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Pinoys call for scrapping of ‘pork barrel’

Messi slams treble as Isco nets fine double


NO: 15917

150 FILS

2 40 PAGES

SHAWWAL 27, 1434 AH

Kuwait calls on UN to end Syria bloodshed Use of chemical weapons in Syria deplored

Suhail star to be spotted Sept 5 KUWAIT: A new season with cooler and milder weather will prevail in the Arabian Peninsula as Canopus, the second brightest star in the night sky, will be spotted on September 5, astronomer and historian Adel Al-Saadoun said yesterday. Known across Arabia as ‘Suhail Star,’ the people in the region await this change of season with great anticipation as the rise of the star means improvement in weather, cooling of water, lengthening of shadow and shorter days of scorching heat. Canopus is part of Carina constellation, the 34th largest constellation in the sky. It is located in the southern sky and its name means “the keel” (keel of a ship) in Latin. Canopus is built around many mythological stories and its name is a Latinized version of the Greek name Kanobos, documented in Ptolemy’s Almagest, presumably referring to the pilot of the ship that took Menelaus to Troy to retrieve Helen. It is also known by, Suhail, derived from the Arabic name for several bright stars. The Chinese know Canopus as “the Star of the Old Man” which is the symbol of longevity and happiness in the Far East. — KUNA

Citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, a Syrian girl holds a sign during a demonstration in Maaret Al-Numan, Idlib province, northern Syria. — AP

Max 47º Min 29º High Tide 09:50 & 23:44 Low Tide 04:12 & 17:35

KUWAIT: Kuwait called on the UN and the international community to shoulder their responsibilities to end the bloodshed in Syria and prevent the usage of chemical weapons there. Speaking after the cabinet’s meeting, chaired by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs and Minister of Health Sheikh Mohammed Al-Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah said that a briefing on the Arab Foreign Ministers meeting with regards to Syria was provided by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said that the meeting in Cairo on Sunday focused on the use of chemical weapons in Syria which led to the death of hundreds of innocent civilians, said Sheikh Mohammed Al-Abdullah. Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid noted that the meeting also touched on the US intention to launch a military strike against the Syria regime. The minister pointed out that Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid said that the Arab Foreign Ministers meeting condemned the use of chemical weapons and also called for holding those behind such attack responsible for this criminal act. Sheikh Mohammed Al-Abdullah noted that the cabinet reviewed a letter from the UN Secretary General Ban Kimoon to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. The letter focused on the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s fourth replenishment conference to be held next November. The cabinet also touched on the recent visit by the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe last week and its significance in bolstering the strong historical ties between Kuwait and Japan, said the minister, adding that the visit resulted in the signing of an agreement concerning political dialogue as well as a memorandum of understanding in the educational sector. — KUNA

Regional war if West strikes Syria: Assad Regime led chemical attack: France EGYPT: A migrating stork is held in a police station after a citizen suspected it of being a spy and brought it to the authorities in the Qena governorate, some 450 kilometers (280 miles) southeast of Cairo. — AP

Suspected spy bird detained in Egypt CAIRO: In a case that ruffled feathers in Egypt, authorities have detained a migratory bird that a citizen suspected of being a spy. A man in Egypt’s Qena governorate, some 450 kilometers (280 miles) southeast of Cairo, found the suspicious bird among four others near his home and brought them to a police station Friday, said Mohammed Kamal, the head of the security in the region.

There, officers and the man puzzled over the electronic device attached to the suspected winged infiltrator. On Saturday, a veterinary committee called by concerned government officials determined the device was neither a bomb nor a spying device. Instead, they discovered it was a wildlife tracker used by French scientists to follow the Continued on Page 13

PARIS: Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad warned yesterday that Western military strikes would risk igniting a “regional war” in the “powder keg” of the Middle East, in an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro. He also said France would face “repercussions” if it took part in US-led plans for military action in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack by Assad’s regime last month. “The Middle East is a powder keg, and the fuse is getting shorter,” Assad told the newspaper’s correspondent in Damascus, in a rare interview with Western media. “We cannot only talk about a Syrian response, but what could happen after the first strike. Nobody knows what will happen,” Assad said. “Everyone will lose control of the situation once the powder keg explodes. Chaos and extremism will spread. There is a risk of regional war.” Meanwhile, a French intelligence

report yesterday alleged that the Syrian regime launched an attack on Aug 21 that involved a “massive use of chemical agents” and could carry out similar strikes in the future. The government, on its website, published a 9-page intelligence synopsis about Syria’s chemical weapons program that found that at least 281 deaths could be attributed to the attack in rebel-held areas outside Damascus. The analysis based that count in part on dozens of videos culled by French intelligence services. The extract said “the analysis of intelligence that we possess today leads us to estimate that on Aug. 21, 2013, the Syrian regime launched an attack on some areas of the Damascus suburbs held by opposition units, bringing together conventional means and the massive use of chemical agents.” Continued on Page13

Egypt judges for dissolving MB CAIRO: A panel of Egyptian judges recommended yesterday the dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood, adding momentum to a push by authorities to ban the ousted president’s main backer and a pillar of political Islam in the region. Since the military deposed Mohammed Morsi in a July 3 coup, it has steadily intensified a crackdown on the Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest political organization. Hundreds of its members are in detention and facing prosecution, many on charges of inciting violence. Morsi himself has been held in an undisclosed location since his ouster. On Sunday, state prosecutors charged him with inciting the murder of his opponents. A date has yet to be set for the trial, in which 14 leading Brotherhood members are also charged. Continued on Page13

USS Nimitz carrier moves into Red Sea WASHINGTON: The USS Nimitz aircraft carrier and four other ships in its strike group moved into the Red Sea early yesterday, US defense officials said, describing the move as “prudent planning” in case the ships are needed for military action against Syria. The officials said the Nimitz entered the Red Sea around 6 am EDT (1000 GMT), but the strike group had not received any orders to move into the Mediterranean, where five US destroyers and an amphibious ship remain poised for possible cruise missile strikes against Syria. Moving the Nimitz into the Red Sea was aimed at putting more US assets in place if they are needed to support what US officials still describe as a limited attack against Syria after it used chemical weapons against civilians.”It does place that strike group in a position to respond to a variety of contingencies,” said one official, who was not authorized to speak publicly. The nuclear-powered Nimitz is accompanied by the Princeton, a cruiser, and three destroyers - the William P Lawrence, Stockdale and Shoup, according to the officials. They said there had been no change regarding six US Navy ships now in the

eastern Mediterranean, but military planners were reassessing the situation given a delay in the cruise missile strikes that had been expected this past weekend. The US Navy doubled its presence in the eastern Mediterranean in the past week, effectively adding two destroyers to the three that generally patrol the region. The destroyers are carrying a combined load of about 200 Tomahawk missiles, but officials say a limited strike on Syria could be accomplished with half that number. Reuters reported Sunday that officials had rerouted the Nimitz carrier group, which was due to sail east around Asia to return to its home port in Everett, Washington, after being relieved in recent days by another aircraft carrier, the USS Harry S Truman. Officials said the USS Kearsarge, a largedeck amphibious ship, remained in North Arabian Sea, and there were no plans to move the ship into the Red Sea. The Kearsarge, which carries 6 AV-8B Harriers, 10-12 V-22 Ospreys and helicopters, played a key role in the 2011 strikes on Libya. Two Ospreys launched from the ship helped rescue a downed F15 pilot during that operation. — Reuters

The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) transiting the Arabian Sea yesterday. — AFP



KUWAIT: Field operations team of immigration detectives, accompanied by a team from Social Affairs and Labor Ministry launched a surprise campaign in Hawally cafes. 71 iqama violators were caught including 27 men and 44 women. This crackdown is a part of the campaign against law violators. Meanwhile, the security information department urged citizens and expatriates to carry their documents like Civil ID, driver’s license and car registration to avoid legal trouble. —Photos by Hanan Al-Saadoun

Full recovery possible for fear of flying KUWAIT: Though flying is often the least time-consuming and least complicated means of transportation, especially where long distance is involved, it is a mode of transport that comes with great anxiety and stress for many and might even bring about panic attacks and full-blown phobia. According to experts, fear of flying (Aviaphobia) is an acquired attitude and not something one is born with. The inability to know and/or understand all the details of the surrounding environment throughout flight is a major factor, and it is this fear of the unknown that leads people to other types of illogical, unwarranted, or exaggerated fears we now call phobias. The symptoms vary, but the most obvious and serious of these include increased hear t rate and excessive perspiration. The extreme comfort compels those afflicted with this condition to try their best to avoid air travel altogether. Some people suffering such phobia expressed frustration and embarrassment while specialists stressed the condition can be managed and in many cases complete recovery is possible, with the appropriate intervention. One such sufferer, Dalal Khaled said she has many frightening thoughts whenever she starts a travel experience. “It gets so bad I actually scream whenever the plane experiences turbulence.” She complains that from the moment she heads to the airport till she returns, she is overwhelmed by thoughts of the plane

crashing. Once at her destination, she often feels she cannot handle the return journey. Another phobia sufferer said she particularly fears the crowding associated with airports and on the plane. “I feel I cannot breathe and the slightest unexpected gesture or action I cannot immediately understand on the part of the pilots and crew gets me into believing disaster had struck,” said Maryam Faisal. The roar of the gigantic engines at lift-off is another alarm button for some. “I hear the great noise and I immediately think there is something wrong with the engine and think we would crash within a matter of minutes if we do lift off,” Dana Yousef says. Moving on to specialists, Dr Khalid Al-Mohanadi said, “those with fear of flying have a tendency to exaggerate. The thought grows and grows till they are completely consumed by the fear and they begin to manifest psychosomatic symptoms such as shortness of breath, increased perspiration, increased heart rate, nausea and headaches.” Dr Al-Mohanadi, who is the director of a specialist psychiatric and social counseling center and founder of a team attending to those suffering Aviaphobia, added the patients are often pessimists and view life in a negative light. “Like viruses, unfortunately, fears grow if such fertile ground is there for them to feed on.” He said that statistics indicate 45 percent of those using different modes of transportation have fear of flying and travel by air once or twice a year

and no more if the can help it. Another 24 percent would not board a plane and the last 35 percent have no such fear and the majority of them work in the aviation and travel sectors. As for causes for this phobia, he said there is not always a direct incident or harm to trigger the fear. Hearing of a scary incident involving air travel could be it, he said. Or it could be a combination and culmination of other fears such as fear of enclosed space or of height, or the fear of anything new or unknown. “These fears sometimes combine and we perceive them as Aviaphobia.” When it comes to therapy, AlMohanadi said it consists of two main components; speaking out and expressing one’s fears, and diversion. It is helpful to express these fears to someone we trust and someone who understands and sympathizes, and diversion and distracting the patient from his fear during flight also helps a great deal. One could strike a conversation or watch media or read the Holy Quran, he said. Other means of therapy include relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, and positive thought re-enforcement, such as thinking of the pleasures and benefits that await us upon arrival to our destination, the specialist said. Airlines can also help. One international airline actually compiled material and printed a booklet with tips and techniques to manage stress and fear of flying to help passengers throughout the flight.—KUNA

Pinoys call for complete scrapping of ‘pork barrel’ Huge protest set in Manila on Sept 11 By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: A thunderous call for the complete scrapping of ‘pork barrel system’ in the Philippines continues. This time, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) issued a manifesto, calling President Aquino to abolish the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or better known as pork barrel. (Pork barrel is the appropriation of government spending for localized projects secured solely or primarily to bring money to a representative’s district.) In a manifesto circulated on social media by a group called Filipino Migrant Workers yesterday, the group expressed grave frustration over the government’s failure to protect and properly disburse billions of pesos of taxpayers’ money. Last week, a huge rally calling for government’s abolition of the so-called pork barrel was held in Manila and cities around the Philippines. Filipino workers overseas were advised to cooperate by not sending money back to Manila. Similar protest is set in Manila on Sept 11, and organizers said they are not leaving the infamous EDSA (main highway in Manila) until President Aquino completely abolished the pork barrel. The pork barrel scam came to light when a whistleblower trumpeted knowledge on how the senators and congressmen are using their pork barrel. The whistleblower said some lawmakers are pocketing the money through fake NGOs (NonGovernmental Organizations). In addition, the Commission on Audit (COA) in Manila also admitted the rampant misuse of funds allocated to honorable senators and congressmen. The manifesto reads: We are putting this administration to task for not safeguarding the taxpayer’s money from unscrupulous scams and thieves who siphoned billions of pesos of public funds to line their pockets and maintain a lavish lifestyle. They said, it is the sole responsibility of the executive branch, particularly the budget department, concerned implementing agencies and government-controlled corporations, to ensure that public funds go to their intended legal purpose and finance-identified programs and projects, and not channeled to bogus non-government organizations. Filipino Migrant Workers added in manifesto: This same view was echoed in the

portion of the rejoinder of the COA Special Audit on the PDAF, “Under Section of PD No. 1445, the responsibility to ensure that government funds are utilized in accordance with laws and regulations and safeguarded against loss and wastage through improper or illegal disposition rests on the concerned government agency. The IAs (implementing agencies), being government agencies, cannot relinquish this responsibility and claim minimal participation and responsibilities as mere conduits of funds and documents for that matter. The group of migrant workers proposed to create an

fare of the poor and marginalized sectors, in a bad light. The integrity initiative is intended to separate the fake from the legitimate NGOs and purge the current system of bogus NGOs which are set up solely for the purpose of stealing and plunder.” They said, the nation’s collective outcry for responsible, transparent and efficient use of taxpayers’ money for the benefit of the Filipino people. “We believe that those behind this racket, especially those government agencies who allowed this illegal operation to thrive and flourish, must be punished to the full extent of the law,” they added.

Filipino migrant workers in Dammam express solidarity with their compatriots in the Philippines who are set to hold a simultaneous nationwide march next Monday to protest against the graft-tainted pork barrel fund. — integrity initiative - a third party audit made up by members from the respected academe, religious groups, and other personalities with unquestionable integrity - which will look into the capacities and legitimacy of non-government organizations before becoming recipients of public funds. “We recognize the role of the civic society in the attainment of development targets and delivery of crucial social services to the citizens. They are the government’s effective partners to social progress. It is truly unfair to put every single NGO, even the legitimate ones and are truly working for the wel-

Filipinos in Kuwait likewise called for complete transparency and accountability. “I think what we need and expect from the president is not just the complete abolition of the pork barrel system, we also want a proper accounting of taxpayers money and we call upon the government to allocate the money to making factories in order for us to create jobs and not rely on other countries for employment. “In that we can secure our countrymen’s welfare, perhaps maltreatment and abuse will lessen if not be completely eradicated and perhaps rape will also be prevented,” Ann Abunda, President Oragon sa Kuwait said.

GCC news agencies discuss developing cooperation KUWAIT: The GCC technical committee for news agencies discussed in its 8th meeting yesterday a number of suggestions on developing cooperation between all member states’ agencies. Editorial and technical managers of GCC news agencies discussed all suggestions and ideas presented by the participants for more media, and technical cooperation. Moreover, they discussed holding training courses and workshops every four months, and establishing consultative committees specialized in the fields of internet systems, programming systems and strategic planning for information technology. The managers also discussed establishing a GCC channel on youtube, and a joint account on twitter and instagram. They noted the importance of categorizing the news on their joint website, creating a web page for news in English, adding photos, archiving and the ticker. The participants also exchanged ideas for the website’s logo, which is being designed by Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), through twitter. The suggestions and recommendations of the managers are set to be presented in the 17th meeting of the GCC news agencies’ officials today. Meanwhile, Acting Director General of the Oman News Agency Dr Mohamed Al-Araimi arrived here yesterday to participate in the 17th meeting of heads of news agencies of the GCC. AlAraimi, who was received by Deputy Director General for Administrative and Financial Affairs in Kuwait News Agency Hameed Malak, stressed the importance of the meeting in strengthening the joint media cooperation, pointing out that tomorrow’s meeting would discuss issues

brought forward from the previous meeting in Riyadh. He added that the meeting will discuss how to develop a joint work between news agencies of the GCC, as well as a proposal for electronic publishing which has received a common consensus. He expressed hope that the meeting would come out with recommendations that serve the march of cooperation and coordination between the GCC news agencies. “We aspire to increase coordination with all GCC news agencies and this is what is actually existing, however, we aspire electronic journalistic work and that

requires constant coordination through the exchange of professional and technical expertise and technology. He praised the existing media cooperation between Kuwait and Oman. The GCC technical committee for news agencies discussed in its 8th meeting on Monday a number of suggestions on developing cooperation between all member states’ agencies. Editorial and technical managers of GCC news agencies discussed all suggestions and ideas presented by the participants for more media, and technical cooperation. — KUNA

KPC signs KD 10.8m contract to elevate skills of oil sector leaders KUWAIT: Kuwait Petroleum Corporation signed a KD 10.8 million training contract with National Technology Enterprises Company to enhance the competence of leaders in the oil and petroleum sectors. KPC said in a press release yesterday that the five-year contract is also signed with the most prestigious training international institutions. Vice president and CEO of KPC Nizar Al-Adsani said the contract comes in line with the country’s policy to improve the skills of leading figures in the oil industry and ready them to tackle major oil and petroleum projects that would be set up in the future as part of the country’s development plan. These future projects would provide financial security to the country and create more job opportunities for the public. He noted the KPC’s 2030 strategic plan agrees with Kuwait’s development plan that strives to achieve national economic security. On his part, head of National Technologies Enterprises Company Anas Mirza noted that training and rehabilitating national force work is one of the tasks assigned to the company. It has been expanding on its relationships with the various governmental agencies in order to position itself as a technology gateway and advisor for both governmental and private sectors; thus, bridging the gap between both sectors and attempting to support the nation’s aggressive development plan. —KUNA



No consensus on securing electricity transformers Shortage of policemen on duty KUWAIT: The Ministry of Electricity and Water failed to reach an agreement with the Interior Ministry to secure transformers around Kuwait which have been targeted by organized thefts that led to numerous blackouts reported during the summer, said a source. “The MEW requested police officers to be deployed at main and secondary transformers, but the Interior Ministry rejected the request on the basis that the large number of transformers would require a similarly large number of policemen to secure”, said the source who was quoted by Al-Aan news website yesterday. According to the source, preliminar y assessments indicate that at least 2,500 police officers would be required to secure the transformers; a commitment the Interior Ministry cannot meet “since it already suffers shortage in policemen on duty”. The breakdown of negotiations could force the MEW to pursue alternatives such as hiring a security firm to secure the transformers, installing CCTV cameras that allows 24-hour monitoring or even request a smaller number of policemen as a basis to re-launch talks with

the Interior Ministry. The MEW faces a challenge every summer to cope with the gradually increasing demand on its services, but their efforts this year were hampered by repeated thefts which ministry officials described as the only reason for blackouts reported so far around Kuwait. A State Audit Bureau released last month indicated that 600 main and secondary transformers in addition to 150 water wells were subjected to theft between 2007 and 2013, identifying ‘organized gangs’ as the culprits. It also noted that the MEW loses KD 15 million each year to repair damage resulted from these thefts. According to earlier reports, at least 60 cable thefts have so far been reported this year, resulting in blackouts that changed an otherwise ‘successful campaign’ in which the ministry boosted production capacity to cope with the growing demand in summer. Undersecretary Assistant for Information Systems and Control Fuad Al-Oun reiterated on Sunday that a new record in electricity consumption levels was registered this year

at 12,060 megawatts; recorded on July 19, 2013, posting a 2 percent increase compared to last year. The previous record was 11,850 MW recorded on August 1, 2012. Kuwait improved the total daily production of electricity to 14,000 megawatts before the beginning of the summer this year. Most electricity generated go into powering air conditioners which translates to overload in consumption in parallel to high temperatures that usually break the 50 degree C point multiple times in July each year. Annual reinforcement and maintenance operations at power plants, transformers and distribution networks helped the MEW cope with the yearly increase in demand, but senior ministry officials have repeatedly indicated that a new power plant is necessary to avoid shortage crises in the future. There are seven fossil-fuel power plants in Kuwait that produce electricity and desalinated water for a total population of 3.8 million on a daily basis, with plans to fully operate a new power plant in North Zoor by 2015. Energy production costs Kuwait an annual budget of 3 to 4 billion Kuwaiti dinars.

More employees sue govt on hiring decisions KUWAIT: More than 10,000 Kuwaitis pursue legal action against government hiring and work-related cases every year, a local daily reported yesterday quoting a source with access to official statistics. Speaking to Al-Qabas on the condition of anonymity, the source noted that the number of lawsuits challenging decisions to hire candidates, promote employees or transfer staff members are increasing annually “which indicates growing frustration within the public sector from administrative decisions seen as unjustifiable”. The statistics show that the number of circuit courts looking into cases filed against the government’s administrative decisions increased from four in 2005 to 24 in 2013 in addition to two more circuits working night shifts. Also, the number of judges assigned in these circuits increased from 12 in 2005 to 78 in 2013. Aside from the large number of administrative decisions taken in state departments every year, there are other reasons that experts believe contribute to the increasing number of challenges to these decisions. “People were too reluctant to pursue legal action in the past, perhaps out of fear that their superiors might take ‘punitive’ measures against them in retaliation”, said a legal expert who preferred to keep his identity anonymous. He added that employees have felt more encouraged to go to court during recent years “after developing a general idea that state departments are not owned by individuals, but are the property of the state”. The same source also argued that court orders won by complainants over the past few years could have played a role in encouraging more lawsuits to be filed. One of the most notable cases was closed a number of months ago when the court ordered the Fatwa and Legislation Department to accept lawyers which it previously refused to hire, and orders to hire female prosecutors for the first time in Kuwait’s history.

Kuwait opens office in Beirut to facilitate citizens’ departure BEIRUT: Kuwait Ambassador in Beirut Abdulaal Al-Qenae said yesterday that the embassy was coordinating with Kuwait foreign ministry’s emergency operation room to be in contact with citizens in Lebanon, including allocating of aircraft to take nationals back home. Al-Qenae said that the embassy has been coordinating efforts with the operation room, which was formed in Kuwait Foreign Ministry building to communicate with Kuwaiti citizens in Lebanon, urging them to quickly return home. “A number of airplanes were allocated to ease the transfer of Kuwaiti citizens via Kuwait Airways,” Al-Qenae said. The ambassador pointed out that the embassy has also set up a room at Rafiq Al-Hariri International Airport to facilitate the departures of citizens from Lebanon, noting that more than 300 people have already left. Al-Qenae also affirmed that the embassy was ready to provide the necessary number of aircraft to evacuate all Kuwaiti nationals. The ambassador emphasized the need for Kuwaiti national to return home as quickly as possible in order to ensure their safety. Recently, a number of countries called upon their citizens in Lebanon to depart after the deteriorating situation in Lebanon and possibility of a US air strike in Syria. —KUNA

KUWAIT: Kuwait Fire Services Directorate carried an inspection campaign on shops in Rai and discovered violations like wrong storage, blocked emergency exits and covered fire hydrants. — Photos by Hanan Al-Saadoun


LOCAL In my view

kuwait digest

In religion’s name

Save Syrians from chemical attack horror

By Jaafar Rajab


By Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg


he Arab League met on Sunday to discuss the latest outrages committed by the Syrian regime against its defenseless civilians. Evidence has been mounting, pointing to the Syrian regime’s repeated use of chemical weapons against the civilian population. Time and again, it has deployed outlawed gas as a weapon to reverse gains made by the opposition and terrorize the civilian population in areas under its control. By far, the largest such attack took place on Aug 21, 2013, in Ghouta, a district just 10 km from Damascus. Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain told the House of Commons on Thursday that the regime had used chemical weapons at least 14 times during the conflict. Apparently, failure by the international community in the past to punish the regime for using them has encouraged it to repeat the offense. US Secretary of State John Kerry revealed on Friday that the chemical attack killed over 1,400 civilians, including over 400 children and women. The United States declassified an unusual amount of sensitive information that showed that the attack was carried out by government forces. The regime itself indirectly admitted its culpability at the conclusion of the UN fact-finding mission on Saturday. Expecting that the team had found incriminating evidence in Ghouta, an area not under its control, the regime said that it would not accept any “partial” investigation that focused only on Ghouta. It said it wanted the investigation to be extended to other areas under its own control, where it claimed that the opposition carried out chemical attacks. Syria is one of only five countries that have not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention and it has not renounced its use. In fact, since the conflict started thirty months ago, it has repeatedly resorted to chemical attacks, either to dislodge stubborn resistance by its opponent and lower their morale, or to terrify civilians into fleeing. Once the civilian population had fled, the government used its heavy weapons to completely destroy areas where the opposition was holed up. Government forces appeared to have resorted to the same tactic in Ghouta. As the opposition made progress in Ghouta, just ten kilometers from the nerve center of the regime, it unleashed its chemical weapons to stop that progress. The United Nations now estimates that over 100,000 civilians have been killed since the start of the conflict in March 2011. UN fact-finding committees have made it clear that crimes against humanity and other grave breaches of international law have been committed in Syria, to the point that by now there is a clear international consensus about the nature and extent of those crimes. In fact, gradually the Syrian regime is acting as a sectarian militia supported by like-minded Hezbollah and Iranian forces, and unbound by rules of war or civilized behavior. With such appalling record of indiscriminate killing of civilians, and with the regime’s repeated deployment of chemical weapons, it has become incomprehensible why the international community has yet to move to protect Syrians from annihilation. It became clear this past weekend, during discussions around the world, that there are still those who believe that Syrian civilians should be left to their own fate, even if they were being exterminated like insects by their own government. Some are willing to intervene, but only if the Security Council sanctioned it, but if the UNSC cannot agree because of the Russian veto, then the world should stay away while civilians are being attacked with disproportionate firepower, including with chemical weapons. But is it really true that there is nothing else that can be done? Are we really that paralyzed? Or could the international community act, legitimately and legally, to protect civilians in Syria, when the regime appears to be the main culprit in killing them, as the piling evidence shows? What can be done in the face of the government’s responsibility for those crimes and the failure of the UN system to provide quick and effective remedies? The world has faced a similar situation in Kosovo in 1998-1999. Then, as now, Russia shielded its Serbian allies and blocked the UN Security Council’s action to protect Kosovo civilians from annihilation by Serbia’s killing machine. Then, as now, there was a gross mismatch between the Serbian powerful army and the feeble Kosovo resistance. However, a group of countries went outside the UN Security Council and were able to stop the massacres. Could the Kosovo example (of international cooperation outside the UN) be repeated? It should, because since Kosovo, the legal basis for humanitarian intervention has been strengthened considerably. The principle of “Responsibility to Protect” has evolved over the past several years and has been invoked in many conflicts, to very good results. The principle was given international stamp of approval in 2005, when the United Nations resolved that all countries had a shared responsibility to prevent and halt genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Between 2005 and 2010 the principle was invoked in only three UN resolutions or statements. However, since then it has gained wider acceptance. In 2011, for example, it was invoked in at least six resolutions, including four Security Council resolutions on Libya, South Sudan and Yemen. In the same year, action to protect civilians in the Ivory Coast was based on this principle. The principle is based on the idea that state sovereignty is not absolute, but conditioned by other norms and principles. International law holds certain crimes to be an affront to the international legal and moral systems. They are called “Mass Atrocity Crimes” and include genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing. There is a shared international responsibility to protect civilian populations against those crimes. The UN, but not the Security Council, has already determined that the Syrian regime has committed crimes against humanity. The Ghouta massacre fits perfectly the definition of a “Mass Atrocity Crime,” and should trigger international and regional action under the principle of “responsibility to protect” to stop such crimes from recurring. The fact that the massacre was carried out with chemical weapons, in clear contravention of international law, should make it more imperative to act immediately. UN Security Council consent is useful, but is not necessary.

kuwait digest

Do your homework By Dr Shamlan Y Al-Essa


he government and parliament are paying special super-power, and let us be as we are, but the government attention to the recent events in the region. and the assembly should be able to secure us with answers Particularly the potential of a Western alliance against so that we do not fear for Kuwait’s future. the Syrian regime as a result of the fascist and tyrannical The questions are: regimes having murdered thousands with internationally First: The first questions concern oil prices that may reach banned chemical and biological weapons. We thank the government and assembly for their interest in the Syrian $150 per barrel after the attack. In case expectations issue, especially as the effects of war surpass food and water become realities, how will we react if the West asks us to shortages to political, economic and security repercussions. increase production to lower oil prices? What will we do with We, in the backward Third World countries, do not prepare surplus funds? Will the government and assembly spend it ourselves for crisis before they happen the way more on popular projects, or take Norway’s example and spend it on industrial investments that are advanced countries do. Political guaranteed to make profit? Can it and economic leaders are keen on establishing research cenThe leaders of advanced coun- be used to modernize education that we stay away from polititers that can develop provisiontries do not take decisions without so cizing education in our country al strategies for expected calamities. It is impossible to consulting with advisors as well as that is producing terrorists? know what might happen to both governments and private Second: I do not know the results of the Cabinet’s meeting, but did Kuwait amidst the changes in research centers. The process of they openly and clearly discuss the region. The leaders of advanced taking a decision of such gravity is what to do with jihadi youths from Syria as a result of countries do not take decisions a lengthy one, which takes into returning the conflict? Omar Al-Kuwaiti without consulting with advisors as well as both govern- account the advice from experts, (Hassan Redha Lari), the leader of ments and private research researchers, and representatives of the Angar and Muhajireen Council said in a lengthy interview in Alcenters. The process of taking a decision of such gravity is a the people. As a result, the leaders Rai newspaper on Thursday, that lengthy one, which takes into are able to consider the best option the number of jihadists is over but he did not say how account the advice from and comprehend the extent of the 16,000 many Kuwaitis are among them. experts, researchers, and repreThe leaders Abu Omar and his sentatives of the people. As a consequences. group will most likely return to result, the leaders are able to Kuwait, with new ideas about the consider the best option and comprehend the extent of the consequences. Decision-mak- establishment of a ‘Caliphate state.’ They do not believe in ing system in our Arab world is backward because it is not democracy, pluralism or the state of law. They have a strong backed up by sufficient information and studies. We do not hatred of the West and have a terrorist ideology of Al-Nosra have advanced research centers or specialists who follow Front and Al-Qaeda. We ask the government and MPs to be local, regional and international issues available to provide up-to-date with events, as the Arab world is quickly dividleaders with scientific analyses and suggestions for protect- ing into regimes, which only Allah the Almighty knows what their natures are. Our existence in Kuwait is not merely ing Kuwait from repercussions of potential attacks. There may be somebody who will say, “You went too far. dependent on providing food and water, it also depends on We are a small country, our rulers have extensive experience the extent of our beliefs in the state’s civility, appeasing in politics and we do not need research centers. Islamic factions and giving them what they need to fight Ambassador’s reports are enough.” It is true that we are not a jihadists.— Al-Watan

kuwait digest

Master of puppets By Dr Mohammad Al-Moqatei


cannot find a better expression to describe the cur- are ordered. We sing the praises for Western democracy rent situation in Arab and Muslim countries, than a and their respect for human rights when it comes to verse by Imam Al-Shafi, which roughly translates to, their own citizens, but stand alongside them as they con“we blame history when it is us who are to blame, demn democracy in our own countries. We engage in whereas the only drawbacks found in our history are battles with each other on the West’s behalf to the point in which we destroy what we have built. Then, we set up caused by us.” On an international level, we have become both bur- fundraisers to rebuild what we have destroyed. Some of our regimes go too far in persecuting their dens and puppets. We became burdens after failing to do anything productive, from the moment we wake up own people, and only stopped with Western intervention to the moment we fall asleep. We consume imported motivated by shame regarding the atrocities that said regimes committed. Genocides food and coffee that is prebut we only acknowlpared for us. We use tools, We have become both burdens happen, edge them once it is too late. drive cars and board planes made by Western countries. and puppets. We became burdens The West have the final say We use computers and after failing to do anything produc- while we have become mere pawns on their chessboard. smartphones that the West Despite the miserable situaand East compete to market tive, from the moment we wake up to to us. On top of that, we fight the moment we fall asleep. We con- tion encompassing our counthe need for our people to with each other and expect sume imported food and coffee that tries, become more aware, oppresthe West to settle our disputes. Our countries are is prepared for us. We use tools, drive sion by some of our governinvaded, our people are mas- cars and board planes made by ments and the need for public powers to join forces, the sadsacred and our security is threatened while we sit and Western countries. We use computers dest par t is political opporwait for the West to protect and smartphones that the West and tunism. Determination for powhas resulted in political parus. All this might be because East compete to market to us. On top er ties willing to do away with we can no longer do anything on our own. We have of that, we fight with each other and their principles in order to see voluntarily become a burden expect the West to settle our dis- their opponents eliminated. They forget about their origito ourselves and to the rest putes. Our countries are invaded, our nal intentions for protecting of the world. Meanwhile, we have people are massacred and our secu- freedoms and putting a stop to become puppets for other rity is threatened while we sit and persecution. They overlook what history powers who make decisions has taught us, including how concerning our own matters. wait for the West to protect us. tyrannical governments eventuInarguably, the most critical ally turn against parties that case in the Arab and Muslim world is the Palestinian issue. Consequential to having supported their actions against their own opponents. grown indecisive, we support Palestinian factions in their Partisanship and political feuding has blinded politicians fight against each other instead of encouraging them to so as to accuse their opponents and question their patriunite. In the meantime, we accept humiliation from otism; tools used by opportunists to reach power by Zionist occupation and beg the West to provide political bypassing ballot boxes and the principles of freedom and equality. Defending freedom means defying injussolutions to our crisis. We support regimes and recognize countries as we tice in order to listen to a different opinion. —Al-Qabas

magine reading a report in the newspaper like this one: “Three Satanists arrested on accusations of killing a child they kidnapped as part of Satanic rituals”. Of course the news would be very shocking, and will become the talk of the town. People with fake beards will come out on TV with analysis about the spread of Satanism in the society, displaying fabricated videos that allegedly show Satanists offering sacrifices to Satan. Documentaries will be shown about Satanists, their history and ‘destructive role’ in Muslim societies where they seek to ‘transform believers into blind followers of Satan’. Amidst all this, a medium would announce that he was able to communicate with the underworld and discover the evil plots targeting our nations. Meanwhile, intellectual geniuses will write about the apparel and habits of Satanists, including wearing skull and cross bones, and will also warn parents against games and toys allegedly promoting Satanism. The Ministry of Education in the meantime will announce that local schools have been instructed to take measures against recorded spread of Satanism among students with simultaneous news from nearby countries that authorities have arrested evil cells connected to the spread of this phenomenon in our societies. Police, in the meantime, will arrest anyone wearing a black T-shirt or behaving “abnormally”, and then keep them behind bars on accusations that they might be Satanists. All this happens after the murder of one child while Satanists are accused without any evidence. But in the name of religion, we hear stories every day like the following: In Pakistan, a suicide bomber attacks a mosque in defense of religion. In Iraq, bombers target people in parks in the name of religion In Syria, hundreds of people die every day in the name of religion. In Uganda, the Lord’s Resistance Army fights in the name of religion. In Burma, a Buddhist monk calls for ‘cleaning’ Buddha’s land from Muslims. In Israel, rabbis call for killing disbelievers in the name of religion. In India, Hindus kill Muslims in defense of Hindu beliefs. In Egypt, churches are burned down and people are killed in the name of religion. Thousands of humans of all religious beliefs die every day in ‘defense’ of religion, while millions others are fooled daily to commit crimes in the name of religion. We kill in the name of religion. We steal in the name of religion. We rape in the name of religion. We lie in the name of religion. We commit slaughters in the name of religion. Religion has become a name we use to sugarcoat our crimes. There is no difference between someone who claims that the devil ‘tricked’ him into killing, and someone who claims that religion orders him to kill. The same human being who invented the machine to rest the mind and body, is the same one who invented the way of using religion to rest his conscience whenever he commits a crime. — Al-Rai

kuwait digest

Our major preparations By Hassan Al-Essa


believe that our state’s preparations for the possible US strike against Assad’s regime is nothing but useless political propaganda. What are our preparations in Kuwait, really? What can we expect more than some more troops to protect public facilities, stopping vehicles on the streets to check passengers IDs, according to the ‘Fattahite Method’ (after Maj Gen Abdulfattah Al-Ali), deporting some expatriates or banning the issue of visit visas for others depending on their respective countries’ attitudes? I do not think our wise leadership has something new to add to these “major” preparations. One has to realize his own potential and I wish our authorities would too. The clear implications of the statements made by the US Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama are that the strikes will neither depose Assad’s regime nor will it be decisive in changing the balance of powers towards the fragmented Syrian opposition. It will only be to punish Assad for the mass crimes he committed against his own people. On the other hand, it will also be an attempt to drag him to the negotiations table. According to many Western analysts, the strike is meant to emphasize and remind everyone of the American prestige and status that had remarkably deteriorated under the hesitant Obama. According to David Gardner, the Financial Times, “The strike will surely be useless unless it destroys Assad’s regime points of power while maintaining a steady amount of solidarity within the Syrian army so as to avoid the destiny of the Iraqi army that was dissolved by Bremer, who left Iraq as prey for sectarian war and suicide explosions carried out by those in quest for the Islamic Caliphate in this world, and enjoying heaven’s maids in the hereafter”. This calls for a stop to talk about what our authorities should have done long before they started talking about preparations. Kuwait used to openly send aid, financial support and volunteer jihadists to Al-Qaeda-affiliated extremist groups in Syria, such as Al-Nosra Front and others, who had been deeply involved in bloody assassinations of Alawites and Christians and manslaughter of all Sunnis opposing it. Things have turned out so bad that innocent Syrians are afraid of escaping Assad’s hell to get into another worse one, on the lines of Al-Nosra Front and its likes. What did Kuwait do then? Nothing! It was too busy with necessity decrees and pursuing the opposition. Kuwait then rejoiced after deposing Morsi and rushed to financially support the new military regime forgetting that the moderation of the Muslim Brotherhood could have been a strong barrier against regional religious extremism. Sectarian extremism and religious mania have both stemmed from cultural ignorance, economic miseries and tyrant military regimes. So, have our government and some GCC regimes envisaged such a scenario or have they been too occupied making plans to kill regional political changes? So, what preparations is our government talking about nowadays? — Al-Jarida



MPs to pursue naturalization efforts despite setbacks Plans to file new lawsuits KUWAIT: Despite reports suggesting that technical reasons will force the government to delay naturalization of stateless residents who meet the required conditions past 2014, MPs reportedly plan to pursue efforts to grant citizenships to those who possess documents for the 1965 census - a main precondition to obtain Kuwaiti citizenship. According to sources, lawmakers who were unnamed in Al-Rai daily’s report yesterday also hope to push efforts to file lawsuits regarding cases of stateless residents who became automatically disqualified for naturalization on allegations of criminal behavior, as legal action allows claimants to argue their cases and the government to present its evidence in court. Reporter of the parliament’s interior and defense committee Abdullah Al-Tamimi confirmed in the meantime that the naturalization issue will be on the table of the panel’s meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khalid Al-Sabah today. “The committee will inquire about the latest efforts regarding naturalizing those who meet

the required conditions, and the security reasons why the government refuses to naturalize others”, Al-Tamimi told Al-Rai on Sunday. The government argues that only 34,000 out of an estimated 105,000 stateless resident in Kuwait are eligible for consideration to obtain the Kuwaiti citizenship, while it claims to have proof that the rest belong to other Arab countries. The parliament approved a bill last March that increased the number of candidates the government can naturalize a year to 4,000 after the government agreed to give priority to stateless residents, but the parliament’s dissolution three months later prevented the draft law from being passed in its second hearing. Al-Rai quoted security sources on Sunday who indicated that the Criminal Evidence Department is currently giving appointments for DNA tests that falls around late 2014, owing to extreme work pressure, making it virtually impossible to finalize naturalization procedures before the end of this year as initially hoped. In other news, MP Rakan Al-Nisf announced

plans to submit a request on Oct 29 when the parliament convenes for the first session following the summer recess to establish a temporary committee that addresses the housing problem. “The increasing housing crisis in Kuwait necessitates the formation of a committee that follows up with the government’s activity and MPs’ proposals in that regard”, Al-Nisf said in a statement published by Al-Jarida yesterday. The committee will coordinate in order to find solutions behind the lack of housing projects in a country rich in wealth and unoccupied lands “which resulted in sharp increase in land prices and growing dilemma for Kuwaiti families and young citizens alike”, the lawmaker added. Separately, MP Yaqoub Al-Sane’a announced that he submitted a request to the parliament speaker to consult the Constitutional Court for a legal explanation to article 71 of the constitution; mainly regarding the concept of ‘necessity’ based on which the government can release laws through emergency decrees during the parliament’s absence.

‘No increased school fees without MoE permission’

KUWAIT: The Police Officers Club organized a sea trip to Um Al-Maradem Island in cooperation with the coastguards on Saturday for officers and their families. Contests were conducted and prizes were distributed in a happy atmosphere.

KUWAIT: A senior Education Ministry official responded to reports suggesting that some private schools in Kuwait have increased their fees, saying that the ministry has not received any information regarding this and warned schools against taking decisions unilaterally without the ministry’s permission. “Aside from the annual 3 percent increase in school fees that the ministry’s Council of Undersecretaries allow, the ministry has not received any requests from private schools asking to collect extra fees from students during the upcoming school year”, said Mohammad Al-Dahes, the Director of the Private Education Department in the ministry. He further urged parents who say that they were asked to pay extra fees to file official complaints with the ministry “in order to take necessary measures against any school that violates the ministry’s regulations”. In other news, a senior Interior Ministry official revealed that his ministry approved a proposal to set the beginning of a school day at 7am while keeping setting timings for universities and colleges at 9:00 am in an attempt to limit traffic jams when the academic year kicks off later this month. In his statements to Al-Rai on Sunday, Maj Gen Abdulfattah Al-Ali, General Traffic Department Director said that the Education Ministry and the Civil Service Commission are likely to approve the proposal as well “after they showed great cooperation in previous meetings”.

More aid reaches Sudan KUWAIT: A fifth Kuwaiti aircraft took off from Abdullah AlMubarak Air Base yesterday, part of the Sudan relief program, carrying an ambulance and food supplies that are to be distributed to those affected by floods and torrential rains across Sudan. Kuwait Red Crescent Society (KRCS) Chairman Barjas Humoud Al-Barjas said the air force plane is transporting the aid supplies within the relief campaign ordered by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. This plane in particular, he noted, carries an ambulance car and a team of volunteers. Al-Barjas expressed gratitude to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Sheikh Khalid Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah for his swift action to arrange for the craft that are to carry the needed supplies to Sudan, and also praised public support and reaction. The society donated the fully-equipped ambulance vehicle out of its sense of responsibility towards and solidarity with the Sudanese people, he said. The relief and medical supplies are to be distributed to those in need of it in coordination with and cooperation of the Kuwaiti Embassy and the Sudanese Red Crescent, he pointed out. Al-Barjas expressed hope the aid effort alleviates the suffering of the Sudanese people in the different affected regions, and added KRCS intends to continue and intensify its Sudan program, with tens of thousands rendered homeless after the floods. —KUNA

Pirated DVDs seized KUWAIT: Police in Kuwait have detained four men and seized 105,000 pirated digital video discs (DVDs) of mainly pornographic movies. The raid was carried out following tips about the illegal activities of the Asian gang copying and selling the movies, local Arabic daily Al Watan reported yesterday. Computers used to copy the movies were also confiscated in the raid, sources told the daily. “ The authorities have expressed concern about the sale of pornographic material to young people in a blatant attack on the values and principles of our society,” the sources said. Pornography, in all its forms, is banned in Kuwait and in the other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries. Raids on shops selling pirated DVDs are regularly conducted to ensure compliance with copyright laws. The seized DVDs are invariably destroyed.

Four candidates register for Municipal elections KUWAIT: Four citizens submitted their nomination papers at the general election affairs commission of the Ministr y of Interior yesterday to run for the 2013 Municipal elections that will take place Sept 28. The candidates are: Hamid Saud Mohammad Al-Amiri from the 1st con-

stituency, Fahad Abudlaziz Al-Sani’a from the 3rd constituency, Faisal Saad Fahad Rajih Faisal Al-Boos from 4th constituency and Nayef Ali Faraj Firas Al-Enezi from the 10th constituency. These candidates are bringing the total nominees on the sixth day of nomination registrations to 52. —KUNA



Girl drowns in family swimming pool in Kabed Care-taker accused of molestation KUWAIT: A girl drowned in a swimming pool in Kabed on Sunday and an investigation was opened to determine the circumstances behind the incident. The victim was declared dead on arrival at Farwaniya Hospital. Her father told police that he found her unconscious in the pool at home before rushing her to the hospital. This case is one of 19 similar incidents which were reported in Kuwait over the past two months, according to a recent Kuwait Fire Service Department report. Mobile phone scam A search is on for suspects wanted for scam and attempted murder in a case filed on Sunday at the Nugra police station. In a statement given to local police officers, a Jordanian man explained that he first received a phone call in which a woman told him that he had won a ‘grand prize’ which included an offer to buy three smartphones worth KD 450 at only KD 135. A ‘representative’ soon arrived at the man’s apartment, handed him the cell phones and accepted the money. However, when asked for a receipt, the suspect rushed back to his car, drove

away and almost hit the man’s young son. The victim went to a local mobile phone shop and discovered that the phones were fake and worth less than KD 100 and he rushed to a local police station to file a complaint. Investigations are ongoing. Search for thieves Saad Al-Abdullah police held two men and questioned them after they reported being mugged under suspicious circumstances. Two Iranian men claimed that they were driving a lorry when they were stopped by two suspects. They added that the suspects robbed them of KD 54 and the keys to their truck. According to the “victims”, the two suspects forced the men to drive to their house and open a safe, from which they stole KD 850 and escaped. Police held the plaintiffs for further questioning to verify the truth on suspicions that they worked in cahoots with the thieves. Jabriya molestation A building care-taker was arrested in Jabriya on charges of child molestation, which were

pressed by a tenant at the local police station on Sunday. A police officer was approached by an Egyptian man who accused his building’s caretaker of molesting his 12-year-old daughter. The suspect was summoned for questioning during which he firmly denied the accusations. He is currently behind bars while the Criminal Evidence Department is verifying details with the girl. Speeding policeman A police officer was pulled over and had his driver’s license and registrations confiscated on the orders of Maj Gen Abdulfattah Al-Ali, General Traffic Department Director. The senior Interior Ministry official was on duty overseeing traffic when he ordered a speeding vehicle to be stopped. The radar recorded it to have been driving at 140 km/h. The driver, wearing a police uniform, was identified as a major in the Interior Ministry. Maj Gen Al-Ali reportedly ordered for the officer’s papers to be confiscated to “set an example to law enforcement officials on the importance of respecting traffic regulations,” according to a source.

KUWAIT: A yoga class in progress in Kuwait.

Physical, psychological benefits from yoga KUWAIT: Yoga is an Asian-rooted physical, mental and spiritual practice which depends on relaxation and peace of mind and has enormous benefits for human health. Yoga which forms unity between mind and soul is widely spread in Middle East, especially in Kuwait, due to its great positive impact on the human well-being. Two trainers at a specialized Yoga center in Kuwait said that yoga is highly beneficial for curing back aches, cancer, heart diseases, besides, strengthening inner body muscles and stimulating balanced peaceful state of mind. Head of a Yoga Health Center Pauline Hing said that the yoga plays a great role in increasing natural immunity in the human body, decreasing sugar levels in the blood,

lowering high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and improving the health status of the human body in general. She added that yoga started in Kuwait 15 years ago and turned to be more attractive during the past five years, pointing out that the new generation is highly educated about the nature of Yoga and its positives impacts. Kuwaiti yoga trainer Warqa’ Al-Shaiji said yoga helps in relaxation of all body nerves, beside contribution to strength and flexibility of muscles and proper breathing. Moreover, it fights many diseases namely asthma, joints’ pain and some psychological ailments such as depression. Yoga, which evokes no violence, is a practice that requires sound effort and helps in fighting back disease. —KUNA

GCC passport departments’ directors meet in Doha

Kuwait divers clean up Douhat Bnaider reef KUWAIT: Kuwait Diving Team removed discarded fishing nets at the Douhat Bnaider coral reef area located between Jelaiaa and Zoor areas, team member Faisal AlHarban said, noting a fisherman had reported the presence of the nets after seeing parts of them floating on the water. Al-Harban pointed out the team’s divers are experienced enough to handle such entangled nets and remove them without harming the coral reef, carefully floating the main parts with small inflated devices before extracting the whole from the site. Such operations are among the hardest the team has to perform, he stressed, and there is also the added danger of the diving gear getting entangled and the diver’s movement impaired. “The team always takes optimum care to guarantee the least threat possible to both divers and the environment, and fully adheres to the Kuwaiti laws concerned with preservation of the environment.” —KUNA

DOHA: GCC directors of passport departments kicked off their 28th three-day meeting on Sunday in Doha, with Bahrain emphasizing the meeting would boost coordination among GCC states. Brig Yusuf Al-Ghatm, who chaired the meeting, said such gathering comes to boost security, coordination and cooperation between member states, and work to improve security among workers in the passport fields, including training and development which would improve interior security in GCC countries. Al-Ghatm added participants are keen to bolster ties and bonds among GCC members, in particular coordination and integration in achieving goals setup by the GCC council and higher national interests. For his part, Qatari Assistant Secretary

General of Security Affairs Col Hazaa Bin Mubarak Al-Hajri, said the agenda of the meeting was to respond to issues in relations with GCC citizens, which are mainly related to facilitating of travel. Al-Hajri added that agenda’s draft which was prepared by the General secretariat bring topics that need to be reviewed and analyzed. Al-Hajri added the meeting will discuss issues on training and exchange of information on passport holders, in order to create the proper recommendations among GCC member states. Meanwhile, head of the Qatari delegation, Brig Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Ali said in his speech that “the objective of this gathering was to continue GCC march and add new achievements to serve GCC interests and common goals.” —KUNA

GCC govt social media summit kicks off in Dubai DUBAI: The Gulf Cooperation Council Government Social Media Summit kicked off yesterday in Dubai to focus on how to bring more advanced applications and implementations of social media within a government’s communication strategy. Director of Telecommunications Regulatory Authority Mohammad AlGhanim said in the opening speech that the summit aims at expanding the growth of social media usage in the Arab world.” Social media has been growing in the last few years with increased penetration rates. Today, the governments are using social media to receive information from the public and act on the information and providing direct services.” Chairman of the summit and Director of The Governance and Innovation Programme Salem Fadi said that it is “necessary to direct Gulf governments to adopt a dynamic and flexible social media and e-applications - through either call centers or social media websites - to serve the public and meet their daily need smoothly without any hassle.” The summit attracts some of the most acclaimed speakers and delegates like Adam Fetcher, former deputy national press secretary, who helped to pilot the “Obama for America” campaign; Pippa Norris, head of online engagement at the Ministry of Defence UK; Elizabeth Linder, Facebook’s politics and government specialist; Silke von Brochausen, United Nations Development Programme; Dr Aysha Al Busmait, UAE’s Roads & Transport Authority ’s and Heba Alsamt of Dubai Media Incorporated. —KUNA

ABK sponsors ‘differently abled’ driver KUWAIT: Al-Ahli Bank of Kuwait, under the umbrella of its social responsibility campaign, “Our Society....Our Responsibility” works towards various social and humanitarian initiatives. This time ABK sponsored and supported Faisal AlMousawi, the first differently abled diver at the Asia and Middle East level. Faisal Jawad Al-Mousawi is a renowned diver, and holds more than one international license certified from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) organization. The Bank’s humble contribution is to support and encour-

age Al-Mousawi to accomplish greater victories and achieve the first divers’ coaching license for the differently abled on a local and international level. ABK’s PR Manager, Sahar Therban explained, “At ABK we are proud to support accomplishments that go beyond the ordinary. We are especially happy to walk alongside the differently abled as they discover and conquer new ground. We are one with their spirit of hope, and a better tomorrow.” Al-Mousawi deeply thanked ABK for their generous involvement that went a long way in achieving his goals.

