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SHAABAN 8, 1434 AH

Court upholds one-vote decree, scraps Assembly


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MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013

New elections to be held • Opposition slams ruling

Max 43º Min 31º High Tide 05:48 & 17:16 Low Tide 11:48 & 23:50

By B Izzak conspiracy theories

Is 7 a lucky number? By Badrya Darwish


ongratulations and celebrations, but it seems like the one vote is the only option for you and me. At last after a long wait, the constitutional court gave its last verdict. Naturally, most people expected this ruling, myself one of them. Few disputed that it would be otherwise. On the other hand, if you look at this, the one-vote system is not a bad option. Actually, the idea of the one-vote system gives a chance to those who do not have a tribe supporting them and reduces the bad influence of nepotism. But in all honesty, I do not see it working in Kuwait. Maybe it suits the globe because many countries adopt the one-vote system. Don’t forget that these places have party systems. We do not have party systems. And let’s not forget that Kuwait is a tribal country. No matter how hard we try to avoid tribalism, it will take us many years to break away from it. We can see this in any aspect in Kuwait. All the latest incidents and political issues showed that you cannot undermine the tribes and their role in the political landscape of the country. The only thing that I really loved is the dissolving of the current parliament. The problem is that these parliamentarians used to brag how much they did for Kuwait. Take the Dow deal for example. Most recently, Kuwait paid $2 billion and a bit over as compensation to a US company for backing out of a contract that was signed between them. Honestly, I cannot recall any accomplishments that this parliament has done. If you are familiar with any, please enlighten me. Except being a totally pro-government parliament that never rejected any government proposal, there was nothing much from their side. They defied the concept of what parliaments are for. By the way, by now I have lost track of how many parliaments we have had in the past few years. Is seven going to be a lucky number? I hope so. The other problem for us is that the new elections should be held within two months. The coming month of Ramadan means that elections will fall in August, when people will be travelling for holidays out of the country. This means we have to stay in Kuwait just for the elections. I wonder how many people will make this sacrifice?

KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah addresses the nation yesterday. — KUNA

Amir respects court ruling, urges unity against chaos KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah affirmed full respect to the constitutional court’s ruling yesterday, calling on his fellow Kuwaitis to unite against “voices of chaos”, sedition and democracy. “I repeat what I have said before that I accept ... the ruling of the constitutional court regardless of its content, and I call upon all citizens to respect

it and abide by it,” Sheikh Sabah said in a speech to the nation following the constitutional court’s ruling. Complying with the court’s ruling will reflect “respect to our high esteem judiciary ... and commitment to our constitution. This is what we have always been keen on and will always be God’s willing,” said the Amir. Continued on Page 15

KUWAIT: In yet another dramatic day in Kuwait’s political crisis, the constitutional court yesterday nullified the election process held on Dec 1 last year and dissolved the National Assembly, but at the same time it upheld the controversial Amiri decree that amended the electoral law and sparked street protests. Head of the court’s five-judge panel Youssef Al-Mutawa read out the verdict in the Palace of Justice auditorium that was packed with journalists and lawyers. The court, whose verdicts are final, called for holding fresh elections on the basis of the single-vote law that has been repeatedly described by the opposition as unconstitutional. The court based its decision to scrap the Assembly for the second time in a year on the basis that another Amiri decree issued in October last year to establish the National Election Committee is “unconstitutional”, saying there was no urgency in issuing the decree. In June last year, the constitutional court nullified the election process and scrapped the opposition-dominated Assembly that was elected in Feb 2012 on the basis of flawed procedures. A few months later, HH the Amir issued the controversial decree to amend the electoral law under a clause in the constitution that gives the Amir the right to issue laws when the Assembly is absent or dissolved. The decree amended the electoral constituency law by reducing the number of candidates a voter can pick from a maximum of four to just one. Accordingly, the decree was known as the single-vote law. The court explained that the executive authority has the full right to issue legislation when the Assembly is dissolved and pointed out that the amendment decree could not wait until the Assembly came back. As a result, the court said the controversial decree served national interests, adding that many democratic countries in the world have a single-vote system in elections. His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlSabah welcomed the court’s verdict, saying that it is a proof that Kuwait is a country of institutions ruled by the constitution and the law. Continued on Page 15

Morsi cuts Syria ties, backs no-fly zone CAIRO: Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi said he had cut all diplomatic ties with Damascus on Saturday and backed a no-fly zone over Syria, pitching the most populous Arab state more firmly against President Bashar Al-Assad. Addressing a rally called by Sunni Muslim clerics in Cairo, the Sunni Islamist head of state also warned Assad’s ally, the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah, to pull back from fighting in Syria. “Hezbollah must leave Syria. These are serious words,” said Morsi, whose country hosted a conference of Sunni clerics this week who issued a call for holy war against Damascus. “There is no space or place for Hezbollah in Syria,” Morsi said. The rally underscored the region’s deepening sectarian rift. A cleric who spoke before Morsi described Shiites as

heretics, infidels, oppressors and polytheists. It was also a show of support for Morsi as his opponents mobilise for protests to demand early presidential elections. Morsi waved Syrian and Egyptian flags as he entered the auditorium packed with 20,000 supporters. The crowd chanted: “From the free revolutionaries of Egypt: We will stamp on you, Bashar!” Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood politician, steered clear of direct references to Shiites and Iran but in a partial allusion to Tehran, he accused states in the region and beyond of feeding “a campaign of extermination and planned ethnic cleansing” in Syria. “We decided today to entirely break off relations with Syria and with the current Syrian regime,” he said. Continued on Page 15

CAIRO: Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi waves as he arrives at a rally to show solidarity with the people of Syria, in a stadium on Saturday. — AP

in the

news Gulf welcomes Rowhani

KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah congratulated moderate cleric Hassan Rowhani for winning the presidential elections on Saturday. Sheikh Sabah said he was looking forward to cementing bilateral relations and cooperation for the best common interest. Sheikh Sabah wished Rowhani success and hoped that bilateral relations would further improve and develop. Saudi King Abdullah also congratulated Rowhani yesterday. “We are glad to congratulate you in the name of the people and government of Saudi Arabia... wishing prosperity to the people of the brotherly Islamic republic of Iran,” King Abdullah told Rowhani in a letter. The king hailed Rowhani’s views on regional cooperation and improving relations. Saudi Arabia was the last Arab state in the Gulf to comment on Rowhani’s win.

Saudis to block WhatsApp DUBAI: Saudi Arabia plans to block Internet-based communication tool WhatsApp within weeks if the US-based firm fails to comply with requirements set by the kingdom’s telecom regulator, local newspapers reported this week. This month the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) banned Viber, another such tool, which like WhatsApp is hard for the state to monitor and deprives telecom companies of revenue from international calls and texts. “We have been communicating with WhatsApp and other similar communication platforms to get them to cooperate and comply with the Saudi telecom providers, however nothing has come of this communication yet,” Abdullah Al-Darrab, governor of the CITC, told Arab News.

Hajj pilgrim numbers cut RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has cut back the number of pilgrims that may perform the hajj this year due to construction work aimed at expanding the holy site of Makkah, the hajj minister said. The authorities had decided to reduce by half the number of pilgrims coming from within Saudi Arabia, and by about 20 percent those from abroad, said Bandar Hajjar. “This is an exceptional and temporary decision,” the minister said, quoted by SPA state news agency late on Saturday. Some 3.1 million pilgrims performed the hajj last year, most of them from abroad. Hajjar said the expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah would add 400,000 sq m, raising its capacity to accommodate 2.2 million people at the same time.

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


Second suspect in failed kidnap held KUWAIT: The Lebanese authorities arrested a Syrian national on Friday, a day after his accomplice was arrested for involvement in a botched attempt to kidnap a Kuwaiti national in a town located 23 kilometers east of Beirut. The two suspects reportedly planned to kidnap Sheikh Jaber Al-Yousuf Al-Salman Al-Sabah and take him to Syria where they planned to demand a ransom for his release. Al-Rai newspaper reported yesterday new details of the operation mounted to thwart the kidnap bid , stating that a 15member security force headed Thursday to

the scene from where the suspects planned to abduct their intended victim. The suspects prepared to take Al-Sabah hostage while he was walking towards a mosque near his vacation home for the afternoon prayer, but called it off when a Lebanese military vehicle passed by. The security forces moved in the moment the suspects moved to kidnap their target a little later. Meanwhile, Al-Rai reported that the operation was documented on tape which is to be broadcast Tuesday June 25 on MTV, a Lebanese private station. — Al-Rai

French Embassy issues advisory to nationals KUWAIT: The French embassy in Kuwait has sent letters to French nationals in the country giving instructions on how to deal with “cases of emergency or crisis,” a local daily reported yesterday. “ The letter comes amid circumstances which saw King Abdulla bin Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia return home after cutting short his vacation, due to the developments in the region, especially with regard to Syria, while [United States] President Barack Obama held talks (on Saturday) with European leaders on the eve of the G8 meeting on Syria,” Al-Rai reported yesterday in a front-page story. The letter reportedly gave instruc-

tions “complementary to procedures implemented by local authorities” with regard to precautions that need to be taken in case of a crisis. It includes a “pre-evacuation plan” and mentions that assembly points should be supervised by “community security supervisors.” The letter called on French nationals to keep the embassy updated about their personal information as well as information about their family members, including their current address. It also urged people, in the event of a crisis, to carry a “medium-size suitcase containing personal belongings and documents, cash, credit cards, valuables, enough food for two days,” and other items.

KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah presides over a Cabinet session yesterday.—KUNA

Kuwait Cabinet vows full respects to court ruling Verdict enhances democratic system: Sheikh Salman KUWAIT: The Kuwait Cabinet announced full respect and commitment to put into effect the Supreme Constitutional Court’s ruling on the legal challenges to the last parliamentary election. “The Cabinet stresses full respect to rulings of our fair judiciary and our serious commitment toward enforcing it in line with the constitution and laws, “ Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs and Minister of State for Municipal Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah said in a statement read out after an extraordinary meeting for the Cabinet to study yesterday’s court verdict. The ministers underscored that the independent and fair judiciary will continue to have the final say in all legal and constitutional disputes in Kuwait. The cabinet, under His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-

Sabah, issued instructions to relevant state bodies to study the supreme court ruling and take the necessary measures to implement it. The Supreme Constitutional Court yesterday annulled the current parliament, elected in December 2012, and the organization of new parliamentary elections in two-month period. In another related case, the court rebuffed a challenge to law No 20 of 2012 which brought a one-person, one-vote system in place of the former rules that allowed voters to cast ballots for four candidates. Meanwhile, Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem Al-Hmoud Al-Sabah said “The State of Kuwait with all its institutions respects the rule of law on any verdict issued by the constitutional court”. Commenting on the ruling of the Constitutional Court which approved the single

vote system today, the Minister stressed that the court’s decision today enhances the durability of the democratic system that is enjoyed by the State of Kuwait. He added that “Kuwait has a proud history of respecting the constitution and maintaining the rule of law, and today ’s court ruling demonstrates the strength of our democratic institutions and our judicial system. The Government will continue to work tirelessly to achieve development and keep pace for a bright future for our country.” He pointed out that “Our leadership has always worked for Kuwait’s interests, cohesion, and national unity. Citizens have always been bonded together through national unity and have proven that they are able to preserve our national achievements and to defend our sustainable development.” —KUNA

Leaders Group issues first monthly tourism report DUBAI: In collaboration with Duabi Health Organization, Duabi police yesterday hosted a workshop on cardiology diseases. Around 100 GCC and Middle East cardiologists and cardiology surgeons took part in the workshop.

KUWAIT: In view of there being too little reports on tourism in Kuwait, the Leaders Group company which specializes in training, PR, event management, tourism and administrative consultancy, decided to come up with a monthly report to highlight the shortcomings that have been hindering tourism from becoming a source of national income. According to the report, the touristic sector is highly significant in boosting the development plan projects with the ultimate goal of turning Kuwait into a regional commercial and financial hub. It also stressed that the fact that Kuwait trailed last among touristic destinations in the GCC region, as per Monitor International, had greatly and negatively affected the economy at a time when other GCC states, with a similar climate and social and economic circumstances, have strongly placed themselves on the regional touristic destinations map. Further, the report stressed that tourism was capable of attracting investments worth billions in the

form of international companies and agencies building their regional headquarters in Kuwait. It also stressed that the tourism sector affects the activity of over 40 other sectors such as real estate, recreation, industry, transport, catering, shopping malls and many others, especially when exper ts like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are warning that oil can no longer remain enough as the sole source of income, accounting for over 95 percent of the national income. Moreover, the report said that many serious initiatives had been launched to develop tourism in Kuwait, such as Kuwait’s 20-year strategic plan in 2005, and that such endeavors had been hindered by bureaucracy. According to the plan, local and international touristic flights would jump to 4.4 million annually by 2025. The plan suggested that instead of considering it as a mere source of entrainment and amusement that only contributes 1.9 per cent to the national income, tourism could be easily turned into

a developed and highly productive industry. In addition, the plan noted that less than one per cent of the manpower working in tourism comprised Kuwaitis and that the

Nabila Al-Anjari maximum hotel capacity was only 7000 rooms that was expected to grow to 10000 by 2025 when over ten new hotels would open.

“Unfortunately, occupancy rates in Kuwaiti hotels came down from 53 per cent in 2011 to 51 per cent in 2012 whereas hotels in Dubai, KSA and Qatar have a 90 per cent occupancy rate during peak seasons,” lamented the report. The report also stressed that Kuwait has all the potential needed and that the government has many infrastruc ture projec ts ready for execution though many of them were still in blue prints, such as a new port for containers, Subbiya City, increasing Kuwait International Airport’s capacity to handle 13 million passengers annually and to be later enhanced to handle 25 million. Finally, the repor t said that tourism could increase the economy’s competitiveness by saving over 10 per cent of what citizens spend on foreign tourism per annum, increasing direc t and indirect governmental revenues, reducing public budget deficit, providing 30000 job opportunities for citizens and reviving and serving around 40 other economic sectors.

Robbers attempt to haul away ATM By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Thieves in Shuwaikh area unsuccessfully tried to rob cash from an ATM by simply hauling away the machine after tying it to a pickup truck with the help of ropes. An Egyptian guard working in a commercial center told the police that he heard the sound of glass being smashed and when he went to check out, he saw thieves tying the machine with ropes and trying to haul all of it. They ran away after noticing the guard but took away his mobile phone. Police lifted finger prints from the spot and found

that the thieves had used a hammer to break through the glass to access the machine. The guard told the police that the thieves were using a new pickup vehicle. A case was registered and sent to the Shuwaikh detectives. Woman robbed In another case, an Indian woman expat told officers at the Salmiya police station that an unknown person approached her in a side alley and snatched her chain of gold that she was wearing. A case was registered and police was looking for the thieves.

20 more held in Ahmadi By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Ahmadi governorate security personnel carried out a campaign under the supervision of Brig Maratooq Abdulaziz AlAslawi and with the Wafra area commander, Colonel Salem Al-Azemi, following it up. The campaign resulted in the arrest of 20 persons

found without identification papers. Certain violations found on the streets were removed, including tents and stacked up used tires, mobile groceries and ice vendors’ vehicles. The campaign was part of the ongoing exercise being carried out by security personnel across the governorate in cooperation with the Kuwait municipality.

Under the aegis of World Cancer Declaration, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) yesterday chose UAE’s Sheikha Jawaher Bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi as the World’s Kids Cancer Ambassador.


MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013

Sponsorship system to be scrapped soon KUWAIT: The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MSAL) is expected soon to establish the Public Authority for Labor Affairs, as the first step towards canceling the sponsorship system for private sector labor force, a local daily reported yesterday, quoting ministry insiders. The parliament last month passed a bill to set up the authority, two years after the enforcement of the private sector’s labor law in 2010. The authority will handle the files of the entire labor force in the private sector, effectively ending the employer sponsorship system in a state where expatriates make up 68 percent of the population. “The delay was caused by political circumstances, as well as the fact that the law needed amendments with regard to the authority being affiliated to the ministry instead of being independent,” said the sources, who spoke to Al-Watan on the condition of anonymity. They further explained the law needed some terminology changes “to meet international standards.” For instance, the sources added, the word “sponsor” needed to be replaced with “employer”, and the term “expatriate labor” needed to be changed to “foreign workers.” After the sponsorship system is canceled, the authority will handle all matters pertaining to private sector employees, including recruitment of expatriate labor forces and managing their relationship with their employers. “The sponsorship system will be replaced with an alternative system that allows the MSAL to be responsible for expatriate labor forces,” the sources explained. They also stated that the new system would “significantly help” efforts to fight visa trafficking as it would prevent job providers from issuing work permits they can sell to workers. According to the sources, establishing the Public Authority for Labor Affairs is currently “a top priority” for the ministry, which has already prepared a list of candidates to be hired - one general director and three deputies. The sponsorship or “kafala” system contains loopholes that are often used by visa traffickers to issue work permits through fake companies or nonexistent job openings before selling them to unskilled laborers seeking work opportunities in the oil-rich Gulf region. Human right violations resulting from these practices have drawn criticism from international organizations in the past few years. There are nearly 90,000 people living illegally in Kuwait, according to official figures. Earlier, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Thekra AlRashidi had identified “marginal laborers” as the target of a plan announced last March to deport 100,000 foreigners each year, as part of efforts to reduce the country’s expatriate population by one million in 10 years. The 2.6 million expatriates in Kuwait account for 68 percent of the country’s total population of 3.8 million. Marginal laborers are those who usually accept menial jobs, often live without valid visas and, in most cases, are victims of visa traffickers.

Moi issues warning on dependent visa KUWAIT: Assistant Undersecretary Lt. General Sheikh Faisal Nawaf Al-Sabah has urged those holding dependent visas and engaging in employment not to violate the rules of the visa, which is given by law to the wife, children, father and mother as per their age. “Those having dependent visas should not misuse their visa or work for others, because once we catch them, we shall not listen to excuses and other claims. If anyone is caught working at a place while holding a dependent visa, legal action will be taken against him or her and against his or her sponsor. The sponsor will be held accountable and shall be banned from sponsoring anyone in future, and the violator shall be deported regardless of his or her circumstances, since he or she has violated the law and did not abide by the regulations,” he stated. Noting that the month of Ramadan is approaching, Lt General Faisal Al-Nawaf said the ministry has put in place some strict regulations and will take action against expats who misuse visit visas and practice begging in front of masjids, houses, commercial areas and other places. He added that he has prepared a security plan to arrest those who use the festive atmosphere during Ramadan to cheat citizens and expats and make easy money through begging. Lt General Al-Faisal warned that those caught begging would be deported along with their sponsors for violating the laws. He also called on citizens and expats holding dependent visas to abide by the rules and also prevent their sponsors from breaking the law, in order for both to avoid legal action.

Privatization of landlines soon KUWAIT: Kuwait has no plans to block access to applications like Viber or others on smartphones that are used to make calls free of charge, but the final say on the issue will be left to the Public Telecommunications Authority. This was stated by Minister of Communications and State Minister of Housing Affairs Salem Al-Othaina, who explained that the job of the new authority was to organize the telecom sector in Kuwait in general. Meanwhile, Al-Othaina revealed in his statements to Al-Qabas that the ministry was coordinating with the Partnership Technical Bureau on a project to privatize the telecommunications sector, which included landlines and infrastructure. The law to establish the Public Telecommunications Authority was passed by the parliament last week. “The Authority is one of the most important projects that remained under discussion in parliament since 2009, and is necessary to control and regulate the telecom market,” Al-Othaina said. Meanwhile, the minister revealed that the ministry planned to place a tender before the end of the year for the second stage of the ministry’s projects to replace landline cables with fiber optics. Currently, 23 percent of Kuwait’s landlines are connected through optical fiber, and the minister indicated that the new project will cover 29 new areas.—Al-Qabas

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah yesterday received a written letter from Mali’s President Dioncounda Traore’s dealing with bilateral relations. It was delivered by Tieman Hubert Coulibaly, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Mali. The meeting was also attended by the Amiri Diwan Advisor, Muhammad Dhaifallah Sharar. —KUNA

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


Local Spotlight

In my view

Syria needs true help

Back home run...!

By Labeed Abdal By Muna Al-Fuzai


e need to read correctly the messages emerging from the Iranian presidential race which ended yesterday with people choosing the most moderate of the candidates with 50 percent of the votes. The Islamic Republic of Iran is a regional neighbor that we hope will keep going ahead with options that are peaceful and will continue with its internal and foreign policies. Social and economic disturbances have been the name of the game in the Middle East Arab Spring movement that started from Tunisia and spilled over to Egypt, Libya etc, and is still brewing in Syria. Also, even in Turkey, tensions are on the rise, with crowds gathering at the Taksim Park in Istanbul. There is tension between the protesters on the street and the prime minister as people are looking for more democracy and want to retain a park historically used by them and not allow it to be used as a Leisure Park. One hopes the parties will halt the demonstrations till a final court order is pronounced. There have been many such examples of people wanting a say in the country’s public issues, a more moderate approach and more reforms. One must be reasonable in meeting the people’s demands and remain understanding of all the parties, especially when it comes to people who need to feel that they have been heard properly. One major problem in such a scenario has been the way the uprisings were dealt in many of those countries, ranging from crackdowns, smoke bombs, rubber bullets, teargas guns and what not. In many cases, there were reports of protestors suffering severe injuries, being killed and even becoming victims of rape. What is required to deal with such situations is a determination to preserve the unity and integrity of the country, and adopt an approach of real dialogue, a healthy respect of a dissenting opinion and other democratic values. One who lacks any logical reasoning will keep blaming such imbroglios on a certain super power or someone else. In all such cases, the responsibility lies with the concerned country to ensure that people’s freedoms and liberties are protected, and regimes refrain from being dictatorial. Governance reforms must receive priority. As old agreements and old maps of a century old vintage go through a churning, one must not forget many new factors like the new global polarities, power shifts, power sharing principles and shifting centers of power. Without doubt, any power vacuum would lead to an all round conflict. The stakeholders must remember that they must concede genuine rights of the people in the region, be amenable to demands for a fair and equal right of self determination, change and reform. Also, the countries need to manage the ongoing power struggles under the umbrella of internationally-sanctioned systems and extend support for peace proposals that are fair to all. One must remain determined not to lose focus or be blinded by vested interests.

kuwait digest

Beyond the ruling By Khalid Al-Tarrah


pinions have been expressed, and positions have already been predetermined while others will be announced any moment. Regardless of how the Constitutional Court’s ruling impacts conflicting political interests, there is no doubt that its verdict will be respected by all political and social players on the Kuwaiti scene. The government and the people are required after the ruling to work together in order to protect the unity of the Kuwaiti society, and give top priority to national

Kuwait has made landmark political and democratic gains, and these deserve to be protected through all peaceful, intellectual, political and social means so that the country can develop knowing fully well the present and future requirements. unity. The government for sure faces a huge challenge to push for the national cause that addresses both, individuals as well as the community, while it works to enhance their political awareness. It is clear today that voters need to become more enlightened when it comes to fulfilling their national responsibility in electing competent members of parliament. His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlSabah has reiterated the ruling family’s commitment to democracy on numerous occasions. This necessitates efforts by the government to draw a roadmap to achieve the Amir’s vision of remaining committed to the democratic approach and dialogue, as well as the many developmental projects that Kuwait is in dire need of. There is also immense need to believe that a constructive dialogue, in which different opinions are respected, will benefit the country. The regional developments including political and sectarian struggles that are tearing apart neighboring countries should not be ignored. We definitely will not remain unaffected by what is happening around us, as religious and sectarian extremism could very well hit us if we fail to stand united in the face of pressing challenges. Kuwait has made landmark political and democratic gains, and these deserve to be protected through all peaceful, intellectual, political and social means so that the country can develop knowing fully well the present and future requirements. We share a long history and achievements at the social and political levels. We managed to make a quantum leap for our country and are reaping its fruits today. It is our duty to share with the future generations the pride about what we have achieved. —Al-Qabas

I kuwait digest

A minister from outside By Mohammad Hayat


uwait has been living in anxiety in anticipation enjoying human rights. After all that, Minister of Cabinet Affairs Sheikh of the Constitutional Court ruling on the constitutionality of the decree to amend the electoral Mohammad Al-Abdullah makes a public statement in system. Kuwaitis are perhaps only distracted by the which he states that “Kuwait is on the right path to take its position among the advanced countries, images of killings and massacres happening in Syria. In the meantime, discontentment is still widespread thanks to the cooperation between the [legislative and in society on account of poor health, educational, executive] authorities since the beginning of the year.” It seems like the minister is either unaware or simhousing, infrastructure and traffic services, as well as ply indifferent to everything the lack of sports and culmentioned above. Or tural activities combined It seems like the minister is maybe he thinks that what with increased social categorization along sectarian, either unaware or simply indif- has been currently happening in Kuwait is considered racial and tribal lines. Meanwhile, civil society ferent to everything mentioned ‘normal’ in advanced countries. Maybe he thinks that institutions continue to be almost completely missing, above. Or maybe he thinks that all legislations passed by a whereas the government what has been currently hap- parliament elected amid a boycott by 60 percent of the continues to ignore creative young citizens who need pening in Kuwait is considered population are ‘progressive’; the debt relief bill support so that they can ‘normal’ in advanced countries. including that failed to achieve public contribute towards their country. Maybe he thinks that all legis- equality. Maybe he is not aware of the fact that govKuwaitis are still suffering under a bureaucracy that lations passed by a parliament ernment offices are stacked slows down the simplest of elected amid a boycott by 60 with legislations passed in the past but which so far procedures at the state departments. People are percent of the population are remain unenforced. Maybe he does not know that legisstill being prosecuted for expressing their opinion on ‘progressive’; including the lation is only a small step social networks that are dif- debt relief bill that failed to that has to be followed up with action by the governferent from those of the ment to put the law into government. Politicians are achieve public equality. effect, and in a proper way still refusing to accept opinions that differ from theirs, and the executive authority to achieve developmental goals so that Kuwait can remains unwilling to enforce the law equally. become a developed state. Maybe the minister sees ‘cooperation between the Meanwhile, wasta (connections) and favoritism are still the main routes adopted for recruitment to leading two authorities’ as having a hapless parliament that posts while competent candidates are ignored. makes no efforts to monitor ministers’ performance International organizations’ reports continue to rate and is working with a cabinet that defuses every effort Kuwait poorly when it comes to corruption and trans- to grill any of its members. Either it is that, or perhaps parency indexes. Meanwhile, there are 120,000 people the minister thinks he lives in a country other than who still live in Kuwait without having any identity or Kuwait. —Al-Rai

do believe that the Muslim brothers are desperately trying to get back not only to the Middle East where they have remained entrenched for many years but are trying hard to reach the pinnacle of power by overthrowing most, if not all, regimes in the region. The clearest proof of this currently is their near daily effort to incite the Muslims around the globe about how their Syrian brothers are being murdered every day at the hands of the Syrian powers. It is essential to understand the structure and objectives of the Muslim Brotherhood. I think it will be completely bereft of logic to trust their call for Jihad in Syria to save the lives of Syrian men and women. If they really meant their word, then how come they did not make such a call a long time ago for the Palestinian cause? Or is it the case that the issue of Palestine holds no priority for them? Are the Palestinians not Muslims? I think we should not be naÔve to accept a call to fight, kill or be killed while those who make these calls remain hidden? Can someone tell me who the real opposition is against the Syrian ruling powers? Who are they? Everyday, I see a different name emerging from one or the other western country exhorting the Muslims to save Syria from the current ruler but I also wonder why they themselves don’t jump out of their fancy armchairs and go fight for their country. Why don’t they themselves fight those they claim have become corrupt instead of sending daily media messages calling for money that may fatten their bank account but will not benefit anyone else? Throughout history, we Arabs have witnessed similar situations when it came to the Palestine cause for which so much money was sent to help the people there and yet, the standard of living did not change because those in power pocketed the money and did not allow it to reach the needy. Yes, we need to learn some crucial lessons about how to help the real victims instead of randomly giving away resources to cells that we know nothing about on how they will use the money thus collected. I need to say that I would want this article to serve as a caution to those receiving text messages on their mobiles or WhatsApp application urging them to donate and support the Syrian people with images of a former MP carrying guns and presenting him as a role model. I wonder how he entered Syria, because if this happened with the approval of Syrian powers, then all is okay there, and if they sneaked into Syria through Iraq, for example, then this was a breach of security that should be taken into consideration. Who knows who may enter Kuwait now in a similar fashion? If someone poses this question to me in a seminar, I will be speechless. I do recall a movie I saw a couple of years ago in which a certain terrorist keeps threatening the US leaders till he is arrested and found issuing his threats from his house next door to Capitol Hill. It was all very funny but it shows that not every threatening call is true and some people are real maniacs. Think of Egypt and just how well are they managing now? Now, the Muslims Brotherhood did not come up with any miracles there. It is very clear to everyone. Why do we want to have another Egypt called Syria? Of course, Syria does need help. I know that calls for helping the country but it should be done via official channels and not through freelance self-styled do-gooders. If calls to help Syria are true, then everyone should support the UN-backed calls and the UNHCR to help those in need and through the right channel.

kuwait digest

Performance assessment By Yaqoub Al-Sharrah


ssessment of government performance is necessary in advanced countries to determine what kind of and how much development is needed in which spheres and thus chalk out plans and strategies to achieve the objectives. The lack of assessment makes it difficult to determine the correct way to achieve the goals, or to diagnose the problems that negatively affect the quality of work and achievement levels. Governments are not the only parties that require performance appraisal. Even when it comes to individuals, we often need to evaluate our own performance and determine whether it is leaving a negative or a positive effect on the people around us. But unlike one individual’s assessment of his or her own performance, in case of an institution the appraisal becomes necessary because it is meant for public welfare. In Kuwait, there is a lack of interest in assessing the performance of the government, whether it is regarding ministers or senior officials whose duties are intrinsically connected to serving the people and the state. For decades, we have never heard a minister or a senior state official being relieved of his or her duties following any performance assessment carried out based on clearly defined standards of evaluation. While Kuwait’s political system is different compared to party systems where parties assess each other’s performance and their ability to face challenges, we often witness ministers and state departments forced out of their positions for alleged efforts to improve a situation or end a certain crisis which, most of the time, has nothing to do with performance. The performance of the government as a whole is not

assessed in Kuwait. Instead of holding the government responsible for incompetency and poor management, ministerial posts are reshuffled as a result of political reactions or to address certain problems in a way that reflects personal vendetta and is no reflection of the minister’s performance. That is why Kuwait is replete with incidents of ministerial changes being effected as a result of conflicting political views, especially those expressed by political and sectarian groups that push for appointing candidates to leading posts based on favoritism instead of competency. Assessment of government performance needs to be a democratic approach and will be a step in the right direction. It will act as a tool to determine the government’s level of success in fulfilling public demands. In addition to pushing development and addressing problems, performance assessment also protects officials from public criticism. Moreover, it helps us focus on working as per professional standards such as leadership, creativity and professionalism, instead of leaving job promotion to the whims and fancies of certain individuals whose idea of evaluation may not necessarily be based on objectivity. There are examples aplenty about deficiency on performance and lack of commitment to do an honest appraisal in our society, including the failure to enforce laws such as the anticorruption authority law, the wealth disclosure law, not to mention going ahead with mega construction projects. We find that performance assessment lacks even at a time when MPs are consistently voicing complaints against the executive authority’s incompetency and lack of proper planning. —Al-Rai

Assessment of government performance needs to be a democratic approach and will be a step in the right direction. It will act as a tool to determine the government’s level of success in fulfilling public demands. In addition to pushing development and addressing problems, performance assessment also protects officials from public criticism

kuwait digest

Those MPs do not represent Kuwait! By Hassan Ali Karam


o sooner had MP Khaled Al-Shatti filed a parliamentary inquiry asking the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Thekra Al-Rasheedi about illegal charities collecting donations for the Syrian opposition that MP Khaled Al-Shulaimui questioned the minister of Awqaf Sherieda Al-Maosherji about the total number of both licensed and unlicensed Husseiniyas in Kuwait and the measures taken against unlicensed ones. What’s wrong with these two MPs? Al-Shatti knows for sure that donations in the form of cash and kind and appeals to Kuwaiti volunteers to fight the Syrian opposition had begun as soon as the first shot was fired against the regime. So, raking up the issue donations collected by unlicensed charities is only meant to instigate the people. On the other hand, Al-Shulaimi knows for sure that both licensed and unlicensed Husseiniyas have been in Kuwait ever since its inception, that is long before he, his father, his grandfather and great grandfather had been born. What, then, are those two people’s representatives are trying to prove by posing such tricky questions? I cannot but accuse them both of trying to stir a sectarian conflict. They both look as if they were carrying sharp knives and plan to shred this nation into pieces. Being lawmakers, both of them should have been able to make a better assessment of the situation and remained careful so as not to jeopardize national security. What is happening in Syria is spilling outside its borders and Kuwait is no exception, unless we remained more careful and wiser. Both MPs should not have mixed their personal interests with their political stance. They should not have poured ‘oil on fire’ by mistakenly thinking that their inquiries were driven by patriotic motives to defend this or that sect’s principles. On for almost three years, the Syrian crisis is dangerously starting to extend beyond that distressed country’s borders. It began on account of an opposition-led rebellion and ended up into a fight over identity and affiliations. It is becoming more complicated, thanks to international intervention and the activities of extremist guerillas fighting on either side. The sectarian hostilities and explosions in Lebanon and various Iraqi cities are but an extension of the Syrian conflict. Kuwait is not fortified against such tumultuous events unless we exercise more caution, have fear of Allah and exhibit more concern for our country’s safety. It is time for Kuwaitis to send signals that there is complete coherence and solidarity among its people. — Al-Watan

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


As holy month approaches, Municipality beefs up raids Comprehensive field plan in place: Al-Hasham

KUWAIT: The municipal officers conduct inspections and seal food outlets during their field campaigns ahead of the holy month of Ramadan.

2,000kg of expired honey confiscated By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: The Capital Governorate Municipality emergency team has found about 2,000 kilograms of natural honey, whose sell-by date had expired since 2012, at one of the stores behind the wholesale market street in Shuwaikh Industrial Area, according to Al-Qabas Daily. The daily mentioned that the honey was produced in Pakistan and Hungary and had been detained to be destroyed later. A citation for selling expired food products was handed to the store owners, and the Ministry of Commerce delegate took some samples of the honey for further testing.

The expired natural honey is shown.

By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Authorities have raised alert levels at their highest in all governorates as the holy month of Ramadan begins. As usual, huge amounts of foodstuff are being pumped in the markets during this occasion, prompting the municipality authorities in all governorate branches to focus their inspection campaigns on food. Legal action will be taken against anyone violating food safet y norms to ensure good health of consumers. In this respect, public relations director Rasheed Al-Hasham said that a comprehensive field plan drafted in cooperation with all municipality governorate branches will be implemented when the month of Ramadan begins. The plan will cover the public markets, foodstuff outlets, cooperative societies, slaughter houses and foodstuff manufacturing companies to ensure that everyone abides by the rules and regulations and only foodstuff that are safe and suitable remain in circulation. The work teams will be on their guard round the clock, and will receive any complaints on the hotline 139 for public ser vice at all hours. In the capital governorate, municipality branch director Eng. Faleh Al-Shimmary said that a plan has been prepared for the entire month whereby markets will be kept under strict supervision. The places visited by a large number of people, such as Mubarakiya market, meat markets, wholesale markets at Shuwaikh and the foodstuff stores at Al-Rai Area, that form the supply line for food items, in addition to increasing number of butchers and laborers in capital

Stamps forgery racket busted at Kuwait port KUWAIT: Four people were arrested at the Doha Port after customs officials recovered government stamps and forged documents from their boat. According to sources with knowledge of the case, the four Iranian nationals were referred to the State Security Department for investigating their possible involvement in incidents of smuggling, and determining what all they could have smuggled using forged entrance and exit permits. Homicide Investigations were on to determine the circumstances leading to the death of a man whose body was found at a construction site in the Sabah Al-Ahmad City. Criminal investigators on Saturday reached the site near the water reserves project in the city where the body was found from a pit. Preliminary investigations revealed that the victim died of a fatal head injury, based on which the case was classified as homicide.

an inebriated state. The officers were able to safely extricate the woman and her children. She explained that her husband assaulted her physically before her son tried to intervene, at which point he grabbed his gun and fired multiple rounds. The man refused to leave the house, after which police headed back to the police station and launched procedures to summon him for investigations.

Maid charged with torture A domestic worker was arrested after her employer accused her of physically assaulting his child. The case was filed recently at the Roudha police station where a Kuwaiti man approached police, accompanied by his housemaid. He accused the Asian woman of ‘torturing’ his seven-yearold son by severely beating him. The woman will remain in custody pending further investigations.

Asian held with narcotics By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Drug enforcement agents arrested an Asian expat for possessing 50 grams of heroin and 100 drug pills that were recovered from his residence. Earlier, information was received about his involvement in the drug trade. A work team was formed to verify the tip-off. Once that was done, legal permission was obtained and his residence was raided where agents found the above mentioned drugs. The man confessed to trading in drugs. He and the contraband were sent to the concerned authorities.

Domestic violence Police are looking to arrest a man who faces charges of domestic violence and risking his family’s wellbeing as he used a firearm. Police rushed to a house in Ashbiliya on Saturday where a Kuwaiti woman had locked up herself and her children inside a room to escape her husband’s wrath after he fired gunshots while being in

Sheikh Al-Khaled, Mucavi discuss Kuwait’s role in Africa food security ROME: Head of the Economic Depar tment at Kuwait Foreign Ministry Sheikh Ali Al-Khaled AlSabah has discussed with Chairman of the Africa Group of Permanent Representatives in Rome -based Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Ambassador Carla Elisa Mucavi Kuwait’s contribution to development and food security in Africa. Sheik h Ali also mulled with Mucavi the proposed agenda of the coming Arab African Summit in Kuwait and the coordination between the FAO African Group and Near East Group, which Kuwait will chair shortly. The Kuwaiti official expressed his country’s support to the international efforts to achieve sustainable development and food

security for the countries of the African continent. For her par t, Mucavi greatly appreciated Kuwait’s contribution to development projects in Africa. She lauded Kuwait’s quick response and help to disasters-stricken areas, citing Kuwait’s initiative to establish the International Fund for Agriculture Development in response to the famine that hit Ethiopia in 1970s. Last week, FAO announced that 38 countries have met internationally-established targets in the fight against hunger, forefront of them Kuwait, chalking up successes ahead of a deadline set for 2015. “These countries are leading the way to a better future. They are proof that with strong political will, coordination and

cooperation, it is possible to achieve rapid and lasting reductions in hunger,” FAO DirectorGeneral JosÈ Graziano da Silva said. Graziano da Silva urged all countries to keep up the momentum, aiming for the complete eradication of hunger, in keeping with the Zero Hunger Challenge launched in 2012 by United Nations Secretar yGeneral Ban Ki-moon. “Globally, hunger has declined over the past decade, but 870 million people are still undernourished, and millions of others suffer the consequences of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, including child stunting,” the FAO chief said. “We need to keep up our efforts, until everyone can live healthy and productive lives.” — KUNA

slaughter house will remain under specific watch. These are the places where hygiene norms must be particularly applied, including quick lifting of the skins and leftovers of slaughtered animals from outside the slaughter houses. The director of imported foodstuff, Eng. Istiqlal Al-Muslem, said that all efforts were on to cover all import outlets along the land, sea and air routes as these are the main gateways for the foodstuff coming to Kuwait. Efforts are being made to ensure no food is used till it is cleared through lab tests as fit for human consumption. Legal action will be taken against violators, she added. Since the month of Ramadan falls this year in the middle of the summer, when temperatures are very high, supervision had started a few months earlier to ensure safety of the food items. In the Hawllay governorate, director of the municipality branch Fahad Al-Fahad said that having learnt from past experience, “We have take necessary measures to increase the level of supervision across all markets and slaughter houses besides ending the menace of vendors who are usually active during this season.” He said that the foodstuff related activities were kept under consideration as there were a large number of outlets in the governorate, many of them located near the beach where there is great demand from public in the evenings. He said that inspections will be carried out twice a day. Apart from the one carried out daily in routine, an additional check will be run after Iftar and “Sohoor”. These will be surprise inspections, and no advance warning would be given. Ahmadi governorate director Eng. Fahad

al-Otaibi said his staff was prepared in all respects and coordination was being carried out among all departments, especially concerning the food items. Al-Otaibi said the inspection campaigns were carried out round the year as per a prepared program and on all occasions. In Mubarak Al-Kabeer, governorate director Eng. Shriedeh Al-Mutairi said that strict supervision was in place as far as foodstuff outlets and central stores in the governorate were concerned, in addition to factories in Subhan areas. A plan was in place for the occasion. Al-Mutairi said that during a campaign, an unlicensed store was discovered in a building and was closed. Three citations were handed out for the violations discovered and food items weighing 100 kgs found unsuitable for human consumption were destroyed. In Jahra municipality branch, director Eng. Sami Al-Saeedan said because of a large population of the governorate, a number of regulations were imposed regarding different food related activities including those applicable to super markets, restaurants and food supply chains that prepare Iftar meals. In addition, strict control was being exercised over vendors who sell dairy products in the main streets usually before Iftar. And finally in Farwaniya Municipality, its director Eng. Ahmad Al-Hazeem said that a number of formalities were being obser ved on the occasion of the holy month and inspection officials will remain focused on all foodstuff outlets and vendors, mainly in Jleeb Al-Shoyouk h and Khaitan. He pointed that a thorough plan was in place to monitor the governorate’s slaughter house during the holy month.

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


Kerry lauds progress in Iraq-Kuwait relations ‘Determined diplomacy pays off’

KUWAIT: Director of the office of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Dr Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah met yesterday with Indian Ambassador to Kuwait Satish Mehta. During the meeting, they discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and issues of common interest. —KUNA

WASHINGTON: The US Secretary of State John Kerry Kerry said in a phone call to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari “that he was impressed by the recent progress the two nations (Kuwait and Iraq) have made toward resolving remaining UN Chapter VII issues” and that “this was a clear example of determined and persistent diplomacy paying off.” Kerry also discussed recent developments in Iraq and the region, the State Department statement stated. I t disclosed that Kerr y thanked the Iraqi Foreign Minister “for his efforts to help organize a unity meeting of Iraq’s political and religious leaders at the end of May and the meeting between Prime Minister (Nouri) Maliki and KRG President (Masoud) Barzani on June 9.” The statement added that Kerry noted that

he was “encouraged by the positive tone of these meetings and urged Iraqi leaders to build on these steps by continuing direct dialogue and taking concrete action to address political differences.” “The two agreed on the importance of a unified approach against violence and the need to address legitimate grievances peacefully and in a manner consistent with the Iraqi constitution,” it stressed. He assured the Foreign Minister that the United States would continue to work to help Iraq improve relations with other neighbors in the region,” the statement noted. The Secretary and the Foreign Minister also discussed the situation in Syria, where Kerry “reaffirmed that the United States continues to work aggressively for a political solution with the goal of a second

Geneva meeting, but that the use of chemical weapons and increasing involvement of Hezbollah demonstrates the regime’s lack of commitment to negotiations and threatens to put a political settlement out of reach” “The Secretary expressed our concern about the increasingly sectarian nature of the Syrian conflict on both sides, including atrocities committed in recent days in Qusayr and in Deir EzZor,” according to the statement. In that light, Kerry noted his “appreciation for the Foreign Minister’s statement on June 11 discouraging Iraqis from joining the fight in Syria,” where Kerry further urged that Iraq “take every possible measure to help end the military resupply of the Assad regime and thereby increase the pressure that will be necessary to advance a political solution.” — KUNA


in brief

High School results may be postponed KUWAIT: The Ministry of Education is currently considering postponing declaring the results for the final examinations since the date set for it — July 6 (Saturday)— coincides with the municipal council elections. In this regard, educational sources said that the arts section students would sit for their last exam on Thursday, July 4 and the test would need two days to be marked. “The problem is that the results are usually declared live on air by the minister, but it will be difficult to do so because TV channels will be busy covering the elections,” said the sources.

The Touristic Enterprises Company organized a card games tournament at the Shaab Sea Club recently featuring 15 club members. The event was attended by Shaab Sea Club Supervisor Sami AlJeeran, as well as Kuwaiti actor Saad Al-Faraj who attended on a personal invitation.

MoE retirement Ministry of Education sources revealed that Minister Dr Nayef Al-Hajraf has put an end to the rumors floating around for the past two months about retiring employees who have put in 30 years or more of service from supervisory jobs. Al-Hajraf told officials during a meeting of the Undersecretaries two days back about the decision by the civil service council to retire all those meeting the above condition by September next. Sources said that Al-Hajraf directed Undersecretary Mariam Al-Wateed to communicate the decision to all sections yesterday to take necessary action for compliance. By asking that he vacant positions be filled as soon as possible, it signaled that the Assistant Undersecretary for administration has sent a list of names of those to be retired in a phased manner, beginning with those who have completed 35 years in service and followed up by those who have put in lesser number of years. But Al-Hajraf said that the decision will be implemented in case of all those who have served for 30 or more years, irrespective of the offer proposed by Al-Duaij. Heart support materials ‘safe’ Minister of Health Dr Mohammad Al-Haifi said that the way MP Faisal Al-Kanderi raised the subject of heart support materials has only spread fear among the public while the reality is that a fact finding committee has found that the heart support materials were fine and safe. The committee has concluded its report, and everything was found in perfect order. Tenders since 2011 have been awarded to a company and radiologists had cleared these as per the specifications. Ramadan donations Well-informed sources said that the charities department at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MSAL) has made all arrangements for the upcoming holy month of Ramadan including setting up inspection teams that would monitor donation collection throughout Kuwait. The sources added that the donations will be collected using KNet service, and officially stamped and approved receipts that cannot be forged will be issued. The cash donations would be collected only at the headquarters of the ten approved and authorized charities.

Kuwait’s media able to fortify unity: Minister KUWAIT: Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Sabah Al-Salem AlHumoud Al-Sabah stressed Kuwait media’s ability to fortify national unity affirming the government opposition to prejudice against any segment of the society. “Kuwaiti media excels in taking responsibility and is able to be a key partner in fortifying national unity,” said the minister in a statement to Al-Qabas newspaper, published yesterday. “Our national unity cannot be bidden over or altered by irresponsible actions by individuals,” noted Sheikh Salman, reiterating the government strong keenness on protecting the national unity, which is a red line that has “no room for tampering.” He noted that Kuwait has been witnessing current on-going rapid regional events, “but our national unity is safe as our society is cohesive and keen on working within the constitutional frameworks and the principle of respect for the state institutions, and whoever tries to offend these principles, will take full responsibility of his/her action.” Sheikh Salman stressed “the Information Ministry will not hesitate to take firm action against anyone who tries to harm our national unity.” On the Information Ministry’s role of organizing and following up on offensive remarks posted on social networking websites, Sheikh Salman stressed that the ministry is proceeding with a project to regulate electronic media, after his discussions with media institutions and bodies, officials of which “emphasized the need to preserve media freedoms.” — KUNA

NGOs call for unified voice on Syria conflict KUWAIT: A number of NGOs and political powers recently warned about a sectarian conflict saying some irresponsible parties were tr ying to take advantage of the tragic situations in Syria. They said certain irresponsible voices were trying to harm the discourse of ‘national coherence’ that has marked Kuwait’s stance on the issue.

