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Free Trade Zone remains a ghost town




UN says nearly 93,000 killed in Syria conflict

Murray starts hectic day with revenge win

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NO: 15839- Friday, June 14, 2013

Raids turn expat lives topsy-turvy See Page 4

KUWAIT: Police stuff arrested workers into the back of an SUV during a raid in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh on Wednesday. — Photo by Fouad Al-Shaikh

Local FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013


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Local FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Kuwait’s my business

Here’s why you don’t love your job, but could By John P Hayes


iring in the Kuwait public sector may not lend itself to asking questions about a job candidate’s personality because the emphasis is not on matching the job to the employee. The emphasis is on providing jobs. But it’s a much different story in the private sector, although most business owners and managers don’t treat it differently. Few companies spend any time matching the job to the employee. Consequently more employees are unhappy than happy, and all parties, including the employee, the employer, and the customers, suffer as a result. If you’re an employee, you want to be happy, and in fact, you want to do the best possible job for your employer. If you’re an employer, you want happy employees who will productively help leverage your company’s assets, customers, suppliers and stakeholders. Does your job stress you? How are we doing with those goals? Not so well. According to a 2012 poll by 74 percent of employees in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region claim their job stresses them. A survey by the global market research firm, Ipsos, discovered that only 55 percent of US employees love their jobs. What’s the problem? It’s complex, and any solution must address several socio-economic factors, but a huge first step is matching the job to the employee’s personality. Unfortunately, no one seems to be listening. The matchup is easy to do And yet, this matchup couldn’t be easier, especially with the variety of tools that are available. As a speaker in the US, “Leading With Your Personality” was my most popular seminar. As a former CEO of a major American franchise brand, I insisted on using a personality profile before we hired key employees. Not only that, we would not sell a franchise unless we could match the requirements of a franchisee’s job to the prospective franchisee’s personality. Franchisees are not employees, but this matchup is still critically important.

An unhappy franchisee can do more damage than an unhappy employee. One of the best requests I made as a CEO was to ask my controller to produce a list of our 200 franchisees in order of their monetary value to our company. In other words, I wanted a rank ordered list showing how much money each franchisee paid us annually. When I got the list, I was shocked. The franchisees who I assumed were the most valuable were not. At the top of the list, I’m embarrassed to say, were several names that I didn’t even know. Then I asked the controller for the same list, but to include each franchisee’s personality profile. Amazingly, the top franchisees all had the same profile. Equally as amazing, the bottom franchisees shared a profile, too, but it was different than that of the top franchisees. Really bad news From there the news got worse. When we looked at the last 25 franchises sold, we had sold them to the wrong personalities. Those franchisees would end up in the bottom 25 percent of our list. Franchisees at the bottom of the list required more of our support and training than the top franchisees because they were not prepared for the job of a franchisee. Even worse news: Franchisees at the bottom of the list complained more than the top franchisees, and they paid us the least amount of money. How did this happen? It happened because until we saw that list no one knew the ideal personality of a top-producing franchisee in our network. But once we figured it out, we didn’t sell a franchise again until we matched the job to the personality. Do you love what you do? The late Steve Jobs told us that the only way to do great work is to love what you do. And the best way to make sure that your employees (or franchisees) love their work is to match the job to the personality. Want to find out how this can help you? Email me. If you’re one of the first 12 people to send me an email with the subject line: What’s my personality? I will assess your personality for free and tell you the kinds of work that you would love to do. Dr John P Hayes heads the Business Administration department at GUST. Contact Dr Hayes at, or via Twitter @drjohnhayes. By the way, he loves his work because he’s a perfect match for the job

In my view

Legal and illegal expats cannot be treated alike By Labeed Abdal


eporting the whole family of an expat who has violated Kuwaiti laws, particularly if his wife and children hold dependent visas, calls for a little reconsideration. The rule of law states that irrespective of the degree of violation a person might have committed, the punishment should not be extended to his family members. Even the constitution of Kuwait states that punishment must be personal. It is good that law-violating expats will be allowed to designate a person to follow up their cases until the completion of their deportation-related procedures. Maybe here I would like to point out a few things: First, it is the responsibility of every expat to avoid such situations, whether it be defaulting on car loans, non-payment of apartment rent and mobile phone bills or violating residency laws. Yet we must not take away the rights of

those who are facing genuine problems and wish to either work here or seek asylum for humanitarian reasons. Such cases highlight the need for modernisation, flexibility and more reasoning on our part. Although, we have seen many of our senior officials from the Ministry of Interior (MOI) show a lot of understanding while dealing with such cases, we also hear negative stories about some lower-ranking officials and their random raids. That indeed is a cause for much concern. We must enforce the law in a responsible fashion, ensure that the rights of expats are never infringed upon by public employees and see to it that no one is wrongly treated. At the end of the day, expats should not have to live in fear of unknown threats, especially when they are obeying the law. They should be treated as equals.

Conspiracy Theories

Dollar deal!!!

By Badrya Darwish


he hundred fils shop or half KD shop if the item is of better quality - what is the story with shops that sell such merchandise. All of a sudden in the last couple of years, these places have increased. They are in every souq. They are always packed with shoppers. People love to buy cheap things and this trend is not only seen in Kuwait but even in the West. I see many one-pound shops in London. In the US and Canada, they have them too, but call them one-dollar shops. What is the secret of all these shops? Do they sell goods made in China? If this is the case, things around the world are imported from China but they are made under the license of the certain brands. Even big brand merchandisers manufacture their goods in China under the brands’ quality control. Such goods will be much cheaper if produced in the East because of the cheaper labour. I understand this mathematics but the math behind the one-dollar shops is what I don’t get. Do they sell illegal goods from factories shipped all over the world? I doubt it. If it is illegal, there will not be so many at every corner. Or is it that these are bad quality goods that are not given certificates by the health authority in the country of origin. The reason why I am asking is because I have heard of many stories about the bad quality of goods. Many people bought plastic plates, cups and what not which turned out to be creating health hazard issues. If this is the case, why are these available in the shops? I heard that often these kinds of merchandise are made of recycled material. I heard that even many sell defective imported goods. Are these made in illegal factories or sweatshops? One-dollar shops are interesting places. They sell pens, plates, souvenirs, garden equipment, party items and what not. I personally see a lot of cosmetics. This is where I want to question how safe are they. If it comes to food, the dollar store is a big no-no place to shop. In such places, I am not sure what the origin of the food is. Lately, I saw vitamins and energy pills in those places. If I were you, I would avoid it. I would advise you to buy it from the local pharmacy. Towels are OK to buy because you can always throw them if they smell. But if you swallow something, it is not so easy to recover. Do not bargain with your health for a dollar deal! #BadryaD


Local FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Expat lives in turmoil amid MoI crackdown

KUWAIT: Policemen issue tickets at a checkpoint in Khaitan in this June 3, 2012 photo. —Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Mothers stop working, cars refuse lifts as rumors spread By Sunil Cherian


eekend parties cancelled, babysitting plans scrapped and tuition centers closed. Even the routine family monthly shopping for groceries is on hold. The expatriate community, especially Asians in Kuwait, is living in a state of panic as the Ministry of Interior tightens its grip to ostensibly cleanse the country of illegal residents and other violators. Deportations have turned into a nightmare for many. Emails are circling around cautioning people about certain ‘safety measures’ that they should observe and rumors about detentions and deportations are spreading too. One story has it that a man who went to the airport to drop his friend was arrested on charges of plying an illegal taxi and was sent home on the same flight as his friend’s. “I used to go to work with my friend,” said Dalia, who lives in Hawally and works in Jahra. “Now my friend tells me she can’t take me along anymore as she is scared of being

caught by the police. Worse,” Dalia said, “my friend’s husband told her not to drive to Jahra all alone. Now both of us hire a taxi from Hawally to Jahra and back, costing us each KD 6 a day. Carpooling was a great idea and I never paid any money to my friend except what I paid at the gas stations.” “The law does not prohibit anyone from dropping off a friend or a colleague,” said a police officer who did not want his name to be published. “But it is the commuters’ responsibility to prove to the police that they are friends or colleagues. The police have the right to stop and question because there is so much illegal transport in the country.” In an attempt to put the brakes on the illegal activities in the country, the interior ministry, along with the traffic department, has become stringent in checking violators of all kinds. As a result, ageing and smoke-belching cars are now a rarity on the roads as are maids loitering around or beggars wandering. Buildings notoriously known as brothels and distilleries stand cleansed. The mushrooming babysitting centers and Internet

phones centres have faded away. Sharing accommodation has become a thing of the past. And the newest things to become extinct are apps like Viber and Skype. Over the past three months, 12,000 people have been deported and the traffic chief has warned that “deportations will continue indefinitely”. But as checking of vehicles, residency permits and suchlike continues, stories about what is happening add fuel to the fire. Suddenly, there are advice-givers who voice cautionary quips and quotes. “If you have 3 mokhalafat (fines), you are out of the country” is one such quip. Another story going around is customers at Asian supermarkets with large cartons and crates of foodstuff are being arrested because they could sell it to someone else. But what is true is that the expats are suffering. Working mothers had to take the hard decision of leaving their jobs to tend to their babies since maids started disappearing. Many mothers have either resigned or asked for a sabbatical from their sympathetic employers. Some mothers have begun taking

their babies to the workplace after their more understanding employers green-signalled the idea. Another bright idea that some employers have come up with is to make the mothers work from home. As a last resort, families are sending children to their home country. “Supermarkets are empty, but baqalas are thriving. See the glass half full, not half empty,” said an optimist who wanted to remain anonymous. He said he still carpools to go to work. “This time we all go by one taxi,” he said. People leaving their car in the parking lot and using a taxi is not a strange thing in Kuwait now. There are reports about police frisking bus commuters and confiscating their licenses. “I want no mukhalafa, no cancelation of my license and no deportation,” said a man on the condition of anonymity. “After years of driving, I travel by bus now since the roads are clear and I see sights I had never seen before,” he said. Last heard: Laborers who used to go searching for work are now staying at home. If anybody calls them for work, they say please come and take me in your car.


Local FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Photos show the FTZ restaurant zone when it was shut down in Dec 2010 (left) and the zone as it stands today - still shuttered and empty. —Photos by Ben Garcia

FTZ remains a ghost town By Ben Garcia


t was Dec 2010 when the Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s inspection teams, accompanied by several police operatives, trooped into the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in Shuwaikh to implement an order to shut down commercial establishments in the area. This reporter was among those who witnessed the order being implemented, and clicked many photographs depicting its implementation. The Municipality closed down a majority of the commercial establishments in the Free Trade Zone, with only a handful of exceptions, under the pretext that these establishments did not have the necessary health permits. The Municipality refused to issue health permits to these establishments because the businesses in the Free Trade Zone fell within the jurisdiction of the Public Authority for Industry which was responsible for all the businesses there. The problem was not resolved quickly as was expected; instead it dragged for years until an agreement was finally reached. Kuwait Times went back to the same spot and the photographs are testimony of the deserted area which once saw teeming crowds. Three years later, through a new decision, the Capital Governorate Committee of the Municipal Council approved an ‘organizing structure’ for the Free Trade Zone. The head of the committee, Muhalhal AlKhalid, said that the approval “allows companies and commercial establishments wishing to open businesses in the FTZ to obtain necessary licenses from the Kuwait Municipality and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry” before they apply for a power connection. The area at that time was already thriving with restaurants and several businesses as the location was just a stone’s throw away from the biggest campus of the state-run Kuwait University. “The place had a life of its own. It has a beautiful and really amazing new area for dining. You could some people enjoying the place, jogging and spending time with friends. The location is just so beautiful; you’ll see the calmness of the Gulf sea and the birds flying by the seashore. The area is wonderful, and I cried when the place was closed down at that

time - it was so short-lived,” recalled Batool, who at that time was a second year student at Kuwait University. Now Batool has graduated from the university but she is still hoping that the restaurant area within the Free Trade Zone will open once again. The Assistant Undersecretary for Technical Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Al-Ali told Al-Anba newspaper that the ministry plans to work “in cooperation with the Kuwait Municipality and Municipal Council to end all the problems

faced by investors. These problems pertain to issuance of commercial visas for establishments in the Free Trade Zone”. He added that he hoped the issue would be resolved within a month. “The FTZ is set to come back to life through decisions that the Municipal Council will make within a maximum time of a month,” Ali was quoted in the report published on May 29. “The MCI looks to end this issue and allow the FTZ to open as an area with organized activities as opposed to the situation before its clo-

sure.” Earlier reports at the time had said that the FTZ management company and the government were embroiled in a legal case over management of the FTZ. Kuwait is the third wealthiest country in the Middle East as far as per capita statistics are concerned. But rules and regulations keep changing overnight, affecting mostly businesses and human resources. Kuwait also has multi-billion dollar projects listed in its National Development Plan for 2009-2014, many of which are stalled.


Local FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

British MP hails Kuwait democratic experience LONDON: The democratic experience in Kuwait is unique in the region and is continually evolving, Robert Buckland, the Chair of the Human Rights Commission in the British Conservative party, said. In an exclusive interview with KUNA at the House of Commons yesterday, the senior MP paid tribute to the vibrant and enduring long-standing values of freedom of expression exercised by the Kuwaiti people. The Kuwaiti parliamentary traditions are based on free and fair participatory elections in which the rule of law prevails, Buckland MP pointed out. He said he was impressed by Kuwait’s respect for the fundamental principles of

human rights enshrined in the UN declarations. However, he suggested: “Each country has its fundamental set of circumstances, but these principles are universal.” The prominent Conservative MP was speaking to KUNA on the sidelines of a seminar on Iran held at the British parliament. Buckland affirmed that he “does not believe for one minute that we should impose the form of Western democracies in the region, as this would be totally wrong”. “Every country has its specific traditions and experiences and therefore it should find out its original and unique solutions,” he asserted. The MP believed that countries in the Middle

East are still coming to terms with the upheaval that has recently shaken some of their neighbours like Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and now Syria. Buckland voiced hope that the GCC states would be able to adapt in a way that preserves the stability of the region and continue to enhance the human rights of the people there. On today’s presidential elections in Iran, Buckland insisted that “only free and fair elections in Iran would guarantee the rule of law and the fundamental freedoms that are part and parcel of the UN declarations. It has happened in Egypt, in some other countries in the Middle East, and it must

happen in Iran as well.” The lawmaker noted that “Iran has many different ethnicities within it and hence the West must be aware that it has its different set of characteristics and circumstances that are fundamentally different from those in the Arab World,” he maintained. Two of the eight candidates running in the upcoming presidential elections have dropped out of the race, offering different reasons for doing so. The elections are the eleventh to choose a president of Iran since the revolution there in 1979. It will take place on the same day as the local council elections. —KUNA

Kuwait keen to protect foreign worker’s rights Rashidi insists workers fully protected in state GENEVA: Kuwaiti Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Thekra Ayed Al-Rashidi highlighted yesterday the importance of clarifying certain measures taken by Kuwait and steps to protect the rights of foreign workers. She added in remarks to KUNA on the sidelines of the annual conference of the International Labor Organization (ILO) late on Wednesday that the Kuwaiti government is working hard to improve regulations related to workers’ rights, alongside other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries that are keen to come up to relevant international standards. The Gulf region is witnessing continu-

country’s keenness to protect the rights of foreign workers, noting that it guarantees a decent treatment to them, which includes offering appropriate conditions at the workplace, means of transport and safety standards for healthy work conditions, in accordance with international standards. Kuwait, with its vital economic activities, has become an attractive labor market for a large number of foreign workers, which obliged the Cabinet to offer them protection, especially by enabling them to receive medical treatment in government clinics and hospitals, besides making it

GENEVA: Kuwaiti Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Thekra Ayed AlRashidi addresses the annual conference of the International Labor Organization (ILO) yesterday. —KUNA ous economic growth and various developmental projects which attract a large number of foreign workers, she affirmed. This requires to deal with the countries exporting foreign manpower and look for certain measures since such countries might have their own conditions and criteria related to this issue, Rashidi added. Speaking for Kuwait at the International Labour Conference, Rashidi stressed on the

mandatory for the employers to offer foreign workers in the private sector free medical treatment, she stated. Kuwait is a pioneer in achieving the goals set by the ILO, and implementing the decisions resulting from the annual meetings of the organization. Such an approach should suffice to remove all doubts about there being any form of exploitation of foreign manpower happening in Kuwait. Law

number 109 for the year 2013 was passed to establish the Public Authority for Manpower as an independent body under the supervision of Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, she said. This authority undertakes the responsibilities of the labor ministry in supervising the employment of expatriates in the private and oil sectors and bringing and recruiting foreign labor on behalf of employers. Kuwait is working hard to offer new job opportunities as more and more projects are being implemented in the country, offering new jobs for both men and women, she added. In order to ensure social justice, and protect workers in case of any casualty at work, law number 101 for the year 2013 was issued for ensuring insurance against unemployment and offering social security for employees in the private and oil sectors in case of their dismissal. A government-financed fund for protection of workers against unemployment was established for the purpose, she said. Such new laws and regulations come within the framework of regulating the labor market in Kuwait, coping with the related international measures, which protect the worker from mistreatment, extortion or forced labor. Law number 6 for the year 2010 related to the private sector guaranteed that any employee would have to served a three-month advance warning in he is to be dismissed from work. Earlier, the notice period was only 15 days, she explained. This law has increased the financial benefits that would accrue to such workers and made it obligatory upon the employers to commit to pay their salaries according to contracts and transfer the wages into the employees’ bank accounts, she added. Kuwait exerts all possible efforts to protect the rights of foreign manpower. The state advocates equality between men and women, reflected greatly in the labor market, considering the remarkable participation of women in the country’s parliament. The ILO annual conference is being held with the participation of 5,000 dignitaries including ministers, representatives of labor syndicates, worker unions, and employers’ unions, to discuss relevant issues at the regional and international levels. —KUNA

LONDON: Kuwait’s Ambassador to the UK Khalid AlDuwaisan inaugurates the Kuwaiti-UK exhibition and forum on Wednesday. —KUNA

Kuwait-UK forum opens in London LONDON: Kuwait’s Ambassador to the UK Khalid Al-Duwaisan inaugurated a Kuwaiti-UK exhibition and forum on Wednesday with Kuwaiti and British officials attending. Speaking to KUNA and Kuwait TV, the ambassador said the exhibition aims to promote Kuwait’s bright image and major achievements in many fields and economic and cultural sectors. Several Arab ambassadors and representatives of British and Islamic organizations and agencies were also present in the event. The exhibition is also meant to bolster and consolidate Kuwaiti relations with friendly countries like Britain, he pointed out. He hailed the participation of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the event, delivering a noble message on the tolerant religion of Islam to Europe. He hoped that the London exhibition would attain its goals and deliver its message on progress in Kuwait. —KUNA

Kuwait eyes e-media in crime prevention TUNIS: The Kuwaiti delegation to the 10th Arab Security Media Conference has underscored the important role of electronic media, particularly social networks, in raising security awareness and countering crimes. In statements to KUNA on the sidelines of the conference, Head of Media Department at Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior and Head of Kuwait’s delegation to the conference Maj Nasser Eid Abusaleeb said the electronic media and social networking sites have to feature high on the Arab security media strategy. “Security agencies can no longer depend solely on traditional media outlets of TV, radio and press, given their growing role of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in awareness and crime prevention campaigns worldwide,” Abusaleeb told KUNA. He stressed the need for a comprehensive Arab security media strategy that greatly employs the latest information and telecommunication technology to achieve security and fight crimes. Abusaleeb also called for intensifying media campaigns in the Gulf and Arab regions to cope with the growing security challenges in the two regions. —KUNA

FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Hardliners still split as Iran campaigning ends


Mandela ‘responding well’ to treatment


Massive storm surges toward Mid-Atlantic


BUENNOS AIRES: Rescue workers are seen at the site of a commuter train crash in Castelar, some 30 km west of Buenos Aires, yesterday. At least three people were killed and 70 injured yesterday when a commuter train crashed west of Buenos Aires, according to the municipality of Moron, where the accident took place. — AFP

93,000 killed in Syrian conflict: UN Kuwait flight delayed as Damascus airport comes under fire BEIRUT: Nearly 93,000 people have been confirmed killed in Syria since an uprising against President Bashar Assad began more than two years ago, the UN said yesterday, a sharp rise in the death toll as the fighting turns increasingly sectarian and the carnage gripping the country appears unstoppable. The grim benchmark came as Assad’s regime has scored a series of battlefield successes against the rebels seeking his ouster and international efforts to forge a round of peace talks have stalled. After regaining control of the strategic town of Qusair near the border with Lebanon, regime forces appear set on securing control of the central provinces of Homs and Hama, a linchpin area linking Damascus with regime strongholds on the Mediterranean coast, and Aleppo to the north. In continued violence, a mortar round slammed into an area near the runway at the Damascus International Airport yesterday,

briefly disrupting flights to and from the Syrian capital, officials said, a few weeks after the government announced it had secured the airport road that had been targeted by rebels in the past. It was the first known attack to hit inside the airport, located south of the capital. The country’s transportation minister Mahmoud Ibrahim Said told Syrian TV that a mortar round fired by “terrorists” struck near a warehouse, breaking its windows and wounding a worker there. He said the attack delayed the landing of two incoming flights, from Latakia and Kuwait, as well as the takeoff of a Syrian flight to Baghdad. No passengers were harmed and no planes were damaged, he said. The regime refers to rebels as “terrorists.” Tarek Wahibi, head of operations at the airport, said takeoff and landing then resumed normally. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebel fighters had targeted the airport with homemade rockets. Rebels

also battled regime forces for control of a key military base in the central Hama province after chasing soldiers out and setting fire to installations there, activists said. Following dawn battles, rebels took control of the base on the northern edge of the town of Morek, which straddles the country’s strategic north-south highway leading to Aleppo. By midday, regime forces shelled the base and sent reinforcements in an apparent attempt to regain control of the area, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Observatory, which has a vast network of Syrian activists on the ground, said the rebels killed six government fighters and seized ammunition and weapons. Two rebel fighters were killed. An amateur video posted on Hama activists’ Facebook page showed flames rising from the burning compound and the bodies of some of the killed fighters. In the video, fighters celebrated the capturing of the base,

calling it one of the “most critical” regime outposts in the region. State-run TV reported yesterday that troops have secured four towns in the central province of Hama after killing 60 members of al-Qaida-linked group Jabhat Al-Nusra. It said the towns included Masaadah, Abu Hanaya and Abu Jbeilat. Meanwhile in Geneva, the UN human rights office said it had documented 92,901 killings in Syria between March 2011 and the end of April 2013. But the UN high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, said it was impossible to provide an exact number, which could be far higher. The figure was up from nearly 60,000 through the end of November, recorded in an analysis released in January. Since then, UN officials had estimated higher numbers, most recently 80,000. The latest report adds more confirmed killings to the previous time period and an additional 27,000 between December and April. — AP


International FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Ethiopia ratifies Nile accord opposed by Egypt ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopia’s parliament yesterday ratified an accord that replaces colonial-era deals that awarded Egypt and Sudan the majority of the world’s longest river. The vote comes amid a bout of verbal jousting between Ethiopia and Egypt after Ethiopia last month started to divert Nile waters for a massive $4.2 billion hydroelectric dam dubbed the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Ethiopia’s growing economy frequently suffers from power cuts and needs more electrical capacity. But Egypt fears the dam will mean a diminished share of the Nile, which provides almost all of the desert nation’s water needs. Egyptian politicians have suggested attacks against Ethiopia to sabotage the dam, and Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Monday warned that “all options are open” to challenge Ethiopia’s Nile project. Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam

Desalegn responded Tuesday, forcefully vowing “nothing” and “no one” will stop the dam’s construction. He downplayed the prospect of conflict, saying Egypt leaders won’t go to war unless they “go mad.” African Union head Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on Wednesday urged dialogue and cooperation between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan. A 10-person Egypt-Sudan-Ethiopia experts panel concluded that the dam will not “significantly affect” water flow to Egypt and Sudan, according to Ethiopian officials. Sudan said it accepts the outcome of the finding and this week announced that it supports Ethiopia’s project. Ethiopia’s 547-member parliament unanimously endorsed the new Nile River Cooperative Framework Agreement, an accord already signed by five other Nile River countries. The accord, sometimes referred to as the Entebbe Agreement, is the product of decade-long negotiations. It was conceived

to replace the 1929 treaty written by Britain that awarded Egypt veto power over upstream countries’ Nile projects. Sudan and Egypt signed a deal in 1959 splitting the Nile waters between them without giving other countries consideration. The new cooperative agreement signed by Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Burundi - aims to establish a commission to oversee Nile projects. Congo and South Sudan, which succeeded from Sudan in 2011, have announced plans to join the new pact. Eritrea is participating as an observer in the 10-nation Nile Basin Initiative. Egypt has previously said that it accepts most of the new agreement. But it opposes a clause saying member countries would work to ensure “not to significantly affect the water security of any other Nile Basin State.” Egypt wanted the clause to say countries would not “adversely affect the water security and current uses and rights

of any other Nile” states. Ethiopian Minister of Water and Energy Alemayehu Tegenu told parliament that Ethiopia made two bold decisions concerning the dam. The first, he said, was to postpone ratification of the agreement by a year to accommodate Egypt’s request for time until an elected government was in place. “The second one was to let experts, including from Egypt and Sudan, inspect our Renaissance Dam,” he said. “No other country does this but we did it in cooperation and friendly spirit. But we are seeing how our good intentions are being responded to. We can no longer wait. We need to go ahead with the ratification.” After ratifying the legislation, lawmakers called on the other five signatory countries to follow suit. Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam has been under construction for two years on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia’s Benishangul-Gumuz region near Sudan. —AP

Hardliners still split as Iran campaigning ends Rohani may show last-minute surge at today’s polls

DUBAI: The Cayan tower (center), the world’s tallest twisted tower stands at Dubai’s Marina on June 11, 2013 in the United Arab Emirates, UAE. —AFP

Dubai inaugurates world’s tallest ‘twisted’ tower DUBAI: Dubai has inaugurated the world’s tallest twisted tower built at a cost of $272 million, setting a yet another record for skyscrapers and other engineering marvels. The 310-metre (1,017-foot), 75-storey residential Cayan Tower is twisted at 90 degrees from top to bottom and was inaugurated earlier this week in Dubai Marina-a man-made canal overlooking the Gulf. Developer Cayan Real Estate Investment and Development Company said 80 percent of its residential units have already been sold. Construction began in 2006, but was delayed due to major technical problems and the 2009 economic downturn in Dubai triggered by the global financial crisis. The tower was designed by Chicago-based Skidmore Owings and Merrill, the masterminds behind Burj Khalifa, which is the world’s tallest tower and also in Dubai. The 828-metre (2,717-foot), 160-storey Burj Khalifa broke engineering and architectural records when it opened in January 2010. In May 2012, Dubai opened the 413.4-metre (1,356foot) Princess Tower, the world’s tallest residential building, according to the Guinness World Records website. And later in 2012, the emirate inaugurated the world’s tallest hotel-the 355-metre (1,165-foot) twin tower JW Marriott Marquis Dubai. —AFP

