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No longer ‘maid’ to order



1,000 feared dead in India rains, floods


Italy eliminate Japan in thriller

47 Max 46º Min 28º

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Kuwait to vote July 25 See Page 9

KUWAIT: Youngsters campaign for their candidates during the previous parliamentary election held in December 2012. — File photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Local FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013







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Local FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Local Spotlight

Kuwait’s my business

The skill of matching yourself to a job By John P Hayes


ore than 60 percent of professionals working in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region believe they are not adequately compensated, according to a survey by the job site Of course, who among us will say we are adequately compensated? Few people. We all think we should be paid more, and we’re probably right. But here’s what makes matters worse in MENA. In that same survey, only 49 percent of professionals said they enjoy their job “on most days”; a further 25 percent said they enjoy their job but only “on some days.” When you don’t enjoy your job most days, and you think you’re underpaid, what’s the result? Unhappy, unproductive and often unbearable people. More to say about job profiling So just when I thought I had said enough about matching the job to the personality (actually, I can’t ever say enough about that topic), releases this survey data, and confirms my previous articles on this topic, which you can read at If you work in MENA, you have less than a 50 percent chance of “enjoying” your job “most days”. Basically, there’s a good chance you will dislike your job most days. Wow! If you spend most of your conscious time at work, or if you spend significant time thinking about what you don’t like about your job, what kind of life is that? Wouldn’t it be better to find the job that’s perfectly matched to what you are capable of doing, and what you prefer to do? The answer is “Yes”! What’s more important to you? In fact, people who love what they do don’t worry as much about how much they are compensated. Salary doesn’t matter as much to them. “I could earn more money if I worked elsewhere,” they will admit, “but I love my job and that’s more important.” Why don’t employees understand that? Even more perplexing: Why don’t employers understand it? Employers pay untold amounts of money every year because of unhappy and unproductive employees. Those are the employees who make certain to avail of every vacation

day, and all other free days they’re entitled to, and these employees always think they are entitled. And since they don’t believe the company pays them enough, “stealing” time (or other things) here and there doesn’t bother them. “If they paid me more I’d care more about my job.” The answer to that is, “No, you wouldn’t, because you are a mismatch for the job, and until you fix that you will never be happy.” People claim they can be happier with more money, but experience shows us that the more people are paid the more they spend, and if they’re prone to be in debt making X they will be in debt earning Y (a greater amount). You cannot fix a job mismatch. When the job and the personality don’t jive, both employer and employee lose! No skills? Then who wants you? The data included some other important information. Regardless of your personality type, if you fail to develop skills you will likely fail in the workplace. Many Kuwait nationals who lead major companies have stated that local job seekers lack skills. Many graduates cannot adequately communicate or work successfully in teams. Students are often led to believe that “the certificate” is the goal when it’s not. I understand that “the certificate” helps them land a job and get paid more money, but that’s not the answer. People are programmed to be happy. When they are not happy not much of anything else matters. More and more employers want to hire people with skills. In fact, two-thirds of companies told that they don’t mind hiring people with no experience, provided they have skills. Kuwait could help itself in the long term if the Ministry of Education insisted that schools at every level, including the universities, teach transferrable skills. Matching yourself to a job is a skill And by the way, learning how to match a job to a personality is a skill that can be and should be learned before you get a job, or before you accept your next job. A US profiling firm has asked me to test its program that matches personalities to sales and business ownership opportunities. If you’re interested in those positions, you can take the assessment as my guest. Go to this link: Dr. John P. Hayes heads the Business Administration department at GUST. Contact Dr. Hayes at, or via Twitter @drjohnhayes. By the way, he loves his work because he’s a perfect match for the job.

In my view

I seek help, too! By Labeed Abdal


know for sure that when we human beings are inflicted with any pain, or suffer an illness, that can happen to anyone, we seek the help and advice of the best doctors or clinics. Similarly, the machines or even robots need annual maintenance and service. When I see the real circumstances of the expats, I want to know what the problem is, what is really going on, and why have we not fixed it so far? I am sure about the efforts being proactively undertaken by Kuwait, working alongside the International Labor Organization, and hope these will lead us to find good remedies and a solution that would satisfy everyone.

It is truly like seeking a remedy from an international doctor for the world’s countries when any one country seeks reforms in its labor laws to protect both its employees and employers. After having heard so many reports about expatriates who are dependent on family visa and who should not be working but continue to violate the law being deported regardless of their condition, and also reports about their sponsors no longer being allowed to obtain any visa for anyone, has convinced me that the best prescription is to ensure that the state becomes the trusted sponsor for any expat. We all want to end the very reason that leads to the legal problems. This is the best solution.

The monster is gone

By Muna Al-Fuzai


n Egyptian convict, Hajjaj Saadi, 33, was executed in Kuwait this week. Called the monster of Hawally, the man was found guilty of raping 17 children under the age of 10. The horrible crimes had triggered a heated debate in the media and among the public, especially the parents. Saadi denied all his crimes in the court, shocking the Kuwaiti public, and insisted his confessions were extracted under duress. I personally do not believe him. He committed not one but 17 rapes and was arrested while trying to escape. He was arrested in July 2007 when he was all set to board a flight to Luxor in Egypt. The authorities said Saadi had confessed to raping 17 boys and girls after luring them onto rooftops in Hawally, an area mainly inhabited by expats. With his execution, the victims’ parents would surely have felt a degree of comfort to see the end of a man who was no less than a monster because he sexually assaulted and mauled the children, leaving them scarred for life not just physically but mentally and socially. The victims’ thoughts, ideas, feelings, actions and attitudes for the rest of their lives stay impacted by the gory memories of their childhood, and it is not impossible for any of them to carry some of such negative feelings and confusion into their later years, and negatively affecting the advances of someone who may wish to be their lover or close friend. In the West, there are support groups for such victims of heinous crimes. Unfortunately, we do not have such a tradition and have no such facility in the Arab world. I guess this is so because we tend to hide our problems in the dark and sweep these issues under the carpet as if it will make them go away. People in general do not like to speak out openly about their troubles. I feel it should be the exact opposite because only that will ease the pressure and make one realize that one is not alone and it is something that can befall anyone of us. If someone falls victim to such a crime, it does not mean he or she is a bad person and should carry the burden of guilt or bear a grudge all their lives. It is neither right nor healthy. It is never going to be easy to learn and accept the news of the hanging of a human being. Hajjaj Saadi, who was handed out a death sentence, complained shortly before his execution that he was not given any assistance by the Egyptian government, a witness said. I do not know about the legal assistance from their side but I think he was given a lot of time since 2007. We are now in 2013. This monster is now gone and can no longer harm any other child, boy or girl. I know that does not mean that all evils are now over and no new monster will show up again in Kuwait. We must not allow a man like him to languish in jail for too many years. If he was to be judged, jailed or executed, he should have received his just deserts a long time ago. Keeping such a person in jail only adds to the sufferings of others. The monster is gone, thanks be to Allah.

Local FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

The OFWs with their trainers.

50 OFWs graduate in art of beauty and hair styling By Ben Garcia


The nail polishing art

he instinctive spirit to lend a helping hand is one great quality we all share, irrespective of our nationalities. In fact, everyone has an inner instinct to help a fellow human being and offer a shoulder to lean on, especially in times of need or a crisis. To many Filipinos, philanthropy comes as a natural instinct. Such kindly souls are found all over Kuwait. Though it appear to be a small endeavor, their work has definitely made a difference and changed the lives and destiny of others. Meet Mel Marquez Sordian and Farida Al-Halimi, both experts in changing not just the external appearance of their customers but also changing the lives of many Filipinos who have been touched by their generosity.

Known to many in Kuwait as a beauty consultant, Sordian said given the chance she would love to share all her secrets with the Filipina crowd willing to learn the art of looking beautiful and feeling beautiful at all times. She had previously worked in various women’s health clubs and spas in Kuwait, from Hilton Hotel to Palms Beach Hotel, Champion for Women and Flex Club.

Through a special program, dubbed Distressed OFW Skills Development Program, launched in January this year at the embassy’s compound at the Filipino Workers Resource Center (FWRC), their group successfully graduated and equipped about 50 OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) with essential skills for their survival and to help obtain a new job. They have been targeting distressed OFWs (housemaids) to be the recipient of their act of charity. Both are successful in their chosen field of beauty, art and health. Sordian and Al-Halimi have together agreed to train Filipinas for free. “You know that studying beauty and healthcare is expensive. In Kuwait, if you want to learn the methods we have been teaching, you need at least KD600. We do it free for the Filipinas because we want them to develop and improve their craft,” Sordian noted. “Now, I am not saying that a housemaid’s job is petty work, but compared to the salary of the beauty expert who earn KD400-600 nowadays, I think this is far better than earning KD60-80 if you are a housemaid,” she added. Al-Halimi, owner of Salon Rawan Al-Salmiya agrees. “My focus in training is on hair styling, cutting and coloring. This is also very expensive craft in many salons in Kuwait nowadays. For example, for hair cutting, styling and coloring, people are now paying up to KD100. We encourage our Filipina girls to study and gain experience in these skills and earn better salaries. If you can cook, and tend to the complex house chores, why not learn the simple art of hair styling and coloring?” Al-Halimi asserted.

Local FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Even before sharing their craft with the distressed OFWs, Sordian and Al-Halimi were training and sharing their skills with fellow Filipinos outside the embassy compound. “Before we launched the program at the embassy, we were training a number of Filipinos. I have many protÈgÈes who are now experts in the field and are earning great amount of money. They were very appreciative and we wanted to broaden our reach. That is why I asked for assistance from our Labor AttachÈ David Des Dicang to help us introduce the program for the distressed OFWs. He accepted it instantly and now we have a free training platform and workshop at the embassy every Friday,” Sordian mentioned. The students were taught the basic skills in spa treatment, massage, nail art techniques, manicure and pedicure, hair cutting/styling and coloring. “Beauty art and hair styling is a good and respectable job and, in fact, a million dollar business for many. If you know the art and the essence of beauty, and know how to treat the body, you don’t need to remain a housemaid and be treated like slaves. You can become a beauty consultant and earn a considera b l e

amount of money,” she said. Known to many in Kuwait as a beauty consultant, Sordian said given the chance she would love to share all her secrets with the Filipina crowd willing to learn the art of looking beautiful and feeling beautiful at all times. She had previously worked in various women’s health clubs and spas in Kuwait, from Hilton Hotel to Palms Beach Hotel, Champion for Women and Flex Club. “I was hired by these companies, mostly to open their spa and beauty clubs. Once it was established, I moved on to new companies to share my knowledge with others. If I could share it with some, why not with our fellow OFWs,” she opined. “When your heart is into helping people, you will do all you can to really reach out to them. I have been offering this program a long time back, but some are not very interested in it. However, when I made this offer to Labor AttachÈ Dicang, her response was very positive and she embraced the idea. My partner is a charity person, Madam Farida, who also is very happy,” she noted.

Program, launched in January this year at the embassy’s compound at the Filipino Workers Resource Center (FWRC), their group successfully graduated and equipped about 50 OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) with essential skills for their survival and to help obtain a new job.

Local FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Summer turns heat on Kuwait power grids Rapid urbanization, growing population add to electricity woes By Haneyl Jacob


ith the blistering summer temperatures hovering above 50 Degree Celsius in Kuwait, its cooling systems have gone into an override putting extra load on the country’s power grids. Already, Kuwait has recorded the highest electricity consumption this year at 10,050 megawatts, a figure that surpasses last year’s consumption by 600 megawatts. Still, citizens and residents appear unfazed as wastage of electricity continues unabated. “I don’t see any incentive in worrying about the daily consumption of electricity at my house because the tariff is really low. The MEW had also assured us that there will be no power cuts since March when they revealed that generators had been distributed nationwide,” said a citizen, expressing a common view of the people. Statistics indicate that electricity production is likely to barely meet the expected record-breaking consumption rates this year. Kuwait leads the world in the per capita electricity usage and there is increasing pressure on the country’s electricity supply with rapid urbanization and growing population. “Definitely, summer puts extra load on our power grids as the consumption goes up sharply,” an MEW official confirmed. The Ministry of Electricity and Water spends over a billion dinar every year to meet the entire electricity requirement of the country. The bulk of electricity is consumed by buildings, leading to high greenhouse gas emissions. Infrastructure in Kuwait is growing rapidly, as is the electricity consumption. Heavy subsidization only leads to massive wastage of energy and de-prioritizes potential conservation efforts. According to a Business Intelligence Middle East report, at the rate Kuwait is consuming energy, with an average Kuwaiti using 22 times more resources than the country provides per person, experts believe it will need as much as 20 percent of its oil production capacity just for energy generation by 2017 - a consumption pattern deemed unsustainable given that 66 percent of the country’s GDP is dependent on the oil industry. Therefore, implementation of energy efficiency and energy conservation programs in buildings is an important goal. The idea of conserving electricity is based on the idea of using a resource wisely rather than wasting it aimlessly. Solutions to conserve energy should ensure comfort for an individual to an extent with minimum power and energy demand so that it may be practicable. This means doing simple things, such as turning off lights when you leave a room, as well as more but practically less involved processes, such as replacing standard light bulbs and appliances with those that use less electricity. While you may not notice much of an impact on your dayto-day life when you make these changes, the environmental impact of your actions will be immense on a much larger scale. One of the biggest motivators people have for conserving electricity in their homes is the accumulated savings in their energy bills at the end of the year. There are other reasons why conserving

electricity is important beyond the minimal impact on your wallet in a country like Kuwait. Whilst energy management has been practiced in commercial buildings for a long time, it has been neglected in homes. Most homeowners aren’t even aware of the term, and adopt a careless and ignorant approach when it comes to reducing their energy consumption. Electricity can be obtained from solar or wind sources, but most of the electricity used in homes comes from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal or, in case of Kuwait, an unimaginable amount of oil. These fuels are needed to power the turbines that produce electricity. These resources are neither unlimited nor renewable and the faster they are used, the

Just finding the opportunities to save energy won’t help you to save energy - you have to take action to target them. There are many ways you can conserve electricity in your home. Turn off appliances completely when not in use, use energy saving appliances, and insulate your home properly to help lower your heating and cooling costs. Swapping your standard incandescent bulbs with newer, energy saving models like LED bulbs can help reduce your household’s energy consumption, and result in significant savings. The easiest and the most cost-effective energy-saving opportunities typically require little or no capital investment at a commercial level besides requiring only the tiniest of effort. And

“energy management” is also used by many to reduce the damage that we’re doing to our planet, Earth. As a human race we would probably find things rather difficult without the Earth, so it makes good sense to try to make it last. By taking the time to question yourself and the amount of electricity that you waste on a daily basis, you may find yourself more motivated to do your part. Begin conserving the electricity in your home today and reap the benefits for many years to come. At a time when global climate is changing at alarming rates, the government and organizations need everyone while trying their best to do their share of preserving the planet. Choosing to limit your home’s or office’s use of fossil products and utilizing solar,

Technicians work at a power station in Kuwait. faster the end of the pit is approaching. Another major impact that mindless consumption of electricity can lead to is the release of enormous amounts of pollution into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. Acid rain, soot and toxic gases are just a few of the ways electricity production poisons the environment and must not be taken lightly as the effect it has on climatic changes is not to be ignored. “It was very hard for us to stay at home when there were power cuts in 2010. There were people sitting in the streets because they couldn’t bear the heat at home. People in Jleeb AlShoyouk and Hassawi saw power cuts that lasted from six to 12 hours a day and I hope we never go through that again,” said a resident of Jleeb who experienced shortage of electricity in an intolerably hot country like Kuwait.

one of the simplest ways to save a significant amount of energy is to encourage your staff or coworkers to switch the equipment off at the end of each office working day. Looking at detailed interval energy data is the ideal way to find routine energy wastage. You can check whether staff and timers are switching appliances off without having to supervise the electricity consumption in an office throughout the day, and, you can usually figure out who or what causes energy wastage and create awareness among the workers. You would typically analyze your meter data to find and quantify routine energy usage to pay your bills, so it shouldn’t be a lot more effort to see how much energy is being wasted unnecessarily in the entire building. It’s not just about saving energy in buildings - the term

wind or other forms of energy, you are not only saving electrical energy, but also reducing greenhouse emission in the environment. As a result, there is less pollution and climatic changes. Looking into the future of electricity consumption in Kuwait, continued economic development will move the country on to the path of increased per-capita electricity demand, which, combined with population growth, will drive demand for electricity upwards over the coming decades. Since the capacity of electricity generation is likely to be increased with demand, citizens need to be more aware of the consequences that arise with the wastage of energy, whether inexpensive or not. Subsidized tariffs are a luxury and must be taken advantage of without excessive use and carelessness.

Local FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

House-to-house raids in Mangaf, 120 held Carry IDs, documents: MOI

KUWAIT: Officials during the house-to-house inspection campaign.

KUWAIT: Residency violators being rounded up in Mangaf. —Photos by Fouad Al-Shaikh

By Hanan Al-Sadoun KUWAIT: With the director, Brigadier Ghazi Al-Mai and his assistant, Colonel Najeeb Al-Shatti, in attendance, the immigration detective teams resumed surprise inspection campaigns in Mangaf that resulted in the arrest of 120 persons on account of expired residency visa, working for people other than sponsors and domestic laborers who had absconded, security sources said. Commenting on the campaign, Al-Mai stressed that the Ministry of Interior was determined on carrying on with such efforts to track down and arrest outlaws and suspects. On its part, MOI’s security media department stressed that these campaigns targeted those in violation of residency laws or working for people other than their sponsors, deserters, wanted people and fugitives. The security media department

urged both citizens and expatriates to carry their IDs, drivers’ licenses and car registration papers with them at all times to avoid detention, especially since all police patrols were now equipped with computers and access to the ministry’s database to check anyone’s legal status.

Iranian delegation’s visit termed fruitful KUWAIT: The Undersecretary of Kuwait Foreign Ministry Khaled Al-Jarrallah hailed the positive outcome of the recent Iranian senior delegation’s visit to Kuwait. In press statements following the conclusion of the second annual Arab diplomats training program held here, AlJarrallah said the reciprocal visits help dispel concerns and counter misconceptions. “The meeting that brought together Kuwait Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled AlSabah and the Iranian Assistant Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hussain Amir Abdullahyan on Wednesday included positive, detailed and lengthy talks that tackled all issues of common concern and means to develop and strengthen bilateral relations,” Al-Jarrallah told reporters, adding that the talks were frank and realistic. Al-Jarrallah expressed Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry’s full satisfaction with the outcome of the Iranian delegation’s visit. “Such visits help dispel concerns that overshadow the Kuwaiti-Iranian relations and misconceptions about stances of regional and international issues,” he said. He also unveiled that both sides will continue coordination for convening the joint Kuwaiti-Iranian committee as well as the anticipated visits of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s to Tehran. On a separate issue, Al-Jarrallah said the Foreign Ministry will pursue relentless efforts and talks with US officials to help release Kuwaiti inmates of Guantanamo Bay detention center.—KUNA

Ahmadi campaign Continuing its crackdown on illegal residents and outlaws, Ahmadi security forces recently conducted a surprise inspection that resulted in the arrest 301 people. Among them, 17 were illegal laborers, 275 did not have identification documents or were in violation of the residency law, six were wanted for civil cases,

and three for criminal cases (including one for attempted murder). The campaign also resulted in the detention of five vehicles and issuance of 145 traffic citations. Citizens arrested Narcotics detectives recently arrested two citizens for being in illegal possession of a quarter kilo of

hashish, said security sources. Case papers indicated that the detectives had been tipped off about the two suspects, who were later arrested in possession of hash in Qurain. The two men also led the police to a flat they had rented in Shaab, where more hashish was kept. A case was filed and both suspects were referred to the relevant authorities.

KRCS enters 3rd stage of ‘loaf of bread’ project BEIRUT: Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) announced here yesterday launching the third stage of “loaf of bread” project in Lebanon to aid Syrian refugees in cooperation with the Lebanese Red Cross. KRCS head envoy Musaed Al-Enezi said that the third phase of this humanitarian program was launched in a number of areas north and south of Lebanon, and that about 180,000 people would benefit from it for a month. Al-Enezi stressed the keenness to improve living conditions of needy families experiencing difficult circumstances, pointing out the KRCS would begin within days launching of (Eid) clothing project, covering thousands of displaced Syrian families. It would also provide iftars (fast-breaking) meals for 15,000 Syrians during the upcoming holy month of Ramadan. He also praised efforts by Chairman of Red Crescent Society Barjas Al-Barjas for implementation of these humanitari-

an projects in both Lebanon and Jordan to help the refugees. For his part, head of the north region of the Lebanese Red Cross Youssef Boutros hailed the humanitarian efforts of Kuwait Red Crescent Society, namely organization of these relief activities to aid the displaced Syrians, stressing this action contributed significantly to alleviating their plight. Boutros added that this is not the first initiative undertaken by the Kuwait Red Crescent Society as it has always been active in helping the afflicted and needy in all parts of the world. Latest statistics show number of displaced Syrians in Lebanon has reached more than 530,000, mostly in the regions of Akkar, Tripoli, Menieh and Dennieh in the north of the country. Many activists, associations, charities and institutions have been providing humanitarian aid to the displaced Syrians in Lebanon Turkey and Jordan. Kuwait through its official institutions and charities is the

number-one country in terms of volume of the assistance given to the displaced Syrians in Lebanon. — KUNA

Musaed Al-Enezi


Local FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Kuwait to hold election on July 25 Sixth parliamentary vote in seven years KUWAIT: Kuwait will hold its sixth parliamentary election in seven years on July 25, a snap vote ordered by its top court after the current assembly was dissolved earlier this week in another sign of political turmoil in the Gulf Arab state. Almost constant factional infighting and disarray has stalled infrastructure development and held up economic reforms in Kuwait, an important oil producer and US ally. On Sunday opposition supporters lost a legal fight to undo changes to the voting system they said favor progovernment candidates - a dispute which aggravated political tensions. The Constitutional Court however found fault in the process leading up to the last elections in December and ordered a new ballot for the 50-member assembly. “At an extraordinary meeting held today, the cabinet approved a draft decree inviting voters to elect members of the National Assembly on July 25,” the state news agency KUNA quoted Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah as saying yesterday. The election date falls during the holy month of Ramadan. The decree was to be issued later by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah. Opposition politicians boycotted the last election in December in protest at changes to the voting system decreed by HH the Amir six

weeks beforehand. They said the changes made it more difficult to form alliances in a country that bans political parties. The government says the new rules brought Kuwait’s system in line with voting systems used

date, which the opposition says makes alliances difficult. HH the Amir, who has ruled Kuwait since 2006, said the changes were aimed at ensuring security and stability after policymaking stalled in

Kuwaiti history and the December poll had the lowest voter turnout since the first election held in 1963. Prominent Islamist and populist opposition politicians have said they will not stand in any future election

KUWAIT: His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah presides over the extraordinary session of the Cabinet yesterday. —KUNA elsewhere in the world. Under the old system, voters were allowed to cast ballots for up to four candidates, which the opposition said allowed alliances that partly made up for the absence of political parties. The new voting system allows votes for only a single candi-

Asian selling drugs in open place held KUWAIT: To their surprise, security forces who were dispatched to Jahra on an inspection campaign to arrest illegal residents found an Asian man displaying some merchandise outside a grocery shop in the city. He was selling drugs to passers-by. The security sources stated that the suspect was arrested and referred to the relevant authorities. Stolen diesel A Jahra patrol recently foiled an attempt to sell stolen diesel, said security sources. Case papers indicate that the patrol noticed that some people on three fuel trucks, after delivering a consignment, were pumping out some leftover fuel into smaller tankers. When the patrolling officers stopped by to investigate the matter, the suspects fled the scene, leaving the trucks behind. The trucks were confiscated and a search is on for the suspects. Citizen arrested A citizen was arrested and his vehicle was detained because he was driving it on a pavement meant for pedestrians on a busy shopping street in Salmiya, said security sources. The man justified his behavior, saying that there was heavy traffic and he could not wait till the road was clear. Asians hurt Three Asians were injured during a fight with three citizens in Mahboula, said security sources, noting that the citizens used thick sticks and knives before fleeing the scene. A case was filed and further investigations are under way. Kuwaitis arrested A citizen who was wanted by law was arrested upon his arrival at Kuwait airport from a GCC state, said security sources. Meanwhile, three citizens were arrested in Salmiya for pretending to be police detectives and trying to rob an Egyptian, said security sources. Case papers indicate that a police patrol noticed the three citizens arguing with the Egyptian. Upon being approached, the three claimed they had some business with him. To their bad luck, the man denied their allegation and told the police that they were trying to rob him. Upon further investigation, it was found that the three were wanted for several cases.

the previous opposition-dominated parliament. He has urged Kuwaitis to put the debate over the voting rules behind them and participate in the upcoming election. Sheikh Sabah’s move to change the voting system last year touched off some of the largest protests in

under the one-vote system but some liberals and Salafi Islamists have said they will compete, splitting the opposition. In press statements following a Cabinet’s extraordinary meeting, Sheikh Mohammad said the decree comes in implementation of the

Supreme Constitutional Court’s rulings on the parliament laws this week. The Cabinet has also assigned the ministerial committee for legal affairs to prepare other required draft decrees to complete the enforcement of the Constitutional Court verdicts, Sheikh Mohammad added. HH the Amir is also expected to issue another decree next week dissolving the pro-government parliament in accordance with the court order. Islamist, nationalist and most liberal opposition groups have said they will boycott the election but the main liberal opposition group the National Democratic Alliance, which boycotted December polls, said it will take part. Opposition groups have claimed the ruling will encourage autocratic rule in the state which became a democratic pioneer in the Gulf by electing a parliament as early as 1962. The electoral law passed in 2006 allowed each eligible voter to choose a maximum of four candidates. The amendment reduced the number to just one. Under its electoral system, Kuwait is divided into five districts with each electing as many as 10 MPs. In another related case, the court rebuffed a challenge to law No 20 of 2012 which brought a one-person, one-vote system in place of the former rules that allowed voters to cast ballots for four candidates. —Agencies

Kuwait to offer guarantees for Gitmo prisoner transfer KUWAIT: Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah said here yesterday his country is ready to provide all guarantees to be demanded by the US to receive its prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. The minister made the remark during a joint news conference with his visiting Moroccan counterpart Saad Eddin Othmani following the sixth session of the Kuwaiti-Moroccan joint committee. He said his country had received a US delegation on Kuwait’s preparations and arrangements for receiving Kuwaiti prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, adding that “Kuwait will pursue these efforts to bring Kuwaiti prisoners Fawzy Al-Ouda and Fayez Al-Kandari to a civil court”. On his talks with his Moroccan counterpart, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid said they had met His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. He hailed the joint committee meeting as having been held in a sincerely fraternal atmosphere, with bilateral cooperation in all fields having been discussed. The joint committee came with several outcomes that involved the signing of five cooperative agreements which marked a significant addition to developing relations between both countries. He pointed to several common denominators whether at the level of bilateral relations or at the level of Gulf-Moroccan relations concerning significant world issues. “Strategic partnership between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states and Morocco proceeds from political consensus and depth of historical relations,” he said. “Cooperation between both countries won’t stop at the activities of this committee and its programmed and periodical convention, but it will also involve continuing

coordination and cooperation in various international forums out of deep-rooted principles laid down by late Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah and late King Mohammed V during the first state visit by the king to the State of Kuwait in pre-independence period, exactly on January 30, 1960,” the minister said. On recent positive remarks by Iran’s president-elect Hassan Rohani on relations with neighbor countries, he said: “The Islamic Republic of Iran is an important and major country in the region and is keen on the basic principles of the UN Charter and good neighborliness.” He hoped that the new leadership of Iran would work to ensure security and stability in the region which has suffered long decades of instability. On a recent call by Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi for an extraordinary Arab meeting on Syria, the Kuwaiti foreign minister said contacts were underway for this purpose, pointing to his country’s eagerness to stop bloodshed in Syria. On the Constitutional Court’s ruling annulling the National Assembly (parliament), he reiterated the government’s respect to and abidance by the court ruling. For his part, the Moroccan foreign minister lauded historical relations between Morocco and Kuwait as deep in the culture of the two peoples, which is based on fraternal relations. He thanked Kuwait and its Amir for good reception and hospitality for the Moroccan delegation participating in the sixth session of the joint committee. He said both sides shared the same views on international issues and on cooperation at international, Arab and Muslim organizations, hoping that bilateral coordination would continue at diverse diplomatic and international events. The minister appreciated Kuwait’s support for strategic partnership between Morocco and the GCC member states. —KUNA

FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Iraq, Lebanon alarmed at spreading Syria war


Lebanese start-ups eye technology boom


Panic over MERS virus fades in Saudi


DEHRADUN: A flood-hit couple console one another after being evacuated by helicopter from the upper reaches of Uttrakhand, in Dehradun, India yesterday. — AP

