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Rowhani offers softer tone, but same policies

SHAABAN 10, 1434 AH

64 dead as early monsoon hammers northern India

Foreign investment in Arab states rises despite unrest

Tension, anger as Asian giants reach World Cup

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‘Hawally Monster’ hanged


150 FILS

9Sordid13saga ends 21as defiant 20 Fellow Egyptian arsonist also executed for murders

Max 42º Min 28º High Tide 07:14 & 20:20 Low Tide 00:46 & 14:14

By Shakir Reshamwala KUWAIT: Two Egyptian men were executed at the Central Jail in Sulaibiya yesterday, bringing the total number of people hanged this year to five after Kuwait ended a six-year moratorium on executions in April. Convicted serial child rapist Hajjaj Mohammad Adel AlSaadi - known as the “Hawally Monster” for his reign of terror in the governorate and beyond - and convicted killer Ahmad Abdulsalam Al-Baili were hanged after exhausting all appeals. Two Indians and a Pakistani were also supposed to be hanged yesterday, but their executions were postponed. Earlier, the men were brought out one by one from a police van and made to stand before a panel of police officers and justice officials as the charges against them were read out loud. Baili was found guilty of killing an Asian couple - Mohammad Jamaluddin Abbas and Nandini Vijitha Sinha - by setting their home on fire in 2008. He also tried to kill an Egyptian couple - Amr Mohammad Jamaluddin and Fatima Sayed Ismael - the same way. They survived despite suffering injuries. Saadi was accused of raping 17 boys and girls aged between 6 and 12 after luring them onto rooftops, mostly in Hawally, in 2006 and 2007. He was found guilty on five counts. After an intense manhunt, Saadi was arrested in 2007 onboard a plane bound for Luxor, bringing his yearlong crime spree to an end. While Baili silently shook his head or nodded at his alleged crimes, Saadi defiantly denied the litany of charges against him and repeatedly interrupted the proceedings by loudly reciting the shahadah (Muslim declaration of faith) and shouting religious slogans. He also complained that he had not been given any assistance from the Egyptian government. A cleric then spent some time with the condemned men. Sheikh Mohammad Ghadeer later told reporters that Saadi asked to pray four rak’ats, and his request was granted. Since his hands were bound, he prayed in a standing position. Baili also prayed in a similar fashion. Both men then recited the shahadah before they were led to the gallows. Saadi continued to recite the shahadah on the top of his voice while hangmen trussed the two up and slipped nooses around their necks and hoods over their heads. Continued on Page 15

KUWAIT: The lifeless bodies of “Hawally Monster” Hajjaj Mohammad Adel Al-Saadi (right) and his Egyptian compatriot Ahmad Abdulsalam Al-Baili hang after they were executed yesterday at the Central Jail in Sulaibiya. (Insets) Saadi (right) and Baili are seen as they listen to their crimes being read out. — Photos by Shakir Reshamwala (See Page 4)

MoI mulls travel ban for traffic violators KUWAIT: Interior Ministry’s Assistant Undersecretary of Traffic Affairs Maj Gen Abdulfattah Al-Ali stressed yesterday on the necessity of activating travel bans against violators to force them to pay their traffic fines, especially since the amount of all fines has reached KD 24 million. Ali told KUNA on the sidelines of a seminar on road traffic organized by the faculty of social sciences at Kuwait University that the traffic department is working on the first phase on implementing laws, which reflects the desires of citizens and expatriates alike to implement laws on everyone, including activating the role of monitoring road violations. Ali added that the traffic department has monitored high density labor areas including rundown vehicles, noting that the administration is working to reduce Continued on Page 15

Ex-MPs call for quick elections Ummah Party demands new constitution By B Izzak KUWAIT: The government is expected to hold an extraordinary meeting today to decide the date for the forthcoming election following the ruling of the constitutional court that dissolved the National Assembly and upheld the single-vote decree. The government is also expected to approve the

decree that would officially dissolve the Assembly and other decrees to withdraw Amiri decrees issued last year that were nullified by the constitutional court in its Sunday’s ruling. The date of the election represents a dilemma for the government and other quarters as fresh polls must be held within two months and the deadline is the middle of August.

Maj Gen Abdulfattah Al-Ali

G8 urges urgent Syria peace talks ENNISKILLEN, United Kingdom: G8 leaders yesterday threw their weight behind calls for a peace conference on Syria to be held in Geneva “as soon as possible”, after a summit dominated by the country’s civil war. At the end of two days of talks in Northern Ireland, the leaders also called for agreement on a transitional government in Syria “with full executive powers, formed by mutual consent”. British Prime Minister David Cameron, the summit host, said it was “unthinkable” that President Bashar Al-Assad could play a role in a transitional administration, but the G8 communique pointedly made no reference to him, in an apparent concession to Syria’s ally Russia. After talks which at times pitted Russian President Vladimir Putin against his fellow G8 leaders, the final commu-

nique said the Syrian military and security services “must be preser ved and restored” in a future set-up. The leaders did not suggest a date for the proposed Syria talks, which were supposed to take place this month but have already been delayed. Gathered on the picturesque banks of Lough Erne, the world’s leading industrialised nations also struck a deal to crack down on tax evasion and share more cross-border financial information. They vowed concrete steps to target not only illegal tax evasion but also tax avoidance by multinational companies that costs taxpayers billions in lost revenues. And they agreed to stamp out the payment of ransoms for hostages kidnapped by “terrorists”, and called on companies to follow their lead in refusing to pay for the release of their employees. Continued on Page 15

DOHA: Guests arrive for the opening ceremony of the new Taleban political office yesterday. — AFP

US to meet Taleban as they open Qatar office KABUL: US officials said yesterday that they hoped to meet the Taleban within days, after the insurgents opened an office in Qatar and the Afghan government took control of nationwide security from NATO. The Islamist militia, which has been fighting against US-led NATO troops and the Afghan government for 12 years, broke off initial contacts with the Americans last year and have refused to negotiate with Kabul. A press conference opening the Taleban office in Qatar

came just hours after Afghan government forces formally took over responsibility for national security from a NATO combat mission scheduled to leave the country next year. Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said yesterday the Taleban held secret negotiations in Norway over the past few months, helping yield a deal that allowed the rebels to open the Qatar office. Continued on Page 15

The problem arises from the fact that the holy fasting month of Ramadan starts this year around July 9 and ends Aug 8, which leaves just a few days after the Eid holidays for the vote to be held. But it is expected that tens of thousands of voters will leave Kuwait to spend their summer vacations either before or slightly after Eid, which means Continued on Page 15




in brief

Ruling family member duped KUWAIT: A 23-year-old member of the ruling family reported that he was swindled by four people - a Sri Lankan woman, a citizen and two US citizens - who together stole KD 6,7000 from him, security sources said, noting that all four suspects were being summoned by the police for further investigations.

KUWAIT: Future Image for Advertisement inaugurated the Future Leaders Club recently under the patronage of the Touristic Enterprises Company. The event was hosted at the TEC building in Shuwaikh and was attended by TEC Public Relations and Media Manager Saqr Al-Badr as well as Future Image CEO Mohammad Hamdi. The club is held from June 15 through July 9.

Court postpones oil tanker case The court of appeal postponed the case concerning oil tankers, in which Hussan Qabazard is a suspect, to July 21 for pronouncing its verdict. Qabazard defended himself before the court and exhibited case papers going back to 1993 and explained investigations were carried out in London and UK courts issued verdicts that were in conflict with the Kuwait courts’ verdicts. He also referred to the decision of the investigation committee in the ministers’ court. He urged the court to set him free. His lawyer emphasized the reasons for contesting and put up his defense during the past two sessions. Footballer dies of field injury Qadisiya Club footballer Mohammed Fahhad, who recently sustained a severe concussion during an unofficial match in Kuwait, passed away Monday morning at Mubarak Al-Kabeer hospital where he had been hospitalized and remained in a state of unconsciousness since the injury.

MOE extends retirement age to 33 years in service Ministry considers changing expats’ contracts KUWAIT: The issue of retiring veteran employees in the ministry of education topped the agenda of the undersecretaries’ meeting with minister Al-Hajraf on Monday, educational sources said, noting that the minister asked the assistant undersecretary for legal affairs to study the legali-

ty of referring those with 30 or more years in service for retirement. The issue assumed importance since a list of 1,260 potential retirees has already been prepared. The sources said that after an argument with the public education undersecretary,

Mohammed Al-Kandari, about the possible consequences of his decision, Al-Hajraf insisted on referring all employees with 30 or more years in service to retirement, except those working in the education sector who will be allowed to complete a maximum of 33 years in service to avoid any

confusion. The minister also recommended that potential candidates be interviewed immediately to fill the vacancies as soon as possible. Moreover, the sources said that the ministry was considering changing expatriate teachers’ contracts to the fourth degree.— Al-Jarida

Officials round up illegal residents in Ahmadi.

301 arrested in Ahmadi raids KUWAIT: Ahmadi governorate inspection raids, carried out on the instructions of Brig Maatooq Al-Aslawi and under the supervision of operations director Faleh Al-Dawsary and Major Salman Al-Mutairi, resulted in the arrest of 301 persons. Among them, 17 people did not have identification documents or were in violation of the residency law, six were wanted for civil cases, and three for criminal cases. In addition, five vehicles were detained in connection with multiple cases and 145 traffic citations were issued.

KUWAIT: (Left) Municipal officials seize vehicles during a raid in Jahra yesterday. (Right) Municipal officials issue citations during a raid at a cafe in Jahra.

Research papers on diabetes and hypertension in Kuwait KUWAIT: The depar tment of Integrative Informatics at Dasman Diabetes Institute aims to analyse epidemiology and genetics data on diabetes and hypertension in Kuwait to identify associations among risk factors. The department identifies substructures in Kuwaiti Population, derives reference genome sequence resources for the substructures, and develops prognostic models for diabetes and hypertension. The depar tment has, to date, published two papers in prestigious international journals. The first paper is in Diabetes Care, entitled “State of Diabetes, Hypertension, and Comorbidit y in Kuwait: Showcasing the Trends as Seen in Native Versus Expatriate

Populations”. In this article, we discuss the prevalence of type 1 and type 2 diabetes among Kuwaitis and foreign nationals (of different age groups), and also show the rising trend of hypertension and comorbidity. We also show the effect of certain risk factors such as BMI on the onset age of type 2 diabetes. The second paper is published in BMJOpen, entitled “Predictive models for diabetes and hypertension in Kuwait”. In this paper, we show that using simple measurements such as BMI, ethnicity, and age, we can predict the onset of diabetes, hypertension, and comorbidity using stateof-the-art artificial intelligence algorithms. When such a system is used nationwide, it can greatly lower the

economic and physical burden of the healthcare system in Kuwait. A third paper entitled “Genetic Substructure of Kuwaiti Population Reveals Migration History”, has been reviewed by PLOS ONE journal and has been tentatively accepted for publication (pending a revision). This article presents genome-wide data for the Kuwait population and delienates its genetic structure and deliberates how the history of the settlements influenced the distribution of genetic variation. This understanding helps in studies designed to understand the underlying causes for the high prevalence of recessive disorders and metabolic syndromes (that lead to diabetes and cardiovascular complications).

Dr Kazem Behbehani (centre), Director General of Dasman Diabetes Institute with the team of Integrative Informatics at Dasman Diabetes Institute.



Crackdown improper, impractical: Analyst Dr Bukhudor calls for review of MoI campaign By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: Proper systems must be in place before going ahead with a crackdown or kicking out expatriates from the country, a Kuwaiti economic analyst and professor said. Speaking to the Kuwait Times yesterday, Dr Hajjaj Bukhudor noted that the on-going crackdown against the ‘illegal expats’ in the country is improper and impractical and it should be reviewed thoroughly. In the last few months, authorities have deported thousands of mainly low-paid Asian workers in Kuwait for working without a proper visa or residency papers or for repeated traffic offences, according to local media and residents. A government minister has called for reducing the number of foreign workers in Kuwait who were found in “excess”. The oil-rich country relies heavily on the foreign workers to perform low-paying jobs in sectors such as construction and services. Foreigners make up about 69 per cent of Kuwait’s 3.8 million population. “The system in Kuwait is no longer applicable to the current situation. The system which was there half a century ago must be corrected first since it is no longer conducive to the current setup, and therefore no longer applicable. So stop deporting people just because the old system failed. New system must be in place before taking any drastic action. This is not the fault of the

expats. It is our fault and must be corrected but in a proper manner, ensuring the dignity and human rights of individuals living with us,” the economics professor reiterated. He stressed that a system must be in place before anyone could decide on what to do. “If a new system is in place, then it will be the right time to slash the number of expats in the coun-

Dr Hajjaj Bukhudor try. Currently, there is no system, so things will remain the same and fraudulent companies will continue to hire people. It will only be a repeat of what we are already facing. The Minister of Labor’s move to cut the number of expats even

before rectifying the system is wrong. It is awfully wrong and must be corrected,” he added. “If you want our country to improve and develop, you need manpower because we cannot provide it ourselves. In fact, we need more of it; we need help from outside if we really want our development goals to be realized,” the economic analyst noted. “Besides, people must change and the education system here must also change. The religious preaching must change. We must change the way we address the problems of our people in order to affect the lives of many around us,” he mentioned. Asked whether the situation will drastically change in the next couple of days, and how will it change in a few months’ time, especially after the constitutional court dissolved the current parliament, he said, “I don’t think there will be any more changes. As I said, the system must change first. I don’t expect much from the new parliamentarians to usher in changes. Until such time that systems are in place, we cannot expect much. You know, God created the system in the universe before creating people, the law of gravity and the like; the food required and all the other things around us were created before God created Adam and Eve. I want our government to do the same, to put the new system in place first, then go unleashing crackdowns if necessary, or attract more people to help develop the country. If you do that, everything will follow smoothly,” he added.

Kuwait plans major reshuffle of envoys KUWAIT: Kuwait plans a major reshuffle of around 35 diplomats posted around the world, a local newspaper reported yesterday quoting sources familiar with the subject. Among the key changes would be Abdul-Aziz Al-Adwani being appointed as Kuwait’s ambassador in Moscow, Russia, and Ghassan AlZawawi to Baghdad, Iraq to replace Ali Al-

Mo’men who is set to retire. Meanwhile, Salem Al-Zamanan is set to replace Dr. Rashid Al-Hamad, set to retire, as Kuwait’s ambassador in Cairo, Egypt, while Munther Al-Essa is set to be moved to Germany. Ambassador Sadeq Maarafi is being reportedly appointed to Austria to succeed Ambassador Mohammad Al-Salal. The sources further indicat-

Egypt to seek Gulf’s financial support? KUWAIT: Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi directed his government to work on bolstering his country’s relations with Kuwait and other Arab countries which were negatively affected after the Muslim Brotherhoodbacked leader assumed office, a local newspaper reported yesterday quoting sources within the Egyptian government. I n addition to Kuwait, the source specifically mentioned the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia as being “on top of th e l i st ” of count ri e s Eg y pt wants to resume strong relations with. “ This comes af ter

No fees to switch mobile operator KUWAIT: Anyone wishing to change their cell (or mobile) phone provider without giving up their existing phone number can do so without having to incur any kinds of fees, said an official at the ministry of communications yesterday. Mobile phone customers with set contracts could easily change their phone providers once they fulfill the requirements of their contractors first, said Ahmad al-Husseini, director of public relations and head of the media committee at the ministry, in a press statement. Those customers with prepaid accounts at mobile phone providers can change their providers anytime without having to worry about paying any fees for the change and of course they get to keep their old numbers if they so wish, he said. He praised the nation’s three cell phone providers—Zain, Wataniya, Viva for helping the ministry to ease the process of changing a service provider, noting that the ministry was closely monitoring this process to ensure that no foul-ups occurred and that no customer’s rights were jeopardized in anyway. —KUNA

President Morsi’s recent decision to cut all ties with Syria, effectively impacting Egypt’s relati o n s h i p w i th I ran,” sai d t he sources who spoke to Al-Rai on th e co n d i ti o n o f ano ny m i t y. They further suggested that the rapprochement bid seeks Arab support for the Egyptian economy to replace the support from Iran. The sources further indicated that the Egyptian government was given instructions to provide “major investment incentives” to the three Gulf States and an environment attractive to businessmen. — Al-Rai

ed that no changes were made to the diplomatic corps of Kuwait in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, as well as major capitals including Washington, London, Paris, Geneva and Beijing, in addition to Iran and Lebanon. They spoke to Al-Qabas on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal the list before it is announced officially. — Al-Qabas

Municipal Council term ‘extended’ KUWAIT: The cabinet is considering withdrawing a decree that called for holding Municipal Council elections, and release a new one for holding these polls on a day that does not conflict with parliament elections. This was reported by Al-Qabas yesterday, quoting government insiders who indicated that the cabinet was considering the option of extending the term of expiry for the Municipal Council and appointing a committee to run its affairs. Candidates’ registrations had already been closed for Municipal Council elections that were set to be held on July 6. A constitutional court last Sunday that annulled

the National Elections Committee forced a change of plans since the same committee had issued the decree calling for the Municipal Council elections. In this regard, Al-Anba reported yesterday that Minister of Cabinet Affairs and State Minister of Municipality Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah was likely to work on “amending article 38 of the Municipality Law in order to extend the sixty day period required for holding elections after the Municipal Council’s term comes to end.” Sources familiar with the issue noted that a new date for elections is likely to be after the Eid Al-Fitr holidays. — Al-Qabas & Al-Anba

KUWAIT: Director of the Office of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ambassador Sheikh Dr Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah received here yesterday the UK Ambassador to Kuwait, Frank Baker. A Foreign Ministry statement said the two men discussed ways of enhancing bilateral relations and issues of reciprocal concern. —KUNA



KUWAIT: “Hawally Monster” Hajjaj Mohammad Adel Al-Saadi and his Egyptian compatriot Ahmad Abdulsalam Al-Baili are hanged yesterday at the Central Jail in Sulaibiya. — Photos by Shakir Reshamwala, Yasser Al-Zayyat and Fouad Al-Shaikh

Execution of two Indians suspended By Sajeev K Peter KUWAIT: The execution of two Indian death row inmates in Kuwait has been suspended, it is learnt. Indian nationals Suresh Shanmugasundram and Chellappan Kalidas were slated to be executed yesterday in Kuwait along with two others for crimes committed nearly four years ago. According to reports, the Indian embassy received information on June 14, 2013 that execution of the two Indians sentenced for murder would be carried out on June 18, 2013. Indian Ambassador Satish C Mehta and embassy officials acted promptly and took up the matter with higher authorities in Kuwait. Their death sentences have been suspended as a result of the benevolent gesture shown by the Kuwaiti authorities, sources said.

The family members of the duo, who visited the inmates in jail, hoped that their death sentences may be commuted and a lesser penalty may be awarded after an agreement was reached on the amount to be paid as blood money to the families of the victims, it is learnt. On Monday morning, Indian Embassy Counselor B K Upadhyay and other officials visited Suresh Shanmugasundram and Kalidas at the Kuwait Central Prison. K Mathi of Indian Frontliners, who coordinated with the Indian embassy on this matter, also accompanied the embassy officials, a press release added. The relatives of the inmates also accompanied them to meet Suresh and Kalidas in jail. In its 50 years history, 75 people have been executed so far in Kuwait including 72 men and three women. All the women who were executed were Indian.

Kuwaitis held for possessing drugs By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Drug enforcement agents arrested two Kuwaiti men for possessing 250 grams of Hashish. Earlier, information was received about the duo being active in the drugs business. After verifying the information, legal steps were taken and both were arrested in Al-Qurain Area.

Small pieces of hashish were found on them. Upon interrogation, they confessed to leasing an apartment in the Al-Shaab area. The police accompanied them to the apartment where a search yielded the remaining amount of Hashish along with drug taking tools. They confessed to taking drugs and were sent to the concerned authorities along with the contraband.

Brother bashes up sister’s ‘friend’ Policeman kidnaps wife at knifepoint KUWAIT: The brother of a girl who beat her up to find out whose phone number was she carrying around scribbled on a piece of paper later forced her to set up a date with the man at a pre-determined spot and then physically assaulted him, leaving him with a broken nose. It all began when the girl’s brother confronted her to ask who the phone number belonged to which he found from the girl’s bag during a search. According to the police report, the youngster had to beat a confession out of his sister, and she eventually explained that a young man at a Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh shopping center gave her the number. The brother told her to call the man and set up a ‘date’ at the same shopping center. When the man arrived, the girl signaled to her brother who was waiting with two friends. They assaulted the man, leaving him with a broken nose and many contusions before they were separated. A case was filed for investigations after the incident was reported. Man run over A man was hospitalized in a critical condition after he was run over during a quarrel over traffic in Taima on Sunday. Police and paramedics reached the scene shortly after receiving reports about the incident, only to find an injured victim while the other man had fled from the spot. Investigations revealed that the suspect ran over the victim deliberately during a fight sparked by a traffic dispute. The victim was admitted to the intensive care unit of the Al-Jahra Hospital while investigations were underway in search of the suspect. Fugitive nabbed A fugitive who was wanted to serve a jail term was arrested during a patrol operation in Shuwaikh last Sunday. Patrol officers grew suspicious about a man who betrayed nervousness when he was asked to pull over his car. The Kuwaiti man was arrested after police verified his identity and discovered that he was wanted to serve

a seven year jail term. He was taken to the proper authorities for further action. Search for rapist Maidan Hawally police are planning to summon an Egyptian expat for questioning in a case in which a compatriot of the suspect pressed charges of sexual assault against him. The case was filed after an Egyptian man approached the police and accused the suspect of assaulting his 21-year-old daughter after luring her to his father’s apartment. Investigations were on. Wife kidnapped at gunpoint A police officer faces charges after he was accused of kidnapping his wife at gunpoint. The incident reportedly happened at an Ashbiliya house where the Kuwaiti woman was a guest of her Egyptian friend who had come to know of her facing problems with her husband. According to the statement given by the friend’s husband in the emergency call, the Kuwaiti woman’s husband landed up Sunday night and forced her to accompany him at gunpoint. He added that the man also pointed the gun at his neighbor who tried to stop him and then forced his wife into his vehicle and drove to an undisclosed location. Investigations were on in search of the couple. Five wounded in hospital brawl At least five people were injured in a massive fight reported on Monday night inside the Adan Hospital. Nearly 20 people engaged in the scuffle inside the emergency room that was soon broken up by the police. Five people sustained stab wounds during the fight and were admitted to the hospital, while police reportedly took some fighters into custody for questioning. Investigations were on to unravel what sparked the fight which reportedly began between two people who were later joined by their respective friends and relatives.

Driver killed A motorist was killed while a police officer was seriously injured when two cars collided on Monday on the Sixth Ring Road. Paramedics and police reached the scene shortly after the crash was reported. One of the drivers, a 52-year-old Syrian man, was pronounced dead on the scene. The other driver was rushed to the Jahra Hospital where he was admitted to its intensive care unit in a critical condition. He was identified as a lieutenant in the police force and was reportedly in uniform when the accident happened. A case was filed at the Saad AlAbdullah police station to investigate the circumstances leading to the accident. Auto theft A man made good with a sports utility vehicle (SUV) even as the owner watched but could not prevent the robbery. In his statements to Faiha police station officers, the Kuwaiti man explained that he started his car’s engine and went back inside his house for a few seconds. The brief time was enough for the suspect to sneak into the vehicle and drive away. Missing teen found A teenager was found two days after he was reported missing, and it was discovered that he had run away with his girlfriend eight years his senior. A Saudi man had reported his 17-year-old son as missing at the Naeem police station last weekend. The boy was found Monday at the Gulf Road with a woman and they were both taken into custody for questioning. He said that the woman, identified as a 25-year-old Iraqi citizen, was his girlfriend who he had run away with to marry. The boy’s father was summoned and he confirmed having prior knowledge about the relationship. He said that he had told his son to end the relationship, which could have prompted him to elope. The boy was allowed to return to his father without charges being pressed against the couple.



Liberals, tribes gear for NA elections Increased participation likely in polls

KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah received, in presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Bangladeshi Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Dipu Moni at Seif Palace yesterday. During the meeting, the two sides discussed joint cooperation prospects between Kuwait and Bangladesh and ways to develop them in all areas, as well as latest regional and international updates. The meeting was attended by Undersecretary of HH the Premier’s Diwan Sheikha Etemad Khalid Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Director of the Department of Asia at the Foreign Ministry Ambassador Mohammad Mejren Al-Roumi and Kuwait’s Ambassador to Bangladesh Ali Ahmad Al-Dhefiri. — KUNA

Failaka deserves to be on World Heritage list KUWAIT: The National Council for Culture, Arts, and Letters (NCCAL) is trying assiduously to have archaeological sites in the island of Failaka enlisted among UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites, said an NCCAL official yesterday. NCCAL acting director in charge of the department of archaeology and museums Sultan Al-Duwaish said that the island of Failaka deserved the enlistment since many archaeological finds have been discovered there, among them ancient houses, a temple, and the ruins of a palace all dating to the bronze age and to the Dilmon civilization (3000 BC). Ancient statues, weapons such as swords, seals and stamps and pendants made of beads and a fort belonging to Alexander the Great have also been discovered on the island, said Al-Duwaish. He noted that the island of Failaka was a linchpin that brought together the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and those of the Arabian Peninsula, and underlined that NCCAL has endeavored to have agreements and contracts signed with a number of distinguished centers of learning, research, and universities to help carry out archaeological excavations in Failaka and in Sabbiya. So far there have been about ten of these agreements and contracts, he said, stressing the fact that Kuwait welcomed all researchers and archaeologists to pursue their work in Kuwait from October to May of every year when the weather is tolerable. He said a lot of countries clamor to

Omar Al-Samarei

Ice Skating Rink open KUWAIT: The Ice Skating Rink is now open for visitors who can enjoy skating at the facility’s main and minor halls. This was announced by the Ice Skating Rink and Fountain Park Supervisor in the Touristic Enterprises Company, Omar AlSamarei, who indicated that a special program featuring various activities is in place for the summer. The Ice Skating Rink welcomes visitors during regular timings between 8.30 am and 10.00 pm everyday in seven different slots.


in brief

17 questioned

KUWAIT: Seventeen people were summoned for questioning after investigations revealed their involvement in illegal activity of paying debts on behalf of other debtors, in lieu of a fixed interest that they charged the debtors. Criminal investigations officers were assigned the case after the practice was discovered from newspaper ads offering debtors the chance to have their debts paid fully while repaying the amount in installments along with a fixed rate of interest. The 17 Kuwaiti men said during investigations that their activity was based on contracts signed voluntarily by the debtors. They were released after they signed documents, promising to no more continue this illegal activity. MEW summer emergency The distribution network affairs sector at the Ministry of Electricity and Water has asked all sub offices in the governorate to work round the clock to address the challenge of increased demand during the summer of 2013. Sources said that instructions were issued to all emergency centers, maintenance offices and service offices for storing diesel for any emergency and regulating street lights in Subhan. The plan aims to ensure the availability of the admin managers at the emergency centers which will be linked with the supervision centers and control centers to address any fault noticed in any part of the state and swiftly rectify these round the clock on all seven days of the week in all the six governorates. Smuggled liquor Northern Area Customs Manager Waleed Al-Nasser said that 2880 liquor bottles were seized while being smuggled into the country through the Shuwaikh port. He said the liquor bottles were hidden in a secret one and half meter wide storage area at the back of a truck which was loaded with rice. A Bedouin customs follow up representative and an Asian driver, connected with the consignment, were arrested and referred to the relevant authorities.

be on UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites and that the process of enlistment might take an entire year or longer. There is a UNESCO world heritage sites panel made up of representatives from 21 countries that vet all the applications for sites enlistment. Once a site is approved by the panel for enlistment, it stays on the list of world heritage sites for a period of four years only. After that it makes room for other candidates to take its place, said Al-Duwaish. In its current configuration, the panel includes four Arab countries: Algeria, UAE, Qatar, and Iraq. Kuwait was a panel member between the years 2003 - 2007. —KUNA

KUWAIT: While the opposition wasted no time in announcing that it will boycott the upcoming elections following the Constitutional Court’s ruling, many believe that the number of groups which opted against par ticipating in last December’s elections is going to drop significantly, come the time when Kuwaitis head to the polls again. “Several former MPs and veteran politicians are expected to contest the elections after the ruling ended the ambiguity surrounding the constitutionality of the single-vote decree,” political watchers told the Al-Rai on Monday. They fur ther indicated that tribes that wield heavy political influence such as the Awazem, Ajman and Mutair are expected to contest the upcoming elections albeit some voters might continue their boycott. “ The tribal vote is going to be present, and strongly this time around,” they added while also predicting a return of tribal dominance in the fourth and fifth constituencies. The National Democratic Alliance has already announced it will honor the court’s ruling, thus paving the way for the liberal National Action Bloc members to run again for parliament. “Their participation is going to tip the scales and leave a positive

effect on the electoral process, especially in the second and third constituencies,” said the observers who preferred to remain anonymous. A date for the upcoming elections is still to be determined, but Al-Anba newspaper suggested in a report yesterday that the cabinet plans to hold an ex traordinar y meeting today ( Wednesday) to “decide the date of the elections as well as procedures needed to execute the constitutional court’s ruling,” according to insiders with knowledge of the subject. While the 60-day ultimatum for holding elections would fall right after the Eid Al-Fitr holiday, there are opinions supporting the idea of holding the elec tions during Ramadan when most Kuwaitis usually choose to postpone their travel plans, preferring to spend the holy month in their home country. Meanwhile, Al-Rai reported that the cabinet assigned its legal committee to come up with a suitable date “and submit a report maximum by today (Wednesday) noon.” Furthermore, the report quoted cabinet sources who indicated that in case of laws that were passed by the December 2012 parliament but were still not legally promulgated because of certain formalities, will now stand “nullified”. “In other words, only the laws

that were certified by HH the Amir after these were passed in the parliament remain unaffected by the dissolution,” said the source who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Speaking of the annulled parliament, one of its members demanded that the government’s advisors be put on trial on the charge of treason that carries capital punishment. Abdulhameed Dasht y slammed the advisors for “their role which led to the dissolution of two consecutive parliaments.” In this regard, spectators told AlQabas newspaper that the government’s credibility will be on the line “if it failed to hold accountable Fatwa and Legislation Authority members who were behind the decree to establish the National Elections Committee that the court found unconstitutional.” M eanwhile, Al- Qabas also reported that several members of the December 2012 were considering taking legal action against the government for “financial and emotional damage” sustained as a result of the dissolution. They discussed these plans during a meeting hosted by Yaqoub Al-Sane’a and attended by the dissolved parliament’s speaker Ali AlRashid, according to sources privy to the meeting. Sources: —Al-Rai, Al-Anba & Al-Qabas


LOCAL In my view

Letter to editor

Dissolution and impact

Peace for S Korea and North Korea

By Labeed Abdal


he failure of negotiations between North and South Korea shouldn’t start a blame game between the permanent neighbors. History and shared borders between the two intrinsically linked countries should be a reason for continuing the dialogue. An increasing number of missiles or talk of nuclear strikes only means more sorrow and tears for the hopeless and the innocent. The UN backed efforts for negotiations and peaceful solutions must not stop and reconciliation process must continue. In most border disputes, solutions must be dictated on the grounds that the real people there must benefit from the wisdom and vision of their leaders. Moreover, what must be on the agenda is the re-

After tensions lasting years, the process of rebuilding trust and transparent planning must lead to establishing strong bridges that will lead towards the path of real peace. No more time should be wasted and people must see quickly the hope of prosperity for both sides. opening of industrial or manufacturing projects. Choosing the delegations’ representatives on both sides should be thoroughly under the umbrella of the world organization. After tensions lasting years, the process of rebuilding trust and transparent planning must lead to establishing strong bridges that will lead towards the path of real peace. No more time should be wasted and people must see quickly the hope of prosperity for both sides. It requires hard work to ensure that the people succeed and enjoy the accomplishment as long lasting friends with no wars or sorrows to worry about.

kuwait digest

The people are the real victors By Dr Wael Al-Hasawi


am confident that the majority of Kuwaitis were satisfied with the constitutional court’s ruling as it ended the controversy over HH the Amir’s authority to enforce the single-vote system through an emergency decree. If we look impartially into the decree, we find that it is the best to serve Kuwait as it allows voters to select on a basis free of the influence of political blocs and tribes. While the current electoral system is not the best and still stuffers flaws in the distribution of constituencies and voters, there is no doubt that the amendment contributes to restoring relative balance. Some might argue that the amendment, while commendable, has to be legislated by the parliament. The response to this argument is the fact that

Those who announced that they will not accept the constitutional court’s ruling have committed political suicide, and will soon find that people have already moved on because the country’s future is not going to wait for them. I hope that members of the opposition reconsider their decision to boycott the elections and realize that it will only hurt them because the public will no longer continue buying their endless conspiracy theories. the constitution gives the Amir the authority to release emergency decrees according to his assessment, which was supported in the recent court ruling. Moreover, the legislative authority is unable in its current form to make changes that affect it directly, as it is human nature not to renounce authority voluntarily. Meanwhile, the outcome of the last few parliaments led to public frustration and skepticism about whether anything good will happen from voting. Meanwhile, the ruling to dissolve the parliament was good in my opinion for multiple reasons. Despite achievements on the legislative side, the parliament failed to garner public support due to the lack of competent people who were replaced by many political amateurs. Second, the parliament contained a group of members with record of suspected behavior, and others who lacked the very basics of parliamentary work (not taking anything away from the competent members who are credited for commendable efforts during their time in the parliament). Those who announced that they will not accept the constitutional court’s ruling have committed political suicide, and will soon find that people have already moved on because the country’s future is not going to wait for them. I hope that members of the opposition reconsider their decision to boycott the elections and realize that it will only hurt them because the public will no longer continue buying their endless conspiracy theories. — Al-Rai

kuwait digest

Plague! By Dr Ebtihal Abdul Aziz Al-Khateeb


e might not have needed to secularize our from the political establishments and separating the state any more, something we do today. We are clergy from the politicians, not separating religion from in a real dilemma. A quick review of the politics and vice versa. We need to stop political instireportage in last Friday’s newspapers of the most sectar- tutes from affecting religious ones as well as stop politiian parliamentary session in our history is enough to cians from imposing their religious views and beliefs. convince us that Kuwait has suffered immense devasta- This is the definition we almost find in all foreign references.’ tion and decay. So, let’s put aside all the premeditated repeated falsiMy heart cried out as I read about the social and psyfications of secularism labeling chological diseases that lawit as a ‘non-believers’ attack on makers carried into the parliaOur citizens are currently at the religion or a conspiracy ment. I, personally, almost hate watching the sectarian froth edge of a steep downfall that is against Islam. Let us agree spewing from their mouths becoming steeper, thanks to the sick upon the aforementioned definition coined by Al-Sultan inside parliament. However, no sooner do start I pitying them, speeches made by the MPs. We did and, accordingly, demand reasoning that it was all the not buy their defense of the political institutions that do outcome of long decades of Husseiniyas and the mosques in par- not taint religion with their interests and calculations. We extremism, partisanship, oppression, corruption and liament the other day since all they also want religious institutions power battles, influence of were doing was to charge at each that do not interfere in that money and women that other and use the parliament’s plat- nasty wicked game called politics; institutions that do not brought us all this far that they start ‘coughing’ out their sec- form to spread their venom outside utilize their religious thoughts tarian hatred into each others’ by insulting one of the prophet’s to make political gains. It is faces. It only further underlines companions (MABPWT) and ques- that simple. One very good example of the rot. a clergyman who protected I wish people with vicious tioning the beliefs of another. our nice religious values from psychological diseases, which are more dangerous to societies, could be quarantined mingling with politics was Sheikh Khaled Al-Mathkour as well. Though physiological diseases could pose a who, for that very reason, is loved by everyone and is a threat to human beings’ existence, these at least leave role model for a good natured human being imbued them humans. On the other hand, psychological afflic- with moral principles that should be the ultimate goal tions like the ones the lawmakers have contracted may of any religion. Al-Sultan said, “separating the religious from the turn us into the ‘living dead.’ They beget complete death though we may continue to breathe outwardly. You can political institutions basically aims at protecting the see them coming, knocking at the doors and over- idea of citizenship.” Our citizens are currently at the whelming your hearts without being able to reverse edge of a steep downfall that is becoming steeper, their effect. I do wish we could quarantine them inside thanks to the sick speeches made by the MPs. We did the parliament’s Abdullah Al-Salem hall that they adore, not buy their defense of the Husseiniyas and the lock them up and throw the key into the Arabian Sea to mosques in parliament the other day since all they were ensure others remained safe. Let them fight themselves doing was to charge at each other and use the parliato death in there. I wish we could be washed clean by a ment’s platform to spread their venom outside by flood like what happened in the Gilgamesh story when insulting one of the prophet’s companions and questhe flood came to wash away human beings’ loquacity tioning the beliefs of another. This is only intended to that had been annoying the gods or Noah’s flood that outrage the youth on the streets who then respond and came to wash human beings’ sins that had been flood- start breaking the mosque’s doors or exchanging insults ing Earth. So, can we have a flood that could remove aimed at a religious figure and, all of a sudden, the plague strikes us all with no hope of cure. We are wax from our ears so that we can listen to new ideas? In a fabulous research by friend Fakher Al-Sultan, he doomed unless we unblock our ears, keep quiet for a says that ‘secularism means separating the religious while and only listen.—Al-Jarida

kuwait digest

Importance of full participation By Abdullatif Al-Duaij


Yet, I hope that everyone takes part in the upcomH the Amir’s speech on Sunday chronicled the recent events, laid the foundations of basic ing elections, and the tensions and diversions that ruling principles, and reiterated his willingness consumed a lot of our time and effort come to an to put aside all differences. I believe the response to end. It would be easy to work without an opposition such a speech should be equally fitting, reflecting the or “tensions” if certain politicians chose to boycott the sense of tolerance and democracy that it was imbued elections, but it would also be ‘boring’ to work as per with. But at the end of the day, people are free to a familiar routine. With all due respect to all politicians’ viewpoints, I form their judgments and choices. The Constitutional Court’s ruling to uphold the believe that the absence of a dissenting opinion is single-vote decree did not come as a surprise. completely undemocratic. It is important for all of us that we work together, and Dissolving the parliament that respected politicians do did surprise, however, and I also think that it was painful I hope that everyone takes part not deprive the political scene their presence and expeto those Kuwaiti voters who in the upcoming elections, and the from rience. Our experience with had to witness their efforts and choices going in vain as tensions and diversions that con- the last parliament taught us a result of governmental or sumed a lot of our time and effort what it is like to have a House in experience and parliamentar y mistakes. come to an end. It would be easy to lacking effectiveness. While it did Regardless of different positions on the subject, the work without an opposition or “ten- have plenty of experienced elections experience in the sions” if certain politicians chose to members who we highly the opposition’s past five years has remained boycott the elections, but it would appreciate, presence is necessary at the a sour one. Also, it turned out to be costly for the also be ‘boring’ to work as per a end of the day. Regardless of whether we agree with them Kuwait voters who missed familiar routine. or not, true political work is political stability or the one based on multiplicity of opportunity to pass judgment. In my opinion, this will only go to prompt opinions. If everybody were to be the sameit would many not to vote in the upcoming elections. The mean that something is wrong. In most cases, governdecisions to boycott voting could be a reflection of a ment’s arbitrariness and chaotic political work would negative reaction and frustration among the voters, be the main reason for that. But under an impartial something that needs to be kept in mind come elec- judiciary and going by the tolerant tone of HH the tion time. The election results will be subject to vot- Amir’s speech, it is hard to blame the government for the situation in Kuwait. — Al-Qabas ers’ frame of mind rather than political decisions.

Sir, I may be permitted to justify the dissolution of Kuwait Parliament. The “British Parliament is the mother of all Parliaments; the institution of Kingship/Monarchy is the source of all executive heads of states, irrespective of whether these states have a Parliamentary, Presidential or Monarchical form of governments. There is also a saying that the “King may die but long live the King.” Governments may come and go but the institution of Kingship remains the same, established as per procedures of national pride and heritage. It is the bounden and moral duty of every citizen to abide by and respect the law of the land of one’s own country, and that is the essence of national spirit, national unity and national integrity which will be the crux of universal democracy. Vividly, the conventions, customs and precedents play a fundamental role in any form of government. Take for example the Indian constitution that empowers and provides a justification for the President to act as the custodian of the Constitution during the period of proclamation or declaration of emergency due to internal disturbances, crises, law and order chaos, external threat and or breakdown of the constitutional machinery. He can dissolve the parliament, address the nation, order fresh elections, act as caretaker till the formation of a new government; summon both houses of parliament, address the session, select the leader of the majority party to form the new government. Unequivocally, neither the opposition parties nor the executive head of the state in developing countries in Asia like India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka can frequently seek dissolution of parliament because the middle class cannot bear unnecessary public expenditure and abnormal inflation exemplified by soaring prices, scams, frauds etc. Though overtly, frequent dissolution of Kuwait Parliament will not affect the oil rich and oil producing nation or its citizen but it will indirectly affect the expatriate’s cost of living as prices will be abnormal while the monthly salary or earnings remain the same. Yours sincerely, Nazeer Ahmed Shaik

kuwait digest

Onus on government By Hamad Al-Sarie


fter the constitutional court issued its verdict which annulled the National Assembly Council, scrapped the election committee and reinforced the right of His Highness the Amir to issue necessity decrees based on the need and political situation in the state, many people called and expressed a desire to read some article about the situation and the constitutional court’s verdict. I was refraining from writing and wanted to first know the opinion of certain politicians and law makers and also to hear the speech of His Highness the Amir which he delivered on Sunday evening (June 16) explaining several points and political circumstances and warning about the dangers posed to the security of the state. I have pointed out in more than three articles my predictions about the verdict, which included that the Council will be dissolved because the call for elections was not constitutional and that the one vote system

The verdict revolves around different points, the most important being the solidifying of one vote system. The constitutional court verdict did not indicate the return to the 2009 council, but asked for holding elections within two months of the date of the verdict. If the government does not abide by that, it would mean the return of 2009 council which was dissolved. will remain because deciding the necessity is in the hands of His Highness the Amir. The verdict revolves around different points, the most important being the solidifying of one vote system. The constitutional court verdict did not indicate the return to the 2009 council, but asked for holding elections within two months of the date of the verdict. If the government does not abide by that, it would mean the return of 2009 council which was dissolved. Therefore, the government is obliged to hold elections latest by August 16, which coincides with the fag end of Eid-ul Fitr, when a majority of the people will leave for their annual leave as expected. Therefore, the government should be keen to ensure the participation of a maximum number of people in the elections, even if it has to hold these early, within the month of Ramadan. Although some may find it difficult as there will be the last ten days left of Ramadan, but many will find it most suitable as it would enable them to participate in the elections before leaving for their summer vacation. The opposition press release indicated that it intends to boycott the elections. It is their political stand which we all must respect, though former MP Ahmad Al-Khateeb has urged that no one should boycott the elections so that the government does not monopolize legislative process and issue laws contrary to the constitution. —Al-Anbaa


Hungary charges Nazi war crimes suspect, 98

Suicide bombers attack Baghdad Shiites, kill 31 Page 9

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Turkish PM claims victory Dozens held, silent protester goes viral ANKARA: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday claimed victory over anti-government protesters after a heavy crackdown, as police raided homes and arrested dozens of demonstrators in a bid to stamp out nearly three weeks of unrest. Af ter a weekend of clashes s p a r k e d by t h e e v i c t i o n o f p ro te s te r s f ro m Istanbul’s Gezi Park, the focal point of the protests, demonstrators have struggled to regroup and police have since fought only sporadic battles with smaller groups of demonstrators across the country. Overnight, riot police in the capital Ankara briefly fired tear gas and water cannon at proteste r s w h o h u r l e d b a c k s to n e s a n d h i d b e h i n d makeshift barricades, but there were no other reports of confrontations. In Istanbul, dozens of demonstrators switched to silent protests, standing still in quiet defiance in the main Taksim Square located next to Gezi Park. As the protests appeared to lose their intensity, Erdogan said he had overcome the crisis, seen as the biggest challenge yet to his Islamic-rooted government ’s decade-long rule. “Our democracy has been tested again and came out victoriously,” the premier told members of his ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) to roaring applause. “The people and the AKP government have foiled the plot... hatched by traitors and their foreign accomplices.” Confident he has weathered the storm, he warned against any resurgence of the protests. “From now on, there will be no question of showing any tolerance to people or organisations who engage in violent acts.” Erdogan has been widely criticised for his handling of the turmoil, with the United States and other Western allies strongly condemning the use of excessive police force against protesters. But the premier said the police had “successfully passed the test of democracy” with their response to the unrest and vowed to increase their powers. His comments came as police carried out raids at homes across the country, detaining over 100 demonstrators. I n Istanbul, officers arrested around 90 members of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP), a small leftist group that has been active in the demos, the Istanbul bar association said. Local media said 30 people were also arrested in Ankara and another 13 in the northwestern city of Eskisehir. Interior Minister Muammer Guler spoke of 62 arrests in Istanbul and 23 in Ankara, and said they

Tunisia Salafists get 5 years for torching shrine TUNIS: Six people belonging to Tunisia’s hardline Salafist movement have each been handed five year jail sentences for torching an important Sufi shrine, the country’s Sufi union said yesterday. “It’s the first time such a sentence has been pro nounced. It shows that the law can be applied in Tunisia when the political will exists,” Mohamed El Heni, one of the union’s leaders, told AFP. Four of those convicted were already in custody while the remaining two are on the run, he added. They were sentenced on Monday over an arson attack last October on the tomb of Saida Manoubia in the capital, one of the country’s main Sufi shrines, which was completely gutted. The attack came amid a spate of similar violence by Tunisia’s increasingly assertive Salafists, ultraconservative Muslims who consider that venerating saints and their shrines is blasphemous and contrary to Islam. According to the Sufi union, some 50 holy sites were targeted between last summer and early 2013, but Heni said “no arrests have taken place except in the case of the Manoubia shrine”. He said one reason for this was the fact that the attacks took place at night in remote areas, but also because of “laxity by the public authorities” towards the Muslim extremists. Heni mentioned in particular that no one had yet been arrested over the fire in January that destroyed the famed mausoleum of Sidi Bou Said, a prime tourist destination also in a suburb of Tunis. The ruling Islamist party Ennahda “has not entirely cut the cord with the Salafists,” he said. Since the revolution that overthrew Zine El Abdine Ben Ali in Jan 2011, radical Islamists suppressed under former dictator have been implicated in a wave of attacks, often targeting Sufi shrines and cultural festivals, and culminating last September in an assault on the US embassy. Ennahda has been strongly criticised for failing to rein in the Salafists and prevent such violence, although it has taken a tougher stand in recent months faced with the discovery of Al-Qaedalinked groups along the border with Algeria. The two-year suspended prison sentences given last month to 20 Islamists who took part in the US embassy attack were strongly criticised for being too lenient. — AFP

were linked to an ongoing anti-terrorist probe into the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) “which also took part in the Gezi Park protests”. More than 500 demonstrators had already been arrested on Sunday in clashes that raged after the Gezi Park eviction, the Istanbul and Ankara bar associations said. Meanwhile, Hurriyet Daily News reported that the justice ministry was working on legislation to regulate social media, heavily used by demonstrators to organise the protests. Erdogan lashed out at Twitter at the start of the unrest, branding it a “troublemaker” and accusing the online messaging service of spreading “lies”. Turkey’s crisis began

when a sit-in to save Gezi’s 600 trees from being razed in a redevelopment project prompted a brutal police response on May 31. The violence snowballed into countrywide demonstrations against what demonstrators say are Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian and conservative Islamic policies. Gezi Park became the epicentre of the protests, with thousands occupying the patch of green in a carnival-like atmosphere. After defying Erdogan’s repeated warning to clear out, he ordered police to storm the site on Saturday, sending campers scrambling to flee salvos of tear gas and jets of water and sparking hours-long running battles with police. Gezi Park has been sealed off since

and guarded by police, who have also banned demonstrators from massing on the adjoining Taksim Square. To get around the ban, a single man appeared on the square overnight, standing quietly still for more than five hours in a “standing man” protest that quickly went viral under the hashtag “#duranadam” (standing man). The choreographer, Erdem Gunduz, attracted several copycats before they were all dispersed by police. A ro u n d 1 0 d e m o n s t r a to r s we re d e t a i n e d. Yesterday, dozens of mostly young demonstrators held their own silent vigil in the square, standing still in the afternoon sun not saying a word, as police looked on without intervening. — AFP



