Spector-PG15 22:00 Best Laid Plans-18


01:15 Princess Sydney: The Legend Of The Blue Rabbit 02:30 The Ugly Duckling In The Enchanted Forest 04:15 A Venetian Rascal Goes To America 06:00 Princess Sydney: The Legend Of The Blue Rabbit 07:45 Tom Tom & Nana 09:15 Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil 11:00 The Search For Santa Paws 12:45 Hugo

15:00 Cats Don’t Dance 16:30 Lady And The Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure 18:00 Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil 20:00 Wheelers 21:30 Hugo 23:45 Lady And The Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure

00:00 MSNBC Hardball With Chris Matthews 01:00 MSNBC Politicsnation 02:00 Live NBC Nightly News 02:30 ABC World News With Diane Sawyer 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 10:00 MSNBC Morning Joe 13:00 MSNBC Caught On Camera 14:00 Live NBC Saturday Today Show 16:00 MSNBC Up With Steve Kornacki 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 Live ABC 20/20 21:00 MSNBC Weekends With Alex Witt Saturday 23:00 MSNBC News

01:00 08:00 10:00 10:30 12:30 13:00 21:00 22:00

Test Cricket Top 14 Futbol Mundial Live NRL Premiership ICC Cricket 360 Live Test Cricket Trans World Sport Live PGA Tour

00:00 02:00 03:00 05:00 07:00 10:00 11:00 11:30 13:30 15:30 16:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00

WWE SmackDown WWE Bottom Line Super Rugby Super Rugby Live AFL Premiership Trans World Sport ICC Cricket 360 Live Super Rugby Live Super Rugby Futbol Mundial Trans World Sport Live Super Rugby Live Super Rugby Live Super Rugby NRL Premiership

02:30 05:00 06:00 07:00 10:30 11:00 12:00 12:30 14:30 19:30 20:00 20:45 22:45

AFL Premiership Trans World Sport Golfing World PGA Tour Total Rugby Trans World Sport NRL Full Time Live NRL Premiership Live PGA European Tour Total Rugby Futbol Mundial Live Super League Top 14

00:00 02:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 14:00 16:00 18:00 18:45 21:15 22:15 22:45

NHL Prizefighter NHL WWE SmackDown WWE Bottom Line WWE Vintage Collection Live AFL Premiership Live Super League WWE SmackDown Mobil 1 The Grid Live Pro 12 UFC Countdown Mobil 1 The Grid Live Super League



Aries (March 21-April 19) This is one of your overall best days. Your special qualifications and your creativity are more likely to put you ahead of the pack. Your analytical powers are superb and you enjoy looking for new avenues of inner growth. You receive the boost you need to stay in the routine that you currently enjoy. For now a change in the workplace is not forecasted and this allows you to play on the weekends. A comedy club or some other entertainment opportunity may be your favorite pastime—you are not as interested in watching the show as you are in being in the show. Your friends tend to be in show business and this is your way of being expressive. In your personal relationships this creative way of expression is a fun activity that you appreciate.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) You have more of an interest today in cultural or literary affairs regarding the spending of money than with just merely collecting material goods. You could be in a job that requires you to purchase products or approve of products. Whatever the case you will find your surroundings constantly changing and people are constantly requesting items or offering ideas. Surprisingly enough, all this feedback from the public makes your business as successful as it is. Keep up the good work and take some time to do a bit of traveling yourself instead of sending others out on expeditions. You will benefit from new country and new trends. At home this evening you may want to take a little time to interact with a new animal. You teach animals tricks in easy ways.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) Today is a good day for financial gains. This may mean that you purchase a product at a very good discount or . . . A raise is in the works. It is a good idea to work on all aspects of a project or plan to see where your energies can be best applied—you can be most helpful. Goodwill and compromise should be your first thought in any activity you do that is out of the ordinary. There is a dynamic and outgoing quality to your life style now but you need to be careful that you do not forget the essentials, like turning on your headlights or putting your keys in the proper place. Maternal instincts, whether you are male or female, may come into play today, making you put forth every effort to appease any discord that you discover; easy does it.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) Communicating to others is at a high just now and it is most important that you hear what is said properly. You will do well; you just need to get instructions or the needs of another correctly down in writing. Your timing should be perfect and those around you should find you most natural. This is a period of time in which you may feel the need to feel secure through others. If you are not visiting someone this afternoon, you may have a visitor. You find enjoyment from those around you—this is the opportunity to learn about the people you love and to share your story with others. A concert, an art museum or a nice restaurant party are all possibilities for this evening. Relationships are important, but if you take the shy approach, you could be missing out.

Leo (July 23-August 22) This time indicates great strides toward improvement in all areas of your life. However, you could be inclined to misapply your focus. There is a tendency just now to drain your energy, making you tired. There is privilege that comes with responsibility but too many things can certainly make one exhausted. Weigh your options, cycle your responsibilities and enjoy your family. If you were lost in the desert, or disgruntled with a loved one—you would be grateful to have someone who really needs you. You want to belong on a private, intimate, personal level: to be needed. Having friends is one of your greatest blessings and today a friend will give you encouragement. Happiness is a mindset. Spread a little happiness today.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) You may be asked to do an employee review and the outcome is most positive—a raise is in the works. This is a time when the desire for financial success is great—you want to help everyone and provide for everyone. What you must realize now is that if you can meet someone’s needs, you may find they still are lacking. If you are a teacher, you will begin to teach more thriftiness, goal setting, problem solving, budgeting and other important things to help people survive in a fastpaced world. Set your voice to song tonight. This is a time when your spirituality is aroused, making you more philosophical and compassionate. Ventures of a generous nature will be successful. You may find yourself helping at a soup kitchen, or some other volunteer service.

Libra (September 23-October 22) Emotional regeneration could be useful this friday as it could be difficult to get yourself motivated. If you have really been as busy as the energies indicate, you should not feel guilty about making this a more relaxed day. If you try to push your energies, you could feel any number of frustrations. This is a day to take stock in the life that is evolving around you. Look at ways in which you can make improvements and think about how to begin those changes soon. This afternoon can be filled with times of amusement and good interactions while visiting with the older generation in your family. The time you spend with the older generation is time well spent—you will gain insight into how things were, how they have changed and future needs.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) This morning may be the time of meetings in your office. All week you have worked on projects and now you make your presentations. If you are in sales, you could be coordinating a fashion show or some other type of convention to show your merchandise. There may be powers beyond your control that create changes in the presentation that you had not expected. Having been through several presentations, you are ready for the surprises but others may not be ready. Be helpful and higher-ups will notice. Failure to recognize the need for your expertise may create problems for you later. This period brings with it deep feelings of love and affection, especially for the friends in your life. People around you will respond favorably to this air of affection.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) You may be planning to start a new diet or some other personal improvement project and you put forth the effort that it takes to become organized and create a plan. Any health awareness routine is a plus for you. Some of your co-workers may want to join you in this endeavor and may have some good suggestions. Perhaps a meeting at lunch or after work would help the two or three of you to form a plan—good luck. Work ends on the upswing and stock market reports are good. This evening you grocery shop with a list and a purpose in mind. You could be feeling more like sharing some time with your lover, family or with close friends later this afternoon. You may show great pleasure in the creativeness of family members tonight.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) You have an inborn ability to see the positive side of life. Helping someone rearrange his or her office this morning is a project you may have wanted to do to your own office. You make plans for your office next week. You take delight in being helpful. Flexibility is important as you hurry through the afternoon to finish up some business before the end of your day. Demands on your time keep coming to your attention and you don’t mind at all. You enjoy a productive day and your family tends to follow your example. Community interest and family matters can be productive later today. A short trip may be in order this evening—perhaps to a distant restaurant or group meeting. Politics is in a family member’s future very soon.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) This day is an inspiring day. You will encourage others through a patient and empathetic way. It could be that you have volunteered to help in another department or area and are able to float into different job descriptions. You want everyone to experience the ability to solve problems and be enthusiastic so you will often move into the teacher type of role when asked. You may have organized a get-together with your own family for this evening so you hurry home to get everything put together and prepared. Off course, you will be enjoying the helpfulness of others before dinner. This can be a memorable time for everyone—it is good to see people together. A good conversation with those you love is enjoyed.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) Career choices may appear to be a bit challenging today. Stop and consider what you wanted as a profession and weigh the options of where you are at this time. You might do a little research that will help you find a different job or learn ways to try for an upgrade within the company for which you already are working. One of the best places to do research is at a nearby university. You may be able to gain information regarding your best talent or a few job-hunting strategies with tips and advice. You must not work all your life in a profession that is unsatisfying. Find your peace—act, refocus and merge in some positive upbeat pastimes. Lots of friendly conversation is just what everyone is ready to enjoy this evening—a pizza party may be the theme.

COUNTRY CODES 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 Republic 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 Somalia 00252 South Africa 0027 South Korea 0082 Spain 0034 Sri Lanka 0094 Sudan 00249 Suriname 00597 Swaziland 00268 Sweden 0046 Switzerland 0041 Syria 00963 Taiwan 00886 Tanzania 00255 Thailand 0066 Toga 00228 Tonga 00676 Tokelau 00690 Trinidad 001868 Tunisia 00216 Turkey 0090 Tuvalu 00688 Uganda 00256 Ukraine 00380 United Arab Emirates00976




ongratulations to Akmal and his wife on their wedding day! Best wishes from Chandini and dear ones from Kuwait and Syria.

Raghav Juyal show on June 7

Baklavia performs at KBS


uwait Bilingual School, Jahra presented its annual middle school production Baklavia on May 29, 2013. Parents as well as teachers enjoyed the hilarious comedy about some bakers forming their own country Baklavia to evade tax

from Greece. The play written by D M Larzon was directed by KBS English language teacher Cecilia. Selected students from grade 6 to 10 participated in the 1 hour play as actors and backstage helpers.


he Dancing Divas is organizing its 5th Annual Jubilation on the 7th of June 2013 at Cambridge School, Mangaf, between 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. The program will be attended by Raghav Juyal (Dance India Dance Fame) who will be judging the show as well as entertaining the audience with his dance performances. Another highlight of the show is the presence of Raja Sagoo (Comedy Circus Fame) who will be anchor for the event. Raghav will also be conducting a dance workshop on the 8th of June at the Salmiya Model School.