They also warned what they described as ‘importing conflicts from another society on the pretext of supporting them.’ In this regard, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the Women Cultural Society, Kuwait Graduates Society, Public Fund Protection Society, Kuwait Society for Formative Arts, Child Evaluation Center, Kuwait

Writers’ Syndicate and the Physiotherapy Society recently issued a joint statement warning of such a danger and urging all sides to safeguard Kuwait’s national solidarity. The eight NGOs also urged citizens not to be carried away by extreme and extravagant calls usually made by people who ‘are only after their own

interests regardless of the price’ that the country may have to pay. “History is full of similar examples of sectarian conflicts, such as the civil wars in Lebanon and Ireland, that destroyed everybody and everything and ended up with no winners,” the statement said, highlighting that though regional peoples had every

right to fight for their freedom and rights, such conflicts should not, under any circumstances, be exported to other countries merely to garner some support. “The funny thing is that some bodies that support the victims in one country may switch stances and support victim gladiators in another,” added the statement. —Al-Jarida

‘Down to up’ volunteering team, first of its kind in Gulf KUWAIT: “Down to top “ volunteer team, dedicated to cases of Down Syndrome (DS) is the first of its kind in the Gulf region, vice chairman of the team Salem Al-Fadli said. He added in remarks yesterday that a group of young Kuwaitis formed the humanitarian volunteer team, dedicated for people of Down Syndrome, working hard to spread awareness in the society about (DS), besides allowing people with such cases to practice creative activities. “Down to up” team was called this way to motivate the families with children suffering from DS, whom the team works hardly to reach them and take care of their children. It was the idea of chairman of the team, Nasser AlReshedi, who gathered a total of 40 volunteers with ages ranging between 16-30 years from various specialties, fields and educational levels, while the administration of the team was formed out of this group. Kuwaiti youths have extraordinary energy, and are always keen to offer help and assistance to others, especially those with special needs, he said. The team has chosen caring for cases of Down Syndrome because this segment of the society suffers from negligence, and almost no volunteering group at all has taken care of them previously, he affirmed. It holds various activities of educational, and entertaining nature for cases of Down Syndrome, including hand crafts workshops, besides music, sports and housekeeping classes, he stated. The team also organizes field trips to scientific, and entertaining centers as well as campaigns to clean shores, besides holding fairs to exhibit the products of cases of Down Syndrome, Al-Reshedi added. The volunteers’ work includes spreading awareness in the society about the appropriate volunteer concepts, besides briefing

people on the Down Syndrome, its causes and possibilities to avert it, he said. The team celebrates a number of occasions, including the annual anniversary of establishing “Down to up” volunteer team on November 28, the World Down Syndrome Day, besides national celebrations, he mentioned. It had written and showed a play, called “moment” tackling the Down Syndrome, sponsored by the Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KPNC), which hosted this play in one of the Company’s halls, and the invitation was open to the public, he stated The team is facing several challenges and obstacles including lack of cooperation by some families with children of cases of DS, besides weak media coverage of related activities, Al-Reshedi said. He pointed out that the team has no official sponsor, praising the support it receives from the Kuwaiti Society for Down Syndrome, which hosts the team’s official headquarters. The team welcomes any new volunteer and is reachable via telephone, accounts on social networks including (Twitter) and (Instagram), he said. He expressed thanks to all bodies that cooperated with the team to serve its humanitarian aims in serving people suffering from Down Syndrome, especially “Pitzza Express” which allowed the team to organize a pizza cooking class for a group of cases of Down Syndrome lately. Down syndrome (DS) or Down’s syndrome also known as trisomy 21, is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of a third copy of chromosome 21. Down syndrome is the most common chromosome abnormality in humans. It is typically associated with a delay in cognitive ability (mental retardation, or MR) and physical growth, and a particular set of facial characteristics. —KUNA

DUSHANBEH: The Kuwaiti media delegation in Tajikistan. —KUNA

Media Delegation paves way for Rahmon visit DUSHANBEH: Current visit by a Kuwaiti media delegation to Tajikistan is meant to pave way for an upcoming official visit by Tajik President Emomali Rahmon to Kuwait on June 23-25, the delegation head said yesterday. The visiting Kuwaiti officials are seeking through this visit to promote economic, media and tourist potentials of the republic as well as highlighting its civilization, Talal Al-Sultan, also the external media specialist of the Ministry of Information, told KUNA. The Tajik President confirmed his country’s desire to cement relations with Kuwait at various levels during a meeting with the Kuwaiti delegation, on Saturday, Al-Sultan confirmed. He said Rahmon invited Kuwaiti investors to explore business opportunities in the Tajik market, stressing on his government’s readiness to overcome all obstacles that may face Kuwaiti entrepreneurs who

desire to visit the country for business. The Tajik President will sign eight agreements during his visit to Kuwait on economic and cultural cooperation, investment and tourism promotion of his country, Al-Sultan noted. Tajikistan, since independence, has established a free economic-financial system designed to boost commerce and secure all possible facilities for exports and imports. Al-Sultan noted that he met with Deputy Chairman of the Tajik television and radio who expressed his country’s desire to strengthen media cooperation with Kuwait’s Ministry of Information through reciprocal delegations’ visits and training of cadres. A delegation from the Ministr y of Foreign Affairs visited the Tajik Capital three weeks ago to take part in a meeting of the Kuwaiti-Tajik Economic Cooperation Committee. —KUNA

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013

Car bombs, shootings kill 32 people in Iraq

Rowhani hails victory for ‘moderation’ Page 8

Page 9

thousands rally for Erdogan Police teargas pockets of protest in city centre ISTANBUL: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday told a crowd of more than 100,000 supporters it was his “duty” to order a crackdown on an Istanbul protest park, as police and anti-government demonstrators faced off in fresh clashes. A day after riot police dislodged thousands of protesters occupying Gezi Park, officers in the area were still firing tear gas and jets of water at pockets of protesters determined to regroup. Some 10 km away, in a much larger park, Erdogan launched a show of strength for supporters of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), drawing the largest crowd yet since the demos against his government erupted more than two weeks ago. Addressing the cheering sea of people, many of whom wore white AKP caps, a combative Erdogan said protesters had forced his hand by defying repeated warnings to clear out of the park. “I said we were at an end. That it was unbearable. Yesterday the operation was carried out and it was cleaned up,” Erdogan said. “It was my duty as prime minister.” The violence sparked by the Gezi Park evacuation marked a major escalation in mass unrest that has posed the biggest challenge yet to the Islamic-rooted government’s decade-long rule. Two of Turkey’s main trade union federations, KESK and DISK, announced they would go on strike today in protest at the police clashes overnight. “Our demand is for police violence to end immediately,” KESK spokesman Baki Cinar told AFP. The unions represent hundreds of thousand of workers and the stoppage is likely to affect schools, hospitals and public offices across the country. The police intervention in Gezi Park came after Erdogan issued a final warning to protesters during a fiery speech at an election rally in the capital Ankara on Saturday. Two hours later, officers with gas masks and riot shields stormed the patch of green. Thousands of campers scrambled to escape clouds of acrid tear gas, clearing the site within minutes and leaving a trail of empty tents in their wake. Many sought refuge in the luxury hotels bordering the park, prompting police to douse the lobby of at least one five-star establishment with water as guests choked on tear gas fumes. Thousands of demonstrators later took to the streets of Ankara and the western city of Izmir in solidarity. The political turmoil first began when a peaceful sit-in to save Gezi Park’s 600 trees from being razed prompted a brutal police response on May 31, spiralling into countrywide demonstrations against Erdogan. The crisis has claimed four lives and injured nearly 7,500 people so far, according to the Turkish Medical Association. Opponents accuse Erdogan of authoritarian tendencies and of forcing Islamic conservative reforms on the mainly Muslim but staunchly secular nation of 76 million. But the 59-year-old, who has been in power since 2002, remains hugely popular. The AKP has won three elections in a row and took nearly half the vote in 2011, having presided over strong economic growth. Erdogan has repeatedly urged his supporters to answer the protesters by voting for his AKP in next year’s local polls. More election rallies are planned in cities across Turkey in coming weeks, Erdogan said. Mey Elbi, a 39-year-old yoga teacher, was in Gezi park when police entered and said they seized the protesters’ goggles and gas masks. “I won’t give up,” she told AFP. “We’re angry, this is not over. The world has seen that together, we can stand up to Tayyip.” The Taksim Solidarity group, seen as most representative of the protesters, condemned Saturday’s “brutal attack”, which it said had left “hundreds” injured. Istanbul governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu said 44 people had been hurt, none seriously. By yesterday evening, Gezi Park and the adjoining

Gunmen kill 3 Lebanese, Turk BAALBEK, Lebanon: Gunmen killed three Lebanese Shiites and a Turk yesterday in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, a security source said, revising an earlier toll breakdown, as the conflict in neighbouring Syria raised fresh tensions. The unidentified assailants shot dead “two members of the Jaafar family, an Amhaz family member and a Turk” in an ambush while they were smuggling fuel through the Qaa area, he told AFP, asking not to be named. He had initially identified the victims as four Lebanese and said a fifth man was seriously wounded. But he revised the account to identify the fourth man killed as a Turk with a Lebanese mother, a resident of eastern Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. The incident occurred in an agricultural part of Qaa, home to a predominantly Sunni population. Tensions were running high in the wake of the incident, the source said, with armed members of the Jaafar family gathering around five kilometres from the mainly Sunni town of Arsal. Sunni residents of the area, in a statement received by AFP, condemned “this attack on honourable members of the region... that aims to sow sectarian discord”. “We disassociate ourselves from the perpetrators of this massacre whatever their identity,” they said, urging the authorities to hunt down the assailants. An army statement said it had increased patrols in the area and called for calm, saying it would “allow no one to exploit this unfortunate incident and threaten national unity”. The conflict in Syria, pitting a Sunni-led opposition against a regime dominated by Alawites, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, has worsened tensions in Lebanon. The powerful Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah backs the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad and has sent fighters to battle alongside Syria’s army. Lebanon’s Sunni-led opposition, however, backs the uprising against Assad. The fighting has regularly spilled over into Lebanon, with rockets fired from Syria landing in Sunni and Shiite areas along the border. The Syrian air force has also launched raids inside Lebanese territor y. Hezbollah commands support throughout much of eastern Lebanon along the frontier, but Sunni areas such as Arsal within the region back the Syrian uprising. —AFP

Taksim Square, another focal point for the protests, were sealed off and guarded with a heavy police presence. Yellow tape lined the area, blocking entry to pedestrians, as bulldozers broke up protesters’ makeshift barricades and municipal cleaners returfed grassy areas and planted fresh flowers. “Gezi Park and Taksim Square have been evacuated and returned to the people,” Erdogan told the party faithful. Erdogan has taken a tough line on the protesters but made an unexpectedly conciliatory gesture when he held his first talks with Taksim Solidarity representatives on Friday. He offered to suspend the Gezi project pending a court ruling on its legality, if protesters agreed to leave. But the group rejected the olive branch, saying the government had failed to address all their demands, which include a call for arrested demonstrators to be released and for police chiefs in cities that saw clashes to be sacked. The United States and other Western allies, along with human rights groups, have widely criticised Erdogan’s handling of the crisis. —AFP

ISTANBUL: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech to supporters during a rally yesterday. —AFP

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


Arabs put (slim) hopes in new Iran president CAIRO/RIYADH: The election of a moderate Iranian president could help rein in hostility between Tehran and its Arab neighbours, but many Arabs doubt he can end a sectarian confrontation that has been inflamed by war in Syria. Hassan Rowhani, a Shiite cleric known for a conciliatory approach and backed by reformists, will have only limited say in policy determined by Iran’s supreme leader; but with the Syrian carnage fuelling rage among Sunni Arabs across the region, any gestures from Tehran may help contain it. “We hope the new Iranian president will be a believer in a political solution in Syria,” said one ambassador at the Arab League in Cairo. “All that we read about Rowhani might be grounds for hope - but there is a great difference between election campaigns and what is said once in office.” For the United States and Western powers, at odds with Iran for decades and now rallying with arms behind rebels fighting Syria’s Iranian-backed president, fierce religious

enmities in the oil-rich Middle East add to fears of wider instability. In Saudi Arabia, whose US-allied rulers lead opposition to what they see as Iran’s drive to spread its power and religion, wellinformed analyst Jamal Khashoggi said: “I’m sure for the Saudi leadership this is the best outcome of the elections.” He recalled that Iran’s last reformist president, Mohammad Khatami, who visited Riyadh while in office from 1997-2005, had mended ties - but at a time of less ferocious disputes. Unlike now, Khashoggi said, “Iran was not meddling heavily in Syria, Bahrain and Yemen ... There were no Shiites killing Sunnis.” In Syria, where mainly Sunni rebels are battling Iran’s ally President Bashar al-Assad and his Alawite establishment, who belong to an offshoot of Shi’ism, opposition activists saw little hope for change from Rowhani: “The election is cosmetic,” said Omar Al-Hariri from Deraa, where the uprising began during the Arab Spring two years ago. Muhammed Al-Husseini, from the

Sunni Islamist rebel group Ahrar al-Sham in Raqaa, noted power in Iran rested with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “The powers given to the Iranian president are weak these days,” he said. “They are fake powers.” In Bahrain, whose Saudi-backed Sunni monarchy accuses Iran of fomenting protests among the Shiite majority on the island since 2011, Information Minister Samira Rajab told Reuters: “I think Rowhani is one of a team. And anybody who comes from that team will continue the same policy ... We have no more trust in the Iranian regime after what happened in Bahrain.” In Egypt, by far the biggest Arab nation, new rulers from the Muslim Brotherhood had lately launched a rapprochement with Iran but have now joined a Sunni call for jihad in Syria after Iran’s Lebanese ally Hezbollah sent in its fighters last month. Traditionally more open than the Saudi clerical hierarchy to conciliation across the sectarian divide, the Brotherhood still hopes

for a change of heart in Tehran: “We are looking forward to seeing how the winner is going to act,” said Murad Ali, a spokesman for the Islamist movement’s Freedom and Justice Party. “Will there be any change to the policies from the Iranians, especially concerning the Syrian crisis? We are in general open to cooperation with Iran ... However, we do have our concerns ... related to ... their interference in Syrian affairs.” On the streets of Cairo, however, sectarian passions are running high, piling pressure on Egyptian and other Arab rulers. Outside the Al-Azhar Mosque, built 1,000 years ago by the Shiite Fatimid caliphs who founded the city but now a major seat of Sunni learning, construction worker Mohamed Abdelsattar, 35, said: “All Egyptians hate Iran after what has happened in Syria. What’s happening there now is Shiites killing Sunnis.” Limousine driver Abdelaziz Darwish, 57, had low expectations of any change in Tehran: “All Iranians are the same,” he said. “Shiites are

more dangerous even than the Jews.” Standing by his fresh-juice stand, Khaled Fathi, 49, twinned his anger at Iranian involvement in Syria with suspicion of the welcome that Islamist President Mohamed Morsi gave earlier this year to Iran’s hardline outgoing president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: “Iran makes problems for us all over the world,” he said. “Iran is helping Morsi, I’m sure of it.” A group of Lebanese Sunni clerics, visiting Al-Azhar while attending the Cairo conference that has issued a call for holy war in Syria, voiced some hope for change from Rowhani, however: “Maybe this new president in Iran will be better,” said Sheikh Hassan Abdelrahman from the city of Tripoli, which has seen recent fighting between Lebanese Sunnis and Shiites. Sheikh Malik Al-Jdeideh, also from Tripoli, said: “We came to Egypt to tell Mohamed Morsi that we reject Iranian actions in Syria ... But we are working for all religions to be at peace.”— Reuters

New Iran president hails victory for ‘moderation’ Iranians count on Rowhani to bring change

QUWEIRA, Jordan: US Marines from 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit hide behind a sand hill in a demolition military act during Eager Lion exercises 300 km south of Amman yesterday. — AP

Jordan ready to fight any threat from Syria AMMAN: Jordan’s King Abdullah said yesterday the kingdom was ready to fight to protect itself against any threat to its security from the escalating civil war in neighbouring Syria. He was speaking as Jordanian and U.S. forces proceeded with joint military exercises with the participation of 17 other countries. Diplomats say the exercises, which entered their second week, aim to send a strong message to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. “If the world does not help as it should, and if the matter becomes a danger to our country, we are able at any moment to take the measures to protect the country and the interest of our people,” King Abdullah told military cadets at a graduation ceremony in southern Jordan.

He also saluted members of his country’s armed forces who helped over the last year undertake a massive humanitarian relief operation to bring across the border hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing bombardment in their villages and towns and seeking a safe haven. A Pentagon spokesman said on Saturday Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has approved a Jordanian request for American F-16s and Patriot missiles to remain in the Western-backed kingdom after the end of the military manoeuvres. The decision to put Patriot batteries - an air and missile defence system - in Jordan has particularly angered Russia, Assad’s main international ally, which accuses the West of fanning the conflict in Syria. — Reuters

QUWEIRA, Jordan: US Marines from 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit hide behind a sand hill in a demolition military act during Eager Lion exercises 300 km south of Amman yesterday. — AP

Netanyahu urges no let-up in world pressure on Iran JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called yesterday for no relaxation of international pressure on Iran to curb its nuclear efforts after the election of a new president widely hailed as a moderate. Netanyahu said it was Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and not the newly elected president, Hassan Rowhani, who set a nuclear policy that has been challenged by tough economic sanctions and the prospect of military action. “The international community must not give in to wishful thinking or temptation and loosen the pressure on Iran for it to stop its nuclear program,” the right-wing Netanyahu told his cabinet, according to a statement released by his office. But Israeli President Shimon Peres, gave a different assessment of possible change in nuclear activities that Israel and the West fear are directed towards developing atomic bombs. Iran says it is enriching uranium for peaceful purposes only. Asked if Rowhani, a former nuclear negotiator with world powers, would alter the course of the nuclear programme, Peres told Reuters: “He said he will not go for these extreme policies. I am not sure he specified his policies. But it will be better, I am sure, and that is why the people voted for him.” A Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Peres holds a largely ceremonial position and has little influence on decision-making in Israel. But his comments added to a burgeoning debate among Israelis over the

meaning of Rowhani’s surprise victory. “It (the result) surprised all the experts and all the prophets, and this is really intriguing. Why? Because apparently there are hidden forces and strengths that were unseen or underestimated,” Peres said. Ephraim Halevy, a former head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, said on Israel Radio that Rowhani’s election “is the biggest failure Khamenei has suffered since coming to power”. The poll’s outcome, Halevy said, was an expression of the Iranian people’s “anger and frustration” over the effect of international sanctions that have hit them hard as a result of Khamenei’s nuclear policy. Netanyahu, however, said Israelis “are not deluding ourselves” in the wake of Rowhani’s election. “Iran will be judged by its actions,” he said. “If it continues to insist on developing its nuclear program, the answer must be clear - to stop it by any means.” Israel, widely believed to be the Middle East’s only atomic power, has signalled it could take military action against Iran if international sanctions and diplomacy fail to bring about a change in its nuclear policy. The United States, Israel’s main ally, has cautioned against any go-it-alone attack and said time remains for peaceful efforts to persuade Iran to change course. “The greater the pressure on Iran, the greater the chance of bringing a halt to the Iranian nuclear programme, which remains the greatest threat to world peace,” Netanyahu said. — Reuters

DUBAI: Thousands of Iranians celebrated on the streets into yesterday’s early hours, counting on moderate president-elect Hassan Rowhani to follow through on promises of better relations abroad and more freedom at home after routing hardliners at the polls. A mid-ranking Shiite cleric, Rowhani is an Islamic Republic insider who has held senior political and military posts since the 1979 revolution and maintained a good rapport throughout with theocratic Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s most powerful man who has the last word on all the big issues. While no reformer himself, Rowhani gained the backing of politically sidelined but still popular reformist leaders. His call for an end to the “era of extremism” won over many voters disgruntled over economic crises and crackdowns on free speech and dissidents that marked Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency. Rowhani’s surprise win however is not expected to quickly resolve the standoff with the West over Iran’s disputed nuclear ambitions or break its commitment to backing President Bashar Al-Assad in Syria’s civil war. But the new president will run the economy of the sprawling OPEC member state of 75 million people and exert influence when Khamenei decides on national security matters. His victory goes some way to repairing the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic, punctured four years ago when dozens were killed in protests after an election reformists said was rigged, and may help pragmatic voices muzzled since then to re-emerge. Thousands of young Iranians took to the streets of the capital Tehran and other big cities as soon as the poll results were announced on Saturday, making sure their voices and expectations of the new president were clearly heard. The president-elect, known in the West as Iran’s main nuclear negotiator in 2003-05, immediately sought to build bridges yesterday, expressing approval of the street parties but also having talks with the conservative speaker of parliament. “With their celebrations last night, the Iranian people showed they are hopeful about the future and God willing, morals and moderation will govern the country,” Rowhani told state TV. “This is a victory of intelligence, of moderation, of progress... over extremism,” Rowhani said. “A new opportunity has been created by this great epic, and the nations who tout democracy and open dialogue should speak to the Iranian people with respect and recognise the rights of the Islamic republic.” Then they will “hear an appropriate response”, added Rowhani, who has championed a more constructive engagement with world powers. Khamenei, who has the final say in all strategic matters in Iran, congratulated Rowhani. “I urge everyone to help the president-elect and his colleagues in the government, as he is the president

of the whole nation,” Khamenei said on his website. Hardliners whose power comes from their unquestioning loyalty to Khamenei both badly miscalculated the public mood and failed to set aside their own factional differences and field a single candidate, analysts said. Both Khamenei and the powerful hardline Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that controls large swathes of the oil-dependent economy said the election was a victory for all. Whether Rowhani succeeds in ushering in change to Iran, or whether the next four years yield the same stalemate that marked the 1997-2005 presidency of reformist Mohammad Khatami, will hinge on his ability to balance the demands and expectations of the people with the interests and constraints of those who hold the pivotal instruments of power in the Islamic Republic. Rowhani’s reputation as a mediator and someone who has worked within the corridors of power should be an advantage that Khatami, who was director of the national library before he became president, never enjoyed. “Rowhani is the ultimate regime insider. In contrast to Khatami, who held no governmental position when he was catapulted into the presidency, Rowhani has never been out of power or Khamenei’s good graces,” said Ali Vaez, Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group. “Also, Rowhani is a centrist politician, with a unique bridge-building ability. He is unlikely to alienate competing power centres, who can stymie his reforms,” he said.

A big test will be whether Rowhani pushes for the release from house arrest of Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi, two reformist leaders held under house arrest since 2011. That demand was a constant chant of Rowhani supporters at his campaign rallies and on the streets of Tehran and elsewhere overnight. “This will in my view be the first real test of how sincere this election has been. Then we will know the calibre of Mr Rowhani,” said Ali Ansari, professor at St Andrew’s University in Scotland. “Much depends on the political will of the fractured elite and the willingness of Khamenei to pull back. There is some anxiety that the powers that be, having got their ‘popular election’, will now settle back into their comfort zones.” Despite similarities between Khatami and Rowhani’s upset election victories, political realities “are fundamentally different”, said Yasmin Alem, a US-based Iran expert. “The supreme leader is more powerful, the Revolutionary Guards are more influential, and the conservatives are more in control. However, Rowhani is a crafty statesman and stands a better chance ... of navigating Iran’s political minefield.” Rowhani has a tough task ahead of him dealing with Iran’s myriad domestic and foreign policy problems, she said. “Iranian voters should demonstrate the same maturity and patience they did at the polls, if they want to avoid the disillusionment that followed Khatami’s presidency.” Rowhani himself called for patience soon after his win was announced on Saturday. — Agencies

TEHRAN: Iranians gather under a giant portrait of moderate president-elect Hassan Rowhani outside his campaign headquarters in downtown Tehran on Saturday.— AFP

Extremists blow up Syria Shiite mosque AMMAN: Sunni extremists blew up a Shiite mosque in a village in eastern Syria stormed by rebels earlier this week, another sign of the growing sectarian hatred in the country’s civil war, activists said yesterday. They said Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria carried out the destruction. It showed the determination of extremists to drive Shiites out of the village of Hatla in the Deir el-Zour region near Iraq. Last week rebels battled pro-regime militiamen there, killing more than 60 Shiite fighters and civilians, according to activists. In Lebanon, gunmen deployed in the streets of the northeast and set up roadblocks in

protest following the killing of four Lebanese Shiite men in an ambush, security officials said yesterday. The security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said the four were found dead in the Wadi Rafeq area between Ras Baalbek and Al-Qaa near the border with Syria. They said the men were from the powerful Jaafar and Amhaz clans, triggering fears of retaliation. It was not immediately clear how they were killed or what the motive was, but yesterday’s ambush is believed to be related to sectarian tensions related to the Syrian civil war. Tensions between Sunnis and

SBENEH, Syria: A picture shows destruction in this town, south of the Syrian capital Damascus, yesterday. — AFP

Shiites in Lebanon increased after the Shiite Iranianbacked Hezbollah openly joined the fight in Syria on the side of President Bashar Al-Assad. Most Sunnis in Lebanon support the mostly Sunni rebels fighting to oust Assad. In amateur videos of the mosque destruction in Syria, fighters walked into the mosque in Hatla and trampled on books, some with covers showing pictures of Shiite clerics. The videos then showed an explosion that brought down the building. Sunday’s video posted on the Internet appeared genuine and corresponded with other AP reporting from the area. Rami Abdul-Rahman, director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said that the mosque was demolished Friday, three days after the battle. Other videos that emerged earlier have showed rebels cursing Shiites and suggested fighters had burned Shiite homes. “It’s clear that they want to root out Hatla’s Shiite inhabitants,” he told AP. The town is home to several thousand people, about 30 percent of them Shiites. It was considered a pro-regime community in the Euphrates River valley, where rebels - including the Al-Qaeda-linked group Jabhat el-Nusra - have taken over much of the surrounding territory. The Syrian uprising began more than two years ago with peaceful protests against President Bashar Assad, but later grew into a civil war that has killed 93,000 people and probably many more, according to the UN. Most of the armed rebels in Syria are from the country’s Sunni majority, while Assad has retained core support among the minorities, including his own Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, along with Christians and Shiites. In the past year, sectarian bitterness has grown in the conflict. Each sect has been accused of massacres against the other, and Sunni and Shiite fighters from other countries have increasingly joined the battle. The prolonged civil war has frayed Syria’s traditional relations with Jordan and Egypt. — AP

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


Iraqi holy city hit hard by Iran economic woes NAJAF, Iraq: The spiritual heart of Shiite Islam and a hub for religious tourism in Iraq is being badly hit as sanctions against neighbouring Iran have resulted in fewer pilgrims with less money to spend. Business leaders, shopkeepers and hotel owners in Najaf, site of a shrine to a revered figure in Shiite Islam and home to most of the sect’s top clerics, all report declining trade as economic sanctions targeting Iran’s controversial nuclear program have made it harder for visitors from Iraq’s eastern neighbour to make the trip. “Revenues for hotels which host Iranian pilgrims have plunged since the beginning of the year,” said Zuheir Sharba, chairman of Najaf’s chamber of commerce. “They have fallen by half.” That marks a marked turnaround for a city that had embarked on an ambitious hotel-building program to accommodate greater numbers of pilgrims, with Sharba himself telling AFP in 2011 that “if there

are more rooms, more people will come”. The city houses the shrine to Imam Ali, a seventh century Muslim leader and cousin of the Prophet Mohammed, and is frequented by Shiite pilgrims from around the world, though the biggest chunk of visitors come from Shiite-majority Iran. Those tourists typically travel in organised nine-day tours, during which they spend three days in Najaf, which lies about 150 km south of Baghdad. The massive decline in Iranian pilgrims has badly hit the city, which is dependent on tourism-related revenues for 60 percent of its income. The sharp drop is largely due to the plummeting value of the Iranian rial. In Dec 2010, $1 bought 11,500 rials but today, it is equivalent to 36,000 rials. Iran’s Economy Minister Shamseddin Hosseini has blamed sanctions tied to Iran’s controversial nuclear program, which Western powers and Israel believe is being used by the Islamic republic to

develop an atomic bomb. Tehran denies the charges and insists the nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. According to Hosseini, Iran’s oil revenue has dropped by 50 percent in the past year, and he has warned that “the situation will not improve in the near future”. And, as a result of the declining value of their currency, Iranians now have less purchasing power when travelling overseas. One Iranian pilgrim, who declined to give her name, admitted that while she had long dreamt of visiting Najaf, the trip was “very expensive”. Hotel owners are also facing a crunch as deals with Iranian tour operators have gone sour. “We - hotel owners in Najaf wanted to raise the nightly rate per person from $20 to $30 because of the rising cost of power generators, but the Iranian embassy in Baghdad refused,” said Amir Al-Ameri, owner of the Rebal hotel. “And also, Iranian tour operators have stopped

paying us what they owe. So now, many hotels in Najaf are refusing to take Iranian pilgrims.” Najaf, a city with a population of around 500,000, is filled with a wide variety of languages, reflecting the varying backgrounds of Shiites, who make up around 15 percent of Muslims worldwide. They are the majority population in Iraq, Iran and Bahrain and form significant communities in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Pakistan, India and Saudi Arabia, with travellers often coming to Iraq from as far as the United States and Canada. So to fill the shortfall caused by the decline in Iranian pilgrims, Iraq’s tourism ministry now wants to focus on Shiites visiting from other countries housing major Shiite communities. “It is necessary that we diversify,” admitted Baha Al-Maya, an adviser to the minister. “This is a crucial question, to overcome the fall in the number of Iranian pilgrims.” But for a city heavi-

ly dependent on Iranians, bridging that gap will not be easy. “Before (the decline of the Iranian rial), we sold 90 percent of our stock, but now we are down to 30 percent,” said Ahmed Al-Essawi, whose stall in the Najaf souk sells the fine black fabric used to make the chador, the full-body robe worn by Iranian women. His products are made in Iran, and his clients are exclusively Iranian, meaning Essawi has felt the decline more than most. Elsewhere, adjacent to the market, multiple hotels simply bear a “closed” sign, with no explanation offered, though none is needed. Other hotels, still under construction, have been abandoned completely by contractors. “Some hotels were almost finished when their construction was stopped,” said chamber of commerce chairman Sharba. “Other establishments wanted to begin renovations, but work has not even started because they have no idea what the future holds.” —AFP

Car bombs, shootings kill 32 people in Iraq Attacks bear hallmark of Al-Qaeda

This image released on Dec 25, 2012 shows one of the leaders of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Abdelhamid Abu Zeid, in an undisclosed place. —AFP

AQIM confirms death of leader Abou Zeid NOUAKCHOTT: Al-Qaeda’s north African branch confirmed that one of its top leaders, Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, was killed in fighting in Mali, three months after France announced his death, according to a statement published yesterday. Algerian-born Abou Zeid, considered one of the most radical leaders of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), was killed “on the battlefield defending the ummah (the Muslim community) and sharia law,” according to a statement carried by the private Mauritanian news agency ANI. It gave no date for his death. Paris had announced in March that Abou Zeid was killed in fighting with its forces after France led an offensive to rout Al-Qaeda linked Islamist groups from northern Mali. Both France and Chad, whose troops were also involved in the offensive, said the 46-year-old militant was killed at the end of February. “It is the first time that an AQIM statement has officially referred to the death of Abou Zeid,” said ANI director Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Abou Al-Maali, a specialist on the Islamist group. In March however, Algerian television said that AlQaeda had named a replacement for Abou Zeid, Algerian national Djamel Okacha. Abou Zeid had a reputation as a

severe, aloof character with an unflinching capacity for violence when required. Born in Debdeb in Algeria, close to the border with Libya, Abou Zeid was a young activist in the FIS Islamist movement that won the country’s first democratic elections in 1991 but was denied power. He then disappeared underground for most of the 1990s. He reemerged spectacularly in 2003 as second in command of the GSPC group which kidnapped dozens of foreigners in southern Algeria, and that would later, along with several other organisations, evolve into AQIM. Latterly, Abou Zeid - whose real name was Mohamed Ghdir according to Algerian court documents - was considered a deputy to AQIM’s “Saharan emir” Yahia Djouadi and commanded a katiba, or battalion, of fighters from Mauritania, Algeria and Mali known as Tareq ibn Ziyad, named after an eighth-century Muslim military commander. Mali descended into chaos in the wake of a March 2012 coup as Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist rebels capitalised on the power vacuum to seize a Texas-sized triangle of desert territory in the north. France launched its offensive in its former colony on Jan 11 to stop the Islamists from advancing on the capital Bamako. —AFP

PM due in Benghazi after bloody clashes BENGHAZI: Libya’s premier was due to meet local authorities in Benghazi yesterday, a government source said, as special forces units patrolled the city a day after clashes with gunmen killed six soldiers. Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was due to travel to the eastern city with members of his government to discuss the security situation, the source said on condition of anonymity. An onlooker in Benghazi told AFP that “special forces soldiers have been deployed in the city and patrolled the streets, which are calm again”. Amid the trouble and its aftermath, Libya’s highest political authority, the General National Congress, postponed a vote to choose a replacement for its head, Mohamed Al-Megaryef. Megaryef resigned on May 28 after the GNC adopted a law banning officials who had served under ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi from government jobs. Elsewhere in Libya, gunmen shot dead an appeal court judge in the eastern town of Derna on Sunday, official news agency LANA cited the head of the court, Abdelaziz Trabelsi, as saying. “Judge Mohammed Ibrahim Houidi, president of the criminal division, was killed yesterday morning as he left the appeals court building in Derna,” he said. Trabelsi added that the attackers had fled immediately after the shooting, quoting witnesses. Eastern Libya has been the scene of attacks targeting judges, soldiers and policemen who served under Kadhafi’s regime. A senior US official visiting Algeria yesterday said Washington was committed to supporting Libya in the transitional period after its revolution.”We must all support the Libyan government as they try to move forward to the destiny the Libyan people have asked for for themselves,” Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman told a news conference. She said she had talked to Algerian officials about how Algiers could improve the situation in neighbouring Libya. “Algeria is a leader in the region... and I think if we all work together we can help the Libyans succeed,” she said. Late on Saturday, Libya’s grand mufti Sheikh Sadeq Al-Ghariani called for residents of Benghazi to “stay calm” and unite during “this difficult phase that the country is passing through”. In a television appeal, Ghariani also urged the “General National Congress to open an investigation and put an end to this spiral of violence”. The head of the security forces’ joint operations room, General Mohammed Sherif, said that “special forces have identified the attackers... and some of them have been arrested,” without giving further details. Clashes between elite forces and gunmen killed six soldiers and wounded five in Benghazi on Saturday, the military said. Benghazi, the cradle of the uprising that ousted Gaddafi’s regime in 2011, has been increasingly rattled by attacks on security forces and Western interests, often blamed on Islamists. —AFP

BAGHDAD: A string of nearly a dozen apparently coordinated bombs and shootings in cities across Iraq killed at least 32 and wounded dozens yesterday, extending a wave of violence that is raising fears of a return to widespread killing a decade after the US-led invasion. Violence has spiked sharply in Iraq in recent months, with the death toll rising to levels not seen since 2008. Nearly 2,000 have been killed since the start of April. Most of the car bombs hit Shiite-majority areas and were the cause of most of the casualties, killing 26. The blasts hit half a dozen cities and towns in the south and center of the country. There was no claim of responsibility for any of the attacks, but they bore the hallmark of AlQaeda in Iraq, which uses car bombs, suicide bombers and coordinated attacks to target security forces, members of Iraq’s Shiite majority, and others. The blasts began when a parked car bomb went off early morning in the industrial area of the city of Kut, killing three people and wounding 14 others. That was followed by another car bomb in the nearby city of Aziziyah that targeted a gathering of construction workers that killed two and wounded 12, according to police. In a teahouse hit by the blast, a blood-stained tribal headdress and slippers were strewn on the floor, along with overturned chair and couches. Kut is located 160 km southeast of Baghdad. “The cafe and the street outside is covered in blood,” said Hisham Shadhan, whose father owns the cafe badly hit in the Aziziyah attack. “The car was parked just next to the cafe and when it went off, it destroyed the front part of the cafe. Many cars have caught fire, and it also caused huge damage to nearby shops.” The force of the blast overturned cars and left shrapnel strewn across the scene, but authorities quickly cleaned up much of the visible damage, an AFP journalist said. In the oil-rich city of Basra by the Gulf coast in southern Iraq, a car bomb exploded in a busy downtown street, police said. As police and rescuers rushed to the scene of the initial blast, the second car exploded. A total of six people were reported killed. Cleaners were seen brushing off debris of the car bomb that damaged nearby cars and shops. About an hour later, two parked car bombs ripped through two neighborhoods in the southern city of Nasiriyah, 320 km southeast of Baghdad, killing one and wounding 17,

another police officer said. And in the town of Mahmoudiya, 30 km south of Baghdad, two civilians were killed and nine wounded when a car bomb went off in an open market. In the Shiite holy city of Najaf, 160 km south of Baghdad, a blast struck a produce market, killing eight and wounding 28. Afterwards, watermelons, tomatoes and apples were scattered on the ground where a bulldozer was loading charred and twisted stalls and cars into a lorry. And in Madain, a roadside bomb and then a

the scene of some of the deadliest unrest outside of the Baghdad area in recent weeks. In the northern city of Tuz Khormato, a roadside bomb targeted a passing police patrol, killing two policemen and wounding another, another police officer said. The town is about 200 km north of Baghdad. Medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren’t allowed to release the information. The attacks came a day after the leader of Al-

BASRA: Iraqi security forces (background) inspect the site of a car bomb attack yesterday. —AP car bomb exploded, killing three and wounding 14. Madain is about 20 km southeast of Baghdad. Near Hillah, a car bomb exploded in a parking lot, killing one and wounding nine. Hillah is about 95 km south of Baghdad. A shooting happened near the restive northern city of Mosul. Police officials say gunmen attacked police guarding a remote stretch of an oil pipeline, killing four and wounding five. Mosul, some 360 km northwest of Baghdad, has been

Qaeda’s Iraq arm, known as the Islamic State of Iraq, defiantly rejected an order from the terror network’s central command to stop claiming control over the organization’s Syria affiliate, according to a message purportedly from him. Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s comments reveal his group’s determination to link its own fight against the Shiite-led government in Baghdad with the cause of rebels trying to topple the Iranbacked Syrian regime. —Agencies

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


US spy agency says fewer than 300 phone numbers closely scrutinized Paper claims email monitoring foiled NYC subway plot WASHINGTON: The US government only searched for detailed information on calls involving fewer than 300 specific phone numbers among the millions of raw phone records collected by the National Security Agency in 2012, according to a government paper obtained by Reuters on Saturday. The unclassified paper was circulated Saturday within the government by US intelligence agencies and apparently is an attempt by spy agencies and the Obama administration to rebut accusations that it overreached in investigating potential militant plots. The administration has said that even though the NSA, according to top-secret documents made public by former agency contractor Edward Snowden, collects massive amounts of data on message traffic from both U.S. based telephone and internet companies, such data collection is legal, subject to tight controls and does not intrude on the privacy of ordinary Americans. The paper circulated on Saturday said that data from the NSA phone and email collections programs not only led US investigators to the ringleader of a plot to attack New York’s subway

system in 2009, but also to one of his co-conspirators in the United States. The paper discusses an NSA program that collects “metadata” raw information that does not identify individual telephone subscribers - from major US phone companies showing all calls made by those companies’ subscribers to phones within the United States and overseas. It also mentions another NSA program, called Prism in leaked documents, that collects from internet companies what the paper says are emails of foreigners who might be of interest to counterterrorism or counterproliferation investigators. Millions of phone records were collected in 2012, but the paper says US authorities only looked in detail at the records linked to fewer than 300 phone numbers. A person familiar with details of the program said the figure of fewer than 300 numbers applied to the entire mass of raw telephone “metadata” collected last year by the NSA from US carriers - not just to Verizon, which is the only telephone company identified in a document disclosed by Snowden as providing such data to the NSA. The paper repeats assertions by administra-

tion spokesmen that NSA email and telephone data-collection programs contributed to the disruption of “dozens of potential terrorist plots here in the homeland and in more than 20 countries around the world.” The paper says NSA collection of email and telephone data helped US authorities track down Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan immigrant who in 2009 was arrested for plotting to bomb the New York City subway system. Zazi pleaded guilty to terrorism charges. NSA monitoring of the email of alleged Al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan led them to an unnamed person in the United States who was making “efforts to procure explosive material,” according to the government paper. The NSA gave its raw information to the FBI, which identified Zazi, who was then living in Colorado. After tailing him to New York, the FBI arrested him. By cross-checking Zazi’s phone number with its giant data base of raw phone traffic, the paper said more leads were generated for the FBI. One of those leads took authorities to Adis Medunjanin, who was convicted last year in the subway plot and sentenced to life in prison. —Reuters

Arkansas Senator Pryor hit from right, left before 2014

XALAPA: Morris sits on the lap of Diego Cruz, as Sergio Chamorro pets Morris, at their home in Xalapa, Mexico. —AP

Morris the cat runs for mayor of Mexican city MEXICO CITY: This mayoral hopeful in Mexico promises to eat, sleep most of the day and donate his leftover litter to fill potholes. Morris, a black-and-white kitten with orange eyes, is running for mayor of Xalapa in eastern Mexico with the campaign slogan “Tired of Voting for Rats? Vote for a Cat.” And he is attracting tens of thousands of politician-weary, two-legged supporters on social media. “He sleeps almost all day and does nothing, and that fits the profile of a politician,” said 35-year-old office worker Sergio Chamorro, who adopted the 10-month-old feline last year. Put forth as a candidate by Chamorro and a group of friends after they became disillusioned with the empty promises of politicians, Morris’ candidacy has resonated across Mexico, where citizens frustrated with human candidates are nominating their pets and farm animals to run in July 7 elections being held in 14 states. Also running for mayor are “Chon the Donkey” in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, “Tina the Chicken” in Tepic, the capital of the Pacific coast state of Nayarit, “Maya the Cat” in the city of Puebla and “Tintan the Dog” in Oaxaca City, though their campaigns are not as well organized as that of Morris. Politicians repeatedly rank at the bottom of polls about citizens’ trust in institutions. A survey last year by Mitofsky polling agency ranking Mexicans’ trust in 15 institutions put politicians and government officials among the bottom five. Universities and the Catholic Church were the top two, respectively. Morris’ cuteness, the clever campaign and promises to donate money collected from the sales of campaign stickers and Tshirts to an animal shelter has attracted cat lovers, but Chamorro said most of his supporters are citizens tired of corrupt politicians and fraudulent elections. “Morris has been a catalyst to show the discontent that exists in our society,” Chamorro said. “Our message from the beginning has been ‘if none of the candidates represent you, vote for the cat’ and it seems people are responding to that.” Xalapa, a university city of 450,000 people, is the capital of the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, where residents have in last two years been beleaguered by drug violence, corruption scandals and the killings of at least nine reporters and photojournalists. During last year’s presidential election, a video posted on social networks showed a massive warehouse in Veracruz stuffed with

election give-away groceries. Authorities also seized $1.9 million in wads of cash found when police decided to search passengers of a private plane arriving from Veracruz to Toluca, the capital of the home state of now-President Enrique Pena Nieto. Officials later said they had found no wrongdoing and the money was returned. Giovanna Mazzotti, a 48-year-old university professor from the city of bright colonial buildings and steep streets, said she supports Morris’ campaign and plans to go to a party for him being held Friday. The candidate is not expected to attend. “In this state there is no rule of law, there is no respect for human rights, there are no institutions,” Mazzotti said. “It’s great that this campaign is showing the fiction in our elections. Every three years politicians laugh at us, it’s good to laugh at them a bit, too.” Morris has a website, a Twitter account and a Facebook page with more than 115,000 ‘likes,’ that makes him more popular in social networks than the five human mayoral contenders. Americo Zuniga, the candidate for the ruling party who is leading in election polls, had 33,000 Facebook ‘likes’ as of Friday. His website has a collection of memes that picture Morris yawning while describing his “ample legislative experience,” an image that mirrors photographs of lawmakers sleeping during congressional sessions. Morris’ campaign managers are asking supporters to write-in ‘Morris’ or draw a cat’s face on the ballot to send a message to authorities, who are not taking the cat’s growing popularity lightly. Members of the Electoral Institute of Veracruz this week called on voters not to waste their vote on a cat. “We are asking for people to participate by voting for those citizens registered on the ballots,” electoral institute president Carolina Viveros told local media this week. “Everything else is part of expressions happening in social media and I respect that, but you have to vote for the registered candidates, please.” Morris also has international supporters. On Friday, the animal-welfare group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wrote Morris congratulating him for his campaign. Stubbs, a cat that has been the honorary mayor for more than 15 years of the sleepy Alaska town of Talkeetna, has shown support for Morris by posting his fellow feline candidate’s spot campaign on its Facebook page. —AP

LITTLE ROCK: The conservative Club for Growth tags Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor as President Barack Obama’s “closest ally” in the state. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s guncontrol advocacy group says Pryor “let us down.” Pryor’s re-election race is 17 months away, but the Democratic incumbent seen as perhaps the most vulnerable in 2014 is already taking hits from the right and the left. That’s forced the second-term senator to aggressively defend himself and step into re-election mode sooner than planned, even though he has no Republican opponent. “My goal right now is to put the campaign off until the election year, 2014,” Pryor told reporters recently. “They keep dragging me back into the politics, they keep running ads and trying to keep it stirred it up here.” Republicans are trying to unseat Pryor and three other Democratic incumbents who represent states that Republican Mitt Romney won in last year’s presidential race: Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. Democrats need to defend 21 seats, including seven in largely rural states that Obama lost in 2012. Republicans need to pick up six seats to regain Senate control. But the GOP is defending fewer incumbents and could benefit from history: The party controlling the White House usually loses seats during the midterm election of a second-term president. Pryor, who began airing his first television ad last month, faces pressure especially early in Arkansas. He’s trying to survive in a state where Republicans enjoyed widespread gains over the past two election cycles, fueled by Obama’s unpopularity. The GOP controls both chambers of the Legislature and all four US House seats. In 2010, Democratic Sen Blanche Lincoln lost her bid for a third term. Last year, Republicans swept all four House seats and won control of the Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction. National and state Republicans are eager to topple Pryor, whose father, David, was a senator and governor. It’s a turnaround from 2008, when Republicans were unable to find anyone to challenge Mark Pryor and he easily won a second term. “When you hear Arkansas Democrats try to spin things for Mark Pryor, the only things they can point to is he’s raised a lot of money, he’s got a high name ID and the fact his father is popular,” David Ray, a spokesman for the state GOP. “That’s not a very strong place to start.” Among Republicans, US Reps. Tom Cotton and Steve Womack are widely viewed as potential challengers. So far, Pryor is taking heat from outside groups rather than a challenger. The Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee, has begun airing $320,000 worth of television ads criticizing Pryor’s 2009 vote for the federal health care law and calling him too liberal. The conservative Club for Growth, which backed Cotton last year, has aired ads linking Pryor to Obama. At the same time, Pryor has absorbed criticism from the left after voting against expanded background checks for firearms purchases. Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the Bloomberg group, is airing television and radio ads criticizing Pryor for the vote. The ad invokes the shooting death of Bill Gwatney, the state Democratic Party chairman who was killed in his office in 2008. Bloomberg has also urged New York donors to not contribute to Pryor or the other Democratic senators who voted against the background checks measure in April. “When my dear innocent friend was shot to death, I didn’t blame guns. I blamed a system that makes it so terribly easy for criminals or the dangerous mentally ill to buy guns,” Angela Bradford-Barnes, who worked with Gwatney, says in the ad. “That’s why I was so disappointed when Mark Pryor voted against comprehensive background checks. On that vote, he let us down.” Robert McLarty, a Democratic consultant in Little Rock who’s not affiliated with Pryor’s campaign, said the senator’s biggest challenge right now is that he doesn’t have an announced opponent while he’s fending off attacks from both sides. “He’s not able to direct a compare and contrast style campaign,” McLarty said. “He’s not able to take a candidate on the other side and say this is how we differ.” But McLarty and others say Pryor is in a better position than Lincoln was in 2010. She survived a bruising Democratic primary with the help of former President Bill Clinton, who campaigned for her. But she lost handily in the fall of 2010. Pryor has higher approval figures than Lincoln did and appears unlikely at this point to draw a serious primary challenger next spring. Clinton headlined a March fundraiser to kick off Pryor’s re-election bid, helping him raise more than $1 million in a night. Pryor reported having more than $3.4 million in the bank for the 2014 race. —AP