Kuwait participates in Oman Food, Hotel Fair MUSCAT: Kuwait is participating in Oman’s Food and Hotel Fair, which kicked off yesterday in Oman International Exhibition Center, to showcase technologies and trends in the food catering industry. Assistant Undersecretary, Deputy Chairman for Administrative and Financial Affairs in the Kuwait Public Authority for Industry Bani Nasser Al-Hajri, said that Kuwait is taking part in the fair, organized by Omanexpo company, in response to an invitation from Oman. He noted that there is a number of hotels preparation and food services companies present at the fair. The chairman also added that Kuwait’s part of the exhibit is 180 square meters, consisting of local factories’ representatives, such as Kuwait Flour Mills and Bakeries Co, AlRawdatain Water Bottling Co, Al-Ghanim and Sons, New Exhibition Co, Al-Hasawi Industrial Group,

and others. The authority is studying the possibility of internationally selling Kuwaiti products, he noted, adding that it is currently monitoring regional markets, with plans to organize exhibitions in those countries to sell local products. Many GCC and international companies participate in the fair each year to present new technologies in the field of catering and food industries as well as hotel food services and products, said Al-Hajri. Oman Chefs Society will also take part in the event which will be held for three days where chefs compete to cook the best local and international meals. Al-Hajri noted that the Omani market enjoys great investment opportunities in the food business and is considered hub where international companies meet. —KUNA


Taleban attack US base near Pakistan border

Russia sends spy ship to eastern Mediterranean Page 9

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DAMASCUS: In this citizen journalism image provided by the Local Comity of Arbeen which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Syrian children hold signs as they pose for a photograph during a demonstration in Arbeen town, suburb of Damascus yesterday. More than 100,000 Syrians have been killed since an uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad erupted in 2011. —AP

UN, Iraq probe deaths of 52 Iran exiles Infighting within Ashraf probably led to tragedy: Offcial BAGHDAD: A UN team visited a camp housing Iranian exiles north of Baghdad yesterday as investigators tried to establish how 52 members of the anti-Tehran group died over the weekend. The deaths of the members of the People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran (PMOI), confirmed by a senior Iraqi security officer, were met with international condemnation but the UN and Western governments have been careful not to assign blame amid wildly conflicting narratives. Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki set up an inquiry in the aftermath of the deaths, with findings due in the coming days, and a UN team visited the camp in Diyala province near the border with Iran to try to establish what happened. “ This morning, we entered Ashraf and found 52 bodies in one place,” a senior police officer who was part of the Iraqi premier’s investigating committee said. The officer, who did not want to be identified discussing the inquiry, said investigators found a “huge amount of TNT and explosive materiel inside cars, houses and heavy machinery”. He said 42 members of the PMOI were still alive, but accused them of not cooperating with investigators by refusing to hand over corpses and moving bodies from their original locations. The officer claimed the deaths were probably caused by infighting within Ashraf. His account is sharply contested by the PMOI, however, which charges that Iraqi forces entered Ashraf, killed 52 of its members and set fire to the group’s property and goods. It said Iraqi forces had carried out a “massacre” and the group’s members at Liberty, another camp near Baghdad, began a hunger strike on Monday, a spokesman said. “The residents will continue their hunger strike until the full cessation of killings in Ashraf and the release of all hostages, and until the resolution of the issue of security for the residents of Ashraf and Liberty,” a statement said. Iraqi officials insisted that no soldiers entered Ashraf, and said explosions were triggered

by mortar fire or the detonation of a barrel of oil or gas. The UN team that visited the camp was due back in Baghdad later yesterday, but mission spokeswoman Eliana Nabaa said no further information was likely to be released until later in the week. “There was a mission that went (to Ashraf ) a little bit earlier to see what they can do there,” Eliana Nabaa, spokeswoman for the United Nations mission in Iraq, told AFP. “They will try to determine the facts.” The violence was

condemned by the UN’s refugee agency, which is charged with relocating the group’s members outside Iraq, and the US State Department, but neither assigned blame for the unrest. Sunday’s events follow two mortar attacks earlier this year on another camp housing the group, also known as the Mujahedeen-E-Khalq (MEK), in which at least eight people were killed. Around 3,000 MEK members were moved from Ashraf last year to Camp Liberty, on a former US military base on

the outskirts of Baghdad, but about 100 stayed on at the old camp to deal with remaining property and goods. Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein allowed the rebel MEK to set up the camp during his war with Iran in the 1980s. The MEK was founded in the 1960s to oppose the shah of Iran, and after the 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted him it took up arms against Iran’s clerical rulers. It says it has now laid down its arms and is working to overthrow the Islamic regime in Iran by peaceful means. — AFP



UN: 5 million displaced inside Syria DAMASCUS: International aid to Syrians uprooted by civil war is a “drop in the sea” of what is needed, a top UN official said yesterday, estimating that five million Syrians have been displaced inside the country. In addition, 2 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries, according to UN figures. The total, of about 7 million, amounts to nearly one-third of Syria’s population. The funding gaps for the displaced remain wide, with donor countries sending less than one-third the money needed to help those displaced, Tarik Kurdi, the representative of the UN refugee agency in Syria, told The Associated Press. Syria’s brutal two-and-a-half-yearold conflict has also claimed more than 100,000 lives, including hundreds who according to the US - were killed in chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian regime near Damascus on Aug 21. Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government has denied involvement, instead blaming rebels for the attacks. Neither the US nor the Assad regime has presented proof in public to back up the allegations. In Washington, President

Barack Obama was lobbying Congress to support a military strike to punish the Assad regime for its alleged chemical weapons use. Obama initially seemed poised to launch military action without asking Congress, but over the weekend changed his mind. A vote is expected after Congress returns from summer recess Sept 7. The Arab League, meanwhile, stopped short of endorsing military action. In an emergency meeting in Cairo on Sunday, it called on the United Nations and the international community to take “deterrent” measures under international law to stop the Syrian regime’s crimes, but could not agree on whether to back US military strikes. Two of Assad’s most influential foreign backers, China and Russia, lined up against Washington’s new attempt to make the case for a military strike. China is “highly concerned” about possible unilateral military action against Syria and believes the international community must “avoid complicating the Syrian issue and dragging the Middle East down into further disaster,”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in Beijing yesterday. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, meanwhile, dismissed US information given to Moscow on the alleged chemical weapons attack as “absolutely unconvincing.” There was “nothing specific” in the evidence presented by Washington, Lavrov said. “No geographic coordinates, no names, no proof that the tests were carried out by the professionals.” The fighting has displaced 5 million inside Syria, said Kurdi, the UN official. In addition, nearly 2 million Syrians have crossed into neighboring countries, previously released UN figures show. Before the outbreak of the conflict, Syria had a population of about 23 million people. Kurdi said the need for aid is far greater than what the international community has provided so far. “Whatever efforts we have exerted and whatever the UN has provided in humanitarian aid, it is only a drop in the sea of humanitarian needs in Syria,” he said. The funding gap “is very, very wide,” he added. —AP

Syrian refugees arrive at the Turkish Cilvegozu gate border, yesterday. Routine prevailed at a US-Turkish airbase in southern Turkey yesterday, a day after the US alleged that sarin gas was used in an August chemical weapons attack in Syria. — AP

Anti-Qaeda chief escapes murder attempt in Iraq Spate of attacks kills 17

DAMASCUS: An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube and provided by the Syrian Observatory yesterday shows a photo of assassinated Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh pulled from the pocket of a Damascus suburb of Buhariya. —AFP

British soldiers to give their side of the story LONDON: British soldiers start testifying yesterday at a public inquiry in London into allegations that they tortured and executed Iraqis in an episode which, if confirmed by the investigation, would go down as one of the worst atrocities of the Iraq war. Some 200 British soldiers are scheduled over the coming months to appear before the AlSweady Inquiry, named after one of 20 Iraqi men who died in disputed circumstances at or after a battle near the town of Majar AlKabir on May 14, 2004. The inquiry conducted three years of detective work in Iraq and in British military archives before starting oral hearings in March. Sixty Iraqi witnesses testified from March to June. The aim is to establish whether the 20 Iraqis died on the battlefield, as the British soldiers say, or whether they were captured alive and later executed at a British military camp, as relatives and members of the local community allege. The soldiers deny separate allegations by five men detained after the battle that they were tortured. Named after a British checkpoint, the battle of Danny Boy took place the day after the Imam Ali mosque in Najaf, Shiite Islam’s holiest shrine, was damaged during fighting between US troops and radical cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr’s Mehdi Army militia. With anger against foreign troops running high because of the Najaf incident, fighting broke out between a British convoy and armed insurgents on a road near Majar Al-Kabir. Several dead Iraqis were recovered by local people on the battlefield, but another 20 bodies were handed over by the British the following day at Camp Abu Naji, a nearby army base. The soldiers say the 20 died fighting and their bodies were taken to the camp to check whether any of them were among suspects who were wanted over the killing of six British military police in Majar AlKabir in an incident in June 2003. They say

the alleged executions were false rumors fuelled by the grief of relatives, the anger over Najaf and the unusual circumstance of the removal of the bodies from the battlefield. This was denied by 15 Iraqi witnesses who travelled to London to give evidence and a further 45 who were flown to Beirut to testify via video-link from the British embassy there. The military evidence is scheduled to last until early next year and the report from the inquiry - which has so far cost 19 million pounds ($29.6 million) is expected in late 2014. The inquiry has no power to prosecute. However, depending on what it concludes, the Service Prosecuting Authority which is in charge of military justice could decide to launch prosecutions. Al-Sweady is the second major British public inquiry into the conduct of troops during the 2003-2009 occupation of Iraq, and it is likely to be the last of its kind. The first, into the death of Baha Mousa in British custody in 2003, found the 26-year-old Iraqi had died in “an appalling episode of gratuitous violence”. It made 73 recommendations to prevent future abuses of which 72 have been implemented. One British soldier pleaded guilty to inhumane treatment and was jailed for a year before the public inquiry. No one else has been prosecuted, a fact condemned by human rights groups. The Baha Mousa inquiry cost 25 million pounds over three years while the final bill for Al-Sweady is likely to be higher. There are as many as 160 alleged executions and 800 cases of alleged ill-treatment outstanding from Iraq, according to a High Court ruling in May, but they will be handled differently. The details of how to deal with them are being debated in court in complex litigation involving Iraqi claimants and the Ministry of Defense. A ruling is expected in October.— Reuters

Dozens escape from Tunisian prison TUNIS: Forty-nine inmates escaped from a Tunisian prison after overpowering guards, a senior official said yesterday, in a further sign of faltering security as a political crisis over popular discontent with Islamist rule festers. The North African state, fount of the Arab uprisings of 2011, is locked in a standoff between its Islamist-led government and secular opposition that could be decisive for the success of its experiment in democracy. Prisons director-general Habib Sboui said 49 inmates broke out of the prison in the town of Gabes on Sunday evening, and that 12 were recaptured a little later. “They escaped in an ambush in which guards were assaulted, without any shooting,” Sboui said in a statement. It was believed the escapees were all common criminals, he said. Still, the breakout attested to deteriorating security that has been exploited by Islamist militants with a series of attacks, two of which resulted in the killing

of two opposition secular politicians that triggered the political crisis. Tunisia has jailed hundreds of Islamist militants over the past year in connection with attacks. Interpol issued a global security alert on Aug 3 advising its 190 member states to increase vigilance against attacks after a series of prison breaks in Pakistan, Iraq and Libya, some pulled off with the help of Al-Qaeda. In July, more than 1,000 inmates escaped a prison near Benghazi in eastern Libya, a stronghold of radical Islamists. In 2011, thousands of prisoners escaped in Tunisia during the nationwide disorder that followed the fall of autocratic president Zine Al-Abidine Ali to a popular revolt. Instability has worsened as jihadi militants have stepped up attacks. They killed eight soldiers in an ambush in July, one of the deadliest attacks on Tunisian security forces in decades.—Reuters

BAGHDAD: A prominent leader of a militia opposed to Al-Qaeda escaped an assassination attempt yesterday that killed six of his body guards and one civilian and wounded eight people, authorities said. Seven more people were killed and 15 wounded in separate violence in Baghdad and another Iraqi city as the country reels from waves of sectarian attacks. Two suicide bombers attacked the motorcade of Wisam Al-Hardan near his house in Baghdad’s western Harthiyah neighborhood, but the Sunni tribal sheik was not hurt, said Interior Ministry spokesman Saad Maan. Al-Hardan was recently appointed by the Iraqi prime minister to lead the Sunni militia known as Sahwa, which joined US troops in the war against Al-Qaeda at the height of Iraq war. Ever since, it has been a target for Sunni insurgents who consider them traitors. Attacks in Baghdad and mostly Sunni areas of Iraq killed 17 people yesterday, including eight in a coordinated attack on the home of an antiQaeda militia chief, officials said. The Turkish consul to the northern city of Mosul and a top criminal judge in executed dictator Saddam Hussein’s home town were also caught in bomb attacks. The violence was the latest in a surge of unrest that has killed more than 3,800 people this year and sparked widespread concern that Iraq is slipping back towards the all-out bloodshed which plagued it

in 2006 and 2007. Authorities have pushed a massive security campaign targeting militants, but analysts and diplomats have cautioned that the government must also address the root causes of the violence. Yesterday’s deadliest attack was against the west Baghdad home of Wissam Al-Hardan, who was appointed earlier this year by Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki to lead the Sahwa, a collection of Sunni tribal militias. Officials said two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside Hardan’s home at around 3:00 pm (1200 GMT), followed by a car bomb that went off as emergency responders arrived. In all, eight people were killed and 14 were wounded, including Hardan himself. The militia chief was taken to a hospital inside Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, home to the US and British embassies and parliament. Another attack on a Sahwa checkpoint-this time a suicide car bomb-on the outskirts of the restive city of Baquba, north of Baghdad, killed four people and wounded 10. From late 2006 onwards, Sunni tribal militias turned against their co-religionists in Al-Qaeda and sided with the US military, helping to turn the tide of Iraq’s bloody insurgency. As a result, however, Sunni militants view them as traitors and frequently target them. The government has increasingly turned to Sahwa fighters as it combats a surge in unrest, with violence at its high-

est level since 2008. Also on Monday, a bomb attack hit the convoy of the Turkish consul in Mosul, according to diplomatic sources who said that while no one was wounded, all of the convoy’s vehicles were badly damaged. “It’s not yet clear who carried out the attack and against whom,” a Turkish foreign ministry spokesman said, adding that Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had called the consul for more details. “The investigation is continuing. We have contacted the Iraqi authorities immediately after the incident and asked that the culprits be found out and that the security of our missions be enhanced.” Ties between Iraq and Turkey have worsened considerably in recent years, and the blast apparently targeting the consul is not the first suffered by Turkey’s diplomatic mission to the country. In January 2012, at least one mortar round struck the outer compound wall of Ankara’s embassy in Baghdad, without causing casualties. In Saddam’s home town of Tikrit, a top criminal judge and five of his guards were wounded by a car bomb, while violence in Baghdad, Mosul and the mostly Sunni city of Fallujah left five dead, officials said. Iraq has seen a marked rise in the level of violence this year, coinciding with demonstrations by the Sunni minority against alleged ill-treatment at the hands of the Shiiteled government and security forces.—Agencies

Israel anxious over possible Syria strike JERUSALEM: The US decision to postpone possible strikes on Syria has done little to allay fears in northern Israel, where queues at post offices were backing up as civilians collected gas masks. Talk of imminent US military action against the regime in Damascus for its alleged use of chemical weapons had sparked widespread panic in Israel. Fearing the fallout from any attack on Syria could spill across their northern border and drag the Jewish state into the conflict, Israelis last week rushed to replace their old gas masks. US President Barack Obama’s decision to ask Congress to authorize military action on Saturday lifted the threat of immediate strikes on President Bashar Al-Assad’s government. But queues continued to back up for hours as many Israelis, particularly in the north near the borders with Syria and Lebanon, insisted on collecting protective gear that has been distributed at post offices across the country. Local media reported yesterday that some 40 percent of the population still did not have gas masks. “We’ve already had missiles in the north,” said Dalia Eliahu, who queued in a distribution centre in a park near the northern coastal town of Haifa, which is about 70 kilometres (43 miles) from the Syrian border at its closest point. She was referring to attacks on northern Israel by Hezbollah in a month-long war in 2006, and to an August 22 attack launched this year from southern Lebanon that saw four rockets fired without causing casualties or damage. “But this time, if Assad sends missiles with chemical (warheads), we can’t take it lightly,” said Eliahu, a recent retiree. Yann Lukatzki, 35, had also been waiting for five hours in the public park to pick up his mask from a distribution point. “We shouldn’t hesitate to come and pick up our masks,” he told AFP. “The international community must intervene. It’s immoral to leave this tyrant (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad) in place, but his retaliation could affect us, so we must be ready for all eventualities,” Lukatzki said. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the Jewish state was prepared for “every possible scenario” in neighboring Syria after US President Barack Obama postponed a threatened missile strike. And it is Israelis in the north who need the most reassurance. The July 2006 33-day war against Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah, which supports Assad, saw thousands of missiles fired over the border. The conflict killed some 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and nearly 160 Israelis, most of them troops. Avi Ohana, a 47-year-old engineer, told AFP “we can’t wait till the last moment” to prepare gas masks. There was brief tension in the park in Haifa as distribution was postponed until the next day. “We’ve queued for two hours for nothing,” pointed out Avraham Mor Yossef, an ultra-Orthodox Jew from a village on the Israeli-Lebanese border. “I have three children who haven’t got their masks, and I can’t miss another day of work to pick one up,” he pleaded with a local policeman. —AFP

ANKARA: Women, calling themselves ‘’victims of the post-modern coup’’ demonstrate yesterday in front of a courthouse in Ankara. — AFP

Former Turkish army chief on trial for 1997 coup ANKARA: Turkey’s former army chief and more than 100 other suspects went on trial yesterday over a 1997 bloodless coup that toppled the country’s first Islamist head of government. General Ismail Hakki Karadayi stands accused with 102 co-defendants of “overthrowing the Turkish government by force.” Prosecutors have called for a life sentence for Karadayi, 81, who did not attend yesterday’s hearing at an Ankara court due to ill health. Rival protests broke out outside the courtroom, with some shouting “Justice must be delivered” and “Coup-plotters must be put on trial” while other chanted slogans in support of the army leader. The high-profile trial concerns the toppling in 1997 of Turkey’s first Islamist head of government, Necmettin Erbakan, political mentor of current Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The army brought down Erbakan’s government without spilling a drop of blood and did not install a military administration to replace the civilian cabinet. A parade of tanks outside Ankara and an ultimatum issued to Erbakan were all it took to overthrow his government without violence. It became known as the “postmodern” coup as no troops were involved. Karadayi, however, has denied that the army ’s actions were a coup and told prosecutors that the military “did not exert any pressure on the government,” according to the Milliyet daily. The army, which sees itself as the guarantor of Turkey’s secular principles, had overthrown three earlier administra-

tions in 1960, 1971 and 1980. Since coming to power in 2002, Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has reined in the once -power ful militar y through a series of court cases. In August, a Turkish court jailed former military chief General Ilker Basbug for life and imprisoned scores of other senior figures for their role in a conspiracy to overthrow Erdogan’s government. Last September, more than 300 active and retired army officers, including three former generals, received prison sentences of up to 20 years over a 2003 military exercise alleged to have been an undercover coup plot. The extensive trials have polarized the country, with Turkey’s secular quarters denouncing them as a witch-hunt to silence government critics. But pro-government circles have praised the trials as a step towards democracy in Turkey. The Basbug verdict sparked angry protests in the streets, with police firing tear gas and water cannon at thousands of protesters who had gathered outside the court. An investigation into the 1997 coup was launched last year and 37 suspects were placed in custody. Karadayi himself was arrested in January but released on bail pending the trial. His deputy, former general Cevik Bir, was imprisoned and appeared at the opening of the trial yesterday. The hearings for the 1997 coup will last until September 6 and a verdict is expected to be announced within months. — AFP



Russia sends spy ship to eastern Mediterranean Kremlin not convinced by US evidence on chemical use

PARIS: French Prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault (right) speaks with French Foreign Affairs minister Laurent Fabius (left) prior to a meeting with MP’s focusing on the situation in Syria yesterday at the Hotel Matignon in Paris. —AFP

Britain says no plans for new Syria vote LONDON: Britain’s government said yesterday that it had “no plans” to hold a second parliamentary vote on joining military action against Syria even if the US Congress approves air strikes next week. Prime Minister David Cameron lost a vote in the lower House of Commons on Thursday on the principle of taking action to punish Syria for alleged chemical weapons use, and pledged to respect parliament’s wishes. But after US President Barack Obama announced on Saturday that he would ask Congress to authorize military action against Bashar al-Assad’s regime there has been pressure on Cameron to hold a fresh vote. Cameron’s official spokesman said on Monday: “Parliament has spoken and that is why the government has absolutely no plans to go back to parliament.” “The position we are in is that parliament has expressed its will and that is the basis on which we will proceed,” added the spokesman. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, whose Liberal Democrats are in coalition with Cameron’s Conservatives, said meanwhile he could “not foresee any circumstances” under which the government would seek a second

vote. “We’re not going to keep asking the same question of parliament again and again,” Clegg said. “I can’t foresee any circumstances that we would go back to parliament on the same question, on the same issue.” But the careful wording of the government’s statements left room for supporters of military action against Syria to keep pressing for a new vote once US lawmakers have decided. Former international development minister Andrew Mitchell said nothing should be ruled out. “It may be, after lengthy and careful consideration, (that) Congress affirms its support for the president’s plans and, in the light of that, our parliament may want to consider this matter further,” he told BBC radio. The US Congress is to debate Obama’s decision to attack Syria during the week starting on September 9 when they return to work, its speaker said. Obama cited the British vote when defending his decision to let US lawmakers vote. Cameron suffered the most humiliating defeat of his three years in power when Conservative rebels joined the opposition Labour party in voting against military action by 285 to 272. —AFP

MOSCOW: Russia is sending a reconnaissance ship to the eastern Mediterranean, Interfax news agency reported yesterday as the United States prepares for a possible military strike in Syria. US President Barack Obama has said he will seek congressional authorization for punitive action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after what Washington said was a sarin gas attack that killed over 1,400 people. Russia is a staunch backer of Assad in his war with rebels trying to topple him. The reconnaissance ship left Russia’s naval base in the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Sevastopol late on Sunday on a mission “to gather current information in the area of the escalating conflict”, the Interfax report quoted an unidentified military source as saying. The Defense Ministry declined immediate comment but Interfax said the vessel, the SSV-201 Priazovye, would operate separately from a Russian navy unit already stationed in the Mediterranean. Russian lawmakers want to travel to Washington to urge the US Congress not to back President Barack Obama’s plan for military strikes on Syria, the speaker of the upper house of parliament told President Vladimir Putin yesterday. Dismissing US accusations that the Syrian government had killed hundreds of its own people with poison gas as nothing but “talk”, senior legislator Valentina Matviyenko said both chambers were ready to send delegations. Russia is one of the main allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has already blocked several Western-led resolutions in the UN Security Council to sanction him over his crackdown on a now 2-1/2-year-old uprising. Last week, the ministry said new warships were being sent to the Mediterranean but described this as a routine rotation of ships under a permanent deployment which Moscow says is needed to protect national security interests. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also said at the time that Moscow did not intend to be dragged into any military conflict over Syria. Russia reiterated yesterday that the United States had not proved its allegations and that the chemical attack may have been staged by Syrian rebels to provoke outside intervention in the more

Mandela spends first night at home JOHANNESBURG: South Africans yesterday welcomed Nelson Mandela’s discharge from a hospital after nearly three months of treatment amid concerns that his health remains so poor that he still must receive intensive care at home. An ambulance returned the 95-year-old leader of the anti-apartheid movement to his home in the leafy Johannesburg neighborhood of Houghton on Sunday. The office of South African President Jacob Zuma said Mandela remains in critical and sometimes unstable condition and will receive the same level of care that he did in the hospital, administered by the same doctors.

“If he’s back at home, I’m feeling free,” said Harrison Phiri, a gardener. “He’s the father of the nation.” Thembisa Mbolambi, another Johannesburg resident, also expressed satisfaction that Mandela had left the hospital in Pretoria, describing him as “the man who offered himself for us.” The Star, a South African newspaper, carried a headline that read, “Madiba At Home,” referring to Mandela by his clan name. The newspaper noted that “worries over infection persist.” A headline in The New Age newspaper was more upbeat: “World joy for Mandela.” Mandela was admitted to the hospital on June 8

for what the government described as a recurring lung infection. Legal papers filed by his family said he was on life support, and many South Africans feared he was close to death. Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is viewed around the world as a powerful figure of reconciliation. Despite being jailed for his prominent role in opposing white racist rule, Mandela was seemingly free of rancor on his release in 1990 after 27 years in prison. He became a unifying leader who led South Africa through a delicate transition to all-race elections that propelled him to the presidency in 1994. —AP

Obama right to hold off on Syria: Gorbachev GENEVA: Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said yesterday US President Barack Obama was right to seek backing from Congress for military action in Syria, but warned that intervening raised dire risks. Obama has faced criticism for alleged indecisiveness and for passing the ball to US lawmakers after previously taking a hawkish tone over an alleged chemical attack in Syria.

“If he’s not decisive enough in shooting and bombing, I think it’s a good kind of indecisiveness,” Gorbachev told a conference of Green Cross International, a peace and environmental organisation he founded in 1993, two years after his Kremlin ouster. “If, however, they decide to shoot without regard for the opinion of the people everywhere, including

GENEVA: Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev gestures yesterday during the opening of a conference to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Green Cross International, founded in 1993 by Gorbachev to address environmental issues as well as poverty and insecurity. — AFP

the United States, then I think the consequences could be very bad,” he warned. Much of the international community, including the United States, Britain and France, has blamed the Syrian regime for an August 21 chemical attack near the capital Damascus that killed hundreds. But Russia, a longtime backer of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, has supported the regime and called the evidence it used chemical weapons unconvincing. Gorbachev’s reforms heralded the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Gorbachev made no comment on the Kremlin’s Syria policy, sparking a diplomatically toned rebuke from former Dutch premier Ruud Lubbers, ex-head of the United Nations’ refugee agency. “Russia needs to understand that the presence of chemical weapons in Syria is a problem for everyone. We know there are chemical weapons in Syria. This is a responsibility also for Russia,” Lubbers told the conference. “It should not be who’s wrong and right, but a common responsibility of the two capitals, Moscow and Washington,” he said.—AFP

Ousted cardinal lashes out at Vatican ‘vipers’ VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis’s “prime minister” Tarcisio Bertone has lashed out against Vatican “moles and vipers” after it was announced he is being replaced with a top diplomat. Secretary of State Bertone has been a powerful and divisive figure at the top of the Vatican hierarchy. His tenure coincided with dark moments for the Catholic Church, like the explosion of revelations about child abuse by priests and damaging leaks that pointed to intrigue and corruption in the Vatican. The comments from the 78year-old Italian cardinal, who was

appointed by the previous pope Benedict XVI, were quoted by Italian media yesterday. —AFP

than two-year-old civil war. Lavrov said Russia remained unconvinced following a meeting between Michael McFaul, the US ambassador to Moscow, and a senior Russian diplomat. The material the United States has shown Russia “contained nothing concrete: no geographical coor-

we ask for more detailed proof. They say, ‘You know, it’s all secret, so we cannot show it’. That means there are no such facts.” Russia is one of Assad’s biggest arms suppliers and has a naval maintenance facility in the Syrian port of Tartous. Moscow opposes any military intervention in Syria and has

ST PETERSBURG: A Russian member of a pro-Kremlin party takes part in a picket against a possible US military action against Syria outside the US Consulate in St Petersburg yesterday. —AP dinates, no names, no proof that samples were taken in a professional manner”, Lavrov told students and staff at Russia’s main diplomatic academy. “What our American colleagues and the British and French showed us earlier and recently absolutely does not convince us,” Lavrov said, according to state-run news agency RIA. Echoing comments by Putin at the weekend, Lavrov said: “There are no facts there ... and when

shielded Damascus from pressure at the UN Security Council. Lavrov defended decisions by Russia and China to block three Western-backed UN Security Council resolutions to press Assad to end the bloodshed, saying Moscow and Beijing “act on principle on all issues, including the Syrian crisis”. Russia and China “oppose attempts to return to the language of ultimatums,” he said. —Reuters



Consensus, then about-face from Obama on Syria WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama was ready to order a military strike against Syria, with or without Congress’ blessing. But on Friday night, he suddenly changed his mind. Senior administration officials describing Obama’s about-face Saturday offered a portrait of a president who began to wrestle with his own decision - at first internally, then confiding his views to his chief of staff, and finally summoning his aides for an evening session in the Oval Office to say he’d had a

change of heart. The ensuing flurry of activity culminated Saturday afternoon in the White House Rose Garden when Obama stood under a sweltering sun, his vice president at his side, and told the American public the US should launch a military strike to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad for a chemical weapons attack the US says killed more than 1,400 people last week. But first, he said, he’ll ask permission from Congress. By the time Obama’s National Security Council met a week

WASHINGTON: The rising sun glints off of windows in the Capitol in Washington, on the Labor Day holiday yesterday. —AP

ago Saturday, a few days after the attack, it was clear the intelligence the US had gathered corroborated the notion that a chemical attack had resulted in dramatic mass casualties, officials said. All the officials in this report demanded anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the president’s decision-making by name. As the meeting opened, Obama told his advisers the attack outside Damascus was precisely the type of scenario he had been concerned about last year, when he said Assad’s large-scale use of chemical weapons would cross a red line for the US and necessitate a response. Obama hadn’t made a final decision, officials said, but he told aides his strong inclination was the US must act. By the end of the meeting, aides were no longer discussing whether to respond, but how and when. Over the course of the next week, Obama’s aides began making their case publicly, asking allies to support a military action and talking with lawmakers, who were away from Washington in the final throes of their August congressional recess. Secretary of State John Kerry cut short his vacation and was dispatched to say the US had clear evidence of an attack in two impassioned State Department speeches. “The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of

women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity,” Kerry said Monday in the first address. “By any standard, it is inexcusable.” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, traveling in Asia, said the US had moved military assets into place. “We are ready to go,” Hagel said. The Navy beefed up its presence in the Persian Gulf region, increasing the number of aircraft carriers from one to two. Away from Washington, the US was running into obstacles in its search for a global coalition to bolster its case that a response was needed to show the world will not tolerate chemical weapons use. Its own inspectors on the ground in Syria, the UN Security Council failed to reach agreement on Wednesday on authorizing the use of force, with Russia objecting to international intervention. Meanwhile, Obama declared publicly and unequivocally that the US had concluded Assad’s government carried out the attack. Thursday brought another stinging setback when a vote in Britain’s Parliament to endorse military action failed, all but guaranteeing Britain wouldn’t play a direct role. But France’s leader said he and Obama were in agreement and that France could go ahead with a strike. In Washington, members of Congress from both parties were insisting Obama consult more

closely with Congress before giving an order to begin hostilities. Dozens of lawmakers, most of them Republican, signed a letter saying Obama should not take military action without congressional approval, although administration officials insisted no congressional leaders or committee chairs made that request personally to the White House. Obama’s national security team was in agreement that while consulting with Congress was critical, there was no need for formal approval, officials said. Seeking a vote in Congress to authorize a strike wasn’t even an option on the table. All that changed Friday night, when Obama left the West Wing with his chief of staff, Denis McDonough. Under cloudy skies and temperatures nearing 90 degrees, the two walked on the White House grounds for the better part of an hour, and Obama confided in his adviser that he had changed his mind. He laid out an idea to ask Congress to approve a strike. By 7 pm, top aides including deputy national security advisers Ben Rhodes and Tony Blinken had been summoned to the Oval Office, where Obama shared the new plan. It was the right thing to do, the president said, and would make the US stronger. Aides went to work immediately, with some drafting an authorization

that Congress could take up and others hashing out the timeline. But the next morning, there was pushback from some on the president’s team. The National Security Council convened Saturday to firm up the plan, with Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan, national security adviser Susan Rice and others in attendance. When Obama said he wanted to ask Congress for a vote, some of his advisers dissented. Officials wouldn’t say which participants argued against Obama’s proposal. After a two-hour debate, Obama’s team agreed to support Obama’s decision, officials said. So Obama went upstairs and called the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate to inform them of his about-face. He also notified French President Francois Hollande. By mid-afternoon, Obama emerged in a steamy White House Rose Garden, surprising lawmakers, reporters and the public with news of his plan. “I’m ready to act in the face of this outrage,” Obama said. “Today I’m asking Congress to send a message to the world that we are ready to move forward together as one nation.” Then Obama and Biden left the White House by motorcade to play a round of golf. —AP

Obama seeks Syria support from former foe McCain White House rallying support among Americans WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama is inviting former foe Sen John McCain to the White House, hoping one of Congress’ most intractable foreign policy hawks will help sell the idea of a US military intervention in Syria to a nation deeply scarred by more than a decade of war. Having announced over the week-

sarin gas and killed at least 1,429 civilians, more than 400 of whom were children. On the other side of the spectrum, some Republican and Democratic lawmakers don’t want to see military action at all. Obama’s turnabout on Syria sets the stage for the biggest foreign policy vote in Congress since the Iraq war. On Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry

beginning of a forceful administration appeal for congressional support. On Capitol Hill, senior administration officials briefed lawmakers in private to explain why the US was compelled to act against Assad. Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough also made calls to individual lawmakers.

WASHINGTON: From left, Rep. Sander Levin, Rep Robert Scott and Rep Brad Schneider walk a closed members-only briefing on Syria on Capitol Hill, on Sunday in Washington. —AP end that he’ll seek congressional approval for military strikes against the Assad regime, the Obama administration is now trying to rally support among Americans and their congressman and senators. Yesterday’s meeting with McCain is meant to address concerns of those who feel Obama isn’t doing enough to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government for an attack in the Damascus suburbs last month that the US says included

said the US received new physical evidence in the form of blood and hair samples that shows sarin gas was used in the Aug. 21 attack. Kerry said the US must respond with its credibility on the line. “We know that the regime ordered this attack,” he said. “We know they prepared for it. We know where the rockets came from. We know where they landed. We know the damage that was done afterwards.” Kerry’s assertion coincided with the

Further classified meetings were planned from Monday to Wednesday. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee plans a meeting Tuesday, according to its chairman, Sen Bob Menendez. The Senate Armed Service Committee will gather a day later, said Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, the top Republican on the panel. McCain, the candidate Obama defeated for the presidency in 2008, said Obama asked him to come to the White House

specifically to discuss Syria. “It can’t just be, in my view, pinprick cruise missiles,” the Arizona Republican told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” In an interview with an Israeli television network, he said Obama has “encouraged our enemies” by effectively punting his decision to Congress. He and fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have threatened to vote against Obama’s authorization if the military plan doesn’t seek to shift the momentum of the 2 1/2 year civil war toward the rebels trying to oust Assad from power. Obama is trying to convince Americans and the world about the need for action. So far, he is finding few international partners willing to engage in a conflict that has claimed more than 100,000 lives in the past 21/2 years and dragged in terrorist groups on both sides of the battlefield. Only France is firmly on board among the major military powers. Britain’s Parliament rejected the use of force in a vote last week. With Navy ships on standby in the eastern Mediterranean ready to launch missiles, Congress on Sunday began a series of meetings that are expected to continue over the next several days in preparation for a vote once lawmakers return from summer break, which is scheduled to end Sept 9. Senior administration officials gave a two-hour classified briefing to dozens of members of Congress in the Capitol on Sunday. Lawmakers expressed a range of opinions coming out of the meeting, from outright opposition to strident support for Obama’s request for the authorization to use force. Among Democrats, Rep Sander Levin of Michigan said he’d approve Obama’s request and predicted it would pass. Rep Elijah Cummings of Maryland said he was concerned the authorization might be “too broad.” Rep. Bennie G Thompson, the senior Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, said the administration still has “work to do with respect to shoring up the facts of what happened.” Republican Rep Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington said she was concerned about what Congress was being asked to approve. Sen Jeff Session, the war resolution needed tightening. —AP

US spied on presidents of Brazil, Mexico: Report SAO PAULO: The US National Security Agency spied on the communications of the presidents of Brazil and Mexico, a Brazilian news program reported, a revelation that could strain US relations with the two biggest countries in Latin America. Meanwhile, the American ambassador to Brazil was summoned by authorities yesterday over new allegations that the US National Security Agency spied on President Dilma Rousseff, an official said. Rio de Janeiro-based journalist Glenn Greenwald, a columnist for the Guardian newspaper who obtained secret files from NSA leaker Edward Snowden, told Brazil’s Globo television on Sunday of the alleged security breaches, which also involved Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. The report late Sunday by Globo’s news program “Fantastico” was based on documents that journalist Glenn Greenwald obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Greenwald, who lives in Rio de Janeiro, was listed as a co-contribu-

tor to the report. “Fantastico” showed what it said was an NSA document dated June 2012 displaying passages of written messages sent by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who was still a candidate at that time. In the messages, Pena Nieto discussed who he was considering naming as his ministers once elected. A separate document displayed communication patterns between Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and her top advisers, “Fantastico” said, although no specific written passages were included in the report. Both documents were part of an NSA case study showing how data could be “intelligently” filtered, Fantastico said. Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo told O Globo newspaper that the contents of the documents, if confirmed, “should be considered very serious and constitute a clear violation of Brazilian sovereignty.” “This (spying) hits not only Brazil, but the sovereignty of several countries that could have been violated in a way totally contrary to

what international law establishes,” Cardozo said. Cardozo traveled last week to Washington and met with US Vice President Joseph Biden and other officials, seeking more details on a previous, seemingly less serious set of disclosures by Snowden regarding US spying in Brazil. Rousseff is scheduled to make a formal state visit in October to meet US President Barack Obama in Washington, a trip intended to illustrate the warming in Brazil-US relations since she took office in 2011. A spokesman for Rousseff would not comment on the new spying allegations. Officials at Mexico’s presidential palace did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Snowden, an American who worked as a contractor for the NSA before leaking the documents, currently lives in asylum in Russia. “Fantastico” said it contacted Snowden via Internet chat, and that Snowden said he could not comment on the content of the report because of his asylum agreement with Russian authorities. —Reuters

PHILADELPHIA: Iraqi war veteran Paul Piscicelli (left) speaking with Peg Maynard, veterans justice outreach specialist for the Department of Veterans Affairs, at the justice center in Philadelphia. Piscitelli was in Philadelphia Municipal Court to answer to drug and theft charges. —AP

Special courts for US veterans expanding PHILADELPHIA: Former National Guardsman Paul Piscitelli is in Philadelphia Municipal Court to answer to drug and theft charges. Elijah Peters, who served in the Army in Afghanistan and Iraq, was arrested twice for assault. Like all the defendants appearing before Judge Patrick Dugan on a recent Wednesday, Piscitelli and Peters are veterans who chose to have their cases handled in a special court established for those once in the military. More than justice is meted out. Before the judge takes the bench, a volunteer approaches the veterans one by one offering help with such things as resume-writing and job hunting. A second volunteer steers them to long-distance runs and fitness classes. A representative from a community college discusses the advantages of higher education. There’s also a worker from the local Veterans Affairs medical center who’s checking to make sure defendants are getting doctor appointments, disability benefits, housing vouchers or any other benefit to which they’re entitled. “This is the touchy, feely, kissy, huggy court,” explained Janet DiTomasso, who helps administer the Philadelphia court. The veterans court operates under the philosophy that many of the defendants who have run into trouble with the law need treatment, not incarceration. Some courts only take misdemeanor cases. Some only handle veterans who received an honorable discharge. The Philadelphia court has set few limits. The city has been at the forefront of an experiment that has mushroomed across the nation. In 2008, there were just five veterans courts in the United States. By the end of last year, there were 166. Dugan, the judge, is an Army Reserve captain who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has been at the helm of the court from the start. The veterans who appear before him face a range of charges that stem primarily from substance abuse. Sometimes that abuse started in the mili-

tary. Sometimes, it was a problem before a veteran ever thought about enlisting. Dugan is determined to give them a second chance, and sometimes a third or a fourth. “If you take any human being and you put them in situations the military puts you in, it’s going to affect you. For the rest of your life it’s going to be there. Some people can handle it. Some people see more and come back with baggage,” Dugan said. “In the military, they teach you to shoot a weapon, but they teach you to shoot a weapon at a human being.” When Philadelphia opened its court three years ago, many initial defendants were older veterans, often homeless and longtime drug and alcohol users. “It was actually almost easier to deal with them,” said Guy Garant, who served in the Marine Corps before becoming a prosecutor 24 years ago. “I don’t think we ever expected we would turn their lives around totally. We turned maybe a couple of lives around totally. The others we just helped stabilize.” As the program has matured, more veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have entered the system. Their problems can be just as severe. Some seem determined to become a casualty of war. “It’s hard to even convince them to turn around. Some of these guys look at you like you’re a Martian. I can’t describe it,” Garant said. “We’re really putting them through the wringer just to get them stabilized.” To underscore Garant’s point, one of the veterans in court had tested positive for PCP during his latest drug test. As a result, Dugan ordered him to report more frequently for testing and he extended the veteran’s probation by 30 days. “You know what you need to do,” Dugan told the defendant. “Nine out of 10 is pretty good. But it’s got to be 10 out of 10.” Dugan said some of the veterans rely on pain killers and opiates to deal with the physical and mental wounds of war, and that can lead to heroin, which is generally cheaper. —AP

Crews make gains on Yosemite wildfire YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK: Crews working to corral the massive wildfire searing the edge of Yosemite National Park made major gains on the blaze overnight. The fire was 60 percent contained as of yesterday morning, up from 45 percent Sunday night. The blaze also grew about 9 square miles and now covers more than 357 square miles. Mandatory evacuations remain in

effect for some south of Highway 120 and Tioga Road west of Yosemite Creek Picnic Area is closed. Crews will continue building fire lines and burning away the fire’s potential fuel sources yesterday. The blaze started Aug 17 in the Stanislaus National Forest and two-thirds of the land burned since then is located there as well. The cause is being investigated. More than 5,500 structures are threatened. —AP



Sri Lanka rights group says it was harassed COLOMBO: A Catholic-run human rights group working in northeastern Sri Lanka said yesterday it had been harassed by security personnel after meeting UN rights chief Navi Pillay last week. Pillay ended her first official visit to the formerly war-ravaged country at the weekend with a stinging press conference in which she accused the government of becoming “increasingly authoritarian”. Veerasan Yogeswaran, a 60-year-old Jesuit priest who runs the Centre for Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, said five or six plainclothes policemen visited him at midnight and before dawn, just hours after the meeting with Pillay. “The concern is that they are going to

homes at midnight and questioning people,” the priest told AFP from his home in Trincomalee, 260 kilometres (160 miles) northeast of the capital Colombo. “This should not happen four years after the war has ended. People feel harassed and intimidated. “Just imagine the plight of the ordinary people when they are visited at midnight by the security forces.” Pillay denounced the intimidation of people she had spoken to during her week-long factfinding mission to probe alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, which is under international pressure over its rights record. “This type of surveillance and harassment appears to be getting worse in Sri Lanka, which is a country where critical voic-

es are quite often attacked or even permanently silenced,” she said on Saturday. The Centre for Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in eastern Sri Lanka helps families of people who went missing during and after Sri Lanka’s decades-long Tamil separatist war as well as people in detention. Rights activist Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, who heads the Colombo-based Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), said he travelled to the war-affected districts of Mullaittivu and Jaffna and spoke to local people who also said they were questioned after meeting Pillay. “I have had reports confirming that civilians who spoke with her... had been visited and questioned by people they suspected to be military

intelligence or army,” Saravanamuttu told AFP. The CPA chief who is a member of the ethnic Tamil minority is routinely denounced on state television as a traitor and Tamil Tiger supporter. Sri Lanka’s government has criticized Pillay, saying that she transgressed her mandate. It denied anyone who spoke with her had been harassed. Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the government was prepared to probe her allegations of intimidation if she could provide evidence. “Those who make these allegations are only trying to discredit the country,” Rambukwella told reporters. “If there is a complaint from them to the law enforcement authorities, we are ready to

have a complete investigation.” There was no immediate comment from the UN in Colombo or Pillay’s office in Geneva to government demands for evidence of intimidation. Sri Lanka’s battle with separatists from the minority ethnic Tamil group ended in 2009 with a no-holds-barred military offensive which crushed the Tamil Tiger rebel group. The military campaign sparked allegations that troops killed up to 40,000 civilians and committed other war crimes such as executing surrendering Tamil rebels and shelling civilian centres which had been declared no-fire zones. In March, the UN passed a second resolution in as many years pressing Sri Lanka to investigate alleged war crimes more thoroughly. —AFP

Taleban attack US base near Pakistan border Three assailants killed in shootout JALALABAD: Taleban suicide bombers and gunmen dressed as Afghan police attacked a US base near the Pakistani border yesterday, sparking a shootout that left all three assailants dead, officials said. No member of the US-led NATO mission in Afghanistan was killed in the assault on the base in Nangarhar province, said a spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). “There were a series of explosions that occurred in the vicinity of a forward operating base in Nangarhar province,” an ISAF spokesman told AFP. The military later described it as an “attempted but unsuccessful coordinated attack by enemy forces”. “There were three enemy forces killed during the attack. We can confirm that no ISAF personnel were killed as a result of this incident,” it said in a statement. An AFP photographer saw the bodies of three dead attackers wearing Afghan police uniforms. NATO combat troops are gradually withdrawing from Afghanistan and are due to finish their mission completely by the end of 2014, after presidential elections next April. Afghan officials said yesterday’s attack took place at Torkham, which borders Pakistan and straddles a key NATO overland supply route into landlocked Afghanistan from the nearest sea port of Karachi. Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, Nangarhar governor’s spokesman, said insurgents first attacked NATO supply trucks. “Today morning, Taliban insurgents attacked and burned supply trucks delivering supplies to NATO

which belonged to foreign forces near the US base in Torkham,” he told AFP. “Later, three armed suicide bombers started gunfire and clashes with Afghan forces and US forces, and they were killed

have launched a spate of attacks across the country in recent days, with scores killed in suicide bombings, ambushes and rocket attacks. They also killed five aid workers in the west. On Sunday the bullet-riddled

Afghan security personnel walk near the bodies of Taleban fighters after a clash with Afghan security forces in Torkham yesterday. —AFP after three hours of fighting. “At the moment, the stand-off is over, and the situation is under control.” Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban which is leading a 12-year insurgency against Western troops and the Afghan government, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement sent to the media. The Taleban

bodies of seven civilians kidnapped one week earlier by the Taliban were found in Ghazni province just south of the capital. Also on Sunday Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan and potential candidate for next year’s presidential election, Omar Daudzai, was appointed acting interior minister. President Hamid Karzai, who has

led Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led invasion removed the Taleban from power, is barred from standing for a third term. He has said he will not back anyone in the April 5 vote, but Daudzai is seen as one of his closest associates and loyalists. Daudzai, 55, from the biggest ethnic group the Pashtuns, was a member of the Hezb-e-Islami faction during the Soviet occupation and later went on to work for the United Nations. Interior minister Mujtaba Patang was voted out by parliament in July over accusations that he had failed to thwart the threat from Taleban rebels. Afghanistan’s 350,000-strong security forces are suffering a steep rise in attacks as the NATO mission winds down, with police and army casualties said to have increased by 15-20 percent since 2011. The election to succeed Karzai is seen as the key test of whether 12 years of massive international military and aid intervention has been worthwhile. Karzai recently named controversial former warlord Abdul Rab Rasul Sayyaf, 2009 runnerup Abdullah Abdullah and former finance minister Ashraf Ghani as possible candidates. Other possibilities include Qayum Karzai, the president’s brother, and former interior minister Ali Ahmad Jalali. Karzai has pledged to ensure a smooth election, but international donors have expressed concern about whether the vote will produce a credible result after the 2009 poll was marred by massive fraud. —AFP

India fury over gang rapes sign of changing nation NEW DELHI: A series of recent high-profile gang rape cases in India has ignited a debate: Are such crimes on the rise, or is it simply that more attention is being paid to a problem long hidden within families and villages? The answer, experts say, is both. Modernization is fueling a crisis of sexual assault in India, with increasingly independent women now working in factories and offices and stepping beyond the subservient roles to which they had traditionally been relegated. They are also more likely than their mothers and grandmothers were to report rapes, and more likely to encounter male strangers in public. “We never used to see so many cases of gang rape, and so many involving groups of young, unemployed men,” said Supreme Court lawyer Kirti Singh, who specializes in women’s issues. While there are no reliable statistics on gang rapes, experts say the trend, along with the growing sense of insecurity it has brought for women, led to recent outbursts of public anger over the long-ignored epidemic of violence against women. The silence broke in December, when a New Delhi student was gang-raped on a bus in a particularly vicious attack from which she died two weeks later. A juvenile court on Saturday handed down the first conviction in the case, sending a teenager to a reform home for three years for rape and murder. The sentence, the maximum a juvenile can face, was widely denounced as too lenient, and the girl’s parents vowed to appeal. The other suspects in the case are being tried as adults and could face execution if convicted. While attacks on women occur constantly across India,

often within the home, the brutality and public nature of the New Delhi case left many shocked and shamed. Thousands took to the streets in the capital to express their outrage. The government, pledging to crack down, created fast-track courts for rape cases, doubled prison terms for rape and criminalized voyeurism, stalking, acid attacks and the trafficking of women. The Tourism Ministry launched a nationwide “I Respect Women” campaign after a Swiss bicyclist was gang-raped in March in central India and an American woman was gang-raped two months later in the northern resort town of Manali. Yet another high-profile gang rape last month, against a photojournalist on assignment in Mumbai, renewed public fury and sent the media into 24-7 coverage marked by daily front page headlines and talk shows debating how to make India safe for women. “There is very clearly a class dimension” that is compounding the sudden outrage, women’s rights lawyer Flavia Agnes said. All five of the accused in the Mumbai attack had little to no education, and three had previously been arrested for theft, Mumbai police said. They lived in the slums near the abandoned textile mill where the woman was raped. In both the Mumbai and the Delhi cases, “middle-class people identified with these young girls, aspiring professionals, trying to make their mark in a competitive world,” said Sudha Sundararaman, an activist with the All India Democratic Women’s Association. Experts say the rapid growth of India’s cities and the yawning gulf between rich and poor are exacerbating the problem,

Sonia flying to US for medical check-up NEW DELHI: The head of India’s ruling party, Sonia Gandhi, is to fly to the United States for a medical check-up, according to a report, a week after she was hospitalized in New Delhi. Gandhi, India’s most powerful politician, travelled to the United States in 2011 for surgery on an undisclosed condition and remained out of the public eye for three months afterwards. “Her going to the US for medical check-up is due,” a senior party leader told the Press Trust of India news agency late on Sunday on condition of anonymity. Gandhi, 66, last had a check-up in the US in February and also travelled there in September last year, PTI reported. She was admitted to hospital last week after falling ill during a debate in parliament on key legislation. Party colleagues said she had been suffering from a fever and was exhausted after days of negotiating the successful passage of a landmark food welfare law. Her health and private life are closely guarded by her advisors and she rarely speaks to the press. In 2011, a news magazine report said she had undergone surgery for cancer, but the illness has never been disclosed officially. —AFP

with young men struggling to prove their traditional dominance in a changing world. “These are young men in the cities, without prospects, without hope. They feel rage against those who are perceived to have it,” sociologist Sudhir Kakar said. Cultural stigmas, police apathy and judicial incompetence have long made it difficult for women to even report rapes. But if modernization is changing the risks women face, it is also giving them the ability to speak up. In the first three months after the December bus rape, the number of rapes reported in the city more than doubled to 359, from the 143 reported in January-March of 2012. Those numbers, in a city of almost 17 million people, are still seen by experts as far below the actual number of attacks, but the jarring increase in just one year appeared to signal a significant change. “The biggest change is that women in the middle classes are reporting crimes to police,” Kakar said. They are fed up with the landscape of sexual harassment and fear, with the constant barrage of lewd comments and even groping - locally known as “eve-teasing” and with being told they should stay indoors at night. “Thirty years ago, even uttering the word ‘rape’ was almost taboo. That is changing,” said Ranjana Kumari, a women’s activist with the Center for Social Research. “There are so many cases, each more gruesome than the other, and people have lost patience, especially when no justice is served.” The photojournalist attacked last month stunned the nation by telling local media that “rape is not the end of life” - a groundbreaking statement given that many rape victims are still often dismissed as defiled. Many are shunned by their families, fired from jobs or driven from their home villages. As a result, most rape victims are still thought to remain silent. “What’s wrong with the system?” Supreme Court Justices R M Lodha and Madan B Lokur said in a statement last week, while hearing a petition from the father of a 15-year-old girl gang-raped by three men in 2012, according to Indian media. The girl, who is a dalit, member of the outcast community once known as untouchables, has since been barred from her school in north India, and her mother was killed for refusing to withdraw a police complaint about the crime, according to Press Trust of India. The court lambasted India’s poor record of conviction in rape cases, saying “Why are 90 percent of rape cases ending in acquittals? The situation is going from bad to worse.” —AP

ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf (center) is escorted by soldiers as he salutes on his arrival at an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad. —AFP

Musharraf faces murder charge ISLAMABAD: Pakistan police yesterday registered murder charges against former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in connection with the death of a radical cleric during the siege of a mosque in 2007. It is the latest in a series of charges dating back to Musharraf’s 1999-2008 rule, which the retired general has faced since returning from self-imposed exile in March. Radical cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi was one of more than 100 people killed after Pakistani troops stormed the Red Mosque in Islamabad on July 10, 2007. Ghazi’s brother, Abdul Aziz, escaped in a burqa. The operation opened the floodgates to a Taliban-led insurgency that has killed thousands of people in Pakistan. “The High Court ordered Islamabad police to register murder charges against Musharraf on a petition filed by the son of Rashid Ghazi,” said Tariq Asad, a lawyer who represented Ghazi in court. “The court ordered police to register the case earlier as well but their instructions were not followed. Today, the court made Islamabad police officials write the case inside the court room and comply

with the orders right there,” he said. Police confirmed that the charges had been registered. “We have booked Musharraf under section 302/119 of the law, which deals with murder charges,” Qasim Niazi, a senior police official, told AFP. An anti-terrorism court last month charged Musharraf with the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who died in a gun and suicide attack after a political rally in December 2007. It was the first time a head of Pakistan’s army has been charged with a crime, challenging beliefs that the military is immune from prosecution and threatening to fan tensions with civilian institutions. While murder will be difficult to prove, it may embolden efforts to try Musharraf for treason for seizing power in 1999 and for violating the constitution by sacking judges and imposing emergency rule in 2007. Treason can carry the death penalty. Musharraf also faces murder accusations over the 2006 death of Baluch rebel leader Nawab Akbar Bugti. Musharraf has been under house arrest at his plush villa on the edge of Islamabad since April. —AFP