In defense of creative lit, at a time of globalization Poet Satchidanandan takes a critical look at the live-in-the-moment trend of our time By Sunil Cherian


t 67, Satchidanandan is fully alive and awake as ever. Traveling as part of lecturing, literary workshops and seminars is a normal routine for the Delhi-based poet and critic whose works have been translated into many Indian and foreign languages. Satchidanandan is in Kuwait to inaugurate Kerala Art Lovers’ Association (KALA) annual mother-tongue learning program, held yesterday at Indian Community School, Khaitan. He was all smiles when I met him though what he talked about was far away from happiness. Excerpts: Momentary literature Speed has overrun the generation of our time. Momentary contentment is everybody after, ‘shallowing’ the depth and foresight of the previous generations. Earlier, a profound, philosophical view on life was a necessity in writing. Today, such views are unwanted and unwelcome. Writers all over the world are bitten by the bug of celebrity-hood and easy ticket to money making. This is the characteristic of club culture where one writes not as a mission but as a holiday pastime to be the member of an elite club. No wonder why chic literature triumphs. Writing shrunk to the narration of daily life. Prey to market It is in the agenda of market philosophy to erase memories of consumers and make them happy in the now. India falls to the market agendas because of our greed as a developing nation. Market philosophy is affecting all phases of our life. Television media suffers from breaking

news syndrome where the channels break a news item without investigating the accuracy of a story. Print media, in competition with the emedia, follows suit. An error regretted becomes one-column news whereas the error was the lead of the day. Social networks Blog poets have ruined today’s poetry because they are a spoilt generation without having anyone to tell them what is worth. The club culture prevails here when someone applauds his friend in fear of being unfriended. It is in the urban culture to say everything is fantabulous. Anything and everything is likeable and the tribe of critics is extinct. Social networks did play a major role in spreading, for example, reaction campaigns against Delhi rape case where the government response was slow. The people movement was not ‘part of a middle class protest against the poor labor classes’ as Arundhati Roy said. The rape victim was not from the middle class background. I must say Delhi suffers from sexual poverty considering the many types of migrants there. New works I am doing a monthly column ‘Through My Window’ in Frontline by the Hindu group. The column is about sub-continental literature. Right now I am reading a novel ‘For Pepper and Christ’ by Keki N Daruwalla. My new book ‘Literature and Resistance’, a collection of essays will be released this month. The book talks about art and literature in the time of globalization, dalit writing, women writing, and world literature including the works of late Palestine poet Mahmoud Darwish.

health & science SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2013

Australia urges world to stand up to tobacco industry GENEVA: Australia yesterday urged governments around the globe to stand up to the tobacco industry, saying it was confident of victory in a new legal battle over its landmark plain packaging rules. “Big tobacco will stop at nothing to use every opportunity they can to intimidate countries to not take appropriate public health measures,” Jane Halton, Australia’s health minister, said in Geneva at a meeting marking World No Tobacco Day. Australia’s pioneering legislation, in force since December, aims to further cut smoking rates by requiring tobacco products to be sold in drab green boxes with the same typeface and graphic images of diseased smokers. Halton addressed a session of the World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday, as the UN agency seeks tougher global measures to rein in tobacco use, which claims six million lives a year. “Tobacco continues to cause enormous suffering and death which is totally avoidable,” she told participants. “We urge other nations to defy the tobacco industry.” New Zealand and Ireland are planning plain packaging rules, despite a tobacco industry-backed challenge to Australia’s law at the World Trade Organization by cigar-producers Cuba, Honduras and the Dominican Republic, plus Ukraine. The plaintiff countries maintain that Australia’s law breaches international trade rules and intellectual property rights to brands-arguments that failed to convince Australia’s High Court in a case brought by tobacco firms. “We have said very clearly, we are responsible members of the global community, we will turn up to the WTO and we will deal with the case appropriately and responsibly,” Halton said. “We are very confident. But yes, it’s another front that they’ve opened,” she added. The WHO is concerned that the industry is replenishing its customer pool via new ways of marketing-chiefly aimed at young

Sharks worth more for tourism than in soup OSLO: Sharks swimming free in the oceans may soon become more valuable as tourist attractions than when caught, sliced up and served in soup, a global study showed yesterday. It urged better protection for the fish, from Australia to the Caribbean, to reduce catches of an estimated 38 million a year to meet demand for shark fin soup, mainly in China. “We are hoping that people will recognize that sharks are not only valuable on the plate,” lead author Andres Cisneros-Montemayor of the University of British Columbia in Canada said. Shark-watching tourism generates about $314 million a year and is projected to surge to $780 million in the next 20 years, according to the study in the journal Oryx - The International Journal of Conservation. By contrast, the landed value of world shark fisheries is now $630 million a year and has been declining, according to the experts in Canada, the United States and Mexico. In recent years Palau, the Maldives, Honduras, Tokelau, The Bahamas, the Marshall Islands, the Cook Islands, French Polynesia and New Caledonia have created sanctuaries by banning commercial shark fishing. “Many countries have a significant financial incentive to conserve sharks and the places where they live,” said Jill Hepp, director of global shark conservation at the Pew Charitable Trusts which took part in the study. Pew urged more sanctuaries. — Reuters

No benefit from double dose of Tamiflu for flu

INDIA: Indian students from Ahmedabad Dental College along with police write messages on a huge cigarette model while participating in a Quit Tobacco Movement at the Gandhi Ashram on ‘World No Tobacco Day’ in Ahmedabad yesterday. — AFP consumers-despite measures in a 2005 treaty such as restrictions on billboards and TV ads. “The tobacco industry needs to attract new victims to replace those who die or manage to quit, just to maintain profits,” said Hans Troedsson, the WHO’s executive director. The WHO points to tactics includ-

ing selling branded clothing, productplacement in reality TV shows, and event sponsorship. “What’s the solution? A comprehensive ban on all advertising, promotion and sponsorship activities,” said Troedsson, adding that such rules drove down smoking rates in countries that enacted them. — AFP

PARIS: Tamiflu, the frontline treatment for influenza, offers no benefit for patients if it is administered in double the normal dose, a study conducted in Southeast Asia said on Thursday. Previous studies that found Tamiflu-lab name oseltamivir-is more effective if administered swiftly after infection, have prompted suggestions that patients would also do better if they are given a higher dose. Doctors at 13 hospitals in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam tested the idea on 326 patients with severe flu symptoms. Doubling the dose did not ease the duration of the illness, diminish virus levels or alter the risk of death compared with the standard dose, they reported in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). But there was no difference in side effects, either. Tests on the patients showed five strains of influenza. Most had seasonal flu or the 2009 pandemic H1N1 strain, but a small number (5.2 percent) had H5N1 “bird” flu, a highly dangerous type that causes death in nearly 60 percent of diagnosed cases. None had the H7N9 flu that has emerged this year in China. A total of 130 people have been infected and 37 died since the H7N9 outbreak started in February. — AFP

C-section OK for pregnant woman in El Salvador SAN SALVADOR: El Salvador’s government gave permission Thursday for doctors to perform a premature delivery for a seriously ill woman whose pregnancy attorneys say is putting her life at risk. The case of the 22-year-old woman known only as Beatriz has drawn international attention as she sought to end the pregnancy in a country with some of the strictest abortion laws in Latin America. The move by Health Minister Maria Isabel Rodriguez came a day after the Supreme Court ruled that Beatriz, who is six months pregnant, could not have an abortion even though she suffers from

lupus and kidney failure. Ultrasound images indicate that her fetus is developing with only a brain stem and is given no chance of surviving. Because the pregnancy is 26 weeks along, abortion laws are no longer at play, according to women’s groups who have supported her petition. Rather, the health ministry can determine what’s most medically sound for the mother versus the unborn baby. “She is in the hands of top-notch doctors,” Rodriguez said. “The medical team at the Maternity Hospital is ready to act immediately at the slightest sign of danger.” The Central

American country’s laws prohibit all abortions, even when a woman’s health is at risk, and the woman and any doctor who terminated her pregnancy would face arrest and criminal charges. The Health Department hasn’t given a day or time for when Beatriz will deliver the baby by cesarean section, said Morena Herrera, a member of the Feminist Collective for Local Development, an organization that has been supporting Beatriz. “She is going through all the medical exams to be ready for surgery,” Herrera said. The Supreme Court said physical and psychological exams

done on the woman by the government-run Institute of Legal Medicine found that her diseases are under control and she can continue the pregnancy. The judges voted 4-to-1 to reject the appeal by the woman’s lawyers, who argued that continuing with the pregnancy put her life at risk. The ruling brought widespread criticism, including a statement by Amnesty International calling the court decision “cruel and callous” and “a potential death sentence for Beatriz.” Abortion opponents said the case is being used to press for legalized abortion in El Salvador. —AP

health & science SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2013


Hospitals Sabah Hospital Amiri Hospital Maternity Hospital Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital Chest Hospital Farwaniya Hospital Adan Hospital Ibn Sina Hospital Al-Razi Hospital Physiotherapy Hospital


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Clinics Rabiya Rawdha Adailiya Khaldiya Khaifan Shamiya Shuwaikh Abdullah Salim Al-Nuzha Industrial Shuwaikh Al-Qadisiya Dasmah Bneid Al-Ghar Al-Shaab Al-Kibla Ayoun Al-Kibla Mirqab Sharq Salmiya Jabriya Maidan Hawally Bayan

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Sharing accommodation for only Indians, family or executive bachelors only, in Salmiya, Block - 12, AlMughera bin Shoba Street. Contact: 97202594. (C 4430) 30-5-2013 Fully furnished 2 bedroom, 2 bath, salah with satellite, internet, telephone, sea view closet, near Burger King, Blagat Street, from 01-6-2013 to 20-08-2013, rent KD 270. Contact: 50687350. 28-5-2013 FOR SALE Fully furnished flat for sale in Burj Behbehani building opposite to Salmiya Garden. Big hall, 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, big kitchen. Swimming pool, Gym facility, underground parking and round the clock security available. Contact: 50701181. (C 4432) 1-6-2013 Doctor owned cars - Toyota Yaris 2009 (hatchback) and Nissan Murano (2006), low mileage, going cheap and well maintained. Contact: 97202594. (C 4429) 30-5-2013 For sale Honda model 2001, gold color, good condition, price KD 750/-. Contact: 50952218. (C 4426) CHANGE OF NAME I, Murtaza Rehmat Ali Tamatiya, have changed my

name from Murtaza to Murtaza Rehmat Ali Tamatiya. (C 4431) 1-6-2013 I, Moidin Kunhi Badiyar Husan, S/o Husan Kunhi Urmene Moidin holder of Indian Passport No. F4932532 have changed my name to Mohammed Mohideen for all purposes. (C 4427) 26-5-2013