Japan PM to tout nuclear exports at Europe summit WARSAW: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets the leaders of four ex-communist European countries yesterday at a regional summit in Warsaw, where he is expected to promote the country’s nuclear technologies. On his first trip to Europe since taking over as premier in December, Abe will attend the meeting of the so-called Visegrad Group: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Then he will head to Northern Ireland where the G8 summit begins today. Analysts say Abe will be trying to generate interest in Japan’s nuclear technologies with a view to exporting them to Europe. “Now whenever Prime Minister Abe shows up

abroad, it’s Japanese nuclear technology that he promotes,” Mariusz Dabrowski, a Japan specialist at the Poland-Asia Research Centre, told AFP. But nuclear power has become a sensitive issue in Japan after the Fukushima Daiichi plant went into meltdown in 2011. Reactors spewed radiation over a wide area, after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake triggered a massive tsunami. In the wake of the disaster, Japan turned off its 50 reactors for safety checks but has restarted two of them, saying it needs to head off possible summertime power shortages. Despite vocal public opposition, Abe has said he wants to restart other units when they are proven safe. Abe’s recently unveiled

bid to treble Japan’s infrastructure exports to 30 trillion yen ($300 billion, 225 billion euros) a year to boost the economy will almost certainly have to include nuclear reactors. Yesterday, he is expected to sign a nuclear cooperation deal with the Czech Republic in which Prague will undertake to use Japanese nuclear technology. Ahead of yesterday’s meeting, Abe told Poland’s Rzeczpospolita daily that countries such as the Visegrad four are attractive markets for Japan. He hoped to deepen cooperation in science and technology, particularly in the energy sector, he told the paper in an interview published Friday. —AFP

VATICAN: Harley-Davidson riders parade in Via della Conciliazione leading to St Peter’s Square during a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis, at the Vatican yesterday. —AP

Pope blesses hundreds of Harley-Davidsons VATICAN CITY: Biker culture came to the Vatican yesterday as Pope Francis blessed thousands of Harley-Davidsons and their riders celebrating the manufacturer’s 110th anniversary with a loud parade and plenty of leather. Thundering Harley engines nearly drowned out the Latin recitation of the “Our Father” prayer that accompanied Francis as he greeted the crowd before Mass. Standing in his open-top jeep, Francis drove up the main boulevard leading to St. Peter’s Square, blessing the thousands of people in what was a giant Harley parking lot. Once the service got under way, bikers in their trademark leather Harley vests sat in the square alongside nuns and tens of thousands of faithful Catholics taking part in an unrelated, two-day pro-life rally. Francis addressed them both afterwards, giving a blessing to the “numerous participants” of the Harley gathering. Some estimates say a half-million Harley owners from around the world descended on Rome for the four-day anniversary of the American manufacturer. The main events were Saturday’s parade past the Colosseum and other historic landmarks and yesterday’s Vatican blessing. Earlier in the week, Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Harley gave Francis two

white classic Harleys for the Vatican police force to use. There was something a bit incongruous about the Harley crowd known for their “Freedom” motto, outlaw image and adventuresome spirit - taking part in a solemn papal Mass to commemorate a 1995 encyclical on the inviolability of human life. “Evangelium Vitae” is a roadmap of the church’s teaching against abortion, euthanasia and murder. Harley’s advertising for its 2013 bike collection reads “Live life on your own terms. More than 30 ways to defy the status quo.” The Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi noted that there were probably quite a few Catholic riders in the crowd and that regardless, anyone is welcome to a papal Mass. “I know great people who have big bikes,” Lombardi quipped. In his comments to the pro-life crowd, Francis offered prayers “for every human life, especially the most fragile, defenseless and threatened.” But he stayed away from saying anything more polarizing about abortion or contraception. He then spent a good halfhour after the Mass caressing, kissing and chatting with a few dozen sick or disabled people in the square, including one on a motorcycle wearing Harley garb. —AP

Shock lingers after Nazi unit leader found in US MINNEAPOLIS: The revelation that a former commander of a Nazi SS-led military unit has lived quietly in Minneapolis for the past six decades came as a shock to those who know 94year old Michael Karkoc. World War II survivors in both the US and Europe harshly condemned the news and prosecutors in Poland have said they’ll investigate. An Associated Press investigation found that Karkoc served as a top commander in the Ukrainian Self-Defense Legion during World War II. The unit is accused of wartime atrocities, including the burning of villages filled with women and children. “I know him personally. We talk, laugh. He takes care of his yard and walks with his wife,” his next-door neighbor, Gordon Gnasdoskey, said Friday. “For me, this is a shock. To come to this country and take advantage of its freedoms all of these years, it blows my mind,” said Gnasdoskey, the grandson of a Ukrainian immigrant himself. Karkoc told American authorities in 1949 that he had performed no military service during World War II, concealing his work as an officer and founding member of the legion and later as an officer in the SS Galician Division, according to records obtained by the AP through a Freedom of Information Act request. Though records do not show that Karkoc had a direct hand in war crimes, statements from men in his unit and other documentation confirm the Ukrainian company he commanded massacred civilians, and suggest that Karkoc was at the scene of these atrocities as the company leader. Nazi SS files say he and his unit were also involved in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, in which the Nazis brutally suppressed a Polish rebellion against German occupation. No one answered the door Friday morning at Karkoc’s house on a residential street in northeast Minneapolis. Karkoc had earlier declined to comment on his wartime service when approached by the AP, and repeated efforts to arrange an interview through his son were unsuccessful. Late Friday, Karkoc’s son, Andriy Karkos, read a statement accusing AP of defaming his father. Karkoc became a naturalized US citizen in 1959. “My father was never a Nazi,” said Karkos, who uses a different spelling for his last name. He also said the family wouldn’t comment further until it has obtained its own documents and reviewed witnesses and sources. Family attorney Philip Villaume said Saturday that the family may comment further within a few days. “Their intention is to investigate the matter and research it, and then they’ll make a further public statement,” he said. Polish prosecutors announced Friday they will investigate Karkoc and provide “every possible assistance” to the US Department of Justice, which has used lies in immigration papers to deport dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals. The AP evidence of Karkoc’s wartime activities has also prompted German authorities to express interest in exploring whether there is enough to prosecute. In Germany, Nazis with “command responsibility” can be charged with war crimes even if their direct involvement in atrocities cannot be proven. Efraim Zuroff, the lead Nazi hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, said that based on his decades of experience pursuing Nazi war criminals, he expects that the evidence of Karkoc’s lies as well as the unit’s role in atrocities is strong enough for deportation and war crimes prosecution in Germany or Poland. Former

MINNESOTA: In this photo, Michael Karkoc, photographed in Lauderdale, Minn prior to a visit to Minnesota from Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in early June of 1990. —AP German army officer Josef Scheungraber - a lieutenant like Karkoc - was convicted in Germany in 2009 on charges of murder based on circumstantial evidence that put him at the scene of a Nazi wartime massacre in Italy as the ranking officer. Members of Karkoc’s unit and other witnesses have told stories of brutal attacks on civilians. One of Karkoc’s men, Vasyl Malazhenski, told Soviet investigators that in 1944 the unit was directed to “liquidate all the residents” of the village of Chlaniow in a reprisal attack for the killing of a German SS officer, though he did not say who gave the order. “It was all like a trance: setting the fires, the shooting, the destroying,” Malazhenski recalled, according to the 1967 statement found by the AP in the archives of Warsaw’s state-run Institute of National Remembrance, which investigates and prosecutes German and Soviet crimes on Poles during and after World War II. In a background check by US officials on April 14, 1949, Karkoc said he had never performed any military service, telling investigators that he “worked for father until 1944. Worked in labor camp from 1944 until 1945.” However, in a Ukrainian-language memoir published in 1995, Karkoc states that he helped found the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion in 1943 in collaboration with the Nazis’ feared SS intelligence agency, the SD, to fight on the side of Germany - and served as a company commander in the unit, which received orders directly from the SS, through the end of the war. It was not clear why Karkoc felt safe publishing his memoir, which is available at the US Library of Congress and the British Library and which the AP located online in an electronic Ukrainian library. Karkoc currently lives in a modest house in an area of Minneapolis that has a significant Ukrainian population. He recently came to the door without help of a cane or a walker. He would not comment on his wartime service: “I don’t think I can explain,” he said. —AP

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


Colorado wildfire evacuees see total destruction COLORADO SPRINGS: Residents returning to the neighborhoods they were driven from just days ago by Colorado’s most destructive wildfire ever are seeing firsthand the path of destruction left behind by the flames. Firefighters battling the fire in a rural region northeast of Colorado Springs have made huge advances in recent days, aided by unexpected rain showers and calmer winds, and authorities lifted most evacuation orders. Fire crews expanded containment lines Saturday to 55 percent. Jack and Judy Roe thought their home was among the nearly 500 destroyed but found it standing amid other scorched houses in their neighborhood. “We’ve been on such an emotional roller coaster over this thinking we had lost everything and then to find out that it’s still there. It was a big relief to us, but I

mean, our hearts were breaking for our neighbors,” Judy Roe said. Describing the scene, she said she saw charred piles of what remained of homes, with bricks the only distinguishable feature. Bob and Barbara Metzger lost their home, while nearby by their SUV, clotheslines and surrounding trees were spared. “As long as the world around me looks the same, I’ll be fine,” Barbara Metzger said, showing a photo of her burnt home with surviving trees around. “We’ll rebuild.” Authorities have also gained a clearer picture of a grim landscape in a burn area covering 25 square miles (65 square kilometers). El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said the fire’s destruction has made it difficult for his deputies to assess damage. Deputies have said “it looks like a nuclear

bomb went off in some of those areas, and you can’t even recognize whether it was a house or some other kind of structure,” Maketa said. “That is the level of incineration and destruction that took place in some areas.” The fire exploded last Tuesday amid record-setting heat and tinder-dry conditions. Two people have died, their bodies found inside their garage Thursday. Their car doors were open as though they had been about to flee, authorities said. It’s unknown what sparked the blaze, but investigators believe it was human-caused. So far, it’s cost more than $3.5 millionto fight. White House officials said Saturday that President Barack Obama called Gov. John Hickenlooper on Friday to get an update on conditions and reinforce his commitment to help. — AP

Obama to harness JFK magic on Berlin visit Germany: Europe still matters to US BERLIN: Barack Obama will walk in John F. Kennedy’s footsteps this week on his first visit to Berlin as US president, but encounter a more powerful and sceptical Germany in talks on trade and secret surveillance practices. Observers say Obama has cultivated an effective if “workmanlike” relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Europe’s most influential leader, mirroring a sobering of transatlantic ties since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Obama, who dazzled a crowd of 200,000 people with an open-air speech in 2008 in the centre of the capital while still a candidate, will face more modest expectations this time round on his arrival late tomorrow for a 24-hour stay. But he appears ready to try to harness some of the alliance’s bygone sparkle by timing his visit one week ahead of the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech. That pledge of solidarity with the embattled Cold War city is still a reverential moment in the German national consciousness, and a touchstone on the country’s path back to the community of nations after the Nazi horrors. Accompanied by his wife Michelle, Obama will hold another public address about the countries’ “enduring bonds” Wednesday, this time at the Brandenburg Gate, the symbol of German unity. But the agenda for the talks, on the heels of a G8 summit in Northern Ireland, looks less than visionary, with slow progress on a EU-US trade pact to figure prominently. Germany, however, is longing for reassurance that Europe still matters to the US since Obama’s much-heralded pivot to Asia. Leading news magazine Der Spiegel last week featured a cover picture of Obama in Kennedy’s shadow, the tagline “The Lost Friend”, and an angst-ridden report about fraying ties. “Kennedy’s visit to Berlin was an almost ecstatic celebration of a protective alliance,” it wrote. But it said nearly 70 years after World War II and two decades after the end of European communism, “the trip of (JFK’s) no-less-charismatic successor will likely be a prosaic family gathering.” The US has slashed troop levels in Germany to 73,000 from nearly 200,000 in the early 1990s and China has surged past Europe’s top economy as a market for US goods. Commentators note that Germans, like other ardent Obama supporters, are frustrated by impasses on slowing climate change and closing the Guantanamo Bay lockup. Obama nevertheless enjoys a level of support here that even Merkel, Germany’s most popular post-war leader, could envy as she seeks a third term in September elections-nearly 90 percent hoped he would be returned to office last November. But now revelations of a global Internet snooping operation run by the National Security Agency have shocked a country where memories of systematic spying on citizens by communist East Germany’s despised Stasi are still raw. Merkel’s spokesman said today the issue was sure to arise and Justice Minister Sabine LeutheusserSchnarrenberger demanded a full explanation. “All facts must be put on the table,” she said in an online editorial. They will also hash out sticking points on the stalled trade deal between the US and the EU, the world’s largest economic relationship. Merkel backs the accord but says it

BELFAST: Oxfam charity volunteers wear masks depicting the G8 leaders, US President Obama (left) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (right) around a large cauldron during a photo call to draw attention to the issue of world hunger outside City Hall yesterday. — AFP must address German concerns about US genetically modified crops. The slaughter in Syria and the troop drawdown in Afghanistan will also dominate discussions. However transatlantic tensions over US calls for Germany to boost stimulus spending have eased as the eurozone debt turmoil has calmed. As for Merkel and Obama’s personal relationship, they appear to have come to respect and trust each other more over time with the chancellor receiving the rare honour of a White House state dinner in 2011 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. “(In 2008), Obama exhibited a fluency that bordered on the glib which has never been the chancellor’s thing. She’s not fluent and certainly never glib,” Constanze Stelzenmueller of the German Marshall Fund of the United States told AFP. She said Obama, who has underlined his and Merkel’s role as trailblazers because neither “looks exactly like the leaders who preceded us”, had become more pragmatic as he faced hurdles while implementing policy. “Meanwhile the chancellor has had to learn that some serious issues of public interest such as how to manage the euro crisis need to be communicated better... so there’s been some convergence.” As part of his first German state visit, albeit his third trip to the country, he will also meet President Joachim Gauck, a former East German dissident, before returning to Washington. — AFP

PIEDRAS NEGRAS: Rescue workers take people away from flooded areas in the Piedras Negras,Mexico, Saturday, June 15, 2013. — AP

5.8-magnitude quake strikes central Mexico MEXICO CITY: A 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook central Mexico early yesterday, sparking panic in the capital and some power cuts but no major damage or casualties were reported. The quake struck just after midnight (0519 GMT), east of the city of Huitzuco in Guerrero state, at a depth of about 30 miles (50 kilometers), according to Mexico’s National Seismological Service and the US Geological Survey. The officials downgraded the magnitude of the quake from 6.0 reported initially. Although the quake was felt strongly in the capital, “in the preliminary

report, Mexico City was not damaged,” Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera wrote on his Twitter feed. Civil Protection chief Fausto Lugo told reporters: “We have no reports of major incidents. We reviewed the city and have no incidents.” But power was out in some areas of Mexico City, a local radio station reported, and the strong tremors sparked panic in some restaurants and bars, as customers hastily evacuated. The international airport said on its social network account that there was “no damage to our airport infrastructure after completing the review that we make as part of

earthquake security protocols.” In the coastal resort city of Acapulco, an AFP reporter saw some tourists leave their hotels but said there were no reports of damage. In the southern state of Oaxaca, there were also no injuries or damage, except “some people with panic attacks, who did not need to be hospitalized,” the local Red Cross said. An 8.1-magnitude earthquake in September 1985 destroyed part of Mexico City and killed 3,700 people, according to official figures. Civil groups put the death toll from the quake at around 20,000 people. — AFP

COLORADO SPRINGS: Cheryl Carden, who lost her house in the Black Forest wildfire hugs neighbor Rebecca Abernathy after Abernathy’s niece Saylor Brown, bottom right, gave her flowers during a press briefing Saturday, June 15, 2013, at the Pikes Peak Community College Rampart Range Campus in Colorado Springs, Colo. — AFP

Mother finds ‘stolen baby’ 44 years later MADRID: More than four decades after her newborn was snatched away, Marie-Jose E. has found her son after DNA tests proved they are related, a rare happy ending in Spain’s “stolen babies” scandal dating back to the Franco era. “I am living a fairy tale,” said Marie-Jose, her voice trembling with emotion in a telephone interview with AFP from the central French city of Tours where she now works as a teacher. “It is incredible. I feel euphoric. I have had terrible highs and lows. When I wake up in the morning, I tell myself that he is there, that he exists and then I am afraid of losing him.” Her son, who turns 44 next month, lives in Valencia, the Mediterranean port city in eastern Spain where he was born and then adopted. Marie-Jose, who had a Spanish father and a French mother, was 22 when she became pregnant out of wedlock. Her father, who she described as “very, very strict”, took her to the “Santo Celo”, or “Holy Zeal”, convent to give birth on July 12, 1969, she said, speaking on condition of anonymity to protect her personal life. Despite her father’s repeated promises that she would be able to keep her baby, he gave the newborn to the nuns at the convent without Marie-Jose’s consent. “It was a nightmare,” she said, still recalling the “nastiness” of the Mother Superior. “I never spoke to my father again,” Marie-Jose said. Her mother died of cancer three years after her son was taken, and her father died two years later of the same disease. Marie-Jose and her son are among thousands of families said to have fallen victim to the stolen babies scandal in Spain. Under the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, the newborns of some left-wing opponents of the regime or unmarried couples were removed from their

mothers and adopted. Sometimes, mothers were told the lie that their babies had died after birth. The guiding principle was that the child would be better off raised by an affluent, conservative and devout Roman Catholic family. The system outlived Franco’s death in 1975 and carried on at least into the 1980s as an illegal baby trafficking network. But two years ago campaigners began to gather the stories of those who were convinced their babies were stolen. As news of the campaign spread, hundreds of adoptive children and mothers who suspected they had been fooled by doctors and nuns joined in. More than 2,000 cases have been registered in Spanish courts, though many have run into bureaucratic barriers, with hospitals saying they no longer hold the relevant records. Marie-Jose, who is married and has another son now aged 30, never gave up the search for her first born. Her son discovered he was adopted at the age of 14. “But they told him his biological parents had died in a car accident,” Marie-Jose said. After the death of his adoptive mother in 2011, at the height of the stolen babies scandal in Spain, Marie-Jose’s lost son noticed that his birth certificate listed his adoptive parents as being his biological mother and father. He decided to seek the truth. “Finally, an older first cousin told him everything three weeks ago,” MarieJose said. “He had been sold by the nuns, which happened a lot at the time,” she said. Her son contacted associations that help reunite such families in Valencia, which quickly matched him up with Marie-Jose, who they knew well. DNA tests proved the mother-son link. “Since then, we call each other every day,” Marie-Jose said. Few families have been so lucky in Spain. — AFP

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


N Korea proposes high level dialogue with US De-nuclearisation a prerequisite for talks: US PYONGYANG: North Korea’s top governing body yesterday proposed high-level nuclear and security talks with the United States in an appeal sent just days after calling off talks with rival South Korea. The powerful National Defense Commission headed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued a statement through state media proposing “senior-level” talks to ease tensions and discuss a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War. There was no immediate response from Washington, but President Barack Obama’s envoy on North Korea said Friday that while the US is not averse to talking with Pyongyang, the bar for resuming engagement is higher in the wake of repeated nuclear threats and provocations.

Meanwhile, a recent proposal from Pyongyang for Cabinet-level talks with South Korea - the first in six years - led to plans for two days of meetings in Seoul earlier this week. The talks dramatically fell apart even before they began amid bickering over who would lead the two delegations. North Korea fought against USled United Nations and South Korean troops during the three-year Korean War in the early 1950s, and Pyongyang does not have diplomatic relations with either government. The Korean Peninsula remains divided by a heavily fortified border. Reunifying the peninsula was a major goal of North Korea’s two late leaders, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, and is a legacy inherited by current

PYONGYANG: People walk past a roadside propaganda billboard promoting the “military first” policy and a boost to build the country’s economy yesterday. —AP Foreign analysts expressed skepticism, saying impoverished North Korea often calls for talks after raising tensions with provocative behavior in order to win outside concessions. The rare proposal for talks between the Korean War foes follows months of acrimony over North Korea’s defiant launch of a long-range rocket in December and a nuclear test in February, provocative acts that drew tightened UN and US sanctions. The US and South Korea countered the moves by stepping up annual springtime military exercises that prompted North Korea to warn of a “nuclear war” on the Korean Peninsula. However, as tensions subsided in May and June, Pyongyang has made tentative overtures to re-establish dialogue with South Korea and Washington. In a notable shift in propaganda in Pyongyang, posters and billboards calling on North Koreans to “wipe away the American imperialist aggressors” have been taken down in recent weeks.

leader Kim Jong Un. North Korea is expected to draw attention to Korea’s division in the weeks leading up to the 60th anniversary in July marking the close of the Korean conflict, which ended in an armistice. A peace treaty has never been signed formally ending the war. As Pyongyang continues to shun disarmament and shut out nuclear inspectors, Washington’s top worry is North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Pyongyang is estimated to have a handful of crude nuclear devices and has been working toward building a bomb it can mount on a missile capable of striking the United States. Earlier this year, Kim Jong Un enshrined the drive to build a nuclear arsenal, as well as building the economy, as national goals. North Korea claims the need to build atomic weapons to defend the country against what it sees as a US nuclear threat in Korea and the region. North Korea will not give up its nuclear ambitions until the entire Korean Peninsula is free of

nuclear weapons, a spokesman from the National Defense Commission said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency. “The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula does not only mean ‘dismantling the nuclear weapons of the North’” but also should involve “denuclearizing the whole peninsula, including South Korea, and aims at totally ending the US nuclear threats” to North Korea, the spokesman said. The US denies having nuclear bombs in South Korea, saying they were removed in 1991. However, the US military keeps nuclear submarines in the region and has deployed them for military exercises with South Korea. After blaming Washington for raising tensions by imposing “gangster-like sanctions” on North Korea, the unnamed NDC spokesman called on the US to propose a venue and date for talks but warned against setting preconditions. US envoy Glyn Davies said Friday in Washington that the US isn’t opposed to engagement but would not accept North Korea as a nuclear state nor reward it for “absence of bad behavior.” The key to a diplomatic solution, he said, is for the US and North Korea’s four neighbors involved in long-stalled nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang to send a unified message: that it must live up to previous commitments to denuclearize. Davies, who is to meet with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts next week to discuss North Korea, said there is a growing international consensus against the North’s nuclear ambitions. “We have every expectation that Beijing will use its special relationship with (North Korea) to encourage Pyongyang to choose a different path,” he said in a comments made at the Wilson Center think tank. Washington has been burned in the past by efforts to reach out to Pyongyang. Months of behind-the-scenes negotiations yielded a significant food-for-disarmament deal in February 2012, but that was scuttled by a failed North Korean long-range rocket launch just weeks later. Pyongyang’s bid to reach out to the US comes as South Korea’s new president, Park Geun hye, is to sit down for talks with China’s new leader, Xi Jinping, in Beijing later this month. Park, whose North Korea policy calls for building trust while remaining firm on provocations, has been active in reaching out to Beijing. Xi, meanwhile, met recently with Obama in California. China crucially supplied North Korea with troops during the Korean War, and has remained a key ally and benefactor since then, but has pushed Pyongyang to return to disarmament talks. “The fact that North Korea proposed talks (with the US) ahead of the South Korea-China summit signifies its intent to keep China in check,” said Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies of Dongguk University in Seoul, South Korea. Pyongyang also is sending a message to South Korea warning that if Seoul does not actively try to improve relations with North Korea, the regime will go directly to Washington, sidelining Seoul, he said. —AP

Weeping families identify Pakistan victims QUETTA: Weeping relatives gathered yesterday to identify the charred remains of loved ones killed in a double attack in Pakistan’s troubled southwest claimed by a banned Sunni militant group. At least 25 people were killed on Saturday when militants blew up a bus carrying female students in Quetta, capital of restive Baluchistan province, and then stormed a hospital where survivors had been taken for treatment. The extremist sectarian outfit Lashkar-eJhangvi (LeJ ), responsible for a string of outrages against Pakistan’s Shiite Muslim minority, said it was behind both attacks. An LeJ spokesman said a female suicide bomber struck the bus-a rare tactic in Pakistan-before gunmen attacked the hospital, claiming the strikes were revenge for an operation by security forces earlier this month. Militants occupied parts

of the Bolan Medical Complex in a standoff that lasted several hours and ended when security forces stormed the building, freeing 35 hostages. Authorities shut down the hospital yesterday, moving patients to another facility, as investigators combed the grisly aftermath of the violence. “All patients were shifted from here overnight. Inside I have seen blood and small pieces of human flesh,” a security official at the locked gates told AFP. The intensity of the blast and subsequent fire reduced the student bus to a blackened skeleton, and outside the mortuary of the Provincial Sandeman Hospital yesterday, weeping relatives gathered to identify bodies amid a strong stench of burnt human flesh. The state of the bodies added confusion to the relatives’ burden of grief as some were given contradictory

information about their loved ones. Mohammad Hamza, 19, said that on Saturday he had been given the body of his student sister, only to be told a mistake had been made. “I came here after someone had given us the information that we had taken the wrong body and my sister’s body was still here at hospital, but it is not true,” Hamza told AFP. It appeared the body he was given on Saturday was indeed his sister. Mohammad Yasir, deputy registrar of Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University, said DNA testing may be needed to identify many body parts. A witness caught in the hospital during the shootout described hiding during the terrifying ordeal. “ The firing was so intense that I thought that my time (to die) has come and I started reciting verses from the Holy Quran,” Ali Gul, 35, said. “Some patients cried and

KARACHI: A Pakistani woman cries for an injured relative at a hospital. —AFP

begged the gunmen to spare them. The gunmen told them to keep quiet and said they were only killing security forces.” LeJ spokesman Abubakar Siddiq called newspaper offices in Quetta late Saturday to claim the killings, saying the attacks were retaliation for a raid by security forces. At least three militants and two women were killed during a security operation at a house in the Kharotabad neighbourhood of Quetta. Officials said they belonged to Tehreek-e-Taleban Pakistan, with whom LeJ has links. The attacks came hours after a national monument linked to Pakistan’s founding father Muhammad Ali Jinnah was destroyed by separatist militants in Ziarat town, 80 kilometres (50 miles) southeast of Quetta. Quetta is a flashpoint for sectarian violence between majority Sunni Muslims and minority Shiites, who account for 20 percent of Pakistan’s 180 million population, and the city saw the country’s two bloodiest attacks so far this year. A giant bomb planted in a water tanker being towed by a tractor killed 90 Shiite Hazaras in February, while another suicide bombing at a snooker club in January killed 92 others. Both were claimed by LeJ. There was fury in the Pakistani press yesterday, both at the perpetrators and the security forces for failing to prevent the third major atrocity in Quetta in six months. Dawn, the country’s leading English-language newspaper, said the state’s shortcomings had been shown once again. “That the state has again failed both at the level of intelligence-gathering and preventing a terrorist attack from succeeding is also obvious,” it said in an editorial. “Unhappily, the more obvious these truths, the less likely it seems that anything will be done to address them.” Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University is located close to a Shiite Hazara neighbourhood in Quetta, and many Hazaras are students. Baluchistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, is rife with Islamist militancy and a regional insurgency waged by separatists demanding political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the region’s natural resources. —AFP

HYDERABAD: In this photograph, India’s Gujarat state Chief Minister Narendra Modi (left) talks with Bihar state Chief Minister and senior Janata Dal United (JDU) leader, Nitish Kumar, during a conference. —AFP

India’s main oppn alliance splits ahead of election NEW DELHI: A powerful Indian regional party pulled out of the main opposition alliance yesterday, a split that could hobble the rise of a controversial Hindu nationalist leader who hopes to oust the ruling Congress party in elections due by May 2014. The Janata Dal (United) party, based in the eastern state of Bihar, announced it would end a 17-year-old alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after the BJP promoted firebrand leader Narendra Modi to lead its election campaign. The exit could hamper the chances of the Hindu nationalist BJP finding enough allies to mount a convincing challenge to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s administration, whose second term has been plagued by scandals and a worsening economy. It could also encourage a rag-tag of regional parties - with fickle leaders and diverse local agendas - to form their own so-called third front coalition, which, if they were successful, could present a risk for Asia’s third-largest economy. Nitish Kumar, the chief minister of Bihar state and a senior JD(U) party leader, announced the break with the BJP at a news conference. “BJP is going through a new phase. We are not in agreement with that. We cannot compromise with our basic principles,”

Kumar said. The BJP chose Modi to lead its election campaign yesterday last week, a position that would in all likelihood make him the party’s candidate for prime minister. But his selection has exposed rifts within the BJP and the broad opposition alliance. Modi is one of India’s most popular leaders, who has won praise from voters and business leaders for economic growth in the state of Gujarat under his stewardship as chief minister. But many people see him as too divisive to lead the country. Critics say he did too little to stop, or even quietly encouraged, religious riots in his state in 2002 that killed at least 1,000 people, most of them Muslims - an accusation he denies. Kumar’s vote base includes a significant number of Muslims, which could have made it difficult for him to throw his full support behind an alliance headed by Modi. A BJP spokesman and other critics said Kumar’s decision to leave the opposition was opportunistic. Kumar did not announce any political plans but there has been speculation he could join an alliance led by the prime minister’s ruling Congress party. The general election could pit Modi against Rahul Gandhi, son of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi and the scion of India’s most powerful political dynasty. —Reuters

China army newspaper hits out at US’s PRISM program BEIJING: China’s official army newspaper yesterday branded the United States Internet surveillance program exposed by former spy Edward Snowden as “frightening”, and accused the US of being a “habitual offender” when it comes to network monitoring. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily hit out at the US for implying that spying on citizens from other countries was justified, and said that the PRISM monitoring program had probably been used to collect large amounts of data unrelated to anti-terrorism operations. The remarks about the program are among the most scathing to appear in China’s state-run press following Beijing’s refusal to make an official comment. “US intelligence agencies are ‘habitual offenders’ with regards to network monitoring and espionage,” the article, attributed to the PLA’s Foreign Languages Institute, said. “There is reason to believe US intelligence agencies, while collecting anti-terrorism information online have also ‘incidentally’ collected a lot of information in other fields.” Under the so-called PRISM programme, the US National Security Agency can issue directives to Internet firms like Google or Facebook to gain access to emails, online chats, pictures, files and videos that have been uploaded

by foreign users. “US President Obama has said that PRISM is not directed at US citizens,” the article said. “The implication is that for the purposes of US security, monitoring citizens of other countries is not a problem. This simple, overbearing logic is the frightening aspect of the PRISM program. “The US government says that PRISM is concerned with anti-terrorism, and does not involve any other matters. But anyone with intelligence expertise can tell this is admitting ones guilt by protesting innocence.” The PLA Foreign Languages institute is China’s top military language training facility, and is thought to be a key training-ground for Chinese intelligence officers. The article also accused the US of spying on its own citizens, saying that it had “clearly... not been established” that US intelligence agencies had only used the program to monitor foreign nationals. China has stayed tight lipped following the revelations from the former US government subcontractor, which included claims of US hacking directed at China and which came amid tensions between Washington and Beijing about online espionage. On Thursday China’s foreign ministry gave little insight into Beijing’s thinking. —AFP

Sunni militants claim twin Pakistan attacks QUETTA: A Pakistani militant group behind a series of bloody assaults on minority Shiite Muslims has said it carried out attacks on a bus carrying women students and a hospital that killed at least 25. The extremist Sunni outfit Lashkar-e-Jhangvi said a female suicide bomber struck the bus in Quetta, capital of the restive Baluchistan province on Saturday, killing 14 women students. A follow up attack around 90 minutes later on a hospital treating survivors left at least 11 dead and led to a prolonged gun battle between security forces and militants occupying part of the building. The standoff lasted for several hours and ended when security forces stormed the building, freeing 35 people who had been taken hostage, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar told reporters on Saturday. Abubakar Siddiq, a spokesman for Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), called newspaper offices in Quetta late Saturday to claim the killings. “The suicide attack on the bus was carried out by one of our sisters. She boarded the student bus and blew herself up,” Siddiq said. “Then we carried out a second suicide attack at the hospital and our fighters killed several people. We did this because security forces killed our fighters and their wives in Kharotabad.” Pakistani security forces on June 6 killed at least three militants and two women during a raid at a house in the Kharotabad neighbourhood of Quetta. Officials said they belonged to Tehreek-e-Taleban Pakistan, with whom LeJ has links. The attacks came hours after a national monument linked to Pakistan’s founding

father Muhammad Ali Jinnah was destroyed by separatist militants in Ziarat town, 80 kilometres (50 miles) southeast of Quetta. Quetta is a flashpoint for sectarian violence between majority Sunni Muslims and minority Shiites, who account for 20 percent of Pakistan’s 180 million population, and the city saw the country’s two bloodiest attacks so far this year. A giant bomb planted in a water tanker being towed by a tractor killed 90 Shiite Hazaras in February, while another suicide bombing at a snooker club in January killed 92 others. Both were claimed by LeJ. There was fury in the Pakistani press yesterday, both at the perpetrators and the security forces for failing to prevent the third major atrocity in Quetta in six months. Dawn, the country’s leading English-language newspaper, said the state’s shortcomings had been shown once again. “That the state has again failed both at the level of intelligence-gathering and preventing a terrorist attack from succeeding is also obvious,” it said in an editorial. “Unhappily, the more obvious these truths, the less likely it seems that anything will be done to address them.” The bus targeted in Saturday’s attack was from Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University, which is located close to a Shiite Hazara neighbourhood in Quetta, and many Hazaras are students. Baluchistan, which borders Iran and Afghanistan, is rife with Islamist militancy and a regional insurgency waged by separatists demanding political autonomy and a greater share of profits from the region’s natural resources. —AFP


MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013



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Morsi cuts Syria ties to woo West, boost his image By Haitham Eltabei gypt’s President Mohamed Morsi, in severing ties with Damascus, aims to show solidarity with Western and fellow Arab states opposed to Syria’s regime and also boost his under-fire image at home, analysts said. Morsi, an Islamist from the Muslim Brotherhood, told supporters in a Cairo stadium for a “Support for Syria” rally on Saturday that he was going to “definitively” cut diplomatic relations with Syria. The Syrian government yesterday slammed the decision. Morsi had joined the “conspiracy and incitement led by the United States and Israel against Syria by announcing the cutting of ties,” an unnamed official told Syria’s state news agency SANA. He accused Morsi of announcing the cut in ties to deflect attention from domestic crises. On Saturday, Morsi said Egypt will recall its charge d’affaires from Damascus and shut the Syrian embassy in Cairo. Calling on the international community to impose a “no-fly zone” over Syria, Morsi also said he had made “contact with Arab and Muslim states to organise an emergency support meeting” for the Syrian people. He condemned the intervention in the conflict of Lebanon’s powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah, which helped government troops to victory over rebels in the Syrian town of Qusair. Cairo already scaled back its diplomatic representation to Syria in Feb 2012, when it recalled its ambassador before Morsi came to power. After he won a presidential election in June of last year, Morsi took a hard line with the Syrian regime, notably during a conference in Tehran, the main ally of Damascus in the region. The move won him favour from Western countries, particularly the United States, and Arab countries hostile to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. By definitively cutting relations, Morsi is seeking to make a new gesture to countries which oppose the Assad regime, according to analysts. “Morsi’s government has adopted the American position on the Syrian conflict and is trying to please Washington by assisting it” in the region, said Iman Rageb of Al-Ahram Centre for Strategic and Political Studies. “He is hoping the Americans will close their eyes to the way the government could react” to opposition protests called for June 30 on the first anniversary of his election, she said. Morsi’s decision has brought Egypt closer into the camp of countries opposed to Assad, notably energyrich Qatar which has given Cairo crucial financial support to help it weather a severe economic crisis. But in cutting ties with Damascus, analysts said Morsi also intended to boost his hand at home, where he is facing growing opposition. A petition launched several weeks ago calling for his resignation has already collected 15 million signatures, according to local media. “Morsi’s decisions are linked to the domestic situation, in order to turn attention away” from the economic crisis and internal political tensions, said Mohammed Al-Orabi, a former foreign minister. Amin Shalabi of Egypt’s Council for Foreign Relations also said Morsi was trying to improve his popularity at home. “The president is trying to draw attention to external issues to ensure popular support,” he said. However, “the internal crisis is so serious that no external issue can overshadow it”. Morsi referred to the domestic situation in Egypt in his speech on Saturday. The president warned that he would act “with determination” against anyone who “wanted to push the country into a spiral of violence and chaos”. The break in ties with Syria will win support from Egypt’s Salafists, Sunni Muslims who follow a strict interpretation of Islam and are vehemently opposed to the regime in Damascus. Syria’s regime is dominated by members of Assad’s Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shiite Islam. Egypt is mostly Sunni Muslim, as are the vast majority of Syrian rebels. A popular uprising that broke out in Syria in March 2011 turned into a bloody civil war, in which at least 93,000 people have died, according to UN figures, and it is growing increasingly sectarian in nature. On Thursday, influential Sunni clerics from several Arab states, including Egypt, called for jihad, or holy war, against the “sectarian” regime in Syria. — AFP


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Rowhani ‘tone’ may reopen doors for Iran By Farhad Pouladi ew President Hassan Rowhani’s experience as Iran’s nuclear negotiator will go a long way toward changing the “tone” of talks with major powers and could lead to an easing of sanctions, analysts say. His negotiating skills won him the respect of his European interlocutors and the monicker “diplomat sheikh”. But his policies under reformist president Mohammad Khatami were abandoned in 2005 when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected and Rowhani quit his post over differences. “Rowhani cannot change the core of Iran’s nuclear strategy, which is determined by the supreme leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Ali Vaez, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group’s senior analyst on Iran, told AFP. “But what he can alter is the tone and the team,” while easing Tehran’s isolation, he said. “Adopting a more conciliatory rhetoric and engaging more experienced negotiators could have a positive impact on nuclear negotiations with the P5+1,” UN Security Council permanent members, Britain, China, France, Russia, the US, plus Germany. Afshon Ostovar, a Middle East and Iran analyst in the US-based CNA research cen-


tre, also believes that Rowhani’s success would depend on Khamenei. “Above all, what Rowhani is able to accomplish will depend on how much support he receives from Khamenei,” he said. Rowhani is a representative of Khamenei on the Supreme National Security Council, Iran’s top security body, and was its secretary for 16 years until 2005, and has played up his ties with Khamenei. Tehran has been engaged since 2006 with the P5+1 over its controversial nuclear work, but with no breakthrough. It has as a result come under mounting international sanctions and isolation. In his first statement after his win was confirmed, the moderate conservative cleric urged world powers to treat Iran with respect and recognise its rights, an apparent allusion to its nuclear policy. “A new opportunity has been created by this great epic, and the nations who tout democracy and open dialogue should speak to the Iranian people with respect and recognise the rights of the Islamic republic,” he said. Mohammad Saleh Sedghian, head of the Tehran-based Arabic Centre for Iranian Studies, believes the seasoned diplomat is the man to engage in talks with Iran’s archfoe, Washington, to find a solution to the nuclear issue. “In one of his campaign

speeches, Mr Rowhani said that since the majority in the 5+1 are under pressure from the US, Iran should negotiate with the side that exerts it, Washington,” he pointed out. “So he will talk directly to the US to solve the issue” Sedghian told AFP. Following Rowhani’s victory, the United States itself said it was prepared to engage Iran directly over its nuclear program, which the West suspects is aimed at building a bomb, despite Tehran’s constant denials. Such engagement would be aimed at reaching a “diplomatic solution that will fully address the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme,” said the White House. However, “Rowhani is the ultimate regime insider, who knows how to build bridges. I think it would be unlikely and unwise for him to alienate powerful stakeholders such as the IRGC (Islamic Revolution Guards Corps) or the conservatives,” said Vaez. The elite force has been a major stakeholder in many of the country’s macro projects, especially transportation, construction and the import-export business, according to government data. Many of its members have stepped out of uniform and launched political careers. Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and Mohsen Rezai who lost

Friday’s presidential election were both decorated top commanders of the Guards. Domestically, Rowhani, who was boosted by the backing of Khatami and former pragmatic president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and was able to fend off hardline conservatives, does not fear the wrath of the conservative camp, Sedghian said. “Since these names in the conservative camp lost to Rowhani, they are not going to make problems on his path to setting up a cabinet,” he said. Ostovar said the delicate balancing act between domestic forces would pose a challenge for Rowhani but that the new man in Iran’s highest elected office should be given time. “I would not expect him to put forward any bold initiatives that could face resistance from his opponents, at least not in the short term,” he said. And whereas Ahmadinejad stirred international outrage with his outspoken antiIsraeli rhetoric and doubts over the Holocaust, Iran’s image around the world under Rowhani will change, said an Iranian analyst. His predecessor was “the face of Iran in the world. This image will now change. From now on, it be that of a level-headed, calm ... man with a moderate tone,” he told AFP, asking not to be named. — AFP

Moderate’s triumph is mandate for change By Marcus George ranian voters weary of years of economic isolation and tightening political restrictions threw down a blunt demand for change on Saturday by handing a moderate cleric a landslide victory in a presidential election. Having waited throughout Friday night and most of Saturday, millions of Iranians at home and abroad greeted Hassan Rowhani’s victory with a mix of euphoria and relief that eight years under hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were finally over. That Rowhani, a former nuclear negotiator, trounced hardline “Principlist” rivals most loyal to the theocratic system and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Friday’s contest left many in the Islamic Republic in shock. A second surprise was that the country’s first presidential poll since a disputed re-election of Ahmadinejad in 2009 appeared to be free and fair. His victory goes some way to repairing the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic, badly damaged four years ago when the disputed poll led to mass unrest. And it may herald an increase in political space for the sort of reformist groups which bore the brunt of the security crackdown that ended the disturbances. “Though hardliners remain in control of key aspects of Iran’s political system, centrists and reformists have proven that even when the cards are stacked against them, they can still prevail due to their support among the population,” said Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council. After final results were announced and the nerve-racking wait came to an end, Iranians revelled in having delivered their message to Iran’s theocratic leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose loyalists dominated the field of candidates. From the streets of Tehran came reports of a festive atmosphere, as crowds of Rowhani supporters dressed in his campaign colour purple gathered to celebrate his emphatic victory. Some chanted “Ahmadi Bye Bye” heralding the imminent end to incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency. The long wait quickly became the subject of rich humour. “Don’t be in a rush. It is the first time they are counting votes. They didn’t expect it would take so long,” quipped one Facebook message, alluding to the widespread allegations of vote-rigging four years ago. Victory will be followed by the colossal challenge of putting Iran back on its feet, repairing the damage done by eight years of growing mistrust between Tehran and the West. Iran has been battered by economic sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies over its nuclear activities, resulting in soaring inflation and unemployment. While Iran maintains it will not develop nuclear arms, it has refused to curb what it says is its rights to nuclear power. With such a strong mandate and a clear intent to reach out his hand, there will be guarded hope that the 64-year-old cleric can progress nuclear talks. But with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, deciding state policy, Rowhani will face limits to his area of operations. “(Mr Rowhani) will choose the core cadre at the foreign ministry and Supreme National Security Council and this can definitely have an impact. But the general orientation is decided by the Supreme Leader ... and naturally Mr Rowhani will


cooperate with him,” said conservative member of parliament Ahmad Tavakoli, the ISNA news agency reported. Equally intractable will be the issue of two reformist leaders who have been under house arrest for more than two years over what critics have decried as their seditious role in the post-election protests in 2009. Throughout the campaign Rowhani supporters have stirred the memories of 2009, chanting the names of the two imprisoned leaders, Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi, at campaign events and intensifying calls for their release. But that means confronting powerful elements of the conservative establishment who may not yet be prepared to welcome people they call “seditionists” back into the fold. “A Rowhani landslide will have to deliver substance, not just cosmetics, and this requires quite a few people to admit that the last eight years have been an aberration,” said Ali Ansari, professor at St Andrew’s University in Scotland. “I don’t see that coming

gerial skills - took more than two thirds of votes cast. Even many conservatives had called time on Iran’s overtly ideological stance for not providing for the Iranian public. “The defeat of the Principlists was necessary,” read an editorial on the Tabnak news website affiliated to Mohsen Rezaie, a conservative election candidate and former head of the Revolutionary Guards who came fourth in the election. “The Principlist current must understand that one cannot be inefficient and expect the people to still support them in throngs.” Despite widespread calls from conservative activists to get behind a single candidate, three big-hitters all remained in the contest, pulling their shared power base apart at the seams. The man many expected to be at the front of the pack, current nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, slumped to third place. “Iranians are worried about their future. (The prospect of ) a Jalili presidency and a harsh securitised domestic environment - I think people thought it would lead to a situation of

Iranians celebrate the victory of moderate presidential candidate Hassan Rowhani (portrait) in the Islamic Republic’s presidential elections at Vanak square in northern Tehran on Saturday. — AFP from the pages of Kayhan (a hardline newspaper). I still have reservations,” he added. The 64-year-old cleric has pledged to draw up and implement a “civil rights charter” and has spoken up for the rights of women and ethnic minorities. He was heavily critical of the atmosphere of tight security ahead of the election and garnered strong support from liberal Iranians as a result. But voters seemed most preoccupied with the desperate state of the economy. Between them Rowhani and the runner-up Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf - the pragmatic modernising mayor of Tehran who is very popular in the city for his clear mana-

confrontation inside the country,” said Farideh Farhi of Hawaii University. Iranians may have to wait patiently for change because of Iran’s multi-tiered power structure, which has gradually eroded the office of the president over the last two decades. “Rowhani’s upset victory has effectively redeemed Iran’s electoral system, which was tainted after the 2009 presidential poll,” said Ali Vaez, an analyst at International Crisis Group. “Remember that Iran is governed by complex institutions and competing power centres that inherently favour continuity over radical change.” — Reuters


MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013

KUWAIT: Opposition members and former MPs attend a meeting at the residence of Ahmad Al-Saadoun (center) yesterday. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Court upholds one-vote decree.. Morsi cuts Syria ties, backs... Continued from Page 1 He called on all citizens to respect the verdict and abide by it as he urged citizens to “put this issue behind us” and to consolidate national unity. The Amir also stressed that he will not allow sectarian disputes to take place in Kuwait. The Cabinet held an extraordinary meeting to assess the situation and said it has ordered concerned authorities to implement the ruling. It however gave no dates for any action. It was not clear so far when fresh elections will be held and what will happen before that. Under Kuwaiti law, fresh elec tions must be held within two months of dissolving the Assembly, but this date falls either in Ramadan or immediately after. Observers spoke about alternatives that may include delaying the polls until after summer holidays. Members of the opposition strongly lashed out at the court ruling. Former MP Waleed Al-Tabtabaei said it was “the worst decision” because it confirmed the single-vote legislation, while former MP Mohammad Al-Kandari said it has practically withdrawn the power of the people to legislate and rested it in the

hands of the government. Former MP Mubarak Al-Waalan said the only outcome for the political stalemate in the country is to “withdraw the decree”. The opposition, which reiterated last Wednesday a pledge that they will not participate in any future election on the single-vote basis, went into an emergenc y meeting at former speaker Ahmad Al-Saadoun’s residence to review the ruling and come out with a unified position. However, the liberal National Action Bloc welcomed the verdict out of respect for the constitutional court and its rulings. Information Minister Sheikh Salman Humoud Al-Sabah said it would boost democracy in Kuwait. “The court’s decision today enhances the durability of the democratic system that is enjoyed by Kuwait. Kuwait has a proud history of respecting the constitution and maintaining the rule of law,” the minister said. Analysts and observers said the court’s verdict will not contribute to resolving the political crisis that has been raging for over a year and it is expected to escalate tension in the country. But it was clear yesterday that a section of the opposition is expected to contest the coming election.