Afghanistan backdrop to Xi’s Central Asia visit BEIJING: The Chinese president visits Central Asia this week amid concerns that a US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan could mean a destabilizing exodus of foreign radical fighters from the war zone to homelands closer to China’s borders. With the pullout deadline just 16 months away, China’s leaders share widespread concerns that Kabul’s own forces won’t be able to maintain security or that foreign fighters who were focused on fighting US troops will now head elsewhere, including other fragile Central Asian nations or even northwestern China. Xi Jinping’s trip, starting today, also is seen as an attempt to shore up China’s trade and relationships with governments in the region, extending Beijing’s influence in an area traditionally dominated by Russia. “It’s vitally important for China’s development to have prosperity, peace and stability in Central Asia,” said Li Xin, a Russia and Central Asia specialist at the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Studies. “ The worry is the withdrawal of US troops will have a spillover effect.” Xi’s visits to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan are his first to

the region since taking office as president in March. He’ll end the trip in Kyrgyzstan where he will attend the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a Russianand Chinese-dominated grouping that Beijing hopes will boost its diplomatic influence in the region to better match its already considerable economic clout. China surged past the EU as Central Asia’s biggest trading partner in 2010, and did $40 billion in commerce with the five-nation bloc in 2011. Much of that comes in the form of oil and gas, with two pipelines carrying supplies to China from Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. China, for its part, provides economic assistance and much-needed investment to meet the desperate infrastructure needs of the region and its 66 million people, helming projects such as the 2.3 kilometer (1.4-mile) Shar-Shar Tunnel linking Tajikistan to China. Ensuring energy supplies and protecting its investment rank high among China’s reasons for wanting to ensure Central Asian stability. Even more important is its desire to block support for antigovernment radicals among the Turkic

Muslim Uighur ethnic group that is native to China’s vast northwestern region of Xinjiang and whose members share religious, cultural and linguistic ties to the people of Central Asia. Uighurs have been fighting a low-level insurgency in China, fired by resentment of ethnic Han Chinese dominance and a form of imported radical Islam that cuts against the grain of their region’s traditional moderate sufi beliefs. Their hardline Islamic sentiments are shared by Central Asian groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan, some of which preach violent overthrow of their governments. This year has been particularly bloody in Xinjiang, with scores killed and hundreds arrested in raids, attacks and riots. It isn’t clear what is fueling the spike in bloodshed, but authorities have shown their unease by boosting security in the region. “Beijing is consumed by insecurity,” said Andrew Scobell, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation in Arlington, Virginia. “China’s greatest fear is linkups between internal challenges and external threats, notably the Uighur

diaspora that spills across national borders.” China believes strong economies and markets in neighboring states are a key to stability in Xinjiang, said Raffaello Pantucci, a terrorism expert at the Royal United Services Institute think tank in England. “The government believes that economic development is at the heart of resolving the region’s ethnic tensions, and in order for the region to succeed it needs to have a prosperous region adjacent to trade with,” Pantucci said. China has invested much of its aspirations for bringing stability to Central Asia in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, pushing to expand the grouping’s activities to include joint anti-terrorism exercises and intelligence sharing. Russia favors its own Collective Security Treaty Organization, but Beijing has nonetheless managed to involve Moscow in SCO as an alternative to US influence in region following the 2014 drawdown. China has been conflicted over the US presence in Central Asia. It has argued against a long-term American footprint in the region and urged Kyrgyzstan to close the Manas Transit Center air base,

which supplies troops in Afghanistan. Beijing sees such facilities as part of a strategy to hem in China’s growing power and influence. At the same time, China has relied on US troops to create the conditions for pursuing its own interests in Afghanistan, including plans to extract vast amounts of copper and coal. Beijing signed a strategic partnership last summer with the war-torn country and in September sent its top security official to Kabul, the highest level Chinese official to visit in 46 years. Beijing also announced it would train 300 Afghan police officers as part of its continuing, low-key aid program for the nation. Now that US troops are leaving, Beijing has been hesitant to make new commitments, possibly because it is waiting to see how stable the Kabul government will be, analysts say. “China considers Afghanistan to be the epicenter of Islamic extremism in the region,” Scobell said. “China has a high degree of concern about instability in Afghanistan and considerable alarm that the draw-down could spill over into adjacent countries, including western China,” he said. —AP

China set impossible terms for visit: Manila ‘Conditions inimical to Philippines interest’

TOKYO: Utility poles fall over a road after a tornado in Koshigaya city, Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, yesterday. Tornadoes tore through eastern Japan yesterday, leaving dozens of people injured, at least one seriously, and destroying some buildings.— AP

Tornado rips through east Japan, dozens hurt KOSHIGAYA, Japan: A tornado ripped through parts of eastern Japan yesterday, injuring several dozen people, tearing off roofs and uprooting buildings. Footage of Koshigaya city, north of Tokyo, from public broadcaster NHK showed a number of homes destroyed, upturned cars, and schools with shattered windows. A warehouse had been lifted from its foundations and hurled into other buildings. A total of 63 people were injured and about 110 houses were totally destroyed or partly damaged in Koshigaya and surrounding areas, a spokesman for the Saitama regional police said. One of the injured was in serious condition with a fractured skull. An AFP journalist in the city saw roof tiles scattered all over the streets, with locals outside inspecting their battered homes and emergenc y vehicles at the scene. Residents were being prevented from reentering their houses for fear of collapse. Some electricity poles had been snapped

and a number of them had hit houses as they fell, worsening the damage. Jiji Press agency said seven female students from a local middle school’s volleyball and badminton teams were injured when a section of the gymnasium’s roof flew off and glass windows were shattered. “We are preparing evacuation shelters, while also readying emergency supplies,” said an official at the city ’s fire department. The electricity supply was cut for about 33,000 households in the region, mainly in Saitama prefecture, probably after lightning strikes, according to utility Tokyo Electric Power which provides power in the area. “ Weather conditions in the region today have been very unstable,” said a meteorologist at Japan’s weather agency. “In flatter parts of the region particularly, warm, wet air can come inland and spark tornados. This is especially the case when there is a typhoon developing in the south,” he said. — AFP

‘Serious abuses’ on Thai fishing boats: ILO BANGKOK: The International Labor Organization (ILO) yesterday warned of “serious abuses” in the Thai fishing industry-a major global supplier-such as forced labor and violence. About 17 percent of the mainly undocumented Myanmar and Cambodian fishermen surveyed by the ILO were forced to work under threat of financial penalty, violence or denunciation to the authorities, the UN agency said. Thailand-the world’s third largest fish exporter by value, with sales worth around $7 billion a year-is under international pressure to respond to reports of fishermen forced to work as virtual slaves under brutal conditions. “This study does find serious abuses within the sector. The vast majority of workers were in irregular status and thus more vulnerable to exploitation,” said ILO senior program officer Max Tunon. While 10 percent of respondents reported being severely beaten on board boats, more than a quarter said they worked or were on call between 17 and 24 hours a day. The average wage was 6,483 baht ($200) a month among the sample of 596 people, while only one of the migrant fishermen had a work permit. The survey found seven children under 15 years old, and 26 teenagers aged 15-17. Conditions for fishermen on long-haul vessels were worse than for those who regularly returned to shore, the survey found, with a quarter reporting having been deceived or coerced into working at sea. Tunon said the study focused on those in short-haul boats, with those trapped at sea “in the worst conditions” not necessarily included.“It would be expected that if we interviewed just people at sea for a long period of time the picture would look worse,” he said. The report said the fishing industry as a whole-which includes lucrative fish and shrimp farming and packaging

sectors-accounts for around 1.2 percent of Thailand’s economy. But declining fish stocks have pushed boats farther out to sea in search of catch, increasing their fuel costs. “With pressures on seafood suppliers to reduce costs by every means available, a race to the bottom on labor costs has been created for the Thai seafood industry,” the report said. “When coupled with the increased vulnerability of undocumented migrant workers to forced labor, an enabling environment for such abuses to become systematic now exists.” The ILO said an estimated 50,000 shortfall in the number of fishermen required by the industry was “both a cause and an effect of the abusive labor practices” in the sector. It said complications in the registration process hampered access to work permits, while there was “inadequate access to justice” for migrant fishermen, but noted that Thailand had introduced a number of new initiatives to try to coordinate its response to abuses in the sector. Both the European Union and United States, which are major markets for Thai seafood products, have vowed to jointly combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Thailand has languished towards the bottom of the annual US trafficking in person’s report and must improve its efforts on combating forced labor or face relegation next year-which could trigger cuts in nonhumanitarian and non-trade American aid. International firms are also becoming more wary of association with suppliers who may use forced labor and trafficking, the ILO said. It cited a petition of almost 100,000 signatures demanding that Walmart adopt higher standards after the US retail giant was linked to a Thai seafood firm at the centre of accusations of “abusive labor practices”. —AFP

MANILA: Philippine President Benigno Aquino III canceled a trip to a Chinese trade fair after Beijing demanded that he first withdraw a legal complaint over disputed territories in the South China Sea, Filipino officials said yesterday. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and two other diplomats relayed conditions for Aquino to attend the annual China-ASEAN Expo, which opens today in the southern city of Nanning, Depar tment of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez told a news conference. Hernandez declined to detail the conditions, but said these were “absolutely inimical to our national interest.” The Chinese side asked that the conditions not be publicly disclosed, he said. They were discussed by Wang and Philippine Foreign Secretar y Alber t del Rosario in Beijing tomorrow. Because of the conditions, Aquino decided to call off his publicly announced trip to the trade fair, Hernandez said, adding the Philippines will instead send a delegation headed by its trade secretary. “The president stood firm in the defense of the countr y ’s national interest,” Hernandez said. Two Philippine officials told The Associated Press that China wanted Manila to withdraw a UN arbitration case over disputed islands in the South China Sea. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

Chinese officials have also cited a new standoff between China and the Philippines over the Second Thomas Shoal, which is called Ayungin Shoal by Filipinos and Ren’ai Reef by the Chinese, the Philippine officials said. China has

its territorial disputes to UN arbitration in January - which Beijing calls an “unfriendly act” - may not be welcomed by the Chinese public and media, the officials said. Asked to comment yesterday, Chinese Embassy spokesman

MANILA: Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez delivers a statement during a press conference in Pasay, south of Manila, yesterday.—AP asked Manila to remove a navy ship that ran aground on the shoal years ago, but the Philippine officials said the area was well within their territorial waters. China was concerned that allowing Aquino to visit after the Philippines brought

Zhang Hua did not react to their statements, but urged the Philippines to work with China “to overcome difficulties and disturbances and make real efforts to get the China-Philippine relationship” back on track. He said China wel-

comes Southeast Asian delegations, including from the Philippines, to the trade expo. The Philippines is this year’s “country of honor” at the trade fair, which takes place in China every year to highlight trade exchanges between Beijing and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The prime ministers of China allies Cambodia and Laos, along with those of Thailand and Vietnam have confirmed their attendance to the trade expo, which was first held in 2004 to promote the China-ASEAN free -trade area. Myanmar, another China ally, will send its vice president, Philippine officials said. The Philippines and China have been embroiled in increasingly antagonistic territorial disputes. Last year, China seized a shoal near the northwestern coast of the Philippines, and this year it demanded that the Philippine navy withdraw from Second Thomas Shoal farther south. The Philippines incensed China in January by challenging Beijing’s massive territorial claims in the strategic South China Sea before a UN arbitration tribunal, which has convened to look into Manila’s complaint despite China’s stance to ignore the move. China claims virtually the entire South China Sea and its island groups on historical grounds. The Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan have rejected that, sparking fears the disputes might spark Asia’s nex t major armed conflict. — AP

Bangladesh court seeks HRW response DHAKA: A special tribunal dealing with war crimes involving Bangladesh’s independence war against Pakistan yesterday asked an international rights group to explain why it shouldn’t be charged with contempt of court for comments the group made about a recent ruling. The tribunal ruled that Human Rights Watch must reply within three weeks or it could be charged. A person found responsible for contempt could face one year in jail and be ordered to pay 5,000 takas ($63). Last month, New York-based group issued a statement saying the trial of former Islamic party leader Ghulam Azam was “deeply flawed” and did not meet international standards. The statement also alleged the “judges had improperly conducted an investigation on behalf of the prosecution” and mentioned “collusion and bias among prosecutors and judges.” Azam was sentenced to 90 years in jail for war crimes. Both the defense and prosecution have appealed the verdict. The maximum punishment Azam could have faced was the death penalty. The tribunal found him guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity, but said it considered his age and decided to award a jail term. Azam is 91. Azam is known to be the key person to openly oppose the independence struggle and toured the Middle East to raise support for Pakistan. His party has been accused of organizing citizens’ brigades to fight against the soldiers and guerrillas who sought independence. Bangladesh says Pakistani soldiers, aided by local collaborators, killed 3 million people and raped 200,000 women in the 1971 war. Bangladesh was the eastern wing of Pakistan and was geographically divided by India. The group’s statement prompted prosecutors to file a contempt petition last month against the group. The prosecution’s filing said the group raised “biased, baseless, utterly false, fabricated and ill-motivated” allegations involving the trial process. The US ambassador in Bangladesh, Dan Mozena, expressed his concern last month over the prosecutors’ move. He said an organization like Human Rights Watch has “a critical role to play.” The prosecutors’ petition names the group’s board of directors, its director for the Asia region, Brad Adams, and his associate Storm Tiv. There was no immediate response from Human Rights Watch. It said last month that it was not in a position to respond because it had not received any official notification of the prosecutor’s contempt petition.—AP

OKUMA: Workers stand on storage tanks at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant at Okuma town in Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan. Japan’s top nuclear regulator raised safety concerns yesterday about hastily built storage tanks and their foundations after signs of more leaks of radiation-contaminated water at the crippled nuclear power plant. — AP

More tank leaks found at Japan nuke plant TOKYO: Japan’s top nuclear regulator raised safety concerns yesterday about hastily built storage tanks and their foundations after signs of more leaks of radiation-contaminated water at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant. The latest leak was found over the weekend at a connecting pipe. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co said it suspects there may also have been leaks from three storage tanks, because high radioactivity was detected near them. The levels were not considered deadly. Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Shunichi Tanaka told a Tokyo news conference that the small leak and possible other leaks have added to concerns about the plant’s stability. They follow a major leak two weeks ago. TEPCO reported a loss of 300 tons of radiation-contaminated water from a steel tank on Aug 19, saying most of it is believed to have seeped underground but some might have escaped into the sea. The company has yet to determine the cause or exactly where the

water went. The massive leak of water used to cool the plant’s three melted reactor cores triggered fears of similar leaks from more than 300 other similar tanks. The tanks are part of approximately 1,000 tanks holding 330,000 tons of contaminated water at the plant, where the radioactive waste water from the reactors grows by 400 tons daily. The latest leaks have triggered further concerns about the plant’s ability to manage the contaminated water. Experts have said that radiation-contaminated water leaking from underground and utility tunnels connected to reactors and turbine buildings has been leaking into the sea for some time. Tanaka said he believed the discoveries of the subsequent leak and signs of possible leaks were the result of closer inspections after the leak two weeks ago. That leak was the worst from a tank at the plant, where three reactors melted down following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Tanaka raised concerns about the safety of the foundations of the tank sites.—AP



Obama sends Kerry, Hagel to US Senate on Syria vote WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama will send his diplomatic and defense chiefs to Congress today, intensifying a fervent effort to win crucial votes on supporting military strikes in Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will testify to the Senate Foreign Relations committee in what will be one of the most high profile political set pieces in Washington in weeks. Kerry, who used to run the panel and Hagel, a Republican who emerged as a fierce critic of former president George W Bush’s Iraq policy, both know the ways of the chamber, as former senators. The administration faces a daunting task in winning support for military action in Syria to punish it for a chemical weapons attack nearly two weeks ago. Obama shocked the world on Saturday by announcing he would seek authorization for military action from Congress-at a time when expectations of imminent US missile strikes on Syrian targets were running high. Of the two chambers of Congress, the Senate is seen as the easier sell, as it is run by Obama’s Democrats and contains a number of Republicans who have been pressing for military action. The Republican-run House of Representatives however includes many conservatives who have blocked Obama’s agenda across the board, and may be keen to thwart the president abroad, despite his warnings that US credibility is at stake, as it has already done at home. Liberal Democrats wary of how voters will respond to another US entanglement in the Middle East may also be a worr y for the White House. Most of official

Washington was on hiatus yesterday for the annual Labor Day holiday, but Obama was meeting with two of his most hawkish foreign policy critics, Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Both men have repeatedly called on Obama to drop his reluctance to arming the opposition in Syria and to embrace more robust military action than the “limited” and “narrow” action the president envisages in Syria. But both senators have reputations as mavericks and are sometimes pragmatic dealmakers across the political aisle, so their support for a strike would be a tangible victory for Obama as he tries to win over Congress. The Senate hearing today will take place ahead of the scheduled return to work of Congress on September 9 after a summer recess. However, there are no current plans for the House to be recalled before then. Obama has a limited window this week for personal politicking on Syria, as he is due to leave town on Tuesday evening to visit Sweden and to go to the G20 summit in Russia. Obama made calls over the weekend to individual members of Congress, as did Vice President Joe Biden. Kerry, Hagel, national security advisor Susan Rice and military intelligence chiefs held an unclassified briefing for Democratic House members yesterday. A senior White House official said the administration would deploy all of its possible resources on Capitol Hill and beyond to sway opinion on Syria vote. Today, before leaving for Europe, Obama will meet the chairs and top opposition members of key national security committees from both the Senate and the House. — AFP

Lawmakers worry if Obama would permit ground forces WASHINGTON: US lawmakers began work yesterday on their version of an authorization of the use of military force in Syria, worrying that President Barack Obama’s draft could open the door to possible use of ground troops or eventual attacks on other countries. Obama’s proposal, released on Saturday by the White House, authorizes the president to use the armed forces “as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in connection with the use of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in the conflict in Syria.” It also explicitly allows military action to deter or prevent the transfer of those weapons into or out of Syria. The Obama administration has accused the Syrian government of killing more than 1,400 people, many of them children, in a sarin gas attack near Damascus on Aug. 21. Syria has blamed the attack on rebel forces. Although the authorization’s focus is on the use of chemical weapons against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s opponents in the

country’s 2-1/2-year-old civil war, it did not set a time limit on any military action or confine it to Syria or spell out other limits clearly enough for many US lawmakers. Democratic Senator Rober t Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Democrat Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, were conferring yesterday on the text of the Senate’s version of a revised authorization, a Senate aide said. The committee could begin debate on a Senate version of the bill today afternoon, with an eye toward bringing it to the full Senate for debate next week. The House of Representatives and the Senate return from a summer break on Sept. 9. Both chambers would have to approve the authorization, and it was unclear whether the Obama administration has the votes. The authorization of the use of militar y force against al Qaeda signed into law in September 2001 by Republican President George W Bush has been used to justify a dozen years of US counterterrorism

efforts by both Bush and Obama, from the war in Afghanistan to warrantless wiretapping and drone strikes - with little congressional oversight. “The resolution that they are presenting right now is so open ended, I think even people who are sympathetic to the administration might have trouble supporting it,” said Representative James McGovern, a liberal Democrat from Massachusetts. “The broad authority the president asked for creates lots of concern with me and others,” Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri told repor ters after a three-hour classified briefing for lawmakers on Sunday. “And I think that that’s to be narrowed in the next week,” he said. Some legal analysts said Obama’s authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) request as written could open the door to military action not just against Syria, but against other countries if they were deemed to be connected to the use of chemical weapons within Syria.— Reuters

Suspected spy bird detained in Egypt Continued from Page 1 movement of migrating birds, said Ayman Abdallah, the head of Qena veterinary services. Abdallah said the device stopped working when the bird crossed the French border, absolving it of being an avian Mata Hari. With turmoil gripping Egypt following the July 3 popularly backed military coup that overthrew the country’s president, authorities and citizens remain highly suspicious of anything foreign. Conspiracy theories easily find their ways into cafe discussion - as well as some media in the country. Earlier this year, a security guard filed a police report after capturing a pigeon he said carried microfilm. A previous rumor in 2010 blamed a series of shark attacks

along Egypt’s Mediterranean coast on an Israeli plot. It wasn’t. In the bird’s case, even military officials ultimately had to deny the bird carried any spying devices. They spoke Saturday on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to journalists. Yet later, the state-run daily newspaper Al-Ahram quoted Kamal as saying the incident showed the patriotism of the man who captured the bird in the first place. The bird remains caged for now, as Abdallah said authorities must receive permission from prosecutors to release the animal. But one mystery still remains: Abdallah and others called the bird a swan. P h o to gr a p h s o b t a i n e d by A P s h owe d w h a t appeared to be a stork locked behind bars in the police station. — AP

Regional war if West strikes Syria: Assad Continued from Page 1 President Francois Hollande has backed a call from President Barack Obama for a military strike against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government in retaliation for the chemical attack. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault hosted lawmakers, his defense and foreign ministers and intelligence and security officials yesterday to discuss Syria. France is “determined to take action against the use of chemical weapons by the regime of Bashar Assad, and to dissuade it from doing so again,” Ayrault said after the meeting. “This act cannot go without a response.” Ayrault added that France would not act alone and that Hollande was “continuing his work of persuasion to bring together a coalition as soon as possible.” Assad’s government has denied responsibility, blaming it on opposition fighters who it says are armed by the West. Ayrault met lawmakers to provide what it said was clear evidence that the Damascus regime was behind the attack. Assad also said France, which has said it is prepared to back Washington in threatened military strikes in response to the alleged August 21 chemical attack, should consider the consequences of such action. “Whoever works against the interests of Syria and its citizens is an enemy. The French people are not our enemy, but the policy of their state is hostile to the Syrian people,” he said. “Insofar as the policy of the French state is hostile to the Syrian people, the state will be its enemy... There will be repercussions, negative ones of course, on the interests of France.” Nearly 90 rebels were killed near the Syrian capital over the past 48 hours, a watchdog said yesterday, as fighting raged ahead of possible foreign military action against the regime. At least 29 of those killed, among them non-Syrians, died in an army ambush yesterday in Adra, northeast of Damascus, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The group, which relies on a network of activists, doctors and lawyers on the ground for its

information, said security forces were also among those killed and injured, without giving numbers. State news agency SANA, meanwhile, said an army unit had killed “mostly” members of the Islamist group Al-Nusra Front, which has many foreign recruits. Adra, an industrial city 35 kilometers (20 miles) from Damascus, is a key entry point to Eastern Ghouta, an agricultural area where rebels and regime forces have frequently clashed. Rebel-held Eastern Ghouta was one of the Damascus suburbs targeted in alleged chemical weapons attack on August 21 that caused worldwide outrage and triggered calls for US-led military retaliation against the regime. The Observatory said another 46 rebels had died on Sunday around the town of Rouhayba, also northeast of the Syrian capital, in air raids and fighting that came when regime forces retaliated for an attack on army positions. Another 11 rebels died yesterday in different areas near Damascus, it added. According to the Observatory, more than 110,000 people have been killed since Syria’s conflict broke out in March 2011, including at least 40,146 civilians. Hundreds were reportedly killed in the alleged poison gas attack on August 21 that some Western and Arab countries have blamed on the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad-a claim it denies. US President Barack Obama decided on Saturday that he would seek the approval of Congress before launching any military strikes on Syria over the attack. That pushes back any intervention until next week at the earliest, as lawmakers only come back from summer recess on September 9. Syria’s UN representative Bashar Al-Jaafari has asked the United Nations to tr y to “prevent any aggression” against the regime, insisting that his government has “never used chemical weapons.” But Washington says it has proof Syria used sarin gas and France yesterday was set to provide what it claims is clear evidence that the regime was behind the alleged chemical attack. — Agencies

PARIS: French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Driant (left) French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (center) and French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault (right) pose prior to a meeting at Matignon in Paris yesterday. — AP

Egypt judges for dissolving MB Continued from Page 1 In its recommendation to Egypt’s administrative court, the panel of judges accused the Brotherhood of operating outside the law. It also recommended the closure of its Cairo headquarters. The recommendation is nonbinding for the court, which holds its next hearing on Nov 12. Both state and private Egyptian media have adopted the interim government’s line on dealing with the Brotherhood since the coup, repeatedly describing the group’s actions and those of other Morsi supporters as acts of “terrorism.” The 85-year-old organization had faced legal challenges even before Morsi’s ouster. Officially banned for most of its existence, it flourished as a major provider of social services to the country’s poor and eventually won seats in parliament and union leadership. But its lack of legal status, as well as its secretive organization and funding had left it open to recurrent crackdowns by the government over the years. Thousands of its members had been imprisoned on charges ranging from endangering national security to belonging to an illegal organization. The Brotherhood rose to the forefront of Egyptian politics however after the 2011 popular uprising that forced longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak from power. The group then formed a political party and won majority seats in the parliament. Its candidate, Morsi, became the country’s first Islamist president.

The distinction between the religious-based Brotherhood and its political party however remained unclear, raising questions about financing and legal status and driving many opponents to file lawsuits seeking Brotherhood’s dissolution. A similar recommendation by a panel of judges was issued in March ahead of a court decision on the group’s legal status. Only then, the Brotherhood declared it had registered itself as a nongovernmental organization. Critics questioned the hastened registration. Approval by the ministry overseeing such groups usually takes up to two months and requires review of applicants’ records and accounting. The non-governmental organization status also entails disengagement from political activities, such as backing candidates or campaigning before elections. Most observers doubted such a position would be possible for the Brotherhood, saying the distinction between the structure and funding of the group and its political party, Freedom and Justice, were opaque. Critics also charged that Morsi relied on the Brotherhood’s leadership in his decision making. Legal expert Nasser Amin said the court is likely to judge the Brotherhood in violation of the non-governmental organization status. “It clearly had political programs and endorsed candidates in violation of the law,” he said. “It also engaged in armed operations” when its members defended its headquarters building from protesters in a Cairo suburb at a time when nearly a half dozen Brotherhood offices were being torched. — AFP





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Libya oil industry in doldrums as output dives By Suleiman Al-Khalidi o end is in sight to the worst disruption to Libya’s oil industry since the civil war in 2011 as armed groups, security guards and oil workers with tribal loyalties shut down pipelines and oil ports across the country. Central state power is already tenuous and separatist groups are exploiting the stoppages, but the government risks bloody clashes with tribal militias if it sends ill-equipped nascent army units to capture oil terminals held by armed groups. “These militias are intoxicated with power,” said a senior Libyan official, adding that Prime Minister Ali Zeidan’s strategy was to appease oil workers and apply tribal mediation with caveats and incentives to end the standoff. Zeidan, accused of allowing corruption to flourish, can ill afford to prolong a crisis that the government says has already cost more than $2 billion, threatening Libya’s healthy foreign currency reserves, power supply and remnants of law and order. Libya’s oil production has fallen to just over 10 percent of capacity due to a month-long disruption by armed security guards who shut the main export ports in the east and centre over pay demands. In the past week the strikes have spread to the western coastal ports and armed groups have also closed taps on pipelines from major oil fields, threatening the major north African oil producer with economic paralysis. “It’s a tribal war to terminate the political process. They want a body that represents the tribes,” Noman Benotman, president of Quilliam, a counter-terrorism think tank, said. “Practically the government is dead, technically it is still there.” Calls for federal rule have become stronger since Gaddafi’s overthrow in 2011, fuelled by complaints in the east that it has not been given a fair share of Libya’s wealth, and the weakness of the central government. Any military move by Tripoli to deploy troops to retake control of the port terminals would be “considered a declaration of war”, federalist Ibrahim Al-Jathran told cheering crowds gathered in the eastern coastal town of Ajdabiyah yesterday. Jathran, ousted this month as chief of the Petroleum Facilities Guards in the eastern region for leading strikers, is head of a self-governing political council announced in the oil town of Ras Lanuf on Aug 17. The federalists say they are not separatists and only want a bigger role and better distribution of wealth. Most of Libya’s oil is in the east, separated from the more populous west by a vast desert. The federalists are consolidating control over the east, steeled by the conviction that Tripoli let them down in the fight against Gaddafi. Karim Al-Barase, a federalist activist, said federalists were planning to set up a new oil company in the east to handle the region’s oil exports transparently and ensure they were not stolen “by a corrupt elite that was no better than Gaddafi”. Despite tough talk of bombing any tankers that tried to ship oil bought independently of the state, Zeidan has steered away from any mention of sending the army to capture the oil fields, saying he sought a peaceful end to the standoff. “Those who expect the government to resolve the security situation overnight are not seeing the situation clearly,” he said on Wednesday. Industry executives give countless examples of how armed groups and tribal militias disrupt work in oil fields as far away as Al-Feel and Essharara in the southwest to Sarir, Amal, and Nafoora in the southeast. Some demands are purely monetary. In the giant El Feel field in the deep southwest, local and foreign workers are confined to camp as militias from the desert area negotiate in the town of Zintan, around 136 km (85 miles) southwest of Tripoli, with a government-backed military council on how much they must get to end a siege of the pipelines, a Western based oil company executive said. Bentoman said central power stretched only to Misrata in the east and Janzour in the West. “Outside, they have no power without authorization of local leaders. The southern part of Libya is the wild west. There is no presence of government.” Even on the outskirts of Tripoli, the country manager of a supplier of oil equipment said it was forced to enlist members of a militia to guard the company. “You don’t need to call all the staff to get a strike, just five disgruntled people can disrupt work,” he said, on condition of anonymity. Protesters are tapping into widespread disenchantment with Libya’s new rulers, saying little has materialized in improved living conditions despite the country’s oil wealth. “The first enemy is corruption with the continued corruption that state institutions are practicing,” said Abu AlQassem Al-Mashay, chief researcher at a government thinktank. Critics have accused corrupt officials of loading crude at export terminals without using meters and strikers openly accuse top officials of squandering the country’s wealth. Oil Minister Abdelbari Al-Arusi denied the allegations and said the prime minister had set up a judicial commission to investigate. He blamed federalists for the oil crisis. —Reuters


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Saudis, Israel make common cause By Jeffrey Heller and Angus McDowall f President Barack Obama has disappointed Syrian rebels by deferring to Congress before bombing Damascus, he has also dismayed the United States’ two main allies in the Middle East. Israel and Saudi Arabia have little love for each other but both are pressing their mutual friend in the White House to hit President Bashar Al-Assad hard. And both do so with one eye fixed firmly not on Syria but on their common adversary - Iran. Israel’s response to Obama’s surprise move to delay or even possibly cancel air strikes made clear that connection: looking soft on Assad after accusing him of killing hundreds of people with chemical weapons may embolden his backers in Tehran to develop nuclear arms, Israeli officials said. And if they do, Israel may strike Iran alone, unsure Washington can be trusted. Neither US ally is picking a fight with Obama in public. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that the nation was “serene and self-confident”; Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal simply renewed a call to the “international community” to halt Assad’s violence in Syria. But the Saudi monarchy, though lacking Israel’s readiness to attack Iran, can share the Jewish state’s concern that neither may now look with confidence to Washington to curb what Riyadh sees as a drive by its Persian rival to dominate the Arab world. Last year, Obama assured Israelis that he would “always have Israel’s back”. Now Netanyahu is reassuring them they can manage without uncertain US protection against Iran, which has called for Israel’s destruction but denies developing nuclear weapons. “Israel’s citizens know well that we are prepared for any possible scenario,” the hawkish prime minister said. “And Israel’s citizens should also know that our enemies have very good reasons not to test our power and not to test our might.” That may not reassure a US administration which has tried to steer Netanyahu away from unilateral action against Iran that could stir yet more chaos in the already explosive Middle East. Israel’s state-run Army Radio was more explicit: “If Obama is hesitating on the matter of Syria,” it said, “Then clearly on the question of attacking Iran, a move that is expected to be far more complicated, Obama will hesitate much more - and thus the chances Israel will have to act alone have increased.” Israelis contrast the “red line” Netanyahu has set for how close Iran may


come to nuclear weapons capability before Israel strikes with Obama’s “red line” on Assad’s use of chemical weapons - seemingly passed without US military action so far. Saudi Arabia, like Israel heavily dependent on the United States for arms supplies, is engaged in a historic confrontation with Iran for regional influence - a contest shaped by their leading roles in the rival Sunni and Shiite branches of Islam. Riyadh is a prime backer of Sunni rebels fighting Assad, whose Alawite minority is a Shiite offshoot. It sees toppling Assad as checking Iran’s ambition not just in Syria but in other Arab states including the Gulf, where it mistrusts Shiites in Saudi Arabia itself and in neighboring Bahrain, Yemen and Iraq. Saudi King Abdullah’s wish for US action against Iran was memorably contained in leaked US diplomatic cables, including one in which a Saudi envoy said the monarch wanted Washington to “cut off the head of the snake” to end Tehran’s nuclear threat. Disappointment with Obama’s hesitation against Assad came through on Sunday in the Saudi foreign minister’s remarks to the Arab League in Cairo, where he said words were no longer enough. Riyadh and its allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) risk ending up empty-handed in their latest push for US backing in their campaign to rein in Iran, said Sami AlFaraj, a Kuwaiti analyst who advises the GCC on security matters: “The idea of a punishment for a crime has lost its flavor. We are on the edge of the possibility that military action may not be conducted,” he said. “Congress, for sure, ... will attach conditions to what is already going to be a limited strike. At the end, we as Gulf allies, may end up with nothing.” Israel does not share the Saudi enthusiasm for the Syrian rebel cause, despite its concern about Assad’s role as a link between Iran and Lebanese and Palestinian enemies. The presence in rebel ranks of Sunni Islamist militants, some linked to Al-Qaeda, worries the Jewish state - though Riyadh, too, is keen to curb Al-Qaeda, which calls the royal family American stooges. Egyptian lessons Saudi and Israeli support for US air strikes in response to Assad’s alleged use of poison gas scarcely stands out less amid a global clamor of reproach for Damascus. But the recent Egyptian crisis saw them more distinctly making common cause in lobbying Washington - since their preference for Egypt’s army over

elected Islamists was at odds with much of world opinion. That, too, reflects shared anxieties about the strength of Islamic populism and about Iran, which found a more sympathetic ear in Cairo after the election of President Mohammed Morsi. Israeli political commentators used terms such as “betrayal” and “bullet in the back from Uncle Sam” when Obama abandoned loyal ally Hosni Mubarak during the popular uprising of 2011. While some Western leaders voiced unease at the army’s overthrow of Morsi in July and bloody crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood, in Israel even Obama’s mild rebuke to the generals delaying delivery of four warplanes to Egypt - caused “raised eyebrows” of disapproval, an official there said. A “gag order” from Netanyahu kept that quiet, however, as Israel’s military kept open the communications with Egypt’s armed forces, not least over militant attacks near their desert border, in a manner that has been the bedrock of the US-brokered peace treaty binding Israel and Egypt since 1979. Unusually, it was Saudi Arabia which was the more vocally critical of Washington’s allies over its Egypt policy. As US lawmakers toyed with holding back aid to the new military-backed government, Riyadh and its Gulf allies poured in many more billions in aid and loans to Cairo. And Saudi Arabia told Washington defiantly that it would make up any shortfall if the United States dared to turn off the taps: “To those who have declared they are stopping aid to Egypt or are waving such a threat, the Arab and Muslim nations ... will not shy away from offering a helping hand to Egypt,” foreign minister Prince Saud said last month. More quietly, Israel has been engaged in direct discussions with the White House, urging Obama not to waver in support of Egypt’s military and saying it is time to act on Syria. An official briefed on US-Israeli discussions said Israeli intercepts of Syrian communications were used by Obama administration officials in making their public case that Assad was behind the Aug. 21 gas attacks and must be penalized. Netanyahu, whose frosty rapport with Obama blossomed into a display of harmony on the president’s visit to Israel in March, has ordered his ministers not to criticize Obama publicly after the president’s decision to take the Syrian issue to Congress. A government source said the prime minister told his cabinet on Sunday: “We are in the middle of an ongoing event. — Reuters

Iraq war haunts Obama on Syria By JimKuhnheinn he painful legacy of the Iraq war has complicated President Barack Obama’s efforts to muster support for military action against Syria. As a senator, Obama opposed the Iraq war, and as president, he brought it to a close. But that war’s end did not erase memories of the false premise on which President George W Bush built a case for the US-led bombing campaign and ground invasion. Ten years ago, Bush urged the American public, the Congress and the international community to believe intelligence assessments that Saddam Hussein’s government possessed weapons of mass destruction - a claim later proved wrong. Now Obama is holding Syrian President Bashar Assad responsible for a reported chemical weapons attack and saying that justifies military action against his the Damascus government. But there are doubts about whether the evidence is convincing. “The well of public opinion was well and truly poisoned by the Iraq episode and we need to understand the public skepticism,” British Prime Minister David Cameron said during Parliament’s debate that led to a stunning and unexpected refusal to endorse military action against Syria. Cameron and Obama argue that Iraq and Syria are vastly different in both the evidence in hand and the consequences. Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction. In Syria, there is little doubt that civilians were killed by chemical weapons. The question is whether the United States can pin the blame beyond doubt on Assad’s government. “I recognize that all of us - here in the United States, in Great Britain, in many parts of the world there is a certain weariness given Afghanistan, there’s a certain suspicion of any military action post-Iraq,” Obama said Friday. Supporters of Assad’s rule, including Russia, have been quick to point to that history in objecting to any retaliatory strikes against Syria. “All this is reminiscent of events from a decade ago, when the United States bypassed the UN and used fallacious information on the presence in Iraq of weapons of mass destruction to launch an adventure, the consequences of which are known to all,” said Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich. In a declassified intelligence assessment released Friday, the Obama administration held Assad’s government responsible for a chemical weapons attack Aug. 21 on the Damascus suburbs. The assessment


said 1,429 people were killed, including at least 426 children. It cited both human and technological intelligence to conclude that the Syrian government was undertaking activities to deploy chemical weapons three days before the attack. The report cited intercepted communications in which a senior Syrian official, who was not identified, confirmed the use of chemical weapons that day and voiced concern that United Nations inspectors would obtain the evidence.” The report gave the information a rating of “high confidence,” the strongest short of actual confirmation. But the

President Barack Obama pauses after answering questions about Syria from members of the media during his meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. —AP Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an organization that monitors casualties in the country, said it has confirmed 502 deaths, nearly 1,000 fewer than the American intelligence assessment claimed. Rami Abdel-Rahman, the head of the organization, said he was not contacted by US officials about his efforts to collect information about the death toll. “America works only with one part of the opposition that is deep in propaganda,” he said, and urged the Obama administration to release the information its estimate is based on. As US officials assembled and double-checked the

data, Iraq was not far from their thoughts. “Our intelligence community has carefully reviewed and re-reviewed information regarding this attack,” Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday. “And I will tell you it has done so more than mindful of the Iraq experience. We will not repeat that moment.” White House deputy national security adviser Benjamin Rhodes said that for all the focus on comparing judgments in Iraq and Syria over weapons of mass destruction, “the scale of what has been contemplated has been lost as against Iraq. “You see this rush to compare,” Rhodes said, “and what’s interesting is that there is no outcome in which things look anything like Iraq.” But even without the intelligence failures preceding the Iraq war, there is an Iraq and Afghanistan war fatigue that has settled over the country that also poses challenges for Obama. The president acknowledged that Saturday when he said he would seek congressional approval before launching military action against Syria, “I know well that we are weary of war. We’ve ended one war in Iraq. We’re ending another in Afghanistan, and the American people have the good sense to know we cannot resolve the underlying conflict in Syria with our military,” Obama said from the Rose Garden. “In that part of the world, there are ancient sectarian differences, and the hopes of the Arab Spring have unleashed forces of change that are going to take many years to resolve. And that’s why we’re not contemplating putting our troops in the middle of someone else’s war,” Obama said. An NBC poll had found that nearly 8 in 10 Americans want Obama to obtain congressional approval before using force in Syria. That said, the public is more favorably disposed to a limited cruise missile launch than some other type of intervention, with 50 percent favoring that kind of action and 44 opposing it. Michael O’Hanlon, a national security analyst at The Brookings Institution, said that for all the contrasts with the 2003 Iraq invasion, the more apt comparison in Syria is with missile strikes ordered against Iraq by President Bill Clinton, including strikes in 1998 to punish Saddam for not complying with UN chemical weapons inspections. “I’m surprised this administration doesn’t make that analogy,” O’Hanlon said. “This operation is going to be limited. It’s going to be small scale or medium scale and it’s going to be over as soon as it’s begun practically. We’re going to hear about the beginning, middle and end of it all in one Pentagon briefing, more or less.” — AP



Alonso saves cycling team

LONDON: India will play five Test matches in England next year for the first time since 1959, with the crammed series between two of cricket’s leading countries being held over just 42 days. The England and Wales Cricket Board announced yesterday that India’s tour of England will also include a five-match one-day series and a Twenty20 international, and will stretch from June 23 to Sept. 8. The seven-day gap from the end of the third test to the start of the fourth will be the longest break between matches. “This will be the first time England has hosted India in a five-test series in more than 50 years,” ECB chief executive David Collier said, “and the length of the series reflects the iconic status which contests between these two great cricketing nations now enjoy.” Nottingham, London (Lord’s and The Oval), Southampton and Manchester will host the tests. The Ageas Bowl in Southampton must pass a final facility inspection before being confirmed as the host of the third Test. India lost 4-0 in its last test series in England, in 2011. The tourists will play two threeday matches against county teams Leicestershire and Derbyshire before the test series begins at Trent Bridge on July 9. — Reuters

MLB results/standings

PCT .594 .556 .533 .529 .453

GB 5.5 8.5 9 19.5

.584 .529 .515 .437 .415

7.5 9.5 20 23

.581 .574 .467 .456 .331

1 15.5 17 34

National League Eastern Division Atlanta 83 53 Washington 69 67 NY Mets 62 73 Philadelphia 62 75 Miami 50 85 Central Division Pittsburgh 79 57 79 57 St. Louis Cincinnati 76 61 Milwaukee 59 77 Chicago Cubs 58 78 Western Division LA Dodgers 81 55 69 66 Arizona Colorado 65 73 San Francisco 61 75 San Diego 60 76

.610 .507 .459 .453 .370

14 20.5 21.5 32.5

.581 .581 .555 .434 .426

3.5 20 21

.596 .511 .471 .449 .441

11.5 17 20 21

Athletics sweep Tampa Bay OAKLAND: Coco Crisp and Stephen Vogt homered and AJ Griffin struck out seven in seven innings as the Oakland Athletics completed a three - game sweep of fellow playoff contender Tampa Bay with a 5-1 victory Sunday. After Crisp led off the bottom of the first with a home run, James Loney tied it with his own longball in the top of the second. Griffin (12-9) settled in after that to win his second straight outing following a four-start winless stretch. Griffin allowed one run on five hits and walked one. Alex Torres (4-1) - the first of six Rays relievers - pitched 3 1-3 innings of relief, giving up a go-ahead RBI single to Brandon Moss in the third. TWINS 4, RANGERS 2 In Arlington, Kevin Correia pitched seven strong innings as the Twins clinched their first series victory at Texas in four years, beating the AL West-leading Rangers. Correia (9-10) allowed one run and scattered five hits. The right-hander struck out two and got 14 outs on the ground, including a pair of double plays. Rangers starter Travis Blackley (2-2) was gone after giving up three consecutive run-scoring hits with one out in the fifth. Mitch Moreland and AJ Pierzynski homered for the Rangers, who had finished August with an AL-best 20-7 record. ORIOLES 7, YANKEES 3 In New York, JJ Hardy and Adam Jones hit three-run homers in the seventh inning as the Orioles suddenly broke loose, jolting the Yankees to avert a sweep in a matchup of wild-card contenders. Shut out on three singles Saturday, the Orioles were blanked by Andy Pettitte for six innings before their seven-run rally against the 41-year-old lefty and a faltering bullpen. Michael Morse lined a leadoff single against Pettitte to begin the comeback from a 3-0 deficit. Acquired from Seattle on Friday, he got two hits in his Baltimore debut. Hardy’s shot against Shawn Kelley (42) glanced off the glove of right fielder Curtis Granderson and put the Orioles ahead 4-3. Rookie Kevin Gausman (2-3) pitched two scoreless innings after starter Wei-Yin Chen walked a careerhigh five. INDIANS 4, TIGERS 0 In Detroit, Mike Aviles hit a grand slam in the ninth inning that lifted Cleveland to a win over the Tigers. The AL Central leaders had won seven straight against second-place Cleveland. Joe Smith (6-2) got the win after giving up one hit and a walk in the eighth,

ISTANBUL: Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan will lead Istanbul’s delegation to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as it bids to land the 2020 summer Olympics. The IOC will vote on the location of the world’s biggest and most expensive multi-sport event at its session in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Sept. 7. Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo, who previously held the games in 1964, are the three cities bidding for the rights to succeed 2016 Rio de Janeiro as the next summer Games hosts. Should it win, Istanbul will be the first country with a Muslim majority to get the Olympics, and the first to take place on two continents - the European and Asian parts of the metropolis. “We are delighted that we will have the Prime Minister and other senior Turkish government officials with us in Buenos Aires,” bid chairman Hasan Arat said in a statement.—Reuters

Cardinals pound Pirates

Baltimore 7, NY Yankees 3; Kansas City 5, Toronto 0; Cleveland 4, Detroit 0; Boston 7, Chicago White Sox 6; St. Louis 7, Pittsburgh 2; LA Angels 5, Milwaukee 3; Houston 2, Seattle 0; Chicago Cubs 7, Philadelphia 1; Minnesota 4, Texas 2; Oakland 5, Tampa Bay 1; LA Dodgers 2, San Diego 1; Colorado 7, Cincinnati 4; San Francisco 8, Arizona 2; Miami 7, Atlanta 0; Washington 6, NY Mets 5. American League Eastern Division W L Boston 82 56 Tampa Bay 75 60 Baltimore 72 63 NY Yankees 72 64 Toronto 62 75 Central Division Detroit 80 57 Cleveland 72 64 Kansas City 70 66 Minnesota 59 76 Chicago White Sox 56 79 Western Division Texas 79 57 Oakland 78 58 LA Angels 63 72 Seattle 62 74 Houston 45 91

Turkish PM to head Games bid delegation

India to play 5 tests in England in 2014

SPAIN: Formula One driver Fernando Alonso has stepped in to save Spanish cycling team Euskaltel-Euskadi from folding at the end of the season, sponsors said yesterday. The Spanish double world champion was set to purchase the WorldTour licence to enable the team to continue racing in 2014, current sponsors Euskaltel said in a statement. “The negotiations will be completed in the next few weeks and will culminate in the purchase of the company (Basque Cycling Pro Team), which owns the team, by Fernando Alonso,” the statement said. Euskaltel-Euskadi are one of Spain’s two teams in the WorldTour, cycling’s top league. Led by Spain’s Samuel Sanchez, the 2008 Olympic road-race champion, they had looked likely to fold at the end of the season after 17 years after co-sponsors failed to provide promised funding in 2013. No financial details were given of Alonso’s deal but Spanish website said the Ferrari driver had some six million euros available to spend on the cycling team. The Basque squad are currently taking part in the Tour of Spain, the country’s Grand Tour. — Reuters

keeping the Tigers scoreless after Danny Salazar’s strong start. Joaquin Benoit (4-1) gave up Aviles’ slam after intentionally walking Jason Kubel to load the bases. Detroit rested banged-up star Miguel Cabrera for a second straight game. ROYALS 5, BLUE JAYS 0 In Toronto, James Shields pitched seven innings of three-hit ball to win his fourth straight decision and Eric Hosmer drove in two runs as the Royals beat the Blue Jays to avoid a three-game sweep. The Royals won for the sixth time in eight games. They are 51/2 games behind Tampa Bay in the AL wild-card race. Former Blue Jays infielder Emilio Bonifacio had two hits, scored twice and stole two bases for the Royals. Shields (10-8) improved to 4-0 with a 1.53 ERA in his past five starts. The right-hander walked one and matched a season-high with nine strikeouts. Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ (3-5) lost his third straight start, allowing five runs, three earned, and six hits in four innings. RED SOX 7, WHITE SOX 6 In Boston, David Ortiz continued to rebound from a miserable stretch with two hits and three RBIs, leading the Red Sox to a win over the White Sox that completed a three-game sweep. Stephen Drew added a solo homer for the AL East-leading Red Sox, who won for the seventh time in eight games. Ortiz is 5 for 9 with six RBIs since going hitless in his previous 23 at-bats. Brandon Workman (4-2) got four outs for the victor y after star ter Felix Doubront couldn’t make it out of the fourth inning. Tyler Flowers had a solo homer and Conor Gillaspie drove in two runs for the White Sox. Boston had opened a 5-0 lead after three innings against starter Andre Rienzo (1-1). ASTROS 2, MARINERS 0 In Houston, rookie Brett Oberholtzer pitched a four-hitter and Jason Castro hit an RBI double in the eighth inning, lifting the Astros to a win over Seattle. The 24-year-old Oberholtzer (4-1) struck out five and walked one. He did not allow an extra-base hit in his sixth career start and ninth appearance to lower his ERA to 2.79. Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma scattered six hits and struck out seven. It was the third time in four starts that he’d pitched seven innings. Charlie Furbush (2-5) took over for Iwakuma in the eighth and Jose Altuve greeted him with a double that rolled into the corner of right field. Castro followed with a ground-rule double to give Houston the lead. — AP

Cishek got the final three outs. Braves rookie Alex Wood (3-3) yielded seven runs and eight hits in 2 1-3 innings as Atlanta’s six-game winning streak ended. Veteran pitcher Freddy Garcia, called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before the game, replaced Wood and threw 4 2-3 scoreless innings.

PITTSBURGH: Matt Holliday and David Freese drove in two runs each as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-2 on Sunday to move back into a share of the NL Central lead. Matt Carpenter, Allen Craig, Yadier Molina and Shane Robinson added two hits each for St. Louis, which jumped on Pittsburgh rookie Kris Johnson (0-2) early to snap a three-game skid. Joe Kelly (7-3) allowed one run and four hits in six solid innings to win his fourth straight start. Kelly struck out five and walked two to remain unbeaten since June 5. Justin Morneau went 1 for 3 in his debut with the Pirates a day after Pittsburgh acquired the first baseman from Minnesota to bolster the franchise’s bid for its first playoff appearance in 21 years. DODGERS 2, PADRES 1 In Los Angeles, Zack Greinke allowed one run over seven innings and Yasiel Puig homered in the sixth as Los Angeles beat San Diego to complete a three-game sweep. The NL West leaders earned their 10th sweep of the season and first against San Diego. They extended their roll from August, when the Dodgers went 23-6 for their most wins in a month since moving to Los Angeles in 1958. Greinke (14-3) won his sixth straight start for the first time since winning nine in a row over the 2008-09 seasons. The right-hander gave up two hits, struck out seven and walked two. Greinke, who came in batting .340, also singled with two outs in the fifth. Puig hit his 14th homer on the first pitch he saw from Dale Thayer (2-5) in the sixth, giving the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. The sellout crowd of 52,168 cheered the 22-year-old Cuban defector on Cuban Heritage Day. Kenley Jansen struck out two in the ninth for his 24th save in 27 chances. ROCKIES 7, REDS 4 In Denver, Todd Helton doubled for his 2,500th career hit, Michael Cuddyer homered among his four hits and Colorado overcame the loss of starting

PITTSBURGH: Matt Holliday No. 7 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a two RBI single in the sixth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates. — AFP pitcher Tyler Chatwood to beat Cincinnati. Helton became the 96th player in major league history to reach 2,500 hits. Cuddyer went 4 for 4 with three RBIs. Shin-Soo Choo homered and had three hits for the Reds. Chris Heisey was 4 for 4. The Rockies broke it open in the fifth against starter Mike Leake (11-6). DJ LeMahieu’s two-run double snapped a 2-all tie, Troy Tulowitzki walked and Cuddyer doubled to make it 5-2. Nolan Arenado, who homered earlier, added a sacrifice fly off reliever Alfredo Simon. Chatwood, activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game, left in the third with a bruised right thumb three batters after he tried to catch Leake’s line drive with his bare hand. Adam Ottavino (1-2) tossed three scoreless innings for the win. GIANTS 8, DIAMONDBACKS 2 In Phoenix, Yusmeiro Petit struck out a career-high 10, Hector Sanchez drove in three runs and San Francisco beat Arizona to take two of three from the Diamondbacks. Hunter Pence homered, doubled

and singled, driving in two runs and scoring three times as the Giants improved to 10-5 against Arizona this season. Patrick Corbin (13-5), pitching on two extra days of rest, allowed five runs on nine hits in five innings to fall to 1-4 in his last seven starts. Petit (2-0), who pitched for the Diamondbacks from 2007-09, went sixplus innings, allowing two runs and seven hits in his first career start against Arizona. He also singled in a run, his second career RBI. MARLINS 7, BRAVES 0 In Atlanta, Nathan Eovaldi combined with Steve Cishek on an eight-hit shutout and Jeff Mathis homered and drove in three runs as Miami beat Atlanta to stop a six-game losing streak. Ed Lucas had a two-run single and Mathis added a two-run double in the Marlins’ five-run third inning. Eovaldi (35) halted Miami’s skid and his personal five-game slide by earning his first win since July 12 against Washington. He gave up seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts in eight innings, his longest start of the season.