DUBAI: Campaigning in Iran’s presidential election ended yesterday, a day before the vote in which the sole moderate candidate has an unlikely chance to steal victory from his hardline rivals. Hardliners have failed to agree on a unity candidate, potentially splitting their vote and improving the chances of moderate cleric Hassan Rohani to progress to a run-off poll. The next president is not expected to produce any major policy shift on Iran’s disputed nuclear program or its support for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad since Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calls all the shots on the big issues. Yet all but one of the candidates - chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili - has advocated a less intransigent approach to nuclear talks with world powers. The president can influence the tone of Iran’s foreign policy with his choice of trips abroad. Khamenei, 73, never travels outside Iran. The president will also have the task of trying to fix an economy battered by intensifying international sanctions and soaring inflation fed by state subsidies and corruption. Today’s presidential election is the first in Iran since 2009 when reformists said the vote had been rigged to ensure the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, touching off the biggest protests since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Khamenei is determined to see a less troublesome, more compliant president, analysts say, but above all no repeat of the 2009 unrest that dented the Islamic Republic’s legitimacy. Consequently campaigning, which ended at 8 a.m. local time on Thursday, has been tightly restricted and subdued. But Rohani appeared to be showing a last-minute surge with large crowds on the streets of the eastern holy city of Mashhad for his final election gathering on Wednesday. “Rohani was amazing in yesterday’s rally. It was a huge welcome and unprecedented in Mashhad,” wrote one supporter on Twitter. Pictures on social media showed what appeared to be sizeable public rallies,

discouraged by authorities, in favor of Rohani in Tehran late into the night. Large rallies were also staged in the Iranian capital by supporters of hardline candidates. Rohani, best known for his conciliatory stance in nuclear talks with Western powers between 2003 and 2005, could benefit from his rivals’ failure to unite behind a single hardline candidate even after months of trying. Despite his endorsement by reformists sidelined after 2009, Rohani is still very much

A high voter turnout might benefit Rohani, but more liberal Iranians likely to back the mid-ranking cleric are debating whether to vote at all, given their widespread belief that the result will be fixed as they say it was in 2009. Some middle-class Iranians though, while not enthused about any of the candidates, may vote to try to stop a hardliner such as Jalili getting in. “Up to today I had no intention of voting. I couldn’t bring myself to, but now to anyone who asks, I say if I vote, I will vote for Rohani,”

TEHRAN: Iranian couples sit in a restaurant in Valiasr street in northern Tehran. —AFP an establishment figure, though one less dogmatic and more open to conciliation with the West. In an interview with the Arabic newspaper Sharq Al Awsat published yesterday, Rohani said Israel was behind a campaign of disinformation to label Tehran’s peaceful nuclear activities a weapons program. “If I were to be elected president of the country, I will reflect these beliefs through regaining international trust and exposing these hidden motives,” he said. “The United States and its allies have to stop this deceit,” Rohani told the Saudi-owned newspaper. He would judge U.S. President Barack Obama “by his actions, not his words” and called for sanctions to be lifted in order for ties to improve.

wrote another Iranian on Twitter. With no independent, reliable opinion polls in Iran, it is hard to gauge the public mood, let alone the extent to which Khamenei and the powerful Revolutionary Guards will exert their influence over the ballot. The election of little-known Tehran mayor Ahmadinejad as president in 2005 took many by surprise and there is no telling whether there will be a similar shock result this time round. Jalili has run a strong campaign, but has been heavily criticised, even by fellow hardliners, for his intransigence in nuclear talks and for failing to stop the imposition of tough new sanctions. He is alone among the candidates in defending Iran’s current robust, ideologically driven foreign policy. —Reuters


International FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Turkey PM gives protesters ‘last warning’ ANKARA: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday issued a “last warning” for thousands of protesters to evacuate an Istanbul park at the centre of mass anti-government demos, ratcheting up tensions in two weeks of deadly unrest. A day after meeting with protest leaders and offering to hold a referendum on plans to redevelop Gezi Park, Erdogan resumed his combative stance on the environmental protest that has morphed into the biggest challenge to his Islamic-rooted government’s decade-long rule. “I’m making my last warning: mothers, fathers please withdraw your kids from there,” Erdogan said in a live television broadcast. “Gezi Park does not belong to occupying forces. It belongs to everybody.” Demonstrators have been camping out in the park since May 31, when police cracked down heavily on a small campaign to save the site’s 600 trees from being razed. The crackdown sparked an outpouring of anger across the

country against Erdogan and his Islamic-rooted government, seen as increasingly authoritarian after more than a decade in power. Erdogan inflamed tensions on Tuesday, when riot police stormed Istanbul’s Taksim Square, the focal

point of two weeks of protests, prompting a day of violent clashes with tens of thousands of protesters. The intervention fuelled fears that the adjoining Gezi Park would be cleared next. “Don’t sadden us anymore,

ISTANBUL: Anti-government protestors unfurl the Turkish national flag in Taksim Gezi Park yesterday in Istanbul after a large clean-up operation removed all evidence of unrest, the square cleared of of stray tear gas canisters, anti-Erdogan banners and makeshift barricades. —AFP

let us clean Gezi park and return it to its rightful owners... the people of Istanbul,” Erdogan said, urging environmental protesters to withdraw so that police could clear the site of “illegal organizations”. The ultimatum came after Erdogan on Wednesday made his first concession yet by offering to hold a popular vote on plans to build a replica of Ottoman-era military barracks in the park. Demonstrators, many still reeling from Tuesday’s violence that sent clouds of acrid tear gas into their tents, have reacted coolly to the referendum idea and criticized the government for cherry-picking the representatives invited to the talks. “We don’t agree (with the referendum). We are angry that Tayyip spoke to people who don’t represent us,” said 29-yearold Iskender Sisman, sitting outside a tent in Gezi Park. “Tayyip must apologise for everything, for the park, for the tear gas,” he added. Erdogan, who has branded the protesters “extremists”

and “looters”, has faced international condemnation over his handling of the crisis. Four people have been killed and nearly 5,000 demonstrators during the unrest, tarnishing Turkey’s image as a model of Islamic democracy. The United States said it had been following the events with “great concern” and cautioned the authorities in Turkey , a key regional ally, against seeking to punish demonstrators for exercising their right to free speech. Overnight, police again fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse some 2,000 demonstrators in the capital Ankara. The mood was more subdued in Taksim, where demonstrators gathered peacefully around a piano for a live concert, sporadically chanting: “Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance!” as riot police looked on. By Thursday afternoon, there was a much smaller police presence on the square and traffic was flowing freely, with no sign of fresh protests. —AFP

Qatar change may usher in little shift in policy Amir PM will not disappear from view DOHA: A planned leadership change that could see Qatar’s US-allied Amir eventually ceding power to his son is unlikely to change the Gulf state’s taste for bold investments overseas and assertive support for Arab Spring revolts. Analysts say Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim will probably pursue the policies of his father, under whose rule the US-allied gas exporter has become a force in global sports, media and business and an enthusiastic political ally of the Muslim Brotherhood. The current prime minister, Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Al-Thani, 53, also expected to step down under the reported transition plan, will likely remain head of the Qatar Investment Authority, providing continuity in a vital arm of state power. Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim has negotiated some of the fund’s most prominent deals, including talks with Glencore’s chief last year when Qatar demanded better terms for backing the firm’s purchase of Xstrata. The companies eventually merged to create Glencore Xstrata. Sheikh Tamim is 33, young compared to other Gulf Arab rulers. But Neil Partrick, a Gulf security expert who contributes to the London School of Economics Gulf Studies Program, said the emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, would likely “exercise considerable power over his relatively inexperienced son”. Sheikh Tamim is understood to be genuinely enthusiastic about the Muslim

Brotherhood, the Islamist movement whose influence has grown sharply in the Arab world since revolts against autocratic rule began in early 2011, Partrick noted. But “Tamim is unlikely to want or to be able to deviate too far from the rather more important US axis, even if he continues to see Qatari weight as being achieved by befriending Islamists outside of his own country”, he said. Arab and Western diplomats said this week Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim was preparing to quit in a wider power reshuffle that might also see Sheikh Tamim succeed the emir. They expected the reshuffle to take one of two courses- either Sheikh Tamim would replace Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim as the prime minister until he takes over as emir when his father eventually steps down, or the current Deputy Prime Minister, Ahmed alMahmoud, would become the next prime minister when Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim steps aside. No Qatari officials have commented on the reports. Eman Ebed Alkadi of Eurasia Group consultants wrote that she did not expect Qatari domestic priorities or its foreign policies to change significantly with a change of ruler. “... Tamim has controlled key policies in Qatar for some time, and shares his fathers’ views on political development in Qatar and economic diversification.” National budgets had been agreed up until 2016-2017, Alkadi wrote, and

with preparations for the World Cup in 2022 in full swing, much change in domestic momentum was unlikely. Michael Stephens, researcher at the Royal United Services Institute based in Doha, said he also expected little change because Sheikh Tamim had been involved in drawing up domestic spending initiatives and setting their deadlines. “Given all the budget allocations that have been made, it would be inconceivable that he could, or would, undo all that work. With the way the country’s domestic plans have been set, you either put the break on, or go forward; you can’t reverse the direction of the ship,” he said. The country has embarked on a $150 billion urban makeover that will transform the capital city over the next decade, giving it a sprawling new airport, metro system, seaport and hundreds of kilometers (miles) of new roads. The emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, seized power from his father in a bloodless coup in 1995. He and his second wife, Sheikha Mozah, have gained a reputation as modernisers and raised the country’s profile significantly with the launch of the Al Jazeera television network and initiating the country’s successful World Cup bid. Delegation of duties to his son has steadily increased over the past two years, with Sheikh Tamim now publically referred to as the “Deputy Amir.” —Reuters

TUNIS: Tunisian rapper Ala Yaacoubi, better known by his rap name “Weld El 15” (left), arrives for his trial alongside Tunisian rapper Emino (right), at the court in the Tunis suburb of Ben Arous yesterday. —AFP

Tunisia rapper ‘afraid’ ahead of trial BEN AROUS: A Tunisian rapper who risks up to seven years in prison for insulting the police said he was “afraid” ahead of his trial yesterday and criticized the authorities for not respecting freedom of expression. “I am afraid because in a country like Tunisia the law is not applied, you can expect anything,” said Ala Yaacoubi, better known by his nom de rap “Weld El 15.” The musician was handed a two-year jail sentence in absentia in March for posting a rap video called “The Police are Dogs” on the Internet. He is to be retried by the same court in the Tunis suburb of Ben Arous, following a decision to turn himself after three months on the run. “In the song, I used the same terms that the police used to speak about the youth. The police have to respect citizens if they want to be respected,” Yaacoubi said. “There is no reason or legal basis for putting me in prison,” he added. The rapper’s lawyer Ghazi Mrabet said his client was charged with conspiracy to commit violence against public officials, and insulting the police, offences punishable by up to seven years in prison. “These crimes are unfounded, these articles in the penal code do not apply to artistic production,” he argued. The singer is heard saying: “Police, magistrates, I’m here to tell you one thing, you dogs; I’ll kill police instead of sheep; Give me a gun I’ll shoot them.” —AFP

International FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Mandela ‘responding well’ to treatment JOHANNESBURG: Nelson Mandela has been “responding well to treatment”, the South African government said yesterday, the frail former president’s sixth day in hospital battling a lung infection.

In a statement, members of the cabinet wished the revered anti-apartheid icon a quick recovery and said they were “pleased that he is responding well to treatment”. The 94-year-old elder statesman was admitted to hos-

JOHANNESBURG: Children walk in front of a year old mural outside former South African President Nelson Mandela’s former Alexandra township residence in Johannesburg yesterday.—AP

pital in the capital Pretoria in the early hours of Saturday for a pulmonary condition that has plagued him for years. President Jacob Zuma had told the country on Wednesday that Mandela was responding better to treatment after “a difficult last few days”. It is Mandela’s fourth stay in hospital since December, leading to a growing acceptance that the much loved father of the “Rainbow Nation” may be nearing the end of his life. Despite the more positive assessment of Mandela’s state of heath after the government previously described his condition as “serious but stable”, concerns remained among South Africans. “I don’t trust the information that I’m hearing because they say he’s in a stable condition but a bad condition,” said Anele Ndabeni, 28, a resident of the city Mthatha in the Eastern Cape province close to Mandela’s rural home village of Qunu. “They should tell the public and stop hiding what they’re saying. I think there’s something bad, but I’m not sure what it is.”

Another resident of Mthatha, Retselisitsoe Thethe, 29, said he felt Mandela should be allowed to die in peace. “They should just let him naturally die. They are keeping him alive but his body is tired,” he told AFP. “His spirit says yes, but his body you know is dead,” he said. “It’s time now. We would really appreciate to let him rest in peace.” Members of Mandela’s family, known for frequent internal feuding, have been visiting him regularly in a public display of unity. Yesterday his youngest daughter Zindzi visited the statesman briefly. His wife Graca Machel has been at his bedside almost constantly since calling off a trip to London last week. His eldest daughter Zenani, who is South Africa’s ambassador to Argentina, as well as his daughter Makaziwe and his ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela have visited him almost daily. The family said on Wednesday it was “deeply touched” by the worldwide support for the man considered one of the greatest figures of

the 20th century. As an antiapartheid revolutionary, Mandela spent 27 years in prison during white racist rule, walking free in 1990 before becoming South Africa’s first black president four years later. He has a long history of lung problems since being diagnosed with early-stage tuberculosis in 1988 while in prison. Friends have spoken of his failing memory, a far cry from the sharp-witted dancing statesman celebrated all over the world. In December he underwent surgery to remove gallstones as he recovered from a lung infection. Then in March he was admitted for a scheduled overnight check-up. Two months ago he was discharged after treatment for pneumonia. Mandela, who turns 95 next month, has not been seen in public since the World Cup final in South Africa in July 2010. He appeared frail and distant in a much-criticized April video showing Zuma and other members of the ruling African National Congress visiting Mandela at his Johannesburg home. — AFP

Cyprus TV host gets life in mafia-style mogul killing

NICOSIA: A glamorous TV host, her brother and two others were sentenced to life in prison yesterday after being found guilty of the mafia-style murder of a Cypriot media boss in a case that shocked the island. Media tycoon Andis Hadjicostis, 42, was gunned down outside his home near the heavily guarded US embassy on January 11, 2010. The millionaire was shot twice from close range and died instantly. Elena Skordelli, a 42-year-old mother of two, her brother Tassos Krasopoulis, 37, Andreas Gregoriou, a 33-year-old meat supplier and plumber Grigoris Xenophontos, 29, were all found guilty of the contract killing. Under Cyprus law, premeditated murder carries an automatic life sentence. A large crowd gathered outside the Nicosia courthouse for the climax of the trail, with scuffles breaking out between police and relatives and friends of the accused. The three-judge criminal court based its decision on the testimony given by key prosecution witness Fanos Hadjigeorgiou-the self-confessed getaway motorbike driver. “The testimony of key prosecution witness Fanos Hadjigeorgiou is not only true but emanates from his desire to tell the whole truth to investigators,” said the 380-page court verdict.

Hadjigeorgiou admitted to his part in the crime then turned state’s witness to give evidence against the other four. The defense argued his testimony was not credible. During the three-year trial the court heard the TV journalist and her brother ordered the hit on Hadjicostis for a 50,000-euro ($60,000) fee. And in return those who successfully carried out the task would also be given jobs at the station. A detailed list of the amount of shares purchased by the siblings in the media group Sigma Radio TV was also revealed during the lengthy trial. The criminal court heard that they purchased a 20-odd percent stake holding in the media company owned by the victim’s family for over three million euros. What evolved was a story of revenge as Skordelli had lost her job at Sigma and she held Hadjicostis responsible. Prosecutors said the chatshow presenter hatched the plot to kill her ex-bossthe scion of an influential family-in a conspiracy to take control of his media empire. The high profile case has both scandalized and fascinated Cypriots in equal measure. Media bosses wield great influence on the island where there is also a high regard for journalists in general and where attacks on public figures are rare. — AFP

S Africa vows to return Gaddafi assets to Libya JOHANNESBURG: South Africa will return assets and cash stashed by the slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in the country after reaching an agreement with Tripoli, the finance ministry said yesterday. The two governments agreed on “the repatriation from South Africa of Libyan funds” that are thought to include diamonds and gold worth more than $1 billion. The assets were placed in South Africa by the Libya Investment Authority, the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio and the Libya Africa Investment Company

funds closely controlled by Gaddafi. South Africa’s treasury said the assets will be returned in line with UN rules. South African media last week reported that Libyan investigators had approached the treasury with evidence that the assets were held by four local banks and two security companies. “The decision was informed by the fact that the government of Libya established a single body in 2012 to coordinate the repatriation of assets to Libya,” the South African government said.—AFP

NICOSIA: The mother (center) and father (left) of Cypriot media boss Andis Hadjicostis leave the court with their driver (right) after hearing the verdict for the murder of their son at the court in Nicosia, the capital of the eastern Mediterranean island, yesterday. (Inset) Cypriot TV anchor Elena Skordelli — AFP

Tsvangirai rejects July 31 poll date HARARE: Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday rejected a plan by President Robert Mugabe to hold an election on July 31, accusing his rival of breaking the constitution and fomenting a political crisis in the southern African nation. Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe could hold an election no earlier than Aug. 25, adding that Mugabe, his partner in a factious unity government, was violating a power-sharing agreement set up after bloody and disputed polls five years ago. “Mugabe is deliberately precipitating a constitutional crisis,” Tsvangirai told a news conference. He reiterated his view that the state media and security forces needed to be reformed

before any poll to ensure it was fair. An hour before Tsvangirai’s comments, Mugabe fasttracked changes to electoral laws by using a presidential decree to by-pass parliament in a bid to comply with a constitutional court order to hold elections by July 31. He has been pushing for early elections, saying the unity government has outlived its tenure. But Tsvangirai said he would not accept a situation in which Zimbabweans were “railroaded” into “another illegitimate election”. Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change want to open up broadcast media to all parties and impose a code of conduct to stop the army and police meddling in the vote. — Reuters

International FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

G8 summit to press Russia on Syria

PARIS: French President Francois Hollande leaves with the ruler of Dubai Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum after their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris yesterday. —AP

BERLIN: Britain and Germany aim to use next week’s summit of major economic powers to press Russia’s leader to use his leverage with the government of President Bashar Assad to calm the fighting in Syria. Leaders at the G8 meeting starting Monday will push President Vladimir Putin, “who has a special responsibility and a particular influence to contribute to a de-escalation as (Syria’s) weapons supplier,” a senior German official said yesterday. The issue has become more urgent because of the “increasingly sectarian character” of the civil war, pitching Shia and Sunni Muslims against each other, including the increased role of Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia fighting alongside Syrian government forces, the official said. The worsening situation also increasingly threatens to destabilize neighboring Iraq and

Lebanon, said the official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity in line with government rules. Syria’s upwardly spiraling violence has resulted in the confirmed killings of almost 93,000 people since March 2011, the United Nations’ human rights office said Thursday, but it said the real number is likely to be far higher. Russia has shielded Assad from UN sanctions and has continued to provide his regime with weapons. Moscow has said it’s only providing arms such as air defense missile systems to protect Syria from a foreign invasion. British Prime Minister David Cameron will be meeting Putin in London on Sunday for talks on Syria, ahead of the two-day G8 summit in Northern Ireland, and has pledged to have frank and open discussions with the Russian leader. — AP

New Irish abortion bill, after PM sent letters in blood

Serbia readies flood defenses as Danube nears record high

DUBLIN: Ireland published a draft new abortion bill yesterday after Prime Minister Enda Kenny said he had received plastic foetuses and letters written in blood claiming he is a murderer. The parliamentary bill was published ahead of the release later in the day of a long-awaited report into why an Indian-born dentist who was miscarrying died after being refused an abortion in an Irish hospital. The death of Savita Halappanavar, 31, in October ignited calls for the new legislation in Ireland, a predominantly Catholic country. The new legislation is aimed at clarifying the rules that legalise abortions in exceptional cases where doctors deem it necessary to save a woman’s life.Abortion is currently illegal in Ireland except if there is a substantial risk to the mother’s life but there has been much confusion about implementing it. Kenny said he had received a barrage of insults over the legislation. “I am getting medals, scapulars, plastic foetuses, letters written in blood, telephone calls all over the system,” he told parliament on Wednesday. “I am now being branded by personnel around the country as being a murderer, and that I am going to have on my soul the death of 20 million babies.” Kenny said he was a Catholic but he was proud to be a Taoiseach, or prime minister, for all the Irish people. — AFP

Army on standby, weekend settlements evacuated

France gambles on Syrian rebels PARIS: It’s a warm day on the Turkish-Syrian border. France’s recently recalled ambassador to Syria is incognito with his deputy and a security agent. After checking the surroundings are clear, the diplomat pulls out a stash of brown envelopes stuffed with thousands of dollars. The recipients are ‘viable’ rebels operating in zones no longer under President Bashar al-Assadís control. The scene last September, recounted by French officials, could have come from a spy film. Now Assadís forces appear to be regaining the upper hand on the battlefield. The change in the balance of power is causing alarm in Western and Arab capitals. Having clamoured for Assad to step aside, none of his foes are ready to take the risk of providing anti-aircraft or anti-tank weapons that could tilt the balance. With the opposition fragmented, the West fears that weapons could fall into the wrong hands, notably al Qaeda-backed militants and the Islamist Nusra Front, and wants ‘guarantees’ from opposition fighters before providing the arms. With cast iron guarantees unlikely and time running out, the way France has developed its networks in Syria since the uprising started more than two years ago offers an idea of how Western powers may assess future military help. — Reuters

BEZDAN, Serbia: Water levels in the Serbian stretch of the Danube river neared a 50-year high yesterday as the Balkan country braced for a wave of floods that have already ravaged parts of central Europe. Authorities stressed they did not expect the kind of damage seen in Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, where at least a dozen people died and tens of thousands fled their homes. The army was placed on standby and dozens of people were evacuated from mainly weekend settlements on the banks of the Danube in Serbia’s northern Vojvodina province, bordering Hungary and Croatia. Croatia, too, said it was taking “preventive measures” to cope with the impact of the swell. “Dikes have been checked, all teams are at potential hotspots, movable barriers and pumps are in place,” Predrag Maric, the head of the Serbian Interior Ministry’s emergencies department, told Reuters. “It will be tense until Saturday,” he said. In the northern region of Bezdan, the Danube reached 752 centimetres (25 feet), just below its 1965 high of 776 centimetres. Bane Bozanic, an engineer with the state hydro-meteorological institute at the scene, said Yugoslav-era dikes had been doubled in height and reinforced in the 1950s. “They built them five decades ago and they’re still holding all this water,” he said. “It (the river) peaked this morning and this is the highest it will go.” Severe flooding would hit the fragile Serbian economy, which is heavily dependent on agriculture mainly in the northern plains of Vojvodina. But with the swell losing steam, Serbia on Wednesday turned down an offer of 1,000 troops from northern neighbor Hungary to help in the flood effort. Maric said the Serbian military was ready to act. “It’s our assessment that we don’t need them right now, but they have machinery and teams at the ready,” he said. — Reuters

Houses near Halasztelek submerged by the floods from the Danube river. Central Europe still battles floods that have left 19 dead, forced thousands to evacuate and caused billions of euros in damage. — AFP

Queen’s portrait in Westminster Abbey defaced LONDON: A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on display at Westminster Abbey has been defaced with paint. The abbey says the painting by Ralph Heimans hanging in the building’s Chapter House was vandalized at lunchtime yesterday. It has been removed from public view until it can be restored. The portrait by Australia-born artist Heimans was commissioned to mark last year’s anniversary of the queen’s 60 years on the throne. It was on display until March in Australia’s National Portrait Gallery in Canberra. Last week the monarch attended a ceremony in the abbey to mark the 60th anniversary of her coronation there in June 1953. — AP

International FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Maoist rebel attack on train in India kills 3 PATNA: Dozens of suspected Maoist rebels fired at a passenger train passing through their stronghold in eastern India yesterday, killing three people and injuring two others, police said. The attackers, estimated to be about 100, surrounded the train near Jamui, a small town 230 kilometers (140 miles) southeast of Patna, the Bihar state capital, police officer S K Bhardwaj said. One of the two drivers stopped the train on seeing the suspected

rebels and fled, Bhardwaj told reporters. The dead were a security guard and two passengers, he said. Two other people, including the other train driver, suffered bullet wounds, Bhardwaj said. Police officer Abhyanand, who uses only one name, said the attackers fled into a forested area after security guards on the train fired back. Bhardwaj said the motive of the attack appeared to be to loot

the guards’ weapons as the suspected rebels took two guns. The train carrying 1,500 people later resumed its journey. India’s junior Home Minister RPN Singh denounced the attack and said it was unfortunate that Maoists had started targeting trains and political rallies and killing people in a barbaric manner. The Asian Centre for Human Rights condemned the attack “as an act of terrorism,” saying in a

statement that civilians should never be military targets. Last month, nearly 200 suspected Maoist rebels set off a land mine and opened fire on a convoy of cars carrying local leaders and supporters of India’s ruling Congress party after a political rally in Chhattisgarh state, also in the country’s east. The attack left 28 dead and 24 others hurt. Thursday’s attack was also in a known stronghold of rebels who have been fighting in several

Indian states for more than 40 years, and claim inspiration from Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong. They demand land and jobs for impoverished tribal communities they say are ignored by the government. India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called the rebels India’s biggest internal security threat. They operate in 20 of India’s 28 states and have thousands of fighters, according to the Home Ministry. — AP

Goa state seeks to limit outside landowners CM raises concerns with premier

HYDERABAD: Indian students of the Telangana Joint Action Committee (T-JAC) throw stones at police preventing the students from marching to the ‘Assembly’ during a pro-Telangana protest in Hyderabad yesterday.—AFP

India mulls special session on food bill NEW DELHI: India’s government is considering calling a special session of parliament to pass a populist but hugely expensive bill to provide subsidized food to millions of people, a top minister said yesterday. The landmark Food Security Bill, approved by cabinet in 2011, would provide subsidized rice, wheat and millet to more than 700 million Indians. The bill is seen as a vote winner for the ruling Congress party ahead of elections due by next year, but critics say the measure will further strain the country’s troubled finances. Finance Minister P Chidambaram said the government would meet members of the opposition shortly to see “whether they will cooperate in passing the bill in a special session of parliament”. “If that support is forthcoming, the bill will be passed in a special session of parliament based upon the response of the main opposition parties,” he told reporters in New Delhi after a cabinet meeting. “We would like to pass the bill as early as possible.” Opposition parties have attacked the Congress-led government for attempting to push the bill, saying there has not been enough discussion of its impact on farmers and consumers. Rajnath Singh, head of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, said it would be “undemocratic” if the government tried to push through the bill without a parliamentary debate. “We definitely would like the Food Security Bill to be passed in the upcoming monsoon session of the parliament with some amendments,” he told reporters. The measure, which government officials have said would increase the annual subsidy bill by 1.1 trillion rupees ($19 billion), is considered key to the Congress-led coalition’s fortunes ahead of elections. Food prices have soared in India over the last seven years, causing increased hardship for the 455 million people estimated by the World Bank to live below the poverty line. Critics of the bill say India can ill afford such a costly subsidy at a time of slowing economic growth, galloping inflation and a yawning budget deficit. The bill will target 75 percent of the rural population and up to 50 percent of the urban population, providing a monthly supply of between three kilos (seven pounds) and seven kilos of grain per person, depending on need and priorities. —AFP

PANAJI: The Indian tourism state of Goa is seeking to restrict the sale of land to outsiders who flock to the coastal belt to set up retirement and holiday homes due to a rising tide of newcomers. Lawmakers fear the local ethnic population will become a minority by the year 2021, pointing to the number of migrants moving to the former Portuguese colony. Goa’s Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar led a delegation from the state to the national capital New Delhi on Wednesday to express concerns to the central government and request special powers to restrict land sales. A memorandum submitted by Parrikar to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and seen by AFP, said that “the unrestricted immigration and wholescale transfer of land is beginning to submerge the unique Goan identity”. “Though we have been noticing this trend in the last decade or so, it has now reached menacing proportions. The apprehension is that by 2021 the migrant population will outnumber the local Goans,” it said. Goa, with its long sandy beaches and laid-back atmosphere, has been a haven for tourists since the days of the hippie trail in the 1960s and 1970s. In recent years the southwestern state has stopped signing sale deeds for foreigners seeking properties, although it is technically allowed if they have business visas and the sale

involves non-agricultural land. But the area has also become an increasingly popular spot for retirement and holiday homes for Indians from outside Goa. “This has led to a huge boom in building activities in the state in the last 10 years or so,” Parrikar said, pointing out that more than 20 percent of