Amir respects court ruling... Continued from Page 1 Sheikh Sabah said he instructed the Cabinet to comply with the court’s ruling, which obsessed people and triggered an atmosphere of “anxiety and tension”. “Now we have to leave this issue and its deliberate aftermath behind us, and continue the march of reform and development, realizing the lessons of this experience,” he said. Sheikh Sabah affirmed that Kuwait “is a state of institutions ruled by the constitution and law, and there is no authority nor ceiling above the authority of the right and justice.” Citizens should be keen to seek the judiciary to settle differences “which is a civilized aspect ... and a victory for democracy that every Kuwaiti citizen should be proud of,” he added. The Amir said Kuwait was victorious and that he appreciated the people who expressed their principled positions and bore their national responsibility to enforcing democracy and complying with the constitution. Sheikh Sabah said he excused those who deviated from the right path, and thanked the speaker and members of parliament for their faithful efforts to carrying out their national unity as well as their achievements. Sheikh Sabah called upon all people to follow footsteps of their fathers and grandfathers who were known for their “forgiveness, cooperation, clean heart and hand, respect of the old and taking care of the young”. The Amir said he carried no “grudges” against anyone, and that the unity of the ruler with his people was a “major element in our Kuwaiti community ”. He said democracy in Kuwait was based on shura, or consultation, and was then complimented by the constitution which was written by representatives of the people through dialogue, consensus and understanding. “It was the agreement and consensus of everybody,” he added. Sheikh Sabah said democracy in Kuwait did not materialize overnight “but after a long chain of experiments and practices”. “Our community in Kuwait is not an exception from other communities; we are all responsible to protecting and developing our democratic system to achieve our hopes and aspirations ... without the domination of one segment or control of a group or sidelining another but to guarantee the representation of all Kuwaiti segments,” he said. Democracy should be developed to improve participation of the public,

boost dialogue, understanding and consensus, accept differences of opinions, respect views of others, reject violence and extremism, reject personal interests, not to attack others, and place Kuwait’s interest first, he said. “This is the sound democratic practices we seek to achieve, to develop our democracy via dialogue, consensus, understanding and consultation which serves the interest of the nation and citizens,” said the Amir. Sheikh Sabah said that “we all should respect” the constitution as well as “feel proud of our just judiciary that we always seek”. He called for the respect and support of the judiciary because “we cannot but accept and respect” its rulings. He said the Kuwaiti people have proven their loyalty to their country, keenness on its security and stability. Kuwaitis “reject calls of sedition and division, reject voices of chaos and stick to their national unity and support their leadership”, he said. Sheikh Sabah voiced concern over “sick sectarian” signs in the Kuwaiti community “which might trigger extremism and spark destructive discord, a matter rejected and condemned by every faithful Kuwaiti”. “We will not allow our country to be a place for sectarian conflicts and settlement of sick scores,” affirmed the Amir, “nor allow discord to poison our solid community.” Sheikh Sabah highlighted Kuwait’s support for Arabs and Muslims out of its keenness to backing “principles of justice”. He underlined that security of Kuwait “is a sacred duty ... and it is on top of priorities”. “There shall be no construction, no development, no economy, no services, no schools and no hospitals with the lack of security,” affirmed the Kuwaiti leader. “Protecting the country is a collective responsibility ... which require wisdom and spirit of responsibility...,” he said. Sheikh Sabah said the top priority now was to protect Kuwait from “disasters surrounding us, maintaining its security and stability, shield it from storms which roar near us, (which) burn the country and kill the people, and spread destruction, as hundreds of innocent people are being killed or injured every day and millions are displaced.” Sheikh Sabah said urged Kuwaitis to learn lessons of events “happening not far from us.” He said that the road was long and full of “difficulties and challenges ... but the unity, cooperation and solidarity of Kuwaitis are capable of achieving success and objectives”. — KUNA

Continued from Page 1 He also urged world powers not to hesitate to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria. Western diplomats said on Friday that Washington was considering a limited no-fly zone over parts of Syria, but the White House said later that the United States had no national interest in pursuing that option. Russia, an ally of Assad and fierce opponent of outside military intervention in Syria, said any attempt to impose a no-fly zone using F-16 fighter jets and Patriots based in Jordan would be illegal. Morsi said he was organising an urgent summit of Arab and other Islamic states to discuss the situation in Syria, where the United States has in recent days decided to take steps to arm the rebels.

Egypt’s US-funded and -trained army is among the most powerful in the Middle East. There has been no suggestion, however, that Egypt, a country steeped in poverty, should get involved in the fighting in Syria. Morsi said: “The Egyptian people supports the struggle of the Syrian people, materially and morally, and Egypt, its nation, leadership ... and army, will not abandon the Syrian people until it achieves its rights and dignity.” The Brotherhood has joined calls this week from Sunni Muslim religious organisations for jihad against Assad and his Shiite allies. Egypt has not taken an active role in arming the Syrian rebels, but an aide to Morsi said this week that Cairo would not stand in the way of Egyptians who wanted to fight in Syria.

Syria said yesterday that Egypt’s decision to cut diplomatic ties is “irresponsible”, accusing its president of fueling sectarian conflict in Syria and serving a US-Israeli conspiracy to divide the Middle East. The strongly-worded Syrian statement yesterday said Morsi is supporting an idea that would violate its sovereignty, and is “serving the goals of Israel and the United States” in the region. “Mohamed Morsi joins a choir of conspiracy and incitement led by the United States and Israel against Syria,” the statement said. It also accused Morsi of endorsing calls by hardline clerics calling for fighting in Syria against Assad’s regime “to shed Syrian blood instead of directing the compass toward liberating occupied Palestinian lands”. — Agencies

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


Clarke in fitness race

Prayad wins golf Queen’s Cup

‘Exodus bad for La Liga’

LONDON: Australia captain Michael Clarke hopes to be fit to return for today’s final Champions Trophy Group A game against Sri Lanka after missing the first two matches with a back injury. “I’m hopeful, no doubt about that, but I really have to wait to see how I pull up tomorrow morning after training again today,” he told a news conference on Sunday. “My back is certainly improving, which is a positive.” Australia lost their opener to England before their clash with New Zealand was rained off, meaning they sit bottom of the group with one point knowing defeat at the Oval today will knock them out of the tournament. Clarke’s recurring back trouble has led to speculation he could be a doubt for some of the five-test Ashes series in England which starts at Trent Bridge on July 10. “Yes I’m confident (of playing in all of the Ashes), but I was confident I’d play every game in this series so you are asking the wrong guy,” he said. England have their own injury worries for the Ashes with their most dangerous attacking batsman Kevin Pietersen missing the Champions Trophy because of a knee problem.—Reuters

THAILAND: Thailand’s Prayad Marksaeng showed his class with two eagles in the final round to secure a comfortable three-stroke home win in the Queen’s Cup yesterday. The 47-year-old, who started the day a stroke back from Bangladesh’s Siddikur Rahman, shot a four-under-par 67 that included eagles on the eighth and the final hole, to move clear of the chasing pack with a 14-under total of 270. Compatriot Arnond Vongvanij finished second while Japan’s Daisuke Kataoka was third, five shots adrift. Prayad started the day with a bogey on the first hole at the Santiburi Samui Country Club, where he had finished in the top-three on three occasions since 2009. He dropped another shot on the seventh after birdies on the fourth and sixth and the eagle on the eighth calmed his nerves. He made nine consecutive pars after that and signed off in style amid loud cheers from the home crowd. “When Arnond bogeyed the 12th, I had a feeling that this would be my week. I’ve been struggling with injuries for so long and I finally got my game together this year,” Prayad told the Asian Tour website ( “I’ve come so close to winning here but couldn’t finish the job previously. So obviously this win really means a lot to me.” Siddikur finished in a tie for eighth spot after a dismal six-over-par final round of 77. —Reuters

MADRID: The exodus of top Spanish players from cash-strapped La Liga is a good thing for the national team but bad for the domestic league, according to Barcelona and Spain defender Gerard Pique. Jesus Navas became the latest international to move abroad when he left Sevilla to join Spain team mate David Silva at Manchester City this month. Nine members of the Spain squad contesting the Confederations Cup in Brazil now play outside their home country. Heavyweights Real Madrid and Barcelona, the world’s richest clubs by revenue, can afford the best players and dominate La Liga as a result. They have 13 Spanish internationals between them. However, financially troubled clubs in the second rank like Atletico Madrid, Valencia and Sevilla have been forced to cash in on their prize assets, who are increasingly seeking a new challenge and better wages away from Spain. “On the one hand it’s good for the national team but on the other it’s a little bit bad for La Liga because players are leaving who are from your country,” Pique said in an interview with As sports daily published yesterday.—Reuters

Braves get past Giants

MLB results/standings Chicago Cubs 5, NY Mets 2; Toronto 6, Texas 1; Atlanta 6, San Francisco 5; LA Dodgers 5, Pittsburgh 3 (11 innings); Boston 5, Baltimore 4; Milwaukee 6, Cincinnati 0; Colorado 10, Philadelphia 5; St. Louis 13, Miami 7; Tampa Bay 5, Kansas City 3; LA Angels 6, NY Yankees 2; Washington 7, Cleveland 6; Minnesota 6, Detroit 3; Seattle 4, Oakland 0; Houston 4, Chicago White Sox 3; San Diego 6, Arizona 4.

Boston Baltimore NY Yankees Tampa Bay Toronto Detroit Cleveland Kansas City Minnesota Chicago W Sox Oakland Texas Seattle LA Angels Houston

American League Eastern Division W L PCT 42 28 .600 39 30 .565 37 31 .544 36 32 .529 31 36 .463 Central Division 37 29 .561 33 34 .493 32 34 .485 30 35 .462 28 37 .431 Western Division 41 29 .586 38 30 .559 31 38 .449 30 38 .441 25 44 .362

GB 2.5 4 5 9.5

Atlanta Washington Philadelphia NY Mets Miami

4.5 5 6.5 8.5

St. Louis Cincinnati Pittsburgh Chicago Cubs Milwaukee

2 9.5 10 15.5

Arizona San Francisco Colorado San Diego LA Dodgers

National League Eastern Division 40 28 .588 34 33 .507 33 36 .478 24 39 .381 20 47 .299 Central Division 44 24 .647 41 28 .594 40 28 .588 28 38 .424 28 39 .418 Western Division 37 31 .544 35 32 .522 36 33 .522 34 34 .500 29 38 .433

5.5 7.5 13.5 19.5 3.5 4 15 15.5 1.5 1.5 3 7.5

Rays down Royals ST. PETERSBURG: Tampa Bay right-hander Alex Cobb was taken off the field on a stretcher after he was hit on the right ear by a line ball off the bat of Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer in the fifth inning of the Rays’ 5-3 win over the Royals on Saturday. The Rays announced that Cobb, who remained conscious the whole time, was taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg for further examination. Rays spokesman Rick Vaughn later said all tests were normal and that Cobb suffered a mild concussion. Luke Scott, Matt Joyce and Evan Longoria homered for the Rays, who had lost five of six. Alex Torres (2-0) replaced Cobb and struck out four over 1 2-3 scoreless innings. Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his 14th save in 19 opportunities. Joyce hit a solo homer off Jeremy Guthrie (7-4) in the fifth that put the Rays up 4-2. RED SOX 5, ORIOLES 4 In Baltimore, Mike Carp and Jonny Gomes homered to back an effective pitching performance by John Lackey, as the Boston Red Sox beat the Orioles to end a five-game losing streak in Baltimore.

ST PETERSBURG: Pitcher Jeremy Guthrie No. 11 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field. —AFP After dropping the first two games of the series, the Red Sox fell into a 2-0 hole before bouncing back. Carp’s home run snapped an 18-inning scoring drought in the fourth, and Gomes made it 5-2 in the sixth with a solo shot that chased Baltimore starter Freddy Garcia (3-4). Boston leads Baltimore by 21/2 games in the American League East. Lackey (4-5) gave up two runs, seven hits and a walk in seven innings to improve to 12-4 against the Orioles. Former Oriole Koji Uehara struck out the side in the eighth and Andrew Bailey gave up a two-run homer to Matt Wieters in the ninth before securing his eighth save. BLUE JAYS 6, RANGERS 1 In Arlington, Adam Lind and Colby Rasmus both hit two-run homers as the Blue Jays won their fourth game in a row, beat the sliding Rangers. Even with the unexpected early return of second baseman Ian Kinsler from his rehabilitation assignment, the Rangers’ season-long losing streak reached five games. All of those losses are at home, and they’ve dropped 10 of 14 overall to fall out of first place in the AL West. Lind put the Blue Jays ahead to stay in the first, when his seventh homer of the season ricocheted high off pole down the right field line. Rasmus hit his 12th homer, and second in two games, in the fourth to make it 4-0. Those homers accounted for all four runs off Josh Lindblom (0-2), who went six innings on his 26th birthday. RA Dickey (6-8) gave up one run in 5 2-3 innings. ANGELS 6, YANKEES 2 In Anaheim, Erick Aybar homered and drove in two runs, and Albert Pujols added two more RBIs in the Angels’ victory over the Yankees on Saturday

night that sent New York to its fifth straight defeat. Tommy Hanson (4-2) recorded a season-high eight strikeouts while pitching five-hit ball into the seventh inning for the Angels, who have won three straight after a four-game skid. Josh Hamilton had an RBI double, and Aybar hit an early homer before delivering a tiebreaking RBI single in the sixth. Brett Gardner had an RBI triple for the Yankees, who matched their worst skid of the season. Mark Teixeira also left in the fourth inning with an aggravated right wrist. Howie Kendrick had three hits and drew a bases-loaded walk in the seventh for the Angels. ASTROS 4, WHITE SOX 3 In Houston, Jason Castro and Chris Carter homered in the fourth inning to give Houston the lead as the Astros held on for a win over the White Sox. The game was tied at 1-1 when Castro launched a solo homer into the bullpen in rightcenter to start the fourth inning. Carter’s one-out homer clanged off the foul pole in left field to extend the lead to 3-1 and leave starter John Danks (1-3) shaking his head. Brandon Barnes’s double drove in a run in the fifth inning to make it 4-1. Adam Dunn hit his 18th homer to start the seventh and Gordon Beckham’s ground-rule double made it 4-3. Harrell (5-7) allowed seven hits and three runs with a season-high seven strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings. Danks yielded five hits and four runs in sixplus innings. MARINERS 4, ATHLETICS 0 In Oakland, Henry Blanco hit a sixth-inning grand slam in his Seattle debut to break a scoreless tie and Felix Hernandez pitched seven strong innings to win his third straight decision as the Mariners beat the Athletics. The 41-year-old Blanco, a .184 hitter with no home runs coming into the game, was an unlikely candidate to deliver the decisive hit for Seattle. The Mariners signed him Friday, three days after his release by Toronto. He became the oldest Mariners player with a slam. Hernandez (8-4) struck out five of Oakland’s initial eight batters and seven through four innings on the way to eight Ks. Michael Morse had two doubles among his three hits, including one in the sixth before Blanco’s drive stayed just inside the left-field foul pole. TWINS 6, TIGERS 3 In Minneapolis, Trevor Plouffe had three hits, including a two-run homer, in his return to the Twins lineup, and Sam Deduno held Detroit in check over seven innings in Minnesota’s victory. Plouffe, back after missing 22 games because of a concussion and left calf strain, was a triple shy of the cycle. He drove in three runs in support of Deduno, who has allowed only five earned runs in his last five starts. Deduno (3-1) gave up two runs and seven hits to win his third straight decision since being recalled in May. Glen Perkins added his 16th save in 18 chances. After missing his previous start with shoulder stiffness, Anibal Sanchez struggled with pitch location and only lasted 3 2-3 innings for Detroit. Darin Downs (0-2) gave up three runs and five hits in relief of Sanchez, and took the loss. INTERLEAGUE GAME NATIONALS 7, INDIANS 6 In Cleveland, Anthony Rendon hit his first major league home run following Nick Swisher’s ninthinning error to propel the Nationals to a win over Cleveland. Two pitches after his foul popup fell between the Indians’ first baseman and second baseman Jason Kipnis, Rendon homered into the Nationals’ bullpen off Vinnie Pestano (1-2) to stun the Indians and the crowd of 33,307. Swisher and Kipnis both drifted into foul territory and it appeared either could have made the catch, but neither player appeared to call for it and the ball fell to the ground. Swisher was charged with the error. Drew Storen (1-1) pitched the eighth for the win while Rafael Soriano worked the ninth for his 18th save. Mike Aviles doubled with two outs, but first baseman Adam LaRoche made a leaping catch of Michael Bourn’s line drive to end the game.—AP

ATLANTA: Freddie Freeman’s bases-loaded, linedrive single off closer Sergio Romo capped a tworun rally in the ninth inning that lifted the Atlanta Braves to a 6-5 win over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday. BJ Upton hit two homers off Chad Gaudin, but the Braves trailed 5-4 entering the ninth. Romo (3-3) walked pinch-hitter Evan Gattis, who was replaced by pinch-runner Reed Johnson, with one out. Andrelton Simmons followed with a grounder that skipped past third baseman Joaquin Arias for an error, putting runners on first and second. Jason Heyward followed with a liner that fell in front of left fielder Andres Torres, loading the bases. Justin Upton worked a walk to tie it and Freeman came through with the game-winning single to right field. Braves closer Craig Kimbrel (2-1) struck out Hunter Pence to end the ninth with runners on first and second. DODGERS 6, PIRATES 5 In Pittsburgh, Juan Uribe singled home Andre Ethier in the top of the 11th inning to rally Los Angeles to the victory over Pittsburgh. Ethier doubled off Vin Mazzaro (3-1) leading off the 11th then raced home when Uribe’s chopper went over the head of third baseman Pedro Alvarez. Nick Punto drove in Uribe with a double to the gap one batter later to provide some insurance. Peter Moylan (1-0) picked up the win after escaping a bases-loaded jam in the 10th. Brandon League, who lost his job as the closer to Kenley Jansen this week, managed the final three outs for his 14th save. Travis Snider capped a late Pittsburgh rally with a solo home run off Jansen with one out in the ninth to tie the game.

(4-5), his second straight three-hit game. Schafer is filling in for Ryan Braun, on the DL with an injured thumb. Gallardo (6-6) gave up three hits and a pair of walks in his second straight impressive start. Three relievers completed a seven-hitter for Milwaukee’s first shutout. The Brewers were the only team in the majors without one. ROCKIES 10, PHILLIES 5 In Denver, Tyler Chatwood pitched five effective innings in his return from a triceps injury and Tyler Colvin homered during a six-run first inning as Colorado snapped a three-game losing streak by doubling up Philadelphia. The Rockies also relied on solid defense to end a six-game skid against the Phillies, turning three double plays and getting a gem from third baseman Nolan Arenado, who snared Jonathan Pettibone’s sharp grounder in the second with a diving stop and made a one-hop throw from his backside to get the Phillies pitcher. Wilin Rosario had three hits, all for extra bases, Arenado was 3 for 4 with two RBIs, and Chatwood pitched in with two hits, including an RBI single. Chatwood (4-1) boosted his average to .437 (7 for 16) with 5 RBIs in his first game since June 3, when he left after four innings at Cincinnati because of right triceps soreness. CARDINALS 13, MARLINS 7 In Miami, Carlos Beltran homered from each side of the plate and tripled to lead a 17-hit attack, and Lance Lynn notched his ninth victory when St. Louis outslugged Miami.

Swinging left-handed, Beltran hit his 15th home run in the second inning and tripled for the first time since May 2012 in the eighth. He hit another home run from the right side in the ninth - the 11th time he has homered from both sides in a game. Yadier Molina singled home two runs in the Cardinals’ five-run first inning, and David Freese’s fourth homer in the third inning put them ahead to stay. Lynn (9-1) allowed a career-high seven runs in five innings against the lowest-scoring team in the majors, but his two-run single in the fifth inning gave the Cardinals a three-run lead to help them pull away. PADRES 6, DIAMONDBACKS 4 In San Diego, Yasmani Grandal’s three-run homer capped a five-run fourth inning as San Diego beat Arizona to stretch its winning streak to five and reach the .500 mark for the first time in two years. Jason Marquis (9-2) allowed three runs and three hits in 6 2-3 innings to win his eighth straight decision. San Diego (34-34) pulled to within three games of first-place Arizona in the NL West. The last time the Padres were at .500 was April 10, 2011, when they were 4-4. Huston Street, who returned from the disabled list on Friday, earned his 12th save in 13 opportunities. He gave up an RBI double in the ninth to Gerardo Parra before getting Didi Gregorius to fly out to center for the final out. Arizona’s Wade Miley (4-6) had been staked to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, in part on a two-run homer by catcher Miguel Montero.—AP

CUBS 5, METS 2 In New York, Scott Feldman allowed two hits in seven innings and Starlin Castro hit a two-run double to left in a three-run eighth inning that lifted Chicago clear of New York. Feldman (6-5) struck out six and had a two-RBI single in the fourth off Jonathon Niese (3-6) to help himself on the way to his first win since May 29. Kevin Gregg got the last three outs for his ninth straight save and Chicago beat the Mets for the second day in a row, after losing five of seven before getting to Queens. BREWERS 6, REDS 0 In Cincinnati, Juan Francisco drove in three runs with a sacrifice fly and homer in a ballpark where he’s had some big moments, and Yovani Gallardo pitched six innings to lead Milwaukee’s blanking of Cincinnati. It was a rare win in Cincinnati for the Brewers, who have dropped 11 of their last 14 games at Great American Ball Park. Logan Schafer had three hits off Homer Bailey

ATLANTA: Freddie Freeman No. 5 of the Atlanta Braves is mobbed by teammates after knocking in the game-winning run in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants. —AFP

Gay has triple medal haul in mind for worlds RALEIGH: Former world sprint title holder Tyson Gay has a lofty goal in mind for August’s global championships - three trips to the podium just like six years ago. Completely fit for the first time since winning gold in the 100 and 200 metres and 4x100 relay at the 2007 worlds, Gay told Reuters he will run both sprints at next week’s U.S. championships, then seek a spot on the relay team for Moscow. “I want to do the double for sure,” the 30-year-old Gay, American record holder in the short sprint, said in a telephone interview from his central Florida training base. “I feel like I am actually able to and I always loved the 200,” he said. “And I feel like I am healthy enough. “I feel like it will prepare me for the worlds, and if I run the 200 that will give me more success for the 100.” Hamstring, groin and hip injuries, along with the emergence of Jamaican double world record holder Usain Bolt, have denied Gay an individual global title since his triple at the Osaka world championships. But smart training and a more conservative running schedule have limited the injuries and made him the fastest 100 metres runner in the world this year. No one, not even Bolt, has been quicker than the 9.86 seconds the slender American clocked at the Jamaican Invitational in Kingston in May. His 19.79 seconds last month in the 200 also would equal Bolt’s world leading time if it had not been wind assisted. “It makes me feel good, but I am a little surprised,” said Gay, noting Bolt and others have had more competi-

tive races than his two 100 metres and one 200. “I planned on racing a normal schedule but coach (Lance) Brauman wanted to take things slow this year. After New York we decided I had done enough to go on to the nationals,” added Gay, who won in 10.02 seconds in the rain and cold in the Big Apple. The US championships in Des Moines, Iowa, which serve as the US trials for the Aug. 10-18 worlds in Moscow, begin on Thursday and run

a second with a fourth-place finish, has subsided. Time and the Americans’ silver medal in the 4x100 relay helped as did the encouragement of friends and even strangers who made him realise how much he has accomplished in his career. But he also finds it refreshing to be healthy again. “I don’t have to rush. I don’t have that extra stress on me,” Gay said of the multiple times in recent years he has had to go flat out in last-minute practice sessions after injuries in a bid to be ready for U.S.

Tyson Gay through Sunday. Even the softly-spoken Gay does not know what to expect of himself. “One minute I want to run a super fast time,” he said. “The next I want to play it smart and make the team and say the big dance is not until August.” The heartbreak of London 2012, where he missed his first individual Olympic medal by one hundredth of

trials or global competition. “It is the best I have looked in years,” Gay said a leading U.S. biomechanics expert recently told him. A brighter outlook on his own achievements and prospects has not lessened Gay’s respect for Bolt and his world records. “He is still going to be the man to beat regardless,” said Gay, admiring the way the Jamaican bounced back

from injury and defeat by training partner Yohan Blake at the island nation’s 2012 Olympic trials to win the 100 and 200 in London. “He turns around and looks like a totally different person,” said Gay. But the American believes he can be more competitive this year, and could even challenge his 2009 U.S. 100 metres record of 9.69 seconds, compared to Bolt’s 9.58 world record. “I think I can,” said Gay who would have no problem with the world joining in a delayed celebration of his 31st birthday, which comes two days before the Aug. 11 100 metres world final. He will run his first race after the American trials in the 100 at Lausanne on July 4 and long-range plans are to continue competing through the 2016 Games in Rio where he hopes his elusive quest for an individual Olympic medal will finally end. More immediately, there is a decision to be made about his appearance. Gay had an almost fuzzy look at May’s New York Diamond League meet with his fuller beard and longer hair, the product, he said, of the amount of time devoted to training. “I was training so hard... my hair grew out for several months and the beard grew out for several months,” he said. The look will not become permanent, though. “It may come off tomorrow,” Gay said. “I may want to be a little bit more aerodynamic for the trials,” he added, recognising how close a shave his loss to countryman Justin Gatlin was for a prized medal in London.—Reuters

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


Lions brace for Brumbies challenge MELBOURNE: The British and Irish Lions’ hopes of victory in their last tour match before facing Australia will be tested by a hastily-assembled backline and an ACT Brumbies side keen to inflict a timely psychological blow in Canberra tomorrow. Like all the provincial sides thrown to the Lions, the Brumbies will front up with a starting 15 robbed of their best Wallabies players but under strict orders to leave the tourists bruised, if not beaten, after full-time at Canberra Stadium. The Lions notched up their fifth win from five tour matches against the New South Wales Waratahs on Saturday, running out 4717 winners at Sydney Football Stadium, but the emphatic victory extracted a toll. Centre Jamie Roberts was left nursing a suspected hamstring strain and could join England centre Manu Tuilagi in the treatment room, leaving the Lions vulnerable in the one area they can least afford it. With Welshman George North also nursing hamstring concerns and fellow winger Tommy Bowe injured with a broken hand, Lions coach Warren Gatland has padded out his backline with a clutch of fly-ins led by 36year-old Shane Williams. The former Wales winger, who toured with the Lions in 2005 and 2009 and retired from international rugby at the end of 2011, flies in from Japan and will slot in for just the one match before leaving the squad to do media work. Englishman Christian Wade, shipped in from Argentina, starts on the other wing, with Brad Barritt landing from the United States and starting at centre in the side captained by Ireland hooker Rory Best. England’s Billy Twelvetrees starts at inside centre against the two-time Super Rugby champions. The cobbled-together backline, albeit complemented by a still-formidable forward pack, offers the Canberra-based Brumbies arguably the best chance of the Australian provincial sides to beat the Lionsor at least leave the squad with a few doubts before the first Wallabies test on Saturday. “We realise it’s going to be tough on a few players, but there’s some combinations with experience we looked at,” Gatland told reporters in Sydney yesterday. “Billy and Brad know each other pretty

well, Shane Williams will obviously come in. “Having worked with him for a long time, I think he’ll fit in pretty well with our game plan and will understand what we’re trying to do, so there’s some combinations and players who been there, done that before and knowing what’s expected of them.” Gatland has also offered all of the players, barring Williams, the additional motivation of a spot in the team to play the Wallabies at Lang Park, despite his earlier intention to have the test side settled by the time of the Waratahs match. “They have to have that belief that they can go out and perform on Tuesday and put your hand up and get selected for Saturday,” Gatland said. “There’s no way we’re going out sacrificing the game, I’m sure those players who go out tomorrow will be incredibly motivated to continue this tour unbeaten. “And there’s still that opportunity for players to put their hand up and say: ‘I want to be part of that test team, that test 23’ and that’s what their motivation has to be.” The Jake White-coached Brumbies have no intention of being cannon fodder and need only watch footage of their 2001 effort against the Lions for inspiration. The Brumbies were gallant 30-28 losers at the same stadium in the previous tour in 2001 after utility back Austin Healey saved the Lions’ blushes with a late try. “This is a huge occasion for us as a team, but also individually,” said White, who coached South Africa to their 2007 World Cup triumph. “The Lions are one of rugby’s last romantic sides, there is plenty of history there and we know that beating the Lions will go down in Canberra’s rugby folklore for many years to come.” White, touted as a possible successor to Australia coach Robbie Deans, has guided the Brumbies to their first playoffs appearance in Super Rugby for nearly a decade this season and has a clutch of classy backs at his disposal, including livewire fullback Jesse Mogg and winger Henry Speight. Captain Peter Kimlin, who starts at number eight, and prop Scott Sio were also released from Wallabies duty for the match after earlier tour matches sparked criticism for offering the Lions uncompetitive teams.—Reuters

Mickelson leads US Open ARDMORE: Phil Mickelson moved a step closer to one of his biggest goals, a US Open title, as he emerged from a see-saw third round battle at Merion to take a one-shot lead into late yesterday’s final round. Mickelson rolled in a nine-foot birdie putt at the 254-yard 17th hole to leapfrog playing partner Luke Donald, who slipped out of the lead with a bogey on the mammoth par-three. Four-times major winner Mickelson, looking for his first US Open title after finishing runner-up a record five times, bogeyed the daunting 18th hole but still came away with the lead after completing an even-par 70 for a one-under-par 209 total. “It is a hard challenge, but it is a lot of

ARDMORE: Phil Mickelson of the United States hits his second shot on the 18th hole during Round Three of the 113th US Open at Merion Golf Club.—AFP fun,” said Mickelson, keen for the next step in his quest for a first US Open crown. “Let’s go. I can’t wait to get back out playing.” Yesterday could be a dream day for Mickelson, who would add a missing line to his impressive resume with an Open victory as he celebrates his 43rd birthday and Father’s Day with his dad watching him play at Merion. “I’ve had opportunities in years past, and it has been so fun, even though it’s been heart breaking to come so close a number of times and let it slide,” Mickelson said. One shot back after a rousing battle atop the leaderboard were 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, who posted 69, and Americans Hunter Mahan (69) and Steve Stricker (70). Former world number one Donald, who double -bogeyed the 18th af ter struggling with the deep rough to finish

with a 71, was another shot adrift at oneover 211 along with fellow Englishman Justin Rose (71) and 36-hole co-leader Billy Horschel (72). “I should have done better,” said Donald, who had taken sole possession of the lead after Schwartzel and Mahan both bogeyed the 17th. “It was disappointing. “But I’ll take the positives out of today, a really solid 16 holes of golf that I played and I’m only two back.” Mickelson, the leader after each round, fell from top spot after a bogey on the third hole, but came alive on the back nine with three birdies to fight his way back on a tumultuous day that saw a slew of competitors take turns in charge. The big left-hander said he felt better placed to tackle the challenge of winning the US Open this time around. “I feel better equipped than I have ever felt heading into the final round of a US Open,” said Mickelson, who has three Masters and a PGA Championship title to his credit. “My ball striking is better than it’s ever been. My putting is better than it has been in years, and I feel very comfortable on this golf course. I love it. “Given that I’ve had some past major championships now and some success here...I think it’s going to be fun. I don’t think I feel any more pressure than anybody else who wants to win.” Six different players — Mickelson, Horschel, Donald, Rose, Australian John Senden and Schwartzel had turns in the lead over the first nine holes. World number one Tiger Woods, hoping to end a five -year drought in the majors dating back to the 2008 US Open, and world number two Rory McIlroy also moved within three shots of the pace with birdies on the first hole. However, the high-profile duo, playing their third successive round together, staggered through the rest of the way. Woods shot 76 to plunge 10 shots off the pace, and McIlroy registered 75 to be nine behind Mickelson. After the merry-go-round of leaders in the front nine, Schwartzel and Donald settled into a tie for supremacy after the turn and were joined at two-under by Mahan when he birdied the 16th. Mahan and Schwartzel both bogeyed the last two holes to yield the top position to Donald, who was then overtaken by Mickelson. Schwartzel said he knows what it will take for him to add a second major title Sunday to his Augusta triumph. “You’re going to have to give every single shot all your attention,” the South African said. “There’s no hole where you can sort of ease back and sort of freewheel a bit. Every shot that you hit is really intense.” Three shots off the pace was Australian Jason Day, who registered a 68 for two-over 212 despite a bogey at the last. One more shot away was Rickie Fowler who carded 67 for the best round of the day. Senden, who briefly led by one, faded with five bogeys in the last 11 holes to post a 74, finishing six strokes off the lead. Coming up big at the end was Mickelson, who was clearly excited about what Sunday could mean. “It’s got the makings to be something special, but I still have to go out and perform and play some of my best golf,” he said.—Reuters

LONDON: Britain’s Andy Murray poses with the trophy after winning the ATP Aegon Championships final tennis match against Croatia’s Marin Cilic at the Queen’s Club. —AFP

Murray king of Queen’s LONDON: Andy Murray was crowned king of Queen’s Club for the third time as the world number two roared back to defeat defending champion Marin Cilic 5-7, 7-5, 6-3 in yesterday’s final. Murray was pushed hard by the Croatian fifth seed, but the US Open champion responded to the challenge with the kind of classy display that bodes well with Wimbledon just eight days away. He picked up a cheque for £73,315 (86,300 euros) for his latest triumph at the pre Wimbledon warm-up event, but more importantly his dominant week’s work served as the perfect preparation ahead of his latest bid to end Britain’s long wait for a male winner of the singles’ title at the All England Club. The 26-year-old’s third successful Queen’s campaign in five years, following previous victories in 2009 and 2011, took his career haul of ATP Tour titles to 27 and ended his wait for a first tournament win since the Miami Masters in March. However, Murray, who started the week concerned by his fitness after a lower back injury forced him to miss the French Open, will hope a first set tumble that left him briefly clutching his groin in pain proves nothing serious. “It’s been extremely wet and I just slipped. I

was a bit sore in the groin area, thankfully it wasn’t too bad,” Murray told the BBC. “Marin’s one of the best grass-court players in the world. We had a lot of close matches and I was lucky to come through at the end because he was playing such good tennis.” Cilic added: “Andy showed he’s a great fighter and congratulations to him for his win here. “It was an extremely good week for me. I hope I can continue my good form and come back next year.” Murray has dominated on grass over the last year, reaching his first Wimbledon final and taking the gold medal in the London Olympics at the All England Club by thrashing Roger Federer. He had also won eight of his previous nine meetings with Cilic and looked unfazed by the rain delayed start when play finally got underway three hours later than scheduled. Setting the tempo from the baseline, Murray cleverly pushed the world number 12 out of position as he drove a blistering forehand to break in the second game. However, the Scot wasn’t able to make the most of his early momentum. Cilic was going for the lines to good effect and he broke when a forehand from the Scot smashed into the net on the third break point of a pivotal game at 4-2. The situation looked even bleaker for Murray

when he screamed in anguish after falling as he went to change direction after being wrongfooted by a Cilic winner on break point on the Croat’s serve in the next game. He lay in obvious discomfort on the grass for several moments and held his groin before finally playing on. Murray seemed fairly untroubled by the injury once he resumed but he had greater difficulty subduing Cilic. The Croatian forced a succession of Murray miscues and he broke for a 6-5 lead before staving off two break points to take the set. Even when Murray earned three break points at 3-2 in the second set, Cilic had all the answers and fought his way out of trouble. But Murray refused to accept it wouldn’t be his day and he hit back to level the match. Serving to stay in the set at 6-5, Cilic’s concentration wavered for the first time and Murray pounced, unloading a superb return that the Croat could only push tamely into the net. Murray had the initiative now and delivered the knockout blow with a break in the fourth game of the deciding set. Cilic helped the Scot’s cause with a sloppy game riddled with unforced errors and Murray was in no mood to refuse the gift, quickly closing out the match in ruthless fashion with a series of searing winners.—AFP

Federer wins Halle title Ties McEnroe on 77 trophies

HALLE: Swiss Roger Federer celebrates with his trophy after winning the ATP Gerry Weber Open tennis tournament. —AFP

HALLE: Roger Federer won his first title of the year yesterday, the world number three beating Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-4 in the ATP final at Halle. This was the 31-year-old Swiss great’s sixth Halle title and the 77th win of his career, but first since Cincinnati on the eve of the US Open in 2012. His 77th title also saw him draw level with John McEnroe in third position in the all-time career titles list. After losing the opening set, the former world number one battled back to preserve his per fect record over Youzhny in 15 meetings in over two hours of play. “Winning solves everything. I am satisfied with my game, confident, fresh and excited about what lies ahead,” said Federer who will be chasing a record eighth Wimbledon title from next week. “There’s always a few things I can work on but I can think about that between now and the start of Wimbledon.” For Federer, beaten by Rafael Nadal in his only previous final appearance of 2013 on the clay in Rome and brushed aside by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the French Open quarter-finals, this was the ideal preparation ahead of his Wimbledon defence. The top seed, who overcame veteran German Tommy Haas in Saturday’s semi-final, was thrilled to finally get off the mark for the year. “Mikhail has produced a great tournament, that’s why I’m so happy to have won,” he said.

“I had to fight hard to remain in the race in the second set. I served well (he produced 12 aces) and that’s what saved me today.” Federer missed five break points in the first set, four of them coming in the opening game, before coming off second best in the tie break after one hour of play. But he fought back to level the encounter against the Russian, going on to win the match with a love game on his service. Federer had won this grass court title four years in succession from 2003 to 2006 and again in 2008. Yesterday’s win was his 13th trophy on grass. Federer, who now has a 43-5 career record at Halle, had been in impressive form at the tournament with a 39-minute, 6-0, 6-0 win over German qualifier Mischa Zverev in the quarter-finals, only the second double-bagel of his career. He then saw off defending champion Tommy Haas in a tight three-setter in the semi-finals. “To lose the first set twice and still win, it’s a great feeling,” said Federer. Youzhny had reached the final by beating three seeded playersKei Nishikori, Philipp Kohlschreiber and then Richard Gasquet, all of them in straight sets. “I continue to improve my game. Tennis changes every year and I have to change with it if I am to stay at the top,” said the 31year-old Russian.—AFP

Hantuchova bags Aegon Classic BIRMINGHAM: Sixteen-year-old Croatian Donna Vekic was denied her first WTA title as she lost 7-6(5) 6-4 to Tour stalwart Daniela Hantuchova in the Aegon Classic final in Birmingham yesterday. Vekic, the youngest player in the top 350 in the rankings, fell in her second final of the year as Hantuchova’s greater experience edged her to her first title at the

Wimbledon warm-up event at Edgbaston, having been runner-up in 2011. “She played a very good match and deser ved to win,” Londonbased Vekic, who is trained by Tim Henman’s old coach David Felgate, told Reuters. “This was my second WTA final and I’m still only 16. Things have gone fast so far in my career but I’m

hoping when I make my third final I will win it. “But it’s been a great week considering it was my first grasscourt event on the WTA Tour. Now I’m really looking for ward to Wimbledon.” Vekic, ranked 89th in the world, showed her mettle to break the Hantuchova serve in the eighth game after losing her own to a

double fault, going on to take the former world number five into a tiebreak. Slovakian Hantuchova, 30, then pounced in the 10th game of the second set to claim her sixth career title. All eyes will be on Vekic, who reached her first W TA final in Tashkent last year, when she makes her Wimbledon main draw debut this year.—Reuters

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


Jarnet lands French Oaks PARIS: Veteran French jockey Thierry Jarnet won his first French Oaks in style yesterday easing to victory on the unbeaten Treve at Chantilly racecourse. The 46-year-old - who had won two Prix de l’Arc de Triomphes but never managed to win the fillies classic - conjured up a great burst of speed midway down the finishing straight to come home four lengths clear at 9/1 and give trainer Criquette Head-Maarek her third win in the race but first since 2000 with Egyptband. However, this was especially personal for her as they were the same all red silks - those of her father Alec - carried to victory by her first Oaks winner Harbor way back in 1982. Both Head-Maarek and Jarnet were in tears after Treve crossed the line in front of an impressive crowd that included Australian actor Simon Baker, star of such films as LA Confidential and popular US network TV series The Mentalist. Head-Maarek, whose family is steeped in French racing history with her brother Freddie having been a top jockey (he rode Harbor to victory in 1982) and now an equally successful trainer while Alec was a champion trainer, said that the people’s warm reaction had provoked the outpouring of emotion. “Well I think it is because of my experience and my advancing age that they came up to congratulate me,” said the 64year-old, who was tasting her first Group One success in almost three years since landing The Prix Moulin in September 2010. “Also to win this race in the colors that I won my first in and with the family link it is all a bit much. “However, Treve I always regarded as my best horse, even last year at two, and she confirmed that impression to me when we started this season. “She has extraordinary acceleration

and she displayed that to great effect today. This is a wonderful win for the whole team.” However, Head-Maarek, married to a racing journalist, admitted she had not planned everything with such scientific excellence. “My one mistake is that I didn’t enter her for the Arc de Triomphe. Will I supplement her? No there are plenty of other races out there,” said Head-Maarek, who is perhaps the best trainer of fillies in Europe having saddled seven winners of the French 1000 Guineas and also won the English 1000 Guineas four times. Jarnet, who has had over 18,000 rides since he started riding competitively with his first winner coming in 1985, said that horses like Treve were the reason for him continuing in the sport. “I had never won this before, I was edged out by a nose on Baya in 1993 so I knew the pain of what it was like to just miss out,” he said. “It is great now to be able to jot this one off my must do list, although, I have to say it was starting to become a case of now or never as I am getting rather old! “However, a horse like Treve renews one’s enthusiasm for the sport because horses of her quality are the reason why we exist and survive in the sport.” The 16/1 outsider Chicquita, who unusually for a flat horse had fallen last time out, finished strongly to take second under last year’s French Derby winning rider Anthony Hamelin while Olivier Peslier, like Jarnet without a win in the race prior to yesterday, had to make do with third on the 4/1 chance Silasol in what was his 19th attempt. Favorite Flotilla had every chance entering the final two furlongs but her hopes of adding the Oaks to her impressive win in the shorter 1000 Guineas were soon dashed as she faded quickly to finish well down the 11 runner field.—AFP

CHANTILLY: French jockey Thierry Jarnet celebrates after winning on Treve the 164th Prix de Diane, a 2100-metre flat horse race open to three-year-old thoroughbred fillies. —AFP

Lorenzo storms to victory MONTMELO: Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo trimmed the gap to championship leader Dani Pedrosa at the top of the MotoGP standings to seven points when he stormed to victor y at a sweltering Catalunya grand prix yesterday. The Spanish world champion beat compatriot and Honda pilot Pedrosa to the first corner and pulled away in the latter stages to win by just under two seconds, his second consecutive win at the Montmelo circuit near Barcelona. Rookie Marc Marquez completed an allSpanish podium when he finished just behind Pedrosa in third after pushing his team mate hard on the final laps. A host of riders including Britain’s Cal Crutchlow, Spaniard Alvaro Bautista and American Nicky Hayden crashed out leaving former world champion Valentino Rossi of Italy to coast home in fourth. “Right from the first corner we were having huge problems with the front tyre but I imagine all the riders were as the temperature was horrible,” Lorenzo said in an interview with Spanish television broadcaster Telecinco. “It was extremely hot and the tyres lost a lot of performance but as I said the start was crucial and I got a better start than I expected and was able to get past Dani at the first corner,” he added. “It was a bit like cat and mouse but

towards the end I was able to push a bit harder and I was able to win such a tough and physically challenging race.” It was a faultless performance from Lorenzo, who also beat local hero Pedrosa into second in Catalunya last year, and the 26-year-old Majorcan has 116 points after six of 18 races. Pedrosa leads on 123 points with Marquez third on 93 and Crutchlow fourth on 71. “At the beginning it was reasonably comfortable with a decent rhythm but then the tyres started to deteriorate and the three of us slowed down,” Pedrosa told Telecinco. “I was never able to get to the straight right behind Jorge to attempt a pass,” added the 27-year-old. “It was an easy day to fall and I wanted to push him (Lorenzo) but I knew that I couldn’t make any mistakes.” In the Moto2 category, Spaniard Pol Espargaro secured his second win of the year ahead of compatriot Esteve Rabat in second, Swiss Thomas Luethi in third and championship leader Scott Redding of Britain in fourth. Luis Salom moved to the top of the Moto3 standings with his third victory of the year with Alex Rins and Maverick Vinales in second and third respectively as Spaniards filled the top five places. The riders now head to Assen, Netherlands for the next races at the end of this month.—Reuters

Photo of the day

Levi Siver windsurfs at the Rock at Pistol River near Gold Beach, Oregon. —

Kiwis fall 10-runs short as England book semis spot CARDIFF: England put a ball-tampering row behind them to book their place in the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy with a 10-run win over New Zealand in Cardiff yesterday. New Zealand, chasing 170 for victory in a match reduced by rain to 24 overs per side, were held by the tournament hosts to 159 for eight. Victory saw England, yet to win a major 50-over tournament, into the last four as one of two qualifiers out of Group A after their build-up for this match was overshadowed by ball-tampering allegations made against them by former captain Bob Willis. If Sri Lanka beat champions Australia in Monday’s final Group A fixture at The Oval they will also feature in a last four that already includes Group B winners India and runners-up South Africa. New Zealand could yet reach the semi-finals themselves if Australia win but fail to do so by a large enough margin to better the Black Caps’ net run-rate. James Anderson, who finished with three wickets for 32 runs in five overs, reduced New Zealand to 14 for two by dismissing openers Luke Ronchi and Martin Guptill in the same over. Medium-pacer Ravi Bopara, in overcast conditions assisting seamers, took two for 26 in five overs. England captain Alastair Cook, the man-of-thematch, was dropped three times by Nathan McCullum on his way to top-scoring with 64 in a total of 169 all out. Off-spinner Nathan McCullum finally clung on to a return offering from his own bowling to dismiss left-handed opener Cook. This victory also meant England won their ‘decider’ with New Zealand after they triumphed 21 in a one-day series in New Zealand earlier this year before the Black Caps turned the table by the same margin in a series in England in the run-up to the Champions Trophy.. Kane Williamson kept New Zealand hopes alive with a 48-ball fifty completed when he struck Anderson for his seventh four before lofting Tim Bresnan for six. Suddenly, New Zealand needed 36 to win off 18 balls with five wickets left. But Williamson then holed out off Stuart Broad for 67, although the paceman had a worrying few moments before a review for a tight no-ball call went in his favor. And 135 for six became 140 for seven when Corey Anderson, making his one-day international debut, was caught by Anderson off Bresnan. That left New Zealand 140 for seven and needing 30 to win off 10 balls. Anderson wrapped up victory by having Nathan McCullum caught behind off the final delivery of the match. After New Zealand won the toss, Ian Bell was out when Brendon McCullum held a superb catch at short extra-cover off Mitchell McClenaghan. And 16 for one became 25 for two when Jonathan Trott, chipped Mills straight to Nathan McCullum, Brendon’s older brother, at mid-wicket. Trott’s exit gave Mills his 25th Champions Trophy wicket, surpassing the competition record of retired Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah

Muralitharan. James Franklin almost struck first ball when Cook pulled him to mid-wicket only for Nathan McCullum to drop the chance. Left-hander Cook drove Franklin for six and flicked him over his shoulder for a four. But Franklin

CARDIFF: New Zealand’s Kane Williamson (left) bats during the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy cricket match against England at the Cardiff Wales Stadium.—AFP

SCOREBOARD CARDIFF, United Kingdom: Final scoreboard in the Champions Trophy Group A match between England and New Zealand in Cardiff yesterday: England A. Cook c and b N McCullum 64 I. Bell c B McCullum b McClenaghan 10 J. Trott c N McCullum b Mills 8 J. Root c Ronchi b McClenaghan 38 E. Morgan lbw b Vettori 15 J. Buttler c N McCullum b Mills 14 R. Bopara c Williamson b McClenaghan 9 T. Bresnan run out (Franklin) 4 S. Broad c N McCullum b Mills 0 J. Tredwell c McClenaghan b Mills 0 J. Anderson not out 0 Extras (lb2, w4, nb1) 7 Total (all out, 23.3 overs) 169 Fall of wickets: 1-16 (Bell), 2-25 (Trott), 3-100 (Root), 4-141 (Cook), 5-143 (Morgan), 6-159 (Buttler), 7-166 (Bopara), 8-169 (Bresnan), 9-169 (Broad), 10-169 (Tredwell) Bowling: McClenaghan 5-0-36-3 (3w); Mills 4.30-30-4 (1nb); Anderson 1-0-4-0; Vettori 5-0-27-1; Franklin 2-0-20-0; N McCullum 4-0-30-1; Williamson 2-0-20-0 (1w).