CUBS 7, PHILLIES 1 In Chicago, Jake Arrieta allowed three hits while pitching into the seventh inning and Welington Castillo drove in two runs to lead Chicago over Philadelphia. Acquired from Baltimore on July 2, Arrieta (2-1) worked around three walks in 6 2-3 innings. Three relievers combined for 2 1-3 shutout innings to give the Cubs their first consecutive home wins since a stretch of three straight July 6-9. Darin Ruf homered for the Phillies. Kyle Kendrick (10-12) yielded five runs and eight hits in six innings. INTERLEAGUE ANGELS 5, BREWERS 3 In Milwaukee, JB Shuck hit a threerun double in the seventh inning to rally the Los Angeles Angels past Milwaukee for a three-game sweep. Mike Trout tripled and doubled among his three hits to help the Angels finish an 8-1 road trip. They have won eight in a row against the Brewers in Milwaukee, dating to 1997. CJ Wilson (14-6) gave up three runs and three hits over six innings, improving to 10-1 in his last 15 starts. Wilson has gone 10 consecutive starts without a loss, tying his career high set in 2011 with Texas. The Brewers loaded the bases in the eighth. With one out, the Angels brought in closer Ernesto Frieri, who struck out streaking Jonathan Lucroy on 12 pitches and Khris Davis to get out of the inning. Frieri also pitched a scoreless ninth for his 30th save in 34 chances. Kole Calhoun drove in two runs for the Angels. Kyle Lohse gave up one run in six innings for Milwaukee, and Carlos Gomez hit a two-run homer. Rob Wooten (3-1) allowed three runs in relief. — AP

Baseball and softball join together for Olympic bid and women’s softball events of eight teams each, played as back-to-back six-day tournaments. That’s a slightly different format from when baseball and softball were last played at the Olympics, at the 2008 Beijing Games. Baseball gained full medal status at the 1992 Barcelona Games and softball followed four years later in Atlanta. But both were dropped from the 2012 program in a 2005 vote. As things stand now, Fraccari is hoping some MLB players would come even if MLB doesn’t stop. “That’s precisely why we chose such a short program - to permit all pros who want to come to do so,” Fraccari said. “And that doesn’t apply only to MLB players but to players in all the major professional leagues around the world.” But as New York Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki - who recently passed the 4,000-hit mark in a career split between Japan and MLB - pointed out, baseball already has a successful international tournament for pros with the World Baseball Classic. While supporting the Olympic bid, he suggested it should be strictly for amateurs. “They really need to make that division of amateurs to professionals,” Suzuki said through an interpreter. “Some countries are going to have all amateurs, some countries are going to have few. Some teams can then say, ‘Well, we lost because we didn’t have any of our professionals in that game.’ So they just need to make it clear: amateurs are going to be here, professionals play in the WBC.” Pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is in the middle of a breakout season with the Los Angeles Dodgers and helped South Korea to gold in Beijing, favors a more open approach. “Each country should decide on that,” Ryu said of the pros vs. amateurs debate. And there are plenty of countries to decide, with baseball a top sport in the Americas and throughout much of Asia. It’s growing in BEIJING: In this Thursday, Aug. 21, 2008. file photo of Japan’s Megu Hirose scores as USA catcher Europe, too, as evidenced by strong performancStacey Nuveman tries to apply the tag in the seventh inning in the gold medal softball game in es from the Netherlands and Italy at this year’s Classic.—AP the Beijing 2008 Olympics. — AP

ROME: After striking out twice, baseball and softball officials are counting on a combined bid to get back into the Olympics. Following IOC vote defeats in 2005 and 2009 as separate sports, baseball and softball have merged into a single confederation as it competes against wrestling and squash for a single spot on the 2020 Olympic program, which will be decided by a Sept. 8 vote in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “We wanted a partnership that could work together and use the attributes of both of our sports,” said Don Porter, the American co-president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation. “We’ve got an awful lot of young female ath-

letes all over the world that are playing our sport and there’s a commercial side that baseball has that really strengthens our bid,” Porter added. “So if we put it together it’s a very strong added value to the Olympic program.” The biggest obstacle to the bid is its failure to guarantee the presence of Major League Baseball players. MLB commissioner Bud Selig has said the season won’t be stopped to free players for the Olympics, but the confederation points out that there is plenty of room for negotiations - seven years - if it makes the cut. “We never asked MLB to stop the season,” said Riccardo Fraccari, the Italian co-president of the confederation. The bid proposes separate men’s baseball



Alpine Wrestling festival spotlights Swiss pride BURGDORF: Matthias Sempach, a 27-yearold farmer and butcher, knew exactly what he had to do to earn his title on Sunday of “King of the Alpine Wrestlers”: hang onto his opponent’s shorts. Sempach was one of the “baddies”, as Switzerland’s best wrestlers are known, who pitted it out in a two-day contest that drew more than 250,000 people to the cheese making region of Emmental for the Swiss Wrestling and Alpine Herdsman Games. For Sempach, the prize was a bull. For many of the thousands who came to watch, the games were a chance to take pride in their nationality. The age-old Swiss sport of Alpine wrestling, or Schwingen, has undergone a renaissance in recent years amid a rising tide of globalisation and increased immigration. The sport’s popularity also taps into a broader revival of “‘Swissness”, which includes other customs such as yodelling and the Alphorn, said Urs Huwyler, author of the 2010 book, “Kings, Confederates and Other Wickeds - a Folk Sport Becomes

Trendy.” “There’s no better expression of Swiss tradition than Schwingen,” he said. Although the sport’s origins are unknown, it is believed its roots trace back to medieval Alpine shepherd festivals. The first organised event took place in 1805 in the village of Unspunnen in an attempt to resurrect national pride, bruised by the Napoleonic invasion and the occupation of the Swiss Federation at the end of the 18th century. Unease about the growing number of foreigners in Switzerland may have played a role in the recent surge in the sport’s popularity, said Mario John, chairman of the Swiss Schwingen Association. Net immigration to Switzerland, which has a population of 8 million, has run at around 80,000 annually in recent years. “I’m not a particular fan of the wrestling, but I’ve been coming to Schwingen festivals for years because it’s typically Swiss,” Walter Iggenberger, 74, from Grabuenden in eastern Switzerland, said at the games in Burgdorf. Regula Von Ah, 21, an assistant at a medical practice

from Obwalden in central Switzerland also enjoys the tradition. “I like the atmosphere, there are no fights and the people are really friendly,” said Von Ah, clad in a traditional light-blue Edelweiss shirt, bright yellow sunglasses and a straw hat. In Schwingen duels, wrestlers grab hold of each other’s burlap shorts, rather like two bulls locking horns, and seek to hurl their opponent onto his back using a variety of throws. The winner is the wrestler who succeeds in pinning the other man to the ground in a sawdust ring, while still keeping a grip on his opponent’s shorts. After the bout is over, the victor respectfully brushes sawdust off his competitor’s back. There are no weight categories or divisions. The wrestlers are amateurs and typically work as farmers, cheesemakers and lumberjacks. Size counts and the top stars typically weigh in excess of 100 kilograms (220 pounds) and stand over 190 centimetres tall (6 feet, 2 inches). While Switzerland is best known as a prosperous international banking hub and

a base for some of the world’s biggest companies, it is also a country firmly attached to its farming past with a proudly egalitarian culture. The top Schwingen stars count among the nation’s most popular athletes, and there is even a calendar of pin-ups. The number of spectators in the games’ wrestling arena has risen to 52,000, up from 33,000 in 1980, making it Switzerland’s biggest sporting event. Organisers were expecting visitors to guzzle 210,000 litres of beer and consume 23,000 kilograms of meat. The buzz around the sport has attracted big business, keen to support the ancient tradition as a way of polishing up their “local” credentials. Christian Stucki, a 28-year-old forest manager who weighs 150 kg and lost to Sempach in Sunday’s final, appears in adverts for German discount retail Lidl. “They don’t want to be perceived as a German company that is infiltrating Switzerland, but as a company that is supporting an ancient Swiss sport,” said John, of the Swiss Schwingen Association.

Switzerland’s biggest bank, UBS, whose reputation was bruised following a government bailout during the financial crisis, is one of the main sponsors of this year’s event. Other backers of the games - which are considered the Schwingen Olympics include brewer Feldschloesschen, Japanese car maker Toyota and Swiss supermarket chain Migros. Some die-hard fans complain the growing hype, increased sponsorship and presence of VIP tents at festivals risk crushing the sport’s egalitarian spirit. A ticket to watch the wrestling in Burgdorf cost 225 Swiss francs ($240). Moreover, as the most successful Schwingers rake in more money from sponsorship deals, they may be able to work less, and train more, giving them an unfair advantage. John concedes that this could become problematic, but says it is hard to regulate. “I don’t know of a single wrestler who doesn’t work. But there are some that may have cut back their working hours to prepare for the festival,” he said.—Reuters

Busch wins in Atlanta, locks up Chase spot

Chase Elliott in action in this file photo.

Elliott wrecks Dillon to clinch Truck race ONTARIO: Chase Elliott wrecked Ty Dillon on the last lap Sunday to win the NASCAR Truck Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, and a driver’s angry girlfriend got into action when she slapped a rival racer. Elliott, the son of former Sprint Cup driver Bill Elliott, plowed into Dillon on the final turn on the 2.459-mile road course to take the lead and went on to his first series victory. At 17 years, 9 months, 4 days, he became the youngest winner in series history. “We only have so many shots to win these things. I really hate to win them like that, I really do,” Elliott said. “That’s not how I race and that’s never been how I’ve raced before. I had a shot. I was up next to Ty and I knew he was going to try and chop me off. I tried to make up the difference. ... Sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to get to victory lane.” Dillon dropped to 17th, the last car on the lead lap, in the series’ first race in Canada and first on a road course since 2000 at Watkins Glen. “You’ve got to show respect,” Dillon said. “I hope he runs Iowa (next week). He won’t finish the race.” The ending of the race was overshadowed by a post-race altercation between Max Papis and the girlfriend of driver Mike Skeen, who approached Papis after the race and slapped him across the face. Papis and Skeen had been battling for third in the closing laps of the race until contact between the two on the last lap ruined Papis’ finish. The two hit again during the cool-down lap, and Papis voiced his displeasure about Skeen during his

post-race interview. When he finished talking he was approached by a woman later identified as Skeen’s girlfriend and slapped across the face. Papis complained to NASCAR officials about the incident and said on Twitter the slap dislocated his jaw. Skeen, meanwhile, said Papis entered his team hauler after the incident and tried to pull his girlfriend down the stairs as he tried to get past her while looking for the driver. Elliott, driving for Hendrick Motorsports in only his sixth series star t, fur ther explained the wreck. “Had two ideas that didn’t work out for me and had an opportunity there getting into 10,” Elliott said. “I felt like the 3 (Dillon) was sputtering. I felt like he was really, really close or he was out of gas or something and got to his right rear quarterpanel and tried to move him out of the way and unfortunately ended up putting him in the fence. ... “He obviously wasn’t happy. He has a right not to be happy. I wouldn’t have been happy, either, but at the same time, like we all three said, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.” Chad Hackenbracht was second, followed by Miguel Paludo, Darrell Wallace Jr., Ron Hornaday Jr., Papis, Ross Chastain, Timothy Peters, James Buescher and Matt Crafton. Skeen was 13th. Crafton leads the series standings, 47 points ahead of Buescher. Dillon is third, 63 points behind Crafton. Ryan Blaney was the previous youngest winner, taking the Iowa race last September at 18 years, 8 months, 15 days.—AP

Ireland scent blood against England DUBLIN: Ireland hope to take advantage of a weakened England side when the teams meet tomorrow in a one-off oneday international match at Malahide. With only four survivors from England’s last 50-over contest, the Champions Trophy final against India in June, Ireland will scent another upset and a repeat of their famous victory in Bangalore at the 2011 World Cup. It will be a full-strength Ireland line-up, although they are likely to face two compatriots among the opposition. One is a certainty because Eoin Morgan has been named as captain, in place of the rested Alistair Cook, for the second successive time against his native country and Boyd Rankin is expected to make his ODI debut as well. To date, Rankin has played only two Twenty20 games in the Three Lions shirt after quitting the Ireland team last year to pursue his ambition of playing Test cricket for England. He was left out of both games against Australia last week, but the 6ft 8in (2.03m) Warwickshire paceman seems likely to follow Ed Joyce as an Englishman who made his debut against the country of his birth. It will not be the first time that Joyce and Rankin have been in direct opposition on the international field. Six years ago, at the World Cup Super Eights in Guyana, Rankin, then of Ireland, bowled Joyce, then of England, with his first ball. This week battle will be renewed with both players in the opposition ranks and

Joyce, the Sussex captain, is likely to be key to an Ireland success. The 34-year-old left-handed batsman is in the form of his life, averaging 72 in first-class cricket this season, and he has scored 455 runs in seven innings for Ireland this year, including 116 not out against Pakistan in the tied ODI in May. He will be supported by the big-hitting Middlesex batsman Paul Stirling, Niall O’Brien, and his brother, Kevin, who has just returned from a successful time at the Caribbean Premier League and smashed a decisive 50-ball hundred against England in Bangalore. It will be also be a special day for 39year-old former Ireland captain Trent Johnston, who plays his last game before retiring from international cricket at the end of the year. Ravi Bopara, Jos Buttler, James Tredwell and Morgan are the only players named in the 14-man England squad who played in the Champions League final, but their team-mates will all be out to impress ahead of the five-match series against Australia, which starts on Friday. Those hoping to catch the eye include new faces Michael Carberry, Chris Jordan, Gary Ballance, Danny Briggs and 19 yearold Somerset all-rounder Jamie Overton. They will also be desperate not to be party to another defeat by the everimproving Ireland team, who have attracted 10,000 spectators to their new home international venue.—AFP

HAMPTON: Kyle Busch’s pit crew got his car running like he wanted, then got him on the track ahead of everyone else. The volatile driver took it from there, locking up a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship that slipped away last year. Busch held off hard-charging Joey Logano at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday night for his fourth Cup victory of the year, giving him plenty of momentum heading to the playoffs. A year ago, he didn’t even make the 12-car field - a bitter disappointment for a driver of his talent. “It’s a whole different situation than 365 days ago,” Busch said. “ We needed to prove to ourselves that we’re a championship contender.” Busch let out some salty complaints over his radio in the early going, the No. 18 Toyota not performing like he wanted. The crew kept making adjustments until the driver liked the way it handled. Then, after a rapid-fire series of caution flags near the end, Busch emerged from the pits with the lead. He comfortably beat Logano to the line by 0.740 seconds. “My boys on pit road,” Busch said. “They’re amazing. I would do anything for them.” The 28-year-old Busch is undoubtedly one of the most gifted drivers in NASCAR, earning his 16th win of the year in the top three series. He also has nine victories in Nationwide and three in trucks. Overall, this was his 121st career victory in those series, 28 of them in Cup. But Busch is still seeking the prize he really wants - a Cup title. “The championship is number one on anybody’s list,” he said. “You want to be the best in your realm of racing. I’m a NASCAR driver. I want to win a championship. I’ve yet to collect the big prize. One of these days it will happen. Maybe it’ll be 2013. Hopefully, it is.” Martin Truex Jr., racing with a broken right wrist, was third on the 1.54-mile trioval, followed by Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman. The rest of the top 10: Jeff Gordon, Juan Pablo Montoya, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Brian Vickers. Kyle Busch was among four more drivers locking up their spot in the Chase heading to Richmond next weekend, where the 12-car field will be set for the playoff. He was joined by Harvick, Carl Edwards

and Kasey Kahne. . Points leader Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth had already claimed playoff berths before Atlanta. That means the final five will be determined at Richmond. Logano is one of the top contenders for those remaining spots, going into Richmond eighth in the points and also holding a victory as a wild-card backstop. He had the fastest car on the track at the end of the race, but ran out of time to run down Busch. “It’s just frustrating,” Logano said. “But in the grand scheme of things,

it’s a big points day for us to get into the Chase going to Richmond. This helps us a lot. A win would’ve helped a lot more.” Bowyer was dominant through the middle of the race, leading 48 laps, but he radioed his crew that that something didn’t seem right in his No. 15 car. On Lap 193, those fears became reality when smoke started pouring from the back of his Toyota going into Turn 1. He managed to creep back around to pit road, but he headed straight for the garage, any hope of winning the race snuffed out.

HAMPTON: Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch (18) celebrates in Victory Lane following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. —AP

“I don’t think they wanted to believe me,” Bowyer said about his crew. “But I was pretty sure what I was hearing.” At least Bowyer won’t have to worry about the poor finish - he wound up 39th - costing him a spot in the Chase. That wasn’t the case for defending Cup champion Brad Keselowski. Winless for the year and on the Chase bubble, he took over the lead and looked as if he had a shot at a much-needed victory. But his engine dropped a couple of cylinders and began dropping back, finally sputtering to a stop 18 laps from the finish. He finished 35th and will go to Richmond knowing he likely needs a victory to even have a shot at taking a second straight title. He slipped to 15th in the standings, 28 points behind 10th-place Kurt Busch. “There’s just some things you can’t control,” Keselowski said. “I guess we’ll look at the positive. We were leading the race when it broke. We were doing all the right things. We just didn’t put all the pieces together.” Truex made it through the grueling race, which lasted some four hours, even though his cast was in the tatters at the end. “It hurts like hell when you’re steering the car,” he said. After a pre-determined yellow flag came out on Lap 25 so NASCAR officials could check tire wear, Gordon had trouble getting up to speed on the restart. That set off a chain-reaction series of collisions behind the No. 24 car, which resulted in Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kahne smashing his radiator and smoking badly. Another Hendricks car, driven by Johnson, also sustained damage, as did Mark Martin and Jeff Burton. Kahne limped straight to the garage for repairs and finished 36th, while the other battered cars spent extended time on pit road. But Kahne locked up at least a wild card because he has two victories on the year. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. started at the front after claiming the first pole position of his career, but Montoya sped right on by the rookie when the green flag came out. Montoya was the strongest car in the early laps, while Stenhouse quickly slid back in the field. Stenhouse finished 16th, another disappointing effort in what has been a difficult first season in Sprint Cup.—AP

Wallabies, Boks forecast changes for Brisbane test BRISBANE: Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer and his Wallabies counterpart Ewen McKenzie are both expected to make changes to their starting lineups for Saturday’s Rugby Championships clash. South Africa hasn’t beaten Australia in seven tests at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, formerly Lang Park, including in six meetings in the Tri-Nations tournament or Championships. Meyer played down that statistic on Monday but said he expected to freshen his starting lineup after a taxing travel schedule involving trips to Argentina and Australia. The Springboks posted back-to-back wins over the Pumas, winning 73-13 in Pretoria and 22-17 in Mendoza, while the Wallabies lost both of their home and away matches against New Zealand. “ There will be a few changes, mostly due to rotational, and also we want to have the most fresh team as possible on the field,” Meyer told reporters on Monday. “We’ve traveled a lot and we’re going to play three away matches on the trot ... so it’s important to have fresh guys.” Meyer indicated hooker Bismarck du Plessis would be promoted into the starting lineup, replacing Adrian

Strauss and acting as vice-captain under skipper Jean de Villiers. McKenzie also hinted at changes for Australia but didn’t elaborate. Still seeking his first win as Australian coach, McKenzie said yesterday “there’s always potential for change.” “We’re playing a different team in

a different context so different things will come into play,” he said. “We’re definitely looking at that.” McKenzie is widely tipped to start Quade Cooper at flyhalf ahead of Matt Toomua, with Australia expected to use a fast-paced game in a bid to stretch the larger Springboks for-

Heyneke Meyer

wards. “It’s about how we want to play the game tactically, then we’ll have a look at the best guys to do that,” McKenzie said. Toomua played soundly in both of Australia’s tests against New Zealand but Cooper can bring an element of unpredictability to the Wallabies’ game. Meyer indicated a wariness of Cooper’s playmaking ability, particularly in combination with Wallabies scrumhalf Will Genia. “I think it’s just a matter of time when he comes back, just hopefully not against the Boks,” Meyer said. “A player like that I would love to have in my team.” McKenzie expected the Springboks to play to their strengths which, he said, were set pieces, territorial pressure and attacking mauls. “Their formula works for them,” he said. “That’s how they do it - that’s the Springbok way. “We’re in the process of how we want to do it - the Australian way and it’s a bit different. There’s a clash of rugby approaches. “They love having set pieces and they structure most of their game from that. That’s what they want. The question is whether you give it to them.”—AP




Garcia takes two-shot lead NORTON: With birdies galore at a damp TPC Boston on Sunday, overnight leader Sergio Garcia shot a fine six-under 65 to hold a twostroke lead after the third round of

So often the talk in golf is of creating tougher and tougher challenges for players but the fans who ventured out after the storms that delayed play enjoyed seeing the

NORTON: Sergio Garcia of Spain plays his shot from the second tee during the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship. —AFP the Deutsche Bank Championship. Swede Henrik Stenson’s 66 took him within two shots of Garcia while Canada’s Graham DeLaet produced a sparkling nine-under 62 to sit one further adrift along with American Steve Stricker (63). A course which had already offered low scores was even more benign after morning rain left the greens even softer.

world’s best in a ‘Birdie Fest’. On a day when only 11 players shot over par, Garcia appeared particularly, if unusually, relaxed in a tournament he had not initially planned to play in. Garcia’s much-publicised “fried chicken” jibe at Tiger Woods in May and the trouble it caused him seemed a distant memory as he strode confidently around the wet

TPC Boston, drawing warm cheers from the New England crowd with seven birdies. “We can’t control the weather,” said Garcia, whose bogey on the 14th was his sole blemish. “And you’ve just got to go out there and try to play the best you can. And I was very happy to see that my best was six-under today,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to believe in (myself ) in the way I’ve been believing this whole weekend. If I’m able to do that I should have a chance, a good chance of winning. “If not, then I’ll fight as hard as I can to get it,” he added. DeLaet’s score was the best of the week and continued his purple patch following his impressive tie for second at the Barclays last week. “It was an incredible day,” said the Canadian. “It’s one of those days that it doesn’t come along as often as you’d like. But it was one of those days where I was seeing the lines great and made pretty much every putt that I would expect to make, along with a couple of 20-footers.” American Jason Dufner, who fired six birdies in his opening 10 holes, was unable to build on his excellent start, but his 66 left him four strokes behind Garcia on 14under alongside compatriot Roberto Castro (68). After enjoying much of the limelight as playing partners for the first two rounds, world number one Tiger Woods and British Open champion Phil Mickelson had disappointing days. Mickelson had three bogeys on the back nine and his second straight even-par round left him 11 behind Garcia. Woods found the fairway just seven times in his oneover 72 to be six-under, tied in 47th place. “I just didn’t have it today,” Woods lamented. “I just didn’t hit it well. I didn’t make anything. Just one of those days — I had a bad day at the wrong time.” —Reuters

Suzann wins Safeway Classic PORTLAND: Suzann Pettersen won the Safeway Classic for the second time in three years Sunday, taking advantage of playing partner Yani Tseng’s final-round collapse at Columbia Edgewater. Three strokes behind leader Tseng entering the round, the third-ranked Pettersen closed with a 5-under 67 for a two-stroke victory over secondranked Stacy Lewis. Pettersen finished at 20-under 268 for her 12th LPGA Tour victory. The 32-year-old Norwegian also won the LPGA Lotte in Hawaii in April and won a Ladies European Tour event in March in China. She won the 2011 tournament at Pumpkin Ridge.

“I felt like this was a good bounce back from last week when I kind of screwed it up on the last day,” said Pettersen, who finished eight strokes behind winner Lydia Ko in the Canadian Women’s Open after beginning the final round a shot back. “I tried to give myself chances. Once I got going I felt like I made a lot of clutch putts. I guess that’s what made me win today. The putter was a good friend of mine.” Tseng followed her third-round 63 with a 78 to tie for ninth at 12 under. The Taiwanese star, a 15-time winner on the tour who had a 109-week run at No. 1 in the world ranking, is winless in 37 events since the Kia Classic

PORTLAND: Suzann Pettersen of Norway poses with the trophy on the 18th hole after shooting 20 strokes under par to win during the final round of the Safeway Classic. —AFP

in March 2012. Lewis, a three-time winner this year, shot a 68. “It was a little frustrating. I played really good, though, so I can’t be upset,” Lewis said. “A lot of those putts I hit exactly where I wanted to and they just didn’t go in. A bogey-free tournament I’ve never done before, so I keep checking things off the list.” Lizette Salas was third at 17 under after a 69, and 2008 champion Cristie Kerr was another stroke back after a 69. A 72-hole event for the time, the tournament returned to Columbia Edgewater after four years at Pumpkin Ridge. Columbia Edgewater also was the tournament site from 1990-2008. For Pettersen, the Safeway victory capped an emotional threeweek period. It started with Solheim Cup, where Pettersen helped Europe rout the United States in Parker, Colo. “Seems like Portland is a good stop for me,” Pettersen said. “Seems like I always play well here. This was a good finish to a solid three-week stretch for me.” A key point during Pettersen’s final round was her response after hitting a poor 8-iron at the par-3 second hole that led to a double bogey. “I felt like an amateur, to be honest. That was a disaster of a hole,” Pettersen said. “I decided before I went out (Sunday) just not to have too many reactions, good or bad. I knew there were birdies out there if you really get it going.” Pettersen quickly with a birdie on the par-4 third that started a stretch where she birdied five of the next six holes and eight of 11. Pettersen made an 18-foot birdie putt at the par-3 eighth to overtake Lewis for the lead, curled in a 5-footer for birdie on the par-5 10th and made a 25-footer from off the green on the par-4 11th. Pettersen opened up a four-stroke lead with an 8-foot birdie putt on the par-3 13th. She ran into trouble at the 175-yard, par-3 16th, following a short tee shot with a poor chip. But she minimized the damage when her next chip rolled within 3 feet to set up a bogey-saving putt. Pettersen said she didn’t know she had a three-stroke lead on the 16th tee. “It was a pretty bad swing. Even worse chip. But it was a good 4,” Pettersen said. Pettersen closed out the tournament with two pars. She was greeted on the 18th green by Sophie Gustafson, the longtime European Solheim Cup player who announced her retirement from the LPGA Tour on Friday. “We have a history together and to see her on the 18th was a little bit special,” Pettersen said. “I never thought she would kind of stick around. When she says she is done, she’s done. She is usually out of there. One thing is to get to know each other on the golf course, but she has become a good friend of mine and that’s what you do for friends.”—AP

Photo of the day

Competitors go head-to-head at the Red Bull King of The Rock qualifier at Luke Easter Park, Cleveland, OH, USA. —

Future America’s Cup sailors seek national bragging rights SAN FRANCISCO: Ten catamarans from eight countries battled in scrappy fleet races on San Francisco Bay on Sunday in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup, with American and New Zealand sailors dominating the first day of the regatta. That was one of the few parallels with the coming final competition for the 162-year old trophy between Oracle Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand that starts September 7. The crews in the Youth America’s Cup are the best up-and-coming yachtsmen in each countr y. That made it easy to root for a boat and offered an alternative high-thrill spectacle to the racing that led up to the main two-boat event, which has been plagued by mishaps and controversy. American Youth Sailing Force, one of two US teams, established an early lead to win the first of two races on Sunday on San Francisco’s gusty bay in the first ever youth-version of the America’s Cup. Full Metal Jacket Racing, one of two teams from New Zealand, won an action-packed second race, with Swedish Youth Challenge taking second place after a close fight against the second New Zealand crew - NZL Sailing Team - and France’s Next World Energy. Participants in the Youth America’s Cup are rising stars in competitive sailing, many of them Olympic athletes. All are between 19 and 24 years old. Unlike in the America’s Cup regatta that started in July and culminates in September, sailors in the youth regatta must hold passports for the countries where their teams are based. Teams in the Youth America’s Cup

are sailing high-tech, 45-foot catamarans called AC45s, smaller versions of the 72 footers called AC72s that are sailed in the America’s Cup regatta. The AC45s are one designs built by one boatyard in New Zealand. They share the same design, weight and sail plan. The team graphics and crews set them apart. The AC72 is a box rule, leaving room for the teams to build what they hope will be the fastest boat, while conforming to strict length, beam and sail height rules. While races in the America’s Cup are a match between two boats going head to head, the Youth Cup, which continues through Wednesday, is fleet racing, with all teams competing at once. Full Metal Jacket skipper Will Tiller said that having 10 boats competing at once made for crowded sailing and difficult maneuvering on Sunday. “You’ve got to scrap for every position. The boys have to really fight hard on the boat to execute the maneuvers. There’s a lot of physical work out there,” he said. Organizers hope that establishing a youth version of the America’s Cup will give young participants a direct line to eventually join America’s Cup teams. When software billionaire Larry Ellison’s Oracle team won the Cup in 2010, it gained the right to set certain rules. Ellison chose to defend the trophy in his home waters, the windy San Francisco Bay. Ellison’s team came up with the idea for the 72-foot cats, which can hydrofoil across the waves at 50 miles per hour but are extremely fragile and hard to handle. That the twin-hulled

boats were dangerous became tragically clear in May, when a sailor was killed in the capsize of an Artemis Racing AC72. In the wake of that accident, teams and organizers briefly considered switching to the smaller AC45s but discarded the idea in favor of other measures to make racing with the AC72s safer. The radical design of the AC72s helped push the cost of fielding a strong challenge in the America’s Cup above the $100 million mark, and the number of teams dwindled from the 12 to 15 originally anticipated to just four. After the accident Sweden’s Artemis needed time to prepare a second AC72 and missed all but four of its scheduled races in the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger selection series. That led to several one-boat races that were a disappointment to spectators as Italy ’s Luna Rossa Challenge and Emirates Team New Zealand sailed the course alone to win points necessary to advance. New Zealand, which easily dominated Luna Rossa and Artemis to win the Louis Vuitton Cup on August 25, will now attempt to wrest the coveted trophy from Oracle in a series of 17 races starting on Saturday. If New Zealand wins the Cup, team managing director Grant Dalton has said he will use the defender’s right to set rules to force teams in the next America’s Cup to use sailors from their home countries. Such a nationality rule existed from 1980 to 2003 and for decades before that there was a tradition of boats, crews and designers being from the same country. —Reuters

CARACAS: Mexican basketball player Noe Ayon (left) and Dominican Ronald Ramon play during their Spain 2014 World Cup qualifier game. —AFP

India to trim South Africa tour JOHANNESBURG: India’s reluctance to undertake a full tour of South Africa from November appears to have dashed the hosts’ hopes of cashing in on the popularity of the reigning world champions. South Africa released in July a proposed 12-match schedule for a tour by India, including three Tests, seven one-day internationals (ODIs) and two Twenty20 (T20) matches. But India have belatedly invited the West Indies to tour in November and also brought forward the start of a January visit to New Zealand, greatly reducing the time available for matches in South Africa. Although India were the first country to accept a visit by South Africa when apartheid crumbled two decades ago, current cricket links appear frosty. Indian officials had runins with South African Haroon Lorgat when he was chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC) over various issues. And his recent appointment to a similar position with Cricket South Africa (CSA) did

nothing to thaw relations. “We have not had any communication from the BCCI about our tour or their West Indies series,” Lorgat said yesterday. “Until we speak to BCCI officials we will refrain from commenting on this.” Lorgat said after his CSA appointment that improving ties with India was a priority. “If I need to sit across a table, to go to India, whatever it takes to smooth things over ... I have to put CSA first. “When the issues come out, if it means that I have offended someone and I need to apologise, I will.” The South Africans planned an Indian tour that started with a T20 match at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on November 19 and ended with a Test from January 15 at the same venue. Reports from India suggest the schedule could be almost halved to seven matches-two Tests, three ODIs and two T20 games. Indian officials were unhappy when

South Africa released the 12-match itinerary, calling it a “unilateral” action lacking their consent. “Our priority is to look after the interests of our players and the board,” a BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) official said after a weekend meeting in Kolkata. “Such a long tour was not viable from either perspective. We need to space out tours so that cricketers get much-needed breaks between them.” The addition of the West Indies means the 200th Test appearance by Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar could be against them in either his native Mumbai or Kolkata, and not in Cape Town against the Proteas. India are the ‘cash cow’ for South African cricket with several million people linked to the sub-continent living in the republic, and most follow the sport. South Africa are the top-ranked Test team in the world and India the top-ranked oneday international side.—AFP



Get Real! Bale not worth such a fortune SPAIN: Real Madrid paying gazillions for Gareth Bale is the football equivalent of a fat cat using flaming banknotes to light up his cigars. In the middle of biting economic crisis in Spain, it looks wasteful and nonsensical. If stacked in a pile of 50 euro notes, the fee that Real is paying to north London club Tottenham for the winger would stretch far higher than the second floor of the Eiffel Tower. Exactly how much higher wasn’t immediately clear, because the clubs, officially at least, didn’t disclose the financial details. The word in London was that Bale sold for 100 million euros ($132 million), which would be a world record for football. Reports from Spain spoke of 91 million euros ($120 million), hardly a snip. It was in Real’s interests to leak that lower figure to reporters. It means that Cristiano Ronaldo, Real’s preening superstar, can continue to claim the mantle of being the world’s most expensive footballer. Real paid 80 million pounds (then $131 million; 93 million euros) to Manchester United for him in 2009. Either way, 90 million or 100 million

euros for Bale is plain silly. He’s simply not worth that much money. At least, not yet. A fortune like that for Lionel Messi, fourtime world player of the year, would be easier to understand. He has scored more competitive goals than anyone for Barcelona and won everything there is to win with that club. Still only 26, just two years older than Bale, Messi is already up there with Pele and Diego Maradona as one of the best footballers ever. He could also lead Argentina to glory at the World Cup in Brazil next year, which Bale will never do with football minnow Wales. With 202 goals in 202 games for Real, an astounding ratio of success, Ronaldo also has repeatedly proved his value for the nine-time European champions. He was already a proven winner when he moved to Madrid, at the same age Bale is now, having scooped up trophies galore in six seasons under Alex Ferguson in Manchester, including the 2008 European Cup. Bale’s abundance of speed and talent have been clear to all since he humbled European club defender of the year Maicon

and his Inter Milan teammate Lucio in the Champions League in 2010, burning past both Brazil internationals with his pace, making them look five steps too slow. As he accumulated goals, match-winning performances and individual player of the year awards at Tottenham, it became clear that Bale was outgrowing the club and would likely need to move elsewhere to win team trophies. Tottenham hasn’t been able to offer Bale another taste of Champions League football since that 2010-2011 season when it lost to Real in the quarterfinals, spanked 5-0 over two legs. Still, as good as he is undoubtedly is, Bale isn’t world-record good or close to it. Sooner or later, it was inevitable that a club would one day pay 100 million euros for a footballer. That milestone has symbolic importance only, because prices always go up, football is never short of people with more money than sense and because the very best players really can make a big difference to clubs’ sporting and financial success. But few people would have put Bale in

that 100-million category before this summer. He is no Messi. He cannot match the Argentine for technique. At Real, Bale will be second fiddle to Ronaldo, four years his senior. Both are blindingly quick, which should make opponents quake if they combine well together. But the Portuguese forward is better in the air and less predictable than Bale and a far more polished, rounded football product than the Welsh winger. In short, this looks less like Real investing wisely or paying real market value and far more like club President Florentino Perez making another giant splash, just as with other “Galaticos” - blockbuster stars - he previously recruited. Barcelona beat Real in a bidding war for Neymar, signing the Brazil star this June in a deal worth 57 million euros. Real now spending so lavishly on Bale sends the message, “Anything you can do, we can do bigger.” Had Real bought three players for a total of 100 million euros, there would have been less fuss. Spending that amount or close to it on Bale alone, in a country locked in economic recession for most of the past

four years and with a stubbornly high unemployment rate above 26 percent, shocked some critics. “Given the situation of the Spanish economy right now it’s a slap in the face to society,” said University of Barcelona finance professor Jose Maria Gay. “The banks aren’t lending, and I imagine that Real Madrid will have to finance the operation at least partially with a bank loan. It appears very wrong to me. It’s an act of arrogance when normal people are having a hard time.” The thousands of fans who thronged to Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium for Bale’s official presentation on Monday looked happy enough, cheering and applauding the new recruit who showed off his skills, doing keepy-uppy in his fresh white team jersey. But the trick for Bale will be keeping them happy. From now on, Bale will be measured week-in, week-out against Messi, Ronaldo and his own massive price tag. Those are awfully high expectations. There’s no guarantee that Bale can fulfill them. —AP

Bale not fazed by pressure of price tag MADRID: Gareth Bale has claimed he won’t be overcome by the pressure of his massive price tag after being officially unveiled as a Real Madrid player in front of 20,000 fans at the Santiago Bernabeu yesterday. Bale’s prolonged transfer from Tottenham Hotspur was finally completed on Sunday evening with contrasting

And whilst Bale refused to clarify the situation, he said he was more focused on living up to the standards he sets himself. “I wanted to come here even if it was for a penny,” he told a packed press conference. “I don’t think any player really knows their price tag. It is something between the two clubs and not really my

SPAIN: New Welsh striker of Real Madrid Gareth Bale poses on the pitch during his presentation at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium. —AFP reports over whether he had become the most expensive player in the history of the game. The English media reported Bale’s transfer had broken the record Real paid for Cristiano Ronaldo four years ago at 101 million euros ($133.5 million, £86 million), whilst in Spain reports citing Real Madrid sources claimed the deal was concluded for 91 million euros, three million less than Ronaldo.

place to say. “The pressure is just as much pressure as I put on myself. I have come here to play the best football I can and I’m going to give 100 percent and try to help the team to win things.” There has been much conjecture as to how Ronaldo and Bale will co-exist both on and off the field. However,the Welshman reiterated his belief that it is the Portuguese who remains the

better player and more senior figure at the club. “Ronaldo is the boss here, he’s the main player and the best player in the world so I want to learn off him. “It will be a honor to play with him. I think we’ll have a great team and I hope we win a lot of trophies together.” The 24-year-old arrived in the Spanish capital on Sunday night before undergoing a medical on Monday morning, which he passed without any problems despite not having played since mid-July due to an apparent foot injury. Bale will fly back to the UK to meet up with the Wales squad on Monday evening ahead of their World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Serbia in the coming week. And he is hoping the match practice gained in those matches will mean he will be ready to make his debut when Real travel to Villarreal on September 14. “It’s well known I had a slight injury which took me a bit of time to get over, but I always wanted to be here in the white shirt of madrid and hopefully I can get match time with Wales and come back fit. “I feel like I am in good shape. I need to take it step by step but I hope to be involved in the Villarreal game.” Earlier Bale had delighted the adoring fans by greeting them in Spanish and took to the pitch in his number 11 Real shirt for the firs time to fire some balls into the crowd. And club president Florentino Perez also handed a warm welcome to his latest star signing by lauding the qualities that led Bale to being crowned players’ and football writers’ player of the year in England last season. “We are in this temple of Real Madrid to incorporate a new man who knows very clearly what are the values of this club,” Perez said. “A man who has been chosen as the best player in the Premier League last season. A young footballer but with great qualities, committed to the sport and whose dream has been to be a Real Madrid player. “Gareth you are going to help us to make the legend of this club even greater and stronger. This is your stadium, your shirt, your badge and your fans. From today this is your home.”—AFP

Landmark Transfers LONDON: A look at some previous landmark football transfers following Gareth Bale’s move to Real Madrid: Johan Cruyff — Ajax to Barcelona in 1973 for then $2 million. The three-time Ballon d’Or winner became the first million-dollar player when he joined the Catalan side to be reunited with coach Rinus Michels. The move paid off as Barcelona went on to win the Spanish title for the first time since 1960 that season, and “Total Football” became the club’s philosophy of play. Cruyff returned to Barcelona as a manager in 1988. Diego Maradona — Barcelona to Napoli for then about $7.6 million in 1984. Napoli’s rise to prominence coincided with the arrival of Argentine genius Diego Maradona after club president Corrado Ferlaino accepted to splash cash to bring “El Pibe de Oro” to the coastal Mediterranean city. Maradona helped the club win two Serie A titles in three years and the UEFA Cup. But his stint in Italy had a bitter ending as Maradona left the club after testing positive for cocaine. Roberto Baggio — Fiorentina to Juventus for then about $13.6 million in 1990. If there is something Juventus and Fiorentina share, it’s certainly mutual contempt. Baggio’s departure to Juventus in 1990 added fuel to the flames. For years, Baggio had been a fan favorite in Florence and a large section of ultras took to the streets to voice their anger when it appeared certain that their idol was being sent to Juventus. Dozens of people were injured in the riots but Baggio left, later saying: “Deep in my heart I am always purple,” the color of Fiorentina. Jean-Pierre Papin — Marseille to AC Milan for 10 million pounds (then about $19 million) in 1992. By joining AC Milan, Papin arguably made the biggest mistake of his career. A star in Marseille, Papin was at the top of his game when he decided to leave the French league to follow in the steps of Michel Platini. In Italy, Papin struggled to adapt to the team and suffered various injuries. In 1993, he was a substitute during the Champions League final that Milan lost to... Marseille. Alan Shearer — Blackburn to Newcastle for 15 million pounds (then about $24 million) in 1996. Shearer was expected to join Manchester United following the 1996 European Championship but Newcastle manager Kevin Keegan managed to convince him to sign for the Magpies after a last-minute

SPAIN: Real Madrid’s Brazilian midfielder Kaka celebrates in this file photo. —AFP

Kaka returns to Milan ITALY: Brazilian attacking midfielder Kaka returned to AC Milan yesterday after four unhappy years at Real Madrid during which he went from one of the world’s top players to an unhappy, over-priced, injury-prone reserve. The 31-year-old’s dramatic loss of form has also led to him being shelved from Brazil’s plans for the 2014 World Cup after he was left out of the Confederations Cup squad this year. Kaka has been plagued by injuries over the last few years, including one to his left knee shortly after the 2010 World Cup. He made only 82 league appearances during his time at Real after his 65-million-euro ($85.71-million) move in 2009 and rarely played anything more than a supporting role. Some 300 supporters were waiting for Kaka outside Linate airport yesterday. “I’m very happy to be back,” he told reporters. “After a difficult period at Madrid, I had been dreaming about a return. I’m not happy that I left in 2009 but these are things that happen in football. “This is a young team with a lot of great players and I’m happy to have Robinho in the team,” he added. “Physically, I’m fine, I haven’t had any problems for a while and I want to play. “I did everything I could for things to work out at Real Madrid and when I realised that there wasn’t much space for me, I asked to leave.” He said he still believed that Milan could give him a springboard back to the Brazil squad in time for next year’s World Cup. “I think that Milan can help take me to the World

Cup although I want to take one step at a time,” said Kaka, who won a World Cup winner’s medal with Brazil in 2002 when he was a reserve, and played at the 2006 and 2010 tournaments. Milan said that Kaka, full name Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, had signed a two-year contract for his return to San Siro. The announcement of his return came two days after midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng was surprisingly sold to Bundesliga club Schalke 04. Kaka’s arrival, in a private jet along with chief executive Adriano Galliani, came exactly 10 years after he first set foot at the club as a fresh-faced youngster from Sao Paulo. During his first six-year spell at the club, Kaka made an immediate impact, scoring 10 goals in his first season as he helped them to land the Serie A title. He became one of the world’s top players with his remarkable burst of speed, vision and ability to shoot from distance with either foot. He helped Milan to win the Champions League in 2007 and was voted the World Player of the Year the same year. His Brazil career virtually ended after the 2010 World Cup, when he was a central figure in the team even though he was not fully fit after previous injuries. He was called up for a pair of friendlies last year and performed promisingly but has not been selected since a 1-1 draw against Russia in March, when he clearly failed to impress new coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. —Reuters

Gago makes good Boca comeback

meeting. Shearer won the Premier League title with Blackburn but could not achieve better than runnerup with Newcastle in the 10 years he played for the club. Ronaldo — Barcelona to Inter for then about $30 million in 1997. After a short spell of just one year at Barcelona, the Brazilian great quickly adapted to the Italian style of play. His Inter years are among the best of his career, although his knee problems started in Italy and he only managed to win the UEFA Cup with the Nerazzurri. Christian Vieri — Lazio to Inter for then about $50 million in 1999. Vieri was meant to play alongside Ronaldo at Inter in a potentially electric pairing up front, but their partnership was more efficient in nightclubs than on the pitch. Vieri, however, scored 24 league goals in 23 games during the 2002-03 season but could not help Inter win the Scudetto. Luis Figo — Barcelona to Real Madrid for $57.3 million in 2000. Figo was a fan favorite after five years in Barcelona. He was treated as an infamous traitor after he left for the Santiago Bernabeu and faced a hostile reception every time he went back to play in Catalonia under his new colors. In 2002, as he attempted to take a corner, he was bombarded with various projectiles including a pig’s head. Figo won the 2002 Champions League and the Spanish league title in 2001 and 2003 with Madrid. Zinedine Zidane — Juventus to Real Madrid for then about $65 million in 2001. Madrid got what they paid for with Zidane, one of the best “Galacticos” ever. Producing magnificent football week in week out, the Frenchman also scored arguably the best goal of his career - an exquisite volley - in Madrid’s 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002 Champions League final. The next season, he helped Madrid winning the Spanish league title. Cristiano Ronaldo — Manchester United to Real Madrid for 80 million pounds (then about $130 million) in 2009. A few weeks after signing Kaka for $86.7 million, Real pulverized the previous world-record transfer when they recruited Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese winger, until now the world’s most expensive footballer, has been flourishing in Spain, scoring more than 50 goals in all competition every season over the past three years. —AP

Fernando Gago

ARGENTINA: Midfielder Fernando Gago has been added to Argentina’s squad for their World Cup qualifier against Paraguay next week after coming through Boca Juniors’ weekend league match in good form. Gago, who returned to his first club Boca from Valencia via a loan spell at Velez Sarsfield last season, is a key member of coach Alejandro Sabella’s Argentina side and Lionel Messi’s main provider from midfield. Argentina, who lead the South American group, have a bye on Friday but could secure their berth at the 2014 finals in Brazil with a victory in Asuncion on Sept. 10. Gago, making his first appearance of the season after recovering from injury, made a fine homecoming at La Bombonera on Sunday and laid on the opening goal for Uruguayan defender Ribair Rodriguez in the opening minute of a 2-1 victory over Velez. Striker Ezequiel Rescaldani equalised for Velez after nine minutes and Nicolas Blandi scored the winner in the 37th. Velez had midfielder Francisco Cerro sent off in the 64th. “I think we were more explosive in midfield because we had more ball holders, with Fernando (Gago) we owned the ball more,” Boca coach Carlos Bianchi told reporters. “It was special because I returned to Boca’s ground after so many years,” said Gago, who left for Real Madrid in 2007. Boca have taken nine points from five matches in the Inicial championship, first of two in the season, and are two points behind leaders Newells Old Boys. The downside for Boca is that they will be without Gago and goalkeeper Agustin Orion at Olimpo next weekend when both are with Argentina, but they hope Juan Roman Riquelme can return from an injury that kept him out of Sunday’s match. Boca’s arch-rivals River Plate had an unhappy night at San Lorenzo, going down 1-0 to a twice-taken, 62ndminute Julio Buffarini penalty after goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero had saved the first effort but was judged to have moved early. River have only four points after three defeats in five matches having started out as title favorites. Racing Club, another of Argentina’s so-called Big Five clubs with Boca, River, San Lorenzo and relegated Independiente, lost 1-0 at modest All Boys and remain bottom with one point. Former Velez and Boca coach Carlos Ischia was set to take charge at Racing on Monday after Luis Zubeldia was sacked a week ago. As well as Gago and Orion, Sabella added three other players from the local first division after Sunday’s matches including Maxi Rodriguez of champions Newell’s to the squad he named 11 days ago. —Reuters




Fiorentina thrash Genoa

Victor Moses

Liverpool make Moses third deadline day signing LONDON: Victor Moses has become the third player to join Liverpool yesterday, with the forward signing on a seasonlong loan from Chelsea, the Premier League club confirmed. The 22-year-old winger, who arrived at Stamford Bridge from Wigan last season, joins defenders Mamadou Sakho from Paris St Germain and Tiago Ilori from Sporting Lisbon as new arrivals on the final day of the transfer window. The Nigeria international scored 10 goals in 42 appearances for Chelsea but faced a challenge to get game time following the arrivals of Brazil playmaker Willian, German Andre Schurrle and veteran Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o. “There are a lot of quality players here - they’re winning games and creating chances,” he told the club’s official website ( “It’s a massive thing for me to be here.” The 23-year-old Sakho is a France international, having played 14 times for his country since making his debut against England in 2010, while 20-yearold Ilori has played for Portugal at agegroup level. The pair have lifted the number of defenders signed by Brendan Rodgers during the transfer window to four, although Kolo Toure and Aly Cissokho missed Sunday’s 1-0 win over

Manchester United through injury. Uruguayan centre-back Sebastian Coates has already been ruled out for most of the season with a knee injury. “I know the history of the club and the Premier League is the best league in the world, in my opinion,” Ilori, who was born in London, told the club’s official website. “Liverpool, have a great team and I think it’s the place for me to be at the moment. “I know there have been some great teams here in the past and the club has won a lot of trophies and I want to be a part of it.” No fees were disclosed for the players, who join Toure, Cissokho, Iago Aspas, Luis Alberto and Simon Mignolet as new arrivals at Anfield since the end of last season. “My aim while I am here is to play in the Champions League with Liverpool,” Sakho, who made 151 league appearances for PSG, scoring seven times, said. “I remember their teams when they were in the competition when I was younger. “The Champions League is a tournament that all the great clubs in Europe participate in and that’s where we need to get to.” Liverpool top the Premier League standings with three wins from as many matches to start the campaign.—Reuters

EPL transfers LONDON: Some of the transfers to have taken place in the English Premier League during the final day of the closeseason transfer window yesterday: AMALFITANO LOANED TO WEST BROM French attacking midfielder Morgan Amalfitano, 28, joined West Bromwich Albion from Marseille on a season-long loan with an option to buy. “Morgan is a technical player with good quality on the ball. He also has fantastic work-rate and we believe his game is well suited to the Barclays Premier League,” West Brom manager Steve Clarke told the club website. West Brom also signed Northern Irish goalkeeper Lee Camp on a short-term rolling contract after Ben Foster was ruled out for three months by injury. IRELAND REJOINS HUGHES AT STOKE Irish midfielder Stephen Ireland left

Aston Villa for Stoke City on a seasonlong loan deal. The 27-year-old will be reunited with Stoke manager Mark Hughes at the Britannia Stadium, having previously worked under the Welshman at Manchester City.