1,000 feared dead in Indian floods Cricket star Harbhajan Singh stranded DEHRADUN: India’s military battled yesterday to reach villages and towns cut off by flash floods and landslides in the country’s north as officials warned at least 1,000 people may have been killed. Helicopters and close to 10,000 soldiers have been deployed to rescue tourists and pilgrims stranded after floods caused by torrential monsoon rains hit the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand at the weekend. Some 1,400 people have been evacuated in the past 24 hours as the military takes advantage of clearer weather, but another 18,000 are still stranded, the air force said. “Our priority is to take out the children and women first by helicopter,” said Ajay Chadha, chief of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. “We hope to rescue all the living and then start the scavenging task,” Chadha said in New Delhi, referring to the task of finding the dead. Houses, buildings and vehicles have collapsed or been swept away by overflowing rivers and landslides, while bridges and narrow roads leading to pilgrimage towns have also been destroyed, officials said. Torrential rains four and a half times as heavy as usual have hit Uttarakhand, known as the “Land of the Gods”, where Hindu shrines and temples built high in the mountains attract many pilgrims. “There are some 3,000 of us stuck in Gangotri (a pilgrimage site) for the past few days and there is no food,

no drinking water or assurances from the government,” a pilgrim, Parwinder Singh, told CNN-IBN by telephone. “It is very difficult to move from here,” he added. At least 138 people have been killed across Uttarakhand and two neighbouring states also hit by floods and landslides, officials said, but shrine authorities warned the toll was more than 1,000. “We estimate more than 1,000 people have died as unattended bodies are scattered all around,” said Ganesh Godiyal, chairman of a trust in charge of several shrines in the pilgrimage towns of Kedarnath and Badrinath. Over the border in Nepal, floods and landslides also triggered by the monsoon have left at least 39 people dead mostly in remote parts of the country, officials said. Indian paramilitary officers have been building rope and log bridges across raging rivers to try to reach those stranded. Television footage showed pilgrims using ropes and makeshift ladders to climb down cliffs to reach safer ground. The military operation was concentrating on reaching the worst-hit Kedarnath temple area, as families of those missing and stranded faced an anxious wait in Uttarakhand capital’s Dehradun. “Never seen anything like this... entire roads have vanished and villages destroyed... there’s rubble everywhere,” a military officer said, on condition of anonymity as he was not

allowed to speak to the media. One of those stranded was Indian cricket star Harbhajan Singh, who was attempting to reach a Sikh pilgrimage site but had to take refuge in a police station. “Some people are saying that we’re stuck but I wouldn’t say that we’re stuck, I’d say we’ve been saved by God,” said the spin bowler, who was later flown out of the flood-hit area by military chopper. “With the kind of rainstorm we witnessed, anything could have happened. Many people lost their lives,” the cricketer said. Figures for the death toll have varied considerably, underscoring the difficulty of reaching isolated areas. An Uttarakhand state lawmaker, Shaila Rani Rawat, put the death toll at 2,000, but disaster management officials could not confirm this. Nearly 10,000 soldiers along with 13 teams from the National Disaster Response Force have been deployed for the rescue and relief effort, the government said. Relief camps have been set up to house evacuated residents and tourists. Some 30 aircraft are ferrying many of those rescued to the camps, while 14 tonnes of food and relief aid has been dropped in remote areas, the air force said. The monsoon, which covers the subcontinent from June to September, usually brings some flooding. But the heavy rains arrived early this year, catching many by surprise and exposing the country’s lack of preparedness. — AFP

International FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Iraq, Lebanon alarmed at spreading Syria war ‘Friends of Syria’ foreign ministers to meet in Qatar

BEIRUT: Lebanese entrepreneurs from different internet start-up companies work in the offices of “accelerator” Seeqnce in Beirut’s Hamra district. — AFP

Lebanese start-ups eye technology 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 colours. 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 programme, a six-month effort to guide a group of eight budding Internet entrepreneurs from ideas to investment. “People are really getting into building Internet startups,” said Seeqnce co-founder Fadi Bizri, who helps mentor those taking part in the programme. “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 programme 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-year-old Marwan Harmouche, 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 programme. —AFP

BAGHDAD/BEIRUT: Neighbouring Iraq warned that Syria’s civil war is tearing the Middle East apart and Lebanon’s president urged his country’s Hezbollah movement yesterday to pull its fighters out of the conflict. After two years of fighting that has killed more than 93,000 people, Syria’s turmoil is dragging its neighbours into a deadly confrontation between Shiite Iran supporting President Bashar AlAssad and Sunni Arab Gulf nations backing the Syrian rebels. The insurgents have suffered a series of setbacks on the battlefield and are besieged in the outskirts of Damascus facing a slow but steady advance by Assad’s forces, which have begun to regain the upper hand. In a sign of the devastation being wrought by the war, the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO put the six World Heritage Sites in Syria on its danger list of imperilled monuments yesterday, urging international efforts to protect them. Both Iraq and Lebanon have suffered growing violence at home as the Syrian conflict turns increasingly into a proxy war along confessional lines. “Iraq is in the most difficult position in this regional turmoil and the conflict in Syria has become a regional conflict by all standards,” Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told Reuters in an interview in Baghdad. “We are doing our best to maintain a neutral position, but the pressures are enormous and for how long we can hold really is a matter of further developments in Syria.” With Russia and Iran arming Assad’s government forces, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah fighters joining the war on his behalf, Western powers have agreed in the last week to step up aid to the mainly Sunni rebels, who were driven out of the strategic town of Qusair, north of Damascus. Foreign ministers of the “Friends of Syria” group of nations backing the opposition are to meet in Qatar tomorrow to discuss assistance to try to help the rebel Free Syrian Army defend the key northern city of Aleppo. Those countries include the United States, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and Qatar. Military support Rebel prospects for reversing Assad’s gains in Damascus may now hinge on military support from Western and Arab backers. “If the northern front were to receive enough material and non-material support quickly, it could soon be equivalent to thousands of men, or even tens of thousands,” a Western diplomat involved in the talks said. In a further sign that violence is spreading in one of the

most diverse countries in the Middle East, Islamist Arab rebels have clashed with Kurds in northeastern Syria, sources on both sides said. The death toll from fighting and assassinations in the last few days has reached at least 30 people, with dozens more held in tit for tat kidnappings. Russian President Vladimir Putin rebuffed Western pressure at a Group of Eight summit in Northern Ireland this week to stop arming Assad’s government and warned the West against supplying Islamist rebels he said ate human organs. The rebels believe last week’s US decision to give them military support will re-open arms deliveries through Jordan that were curbed as the United States and Russia negotiated a planned “Geneva 2” peace conference. They seek anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to help them fight back against Assad’s air force and armour. Lebanese President Michel Suleiman appealed to Hezbollah, the main Lebanese Shiite movement, to pull its guerrillas out of Syria, saying any further involvement in its neighbour’s civil war would fuel instability in Lebanon. “If they take part in a battle for Aleppo, and more Hezbollah fighters are killed, it will lead to more tension,” Suleiman told the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir in an interview published yesterday. “This should end in Qusair, and (Hezbollah) should return home.” Suleiman, a Maronite Christian, originally had Assad’s backing to become president but has become increasingly assertive in criticising Syria, which dominated its smaller neighbour militarily and politically for three decades. — Reuters

SIDON: A Syrian young girl who fled with her family looks on at a refugee camp in the Lebanese town of Alman, northeast of the southern city Sidon yesterday. — AFP

Turkey frustrated with Germany over EU ISTANBUL/BRUSSELS: Turkey warned German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday not to play politics with its European Union ambitions, and said failure to open a new chapter in accession talks next week would be a major setback in Ankara’s relations with the bloc. Many EU capitals want to take the long-awaited step on Turkey’s path towards the EU next week, arguing Europe should capitalise on Ankara’s rising influence in the Middle East. But Germany has criticised Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s heavy handed response to weeks of anti-government protests and appears to be refusing to agree to open a new negotiation area, potentially the first such step in three years. Merkel’s conservatives have rejected Turkish EU mem-

bership in their German election programme, saying the country would “overburden” the bloc because of its size and economy, sparking anger in Ankara. “If Mrs Merkel is looking for domestic political material for her elections, that material should not be Turkey,” Turkey’s EU minister Egemen Bagis told reporters yesterday. “If Mrs Merkel looks into it she will see that those who mess about with Turkey do not have an auspicious end,” he said. European governments delayed a decision yesterday on resuming membership talks because of reluctance in Berlin, setting the stage for lastminute discussions on Monday. “Nothing was decided. The Germans have to report back home but it seems

they are leaning towards not opening the chapter,” said one EU diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Opposition in Germany to Turkish EU membership has grown in recent years, with two thirds saying they opposed it in a new poll by Forsa for yesterday’s edition of weekly magazine Stern. Erdogan angry over criticism Merkel said on Monday she was “appalled” by the crackdown on protesters in Istanbul. The protests began over a redevelopment project in a park, but spiralled into an unprecedented show of defiance against what Erdogan critics call his authoritarianism. Police fired teargas and water cannon to disperse stone-throwing pro-

testers night after night in cities including Istanbul and Ankara, unrest which left four people dead and some 7,500 suffering from injuries ranging from cuts to breathing difficulties, according to the Turkish Medical Association. Erdogan and his government have bristled at foreign criticism of his handling of the unrest, saying the response was no different to police action taken in the past in countries including Germany and the United States. Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper quoted a senior Turkish diplomat yesterday as saying Ankara could suspend negotiations with Brussels altogether if the new chapter - dealing with regional funding issues - is not opened next week, although other officials were more cautious. —Reuters


International FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Panic over MERS virus fades in Saudi AL-HUFUF: People in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province have again started greeting friends with the traditional kiss on the cheek, and face masks in public are becoming rarer, as panic subsides over the outbreak of a deadly respiratory disease that hit the country last year. “We continue to kiss each other when we meet relatives and friends, and we organise evenings without wearing masks or taking any precautionary measures,” said Badr Abdullah, as he bought groceries at a shopping centre in Al-Hufuf, the main city in Al-Ahsa governorate. “At the beginning, panic hit us. But now, the situation is back to normal,” Abdullah said. Last June, the province was hit for the first time with what became a spate of cases of what was dubbed Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) because of the high proportion of cases reported in the region. Out of 64 cases worldwide, the virus has killed 38 people, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says. Of that total, 49 cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia, with 32 people dying. But Abdullah, like many in Eastern Province, said he believes “most of those affected are aged people who suffered chronic illnesses.” The virus is a member of the coronavirus family, which includes the pathogen that causes Severe Acute

Respiratory Syndrome. SARS sparked global panic in 2003 after it jumped to humans from animals in Asia and killed some 800 people. Like SARS, MERS appears to cause a lung

infection, causing fever, cough and breathing trouble. But it differs in that it also causes rapid kidney failure. Hospitals in the province have taken precautionary measures, distributing masks and urging people

AL-HUFUF: A foreign worker wears a mask as he rides a bicycle near the King Fahad hospital in Saudi Arabia. —AFP

Palestinian kids tortured, used as shields by Israel Israel questions motives of UN committee GENEVA: A United Nations human rights body accused Israeli forces yesterday of mistreating Palestinian children, including by torturing those in custody and using others as human shields. Palestinian children in the Gaza and the West Bank, captured by Israel in the 1967 war, are routinely denied registration of their birth and access to health care, decent schools and clean water, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said. “Palestinian children arrested by (Israeli) military and police are systematically subject to degrading treatment, and often to acts of torture, are interrogated in Hebrew, a language they did not understand, and sign confessions in Hebrew in order to be released,” it said in a report. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said it had responded to a report by the UN children’s agency UNICEF in March on ill-treatment of Palestinian minors and questioned whether the UN committee’s investigation covered new ground. “If someone simply wants to magnify their political bias and political bashing of Israel not based on a new report, on work on the ground, but simply recycling old stuff, there is no importance in that,” spokesman Yigal Palmor said. The report by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child acknowledged Israel’s national security concerns and noted that children on both sides of the conflict continue to be killed and wounded, but that more casualties are Palestinian. Most Palestinian children arrested are accused of having thrown stones, an offence which can carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, the committee said. Israeli soldiers had testified to the often arbitrary nature of the arrests, it said.

The watchdog’s 18 independent experts examined Israel’s record of compliance with a 1990 treaty as part of its regular review of a pact signed by all nations except Somalia and the United States. An Israeli delegation attended the session. The UN committee regretted Israel’s “persistent refusal” to respond to requests for information on children in the Palestinian territories and occupied Syrian Golan Heights since the last review in 2002. “Disproportionate” “Hundreds of Palestinian children have been killed and thousands injured over the reporting period as a result of the state party military operations, especially in Gaza where the state party proceeded to (conduct) air and naval strikes on densely populated areas with a significant presence of children, thus disregarding the principles of proportionality and distinction,” the report said. Israel battled a Palestinian uprising during part of the 10-year period examined by the committee. It withdrew its troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2006, but still blockades the Hamas-run enclave, from where Palestinian militants have sometimes fired rockets into Israel. During the 10-year period, an estimated 7,000 Palestinian children aged 12 to 17, but some as young as nine, had been arrested, interrogated and detained, the UN report said. Many are brought in leg chains and shackles before military courts, while youths are held in solitary confinement, sometimes for months, the report said. It voiced deep concern at the “continuous use of Palestinian children as human shields and informants”, saying 14 such cas-

es had been reported between January 2010 and March 2013 alone. Israeli soldiers had used Palestinian children to enter potentially dangerous buildings before them and to stand in front of military vehicles to deter stone-throwing, it said. “Almost all those using children as human shields and informants have remained unpunished and the soldiers convicted for having forced at gunpoint a nine-year-old child to search bags suspected of containing explosives only received a suspended sentence of three months and were demoted,” it said. Israel’s “illegal long-standing occupation” of Palestinian territory and the Syrian Golan Heights, continued expansion of “unlawful” Jewish settlements, construction of the Wall into the West Bank, land confiscation and destruction of homes and livelihoods “constitute severe and continuous violations of the rights of Palestinian children and their families”, it said. Israel disputes the international position that its settlements in the West Bank are illegal. It says the wall it built there during the uprising stopped Palestinian suicide bombers from reaching its cities. In March, Palmor, the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, had said that officials from the ministry and the military had cooperated with UNICEF in its work on the report, with the goal of improving the treatment of Palestinian minors in custody. “Israel will study the conclusions and will work to implement them through ongoing cooperation with UNICEF, whose work we value and respect,” he said, in response to the UNICEF report. —Reuters

to observe strict hygiene rules, such as washing their hands regularly, using tissues when they sneeze, and avoiding gatherings. But pharmacist Adel Ali said that early panic had died down recently, and that sales of the face masks recommended by the health authorities had fallen. “At the beginning, people were scared. But now, the sale of masks has dropped,” he said. Mustafa Al-Hamadeh, who studies in the United States and has returned to Saudi for holidays, said he thought the fear of the virus was “exaggerated.” “I thought of cancelling my trip because of information carried by media on this virus. But I noticed when I got here that the situation is normal and I have kissed all those that I met,” said the 23-year-old university student. Health authorities have organised seminars and put up billboards to warn of the symptoms of the virus. The campaign urged anyone suffering a high temperature, coughing fits and breathing difficulties to go to hospital immediately. The health ministry also set up a web page discussing the virus. Saudi Arabia is home to the two holiest sites of Islam, and hosts the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, when hundreds of thousands descend on the country from around the world. —AFP

Dubai eyes Quran-themed park DUBAI: Dubai has added a new item to its top ambitions such as building the world’s largest Ferris wheel and bidding for an Angry Birds theme park - a site honoring the Quran. The estimated $7.3 million project will include a garden with plants mentioned in the Islamic holy book and an air-conditioned tunnel depicting events from the Quran. Dubai media quoted the city’s director of projects, Mohammed Noor Mashroom, as saying yesterday the park should be ready in September 2014. It’s a departure from Dubai’s emphasis on Western-style tourism, which draws millions of visitors from around the Muslim world but has its detractors. This week, a Saudi cleric issued a religious edict saying it was a “sin” for Saudi women to visit Dubai, but later retracted the opinion after outcry. —AP

Saudi to expel Hezb supporters BEIRUT: Saudi Arabia plans to deport Lebanese citizens who support Hezbollah because of the militant group’s role in the Syrian civil war, the kingdom’s envoy to Lebanon said. The warning comes as Hezbollah’s participation in the Syrian conflict becomes increasingly prominent, with members of the group fighting on the side of President Bashar Assad’s government forces. Saudi Arabia is a strong backer of the mostly-Sunni Syrian opposition trying to remove Assad from power. Assad belongs to the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam. Shiite Hezbollah fighters were instrumental in a regime battlefield victory earlier this month when Syrian government forces regained control of the strategic town of Qusair near the Lebanese border. Saudi Arabia will deport “those who financially support this party,” Ambassador Ali Awad Assiri told Lebanon’s Future TV late Wednesday. He did not elaborate on whether other actions could be considered support. He added that Hezbollah bears full responsibility for recent restrictive measures adopted by Gulf Arab countries against the group. The Gulf Cooperation Council which includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates - earlier this month said they would revoke residency permits for Hezbollah members in the Gulf and limit their “financial and business transactions.” For its part, Hezbollah says it has no businesses in the Gulf nations. However, there are more than half a million Lebanese working in the Gulf Arab nations, including tens of thousands in Saudi Arabia. Many of the Lebanese there are Shiites. Some have been living in the kingdom for decades. “This is a serious decision and will be implemented in detail whether by the embassy (in Beirut) or in the kingdom,” Assiri said, without specifying when the deportations would begin. —AP

International FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Italians debate citizenship rights amid resurgent racism ROME: Savio Warnakulasuriya, born in Rome this month, will have to wait for 18 years before he can be sure of being able to remain in the country where he came into the world. Until then his right to stay in Italy is tied to the permits of his Sri Lankan parents to work as domestic helpers. These papers have to be renewed every two years. Savio is one of many children born in Italy who Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge says should have citizenship rights at birth, a proposal that has shocked many Italians and drawn a torrent of racist abuse against her. Italy bears the brunt of clandestine seaborne migration to southern Europe, with thousands reaching its long Mediterranean shores every year in crammed rickety boats. Parties such as the opposition Northern League campaign against boosting immigrant rights, pointing to cultural differences and crime rates. Kyenge, born in Democratic Republic of Congo and now Italy’s first black minister, says it is time for a change in approach to citizenship starting with ensuring that immigrant children are not held back from fully integrating with their peers. For Savio’s father, Fernando, an easing in citizenship rules would be welcome. “The sooner they give our son citizenship, the better. I am a little worried, we want him to carry on living and working here without problems,” he said in an interview. Erika Arribasplata, a 34-year-old secretary who was born in Rome to Argentinian parents, remembers the difficulties she faced as a child to fully integrate at school because she lacked rights to Italian citizenship. “I remember when we went on a school trip to England, I couldn’t go through border controls with my group, I had to take a whole other route where I had to wait longer and go through more checks - it was really annoying,” she said. “But the most annoying thing was being tied to my parents’ permit, and the insecurity that came with that, because I was born here and did not feel part of their culture but I was stuck in the middle,” Arribasplata said. She made a successful application for citizenship at 18, but others are not so lucky. Italy’s low fertility rate at 1.4 children per woman means that it will need fresh blood to maintain its ageing population. But due to bureaucratic processes that Kyenge wants to reduce, some Italian-born children of immigrants can find their citizenship applications rejected at 18 because, for example, they spent some time away from Italy as children. “We are talking about young people who could become the future leaders of this country, or could lose themselves in the street if suddenly at 18 they find themselves to be different due to some bureaucratic error,” Kyenge told reporters this week. On Saturday she unveiled a plan to make it easier for children of immigrants to apply for citizenship upon adulthood as part of a series of measures Prime Minister Enrico Letta’s government is introducing to cut red tape and pull the economy out of recession. Kyenge said she would also be heading to the European parliament soon to propose a common EU-wide approach to citizenship rules. But while her proposals are welcomed by some, she is also facing daily insults and racial slurs from groups who oppose her and her appointment as minister in March. One Northern League member, Mario Borghezio, was expelled from the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group in the European parliament earlier this month for remarks about her, including saying she wanted to impose Congo’s “tribal traditions” on Italy. Last week, a local party official for the League caused a national uproar when she posted a comment on her Facebook page suggesting Kyenge should be raped so she can understand how victims of crimes committed by immigrants feel. Foad Aodi, President of the Foreign Doctors in Italy Association (AMSI), said he believed any changes to citizenship rights should be introduced carefully. “You need to be cautious, and go through a slow cultural process, so you don’t shock. In my view many people are shocked: not all Italians are ready for this change,” Aodi said. Complaints of racial abuse against foreign doctors in Italy, he said, had risen by about 20 percent in the past two months.—AFP

Lourdes facing summer closure as freak weather lashes France Thousands of tourists evacuated from hotels TOULOUSE: Extensive flood damage could force the Catholic pilgrimage site of Lourdes to remain closed to visitors for months, it emerged yesterday as France counted the cost of freak weather that has claimed three lives. Lourdes has been left devastated for the second time in less than a year by the Gave de Pau, the river that flows through the town, bursting its banks. Thousands of tourists have had to be evacuated from their inundated hotels and visits to the town’s celebrated grotto, underground basilica and other religious sites have been suspended since Tuesday. “As the water has begun to recede, we are discovering bit by bit the extent of the damage,” said Mathias Terrier, a spokesman for the Lourdes sanctuaries, acknowledging that it could be months before they reopen. “In all honesty, objectively we have to ask the question,” he said. “The material damage is such that we can’t see today how we could reopen in acceptable conditions and that will be the same for several weeks to come.” Lourdes is visited by some six million people every year with the

numbers in July and August reaching a peak of up to 40,000 every day. Many of the visitors are severely ill or handicapped, drawn to the town by the belief that its waters have curative powers. The Catholic Church recognises 68 miracles linked to a town where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to a local peasant girl in 1858. Flooding last October cost an estimated 1.3 million euros of damage but the clean-up operation this times will be significantly more expensive, according to Thierry Castillo, who is in charge of the Lourdes diocese’s economic affairs. “We will need the support of everyone,” he told AFP. Although the level of the Pau river had receded significantly, those buildings that were not still under water were covered in mud, making it impossible for church officials to know the full extent of the damage. Firemen were pumping three metres of water out of the Basilica of St Pius X, an underground church with the capacity to welcome 25,000 pilgrims which was left unscathed by the October flooding. The surface of the road between the river and the Church of St

Bernadette had been damaged by the waters to the extent that the foundations of the church were clearly visible. “It’s an apocalyptic scene,” said one member of the sanctuaries staff. The death toll from the flooding in the southwest of the country rose to three on Wednesday when a 54-yearold woman was found drowned in her Renault Clio in a flooded wheat field, 100m from a road that had been closed to traffic because of the rise in the level of the Gave de Pau. The flooding in the southwest has largely been the result of a sudden rise in temperatures in the Pyrenees, where cold weather had kept snow on the ground much later than is normal after record falls over the winter. Other parts of France have been hit by torrential rain or hail which have caused significant damage to some crops, notably vines in the area of the Loire valley where Vouvray sparkling wine is made. Xavier Beulin, the president of farmers’ organisation FNSEA, estimated the damage at up to half a billion euros. “It could be as high as that because there are nearly 300,000 hectares that have been destroyed,” Beulin said.— AFP

French firemen try out hypnosis to help victims HAGUENAU: “Look me straight in the eye. Your mind is emptying, your body is relaxing,” says the fireman, using the calming words of hypnosis to help a trauma victim-a technique being pioneered by fire crews in the eastern French region of Alsace. At the Haguenau fire station, 120 firemen have been trained in basic medical hypnosis which they can use to soothe someone trapped under rubble or in a car following an accident, or even a person suffering an asthma attack. The idea is that hypnotherapy can complement traditional first aid assistance. “These are verbal, gesticular and respiratory techniques that aim to ease pain and anxiety, but that obviously don’t replace traditional first aid,” explains Cecile ColasNguyen, a nurse and member of the fire brigade, and a trainer in hypnosis. While firefighters arriving on the scene of an accident get to work tending to the injured or cutting a victim free, staff trained in hypnosis establish a more personal link with the person and divert his attention away from the trauma of the scene. Typically the firefighters speak in a calm and measured voice and are careful to avoid any negative words. Instead of focusing on the person’s pain, the emphasis is on his wellbeing. “While my colleagues take care of your safety, your mind will take off to the ski slopes and your body is going to stay here,” a young firemen at a training exercise

HAGUENAU: A file photo shows a man of the fire brigade as he keeps a woman under hypnosis during an extrication exercise, in Haguenau, eastern France. — AFP tells a pretend victim who has confided a love of winter sports. ‘When we hold someone’s hand, things go better’ Haguenau station manager David Ernenwein says he is “convinced” that the method is useful. “We have all noticed that when we hold someone’s hand, things go better, even if we did not label it as ‘hypnosis’. The first thing that we can do to help people is to calm them down, and this technique has given us the tools to be able to do that, to help people suffer less,” he says.