New Zealand L. Ronchi c Trott b Anderson 2 M. Guptill b Anderson 9 K. Williamson c Anderson b Broad 67 R. Taylor lbw b Bresnan 3 B. McCullum c Root b Bopara 8 J. Franklin c Morgan b Bopara 6 C. Anderson c Anderson b Bresnan 30 N. McCullum c Buttler b Anderson 13 K. Mills not out 5 Extras (lb8, w8) 16 Total (8 wkts, 24 overs) 159 Fall of wickets: 1-14 (Ronchi), 2-14 (Guptill), 3-27 (Taylor), 4-48 (B McCullum), 5-62 (Franklin), 6135 (Williamson), 7-140 (Anderson), 8-159 (N McCullum) Did not bat: D Vettori, M McClenaghan Bowling: Broad 5-0-25-1 (2w); Anderson 5-0-323 (3w); Bresnan 5-0-41-2 (2w); Bopara 5-0-26-2 (1w); Tredwell 4-0-27-0. Result: England won by 10 runs Man-of-the-match: Alastair Cook (ENG) Note: Match reduced by rain to 24 overs per side.

England’s bowler Anderson denies ball-tampering claims Champions Trophy table Champions Trophy table after yesterday’s match between England and New Zealand at Cardiff (played, won, lost, tied, no result, points, net run-rate): England




New Zealand Sri Lanka Australia

3 2 2

1 1 0

1 1 1




South Africa


West Indies Pakistan

3 3

Group A 0



1 0 1

3 2 1


0 0 0 Group B 0








1 0

1 3

1 0

0 0

3 0

Semi-finals Jun 19, The Oval: A1 v South Africa Jun 20, Cardiff: A2 v India

SPAIN: Yamaha Factory Racing Spanish rider Jorge Lorenzo celebrates on the podium after winning the MotoGP race of the Catalunya Grand Prix. —AFP

almost had him again only for Nathan McCullum to drop a juggled chance at mid-wicket. Nathan McCullum then put down a relatively easy catch when, at backward point, he dropped Cook’s cut off Williamson.—AFP

Final Jun 23, Edgbaston Note: Day matches start at 0930GMT, D/N (day/night matches) at 1200GMT

+0.31 - qualified for semi-finals +0.78 -0.52 -0.96 +0.94 - qualified for semi-finals +0.33 - qualified for semi-finals -0.07 -1.03

LONDON: England strike bowler James Anderson has rejected claims from former captain Bob Willis that the ball was tampered with during a Champions Trophy match against Sri Lanka at the Oval last Thursday. Willis, who is now a television pundit, said umpire Aleem Dar’s decision to change one of the two balls after 25 overs of the Sri Lanka innings was made because the ball had been scratched to assist the bowlers and not because it had gone out of shape. David Lloyd, another former England player who is also now a television commentator, tweeted: “Ball change is simple...umpires thought that Eng changed the condition of the ball....which is against the laws.” The allegations were denied by England oneday coach Ashley Giles, who told a news conference: “We don’t tamper with the ball. The ball was changed, as far as I am aware, because it had gone out of shape.” Anderson told the Mail yesterday that Willis’ comments were an unwelcome distraction. “The fact is people can think what they like. We know the truth, I can state categorically that no one in the England team has ever tampered with a ball and we won’t allow comments made by someone like Bob Willis to worry us,” he said. “I hadn’t bowled for a while so I didn’t see the shape of the ball but the umpires put it through their rings to test it and decided it needed changing.” Anderson said the England bowlers’ ability to reverse swing the ball did not mean it was being tampered with. “Just because one bowler or one team reverse a ball better than another on a given day doesn’t mean to say he or they have been tampering. It just means they’re more skilful,” he said. “I can assure you that if any of the England bowlers achieve it then it is within the letter of the laws.” —Reuters


MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


RIO DE JANEIRO: Italy’s Mario Balotelli scores his team’s second goal during the soccer Confederations Cup Group A match between Mexico and Italy at Maracana stadium. — AP

Balotelli fires Italy past Mexico RIO DE JANEIRO: Mario Balotelli showed off his strength and rapidly developing talent by scoring the winner in Italy’s 2-1 victory over Mexico yesterday at the Confederations Cup. In the 78th minute, Balotelli collected a perfectly placed acrobatic pass from Emanuele Giaccherini and muscled in between two defenders to break a deadlock in the first official match at the renovated Maracana Stadium. Celebrating his 100th appearance with the national team, Andrea Pirlo had given Italy the lead with one of his trademark free kicks in the 27th. Mexico equalized in the 34th, when Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez converted a penalty kick after Andrea Barzagli tripped Giovani Dos Santos. In an entertaining Group A match, Italy dominated possession while Mexico relied on counterattacks, coming close when Andres Guardado hit the crossbar

in the 11th. Italy moved level with Brazil on three points in the group after the hosts beat Japan 3-0 in the tournament opener Saturday. The Azzurri had not impressed in their last two matches, drawing with both the Czech Republic in a World Cup qualifier and with Haiti upon arriving in Brazil earlier this week, but Pirlo and Balotelli made the difference this time. For his 13th goal with Italy, Pirlo curled a spinning shot over Mexico’s wall into the top left corner after Balotelli earned the foul that set up the dead-ball shot from 30 meters (yards) out. Mexico’s equalizer came after Barzagli let Dos Santos get by him to set up Hernandez’s 33rd goal in 51 appearances for Mexico. The 25-year-old Hernandez, who plays for Manchester United, is on course to better the Mexico record of 42 goals held by

former great Jared Borgetti. As usual, the temperamental Balotelli by turn misbehaved and by turn proved unstoppable. At one point midway through the second half, Balotelli kicked his boot across the area after being thwarted by Mexico’s stubborn defense. But the AC Milan striker finally broke through as the match appeared headed for a draw, holding off Mexico captain Francisco Rodriguez then powering past another defender, Hiram Mier, to slot the ball in as he skidded across the grass. Much like at last year’s European Championship, when he scored both goals in a 2-1 semifinal win over Germany and pulled off his shirt after one of them, Balotelli reacted by stripping off his jersey to show off his muscular physique, earning a yellow card. Perhaps worried that he might pick up a second yellow card, as in the match against the Czech Republic,

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli replaced Balotelli in the 85th with Alberto Gilardino. Balotelli walked off to a warm reception from the sold-out crowd. For Mexico, which entered amid a stuttering World Cup qualifying campaign, the loss will extend pressure on coach Jose Manuel De la Torre. However, the Mexican side showed promise and came close to taking the lead in the second half. Mexico has won only one of six qualifiers with three goals scored, and failed to find the target at all in its last two drawn matches against Panama and Costa Rica. Despite their squad’s recent troubles, Mexican fans, many of them wearing their customary sombreros, hugely outnumbered blue-clad Italian supporters on a comfortable afternoon. In the next round of Group A matches Wednesday, Italy next faces Japan in Recife and Mexico play Brazil in Fortaleza. — AP


Tahiti plot ambush of jetlagged Nigeria BELO HORIZONTE: Nigeria’s status as resounding favorites to beat minnows Tahiti in their Confederations Cup opener today has been compromised by a delayed arrival that leaves them just 36 hours to prepare for the game. Tahiti became the first team to arrive in Brazil for the intercontinental showpiece when they touched down on June 7, a full 10 days before the Group B clash with African champions Nigeria in Belo Horizonte. In stark contrast, Nigeria are not due to arrive until 0400 local time (0700 GMT) yesterday, giving Stephen Keshi’s squad precious little time to shake the jet lag from their systems and get ready for the match. A row over bonus payments had put Nigeria’s participation in jeopardy, only for sports minister Mallam Bolaji

Abdullahi to broker a truce between the squad and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). The Super Eagles have nonetheless gone 17 games unbeaten and will expect to open their campaign with victory against a side ranked 138th in the FIFA ranking. Representing the French Polynesian islands in the south Pacific, which have a population of just 270,000, Tahiti have no previous senior tournament experience. Their preparations have included a 7-0 thrashing by Chile’s under-20 side and a 1-0 loss to Brazilian second-tier club Mineiro, and forward Steevy Chong Hue knows his side could be set for a rude awakening. “For an amateur player, it is a dream to face the best players in the world,” he said. “However, for it not to become a nightmare, we have to keep working really hard so we are ready for the first game.” Despite the vast disparity between the sides, Nigeria defender Efe Ambrose says the risk of international humiliation will keep his team-mates on their toes. “We cannot afford to take any chances,” the versatile Celtic player told the FIFA website. “Big shocks have happened before in these kind of tournaments and we don’t want to be the victims this time.” Tahiti, who qualified by winning the Oceania Nations Cup, will hope to draw inspiration from the venue of Monday’s game, which was the scene of the United States’ shock 1-0 victory over England at the 1950 World Cup. Home to Brazilian sides Cruzeiro and Atletico Mineiro, the 62,547-capacity Estadio Mineirao has undergone an extensive overhaul in preparation for the Confederations Cup and next year’s World Cup. Tahiti coach Eddy Etaeta will hand a debut to former Monaco forward Marama Vahirua, the squad’s only professional player, whose commitments in Europe have prevented him from playing at international level before. Nigeria will be without Lazio midfielder Ogenyi Onazi, who has followed Spartak Moscow striker Emmanuel Emenike and Chelsea winger Victor Moses in withdrawing from the squad due to injury. — AFP

Today’s match on TV

FIFA Confederations Cup

BELO HORIZONTE: Tahiti’s national football team player Marama Vahirua, the only professional player of the team, kicks a ball during a training session. — AFP

French Polynesia v Nigeria.....................22:00 Al-Jazeera Sport 1 HD Al-Jazeera Sport +9 Al-Jazeera Sport 2 HD


Neymar renews Brazil’s number 10 love affair BELO HORIZONTE: As Neymar drove a blistering shot into the top-right corner of the Japanese goal in Brazil’s Confederations Cup opener on Saturday, he strengthened his claim to one of the most coveted garments in world sport. There are many iconic shirt numbers in football-the Argentina number 10, the number seven shirt at Manchester United, Celtic and Liverpool-but none are as evocative as Brazil’s numero dez. In many countries, such as Argentina, Italy and the Balkan states, the number 10 is associated with languid playmakers, but in Brazil it often graces the torso of the team’s most dynamic player. When someone dons the shirt, they are thereby grasping a thread that runs all the way back to the great Pele. Pele first wore the jersey as a 17-year-old at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden and it did not leave his back until he called time on his international career, 13 years and three World Cup winners’ medals later, in 1971. As well as his 77 international goals, Pele’s outrageous inventiveness meant

that the shirt came to represent Brazil’s innate gift for creativity. At the 1970 World Cup, Brazil’s crowning glory, he tried to lob the Czech goalkeeper from halfway and later flummoxed Uruguay goalkeeper Ladislao Mazurkiewicz with an audacious dummy in the semi-finals. Neither action resulted in a goal, but with his imagination and his ideas, Pele gave thrilling hints that there were new and unorthodox ways to play the game. Any number of Brazil’s players could have sported the number 10 at the 1982 World Cup in Spain, but the honor fell to Zico, who spearheaded one of the most popular teams never to have won the tournament. Pele aside, the only other men to lift the World Cup in the Brazil number 10 shirt are Rai and Rivaldo, both of whom possessed the requisite attributes of elegance, vision and match-changing class. With its green numbering against a yellow background, the shirt is recognisable all around the world, but in the wrong circumstances, it can weigh like a lead weight.

Ronaldinho and Kaka, Ballon d’Or winners both, failed to inspire Brazil at the World Cups of 2006 and 2010, and recent wearers, including Neymar’s former Santos team-mate Ganso, have fared little better. “The number 10 normally denotes two things,” says Brazilian football specialist and writer Jack Lang. “Firstly, and most obviously, an element of fantasy: the 10 is the player who can win a match-or rescue it-with a feint, flick or free-kick. “But the craque (star player) has a burden to bear: he’s not like the other players, so isn’t judged by the same criteria. “There is a responsibility involved because the team’s prospects are so entwined with his performance.” It was therefore with great care that Neymar was eased into the number 10 shirt. For Santos, and at previous tournaments with Brazil, he has worn the number 11 shirt, synonymous with the skittish outside-lefts of yesteryear. A number 11 can be a great talent, but he is rarely the player around which the team is constructed. — AFP


Jittery markets await clarity from the Fed Page 22 Islamic finance in Tunisia could reach 25-40% share Page 23

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013

Why World Cup can’t save Brazil’s tourism industry

Spaniards march against austerity

Page 25

Page 26

KSE rises on court ruling Traders attribute Kuwait gains to state-linked funds DUBAI: Kuwait’s bourse rose yesterday on what traders said was buying by government-linked funds ahead of a politically sensitive court ruling. After the close, the court dissolved parliament and called for new elections, bringing fresh uncertainty to the Gulf state. Most other regional markets fell in heavy selling, dragged down by escalating geopolitical tensions surrounding Syria and the shaky global environment for emerging markets. Kuwait’s measure climbed 0.3 percent, halting a two-session losing streak. The market is still up 34.1 percent year-to-date, in a rally driven mainly by retail investors, who have been encouraged by a government push on economic development and expected improvement in corporate earnings. The Constitutional Court threw out opposition challenges to changes to the electoral system which had been decreed by HH the Amir. It is not yet clear whether this will prompt a stronger campaign of opposition street protests, or whether the next parliament will be more or less willing to work with the Cabinet to implement stalled economic projects. “There are many people praising this resolution - but my only reservation is that we don’t need any more obstruction in the movement of long-overdue economic development,” said Fouad Darwish, head of brokerage at Global Investment House. Darwish said the market outlook would depend on whether the previous parliament was reinstated or new elections took place. But political uncertainty may trigger government buying through the National Portfolio Fund, established to support the market, he added. “I’m sure the government had its hand in the market to lift prices.” Region Elsewhere, most regional markets retreated. Dubai’s benchmark lost 2.3 percent, cutting its

2013 gains to 44.6 percent. Abu Dhabi’s measure retreated 0.9 percent. As the Syria crisis intensified, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi said he had cut diplomatic ties with Damascus and backed a no-fly zone over Syria. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah cut short a holiday abroad to deal with the issue of Syria, while the United States said it would keep F-16 fighters and Patriot missiles in Jordan at Amman’s request. “The biggest discount to this region by foreigners is political risks, and although generally this risk is misunderstood and overdone, the situation in Syria is a real threat,” said Amer Khan, fund manager at Shuaa Asset Management in Dubai. The instability in Syria could potentially affect the Suez Canal and therefore oil supplies, he added. In Doha, the index shed 0.6 percent, its second decline from Wednesday’s 57-month high. The United Arab Emirates and Qatar surged last Wednesday after an announcement by index compiler MSCI that it would upgrade the two countries to emerging market status. But since the markets had already gained sharply this year, the positive impact of the news has been shortlived. Traders said Qatar was not, however, significantly affected by news that the central bank had tightened its curbs on how much banks could invest in stocks and bonds, lowering the cap to 25 percent of their capital and reserves. The rules may not have much immediate effect in forcing banks to sell securities because not all banks have reached the limits, and since the time frame for banks to comply is not yet clear. Egypt’s main benchmark fell 1.0 percent, extending 2013 losses to 15.7 percent. Trading volumes fell to 30 million shares, a three-week low, as investors maintained a risk-averse attitude towards a market with huge economic and political risks. Saudi Arabia’s bourse climbed 0.5 percent, reversing some of its losses from the previous session, when it plunged 4.3 percent in response to the Syria crisis. — Reuters

Dubai World makes major asset sale DUBAI: Dubai World, the state-linked group whose $25 billion of debt brought the emirate to the brink of financial collapse in 2009, has sold one of its UK assets as part of its efforts to repay creditors. A unit of Toronto-based investment company Brookfield Asset Management has bought logistics warehouse developer Gazeley from Dubai World subsidiary Economic Zones World (EZW ), the Canadian firm said in a statement. It did not disclose the value of the transaction. The sale is the first major divestments of a foreign asset by Dubai World since it agreed on a debt deal with creditors in 2011. The restructuring agreement promised full repayment to creditors through a series of disposals of overseas assets bought at peak prices in 2006-07. Gazeley is one of four businesses held by EZW, which operates technology, logistics and industrial parks as well as the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), a business district, under the Dubai World Group umbrella. Its portfolio includes 524,000 square metre of assets and land bank of 1.3 million square metres. Proceeds from the sale of Gazeley are expected to go towards the repayment of a $1.2 billion loan secured by associate firm JAFZA in June last year. EZW had pledged up to $300 million for JAFZA from the proceeds raised by the Gazeley sale, and should the sale be completed, funds will be used to part-repay the bank facility, a company prospectus stated. The logistics warehouses firm was set aside for sale in 2012 as part of Dubai World’s restructuring deal. Gazeley had hired Citigroup Inc for the sale in 2011, banking sources told Reuters at the time. “This particular asset was earmarked for

sale and it’s a positive indication that they have disposed it,” said a senior Dubai-based banking source whose firm has exposure to Dubai debt. “The big elephant in the room is still Dubai World and we would like to see more such deals coming out of them in the near future. There is a willingness to do it more than before and (the) general improvement in market conditions should help going forward.” Dubai World bought Gazeley from WalMart Stores in 2008 for an estimated 300 to 400 million pounds ($459-$611 million). A fall in asset prices since then means the sale to Brookfield may have occurred at a lower price. Brookfield Asset spun off subsidiary Brookfield Property Partners in April, which holds substantially all of the commercial property assets previously held directly by Brookfield Asset. Brookfield Property said the acquisition was made along with its institutional partners through a fund managed by an affiliate of Brookfield Asset. It will own 30 percent of Gazeley post the acquisition. Brookfield was the first large international fund to target Dubai’s real estate, when it announced plans to launch a $1 billion fund with state-controlled Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) in 2011. The firm, along with ICD planned to buy up distressed assets in the emirate. Meanwhile, Qatar’s central bank has tightened its curbs on how much banks can invest in stocks and bonds, according to a circular released by the central bank and seen by Reuters. Banks’ total investment in equities and debt instruments must be limited to 25 percent of their capital and reserves, though debt instruments issued by the government

and national banks are exempt from the limits. Previously, under instructions to banks issued in November 2011, the limits were 30 percent each for equities and debt instruments. Among other restrictions, the central bank set new limits for investment in individual companies and unlisted securities, and introduced a 15 percent ceiling for total securities investment outside Qatar. Real estate investment by Islamic banks will be limited to 10 percent of capital and reserves; previously, the limit was 30 percent. The central bank did not give the reasons for its new rules, but Qatar is gearing up to spend tens of billions of dollars on major infrastructure projects, and it is seeking to develop its government debt market partly to help finance this. The circular did not say over what time frame the new rules would be implemented, and central bank officials could not be contacted to elaborate. The rules may push banks to free up more money to lend to infrastructure projects or invest in government debt, but may not have much immediate effect in forcing them to sell securities because not all banks have reached the limits. A report by Jaap Meijer, regional head of financial research at Arqaam Capital, estimated Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) would be most affected by the new rules, since it currently had 32 percent of its capital in equity and debt securities, 7 percentage points above the ceiling, while 19 percent of its capital was in unlisted securities, 9 points above the limit. Qatar National Bank, Commercial Bank of Qatar , Al Khalij Commercial Bank and QIB exceed the limits for international investments, he said. — Reuters

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


ABK updates ‘eAhli Online Banking’ service

Jittery markets await clarity from the Fed Will Fed really reel in quantitative easing program? WASHINGTON: The Federal Reserve’s policy board meets tomorrow to review the economy and its stimulus program, and markets are looking for one thing: clarity. After weeks of tumultuous stock market volatility and a sharp fall in bond prices, bankers, investors and anyone else with a vested interest are waiting to hear: is the Fed really about to reel in its quantitative easing program? If so, could that be within months? Or will the US central bank wait for stronger economic growth to take that step? The markets eagerly await any meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, which sets the benchmark US dollar interest rate and, at the moment, continues to hold long-term rates down with its $85 billiona-month QE bond buying program. But much more rides on this FOMC meeting tomorrow and Wednesday, because over the past month billions of dollars have been bet on an aggressive interpretation of comments by Fed chief Ben Bernanke that the Fed is about to turn the corner on five years of stimulus. The belief that it will start tapering its bond purchases within months has sent bond prices plummeting and interest rates shooting up, and that, in turn, has pulled stocks lower, after they reached new records fueled by the Fed’s easy money policy. Yet US economic growth slowed slightly in the spring and remains at risk to slower growth around the world, and with the government slashing spending, Fed stimulus is still needed, economists say.

The Fed’s guideposts, unemployment and inflation, remain far off their target for a “normalized” fiscal policy. The unemployment rate is hovering at 7.6 percent-the target is 6.5 percent-and inflation is well below the 2.0 percent level the FOMC sees would be healthy. Most analysts say that means that the FOMC is likely to stay the course in this meeting. But how Bernanke hones his hints on future policy in a post-meeting press conference Wednesday will be key. “We do not expect Mr Bernanke to yet show confidence that the time to taper QE is near,” said Carl Riccadonna at Deutsche Bank. “But the most important aspect of his media Q&A will be whether he signals that a second-half taper remains plausible.” The bond market has decided. The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond shot up from 1.63 percent at the beginning of May to 2.23 percent in the past week, and the 30-year jumped from 2.82 percent to 3.38 percent. Partly behind that were the seeming at-odds comments by Bernanke to Congress on the issue on May 22. He first warned that tightening monetary policy now could stall the US recovery. But moments later he said the Fed could decide to start reining in stimulus in its “next few meetings,” taken as meaning as within months. Since then stock markets have swung wildly from day to day as investors hang on every economic data point to confirm or weaken the interpretation that cutting QE is nigh. Yet Bernanke has been at pains to stress that

the tapering QE purchases would begin only if the economic data supports a picture of a consistently improving economy. And the Fed has not yet concluded that, with US industry and employment still growing slowly. Still, there are reasons for nervousness. Many investors fear a repeat of Februar y 1994. Likewise a time of a tepid turnaround from recession, and with no evidence of inflationary pressures, the Fed without warning raised its benchmark federal funds rate for the first time in five years, and did so repeately over the next 10 months for a rate hike totalling a massive 2.5 percentage points. It came as a huge shock to the bond and stock markets, and criticism rained over the Fed. Two decades later, the conditions are similar. But the Fed has clearly taken to heart the lessons with its expanding emphasis on “communications”-on flagging the evolution of its thinking to the public in a regular and consistent way so there are no surprises. “The Fed will not slow its bond buying at the upcoming meeting. But Ben Bernanke has an opportunity to clarify for markets that, even if the Fed tapers later this year, interest rate hikes are still far in the future,” said economist Paul Edelstein at IHS Global Insight. Analysts at Wells Fargo said the low inflation rate means the Fed does not have to move yet. “While we expect inflation to rise over the remainder of the year, it will likely remain securely below the Fed’s two percent target and could sway the Fed to wait until late this year to begin tapering.” —AFP

KUWAIT: Al-Ahli Bank of Kuwait recently updated its ‘eAhli Online Banking’ service found on its website to provide a more user friendly, seamless experience to the customer. Othman Tawfiqi, Head of Alternative Delivery Channels stated ‘eAhli Online Banking’ service is one of the most comprehensive and up-to-date sites thanks to the modern technology tools that were incorporated. Now you can pay your credit cards outstanding balance directly via ‘eAhli Online Banking’ where the payment gets deposited into your card account right away.’ Tawfiqi highlighted, “Now customers can set instructions to place an amount in another account for a specified period, for timely and automatic transfer of payments. In the new service you will find an

IMF’s downgrade of world economic growth is a warning to central banks By Hayder Tawfik


fter the recent talk by the Federal Reserve about early tapering with the monthly bond purchase, investors around the world took fright and got into a selling frenzy of all kind of financial assets. Equities took the brunt

Croatia hopes the ‘EU label’ will boost tourism industry DUBROVNIK: Croatia’s azure Adriatic coastline dotted with over a thousand verdant islands has already won the nation a spot on the world tourist map and hopes are high that July’s EU entry will boost the sector and provide a much needed shot in the arm to the struggling economy. “EU entry will certainly improve Croatia’s image as a tourist destination and might even bring an investment surge,” said Goran Hrnic, chief executive of the Gulliver Travel agency, a member of TUI Travel, Europe’s largest tour operator. In 2012, Croatia hosted a record 11.8 million touristsmostly Germans, Slovenians, Italians and Austrians-nearly triple its population of 4.2 million. Tourism provides key support for Croatia’s economy, which has struggled in recession nearly continuously since 2009. Last year, tourism accounted for some 15 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) with income totalling some 6.8 billion euros ($8.8 billion). After a peak in the 1980s, Croatia’s tourism was hardhit by its 1991-1995 independence war. The conflict even touched the so-called Pearl of the Adriatic, when Serb forces laid seige and shelled the medieval port of Dubrovnik in 1991, killing and wounding dozens and causing severe damage. But since the end of the war, the industry has gradually recovered to surpass its pre-war levels. The country’s main draw is its 1,777-kilometre (1,101-mile) long coast with some 1,100 islands and islets, of which only 66 are inhabited. An alluring Mediterranean climate, budget airline connections, and affordable prices have proved a winning formula for tourists seeking sun and sand and young clubbers out for a good time. But its luxurious night spots also draw international celebrities and its and lavish marinas serve the yachting set out to find Robinson Crusoe-style secluded bays. “We definitely expect stronger demand for Croatia” after July 1 when the nation will wind up a decade-long process and join the European Union, Zeljko Miletic,

DUBROVNIK: This photo shows the medieval port of Dubrovnik on Croatia’s Adriatic coast. —AFP head of the Dubrovnik hoteliers’ association, told AFP. Hanke Reitz from Germany decided to visit Dubrovnik before the crowds move in at the peak of the season in July that coincides with the EU entry. “Many in Europe will now notice Croatia and realise they do not have to go to Greece or Spain to have beautiful holidays,” said Reitz. In Dubrovnik, the UNESCO world heritage-listed medieval town described by George Bernard Shaw as “paradise on Earth”, tourists often outnumber citizens. Last year, almost 800,000 tourists visited its famous twokilometre-long (1.2 mile-long) city walls, built over the 12th to the 17th century, and strolled along the polished stone blocks of the main promenade Stradun. Apart from tourists, who arrive mainly by plane and stay an average five days, every year Dubrovnik hosts

around one million cruise-ship visitors. Even the owners of a cafe that has made itself an international reputation by doing things the traditional way sees some value in the change coming next month. “For the past 50 years nothing has changed, neither quality nor service, that is why people like us,” said Dinka Popovic, the Skola owner. The small cafe got its nameSchool-from students cutting classes and spending time there filling up on its typical Dalmatian cuisine, uses organic products from the same suppliers it has used from decades. Popovic says it “will be better in EU” as she served home-made prosciutto and cheese sandwiches, sardine salad, and strudel to clients at her seven tables. “There will be no borders, so people might decide on visiting even more,” added her husband Miljenko. —AFP

exclusive tab for SMS service where you can register to track your account every step, and other requests such as create an account, issue a credit card or a cheque book, or raise credit cards limit at anytime.” With ‘eAhli Online Banking’ ABK customers can transfer funds online whether local or international, in addition to receiving a detailed bank statement for the last six months. He added, “In the newly revamped ‘eAhli Online Banking’ service, different packages have been created depending on the account type, in addition to the exclusive package made for Prestige account customers, and a special package made to suit the younger age group via Fahoodi account. Last, but not the least, customers can now even pay their Zain bills using this service”.

and was followed by bonds and in the last few days emerging market currencies were sold off aggressively. This was another reminder of the extent to which market gains have been based on ultra easy monetary policies followed around the world by most central banks rather than underlying economic growth. The warning by the IMF about the fragility of the world economy was in my opinion a warning to central banks that tapering with Quantitative Easing is far too early. The IMF and OECD reminded us how fragile global growth was by cutting forecasts for major economies, while the European Central bank did the same by caving in twice with extension to deficit to GDP targets for euro-zone members to allow for an easing in austerity and focus on reforms. Global unemployment rate remains perilous, inflation benign and consumer confidence indicators depressed. Adding to all these is the concern about the weaker Chinese economy. Economic data from the US are still showing falling unemployment and stronger consumers spending with a healthy housing market. But the US is not immune from what is happening around the world. I think Ben Bernanke is think-

ing twice about early tapering and his concern should be the declining inflation rate and not strong economic growth. Most central banks have undershot their inflation targets and this is quite worrying at a time of weak global economic growth and tough austerity measures. Was the recent correction in equities, bonds and currencies are justified! The answer is very simple. It is all to do with valuations. I have been saying for while those historical yields on bonds are not sustainable regardless if central banks buying or not. It is purely overvalued and investors are not paid to hold them. Even if these bonds are rated top quality. On the contrary they are the most overvalued as investors been chasing save heaven bonds. Equity valuation is less overvalued relative to bonds and cash. Stocks with good financial fundamentals and solid earnings have been overvalued for a while and will remain overvalued but that is not a reason to hold on to them unless an investor has to be in the stock market. I think investors should focus on small to mid cap stocks that are domestically orientated and have less risk to a global economic slow down. As for currencies, well the competitive devaluation has been going on for a while and the recent sell off in some of emerging markets currencies is a bless in disguise for some central banks. At present, investors will wonder over what periods will central banks reverse the Quantitative Easing policy and what will be the impact on the markets. A rapid reversal in easy monetary policy by central banks at a time when government spending is still cut and when the banks and the consumers are running down their debts could result in a trend reversal in the capital markets. The worry of which has caused most of the recent corrections. I think central banks will start unwinding the ultra easy monetary policy very slowly and in a measured way so as to avoid market shock and reduce unwarranted risk. My advise to investors is to take advantage of big sell off created by a quantitative easing reversal and position themselves for more sustainable global economic recovery. —Hayder Tawfik is the Executive Vice President of Asset Management, at Dimah Capital.

EXCHANGE RATES Malaysian ringgit Irani Riyal Irani Riyal

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

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

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

ASIAN COUNTRIES 2.901 4.870 2.886 2.231 3.049 226.790 36.693 3.652 6.590 9.227

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

Omani Riyal Qatari Riyal Saudi Riyal

94.271 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES 75.990 78.290 740.160 756.880 77.605

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 284.850 Euro 379.140 Sterling Pound 445.220 Canadian dollar 280.640 Turkish lira 149.830 Swiss Franc 306.620 Australian Dollar 269.330 US Dollar Buying 283.650 GOLD 265.000 134.000 70.000

SELL DRAFT 276.14 283.39 312.97 382.43 283.40 449.28 3.08 3.655 4.931 2.209 3.083 2.877 77.23 754.29 39.91 403.34

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

Selling Rate 283.750 280.895 445.920 380.130 300.705 751.230 77.230 77.885 75.630 399.990 39.942 2.223 4.857 2.877 3.643 6.561 696.050 4.000 9.785 4.055 3.325 95.150

Bahrain Exchange Company COUNTRY

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

748.000 79.500 76.000

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd

ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash 39.950 Egyptian Pound - Transfer 40.068 Yemen Riyal/for 1000 1.329 Tunisian Dinar 175.830 Jordanian Dinar 402.420 Lebanese Lira/for 1000 1.912 Syrian Lier 3.096 Morocco Dirham 34.444

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

737.02 78.26 75.70

SELL CASH 284.000 282.000 312.000 380.000 284.500 448.500 3.300 3.670 5.050 2.550 3.250 2.900 78.800 753.000 38.80 410.000

British Pound Czech Korune Danish Krone Euro Norwegian Krone Scottish Pound Swedish Krona Swiss Franc Australian Dollar New Zealand Dollar Uganda Shilling Canadian Dollar Colombian Peso US Dollars Bangladesh Taka Cape Vrde Escudo Chinese Yuan Eritrea-Nakfa

SELL CASH Europe 0.4385459 0.0067169 0.0467706 0.3737158 0.0457018 0.4341150 0.0400591 0.3034377 Australasia 0.2621097 0.2207648 0.0001113 America 0.2723886 0.0001443 0.2816500 Asia 0.0035991 0.0031476 0.0452909 0.0163867

SELLDRAFT 0.4475459 0.0187169 0.0517706 0.3812154 0.0509018 0.4416150 0.0450591 0.3104377 0.2741097 0.2307648 0.0001113 0.2813886 0.0001623 0.2838000 0.0036541 0.0033776 0.0502909 0.0194867

Guinea Franc Hg Kong Dollar Indian Rupee Indonesian Rupiah Jamaican Dollars Japanese Yen Kenyan Shilling Malaysian Ringgit Nepalese Rupee Pakistan Rupee Philippine Peso Sierra Leone Singapore Dollar Sri Lankan Rupee Thai Baht Bahraini Dinar Egyptian Pound Ethiopeanbirr Ghanaian Cedi Iranian Riyal Iraqi Dinar Jordanian Dinar Kuwaiti Dinar Lebanese Pound Moroccan Dirhams Nigerian Naira Omani Riyal Qatar Riyal Saudi Riyal Sudanese Pounds Syrian Pound Tunisian Dinar UAE Dirhams Yemeni Riyal

0.0000440 0.0340195 0.0048687 0.0000238 0.0028329 0.0029338 0.0032678 0.0863871 0.0029300 0.0028520 0.0061723 0.0000725 0.2230032 0.0021664 0.0089038 Arab 0.7463592 0.0379239 0.0127229 0.1442921 0.0000789 0.0001724 0.3947072 1.0000000 0.0001740 0.0223261 0.0012034 0.7261310 0.0772976 0.0751467 0.0461426 0.0027430 0.1740625 0.0758409 0.0012801

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

Transfer Rate (Per 1000) 283.400 381.000 447.350 281.200 3.050 4.925 39.930 2.203 3.642 6.615 2.878 754.650 77.200 75.700

0.0000500 0.0371195 0.0049337 0.0000289 0.0038329 0.0031138 0.0034978 0.0933871 0.0031300 0.0028920 0.0066423 0.0000755 0.2290032 0.0022084 0.0095038 0.7548592 0.0399539 0.0192229 0.1460821 0.0000794 0.0002324 0.4022072 1.0000000 0.0001940 0.0463261 0.0018384 0.7371310 0.0780806 0.0757867 0.0466926 0.0029630 0.1800625 0.0772909 0.0013801

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


Uncertain times in financial markets NBK WEEKLY MONEY MARKET REPORT


he dollar started the week on a negative tone, as Federal Reserve Bank President Bullard said that the US economic performance could be characterize by slow but steady growth, improving labor markets and a surprisingly low inflation rate. He said that the “Labor market conditions have improved since last summer, suggesting the Committee could slow the pace of purchases, but surprisingly low inflation readings may mean the Committee can maintain its aggressive program over a longer time frame”. The dollar consequently fell against most of major currencies waiting for the decision of the next week’s FOMC meeting. The speculations on Fed pairing the QE are the focus weighting on the financial markets for the moment. In spite of, the supportive economic data released in US, the confusion is growing on whether Fed will reduce the asset purchases by the end of 2013 or not, a fact investors are hoping the chairman of the Fed will address in the coming week. The USD Index had a negative week as it opened at 81.83 then dropped sharply reaching a 17 week-low of 80.50. The index closed the week near the low at 80.618. In currencies, the euro rallied against the greenback throughout a volatile week, as better than expected EU Industrial production data came out. Also helping support the euro, were comments from the ECB president Draghi indicating there is no need for negative interest rates for now .The euro opened the week at 1.3176 where it found support and rallied to reach a 15 week high of 1.3390.The euro closed for the week at 1.3346. The pound continued its rally against the dollar, supported by better unemployment and industrial output data from the UK .The pound opened the week at 1.5523, then rallied and against the greenback to reach a 17-week high of 1.5734. The currency closed near it weeks high 1.5703. Yen opened the week at 97.50 then reached a high of 99.28. In the middle of the week, we had a dramatic change in sentiment after the bank of Japan refrained from additional measures to calm volatility in Japanese

Government Bonds. The dollar fell against the yen reaching a 3 month low of 93.78 were it found a minor support and closed at 94.07 The Australian dollar rallied against the greenback on the back of better than expected consumer confidence and jobless data .The currency opened the week at 0.9430 and climbed to a high of 0.9664, the currency closed the week at 0.9566. Retail Sales US retail sales improved last month, indicating that job gains and lowering borrowing costs are encouraging consumers to spend more. Retail sales rose

increased 0.3 percent following a 0.1 percent drop in March. The rise was in line with economists’ expectations. Inventories are a key component of GDP as it has added 0.5 percent a percentage point on the US first quarter GDP that advance 2.5 percent. Standard & Poor revises US credit outlook Credit rating agency Standard & Poor upgraded its credit outlook for the United States government to “stable” from “negative,” but declined to return the US debt to gold plated rating. In August 2011, Standard and Poor became the first credit rating agency to down-

ECB bond buying program challenged Last week, the European Union rescue scheme was challenged in Germany’s constitutional court, causing a clash between Germany’s top economic policymakers, setting out very divergent views on the legality of measures to handle the euro-zone financial crisis. At the constitutional court, the Bundesbank’s chief opposed the ECB’s buying of bonds to ease the pressure on euro-zone countries while Germany’s finance minister and ECB board member strongly defended the policy. The court will have to spend several months considering its ruling. However, in a prior case, the constitutional court decided that the bailout was legal but said Germanys lower house of parliament should be consulted fully on future bailouts. Europe consumer price index Consumer prices in the euro area expanded 1.4 percent in a year to May, matching previous estimates and up from April’s 1.2 percent a year earlier, the rate was 2.4 percent. The core reading rose 1.2 percent, up from 1.0 percent previous.

0.6 percent after edging up 0.1 percent in April, the Commerce Department said. Eight out of the thirteen retail sales categories showed gains last month, led a 1.8 percent increase in auto purchases followed by a 0.9 percent gain in home building materials. Jobless claims The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, pointing to moderate job growth despite slowing economic activity. Initial claims declined by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 334,000. Business inventories The US Commerce Department said on last week that business inventories

grade the sovereign US credit rating from top-rated “AAA” to “AA”. S&P said in a release “We believe that our current ‘AA ‘ rating already factors in a lesser ability of US elected officials to react swiftly and effectively to public finance pressures over the longer term in comparison with officials of some more highly rated sovereigns and we expect repeated divisive debates over raising the debt ceiling,” University of Michigan consumer sentiment stable University of Michigan June preliminary index of consumer sentiment fell to 82.7 from a final reading of 84.5 the prior month. The index averaged 64.2 during the recession that ended in June 2009 and 89 in the five years prior.

UK unemployment steady United Kingdoms’ jobless rate held steady at 7.8 percent, as expected, while benefits claims dropped to its lowest level in two years. In the latest sign that the British economy is shrugging off two years of stagnation, the number of people claiming jobless benefit dropped by 8,600 last month, its seventh consecutive fall. The Bank of England policymaker Paul Fisher said the economy still needed nursing back to health. UK industrial production better than expected UK Industrial output rose in April for a third consecutive month, emphasizing the slow nature of the country’s economic recovery so far this year. Industrial output, which makes up around 16 percent of UK’s economy, rose 0.1 percent on the month in April after a jump of 0.7 percent in March. On an annual basis, Industrial output was down 0.6 percent, less than half the drop recorded for March.

Australia Australia’s consumer confidence Australian consumer confidence recovered in June after two months of sharp falls, as households became less gloomy on the outlook for both their own finances and the economy. The consumer sentiment rose 4.7 percent in June, recovering from a 7.0 percent drop in May, the low interest rate environments supported the sentiment as consumers see this as a good time to make major purchases or enter the housing market. Australia’s jobless rate improves Australian jobless rate fell 5.5 percent according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The Australian economy added 1,100 jobs in May, following a 45,000 job increase the month earlier. The data underscores the resilience of the Australian economy, which has been driving by investment in resources to meet Chinas demand. China The World Bank lowered its growth rate on China to 7.7 percent in 2013, from, a previously projected 8.4 percent, amid concerns of slower growth in the coming months. In addition, the World Bank cut its global growth outlook for 2013, the bank forecasts the world GDP will grow at 2.2 percent this year, slightly lower than its previous projection of at 2.3 percent growth. The slower growth rate attributed to deeper-than-expected recession in Europe and a recent slowdown in large developing economies. Bank of Japan The Bank of Japan refrained from allowing longer fixed-rate loans to smooth bond market volatility. The Japanese central bank left the maximum length of such loans at as much as one year, and maintained its pledge to increase the monetary base by 60 to 70 Trillion yen per year. This move came despite most analyst predictions that BOJ would approve two-year or longer loan operations

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Cardholders using Visa Infinite, World MasterCard, Visa and MasterCard Platinum, MasterCard Titanium, and Diners Club. They can receive the discount when they purchase tickets online using Etihad Airways Kuwait website or via Etihad Airways office, beginning June 16, 2013. Ahmed Al-Khader, NBK Assistant General Manager, Consumer Banking Group, said: “Many of our Premium Credit Cardholders can now enjoy their

holidays with Etihad Airways and its worldwide network of routes with this special offer.” “NBK Premium Credit Cards offer holders a range of great offers and premium discounts,” added Al Khader. “We appreciate our customers and want to reward them with the best and most exclusive promotions to be found in Kuwait.” NBK Credit Cards are accepted worldwide and are the safest, most convenient and rewarding way to pay.