Goa’s houses are vacant and are most likely second homes. Citing the latest census data, Parrikar said one third of Goa’s 1.6 million residents are migrants from elsewhere, with only 51 percent of the state speaking its official Konkani language. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan gestures to supporters on his way to the airport for Islamabad, in Lahore yesterday. Khan arrived in Islamabad after doctors cleared him for travel. Khan was injured when he fell off a forklift during election campaigning in Lahore on May 7.— AFP

Kerry to visit Pakistan this month ISLAMABAD: US Secretary of State John Kerry is to visit Pakistan this month for the first time since taking office, Islamabad said yesterday. It is the most senior foreign visit to be announced since Nawaz Sharif was sworn in as Pakistani prime minister after May elections. “US Secretary of State John Kerry will be visiting Pakistan in the last week of June,” Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry told a weekly press briefing. He said the specific dates of Kerry’s visit would be announced

once they had been finalized. US officials previously said Kerry would visit once the new government was in place. Pakistan and the United States are key allies in the war in Afghanistan and the fight against Al-Qaeda, but relations can be strained. US drone strikes targeting Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives in northwest Pakistan are publicly the greatest sticking point. Kerry earlier this month defended the strikes although Sharif has called for them to end. After win-

ning the May 11 election, Sharif told foreign journalists that he would extend “full support” to the United States as it withdraws combat troops from Afghanistan by next year. Pakistani-US relations nosedived in 2011 after US Navy SEALs tracked down and killed Osama bin Laden in the northwestern town of Abbottabad in May. For seven months Pakistan also cut off NATO overland supply lines into Afghanistan after botched US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers near the Afghan border. — AFP

International FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Briton tells of terrifying Indonesia kidnap ordeal Abductors free Primrose without ransom

DENPASER BALI: Colombian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Monica Lanzetta ( second left), Brunei’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Bolkiah (center) and Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa (right) arrive for the FEALAC conference in Nusa Dua on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali yesterday.— AFP

Pakistani charged with US pastor murder KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian court yesterday charged a Pakistani security guard with the murder of a US pastor, who was found strangled at his home in Kuala Lumpur last month, a report said. David James Ginter, 62, was found dead in his home on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital in May, his hands and feet bound, and a mobile phone charger cable wrapped around his neck. A Kuala Lumpur district court charged Shahbaz, 25, with the murder, which carries a mandatory death penalty by hanging, Bernama news agency reported, adding that four accomplices were believed to still be at large. It said the defendant was recorded as having only one name and that no plea was recorded. The next court date was set for July 18. The report gave no further details, such as a possible motive. Court officials and prosecutors could not be reached by AFP. Ginter had been a senior pastor at the Bridge International Church in Kuala Lumpur for three years. Police previously cited robbery as a possible motive, noting that the pastor’s car was missing from his house. Reports of burglaries and violent crime have surged in recent years in the Muslim-majority country. Police say statistics show they have managed to reduce crime, but anecdotes of break-ins, bag-snatching and violent crimes abound in the press and social media, fuelling widespread doubt about official crime figures. — AFP

Fukushima official Twitter tirade under fire in Japan TOKYO: A public official charged with helping victims of Japan’s nuclear disaster who launched a foul-mouthed Twitter tirade faced calls to quit yesterday. In a posting on the micro-blogging site Yasuhisa Mizuno said citizen groups demanding measures to protect people against radiation were “lefty shit”, a report said. “I can’t help but only feel pity for their lack of intelligence,” he wrote, under the handle @jp1tej. The Tweets, which had been deleted by Thursday, were reported by the Mainichi newspaper. Reconstruction minister Takumi Nemoto, who oversees the agency employing Mizuno, apologized for the remarks, and hinted action would be taken. “In terms of reprimand, we want to take this case appropriately based on results of our probe,” he said. Opposition parties rounded on the remarks, and called on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to sack the official. “We strongly demand the dismissal of the reconstruction agency councillor who used abusive language on Twitter,” Socialist leader Mizuho Fukushima said. “We request the Abe cabinet and the reconstruction agency build a system to help (victims).” More than 18,000 people were killed when an enormous tsunami crashed into Japan in March 2011 after a huge undersea earthquake. The waters swamped cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, sending reactors into meltdown. Tens of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes by the spreading radiation, with some expected never to be able to return. —AFP

PARSI PUTIH, Indonesia: A shaken British energy worker told yesterday of his terrifying ordeal at the hands of kidnappers in the restive Indonesian province of Aceh. Malcolm Primrose was abducted on Tuesday by a group of armed men who stopped his car as he was being driven to a work site in East Aceh district at around 11:00 am (0400 GMT). He was released late Wednesday after his captors’ demands for ransom were not swiftly met, and picked up early yesterday by police in a palm oil plantation in the same district. Struggling to hold back tears, Primrose said: “It’s an experience that I don’t think anybody should have to go through. You don’t know if you are ever going to see your family again.” “Excuse me if I am a little bit emotional,” he told reporters at a press conference at the police station in Parsi Putih village in East Aceh, sitting alongside his Indonesian wife. “I can only thank God that everything turned out all right.” Wearing blue work overalls and a traditional patterned Indonesian scarf, the drilling supervisor added he was thankful his captors “didn’t hurt me in any way”. “Whilst I was afraid, they didn’t hurt me, they fed me,” he said. He added that when they released him, the kidnappers showed him the way to the area where he was eventually picked up by police. His wife Nurasiah described how the kidnappers called her initially to demand a ransom of one billion rupiah ($100,000). When she tried to negotiate, they raised it to five billion. She said they called back later with a lower demand of 250 million rupiah. When she did not

immediately agree to pay, they simply gave up and released her husband later that evening. Primrose, in his early 60s, is originally from Scotland but has not lived there for many years. His kidnap sparked a huge search by security forces, with more than 150 police and soldiers deployed. Provincial police spokesman Gustav Leo said Primrose was freed in the middle of a palm oil plantation in the Perlak area of East Aceh and was in good health. A spokesman for the British embassy in Jakarta said: “We are delighted to confirm that Malcolm Primrose has been released. Embassy officials are with Mr Primrose and

are providing consular assistance.” East Aceh district police chief Muhajir said he had picked up the Briton after he was discovered alone at a security checkpoint in the plantation. Security forces were still hunting for the kidnappers, he added. Primrose had been working as a sub-contractor for a subsidiary of Indonesian oil and gas company Medco Energi Internasional. He had been working on a drilling project to explore for gas in the jungles of resource-rich Aceh and Tuesday was meant to be his last day in the province, according to a source familiar with the case. —AFP

Freed kidnap victim British energy worker Malcolm Primrose (right) and his Indonesian wife, Inur appear at a press conference at East Aceh district police station after he was released unharmed by unidentified kidnappers yesterday.—AFP

In first response to Snowden, China skirts direct comment BEIJING: China refused to be drawn yesterday on revelations of US electronic surveillance and on the American in Hong Kong who leaked the information, and a senior source said Beijing does not want to jeopardize recently improved ties with Washington. China has been on a long holiday since National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden told Britain’s Guardian newspaper and the Washington Post last

week of the agency’s programs to monitor data at big companies such as Google Inc and Facebook Inc. He told Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper on Wednesday that the US government had been hacking into Hong Kong and mainland Chinese computers for years. “We have seen the relevant reports, but I regret that I have no information to give you on this,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular

INCHEON: South Korean soldiers with their machine guns jump out of a military truck during an anti-terror drills ahead of the 4th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games Incheon, which starts from the end of June, in Incheon, west of Seoul, yesterday.—AP

news briefing, in China’s first official response to questions about the case. “China will not take a clear-cut stand now,” said a source with ties to China’s leadership, noting that the presidents of the two nations held a successful summit less than a week ago. “China will not become involved at this stage and will wait for things to develop,” the source told Reuters, requesting anonymity to avoid political repercussions for speaking to a foreign reporter. “China is likely to refrain from using harsh words against the United States now. Americans and the rest of the world are already criticising the United States.” Hua, the spokeswoman, also refused comment on any possible extradition request from the United States or any move by Snowden to seek asylum in Hong Kong, which has a large degree of autonomy but answers to Beijing on diplomatic matters. Cyber security is a major irritant between China and the United States and was one of the main topics on the agenda at the first summit between President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama, held last week. Hua did not directly comment on the allegations, repeating China’s long-held position that it is one of the world’s biggest victims of hacking and noted that Washington and Beijing had agreed to discuss the issue.— Reuters

International FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

US whites now losing majority among babies Rural US loses population for first time: Census

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama shakes hands with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. The White House says Obama has spoken with Abe about North Korea’s nuclear program and a territorial dispute with China. —AP

White House lawyer replacing CIA deputy WASHINGTON: CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell is stepping down and being replaced by White House lawyer Avril Haines, who will be the first woman to hold the post. When President Barack Obama named a successor to former CIA Director David Petraeus in January, Morell was passed over in favor of the White House counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan. Morell had been acting director since Petraeus’ resignation. Morell, 54, announced his retirement Wednesday, saying he will leave his CIA post Aug. 9. The White House announced he has been appointed to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, a group of mostly retired intelligence officers who advise the president on intelligence policy. “While I have given everything I have to the Central Intelligence Agency and its vital mission for a third of a century, it is now time for me to give everything I have to my family,” Morell said in a statement released Wednesday by the agency. Morell is retiring after 33 years at the CIA, including two stints as acting director - during the last stint he managed the fallout inside the agency after Petraeus resigned over an extramarital affair. Morell ordered an internal investigation into his former boss’ conduct that is ongoing. “I was most looking forward to ... the opportunity to work side-by-side once again with Michael Morell,” said Brennan, noting that they’d begun their careers at the CIA in 1980. “As much as I would selfishly like to keep Michael right where he is for as long as possible, he has decided to retire to spend more time with his family and to pursue other professional opportunities.” Haines, 43, has been a White House deputy assistant and deputy counsel for national security affairs since 2010. Before that, she was assistant legal adviser for treaty affairs at the State Department, according to a White House statement.—AP

WASHINGTON: For the first time, America’s racial and ethnic minorities now make up about half of the under-5 age group, the government said yesterday. It’s a historic shift that shows how young people are at the forefront of sweeping changes by race and class. The new census estimates, a snapshot of the US population as of July 2012, comes a year after the Census Bureau reported that whites had fallen to a minority among babies. Fueled by immigration and high rates of birth, particularly among Hispanics, racial and ethnic minorities are now growing more rapidly in numbers than whites. Based on current rates of growth, whites in the under-5 group are expected to tip to a minority this year or next, Thomas Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau’s acting director, said. The government also projects that in five years, minorities will make up more than half of children under 18. Not long after, the total US white population will begin an inexorable decline in absolute numbers, due to aging baby boomers. The imminent tip to a white minority among young children adds a racial dimension to government spending on early-childhood education, such as President Barack Obama’s proposal to significantly expand pre-kindergarten for lower-income families. The nation’s demographic changes are already stirring discussion as to whether some civil rights-era programs, such as affirmative action in college admissions, should be retooled to focus more on income rather than race and ethnicity. The Supreme Court will rule on the issue this month. Studies show that gaps in achievement by both race and class begin long before college, suggesting that US remedies to foster equal opportunity will need to reach earlier into a child’s life. “The educational system is likely to be the most widely used and most acceptable policy tool we have for equalizing life chances. But it does not seem so far to

achieve this goal,” said Timothy Smeeding, an economics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who specializes in income inequality. “This specter of

spots for baby boomers. The new estimates, as of July 2012, show that would-be retirees are opting to stay put in urban areas near jobs. Recent

FERNLEY: Tom Moore rides through downtown Fernley, Nevada, with his daughters, Bridget and Meara. In a reversal of fortunes due to the recent recession, rural America is now losing population, in towns like Fernley, for the first time, because of waning interest among millions of baby boomers in moving to far-flung locations for retirement and recreation. —AP unequal opportunity may be the biggest negative social outcome of the continuing American inequality boom.” The gap between rich and poor in the US has now stretched to its widest since 1970, making opportunities to reach the middle class increasingly difficult. Rural America is losing population for the first time ever, largely because of waning interest among baby boomers in moving to far-flung locations for retirement and recreation, according to new census estimates. Long weighed down by dwindling populations in farming and coal communities and the movement of young people to cities, rural counties are being hit by sputtering growth in retirement and recreation areas, once residential hot

weakness in the economy means some boomers have less savings than a decade ago to buy a vacation home in the countryside, which often becomes a full-time residence after retirement. Cities are also boosting urban living, a potential draw for boomers who may prefer to age closer to accessible health care. About 46.2 million people, or 15 percent of the US population, reside in rural counties, which spread across 72 percent of the nation’s land area. From 2011 to 2012, those non-metro areas lost more than 40,000 people, a 0.1 percent drop. The Census Bureau reported a minuscule 0.01 percent loss from 2010 to 2011, but that was not considered statistically significant and could be adjusted later. —AP

If US does not arm Syria rebels, Arabs, EU may WASHINGTON: Among the consequences facing US President Barack Obama if he decides against arming Syria’s rebels is that Arab and European states may step in more aggressively, perhaps further fracturing rebel forces. Having watched government forces seize the strategic town of Qusair from the rebels last week, Obama’s senior national security advisers have held a series of meetings on what more, if anything, they are willing to do to help the opposition. The fall of Qusair, signs that the military balance may be tipping in favor of President Bashar al-Assad, the entry of Lebanese Hezbollah fighters on his side, and the growing credence of allegations of

chemical weapons use by the government have all triggered a reevaluation of US policy. Next week’s Group of Eight summit will give Obama a chance to discuss options with leaders of Britain, France and Russia and could influence any decision to arm the rebels or otherwise do more to support them. Diplomats and analysts said if Obama chooses not to arm the rebels, or to take a more active role in coordinating the flows of arms and money from others, he may find states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar pouring in even more money and materiel. The danger, they said, is that this could accelerate a trend in which outside powers arm and fund preferred militants in Syria, creating client militias beholden

to their patrons and undercutting efforts to develop a unified rebel front. “If there is no (US) decision this week, I think other actors will act. The Arabs can’t afford to lose Syria,” said a diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity. “If we don’t act ... you’re going to end up with Arab arms and Euro arms being provided,” said Aaron David Miller, a former senior State Department official now at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars think tank in Washington. “The logical consequence will be to accelerate the degree of ... dysfunction, the lack of organization that (already) exists among these groups,” he added. Arms and funding from Gulf Arab states have flowed to the Syrian rebels

for months, while European states such as Britain and France have made clear they are considering doing so as well. Under their pressure, the European Union allowed its arms embargo to expire, freeing them to provide weaponry. In Washington on Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague hinted at the possibility of doing more to support the rebels, although he did not provide details. “We’ve met several times ... to coordinate our actions and our diplomacy and our support for the (opposition),” he said of the core “Friends of Syria” group, 11 nations including the United States and its European and regional allies. “We will continue to do that, and we may well have to intensify

that in various ways over the coming weeks and months in order to make it more likely that we can achieve a political solution in Syria,” he told a news conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry. The United States has balked at giving weapons to the antiAssad forces in part because of close links between some of the rebels and al Qaeda and the fear that the arms could end up being used against Western targets and US allies such as Israel. But Western diplomats said representatives would be meeting Free Syrian Army commander Salim Idriss - seen as a moderate who is trusted by US officials - on Saturday in Turkey to discuss possible new aid.— Reuters

International FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Massive storm surges toward Mid-Atlantic Widespread destruction, power outages forecast

An aerial view of the cooling units at the NSA’s Utah Data Center in Bluffdale, Utah. — AP

NSA head: Spy programs foiled terror attacks WASHINGTON: Once-secret surveillance programs were crucial in enabling the US government to thwart dozens of terrorist attacks, says the director of the National Security Agency in a forceful defense of spy operations that have stirred fears of government snooping and violations of privacy rights. Army Gen Keith Alexander, in his first congressional testimony since disclosure of the secretive programs, offered few details on Wednesday about the disrupted terror plots but asserted that the two government programs - they have collected millions of telephone records and kept tabs on Internet activity - were imperative in the terror fight. The director of national intelligence has declassified some details on two thwarted attacks - Najibullah Zazi’s foiled plot to bomb the New York subways and the case of David Coleman Headley, a Pakistani-American who used his US passport to travel frequently to India, where he allegedly scouted out venues for terror attacks on behalf of the Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist organization. Alexander said he is pressing for the intelligence community to provide details on the other plots. “I do think it’s important that we get this right and I want the American people to know that we’re trying to be transparent here, protect civil liberties and privacy but also the security of this country,” Alexander told a Senate panel. He described the steps the government takes once it suspects a terrorist organization is about to act - all within the laws approved by Congress and under stringent oversight from the courts. He said the programs led to “disrupting or contributing to the disruption of terrorist attacks,” without offering specifics. Half a world away, Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old former contractor who fled to Hong Kong and leaked documents about the programs, said he would fight any US attempts to extradite him. American law enforcement officials are building a case against him but have yet to bring charges. “I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality,” Snowden said of the surveillance programs in an interview with the South China Morning Post. In plain-spoken, measured tones, Alexander answered senators’ questions in an open session and promised to provide additional information to the Senate Intelligence Committee in closed session yesterday. But he also warned that revelations about the secret programs have eroded agency capabilities and, as a result, the U.S. and its allies won’t be as safe as they were two weeks ago. “Some of these are still going to be classified and should be, because if we tell the terrorists every way that we’re going to track them, they will get through and Americans will die,” he said, adding that he would rather be criticized by people who think he’s hiding something “than jeopardize the security of this country.” Alexander said he was seriously concerned that Snowden, a former employee with government contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, had access to key parts of the NSA network, a development that demands a closer examination of how well the agency oversees contract employees. Alexander said Snowden was a system administrator who didn’t have visibility into the whole NSA network but could access key portions of it. —AP

WASHINGTON: A massive storm system originally forecast to affect one in five Americans from Iowa to Maryland surged yesterday toward the Mid-Atlantic after causing widespread power outages but largely failing to live up to its billing in ferocity through the Upper Midwest. The Washington, DC, area braced for the storms and the National Weather Service issued severe thunderstorm watches and warnings for much of the region. Forecasters warned the storms could produce damaging winds and large hail and a flash flood watch was in effect. State and local officials warned residents to prepare for the storms and possible power outages. Power companies said they were preparing for storm response. Storms with swift, straight-line winds soaked parts of Ohio, damaging trees and barns and leaving many without power early yesterday as commuters dodged fallen branches on roads and faced backups at intersections where traffic lights were out. Straight-line winds topping 70 mph were reported and more than two dozen tornado warnings were issued as two rounds of storms pummeled the state, but no twisters have been confirmed, said Phillip Johnson, who was part of the team monitoring developments for the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. In New Jersey, officials opened the soaked state’s Emergency Operations Center on Thursday morning to monitor the storm’s progress. The National Weather Service issued a flood watch for most of the state. Forecasters predicted 1 to 2 inches of rain will fall on swollen rivers and streams. By early yesterday, a derecho hadn’t

developed. And Greg Carbin of the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said, “With each hour that goes by, it’s less likely.” While the Midwest dodged a derecho, several tornadoes, large hail and flooding did some damage. In the small town of Belmond, Iowa, about 90 miles north of Des Moines, Duwayne Abel, owner of Cattleman’s Steaks & Provisions restaurant, said a tornado demolished part of the building. No one was in the restaurant at the time. “I was, oh, 8 miles west of town and I looked toward town and I could see a funnel cloud, having no idea it was exactly where

our restaurant was,” Abel said. His wife and an employee were able to get out of the restaurant and sought shelter in a basement. In Iowa, at least two businesses and a home were damaged, authorities said. A storm ripped through a farm in rural Alexander, destroying a motor home. Tens of thousands of people across the Upper Midwest lost power. In Wisconsin, authorities said thunderstorms packing heavy rain and high winds caused a Wal-Mart roof to partially collapse. Lake Delton Fire Chief Darren Jorgenson says two employees had minor injuries, but no customers were hurt.—AP

CHICAGO: Lightning strikes the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) in downtown on Wednesday in Chicago, Illinois. A massive storm system with heavy rain, high winds, hail and possible tornadoes is expected to move into Illinois and much of the central part of the Midwest today.—AFP

Thousands flee Colorado wildfire COLORADO SPRINGS: Jaenette Coyne estimates she had five minutes to leave home after calling 911 to report forest fire smoke behind her home. There was no time to grab wedding albums, fingerprint artwork by her 20-month-old daughter, quilts her grandmother made, her family’s three cats. “We left with nothing,” she said. She

and her husband later watched on television this week as flames engulfed their house. “I don’t know how to tell you in words what it felt like,” she said. “It’s the worst thing I’ve ever felt in my whole life.” Sheriff’s officials released a preliminary list Wednesday showing the Black Forest Fire northeast of Colorado Springs has destroyed at least 92 homes and damaged

COLORADO SPRINGS: A firefighter fights a blaze in a detached garage in the Black Forest area, Wednesday in Colorado Springs.—AP

five more. The fire was among several that surged rapidly Tuesday along Colorado’s Front Range. Fueled by hot temperatures, changing gusts, and thick, bone-dry forests, the Black Forest Fire has prompted evacuation orders and pre-evacuation notices to between 9,000 and 9,500 people and to about 3,500 homes and businesses, sheriff’s officials said. Part of neighboring Elbert County, including two camps with a total of about 1,250 children and adults, also was evacuated. A separate Colorado wildfire to the south has destroyed 20 structures, including some in Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, and prompted evacuations of about 250 residents and nearly 1,000 medium-security prison inmates who were taken to other facilities. To the north, another fire burned in Rocky Mountain National Park. Wildfires also were burning in New Mexico, Oregon and California, where a smokejumper was killed fighting one of dozens of lightning-sparked fires. On Wednesday, the US Forest Service mobilized a pair of Defense Department cargo planes to help - a step taken only when all of the Forest Service’s 12 contracted tankers are in use. At least one was fighting the Black Forest Fire.—AP

Business FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

India’s finance minister pledges more reforms

BofA-Merrill raises Qatar, cuts UAE

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ATHENS: Protesters gather at the entrance of the Greek public broadcaster ERT headquarters in Athens yesterday during a 24-hour strike over the government’s sudden ERT shutdown as part of sweeping cost-cutting measures and to call to reverse the controversial lockup. — AFP ( See Page 20 )

Boom-and-bust cycle a risk for Dubai: IMF UAE finances improve, needs to balance budget DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates is succeeding in strengthening its state finances by restraining spending, and managed last year to reduce the oil price which it needs to balance its budget, the International Monetary Fund said yesterday. But the possibility of another boom-and-bust cycle in debtladen Dubai is a risk for the UAE economy in the medium term, the IMF warned after the emirate announced a string of huge real estate development projects. The IMF’s report, released after annual consultations with the UAE, indicated the country is doing more than other Gulf Arab oil exporters to rein in growth of government spending and reduce its vulnerability to any steep fall of the oil price. Hit by the global financial slump, Gulf Arab countries boosted spending sharply from 2009, and increased it further in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011. The higher spending has succeeded in keeping economies growing, but means state budgets could fall into deficit if oil prices slide. The UAE began curbing its spending last year, more than doubling its total fiscal surplus - the combined surplus of the federal government and all of the UAE’s seven emirates - to 8.8 percent of gross domestic product from 4.1 percent in 2011, the IMF calculated. This lowered the oil price which the UAE needs to balance its combined budget to $74 per barrel last year from $84 in 2011, the IMF said. Brent crude oil is now around $103. By contrast, other Gulf Arab countries continued to increase state spending substantially last year and their budget break-even

prices have been rising. The IMF said it welcomed the UAE’s plans to continue consolidating its finances: “For 2013, continued fiscal consolidation of around 2 percent of non-oil GDP is planned. “Fiscal consolidation is expected to be driven by a rationalization of capital spending and subsidies and transfers, while spending on goods and services, defense and security, and the wage bill are expected to increase.” The UAE’s finances are difficult to analyze because oil-rich Abu Dhabi, which accounts for roughly 80 percent of the country’s fiscal spending, does not publicly release details of its annual budgets and outcomes. In October, the federal finance ministry published 2011 consolidated fiscal data, releasing such information for the first time ever, but there has been no update on 2012 so far. Because of lower oil prices, the IMF predicted the UAE’s fiscal surplus would shrink to 8.1 percent of GDP this year, before narrowing gradually to 5.1 percent in 2018. Despite its approval of the UAE’s overall policy direction, the IMF warned of risks in Dubai, which suffered a crippling corporate debt crisis in 2009 but is now recovering strongly on the back of rebounding real estate prices. “At the emirate level, a faster pace of consolidation in Dubai would be desirable to address the emirate’s continued debt-related risks,” the IMF said. It also described “insufficient domestic policy reform to mitigate the risk of a renewed boom-and-bust cycle” as a risk for the UAE economy. “Renewed optimism fuelled by rising real estate prices and loose global liquidity conditions could prompt a renewed cycle

of imprudent risk-taking and re-leveraging by GREs (governmentrelated entities) and private companies, which could also affect banks’ balance sheets in light of their strong interconnectedness with GREs. “In the absence of prudent policies, this could fuel shortterm growth at the expense of medium-term stability.” Dubai’s total debt remains substantial at $142 billion, or around 102 percent of its GDP, and $35 billion of that amount is in government and government-guaranteed debt, the IMF said. The emirate’s GREs have increased their debt to an estimated $93 billion from $84 billion in March 2012, and about $60 billion of that debt falls due in 2013-2017, it added. In the last few months, state-linked Dubai companies have announced billions of dollars of new real estate projects. For example, last week Emaar Properties and Meraas Holding said they formed a venture to develop a huge area near Dubai’s downtown; a commercial centre, low- and mid-rise residences, an 18-hole golf course and other facilities would be built over 11 million square metres (2,700 acres). “While further investment in the development of Dubai’s economy is welcome, the authorities should ensure that, in line with current intentions, execution will be gradual and flexible depending on demand,” the IMF said. “New investments should be structured in a way that strictly limits risk-taking by the still highly indebted GRE sector,” it said, adding that availability of financial data on the health of Dubai’s GREs was still inadequate.—Reuters

Business FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Oil slips to $103 on demand worries LONDON: Oil slipped to $103 a barrel yesterday as a subdued outlook for global demand due to weak economic growth outweighed disruptions on the supply side and a falling US dollar. The World Bank cut its outlook for global growth, saying the economy should expand by 2.2 percent versus 2.3 percent in 2012, citing a deeper-thanexpected recession in Europe and a slowdown in some emerging markets. Brent crude slipped 51 cents to $102.98 a barrel by 0903 GMT. Prices have declined from a 2013 high near $120 reached on Feb 8. US oil fell 52 cents to $95.36. “The demand picture is still very subdued at the moment,” said Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank, who added that the falling US currency

had lent support to Brent. “The only thing that is likely to have prevented its price from falling is the weaker US dollar.” The dollar was near a four-month low against a basket of currencies, falling as investors reduced bets on gains in the US currency taken out on expectations the Federal Reserve would soon scale back monetary easing. A weak dollar makes dollar-denominated commodities cheaper for holders of other currencies and tends to support oil prices. A number of reports this week have highlighted a weak demand outlook. On Wednesday, a US government report showed inventories of gasoline on the East Coast rose to their highest since February 2012, suggesting ample supplies as the summer, when

motor fuel demand rises, gets under way. The International Energy Agency said modest economic growth was limiting oil demand worldwide, and some developed economies would see absolute declines in oil consumption in 2013. The two other oil forecasters closely watched by investors, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the US government’s Energy Information Administration, cut their global oil demand growth forecasts on Tuesday. Oil also drew support from disruption to flows. Libya is struggling to hold output stable, while supply of North Sea crude which underpins Brent is expected to be more sharply reduced than usual by maintenance this summer. — Reuters