For the moment this use of hypnosis is unique to Alsace but Yves Durrmann, the brigade’s chief doctor, says he believes firemen all over France should use it. But first, the usefulness of the technique has to be proved. For at least the next six months, the Haguenau brigade are keeping a record of the heart rate, pain levels or emotions of victims they help. These results will be compared with stats of victims treated by firemen who have not used hypnosis with them.—AFP

International FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

British teacher found guilty of abducting school girl LONDON: Married British teacher Jeremy Forrest was yesterday found guilty of abducting a 15-year-old school girl after they fled together to France. A jury found 30-year-old Forrest guilty over the September episode in which the pair spent seven days on the run, sparking an international manhunt. The prosecution

had labelled the mathematics teacher a “paedophile” who had “groomed” the vulnerable teenager after the pair met at a school in southeast England. Their sexual relationship began shortly after the pupil’s 15th birthday, Lewes Crown Court heard, with regular trysts in his car, in hotels and at the home he

shared with his wife. The two fled Britain on a cross-Channel ferry to Calais in France when they feared the affair was about to be exposed, leading police to launch a high-profile international search. Police apprehended them a week later as Forrest was trying to seek work in France. As the jury returned to deliver its ver-

dict yesterday after a two-week trial, Forrest told the girl “I love you”. She burst into tears as the guilty verdict was announced, and told him “I’m sorry” as he was led away to the cells. Forrest’s defence lawyer had argued he felt he had to run away with the girl because he feared she would commit suicide. — AFP

African refugees face dilemma in Morocco RABAT: Thousands of migrants living in Morocco, including hundreds of refugees who fled wars in Africa, face a bleak dilemma-whether to settle in this transit country with scant opportunities or brave the perilous journey to Europe. “We do not know what to expect in the future,” says Blessing, a 13-year-old Congolese girl, at a refugee centre in Rabat. Morocco was hosting up to 25,000 subSaharan migrants at the end of 2012, the vast majority of whom at least initially were hoping to make it to Spain, non-governmental organisations say. Gradually, however, the north African country is turning into a permanent home for these immigrants. Among them are around 900 refugees, mostly Ivorians and Congolese who have fled wars back home, more than half of them women and children. Refugee status granted by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) gives them hope of rebuilding their lives. But despite Morocco being the first Arab country to ratify in 1956 the Geneva Convention, their situation here is “fragile and ambiguous” in the absence of an adequate legal framework, the UNHCR’s representative Marc Fawe told AFP on the occasion of International Refugee Day. Without a residency permit “they are merely tolerated and cannot sign a rental or work contract,” he said. Despite these hurdles “Morocco is beginning to be treated as a final destination and not just a transit country,” he said. “The situation is better than in Mali where I first tried to settle,” said Ronaldo, 16, who left Ivory Coast two years ago. “We tried Cameroon and then Benin, but had no success. In Mauritania we stayed for a bit, but it’s not the same as here,” added Blessing. At the gates of a Europe in crisis, Morocco at least offers the migrants stability, and there are some organisations to support them, such as the East-West Foundation which receives about 800 visitors annually. “When migrants arrived in the early 2000s, Morocco was not ready and they were badly managed. But since then there has been a marked improvement and today we can carry out all our activities without any problems,” said the foundation’s president Yasmina Filali.—AFP

RABAT: A young African refugee prays before a dance show in Rabat. — AFP

MOGADISHU: A Somali carries an injured person on a cart after Al-Qaeda linked Shebab insurgents shot and blasted their way into the United Nations (UN) compound. —AFP

Somali Islamist rebels warn of further carnage Al-Shabaab say aim is to expel ‘disbelievers’

MOGADISHU: Somalia’s Islamist AlShabaab rebel group threatened to keep attacking “disbelievers” without respite, a day after launching a deadly assault against the United Nations in the capital Mogadishu. Security was tight yetserday as Somali army pickup trucks mounted with heavy machine guns blocked the main road linking the city centre with the fortified airport and nearby UN base that was targeted. A water canon truck blasted away bloodstains on the street. The Al-Qaeda-linked militants were driven out of Mogadishu almost two years ago by African peacekeepers and government troops. Wednesday’s attack, which killed 22 people including four foreigners, highlighted the fragility of security gains and the insurgents’ ability to strike at government-controlled areas. “Our aim is to expel the disbelievers from Muslim lands,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, Al-Shabaab’s spokesman for military operations, told Reuters. “Until that goal is achieved, the disbelievers will never find a safe haven in Mogadishu or in any other Muslim land. Not today, not tomorrow, not as long as a single

Muslim is alive.” The loss of urban territory and revenue streams in the last two years has weakened Al-Shabaab as a conventional fighting force, leading it to resort to a guerrilla-style insurgency. Western powers, which have long worried that Somalia could provide a launchpad for militant Islam in east Africa and beyond, fear it could slide back into chaos if local forces cannot cement gains. “Need to re-focus” A Somalia analyst said the government had been distracted by its bid to extend its influence beyond Mogadishu, in particular a row over who controls the strategic southern port of Kismayu, and had not focussed enough on keeping its heartland secure. “They’ve taken their eye off the ball,” Abdirashid Hashi of the Mogadishu-based Heritage Institute for Policy Studies told Reuters. “They need to re-focus on security in Mogadishu.” The militants on Wednesday detonated a car bomb outside the main United Nations compound in Mogadishu before several gunmen breached the perimeter wall. They shot dead four foreigners including

one UN employee and three contractors. Somali guards pinned the assailants back with volleys of sustained gunfire, preventing the attackers from penetrating deeper into the UN premises where some staff sought refuge in a safe zone and others hid in their offices. African Union peacekeepers and government soldiers joined a fierce gunbattle that lasted about 90 minutes before the militant fighters were killed. Somalia’s government said some exploded suicide vests. The UN’s international staff spent the night at the airport, which is ringed by blast walls and watchtowers and serves as the peacekeepers’ main base. The United States condemned the attack, which it said highlighted “the repugnant terrorist tactics Al-Shabaab continues to use to stand in the way of efforts to ease the suffering of Somali people.” At his election in September, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said security was “priority number one, two and three.” The security forces need rebuilding, but the cashstrapped government faces a struggle to pay and arm recruits, tackle corruption and prevent rebels infiltrating their ranks. —Reuters

International FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Russia, China among worst in human trafficking: US Russia denounces ‘near ultimatum’, China defends record WASHINGTON: An annual US State Department report on Wednesday cited Russia and China among the world’s worst offenders in fighting forced labor and sex trafficking, which could lead to US sanctions, prompting angry rebuttals from Moscow and Beijing. The report said Russia had failed to provide systematic safeguards for victims of trafficking. China, it said, had done too little to outlaw all forms of trafficking and punish perpetrators. The US designation drops Russia and China, already often are at odds with Washington, in the same category as North Korea and Iran. The State Department ranks countries according to the efforts they make to fight human trafficking. Russia, China and Uzbekistan all fell to the lowest level, Tier 3. Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying the report used “unacceptable methodology” grouping countries according to their degree of sympathy with Washington. “In fighting organized crime, including countering trafficking, Russian authorities will never follow instructions worked out in another country, let alone fulfill conditions presented nearly in the form of an ultimatum,” it said. Russia, it said, would retaliate against any sanctions. In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Washington “should take an objective and impartial view

of China’s efforts, and stop making unilateral or arbitrary judgments of China”. China, she told a briefing, “has achieved remarkable progress in fighting domestic and transnational trafficking”. The US report acknowledged that China had taken some steps, such as vowing to work with international organizations and increasing public awareness, but said it also continued to perpetuate the problem in hundreds of its own institutions. “Despite these modest signs of interest in anti-trafficking reforms, the Chinese government did not demonstrate significant efforts to comprehensively prohibit and punish all forms of trafficking and to prosecute traffickers,” US officials wrote. The report said China’s one-child policy and preference for sons had reduced the number of women in the country, generating demand for women as brides or prostitutes. Russia’s government “had not established any concrete system for the identification or care of trafficking victims, lacking any formal victim identification and referral mechanism,” although there were some “ad hoc efforts,” the report said. Report likely to strain relations The findings are likely to further complicate relations between the United States and the two countries, already

strained by the handling of the civil war in Syria and cybersecurity, among other issues. While it was not immediately clear what the Obama administration might do given the downgrade, human rights advocates and some US lawmakers urged strong steps such as imposing sanctions or withholding foreign aid. “China has become the sex and labor trafficking capital of the world,” said US Representative Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican. “Without serious and sustained action by Beijing, it is only going to get worse.” Under US law, Tier 3 countries may face sanctions that do not affect trade or humanitarian assistance, such as educational funding or culture programs. John Sifton, Asia advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, said China and Russia had been given several chances to improve their efforts to combat trafficking and protect victims. “The question for the White House is whether they’re prepared to execute the sanctions,” he said. “The question for China, Russia, and Uzbekistan is whether they’re prepared to make commitments in the next 90 days to avoid those sanctions.” Despite pledges to combat such crimes, countries have failed to identify tens of millions of victims, according to the report, which ranked 188 countries and territories.—Reuters

Singapore is acting ‘like a child’ over haze: Indonesia Singapore PM says smog may last for weeks

SINGAPORE: Office workers cover their mouths and noses while others wear masks as they cross a road yesterday. — AP

China used military in Xinjiang TOKYO: Exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer claimed yesterday the Chinese government used military force in the latest episode of what she calls “ethnic cleansing” in the troubled region of Xinjiang. Her remarks came after Chinese state media said a court in the region jailed nine people for promoting racial hatred and “illegal religious activity” online. Twenty-one people, including police officers, were killed in violent clashes in the ethnically divided region on April 23, officials have said. Chinese state media has made no mention of any military involvement in the incident, with an earlier report saying gunfights had broken out after police tried to search the home of locals suspected of possessing illegal knives. Beijing says six “terrorists” and 15 police and other workers were killed among them 10 from China’s mostly Muslim Uighur ethnic minority. But Kadeer told journalists in Tokyo the military had been called in and had carried out killings. “Security officers searched local people’s houses, and police called the army,” she said.”Police and the army cooperated in killing people in that area,” she said, adding the military had used explosives. “We watched some videos of the area where the incident happened, and we cannot see any person living in that area. Just burning and collapsing ...houses,” she said, speaking through an English translator. She said

China’s state media was calling Uighurs “terrorists” because they had knives, which she said they used for cutting vegetables. Kadeer, who is in Japan on a week-long lecture tour, did not provide reporters with any evidence of her claims. Her comments came as courts in the Aksu and Kashgar regions of Xinjiang, both of which have majority Uighur populations, sentenced nine people to between two and six years in prison, for promoting “ethnic hatred” and other crimes, the state-run Legal Daily said yesterday. One jailed for six years had downloaded material which preached “holy war”, the report said adding that the other eight men smashed electrical equipment under the influence of “illegal religion...and religious extremism”. It added that regional authorities had detained two other people for promoting “religious extremism” online. Xinjiang is home to around nine million Uighurs, many of whom complain of religious and cultural repression by Chinese authoritiesaccusations the government denies. The region is regularly hit by unrest. Officials and state media blame the unrest on “terrorists” but some experts say the government has produced little evidence of an organised terrorist threat, adding the violence stems more from long-standing local resentment.—AFP

JAKARTA: Indonesia yesterday accused Singapore of acting “like a child” over choking smog from forest fires in Sumatra that has triggered an environmental crisis, as the city-state’s premier warned it could last weeks. The escalation in tensions between tiny Singapore and its vast neighbour came as the levels of haze enveloping the island hit a new record high, shrouding the whole city, from residential blocks to tree-lined parks. As the acrid smell of burnt wood crept into people’s flats and medical masks sold out at drug stores, the city-state’s environment chief demanded “decisive action” to address the crisis after talks with Indonesian officials in Jakarta. Singapore has been ratcheting up pressure for Jakarta to act over one of its worst ever environmental crises-but Indonesia, which insists companies in the city-state that own plantations on Sumatra also share the blame, hit back. “Singapore should not be behaving like a child and making all this noise,” Agung Laksono, the minister coordinating Indonesia’s response, told reporters. “This is not what the Indonesian nation wants, it is because of nature.” Singapore’s air pollution index hit a new all-time high yesterday, soaring to 371 at 1:00 pm (0500 GMT), well past the previous record of 321 set the night before, before falling later in the afternoon. Any reading above 300 is “hazardous” while a reading above 400 is deemed “life-threatening to ill and elderly people,” according to government guidelines. Singapore’s prime minister declined to respond to Laksono’s provocative comments, saying he did not want to engage in “megaphone diplomacy”. Lee urged people to stay indoors and protect themselves from the haze which has hung over the island since Monday, asking citizens to “look out for one another”. “We cannot tell how the haze problem will develop,” Lee told a press conference. “It can easi-

ly last for several weeks and quite possibly longer until the dry season ends in Sumatra.” Andrew Tan, the head of Singapore’s national environment agency, said that officials from the city-state and their Indonesian counterparts had a “very frank exchange of views” during the emergency talks in Jakarta. “The situation is deteriorating,” he said. “We have highlighted to our Indonesian counterparts that it is time now for decisive action.” Drug stores in Singapore’s central business district were sold out of disposable masks and refused to take advance orders, as the strong odour seeped into homes across the island as well as inside the air-conditioned trains of the metro system. Parks were empty of the usual morning joggers, but thousands of employees still trooped to offices and labourers continued their work on high-rise buildings under construction. The previous Singapore air pollutant index high of 226 was recorded in September 1997 at the height of a Southeast Asian calamity also resulting from vast amounts of haze from Indonesia, where slash-and-burn farming generates heavy smoke during the dry season that begins in June. Parts of Malaysia close to Singapore have also been severely affected by the smog. Laksono said that plans to use cloud-seeding to unleash rain over Sumatra and put out the fires were also under way, and it was hoped helicopters could be dispatched yesterday. Haze was also affecting the Indonesian island of Batam, just south of Singapore, where authorities were handing out free masks. Visibility was poor and people complained of having sore eyes and not being able to breathe properly. Smallholders and plantations in Sumatra-some of them with Singaporean investors-have been accused of using fire to clear land for cultivation, but big palm oil companies deny involvement in such activities. — AFP

International FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Taleban offer to free US soldier

BEIBEI: This photo shows Lei Zhengfu (center) former Communist Party chief of Beibei district, who was involved in a sex tape scandal. — AP

I’m a lecher, not a crook: China sex tape official Lei accused of accepting $500,000 in bribes BEIJING: Call me a lecher but don’t call me a crook, an ex-city official at the heart of a sex tape scandal has said in his unusually spirited courtroom defense against corruption charges. The case of Lei Zhengfu, former party chief of a district in the southern city of Chongqing, has riveted the Chinese public since video clips went viral of the portly 55-year-old having sex with a woman hired by property developers allegedly in an elaborate extortion scheme. In a country where corruption trials of high-level officials typically look like the scripted outcome of backdoor bargaining, Lei’s case has offered a rare look at what happens when a lowerlevel official is caught in a high-profile crackdown - with few political cards to play. Lei is accused of accepting more than 3 million yuan ($500,000) in bribes from a developer to pay off a businessman who was allegedly using the tape to blackmail him. Lei rejects the charge of bribery, saying the money was a loan. “Although I’m quite lecherous, I’m not greedy for money,” he said in a Chongqing court Wednesday, reading out a personal statement. Public anger and disgust over official corruption found an easy target in the images of his jowly, pop-eyed face in the throes of passion. Lei was soon fired from his post, and in ensuing weeks, more tapes were found, felling 11 other Chongqing officials. The scandal has exposed in lurid detail the shady intertwining of sex, business and politics in Chinese society at a time when a newly installed generation of Communist Party leadership has vowed to crack down on widespread graft. It also tapped into public outrage over what is seen as the moral degradation of the country’s leaders. “The people’s hatred of official corruption is not only because of their illegal behavior but because of resentment that they enjoy a special status that is higher than others and lets them enjoy more social resources,” said Liu Shanying, a politics

researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. “They hope to see them punished by the law, which would help them vent that anger.” The court said it would issue a verdict at a later, unspecified date. Yesterday, those accused of running the extortion ring stood trial in a closed hearing. Wednesday’s proceedings involving Lei were in stark contrast to the corruption trial of China’s former railways minister Liu Zhijun earlier this month, a much bigger case involving bribery amounting to 64 million yuan ($10.5 million) spanning more than two decades. The railways minister’s trial was a smoothly orchestrated affair of just a few hours, concluding before lunchtime. He pleaded guilty and showed remorse, thanking the Communist Party for the years it nvested in him. Only the official Xinhua News Agency and state broadcaster CCTV were allowed inside the courtroom and media reports were uniformly similar and lacking in the salacious detail that has featured in Lei’s case. The trials of high-level officials accused of corruption are often seen as foregone conclusions hammered out by politicians and the party’s graft investigators and announced by a court. There is usually little dispute aired during proceedings, and most of it is kept out of the public eye. In the railways minister’s case, the two sides were so in tandem that even prosecutors were making a case for the court to show leniency for Liu. As a district party chief, Lei is probably at the lowest rung of the party ladder in terms of officials who matter - and his case comes during a big political shakeup in the city of Chongqing after the downfall of its party chief in a major scandal. Lei appears to have been left to fend for himself and has sought to make the case that he was the victim of a heinous extortion gang that preyed on his weakness for women who were not his wife.—AP

KABUL: The Afghan Taleban are ready to free a US soldier held captive since 2009 in exchange for five of their senior operatives imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay as a conciliatory gesture, a senior spokesman for the group said yesterday. The offer came as an Afghan government spokesman said President Hamid Karzai is now willing to join planned peace talks with the Taleban - provided that the Taleban flag and nameplate are removed from the militant group’s newly opened political office in Doha, the capital of the Gulf state of Qatar. Karzai also wants a formal letter from the United States supporting the Afghan government. The only known American soldier held captive from the Afghan war is US Army Sgt Bowe Bergdahl, 27, of Hailey, Idaho. He disappeared from his base in southeastern Afghanistan on June 30, 2009, and is believed held in Pakistan. In an exclusive telephone interview with The Associated Press from his Doha office, Taleban spokesman Shaheen Suhail said yesterday that Bergdahl “is, as far as I know, in good condition.” Suhail did not elaborate on Bergdahl’s current whereabouts. Among the five prisoners the Taleban have consistently requested are Khairullah Khairkhwa, a former Taleban governor of Herat, and Mullah Mohammed Fazl, a former top Taleban military commander, both of whom have been held for more than a decade. Bergdahl’s parents earlier this month received a letter from their son through the International Committee of the Red Cross. They did not release details of the letter but renewed their plea for his release. The soldier’s captivity has been marked by only sporadic releases of videos and information about his whereabouts. The prisoner exchange is the first item on the Taleban’s agenda before even opening peace talks, said Suhail, who is a top Taleban figure and served as first secretary at the Afghan Embassy in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad before the Taleban government’s ouster in 2001. “First has to be the release of detainees,” Suhail said when asked about Bergdahl. “Yes. It would be an exchange. Then step by step, we want to build bridges of confidence to go forward.” Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry was expected in Doha ahead of tomorrow’s conference on the Syrian civil war. He was not expected to meet with the Taleban although other US officials might in coming days. On Wednesday in Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the US had “never confirmed” any specific meeting schedule with Taleban representatives in Doha.—AP

This file image shows a frame grab from a video released by the Taleban containing footage of a man believed to be Bowe Bergdahl (left). — AP

Korea talks should focus on denuclearization: Ban BEIJING: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said yesterday that talks regarding the Korean peninsula should be first and foremost about ending North Korea’s nuclear programme. Ban said he had noted Pyongyang’s calls for dialogue, but added that “any meaningful dialogue should be firmly anchored in the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”, in comments released by the UN during a trip to China. He urged North Korean authorities “to fully comply with the relevant Security Council resolutions with the aim of realising the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”. North Korea, which has carried out three underground nuclear tests since 2006 and has also defied the international community with rocket launches, is under heavy UN-sponsored sanctions.

A visiting North Korean official expressed willingness Wednesday to rejoin long-stalled talks aimed at the country’s denuclearisation, China’s foreign ministry said, the second time in a month Pyongyang has told Beijing it is ready for such dialogue. The North’s first vice foreign minister Kim KyeGwan made the remark on a trip to Beijing on Wednesday, the ministry said in a statement, but offered no concrete details. Tensions have run high on the peninsula since the North’s third nuclear test in February which triggered new UN sanctions that ignited an angry response from Pyongyang, including threats of nuclear attacks on Seoul and Washington. Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, repeated calls for discussions on the issue, “particularly

through dialogue between South and North Korea, who are the directly concerned parties,” he said. Tempers have cooled in recent months amid indications Pyongyang may be adopting a less confrontational stance. North Korea on Sunday offered to hold talks with the US, who replied that preconditions for such talks have not been met. Pyongyang, however, abruptly cancelled a planned meeting with South Korea shortly before reaching out to Washington. Ban has met with high-ranking officials including President Xi Jinping during his trip to China. “I expressed my sincere appreciation to the Chinese president and also asked him to continue to play a constructive role and to first of all reduce tension and facilitate a dialogue between South and North Korea,” Ban said. — AFP

International FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

India sets up complex system to tap phone calls, e-mails India’s 900m phone subscribers under scrutiny NEW DELHI: India has launched a wide-ranging surveillance programme that will give its security agencies and even income tax officials the ability to tap directly into e-mails and phone calls without oversight by courts or parliament, several sources said. The expanded surveillance in the world’s most populous democracy, which the government says will help safeguard national security, has alarmed privacy advocates at a time when allegations of massive US digital snooping beyond American shores has set off a global furore. “If India doesn’t want to look like an authoritarian regime, it needs to be transparent about who will be authorized to collect data, what data will be collected, how it will be used, and how the right to privacy will be protected,” said Cynthia Wong, an Internet researcher at New York-based Human Rights Watch. The Central Monitoring System (CMS) was announced in 2011 but there has been no public debate and the government has said little about how it will work or how it will ensure that the system is not abused.

The government started to quietly roll the system out state by state in April this year, according to government officials. Eventually it will be able to target any of India’s 900 million landline and mobile phone subscribers and 120 million Internet users. Interior ministry spokesman KS Dhatwalia said he did not have details of CMS and therefore could not comment on the privacy concerns. A spokeswoman for the telecommunications ministry, which will oversee CMS, did not respond to queries. Indian officials said making details of the project public would limit its effectiveness as a clandestine intelligence-gathering tool. “Security of the country is very important. All countries have these surveillance programmes,” said a senior telecommunications ministry official, defending the need for a large-scale eavesdropping system like CMS. “You can see terrorists getting caught, you see crimes being stopped. You need surveillance. This is to protect you and your country,” said the official, who is directly involved in setting up the project. He did not want to be identified because

of the sensitivity of the subject. No independent oversight The new system will allow the government to listen to and tape phone conversations, read e-mails and text messages, monitor posts on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and track searches on Google of selected targets, according to interviews with two other officials involved in setting up the new surveillance programme, human rights activists and cyber experts. In 2012, India sent in 4,750 requests to Google Inc for user data, the highest in the world after the United States. Security agencies will no longer need to seek a court order for surveillance or depend, as they do now, on Internet or telephone service providers to give them the data, the government officials said. Government intercept data servers are being built on the premises of private telecommunications firms. These will allow the government to tap into communications at will without telling the service providers, according to the officials and public documents. —Reuters

Kids suffer as Pakistan battles measles epidemic LAHORE: In the intensive-care ward of Lahore’s Mayo hospital, pale, spotty children cry in the intense heat of the Pakistani summer-victims of a devastating measles outbreak. Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province of which Lahore is the capital, has borne the brunt of the epidemic. It has 18,000 of the 25,000 cases reported around the country by provincial health authorities and more than 150 — all children-of the 495 deaths. The province is the country’s richest and most developed, but health experts say ineffective vaccination programmes and poor monitoring of the disease have led to the contagious disease running rampant. “Initially people were unaware about this epidemic, so they tried to treat the disease at home and using local street doctors,” doctor Iftikhar Mirza, a spokesman for Mayo, Lahore’s main public hospital, told AFP. “They were even unaware about the vaccination. So, when they came to us, the children were in a critical condition and many had already died.” Asad Abbas, a labourer, tried to treat the disease, spread by droplets from the nose or mouth of infected people, with traditional methods and sought proper medical treatment only just in time. “The red spots appeared on my sixyear-old grandson’s body some days back. We took it lightly and got him treated from a homeopathic practition-

LAHORE: A Pakistani nurse treats young children suffering from measles at a hospital in Lahore. — AFP er,” he said. “Then he started vomiting January by a health ministry official as and his energy vanished. When we “a record high”. The WHO uses a more brought him here, he was about to die. conservative count of cases and But after treatment over here, he is deaths, but even by its measure 2013 is okay now.” Doctor Muhammad on track to be far worse than 2012. Younas, an official from the Directorate Since the start of the year the WHO has General of Health in Punjab, told AFP recorded 12,951 measles cases and 290 the province had seen 17,985 measles deaths across Pakistan-compared to cases this year, with 158 deaths. “This is 14,984 cases and 310 deaths in the the worst situation in five years and we whole of last year. The WHO says three can confidently say that the number of consecutive years of severe flooding, these cases is much higher than during which put Pakistan’s health system the previous five years,” he said. Last under severe strain, have helped year there were 310 measles deaths in measles cases rocket from 4,321 in Pakistan, according to the World 2010 to the current alarming figHealth Organization, described in ure.—AFP

India may have to wait to join sensitive nuclear export body VIENNA: Some states still appear to be sceptical about letting nuclear-armed India into an influential body regulating sensitive atomic trade, diplomats said yesterday, suggesting Indian membership may not be imminent. The United States, Britain, France are among countries pushing for allowing India - a growing market for such commerce - to join the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a move that would boost the Asian nation’s status as an atomic power. But others worry about the implications for wider efforts to prevent the spread of atomic bombs if a country that has refused to sign a global anti-nuclear weapons pact were to enter a group which has a key role in countering proliferation of these arms. If India joined the group, set up in 1975 to ensure that civilian nuclear technology exports are not diverted to make atomic arms, it would be the only member that is outside the 189-nation nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). “There are concerns that still need to be addressed,” one diplomat said. Like others, he declined to be identified in view of the confidential discussions in the consensus-based NSG. A Western diplomat, from a country which like several others has yet to take a clear position on the issue, said: “It is not a done deal. We have to continue the discussions.” They were speaking after the NSG’s annual meeting last week, where Britain argued in a paper that India qualifies given the size of its civilian atomic industry and commitment to stopping the spread of military material. Western powers have taken a strong interest in the nuclear emergence of India - particularly its ambition to expand its capacity in the next 20 years by adding nearly 30 reactors, making it an attractive market for technology exporters. Asian rivalries Proponents say it is better to have India, expected to become a big nuclear supplier itself, inside than outside the NSG as it would ensure that it adheres to the group’s guidelines for sales of nuclear and nuclearrelated goods. “There are good reasons for having it in the club,” the Western diplomat said. He added, however, that getting there could be a “slow process”. The diplomats said they did not believe the issue would be decided already at next year’s NSG meeting. India is only expected to apply when it is confident it will be let in. Critics warn it would undermine the credibility of the NSG. Trying to “shoehorn India’s entry” could trigger lobbying on the part of nuclear-armed, non-NPT members Pakistan and Israel to allow them to also join, said Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association, a US research and advocacy group. Washington sealed a civilian nuclear supply deal with India in 2008 that China and others found questionable because Delhi is not part of the NPT. This ended India’s nuclear isolation and could mean billions of dollars in business for US firms. Britain is also exploring a nuclear cooperation deal with India. India - Asia’s third-largest economy would need the support of all NSG members to join the secretive body. The diplomats declined to comment on which countries remained sceptical. After an informal meeting in March in Vienna, participants said Ireland, the Netherlands and Switzerland seemed to be among those still having doubts. China is also believed to have reservations, influenced by its ties to its ally Pakistan, India’s arch geopolitical rival, which has also tested atomic bombs, analysts say. India and Pakistan - which have fought three wars - are both outside the NPT, which would oblige them to scrap nuclear weapons. Five world powers the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France - in the NSG have nuclear arsenals but were allowed to keep them under the NPT because they predated the 1970 treaty, although they committed to disarming eventually. — Reuters

International FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Rough honeymoon for Chavez’s successor in Venezuela CARACAS: Wearing sports gear in the national colors and sitting on a sofa in a modest family home, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro holds a microphone, chats with locals and expounds on the benefits of socialism. Variations of the scene - on a factory floor, playing soccer in the presidential palace or walking the plains with farmers - play daily on national TV as Hugo Chavez’s successor makes “Gobierno en la Calle,” or “Street Government,” the chosen slogan of his rule. Almost constantly on the road since being elected in April, Maduro has launched a plethora of new schemes, from raising the minimum wage to sending soldiers into city slums to fight crime. Trumpeting his modest background as a bus driver and union activist, he continually reminds Venezuelans he is the South American nation’s first “worker president,” guaranteed to empathize with

the poor and thus continue Chavez’s legacy. The avuncular images that Maduro, 50, has been promoting, however, cannot hide the tough realities he has inherited: an economy verging on recession, a ruling Socialist Party (PSUV) under some strains from within, and an impatient populace. Such pressures make him vulnerable going forward, both to a newly confident opposition and potential rivals inside the PSUV, though there is no formal mechanism to challenge Maduro before a recall referendum allowed three years into his presidency. “We’re behind him, but he has to be behind us too, like Chavez was,” said Eglis Rodriguez, a 39-year-old housewife and mother of three waiting to see Maduro at a “Street Government” event in the poor Macarao neighborhood on the edge of Caracas. “He must not forget that he got in thanks to the votes of the

poor. We put him there and we can remove him.” Far from enjoying a newly elected president’s customary honeymoon, Maduro’s ratings have stayed stuck around the level of his April 14 victory - by 50.6 percent to 49.1 against the opposition - or have even dropped, according to some pollsters. He has struggled, sometimes awkwardly, to replicate Chavez’s famous charisma and connection with the masses. Maduro argues that his mentor’s old foes in the private media and Venezuela’s “fascist” right wing are doing their best to sabotage his government, from plotting to assassinate him to ignoring his flagship policies such as the drive against crime. The opposition, delighted at winning nearly half the votes in April yet bitter at being deprived of the prize by what they claim was electoral fraud, says Maduro’s incompetence and illegitimacy are ever more evi-

Brazil officials reverse fare hike Protesters demand better education, healthcare SAO PAULO: Leaders in Brazil’s two biggest cities said Wednesday that they reversed an increase in bus and subway fares that ignited anti-government protests that have spread across the nation in the past week. Many people doubted the move would quiet the demonstrations, which have moved well beyond outrage over the fare hikes into communal cries against poor public services in Latin America’s biggest nation. “It’s not really about the price anymore,” said Camila Sena, an 18-year-old university student at a protest in Rio de Janeiro’s sister city of Niteroi. “People are so disgusted with the system, so fed up that now we’re demanding change.” Sena added that seeing money poured into soccer stadiums for the current Confederations Cup and next year’s World Cup only added fuel to the people’s anger. “It’s not that we’re against the World Cup, not at all. It will bring good things for Brazil. It’s just that we’re against the corruption that the World Cup has become an excuse for,” she said. At a press conference in Sao Paulo to announce the reversal of the public transport fare hike, Sao Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad said it “will represent a big sacrifice and we will have to reduce investments in other areas.” He didn’t give details on where other cuts would occur. Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes also confirmed that the fare increase would be rescinded in that city. Scattered street demonstrations continued in some parts of Brazil, including Niteroi, as protesters demand improvements of the public services

dent to Venezuelans. Yet opposition leader Henrique Capriles’ formal challenge to Maduro’s election win is running out of steam: The election board ratified his loss after an audit and the Supreme Court is also likely to give short shrift to his allegations. Though the United States has been lukewarm, Latin American neighbors have embraced Maduro as president. Opposition waiting game So Capriles, 40, appears to be biding his time and is casting local elections in December as a referendum on Maduro. Right now, though, most Venezuelans are more concerned with day-to-day economic realities than big-picture politics. Shortages of basic goods ranging from toilet paper to flour have been an embarrassment to the government, while monthly price increases hit a 17-year high in May at more than 6 percent. —Reuters

Obama confuses Brit minister with singer LONDON: US President Barack Obama repeatedly called British finance minister George Osborne “Jeffrey” at the G8 summit, media reported yesterday. The US president said three times that he agreed fully with “Jeffrey” during his presentation on G8 host Britain’s plans to crack down on tax avoidance, leaving Osborne red-faced. Realising his blunder afterwards, Obama joked that he had mistaken Britain’s chancellor for the US soul singer Jeffrey Osborne, The Sun and the Financial Times reported. “I’m sorry, man. I must have confused you with my favourite R and B singer,” Obama was quoted as saying. The chancellor, 42, bears little resemblance to Jeffrey Osborne, a 65year-old African-American hit singer-songwriter known for his 1982 classic “On the Wings of Love”. Jeffrey Osborne told Sky News television: “I was really delighted actually. I was really not aware that (Obama) was that much of a fan that he would call the chancellor Jeffrey Osborne. “Tell the chancellor when I come over I will have to hook up with him and we will do a duet of ‘On The Wings Of Love’.” —AFP