For Syrian Kurds, camp offers wildly different fates DOMIZ CAMP, Iraq: Abdulhamid sells ice cream to passersby at Domiz, Iraq’s biggest camp for refugees fleeing violence in Syria, while Sidra reads an Arabic copy of “The Fox and The Crow” in class. Little but luck appears to have separated the youths’ fates - they both arrived with their families from their war-torn homeland in April. Sidra now finds herself in a classroom fashioned out of a prefabricated container while Abdulhamid is forced to sell his wares to pay for his father’s medication. The stark difference in outcomes between the two children illustrates a tightening of resources at the camp, which is relatively well-equipped but struggling under the pressure of rapidly increasing numbers of Syrian Kurds crossing the border into Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region in search of safety from Syria’s civil war. Sidra, a nineyear-old with brown hair and a slight frame who sits at the front of her class, is among the luckier ones. “I love to study,” she says, smiling. “I love going to school.” Her classroom is better than many in Iraq. Sidra has to share the prefabricated container with 28 other students and her teacher, but the vast majority of classes

are in her native Kurdish and the room is air conditioned. The classroom protects them from the harsh climate of Domiz, where winters can be brutally cold and summers punishingly hot, with temperatures rising as high as 37 degrees Celsius (99 degrees Fahrenheit). While Sidra’s teacher Ramadan Kusa acknowledges the children have been badly affected by what they went through in Syria, he notes that in Domiz, “the weather conditions are very tough.” “At one point, we had a massive flood they have had to go through a lot,” the Kurd from Syria’s Aleppo city whispers in Arabic. Nearly 50,000 Syrians have taken refuge at the camp in Domiz, 98 percent of them Kurds. Overcrowding is pervasive, with the tract of land, allocated by the government of the Iraqi Kurdish region, meant to house just slightly more than half that number of people. Sidra’s primar y school, for example, has 1,400 students, and is among three such schools in Domiz, but according to Sidra’s principal Ahmed Islam, “we still cannot accommodate all the children in the camp.” In an effort to maximise the number of children attending school, classes have been

separated into two batches, with one set going during the morning and a second set in the afternoon. To make up for all of the time they have lost at school due to the battles between troops loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad and opposition groups, children at Sidra’s school will also spend the summer in the classroom. Domiz’s crowded schools are only one example of a lack of space at the camp. Mohammed Hussein, head of the UN refugee agency’s office at Domiz, freely admits that the living conditions at the camp are “not ideal”, and are likely to get worse before they get better, as some 2,500 refugees arrive every week. “Since November, the refugees started to suffer from this congestion in the camp because the area that is allocated to them has started to get smaller and smaller,” Hussein says. “We cannot construct more schools, which are really needed, or shelters, and the facilities that come with them, like sanitation units and showers.” Hussein says camp officials are fearful that overcrowding is getting unbearable, and are now “preparing for an outbreak of communicable diseases, especially cholera”. “The risk is very high.” He said

DOHUK, Iraq: Syrian children attend a class at the Domiz refugee camp, 20 km southeast of this northern Iraqi city which houses Syrian-Kurd refugees on May 29, 2013. — AFP that officials “cannot cover 100 percent of refugees’ needs. We try to provide the minimum - food, education, health - but needs vary from one family to another.” As a result, some families have their children work in order to fulfil those

needs. Among them is Abdulhamid, who jostles between street vendors at the entrance to Domiz selling all manner of goods, from cigarettes to chewing gum, shouting “Mister! Mister!” at would-be clients. —AFP

G8 urges Syria peace talks as fighting flares in north Heavy fighting reported in Aleppo

ABU GHOSH: Arab Israeli children ride their toy cars in front of graffiti that reads in Hebrew ‘Arabs out’ (left) and ‘assimliation’, a negative reference Jews and non-Jews mixing, scrawled on the wall of a house in this Arab Israeli town west of Jerusalem yesterday. — AFP

Jewish extremists vandalise Arab town JERUSALEM: Suspected Jewish extremists punctured the tyres of 28 cars and scrawled graffiti in an Arab Israeli town before dawn yesterday in the latest in a spate of apparent hate crimes, an AFP correspondent reported. On a wall near the vandalised cars in Abu Ghosh, west of Jerusalem, the perpetrators wrote in Hebrew: “Arabs out,” and: “Racism or assimilation.” Police were investigating the crime, spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, adding that there were “strong indications” that it was “nationalistically motivated”. Abu Ghosh has a reputation for good relations with Israel’s Jewish majority and attracts hordes of Israelis to its restaurants. The use of the word assimilation is a negative reference to Jews and non-Jews mixing. Jewish extremists have carried out a spate of hate crimes, mostly targeting Arabs, to exact what they describe as a “price tag” for measures they regard as harming the community. Initially carried out against Palestinians in retaliation for state moves to dismantle unauthorised settler outposts in the occupied territories, “price tag” attacks have become a much broader phenomenon with racist and xenophobic traits. They tend to involve the vandalism or destruction of property and have included arson attacks on cars, mosques and olive trees, but have also targeted Christian holy sites and even Israeli army bases. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the Abu Ghosh attack, which he said “was against Judaism, against our people’s values and those of our state.” Netanyahu recalled that the security cabinet had moved on Sunday to expand the legal and

investigative powers of security forces to tackle “price tag” attacks. The cabinet decided to define suspects as members of “unlawful organisations”, but stopped short of agreeing to justice ministry proposals to call their acts “terrorism”. President Shimon Peres telephoned Abu Ghosh mayor Salim Jaber to condemn the attack, which he said “crossed a red line”. “We utterly condemn any expression of racism and vandalism. The residents of Abu Ghosh are dear to my heart and to the state of Israel. They are symbols of coexistence,” Peres told Jaber in a statement relayed by the presidential office. Police chief Yohanan Danino underlined the priority given to investigating such offences. He said a new police unit had been set up dedicated solely to “price tag” crimes. “People don’t understand that it’s not the graffiti or its content. The act can incite not only Israel but much beyond,” he said at a parliamentary hearing on Tuesday. “You’ll be seeing arrests very soon.” Earlier in the day, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the hardline nationalist Jewish Home party, called such attacks “immoral and un-Jewish”. “There is a small group of evil-mongers who want to create a chain of hatred and violence between Arabs and Jews in our country,” he wrote on Facebook. “We won’t let them succeed.” Last week, two vehicles were burnt in a neighborhood of annexed Arab east Jerusalem, with the words “price tag” daubed nearby. In a separate attack, graves were desecrated in an Arab Christian cemetery in Jaffa. And two weeks ago, antiChristian graffiti was daubed on the Church of the Dormition, a leading Jerusalem pilgrimage site. — AFP

Fighting displaces 70-80% of Palestinians in Syria HOMS: The conflict in Syria has displaced more than two-thirds of Palestinian refugees living in the country, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees said yesterday. “We have registered approximately 530,000 Palestinian refugees. We believe that almost all of them, certainly maybe 70-80 percent, are displaced from their normal homes,” UNRWA Commissioner General Filippo Grandi told AFP on a visit to Syria. Between 12 and 15 percent of the Palestinian refugee population has fled the country altogether, Grandi added. “You can say that 12-15 percent of the refugee population in Syria is now (made) refugee again in another country,” he said, speaking after meeting Palestinian refugees at a camp in central Homs province. UNRWA has nine registered camps for Palestinian refugees in Syria, housing those who fled or were forced from their homes when the state of Israel was created in 1948, and their descendants. Some of the camps, including Yarmuk in Damascus, have been the scene of heavy fighting in the conflict that began with peaceful anti-government demonstrations in March 2011. Grandi said the Palestinians were neutral in the conflict, and urged both government forces and

the rebels to respect the neutrality of the refugee population and their camps. “I really want to appeal to the parties to this conflict, to the government, to the armed opposition groups, to respect the sanctity and the neutrality of the Palestinian refugee camps and not to involve the Palestinians in fighting,” he said. “The Palestinians are refugees in Syria and as such they must remain neutral. My appeal is also to the Palestinians themselves, they have to remain neutral, otherwise the situation, which is already very difficult, will become even more difficult.” Grandi also appealed for an end to kidnappings and arbitrary detentions, saying: “Every household, every family has a story to tell in this respect. “I find this situation unacceptable and this is for Palestinians and for Syrians. This is a grave violation of human rights, whoever is perpetrating that violation. It must stop.” More than 90,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog. There have been reports of Palestinians killed, as well as incidents in which refugees have joined the fighting, battling alongside either rebels or the regime. — AFP

ENNISKILLEN, Northern Ireland/BEIRUT: Differences between Russia and the West mean an international peace conference on Syria is now unlikely before August, a source at a meeting of Group of Eight leaders said yesterday as surging government forces brought heavy fighting to Aleppo. World leaders called for peace talks to be held as soon as possible to end the war in Syria but made no mention of a date for the international conference, which had been due to be held in Geneva next month. In Aleppo, several fronts in Syria’s biggest city that had been relatively quiet for some time were now experiencing heavy fighting as government troops have gained ground this month, according to an opposition monitoring group. Russian President Vladimir Putin, a backer of Bashar Al-Assad, appeared isolated at a summit of the Group of Eight in Northern Ireland, resisting attempts to persuade him to moderate his support for the Syrian president. US President Barack Obama, moving since last week towards arming the rebels fighting to oust Assad, said it was important to build a strong opposition that could function after the Syrian leader loses power. “We remain committed to achieving a political solution to the crisis based on a vision for a united, inclusive and democratic Syria,” G8 leaders said, according to a copy of the final communique seen by Reuters. Peace talks envisaged for July were unlikely to be held before August, according to one source at the summit. The communique made no mention of Assad, who Western leaders have said in the past said must step down as part of a resolution. Russia had said that any such reference to Assad’s fate in the document would not be acceptable. G8 leaders also called on the Syrian authorities and the opposition to commit to destroying all organisations affiliated with al Qaeda. Members of the militant group and allied Islamist fighters have been in action alongside the rebels. Obama and his allies want Assad to cede power while Putin, whose rhetoric has become increasingly anti-Western since he was re-elected last year, believes that would be disastrous at a time when no clear transition plan exists. Russia, which has given Assad diplomatic cover as well as weapons, urged the West to think “three or four times” before going ahead with plans to arm the rebels. Moscow could not accept that Assad had used chemical weapons against the rebels, an allegation that had tipped Washington’s hand in deciding to arm the antiAssad fighters, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

As peace efforts have faltered and arms have flowed into rebel hands, heavy fighting on the northern front lines in and around Aleppo has resumed. Government forces are seeking to build on battlefield gains further south. Those backing the rebels - including Britain, France, Turkey and Arab countries as well as the United States - were driven to intensify support in recent weeks to rescue the rebellion after Assad’s forces scored important military gains. Just a few months ago, Western countries thought Assad’s days were numbered. But last month he received the open support of thousands of fighters from Hezbollah, the powerful Iran-backed Shi’ite militia in neighbouring Lebanon, which helped him capture the strategic town of Qusair from the rebels this month. Rami Abdelrahman, head of the anti-Assad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said there were clashes in the eastern Sakhour neighbourhood of Aleppo as well as in the Old City, which sits between government and rebel-held territory. An opposition activist said rebels and government forces were fighting in the alleyways of Aleppo’s historic Old City. The Observatory also reported clashes in Damascus, Homs, Hama, Deraa and the eastern city of Deir al-Zor. In Idlib

province, in the north west, a rocket hit the house of a prominent religious figure who is known to support pro-Assad militia, killing 20 people, the Observatory said. In Lebanon, militants supporting opposing sides in Syria’s civil war clashed in the southern city of Sidon yesterday, killing one person, a security source said, in a city where divisions have been simmering for months. The recent upsurge of fighting has turned Syria’s war into a sectarian conflict between Sunni Muslim rebels and members of Assad’s Alwaite sect, an offshoot of Shiism, and their Shiite Hezbollah allies. Lebanon yesterday accused Assad’s forces of driving Sunni Muslims across the border into its territory. Syrian forces had committed what was “tantamount to ethnic cleansing next to the Syrian-Lebanese border”, Wael Abu Faour, the Lebanese caretaker minister for social affairs, told Reuters. “(Assad) is trying to displace all the Sunnis to Lebanon and this is why I expect to have more displaced people,” he said. The United Nations says 93,000 people have been killed in Syria and 1.6 million Syrians have fled abroad. Lebanon, the smallest of Syria’s neighbours, has taken in more than half a million Syrian refugees. — Reuters

SIDON, Lebanon: An ambulance belonging to an Islamic group transports children away from clashes that erupted between gunmen and followers of hardline Sunni cleric Sheikh Ahmad Al-Assir and pro-Hezbollah supporters in this southern port city yesterday. — AP

Gaza children play war in Palestinian summer camp RAFAH: As the hot weather arrives in Gaza, teenagers head to the town of Rafah for summer camp - not to play sports but to join war games organised by radical Palestinian group Islamic Jihad. Youngsters wearing military fatigues and the movement’s black insignia capture a fellow camper posing as an Israeli soldier and drag him away - all part of being trained to “resist” the enemy. Around 100 children under the age of 16 learn from members of Islamic Jihad’s armed wing Al-Quds Brigades how to strip down an AK-47 assault rifle, crawl through tunnels and run across burning tyres amid the sound of explosions on their assault course. “When I’m older I want to fight in Al-Quds Brigades and capture Israeli troops,” said 12-year-old Ezz, who was this time playing the role of the unfortunate enemy soldier taken from his position atop a scorching sand dune. Ezz is a pupil at a school in the Gaza Strip run by the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA. Fellow camper Osama, holding a rifle, explains: “We learn to fight so that we’re ready for our resistance against the Zionist enemy (Israel) who occupies our land and kills us.” The head

military trainer at the camp, Abu Khaled, insists it is like any other “youth camp, (but) includes combat training.” The Al-Quds Brigades instructor, wearing a balaclava, says he sees the “soldiers of the future” in the children he is training, adding that his eldest son is taking part in the two-week camp. “We want to instil the notion of

kidnapping (Israeli) soldiers so that we never forget our prisoners,” he says, referring to previous prisoner exchange deals between the Jewish state and Palestinian groups. In one of the most significant such swaps, Gaza rulers Hamas released captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for over a thousand Palestinian detainees in an

GAZA CITY: Young Palestinians take part in a military-style exercise during a summer physical training camp run by Hamas on Monday. — AFP

October 2011 deal. Abu Mohammed, another instructor, insists “there’s no need for children to actually fight. But we train them to, so they can face danger and the fear of (aerial) bombardment.” The Hamas movement ruling Gaza, meanwhile, has opened its own summer camps to some 100,000 students, boys and girls, aged 10 to 21. Although not as overtly military-focused as those of Islamic Jihad, the Hamas camps also include rudimentary combat training. “They’re focused on creativity and fun as well as religious, moral and national education on the right of return of Palestinian refugees and the prisoners issue,” says Mussa AlSamak, one organiser. But Mohammed Al-Shawa, a counsellor for activities being organised in the Shati refugee camp in Gaza, says the aim is “fun, education and learning basic martial arts.” A Gaza psychologist, requesting anonymity, criticised the participation of children in military exercises. “This presents a danger to their lives and contravenes international laws for the protection of children,” he said. —AFPP



Bombers attack Baghdad Shiites, kill 31 BAGHDAD: Twin suicide bombings killed 31 people after midday prayers at a Shiite Muslim religious centre in Baghdad yesterday, the latest in violence sparking fears of a revival of full-blown sectarian bloodshed. Several students from an adjacent university were among the dead, with dozens of others wounded, while security forces shut down the neighbourhood to traffic and sought to defuse a suspected car bomb nearby. The attacks come amid a surge in nationwide unrest, with May the country’s deadliest month since 2008, that along with a prolonged political deadlock have stoked concerns that Iraq is moving back to the brutal communal violence that blighted it in 2006 and 2007. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, but Sunni militants linked to AlQaeda frequently carry out suicide bombings and look to target Shiite Muslims, whom they regard as apostates. Tuesday’s attacks struck at the Habib ibn al-Mudhaher husseiniya, or Shiite religious hall, in north Baghdad. It lies next to the Imam AlSadiq university, a private teaching institution. Many victims were university students who were taking a break from studying for their exams to pray. “What sins did these innocent students commit?” asked Mustafa Kamil, a student who was about to leave the site of the attacks to visit the morgue to help identify the dead. “They gathered

here for prayer. Does any religion accept killing innocent human beings?” the 20-year-old continued, his eyes red from crying. “A few minutes ago, I

BAGHDAD: An Iraqi women shouts as she is escorted by one of her sons after his brother was killed in a suicide bombing on a Shiite mosque yesterday. — AFP

Rowhani offers softer tone, but same policies Ahmadinejad meets newly elected successor TEHRAN: Newly elected president Hassan Rowhani struck a diplomatic chord in his first news conference but offered little real change in key policy areas, especially on the long-running dispute over Iran’s nuclear program. Concretely, he ruled out any halt to the nuclear activity that has drawn UN, EU and US sanctions, repeating a longstanding Iranian position and dashing hopes he might re-impose a moratorium on uranium enrichment adopted when he was chief nuclear negotiator. Yet he did outline conditions for first-time direct nuclear talks with archfoe the United States in the hope of easing tensions that have led to Washington and Israel refusing to rule out military action over the program. And he refrained from any fiery

hands. Ahmadinejad, whose tenure was marked by fiery rhetoric and international isolation, said his administration was ready to make the transition easier for the new government. University professor and political analyst, Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh wrote in an op-ed piece in the conservative Tehran Emrooz daily that Iran’s tone has softened with Rowhani, but that the policy remains the same. “Styles change, and the discourse and the diplomacy will change, but this does not mean abandoning (fundamental) stances. Iran has shown good will by electing a moderate... Now the West should react positively,” Mojtahedzadeh added. Rowhani said EU and US sanctions against Iran’s oil and banking sectors,

TEHRAN: Outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (left) shakes hands with president-elect Hassan Rowhani during a meeting at Rowhani’s office yesterday. — AP or potentially confrontational rhetoric, maintaining his trademark composure and soft tone during the Monday’s nearly two-hour press conference. Meanwhile, Iran’s outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met his successor Rowhani yesterday for the first time since the moderate conservative was elected, in talks centred on political and economic issues. Rowhani, a 64-year-old cleric who is scheduled to take office on Aug 3, won an outright victory in Friday’s presidential election, ending Ahmadinejad’s eight years of hardline leadership. “The two discussed the country’s political and economic issues,” Iranian state television reported. The Iranian presidency issued pictures of the pair, smiling broadly and firmly shaking

which have sent the economy into free fall, are unjust but promised transparent talks to try to resolve the underlying issues. Iran will be “more transparent to show that its activities fall within the framework of international rules,” he said, without elaborating. “The idea is to engage in more active negotiations.” Iran has long been accused of dragging its feet in its talks with the so-called P5+1 - the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany. Ten rounds of talks in 18 months between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency have produced no breakthrough. The latest round, in Kazakhstan in April, ended with lead negotiator, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, saying the two sides remained “far apart” despite

the P5+1 having sweetened an earlier offer. Rowhani’s press conference was widely covered in the Iranian media yesterday. Vatan Emrooz, the hardline conservative daily, brandishing Rowhani’s picture headlined: “The era of an enrichment halt is over.” Like-minded Jamejam headlined: “We will not abandon the Iranian people’s legitimate rights.” They were referring to Rowhani’s tenure as chief nuclear negotiator in 2003-2005, during the second term of reformist former president Mohammad Khatami, when Iran adopted a moratorium on enrichment. Iran insists on international recognition of what it says is its “right” to enrich uranium, a key component of the nuclear fuel cycle that can also be used to make the explosive core of an atomic bomb. And it has massively expanded its uranium enrichment facilities, extending the process to 20 percent and raising fears that the 90 percent required for a warhead is but a step away. World powers say Tehran must end enrichment to high levels and verifiably suspend operations at the Fordo mountain bunker where such activity takes place before recognising Iran’s rights to pursue less threatening activities. Iran denies it is developing the atomic bomb and argues that it requires a nuclear program solely for peaceful medical and energy needs. Rowhani reiterated there could be no return to the moratorium on enrichment, saying “this period is over”. Khatami’s successor, outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad resumed the enrichment programme, triggering successive UN Security Council ultimatums to suspend it, some of them backed up with sanctions. The unilateral EU and US sanctions followed. Ashton said she would take Rowhani up on his promise of more constructive engagement. “I will continue to do my work to urge Iran to work closely with me... to build confidence in the nature of their nuclear program,” she said. Mohammad Saleh Sedghian, head of the Tehran-based Arabic Centre for Iranian Studies, told AFP the success of “every domestic and foreign and political process depends on its discourse... the discourse can change political equations.” The “speech was filled with hope and ambition,” he added. Rowhani expressed readiness for bilateral talks with Washington to allay its concerns that Tehran’s nuclear program is cover for a drive for a weapons capability, but not without conditions. —AFP

Egypt, Ethiopia agree to more talks on Nile ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopia and Egypt said yesterday they have agreed to hold further talks on the impact of a huge Ethiopian dam project to quell tensions between the two countries over water-sharing. “We agreed that we will start immediately on consultations at both the technical level... and the political level,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr told reporters after meetings in Addis Ababa with his Ethiopian counterpart Tedros Adhanom. The countries have been embroiled in a heated row after Ethiopia began diverting the Blue Nile River last month for the construction of the 6,000 megawatt Grand Renaissance Dam. Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi warned this month that “all options are open” over construction of the dam because of concerns about the impact on downstream water levels. But Amr and Tedros said relations between the two countries remain “brotherly” and that they will continue talks on the impact of the dam. Amr said previous statements had been made “in the heat of the moment”. “Both ministers stressed the need to continue the dialogue and communication with

was standing with my friend, and he asked me to go pray together. But I told him I wanted to study some more, to be ready for our exams. “He said, ‘I

each other,” they said in a joint statement. “We have two options, either to swim or sink together. I think Ethiopia chooses, and so does Egypt, to swim together,” Tedros said. An international panel has issued a report outlining the dam’s impact on water levels. The report has not been made public, but Ethiopia has said the report confirms that the impact on water levels are minimal. Both nations agreed to “ask for further studies to ascertain the effects of the dam, not only the safety of the dam, the environmental effects, but also the effects of the dam on the downstream countries,” Amr said, adding that consultations involve Sudan as well as Ethiopia and Egypt. Some 86 percent of Nile water flowing to Egypt originates from the Blue Nile out of Ethiopia, and Cairo has said the construction of the dam is a security concern. Ethiopia’s parliament ratified a controversial treaty last week ensuring its access to Nile water resources, replacing a colonial-era agreement that granted Egypt and Sudan the majority of water rights. The new deal allows upstream countries to implement irrigation and hydropower projects without first seeking Egypt’s approval. —AFP

am going to pray, God will help me succeed’. He went, and now he will never come back.” According to witnesses and officials, the bombers, who were dressed in suits, began by gunning down the building’s guard, followed by the first attacker blowing himself up at the entrance to the hall. The second militant took advantage of the ensuing chaos and ran through the crowd before setting off his explosives inside the husseiniya itself. Soldiers standing guard at the scene said the inside of the building was covered in blood, with the walls and ceiling badly damaged by ball bearings, used by the suicide bombers to maximise the bloodshed. Meanwhile, bombings elsewhere in Baghdad and north of the capital in Salaheddin, Diyala and Kirkuk provinces killed three people and wounded 13 others. There has been a heightened level of unrest since the beginning of the year in Iraq, coinciding with rising discontent among the Sunni Arab minority that erupted into protests in late December. Analysts say a lack of effort by the Shiite-led authorities to address the underlying causes of the demonstrations has given militant groups fuel and room to manoeuvre to carry out their activities. Political leaders have pledged to resolve outstanding disputes, and Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki has met with two of his main rivals in a bid to ease tensions, but no tangible moves have been agreed. — AFP



Shaky start for Bulgaria’s new government SOFIA: Bulgaria’s Socialist-backed government is under severe pressure to resign after just two weeks in office following several days of demonstrations in the EU’s poorest country. The latest protests began on Friday when Delyan Peevski, an inexperienced but well-connected 32-year-old media mogul, was named head of the powerful state agency for national security DANS. For the thousands of protesters, the appointment showed that Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski is controlled by the same old shady and powerful oligarchs behind the scenes. Peevski runs what is one of Bulgaria’s major media groups and is also a deputy with the Turkish minority MRF party, a key supporter of Oresharki’s government. But he has no experience in the security sector. Rocked by the reaction, Oresharski immediately promised to have Peevski’s appointment cancelled by parliament. But the damage was done: on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, more, even bigger demonstrations took place. “We are protesting against the oligarchy, which humiliated the people once again, promoting its latest protege,” one group

of demonstrators said on a Facebook page. Oresharski, a non-partisan former finance minister, was appointed as a safe pair of hands by the Socialists after forming a government following elections in May. By Monday, his critics were deriding him as “Oligarski” and calling on him to resign. President Rosen Plevneliev has withdrawn his support from Oresharski’s cabinet and called a consultative council on national security for tomorrow. Oresharski however has so far refused to quit. To do so, he said Monday, would be “dangerous” for Bulgaria, where several sectors of the economy are already on the brink of collapse. “The resignation will not solve anything,” Oresharski told private bTV television. “Let’s take a sober view of things.” The situation is reminiscent of February, when nationwide protests against rampant poverty and corruption prompted right-wing prime minister Boyko Borisov to throw in the towel. Subsequent elections last month saw Borisov’s GERB party come first, but well short of a majority. The second-placed socialists managed to form a government with backing from the Turkish minority party MRF - to which

Peevski belongs. With more and more prominent public figures joining the latest protests outside government headquarters in Sofia, many analysts think Oresharski’s days as prime minister are numbered. “I think about this government in the past tense already,” political analyst Evgeniy Daynov said. “Bulgaria is entering a serious political crisis,” said another analyst, Tsvetozar Tomov. “This government made a blunder after which it is only normal that the premier must quit. “Even if it manages to cling to power in the coming months, this is its symbolic end even before starting to work,” agreed Stefan Popov from RiskMonitor. But analysts agree that fresh elections might result in political stalemate, exacerbate street tensions and deepen the economic and social crisis in the former communist country. “The worst scenario is: the government falls, new elections and (Borisov’s party) GERB comes back triumphant,” Daynov said. An alternative, Tomov said, would be avoiding a new election by trying to form another non-partisan cabinet if Oresharski resigns. This would make time to

pass a bill reforming the electoral code so new, small parties can enter the legislature, as the protesters demand. MRF party leader Lyutvi Mestan has already said he will start work on that bill yesterday. But all eyes remain fixed on Oresharski, who was due to hold consultations in the coming days over who should become the new security chief in Peevski’s place. On Monday, 23 prominent think-tanks that had protested Peevski’s appointment refused to join those talks, weakening him still further. Brussels, which has long taken Bulgaria to task over its failure to tackle corruption since joining the European Union in 2007, said on Monday that Peevski’s appointment “illustrates the need for reform”. European Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly said that Brussels expected “that the person finally appointed will meet the necessary quality and integrity conditions”. Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso “will convey this message” to Oresharski when they meet on Friday in Brussels, Bailly added - assuming Oresharski is still in office. — AFP

Hungary charges Nazi war crimes suspect, 98 Csatari actively involved in deporting Jews in 1944

PRAGUE: Czech President Milos Zeman (left) accepts the resignation of Prime Minister Petr Necas and his coalition government on Monday at Prague Castle. — AFP

Czechs seeking new PM as ‘Mr Clean’ toppled PRAGUE: Czech political leaders scrambled yesterday to find a new prime minister and avoid snap elections, after Petr Necas stepped down over a massive bribery and spying scandal involving his top aide and alleged lover. Leaders from conservative coalition parties were expected to try to agree on a candidate before leftist rival President Milos Zeman, who appoints the prime minister, opens talks with party chiefs on Friday. “The situation is open, complicated, confused,” Josef Mlejnek, a political analyst at Charles University in Prague, said yesterday. “There are many options ranging from early elections to a caretaker government, or the current coalition with a new prime minister,” he told AFP. The massive graft scandal erupted Thursday when 400 policemen raided the cabinet office, defence ministry, private villas and a bank in a dramatic swoop that turned up large stashes of illicit cash and gold. Jana Nagyova, Necas’ chief of staff and alleged lover, was arrested during the raid and charged with bribery and complicity in the abuse of power. Seven other senior figures including military intelligence heads and former lawmakers were also charged with corruption and abuse of power. Dubbed “Mr Clean” for his high-profile anticorruption drive, Necas was forced to resign on Monday. Czech media said yesterday that Necas would likely also be indicted on charges of bribery and abuse of power, while Germany’s Berliner Zeitung skewered the “Czech Republic as a Banana Republic”. Opinion polls show the Zeman-allied leftwing Social Democrats would win a snap election hands down and sweep Necas’s disgraced right-wing Civic Democrats (ODS) and their allies out of power. “The opposition is calling for early elections but the governing coalition will hardly want them because the polls don’t signal a good result for them,” Mlejnek said. A June 1-10 poll by the STEM agency showed yesterday that the Social Democrats

would win any elections with 31 percent support, ahead of the ODS and right-wing coalition TOP 09 at 16 percent each. The poll also suggested the Social Democrats could easily form a majority government with the far-left Communists. Before the scandal, Zeman said he wanted general elections held in tandem with an EU Parliament vote on May 24-25 next year to save taxpayers’ money. Necas’ ODS has said it will choose a candidate to lead a government built along the current three-party coalition also comprising the right-wing TOP 09 and centrist LIDEM parties. Tipped as their favourite for the premier’s job, ODS acting chairman Martin Kuba said Monday the selection process “will take days”. However that coalition, in office since July 2010 under Necas, had lost its majority, relying for votes on former allies now sitting as independents. Another option is the dissolution of parliament and early elections, as demanded by Czech dailies yesterday. “The whole system has failed and we need a restart,” said the Hospodarske noviny business newspaper, adding “no good solutions are available”. An EU member of 10.5 million people, the Czech Republic has been plagued by corruption since it emerged as an independent state after its 1993 split with Slovakia - a legacy of four decades of totalitarian communist rule. Last year, corruption watchdog Transparency International ranked the Czech Republic worse than Costa Rica and Rwanda. Despite the turmoil, all sides including the leftwing opposition - have agreed to ensure a smooth political transition to allow for the clean-up of devastating flood damage in the country. At least 12 people perished and around 19,000 were forced from their homes. The scandal also comes as the country continues to struggle financially. Heavily dependent on car production and exports to the crisis-hit eurozone, the Czech economy has been locked in a record-long recession lasting six straight quarters. — AFP

Mali ‘ready’ to sign deal with Tuaregs OUAGADOUGOU: Bamako is set to sign a deal with Tuareg rebels yesterday to enable nationwide polls to take place next month and put the troubled country back on the path to recovery. After 10 days of often tense negotiations in Burkina Faso, an agreement has been reached that will allow the Malian army to enter the key northern town of Kidal currently occupied by Tuareg rebels - to secure the planned July 28 presidential ballot. “The accord is ready to be signed,” said Tiebile Drame, head of the Malian delegation to peace talks in Ouagadougou. The interim deal is due to be signed in Ouagadougou on Tuesday by two main Tuareg rebel groups at a ceremony attended by Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore, who has been lead mediator. Drame told AFP that a consensus has been reached on the importance of territorial integrity and the secular nature of the state, and “as a consequence, on the deployment of the army and the administration of Mali in all regions, including in Kidal, upon signature of this agreement”. The lack of a deal has been a major obstacle in the planning of the election, seen as crucial to Mali’s recovery from a

conflict that saw Al-Qaeda-linked groups seize the northern half of the country for nine months on the back of a March 2012 coup. The crisis was sparked by a rebellion by Tuareg separatists from the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) who want autonomy for their northern homeland. Flush with weapons following the return of Tuareg mercenaries who fought alongside slain Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi, the group rapidly overpowered the weak army. This led angry soldiers to overthrow government in Bamako. The Tuareg continued their campaign, seizing key northern cities, but they were sidelined by their powerful Al Qaeda-linked allies who chased them out and seized control of the north where they imposed an extreme form of Islamic law. French troops have in five months reclaimed most lost territory but analysts have warned that Malian soldiers and a UN mission of African forces would struggle to contain Islamist fighters without support from Paris. The United Nations last week warned that the rights situation in northern Mali remains precarious, with both rebels and Malian troops having been accused of committing numerous human rights abuses. —AFP

BUDAPEST: Hungarian prosecutors yesterday charged a 98-year-old top Nazi war crimes suspect over his brutal alleged role in deporting some 12,000 Jews to death camps in World War II. Laszlo Lajos Csatari was “actively involved in and assisted the deportations” in 1944 of Jews from a ghetto in a town then in Hungary and now in Slovakia, prosecutors said in a statement. The former police officer “regularly beat the interned Jews with his bare hands and whipped them with a dog-whip without any special reasons, regardless of their sex, age or health,” prosecutors said. He also refused requests to cut windows into airless train wagons each transporting around 80 men, women and children to death camps in Nazi-occupied Europe, mostly Auschwitz in Poland, prosecutors said. The Jewish population in and around Kassa were crammed into the ghetto following the occupation of Hungary by German troops in 1944 after the country’s dictator and former ally was deposed by Hitler. Kassa is now known as Kosice and is in Slovakia and Lucia Kollarova, spokeswoman for the country’s Federation of Jewish Communities, told AFP that the organisation would prefer Csatari to be extradited to Slovakia. “We don’t believe he will be ever actually sentenced because of his age,” she said yesterday. Slovakia, which has commuted a death sentence handed down on Csatari by a Czechoslovakian court in absentia in 1948 to life imprisonment, has not yet made an official extradition request to Hungary. Hungarian prosecutors say Csatari, who has been under house arrest in Budapest for a year, was from May 1944 the commander of a collection and deportation camp in the ghetto. Csatari, whose full name is

BUDAPEST: File picture taken on July 18, 2012 shows Laszlo Csatary aka Ladislaus CsizsikCsatary leaving the courthouse. — AFP Laszlo Csizsik-Csatari, sometimes spelt CsizsikCsatar y, tops the Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of alleged Nazi war criminals. After being sentenced to death in absentia in 1948 he made it to Canada where he lived and worked as an art dealer before being stripped of his citizenship in the 1990s. He returned to Budapest where he lived until prosecutors

began investigating his case in late 2011 on the basis of information from the Wiesenthal Center. British tabloid newspaper The Sun helped bring attention to his case after tracking down the old man, photographing him and confronting him at his front door. Last July, the silver-haired Csatari appeared at a closed-door court hearing and denied all the accusations against him. At the time, the state prosecutor said he was in good mental and physical health. The Wiesenthal Center welcomed yesterday the charges as a “significant milestone” for Hungary that sends “an important message that people like Csatary are criminals rather than patriotic heroes”. It urged Hungary to expedite the trial in view of his advanced age. Prosecutors said it has to begin within 90 days. In recent years, the authorities in Europe have made renewed efforts to bring to justice the dwindling number of people still alive who were involved in the Holocaust. Most notable was Ukrainian-born former Sobibor guard John Demjanjuk, deported from the United States in 2009 and sentenced in Germany in 2011 to five years in prison for complicity in some 28,000 murders. He died at a nursing home last year aged 91 while freed awaiting an appeal. The Demjanjuk verdict, stating that simply having worked at an extermination camp is enough to establish complicity in murder, set something of a precedent and Germany is now investigating around 50 suspected ex-Auschwitz guards. Last month, a 93year-old alleged former Auschwitz guard, named as Hans Lipschis by the Wiesenthal Center, was arrested in Germany. He reportedly told the authorities that he worked as a cook, not a guard. — AFP

Erdogan risks political fallout after crackdown ANKARA: By resorting to force to dislodge protesters who have been defying his authority, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan may have won the battle for Gezi Park, but it could cost him dearly politically, observers say. At first glance, Erdogan’s gamble appears to have paid off. The small Istanbul park at the heart of nearly three weeks of unrest remains empty after police stormed the site on Saturday under a cloud of tear gas, sending thousands of protesters scrambling and sparking running battles throughout the weekend. Deprived of their key rallying point, the demonstrators have struggled to regroup and the movement appears to have lost its momentum. “Our democracy has been tested again and came out victoriously,” the premier told party members yesterday. But with the first tear gas grenade that landed in the park, Turkey, and the world, saw another side to the strongman premier, one that went beyond his usual defiant style and tough-talking swagger. Here was a bellicose leader who dismissed overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrators as “looters” and “terrorists”, who railed against international media for their “disinformation” campaigns, and who criticised volunteer medics for treating injured protesters. “The big loser (in the crisis), is the prime minister who is fighting for his political survival,” said Cengiz Aktar, a political science professor at Istanbul’s Bahcesehir university. Turkey’s Western allies, including the United States and EU countries, have widely condemned Erdogan’s handling of the crisis, repeatedly urging him to respect protesters’ right to demonstrate and calling for an end to the excessive use of force by police. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was “shocked” by the police violence, while Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Turkey, a longtime EU hopeful, was “sending the wrong message” to Europe. The turmoil erupted when a peaceful sit-in to save Gezi Park from redevelopment on May 31 was met with a heavy-handed police response. The violence spiralled into nationwide demos against Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development party (AKP), accused of repressing critics and of forcing Islamic values on the mainly Muslim but staunchly secular nation. The trouble has left four people dead and nearly 7,500 injured across the country, according to the Turkish Medical Association.

ANKARA: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses deputies of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament yesterday. — AFP

“Even if Erdogan wins another election, nothing will be as before and it will be more difficult for him to govern,” said Aktar. Having won three successive elections since 2002, party rules prevent Erdogan from a fourth term as premier but observers believe he will make a run for the presidency in 2014 elections. Before making his bid, the 59-year-old is expected to try to boost the constitutional powers of the presidency, currently a largely ceremonial position. But Erdogan’s AKP would need the backing of other parties in parliament to revise the constitution, and there is nothing to suggest they are willing to play along, according to Aktar. Erdogan may also face defections within the AKP, which under the surface is internally divided between those advocating a more rigorously Islamic approach and those who want to reach out to secularists. With his combative rhetoric against the protesters, many of whom are young, urban and secular, Erdogan has appealed to his conservative, religious base but he risks alienating a large section of the electorate, experts say. If elections were held now, Erdogan’s AKP would garner 35.3 percent of the vote, according to a survey published in

the Zaman daily on Monday. At the last elections in 2011, the AKP won nearly 50 percent, having presided over strong economic growth. The same poll also found that 49.9 percent of the more than 2,800 people questioned felt the government was becoming more authoritarian. But Erdogan still has plenty of supporters, hundreds of thousands of whom turned out to hear him speak at rallies in recent days. They praise Erdogan for returning Turkey to stability after tumultuous decades marred by army interference in politics. He is also credited with increasing Turkey’s influence on the world stage, and the NATO member was held up as a model of Islamic democracy when the Arab Spring swept through regional countries. But there’s no denying the mass anti-government turmoil has tarnished his image, observers say. “Is this really a victory for the Turkish prime minister?” wrote Murat Yetkin in the English-language Hurriyet Daily News. “His almighty image has been damaged publicly for the first time during his 11 year-rule,” he said. “And the picture that Erdogan had been drawing abroad regarding the level of democratisation and tolerance in Turkey was harmed, too.” — AFP



Too many teachers, too little quality WASHINGTON: The nation’s teacher-training programs do not adequately prepare would-be educators for the classroom, even as they produce almost triple the number of graduates needed, according to a survey of more than 1,000 programs released yesterday. The National Council on Teacher Quality review is a scathing assessment of colleges’ education programs and their admission standards, training and value. The report, which drew immediate criticism, was designed to be provocative and urges leaders at teacher-training programs to rethink what skills would-be educators need to be taught to thrive in the classrooms of today and tomorrow. “Through an exhaustive and unprecedented examination of how these schools operate, the review finds they have become an industry of mediocrity, churning out first-year teachers with classroom management skills and content knowledge inadequate to thrive in classrooms” with an ever-increasing diversity of ethnic and socioeconomic students, the report’s authors wrote. “A vast majority of teacher preparation programs do not give aspiring teachers adequate return on their investment of time and tuition dollars,” the report said. The report was likely to drive debate about which students are prepared to be teachers in the coming decades and how they are prepared. Once a teacher settles into a classroom, it’s tough to remove him or her involuntarily and opportunities for wholesale retraining are difficult - if nearly impossible - to find. The answer, the council and its allies argue, is to make it more difficult for students to get into teacher preparation programs in the first place. And once there, they should be taught the most effective methods to help students. “There’s plenty of

research out there that shows that teacher quality is the single most important factor,” said Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, a supporter of the organization’s work. Democrat Markell said: “We have to attract the best candidates” possible. To accomplish that goal, Markell earlier this year signed into law a measure making admission to education programs more difficult in his state. Potential teachers must either post a 3.0 grade point average or demonstrate “mastery” results on a standardized test such as the ACT or SAT before they’re even admitted to a program. It’s an idea the council has applauded and suggests other states should consider to limit the number of candidates entering teacher training programs. “You just have to have a pulse and you can get into some of these education schools,” said Michael Petrilli, a vice president at the conservativeleaning Fordham Institute and a former official in the Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement. “If policymakers took this report seriously, they’d be shutting down hundreds of programs.” Some 239,000 teachers are trained each year and 98,000 are hired - meaning too many students are admitted and only a fraction find work.Among the council’s other findings: Only a quarter of education programs limit admission to students in the top half of their high school class. The remaining three quarters of programs allow students who fared poorly in high school to train as teachers. 3-out-of-4 teacher training programs do not train potential educators how to teach reading based on the latest research. Instead, future teachers are left to develop their own methods. Fewer than 1-in-9 programs for elementary educators are preparing students to teach Common

Accused California killer tells jurors, ‘I’m not the monster’ Gruesome photos as ‘Alphabet murders’ trial begins SAN RAFAEL: An elderly California photographer charged with the slayings of four prostitutes dating back to the 1970s opened his own defense at his serial-murder trial on Monday, declaring to jurors, “I’m not the monster that killed these women.” Joseph Naso, 79, who has admitted a penchant for taking erotic pictures of women and displayed dozens of such photos in court on Monday, stood stoop-shouldered in a blue suit and tie, his hands crossed behind his back, as he politely greeted the 12 men and women who will decide his fate. “Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen of the jury. You’re a welcome sight. I’ve been waiting two years and two months for this day to tell my side,” Naso said. He went on to discount the government’s case as little more than “theories and opinions,” saying, “They don’t even have circumstantial evidence.” Naso is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of four northern California women, all of them prostitutes, whose slayings were dubbed the “alphabet murders” because the first and last name of each victim starts with the same letter in the alphabet. Two victims, Roxene Roggasch, 18, and Carmen Colon, 22, were killed in the 1970s. Two others, Pamela Parson, 38, and Tracy Tafoya, 31, were slain in the 1990s. Prosecutors contend that Naso drugged his victims before raping or trying to rape them, then killed the women and discarded of their naked or scantily clad bodies in remote locations. During prosecutors’ opening statement on Monday morning, jurors were shown graphic photos of the victims as they appeared when their remains were found. “The defendant is a serial rapist and murderer,” said Marin County Deputy District Attorney Rosemary Slote told the jury. Although he has no legal training,

CALIFORNIA: Accused serial killer Joseph Naso rubs his eyes as the prosecution makes their opening statement in Marin Superior Court in front of Judge Andrew Sweet. — AP the defendant has insisted upon rep- together against Naso, who was at the resenting himself in the proceedings time on probation for shoplifting. Naso insisted on Monday that “not against him, for which he could face the death penalty if convicted of more one picture of a deceased person” was than one more murder. “I DATED, I found at his home. Naso showed the DANCE, I TOOK PICTURES. I’m not the jury a collection of roughly 50 photomonster that killed these women. I graphs he had taken over the years, don’t do that,” he said at one point mostly of female subjects, many of during a rambling, two-hour, 10- them topless or in various stages of minute opening statement. “I dated, undress, interspersed with photos danced, I took pictures, but I don’t kill from weddings, a college sorority people, and there’s no evidence of gathering, a nursing school graduathat.” He acknowledged knowing one tion and a church group. Of prosecuof his alleged victims, Parson, who by tors’ assertions that Naso’s DNA was his account he picked up as a hitch- found on nylons from his ex-wife that hiker and brought to his house. There, he allegedly used to strangle one of he said, she offered to have sex with his victims, he said such evidence was him. But he said he declined and took inconclusive. As to journal notations attributed photos of her instead. Naso was arrested in 2010 after to him by prosecutors that refer to authorities searching his home in him having “raped” a woman, he told Nevada found what prosecutors have jurors, “That’s the way I talk. It’s just described as diaries of sexual assaults loose talk that I used. ‘I pick up a nice and a list of victim dumping grounds, broad and I raped her.’ It’s got nothing along with hundreds of photographs to do with forcible rape in the way we of naked women, many of whom usually think.” He concluded by sayappeared to be dead or unconscious. ing, “When this trial is over, I’d like you It was only then that investigators to find me not guilty so I can go home began to put a serial murder case and see my children.” — Reuters

FBI ‘relies’ on secret US surveillance law WASHINGTON: The FBI has used secret evidence obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to prosecute at least 27 accused terrorists since 2007, according to a Reuters review of public records. While the recent spotlight has been on the use of the FISA law by the US National Security Agency for surveillance programs following disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the FBI also makes extensive use of the law for domestic counterterrorism. The Reuters review highlights the extent to which the FBI has come to rely on FISA to investigate or thwart domestic attacks. It involved searching the national court docket using the database of Westlaw, which is owned by Thomson Reuters Corp, and includes only cases where prosecutors are required to file a notice under FISA. Other cases where FISA was used may be sealed. The 27 cases in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation has used FISA evidence include both well-publicized and less-known investigations. They range from mass murder charges against Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan for the shootings of 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009, to the arrest in April of an 18-year-old in Chicago accused of planning to join an Al-Qaeda-linked group fighting in Syria. Both men await trial. In an effort to shore up support for the NSA program, US spy agencies may disclose publicly for the first time a list of at least 25 terrorist attacks they say were thwarted by the agency’s once-secret surveillance operations. Many, if not all, of those NSA operations also used FISA for intelligence gathering. When the FBI uses FISA, it seeks approval from judges at the secret U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) for phone, email and electronic surveillance and for searches of property, including “sneak-and-peak” search warrants in which agents covertly enter a business or home when the occupants are away, and try to leave no trail of their visit. The public court records, often little more than a one-page notification by a Justice Department attorney, provide no specific details of these covert operations. Some case files include defense challenges to the FISA law; none have been successful. The court files show that the FBI used FISA warrants in recent cases against an Oregon man charged with aiding a Pakistani suicide bomber; a Philadelphia man accused of joining an Uzbekistan terrorist organization; and two Somali-born Minnesota women convicted of raising funds for Al-Qaeda-affiliated AlShabaab rebels. They also include FBI investigations of the New

York founder of a radical Islamic website and a Moroccan man convicted of plotting a suicide attack at the US Capitol. An FBI spokeswoman referred questions about the bureau’s use of FISA to the Justice Department, and a spokesman there declined to comment. SECRET COURT FISA warrants are issued by the FISC in Washington. It was created in 1978 following congressional hearings that exposed illegal surveillance of US citizens - without court-authorized warrants. The court includes 11 judges, all of whom are veteran federal judges at the trial court level. They are appointed by the chief justice of the US Supreme Court to seven-year terms. Applications to the judges for FISA warrants are presented by US prosecutors. While FISA warrants are issued in secret, once an arrest is made by the FBI, US law requires prosecutors to file a short notice to the court if they intend to use classified evidence at trial. In addition to terrorism cases, the FBI has used FISA warrants in at least nine espionage and arms and military technology smuggling investigations since 2007. The 27 alleged terrorism cases identified by Reuters in which the FBI used FISA evidence, and later disclosed that fact, represent only a small sampling of warrants issued by the secret court. Last year alone, the government applied for 1,856 FISA warrants and - except for one that was withdrawn - all were granted. The public records only identify cases in which the FBI used FISA evidence to make terrorism arrests inside the United States. OBAMA DEFENDS SECRET PROGRAM Meanwhile, President Barack Obama defended secret US security programs late Monday and rejected comparisons with predecessor George W Bush, even as rogue intelligence tech Edward Snowden warned that more leaks are on the way. The Obama administration has been on the defensive since last week’s dramatic leak of details of two huge operations by the National Security Agency to track US citizens’ phone calls and intercept global Internet traffic. The Internet surveillance controversy was such that North Korea, one of the world’s most repressive societies, yesterday took the opportunity to brand the United States a “kingpin” of human rights abuses, in the government’s official Minju Joson newspaper. —Agencies

Core State Standards, the achievement benchmarks for math and reading that have been adopted in 45 states and the District of Columbia. For programs preparing high school teachers, that rate is roughly a third of programs. Only 7 percent of programs ensure student teachers are partnered with effective classroom teachers. Most often, a student teacher is placed into a classroom where a teacher is willing to have them, regardless of experience. When asked how much experience they have, the most common answer from teachers is one year. First-year teachers reach around 1.5 million students. The National Council on Teacher Quality, an advocacy group founded in 2000 to push an education overhaul that challenges the current system, has on its board veterans of the administrations of Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W Bush. For its review, the council identified 18 standards for teacher preparation programs, such as instructing would-be educators how to implement Common Core State Standards, teach non-native English speakers and manage classrooms. The group spent eight years narrowing the standards and did 10 pilot studies to make certain their criteria were fair but tough. One pilot program in Illinois included 39 standards. In all, the report looked at 1,130 teacher preparation programs. The students in those programs represent 99 percent of traditionally trained teachers. “By providing critical information both to aspiring teachers so they can make different choices at the front end, and then to school districts at the back end looking to hire the best-trained new teachers, reform need not rest on either good will or political will,” the report’s authors wrote. To reach their conclusions, the investigators requested

tomes of information from education programs, such as admission requirements, course syllabi, textbooks and graduate surveys. Only 114 institutions chose to cooperate with the review. About 700 institutions objected in letters to council’s partner, US News & World Report, to the council’s methodology. Some told students not to cooperate with requests. “I think NCTQ points out is that we are probably underequipping teachers going into classrooms,” said David Chard, dean of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development at Southern Methodist University. His program cooperated with the council’s review and won only two out of four possible stars. “We did not fare as well on this review,” he said. “We need to do a better job of communicating both with our students and NCTQ where our content can be found. In some cases, we have some work to do.” At schools that did not cooperate, investigators asked students, book stores and professors to share their course documents, reading lists and policies. In some cases, the council filed lawsuits to collect those documents. The researchers spent an average of 40 hours in grading each education program. As soon as plans for the review were announced, the council faced persistent skepticism and strong opposition. American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten called the review a “gimmick” in a statement released yesterday. She said she agrees on the need to improve teacher preparation, but “it would be more productive to focus on developing a consistent, systemic approach to lifting the teaching profession instead of resorting to attention-grabbing consumer alerts based on incomplete standards.” — AP