MATRIMONIAL Inviting proposals for daughter Dr. Pharmacy, Age 27, tall, smart, Kuwait working Muslim Pakistani family, from seasonable same status boys through parents. Contact: (C 4428) 30-5-2013


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information SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2013



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Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (

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Word Search

Yesterdayʼs Solution

C R O S S W O R D 2 0 7

ACROSS 1. Any of a number of fishes of the family Carangidae. 5. A large building at an airport where aircraft can be stored and maintained. 11. An Egyptian descended from the ancient Egyptians. 15. Kamarupan languages spoken in northeastern India and western Burma. 16. A river that rises in northern Colombia and flows generally eastward to the Orinoco in central Venezuela. 17. United States tennis player who was the first Black to win United States and English singles championships (1943-1993). 18. A Kwa language spoken in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. 19. Wood of any of various maple trees. 20. An ancient city in Asia Minor that was the site of the Trojan War. 21. A brittle gray crystalline element that is a semiconducting metalloid (resembling silicon) used in transistors. 22. The branch of computer science that deal with writing computer programs that can solve problems creatively. 24. An association of people to promote the welfare of senior citizens. 25. Wife or mistress of Zeus and mother of Apollo and Artemis in ancient mythology. 30. A cloth used as a head covering (and veil and shawl) by Muslim and Hindu women. 32. A software system that facilitates the creation and maintenance and use of an electronic database. 33. An ugly evil-looking old woman. 34. A hospital unit staffed and equipped to provide intensive care. 39. A particular geographical region of indefinite boundary (usually serving some special purpose or distinguished by its people or culture or geography). 42. Any of various plants of the genus Sabbatia having usually pink cymose flowers. 46. The capital and largest city of Kenya. 48. A short respite. 49. The father of your father or mother. 50. Having few if any teeth. 51. The branch of engineering science that studies the uses of electricity and the equipment for power generation and distribution and the control of machines and communication. 52. That is to say. 53. An acute but unspecific feeling of anxiety. 55. Toward the mouth or oral region. 57. An official prosecutor for a judicial district. 58. A radioactive element of the alkali-metal group discovered as a disintegration product of actinium. 59. (Greek mythology) Goddess of the earth and mother of Cronus and the Titans in ancient mythology. 62. South African term for `boss'. 66. (Babylonian) God of wisdom and agriculture and patron of scribes and schools. 70. A digital display that uses liquid crystal cells that change reflectivity in an applied electric field. 74. The act of slowing down or falling behind. 75. Black tropical American cuckoo. 76. A nonmetallic univalent element. 77. United States liquid unit equal to 4 quarts or 3.785 liters. 78. The last (12th) month of the year. 79. A member of a military unit trained as shock troops for hit-and-run raids. 80. American prizefighter who won the world heavyweight championship three times (born in 1942).

Daily Sudoku

DOWN 1. An unforeseen obstacle. 2. A block of solid substance (such as soap or wax). 3. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 4. Large tropical butterfly with degenerate forelegs and an unpleasant taste. 5. Thigh of a hog (usually smoked). 6. A constellation in the southern hemisphere near Telescopium and Norma. 7. Plant with an elongated head of broad stalked leaves resembling celery. 8. A Russian prison camp for political prisoners. 9. Type genus of the Aceraceae. 10. An intensely radioactive metallic element that occurs in minute amounts in uranium ores. 11. Greek coloratura soprano (born in the United States) known for her dramatic intensity in operatic roles (1923-1977). 12. Flexible twig of a willow tree. 13. A picture of a person or scene in the form of a print or transparent slide. 14. A projection at the end of a piece of wood that is shaped to fit into a mortise and form a mortise joint. 23. One of the five major classes of immunoglobulins. 26. Small genus of Asian evergreen trees having columnar crowns and distinguished by leaves lacking a midrib. 27. (astronomy) The angular distance of a celestial point measured westward along the celestial equator from the zenith crossing. 28. Island in West Indies. 29. Pertaining to or resembling amoebae. 31. The capital and largest city of Zimbabwe. 35. A member of a Turkic people of Uzbekistan and neighboring areas. 36. Essential oil or perfume obtained from flowers. 37. A representation of the Virgin Mary mourning over the dead body of Jesus. 38. Worn or shabby from overuse or (of pages) from having corners turned down. 40. Used especially in treating bruises. 41. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 43. Acute lung injury characterized by coughing and rales. 44. Biennial Eurasian plant usually having a swollen edible root. 45. Acknowledge a new land owner as one's landlord, of tenants. 47. A European river. 54. Small tree of dry open parts of southern Africa having erect angled branches suggesting candelabra. 56. Of or relating the the Vedas or to the ancient Sanskrit in which they were written. 60. An inflammatory disease involving the sebaceous glands of the skin. 61. An indication of radiant light drawn around the head of a saint. 63. A sensation (as of a cold breeze or bright light) that precedes the onset of certain disorders such as a migraine attack or epileptic seizure. 64. The seventh month of the Hindu calendar. 65. A loose material consisting of grains of rock or coral. 67. Primitive chlorophyll-containing mainly aquatic eukaryotic organisms lacking true stems and roots and leaves. 68. Any of numerous local fertility and nature deities worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples. 69. Large sweet juicy hybrid between tangerine and grapefruit having a thick wrinkled skin. 71. A fluorocarbon with chlorine. 72. Beyond or deviating from the usual or expected. 73. A zodiacal constellation in northern hemisphere between Cancer and Virgo.

Yesterdayʼs Solution

Yesterday’s Solution



Don’t believe hype, Djokovic warns Dimitrov PARIS: Grigor Dimitrov has the superstar girlfriend in Maria Sharapova, and a precocious career which is expected to be meteoric, but Novak Djokovic has warned him to be wary of the pitfalls. World number one Djokovic and 22year-old Dimitrov meet in a mouthwatering French Open clash yesterday, just weeks after the Bulgarian stunned the Serb in Madrid. The stakes are a lot higher this time round with Djokovic chasing a first French Open title to become only the eighth man to complete a career Grand Slam. Dimitrov, meanwhile, who has spent his formative years shaking off comparisons to Roger Federer, will be playing in the last-32 of a major for the first time.

“He’s still young and he has definitely potential to be one of the top players, but it’s a very long way for him,” said Djokovic. “A few tournaments don’t change much.” Dimitrov has been longtouted as a Grand Slam title winner in the making, but his progress was stunted by the huge expectations on him. A former Wimbledon and US Open junior champion, he broke into the top 100 in January 2011. But it wasn’t until almost two years later that he made the top 50. Now working with Swedish coach Mikael Tillstrom, Dimitrov has worked on his physical fitness and reached his first final at Brisbane in January where he lost to Andy Murray. He is one of a host of names-along with

Past 4 Stanley Cup winners face off CHICAGO: For only the second time in National Hockey League history, the past four Stanley Cup champions have advanced to the best-of-seven NHL playoff semi-finals, which begin with two games today. Defending champion Los Angeles, the surprise packet for the second year in a row, will open at Chicago in the Western Conference final while the Pittsburgh Penguins will entertain the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference final. Not since 1945 have the previous four Cup champions booked semi-final spots and back then the league had only six clubs. Boston won the 2011 crown, the first Stanley Cup for the Bruins since 1972, while Chicago took the 2010 title, the first for the Blackhawks since 1961, and Pittsburgh hoisted the trophy in 2009, the Penguins’ first since 1992. Los Angeles had never won the Stanley Cup until last year, when the Kings were the last team to qualify for the playoffs but charged to their first crown behind goaltender Jonathan Quick, who is on a roll again this year. Quick, who underwent back surgery after winning the playoffs Most Valuable Player award in last year’s title run, went 18-13 with four drawn and a 2.45 goalsagainst average and has the Kings halfway to a title repeat. “We’re only halfway up the mountain,” said Quick, whose Kings could be the first back-to-back Stanley Cup winners since Detroit in 1997 and 1998. Chicago will counter with netminder Corey Crawford, who went 19-5-5 with a 1.94 goals-against average and a 92.6 save percentage. The Kings will have only three days of rest after outlasting San Jose in a seven-game secondround series but the Blackhawks, who matched Pittsburgh with an NHL-best 36 wins this season, will have only two days after being taken to the limit by Detroit. The Blackhawks spoiled the Kings’ Cup-banner ceremony by winning their season opener in January at Los Angeles and Chicago split two home games against the Kings in the regular season. Chicago captain Jonathan Toews and star playmaker Patrick Kane each netted 23 goals for the Blackhawks this season while Marian Hossa has added 17. Jeff Carter’s 26 goals pace the Kings with Anze Kopitar a key set-up man. In the East, Pittsburgh has made its deepest playoff surge since the 2009 title run after leading the NHL this season with 3.38 goals a game and having the best power-play success rate in the playoffs at 28.3 percent. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Pascal Dupuis and James Neal provide firepower for the Penguins, but their title bid did not take hold until Coach Dan Bylsma replaced Marc-Andre Fleury with 36-year-old Czech goaltender Tomas Vokoun. Vokoun is 6-1 with a 1.85 goals against average and a 94.1 save percentage since coming into the starting lineup in the first round. Another veteran coming through for Pittsburgh is Jarome Iginla, obtained in a trade with Calgary. The two-time Canadian Olympic gold medalist has four goals in the playoffs for the Penguins. Boston is backstopped by Finland’s Tuukka Rask, who is 8-4 in the playoffs with a 2.22 goals-against average and a 92.8 save percentage. Czech 41-year-old legend Jaromir Jagr, who led the Penguins to Stanley Cup titles in 1991 and 1992, now plays for the Bruins. The right wing was snagged by the Bruins after the Penguins landed Iginla. “He doesn’t need to be the Jagr of 20 years ago or 15 years ago,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “He needs to be the Jags that we have right now.” Jagr has not produced a goal or assist in the playoffs, with the Bruins’ top line handling most of the offensive duty, sparked by five goals each from David Krejci and Nathan Horton.— AFP

the likes of Milos Raonic and Jerzy Jancowicz-mentioned as the natural heirs to the likes of Djokovic, Federer, Murray and Rafael Nadal who he pushed to three sets in the Monte Carlo quarterfinals. “It’s much more competitive and more difficult for the younger players to make a breakthrough than six, seven, eight years ago when I was coming up,” added Djokovic. “So the game evolves like everything in life, and it just gets harder and harder. “I remember when I was coming up on the tour I didn’t see as much professionalism from some lower-ranked players in terms of daily routines, what they eat and drink and how many hours they sleep, recover, this and that.” Dimitrov, who is seeded