Obama making plans to tackle global warming NITEROI: Demonstrators overturn a bus late on June 19, 2013 in the center of Niteroi, 10 kms from Rio de Janeiro. — AFP they receive in exchange for high tax- before Brazil’s game with Mexico in es and rising prices. Small groups of the Confederations Cup soccer tourprotesters clashed with police in nament. Riot police used gas bombs Niteroi late Wednesday, while demon- and pepper spray to keep protesters strators staged a large march in the from advancing past a barrier some 3 capital of Brasilia that included a new kilometers (1.8 miles) from the stadidemand that the government provide um. A police car was burned by free transit services. demonstrators, who also threw rocks Earlier in the day, about 200 people and other objects at officers. blocked the Anchieta Highway that The protest disrupted fans’ efforts links Sao Paulo, the country’s biggest to get in the stadium for Brazil’s seccity, and the port of Santos before ond match at the World Cup warm-up heading to the industrial suburb of tournament. “We are against a govSao Bernardo do Campo on Sao ernment that spends billions in stadiPaulo’s outskirts. Another group of ums while people are suffering across protesters later obstructed the high- the country,” said Natalia Querino, a way again. In the northeastern city of 22-year-old student participating in Fortaleza, 15,000 protesters clashed the protest. “We want better educawith police trying to prevent them tion, more security and a better health from reaching the Castelao stadium system.” —AP

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama is planning a major push using executive powers to tackle the pollution blamed for global warming in an effort to make good on promises he made at the start of his second term. “We know we have to do more - and we will do more,” Obama said Wednesday in Berlin. Obama’s senior energy and climate adviser, Heather Zichal, said the plan would boost energy efficiency of appliances and buildings, expand renewable energy and use the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate heat-trapping pollution from coal-fired power plants. Zichal, speaking at a forum hosted by The New Republic in Washington, said that none of the proposals would require new funding or action from Congress. It has shown no appetite for legislation that would put a price on carbon dioxide after a White House-backed bill to set up a market-based system died in Obama’s first term with Democrats in charge. The plan, with details expected to be revealed in coming weeks, comes as Obama has been under increasing pressure from environmental groups and lawmakers from states harmed by Superstorm Sandy to cut pollution from existing power plants, the largest source of climate-altering gases. —AP

Business FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Bahrain between rock and hard place in bond decision

Page 22

Airbus, Boeing shine at Paris Air Show Page 20

MUMBAI: Onlookers standing outside the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) react as they watch share prices on the digital broadcast on the facade of the BSE yesterday. — AP

India’s rupee hits new low against dollar India pushes for energy security in Iraq summit MUMBAI: India’s rupee hit a new record low against the dollar yesterday, on concerns the US Federal Reserve would scale back its stimulus programme that has pumped billions of dollars into global markets. The rupee hit 59.93 in morning trade, well below its previous record low of 58.98 reached last week, prompting the Indian government to move to allay investor concerns over the currency. “The markets may be over-reacting as they tend to do in such times,” the finance ministry’s chief economic adviser Raghuram Rajan said. “We are not short of action or instruments as and when the need arises,” Rajan told reporters in New Delhi. The rupee has been hard hit recently, in part on concerns about Asia’s third largest economy, which has been growing at a decade low of 5.0 percent, as well as worsening public finances and political turmoil. India’s benchmark Sensex index also fell more than two percent to 18,856.83 points, on fears of overseas fund outflows from India. Trading in Indian government bonds also halted briefly yesterday, after yields breached set limits, but resumed later. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday that the bank could begin to wind down its key stimulus programme later this year, signalling a growing confidence in the US economy. By noon, the rupee recovered marginally to 59.82 on reports that India’s central bank possibly intervened to prop up the currency by selling dollars. “The verdict is clear, we are likely to enter a new territory (for the

rupee),” said Abhishek Goenka, chairman of advisory firm India Forex. Goenka feared the rupee would weaken further, to 61 levels in the near-term, but said intervention from India’s central bank was unlikely. Analysts say the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cannot intervene heavily to buttress the currency as it must retain enough foreign reserves for imports. It only has sufficient reserves for seven months of imports-the lowest cover in 13 years. Officials confirmed last week that the RBI had intervened to halt the slide after it reached the previous record low on June 11. The RBI has a policy of not commenting on movements in the foreign exchange market and of intervening only to curb volatility. The weaker currency makes imports costlier, especially of foreign oil on which India heavily relies, and will stoke already high consumer inflation. Meanwhile, Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid met with senior Iraqi officials yesterday as part of New Delhi’s push for greater energy security as it looks to ensure sustained economic growth. Khurshid met with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari and was to hold talks with Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki and Deputy Prime Minister responsible for energy affairs Hussein al-Shahristani with a range of topics to be discussed, though securing critical oil supplies for Asia’s third largest economy was at the top of the agenda.

“In India’s growth story, we need energy security and Iraq is intrinsic to India’s strategic positioning for purposes of energy security,” Khurshid told AFP on the first visit to Iraq by an Indian foreign minister since 1990. Asked if ties with Iraq had taken on renewed urgency as India looks to reduce its dependency on oil from Iran, which has been hit by sanctions tied to its controversial nuclear programme, Khurshid replied: “That would be a very Machiavellian and a calculating way of looking at it.” But, he acknowledged, “those are all relevant factors”. Iraq, which currently exports around 2.6 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil, is looking to dramatically boost its energy output in the coming years, with energy officials targeting overall production capacity of 9 million bpd by 2017. Baghdad is almost entirely dependent on oil sales for income, and while efforts to boost energy production have resulted in a significant increase in production, efforts to diversify the country’s economy have sputtered. Iran’s oil industry, meanwhile, is struggling to cope with biting international sanctions. The Islamic Republic has been slapped with successive rounds of UN Security Council sanctions and also unilateral measures by the United States and the European Union. Tehran’s Economy Minister Shamseddin Hosseini said this month that Iran’s oil revenue dropped by “50 percent” in the past year and warned that “the situation will not improve in the near future”. — Agencies

Business FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

China, euro-zone threaten economic recovery Chinese factory output weakest in nine months LONDON: Factory output in China, the world’s second largest economy, weakened to a nine-month low this month, combining with a continued recession in the euro-zone to threaten a global recovery led by the United States. A day after the Federal Reserve suggested the US economy was firmly on a recovery path enough so to withdraw some monetary stimulus - data showed China’s economy was stuttering. Faltering demand pushed the flash China HSBC Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) down to 48.3 in June from 49.2, increasing pressure on the People’s Bank of China to loosen the monetary reins. Meanwhile, Markit’s Flash Eurozone Composite PMI, which makes up around 85 percent of the final reading and is seen as a reliable economic growth indicator for the bloc, remained below the dividing line between growth and contraction. It did, however, rise to 48.9 in June from May’s 47.7, suggesting the decay has eased across the 17-nation bloc. China’s economy grew at its slowest pace for 13 years in 2012 and data so far this year has been weaker than forecast, bringing warnings the country could miss its 7.5 percent growth target, though possibly not by much. It stands in contrast with U.S. data, which has been generally positive. Markit’s flash US Purchasing

Managers’ Index due later on Thursday expected to show a rise. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke sent financial markets reeling on Wednesday when he said the US economy is expanding strongly enough for the central bank to begin slowing the pace of its bond-buying programme later this year. “There’s a way to go - a slowdown in the Chinese economy doesn’t help the outlook for the US particularly, but American growth isn’t entirely dependent on what happens in China,” said Philip Shaw, chief economist at Investec. “The euro-zone flash PMIs are encouraging, they are consistent with the view that we will see a stabilisation over the next few months.” The euro-zone PMI was at its highest since March 2012, and beat forecasts in a Reuters poll of 23 economists for a more modest upturn to 48.1. But the index has been below the 50 mark dividing growth from contraction for all apart from one of the last 22 months. A PMI covering services firms, which make up the bulk of the bloc’s economy, jumped to 48.6 last month from 47.2, its highest since January but its 17th straight month below 50. Still, that was above even the most optimistic of forecasts in a Reuters poll and smashed the median expectation for a rise to 47.5. The survey also showed firms were increasingly optimistic

about the year ahead. Markit, however, said the latest PMI data suggested the economy would contract 0.2 percent in the current quarter. The European Central Bank has come under growing heat to take more action to help bring a quicker end to the bloc’s longest recession, but economists polled by Reuters last month did not predict any easing of policy in coming months. Fragile China Despite China’s economy showing signs of faltering, adding to the pressure on the central bank to take steps to ease policy, the chances of a hard landing remain small. “The chance of economic growth slipping below 7 percent is quite low, because existing measures are still effective in helping stabilise the economy,” said Wang Jin, analyst at Guotai Junan Securities in Shanghai. In a sign that there would be a wait before any sharp pick up both the Chinese and euro-zone PMIs saw a continued fall in new orders. New orders in the bloc fell for the 23rd month, although at a shallower pace. “It’s suggesting that things are moving in the right direction but it’s not going to happen fast. It’s still a weak picture,” Markit’s chief economist Chris Williamson said. — Reuters

Gulf markets retreat on Fed but still outperform Kuwait not worried by looming elections

PARIS: Visitors walk in the rain during the 50th Paris Air Show at Le Bourget airport yesterday. — AP

Airbus and Boeing shine bright at Paris Air Show LE BOURGET: Aerospace heavyweights Airbus and Boeing slugged it out yesterday for the lead in total orders at the 50th Paris Air Show, while Embraer of Brazil hailed its best showing in 10 years. Airbus was the first to release figures on firm orders and total deals that included memorandums of understanding (MOU), announcing $39.3 billion (29.6 billion euros) in confirmed purchases. Boeing was to unveil its own numbers later in the day, but based on deals announced so far, it has already booked firm orders worth $41.6 billion. Both airlines have found buyers for longerrange aircraft that consume less fuel, such as the Airbus A350 model that made its first test flight last week, and its US rival the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, grounded for several months earlier this year owing to battery problems. Other civilian aircraft deals have focused on Airbus’ popular single-aisle A320 series and its rival, the Boeing 737 MAX model. Meanwhile, Paulo Cesar Silva, president of Embraer’s civil aviation division, told

AFP: “The Paris Air Show 2013 has been a great show for Embraer, with the launch of the E2” family of regional jets. “This show is the best one for us in 10 years,” Silva added, as the company said it had taken firm orders worth $5.29 billion and now accounted for 40 percent of its short-haul market, compared with 29 percent for Canadian rival Bombardier. Yesterday saw a slew of new orders for Airbus, while Boeing appeared to be keeping its powder dry as rain drenched this business airport north of Paris where the air show takes place every two years. Trade professionals looked forward to an appearance Friday by the A350 after it made its first test flight last week in southern France and a thundering demonstration flight by the Russian Sukhoi-35 combat jet was also in the cards. The Airbus A400M military transport aircraft was another new plane that drew attention as it has finally resolved dogged teething problems and is set to enter service with the French Air Force in the coming weeks.—AFP

DUBAI: Gulf stock markets retreated yesterday after the US Federal Reserve said it would start cutting back its bond-buying stimulus this year, but the region reacted more calmly to the Fed than most of the world. MSCI’s benchmark emerging markets index was down 3.3 percent in the late Gulf afternoon. But Gulf markets performed much better, with Dubai closing only 1.4 percent lower and Qatar dropping 1.0 percent. Saudi Arabia was shut for the weekend. Budget and current account surpluses in the Gulf, as well as its currency pegs to the US dollar and solid economic growth backed by strong consumer spending as well as high oil prices, are shielding the region from the worst of the global turmoil, fund managers said. “Our growth drivers are local and we’re not relying on international finances,” said Rami Sidani, Schroders Middle East head of investment. “I don’t expect the outlook for our region to change as fundamentals are strong and valuations continue to be compelling.” Dubai’s drop cut its 2013 gains to 45.5 percent. Since the turmoil in emerging markets worsened about three weeks ago, Dubai’s rally has halted and trading turnover has dropped.

However, its index continues to consolidate in a symmetrical triangle that does not so far indicate any downtrend. Despite the start of the summer, which tends to reduce trading activity as local investors take holidays, turnover in Dubai remains much higher than it was last year, before the bull run started. Kuwait’s index slipped 0.2 percent, easing slightly for a third straight session following an early-week rally, but leaving it up 35.8 percent year-to-date. The market rose on Monday after a constitutional court ruling dissolved parliament and called for fresh elections within two months, and prices have generally held up since then, showing investors believe the polls will produce a parliament that is willing to cooperate with the cabinet on economic development. After the close, Kuwait’s state news agency KUNA said the election would be held on July 25. In Egypt, the market fell 1.2 percent as local investors continued to sell because of political tensions and the Egyptian pound’s drop below 7.00 to the dollar on the official market for the first time on Wednesday. However, Egyptian Exchange data showed Arab and non-Arab foreign investors were net buyers of stocks. — Reuters

Swiss central bank holds forex floor, warns of economy threat ZURICH: The Swiss central bank insisted on Thursday it will continue defending the floor rate of the Swiss franc against the euro, a policy which could come under increasing strain if more investment funds flow into the currency for safety. The Swiss National Bank also announced it was keeping its record low interest rates intact. But it warned that “an appreciation of the Swiss franc would compromise price stability and would have serious consequences for the Swiss economy.” The bank introduced a minimum exchange rate of 1.20 Swiss francs to the

euro in September 2011, as fears of an imminent euro implosion coupled with concerns about soaring US debt levels, pushing investors to seek cover in the safe Swiss franc. While the Swiss economy has remained a rare bright spot on the European map, the surging value of the franc created headaches for exporters, which have seen margins eroded by unfavourable exchange rates. The Swiss franc has fallen recently amid a rosier outlook for the European common currency, sparking calls for the Swiss bank to remove its floor.—Reuters


Business FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Greek coalition dialogue drags on to end TV crisis Shutdown of ERT ‘brutal attack on constitution’

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan brush vendor Mohamed Suwais (57) drives his make-shift electric-powered tricycle at the Cinnamon Gardens diplomatic quarter yesterday. —AFP

Britain to look at RBS split LONDON: Britain is ready to start selling its shares in Lloyds Banking Group and will examine whether to break up Royal Bank of Scotland, Finance Minister George Osborne said on Wednesday, after acknowledging the re-privatisation of RBS remains a long way off. The government is keen to show Britain’s part-nationalised banks are recovering from the 2008 financial crisis and a profitable sale of part of its 39 percent stake in Lloyds would allow it to claim at least partial success ahead of the next election in 2015. Royal Bank of Scotland, still lumbered with toxic loans from a boom-era property binge in the UK and Ireland and buffeted by its role in a global interest rate-fixing scandal, remains a thorn in the side of the government and the wider economy, which is struggling to recover. In his annual address to London’s financial elite, Osborne said RBS probably should have been split into a good bank and its soured assets hived off into a so-called “bad bank” in 2008 when the lender was close to collapse. “I can tell you today that we will urgently investigate the case for taking the bad assets - those mistakes of the past - out of RBS,” Osborne told the audience in the Mansion House, the residence of the mayor of London’s financial district. “We will judge whether this will allow the bank to focus on its future supporting the British economy. We will see whether it’s right for Britain to, in effect, see RBS broken up.” Osborne had previously dismissed splitting up RBS as too costly and disruptive. Similar “bad bank” solutions in Ireland and Spain triggered large losses that the state had to fill. More calls for breakup His decision to investigate a restructuring of RBS comes after a parliamentary commission he appointed to look at the UK banking industry recommended such an analysis earlier on Wednesday. Mervyn King, the outgoing governor of the Bank of England, and Nigel Lawson, a former finance minister and fellow Conservative party member, also have urged a breakup to hasten the privatisation of RBS. Speaking just after Osborne at the Mansion House, King welcomed the government’s plans but said more needed to be done to restore Britain’s banking system to full health. Yesterday the BoE’s regulatory arm published details of how much new capital Britain’s banks need to raise, with media reports suggesting that Lloyds, RBS and Barclays will bear the brunt of a previously announced 25 billion pound gap. “There is clearly some way to go before we can claim to have a really well-capitalised banking system,” King said, rejecting some banks’ view that higher capital requirements are acting as a brake on their ability to support the economy. A longer-term problem was the size of some British banks, which are still too large and complex to be allowed to collapse without causing financial chaos, King said. The combined balance sheet of Britain’s largest banks is still five times the size of the economy, despite years of post-crisis down-sizing, King said. “We must restore trust in our banking system,” he said. “It is not in our national interest to have banks that are too big to fail, too big to jail, or simply too big. Solving these problems is the work of a generation.” Britain’s government said on Wednesday it would introduce criminal penalties for reckless bankers after a wide-ranging review into the industry by parliamentarians. —Reuters

ATHENS: Talks between Greece’s prime minister and his coalition partners failed to resolve the political deadlock caused by the government’s shutdown of state broadcaster ERT, but will resume yesterday. Conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had a three-and-ahalf hour meeting Wednesday with the leaders of the Socialist Pasok and the moderate left Democratic Left to try to reach agreement on ERT’s future. Both Pasok and the Democratic Left strongly oppose ERT’s sudden closure, a move that has seriously shaken the coalition government’s cohesion. The two party leaders emerged from the talks still unhappy. “It was a very difficult discussion that will continue and will be concluded soon,” socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos said afterwards. Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis said: “It is not just about the public broadcaster, it is about the operation of the three-party coalition government. “There has to be a collaboration that ensures common ground between the three parties.” Sources involved in Wednesday’s talks indicated that they had covered the wider question of how power was shared in the coalition. In a bid to appease his partnersand head off early elections-Samaras held out the prospect of a cabinet reshuffle at the end of the month, the sources said. Venizelos and Kouvelis were to confer with their parties before resuming talks with Samaras yesterday evening. Samaras himself was in due in Vienna yes-

terday for a summit of European conservative parties-the Europe People’s Party-and talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel before returning to Athens the same evening. About 2,000 protesters, police estimated, gathered outside the Athens headquarters of ERT on Wednesday to show their support for the broadcaster. Alexis Tsipras, leader of the main opposition left-wing Syriza party, joined the protesters. “No one can fool around with democracy in this country,” he told reporters. Earlier in the day, Tsipras denounced the shutdown of ERT as a “brutal attack on the constitution and democracy”. Samaras’s coalition partners have demanded the broadcasts be restored immediately: but the prime minister has refused to reinstate ERT in its old form. ERT’s five TV channels and 24 radio stations remained off the air Wednesday, two days after the Council of State, Greece’s top administrative court, told the government to restore public broadcasts. The ruling did not however specify if ERT should be the company managing them. “One of the issues (discussed) is how the state broadcaster will operate again, with respect to the Council of State’s decision,” said government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou after Wednesday’s meeting. The shutdown has also blocked the local digital signals of the BBC, TV5 and Deutsche Welle. Greece’s parliament channel, which had also been blocked, went back on air late Wednesday. The shock closure, announced on June 11,

will result in the loss of 2,700 jobs and has sparked national and international uproar. Greece is under pressure by its EU-IMF lenders to meet the terms of a massive 240 billion euro ($322 billion) bailout. Those terms include a requirement to axe 4,000 civil servant posts by the end of the year. Representatives of Greece’s creditors, currently conducting a regular audit, issued a statement on Wednesday saying the government “has made important progress” in its reforms. The troika of auditors added that the audit would be resumed by the end of the month. Athens News Agency reported that the government was working on a plan to hire a limited number of journalists to produce three news bulletins a day for two months, while a new, leaner broadcaster, was prepared. But Samaras has rejected calls to reinstate ERT in its previous form: he says it cost 300 million euros a year for an overall viewer rating of four percent, less than half its private competitors. The government has offered to compensate ERT’s employees and to create a new broadcaster with less than half the workforce. ERT was widely seen in Greece as a government mouthpiece and a haven of chronic mismanagement. But it also offered educational content unavailable on private television, and a link to the homeland for the country’s large diaspora. ERT’s closure has also provoked criticism from international media organisations, who have condemned its shutdown as undemocratic. —AFP

Sony chief eyes spin-off from ‘all sorts of angles’ TOKYO: The head of Sony told shareholders yesterday the company’s board was studying from “all sorts of angles” a proposed plan to spin off part of its profitable entertainment arm, but said it would not be rushed into a decision. US billionaire Daniel Loeb, who says his hedge fund Third Point has amassed the largest stake in Sony, last month made the call to hive off and list up to 20 percent of the unit, which includes a music label and Hollywood movie studio. Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai told the firm’s annual investor meeting in Tokyo: “This is a really important proposal not only for today’s Sony but for the future of Sony. “The board will reach a decision by discussing and analysing Third Point’s proposal from all sorts of angles... we want to take our time and get necessary information from outside,” he told the meeting at a Tokyo hotel. Sony, which has reportedly sought out investment bankers to study the plan, had been largely tight-lipped after Loeb’s initial foray was detailed in a hand-delivered letter to Hirai in midMay. The outspoken investor, who has a reputation for aggressively trying to push change at companies he has tar-

geted, is not believed to have been at yesterday’s meeting, which was packed with a record attendance of nearly 11,000 shareholders. Among them was Keisuke Ohira who described Loeb’s idea as an “interesting proposal”. “It’s a good thing if shareholders’ voices are part of management decisions,” said the 28-yearold. But another investor thought Sony should avoid selling off part of a key moneymaker. “The entertainment business has great potential,” said the 78-year-old man who identified himself as Kawano, adding that “software is as important as hardware”. Last month, Sony said it would continue “constructive dialogue with our shareholders as we pursue our strategy”. But it added that the entertainment businesses were “not for sale”. Hirai has resisted previous calls to break up the electronics giant, which has struggled for years as it bled money from its television unit and other consumer gadgets. Yesterday, Hirai appeared to soften the firm’s position, but called the entertainment division “a very important business for Sony’s growth strategy”. Loeb has suggested Hirai serve as head of the board of the proposed

business, while retaining his spot at the helm of the overall group. The US investor argued that spinning off the entertainment division would make managers more accountable and help improve profitability. He also offered his services on Sony’s board, pointing to his firm’s large stake in the maker of Bravia televisions and PlayStation game consoles. Analysts said Loeb’s soft-touch approach appeared to mark a dramatic shift from previous, mostly unsuccessful, forays by foreign investors who have tried to push through change at Japanese firms. Shareholder activism in Japan is not firmly entrenched like it is in Europe and the United States, and the country’s cloistered corporate sector remains deeply suspicious of overseas private equity firms. Sony has limped back to an annual profit after four years in the red, mostly due to the weak yen and selling a string of assets including its Manhattan headquarters. Yesterday, Sony’s Tokyo-listed shares slipped 0.09 percent to 2,013 yen by the close. The stock has more than doubled since the start of the year after dipping below 1,000 yen for the first time since the era of the Walkman. —AFP


Business FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Bahrain between rock and hard place in bond decision Saudi support doesn’t completely reassure investors DUBAI: Bahrain faces a dilemma in coming days as it decides whether to issue a sovereign bond at a time of extreme volatility in global markets. It is a dilemma which issuers confront around the world - but in Bahrain’s case it looks particularly acute. The island kingdom, which is alone among the six oil exporters of the Gulf Cooperation Council in running a sizeable budget deficit relative to its economy, this week completed investor roadshows in the United States, Middle East and Europe for a potential bond issue of at least $500 million. Since then, the rout in global debt markets has worsened, after US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday that the US economy was strong enough for the Fed to begin slowing the pace of its bond-buying stimulus this year. He signalled an end to the programme by the middle of 2014. If Bahrain puts its issue on hold, as most borrowers around the world are doing, it will risk having to pay much more when budget pressures eventually force it to come to market; it has no certainty the market turmoil will ease in coming months. The 10-year US Treasury yield is at 2.38 percent after Bernanke’s statement; in the long term it may be heading to around 4.0 percent, which some consider a “normal” level historically. But if Bahrain goes ahead and issues its bond now, it will leave itself open to investor speculation that it is simply unable to wait as it needs the money urgently. Because of its weak state finances, that speculation could be damaging. “Looking to issue in such conditions will raise questions about how desperately Bahrain needs to raise funds from bond markets right now,” said Chavan Bhogaita, head of markets strategy at National Bank of Abu Dhabi. He added that Bahrain would still be able to get a deal away in current market conditions, if the pricing met investor expectations. Underperformance The acuteness of Bahrain’s dilemma is at least partly responsible for the underperformance of its debt since the bout of market instability began. Its $1.5 billion, 6.125 percent sovereign bond maturing in 2022, rated BBB by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings, is bid at a yield of 5.80 percent, its

highest level since last August and up 133 basis points since the end of May. By contrast, yields on Middle East sovereign bonds have risen 28 bps on average since the start of this month, according to the HSBC Nasdaq Dubai Middle East Conventional Sovereign US Dollar Bond Index. Bahrain has underperformed countries such as Turkey, which is in the middle of its biggest political crisis in a decade. The yield on Turkey’s $1 billion sovereign bond maturing in 2022 is up 107 bps since endMay. Behind the concern about Bahrain is its rising state budget deficit; in May the International Monetary Fund forecast a fiscal shortfall of 4.2 percent of gross domestic product or roughly $1.2 billion this year, up from the 2.6 percent deficit reported by the Bahraini government for 2012. The country has succeeded in keeping its economy growing during political unrest and street protests by its Shi’ite majority that have continued since 2011. But while many investors were willing to ignore the political risk just a few months ago as they searched for yield in a global environment of loose liquidity and falling interest rates, they may become less willing against a background of rising rates. The long-term economic outlook may be more of a concern than the political outlook, because trends in oil prices and government spending appear to be moving the wrong way for Bahrain. It needs to spend heavily to support the economy during the unrest, but its small oil reserves are expensive to exploit. Moody’s Investors Service cited these trends last Thursday when it put its Baa1 rating of Bahrain on review for a possible downgrade, with the result to be announced in three months. Moody’s now rates Bahrain one notch above the other two agencies; Moody’s analyst Steffen Dyck told IFR, a Thomson Reuters service, that any downgrade could be by one notch or two. “The IMF estimates Bahrain’s fiscal break-even oil price close to $120 per barrel. Under the current forecasts for global oil prices of just over $100, Bahrain will continue to run a fiscal deficit for the foreseeable future,” he said. Key to Bahrain’s finances is support from Saudi Arabia, which is politically and economically close to the tiny state. Bahrain

relies on an oil field it shares with Saudi Arabia for some 70 percent of its budget revenue, and investors expect Riyadh to extend more financial aid if necessary. However, the extent of Bahrain bonds’ slide this month suggests investors do not attach a 100 percent probability to unlimited Saudi financial support. “For Bahrain to successfully issue bonds, the key debate is how much a $120 fiscal break-even oil price and unresolved domestic political divisions are offset by support from Saudi, and the desire among international investors to regain lost ground and hunt for yield,” said Dubaibased Hasnain Malik at Frontier Alpha, an independent research provider. Pricing Raza Agha, chief economist for Middle East and Africa at VTB Capital in London, said that if Bahrain did go ahead and issue in coming days, it would be reasonable to expect a new 10-year issue to price at a spread of at least 350 bps over benchmarks, considering where the 2022 bond was now trading. He noted that with such pricing, Bahrain would still pay less than it did to issue its 2022 bond in July last year. Other options could be considered. Islamic bonds are generally less volatile because of the buy-to-hold nature of their traditional investor base, and would appeal to regional, and especially Saudi, investors. “Some could also argue that instead of a regular dollar-denominated issue, a sukuk or a euro-denominated issue may help improve pricing even further,” Agha said. Saudi markets are closed for the weekend on Thursday and Friday, so a Bahraini sovereign deal looks unlikely to print on those days. Market sources said Bahrain might proceed next week, once markets had fully digested Bernanke’s statement. Even a smooth issue could prove expensive for both Bahrain’s finances and its profile among investors, however. “If they go ahead, it will be out of necessity. Primary markets will struggle, especially a Bahrain bond,” a regional fixed income trader said. Bahrain has mandated BNP Paribas, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase & Co and GIB Capital, the investment banking arm of Gulf International Bank, to arrange any bond sale. —Reuters