Greeks strike as fury over TV closure grows Trains, buses grind to a halt

RAWALPINDI: Pakistani laborers sit underneath the shade of a tree as they await work in Rawalpindi yesterday. Pakistan on June 12 announced the budget for the fiscal year 2013-14, which begins July 1, which comes against a backdrop of weak economic growth, high inflation, dwindling foreign exchange reserves and unprecedented power cuts. — AFP

Kuwait oil price falls to $99.55pb KUWAIT: Price of Kuwaiti crude oil dropped 52 cents reaching $99.55 per barrel (pb) on Wednesday compared to $100.07pb on Tuesday, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) said yesterday. Meanwhile, in the western hemisphere, a report released by the US energy authorities showed increase of the American crude reserves by 2.5 million barrels, against backdrop of antici-

pations that the crude prices would drop due to the rise of the reserves. However, weak rating of the US dollar vis a vis other major currencies and instability in the Middle East, among other others factors, led to rise of the oil prices. Forward crude contracts for July posted highest rise in the New York market, yesterday, at $95.8695.47pb. The Brent crude contracts for July rose to $103.49pb. — KUNA

ATHENS: Trains and buses ground to a halt yesterday in Athens as Greek workers staged a nationwide strike to protest against the government’s dramatic shutdown of public broadcaster ERT. Thousands demonstrated outside ERT’s headquarters in a northern suburb of the capital, calling on Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to reverse his decision to pull the plug on the broadcaster as part of sweeping cost-cutting measures. ERT employees, stunned by the sudden loss of their jobs, were defiantly transmitting rogue broadcasts on the Internet and the Communist party television channel. The 24-hour strike called by the major trade unions to support them saw public services across the country shut and left hospitals operating on emergency footing. “This has to stop,” said Olga Papaiossif, a 41-year-old pre-school teacher as she protested in Athens. “They want to sell everything in Greece, the TV, the water, everything. And in the rest of Europe too,” she told AFP. Air traffic controllers were due to participate in a twohour work stoppage starting from 1200 GMT and broadcast journalists were on an indefinite strike because of the government’s shock move. Greek media yesterday raised the prospect of early elections, warning that Prime Minister Samaras could have pushed his coalition allies too far this time. The socialist and moderate leftist supporting his government are already facing internal pressure over the unpopular austerity measures Greece has been applying for a fourth year. As if on cue, the state data agency on Thursday said the jobless rate had climbed to 27.4 percent in the first three months of the year, from 26 percent a year earlier. “A solution in one week or elections,” said liberal Kathimerini daily while centre-left Ta Nea spoke of “dangerous acrobatics.” “In case of a deadlock, the scenario of early

elections becomes especially strong,” Kathimerini said. Samaras seemed to take a step back late on Wednesday after his coalition partners blasted the closure of ERT as “unacceptable”. A government source said the prime minister would call a meeting with his partners to confer over the issue. Samaras had earlier defended the closure, saying on Wednesday: “We are eliminating a hotbed of opacity and waste... We are protecting the public interest.” The broadcaster’s television and radio stations were abruptly pulled off air late Tuesday and its nearly 2,700 staff suspended. The administration quickly presented legislation creating a new broadcaster called New Hellenic Radio, Internet and Television (NERIT) to replace the 60-year-old ERT. The broadcaster will reopen with around half its current number of employees, officials said. “You can’t fix a car while it is running, you have to take it off the road,” said government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou. “It is a temporary postponement... Everything will pass by parliament, I assure you it’s all legal,” he said, promising a “restart” during the summer. The sudden shutdown of ERT has caused a national uproar, with journalists kicking off their strike on Wednesday while defiant staff staged sit-ins in Athens and Greece’s second-largest city Thessaloniki. The government has imposed sweeping public cutbacks demanded by the debt-laden country’s international lenders in return for a massive bailout. But its spokesman insisted ERT’s closure was not part of Greece’s bailout obligations to the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank. Greece is caught in a six-year recession which critics say has been exacerbated by successive pay and pension cuts imposed at the behest of its creditors.—AFP

BofA-Merrill raises Qatar to overweight, cuts UAE DUBAI: Bank of America Merrill Lynch raised its assessment of Qatar’s stock market to overweight from neutral, and cut the United Arab Emirates to neutral from overweight, according to a BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research report seen yesterday. The investment bank cited Qatar’s surprise upgrade to emerging market status by Morgan Stanley Capital International, announced on Tuesday, which it said could attract $600 million of index-linked funds to Qatar. It also cited attractive stock valuations.

MSCI-related fund flows to the UAE will be smaller while it is already fully valued after this year’s strong performance, it said. BofA Merrill also reiterated that it saw Saudi Arabia as a preferred market, and kept an overweight rating on Turkey, though it said this was “conditional on an uneventful end to the protests” in Turkey. “Crucially, even with somewhat higher interest rates than today, Turkey remains a country that can see accelerating growth in 2013 and 2014 without needing an improvement in the global economic backdrop,” it said. — Reuters

TACOMA: Cargo container cranes are shown in early morning fog at the Port of Tacoma, in Tacoma, Washington. The government reported yesterday how much US businesses adjusted their stockpiles in April. —AP

Business FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Japan confident over ‘third arrow’ growth package TOKYO: The Japanese government shrugged off stock market gyrations yesterday, saying a raft of reforms including tax breaks for firms wanting to invest would boost the economy. As the Nikkei 225 began another precipitous drop that saw it close the day 6.35 percent lower than it started, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the world’s third largest economy remained on a path to recovery. “Our nation’s economy is steadily picking up,” he told a briefing in the morning. “The real economy and leading indicators are improving. We want to continue to manage the economy with confidence,” he said. The cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will Friday endorse the so-called “third-arrow” of his program of growth and reforms, in a scheme dubbed “Abenomics”. The two earlier “arrows” came in the form of aggressive monetary easing and massive public spending aimed at ending years of vigor-sapping deflation. The draft proposals place emphasis on medium to longterm goals that Abe hopes will generate two-percent real GDP growth annually over the next decade, far outstripping the rate in the last ten years. They promise major investment tax breaks, the creation of special economic zones and boosting the

employment of women and the elderly, among a widerange of other initiatives. They also aim to shift labor to growth sectors, increase exports of infrastructure, and to enhance medical services. The cabinet will officially approve the measures today, as the government prepares for an important upper house election in mid July. Some analysts have criticized the growth policies as lacking detail, a viewpoint some say is borne-out by the wild fluctuations on the Tokyo stock exchange in recent weeks, as a fast-running bull market has become a bear. But participants say worries over a quick end to the huge monetary easing program in the United States is the main driver, pushing the yen higher as players buy the currency for its safe haven status. Japanese economists welcomed Abe’s new moves, saying they signal the conservative premier’s continued commitment to an economic agenda. “The investment tax break is significant. The government is showing its resolve to stick to its economic policies,” said Hideo Kumano, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute. Recent plunges of Tokyo stocks are largely a reaction to inflated hopes for the earlier central bank monetary easing, and less to do with the

growth measures, he said. But the market’s wild volatility could serve as a reminder for the Abe cabinet to keep its eyes on the economy even after the election, in which the ruling bloc is expected to perform well, Kumano said. Hiromichi Shirakawa, an economist at Credit Suisse, said the market’s big swings may have pushed the government to firm up plans for tax breaks. “We positively view the government’s announcement it will be offering dramatic investment tax breaks,” he said. Private investments could boost the economy in the medium to long-term and should moderate negative impacts from the low birth rate and ageing population, Shirakawa added. But others said Abe’s package repeats failed promises of past governments. BNP Paribas, in a note to clients, said Abe’s two-percent growth target was unrealistic and ignores economic realities like Japan’s shrinking workforce. “In setting the target..., one has to wonder if the Abe administration even has the slightest idea of the economy’s performance these past two decades,” it said. “When we consider the growth rates of other countries, it becomes clear that Abe’s growth target is a very high hurdle.” — AFP

India’s finance minister pledges more reforms Chidambaram seeks to allay fears over rupee

SYDNEY: Pedestrians cross an intersection in the central business district of Sydney yesterday. Australia’s unemployment rate eased to 5.5 percent in May, an unexpected fall that could see the central bank hold off on cutting interest rates next month. — AFP

EU ministers face French hurdle on US trade talks BRUSSELS: EU trade ministers will try today to resolve deep differences with France on whether its prized “cultural exception” should be included in free trade talks with a United States which believes there should be no exceptions at all. Negotiations with Washington already promise to be difficult but France insists that culture and its special status within the EU is a no-go area and has threatened to block agreement rather than accept a carefully worded compromise minimizing possible damage. France jealously guards its own cultural assets and those of Europe as a whole, fearing US influence in the shape of low-brow TV soap operas and Hollywood’s dominance of the film industry. To get around the problem, the current Irish EU presidency has suggested a compromise-culture and the audiovisual sector would be included in the EU negotiating mandate but it would also be made clear that there would be no change to current quota and subsidies in a future accord. An EU source said this was how South Korea had resolved a similar problem when it negotiated its Free Trade Agreement with the United States. “It

was not necessary for South Korea to exclude it to get what they wanted,” the source said.“Starting the negotiations by excluding some sectors would not be wise ... and would come at a cost,” the EU source said. But France fears that if the audiovisual sector is included, it might get caught up in the inevitable horse-trading. French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault threatened Wednesday to veto the talks. “France will oppose the opening of the negotiations if culture and the cultural industries are not protected, are not excluded,” Ayrault told the French parliament, saying this was a “crucial issue.” The EU source refused to be drawn on how Brussels would deal with such an outcome, arguing that it would be up to a dissenting member state to push the issue to a unanimous vote.“I can’t imagine Europe launching the biggest trade negotiation ever without consensus,” the source added. Washington and Brussels hope the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will deliver a major boost to growth and jobs, especially in Europe where the debt crisis has left the economy stuck in the doldrums.—AFP

NEW DELHI: India may further raise caps on foreign direct investment to spur more inflows of funds, as part of efforts to kickstart the sluggish economy before next year’s general elections, the finance minister said yesterday. Finance Minister P Chidambaram also appealed for calm over the rupee, saying steps have been taken to halt the slide in the currency, which hit new lifetime lows this week, in part on concerns over the Indian economy. Chidambaram said the government was in the final stages of reviewing caps on foreign direct investment in some sectors, including defense, in a bid to attract overseas capital and speed up much-needed infrastructure projects. “In June, you can expect a number of decisions taken and implemented that will accelerate reforms and spur investments in critical sectors,” the minister told reporters in New Delhi without giving details. The Congress-led government has been dogged by a string of corruption scandals during its second term in office, which has derailed efforts to push through promised pro-market reforms and revive the economy before elections in 2014. The government last September reduced limits on FDI in various sectors from retail to aviation. But attempts to pass bills to open up the insurance and pension sectors as well as simplify the process of buying of land for business have stalled. Chidambaram launched a defense of his government’s efforts to revive the staggering economy and boost investor confidence, one day after a ratings agency raised India’s credit rating from negative to stable. “It (the economy) is not an

NEW DELHI: A cashier working at an Indian restaurant counts money in New Delhi yesterday. The Indian rupee has fallen sharply and has been hovering around the 58 mark against the dollar while nearly touching 59 in a lifetime low this week. — AP ODI (one-day cricket international) match where a wicket or a six is expected every ball. That’s not the way economic reforms can take place,” he said. “Significant results have been achieved in the last nine months and I am looking forward to achieving more desired outcomes.” Global ratings agency Fitch on Wednesday improved India’s sovereign rating to stable from negative, citing steps taken to curtail the budget deficit, in a rare piece of good news for the Congress government. Chidambaram said the economy was stronger than last year and the government would meet its spending targets and lower the public deficit, which ballooned to 4.89 percent of gross domestic product last year from 4.20 percent the previous year.

The government is forecasting growth of six percent this year after the economy grew at five percent last year, the slowest pace in a decade, hit by high inflation, a ballooning deficit and policy paralysis. Chidambaram said there was “no reason for panic” over the falling rupee, which has been hit by robust US jobs data and concern about the South Asian economy. “Steps have been taken to cure the currency’s fall,” he said.”There is no reason for panic. Countries with large current account deficits have taken a hit on their currencies. The rupee will regain losses suffered in the last few days.” The rupee skidded to a lifetime low of 58.98 to the US dollar on Tuesday, prompting India’s central bank to intervene by selling dollars, before strengthening. — AFP


Business FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Global stocks plunge on monetary worries Investors fear Japan, US cash tightening PARIS: Japan’s stock market plunged and other global shares followed yesterday amid concerns that central bankers in the US and Japan might turn off the tap of money that has kept markets afloat during the economic crisis. The worry has been growing ever since chief of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke, said it might pull back on its $85 billiona-month bond-buying program - known as quantitative easing - if economic data, especially hiring, improves. Now

months investors have finally woken up to the fact that current stock valuations are not supported by fundamentals in the current low-growth environment, and all the QE (quantitative easing) in the world can’t address that particular issue.” The Nikkei 225 index plunged 6.4 percent to close at 12,445.38. Adding to the woes was the dollar’s recent fall, trading at about 94 yen late Thursday, slipping momentarily to 93-yen levels. A

KARACHI: Pakistani stockbrokers watch the latest share prices on a digital board during a trading session at the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) in Karachi yesterday. The benchmark KSE-100-Index was 22824.95, with increase of 500.38 points in mid of the day’s session. —AFP Japanese media reports are saying overseas hedge funds may be dumping the country’s equities following disappointment over the Bank of Japan’s decision earlier in the week to refrain from additional monetary easing measures. “Ever since talk of Fed tapering was first mentioned US bond yields have edged higher and money has leaked out of emerging markets and emerging market currencies,” said market analyst Micahel Hewson of CMC Markets. “Of course there is the other reason that for all of the stock market gains of recent

rising yen spells bad news for Japanese manufacturers because it will make their exports look more expensive overseas. In early afternoon trading in Europe, Britain’s FSTE 100 fell 1 percent to 6,233. Germany’s DAX fell 1.5 percent to 8,018 while France’s CAC-40 shed 0.8 percent to 3,762. Markets are also looking at the future course of US monetary policy following a solid, if unspectacular, improvement in economic data. Investors now expect some reduction in the Federal Reserve’s monthly asset purchases sometime this

year. The stimulus has been one of the main reasons why many assets, such as global stock markets and emerging markets, have bounced back. Analysts said markets will likely remain on edge until next week’s Fed policy meeting for greater clarity on the timing and extend of any tapering. Ahead of the opening bell, Wall Street appeared headed for losses. Dow Jones futures fell 0.25 percent while S&P 500 futures lost 0.3 percent. Elsewhere, the Hang Seng index fell 2.2 percent to 20,887.04, while the Kospi in South Korea lost 1.4 percent to 1,882.73. Mainland Chinese were pummeled as accumulating signs of a slowdown in growth in the world’s No. 2 economy caused investors to retreat. The Shanghai Composite Index slid 2.8 percent to 2,148.36, its lowest close in six months. Juichi Wako, equity market strategist at Nomura Securities Co. in Tokyo, said the drop in Asia was due to a reversal of the money flow that had flooded Japan in recent months, partly on inflated hopes for “Abenomics,” as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s fiscal and monetary policies have been dubbed. Much of the overwrought excitement was calming and the money was reverting to the US, where monetary easing might be winding down as well, he said. In April, the Bank of Japan announced a massive stimulus in an attempt to get inflation up to 2 percent. The euphoria that drove the Nikkei up to five-year highs but has since seen wild fluctuations and the index is now around 20 percent down from its recent peak. The euro dropped to $1.3327 from $1.3331 late Wednesday in New York. The dollar fell to 94.40 yen from 95.71 yen. Benchmark crude oil was down 35 cents to $95.54 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. AP Business Writers Pamela Sampson in Bangkok and Elaine Kurtenbach in Tokyo contributed to this report. Research Fu Ting contributed from Shanghai. —AP

The big money bails on Argentina, again BUENOS AIRES: More than a decade after Argentina’s epic financial collapse of 2001-02, many investors are rushing for the door once again. From big Chinese and Brazilian companies like miner Vale SA, to small-business owners and savers, the fear of a new crisis has led to canceled investments and suitcases of cash leaving the country. The mass exodus, which has been limited only by leftist President Cristina Fernandez’s capital controls, is threatening to undermine Latin America’s No 3 economy even further by leaving it short of hard currency and new jobs. The underlying problems range from Fernandez’s hostile treatment of the private sector, to severe financial distortions such as a parallel exchange rate, to the general feeling that Argentina is due for one of the periodic spasms that have racked the country every 10 years or so going back to the 1930s. Some say such worries are overblown, arguing that Argentina has defied doomsday predictions for the past decade, which was by some measures its best economic run since World War Two. Yet for many, the feeling is of a gathering storm. “The end of this story has already been written, and it ends in crisis,” said Roberto

Lavagna, who as economy minister from 2002 to 2005 helped create Argentina’s current export-driven policy framework, and is still widely respected on Wall Street. While everyone agrees any crisis won’t be as bad as the 2001-02 meltdown - which saw nationwide riots, two presidents quit, and the economy shrink by one-fifth - it could still be enough to severely disrupt lives and business plans. By relying on short-term fixes such as price controls and bans on Argentines buying dollars, Fernandez may just be delaying the inevitable while piling up even more problems. “The longer they try to delay things, the worse they will be,” said Lavagna, who worked for Fernandez’s late husband and predecessor, Nestor Kirchner, before falling out over what he saw as the couple’s increasingly anti-business agenda. “You can’t have growth without investment.” Key ministers in Fernandez’s government declined to be interviewed for this story. Following a sharp slowdown in Argentina’s economy over the past year, and growing concern in places like Washington and Brasilia, Reuters recently spoke to about two dozen leading figures in industry, finance, academia and politics to try to gauge where the country is headed. —Reuters

LONDON: Google executive Matt Brittin gives evidence to a parliamentary Public Accounts Committee on tax avoidance, in the Boothroyd Room, London in this May 16, 2013 file photo. —AP

British lawmakers call for Google tax probe LONDON: A powerful committee of British lawmakers called yesterday for a tax probe into Google, after concluding that the US Internet giant sought to avoid paying corporation tax on profit earned in Britain. The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee revealed its findings in a report which attacked Google for claiming that sales were conducted in Ireland which has the lowest corporation tax rate in the euro-zone-and not in Britain. Google reacted by saying that it abided by the law and that politicians, not companies were responsible for how tax law was drafted. The cross-party committee said it had received information from ex-Google employees that Britain-based staff were directly engaged in selling services. In reaction, Google insisted that it had cooperated with tax laws, but welcomed any moves to make the system “simpler and more transparent”. The committee’s report was published ahead of next week’s G8 summit in Northern Ireland, where host Britain will seek to tackle tax avoidance, which is legal, and tax evasion which is not. “To avoid UK corporation tax, Google relies on the deeply unconvincing argument that its sales to UK clients take place in Ireland, despite clear evidence that the vast majority of sales activity takes place in the UK,” the report said. “The big accountancy firms sell tax advice which promotes artificial tax structures, such as that used by Google and other multinationals, which serve to avoid UK taxes rather than to reflect the substance of the way business is actually conducted.” The report concluded that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) — Britain’s taxation authority-needed to probe and challenge what it called “artificial” tax arrangements. “HMRC is hampered by the complexity of existing laws, which leave so much scope for aggressive exploitation of loopholes, but it has not been sufficiently challenging of the manifestly artificial tax arrangements of multinationals,” the report said. “HM Treasury needs to take a leading role in driving international action to update tax laws and combat tax avoidance.” The committee found that Google had generated $18 billion of revenue in Britain between 2006 and 2011. No information on profits was available. However, during this time, it paid just $16 million in corporation taxes in the country. The committee concluded that it was “extraordinary” that British authorities had failed to challenge the tax structure of Google, and other multinationals operating in Britain. “We accept that HMRC is limited by resources but it is extraordinary that it has not been more challenging of Google’s corporate arrangements given the overwhelming disparity between where profit is generated and where tax is paid,” it added. “HMRC needs to be much more effective in challenging the artificial corporate structures created by multinationals with no other purpose than to avoid tax. “HMRC should now fully investigate Google in the light of the evidence provided by whistleblowers,” it added. Google has repeatedly claimed that it is doing nothing wrong because it routes all of its European advertising sales through its offices in Ireland, where corporate tax rates are low compared to rates elsewhere in Europe. —AFP

THEY ARE THE 99! 99 Mystical Noor Stones carry all that is left of the wisdom and knowledge of the lost civilization of Baghdad. But the Noor Stones lie scattered across the globe now little more than a legend. One man has made it his life’s mission to seek out what was lost. His name is Dr. Ramzi Razem and he has searched fruitlessly for the Noor Stones all his life. Now, his luck is about to change - the first of the stones have been rediscovered and with them a special type of human who can unlock the gem’s mystical power. Ramzi brings these gem - bearers together to form a new force for good in the world. A force known as ... the 99!

On a mission to Mauritania, Hafiz attempts to help a hungry city jumpstart its agricultural program. But his power runs amok!

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The 99 ® and all related characters ® and © 2013, Teshkeel Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.



Opinion FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

France gambles on arming Syria rebels Humanitarian, aid networks create rebel ‘cartography’ By John Irish


t’s a warm day on the Turkish-Syrian border. France’s recently recalled ambassador to Syria is incognito with his deputy and a security agent. After checking the surroundings are clear, the diplomat pulls out a stash of brown envelopes stuffed with thousands of dollars. The recipients are “viable” rebels operating in zones no longer under President Bashar AlAssad’s control. The scene last September, recounted by French officials, could have come from a spy film. Now Assad’s forces appear to be regaining the upper hand on the battlefield. The change in the balance of power is causing alarm in Western and Arab capitals. Having clamoured for Assad to step aside, none of his foes are ready to take the risk of providing antiaircraft or anti-tank weapons that could tilt the balance. With the opposition fragmented, the West fears that weapons could fall into the wrong hands, notably Al-Qaeda-backed militants and the Islamist Nusra Front, and wants “guarantees” from opposition fighters before providing the arms. With cast iron guarantees unlikely and time running out, the way France has developed its networks in Syria since the uprising started more than two years ago offers an idea of how Western powers may assess future military help. “It’s not possible to say that we can be 100 percent sure about where the weapons go,” said a Western diplomat. “But the risks of porosity are less than the risks of doing nothing.” France’s active support of rebels in its former colony stems in part from a wish to secure trade interests. It fears that the window to unite the opposition is disappearing and the longer disunity prevails, the more likely Islamist and AlQaeda elements, hostile to the West and now among the insurgents fighting Assad, will emerge on top. France and Britain can now technically arm rebels after they pushed to have an EU arms embargo lifted. The United States is reviewing its position. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey already supply light weapons. Clandestine Help Almost from the onset of the uprising Paris tried to develop internal networks and gain trust among opposition activists. Before recalling its ambassador from Damascus in March 2012, the embassy had been smuggling medicines clandestinely to makeshift hospitals and food for protesters. Six months later, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced a plan to aid so-called “free zones” in northern Syria. The objective was primarily to reach local communities no longer under Assad’s control and help them revive local administration and restore basic needs, such as bakeries. Paris insisted on a strict system of traceability for how its cash was spent. For every dollar, receipts and as much photographic and video evidence as possible had to be provided. It also relied on informers who reported back. Most of the “revolutionary councils” had civilian and military branches. The military wings were the embryo of the Free Syrian Army. It enabled Paris to begin mapping fighters. “It wasn’t technical advice. It was first and foremost to develop links

between the political opposition, defectors and rebel fighters so they could speak to each other and agree to work together,” recalls one French official. Artillery Discussed The subject of providing artillery to protect these zones was under already discussion, although the implications were deemed too complicated. Paris felt that until a legitimate opposition government was in place it would

mostly recently to the Qusair region where Assad’s troops and Hezbollah fighters defeated rebel forces. While the UOSSM maintains it takes no sides, Paris has some say where the aid is dispatched. It enables it to form a detailed analysis of developments on the ground. “Our biggest challenge is that other countries just don’t want to give money to an NGO that isn’t known,” UOSSM official Obaida al-Moufti said. “The French are very official. We present our project, document

groups of fighters, some of whom have said he is rather like a “schoolteacher”. Resolving that, officials say, will need two things. First, countries that supply weapons to rebels must coordinate better and ensure they work solely through Idriss. Secondly, Western nations that remain cautious in providing weapons must widen the scale of their help, either in terms of equipment or “technical assistance” such as through battle tactics or weapons training. “We’ve tested a certain number of these FSA

A Syrian rebel fighter belonging to the Martyrs of Maaret al-Numan battalion holds a position yesterday in the southern Syrian town of Maaret al-Numan in front of the army base of Wadi Deif, down in the valley. — AFP not be possible to give military support. That was in part why President Francois Hollande was first to recognise the Syrian National Coalition in November. The coalition would have a military wing that Paris could deal with. Gone were the brown envelopes. Almost immediately France diverted its bilateral help to the coalition’s Aid Coordination Unit run by vice-president Suheir Atassi. In parallel to this, France also channelled medical and humanitarian aid in large part through the Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organisations (UOSSM), a non-governmental association based in Paris that brings together 14 groups. France is its largest donor. Medical convoys - the latest a 20-tonne cargo due to arrive in Turkey in the next few weeks - are sent to a hospital partly built with French cash just across the Turkish border. From there the goods are distributed across Syria including to some of the areas where there has been fierce fighting,

it and even though it’s medicines they demand draconian traceability conditions.” How Viable is Free Syrian Army? The French insist that these humanitarian, medical and civilian networks have been tested and provide a “cartography” of where future help could go. “One needs to have precise knowledge of these fragmented groups,” said a French diplomat. “We have a slight advantage because for a long time we’ve had direct contacts in the liberated zones and have already delivered material.” Their primary interlocutor for the last six months has been the head of the Free Syrian Army, Salim Idriss, whom French officials hold in high regard. Non-lethal aid ranging from bullet proof vests, night vision goggles or communications equipment has gone through him. But his credibility is under question. Without money, munitions and weapons, he is struggling to assert his authority on the disparate

elements,” French foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot said. “We’ve built up trust and it’s the similar types of assurances that we would like for weapons.” Ultimately the easiest way to ensure weapons do not fall into the wrong hands would be to find ways to track them. Fabius said last month that Paris was studying ways to monitor and neutralise weapons under certain conditions. According to one official, options would include programming a time period for their use, limiting ammunition, placing global positioning systems on them or even turning them off from afar. “I imagine that would only happen with more sophisticated weapons such as shoulder-fired MANPADs (man-portable air defence systems),” said Jeremy Binnie, Middle East and Africa editor for IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly. “It is technically possible you could get something in there to disarm them, but how much cost and the time it’s going to take I think may be more of the issue.” — Reuters

FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

In this picture made available yesterday, bassist Gene Simmins of US band Kiss performs on stage in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday June 12, 2013. It is the only concert of the rock group in Germany during their Monster Tour 2013. —AP