26 at the French Open, has reached the third round untroubled. His first round opponent, Alejandro Falla, retired after the first set with an injury before he breezed past Lucas Pouille, the world number 324. Djokovic has been a straight-sets winner over David Goffin and then Guido Pella, losing just four games in that second round clash. “I didn’t have so many sets to fight on and in a way that gives you an extra boost in your level of energy coming into the match,” said Dimitrov. “Anything can happen in the match. I’m playing against the number one player. It’s a pleasure but also you have to do everything from yourself and do the best thing you can.”— AFP

Lackluster Nadal labels Open schedule ‘a joke’ PARIS: Defending champion Rafa Nadal labeled the French Open schedule “a joke” and revealed he had struggled to motivate himself after reaching the third round with an unconvincing victory over Slovakian Martin Klizan yesterday. Nadal, seeking his eighth Roland Garros title, looked ill at ease against fellow left-hander Klizan before securing a 4-6 6-3 6-3 63 on a cool, blustery day in Paris. The 26year-old had not struck a ball in anger since struggling past Germany’s Daniel Brands on Monday and seemed rusty as he initially allowed the powerful Klizan to dictate the baseline exchanges. He eventually found enough gears to avoid any real alarms but later said he was unhappy about falling a round behind his main rivals for the title because of Thursday’s rain which meant his clash with Klizan was postponed. “Yesterday I just warmed up for half an hour, so I’ve not played much tennis during three days,” Nadal, who will now have to play a rested Fabio Fognini today, told reporters. “I think everybody knows in this room that the schedule of yesterday was wrong.” Nadal’s main gripe was that the tournament’s schedulers put him down for the last match on Suzanne Lenglen court on Thursday, after a women’s singles and men’s singles, while Fognini only had to wait for a very quick women’s match to finish. Fognini polished off Lukas Rosol on Thursday while Nadal was left kicking his heels and the Spaniard faces a heavier schedule than his rivals if he is to retain his title. “I cannot play third after men’s and girls when our possible opponent plays second after girls. That’s not fair,” he said. “Today I was playing almost three hours on court, and my opponent was watching the TV in the locker room. “I can only smile and try to win my match and try to be ready for tomorrow. But that’s not the right thing and I hope they accept the mistake. “The excuse they told me was because Rosol had to play doubles. I am sorry, but that’s a joke. “Why do you want to protect the player who has to play doubles? So I’m going to write myself on the doubles draw then and I have the priority to play?” HEAVY HITTING Klizan, ranked 35th in the world, had

obviously taken a leaf out of the German Brands’s book with some heavy hitting from the baseline to unsettle Nadal who was strangely subdued early on. “I don’t think there was enough intensity, so it was rather predictable that the first set should go that way,” Nadal said. “I simply had to add intensity, increase my level of game, my attitude, and I found the motivation. In the first set I simply was not motivated enough.” A dreadful airy dropshot by Nadal in the seventh game was punished as Klizan earned the first break of the match and then he took his chance emphatically, serving out the set with the help of a booming second serve ace.

Nadal surged 4-0 ahead in the second but 23-year-old Klizan remained a threat and recovered one of the breaks of serve. Third seed Nadal took the second set and moved a break ahead in the third but wobbled at 3-2 when Klizan earned two break points, only to squander his chance to draw level. Klizan’s challenge faded and Nadal, without looking totally convincing and carelessly dropping serve late in the fourth set, secured a clash with Fognini. “He’s a very serious player. He’s already won matches. He’s confident,” he said. “I’m going to try and play better than I played today. I think I have to deliver a top performance.”— Reuters

PARIS: Spain’s Rafael Nadal serves to Slovakia’s Martin Klizan during their French Tennis Open match at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris yesterday. — AFP



Lions seek hot tour start against Barbarians Crusaders edge Waratahs in Super Rugby’s playoffs CHRISTCHURCH: The New South Wales Waratahs’ chances of reaching Super Rugby’s playoffs died meekly yesterday when replacement flyhalf Berrick Barnes missed a last-minute penalty, giving the Crusaders a 23-22 win which kept their fragile playoffs hopes alive. Barnes had the chance to save the match and possibly the season for the Waratahs when he lined up the final kick from less than 30 meters and near the left-hand touch. But his hurried kick sliced across the face of the posts as the final whistle sounded and the Christchurch-based Crusaders held on to a win which may have locked in a top six place for another week. All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter had given the Crusaders their first lead of the match, at 23-22, with a penalty in the 73rd minute, capping their rally from 2210 down immediately after halftime. How the Crusaders managed to win the match in which they trailed for all but the last seven minutes was something even they struggled to explain. Brilliant first-half tries to wingers Cam Crawford and Peter Betham gave the Waratahs a 15-10 lead at halftime and a third try, to flyhalf Bernard Foley four minutes into the second half, made the lead 22-10 and put the visitors well on top. The Waratahs had beaten the Crusaders only four times in 19 previous meetings and only once before on their home ground at Christchurch. Barnes was quoted in the leadup to the match as saying he would value a win over the Crusaders in Christchurch as highly as any of the successes of his test career. He had it in his power to award that victory to his side but his misdirected late penalty saw the chance snatched away. The Waratahs entered the match in eighth place on the championship ladder, with seven wins and seven losses, and as that record tilted into negative territory, their playoffs bid subsided. The Crusaders kept theirs alive but only just. They produced another of the sub-standard performances which have resulted in recent losses to the Chiefs and the Western Force and remain 10 points behind the Hamilton-based Chiefs in the New Zealand conference. Their second-half rally to grab the lead was more surreptitious than spectacular. They closed the gap significantly with a contentious try to flanker Matt Todd in the 61st minute then stuttered into the lead with a conversion and two penalties to Carter. Carter, who finished with 13 points, hasn’t been the Crusaders preferred goalkicker in recent matches, handing that responsibility to Tom Taylor. He took back the kicking role yesterday, probably to prepare himself for the All Blacks’ test series against France which starts next weekend. The Waratahs forced a long series of scrums close to the Crusaders line in the last five minutes and finally succeeded in winning a penalty from a collapse. Their spirits briefly rose, then sank when Barnes was unable to find the posts. “We came here with the right attitude but we were obviously one kick short,” Waratahs captain Dave Dennis said. The tide of the match may have changed when Waratahs coach Michael Cheika subbed both his halves in the 57th minute, replacing scrumhalf Brendan McKibbin, who had kicked two conversions and a penalty, and Foley, who had scored a try. The Crusaders almost immediately began to gain more field position. —AP

HONG KONG: British and Irish Lions players stretch during a training session in Hong Kong yesterday. The starstudded British and Irish Lions will play against the Barbarians in Hong Kong today for their first Asian tour match in their 125-year history. — AFP HONG KONG: The British and Irish Lions will look to set the tone for their threeTest tour of Australia by registering a convincing win against the Barbarians in sweltering Hong Kong today. The Lions, playing in Asia for the first time in their 125-year history, have handed responsibility for the curtain-raiser to 17 debutants in the match-day squad, with captain Sam Warburton among three players out injured. But the line-up, picked mainly from those not in club action last week, also gives fringe players a chance to stake a claim for the Australia Tests by impressing against a Barbarians team brimming with international talent. Veteran Irish lock Paul O’Connell leads the Lions after unlucky tour skipper Warburton was sidelined with a knee ligament injuryalthough that may yet prove a good omen. Lions captain Martin Johnson missed the first two matches in South Africa in 1997, but he went on to lead the combined English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish side to a Test series victory, an achievement not repeated since. Unfortunately for flanker Warburton, whereas secondrow giant Johnson had no rivals for his place in the Test side, this Lions squad is overflowing with back-row talent.

Justin Tipuric, another Welsh flanker, will wear Warburton’s number seven shirt and aim to put down an early marker for Test selection after a season in which he was regarded as having regularly outshone his national captain. It could all leave head coach Warren Gatland with a selection headache when Warburton returns to fitness, probably after the next two matches against Super 15 sides Western Force on Wednesday and Queensland Reds on Saturday. Nine Welshmen have been selected in the inexperienced side, with 11 new Lions caps among the 15 who will start at Hong Kong Stadium in expected heat of 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) and 80 percent humidity, despite the 7:30 pm (1130 GMT) kick-off. The back row, even without Warburton, remains fully Welsh, with Tipuric and Dan Lydiate joined by fellow Lions debutant Toby Faletau at number eight. The Barbarians, for their part, are still smarting from a 40-12 hammering by England last Sunday and are so determined to put up a better show that they have broken with a long-held tradition and attempted to ban alcohol. They even eschewed a sponsor’s offer of free beer during a “meet the fans” evening at an Irish pub this week, according to man-

ager Derek Quinnell. “I think (Carlsberg) were under the under the impression that a few pints would be sunk, but about 90 percent of the squad were on diet Coke,” Quinnell told reporters. What the other 10 percent were drinking he did not reveal, although some at least switched to wine after players tweeted pictures of themselves with glasses of red and white at Happy Valley racecourse on Wednesday night. That said, with no-nonsense Sergio Parisse, probably the best number eight in the world, taking the armband, the Baa-Baas look to have transplanted a backbone into the spineless side that surrendered so meekly at Twickenham. The Italian skipper has a powerhouse front row ahead of him with countryman Martin Castrogiovanni, Springbok hooker Shalk Brits and Welshman Paul James manning the engine room. Add mercurial French scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili and All Black outside-half Nick Evans, and explosive New Zealand wing Joe Rokocoko, and it seems the Lions will face a rigorous workout before the trip to Australia. The 37-man Lions squad fly out tomorrow. They will play tour games in Perth, Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney and Canberra before the first Test on June 22.— AFP