Obama’s African outlook splits opinion DAKAR: Days ahead of only his third official African visit, analysts are split over whether Barack Obama has been overlooking a golden goose in his ancestral continent or shrewdly dodging a white elephant. The 44th US president inspired millions when he told an audience in Ghana during his first year in office that he would help build prosperity in a resurgent sub-Saharan region many believe will be the world’s next economic powerhouse. When he returns on June 26 for a tour of Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania, however, he will encounter a continent where his influence has largely been usurped by the billions of dollars invested by the world’s emerging economies. “As he travels to Africa, he will see a definite different Africa that enthusiastically celebrated his election and re-election but an Africa that is asking: What have you done for me, not lately but ever?” Chika Onyeani, editor of the US-based African Sun-Times, wrote in a recent commentary. Obama’s detractors concede that he has led the way in African conflict resolution, particularly with the peaceful creation of South Sudan after decades of fighting between Sudan’s Muslim north and Christian and animist south. But critics argue that while the US plays global referee, China has

been more shrewd in its engagement, stepping up investment in mining, trade, construction and infrastructure. Africa has been home to six of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies in the past decade, according to a 2010 study by the McKinsey Global Institute-a number that is projected to grow. Foreign direct investment is forecast to attain $57 billion (42.8 billion euros) this year from $50 billion last year, with the sub-Saharan region likely to receive the majority, according to the African Development Bank. Yet just one percent of US investment abroad goes to Africa and many analysts believe China has surpassed America as its largest partner, with African governments preferring an approach that does not link trade to human rights or corruption. US companies are “leaving money on the table” in mineral- and oil-rich Africa, industrialist Tribert Ayabatwa Rujugiro, who has businesses in eight countries across the continent, said in a recent commentary for the US-based Global Post. A 2012 study by Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital underlines the point, arguing that Africa will be the “most exciting and rewarding continent for the next 30 years”, producing more GDP in 2050 than the United States and Europe combined today. —AFP

HONG KONG: Floor traders study stock price in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange yesterday. —AP

Asian markets tumble as Fed eyes end to stimulus HONG KONG: Asian markets sank yesterday, following a selloff on Wall Street, after the Federal Reserve indicated it would start easing back on its multi-billion-dollar stimulus drive this year. Adding to selling pressure was preliminary data on Chinese manufacturing from HSBC, which showed activity contracted again in June and was at a nine-month low. Tokyo shed 1.74 percent, or 230.64 points, to end at 13,014.58, Seoul tumbled 2.00 percent, or 37.82 points, to close at 1,850.49 and Sydney sank 2.12 percent, or 103.0 points, to 4,758.4. Hong Kong sank 2.9 percent, or 604.02 points, to 20,382.87 and Shanghai fell 2.77 percent, or 59.43 points, to 2,084.02 as dealers digested the manufacturing figures. The Fed’s policy-making committee said Wednesday the economy continued to grow at a “moderate” pace but would maintain its $85-billion-a-month bond-buying programme, citing high unemployment and the negative impact of government spending cuts. However, chairman Ben Bernanke said afterwards “the committee currently anticipates that it would be appropriate to moderate the monthly pace of purchases later this year” if the economic outlook continues to improve. Stressing that “our purchases are tied to what happens in the economy”, he said most members of the committee foresaw tapering in the coming months. The announcement sent US stocks tumbling-the Dow fell 1.35 percent, the S&P 500 lost 1.39 percent and the Nasdaq tumbled 1.12 percent-while the yield on US Treasuries jumped. “The Fed’s result was not out of line with expectations,” said SMBC Nikko Securities general manager of equities Hiroichi Nishi. “Some transparency as to the possible end of US easing is the biggest takeaway. Players can now factor this into investment strategies. Wall Street’s fall will act as a short-term negative against the larger beneficial effect of a weaker yen.” In currency dealing, the dollar jumped back towards 100 yen, with likely Fed tightening meaning there is less cash being pumped into the system, which in turn lifts demand. In New York Wednesday it ended at 96.39 yen, well up from 95.05 yen earlier in the day in Asia. And yesterday it rallied again, buying 98.23 yen. The euro bought 129.82 yen and $1.3216 in Asia compared with 128.24 yen and $1.3297. Global markets have been sent into turmoil in recent weeks as dealers priced in a possible end to the bond-buying, known as quantitative easing. The programme had helped fuel a rally in equities since the Fed said in September it would provide vast sums of cash until the world’s biggest economy showed signs it was back up to strength. Numerous data out of the United States in the past months have pointed to a healthy recovery. In China, British banking giant HSBC said its preliminary purchasing managers’ index (PMI) came in at 48.3, worse than May’s final reading of 49.2 and its lowest since September. A reading below 50 indicates contraction, while anything above signals expansion. The news adds to growing concerns about the strength of the world’s number two economy, which is a major driver of growth for the region. Zhang Zhiwei, economist at Nomura International in Hong Kong, said in a report that “the fall reinforces our concerns over the downside risks to the economy”. Oil prices eased, with New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in July, down $1.28 at $96.96 a barrel on its last day of trading, while Brent North Sea crude for August shed $1.36 to sit at $104.76. Gold was at $1,303.35 at 1110 GMT from $1,367.80 late Wednesday. —AFP

FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

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

THE FASCINATING STORY OF THE 99 On a mission to Mauritania, Hafiz attempts to help some locals jumpstart their agricultural growth. But his power runs amok...and Mujiba can find

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nothing wrong with his Noor Stone. @THE99Comics



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



Opinion FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Glasnost on the Potomac? Dual govt: US operates in sunshine and in shadow By Calvin Woodward


t’s as if the United States has two governments, one open and one very much not. President Barack Obama leads both, trying not to butt heads with himself. Since becoming president, Obama has churned out an impressive stream of directives flowing from his promise to deliver “the most transparent administration in history.” He established a center devoted to declassifying records and making them public. He announced an open government initiative. Dizzying quantities of information poured into public databases. New ways were devised to show taxpayers how their money is spent. Allegiance was pledged to the rule of law. Then there’s the other government. It prosecutes leakers like no administration before it. It exercises state-secrets privileges to quash court cases against it. It hides a vast array of directives and legal opinions underpinning government actions - not just intelligence and not all of it about national security. Now it’s known to conduct sweeping phone-records and Internet surveillance of ordinary people in programs kept on the lowdown until an employee of a National Security Agency contractor revealed them. Dick Cheney said this would happen. Known as the master manipulator of power behind the scenes as George W Bush’s vice president, Cheney predicted at the dawn of Obama’s presidency that the relentless campaign criticism of shadowed government would not come to much. “My guess is, once they get here and they’re faced with the same problems we deal with every day, that they will appreciate some of the things we’ve put in place,” he said. “They’ll need all the authority they can muster.” The empire of secrets lives on. Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists, says the US has both the most open government in the world and arguably the most closed. Daily it publishes an unmatched avalanche of information. But daily its national security secrets also grow by staggering amounts. Early on, there were signs Obama would not upend the fundamental balance of this parallel universe despite his pledges to take the government in a new, open direction. Glasnost on the Potomac would have to wait. One sign: Obama’s 2009 marching orders for classifying documents closely resembled those of his predecessors at least back to Ronald Reagan. Also, a 2011 review of the Obama administration’s handling of public records requests under the Freedom of Information Act noted the many positive words from the president and his people about striving for a culture of disclosure. This included an executive order on his first day in office. But the review came to this jarring conclusion when actions were measured against words: “Most indicators of openness have not even returned to the average for the Bush years, a period known for secrecy.” The report was by OMB Watch, now called the Center for Effective Government. On the bright side, Aftergood says, the government puts more and better information online than ever before. But at the core, “Classification activity is very high. Secrecy has become an obstacle in many areas of public policy. And we still are living with a classification system that is a legacy of the Cold War era.” If President Dwight Eisenhower were around today, he says, “he would have no trouble understanding how the classification system works. He would feel quite at home. The rest of us feel like we’re living in a ‘Flintstones’ episode”. The secret side of government has many pillars, some fashioned with a compliant Congress, others raised from within. A look at some, and the weird politics swirling around them: Which Side are You on Again? In the suddenly unfolding debate over secrecy in government, it takes a spreadsheet to know who stands where. The normal partisan divide that cleaves almost everything else in Washington is no guide. Obama at times seems to be on both sides at once. In one corner, there’s Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California, who leads the Senate Intelligence Committee, tag-teaming with Republican John Boehner of Ohio, the House speaker. Both are steaming over the actions of Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who leaked the surveillance programs. “Treason,” said Feinstein. “Traitor,” said Boehner. National security hawks in both parties agree. In the other corner, an unusual collection of liberals, civil libertarians and conservatives suspicious of government’s reach is aligned against Big Brother. The American Civil Liberties Union, tea party favorites and dyed-in-the-wool progressives are these odd bedfellows. “It’s my fear that we are on the verge of becoming a

surveillance state,” said Rep John Conyers of Michigan, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. Some other Democrats, too, are proving hostile to the administration on this. Sens Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado have dogged the administration to back off what they see as an assault on civil liberties and challenged its claims that the telephone and email monitoring programs helped stop specific acts of terrorism. The debate places them and some other congressional critics in an awkward spot. Intelligence committee members are briefed on certain national security secrets but not allowed to talk about them. That has left Udall, for one, champing at the bit. He told The Denver Post he was well aware of the monitoring programs that shocked lawmakers who hadn’t been clued in and did “everything short of leaking classified information” to bring it to light. As a candidate, Obama criticized Bush for putting forward a ‘false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide.” Now he says, “You can’t have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience,” and, “We’re going to have to

classified, there’s no lawyer countering the government’s case for authority and the decisions are rarely made public. In one step toward openness, the Obama administration has disclosed some secret legal opinions, but only those from the previous administration, regarding the treatment of terrorist detainees and some other matters specific to the Bush years. Loose Lips Sink Ships The Obama administration has pursued an unprecedented number of investigations of those who leak government secrets and taken extraordinary steps in doing so. Among them are the secret seizure by the Justice Department of two months of phone records for more than 20 Associated Press telephone lines and the gathering of emails of Fox News journalist James Rosen, in both cases to try to identify sources of stories. At the same time, a 2012 law signed by Obama improved protections for whistleblowers, generally understood to be those in government who expose waste, fraud or abuse. Spillers of national security secrets

Stephen Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists, poses in his office in Washington. — AP make some choices as a society.” Secret Directives and Privileges These tools have been used just as vigorously as in the Bush years, watchdogs say, despite modest steps toward accountability. The state-secrets privilege helps the government withhold sensitive national security records in court proceedings. But in its 2013 review of Obama’s first term, the Center for Effective Government says both the Bush and Obama administrations used the privilege to dismiss entire cases against the government, not just protect specific records. The government also operates with a range of regulations, legal opinions and policy directives that never see the light of day. Targeted drone killings, the recently leaked phone and email surveillance programs, and a former Bush program of warrantless wiretapping came from these shadows. “The administration has continued to use secret ‘laws’ to make controversial decisions without oversight, to disallow legal challenge, and to withhold key decisions and memoranda that have the force of law from public scrutiny,” the center says. Certain actions are subject to court scrutiny but it’s a court like none other. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court hears cases inside vaults in a federal courthouse. Legal justifications are

needn’t apply. All governments always have kept secrets on the grounds that sensitive information cannot fall into the hands of adversaries and that frank discussions among nations and inside the government must stay confidential until they no longer matter. But history is rife with secrets kept for political purposes, to conceal corruption and simply to avoid inconvenience or embarrassment. The sensational leak of the classified Pentagon Papers in 1971 revealed pernicious efforts to mislead the public on the depth of US involvement in Southeast Asia. Cascading revelations in that time laid bare domestic spying to disrupt civil rights and anti-Vietnam War protests, assassination plots against foreign leaders and a campaign of character assassination against Martin Luther King Jr. Now the court martial of Army Pfc Bradley Manning is addressing how grave were the secrets he revealed when he supplied WikiLeaks with more than 700,000 classified battlefield reports, diplomatic cables and video clips while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq. His lawyers contend damage was minimal. The government argues the revelations included extraordinarily sensitive information that endangered lives - revealing troop movements, code words, the names of suspects under investigation and much more - and that some of it ended up in the hands of Osama bin Laden.—AP

FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Ashleigh Johns wears an ornate feather based hat on the second day of the Royal Ascot horse race meeting in Ascot, England, Wednesday, June 19, 2013. — AP

Food FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

By Russ Parsons


nce many years ago I came across a fish vendor at the farmers market with a whole tray full of beautiful fresh anchovies. On a sudden impulse, I bought them all. Real anchovies - the ones that have been packed in salt to last - are an essential flavoring, the garlic of the sea. And then I repented at leisure, trying to figure out what I was going to do with all of them. Apparently preparing your own salted anchovies is something that had not occurred to many cookbook writers. I searched through a dozen books trying to find a method before I came to a rough description of a poor Greek fisherman preparing them in one of my favorite cookbooks, Patience Gray’s “Honey From a Weed.” “Assisted by his children, he pulled the heads off the fish which at the same time removed the guts, and laid the fish neatly in the petrol cans, alternating each layer with a layer of salt and finally putting a weighted board on top. In this way he provided himself and his large family with supper throughout the winter.” Thus inspired, I spent the next couple of hours carefully pulling the heads and guts out of several pounds of 2-inch fish and arranging them neatly between layers of kosher salt. In the end, I had enough salted anchovies to last a year, but I promise you it made the $10 or so you’ll spend for a pound of the store-bought ones feel like a grand bargain. Though there are dishes in which salted anchovies star, such as the Piedmontese anchovy-garlic dip bagna cauda, most often they’re happy to stay in the background, lending a deep savoriness that is absolutely necessary to the success of the recipe even if its source remains anonymous. One of my favorite ways to use anchovies is in roast lamb: Stud the leg with a bouquet of anchovy, garlic and rosemary, and the flavors melt into the meat. The other night I was fixing eggplant for the grill and wondered about doing the same thing. I cut slits into thick slabs of eggplant and inserted thinly sliced garlic, a little slip of salted anchovy and a sprig of rosemary. Yowza. Salted anchovies are also the foundation for salsa verde. Or should I say “salsas verde,” because there is no single recipe for it. Rather, it’s a varied mash of anchovies, garlic, capers and green herbs thinned with olive oil. Think of it as pesto’s rowdy cousin, coarse, big-flavored and untamed by the mellowing of cheese or nuts.

Within that broad framework of ingredients, there is much room to play. You can thicken salsa verde with soaked bread or boiled potato to make a smoother, more cosmopolitan sauce. Some recipes call for mustard or hard-cooked egg, some for cornichons or green olives. I like to add green onion and sometimes even fennel seed (amazing with grilled swordfish). Parsley is the main herb, but it’s augmented by whatever seems good at the time. Basil, tarragon, fresh oregano, sorrel, rosemary, watercress and even nasturtiums can be used. I just found a description of salsa verde made with celery leaves, and that sounds perfect. The sauce comes together in seconds in a blender or food processor, but I like to make it with a mortar and pestle. The pounding releases the herb’s oils, making a more fragrant mixture. And then when you taste it, there’s that wild savory tang of anchovies underneath. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know it’s there. SALSA VERDE 10 minutes. 4 to 6 servings 1 anchovy (2 fillets)

1 clove garlic 1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed thoroughly if salted 1cup mixed green herbs, at least half parsley 6 tablespoons olive oil 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar or lemon juice 1. Rinse the anchovies under running water to remove excess salt and then soak in water to cover in small bowl until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove the fillets, discard the skeletons and soak another 5 minutes until flexible. Chop coarsely. 2. With a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic with the salt to a smooth paste. Add the capers and chopped anchovy, and pound to a coarse paste. Add the herbs and pound to a paste. Starting with just a little at a time, add the olive oil, stirring with the pestle to make a smooth emulsion. Stir in the red wine vinegar. Taste and adjust salt and vinegar. To make salsa verde in the blender or food processor, pulse the anchovies, garlic, capers and herbs to a coarse paste. With the machine running, slowly stream in the olive oil. Stir in the vinegar and add salt to taste.

brush generously with the garlic olive oil. Grill over a moderate fire until browned on one side, 4 to 5 minutes. 7. Brush with more olive oil and use a spatula to turn to the other side and brush that with oil as well. Continue cooking until the eggplant is browned on both sides and tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. 8. Remove to a platter, brush with any remaining oil and serve.

EACH OF 6 SERVINGS Calories: 377 Protein: 3 grams Carbohydrates: 13 grams Fiber: 5 grams Fat: 37 grams Saturated fat: 5 grams Cholesterol: 2 mg Sugar: 6 grams Sodium: 79 mg

EACH OF 6 SERVINGS Calories: 124 Protein: 0 Carbohydrates: 1 grams Fiber: 0 Fat: 14 grams Saturated fat: 2 grams Cholesterol: 1 mg Sugar: 0 Sodium: 301 mg


2. 3. 4.



GRILLED EGGPLANT WITH ANCHOVIES, GARLIC AND ROSEMARY 45 minutes. 4 to 6 servings 3 salted anchovies (6 fillets) 6 cloves garlic 1 cup olive oil, plus more if necessary 2 large round eggplants 2 long branches fresh rosemary Salt Rinse the anchovies under running water to remove excess salt and then soak in water to cover in small bowl until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove the fillets, discard the skeletons and soak another 5 minutes until flexible. Cut into approximately half-inch crosswise pieces. Using a very sharp knife, slice the garlic crosswise as thin as you can. Reserve the tops, bottoms and odd-shaped pieces in a bowl and cover with olive oil. Trim the tops and bottoms of the eggplants, and cut the eggplants into 1-inch-thick crosswise slices. Working with one slice at a time, use a paring knife to cut 5 shallow slits into the eggplant - four at the compass points and one in the center; they should be about one-half-inch deep and should not go all the way through. Insert a garlic slice in each of the slits (if necessary, widen the slit by wiggling the paring knife in it). Insert a piece of anchovy in each slit. Finally, insert a tuft of rosemary in each slit. The fillings should be as close to flush with the surface as you can make them. Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices. Sprinkle both sides of each eggplant slice with salt and

TIPS ON BUYING, STORING AND USING SALTED ANCHOVIES Maybe the hardest thing about cooking with salted anchovies is finding them in the first place. Check your local Italian deli or the deli or cheese department of a local fine grocery. You can also order them online. Salted anchovies are most often sold in the cans in which they come, which means massive quantities, 1 pound or more. Though you can store them in the refrigerator in that can, I prefer to transfer them to a tightly sealed glass or plastic container. They will last months, even years stored this way. Just make sure they stay covered in salt. And this way you can spread a little anchovy love among your friends by making them little jars too. When they come straight out of the salt, anchovies look unpromising. They take a little preparation. Rinse off any excess salt under running water and then soak the anchovies in a small bowl covered with more water. When they are flexible, after about 5 minutes, use your thumbnail to peel off the two fillets, discarding the spine, tail and any innards or finny bits that remain. Return them to soak for another 5 minutes to finish softening. — MCT

Food FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013


large bowl of steamed clams, some parsley potatoes and a chilled glass of white wine bring back memories of sitting on a deck overlooking the sparkling water in Connecticut. Clams are easy and quick to make, but are rarely made at home. Here are some buying and storing tips: Ask for steamers. They are considered soft shell clams (although their shell is hard to the touch.) Store them in a bowl in the refrigerator. Wash them under cold water with a stiff brush. Discard any that you can easily open or the shell moves easily. Little Neck clams can also be used. These are considered hard shell clams. They should be stored in the refrigerator in salted water with a couple of handfuls of cornmeal. When ready to use, rinse them under cold water and scrub with a brush. Throw away any with a loose or open shell. This meal contains 454 calories with 29 calories from fat. HELP-

FUL HINTS Mussels can be substituted for the clams Red or yellow potatoes cut into 2-inch pieces can be used instead of creamers. COUNTDOWN Start potatoes Saute vegetables for clams Finish potatoes. Finish clams. NEW ENGLAND STEAMED CLAMS 1 tablespoon canola oil 1 cup sliced onion 1 cup sliced carrot 1 cup sliced celery 1 cup dry white wine Freshly ground black pepper 2 pounds clams Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery. Saute until they start to shrivel but are not brown, about 10 minutes. Add clams and cover tightly. Bring the liquid to the boil. Let boil about 3 minutes. As soon as they are open, remove from the heat. With a slotted spoon lift the clams out of the pan and place in two large soup

bowls. Discard any clams that do not open. Meanwhile, bring the liquid to a boil and reduce rapidly by half. Serve the broth with all of the vegetables. Leave about 1\2 inch of the broth in the pan. This may have some sand from the clams in it. Makes 2 servings. Per serving: 270 calories (26 percent from fat), 7.7 g fat (0.7 g saturated, 4.3 g monounsaturated), 20 cholesterol, 11.7 g protein, 18.3 g carbohydrates, 3.6 g fiber, 508 mg sodium. PARSLEY POTATOES 1 pound creamer or new potatoes, washed but not peeled 1 tablespoon canola oil 1/2 cup chopped parsley Salt and freshly ground black pepper Place potatoes in a large saucepan; add cold water to cover potatoes. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Simmer about 15 minutes, until cooked through. Drain, place in a bowl. Toss with oil, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Makes 2 servings. Per serving: 185 calories (35 percent from fat), 7.1 g fat (0.6 g saturated, 4.3 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 3.7 g protein, 28.0 g carbohydrates, 3.4 g fiber 39 mg sodium. SHOPPING LIST Here are the ingredients you’ll need for tonight’s Dinner in Minutes. To buy: 1 onion,1 small bunch carrot, 1 small bunch celery, 2 pounds clams, 1 pound creamers or new potatoes, 1 small bunch parsley. Staples: Canola oil, salt and black peppercorns. — MCT

Tr a v e l FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013



50th ’versary of visit in Berlin reminiscent of divided Germany

t was 50 years ago, an old man’s memory. But Berliners haven’t forgotten the American president’s visit in 1963, nor the speech that offered so much hope. It provided a promise of support for West Germans living in Berlin’s free but beleaguered American sector after they were heard around the world. “Ich bin ein Berliner,” said President John F Kennedy, addressing 10,000 cheering West Berliners jammed into the square not far from the Berlin Wall. Those broad Bostonian vowels gave the words an extra zing. But the crowd, intent on the message, knew what it meant. It meant that America was one of them, and that they were true allies who wouldn’t forget their plight.

than anywhere else,” said Yaro Turek, who escaped from behind the Iron Curtain by hiking with his family over the mountains into Austria. “We didn’t have it so bad in Czechoslovakia. If you said you were a member of the party you’d have a job and enough food. But communism in East Germany was much harsher, more repressive. When there were food shortages, it was the East Germans who starved. If you tried to leave, you’d be shot.” Touring the Mauer Museum recently, I remembered my parents’ experience in 1970, when they applied for a permit to enter East Germany to visit cousins in Leipzig. They waited at the border crossing, being eyed by

Tours of Charlottenburg Palace and Garden are popular with visitors. their entry permit and passports and confiscating newspapers, magazines and books. “He found the gift box of chocolates we’d bought for Gert and Johanna and opened it,” said my mother, still incensed after 45 years. “He took off the wrapping and lifted the tissue paper, and he even had the nerve to eat a couple of them. As if I’d hide something in a bonbon.” The questions were predictable, the rules inflexible. Why did the Americans want to enter the GDR? Who were they visiting? Had anyone asked them to deliver packages? Were they aware that spying was a capital crime? Did they know that they had to change American dollars for East German marks, register at the police station upon arrival, and stay in a government-approved motel? This is where my parents - brave, or more likely, innocent - balked. “Henry put his foot down,” said my mother. “Johanna had a bedroom waiting for us and he wasn’t going to Berlin, Germany, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of US President John F Kennedy’s disappoint them. So we went straight to their visit and speech supporting the city in the time of the Berlin Wall. The small portion of the house and never heard another word about it.” Today, Berlin is new, alive and moving forwall that remains is now a tourist attraction. — MCT photos ward, but remembering the country’s rough past isn’t easy. Even the Checkpoint Charlie suspicious guards. They were detained at the the guards checked under the spare tire, guard shack - still in the middle of the street guard shack while armed soldiers searched knocked on the side panels and removed the has been reduced to a tourist attraction. A their car, a routine that anyone trying to cross rear seat cushions. Inside the shack, a stonynearby photo exhibit, with grainy black-andover could expect. Pulling out the luggage, faced officer spent long minutes examining

The Mauer Museum, of Wall Museum, is best known as the Checkpoint Charlie Museum. This summer, Berlin remembers the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s visit with a half a dozen special exhibits exploring Germany’s unique relationship with the United States and the Cold War politics that pitted Sovietrun East Germany - also known as the German Democratic Republic - against West Germany. And nothing tells the story better than the Mauer (Wall) Museum, a few steps away from the Checkpoint Charlie border gate that once stood between the East and West. This gate was important because Berlin wasn’t on the border between the GDR and West Germany -the two countries that were a result of the country’s division. The city was an island encircled by Soviet-controlled East Germany, making it an easy target for a hostile takeover. And the East Berliners who fled “west” weren’t home free; they were still in Berlin, but in the free American sector. Thus, before the Wall was built in 1961, crossing over was a risky walk. Afterwards, the Checkpoint Charlie border crossing remained one of the few places where a fleeing East German didn’t have to scale the wall or the “death zone” beside it. If you were clever enough, you might have been able to drive across. “Communism in East Germany was worse

Tr a v e l FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Tourists pose with pretend guards at the Checkpoint Charlie station. white photos, shows some of Germany’s worst moments in history, including when Soviet tanks faced off with American soldiers, and the instances when the Cold War threatened to become more than lukewarm. At the shack itself - the spot where German

escapees were shot and left to bleed to death - two men in phony guard uniforms charge tourists $10 for a photo. Behind them, under familiar golden arches, a McDonalds serves hamburgers and fries. To experience the country’s darker, divided

Tourists can toast the city at Maximillian’s, a Bavarian-style pub.

years, snap a photo with the guards, and move on to the Mauer Museum - more popularly called the Checkpoint Charlie Museum. Privately-owned and operated, the museum houses a huge collection of artifacts and photos recording not just the city’s most awful days, but man’s unquenchable desire for freedom. The exhibits, documenting the years between 1961 and 1989, are located in two old buildings. We spent the morning roaming inside, but it was not enough to take it all in. The museum space itself is epitome of the era and sets the disheartening, suffocating tone through the small rooms, narrow hallways and winding staircases. In each little room, the walls are covered with black-and-white photos of wounded men crawling toward freedom, jubilant couples being reunited, yellowing letters between families separated by the wall, false birth certificates used to escape and real documents detailing persecution by the Stasi, the GDR’s secret police. Other compelling things to see are the dozens of ingenious solutions that East Germans dreamed up to escape. They folded themselves into miniscule spaces in cars and cement trucks, boxed and loaded themselves onto delivery vans and lay under hay bales. They forged passports and produced false identification papers. One bold man walked across the border, past armed East German guards, wearing the look-alike American military uniform that his fiancee, waiting in the Western sector, had sewn for him. The Mauer Museum’s small theater space shows a variety of films and newsreels, including one of President Kennedy’s West Berlin speech. When you arrive, check the day’s schedule. For more about this year’s 50th anniversary celebrations, check out other exhibits, readings and special city tours planned in Berlin.



rom now through August, the “Kennedy In Berlin - Germany Trip 1963,” exhibit will be at the Willy-BrandtHaus, Berlin, which includes many neverbefore-seen photographs of the president by photographer Ulrich Mack, who accompanied Kennedy during his historic visit. Through June and beyond, the Kennedy Museum in Berlin remembers the President’s visit with an exhibit that explores its purpose and political goals beyond the purely historical significance. On June 23, a public picnic sponsored by the Militarhistorisches Museum in Berlin (Museum of Military History) invites guests to experience the past by learning about the history of Berlin during the allied occupation and viewing the classic cars of the era. There is also a chance to meet and speak with eyewitnesses and veterans. The guest of honor will be Gail S Halvorsen, Berlin airlift pilot who earned the nickname “the Chocolate Pilot.” From June 24-26, eyewitnesses of Kennedy’s visit and speech are invited to join the celebration at the Schoneberg City Hall (Rathaus Schoneberg). More than 10,000 Berliners still remember his speech, preserved by the Memory of the Nation Association (Das Gedachtnis der Nation). If you’re were present at the speech or remember seeing Kennedy on a broadcast, you’re invited to record your memory of the event in a video interview. All interviews will be made available in an online archive. — MCT

Health FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Summer hair care is the mane point T

hat sun. Those waves. This warm weather. If there’s ever a time for shiny, vibrant, luscious hair, it’s summer. But your locks may actually take a hit over the next few months. Sun and water can be damaging, leading to faded color, split ends and a brittle, dry texture. “A lot can go wrong,” says Gregory Patterson, a stylist and instructor at Blow, the New York Blow Dry Bar. “Hair color is such an investment, and keratin treatments are super expensive. Hopping in the chlorine or salt water can just strip them right out of the hair and cause it to look dull and dehydrated.” Not exactly the look you were going for, right? Fear not: There are plenty of tricks to protect your hair this summer. That way, you can enjoy the warm weather without having to spend the fall and winter repairing the damage. Patterson and other hair care experts shared their favorite tips: Consider your geography. If you’re close to the equator, the sun will be much more intense. That means it’s more likely to dry out your locks and oxidize your color. “I’m a guy, and my hair is pretty simple,” says Chris Lospalluto, a stylist at Sally Hershberger in New York. “But I was down in Barbados a couple weeks ago, and it’s close to the equator. The texture of my hair was almost completely different. It created a little bit of a wave.” In those situations, it’s smart to take extra precautions, Lospalluto says. Get a haircut. It’s always best to get a trim before summer. The sun will do extra damage to hair that’s already dry, so if you remove those dead ends, you’ll be in better shape. Though experts generally recommend getting a trim every six to eight weeks, Lospalluto suggests holding off during the summer.