Ahmed Al-Khader

G8 faces uncertain recoveries LISBON: Teachers attend a demonstration against the removal of staff in education and the extension of working hours laid down in the new austerity measures announced by the Portuguese government to meet the country’s international creditors. — AFP

Islamic finance in Tunisia could reach 25-40% share DUBAI: Tunisia’s fledgling Islamic finance industry could take a 25 to 40 percent share of the country’s financial sector in five years’ time if necessary rules, consumer education and private investment plans materialise, a Thomson Reuters study found. Islamic finance was previously neglected by Tunisia’s rulers but in the wake of the 2011 revolution, the new Islamist-led government is promoting the industry. Currently, sharia-compliant business accounts for just 2.5 percent of the Tunisian financial sector, the study said. In the Gulf Arab states, the ratio is believed to be about a quarter. The study estimates that Islamic financial assets in Tunisia could reach $17.8$28.5 billion by 2018, up from $1.4 billion at present. In a poll of about 700 ordinary Tunisians conducted for the study, 54 percent said they would consider switching to banking with Islamic lenders even if that meant lower rates of return, while 40 percent would be open to switching even if their money was not guaranteed. But 64 percent of respondents said they were unclear about how Islamic finance worked. One boost for Islamic finance in Tunisia would be issuance of the country’s first sukuk, which the government is planning. “I expect the issuance process to take place in the second half of 2013,” Chaker Soltani, general director of debt management and financial cooperation at the finance ministry, was quoted as saying in the study. The Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has given Tunisia a financial guarantee to issue a sukuk worth $600 million. Last week, the IDB extended said it would extend $1.2 billion in funding to Tunisia for industrial, agricultural and trade projects. Mohamed Sadraoui, deputy director of general supervision and banking regulation at the central bank, said

Islamic windows - units of conventional banks that offer Islamic financial services would be permitted to operate under central bank guidelines that ensured operations were segregated. “There are four or five well-known banks in Tunisia that are trying to facilitate the way for their Islamic finance businesses,” said Mahmoud Mansour, deputy general manager of the Tunisian arm of Bahrainbased lender Al-Baraka Bank. He added that three takaful (Islamic insurance) companies had applied for licences. Al-Baraka, which entered the country in 1983, is awaiting approval for an onshore banking licence so it can open more branches and serve a broader client base, said Mansour. Zitouna Bank, the country’s only full-fledged domestic Islamic lender, also plans expansion. “We are planning for over 100 branches across the country within the next five years,” Ezzedine Khoja, president and general manager of Zitouna Bank, said in the study. The bank, set up in 2009, plans to increase its capital base to 100 million dinars ($61.7 million) from the current 70 million dinars by the end of this year, as well as launching an investment funds unit and possibly expanding abroad, he added. Some industry practices that are controversial among some Islamic scholars, and could therefore affect customer perceptions, are generally being avoided in Tunisia, the study found. One of these is tawarruq or commodity murabaha, a common cost-plus-profit arrangement in Islamic finance. “We here in Tunisia do not consent to tawarruq, a product that is widely spread in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council),” said Khoja. “We don’t believe in this product and reject its use for Tunisia, despite its widespread use in other jurisdictions.” —Reuters

ENNISKILLEN: Europe is mired in debt and recession. Financial markets have hit violent ups and downs on fears that US stimulus efforts may soon be scaled back. Japan is finally looking up after years of stagnation - but it remains an open question if the recovery will stick. That’s the global economy that will confront the heads of the Group of Eight leading economies as they gather Monday and Tuesday for their annual summit in Northern Ireland. British Prime Minister David Cameron will serve as summit host for US President Barack Obama and the leaders of Germany, Italy, Canada, France, Japan and Russia. At the top of the agenda: New cooperation to fight tax evasion and increase transparency among governments. Also on the table will be how much help to give to rebels in Syria, and a push for lower trade barriers between the United States and the European Union. On the sidelines and over dinner, it’s expected that the discussions will broaden to include the election results in Iran and data protection, follow-

LONDON: British Prime Minister David Cameron (right) greets Russian President Vladimir Putin ahead of a meeting at 10 Downing Street yesterday. — AFP

ing revelations about a US counter-terror surveillance program. As always, the summit takes place under heavy security, guarded by 8,000 police backed by water cannon. The venue itself is surrounded by extensive security fences, and on three sides by water. There’s only one access road to the closest town, Enniskillen, some 5 miles (8 kilometers) away. While its peace process has been hailed worldwide as a success story, Northern Ireland remains a society troubled by deep-seated divisions between Catholics and Protestants. Officials have said trouble away from the summit site can’t be ruled out. Additionally, thousands of anti-capitalist and labor union protesters are expected to march from the town to the summit fence on Monday. Since last year’s G-8 meeting at Camp David in the US, there has been a modest economic upswing throughout the developed world and prospects are brighter after five years of turbulence and recession. Yet despite progress, the economic outlook remains fraught with uncertainties. Chief among the question marks: When will the US Federal Reserve begin to curtail its extraordinary stimulus, which has supported the recovery in the US and helped send markets around the world to new peaks? Global stock and bond markets have whipsawed since May 23, when US Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said that the US central bank might slow its drive to keep long-term borrowing costs low in the coming few months. Here is a quick picture of where the G-8 countries’ economies stand: United States: If Europe is the weak link and Asia the strongest, then the US and Canadian economies are squarely in the middle. The two countries are experiencing steady, if not spectacular, economic growth and job gains. In the US, the once-battered housing sector has been recovering for the past year. Home sales have reached three-year highs. And prices have jumped this spring by the most in seven years. That has encouraged builders to start work on more homes. The unemployment rate has fallen to 7.6 percent from 8.2 percent a year earlier. For all the G-8 participants, the most unsettling shift is the possible end of massive monetary stimulus from the Fed - a factor beyond their immediate control. The Fed’s injections of money into the economy through bond purchases - known as quantitative easing - had helped send markets soaring. Now it’s not clear which way markets will head. At previous summits, Obama has pushed European leaders to focus more on growth, rather than austerity. But most European governments have already begun to

make that shift. So Obama is likely to focus on other global concerns, such as the violence in Syria. Japan/Asia: For once, the bad news for Asia is not coming from Japan. The world’s third-largest economy grew at a 4.1 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promised to explain to fellow G-8 leaders his strategies for fostering long-term growth. Over the past few months, the yen has dropped from about 80 yen to the dollar in October to about 94 yen now - as the Abe administration tried to bring an end to the country’s two-decade stagnation. Japan’s central bank has been pumping money into the economy in the hope of stoking inflation the country has suffered from falling prices for much of the past 20 years, which has halted growth. One consequence of the new inflationary approach has been the sharp fall in the value of the yen against other countries’ currencies. This has made Japanese goods cheaper to the rest of the world, which has boosted exports. But the lower yen has provoked concern among German officials. Their exporters compete head to head with Japan’s in major markets. Abe is scheduled to meet separately with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Abe is likely eager to do some explaining after financial markets see-sawed since he presented his initial, broad-brush reform plans last week. Worries about the effectiveness of these measures, combined with the uncertainty over what the US Fed may do, has pushed Japan’s Nikkei index into bear market territory with a 20 percentplus fall. Europe & Russia: Europe’s leaders hope a new trade deal between the EU and the United States can help spur growth. EU trade ministers agreed last Friday on their negotiating position and it’s hoped a deal that would scrap the tariffs and regulations that impede trade might be reached next year. And Europe needs stimulus. Austerity measures introduced by Europe’s governments to control their deficits have inflicted severe economic pain and produced social unrest across the group 17 European Union countries that use the euro. The euro-zone’s economy shrank by 0.2 percent in the first quarter - the sixth such decline in a row - and unemployment is at 12.2 percent. The situation is far worse in countries that are struggling to reduce heavy debt burdens - unemployment stands at 26.8 percent in Spain, 27.0 percent in Greece. Private companies haven’t managed to fill the vacuum created by the drastically reduced government spending. In the United States, by contrast, the government has imposed far milder spending cuts and tax increases.— AP

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


Thailand’s boom: To the northeast, the spoils UDON THANI: Steel girders jut from the low skyline of the Thai city of Udon Thani near the Laos border as workers lay cement for a new shopping mall, one of many illustrating a boom in the Thai economy beyond the bright lights of Bangkok. The malls, factories and construction sites in Thailand’s northeast are emerging alongside its farms as a potent economic fuel in one of Asia’s top emerging markets. Growth in Thailand, Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy, has begun to slow, but the economy of the northeast is in the grip of a boom. The economic renaissance of “Isaan”, Thailand’s

poorest and most populous region, has coincided with expansionary policies - from wage increases to farm subsidies - that are enriching an area at the heart of a “red shirt” protest movement that backed Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in a 2011 election. As a new middle class emerges, investors and companies are taking note. CLSA emerging markets guru Chris Wood cites the region in explaining long-term bets on Thailand. “There is a macroeconomic ramping up of the northeast,” he said. The potential may never be realised if a crucial 2.2 trillion baht ($71 billion) infrastructure programme becomes a casualty of

the feuding between Yingluck’s ruling Puea Thai Party and its opponents. But if the plan went ahead, as is generally expected, it would change the entire economic structure of the northeast, said Rahul Bajoria, an economist at Barclays Capital. “It’s the next entry point for investors and consumers - if they link it up to China, it becomes the entry point to Thailand, not Bangkok,” he said. “But it’s been difficult for the bureaucracy to execute programmes because they don’t know who will be in power in a year or two.” Economic growth in the region reached 40 percent from 2007 to 2011, against 23 percent for the country

BANGKOK: In this file photo, residences on stilts sit along the Chao Phraya River with a construction site in the background in Bangkok, Thailand. — AP and just 17 percent for greater Bangkok. Monthly household income rose 40 percent between 2007 and 2011, the biggest jump of any Thai region. Interviews with businessmen and investment data suggest the trend is continuing. The number of private investment projects in the northeast rose 49 percent in 2012 from the previous year, with the total amount invested more than doubling to $2.3 billion, according to the Bank of Thailand. Much of it is concentrated in property - from high-rise condominiums to town houses and shopping plazas. “The northeast has a large population, a dense population, so the income is big,” said Naris Cheyklin, chief financial officer of Central Pattana Pcl, referring to the one-third of Thailand’s 68 million people who live there. In April, Central Pattana opened a 2.75 billion baht ($88.7 million) mall in Ubon Ratchathani, near the southern tip of Laos, their third in the region. Politically driven boom Politics explains part of what is going on. Yingluck’s government brought in a nationwide minimum wage of 300 baht ($10) a day in January. In some Isaan provinces, that was an increase of 35 percent, among the biggest gains in the country, on top of a nationwide 40 percent rise in April 2012. Many workers, such as those building the 168 Platinum Mall in Udon Thani, are happy to return to the northeast for wages that are now on a par with Bangkok’s. Isaan’s “red shirts” are among the staunchest supporters of Yingluck’s brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup but influences policy from selfimposed exile in Dubai. While in power from 2001, his populist policies - from virtually free healthcare to low-interest loans to the rural poor - made him a hero in Isaan. The red shirts formed the core of a movement that paralysed Bangkok in April-May 2010 in protest at the government of then Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and the forces that ousted Thaksin -

the traditional Bangkok elite including top generals, royal advisers, business leaders and old-money families. Those protests were put down with force, but the red shirts got their revenge in the 2011 election and now see the rewards. “A lot of the boom is upcountry, and that is politically driven, partly, because that’s where Thaksin’s supporters are,” said Wood at CLSA. The poverty rate in Thailand fell to 13 percent of the population in 2011 from 58 percent in 1990, according to the World Bank, but per capita gross domestic product in Isaan in 2011 was still less than an eighth of that of Bangkok at $1,600 a year, according to the state planning agency, the NESDB. That is changing. Government policies have pushed up purchasing power by subsidising agricultural products such as rice, tapioca and rubber. Under Yingluck’s government, farmers have been paid 15,000 baht per tonne of unmilled rice, a 50 percent premium over market prices, according to exporters. “During the Thaksin and Yingluck era, a lot has been given to Isaan, and the amount of money being poured into the region is significantly more than previous governments spent,” said Ittiphol Treewatanasuwan, mayor of Udon Thani, once a US Air Force base for anti-communist operations in Southeast Asia. Lives are being transformed. Panjaporn Phatanapitoon, general manager of the 168 Platinum Mall, said people in the northeast were now better educated, attitudes were evolving fast and urbanisation would come much more quickly than in Bangkok. Regional investment The 2006 coup that toppled Thaksin caused years of unrest, but political calm has returned since Yingluck’s election win. “When we change the politicians, they change the policy. If there are more changes to these policies, it will damage the economy,” said Uthai Uthaisangsuk, a senior vice president at property developer Sansiri Pcl. —Reuters

Unpaid internships in peril after court ruling WASHINGTON: Unpaid internships have long been a path of opportunity for students and recent grads looking to get a foot in the door in the entertainment, publishing and other prominent industries, even if it takes a generous subsidy from Mom and Dad. But those days of working for free could be numbered after a federal judge in New York ruled last week that Fox Searchlight Pictures violated minimum wage and overtime laws by not paying interns who worked on production of the 2010 movie “Black Swan.” The decision by US District Judge William H Pauley III may lead some companies to rethink whether it’s worth the legal risk to hire interns to work without pay. For many young people struggling to find jobs in a tough economy, unpaid internships have become a rite of passage essential for padding resumes and gaining practical experience. “I’m sure this is causing a lot of discussions to be held in human resource offices and internship programs across the country,” said David Yamada, professor of law at Suffolk University in Boston. There are up to 1 million unpaid internships offered in the United States ever y year, said Ross Eisenbrey, vice president of the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal-leaning think tank. He said the number of internships has grown as the economy tumbled and he blamed them for exploiting young workers and driving down wages. “The return on a college investment has fallen, students are facing higher and higher debt burdens, and the reaction of employers is to make matters worse for them by hiring more and more people without paying them,” Eisenbrey said. In the ruling, Pauley said Fox should have paid the two interns who filed the lawsuit because they did the same work as regular employees, provided value to the company and per formed low-level tasks that didn’t require any specialized training. The interns, Eric Glatt and Alexander Footman, performed basic administrative work such as organizing filing cabinets, tracking purchase orders, making copies, drafting cover letters and running errands. “Undoubtedly Mr Glatt and Mr Footman received some benefits from their internships, such as resume listings, job references and an understanding of how a production office works,” Pauley wrote. “But those benefits were incidental to working in the office like any other employees and were not the result of internships intentionally structured to benefit them.”

Chris Petrikin, a spokesman for 20th Century Fox, said the company believes the ruling was erroneous and plans to appeal. Fox had argued that the interns received a greater benefit than the company in the form of job references, resume listings and experience working at a production office. Juno Turner, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said it was the first time a court had given

WASHINGTON: Eric Glatt, a Georgetown Law student, poses for a photograph on their campus. — AP employee status to young people doing the types of duties commonly associated with interns. The case is one of several that have been filed in recent years demanding that all interns deserve a salary. “This is an incredibly important decision as far as establishing that interns have the same wage and hour rights as other employees,” Turner said. “You can’t just call something an internship and expect not to pay people when the interns are providing a direct benefit to the company.” In ruling for the interns, the judge followed a six-part test outlined by the Labor Department for determining whether an internship can be unpaid. Under the test, the internship must be similar to an educational environment, run primarily for the benefit of the intern as opposed to the employer, and the intern’s work should not replace that of regular employees. Glatt, the lead plaintiff, lamented the fact that unpaid internships have become so normal “people do it without blinking an eye.” “It’s just become a form of institutionalized wage theft,” he said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters. Glatt has an MBA from Case Western Reserve University and said he is currently studying law at Georgetown University Law Center. —Reuters

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


Al-Tijari announces Najma draw winners KUWAIT: Commercial Bank of Kuwait held the Al-Najma Account Daily draw yesterday. The draw was held under the supervision of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry represented by Sager Al-Manaie. The winners of the Najma Daily Draw who get KD 7,000 are: Ali Mubarek Faleh AlAjmi, Ahmad Jassem Ahmad Al-Shatti, AlSayed Abdulatif Mahmoud Mohammed, Mohammed Aref Alislam Shams Alislam, and Shaikah Muslim Saran Al-Damaj. The Commercial Bank of Kuwait announces the biggest daily draw in Kuwait with the launch of the new Najma account. Customers of the bank can now enjoy a KD 7,000 daily prize which is the highest in the country and another 4 mega prizes during the year worth KD

100,000 each on different occasions: The National Day, Eid Al-Fitr, Eid Al-Adha and on June 19 which is the date of the bank’s establishment. With a minimum balance of KD 500, customers will be eligible for the daily draw provided that the money is in the account one week prior to the daily draw or 2 months prior to the mega draw. In addition, for each KD 25 a customer can get one chance for winning instead of KD 50. Commercial Bank of Kuwait takes this opportunity to congratulate all lucky winners and also extends appreciation to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for their effective supervision of the draws which were conducted in an orderly and organized manner.

CALIFORNIA: Salesman Jorge Fernandez (left) helps customer Jesse Godinez, of San Fernando, who was shopping for two new tires for his car at Rent-a-Wheel in Canoga Park, California. —MCT

Poor drivers turn to tire rentals When the tires on their Dodge Caravan had worn so thin that the steel belts were showing through, Don and Florence Cherry couldn’t afford to buy a new set. So they decided to rent instead. The Rich Square, N.C., couple last September agreed to pay Rent-N-Roll $54.60 a month for 18 months in exchange for four basic Hankook tires. Over the life of the deal, that works out to $982, almost triple what the radials would have cost at Wal-Mart. “I know you have to pay a lot more this way,” said Florence Cherry, a 57-year-old nurse who drives the 15-year-old van when her husband, a Vietnam veteran, isn’t using it to get to his job as a prison guard. “But we didn’t really have a choice.” Socked by soaring tire prices and short on funds, growing numbers of Americans are renting the rubber to keep their cars rolling. Rent-to-own tire shops are among the newest arrivals to a sprawling alternative financial sector focused on the nation’s economic underclass. Like payday lenders, pawn shops and Buy Here Pay Here used-car lots, tire rental businesses provide ready credit to consumers who can’t get a loan anywhere else. But that access doesn’t come cheap. Customers pay huge premiums for their tires, sometimes four times above retail. Those who miss payments may find their car on cinder blocks, stripped of their tires by dealers who aggressively repossess. Tire rental contracts are so ironclad that even a bankruptcy filing can’t make them go away. Still, with payments as low as $14 a week, rent-to-own - long the province of sofa sets and flat-screen TVs - is proving irresistible for consumers desperate for safe transportation. It’s also a booming business for specialized tire and wheel dealers that have become beneficiaries of a struggling US economy. Fastexpanding chains with names like Rent-aWheel and EZ Rims 4 Rent that got their start selling high-end rims to car enthusiasts have discovered a lucrative market selling tires on time. “We see tremendous opportunity serving people who are just looking for dependable tires to get to work,” said Larry Sutton, founder and president of Rent-N-Roll. The Tampa, Fla., chain has 66 locations nationwide, including two in California, and plans to open six more this year. Sutton registered the trademark RNR Tire Express last fall and has been rebranding many stores to focus on tires instead of the oversized chrome rims that were the chain’s mainstay. Today, Sutton said, tires make up two-thirds of RNR’s sales, up from less than half several years ago. A host of economic factors are pushing the growth of tire rentals. Soaring costs for natural rubber and petroleum used to manufacture tires have pushed up prices. The average price of a passenger tire in the US increased 57 percent in 2012 from 2006, according to data from trade publication Modern Tire Dealer. The prices on some popular sizes have more than doubled. Consumers, meanwhile, have an increasingly difficult time affording big-ticket purchases. Since 2009, median household income has fallen more than 5 percent. And in the wake of the recession, the number of households in the country with credit histories too damaged to qualify for most credit cards has risen to 35 percent from 27 percent five years ago. With more people shut out of traditional financing, the rent-to-own industry has flourished. Promising no credit checks, small down payments and the option to return merchandise at any time with no questions asked, chains such as Rent-a-Center are raking in huge profits from a customer base that’s swelled to 4.8 million people, up 67 percent since 2007, according to the Association of Progressive Rental Organizations. Tires account for just a tiny slice of the $8.5billion rent-to-own market. But they stand out

from the industry’s traditional fare because unlike with a dinette set - giving back tires means not being able to drive to work. “Tires are a necessity,” said Jim Hawkins, a University of Houston law professor who studies the alternative finance industry. “These customers are vulnerable because they have no choice.” The first rent-to-own tire and wheel dealers appeared in the mid-1990s, targeting young urban males looking to spiff up their rides. Chains enlisted rap personalities such as Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes to hawk shiny customized rims and low-profile tires. But after the economy crashed, dealers saw an influx of customers asking for standard passenger tires. Many new patrons were older and a surprising number were women, a group the industry had all but ignored. Michelle Collins of Denham Springs, La, made her way to a Rimco store after her longunemployed husband found work. The tires on their Chevy Silverado were in terrible shape, too dangerous to be used for the long drive to his new job as an industrial painter. But they were such an odd size that the cheapest replacement set cost $1,340 at a regular tire store, far beyond Collins’ budget. The Rimco salesman said he’d get her rental tires for the same price and almost no money down - so long as she paid them off within 120 days. What Collins didn’t realize was that the cost would skyrocket if she missed the “sameas-cash” deadline. She found out the hard way. This spring, Collins, who owns a used-book store, made her 18th and final monthly payment of $164.10, bringing the total price for the tires to nearly $3,000. That works out to the equivalent of more than 120 percent annual interest, quadruple the highest credit card rates. “We couldn’t risk losing the job over tires, no matter what the cost,” said Collins, 40, who has five children living at home. Like other tire rental stores, Rimco is undergoing a transformation thanks to changing customer demand. Four years ago, 70 percent of Rimco’s sales were aftermarket rims and the rest were tires; today that ratio is reversed. The chain, a unit of Atlanta rent-to-own giant Aaron’s, has 28 stores and plans to open seven more by year’s end. The market leader is Renta-Wheel. With $100 million in sales, the company last year ranked as the nation’s seventhlargest independent tire dealer, according to Modern Tire Dealer. The chain operates 89 stores branded as either Rent-a-Wheel or Renta-Tire and has aggressive expansion plans. “It’s a very young industry, but it has a lot of potential,” said Matt Seaburn, president of the Los Angeles chain, which was founded in 2006. “But we have to be careful about where we operate, who we deal with and how we deal with them.” Customers and employees of tire rental stores said that often translates to aggressive collection practices. When Birdie Smith and her daughter rented four tires for their Infiniti sport utility vehicle at the Inglewood, Calif., branch of Rent-a-Wheel, they were reminded they had to pay $41.90 every Saturday, in person. But money was tight, and they eventually missed a payment. Smith, who lives in South Los Angeles with her daughter and three grandchildren, was shocked to see a squad car pull up to their house a few days later. “The police said we owed Rent-a-Wheel money and we’d better pay up,” said Smith, a retiree who lives off Social Security income. Smith eventually paid off the tires in full, she said. “Those Renta-Wheel guys drive a hard bargain.” Police involvement is rare. But since rental companies technically own the merchandise until the last payment is made, some in law enforcement consider failure to pay tantamount to theft. Some contracts contain clauses allowing the dealership to enter a customer’s property to repossess. —MCT

Spaniards march against austerity Joblessness rate soars to 57.22% MADRID: Thousands of people protested in Madrid yesterday against austerity policies and record high unemployment, urging Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to focus on creating jobs to help pull the country out of recession. To the din of whistles and drums, the demonstrators snaked through the central streets of the Spanish capital under a blazing sun, waving red and white union flags and carrying placards reading “Austerity Destroys and Kills” and “Spending Cuts Are Robbery”. “We hope the government realises that you can’t reverse the situation with cuts, cuts and more cuts. It is time to change course and do more to foster growth,” said Diana Rodriguez, 47, a former bank teller who has been unemployed for nearly two years. Demonstrations were held in 28 other cities across Spain, including Barcelona, the country’s secondlargest city, and the Atlantic port of Vigo in the northwest. They were organised by Spain’s three largest unions, the Workers’ Commissions, the General Union of Workers and the Workers’ Trade Unionist Federation. Rajoy’s conservative government has introduced a range of spending cuts and tax hikes, as well as pension reform, to shore up strained public finances since it took office in December 2011 following a landslide general election win. It has vowed to find 150 billion euros ($195 billion) in savings between 2012 and 2014 as part of the painful austerity program that has sparked mass demonstrations. The Spanish

MADRID: A young protestor gestures as he marches during a demonstration yesterday. —AP economy, the euro-zone’s fourth-largest, shrank by 0.5 percent during the first three months of 2013, its seventh consecutive quarterly decline, while the unemployment rate soared to a record 27.16 percent, the highest level since the re-birth of Spanish democracy after the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975. For

those between the ages of 16 and 24, joblessness has soared to 57.22 percent. “The government has to change course. It is obvious that the path they are taking us on will just dig us deeper into this mess,” said Carlos Lago, a 32year-old civil servant who carried a sign reading “Without Bread, There Is No Peace”. —AFP

Bitcoin sticks around as other digital currencies rise, fall ROCHESTER: Bitcoin has shot up and crashed at least twice now. Exchanges where the fast-rising new digital currency trades have been hacked, and so have individual accounts. It’s been linked to illegal activity in underground cyber haunts such as Silk Road, and sparked a move by the US government to halt unregulated use. And Bitcoin persists. Heck, CNBC has a Bitcoin ticker on its website. In its fourth year of circulation now, the decentralized online-only form of money has evolved from a libertarianstyled geek curiosity to a contender for becoming the first digital currency to go truly mainstream. There are now more than 11 million “coins” created worth more than $1 billion. Lumpy and volatile as it is, the math-based cash is one of the fastest-rising alternative currencies in a world filled with them. Tyler Moore, who studies alternative currencies, said he still isn’t sure why. “It’s one part luck, one part decentralization, and one part this design that carries appeal for people that don’t like inflation,” said Moore, an assistant professor of computer science and engineering at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “The timing of it was really good.” Bitcoin slipped onto the scene in 2009, as trust in established banks crumbled and inflation fears rose. It’s not managed by anyone. There’s no central bank. It’s based on open-source encryption technology. In fact, the digital cash can be created by anyone with the hefty computer power required to solve specified algorithms that secure the network. Bitcoins are rewards for effort. The system takes banks out of the picture completely as individuals pay each other directly. Transactions are private, but because there’s a public ledger of them, it’s unlikely they are perfectly anonymous. Currently, about 25 more Bitcoins are introduced about every 10 minutes by people all over the world, pros say. The limit of 21 million Bitcoins will be reached by 2140, as the theory goes, and no more Bitcoins will be created. On Friday, one Bitcoin was trading for about $112. A newly developed Bitcoin “ATM” machine that’s expected to go into production this fall promises to make it easy to turn dollars into Bitcoins, and more and more retailers are accepting Bitcoin for payment. But the bottom

line is that there still isn’t a great deal you can do, legally, with the digital money. Gamblers like to use it for online gambling, pros say. Bitcoin is still largely about techies in cyberspace. Like Brian Goss. Goss, a 33-yearold radiology resident and father of three in Rochester, Minn., created a stash of Bitcoins back when they were traded for pennies. Goss said he forgot about the Bitcoins for about a year and “almost deleted them.” He remem-

or so Bitcoins left. He thinks Bitcoin will succeed, but considers it a hobby, not a way to make money. “Right now I wouldn’t call it investing, I would call it gambling,” Goss said. Venture capitalists too are rolling the dice. Lightspeed Venture Partners in Menlo Park, Calif, for instance, has invested in three Bitcoin or Bitcoin-related ventures since the start of the year. Managing Director Jeremy Liew describes Bitcoin’s evolution this way:

There’s a minefield of obstacles to widespread adoption. Bitcoin transactions are not reversible _ once they’re done, they’re done. And it’s still experimental. Shopping options for Bitcoins have been extremely limited, although that’s showing signs of changing. A San Francisco startup called Gyft, backed by Google Ventures, recently started accepting Bitcoin as payment for its gift cards for over 200 retailers such as Burger King,

ROCHESTER: Brian Goss, a radiology resident in Rochester, Minnesota, holds an iPhone with the Bitcoin digital transaction form ready for a payment. —MCT bered them in 2011 when prices shot up and sold some to cover some bills. He sold some more when prices briefly rocketed above $240 in April, and made nearly $30,000. He stuck the dollars in a checking account. “We did little things,” he said. “I got my wife a membership to the gym ... and got a daytime baby sitter a couple times a week to help her out.” Goss said he’s a fan because he sees Bitcoin as a way for people in less open or stable economies to participate in the global market. Plus he thinks credit card swipes fees are a drag on the economy and likes his privacy. He doesn’t want companies gathering data on him. Goss said he still has 350

The first wave was people driven by political interests who liked the decentralized nature of Bitcoin. The second wave liked Bitcoin’s anonymity for illegal activity. It’s the third wave that interests Liew: people now being attracted by Bitcoin’s super-low transaction costs. Bitcoin is beginning to attract small businesses unhappy with more expensive payment options such as Visa and MasterCard, Liew said. “We’re just starting to see that,” said Liew. “It’s not soccer moms, but it is starting to become people who aren’t interested for ideological reasons or legal reasons. They’re interested because it’s just cheaper. That’s pretty interesting.”

Amazon and Crate and Barrel. What are Bitcoiners buying? Mostly low-value cards for everyday stores - $5 and $10 cards for Burger King and CVS are common, said Gyft CEO Vinny Lingham. “We’re still in the early adopter crowd,” Lingham said. Meanwhile, regulators are taking action. In March, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network broadcast that it considers any entity exchanging or transmitting digital currencies to be in the money service and subject to the same money-laundering rules as other financial institutions. Such rules make it harder for customers to be anonymous or untraceable. —MCT

Cheap Canadian crude hurts US oil production efforts KANSAS CITY: An unfolding tale in the Great Plains is raising questions of just how serious the United States is about boosting domestic production and breaking its “addiction” to foreign oil. At a time when soaring energy prices and mounting international instability would seem to put a premium on every barrel of US oil, some domestic wells have been shut down and others are in danger of closing. The culprit is a flood of cheaper Canadian crude which, instead of replacing supply from members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is replacing oil production in states close to the Canadian border. Producers in several Great Plains states say refinery customers are replacing their product with Canadian crude, which is increasingly being cooked and squeezed out of petroleum-rich “tar sands.” Moreover, they say it is becoming more

difficult to ship their oil to other markets because the cheaper Canadian product is crowding them out of pipelines. Domestic oil is being discounted as much as 40 percent in such states as Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota - giving small producers there less than what Big Oil companies and members of OPEC are getting. As a result, some projects to drill new wells are being postponed or reconsidered, and in a few cases, producing wells are actually being closed. Some owners of oil wells, who have farmed out the production to the oil companies, have even received letters saying their wells may have to be shut down. The situation also is an indication of a US energy policy that lacks focus, some American producers say. “This oil isn’t displacing unfriendly foreign oil but domestic producers,” said Robert Harms, president of

The Northern Alliance of Independent Producers in Bismarck, N.D. Many Great Plains producers say they are stunned by recent market changes. They find it especially galling that they are confronting the situation amid the talk about easing the US addiction to foreign oil. Instead, producers now fear that production gains in the last few years will unravel. “Here we are destroying it,” said Harold Hamm, chairman of Continental Resources Inc., one of the largest producers of oil in the Rocky Mountain region. In theory, at least, more and cheaper crude from Canada offers at least the prospect of lower prices for consumers. But Stephen Brown, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said such a narrow, market-based, supply-and-demand view may be too narrow when our domestic energy security is involved. —MCT

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


Paris Air Show peek shows wide-body battle, drones PARIS: The Paris Air Show, which opens for business toda, brings hundreds of aircraft to the skies around the French capital, the usual tense competition between aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus, and a slew of innovations large and small. Here’s what to look for over the show: Battle of the wide-bodies The much-anticipated Airbus A350 flew for the first time on Friday, launching a new air race between the European plane maker and Boeing for long-haul widebody aircraft. Boeing has dominated the market so far, but troubles with the lithium ion batteries in its 787 Dreamliner are giving customers a reason to give a close look at Airbus’ first all-new plane in eight years. The CEO of Airbus parent EADS, Tom Enders, has said he expects a “few hundred” new orders. Boeing executives, meanwhile, downplayed the air show’s importance for orders, noting that the two companies have historically split the commercial aircraft market. A year ago, at the Paris Air Show’s sister event in Britain, Boeing beat Airbus for the number of orders announced. The US company took in $37 billion in orders and commitments, well above Airbus’ $16.9 billion. But the announcements during the air shows are not always a reliable indicator of business since prices are often negotiated down heavily and big orders don’t always coincide with the event. The race for the title of biggest plane maker is as tight as ever. Over the whole of 2012, Airbus delivered 588 planes. That was a record, but one Boeing beat with 601 deliveries, the first time since 2003 it came out on top.

No hands on deck They have swooped into wildfires to take temperatures and tracked animals across Africa. They have guided a fuel tanker to safety through icy waters. Drones are increasingly being used for nonmilitary purposes and are expected to feature prominently at the Paris Air Show. There are still

LE BOURGET: A man walks past the Aircraft Agusta Westland ‘Project Zero’ all-electric tilt rotor technology on display for the Paris Air Show in le Bourget, North of Paris yesterday. — AP

Burgan Bank announces Yawmi account winners KUWAIT: Burgan Bank announced the names of the five lucky winners of its Yawmi account draw, each taking home a prize of KD 5,000. The lucky winners of the daily draws took home a cash-prize of KD 5,000 each, and they are: Taha Faraj Shafiq Mohammad, Fatmah Mohd Ali Al-Wazzan, Fatemah Abdulhameed Suwayed Salem, Dalal Hasan Mohammed Al-Salem Alobaidly, and Al-Shiekha Amal Jassim Mohd Al-Sabah. With its new and enhanced features, the Yawmi Account has become more convenient, easier, and faster for customers to benefit from. Now, customers will be eligible to enter the draw after 48 hours only from opening the account. Customers are

also required to deposit KD 100 or equivalent only to enter the daily draw, and the coupon value to enter the draw stands at KD 10. The newly designed Yawmi account has been launched to provide a highly innovative offering along with a higher frequency and incentive of winning for everyone. Today, the Yawmi account is a well understood product, where its popularity can be seen from the number of increasing account holders. Burgan Bank encourages everyone to open a Yawmi account and/or increase their deposit to maximize their chances to becoming a daily winner. The more customers deposit, the higher the chances they receive of winning the draw.

EQUATE wins int’l CSR award KUWAIT: EQUATE Petrochemical Company has earned “ The Best Contribution for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)” award during the “Middle East Awards 2013” by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS). On this occasion, EQUATE President & CEO Mohammad Husain said, “Coming from the prestigious UK-based CIPS, EQUATE was granted this award for its distinguished CO2 Recovery Project, which is the first of its kind in Kuwait.” Husain added, “EQUATE’s commitment to overall sustainability through its multilateral CSR program is simply an embodiment of its ‘Partners in Success’ tagline with all stakeholders through launching several initiatives relevant to education, health, environment and other sectors.” In recognition of its sustainability achievements, EQUATE has earned several prestigious honors, including His Highness the Amir Award for the Best Plant in Kuwait; The Gold Award in Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) for Gulf private sector companies; The

Award for Best Gulf Company in Recruiting Nationals; Arabian Business Best CSR Company Award; Oil & Gas (O&G) Middle East CSR Award; O&G Best Implemented Environmental Program of the Year; Middle East Chemical Week (MECW) Plant of the Year Award; as well as Kuwait’s CSR Award in the Industrial and Oil Sector. In addition, EQUATE has received the Highly Commended Best Community Program Award during the First Middle East CSR Award Summit. Established in 1995, EQUATE is an international joint venture between Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC), The Dow Chemical Company (Dow), Boubyan Petrochemical Company (BPC) and Qurain Petrochemical Industries Company (QPIC). Commencing production in 1997, EQUATE is the single operator of a fully integrated world-scale manufacturing facility producing over 5 million tons annually of high-quality petrochemical products which are marketed throughout the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe.

Saudi Aramco-Dow JV raises funding for $19bn project DUBAI: Sadara Chemical Co, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical , has signed a fundraising package for the $19.3 billion petrochemical complex it is building in the east of the kingdom, three banking sources said yesterday. The financing package totals around $12.5 billion and consists of loans from banks, export credit agencies and the state-owned Public Investment Fund, as well as proceeds from an Islamic bond issue. The remaining cost will be met by the two partners. The facility, located at Jubail Industrial City in Saudi Arabiaís Eastern Province, will be the worldís largest chemical complex ever built in a single phase. It will produce more than 3 million tonnes of petrochemi-

tough restrictions on their flight for safety reasons, but while the Federal Aviation Authority works on new rules, the makers of drones will aim to show off innovation and technical prowess at the show. Eurocopter, a company based in France, will showcase new technology that can transform a manned helicopter into one that flies without a pilot.

cals each year when completed in 2016. Sadara was not immediately available for comment. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity as the matter has not been made public. The split between the different portions of the facility were changed from an original outline released in May 2012 after the success of the sukuk, which was completed at the start of April, two of the bankers said. Sadara raised 7.5 billion riyals ($2 billion) from the local currency Islamic bond, having increased the deal size from 5.25 billion riyals on strong demand from investors. Also included is a $4.975 billion direct loan from the US Export-Import Bank. Signed in September, it was the largest ever loan from the institution. — Reuters

Even in Paris, sequestration takes toll American fighter jets aren’t taking to the skies above Paris, nor will they be seen on the ground, for the first time in more than two decades thanks to the US government’s spending cuts - the infamous ‘sequestration’. The US pavilion remains the largest, but the event will be less of a sales showcase for latest military hardware and more a place for suppliers to meet up with potential customers. Russia, on the other hand, is looking to make a splash by presenting fighter jets and military helicopters at the show for the first time since 2001. The Sukhoi manufacturer will showcase its Su-35, a twin-engine multipurpose fighter, for the first time outside Russia. Britain and France also will have fighter jets on display. Every little bit counts Less flashy but just as important for the industry will be the myriad technological innovations that parts suppliers will come to Paris to present. The biggest issue? The cost of fuel. The price of jet fuel has more than tripled worldwide since 2003 - a trend both jet manufacturers and airlines expect to continue. Electric- or solar-powered commercial flights are wildly improbable and biofuels aren’t yet economically viable, so airlines are looking to improve mileage any way possible. For long-haul flights, that means more carbon-fiber in airplane bodies and other design tweaks, such as electric motors for taxiing. For passengers, it means no end in sight on extra baggage fees. — AP

2nd GMC customer wins at Behbehani golden jubilee KUWAIT: Mohammed Saleh and Reza Yousuf Behbehani Company, the authorized dealers of GMC Vehicles in Kuwait announced the second winner of the Grand Prize of their golden jubilee anniversary promotion this month. Youssef Hassan Suleiman Al-Awadi won the KD 10,000 cash prize upon the purchase of a GMC Sierra 2013. This win comes just few days after the first KD 10,000 prize was won by Jassim Abdallah Abdel Rehman Mohammad. Youssef Hassan Suleiman Al-Awadi was overwhelmed upon winning the prize and celebrated jubilantly at the showroom in the presence of all his family members. “We are extremely happy to announce this win and we extended our heartiest congratulations to Al-Awadi and all the previous winners. It is a joyous occasion for us and we have loved to share our happiness with our customers by rewarding them with these prizes and there are still a lot more such prizes to come. We look forward to sharing the same with our esteemed customers” stated Adel Behbehani, Director of Sales at Mohammed Saleh and Reza Yousuf Behbehani Company. Earlier this month,

Behbehani launched a special promotion to commemorate its 50th anniversary whereby customers would get up to KD 1,500 cash

back upon purchase of any of the GMC vehicles in addition to an opportunity to win several cash prizes up to KD 10,000.

Why World Cup can’t save Brazil’s tourism industry RECIFE: For soccer fans flocking to Confederations Cup matches in Brazil’s tropical northeast next week, getting tickets to the stadium should be simple - but two in three will not find accommodations in the host city Recife. Officials are sending visitors as far as 120 kilometers (75 miles) inland to spend the night, a detour on par with staying in Philadelphia for a New York Knicks game. The tournament which began Saturday, a dress rehearsal for the 2014 World Cup, will lay bare for visitors what may surprise many: despite gorgeous beaches, a tempting climate and legendary hospitality, Brazil’s tourism industry pales next to its neighbors. The country takes up half the South American continent but receives just a fifth of its international visits. The land of Carnival and beach cocktails ranks behind everywhere in the western hemisphere but Venezuela in foreign tourists per capita. To be sure, it is exceedingly difficult to find someone who regrets a vacation in Brazil. The country’s growing middle class has also provided enough domestic demand to make its tourism industry the world’s sixth largest. As with much of the Brazilian economy, a captive local market seems to have made things too easy for the sector, pushing up prices, sapping competitiveness and contributing to a troubling foreign deficit. Foreigners’ spending in Brazil has scarcely kept pace with inflation over the past five years, while Brazilians themselves have increasingly passed up domestic travel for trips to Miami and Lisbon. The dollar’s recent weakness has stoked the trend, resulting in a tourism deficit of $15.6 billion last year and adding to a record current account gap. How has Brazil - blessed with 7,500 kilometers of sunny coastline, the fame of Rio de Janeiro and the wonders of the Amazon - managed to blow such an open shot on goal? A foreign fan heading to a soccer match in Brazil next week may find one of the answers right away - at the hotel counter. Even in Recife’s more expensive hotels, introducing oneself in English can prompt blank stares and embarrassed grins. In one case, the concierge at a hotel - FIFA-certified accommodation for the World Cup - went silent after such an introduction. “Hello, my name is?” he then asked, furrowing his brow. Due to Brazil’s size, isolation and uneven education, most residents have little or no contact with a second language. Brazil’s English proficiency ranked in the bottom 15 percent of a global study by teaching company Education First. Resorts, restaurants and tourism outfits therefore pay - and charge - a hefty premium for bilingual service. “If you can afford English lessons, you’re not going to work the front desk of a hotel,” said Gunde Schneider, a Brazilian of German descent with a bed-and-breakfast in nearby Gravata. “More likely, you’re the owner of the hotel.” The road to Recife For the American fan in Recife, however, a misunderstanding at the front desk will be just one in a string of frustrations. The hassle starts before setting foot in Brazil, with a visa process that gives a

taste of the country’s notorious bureaucracy. Neighboring countries from Argentina to Bolivia also have “reciprocity fees” paid at the airport in the name of parity with US visa costs. Brazil takes it a step further, requiring Americans to apply at a consulate and wait a week or more for an entrance visa, mimicking the burden on Brazilians. The cost: at least $160. An easy flight to Recife will also be tough to find, due to a legacy of barriers to foreign airlines. Of over 100 nations that have signed an open skies agreement with the United States, Brazil is one of a handful that have not put it into practice. As a result, flights funnel into Sao Paulo and Rio, where airports are packed beyond capacity. Foreign visitors to Brazil’s northeast can often watch their final destinations through the window as they fly south to catch connecting flights from the major hubs - a six-hour round trip. When a fan lands in Recife, the journey is still far from over. The wait in the cab line should last at

this coming from soccer fans in South Africa. Brazilian officials say the tournament will refresh that reputation, just as it gave South Africans a chance to turn the page on their fraught political history. “The visibility will give a broader vision to the world,” said Valdir Sim„o, a senior Brazilian tourism official, highlighting the diversity of a dozen host cities. “People will see: Brazil is not an exotic destination.” But the problems are bigger than bad public relations. The WEF ranked Brazil’s natural resources for tourism as the best in the world, but the competitiveness of its travel industry has slipped to 51st in a ranking of 140 nations. Harmful regulations, high prices and bad roads put Brazil among the worst 25 countries in those categories - below the likes of Kazakhstan and Gambia in each respect. The two in three visiting fans without lodging in Recife next week may drive as little as 30 minutes to hotels along the coast or

BRASILIA: General view the Mane Garrincha National stadium in Brasilia is seen. — AFP least half an hour thanks to the monopoly of the airport taxi cooperative - one of countless barriers to competition driving up prices. The World Economic Forum also blames Brazilian policies discouraging foreign investment in land, airlines and tourism services for the lack of affordable offerings. Lingering stigma Brazilians are quicker to blame the state of the tourism industry on a tarnished reputation from the 1990s, when a chaotic economy and rampant gang violence deterred visitors, shuttering one in five of Recife’s hotels. In a public survey at the 2010 World Cup, Brazil’s tourism ministry found safety concerns were the overwhelming reason tourists gave for why they would not visit Brazil in 2014 -

as much as two hours inland for accommodations. At the far reaches of that radius is Caruaru, a sprawling, low-slung city of 350,000 where newly paved streets wind among walls of exposed cinder block. The city is used to drawing tourists for its truck races and traditional music festivals, one of which is in full swing this month. Caruaru bills the event as “The World’s Biggest and Best Saint John’s Festival.” Caruaru’s hotels seem blithe about the Confederations Cup. With lodging in short supply and local vacationers eager to attend the festival, major hotels are already booked nearly every weekend this month. Consulted a week ahead, the only rooms left at the Hotel Village Caruaru on Saturday were going for 1,000 reais ($470) a night. — Reuters

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


Survey: Many Americans say ‘Big Brother’ is here NEW YORK: There’s little wonder why George Orwell’s novel “1984” is seeing a resurgence in sales. More than half of Americans polled in a survey released Thursday said they agreed with the statement “We are really in the era of Big Brother.” The survey from the University of Southern California was conducted last year, before recent revelations of large-scale, secret government surveillance programs. Yet it still found that some 35 percent of respondents agreed that “There is no privacy, get over it.” A growing number of Internet users said they are concerned about the government checking on their online activities, according to the survey. But even more people were worried about businesses doing the same. The USC Annenberg School’s Center

for the Digital Future has polled more than 2,000 U.S. households about their Internet and technology use each year, with the exception of 2011, since 1999. Forty-three percent of Internet users said they are concerned about the government checking what they do online, up from 38 percent in 2010. But 57 percent said they were worried about private companies doing the same thing up from 48 percent in the earlier study. A 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center found that almost three-quarters of Americans are concerned that businesses are collecting too much information about people like them, while 64 percent had the same worry about the government. In addition to their views on privacy, the most recent report also found that

86 percent of Americans are online, up from 82 percent in 2010. That’s the highest level in the study’s history and further evidence of how central the Internet has become in American’s lives, especially in the age of mobile devices. “We find that people almost never lose their mobile phone,” said Jeff Cole, author of the study and director of the center. “They can drop it in the gutter, have it stolen but leave it on the table at a restaurant - most of us don’t even get through the front door before noticing it.” More than half of the Internet users surveyed said they go online using a mobile device, up from a third who said the same thing in 2010. As expected, texting is becoming increasingly important for people of all ages - 82 percent of mobile phone users text, up from 62 per-

cent in 2010 and 31 percent in 2007. Among other key findings: Thirty percent of parents said they don’t monitor what their children do on social networking sites such as Facebook, while 70 percent said that they do. Nearly half of parents, 46 percent, said that they have their kids’ passwords so they can access their account. * People spent more time online than in any previous year of the study. On average, they were online 20.4 hours per week, up from 18.3 hours in 2010 and about nine hours in 2000. One percent of respondents said they visit websites with sexual content “several times a day,” while 69 percent said they never do. * Dial-up is going the way of the dodo: 83 percent said they access the Internet using a broadband connection,

up from 10 percent in 2000. * The line between work and home life is blurring. Nearly a quarter of Internet users said they “often” use the Internet at home for work-related purposes. Conversely, 18 percent said they “often” go online at work for non-work related activities. The study did not say whether these were the same people. The 2012 poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points. And about that “1984” sales surge - the book has been steadily climbing up Amazon’s list of “movers and shakers” books, the online list of the biggest sales gainers over the previous 24 hours. As of Thursday afternoon, the 60th anniversary edition of the classic was No. 6 on the list, with sales up threefold in the previous day. —AP

Dangers and delights of digital diplomacy

PHOENIX: In this Wednesday, May 22, 2013, file photo, the Solar Impulse, piloted by Andre Borschberg, takes flight during the second leg of the 2013 Across America mission, at Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. —AP

Solar-powered plane lands near Washington WASHINGTON: A solar-powered plane nearing the close of a cross-continental journey landed at Dulles International Airport outside the nation’s capital early yesterday, only one short leg to New York remaining on a voyage that opened in May. Solar Impulse’s website said the aircraft with its massive wings and thousands of photovoltaic cells “gracefully touched down” at 12:15 a.m. EDT after 14 hours and four minutes of flight from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Dulles in Washington’s Virginia suburbs. Pilot Bertrand Piccard was at the controls for the last time on the multi-leg “Across America” journey that began May 3 in San Francisco. His fellow Swiss pilot, Andre Borschberg, is expected to fly the last leg from Washington to New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport in early July, the web site added. It is the first bid by a solar plane capable of being airborne day and night without fuel to fly across the US, at speeds reaching about 40 mph. The plane opened by flying from San Francisco via Arizona, Texas, Missouri and Ohio onward to Dulles with stops of several days in cities along the way. Organizers said in a blog post early Sunday that Piccard soared across the Appalachian mountains on a 435-mile (700-kilometer) course from Cincinnati to

the Washington area, averaging 31 mph (50 kph). It was the second phase of a leg that began in St. Louis. The plane, considered the world’s most advanced sun-powered aircraft, is powered by about 12,000 photovoltaic cells that cover its enormous wings and charge its batteries during the day. The single-seat Solar Impulse flies around 40 mph and can’t go through clouds; weighing about as much as a car, the aircraft also took longer than a car to complete the journey from Ohio to the East Coast. Despite its vulnerabilities to bad weather, Piccard said in a statement that the conclusion of all but the final leg showed that sun-powered cross-continent travel “proves the reliability and potential of clean technologies.” Organizers said fog at Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport was a concern that required the ground crew’s attention before takeoff just after 10 a.m. Saturday. The crew gave the plane a gentle wipedown with cloths because of condensation that had formed on the wings. “The solar airplane was in great shape despite the quasi-shower it experienced” before takeoff from Cincinnati, the web site added. Washington was the first East Coast stop before the final planned leg to New York. —AP

WASHINGTON: Amid the explosion of social media and new networking tools, governments and businesses are grappling with balancing their security needs against their wish to join the online conversations. “Communications technology has dramatically democratized the process of gaining a public audience,” said journalist and former militar y analyst Joshua Foust at a Washington forum on digital diplomacy. “As an individual you can have a public reach that was unimaginable even 10 years ago... and a lot of our institutions whether social or civic or governmental haven’t caught up all the way.” The introduction of tools such as Twitter and Instagram has ensured that news and information zooms instantly around the globe in a click, to be viewed by millions of people within seconds. This leaves no time to check facts, and could be cause for red faces or even potential disaster and lasting damage if a tweet is wrong, or misinterpreted. “Time can be the enemy,” said David Darg, cofounder of the new social news platform, and a long-time filmmaker. “In diplomatic circles, if there’s a crisis happening how quickly do you get a message out to assure people what’s happening, while at the same time making sure that your information is correct and what you’re tweeting is correct.” The easy access and relatively anonymity offered by the unruly Internet also deepens concerns about leaks, highlighted this week as the

United States launched a criminal investigation into IT-specialist Edward Snowden for exposing secret surveillance programs. “These are the kind of issues that are going to be plaguing governments in particular going forward as citizens or privileged insiders decide to go public and expose either secrets or private information,” Foust said. “Secrecy is also an important part of public diplomacy, what you don’t say can be be as important as what you do say, and absences can mean just as much as presences.” But with the outreach offered by the web, the US State Department is among many branches of the US government which have embraced social media as a way of engaging with people around the world. New Secretary of State John Kerry even tweets and Tuesday replied to British counterpart William Hague “looking fwd to seeing you special relationship w/ UK, incredibly valued partner on #Syria and much more.-JK.” But even his savvy diplomats have run into trouble. The US embassy in Cairo had to freeze its Twitter account in April after coming under fire from Egyptian leaders for tweeting a link to a show by US comic Jon Stewart mocking Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. “If you’re John Kerry you have a very different online personality than if you’re Jon Stewart,” said Evan Kraus, executive director for digital strategy at communications consultants APCO.