Food FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

By Cindy Hoedel


was about 11 and bored out of my mind in Greensburg, Kan, the day my grandma, Frances Loucks Peterson, taught me how to make bread. My parents would have been moving from someplace on one coast to someplace on the other coast during my father’s Navy career. The moves were frequent, every couple of years, and always resulted in me and my younger brother and sister getting shipped to Kansas in the blast-furnace heat of July. Out on the sun-baked prairie under a vast cloudless sky, cousins, aunts and uncles in small towns and remote cattle ranches took turns trying to kill us by subjecting us to physical labor that was entirely foreign to our sheltered upbringing. We rode banana-seat bikes and roller skated and took sailing lessons. They drove pickups and combines and shot coyotes with real guns. Being at Grandma’s house in Greensburg, across the street from the “World’s Largest Hand Dug Well!” was better than being at my aunt and uncle’s Bar X Ranch in Wilmore, Kan, but still boring. So when Grandma announced we were going to make bread, I was relieved. It beat doing chores on the ranch, such as painting the exterior of the hired hands’ house when it was 105 degrees outside, or stacking hay bales while being attacked by grasshoppers, or making fried chicken for 20 in a steamy kitchen. Of course, relief is not joy. But that morning, as I watched the yeast get foamy in Grandma’s giant stoneware bowl the same one I use today joy showed up, and it still shows up every time I grab that bowl and unleash the aromatic alchemy that happens when yeast spores hook up with wheat. Baking bread, at least the way I do it, is at once invigorating and soothing. You can take out aggression on dough, hurl it at the counter from a foot high and punch it with your fists if you want. You can’t hurt it. Or you can find a gentle reverie in the dough, squeeze its cool pillowy sides with your finger and rock the heels of your hands lazily back and forth in the center. The main thing is to find a rhythm and just keep going. Grandma liked to tell how proud Grandpa was of her bread. It was lighter and had a finer crumb than the bread his friends’ wives made. “You just have to knead that dough,” she would say. And boy, did she ever. Her big soft hands seemed to never tire as she lifted, turned and folded the heavy dough with her stout fingers, then mashed it with the heels of her hands. All the while she could be looking out the window over the kitchen sink and commenting on the birds in the rose bed without grunting or having to pause to catch her breath. When it was my turn I was timid, worried about dough sticking to my fingers. “Rub more flour on your hands and keep going. You’re not tired already, are you?” Grandma asked in her cheerful, high-pitched voice. My skinny arms were burning but I kept going. I had learned that in western Kansas you never admitted to being tired, even when given an opening to do so. If you just push through, I learned, you end up surprising yourself with what you can accomplish. Pulling open the oven door and seeing perfectly vaulted golden loaves of bread that smelled like comfort and toast was nothing short of thrilling. Even today, the combination of mild physical exertion and mental drifting makes me feel better, even when I’m already feeling fine. There is no better aromatherapy than the scent of freshly baked bread. Realtors know this, which is why they often tell home sellers who don’t bake to pour a package of yeast into a cup of warm water before showing the house to prospective buyers. It is a magical scent that taps into primal feelings of security and contentment. Even though I made my first loaf some 40 years ago, baking bread has not been a constant in my life. It is also not a ritual food stunt that I perform once a year for a special occasion. Nor is it an activity I seek out in response to a stressful day or week. Rather, baking bread has found me at different stages of my life, each time easing its way back in effortlessly like a longtime friend returning after an extended absence. The first stage was those summers in Greensburg. Grandma made four loaves of bread once a week, always on the same day. It seems like Friday, but days of the week all seem the same when

you’re a school kid on summer break. I loved the taste of Grandma’s soft whole-wheat bread. It tasted sort of like Roman Meal, which was what we ate at home, but not as squishy. That summer when I first learned how, I made bread once for my parents after leaving Greensburg to join them in our new digs, but it felt forced. It didn’t fit in with my normal life of school, swim team and backyard barbecues. I let it go. In college I picked it up again for one year with one roommate. We didn’t have a big budget for food, but we had an Asteroids video game and a patio with a grill that attracted lots of friends on weekends who needed to be fed. I quickly discovered that if I could recruit guests to bring soup and I made bread, I came out ahead, financially, time-wise and in terms of people thinking you did something truly amazing, even though I think a good soup is harder to pull off. You can spend a lot of money on fancy ingredients for bread, but my version of my grandmother’s bread is not fancy. It costs less than $2 per loaf to make, even though I always buy good quality Hudson Cream flour from Hudson, Kan, and I use honey or sorghum, which cost a little more than the sugar Grandma used. And when it comes to time, baking bread takes a long time but not a lot of time. My bread, which rises twice, takes about three hours start to finish, but during a lot of that time I’m doing other things. I bake four loaves every Saturday morning because I can do other chores such as laundry, gardening or housecleaning at the same time. That is, unless I decide to read the paper, do puzzles or prowl around on eBay. Either way, baking bread fits into my Saturday morning as easily as a second pot of coffee. Baking bread went out of my life again the 11 years I lived in France and Germany after college. That’s because over there, baking bread is so respected as a skilled trade that most Europeans would no more bake their own bread than make their own shoes. When every neighborhood has a trained, experienced baker with a huge hot oven who turns out delicious bread six or seven days a week, buying it is clearly the way to go. And yet eating dense, yeasty, crusty delicious bread every day set up the inevitable return of bread-baking to my life. When I came back to the States (as all Americans living overseas refer to

their homeland, don’t ask me why), just as I was missing the extraordinary everyday breads of Europe, an old friend in Kansas City had discovered “Beard on Bread.” In that seminal cookbook, James Beard attempted to solve the problem Julia Child identified when she famously asked how a nation can call itself great when its bread tastes like Kleenex. My friend was turning out beautiful crusty loves of French bread that I found superior to actual baguettes in France, which seem to be 80 percent crust, 10 percent bread and 10 percent air pockets. Some of the loaves he filled with cheese, but I liked the plain ones best. His bread underscored the sadness of grocery store bread. (This was just before Farm to Market began putting good bread in local store shelves.) My German husband was inspired by our American friend’s French loaves, but he couldn’t abide white flour, so he procured a dry sour starter mix and a rye-blend flour from Germany. Every week he made a couple of giant round loaves that were the texture of a moist sponge on the inside. For two years we never bought bread. Then our kids got to the Scouting and sports phases that squeeze out all civilized, refined pastimes, including baking bread, and it was back to the bagged stuff. Bread-baking returned to me several months ago when I bought a little house on a big lot in the Flint Hills. Grandma’s stoneware bread bowl was too big to fit into any of the little cabinets, so I decided to leave it sitting out, first on the counter, then on top of the wall cabinets with other pieces of pottery. But the bowl looked sadly out of place. Stained and chipped, it was not as pretty as the other display bowls. A decade after it had come into my possession, the bowl was once again at home on the prairie. It needed to be put back in service turning Kansas wheat into wholesome bread. I have found the rhythm of making bread each week. Every Saturday, while the coffee is steeping in my French press, I pour two little packets of yeast into warm water. The combination of those two smells is euphoria-inducing. Grandma’s recipe makes four loaves of bread, and I need only two a week, so I often use the other two portions for cinnamon rolls or pizza crusts, both of which can be frozen after the first rise for later use. I wanted to exchange ideas and information with other bread bakers, so I sent out emails to my many foodie friends asking who else bakes their own bread by hand, not in a bread machine. I was surprised how hard it was to find anyone. When I find Kathy Smith of Shawnee in her kitchen after letting myself in the front door, her mane of shoulder-length silver hair obscures the opening of the oven. Smith is checking the interior temperature of a loaf of bread a technique I’ve never heard of but later learn is important because her breads are filled, and the filling can alter how long it takes to get the inside of the bread fully cooked. Smith has been baking since she was 9 years old. Like me, she learned at the side of her grandmother, Dott Wharton. “She made the best rolls on the planet she had these tiny hands that were bent with arthritis, and she would squeeze the dough out between two fingers. But she would not teach anyone else how to do it,” Smith recalls with a bright smile. In the 1970s, Smith began baking old-fashioned, double-rise whole-wheat bread with a girlfriend. “We were home bodies, and it just seemed like a natural thing to do.” When life got busier, the bread-making fell away. When Smith came back to it, she was looking for an easy standby food for entertaining at her and her

Food FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Cassandra Leal makes bread in the kitchen of her Bonner Springs home.

husband’s lake house. She found the recipe she was looking for in Judith Fertig’s “200 Fast & Easy Artisan Breads.” Fertig’s Master Recipe number 1 is a no-knead, single-rise recipe that can be baked plain for a hearty country white loaf, or rolled out and filled with any number of ingredients. Smith keeps jars of marinated mozzarella, pesto, roasted red peppers and artichokes on hand for quick and easy fillings. Thinly sliced smoked ham is another favorite. “Homemade bread is the perfect food for a party. It makes the house smell good, and everyone loves it. If it has some kind of filling, you don’t need anything else,” Smith says. The yeast is bubbling up in a bowl, and Cassandra Leal of Bonner Springs hesitates as she picks up the box of instant potato flakes. She turns to look at the iPad propped on her counter, where a picture of a stained index card in her grandmother’s cursive handwriting lists the ingredients for her great-grandmother, Neva Boyd’s, Welsh potato bread/. Leal’s potato bread makes a dense dough that is “therapeutic” to knead, she says. “It’s soothing.” It also gives Leal a sense of connection to her mother and grandmother, who live in southwest Missouri. “I don’t get to see them that often, and when I miss them I make bread.” I just finished reading Michael Pollen’s new book, “Cooked,” in which he examines four cooking techniques that utilize the four elements: fire, water, air and earth. The air chapter is devoted to his quest to make sourdough bread from homemade starter. It was an interesting read and it made me realize my bread-baking is not a quest for a perfect texture or extraordinary taste. I’m in it for the relaxation, so for now; I’ll stick to my version of Grandma’s soft whole-wheat bread. Familiarity with the recipe breeds contentment in the process. When my arms start to burn and they still do I have learned the worst thing to do is to slow down. You will never be able to regain that momentum. Instead I try to find some birds to look at out the window. Sometimes I hear Grandma’s voice in my head, “You’re not tired already, are you?” And I keep going, pounding the dough into submission, until it’s pillowy soft and shiny and I know it will bake up into a light loaf with a fine texture that she would be proud of. Master recipe number1 easy artisan dough This first master recipe introduces you to the basics of the Easy Artisan bread method. As you begin to make bread, all of this will get even easier. You won’t have to check the temperature of the water, as you’ll know what lukewarm feels like. You’ll get quite good at forming the various types of loaves and sliding them onto the hot baking stone. You’ll be able to tell, by how fast the temperature rises on the instant-read thermometer, when your bread reaches 190 degrees (90ºC) and is done. Your artisan loaves will have a crisp, darkened crust, a tender, moist crumb and a mellow, toasty flavor all with this easy method. The dough will also make delicious rolls, pizza or flatbread. Makes enough dough for bread, rolls, pizza or flatbread to serve 12 to 16 Equipment: Instant-read thermometer 16-cup (4 L) mixing bowl Wooden spoon

Cassandra Leal slices into a loaf of freshly baked bread in the kitchen of her Bonner Springs home. — MCT photos

Tips Combining 1 cups (375 mL) hot with 1cups (375 mL) cold tap water will result in lukewarm water of approximately 100 degrees. (38ºC). Before storing the dough in the refrigerator, use a permanent marker to write the date on the plastic wrap so you’ll know when you made your dough and when to use it up 9 days later. 6 cups unbleached all-purpose or bread flour 1.625 L 1 tablespoon instant or bread machine yeast 22 mL 1 tablespoon fine table or kosher salt 22 mL 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees) ºF/38ºC) 750 mL 1. Measure. Spoon the flour into a measuring cup, level with a knife or your finger, then dump the flour into the mixing bowl. 2. Mix. Add the yeast and salt to the flour. Stir together with a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk. Pour in the water and stir together until just moistened. Beat 40 strokes, scraping the bottom and the sides of the bowl, until the dough forms a lumpy, sticky mass. 3. Rise. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature (72 degrees) ºF/22ºC) in a draft-free place for 2 hours or until the dough has risen nearly to the top of the bowl and has a sponge-like appearance. 4. Use right away or refrigerate. Use that day or place the dough, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 9 days before baking. Neva boyd’s bread In a small bowl, combine: 2 packages yeast 2 teaspoons sugar cup warm water In a large bowl, combine: 2 cups very warm water 1/3 cup sugar 3 teaspoons salt 2/3 cup shortening, oil or butter 3 eggs 1 cup instant potato buds When the yeast is done proofing (10 minutes), add the yeast mixture to the potato mixture. Then add, one cup at a time: 7 to 8 cups flour When the dough can’t be stirred any more, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a tea towel and place in a warm, draft-free spot. Let rise one hour. Shape into four loaves and put in 8-inch by 5-inch pans. Let rise 30 minutes, covered. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 25 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when you thump it. Cindy’s soft whole-wheat bread In a large mixing bowl, combine: 4 cups lukewarm water 1 cup honey or sorghum Add: 2 tablespoons (two packages) yeast Let rest 10 minutes, then add: 2 tablespoons salt cup vegetable oil or melted butter

cup wheat bran or wheat germ Stir with a wooden spoon, then add 1 cup at a time until you can’t stir any more: 4 cups whole-wheat flour 4 cups white flour. Reserve cup for the kneading surface. When the dough becomes too stiff to stir, continue adding the remaining white flour into the bowl and pushing it into the dough with the spoon or your fingers so the dough won’t be sticky when you turn it out. Sprinkle the reserved flour on the kneading surface and roll it around to coat the outside with flour. Add more flour to the kneading surface as needed to prevent sticking. Knead by grasping the top half of the dough with both hands and folding the top third down then pushing it back into the dough with the heel of one hand. Lift the dough off the surface, give it a quarter turn, and repeat the kneading motion. If the dough sticks to the surface when you lift it, remove the stuck bits with a pastry scraper or spatula and sprinkle more flour on the surface. Knead until the dough becomes shiny and elastic, about 10 minutes. If you don’t knead long enough, the dough will not rise fully. If you over-knead it, it can be too crumbly inside. Rinse and dry the mixing bowl, then butter the bottom half of it. Shape the dough into a large ball and place it rounded side down into the bowl, then carefully flip it over so the side that is up is buttered. Wet a clean tea towel with hot water, wring it out and drape it over the bowl. Place the bowl in a warm spot free of drafts. On cold days, you can preheat the oven to the lowest setting, then turn it off and let the dough rise in the oven. Allow the dough to rise one hour or until doubled in size. Butter four 8-inch by 5-inch loaf pans. Punch the dough down with your fists, then divide into four portions. Shape each portion into a loaf and place in a buttered pan. You can also reserve one or more portions to roll out for cinnamon rolls or pizza crusts. The dough will keep up to 2 days in the refrigerator in a sealed glass or plastic container. Cover the loaf pans with a warm damp tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the bread 25 minutes until golden brown on top. Let the bread rest in the pans 10 minutes, then turn them out. Let cool 10 more minutes if possible before slicing. — MCT

Tr a v e l FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Rust, grit mark Pittsburgh’s historic, colorful Carrie Furnaces

The blower engine house at Carrie Furnaces in Rankin is 220 feet long, 104 feet wide and 84 feet high. It produced air for the blast furnaces.


he Carrie Furnaces are intriguing, gritty historical attractions, if you can find the now-abandoned blast furnaces. The two 13story furnaces, rusting and dilapidated, sit on the north side of the Monongahela River near the Rankin Bridge, seven miles from downtown

Pittsburgh, surrounded by almost nothing. The complex with the giant furnaces and associated buildings in Rankin and Swissvale boroughs is an industrial ghost, a relic of Pittsburgh’s colorful steel-making past. At 92 feet tall, the two furnaces are the biggest attraction in the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area and are becoming a bona-fide tourist draw. The Rivers of Steel Corp. offers tours of the Carrie Furnaces where 3,000 workers once

toiled. The two remaining furnaces offer an up-close look at the time when the Pittsburgh area was the No. 1 steel region in the world. Iron from the Carrie Furnaces became steel that was used in the Empire State Building, the battleship Missouri, the Gateway Arch, the Sears Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, Panama Canal, the United Nations Building, the George Washington Bridge and the Alaska oil pipeline. The Carrie Furnaces are rare examples of pre-World War II ironmaking technologies, the only two blast furnaces from that era that survive in the United States. Carrie 6 is intact; Carrie 7 has been partially dismantled on the 13-acre site. They were constructed of 2.5-inch-thick steel plate and lined with refractory brick to withstand temperatures as high as 3,500 degrees. The first Carrie Furnaces were built in 1884. The furnaces operated as independent merchant iron furnaces that sold their pig iron to other companies. Blast furnaces were named after women; the Carrie name was a family name of one of the initial owners. The furnaces were acquired in 1898 by Andrew Carnegie and became part of US Steel in 1901. Carrie 6 and 7 were built in 1907 by US Steel. The Carrie Furnaces operated until 1978 as the heart of the giant Homestead Steel Works, the adjoining steelmaking complex across the river in Homestead.

The blast furnaces consumed approximately four tons of iron ore, coke and limestone for every ton of iron produced. The cooling system required more than 5 million gallons of water daily. Carrie 6 and 7 each at its peak produced 1,000 to 1,250 tons of iron a day. The molten iron was moved in special 35-ton ladle rail cars across the river on a special bridge the Hot Metal Bridge to the Homestead Works to be turned into steel. The Carrie Furnaces were among 48 blast furnaces in and around Pittsburgh in the early 1900s. The two remaining furnaces are a

National Historic Landmark and the focal point of the proposed 38-acre Homestead Works National Park devoted to the region’s industrial history. Under that plan, the two furnaces would undergo a stabilization and renovation costing tens of millions of dollars to enable visitors to climb catwalks and see the furnaces up close. In its 105 years, the Homestead Works with its openhearth mills produced more than 200 million tons of steel. It was the flagship plant for US Steel and one of the world’s largest steel mills, covering 430 acres with 450 buildings and employing 200,000 workers

Tr a v e l FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Guides on the Carrie Furnaces tours in Rankin, Pennsylvania are often retired steelworkers. Guided and self-guided tours are available at the furnaces that once produced iron for US Steel’s Homestead complex.

over the years, 15,000 during World War II. It was shut down in 1986. The old complex has been redeveloped as The Waterfront with stores, hotels and restaurants in Homestead. Rivers of Steel offers two Carrie Furnaces tours: guided, and self-guided with docents at appropriate stops. Carrie Furnace attractions include the two furnaces, an oversized brick blower house, the ore yard, car dumper, torpedo car, blowing engine house, hot stoves, cast house and a 15-ton crane for moving iron ore. It is a big and unpolished facility. For example, the blowing engine house for the two furnaces is 220 feet long, 104 feet wide and 84 feet high. It housed four large gas engines to produce air for the blast

furnaces. Visitors love an unlikely attraction: a metal sculpture of an oversized deer’s head that towers over part of the facility, about 45 feet by 35 feet in size. It was constructed in 1997-1999 by a crew of artists, the Industrial Arts Collective, using materials found on the site. The tours are designed for ages 8 and up. No high-heeled or opentoed shoes are allowed on the industrial site. Getting to the Carrie Furnaces was an adventure. The interstate was closed for tunnel repairs and traffic was detoured on a long, winding route through the streets of Pittsburgh and suburbs. That killed our printed directions and delayed our arrival by 40 minutes. The industrial furnaces are in the middle of nowhere. You can cross active railroad tracks and pass through tunnels and wind along dirt roads that are barely passable to get to the fenced-off site. It is surrounded by a lot of desolation and nothingness. Rivers of Steel offers tours of the Carrie Furnace site from April through October. Guided two-hour tours are offered at 10 a.m. on Saturdays May through October and at 10 am Fridays June through August. Rivers of Steel, a federal historic area, also houses a museum at the Bost Building in Homestead. The building, an old hotel built in 1892 and a National Historical Landmark, played a key role in the infamous 1892 Homestead Lockout and Strike. That pitted the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers against the Carnegie Steel Co. The Pump House in Munhall is the site of the bloody battle in which locked-out steelworkers squared off against Pinkerton guards who had

come up the river on barges to reopen the plant. After a day of gunfire, 10 were dead and the Pinkertons had surrendered. But Carnegie kept the steelworkers from unionizing for decades. The Pump House at 880 W. Waterfront Drive houses exhibits today. It is near a trailhead on the 141-mile Great Allegheny Passage trail that runs from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Md. Rivers of Steel also offers a look at a historic foundry in Rices Landing on the Monongahela River in Greene County. The W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop is open for tours from April through October. It also offers two bus tours: Pittsburgh Memories and Babushkas and Hard Hats. It also offers cellphone and MP3 tours. Rivers of Steel won federal designation from Congress in 1996, spotlighting the industrial, cultural and ethnic heritage of eight counties around Pittsburgh—MCT

Health FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Here comes the summer sun! D

What’s the best way to care for your skin this season?

o you think of your skin as a beautiful feature to be bared when the weather warms up? Or is it simply a protective shell, an instrument for touch, or a telling clue to your age? While your skin may be all of these things, it is also your body’s most prominent organ. So it’s essential you take care of it, especially during the summertime, when UV levels can wreak havoc on exposed skin. While those killer rays may feel sensational, the effects of sun exposure may not be as agreeable over time. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer during their lifetime. Prolonged ultraviolet exposure may also lead to cataracts, which affects more than 20 million Americans over age 40, reports the National Eye Institute. Then there’s premature aging a of the skin. The National Institute on Aging has pointed to sunlight as a major culprit of wrinkles, dryness, and age spots. The best way to avoid trouble? Block harmful rays when you’re out during the day; even during cloudy days use sun protection. Sun rays can penetrate light clouds, mist, and fog. The danger exists in all seasons, and the damage builds up each year. “The fall, winter, and spring will account for at least 20 percent of the [UV] exposure that we have,” says Ron Shelton, MD, FAAD, FAACS, a board-certified dermatologist, and assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. “Yet, there’s no doubt that the bulk of the sun damage happens in the summer months.” Whether you’re driven by medical concerns, beauty, or both, gear up with WebMD’s Summer Skin Survival Guide before hitting the beach, the golf course, or even the back yard-and keep your skin glowing with good health all year round. Sun shields Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US. There’s strong evidence that excessive sun exposure raises the risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of the disease. According to the American Cancer Society, there will be about 62,000 new cases of melanoma in 2006, and nearly 8,000 will die of the ailment. Sunscreens. Sunscreen is a highly recommended defense against sunburn and skin cancer. It is now available in lotions, creams, ointments, gels, wax sticks, and spray. Some have glitter and tint, too. What’s the best kind? That depends on you. “It’s nice to use a product with a higher SPF, but it’s more important you find a sunscreen that you like because you’ll use it more,” says Andrew Kaufman, MD, a dermasurgeon and a member of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Make sure to apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you go out. Put on enough so that it takes a full minute to rub in. If at the beach, spread at least 1 ounce-enough to fill a shot glass-on your face and entire body. Use more if you need to for good coverage. If you swim, sweat, or are outdoors for a long time, reapply every two hours. Your sunscreen should also have the following qualities: It is water resistant. Sweat or water cannot easily remove it. It has SPF of 15 or higher. According to The American Academy of Dermatology, sunscreen-SPF rating is calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to produce a sunburn on sunscreen-protected skin to the

amount of time needed to cause a sunburn on unprotected skin. For example, with an SPF 2 sunscreen a person who normally (without sunscreen) would turn red after 10 minutes of sun exposure would take 20 minutes to turn red. A sunscreen with an SPF of 30 would allow that person to multiply that initial burning time by 30, which means it would take 30 times longer to burn. However, SPF should not be used to determine time in the sun. Skin damage can happen even without a burn. Plus, higher SPF numbers do not give proportionate protection. SPF 15 deflects 93 percent of sun-burning rays, whereas SPF 30 deflects 97 percent, reports the AAD. It provides broad-spectrum protection, which is in sunscreens containing benzophe-

harmful rays reach your scalp and your ears when you leave your noggin unprotected. And remember, baseball caps are not nearly as effective as hats with broad brims, because they leave your ears exposed. Garments designed to ward off skin-cancer-causing rays are now available in specialty stores. These are given an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating, indicating how much of the sun’s rays are absorbed by the fabric. Articles with UPF 30, for example, allow only 1/30 of UV light to penetrate. These clothes are a foolproof way of shielding against skin damage, says Cyndi Yag-Howard, MD, FAAD, a dermatologist and SPF clothing entrepreneur in Naples, Fla. “They basically act like a really good sun-

away from your body. Clothes with tight weaves or knits prevent penetration of harmful rays. Lip balm. The lip is a common site for skin and lip cancer, primarily because of extended sun exposure. Cracked, peeling, scaly lips that aren’t helped by lip balm or petroleum jelly may be signs of actinic keratoses. The condition can be the earliest stage of the development of skin cancer, and has the potential to progress to deadlier forms of the disease. People either forget to put sunscreen or balm in the area, or lick it off. To fully protect lips: Look for lip-specific products that have SPF 15 or higher, recommends Shelton. Use a lip balm with SPF 30 or higher if you have a history of lip and skin cancer. Apply lip product

nones (oxybenzone), cinnamates (octylmethyl cinnamate and cinoxate), sulisobenzone, salicylates, titanium oxide, zinc oxide, and avobenzone (Parsol 1789). Unless it has these agents, the sunscreen may filter only UVB light, the major culprit for sunburn and skin cancer. Yet, protection from UVA is important, too. It is responsible for premature aging and the development of skin cancer.

screen,” she says, noting most people don’t apply enough sunscreen for it to be effective. At the same time, there’s no need to buy special products for sun protection. Try your closet. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, clothes with certain qualities can prevent harmful rays from reaching the skin. Garments made of unbleached cotton, high-luster polyesters, and thin, satiny silk can absorb or reflect UV radiation, preventing damaging rays from reaching the skin. Darker materials tend to absorb UV light, keeping it

every two hours or so, based on the amount of contact with the UV rays. While in the sun, stay away from baby oil, petroleum jelly, or high-shine lip gloss. If you decide to wear lipstick, try darker shades as they provide more UV defense than sheer, glossy ones. Better yet, wear lipstick with SPF, or apply a lip conditioner with SPF and antioxidants under lipstick for extra moisture and protection.