US military plans would put women in most combat jobs WASHINGTON: US military leaders are ready to begin tearing down the remaining walls that have prevented women from holding thousands of combat and special operations jobs near the front lines. Under details of the plans obtained by The Associated Press, women could start training as Army Rangers by mid-2015 and as Navy SEALs a year later. The military services have mapped out a schedule that also will include reviewing and possibly changing the physical and mental standards that men and women will have to meet in order to quality for certain infantry, armor, commando and other front-line positions across the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Under the plans to be introduced Tuesday, there would be one common standard for men and women for each job. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reviewed the plans and has ordered the services to move ahead. The move follows revelations of a startling number of sexual assaults in the armed forces. Earlier this year, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said the sexual assaults might be linked to the longstanding ban on women serving in combat because the disparity between the roles of men and women creates separate classes of personnel - male “war-

riors” versus the rest of the force. While the sexual assault problem is more complicated than that, he said, the disparity has created a psychology that lends itself to disrespect for women. Under the schedules military leaders delivered to Hagel, the Army will develop standards by July 2015 to allow women to train and potentially serve as Rangers, and qualified women could begin training as Navy SEALs by March 2016 if senior leaders agree. Military leaders have suggested bringing senior women from the officer and enlisted ranks into special forces units first to ensure that younger, lower-ranking women have a support system to help them get through the transition. The Navy intends to open up its Riverine force and begin training women next month, with the goal of assigning women to the units by October. While not part of the special operations forces, the coastal Riverine squadrons do close combat and security operations in small boats. The Navy plans to have studies finished by July 2014 on allowing women to serve as SEALs, and has set October 2015 as the date when women could begin Navy boot camp with the expressed intention of becoming SEALs eventually. —AP



China activist revives concern on US academic freedom WASHINGTON: Charges by a top activist that New York University dismissed him due to Chinese influence have added fuel to concerns over Beijing’s educational clout which critics say hurts US academic freedom. Chen Guangcheng, one of China’s most prominent human rights campaigners who dramatically escaped house arrest last year, has accused the private university of surrendering to “unrelenting pressure” from Beijing. New York University has adamantly denied the charges and said that it has been generous to Chen-providing him free education, English lessons, accommodation and family support-but only planned a one-year fellowship. But critics note that the university later this year starts operation of a Shanghai campus. Chinese students paying full tuition are highly prized, and New York University is the third largest US recipient of foreign students. Representative Chris Smith, who heads the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on human rights, said that New York University controlled Chen’s movements and tried to monitor the congressman’s conversations with the activist. “That is not the way you treat a world-class human rights defender who has suffered torture and every other depravation to combat abuse in China. It really is a black mark against NYU,” Smith said. Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, said that US universities faced a “huge systemic problem.” “I have no problem with higher education having a constructive engagement with China as

long as you don’t gag human rights defenders. Frankly, you should be providing them with space; otherwise, wittingly or unwittingly, you’re enabling a dictatorship,” he said. Smith is a passionate opponent of abortion who has campaigned for years against China’s one-child-policy. Chen, a self-taught lawyer who has been blind since infancy, exposed widespread forced abortions under the policy. Chen spent four years in prison before being put under house arrest, where he said that he and his wife suffered severe beatings for daring to keep speaking out. New York University’s supporters said that they wanted to shield Chen, who does not speak English and suddenly moved from house arrest in smalltown China to Manhattan, from politics in the United States where abortion is a divisive issue. New York University professor Jerome Cohen, a leading authority on Chinese law who mentored Chen, said that no political refugee -”not even Albert Einstein”-has been treated better by a US academic institution than Chen. Chen scaled the walls of his home and was driven in a getaway car to the safety of the US embassy on the eve of a visit by then secretary of state Hillary Clinton, setting off a diplomatic showdown. Harold Koh, who was Clinton’s top legal adviser, said that New York University agreed to offer Chen a temporary home “without hesitation, and without concern for any other factor, other than doing the right thing.” Koh, a former dean of Yale Law School, said: “To cast doubt on NYU’s generosity now will dis-

Rebels kidnap five Philippine soldiers DAVAO: Communist insurgents wearing military uniforms abducted five soldiers in the southern Philippines, in the latest of a series of violent acts following the collapse of peace talks, authorities said yesterday. The New People’s Army guerrillas set up a roadblock on the outskirts of Davao City on Monday and seized the five soldiers as they were passing through on motorcycles, said military spokesman Colonel Ramon Zagala. He condemned the abduction, saying the soldiers were unarmed, in civilian clothes and on their way to buy supplies for a community feeding program when they were seized. “Their objective is... to try to project power, to sow fear. You are sending a clear message to the community: the people who you think can help you.. this is what we can do with them,” he said. The NPA has been waging a 44-year-old Maoist armed campaign that has claimed at least 30,000 lives. The military estimates the NPA has about 4,000 fighters. The government had been hoping to sign a pact to end the rebellion before President Benigno Aquino ended his six-year term in 2016. But the

government said in April that peace talks had collapsed. Davao, the biggest city on the southern island of Mindanao, has long been a hotbed of communist insurgency. Three soldiers were killed on June 4 in another part of Mindanao when they stumbled into a communist guerrilla jungle training camp and walked on a landmine. Eight police commandos died last month when communist rebels ambushed them on Luzon, the country’s biggest island which is home to the nation’s capital. The latest kidnapping took place in a remote area where the army has been trying to diminish the influence of the NPA by working with local communities, according to a local military chief, Colonel Leopoldo Galon. “This is an intrusion of the armed forces in an area they consider their bailiwick,” Galon, regional head of the military’s Civil Relations Group said. He said judging from past incidents, the rebels would likely release their hostages, but not before using them to get good publicity. “They will get media coverage...they will use this for propaganda to the max,” he said. — AFP

China and EU to hold talks on solar dispute BEIJING: China said yesterday it would this week hold talks with the European Union in a bid to resolve a dispute over solar panels and other business issues, as tensions between the two risk escalating into a trade war. The two sides have “tentatively decided” to hold the annual ministerial-level meeting of the joint economic and trade commission on Friday in Beijing, said Shen Danyang, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce. “At this conference, the two sides will seriously review what happened over the past year in bilateral trade relations and study how to resolve problems, including the dispute over photovoltaic (solar panel) trade,” he told repor ters. China’s Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng and EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht will jointly preside over the talks, Shen added. “We believe both sides will cherish the chance and... in a pragmatic manner make joint efforts to reach an agreement (on the solar issue) that is acceptable to both as soon as possible,” he said. EU Trade spokesman John Clancy said the solar panel issue would not be on the official agenda of the meeting, but De Gucht and Gao were expected to discuss the issue on the sidelines. “Confidential technical-level discussions” with China have star ted in Brussels this week “in a bid to find a negotiated settlement”, he said in a statement. “It is important to underline that the EU’s ambition remains to find an amicable solution as soon as possible. “But I should also stress that discussions have only just begun and therefore we are still at a very early stage in the negotiation process.” The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, levied an initial average tariff of 11.8 percent this month, which will rise to 47.6 percent on August 6 if there are no negotiations based on a Chinese commitment to address the problem. In addition to solar cells, Brussels and Beijing are also involved in a series of disputes covering other products, ranging from steel pipes to

wine, that have sparked fears of a trade war. China said this month it will deal “appropriately” with the EU’s decision to challenge it at the World Trade Organization after Beijing slapped duties on some steel products. China has launched a probe into imports of EU wine and chemicals amid accusations it is selling goods below cost-a process known as “dumping”-while the EU has threatened an investigation into the country’s telecom equipment firms. The tit-for-tat trade measures have triggered concerns over the repercussions they may cause to broader business relations between the two. “We are very concerned with this issue and any trade-related issues that reach this level,” Adam Dunnett, secretary general of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said yesterday about the solar dispute. “We... hope that both parties can come together quickly to solve them for the greater interest of the overall trade and investment relationship that is very valuable and important to both economies.” Total trade between the two sides fell 3.7 percent year-on-year in 2012, with China’s imports from the bloc rising 0.4 percent to $212 billion, while shipments in the opposite direction tumbled 6.2 percent to $334 billion, Chinese customs data showed. According to Chinese industry figures, China exported $35.8 billion of solar products in 2011, more than 60 percent of them to the EU, while it imported $7.5 billion-worth of European solar equipment and raw materials. Increasing trade frictions, combined with other factors including a stronger Chinese yuan, weak foreign demand and rising costs, have clouded the outlook for China’s exports this year, Shen said. The overall trade situation remains “grave”, he said, citing findings from a sur vey of more than 1000 exporters by the ministry. “We will have to overcome many, many difficulties in order to achieve our annual target (for trade growth),” he said, which has been set at eight percent for this year. — AFP

NEW YORK: A news ticker announces the expulsion of Chen Guangcheng, a blind Chinese lawyer and human rights activist, from New York University (NYU), where he was a fellow. — AFP courage other universities from taking similarly courageous steps.” Experts said that China’s influence on US universities was complicated, with US institutions sensitive to charges of outside pressure but also eager for outside support at a time that traditional funding sources are tight. The stakes are especially high for foreign scholars of

China, who need to publish to advance within academic circles and hence need to ensure visas and access to research in the growing Asian power. Universities “take great pride in their reputation for academic freedom and freedom of speech,” said June Teufel Dreyer, a professor of political science at the University of Miami.

“But like everyone else-I imagine members of Congress do this, too- they have a certain amount of integrity, but if it comes to doing just a little bit of a favor for a wealthy contributor, they are not above it,” she said. “Computers always need upgrades, students always need scholarships and you have to repair roofs,” she said. —AFP

Singapore and Indonesia tussle over haze problem Indonesia urged to identify firms behind haze SINGAPORE: Singapore’s worst air pollution in 16 years sparked diplomatic tension yesterday, as the citystate urged Indonesia to provide satellite data to enable it to act against plantation firms that allow slash-and-burn farming. Singapore’s environment minister made the request to his Indonesian counterpart by telephone as air pollution on the island hit unhealthy levels for a second straight day, with some of the worst readings since a 1997 regional haze crisis. “We need to exert commercial pressure against companies causing the haze,” Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said on his Facebook page, without saying what measures Singapore might take. “ We are also waiting for Indonesia to publish the concession maps. The combination of satellite photos, which are updated daily, and these concession maps would enable us to pinpoint the errant companies,” he added. Indonesia’s environment minister could not be reached for comment, but senior official Sony Partono told Reuters, “Foreign parties should not be interfering with our domestic affairs.” He added, “The most important thing is that we have attempted to control the damage resulting from the forest fires,” and said fire trucks had been dispatched to affected areas. Plantation companies with land concessions in Indonesia include Wilmar International Ltd, Golden Agri-Resources Ltd and First Resources Ltd. Singapore’s pollutant standards index (PSI) rose to an unhealthy 155 on Monday night, prompting the US embassy to advise Americans planning a visit to consult their doctors about the effects of air pollution. Visibility

improved slightly yesterday and the PSI score slipped back to a “moderate” level of 85 after peaking at 123 in the morning. A map on the site of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) Specialized Meteorological Centre showed dozens of satellite-detected fires on

Sumatra island on Tuesday with winds blowing east towards Singapore. The haze has also enveloped some parts of neighboring Malaysia, with four regions suffering “unhealthy” PSI levels above 100 for a second day. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak took to his Twitter page on Tuesday to

SINGAPORE: The highway leading out of the central business district as buildings are blanketed with haze in Singapore yesterday. — AFP

advise people to reduce outdoor activities and drink plenty of water, warning that the haze was expected to worsen. HAZY PROGRESS Images of smog-shrouded Southeast Asian cities this week have highlighted the limited progress the region has made in fighting the problem since 1997, when the haze caused an estimated $9 billion in economic, social and environmental losses. The illegal burning of forests to clear land for palm oil plantations is a recurrent problem in Indonesia, particularly during the annual dry season from June to September. Yet Indonesia is the only ASEAN member not to have ratified a 2002 pact on preventing haze pollution. “ Without the (Indonesian) republic, especially since the hotspots are found mainly there, little can be done,” Malaysia’s New Straits Times said in an editorial yesterday. Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, has vastly expanded its palm oil plantations in the past decade, overtaking Malaysia to become the world’s biggest supplier. In doing so it has cleared huge swathes of forest and peatland areas. Corruption and Indonesia’s decentralized political system have hindered efforts to stem the haze problem, said Jackson Ewing, a researcher at the Centre for NonTraditional Security at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University. “Burning is quick, efficient and requires very little labor to clear land,” he said. “Government actors at the local level are colluding with private interests and central government authorities have difficulty influencing what is happening on the ground.” —Reuters

Support for gay marriage high in developed nations NEW YORK: Most adults in developed countries favor gay marriage or some type of legal recognition for same-sex couples and think they should be able to adopt children, according to an international poll released yesterday. With the US Supreme Court poised to rule on gay marriage this month and France’s recent decision to legalize same-sex unions, an Ipsos poll for Reuters showed that 52 percent of people in 16 nations favor full marriage equality for gays and 21 percent support legal recognition but not marriage. Only 14 percent of the 12,484 adults questioned in the survey objected to same-sex marriage, or any type of legal recognition, and 13 percent were unsure how they felt. “What we see is that in every one of the 16 countries we surveyed, there is a majority in favor of allowing same sex couples to have some sort of legal recognition,” said Nicolas Boyon, an Ipsos senior vice president. “In nine out of 16 countries we see an outright majority in favor of full marriage equality,” he added. Nearly 60 percent of people polled thought gay couples should have the same rights as heterosexuals to adopt children and 64

percent thought same-sex couples were just as likely to raise children successfully. “We see majorities in 12 of 16 countries supportive of gay parenting,” said Boyon. In Sweden, Norway, Spain, Belgium, Canada and France, where gay marriage is legal, a majority of people supported full equality for samesex couples, along with most Germans, Britons and Australians. In Argentina, which recognizes gay marriage, less than half of people (48 percent) favored marriage equality for gays. The numbers were similar in the United States, where legal recognition of gay couples varies by state, with 42 percent supporting marriage for gays and 23 percent favoring legal recognition. Opposition to legal recognition or marriage of gays was highest in Hungary, South Korea, Poland and Japan, where 37 percent of people said they were unsure about how they felt. “What is common to Hungary, South Korea and Poland is that by and large they are the countries that have the lowest percentage of people who report having a relative, a colleague, or a friend who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender,” said Boyon. Three out of 10 people questioned said their attitude towards gay marriage

had changed in the past five years, although they did not say how. Support for same-sex unions was highest among adults who had a relative, friend or colleague who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Nearly 46 percent of people said they know someone who is LGBT. In Spain and Norway the number rose to 65 percent. But in South Korea and Japan the number dropped to 3 percent and 5 percent respectively. “Either there is no exposure or there is just too much embarrassment to admit it,” said Boyon. “It is likely there is still a stigma attached to the issue in those countries.” Social media and religion also had an impact on attitudes about gay marriage. People who are active on social media were more likely to support same-sex couples than those who were not online as much, according to the poll. Twenty-seven percent of people who identify themselves with a religion were more likely to support some form of legal status for gay couples, the poll showed, while 17 preferred no recognition. “Poland has the most opposition to adoption to same-sex couples and it is probably one of the most religious countries in the survey,” Boyon said. —Reuters



Afghan forces take over security from NATO KABUL: Afghan forces took control of security across the country yesterday, marking a major milestone as US-led combat troops prepare to withdraw after 12 years of fighting the Taleban. Speaking at a military academy outside Kabul, President Hamid Karzai said the police and army were ready to take on insurgents, but a bomb in the city underlined persistent instability. Three civilians were killed in the attack, which targeted a prominent lawmaker as his convoy travelled to parliament just before the handover ceremony began. “Our security and defense forces will now be in the lead,” Karzai told Afghan and NATO officials at the event, the timing and location of which had been kept secret due to fears of a militant attack. “From here, all security responsibility and all security leadership will be taken by our brave forces,” he said. Doubts remain over the ability of Afghan forces to beat the Taleban, and the NATO military coalition will retain an important function in logistics and air support as well as in combat emergencies. NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that by taking the lead in security, Afghan forces were completing a five-

stage transition process that began in March 2011. “They are doing so with remarkable resolve,” he said. “Ten years ago, there were no Afghan national security forces... now you have 350,000 Afghan troops and police, a formidable force,” he said. “We will continue to help Afghan troops in operations if needed, but we will no longer plan, execute or lead those operations, and by the end of 2014 our combat mission will be completed.” Karzai used his speech to give a boost to peace efforts, saying that government envoys would travel to the Gulf state of Qatar to try to open negotiations with the Taleban. “Our High Peace Council will go to Qatar, they will talk to the Taleban,” the president said. “We hope that with the opening (of a Taleban office in Qatar)... the peace talks between the HPC and the Taleban start as soon as possible.” The handover of the last 95 districts from NATO to Afghan control includes areas in the south and east where the Taleban have concentrated their bloody insurgency since 2001. As Afghan soldiers and police take over the fight against the militants, who were ousted from power after the 9/11

attacks, the 100,000 NATO troops will focus on training and mentoring roles. Recent attacks have demonstrated the Taleban’s ability to strike at Kabul as the country prepares for presidential elections next year and the NATO withdrawal by the end of 2014. “The reality is Afghan forces are not dreadful, but they’re probably not sufficiently capable to drive the war to a conclusion,” Stephen Biddle, professor of international affairs at George Washington University said. “My guess is they will be able to maintain the stalemate, provided the US pays their bills.” Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq, a leader of the ethnic Hazara minority who is likely to play a key role in April’s presidential vote, was unhurt in Tuesday’s bomb attack but his clothes were burnt. “Four of my guards are wounded and are in hospital,” he told AFP. “I heard a big explosion on the side of the car. Only my cloak is a little burned, other than that I’m fine.” Mohammad Zahir, the police investigations chief in Kabul, told reporters at the scene that three civilians were killed and 24 others, including some guards, were wounded when the improvised

KABUL: NATO solders walk towards a Chinook helicopter after a ceremony at a military academy on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan yesterday. — AP explosive device detonated. On Tuesday last week, a suicide car bomb killed 15 civilians outside the Supreme Court in Kabul. The previous day, gunmen fired grenades at the city airport and late last month an international aid group’s com-

pound was targeted in a seven-hour battle. Despite the attacks penetrating the capital’s defenses, the effective response of elite Afghan security units has been widely hailed as a sign of increasing professionalism. —AFP

64 die as early monsoon hammers northern India Torrential rains wash away hundreds of homes

LUKLA: Several flights get ready to take off after as bad weather disrupts flight services at Lukla airport, Nepal. — AP

Danger of Everest begins at tiny Nepalese airstrip LUKLA: As soon as the decades-old Twin Otter landed at Lukla airport, passengers burst out in applause. They do that for nearly every safe landing at the often terrifying airport at the gateway to Mount Everest. At an altitude of 2,843 meters, the small airstrip here has earned a reputation as one of the most extreme and dangerous airports in the world. The single runway is narrow, short and sloped. Miss the runway by a few meters and the plane would hit a mountain. “After you cross the river there is no turning back, you have to land,” said Pramod Poudel, a Tara Air pilot who has flown hundreds of these flights to Lukla. Carved out of the side of a mountain, the airport was built by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1965 - 12 years after he became the first man to conquer the world’s highest peak to help the local yak herders known as Sherpas spur development in the impoverished area. Now what once was a dirt strip is one of Nepal’s busiest airports, the Tenzing-Hillary Airport - named as well for Hillary’s climbing partner Tenzing Norgay. The thousands of mountaineers and trekkers who visit the Everest region have to fly to the airport if they want to avoid a daylong bus trip from Katmandu and five days of trekking to reach here. The airport has handled up to 79 flights on one day - far beyond the acceptable capacity for such a facility, said Rinji, the airport’s air traffic controller, who, like most Sherpas in the Everest region, uses only one name. “It is really challenging, because of the geographical location of the airport and high mountains that surround it. Topography is challenging and the traffic volume is challenging,” said Rinji. “There is little space for aircraft to maneuver because of the high mountains and narrow valley.” Poudel, the pilot, said he and his colleagues need to concentrate hard when landing on the single runway, which is less than 500 meters (yards) long, slopes some 12 degrees and is barely 20 meters (65 feet) wide. “Because there is no way to go around again, we have to calculate many things like air speed, tail wind, fog,” he said. “If you don’t do the proper calculation or proper exercise, then it” - meaning an accident “happens.” The airport can only handle special short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft like the Twin Otter or Dronier that take about 18 passengers. It has room for only four of these planes to be parked at one

time. The runway is one-way for both takeoff and landing. Aircraft have to land from the southwest and take off toward the northeast because at the end of one side of the runway is a mountain. When winds are blowing in an unfavorable direction, all takeoffs and landings have to stop. Crashes are not uncommon. In 2008, 18 people were killed when a Twin Otter plane belonging to the domestic Yeti Airlines smashed into the side of the runway and caught fire while trying to land in heavy fog. Investigators said the pilot should not have attempted to land in those conditions. In August 2010, 14 people were killed when a Dronier belonging to the domestic Agni Air crashed after it was forced to turn around due to bad weather conditions at Lukla. In May 2004, another Yeti Airlines Twin Otter crashed while approaching Lukla, killing all three occupants in an accident blamed on heavy cloud buildup and pilot misjudgment. One plane was unable to stop on the short runway and smashed into a wall. Another skidded off the runway. A third lost its front landing gear as it tried to land and skidded down the runway, forcing the airport to shut for two days. No one was killed in those crashes. In addition to trekkers, the flights bring in food, construction materials, beer and other supplies required by the local population in this poor area. And it has changed life here. Once a tiny village, Lukla now has 3,000 people, many of them drawn to tourism work. Sherpas wait outside the airport hoping to be hired as porters by trekkers staying in the mountains for anywhere from a few days to a month. But the burgeoning population attracted by the airport has also created severe drinking water shortages and sewage problems. And when a curtain of fog descends on the airport during the popular October trekking season, flights can be cancelled for days. As many as 2,500 passengers have been left stranded here with little food and no accommodation. Even on its best days, the airport is open for only a few hours. A man named Funru said his father once owned the land where the airport sits and helped Hillary dig the airstrip. “When I first began working at the airport, it used to be nothing like this. It was like a river bank. Every evening we had to collect rocks and fill the potholes so flights could land the next morning,” Funru said. Gurubacharya contributed to this story from Katmandu.— AP

RISHIKESH: Torrential rains have washed away hundreds of homes and roads, leaving at least 64 people dead and thousands stranded, after the annual monsoon hit northern India earlier than expected, officials said yesterday. The Indian Air Force scrambled a dozen helicopters to reinforce a military-backed rescue mission in the worst-hit state of Uttarakhand, a spokesman said. Local government officials in the state capital Dehradun said they were overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster. “So far, we have found 54 bodies and 17 others are still missing,” top disaster management official Piush Rautela told AFP by telephone. “The situation is really very bad out there. More than 600 buildings have toppled or been swept away and there are 75,000 people including pilgrims stranded at various places.” Military helicopters were rushing to rescue those stranded in water-logged areas, he said. “Certain areas are still unaccessible to us,” he added, speaking from a control room in Dehradun which is monitoring rescue and relief missions. A military statement said five airbases in northern India have been activated to speed up operations. “Indian air force helicopters carried out missions to airlift men, equipment, relief material medical aid,” it said. Television footage showed bridges, houses and multi-storey buildings crashing down and being washed away by the swirling waters. A giant statue of Lord Shiva could be seen submerged up to its head in the tourist hub of Rishikesh in Uttarakhand. Rising water levels in some towns have also swept away cars, earthmoving equipment and even a parked helicopter, as a result of the surprise rains which began lashing the region on Saturday. Roads in many areas have been destroyed, leaving hundreds of pilgrims stranded on their way to visit shrines in remote areas. Authorities have cancelled pilgrimage trips, fearing further rains and landslides in the state, often referred to as the “Land of the Gods” because of its many Hindu temples and Hindu religious sites. Wildlife, including deer, could be seen struggling for safety against the tide. “Right now our priority is to save as many lives as possible and the scale of destruction will be assessed later,” Routela said from Dehradun.

The state government was also readying food parcels and drinking water to be dropped by helicopters to remote villages. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke with officials in Uttarakhand and promised “all assistance in rescue and relief operations” in the stricken state, the premier’s office said in a statement mailed to AFP. “The prime minister shared the anguish and distress of the affected people of Uttarakhand,” the statement said. “He said that assistance was already being provided by the army and air force to rescue stranded people and to provide relief. The prime minister has also directed all agencies of the union government to assist in rescue and relief operations in the flood affected areas of the state,” it added. In neighboring Himachal Pradesh state, the death toll from rain-related accidents stood at 10, said a state government official from the capital Shimla. Around 1,500 people, including 150 foreign holiday-makers, were stranded in the state which is a popular

RISHIKESH: A man rows past a bus partly submerged in flood water in Rishikesh, in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand yesterday. — AP

US scientist’s family calls Singapore inquest ‘sham’ SINGAPORE: The family of an American scientist found hanged in Singapore last year dismissed yesterday the city-state’s findings that he committed suicide as “a sham and a cover-up” for a murder. “I am not surprised by the state’s findings because the state refused to consider murder, they only investigated suicide,” Mary Todd, mother of the late electronics engineer Shane Todd, told AFP by email from the United States. The Singapore government, summing up its position after two weeks of public hearings in May, on Monday rejected the family’s conspiracy theory, saying Todd killed himself in June 2012 in his own apartment after a bout of depression. “If they had nothing to hide, they would not care one way or the other what happened to Shane. Sadly, the inquest was never an open, non-adversarial, fact-finding inquiry as promised but was a sham and a cover-up,” the mother said. The government’s findings were presented to an independent coroner, whose verdict on the cause of death is scheduled to be handed down on July 8. Todd’s family stormed out of the hearings on May 21, saying they had “lost faith” in the proceedings. But their chief Singaporean lawyer said the family was still considering whether to file a formal summary of its position to the coroner, whose verdict cannot be appealed against. In her message to AFP, Mary Todd repeated claims that her son’s former employer, Singapore’s state-linked Institute of Microelectronics (IME), was more closely involved with China’s Huawei Technologies than stated at the hearings. In earlier statements to the inquest,

tourist destination, the official added. Efforts were under way to try to reopen the major roads to rescue those cut off by the rains, said J M Pathania, a top administrative official of Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. The monsoon, which India’s farming sector depends on, covers the subcontinent from June to September, usually bringing some flooding. But the heavy rains arrived early this year, catching many by surprise. The country has received 68 percent more rain than normal for this time of year, data from the India Meteorological Department shows. Two hydropower stations that supply the region have also been shut down as a safety measure. Over the border in Nepal, at least 12 people have been killed in landslides triggered by monsoon rain over the last three days, officials said. Seven members of the same family, including five children, were killed after a landslide buried their home in a remote village in northwestern Nepal, Prakash Gharti Magar, a local police officer said.— AFP

Todd’s parents said that before he died, the researcher expressed fears that he was being made to compromise US national security in a secret project involving the two companies. IME and Huawei say they only held preliminary talks on a potential commercial venture and reject the family’s allegations they worked on a clandestine project involving Todd with military applications. A US congressional committee last year labelled Huawei and ZTE, another Chinese telecom firm, as potential security threats that should be excluded from US government contracts and barred from acquiring US firms. During the hearings, the Todd family’s star witness, US pathologist Edward Adelstein, recanted an earlier theory that Todd was garroted with a cord in his own apartment. He presented a new theory: Todd was killed by assassins who used a stun gun before choking his neck and then hanging him to make it look like a suicide. But Adelstein presented no evidence and two other US pathologists testified in support of Singapore police findings that Todd hanged himself from his bathroom door. On Monday, lawyers for the Singapore government cited suicide notes left by Todd on his laptop computer, a psychiatrist’s testimony that he suffered from depression, and a browsing history showing he accessed suicide websites. They said the scientist’s depression had likely worsened in the months before his death because he did not complete a prescribed course of antidepressants or schedule follow-up appointments with his psychiatrist.— AFP


in brief

Elephant tramples Nepal girl to death KATHMANDU: An elephant trampled a 12-year-old girl to death after dragging her away from her home in a remote region of southeastern Nepal, police said yesterday. Three members of the girl’s family managed to flee when the elephant stormed into their rural home on Monday night but the youngster was unable to escape in time, police officer Pralhad Keshari said. Keshari said police chased the elephant away following the attack at the home on farmland near Dholbazar, a village on the border with India, 370 kilometers (230 miles) southeast of Kathmandu. Nepal has seen a growing number of such deadly attacks on humans, with deforestation forcing wildlife to stray into villages as they hunt for food. A tiger mauled two people to death in central Nepal last month, dragging one of the victims from a hut. Landslides kill 12 KATHMANDU: At least 12 people have been killed in landslides triggered by three days of heavy monsoon rain in remote parts of Nepal, officials said yesterday. Seven members of the same family, including five children, were killed Monday after a landslide buried their house in a village in northwestern Nepal, a local police officer said. “Part of a hillside above Malika village broke away and smashed into the house below, killing all the family members,” the officer, Prakash Gharti Magar, said. In Baitadi district in the country’s west, five people were killed yesterday morning after a landslide also buried their homes, a local police officer said. “ Their houses were in a gorge in the remote Siddheswar village. Two women, a 12-year-old boy and two toddlers were killed by the landslide,” local police inspector Manoj Kumar Shahi said. Hundreds of people die every year from flooding and landslides during the monsoon season in Nepal.





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From boy scout to Syria ‘martyr’ By Rita Daou or years, Maher Sukkar, a Palestinian living in Lebanon, belonged to a boy scout troupe and played music. No one expected him to join the radical Al-Nusra Front and die fighting in Syria. “I’m sad and shocked,” says Mohammed, who spent 10 years in the scouts with Sukkar. “I never knew him to be an extremist,” his friend adds. “Most of our scout team members were conservative Muslims. But Maher was the only one who would smoke and swear during (the fasting month of) Ramadan.” But Sukkar was killed fighting alongside members of Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda ally that is among the most extreme forces battling to overthrow Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad. His death was announced on the Supporters of the Mujahedeen Network, which publishes jihadist news. “We give you the news of the martyrdom of the martyr Maher Sukkar, a lion of the Al-Nusra Front lions, in Qusair.” Syrian regime troops and fighters from Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia launched an assault on the former rebel stronghold of Qusair in central Homs province last month. A fierce battle ensued for nearly three weeks, and ended with the regime winning control of the town. The announcement of Sukkar’s death was published alongside a picture of him wearing fatigues, a keffiyeh scarf wrapped around his head and a Kalashnikov assault rifle in his hands. A second picture showed his body, wrapped in a white shroud, traces of blood visible on his face. The website gave the date of his death as May 19, the first day of the battle for Qusair. “I never saw Maher carry a weapon,” Mohammed says. “He was a simple guy, helpful and kind-hearted,” he insists. Sukkar, who was 30 at the time of his death in Syria, grew up in an orphanage in Beirut after his father died and his mother remarried. At 18, he was forced to leave the shelter despite having nowhere else to go. “He often had to sleep on the streets,” Mohammed says, and found a refuge of sorts with the scouts. “Maher was always there when we went camping. He used to stand guard, do repairs, clean. He loved to communicate with other people,” Mohammed says. “We felt that he really needed compassion and to be the focus of attention, which made sense when we knew about his past.” The scouts introduced Sukkar to the trumpet, and he joined a band. His former music teacher Samir remembers him as a talented student. “He was blessed with a musical sense, even though he had limited formal training,” he says. “He could make an instrument from any piece of metal tubing that was open on both ends - he’d just put a hole or three in it and turn it into a trumpet.” But life was hard for Sukkar, who struggled to find work in Lebanon, with many fields closed off to him because of his Palestinian refugee status. “He worked as a carpenter, a blacksmith, an electrician, a painter and a concierge, but he would sleep in the workshop at night and he was unemployed most of the time,” Mohammed says. He suffered tooth pain and took painkillers because dental work was too expensive. Friends tried to help him out, but he would never take more than a cigarette or a sandwich. A former scout leader talks bitterly about Sukkar’s transformation, after he moved into Beirut’s downtrodden Shatila Palestinian refugee camp, his finances worse than ever. “A while after he moved, I met him in the street,” said the former leader, now a professor, who declined to give his name. “He was wearing a white Afghan-style outfit and kept talking about religion and what was haram and halal (prohibited and permitted in Islam),” he said. “The camp environment changed him.” The last time Mohammed saw his friend Sukkar was during a surprise visit at the end of March, when the Palestinian came to his home. He told Mohammed he had been in prison after being “unjustly accused” of joining an extremist group. “It was a nice evening,” he says. How and when Sukkar decided to join Al-Nusra remains a mystery to his friends. During the 2006 war pitting Israel against Hezbollah, Sukkar had worked with the Lebanese Shiite group. He also joined Fatah al-Intifada, a Palestinian militant group in Lebanon, but in administrative and outreach positions, never taking up arms. “His whole life he was looking for a place where he could find himself, something that would give him food and support,” Mohamed says. “Injustice and poverty are what pushed him to extremism.” —AFP


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Saudis driven by fear of Shiite ‘full moon’ By Angus McDowall audi Arabia’s former intelligence chief, Prince Muqrin, once told American diplomats the Middle East’s so-called Shiite Crescent where the Muslim sect holds sway was “becoming a full moon” as Iranian influence spread. For the kingdom’s Sunni ruling princes, that fear, revealed in a 2009 US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks, now focuses on Syria. Iran-backed President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces are advancing with the aid of Lebanese Hezbollah Shiite fighters, while Riyadh supports the Sunni rebels fighting against him. It is a war increasingly seen in Riyadh as the fulcrum of a wider geopolitical struggle with Iran, a country it believes is radical, expansionist and militant, and a potential threat to Saudi Arabia itself. “If the Syrian government wins, it will prove to other Arab countries that Iran is able to protect its allies in the region. This will undermine Western alliances and Western allies,” said Abdulaziz Al-Sager, head of the Gulf Research Centre in Jeddah. Since the fall of Syrian rebel stronghold Qusair this month, there has been growing unease in Saudi Arabia’s dusty capital Riyadh about the opposition’s chances. Riyadh has been backing the mainly Sunni rebels with arms, money and political support, while Western countries, above all the United States, have given mixed signals, calling for Assad’s downfall but refusing so far to send arms or use force. The Western position changed dramatically last week when US President Barack


Obama signalled that Washington would arm the rebels. But he has not yet explained how or when that might begin, and Saudis are still sceptical of Western support. Two months ago, Saudi Arabia expanded its own weapons supply to include anti-aircraft missiles, a Gulf source said, adding that the world’s top oil exporter had started taking a more active role in the conflict. While more Saudi-supplied weaponry is likely headed to the Syrian opposition, there is a growing view among senior Saudis that it is no longer enough to just give the rebels arms and advice, diplomats in the Gulf say. Instead, the four men running Saudi Arabia’s Syria policy - King Abdullah and three of his nephews - Foreign Minister Prince Saud AlFaisal, intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan and National Security Council deputy chief Prince Salman bin Sultan - want more US involvement, said the sources. “They’ve been saying for a while the international community is not doing enough in Syria but they thought the opposition could manage. They are really worried about the attitude in Washington,” said one diplomatic source in the Gulf. So worrying is the situation, as seen in Riyadh, that King Abdullah cut short his summer leave in Morocco to fly home on Friday, warning of the “repercussions of events in the region”. The suggestion of concern prompted a sharp drop in Saudi stocks. Underpinning Saudi worries is the participation in Syria of Shiite militia from neighbouring countries, particularly Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iraq’s Abu Fadhl Al-

Abbas Brigade, which Prince Turki al-Faisal, another former Saudi spy chief, this week described in an interview as Iran’s “steel claws”. Influential Saudi commentator Jamal Khashoggi, in an article for newspaper Al-Hayat, painted what for Saudis is a frightening picture of the Gulf after an Assad victory. Iran would threaten Saudi security and angry Sunni youth would respond by turning to Al-Qaeda, the militant network that is as hostile to Shi’ites as it is to the West. “A nightmare, don’t you think?” he wrote. Since Hezbollah started to trumpet its involvement in Syria, Sunni clerics, including some from Saudi Arabia, have used increasingly sectarian rhetoric in their attacks on Assad. Yet while Saudi Arabia’s official Wahhabi school of Islam sees Shiites as heretical, the kingdom’s rulers also see sectarian language as potentially dangerous, said one diplomatic source in the Gulf. They believe openly sectarian rhetoric can backfire by helping mobilise Shiites in support of Assad as much as it fires up the rebellion. Worse still, it alienates potential backers in the West and draws Sunni militants to the conflict that can later pose a threat to Riyadh. Throughout the rebellion, Saudi Arabia has feared a repeat of previous conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan when large numbers of Saudis joined what they saw as a jihad only to return to the kingdom and take up arms against the government. Saudi officials have repeatedly warned that citizens who go to fight face prison upon their return, and have tried to funnel charitable donations for Syria through state channels to avoid cash going to militant groups.

While some Saudis, including Khashoggi, are calling for the kingdom to take tougher independent action against Assad, diplomats in the Gulf say its role is constrained by its limited capacity for sustained military action. Although the Saudi air force is well equipped, it performed poorly in a brief border war with a Yemeni rebel group in 2010, US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks said at the time. And, while Saudi forces engaged Iraq’s army in the 1991 Gulf War, they fought only on Saudi soil. Striking an Arab, Muslim country is problematic for the birthplace of Islam, which aims to be perceived as neutral custodian of Islam’s holy places. With limits on what it can do itself, it needs Washington to help fight its battles. “Russia remains committed. Iran remains committed. The Western allies are not committed to the degree and level you would like to see. That raises an important issue. In this way Assad can win,” said Sager. The desire to push Washington to take a bigger role contributed to a recent flurry of diplomatic activity, as Prince Saud and Prince Bandar travelled to Paris for top-level meetings. However Riyadh is well aware of the difficulty of persuading Obama to be tougher while Syrian rebels remain fractured and their strongest units are so ideologically militant. That means playing down the struggle’s sectarian side. “You need to reduce the political risk to Obama, and that means repositioning the opposition as humanitarian, rather than Islamist. It’s difficult,” said a diplomatic source. — Reuters

Hezb takes centre-stage, remains in shadows By Dominic Evans he voice crackling over the Hezbollah radios was clear and authoritative, and the guerrillas poised to attack the Syrian border town of Qusair recognised it immediately. “As I promised you victory before, I pledge you victory now,” Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said, launching a battle in which his fighters decisively defeated rebels trying to topple President Bashar AlAssad. Nasrallah told his troops that God was fighting alongside them, one of the fighters told Reuters. “When we heard his voice, we were ready to fight the whole world,” he said. It was a trademark coup de theatre from the reclusive Nasrallah, who has bred an aura of mystique around a force which grew from a shadowy Iranian-backed Lebanese militia into an outfit powerful enough to confront regional superpower Israel. Hezbollah’s victory across the Syrian frontier in Qusair highlighted its pivotal role in Assad’s fightback against rebels and yet, as in most of its military operations, it has given few details of its role - or where its next battle may be. “Wherever we need to be, we will be.... There is no need to elaborate,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech on Friday, delivered as ever from a secret location because of fears for his security since Hezbollah fought a war with Israel in 2006. The need for ambiguity is greater than usual, with Shiite Hezbollah’s open intervention in a foreign conflict against Sunni Muslim rebels fuelling sectarian tensions and shattering its status across the Arab world as an antiIsraeli champion. But the movement has always tried to keep its enemies guessing about its strengths. Estimates of the number of fighters it committed in Qusair vary from the hundreds to several thousand, although most observers put the figure at between 1,500 and 2,500. Hundreds of other Hezbollah fighters are also deployed in Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. They are stationed around the Shiite shrine of Sayyida Zeinab near Damascus with dozens more in two Shiite towns in the northern province of Aleppo - mainly training and advising - and in the Zahra quarter of the city of Homs, it says. The British-based anti-Assad monitoring group says 156 Hezbollah fighters have been


killed so far in Syria, most of them in the battle for Qusair. A security source in Israel said he believed Hezbollah had 4,000-5,000 fighters in Syria and had lost between 180 and 200. Hezbollah’s overall strength is also unclear, although analysts and defence experts agree it has grown substantially since it fought the inconclusive 34-day war with Israel seven years ago, firing rockets deep into the Jewish state. Those kind of cross-border salvoes mean that much of the focus on

who asked not to be named, said that altogether the total force including the part-time men, known as Saraya, reached 50,000, of which 10,000 to 15,000 were elite forces. A source in Lebanon who has contact with Hezbollah gave a lower figure, saying that top frontline forces and rocket and artillery units combined added up to just 4,000. The force excluding the Saraya was about 10,000 fighters, with a similar number of support personnel. Since the start of the Syrian crisis,

Supporters of Hassan Nasrallah (portrait), the head of Lebanon’s militant Shiite movement Hezbollah, raise their fists as they watch him giving a televised address in Beirut on June 14, 2013. —AFP Hezbollah’s military power in the past has been on its missiles, which Nasrallah said last year could hit targets anywhere in Israel. Its fighters are as well-armed as some regional armies, using anti-tank missiles, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars. Hezbollah flew a drone over Israel last year and in the 2006 war was able to hit an Israeli warship off the Mediterranean coast. But with no shortage of weapons in Syria, Hezbollah’s main contribution to Assad’s war effort is military expertise. The movement’s military structure is based on an elite force backed by a full time militia and a large corps of part-time reserves who undergo rudimentary weapons training - often in Iran - but have jobs outside the group. One analyst,

Hezbollah has stepped up recruitment and training for the Saraya, sending thousands of men aged from the 20s to their mid-50s to Iran, say residents in its south Lebanon heartland close to the border with Israel. “The reality is that Hezbollah is a very dynamic organisation,” said Ayham Kamel, Middle East analyst at consultancy Eurasia Group. “Over the years in their war with Israel they’ve been able to mobilise in different ways and adapt their tactics.” Aram Nerguizian of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies said Hezbollah’s forces in Qusair were more disciplined, used superior tactics and communications, and were better coordinated than the Syrian rebels there. Nevertheless, he said the loss of between 70

and 110 fighters in the first week of the offensive, according to anti-Hezbollah sources, pointed to the fact that many were untested in battle despite their good training. Those casualties, if confirmed, would be roughly similar to Hezbollah’s weekly losses under a blistering onslaught of the Israeli army in the July-August 2006 war. “The high initial death toll (in Qusair) may also point to the Syrian rebels’ use of some of Hezbollah’s own sniping and booby-trapping techniques,” Nerguizian said. The Shiite group shared these techniques with Hamas, a Sunni Palestinian organisation which now opposes Assad and which may have passed on the know-how to the rebels. Fighting away from their “home” turf in south Lebanon is an additional problem for Hezbollah fighters, long accustomed to battling for territory they know intimately. But the guerrillas have a reputation for learning fast. “This lack of familiarity should not be exaggerated,” said an Israeli official, arguing that Qusair was close enough to the Lebanese border for Hezbollah to have had access to the area. “Elsewhere in Syria, Hezbollah is operating largely alongside local Shiite communities, so it has guides with an excellent local knowledge,” he said, adding that he believed several thousand from a total Hezbollah fighting force of 10,000 were operating inside Syria. “They are from the best units, with the best equipment - the kind of fighters who Hezbollah would usually consider its vanguard against Israel,” he said. Sources in Lebanon dispute that, saying only a small minority of the Qusair combatants were from the cream of Hezbollah’s military units. The Israeli official said Hezbollah used “standard small arms”, anti-tank rockets and even operated Syrian army tanks in the battle for Qusair. Their presence across Syria, from Damascus to Aleppo in the north, underlines Hezbollah’s strategic commitment to Assad, and Kamel said the militant group was likely to play some role in the eventual Syrian army effort to recapture the northern city. But for now, Nasrallah is unlikely to show his hand. “Every day we increase our numbers and our weapons,” he said at the start of the Syrian conflict. “We are tens of thousands of fighters, trained and ready for martyrdom. The enemy does not know us, and we will surprise him.” — Reuters



Adventures of a Libyan weapons dealer in Syria BENGHAZI, Libya: Abdul Basit Haroun says he is behind some of the biggest shipments of weapons from Libya to Syria, which he delivers on chartered flights to neighbouring countries and then smuggles over the border. After fleeing Libya in his 20s, Haroun established himself as a property developer in Manchester. After about two decades in the British city, he returned to Libya in 2011 to fight in the revolution, where he became a prominent rebel commander. He says he sends aid and weapons to help Syrians achieve the freedom he fought for during the Libyan revolution. The first consignment of weapons was smuggled into Syria aboard a Libyan ship delivering aid last year, Haroun says, but now containers of arms are flown “above board” into neighbouring countries on chartered flights. In the months since Haroun began his work, arming the rebels has moved up the international agenda, with Saudi Arabia equipping them with missiles, and Washington also planning to send weapons to the men fighting President Bashar Al-Assad. Haroun

spoke to Reuters over coffee and homemade cake late at night at his villa on the outskirts of Benghazi, the eastern city that began the uprising that deposed Muammar Gaddafi. His son, a young man who spoke English with a Manchester accent, offered help with weapon prices and other details. Haroun was upset the West had not intervened in Syria, as it did in Libya and said the opportunity to avert a larger war had been missed. “Even when the war in Syria ends, there will be another war in region; Sunni against Shia. At the beginning, there was just Assad to bring down ... now Hezbollah, Iran are involved.” A Reuters reporter was taken to an undisclosed location in Benghazi to see a container of weapons being prepared for delivery to Syria. It was stacked with boxes of ammunition, rocket launchers and various types of light and medium weapons. Haroun and an associate said it was being stored on the unnamed base to keep the arms safe. “They are not partners with me in the transfer of weapons, but I store the weapons here because it is a safe place,” said Haroun’s associate, who

asked not to be named because it could negatively impact his relief work. Haroun says he can collect weapons from around the country and arrange for them to be delivered to the Syrian rebels because of his contacts in Libya and abroad. “They know we are sending guns to Syria,” Haroun said. “Everyone knows.” In Libya, he helps the government with state security, according to interior ministry spokesman Majdi Al-Ourfi. He also has credentials as a commander from the days of the revolution. “Abdel Basit Haroun was with us in the February 17 brigade before he quit to form his own brigade,” said fellow brigade commander Ismail Salabi. His weapon dealing activities appear to be well known, at least in Libya’s east. Senior officials in Libya’s army and government told Reuters they backed supplying weapons to the Syrian opposition, while a member of Libya’s congress said Haroun was doing a great job of helping the Syrian rebels. “After the end of the war of liberation, he became involved in supporting the Syrian revolution... sending aid and weapons to the

Syrian people,” said assembly member Tawfiq Al-Shehabi. “He does a good job of supporting the Syrian revolution.” Another official, who declined to be identified, said he had allowed weapons to leave the port of Benghazi for Syria. “We don’t stop them because we know what the Syrian people are going through,” he said, referring to weapons being smuggled out of the eastern port. He did not say who was behind the shipments he allowed through. A Libyan army commander, Hamed Belkhair, said that he was aware of colleagues in the military who had met Syrian rebels and agreed to help them by supplying arms. “The weapons are not supplied to extremists, but only to the Free Syrian Army,” said Belkhair. A United Nations Panel report dated February this year also backs Haroun’s assertions that weapons smuggling to Syria from Libya is widely known about. “The Syrian Arab Republic has presented a prominent destination for some Libyan fighters and Libyan military materiel,” the writers say. Transfers have been organised under the supervision, or with the consent, of a range of actors

in Libya and the Syrian Arab Republic.” The report adds: “the significant size of some shipments and the logistics involved suggest that representatives of the Libyan local authorities might have at least been aware of the transfers, if not actually directly involved.” Haroun runs the operation with an associate, who helps him coordinate about a dozen people in Libyan cities collecting weapons for Syria. Both said several flights had been chartered to Jordan or Turkey to deliver weapons that were then transferred over the border. Haroun’s associate, who also runs a relief organisation, said that about 28 tonnes of weapons had been delivered by air so far. “We are doing two great things,” Haroun said. “The first is that we are taking guns off the street. The mission is so popular that we get 50 percent discounts on weapons.” Haroun added that some were also donated free, particularly heavy items that families had little use for after the war. His son helped him with weapon prices on the streets. For example, a C5 general purpose machine gun was about $25, while rocket propelled

grenade launchers were nearer $120. “If we had the money we could collect all the guns from the streets, but it currently takes about 4-5 months to get enough for a delivery,” Haroun said, adding that funding came from local businesses and Syrians abroad. They deliver the weapons to the Free Syrian Army because they are best placed to know which rebel group is most in need of supplies, Haroun said. The FSA delivered the arms to the front line and Haroun said he no control over which groups received the weapons. They preferred to send weapons rather than fighters, because of the risk of trouble returning to Libyan soil. Both he and his associate travelled with their first successful delivery in August over the Syrian border to ensure it reached its destination. They were appalled by the horrors witnessed there. “Anyone who saw what I did in Syria would do the same thing,” said the associate. “The water is so polluted you wouldn’t even wash your hands with it. People have no clothes. I saw three births with no doctors present. People are dying without medication.” — Reuters

ENNISKILLEN, Northern Ireland: G8 and EU leaders (left to right) European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, US President Barack Obama, France’s President Francois Hollande, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Italy’s Prime Minister Enrico Letta and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy stand on the podium for a family photograph on the second day of the G8 summit at the Lough Erne resort yesterday. — AFP

US to meet Taleban as they open Qatar... Continued from Page 1 “We have played a key role in this process,” Barth Eide told state broadcaster NRK. “It has been a strictly confidential process but we can now reveal it.” Barth Eide would not say how many rounds of such talks took place in Norway, a NATO member, or who the Taleban negotiated with. Afghan President Hamid Karzai was in Oslo in February for what appeared at the time as a mostly protocol visit. Taleban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told AFP that the office was intended “to open dialogue between the Taleban and the world”. In a statement, the Taleban said it would not allow anyone to pose a threat to other countries from Afghan soil. The United States immediately welcomed the decision and senior officials said they hoped to meet their Afghan foes shortly, despite the raft of differences between the two sides. “I think the US will have its first formal meeting with the Taleban, and the first meeting with the Taleban for several years, in a couple of days in Doha,” a senior US official told reporters. “I would expect that to be followed up within days by a meeting between the Taleban and the High Peace Council, which is the structure that President Karzai has set up for talks of this nature,” he added, dubbing the move the “beginning of a very difficult road”. Secretary of State John Kerry did not comment on the prospect of direct talks between US and Taleban envoys, but said of the office opening: “It’s good news. We are very pleased with what is taking place.” US officials have conditioned a settlement with the Taleban on the militia renouncing ties with Al-Qaeda, whose presence in Afghanistan was the motivation for toppling the Taleban in 2001. But the Taleban statement made no specific promises or any direct reference to peace talks. It said only that the office would help to build relations with the world, allow them to meet other Afghans, and to contact the United Nations, other agencies and the media. “We support a political and peaceful solution that ends Afghanistan’s occupation, and guarantees the Islamic system and nationwide security,” the Taleban said. The United States has led growing pressure for a political solution to end the violence in Afghanistan, and the new Taleban office has been touted as a tool to help foster peace talks between the militants and the

government. President Karzai, who has long called for peace talks, said he had ordered government envoys to travel to Qatar to try to open negotiations. The Taleban has publicly refused to negotiate with the Karzai government and demanded that all foreign troops leave Afghanistan, regardless of plans for a limited number of Americans to remain behind after 2014. The security handover at a military academy outside Kabul marked a major milestone in the long and bloody US-led combat mission that began after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Karzai pledged that Afghan forces were ready to take on the insurgents, but persistent violence was highlighted when a bomb targeting a lawmaker killed three people in the capital just before the ceremony began. “From here, all security responsibility and all security leadership will be taken by our brave forces,” Karzai said at the event, the timing and location of which had been kept secret due to fears of attack. NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who also attended the ceremony, said that by taking the lead in security Afghan forces were completing a transition process that began in March 2011. “They are doing so with remarkable resolve,” he said. “Ten years ago, there were no Afghan national security forces... now you have 350,000 Afghan troops and police, a formidable force,” he said. The handover of the last 91 districts from NATO to Afghan control includes areas in the south and east where the Taleban have concentrated their insurgency since 2001. Doubts remain over the ability of Afghan forces, and the 98,000 foreign troops will retain an important function in training, logistics, air support and in combat emergencies. Concern over capacity has been fuelled by high rates of desertion and fears for the future of foreign aid post-2014. “The reality is Afghan forces are not dreadful, but they’re probably not sufficiently capable to drive the war to a conclusion,” Stephen Biddle, professor of international affairs at George Washington University, told AFP. “My guess is they will be able to maintain the stalemate, provided the US pays their bills.” The Taleban have a proven ability to strike at Kabul as the country prepares for presidential elections and the NATO withdrawal next year. Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq, a leader of the ethnic Hazara minority, was unhurt in yesterday’s bomb attack but three civilians were killed. — AFP

Sordid saga ends as defiant Hawally... Continued from Page 1 “Paradise,” Saadi screamed as the trapdoors opened. Baili dropped to his death like a stone, but Saadi - a bodybuilder and trainer - writhed for a while. Medics declared both men dead around 10 minutes later. Human rights organisations were aghast. “This new round of executions indicates that Kuwait is moving in exactly the wrong direction regarding the death penalty,” said Joe Stork of Human Rights Watch. “The government should cancel the executions immediately and reinstate the moratorium that had been in place since 2007,” he added. “All executions in Kuwait must stop immediately,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s

deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa. The London-based watchdog had written to HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah to express dismay at the resumption of the death penalty this year, she said. Judge Mohammad Rashed Al-Duaij, the head of the criminal execution and international cooperation department at the Ministry of Justice, said the death sentences were endorsed by the Amir, adding that 29 people remain on death row. In April, a Saudi, Pakistani and a bedoon who were convicted of murder were executed. Kuwait has executed 71 men and three foreign women since it introduced the death penalty in mid-1960. Most of those condemned have been convicted murderers or drug traffickers.