“There’s obviously a great desire to be funny, and interesting and clever on social media. But if you’re not doing in an authentic way then it falls flat, and it doesn’t work.” The nature of social networking is also changing, the forum organized by the Diplomatic Courier magazine heard. “Maybe five years ago it was about putting your point of view out there in as compelling a way as you could and drag people kicking and screaming to visit your website or blog,” Kraus said. “I think that’s over. What’s changed is how do you take your content, your expertise, your personality, your story and weave that into those conversations that are already happening.” The new power afforded to ordinary citizens by social networks was however having a powerful impact on governments and politicians who were trying “to really endear themselves in a new way that we’ve never seen before,” Darg said. “Governments are increasing aware of the viewpoints of their constituents and good governments and good leaders react to what their constituents care about,” added Kraus. And the millennial generation was not content with being a passive bystander, the experts agreed. “Most leaders are smart and they know the difference between a passive click, and real emotionally charged support. So if you can create that I think you do create real change, no matter what,” added Kraus. —AFP

EMC appoints Mahakian as Regional GM for Pakistan and the Gulf region DUBAI: EMC today announced that 25-year IT industry veteran Habib Mahakian has been appointed General Manager for the Pakistan and the Gulf region. In his new role, Mahakian will be responsible for expanding EMC’s footprint in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the eight maturing markets of the Gulf, including Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen and Oman. He will focus on strategy and business development to extend and further accelerate EMC’s growth in the region by delivering and supporting the full range of EMC products, services and solutions in established and new markets, and enhancing partner and channel relationships. Mahakian

will report to Mohammed Amin, EMC’s Senior Vice President and Regional Manager for Turkey, Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East region, Prior to his new role, Mahakian held a number of leadership positions at EMC, including Country Manager of EMC Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the Regional Director for Pakistan and the North Gulf and Levant regions. Before joining EMC, Mahakian worked at Saudi Business Machines in Saudi Arabia. Mahakian holds a Bachelor’s of Science, Electrical Engineering from Yarmouk University in Jordan. EMC Executive Quote: Mohammed Amin, Senior Vice

President, Turkey, Europe East, Africa, and Middle East, EMC “Over the last 12 years, Habib has successfully led EMC’s operations across a number of strategic markets, including North Gulf and Saudi Arabia (KSA) before that, to help customers and partners develop new opportunities to transform their IT architecture, drive competitive differentiation and business agility. With his wealth of experience and track record of success, I am confident that in his new role Habib will help drive EMC’s growth in the region even further, while cementing our position as trusted partner to our customers and channel network across the region.”

Habib Mahakian

Web giants get broader surveillance revelations

CALIFORNIA: In this March 1, 2013 photo released by Google, a fully inflated test balloon sits in a hangar at Moffett Field airfield. Google is testing the balloons which sail in the stratosphere and beam the Internet to Earth. —AP

Google’s Project Loon explores Internet access NEW ZEALAND: Google Inc has launched a small network of balloons over the Southern Hemisphere in an experiment it hopes could bring reliable Internet access to the world’s most remote regions, the company said late Friday. The pilot program, Project Loon, took off this month from New Zealand’s South Island, using solar-powered, high-altitude balloons that ride the wind about 12.5 miles (20 kilometers) - twice as high as airplanes - above the ground, Google said. Like the Internet search engine for which Google is best known, Project Loon uses algorithms to determine where the balloons need to go, then moves them into winds blowing in the desired direction, the company said. By moving with the wind, the balloons form a network of airborne hot spots that can deliver Internet access over a broad area at speeds comparable to 3G using open radio frequency bands, Google said. To connect to

the balloon network, a special Internet antenna is attached to buildings below. The Mountain View, Calif-based company announced the project on its official blog roducing-project- loon.html, and its website The 30 balloons deployed in New Zealand this month will beam Internet to a small group of pilot testers and be used to refine the technology and shape the next phase of Project Loon, Google said. Google did not say what it was spending on the pilot project or how much a global network of balloons might cost. Google has also developed self-driving vehicles, which the company says could significantly increase driving safety. Those vehicles are beginning to gain support from lawmakers in places like California, where a bill legalizing their operation on state roads was signed into law last by Governor Jerry Brown. —Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook and Microsoft Corp. representatives said that after negotiations with national security officials their companies have been given permission to make new but still very limited revelations about government orders to turn over user data. The announcements Friday night come at the end of a week when Facebook, Microsoft and Google, normally rivals, had jointly pressured the Obama administration to loosen their legal gag on national security orders. Those actions came after Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old American who works as a contract employee at the National Security Agency, revealed to The Guardian newspaper the existence of secret surveillance programs that gathered Americans’ phone records and other data. The companies did not link their actions to Snowden’s leaks. Ted Ullyot, Facebook’s general counsel, said in a statement that Facebook is only allowed to talk about total numbers and must give no specifics. But he said the permission it has received is still unprecedented, and the company was lobbying to reveal more. Using the new guidelines, Ullyot said Facebook received between 9,000 and 10,000 government requests from all government entities from local to federal in the last six months of 2012, on topics including missing children investigations, fugitive tracking and terrorist threats. The requests involved

the accounts of between 18,000 and 19,000 Facebook users. The companies were not allowed to make public how many orders they received from a particular agency or on a particular subject. But the numbers do include all national security related requests including those submitted via national security letters and under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, which companies had not previously been allowed to reveal. The companies remain barred from revealing whether they’ve

actually received FISA requests, and can only say that any they ’ve received are included in the total reported figures. Microsoft released similar numbers for the same period, but downplayed how much they revealed. “We continue to believe that what we are permitted to publish continues to fall short of what is needed to help the community understand and debate these issues,” John Frank, Microsoft’s vice president and deputy general counsel said in a statement. Frank said Microsoft received

MENLO PARK: In this Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011, file photo, a Facebook User Operations Safety Team worker looks at reviews at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park. —AP

between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 accounts. Both attorneys emphasized in their statements that those affected by the orders represent a “tiny fraction” of their huge user bases. Google did not release its own numbers, saying late Friday that it was waiting to be able to reveal more specific and meaningful information. “We have always believed that it’s important to differentiate between different types of government requests,” Google said in a statement. “We already publish criminal requests separately from national security letters. Lumping the two categories together would be a step back for users. Our request to the government is clear: to be able to publish aggregate numbers of national security requests, including FISA disclosures, separately.” Facebook repeated recent assurances that the company scrutinizes every government request, and works aggressively to protect users’ data. Facebook said it has a compliance rate of 79 percent on government requests. “ We frequently reject such requests outright, or require the government to substantially scale down its requests, or simply give the government much less data than it has requested,” Ullyot said.” And we respond only as required by law.” —AP

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013

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

New diet craze offers five days of feasting for two days of famine

XIHU: A photo shows a keeper feeds Przewalski’s horses at the West Lake national nature reserve area near Xihu, in northwestern China’s Gansu province. —AFP photos

Przewalski’s horses roaming China’s plains again XIHU: In the harsh desert steppe of far northwestern China five prehistoric-looking Przewalski’s horses, once classed as extinct in the wild, emerge from the endless plains. The horses-named after a Russian officer and explorer who spotted them around 1880 — bear a striking resemblance to those depicted in European cave paintings, with short necks, spiky manes and a yellow hue. They graze calmly on a few strands of straw as the wind whips across the vast, open landscape. “These ones here, they can be approached. The others will run away as soon as you get within 300 meters (yards) of them,” says Sun Zhicheng, an official at the 660,000-hectare (1.6-million-acre) West Lake national nature reserve. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Przewalski’s horses once roamed as far as Western Europe. But as the centuries passed, climatic change reduced their habitat and the remainder were so widely hunted, mainly for food, that they were classified as extinct in the wild in 1960 — although a living specimen was later found in Mongolia. But a few survived in European zoos, and now efforts are underway to reintroduce them to the wild. The Chinese project near Xihu in Gansu province faces daunting challenges freezing winters, sweltering summers and limited supplies of food and water. According to Chinese legend, Sun says, the animals were discovered two millennia ago by an exiled criminal around the oasis of Dunhuang, a crossroads on the Silk Road. “A man had been convicted and banished from Dunhuang. While he was walking near a lake he saw one of these horses. “He made a mannequin and put it on a path the horse would follow. One day he took the place of the mannequin, and he was able to catch the horse to offer it to the emperor. “The man then lied to the emperor Han Wudi, saying the horse had sprung out of a spring. And he called it a heavenly horse. The emperor loved the horse so much that he wrote a poem about it.” In 1986 China purchased 18 of the horses from the United States, Britain and

Germany and has since bred them in captivity, with their numbers growing to more than 70. Starting in 2010, carefully selected batches have been released into the reserve. “Now there are 27, 16 females and 11 males,” says Sun. “We even registered the birth of a foal in July 2011, a new success in our reintroduction process.” But very few animals can endure an environment as hard and dry as Gansu’s desert steppe. Przewalski’s horses require daily access to water that is within a 30-kilometre (20-mile) range and does not freeze in winter. They also need 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of dry food per day, relatively close to the water. In a region that receives less than four centimeters (1.5 inches) of rain per year, many of these conditions could become problems, says Sun. The reserve is taking back-up measures to improve the horses’ chances. “We have increased the water supply by expanding 10 wells. At a later point we are thinking of bringing water from the river. “In winter we have to break the ice so that the horses can drink.” The horses eat grasses and certain plant species, says reserve employee Lu Shengrong, but when vegetation becomes sparse in winter-time, they will be fed dry alfalfa, straw, black beans and corn. Of the 2,000 or so Przewalski’s horses that now exist worldwide, about a quarter are part of efforts to reintroduce them to the wild, says Claudia Feh, a biologist doing similar work in Mongolia, where several hundred have been released. The worst threat they face, she says, are ordinary horses, which can infect them with disease or crossbreed with them, diluting the gene pool. “The biggest enemy is the domesticated horse,” Feh says. Przewalski’s horses have “a very narrow genetic base” as all living members of the species are descended from just 13 or 14 individuals, she says. “They are going to disappear genetically if we do not prevent crossbreeding.” For any wild population to survive long-term, or even 50 years, it must be 1,500 strong, Feh says. “That goal is far away,” she adds. “This is a species that is still rather fragile.” —AFP

Australia cracks down on synthetic drugs SYDNEY: Australia imposed an interim ban on 19 synthetic cannabis and cocaine-like drugs yesterday as part of a crackdown on the psychoactive substances which mimic the highs of their illegal counterparts. Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury said the 19 products would be banned from sale and supply for up to 120 days under consumer laws, a measure which will give states and territories time to update their laws to ban them. “Synthetic drugs are dangerous substances that can kill and should not be available for sale,” Bradbury said. Many synthetic drugs are already banned in parts of Australia, but Bradbury said the market was fast-moving and suppliers had shown a willingness to change brand names and packaging to get around bans made under consumer laws. Australia’s most populous state New South Wales temporarily banned synthetic drugs earlier this month after a 17-yearold Sydney boy fell to his death after taking a synthetic LSD product which made him believe he could fly. Home Affairs

Minister Jason Clare confirmed yesterday that the government will also develop legislation to ensure unauthorized synthetic drugs cannot be imported. The move will mean that “new drugs coming onto the market are presumed to be illegal until the authorities know what they are and clear them as safe and legal”. Clare said a range of synthetic drugs were being sold in Australia, including via the Internet. They mimicked the effects of cannabis, cocaine and methamphetamine and were being marketed as a legal alternative to illicit drugs. He said the new legislation would be in line with that already in place in Ireland and due to be brought into force in New Zealand in August. Last month, Europe’s drug agency warned about the rise in new synthetic psychoactive substances on that continent. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction said 73 new psychoactive substances were detected on the market in 2012 — compared to just 49 in 2011 — and a greater proportion were from more obscure chemical groups. —AFP

Forget abandoning carbohydrates or detoxing. The new dieting craze sweeping Britain and taking off in the United States lets people eat whatever they like - but only five days a week. “The Fast Diet”, also known as the 5:2 diet, is the brainchild of TV medical journalist Michael Mosley and journalist Mimi Spencer and allows people to eat what they want for five days but only eat 600 calories a day on the other two. Their book, “The Fast Diet”, has topped bestselling book lists in Britain and the United States this year and been reprinted more than a dozen times. Mosley said the diet is based on work by British and US scientists who found intermittent fasting helped people lose more fat, increase insulin sensitivity and cut cholesterol which should mean reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes. He tried this eating regime for a BBC television science program called “Eat, Fast, Live Longer” last August after finding out his cholesterol level was too high and his blood sugar in the diabetic range. He was stunned by the results. “I started doing intermittent fasting a year ago, lost 8 kgs (18 pounds) of fat over 3 months and my blood results went back to normal,” Mosley told Reuters. Mosley said he had been amazed at the way the diet had taken off with a list of websites set up by followers of the 5:2 diet or variations of the eating regime to

share their experiences. Following the success of “The Fast Diet”, Spencer joined forces with dietitian Sarah Schenker to bring out “The Fast Diet Recipe Book” in April which has topped’s food and drink list with 150 recipes containing under 300 calories. Eating a 600 calorie daily diet - about a quarter of a normal healthy adult’s intake - could consist of two eggs for breakfast, grilled chicken and lettuce for lunch, and fish with rice noodles for dinner with nothing to drink but water, black coffee or tea. One day at a time Mosley put the diet’s success down to the fact it is psychologically attractive and leads to steady drop in weight with an average weekly loss of 1 pound (0.46kg) for women and slightly more for men. “The problem with standard diets is that you feel like you are constantly having to exercise restraint and that means you are thinking about food all the time, which becomes selfdefeating,” said Mosley. “On this regime you are only really on a diet two days a week. It is also extremely flexible and simple.” Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) initially expressed doubts about the diet and its longterm effects, saying side effects could include sleeping difficulties, bad breath, irritability, anxiety, and daytime sleepiness. But as the popularity of the 5:2 diet has grown and become one of

the most searched diets on the Internet, the NHS has started to look again at the diet and its effects. On its website last month the NHS said the British Dietetic Association (BDA) reviewed a 2011 study by researchers at the UK’s University Hospital of South Manchester that suggested intermittent fasting could help lower the risk of certain obesity-related cancers such as breast cancer. “The increasing popularity of the 5:2 diet should lead to further research of this kind,” the BDA said in a statement. Schenker, a sports and media dietitian who works with football clubs and food companies, said it was a shame that the NHS had criticized the eating regime that had proved such a success with so many people. “We are in the midst of an obesity crisis and you need to balance up which is worse - intermittent fasting of staying obese?” Schenker told Reuters. Despite concerns raised by the NHS, the 5:2 diet has been widely praised by those who follow it. Deb Thomas, 50, a management coach from London, said she has followed the diet for six months and dropped a couple of dress sizes. This has also inspired her husband to join her in fasting two days a week. “It is such an easy diet to follow that fits into my way of life,” Thomas said. “You have a tough day of not eating but you know the next day you can eat normally again, and that keeps you going.” —Reuters

Cancer patients take fight to the gym MINNEAPOLIS: Her face flushed, Rosemary Lamont sat on the gym floor one recent afternoon, listening to her trainer’s impassioned commands. “Sit up tall and lift that leg,” the trainer coached, counting down the remaining seconds. “Five, four, three, two, one. Beautiful!” Lamont smiled, exhaling loudly. The 69year-old woman is among legions of cancer patients adopting a new recovery strategy: They’re abandoning their beds and hitting the gym. A growing body of evidence supports the idea that sweating is better than resting after cancer. The workouts both restore energy drained from cancer treatments and, in some cases, help prevent the disease’s return. There are an estimated 13.7 million cancer survivors nationwide, according to the American Cancer Society. Lamont’s exercise class for cancer patients, new this spring at the Eden Prairie, Minn, Community Center, is the latest response to a growing demand for cancer fitness programs. As the benefits become more widely known, more of the fitness programs are popping up, such as the Livestrong Foundation’s partnership with YMCAs across the country and local programs at the YWCA and yoga centers. “The cancer journey can be very disempowering because your body can betray you, and there’s lots of things you just don’t have control over,” explained Cathy Skinner, who is among a rare breed of trainers specially certified by the American College of Sports Medicine to work with cancer survivors. “But exercise, state of mind, nutrition-those things you can control.” Lamont, of Eden Prairie, was battling a second bout of breast cancer when she underwent chemotherapy earlier this year. It left her feeling exhausted. But she didn’t take it lying down. She started working out, twice a week. It’s paying off. Driving a metal pin into a stack of weights during a recent workout, Lamont said: “My arms and legs are much stronger. It’s just amazing how quickly it’s come.” In personal trainer Kara Jeter’s class, Lamont and a small group of women do a mix of cardio, strength training and mind-body work. Jeter, while not a cancer survivor herself, said her heightened awareness of the disease motivated her to push for the new class at the Eden Prairie fitness center. “We said, ‘OK, we really need to get our act together because there are so many people affected by cancer,’?” said Jeter, who teamed up with two other trainers

MINNESOTA: Diana Hambrook, left, works out under the eye of trainer Kara Jeter during a fitness class for cancer survivors.

MINNESOTA: Trainer Kara Jeter offers encouragement during a fitness class for cancer survivors in Eden Prairie. —MCT photos to create the class. It’s something doctors are embracing, too. Dr Andrea Cheville of the Mayo Clinic said exercise offers significant benefits for cancer patients. She cited in particular a 2005 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found that breast cancer patients who walked briskly for three hours a week had almost a 50 percent reduction in their risk of breast cancer recurrence. “That’s honestly as good as any drug we have,” she said. She advises doing a half-hour of moderate exercise five

times a week. Cheville also said exercise will reduce a healthy person’s risk of developing certain cancers, namely colon and breast cancer. The American Cancer Society also recommends exercise, but advises patients to consult with their oncologists before starting an exercise program; the organization posts a list of precautions on its website. Kelli Klein, group fitness coordinator at the YWCA of Minneapolis, launched a cancer recovery exercise program exclusively for women in

2010 at the Lake Street YWCA. Called Cancer Recovery and Exercise for Women (CREW ), the program follows the same mix of cardio and strength training as other cancer fitness programs. “The connection there, the magic, if you will, is the same magic that is the result of exercise being beneficial for so many other things-that is, cell regeneration,” Klein said. “We think of exercise as impacting our waistline, impacting our muscles and even impacting our bone density. But we really need to think about exercise as having a fully systemic impact on our bodies, affecting our bodies right down to the cellular level. Then we can really begin to grasp the huge importance of exercise in recovery from any injury, any illness, and especially cancer.” Past CREW participants have included those whose cancer is in remission and those who have struggled with several bouts and are still working out. “It’s no longer a death sentence,” Klein said. “Cancer is something we manage like heart disease or high blood pressure. Exercise is part of the therapies.” Larry Fountain, 53, a singer from West St Paul, Minn, was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2007 and has battled three rounds. He discovered Skinner’s cancer recovery exercise program by chance. She is offering a summer session beginning this month at three gym locationsUptown, Eden Prairie and St Paul. Fountain started working out with her, after undergoing chemotherapy. “It made a heck of a difference,” he said of the exercise. “She really helped me get my strength and breath back so I could sing again.” He lifts weights and does exercises to strengthen the core muscles in his abdomen. Getting some exercise also worked wonders for his mind. “I always like to credit that experience with just helping pick me up out of the dumps,” Fountain said. “It helped me start feeling like you know, ‘I’m alive again, I’ve got another shot.’?” Back at the Eden Prairie Community Center, the women in Jeter’s class are starting to bond. They’ve talked about getting together outside of class. “We all are friends now,” said Diana Hambrook, 72. She was in the middle of doing bicep curls with handheld dumbbells when Lamont walked up to chat. “You graduated to fivepounders?” Lamont asked. “Whoa, you’re getting stronger.” Hambrook nodded, rolling up her sleeves to reveal her bulging biceps. “See?” she said proudly. —MCT

‘M’ or ‘F’? Outdated IDs worry transgender people SAN FRANCISCO: Lauren Grey didn’t think much about the gender recorded on her Illinois driver’s license until she went to test-drive a new car. Although she had been living as a woman for months and easily obtained a license with her new name and a picture reflecting her feminine appearance, Grey’s ID still identified her as male, puzzling the salesmen and prompting uncomfortable questions. “They are like, ‘This doesn’t match.’ Then you have to go into the story: ‘I was born male, but now I’m not,’” said Grey, 38, a graphic designer living in suburban Chicago. “And they are like, ‘What does that mean?’ It was super embarrassing.” Similarly awkward conversations ensued when she tried to rent an apartment, went to bars or was taken out of airport security lines for inspection. Most US residents don’t think twice about the gender printed on their government-issued docu-

ments. But those “M” or “F” markers - and the legal and administrative prerequisites for switching them on passports, birth certificates and other forms of identification - are a source of anxiety and, even, discrimination for transgender individuals. The rules vary from state to state, agency to agency and even clerk to clerk. But a transgender applicant generally has been required to submit both a court order approving the gender change and a letter from a surgeon certifying that the person underwent irreversible sex reassignment surgery before obtaining a new document. Over the last few years, though, the emerging movement for transgender rights has been quietly pressing the issue, persuading state lawmakers and federal and state agencies to simplify the lengthy and often costly process. Advocates recorded their latest vic-

tory Friday, when the Social Security Administration announced that it would no longer

require proof of surgery to alter the gender identification of individuals in its computers and records. The

CALIFORNIA: In this photo taken last Tuesday is Ben Hudson, the director of the Gender Health Center, a health clinic that provides treatment verification for transgender people seeking to update their idís is photographed in Sacramento,. —AP

move mirrors similar actions by the US State Department, which amended its passport application policies three years ago to do away with the sex reassignment surgery requirement, and US Citizenship and Immigration Services, which last year did the same for green cards, work permits and other documents it issues. “Most people may not see this as a big deal, but transgender people know that this seemingly small technical change will protect their privacy and give them more control over their own lives,” Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said. “Since 9/11, it’s become ... incredibly important to have accurate and consistent identification. Without it, you can’t open a bank account, you can’t use a credit card, you can’t apply for a loan, you can’t get a job, you can’t vote, you

can’t get insurance.” As a result of lawsuits and lobbying, about half of US states - most recently Illinois, Alaska, Virginia and Idaho - now allow residents to revise the gender designations on their driver’s licenses without first undergoing surgery or getting a judge’s approval. Applicants instead must provide a letter from a health professional stating they have received counseling, hormone therapy or another form of gendertransition treatment. Holding mismatched identification also exposes transgender people to the threat of discrimination or violence, advocates say. A 2008 survey of 6,450 transgender people conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that 40 percent of respondents had been harassed after presenting an ID that conflicted with how they looked. —AP

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

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013

IRS scandals threaten funding for health care law WASHINGTON: Mounting scandals at the Internal Revenue Service are jeopardizing critical funding for the agency as it gears up to play a big role in President Barack Obama’s health care law. Obama sought a significant budget increase for the IRS for next year, when the agency will start doling out subsidies to help people buy health insurance on statebased exchanges. Congressional Republicans, however, see management problems at the IRS as an opportunity to limit the agency’s funding just as it is trying to put in place the massive new law. Republicans have been fighting the health care law ever since Democrats enacted it in 2010 without a single GOP vote. Unable to repeal the law, some Republicans hope to starve it by refusing to fund its implementation. The IRS scandals are giving them a timely excuse. “I think it’s safe to say they’re not going to get the kind of increase they’re asking for,” said Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla, chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee that funds the IRS. “The question is, based on their bad behavior, are they going to end up with less money?” Crenshaw said. Last month, the IRS was rocked by revelations that agents had targeted tea party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny when the groups applied for tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 elections. A few weeks later, an inspector general’s report said that the agency had spent lavishly on employee conferences during the same time period. From 2010 through 2012, the IRS spent nearly $50 million on employee conferences. In 2010, the agency used money that had been budgeted to hire enforcement agents to instead help pay for one conference

that cost $4.1 million, according to the watchdog’s report. Three congressional committees and the Justice Department are investigating the targeting of conservative groups, and much of the top leadership at the IRS has been replaced. Obama appointed a new acting IRS commissioner, Danny Werfel, a former White House budget official. Werfel is conducting an internal review of the agency and is expected to issue recommendations for changes by the end of June. All this is happening as the agency works to implement the health law that includes some of the most sweeping changes to the tax code in a generation. “The IRS needs to repair the plane while it’s in flight right now,” said Paul Cherecwich, chairman of the IRS Oversight Board, an independent board within the agency. “Should the current budget environment continue, the IRS will have to continue to have to do more with less while rebuilding taxpayer trust. It has no choice, and it won’t be easy.” Like many federal agencies, the IRS has seen its budget and workforce shrink since 2010, when the agency was allotted $12.1 billion. This year, the IRS is expected to spend $11.2 billion. Obama’s proposed budget for next year is $12.9 billion - a 14 percent increase over current spending. About $440 million would go toward implementing the health care law. That would include hiring nearly 2,000 employees, according to an analysis of the president’s budget proposal by the Government Accountability Office. “We are working to get to the bottom of what happened at the IRS, hold the responsible parties accountable, make sure it cannot happen again, and restore public trust and

WASHINGTON: In this photo Rep Jim McDermott, D-Wash, asks a question during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the unfair targeting by the IRS of organizations seeking tax-exempt status on Capitol Hill. —AP confidence in the IRS and its ability to administer the tax code fairly and efficiently,” said White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage. “For years Republicans in Congress have made repeated attempts to stop and slow down the Affordable Care Act. This is just the latest attempt to put up roadblocks to implementing the law,” Brundage said. “The health law is the law of the land, and we are working to

implement it well, so millions of Americans will have access to affordable and quality insurance.” Starting next year, the IRS will administer subsidies to help millions of individuals buy health insurance. The subsidies, technically tax credits because they are administered through the tax code, will help low- and middleincome families buy health insurance through

the state-based exchanges. Under the new law, nearly ever yone in the U.S. will be required to have health insurance starting in 2014, or face penalties. The IRS will collect those penalties. About 6 million people are expected to get the insurance subsidies next year, and that number will grow to 20 million by 2017, according to estimates by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The enrollment season to buy health insurance through the exchanges starts Oct 1. “The bottom line here is that the IRS can barely manage what it already has to do, and that’s a generous characterization given the targeting of conservative groups,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees the IRS. “Adding Obamacare under the IRS, that can only be described as a looming disaster,” Hatch said. “And now the Democrats are saying we need to give the IRS more money. I’m not sure I’m willing to do that.” Democrats in Congress say they are growing tired of Republican attempts to repeal a law that has survived a review by the Supreme Court and whose main champion - Obama - won re-election last year. “The American people will see over the next six months the lengths the Republicans will go to destroy the implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” said Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington state, a senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee. “I’ve expected it from the first day this (IRS) issue came up.” “I’m sad about it, it’s awful,” McDermott added. “But sometimes in a democracy people have to learn the hard way, and the American public is going to learn. —AP

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013

W H AT ’ S O N



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he Najla Al-Naqqi Forum invites the media to a press conference for Municipal Council elections candidates Hamed Al-Omairi (first constituency) and Yahya Al-Enizy (seventh constituency) on Monday, June 17, 2013. The event starts 8:00 pm at the forum’s building in Salwa, Bock 2, Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa street, house No 388.

ACK holds field trip for students to Kuwait International Airport

The Meat Co Kuwait launches weekly Jazz Nights he Meat Co Kuwait will be bringing more than outstanding steak to the table with the launch of their new weekly jazz nights. The Meat Co Jazz Nights will be treating its customers to the smooth sounds of the Kuwait Jazz Trio, who will be entertaining the crowd with their extensive repertoire of tunes, including the works of Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Hoagy Carmichael, Billy Strayhorn and George Gershwin. Kuwait’s premier jazz band will be performing every Wednesday from 8pm at The Meat Co, Kuwait - using the traditional jazz trio instruments of piano, bass and drums -thrilling the audience with the best of international jazz late into the evening.


Indian Embassy sets up helpline he Indian Embassy in Kuwait has set up helpline in order to assist Indian expatriates in registering any complaint regarding the government’s ongoing campaign to stamp out illegal residents from the country. The embassy said in press release yesterday that it amended its previous statement and stated if there is any complaint, the same could be conveyed at the following (as amended): Operations Department, Ministry of Interior, Kuwait. Fax: 22435580, Tel: 24768146/25200334. It said the embassy has been in regular contact with local authorities regarding the ongoing checking of expatriates. The embassy has also conveyed to them the concerns, fears and apprehensions of the community in this regard. The authorities in Kuwait have conveyed that strict instructions have been issued to ensure that there is no harassment or improper treatment of expatriates by those undertaking checking. “The embassy would like to request Indian expatriates to ensure that they abide by all local laws, rules and regulations regarding residency, traffic and other matters,” the release read. It would be prudent to always carry the Civil ID and other relevant documents such as driving license, etc. In case an Indian expatriate encounters any improper treatment during checking, it may be conveyed immediately with full details and contact particulars to the embassy at the following phone number 67623639. These contact details are exclusively for the abovementioned purpose only.


n line with its students’ skills enhancement strategy, the Australian College of Kuwait (ACK) organized a field trip to the Kuwait International Airport for Foundation Skills Program (Level 3 - English) students wishing to major in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering. ACK’s Foundation Skills Program has been established to provide a firm edu-

cational base on which students can build their subsequent courses of study in multiple areas, such as English, mathematics, physics and computing skills. The particular aim of the field trip was to expose English students to real-life situations where they would need to use technical aviation terms to express themselves and communicate with others. However, the trip also consolidated

the students’ understanding of engineering systems, giving them a glance at what their future careers would be like. Headed by Camille Bondi, Head of the English Foundation Skills Program and accompanied by their teachers, the field trip students got the unique chance to tour the Airport’s Maintenance Department guided by the department’s head, who offered them important theo-

retical and practical information, which came to complement their college learning. Other field trips have been scheduled by the Australian College of Kuwait for later this year as part of the institution’s overall strategy to nurture its students and provide them with the best academic support possible for a brighter future.


IMAX IMAX film program Monday: ** 9:30am Showtime Available for Groups Flight of Butterflies 3D 10:30am, 8:30pm Tornado Alley 3D 11:30am, 5:30pm, 7:30pm To The Arctic 3D  12:30pm, 9:30pm Born to be Wild 3D 6:30pm

Kuwait Marriott Hotels launch exciting family summer deals


estled in the heart of the country, JW Marriott hotel Kuwait City and Courtyard by Marriott hotel Kuwait City are offering exciting packages for the upcoming summer travel season to locals, expatriates, as well as visiting families from other GCC countries. The new offer is valid from June 1 to August 31, 2013. Guests residing at the hotels can particularly enjoy daily free international buffet breakfast with 20 percent off on food and beverage and for those with kids aged 12 years and under will receive 50 percent off on meals. To add to the exclusive benefits, guests are entitled to 50 percent off on spa treatments and massages along with free access to the swimming pool and health club. Free unlimited high speed wired and wireless internet and 50 percent off on laundry services are ensured for complete convenience on every level. Fun filled deals at the modern, downtown Courtyard by Marriott hotel include a reduced stay price at KD 46 per night on weekdays, while a blissful weekend getaway on Thursday or Friday could be relished at KD 60 per night. Hotel guests can enjoy delicious buffet and a

la Carte menu at the Courtyard by Marriott’s Atrium restaurant and the renowned Indian restaurant Soul and Spice, offering the perfect blend of Indian spices in a contemporary presentation. The restaurant offers an extensive a la carte menu featuring authentic Indian dishes. Meanwhile, guests staying at the five star luxury JW Marriott Kuwait Hotel, can enjoy weekday offers at KD55 per night and KD70 per night on weekends. An exciting buffet at the hotel’s very popular La Brasserie restaurant will be provided, featuring delicious international buffets. George Aoun, General Manager of Kuwait Marriott Hotels, said, “With many years of extensive experience catering to families and visitors from around the region during the busiest season of the year, this brand guarantees complete anticipation of their demands and preferences. Our offers therefore ,are tailor made to fit all ,ranging from the finest dining to the ultimate shopping experience under one roof .We truly hope our guests feel welcome and enjoy their days with us.”

Tuesday: ** 9:30am Showtime Available for Groups Tornado Alley 3D 10:30am, 6:30pm, 8:30pm Flight of Butterflies 3D 11:30am, 9:30pm To The Arctic 3D  12:30pm, 7:30pm Born to be Wild 3D 5:30pm Wednesday: ** 9:30am Showtime Available for Groups To The Arctic 3D 10:30am Tornado Alley 3D11:30am, 6:30pm, 9:30pm Flight of Butterflies 3D 12:30pm, 7:30pm Journey to Mecca 5:30pm Born to be Wild 3D 8:30pm

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

By the end of this 2012-2013 school year, Yousif Saleem successfully graduated from KG1 at the Pakistani School. Congratulations.

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013

W H AT ’ S O N

Maj Gen Ali celebrates son’s wedding

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


he Ministry of Interior’s Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs Major General Abdulfattah Al-Ali celebrated the wedding of his son Abdulmuhsen in a ceremony held Saturday at the Behbehani Hall in Shaab. The ceremony was attended by state officials and many other guests.


[From left]: His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah poses for a photo with the father of the bride, groom and Major General Abdulfattah Al-Ali.—Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Kuwait Football Association President Sheikh Talal Al-Fahad Al-Sabah (right) with Major General Abdulfattah Al-Ali and his son.

[From left]: Vice President of the Kuwaiti National Guard Sheikh Meshal AlAhmad Al-Sabah, the groom Abdulmuhsin Al-Ali, HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Ali and Major General Abdulfattah Al-Ali.

Sheikh Faisal Al-Hmoud Al-Malik Al-Sabah stands between the groom and his father.

Undersecretary Assistant for Training and Learning Affairs in the Ministry of Interior, Major General Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah (fifth from left) poses for a photo with a number of guests.

Nasser Al-Sayer (middle) poses with the groom and his father.

Former minister Fadhel Safar poses with the groom and his father.

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

EMBASSY OF US Parents of Kuwaiti citizen children may drop off their sons’ and daughters’ visa applications - completely free of an interview or a trip inside the Embassy. The children must be under 14 years of age, and additional requirements do apply, but the service means parents will no longer have to schedule individual appointments for their children, nor come inside the Embassy (unless they are applying for themselves). The service is only available for children holding Kuwaiti passports. To take advantage, parents must drop off the following documents: Child Visa Drop-off cover sheet, available on the Embassy website ( - Child’s passport; The Child’s previous passport, if it contains a valid US visa; 5x5cm photo of child with eyes open (if uploaded into DS160, photos must be a .jpg between 600x600 and 1200x1200 pixels, less than 240kb, and cannot be digitally altered); A completed DS160 form; Visa Fee Receipt from Burgan Bank; A copy of the valid visa of at least one parent. If one parent will not travel, provide a visa copy for the traveling parent, and a passport copy from the non-traveling parent with a letter stating no objection to the child’s travel. - For children of students (F2): a copy of the child’s I20. Children born in the US (with very few exceptions) are US citizens and would not be eligible for a visa. Parents may drop off the application packet at Window 2 at the Embassy from 1:00 to 3:00 PM, Monday to Wednesday, excluding holidays. More information is available on the U.S. Embassy website: nnnnnnn

Former MP Saadoun Hammad Al-Otaibi (middle) is seen with the groom and his father.

Guests lineup for greeting the newly-wed.

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

EMBASSY OF VATICAN The Apostolic Nunciature Embassy of the Holy See, Vatican in Kuwait has moved to a new location in Kuwait City. Please find below the new address: Yarmouk, Block 1, Street 2, Villa No: 1. P.O.Box 29724, Safat 13158, Kuwait. Tel: 965 25337767, Fax: 965 25342066. Email: A general view of the guests.

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


14:35 Border Security 15:05 Auction Hunters 15:30 Auction Kings 16:00 Robson Green’s Extreme Fishing Challenge 16:55 Yukon Men 17:50 Mythbusters 18:45 Sons Of Guns 19:40 Industrial Junkie 20:05 How It’s Made 20:35 Auction Hunters 21:00 Storage Hunters 21:30 Gold Divers 22:25 Alaska: The Last Frontier 23:20 Flying Wild Alaska 00:15 Gold Divers

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Combat Countdown The Baby Mammoth HMS Ark Royal Mystery Cars Mystery Cars Hero Factor Hero Factor American Car Prospector Tattoo Hunter Out Of Egypt American Car Prospector Death Machines Most Evil Mystery Cars Mystery Cars American Car Prospector

14:20 Kitchen Chemistry 14:45 Kitchen Chemistry 15:10 Thunder Races 16:00 Nextworld 16:55 Mega World 17:45 Fire In The Sky: A Daily Planet Special 18:35 The Gadget Show 19:00 The Tech Show 19:30 X-Machines 20:20 Mega World 21:10 Food Factory 21:35 Food Factory 22:00 X-Machines 22:50 Human Nature 23:40 Food Factory 00:05 Food Factory 00:30 How Do They Do It? 01:00 Mega World 01:50 Human Nature

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C.S.I. Glee Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show C.S.I. Parenthood

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03:00 Guys With Kids 03:30 1600 Penn 04:00 Seinfeld 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Two And A Half Men 06:00 All Of Us 06:30 Til Death 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 Seinfeld 08:30 Two And A Half Men 09:00 Guys With Kids 09:30 Hot In Cleveland 10:00 2 Broke Girls 10:30 Til Death 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 All Of Us 12:30 Seinfeld 13:00 Two And A Half Men 13:30 Til Death 14:00 1600 Penn 14:30 2 Broke Girls 15:00 Hot In Cleveland 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 All Of Us 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 Samantha Who? 18:30 Malibu Country 19:00 Hot In Cleveland 19:30 Parks And Recreation 20:00 Don’t Trust The B In Apartment 23 20:30 30 Rock 21:00 The Daily Show Global Edition 21:30 The Colbert Report Global Edition 22:00 Family Guy 22:30 Louie 23:00 Girls 23:30 Enlightened 00:00 30 Rock 00:30 The Daily Show Global Edition 01:00 The Colbert Report Global Edition 01:30 Family Guy

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A Kind Of Magic A Kind Of Magic Prankstars Suite Life On Deck Shake It Up A.N.T Farm Jessie Good Luck Charlie Good Luck Charlie Doc McStuffins Mickey Mouse Clubhouse A.N.T Farm A.N.T Farm Jessie Jessie Good Luck Charlie Good Luck Charlie Good Luck Charlie Shake It Up Shake It Up Austin And Ally A.N.T. Farm Jessie Shake It Up Suite Life On Deck Gravity Falls Good Luck Charlie Jessie Shake It Up A.N.T. Farm Austin And Ally Gravity Falls Suite Life On Deck Good Luck Charlie Code: 9 Code: 9 Prankstars Prankstars

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14:30 Style Star 15:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 16:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 17:00 Ice Loves Coco 17:30 E! News Special: Country Music Festival 18:00 E! News 19:00 E!es 20:00 Married To Jonas 20:30 Married To Jonas 21:00 Playing With Fire 23:00 THS 00:00 Opening Act 00:55 Style Star 01:25 THS

03:30 Celebrity MasterChef 03:55 Bargain Hunt 04:40 Design Rules 05:00 James Martin’s Champagne 05:25 Antiques Roadshow 06:15 Cash In The Attic 07:00 Food Poker 07:45 Phil Spencer - Secret Agent 08:35 Bargain Hunt 09:20 Antiques Roadshow 10:15 Gok’s Fashion Fix 11:05 Celebrity MasterChef 12:00 Celebrity MasterChef 12:25 Come Dine With Me 13:15 Bargain Hunt 14:00 Cash In The Attic 14:45 Antiques Roadshow 15:40 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Specials 16:20 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Specials 17:00 Phil Spencer - Secret Agent 17:55 Food & Drink 18:25 Planet Cake 18:50 Food Poker 19:40 Come Dine With Me 20:35 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 21:20 Antiques Roadshow 22:15 Bargain Hunt 23:00 Phil Spencer - Secret Agent 23:55 Food Poker 00:40 Come Dine With Me 01:30 Food Poker 02:20 Cash In The Attic

03:25 Unique Eats 03:50 Food Crafters 04:15 United Tastes Of America 04:40 Chopped 05:30 Iron Chef America 06:10 Unwrapped 06:35 Unwrapped 07:00 Guy’s Big Bite 07:25 Guy’s Big Bite 07:50 Andy Bates American Street Feasts 08:15 Unique Sweets 08:40 United Tastes Of America 09:05 Barefoot Contessa 09:30 Food Network Challenge 10:20 Extra Virgin 10:45 Kid In A Candy Store

11:10 Charly’s Cake Angels 11:35 Unique Sweets 12:00 Amazing Wedding Cakes 12:50 Have Cake, Will Travel 13:15 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 13:40 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 14:05 Food Wars 14:30 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 14:55 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 15:20 Guy’s Big Bite 15:45 Chopped 16:35 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 17:00 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 17:25 Food Wars 17:50 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 18:15 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 18:40 Charly’s Cake Angels 19:05 Unique Sweets 19:30 Amazing Wedding Cakes 20:20 Chopped 21:10 Chopped 22:00 Andy Bates American Street Feasts 22:25 Andy Bates American Street Feasts 22:50 Andy Bates Street Feasts 23:15 Andy Bates Street Feasts 23:40 Food Wars 00:05 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 00:30 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 00:55 Unwrapped 01:20 Unwrapped 01:45 Andy Bates American Street Feasts

03:00 Once Brothers-PG15 05:00 Alpha And Omega-PG 07:00 Johnny English Reborn-PG15 09:00 Dolphin Tale-PG 11:00 Dead Lines-PG15 13:00 A Cinderella Story: Once Upon A Song-PG 14:45 The Vow-PG15 16:30 Dolphin Tale-PG 18:30 Captain America: The First Avenger-PG15 21:00 War Horse-PG15 23:30 The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo-R 02:15 Dead Lines-PG15

07:00 Warbirds-PG15 09:00 Something Borrowed-PG15 11:00 Ring Of Deceit-PG15 13:00 The Game Of Their Lives-PG15 15:00 The Dragon Chronicles: Fire & Ice-PG15 17:00 Just Crazy Enough-PG15 19:00 An Invisible Sign Of My OwnPG15 21:00 Martha Marcy May Marlene 23:00 American Reunion-18 01:00 Just Crazy Enough-PG15

04:00 Batman: Year One-PG15 06:00 Arthur Christmas-PG 08:00 War Horse-PG15 10:30 One Angry Juror-PG15 12:00 Glee: The Concert MoviePG15 13:30 Why Did I Get Married Too?PG15 15:30 War Horse-PG15 18:00 Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes-PG15 20:00 Summer Coda-PG15 22:00 Dark Shadows-PG15 00:00 Arena-18 02:00 War Horse-PG15

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Soldiers Of Fortune-PG15 The Ring-PG15 The Speed Of Thought-PG15 Constantine-PG15 Ice Quake-PG15 The Speed Of Thought-PG15 Hide And Seek-PG15 Ice Quake-PG15 Backdraft-PG15 Fertile Ground-18 The Godfather-18

08:00 Mr. Popper’s Penguins-PG 10:00 The Smurfs-PG 12:00 Zathura: A Space AdventurePG 14:00 Police Academy 3: Back In Training-PG15 16:00 The Smurfs-PG 18:00 Sorority Wars-PG15 20:00 Revenge Of The Nerds II: Nerds In Paradise-PG15 22:00 Reno 911!: Miami-18 00:00 Analyze That-PG15 02:00 Revenge Of The Nerds II: Nerds In Paradise-PG15


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Water For Elephants-PG15 Jane Eyre-PG15 Nomads-PG15 Water For Elephants-PG15 Loosies-PG15 Kathmandu Lullaby-PG15 Blind Revenge-18 Summer Of Sam-PG15 An Officer And A Gentleman-

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International Rugby Union International Rugby Union ATP Tennis ATP Tennis Live NRL Premiership British & Irish Lions ATP Tennis ATP Tennis Trans World Sport Live ATP Tennis ICC Cricket 360 British & Irish Lions Futbol Mundial ATP Tennis NRL Premiership

01:00 UFC The Ultimate Fighter

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UFC Countdown Live UFC Prelims Live UFC Live NRL Premiership Trans World Sport ICC Cricket 360 Live NRL Premiership British and Irish Lions Tour Futbol Mundial UFC The Ultimate Fighter UFC Countdown UFC Prelims UFC UFC The Ultimate Fighter

00:30 ICC Cricket 360 01:00 AFL Premiership 03:30 PGA Tour Highlights 04:30 PGA European Tour Highlights 05:30 Trans World Sport 06:30 Inside The PGA Tour 07:00 International Rugby Union 09:00 ICC Cricket 360 09:30 Live AFL Premiership 12:30 Inside The PGA Tour 13:00 PGA European Tour Weekly 13:30 Futbol Mundial 14:00 Trans World Sport 15:00 NRL Premiership 17:00 NRL Premiership 19:00 Live Nations Cup 21:00 Live Nations Cup 23:00 ICC Cricket 360 23:30 Inside The PGA Tour

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Mass Participation UIM Powerboat Champs UIM Aquabike Champs Motor Sports 2013 European Le Mans Series UAE National Race Day Series NHL WWE Bottom Line WWE NXT WWE Experience WWE This Week Mobil 1 The Grid NHL Prizefighter WWE Bottom Line NHL WWE Smackdown NHL UFC Countdown


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CHANGE OF NAME I, Kamasani Damodaram holder of Indian passport No. E6147415 issued at Hyderabad on 26-08-2003, I wish to change my name Kamasani Damodar Reddy. (C 4443) 15-6-2013 MATRIMONIAL Inviting marriage proposal for Tamil Christian girl age 30, working in Kuwait, qualifications B.P.T + M Sc (UK). Contact Email: (C 4441)

12-6-2013 Inviting marriage proposal for Kerala Christian boy, age 29/ ht - 176cm, from Trichur district working as an Accountant in a reputed company in Kuwait. Contact: Email: (C 4440)

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Prayer timings Fajr: Shorook Duhr: Asr: Maghrib: Isha:

03:13 04:49 11:49 15:23 18:49 20:22

Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (



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


859 307 136 217 146 576 59 975 981 327 636 205 574 614 8053 8057 213 118 788 674 104 786 542 618 774 742 177 135 535 777 239 189 185 640 134 303 857 127 982 215 510 251 144 63 219 405 572 647 61 129 402 618 489 401 229 411 772


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




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


673 93 473 8058 646 501 617 773 188 741 641 238 135 304 538 128 858 216 511 982 184 266 214 252 145 64 220 134 283 404 571 62 120 331 648 351 403 619 171 402 8054 308 230 860 137 301 218 60 205 147 575 554 1540 411 328 530


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stars CROSSWORD 223

STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) Your feelings need to be stirred before you can throw yourself completely into any venture. Love, ideal and a strong sense of your own worth are vital to your well-being. If there is something that the majority wants to do today, consider that you could bail out if you decided not to continue the activity later; just hang with the guys for a bit; you might decide to stay. You enjoy life yourself and you value enthusiasm in those around you. Your appetite for action is probably well known and well noted. Sports, outdoor activities and everything physical are high on your list of favorites. Sex is, no doubt, also important for tonight. A love relationship is strengthened and you have the strong feeling that there is smooth sailing ahead.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) This is certainly a busy day. You may be in the center of much activity. Perhaps some volunteer service or worship group activity is your choice for now. You have a wonderful way of working with others, helping them to sense and feel the unity of life. Your love of the spiritual and the eternal is clear to all who meet you. You love to solve the problems of the world, at least in words and images and when you tell it, all are enchanted; dreams and images are your stock and trade. Your dreams and ideals are very important to you, as you methodically go about putting them into practice now or reading about a new technique to help you program for success. You could bring imagination and religious understanding to physical and scientific studies.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

ACROSS 1. Measure of the US economy adopted in 1991. 4. Of or relating to the enteron. 11. English writer and a central member of the Fabian Society (1858-1943). 15. Any of various long-tailed rodents similar to but larger than a mouse. 16. Oriental moth that produces brownish silk. 17. The capital of Western Samoa. 18. (Babylonian) A demigod or first man. 20. The capital and largest city of Jordan. 21. Large gregarious predatory feline of Africa and India having a tawny coat with a shaggy mane in the male. 22. Of a temperature scale that registers the freezing point of water as 32 degrees F and the boiling point as 212 degrees F at one atmosphere of pressure. 24. Moth whose larvae are flour moths. 26. The compass point that is one point north of due east. 29. Strike with disgust or revulsion. 30. Someone who engages in surfboarding. 32. The grasses. 34. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 35. A public promotion of some product or service. 37. The arrangement of the hair (especially a woman's hair). 40. Jordan's port. 42. A state in New England. 44. (British) A waterproof raincoat made of rubberized fabric. 45. A unit of absorbed ionizing radiation equal to 100 ergs per gram of irradiated material. 49. Being ten more than one hundred ninety. 50. Any of various strong liquors distilled from the fermented sap of toddy palms or from fermented molasses. 52. Water buffalo of the Philippines. 53. Aircraft landing in bad weather in which the pilot is talked down by ground control using precision approach radar. 54. (statistics) Of a distribution. 56. A state in midwestern United States. 57. A hard gray lustrous metallic element that is highly corrosion-resistant. 59. Before noon. 60. A city in northern India. 63. An official language of the Republic of South Africa. 66. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 68. Predatory black-and-white toothed whale with large dorsal fin. 71. The slender spear of the Bantu-speaking people of Africa. 74. The ninth month of the Moslem calendar. 75. A local and habitual twitching especially in the face. 76. (zoology) Lacking a tail or taillike appendage. 79. One of a pair of long straps (usually connected to the bit or the headpiece) used to control a horse. 80. Antibacterial drug (trade name Nydrazid) used to treat tuberculosis. 81. The unwanted discharge of a fluid from some container. 82. (Irish) Mother of the Tuatha De Danann. DOWN 1. German tennis player who won seven women's singles titles at Wimbledon (born in

1969). 2. An informal term for a father. 3. A major god. 4. The 7th letter of the Greek alphabet. 5. The 13th letter of the Greek alphabet. 6. A male monarch or emperor (especially of Russia prior to 1917). 7. Electronic warfare undertaken under direct control of an operational commander to locate sources of radiated electromagnetic energy for the purpose of immediate threat recognition. 8. The Russian imperial line that ruled from 1613 to 1917. 9. A genus of orb-weaving spiders including common garden spiders and barn spiders. 10. A Russian river. 11. A member of a North American people formerly living in the Colorado river valley in Arizona. 12. Protective outer layer of seeds of flowering plants. 13. All the plant and animal life of a particular region. 14. Obvious and dull. 19. Manufactured in standard sizes to be shipped and assembled elsewhere. 23. A son who has the same first name as his father. 25. (Greek mythology) Goddess of the earth and mother of Cronus and the Titans in ancient mythology. 27. English monk and scholar (672-735). 28. Give a certain impression or have a certain outward aspect. 31. Medium-sized tree-dwelling monkey of the Amazon basin. 33. Green algae common in freshwater lakes of limestone districts. 36. African antelope with ridged curved horns. 38. The capital and largest city of Bangladesh. 39. English scholastic philosopher and assumed author of Occam's Razor (1285-1349). 41. (Old Testament) In Judeo-Christian mythology. 43. Having nine hinged bands of bony plates. 46. United States gangster who terrorized Chicago during Prohibition until arrested for tax evasion (1899-1947). 47. An Indian side dish of yogurt and chopped cucumbers and spices. 48. A tiny or scarcely detectable amount. 51. Sluggish tailless Australian arboreal marsupial with gray furry ears and coat. 55. 1/10 gram. 58. On a ship, train, plane or other vehicle. 61. A river that rises in central Germany and flows north to join the Elbe River. 62. Type genus of the Ardeidae. 64. The seventh month of the Hindu calendar. 65. United States writer (born in Poland) who wrote in Yiddish (1880-1957). 67. (informal) Exceptionally good. 69. (Old Testament) Cain and Abel were the first children of Adam and Eve born after the Fall of Man. 70. A former copper coin of Pakistan. 72. United States liquid unit equal to 4 quarts or 3.785 liters. 73. A plant hormone promoting elongation of stems and roots. 77. A monarchy in northwestern Europe occupying most of the British Isles. 78. An official prosecutor for a judicial district.