Water breaks, fans, ice jackets for Lions opener HONG KONG: Water breaks, pitchside fans and ice jackets will help keep the British and Irish Lions cool against the Barbarians on what is set to be in Hong Kong’s hottest day this year, officials said yesterday. The four water timeouts, unique in Lions history, will help players stay hydrated in the expected 30C-plus (86F) temperatures and humidity of up to 90 percent, despite today’s 7:30 pm (1130 GMT) kick-off at Hong Kong Stadium. The unprecedented move has been

agreed between the teams’ medical staff and match officials, with a Lions spokesman telling AFP the breaks were within International Rugby Board (IRB) guidelines for playing in extreme weather. A day ahead of the tour opener, the Lions’ first ever game in Asia, the Hong Kong government issued a “very hot weather warning” as the afternoon mercury rose in excess of 33C, with similar expected today. Hong Kong Stadium sits in a sheltered, often windless, valley and given the

steamy conditions the measures have been imposed on health and safety grounds to prevent the players losing too much fluid and to combat heat exhaustion. The match action will be halted for a short time in the 15th, 30th, 55th and 70th minutes to allow the players to take on water and electrolytes. Lions defense coach Andy Farrell told reporters there would also be cooling fans at the side of pitch and “ice jackets” available for the players to wear at halftime and after the match to cool their core

body temperatures. Despite the meticulous precautions, Farrell said that the players would cope easily with the Asian summer climate as they were “in brilliant nick”. “We’ve coped really well with the conditions in training, in the morning and afternoon when it’s been really hot, so it won’t be a problem tomorrow,” said Farrell. “It’s just common sense in this heat and humidity to do the right thing. The water breaks will be fast. “They’ve got ice vests that they can use. —AFP



Euro Cup win ‘will not’ damped Toulon desire PARIS: Toulon coach Bernard Laporte insists Toulon’s European Cup success two weeks ago has done nothing to reduce his players’ determination to add the French Top 14 title to their trophy room this weekend. Favorites Toulon tackle surprise finalists Castres at the Stade de France today aiming to become the first French team since Toulouse in the inaugural European Cup season to complete the double of French and European honors. Having upset Clermont to win the European Cup two weeks ago and then seen outsiders Castres stun Clermont in the Top 14 semi-finals a week ago, Toulon are expected to romp to a second trophy today. Yet former France coach Laporte insists his side won’t be taking Castres lightly. “I see the group evolving as it’s always evolved, with a lot of humility, a lot of seriousness and a lot of camaraderie,” said Laporte. “And that’s not a word that’s just bandied about, these guys are buddies. “It’s obvious, I’ve

never felt otherwise, apart from once or twice, such as at Bordeaux (when Toulon were thrashed 41-0 by the minnows in February). “The rest of the time, when they had to win games, I’ve always felt this desire to give everything for each other. There are no morons in this team.” However, despite his insistence that Toulon will be fully concentrated in Paris, Laporte could not deny that the southern club have already attained their major objective for the seasona first ever European title. Asked if it was more important to win the Top 14 title for the first time since 1992, Laporte found the idea laughable. “It would be ridiculous to say that. There is an order of things. When you are European champions, you are champions of ... Europe!” he said. “But then, culturally... When I was born there was only the Brennus (the French title) but I’m not convinced that for the foreigners who come here that they’ve got that culture.”

While foreign players may dream more of European glory than domestic success, for Castres, winning any trophy would be an exploit in itself. Although they succeeded Toulon as French champions in 1993, thus matching their rivals’ achievement of three French crowns, they do not have the same financial backing as Toulon. So much so that coaching tandem Laurent Labit and Laurent Travers have been tempted away by big-spending Parisians Racing Metro for next season. Yet Labit says that Castres can upset the applecart in their last match in charge. “I don’t think they (Toulon) have any weak points but, as we often say, anything can happen in a one-off match,” said Labit. “We have to replicate the match we produced last week (against Clermont) in the strategy we want to adopt, in our commitment, in our spirit, and hope that Toulon play a little less well given it will be a third top level match in a row without changing around their team much.”—AFP

Schwartzel in control; McIlroy battles to 78 Woods opens with a 71; Teenager Guan with a 72 DUBLIN: While Rory McIlroy suffered a nightmare start, South African Charl Schwartzel regained welcome form with his putter to charge into a one-shot lead in Thursday’s opening round at the Memorial Tournament. Former Masters champion Schwartzel changed his putting grip after just four holes at a sun-drenched Muirfield Village Golf Club, the move reaping instant reward as he went on to fire a sizzling seven-under-par 65. Long-hitting American Scott Piercy mixed eight birdies with two bogeys to card a 66 but world number two McIlroy, seeking his first victory of the year, battled to a 78 that included a four-putt for an ugly double-bogey at the par-three 12th. Top-ranked Tiger Woods, a fivetimes winner of the elite PGA Tour event hosted by Jack Nicklaus, launched his title defence with a 71 on a muggy afternoon at Muirfield Village where the slick greens became tougher and bumpier for the late starters. Schwartzel, who missed the cut at last week’s Crowne Plaza Invitational, was delighted to regain form on the greens as he piled up 10 birdies, one bogey and a surprising double-bogey at the par-three eighth to take early control of the tournament. “The birdie on the last definitely will make my evening a lot better,” the 28-year-old South African told reporters after ending his round by sinking a curling 12footer at the par-four ninth. “I felt like I played really well, sort of ticking the ball over and got it to eight under,” he said of his position with two holes remaining before he sliced his tee shot into the right greenside bunker at the eighth. “Just had a bad one on No 8, made a double. And that was the very worst I played all day. Today was one of those rounds where I really did flush it.” Schwartzel decided to change his putting grip after three-putting from just six feet to bogey the par-four 13th, and he promptly birdied the next four holes. “I flushed it for the first four holes and two-putted for birdie on 11,” he said. “And hit it close on 13, looked like I was going to go two under and I made bogey. “But I went to the next hole, changed the grip and they (the putts) started pouring in. So it worked.” TRICKY DAY Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, was one of only 12 players in the 120-strong field who dipped under 70 on a tricky day for scoring in hot, breezy conditions. While Schwartzel and a few others flourished on the challenging Nicklaus-designed layout, McIlroy huffed and puffed as he plummeted toward the bottom of the leaderboard after repeatedly leaking shots to the right. “That’s sort of been my big miss all of this year,” McIlroy said after a round that included two birdies, six bogeys and his expensive double at the 12th. “It cost me today, obviously. I hit a few shots, especially around the front nine, in the water and stuff. Yeah, it was just a bit of a struggle out there.” McIlroy, whose best finish on the 2013 PGA Tour was a runner-up spot at last month’s Texas Open, missed the cut at last year’s Memorial Tournament and knows what he needs to do in Friday’s second round if he is to avoid a repeat. “I need to shoot something like 66 or 65 to probably make the weekend,” said the 24-yearold Northern Irishman, a six-times winner on the US circuit who already has two major victories to his name.

OHIO: Charl Schwartzel of South Africa hits his second shot on the par 4 13th hole during the first round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio. — AFP “That will be the target tomorrow, try to shoot the lowest score possible and see what happens.” Woods, who has triumphed four times in just seven starts on the 2013 PGA Tour, rued poor putting on increasingly crusty greens as he mixed five birdies with four bogeys. “It was probably the highest score I could have shot today,” said the world number one, who clinched last year’s title by two shots. “I didn’t make much. Hopefully tomorrow I can make a few more putts.—Reuters

Ace goal-kicker Steyn set for Springbok recall JOHANNESBURG: Morne Steyn is set for a Springbok recall when the squad is named today for a June quadrangular series with Italy, Samoa and Scotland. The 28-year-old Northern Bulls fly-half is back to his goal-kicking best, topping the Super 15 scoring charts going into the weekend with 181 points from 12 games. That 15-points-a-match average has pushed him 18 points clear of closest challenger but currently injured Waikato Chiefs full-back Gareth Anscombe. It has also left Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer with little choice but to call up the unassuming, soft-spoken Cape Town-born star with the deadly right foot. Coastal Sharks playmaker Patrick Lambie, who took over the No.10 green and gold jersey when Steyn lost his goalkicking touch last season, has struggled lately. The Lambie slump could be partly explained by having to operate behind a Sharks pack unable to dominate many Super 15 matches, with the 2012 runners-up languishing in the lower half of the table. It has been largely the opposite situation for Steyn with a Springbok-saturated Bulls pack getting to grips with life after the departure last year of lock legends Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha. While Lambie is younger and more inventive with ball in hand, Steyn is the form fly-half in a less competitive contest than last season when Johan Goosen and Elton Jantjies were serious challengers. Central Cheetah Goosen suffered a longterm injury while training for a Super 15 match and Jantjies has been erratic since a temporary move from relegated Golden Lions to Western Stormers. Lambie and Steyn could feature in the starting line-up against Italy on June 8 in Indian Ocean city Durban as the former is also a candidate for full-back with incumbent Zane Kirchner battling to regain fitness. Scrum-half is another intriguing position as Meyer wrestles with the choice of sticking with Ruan Pienaar from Ulster, recalling barely-fit Francols Hougaard, or giving fellow Bull Jano Vermaak a chance? The Springboks last played seven months ago, pipping England 16-15 in a Twickenham thriller, and wing JP Pietersen and No.8 Duane Vermeulen from the starting line-up are out of the June Tests through injury. Meyer has not declared his hand on whether overseas-based stars will be considered-he began with Pienaar, Toulouse prop Gurthro Steenkamp and Bath flanker Francois Louw against England. The local alternate to Louw is Cheetah Heinrich Brussow, a loose-play ‘scavenger’ adored by many South African supporters, but Meyer insists he concedes too many penalties. Bulls skipper Pierre Spies is the obvious replacement for Vermeulen and superb ball-carrier Willem Alberts should be among the loose trio if he can stay fit with Bull Arno Botha a possible stand-in. Sharks props Tendai ‘The Beast’ Mtawarira and Jannie du Plessis and Cheetahs hooker Adriaan Strauss are likely to retain their places, as are locks Eben Etzebeth and Juandre Kruger.—AFP