ITALY: Fiorentina’s Borja Valero of Spagna (left) vies for the ball with Genoa’s Davide Biondini during a Serie A soccer match. —AP cricket was played on the Stadio Luigi Ferraris pitch before the match. The club’s official name is Genoa Cricket and Football Club and it has a cricket team which was re-established in 2007 and who play in Italy’s top division. It was one-way traffic in Sicily as Inter look to have put last season’s troubles behind them after thumping a fired-up Catania team who have no points after two defeats. Manager Walter Mazzari refused to be drawn on talk that they could mount a title challenge. “The only aim we have is to do what we did tonight, prepare

well for every match and give the best account of ourselves possible, exactly what I’ve with my teams throughout my career,” he said. Three smartly worked goals from Rodrigo Palacio and Yuto Nagatomo and an exceptional individual effort from Ricky Alvarez were enough for Inter in a impressive performance, and they joined four other sides, including Fiorentina, on six points. Goals from Robinho, Philippe Mexes and Mario Balotelli were enough for AC Milan against a plucky Cagliari team. Brazilian Robinho and Mexes put Massimiliano Allegri’s side two goals up after half an

hour, only for Marco Sau to pull one back for the away side three minutes later. However, Balotelli’s first league goal of the season in the 62nd minute put the result beyond doubt. Earlier on Sunday Roma moved into second place on goal difference after splendid goals from Miralem Pjanic and Adem Ljajic gave them a comfortable 30 win over newly promoted Hellas Verona. The home side were playing with the Curva Sud section of the Olympic Stadium shut after racist chanting directed at Balotelli from hardcore fans at the end of last season.—Reuters

Corinthians rout Flamengo BRAZIL: Alexandre Pato ended a barren run by scoring twice, the second from an almost impossible angle, to set Corinthians on the way to a comprehensive 4-0 win over rapidlyfading Flamengo in the Brazilian championship on Sunday. The former AC Milan forward, who has been jeered off several times recently after some lacklustre performances, opened the scoring in the 25th minute when he tapped in Romarinho’s pass at the far post. Seven minutes later, a Douglas pass split the

Flamengo defence and sent Pato racing clear. He rounded Flamengo goalkeeper Felipe, seemed to have gone too wide but somehow managed to chip the ball between a defender and a post from near the goal-line. Flamengo, under former Brazil coach Mano Menezes, were never in the game and conceded further goals in the last 15 minutes scored by Romarinho and Paolo Guerrero, from a penalty. Corinthians moved up to fifth with 29 points from 17 games, two behind leaders

Cruzeiro with Gremio, Atletico Paranaense and Botafogo sandwiched in between. Flamengo, who claim to be Brazil’s most popular club, dropped to 15th, only two points clear of the relegation zone. Former Brazil coach Dunga’s Internacional drew their sixth game in a row, 0-0 at Coritiba, to stay seventh, finishing with 10 men after defender Alan was sent off in the second half. Botafogo and Sao Paulo also played out a goalless draw at the Maracana.—Reuters

TRIO ARRIVE AT PALACE Promoted Crystal Palace added a pair of new defenders to their squad, with 26year-old Jamaica international Adrian Mariappa joining from Reading and 22year-old full-back Jack Hunt signing from Huddersfield Town. Scotland international midfielder Barry Bannan also arrived on a three-year contract after falling out of the first-team picture at Aston Villa. RAZAK LEAVES CITY FOR ANZHI Manchester City allowed Ivory Coast international midfielder Abdul Razak to join Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala on a season-long loan deal.—AFP

Kuwait shooting tourney concludes KUWAIT: The shooting tournament of late Sheikh Faisal Al-Duaij Al-Sabah concluded on Saturday. This annual tournament was part of the activities of Sheikh Saad Al-Abdallah Shooting Academy for the 2013/2013 season. The closing ceremony was attended by President of Kuwait and Asian Shooting Sports Federations, Vice-president of ISSF Sheikh Salman Sabah AlSalem Al-Sabah, Sheikh Sabah Faisal AlDuaij Al-Sabah, President of the Arab Shooting Federation and Vice-president of KSF Engr Duaij Al-Otaibi, Secretary General of Arab and Kuwait Shooting Federations Obaid Al-Osaimi, board members Essa Butaiban, Mohammad Karam and Dr Nadal Al-Asem were present. Al-Osaimi said that the academy is the crowning of the efforts of KSF president and its future vision to develop the sport of shooting and allow Kuwait youth to learn the sport of shooting according to advanced scientific methods. He, on behalf of the shooting community, congratulated the national team that participated in the second Asian Games held in China, where Kuwait’s Mohammad Dhuwi Al-Hamli won the gold medal in the trap event. Sheikh Sabah Faisal Al-Duaij Al-Sabah said after the ceremony that he was pleased with the standard of participating shooters, as he noticed that it is improving every year. He said that he is a shooter himself and realizes the efforts

ROME: Mario Gomez scored his first Serie A goals and Giuseppe Rossi made it three for the season as Fiorentina continued their impressive start by beating Genoa 5-2 on Sunday. Inter Milan also kept pace with league leaders Napoli after an easy 3-0 win at Catania. AC Milan bounced back from last week’s defeat at Hellas Verona with a 3-1 win at home to Cagliari in an entertaining evening during which 32 goals were scored in eight games, making it a total of 43 in an actionpacked weekend. Alberto Aquilani put Fiorentina ahead at Genoa after 10 minutes before Giuseppe Rossi doubled their lead four minutes later after a howler from Genoa keeper Mattia Perin and Gomez tapped in his first four minutes before the break. “I’m looking to score as many goals as I can for Fiorentina, I look to score goals because I’m an attacker,” said Rossi, who has been left out of Cesare Prandelli’s Italy squad for their qualifiers against Bulgaria and Czech Republic. “I think Prandelli knows better than me what Rossi is capable of,” added Fiorentina manager Vicenzo Montella. Alberto Gilardino gave the home side some hope nine minutes after the break with a stunning volley, but Rossi tapped in his third in two games almost immediately afterwards. Francesco Lodi reduced the deficit again on the hour with a penalty following a foul on Gilardino. However, an injury time penalty from Mario Gomez ruined Genoa’s celebrations for their 140th anniversary, in which

exerted in the shooting school which produces shooters who become competitors at the world level. Engr Duaij Al-Otaibi, who also heads the Sheikh Saad Olympic Shooting Academy said, “the academy contributed to the development of Kuwait’s shooting sport, and received many Kuwaiti youth this year and hope that there will be those like Mohammad Al Hamly, representing Kuwait in all arenas. Results of the tournament of the late Sheikh Faisal Duaij Al-Sabah are as follows: In the skeet men, Talal Al-Azmi was first followed by Ahmad Al-Bughaili and Khalid Al-Najdi, who both went to a shoot off to decide second and third places. Meanwhile in the trap men, Rakan AlEnezi was able to take first place meanwhile Abdallah Mohammad Al-Rashidi and Salman Anbar, also had to go through a shoot off round to decide second and third. Najem Zaid Al-Qarawi took first place in the 10m air pistol, men, followed by Salman Murdhi Al-Shimmari and Hamad Al-Mutairi, in the women’s 10m air pistol Mariam Askanani was first, followed by Noor Al-Abdallah, and third place was claimed by Israa Badr Saqer. In the 10m air rifle, men, Mohammad Al-Otaibi was first, Abdallah Al-Mahan second and Othman Al-Khaldi third. In the 10m air rifle, women, Sarah Mirfaa Al-Mutairi, Sawsan Ali Khalidi and Heba Ali Khaldi.

SANTIAGO: Handout picture released by ANFP showing Chilean national footballers jogging during a training session ahead of their Sept. 6 match against Venezuela for the Brazil 2014 World Cup South American qualifiers.—AFP

Al-Otaibi chosen as president

Scotland add four for WCup qualifiers

KUWAIT: Engineer Duaij Khalaf Al-Otaibi was chosen by the members of the Board of Directors of Kuwait Shooting Sport Club as president after serving as deputy chairman for years. Previously Al-Otaibi was secretary general for several terms. AlOtaibi was instrumental in the establishment of Kuwait Shooting School which produced several champions that are competing in the name of Kuwait regionally and internationally. The school’s success lead to establishing a shooting academy carrying the name of the late Father Amir Sheikh Saad AlAbdallah. Al-Otaibi was elected as President of the Arab Shooting Federation and was instrumental in rejuvenating this organization through holding several tournaments in various Arab countries, and due to his success he was chosen for a second four year term by acclamation. We at Kuwait Times wish Engineer Al-Otaibi continued success. Engineer Duaij Khalaf Al-Otaibi

GLASGOW: Scotland manager Gordon Strachan has added four players to his squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Belgium and Macedonia, the Scottish Football Association announced yesterday. Midfielders Craig Bryson (Derby), Chris Burke (Birmingham) and Kevin Thomson (Hibernian) were brought in after the withdrawal of West Bromwich Albion midfield duo James Morrison and Graham Dorrans on Sunday. Strachan has also added Rangers defender Lee Wallace to his squad. However, Scotland assistant manager Mark McGhee said Hull attacking midfielder George Boyd had withdrawn through injury. “George Boyd has gone home. He has had some sort of ankle injury I think,” McGhee said. “We know about James and Graham, they are a big loss, both of them, but we brought in others and we are getting on with it,” added former Scotland striker McGhee, who also played alongside Strachan in the successful Aberdeen side of the early 1980s managed by Alex Ferguson. “Quite a few of them didn’t train today (Monday) but we are expecting a full complement tomorrow (Tuesday).” Scotland play European zone Group A leaders Belgium at Glasgow’s Hampden Park on Friday before travelling to Skopje for the tie with Macedonia four days later. The Scots lie fifth in their group with five points from seven games but have no chance of competing in next year’s World Cup in Brazil, with their last appearance at the finals stage of a major tournament coming at the 1998 World Cup in France. Scotland squad for World Cup qualifiers against Belgium in Glasgow on September 6 and Macedonia in Skopje on September 10: Goalkeepers: Matt Gilks (Blackpool/ENG), David Marshall (Cardiff City/WAL), Allan McGregor (Hull City/ENG), Craig Samson (Kilmarnock). Defenders: Ikechi Anya (Watford/ENG), Gordon Greer (Brighton and Hove Albion/ENG), Grant Hanley (Blackburn Rovers/ENG), Alan Hutton (Aston Villa/ENG), Russell Martin (Norwich City/ENG), Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic), Steven Whittaker (Norwich City/ENG), Lee Wallace (Rangers).—AFP

Suzann wins Safeway Classic



Liverpool make Moses third deadline day signing


Get Real! Bale not worth such a fortune

Page 18

NEW YORK: Serena Williams of the US plays a shot against compatriot Sloane Stephens during a 2013 US Open women’s singles match. — AFP

Old order takes control at US Open Serena outguns Stephens, Djokovic yet to drop a set NEW YORK: Serena Williams easily won her eagerly-awaited clash with Sloane Stephens at the US Open on Sunday as normal service resumed at the last grand slam of year. Williams was one of four US Open champions that won on Sunday, sending a clear message to the next generation of rising stars that they will have to wait their turn. The 31-year-old avenged her loss to Stephens at the Australian Open with an emphatic 6-4 6-1 victory to keep her title defence on course. “It’s definitely difficult, especially playing people that you like, that you always want to see do well,” Williams said. “But you have to go out there and kind of put that to the side and realize, I want to do well myself and take every point as it comes.” Defending men’s champion Andy Murray and world number one Novak Djokovic also won in straight sets, while 2001 winner Lleyton Hewitt turned back the clock to reach the fourth

round for the first time since 2006. Murray, playing in the middle of a hot and steamy day, needed less than two hours to see off Germany’s Florian Mayer 7-6 (2) 6-2 6-2 and advance to the fourth round. Djokovic was even more ruthless in his center court night match against Portugal’s Joao Sousa, cruising to a 6-0 6-2 6-2 win, while 32year-old Hewitt wore down Russia’s Evgeny Donskoy 6-3 7-6 (5) 3-6 6-1. “Obviously when you’ve been to the top you want to keep playing,” said Hewitt, who stunned sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro in the previous round. “The reason you’re playing is for the majors, and for me, Davis Cup as well. That’s the reason I’m still playing.” The biggest surprise on a day when most results went as expected was the defeat of women’s third seed Agnieszka Radwanska. The Pole, who had made it to the quarterfinals or better at the three other grand slams

this year, crumbled to a 6-4 6-4 defeat by Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova after she had won the first four games of the match. Makarova wil play China’s Li Na after Asia’s top player accounted for Jelena Jankovic 6-3 6-0. Stephens beat Williams in January in the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park to enhance her standing as a future leader of US women’s tennis, but was completely outgunned by a woman bidding to become the oldest to win the US Open since tennis turned professional in 1968. “Obviously she’s number one in the world for a reason,” said Stephens, 11 years younger than Williams. “I thought she played really well. “All in all I thought I competed well and played well. That’s all you can do really.” Williams will play Carla Suarez Navarro in the quarterfinals, the Spaniard having upset Germany’s eighth-seed Angelique Kerber 4-6 6-3 7-6 (3). Murray struggled to impose himself on Mayer in the opening set but once he adapted

to the humidity and gusting winds it was all smooth sailing. “It was tough conditions. It was very, very humid,” Murray said. “I was struggling breathing for most of the match.” Murray’s opponent in the fourth round will be Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin, who beat Italy’s Andreas Seppi 6-3 6-4 2-6 3-6 6-1, with Tomas Berdych looming in the quarter-finals. Berdych, seeded fifth, made the semi-finals at last year’s US Open and has been in great form at Flushing Meadows this week, reaching the last 16 without dropping a set. The Czech dispatched Julien Benneteau of France 6-0 6-3 6-2 to set up a fourth-round clash with Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka, who defeated Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 6-3 6-2 67 (1) 7-6 (7). Djokovic has yet to lose a set in the tournament and the 26-year-old was never in any danger against the 95th-ranked Sousa. The 2011 US Open champion faced just two break points on

Messi slams treble as Isco nets fine double MADRID: World Player of the Year Lionel Messi netted a first-half hat-trick as Barcelona extended their winning start to their La Liga title defence with an action-packed 3-2 win at Valencia on Sunday. A matter of hours before they sealed the purchase of Wales winger Gareth Bale from Tottenham Hotspur, Real Madrid racked up a maximum nine points when they beat Athletic Bilbao 3-1 at the Bernabeu, while Atletico Madrid also made it three wins in three with a 21 success at Real Sociedad. Barca were cruising in an entertaining contest at the Mestalla after Messi struck in the 10th and 39th minutes from Cesc Fabregas assists before Neymar set the Argentine up for his third in the 41st. Valencia stormed back with two goals from Helder Postiga on the stroke of halftime, including an acrobatic volley, Messi uncharacteristically squandered three golden opportunities late on and goalkeeper Victor Valdes saved Barca with a fingertip save onto the post from an 86th-minute Jonas effort. “We let them back into the game but we were strong enough at the end to hold on for the win,” Barca playmaker Andres Iniesta said in an interview with television broadcaster Canal Plus.

“This is a very tough stadium to play at, with the atmosphere and the intensity with which they play,” added the Spain international. “It’s about continuing to improve, we are just at the start of the season. “It’s logical that we need to aim higher and the sooner we can find our optimum level and stay there for an extended time the better.” Messi missed last weekend’s 1-0 win at Malaga with a bruised thigh and although he fluffed those late chances on Sunday he looked close to his scintillating best. It was the third treble before halftime of his career and at the age of only 26 he is now the sixth highest scorer in La Liga with 220 goals, surpassing Quini’s 219 and closing in on the record of 251 held by Telmo Zarra. In-form playmaker Isco earlier struck twice and Cristiano Ronaldo netted his first goal of the campaign to give Luka Modric-inspired Real victory over Bilbao. The comfortable win in an unusual midday kickoff at the Bernabeu extended Real’s dominance of the Basques and they have put 22 goals past them in their last four league meetings in the Spanish capital. Their success suggested the Ancelotti’s players have not been dis-

his own serve as he raced to victory in 100 minutes. “Just doing my job, win in straight sets and spend as less time on court as possible,” he said. The Serbian’s next opponent is Marcel Granollers, one of four Spaniards in the men’s last 16, who knocked the last American out when he edged wildcard Tim Smyczek 6-4 4-6 06 6-3 7-5. Bob and Mike Bryan did give America’s men some cheer when they stayed on course to achieve a rare calendar-year grand slam in doubles after coming back to beat Canadians Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil 6-7 (1) 7-5 6-2. The Bryan brothers have already won each of the last four grand slam doubles titles, starting with last year’s US Open, but are bidding to claim all four in the same calendar year. The only men to have achieved the feat were the Australian pair of Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman in 1951. — Reuters

Horner back in red

SPAIN: Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (left), Barcelona’s Brazilian forward Neymar da Silva Santos (center) and Barcelona’s midfielder Cesc Fabregas (right) celebrate after a goal against Valencia. — AFP tracted by the drawn-out saga over Bale’s transfer. After a subdued start at their giant, sun-drenched arena, Karim Benzema dinked a pass through to Isco in the 26th minute and the Spain playmaker, who joined from Malaga in the close season, drilled a shot past Bilbao goalkeeper Iago Herrerin. Ronaldo powered home a header from Angel Di Maria’s free kick moments before halftime for his 202nd goal in 202 official games for Real and his 11th against Bilbao, putting him on a par with the club’s former strikers Raul and Hugo Sanchez.

Bilbao threatened a comeback on a couple of occasions before Isco picked up another assist from Benzema, again whistled by the home crowd after fluffing a number of chances, and the 21year-old found the net with a sublime 72nd-minute strike. Ibai Gomez made the scoreline slightly more respectable for the visitors, who have now conceded 22 goals in their last five league visits to the Bernabeu, when he clipped the ball past Diego Lopez in the 79th minute after neat work on the right from fellow substitute Oscar de Marcos. — Reuters

MADRID: American veteran Chrsitopher Horner moved back into the leader’s red jersey after winning the 10th stage of the Tour of Spain yesterday. It was the RadioShack rider’s second stage win of this year’s Vuelta following his third stage success that also saw the 41-year-old wear red for a day, before losing it to Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali. The Astana rider finished second on the punishing mountainous 187km stage from Torredelcampo to Alto de Haza Llana, which included 18 percent ramps in the final stages, losing 48 seconds to the American with Spaniard Alejandro Valverde third at just over a minute back. Horner paid tribute to his time-trial specialist teammate Fabian Cancellara for his help on the stage. “I’ve got to thank my teammate Fabian Cancellara who worked for me for most of the stage,” said the American. “I had one worry which was seeing how to attack on such a tough (mountain) pass to win the stage, especially given that in the group there was Nibali, (Ivan) Basso, Purito (Joaquim Rodriguez), Valverde.” Horner broke clear on his own in the final five kilometres and quickly edged out a significant gap as the other overall contenders marked each other’s responses. Eventually Nibali kicked for home and got clear of the other chasers, but by now Horner was already well on his way to victory. “It was hard to get back up to Horner given the heat hit us hard, but I’m very satisfied given how much racing there’s been already,” said the Italian, the 2010 Vuelta winner and this year’s Giro d’Italia champion. “After the rest day there’s the 38km time-trial which will sort out the overall standings a bit better.” Horner leads Nibali in the overall standings by 52 seconds with Valverde, the 2009 Vuelta champion, third at 1min 08sec. Overnight leader Daniel Moreno lost over two minutes to drop outside the top five. Today is the first of two rest days before Wednesday’s individual 39km time trial around Tarazona. — AFP


Egypt bourse declines as caution returns Page 22 S Africa mine unions, bosses in war of words Page 24


India manufacturing hits over 4-year low

Vodafone shares soar on signs of Verizon deal Page 25 Page 23

TAIPEI: A model displays Taiwan electronics giant HTC’s new smartphone “HTC Butterfly S Hello Kitty” with accessories during a press conference in Taipei yesterday. The new smartphone has built-in nine kinds of Hello Kitty style wallpapers, a quad-core CPU, 5-inch sized high-definition LCD display and a HTC UltraPixel Camera will release today.— AFP

Qatar fund seeks to diversify portfolio Wealth fund arm hires BofA banker Ugo Arzani DUBAI: Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, one of the world’s most aggressive investors, is hiring senior bankers and industry executives to lessen the fund’s reliance on Europe and diversify its investment portfolio, sources familiar with the plan said. Under newly-appointed Chief Executive Ahmed AlSayed, the $100 billion-plus sovereign fund is scouting for opportunities in Asia and the United States. The hiring reflects a long-term objective of geographically balancing a portfolio which is now nearly 80 percent exposed to Europe, the sources said. Al-Sayed, known as a savvy negotiator and aggressive dealmaker, took the helm at Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) in July when the newly-crowned emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, shook up the investment vehicle as part of his restructuring of the Qatari state on his father’s abdication. Al-Sayed is one of the very few senior executives who are not part of the ruling family in Qatar to take helm at a major state-owned entity in the Gulf state. Previously, QIA was run by the emir’s cousin, former Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, who built up big stakes in European business and real estate. Since Al-Sayed’s appointment, the fund has embarked

on an aggressive expansion spree, hiring bankers and senior executives with experience ranging from mergers and acquisitions in Asia to retail and luxury investments in Europe. Qatar Holding, the wealth fund’s investment arm, has hired Ugo Arzani, most recently a managing director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London, as its new head of consumer and retail investments, three of the sources said. The sources declined to be identified as the hiring is not public. Also joining the fund as head of Asia real estate is Jason Chew, previously the head of Greater China operations at Pramerica Real Estate Investors, the sources said. Both executives will start with the fund in September and will be based in Doha. The two hirings follow the appointment of Hong Kongbased banker Michael Cho as the head of mergers and acquisitions in August, the veteran Merrill Lynch banker filling a post vacant since 2011. Deven Karnik, another Asiabased banker who was previously with Morgan Stanley joined in April to run a newly-formed infrastructure team. QIA also appointed Stefan Frank as its head of strategy in July, according to the sources. Frank was previously strategy head at Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt. “Ahmed is

extremely ambitious and knows very well that to create a global wealth fund you need people with experience in Asia and the US. The current team is very smart but their expertise is mostly in Europe,” one of the sources said. “Knowing him, he must be thinking about taking to the fund to the next level, to the likes of Abu Dhabi’s ADIA or Singapore’s GIC. Nothing less will do for him.” Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) is one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund with estimated assets of between $400 billion to $600 billion. State-owned GIC has around $250 billion in assets under management. A spokesman for QIA in London declined to comment on the hiring or on its plan to diversify its portfolio. The fund has been actively deploying the nation’s riches from natural gas in recent years in a string of high-profile assets ranging from German sports-car maker Porsche to British bank Barclays and Swiss lender Credit Suisse. It also owns minority stakes in companies ranging from commodities giant Glencore and Royal Dutch Shell. But its investments into Asia and the United States have been limited compared with the large and often headlinegrabbing investments it has made in Europe. Widely known as an opportunistic investor, Qatar also

prefers to invest through bilateral deals where it can demand additional perks like downside protection contracts, which ensure investments are safeguarded in the event of a sharp downturn in asset prices. But an overall improvement in economic conditions in places like Europe means such deals are harder to find. Improved liquidity has brought competition from large private equity firms and pension funds, all under pressure to boost returns. With fewer profitable equity deals available, the fund is likely to look at more complicated deals involving hybrids of debt and equity, for which it needs to recruit executives with expertise. “The investments that generated double-digit returns in the past are limited these days. The fund is keen to do more hybrid-type investments and are also looking at fixed income. You can expect to see them bring in more expertise to do such deals,” a second banking source said. The banker said the fund would still look at deals more on a basis of anticipated return than purely on geography. “At the end of the day, these are financial investors with a task to generate return on capital. They will always look at compelling opportunities but the types they like are few these days.” — Reuters

Warba bank holds press conference

KUWAIT: Warba Bank top officials seen during the press conference. — Photo by Joseph Shagra

KUWAIT: Warba Bank held a press conference which was attended by local and international media to announce that it would be listed in the banking sector of Kuwait Stock Exchange market (KSE) from today. Speaking at the conference, Deputy Board Director and CEO, Jassar Dakheel Al-Jassar said that ever since its establishment, Warba Bank was keen on making the best use of its potential as well as working with an international company to set the bank’s strategy taking into consideration all strengths and weaknesses as well as future chances and challenges. He added that Warba Bank’s strategy works in two directions; developing the bank’s assets and profits and reducing risk factors by geographically and substantially diversifying investments in various sectors with other Islamic banks in and around Kuwait.

Al-Jassar added that the best investment is the one directed towards human resources and said that Warba Bank was also committed to supporting national labor and providing them with job opportunities to develop their skills. “We have nationalized over 60 percent of our staff members”, he said, pointing out that over 75 percent of the bank’s leading positions were occupied by Kuwaitis. “Ever since its inception, we have been keen on selecting and developing the bank’s assets”, Al-Jassar said, noting that by the end of June 2013, the bank’s assets had reached KD 343.61 million with a development rate of 54 percent compared to the end of 2012. He also noted that the bank’s investment portfolio had jumped from KD 17.6 million in 2011 to KD 86 million by the end of June 2013.



Egypt bourse declines as caution returns Most Gulf markets down DUBAI: Egypt’s bourse retreated yesterday amid a wider regional decline as worries over an army crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood worsened an already weak sentiment on geopolitical risks from a potential military strike against Syria. Regional markets recovered some lost ground on Sunday after US President Barack Obama delayed an imminent military strike against Syria, saying he will seek congressional consent. Shortterm profit-taking however, dragged prices back down. A strike, if approved, is not expected before mid-September. “Although short-term pressure has faded for another week or so until there is a resolution from Congress, Egypt is correlated to regional volatility and price swings,” said Islam Batrawy, deputy director of sales trading at Egypt’s Naeem Brokerage. In Egypt, army-backed authorities referred deposed President Mohamed Mursi to trial on Sunday on charges of inciting murder and violence. Later on Monday, a judicial panel advised a court to dissolve the Muslim Brotherhood as a legally registered non-governmental organisation. This is likely to widen the gap between factions in the polarised nation and reduces chances of an inclusive government when Egypt heads for parliamentary elections, as planned by the interim authorities. “Locally, the Mursi trial news is adding to the cautious sentiment,” Batrawy added. After being battered this year by the local political crisis, Egypt may stay under pressure from worries of a possible attack in Syria. While this seems unlikely

to have a direct impact on neighbouring states but possible reaction from its allies Iran and Russia could stir wider problems and impact fuel supplies. Cairo’s market is down 3.8 percent year-todate, significantly underperforming its Gulf peers that are enjoying a bull-rally. Elsewhere, Dubai bourse slipped 0.5 percent in volatile trading and snapping two sessions of gains. Shares in Drake and Scull International slipped 0.9 percent in a downbeat market. The firm said it won a 415 million dirham ($112.99 million) contract from the main developers assigned to build a branch of France’s Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi. Qatar’s bourses each declined 0.5 percent, while Abu Dhabi closes near-flat. In Saudi Arabia, the index climbed 0.7 percent, up for a fourth straight session since it fell to a onemonth low. Banking shares led gains with the sector’s index rising 1.2 percent. Heavyweight petrochemical sector added 0.7 percent. “The priority for the rebound is retail and then petrochemical and then banking - definite positive we see in the growth story,” said John Sfakianakis, chief investment strategist at Saudi investment firm MASIC. The retail sector added 0.6 percent. Companies in the industry are enjoying robust double-digit growth buoyed by an increasing population and spending power. Petrochemical producing firms are also seen benefiting - from higher oil prices. Brent crude oil steadied around $114 on Monday, after a week of gains driven by worries of fuel supplies in case of an attack on Syria.

“If the Syrian conflict intensifies, Saudi Arabia’s market is insulated from foreign investment fluctuations and will benefit due to its proximity to oil,” Naeem’s Batrawy said. Foreigners can only trade Saudi equities via swaps. Markets in the UAE however could face an inverse reaction and a flight of foreign funds, he added. YESTERDAY’S HIGHLIGHTS EGYPT The index fell 1.1 percent to 5,245 points. SAUDI ARABIA The index climbed 0.7 percent to 7,934 points.

Iraqis gather amid stalls at a market in the capital Baghdad on September 1, 2013. Baghdad’s once-bustling markets, overflowing with fruit and vegetables, live animals, books, and other supplies are facing difficult times as customers increasingly fearful of bomb attacks stay away. —AFP

Dubai World names new CEO for Istithmar investment

DUBAI The index slipped 0.5 percent to 2,586 points. ABU DHABI The index ticked up 0.04 percent to 3,804 points. QATAR The index retreated 0.5 percent to 9,618 points. KUWAIT The index slipped 0.4 percent to 7,596 points. OMAN The index eased 0.07 percent to 6,731 points. BAHRAIN The index edged up 0.05 percent to 1,189 points. —Reuters

Templeton in 2010. He has previously worked with Dubai-based Shuaa Capital and J.P. Morgan Chase Inc, the statement said. Dubai rocked global markets in November 2009 when it asked to restructure $25 billion of debts built up by the conglomerate during a boom period in the mid-2000s, where they invested in assets ranging from hospitality to logistics. Istithmar World’s investment portfolio spans consumer, industrial and financial services, hotels and commercial property sectors. Among its assets are the Atlantis resort in Dubai, entertainment group Cirque du Soleil, and the Mandarin Oriental hotel in New York. —Reuters

DUBAI: Dubai World, the state-owned conglomerate that completed a $25 billion debt restructuring in 2011, named yesterday Ziad Makkawi as the new chief executive for its investment arm, Istithmar World. Makkawi replaces Andy Watson, who has been chief executive of Istithmar since 2010, Dubai World said in a statement. Watson will remain in his role as the group managing director of Dubai World, the company added. A veteran banking and investment professional in the region, Makkawi had set up asset management firm Algebra Capital in Dubai which he sold to Franklin

Wang coy on past, confident on canal

BEIJING: A group of Chinese workers walks past a ‘Chinese Dream’ promotion billboard in Beijing yesterday. A key index of China’s manufacturing activity rebounded to 50.1 in August, its first month of expansion since April as market conditions improved, HSBC said yesterday. —AFP

Dubai close to sale of Fontainebleau hotel DUBAI: Dubai World is close to selling its 50 percent stake in Miami Beach’s landmark Fontainebleau hotel to South Florida developer Turnberry Ltd, three sources aware of the matter said. The sale will mark an acceleration of asset sales by Dubai World, which needs the proceeds to repay debt. The state entity, which restructured $25 billion of debt in 2011, has already made one major asset disposal this year - the sale of UK logistics warehouse developer Gazeley in June. The Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach in Florida became famous in the 1960s as a playground for stars such as Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lewis. The sale to

Turnberry is expected to be signed in a few weeks, one source aware of the talks said. The sources asked to remain anonymous as the matter is not public. They did not disclose a value for the transaction. A Dubai World spokesman declined to comment on the sale when contacted by Reuters. Dubai World had paid $375 million in 2008 for a 50 percent stake in Fontainebleau Miami Beach. The resort, which borrowed more than $620 million to fund a restoration programme before it reopened in November 2008, had to restructure the loan in 2010. Dubai World offered $100 million of new equity to lenders as part of a debt restructuring plan. —Reuters

BEIJING: The baby-faced Chinese businessman behind plans to slash a canal through Nicaragua has invested millions in telecommunications and mines. But he won’t say how he made his fortune. Wang Jing says he once studied traditional Chinese medicine. At which school? He won’t say. Nor can he put a dollar figure on his current business interests. Wang was obscure even in China until he shot to fame in June after securing rights from the Nicaraguan government to build and operate a $40 billion shipping channel through the country to rival the Panama Canal. Skepticism and outright disbelief have poured in about the mysterious 40-year-old chief of telecoms company Xinwei. He acknowledges having no particular expertise in telecommunications before buying Xinwei in 2010 and remains untested when it comes to an infrastructure project as enormous as the one dangled before Nicaragua. The sluggish recovery in global trade from the 2009 recession has also raised doubts about the economic viability of a second central American canal. Ever upbeat, Wang is promising to break ground on the waterway in 2014. Yet he is coy about his history and his money, and seems to revel in his previous obscurity, adding to the incredulity that surrounds an undertaking with a price tag about four times the size of Nicaragua’s economy. “I can pound my chest and guarantee it will succeed,” he said, using a Chinese expression for full confidence. Wang spoke to The Associated Press last weekend at the Xinwei Telecom Enterprise Group office in Beijing. He granted the interview in part to respond to an AP story that showed that Xinwei has yet to deliver on its promises to build telecom networks in 20 countries. In 12 of the countries where Wang’s Xinwei Telecom Enterprise Group and associated companies say they’ve done business, the AP found

no evidence of a successful, large-scale project up and running. In the other eight, either analysts or major telecom firms said they had not heard of the company, or Xinwei did not provide enough details about its partners or projects to allow its record to be examined. Wang said some of the projects were started before he took over the company. A Xinwei spokesman said it was unfair to judge the company’s success when work is still underway. “I trust my logic and my judgment,” said Wang, seated on a wide sofa over which is the room’s centerpiece: a full-wall painting of Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, surrounded by Communist Party comrades and Red Army soldiers, in a victorious celebration. He says he has hired McKinsey & Company Inc., PricewaterhouseCoopers and China Railway Construction Corp. to study the canal’s feasibility and the findings are favorable. Wang asserts he studied traditional Chinese medicine, but when pressed does not want to reveal his alma mater, citing the controversy about the canal project. He made money in the financial world, but is vague about how he earned enough to invest millions in mines and to pay $16 million of his own cash for the 2010 takeover of Xinwei. And he says he’s not sure how much he’s worth because it’s difficult to calculate values of his company shares and mines in Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia and Thailand. “Before anyone gets famous, little is known of him,” he said. “My resume? It is simple. Born in December 1972 in Beijing and a Chinese citizen.” The business success Wang claims with Xinwei suggests some acumen but it seems modest in comparison with the task of developing a canal that could be three times the length of the century-old Panamanian waterway it seeks to compete with. By his account, the telecoms company suffered a 400 million yuan ($65 million) loss in 2009 but turned a profit of 30 million in 2010,

the year of Wang’s takeover. That grew to 500 million yuan in 2011 and to more than 2 billion yuan in 2012. “Before my team and I came, Xinwei was a cup of warm water at 99 degrees. It boiled after I came, but I was only that one degree,” Wang said. Xinwei is a rarity in China’s labor-rich but innovation-poor economy in that it boasts a Made-in China Wi-Fi technology over which Xinwei can claim full intellectual property rights. The technology remains obscure overseas. Wang’s introduction to Nicaragua, a country that recognizes Taiwan and has no diplomatic ties with China, came when a Nicaraguan telecom minister visited Xinwei’s Beijing office seeking bids for a network. Xinwei was awarded a contract, and through that work Wang came to know of the country’s century-old aspiration for a canal to connect the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. He said the “no-knowledge, no-fear” approach he took with Xinwei wouldn’t work for the canal. “It is such a massive project that does not merely involve my own savings, investment and wealth but has many more aspects,” Wang said. “It carries the hope of the country and its people.” “It will break ground by the end of 2014. There is no question about it.” Wang’s canal company, HKND, is looking at routes ranging from 200 to 280 kilometers (124 to 174 miles), and will choose the one that best protects cultural relics and natural habitats, even if more costly, he said. Wang said his plans to raise $8 billion by year’s end in the first phase of financing are going “smoothly,” and that he is in talks with investors from Europe, America and China. He said Xinwei’s homegrown telecom technology helped the company gain attention from national leaders, who have visited the company, and has qualified Xinwei for favorable state policies and China-backed financing. —AFP

EXCHANGE RATES Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. Japanese Yen Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka Philippine Peso Thai Baht Irani Riyal Irani Riyal Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

ASIAN COUNTRIES 2.895 4.324 2.727 2.141 2.708 224.560 36.794 3.663 6.396 8.909 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES 76.110 78.422 741.330 758.070 77.728

ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash 41.300 Egyptian Pound - Transfer 40.755 Yemen Riyal/for 1000 1.331 Tunisian Dinar 173.430 Jordanian Dinar 403.050 Lebanese Lira/for 1000 1.915 Syrian Lier 3.101 Morocco Dirham 34.291 EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 285.300 Euro 378.310 Sterling Pound 445.350 Canadian dollar 272.100 Turkish lira 140.290 Swiss Franc 307.100 Australian Dollar 256.770 US Dollar Buying 384.100 20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

GOLD 263.000 133.000 68.000

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

SELL DRAFT 258.55 275.14 311.12 380.75 284.10 444.64 2.96 3.671 4.204 2.135 2.659 2.741 77.42 756.15 40.65 404.34 738.84 78.45 75.89

SELL CASH 261.000 275.000 313.000 386.000 285.500 449.000 3.000 3.780 4.800 2.700 3.220 2.900 77.900 757.900 41.000 410.000 740.000 78.800 76.200

Thai Bhat Syrian Pound Nepalese Rupees Malaysian Ringgit

9.195 4.070 3.900 86.725

Selling Rate 285.050 274.085 444.830 378.460 306.115 754.675 77.585 78.245 76.875 401.825 40.754 2.140 4.324 2.724 3.665 6.388 699.240 3.885

0.0059412 0.0000728 0.2197421 0.0021015 0.0084938

0.0064112 0.0000758 0.2257421 0.0021435 0.0090938

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

Arab 0.7498071 0.0387445 0.0126628 0.1449587 0.0000793 0.0001842 0.3965460 1.0000000 0.0001749 0.0223508 0.0012117 0.7295089 0.0776546 0.0754933 0.0463557 0.0019429 0.1716012 0.0761949 0.0012882

0.7583071 0.0407595 0.0191628 0.1467487 0.0000798 0.0002442 0.4040460 1.0000000 0.0001949 0.0463508 0.0018467 0.7405089 0.0784376 0.0761333 0.0469057 0.0021629 0.1776012 0.0776449 0.0013862

Bahrain Exchange Company COUNTRY Europe British Pound Czech Korune Danish Krone Euro Norwegian Krone Scottish Pound Swedish Krona Swiss Franc



0.4364637 0.0067461 0.0464610 0.3715258 0.0426557 0.4332840 0.0390560 0.3013509

0.4454637 0.0187461 0.0514610 0.3790258 0.0478557 0.4407840 0.0440560 0.3083509

Australasia 0.2459977 0.2139880 0.0001129

0.2579977 0.2239880 0.0001129

Canadian Dollar Colombian Peso US Dollars

America 0.2643060 0.0001450 0.2829500

0.2733060 0.0001630 0.2851000

Bangladesh Taka Cape Vrde Escudo Chinese Yuan Eritrea-Nakfa Guinea Franc Hg Kong Dollar Indian Rupee Indonesian Rupiah Jamaican Dollars Japanese Yen Kenyan Shilling Malaysian Ringgit Nepalese Rupee Pakistan Rupee

Asia 0.0036205 0.0031627 0.0455794 0.0164733 0.0000442 0.0342107 0.0042619 0.0000206 0.0028482 0.0028093 0.0031955 0.0820336 0.0025507 0.0026987

Australian Dollar New Zealand Dollar Uganda Shilling

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd Rate for Transfer US Dollar Canadian Dollar Sterling Pound Euro Swiss Frank Bahrain Dinar UAE Dirhams Qatari Riyals Saudi Riyals Jordanian Dinar Egyptian Pound Sri Lankan Rupees Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Bangladesh Taka Philippines Pesso Cyprus pound Japanese Yen

Philippine Peso Sierra Leone Singapore Dollar Sri Lankan Rupee Thai Baht

0.0036755 0.0033927 0.0505794 0.0195733 0.0000502 0.0373107 0.0043269 0.0000258 0.0038482 0.0029893 0.0034255 0.0890338 0.0027507 0.0027387

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

Transfer Rate (Per 1000) 284.800 378.850 445.250 273.100 4.309 40.740 2.140 3.658 6.379 2.727 758.200 77.550 76.050



Sterling firmer, rises to 2-month high versus euro LONDON: Sterling rose to two-month highs against the euro yesterday, driven by recent upbeat UK data and widening gaps between British and German government bond yields. The yield gap between 10-year British gilts and comparable German bunds rose towards recent three year highs. The gap between the interest rate sensitive twoyear gilts and German bond yields also picked up, giving the pound a boost. Sterling was also buoyed by prospects of merger and acquisition-related inflows

after Vodafone, a British company, neared the sale of its 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications for $130 billion. The euro, which posted its worst monthly performance in a year in August, was down 0.3 percent at 85 pence, having fallen to 84.85 pence earlier in the day, its lowest since July 3. Near term support is cited at its 200-day moving average of 84.81 pence. The pound was up 0.3 percent at $1.5550, extending gains from last month

when it posted its biggest monthly gains since April. The pound rose last month as investors appeared sceptical whether the Bank of England will be able to keep rates near record lows given a recent uptick in economic activity. A survey released on Monday showed British manufacturers are planning the fastest increase in capital investment in the year ahead since before the financial crisis. On Friday, data showed UK mortgage approvals hit a five-year high in July, while consumer confidence in August soared to a near

four-year high. All of which saw speculators trim bets against the pound in the week to August 27. “We continue to hold short euro/sterling,” said Alvin Tan, currency strategist at Societe Generale. He expected continued outperformance of the UK economy relative to the euro area and these would be highlighted in the purchasing managers indices. The final reading of German manufacturing PMI rose to 51.8 in August from 50.7 in the previous month, but was slightly lower than the flash reading of 52.

UK PMI surveys for August are due this week and the manufacturing, construction and services sectors are forecast to show growth. The manufacturing PMI is due for release at 0828 GMT. A better set of data will further push up short term money rates in the UK and challenge BoE Governor Mark Carney’s forward guidance plan. Under the plan, Carney has pledged to keep the bank rate at a record low of 0.5 percent and monetary policy loose until the jobless rate drops to 7 percent. — Reuters

Vodafone shares soar on signs of Verizon deal Third-largest deal of all time

PARIS: French telecom and Internet company Iliad CEO Maxime Lombardini talks during a press conference at Iliad’s headquarters in Paris yesterday to present the group’s first-half 2013 results.—AFP

Oil falls below $107 as Syria tension eases NEW YORK: The price of oil fell below $107 a barrel Monday as the likelihood of an imminent US attack against Syria diminished. By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for October delivery was down 82 cents to $106.83 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Friday, the contract fell 1.15 to close at $107.65. Trading volumes were limited yesterday as floor trading on the Nymex was closed because of Labor Day. As a result, the benchmark contract was volatile, swinging within a wide range of more than $3, between $104.21 and $107.31. President Barack Obama has had difficulty convincing the world about the need to take action against Syria’s government in response to an alleged chemical attack last month that the US says killed at least 1,429 civilians. That number is significantly higher than the death toll of 355 provided by the aid group Doctors Without Borders. Only France is firmly on board among the major military powers, after Britain’s Parliament rejected the use of force in a vote last week. Both Russia and China strongly oppose unilateral US military action. While Syria is not a major oil producer, it straddles a region that is. The possibility of a wider conflict, one that could interrupt production and shipping routes in the region, has pushed oil prices higher in

recent days. “Even though the saber-rattling over a military strike against Syria is continuing and a US attack remains a realistic option, the debate has become considerably less heated,” said a report from analysts at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. “This is likely to weigh on oil prices given that many market players have been betting on climbing oil prices in anticipation of military action in Syria and a possible spill-over of the conflict in the most oil-rich region of the world.” Oil prices recovered from daily lows thanks to two surveys showing that China’s manufacturing improved in July. The world’s second-largest economy is trying to reverse a slowdown that pulled economic growth to a two-decade low of 7.5 percent in the latest quarter. “ The Chinese manufacturing data increased hopes for a stronger oil demand from China in the second half of 2013,” said analysts at Sucden Financial Research in London.Brent crude, the benchmark for international crudes, was down 19 cents to $113.94 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London. In other energy futures trading on Nymex: Wholesale gasoline was down 6.02 cents to $2.8704 per gallon. Heating oil lost 4.78 cents to $3.1405 per gallon. Natural gas rose 2.3 cents to $3.641 per 1,000 cubic feet. — AP

Gold down as Syria concerns Ease, silver up on China PMI LONDON: Gold edged below $1,400 an ounce yesterday as a delay in possible US military action in Syria and improved economic data from China and Europe boosted the appetite for riskier assets, reducing its appeal as a safe haven. But silver gained as much as 3.8 percent earlier, benefiting from strong economic numbers in China, where the manufacturing sector in August had its best performance for more than a year. “There is a link between the gains in silver and the growth number in China, which is an important market for the metal,” Credit Suisse commodity analyst Karim Cherif said. “And there seems to be a bit more appetite from investors for silver than gold but it is really hard to see it maintaining these gains if gold remains depressed by easing concerns over Syria.” Spot gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,392.46 an ounce by 1347 GMT, after falling to a one-week low of $1,374.10 earlier. Prices were on track for a third day of declines. Traders said volumes were likely to be thin throughout the day, because U.S. markets are closed for the Labor Day holiday. US President Barack Obama said he would seek congressional authorisation for punitive military action against Syria, almost certainly delaying any strike until Washington’s summer recess ends on Sept. 9. European shares rose sharply after strong euro zone data showed factory activity rose at its fastest pace in over two years, while oil prices firmed after a slow start. Gold last week rose to its highest since mid-May to $1,433.31 on speculation of a strike against Syria, but gave up some gains

after UK lawmakers voted against any involvement. September is a significant month for gold. Many economists expect the US Federal Reserve to decide whether to begin tapering its commodity-friendly stimulus measures this month. The central bank is scheduled to commence a two-day policy meeting on Sept. 17. A scaling back would hurt prices. The metal has been boosted by central bank liquidity over the past four years. Investors are scrutinising economic data to gauge the strength of economic recovery and predict when the Fed is likely to start curbing its $85 billion per month bond-buying programme. The focus will be on major central bank meetings throughout the week and a series of crucial US economic data, culminating in the most important on Friday - the payrolls report. “Market players ... hope that the (US labour market report) will give them some indication of when the US Federal Reserve may begin reducing its bond purchases,” Commerzbank said. Bullish bets on gold futures and options placed by hedge funds and other money managers hit their highest levels since January at 97,902 contracts in the week to Aug.27, from 73,216 a week earlier. In silver futures and options, money managers were net long on 16,469 contracts from 16,139 previously. Silver was up 3.2 percent to $24.24 an ounce. The gold/silver ratio was at its lowest since midApril at around 57.50, compared with a three-year high of 67 at the end of July. Spot platinum rose 0.1 percent to $1,517.30 an ounce, while spot palladium gained 0.3 percent to $720.99 an ounce. —Reuters

LONDON: Shares in Vodafone soared yesterday on speculation that the British mobile phone giant Vodafone will soon unveil a $130billion deal to sell its US joint-venture stake to partner Verizon. The British firm said it was in advanced talks with Verizon to sell its 45 percent stake in the Verizon Wireless joint venture for cash and common shares in what would be the world’s third-largest deal of all time. The company’s share price jumped 4.08 percent to 214.6 pence in early afternoon trading. This was one day after Vodafone confirmed it was in “advanced” talks to sell its 45-percent holding in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications in a vast deal worth the equivalent of 98.5 billion euros or £84 billion. London’s FTSE 100 index, on which the British firm is listed, was 1.82 percent higher at 6,529.82 points. The blockbuster deal-which would be one of the biggest transactions in global corporate historywould allow Vodafone to bounce back from hefty losses, pay down debt, make new acquisitions and return money to shareholders, according to analysts. It would also mark the group’s exit from the United States market. The Financial Times, citing sources close to the situation, said that both sides had agreed in principle to the Verizon Wireless deal, while Verizon management would meet later to approve the purchase. Both Verizon and Vodafone declined to comment further on the matter, when approached by AFP. The gigantic buyout would be the second-biggest merger and acquisition deal in global corporate histor y, according to data firm Dealogic. The world’s biggest M&A deal remains Vodafone’s purchase of Germany ’s Mannesmann for $172 billion including debt, in 1999. “Vodafone confirms that it is in advanced discussions with Verizon Communications Inc. regarding the disposal of Vodafone’s US group whose principal asset is its 45-per-

WASHINGTON: A man passes by a Verizon Wireless store in this June 5, 2008 file photo in Washington, DC. US telecoms giant Verizon said yesterday it had reached a deal with Vodafone to acquire its 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless for $130 billion. Verizon said in a statement that the blockbuster deal - which will allow Vodafone to bounce back from hefty losses - consists primarily of cash and stock. —AFP cent interest in Verizon Wireless for US$130 billion,” the group said in a statement that was issued on Sunday and released to the London Stock Exchange yesterday. “The consideration would substantially comprise a mixture of Verizon common stock and cash. “ There is no certainty that an agreement will be reached. A further announcement will be made as soon as practicable.” The Verizon Wireless transaction would give US fixed-line company Verizon full control after 13 years of shared ownership. The Wall Street Journal reported that the deal would be announced on “Monday afternoon”, and cited a person close to the negotiations. In May, Vodafone revealed that annual net profits had slumped by

90 percent after taking a vast impairment charge relating to poor business in debt-laden eurozone nations Italy and Spain. Profit after taxation collapsed to £673 million in the group’s financial year to the end of March compared with £7.0 billion in 2011-2012. Since then it has announced rising first-quarter sales, as strength in emerging markets such as in Africa and Asia counters weakness in Europe. In June, Vodafone launched a 7.7-billion-euro cash offer for Kabel Deutschland, Germany’s biggest cable operator. Atif Latif, director of trading at Guardian Stockbrokers in London, said the deal would likely spark an “increased dividend” for shareholders and create a cash pot to fund

acquisitions in Europe. “With this news we could see more acquisitions within Europe to give then a foothold back into markets where they have fallen behind in recent times,” Latif told AFP. He added that $130 billion was at the top end of analysts’ estimates, and noted that the potential tax bill would likely be less than expected. Jonathan Jackson, head of equities at brokerage Killik & Co, added that the deal would likely be announced before Wall Street reopened today. “We would expect the announcement over the next day or so, with the timing to be before the opening of the US market, which is closed today,” he said. US financial markets remain closed yesterday for the Labor Day public holiday. — Agencies

French manufacturing data sends mixed signals PARIS: Manufacturing activity in France faltered in August and sales of new cars slumped, data showed yesterday, clouding recovery of the economy from recession in the second quarter. However the latest data also showed signs that the underlying climate, notably in the critically important area of export orders, may be steadying. The purchasing managers’ index of activity in the manufacturing sector had rallied in July to give a reading of 49.7, but this was also the reading for August in the latest figures yesterday. This means that the index, the result of a survey by the Markit company, has stabilised below the point of 50, which indicates expansion of contraction in the sector.

Official growth data on August 14 showed that the French economy grew by 0.5 percent in the second quarter, showing unexpectedly firm recovery from a shallow recession. But analysts warned that this had been driven largely by unseasonal spending on energy during an exceptionally long winter, and that the trend might not last. The left-wing government, under strong pressures over weak growth and competitiveness, high unemployment, excessive public deficit and high taxes, scrutinises each new set of data to see if the signs bear out its forecasts that recovery is on the doorstep. The quarterly growth figure led the official statistics institute to upgrade its outlook for the

MULHOUSE: A picture taken on May 7, 2013 in a plant of French car maker PSA Peugeot Citroen in Mulhouse, eastern France, shows employees working on the production line of the Peugeot 2008 series. Registrations of new cars plunged 10.9% as reported ilast month in France, erasing the modest recovery in July, according to figures released yesterday, 2013 by the Committee of French Automobile Manufacturers (CCFA). PSA Peugeot CitroÎn has lost 17.3%, its two brands registering a similar decline. — AFP

year to growth of 0.1 percent, in line with the government’s estimate, instead of minus 0.1 percent. However, President Francois Hollande, who has assured that the upward trend of unemployment will be inversed by the end of the year, said at the end of last week that in view of the growth data, the government might upgrade slightly its forecast for growth in 2013. The PMI index is considered to be a good leading indicator of how activity in the sector will develop and is also seen as an important guide to the broader trend of the economy. The latest outcome means that the index has fallen short of the halfway mark to expansion for 18 months in a row. Markit concluded that “overall business conditions in the French manufacturing sector deteriorated slightly in August.” In particular “the amount of new orders placed with manufacturers in France fell further in August, extending the current period of contraction to 26 months.” But the rate of decline was slight. The chief economic at Markit, Jack Kennedy, commented: “French manufacturing output slipped back into contraction in August, but a broad stabilisation of new orders suggests that underlying demand is moving onto a firmer footing.” He concluded: “Overall, the latest data suggest that the manufacturing sector is starting to hold its ground a little better having been under the cosh in recent times.” Meanwhile trade data from French car manufacturers showed that sales of new cars plunged by 10.9 percent on an unadjusted basis and on a 12-month comparison in August, outweighing a slight recovery in July. “The month of August is usually weak,” a spokesman for the CCFA committee of manufacturers said. But the figure of total new sales of 85,565 “is really low,” he commented. In the first eight months of the year sales of new cars in France fell by 9.8 percent, or by 8.7 percent adjusted for the number of working days by comparison with sales in the same period of last year. The auto sector is an important component of French industry. —AFP



S Africa mine unions, bosses in war of words JOHANNESBURG: South African union leaders warned yesterday, a day before a strike in the gold sector, that mine owners’ handling of pay talks could provoke violence, and bosses said wage hikes would force mine closures and cost thousands of jobs. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which represents about twothirds of more than 120,000 unionised gold miners in Africa’s biggest economy, is set to strike from today. With stoppages in the auto industry and the construction sector already sapping the struggling economy, shutting gold mines could cripple an industry that has produced a third of the world’s bullion but is now in rapid decline. Labour and management are poles apart on the issue of wages, with the NUM seeking 60 percent pay hikes for entry-level miners and its more hardline

rival, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), pushing for 150 percent raises. Companies say they cannot afford this in the face of soaring costs and depressed prices. The president of South Africa’s Chamber of Mines warned unions against stoking workers’ hopes. Mark Cutifani, who is also chief executive of mining giant Anglo American said, “Promoting expectations above the capacity of the industry to pay is a dangerous road that may have tragic consequences for employees who do not understand how close we are to economic devastation in certain sectors.” “If we lose each other in the present discussions, we will count the costs in mines closed and tens of thousands of jobs lost,” he wrote in a commentary in the Business Day newspaper. South Africa’s gold and platinum

sectors are still recovering from a wave of violent, wildcat strikes last year. Stemming from a turf war between the NUM and AMCU, it cost billions of dollars in lost output and triggered damaging sovereign credit downgrades. More than 50 people were k illed. Business Day said gold producers were considering a pre-emptive lockout at the mines. The Chamber of Mines, which negotiates on behalf of firms, told Reuters a lockout was an option but it would be taken as a “last resort”. AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa, whose union has not yet called a strike, said a mines lockout would provoke trouble. “I have informed the minister of police that the manner in which the gold CEOs want to approach this wage negotiation, through an offensive lockout, will result in violence,” he said. “A strike is not what we are after, we

are being pushed into a corner,” Mathunjwa said. Critics say President Jacob Zuma and his ruling African National Congress (ANC) have paid more attention to a small and wealthy business elite, including mine bosses, and ignored the needs of South Africa’s working class, poor and unemployed. The government is anxious to keep a lid on labour unrest and potential job losses before elections next year. A gold industry shutdown could cost South Africa more than $35 million a day in lost output, according to calculations based on the spot gold price and a Chamber of Mines estimate that the sector would stop producing about 760 kg a day. South Africa’s gold industry, which once accounted for almost 80 percent of global bullion output, now produces just 6 percent of the world total. It has been laid low by a combina-

tion of geological and economic setbacks. After more than a century of mining, the remaining ore lies deep underground and is costly and dangerous to extract. Labour and power costs have also soared. Monday brought some relief however from the strike pressure, when workers at petrol stations and car dealerships postponed for a week a stoppage which was scheduled to star t on Monday. But striking car manufacturing workers stayed away from work after rejecting a double-digit wage increase offer on Thursday. The auto industry strike is costing the economy an estimated $60 million a day. Labour worries pushed the rand to four-year lows last month. Companies which will be hit by Tuesday’s strike include main gold producers AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields, Harmony Gold and Sibanye Gold. — Reuters

ATHENS: Staff stand outside the closed front of the Polykliniki Hospital in central Athens, yesterday. The hospital has been temporarily closed, and its staff is being transferred to other facilities, under new public sector reforms aimed at cutting costs amid Greece’s acute financial crisis. The conservativeled government plans to sack 15,000 state employees by the end of 2014, and place another 25,000 in a program of mandatory suspensions and job transfers. The banner on the building reads: “No to the closure of Polykliniki, state-run free health for all.” —AP

Burgan Bank announces winner of VISA card KUWAIT: Burgan Bank announced yesterday the name of the winner of its weekly VISA Card draw to win KD 2000. The lucky winner of this week is Mohamed Ali Mashay Alshemari. The winner’s announcement comes as part of Burgan Bank’s cards promotion that was launched earlier, Each 20 KD spent in Kuwait or abroad using Burgan Bank’s VISA Credit Cards will grant the card holder 1 chance to enter the weekly draws; and each transaction done abroad on any Burgan VISA ATM Card will earn 1 chance. The draw will be carried out on a weekly

basis, commencing on the 14th of July and will end on the 30th of September, 2013. Burgan Bank’s latest promotion is in-line with its overall commitment to provide its customers with exclusive benefits that go beyond their banking needs. To find out more about Burgan Bank’s services as well as its latest promotions, customers are required to visit their nearest Burgan Bank branch or contact the call center on 1804080. For more information, customers can log on to the bank’s website on

Malaysia cuts fuel subsidies to fund welfare KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s government said yesterday it will cut fuel subsidies for the first time in nearly two years to save 3.3 billion ringgit ($1 billion) annually as part of crucial budget reforms. Prime Minister Najib Razak said the reductions are needed to trim the budget deficit and strengthen economic fundamentals to boost investor confidence. The financial markets of some Asian countries have come under pressure as the anticipated scaling back of US monetary stimulus spurs capital outflows from the region. Najib, who is also finance minister, said the government will cut the gasoline subsidy by 20 sen (6 cents) to 63 sen (19 cents) a liter and diesel by 20 sen to 80 sen a liter from today. Malaysia spends 24.8 billion ringgit a year on fuel subsidies. The reductions announced Monday will reduce that bill by 1.1 billion ringgit for the four months through December and 3.3 billion ringgit next year. Najib said savings from the sub-

sidy cut will help fund handouts for people on low incomes, which will be announced in the 2014 budget in October. “It’s a process of fiscal consolidation. The market will feel more confident if we can bring down our fiscal deficit,” he said. Malaysia’s economy and financial markets face risks from rising domestic debt, a swollen fiscal deficit and a shrinking current account surplus. The central bank recently cut the country’s growth forecast this year to 4.5-5 per cent, while Fitch Ratings lowered Malaysia’s credit rating outlook to negative from stable, citing a lack of fiscal reforms. The budget deficit hit 4.5 percent of gross domestic product last year. Najib said the central bank is closely monitoring the Malaysian ringgit, which has shed more than 7 percent against the U.S. dollar this year. “It is not giving us any undue stress for the time being. What we believe in is to focus on strengthening the fundamentals of the economy,” he said. — AP

Italy imposes tax on high-frequency trading ROME: Italy implemented a new tax on high-frequency trading yesterday, becoming the first country to impose a levy on an opaque and little-regulated market. The 0.02-percent levy applies to derivatives deals lasting less than half a second and is the second part of new financial transaction taxes being imposed in Italy. It applies to transactions involving Italian stocks or indices and is calculated based on the product’s overall value. A tax on all share transactions was installed in March. “This is a complete novelty because no country had yet gone so far,” business daily Il Sole 24 Ore said. Investors have been concerned it could cut trading volumes and there have been delays with the new law because of confusion about how it would be applied.