“You’ll probably need one in August, but everyone’s at the beach,” he says. “Just stretch it a few more weeks, let the ocean beat it up and then come in for a conditioning treatment, and we’ll refresh it and fix it up.” Start in the shower. If you’ve been out in the sun and forgot to protect your hair, you can still give it the nourishment it needs. Opt for a hydrating shampoo and conditioner, Patterson says. At Blow, such products provide “intense hydration” - largely thanks to a combination of soy and corn protein. Make sure products don’t contain harsh sulfates, parabens or sodium chlorine, which will weigh down your locks. Use UV-shielding products. You slap sunscreen on your skin to prevent burns. And likewise, an array of products are specifically designed to protect your hair from UV rays. These can help prevent highlighted hair from lightening too quickly and looking fried, and they can keep dark hair from turning brassy or red. Most are finishing products such as UV-based hairspray or leave-in conditioner. “Some of them really do work,” Lospalluto says. “I mean, it’s not pushing the sun back into the solar system, but they can make a difference.” Keep in mind that products always need to be applied to damp hair. Otherwise, they’ll sit on the surface and won’t sink into the hair. Dampen your locks. Spray some water on your hair before you go into the pool or ocean. It adds an extra layer of coating, so when you go swimming, your hair isn’t as likely to absorb 100 percent of the chlorinated water. “You won’t have this huge concentration of chlorine or salt water blast your hair and dry your hair out,” Lospalluto says. “It’ll be diluted because your hair is already wet.” Otherwise, if you’re starting out with dry blonde hair, there’s a

good chance it will be green by the end of the summer, he says. Brush carefully. Since hair is most fragile when it’s wet, don’t rip a brush through it after swimming. Spray some detangler on it, and then use a widetooth comb to minimize breakage. Choose strong hair bands. Summer heat practically demands we throw our hair back, and a ponytail with no part can even protect the scalp from exposure to the sun. The problem is that pulling it too tight can cause hair to break-or just “snap the hair off,” as Patterson says, particularly if it’s already dry. Pulling your hair back when it’s wet is even more damaging. Aim for loose buns and ponytails, and let your hair down before going to sleep at night. Alternate the way you put it up, too - tie it low one day, high another and to the side the next. That way, you’re not always stressing the same strands. Wear a hat-or something cuter. It’s one of the best ways to protect your hair from the sun’s rays. And if that baseball cap is killing your look? Get a turban. Patterson just spent a month in Sweden and says they’re all the rage. “I guarantee it’s going to pop up over here,” he says. “Cool, printed turbans are very fashion forward, and they make you look effortless and chic.” You could also opt for a scarf, a wide-brim floppy hat or a cowboy hat. Keep in mind that the sun can shine through certain straw hats, so it’s still smart to wear a protective product underneath.

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Armenia’s Yezidi begin to question dated customs A s she hangs up washing on branches outside her family’s stone home, Liana talks wistfully about her curtailed childhood which ended with marriage at the tender age of 14. Liana belongs to Armenia’s roughly 40,000-strong Yezidi community, a livestock-herding people who follow their own ancient religion that involves the worship of a peacock angel called Satan. Their customs are strict and sometimes at odds with the values and practices of the modern world, most notably the tradition of marrying women while they are still in their early teens. Some within the community, especially

mono-ethnic country where some 98 percent of the roughly 3.3 million population are ethnic Armenians and the country’s Christian Apostolic Church dominates. Fierce guardians of their traditions, the Yezidi do not allow outsiders to convert to their faith and ban the eating of lettuce or wearing of anything blue. Although they speak a form of Kurdish, Armenia’s Yezidi fiercely reject being labelled Kurds and their religion-which has seen them regarded as “devil-worshippers” by Muslims-is thought by some to have its origins in the Zoroastrianism of ancient Persia. The Yezidis do not believe in heaven or hell, and do not regard Satan as evil. In fact, they worship him in the guise of a peacock angel whose name they are forbidden from saying out loud. Found in Armenia’s western valleys close to Mount Ararat, as well as in their spiritual home in nearby Iraq, along with Syria, Turkey and Georgia, the strongly patriarchal Yezidi forbid girls from talking in the presence of male elders or eating with male relatives. As was the case with Liana, they have commonly married off their daughters when they are in their early teens, sometimes as young as 12 or 13. ‘A spinster at 18’ Last year when Armenia moved to revise

Women of Yezidi community put the dinner on at their home in the Armenian village of Zovuny. not everyone in the Yezidi community thought that an exception should be made for them. Many in the younger generations are increasingly turning their backs on their ancestors’ way of life by refusing to have

A young woman, member of Yezidi community, kisses a figure peacock, used as an object of worship by the Yezidis.

A member of Yezidi community shows photos of his ancestors.

Aziz Tamoyan, the director of the Yezidi Union in Armenia, speaks during his interview with AFP in the village of Zovuny, some15 km outside Yerevan. — AFP photos the young, are now wanting to break out of the limits of tradition and forge normal lives and careers. “When I was 14 my parents refused to let me go to school anymore and married me off instead,” Liana, now 23, said, her olive green eyes flickering timidly to the ground. “But I want my daughters to get an education, become experts in something and live in better conditions,” she said, watching as her six-year-old daughter continued with the household chores. The Yezidi are the biggest minority group in Armenia-a largely

its law on marriage, raising the minimum age of marriage for both boys and girls to 18, representatives of the Yezidi community erupted in protest at what they claimed was an assault on a cornerstone of their culture. “This is an ancient tradition,” said Aziz Tamoyan, the director of the Yezidi Union in Armenia. “If a girl is not already married by the time she is 18 then she is already considered a spinster.” In the end, in the face of possible street protests, Armenia’s parliament compromised and the minimum age that girls in the Yezidi community could marry was set at 16. “When we brought in changes to the law we had to deal with the realities of life,” said lawmaker Agvan Vardanyan, a member of parliament’s commission for human rights that drew up the law. “The Yezidi community guards its traditions very jealously and they have families at a very young age whatever the current laws are at any given time,” Vardanyan said. “Not to take into account their traditions or their rhythm of life would not be right.” But

many children, herd livestock or wear traditional clothing. Although the number is still small-just around 100 — Yezidi students are now studying at Armenian universities, said Khdr Hajoyan, the editor of a Yezidi newspaper named after their fabled homeland, Yezidkhana. “Young Yezidi boys and girls want to go to school, receive higher education and rise up the career ladder,” Hajoyan said. “Why can’t someone from the Yezidi community here become a member of parliament or a minister?” he asked. For a growing number of younger Yezidi though, the dream of a better future lies outside the country-and the strict cultural codes of their closed society. Many have already emigrated to Europe or Russia and ever more are looking to follow them-including Liana and her young family. “We don’t have a problem with Armenia but I don’t want my daughters to have the same life as their mother has had,” said Aziz, Liana’s husband. “I don’t want them just to be working with cattle all their lives,” he said. “Whatever they want to be, that is for them to decide. I don’t want to interfere.” — AFP

Liana Amaryan hangs up washing outside her family’s stone home.

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

This March 9, 2003 file photo shows US actor James Gandolfini accepting the award for Outstanding Male Actor in a Drama Series for his role in ‘The Sopranos’ at the 9th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, CA. — AP/AFP photos

This undated publicity image released by HBO shows, from left, Tony Sirico, Steven Van Zandt, James Gandolfini, Michael Imperioli and Vicint Pastore,from the HBO drama series ‘The Sopranos.’

‘Sopranos’ star James Gandolfini dies at 51 A

ward-winning US actor James Gandolfini, the burly star of classic TV mafia drama “The Sopranos,” died Wednesday aged 51 in Italy, triggering a flood of tributes from the acting world and beyond. The New Jersey-born actor, who won three Emmys and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of troubled mob boss Tony Soprano on the popular cable TV series, suffered a heart attack or a stroke, HBO network officials said. “It is with immense sorrow that we report our client, James Gandolfini, passed away today while on holiday in Rome, Italy,” said a joint statement

This 2007 file photo originally supplied by HBO, shows James Gandolfini, left, Steven Van Zandt and Tony Sirico, right, members of the cast of the HBO cable television mob drama “The Sopranos.

File photo shows actor James Gandolfini with his award for outstanding lead in a drama series for his work in ‘The Sopranos’. from his California-based managers, Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders. Gandolfini was in Italy for the Taormina Film Fest in Sicily, where he was expected to participate in a roundtable discussion with Italian director Gabriele Muccino this weekend, according to celebrity website TMZ. HBO, the cable TV channel on which “The Sopranos” aired, issued a statement saying: “We’re all in shock and feeling immeasurable sadness at the loss of a beloved member of our family.” The actor had a long film and stage career

before lending his heavy stature and big grin to play a depressed mafioso in “The Sopranos,” the celebrated series that ran from 1999 to 2007. The series about the suburban mafia family was so popular it helped transform HBO into an powerhouse for quality original programs. This in turn led rival cable networks to produce their own edgy original series like “The Shield” on FX, and “Mad Men” on AMC. Gandolfini was born on September 18, 1961. His parents were Italian immigrants-his father was a bricklayer, and later a high school custodian, while his mother worked in a cafeteria at the same school. His parents insisted that he go to college, and after some initial resistance Gandolfini graduated with a degree in communications from Rutgers University in 1983. The future Tony Soprano began acting in the New York theater, making his Broadway debut in the 1992 revival of “A Streetcar Named Desire” with Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin. His breakthrough role came as a hitman in Tony Scott’s 1993 “True Romance,” which he followed with “She’s So Lovely” (1997), “8MM” (1999), “The Mexican” (2001), “The Man Who Wasn’t There” (2001) and “In the Loop” (2009). Last year, Gandolfini played former CIA director Leon Panetta in the Oscar-

winning Osama bin Laden manhunt movie “Zero Dark Thirty,” while his last big-screen movie was “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.” He was also a television producer for HBO, notably making the TV movie “Hemingway & Gellhorn” last year, a romantic drama with Clive Owen as Ernest Hemingway and Nicole

Kidman as war correspondent Martha Gellhorn. Gandolfini is survived by his wife, Deborah Lin, whom he married in 2008, and their nine-month old daughter, Liliana, according to the Los Angeles Times. He also has a teenage son, Michael, with his first wife, Marcy Wudarski. Tributes poured in from fellow actors and colleagues, including “The Sopranos” creator David Chase, who called Gandolfini a “genius.”“Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that,” he said. “He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time. A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes.” From the acting world Steve Carell, who starred with Gandolfini in this year’s comedy “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone,” said it was “unbelievably sad news.”Susan Sarandon called him “one of the sweetest, funniest, most generous actors I’ve ever worked with,” Jonah Hill said it was a “tragic loss,” and Mia Farrow called him “a great actor. Just great.” HBO managers praised the actor as “a special man, a great talent, but more importantly a gentle and loving person who treated everyone no matter their title or position with equal respect.” “He touched so many of us over the years with his humor, his warmth and his humility. Our hearts go out to his wife and children during this terrible time. He will be deeply missed by all of us,” their statement added. — AFP

TV crews and media set up outside the Exedra hotel where actor James Gandolfini was staying while vacationing in Rome.

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

AEG trial hears Paris Jackson video testimony


aris Jackson recalled how her father’s ex-nanny would sneak into his bed, in testimony played at the trial between the late King of Pop’s family and the promoters of his last doomed tour. Michael Jackson’s daughter, who tried to commit suicide earlier this month, recorded a video deposition in March ahead of the start of the trial between the Jacksons and promoter AEG Live. The 15-year-old, who is a party to the trial along with her grandmother Katherine and two siblings, was originally on the witness list for the trial, but is now unlikely to take the stand. Instead, lawyers began playing clips Tuesday from the teenager’s prerecorded deposition, including one in which she recounts how a former nanny, Grace Rwaramba, was obsessed with Jackson. “My dad didn’t like her, so he tried to keep him away from us,” Paris Jackson told lawyers, giving testimony under oath on March 21. “He said she was sneaky, she wasn’t an honest person and she lied a lot.” Prefacing the story by saying “This is

File photo shows, from left, Blanket Jackson, Paris Jackson, and Prince Michael Jackson at the opening night of the Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour in Los Angeles. — AP going to freak you out,” she recounted: “When he’d stay in a hotel or whatever, she would call like the hotel and say that she was his wife-she was obsessed

with him. “She’d call and say that she was his wife, and they’d let her in, and he’d wake up and she’d be like in his bed,” she said in the video shown by

celebrity news website TMZ, as well as CNN. “That’s what he told us. Yeah, it’s kinda freaky,” she told the lawyers. Michael Jackson’s mother Katherine and his three children Prince, Paris and “Blanket” are suing AEG Live alleging that it negligently hired doctor Conrad Murray to care for the star as he prepared for his doomed “This is It” tour. Jackson died on June 25, 2009 from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol, which Murray was giving him to help the singer with chronic insomnia. Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2011, and jailed for four years. Paris Jackson was rushed to hospital on June 5 after trying to commit suicide, reportedly by cutting a wrist and taking 20 Motrin (ibuprofen) pills at the family home in Calabasas, northwest of Los Angeles. The teenager, whose father died in 2009, was put on a 72hour psychiatric hold in hospital, a family source said, adding that Paris suffered from depression and had previously reported suicidal thoughts. The trial continued Wednesday. —AFP

‘Letters to Jackie’ opens US documentary film festival


ne of America’s premier documentary film festivals got underway late Wednesday with a fresh look back on the life and times of John F. Kennedy based on moving condolence messages to his widow. “Letters to Jackie: Remembering President Kennedy” marries archival footage with poignant words of sympathy from the 800,000 letters sent to Jacqueline Kennedy in the two months after JFK’s assassination 50 years ago this November. It set the tone of the American Film Institute’s AFI Docs festival, which over five days will unspool 53 documentaries, many of them with a distinct political flavor, in theaters in Washington and surburban Silver Spring, Maryland. Highlights include “Herblock: The Black and The White,” a biopic of the iconic Washington Post political cartoonist, and “Documented,” in which journalist Jose Antonio Vargas describes his life after outing himself as an illegal migrant. Directed by Oscar winner Bill Couturie, “Letters to Jackie” grew out of an eponymous antholo-

This photo shows South Korean actors Sol Kyung-gu, Jun-Ho, Han Hyo-joo and Jung Woo-sung attending a ‘Cold Eyes’ film premiere in Seoul. —AFP

gy of condolence letters and telegrams to the former first lady compiled by Ellen Fitzpatrick, published two years ago. Reading off-camera the selected two dozen or so letters from grief-stricken Americans from all walks of life is a constellation of Hollywood stars from Betty White, 91, to Hailee Steinfeld, 16. “When this tragedy struck, I felt like Peter Pan when Tinker Bell was dying,” wrote one letterwriter gripped by a sense of helplessness. Another declared by way of a postscript: “I wish I could get my hands on that assassinator.” Others in the film’s largely female cast of voices include Berenice Bejo, Jessica Chastain, Zooey Deschanel, Kirsten Dunst, Anne Hathaway, Melissa Leo and-conveying the words of a US army lieutenant in Berlin-Channing Tatum. “What I find so amazing is that common people sit down and they spill their heart out,” said Couturie prior to a gala evening screening at the Newseum, a museum in downtown Washington dedicated to journalism. “There is so much compassion, so

much wisdom, it makes you so proud to be a human being, and in some cases to be an American,” added the filmmaker, an Oscar winner in 1990 for his AIDS film “Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt.” “These letters had a way of trying to show there is so much more that brings us together than pulls us apart.” With lots of mood music plus home movies from the Kennedy clan’s Cape Cod summer holidays, the film at times feels hagiographic, before Martin Luther King appears to remind viewers how Kennedy sometimes wavered on civil rights. Couturie also prudently makes a point of underscoring JFK’s role in escalating the United States’ fateful involvement in the Vietnam war, as well as poignant references to the Cuban missile crisis and the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Supporting the project was Steven Spielberg’s production house Amblin Entertainment and the TLC cable channel, which plans to air it this autumn when the United States alongside commemorations of Kennedy’s death. — AP

Indian Bollywood film actors Sonam Kapoor and Dhanush pose during the promotion of upcoming Hindi film ‘Raanjhanaa’ on the set of television reality show ‘Jhalak Dikhla Jaa’ in Mumbai . — AFP

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

French couturier Jean-Louis Scherrer dies

(Above) A file photo taken on March 1, 1987 in Paris shows French fashion designer Jean-Louis Scherrer and an assistant adjusting a top in his workshop.


rench couturier Jean-Louis Scherrer has died in Paris at the age of 78, an employee said yesterday. Scherrer, who started out working with Christian Dior and later Yves Saint-Laurent, launched his own label in 1962 and his first collection of cocktail dresses was famously held in a wine cellar. In 1971 he was admitted French fashion designer Jean Louis Scherrer walks with a model in Paris on July 27, 1992 during the presentation of his fall/winter 1992/93 haute couture collection. — AP/AFP photos

to the small group of fashion designers entitled to call their work “haute couture”. But after years of success, in 1992 he was sacked by shareholders and his label disappeared in 2008. Guillaume Feugeas, an employee for 14 years, said Scherrer, who died yesterday morning, had been in hospital for 10 months. —AFP

(Right) German model Claudia Schiffer presents a creation by French couturier Jean-Louis Scherrer as part of his ready-to-wear collection on October 11, 1993 in Paris.

Dolce and Gabbana sentenced to jail for tax dodge


n Italian court on Wednesday sentenced celebrated fashion house duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana to one year and eight months in prison for avoiding taxes totaling 200 million euros ($268 million). The pair were also ordered by the court in Milan to pay a fine of 500,000 euros ($670,000) to Italy’s national tax agency. Lawyers for Dolce and Gabbana, whose celebrity clients include Beyonce and Madonna, immediately said they would appeal. Under Italian law the sentence will be suspended in the meantime. The pair were accused of having transferred control of their brands to a shell company in Luxembourg in 2004 and 2005 to avoid paying Italian taxes. Prosecutors had argued that setting up the Luxembourg company Gadoan acronym of the surnames of the two designers-while the company was operating out of Italy was a bid to defraud the state. They had called in May for the pair to be sent down for two years and six months. In her closing speech at the trial, prosecutor Laura Pedio said there was “rock-solid proof” that the duo had committed “sophisticated tax fraud”. “Cases as complex as this one are

the most insidious,” Pedio said, describing Gado as “a sort of cloud with the consistency of gas”. Fellow prosecutor Gaetano Ruta said Gado

was “an artificial construction the aim of which was to get a tax advantage”. Although Dolce and Gabbana had originally been accused of tax evasion

Picture shows Italian fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana acknowledge the applause after presenting their Dolce & Gabbana 2008 spring/summer men’s collection at Milan’s fashion week. — AFP

of around one billion euros, the court ruled that just 200 million euros of that sum was relevant. Four other people, including Dolce’s brother Alfonso, were given suspended jail sentences. Investigators completed a probe into the designers and five other people in 2010. The case was dismissed in April 2011 but reopened in November last year and went to trial. “All that I care about is making clothes, that’s all. Let them do and say whatever they want,” Gabbana tweeted about the trial in April. “To be accused of something that’s not true is not a pretty thing, but the heart of the matter is, who cares, we’ll all end up in the ground in the end,” he said. Already in March, a civil court in Milan found the pair guilty of tax evasion and fined them 343 million euros. That ruling is currently subject to an appeal. Founded in 1985, Dolce & Gabbana employs more than 3,000 people and has 250 shops in 40 countries around the world. Italy has been cracking down on widespread tax evasion in an effort to raise government revenues following the global economic crisis. Tax evasion is estimated to cost Italy between 120 billion and 150 billion euros ($160-200 billion) a year. — AFP


Fashion Event


FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Models present creations by Spencer Hart during the Spring/Summer 2014 London Collections: Men fashion event in London. —AFP photos

A fluffy male cow named Texas Tornado at Lautner Farms in Adel, Iowa. —AP

Fluffy cows:

Old beauty practice gains attention


rooming cows so they look like unusually large poodles is a well-known beautification practice in the show cattle industry. But although it may be decades old, it’s just now getting attention on the Internet. It started with a photo of a male cow named Texas Tornado who had a particularly fluffy coat. “Fluffy cow” photos are now making the rounds. The practice is meant to help

sell livestock for breeding or harvesting. The cattle go through a beauty pageant regiment: They’re washed, brushed and blow dried. Special oils add an extra fluff. The bull’s owner, Matt Lautner of Lautner Farms in Iowa, helps raise many fluffy cows. He’s using social media to run with the overwhelming response, and hopes it brings more attention to the industry. — AP

FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

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


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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: (C 4441)

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

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No: 15846

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 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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FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Aries (March 21-April 19) Many people find that you are a fine teacher, regardless of where or what type of teaching is needed. You are innovative, friendly and effective. You find ways to gain important ideas and resources that help you develop a motivating program. This may mean that you teach in an educational system or as a professional advisor. Of course, you are excellent in setting an example when an example is needed. You may find that you enjoy your job more than usual. Your ideal dream is a private one and heaven is as close as work and family. You help find answers to the problems and temptations children face when unsupervised. The romantic in you struggles against the frontier spirit that often moves you into action.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) You may be more focused on your goals now than ever before. You may be able to create plans for putting them into effect. You may have noticed that you are more focused and more interested in seeking satisfaction from your hard work. You respond well to responsibility and enjoy your work; you also have an inclination to break free from any stresses by doing fun things for others from time to time. This activity of helping others could soon create a charitable business with others to help you. A balance in your life is soon to be realized. You put your whole heart into making your dreams and ideals a reality and you are happy to help others do the same. This is a high-energy day and much can be accomplished. Hug a friend this evening.

Gemini (May 21-June 20) You enjoy working hard and you exercise skill and discipline in anything that affects your career and reputation. You have the perfect combination for an excellent manager position. This could be the time to push any changes you may want to make in your career. You can find new ways to relate and may be creative in marriage and social amenities as well. You have good opportunities coming soon that will allow you to network and let your professional desires be known. You like to facilitate compromise and otherwise show your breadth of scope-like a coat of many colors. Obtaining and exchanging information takes on more emotional significance around the neighborhood. There is helpful information at a city council meeting tonight.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) Your career could assume a much more determined and solid form. This is a real time to buckle down and firm up your career goals. Your own ambition and drive are strong. You are able to use good common sense and can feel the trends in order to make the right moves. Your ideas open up a window for theories and progress. This is a time to get ahead by taking action. Your spontaneity and unpredictability in your personal life make you the adventurer. If you can see any opening for travel or for volunteer service to test new space or survival gear, you will jump to it. You have a lot to say and love to hear about new inventions and possibilities, which is probably why your friends and family can usually find you sitting in on science or book lectures..

Leo (July 23-August 22) In the workplace today, you may find that a particular project is just not exactly where you excel. Determination wins out and you will find yourself succeeding at what others need you to accomplish. Your ability to cut through the superficial and get to the real heart of things comes through loud and clear you can sometimes surprise yourself with your accomplishments. If you are not moving soon, you may have a relative or friend that will be moving. It can be a time for cleaning and clearing away things of the past. This may include your work as well as your home surroundings. If young people are involved, encourage them to keep the sentimental things, but consider making a little extra money by selling a few things that they no longer need.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) Today you spend a great deal of time exchanging information with one group of people in order to keep a different group of people up-to-date on new developments in or on some project. This could mean some legal work, news reporting or progress reports. Higher-ups are impressed with your ability to communicate well so that many people understand what you say. This is a great time to work in groups of people. You could come up with new solutions to old problems. You probably do not realize that one key to your success is your ability to read the emotions of other people. You are very intuitive and should trust your insights more and more. Family matters are easy to solve this evening. Tonight, you may enjoy expressing yourself in music.

Libra (September 23-October 22) You naturally are a giving person, sacrificing your own interests for the sake of an inner vision--what you feel is right. A born psychologist, you may find you enjoy counseling and caring for the mental needs of others. Your lack of seriousness, however, may undermine any valid attempts to form a base. This is the beginning of a better time for you to begin something new with the help of a calendar and a list. The more often you check your list and calendar, the easier it will be to begin a new habit or system of working. You have a natural sense of that which pleases, knowing the mood of the crowd or perhaps authority figures-tonight is your turn to entertain. You always manage to end up in the limelight, with the support of those around you.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) You could be busy outlining some goals in order to make a presentation or in presenting a request for funding a particular project. You may be working with new styles of communication; such as e-mail or fax, or you could just mail a letter. Others are open to your ideas. You encourage a structured use of time when you say no to invitations that might take away from the time you have to spend with the young people in your life. This could mean a weekly get-together with a nephew, a neighbor or your own children. Consider teaching the importance of family to these children. Allow laughter to encompass your afternoon. You are very generous and you know just where or with whom to share the extras you do not need. You are a good friend.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) You will make career gains by your ability to sense quality and choose accordingly. It is easy for you to cut through the fluff and get down to your most practical. Careful, this afternoon a friend may want to borrow money--you might not be repaid. Perhaps before you loan the money out, you could negotiate for some trade of work-like yard work or a cleaning job they could do before you give them money or as a contract. A pleasant surprise comes to you later this evening because of a neighbor that invites you and your family to join in creating a neighborhood garden. You may want to join with them and make some plans for an herb garden as well. You may spend a bit of time in research before you give a final answer.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) It is important not to become distracted while working today. There is a sense of emotional coolness or detachment at the personal level. It's ideas that count for you now, more than narrowly personal concerns--and you may have little tolerance for people who do not operate at this level--careful. Take time to be specific so that others will understand any instructions you may have. Take care of every last detail by proofing or if possible exchanging your work with someone and proofing each other's work. You may decide to submit a detailed documentation of basic business procedures and the related methods for teaching this next semester. Homemade ice cream takes center stage this evening. There could be competition with recipes--yum!

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) There are options today for you to discover new ways to relate in marriage and social affairs. You are very tolerant and accepting of differences and have good insights into any problems. You are independent. Today is a good time to promote, compromise and otherwise show your abilities to understand others. You may be unconventional in matters of philosophy and religion--finding new ways to get past the fluff. You seek to understand and improve situations. You are happy in finding new and secure ways to better conditions. You may even become involved with positive activities that include helping young people with character education, community service, career awareness, conflict resolution, peer mediation and involvement with others.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) This is a time of good fortune when opportunities open up for you. Circumstances present themselves this day and it is easy to see which path is the one you will want to take. This is a time during which conditions bend to your will and things have a way of working out smoothly. Here are real opportunities to complete and work out difficulties and projects that require both long-term effort and a high degree of discipline. This is a very good day for job-related events. You could represent or speak for your company or speak about your skills. Any personal matters you want to accomplish or business matters that need tending to will have positive results. Any recent difficulties that are personal or professional, will find a new path direction; patience.