Wrestling’s shortlist return was no error: IOC president ST PETERSBURG: A shock International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision to remove wrestling from the 2020 Olympic Games program and then include it in a shortlist of sports for those Games was no mistake, IOC president Jacques Rogge said yesterday. Wrestling was taken off the program in February in a move that stunned the sporting world but it managed to join baseball/softball and squash this week as one of three sports that will be considered for inclusion in the 2020 Games. The IOC will elect the winning sport at its session in Buenos Aires in September. “I do not see shortcomings in the system, I do not see errors in the system,” Rogge told reporters at the end of a three-day executive board meeting. The IOC set out to revamp the Games program to make it more relevant to a younger generation of fans and sponsors but, with wrestling back as a candidate for inclusion, the pro-

cedure has been heavily criticized for having achieved little change. “We do not want change for change,” Rogge said. “The purpose is to have the best possible Olympic Games.” Rogge, whose 12-year stint at the helm of the IOC comes to an end in September, said the body had been adding sports to the program for decades before deciding to cap the number at 28. “When I was elected (in 2001) we were at the end of a period where sports were only added - from 20 (sports) at the Seoul Games in 1988 to 28 in Sydney in 2000. OLYMPIC CHANGE “There was a need to put a cap on the size of the Games but we felt we could not freeze the program and we needed change.” Rogge said the IOC’s decision in February to exclude wrestling, which had been in every Games since 1896 apart from 1900,

was right as it prompted immediate changes within the federation and the sport. He shrugged off suggestions that a return of wrestling to the Games at the IOC session in Buenos Aires would defeat the purpose of the exercise. “If there is the consideration that one sport is better than the other it should be chosen even if it is an existing sport,” said the Belgian surgeon. “Do not bring a new one in for the sake of a new one.” IOC Vice-President Thomas Bach, seen as a frontrunner to succeed Rogge, said wrestling had got the message and shaped up just in time. The sport made changes in rules and competitions and in its organization and took action on gender equality. “Wrestling gave a very good presentation, you could clearly see they got the message,” Bach, one of six presidential hopefuls, said. “They took the right decisions. Sometimes for great reforms you need pressure.”— Reuters

Athletics Preview

James, Merritt to renew 400m rivalry in Eugene EUGENE: Olympic champion Kirani James will try to build on his sizzling Shanghai performance when he leads a talent-loaded 400m field today at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League athletics meeting. James, who became Grenada’s first Olympic medalist in any sport when he won the 400m gold in London last year, clocked the best time in the world this year of 44.02sec at the IAAF Diamond League stop in Shanghai on May 18. In Shanghai, he got the better of 2008 Olympic gold medallist LaShawn Merritt, leaving the American out for revenge on home soil. Merritt, who has struggled back from a doping ban disgrace, didn’t contend in London, where he was injured in the heats. He’ll get a chance to test himself against the top five finishers from London: James, silver medallist Luguelin Santos of Dominican Republic, bronze medallist Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago, veteran Chris Brown of the Bahamas and Belgium’s Kevin Borlee. Although the 34-year-old Brown was shut out of the medals in the individual race, he led the Bahamas to 4x400m relay gold in London. The field also features a further transatlantic threat in the form of European champion Pavel Maslak of the Czech Republic. The Prefontaine, the fourth of 14 stops in the IAAF’s elite Diamond League series, opens Friday night with a slate of distance events. Britain’s Mo Farah, the 5,000 and 10,000 Olympic gold medallist who trains in nearby Portland, made a lastminute switch from the 10,000m to the 5,000m, joining American training partner Galen Rupp in a field that also includes London bronze medallist Thomas Longosiwa. The 10,000m features world record-holder Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia and his younger brother Tariku-who held off his star sibling for bronze in London. Jamaica’s world indoors silver medallist Nesta Carter heads a men’s 100m field that also features Olympic bronze medallist Justin Gatlin. Gatlin is undefeated over 100m this year, with victories in Doha and Beijing. Both he and Carter have dipped under 10 seconds at the distance this season, which will be highlighted by the World Championships in Mowcow August 10-18. The women’s 100m promises an explosive race with a field headed by Olympic gold medallist ShellyAnn Fraser-Pryce, world champion Carmelita Jeter, 200m world champion Veronica Campbell-Brown and 200m Olympic champion Allyson Felix. The women’s 400m, like the men’s, will feature all three of the 2010 Olympic medallists, led by London champion Sanya Richards-Ross. Richards-Ross will make her season debut after a late withdrawal from the Diamond League meeting in New York today as she continued to recover from toe surgery. —AFP

MIAMI: Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson (1) and Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) attempt to grab a loose ball during the first half of Game 5 in the NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference finals on Thursday, May 30, 2013. — AP

Defending champions take 3-2 series lead inspired James leads Miami to victory MIAMI: A blistering third quarter from LeBron James helped the Miami Heat to a 90-79 win over the Indiana Pacers on Thursday that moved the defending NBA champions into a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference finals. A misfiring Miami were trailing 44-40 at halftime and were fortunate to be so close, but James turned on the style in the third quarter when the Heat dominated Indiana by a 30-13 margin. The four-time MVP out-scored the Pacers by himself in the quarter, scoring 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting and was superbly supported by Udonis Haslem, who scored 10 points in the quarter without missing a shot. “That was LeBron showing his greatness and making it look easy,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters. “His engine in that third quarter was incredible. He was tireless, making plays on both ends of the court, rebounding, covering so much ground defensively and then making virtually every play for us offensively, it really is remarkable.” Although Indiana started the fourth quarter with a 5-0 run, while James took a breather, the return of Miami’s leader ensured the home team ran out comfortable winners. James finished with 30 points, eight rebounds and six assists while Paul George top scored for Indiana with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Game Six will be in Indiana on Saturday where a victory will earn Miami a place in their third successive NBA finals, against the San Antonio Spurs. HARSH WORDS There is little talk of a ‘Big Three’ for Miami in these playoffs with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh contributing just 17 points between them on Thursday and it was clear, at half time, that if the

Heat were to triumph it needed James to lead them. “I just kind of went back to my Cleveland days at that point,” James told reporters, recalling his time with the Cavaliers where he was the team’s only star. “Just see if the guys would follow me and lead them the best way I could. I was just in attack mode in the third quarter,” he said. The lacklustre first half display from Miami resulted in some strong words in the locker-room during the interval with veteran Juwan Howard, a mostly non-playing but influential member of the squad, making his feelings heard. “There were a lot of ‘bleeps’,” said Haslem adding that Howard “threw a few things as well”. James said he had joined in the strong words. “I gave them a little piece of my mind and a piece of my voice and we were able to respond. We just had no sense of urgency in the first half. We were waiting for the game to change instead of going to get it,” he added. For Indiana, who have out-rebounded Miami in all five games, there was regret that they were not able to make more of their dominance in the first half before their struggles in the third. “We blew some opportunities in the first half,” coach Frank Vogel said. “We had some breakdowns and obviously we missed some bunnies around the basket. “We understand that we’ve got to play a near perfect game to beat this team. It is one of the best teams in the history of this game but we believe we can reach that level,” he added. “We feel like this is going to be a series for the ages. Every time one team has delivered a blow, the other has responded. We know we can beat them but we have to do better than tonight.”— Reuters



Penalty save keeps Atletico Mineiro’s cup dream alive BUENOS AIRES: Atletico Mineiro goalkeeper Victor pulled off a stunning added-time penalty save to send the Libertadores Cup favorites into the semi-finals on the away goals rule after Tijuana had threatened to pull off a upset victory on Thursday. Ronaldinho’s team were 1-1 in the second leg and 3-3 on aggregate against their Mexican rivals when Tijuana midfielder Pablo Aguilar was brought down chasing a high ball into the penalty area two minutes into added time in Belo Horizonte. Victor dived to his right as Colombian Duvier Riascos blasted his spot kick down the middle but the goalkeeper stuck up his left foot and kicked the ball clear, saving the Brazilian side from a humiliating home defeat. “It was the most important save of my life, at a crucial moment,” Victor told reporters. “We didn’t play well today... so we must draw lessons from the game to seek the title we so desire.” The favorites never had it easy in the tie against the upstart tournament newcomers from the northwestern Mexican border town and ended up going through on the strength of their added-time equalizer in the 2-2 draw in last week’s first leg. The Mexican side went in front in the 25th minute at the Independencia when striker Riascos volleyed home defender Juan Carlos Nunez’s cross into the middle of the Atletico box. The home side equalized five minutes before halftime when the Tijuana defense failed to intercept Ronaldinho’s free kick from the right, leaving centre back Rever to tap in at the far post. Ronaldinho hit the woodwork three minutes later in an absorbing contest highlighted by end-to-end action with Tijuana, the better side on the night, needing a win or at least a 3-3 draw to advance. Tijuana had a good chance to regain the lead in the 69th minute but Victor blocked substitute Bruno Piceno’s effort with his feet after some good work by striker Fidel Martinez. As Tijuana pressed for the goal that would put them though in the final quarter of an hour, midfielder Fernando Arce thumped Victor’s bar with a free kick. At the other end, Tijuana goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo did well to keep out a close-range shot from substitute Luan in the 88th minute before the tie concluded in dramatic fashion with Victor’s late heroics. Rever was sent off at the final whistle for protesting. Atletico will meet Newell’s Old Boys of Argentina while Paraguayan three-times champions Olimpia face Independiente Santa Fe of Colombia in the other semi-final in July after a break for the Confederations Cup in Brazil. — Reuters

‘Want-away’ Suarez is not for sale: Liverpool LONDON: Liverpool released a statement yesterday asserting that star striker Luis Suarez is “not for sale”, after the Uruguay international told media in his homeland that he wanted to leave the club. Speaking at a press conference on Thursday evening, Suarez claimed he no longer felt “comfortable” at Liverpool due to harassment from paparazzi and the English media. However, Liverpool said he had not expressed a desire to leave the club and added that they expected him to see out the long-term contract that he signed at the beginning of the 2012-13 season. “Luis Suarez is not for sale-neither Luis or his representatives have communicated these feelings directly to Liverpool Football Club,” said the statement. “The club remains supportive of Luis and expect him to honor his contract. The club will not be making any further comment at this stage.” Suarez finished as Liverpool’s top scorer with 30 goals this season, but his campaign ended in disgrace after he was given a 10-match ban by the Football Association for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic. The 26-year-old claimed the media hysteria created by the incident had forced him to reconsider his future. “My reason for leaving is not the money. If it were the money, I would have left already,” he said during a media conference for the Uruguay national team. “My main reason is my family and my image. That is my priority now. “It is a difficult moment for me. The coach and my colleagues know that they (the English media) didn’t treat me well here. I don’t feel comfortable here anymore. They know it, so I think it is understandable that I leave.” He added: “Being persecuted by the paparazzi all the time, I couldn’t go to my garden or the supermarket. —AFP Luis Suarez

Photo of the day

LA ROCHELLE: Michal Navratil dives from the 27.5 meter platform on the Saint Nicolas Tower during the opening training session of the first stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, La Rochelle, France. —