Market operators on Monday noted that trading volumes had gone down, Il Sole 24 Ore said, adding however that it was “premature” to draw conclusions. “The volumes on contract for difference (a type of equity derivative) with the FTSE MIB index have gone down 12 percent compared to the first few hours of trading last Monday,” one operator said. The report said the estimated yearly intake from the tax is 200-250 million euros ($264-330 million) — lower than previous estimates-and there could be additional costs from investor flight to avoid the tax. Ten other European countries are preparing to introduce similar taxes on financial transactions, a prospect that has concerned experts worried about a possible wider impact on the economy. — AFP



Flagship British scheme fails to boost bank lending LONDON: Britain’s flagship scheme to encourage banks to pump more credit into the economy failed to boost lending in its first year, data showed, as banks focused on meeting tougher capital demands from regulators instead. However banks using the scheme expect lending to individuals and businesses to pick up over the rest of this year as economic conditions start to improve, the Bank of England said on Monday. The government launched the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) in July 2012 as part of its efforts to lift the economy out of recession. Under the scheme, the central bank makes cheap funds available to banks and building societies on the condition they lend it on to UK households and businesses. But despite 41 lenders accessing 17.6 billion pounds ($27.2 billion), net lend-

ing - the difference between money lent and loans repaid - fell by 2.3 billion in the year to the end of June 2013. Britain’s biggest banks have cut back on lending and shed assets to meet tough rules on capital imposed by regulators, to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis. Banks have also pointed to a lack of demand from borrowers. However, lending grew in the second quarter of 2013, the central bank said, an indication that the FLS is starting to have an impact as the economy shows signs of recovery and the appetite for borrowing improves. Britain’s economy sped up in the second quarter although it remained smaller than before the financial crisis. A survey on Monday showed UK manufacturing accelerated in August, a sign the country’s recovery was broadening.

Banks using the FLS scheme lent 1.6 billion pounds ($2.5 billion) in the second quarter, but the improvement was not enough to make up for a decline of 3.9 billion pounds in the previous three quarters. The Bank of England said net lending to individuals had picked up slightly in the second quarter but lending to businesses shrank. “FLS participants collectively expect net lending volumes to pick up over the remainder of this year,” Paul Fisher, the central bank’s executive director for markets, said on Monday. The scheme runs until January 2015, the year of Britain’s next parliamentary election. The biggest net lenders during the second quarter were Nationwide, Lloyds Banking Group, Virgin Money and Barclays, according to Bank of England data. State -backed Royal Bank of

Scotland and Spain’s Santander continued to significantly cut net lending, however. Santander cut lending by 10.4 billion pounds in the last year and RBS by 6.8 billion. RBS has shed 900 million pounds of assets to reduce risk and make the bank safer following a 45 billion pound government bailout in 2008. Santander wants to lend more to businesses, which requires greater capital to be held, and is cutting back on mortgage lending to enable it to do so. The British Bankers Association, a industry lobby group, said the scheme had helped to lower the cost of borrowing enabling business to benefit from some of the lowest rates in history. However, the Federation of Small Businesses said small firms were missing out on the cheap finance with many not even knowing about the scheme.

“Many small businesses have been affected by the lack of access to financial support during the financial recovery and have relied on non-bank lenders to keep them afloat,” it said. Lloyds Banking Group, which is Britain’s biggest retail bank and is 41 percent owned by the government, returned to positive lending in the second quarter, with net lending of 1.3 billion pounds. Building society Nationwide was the biggest net lender at 2.3 billion pounds. The Bank of England in June ordered Barclays and Nationwide to improve their leverage ratios, which could have the unintended consequence of slowing their lending. They each lent more than 7 billion pounds net in the last year, over three times more than the next biggest lender. —Reuters

India manufacturing hits over 4-year low China’s factory activity rebounds

NEW DELHI: Employees of a petrol pump wait for customers in New Delhi yesterday. India is considering closing fuel pumps at night as one of a number of “austerity measures” aimed at cutting its ballooning oil import bills, the oil minister said. — AFP

India drops plan to shut petrol pumps at night NEW DELHI: India’s government denied yesterday it was considering shutting filling stations at night to reduce oil imports, a widely ridiculed measure reportedly under discussion to tackle a deepening economic crisis. Oil Minister Veerappa Moily sparked the speculation Sunday when he told a local news agency that “shutting petrol pumps during (the) night” was one of several austerity measures being assessed to cut the imports bill. News of the proposal, a throwback to India’s pre-liberalisation past when the government tightly regulated all parts of the economy, sparked feverish debate on television and Twitter. It also apparently took the rest of the cabinet by surprise, leading to a formal denial issued via the information ministry. “The ministry of petroleum and natural gas has clarified that there is no proposal under consideration of the government to allow sale of petroleum products from the retail outlets only during certain hours,” said a statement. Moily also later denied the plan, saying other measures were in the pipeline to rein in India’s oil import bill. “I am doing the brainstorming on the measures. I have not finalised this and it is at the very initial stage,” he told CNN-IBN on Monday, adding he was likely to unveil the measures on September 16. “But this closing of the pumps (fuel stations) is not part of the proposals.” Political parties including the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made fun of the plan. “Won’t the people fill their car fuel tanks in the morning? This is a strange move by Moily,” BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain said. The regional Trinamool Congress party, which withdrew from the coalition government last September over planned probusiness reforms, described the measure as “bizarre”. “They are making a laughing stock of themselves... this is such a bizarre suggestion,” lawmaker Derek O’Brien told

reporters. India imports around 80 percent of its oil needs and its import bill has risen dramatically because of high global prices and a plunging rupee, which has hit record lows in recent weeks. “For every one-rupee depreciation to the dollar, I lose about 80 billion (rupees) ($1.2 billion). That means (a fall) from 58 rupees to 68 rupees, I lost 800 billion (rupees) and that’s a matter of concern,” Moily said. The rupee closed at 66.00 from Friday’s 65.70, snapping a two-day rally. The country is struggling to shrink its current account deficit-the broadest measure of trade-which hit a record 4.8 percent of GDP last year and is straining foreign exchange reserves. In another proposed measure, Delhi is also mulling increasing oil supplies from sanctions-hit Iran, which could save India $8.5 billion in foreign exchange reserves, the Press Trust of India said. Moily has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spelling out the strategy with Iran, which accepts payment in rupees rather than dollars. “About 2 million tonnes (of ) crude oil has been imported from Iran so far during the current financial year,” Moily wrote. “An additional import of 11 million tonnes during 2013-14 would result in reduction in forex outflow by $8.47 billion.” New Delhi has launched a series of measures in recent weeks to try and plug the deficit amid a faltering economy and fears of a downgrade by ratings agencies. The government has three times this year raised import duties on gold, the second biggest contributor after oil to the deficit. On Sunday state-run Indian Oil Corp increased petrol prices by more than 3.5 percent, blaming the falling rupee, sparking opposition-led protests in parliament. The government has partially deregulated petrol and raised diesel prices to try to reduce the massive subsidies it pays to state-run fuel refiners. —AFP

Koreas hold first talks on reopening industrial park SEOUL: North and South Korea held the first meeting yesterday of a committee tasked with reopening their Kaesong joint industrial zone-five months after it was shut down amid soaring military tensions. The committee, comprising five officials from each side, sat down for talks in Kaesong at 10am (0100 GMT), with the initial agenda focused on the timing for reopening the complex. The two sides failed to make a breakthrough by the end of yesterday’s session, reported the South’s Yonhap news agency, agreeing to resume talks later in the week. The agency quoted a South Korean official as saying that Seoul asked for compensation for companies hurt by the work stoppage. “We have called for the restoration of military hotlines that run along the west coast, restoration of infrastructure and administrative rules and safeguards to prevent a recurrence of the work stoppage,” the official said.

He added the North meanwhile had called for the immediate opening of the complex. Established just over the North Korean side of the border in 2004 as a rare symbol of inter-Korean cooperation, Kaesong had come through previous crises on the Korean peninsula unscathed. But in April, as tensions flared following the North’s third nuclear test, Pyongyang effectively shut down operations by withdrawing the 53,000 North Korean workers employed at the 123 South Korean plants. The two Koreas agreed last month to work together to resume operations at the zone, which is an important source of hard currency for the cash-strapped regime in Pyongyang. As part of the agreement, the North accepted the South’s demand that Kaesong be opened to foreign investors-a move seen by Seoul as a guarantee against the North shutting the complex down again in the future. —AFP

NEW DELHI: India’s manufacturing shrank in August for the first time in over four years, dealing a fresh blow to efforts to boost a slumping currency, as rival China’s factory activity rebounded, figures showed yesterday. HSBC’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for India, which gives a snapshot of manufacturing health, tumbled to an unexpected low of 48.5 in August from 51.1 in July, amid a fall in orders. The PMI index is seen as a leading signal of economic momentum. A reading below 50 signals contraction while anything above suggests expansion. The Indian data came as growth forecasts were downgraded for the country for this financial year to March 2014, amid worries Asia’s third-largest economy could be on the brink of a full-blown crisis. HSBC cut its growth forecast to four percent from 5.5 percent while investment house Nomura India reduced its projection to 4.2 percent from 5.0 percent. “This is not the bottom,” said HSBC economist Leif Eskesen, warning of “a deeper slowdown ahead”. He said he expected to see no signs of recovery until the final quarter. The most bearish was BNP Paribas, which slashed its forecast to 3.7 percent from 5.2 percent target, saying India’s “macro muddle” was nearing crisis levels. BNP Paribas said the economy appeared to be entering a “tailspin” with business confidence collapsing under the rupee’s slide, rising energy costs, tighter financial conditions and policy confusion. Last week, figures showed India’s economy grew by 4.4 percent in the first three months, the slowest quarterly pace since early 2009, when the world was staggering from the onset of the global financial crisis. The Indian government expects growth of around 5.5 percent after expansion slowed to a decade low of 5.0 percent last year. The rupee closed down by near-

AGARTALA: An Indian labourer shapes an aluminium pot inside a factory in Agartala, the capital of northeastern state of Tripura yesterday. India’s manufacturing shrank for the first time in over four years in August, dealing a fresh blow to efforts to boost a slumping currency, figures showed, as rival China’s factory activity rose. — AFP ly half a percent at 66 to the dollar, snapping a two-day rally, as investors worried the negative data would deter foreign capital inflows but shares finished up 1.43 percent at 18,886 points on bargain-hunting. India’s PMI reading, the lowest since a below-50 level in March 2009, contrasted with figures showing Chinese factory activity shifted to expansion from contractionsurging to 50.1 in August from 47.7 in July-after three months of shrinkage. “We expect some upside surprises to China’s growth in the coming months,” said HSBC’s chief economist for China, Qu Hongbin. Chinese authorities are targeting 2013 growth of 7.5 percent as they seek to shift the economy’s growth engine from big-ticket investment to consumer demand. The Chinese government’s offi-

cial PMI for August, released Sunday, was a 16-month high of 51.0, driven by stimulus steps and companies restocking goods. The upbeat Chinese data coincided with PMI figures suggesting a broadening recovery in eurozone manufacturing, cheering global stock markets. But factory activity shrank sharply in Southeast Asia’s largest economy Indonesia, on reduced orders, falling to a 15month low of 48.5 in August from 50.7 in July. “Weaker demand both domestically and externally appeared to be behind the worsening in manufacturing conditions,” said HSBC economist Su Sian Lim. South Korea’s manufacturing activity shrank for a third straight month in August. Taiwan’s manufacturing, meanwhile, was unchanged at 48.6 in July, suggest-

ing activity is stabilising. But stronger orders are needed to ensure the electronics exporter avoids a recession, HSBC said. The fall of the Indian rupee and of other emerging-market currencies has been greased by expectations of a tapering of US stimulus that prompted large fund flows into emerging markets. Credit Suisse economist Robert Prior-Wandesforde said India’s economic performance reflected a loss of its “normally strong animal spirits”. India has “lost its mojo”, he said. But the gloom might be overdone, he said, citing an expected boost to exports from the rupee’s fall and a strong monsoon that should increase harvests, and said Credit Suisse was keeping its growth forecast unchanged at six percent.—AFP

Indonesia trade deficit widens as economy worsens JAKARTA: Indonesia’s trade deficit unexpectedly hit a record high in July, data showed yesterday, heaping pressure on policymakers to shore up the economy which is facing a grim future as investors flee. The news came as a closely watched survey showed manufacturing activity in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy had sunk to a 15-month low in August. Indonesia-like other global emerging markets-has been hammered by huge outflows of foreign cash over the past month on expectations the US Federal Reserve will begin to wind down its stimulus programme. Official figures showed Indonesia’s trade deficit rose sharply to $2.31 billion in July from $847 million in June, compared with economists’ forecasts that it would dip to $353 million.

The deficit in July was “the highest in Indonesia’s history”, Suryamin, the head of the Central Statistics Agency who goes by one name, told reporters. “Exports dropped because the price of commodities dropped,” Suryamin said. Demand for key commodities, such as coal and palm oil, have been hit by a slowdown in key market China. It adds pressure to the country’s current account, which in the April-June quarter widened to a $9.8 billion deficit, the biggest shortfall since the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. Adding to the government’s woes was news that an index compiled for HSBC showed manufacturing activity fell to a 15-month low in August and was now shrinking. The purchasing managers index hit 48.5 last month from 50.7 in

JAKARTA: Indonesian brokers work at the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) in Jakarta yesterday. Shares on Jakarta’s stock market tumbled almost three percent yesterday as investors fled to safety after data was released showing Indonesia’s trade deficit unexpectedly hit a record high in July, while the rupiah remained under pressure having already lost about 12 percent against the dollar this year. — AFP

July, marking the fourth straight month of decline, Anything below 50 points to contraction and anything above indicates growth. Equally as worrying, the survey showed new exports business contracted for the third month in a row, while a decline in total new orders was the first recorded since May 2012, HSBC said. Jakarta’s stock market closed down 2.24 percent after the data was released, while the rupiah weakened to 10,950 to the dollar from 10,920. It has already lost about 12 percent against the dollar this year. Emerging economies from Indonesia to Brazil have seen a huge flight of capital as dealers repatriate to the US expecting the Fed stimulus-which has fuelled an investment spree in developing countries for the past year-to dry up. And among countries to suffer the most are those with big current account deficits. July’s deficit was a “a nasty and badly timed surprise”, Credit-Suisse economist Robert Prior-Wandesforde said, adding that the central bank needed to do more. Bank Indonesia has already hiked interest rates 1.25 percentage points since June to 7.00 percent in a bid to shore up the economy and support the ailing rupiah. Monetary tightening tends to increase the value of currencies. However, its job will be made all the more difficult after inflation in August came in at a fouryear high of 8.79 percent owing to the effects of a reduction in subsidised fuel prices as well as seasonal spending for the Muslim holiday of Eid. Investors are also jittery due to a slowdown in Indonesian growth, which slipped to 5.81 percent in the second quarter, the first time it has fallen below six percent since 2010. The government announced a series of measures aimed at boosting the economy last month, including measures to slow imports and narrow the current account and trade deficits. — AFP


BUSINESS Drake & Scull bags AED 415m MEP contract for Iconic Louvre Museum project ABU DHABI: Drake & Scull International PJSC (DSI), a regional market leader in the integrated design, engineering and construction disciplines of General Contracting, Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP), Water and Power, Rail and Oil and Gas, has announced that it has recently signed a AED 415 million contract to execute the complete MEP works for the iconic Louvre Museum project in Abu Dhabi. The contract was awarded by ASOLOUVRE JV, the Arabtec Construction LLC (Arabtec) -led joint venture with Constructora San Jose SA and Oger Abu Dhabi LLC that has been appointed by master developer Abu Dhabi Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) to be the main contractor of the project. The scope of work for this contract will be executed in coordination with Habtoor Leighton Specon and includes all incidentals MEP Works on the project scheduled to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2015. Louvre Abu Dhabi is located in the Saadiyat Cultural District and is scheduled to be inaugurated in 2015. ASOLOUVRE JV has been awarded earlier in January 2013 a AED 2.4 billion contract by TDIC to construct the landmark museum. With a built up area of 64,000 square metres, Louvre Abu

Dhabi is conceived as a complex of pavilions, plazas, alleyways and canals, evoking the image of a city floating on the sea. Hovering over the complex will be a form inspired by traditional Arabic architecture, a vast shallow dome of around 180 metres in diameter perforated with interlaced patterns so that a magical, diffused light will filter through. Commenting on the award, Khaldoun Tabari, CEO of Drake & Scull International, said: “The Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi is the most anticipated and prestigious cultural development project in the region. It will be a showcase of artistic mastery and world-class engineering that underlines the vision of Abu Dhabi to be a leading global cultural hub. We thank the Arabtec Led Joint Venture for choosing DSI to execute this iconic project and we are confident that our partnership will bring exceptional value and solid engineering expertise to the international Joint Venture of this prestigious development. “ “The appointment of DSI as the project’s MEP contractor therefore validates the quality of our work and our proven track record in providing MEP solutions to high-profile projects in the region. Moreover, this is a great opportunity to create a major impression on the local and global market as DSI helps

bring to life one of the world’s most iconic art museums,” added Tabari. DSI continues to enhance and strengthen its services offering with unmatched vertical integration and global footprint. The company successfully achieved total Revenues of AED 2.567 billion and total Net Profit of AED 114.9 million for the first half of 2013 ended June 30th. The financial results reflect growth in revenues and net profit by 71.8% and 53.9% respectively, compared by the first half of 2012. Total project awards year to date reached AED 5.9 billion in KSA, UAE, Qatar, Jordan and India. The Order Backlog reached a record high closing at AED 11.7 billion as of the 30th of June representing a 58.1% growth compared to AED 7.4 billion recorded during the same period last year. The collaborative capabilities of the Engineering services (MEP and Water and Power), General Contracting, Oil and Gas, Rail and Infrastructure development continue to deliver strong performance quality work on project sites. Armed with a multicultural workforce, inherent financial strength and solid regional experience, the company’s outlook remains positive in terms of realising greater profitability and improving productivity across MENA, South Asia and Europe.

Khaldoun Tabari

Is this 1997? Close, but not quite there The Asia Inquirer Equity Strategy

Countdown begins to win Azimut 40 Flybridge Yacht National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) announced 15 September as the last day of its summer campaign that offers its Cardholders the chance to win an astonishing Azimut 40 Flybridge Yacht. NBK Cardholders still have two weeks to earn unlimited chances to enter the third draw to win up to KD 10,000 in cash prizes in addition to the grand prize draw for the Azimut 40 Yacht. NBK’s summer campaign offer customers the chance to win an astonishing Azimut 40 Flybridge Yacht as well as up to KD 180,000 in cash prizes.12 winners in the first two draws of the campaign had their spending on their NBK Cards reimbursed up to a value of KD 10,000. Another six winners will be announced in the third and last draw at the end of the campaign. For every cumulative KD 20 spent in Kuwait with NBK Credit or Prepaid Cards, Cardholders will earn

a chance to enter the draws. Cardholders will triple their chances by using their NBK Credit, Prepaid and Debit Card abroad or by shopping on international sites. Last summer NBK gave away a McLaren MP4-12C. This year, NBK is giving away the Azimut Yacht. NBK Summer Campaign is the biggest promotion. All NBK Cardholders can use their Cards during the summer to enjoy this exclusive promotion. NBK Cards are accepted worldwide and are the safest, most convenient and rewarding way to pay. For more information log onto or contact Hala Watani on 1801801. The Azimut 40 Flybridge is one of the most luxurious yachts designed by Azimut-Benetti, the world renowned yacht manufacturers, combining elegance and comfort. Seas & Deserts Group is the exclusive Azimut Yachts dealer in Kuwait.

Sporty MINI Ray set to ignite Kuwaiti market KUWAIT: Get ready for the MINI Ray Edition. Stylish and sporty, this nifty new special edition available on the MINI Cooper S and MINI Cooper S Countryman s guaranteed to turn heads with its extremely good looks and fluorescensational colour scheme. Boasting dynamically designed exterior and interior features; this special edition of the MINI Cooper S and MINI Cooper S Countryman is now on sale at Ali Alghanim & Sons Automotive, the exclusive MINI importer for Kuwait. The sports stripes and mirror caps, feature luminous color options in green and other colours. But this is not all. The Ray Edition also features a sporty John Cooper Works exterior kit, light-alloy wheels, glass roof and comfort access. Sporty meets chic in the cabin as passengers sit back and relax in black leather upholstery in combination with a leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles. The MINI Ray Edition is available in the MINI Cooper S and MINI

Cooper S Countryman variants only and is powered by a 1.6-litre 135 kW/184 bhp four-cylinder engine with Twin Scroll turbocharger, direct petrol injection and variable valve control. During the six months of 2013, MINI sales in the Middle East grew 11 per cent with 773 cars sold in nine Middle East markets. The MINI brand currently consists of seven family members, the MINI, MINI Cabrio, MINI Clubman, MINI Countryman, MINI Coupe, MINI Roadster and MINI Paceman, all available in Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works engine variants. Commenting on the launch of this car in Kuwait, Yousef Al Qatami, General Manager of Ali Alghanim & Sons Automotive, said: “MINI has achieved phenomenal success in Kuwait over the years, helping to make it the most successful small premium car brand in the world and across the Middle East. We are certain that the limited edition MINI Ray will build on this trend and prove highly popular with MINI fans here in Kuwait.”

Measuring financial vulnerability in Asia ex-Japan markets. We estimate financial vulnerability in major Asia exJapan markets based on 10 factors - excessive real credit growth, the gap between credit growth and economic growth, rising loan-deposit ratios and elevated money multipliers - all signs of credit booms and financial liberalization. Deteriorating current accounts, “over-valued” currencies, rising foreign debt, especially shorter duration debt reflect international illiquidity. Weakening economic growth and falling financial stock prices are canaries in the coalmine. Elevated financial vulnerability is often, but not always associated with currency and/or banking crises Based on our methodology, two-thirds of major Asian markets currently have their financial vulnerability scores in the highest third of their history - a concern to us. This is close to what was observed in mid-1997, prior to the Asian crisis. In terms of the average magnitude of financial vulnerability for nine major Asian countries (a simple average of the individual country scores over time), we are getting close to what was observed in mid-1997. Singapore (surprisingly), India and Malaysia score poorly on our measure of financial vulnerability. China, Hong Kong and Indonesia are also concerning. Korea and Taiwan look less vulnerable, while Thailand is in the middle. Significant alpha in low / high financial vulnerability regimes. There is considerable alpha in assessing financial vulnerability in countries. In eight of nine Asian markets, investing during periods of heightened financial vulnerability has historically produced returns well below those in calmer, less stressed times (Hong Kong is an exception). Indeed, historically returns have almost always been negative or negligible in periods of elevated financial vulnerability. Macro risk assessment appears to matter to equity investors. Improving US CA deficit, strong dollar - potential drag on Asia An improving US current account deficit is closely associated with rising Asian market financial vulnerability. An improving US current account deficit signals declining global liquidity - a problem especially for USD-short entities, ie those with external deficits and/or US debt. As a risk case, we are concerned that the improving US current account balance could improve further, if the past relationship with the inflation adjusted trade-weighted USD is a guide (this is not our house view). Tapering and Fed chairman transitions adding fuel to fragility Barring recession, the six-month windows around Fed chairman transitions have historically been marked by higher bond yields. Asian equities have been moving closely with US tapering/interest rate expectations over the past year. Potentially higher US rates - our house view is for 3% 10-year yields by end-2013 and 4% by end-2014 - have historically exposed emerging market vulnerabilities. Recently, the most oft-asked question from investors has been “Is this like 1997?”, referring to the Asian crisis, which broadened out to other emerging markets in the following two years. This is more of an empirical question to us. We remember 1997 well - having conducted in-depth analysis in June of that year of financial vulnerability in various Asian markets. The analysis was based on the seminal research of Graciela Kaminsky and the nowfamous Carmen Reinhart, among others. Looking back, we note that the basics of financial vulnerability have not changed much. This time, we use similar variables to analyze vulnerability. There is no hindsight bias. We have six conclusions: 1) Of the nine markets we have analyzed, six (or twothirds) are demonstrating heightened financial vulnerability - close to what we saw in mid-1997. Back in 2005/06, almost none were. To be sure, the absolute levels of concern/vulnerability were slightly higher in mid-1997 for almost all markets covered. While many markets appear at risk today, they are not yet at the severe levels of 1997. 2) Elevated financial vulnerability is often, but not always associated with currency and/or banking crises. Singapore (surprisingly), India, and Malaysia score poorly on our measure of financial vulnerability.

China, Hong Kong, and Indonesia are also concerning. Korea and Taiwan look less vulnerable, while Thailand is in the middle. Our financial vulnerability analysis is driven by 10 factors. Excessive real credit growth, the gap between credit growth and economic growth, rising loan-deposit ratios and elevated money multipliers - all signs of credit booms and financial liberalization. Deteriorating current accounts, “over-valued” currencies, rising foreign debt, especially shorter duration debt reflect international illiquidity. Weakening economic growth and falling financial stock prices are canaries in the coalmine. 3) There is considerable alpha in assessing financial vulnerability in countries. In eight of the nine markets, investing during periods of heightened financial vulnerability has historically produced returns well below those in calmer, less stressed times. (Hong Kong is an exception). Indeed, returns have almost always been negative or negligible in periods of elevated financial vulnerability. Macro risk assessment appears to matter to equity investors. 4) An improving US current account deficit is closely associated with rising emerging market financial vulnerability. An improving US current account deficit

at 1.4x, so seem more aware of the challenging environment. Still, we are not at the deep value levels that have been seen during crises like 1994, 1997 or 2008. We agree with Michael Hartnett, our Chief Global Investment Strategist, that emerging markets should be underweight versus developed markets, recognizing that there may be opportunistic trading opportunities along the way. Tapering, Fed chief transition and trade in the US - testing Asian market vulnerability What happens in the US has a disproportionate impact on Asian markets. Individually, a transition of the Fed Chairmanship, tapering, and a narrower US trade/current account deficit are all challenges for these markets - together, they are markedly burdensome, in our view. As shown in Figures 3 to 7, in the months preceding, and immediately after a transition of the Fed Chairmanship, interest rates almost always rise. The only exception was in 1970, when the 1970 recession revealed itself. Lastly, we look at economic growth, using the timely earnings revisions from our bottom-up work as a proxy for growth. Clearly, when growth slows, the credit extended in boom times becomes tougher to pay. Second, we also look at the external accounts for each

signals declining global liquidity - a problem especially for USD-short entities, ie those with external deficits and/or US debt. As a risk case, we are concerned that the improving US current account balance could improve further, if the past relationship with the inflation-adjusted trade-weighted USD is a guide. (Note this is not our house view). Whatever the reason - a prior weakness in the USD, greater energy production, re-shoring of manufacturing etc - a further narrowing in the US current account balance heightens emerging market financial vulnerability in our view, and shines a light on macro risk. 5) Barring recession, the six-month windows around Fed chairman transitions have historically been marked by higher bond yields. Asian equities have been moving closely with US tapering/interest rate expectations over the past year. Potentially higher US rates - our house view is for 3% 10-year yields by end-2013 and 4% by end-2014 - have historically exposed emerging market vulnerabilities. 6) The breadth of countries that are seeing the greatest impact is almost as high as mid-1997, but the intensity of the event is not quite as high as prior to start of the Asian crisis - still this is concerning in our view. Asia ex-Japan equity markets were trading at 2.2x P/B in June 1997, oblivious to the crisis. Today, they trade

market. Currencies that appreciate strongly in inflationadjusted terms reduce competitiveness, and hurt the accumulation of international reserves - the ultimate insurance policy against abrupt foreign capital outflows. While we often hear complex reasons why currency x or y deserves to be appreciating based on some complicated model, we are skeptical of such sophistication. We have been beset by complexity too often - as Mike Tyson said “everyone’s got a plan, until they get punched in the face”. We get concerned when short-term external debt gets too far ahead of international reserves - a key problem in East Asia in the mid-1990s, but no longer an issue. Like most analysts, we track the current account deficit-to-GDP ratio - these get tougher to finance when US rates are rising, and the US current account deficit itself is contracting, and the US Fed is tightening monetary policy. Like now, as the currencies in India, Turkey, South Africa and Indonesia are experiencing. This is a bad time to run a current account deficit, and be short USD. We think these 10 drivers should be around certain “baseline” levels, based on our experience in evaluating financial vulnerability - for example, short-term external debt should be around half of international reserves. Take on much more than that, and financial vulnerability increases. We assign weights to each of these 10 metrics to come up with a total financial vulnerability score.



More than 25,000 govt data requests: Facebook ‘Transparency, trust are core values at Facebook’ SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook said it received more than 25,000 government data requests in the first half of 2013, with the largest number from the United States. The company’s first “transparency report” showed Facebook received between 11,000 and 12,000 requests for data in the United States, affecting between 20,000 and 21,000 users. It also received more than 14,800 requests from 70 other countries for various government investigations. Facebook said the report includes “both criminal and national security requests” but without a detailed breakdown. “We have reported the numbers for all criminal and national security requests to the maximum extent permitted by law,” a statement by the huge social network said. “We continue to push the United States government to allow more transparency regarding these requests, including specific numbers and types of national security-related requests. We will publish updated information for the United States as soon as we obtain legal authorization to do so.” The report comes with US tech companies under pressure following revelations of a secret

program which scoops up vast amounts of data from Internet firms. Tech firms including Facebook have been seeking to release more information on government data requests, in the belief that this would reassure customers. Facebook’s report follows the release of similar information from other tech firms including Google, Microsoft and Twitter. The Facebook report said at least some data was released in 79 percent of US data requests. “ Transparency and trust are core values at Facebook,” the company’s general counsel Colin Stretch said. “We strive to embody them in all aspects of our services, including our approach to responding to government data requests. We want to make sure that the people who use our service understand the nature and extent of the requests we receive and the strict policies and processes we have in place to handle them.” The second largest number came from India, where 3,245 requests were made, affecting 4,144 users, Facebook said. The company provided at least some data in 50 percent of those cases. Facebook said that in the United States, it requires

“a valid subpoena,” court order or search warrant in order to turn over data. In other countries, Facebook said, “We disclose account records solely in accordance with our terms of service and applicable law.” Facebook said the third-largest number of requests came in Britain (1,975) followed by Germany (1,886), Italy (1,705) and France (1,547). Google, in its most recent transparency report covering the last six months of 2012, said it received 21,389 government requests. Kevin Bankston at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a digital rights group, commended Facebook for its action, saying that “sunlight is the best disinfectant, and basic numbers about the scope of surveillance of Facebook users can serve as an important early warning system for detecting abuse or overuse of a government’s authority to demand user data.” But he added that it was “disappointing that Facebook is still prohibited by law from disclosing specific information about the number of foreign intelligence and national security-related data demands it receives from the US government.” —AFP

Health care technology blossoms in hospitals KUWAIT: A slip of paper at the nurses’ station indicated a certain medication dose was due for a patient. Dallas Fulton knew better. Actually, his hand-held computer knew better. Fulton, a registered nurse on staff in Truman Medical Centers’ Hospital Hill intensive care unit, gets real-time electronic information about prescriptions, vital signs and any other aspect of patient care. His “CareMobile” device, never far from his side, quickly showed him that the patient’s physician had just changed the prescription order. “It’s faster and safer,” Fulton said of the technology. “It used to be that physicians scratched orders on paper, which went to the pharmacy and then to us. Now, the order goes to the pharmacy electronically, and as soon as it’s validated, it shows up in CareMobile.” The brick-sized portable device, which uses software by Kansas City, Mo.-based Cerner Corp., goes with Fulton to patient bedsides, allowing him to immediately enter and obtain patient data. It also scans bar-coded patient wristbands to confirm identities. This is the quiet side of the changes rippling through health care. A revolution in the conversion of patient information to computer records has spawned a huge industry in health care information technology. It’s created such job titles as “director of nursing informatics,” the job held by Amye Gilio, a registered nurse at Truman. The two Truman hospitals and the system’s health IT partner, Cerner, are recognized as leaders in IT transformation. The Kansas City-based hospital has achieved the highest level of health IT adoption as measured by Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Analytics. Truman reached a “Level 7” status for its electronic health records, a ranking held by less than 2 percent of US hospitals. Nationally, about three-fourths of hospitals and about half of office-based doctors have adopted some kind of electronic health records system. That starts with scanning into computer systems the paperwork that has filled the manila folders that have lined the walls of medical offices for decades. Such scanning was a natural progression into the digital age. But it was hurried along by federal incentive payments provided by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, stimulus legislation designed to help pull the country out of recession. So far, the federal program has paid doctors and hospitals more than $14.6 billion to install and “meaningfully use” electronic health records by 2014. The industry goal is more-efficient health care. By putting patients’ histories and care orders at the fingertips of doctors and nurses, digital records are expected to reduce duplication of services, reduce errors, and improve the quality of care because providers will have better information about what care is working. According to a study published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, digital records have helped avoid more than 17

million medication mistakes. But a contrary study by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority found error rates doubled from 2010 to 2011, perhaps reflecting growth in digital records use. There is no central database for reports of errors tied to electronic health records. Some companies, such as Cerner, voluntarily report their technology problems to the Food and Drug Administration. But the FDA doesn’t regulate health IT providers, so there’s no reporting standard. The Office of

By one calculation, Truman has documented $12 million in efficiency and safety savings since 2009. Truman’s program, like those at other hospitals, puts into practice what Cerner has been preaching that health care IT can “create a workflow appropriate for the best possible outcome for patient and clinician.” That’s the view of Zane Burke, an executive vice president at Cerner, who said the challenge is getting the right information to doctors and nurses when they need it. To get it right, he

KANSAS CITY: Truman Medical Center is in the forefront of using digital software to follow the progress of its patients. Registered Nurse Dallas Fulton (left) uses a Care Mobile Unit to track the health of Joe Darrough of Kansas City. —MCT the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, in the US Department of Health and Human Services, is setting some health IT standards for the youthful industry. Truman’s clinicians began using the system in August 2010 and quickly found an efficiency benefit. “I no longer have to wait for X-ray films to hold up against a light screen,” said Jeffrey Hackman, a physician who serves as Truman’s chief medical information officer. “Now, they show up on my computer screen right away, and I can immediately compare the new X-ray with past X-rays in our system. “I may spend more time on the keyboard but less time tracking down lab results or waiting for medical records or trying to find the right nurse.”

said, clinicians and IT developers have to work hand in glove to understand the workflow, the jargon and the professional niches involved. Costs and timing vary by hospital size, Burke said, but it easily takes tens of millions of dollars and up to three years to implement an electronic health records system approaching Truman’s depth. It was a “30-month journey” for Truman, he said. Burke acknowledged that the health IT field is crowded with competitors, and hospital systems make different choices. Some health IT providers - Cerner, McKesson, Allscripts, Athenahealth, Greenway Medical Technologies and RelayHealth - are cooperating as the CommonWell Health Alliance, a group that aims to reach some kind of common

IT platform. For “meaningful use” of computer records to occur, health IT has to communicate across different platforms, securely and without violating patient privacy. Planners are hoping that such “seamless interoperability” will help hold down rising health care costs. Epic, the nation’s largest electronic health records vendor with an estimated half of the health IT market, is not a part of the CommonWell effort. Epic officials have said they didn’t know about it and weren’t invited, raising questions about the motive: Was it to increase interoperability across platforms or an attempt to challenge the industry sales leader? That tempest will continue to play out. Burke said CommonWell’s goal is to set national standards so that the different health IT systems can talk to each other, much as electronics providers have done so that Bluetooth technology can work with any mobile phone, computer or other wireless device. In that respect, health care IT is catching up to other industries. And with the sped-up movement, hospitals and doctors’ offices are integrating strict patient privacy considerations. HIPAA, the Health Insurance Privacy and Portability Act enacted in 1996, restricts unauthorized access to patient information. Along with making sure that only appropriate workers have access to electronic patient records, health IT providers also must deflect constant attempts by computer hackers who could steal information or crash systems. Nightmare scenarios could include cyberattacks that interrupt or stop service, potentially endangering lives. Teams of IT professionals, government officials, lawyers, ethicists, insurers, academics and health care providers have been working - even before the federal government issued its “meaningful use” standards in 2010 - to try to make interoperability safe and useful. The two-pronged goal is for health records to “follow the patient” wherever he is and, after information is amassed, to be able to share best practices with other health providers. The latter goal contributed to the earlier public flap about government-run “death panels.” Some opponents of the Affordable Care Act feared that health IT records and government reimbursements would decide what patients were chosen for treatment. The actual intent was to learn which treatments produce the best outcomes, partly to be able to tailor Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements to reward the best. “Our country is investing billions of dollars in health care,” said Cerner’s Burke. “The meaningful use question is incredibly important to our industry - to suppliers like me or hospitals. What are we doing to ensure those tax dollars are invested wisely? How do we drive better patient outcomes, drive quality of care and get costs out of the system?” If it reaches the hopedfor outcomes, Burke said, health IT moves from being a cost element to an incomeproducing element. —MCT

Friending the boss on Facebook: Fun or crazy? SEATTLE: Everybody likes to make a good first impression. Even more - maintain a great relationship. For those of you who are in-person communication geniuses, keep this in mind: the game is changed on social media. What you might convey in person, might not be appropriate typed online. Before you know it, you may have crossed that fine line to find yourself “unfriended”. How do you know when you’re about to go too far with what you are planning to write or post? This guide on social media manners will help you navigate through a few critical situations. Friending your boss This is where you must be strategic. Friending your boss on Facebook can either strengthen your relationship or get you fired in a hot second. To be safe, it’s best to keep your personal and professional worlds separate. However, if your company’s culture fosters strong relational bonds - and both parties consent to the “add” - by all means click away. Just keep this in mind: everything is visible. If your boss doesn’t like what’s posted, it may affect his or

her judgment of you as an individual. One controversial post can put you on the fast track to the job boards. Regulate your Facebook page, and everything is great. Post without much thought, and you’re toast. With this in mind, one social media site is completely fair game: LinkedIn. Feel free to friend your boss and anyone else you desire. After all, you’re building your network. Staying out of controversial discussions Much like a one-on-one conversation, everything you post on social media is subject to individual perception - only more so. I say this because people only perceive your words. None of the other non-verbals the most crucial aspect of communication - factor into the equation. What you write will be seen and will be criticized (for your benefit or your dismay). Discussions on subjects such as politics, religion, and abortion should be avoided, unless you put significant thought into what you say, if you really feel you must say it. In regard to these topics, voicing your opinion is the quickest way to get yourself unfriended.

Not oversharing Nobody likes someone who shares your dirty laundry. What’s worse? Realizing you’re on the other end of the deal and apologizing significantly. Here’s a rule of thumb when posting via social media: be conservative and always empathize. Don’t over-explain a situation; get to the point with what’s necessary to communicate a clear picture. While doing this, continually think about who you include in the message. If you think they would be okay with you sharing their details to a room of fifth-graders, then go for it. Anything else, and you better think twice. Keep your sharing ‘to the point’ with careful consideration of others who may be involved, and you’re good-to-go. How to deal with rude comments First things first: walk away from the computer. Take a few deep breaths and relax. The worst thing you can do is respond emotionally. After you’ve gathered your thoughts - respond in a productive, respectful manner. If you can’t possibly think of what to reply back, and you’re fired up...there’s no harm in deleting their comment and responding at a later time via their email. —Reuters

SYLMAR: Robert Greenberg, chief executive of Second Sight Medical Products, discusses a chart that explains the workings of the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, in Sylmar, California. —MCT

Bionic eye maker has vision of the future LOS ANGELES: Robert Greenberg got tired of hearing from senior engineers that it wasn’t possible to build his product idea: a bionic eye that gives sight to the blind. “A lot of the folks straight out of school didn’t know any better, so I hired them instead,” quipped Greenberg, chief executive of Second Sight Medical Products Inc., a Sylmar, Calif., biotech company. “They didn’t know how hard it was going to be, that it was impossible. And so they tried.” Greenberg can laugh now that he once thought developing the device would take a year and $1 million. Some 20 years and $200 million later, the first bionic eye has helped more than 20 European patients regain some of their sight. Called the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, the device recently was approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Second Sight, which has 100 employees, is allowed to sell the bionic eye system to patients in the U.S. with advanced retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that can cause blindness. “We are a far cry from restoring 20/20 vision,” said Brian V. Mech, Second Sight’s vice president of business development, who holds a doctorate in materials science and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. “We are taking blind people back up to low vision, and that is pretty significant.” Mech likes to show videos of oncesightless patients who, after receiving the retinal prosthesis, are able to follow a person walking down the street and discern a street curb without using their canes. “Until our product, these patients had no other option to obtain the ability to see,” Mech said of the $100,000 device, part of which rests on a pair of Oakley Inc. sunglass frames. The cost to European patients has been paid by insurance companies in most cases. Palo Alto attorney Dean Lloyd, who lost his vision 17 years ago, got the bionic eye system as part of the US testing process. It allows him to see “boundaries and borders, not images” but has had a profound effect on his life. Lloyd cites an incident before he received the eye system that still rankles. In the middle of a courtroom trial, an opposing attorney said Lloyd didn’t stand a chance with his case because he couldn’t even keep his socks straight: Lloyd had mixed up his black, courtroom socks with his white athletic ones. “What did I do after the surgical procedure that I hadn’t been able to do?” Lloyd said. “I went home and sorted all of my socks.” The story of how the bionic eye came to be made in Sylmar underscores the state’s long record of medical device advances and involves top university researchers who were brought to Southern California to work on the project. Greenberg likened the degree of difficulty to “shrinking a television set to the size of a pea, then throwing it into the ocean and expecting it to work.” For Greenberg, it began in the early 1990s when he was a doctoral candidate in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Some of the first work was being done there, testing patients who had lost their vision because of retinitis pigmentosa, to see if electrically stimulating their retinas would produce results. It did. “Using one electrode, the patient saw one spot of light,” Greenberg said. “Second electrode, and the patient was seeing two spots of light. During that experiment, I was hooked.” Greenberg said he thought: “This is just engineering. Put more spots and you could make more pixels, like lights on a scoreboard or pixels on your computer monitor. You could see images.” There was a breakthrough of another sort a few years later, in Washington. There, Greenberg was working as a medical officer and a lead reviewer for the FDA’s Office of Device Evaluation when he met entrepreneur Alfred E. Mann. Mann had already established himself as a medical device developer through Mannkind Corp. and several other Southern California companies. During the 1980s, the self-made billionaire founded Pacesetter Systems, which made cardiac pacemakers. From there, he moved on to insulin pumps and

related equipment. Another Mann-funded company, Advanced Bionics Corp., took on cochlear implants, which could restore hearing to the deaf. It was the electrode-based cochlear implant that formed the rough basis of Second Sight’s first bionic eye. In 1998, Second Sight opened with the financial backing of Mann and Sam Williams, another successful entrepreneur whose company, Williams International, designed and built small, efficient turbofan jet engines. “Sam Williams was blind from retinitis pigmentosa, the disease that we are treating,” Mech said. “He had invested along with Al in Advanced Bionics, which restores hearing for deaf people, and they were already on the market in the ‘90s. Sam said to Al, ‘Why can’t we do the same for blind people?’” Mann and Williams weren’t the only ones who recognized that the technology behind the bionic eye held promise. In 2001, the University of Southern California recruited the two doctors that Greenberg had worked with at Johns Hopkins. There was more to come. Greenberg was still flying back and forth to Baltimore and Johns Hopkins when Steven J Ryan, president of USC’s Doheny Eye Institute, put up the money to “move our entire Johns Hopkins team out here to Los Angeles,” Greenberg said. “It was a big deal, five people and their families,” Greenberg said. “ The work would not have progressed as fast if that hadn’t happened. It was part of how we got a dedicated team focused on this one project.” The Argus II has three parts. One part includes a small video camera that sits on sunglasses. Another part is a portable computer, which can be worn on a belt or carried in a purse. The most complicated part is a tiny implant that is placed near the retina during a two-hour surgical procedure. The implant carries 60 electrodes, up from 16 in the first version. The computer processes signals from the video camera and wirelessly relays the information back to the implants. The bionic eye system requires an unusual manufacturing process involving highly trained engineers working with microscopes to manually connect each of the 60 electrode arrays. The microscopes range from relatively low power models, normally used for dissections, to highpowered metallurgical scopes, all the way up to scanning needles that can measure at the nanometer level. “Almost every step is done under a microscope,” Greenberg said. The lines on the retinal implants are only 25 microns, or 1/1,000th of an inch wide. There are additional manufacturing problems when the product you are making involves such small scales. Regular platinum will not work in such small electrodes and would actually dissolve, Greenberg said. Second Sight had to develop a different platinum-based material. All of the manufacturing work is also done in clinical-standard clean rooms, with each of the engineers so fully suited up that they look like biohazard technicians from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A single speck of dust could ruin the device. Part of the work is done under yellow lights, which act as a kind of photography darkroom during a part of the process that involves a photographic plate, Greenberg said. Much of the process is patented and proprietary. In fact, Second Sight already has more than 200 patents in the US and Europe, and more than 100 others are pending. And when you are building something for the first time that has to endure the hot, salty environment of the eye, the means to test the device can’t just be found on a store shelf. The test devices too had to be manufactured by Second Sight. Some of the most important devices subject the implants to temperatures much higher than they will encounter in the eye and to movements that are much more severe than eye movements. The venture has tapped into a storied history, Greenberg said, noting that some of the most important medical devices from Mann’s companies were made in the Sylmar facilities. “The first rechargeable pacemakers were made here. The insulin pumps were also made right here, in these clean rooms,” Greenberg said. “This place has incredible karma.” —MCT


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

Some flu vaccines promise a little more protection WASHINGTON: Flu vaccination is no longer merely a choice between a jab in the arm or a squirt in the nose. This fall, some brands promise a little extra protection. For the first time, certain vaccines will guard against four strains of flu rather than the usual three. Called quadrivalent vaccines, these brands may prove more popular for children than their parents. That’s because kids tend to catch the newly added strain more often. These four-in-one vaccines are so new that they’ll make up only a fraction of the nation’s supply of flu vaccine, so if you want a dose, better start looking early. But that’s only one of an unprecedented number of flu vaccine options available this year. Allergic to eggs? Egg-free shots are hitting the market, too. Plus there’s growing interest in shots brewed just for the 65and-older crowd, and a brand that targets the needle-phobic with just a skin-deep prick. “We’re moving away from the onesize-fits-all to choosing the best possible vaccine for an individual’s age and condition,” said Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious disease specialist at the Mayo Clinic. “The flip side of that,” he said, is that “this will be a confusing year” as doctors and con-

sumers alike try to choose. Federal health officials recommend a yearly flu vaccine for nearly everyone, starting at 6 months of age. On average, about 24,000 Americans die each flu season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some questions and answers about the different vaccine varieties to choose from: Q: What’s the difference between those new four-strain vaccines and the regular kind? A: For more than 30 years, the vaccine has offered protection against three influenza strains - two common Type A strains called H1N1 and H3N2, and one strain of Type B. Flu strains continually evolve, and the recipe for each year’s vaccine includes the subtypes of those strains that experts consider most likely to cause illness that winter. Type A flu causes more serious disease and deaths, especially the H3N2 form that made last year such a nasty flu season. But the milder Type B flu does sicken people every year as well, and can kill. Two distinct Type B families circulate the globe, making it difficult to know which to include in each

year’s vaccine. Adding both solves the guesswork, and a CDC model estimates it could prevent as many as 485 deaths a year depending on how much Type B flu is spreading. Q: How can I tell if I’m getting the four-strain vaccine? A: All of the nasal spray version sold in the U.S. this year will be this new variety, called FluMist Quadrivalent. The catch is that the nasal vaccine is only for healthy people ages 2 to 49 who aren’t pregnant. If you prefer a flu shot, ask the doctor or pharmacist if the four-strain kind is available. Younger children, older adults, pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions all can use flu shots. Four-strain versions are sold under the names Fluzone Quadrivalent, Fluarix Quadrivalent and FluLaval Quadrivalent. Manufacturers anticipate producing between 135 million and 139 million doses of flu vaccine this year. Only about 30 million doses will offer the four-strain protection. Q: Who should seek it? A: Type B flu tends to strike children more than the middle-aged, Poland noted.