Clothing and lip balms Clothing. Start with a hat, because those

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013


Tom Hanks Reteams With ‘Cloud Atlas’ Director on ‘A Hologram For the King’


in a last-ditch attempt to stave off foreclosure and do something memorable with his life. Hanks and his Playtone partner Gary Goetzman will produce with Stefan Arndt, Uwe Schott and Tykwer of X Filme Creative Pool. Hanks, who can currently be seen on Broadway in Nora Ephron’s play “Funny Guy,” will soon be seen in Sony’s “Captain Phillips” and Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks,” in which he plays Walt Disney. He’s represented by CAA. The news was first reported by Deadline. —Reuters

om Hanks is reteaming with his “Cloud Atlas” director Tom Tykwer on a feature adaptation of Dave Eggers’ novel “A Hologram For the King,” TheWrap has learned. Tykwer adapted the book and will direct the indie movie, for which CAA is in the process of securing financing. “A Hologram For the King” was a finalist for the National Book Award when it was published by McSweeney’s last year. Hanks will play a struggling businessman who heads to Saudi Arabia

Chris Tucker to Star in Relativity Comedy ‘Second Honeymoon’


fter a five-year hiatus from the big screen, Chris Tucker eased his way back into Hollywood with a well-received supporting turn in David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook.” Now Tucker is ready to return to leading roles, as he has signed on to star in Relativity Media’s comedy “Second Honeymoon.” Phil Joanou (“Gridiron Gang”) will direct the movie and rewrite the script by Peter Gaulke and Kevin Heffernan. Story follows a married couple who return to Antigua on their second honeymoon in an effort to spice things up. However, the legacy they left ten years ago comes back to haunt both of them, and before they know it, the trip is less about trying to reconnect with their younger, wilder selves and more about trying to get off the island alive. Relativity Media has worldwide rights to

Snoop Dogg, center, a cast member in the animated 3D film “Turbo,” performs alongside dancers at a party for the film at Nokia Plaza on Wednesday in Los Angeles. —AP

for eight Academy Awards. The motormouthed comic’s other feature credits include “Friday,” “Dead Presidents” and “Money Talks,” as well as Quentin Tarantino’s “Jackie Brown” and Luc Besson’s “The Fifth Element.” He’s repped by WME. Joanou, who previously directed The Rock in “Gridiron Gang” and the steamy thriller “Final Analysis” with Richard Gere, most recently directed the popular viral short film “The Punisher: Dirty Chris Tucker Laundry.” He’s repped by Paradigm, Todd Smith and Associates and attorney Harold Brown. Relativity’s upcoming releases include the corporate espionage thriller “Paranoia” on Aug. 16, Scott Cooper’s gritty drama “Out of the Furnace” on Oct. 4, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s daring directorial debut “Don Jon” on Oct. 18 and the animated buddy comedy “Free Birds” on Nov 1. —Reuters

finance, produce and distribute the project, which Todd Garner (“Zookeeper”) is producing with Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh and Tucker’s producing partner Karen Bell. Tucker will serve as an executive producer. Tucker, who is best known for starring opposite Jackie Chan in Brett Ratner’s hit “Rush Hour” trilogy, recently played Bradley Cooper’s friend in “Silver Linings Playbook, which was nominated

Mom’s a drag in lively ‘The Silver Cord’


aul out the evil mother-in-law jokes; Mrs Phelps is a real doozy. A mother’s selfishness can take many forms, but dramatist Sidney Howard (screenwriter for “Gone With the Wind”) created a real monster in his 1926 domestic drama, “The Silver Cord.” His manipulative Mrs Phelps, a long-widowed, middleaged mother of two adult sons, gives new meaning to the term smother. The title of “The Silver Cord” refers to the umbilical cord (translation: money) that the narcissistic widow uses to cripple her sons’ independence and bind them to her side. Peccadillo Theater Company has mounted a condensed, well-done revival with a twist: The mother is played by Dale Carman, in drag. This conceit has worked well in recent plays when the character is played comically, but director Dan Wackerman has Carman play the role seriously. Carman is very good at enacting a woman, but by playing it straight - so to speak - he slightly distracts from the genuine and lively drama unfolding. Effeminate and genteel, eyes darting about with barely-concealed malice, Carman makes a delicate grimace of delight whenever Mother scores a devious point in her machinations to trick her sons into staying near her. If that means getting rid of annoying fiancÈes and even wives, by whatever means necessary, this harridan is briskly ready to do whatever it takes. Insidious, poisonous lies are her weapon of choice to divide her sons from whatever female threatens her. Her evidently brainwashed and spoiled sons worship their scheming matriarch and are oblivious to her chicanery. Thomas Matthew Kelley seems worldly as the favorite, David, but he blindly follows his mother’s cruel advice when events take a negative turn. Wilson Bridges gives a naive credibility to younger brother Robert. David’s pregnant new wife, Christina, a modernthinking, professional scientist, is played with intelligence and increasing ferocity by Victoria Mack. Christina catches on to mommie dearest’s nefarious game pretty quickly, and she’s not afraid to speak out to save her husband and her marriage. However, emotionally fragile Hester (Caroline Kaplan, charmingly melodramatic), who engaged to Robert, is less mentally tough, and doesn’t fare so well against her fiancÈ’s contriving mother. Beautiful costumes and a well-appointed set by Harry Feiner provide a lovely background for the tense drama. In one completely creepy scene, Mother snuggles up to David in his bed and kisses him on the mouth. More than once. Whether Christina will be able to keep the father of her unborn child or lose him to the lucrative promises of his malicious mother becomes the main battle of the play, and the final act is an exciting, knock-down, drag-out verbal confrontation between the two women. —AP

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

This file picture taken on September 15, 1992 shows French rocker and actor Johnny Hallyday performing at the Bercy Palais omnisports in Paris.


e never cracked the US and few outside the French-speaking world have heard of him, but at home rocker Johnny Hallyday is a national treasure whose 70th birthday on Saturday will be celebrated in front of 20,000 adoring fans. Tickets for the concert, due to be broadcast live on national television, sold out in less than two hours. A second smaller concert scheduled for later the same day attracted 50,000 applications for just 800 seats. Such is his popularity that the ups and downs of Hallyday’s life have become a national saga with acres of newsprint dedicated down the years to everything from his marriages and numerous health scares to his tax arrangements and oft-postponed retirement plans. Often compared to Elvis Presley, Hallyday has sold over 110 million records and played live to tens of millions over a five-decadelong career, but international success has largely eluded him. One of his early concerts is famed for attracting 100,000 young people

This file picture taken on March 7, 1962 shows fans greeting French rocker Johnny Hallyday as he returns from the US, at Orlyís airport.

to a Paris square in 1963 with scenes of hysteria similar to the Beatlemania across the English channel at the same time. French music journalist Bertrand Dicale described Hallyday as “ridiculous but sublime” and said his enduring appeal lay in his uniquely French identity. “Every country has a Johnny Hallyday. Johnny is the embodiment of something essentially French. He represents our way of looking at life,” he told AFP. “He is the embodiment not of rock ‘n’ roll but of France’s idea of rock ‘n’ roll. He is rock ‘n’ roll combined with traditional French variety entertainment and whatever the melody, whatever the rhythm, whatever the lyrics, it’s always very French,” he added. Saturday’s second concert will be something of a homecoming for Hallyday. The Paris theatre where he will go on stage late on Saturday night is just a few streets from where he was born Jean-Philippe Smet on June 15, 1943. But the milestone does not look likely to herald any serious move towards retirement. Like his ageing British contemporaries Tom Jones and Mick Jagger, Hallyday has no plans to give it all up. Just six months after the end of a gruelling 65-date tour, Hallyday goes back on the road from Sunday with his “Born Rocker Tour” to celebrate both his 70th and his new album “L’Attente”. The tour will include 14 concerts in France, Belgium, Austria and Monaco. “A few years ago I could not imagine singing at 70. But now I think I’ll be on stage at 80,” he was quoted as saying recently by Le Parisien newspaper. Not everyone agrees. An opinion poll this month found that 65 percent of French people thought he should retire. But Hallyday remained unmoved, telling the RTL radio station days later: “I still think as if I am 20 or 30 years old. I honestly don’t see the difference!” “I am no more tired now when I do a concert than before. It seems incredible to me that I am 70 in a few days,” he added. — AFP

This file picture taken on September 2, 1982 shows French rocker Johnny Hallyday posing with a golden disc in Paris.

This file picture taken on April 29, 1969 shows French rock singer Johnny Hallyday performing on the stage of the Palais des Sports in Paris. — AFP


Tunisian rapper who risks up to seven years in prison for insulting the police said he was “afraid” ahead of his trial yesterday and criticized the authorities for not respecting freedom of expression. “I am afraid because in a country like Tunisia the law is not applied, you can expect anything,” said Ala Yaacoubi, better know by his nom de rap “Weld El 15.” The musician was handed a two-year jail sentence in absentia in March for posting a rap video called “The Police are Dogs” on the Internet. He is to be retried by the same court in the Tunis suburb of Ben Arous, following a decision to turn himself after three months on the run. “In the song, I used the same terms that the police used to speak about the youth. The police have to respect citizens if they want to be respected,” Yaacoubi said. “There is no reason or

legal basis for putting me in prison,” he added. The rapper’s lawyer Ghazi Mrabet said his client was charged with conspiracy to commit violence against public officials, and insulting the police, offences punishable by up to seven years in prison. “These crimes are unfounded, these articles in the penal code do not apply to artistic production,” he argued. In the video ( /watch?v=6owW_Jv5ng4) the singer is heard saying: “Police, magistrates, I’m here to tell you one thing, you dogs; I’ll kill police instead of sheep; Give me a gun I’ll shoot them.” Before the March trial, in which four others were handed prison sentences but later released, the interior ministry said the song’s lyrics were “unethical, abusive and threatening” towards pubic officials.

Several cases related to freedom of expression have sparked outrage in Tunisia since the January 2011 revolution, and activists have often accused the ruling Islamist party Ennahda of seeking to muzzle them. In April last year, two youths were jailed for seven and a half years for publishing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed on Facebook. On Wednesday, three European members of the radical women’s protest group Femen were jailed for four months for staging a topless demonstration in Tunis in support of a detained Tunisian activist. — AFP

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013


cclaimed Japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa has pulled out of a trip to Switzerland that was to mark his return to the podium in Europe after years of poor health, an official told AFP yesterday. The 77-year-old maestro had planned to take part in lessons at the Seiji Ozawa International Academy Switzerland in Rolle, starting June 22. But he has decided to cancel the plan as his condition would not allow him to “take such long flights”, said the official at his office in Tokyo. This was his second straight cancellation of annual lessons at the academy. Ozawa, who underwent surgery for cancer of the oesophagus in 2010 and was treated for a hernia in 2011, has been away from the podium for extensive periods during his battle back to health. Despite the can-

cellation, Ozawa still plans to perform at this year’s Saito Kinen music festival on August 12 and September 7 in Matsumoto, central Japan, where he serves as general director. “Now he is rehearsing (in Japan), and he is fine,” the official said. In a career that has spanned the globe, Ozawa spent nearly three decades at the Boston Symphony Orchestra before moving to Austria in 2002 to become musical director for the Vienna State Opera. — AFP

This file picture taken on April 8, 2013 shows Japanese maestro Seiji Ozawa speaking to AFP reporters during an interview at the French ambassador’s official residence in Tokyo. — AP


File photo released by Verizon Wireless shows singer Jennifer Lopez at the Verizon Wireless meet Jennifer Lopez Flyaway Contest in Santa Monica, Calif. — AP


he headliners usually get all the ink and this year’s group at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival is definitely ink-worthy: Paul McCartney, Mumford & Sons and Tom Petty. It’s the down-list acts, though, that make this a particularly strong Bonnaroo lineup with a number of must-see acts you ought to check out before they’re so big you’ll be standing at the back of the crowd watching them on the video screens. Here are 10 to see: Alt-J: This Mercury Prize-winning quartet plays angular pop songs that are oddly intoxicating. Like fellow Brits McCartney and Mumford, the group has a gift for sugary songs that are impossible to resist. Action Bronson: The burly, bearded rapper from Queens is poised to release his major-label debut later this year and has been whipping up a frenzy in London before returning to the states for Bonnaroo. Expect stage diving, East Coast harmonics and lots of naughty humor. Charli XCX: The alternapop princess has had the bloggers buzzing for a couple of years. Now she’s attached to a worldwide hit - she features on Icona Pop’s “I Love It” - and has the highest profile of her career coming into Manchester. Father John Misty: Former Fleet Foxes drummer Josh Tillman left the band and released his first solo album under this new moniker after several releases as J. Tillman. “Fear Fun” was on many year-end lists and it will be interesting to see how far Tillman’s mostly hushed folk-rock will carry at Bonnaroo. HAIM: Los Angeles-based sisters Este, Danielle and Alana Haim form a girl group for the 21st century, mixing lush vocal harmonies with high energy, beat-oriented grooves that have won

ennifer Lopez says Latinos in the United States are starting to realize their power in politics and media, making the timing good for her latest undertaking: lobbying for greater diversity in TV programming. The entertainer spoke Wednesday at the Cable Show, a communications convention, ahead of new programming set to launch July 18 on the NUVOtv network. Lopez serves as chief creative officer of the English-language Latino channel. “It’s an extension of who I am as an artist,” she said about her new role in an interview with The Associated Press. “As I grow in this business - I’ve been in the business close to 20 years now - that creative spark that you have doesn’t go away. It keeps growing almost.” Lopez said that working behind the scenes is just as rewarding as performing, if not more. “Singing and acting and dancing and performing live, it’s always going to be my passion,” she said. “But at the end of the day, when you’re given the opportunities to be more creative, to create things more from the ground up, to really, really do things like NUVO, which is really for me empowering a community, that means so much to me.” The actress-singer-dancer said these are exciting times across the board for Latinos. “There’s a big revolution going on, it’s like a media and cultural revolution of Latinos here in the United States,” she said. “We’re realizing our power. We’re realizing that we matter here. You know, we’re not just, you know, the guys working behind the scenes in the kitchens and as a plumber.”

Lopez was meeting later Wednesday with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the National Council of La Raza and Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J. She said businesses are getting on board too because of the tremendous buying power of Latinos, which is why she is also the creative chief officer of the Viva Movil brand for Verizon. The entertainer is opening a chain of 15 cell phone stores with bilingual staffers starting this month to cater to the Hispanic market. While Lopez, 43, continues to undertake creative ventures, she said she will never stop performing. “It’s a new day when it comes to women,” she said. “The world is realizing that women are not even coming into their own until they’re in their 40s, that they have so much to offer. That you can stay in shape, that your life is not over once you have kids and it becomes only about your kids, that to be a great mother, or great parent or great woman in this world you have to be a great individual first, you know what I mean, and that’s very empowering and we’re all realizing this,” she said. Lopez said many major actresses in Hollywood are in their 40s and in the prime of the careers including Jennifer Aniston, Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts and Halle Berry. “It’s a new day for women, it’s a new day for Latinos, it’s a new day,” she said. — AP

over a lot influential fans. They’re managed by Roc Nation, recently collaborated with Diplo and Kid Cudi, and are working on a debut album. Jason Isbell: The Alabama-raised, Nashville-based singer-songwriter is the Americana community’s cause celeb du jour. He releases his new album “Southeastern” this week, just in time to take his brand of Southern rock to the masses. Japandroids: Just when you think the two-man band thing has run its course, up pops Vancouver-based Japandroids, a band guaranteed to generate more decibels per band member than any other on the farm. Their soaring, anthemic rock is perfect for Bonnaroo. Kacey Musgraves: Bonnaroo has had its share of edgy country acts over the years and Musgraves keeps the tradition rolling. This champion of Nashville songwriters has the off-kilter, left-leaning world view that fits right in at the festival. Portugal. The Man: This Portland-based band of spacey rockers has joined with producer Danger Mouse on its fun new album, “Evil Friends.” Fans at Bonnaroo will be hearing the new music for the first time. There will be buzz. Tame Impala: Australian rocker Kevin Parker is the premiere purveyor of freaky, fuzzed-out psychedelic rock at the moment. Last year’s “Lonerism” was one of rock’s most praised albums and Bonnaroo could be a defining moment. — AP

File photo shows Kacey Musgraves at the Barista Parlor in Nashville, Tenn. — AP photos

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JUNE 14 , 2013


hen China’s new first lady Peng Liyuan, a glamorous former folk singer famous in her own right, chose homegrown fashion label Exception de Mixmind for her husband’s first overseas trip, speculation on Chinese social media went into overdrive. Was this Exception’s “Jason Wu moment”? people asked, referring to the young Taiwanese-Canadian designer who shot to fame after Michelle Obama dazzled at the first inaugural ball in an ivory one-shoulder Wu creation. Or would Peng’s championing of a domestic fashion label in the midst of a government “frugality” drive send a message to top officials’ wives to ditch the bling? For many labels such publicity is the stuff of marketing dreams. But in his first interview since Peng accompanied her husband President Xi Jinping to Russia in March, Exception founder Mao Jihong looks uncomfortable when the “first lady issue” is raised. Peng, a star in China for over three decades, has been wearing Exception for 12 years and some clothes were specially designed for her, Mao told AFP in an interview in Paris. And while the publicity surrounding her choice of an Exception doublebreasted trench coat and leather handbag on her Russia trip was undoubtedly good for the brand, it has also been “lots of trouble”, he said. “We just want to do fashion quietly. We never do campaigns or advertising but after the first lady wore our clothes (in Russia) lots of people came looking for us,” he said. “We want to present the brand rather than use the first lady to make us famous. We never really wanted that,” he added. The Exception story closely mirrors the short history of fashion design in modern-day China. Graduating in 1991 from one of the country’s first fashion design courses, Mao and his ex-wife Ma Ke set about offering an alternative to the drab, shapeless clothes they saw around them. “We were among the earliest design students in China. Back then clothing in China had no beauty and everybody was wearing the same thing like a uniform,” he said. Today their label, one of the country’s very first to be established in the early 1990s, has a “tiny”

presence in China of around 100 shops. Their designs concentrate on natural fabrics such as linen, silk and wool in styles that create a sense of “freedom”. “We wanted to define contemporary lifestyle in China with the brand and for people to discover the beauty and aesthetics of oriental philosophy through the designs,” Mao said. The label’s first fashion show in 2004 was held in a derelict electric switch factory in Beijing. The factory no longer exists having long since been demolished to make way for a vast shopping mall, a now familiar sign of rapid development in the nation of 1.3 billion. Mao estimates that any one point around 40 shopping centres are under construction in each of the major cities such as Shanghai or Beijing. He is careful, however, to distance Exception from such rampant consumerism, describing its clients as people who “love culture and art and have their own aesthetic point of view”. But he predicts that even those with an entirely different mindset can soon be expected to adopt a more sophisticated approach to fashion buying. “I think it is a process of development,” he said. “In China there is no ‘noble’ class. There is no difference of social status and if people in China want to show that they are different they use a consumer item to identify who they are. “I think that sooner or later the consumer will find themselves and they may not need those kinds of items to show off who they are,” he said. Now plans are afoot to launch Exception in Europe after approaches from French department stores and buyers. “We are working on those international plans... Everything is under discussion,” Mao said, adding however that the label was still very much a work in progress. “We have never defined ourselves as a successful brand and I think we haven’t reached that yet. We are still on the way,” he said. — AFP

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife lady Peng Liyuan visit the archaeological site of Chichen itza, State of Yucatan. — AFP


my Adams stunned in a strapless Valentino dress at the ‘Man of Steel’ European premiere. The 38year-old actress looked effortlessly chic in a kneelength gown from the fashion house’s Spring 2013 couture collection as she walked the blue carpet in London’s Leicester Square on Wednesday night to promote her new film. The A-line style enhanced Amy’s dainty waist, while the gown’s nude andblack palette complemented her porcelain complexion. The redhead kept accessories to a minimal, finishing off the look with Casadei heels, three-tier drop earrings and pulling her hair into a simple bun, held back from her face by a black headband. Despite the rainy British weather, the star appeared to be having a blast at the event, where she was joined by her co-stars Henry Cavill and Russell Crowe. The

mother-of-one previously said she favours an “effortless” style and hates looking like she tries too hard, especially when she’s spending time with her two-year-old daughter Aviana. She said: “I try to keep it pretty simple; I don’t want to look as though I’m trying too hard. I want to be comfortable, but at the same time I also like to look elegant and feminine. “I try to make it look as effortless as possible - that’s important to me, especially now that I’m a mom. I want my clothes to be functional, but at the same times very chic.”— Bang Showbiz

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JUNE 14 , 2013

Miss Universe Organization, Miss Virginia USA 2013, Shannon McAnally competes in her evening gown during the 2013 Miss USA Competition Preliminary Show in Las Vegas on Wednesday June 12, 2013. — AP

Miss Nevada USA 2013, Chelsea Caswell

Miss Ohio USA 2013, Kristin Smith

Miss Texas USA 2013, Ali Nugent

Miss West Virginia USA 2013, Chelsea Welch

Miss New Hampshire USA 2013, Amber Faucher

Miss Minnesota USA 2013, Danielle Hooper

Miss New York USA 2013, Joanne Nosuchinsky

Miss Hawaii USA 2013, Brianna Acosta

Miss Maryland USA 2013, Kasey Staniszewski

Miss Indiana USA 2013, Emily Hart

Miss Colorado USA 2013, Amanda Wiley

FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

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Relationship FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Neither death nor Alzheimer’s can dim the passion of 29 years of love poems

Haddon Township looks through a scrapbook of poems that he found in this room of the Cherry Hill house where he grew up. —MCT ‘No Time Only Love. I really love you. You’re beautiful’ Carleen Hamilton wrote the first poem on a napkin, sitting in a coffee shop in Bermuda, on their honeymoon, Oct 29, 1974. Oh, how I glowe and grew to inconceivable brilliance in his loving fire. And we were called Sun and Moon. Complete life. Virtually every workday for the next 29 years, she wrote a poem on a napkin and packed it in her husband’s lunch. And George Hamilton, director of the Fels Planetarium at the Franklin Institute, inspired by his new wife, her poetry, her devotion, and his own happiness, returned the kindness. Every morning, perhaps when she was fixing his lunch, he wrote his own poem, and taped it to the mirror in the master bath. Four children grew up in that Cherry Hill, NJ, house, and knew, vaguely, that this was going on. But they never knew the extent. Until last month. George died in July at 87. Carleen, 77, suffers from advanced Alzheimer’s and was moved into assisted living in September. A son, Brandon Hamilton, was cleaning out the house, getting it ready for an estate sale April 10, when he found 16 binders of napkins, saved by his father, stored in boxes in the back of his workbench area. Then he discovered three much thicker binders of poems, saved by his mother, stacked on a closet shelf in a spare bedroom. “I find what they did so incredible,” said Brandon, 45, who lives in Haddon Township, N.J. “Not only the discipline of doing it every day, but the closeness that they had in their marriage because of sharing your innermost

Brandon visits his mother, Carleen Hamilton, at Spring Hills Assisted Living in Cherry Hill, and shows her some of the poetry.

feelings every day. That fire that you have on your honeymoon, they kept it alive.” In the summer of 1974, George Hamilton had just buried his first wife, who died from cancer after years of suffering. A mutual friend fixed him up with a recent divorcee, a mother of four, whose husband suffered mental illness. George drove to Upstate New York, where Carleen lived, and the first thing he noticed, being an astronomer and director of a planetarium, was her medallion, depicting a moon. He often wore one himself of a radiant sun. He said he simply had to borrow hers for a planetarium show, but would drive back the following weekend and return it an excuse to see her again. The date was Aug 17, 1974, because in one poem he writes: Time had a beginning, August 17 1974. And with it I was born. They fell deeply and passionately in love. By late September, according to their son, George told Carleen, “snows are coming, and these back roads will be impassable. I can come back in spring, or you can marry me now and move to Cherry Hill.” George was 47. Carleen was 37. They had no children together. But he adopted her four children. He had three of his own, who were grown, and whom Carleen embraced. In their poetry, she was the moon, and he the sun. And so many expressions of their love focused on space and sky. She wrote in 1974: My moon stood wanting in his warmth He took my darker side and fired it through the racing stars to hold me still. She wrote mostly on white napkins, but occasionally on a green, yellow, or even pink one. His canvas alternated between lined paper abundant, since she became a Cherry Hill teacher for 27 years and stationery. While each poem was dated, the authors rarely referenced daily events other than

weather, as in hers: Snowfalls warm me. Like in your arms, they hold me safe. Poems often were more universal and timeless. Him, on 3/18/82: All things considered, it’s a perfect life. You’re mine. I’m yours. And we soar above the world. Happy, hand in hand. In love. They tried their best never to miss a day. On 3/16/82, he wrote: No Time Only Love. I really love you. You’re beautiful. Each of his has the piece of tape on the top. Carleen wrote her last poem on Dec 16, 2003, the day he retired. Last day of work First day of us how sweet it is, planning dreams, planning us I’ll catch up in a month freedom to be us. The sun and the moon again. She retired weeks later. Life was good for a while. “The last years were tough on him, taking care of Mom,” Brandon said. “She would think he was a stranger. I’d have to talk her down. It was sad. I saw my dad get frustrated.” George had congestive heart failure and died at home of a heart attack. “The Alzheimer’s lessened the blow of his death,” Brandon said. “Fairly quickly she forgot about George. “What is interesting is how she’ll react today.” Brandon brings a binder of napkins with him for the first time on a recent visit to his mother. She lives in an Alzheimer’s unit at

Spring Hills Cherry Hill, in the old Sheraton Post Hotel on Route 70. She was up and dressed, sitting on her bed. He sat beside her. It was a sunny room. He showed her the book. “I didn’t realize that you saved all these poems,” he said. “Did you know that?” She nodded slightly. “You remember writing all these?” “Yep.” He pointed to one. “Do you remember writing this poem?” Silence. He read one to her. I’m proud you’re my love. I’m proud of the way you make me feel ... When he finished, she said: “And that was me.” “Did you know you wrote these?” he asked. “I used to brag about them all the time,” Carleen said. They put down the binder, and looked out the sunny window into the courtyard. Then Brandon walked with her slowly, holding her hand, down the hall to a group activity in a common area. He sat her down, kissed her. “I’ve got to go to work, Mom. I’ll be back on Sunday.” Leaving, he was pleased. “I could see that she got it, that she actually realized it,” he said. “I could tell from her expression, and the way she smiled, that she definitely remembered.” Driving home, he was quiet for a bit, reflecting. “The experience with the poems has brought me lots of closure,” he said. “The last couple years, seeing them both deteriorate, was very painful. “But now I’ve been able to see them as they were before, and not as they were at the end.” — MCT


FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Aries (March 21-April 19) This is a time of good fortune when things open up naturally. Situations are almost magically created just for you and it is easy to see which path is the one to take. Circumstances tend to bend to your will and things have a way of working out smoothly. There are real opportunities to work out difficulties and projects that require both long-term effort and a high degree of discipline. All family members seem to go in different directions this evening and it is good to see so many talents being expressed. If you take a little time this coming weekend to quiz each one on the activities of this evening's events you might discover some unique talents or some fun interests that can be shared with all. Family members blossom and are expressive and there is more.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) Your outward seriousness and no-nonsense approach to things are obvious to all at this time. You really draw the respect of others as you seem to know exactly what you are doing, where you are going and how to solve whatever quandary might appear. This deliberate sense of responsibility comes across in the way you relate to other people. You have a side to your personality that is very creative and lighthearted, but today you aim to solve problems and get down to the essentials. A young person in your family is probably ready for his or her first dental check and you may be reminded of your own checkups. Any physical maintenance is important and you might make sure you are current for your own eye or dental exams.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) You are independent, confident and more than likely a little self-centered today. You love attention and somehow manage to gravitate to the center of almost any group or happening. Others accept you--they sense you are a leader and admire your ability to inspire others. Lecturing and teaching and guiding others spiritually may be the times you enjoy the most. Rewards for your actions are available. This could be in pay as much as good advertisement. This afternoon you may seek solace in your family or a loved one or perhaps just time alone. Refurbishing your energy is most important and you will often create times alone or with a loved one to do just that. A movie or a bit of stargazing could be in order tonight.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) You are not bound by relationships just now and can be a bit lazy with your housekeeping. Your concentration and fun really seem to be in how you enjoy learning all the avenues of your profession. This may be a good time to ask for a raise. Believe in yourself. You find it easy to work with other people and will pour a lot of energy into those around you. Foreign affairs may catch your attention. Perhaps an investment you are thinking about is beginning to show quite an upswing in income. You will find support from others when you turn your attention to health, food, nutrition and areas where service or attention to detail is in high focus. You may enjoy working with a group of people where you can exercise your differences.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Your unique and unusual qualities are brought out today as someone younger than you seeks advice from you. You could come up with a new idea or understanding that will help your progress. You may not want center stage at this time but you certainly are in the mood to format some new plans for yourself. There is a feeling of importance as you realize how much you impact another person's life. You feel good about your work position. Open your mind to some exciting new possibilities. Expect delays later this afternoon--pace yourself. This evening your friends may want you to join them in some fun activity. You may be feeling a little lazy after such a busy day but if you go with your friends, you will be glad you did.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) You may find yourself having difficulty with concentration efforts today. You have been able to accomplish quite a lot in the workplace lately. Perhaps it is time to find better ways to thin out the responsibilities--or at least, eliminate the many steps that it takes you to achieve results. Pace yourself. Enjoy your friends after work today; perhaps a meal together or a time of group sports could be enjoyed. It just may be the best time to listen to others and gain some new energies as well as new insights. Stability and permanence satisfy a deep emotional need. Music is likely to play a more important role for you than usual--perhaps a play or concert would be invigorating this evening. A feeling of being at peace and stable on the emotional level is present at this time.