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013

You have great optimism, faith and a tendency to take chances at the deepest emotional levels. You feel a love of order and law—an appreciation for responsibilities and duty. The tough astrological aspects that have put you through many a test at the beginning of this year are about to give you a rest. Stay calm and give time a chance to do its healing in several areas of your life. Work to achieve and maintain as much of a balance in your affairs as is possible and keep saving those pennies. You relish your freedom and as this day comes to a close you will find a little quiet time to get off by yourself and refurbish your energies. This time of refurbishment may involve a bit of exercise such as bicycle or swimming, or an afternoon nap. Love is available.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) There are insights into your dreams today. This is a good time to reshape and renew your philosophy or religion, during which your imagination is at full tilt. New ideas and new understandings are possible. Getting your message across to others takes little time or explanation today—others seem to understand just what you mean. Your timing should be perfect and those around you will find you most spontaneous and flexible to go wherever you are needed. Your management and supervisory abilities are in high gear. You are not moved by the pretended emotions of another and you prefer concrete subjects to flights of fancy. Your love of groups and the social scene may find you interested in relationships of all kinds.

Leo (July 23-August 22) When you love, you love with energy and passion. You value personal contact, cutting through all the externals and getting to the heart of things. You understand and appreciate vulnerability and have no qualm about presenting your own sensitive spots to others. You enjoy working behind the scenes, getting at any secrets and hidden areas of the mind and psyche. Detective or news reporter would be an ideal profession for you to consider, perhaps freelance. Your passion in discovering the answer to mysteries is strong and you may find that even as you guess at hidden truths, you will be moving in the right direction. You are a good friend and tonight is a good time to help one particular friend stay on a rational path.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) Be open to the suggestions of others today. This is a day of exploring your feelings—a kind of restlessness for a new emotional experience. Your most essential quality has to do with the very real love and compassion you radiate. Your sense of values and sheer appreciation for life is connected to all who come to know you. People will value you for your warmth and dynamic qualities as much as for your ideas. You may be able to help in some community effort or organize a block party this evening. A neighbor that has always been hard to interact with finally opens up to you in positive ways. You can relate to almost all types of people with equal ease and find this is another one of those days filled with lots of interesting people.

Word Search

Libra (September 23-October 22) This is a good time for making amends, making peace with the past and meditating on things that you would like to understand better. Philosophy and religion are subjects that fascinate and occupy your mind. Your ideas are always to the point and candid, never florid or superficial. You are an expert at working with words that depict mystical and mythological ideas. You are at home in these realms and can always manage to bring otherworldly ideas into the practical realms. You might consider working at an island retreat. This sort of profession is beginning to look profitable. This afternoon you may enjoy coaching young people in outdoor sports. You are a natural in this arena and enjoy participating. Sing or hum an old tune, just for fun

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Be satisfied with the ordinary and usual for now. Novel ideas or insights could be more damaging than useful. There is hectic emotional energy prevailing. There is a greater appreciation for things of value and the idea of value itself is in order. This could be a period of great material gain; it is certainly a time when material things have a great deal of importance for you. People may be asking you for advice regarding very personal and emotional issues. You are understanding of the situation and are able to find the real truth in order to help another understand. This evening is for you; stop fidgeting! You are allowed some time for yourself. If there is not a hot tub, pool or lake to dive into, a good book or movie can be fun.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Anyone who tries to get you to play with words is in for a big surprise. Your mind cuts right through all the window dressing. Before anyone knows it, you have the important aspects out front for everyone to see. You would make a great investigator, either in scientific research or undercover work. Your ability to get to the point is all but phenomenal. You can talk and put into words areas of the psychological that others would not go near. Your drive to make dreams real keeps you working for your vision. One important thing you work on for this summer is a fun vacation. You have been saving and with a little part-time work you will be able to take that cruise or learn to fly. Waiting for the right time you can see that your goal is close at hand.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) CAPRICORN There is optimism, hope and faith in what is yet to be experienced or accomplished. Family, home, relatives and real estate play a bigger part in your life now. You may decide on certain property or an area in which to move. You experience life mostly through your emotions and how you feel about someone or something. Your intuition is strong and can guide you accurately in making forecasts or decisions. Your sensitivity makes you recoil from aggressive types. You will be concerned with maintaining and strengthening your position, rather than pushing outward. This afternoon you relax with loved ones and play with new recipe ideas. These next few months should be easy and filled with opportunities and a variety of friendships.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Don’t be surprised if you are not in top mental gear today. You could be struggling to communicate so as to be easily understood. Hard words are possible with an older person today. This is a time of exploring your feelings, a kind of restlessness for a new emotional experience. Perhaps this would be a good day to catch up on your own chores and then find ways in which you can relax and enjoy the company of your loved ones. A strong need for nurturing is a bigger than usual element in your life. You may feel the need to care for others or to have them care for you. This is a perfect time to go to a movie or rent a video to enjoy at home. Work in the yard or with plants, art and all forms of relaxation are beneficial to you in all sorts of ways.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) Much can be accomplished today. You are very creative when it comes to your home and surroundings. Ideas of decorating or redecorating may be on your mind. You may enjoy involvement in any mental efforts or like forms of discipline. You will work long and hard at whatever you put your mind to today—results will be positive. You could present or teach religious and philosophical ideas, anything where substance and content are at issue. You have such an outpouring of insights that having a conversation with you can be a real experience. Your mind works like lightning. Your words and thoughts come quickly and are illuminating, whatever the subject. You are an inspiration and driving force in the lives of others.

Yesterday’s Solution

Yesterday’s Solution

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Yesterday’s Solution

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013

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


Amiri Hospital


Maternity Hospital


Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital


Chest Hospital


Farwaniya Hospital


Adan Hospital


Ibn Sina Hospital


Al-Razi Hospital


Physiotherapy Hospital






Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan

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

23915883 23715414 23726558


Modern Jahra Madina Munawara

Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92

24575518 24566622


Ahlam Khaldiya Coop

Fahad Al-Salem St Khaldiya Coop

22436184 24833967


New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan

Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11

24734000 24881201 24726638

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

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

25726265 25647075 22625999 22564549 25340559 25326554 25721264 25380581 25628241






















Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh








Kaizen center


















Abdullah Salem




Industrial Shuwaikh






Bneid Al-Gar






Ayoun Al-Qibla










Maidan Hawally






W Hawally






New Jahra


West Jahra


South Jahra


North Jahra


North Jleeb








N Khaitan





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


Plastic Surgeons Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalaf


Dr. Khaled Hamadi

Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari


Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rashed

Dr. Abdel Quttainah


Family Doctor Dr Divya Damodar


Psychiatrists Dr. Esam Al-Ansari


Dr Eisa M. Al-Balhan


Gynaecologists & Obstetricians DrAdrian arbe


Dr. Verginia s.Marin

2572-6666 ext 8321


25665898 25340300

Dr. Zahra Qabazard


Dr. Sohail Qamar


Dr. Snaa Maaroof


Dr. Pradip Gujare


Dr. Zacharias Mathew


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



Dr. Fozeya Ali Al-Qatan


Dr. Majeda Khalefa Aliytami


Dr. Shamah Al-Matar


Dr. Ahmad Al-Khooly


Dr. Anesah Al-Rasheed



Dr. Abidallah Al-Amer


Dr. Faysal Al-Fozan


Dr. Abdallateef Al-Katrash


Dr. Abidallah Al-Duweisan


Dr. Bader Al-Ansari


General Surgeons Dr. Amer Zawaz Al-Amer


Dr. Mohammad Yousef Basher


Internists, Chest & Heart Dr. Adnan Ebil Dr. Latefa Al-Duweisan

22666300 25728004

Dr. Nadem Al-Ghabra


Dr. Mobarak Aldoub


Dr Nasser Behbehani


Soor Center Tel: 2290-1677 Fax: 2290 1688



Dr. Mousa Khadada


Dr. Sohal Najem Al-Shemeri


Dr. Jasem Mola Hassan


Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman


Dr. Mohammad Al-Shamaly


Dr. Foad Abidallah Al-Ali


Kaizen center 25716707


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


Dr. Musaed Faraj Khamees


Rheumatologists: Dr. Adel Al-Awadi

Dr Anil Thomas

Dr. Salem soso

Dr. Abd Al-Naser Al-Othman


Dr. Khaled Al-Jarallah


Internist, Chest & Heart DR.Mohammes Akkad

24555050 Ext 210

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


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

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

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

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013

lifestyle G O S S I P

Beyonce settles $100 million lawsuit Cowell is very

humble, says Demi



eyonce Knowles has settled a $100 million lawsuit. The 31-year-old singer has reached an agreement with videogame company Gate Five after allegedly backing out of a deal to create her own motion-capture dance game called ‘Starpower: BeyoncÈ.’ Lawyers for both sides signed an agreement dismissing “all claims or counterclaims” without legal fees and filed the papers in

Manhattan Supreme Court in New York on Friday .The gaming company’s lawyer Peter Gallagher told the New York Post’s Page Six: “We’ve settled amicably. I can’t discuss the terms of the settlement, but it was resolved.” The ‘Love On Top’ singer reportedly dropped out of the deal last winter because she claimed that Gate Five had not secured the funding they had promised. The com-

pany countered that the Grammy-winner, who has a 17-month-old daughter, Blue Ivy, with her rapper husband Jay-Z, ditched the deal on a whim and claimed it lost its nearly $7 million investment and 70 people lost their jobs. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The singer is set to kick off the US leg of her Mrs Carter Show world tour later this month.

emi Lovato claims Simon Cowell is very “humble”. The ‘Heart Attack’ singer was surprised at how normal and approachable the media mogul was when she first met him as a judge on ‘The X Factor’ USA last year. She said: “I expected him to be a lot more intimidating. And I mean that in a humbling way, because when people think of Simon Cowell, they think like, ‘Oh, the big boss, he’s mean to people’ or whatever, but he’s super down-toearth ... Actually I don’t know about down-to-earth! “He’s pretty fancy, but he’s a humble guy. When he walks in a room, it doesn’t matter if you’re the biggest celebrity or the biggest big-shot in the room, he’ll treat you the same as the person who’s coming into the room to bring you tea. I thought that was pretty cool.” Despite his lavish lifestyle and expensive habits - including insisting upon having black loo roll in his house and splurging £3000 a week on floral arrangements - Demi, 20, joked his wardrobe could use some updating. She explained to heat magazine: “The jeans he wears are torn up at the bottom and you can tell that they’re not brand new. So there are parts of him that are super-fancy and then other parts that are super down-to-earth.” The pair have build a friendship in spite of their age difference and often exchange text messages, with Demi revealing she even has a special nickname for Simon. She laughed: “He calls me Gobby, and I guess that means that I talk a lot or some thing. I call him Grampa or Grandma.”

Jackson wants to live with Diana Ross


aris Jackson wants to live with godmother Diana Ross, according to reports. The 15-year-old daughter of Michael has been recovering from her recent suicide attempt and has apparently told social workers at UCLA Medical Centre she doesn’t want to be under the care of grandmother Katherine and cousin TJ Jackson anymore. The Daily Star newspaper has revealed the troubled star “wants to live”, but wants to do so under the care of the ‘Chain Reaction’ hitmaker. According to an insider, Paris said: “I want to live. I just don’t want to live at home any more. I feel like I’m being stifled there. “I miss my dad terribly still and at times I feel like there’s no one I can talk to about how I feel. “I want to go and live with Diana, who was one of dad’s closest friends.” It was recently said that the 69-year-old singer was concerned for her goddaughter’s well-being but had no intention of stepping on the toes of the Jackson family while the ‘Thriller’ star’s children are in good care. A source previously revealed: “Diana absolutely isn’t going to make a move for custody of the children. She only wants what is best for them. “Diana has tremendous respect for Katherine and all that she has done for the children and told her ... when they spoke, that if she needed anything, she stands ready to help in anyway.”

Williams ‘still learning’ to be a dad



continues to flourish


Kutcher to give Kunis honeymoon treat in space A

shton Kutcher and Mila Kunis want to get married this summer and have their honeymoon in space. According to earlier reports, the couple are keen to have a British wedding once the ‘Two and a Half Men’ star’s divorce from ex-wife Demi Moore is finalized - and it has now emerged he wants to take his new bride on one of Sir Richard Branson’s flights into space. The British business tycoon has set up a project to allow people to embark on the incredible twohour commercial trips and Ashton - who already bought his £124,000 seat - wants a truly special honeymoon. An insider told The Sun on Sunday newspaper: “Ashton is already going into space on Branson’s Virgin Galactic flight and he has said Mila will definitely be at this side as his honeymoon present.” The couple are said to want to get married as soon as they can because they have plans to settle down and start an “old-fashioned” family. A source previously revealed: “Mila and Ashton have fallen in love with the UK. “They are desperate to get married as soon as possible because they want to start a family and are slightly old-fashioned about these things.” The inaugural flight on SpaceShip Two will be packed with stars including Justin Bieber, famed physics genius Stephen Hawking and Leonardo DiCaprio. The first trip is due to happen this Christmas Day with more flights following in 2014. Passengers will travel 62 miles in altitude - the internationally recognized boundary of outer space - and will experience weightlessness and an incredible view of the curve of the Earth.

indsay Lohan has never been better, according to her mother Dina Lohan. The 26-year-old actress left the Betty Ford clinic in Rancho Mirage, California, on Wednesday to complete her 90days of court-ordered treatment at Cliffside Malibu, with the approval of her lawyers, prosecutors and a judge, and her mother believes she will continue to flourish now she is in a more suitable rehab program. In a message to a fan on Twitter on Friday night, Dina explained why the ‘Scary Movie V’ star decided to swap facilities, writing: “Betty Ford was amazing and it is a 30 day program .....linds is now moving forward to a place she can continue flourish (Sic)” Asked by another fan whether the actress is doing okay at the moment, her mother replied: “She has never been better thank you.” Other sources close to the ‘Liz & Dick’ actress recently said she told anyone who would listen that she was miserable at Betty Ford. She reportedly said: “It’s detrimental to my safety and sobriety here.” The troubled starlet is said to have let everyone know how much she “hated” her time at there and stopped at nothing to make sure she could leave as soon as possible. An insider previously said: “Lindsay hated the Betty Ford Center. “She made it clear that she did not want to be there and that she was going to get out of there any way that she could.”

obbie Williams is “still learning” how to be a dad. The ‘Let Me Entertain You’ star is father to eight-month-old daughter Theodora ‘Teddy’ Rose with wife Ayda Field, and is still figuring out how to be a father. He said: “My wife and I are still learning how to be parents, but I think we’re doing a pretty good job. I’m sure that when my daughter will bring home her first boyfriend I’ll? be so intimidating that he’ll run away, but embarrassing as well, just to have a bit of fun”. While Robbie is besotted with his daughter, he admits to being selfish. He added to Italy’s Grazia magazine: “I’ve been asked many times if I considered myself a narcissist, so I looked up the real meaning of the word and I came to the conclusion that indeed I am one. I think of myself as better than other people, not every person, but many, unique and talented and I aim to success. And one of the narcissist’s traits is selfishness, which is my biggest guilt”.

Adele installs bulletproof windows in new home

Moore embarrassed by relationship


ulianne Moore is embarrassed at how her relationship with Bart Freundlich began. The 52-year-old actress met the 43-year-old director in 1996 when they worked on ‘ The Myth of Fingerprints’ together, and while she was instantly smitten, she admits the filmmaker - with whom she has children Caleb, 15, and daughter Liv, 11 - initially didn’t want to get romantically involved. Asked how they got together, she said: “On a film shoot. It was a bit embarrassing; he didn’t want to start a relationship. It was his very first film, but I really liked him. And it continued from there. Bart lived in New York, I lived in Los Angeles. We both went back and forth as much as possible. Soon after, we had a baby. It was ‘fluid’. We always wanted to see each other. “After my past relationships ending and it being like, ‘Well, that’s over’, this one is still going strong 17 years later.” Julianne - who married Bart in 2003 - admits the hardest thing about their relationship is finding the time to be together because of their respective workloads. She added to the French edition of Vogue magazine: “The difficulty for a couple, every couple, is both having time-consuming jobs. A couple has to be worked on. Taking the kids to school, having dinner together, going on holiday... if you spend too much time apart, it becomes dangerous.”


dele has bulletproof windows in her new £5 million home. The ‘Skyfall’ hitmaker - who was awarded an MBE for her services to music in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list yesterday - is taking no chances despite her house being in the same neighborhood as the likes of the Beckham family. It is said the 25-year-old singer wants to protect herself, her partner Simon Konecki and their eight-month-old son Angelo and was quick to make improvements to the west London property. An insider told the Mail on Sunday newspaper: “She moved in a couple of months ago. She has renovated the whole place and has even installed bulletproof windows. The property has four bedrooms.” Despite the protective measures, Adele was recently revealed to be shopping for bargains at second-hand stores as she started furnishing her new home. A source previously said: “Adele is like any normal girl - she loves a bargain. “She’d rather shop local, too, so these are the obvious places to go. “She doesn’t get bothered much where she’s decided to live so she’s got plenty of time to delve into whatever’s in the shops.” —Bang Showbiz


MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai, center, Hong Kong actor Tony Leung, third right, Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi, second right, and South Korean actor Chun Jung-myung, far right, pose during the press conference for the Chinese Film Festival in Seoul, yesterday. The 5th Chinese Film Festival opened in Seoul yesterday for a 5-day celebration of Chinese films to boost bilateral cooperations of the movies and culture. At left is head of CJ E&M Pictures Jeong Tae-sung, and Chairman of Korean Film Council Kim Eui-suk, second left. — AP

Modern day ‘monk’ keeps Benedictine Parmesan recipe alive ntonio Malpeli gazes proudly at the towering rounds of Parmesan in his small factory and declares one thing sure: the medieval monk recipe used to make this Italian delicacy will never change. Malpeli, who boasts arms worthy of a boxer after three decades of stirring immense vats of frothing milk, wears modern rubber overalls and boots but describes himself as a ‘descendent’ of the Benedictine monks behind the cheese. “The monks discovered the cheese while looking for a way to conserve milk. The method was then passed down through the centuries,” the 47-year-old said. “The technology has been refined a bit, but the fundamental concept has remained the same. It will not change,” he added, standing in front of the huge wooden shelves supporting rounds loving produced over the past two years. “The secret of good Parmesan lies in good milk-the cows have to eat the correct feed-and also in the art of cheese-making,” he said with a smile. The cooperative Malpeli works for in the town of Sala Berganza, which lies at the foot of green hills near Parma in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern


Italy, currently produces 32 cheeses a day and around 11,000 a year. It is one of close to 400 sites producing Parmigiano-Reggiano DOC-a controlled designation of origin status obtained in 1996 — by which Parmesan must be produced within regional boundaries and under strict quality controls. The first written references to Parmesan date back to 1254. The methods for making the popular cheese were conjured up in the large monasteries in the area by monks looking for a longterm way of conserving the milk produced by the many cows they used to help them work the fields. Experiments over time led them to opt for large rounds-modern ones weigh 40 kilograms (88 pounds) on average and use 600 liters of milkwhich are then dried over a minimum of 12 months, though some sit for up to 48 months. They are then put to a sound test: each round is tapped with a special small metal hammer by workers from the Parmigiano-Reggiano consortium, who listen for hollow sounds that would indicate it is not top quality. The aim is to protect the brand’s reputation; no mean task for a prod-

A file picture taken on Febuary 15, 2008 shows a worker checking a wheel of seasoned Parmigiano Reggiano cheese in a factory in Valestra, near Reggio Emilia. — AFP

Jack Johnson pulls off the switch at Bonnaroo icely done, Jack Johnson. Johnson and his band overcame tough odds and thorny logistics to headline the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on Saturday night, replacing late cancellation Mumford & Sons. Despite the short notice, they produced a set filled with good humor, mellow vibes and a ton of hits. “We want to dedicate this whole set to Ted Dwane and all of Mumford & Sons,” Johnson said after taking the stage before tens of thousands of fans. “And we wish we could all be here playing music together. Maybe that will be next year.” Mumford & Sons was forced to pull out of its muchanticipated headline slot on Thursday after bassist Dwane underwent a surgical procedure earlier in the week to


‘World citizen’ Depardieu to seek Algerian passport rench actor and new Russian national Gerard Depardieu said yesterday he was applying for an Algerian passport and possibly others, describing himself a “world citizen”. The 64-year-old star, one of the world’s most prolific actors, acquired Russian nationality in January after getting into a fight with the French authorities over a new 75-percent tax on the superrich. “I would like to have seven” passports, he told France’s Journal du Dimanche. “I’m going to ask for an Algerian one and others as well,” he said. “This will help me avoid visas.” Depardieu, who has openly professed his admiration for President Vladimir Putin, said the Russian strongman had “done a lot for culture.” The actor described himself as something of hell-raiser and “someone who is a bit of a rebel, who shakes up things and who is sometimes drunk. “I think it’s a bit of this hooligan spirit which pleases Putin,” he said, adding however that he was a man with his head on his shoulders. A Paris court is due to rule Friday on a drink-driving charge against Depardieu, who was detained in November after falling off a scooter while more than three times over the legal alcohol limit. Prosecutors have sought a 4,000-euro ($5,300) fine and penalty points. — AFP


treat a blood clot on his brain. The group had hoped to keep the date in Manchester. Though Dwane is recovering, he was not ready to perform and the group was unwilling to take the stage with a replacement, leaving a large amount of money on the table. There was much speculation among Bonnaroo organizers and watchers about how fans would react to the switch - the first headliner cancellation in 12 years of Bonnaroo. But Johnson quickly won over the crowd and kept its fickle attention with a light touch and his easygoing persona. “Give us that one,” Johnson joked after a flub late in the set. “We practiced for a couple of hours.” Bonnaroo 2013 turned out quite differently from what Johnson was expecting. He hasn’t played the festival since 2008 and was in town to do a little light promotion for his new album, “From Here To Now To You,” out in September, and to appear with his friends in ALO. He got a phone call Thursday as he drove to the festival from organizers wondering if he’d be interested in upping his involvement. After thinking about it, Johnson flew in his band, rehearsed some Friday night, attended a breakfast with fans in Nashville on Saturday morning and then prepped for the show. It’s been two years since the four-piece played a long set, convening for just 45 minutes last year at Farm Aid. About the only thing that seemed the worse for wear were the 38-year-old Hawaiian singer’s trademark curls, which unraveled in middle Tennessee’s oppressive humidity. Heck, Johnson even had time to write a new song called “Bonnaroo” for the set, singing in part: “I had a latenight gig with ALO/It was very low stress, it was very low pro/But then the phone rang and things got strange/And my low pro was about the change/Can you get the band together in two days to play a show up on the big stage?/But I don’t know, it’s been a year or two since we played these tunes/What the hell, it’s Bonnaroo.” A little later in the set he incorporated Mumford’s “The Cave” into a medley with his song “Go On,” telling the crowd: “Maybe you guys can help us with this part.” For those not into Johnson, there were plenty of other options on an exceedingly busy Saturday night that included appearances by British punker Billy Idol, Weird Al Yankovic and the Rock ‘n’ Soul Dance Party Superjam with Jim James and John Oates. Mumford & Sons’ folk-rock cousins The Lumineers drew one of the festival’s largest crowds before Johnson took the stage. It was so large, in fact, fans on the edge of the crowd couldn’t hear the band’s mostly hushed, acoustic songs. “Everybody be quiet, I’m trying to hear the band,” one fan yelled as The Lumineers possibly performed a Bob Dylan song. R&B singer R. Kelly had no trouble getting attention, though. He began his post-Johnson set by bringing dozens of chorus members on stage for a rendition of his song “Ignition.” Suddenly the lights went dark and Kelly was illuminated 40 feet above, standing in the

Summer of joy at Joyalukkas

J Jack Johnson performs at What Stage during day 3 of the 2013 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. — AFP photos basket of a crane that hovered over the Which Stage’s distinctive question mark symbol. “They told me back stage there’s no cursing here,” Kelly told the crowd a little later. “I just laughed. I can’t (expletive) curse?” — AP

Ben Wahamaki of The Lumineers, performs.

uct counterfeited thousands of times, sparking long legal and commercial battles. “Forgery is a problem. The consortium has been cracking down on it, but it happens all over the place,” said Malpeli, who learned the trade from his father, and is the fourth generation of cheesemakers in his family. The sector has been bouncing back after two earthquakes last year in the Emilia Romagna region caused extensive damage to Parmesan maturing cellars. “The system remained standing. Those who suffered damages have begun producing again, its passed,” said Malpeli, whose factory was spared. Total Parmesan production reached 3.3 million rounds last year, up 2.3 percent on the previous year, and the industry is looking to boost exports. It has its eye on farflung China in particular: around 85 tons of Parmesan were exported to China last year-out of some 2,245 tons to Asia in general-where the fruity taste is making an impression on palates. The consortium aims to up sales abroad and be exporting half of its production within the next five years. — AFP

oyalukkas has launched the ‘Summer of Joy’ promotion at its showrooms across the GCC. The exciting summer bonanza will offer customers an exclusive gift pack created for Joyalukkas by Yardley of London. In addition to this Joyalukkas has also created an exclusive solitaire diamond jewelry set, which will be offered to customers at a very special price. “We believe in creating customer friendly initiatives which enhance customers shopping experience and give them maximum value addition. Based on this objective we are looking forward to excite our customers with the Free Yardley gift pack offer. The plan is to reward them with gifts they would love to use or gift to near and dear ones,” said Joy Alukkas, Chairman & MD, Joyalukkas Group. The Free Yardley gift pack is an exclusive pack of 4 different products created by the globally renowned cosmetic brand for Joyalukkas. This exclusive 4 product gift pack will contain an English Lavender EDT 125ml, English Lavender Talc 250gm, English Lavender body Spray 150ml and a 100gm English Lavender Soap bar. The exclusive Yardley gift pack will be offered to customers on every purchase worth KD400. In addition to this Joyalukkas has created a scintillating 1ct solitaire diamond pendant set (pendant, earrings and finger ring) which will be offered at a special price of KD550 only. “We have researched the needs of customers shopping during the summer and based on this we arrived at these two exciting offers to ensure we delight them at Joyalukkas. Yardley is a globally renowned aspirational cosmetic brand and very popular with our customer base hence we thought this gift would be ideal for them. A solitaire set is something which every woman dreams of and so we have created a special set at a very reasonable price to make it accessible for all,” said John Paul Joy Alukkas, Executive Director, Joyalukkas Group. Joyalukkas has also added an extensive range and collection to meet the summer demands of jewelry shoppers. The range covers all forms of jewelry in traditional and contemporary designs to meet all the needs and desires of jewelry lovers.

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013


T o k y o


File photo, a frozen tuna is placed on a cart following the first auction of the year at the Tsukiji Market in Tokyo. — AP photos


Fish dealers make hand signals during the first tuna auction of the year at the Tsukiji Market in Tokyo.

5 freebies from shrine to ‘cool’ Japan

inding free things in one of the world’s most expensive cities may sound impossible. Surprisingly, Tokyo offers a wide range of museums, parks, historical sites and cultural activities for free - good news for budget travelers who want to see a lot and still enjoy expensive sushi.

Old and new Meiji Jingu Shrine is a piece of old Tokyo not to be missed. Boasting the nation’s largest wooden “torii” gate, the shrine was built more than 90 years ago to commemorate Emperor Meiji, who reigned as Japan opened to the rest of the world after centuries of isolation. The great-grandfather of currently reigning Emperor Akihito also was a symbol of Japan’s modernization and militarization in the late 19th and 20th centuries. Lucky visitors may catch a solemn Shinto-style wedding procession. The gardens, lily ponds and shrine grounds are a pleasant respite from the noisy city center. A short walk from the serenity takes you to Harajuku and Omotesando, a Mecca of latest fashion and culture, the district of “cool” new Japan. Walk down the Takeshita street packed with young people looking for latest “kawaii” (cute) trends. Then stroll Omotesando boulevard, where you’ll find high-end boutiques in contemporary landmark Omotesando Hills, designed by renowned architect Tadao Ando, and poke your head in the artsy Design Festa Gallery. Take a break or people-watch at Yoyogi Park.

People walk at Takeshita street at Harajuku.

Rainbow Bridge to the reclaimed island of Odaiba out in the Tokyo Bay for a picnic, sunbathing on a man-made beach, or even a jog. The walk is just over one mile (1.7 kilometers) including the 918meter-long (just over half a mile) single-span suspension bridge and takes less than an hour one way. A walk on the north side of the bridge provides the panoramic view of Tokyo’s skyline, with the world’s second-tallest structure Tokyo SkyTree rising into the sky like a needle. The south side overlooks Daiba Park and a scale copy of the Statue of Liberty, as well as Shinagawa and Oi piers. You get to see both on a round trip, but you have an option of tak ing the Yurik amome (Seagull) elevated railway system one way. Daiba Park, which sticks out right underneath the Rainbow Bridge, used to be a site of cannon batteries built in the late 1850s to protect Tokyo from potential foreign attacks following the arrival of an American fleet led by Commodore Matthew Perry in 1853. It was not used and later turned into a park. There are several parks and museums that are also free, including the Museum of Maritime Science, Tokyo Sewerage Exhibit Hall (about the structure of Tokyo’s drainage system) and Tokyo Water Science Museum.

Japan’s capitol hill Parliament, or the National Diet, as it is officially known, stands on a site once occupied by feudal lords and is now home to Japan’s legislative headquarters. Completed in 1936, the building with a landmark pyramid-shaped dome houses the two chambers - the more powerful House of

Junior high school students walk on the red carpet as they tour inside Parliament. Representatives (Lower House) and the House of Councilors (Upper House) - under the Japanese parliamentary system. The Upper House provides a free hour-long tour when the house is not in session. The tour, which starts on the hour between 9 am and 4 pm, includes the public gallery, the emperor’s room and central hall, with the floor decorated with intricate mosaic design using 1 million pieces of tiles and mural paintings depicting the four seasons.

A father takes a photo of his family on the walkway of the Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo.

Tsukiji fish market Sprawling Tsukiji fish market - the world’s biggest - is where those beautiful slices of tuna on your sushi come from. Want to witness the famous tuna auctions? Then get up early and be there by 5 am to cue up for the first 120 viewing slots. If that’s too early, you can still spend hours roaming a maze of narrow alley ways, but watch out for the motorized carts whizzing around with ice troughs filled with fish. (Don’t wear open-toed shoes!) Nearly 2,000 tons of fish of all kinds are traded daily here, as well as every kind of sea food imagi-

Visitors take souvenir photos in the compound of Parliament. nable. You are still advised to visit early in the morning as everything shuts early afternoon. There are a number of fresh sushi shops within and around the market, as well as a fun shopping area selling products ranging from dried fruits to razor-sharp knives. Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple, a Buddhist temple known for its Indian-style architecture, is right across the street, also free of admission. Walk to Odaiba beach Need to burn calories after eating all the delicious local food, but you’re too busy sightseeing? Here is a perfect plan - a scenic walk over the

Shinto priests lead a Japanese couple under a parasol during a traditional wedding ceremony at Meiji Jingu Shrine.

Junior high school students walk in the compound as they tour Parliament.

Foreigners take pictures of a Japanese traditional wedding ceremony at Meiji Jingu Shrine.

Experience a (fake) quake Japan is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world. This public facility, the Ikebukuro Disaster Prevention Center, run by the Tok yo Fire Depar tment, offers a uniquely Japanese experience that can be educational, a bit scary but also fun. Visitors can experience a temblor - as violent as the March 2011 disaster that struck northern Japan - in a quake simulator built in a living room set. The center also provides the crucial basic instructions of how you can protect yourself in case of a major earthquake and other disasters. — AP

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013

lifestyle T R A V E L

Sintra, Portugal, like a castle in a kaleidoscope The exterior of Pena Palace in Sintra.


ith sunshine bathing its multicolored facades against a backdrop of deep blue sky, the Pena Palace in Sintra is like a castle seen through a kaleidoscope. A jumble of bright yellow domes, red towers, blue tiles, a drawbridge and a half-man, halffish sculpture holding up a window, the Pena Palace is lauded as the finest example of Portuguese romanticism, an eclectic mix that borrows style notes from - among others - the Moors, German gothic revival and the local manueline architecture. Fernando II, husband of Portuguese Queen Maria II, had the palace built in the 1840s around the remains of a derelict monastery. Now tourists can wander through its ornate rooms and oversized kitchens as well as its sprawling gardens, featuring plants brought back from around the world and ponds where carp and black swans drift languidly around crenelated duck houses. And Pena is far from the only spectacular palace in Sintra, long a playground of royalty and the ostentatiously wealthy. The town’s altitude and shady forests have historically provided welcome relief from sweltering summer temperatures of the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, which is now only a half-hour’s drive away. Bang in the middle of the old town is the National Palace with its distinctive conical chimneys. A couple of kilometers (miles) into

the lushly forested hills is the Palace of Monserrate -once visited by British poet Lord Byron - surrounded by manicured gardens and what is billed as the first lawn planted in Portugal. And if your eyes tire of all the palatial pomp, you can retire for a morning to the cool confines of a 16th century monastery, where Franciscan friars lived in extreme austerity, providing a stark contrast to Sintra’s explosion of architectural excesses. Overlooking it all are the well-preserved remains of an eighth century Moorish fort, whose restored ramparts cling to a hilltop above Sintra and offer spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Pena Palace on an adjacent hill. The wealth of historic buildings led UNESCO to inscribe the entire Sintra “Cultural Landscape” on its World Heritage List in 1995, saying its “structures harmonize indigenous flora with a refined and cultivated landscape created by man as a result of literary and artistic influences.” Nowhere can that be better seen than in the grounds of the Palace of Monserrate, a summer residence for 19th century British textile millionaire Francis Cook, whose gardens include a folly of a ruined chapel with an Australian banyan tree draped over its walls, a manmade waterfall, a valley full of tree ferns from Australia and New Zealand, cacti from

The garden of Monserrate Palace in Sintra. Mexico and a Chinese mourning cypress in the middle of the steeply sloping lawn. The palace itself is no less spectacular, with three dome-topped towers connected by a corridor full of ornately carved arches and columns. It is not hard to imagine Lord Byron wandering from a piano recital in the north-

Photo shows Pena Palace in the distance with the steps of the Moorish Castle in the foreground in Sintra.

Photo shows tiled walls and arched doorways inside the Monserrate Palace.

ern tower’s music room to the nearby billiards room before strolling past panels of Indian alabaster carved in Mogul style to the library, where he could pen a verse amid the dark walnut bookshelves. All of the buildings around Sintra are open to the paying public and easily accessible, offering a glimpse back in time to the days when Portugal was a wealthy seafaring nation ruled by a monarchy with a penchant for palaces. Walking from ornate bedrooms to tiled bathrooms of the palaces and gazing at their huge kitchens gives an idea of the sumptuous lives of the Portuguese royals and their guests and it is easy to feel why they flocked here from Lisbon in the summer when you stroll through the shaded gardens, catching glimpses of the ocean and surrounding hills. But in a country currently buckling under European Union-mandated budgetary austerity measures, the pared-back simplicity of the Moorish castle and the Capuchos Convent also leave lasting impressions. The castle was built by Moors in the ninth and 10th centuries, gradually fell into disrepair and was restored in the 19th century by The Monserrate Palace in Sintra, Portugal. — AP photos

The colorful facade of Pena Palace in Sintra.

none other than Fernando II, the queen’s consort responsible for neighboring Pena Palace. A short drive into the hills, austerity is taken to its extremes at the Franciscan monastery known as the Convent of the Holy Cross of Cork Convent, built in 1560 and inhabited until 1834. Here, the only nods toward any kind of decoration are the 18th century azulejo tiles in its Chapel of the Passion of the Christ. Elsewhere, doors to dormitory rooms are built deliberately small so that monks have to bow in humility just to get into the cramped quarters, and doors and shutters are lined with cork harvested from trees in the surrounding forest. WSitting on the steps of the monks’ grain store in the shadow of a leaning cork oak looking at the simple stone buildings that blend into the woods, Sintra and its palaces seem a world away. — AP

‘World citizen’ Depardieu to seek Algerian passport


MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2013

Balinese women carry offerings in a parade during the 35th Bali Art Festival in Denpasar, on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali on June 15, 2013. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono inaugurated the festival which was highlighted with a parade of traditional art teams along with other cultural displays from Bali and others Indonesiaís provinces. — AFP

Kim Kardashian has given birth to a baby girl T

he ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ star, who was due to give birth to her first child on July 11, has reportedly welcomed her daughter at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills with her rapper boyfriend Kanye West by her side. A source told “Kim had her baby. She’s five weeks early. Kim got sick last night and had the baby early. They’re all doing great and amazing!” Kanye skipped a listening party for his new album amid rumors Kim was in labor. The 36-year-old rapper reportedly disappointed some of his biggest fans by not showing up to a party at Milk Studios in Los Angeles on Friday night where he was scheduled to preview tracks from his new album ‘Yeezus’, which leaked online before its official release next Tuesday. Sources told gossip website that a rumor quickly swept through the event that the reason the ‘New Slaves’ hitmaker was a no-show was because his reality TV star girlfriend was going into labor. Several of Kim’s close friends including

Scott Disick and Jonathan Cheban both attended the party. The 32-year-old beauty, who has been noticeably absent on social media today, previously revealed that she was due to give birth to a baby girl in early July. Kanye recently revealed that he plans to do everything in his power to protect the privacy of his daughter. Asked for his thoughts on parenthood, he said: “One of the things was just to be protective, that I would do anything to protect my child or my child’s mother ... [But I haven’t] fully developed those thoughts yet. Idon’t have a kid yet. “Well, I just don’t want to talk to America about my family. Like, this is my baby. This isn’t America’s baby.” People magazine said Kardashian, 32, gave birth on Saturday ahead of schedule, with the baby reportedly due in early July. Kardashian stars with her sisters in the reality show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” She has a clothing line and several product endorsements and was the mostsearched person on the Yahoo! in 2012. Grammy-winning

Photo shows US rapper Kanye West and Kim Kardashian arriving at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala benefit in New York. — AFP photos

File photo shows US socialite KimKardashian arriving at the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in Washington.

rap star Kanye West and Kardashian began dating in April 2012. Two months ago Kardashian and her second husband, Kris Humphries of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, announced they had reached a divorce settlement. They had split 72 days after their August2011 wedding. Humphries had first sought an annulment, alleging that Kardashian, who cited irreconcilable difference when filing for divorce, had no intention of keeping to the marriage, which was filmed as part of her reality show. — Agencies

London art market woos ‘uber-collectors’ to buoy summer sales A

uctioneers are pinning their hopes on “uber-collectors” to help London summer art sales top last year’s $1 billion total when the series kicks off later this month. Estimates from Christie’s, Sotheby’s and smaller rivals such as Phillips and Bonhams for sales over the next few weeks in the British capital show that the paintings, sculptures and furniture under the hammer are on course to defy a sluggish global economy again this year. The top two houses have put more than $300 million worth of their most expensive works up for sale on public show until June 11 at their London galleries in Mayfair, hoping presale exhibitions might inspire a bit of impulsebuying from serious collectors making the London stop on the art trail. “What we hope is that the rather more transitory uber-collectors who are in London, Basel and Venice will come in and see things that they wouldn’t normally look at,” deputy chairman of Christie’s Europe, Orlando Rock, told Reuters. Christie’s, the world’s biggest auctioneers, has a star lot that is a price-on-request (around $23 million) diptych by 20th century American painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, and a painting from Russian Expressionist Wassily Kandinsky, which could set a lifetime record for the artist if it sells north of $23 million. Its top estimate is $24.86 million. Nearest rival Sotheby’s has French Impressionist Claude Monet’s “Le Palais Contarini” with a top estimate of $31 million and paintings by 18th century Frenchman Claude-Joseph Vernet ($7.7 million) and British contemporary artist David Hockney ($4.6 million). Continued weakness in a battered euro zone and slowing Chinese economic growth have made investors wary in the last two years, but high-end art sales have continued to break records. New York has long been considered the global capital of the auction world - most recent records have been set there. This year’s

spring auctions were no different, ending on a record-shattering high as Christie’s May 15 post-war & contemporary art sale achieved the highest total - $495 million - in the history of art auctions. None of the star London lots currently come near the $58.4 million paid at the Christie’s sale in New York for US artist Jackson Pollock’s “Number 19, 1948”. Silkworm A closer look at the estimates from

Christie’s and Sotheby’s give a mixed picture of a London season that looks healthy but may not blast the record books. Estimates from Christie’s of about $388 million for this year are lower than sales of just under $600 million last year, although the top estimate from Sotheby’s for $562 million easily eclipses last year’s nearly $385 million. Alongside the Old Masters, modern and fine art, auction houses have mixed in pre-

cious objects such as a Georgian coffee pot expected to become the most expensive piece of English silver ever sold and a 15th century Virgil manuscript, as well as collectibles like a watch worn by James Bond in “Thunderball” and unreleased lyrics from singer Bob Dylan. London, a natural fit for Russian tycoons who have homes in the city and Middle Eastern buyers just a mid-haul flight away, will offer sought-after sculptures from antiquities to

Indian Bollywood actors Emraan Hashmi and Vidya Balan pose during a promotional party for the forthcoming Hindi film ‘Ghanchakkar’ in Mumbai on June 15, 2013. — AFP

Alberto Giacometti, Henr y Moore and Elisabeth Frink, as well as fine Louis XIV furniture. A jeweled automaton silkworm lurks near a pair of Louis XVI vases among the 80 works chosen by Sotheby’s for public display, along with a 17th century El Greco painting and a 1927 piece from Dutch painter Piet Mondrian. “This will be an exhibition that speaks to the catholic taste of today’s collectors as well as to everyone who loves great works of art and enjoys the thrill of the unexpected,” said Mario Tavella, Sotheby’s deputy chairman for Europe. Soaring prices for art at a time of global economic uncertainty have long prompted warnings of a sharp correction and even collapse, but time and again in the last four years the market has defied the gloomiest predictions. Chinese demand has weakened and tastes can be fickle, but the very best works of art have generally risen in value since a sharp but brief drop in auction turnover in 2009. The only copy of Edvard Munch’s seminal image “The Scream” still in private hands came up for sale at Sotheby’s in New York last year. After nearly 15 minutes of intense bidding, made in million-dollar increments, it sold for $120 million including commission, a new auction record for any work of art. The two previous records were also recent - Pablo Picasso’s “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” fetched $106.5 million in 2010, having sold for $19,800 in 1951. In the same year Giacometti’s “Walking Man I” made $104.3 million. Institutions have played a key role in the recovery, with Qatar emerging as one of the biggest buyers of art in recent years as it fills a growing network of museums. According to widespread reports, the Gulf state paid $250 million for Paul Cezanne’s “The Card Players” in a private deal in 2011, which is believed to be the highest price ever paid for a work of art. — Reuters

17th Jun 2013  

Kuwait Times

17th Jun 2013  

Kuwait Times