And he said it’s not a bad idea for seniors, who are more vulnerable to influenza in general. But the CDC doesn’t recommend one vaccine variety over another, and the American Academy of Pediatrics said either kind is fine - just get vaccinated. Q: How are these new vaccines different from the high-dose flu shot for seniors? A: Fluzone High-Dose protects against the traditional three strains of flu, but it quadruples the standard vaccine dose in an effort to rev up age-weakened immune systems don’t respond as actively to regular flu shots. The government calls the highdose shot an option for seniors, not one that’s proved better. Last week, Sanofi Pasteur said initial results from a study of 30,000 seniors vaccinated over the past two flu seasons suggest the high-dose shot is about 24 percent more effective. Federal health officials will have to review the full study results to see if they agree. Q: What if I’m allergic to eggs? A: Traditional flu vaccine is made from viruses grown in eggs, and specialists say it’s usually not a problem unless someone

has a serious egg allergy. But the new FluBlok vaccine eliminates that concern because it is made with cell technology, like many other nonflu vaccines. So far, it’s only for use in people ages 18 to 49. Q: What if I’m scared of needles? A: If you don’t qualify for the ouchless nasal spray vaccine, there is one shot made with a teeny-tiny needle that pricks the skin instead of muscle. Called Fluzone Intradermal, it’s available for 18- to 64-yearolds, and protects against the usual three strains. Q: How soon should I be vaccinated? A: Early fall is ideal, as it’s impossible to predict when flu will start spreading and it takes about two weeks for protection to kick in. But later isn’t too late; flu season typically peaks in January or February. Q: How much does flu vaccine cost? A: The vaccine is covered by insurance, and Medicare and some plans don’t require a copay. Drugstore vaccination programs tend to charge about $30; expect the quadrivalent versions to be slightly more expensive.—AP

Bigger and healthier: European men grow 11cm in a century Increasing height reflects improved health

MISSOURI: Carla DeBoe, foreground, with Urban League of Metropolitan St Louis Head Start, participates in an activity break during a training session for Taking Steps to Healthy Success, a new program aimed at keeping preschoolers at healthy weights in Clayton.—MCT

Day care center workers train kids to eat better, move more ST LOUIS: Preschool-style hand clapping, toe touching and hokey pokeying punctuated a conference room at the Center of Clayton, Mo, on a recent Saturday, although no kids were around. About 40 educators gathered for a new training program to help day-care centers reduce the childhood obesity rate. The program, called Taking Steps to Healthy Success, supports several goals for day-care centers: nutritional meals and snacks, breastfeeding support, water availability, exercise and policies for limiting screen time. With a $260,000 grant from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Child Care Aware of Missouri recently launched the program and hope to train staff who oversee 90 day-care centers and 9,000 kids in Missouri this year. The employees from some of St Louis’ largest day-care centers shared tips and ideas Saturday for encouraging health and fitness among their young charges. They will meet again several times throughout the year to follow the progress at their day-care centers. The staff members, including directors, teachers and kitchen managers, will also talk about improving their own health to serve as better role models for the kids, said Beth Ann Lang of Child Care Aware. Harriette Scates, director of the Daruby Early Learning Center in Cool Valley, Mo, has lost more than 65 pounds since January after changing her diet and exercise habits and wants her staff and students to follow her lead. Her center introduces new foods every two weeks. Some of the kids had never tasted yogurt, Scates said. Now they ask for guacamole. The employees get creative by telling kids to kiss the food before they taste it. They give different names for food, incorporating preschool favorites like aliens and dinosaurs. Positive peer pressure helps if one of the little leaders in the class tries something, others are going to follow. The cooks will tell kids to look for the surprise in their food, as in one case where they found black beans in their burritos for the first time, Scates said. “It’s all about how you present it to them, it’s like an adventure,” she said. “At this age they’re so impressionable.” One in every eight American preschoolers is obese, although the rate seems to be on the decline after increasing from 2003 to 2008, according to a report earlier this month from the CDC. The researchers

attribute the decline in some states to changes in federal nutrition programs and fitness standards in early education. Higher rates of breast-feeding may also have helped. The national initiative Let’s Move and public health campaigns have drawn attention to the problem. Still, the declines aren’t happening fast enough, health experts say. The problem isn’t just baby fat. Overweight or obese children are five times more likely to be obese when they grow up and are at higher risk for all the health problems that accompany obesity, including heart disease, diabetes and asthma. While parents and politicians can work on reducing obesity, federal health officials have also turned to child-care providers to improve their nutrition and exercise programs while also reducing television time. “The problem is we have all gotten used to children being bigger as a norm, and it’s something we need to be aware of,” said Susan Horn, head of school for the Downtown Children’s Center. “We’re all accountable, and we need to work together.” Working with this age group offers special challenges, educators said. Kids become dehydrated faster than adults. But they might think they’re hungry when they actually need water. Some of the participating day-care centers have water dispensers, others have drinking fountains. They should all have water available at all times, according to health guidelines. With fitness activities, it might be harder for a 2- or 3-year-old to march around while singing and clapping. The activities are easier for little kids if they are first performed while sitting down. The Downtown Children’s Center started its own healthy initiative two years ago, and staff members are hoping to strengthen their changes through the new training, Horn said. The center has lowered salt, sugar and fat content in the meals and snacks served. They use portion-control plates for kids and employees. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always on the menu. Kids are encouraged to try new foods including hummus, tilapia and kiwi. The center has no computers or televisions. “It’s a very short window between birth and kindergarten,” Horn said. “They will learn healthy habits during this crucial period.”—MCT

Pennie Ledet, left, with Christian Hospital Child Development Center, participates in an activity break during a training session for Taking Steps to Healthy Success.

LONDON: The average height of European men grew by a surprising 11 centimeters from the early 1870s to 1980, reflecting significant improvements in health across the region, according to new research published yesterday. Contrary to expectations, the study also found that average height accelerated in the period spanning the two World Wars and the Great Depression, when poverty, food rationing and hardship of war might have been expected to limit people’s growth. The swift advance may have been due to people deciding to have fewer children in this period, the researchers said, and smaller family size has previously been found to be linked to increasing average height. “Increases in human stature are a key indicator of improvements in the

average health of populations,” said Timothy Hatton, a professor economics at Britain’s University of Essex who led the study. He said the evidence - which shows the average height of a European male growing from 167 cm to 178 cm in a little over a 100 years suggests an environment of improving health and decreasing disease “is the single most important factor driving the increase in height”. The study, published online in the journal Oxford Economic Papers, analyzed data on average men’s height at around the age of 21 from the 1870s up to around 1980 in 15 European countries. The study only looked at men, the researchers said, because extensive historical data on women’s heights is hard to come by. For the most recent decades, the

data on men were mainly taken from height-by-age surveys, while for the earlier years the analysis used data for the heights of military conscripts and recruits. On average, men’s height had grown by 11 centimeters (cm) in just over a century, the researchers found, but there were differences from country to country. In Spain, for example, average male height rose by around 12 cm from just under 163 cm in 1871-1875 to just under 175 cm in 1971-5, while in Sweden, men’s average height increased by 10 cm from just over 170 cm to almost 180 cm in the same period. The researchers found that in many European countries - including Britain and Ireland, the Scandinavian countries, Netherlands, Austria, Belgium and Germany - there was a “distinct quickening” in the pace of

advance in the period spanning the two World Wars and the Great Depression. “This is striking because the period largely predates the wide implementation of major breakthroughs in modern medicine and national health services,” they wrote. Hatton said one possible reason, alongside the decline in infant mortality, for the rapid growth of average male height in this period was that there was a strong downward trend in fertility at the time - and smaller family sizes have previously been found to be linked to increasing height. Other height-boosting factors included higher per capita incomes, more sanitary housing and living conditions, better education about health and nutrition and better social services and health systems.—Reuters

Doctors get good and bad safety news on diabetes drugs Studies also clear Onglyza and Nesina on pancreatic safety

PAKISTAN: In this Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013, photo, a Pakistani health worker administers vaccine against polio to a child in Rawalpindi. Pakistan’s health authorities confirmed five new polio cases from tribal areas where Islamic militants banned the vaccine over a year ago and many more suspected cases one of a series of outbreaks this year in parts of the country where security threats have kept out vaccination teams.—AP

Life expectancy gap growing between rich, poor world women GENEVA: Life expectancy for women at 50 has improved, but the gap between poor and rich countries is growing and could worsen without better detection and treatment of cardiovascular disease and cancers, the World Health Organization (WHO) said yesterday. A WHO study, one of the first to analyze the causes of death of older women, found that in wealthier countries deaths from noncommunicable diseases has fallen dramatically in recent decades, especially from cancers of the stomach, colon, breast and cervix. Women over 50 in low and middle-income countries are also living longer, but chronic ailments, including diabetes, kill them at an earlier age than their counterparts, it said. “The gap in life expectancy between such women in rich and poor countries is growing,” said the WHO study, part of an issue of the WHO’s monthly bulletin devoted to women’s health. There is a similar growing gap between the life expectancy of men over 50 in rich and lower income countries and in some parts of the world, this gap is wider, WHO officials said. “More women can expect to live longer and not just survive child birth and childhood. But what we found is that improvement is much stronger in the rich world than in the poor world. The disparity between the two is increasing,” Dr John Beard, director of WHO’s department of ageing and life course, said in an interview at WHO headquarters. Beard, one of the study’s three authors, said: “What it also points to is that we need particularly in low and middle-income coun-

tries to start to think about how these emerging needs of women get addressed. The success in the rich world would suggest that is through better prevention and treatment of NCDs.” In women over 50 years old, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), particularly cancers, heart disease and strokes, are the most common causes of death, regardless of the level of economic development of the country in which they live, the study said. Health ministers from WHO’s 194 member states agreed on a global action plan to prevent and control noncommunicable diseases at their annual ministerial meeting last May. Developed countries have tackled cardiovascular diseases and cancers in women with tangible results, the WHO study said. Fewer women aged 50 years and older in rich countries are dying from heart disease, stroke and diabetes than 30 years ago and these improvements contributed most to increasing women’s life expectancy at the age of 50, it said. An older woman in Germany can now expect to live to 84 and in Japan to 88 years, against 73 in South Africa and 80 in Mexico. “That reflects two things, better prevention, particularly clinical prevention around control of hypertension and screening of cervical cancer, but it also reflects better treatment,” Beard said. “I think that is particularly true for breast cancer where women with breast cancer are much better managed these days in the rich world. That also explains the disparity,” he said.—Reuters

AMSTERDAM: Diabetes pills known as DPP-4 therapies got a mixed safety report yesterday as studies showed they did not raise the risk of heart attacks but might be linked to heart failure, where the heart fails to pump blood adequately. Reassuringly, the medicines were not associated with increased rates of either inflammation of the pancreas or cancer - something that has been a worry in the past. However, in the case of AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s approved drug Onglyza, there was a small increase in hospitalizations for heart failure. “It is a little bit concerning,” said Dr Christopher Grainger of Duke University Medical Center, who was not involved in the research. “I’m sure the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) will want to know more about it.” Doctors and regulators are wary of the cardiovascular safety profile of diabetes drugs following past problems, including with GlaxoSmithKline’s Avandia pill, since patients with diabetes are at increased risk of heart troubles. Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who studied Onglyza over two years in 16,492 patients, said the heart failure finding was unexpected and deserved further investigation. AstraZeneca and Bristol had already given headline results from the study in June showing that Onglyza did not increase heart attack risk - although it did not reduce it either, as the companies had initially hoped. Detailed results of the Onglyza study were presented at the European Society Cardiology (ESC) congress in Amsterdam, alongside a 5,380-patient study of Takeda’s Nesina, which showed no increase in overall cardiovascular risks. Both studies were also published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Dr Heinz Drexel, a heart doctor at Feldkirch Hospital in Austria and an ESC spokesman, said DPP4s offered several advantages, including a lack of weight gain seen with some other antidiabetics, which would offset the heart failure worries. Dr Anthony DeMaria, editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, said the absence of severe adverse events was reassuring but it might be that DPP-4s were best avoided for certain patients at high risk of heart failure.—Reuters

Mouse body clock study offers clues to possible jet lag cure LONDON: Scientists have found a genetic mechanism in mice that hampers their body clock’s ability to adjust to changes in patterns of light and dark, and say their results could someday lead to the development of drugs to combat jet lag. Researchers from Britain’s Oxford University and from the Swiss drug firm Roche used mice to analyze patterns of genes in an area of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) - which in mammals pulls every cell in the body into the same biological rhythm. They found that one molecule, called SIK1, is key to how the mice responded to changes in light cycles. When the scientists blocked the activity of SIK1, the mice recovered faster from disturbances in their daily light and dark cycle that had been designed to induce a form of mouse jet lag.If the corresponding mechanism can be found and similarly blocked in humans, jet lag may become a thing of the past, the researchers said in their study, published online in the journal Cell on Thursday. “We’re still several years away from a cure for jet lag, but understanding the mechanisms that generate and regulate our circadian clock gives us targets to develop drugs to help bring our bodies in tune with the solar cycle,” said Russell Foster, director of Oxford’s sleep and circadian neuroscience institute. —Reuters

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


Doctor offers hope for thousands of African women ST LOUIS: She hadn’t even had her first period before getting pregnant, Dr Lewis Wall recalled. Like most girls in parts of subSaharan Africa, she had no choice in whom to marry or when to have children. And like so many whose bodies aren’t ready, the 12or 13-year-old girl had a terrifying and painful labor that lasted for days. The trauma left her with a stillborn baby and damaged tissue between her bladder and vagina. She constantly leaked urine. She smelled foul. The girl’s husband and family rejected her. She was forced to live alone, feeling cursed, begging for food on the edge of her village. The damage the girl suffered an obstetric fistula can also occur between the rectum and vagina, leaving victims unable to hold their wastes. The injury can be easily fixed. In the United States, fistulas are almost nonexistent because of access to C-sections. But in parts of Africa, a fistula means a heartbreaking life of isolation and shame. “Many women who have these injuries are little more than girls themselves,” said Wall, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine. “And when they get these injuries, their lives are basically over.” It is estimated that more than 3 million of the most impoverished women in the world needlessly suffer in fear because of obstetric fistulas. And thousands of new cases occur each year.

Wall’s goal is to help every single one. Nearly 20 years ago, he founded the Worldwide Fistula Fund. His dream was to raise enough money to open a free hospital for fistula repair in a remote area in Niger. Last year, that dream finally became a reality with the opening of the Danja Fistula Center, a 42-bed hospital that has already restored dignity and hope to more than 300 girls and women. But Wall isn’t stopping there. Fistulas, he said, are a symptom of a pervasive human rights violation that shakes him: the oppression of girls and women. “They are victims in a very real sense, because of their biology and their social environment where they live. And in my mind, that’s not right,” Wall says. “It’s a social justice issue on top of a medical issue that makes the medical issue so much worse.” The greatest health disparities between rich and poor countries, he said, are in the areas that affect women. The gaps are in maternal death, childbirth injuries and infant mortality. The last thing Wall, now 62, ever wanted to be was a doctor. “One thing everybody asked me since I was 6 years old was, ‘Are you going to be a doctor like your daddy?’” he said. Wall became an anthropologist instead. He grew up in the Kansas City suburbs and graduated from the University of Kansas. He then earned a doctorate in social anthropology as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University with

ST LOUIS: Dr L Lewis Wall, left, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Washington University School of Medicine, talks to Dr Morgan Wolfe, a first year resident at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Center for Outpatient Health.—MCT photos

dreams of studying ancient Egyptians. But Wall grew bored with academic quarrels over Amazonian myths. His interests wandered into how different societies and cultures can affect health. He traveled alone to northern Nigeria on a Fulbright Scholarship to study how the area’s Hausa population views sickness and injury. For two years, he lived in a mud hut with no electricity or running water, sleeping on a bed of corn stalks. “I realized these people really needed a doctor more than they needed an anthropologist,” Wall said. Despite all their problems, the villagers were welcoming. “I’m still astonished to this day, how they opened their home and community to this white guy from somewhere they had never heard of,” he said. “I ended up with far more respect for the villagers that live there than some colleagues I’ve worked with over the years, because of their honesty, integrity, compassion and openness.” He returned to the United States and completed his doctoral dissertation in anthropology. And at the age of 27, he enrolled in medical school. After the rotations in different specialties, he discovered he wanted to be an obstetrician, just like his father. “To my horror,” he joked. The plight of the Hausa people never left him, he said. “That experience was not too far beneath the surface, even going through medical school.” After his obstetric residency at Duke University, Wall went on to complete two fellowships in female urology in London. He started looking for a way to combine his interests in Africa and medical care. He found it with Dr Thomas Elkins, then the head of obstetrics at Louisiana State University, who recruited Wall to work at the university. Elkins traveled often to Ghana to provide fistula repair surgeries and train doctors. Wall went along in 1994. Wall recalls caring for a woman, 67, who had suffered a fistula during her third pregnancy at the age of 32. The fistula was so small it took just 20 minutes to repair. “She had been in misery for 35 years because of something that could be fixed with a tiny operation,” he said. “It makes you weep.” In 1995, he founded what became known as the Worldwide Fistula Fund. His goal: Build a fistula hospital to help the Hausa women in northern Nigeria and southern Niger. Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world. About 85 percent of women there can’t read or write. Most give birth at home without a trained health provider. One in seven women will die from child-

ST LOUIS: Local Nigerienne musical group performs at the opening of the Danja Fistula Center in Niger. birth. Tens of thousands suffer with fistulas. Wall needed to raise at least $1 million. For several years, he gave talks at churches and held small fundraisers. He set up a website to take on-line donations, most of which came from family and friends. In 2002, he joined the Washington University faculty and continued to make trips to West Africa to provide fistula surgeries and train African doctors. “While the faculty and staff at Washington University know Dr Wall from hospital rounds or from lecture halls, I know

Dr Itengre, medical director of the Danja Fistula Center, is an African surgeon helping African women.

him from cramped bush taxis and smelly hospital wards in some of the world’s poorest places,” American urologist Steven Arrowsmith, also active in fistula repair initiatives, told a Washington University publication in 2006. “Whether you realize it or not, you have, in Dr Wall, a real treasure,” Arrowsmith said. “His imposing academic credentials have given us entry into the highest levels of international policy, yet he is completely willing to work in hospitals where there is occasional electricity and where we re-use paper surgical gowns until they fall to pieces.” A turning point came in 2009, when Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote about Wall’s fundraising effort. Niger officials had just approved Wall’s plan to build the hospital on land donated by a Christian missionary organization. Kristof described those suffering from fistulas as “the most stigmatized, suffering people on the planet.” Donations poured in ranging from $125,000 by rock star Dave Matthews, to $80 collected after a potluck. Other major donations came from Merrill Lynch and the Trio Foundation of St Louis. To date, the fund has raised about $3 million. “We raised half a million dollars within two to three months, and we were buried in letters and emails,” Wall said. “It gave us the critical mass to get things up and running.” The audience at the dedication ceremony for the Danja Fistula Center included government officials as well as 60 women awaiting surgery. —MCT

W H AT ’ S O N



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


Opportunities and overcoming barriers to investment in Arab countries in transition


he Foreign Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, in partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Islamic Development Bank, is organising a Deauville Partnership investment Conference on 16 September 2013 at the Park Plaza Victoria Hotel in London. The conference will be the first of its kind to bring together government representatives, business associations and investors from the G8, regional partners (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE and

Turkey) as well as the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) to discuss investment opportunities In the six Arab countries in transition (Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Jordan and Yemen). The event will: Provide a unique opportunity to network and discuss issues with companies, investors, senior government representatives and experts from the MENA region, G8 countries and IFIs; Include panel discus-

sions on the challenges and policy bafflers to attracting greater investment in the Arab countries in transition; Showcase investment opportunities in the Arab countries in transition and explain the actions their governments are taking to make investment environments more attractive. For more information on this conference, please visit:

What to do in Kuwait in september Greetings


any, many happy returns of the day to Omar (Haji). Father Chan Basha, Mother Nasrin and Anwar Basha, Sajida Begum, Mohd Parvez, Faiz Shaik, Khader Basha, Abida Begum, Mohd Arshad, Mohd Asif, Munawar Basha, Famida Begum, Mubashir, Tamanna, Mohd Rafi, Ayesha Begum, Anisa, Anas, near and dear ones from Kuwait and India.

Announcements AWARE CENTRE welcomes newcomers he Aware centre hosts orientation for newcomers to Kuwait today at 7:00 pm. Over the past 10 years, the AWARE Center has opened its doors to many multicultural visitors to Kuwait with the goal of enhancing understanding, communications and promoting positive relations between Arabs and Westerners. To assist newcomers with cross-cultural understanding, we wish to inform you of the upcoming “AWARE Welcome to Kuwait Western Expatriate Orientation for Newcomers.” This Orientation welcomes newly arriving westerners to Kuwait, shares details of the cultural programs & services provided by AWARE and is followed by a buffet dinner. These orientations are free of charge and provide an opportunity for newly arriving Western guests to meet the AWARE team and discover the many services designed to assist with cultural adjustment and settling comfortably in Kuwait. You may select from one of the following orientation dates (Monday, September 2nd, Thursday, September 5th or Saturday, September 7th). The AWARE Center is located in Surra, Block 3, Surra Street, Villa 84.


A photowalk in Kuwait on Oct 5th photowalk is more like a social photography event where photographers gather in a spot, take photos for an hour or two then maybe meet up at a restaurant after that. Scott Kelby’s worldwide photowalk never took place in Kuwait until now. Kuwait’s photowalk will be held on October 5th at Souk Al-Mubarakiya at 10am. There are some prizes to be won like a Canon 70D and Adobe Creative Cloud Membership. So far there are 700 registered photowalks with 8700+ photographers. The prizes are for the worldwide event, not just Kuwait. Kuwait Mapping Meet-Up will be held on September 2 at 5:30 pm in Coffee Bean (Mahboula, Coastal Road). The event is for anyone interested in maps, spatial analysis or surveying in Kuwait. For more information, contact Wil at 97225615.


Japanese festival two-day Japanese Pop Culture Festival will be held on September 12 at 6:00 pm and September 13 at 6:00 pm. The event will be held in the National Library, Mubarakiya Street in Kuwait City.


Issue of online visa by Indian embassy oreigners requiring visas for India need to apply it online from 16th June 2013. Applicants may log on to the Public portal at After successful online submission, the hard copy, so generated, has to be signed by the applicant and submitted with supporting documents in accordance with the type of visa along with the applicable fee in cash at any of the two outsource centres at Sharq or Fahaheel. It is essential that applicants fill in their personal details as exactly available in their passports. Mismatch of any of the personal details would lead to non-acceptance of the application. Fees once paid are non-refundable. All children would have to obtain separate visa on their respective passports.


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

Visit the Sadu House Al-Sadu Society is dedicated to preserving, documenting and promoting the rich and diverse textile heritage of the Kuwaiti Bedouin, from the nomadic weaving of the desert to the urban weaving of the town. Sadu is a traditional Bedouin art that involves weaving geometric designs on dyed and colored wool that is spun by hand to create magnificent carpets, rugs, and Bedouin tent screens. Inside the Sadu House, visitors have the opportunity to see Bedouin women weaving. Sadu House is located near the National Museum. It is considered to be the center of Bedouin art aiming at presenting Kuwait’s roots and protecting Bedouin crafts from eradication. Address: Arabian Gulf Street, Next to the National Museum of Kuwait, Kuwait City Opening Hours: Saturdays to Thursdays: Mornings from 08 am to 1 pm. Evenings from 4 pm to 8 pm. Contact: 22432395 E-mail: Website: View Boushahri Gallery The Boushahri Art Gallery was established in 1982 by Jawad Boushahri, the Chairman of the Boushahri group who is also an acclaimed Kuwaiti sculptor. It is one of the oldest private art galleries in the Middle East. This long established gallery showcases contemporary regional work. In order to create an awareness toward art in Kuwait as a community service, the Boushahri Art Gallery educates, supports and sponsors local and international artists, displaying their paintings, potteries, ceramic portraitures, designs, photographers, sculptures and much more. To encourage the Art lovers and educate society, Boushahri Art Gallery offers many courses, seminars and lectures about Art. Address: Salmiya, Baghdad St., Building Number: 36, in front of Al- Laheeb Mosque Opening Hours: 10 am to 1 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm. The museum is closed on Friday and Thursday afternoons. Contact: 25621119/99770607 Website:

Take a break at Al-Khiran Resort The Al-Khiran resort is a relaxing “get-away” from the mayhem of stressful city life. The resort provides a soothing tranquil environment that includes beautiful green lawns, wide, well-defined roads, ample parking spaces, and clean well-maintained beaches. It has many chalets that are beautifully furnished and air-conditioned. The resort also offers a variety of other facilities such as football and basketball courts, luxurious restaurants, yacht clubs, an amusement park for children, electronic computer arcade and the ‘Duza’ ballroom. The resort also provides variety in food as it includes a fast-food counter, and a counter that offers seafood, Italian and oriental food. Address: Gulf Street, Al-Khiran district Contact: 23951122 E-mail: Website: Stop at the Tareq Rajab Museum The Tareq Rajab Museum houses an anthology of over thirty thousand items collected over the last fifty years, of which approximately ten thousand are on permanent display. Tareq Sayed Rajab was the first Kuwaiti to be sent abroad to study art and archaeology and his collection includes Islamic arts, ceramic, gold and silver jewelry, English manuscripts, metal and glass works, old English costumes, and musical instruments. His personal collection includes over thirty thousand Islamic treasures that were gathered over the years. The Museum is divided into two parts: in Area A, calligraphy, manuscripts, ceramics, metalwork, glass, jade, wood and stone carvings are exhibited. Area B contains objects such as costumes, textiles, jewellery and musical instruments produced in the Islamic world. Address: Jabriya, near the intersection of the Fifth Ring Motorway and the Abdulaziz Bin Abdilrahman al-Saud Expressway (Fahaheel Expressway); Street 5; Block12; House 16 Opening Hours: Weekdays from 9 am to 12 pm; Evenings: From 4 pm to 7 pm; Fridays: From 9 am to 12 pm. Contact: 25317358/25354916 Website: The Scientific Center, Kuwait The Scientific Center is designed to reflect the Islamic arts and culture. It has three main fascinating attractions: Aquarium, Discovery Place and IMAX Cinema. The Aquarium presents an ecosystem of desert, sea, and coastal edge. Visitors of the Aquarium explore the lives of beings and animals in their environments. When entering the Discovery Place, visitors gain scientific experience through educational games. Highly specialized trainers are assigned to guide visitors through hand-on playful training. On entering the IMAX Cinema, one can watch 3D movies played on the giant screen. Visitors can enjoy watching educational and documentary presentations and get engaged into a highly imaginative experience. Address: The Scientific Center, Gulf Road Contact: 1848888 E-mail: Website: Visit Dar Al-Funoon gallery Dar Al-Funoon, which was established in 1993, focuses on contemporary Arab art as well as Arabic calligraphy.

Exhibitions are held monthly from October to May, and a special silk exhibition of arts and crafts is held in December. Between temporary exhibitions, items from the private collection are on display, which can be bought. The gallery is located between the Sheraton Hotel and the Arabian Gulf Street. The area itself is interesting thanks to its old Kuwaiti-style houses and a large courtyard which includes a number of excellent restaurants. Address: Behbehani compound, Salhiya, House No. 28, Al-Watiah, Kuwait City Opening Hours: Sundays to Thursdays: 10 am to 1 pm Evenings: 4 pm to 8 pm Contact: 22433138 E-mail: Website: Bayt - Lothan Bayt Lothan is dedicated to the promotion of arts and crafts and is host to various exhibitions and displays throughout the year. It covers an area of 4,000 square meters on the Arabian Gulf Street and caters to all tastes and themes, including sculpture, ceramic arts, jewelry and photography, as well as contemporary art and calligraphy. Watch out in the local press for details of current and forthcoming exhibitions or seminars. There is also a small coffee shop for basic refreshments and for theatre lovers they also hold drama classes throughout the year. Address: Gulf Street, beside Marina Mall, in front of Corniche Hotel Contact: 25755866 / 25727388 E-Mail: Opening Hours: Sundays to Thursdays: 9 am to 1 pm; Evenings: 5 pm to 9 pm Website: Visit Ghadir Gallery, Kuwait The Al-Ghadir Gallery Kuwait is dedicated to promote the Kuwaiti formative artist and writer Thuraya AlBaqsami and successfully accomplished 120 national and international solo art exhibitions, literary and poetry readings and musical events. It also participates in charity activities worldwide. The gallery offers varieties of art including paintings, frames, handcrafts, art materials and antiques. Address: Block 6, Street 5, Villa 40, Mishref, Kuwait Contact: 22435101, 22426240 E-mail: Website: Take the kids to Al-Shaab Leisure Park Al-Sha’ab Leisure Park is located on the southern coast of Kuwait City. It combines more than 70 special rides on the level of the Middle East. It also provides integrated services, including restaurants, a mall, and rides and games that meet the interests of all age groups. The park also offers indoor games as well as outdoor sports like bungee jumping, pony rides and ice-skating. Families can also access facilities such as the movies and the delicious meals at the restaurants. At Al-Sha’ab Leisure Park, all these facilities are maintained according to international standards. Address: Baghdad Street, Block 11, Salmiya Opening Hours: All days from 5 pm to 1 am (Summer) and 10 am - 12 Midnight on weekends. Contact: 25613777 E-mail: Website: Kuwait National Museum The Kuwait National Museum hosts a range of items such as fossils, bones, Islamic artifacts, and pottery tools that reflect the culture, history and heritage of the Kuwaiti society and the Islamic world. The relics on display presents Kuwait’s ancient past, the development of the Islamic nations and the impact of the discovery of oil. Part of the Dar-Al-Athar-Al-Islamiyah collection is also on display, and a replica of the Muhallab II that graces the entrance has also recently been restored as a reminder of Kuwait’s seafaring past. There is also a modern Planetarium, built by Carl Zeiss which is a pleasant educational experience for both adults and children. The three major attractions in the museum are the heritage museum, the planetarium and the wooden ship. Address: Behind Sadu House, Arabian Gulf Street Contact No.: 22451195 Opening Hours: 8:30am to 12:30pm and 4:30pm to 8:30pm (Summers); and 8 am to 4 pm (Winters). The Museum is closed on Sundays, Friday mornings and Saturday afternoons. Stop to view AL M. Gallery AL M. Gallery is a contemporary fine art gallery located in the heart of Kuwait City in Salhia Complex. Gallery organizes exhibitions of Kuwaiti, Middle Eastern and International artists. Address: Salhia Complex, Gate 4, Mezzanine 2, Place 16. Opening Hours: Sundays to Thursdays 10 am to 3 pm and Evenings: 5 pm to 9 pm Contact No.: 22996447 E-mail: Website: Go to Kuwait Zoo Since its establishment years ago, the Kuwait Zoo is an entertaining place to visit and a ‘fun’ place to be with family. It includes many species of animals and a train that goes around the entire zoo. The zoo also offers camel and horse rides. The zoo suffered extensive damages during the 1990 Iraqi Invasion. Nevertheless, most of the maintenance work has been finished, and the zoo reopened after the modification and renovation work was completed. Part of these renovations in early 1993 included the addition of new animals. Address: Airport Road, Omariya, off the fifth ring road, (Route 55), Farwaniya Opening Hours: Mondays to Saturdays: 8 am to 12pm and Evenings: 4pm to 8pm E-mail: Website: Skate at the Ice Skating Rink The Ice Skating Rink in Kuwait is a major landmark and a great sport facility and is the first of its kind in the Gulf region and the middle East. The rink consists of two main

rinks - the first is an Olympic rink that is bigger and can accommodate around 1600 viewers and also provides shoe-changing rooms, a skating equipment store and a first-aid facility. The second is a smaller rink accommodating nearly 600 visitors. Both arenas have a cafeteria serving light snacks and drinks. The rink occasionally organizes different music festivals, kids’ shows and award ceremonies. The rink offers viewers a great chance to get a glimpse of an Olympic-sized rink. Address: Al - Soor Street, First Ring Road, Shamiya, near Discovery Mall Opening Hours: 8:30 am to 10 pm Contact No.: 22411151 / 22411152 Tour the Entertainment City The Entertainment City is located 20 km from Kuwait City and provides complete entertainment for all members of the family. The city is divided into three theme parks: The Arab world, the International World and the Future World. The park offers more than 40 different rides, lots of games to play, and stage show unique to the Middle East. The major attractions to look out for in the park include the City of Dreams, the City of Sinbad and Ali Baba, the City of Thunder and Hurricanes, the African boat, Grand Pix, Arabian Carousel and the Fantasy Cinema. The place is fully equipped with a police station of its own and ambulance service, shops where souvenirs and other merchandise can be purchased, and a parking lot that can accommodate around 3000 vehicles. Address: Al-Madina Al-Tarfihiya, Al - Doha Opening Hours: Sundays - Fridays: 5 pm to 1 am (Summers) and 3 pm to 11 pm (Winters) It is important to note that Mondays are allocated only for women and men are not allowed on Mondays. Contact No.: 24879455

Sail to Failaka Island Failaka Island is one of the most gorgeous and famous historical islands in Kuwait. It combines the ancient and contemporary history of Kuwait. The island is rich in cultural and historical landmarks from different ages from the end of the third millennium till the modern age. The island presents the aftermath of the Iraqi invasion and the Gulf War. The trauma of the war has been preserved on the island; However, the island still makes for a great visit containing ancient relics and remains of past civilizations. The island makes a perfect spot and provides facilities for fishing, boating, swimming, sailing and water sports. There are regular boat rides and ferries going to and fro the island. Address: North of the Persian Gulf, 20km off the coast of Kuwait City Cruise Details: The KPTC (Kuwait Public Transport Company) provides ferries to and from Failaka Island every day from Ras-Salmiya near Scientific Center. Contact KPTC Marine services at 22328814.

Green Island Green Island is definitely a place to visit in a desert country like Kuwait. The artificial island is covered with greens, shrubs and seedlings of all colors making it quite unbelievable that the island is part of a desert. The island also offers various entertainment services which includes an amphitheatre that can seat up to 700 persons and hosts various concerts and theatre shows occasionally, swimming pools, exotic restaurants, small waterfalls, and a kids’ castle. It also offers a tram that goes around the island periodically and several walkways.. The island is also conveniently located across the Kuwaiti waterfront spanning 21 km of the coastline enabling a magnificent view of the sea. It hosts around 50,000 varieties of shrubs, trees, and plants that envelop the entire island. Address: Arabian Gulf Street, Dasman, Kuwait City Opening Hours: 8 am to 11 pm everyday Contact No.: 22526153 Messila Water Village The Messila Water Village is perfect entertainment for the family on a hot summer day. It contains huge aquatic games, small and large swimming pools for adults and children respectively, fountains and water slides. It contains water games like Ahmedoh Volcano, Noor Tower, Haneen Tower and Maraheb Tower. The park is well maintained with changing rooms, towels, lockers, first aid services, snack stalls and a car park. Address: Souk Al- Dhakly, Arabian Gulf Street, Messila Contact No.: 25652525 / 25651515 Opening Hours: Everyday 10 am to 10 pm, however only women are allowed on Saturdays, Mondays and Thursdays. Families are allowed on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.


W H AT ’ S O N

Embassy Information EMBASSY OF ARGENTINE For the Argentinean citizens who had not already enlisted in the embassy’s electoral register, and taking in consideration the elections which was held on Sunday 11/08/2013, it is necessary to justify they no vote by presence at our embassy which located in (Mishref - Block 6 - Street 42 - Villa 57) and should present the DNI and/or the Argentinean Passport. The Embassy of the Argentine Republic in the State of Kuwait avails itself of this opportunity to renew the assurances of its highest consideration. nnnnnnn

The Grand Mosque is 90-minute tour of one of Kuwait’s most famous landmarks. Ladies are required to cover (long sleeves and long ankle length skirt, otherwise the mosque will provide a cloak; If you have your own scarf you’re welcome to bring it). Cameras are allowed and children are welcome. This tour meets directly at the Grand Mosque at 9:15am. The Grand Mosque is located on Gulf Road in Kuwait City near the Kuwait Stock exchange and Mubarakiya Market.

Jannah Crew Junior


n Islamic Educational Group for Muslim girls aged 7 - 11, starting September 14, 2013 to help them learn the deen in a fun and interesting way.

Enjoy the taste of true Espresso at Vergnano Cafe at Olympia Complex


he superior quality of the blends comes from the meticulous selection of the best raw materials available, and from an extraordinary production process. Cafe Vergnano is the first to introduce an innovation that brings all the passion and pleasure of the perfect

espresso to everyday life at home. Espresso is now available in Kuwait, through Al-Sanabel Al-Thahabiya Est. Tel: 22413795/98. Espresso Vergnano can be ordered through Espresso Vergnano capsules are compatible with other espresso machines.

Timings: Every Saturday: 1-6 pm(September 2013 - May 2014) Learning: Aqeedah - Fiqh - Quran Activities: Cooking, Art, Reading, Sports Transport: Available - Farwaniya, Khaitan, Salmiya, Hawally, Jleeb AlShuyoukh. Hurry up and register at the Enlightenment into Islam Center’s Office (Qortuba): Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (women’s Committee) - 2nd floor. Near Qortuba Co-operative Society. Beside the Qortuba Garden. Qortuba Area. Kuwait. For more details: email us at Note: The candidate’s Civil ID copy and her presence is necessary during registration at the center.

EMBASSY OF AUSTRALIA The Embassy of Australia has announced that Kuwait citizens can apply for and receive visit visas in 10 working days through All other processing of visas and Immigration matters are handled by the Australian Visa Application Centre located in Al Banwan Building, 4B, 1st Floor, Al Qibla Area, Ali Al Salem Street, Kuwait City. Visit. for more info. The Embassy of Australia does not have a visa or immigration department. All processing of visas and immigration matters is conducted by the Australian Consulate-General in Dubai. Email: (VIS), (Visa Office), Tel: +971 4 205 5900 (VFS), Fax: + 971 4 355 0708 (Visa Office). Notary and passport services are available by appointment. Appointments can be made by calling the Embassy on 22322422. nnnnnnn

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

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

YMCA Kuwait organizes reception for Bishop


MCA Kuwait has organized a reception to Malankara Orthodox Thrissur Diocesan Bishop HG Dr Yuhanon Mor Meletius Metropolitan, who was in Kuwait for a short visit. The programme was held in Abu Halifa. The event started with a prayer by

Mathew Eapen (Vice President). Parimanam Manoj (General Secretary) welcomed the members. President Babu Johnson presided over the function. Bishop HG Dr Yuhanon Mor Meletius Metropolitan thanked the YMCA for arranging the meeting and extended his

blessings in his address. He gave a short message that inspired all. Treasurer Ajosh Mathew proposed the vote of thanks. The reception came to an end with a grand dinner.


EMBASSY OF UKRAINE The Embassy of Ukraine in the State of Kuwait would like to inform that submission of the documents for tourist visa is temporary closed (from August 26 till September 26). Within the above-mentioned period, the visa will be issued only in the case of emergency. In the case of planning travel to Ukraine, please apply for visa before August 20. nnnnnnn


The US Embassy in Kuwait has new procedures for obtaining appointments and picking up passports after visa issuance. Beginning August 9, 2013, we now provide an online visa appointment system, live call center, and in-person pick-up facilities in Kuwait. Please monitor our website and social media for additional information. This new system offers more flexibility for travelers to the US and to meet the increase in demand for visa appointments. The general application steps on the new visa appointment system are: 1. Go to (if this is the first time on, you will need to create a profile to login). 2. Please complete your DS-160 Online Visa Application which is available at 3. Please print and take your deposit slip to any Burgan Bank location to pay your visa application fee. 4. Schedule an appointment for your visa interview online at or by phone through the Call Center (at +9652227-1673). 5. If you need to change or cancel your appointment, please do so 24 hours beforehand, as a courtesy to other applicants. For more information, please visit the US Embassy website - - as it is the best source of information regarding these changes. nnnnnnn

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



00:30 Gold Divers 01:20 Deadliest Catch 02:10 Deadliest Catch 03:00 Mythbusters 03:50 Border Security 04:15 Auction Hunters 04:40 Auction Kings 05:05 How Do They Do It? 05:30 How It’s Made 06:00 Sons Of Guns 07:00 Mythbusters 07:50 Ice Cold Gold 08:40 American Chopper: Senior vs Junior 09:30 Border Security 09:55 Auction Hunters 10:20 Auction Kings 10:45 How Do They Do It? 11:10 How It’s Made 11:35 Gold Divers 12:25 Deadliest Catch 13:15 Deadliest Catch 14:05 Border Security 14:30 Auction Hunters 14:55 Auction Kings 15:20 Yukon Men 16:10 American Chopper: Senior vs Junior 17:00 Ultimate Survival 17:50 Dirty Jobs 18:40 Mythbusters 19:30 Sons Of Guns 20:20 Auction Hunters 20:45 Auction Kings 21:10 How Do They Do It? 21:35 How It’s Made 22:00 Hillbilly Handfishin’ 22:50 Top Hooker 23:40 River Monsters: Untold Stories

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

00:30 01:20 02:10 03:00 03:45 04:30 05:20 06:10 07:00 07:50

The Tech Show Food Factory How The Universe Works Smash Lab Prototype This Engineering Ground Zero X-Machines The Gadget Show The Tech Show How The Universe Works Scrapheap Challenge Junk Men Junk Men The Gadget Show The Tech Show Sci-Trek X-Machines Smash Lab Brave New World Junk Men Junk Men Food Factory The Gadget Show The Tech Show Scrapheap Challenge Sci-Trek X-Machines Scrapheap Challenge How The Universe Works Scrapheap Challenge Junk Men Junk Men The Gadget Show The Tech Show Scrapheap Challenge Junk Men Junk Men The Gadget Show

Dr G: Medical Examiner A Haunting Deadly Devotion Blood Relatives I Almost Got Away With It Dr G: Medical Examiner A Haunting Nightmare Next Door Mystery Diagnosis Street Patrol

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

Street Patrol Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth... True Crime With Aphrodite

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

Hannah Montana Hannah Montana Brandy & Mr Whiskers Brandy & Mr Whiskers Emperor’s New School Emperor’s New School The Replacements The Replacements Brandy & Mr Whiskers Brandy & Mr Whiskers Emperor’s New School Emperor’s New School The Replacements The Replacements Brandy & Mr Whiskers Brandy & Mr Whiskers Austin And Ally Suite Life On Deck Shake It Up A.N.T. Farm Jessie Good Luck Charlie Sofia The First Doc McStuffins Jake And The Neverland

Solved Disappeared Mystery Diagnosis Street Patrol Street Patrol Forensic Detectives True Crime With Aphrodite Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth... Disappeared Solved Forensic Detectives True Crime With Aphrodite Dr G: Medical Examiner Nightmare Next Door Couples Who Kill Dates From Hell Dates From Hell Deadly Women I Almost Got Away With It

Jake And The Neverland A.N.T. Farm A.N.T. Farm Jessie Jessie Good Luck Charlie Good Luck Charlie Good Luck Charlie Shake It Up Shake It Up Austin And Ally Austin And Ally Austin And Ally Shake It Up My Babysitter’s A Vampire That’s So Raven Gravity Falls Jessie Violetta A.N.T. Farm Austin And Ally Gravity Falls Shake It Up That’s So Raven A.N.T. Farm Violetta Jessie My Babysitter’s A Vampire Austin And Ally Austin And Ally That’s So Raven Jessie A.N.T. Farm Good Luck Charlie Wizards Of Waverly Place Wizards Of Waverly Place

06:00 Kid vs Kat 06:10 Iron Man Adventures 06:35 Kickin It


07:00 Max Steel 07:25 Phineas And Ferb 07:35 Phineas And Ferb 07:50 Slugterra 08:15 Pair Of Kings 08:40 Kickin It 09:05 Kickin It 09:30 Lab Rats 09:55 Lab Rats 10:20 Pair Of Kings 10:45 Kick Buttowski 11:10 Mr. Young 11:35 Slugterra 12:00 Kickin It 12:25 Max Steel 12:50 I’m In The Band 13:15 Lab Rats 13:40 Almost Naked Animals 14:05 Phineas And Ferb 14:30 Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja 14:40 Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja 14:55 Lab Rats 15:20 Phineas And Ferb 15:30 Phineas And Ferb 15:45 Kickin It 16:10 Pair Of Kings 16:35 Crash & Bernstein 17:00 Lab Rats 17:30 Kickin It 18:00 Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja 18:10 Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja 18:25 Phineas And Ferb 18:35 Phineas And Ferb 18:50 Phineas And Ferb 19:15 Slugterra 19:40 Crash & Bernstein 20:05 Ultimate Spider-Man 20:30 Max Steel 20:55 Pair Of Kings 21:20 Rated A For Awesome 21:45 Kick Buttowski 22:10 Mr. Young 22:35 Scaredy Squirrel 23:00 Programmes Start At 6:00am KSA

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

Dr G: Medical Examiner A Haunting Deadly Devotion Blood Relatives I Almost Got Away With It Dr G: Medical Examiner A Haunting Nightmare Next Door Mystery Diagnosis Street Patrol Street Patrol Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth... True Crime With Aphrodite Solved Disappeared Mystery Diagnosis Street Patrol Street Patrol Forensic Detectives True Crime With Aphrodite Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth... Disappeared Solved Forensic Detectives True Crime With Aphrodite Dr G: Medical Examiner Nightmare Next Door Couples Who Kill Dates From Hell Dates From Hell Deadly Women I Almost Got Away With It

00:00 Wilfred 00:30 The Daily Show Global Edition 01:00 The Colbert Report Global Edition 01:30 Family Guy 02:00 South Park 02:30 Unsupervised


03:00 Two And A Half Men 03:30 Men At Work 04:00 Seinfeld 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 All Of Us 06:00 The War At Home 06:30 Malibu Country 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 Seinfeld 08:30 All Of Us 09:00 Men At Work 09:30 Two And A Half Men 10:00 Hot In Cleveland 10:30 Malibu Country 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 The War At Home 12:30 Seinfeld 13:00 All Of Us 13:30 Malibu Country 14:00 Men At Work 14:30 Two And A Half Men 15:00 Hot In Cleveland 15:30 The Daily Show Global Edition 16:00 The Colbert Report Global Edition 16:30 The War At Home 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 Last Man Standing 18:30 Raising Hope 19:00 Two And A Half Men 19:30 Arrested Development 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 The Big C 22:30 South Park 23:00 Unsupervised 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

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24 The Newsroom In Plain Sight Banshee Parenthood Covert Affairs 24 The Finder Necessary Roughness In Plain Sight Covert Affairs Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Necessary Roughness 24 Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Necessary Roughness Royal Pains Franklin & Bash Top Gear Specials Breaking Bad Banshee

Good Morning America American Idol Good Morning America Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Once Upon A Time Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show C.S.I. Miami Homeland Live Good Morning America C.S.I. Miami Once Upon A Time Homeland C.S.I. Miami Once Upon A Time Homeland The Client List American Idol

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Bunraku Creature Backdraft Go Fast True Justice: Dead Drop The Rescue Deadly Hope Darkman The Rescue Do No Harm Darkman 15 Minutes

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Creature-18 Backdraft-PG15 Go Fast-PG15 True Justice: Dead Drop-

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Pieces Of April-PG15 The Change Up-18 Johnny English Reborn-PG15 Celtic Pride-PG Cheaper By The Dozen 2-PG Snow Day-PG Johnny English Reborn-PG15 Rebound-PG Snow Day-PG Lying To Be Perfect-PG15 Caddyshack-18 Pieces Of April-PG15

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Saving Grace B. Jones-PG15 Dead Lines-PG15 Separate Lies-PG15 Hindenburg-PG15 Saving Grace B. Jones-PG15 The Terminal-PG15 Another Harvest Moon-PG15 Encounter With Danger-

The Rescue-PG15 Deadly Hope-PG15 Darkman-PG15 The Rescue-PG15 Do No Harm-PG15 Darkman-PG15 15 Minutes-PG15 Hellboy-PG15

HELLBOY ON OSN MOVIES HD ACTION PG15 17:00 Comes A Bright Day-PG15 19:00 The Iron Lady-PG15 21:00 One Day-18 23:00 The Disappearance Of Alice Creed-18

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Me And You-PG15 An Officer And A GentlemanBeing John Malkovich-PG15 The Rich Man’s Wife-PG15 Me And You-PG15 Here On Earth-PG15 The Evening Star-PG15 Look Again-PG15 Here On Earth-PG15 Mahler On The Couch-18 Closer-18 Jack The Bear-PG15

01:00 Breaking The Girl-18 03:00 Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol-PG15 05:15 Tower Heist-PG15 07:00 Wreck-It Ralph-PG 09:00 Bernie-PG15 11:00 Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol-PG15 13:15 Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3: Viva LA Fiesta!-PG 15:00 A Mother’s Choice-PG15 17:00 Bernie-PG15 19:00 Chronicle-PG15 21:00 Underworld: Awakening-18 23:00 House At The End Of The Street-PG15

01:00 02:45 04:30 Part II 06:00 08:00 10:00 11:30 13:00 14:30 16:00 18:00 20:00 22:00 23:30

Rh+ The Vampire Of Seville Vickery’s Wild Ride Winner & The Golden Child: Eleanor’s Secret Emilie Jolie The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz The Happy Cricket Vickery’s Wild Ride Arthur’s Missing Pal Snowmen The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz Wheelers Emilie Jolie Snowmen

00:45 Perfect Plan-PG15 02:15 George Harrison: Living In The Material World-PG15 06:00 Ice Age: Continental Drift-PG 08:00 The Big Year-PG 09:45 Mission: Impossible III-PG15 12:00 The Dark Knight Rises-PG15 14:45 Beware The Gonzo-PG15 16:30 The Big Year-PG 18:15 Hotel Transylvania-PG 20:00 Leaves Of Grass-PG15 22:00 Violet & Daisy-18

01:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 02:00 NRL Premiership 04:00 AFL Premiership Highlights 05:00 Champions Tour 07:00 NRL Premiership 09:00 AFL Premiership Highlights 10:00 PGA European Tour Highlights

11:00 Trans World Sport 12:00 Rugby Union Currie Cup 14:00 NRL Premiership 16:00 AFL Premiership Highlights 17:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 18:00 PGA Tour Highlights 19:00 Top 14 21:00 Live Sailing Red Bull Youth Cup 23:00 NRL Full Time 23:30 Futbol Mundial

00:00 00:30 01:00 04:00 06:00 07:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 18:00

Futbol Mundial ICC Cricket 360 Cricket Twenty20 Top 14 Trans World Sport PGA Tour AFL Premiership Highlights Trans World Sport Super League UFC 164 Prelims

20:00 UFC 164 Main Event 23:00 WWE SmackDown

00:00 Top 14 Highlights 00:30 Trans World Sport 01:30 AFL Premiership 04:00 World Pool Masters 05:00 World Pool Masters 06:00 Golfing World 07:00 Golfing World 08:00 Sailing America’s Cup 10:00 Top 14 Highlights 10:30 World Cup of Pool 11:30 World Cup of Pool 12:30 Golfing World 13:30 FEI Equestrian World 14:00 Top 14 16:00 Sailing America’s Cup 18:00 Pro 12 20:00 PGA European Highlights 21:00 Golfing World 22:00 World Cup of Pool 23:00 World Cup of Pool


00:00 01:00 03:30 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 16:30 17:30 18:30 19:30 20:00 20:30 21:00 22:00 23:00

UFC Unleashed ITU World Triathlon Series Triahlon UK Ping Pong World US Bass Fishing Triahlon UK WWE NXT WWE Bottom Line Ping Pong World US Bass Fishing European Le Mans Series European Le Mans Series European Le Mans Series ITU World Triathlon Series Ping Pong World US Bass Fishing UIM Powerboat Champs UIM Powerboat Champs UIM Aquabike Champs Mobil 1 The Grid UIM Powerboat Champs US Bass Fishing UFC Prelims

Maria Pinto launches new collection on Kickstarter


ashion designer Maria Pinto - famous for dressing first lady Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey - is back with a new, more affordable collection that she plans to launch with the help of an online funding campaign three years after a poor economy forced her close her Chicago boutique. Pinto is trying to raise $250,000 within 45 days for her M2057 line when it goes live on the Kickstarter crowdfunding website this weekend. According to Kickstarter rules, Pinto won’t get any funding if she doesn’t reach the $250,000 mark within 45 days. “It’s just the way of the future,” Pinto said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I think there’s something here to embrace, the fashion meeting technology.” The capsule collection debuts just days before New York Fashion Week begins Thursday. It includes seven dresses, two jackets, a shrug, a wrap, and two scarves made from Italian jersey and priced at between $75 and $250. Pinto’s pieces once retailed at more than $900. When the 45 days are over, Pinto will move the collection to her own website, but prices for dresses and jackets will go up to $275, she said. Pinto won fames as the Chicago fashion designer who dressed Obama during the 2008 campaign. The first lady chose a purple Pinto sheath on the night her husband secured the Democratic nomination and a periwinkle dress by Pinto on the cover of Newsweek. Two years later Pinto closed her Chicago boutique, citing the economic recession. Since then, she has taken time off and worked as creative director at the Mark Shale store in Chicago. Pinto hasn’t had a collection since spring 2010. Pinto isn’t the only designer to take advantage of crowd-sourced financing, but she’s one of the bigger names from the fashion world. According to Kickstarter, about 4,000 fashion projects have launched on the website since it started in 2009. Of those, about 1,100 - or 28 percent

- have received $16.7 million in funding. However, fashion projects make up just 3.6 percent of the website’s total projects, which include creative fields like film, photography and music. The challenge, Pinto said, will be drawing her customers to Kickstarter because they don’t frequent the website. “ That’s kind of a little bit of an unknown,” Pinto said. “What I like about it is I’m building a community. I can reach my hand out and touch my consumer.” Pinto also will offer non-clothing items on Kickstarter: $25 signed note cards, $75 for a print of one of her limited edition paintings, $5,000 to spend an afternoon with her in her studio or $10,000 to host a party with Pinto for 50 friends at the Chicago restaurant Sepia. Kickstarter backers will be listed on Pinto’s website and receive special access to design previews of her future collections. Pinto is in a position where she has to reinvent, and in ways reintroduce, herself to customers because she has been out of the spotlight, said Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry analyst with market research firm The NPD Group. “They’ve discovered other brands and other products and are spending in a different way,” Cohen said. “ That’s why redefining who she is and who her target audience is, is critical.” Pinto attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and launched her own label in 1991 after a stint working with the late draping master Geoffrey Beene. She closed her business in 2002 for health and business reasons but reopened in 2004. Her clothing has been available at department stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and other boutiques. Retailers have expressed interest in her new collection, Pinto said, but she wants to see what happens first with Kickstarter. It’s business, but for Pinto, it’s fashion too. “Ever since I closed I needed a break, but I also realized that designing is a lifeline,” she said. “If I don’t design, I don’t breathe.”— AP

Classifieds TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2013



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Mazda zoom (3) silver color, model 2009, excellent condition, KD 1,550. Tel: 50994848. (C 4496) 2-9-2013 Toyota Camry model 2011, silver color, GL, four cylinder engine, excellent condition, installment possible, cash prize KD 3,875. Tel: 66507741. (C 4495) 1-9-2013 SITUATION VACANT A Kuwaiti family in Jabriya is looking to hire an Indian driver, part-time from 7 am to 4 pm. Salary KD 80 per month, weekly day off on Friday, one month paid leave annually. Tel: 67094773. (C 4497) 2-9-2013 MATRIMONIAL Proposals invited for a fair Keralite Marthomite girl (24 yrs, 159 cm) hailing from an aristocratic family and just completed M.Sc nursing in paediatrics, from parents of God-fearing boys with equivalent qualifications preferably employed in Kuwait, Gulf/India. Email: (C 4494)

Al-Madena Police Station


Al-Murqab Police Station


Al-Daiya Police Station


Al-Fayha’a Police Station


Al-Qadissiya Police Station


Al-Nugra Police Station


Al-Salmiya Police Station


Al-Dasma Police Station


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

04:00 05:22 11:50 15:24 18:16 19:36

No: 15917

Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (



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


472 562 341 640 325 777 535 134 303 1802 857 127 982 215 510 177 542 104 166 618 678 742 144 786 63 219 557 393 774 674 572 553 647 61 129 402 619 189 618 415 229 859 307 136 217 146 576 59 981 239 981 185 135 513 636 574 614 772 1283


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stars CROSSWORD 299

STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) This is a good time for new beginnings. Guard a secret you have recently discovered and you might be able to sell the idea for lots of money. Emotions are also easier to understand now. Professionally speaking, you are in the lead when it comes to making sales or helping customers find just what they want. New technology may take a little explaining to some folks. This afternoon you have found a new cookie recipe that is unusually healthy and you look forward to sharing the recipe with all your co-worker friends. You have time to prepare some of those cookies to share with your family and set aside some to take to work. Later this evening a book title is something that gains your interest and you enjoy the reading opportunity.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) A new co-worker needs time to adjust and you do not mind lending a helping hand . . . Perhaps a tour to show this person where things are located would be a good thing. Time spent in explaining some of the equipment, software or merchandise may cause you to stay over to work on your own work for a bit later this afternoon; however, the time is well spent. No matter where you are, events usually point to your seeking a high degree of accomplishment. You seek to use your time to the best of your ability; carefully measuring what and how much is needed. Your neighborhood may be getting ready for a charity parade and you could be on the planning committee this evening. Your block could be recognized for their charitable activity.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

ACROSS 1. Not divisible by two. 4. Genus of tropical or subtropical branching shrubs or trees. 12. A tube in which a body fluid circulates. 15. Hawaiian dish of taro root pounded to a paste and often allowed to ferment. 16. A colorless fragrant liquid found in many essential oils. 17. A liquid used for printing or writing or drawing. 18. A federal agency established to coordinate programs aimed at reducing pollution and protecting the environment. 19. Not open. 20. (computer science) American Standard Code for Information Interchange. 22. Any of several plants of the genus Camassia. 24. Headdress that protects the head from bad weather. 25. A burn cause by hot liquid or steam. 26. 100 thebe equal 1 pula. 28. (Greek mythology) The rarified fluid said to flow in the veins of the Gods. 30. Erect bushy hairy annual herb having trifoliate leaves and purple to pink flowers. 33. A family of Sino-Tibetan languages spoken in southeastern Asia. 37. The mountain peak that Noah's ark landed on as the waters of the great flood receded. 40. The last (12th) month of the year. 43. Covered with paving material. 46. The month following February and preceding April. 47. Inability to coordinate voluntary muscle movements. 48. Primitive chlorophyll-containing mainly aquatic eukaryotic organisms lacking true stems and roots and leaves. 52. (computer science) Memory whose contents can be accessed and read but cannot be changed. 53. A ruler of the Inca Empire (or a member of his family). 54. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 55. A member of a widespread group of Amerindians living in northeastern South America. 58. Of or relating to or characteristic of Thailand of its people. 60. The ninth month of the Moslem calendar. 62. The Mongol people living the the central and eastern parts of Outer Mongolia. 66. Before noon. 68. Being one more than fifty. 69. (used of count nouns) Every one considered individually. 72. A branch of the Tai languages. 73. Cheap showy jewelry or ornament or clothing. 76. The capital of Lombardy in northern Italy. 78. A master's degree in business. 79. Fertility goddess in ancient Greek mythology. 80. A member of the Caddo people who formerly lived in the Dakotas west of the Missouri river. 82. Tag the base runner to get him out. 83. Profane or obscene expression usually of surprise or anger. 84. Bound with chains. 85. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. DOWN 1. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 2. Amino acid that is formed in the liver and converted into dopamine in the brain.