Confedaration cup preview

Saints get another shot JOHANNESBURG: Saint George try again this weekend to become the first Ethiopian qualifiers for the group stage of a CAF club competition. The Addis Ababa outfit are away to Egyptian side ENPPI holding a 2-0 aggregate lead after the first leg two weeks ago of a Confederation Cup play-off. All the damage was inflicted during the first half by national team stars with midfielder Shimeles Bekele and defender Abebaw Butako scoring for the home team. Saint George had hopes of qualifying for the CAF Champions League group stage dashed early May when Cairo club Zamalek squeezed through on away goals. So the Ethiopians dropped to the second-tier Confederation Cup along with seven other losers from the final qualifiers for the Champions League. And success would be especially sweet if the Saints created history by ousting an Egyptian club having had their first attempt thwarted by a side from that country. Unbeaten in seven Champions League and Confederation Cup matches this year, Saint George owe much to the inspirational leadership of German Michael Kruger. The 59-year-old coach has already experienced success at international level, guiding Cairo-based Arab Contractors to the 1996 African Cup Winners Cup title. “Our two-goal first-leg lead is very important to the morale of the squad ahead of the visit to Egypt,” he told reporters in Addis Ababa. “The advantage will give my boys confidence to go forward and apply pressure on ENPPI. I am hopeful that we can create history this weekend.” Dribbling wizard Bekele shares the confidence of Kruger ahead of a return game to be staged behind closed doors due to postArab Spring security concerns. “We are well placed to make the group stage provided all of us rectify the mistakes made in the two draws against Zamalek,” he stressed. ENPPI are not the only

Egyptian side battling for survival as former African champions Ismaily must overcome a 3-0 deficit when they host CA Bizertin from Tunisia. Bizertin come from Bizerte-the most northern African city-and are another Champions League ‘drop out’ having lost 2-1 overall to title-holders Al-Ahly of Egypt. Tunisia have three contenders for mini-league slots and new league champions CS Sfaxien must overtake a 1-0 defeat away to depleted Enugu Rangers of Nigeria. Ugonna Uzochukwu grabbed the winner three minutes from time for Enugu, who will sorely miss Sunday Mba as the star midfielder is on national team duty in the United States. Goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim is absent for the same reason, leaving the Nigerians with a tough task to hang on against the only club to successfully defend the Confederation Cup title. Etoile Sahel of Tunisia are in a good position to advance after clawing back twice to force a 2-2 draw at JSM Bejaia of Algeria with Malian Michailou Drame scoring the second equalizer. But Algeria should have a last-eight presence as experienced international campaigners Entente Setif appear capable of defending a 2-0 advantage against US Bitam in Gabon. The clash of Rabat clubs FAR and FUS is harder to predict with the latter taking a 1-0 lead into the second leg of the Moroccan derby through a Yassine El-Kordi own goal. Stade Malien of Mali and TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo are virtually assured of overall success having established convincing first-leg leads at home. Malien netted twice in stoppage time to crush Lydia Academic of Burundi 5-0 in Bamako while Mazembe scored at regular intervals in a 4-0 triumph over Liga Muculmana of Mozambique in Lubumbashi. — AFP



PSG to appeal 9-month suspension for Leonardo PARIS: Paris St Germain plan to appeal a nine-month ban the French League (LFP) imposed on sporting director Leonardo on Thursday for pushing a referee earlier this month. Television footage showed Brazilian Leonardo bumping into referee Alexandre Castro with his left shoulder in the Parc des Princes tunnel after Ligue 1 champions PSG drew 1-1 with Valenciennes in Ligue 1 on May 5. “The (disciplinary) commission hands him a nine-month ban,” the LFP said in a statement, adding that

Leonardo was banned from the bench, the referees’ dressing-room and from all official functions. The club was quick to react to the news by issuing a statement expressing their support for the Brazilian. “Paris SaintGermain considers this decision to be unjustified and extremely harsh. As a result, and in solidarity with its sporting director, Paris Saint-Germain will appeal this decision,” PSG said. PSG were also handed a suspended three-point deduction over the incident for the 2013-14 season.

Leonardo, whose suspension runs from May 8, had denied pushing the referee, saying he was shoved towards Castro by the match delegate. “The commission’s task was to decide whether the shoulder barge was intentional,” commission president Pascal Garibian told a news conference. “The commission retained this idea. The commission judges acts, players, and people independently of a club’s notoriety.” Leonardo, the former Inter and AC

Treble-chasing Bayern on the verge of history BERLIN: Champions League winners Bayern Munich are aiming to complete a historic treble in today’s German Cup final against VfB Stuttgart but the Bavarians are smarting at the enforced absence of centreback Dante for the Berlin showdown. Bayern have been told by the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) that Dante, as well as defensive midfielder Luiz Gustavo, must report for international duty before today’s deadline as Brazil prepare to host the Confederations Cup from June 15-30. Both players are upset at missing the final, and Bayern chairman KarlHeinz Rummenigge has branded CBF’s standpoint as “inhuman, ruthless, unfair and unacceptable”, but only Dante would have started in Berlin. No German team has won the treble of European Cup, domestic league and cup titles before, and Bayern are bidding to become only the seventh side in Europe to achieve the feat. Only Celtic in 1967, Ajax in 1972, PSV Eindhoven in 1988, Manchester United in 1999, Barcelona in 2009 and Inter Milan in 2010 have previously achieved the feat. Should they write their names into the history books, it will be a fitting tribute to the Bayern team which won this season’s Bundesliga title by breaking or equaling 25 league records. Having won the league title at the start of April, then beaten Borussia Dortmund 2-1 at Wembley last Saturday to claim the European crown, vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger has said it is “very, very important” to complete the set. “The team is very eager to win the cup,” said Schweinsteiger. “Of course, it was something special to win at Wembley, but the concentration on Berlin is raising day by day.” Schweinsteiger can equal Oliver Kahn’s record of six cup triumphs if Bayern lift the trophy for the 16th time. Belgium centre-back Daniel van Buyten will come in for Dante at centre-back alongside Jerome Boateng in the only change from the team which started the Wembley final. France winger Franck Ribery will play after serving a cup suspension in the wake

Milan manager, received a two-match suspended ban in November from the French federation’s Ethics Committee for criticizing the referee after Mamadou Sakho was sent off in a league game at Montpellier. Leonardo’s latest suspension is a huge blow for PSG, who are reportedly seeking a replacement for Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti who has said he wants to leave the club. Leonardo would be on the short-list to replace Ancelotti who is under contract with PSG until June 2014. — Reuters

Panathinaikos win appeal for Super League license ATHENS: Panathinaikos were among three clubs who have successfully appealed a decision to exclude them from the Super League next season, the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) said yesterday. All 16 top flight clubs had their licenses reviewed by the EPO’s licensing committee and while eight teams were approved, the other eight including Panathinaikos - had their initial submissions rejected seven days ago. However, following an appeal hearing that lasted until the early hours of Friday, Panathinaikos, PAS Giannina and Panthrakikos, secured top flight soccer for the 2013/14 season. “The appeal body of the Hellenic Football Federations Licensing Committee ... has accepted and grants permission for all three clubs to participate competitively in the 2013-2014 season,” the national body said in a media statement. OFI Crete, Aris Salonica and Panionios still have appeals pending. The eight clubs initially awarded licences were Olympiakos Piraues, PAOK Salonica, Asteras Tripolis, Veria, Skoda Xanthi, Atromitos Athinon, Levadiakos and Platanias. The decision comes as a huge relief in particular to PAS Giannina, who have qualified for Europe for the first time, and Panathinaikos, who endured a terrible season. Panathinaikos went through four coaches last season and failed to qualify for Europe for the first time since 1997. Last season was supposed to herald the start of an optimistic new chapter under fan ownership after the transfer of the Vardinoyiannis family’s majority shareholding to the new ‘Panathinaikos Alliance’ was completed last year. — Reuters

Embattled Inter pondering Indonesian cash injection

BERLIN: Stuttgart’s headcoach Bruno Labbadia and Bayern munich’s head coach Jupp Heynckes (right) pose next to the trophy of German football cup (DFB - Pokal) during a press conference yesterday ahead of the final match at the Olympia stadium. — AFP of his sending-off in the 2-0 last-16 win over Augsburg in December. It will be the Frenchman’s fourth appearance in the final at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium in six years, with a crowd of just over 74,000 expected for the game. “We’ve worked so hard and invested so much. We have to take our chance of the treble,” said the 30year-old. Stuttgart, who finished 12th in the Bundesliga and are looking to get their hands on a trophy for the first time since winning the league in 2007, are expected to be at full strength

with captain Serdar Tasci playing with a special insole in his boot to counter Achilles tendon problems. Christian Gentner and Ivory Coast veteran Arthur Boka will be charged with stopping Bayern’s star-studded midfield. While Bayern are overwhelming favorites, Stuttgart are hoping to catch them on a bad day and the Bavarians will need no reminding of their 5-2 Cup final rout at the hands of Borussia Dortmund last season. “We have nothing to fear. We have the chance to achieve something very special and take a title. —AFP

MILAN: Embattled Serie A giants Inter Milan could be set to sell a significant stake in the club to Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir, according to reports yesterday. Inter have just completed one of the worst seasons in their history, finishing ninth in the league and missing out on European qualification. Inter president Massimo Moratti has reportedly been in advanced talks with Thohir, the son of industry tycoon Teddy Thohir. Television station Ore 24 claimed on Thursday that Erick Thohir, who already holds shares in the NBA club the Philadelphia 49ers as well as MLS outfit DC United, had tabled an offer of 280 million euros (£239m, $364m) in an attempt to secure an 80 percent stake in the club. According to Friday’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport, which carried a front page photo of Thohir holding an Inter shirt with his name on it and headlined ‘Indo Inter’, Moratti has already turned down a majority ownership offer from the Indonesian. Reports elsewhere said Moratti is still pondering selling a 20 to 30 percent stake in the club, which would allow the Nerazzurri to invest in players for next season as well as boost their plans to build a new stadium. Inter, the last Italian team to win the Champions League, in 2010, currently share the 80,000-plus capacity Giuseppe Meazza stadium, commonly known as the San Siro, with city rivals AC Milan. — AFP

sports SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2013

Blatter vows to end Palestinian isolation PORT LOUIS: The Palestinian football association was told yesterday that FIFA president Sepp Blatter would personally intervene to try to end long-running problems with Israel. Blatter said he would travel to the region in July and speak to politicians and local sporting authorities in an attempt to find a solution. Palestinians are angry that Israel’s security forces, who control movement between Gaza and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, frequently prevent athletes from travelling freely between the two areas. Israel cites security concerns but says it has eased travel for athletes between the Palestinian territories. “Football should not be a victim of such situations,” Blatter told the FIFA Congress. “Our game, with its unifying values, constructing bridges, connecting people... we can and shall play a role in improving understanding between the communities in this region. “I would travel in one month’s time to the region and meet the associations concerned but also the political authorities so that football activities and development programs can continue without interference. “I am committed to ensuring that football continues to develop and be developed in a difficult region. Jibril Rajoub, president of the Palestinian FA, told the Congress: “I hope that next year, I come with no complaints. “I want to eat grapes rather than to quarrel with anyone. “I don’t wish Palestine’s suffering on anyone else including the Israeli footballers.” He implied that FIFA should impose sanctions on Israeli football if the matter was not sorted out within a year. “If this issue is not settled, I don’t think those who do not comply with the statutes and standards and values should not be rewarded. “Sanctions should be taken. Nobody has the right to act as a bully in the neighborhood.” The situation is not restricted to Palestinians. As a full member of FIFA and the AFC, the Palestinian FA has started to hold more regional tournaments but Israelis have been accused of stopping athletes from others countries entering the West Bank. Recently two teenagers from Myanmar were stuck in Jordan for a week awaiting clearance so they could play in an Under-17 soccer tournament before eventually been granted access to the Palestinian territories. The tensions between the neighbors have been exacerbated as the start of UEFA’s European Under-21 Championship, being staged in four Israeli cities next month, approaches. Last week UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said after its Congress in London that European soccer’s governing body was within its rights to award the tournament to Israel and would not consider moving it. — Reuters Today’s matches on TV