COUNTRY CODES Afghanistan 0093 Albania 00355 Algeria 00213 Andorra 00376 Angola 00244 Anguilla 001264 Antiga 001268 Argentina 0054 Armenia 00374 Australia 0061 Austria 0043 Bahamas 001242 Bahrain 00973 Bangladesh 00880 Barbados 001246 Belarus 00375 Belgium 0032 Belize 00501 Benin 00229 Bermuda 001441 Bhutan 00975 Bolivia 00591 Bosnia 00387 Botswana 00267 Brazil 0055 Brunei 00673 Bulgaria 00359 Burkina 00226 Burundi 00257 Cambodia 00855 Cameroon 00237 Canada 001 Cape Verde 00238 Cayman Islands 001345 Central African Republic 00236 Chad 00235 Chile 0056 China 0086 Colombia 0057 Comoros 00269 Congo 00242 Cook Islands 00682 Costa Rica 00506 Croatia 00385 Cuba 0053 Cyprus 00357 Cyprus (Northern) 0090392 Czech Republic 00420 Denmark 0045 Diego Garcia 00246 Djibouti 00253 Dominica 001767 Dominican Republic 001809 Ecuador 00593 Egypt 0020 El Salvador 00503 England (UK) 0044 Equatorial Guinea 00240 Eritrea 00291 Estonia 00372 Ethiopia 00251 Falkland Islands 00500 Faroe Islands 00298 Fiji 00679 Finland 00358 France 0033 French Guiana 00594 French Polynesia 00689 Gabon 00241 Gambia 00220 Georgia 00995 Germany 0049 Ghana 00233 Gibraltar 00350 Greece 0030 Greenland 00299 Grenada 001473 Guadeloupe 00590 Guam 001671 Guatemala 00502 Guinea 00224 Guyana 00592 Haiti 00509 Holland (Netherlands)0031 Honduras 00504 Hong Kong 00852 Hungary 0036 Ibiza (Spain) 0034 Iceland 00354 India 0091 Indian Ocean 00873 Indonesia 0062 Iran 0098 Iraq 00964 Ireland 00353 Italy 0039 Ivory Coast 00225 Jamaica 001876 Japan 0081 Jordan 00962 Kazakhstan 007 Kenya 00254 Kiribati 00686

Kuwait 00965 Kyrgyzstan 00996 Laos 00856 Latvia 00371 Lebanon 00961 Liberia 00231 Libya 00218 Lithuania 00370 Luxembourg 00352 Macau 00853 Macedonia 00389 Madagascar 00261 Majorca 0034 Malawi 00265 Malaysia 0060 Maldives 00960 Mali 00223 Malta 00356 Marshall Islands 00692 Martinique 00596 Mauritania 00222 Mauritius 00230 Mayotte 00269 Mexico 0052 Micronesia 00691 Moldova 00373 Monaco 00377 Mongolia 00976 Montserrat 001664 Morocco 00212 Mozambique 00258 Myanmar (Burma) 0095 Namibia 00264 Nepal 00977 Netherlands (Holland)0031 Netherlands Antilles 00599 New Caledonia 00687 New Zealand 0064 Nicaragua 00505 Nigar 00227 Nigeria 00234 Niue 00683 Norfolk Island 00672 Northern Ireland (UK)0044 North Korea 00850 Norway 0047 Oman 00968 Pakistan 0092 Palau 00680 Panama 00507 Papua New Guinea 00675 Paraguay 00595 Peru 0051 Philippines 0063 Poland 0048 Portugal 00351 Puerto Rico 001787 Qatar 00974 Romania 0040 Russian Federation 007 Rwanda 00250 Saint Helena 00290 Saint Kitts 001869 Saint Lucia 001758 Saint Pierre 00508 Saint Vincent 001784 Samoa US 00684 Samoa West 00685 San Marino 00378 Sao Tone 00239 Saudi Arabia 00966 Scotland (UK) 0044 Senegal 00221 Seychelles 00284 Sierra Leone 00232 Singapore 0065 Slovakia 00421 Slovenia 00386 Solomon Islands 00677 Somalia 00252 South Africa 0027 South Korea 0082 Spain 0034 Sri Lanka 0094 Sudan 00249 Suriname 00597 Swaziland 00268 Sweden 0046 Switzerland 0041 Syria 00963 Taiwan 00886 Tanzania 00255 Thailand 0066 Toga 00228 Tonga 00676 Tokelau 00690 Trinidad 001868 Tunisia 00216 Turkey 0090 Tuvalu 00688 Uganda 00256 Ukraine 00380 United Arab Emirates00976


FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Word Search

Yesterdayʼs Solution

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

ACROSS 1. An elegantly dressed man (often with affected manners). 4. An aromatic gum resin obtained from various Arabian or East African trees. 12. The syllable naming the first (tonic) note of any major scale in solmization. 15. A self-funded retirement plan that allows you to contribute a limited yearly sum toward your retirement. 16. Of or relating to precious stones or the art of working with them. 17. Any of various primates with short tails or no tail at all. 18. A midnight meeting of witches to practice witchcraft and sorcery. 20. (folklore) A corpse that rises at night to drink the blood of the living. 21. Goddess of the dead and queen of the underworld. 22. The content of cognition. 25. Make difficult to perceive by sight. 27. Mother goddess. 28. An ancient Assyrian city on the River Tigris and traditional capital of Assyria. 31. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 33. An independent group of closely related Chadic languages spoken in the area between the Biu-Mandara and East Chadic languages. 37. Informal abbreviation of `representative'. 38. Edible east Asian mushroom having a golden or dark brown to blackish cap and an inedible stipe. 43. A rotating disk shaped to convert circular into linear motion. 44. Ground snakes. 46. Strip of honors, possessions, or attributes. 47. A woman hired to suckle a child of someone else. 48. A loose cloak with a hood. 51. A workplace for the conduct of scientific research. 52. The fleshy part of the human body that you sit on. 53. Tropical starchy tuberous root. 55. A state in east central United States. 58. A theocratic republic in the Middle East in western Asia. 61. A hormone produced by the anterior pituitary gland that stimulates the adrenal cortex. 63. Block consisting of a thick piece of something. 66. A linguistic element added to a word to produce an inflected or derived form v 1. 70. A pair of shoes with cleats on the soles. 73. Either of two large African antelopes of the genus Taurotragus having short spirally twisted horns in both sexes. 75. Black tropical American cuckoo. 76. A plant hormone promoting elongation of stems and roots. 77. Having to do with a consul or his office or duties. 79. One of the most common of the five major classes of immunoglobulins. 80. A doctor's degree in dental medicine. 81. In some classifications considered a suborder of Orthoptera. 82. A local computer network for communication between computers.

4. Leaf or strip from a leaf of the talipot palm used in India for writing paper. 5. A broad flat muscle on either side of the back. 6. The sciences concerned with gathering and manipulating and storing and retrieving and classifying recorded information. 7. East Indian evergreen tree bearing very acid fruit. 8. (Old Testament) In Judeo-Christian mythology. 9. Given or having a specified name. 10. Liquid excretory product. 11. Type genus of the family Myacidae. 12. Tropical woody herb with showy yellow flowers and flat pods. 13. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 14. Goddess of the dead and queen of the underworld. 19. Used as a Hindi courtesy title. 23. Being one more than fifty. 24. An anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions. 26. Any of several related languages of the Celts in Ireland and Scotland. 29. A man who serves as a sailor. 30. A single splash. 32. A highly unstable radioactive element (the heaviest of the halogen series). 34. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (trade names Acular and Toradol) that is administered only intramuscularly. 35. A winged often one-seed indehiscent fruit as of the ash or elm or maple. 36. Pertaining to or resembling amoebae. 39. A pilgrimage to Mecca. 40. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 41. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 42. A federal agency established to coordinate programs aimed at reducing pollution and protecting the environment. 45. Any member of a Siouan people speaking one of the Dhegiha languages. 49. Not treated with lead. 50. A lipoprotein that transports cholesterol in the blood. 54. French cabaret singer (1915-1963). 56. A small pellet fired from an air rifle or BB gun. 57. An associate degree in applied science. 59. The function or position properly or customarily occupied or served by another. 60. A genus of Pyralidae. 62. Burrowing marine mollusk living on sand or mud. 64. A white crystalline double sulfate of aluminum. 65. An island in Indonesia east of Java. 67. Fail to do something. 68. Any tree or shrub of the genus Inga having pinnate leaves and showy usually white flowers. 69. A city of central China. 71. A protocol developed for the internet to get data from one network device to another. 72. The syllable naming the fifth (dominant) note of any musical scale in solmization. 74. A coenzyme derived from the B vitamin nicotinic acid. 78. A silvery soft waxy metallic element of the alkali metal group.

Yesterdayʼs Solution

DOWN 1. Not final or absolute. 2. Toward the mouth or oral region. 3. A very young child (birth to 1 year) who has not yet begun to walk or talk.

Daily SuDoku

Yesterday’s Solution

Sports FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Giants see off Padres SAN FRANCISCO: Gregor Blanco had a pinch hit, two-run triple in the seventh inning, leading the San Francisco Giants to a 4-2 victory over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday. Brandon Belt and Marco Scutaro also drove in runs and the Giants won their second straight following a three-game slide. Scutaro and Hunter Pence each had two hits. Will Venable and Jesus Guzman each hit home runs for the Padres, who have lost two straight after a seven-game winning streak. Madison Bumgarner (7-4) won his third straight start after allowing two runs and three hits over seven innings. He walked four and struck out eight. Padres starter Eric Stults gave up two runs and seven hits over 6 1-3 innings. He walked two and struck out three. Luke Gregerson (4-3) did not retire a batter, giving up two runs and four hits. He took over for Stults after Tony Abreu singled with one out in the seventh. NATIONALS 6, PHILLIES 2 In Philadelphia, Ian Desmond hit a grand slam in the 11th inning and Washington beat Philadelphia to avoid a three-game sweep. Jayson Werth’s RBI single with two outs in the ninth tied it off Jonathan Papelbon, who blew a save for the second time in three nights after starting the season 13 for 13. Starters Kyle Kendrick and Gio Gonzalez both were outstanding, but wound up with no-decisions. Kendrick allowed one run and two hits, striking out six in 7 2-3 innings. Gonzalez gave up two runs and two hits, tying a career-high with 11 strikeouts in seven innings. He didn’t allow a hit after the second batter. Ryan Zimmerman hit a one-out double off Mike Stutes (2-1) in the 11th. After Adam LaRoche was intentionally walked, Werth walked to load the bases. Desmond took a close 1-2 pitch that had manager Charlie Manuel screaming at plate umpire Alfonso Marquez from the dugout. Desmond drove the next pitch out to left-center. Drew Storen (2-1) tossed a scoreless 10th to earn the win. BRAVES 5, METS 3 In Atlanta, Chris Johnson homered for the first time in more than a month, Kris Medlen overcame a defensive blunder and Atlanta bounced back from a doubleheader sweep by beating New York. Johnson hit a three-run homer in the fourth, his first time going deep since May 13. Jordan Schafer put the Braves ahead to stay with some gutsy baserunning in the fifth, scoring on a wild pitch that didn’t even roll off the dirt around home plate. Medlen (4-7) pitched seven-plus innings for his third win in four starts this month, even though he cost himself two unearned runs with an errant throw. Shawn Marcum (0-9) took another loss, becoming just the third pitcher in Mets history to start a season dropping nine straight decisions. DIAMONDBACKS 3, MARLINS 1 In Phoenix, Cody Ross hit a three-run, pinch-hit home run for Arizona in the eighth inning to spoil an outstanding outing by young Miami starter Jose Fernandez. Fernandez (4-4) retired 14 in a row before walking two of the three batters he faced in the eighth. He was relieved by left-hander Mike Dunn, who gave up the home run to Ross on a 1-2 pitch. Arizona starter Trevor Cahill left after a line drive bruised his right hip in the first. Josh Collmenter allowed one hit in six innings of relief and David Hernandez (4-4) pitched a scoreless eighth to get the victory. Justin Ruggiano homered off Heath Bell to start the ninth. Bell held on to get his 13th save in 15 tries. REDS 2, PIRATES 1 In Cincinnati, Jay Bruce ended Jason Grilli’s saves streak with a solo homer in the ninth, and Brandon Philips singled with the bases loaded in the 13th inning to rally Cincinnati past Pittsburgh. Derrick Robinson and Shin-Soo Choo singled off Vin Mazzaro (3-2) with one out in the 13th and Joey Votto was walked intentionally. Phillips singled up the middle to end it. The Pirates were two outs away from a second straight shutout. Grilli started the ninth needing one save to tie a club record. He had converted all of his 25 chances this season, one shy of Joel Hanrahan’s 2011 club record to open a season. Bruce connected on the first pitch he saw for his fourth homer in his last six games. It was the first homer Grilli had allowed this season. Cincinnati hadn’t scored in its last 17 innings since Bruce hit a solo homer during a 4-1 win on Monday night. Manny Parra (1-1) pitched the 13th for the win. CARDINALS 4, CUBS 1 In St. Louis, Yadier Molina hit his fifth home run and Jake Westbrook pitched seven innings of two-hit ball in St. Louis’ victory over Chicago. Westbrook (3-2) worked around trouble almost the entire night in his second start since coming off the disabled list with a sore elbow. He gave up no earned runs, striking out two and walking three. Edward Mujica pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 21st save in 21 attempts. Edwin Jackson (3-9) was pulled after he hit Jon Jay following Molina’s blast to left field. He pitched 5 1-3 innings, allowing four earned runs on six hits. He struck out one and walked two. — AP

DETROIT: Rick Porcello No. 21 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Comerica Park. —AFP

Orioles whip Tigers DETROIT: Chris Davis cleared the fences twice, giving him a major league leading 26 homers, to help the Baltimore Orioles beat the Detroit Tigers 13-3 Wednesday. Davis hit a two-run homer and Taylor Teagarden followed with a three-run home run in Baltimore’s six-run fourth. Against embattled reliever Jose Valverde, Davis hit another two-run shot for his second multihomer game of the season and the fifth of his career. The Orioles improved to a season-high 11 games over .500 after beating the AL Centralleading Tigers twice in the three-game series. Chris Tillman (8-2) gave up three runs and seven hits over five-plus innings. He became the third pitcher in franchise history to win his first six decisions on the road, joining Jeff Ballard (1989) and Hoyt Wilhelm (1959). Rick Porcello (4-4) allowed six runs on nine hits, giving up a pair of homers for the third time this year.

Bourn scored twice for Cleveland. Unable to get a hit for four innings off Luis Mendoza (2-4), Brantley homered in the fifth and the Indians added three runs in the sixth. Brantley connected again in the eighth.

RAYS 6, RED SOX 2 In Boston, Desmond Jennings homered, Jeremy Hellickson pitched six strong innings and Tampa Bay Rays ended its drought at Fenway Park. The Rays had scored a total of five runs in losing their first five games this season at the ballpark, including a doubleheader sweep on Tuesday during which they managed a pair of runs on 10 combined hits. Jose Molina and Evan Longoria each had three of Tampa Bay’s 15 hits and the Rays ended a three-game losing streak with their second win in eight games. Top prospect Wil Myers delivered a two-run double during Tampa Bay’s threerun seventh that broke the game open. Hellickson (5-3) surrendered two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and no walks. Ryan Dempster (4-8) gave up three runs on eight hits over six innings.

TWINS 7, WHITE SOX 4 In Mineapolis, Justin Morneau homered for the first time in almost two months and the two-run shot helped Minnesota send Chicago to its sixth loss in seven games. Morneau’s third homer of the season followed an RBI single by Josh Willingham in the sixth off Deunte Heath after ace Chris Sale’s night ended after five shaky innings. Morneau last went deep on April 28. The 2006 AL MVP has three seasons of 30-plus homers. His teammates teased him in the dugout after he rounded the bases, pretending to ignore him. So Morneau gave out a bunch of air high-fives, a light moment on a night when several Twins enjoyed fine performances. Brian Dozier reached base four times, including a three-run homer in the second against Sale (5-6). Glen Perkins pitched a perfect ninth for the second game in a row, recording his 18th save in 20 tries, after Kevin Correia (6-4) pitched into the seventh.

INDIANS 6, ROYALS 3 In Cleveland, Justin Masterson managed to hang around for 6 1-3 innings and win for the sixth time at home, leading Cleveland over Kansas City. Masterson (9-5) sidestepped some early trouble without giving up any runs and improved to 6-1 with a 2.29 ERA in nine starts at Progressive Field. The right-hander struck out eight while allowing two runs and nine hits. Michael Brantley hit a pair of solo homers for the Indians, who moved within 31/2 games of first-place Detroit in the AL Central. Mike Aviles drove in two runs and Michael

RANGERS 9, ATHLETICS 4 In Arlington, David Murphy had three hits and scored twice to snap out of a long slump to help Texas beat AL West-leading Oakland. Justin Grimm (6-5) trailed when he threw his last pitch, but the Rangers scored twice in the bottom of the fifth to go ahead and make him the first Texas starter this month to get a victory. Rangers starters had gone 17 consecutive games without a win since Derek Holland beat Kansas City on May 31. The team’s previous longest such stretch was 16 in a row in 1975. Ian Kinsler had a sacrifice fly off Tommy Milone (6-7) that tied the game in the fifth before Leonys Martin raced home on a grounder with the go-ahead run.

ANGELS 1, MARINERS 0 In Anaheim, CJ Wilson pitched two-hit ball for seven innings, Mike Trout scored the only run on a wild pitch by Joe Saunders and Los Angeles edged Seattle. Wilson (6-5) struck out three, walked two and allowed only two runners as far as second base en route to his fifth straight victory over the Mariners. Trout legged out a leadoff double in the sixth and moved to third on a flyout. He scored on the first pitch wild of the season by

Saunders (5-7). Scott Downs pitched a perfect eighth for the Angels and Ernesto Frieri did likewise in the ninth for his 16th save in 17 attempts. INTERLEAGUE YANKEES 6, DODGERS 4 In New York, Hanley Ramirez capped a sixhit day with a pair of RBI singles, Yasiel Puig homered to complete a dazzling debut in New York and Los Angeles earned a split of the day-night doubleheader. The Dodgers salvaged manager Don Mattingly’s return to the Bronx after the loss in the opener. Chris Capuano (2-5) pitched three-hit ball for six innings in his comeback from the disabled list. The Dodgers rebounded from a sloppy loss in the opener to former teammate Hiroki Kuroda (7-5) in a matchup between injury-ravaged teams with $200 million payrolls. In the first matchup between the teams in New York since the Dodgers clinched the 1981 World Series title with a Game 6 victory at old Yankee Stadium, Ichiro Suzuki homered, drove in three runs and made a spectacular catch on the warning track for the Yankees. New York got help from reliever Ronald Belisario’s two errors on the same play in a three-run seventh. In the night game, the Dodgers started out quickly against Phil Hughes (3-6), who allowed a season-high 10 hits in six innings. BLUE JAYS 5, ROCKIES 2 In Toronto, Adam Lind hit a three-run home run, Mark Buehrle won his second straight start and Toronto earned its eighth consecutive victory, beating Colorado to complete a three-game sweep. The streak is Toronto’s longest since a 10-game run in late 2008. Carlos Gonzalez hit his NL-leading 21st home run for the Rockies, who lost for the sixth time in eight games. Buehrle (4-4) allowed two runs and eight hits in five innings of the interleague game. Neil Wagner pitched the sixth, Brett Cecil worked the seventh, Steve Delabar handled the eighth and Casey Janssen finished for his 16th save in 17 chances. Juan Nicasio (4-3) allowed four runs, two earned, and four hits in five innings. The right-hander has not won in six starts. BREWERS 3, ASTROS 1 In Houston, Rickie Weeks hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning and Aramis Ramirez added a solo shot in the ninth to lift Milwaukee past Houston. —AP

Sports FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Will to trump skill in opening Lions test BRISBANE: The phoney war is almost over, the 46 protagonists have been named and the Brisbane stage is set as Australia braces for the unique ferocity of a British and Irish Lions test match. The first match of three, tomorrow’s clash at Lang Park (1000GMT) will go a long way to deciding whether Warren Gatland’s fancied tourists can secure a first series triumph anywhere since 1997 and in Australia since 1989. Australia are well aware that the last time the two sides met in 2001, the then world champion Wallabies were ripped asunder in the first test, only to battle back and win a thrilling series. They will not want to give the Lions a similar start this year and

Australia coach Robbie Deans, whose job may well depend on the outcome of the series suggested the first test would be won as much by character as by brute force and skill. “It’s going to be a battle of wills and obviously momentum is a big part of test rugby,” he told reporters yesterday. “Obviously the side that can generate some momentum will have a greater opportunity to impose their will on the opposition. We hope to bring some momentum to the game and build off the back of that.” The Lions come into the contest battle-hardened after six tour matches in which they have played some breathtaking power rugby and were unbeaten until a patched up second-string side went down to the

ACT Brumbies on Tuesday. “Tuesday night was a bit of blip for us, given the conditions we’ve probably been trying to play too much rugby,” Gatland said yesterday. “Physically we feel we’re in great shape. We’ve come here to show the Australian public that we can play good rugby and I think we’ve done that.” While the Lions have been traversing the country playing tour matches, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has been able to keep his cards close to his chest in his training camp on the Queensland coast. It is an advantage certainly in terms of the freshness of his players and the time they have had to work on their combinations, but perhaps

a disadvantage to go into a test of the intensity expected on Saturday without recent match practice. “I can assure you, they’ll hit the ground running,” Deans promised. “They know what’s coming, we’ve prepared as best we can and we can’t do any more without playing to be frank.” Yesterday, Deans revealed his hand when he named a side led by lock James Horwill and including former rugby league international winger Israel Folau - a gambit Australia hopes will prove to be something of a trump card. “The one advantage Israel has is that they’ve never faced him previously, they will have witnessed what he is capable of and they’ll be wanting to limit that,” Deans said. —Reuters

Felix eyes 200m crown

Justin Gatlin

Gatlin says win over Bolt prelude to bigger things IOWA: Olympic bronze medallist Justin Gatlin is not willing to call his surprising 100 metres victory over world record holder Usain Bolt a fluke. The American sprinter prefers to think of last month’s triumph as the opening act of journey that will bring him and Bolt together again on a much larger stage later this year, he said on Wednesday. “I would not consider it a fluke,” the 2004 Olympic 100m gold medallist and London Games third-place finisher told a news conference ahead of late yesterday’s start of the U.S. championships in Des Moines, Iowa. “I would consider it a prelude to something better and greater. I want to have faster, greater competitions against him.” The 31-year-old burst past Bolt in their Diamond League race in Rome last month and hung on for his first ever 100 metres victory over the Jamaican. Some have called the rare loss a blip in Bolt’s preparations for August’s world championships in Moscow, a race soon to be forgotten. Not Gatlin. “I like racing against Usain, (Jamaican world champion) Yohan (Blake) and Tyson,” he said. “It is an adrenaline rush.” It is also a major challenge, especially Bolt.At 6 feet 5 inches, the lanky Jamaican can rapidly gobble up metres of space, producing times in the 100 and 200 metres many never thought possible. “Some people probably think it is impossible to beat him when he is at his peak performance,” Gatlin said. “You just have to make sure you make someone like him feel as uncomfortable as possible in a race strategy. —Reuters

DES MOINES: Olympic champion Allyson Felix isn’t worried too much about the 200m world record, but the American would love to regain the 200m world title. Felix will try to take another step toward regaining the world crown she won three times, in 2005, 2007 and 2009, at the US athletics championships, selection meeting for the World Championships in Moscow August 10-18. The American surrendered the world title to Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown in Daegu in 2011, when Felix attempted an ambitious 200m-400m double and came away with bronze in the 200m and silver in the 400m. “By having that year when I did the 200 and 400, I definitely learned what it did to my 200 and I didn’t really like it,” said Felix, who this year has her sights set on the 100m and 200m. “I didn’t have the same pop and the same sprint that I always had.” At the 2012 London Olympics, Felix at last added 200m Games gold to her resume, and also earned gold in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays. She was part of the US team that smashed one of the oldest world records in London, when they won the 4x100m relay in 40.82sec. The American quartet sliced more than half a second off the 27year-old record of 41.37sec set by the former East Germany in 1985, four years before the Berlin Wall fell. Felix is pleased to have been part of that achievement, but it doesn’t give her much encouragement that the 200m world mark of 21.34sec, set by Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988, is within her reach. “It was inspiring but, in my personal opinion, when I look at the 200m and when I look at the world record, it’s pretty far out there for me,” said Felix, whose personal best is 21.69. “For me, I just try to improve each year but it’s definitely not on top of my mind or anything like that. “But it’s nice when you have a breakthrough,” she added of the relay record. “It reas-

sures you that you are going in the right direction. Felix has raced sparingly this season, and seemed unconcerned after a runner-up finish to Murielle Ahoure of Ivory Coast in Rome. “I’ll stay patient,” Felix said. “It’s what happens down the season that counts.” Carmelita Jeter anchored that record-setting US relay, some consolation for falling in the 100m final in London to Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Jeter, preparing to defend her 100m world title, suffered a scare at the Diamond League meeting in Shanghai in May, where she finished third in the 100m but pulled up at the end with an apparent leg injury. The bye that comes with her current world title means she doesn’t have to finish in the top three at the US trials in order to defend her crown, although she does have to compete at the championships to make the US team. In the 110m hurdles, Jason Richardson enjoys a bye as the reigning world champion, so arrives at trials under less pressure to perform, while Aries Merritt, who followed up his

London Olympic triumph by setting the world record of 12.80sec in September, must qualify. Olympic 400m champion Sanya Richards-Ross is fighting to regain her racing form after a belated return from surgery on her big right toe in September. She was last in her first race back at the Eugene Diamond League meeting on June 1, although she voiced confidence that she’d be able to make the team for Moscow and be at full strength by August. LaShawn Merritt, who has struggled back from a doping ban since winning 2008 Olympic 400m gold, will be gunning for a fourth national 400m title and a chance to take on London Olympic champ Kirani James of Grenada in Moscow. Merritt, who was injured in the heats in London, has won four of his five 400m races this season. Jeremy Wariner, the 2004 Olympic 400m gold medallist, will need luck and a quick boost in form to secure a berth. He hasn’t broken the 45-second barrier since April of last year. —AFP

Allyson Felix

Sports FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Silverstone podium still a step too far for Button LONDON: Jenson Button could not wait to get out of his mishandling McLaren after a miserable afternoon in Canada and now, less than two weeks later, he is impatient to step back in. British fans preparing for their annual home Grand Prix pilgrimage to Silverstone next week should not get their hopes up, however. Button, the 2009 world champion with Brawn GP, has never stood on the Formula One podium at his home circuit and does not expect to end the jinx this time either in what has been a shocking season for McLaren. The 33year-old - winner of last season’s Brazilian season-ender - has not finished higher than fifth in seven races but even so he is still excited to be back on home soil. “I love racing, I love competing and I love jumping in an F1 car,” he told British reporters on a midweek

visit to Silverstone. “It was more the bouncing around at the last race,” he added of his comments in Montreal about wanting to be out of the car. “It was painful, rather than anything else. It was not the (race) position I was in, it was the constant (jolting) all the way down the straight. “Here that shouldn’t be as much of a problem, we’ve got things that can help that.” Button and Mexican team mate Sergio Perez, who both started the year talking of fighting for wins and titles, failed to score in Canada, ending the team’s 64-race run in the points with McLaren’s first blank since 2009. Force India, with a McLaren gearbox and the same Mercedes engine but a fraction of the budget, are fifth overall and 14 points clear of the multiple title winners who are sixth with a measly 37 points from seven races. If Montreal

was McLaren’s worst race in years, Button expressed the hope that things would get better. “It isn’t just me trying to be positive but I think we will be more competitive here than the last couple of races, the type of high-speed circuit that it is,” he said. “We are developing the car at the factory which is great. But we’re still a long way behind...we’ve got to make sure we maximise everything. When you do that and you get a fifth place, you’re pretty happy about it. “You still want to win...but when you think you’ve got everything out of it and you couldn’t have done any more, it puts a smile on your face. I think that’s important.” The hopes may be mainly focused on next year, when a new V6 engine comes into play, but the Briton has not entirely written off 2013 however

painful it may be. “This has been a difficult year for us, but we still hope to be fighting at the end of the year for race wins,” he said. “Definitely next year we will start the season looking to win the world championship. And that includes winning the British Grand Prix. “We did take a gamble maybe with the direction of the car, it hasn’t worked for us this year. But we are still a great team and we will fight back and we will win races again.” Button said he would do his best to entertain a loyal crowd whose hopes of a home winner rest mainly on his former team mate Lewis Hamilton, now at Mercedes. Recalling the excitement of boyhood visits to Silverstone, experiencing the sight and sound and smell of Formula One cars for the first time, Button hoped to give something back.—Reuters

Game 7 has more on the line than an NBA title

Ernie Els of South Africa hits his tee shot in this file photo. —AFP

Els off to stormer in Munich PARIS: Ernie Els produced his lowest score in seven months yesterday to storm to the front in the 25th anniversary BMW International Open in Munich. The reigning British Open champion broke free from what he described as last week’s US Open ‘torture chamber’ at Merion to record an eagle and seven birdies in sauna-like conditions on the Munchen Eichenried course. It is Els’ lowest round on either the European or PGA Tour since a similar score in the second round of last November’s WGC - HSBC Champions event in China. “It was a very nice round and I haven’t shot that number for quite a while,” said the South African. “Today was like walking out of the torture chamber that was last week’s US Open and walking onto a nice parkland golf course. “Of course, you still have to hit the shots but I felt like I was starting to swing the club last weekend at Merion, and I’m lucky enough I could bring it here to Munich. “But even though I am now leading, it doesn’t really matter much until Sunday, but if you get into the race, so to speak, early on in the tournament, it’s nice to be right in the hunt.” Els arrived in the Bavarian capital having finished the US Open joint fourth at five over par behind England’s Justin Rose. And over the four rounds at Merion, Els managed 13 birdies but also 14 bogeys and two double bogeys. The current World No. 20 ranked Els capped his round with a sixth hole eagle that he was playing as his 15th hole by hitting a 245-yard 5-iron from the rough to just six feet. Els’s score is just one shot short of the German course record held by six players. And Els revealed he will travel to Muirfield in eastern Scotland in the first of a handful of visits before July 18 when he commences the defence of the Open Championship. It was at Muirfield in 2002 that Els won his first Open crown. “My good friend, Mr Rupert and I are going up next Tuesday to Muirfield to check it out,” said Els. “So I’ll go up every week for the next three weeks and get going with my preparations.” England’s Matthew Baldwin and Sweden’s Alex Noren are next best in the clubhouse on eight under par as the afternoon half of the field took to the course in the European Tour event.—AFP