3. The length of a straight line passing through the center of a circle and connecting two points on the circumference. 4. Characterized by extravagance and profusion. 5. A liquid preparation used on wet hair to it a tint. 6. United States musician (born in Japan) who married John Lennon and collaborated with him on recordings (born in 1933). 7. A person who lacks good judgment. 8. Evergreen trees and shrubs having oily one-seeded fruits. 9. Famous chief of the Ottawa who led an unsuccessful rebellion against the British (1715-1769). 10. (Greek mythology) A maiden seduced by Zeus. 11. A wound made by cutting. 12. A Roman Catholic priest who acts for another higher-ranking clergyman. 13. A blue dye obtained from plants or made synthetically. 14. One of a pair of planks used to make a track for rolling or sliding objects. 21. Of or relating to or characteristic of Scotland or its people or culture or its English dialect or Gaelic language. 23. A drug (trade names Atarax and Vistaril) used as a tranquilizer to treat anxiety and motion sickness. 27. A radioactive transuranic element. 29. Being one more than one hundred. 31. A person who delivers a speech or oration. 32. Tropical American insectivorous bird having a long sharp bill and iridescent green or bronze plumage. 34. Do something that one considers to be below one's dignity. 35. Any of numerous low-growing cushion-forming plants of the genus Draba having rosette-forming leaves and terminal racemes of small flowers with scapose or leafy stems. 36. A low woody perennial plant usually having several major branches. 38. Lack of strength or vigor esp from illness. 39. A hard gray lustrous metallic element that is highly corrosion-resistant. 41. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 42. A woman hired to suckle a child of someone else. 44. Informal terms for a mother. 45. Not only so, but. 49. Presence of excess lipids in the blood. 50. A legal document codifying the result of deliberations of a committee or society or legislative body. 51. Sole genus of the family Naiadaceae. 56. (India) Usually in combination. 57. Unknown god. 59. A state in northwestern North America. 61. A Dravidian language spoken in south central India. 63. A genus of Lamnidae. 64. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 65. Jordan's port. 67. A member of the Siouan people formerly living in the Missouri river valley in NE Nebraska. 70. Group of people related by blood or marriage. 71. Swift timid long-eared mammal larger than a rabbit having a divided upper lip and long hind legs. 74. A serve that strikes the net before falling into the receiver's court. 75. Resinlike substance secreted by certain lac insects. 77. A coenzyme derived from the B vitamin nicotinic acid. 81. A blood group antigen possessed by Rh-positive people.

Some sort of temporary obstacle may appear to cause you to change your mind about your activities today. Things will work out with only a little effort on your part. You don’t mind working through some sensitive problems. You may have flashes of insight and breakthroughs regarding your deepest sense of truth today— you could be psychic. Call it psychology, philosophy, religion or what have you. Perhaps unconventional, you are straightforward about getting to the heart and truth of things, especially when a friend asks you for your guidance. You are most helpful when you guide people in a direction of self-discovery. Communicating is at a high this afternoon. Your timing should be perfect.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) You will find success involving contacts with people that are important to your business. It may be time to advertise or make personal appeals. You are driven to create change and inner growth. You possess, at the core, an intensity that burns through superficialities, searching for opportunities to grow and enhance your life. You may be able to help a detective or the police with an important matter in your city. There is some clue that you are able to piece together with some information you heard at an earlier time. Write a short report so that nothing is misunderstood. If you have pictures, add those with your report. Everybody in your family had a busy day and you may have to take a number in order to talk about your day. Be a good listener.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Travel and other contacts with faraway people and places will play a bigger role for you soon. Such things bring love and gain in one way or another. Higher education or religious contacts have a part in making good things happen. This is a great time to be with others. You may be sought after as just the person to share your own ideas. You are an aggressive prime mover, a starter, able to initiate and get things moving. Not always hot on the follow-up, you may tend to get the ball rolling and then move on to other things. This is one of the things that make you a better leader than a follower. You may be sought after for your advice regarding very emotional issues tonight. A new understanding about a friend is forthcoming.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) Think about your choices before you make them today—circumstances could be misleading. You are coming into a new time that is filled with opportunities to achieve and make a name for yourself. Assimilating information and experience, learning lessons and putting them into practice is the focus as this period unfolds. It’s a time for prudence and budgeting, a time to tend to details. You probably already have the inspiring visions: now you must get your hands dirty with the work and use your mind to put it all together. Your intuition is strong and can guide you accurately in making forecasts or decisions. A positive attitude will help you overcome any difficulties now. You have a lot on your mind and feel a strong need to communicate ideas.

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Libra (September 23-October 22) Work moves along without a glitch. If you are helping to celebrate a friend’s birthday or a newborn child or an upcoming wedding, there may be lots of phone calls to make. You are the type of individual that will follow through on whatever is needed. During breaks, you will be able to be the one that can help pull together a celebration or a party. At home this afternoon you may be typing invitations or purchasing stamps for this upcoming event. No matter how much fun you are having, be careful that you do not overspend or indulge too much. Perhaps another friend or family member will be able to help share expenses. A secret admirer may be revealed later today. This evening you are in a music mood; sit back and enjoy your headphones.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) At this time you could decide a vacation is in order and whether you leave for a trip today or plan one sometime in the near future, you will be sure to plan all sorts of car games. You may decide to rent a van or station wagon for this trip. Car games, singing and fun times together make up an early morning drive. You may be headed home after a long weekend camping trip. This whole last weekend has been a grand time to be with others in some fun times together. You are enjoying the day—your mind is stimulated and there is much to enjoy. A decision to change jobs or take a better job within your company may be on your mind this evening—thinking of what to do. Whatever you do, think about how the choice will help you reach your goals.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) You may find yourself talking easily with an authority figure today. This is a good thing as communicating clearly in a place of business is very important to the productivity of the company. If you are not close, phrase your questions carefully and show that you want what is best for the whole. Do not push, if you do not get clear answers. Radical and inventive ideas may hold the key to some fun times today. This could involve the care of a child or some rule for neighborhood safety. This afternoon the young people in the neighborhood may find you involved in a fun activity. This may be a magic demonstration or showing off the latest animal trick that you have taught your animal. Life is fun and relaxed this afternoon.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) CAPRICORN You may be asked to perform a professional favor today. There are no favorites and you know that the request would not be made if you were not needed. There is something about you that others cannot seem to get enough of; yet for all your confidence, you may depend on outside guidance and counsel. This is always a good move as most people sometimes lose sight of the bigger picture. Travel, education and other ways to stretch your horizons open new doors of opportunity. Advice about the next educational adventure in your life would be wise. We never get too old to learn new things and even though it does not seem important, most of the information you receive will help you in your personal life as well as your professional life.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) You may find yourself handling a problem with young people today. It is up to you to smooth the ruffled feathers—you may be the only adult present. The answer may be in helping them to see that they are really capable of comprehending a simple solution—compromise. Handling a person or a problem is perhaps the key element in your personality make-up. How you manage difficulties, find diplomatic solutions or come up with the right approach is what is built into your abilities. This ability to charm others and be all things to all people solves problems. Always putting others at ease is the key to meeting and coming to know you. At home this afternoon you may want to relax and enjoy a good book. Someone else’s story is fun.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) You and a mate may become involved in a conversation on how you will move forward together in pursuing your ideals and dreams for the family. Include the older child in the discussion so that there are no surprises. Children learn to solve problems and set goals, as well as plotting the path to their goals, by watching adults set a good example. Talking and making plans are good now. You and a mate or friend enjoy keeping fit and if you are not involved in a fitness group, today is a good day to join. This could also mean a team is forming and you will want to become a part of it. Your intuitive side is piqued this evening as you think of a friend from the past and that friend calls you. You and your loved one may enjoy talk of psychic experiences.

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lifestyle G o s s i p

Simon Cowell: S

imon Cowell has been to see the first scan of his unborn baby. The 53year-old music mogul, who is expecting his first child with New York socialite Lauren Silverman, admits it was a “surreal” moment watching the little one wriggle around on the screen, and he can’t wait to meet his child. When asked if he’s looking forward to fatherhood, he said: “Yes, I am. I just went to see a scan and it is just surreal. You see this thing which is now alive moving around. So I am happy.” Despite his impending fatherhood, Simon - who previously said he was never interested in having kids - insists he will not lose his no-nonsense approach to showbusiness and become a walkover when he is a dad. He added in an interview with The Times newspa-

per: “I can assure you: I won’t go too soft.” Simon recently admitted he is “proud” at the thought of becoming a dad for the first time and he can’t wait to go through parenthood with Lauren. He said: “I’m proud to be a dad. It’s something I hadn’t thought of before, but now I know I feel good about it. “Things are changing in my life right now, for the better. She [Lauren]’s a very special girl.”


on Howard wasn’t keen for his children to pursue acting careers. The actor-turned-director - famous for his role as teenager Richie Cunningham in the iconic sitcom ‘Happy Days’ - admitted he and his wife Cheryl moved their four children, daughter Bryce Dallas Howard, twins Jocelyn Carlyle Howard and Paige Carlyle Howard and son Reed Cross Howard away from Los Angeles so they wouldn’t be lured into Hollywood. During an appearance on UK talk show ‘Lorraine’: “I’m not so crazy about them getting into the industry to be honest. It’s tough, particularly for women. We even moved our kids out of Los Angeles and raised them East outside of New York City, because we just didn’t want them exposed to it.” The 59-year-old filmmaker wasn’t able to keep all of his daughters out of the movie business with Bryce


ill Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith are reportedly selling their lavish mansion for $42 million. The Hollywood A-list couple have quietly listed their 25,000square-foot compound in the Santa Monica Mountains, located near Calabasas in Los Angeles County, California, despite only moving into the home in 2011, according to The Real Estalker blog. The couple - who have been married for 16 years - decided to build their dream house from the ground up and it’s thought construction on the extravagant property took seven years to complete. The property boasts a custom closet, a meditation lounge, a private cinema, a recording studio, an artificial lake and a bas-

ketball court - Will, 44, and Jada, 41, had a heavy hand in the design of the mansion and the ‘After Earth’ actor revealed that he chose a circular floor plan as an ode to his wife, “to create an infinite cycle that represented what Jada and I hoped for our love”. The celebrity couple - who live in the home with their famous offspring, Jaden, 15, and Willow, 12 - appear to be downsizing their property portfolio after quietly selling their seven-acre Hawaii vacation home on the island of Kuaui for a reported $20 million.


ily Allen threw her dad a party which got “pretty weird” on Saturday night. The ‘Not Fair’ singer threw a celebration for her actor father, Keith - who recently turned 60 which saw some traditional family entertainment courtesy of her uncle, who belted out a Frank Sinatra classic. She posted on Twitter: “I threw my dad a party last night, it got pretty weird, my uncle singing “My Way” IN WELSH, at 2am was probs the high point. All downhill from there (sic)” The 28-yearold star - who has two daughters, 20month-old Ethel, and seven-monthold Marnie with her husband Sam Cooper - is usually the more sensible member of her family, and at the end of July issued a plea for people to find her father after he went wild at Latitude festival in England. She tweeted: “If you’re at Latitude and you see my dad, tell him he’ll be 60 in a month and that it’s time to go home. He’s been there since Wednesday.”


manda Seyfried says her parents’ marriage makes her believe in true love. The 27-year-old actress’ mother Ann and father Jack have been married for over 30 years and their commitment to one another has convinced her that her ‘Mr Right’ is out there somewhere as well as giving her an admiration for people who don’t cheat. Speaking to The Sun newspaper, Amanda - who is dating actor Justin Long and was previously in a three-year relationship with her ‘Mamma Mia’ co-star Dominic Cooper - said: “I have learned from my mom, Ann, the importance of a long relationship. She and my dad Jack have been together for more than 30 years. It always gives me hope of a good long-term relationship. I have had boyfriends and I have been in love. I would never think of sleeping with someone else when I am in a relationship. The result is that I admire people who are able to avoid affairs.” Amanda admits her mother - an occupational therapist - has been a huge influence on her life and helped her cope with her difficult teen years, during which she was self-conscious about her looks and figure. She revealed: “My mom has an ability to stay calm. She is an occupational therapist and always appears to be in control of a situation. My


launching an acting career - appearing in several films, including ‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’ and ‘The Village’ - while Paige went onto win Best Supporting Actress at the 2013 Los Angeles Movie Awards for her role in ‘The Employer’. Ron added: “Two members of our family are into it for all the right reasons, both Bryce and Paige because they really love it and Jocelyn and Reed are pursuing other things.” Despite the phenomenal success he has achieved throughout his career, the ‘Rush’ director insists his greatest achievement has been his 38-year marriage to Cheryl. He said: “For me to discover Cheryl when I did and for us to grow together through raising our kids the way we did and through working, it is a tremendous blessing.”


ohn Legend isn’t nervous about his upcoming wedding Chrissy Teigen. The ‘Ordinary People’ singer is set to tie the knot with the Sports illustrated model this month, and he insists he feels fine about the bid day and is more worried about the reaction to his new album ‘Love in the Future’ which is out this week. Speaking to the New York Post newspaper at the Box nightclub in New York City, John said: “People keep asking me if I am nervous about getting married, but I am a little more nervous about my album coming out. But yeah, I guess you’re supposed to get nervous before you get married, but I feel good.” The 34-year-


ady Gaga didn’t miss fame during her six months out of the spotlight. The ‘Applause’ singer desperately “missed” performing on stage following her hip surgery in February, an injury which caused her to cancel the remaining dates on her ‘Born This Way Ball’. However, she didn’t yearn for all the hoopla that often surrounds her life because of her massive celebrity. Gaga told BBC Radio 1 host Nick Grimshaw: “I’m really happy to be back and I do feel back, because even though I’m present in my mind as a person, I don’t really feel truly alive unless I’m on stage. “I missed being on stage. I always love seeing my fans outside, but I wouldn’t say I missed the fame, if that makes any sense. I think what I’ve realized more than anything is that I’m really not in it for that at all.” The 27-year-old pop superstar - who performed for the first time since her surgery at the MTV Video Music Awards last month - spent a lot time watching television with her parents as she recovered from her operation. But the workaholic musician couldn’t resist choreographing her video for new single ‘Applause’ while she was laid up. She said: “I laid in bed, and in the ‘Applause’ video you can already see me doing the choreography on my back, that’s actually indicative of what I was doing at the time. “[I was] thinking about what I would be doing for the next album cycle and thinking about ‘Applause’.” Gaga’s time away enabled her to work on her upcoming album ‘ARTPOP’, which she debuted new songs from at the opening night of the iTunes festival in London on Sunday .Speaking about the eagerly-anticipated record, she mused: “I’ve been planning it. The downtime was really good for me because I love creating and I love songwriting, so I really got to make love to the music.”

mom knew that I suffered from body issues in my teens. I was way too shy. I felt ugly. I was skinny and had braces on my teeth. Yet I started acting as a kid in the local civic theatre just for the fun of it. Then I was asked to become a model in my teens. I don’t know why. It’s a slow process for most of us in our teens.” Although Ann has always supported her famous daughter in all her choice, Amanda is sure her mother isn’t a fan of her stripping off for her film roles, most recently as porn star Linda Lovelace in the biopic ‘Lovelace’. Amanda - who kissed Megan Fox in horror movie ‘Jennifer’s Body’ - said: “Does my mom always approve of everything I do? She probably does not like me taking my clothes off for films. But because she manages to keep calm and never blurts out her feelings that gives me encouragement to go for the roles I think are best.”

old musician was performing tracks from his latest LP at the venue for a Scene magazine party, and he revealed one track which recalls a sexual encounter between him and Chrissy left her embarrassed when he played it to her parents. He explained: “She got a little embarrassed. The second line is ‘We couldn’t wait, we did it in the living room.’ “John and Chrissy, 27, are marrying near Lake Como in Italy early in September. The model - who got engaged to John in 2011 after four years of dating - will wear a custom-made Vera Wang wedding dress on the big day and the couple hired a wedding planner to get every detail right.


lifestyle G o s s i p


osie Huntington-Whiteley is with Jason Statham for ‘stability’. The stunning model-and-actress has been dating the ‘Hummingbird’ actor for three years and admits she likes having the action star to lean on after a tough day at work in the fashion industry. She explained: ‘Many models are in long-term relationships for stability. Admittedly, not always with great men, but it gives them something to come home to, something grounding. That’s how I see my relationship.’ The 26year-old catwalk beauty adds that her 45-year-old beau is a particularly calming influence ‘when things get tough’. Rosie also revealed that she used to get so caught up reading negative comments made about her online, it affected her confi-

dence and made her feel ‘insecure’. She added to the new issue of Britainís ELLE magazine: ‘I read everything on the internet and I got destroyed by it. I panicked. I was unhappy because I was nervous and insecure, so I cut it off. Today I am in a healthier and happier place.’ It was recently claimed that ‘Fast & Furious 7’ star Jason is set to propose to Rosie, with a source claiming their relationship is ‘very serious’. — Bang Showbiz


icole Richie will host the 10th annual Style Awards. The socialite will host the awards show which will also be aired for the first time on news channel CNN in the US when it kicks off Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week on September 14. Ten awards will be handed out at the event, with Zac Posen, Kate Upton, Victor Cruz, Frederic Fekkai, Patrick DeMarchelier, Rachel Zoe, John Varvatos, Trish Summerville, Janie Bryant and Victoria’s Secret all to be honored. The trophies will be designed by jewelry company Tiffany & Co and singer Ariana Grande will give a special performance at the event. Jay Penske, whose media company owns the Style Awards, said: “Building on the tremendous success of last year’s show, we’re excited to announce our media and style partner for 2013 and look forward to an outstanding program.” Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, President and Executive Producer of the Style Awards added: “We are extremely excited to honor and celebrate the incredible talent at this year’s show. We have truly merged the worlds of fashion and entertainment.” Categories to be awarded at the show include Designer of the Year, Model of the Year, Most Stylish Athlete of the Year, Hairstylist of the Year, Costume Designer of the Year in Film and TV categories, Celebrity Stylist of the Year, Menswear Designer of the Year and Most Visible Brand.


iane Kruger wasn’t “blessed with great skin”. The stunning model-and-actress reveals that she used to suffer from rosacea a skin condition which causes red splotching on the face and spots - and now takes even greater care to maintain her glowing skin, such as abstaining from alcohol. She explained: “I wasn’t blessed with great skin. I used to have rosacea and had to quit smoking to get rid of it. I still struggle with under-eye circles. It’s all about discipline and finding products that are right for you. “I’ve noticed my skin looks better when I don’t drink, so I stopped for six weeks before the Cannes Film Festival. It did me wonders. I slept better than ever. It kind of sucked, though, because I enjoy a glass of wine.” The 37-year-old beauty was recently named the face of Chanel’s skincare beauty product line, however, she admits she still isn’t fully confident about her appearance. She added to the new issue of US InStyle magazine: “You can be the most beautiful woman in the world and still find something that bugs you. I’ve learned how to highlight the things I like and minimize or hide the things I don’t.”


dele is planning to have David Blaine perform magic tricks at her son’s first birthday party. The ‘Skyfall’ hitmaker is pulling out all the stops to make little Angelo’s first birthday bash in October as special as possible and hopes the TV illusionist will fly to her home in Brighton on the South Coast of Britain to wow her friends and family with his famous stunts. Adele, 25, is thought to have hit it off with David - who counts the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio among his close friends - when they met in New York City in June and the stars have developed a close friendship. A source told the Daily Star newspaper: “Adele wants a small, intimate family party for Angelo - with a magic theme. Having David there will make it even more memorable and she hopes he can teach the whole family how to do a few tricks on the day. They got on so well when they met, she is sure he’ll be up for joining the party.” The Oscarwinning musician and boyfriend Simon Konecki are planning an intimate gathering for their son’s big day and Adele is even set to bake Angelo’s birthday cake herself, rather than splashing out on one. The source


eth Meyers has married his long-term girlfriend Alexi Ashe. The ‘Saturday Night Live’ funnyman tied the knot with the lawyer in front of 150 guests including Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis at Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts last night his publicist confirmed to Us Weekly. The 39-year-old star wore a dark colored suit for the nuptials, while his brunette bride sported a lace gown. Before saying ‘I do’ on Monday, the couple celebrated a rehearsal dinner with family and friends at the Beetlebung Farm House eatery on Friday. A host of celebrities joined Seth for his big day, including ‘The Newsroom’ beauty Olivia Munn, Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg and ‘Kenan & Kel’ star Kenan Thompson. The happy couple’s wedding comes just over a month after announcing their engagement in July after dating for several years, following a chance meeting at a mutual friend’s wedding. A source said at the time: “He’s very excited for the next phase of his life. He’s known that she’s The One for awhile, but it was all about timing.” Seth’s good fortune is set to continue next year as he takes over as host of talk show ‘Late Night with...’ from Jimmy Fallon, when the comedian succeeds Jay Leno as host of ‘The Tonight Show’.

added: “As she’s quite good in the kitchen, Adele really wants to bake Angelo the birthday cake herself. She’s also toying with the idea of singing him a special song.”



aniel Radcliffe was mobbed by fans while he was in the toilet at the Venice Film Festival. The actor arrived in Italy to promote his latest film, ‘Kill Your Darlings’, and although overexcited fans pushed past bodyguards and police to get to him while he was in the bathroom, he remained calm and laughed the incident off. He said: “I’ve been dealing with it in various ways since I was 11. I don’t take it seriously, actually I think it’s funny.” The 24-year-old star has been a megastar since he was a boy thanks to his role as the titular wizard in the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise, but is now making the transition to more adult roles and ‘Kill Your Darlings’ - in which he plays beat poet Allen Ginsberg - tackles issues of homosexuality and drug abuse. He added: “I love poetry and it was fantastic to get the part and have the opportunity to dive into Ginsberg’s life.” The diaries he made when he was young gave me an amazing insight into his character. “I’m incredibly grateful for the swirl of support behind me. My fans seem excited by the unconventional path I am taking.”


ennifer Lopez will release her new perfume, JLove, in October. The multi-talented actress, singer and fashion impresario has unveiled her 20th scent, which is due to hit Kohl’s stores in the United States next month. Speaking about the new fragrance, Jennifer said: “When I did my first fragrance, Glow, I didn’t really think much beyond making it the best, most beautiful fragrance ever created. We did beautiful things with that fragrance, and I fell in love with the business.” The 44year-old starlet’s landmark 20th perfume centers on the theme of love and features hints of fruity floral scents such as white raspberry, pink grapefruit, tangerine and pineapple combined with water lily, vanilla sorbet, white wood and skin musk. Explaining her vision behind the

romantic scent, she told “With number 20, it’s a landmark. I asked myself, ‘Who am I and what do I encompass?’ My message has always been love, whether it’s my music or my movies or whatever. It’s such a big part of who I am. We decided to call it JLove for that very reason, because it encompasses everything about me in one simple little word.” The perfume is expected to retail between $39 for a 1oz bottle and $49 for a 1.7oz bottle. Jennifer also stars in the official campaign for the perfume, appearing in a glamorous Old Hollywood-esque pictorial shot by famed photographer Mario Testino.

ate Bosworth and Michael Polish wrote their own vows for their wedding. The couple tied the knot on Saturday at The Ranch at Rock Creek in Philipsburg, Montana, and rather than use traditional vows to commit to one another they penned their own romantic words to each other, according to Martha Stewart Weddings - which helped organize the nuptials. Filmmaker Michael’s 15-year-old daughter, Jasper Polish, was also part of the ceremony which took place overlooking beautiful hill-tops, glistening streams and mountains. Kate, 30, wore a beautiful Oscar de la Renta strapless ivory ball gown - featuring an eight foot long, 16 foot wide train - teamed with ivory-colored Jimmy Choo sling back heels, which were encrusted with crystals across the front strap for the nuptials. Later on the ‘Straw Dogs’ star changed into a floral print tulle dress with scalloped cap sleeves for the reception. Michael, 42, donned a three-piece charcoal suit from Brooks Brothers. Following the ceremony, the newlyweds and their guests - who included actress Lake Bell, Oscarwinning actor-and-producer Walton Goggins and Michael’s twin brother Mark Polish - made their way to the Granite Lodge for the wedding breakfast and speeches before everyone moved into the Silver Dollar Saloon for music and dancing and cocktails. Kate and Michael asked their wedding planning team - which included Martha Stewart Weddings and The Ranch at Rock Creek’s General Manager Maja Kilgore to create a theme which was a combination of the English Victorian period and the American Old West. The four-day celebration was snapped by photographer John Dolan and the wedding will be featured in the Winter issue of Martha Stewart Weddings.


lifestyle M u s i c

Emeli Sande performs on Day 1 of the 2013 Budweiser Made in America Festival on Saturday, in Philadelphia.


ine Inch Nails closed the second night of the “Budweiser Made In America” festival with a set that captured the audience - although the crowd was not nearly as large as Beyonce’s the night before. Trent Reznor and his band mates performed 19 songs at the Jay-Z-curated festival on Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Reznor didn’t hold back: drenched in sweat and holding the microphone close, he sang his band’s rock hits and tracks from the group’s new


or Michael Jackson, a trip to the doctor’s office sometimes wasn’t just paying a visit to a health care provider. It was paying a visit to a trusted friend. A jury has been hearing for weeks about the pop superstar’s close relationship with many of his medical providers - spending Christmas with some doctors, inviting others to spend time at Neverland Ranch. His primary care doctor served as the best man at the singer’s second wedding, to a woman who worked in his dermatologist’s office and became a frequent companion on his medical visits. Jackson’s relationship with his final doctor, Conrad Murray, is important to the negligent hiring case, but in the process jurors are getting an inside look at celebrity health care - after-hours visits, house calls and false names on records and prescriptions - that are meant to preserve confidentiality but can present ethical challenges for doctors. They have also heard a detailed portrait of medical history, including painful burns and the skin conditions vitiligo and discoid lupus that led Jackson to feel he was disfigured. Other practitioners have recounted stories of telling Jackson they wouldn’t comply with his requests for painkillers or the powerful anesthetic that would kill him in his bedroom in 2009. The parade of testimony from Jackson’s doctors is central to the defense case being mounted by AEG Live LLC, the company promoting Jackson’s ill-fated comeback concerts, which is being sued by the singer’s mother. Katherine Jackson says the company hired Murray to help her son prepare for his “This Is It” shows. In the process, her attorneys say, AEG Live created a conflict of interest that compelled Murray to provide her son with the anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid in order to preserve his anticipated $150,000 a month payday. AEG contends it is not liable for the superstar’s death but that it was his own personal choices that led to his demise. Stories the jurors have heard throughout the 18week trial about Jackson and his doctors: Two of Jackson’s doctors, Scott Saunders and William Van Valin II, went to Jackson’s Neverland Ranch near Santa Barbara, according to testimony from Saunders. Saunders recounted how Jackson occasionally showed up at his home unannounced and sent him and his family Christmas presents one year. Saunders said Jackson would sometimes invite him out to Neverland and would ask him to stay longer so they could just talk. Jackson occasionally lived in the garage, converted into a guest room, of Dr Alimorad Farshcian when the Miami physician was treating the singer from 2001 until 2003. Farshchian placed an implant in Jackson’s abdomen to block the euphoric effects of opioid drugs so he would stop taking them. Farshcian said he traveled with Jackson and spent Christmas with him in 2002. Several witnesses who described Jackson’s medical treatments said the singer


hane Salerno’s phone never stops ringing. Known until now as a screenwriter for “Armageddon” and “Savages,” working by day on a sequel to “Avatar,” he has taken on a surprising and news-making identity: the latest, and, apparently, greatest seeker of clues about JD Salinger. Salerno is finally opening up about a private quest he worked on for a decade, spending $2 million of his own money. Stating that he has found more than even he had imagined, including what the author might have written over the last half century of his life, Salerno is presenting his case in “Salinger,” a unique, 3-way project: A 700-page book, co-authored with David Shields; a theatrical release distributed by the Weinstein Company; and a TV documentary that will air on PBS in January as the 200th installment of “American Masters.” Earnest and energetic with sharp, narrow blue eyes and dark, brushed-back hair that could qualify him as an honorary Baldwin brother, the 40-year-old Salerno seems an unlikely candidate for breaking Salinger ground. He is not an experienced biographer, a

This undated photo provided by The Story Factory shows author JD Salinger at home in Cornish, NH, with Emily Maxwell, the wife of William Maxwell, a close friend and Salinger’s editor at The New Yorker. — AP

M o v i e s

Miguel performs on day two of the 2013 Budweiser Made in America festival. — AP photos

album, “Hesitation Marks,” out today. He emerged onstage in all black while lights flashed behind him during songs like “Closer” and “Head Like a Hole.” NIN went on at 9:30 pm, minutes after DJ-producer Calvin Harris electrified at another stage with his familiar hits “We Found Love,” “I Need Your Love” and others. Some concertgoers left after Harris’ top-notch performance, and the crowd was not packed when NIN performed, though it filled up throughout the show.


dozen years after 9/11, an American musician has turned memories of grief into survivor songs - some of them surprisingly joyous. Composer Jake Heggie said Sunday that his new album titled “here/after (songs of lost voices)” is meant to create hope. The singers on the album tell the stories of 9/11 survivors from around the country. Their songs express thoughts about lost loved ones as they sort belongings left behind. One set of songs is called “Pieces of 9-11.” Songwriter Gene Scheer, a Grammy nominee, used the words of real people for the lyrics. Adults and children shared sometimes whimsical stories about dead spouses, fathers and friends. One song asks the emotionally tricky questions: “What’s beyond your anger? What’s beyond your sorrow?” The album will be released Oct 21. — AP


Joshua Homme from the band Queens of the Stone Age performs on day 2.

The band’s 90-minute set featured hard rock anthems, songs with techno influences as well as groovy and eerie jams. NIN closed the night with a slow and smoky version of “Hurt,” which Johnny Cash famously covered. It earned nonstop cheers from the crowd. Reznor was soft as he sang the song’s verses - making it the set’s highlight. “Yeah, Trent!” one burly voice screamed, and that was one of many. “Thank you very much,” Reznor told the crowd, one of the few times he spoke.

required after-hours visits to avoid paparazzi scrutiny. His records were sometimes filed under the names Omar Arnold, Michael Jefferson or other aliases and prescriptions were also sometimes placed in false names to try to protect his privacy. Jackson’s second wife, Debbie Rowe, worked for the singer’s longtime dermatologist Dr Arnold Klein and would accompany the singer to many of his medical appointments throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Rowe said Jackson was intensely afraid of pain and required numerous procedures to treat his vitiligo and try to repair damage to his

or 1999 Jackson summoned her to a Beverly Hills hotel and asked her to give him propofol to help him sleep. She said she refused. Dr Gordon Sasaki, who tried to repair damage to Jackson’s scalp in 2003, said he accepted the singer’s invitation to go to Neverland Ranch after they met. Sasaki however refused to prescribe any more painkillers to Jackson after the singer requested Percocet three times in a short time span. Sasaki said he turned over Jackson’s pain management to Klein. Dr Stephen Gordon, a Las Vegas plastic surgeon, said Jackson requested that he give him a shot of the painkiller

In this Sept 22, 2011 photo, dermatologist Arnold Klein poses for a portrait in his office in Beverly Hills, Calif. scalp after it was burned while filming a Pepsi commercial in 1984. When Rowe and Jackson married in Australia in 1996, another of the singer’s physicians, Dr Allan Metzger, served as their best man. Rowe said Klein and a now-retired plastic surgeon, Dr Steven Hoefflin, competed with each other for who could give Jackson the best painkillers. Rowe said Jackson trusted his doctors. “Michael had a very low pain tolerance and his fear of pain was incredible,” she said. “I think the doctors took advantage of him that way.” Dental anesthesiologist Dr Christine Quinn said in 1998

trained academic or investigative journalist. He is, instead, a lifelong Salinger fan, a believer and a go-getter who has often succeeded simply by refusing to quit. “When I get something in my head, I go after it with extreme passion and I went after this for a decade with extreme passion,” Salerno, who reportedly negotiated 7-figure deals for each edition of “Salinger,” said during a recent weekend interview. Salerno has come as close as anyone to giving the public a peak into the safe in Cornish, NH, where Salinger allegedly stashed his unreleased manuscripts. Citing two independent sources, he has alleged that several more Salinger books are on the way, including new material on Holden Caulfield and on the Glass family that Salinger featured in “Franny and Zooey” and other books. No one, so far, has disputed Salerno. Salinger’s longtime publisher, Little, Brown and Company, has declined comment. So has Salinger’s son, Matthew. The results of his work can be found, in part, in a 4-room office suite in Brentwood. There are rare editions of Salinger books, including a reviewer’s copy of “Franny and Zooey” that includes the critic’s handwritten notes (“Owes a lot to Faulkner,” reads one comment). He has a rejection slip The New Yorker sent to Salinger, informing him they were not interested in “The Catcher In the Rye.” He has folders marked “Personal Letters,” “Divorce Papers” and “The Vault/The Safe.” Salerno interviewed hundreds of people and has amassed hundreds of documents, letters and photographs. For a time, he had an agreement with a Salinger family member - Salerno won’t say who - to cooperate on the project, but the deal fell through. But “Salinger,” the book and movie, still features notable new material: Photographs, letters and other materials from Salinger friend Paul Fitzgerald, whose close bond with the author lasted from World War II to 2010, the year Salinger died. (Paul Fitzgerald died just months later.) Fitzgerald’s son, John, said in an email that his father had always respected Salinger’s privacy, but that the family also believed it was time to “shed light” on misinformation. “After many lengthy conversations with Mr. Salerno, I knew that this would be the very vehicle to do so,” he said.—AP

“Glad you can be here and we thank Jay-Z for the invite.”Macklemore & Ryan Lewis also performed Sunday, earning cheers from the crowd, as did Miguel and Kendrick Lamar. The festival Sunday was more packed than on Saturday, when 2 Chainz, Imagine Dragons and Emeli Sande performed. — AP

In this Dec 3, 1984 photo, Michael Jackson performs with his brothers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, as part of their Victory Tour concert.—AP photos

Demerol “for the road” after a procedure in 2003. Gordon refused and didn’t see Jackson again for another four years, when he returned with Murray. Jackson acted as if he didn’t know Gordon, the doctor said, and Murray took charge of the visit, driving Jackson to the office and paying for it when it was over. “There was nothing usual or customary about what he was doing,” Gordon said of Murray.—AP

(From left) Producers Patrick Newall, Nicolas Chartier, and Dean Zanuck, actors David Thewlis, Melanie Thierry and director Terry Gilliam pose during the photo call for the movie ‘The Zero Theorem’ at the 70th edition of the Venice Film Festival held from Aug 28 through Sept 7, in Venice, Italy, yesterday. — AP


wo Tunisian rappers have been given 21 month jail terms in absentia for insulting officials, their lawyer said yesterday, criticizing the ruling as a new attack on freedom of expression. “This trial took place (on Friday) without us being summoned,” said Ghazi Mrabet. “I will speak to my clients to challenge this ruling, but jail sentences demonstrate that the relentless campaign against artistic freedom, freedom of expression, continues,” he added. “It is a ruling with immediate effect,” the lawyer said, indicating that the accused, Ala Yaacoubi, who goes by the rap name Weld El 15, and Klay BBJ, could be jailed at any moment. The two young men, who were arrested at a concert in the eastern town of Hammamet on August 22 and freed the following day, were convicted of insulting officials, violating public morals and defamation. They had not been told about their trial or even the charges against them, Mrabet said. Denouncing gross procedural failings, the lawyer said he only found out about Friday’s

trial and court ruling through the local media but had to wait until next Monday for confirmation. The justice ministry and the judiciary refuse to comment on court procedures and decisions. One of the two rappers, Weld El 15, was jailed in June for a controversial song he wrote called “The Police are Dogs”, and freed on appeal in July after his two-year sentence was reduced on appeal to a six-month suspended term. The police have said that the words of their songs had been offensive to public officials, a crime that carries a possible jail sentence in Tunisia. When he was arrested, Weld El 15, whose real name is Ala Yaacoubi, was violently beaten, according to his lawyer, who said he had a medical certificate confirming that he was unable to work for 16 days.—AFP


lifestyle F e a t u r e s

Sumo wrestlers going through ring rituals during an exhibition in front of the audience at the ASEAN building in Jakarta.

This photo taken on August 24, 2013 showing sumo wrestlers lining up before the start of their exhibition sumo tournament in Jakarta.—AFP photos


n front of a crowd of thousands, two sumo wrestlers charged at each other with full force, their bodies colliding with a tremendous smack that echoed through the arena in the Indonesian capital Jakarta. The first official sumo tournament to be held outside Japan in five years saw wrestler Kotoyuki take an early advantage against his opponent with a series of quick stinging slaps to the chest and a steady push forward. “I love sumo-I’ve studied it, but this is the first time they’ve come to Indonesia and it’s the first time I’ve seen it live,” Julyana Antika, a 22-year-old student of Japanese literature at a Jakarta university, told AFP at the weekend competition. Antika-accompanied by a dozen Japanese exchange students from Takushoku University in Tokyo-is just one of many young Indonesians who are increasingly consuming Japanese culture through entertainment, comics, fashion and food. With money from her part-time job as a Japanese-Indonesian translator, Antika buys Japanese magazines, watches Japanese cartoons, uses a Panasonic digital camera and a Sony mobile phone. Indonesians have come late to the party-Japanese culture was embraced in the West in the 1970s and 1980s-but a boom in Southeast Asia’s top economy and Japanese firms’ hunt for new markets have combined to create a recent upsurge in interest. “Two years ago, when I first came to Indonesia, we had around 1,000 Japanese businesspeople coming to us for Indonesian market advice,” said Kenichi Tomiyoshi, chief of the Japan External Trade Organsation’s Indonesian operations. “But in the past 12 months, we’ve already advised 4,000,” he said, adding it had been hard to keep up with requests. Japanese firms are flooding in as the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation rides the wave of a prolonged economic boom that has produced an army of new consumers. While growth has slowed this year, Indonesia remains a bright spot in the global economic gloom. It also boasts a young population-more than 40 percent are estimated to be 24 or under-just the kind of demographic beloved of Japanese companies looking for new growth to offset saturated markets at home where the population is ageing and the economy is struggling to pull itself out of a long funk. And as diplomatic tensions soar with neighbors and key trade partners South Korea and China, Japan has shifted its focus to the Southeast Asia region in general.

Japanese direct investment in Indonesia is a testament to the increased interest, having ballooned to $2.5 billion last year from $712.6 million in 2010, according to the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board. “Five years ago, most Indonesian people couldn’t buy Japanese goods, but now they have enough income to buy high-quality Japanese products,” said Tomiyoshi.

in one of the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nation member states and in an Islamic country. As more companies arrive from Tokyo to set up shop in Indonesia and the number of cultural events multiply, enthusiasm for all things Japanese among Indonesians grows. Many are signing up to learn the Japanese language, with more than 870,000 taking lessons last year, up

Indonesian visitors trying a taste of Japanese food during an exhibition. An array of Japanese cultural events-such as the Toyota-sponsored sumo tournament-are also being staged to give soft power support to Tokyo’s push into the region. This week, a large Japanese anime festival will take place in Jakarta. Tokyo is also involved in such efforts, with the government backing the sumo showcase as an event to mark 55 years of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Japan. Many top-ranked sumo wrestlers from the highest “makuuchi” division took to the ring for the tournament, which was the first

DUBAI: Ford Motor Company and its Warriors in Pink campaign kicks off its 19th year of support in the fight against breast cancer with the arrival of its 2013 collection of Ford Warriors in Pink apparel and accessories. Created for women, men and children, the collection features important symbols signifying the message of hope, strength and unity in the fight against breast cancer. The new collection is now available at, with 100 percent of net proceeds going directly to the fight against breast cancer. “Models of Courage,” a program launched in 2012 highlights the stories of breast cancer survivors, is continuing this year with inspirational stories of 11 women and men who were selected for the Models of Courage program to serve as Ford Warriors in Pink role models and inspire everyone in the fight against breast cancer. Ford Warriors in Pink created the Models of Courage program to celebrate breast cancer survivors who have demonstrated strength and courage in their battle. In 2013, the Models of Courage will build upon their roles, traveling around the country as ambassadors for Ford and the breast cancer fight, sharing their stories of hope and survival, and connecting with women and men who need support and encouragement. “The Ford Warriors in Pink campaign, with $120 million dedicated to the cause, is nowhere near done. As long as breast cancer affects our moms, sisters, daughters, fathers and sons we will continue to fight,” said Tracy

A customer being helped at a Japanese design style shop.

from some 700,000 in 2009, according to the Jakarta branch of the Japan Foundation, the country’s main body promoting Japanese culture overseas. It was once hard to find Japanese cuisine in Indonesia but sushi bars and Japanese restaurants now abound in major cities. Even local firms with no links to Japan are also successfully capitalizing on the frenzy. Metrox Group-a company owned by an Indonesian and Singaporean-launched its own Japaneseinspired streetwear brand, Wakai Raifusutairu, which means

Magee, Ford’s primary brand experiential manager. “The personal stories and experiences of the Models of Courage will help raise awareness, as well as inspire those battling breast cancer to continue the fight. Their stories inspire me every day.” The Models of Courage will also appear nationally as models for the 2013 line of Warriors in Pink wear and gear. Also available for viewing is “Bang the Drum: Living Out Loud in the Face of Breast Cancer,” the first Ford Warriors in Pink film. The documentary provides personal stories on what a breast cancer diagnosis meant for these Models of Courage, and how their diagnosis served as a channel that inspired each of them to do more and live with greater purpose. Along with the 2013 apparel, Ford Warriors in Pink will once again team up with Remo Inc, an iconic leader in the music products industry, and produce a “Warriors in Pink” line of percussion instruments. A $5-20 donation of each sale will be made to Ford-sponsored charities that support research and education and offer financial aid for people in treatment. 100% of the pledged amount from the auction will be donated to breast cancer charities. Participating bands include No Doubt, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Montgomery Gentry, Jerrod Neimann and Band, Dierks Bentley, Steve Smith, and Franklin Vanderbilt. Warriors in Pink shoppers have the opportunity to choose which breast cancer charity to support with their apparel purchase at checkout. The four organizations highlighted include: • Susan G Komen - Komen’s promise is to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality of care for all and energizing science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure, the organization has invested almost $2 billion to fulfill its promise, working to end breast cancer in the US and throughout the world through groundbreaking research, community health outreach, advocacy and programs in more than 50 countries.

“Young Lifestyle” in Japanese and uses Japanese script in part of its name. The company-which also distributes brands such as Timberland and Crocs in Indonesia-hired a Japanese designer to create its main product, a colorful array of slip-on canvas shoes, some of which have Japanese prints on them. “In terms

of sales, we initially thought we’d break even in 10 months, but we did it in three,” said Matrox Group brand manager Alice Dwiyani. “The stocks we thought would last six months keep running out.” — AFP

Dr Susan Love Research Foundation (DSLRF) With more than 365,000 grassroots volunteers from around the country, Dr Susan Love Research Foundationconducts, funds and fast tracks research with the unique mission of creating a future without breast cancer by understanding the causes and ways to prevent it. • The Pink Fund - Provides financial aid in the form of direct bill payment on behalf of breast cancer patients in active treatment. Many patients are unable to work during treatment. Others lose their jobs. With mounting bills and either no income or severely limited income, they quickly find themselves in dire financial distress. The Pink Fund provides Real Help Now. • Young Survival Coalition (YSC) - The Young Survival Coalition directly improves the lives of thousands of young women with breast cancer. One in eight women diagnosed with breast cancer are younger than 45 years old. YSC provides free resources and programs to support, educate and empower these women. Ford Warriors in Pink is giving breast cancer supporters the chance to win a new 2013 Warriors in Pink Fusion Hybrid. The all-new Fusion Hybrid has a best-in-class EPA-estimated rating of 47highway miles per gallon. The Fusion Hybrid is an entirely new idea of what a car can be. The Ford commitment runs well beyond raising funds. The company is dedicated to making a difference 365 days a year by encouraging women to become informed and visit their doctors, educating them that early detection saves lives. 2013 marks Ford Motor Company’s 19th year of support, dedicating more than $120 million to the cause to date.

KUWAIT: Shoexpress the “value” retailer showcases a wonderful assortment of Back to School footwear and accessories at unbelievable prices. Uniquely styled shoes for boys & girls including the elegant looking patent cuts with bows, subtle embroideries and quilted look is an array that will sure mesmerize the little fashionistas. Young lads get to choose from Velcro patterns to side buckles to a slip on look. Even the usual black and white sports shoes will make school time more fun! Complete the look with specially crafted ‘Back to School’ limited edition, character branded, trendy backpacks and accessories with Charming Kitty, Chuggington and Turbo & Adventure Time. Club in a spoilt for choice range in pencil cases, lunch boxes and water carriers to match your backpack and gear up for an excited beginning. Shoexpress doesn’t stop here! It is also providing giveaways on purchases of Back to School Collection. Let the ‘Back to School’ shopping begin!

Nine Inch Nails rocks 2nd day of Philly music fest



Photo shows a goldfish swimming in an aquarium at the Friday Market in Kuwait City yesterday. —Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat


Lava lamps are photographed in a shop in London.

all them ‘60s relics or hippy home accessories, lava lamps have been casting their dim but groovy light on interiors for half a century, having hit British shelves 50 years ago today. A British company began marketing their original creation as an “exotic conversation piece” in 1963. Since then, millions of models of the much-copied invention have been sold worldwide. The design was created by British inventor Edward Craven-Walker, who was inspired by an odd-looking liquid-filled egg timer he saw in a pub in southwest Britain. The former World War II pilot then spent years transforming the concept into a home lighting accessory, having recognized the potential for such an invention during anything-goes ‘60s Britain. “Everything was getting a little bit psychedelic,” said Christine Baehr, the second of Craven Walker’s four wives. “There was Carnaby Street and The Beatles and things launching into space and he thought it was quite funky and might be something to launch into.” Britain’s “Love Generation” saw an affinity between the fluorescent lava flow’s unpredictable nature and the easy-going, drug-induced spirit of the decade. Craven-Walker’s first model, the Astro Lamp, also reflected the technological innovation and imagination of the time, shaped like a sci-fi rocket. Soon other models, such as the Astro Mini and the Astro Nordic, emerged from Craven-Walker’s Crestworth company, building on his original concept. Baehr recalls a memorable moment when they were told that Beatles drummer Ringo Starr had bought one of their lamps. “That was a great, ‘Ah we’ve made it,’ moment,” she said. Despite the decline of British manufacturing, with numerous well-known brands dying or moving to countries with cheaper labor costs, lava lamp mak-

ing company Mathmos has remained at their factory in southwest Britain still employing Craven-Walker’s tried and tested formula. “I think it’s really special to manufacture something that’s been invented and made in Britain, in Britain for 50 years,” said Cressida Granger, who became involved with Crestworth in 1989, renamed it Mathmos in 1992 and gained sole ownership in 1999. US rights to manufacture the lamps are held by Haggerty Enterprises Inc. of Elk Grove Village, Illinois. Granger went on to enjoy a second wave of success for Craven-Walker’s invention during the 1990s, as a new generation of consumers, obsessed with retro British trends, lit their rooms with ‘60s lava lamp designs. Craven-Walker, whose other enthusiasms included nudism, died in 2000. His invention has had roles in music videos and on television, having originally appeared in popular British television shows during the ‘60s such as “The Prisoner” and “Doctor Who.” “I think it’s the motion within the lamp,” said Anthony Voz, a collector of Mathmos products. “The way that it flows, how it’s anti-repetitive, how it’s a mixture of light and chaos blending together. It kind of pulls people in and before you know it, you’ve spent 15 minutes looking at it.” — AP


he white exterior and spartan grey staircase of Jian Yang’s tidy rowhouse give no hint of the shock that lies within - a pink living room floor and his collection of more than 6,000 Barbie dolls. The 33-year-old Singaporean favors minimalist decor but the Barbies and 3,000 dolls of other kinds dominate three sides of the main room and spill over to fill nine mirrored cabinets in his dressing room and the shelves of his study. “Incongruous is kind of me,” Yang told Reuters. “When you meet me outside of this, I’m not that kind of guy. I’m not what you expect from a guy that collects dolls.” Yang has a professional interest in toys and consumer trends as director of strategy at Omicom Media Group. But his Barbie collection began at age 13 when he bought the “Great Shape” model in a turquoise Spandex gym outfit and striped leg warmers. “Before I knew anything about social norms, I was a boy that watched this on TV, liked it and wasn’t allowed to have one,” he said. “As I grew older, got my own allowance, that’s where I started getting the freedom to buy whatever I wanted.”

His boyhood interest turned into a “crazy obsession” that his friends support and his family has come to accept. “I’m very into collections, I’m very into amassing,” Yang said. “I’ve also got the ex-girlfriends who get insecure about this kind of stuff ... They look at dolls and go ‘OK, that’s the competition’, which is quite troubling but it’s a reality.” The selfdescribed “toy nerd” reckons he has spent at least S$500,000 ($392,000) over the last 20 years on his collection, which also features hundreds and hundreds of dolls from the Bratz Girls, Monster High and Jem and the Holograms lines. ‘Ugly is hot’ Barbie, launched in 1959 wearing a zebra-pattern swimsuit, has sold more than 1 billion dolls. But for Mattel Inc, the toy giant that makes her, sales of the dolls and related products fell 12 percent in the April to June period of this year the fourth straight quarter of decline - as tastes shift. Yang said Barbie was an icon that still had a future but “the relevance is waning” as princesses and ballerinas give way to the ghoulish imagery and stories popularized by vampire movies such as “Twilight” and “New Moon”.—Reuters In this Monday photo, lava lamps are photographed in a shop in London. — AP photos

Anthony Voss, lava lamp expert and collector, poses for the photographer in a shop in London with some of the lava lamps in his collection.

3 Sep 2013  

Kuwait Times

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