SPANISH LEAGUE Real Madrid v Osasuna......................18:00 Al Jazeera Sport +2 Barcelona v Malaga...........................20:00 Al Jazeera Sport +2 Rayo v Bilbao.....................................22:00 Al Jazeera Sport +4 Zaragoza v Atletico..........................22:00 Al Jazeera Sport +9 Levante v Betis.................................22:00 Al Jazeera Sport +8 Coruna v Sociedad...........................22:00 Al Jazeera Sport +10 Vigo v Espanyol ...............................22:00 Al Jazeera Sport +1 Sevilla v Valencia.............................22:00 Al Jazeera Sport +2 Granada v Getafe.............................22:00 Al Jazeera Sport +7

GERMAN CUP Munich v Stuttgart...........................21:00 Al Jazeera Sport +5

BUJUMBURA: File photo shows FIFA President Sepp Blatter (left) welcomed by the Burundi’s Football Federation [FFB] President Lydia Nsekera in Bujumbura. Burundi’s Lydia Nsekera made history yesterday when she became the first woman to be elected to the Executive Committee of football’s world governing body FIFA for a full term. — AFP

FIFA announce tougher punishments for racism First woman elected to FIFA ExCo PORT LOUIS: FIFA’s Congress in Mauritius yesterday adopted a resolution that will lead to tougher sanctions in cases of racism, including points deductions and even relegation for repeat offenders. The Congress voted overwhelmingly in favor of the resolution, with 204 votes for and just one against. “For a first infraction or a minor infraction, a warning, fine and/or ordering to play games behind closed doors should be sufficient punishment,” read a text put together by a FIFA task force against racism. “For a repeat offence or a serious infraction, the deduction of points, exclusion from a competition or relegation are the recommended punishments,” added the resolution. “Any person (player, official, referee etc...) committing an infraction should be suspended for at least five matches, including being banned from entering a stadium.” Football’s image has been tainted by several high-profile incidences of racism in the recent past, from Liverpool striker Luis Suarez’s abuse of Manchester United’s Patrice Evra in October 2011 to AC Milan midfielder KevinPrince Boateng’s decision to walk off the field following abuse from the stands during a friendly game in January this year. FIFA president Sepp Blatter urged the Congress to “send a strong signal to the racists that their time is up”. “There have been despicable events this year that have cast a long shadow over football and the rest of society,” he said. “I am speaking of the politics of hate racism, ignorance, discrimination, intolerance, small-minded prejudice. That uncivilized, immoral and self-destructive force that we all detest.” WOMAN IN RULING BOARD In another development, FIFA introduced new integrity checks on senior officials and welcomed a woman onto its exclusive ruling board yesterday, changes the much-maligned

world football body said signaled it was close to completing a drawn out and often criticized path to reforming itself. “I am happy to say that FIFA has weathered the storm. We have emerged from troubled waters,” FIFA President Sepp Blatter proclaimed to delegates at the annual congress on the tropical Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. FIFA’s long-serving captain said the ship had reached “transparent” waters in Mauritius after a rocky, scandal-hit few years for the powerful and 109-year-old governing body. Yet the head of the expert reform panel advising FIFA earlier told delegates it was only the beginning of the organization’s attempts to modernize and that it had still had lots to do, including making the salaries and bonuses of its big earners public, and establishing age and term limits for senior officials. Swiss professor Mark Pieth said FIFA’s leadership needed to show a commitment “that they really want to go down the road to reform.” Pieth told The Associated Press before the start of the congress that FIFA’s reforms were only about halfway to completion and there were “remaining challenges.” He said the integrity checks introduced weren’t as strict as they could be, and that it was “essential” that FIFA also introduces term limits on senior officials. “The logic there is to say you don’t want networks and old boys groups to establish themselves over 30 years or so. That’s a real issue,” Pieth said. However, the issue of term limits and age restrictions for senior officials were pushed back to next year’s congress. Those reforms could affect any plans the 77-year-old Blatter may have of standing again for the leadership in 2015 - even though he has said he won’t. The proposal to postpone the vote on age and term limits drew an active debate on the floor, with the Danish and German delegates reflecting UEFA’s frustration that those issues would-

n’t be settled despite a two-year discussion over their implementation and the importance placed on them by the expert reform panel. The proposal to shelve the issue until next year eventually passed by a vote of 123 to 16, meaning 68 of the 207 national associations voting either abstained or did not register valid votes. The issue of whether to make the salaries for Blatter and other officials public also wasn’t dealt with in Mauritius. “We’re not making much headway” on that transparency issue, Pieth said. The new centralized integrity checks will be made for officials standing for the presidency and some committees. But members of the top executive committee that are elected by their continental confederations will be vetted at confederation level, and not centrally. Also, Pieth’s recommendation that those confederation checks be scrutinized by independent auditing firms was not adopted. Around a third of FIFA’s powerful executive committee either left their posts or were suspended for ethics violations over the last two years, and FIFA’s honorary president Joao Havelange recently resigned after it was found he took bribes in the 1990s. In a swipe at some of Pieth’s criticism, FIFA executive committee member Theo Zwanziger of Germany described the insistence on even stricter integrity checks as “absurd,” highlighting the uneasy relationship between FIFA and its reform advisers over the past few months. “We must have the necessary trust in members in football,” Zwanziger said. “If we start with mistrust from the top down, then this sport is no longer what it was.” In one modernizing move, Lydia Nsekera of Burundi was voted onto the executive committee as its first female full-time member on a four-year term, while two other women were co-opted onto the executive for a year.— Agencies



Woman elected to FIFA’s ruling board


PARIS: Serena Williams of the US returns against Sorana Cirstea of Romania in their third round match at the French Open tennis tournament, at Roland Garros stadium yesterday. Williams won in two sets 6-0, 6-2. (Inset) Switzerland’s Roger Federer serves to France’s Julien Benneteau during a French tennis Open match yesterday. — AFP

Federer cruises to last 16 Serena; Sharapova march on at French Open PARIS: Second seed Roger Federer reached the French Open last 16 yesterday with a 6-3, 6-4, 75 win over France’s 30th seed Julien Benneteau to mark his best start to the tournament in his career. As well as racking up his 57th win at the tournament-just one behind the record of 58 held by Guillermo Vilas and Nicola Pietrangelithe 31-year-old has also come through three rounds in record time. He has dropped just 23 games in three rounds compared to 24 in 2007 and 27 in 2010. Federer, the 2009 champion, next faces either Sam Querrey of the United States or Gilles Simon of France for a quarterfinal place. SERENA UNTROUBLED In another development, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova stayed firmly on course for a French Open final showdown by scoring onesided wins in their ties yesterday. The two superstars of the women’s game have been

dueling for the world number one spot for the last year along with Victoria Azarenka, and their rivalry is currently the biggest draw in the women’s game. Neither was untroubled yesterday as the rain that had bedeviled Thursday’s play let up to be replaced by cold, blustery conditions that had players draping towels around their shoulders at the changeovers and spectators wrapping up in coats and scarves. Defending champion and second seed Sharapova was first up, needing only four games and a handful of minutes to finish off her second round tie 6-2, 6-4 against Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard The match had been suspended late Thursday when the rain came down again with the Russian second seed up a set and 4-2. It was a lesson in bigtime tennis for the promising 19-year-old from Quebec, who won the Wimbledon girls singles title last year and who was playing in her first Grand Slam tournament. Sharapova, a teenage

tennis sensation herself when she won the 2004 Wimbledon title at the age of 17, will go on to play China’s Zheng Jie who eased past Melanie Oudin of the United States 6-3, 6-1. She is now on a nine-match winning streak at Roland Garros having completed her collection of Grand Slam titles in Paris last year, the seventh woman in the Open era to achieve that feat. “It was a pretty long day yesterday. Left here pretty late and then had an early morning,” Sharapova said. “But, we all know what to expect. We all kind of knew the weather wasn’t going to be really good yesterday. “I was happy to play part of the match and obviously get myself in a good position to come out today and finish the match.” Top-seeded Williams, playing in the opening match of the third round, needed just 61 minutes to dispose of Romania’s Sorana Cirstea 6-0, 6-2 and she has now lost just six games in three one-sided matches. Cirstea, the 26th seed, who reached

the quarter-finals in Paris in 2009, was facing an embarrassing whitewash after losing the first set 6-0 in just 23 minutes. But she rallied briefly at the start of the second set and even had two break points to lead 3-2. She failed to take either of these though and Williams simply stepped on the accelerator again to race away an end the remaining pockets of resistance from the Romanian. The win was the 27th in a row for Williams-the best unbeaten run of her career-and it took her into a fourth round match against the winner of the tie between Roberta Vinci of Italy and Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic. Williams is seeking the 16th Grand Slam title of her career, but just the second in Paris where she last won in 2002. Williams reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros the following year and since then has fallen four times at the quarter-final stage, but last year she was upset in the first round by Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano. — Agencies

1 Jun 2013  

Kuwait Times