G8 urges urgent Syria peace talks Continued from Page 1 But the summit was dominated by the conflict in Syria, which has cost more than 90,000 lives since it broke out in March 2011. The G8 nations pledged almost $1.5 billion in humanitarian aid for refugees inside and outside Syria, including $300 million from the United States and €200 million from Germany. After Washington said it would arm the Syrian rebels and the EU mulled the issue, the G8 said it was deeply concerned at the growing extremism and “terrorism” in Syria. The world leaders called on the regime and the opposition to “commit to destroying and expelling from Syria all organisations and individuals affiliated to AlQaeda, and any other non-state actors linked to terrorism”. Putin’s sharp differences with US President Barack Obama over Syria were laid bare in icy face-to-face talks on Monday. In his end-of-summit press conference, Putin said defiantly that Russia could not rule out sending fresh shipments of weapons to the Syrian regime. The Russian president also accused the United States of “destabilising” the situation in Syria with its allegations that the regime has used nerve gas on a limited scale. “Any decision about arms supplies to the opposition based on unconfirmed reports

about the use of chemical weapons only additionally destabilises the situation,” he said. Aside from Syria, Cameron heralded a commitment to fight the “scourge” of tax evasion and to promote corporate transparency. “Countries should change rules that let companies shift their profits across borders to avoid taxes, and multinationals should report to tax authorities what tax they pay where,” the G8 said. The final declaration also called for greater transparency on corporate ownership, saying: “Companies should know who really owns them, and tax collectors and law enforcers should be able to obtain this information easily.” But activists said the deal came up short. Alex Wilks, campaign director at global civic organisation Avaaz said opposition from Canada and Germany “blocked the strong deal the world demanded”. The summit also saw the launch of formal negotiations on a vast trade pact between the United States and the European Union. It was guarded by 8,000 police officers in the biggest security operation ever mounted in Northern Ireland’s troubled history, but protesters were thin on the ground. The G8 brings together Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States. — AFP

MoI mulls travel ban for traffic violators Continued from Page 1 the number of these vehicles on the roads because it affects traffic tremendously. Ali said that the chronic traffic problem in the country will be dealt with tools available, but focused on the need for training, education and awareness of traffic laws to reduce traffic problems in the country. Ali mentioned his recent visit to Italy and the briefing he received on the advanced traffic violations system there, adding that such a system might be implemented in Kuwait in the future. The

traffic department has set up a strategic plan to reduce traffic by 15 percent annually and to reduce the time an ambulance takes to reach any critical scene to eight minutes, which in turn will reduce road traffic deaths, he said. Ali added that his department is also working on training 500 engineers and 3,000 traffic officers by the year 2015 and launching an awareness campaign, in addition to working on improving traffic laws in 2014. Ali also called on citizens and residents alike to cooperate with the traffic department and follow the rules for their own safety. — KUNA

Ex-MPs call for quick elections Continued from Page 1 voter turnout will be too low, especially if combined with expected calls from the opposition for a boycott. Observers say the government may decide to hold the polls just after the middle of Ramadan (toward the end of July) or may revive legal scenarios on the possibility of reviving the 2009 Assembly for the second time. If the 2009 Assembly is revived, the government can delay the election by a few months. Members of the scrapped loyalist Assembly called yesterday on the government to hold the election as soon as possible and preferably in the month of Ramadan. The call was made by Yacoub Al-Sane after 16 members of the scrapped Assembly met at his diwaniya. Sane said the members also demanded that legal advisors who made the mistake that led to dissolving the house must be held to account. Sane said the members strongly rejected indications that the 2009 Assembly may be revived and warned the government of legal action if that Assembly was reinstated. Meanwhile, the opposition Ummah Party yesterday strongly lashed at the constitutional court ruling, insisting it only promotes an autocratic and individualist rule in Kuwait. The party reiterated its old position of rejecting the

current political and election processes in Kuwait which have failed to lead to a true democracy during the past 50 years. As a result, the party called on all political, social and popular groups and organizations to bear their historical responsibility at this highly crucial juncture in the history of Kuwait. The party also proposed a political reform program that is based on abolishing the new constitution and forming a transitional national government. It proposed a transitional period of 18 months during which a national constituent assembly is formed of all political groups, trade unions, NGOs, tribal chiefs and judges to work out a new constitution within six months. The draft constitution should be offered for approval in a referendum. In the second phase, a popular transitional government is formed and headed by a “national figure with a consensus agreement” for a period of one year. The transitional government will handle emergency matters, issue a law to legalize political parties, establish a national election commission that would organize the election and referandum and finally separate the public prosecution, investigation and forensic departments from the government. After one year, the transitional government will hold new elections based on a multi-party system and the new constitution if approved by the Kuwaiti people.



Rudisha faces injury layoff

Malisse ousts Ferrer

Puyol to undergo surgery

NAIROBI: Kenya’s Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha is facing a three-week layoff with injury, sending the east African nation into panic mode and sparking fears over Rudisha’s challenge at the world championships. Rudisha picked up a knee injury running in Central Park in New York City, undermining his preparations for August’s world championships in Moscow. “He (Rudisha) was jogging inside Central Park when he realised something was the matter with his knee,” Colm O’Connell, the Irish high school teacher who coaches Rudisha, said yesterday. “Two initial investigations were done, first in the USA and also in Germany, and we decided that he takes a three-week rest.” He will definitely miss Kenya’s national championships, which start in Nairobi on Thursday, but his participation in the world championships is not expected to be in doubt, even though he might be forced to sit out Kenya’s world championships trials. “We are not sure yet whether he will be ready by the time of the trials,” O’Connell said. “But being a world champion, we are expecting that he will get an automatic selection (known as a wildcard) to the championships. —Reuters

ROSMALEN: French Open finalist David Ferrer lost his first-round match yesterday at the Topshelf Open, a grass-court tournament held the week before Wimbledon. A single service break in the second set was enough for Xavier Malisse of Belgium to beat the defending champion and top-seeded Ferrer in straight sets, 7-6 (3), 6-3. “I think I need to play more on grass to get into it,” Ferrer said. “I can now train for a few days in London. I have to stay positive; my focus is now on my first match at Wimbledon.” Second-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka edged Steve Darcis 7-6 (5), 6-4. Darcis was a late replacement for Dutchman Igor Sijsling, who pulled out with a stomach problem. The only other seeded player to reach the second round was fifth-seeded Jeremy Chardy, who beat Lucas Pouille 7-5, 6-4. Top-seeded and 2011 champion Roberta Vinci had no such problem, stopping Kaia Kanepi 6-3, 6-3 in the first match on center court to reach the second round. Fourth-seeded Kirsten Flipkens rallied from a set down to overcome Francesca Schiavone 3-6, 6-3, 6-0, and Carla Suarez Navarro advanced to the quarterfinals by beating Sofia Arvidsson 6-3, 6-4. Benoit Paire was another seeded player who didn’t make it past the first round, retiring after losing the first three games of the match to fellow Frenchman Michael Llodra.—AP

MADRID: Barcelona captain Carles Puyol is to undergo knee surgery to remove a cyst, the club confirmed yesterday. “Carles Puyol will today undergo a surgical intervention to remove a Baker’s cyst that he has in his right knee,” said a statement on the club’s website. A Baker’s cyst, also known as a popliteal cyst, is a benign swelling that occurs behind the knee joint. Barca did though confirm that the player should only be out of action for three to four weeks, meaning who could return in time for the start of the club’s first pre-season friendly against Lech Gdansk in Poland on July 20. Puyol has endured a frustrating season with a variety of injuries restricting him to just 22 appearances. And the 35-year-old even admitted last month that he could even consider retiring in the coming months should he fail to recover from more serious knee surgery he underwent back in March.—AFP

Reds see off Pirates

DETROIT: Troy Patton No. 40 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches in the sixth inning during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. —AFP

Tigers defeat Orioles DETROIT: Max Scherzer improved to 10-0 and struck out 10 and Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer as the Detroit Tigers beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-1 on Monday. Scherzer became the first pitcher to begin a season 10-0 - with all decisions coming in starts - since Roger Clemens went 11-0 for Toronto in 1997, according to STATS. He allowed one run and seven hits in six innings. Chris Davis hit his major league-leading 24th homer in the second, but struck out with the bases loaded in the fifth and the Orioles down by two runs. Jake Arrieta (1-2) allowed five hits on 10 hits in 4 2-3 innings for Baltimore, and he was sent down to the minors following the game. With two on and none out in the fifth, Arrieta struck out Cabrera on a wild pitch that allowed two runners to get into scoring position. Victor Martinez hit a sacrifice fly and Jhonny Peralta’s RBI single gave Detroit a four-run cushion in the fifth, chasing Arrieta. Drew Smyly followed with three hitless innings for his second save. ANGELS 11, MARINERS 3 In Anaheim, Albert Pujols had an RBI double among his four hits and Josh Hamilton hit a two-run homer as Los Angeles pounded out a season-high 21 hits in a win over Seattle. Alberto Callaspo matched his career high with four hits, driving in two runs during the Angels’ seven-run sixth inning. Peter Bourjos had three hits as Los Angeles battered Aaron Harang (3-7) and the Seattle bullpen in its fourth victory in five games. Jason Vargas (6-4) yielded four hits and recorded a season-high nine strikeouts in seven strong innings, easily beating his former teammates in his second start against the Mariners since an offseason trade. Nick Franklin hit an early two-run homer for Seattle in the opener of a four-game series. RANGERS 8, ATHLETICS 7 In Arlington, Nelson Cruz homered twice and A.J. Pierzynski drove in three runs as Texas snapped a six-game losing streak with an win over AL West-leading Oakland. The Rangers had scored only eight runs during what was the longest active skid in the majors, and all six losses came at home. Cruz’s second homer was a two-run shot onto the hill in straightaway center field on an 0-2 pitch from Jesse Chavez (1-1) in the fifth. Cruz added a run-scoring double in the seventh. Neal Cotts (3-1) went 2 1-3 perfect innings in relief of rookie Nick Tepesch. Robbie Ross

and Tanner Scheppers each worked 1-2-3 innings, then Joe Nathan secured his 21st save in 22 chances. ROYALS 2, INDIANS 1 In Cleveland, Pinch-runner Elliot Johnson scored from third base on a wild pitch by reliever Matt Albers in the ninth inning, giving Kansas City a win over Cleveland. Johnson sprinted home and slid in safely after Albers’ pitch got under catcher Carlos Santana and went all the way to the backstop. Aaron Crow (3-2) struck out two after putting the potential go-ahead run at third in the eighth. Greg Holland stranded the tying run at third in the ninth for his 15th save in 17 tries. Bryan Shaw (0-1) couldn’t protect a 1-0 lead for Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco, charged with just one run and four hits in 7 13 innings. BLUE JAYS 2, ROCKIES 0 In Toronto, Maicer Izturis hit a two-run single in the eighth inning as Toronto won its sixth consecutive game with a victory over Colorado. Josh Johnson struck out a season-high 10 over 7 1-3 innings but remained winless in seven starts with Toronto, having received only 13 runs of support. Johnson allowed five hits and walked two, lowering his ERA from 5.40 to 4.38. Brett Cecil (3-0) escaped an eighth-inning jam and Casey Janssen finished for his 14th save. Rajai Davis singled off reliever Matt Belisle (4-4) to start the eighth-inning rally, just the second hit of the game for the Blue Jays. WHITE SOX 4, ASTROS 2 In Houston, Dayan Viciedo hit a basesloaded triple in a four-run sixth inning as Chicago beat Houston end a four-game skid and avoid its first four-game sweep since 2008. Nate Jones (3-4) allowed three hits in 1 1-3 scoreless innings for the win, striking out three, and Addison Reed pitched a perfect ninth for his 20th save. White Sox starter Jose Quintana yielded five hits and two runs in 4 2-3 innings, but didn’t factor in the decision for his fourth straight start. He has a no-decision in nine of 14 starts. Jason Castro doubled twice and drove in two runs for the Astros, who had won four straight. Bud Norris (5-7) allowed eight hits and four runs over six innings in his third straight loss.—AP

MLB results/standings

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

GB 2 3 5 8

Atlanta Washington Philadelphia NY Mets Miami

5 5.5 8 9.5

St. Louis Cincinnati Pittsburgh Milwaukee Chicago Cubs

2 10 10.5 15.5

Arizona Colorado San Diego San Francisco LA Dodgers

National League Eastern Division 42 28 .600 34 35 .493 34 37 .479 25 40 .385 22 47 .319 Central Division 45 25 .643 43 28 .606 41 29 .586 28 40 .412 28 40 .412 Western Division 37 33 .529 37 34 .521 36 34 .514 35 34 .507 29 39 .426

BRAVES 2, METS 1 In Atlanta, Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning off Dillon Gee, giving Atlanta a stunning victory over New York in a game that was delayed nearly four hours by rain. Gee (5-7) totally shut down the Braves until the ninth, when Justin Upton singled with one out before Freeman launched a towering drive into the right-field seats on a 2-2 pitch to end a game that didn’t start until nearly 11 p.m. Until then, Gee had allowed only two runners as far as second base. David Carpenter (1-0) earned the win with a scoreless ninth. Tim Hudson worked seven innings for the Braves, allowing only Gee’s RBI single with two outs in the seventh. The long delay came at an inopportune time with the teams facing a day-night

doubleheader late yesterday. PADRES 5, GIANTS 3 In San Francisco, Will Venable made an incredible catch, pinch-hitting pitcher Andrew Cashner drove in the go-ahead run with a perfectly executed safety squeeze in the 13th

San Diego added another run on a bases-loaded walk from Jake Dunning. Nick Vincent (1-0) earned the win with two scoreless innings. MARLINS 3, DIAMONDBACKS 2 In Phoenix, Giancarlo Stanton

CINCINNATI: Neil Walker No. 18 of the Pittsburgh Pirates fields a ground ball in the seventh inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.—AFP inning, and San Diego extended its season-best winning streak to seven with a victory over San Francisco. Venable’s diving grab on the center-field warning track with his back to home plate ended the 12th and stole a game-winning hit from Juan Perez. Moments later, Alexi Amarista started the winning rally with a single and went to third on Chris Denorfia’s single. Cashner came up to face Jose Mijares (0-1) and dropped a bunt single between the mound and third base for his sixth career hit and second RBI.

drove in all three Miami runs with a pair of homers and the Marlins handed Arizona its fourth straight loss. Patrick Corbin, trying to become the first left-handed starter in 35 years to go 10-0, allowed two hits through eight innings but gave up a two-run homer to Stanton that tied the game at 2. Stanton’s line-drive home run to right off Heath Bell (2-1) in the ninth put Miami ahead for the first time. It was the 100th homer of his career, and sixth in 43 at-bats at Chase Field. Mike Dunn (2-1) threw a scoreless eighth inning to get the win. Steve

Cishek pitched a perfect ninth for his 10th save in 12 tries. PHILLIES 5, NATIONALS 4 In Philadelphia, Domonic Brown hit an RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Phillies beat the Nationals. The Nationals tied it at 4 when Chad Tracy hit a solo homer with two outs in the ninth off closer Jonathan Papelbon (1-0). It was the first blown save for Papelbon, who had converted his previous 13 chances. Ben Revere led off the Phillies’ ninth with a single against Fernando Abad (0-2). Revere was running on Jimmy Rollins’ one-out single and easily reached third base. Abad struck out pinch-hitter Steven Lerud for the second out before Brown fisted the winning hit to center. Papelbon was the first player to greet Brown in celebration as he was rounding first base. CARDINALS 5, CUBS 2 In St. Louis, rookie Shelby Miller pitched five shutout innings and Yadier Molina had a two-run double to lead St. Louis to a win over Chicago. Miller (8-4), who had to wait out a rain delay of 1 hour, 59 minutes to start the game, left due to cramping in his right leg. He allowed just two hits and struck out five in the shortest start of his career. His previous shortest stint was 5 1-3 innings at Los Angeles on May 26. Kevin Siegrist and Seth Manness followed Miller and combined for two shutout innings. Edward Munica gave up a homer to Darwin Barney in the ninth, but still earned his 20th save. Travis Wood (5-6) gave up four runs on seven hits.—AP

Allure of America’s Cup defies turmoil, tragedy LOS ANGELES: The 34th America’s Cup, the world’s oldest international sporting trophy, has run into rough water even before the competition of San Francisco Bay. The tight-knit yachting community was stunned on May 9 by the death of British sailor Andrew Simpson in the capsizing of Artemis Racing’s AC72 catamaran while training on the bay. Even so, the eyes of the sport’s elite remain on the prize, and four teams stocked with the world’s most accomplished sailors and backed by millions of dollars-will gather for the start of competition on July 7. That’s the launch date for the Louis Vuitton Cup, in which three would-be challengers-Sweden’s Artemis, Italy’s Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand-battle for the right to duel defender Oracle Team USA in the America’s Cup in September. The spectacular AC72 catamarans — 72-foot (22meter) double-hulled technological marvels powered by 130-foot (40-meter) rigid wing sails-will race against the backdrop of Alcatraz and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. It’s all the vision of Oracle Team USA owner Larry Ellison, the billionaire co-founder of tech giant Oracle whose triumph in the 33rd edition in 2010 gave him the right to establish the protocol for this year’s regatta. Ellison’s Oracle Team USA, sailing under the colors of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club, defeated Switzerland’s Alinghi 5 in 2010

in a competition marred by legal wrangling over the rules that began after Alinghi won the 32nd renewal in 2007. The competitors didn’t even race the same type of boat-Oracle triumphing with their 90-foot (27meter) trimaran over Alinghi’s equally huge twin-hull. The arcane rules of the America’s Cup, first set out in the original Deed of Gift in 1852, have made for plenty of off-water wrangling in the history of the event. The prestige of the coveted trophy has also spawned skullduggery, with competitors resorting to spying on rivals in a bid to gain any advantage in a sport in which design advances are at a premium. This year is no exception. Mediators have already been called in to settle a dispute among the teams on the implementation of new safety measures brought in after Simpson’s death. And Oracle was fined and docked some training days after rivals Luna Rossa complained the US syndicate came within 200 meters of the Italian boat during training-breaching the limit established to prevent spying. While San Francisco Bay promises a spectacular backdrop to competition-and a rare chance for more spectators to actually see the races from land-the choice of venue has also made for local legal challenges over funding and environmental impact. Such matters likely didn’t figure when what is

now sailing’s most prestigious trophy was first contested around the Isle of Wight in southern England in 1851. It was renamed after the first yacht to win the trophy, the schooner America. The Cup remained in the hands of the New York Yacht Club of the United States from 1852 until 1983 when it was won by the challenger, Australia II, ending the longest winning streak in the history of sport. New Zealand’s Black Magic broke the US dominance again in 1995, with Team New Zealand keeping the Kiwis’ hands on yachting’s holy grail in 2000 in the only edition not to feature a US competitor. It finally returned to Europe after Alinghi beat Team New Zealand 5-0 off Auckland in 2003, a trophy they successfully defended in Valencia in 2007. Team New Zealand, financed by the country’s government and sponsor Emirates Airlines, is the only syndicate in this year’s competition not backed by a wealthy individual. Artemis belongs to Swedish oil magnate Torbjorn Tornqvist, and Luna Rossa is backed by Prada fashion house chief executive Patrizio Bertelli. They and Ellison are part of a long line of titans of industry drawn to the event, a list that includes railroad magnate Harold Vanderbilt, whose defence of the Cup in 1930 made the cover of Time magazine. —AFP

Hyundai Motor unveils its new home of motorsport

Philadelphia 5, Washington 4; St. Louis 5, Chicago Cubs 2; Kansas City 2, Cleveland 1; Toronto 2, Colorado 0; Detroit 5, Baltimore 1; Atlanta 2, NY Mets 1; Cincinnati 4, Pittsburgh 1; Texas 8, Oakland 7; Chicago White Sox 4, Houston 2; Miami 3, Arizona 2; LA Angels 11, Seattle 3; San Diego 5, San Francisco 3 (13 innings). American League Eastern Division W L PCT 42 29 .592 40 31 .563 38 31 .551 36 33 .522 33 36 .478 Central Division 39 29 .574 34 34 .500 34 35 .493 30 36 .455 29 38 .433 Western Division 42 30 .583 39 31 .557 31 39 .443 31 40 .437 26 45 .366

CINCINNATI: Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier hit upper-deck homers off left-hander Francisco Liriano as the Cincinnati Reds moved a seasonhigh 15 games over .500 by beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-1 on Monday night. The Reds hit four solo homers in all, extending their best start since 1995, the last time they won a playoff series. Cozart connected in the fourth and Frazier in the sixth off Liriano (5-3), who hadn’t allowed a homer in his seven previous starts. He opened the season on the disabled list, recovering from a broken right arm last December. Joey Votto and Jay Bruce connected in the eighth off Bryan Morris. Mike Leake (7-3) extended the best stretch of his four-year career, giving up six hits including Russell Martin’s RBI double - in seven innings.

7.5 8.5 14.5 19.5 2.5 4 16 16 0.5 1 1.5 7

GERMANY: Hyundai Motorsport GmbH has inaugurated its new headquarters in Alzenau, Germany. Representatives of Hyundai Motor and Hyundai Motorsport GmbH participated in the ceremony, welcoming guests for a first glimpse of the new facility. Visitors from Hyundai Motor Headquarters in Korea and from subsidiaries around the world along with local authorities, stakeholders and partners were given a comprehensive tour of the building where the team is preparing for Hyundai’s return to the FIA World Rally Championship in 2014. The company was officially registered on 19 December 2012 and started full operation at the beginning of 2013, now employing 50 WRC specialists from 11 nations. The Hyundai Motorsport facility, which underlines Hyundai Motor’s

commitment to Europe, is ideally located in Alzenau which benefits from the transportation links of the Frankfurt Rhine Main region. The

8.200 m≤ building is within a 50km radius of the Hyundai European Technical and Design Centre at Russelsheim and Hyundai Motor

Europe in Offenbach. Later this year the Hyundai Motor vehicle test centre at the N¸rburgring will also be opening close by. Executive Vice President & COO of Hyundai Motor Company Tak Uk Im said: “This is a historic day for Hyundai Motor Company. Not only are we celebrating the opening of the new home of Hyundai Motorsport, but also demonstrating our commitment to improving the performance of all of our cars.” Hyundai Motorsport President Gyoo-Heon Choi commented: “I’m ver y proud to officially open Hyundai’s new home of motorsport. Hyundai Motorsport acts as a performance engineering platform for the global business as well as a brand platform, helping to raise expectations and perceptions of the brand in a relevant and exciting way.”



Heat have no room for error versus Spurs MIAMI: They lost three times in three months in one of the most overpowering stretches the NBA has ever seen. Now the Miami Heat have lost three times in five games. So superb during the regular season, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Heat have to be something even more for the rest of the NBA Finals. They have to be perfect. “We look forward to the challenge,” James said. The San Antonio Spurs can finish Miami off Tuesday night in Game 6, reaffirming themselves as one of the league’s greatest franchises. If so, the Heat and their Big Three once again go from celebrated to devastated, just as they were two years ago when they came home from Texas facing this same predicament. “We’re going to see if we’re a better team than we were our first year together,” James said. The Spurs took a 3-2 lead with their 114-104 victory Sunday night. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili were all brilliant again, and Danny Green added to what could become one of the most out-of-nowhere finals MVP cam-

paigns ever. One more victory makes the Spurs 5-0 in the NBA Finals, keeping pace with Michael Jordan’s 6-0 Chicago Bulls as the only teams to make it here multiple times and never lose. “ We understand Game 6 is huge,” Parker said. “Obviously, you want to finish in the first opportunity you get. We understand that Miami is going to come out with a lot more energy, and they’re going to play better at home. They’re going to shoot the ball better. Their crowd is going to be behind them.” None of that mattered two years ago. Clearly reeling and their psyches shaken after dropping two straight games in Dallas, the Heat were blitzed early in Game 6. They never recovered, Chris Bosh inconsolable as he made his way back to the locker room afterward while the Mavericks celebrated at center court. James had to endure the criticisms that came with not getting it done in the finals, a story line that was put to rest last year but will be back again if the Heat don’t manage to put together consecutive victories. “We challenge ourselves to see if

we’re a better team than we were,” Wade said. “Same position no matter how we got to it.” The Heat would also host Game 7 on Thursday. They’re trying to join the 1988 and 2010 Los Angeles Lakers and 1994 Houston Rockets as the only teams to rally from 3-2 down by winning the final two on their home floor since the NBA Finals went to a 2-3-2 format in 1985. Of course, the Heat - who won 27 in a row during the second-longest winning streak in league history - haven’t put together consecutive victories now in close to a month. “We’re in a position where it’s a mustwin and everything that we’ve done all year comes to this point, and we have to win,” Heat guard Ray Allen said. “We’ve found ourselves in so many situations this year, and we’ve thrived in tough moments because this is a tough team. We will be ready for Game 6.” So will the Spurs, and the Heat know it. “I’m sure this team, they’ve been here before many times. They understand winning that last game is one of the hardest things you’re going to do. And we under-

stand it as well,” Wade said. “But you know what? It’s the game; we’ve got to play it. I like our chances, just like they like their chances, in this series and in Game 6. We’ll see. We’ll see which team, which style is going to prevail.” Their four titles have made the Spurs respected but never beloved. Their first, in 1999, came following a 50-game lockout season, and they certainly weren’t the team to help the NBA regain its jilted fan base. Victories in 2003 over New Jersey, 2005 over Detroit and 2007 over James’ Cleveland Cavaliers were all low-rated, lukewarm-interest series in which the Spurs were supposed to win and did, just not in a way that erased the idea that they had boring players with a boring brand of basketball. Win this one, though, and they will surely get their due. They would be knocking off the league’s winningest team and the game’s best player, with Duncan at 37 and Ginobili soon to be 36, behind a more wide-open offense that has helped Green break Allen’s finals record for 3-pointers. Not that they’re thinking about that, or anything else beyond Game 6 at this

point. “We’ll reflect back and let it hit us when it’s over. We still have a lot more work to do. There’s still some business to be done. We have to carry it out and finish it,” said Green, who was cut previously by the Cavaliers and Spurs and now has made 25 3-pointers in the first five games. It looked as though the game was finally passing by the Spurs last year, when the young Oklahoma City Thunder blew by them with four straight victories after San Antonio had taken a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals. The Heat routed the Thunder for the championship and the Spurs brought back essentially the same team, believing another year in their system for players like Green and Kawhi Leonard was a better option than seeking out some quick-fix outsider. That’s almost always been the Spurs’ way, and it’s on the verge of again being the model for an NBA title - at the expense of the Miami one that once appeared to be the way champions would be built. “I think every one of us wants this very badly from the top on down,” Duncan said. “We’re trying to play that way.”—AP

Bruins down Blackhawks

OVAL: England’s James Anderson leaps to catch a ball during a training session at the Oval cricket ground in London. England will play South Africa in an ICC Champions Trophy semifinal today. —AP

England, South Africa clash in Champions Trophy semis LONDON: England has an Ashes series looming ahead of it and South Africa a lingering history of one-day failures behind it. Both will try and convert those distractions into motivation for today’s first Champions Trophy semifinal at the Oval. There’s no doubt that in the scheme of England’s busy summer, the Champions Trophy is a distant second in importance to the clash with fierce rival Australia and defending the Ashes. The South Africans, meanwhile, could be overrun by their desperation to finally do well at a major limited-overs event and end coach Gary Kirsten’s tenure on a high. Rather than a hindrance, Alastair Cook and his England team would undoubtedly see a place in the final in the last ever Champions Trophy as ideal buildup for Australia, even if they’ve already struck the first blow by beating the Aussies at this tournament. Adding a first ODI title on home soil would put England in just the right mood to host the Ashes. “It’s such an exciting place for a player to be,” England captain Cook said on Tuesday of England’s progress to the last four. “We have almost played knockout cricket throughout this Champions Trophy and we have come here to try and win the tournament. We have got an amazing opportunity to try and do that.” A given in knockout games, EnglandSouth Africa will be decided by “whichever side handles the pressure,” Cook said. Both teams have a fairly poor record of doing that in big ODI games. England has lost three World Cup finals and also fell in the 2004 Champions League decider. South Africa’s late flops in one-day tournaments have become legendary since winning the first Champions Trophy in 1998. The Proteas now hear the term “chokers” at every ODI tournament and it means the team regularly plays down its expectations. Left-arm seamer Lonwabo Tsotsobe said

this week that South Africa was “minding its own business” ahead of the England semi. “We know it’s a semifinal and it’s the big stage, but the boys are still in the same mindset that they had during the group matches,” Tsotsobe said. “Every match there was a big game so nothing has changed.” Along with the Ashes, other outside influences have threatened to affect England’s campaign: a late-night bar incident involving Australia’s David Warner and England’s Joe Root and accusations of ball tampering by former England captain and current television commentator Bob Willis. “It’s another day ... It’s another game,” Cook said, shrugging off those off-field issues. “What’s gone on in the past has gone on. It has no relevance (to the semifinal).” South Africa skipper AB de Villiers gave England the benefit of the doubt when it came to the tampering allegations. “If they are doing something with the ball then it is definitely a concern, yes,” De Villiers said. “But we’ve got no proof of that.” It’s also uncertain if key bowlers Graeme Swann and Dale Steyn will turn out for their countries in the semifinal. Swann has calf and back problems, and Steyn has struggled with a side injury. Cook said off-spinner Swann wouldn’t be risked against South Africa if he’s not 100 percent fit with the Ashes still to come and England finding an able slow-bowling replacement in James Tredwell. “Tredders (Tredwell) is an exceptional bowler so we might be cautious with him (Swann) and be sensible,” Cook said. Conversely, South Africa may be prepared to take the gamble on spearhead Steyn with the Champions Trophy a season-ender for the Proteas. “It will be nice to have him in the team again tomorrow,” De Villiers said. “It looks like we’ve got a good chance. I hope we can have him on the park ... but we definitely can beat England without him.”—AP

BOSTON: Tuukka Rask watched most of the action at the other end of the ice. And when the Blackhawks did make a late charge, he was ready. The Bruins goalie stopped 28 shots for his third career playoff shutout, helping Boston beat Chicago 2-0 on Monday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Stanley Cup finals. After playing four extra periods in the first two games, the Bruins made an early night of it with second-period goals by Daniel Paille and Patrice Bergeron. “It’s better, I guess,” Rask said. “Obviously, you go triple-overtime, (then) overtime the next game, it takes a lot of energy out of you. But we’ll take a regulation win, for sure.” Corey Crawford made 33 saves for the Blackhawks, who played without Marian Hossa when he was scratched just before game time. Game 4 is Wednesday night in Boston before the matchup of Original Six franchises returns to Chicago for a fifth game. The teams split the first two games there, with the Blackhawks winning Game 1 in tripleovertime and the Bruins stealing home-ice advantage on Paille’s goal in the first OT of the second game. But this time the intrigue came before the opening faceoff instead of after the end of regulation. Hossa and Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara both left the ice after warmups. But while Chara needed just some stitches after a collision with teammate Milan Lucic, Hossa was dropped from the lineup with an unspecified injury. “I was as surprised as anybody else,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “I can definitely tell you they lost a pretty important player on their roster, but that doesn’t mean we change our game. I think it’s important we stick with what we believe in.” Julien said Chara slipped and “had a little gash over his eye.” “Nothing serious,” Julien said of his captain and No. 1 defenseman, who still managed to lead the team in ice time. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was less forthcoming with information on Hossa’s malady, sticking to the standard NHL diagnosis: Upper body. “We’ll say ‘day-to-day.’ We’re hopeful he’ll be ready for the next game,” he said, adding that it did not happen during warmups, as had been reported on the team’s Twitter account and the TV broadcast. “It was a game-time decision after the warmup there. That’s when we made the call, after warmup.” Hossa, who has three game-winning goals in the playoffs this year, was tied for the team lead with 15 playoff points and was third on the Blackhawks with 17 goals during the regular season. It was a loss the Blackhawks couldn’t afford. Not with Rask stopping everything that came his way. “We ran up against some of the best goalies in the league here,” Quenneville said. “Tonight I thought we made it rather easy on him as far as traffic and finding and seeing pucks. I think we’ve got to be better at going to the net.” The backup to Conn Smythe-

winner Tim Thomas in the Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup run, Rask didn’t face as difficult a test as in the first period of Game 2, when the Blackhawks sent 19 shots at him but managed just one goal. The Bruins outshot Chicago 26-18 and led 2-0 after two periods. The Blackhawks had a 10-9 edge in the third, including a late flurry on a 6-on-4 - a power play with Crawford pulled for an extra skater - that led to Bryan Bickell’s shot off the post with 42 seconds left in the game. The puck caromed off the right post and rolled across the crease. The goal light flickered on briefly, but play continued for another 30 seconds before the whistle blew and the game degenerated into fisticuffs. Chara was on top of Bickell, pounding away,

ing him crashing into the left post. Boston set up their offense during the 11-second two-man advantage, and just five seconds after it expired - but before Dave Bolland was able to get back into the play - Jaromir Jagr slid one across the middle, past Lucic in the center to Bergeron on the other side; he settled it and then knocked it in. It was Jagr’s 197th career playoff point in 199 games, moving him into sole possession of fifth place on the NHL’s all-time postseason points list. Notes: Jagr had been tied with Paul Coffey on the career postseason scoring list. ... Two of Jagr’s playoff points came on goals scored against the Blackhawks when they were swept by Penguins in 1992 final. ... Boston’s Gregory Campbell, who broke his leg block-

BOSTON: Viktor Stalberg No. 25 of the Chicago Blackhawks fights for position with Chris Kelly No. 23 of the Boston Bruins in front of Tuukka Rask No. 40 in Game Three of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final. —AFP and Andrew Shaw got the better of Brad Marchand. By the time it was all sorted out, the benches were a little emptier and the scoring column for Chicago was still blank. “You’re playing the last five minutes of the game, you know they’re going to throw everything at you that they possibly can,” Rask said. “Got the penalty there. Got a little lucky there, one save off my blade and the post.” After a scoreless first period, the Bruins made it 10 when Paille slapped in the puck at 2:13 of the second, falling to one knee for extra power. It stayed that way until late in the second, when the Bruins picked up their first power plays of the game on two nearly identical plays, with a Bruin racing to the net and a Blackhawk undercutting his skates and send-

ing a shot in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, attended the game. ... The Bruins have killed off 27 straight penalties in the playoffs. ... Boston’s David Krejci entered the game tied with Chicago’s Andrew Sharp for the most goals in the postseason with nine. The Bruins center entered the game leading all scorers with 23 points. ... The Bruins are attempting to win a Cup for the second time in three seasons for the third time in their history. They also did it in 1939 and ‘41 and again in 1970 and ‘72. ... Bruins won their seventh straight home playoff game. ... The Blackhawks fell to 3-5 on the road in the postseason. ... Ben Smith, who played just one game this regular season and none in the playoffs, replaced Hossa in the lineup.—AP

Merion stands test of time ARDMORE: Like a vintage bottle of wine brought out of the cellar after gathering dust for 32 years, Merion Golf Club’s iconic East Course made a welcome return as host of the US Open - and did so in classic style. The challenging par-70 layout with its brutally difficult finish had long been regarded as too short to stage one of golf’s four major championships, many feeling that it had become obsolete due to the power and technology in the modern game. Torrential rain during the tournament build-up had softened the 6,996-yard East Course, prompting some to predict a birdie binge with the possibility of the major record score of 63 being threatened. However, those suggestions were consigned to the scrap heap as the 113th U.S. Open slowly unfolded at Merion before Justin Rose ending a marathon week of weather-delayed rounds and, at times, harsh conditions for the players with a two-shot victory. Englishman Rose, remarkably poised despite all his challenges in the final round, revived memories of Ben Hogan’s victory at the 1950 US Open staged here as he parred the daunting 511-yard 18th in champion fashion. Rose closed with a level-par 70 on a breezy day at Merion where the narrow, tilting fairways, thick rough and fast, sloping greens posed all sorts of problems for the players, all of them knowing that just one bad swing could end a title bid. Add to that tough pin positions and the number of blind or semi-blind shots so often

required to be hit on the East Course, it is no surprise that the average score during last week’s championship ended up being 74.54. The winning total of one-over 281 offered clear proof that Merion had certainly stood the test of time in staging its first US Open since Australian David Graham triumphed by three shots in the 1981 edition. “I don’t think anybody expected this golf course to hold up the way it did,” Rose told reporters on Sunday after clinching his first major crown, and his fifth victory on the US PGA Tour. “I certainly didn’t buy into the (predicted) 62s and 14-under, but I figured that maybe four, five, six under par would be the winning total. But it surprised everybody. I’m just glad I was kind of the last man standing.” Ernie Els, a twice former US Open champion, gave Merion a ringing endorsement. “It’s been an unbelievable venue this week,” the big South African said after finishing with a 69 to share fourth place, four strokes behind Rose. “The course definitely held up. “Started the week with people saying there could be record scores. I totally disagreed with that. It was a great setup. The rough was tough. “Everything about it was just wonderful, and the fans were unbelievable. It definitely shouldn’t wait another 32 years.” Ireland’s triple major champion Padraig Harrington, who tied for 21st after signing off with a 72, also praised Merion’s virtues. “The course is great. It was a big test with massive greens. Real difficult. I’m glad they weren’t firm and fast,” smiled Harrington.—Reuters

KOC Blue Captain receives the winner’s cup

Don Bosco Captain receives the Runners-up Cup

KOC Blue lift hockey title KUWAIT: Kuwait Independents Hockey in its 59th year since its inception in Kuwait ended their hockey tournament on Friday, June 14 at KOC Hockey Ground Ahmadi. Seven teams took part namely KIH Black, KIH Gold, Don Bosco, International Red, KOC Green, Kuwait Hockey Kings and KOC Blue. The games were played on a league-cum-knockout basis. The Finals was keenly contested between Don Bosco and KOC Blue. Both the teams coming into the final match with resounding wins in the semi-finals had high hopes of walking away with the trophy. The match started at a brisk pace with Don Bosco combining well. Consecutive free hits outside the circle were wasted. Amidst nerve-wracking tension and high drama, KOC-Blue employing stout defense tactics lead by veteran Wassem, managed to keep their rivals at bay.

In the second half both the teams tried their best to attack, KOC Blue controlled play for much of the half but found it hard to break their opponents defense. The teams were unsuccessful in breaking the deadlock and thus the match extended to the tiebreaker. KOC-Blue kept their cool and some excellent saves by KOC-Blue goalkeeper Ali in the tie-breaker shattered Don Bosco hopes. KOC Blue won the Finals by 4-3 after Zahoor finished off the proceedings with a brilliant final flick. The Third Place was won by KOC Green who beat Kuwait Hockey Kings. The match saw some excellent field goals. Saqib scored 3 super goals while Auranzeb scored 1 for KOC Green whilst for KOC Hockey Kings who staged a late comeback lead by Naveed who scored 3 goals and Hassan contributed with 1

to equalize. The third place was decided through penalty strokes the final score, KOC Green 8- Kuwait Hockey Kings 6 with Greens goalkeeper Danish making a good save for his team. A number of dignitaries and members of par ticipating clubs attended the finals. Glittering prizes and trophies were awarded to the winners and runners-up. Chief Guest, Kuwait Independents Hockey Club, President Shivi Basin spoke on the occasion and presented the winner ’s trophy to KOC Blue Captain Waheed Ahmed. The organizers proposed a vote of thanks to Naseer Bhatti and Mohammad Naseer for their assistance in maintaining the Hockey Ground. To the Referee’s for their thankless job and last but not the least to Aniceto George Fernandes for his efforts throughout the tournament.


S P ORTS Photo of the day

Singapore Open hit by late withdrawals SINGAPORE: A large-scale withdrawal on the eve of competition has robbed badminton’s Singapore Open of several seeded players after superstars Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei also chose to skip the event. Eleven players pulled out on Monday, citing fatigue and injury, though many may be keen to avoid exerting themselves in what is the last Super Series event before the world championships in August. Players who withdraw late from tournaments receive a small fine from the Badminton World Federation, according to reports. Singapore experienced similar problems last year in the run-up to the London Olympics. With Olympic champion Lin and world number one Lee opting out, and former Olympic gold-medallist Taufik Hidayat retiring from the sport at last week’s Indonesian Open, star power will be in short supply at the $200,000 tournament. Men’s third seed Sony Dwi Kuncoro was among the late pull-outs, as well as women’s doubles top seeds Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang, the Chinese pair who were among eight players disqualified from last year’s Olympics for not trying. The last-minute withdrawals also include China’s mixed doubles top

seeds Xu Chen and Ma Jin, and women’s singles fifth seed Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand. “Some players may need a break after playing other tournaments back to back,” said India’s Saina Nehwal, the women’s second seed. “And with the world championships in Guangzhou just a month-and-a-half away, you have to prepare well. “You should do what’s best for yourself. You don’t want to push yourself too hard and get injured. So it’s better to check your body and see how you feel.” Singapore badminton chief Bobby Lee put a brave face on the no-shows, saying ticket sales remained strong. But he said next year’s event will be held earlier in the year in an effort to draw a stronger field. “For the next cycle from 2014 to 2017, we are going to be tagged with India so we have a better opportunity to get the big names down for the tournament as we are not following immediately after a big event in Indonesia,” said Lee. China’s Du Pengyu, shocked by Indonesian unknown Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka in Jakarta last week, is the men’s top seed, while Olympic champion Li Xuerui leads the women’s seedings.—AFP

Lukas Huber trains in front of the Vesuvio for the upcoming Red Bull Airlines in Naples, Italy.