MIAMI: He is the best player in the game and this is the best moment in his sport. Game 7, NBA title on the line. “The moment is going to be grand,” LeBron James said. And it might redefine someone’s legacy. No matter what happens late yesterday, he and the Miami Heat, and Tim Duncan’s San Antonio Spurs have already won titles and secured a place in NBA history. Now is their opportunity to elevate it. The truly memorable teams won the hard way, and that will be the case for the one celebrating at center court this time. It’s either a Heat repeat, possible only after James led them back from what seemed certain elimination in the closing seconds of Game 6, or the Spurs shaking off as gut-wrenching a loss as a team can have to become just the fourth club to win Game 7 of the NBA Finals on the road. “As a competitor you love it, because you know you have an opportunity and it’s up to you,” Heat guard Ray Allen said. “We have a chance in our building to make something great. All of our legacies are tied to this moment, this game. It’s something our kids will be able to talk about that they were a part of. Forever will remember these moments, so we want to not live and have any regrets.” Allen was on the court the last time the NBA’s season went down to the very last day, his Boston Celtics fading at the finish and falling 8379 to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010. That improved the hosts to 14-3 in Game 7 of the Finals - and no road team has won that decisive game since Washington beat Seattle in 1978. Overcoming those odds, not to mention the NBA’s winningest team, would make this more memorable than the Spurs’ previous four titles, though this is a franchise that never dwells too much on the past or looks too far into the future. All that matters is now. “You know what, it’s all about just winning the title. It’s not about situation or what has led up to it,” Duncan said. “It’s a great story for everybody else, but we’re here for one reason, one reason only: It’s to try to win this game (Thursday). We have had a very good season thus far, and I think we just want to get to the game more than anything. We just want to see what happens and be able to leave everything out there.” The teams trudged back to the arena Wednesday, some 12 hours after the Heat pulled out a 103-100 overtime victory in Game 6 to even the series. The Spurs, five points ahead with 28 seconds left in regulation, had to fight off fatigue and heartbreak, insisting neither would linger into yesterday. By far the best game of this series, Game 6 immediately took its place among the best finishes in finals history, with everything from James’ triple-double to Allen’s tying 3pointer with 5.2 seconds left in regulation. It had close calls, debatable decisions, and the NBA’s best player at his very best when his team needed him most. Games 2-5 in the series had been ugly, but that one was a beauty. “I think - I know - that game will go down as one of the best finals games that’s been seen,” Heat guard Dwyane

MIAMI: San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich talks with player Tim Duncan during a practice day before Game 7 of the NBA Finals at the American Airlines Arena. —AFP Wade said. “But I think this series will go down as being one of the most competitive, bizarre series that’s been seen. So this is what you pay for to watch. You pay to watch two great teams battle to the very, very end, and that’s what we’ll do (Thursday). It will be to the very last second.” The Heat could become the NBA’s first repeat champions since the Lakers in 2010. James and Chris Bosh moved to Miami to join Wade a few weeks later and they are in the finals for the third time in three chances. But playing for titles is more expected than celebrated now in Miami, and a 66-win season that included a 27-game winning streak - and perhaps the whole Big Three era - goes down as a failure if the Heat fall late yesterday. Yet James said he doesn’t need the victory to validate his decision to take his talents to South Beach. “I mean, I need it because I want it and I only came here my only goal is to win championships,” he said. “I said it, this is what I came here for. This is what I wanted to be a part of this team for.” James, Wade and Bosh are going for No. 2, while San Antonio is getting a second shot at what would be a fourth title together for Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. All their years together have given the Spurs’ trio the belief they can bounce back from Tuesday’s collapse. The team went to dinner after the game, Duncan figuring that was better than guys sitting alone with their thoughts in their rooms. Parker and Boris Diaw discussed a similar situation with the French national team in the 2005 European championships, when they blew a late lead against Greece in the semifinals but then came back to beat Spain for the bronze medal. “We just have to be positive and forget Game 6,” Parker said. “It was a great opportunity, but that’s life. It’s basketball and everybody will be ready.” —AP

Sports FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Blackhawks soar over Bruins in OT, tie series

CHINA: A huge crowd gathers around football superstar David Beckham (center) at Tonji University in Shanghai. —AFP

Seven hurt in China stampede at superstar Beckham event SHANGHAI: Seven people were hurt in a stampede Thursday as hundreds of fans rushed to see football superstar David Beckham at an event in China’s commercial hub Shanghai, police and local media said. Beckham, who was visiting Shanghai in his role as ambassador to the troubled Chinese Super League (CSL), expressed hope that the injured would recover quickly after the event had to be called off. The stampede occurred when hundreds of students and spectators tried to rush onto the grounds of the football pitch at Tongji University in northeastern Shanghai, the Xinmin Evening News said. “Nearly 1,000 spectators charged to open the gate at the same time, causing a stampede,” the newspaper said on its microblog. Police said seven people were injured including three police officers and two university security guards, all of whom suffered cuts and bruises. Two students, including a Japanese exchange student, also sustained minor injuries, police said. An AFP photographer saw a woman with an injured leg and a uniformed policewoman bleeding. The policewoman had blood covering her face and looked dazed. Among those attending to her was a man wearing a replica of Beckham’s old Manchester United jersey, with the footballer’s name and the number “7” on the back. In a posting on his new account on Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent to Twitter, Beckham apologised for the event’s cancellation. The former England captain was scheduled to play with the university’s team and the youth team of a local football club. “I had an incredible response from everyone at Shanghai Tongji University today. Sorry I couldn’t get out on the pitch to see the teams. It was impossible to get through the massive crowds,” he said. “I heard there were a few injuries, hope the fans are ok and I wish them a speedy recovery,” he added. Beckham did not appear to be in danger at any point, though students earlier broke through a police line to surround his car as he approached the pitch, the AFP photographer said. Beckham’s appointment as ambassador to the CSL is being viewed as an ambitious attempt by authorities to improve the battered image of the Chinese game. The 38-year-old began his new role in March, before announcing his retirement last month after winning the French league title with Paris Saint-Germain. China launched a high-profile crackdown on corruption in football in 2009, and scores of officials, referees and players have been imprisoned. Earlier this year, authorities banned 33 people-including league officials-from involvement with football for life and stripped Shanghai Shenhua of their 2003 league championship title. “People questioned why I wanted to be involved in something that, like I said, in the past had a bad name or there was corruption involved,” Beckham told an earlier news conference prior to the stampede. “For me, the past is the past. I’m only interested in the future and it’s going to be a very bright one,” he said. —AFP

BOSTON: The Blackhawks are heading back to Chicago having regained home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup finals and with a renewed faith in an offense that took more than 120 minutes to push a puck past Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask. “It’s time to put all those other games behind us, the games where we struggled to score,” captain Jonathan Toews said after contributing to Chicago’s most prolific output of the playoffs in a 6-5 victory over Boston in Game 4 on Wednesday night. “It was fun to see the puck go in as often as it did tonight. We know we can be better defensively. But we’ll use that confidence and try our best to pounce on them.” Toews’ goal was the first in 11 games for the center who tied for the team lead in scoring in the regular season. He also screened Rask on Brent Seabrook’s slap shot 9:51 into overtime that sent the series back to Chicago tied two games apiece. Game 5 is tomorrow night before the teams return to Boston for Game 6 on Monday. “At this point of the season, it’s down to best-of-three,” said Seabrook, a defenseman who also had the overtime goal in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals. “We want to win games, find a way to win ‘em any way we can.” It was the third overtime game in the matchup of Original Six franchises, but it bore little resemblance to the three tightly contested games that opened the series. The teams combined for five goals in the second period - as many as in Games 2 and 3 combined - as Chicago bounced back from its first shutout of the season with its highest-scoring game of the playoffs. “I guess it was just our turn to score again,” said Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, who had a goal and an assist in the back-and-forth game. “It was a fun game to play. ... I’m sure the fans enjoyed that, for sure.” Bryan Bickell and Michal Rozsival had two assists apiece for Chicago, which had scored only five goals total in the first three games of the series and hadn’t gotten the puck past Rask in more than 129 minutes coming into Game 4. Corey Crawford made 28 saves for the Blackhawks, but he coughed up the lead three times. “They keep coming,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “One of those nights.” Patrice Bergeron scored twice, and Zdeno Chara and Jaromir Jagr each had two assists for Boston, which has won 11 of its last 14 playoff games; the three losses have all been in overtime. Rask made 41 saves, but

BOSTON: Tuukka Rask No. 40 of the Boston Bruins attempts to clear the puck against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Four of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final. — AFP he didn’t see the last shot until it was too late. “I saw it at the last second,” he said. “There was some traffic in front ... just couldn’t make a stretch.” The Blackhawks led 1-0, 4-2 and 5-4, but each time the Bruins evened it up. The last, just 55 seconds after Chicago took the lead, came when Johnny Boychuk slapped it over a sliding Johnny Oduya with 7:46 left in regulation. Boychuk, who had never scored more than five goals in a season, has six in these playoffs. “It wasn’t a Bruins’ type of game, but at the same time you have to get yourself back into it,” coach Claude Julien said. “Our guys worked hard to score goals. Probably got ourselves out of what our normal game plan is. So we opened up and we scored goals, but we also gave them some goals, like the game-winning goal.” The overtime was even until the Bruins failed to clear the zone, and the Blackhawks got the puck to Seabrook at the right point. What seemed like a harmless shot eluded Rask, and Chicago followed with a subdued celebration at the end of another long night. “If he sees the puck, he’s going to be almost impossible to beat,” Quenneville said. “We want to make sure we get there and make it hard on him to find it, try to go on the second and third opportunity. Nice ending with traffic in the net, Seabs having a shot that tied us up.” The Bruins had trailed for under 60 minutes total out of the almost 900 minutes they had played in the postseason. But the Blackhawks came out strong early in this

one, recording the first seven shots and taking a 1-0 lead on a short-handed goal when Oduya was off for interference early in the first period. Brandon Saad picked Tyler Seguin clean in the defensive zone and brought the puck down the ice before flipping it across to Michal Handzus, who rattled it in off the post to make it 1-0. That snapped Rask’s shutout streak which dated to the first period of Game 2, but the lead didn’t last for long. None of them did. “I don’t think anybody expected that before the game,” Rask said. “But they’re a good offensive team. When you give them goals and they get the lead, obviously, you have to start opening up too and creating some offense. That’s what happened. I think if you take something positive out of this, you’ve got to look at the fact that we scored five goals.” Notes: Bruins Hall of Famer Bobby Orr, who also played briefly for Chicago, was in the crowd, waving a yellow towel in support of the Bruins. ... Boston killed 29 consecutive penalties dating to Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, including the first 13 Chicago opportunities of the finals. ... The Blackhawks had the first seven shots of the game despite a penalty that left them short-handed. ... Jagr assisted on both goals by Bergeron, giving the 1999 NHL MVP 199 career postseason points. He is fifth all-time. ... Midway through the first, Boston’s Shawn Thornton hit the scoreboard when he lofted the puck out of the zone. —AP

Doubts over competitiveness of Asia teams at World Cup SEOUL: The confetti has been swept away, the hangovers from the street parties have been slept off, and now that the Asian teams for the 2014 World Cup have been decided, observers are fretting over slipping standards and how the sides will be able to compete with powerful rivals in Brazil. Australia, Iran and South Korea all sealed qualification for Brazil this week but in less than convincing fashion. They completed the four automatic qualifying berths from Asia. Japan had earlier sealed its place in much more impressive style and looks like the only realistic Asian threat to the big teams in Brazil. Japan’s ability to mix it with the world’s best was shown at the Confederations Cup on Wednesday when it controlled play for long periods against Italy and led 2-0 before ultimately losing 4-3, The performance was a terrific advertisement for Asian football, but the rest of the continent’s qualifiers have

plenty of work to do according to Afshin Ghotbi, former Iran coach and currently head coach of J-League club Shimizu SPulse. “Japan is head and shoulders above the other qualified teams who are close together in standard,” Ghotbi, who also had two spells as assistant coach with South Korea, told The Associated Press. “Japan apart however, the standard of the top teams in Asia generally seems worse than 2010. Watching qualification matches, the quality is below the standard of the top international teams.” Australia struggled until the last three games - snatching a draw at Japan then winning at home against Jordan and Iraq - to take second place in Group B. The narrow win against a second-string Iraq clinched qualification and sparked wild celebrations but disguised a mediocre qualifying campaign in which coach Holger Osieck was long regarded as being one

bad result away from the sack. “Australia was patchy at best,” Fox Sports Australia chief commentator Simon Hill said. “For most of the campaign the team plodded through with some terrible lows but found a bit of form just at the right time, the highlight being the disciplined display in Japan. Overall though, (the team deserves) no more than a bare pass mark.” South Korea only clinched an eighth-straight World Cup berth on goal difference from Uzbekistan after losing 1-0 at home to Iran in the final group game. The headline in the country’s most popular newspaper The Chosun Ilbo summed up the feeling in the country. “We’ve qualified but this is no time for champagne.” Korea is currently without a coach after interim manager Choi Kang-hee stepped down. Choi’s tactics and selections were criticized in a roller-coaster campaign. —AP

Sports FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

Serena has mental edge over rest at Wimbledon LONDON: Serena Williams heads to Wimbledon to defend her title with seeds of doubt and defeatism already sown in the minds of her opponents. The psychological scars of playing the younger Williams sister run deep in the women’s game and, now that the American has dusted off the red clay from her shoes, predictions of an upset on southwest London’s luscious lawns are few and far between. Having bludgeoned her way to a 16th grand slam and second title at Roland Garros, Williams can now tighten her grip still further on the sport she has come to dominate by claiming a fourth major in five attempts. It is little wonder then that Williams’s rivals for the Wimbledon title can realistically be counted on one hand. Her opponent in the final at Roland Garros, Maria Sharapova, and Belarussian world number two Victoria Azarenka are the leading candidates to throw a spanner in the works. Confidence, however, is hardly overflowing. Sharapova was circumspect to say the least on entering the French Open final having lost 12 consecutive matches to Williams. “I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t bother me, obviously,” the Russian said of a losing record stretching back to 2004. Defeat in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in January is the only smudge on a near-perfect year in which Williams has returned to the pinnacle of the rankings and re-conquered Paris, where the title had eluded her since 2002. Back then she went on to complete the “Serena Slam”, winning all four majors consecutively and few would bet against her repeating the trick. She is on a 31-match winning streak with a 75-4 win-loss record in the past 12 months and has the added comfort of knowing that her game is ideally suited to the All England Club where her huge serve and heavy hits skid through with a little extra fizz.Petra Kvitova, 2011 Wimbledon champion, is not the first to suggest that Serena’s biggest opponent is frequently herself. “I think that the players have to play 100 percent and to play really, really well. Serena sometimes doesn’t have a great day but she’s still able to beat the other players,” she told Reuters. World number five Sara Errani, who was on the receiving end of one of Williams’s most emphatic maulings in the semi-finals in Paris, losing 6-0 6-1, neatly summed up the sense of foreboding. “You have to have one of your best days and try to think she can have one bad day,” she said. At 31, Williams is already the oldest woman to win a major since Martina Navratilova claimed a ninth Wimbledon singles title in 1990. She needs two more to draw level with both Navratilova and Chris Evert who sit above her with 18 major titles on the all-time women’s list headed by Margaret Court with 24. While the ultra-competitive men’s game holds few parallels with the Williams-dominated women’s, the American needs one more grand slam to draw level with Roger Federer, often hailed as the greatest player to pick up a racket. “She’s playing the best tennis of her career, mentally she’s in the best place I’ve ever seen her,” three-times men’s champion John McEnroe said during a conference call organised by ESPN. “She is the best player that ever lived. She’s a level above anyone - there’s no doubt about it. “Serena is one of the greatest athletes in the history of our sport, male or female. She has such an intimidation factor it will be difficult for anyone to beat her.” Older sister Venus, who won the last of her five Wimbledon titles in 2008, has pulled out this year with a back injury, and among the rest the title credentials are flimsy. Sharapova has reached only one Wimbledon final since winning it as 17-year-old in 2004 while Azarenka has fallen at the semi-final stage in the last two years and has enjoyed grand-slam success only in Australia.—Reuters

Serena Williams

Photo of the day

Sebastien Ogier performs during the 2013 Argentinian Rally in Cordoba,

Murray out to crash Big Three’s Wimbledon party LONDON: There will be an unfamiliar whiff of British success in the air at Wimbledon this year when Andy Murray, and thousands of patriotic fans, will try to stop the party-pooping antics of champions Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal. Tennis’s so called ‘Big Three’ have lorded over Wimbledon ever since Federer won the first of his record-equalling seven titles in 2003, slamming the door shut on any pretender who threatened to gatecrash their invitation-only, VIP party. Eleven months ago, however, Murray demonstrated that peering in from the outside year after year was no longer an option as he smashed the gilded cage the trio had built around themselves by winning an Olympic gold on the hallowed turf. Murray’s euphoric triumph at the All England Club, albeit at the London Games, offered a glimmer of hope that an end might finally be in sight for Britain’s interminable wait for a home-grown men’s champion at Wimbledon. That hope intensified tenfold when Murray hoisted the US Open trophy weeks later with a heart-pumping, nerve-jangling, five-set win over Serbian Djokovic at Flushing Meadows. That win means that for the first time in 77 years a reigning British male grand-slam champion will amble in to the manicured grounds in southwest London when the club throws open its immaculately-painted gates for the start of the 2013 championships on Monday. The last time such an event occurred was when Fred Perry showed up in 1936 to complete his hat-trick of Wimbledon wins before turning professional. Since Perry captured the last of his eight grand-slam titles at the 1936 US Championships, 286 majors had come and gone without a British men’s champion in sight. Winners emerged from Egypt to Ecuador, from Romania to Mexico, from Croatia to South Africa, from Hungary to Argentina; 22 different nations ruled over all and sundry. The country that hosts the most famous tennis tournament in the world, however, had effectively become a laughing stock for failing to produce a male champion for more than three-quarters of a century. “What is it? Like, 150,000 years?,” Swiss Federer quipped on the eve of beating Murray at the 2010 Melbourne Park final. Murray finally laid those jokes to rest last September and while he is now a bona fide member of what has turned into the ‘Big Four’ of tennis, experts sounded a word of caution to those expecting a glorious British finale. “Every year that he doesn’t win it, there is more and more pressure on Andy Murray, so it depends on his nerves,” former Wimbledon champion Chris Evert said during an ESPN conference call. The famous four have now won 32 of the last 33 grand slams - it would have been all 33 if Federer had not blown a twosets-to-one lead against Juan Martin del Potro in the 2009 US Open final - and so far no-one has come close to ending that reign. Evert’s fellow American John McEnroe said that only the very brave would rule out the chances of world number one

Djokovic, 17-times grand slam champion Federer and 2008 and 2010 winner Nadal. At 31, Federer’s silky grasscourt craft can still leave younger rivals huffing and puffing, as the luckless Mischa Zverev discovered during a 6-0 6-0 demolition in Halle last week. Iron-man Djokovic, winner in 2011, relishes the challenge of leaving his opponents gasping while Nadal will be eager to show that last year’s astonishing second-round humbling was just a blip in his glittering career. “The three of them have been unbelievably dominant. They’ve been incredibly successful. If anything, it should be an incentive to the other guys to break in to the mix. If these guys are too

Andy Murray good then more power to them,” McEnroe said. “I would pick Djokovic (as number) one (for the title) and Murray two because he will be a little hungrier having not played the French (Open, through injury). “Then Roger, because he’s still got such a great game for grass but it’s so tough to win it back-to-back, especially at his age. Then Rafa as he can’t impose his will as easily as he can on claycourts, so I would put him a close fourth.” McEnroe describes eight-times Roland Garros victor Nadal as the “ultimate nightmare on clay” but his presence at Wimbledon could also provide some sleepless nights for his main rivals. The quartet have long become accustomed to meeting in the last four or in the final of tournaments but with Nadal seeded fifth this year, behind fellow Spaniard David Ferrer, a blockbuster clash could be in the offing as early as the quarter-finals.—Reuters


Sports FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

India cruise into final Champions Trophy CARDIFF: World champions India thrashed Sri Lanka by eight wickets at Cardiff yesterday to set up a Champions Trophy final against tournament hosts England at Edgbaston on Sunday. India, chasing a modest target of 182, finished on 182 for two with 15 overs to spare to set up a final against England, who beat South Africa by seven wickets at

The Oval on Wednesday. Opener Shikhar Dhawan, dropped three times, made 68 as he extended his record as the tournament’s leading scorer to 332 runs following innings of 114 against South Africa, 102 not out against the West Indies and 48 against Pakistan. Virat Kohli was 58 not out, with India now having won seven of their last eight one-day interna-

SCOREBOARD CARDIFF: Final scoreboard in the Champions Trophy semi-final between India and Sri Lanka in Cardiff on Thursday: Sri Lanka Dhoni 4-0-17-0 (1w); Ashwin 10-1-48-3 (8w). K. Perera c Raina b Kumar 4 Note: Dilshan retired hurt on 12 with the T. Dilshan not out 18 score on 17 for one and resumed his innings K. Sangakkara c Raina b I Sharma 17 at the fall of the seventh wicket. L. Thirimanne c Raina b I Sharma 7 M. Jayawardene b Jadeja 38 India A. Mathews c Kumar b Ashwin 51 R. Sharma b Mathews 33 J. Mendis st Dhoni b Ashwin 25 S. Dhawan st Sangakkara b Mendis 68 T. Perera c Dhawan b I Sharma 0 V. Kohli not out 58 N. Kulasekara b Ashwin 1 S. Raina not out 7 L. Malinga not out 7 Extras (b1, lb5, w10) 16 Extras (lb2, w11) 13 Total (2 wkts, 35 overs)182 Total (8 wkts, 50 overs) 181 Fall of wickets: 1-77 (R Sharma), 2-142 Fall of wickets: 1-6 (K Perera), 2-36 (Dhawan) (Thirimanne), 3-41 (Sangakkara), 4-119 Did not bat: D Karthik, MS Dhoni, R Jadeja, R (Jayawardene), 5-158 (Mathews), 6-160 (T Ashwin, I Sharma, B Kumar, U Yadav Perera), 7-164 (Kulasekara), 8-171 (Mendis) Bowling: Kulasekara 10-0-45-0 (4w); Malinga 8-0-54-0 (5w); T Perera 6-0-25-0; Mathews 4-0Did not bat: R Herath Bowling: Kumar 9-2-18-1; Yadav 8-2-30-0; I 10-1; Herath 4-0-14-0 (1w); Mendis 3-0-28-1. Sharma 9-1-33-3 (2w); Jadeja 10-1-33-1; Result: India won by eight wickets

tionals (ODIs) against their Asian rivals. The course of Thursday’s match, a repeat of the 2011 World Cup final India won by six wickets in Mumbai, was set in the first innings. After India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss, his seamers exploited the helpful overcast conditions as Sri Lanka were restricted to 181 for eight. Ishant Sharma took three wickets for 33 runs following impressive work by new-ball duo Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav. Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews top scored with 51 in an innings where no other batsman made more than the 38 of Mahela Jayawardene, who two years ago became the only man to score a hundred in a losing cause in a World Cup final. Sri Lanka were six for one when Kusal Perera edged a drive off Kumar and was caught at second slip by Suresh Raina. They suffered a further setback when Tillakaratne Dilshan, after playing an on-drive, pulled up with a right leg injury. He received lengthy on-field treatment but, still struggling, retired hurt shortly afterwards on 12 in the fifth over. Ishant Sharma, with the aid of two excellent second slip catches by Raina, reduced Sri Lanka to 41 for three by removing Lahiru Thirimanne and dangerman Kumar Sangakkara. It was a deserved reward for Dhoni’s decision to attack the batsmen with two slips and only two men outside the circle. The 23rd over saw Dhoni pass on wicketkeeping duties to Dinesh Karthik, a specialist gloveman but mainly deployed as a bats-

CARDIFF: India’s Shikhar Dhawan (center) plays a shot as Sri Lanka’s wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara (right) looks on during the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy semi-final cricket match. —AFP man this tournament. That allowed Dhoni to bowl himself in conditions suited to his medium-pacers. In his 222 previous ODIs, Dhoni had bowled only two overs, yet his decision very nearly proved a master-stroke with just his second ball yesterday. Jayawardene, on five, was given out leg before to Dhoni by Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar only for the batsman to overturn it on review. But Jayawardene was bowled by left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja after an ugly swipe across the line. If Sri Lanka were to have any realistic chance of winning this match, it looked as if Lasith Malinga would have to take early wickets. But for all slingshot seamer Malinga’s

skill, his bowling average of 40.88 against India is his highest against any country. And the tone for the innings was set when lefthander Dhawan uppercut Malinga for a stunning six off the last ball of the bowler’s third over. Worse followed for Sri Lanka when Dhawan was dropped by first slip Mathews off Nuwan Kulasekara and put down by wicketkeeper Sangakkara, standing up, off the same bowler. Dhawan cashed in with a 73-ball fifty before he he was dropped by Sachitra Sennayake, substitute for Dilshan, at point again off Kulasekara. He was eventually stumped off Jeevan Mendis but by then India were in sight of victory. —AFP

Italy eliminate Japan in thriller RECIFE: Italy booked their place in the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup here Wednesday with a thrilling come-from-behind 4-3 win over Japan that also sent Brazil into the last four. The Italians looked to be heading for a shock defeat after going 2-0 down to Japan midway through the first half, with Keisuke Honda slotting a 21st-minute penalty before Manchester United star Shinji Kagawa doubled the lead for the Asian champions. However, Italy fought back with a three-goal blast either side of halftime, courtesy of strikes from Daniele De Rossi, an own-goal from Atsuto Uchida and a Mario Balotelli spot-kick to make it 3-2. Japan levelled at 3-3 courtesy of a thumping header from Shinji Okazaki on 69 minutes as the momentum shifted again before Italy substitute Sebastian Giovinco sealed a dramatic encounter with the winner four minutes from time. The result saw Japan eliminated along with Mexico, while Brazil and Italy will now face each other Saturday in Salvador in the final pool match to determine who qualifies as group winners - the runners-up will likely face world champions Spain. It was an agonising exit for Japan, whose coach Alberto Zaccheroni had challenged his team to take the game to his Italian countrymen after a lacklustre display in their opening defeat to Brazil.

“I think we did show we have a lot of personality but we need to accumulate more experience,” Zaccheroni conceded. “I hope Italy now wins the

Cup since we are not going to be in the semi-finals. I hope they win.” Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said he had had to reshuffle his pack after

RECIFE: Italy’s defender Ignazio Abate (left) and Japan’s defender Yuto Nagatomo vie during their FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Group A football match. —AFP

their poor start, withdrawing Alberto Aquilani and sending on striker Giovinco. “It was a difficult game for us, we suffered. We knew Japan had one extra day to rest and it showed.” For 40 minutes Japan seemed destined to score a first ever success over the Azzurri. Ryoichi Maeda had almost drawn first blood with a header on seven minutes but Gianluigi Buffon made a smart stop. Kagawa then fired a left foot effort goalwards in the 19th minute that Buffon parried to safety. But two minutes later, Japan took the lead from the spot as Buffon clattered into a 5050 challenge with Okazaki and referee Diego Abal of Agentina ruled the Italian veteran had impeded his rival. Honda, whose penalty-taking exploits earlier this month had ensured qualification for next year’s World Cup in Brazil, drilled his kick low to Buffon’s left and just inside the post. Thereafter, Japan enjoyed a purple patch and after 33 minutes it was 2-0, Kagawa swivelling in the box to plant a left-foot shot low past Buffon. Italian midfielder De Rossi earned a booking for tripping Honda as the Japanese, their confidence suddenly sky-high and playing neat onetouch football that brought shouts of ‘ole’ from the crowd, looked to go for the kill.

Against an Italian side that had before Wednesday lost only one of 23 competitive games under Prandelli, they failed to find the coup de grace. And Andrea Pirlo gave Italy hope when he arrowed in a corner that was met by a powerful De Rossi header just before half-time for 2-1. In what was turning into a superlative advert for attacking football Giaccherini then saw a low drive come back off the base of the post with almost the last kick of the first half. The second half was no less action packed and soon after the restart Giaccherini beat Maya Yoshida and saw his low cross turned into his own net by a Uchida. Three minutes after Uchida’s faux pas Balotelli scored from the spot after Makoto Hasebe handballed in the box. But Japanese heads did not drop and they made it 3-3 in the 69th minute when Yasuhito Endo crossed for Okazaki to head in. In an astonishing finale Okazaki hit the post and, with Buffon stranded, Kagawa saw his header bounce onto the bar when it seemed he must score. With four minutes left of a pulsating match Giovinco netted from close range from Claudio Marchisio’s cross, meaning the pressure is off for the Italains as they go on to meet fellow Group A qualifiers Hrazil in their final pool match on Saturday in Salvador. —AFP

FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2013

India cruise into final of Champions Trophy Page 47

Al Qassimi steers his citroen at FIA World Rally

ITALY : Khalid Al Qassimi of UEA and British codriver Scott Martin steer their Citroen DS3 WRC during the qualifying stage of the FIA World Rally Championship of Italy. —AFP

21st Jun 2013  

Friday Times

21st Jun 2013  

Friday Times