Libra (September 23-October 22) Being prepared by being organized may mean your success now. This is a time when you can expect a little boost, some extra support or recognition from your peers for your talents. You may feel that you are in touch and in harmony with others. The support you need is available for whatever you need to do. Investment opportunities are available. You may find it silly to ask questions in this area, particularly if it is a personal investment, but you will be wise to collect as much information as possible. You are able to sense and feel in the more abstract mental areas and to bring far-out ideas down to earth. Your many friends may fight to gain your attention--careful, others mimic your behavior. You are a leader and bring positive insights to all.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Feelings are something you express with ease and you appreciate others doing the same. Emotional drama is valued rather than avoided. You may be reminded of your various responsibilities today, in order to keep the mind and emotions on the professional pathway! This is the time to get down to the nitty-gritty and take care of some business you have postponed. Obligations from home may come to your attention later today. A meeting with someone older or in authority is in the works and you may be a bit tense about it. Never fear, all will work to the best end results. Your appetite for action is probably well known and well noted. Sports, outdoor activities and everything physical are high on your list of favorites this afternoon.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) You are very competitive--even pushy--when it comes to partners and other people. Take some time to laugh at the intensity and find a fun way to look at the situation. Some of the competition today may not have anything to do with where you really want to go. You have a great social drive and love to work in a group or with close friends. Your mind runs to domestic issues; home and family are always on your mind. This trait could work against your career interests, especially if your job requires managerial and organizational skills. Perhaps a home business or mail order business would be a good choice for you. This evening is a great time to be with friends, perhaps to share an outdoor barbecue or homemade ice cream.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) Your positive outlook today lets you get right to the point. Careful--you may have little patience with those who are not willing to help themselves. You will be introduced to people in an environment you are not familiar with today but you have plenty of enthusiasm and you warm up to things and people quickly. You have an inner self-confidence that burns with its own light. With all of this emotional energy, you could speak very well. You have a lot of mental drive. This evening you may find that you are in very different surroundings, perhaps an art show, play or museum. Your taste in art and appreciation of creative efforts of people are heightened. There are plenty of ideas for your own creative inventiveness.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) You get along well with older people, especially those in authority. It is easy for you to convey yourself to others and you make a good appearance. You find it easy to relate with just about anyone. You have great confidence and people respect you in an honorable way. You are a great doer and others appreciate being able to mentor under you. You are a good team player. You express yourself deliberately and do not waste your words. You have a natural sense of organization and come across as disciplined and careful, perhaps a little too sober. Now you will begin to show off your talents. Opportunities will present themselves and you will be able to make that outward push and ride the crest of the wave into fame and fortune--a time of progress.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) You may have difficulty letting go of some sensitive information today. Your no-nonsense, practical approach makes subjects like the unity of life, ideals and dreamy stuff hard for you to take. However, your responsibilities and your goals are very important to you and you methodically go about putting them into a certainty. Progress is evident as you ignore the enormity of any one project to move forward one step at a time. This thursday afternoon may be the time you will want to reschedule an appointment; however, it may be better to keep on schedule. Personal difficulties may arise as a test, not necessarily from these people but from a higher place. Sometimes difficulties can be worked through and then forgotten quickly. Horoscopes june 2013

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

L e i s u re

FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Word Search

Yesterdayʼs Solution

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

ACROSS 1. A light touch or stroke. 4. Firmly closed or secured. 12. The sign language used in the United States. 15. A doctor's degree in education. 16. Dependent on chance. 17. A unit of length of thread or yarn. 18. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 19. A flexible strip (wood or rubber) used in drawing curved lines. 20. Given or having a specified name. 22. A person to whom legal title to property is entrusted to use for another's benefit. 25. A highly unstable radioactive element (the heaviest of the halogen series). 26. An edilbe seaweed with a mild flavor. 27. A distinctive odor that is offensively unpleasant. 29. A lake in northwestern Russia. 31. Correspond in vowel sounds. 33. Coins collectively. 36. A sloping mass of rocks at the base of a cliff. 37. A logarithmic unit of sound intensity. 38. Any of various spiny trees or shrubs of the genus Acacia. 39. A white soft metallic element that tarnishes readily. 40. A member of the working class (not necessarily employed). 44. A soft yellowish-white trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group. 45. The rate at which energy is drawn from a source that produces a flow of electricity in a circuit. 47. A chock or bar wedged under a wheel or between the spokes to prevent a vehicle from rolling down an incline. 52. Surpassing the ordinary especially in size or scale. 54. Squash bugs. 55. A resin used in adhesives and paints. 56. A person of Polish descent. 58. Perennial mountain rice native to Mediterranean region and introduced into North America. 60. An ancient Hebrew unit of dry measure equal to about a bushel. 62. A skullcap worn by religious Jews (especially at prayer). 66. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 68. (Akkadian) God of wisdom. 69. The sense organ for hearing and equilibrium. 71. In truth (often tends to intensify). 72. An ugly evil-looking old woman. 74. Cover with ice or snow or a glacier. 77. A master's degree in business. 78. The elementary stages of any subject (usually plural). 79. Type genus of the Gavialidae. 80. An adult male person (as opposed to a woman). 81. The cry made by sheep. 82. The property characteristic of old age. 83. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth.

Daily SuDoku

DOWN 1. The state of owing money. 2. The sixth month of the civil year. 3. A bachelor's degree in religion. 4. A person who fastens or makes fast. 5. A town in northern Michigan on an arm of Lake Huron. 6. Of superior grade. 7. Of or relating to or characteristic of Thailand of its people. 8. An inactive volcano in Sicily. 9. Of or associated with or requiring the use of the mind. 10. A trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group. 11. Characterized by action or forcefulness or force of personality. 12. An annual publication including weather forecasts and other miscellaneous information arranged according to the calendar of a given year. 13. Give a certain impression or have a certain outward aspect. 14. Remove with or as if with a ladle. 21. A particular environment or walk of life. 23. A former communist country in eastern Europe and northern Asia. 24. Small porch or set of steps at the front entrance of a house. 28. Old World woody vines. 30. Weight to be borne or conveyed. 32. Caught in European waters. 34. A member of a nomadic people originating in northern India and now living on all continents. 35. Worn or shabby from overuse or (of pages) from having corners turned down. 41. Port city on southern Honshu on Osaka Bay. 42. A nurse who has enough training to be licensed by a state to provide routine care for the sick. 43. Small terrestrial lizard of warm regions of the Old World. 46. A set of related records (either written or electronic) kept together. 48. An inhabitant of ancient Assyria. 49. Steadiness of mind under stress. 50. Using the voice. 51. A monarchy in northwestern Europe occupying most of the British Isles. 53. A strip of land projecting into a body of water. 57. A Bantu language spoken by the Chaga people in northern Tanzania. 59. Inflammation of the iris. 61. An upward movement (especially a rhythmical rising and falling). 63. A subsidiary proposition that is assumed to be true in order to prove another proposition. 64. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 65. A city in southern Turkey on the Seyhan River. 67. A small cake leavened with yeast. 70. Harsh or corrosive in tone. 73. Aircraft landing in bad weather in which the pilot is talked down by ground control using precision approach radar. 75. The act of slowing down or falling behind. 76. Fermented alcoholic beverage similar to but heavier than beer.

Yesterdayʼs Solution

Yesterday’s Solution

Sports FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Giants fall to Pirates PITTSBURGH: Starling Marte had a career-high four hits and scored four times, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the San Francisco Giants 12-8 on Wednesday night. Neil Walker and Alex Presley homered for Pittsburgh. Jordy Mercer, Andrew McCutchen and Gaby Sanchez had three hits each as the Pirates set season highs for runs and hits. Francisco Liriano (5-2) got through six erratic innings for the win. Joaquin Arias knocked in three runs for the Giants and Hunter Pence doubled twice but San Francisco continued to struggle on the road. The defending World Series champions have lost 12 of 16 away from home. Barry Zito (4-5) allowed eight runs and 11 hits in 4 2-3 innings as his road ERA ballooned to 11.28. DIAMONDBACKS 8, DODGERS 6 In Los Angeles, Martin Prado hit an RBI double during a four-run 12th inning to help Arizona beat Los Angeles. There was no repeat of the brawl that occurred in the seventh inning of the Dodgers’ 5-3 victory a night earlier, when six players and coaches were ejected. No batters were hit by pitches this time. Prado put the Diamondbacks ahead 5-4 with a ground-rule double off Ronald Belisario (3-5), charged with four runs and three hits in two-thirds of an inning. He walked two and didn’t retire any of the four batters he faced in the 12th. Arizona made it 6-4 on Cliff Pennington’s bases-loaded RBI single off Brandon League. Gerardo Parra added a two-run single. Josh Collmenter (3-0) got the win with two innings of relief. The Diamondbacks had 20 hits while improving to 7-2 against the Dodgers this season. Heath Bell gave up two runs in the bottom of the 12th but retired pinch-hitter Tim Federowicz with two on to end it. PADRES 5, BRAVES 3 In San Diego, Edinson Volquez struck out a season-high nine in seven innings, rebounding from the worst start of his career to help San Diego to a three-game sweep of NL East-leading Atlanta. Chris Denorfia hit a two-run homer for the Padres, who swept the Braves in San Diego for the first time since May 2005. The Braves were swept for just the second time this season. Everth Cabrera got his major leaue-leading 30th stolen base ahead of Denorfia’s homer. Volquez (5-5) held the Braves to one run and six hits. In his previous two starts, he had allowed a combined 13 earned runs and 17 hits in 7 1-3 innings. Paul Maholm (7-5) allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits in 5 2-3 innings for Atlanta.

REDS 2, CUBS 1 In Chicago, Mike Leake combined with Aroldis Chapman on a three-hitter and Todd Frazier hit a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning against Travis Wood, leading Cincinnati to a record 12th straight victory at Wrigley Field. Leake (6-3) allowed Nate Schierholtz’s secondinning homer but won for the fourth time in five decisions. Chapman struck out two in a perfect ninth for his 17th save in 19 chances. The previous record for consecutive wins by a visitor at Wrigley was 10. Wood (5-5) gave up two runs and four hits in seven innings, his third loss in four decisions. METS 5, CARDINALS 1 In New York, Dillon Gee had his third straight stellar start, Lucas Duda hit one of three Mets homers and New York scored the most runs allowed by St. Louis rookie Shelby Miller in his young career. David Wright and Marlon Byrd also connected for the Mets, who snapped a three-game skid and improved to 26 in June. Duda drove in two runs, including a first-inning single that scored Daniel Murphy from first base. With prized pitching prospect Zack Wheeler nearing his promotion to the big leagues, Gee (5-6) has done everything possible to protect his spot in the rotation. The right-hander has yielded only three earned runs over 21 innings in his past three starts - all wins. Gee scattered six hits in this one and and struck out seven in 6 2-3 innings. He gave up a homer to Allen Craig, his second in two days against the Mets. Miller (7-4) gave up four runs and five hits in six innings. He struck out 10 without a walk. David Freese went 0 for 4 for the Cardinals, ending his career-best hitting streak at 20 games longest in the majors this season. BREWERS 10, MARLINS 1 In Miami, Carlos Gomez had four hits, including two triples, and Jonathan Lucroy drove in four runs to lead Milwaukee over Miami. Gomez also drove in three runs and scored three times. Jean Segura homered for the Brewers, who have won five of six. Alfredo Figaro (1-0) pitched seven scoreless innings to earn his first victory since Sept. 26, 2009, at the Chicago White Sox. He retired 16 in a row at one point and struck out four. Gomez and Lucroy both had bases-loaded triples. They combined to go 12 for 24 with 12 RBIs in the three-game series.It was the largest margin of victory for Milwaukee this season, even though Ryan Braun (right thumb) missed his third consecutive game.—AP

ST. PETERSBURG: Shotstop Stephen Drew No. 7 of the Boston Red Sox tags out Yunel Escobar No. 11 of the Tampa Bay Rays as he attempted to steal second base during the game at Tropicana Field. — AFP

Red Sox defeat Rays ST. PETERSBURG: Alfredo Aceves threw six solid innings, Daniel Nava homered and the AL Eastleading Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 on Wednesday night. Aceves (3-1), recalled before the game from Triple-A Pawtucket, allowed one run, four hits and four walks. This is the right-hander’s third stint with the Red Sox this season. Nava put the Red Sox up 2-0 on a third-inning, two-run homer off Chris Archer (1-2), who gave up two runs, four hits, four walks and struck out seven over four innings. The Rays right-hander exuberantly left the mound after striking out Nava with the bases loaded to end the fourth. INDIANS 5, RANGERS 2 In Arlington, Jason Kipnis had a home run among his three hits and Cleveland got a seriesclinching victory over Texas. A night after ending an eight-game losing streak, and a span of 12 straight losses away from home, the Indians earned consecutive victories to clinch their first road series in a month. They had gone 0-4-1 in series since taking two of three May 10-12 at Detroit, the only American League team with a better home record than Texas this season. Mike Aviles also homered for Cleveland, which also won 5-2 on Tuesday after losing the series opener 6-3. The Indians get a day off before starting a nine-game homestand Friday against Washington. Ubaldo Jimenez (5-4) allowed one run pitching into the sixth. ANGELS 9, ORIOLES 5 In Baltimore, Aybar hit a bases-loaded triple and Albert Pujols homered during a six-run seventh inning, helping Los Angeles beat Baltimore to stop a four-game losing streak. Hank Conger homered, Pujols had three hits and Howie Kendrick contributed two doubles to help the Angels avert a three-game sweep and put a positive finish on a 2-4 trip that began in Boston. Chris Davis hit his major league-leading 21st homer for Baltimore off Jerome Williams (52), ending a 1-for-17 skid with his first home run and RBI since June 2. Pedro Strop (0-3) gave up the triple to Aybar. As Aybar slid into third, the relay throw from Ryan Flaherty bounced out of play, allowing Aybar to score for a 6-4 lead.

PITTSBURGH: Alex Presley No. 7 of the Pittsburgh Pirates drives a home run to right field against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park. — AFP

ROYALS 3, TIGERS 2 In Kansas City, Lorenzo Cain hit a tying, tworun homer off Jose Valverde with two outs in the ninth and Eric Hosmer had a winning single in the 10th as Kansas City overcame Justin Verlander’s seven scoreless innings in a victory over Detroit. Verlander did not allow a batter past first base,

giving up three singles, striking out eight and walking two in a 117-pitch outing, his secondhighest total this season. Greg Holland (2-1) pitched a perfect 10th for the win, striking out Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera and retiring Prince Fielder on a lineout, and Miguel Tejada singled off Phil Coke (0-4) leading off the bottom half. ASTROS 6, MARINERS 1 In Seattle, Houston rallied to score six runs off closer Tom Wilhelmsen in the ninth inning and beat Seattle, snapping a six-game losing streak and giving the Astros their first victory this season when trailing after eight innings. Trailing 1-0, Jason Castro and J.D. Martinez led off with a pair of singles and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from Carlos Corporan. After an intentional walk of Carlos Pena, Chris Carter doubled off the wall in left field to score a pair and give the Astros their first lead of the game. Another intentional walk loaded the bases again and brought the hook for Wilhelmsen (0-2), who blew his fourth save in his last nine tries. Paul Clemens (4-2) earned the victory for Houston. ATHLETICS 5, YANKEES 2 In Oakland, Brandon Moss hit a two-run homer and a solo shot for his third career two-homer game, and Oakland beat New York for its 10th consecutive home victory. Moss’ power stroke helped Dan Straily (4-2) win his third straight decision. Moss hit his 10th homer in the second inning and 11th with a solo drive in the eighth. He also connected twice April 29 against the Angels. Of his five hits over 40 atbats in his last 19 games, all are home runs. John Jaso added an RBI double and a run-scoring single. The A’s (40-27) won for the 20th time in 25 games and are off to their best start since 1990. INTERLEAGUE TWINS 4, PHILLIES 3 In Minneapolis, Clete Thomas had a careerhigh four hits for Minnesota and came home on a wild pitch for the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, sending Philadelphia to its fifth straight loss. Thomas went 4 for 4 with two RBI doubles. He drove in Oswaldo Arcia both times, including in the eighth when his drive off the tall wall in right field against Antonio Bastardo (2-2) tied the game. Delmon Young and Ben Revere hit RBI singles for the Phillies against their former team, but starter Mike Pelfrey kept the game close with a season-high seven innings and Glen Perkins pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save in 17 tries. — AP

Sports FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Heat vow not to have any repeats of ‘horror movie’ SAN ANTONIO: There were no smiles on the faces of the Miami Heat players on Wednesday as the defending champions discussed their listless performance in the third game of the NBA Finals. The Heat suffered one of the most lopsided losses in NBA Finals history on Tuesday when they fell 113-77 to a San Antonio Spurs team that took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Miami entered the playoffs as the top seed after cruising through the regular season with a franchise-record 66 wins, but were a pale imitation of that team as they shot a lousy 40.8 percent from the field. “We watched the film and it was worse than a horror movie to be honest with you,” Miami forward Chris Bosh told reporters. “We didn’t give the effort we needed to give and it was embarrassing to be a part of that.” Miami’s Big Three of Bosh, four-time league most valuable player LeBron James and nine-time All-Star Dwyane Wade were outscored 51-43 by the largely unheralded Spurs duo of Danny Green and Gary Neal. With the next two games scheduled for Thursday and Sunday in San Antonio, the Heat need to discover their form quickly if they want to repeat as NBA champions. Much of the blame for Miami’s recent struggles is being placed squarely on the shoulders of James, who averaged 26.8 points a

game in the regular season but has yet to crack 20 points in the first three games of the Finals. But James’s teammates were not interested in pointing any fingers, preferring to focus on making the adjustments in time to salvage a season they began as overwhelming favorites. “We can’t concern ourselves with that. In the books Miami Heat lost the ballgame,” said Wade. “We win together, we lose together as a team. We all played bad and the Spurs played great. “So everyone has an opinion, and everybody uses their opinion. But we can’t control what we can’t control.” Miami won their only regular season visit to San Antonio this past regular season but are 3-23 here all-time, a record they will need to improve on quickly with the next two games of the Finals being in the Alamo City. James said his 15 points on 7-of-21 shooting was unacceptable and he accepts full responsibility for the loss and vowed to be better when the series resumes. “I’m just confident in my ability. And my teammates are going to put me in positions to succeed. And the coaching staff will put us in positions to succeed,” said James. “I’m a positive guy. I love the game. I have fun with the game. As dark as it was last night, can’t get no darker than that, especially for me. “So I guarantee I’ll be better tomorrow for sure.”—Reuters

Clock ticking on Olympics, says NHL commissioner

Jorge Lorenzo

Spanish trio target victory in Catalonia MADRID: Reigning MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo is looking to build on his impressive victory at the Italian Grand Prix a fortnight ago when attention switches to the Catalan Grand Prix this weekend. Lorenzo, who has won twice at the Montmelo track in 2010 and 2012, still trails compatriot Dani Pedrosa by 12 points in this season’s championship after five races, but brought himself right back into contention with a dominant ride in Italy after a disappointing seventh placed finish at the French Grand Prix last month. “I’m quite satisfied after our great result at Mugello that completed an almost perfect weekend,” he told Yahama Team Racing’s webiste. “Compared to Mugello, Montmelo is a little bit slower but at least there are no first gear corners and hopefully that will help us a lot. This is a good track for us and we have to profit from it and try to repeat the victory. It could be great for the Championship.” Pedrosa though is hoping home advantage can spur him onto a third victory of the season. The 27-year-old Honda rider hails from Sabadell barely a half an hour drive from the circuit in Montmelo and believes it is difficult to say who will have the advantage as Yamaha and Honda go head-to-head once more. “It is obviously a good feeling to be coming back to this race because it is always an exciting one for me,” he told

SAN ANTONIO: Chris Andersen of the Miami Heat shoots during a practice session ahead of game 4 in the NBA finals. — AFP

“It’s difficult to say now whether it will be a Honda circuit or a Yamaha circuit, but I hope that the bike goes well there and that we can have a good race against the Yamahas. I would say that victories are key at this stage of the championship and, with strong rivals, it is important to be on the podium.” And there is another Spanish rider in the championship shake-up as Pedrosa’s young team-mate Marc Marquez currently stands third in the stadings in his first season in MotoGP. After a stunning start to the season in which he finished on the podium in each of the first four races, including becoming the youngest rider to win a MotoGP when he won the Grand Prix of the Americas in the United States, 20-year-old Marquez lost ground on his compatriots at Mugello as he crashed out when seemingly set for runners-up spot after passing Pedrosa. However, he has been cleared to race again this weekend and can’t wait to get back on the track. “After crashing out at Mugello, I really can’t wait to get back on the bike at my home Grand Prix in Montmelo!” he also told “I am more relaxed after seeing Dr. Mir last week and he confirmed there are no complications with my injuries and I am on my way to feeling 100% again. “This is another track where all the other riders have much more experience than me and they will be extra tough to beat, but we will keep to our own programme, work hard and try our best.”— AFP

CHICAGO: Time is running out to complete a deal that would see the National Hockey League free players for the Sochi Olympics, commissioner Gary Bettman said on Wednesday. Speaking before the opening game of the Stanley Cup finals in what has become his annual state of the league address, Bettman fielded a wide-range of questions but the most-far reaching centered on the league’s Olympic future. With 2014 Winter Games less than eight months away, talks between the NHL, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) continue to drag on even as all parties seem committed to having NHL players in Russia. Bettman said negotiations were ongoing but the league had not foreseen the issue taking this long to resolve. NHL owners and officials have long been unhappy with what they perceive as second class treatment by the IOC and is seeking some form of compensation for shutting down for two weeks in the middle of the season and turning over their most important assets - the players. The key issues standing in the way of an agreement, which would also have to be approved by the NHL Players’ Association, are believed to be travel, insurance and hospitality for players’ and owners’ families. The NHL also wants to increase its influence and be treated more like a rights holder or top sponsor and be able to trade on the Olympic brand to help sell and promote their product. While the IOC, IIHF and NHL have not struck a deal, Bettman made it crystal clear that league has big plans on expanding its brand beyond North America borders. Bettman said the league is in discussion with the players’ union about reviving a World Cup and scheduling more European games but emphasized the Olympic issue was at the top of the international agenda. “We’re in discussion with the players association working on time table for international competition,” Bettman told reporters. “The first step is figuring out what we are doing with the Olympics, we are going to take a look at world championship participation and we are very much committed to bringing back a World Cup and doing it on a regular basis. “Once we get the Olympics figured out we will start focusing on a long term, Olympic, World Cup, world championship international competition calendar. “These are all things we are intrigued by and think are great opportunities for hockey worldwide.”— Reuters


Sports FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

‘He already won — just by being here’ ARDMORE: It isn’t until you run across a story like Jesse Smith’s that you remember why this is called the US Open. There’s no shortage of long shots, wannabes and never-weres in the field. But scan a bio of any of the 155 other entrants who tee off Thursday and you won’t find even one like his. Smith is 33 and has yet to hit a shot on the PGA Tour. Golf wasn’t even on his radar until he was well into his teens. He didn’t have much of an amateur career, either, unless you count talking his way onto the Colgate golf team. While trying to carve out a living on the mini-tours from Canada to the deep South afterward, he spent part of each year living in his grandfather’s log cabin on the Six Nations Territory near Brantford, Ontario. It was hardly a hotbed for the game. “One day up there, it was 95 degrees, really hot for that place, so I knocked off after four or five hours of playing and came inside,” Smith recalled. “My grandfather came straight over and looked me in the eye. All he said was, ‘Jesse, if you want to be better, you have to practice more.’ “I turned around and went back out. He died six years ago, but I can still hear those words,” he said. Yet anyone who expected Smith to reach the big-time would have

bet it would be hockey or baseball. He learned those games from his father, Guy, a full-blooded Mohawk who played at the University of New Hampshire and in the old World Hockey Association before becoming a high school coach. One day, Guy Smith dropped his son off at the UNH rink, went to park the car and suffered a fatal heart attack at age 44. In the aftermath, the golf courses Jesse played sparingly growing up became the quiet places he turned to cope with his father’s death. “From morning till the sun went down, he’d hit me ground balls,” Smith said Wednesday, on a final tour of Merion Golf Club in preparation for his opening round. “When he coached us, he’d hit more to me than the other kids, probably harder grounders, too. But he never short-changed me on the teaching end, either. ... “He touched a lot of people,” Smith said. “When I qualified to play here, I got more than a few text messages from friends reminding me of that.” Outside the gallery ropes, Lynn Smith was near tears - and this was just the practice round. “I always knew it would happen,” she said. “He struggled with golf, and as a mother I had a hard time with it. He’d say, ‘Trust me,’ but honestly, it was hard. “He struggled so much. But his father

was the same way. He played pro hockey, then went back to school to become an equine veterinarian. He wanted Jesse to follow his own path. “I guess,” she said, brightening, “this is it.” It shouldn’t come as a surprise that finally making it into the field at a U.S. Open was a struggle, too. On the second day of qualifying at Old Oaks Country Club some 10 days ago, Smith found himself short-sided at the par-4, 11th, facing a delicate pitch shot to a sliver of a green. He would have been happy to keep it within 15 feet. Instead, he holed it for an eagle to get to 3 under, then put years of persevering to good use by taking that score to the clubhouse as co-medalist and punching his ticket to the Open. All those people who came to believe Smith might be that one-in-a-million late bloomer finally had something to hold onto. “A shot in the arm,” is what David Glenz called it. He is Smith’s coach and was his caddie that day. “The self-belief this kid has is infectious. I finally saw what I knew was in him. ... “I’ll be honest. I almost expected more sooner, because he has plenty of talent. But considering Jesse’s background, maybe that’s where the lack of experience comes in. Winning at any level has a mem-

ory to it. We’ll see if this sticks,” he said. It might be too much to expect a guy with such a thin resume to make it into the weekend. If so, the small gallery that accompanied Smith around Wednesday Glenz was back on the bag, and a handful of Guy Smith’s old UNH hockey pals were escorting Lynn Smith from hole to hole was determined to wring as much satisfaction as possible from every moment. On one of the tees, a reporter pulled Smith over to one side and asked him whether there were any questions he’d missed. Smith thought about it for a moment, asked this question and then answered it without waiting for a reply: “Am I half crazy?” he laughed. “I think everybody that does this for a living has to be at least half crazy. “But what keeps me coming back is that the game is a lot like life. Everybody is faced with adversity, in different ways and different times, but what you end up with,” he said finally, “is usually a good reflection of how you dealt with it.” Down the fairway, Lynn Smith watched her son settle over an approach shot and smiled one more time. “See the logo?” she said, pointing to her son’s cap. “That’s a dream catcher. “He’s already won,” she said, “just by being here.” —AP

Woods the player to beat at rain-softened Merion ARDMORE: Merion Golf Club has been linked with some of the most iconic moments in championship golf and Tiger Woods will aim to add a chapter of his own at this week’s US Open where he is a heavy favorite. A host of other players can lay claim to being genuine contenders for the year’s second major, which begins late yesterday, but Woods is widely viewed as the likeliest winner based on his outstanding record and the often dominant form he has shown this season. Though Woods did not fare well in his most recent start, languishing joint 65th in a field of 73 at the Memorial Tournament 10 days ago, he has triumphed four times on the 2013 PGA Tour and is clearly the player to beat at Merion. “Tiger Woods is playing some awesome golf,” fellow American Matt Kuchar, who won the Memorial title to give himself a significant boost for this week, told reporters on Wednesday.