Brumbies stun Lions

ASCOT: Racegoers crowd around the parade ring as Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II (second right), Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall (right) and Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales (left) arrive in a carriage during the first day of Royal Ascot, in Berkshire.—AFP

Dawn Approach rocks Ascot Animal Kingdom flops ASCOT: American raider Animal Kingdom flopped at Royal Ascot yesterday but while one lofty reputation was tarnished, another was restored when Dawn Approach atoned for his Epsom Derby failure to hand embattled Godolphin some respite. Animal Kingdom’s bid to add a Royal Ascot victory to his Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup successes ended in huge disappointment when he finished nearer last than first in a Queen Anne Stakes won by Aidan O’Brien’s Declaration of War. “I don’t want to offer too many excuses. I am sorry it ended this way - we are deflated. Everyone was predicting him to win but they have to run the race,” Animal Kingdom’s trainer Graham Motion told reporters. Seventeen days after starting as hot favorite and finishing stone last in the Derby, Dawn Approach proved that was just an aberration when he pre-

vailed in a thrilling finish to land the St James’s Palace Stakes for Irish trainer Jim Bolger and Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin. In a dominant start to the prestigious five-day meeting, Ireland landed the first four races with the Eddie Lynam-trained Sole Power winning the King’s Stand Stakes and O’Brien securing a double when War Command, an outsider at 20-1, ran away with the Coventry Stakes. With a resume that boasted a Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup win, much was expected of Animal Kingdom but the five-year-old, with career earnings of over $5 million, ran a forgettable race to trail in 11th of 13. Retirement now beckons for the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner, the first Run for the Roses champion to run at the Royal meeting since 1936. “I would say that is probably it (last race) for the horse. I think the experi-

ence has been tremendous and If I ever had the opportunity to do it again then I would absolutely,” Motion said. “I am sorry it did not work out - it is disappointing for everyone. There was such a good reception for him. It would have been great to see him do his stuff but he clearly didn’t today.” A return to racing over a mile proved the oracle for 2,000 Guineas winner Dawn Approach who displayed grit and determination to just get the better of the game Toronado in a St James’s Palace Stakes. Dawn Approach had to survive a steward’s inquiry after a mid-race collision between the winner and runner-up. Another Group One success was a welcome boost for Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation after the recent steroid doping scandal involving his trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni. The Sheikh, who owns 51 per-

cent of Dawn Approach with Bolger the other 49 percent, said he was fully supportive of running the horse so soon after his Epsom flop. “The biggest risk is not taking any risk,” a smiling Sheikh Mohammed said after receiving the trophy from The Duchess of Cornwall, wife of Britain’s Prince Charles. “Jim bred the horse and knows him very well, so when he said he wanted to run the owner was happy to support him. Today has proved to me that this horse is the best miler in the world.” A minute’s silence was held before the start of racing for trainer Henry Cecil who died last week. Cecil secured a record 75 Royal Ascot winners over four decades and his widow Jane, who has temporarily taken over the training licence, almost pulled off an emotional triumph but Tiger Cliff had to settle for second behind Well Sharp in the Ascot Stakes.—Reuters

Britain’s skid-row scrappers are living in Murray shadow PARIS: They are Britain’s skid-row tennis scrappers who get by on small change, chasing their dreams at far-flung tournaments in outposts like Burnie in Australia or Rimouski, Canada and An Ning in China. But for once a year, and usually for no longer than two days in late June, the likes of James Ward, Dan Evans, Bryden Klien and Kyle Edmunds, will briefly share the same spotlight as Andy Murray before heading back to anonymity. While world number two Murray goes into Wimbledon confident of ending Britain’s 77-year wait to crown a home men’s champion, his compatriots will be grateful that they are guaranteed at least a first round loser’s cheque of £23,500 ($36,900). For British number two Ward, who is 214 places below Murray in the world rankings, that windfall would almost double the $38,000 he has pocketed in the first six months of the year. Ward and Murray are both 26 and Davis Cup teammates, but the similarities end there. Murray, the Olympic and US Open champion, has amassed $27 million in his career while Ward, the son of a London taxi driver, has banked a modest $426,000 in his seven years spent trudging on the second-tier Challenger Tour. When Murray was winning the US Open in September last year, Ward was losing in the quarter-finals of a Challenger in Shanghai, picking up $1,460 for his troubles as well a season-ending wrist injury.

But he had a brief taste of the big time at Wimbledon in 2012, pushing former world number eight Mardy Fish of the United States to five sets in the second round. “You’ve got to have self-belief otherwise you’re never going to be a good player,” said the Londoner. “I’ve been playing at this level for a while, but the top players do it every week and that’s the differ-

Andy Murray ence.” Britain’s number three Dan Evans, the world 254, enjoyed a run to the third round at Queen’s last week before losing to 2009 US Open champion, Juan Martin del Potro. The 23-year-old, however, has often symbolised the Jekyll and Hyde nature of British tennis, a sport awash with money courtesy of the annual Wimbledon cash cow that supports talent-rich but

discipline-poor players. Back in 2008, Evans had his funding from the Lawn Tennis Association axed after he was found drinking at a club at three in the morning on the eve of a doubles match at Wimbledon. Murray told him this year that he needed to work harder and Evans has tried to heed the advice. “The off-court stuff had to improve,” he admitted. Gone are the late nights and when he stays at the country’s national training base near Wimbledon he’s in bed by 10:30pm. “There is a security guard who checks. It’s like the Big Brother house, but it’s good being 15 again.” If success outside of Murray is lacking in British men’s tennis, there is certainly no absence of color. National number four is Bryden Klein, who was born in Australia and is a former Australian Open junior champion. This year he switched his allegiance to Britain, courtesy of his Manchester-born mother, but the 23-year-old is not without controversy. In 2009, he served a six-month ban for uttering a racist slur during a match when he called South African opponent Raven Klaasen a “kaffir”. Despite Britain’s struggles, there is always hope. Jonathan Marray, a journeyman 32-year-old, became Britain’s first men’s doubles champion at Wimbledon since 1936 when he teamed up for the title with Frederik Nielsen in 2012. His share of the £130,000 ($204,500) prize money was comfortably his biggest ever payday. “—AFP

CANBERRA: The ACT Brumbies, shorn of the heart of their first-choice team, soaked up enormous pressure to secure a famous 14-12 victory over a ragged British and Irish Lions side in Canberra yesterday and hand the tourists their first defeat. Bullocking centre Tevita Kuridrani scored the sole try in the first half and fullback Jesse Mogg slotted three penalties for the hosts who held on grimly as the Lions roared back late in the second half in front of more than 21,000 frenzied fans at Canberra Stadium. While the proud Brumbies players celebrated an historic win over what was effectively a Lions second team, the tourists’ management will have to act quickly to lift spirits ahead of Saturday’s first test against Australia in Brisbane. “Full credit to the Brumbies, they frustrated us. It was a tough day at the office,” a sombre Lions coach Warren Gatland told reporters after his makeshift team were humbled on a field made sodden by a hail-storm in the leadup. “I think it’s just part of being on tour, isn’t it? “You get a bit of a knock, you take your disappointment and in the end it’s how you respond to it, how this group of players responds to it for the weekend. It’s just getting back on the horse again.” With a hastily-assembled backline stitched together by flown-in replacements, the Lions trailed 8-3 at the break after putting in their worst first half of the tour with a raft of botched lineouts and handling errors. Although bullied at the breakdown throughout an attritional contest punctuated by high-kicked bombs, the Lions improved after the break, with replacement flyhalf Owen Farrell underlining his quality by kicking his side to within two points with nine minutes to play. But the two-time Super Rugby champions held on to snap their opponents’ run of five straight wins and consign them to their first non-test tour match loss since being defeated by the New Zealand Maori in 2005. Brumbies coach Jake White hailed the win as on par with his 2007 World Cup triumph as coach of South Africa. “It’s a massive result,” said White, who has turned the previously struggling franchise into Australia’s top Super Rugby side in less than two seasons. “We got together 18 months ago and no one would have ever dreamt that we

would have not only achieved Super Rugby-wise what we have but to get a win against the Lions just doesn’t happen. “We’re really mindful of the fact that this is as big as it gets for any boy who’s played at this level.” While none of the Lions starting 15 are likely to be considered for selection on Saturday, Gatland may be clearer about which players to leave on the sidelines. Irish hooker Rory Best had a forgettable night as captain, reprising his Six Nations troubles at the setpiece with a rash of poor lineout throws to squander possession. Emergency flyhalf Stuart Hogg also appeared out of his depth at times and also banged two penalty kicks against a post before Farrell relieved him in the second half. Debutant winger Christian Wade, hurriedly flown in from Argentina having made his England debut last week, also struggled, fumbling a number of early balls. The Brumbies, however, were switched on from the start and despite boasting only 28 caps to the nearly 600 of their opponents, put in a brave performance. Former Wales winger Shane Williams, in for a one-match cameo after flying in from Japan, was denied a dream return as he was dragged into touch just shy of the line after three minutes. Kuridrani then danced around Wade and fullback Rob Kearney on the left wing to score in the fifth minute, signalling the start of a torrid first half for the Lions. A Mogg penalty made it 8-0 before Hogg finally put them on the board with a penalty just before the whistle. Mogg slotted two further penalties to put the Brumbies up 14-leashed a rash of substitutions. With reserve scrumhalf Conor Murray and Farrell directing traffic, the Lions played with renewed purpose and quickly capitalised with two Farrell penalties to reduce the lead to two points with nine minutes to go. However, the Brumbies dug deep into a vast reservoir of grit and soaked up the final minutes with a determined pickand-go defence. “I think the forwards should stand up and take a lot of the heat,” Best said. “We were very confident and we just didn’t turn up tonight. We let our standards drop tonight. We didn’t want to lose the momentum that we’ve gained on this tour.”—Reuters

AUSTRALIA: Stuart Hogg (center) of the British and Irish Lions gets caught by Siliva Siliva (left) and Scott Sio (right) during the tour match in Canberra. —AFP




Confed Cup finishes first round in lively Brazil

FORTALEZA: Brazil’s forward Neymar kicks a ball during a training session on the eve of their FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group A football match against Mexico. —AFP

Marcelo: Revenge not on Brazil’s agenda FORTALEZA: Brazil left-back Marcelo says his side will not be seeking revenge when they renew acquaintance with Mexico in their second game of the Confederations Cup in Fortaleza today. The last encounter between teams representing the two countries saw Mexico shock the five-time world champions with a 2-1 victory in the final of the men’s football competition at the London Olympics last year. It was a crushing defeat for Brazil, who have never claimed Olympic gold, but Marcelo said those involved had quickly put it behind them. “The Mexico defeat didn’t stick in my throat. I don’t see this match as a chance for revenge,” said the Real Madrid defender, who was one of three permitted players aged over 23 in Brazil’s Olympic squad. “Of course, I remember it. It was a very sad day for the players and the whole of Brazil. It’s difficult to say why we weren’t able to pierce their defence. “We know that Mexico have great players, but we’re Brazil and we have some, too. We can think that the match will be difficult, but they have to think that as well.” Brazil enjoyed an ideal start to the Confederations Cup on Saturday, with a stunning goal from poster boy Neymar setting them on the way to a breezy 3-0 win over Group A rivals Japan in the national capital Brasilia. Brazil will secure a place in the semifinals if they overcome Mexico at Estadio Castelao, but Marcelo was bewildered by reporters’ questions about the possibility of a final showdown with world champions Spain. “You talk about Spain as if they were already waiting for us in the final, but we’ve barely started the competition,” he said. “If we have to play them in the final, very good, it’ll be a great match. But we still have to play Mexico and Italy. “Any adversary could then fall into our path-even Tahiti. It’s not up to us to pick our opponents.” As well as the Olympic final victory, Mexico prevailed 2-0 when the sides last met in a friendly in Texas last year, and Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has also

warned his players not to take them lightly. “We must be wary of Mexico and get over that hurdle,” he said. “Mexico have been making life complicated for us for a few years now.” Having lost 2-1 to Italy in their opening game at the Maracana on Sunday, Mexico know that they will be eliminated if they lose to Brazil and the Italians avoid defeat against Japan. Coach Jose Manuel de la Torre claimed “individual actions” were responsible for the loss to Italy, and in the Brazil of Neymar, Oscar and Hulk, he must confront another adversary brimming with individual talent. “We produced some great football, but there are things to correct and we now have to concentrate on the next match against Brazil,” he said. The defeat by Italy means Mexico have now won just once in 10 games in 2013, and with their World Cup qualifying hopes also in the balance, a positive display against Brazil would represent a timely fillip. Estadio Castelao, home to Brazilian sides Ceara and Fortaleza, has undergone extensive renovation in preparation for the Confederations Cup and next year’s World Cup, giving it an increased capacity of 64,846.—AFP

Matches on TV (Local Timings)

FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil v Mexico Al Jazeera Sport 1 HD Al Jazeera Sport +9 Al Jazeera Sport +10 Al Jazeera Sport 2 HD Italy v Japan Al Jazeera Sport 1 HD Al Jazeera Sport +9 Al Jazeera Sport +10 Al Jazeera Sport 2 HD



Adidas sets new soccer sales goal in WCup year GERMANY: German sportswear maker Adidas AG forecast record sales for its soccer business in 2014, aiming to retain market leadership in the sport ahead of US rival Nike Inc in a soccer World Cup year. Adidas and Nike dominate a market for soccer kit replica shirts, balls and boots - estimated to be worth around 5 billion euros ($6.7 billion) annually. “It is a battle between us and Nike, not only in Brazil but the whole football world,” Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer told reporters at a news conference at the company’s headquarters in southern Germany. Setting out its targets a year before the World Cup kicks off in Brazil, Adidas said sales from its soccer division would break the 2 billion euro barrier for the first time in 2014. Sales from its soccer business surpassed 1.7 billion euros in 2012 and are expected to remain around that level this year, despite no World Cup or European champi-

onships to stimulate demand. Adidas is official sponsor of the 2014 World Cup and will supply the match balls, referees’ kit and clothing for volunteers at venues. Nike sponsors the host nation Brazil, the fivetimes world champions and one of the most popular national teams around the globe. Nike, the world’s largest sportswear group, has recently agreed kit supply deals with France and England, two former World Cup winners. Adidas has contracts with World Cup holders Spain and former champions Germany and Argentina. “Tradition is on the side of Adidas, but Nike is making more and more progress,” said Peter Rohlmann of German consultancy PR Marketing. “They are very close together in terms of market share.” Adidas said it expected “double-digit sales growth” in Latin America in coming years, boosted by the interest generated by the World Cup.—Reuters

BRAZIl: With great crowds, violent protests and some organizational setbacks, the Confederations Cup is underway in Brazil. The first round of matches ended on Monday with favorites Brazil, Italy and Spain winning their matches and the host nation getting an idea of what it will have to improve on for the rest of the tournament and especially the World Cup a year from now. There is still a lot of unfinished work in the six host cities across Brazil and there have been mistakes by organizers and a lack of infrastructure in the some of the airports. FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke acknowledged after the inaugural match that there are things to “improve,” but says “all together it really was a success.” “It was the kickoff of the tournament for which we have been working for the last six years,” FIFA Secretary General Valcke said. “It is working. For sure you can always improve things, but that’s part of what we will do right after the comp etition. But we can say all together it really was a success.” The eight-team Confederations Cup is the biggest test event for Brazil before it hosts football’s showcase event in 2014 and the Rio Olympics in 2016. There has been a festive atmosphere for fans inside the stadiums, but a wave of protests against the local government spilled into the host cities and created havoc before some of the matches. Clashes between police and demonstrators happened outside stadiums in three of the six Confederations Cup venues Brasilia, Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro - leading to arrests and disrupting the entrance of fans into the venues. In those cities, the protesters complained that too much money was being spent on the Confederations Cup and next year’s World Cup while the majority of the population continued to struggle. Some of the more violent confrontations happened just hours before the opening match in Brasilia, which also witnessed an embarrassing moment for FIFA President Sepp Blatter and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. They were met by loud boos from the crowd when introduced for a pre-game speech at the National Stadium, prompting the FIFA president to break protocol and call for “respect” and “fair play” from the “friends of Brazilian football.” He was jeered even louder after that.

BRAZIL: The famous Sugarloaf Mountain is seen on the back (left), as the national flags of the countries participating in the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 football tournament flutter on the roof of the bar at the top of the Urca Hill in Rio de Janeiro. —AFP Organizers in Brasilia also went through an embarrassing situation a few days before the first match, when they were forced to close the accreditation center for a few hours because they ran out of material to print permits for workers, volunteers and journalists. To make things worse, some of the volunteers sent to help the foreigners didn’t speak English. The condition of the pitch, one of the most expensive built in Brazil, was also a problem. “The quality of the pitch has to be improved,” Valcke said in an interview on FIFA’s website. “But that’s something we will work on to have the best pitches at the time of the World Cup.” And the day after the match in the nation’s capital, Brazil’s lack of airport infrastructure was on display. Fans and journalists leaving the city endured huge lines to check in for their flights and local airlines clearly were not prepared to deal with the increased flow of passengers. Visitors also had to deal with water leaks at Salvador airport, being forced to squeeze through a corridor to avoid getting wet on their way to claim their baggage. “Sorry for the disorder. We are building a new airport,” read a sign to passengers. Only two of the stadiums were delivered on time, and unfinished work was visible outside nearly all venues, especially the Maracana, the Arena Pernambuco in Recife and the Castelao in Fortaleza. But the stadiums were mostly full for the first matches. The exception was the game between newcomer Tahiti and Nigeria in Belo Horizonte, where little more than

20,000 fans showed up. The African champion nearly didn’t make it to the match after threatening not travel to Brazil because the country’s football federation suddenly cut players’ bonus payments, but it eventually arrived in time to defeat Tahiti 6-1. The northeastern city of Recife has been marked by unfinished work at the stadium and poor infrastructure throughout the venue. Fans endured significant problems trying to get to the Arena Pernambuco, which is located about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the city center. Public transportation offered on matchday did not work properly and it took hours for fans to get in and out of the venue. Brazilian officials say the stadium was deliberately built in a remote and poor neighborhood to stimulate economic development there. “We will keep the same transportation plan in place, but we will try to improve things for the next match,” said Ricardo Leitao, the government official in charge of the local preparations. Teams in Recife also faced difficulties. South America champion Uruguay complained that it took the squad 90 minutes to drive to a practice field because of road construction and traffic jams. That forced the team to turn down a chance to train just days before its debut. The team also had to work out in a local gym because the training field was under water from torrential rain. In Rio de Janeiro, Italy reportedly was not advised in advance

that the Joao Havelange Stadium was closed because of a faulty roof, forcing the Azzurri to find an alternative practice venue. But team captain Gianluigi Buffon offered an honest answer when he was asked about the tournament’s organization. “We players live in a situation which is privileged for some aspects,” he said. “We have an escort when we move around so efficiency is optimal. So I really can’t comment on what other people have encountered. This is a really big tournament because you have the best squads in the world playing in a country where football is extremely popular.” Italy’s first match was at the renovated Maracana and the crowd atmosphere was buzzing, highlighted by Brazilians loudly cheering Italy striker Mario Balotelli during the match. In Europe, Balotelli and other black players have faced racist abuse. Ticket sales have been a success for the warm-up tournament, reaching record levels compared to other tournaments. But distribution of the tickets was not so great, and fans who bought the entrances faced difficulties picking them up nearly everywhere in the country. There were many complaints as it took up to three hours to collect the tickets even though purchasers were allowed to make appointments to pick them up. “We have to say thanks to all the ones who have been working on the ticketing office,” Valcke said. “Because they have done a great and an amazing job by delivering all the tickets on time.”—AP

Japan look to avoid early exit RECIFE: The task facing both Asian champions Japan and three-time world champions Italy is clear cut in Recife at the Confederations Cup. An Italian win, on the heels of Sunday’s success over Olympic champions Mexico should propel the Azzurri into the semi-finals, while also ending the Blue Samurais’ interest in this summer’s event. The pressure is off Japan to a large extent in that, aside from World Cup and Confederations hosts Brazil they are the only side competing here who have already booked their tickets for next summer’s jamboree. In going down 3-0 to the Brazilians in the opening match, Alberto Zaccheroni’s Japanese showed the effects of a long, yet successful, qualifying World Cup campaign - they only arrived 72 hours after seeing off Iraq in the Gulf. They also showed - AS Zaccheroni tacitly admitted - that they are at this stage a work in progress with 12 months to plan next year’s assault. “What we must not do is repeat the mistakes of the Brazil game,” said midfielder Yasuhito Endo. “But don’t judge us on that game.” Defender Yuto Nagatomo, who plays for Serie A side Inter Milan, said he and his teammates would have to get to grips with Mario Balotelli, who proved a handful for Mexico and who scored the winner in that game to see the Italians join Brazil on three points. And Nagatomo said slyly that he figures there is one way to do so - niggle the temperamental striker. Balotelli is already carrying a needless booking into the match having taken off his shirt after his goal Sunday. And Nagatomo says that “while he is very quick and physical we must mark him tightly and above all get under his skin. He is always in the thick of things but he has a short fuse. It will be a mental battle for him.” Japan earlier arrived in Recife from Brasilia and had no injuries to report. Keisuke Honda got over a hip problem that saw him miss a Saturday training session and skipper Makoto Hasebe shook off a sore ankle. Italy enjoyed a beach volleyball session earlier after their win over Mexico although Balotelli, criticised by coach Cesare Prandelli for his booking, did not show. Defender Giorgio Chiellini and midfielder Riccardo Montolivo were both buoyed by the win over the Mexicans, who had widely been seen as key rivals for second spot in Group A. “We tried a few things and were very solid and it was a good performance against Mexico,”said Montolivo, while Chiellini added that “we have to build on what we did against the Mexicans and another win now will set us up for the semifinals.”—AFP

Azeem Azam’s representatives in talks with Europe and Middle East clubs


zeem Azam,’s agents, are in talks with a number of teams. Sources reveal, “we are in talks with French League 1 clubs Bordeaux, along with Russian and Middle East Clubs” Azam’s agents are tight lipped as to which other clubs they are speaking to in Russia and the Middle East, However Azam’s Middle East representatives have revealed clubs in Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain are being looked at. “We will take any offers very seriously” a source revealed. Azam’s Middle East based Sports agency who now look after his affairs as third party ownership, confirmed. “We are in talks with a number of clubs in both Europe and the Middle East. We will do our level best to secure Azam the best deal we can, Azeem is a excellent footballer when fit and sharp, having watched Azeem improve everyday in training and fitness, is a testament to Azeem’s ability”, said a representative. Azam spent most part of this year training in the Middle East, having turned

down an earlier offer from Hungary in April. Azam who has Arabic and Asian origin, has had a few stops and starts over the past season, having received an earlier offer from UAE and Italy in 2012/13. Sources have revealed it was due to a particular inept agent who was hampering that opportunity with delays and lies, which delayed matters. Azam’s representatives have warned any agent trying to muscle on deals, will be dealt with heavily. Sources have revealed the backstabbing skulduggery by a particular UK based agent boarders on the absurd. Azam’s representatives have revealed in a lengthy chat, “There are some real spineless human beings that parade around as agents, who do not have a clue, and they give real agents a bad name, he went on to add, “One agent, in particular, acted absolutely disgracefully and although we won’t give him the oxygen of publicity by naming him, I will tell him exactly what I think of him when we see him.

England, South Africa clash in Champions Trophy semis



Marcelo: Revenge not on Brazil’s agenda


Heat have no room for error versus Spurs

Page 17

ULSAN: South Korea’s defender Kim Chang-Soo (back) competes for the ball with Iran’s midfielder Masoud Shojaei (front) during their World Cup Asian qualifier football match. — AFP

Iran win to qualify for World Cup South Korea also book place in Brazil ULSAN: Iran qualified for the World Cup finals yesterday after another resolute defensive display helped them snatch a 1-0 away win over South Korea, who also booked a place in Brazil. Forward Reza Ghoochannejhad was Iran’s hero, latching on to an error by defender Kim Young-gwon to score the winner in the 60th minute with the visitors’ only real chance of a one-sided match in Ulsan. Iran coach Carlos Queiroz punched the air in delight at the final whistle after their third Group A qualifying win in June sealed top spot and a fourth finals appearance after missing out four years ago. “We played with a great team spirit and won. We were technically superior and decisive in the face of crisis,” Queiroz told reporters. “I knew it was going to be a difficult game so

I took a practical approach. We took advantage of the weakness of our opponent and scored a goal.” The under-pressure Portuguese had traded verbal volleys before yesterday’s Group A clash with Korean counterpart Choi Kang-Hee, who had vowed to beat Iran and force them to watch the World Cup on television after being “badly treated” in the reverse fixture in Tehran last year. Choi, who previously said he would step down after the qualifying campaign, was more subdued after the loss. “We advanced into the World Cup but it was not a clean finish. It is all my fault,” he said in a television interview after the game. Choi’s side had only needed a draw to make it a ninth finals appearance but they started

with an attacking lineup at the Ulsan Football Stadium in search of a win. But despite having the attacking trio of Son Heung-min, Lee Dong-gook and Ji Dong-won on the field, the Koreans were guilty of using too many long balls for tall striker Kim Shinwook rather than mixing up their play. Iran started the day two points ahead of third-placed Uzbekistan but knew that a draw against Korea and a four-goal win for the Central Asians over Qatar would cost them automatic qualification. The visitors nevertheless chose to sit back and allow Korea plenty of possession, but the predictable patterns of play by the home side failed to produce clear-cut chances. The Koreans did have a strong appeal for a

penalty five minutes before halftime when midfielder Lee Myung-joo raced clear only to be brought down by Iran fullback Khosro Heydari and goalkeeper Rahman Ahmadi, but the referee awarded a goal kick. Iran started the second half brighter and grabbed a shock lead on the hour when Korea defender Kim Young-gwon missed his kick as he attempted a back-pass to his keeper, and Ghoochannejhad raced through to curl home a left-foot shot. Choi introduced AFC player of the year Lee Keun-ho as the hosts searched for an equaliser against an Iran team that had conceded just two goals in their previous seven qualifiers. Kim Young-gwon came close to making up for his error when he fired a sharp shot in the

76th minute that was well saved by Ahmadi, while his glancing header two minutes from time sailed just wide. Substitute Lee had half the stadium on their feet thinking he had scored a 94th-minute leveller but his header edged past the far post with Ahmadi motionless as Iran hung on for the win. While the Iranians celebrated, the Korean players waited for news of Uzbekistan, who cruised past Qatar but ultimately fell two goals short of overhauling Korea on goal difference. But despite their qualification, their was little cheer from Choi. “I have nothing to say. The players did their best but couldn’t play in a way they wanted and prepared for,” the coach said. “I hope Korea learns from the World Cup qualifiers and improves in the future.” — AFP

Jordan keep WCup dream alive

Uzbekistan defeat Qatar 5-1

AMMAN: Jordan’s hopes of a first World Cup finals appearance remain alive after they beat Oman 1-0 at home yesterday to book a qualifying playoff against Uzbekistan in September. Striker Ahmad Ibrahim scored the winning goal in the 57th minute, stooping low to head home a cross from Khalil Bani Ateyah that drew wild celebrations at the King Abdullah Stadium in Amman. The victory, in the last of the Asian group stage matches, meant Jordan leapfrogged Oman into third place in Group B on 10 points, one ahead of Paul Le Guen’s side. Jordan will now take on Uzbekistan, who finished third in Group A, with the first leg to be played on Sept. 6 and the second on Sept. 10. The winners advance to play another two-leg playoff against the fifthplaced South American side in November for a place at the finals. Few predicted Jordan would still be in contention after they were hammered 6-0 away to Japan in their second group match last year, but they defied their FIFA ranking of 75th with strong performances at home. Having despatched Australia and Japan in Amman, Jordan knew another three points were required against Oman to claim the playoff berth but they started yesterday’s match in scratchy fashion. With Jordan guilty of defensive lapses, Oman failed to take advantage wasting numerous chances to score in an

TASHKENT: Uzbekistan rallied to beat Qatar 5-1 in Tashkent yesterday but fell short of an automatic qualifying spot for the 2014 World Cup finals on goal difference. Uzbekistan were pushed into third place in Asian qualifying Group A, behind Iran and South Korea, and will have to rely on the playoff route to make it to Brazil. If Uzbekistan had beaten Qatar by a margin of six goals they would have overhauled South Korea as runners-up. The third-place finishers in both Asian qualifying groups will meet in a two-leg playoff, with the winners taking on a South American side in another two-leg playoff for the right to play in Brazil next year. The hosts missed a flurry of chances in the first half and paid for their profligacy when Qatar took the lead in the 37th minute through Abdulqadir Ilyas’s first international goal. Bahodir Nasimov found the Uzbeks’ equaliser in the 60th minute with his first touch after replacing Alexander Geynrikh. Oleg Zoteev, another substitute, put Uzbekistan in the lead before Nasimov added his second. Odil Ahmedov and Ulugbek Bakaev completed the scoring. Celebrations, though, were shortlived for both the home crowd and the players as news of Iran’s victory reached the Bunyodkor Stadium in Tashkent. Qatar’s debutant goalkeeper, Ahmed Abonora, made several saves in the first half to frustrate Uzbekistan in their quest to improve their goal difference. Abonora twice denied Geynrikh from close range and pulled off an acrobatic save to keep out Uzbekistan captain Server Djeparov’s volley from outside the box. Uzbekistan will face either Oman or Jordan in the Asia playoff, depending on the result of yesterday’s final Group B qualifier between the two sides in Amman.— Reuters

open first half. Oman forward Abdulaziz Al Muqbali ran wide instead of shooting when clear on goal in the sixth minute, while Qasim Hardan saw his far post shot blocked by Jordanian goalkeeper Amer Sabbah. Jordan’s Mohammad Aldmeiri came close to snatching the lead for the home side in the 29th minute, but his flicked header from a quickly taken corner flashed just over the crossbar. Further chances came and went for Oman before halftime with the Jordanians taking a grip of the match in the second period before Ibrahim’s goal. Oman’s desperation for an equaliser led to some sloppy approach play with Sabbah making routine saves in the final stages as Jordan hung on for another famous home win. — Reuters

AMMAN: Oman’s goalkeeper Faiyz al-Rusheidi (top) deflects a shot at goal as his teammates defend during their 2014 World Cup qualifier Group B football match against Jordan. — AFP

Kennedy header sends Australia to World Cup SYDNEY: Substitute Josh Kennedy’s dramatic goal seven minutes from time sent Australia to the World Cup finals for the fourth time yesterday, ending a nervous night for 80,523 rainsoaked fans packed into Sydney’s Olympic Stadium. Six minutes after coming on as a substitute for Tim Cahill, Kennedy rose alone in the middle of the penalty area to head Mark Bresciano’s cross past the dive of Iraq goalkeeper Noor Sabri and into the net. The stadium erupted and Kennedy was mobbed by his team mates as they celebrated the goal that secured the win they needed to seal second place in Asian quali-

fying Group B and a ticket to Brazil 2014. The Australians, frustrated for much of the evening by their own lack of penetration as much as by the Iraqis, will now make their third successive trip to soccer’s showpiece tournament and a fourth in total after 1974, 2006 and 2010. “It’s amazing for the country,” captain Lucas Neill said in a pitchside interview. “Three World Cups (in a row) now. I’m sorry, guys, it wasn’t pretty but we beat what was in front of us. Tonight let’s look at the positives, Australia are going to Brazil!” Iraq’s hopes of qualifying were ended by last week’s defeat to group winners Japan. Australia’s

victory also ended the slim hopes of Oman and Jordan - who were meeting later on Tuesday earning a direct passage to the World Cup. Australia coach Holger Osieck kept faith with the team that drew 1-1 in Japan and beat Jordan 4-0 in their last two matches to revive a lacklustre qualifying campaign, but it was his substitutions that ultimately proved decisive. “It gave me a beautiful feeling and I must admit that I’m proud to be part of this,” the German said. “There’s a lot of positives, but now is not the time for any analysis, for any game critiques or anything, and I don’t feel like doing anything (like that). — Reuters


Desperate families occupy unfinished homes in Spain Page 22 Dollar, shares subdued; US Fed keeps markets on edge Page 24


Lebanese start-ups seeking tech boom

NBK Group, VIVA ink multi-currency financing agreement Page 23

Page 23

ENNISKILLEN: Protesters from anti-hunger charity Oxfam wearing masks depicting the leaders of the G8 countries pose on a golf course in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland yesterday near the venue of the G8 summit at the golfing resort of Lough Erne. —AFP (See Page 25)

Boeing, Airbus vie for spotlight Boeing launches Dreamliner with over 100 orders LE BOURGET: Boeing launched a bigger version of its next-generation Dreamliner plane at the Paris Air Show yesterday with over 100 orders and a clear message-after a run of technical blows, the US firm is back on track. The announcement came on the second day of the world’s biggest air show, with competition between Boeing and its arch-rival Airbus heating up as the two giants vie for the spotlight, and smaller competitors make their presence felt. “Boeing today officially launches the 787-10,” Boeing head Jim McNerney told reporters, with commitments to buy the new aircraft from United Airlines, Singapore Airlines, British Airways, and leasing firms ALC and GECAS. The 787-10 is bigger than its two brothers in the fuel-efficient Dreamliner family, and Singapore Airlines and ALC were its two biggest customers yesterday, with 30 orders each. ALC also ordered three 787-9 planes. United committed to buying 20 planes while British Airways will get 12 and GECAS 10. The announcement puts Boeing firmly back in the running after a slew of recent technical problems forced the grounding of the entire Dreamliner fleet worldwide for three months in a huge blow to the US firm. Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing at Boeing’s commercial planes division, said last week that the growth in traffic was being met by more flights to more places, “rather than dramatically larger and larger aircraft”, in a dig at Airbus’s A380 superjumbo. “It really gets to the heart of competition-to be successful, what you need to do is give the type of service that passengers want and what we all want is more frequent

Foreign investment in Arab nations rises despite unrest

LE BOURGET: Visitors walk near planes displayed at the 50th Paris Air Show at Le Bourget airport, north of Paris yesterday. — AFP non-stop service. “This is why we brought the 787 to the market place.” Undeterred, Airbus has got off to a roaring start at the air show-though most of its orders so far arise from the medium-haul market, which it already dominates. Regional transport market going strong-Low-cost airline easyJet announced a deal to buy 135 of the Airbus single-aisle A320 passenger planes-one of the firm’s most popular and profitable models-including 100 of new generation fuel-efficient neo aircraft. But Airbus is seeking to unseat Boeing in the more lucrative long-haul segment with its own next-generation A350

plane, which flew for the first time on Friday in a curtain raiser for the show. The aircraft-which like the Dreamliner makes extensive use of lighter, carbon-based composite materials that reduce fuel consumption-will seek to compete with the 787 as well as Boeing’s older 777 model. So far, though, there have been no new orders for the A350 at the air show. Other smaller competitors in regional transport markets have also made a mark, with ATR-a joint venture between European aerospace giant EADS and Italy’s Finmeccanica-announcing a big order.

Leasing firm Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) signed up for 35 ATR600 aircraft built by the firm, with an option on 55 in a deal worth $2.1 billion, ATR said. NAC has a fleet of slightly more than 100 ATR regional-route aircraft and is the biggest operator in the world of the propellor-driven planes, ATR said. Brazil’s Embraer has also come up trumps with the launch of a new family of regional jets and dozens of orders. This is a sign of an expected future trend of competition from manufacturers in emerging markets which are expected to generate much of the growth of passenger traffic.— AFP

easyJet announces $12 bn Airbus deal LONDON: British low-cost airline easyJet announced yesterday a mega deal to buy 135 Airbus single-aisle A320 passenger planes, including 100 new generation neo aircraft for $11.9 billion (8.9 billion euros), after agreeing big discounts. EasyJet, issuing a statement amid the Paris Air Show where European aircraft maker Airbus is battling for orders with US rival Boeing, added that it also had an option to buy an additional 100 A320neo planes. The A320 series is the Airbus workhorse of the skies, popular with low-cost airlines and with companies operating on short to medium-distance routes. The deal is likely to draw fresh opposition from easyJet founder and its biggest shareholder, Stelios Haji-Ioannou, who opposes the airline’s strategy of increasing seat capacity. “I am delighted that easyJet is able to announce its fleet plans today,” said the airline’s chief executive Carolyn McCall. “All manufacturers competed hard for the easyJet business. Both Airbus and Boeing

offered us new generation aircraft that met our requirements and offered greatly improved fuel efficiency. “Ultimately, Airbus offered us the best deal, and at a price with a greater discount to the list price than their landmark fleet purchase with easyJet in 2002,” she added in the statement. EasyJet is to acquire 35 current generation A320 aircraft for delivery between 2015 and 2017 under an existing option agreement, and 100 new generation A320neo planes for delivery between 2017 and 2022 in a new deal. “We are delighted our reliable aircraft have met easyJet’s demanding criteria,” Airbus Chief Operating Officer-Customers John Leahy said in a separate statement. EasyJet said that 85 of the 135 ordered aircraft will be used to replace ageing passenger planes, with the remaining 50 used to build on easyJet’s strategy of increasing its seat capacity of between three and five percent annually. The company’s network spans Europe and it flies

also to a sprinkling of destinations in north Africa and the Middle East. EasyJet shares rallied 1.12 percent to stand at 1,266 pence in early deals on London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index, which was flat overall. Yesterday’s massive deal announcement is subject to approval by easyJet shareholders, although Haji-Ioannou does not have a large enough stake to alone scupper the company’s intention to purchase new planes. Haji-Ioannou, or Stelios as he is widely known, has long argued that easyJet should be returning money to shareholders via the payment of dividends, rather than increasing its seating capacity. Amid the tensions, Mike Rake last month stepped down as easyJet chairman to be replaced by John Barton, who has also remained in his role as chairman of British clothing retailer Next. Haji-Ioannou meanwhile last year launched the first pan-African no-frills carrier, Fastjet, while he and his family still own almost 37 percent of easyJet.— AFP

KUWAIT: The flow of foreign direct investment into Arab states, including those hit by uprisings, rose by 9.8 percent last year despite the unrest but remained well below their 2010 level, a report said yesterday. Arab states attracted FDI worth $47.1 billion in 2012 compared with $42.9 billion the previous year, the Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation said in its annual report. However, the investment rate was 28.5 percent lower than its level of $66.2 billion in 2010, the year when the Arab Spring uprisings first erupted, said the Kuwaiti-based organisation. The report covered 20 out of the 22-Arab League member states excluding war-torn Syria and the tiny Comoros. And foreign direct investment inflows rose in 15 of them, including four countries-Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen-that witnessed violent unrest during the past three years. OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia topped the list of FDI inflows with $12.2 billion, repre-

senting 25.8 percent of Arab total even though its share dropped by 25 percent from the previous year. FDI inflows to the United Arab Emirates rose 25 percent last year to $9.6 billion, which is 20.8 percent of the total Arab investments. Lebanon came third with $7.8 percent followed by Algeria with $6.2 billion, the report said. In Egypt, the rate of FDI rose from a negative $483 million in 2011 to $2.8 billion last year, while in Tunisia it increased by 68 percent to $1.95 billion. Foreign direct investment in Libya rose from a flat 2011 to $720 million last year, and in Yemen it increased from $713 million in the red to just $4 million. All four of these nations experienced Arab Springrelated unrest. The six energy-rich states of the Gulf Cooperation Council drew in the most investment, accounting for $26.4 billion or 56 percent of total Arab FDI, the report said. Investment inflows into Kuwait more than doubled to about $1.9 billion.—AFP

Saudi billionaire eyes world’s big cities for mile-high tower DUBAI: Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal says he is looking at the world’s largest cities, including Shanghai, Moscow, London and New York, as possible locations to build a mile-high skyscraper that would be the world’s tallest building by far. The prince is inviting Dubai’s biggest real estate developer Emaar Properties, chaired by Mohammed Alabbar, to team up with his investment firm Kingdom Holding on the project. “Right now we are discussing and evaluating the possibility of building a onemile (1.6-kilometre) tower,” Alwaleed told Reuters by telephone late on Monday. “We also need good partners. I invite Emaar and Alabbar to join forces with us and see how we can build the ultimate one-mile tower somewhere in the world.” Alwaleed did not say how the project would be financed if it went ahead, or when it might be completed. He said the cost had yet to be decided. But his ambition reflects the growing confidence of many Gulf companies as they expand overseas, aided by booming economies and rising asset prices in their home countries. “I am now inviting the major cities of the world like Shanghai, Moscow, New York, London and regional cities in the Middle East to come and give their offers,” Alwaleed said. He said countries interested in hosting the world’s tallest tower would have to offer attractive financing terms, tax breaks and other government support. Alabbar could not immediately be reached for

comment. Over the past year, Emaar has committed itself to several other huge projects in Dubai and nearby countries. Industry experts have said building a onemile skyscraper would involve technical and design challenges, such as how to supply water economically at that height, but would not be impossible. If it is built, the mile-high tower would surpass the world’s current tallest skyscraper, the 828-metre (2,717-foot) Burj Khalifa in Dubai, as well as the one-kilometre-high Kingdom Tower now being built by Kingdom Holding in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah. The Kingdom Tower is expected to cost around 4.6 billion Saudi riyals ($1.2 billion) and will form part of a hotel, retail and luxury residential project. The structure is expected to reach ground level by the end of this year and to be completed in 2017, said Talal Al Maiman, executive director at Kingdom Holding. About 30 percent of useable land in the overall project, which will have an area of about 5.3 million square meters (57 million square feet), will be allocated to hotels. The remainder will be divided equally between retail and premium residential space, Al Maiman added. Kingdom Holding, which went public in 2007, has a market value of about $18.5 billion, making it one of the largest listed investment firms in the Middle East. Its assets include stakes in top Western firms such as Citigroup, News Corp and Twitter as well as luxury hotels around the world. — Reuters



US defense budget uncertainty clouds Chemring Group outlook H1 underlying pretax profit falls 35 percent

BOLLULLOS PAR DEL CONDADO: Neighbors pose in front of occupied house in Bollullos del Condado. Dozens of neighbors, desperate victims of the recession brought on by the collapse of Spain’s housing boom, have moved in to an abandoned building project on the outskirts of Bollullos Del Condado. — AFP

Desperate families occupy unfinished homes in Spain BOLLULLOS PAR DEL CONDADO: The washbasin in Juana Alonso’s bathroom is brand new, but no water comes out of the tap. No bulbs hang from the light fittings. The house is unfinished; no one was meant to be moving in-but Juana couldn’t wait. Along with dozens of neighbors, desperate victims of Spain’s recession brought on by the collapse of the housing boom, she has moved into an abandoned building project on the outskirts of her town, Bollullos Par Del Condado, in sweltering southern Andalucia. “I got to the point where I couldn’t pay the rent. It was impossible. This place was open, so we came in and here we are,” says Juana, 53, an unemployed care assistant, smoking wearily on her doorstep. On the edge of a green field where horses graze, Juana and her neighbors found this mini estate of more than 70 elegantly painted threebedroom houses, empty and partly plundered. She says about 70 families have moved into the estate in the past three weeks, into houses that are all but finished but lack water and electricity. “I’m hoping something will budge and they’ll give us light and water and an affordable rent,” she said, red-faced and sweating in the 40degree heat. “That’s all we’re asking for. We’re humans, not dogs.” Some of the houses have missing doors and toilets, but all at least have a roof to shield their occupants from the beating sun of early summer. Like countless projects across Spain, the site was abandoned by property developers when the bank loans dried up in the 2008 financial crisis. Local authorities have remained silent on the status of the site. Unlike many of Spain’s so-called “ghost towns”, life has returned to this one, in the form of local families ruined by the crisis. In a farming region where unemployment is nearly 37 percent-high above Spain’s huge overall rate of 27 percent-these empty lodgings have drawn the poorest of Spain’s poor. Andalucia’s left-wing regional government in April passed a measure to temporarily block evictions from homes belonging to banks or real estate firms and allow poor families to stay in them for a modest rent. The measure also imposes fines between 1,000 and 9,000 euros ($1,300 and $12,000) on banks and real estate firms that

hold on to empty homes which are fit to live, in a bid to increase the pool of affordable housing. ‘A ROOF OVER MY KID’S HEADS’ It came too late for Juana and her neighbors, who say they are now waiting for the authorities to tell them whether they can stay in the unfinished houses. A few doors down from Juana, Toni Garcia, 23, sits on a chair outside the house she has occupied. Her three-month baby lies in her lap, dressed only in a nappy in the choking heat, sucking milk from a bottle. Nearby, neighbors fill buckets from a great plastic barrel-water with which to wash or make coffee, using food and kitchen supplies donated by charities. “We had to come here because we had no other choice,” says Toni, who used to work as a farm laborer in the region’s rich olive groves. “I don’t mind sleeping on a park bench, but I don’t want that for my children. I at least want them to have a roof over them.” Brought on by a building boom going bust, the crisis has made many homeless while also, ironically, leaving countless near-finished properties ripe for squatting. There are at least 700,000 empty homes in Andalucia, according to the regional government. “We were paying 225 euros a month, which is the cheapest rent you can find. But since I’m not earning and neither is my partner, they were going to throw us out” of our previous home, says Toni. “We saw all the doors open here and realized there was no one in the houses. These houses were just going to fall to pieces,” she says. “So we moved in.” Her neighbor Jose Manuel Rodriguez, 34, stands frowning in the bare hallway of the house he has occupied with his partner and his 11-year-old daughter. He used to work in the strawberry fields that cover much of the surrounding Huelva area, but work has dried up. “We entered here without causing any damage, quite the opposite,” he says. “We called the police and the town hall, telling them that we are here. We said all we want is to negotiate a dignified solution, a home-either in this house or another,” he adds. “Let the town hall or the regional government, or whoever this place belongs to, get a move on and find a solution to this social problem.”— AFP

LONDON: British military equipment maker Chemring Group Plc said results for the year would likely be at the lower end of its expectations as it restructures its business to cope with the uncertainty around defense budget cuts in the United States. Chemring had in January said it expected difficult market conditions to persist in 2013. About $85 billion in across-the-board government cuts to both civilian and defense programs, known as sequestration, kicked in March after President Barack Obama and Congress failed to agree on a plan to bring down the United States’ budget deficit. The budget reductions have weighed on military equipment makers such as Chemring and have made it difficult for them to predict exactly how much of an impact the cuts would have on their businesses. Chemring supplies equipment such as flares and pyrotechnics for ejection seats in aircraft, and minefield breaching systems to the US military. Europe’s largest defense contractor, BAE Systems, last month left its outlook for the

Derby in the UK and in Washington and Philadelphia in the United States. The restructuring, expected to reduce headcount by 40 percent, would cost Chemring 15 million pounds and is expected to help the company save about 10 million pounds a year, mostly from 2014. “My judgment was that for what is going to be a pretty lean next few years that we really did need to simplify and minimize the overhead or the burden that we were placing on what are in the main very good operating companies,” Papworth told Reuters. The company has also revised its financial covenants with lenders and cut its interim dividend to 3.4 pence per share from 5.3 pence last year. “The positives are the fact that they’ve successfully renegotiated their banking covenants and that they’ve got this cost-cutting program... the reduction in dividend is quite sensible,” said Paul Mumford, senior investment manager at Cavendish Asset Management, which owns 917,210 Chemring shares.— Reuters

year unchanged, saying its 2013 forecast does not reflect the impact of US defense spending cuts because it does not have sufficient detail. “The US market dominates the global defense industry, and the ongoing lack of clarity caused by sequestration makes forecasting increasingly difficult,” Chemring said in a statement. Shares in Chemring were down 7 percent at 246.9 pence at 0955 GMT on the London Stock Exchange. RESTRUCTURING PAINS Apart from having to cope with the defense spending cuts, Chemring is also trying to overcome a torrid 2012 that was marred by profit warnings and failed takeover talks. The company has embarked on a restructuring under Chief Executive Mark Papworth, who took over last November and was assigned to turn around the business. Chemring said it would operate its businesses under four units. The company also decided to close its administrative offices at Pall Mall and

Warba Bank launches ‘E’tamid Warba’ promotional campaign

Europe car sales hit 20-year low

Warba Bank’s credit cards are fully Sharia compliant and incur no interest, regardless of their type (Classic, Gold, and Platinum). In addition, Warba Bank credit cards provide a range of credit limits which fulfills the needs of its customers. Cardholders will enjoy a free SMS service that enables them to keep track of their transactions. Customers can also request a supplementary card for their family members as per the credit terms and conditions.

KUWAIT: Warba Bank today announced the launch of its “E’tamid Warba” campaign showcasing the benefits and features of Retail Banking Group’s products and services including the Qardh Hasan facilities, personal finance products, credit cards and their relevant services as well as the privileges availed by customers via such cards. The campaign covers all local media means of communication, including newspapers, online and social networking websites. For the purpose of the campaign, Warba Bank will also have a special presence at both the Avenues and 360 Mall, with Warba employees on hand to respond to enquiries related to the bank’s services and products. Commenting on the campaign, Adnan Salman Al Salem, Chief Retail Banking Officer of Warba Bank, said: “The campaign, which will run for two months, is in line with Warba’s commitment to develop and offer competitive products and services that fulfill the financial requirements of our customers, while providing them with higher levels of flexibility and added value, and keeping customers familiar with the competitive services and products offered by Warba Bank.” The Campaign includes the ‘Qardh Hasan’ product which is free of profits or administrative expenses, and is available to Kuwaiti nationals and GCC residents working in both the public and private sectors, who transfer their salaries to Warba Bank. The Qardh Hasan finance is provided through pre-paid cards issued free of charge for the first year. This product also enables the customer to open, at no additional fee, an investment saving account for salary transfer purposes. The campaign also covers the bank’s personal finance products known for their flexibility and speedy processing. Warba Bank’s “Murabaha” finance is the optimal Sharia compliant product which meets the needs of customers at monthly installments throughout tenures of up to 15 years, depending on the type of Murabaha. Warba Bank provides a range of modern consumer and housing finance services at competitive rates, while in the meantime enhancing the quality of the services extended to customers.

MILAN: European car sales hit their lowest level for the month of May in 20 years as the region’s recession dragged on, the European automakers’ association said yesterday. Passenger car sale demand for May dropped by 5.9 percent on the same month last year in the 27-country European Union to 1.042 million units, the lowest level since May 1993 when sales dropped below 1 million, according to new figures released by ACEA. For the first five months of the year, sales dropped 6.8 percent to 5.07 million. The results come after April offered a brief respite, with a slight increase in sales due to an extra two work days compared with a year earlier, not a change in consumer heart. IHS Automotive analyst Carlos da Silva nonetheless sees the situation in Europe stabilizing. “After five months, the situation remains tense,” da Silva said. “Yet, for the second month in a row the rate of decline is slowing down. This means that sales are stabilizing trend-wise.” The economy of the 17 European Union countries that use the euro shrank by 0.2 percent in the first quarter of this year - the sixth such decline in a row and unemployment is at 12.2 percent. Meanwhile, the wider 27-country EU has also seen its economy slide into recession, shrinking 0.1 percent in the first three months of 2013. Europe’s recession has hit carmakers especially hard, as consumers put off purchases of high-ticket price items like cars under rising unemployment. Automakers have announced factory closures and put off new car launches in a bid for survival and to return their struggling European operations to profitability.—AP

Adnan Al Salem Throughout the promotional period, Safwa and Lamar cardholders can avail access to more than 70 VIP lounges at prestigious destinations worldwide. They will be able to enjoy comfort and luxury in addition to a group of unique services provided by such lounges to travelers. Warba Bank is the first and only Kuwaiti bank to provide these premium services via Safwa and Lamar ATM cardholders. To avail such privileges, customers need simply to show their Safwa or Lamar cards at the included lounge receptions. Customers can learn more about ‘E’tamid Warba’ campaign by visiting any of the bank’s branches or by contacting the Customer Service Center at 1825555.

EXCHANGE RATES 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

ASIAN COUNTRIES 2.985 4.856 2.874 2.205 3.075 226.110 36.604 3.641 6.566

.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

Thai Baht Malaysian ringgit Irani Riyal Irani Riyal

9.241 94.271 0.271 0.273

Omani Riyal Qatari Riyal Saudi Riyal

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

748.000 79.500 76.000

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd

GCC COUNTRIES 75.764 78.065 737.950 754.620 77.374

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

737.02 78.26 75.70

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

ARAB COUNTRIES 39.450 39.934 1.325 176.180 401.210 1.906 3.087 34.634

EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 284.000 Euro 381.270 Sterling Pound 446.590 Canadian dollar 279.250 Turkish lira 151.710 Swiss Franc 308.190 Australian Dollar 270.080 US Dollar Buying 282.800

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 20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

GOLD 261.000 131.500 68.25


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

SELL DRAFT 272.47 282.22 312.82 383.02 283.40 446.36 3.04 3.655 4.838 2.206 3.026 2.877 77.23 754.29 39.91 403.34

SELL CASH 274.000 282.000 312.000 380.000 284.500 448.500 3.300 3.670 5.050 2.550 3.250 2.900 78.000 753.000 38.800 410.000

BUY Europe 0.4385459 0.0067169 0.0467706 0.3737158 0.0457018 0.4341150 0.0400591 0.3034377

0.4475459 0.0187169 0.0517706 0.3812154 0.0509018 0.4416150 0.0450591 0.3104377

Australasia 0.2621097 0.2207648 0.0001113

0.2741097 0.2307648 0.0001113

Canadian Dollar Colombian Peso US Dollars

America 0.2723886 0.0001443 0.2816500

0.2813886 0.0001623 0.2838000

Bangladesh Taka Cape Vrde Escudo

Asia 0.0035991 0.0031476

0.0036541 0.0033776

British Pound Czech Korune Danish Krone Euro Norwegian Krone Scottish Pound Swedish Krona Swiss Franc Australian Dollar New Zealand Dollar Uganda Shilling


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

0.0452909 0.0163867 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

0.0502909 0.0194867 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

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

Arab 0.7463592 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

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

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

Transfer Rate (Per 1000) 283.500 380.350 447.300 281.250 3.850 4.917 39.955 2.200 3.642 6.615 2.878 755.000 77.250 75.750



NBK Group, VIVA ink multi-currency financing agreement

KUWAIT: (From right) Photo shows Abdulsalam Al Saleh, Boubyan Bank Deputy CEO, Pradeep Handa, NBK General Manager, Foreign Corporate, Oil and Trade Finance Group, Adel Al-Majed, Boubyan Bank Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Salman Al Badran, VIVA Chief Executive Officer, Abdulaziz Al Qatie, VIVA CFO, and Pan En, Huawei Vice President for the Middle East. KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait Group (NBK Group) and Kuwait Telecommunication Co (VIVA) have yesterday signed a multi-currency financing agreement of $270 million to finance VIVA’s plans to upgrade its network and expand in Kuwait. The financing includes a $70 million Murabaha Facility from Boubyan Bank, a member of NBK Group. The tenor of the financing is five years. Salman Al Badran, VIVA Chief Executive Officer, Adel Al-Majed, Boubyan Bank Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and Pradeep Handa, NBK General Manager, Foreign Corporate, Oil and Trade Finance Group, signed the agreement in the presence of NBK Group, Boubyan Bank and VIVA officials. Commenting on this strategic deal, Al-Badran said: “Today marks the start of a new era for VIVA. This strategic partnership will help VIVA to further expand and develop its operations by allowing additional investment in its network, services and people and most importantly, diversify the funding sources for its operations and expansions, while preserving its financial strength. The financial strength that VIVA witnesses today is a result of its customers’ loyalty and trust which it was able to gain over the years and it also reflects the trust and confidence the creditors and funders have in VIVA. I would like to extend special thanks to each of them and to each member of the VIVA family, for their whole-hearted commitment and support.” “Looking to the future, we will continue to follow our customer-centric approach, and fulfill all our customers’ needs with our

customary innovation, energy, and enthusiasm to deliver the very best telecommunication services in Kuwait.” On his part, Al-Majed said: “Signing a financing agreement of this value reflects the ability and commitment of Kuwaiti banks to shoulder their responsibilities in financing the projects of leading companies which have clear strategy and strong operational activity. The current stage requires cooperation

and the growth that Boubyan has achieved, whether on the level of products or services provided to retail or corporate customers, noting that the Bank’s 2010-2014 strategy aims at supporting and financing small and medium-size companies with high creditworthiness and ambitious plans. Handa said: “This financing agreement reflects NBK’s commitment as a trustworthy partner that can be relied

and credibility in the market place.” Handa added: “We hope this financing agreement will set the foundation of a long-term collaboration with VIVA. We are confident that VIVA will grow successfully and strengthen its position in the Kuwaiti market.” NBK was founded in 1952 as the first indigenous bank and the first joint stock company in Kuwait and the Gulf Region. NBK is the largest financial institution in

KUWAIT: Salman Al Badran, VIVA Chief Executive Officer honoring Pradeep Handa, NBK General Manager, Foreign Corporate, Oil and Trade Finance Group, on behalf of NBK Group in the presence of Adel Al-Majed, Boubyan Bank Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Abdulsalam Al Saleh, Boubyan Bank Deputy CEO, Abdulaziz Al Qatie, VIVA CFO, and Pan En, Huawei Vice President for the Middle East. among local banks in order to support the expansion plans of companies in view of the government’s plans to stir development in Kuwait.” Al-Majed added that this agreement comes along with the developments

on to support local and regional companies in their development and expansion plans. “The financing agreement also affirms NBK Group’s strong reputation and track-record in providing mega financing, as well as its professionalism

Kuwait and has been consistently awarded the highest credit rating of all banks in the region from Moody ’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch Ratings. NBK also stands out in terms of its local and international network, which

includes branches, subsidiaries and representative offices in China, Geneva, London, Paris, New York, and Singapore alongside its regional presence in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey, and the UAE. VIVA is the fastest-growing telecom operator in Kuwait. Launched in December 2008, VIVA makes things Possible for its customers by transforming communication, information and entertainment experiences. The company has rapidly established an unrivalled position in the market through its customer centric approach. VIVA’s quest is to be the mobile brand of choice in Kuwait by being transparent, engaging, energetic and fulfilling. VIVA continues to take a considerable share of the market by offering an innovative range of best value products, services and content propositions; a state of the art, nationwide network and world-class ser vice. VIVA offers internet speeds of more than 100 Mbps, due to the implementation of the most advanced fourth generation (4G LTE) network in Kuwait resulting in superior coverage, performance and reliability. Boubyan Bank was incorporated in 2004 as a shareholding company with a capital of KD 100 million through a public offering in which the majority of Kuwaiti people participated. In 2009, the Bank witnessed radical changes represented in the entry of NBK as a major shareholder following which the Bank managed to increase its market share whether on the level of finance, customers or deposits to establish itself as one of the best Islamic banks in Kuwait.

Indonesian president defends fuel hike plan People stockpile subsidized fuel in anticipation of price hike

Zain Kuwait launches competitive Internet Roaming Services rates KUWAIT: Zain, the leading telecommunications company in Kuwait, yesterday announced the introduction of competitive Internet roaming rates to customers travelling to the UK and GCC countries. These rates allow customers to surf the Internet and connect with loved ones at affordable rates, while being in total control of their roaming costs. Zain’s competitive new roaming rates cater to various segments; the first being for Internet roaming services to customers travelling to the United Kingdom. This package allows them 100MB of mobile Internet data access for just KD 7, and the service can be accessed by manually selecting Vodafone UK as the roaming network upon arrival in the country. Customers can enjoy the new rates by simply sending a text message with “DATA ON” to 99990. Additionally, roaming rates related to post-paid customers travelling across the GCC, who can now access emails and surf the Internet with Zain’s new Internet roam-

ing tariffs offered on Zain’s networks in the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom Of Bahrain, and on Etisalat’s network in United Arab Emirates, Omantel’s in Oman, and Ooredoo’s in Qatar for only KD for every 150MB. Customers can simply send a text message with “DATA ON” to 99990 to activate the new rates. As a leading telecommunications company Zain understands the importance of Internet services to its customers’ daily lives, particularly when travelling abroad. Thus the company is constantly striving to develop value-added services that meet and exceed customer expectations. Zain will continue to provide world-class services to reinforce its leadership in the Kuwaiti telecom sector. For more information about Zain’s numerous competitive promotions, customers are advised to visit any of Zain branches located in over 75 locations across Kuwait, visit the company’s website on, contact its 24 hour call center at 107, or visit the company’s social media channels.

HK investigates HSBC HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s de facto central bank said yesterday that its investigation into possible benchmark rate manipulation has been extended to include HSBC and a number of other banks. Hong Kong M onetar y Authorit y (HKMA) announced in December that is was investigating UBS about possible misconduct relating to its submissions for the Hong Kong Interbank Offered Rate (Hibor). “Apart from UBS, the HKMA have since December 2012 followed up with a number of banks including HSBC (both local and international

banks) to ascer tain whether there have been any inappropriate market conducts in their benchmark rate submissions,” HKMA said in a statement, adding that the investigation was o n g o i n g. L a s t we e k t h e M o n e t a r y Au t h o r i t y o f S i n g a p o re ( MA S ) a n n o u n ce d t h a t t r a d e r s f ro m 2 0 banks, including HSBC, has tried to inappropriately influence benchmark rates in the Southeast Asia city-state. “As home regulator of HSBC in Hong Kong, the HKMA has asked HSBC to promptly implement remedial measures and actions as required by the MAS,” HKMA said. — Reuters

JAKARTA: Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono yesterday defended his government’s plan to hike fuel prices for the first time since 2008, a day after police battled demonstrators outside parliament. Thousands protesting the plan to reduce fuel subsidies fought running battles with police firing tear gas and water cannon Monday, as lawmakers approved measures paving the way to lower the payouts in Southeast Asia’s top economy. But Yudhoyono insisted escalating public anger at an expected price increase of more than 30 percent would not deter his government from pushing through the sorely-needed measure. “We want to protect our macro economy,” he said during a speech in Jakarta. “This is important-it concerns us all.” Yudhoyono, who is expected to announce a hike in the coming days after parliament voted through a revised budget, also insisted that the government was “being forced into hiking fuel prices to cope with rising crude oil prices”. Economists have long been calling for Indonesia to reduce the subsidies, which eat up a huge chunk of the budget and are blamed for a widening current account deficit, but the government has in the past backed down in the face

of public anger. Protesters took to the streets again yesterday but fewer than the previous day, when thousands demonstrated in the capital Jakarta and across the country. Several hundred protested in front of the office of state energy firm Pertamina in Medan, on Sumatra island, while small groups of demonstrators set tyres alight and blocked roads in other cities. Jakarta was quiet. Meanwhile, reports started emerging that people were stockpiling subsidized fuel in anticipation of a price hike. Police in West Java and Lampung provinces seized thousands of litres of fuel that people had allegedly been hoarding, while Pertamina said sales had increased three to four percent in recent days. The price of fuel is expected to increase on average 33 percent, with petrol jumping from from 4,500 rupiah ($0.46) a litre to 6,500 rupiah, and diesel from 4,500 rupiah to 5,500. Following a marathon parliamentary session on Monday, lawmakers agreed on a revised budget that included a package of measures to compensate the millions of poor people likely to be hit hardest. Poor households will receive $15 a month each for the next four months to offset the impact of the fuel hike, which is expected to

cause the cost of everyday goods to go up as they will be more expensive to transport. Yudhoyono had insisted on the measures before any fuel hike, which will come at a sensitive time as parties gear up for elections in 2014. Eight thousand people demonstrated across Jakarta during the debate, with thousands outside the national parliament hurling Molotov cocktails, fireworks and bottles at police in riot gear, who fought back with tear gas and water cannon. One person received a minor injury, while at least 14 others were injured in protests across the country. Yudhoyono has been seeking to lower the huge subsidies for some time and last year came close. But parliament rejected the measure in the face of huge protests, which were bigger and more violent than this year’s. As demand for fuel has increased, the government has been forced to pay increasingly bigger bills to cover the subsidies, causing the current account deficit to expand. The urgency for action increased this week after the rupiah, which had already lost value due to the ballooning deficit, plunged to four-year lows after a sell- off on emerging markets that hit Indonesia hard.— AFP

Lebanese start-ups seeking tech boom BEIRUT: Lebanon has long suffered with some of the slowest Internet speeds in the world, but a new crop of online entrepreneurs believes their country is primed for a tech start-up boom. In the upscale Hamra district of Beirut, start-up “accelerator ” Seeqnce has a second-floor office with a vibe and style that recall 1990s Silicon Valley. The office is open-plan, a main workspace ringed by meeting rooms that are named for and painted in bright colors. Ideas are scribbled in erasable marker directly onto glass table-tops or white boards, and there’s a wellstocked shelf of alcohol that bolsters one employee’s claim that Seeqnce “throws the best parties”. Sitting at computers in the main room are some of the participants in the company’s first-ever accelerator program, a six-month effort to guide a group of eight budding Internet entrepreneurs from ideas to investment. “People are really getting into building Internet start-ups,” said Seeqnce co-founder Fadi Bizri, who helps mentor those taking part in the program. “They enter, they work with us in a boot-camp military fashion, and then they graduate and pitch to investors,” he said. He and his partners set up the program last year, planning to solicit 300 individual applications and whittle them

down to about 30. Some of their would-be investors were sceptical, but they ended up with 430 applicants, and held mixers and events until they put together eight teams they felt had potential. Among the applicants was 24-yearold Marwan Hamouche, who pitched BaytBaytak (Arabic for My House is Your House), a real estate website that connects homeowners to would-be buyers and renters. Some of his friends and family were less than thrilled at his decision to quit his job in film production and advertising and join the program. Lebanon has a reputation for entrepreneurship, but usually within a few traditional sectors, like hospitality and banking. “I got a bit criticized by friends who said ‘Marwan, you had a rather good position... why did you leave?’” he said. “I decided to take a path that is more risky and that can be more rewarding.” In exchange for a 30-percent stake, divided between itself and its investors, Seeqnce offered the eight start-ups about $38,000 in cash and six months of office space and fulltime mentoring. The cohort is diverse. At (Emedicine), users can consult a range of doctors with medical questions and view their answers to other queries. Kactus is a

BEIRUT: Lebanese entrepreneurs from different internet start-up companies work in the offices of ‘accelerator’ Seeqnce in Beirutís Hamra district. —AFP phone app that allows overwhelmed users to organize tasks into to-do lists, and helps people arrange group activities and outings. Bizri says the sites and apps are part of a tech start-up wave. “The feeling is that it’s happening, that now is the time.” With a growing number of firms available to shape start-ups, innovative loan options and improving Internet speeds, Lebanon’s would-be tech entrepreneurs benefit from an increasingly favorable environment.

Berytech is a well-established “incubator” offering workspace and seed capital to start-ups, and is also part of an ambitious new public-private plan to establish a tech hub called the Beirut Digital District. Internet speeds are climbing steadily, with average connection speeds of 1.3 megabits per second, up from just under 0.4 in 2007, according to tracker Akamai. “It was embarrassing, now it’s bad but it’s not embarrassing,” Bizri says. “It’s no longer an excuse to say ‘I can’t do a start-up.’”—AFP



Experts predict equity market crash Spendthrift elite signals equity slide LONDON: Record prices at art auctions in recent weeks and oversubscribed holidays by private jet are among signals that a stock market slump is approaching, if followers of behavioral finance are to be believed. They insist social mood governs human action, including investment on stock markets, and their theories are gaining ground as tools for financial analysis. To gauge the mood and the likely impact on markets, behavioral analysts look at traditional

measures such as investment polls and options but also at social media, including Twitter and Facebook, and even at developments in art and sport. The theory goes that people make bad decisions at moments of extreme fear or optimism and that studying their behavior could provide clues to where equities are headed. Now may be just such a moment. “Markets either have topped or will soon top, based on the behaviors I see outside of the mar-

kets, especially in art, automobiles and residential real estate,” Peter Atwater, president and chief executive of Financial Insyghts, a firm based in Mendenhall, Pennsylvania, that advises on how social mood affects decision making, said. Atwater cited an Aston Martin car fetching a record $4.85 million at auction in May, a New York sale of Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art setting 37 records last month, and holiday firm Abercrombie & Kent adding a

second departure to its 19-day tour of Africa by private jet after the first sold out. Behavioral analysts term the 140 percent rise in major indexes since 2009 the “rich man’s rally”, and say the behavior of the uber-rich reflects peak-of-the-market sentiment. Their views are in sharp contrast with many traditional analysts, who bet an improving global economic outlook, along with better company fundamentals, will take indexes to new highs in coming months despite recent “healthy” corrections. One non-traditional expert who accurately predicted 2007’s stocks bust and the recovery in 2009 is Robert Prechter, whose Socionomic Theory of Finance suggests social mood causes economic and political events instead of the other way round. “Two dozen stock market sentiment indicators show record or near-record optimism, suggesting the stock market is a lot closer to a top than a bottom,” said Prechter, founder of the US-based Socionomics Institute. To measure mood, Prechter looks at investor polls, buying in stock option contracts and polls of feelings of well-being. “In the past century at least, optimism this extreme has occurred only twice before, in 2000 and 2007,” said Prechter, whose theories have influenced many others. The S&P 500 index slid 50 percent in two years from August 2000 after the dot-com bubble burst and sank 55 percent in 17 months from late 2007 as the financial crisis took hold. It surged 33 percent in a year to hit a record high last month. CLOSE TO A TURN Terry Burnham, author of “Mean Markets and Lizard Brains” and associate professor of finance at Chapman University in Orange, California, is a recent convert. He initially held the traditional notion that economic fundamentals led market moves. “Twenty five years later, I have come to the opposite view. Prices move first and fundamentals adjust later. My sense is that we are pretty close to a turn in equity markets and people will be given no gentle opportunity to sell stocks,” he said.

Experts like Burnham, HSBC’s head of technical analysis Murray Gunn and others have been influenced by socionomics, which has gained ground since the 2000 dot-com bust, though some seeing it another tool rather than the only one. “Prechter’s theory is complementary to technical analysis. We incorporate it into our analysis by identifying mood trends,” Gunn said. Others base their strategies on these ideas. Richard Peterson, managing partner of behavioural economics consultancy MarketPsych, said he ran his fund on his model for two years during the financial crisis and beat the S&P 500 by 24 percent. A fund at Derwent Capital, launched by Paul Hawtin in 2011, used only Twitter to take investment decisions and returned 1.9 percent in its first month as global equity markets sank, but was then forced to close having failed to raise enough capital. Hawtin, who now uses Twitter analysis as his principal investment strategy to manage private accounts at his new company Cayman Atlantic, said his systems were flagging up an increasing chance of a bubble in the market. Several top global banks have been less keen to take up the trend, saying it was hard to lay down strict rules on behavioral finance and results were subject to wide interpretations. Some quantitative analysts reject the idea markets are either driven purely by mood or purely by traditional factors, seeing the two in a symbiotic relationship. “I find the term ‘socionomics’ a bit pompous. However, I subscribe to the idea that social moods may govern events,” said Julien Turc, Societe Generale’s head of cross-asset quantitative strategy. “I believe both things are the product of each other.” Behavioural finance analysts said although socionomics will continue to gain in popularity, its counter-intuitive nature challenges the way most investors think. “While I expect that it will be a while before investors intuitively think “socionomically”, those who do will be at a strong advantage to those who just follow the herd,” Atwater said. — Reuters

MADRID: People queue up outside an unemployment registry office in Madrid. — AP

Dollar, shares subdued; US Fed keeps markets on edge LONDON: Global markets mostly stuck to tight ranges yesterday, with uncertainty about the future of the US monetary stimulus program keeping investors on edge as the Federal Reserve prepared to meet. The US central bank kicks off a two-day meeting later in the day and markets are on alert for guidance on when and how quickly it will look to wind down its bond buying program. After a calmer session for Asian markets, European shares recovered from an early dip to stand almost unchanged on the day by late morning, while US futures pointed to a low-key start for Wall Street. The pickup in European shares was aided by a rise in investor sentiment in Germany, suggesting Europe’s largest economy is on the slow road to recovery, but it was only a brief distraction ahead of the Fed. The meeting has taken on greater significance since its Chairman Ben Bernanke said in May the Fed could scale down its stimulus if the US economy gains momentum, comments which have brought this year’s market rally to a shuddering halt. “I don’t think we will get any great retreat from the expectation that tapering (slowing of bond purchases) is really quite imminent,” said Nick Beecroft senior market analyst at Saxo Bank. “I think the Fed is secretly sitting with its fingers crossed, hoping that the froth continues to be skimmed off asset markets. I don’t think they will be bothered at all if the S&P500 or other risk markets fall 5 or 10 percent, as long as it didn’t happen in a (single) day.” ‘STEERING’ ECB The dollar was firmer against the yen, hovering above a two-month low against Japanese currency, although it was slightly down against other majors including the euro. Markets focused on comments from European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi

that calmer conditions in the euro zone meant monetary policy had regained its “steering capacity” again. Speaking in Israel, he also said the bank remained ready to cut rates again if needed and kept the door open to the idea of charging on deposits parked with it by banks. DAY AT THE ZEW In the debt markets, German Bund futures dipped in line with US Treasuries on the expectations the Fed may signal it is moving closer to trimming its bond purchases. Germany’s ZEW business sentiment survey, as expected, showed an uptick in the mood in Germany, though its impact was limited coming a day after the Bundesbank said it expected a summer slowdown. Also underscoring the wider regional malaise, figures showed car sales in Europe plunged to the lowest level in two decades last month. “The ZEW index has moved more or less sideways since spring. Analysts still expect that the economy will recover. But I don’t see a real breakthrough for broadly-based optimism,” said Ralph Solveen at Commerzbank. The nervousness ahead of the Fed meeting restricted growth-linked metals like copper as well as safe-haven and inflationlinked assets such as gold to minor moves. Brent crude was also barely changed around $105, holding near a 10-week high, as fears that the tensions in Syria could spark conflict in more oil-rich parts of the region provided a prop for the otherwise Fed-focused market. “The market has certainly built in a risk premium (from Syria) into prices, and this should keep it supported despite fundamentals suggesting that there is more than enough oil out there to buffer a disruption,” said Carl Larry of Oil Outlooks and Opinions.— Reuters



New Mercedes-Benz GL 63 AMG launched The Fast and the Luxurious: Mightiest 7-seater SUV on the road KUWAIT: One of the world’s most powerful SUV’s, the 7-seater Mercedes-Benz GL, has now emerged transformed from Affalterbach as the mighty GL 63 AMG - an ultimate on and off-road conqueror for Kuwait. The new GL 63 AMG, launched by A R Albisher and Z Alkazemi Co - the exclusive distributor for Mercedes-Benz in Kuwait - brings a unique 7-seater SUV that combines blistering speed with compelling technologies, pure ride comfort, and striking, unmistakable design with an extensive range of standard equipment. As one of the globe’s most powerful SUVs, the GL 63 AMG blasts from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.9 seconds, hitting a top speed of 250 km/h (electronically limited). The heavy hitter’s effortless superiority comes courtesy of the AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine, harnessing the power of 557 stampeding stallions with a maximum torque of 760 Nm. The AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension with AC TIVE CURVE SYSTEM roll stabilization provides high-level driving dynamics and comfort synonymous with the three pointed star. “The GL 63 AMG is the king of SUV’s transforming an already powerful SUV into an AMG gives birth to a car that naturally demands respect on the road. It is also a revolutionary car since it is one of the only 7-seaters that can combine space, comfort and luxury with rocket-like power,” says Michael Ruehle, General Manager, Abdul Rahman Albisher & Zaid Alkazemi Co. “This is an SUV that is extremely safe and family friendly, and yet it has enough outrageous muscle to show its mischievous side.” Ruehle, added: “The GL 63 AMG is not an intimidating ride, it is a thrilling ride, especially if the driver is a lover of challenging off-roadadventures. It is certainly unlike anything else available in Kuwait, or the world. Mercedes-Benz and AMG have produced the ultimate SUV on the road today.” The new GL 63 AMG: Luxury and refinement, striking design, maximum safety and dynamism. The perfect base for characteristic AMG performance and a superior driving experience comes in the form of the AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine. A look at the technical data provides some powerful arguments. Peak output of 557 hp and maximum torque of 760 Nm results in first-class performance while NEDC fuel consumption comes in at 12.3 liters per 100 kilometers. The AMG M 157 eight-cylinder engine features an innovative, high-tech power package including spray-guided direct petrol injection, piezo injectors, biturbo charging, air/water intercooling, all-aluminum crankcase, a four-valve-per-cylinder design with variable camshaft adjustment, plus alternator management and the ECO start/stop system.

Power is transmitted to all four permanently driven wheels by the AMG SPEEDSHIFT PLUS 7G-TRONIC. Featuring three modes and an automatic double declutching function for downshifting, this seven-speed automatic transmission offers a fascinatingly broad scope of variability. In “Controlled Efficiency” (c) mode the ECO start/stop function is active, shutting down the eight-cylinder engine as soon as the vehicle comes to a standstill. “C” also stands for a gentle accelerator and transmission characteristic with early gear changes; start-up generally takes place in second gear here. In the Sport (S) and Manual (M) driving programs the ECO start/stop function is inactive and the engine-transmission combination displays far greater agility with more spontaneous responses. A brief and exactly defined retardation of ignition and injection during upshifting at full load additionally provides for shorter shift times and an acoustic experience. ENHANCED DRIVING DYNAMICS Mercedes-AMG deploys a specially designed transfer case for the 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive, which distributes the drive power to the front and rear axle at a ratio of 40:60 in the interests of dynamic handling. As if that were not enough, the AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension with AIRMATIC package - consisting of air suspension, special damper struts, automatic level control and Adaptive Damping System (ADS) - is combined with the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM for active roll stabilization. This system, which comes as standard and is specific to AMG, employs active anti-roll bars on the front and rear axles to reduce the body’s roll angle during cornering. Apart from enhanced agility and driving pleasure, the ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM has the additional effect of increasing handling stability and therefore safety, particularly at higher speeds. Other features available on the new GL 63 AMG is the Driving Assistance package Plus, including Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, automatic child seat recognition and Distronic Plus including PRESAFE-Bake. A parking package incorporates an automatic function for entering and exiting parking spaces and includes a 360∞ camera. AMG speed-sensitive sports steering, AMG high-performance braking system. Electromechanical AMG speed-sensitive sports steering features variable power assistance which responds in accordance with the chosen suspension mode. It also helps to save fuel, as the steering assist function only requires energy when the driver actually moves the steering wheel. The AMG high-performance braking sys-

tem provides for the shortest possible braking distances and high fade resistance with ventilated and perforated brake discs, with 21-inch AMG light-alloy wheels and red painted brake calipers on the allround. PERFORMANCE-ORIENTED DESIGN Striking, masculine, unmistakeable: these attributes describe the design of the GL 63 AMG. Mercedes-AMG has enhanced the main stylistic features of the new GL - powerful dynamism and sporty elegance - using specific elements that emphasize the top V8 model’s exceptional performance. The typically upright GL radiator grille with its central Mercedes star is adorned with high-gloss slats painted in black. AMG styling elements include the front apron with its large openings that ensure an effective air flow for the cooling modules. The bottom air intake takes the form of a typical AMG stylised “A” with a gap under the fine black fin through which air can flow optimally to the cooling modules - the perfect blend of design and hightech. The trim insert in matt silver chrome

installed under it creates a sense of width and coordinates optimally with the borders of the LED daytime running lamps in the side air openings. The AMG front apron elegantly merges into the exclusive wheel-arch flaring. In order to accommodate the large 21-inch AMG light-alloy wheels with the widebase 295 tyres, the flaring widens the vehicle by 22 millimeters on each side. From the side, observers will notice the V8 BITURBO logos on the wings and illuminated running boards with an aluminum finish. The rear wheel-arch flaring blends into the AMG rear apron which is again adorned with a striking trim insert in matt silver chrome and the suggestion of black air openings. Creating both a visual and acoustic highlight are the two chromeplated, exposed twin tailpipes of the AMG sports exhaust system. EXCLUSIVITY AND DYNAMISM Great attention to detail, excellent ergonomics and a generous amount of space available - exclusivity and dynamism also dominate in the interior of the GL 63 AMG. All seven seats in the highperformance SUV are covered in highquality leather, as is the centre armrest. Electrically adjustable AMG sports seats

feature double topstitching in a contrasting color and AMG badges on the front seat backrests and outer rear seat backrests. The dashboard, armrests and door paneling come in ARTICO man-made leather with double topstitching. As part of the optional designo Exclusive package, these components can be covered in high-quality designo leather. The AMG Per formance 4-spoke Designo wood steering wheel with perforated leather in the grip area, flattened bottom section on the steering wheel rim and aluminum shift paddles ensures optimal vehicle control. Four round instruments on the AMG instrument cluster provide the driver with information. The central color TFT monitor incorporates the AMG welcome logo and AMG main menu. The GL 63 AMG also features a Harmon Kardon Logic 7 Surround-soundsystem, COMAND Online with 6-disc DVD changer, and Media interface. Ambient interior cabin lighting is available in three colors. Powerfully dynamic and elegant interior design, fine materials and lovingly crafted details, optimum ergonomics with a generous amount of space accentuated by a panoramic glass roof - the interior of the GL 63 AMG oozes the ambience of wellbeing so characteristic of Mercedes-Benz. The seats offer seven people a generous amount of space and follow the 2-3-2 system and 4 Zone Climate Control. As part of the standard specification the third seat row can be operated electrically. The GL 63 AMG is available in the A R Albisher and Z Alkazemi Co Mercedes-AMG showroom in Shuwaikh now.

Offshore oil industry tries remote control Norway testing ground for new method

ENNISKILLEN: Leaders of the G-8 member countries attend the second plenary work session at the G-8 Summit at the Lough Erne golf resort in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland yesterday. — AP

G-8 summit turns focus to clampdown on tax-dodging ENNISKILLEN: Leaders from eight of the world’s wealthiest countries spent the final hours of their summit yesterday focusing how to make sure that multinational companies can no longer rely on shelters and loopholes to avoid paying the tax they owe. British Prime Minister David Cameron, host of the two-day G-8 summit at a remote lakeside golf resort in Northern Ireland, promised “significant developments on tax” in a tweet before heading into a morning discussion on the subject with the leaders of the United States, Germany, Russia, France, Italy, Canada and Japan. British lawmakers have sharply criticized Google, Starbucks and other US multinationals operating in Britain for exploiting accounting rules by registering their profits in neighboring countries such as Ireland, which charges half the rate of corporate tax, or paying no tax at all by employing offshore shell companies. But Britain itself stands accused of being one of the world’s premier links in the tax-avoidance chain. Several of the UK’s own island territories including Jersey, Guernsey and the British Virgin Islands - serve as shelters and funnel billions each week through the City of London, the world’s second-largest financial market. “Of course Britain’s got to put its own house in order,” said Britain’s treasury chief, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, who was invited to address the G-8 meeting on corporate tax reform. Before the summit, Britain announced a provisional agreement with the finance chiefs of nine of its offshore dependencies to improve their sharing of information on individuals and companies banking cash there. Many of the world’s leading companies, ranging from Apple to the management company of U2, employ complex corporate structures

involving multiple subsidiaries in several countries to minimize the tax bills in their home nation. One such maneuver, called the “double Irish with a Dutch sandwich” allows foreign companies to send profits through one Irish company, then to a Dutch company and finally to a second nominally Irish company that is headquartered in a usually British tax haven. The US said it was committed to reforming the global accounting rules and collecting more of US companies’ profits banked outside American shores. “The goal of cracking down on tax avoidance, bringing greater transparency to it, this is something we’ve pursued in the United States, and we agree with Prime Minister Cameron that we can work together multilaterally to promote approaches that achieve those objectives,” said Ben Rhodes, President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser. Campaigners for more transparent corporate tax regimes appealed to Britain and the G-8 to ensure that reforms benefited the poorest countries of Africa, South America and Asia, not just the richest western enclaves of capital. “G-8 leaders must decide whether they want to shape the transparency revolution or resist the tide of history,” said Adrian Lovett, Europe executive director at development campaign group One.G-8 delegations also faced a final few hours of behind-the-scenes haggling to see whether all eight could express a joint position on ending the 2-yearold civil war in Syria. Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who backs the government of Bashar Assad against rebel forces, refused to shift his stance during Monday night’s working dinner on the issue. The other seven leaders, including US President Barack Obama, have shown varying degrees of support for the rebels. —AP

OSLO: Oil and gas companies are moving their control of some offshore platforms to offices on land to cut costs and improve efficiency, but labor unions say such moves reduce safety. Some oil companies already monitor platforms live from land to assist offshore crew. They can also remotely control small unmanned platforms and subsea production units. Now they are starting to control some operations of larger, manned platforms, and Norway, the world’s seventh-largest crude exporter, is serving as their testing ground. Unions say the move endangers safety, a top focus of regulators and the industry since BP’s Macondo accident in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, which killed 11 people and resulted in a massive oil spill. “Would you board a plane without a captain?” asked Christopher Birknes, a representative of trade union Industri Energi at BP. “What happens if there is an emergency situation and communication is lost between the platform and the onshore control room?” Leading the way is BP, which has moved control of the oil and gas wells at the Valhall field in the North Sea to its head office in Stavanger some 350 km away (217 miles). There is still a control room at Valhall, where processing, injection activities and the monitoring of safety systems takes place. If all goes well, however, BP says it may move control of injection and processing activities onshore, leaving only the monitoring of safety systems offshore. Total plans to control from land the platform at its Martin Linge field, which is due to start production in 2016. Statoil also is considering whether to transfer some control room activities onshore. Safety has been a focus in the North Sea in recent years. In 2012, a gas leak at Total’s Elgin field in the British section of the North Sea took weeks to get under control. Production was shut for 11 months. In Norway, oil safety regulator Ptil told BP in April it must review the way it handles risk and maintenance at offshore installations following a leak at the Ula platform, which could have caused a major accident. SPECIALISTS ON HAND BP says the new procedure enhances the management of production operations and increases safety, with engineers at the head office on hand to assist the control room operators, who are in live contact with their offshore colleagues. “In the old days, you would have to fly out specialists. This will save us time and money,” BP Norway spokesman Jan Erik Geirmo said. Total said land-based control of its Martin Linge field would mean fewer people offshore to evacuate in case of an emergency. “We could evacuate them quicker if something

happens as we would need to fly fewer helicopters,” spokesman Leif Harald Halvorsen said. Oilfields in Norway tend to be smaller than years ago after companies depleted the biggest fields, putting pressure on firms to find ways to cut costs. Costs off Norway are expected to increase 6 percent per year until 2016 due to increased prices for equipment, material and labor, according to a 2011 report by the Norwegian oil industry lobby group. “We need simpler and simpler solutions,” said Ivar Aasheim, Statoil’s senior vice-president for field development off Norway. He said Statoil also was considering whether to move some control room activities onshore. “It could happen in three to four years’ time if we decide to go ahead with this,” he said. He added, however, that the company was conscious of the potential challenges and would not implement any solution if officials thought it would endanger safety. “BAD FOR SAFETY” Norwegian trade unions are up in arms about BP’s changes at Valhall, which they see as a test case for the rest of the oil industry. One criticism is that onshore operators are not on the platform, making it more difficult to communicate. “To work in a team, you work better when you are near one another. If you are unsure, you can sit down and talk. You can’t do it in the same way with someone far,” said Dag Unnar Mongstad, a Statoil trade union official. “We do not feel safe.” Mongstad, who belongs to the Industri Energi

union, is also concerned about information being missed, because control room operators onshore would not be working the same hours as offshore workers. At Valhall, offshore staff work two 12-hour shifts 14 days in a row, while onshore staff work three eight-hour shifts on weekdays and two 12hour shifts on weekends. Onshore operators may not immediately notice things that happen on the platform because they are not there, critics say. Birknes, the trade union official at BP, is also worried about the risks of losing communication between platform and land and of hacking attacks. Industri Energi conducted a survey among members working at Valhall. Some 69 percent said they felt more unsafe after BP moved well control operations offshore, while 31 percent felt as safe as before. None felt safer. All said they would fell less safe were BP to move all control room operations onshore. But Industri Energi and another union, SAFE, have been unsuccessful in efforts to stop BP’s changes at Valhall. The Labor Ministry last week confirmed a decision by Ptil, the oil safety regulator, to approve BP’s onshore operations and said that “systems are sufficiently robust to ensure the offshore control room (at Valhall) will always be able to perform a controlled shutdown (of production)”. “The guiding principle to approve BP’s solution was that they can ensure safe operations of the Valhall field at any time. The authority considers that this is properly addressed,” Ptil spokesman Oeyvind Midttun said. — Reuters

Weight of bad loans held by Spanish banks grows MADRID: The weight of bad loans held by Spain’s banks grew in April, the Bank of Spain said yesterday, a sign of the difficulties facing the bailed-out banking sector. Doubtful loans rose to 167.1 billion euros ($222.9 billion) or 10.87 percent of all loans in April from 162.3 billion euros or 10.47 percent of all credits in March, the bank said. Bad loans began to rise at all Spanish banks after the collapse of a decade-long property boom in 2008. The bad loan ratio reached a record high of 11.23 percent of all credits in November 2012. Last year, the euro-zone agreed to finance a rescue of Spain’s banks, swamped in bad loans since a property bubble imploded in 2008 with broad and devastating economic consequences. Spain has so far withdrawn 41.3 billion euros from the euro-zone rescue loan to recapitalize its

banks. As a condition of the euro-zone rescue, Spain set up Sareb, a “bad bank” charged with mopping up bad assets at a discount and then attempting to sell them for a profit. As banks transferred toxic assets to Sareb, the level of bad loans at Spanish banks dipped-but the impact proved to be temporary. In December last year the burden of bad loans fell for the first time in 17 months as four rescued banks-Bankia, CatalunyaCaixa, NovaCaixaGalicia and Banco de Valencia-offloaded troubled assets to Sareb. But the ratio rose again in January. Once again, the weight of bad loans fell in February following toxic asset transfers to Sareb by four Spanish banks-Liberbank, Caja3, BancoMareNostrum and CEISS-before resuming its upward climb in March. —AFP



Elderflowers make Romania’s rural economy blossom SASCHIZ: As elder trees add to the beauty of Romania’s landscapes, their white flowers help its rural economy grow when they are turned into cordials exported to Britain and Japan. Every year Romanians anxiously await the blossom season in May and June to pick the delicately scented flowers and concoct a traditional soft drink called “socata”. The refreshing beverage has also inspired US giant Coca-Cola to launch an elderflower-based drink, Fanta Shokata. In Transylvania, a picturesque region praised by Britain’s Prince Charles for its rich flora and traditional agriculture, hundreds of seasonal workers carrying wicker baskets set out early in the morning to pick elderflowers. They deliver their daily harvest to a small firm producing cordials, jams and chutneys, Transylvania Food Company (TFC), based in the village of Saschiz. “Last year we picked 27 tonnes of elderflowers,” manager Jim Turnbull said. As the flowers spoil rapidly, they are turned into juice which is exported to Great Britain. A processing company, Bottlegreen, then turns the juice into cordials and sparkling drinks which it sells in Britain,

Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan. “We’ve got a five-year rolling contract which allows us to develop our business” in Saschiz, Turnbull said. Set up in 2010, his company has five full-time employees and has become the second-largest private employer in this village of 2,000. Romanian, American and Australian businessmen invested 350,000 euros ($467,700) in TFC. Their aim was to help the region develop by stimulating traditional agriculture through a “middle-sized project”. Around 1,300 seasonal workers pick elderflowers every spring. TFC pays two lei (45 euro cents, 60 US cents) for a kilo of flowers, which is more than what they used to get when they sold the harvest to medicinal herb traders, one of the villagers said. “This revenue helps us a lot,” said Alin Barabas, whose parents are among the pickers. An experienced picker can collect up to 20 kilos per day, bringing in 40 lei (9 euros, $12) in a country where the minimum monthly wage is just under $200. Turnbull said he believes TFC offers a fair price and notes some “get often what might be their only income in a period of a few weeks” from picking

elderflowers as there are no other cash crops so early in the season. ‘OLD TRADITION IN ROMANIA’ In the neighboring village of Bunesti, Sorin Neculaie has also gone into making elderflower syrup. After working in Finland in electronics and the food industry, Neculae felt the need to go back to the landscapes and the rural life he used to know as a child. Thanks to the 100-percent natural currant and elderflower syrup he makes and sells to several restaurants throughout Romania he could return to his native village and start a new life. A bold decision in a region where many choose to emigrate to other EU nations in search of better paid jobs and brighter perspectives. The ADEPT Foundation, which helps local producers benefit from a low-rent workshop meeting European standards in Saschiz, made it possible for Neculae to go into business without having to come up with tens of thousands of dollars to set up his own production facility. “Elderflower drinks are an old tradition in Romania,” Neculae said.

Under the communist regime when soft drinks were not available in shops, “‘socata’ was a wonderful beverage for us, children,” said Carla Szabo, one of Romania’s most famous jewelry designers. Even after the fall of communism in 1989, Romanians did not abandon their ‘socata’, although the local market has been flooded by Western brands of beverages. In 2002, Coca-Cola released the Fanta Shokata, “after having studied the traditional recipe of the Romanian ‘socata’,” the company told AFP. The drink is sold in several Balkan countries. And the traditional ‘socata’ has made a comeback in private kitchens and public bars. Octavian, a Bucharest bartender, says he prepares ‘socata’ every spring and serves it to thirsty customers including many well-known artists. Szabo said she started making ‘socata’ three years ago, driven by “nostalgia over (her) childhood”. “The comeback of ‘socata’ is also related to this new trend that makes people pay more interest to their diet, to homemade, natural products,” she stressed. “People are also becoming more conscious of the extraordinary things they can find in Romania and that anyone can afford.” — AFP

UK inflation rebounds more than expected Airfares lift consumer price inflation to 2.7%

LULU Group and ADNOC ink deal KUWAIT: Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and Line Investment & Property LLC, a subsidiar y of Lulu Group International, have signed an agreement that would make the latter assume the Operations and Management Services responsibilities of the Ruwais Shopping Mall in Gharbia. Line Investment & Property LLC is expected to provide maximum effectiveness and deliver efficiency in the operation of the Mall. An agreement to this effect was signed by Saeed Said Al Qamzi Director of Administration, ADNOC and Yusuffali MA, Managing Director of Lulu Group International at ADNOC HQ yesterday. On behalf of HE Abdulla Nasser Al Suwaidi, ADNOC Director General, Mohammed S Al Qubaisi Human Resources Director at ADNOC witnessed the signing ceremony in the presence of Saifee T Rupawala CEO, Ashraf Ali M A, Executive Director of Lulu Group International and Raja Abdulkader, Director of Line Investments. The Mall will serve residents of the Ruwais Residential Complex (RRC), operated by ADNOC, and the population in the Ruwais area, where the number of inhabitants is expected to reach 20,000 by the year 2015. RRC has been witnessing continuous development and growth due to mega projects and developments, which are executed by ADNOC in the Oil and Gas Sector in Gharbia. The Ruwais Shopping Mall covers an

area of 31,254 square meters where it is considered the biggest shopping mall in Gharbia comprising 32 shops as retail outlets divided between two floors. The mall includes 416 car parking spaces, four restaurants, five cafes and seven fast food outlets, in addition to a number of recreational facilities including ice rinks, bowling tracks, cinema halls and services facilities that cover an area of 13,522 square meters on built-up areas. “Due to its distinct location, the Ruwais Shopping Mall serves the RRC population, residents of Ruwais and also commuters using the freeway that connects the UAE with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, in addition, to the Nuclear Plant in Al Baraka and its surrounding areas. The mall provides added value to the services and recreational facilities that it would be considered a leisure outlet for all residents and workers in the area, in addition to being an attractive destination from across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and rest of the UAE contributing to economic and touristic prosperity,” added Al Qamzi. Commenting on the agreement Yusuffali MA said, “We are delighted to be chosen by ADNOC to manage and operate this prestigious project in Ruwais. It is in sync with our Group’s commitment to expand further into the western regions of Abu Dhabi so that the residents there don’t have to travel long distance to get world class shopping and leisure activities”.

DSI, DFM launch Dedicated Investor Outreach Program DUBAI: Drake & Scull International PJSC (DSI), a regional market leader in the integrated design, engineering and construction disciplines of General Contracting, Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP), Water and Power, Rail and Oil and Gas, launched yesterday its Investor’s outreach program in collaboration with the Dubai Financial Market (DFM). The program is dedicated to promote DSI’s successful equity story and to highlight the company’s latest achievements, prospects and growth plans. The company’s focus week was inaugurated at the DFM trading floor. Khaldoun Tabari, CEO of DSI addressed an audience of over 60 brokers and investors providing details of the company’s latest developments and strategic highlights in an interactive presentation followed by a networking session. DSI’s outreach program is the latest in a series of Company Focus Weeks held by companies that are listed on DFM or NASDAQ Dubai. The programs are facilitated by the two exchanges, which share the same trading platform. On this occasion, Tabari said: “We are pleased to launch this dedicated program in collaboration with DFM. It’s a great opportunity

to stimulate additional interest in our future prospects to maintain our capital base. Since our IPO in 2008, we remained focused on providing high quality, affordable integrated engineering services to our customers within the markets we service. “ “As real estate and infrastructure development expands quickly in the region, DSI is poised for significant growth in the coming years. We are involved in many exciting projects and operations in the UAE, MENA, Asia, Africa and Europe that are driving the company’s progress. Company Focus Week is an excellent platform for us to showcase our latest achievements to a wide range of international audience while promoting capital markets activity in Dubai.” Essa Kazim, Managing Director and CEO of DFM, said: “The Company Focus Week is a key initiative that raises awareness of the UAE’s capital markets and the possibilities that they offer to institutional and individual investors, in the region and overseas. We are delighted to host DSI’s outreach program in the interests of educating market participants and promoting dialogue between listed companies and the public.”

LONDON: British inflation rebounded more than expected in May, data showed yesterday, primarily because of rising air fares and in contrast to April’s seven-month low. Economists found little significance of the rise, seeing the inflation outlook ahead as generally benign. Annual consumer price inflation rose to 2.7 percent in May from April’s low of 2.4 percent, a bigger increase than economists had forecast though still below March’s level, the Office for National Statistics said. Market reaction was limited, and economists said they still believed inflation was on track to return to its 2 percent target sooner than the Bank of England had expected a few months ago because the pound has strength-

ened and commodity prices weakened. May’s 22 percent rise in airfares - the biggest jump for the time of year since records started in 2001 - did not change the broader picture of slowly falling inflation, economists said. “Looking over a two or three month horizon, which I think you have to do, the inflation picture is a little better. But it is still above target and still a little bit sticky,” said Ross Walker, an economist at Royal Bank of Scotland. Economists had expected some rise in inflation this month as there had been a sharp fall in the annual rate of inflation in May 2012. Nonetheless, the overall outlook for inflation is more benign than it seemed a few months ago. Last month the central bank forecast

inflation would peak at just over 3 percent later this year before falling back to 2 percent by early 2015 - a view still broadly shared by economists after yesterday’s data. Separate figures published by the ONS yesterday also showed a relatively muted outlook for consumer price inflation. Factory gate prices - which act as a leading indicator for some parts of CPI - rose by an annual 1.2 percent, a smaller increase than economists had forecast. But Britain’s unusually cold weather this year may push up food prices, with the ONS reporting a 19.2 percent annual rise in the cost of home-grown food, and potatoes and fresh vegetables particularly hit. — Reuters

BMW celebrates 2013 ‘Engine of Year Awards’ KUWAIT: BMW Group recently received ‘Class Victories’ at the 2013 Engine of the Year Awards for its BMW 2.0-litre BMW TwinPower Turbo engine and the MINI 1.6-litre TwinPower Unit. Reiterating its commitment to delivering the best to its consumers, Ali Alghanim & Sons Automotive, the BMW Group importer in Kuwait, is offering these two award winning engines on select BMW and MINI vehicles. The winning BMW engine comprises a twin-scroll turbocharger, High Precision Direct Injection and BMW Valvetronic fully variable valve control. The 180 kW/245 hp version of the engine is used to power the BMW 328i, BMW 528i and BMW X3 xDrive28i MINI’s 1.6-litre four cylinder TwinPower Turbo unit was yet again dominant for the third consecutive year and is featured in the MINI Cooper S as well as the MINI Cooper S Countryman and MINI Cooper S Paceman where it can be combined with the ALL4 all-wheel-drive system. The engine’s maximum output of 135 kW/184 hp enables the MINI Cooper S to accelerate from 0100 km/h in 7.0 seconds and deliver average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle of 5.8 liters per 100 kilometers. “BMW Group’s success at the awards is yet another testament to the company’s leadership position and the quality of its brands - we are extremely proud to be its partner,” said Yousef Al Qatami, General Manager, Ali Alghanim & Sons

Automotive. “The Kuwaiti market is one where customers are truly discerning and always on the look out for the latest and the best that a brand can offer. BMW and MINI are immensely popular in Kuwait because they are the perfect blend of quality and innovative technology, offering customers something truly unique to suit their every need and demand.” The winners in each category and overall are decided by an international jury, made up this

year of 84 motoring journalists from 35 countries. Since 1999, the BMW Group has racked up over 60 class and overall wins in the competition. Delivering quality vehicles and best-in-class services to its customers, Ali Alghanim & Sons Automotive is the exclusive BMW Group importer in Kuwait. Building on a relationship forged with the BMW Group in 1986, Ali Alghanim & Sons Automotive continues to grow from strength to strength.