“Winning four times already is just amazing. He seems to be back clicking again and when he’s on, he can do things that most of the rest of us can’t do. It’s fun to have him playing well. “But the great thing about the game of golf, anybody who tees it up has a chance to win. Every field we play on the PGA Tour, the top to bottom, there’s a lot of strength.” Woods has revived memories of his glory days in the late 1990s and early 2000s with much of his play this year and he will be eager to end a major title drought dating back to his playoff victory at the 2008 US Open. Though the American world number one was bitterly disappointed with his overall game at the Memorial Tournament, and especially his putting, he has put that down as a blip in an otherwise successful season. “I didn’t really do much that I was real pleased about, but it was just one of those weeks,” 14-

Tiger Woods of the US hits a shot in this file photo

times major champion Woods said. “It happens. And move on from there. “I had a good week of practice last week at home. We had a tropical storm roll through there, I guess it was getting us ready for this one.” Bad weather has already been a huge factor at Merion with more than six inches (15cm) of rain saturating the area since Friday and severe thunderstorms have been forecast for the latter part of Thursday’s opening round. “You’re not going to see a firm US Open this year,” said twice former US Open champion Ernie Els. “We’re going to have a soft golf course ... all week. “It means that if you’re on your game you’re going to have a lot of birdie putts. There are quite a few par-fours where you’ve just got to put it in the fairway ... then you’ve got quite a short second shot. “I’m not going to say anybody is going to shoot a 62 at a U.S. Open, but you’ve got more birdie opportunities than ever.” Merion’s iconic East Course will be hosting its fifth U.S. Open this week, but its first in 32 years after long being regarded as too short to host a major. The par-70 layout located in the Philadelphia suburb of Ardmore has been stretched to 6,996 yards since Australian David Graham triumphed by three strokes in the 1981 edition, and Woods appreciates that precise shot-making is required for success. This is a course, after all, where Bobby Jones completed his “grand slam” by winning the 1930 US amateur, where Ben Hogan claimed the 1950 U.S. Open just 16 months after being involved in a near-fatal motor vehicle accident and where Lee Trevino beat Jack Nicklaus in a playoff to win the 1971 US Open. “If you look at the list of champions, they have all been really good shot-makers,” said three-times US Open champion Woods. “They have all been able to shape the golf ball. “That’s what it lends itself to. You have to be able to shape the golf ball, and you have to be so disciplined to play the course.” —Reuters

ARDMORE: Spectators wait out a rain delay during the first round the US Open at Merion Golf Club. —AFP

Storm halts play at US Open ARDMORE: Bad weather brought play to an abrupt halt at the 113th US Open yesterday after just under two hours of first-round play had been completed. The disruption had been widely expected for the last few days with a strong storm system tracking out of the Midwest and into Pennsylvania and there were fears that worse was to come during the day. When play was suspended, English Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter had stormed to the top of the nascent leaderboard with birdies at his first three holes. Big-hitting Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts, a teammate of Poulter at Medinah last September, was at two-under after seven holes. He was joined on that mark after just a handful of holes by South African pair Tim Clark and Charl Schwartzel along with American Charley Hoffman. “This is one really nasty looking storm that will hit at 9am and last the entire day. Not much golf,” Poulter had posted on his Twitter account before his round got going. Tournament favorite Tiger Woods one was not due off until 1:14 pm (1714 GMT), going out with the two players next to him in the global rankings-Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott. But the entire 156-strong field were subject to what the weather gods were about to throw at them. The historic East course at Merion has already been doused by heavy rain in the last few days and there was apprehension over what might follow on Thursday with the possibility of damaging winds, flash flooding and hail. United States Golf Association (USGA) executive director Mike Davis believes that Merion, at 6,996 yards, the first US Open course under 7,000 yards since Shinnecock Hills on Long Island in 2004, will survive both the storm and an assault from the world’s best golfers. —AFP

Sports FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Blackhawks soar over Bruins in Cup opener SYDNEY: Captain of the British and Irish Lions rugby union team Sam Warburton (left) speaks as coach Warren Gatland (right) listens during a team announcement press conference. — AFP

Lions ready for beefed up Tahs SYDNEY: British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has given his team everything to play for against a belatedly beefed up New South Wales Waratahs tomorrow, having extended the audition process for his test team to a fifth tour match. With just a week to go before they get down to the business end of tour with the first test against the Wallabies in Brisbane, 23 Lions will take to the field aiming to impress the coach and praying they will not get injured. Even with the late addition of Wallabies Dave Dennis and Rob Horne, the Waratahs know they are unlikely to hand the tourists their first tour defeat but are keen not to dishonour a history of tough games against the tourists going back to 1888. A rash of niggly injuries to his backs has forced Gatland to abandon the idea of putting out a shadow test team at the Sydney Football Stadium and he is hoping above all that his side come through the match unscathed. “We don’t want to pick up any more knocks or injuries,” he told reporters yesterday. “We’ve got a full complement of forwards, which is great, but the backs have tended to take the punishment. “Probably because of the way we’ve been playing. We’ve been moving the ball a lot and playing some good rugby. The meterage that some of our backs have covered, the amount of work that they’ve done, has taken its toll a little bit.” The full complement of forwards includes seven back rowers who have to a man impressed in the tour matches to date. That not only leaves Gatland with a likely selection headache next week but tour captain Sam Warburton, who missed the first two matches of the tour with a sore knee, in a battle to secure his test place. The openside flanker lines up in a back row alongside blindside Tom Croft and number eight Jamie Heaslip knowing that he is unlikely to have another chance to stake his claim. The Lions will also be anxious that Jonny Sexton, who starts at flyhalf, and replacement Owen Farrell will not suffer any damage after picking up knocks over the last week, however impressive fullback Stuart Hogg was at number 10 in midweek. The test shirts would seem to be theirs to lose for the experienced lock combination of Paul O’Connell and Alun Wyn Jones, while Welsh centres Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies have a chance to shine with Brian O’Driscoll and Manu Tuilagi resting knocks. Michael Cheika has promised his makeshift Waratahs side, still missing eight players on Wallabies duty and three other injured internationals, would not be going out for a “glorious defeat”. The former Leinster coach also said there would be no repeat of the thuggery that marred the last game between the sides in 2001, when Waratahs fullback Duncan McRae punched a prone Ronan O’Gara in the face 11 times. “I think those days have gone,” he said. “Even back then, it was over the top. But physicality can occur in lots of ways - rucks, scrums and the contacts have got to be big from our lads. “We have to be big ... anything in red that moves we’ll have a go at it.” Gatland said he had watched a similarly weakened Waratahs side beat the Western Force in the last round of Super Rugby and had been impressed. —Reuters

CHICAGO: The Chicago Blackhawks know all about Andrew Shaw’s reputation around the league. They also know the pesky little forward is so much more than just another irritant for opposing players. The diminutive Shaw sparred with Zdeno Chara, dished out nine hits and was in the right place when his team needed him the most Wednesday night in a thrilling start to the Stanley Cup finals. Shaw popped back up after he was knocked down and skated to the front of the goal to get a deflection on Dave Bolland’s tip for the winning score in the Blackhawks’ 4-3 victory over the Boston Bruins in the fifth-longest game in the history of the NHL’s biggest series. “We knew it wasn’t going to be pretty at that point,” Shaw said. “You could tell both teams were physically exhausted. We’ve preached it: Go to the net, you’ll find a way to get a greasy goal. We did a heck of a job of it there in the third overtime.” Shaw was knocked down near the boards but got up as the puck came out to Michal Rozsival, who started the winning sequence with a shot from the right point into traffic. Bolland’s tip then went off Shaw’s right leg and past Tuukka Rask at 12:08 for his fifth goal of the playoffs. And just like that, the longest finals game in five years was over. Shaw skated off to the side and pumped his arms furiously, then joined his teammates for a weary celebration. “I mean, I think you could ask players on other teams and they’ll tell you that he’s not the type of guy that they like to play against,” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “But that’s what we love about him. We love having a

guy like that on our team. He’s not afraid.” Generously listed at 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, Shaw still decided to shove the 6-9 Chara after play stopped in the first. Bruins coach Claude Julien called Shaw an agitator who is “good at embellishing, too, at times.” But he also has four assists in the playoffs after he had nine goals and six assists while playing in all 48 games during the regular season. “The bigger the stage, the bigger the challenge, he rises to the occasion,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. Milan Lucic had two goals and an assist for the Bruins, who had won five straight and nine of 10. Patrice Bergeron scored a power-play goal and David Krejci finished with two assists. “Not disappointed in our effort,” Julien said. “There’s certain

things you’re going to want to fix for next game. But as far as the game is concerned, it was a hard-fought game.” Rask made an astounding 59 saves in a finals marathon that surpassed Pittsburgh’s 4-3 win over Detroit on June 2, 2008, when Petr Sykora scored at 9:57 of the third overtime. Game 2 is tomorrow at the United Center. “That’s playoff hockey,” Bruins center Rich Peverley said. “It’s fun to watch, so we’ll think about this until we get out of here and then shake it off and get ready for Saturday.” Bolland and Johnny Oduya scored in the third period for Chicago, which never would have made it to the third overtime if not for an impressive performance by goaltender Corey Crawford. Brandon Saad had his first goal of the playoffs. —AP

CHICAGO: Tuukka Rask No. 40 of the Boston Bruins makes a save against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game One of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final at United Center. —AFP

All Blacks seek continuity and France series victory WELLINGTON: New Zealand coach Steve Hansen’s 2015 World Cup redevelopment strategy will get a serious examination when the All Blacks meet a revamped France in the second of their three-match series in Christchurch tomorrow. Hansen remains committed to building a squad capable of defending the World Cup in England and resisted the temptation to change a team that won 23-13 last week, instead putting the onus back on them to seal the series with a game to spare. The 54-year-old did make changes on the bench, with prop Tony Woodcock and scrumhalf Piri Weepu back from injury, while he swapped stalwart hooker Keven Mealamu for Andrew Hore, allowing Dane Coles to continue his development by getting a second successive start. Hansen also resisted calls for positional changes such as shifting Ben Smith to fullback in place of Israel Dagg to allow the bullocking Rene Ranger a start on the right wing. “We didn’t come very close at all to making any changes, at this time of the year you need to get a bit of consistency... or improvement in this case,” Hansen said on Thursday. The addendum about “improvement”

should not be overlooked by his team. The former Wales coach estimated the All Blacks had made at least 25 unforced errors in the first test and he expected them to reduce that number at Rugby League Park in Addington. If they do not, they could find a fired-up France side locking the series at 1-1 and heading to the final match in New Plymouth with their confidence on the up - a dangerous scenario that numerous All Blacks teams have fallen foul of in the past. France shaded the breakdown battle at Eden Park, were incisive on the counter, and then showed their attacking intent and cutting thrust in a 38-15 victory over the Auckland Blues on Tuesday. Coach Philippe Saint-Andre mixed up his selections for the Blues match, bringing in several players who had arrived in New Zealand late following the French club final, while giving those who have recovered from longterm injury some game time. He made four personnel changes for the second test from the team that played the first, with the most notable in the backs, where experienced flyhalf Frederic Michalak replaced Camille Lopez. — Reuters


Sports FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Photo of the day

McNish chasing Le Mans hat-trick LONDON: Thundering down the long Mulsanne Straight at more than 240kph in the dark, with the car squirming on rainsoaked asphalt and the headlights searching through a murky wall of spray, is no place for the faint-hearted. Allan McNish, two times Le Mans 24 Hours winner and a strong contender in the number two Audi when the sportscar classic celebrates its 90th anniversary next week, is more of a braveheart. The Scot, a former Formula One driver whose ex-Toyota team mates are Audi’s big rivals, walked away from a spectacular crash at the Circuit de la Sarthe in 2011 and has no hesitation in coming back for more. “If there’s something lurking in the back of your mind, you stop racing and you do something else and you get a desk job. It’s that simple,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview from his Monaco home. “If your inner instinct says you don’t want to drive down a circuit at an average speed of 150mph in the middle of the night then you don’t do it. “My inner instinct says that there’s another Le Mans race victory that’s up for grabs and a world championship at the end of the year and that’s what I’m focusing on doing,” added the 43-year-old. McNish is partnering Denmark’s eight-times winner Tom Kristensen and Frenchman Loic Duval in the number two factory Audi R18 e-tron quattro. The trio were fastest in last weekend’s eight hours of testing. Audi have won Le Mans 11 times in the last 13 years but McNish’s most recent victory was with Kristensen and now-retired Italian Rinaldo

‘Dindo’ Capello in 2008. The Scot was second last year after hitting the barriers three hours from the end. In 2011, he walked away from a massive impact after contact with a much slower Ferrari in the first hour sent his Audi flying into the barriers, where it disintegrated. Toyota are again the main threat with their hybrid car and McNish expected them to be in contention all the way after making a strong return in 2012 following a 13-year absence. “I don’t think we necessarily saw their pure performance at the races so far this year and certainly we didn’t see it at the weekend,” he said. “I would say we’ve got to be keeping an eye on the upper end of the pitlane to see what those characters are up to. “Obviously I know the people there... I know the team and I hope they have a fantastic race and finish a very fine third or fourth behind the Audis,” added the Scot. “There’s no question they will be good, they will be taking the fight to us.” Lapping slower cars is an occupational hazard at Le Mans, where sleek LMP1 prototypes mingle with regular sportscars and fatigue can dull reactions. McNish hoped for a dry race. “Physically Le Mans isn’t demanding because you’ve got such long straights,” he said. “But when you are going down the Mulsanne at 210 and the car’s aquaplaning underneath you... you do naturally tense up on the steering wheel, you are naturally on the edge of your wits all of the time. “A wet race, and just driving generally in the wet around there, is significantly mentally and physically

more tiring than in the dry. “From a driving point of view, I prefer a dry race just purely because I think we’re in pretty good shape in the dry. In the wet you can’t control whether the guy spins in front of you. You can’t in the dry either but you’ve got more chance of it happening in the wet.” With qualifying scheduled for next Thursday, McNish’s immediate priority is to stock up on rest. He stays at home, preparing for a weekend when sleep is sporadic at best. “I am very fortunate, I can sleep anywhere any time,” said McNish. “But it’s very easy to get caught up in the race. This is Le Mans. “As a driver at my first time in it, as soon as I got out of the car I wanted to know what was happening, I was watching the data, I was looking at the lap times, I was living it as if I was still driving the car. “So physically, I wasn’t driving but mentally I was. And it was absolutely exhausting. With experience, you realise you can’t do that. So you do tend to have your switch-off point and you can get away from it and try to conserve a bit of energy.” Audi will have four specially equipped containers right behind the pits for the drivers to sleep and shower in as well as having doctors, physios and dieticians on hand. That much is under control. The rest can be in the lap of the gods. “Motor racing is always that risk and reward. There is always the chance that it can go wrong with a technical failure or an accident,” said McNish. “It’s a 24 hour race, it’s like a grand prix season in a day.” —Reuters

B-Boy Hush performs at the Red Bull BC One Cypher at Al Zumoroda Hall in Kuwait City, Kuwait. —

Murray sends Mahut packing LONDON: Andy Murray avenged last year’s embarrassing Queen’s Club exit against Nicolas Mahut as the world number two kicked off a hectic day with a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) victory in his rain delayed second round clash. Murray had suffered a shock defeat against Mahut at the same stage of the preWimbledon warm-up event 12 months ago, but the US Open champion’s dominant display ensured there would be no repeat. The 26-year-old will have little time to savour his win as he is scheduled to return to court later on Thursday to face Australia’s Marinko Matosevic in the last 16 as the tournament catches up following several days of bad weather. The gruelling schedule will be a significant test for two-time Queen’s champion Murray, who missed the recent French Open after aggravating a recurring lower back injury during a match against Marcel Granollers in Rome. This was the Scot’s first competitive action for a month, but he showed few signs of rust despite the slippery conditions on the grass courts in west London. “The back felt great, especially with the conditions we have had,” Murray told the BBC. “It is very cold and I’m sure, as anyone who has had a back problem knows, that’s not good. But even with all the stopping and starting it feels great and that is probably the most satisfying thing about the match.” Mahut, a former Queen’s finalist who played the longest match in tennis history against John Isner at Wimbledon in 2010, can be a

tricky proposition on grass. But top seed Murray had taken the first set on Wednesday and was level at 2-2 in the second before the third rain interruption of the day caused the match to be postponed. When they finally resumed 24 hours later, Murray found himself under pressure and he had to save three break points in the early

LONDON: Britain’s Andy Murray reacts after beating France’s Nicolas Mahut in their ATP Aegon Championships tennis match at the Queen’s Club. —AFP

exchanges. But, in chilly conditions, he turned up the heat on Mahut in the tie-break, producing two sublime passing shots to finish off the match after 43 minutes. Lleyton Hewitt continued his giant-killing run as the Australian moved into the quarterfinals with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory over American sixth seed Sam Querrey. Hewitt is a four-time champion at the preWimbledon warm-up event, but thoughts of a record fifth crown were some way from the former world number one’s thoughts when he arrived at the start of the week. The 32-year-old is well into the twilight of his career and his lowly 82nd position in the world rankings reflects that diminished status. But the former Wimbledon champion has always thrived on grass and he produced one of his best performances of 2013 to brush aside the highly-regarded Grigor Dimitrov in the second round before cutting big-serving Querrey down to size on Thursday. Hewitt will face former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro or British wildcard Daniel Evans in the last eight. Czech second seed Tomas Berdych maintained his strong start to the tournament as he progressed to the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Slovenian 16th seed Grega Zemlja. World number six Berdych, a Wimbledon finalist in 2010, next faces defending champion Marin Cilic or Feliciano Lopez. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the French fourth seed, finally won his delayed second round tie against compatriot Eduoard Roger-Vasselin. —AFP

Leffler killed in New Jersey crash PHILADELPHIA: NASCAR driver Jason Leffler died from injuries suffered when his car slammed into the wall of a dirt raceway in New Jersey, state police said. The crash occurred during a race at the Bridgeport Speedway in Logan township in southern New Jersey, near Philadelphia, state police spokesman Sergeant Adam Grossman said. Leffler, 37, of Huntersville, North Carolina, was rushed to the Crozier Hospital in Chester, Pennsylvania, where he was pronounced dead at 9:02 p.m., police said. The raceway calls itself the “Fastest Dirt Track in the East.” It consists of a spacious 5/8-mile high-banked dirt oval, where average speeds reach well over 100 miles per hour (160 kph), according to the track’s website. Leffler was a two-time winner of the Nationwide Series. He had been racing for over a decade, with experience in so-called midget race cars as well as the Indianapolis 500, where he placed 17th in 2000, his website noted. New Jersey State Police said in a Twitter posting that the accident was under investigation. “NASCAR extends its thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies to the family of Jason Leffler who passed away earlier this evening,” the organization said in a Twitter posting. “For more than a decade, Jason was a fierce competitor in our sport and he will be missed.” —Reuters


Sports FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Ivory Coast, Egypt eye World Cup progress JOHANNESBURG: Ivory Coast and Egypt are among seven nations who could qualify this weekend for the final round of 2014 World Cup eliminators in Africa. Victories will secure the ‘Elephants’ and the ‘Pharaohs’ unassailable leads in four-team mini-leagues, and the ‘Walyas Antelopes’ of Ethiopia and the ‘Carthage Eagles’ of Tunisia are in a similar situation. Amid countless permutations, even drawing might suffice for the Ivorians, Egyptians and Tunisians depending on the results of closest challengers, but sharing the points would not take the Ethiopians through. A draw at home to shock 2013 Africa Cup of Nations runners-up Burkina Faso will certainly be enough for the ‘Red Devils’ of Congo Brazzaville during the penultimate series of second-round fixtures. The ‘Chipolopolo’ (Copper Bullets) of Zambia and the ‘Desert Foxes’ of Algeria are other countries who could advance, but they

must win and have a favourable result from the other group game. Among the top seeds in the 10 groups, Burkina Faso are not the only team under pressure as a loss in Addis Ababa will spell the end for 2010 World Cup hosts South Africa. Should Ghana suffer a stunning defeat away to lowly Lesotho, the 2010 quarter-finalists would also be out of the running for Brazil if Zambia beat struggling Sudan. Congo, whose best known current footballer is giant centre-back Christopher Samba from relegated English Premier League club Queens Park Rangers, are in unfamiliar territory having come close to qualifying only once before. The ‘Devils’ have scored just twice in four matches, although the Group E standings show five goals because they were awarded a 3-0 win after the Burkinabe were punished for fielding an ineligible player in a goalless draw.

But the defence of a Congo team coached by Frenchman Kamel Djabour has not been breached in 360 minutes of mini-league action and veteran goalkeeper and captain Barel Mouko acknowledges the changing role of his team-mates. “We started as outsiders and have since become the team to beat. Our squad is solid mentally and physically and it is nice to be in control of our destiny,” said the Congolese. Jonathan Pitroipa, a France-based wide midfielder voted the best player at the Cup of Nations in South Africa this year, scored the winner in Niger last weekend while Congo forced a 0-0 draw in Gabon. Egypt, seven-times African champions but only twice World Cup qualifiers, beat Zimbabwe 4-2 in Group G thanks to a Mohamed Salah hat-trick and visit Mozambique to face a team reeling from a six-goal hiding by Guinea. Playing at the

World Cup for the first time in 24 years has become an obsession for American coach Bob Bradley and his mix of ageing stars like midfielder Mohamed Abou Trika and young ones like Salah. Group C leaders Ivory Coast face secondplace Tanzania in Dar es Salaam and welcome back Arsenal offensive midfielder Gervinho, who missed a 3-0 victory in Gambia because of suspension. Ethiopia, a country where Olympic gold medal-winning athletes have dominated domestic sporting headlines for decades, were the fourth seeds in Group A behind South Africa, Botswana and the Central African Republic. However, there has been nothing fourth rate about their displays and regular goals from Getaneh Kebede and Salahdin Ahmed have produced three wins, a draw and a two-point advantage over Bafana Bafana (The Boys).—AFP

Namibia derail Nigeria’s early qualification hopes

PETAH TIKVA: Spain’s midfielder Pablo Sarabia (left) challenges Netherlands’ defender Bram Nuytinck for the ball during the 2013 UEFA U-21 Championship Group B football match. —AFP

Spain blanks Netherlands Euro Under-21 PETAH TIKVA: A rampant Spain beat the Netherlands 3-0 on Wednesday to set up a semi-final against Norway in the Euro Under21 championships. Three Spain strikers scored in a flowing performance as a much-changed Netherlands side, who will now clash with Italy in the second semi-final, were less tight in defence than in their two previous tournament outings. Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata slotted home an easy chance in the 26th minute to set the dominant Spaniards on course for victory. Malaga playmaker Isco hit the second on 32 and Alvaro Vasquez of Getafe made it 3-0 in the 90th minute. The Dutch had their moments, but failed to convert a number of chances against Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea, who twice had the crossbar to thank for maintaining his record of not conceding throughout the tournament. “We are delighted to be in the semi-finals. It would show a lack of respect to say we prefer to play Norway... Against a team as physically imposing as Norway it’s something to take into account,” Spain coach Julen Lopetegui said. Germany beat Russia 2-1 in the second group match in Netanya between the two eliminated teams. Alan Dzagoev put Russia ahead in the 22nd minute but Germany hit back through Patrick Hermann in the 34th and a Sebastian Rudy penalty in the 69th minute. Italy finished top of Group A, which was completed on Tuesday, with two wins and a draw, after they equalised late in injury time to edge Norway into second spot. Spain, who are defending the trophy they won two years ago, will play Norway in the earlier of Saturday’s two semi-finals in Netanya, while the Netherlands return to Petah Tikva to face Italy. The final will be played in Jerusalem on June 18.—Reuters

WINDHOEK: Namibia derailed Nigeria’s hopes of becoming the first side through to the last round of African World Cup qualifying by holding the continental champions to a 1-1 draw in Windhoek on Wednesday. Nigeria defender Godfrey Oboabona struck home an 83rd-minute freekick to deny Namibia an upset after the plucky hosts had gone ahead through substitute Deon Hotto in the 77th minute. Nigeria stay top of Group F, two points ahead of Malawi, who drew 2-2 with Kenya earlier on Wednesday, going into the last round of matches in September. The result continued Nigeria’s patchy form since winning the African Nations Cup finals in February and will have come as a blow to morale ahead of their participation in the Confederations Cup in Brazil, which starts on Saturday. A win for Nigeria on the artificial surface of the Sam Nujoma Stadium would have ensured top spot in the group and a place in October and November’s final round of playoffs for the 2014 finals. They must now wait until September when they host Malawi, needing at least a draw to progress. After dominating from the start and coming close on several occasions in the first half, Nigeria let the game slip in the second and looked

relieved at the end with their share of the spoils. Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa, their best player on the night, proved a livewire attacker and some superb saves from Namibia’s goalkeeper Virgil Vries stopped the Super Eagles from running away with the match. Nigeria might have gone ahead after 40 seconds when Vries made a double save to deny Nnamdi Oduamadi and Anthony Ujah. Soon after John Obi Mikel, who drifted in and out of the game, went narrowly wide with a freekick. Musa’s persistence down the wing opened up more opportunities and a clever backheel by the Russian-based player set up Ujah, who shot straight at the goalkeeper. Musa’s pace carved out a similar chance on the stroke of halftime only for Vries to block the opportunity on the stretch. Oduamadi beat the offside trap to find himself clear at the back post in the 66th minute but seemed surprised when the ball reached him and put his header into the side netting. A swift counter attack and some smart passing then allowed Hotto to score from close range to the delight of the partisan crowd. Namibia, however, gave away an unnecessary freekick seven minutes from time and paid a heavy price.—Reuters

Godfrey Oboabona

Iran demand Korean apology ‘Bad manners’ jibe SEOUL: South Korea coach Choi Kang-hee humiliated the Iranian people when he said he had been ‘badly treated’ in Tehran last year and wanted to stop the West Asian’s qualifying for the World Cup, Iran boss Carlos Queiroz said yesterday. The top two sides in Group A of World Cup qualifying in Asia clash in Ulsan on Tuesday, while Uzbekistan host Qatar looking for a big victory to sneak ahead of the West Asians in the final round of matches. South Korea have 14 points from seven matches and a strong goal difference of plus seven means they could lose to Iran and still qualify for Brazil. Iran, who beat Lebanon 4-0 on Tuesday, have 13 points and a goal difference of plus five while Uzbekistan have 11 and a goal dif-

ference of plus one after they lost 1-0 to the Koreans in Seoul this week. Despite that victory, Choi said there was little danger of his side easing off against Iran and said he would prefer it if Uzbekistan joined them in qualifying after suffering poor hospitality and bad manners during their 1-0 defeat in Tehran in October. Queiroz, however, denied the claims after landing in Korea for the crunch clash where he hopes to secure a fourth World Cup finals appearance for Team Melli. “Choi should apologise to the Iranian people,” the Portuguese told reporters. “He said the Korean team was badly treated in Iran but we gave the best treatment available. He humiliated the Iranian citizens.” A draw in Ulsan would secure automatic quali-

fication for both Korea and Iran unless the Uzbeks can score a big win over Qatar, who are out of contention, which would push the West Asians into third and a playoff place. The two third-place finishers in the Asian qualifying groups will face off over two legs with the winners advancing to take on a South American side in two matches for a berth in Brazil. Because of the importance of goal difference, Queiroz was frantically gesticulating on the sidelines against Lebanon on Tuesday, keen for his side to rack up a bigger victory against their beaten and struggling opponents. “It’s never easy to score four goals, but I believed we deserved to score one more, especially in the dying minutes of the game,” Queiroz said. —Reuters

FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 2013

Heat vow not to have any repeats of ‘horror movie’ Page 43


sends Mahut packing PAGE 46

LONDON: Scotland’s Andy Murray celebrates after beating France’s Nicolas Mahut in their ATP Aegon Championships tennis match at the Queen’s Club. — AFP

14th Jun 2013  
14th Jun 2013  

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