‘Free insurance’ for Gulf Bank Credit Card holders KUWAIT: Gulf Bank has announced that its credit cardholders can now get complementary travel insurance for themselves, their spouse and dependent children under the age of 18 when they purchase airline tickets using their Gulf Bank credit cards. The Bank has partnered with Chartis MEMSA Insurance Company to offer this comprehensive and worry-free travel insurance promotion. Gulf Bank’s credit cardholders wish-

ing to get free travel cover should visit any Gulf Bank branch with their airline tickets and associated credit card receipt as proof of purchase to obtain their complementary insurance certificate. Chartis is a world leading property-casualty and general insurance organization with more than 70 million clients around the world. Known for its world-class talent with the know-how to

assess vulnerability and underwrite the most complex risks, Chartis enables commercial and personal insurance clients to manage almost any risk with confidence. To find out more about Gulf Bank’s most recent promotions, visit the Bank’s bilingual website at, call the Customer Contact Center on 1805805, or visit one of Gulf Bank’s 56 branches for assistance and guidance.



‘Soft darts’ hits bullseye with high-tech game

NEW YORK: A February 2, 2011 file photo shows Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of Internet Services, speaks at the launching event at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. A top Apple executive downplayed the theory of an e-book price-fixing conspiracy at an antitrust trial. — AFP

Mysterious Jobs emails hang over Apple trial NEW YORK: The late Steve Jobs took center stage Monday in the latest twist in the Apple antitrust trial on ebooks. A federal court attempted to plumb the meaning of a series of unsent emails Jobs addressed to Eddy Cue, an Apple senior vice president assigned with negotiating ebook contracts with major publishers in late 2009 and early 2010 before the launch of the iPad. Even though the emails were never sent, government prosecutors argue that they help establish a pattern of Apple serving as a “ringleader” in a conspiracy with the publishers to force the retail book industry to adopt higher prices of ebooks. The government contends that Apple forced publishers to change their pricing system with Amazon, resulting in higher ebook prices across the industry and costing consumers hundreds of millions of dollars. Apple maintains that it was indifferent to Amazon’s contracts with the publishers and that higher ebook prices were set by publishers, not Apple. All of the draft emails responded to a message from Cue outlining the emerging price of Apple ebooks, which would be $12.99 or $14.99, up from the $9.99 Amazon had sold for bestsellers. In most of the drafts, dated January 14, 2010, Jobs is seen picking over the impact of the emerging deal between Apple and the publishers, according to testimony. This included the effects of an Apple “most favored nation” (MFN) provision requiring publishers to make available to Apple any ebook offered on another retailer for the same price. The bombshell was a draft note to Cue in which Jobs said, “I can live with this as long as they move Amazon to the agent model too for new releases for the first year.” “If they don’t, I’m not sure we can be competitive.” The Amazon note appears to be the last draft email in the series, said Cue. It is also the only one in the series signed by Jobs. US Justice Department lawyer Lawrence Buterman depicted Jobs’s draft Amazon email as part of a pattern of Apple demanding publishers to change their terms from a “wholesale” model in which retailers set price to an “agency” model in which publishers set price but guaranteed booksellers a 30 percent commission. The government contends this shift led to higher ebook prices. Buterman also pointed to a January 4 letter from Cue to the publishers demanding that all publishers shift their

other retailers to the agency model. Cue said that letter was an initial proposal before he understood the business and realized that Apple could not impose its model on other retailers. Apple dropped the requirement on other retailers going to agency as soon as it developed the MFN provision, which guaranteed it could compete with Amazon and others, Cue said. US District Judge Denise Cote joined prosecutors in repeatedly questioning Cue about the draft emails by Jobs. The emails suggest Jobs was confused about how the MFN provision worked, Cue told Cote. “Steve would never send an email if he wasn’t sure about it,” Cue said. “It looks like he’s struggling.” After signing with Apple, the five publishers demanded to shift Amazon to the agency model. Apple maintains that it had nothing to do with Amazon’s negotiations with the publishers. Some publishers have told the court that they decided to shift Amazon to agency because of the Apple MFN provision. Otherwise, they would have been forced to keep selling bestsellers at $9.99. The publishing industry viewed the $9.99 price as eroding the value of all books. Cote questioned whether Apple also sought higher prices. “There’s another way to read this,” Cote said. “There’s some concern at Apple about profitability at $9.99, even with the 30 percent commission.” But Cue said “there’s absolutely zero chance of that” because Apple has learned to make money with its commission no matter the price of a retail good. Apple was indifferent to book price, Cue said. Earlier in Monday’s testimony, Cue disputed that Apple’s entry made all books more costly. Rather, Apple made possible the sale of ebooks that publishers had delayed to Amazon in a practice known as “windowing,” because of dissatisfaction with the pricing model. “We didn’t raise prices for books that weren’t available,” Cue said. But Cue, in response to questions from Buterman, acknowledged that some ebook prices did go up. Cue admitted that the day of the iPad launch, a memoir by the late US senator Edward Kennedy, “True Compass,” was not windowed and that Apple was selling the book for $14.99, while it retailed on Amazon for $9.99. “For that book, that’s correct,” said Cue, who concluded two days of testimony Monday. — AFP

Yahoo! says it has received thousands of US requests WASHINGTON: Internet giant Yahoo! said in a letter to users that it has received up to 13,000 requests for information from US law enforcement agencies in a six-month period ending May 31. The letter titled “Our Commitment to Our Users’ Privacy” was posted on the company’s Tumbler page late Monday, and was signed by Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer and the company’s top lawyer, Ron Bell. Yahoo!, along with Facebook, Microsoft and Apple, have come under heightened scrutiny since word leaked of a vast, covert Internet surveillance program by the US government, which it insists targets only foreign terror suspects and has helped thwart attacks. Between December 1, 2012 and May 31, 2013 “we received between 12,000 and 13,000 requests, inclusive of criminal, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and other requests.” According to the letter, the most common requests “concerned fraud, homicides, kidnap-

pings, and other criminal investigations.” “Like all companies, Yahoo! cannot lawfully break out FISA [US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] request numbers at this time because those numbers are classified; however, we strongly urge the federal government to reconsider its stance on this issue.” Major Internet firms have faced a public backlash since government contractor Edward Snowden leaked details of PRISM, a vast program that saw nine high-tech companies turn over user data to the US National Security Agency. The companies have denied claims the NSA could directly access their servers. US authorities have said the program was legal and limited. Yahoo! said that it will issue in the next months “our first global law enforcement transparency report, which will cover the first half of the year. We will refresh this report with current statistics twice a year.” — AFP

HONG KONG: Picture your stereotypical darts player. Middle-aged and overweight, with a gut spilling over a waistband, cultivated through years of swilling beer during tense matches. But a radical transformation is taking place and the game that was once the preserve of grown-ups in dimly lit pubs has been reborn in the 21st century, with teenagers and young adults eagerly flocking to dedicated darts bars. A new breed of dynamic young player has emerged, playing a high-tech version of the game complete with flashing lights, electronic bleeps and a computer that does all the troublesome maths for you. Welcome to the world of soft darts, which has been big in Japan for some years but is now hitting the bullseye as it sweeps across Asia, with a rapidly swelling fanbase and its own high-profile tournaments. The most lucrative one this year is offering a prize pot of HK$5 million ($650,000). One of the game’s top players, Singapore’s Paul Lim, describes the differences between the traditional game and soft darts-where the arrows’ steel tips are replaced with plastic points and the electronic board calculates your scoresas similar to those between snooker and pool. “If you look at snooker and pool, how many more people play pool? It’s a lot easier. People get a lot more enjoyment because it’s a far simpler game,” said Lim, who was the first ever darts player to throw a perfect nine-dart finish during a world championship in 1990. “I’ve been playing steel-tip for 38 years and I’ve been involved in soft-tip for about 15 years. Soft-tip is much faster and simpler. This is made for people not to think, just to have fun.” While soft-tip darts have been around for decades-darts manufacturer Harrows says the electronic game was developed in the United States in 1977 — one company in particular is blazing a trail around the world. Dartslive, which both manufactures and distributes soft-tip boards, is linking up all the machines they provide to venues worldwide electronically, allowing players on opposite sides of the planet to step up to the oche and take each other on in real time. Launched in 2003 in Japan, the company expanded its operation overseas in 2009 when it opened a venue in Hong Kong. Since then it has spread rapidly to 14 countries. “ When we started in Hong Kong, ever y month I would say we would have about 500 new players. It’s a cool atmosphere, almost like clubbing. People come in for a few drinks. It’s entertainment. It’s fun,” said Lim, an early proponent of the game. Players each pay a small fee per game and

HONG KONG: A man is seen at Dartslive, a dart bar, in Hong Kong. Dartslive which launched in 2003, expanded its Japan operation overseas in 2009 when it opened a venue in Hong Kong. Since then it has spread rapidly to 14 countries worldwide. — AFP have the opportunity to swipe their own mem- in Hong Kong in April and, after legs around the bership card, which then records all their scores world, the final will be played in the city in for the various games that can be played. There December where the winner will pocket HK$1 are even mobile phone apps that allow players million ($130,000) of a total HK$5 million prize pot. Ngu believes that the sport is growing at to meet in cyberspace after they have played. Dartslive International’s Hong Kong-based such a clip that its total prize pot will eclipse that CEO Steve Ngu said the firm’s aim was to bring of traditional darts tournaments within just three years. the traditional game into the electronic age. Indeed many big names in the traditional “Dartslive is a company combination of real and virtual world. You can physically play each game are seeing there’s money to be made other and then you can come and chat online,” through prizes and sponsorship and are travelhe explained. “Our aim is to be a network plat- ling to Asia to take on Japan’s best, such as form. We are trying to attract people across the Takehiro Suzuki-winner of the Soft Darts World digital world. People who watch TV and use Championship 2012 — and Mitsumasa Hoshino. Britain’s Colin Lloyd and Mark Webster were Facebook, people who play sports-we are trying to draw them into the platform, to group them among players from all over the world who gathered in Hong Kong in April for a showcase together and let them have fun. “It’s like a small kingdom. We keep inviting tournament eventually won by US player Scott people to come and stay,” he added. The strate- Kirchner. But for the average player, not quite gy, it would seem, is paying dividends with the accustomed to top-flight matches, the draw of business turning over $100 million a year, soft darts is the ease of the game and its hip according to Ngu, in a growing industry he esti- image, according to Eric Chu, CEO of the iDarts Group, which runs a dedicated soft darts bar in mates to be worth $200 million worldwide. ‘It’s more glamourous’-Major darts manufac- Hong Kong. “The Japanese darts players are very turers, including Harrows, Unicorn and Target, cool, like male models. They appeal to more peohave also seen the potential for profit and a wide ple than traditional darts players, it’s more glamselection of branded soft-tip accessories are now orous,” he said. “Playing steel-tip you have to have good sold alongside traditional steel-tip darts. In an effort to further dominate the soft-tip maths, but this does it all for you. Everyone can market, Dartslive organises the Soft Darts World play, you don’t need to calculate while you play. Championship. The 2013 competition kicked off “It’s fun, it’s positioned as entertainment.” — AFP

Bolstering Security is Good MPS Business DUBAI: Dan Smith, Head of Integrated Marketing for the Middle East and Africa region of Xerox’s Developing Markets Operations. Security is increasingly climbing to the top of list of IT priorities for businesses large and small and with good reason. As security threats become more sophisticated and regulatory compliance requirements more strict, businesses owners are looking for simpler ways to protect their data. While cost is still the key driver for business owners considering MPS, security is quickly becoming a close second. You have the opportunity to add value and bolster your business by raising awareness about printer and document security risks, and ultimately incorporating security expertise and products into managed print contracts. And let’s face it, when it comes to IT security, multifunction devices are often overlooked. Malicious software and viruses are most often associated with personal computers, but the truth is, any networked device is vulnerable. Security and networking expert Mark Gibbs explains it best, in these article excerpts: With this increased sophistication [of multifunction devices (MFDs) running highly customized versions of open source operating systems] comes the requirement that MFDs have to be managed and their integrity has to be protected just like any other network endpoint. To defend your network against the many potential attacks that MFDs could be subjected to there are a number of features that any enterprise-worthy product should offer and which you should have incorporated into your network security strategy. These include: * Fine-grained and rich user authentication and access control services * Extensive audit logging facilities * Secure printing that blocks unauthorized viewing or theft of output by holding jobs until a PIN or authentication device is physically pre-

sented at the MFD * Disk image overwrite to securely delete data stored in the MFD * An embedded fax subsystem to completely separate the network connection and telephone line thus preventing unauthorized communications between the two channels * IP address filtering to limit communications with specific networks and devices * Support for secure protocols to transfer data to and from the MFD and for administration access over the network To ensure that the MFD can’t be manipulated or subverted, its operating system needs to have built-in integrity checking and intrusion detection. While the technologies that support this level of systemic defense are becoming common in top-end server systems, their use in MFDs is only just becoming understood as a strategic issue in enterprise networks. Every enterprise looking to invest in new multifunction devices should be demanding that along with the rest of the shopping list of

security features, integrated operating system defenses are included because ever more sophisticated and complex threats to networked devices are only going to become more common. Want more data to convince your customers? Let them know that more than half of office workers surveyed (54 percent) say they either don’t always follow their company’s IT security policies (33 percent) or aren’t even aware of the policies (21 percent) - leaving the security of customer credit card numbers, financial reports, and human resource and tax documents at risk. This survey data from Xerox and McAfee also showed 39 percent of employees who copy, scan or print confidential information at work say they wonder (at least sometimes) whether the information on a networked device will remain secure. IT administrators don’t always consider printers as a threat - you have the opportunity to help them put up even more defenses in products and policies, so they don’t have to. For more information visit:

Digital Identities: I Have One For Sale DUBAI: The term digital identity is so suiting to who we really are online. Think about the accounts we log in to on a regular basis, the activities we perform each day, and the way we communicate with others, today most of our lives are digital. In a research study by Harris Polls on digital identities, commissioned by RSA, the most popular online accounts for consumers are email, financial and banking, and entertainment or shopping. And on average, users access these online accounts from two different digital devices. But what does a digital identity really mean? As an average consumer or online user here’s what I consider to be my digital identity - and perhaps make you think a little more about yours. Financial Identity: For most people, their financial identity is the one they treasure most for if a hacker takes over their bank account and steals the money in it, they’d be lost. Having said that, we often just attribute our financial identity to our bank accounts or credit cards because we use or

access them almost every day. Have you thought about yourstock account or payroll information? Or your flexible spending or savings account? As you can see, your financial identity extends well beyond just your bank account. Personal Identity: In a digital world, the two things most connected to our personal identities are our personal emails and social networking accounts. While we use our personal emails to sign up or register for almost everything from utility bills to e-commerce or news, we use our social networking accounts to share our personal lives and moments with friends and family. Despite the significance of these accounts, most people don’t realize the value these simple accounts hold to a criminal or hacker, but the hackers do. For example, many online service providers notify users via email of any changes on the account so if a hacker had access to your email, they could go in and delete the notifications so you wouldn’t be suspicious. Trust me, this happens all the time!

Shopping Identity: In a world where people most often turn to online shopping for great deals and last minute bargains most peoplehave at least two dozen various online shopping identities that they use or have used in the past. Remember these accounts and identity is connected to one’s personal accounts and identity. Online Gaming Identity or Entertainment Identity: Whether it’s watching videos online, listening to music or even playing the latest edition of Farmville, Angry Birds, and Age of Vampires among others, your entertainment identity or online gaming identity completes your digital identity. People often skip the importance of these identities, easily forgetting that whether it’s YouTube or a game you most often need to sign up using your personal email, tying these accounts to your personal identity. According to the Harris research, the average adult creates about two new online accounts every year, but I think it’s many more than that. We just don’t realize it because many are “one-time use”

accounts - like the ones we create to subscribe to make that rare purchase or sign up for a new service. The problem is that we are likely using the same usernames, email address, and passwords that we use to log in to our everyday accounts like our online banking account. The reality and the risk: most small merchants don’t have the same security in place to protect your personal information that Amazon, Google or even a big bank does. And with small merchants such a high value target for cybercrime, just one small breach could translate into your digital identity being compromised across multiple sites you access every day. Be mindful every time you are asked to create an online account. If it is one that will be used only once or rarely, give yourself a very unique username and password. And to make it better (possibly stay safer) also make sure you change the passwords to your major online accounts on a regular basis (about every 90 days).


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

US program marks birth of one millionth HIV-free baby

SINGAPORE: People visit Merlion park blanketed in a thick haze yesterday. —AFP

Singapore, Indonesia tussle over haze problem SINGAPORE: Smog from forest fires on Indonesia’s Sumatra Island eased in Singapore yesterday but the city-state continued to press its larger neighbor to solve the recurring problem. Singapore’s Pollutant Standards Index fell to a “moderate” rating of 82-88 before nightfall yesterday under an air-quality monitoring system that classifies any reading above 100 as “unhealthy”. The index had peaked at 155 on Monday night, Singapore’s worst outbreak of cross-border air pollution since 2006. Most commuters in Singapore walked in bright sunshine yesterday without covering their faces despite hazy skies and the lingering smell of burnt wood. A few wore disposable masks as a precation against respiratory irritation. Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s minister for environment and water resources, kept up the pressure on Indonesia despite the improved situation. In a posting on his Facebook page, Balakrishnan said he had spoken with Indonesian Environment Minister Balthasar Kambuaya and “expressed our deep distress with the situation”. “This is the worst in seven years-and has practically become a permanent fixture every year,” Balakrishnan wrote. He suggested that Indonesia name the companies responsible for the fires. “We need to exert commercial pressure against companies causing the haze,” Balakrishnan said. On Monday, an Indonesian forestry ministry official, Hadi Daryanto, shifted some of the blame to Malaysia and Singapore, saying their palm oil companies that had invested in Indonesia were also responsible. “We hope the governments of Malaysia and Singapore will tell their investors to adopt proper measures so we can solve this problem together.” Regional environmentalists said the problem must be tackled by both Singapore and Indonesia. Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s largest nation while tiny Singapore, just minutes away by fast boat from Indonesian territorial waters, is the region’s financial hub.

“Singapore is saying that Indonesia needs to enforce the law,” Bustar Maitar, head of Indonesia Forest Campaign at campaign group Greenpeace International, told AFP. “But in actual fact, some palm oil plantations in Indonesia are listed in Singapore and have headquarters in Singapore. A lot of Malaysian plantations are also based here in Indonesia,” Maitar said. “In my perspective, it

nership with UNAID and UNICEF,” Goosby said. The program was working to “virtually eliminate pediatric HIV by 2015 and keep their mothers alive,” he said, with aim of reducing the number of babies born with the infection to around 30,000 annually. This is “a significant flag for PEPFAR” which works in 36 countries, he added, pointing to all the difficulties in reaching women in rural, poor and remote areas of the world. This involves not just identifying the mother, but getting her on a drugs program and keeping her in treatment through that pregnancy and any later pregnancies-not always an easy task in rural Africa. Once the chances of a mother infecting her baby stood at around 30 percent, but now with the launch of a cocktail of three anti-retroviral drugs that has dropped to only about two percent, Goosby said. Absent a medical breakthrough leading to a cure, experts are working towards a so-called “tipping point” when fewer people contract HIV every year than the number of people going onto treatments. US Secretary of State John Kerry, hosting yesterday’s ceremony, was also to announce that some 13 countries, from Botswana to Zimbabwe, were close to that all important “tipping point.” In Ethiopia and Malawi, the ratio of new HIV infections to the increase of patients on treat-

ment is just 0.3. The figures are startling. Ethiopia-which with a population of 84.7 million is the most populous African country after Egypt-for instance registered only 11,000 new cases of HIV in adults in 2011. Launched under former president George W. Bush, PEPFAR was an initial commitment of some $15 billion over five years aimed specifically to provide antiretroviral drugs to HIV infected people. That has risen to a budget of about $5.5 billion annually, including its contribution to the Global Fund-the world’s largest financing organization of programs to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. And although some 1.7 million people still die every year from AIDS-related illnesses, PEPFAR supports more than 5.1 million on treatment programs. The program estimates that worldwide more than 16 million children are living without one or both parents who have succumbed to AIDS, while millions more are left vulnerable with their parents chronically ill. “With the PEPFAR program we’ve been able to very specifically target 22 countries in sub-Saharan Africa which make up about 85-90 percent of the pediatric burden on the planet,” said Goosby. Globally new HIV infections have fallen some 19 percent in the past decade, and AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 26 percent since a peak in 2005. — AFP

Hong Kong dolphin numbers dwindling quickly

SINGAPORE: A woman wearing a face mask uses a mobile phone as Singapore suffered a second day blanketed in a thick haze. —AFP is not only Indonesia. Singapore should also ask its companies who invest in Indonesia to not use fire, doing the same thing to enforce the law and increase environmental awareness.” Jose Raymond, executive director of the independent Singapore Environment Council, said Singapore and Indonesia should publicly name the plantation owners using slash-and-burn land clearing. “The public can stand together in letting their voices be heard and this can have a considerable impact on the way these landowners conduct their commercial activities,” Raymond told AFP. —AFP

China launches its first carbon trading scheme BEIJING: China, the world’s largest carbon emitter launched yesterday its first carbon trading scheme aimed at reducing emissions, an official said. A platform allowing businesses in the southern city of Shenzhen to trade carbon emission permits among each other held an official launch ceremony and has completed several trades, a spokeswoman for the city’s foreign affairs office who did not provide her name told AFP. China plans to open similar schemes in seven areas before 2014, in what analysts say is a step towards a nationwide carbon market. “This is the first step towards a national carbon trading system,” Li Yan, head of environmental group Greenpeace’s climate and energy campaign in China, told AFP. But analysts have said that the scheme, which covers just 38 percent of the city’s emissions, is unlikely to produce significant emissions reductions. “It only covers less than half of the city’s emissions, so the

WASHINGTON: This month somewhere in subSaharan Africa the one millionth baby will be born without HIV to a mother who suffers from the disease, thanks in large part to a decade-old US aid program. It is yet another remarkable step in the long fight against HIV and AIDS, as the United States and its global partners work towards what they call an AIDS-free generation, which just a decade ago would have been unimaginable. Mother-to-baby transmission has long been a source of concern among governments and organizations working to control the spread of HIV. But more effective anti-retroviral drugs and regimens are now dramatically cutting the chances of an infected mother passing on the disease to her baby during pregnancy or breastfeeding. The millionth baby born HIV-free yesterday trumpeted as part of celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, known by its acronym PEPFAR. The biggest fall in transmission rates from mom to infant has come since 2009, US Global AIDS coordinator Eric Goosby told AFP. “Somewhere round 430,000 babies are born annually with HIV and this project that we’ve been in really since the beginning of PEPFAR and has intensified over the last three years in part-

effectiveness in terms of carbon cuts needs to be seen,” Li said. “To me the pilot is necessary homework to get the country prepared on its capability to manage carbon.” Because of its reliance on coal and heavy industry, China has emerged as the top producer of climate-changing carbon emissions, ahead of the United States, though its per capita emissions remain far below the US. China has no targets to reduce absolute carbon emissions and government officials have said they will continue to rise until around 2030. Beijing is aiming by 2020 for a 40 percent reduction from 2005 levels of carbon intensity, a measure of the amount of carbon produced per unit of economic output. Under the trading schemes, companies will be assigned an emissions quota and will be able to profit from selling excess permits to other firms if they emit below their quota, reports said. —AFP

BEIJING: A man takes a nap beside a lake after a morning swim yesterday. —AFP

HONG KONG: Conservationists yesterday warned that the number of rare Chinese white dolphins in Hong Kong waters has fallen to its lowest level in a decade of monitoring, and urged the government to immediately create more protected areas. The number of the marine mammals, also known as pink dolphins for their unique color, has fallen from an estimated 158 in 2003 to just 78 in 2011 and 61 in 2012, the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society said.”They will slowly disappear from Hong Kong if we don’t do anything now,” society chairman Samuel Hung told AFP. “We are very worried that the dolphin numbers will keep dropping and will never recover.” The group blamed the dramatic decline in numbers on construction and land reclamation work for a 50-kilometre (30-mile) bridge linking Hong Kong to Zhuhai on mainland China and Macau. The number of dolphins near the site, on the east of Hong Kong’s Lantau island, fell to just four from 11 a year earlier, Hung said. Other construction projects, including proposals for a third runway at Hong Kong International Airport on Lantau island, mean the dolphins “are at a crossroads where they will face an uphill battle to continue to survive”, the group said in a statement. Hung urged the government to

immediately establish more marine protection areas. “What the government can do is to create more capacity for the dolphins to survive in Hong Kong so that may be able to compensate for the habitat loss,” he said. Fewer than 2,500 of the mammals survive in the Pearl River Delta, the body of water between Macau and Hong Kong, with the majority found in Chinese waters and the rest in Hong Kong. Experts say dolphin numbers have also dropped in the past few years because of overfishing, an increase in marine traffic and water pollution. In April, a tour guide from Hong Kong Dolphinwatch spotted a group of pink dolphins helping a grieving mother support the body of her dead calf above the water in an attempt to revive it. The scene, captured on video and widely shared on Facebook, raised fresh concerns about the dwindling population. The mammal was the official mascot at the handover ceremony when the former British colony of Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997, while dolphin watching is a favorite tourist attraction in the city of seven million people. Related to Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, they are listed as “near threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. —AFP

HONG KONG: File picture shows a Chinese white dolphin swimming in waters off the coast of Hong Kong. —AFP

Deadly year for encephalitis feared in India GORAKHPUR: A mosquito-borne disease that preys on the young and malnourished is sweeping across poverty-riven northern India again this monsoon season, with officials worried it could be the deadliest outbreak in nearly a decade. Encephalitis has already killed at least 118 children this year, and authorities fear the death toll could reach about 1,000, said Dr R.N. Singh of the Encephalitis Eradication Movement, an Indian nonprofit. While India’s efforts against polio and tuberculosis get plenty of attention, the poor farmers and day laborers of eastern Uttar Pradesh state face an almost-silent emergency, battling a disease that has killed thousands of children over the past eight years. Many families have taken out crushing loans for treatment. The children who survive often cannot communicate because of brain damage. They stare off listlessly, unable to recognize friends they played with just months before. Some are so severely disabled that their impoverished parents are told to abandon them. Sangita Devi’s 4year-old son Anup Kumar has been in a hospital for four months. “We have mortgaged our house for our son’s treatment. But there is no improvement in his condition. He cannot even stand now,” she said. The disease is predictable and preventable. Every year the monsoon fills the region’s parched paddy fields, heralding the arrival of the mosquitoes that spread Japanese encephalitis from pigs to humans, devastating malnourished children with low immunity. Another strain of the disease - Acute Encephalitis

Syndrome - spreads through contaminated water. Residents use the fields for defecation, contaminating the ground water. A vaccine has long been available, but the state government - which spent tens of millions of dollars building monuments to its last top politician - has failed to muster the sustained political will to focus on the communities hardest hit by the illness. The disease killed more than 1,500 children in 2005, the worst recent year; Shocked by the deaths, Uttar Pradesh’s highest court in 2006 asked the state and federal governments to declare encephalitis a national health emergency. “A concrete action plan must be drawn,” it said. That year the government started vaccinating children against Japanese encephalitis. The government vowed to immunize every child in the worst-affected areas and to launch a massive drive to improve sanitation. For a couple of years, the numbers dropped. In 2006, the disease killed 431 children. But the crowded hospital wards of the tiny town of Gorakhpur reflect how the immunization drive has fizzled out. Last year, more than 700 children died. Amid the cloying smells of ether and disinfectant, 7year-old Amit jostled his mother. His words were slurred and, every time he tried to break free of her grip, he fell to the floor. She kissed his dry and dirty cheek. “He cannot stand on his own any more. He cannot speak. Cannot say whether he wants food or water. He has no control over his bladder,” said his mother, Kunti, as she held him close. Like many poor Indians they use one

name. Her husband, a laborer on a construction site in neighboring Bihar state, earns about 180 rupees, or $3, a day. He had to borrow $850 from a money lender to pay for his son’s treatment, and had to sell his only cow. The family is like hundreds of others in this area. They have sold their tiny fields, their cattle and their bits of family jewelry. They have buried themselves under loans they may never be able to repay. They have done all this to give their children some hope of a normal life. Health experts say the government has made repeated mistakes in the fight against encephalitis. Most of the 7.5 million children vaccinated between 2006 and 2010 were given only a single dose of a

two-dose vaccine, said Singh, of the Encephalitis Eradication Movement.”Who is responsible for the children who died between 2006 and 2010?” Singh asked. In 2010 the vaccination drive suddenly stopped because funds dried up. The sanitation drive never fully started. To make matters worse, in the 23 worst-affected districts in the state, only one hospital - the Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur - is equipped to deal with the hundreds of sick children. They fill its 108-bed encephalitis ward. “By the time they reach here, it’s too late,” said Dr K.P. Kushwaha, who heads the hospital. According to hospital data, 5,136 children with encephalitis died in its wards between 2005 and 2012. —AP

INDIA: File photo shows an Indian child in a pink shirt with a white bandage on her face undergoes treatment for encephalitis at a hospital in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh state. —AP

Japan experts mull rules on animal-human embryos TOKYO: Japanese experts yesterday discussed rules for experiments with animalhuman embryos, as scientists seek permission for tests that could see human organs produced inside the growing body of an animal. Researchers want to introduce a human stem cell into an animal embryo, to create a so-called “chimeric embryo”, which they can implant into an animal’s womb. The hope is that this stem cell will grow into a fully-functioning human organ-a kidney or a liver, for example-as the animal matures. This would mean when the creature is fully grown, the organ could be harvested from the ani-

mal and used for transplanting into a person in need. “Experts will study what possibilities this kind of research will generate,” especially with regard to ethics and human dignity, a government official told AFP. The panel of government-appointed scientists, law professors and journalists met yesterday. Its recommendation will be sent next month to a government committee which is expected to begin drafting guidelines shaping the boundaries of Japan’s cutting-edge embryonic research. Unlike in the United States, there is little public opposition to the research, with domestic media coverage overwhelmingly positive, reflecting rela-

tively high levels of scientific literacy among the population at large. Japan currently allows scientists to grow chimeric embryos for up to two weeks in test-tubes, but prohibits them from putting those embryos into an animal’s womb, the official said. In the proposed experiment, researchers, led by Hiromitsu Nakauchi of Tokyo University, want to implant a chimeric embryo made from a fertilized pig egg and a human “induced Pluripotent Stem cell” (iPS) into a pig’s womb, he said. Stem cells are infant cells that can develop into any part of the body. Until the discovery of iPS cells sev-

eral years ago, the only way to obtain stem cells was to harvest them from human embryos. This is controversial because it requires the destruction of the embryo, a process to which religious conservatives, among others, object. Pioneering work done in 2006 by Shinya Yamanaka at Kyoto University, a Nobel Laureate in medicine last year, succeeded in generating stem cells from skin tissue. Like embryonic stem cells, iPS cells are also capable of developing into any cell in the body, but crucially their source material is readily available. “We’ll see if the experiment goes well, but if we succeed in producing a human organ, the

rest of the work toward practical use would be done within five years,” Nakauchi told AFP. Nakauchi’s team earlier this year succeeded in getting a white pig to produce the pancreas of a black pig. The gland was genetically different to its host. “Pigs have organs that are similar to human’s, in terms of both size and shape. In addition, we eat them on a daily basis,” he said. “We have long used pigs in medicine, too. So they are thought to be acceptable to human bodies,” he said, noting that pig insulin has been used to treat diabetics and that pigs’ cardiac valves and pancreas have been transplanted successfully into humans. —AFP


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

New method strips lungs of old cells in three hours A faster and more effective method of preparing sel system to be intact. Inspection with an electron organs for transplant has been successfully tested microscope showed an intact alveolar network, with on rat and sheep lungs. The procedure, which took a no evidence of collapse or tearing at the junctions few hours rather than the few weeks normally where the lungs exchange carbon dioxide and oxyrequired, used detergents to strip the lungs of their gen. Further tests revealed the presence of ECM components such as collagen and old cells, leaving the organ’s elastin, essential for the organ’s microarchitecture intact and ready function. for use. The method, developed by The study, funded by Great a team led by the UCL Institute of Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Child Health and published in the Charity, found that the method journal Biomaterials, is a further worked on sheep as well as rat step forward in the quest to prolungs, meaning it could be scaled vide transplants free from the risk up to human-sized organs. The of rejection. lungs were also ready in three People who receive transplants hours compared with conventional usually need to take immunosupprocesses that can take up to five pressants to reduce the risk of weeks. their body rejecting the new Dr Paolo De Coppi, UCL Institute organ, which may still contain of Child Health and lead author of some of the donor ’s old cells. the study, says: “ The method Scientists have been testing ways Paolo Decoppi PhD developed in our study takes us of ‘washing’ organs to completely GOSH Consultant one step closer to being able to remove donor cells and thus eliminate the need for anti-rejection therapy. However, provide ‘lab-grown’ lungs for transplants. The lung the harsh detergents and long washing periods has a particularly fragile microstructure and its used for more complex organs - deemed necessary preservation requires a mix of gentle washing with to thoroughly ‘cleanse’ their intricate infrastructure - intermittent flushing, mimicking what normally have often damaged the remaining tissue, known happens during breathing. The advantage of our as the extracellular matrix (ECM), and stripped it of method established in rats is that we have found it essential components such as growth factors need- to work equally well in a larger animal model, an adult sheep lung, which has a similar structure to ed to kick-start the organ after transplantation. The new decellularization or cell-stripping the human lung. Thus, we move closer to the day method, developed by an international team led by when donated human lungs can be used as scafthe UCL Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond folds for tissue-engineering new ones using a Street Hospital, used gentler detergents to flush rat patient’s own stem cells. “The next stage of our work will be to test this lungs while they were intermittently inflated - mimmethod of washing on human lungs in our laboraicking the process of respiration or breathing while tory. After they have been stripped of their old cells, the lung was being washed. The cleansed organ was then injected with a dye we will ‘seed’ them with new cells to see if we can which revealed the capillary network or blood ves- ‘grow’ a human lung ready for transplant, free of the

US study links pollution to autism risk

risk of triggering rejection. If this proves successful, we will test the new transplants in animal models and eventually, in humans.” Professor Martin Elliott, Medical Director at Great Ormond Street Hospital and co-author of the study, says: “I have been doing lung transplants for almost 25 years and know first-hand the anxieties that the risk of rejection bring to patients and their families. But the burden of the drugs they have to take, and the side effects they have, is also huge. This work provides early hope that we might be able to transplant organs without such powerful drugs and improve the lives of many.”

WASHINGTON: Pregnant women who were exposed to high levels of air pollution were twice as likely to have a child with autism as women who lived in low pollution areas, a US study said yesterday. According to experts at Harvard University, the research is the first large national study to examine links between the prevalence of pollution and the development of the developmental disorder. The findings are published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. “Our findings raise concerns,” said lead author Andrea Roberts, a research associate in the Harvard School of Public Health Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. “Depending on the pollutant, 20 percent to 60 percent of the women in our study lived in areas where risk of autism was elevated,” she said. The data came from a large survey of 116,430 nurses that began in 1989. For the analysis, researchers isolated 325 women who had a child with autism and 22,000 women who had a child without the disorder.To estimate exposure to pollutants while pregnant, they used air pollution data from the Environmental Protection Agency, and adjusted for factors like income, education, and smoking during pregnancy. The analysis found that women who lived in locations with the highest levels of diesel particulates or mercury in the air were twice as likely to have a child with autism as those who lived in the areas with the lowest levels. When the pollutants included lead, manganese, methylene chloride and combined metal exposure, women in areas with the highest levels of these pollutants were about 50 percent more likely to have a child with autism. Autism is a brain disorder that affects as many as one in 88 in the United States, and about one in 100 in Britain. Researchers said the findings suggest that metals and other pollutants should be regularly measured in the blood of pregnant women to give a better understanding of whether certain pollutants increase autism risk. —AFP


W H AT ’ S O N



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



ACK takes first place in University Championship Cup


fter successive competitive matches held over the span of several months the Australian College of Kuwait (ACK) has won the 2013 University Championship Cup (UCC) outperforming teams from participating universities, including Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST) and the American University of Kuwait (AUK).

The UCC competition comprises seven different sports, such as football, volleyball, basketball, tennis, table tennis, swimming and squash. Professor Vishy Karri, President of the Australian College of Kuwait, commended the students’ efforts, saying: “I would like to congratulate all participating students for winning and bringing home the

Championship. These achievements reflect the relentless efforts of students, coaches, as well as our Sport Programs and Recreation Center (SPARC) team. We are proud of them all and wish them constant success.” ACK will now begin preparations for the next UCC competition, stressing its role and keen desire to participate in support of its students.

Vijay Karayil

Krishnan K Pillai

T K V Pradeep Kumar

appy birthday to Delsa Codilla who celebrated her birthday yesterday. Greetings from relatives and friends..

Announcements 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.

Dr T S Srikumar

O N Suresh Kumar

NAFO Kuwait elects new office-bearers



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.

Murali S Nair

G Udaykumar

K C Gopakumar

AFO Kuwait, a non-political, non-profit organization registered with the Indian Embassy (No INDEMB/KWT/ASSN/94) conducted 9th Annual General Body Meeting (AGM) April 26, 2013, at the ICSK, Amman Branch, Salmiya. The meeting was attended by a large number of NAFO members and their families. A detailed annual report covering NAFO’s activities conducted during 2012-13, was presented and subjected for discussion. The meeting reiterated NAFO’s

commitment towards socio-cultural empowerment of the downtrodden section of the society, and pledged to promote friendship and harmony between India and the State of Kuwait. The AGM unanimously selected a 21 members new Executive Committee (EC) to lead NAFO for the next three years (2013-’16). The EC while considering the previous valuable guidance and contributions provided by Vijay Karayil, was unanimously re-elected as NAFO Patron. Through a unique and a democratic procedure the fol-

lowing office-bearers were selected in a separate meeting of the newlyelected Executive Committee: Dr T S Srikumar (President), Murali S Nair (General Secretary), T K V Pradeep Kumar (Treasurer), K C Gopakumar (Vice-President), O N Suresh Kumar (Secretary -General Affairs), G Udaykumar (Organizing Secretary) and Krishnan K Pillai (Joint Treasurer). Also, the EC appointed coordinators and vice-coordinators for various organizational portfolios.


Costa del Sol Hotel holds annual party


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

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

Shokri Salman

Malayali Media Forum held an interactive session with visiting Malayalam journalist MCA Nasar, who is the head of the Editorial Division of Media One television. MMF General Convener Anil P Alex welcomed the members and Convener (finance) Regi Bhaskar proposed a vote of thanks.

osta Del Sol Hotel hosted its annual staff party, which brought together all employees and managers of the hotel. On this occasion, Shokri Salman, General Manager of the hotel presented a speech in which he welcomed all employees and their families to this special event. He also mentioned the achievements made

during the past year and future plans which will be implemented with the efforts of all departments. He announced his appreciation for the efforts of everyone which drove the hotel to the good results noting the appreciation of the owning company for a well done job. The event included folkloric shows, folk songs, and wonderful

recreational competitions involving all attendees. Adding an atmosphere of joy and fun. Staff, as well as managers, has expressed their happiness and assured their intention to do everything they can to maintain the success and continuous improvement.


W H AT ’ S O N

Marina Hotel Kuwait hosts ‘Hawaiian Themed’ Open Day for its employees

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. nnnnnnn

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


arina Hotel Kuwait recently held its annual open day 2013 to reward employees for their contribution and dedication. The open day, held at the hotel’s private beach front, was organized by the Social Committee. Employees were invited to take a breather from the busy season and were thanked for their great efforts. This annual initiative reflects Marina Hotel’s commitment to its employees and is a way of recognizing their hard work and loyalty. The celebration was “Hawaiian Themed” and was attended by General Manager, Nabil

Hammoud, who extended his appreciation to all employees. Also present were representatives from the management. Hammoud thanked the attendees for their hard work and ongoing professionalism for their efforts and contribution to the company’s achievements. He also encouraged staff to aim higher and to strive to excel. Throughout the day, staff members and their families enjoyed a wide range of activities and team competitions including Tug of War, Blast the Balloon, Treasure Hunt etc.

Speaking at the open day, Hammoud said, “We thank you all for your remarkable performance. We are glad to maintain the international standards of the hotel and to have significantly invested towards the enhancement of our employees through training programs, rewards and recognitions. Credit for this success goes to all of you and as we move forward we must sustain it in years to come.” The employees enjoyed the elaborate dinner buffet and an entertainment program followed by the distribution of valuable prizes.


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

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: The Ramla Um Al-Momeneen Middle School for Girls organized a celebration to mark the end of school’s academic activities. The celebration was attended by Director of the Mubarak Al-Kabeer Educational District Talaq Al-Haim and other Ministry of Education officials.



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Border Security Auction Hunters Auction Kings Jesse James Outlaw Garage Yukon Men Mythbusters Sons Of Guns Industrial Junkie How It’s Made Auction Hunters Storage Hunters Unchained Reaction Derren Brown: Apocalypse Derren Brown: Apocalypse Unchained Reaction Derren Brown: Apocalypse

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03:00 Last Man Standing 03:30 Raising Hope 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 Last Man Standing 09:30 Hot In Cleveland 10:00 Men At Work 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 Raising Hope 14:30 Men At Work 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 Ben And Kate 18:30 The Simpsons 19:00 Modern Family 19:30 The Mindy Project 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Weeds 22:30 Entourage 23:00 The Ricky Gervais Show 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 Weeds 02:00 Entourage 02:30 The Ricky Gervais Show

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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 Ice Loves Coco 18:00 E! News 19:00 Fashion Police 20:00 E!es 21:00 Kourtney And Kim Take Miami 22:00 What Would Ryan Lochte Do? 22:30 E! News 23:30 Chelsea Lately 00:00 Opening Act 00:55 Style Star 01:25 THS

03:05 Coastal Kitchen 03:30 Food Poker 04:15 Bargain Hunt 05:00 House Swap 05:45 Cash In The Attic 06:30 Coastal Kitchen 07:00 Food Poker 07:45 Home Cooking Made Easy 08:15 Phil Spencer - Secret Agent 09:05 Bargain Hunt 09:50 Antiques Roadshow 10:40 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 11:25 MasterChef Australia 12:10 Come Dine With Me 12:55 The Roux Legacy 13:30 New Scandinavian Cooking With Andreas Viestad 13:55 Bargain Hunt 14:40 Cash In The Attic 15:25 Antiques Roadshow 16:15 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 17:00 Phil Spencer - Secret Agent 17:55 Planet Cake 18:25 Food & Drink 18:55 Baking Mad With Eric Lanlard 19:20 New Scandinavian Cooking With Claus Meyer 19:45 Come Dine With Me 20:40 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 MasterChef Australia 02:20 Cash In The Attic

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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 Charly’s Cake Angels 22:30 Charly’s Cake Angels 22:55 Unique Sweets 23:15 Unique Sweets 23:40 Food Wars 00:05 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 00:30 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 00:55 Unwrapped 01:20 Unwrapped 01:45 Charly’s Cake Angels

03:00 The Avengers-PG15 05:30 Perfect Plan-PG15 07:15 A Mother’s Choice-PG15 09:00 The Muppets-PG 10:45 The Avengers-PG15 13:15 The Way-PG15 15:30 Flicka 3-FAM 17:00 The Muppets-PG 18:45 Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows-PG15 21:00 Melancholia-18 23:15 21 Jump Street-18 01:15 Carnage-PG15

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IRB Junior Championship IRB Junior Championship International Rugby Union UK Open Darts NRL Premiership IRB Junior Championship IRB Junior Championship European Tour Weekly Inside The PGA Tour

00:30 Futbol Mundial 01:00 UK Open Darts 05:00 World Pool Masters 06:00 World Cup Of Pool 07:00 Golfing World 08:00 European Senior Tour Highlights 09:00 Asian Tour Highlights 10:00 Ladies European Tour Highlights 11:00 World Pool Masters 12:00 World Cup Of Pool 13:00 Golfing World 14:00 Trans World Sport 15:00 Futbol Mundial 15:30 NRL Full Time 16:00 ICC Cricket 360 16:30 European Senior Tour Highlights 17:30 Asian Tour Highlights 18:30 Ladies European Tour Highlights 19:30 Golfing World 20:30 Trans World Sport 21:30 International Rugby League 23:30 Futbol Mundial

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NHL UAE National Race Day Series UIM Powerboat Champs UFC The Ultimate Fighter NHL WWE Vintage Collection WWE NXT Ping Pong World US Bass Fishing NHL WWE Smackdown Mass Participation UAE National Race Day Series Mass Participation WWE Vintage Collection Mobil 1 The Grid UFC UFC The Ultimate Fighter Mass Participation


04:00 The Odd Life Of Timothy Green-PG 06:00 Project Nim-PG15 08:00 StreetDance 2-PG15 10:00 Flower Girl-PG15 12:00 The Odd Life Of Timothy Green-PG 14:00 Every Jack Has A Jill-PG15 16:00 StreetDance 2-PG15 18:00 A Thousand Words-PG15 20:00 Assassination Games-18 22:00 Flypaper-PG15 00:00 StreetDance 2-PG15 02:00 Flower Girl-PG15

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Fast Five-PG15 Ice Road Terror-PG15 The Man Inside-PG15 Justice League: Doom-PG15 Iron Sky-PG15 The Man Inside-PG15 X-Men: First Class-PG15 Iron Sky-PG15 Starship Troopers: Invasion-18 Creature-18 Killer Mountain-PG15 Starship Troopers: Invasion-18

08:00 Bushwhacked-PG 10:00 Mr. Destiny-PG 12:00 While You Were SleepingPG15 14:00 Police Academy 4: Citizens On Patrol-PG15 16:00 Mr. Destiny-PG 18:00 The Wish List-PG15 20:00 Grabbers-PG15 22:00 Jackass: Number Two-R 00:00 Spread-R 02:00 Grabbers-PG15

09:00 The Conspirator-PG15 11:00 Tora! Tora! Tora!-PG15 13:30 Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid-PG 15:30 Cinderella PT 1-PG15 17:15 Cinderella PT 2-PG15 19:15 The Artist-PG 21:00 Ripley’s Game-PG15 23:00 The People vs Larry Flynt-R 01:15 Departures-PG15

01:00 IRB Junior World Championship 03:00 British & Irish Lions 05:00 Super League 07:00 British & Irish Lions 09:00 Super Rugby Highlights 10:00 AFL Highlights 11:00 ATP Tennis 13:00 British & Irish Lions 15:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 16:00 Futbol Mundial 16:30 NRL Full Time 17:00 International Rugby Union 19:00 ICC Cricket 360 19:30 AFL Highlights 20:30 PGA European Tour Weekly 21:00 Inside The PGA Tour 21:30 Trans World Sport 22:30 British & Irish Lions


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WWE Bottom Line UFC The Ultimate Fighter NRL Premiership NRL Full Time Trans World Sport

The first Arab MMA Championship of its kind in the Middle East concludes in Amman AMMAN: Following 4 intense rounds carried out through the past year, the first Arab Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Championship, Desert Force, concluded in Amman, Jordan with the crowning of 4 fighters of different weight categories, with the title of the first Desert Force MMA Arab Champion. The winnings are as follows: 1. Middleweight Cateogry Anees Al Hajjaji from Morocco defeated Amr Wahman from Egypt after the referees’ united decision in stopping the fight 2. Light Heavyweight Category Mohamed Karaki from Lebanon won against Feras Saadeh from Syria, following the referees’ decision to stop the fight 3. Lightweight Category Haidar Rasheed from Jordan beat his Kuwaiti opponent, Ahmed AlBousseri with a remarkable knock-out move that left the latter no option but to tap out and surrender 4. Featherweight Category The night came to an end with the exhilarating win of the Jordanian AbdelKarim AlSulwady over his opponent Youssef Al Hamad, from Kuwait in a pounding knock-out move. Desert Force fans at the finale, were surprised by the attendance of several of the Arab world’s favorite celebrities, who flew in to Amman from different parts of the region to cheer for all 8 fighters and witness the crowning of the Arabs’ First MMA Champion. The celebrities present were: Jordanian singer Diana Karazon, Egyptian Actor Ahmad Tohamy, Syrian actor Mehyar Khaddour, Jordanian singers Hani Metwassi and Youssef Arafat, celebrity personal trainer Nour Khattab, in addition to the World Champion in “Kick Boxing” for 5 years, Riyad Al Azzawi. Prior to the finale of the Desert Force MMA Championship, a press conference was held by MBC Action, in partnership with X-Management LLC, the parent company of the region’s leading Mixed Martial Arts Organization, Desert Force. The conference, which also hosted the ‘Weighins’ of the Finale was attended by the 8 fighters from differ-

ent weight categories along with their trainers, mentors and medical crew. On this occasion, the fighters unanimously agreed and stressed on the importance of their participation at the region’s first MMA Championship ever. In their eyes, the Championship is seen as a move towards setting up professional MMA unions in the region which are needed to house all the skilled, but hidden talents in the Middle East which will ultimately help in increasing the awareness of MMA as a sport among Arabs and allow them to take it to international standards. Commenting on the Finale, Mohamed Mirza, Desert Force CEO congratulated all the fighters who have managed to reach the Finale, and said, “Having reached the Finale of the first Arab MMA Championship, there is still a lot to offer in terms of fine-tuning this exceptional sport in the Middle East and take it out to International standards. Having said this, the Desert Force team is working on a new concept in the Arab World - a Reality TV Show under the name of “Desert Force Academy” which will act as the platform for training amateur MMA fans and turning them into professional and well qualified MMA fighters. Our fans will be exceptionally delighted at what’s coming!” The press conference also unveiled the names of the 2 main trainers and mentors who will be accompanying these fighters on their specialized MMA journey in the Academy. The coaches are Mohamed Fakhreddine from Lebanon and Hashem Arkhaga from Jordan. It is worth noting that Desert Force MMA Championship was first launched back in 2010 in Amman, Jordan. In 2011, Desert Force launched the “Elimination Series”, a singleelimination tournament for Arab MMA fighters competing to become the first regional MMA title belt holders in 5 respective weight classes. The Championship has hosted 4 rounds during the past year. Fighters from across the Middle East have competed in 5 weight classes, namely Featherweights, Lightweights, Welterweights, Middleweights and Light-Heavyweights; each class enforcing the United Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. Participating countries at the Second Round included: KSA, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. Desert Force MMA Championship FINALE will be aired on MBC Action on Monday, 24th June at 7 PM GMT and 10 PM KSA.

Classifieds WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19, 2013



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Invited for a Roman Catholic girl, 25/155cm, BSc Nurse working in Kuwait, ( Thrissur Dist.) proposals from God fearing, suitably educated and employed boys. Email: (C 4444) 18-6-2013













Inviting marriage proposal for Tamil Christian girl age 30, working in Kuwait, qualifications B.P.T + M Sc (UK). Contact Email:

No: 15844 (C 4441)


CHANGE OF NAME I, NSE OKON AKPAN holder of Nigerian passport Number A01448202 do hereby change my name to NSE SAMUEL KASALI. 18-6-2013

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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

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s ta rs CROSSWORD 225

STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) ARIES As a natural architect and builder, you are able to use your mind in making decisions regarding matters of form and function. For you, the goal and the way to get to it are the same thing. You like to build each step and have each decision be an end in itself. Things must be done right. You also have great skill with the law, whether fabricated or those of nature. You can put all of this into words. You can put your understanding of how to handle authorities to good use. You enjoy working with your mind and your sharp perceptions make finding new solutions easy. You are able to bring an unexpected twist or insight to anything you set your mind to now. This evening you should enjoy some healing conversations with loved ones.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) There is much communication today. You are out-front, frank and even rough at times as you try to get to the heart of a subject. If you are asking a child questions, you might want to back off just a bit and give the child a little more time to answer. You are a traveler of both the world and the mind—philosophy and religion. You can demonstrate understanding of the needs of others; you are in a good position to speak or attend a conference. Perhaps you will be scheduling or organizing a program today. You can encourage the participants to do their best. This is a good day to make important decisions. Your sense of inner direction is good and should lead you into many successes. You will be choosing or helping to choose a wedding cake soon.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

ACROSS 1. Type genus of the Alcidae comprising solely the razorbill. 5. Sayings of Jesus not recorded in the canonical Gospels. 12. An orange-brown antelope of southeast Africa. 15. Fossil fuel consisting of carbonized vegetable matter deposited in the Carboniferous period. 16. Cassava with long tuberous edible roots and soft brittle stems. 17. American prizefighter who won the world heavyweight championship three times (born in 1942). 18. Large high frilly cap with a full crown. 20. Prevent the occurrence of. 21. A zodiacal constellation in northern hemisphere between Cancer and Virgo. 22. The square of a body of any size of type. 23. Being nine more than ninety. 25. A geographical area and former kingdom in northeastern India in the Himalaya Mountains between Nepal and Bhutan. 30. A colorless odorless gas used as fuel. 31. Largest known toad species. 33. A dicotyledonous genus of trees of the family Anacardiaceae having drupaceous fruit. 35. Marked by features of the immediate and usually discounted past. 37. A mask with a filter protects the face an lungs against poisonous gases. 41. 100 avos equal 1 pataca. 42. Date used in reckoning dates before the supposed year Christ was born. 46. Chief port of Yemen. 47. A member of the North American Indian people living in southern Arizona and northern Mexico. 49. English scholastic philosopher and assumed author of Occam's Razor (1285-1349). 52. A sweetened beverage of diluted fruit juice. 53. An official language of the Republic of South Africa. 54. A member of a seafaring group of North American Indians who lived on the Pacific coast of British Columbia and southwestern Alaska. 55. The capital and largest city of Yemen. 57. Forbidden to profane use especially in South Pacific islands. 59. A doctor's degree in religion. 61. The (prehensile) extremity of the superior limb. 62. A soft white precious univalent metallic element having the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal. 64. A decree that prohibits something. 65. Lower in esteem. 68. A discussion in which reasons are advanced for and against some proposition or proposal. 71. A republic in southeastern Europe on the Adriatic coast of the Balkan Peninsula. 75. Tropical American tree grown in southern United States having a whitish pink-tinged fruit. 78. An Iranian language spoken in Afghanistan. 79. A river that rises in western New Mexico and flows westward through southern Arizona to become a tributary of the Colorado River. 83. Having undesirable or negative qualities. 84. Any place of complete bliss and delight and peace. 85. Dragonflies and damselflies. 86. (Hawaiian) A small guitar having four strings. DOWN 1. The highest level or degree attainable. 2. A textile machine for weaving yarn into a textile v 1. 3. A compartment in front of a motor vehicle

where driver sits. 4. Web-footed diving seabirds of northern seas. 5. The basic unit of electric current adopted under the System International d'Unites. 6. A rare silvery (usually trivalent) metallic element. 7. A nucleic acid that transmits genetic information from DNA to the cytoplasm. 8. Convey by horizontal mass movement of a fluid. 9. Dish baked in pastry-lined pan often with a pastry top. 10. An early form of streetcar that was drawn by horses. 11. A genus of Scolopacidae. 12. The Mongol people living the the central and eastern parts of Outer Mongolia. 13. A naturally occuring glyceride of oleic acid that is found in fats and oils. 14. A major biotic community characterized by the dominant forms of plant life and the prevailing climate. 19. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 24. Goddess of fertility. 26. Botswanan statesman who was the first president of Botswana (1921-1980). 27. A vending machine from which you can get food. 28. A member of the military police who polices soldiers and guards prisoners. 29. A radioactive transuranic element produced by bombarding plutonium with neutrons. 32. Type genus of the Gavidae. 34. Small terrestrial lizard of warm regions of the Old World. 36. A logarithmic unit of sound intensity. 38. A city in southern Turkey on the Seyhan River. 39. A car that is closed and that has front and rear seats and two or four doors. 40. Make uniform. 43. Tropical American feather palm whose large nuts yield valuable oil and a kind of vegetable ivory. 44. Harsh or corrosive in tone. 45. A genus of Ploceidae. 48. A resident of Alabama. 50. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 51. A bachelor's degree in science. 56. Having the leading position or higher score in a contest. 58. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 60. United States liquid unit equal to 4 quarts or 3.785 liters. 63. Extremely cold. 66. An indehiscent fruit derived from a single ovary having one or many seeds within a fleshy wall or pericarp. 67. A metallic element having four allotropic forms. 69. A large bundle bound for storage or transport. 70. Panel forming the lower part of an interior wall when it is finished differently from the rest. 72. (Babylonian) God of wisdom and agriculture and patron of scribes and schools. 73. A republic in the Middle East in western Asia. 74. An officer who acts as military assistant to a more senior officer. 76. (Brit) A tough youth of 1950's and 1960's wearing Edwardian style clothes. 77. United States sculptor and architect whose public works include the memorial to veterans of the Vietnam War in Washington (born in 1959). 80. A radioactive metallic element that is similar to tellurium and bismuth. 81. A highly unstable radioactive element (the heaviest of the halogen series). 82. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group.

Given only a few facts, you are able to take in a situation and come up with a real picture of what is happening. You may be helping others to solve a few technical issues today. This may come as some sort of teaching or professional service. You are happy today as you are fully engaged in progressive work, with progressive people. Most days, you tend to respond to others quite easily. You will be able to put your ideas into words and describe or analyze situations for yourself and others. Your mind and caring attitude are what others find so special about you. Travel could be available now—if you wish. Enlightenment in many areas of your life gives you a greater understanding of many life matters. New friends are fascinating this evening.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) You work well with those in authority who are independent and original. You could become engaged in nonconformist causes, always ready to promote what is independent and innovative. You like radical approaches and may become supportive of whatever ground-breaking product or breakthrough advance is next in line. Communication, computers, electronics and everything innovative excites you and you excel here. You discover new ways of working with traditional materials. Your inner resources and emotions are accented. Your business expertise is in high focus. Expect a sense of support and helpfulness from those around you. This is a great time to be with others and to work together. Neighbors pass along new and positive information.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Unhappiness in your professional or personal situation may be lightened by working with, instead of against, your most obvious talents. You have an uncanny ability to get beyond the regular routine. You are always coming up with new ways of doing things. You seldom depend on the regular rule of order, preferring a create-as-you-go type of process. This would indicate that you have a great deal of creative talent and the ability to coordinate a business of your own. Much of what makes you the person you are depends on this independence and love of freedom. You will discover new techniques that will help you energize your day. Understanding your circumstances better can be found in your environment or support system. You care for animals this evening.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) This is a time of good fortune when opportunities to better yourself and your surroundings open up naturally. Opportunities to expand and grow are plentiful and you may be able to do almost everything. It is important to pick and choose the subjects that are most beneficial as well as fun. This will not be a difficult task. You will prosper through new insights. You have an independent point of view that is just what is needed to survive in a competitive task. In thinking about a vacation or a change of scenery, there is a love of the sea and of whatever heals that which separates us. Mysticism, mythology, poetry and music are naturals. These are all known items to you. You may enjoy taking a class in writing music.

Word Search

Libra (September 23-October 22) You naturally gravitate toward positions of power and authority. Others see you having a great practical ability and accept you as a leader or authority figure easily. Your career may be very important to you, even at the expense of home life. However, you may push yourself in a direction, at times, against your own best interests. You have a knack, however, for always finding assistance in whatever career moves you decide to make. In fact, your ability to rally support makes a public career of one kind or another quite probable. Success is indicated in education, politics or law. You know how to attack and solve problems, whether personal or public. A musician, artist or perhaps a singer will hold your attention this evening.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Your career is smooth today. Continued successful career moves may demand conformity and cost you personal freedom, perhaps toning down your unconventional habits. You make your way now by using practical vision and common sense. You could have some recognition in your career soon. At the same time, a change of direction is in order, finding you in a gradual curve toward an inward time. You have strong family, business or property ties that affect your public image and goals. There may be tricky finances connected with your business or profession. Obligations involving women, research or detecting are important in your career at this time. Avoid troubling individuals. Home and family are your main focus this evening.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) You may be very forceful in what you say and think today. With all of this emotional energy, you could speak or correspond very well. You have a lot of mental drive in order to accomplish your goals. You may have trouble understanding those who seem emotional or sentimental, yet your own practicality and factuality may attract just such types into your life. You may try to balance your lack of intuitiveness with logic and common sense. There may be difficulty now, in getting outer recognition for your efforts or accomplishments—patience, this recognition will come with time. You should throw your efforts into the work you love. Make it a point to make someone smile this evening. He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) Your communication skills are varied and well performed with perfect timing; this day should flow along quite well. Ideas and thoughts will have insights worth sharing. Forward-moving inventions or new knowledge is something that spurs your interest. If you are not solving problems, you will look for problems to solve. This may only mean that you look for that fine line between myth and reality and you write or read and solve the world’s mysteries. The rebel in you likes to ignore your dreams and ideals and just let come what may. You relish your freedom and independence and pursue it even at the expense of what you know you really want. The romantic in you struggles against the frontier spirit that often moves you into action.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) This is a time when you can expect a little boost, some extra support or recognition from those around you. You may feel that you are in touch and in harmony with others. Work, achievement and ambition mean a lot to you. You may fail to appreciate some out of the ordinary demands on you today—tread carefully here. Later today, your enthusiasm may carry you away from family and friends. This could be a unique type of profession that is of interest to you, or simply a hobby that looks like something you might enjoy. Try not to burn yourself out as you may feel that you have an abundance of energy. Your inspiration sparks creative play. Domestic issues demand your attention and you lend your energies over to making your surroundings most pleasant.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) You do not care much for the superficial. You appreciate getting past the surface and down to the heart—the bare bones of a situation, especially today. It may be that other people have led you away from the things you feel are important in your life. Your mind and thoughts gravitate to what is lasting, true. Your ideas are to the point and candid—never florid or superficial. Subjects concerning philosophy and religion come into play today and may influence your decision making. You desire to lecture, teach and inspire others to set goals and learn more about themselves and their hidden talents. This is a good time to organize your affairs or rearrange your living situation. Enjoy some quiet time near a pleasant body of water this evening.

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


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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


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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


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

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


lifestyle M u s i c


ris Jenner says her daughter Kim Kardashian is thrilled to have a new baby girl. Kardashian and her rapper boyfriend Kanye West were keeping silent in the wake of multiple reports that Kardashian gave birth over the weekend - about a month premature. But Jenner told E! at the Daytime Emmys on Sunday that Kim is “extremely happy and thrilled for the new baby and she’s doing great and she’s beautiful.” Kardashian’s sister Khloe appeared to have let a rather cryptic cat out of the bag on Twitter. “I cannot even begin 2describe the miracle that is now a part of our family. Mommy/baby are healthy &resting. We appreciate all of the love,” she tweeted Sunday. She quickly followed with a second tweet: “More info will come when the time is right! Thank you all for understanding! We love you all dearly! Overwhelmed with love right now.” Jenner linked to both tweets on her Twitter account, then wished West a Happy Father’s Day. Asked for comment on the red carpet at the Daytime Emmys, where she was a presenter, Jenner said, “She’s in charge,” pointing at her publicist who whisked her away from print reporters after doing TV interviews. The reality TV star’s pregnancy was almost as anticipated as the royal pregnancy of Kate Middleton, who is due in mid-July. That’s about the time the Kardashian baby had been due.


M o v i e s

The 32-year-old has often been photographed since announcing she was pregnant, opting to continue to wear designer clothing. She told The Associated Press in April that she eventually embraced being an expecting mom after getting past “the awkward phases and stages.” The couple had initially kept the baby’s gender a secret, but the sex was revealed earlier this month during one of Kardashian’s doctor appointments on “Keeping up with the Kardashians.” When asked about how much the baby might be featured in the E! series, the channel said Monday it was “thrilled for Kim and Kanye and out of respect for their privacy won’t be offering any further comment.” News of the birth has been swaddled in secrecy. Representatives for West and Kim Kardashian didn’t respond to emails and calls from The Associated Press, nor did any representatives for family members, friends and professional associates. And all of the weekend media reports on the birth were attributed to anonymous sources. In a recent interview with The New York Times, West said he didn’t like talking about his family or the arrival of his child. “Like, this is my baby. This isn’t America’s baby,” he said. — AP File photo shows television personality Kim Kardashian poses for photographers at the red carpet during the 40th anniversary of Cosmopolitan magazine in Spanish in Mexico City. — AP



eteran British rock bands Motorhead and Black Sabbath were crowned the kings of heavy metal on Monday, winning the top accolades at the UK’s top metal music awards, the Metal Hammer Golden Gods. Motorhead, best known for its 1980 hit “Ace of Spades”, received the Golden Gods awards at the 11th annual ceremony for making a significant contribution to the rock and heavy metal industry over nearly four decades. Black Sabbath won the award for best album for “13” which soared to No. 1 in the British charts on Sunday, giving the band its first number one album in nearly 43 years which is a record interval between chart-toppers.


his is the end. Unless that is the end. Since opening last week, the apocalyptic comedy “This Is the End” has earned $33 million at the box office, making it one of the biggest hit comedies of the year. But despite its name, the rapture riot by writerdirectors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg struggled to find its conclusion, and even had to reshoot the film’s final absurdist minutes. (The rest of this article discusses the movie’s ending, so avert your eyes if you’d like your laughs unspoiled.) In “This Is the End,” a fiery apocalypse arrives while Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel and others (all playing themselves) are at Franco’s Hollywood Hills home for a party. Some of the public has been raptured into heaven, but the actors are left to fend off demons while supplies dwindle and their Hollywood friendships fray. Eventually they realize that they, too, can make it into heaven if they redeem themselves with altruistic acts. Some die horribly, but “This Is the End” originally concluded after two of the friends are beamed up into heaven. But when the film was test screened, audiences were miffed at not following the characters into the great beyond. “Overwhelmingly people were like, ‘What happens in heaven? What happens in heaven?’” Rogen said in a recent interview. “We had shown people so much crazy (expletive),

The band, which is scheduled to begin a US tour this summer followed by concerts in South America and Europe later in the year, also won the award for best UK band. “From honoring the lords of our world Black Sabbath and the crown princes of rock and roll Motorhead as well as today’s most cutting-edge acts, there’s simply no other event like it,” said Alexander Milas, editor of Metal Hammer magazine that organizes the annual awards. Motorhead frontman Lemmy, 67, who is the sole constant member of the band set up in 1975, received the Golden Gods award from members of Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver, and Loaded bassist Duff McKagan. The best new band award went to

we didn’t expect them to want more.” The filmmakers quickly realized they had blundered. Rogen and Goldberg (who also cowrote “Superbad” and “Pineapple Express”) had actually first scripted a heaven scene, but cut it because they thought it was cheesy. (It featured smoking weed with Elvis and dancing with Marilyn Monroe.) The two went back to the scene and brainstormed a new version. They came up with an answer to all their troubles: the Backstreet Boys. The film ends with a cameo from the band performing “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” among the clouds at the pearly gates. (The tune also plays earlier in the film when Seth and Jay are hanging out.) Though all five members of the boy band are still alive, they’ve presumably been raptured into heaven. In a movie that playfully and continuously ups the surrealism, it’s a final flourish of ridiculousness. When the group was approached about doing the cameo, the trailer for “This Is the End” was already out online. “They had actually seen it,” says Rogen. “So when we called them and asked them to be in it, they already knew what the movie was and existed and were excited about it. So it was actually really not that hard. They were super psyched about it.”—AP

Bleed From Within who formed in 2005 while the best international band was named as the US’s Stone Sour from Des Moines, Iowa. French metal band Gojira, previously known as Godzilla, won the award for best live band while the best song prize went to the American rock band Coheed and Cambria for “Dark Side Of Me”. — Reuters

omedy fans know the names - John Belushi, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Joan Rivers - but before those famous faces graced Hollywood movies or the “Saturday Night Live” stage they were discovered by Bernie Sahlins, co-founder of The Second City. Alumni of the Chicago comedy club spent Monday remembering Sahlins, who died Sunday at age 90, as an innovator who along with business partners Howard Alk and Paul Sills opened the theater in December 1959. It quickly gained national attention and helped establish Chicago as a vibrant comedy town. “Bernie was absolutely crucial in the formative years of Second City, as important a figure as it’s ever had,” said comedian and actor Robert Klein, who went on from Second City in 1965 to star on television series and in movies. Second City caught on within months of opening, despite some early money problems and other issues. It became instrumental in the growth and development of improvisational and sketch comedy. Sahlins had an eye for talent, and he hired and nurtured the early careers of numerous future stars. “Bernie saved my life,” actor Alan Arkin is quoted as saying in Sheldon Patinkin’s 2000 book, “The Second City: Backstage at the World’s Greatest Comedy Theater.” “Second City wasn’t a theater ensemble to me, it was a halfway house ... Bernie not only gave me a job, he took me in. I became his family, he became my family - the first family that I even had and loved.” Patinkin, who serves as Second City’s artistic consultant, said his longtime friend played a critical role not just in establishing the theater but also in recruiting the talent. “He was great at it,” Patinkin said. “Look at the list of our alumni, many of them were found by Bernie. Bernie was really good at picking out the right ones.” In his 2002 memoir, “Days and Nights at the Second City,” Sahlins seemed aware of that influence. “For somehow this tiny venture quickly became an important phenomenon in the recent history of theatre, heralded for its contribution to popular entertainment,” he wrote. “One reason is, I believe, that we never thought of ourselves as popular entertainers.” Instead, colleagues remembered Sahlins as an intellectual who graduated from the University of Chicago and brought those edgy smarts with him to Second City. “You had to work from the top of your intelligence,” said comedian David Steinberg, who was with Second City in 1964 and has worked on television shows such as “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Mad About You.” “That was the rule that Second City broke in comedy: don’t talk down to an audience ever; talk to the smartest person in the audience.” Michael McCarthy interned under Sahlins in 1981 and has written for “Saturday Night Live,” “Sesame Street” and the Comedy Central cable TV channel. He said Sahlins would talk endlessly about the mission of comedy and tell him to “always, always, always ask yourself, ‘What are you trying to say, and is it funny?’” Ramis, a former cast member turned director-writer-actor-producer, told The Associated Press in 2009 that Sahlins brought a higher-brow style to comedy. “It was OK to be smart,” Ramis said. “It was OK to be intellectual.” Klein remembered Sahlins as an intellectual, but fun boss who loved cigars. “Not the kind who would put a lamp shade on his head at a party, but he had opinions on everything,” Klein said. Andrew Alexander, who along with business partner Len Stuart bought The Second City from Sahlins in 1985, said Sahlins will be remembered for always urging performers to work at the top of their intellect. “You think about that theater, and think of all the stars that came out of it ... from Belushi to (Dan) Aykroyd to Alan Arkin. It’s extraordinary, the amount of talented people that came out of it,” Alexander said. Klein said he owes a great deal to Sahlins for hiring him. “I went to the Yale drama school and that wasn’t nearly as valuable as making $150 a week at Second City,” Klein said. — AP

Ted Dwane


ritish folk band Mumford & Sons’ bassist Ted Dwane posted a message on Monday saying he was recovering after brain surgery to remove a blood clot. Dwane posted a picture of himself with a shaved head on the band’s official website with the caption, “Bear with a sore head! Thanks so much for all the well wishing, it seems to be working! I’m home.” The Grammy-winning London band was forced to cancel the final three US dates of its “Summer Stampede” tour last week after doctors discovered a clot on the surface of Dwane’s brain, which required immediate surgery. Hawaiian folk musician Jack Johnson filled Mumford & Sons’ headline slot on Saturday at the Bonnaroo music festival in Manchester, Tennessee. The four-member band, which formed in 2007, also includes Marcus Mumford, Winston Marshall and Ben Lovett. They won Album of the Year for “Babel” at the Grammy Awards in February. — Reuters This file film publicity image released by Columbia Pictures shows, from left, James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel in a scene from ‘This Is The End’. — AP

This 1986 photo provided by The Second City shows Bernard Sahlins, co-founder of The Second City, posing with actors during an opening night party in Chicago. — AP photos


lifestyle M u s i c


e really is more than a businessman. Jay-Z’s partnership with Samsung for his new album, “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” is another sign of how musicians are finding new ways to push, sell and promote their music, and how the multiplatinum performer - who famously rapped “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man” - continues to leverage his enduring popularity into a successful brand. Jay-Z will give his new album to 1 million users of Galaxy mobile phones on July 4, three days before the album’s official release date. The 43-year-old broke the news about his 12th album in a three-minute commercial during the NBA Finals. Details about the Samsung-Jay-Z deal, announced Sunday, weren’t disclosed and neither party granted interviews. But JayZ’s partnership is just another way artists are promoting their music at a time when album sales are low and the digital market has taken the lead in the music industry. Jim Donio, the president of the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM), said top level acts like Jay-Z and Taylor Swift have the power to launch new albums in spectacular ways with various partners. “For an artist whose album release is an event in itself ... they carry with them a much wider profile in the marketplace that they speak to, so their audience and all the things that they do affords these unique opportunities,” he said. In 2011, Lady Gaga sold 440,000 copies of her “Born This Way” album on Amazon for just 99 cents when it was on sale for two


days, helping the album sell 1.1 million in its debut week. Others have also used that trend to sell albums, though not in its debut week: Last year, Phil Collins’ greatest hits jumped into the Top 10 at No. 6 - its peak - when it was sold for 99 cents for a day. And Bruno Mars’s “Doo-Wop & Hooligans” and Demi Lovato’s “Unbroken” both jumped about 100 spots on the Billboard chart when they were on sale for 99 cents months after they were released. Taylor Swift, one of the top sellers in music, had her second platinum-debut week with “Red” last year. Her partnerships for the album included major US retailer Target, drugstore chain Walgreens and Papa John’s (you could order a pizza and a Swift album at the same time.) “Even if you didn’t purchase the CD, her face was still on the pizza box,” Donio said. And Prince released his “20Ten” album in 2010 via the Daily Mirror newspaper in Britain. Jay-Z’s new partnership is one of his many business deals. His Roc Nation agency, which manages Rihanna, Shakira and other musicians, recently expanded into the sports world, and he now is helping the careers of New York Yankee Robinson Cano, New York Jets rookie Geno Smith and others. Jay-Z has launched fashion lines, has a string of 40/40 nightclubs, was also the president of Def Jam and owned part of 1 percent of the Brooklyn Nets. He’s also still a consistent hitmaker and a superstar who transcends music - which is why Samsung likely partnered with him for his new album. Samsung has

M o v i e s

chipped away at Apple’s share of the mobile market with its Galaxy phones, and companies are relying more on music to lure new customers (Apple last week announced it will debut iRadio, its streaming music service, in the fall). One of the many questions about the Samsung deal still unanswered: Will the 1 million downloads count toward first week sales of the album, giving it elite status of debuting with platinum sales, an accomplishment few artists have achieved? Billboard, which tracks album sales and chart information for the industry, did not return emails seeking comment. Samsung reportedly purchased the albums though it’s unclear what the price-point was. Jay-Z made it clear Monday what he felt the trade publication should do. “If 1 Million records gets SOLD and billboard doesn’t report it, did it happen? Ha,” Jay-Z, adding: “Platinum!!!” Donio said he thinks more deals like Samsung-Jay-Z are on the horizon. “The record labels that are putting out the music and partnering with a variety of types of commerce outlets are going to look at just anything and everything that may work with that particular artist and that particular album release,” he said. — AP

File photo shows Jay-Z at ‘The Great Gatsby’ world premiere at Avery Fisher Hall in New York.—AP


Actor Brad Pitt, lower left, signs autographs as he arrives to the ‘World War Z’ premiere.

‘World War Z’ draws massive crowd in NYC


Brad Pitt attends the ‘World War Z’ premiere on Monday in New York. — AP photos


housands of screaming fans brought Times Square to a standstill as they waited to catch a glimpse of Brad Pitt at the premiere of his new thriller, “World War Z.” The 49-year old actor took his time to talk to reporters on the appropriately-designed “Zshaped” red carpet, often breaking away to sign autographs and pose for photographs with fans. “We’re not doing this small... we’re going big this summer,” Pitt said of the premiere that resembled a music festival. Pitt stars in and produced the apocalyptic thriller based on the book by Max Brooks. He’s the son of the legendary comic actor and director Mel Brooks. Pitt plays a former United Nations investigator who traverses the world in a race against time to stop a zombie pandemic that is threatening to decimate humanity. “We liked this idea of taking a genre and using that as, I guess, a metaphor for pandemics, and what if one of these pandemics jumped the tracks. Would we be ready? What countries would be in better shape, what countries would take the biggest hit?,” Pitt said of the zombie thriller. While Pitt sees the film as more of a summer thriller than a cautionary tale, he’s nonetheless intrigued by the political subtext.

os Angeles police said yesterday they are investigating a West Hollywood traffic accident in which a paparazzo was hit by a sports car driven by teen idol Justin Bieber. Gossip website TMZ said Bieber, 19, was exiting the Laugh Factory on Sunset Boulevard late Monday when his white Ferrari struck a photographer, who was treated in hospital with unspecified injuries. It posted video footage of the incident, in which Bieber is seen getting into the car with a male friend amid a crush of photographers, revving its engine, then driving off, apparently striking a paparazzo in the knee. “Police have interviewed all parties involved,” a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman told AFP, confirming the incident without identifying Bieber by name. “It’s an ongoing investigation for a traffic collision.” Canadian-born chart-topper Bieber has been on a break from his ongoing North American tour. He is expected to announce concert dates for Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region in the next few days. — AFP

ealth officials in Mumbai are investigating reports that Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan and his wife know the sex of a baby they are having through a surrogate mother. Sex determination tests are banned in India to stop the practice of aborting female fetuses due to a preference for sons. Khan was not at home when municipal authorities tried to question him about reports that the woman had such a test, Press Trust of India reported. A complaint filed by an unidentified, non-governmental organization alleged that Khan and his wife know they are expecting a boy. Khan has refused to comment. The 47-year-old actor is popularly known as ‘King Khan’ in the Indian film industry. He has acted in around 75 Hindi feature films, including many box-office hits. He has also hosted a season of the Hindi version of the game show, “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” He and his childhood sweetheart Gauri have a son and a daughter. India’s 2011 census showed that the country had 914 girls for every 1,000 boys under age 6, a gender ratio mainly attributed to sex-selective abortions despite the ban on prenatal gender tests. —AP

“A movie is only good if it speaks about our time, if it’s personal in some way, and it plugs into the zeitgeist to irritate a little bit. I think we got that here,” he said. As for letting his children see it, Pitt feels the movie is not appropriate for the younger ones. “My two oldest I’ve let see it, and they’ve loved it. Parental guidance, it’s called parental guidance,” Pitt said of only allowing Maddox, 11, and Pax, 8, to see the film. Pitt, and fiance’ Angelina Jolie, have six children. Jolie has long been recognized for her humanitarian work, and served as Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR. In 2012, she was promoted to Special Envoy. So how does Jolie feel about Pitt representing the UN in the film? Pitt laughed, saying: “She just didn’t want me to embarrass them.” — AP

File photo shows Indian Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, right, poses with his wife, Gauri, on the red carpet of the Zee Cine Awards 2012 in Macau. — AP


aty Perry “goes there” with Vogue about two of her high-profile relationships in the magazine’s July cover story. The singer says of ex-husband Russell Brand that she “was in love with him when I married him” in 2010. She adds that she hasn’t heard from the comedian since Brand sent her a text on New Year’s Eve 2011 saying he wanted a divorce, about 14 months later. Perry says she blamed herself for their breakup until she “found out the real truth,” which she “can’t necessarily disclose.” She also opens up about her on-again-off-again relationship with John Mayer, saying she “was madly in love with him” and still is. She also says he has a “beautiful mind” and a “tortured soul.” The July issue of Vogue goes on sale June 25. — AP

Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan , flanked by co-stars Yao Xintong and Zhang Meng , pose during the Chinese Film Festival in New Delhi yesterday. Hong Kong actor and Hollywood action star Chan is in India to inaugurate the Chinese Film Festival and held a special screening of his film ‘Chinese Zodiac’. — AFP


lifestyle Jumeirah Beach Hotel

By Chidi Emmanuel


re you looking forward to a summer of a lifetime? Dubai Summer Surprises 2013 package has it all. Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), has unveiled a fun-filled calendar of events for the 16th edition of Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS), which began on June 7, as part of the unique ‘Summer is Dubai’ campaign which will run till September 7. The 32-day fun-packed event focuses on tourists, families and children - offering numerous diverse events and activities designed to create a grand citywide celebration across several sectors including tourism, retail and leisure. Amid numerous events and attractions, families can also avail themselves of amazing promotions that will run throughout DSS and ‘Summer is Dubai’ including the fantastic package that is being offered by leading hotels that allows children under 12 a stay at the hotel for free. The leading malls hype up the summer promotions to attract DSS shoppers. Commenting on the 16th edition of DSS, Her Excellency Laila Mohammed Suhail, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of DTCM, said that the Festivals and Events industry has become, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the main pillars that contributes towards sustaining a robust tourism sector at any given destination. Its direct impact on the tourism scene and other related sectors is highly notable; this is most evident in the form of our own Dubai Summer Surprises. “Since its inception in 1998, this ground-breaking event has capitalized on the fast paced prosperity and development of the city of Dubai to become one of the most awaited summer events, turning the challenging summer into a fruitful and lucrative season across Dubai’s main sectors,” she said. The state-of-the-art infrastructures combined with its peacefulness and tranquility will always give Dubai the cut-

ting edge over other destinations. DSS and the wider “Summer is Dubai” campaign are a crucial part of our tourism strategy of attracting 20 million visitors by 2020 that was announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE, and Ruler of Dubai,” HE said. Mega Prizes During the 3-month long “Summer is Dubai” campaign, the organizers will run a mega promotion in collaboration with the Dubai Shopping Malls Group (DSMG), offering up to Dhs 5 million in prizes. Of this total prize money, up to Dhs 1 million in prizes plus 8 BMW cars will be given away to lucky shoppers during DSS. Shoppers spending Dhs 200 will be entitled to a coupon that will be entered into the raffle draws of the “Summer is Dubai” mega promotion. Dubai Sports World Dubai World Trade Centre: 21 June - 21 August For two months, a pro-standard, air conditioned arena at the Dubai World Trade Centre is where leading sports academies, clubs, sports professionals and enthusiasts will congregate to make Dubai Sports World the top indoor sports destination. The dedicated indoor arena will feature action and excitement across the sporting spectrum -football, basketball, fitness, running, rugby, volleyball, tennis, cricket, action sports and more. Sports lovers in the city need not feel disappointed about the hot summer weather interfering with their love for their chosen sport. Dubai Sports World transforms the hot summer into the season where the sports and action never stop. Kids Fashion Week Dubai Festival City Mall: 30 June - 6 July Dubai Festival City Mall will come alive with little fashionistas for seven days at a special fashion event dedicated to children’s couture. Tiny feet will march down the fashion ramps as the growing market of children’s clothing is celebrated in a display of colorful, cool and practical designs of the kids wear scene. This mini fashion week will feature fashion shows of the best global brands with the local catwalk stars of tomorrow, as well as a plethora of creativity and avant garde designs that will see the little flowers blossom and shine. Pillow Fight Dubai Ice Rink - The Dubai Mall: 19 June Take your angst out, bash up someone you have a grudge against, unleash your inner fighter - all for fun. All those who are young - or young at heart - will love to engage in this mock physical fight with the softest of weapons: pillows stuffed with feathery down. Hundreds of pillow warriors will divide themselves into teams, chose their lethal weapons from the pillow pile and then proceed to battle each other. And the only casualty left strewn on the field of battle will be the cotton wool and feathers! Modhesh World Dubai World Trade Centre, Halls 1-6: 20 June - 28 August Kids stepping into Modhesh World - the home of their favorite friend, the cuddly summer mascot Modhesh, will instantly feel welcome, excited, energized and bubbly with joy at the ensemble of games, contests, activities, fun skills workshops and more. Modhesh World is back again to cheer up children this summer with a line-up of activities like never before. From fun learning experiences such as a Heritage and Culture World, Art and Crafts Zone and a Boot Camp Challenge , among others, to pure entertainment at the Mothers’ Zone, Princess Spa, Snow Park, Graffiti Wall, Kids

Adventure World, Fun Fair Rides and a Kids Football Field, to name but a few - Modhesh World has it all. Throw in a Pets Farm, a Kids Pizza Making Room, an Electronic Games Area, a Laser Battle Room and a Video Games Zone, as well as a 9D Cinema Zone, and you know why every kid in town would want to be there. But that’s not all - plenty of other attractions such as a Puppets World, a Toddlers Sand Park, Modhesh Dance Academy, and others, beckon the kids.

The state-of-the-art infrastructure combined with its peacefulness and tranquility always give Dubai the cutting edge over other destinations. The city is simply built for summer vacations.

Cartoon Characters - Bananas in Pyjamas Mall of the Emirates: 7-11 June Kids, brace yourselves for a laughter riot. Take in deep gulps of air if you don’t want to go out of breath with all the guffawing - because the world’s favourite bananas are coming to the Mall of the Emirates complete with their famous pyjamas, jokes and antics! The much loved pre-school series characters from Down Under will also be joined by their best buddies from Cuddlestown - the adorable teddies Lulu, Morgan and Amy, and the mischievous Rat. The two lovable bananas, B1 and B2, will present their typically hilarious acts and their friends will join in with their slap-stick adventures. Burjuman



City of Friends Mercato Mall: 13-19 June Mercato means Market in Italian. The Dubai renaissance-style shopping mall is the first of its kind in Middle East. It brings together the choicest of international lifestyle offerings in addition to several exclusive brands. A 25-minute live stage musical show titled ‘Welcome to the City of Friends’ will feature a live host and 3 costumed characters: Max, the only monkey in the world who works in the police service and the mischief maker in the community; Elphie, a bubbly and adventure-loving elephant whose impressive trunk and water-shooting abilities make her a natural fire-fighter; and Ted, a very caring teddy bear who has recently qualified as a paramedic and started work at the ambulance service lending a paw to those in need. Together they focus on all aspects of emergency services and teach safety to kids. Smurf Show The Dubai Mall : 24-30 June Catch five of your favorite Smurfs live on stage at The Dubai Mall this DSS in The Smurfs - A Very Smurfy Festival. Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Brainy Smurf, Clumsy Smurf and Vanity Smurf will all be there, as will Gargamel, in a 25-minute show featuring a great story, fun music and dancing, lots of humour, a bit of drama, and, of course, the world’s most lovable little blue guys - all live on stage! Papa Smurf will emerge from his mushroom house with a scroll and officially announce the start of the summer celebrations. It’s a cause for great excitement amongst the Smurfs who know it is one of the most festive times of the Smurfy calendar! Strawberry Shortcake Show Deira City Centre: 1-7 July Calling all little girls: Grab your tiara and your most beautiful ball gown as you’re invited to the most anticipated sweetest event of the year: The Pretty Princess Berry Ball at Deira City Centre. It’s time to dress up and prepare for a celebration of all things berry-beautiful. The four main characters of the show - Strawberry Shortcake, Lemon Meringue, Blueberry Muffin and Cherry Jam - will sparkle in their stunning ball gowns complete with jewels and tiaras. And even Custard the cat will be all dressed up for the Berry Ball. The show provides a wholesome and sweet-scented pink world where little girls have the power to solve big problems with humour, friendship and optimism. Concerts & Theatrical Shows Elvis Forever Madinat Theatre, Souk Madinat Jumeirah: 5-8 June The King is back, by popular demand! This DSS get ready to put on your Blue Suede Shoes as you do the Jailhouse Rock in a tribute to the King of Rock n’ Roll. Elvis Forever, which will be staged in collaboration with the Barnyard Theatre Productions, is a spectacular show that captures the excitement and energy of the performances by Elvis Presley. The tribute show will have an 11 piece band with three backup singers all featuring in timeless hits reproduced from the 50s to the 70s - such as Hound Dog, Love Me Tender, Viva Las Vegas and plenty from the repertoire of the King who will be essayed by ever-popular and awards-winning Elvis impersonator, Shaky Russell. Dubai Rock Fest 2013 Dubai World Trade Centre: 7 June The city will rock to the amazing talents of some of the greatest musicians in the world, as the Dubai Rock Fest brings to Dubai legends of the guitar, such as Yngwie Malmsteen, for the first time ever as well as rock bands from all over the world. Dark Tranquility from Sweden, French band Nightmare, Tunisia’s Myrath, Epica from Holland and more will be joined by the city’s own heavy metal band, Anuryzm at the DWTC Arena. For eight hours from 6pm onwards, fans will rock their socks off as they head-bang and gyrate to the energetic, theatrical and psychedelic performances and best hits from the legendary Malmsteen and some of the most famous names in rock music worldwide. Michael McIntyre Live in Dubai Dubai World Trade Centre: 7-8 June After his record-breaking UK tour, British comedian Michael McIntyre has his eyes set on the Middle East, particularly Dubai. The stand-up comedian will have fans laughing hard when he performs at two live shows at the same venue. Be sure to take a handkerchief along with you if you go, as Michael will use his unparalleled ability to turn everyday situations into something hilarious, to make you laugh so hard that you’ll be clutching your sides and perhaps even start to tear. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Dubai Community Theatre & Arts Centre, Mall of the Emirates: 1114 June Adapted from Michael Rosen’s book of the same name, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, has finally made its way to the theatre in Dubai. For a perfect family treat, head over to the DUCTAC Theatre, Mall of the Emirates, to watch the play. The story revolves around a father and his four children, a toddler, a preschooler and two older girls, who go on a traditional bear hunt. In the end they finally come across a real bear which promptly chases them all the way back to their home!

Burj Khalifa tower

Whose Line Is It Anyway? Madinat Theatre, Souk Madinat Jumeirah: 13-15 June After a series of sell-out shows last year, the improvisation show, ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’, is back this year in Dubai for DSS. The show consists of four performers, who create characters, scenes and songs on the spot. The audience can interact with them, as most of the topics for the games are based on audience suggestions, or predetermined prompts from the host. Don’t miss the chance to see this interactive show! Taal (Live in Concert) Dubai World Trade Centre: 14th June Groove to some of the most popular Bollywood numbers as Alka Yagnik and Sukhwinder Singh, two of India’s highly acclaimed singers, croon some of their super-hit melodies. Musical legends in their own right, the duo have given the world of Bollywood some of its most unforgettable hits. Yagnik is known internationally for her song Taal, a Bollywood number that went on to become one of the most popular international songs of all time. Sukhwinder is equally illustrious in his achievements, and is no stranger to international audiences as he counts among his hits the runaway chart topper Jai Ho from the Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire. Wayans Brothers Stand Up Comedy Show Dubai Community Theatre & Arts Centre, Mall of the Emirates: 21 and 22 June The Hollywood comedians, Shawn and Marlon Wayans are set to bring the house down during their Middle East debut with their live comedy show this month. The brothers found fame through their hit TV comedy series in the ‘90s, The Wayans Bros and blockbuster movies such as Scary Movie 1 and 2 and, A Haunted House. This a superb chance for comedy lovers to see the brothers in action so don’t miss this wacky live comedy show! Under African Skies Madinat Theatre, Souk Madinat Jumeirah: 26-29 June The haunting melodies and pulsating rhythms of African music will help liven up Dubai during DSS 2013 with the famous production Under African Skies. Staged at theatres throughout South Africa continuously since 2002, the production has also toured the Netherlands, Denmark, Turkey, the Caribbean, Bahrain, Belgium and France - and Burj Khalifa tower

returns to the UAE for the second year running on popular demand after tasting great success in its inaugural run in the city last year. Devised and directed by the Barnyard Theatre Productions, this nostalgic production will take you through the history of South African music featuring hits from the Miriam Makeba along with Paul Simon, The Manhattan Brothers, Mahlantini, Johnny Clegg, Mango Groove and many more South African legends. Imagination Movers Dubai World Trade Centre: 28-29 June Making its debut in Dubai will be the Imagination Movers, a band that performs music for children. Formed in 2003 and signed by Disney in 2005, the band sings about healthy eating, good habits, and about conquering the fear of bedtime. Imagination Movers albums have sold over 250,000 copies. This is the perfect show to take your kids to, as part of their summer treat.

Dubai Sports World transforms the hot summer into the season where the sports and action never stop. For two months, a pro-standard, air conditioned arena at the Dubai World Trade Centre is where leading sports academies, clubs, sports professionals and enthusiasts will congregate to make Dubai Sports World the top indoor sports destination.

Roaming and Stage Performers It’s a non-stop medley of acrobatics, music, dance, mime, choreography and more in Dubai this summer as Dubai Summer Surprises brings you some of the best entertainment you can find anywhere. The fun starts for visitors right at the airport, where roaming performers provide a warm welcome with their music and dance routines. The city’s shopping malls and Modhesh World, the region’ biggest family edutainment centre, will also wear a buzz of excitement with a mouthwatering array of stage and roaming shows to please both children and adults. Some of the stage skits that are sure to keep audiences enthralled are The Vocal People, The Floating Chandeliers, The Comic Book Show, The Sweet Treat Show, Cartoon Pantomime and many others. Now add the roaming shows, such as the Music Box Ballerinas and the Brick People, and you have all the ingredients of the perfect evenings out at the malls or at Modhesh World - evenings full of family entertainment, spectacular shows and performances from all over the world.

Popular Destinations JUMEIRAH BEACH HOTEL: Inspired by the shape of a breaking wave, Jumeirah Beach Hotel is a vibrant symbol in Dubai skyline and a destination synonymous with sophistication and luxury. It is a unique family beach destination that redefines the holiday experience. BURJUMAN: Burjuman offers an array of value-added services that maximizes your comfort and convenience during every visit. Be it a coveted handbag, a stunning pair of shoes, a beautiful evening dress and an impeccable suit etc, Burjuman brings together the best choices for you. Shop up your wish list and enjoy a better class of shopping. PARIS GALLERY: Paris Gallery is the flagship retail brand of the Paris Gallery Group of Companies, the leading luxury retailer in the GCC. It offers its customers a premium assortment of over 450 international brands across several product categories - fragrances, cosmetics, watches, jewelry, fashion accessories - including leather goods, ladies shoes and eyewear. BURJ KHALIFA TOWER: Burj Khalifa’s At the Top experience is the high point for everyone visiting Dubai. It is the World’s tallest building and a living wonder with stunning work of art. In concept and execution, Burj Khalifa has no peer. More than just the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa is an unprecedented example of international cooperation, symbolic beacon of progress, and an emblem of the new, dynamic and prosperous Middle East. It is also tangible proof of Dubai’s growing role in a changing world. In fewer than 30 years, this city has transformed itself from a regional centre to a global one. This success was not based on oil reserves, but on reserves of human talent, ingenuity and initiative. Burj Khalifa embodies that vision.

Waooooo! Dubai Summer Surprises



At least 1,200 prisoners dressed in multicolored uniforms stage an aerobic ‘full body’ dancing show in the Lurigancho high security prison in Lima, Peru. Inmates from Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador and Colombia, armed their steps (small wooden platforms), practiced for more than three months and danced to rock music, and reggaton meringues, beating the world record for more people dancing in jail, said Roger Romero, creator of full body in Peru, who coached the prisoners.—AFP


rail company is offering one lucky couple the chance to get married aboard one of Tokyo’s busiest commuter trains as it encircles the Japanese capital, it said yesterday. East Japan Railway (JR East) said it wanted to find a couple who would like to tie the knot aboard the usually heaving Yamanote Line, in the company of up to 120 friends and family. “We expect applications from couples who are somewhat attached to the Yamanote line, including those who live nearby,” said JR East spokesman Yoichi Suzuki. “But they need not necessarily be rail fans.” Guests will have exclusive use of the 11-car train, which normally carries around 1,000 tightly-packed commuters. The train will take an hour to travel the around the 35-kilometre (22-mile) Yamanote line, stopping at all 29 stations but not opening its doors. The nature of the journey will pose one possible challengethere is no toilet aboard. “The guests will be warned well in advance. I think this is all the


same for ordinary weddings,” said Suzuki. The event has officially been planned to mark the 50th year that Yamanote line trains have been painted yellow-green. The ceremony has to be held on October 14, the 141st anniversary of Japan’s railways coming into operation. JR East is accepting applications for the next three weeks. The winning couple can arrange the ceremony as they wish but must host and pay for the ensuing wedding reception at a hotel run by the firm. The sight of train enthusiasts swarming platforms to take pictures of even the most regular-looking locomotives is not unusual in Japan, a country where hobbies are taken very seriously. — AFP

ew airborne laser scanning data has uncovered a network of roadways and canals, illustrating an entire bustling ancient city linking Cambodia’s famed Angkor Wat temples complex. The discovery was announced late Monday in a peer-reviewed paper released early by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The laser scanning shows a previously undocumented formal urban planned landscape integrating the 1,200 year old temples. It’s all obscured by dense forest. Study lead author Damien Evans of the University of Sydney tells The Age of Australia in a video that it was a Eureka moment when the airborne lasers revealed the sudden and immediate picture of an entire city, with urban temples. The airborne lasers also indicated that the civilization there eventually collapsed because of deforestation and broken reservoir systems. — AP

A train of Yamanote Line of East Japan Railway (JR East) travels over a road in Tokyo yesterday. — AFP photos

19 Jun 2013  

Kuwait Times

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