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Militants take aim at Pakistan minorities

MoI set for municipal elections


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150 FILS


THULQADA 20, 1434 AH


Saudi car owners fined for allowing women to drive

Hernandez ruins Suarez’s return



PM pushes for Mideast peace at UN Assembly Kuwait calls for end to Syrian bloodshed NEW YORK: Addressing the 68th UN General Assembly yesterday, Kuwait’s Prime Minister His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah (in his capacity as representative of the Amir) touched on a number of current issues, among them the crisis in Syria, the impasse regarding Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Kuwait’s support of the UN, and world peace. He condemned the recent terrorist attack in Nairobi, saying “the State of Kuwait fiercely condemns the disgraceful terrorist attack on a commercial centre in Nairobi on Saturday September 21, 2013 and we would like to express to the government and the people of the friendly Republic of Kenya our most sincere condolences.” He also pledged Kuwait’s support for Bahrain: “We would also like to affirm our complete support for the Kingdom of Bahrain, and all of the procedures and decisions it has taken to maintain safety and stability.” Underscoring the fact that regional and international peace and security occupy a prominent place in Kuwait’ foreign policy, the Prime Minister

conspiracy theories

Favoritism, nepotism or any other ism-s?

By Badrya Darwish


ecently I have noticed something interesting about the ministries in Kuwait. The first thing the new ministers do when they step into the ministry is to get rid of the people in the high-ranking posts and to appoint new staff. I cannot understand what is the philosophy behind this. What attracted my attention is that this is happening in many ministries, not just one. More and more people are discussing this topic because everyone is affected in one way or another. The problem is that when the new ministers take over a ministry and decide to kick out senior people from their staff they do not replace them with equally skilled employees. They ignore the employees’ many years of experience. Let’s assume that these ministers are doing it out of their good will and that they want - on the one hand fresh blood and on the other hand to solve the unemployment problem amongst Kuwaitis. Well, I am sorry but this is not a convincing justification. It is impossible in some ministries, especially those in the very sensitive sectors, to bring in an outsider and appoint him to a high-ranking post in a sensitive field where experience plays a crucial role. I also heard that when the new ministers want to assign undersecretaries, they appoint somebody from a totally different field. My question is: Can’t they upgrade managers and key position leaders from the different sections of that ministry to these posts? There are many people who have been serving in different ministries for many years and who have been waiting to grow on the job. Why can’t they be promoted and upgraded? Why are you killing the souls of employees and their ambition and a feeling of competition? How do you want employees to work harder if you demoralize them like that? You are demoting their morale. Or is it that when a minister steps in a ministry they feel that this is their private company or their house and they can do as they want. Who supervises them actually? This is not your own private company where you can appoint or retire people when you please without studying the matter. You can do that with your own private company. Don’t forget that one day you are a minister but maybe the following day you will not be. The welfare of all employees should be taken into consideration. I don’t know which authority could rule that? I expect that when parliament convenes sometime in October this issue will be on their agenda. Have a good evening!

Settlers storm Al-Aqsa mosque GAZA: Several radical Jewish settlers stormed Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem yesterday under the protection of the Israeli police. Eye witnesses said that before settlers broke into the mosque, special units of the Israeli police entered AlAqsa and attacked Palestinians who were voluntarily staying there in order to prevent the settlers from storming the mosque. Meanwhile, the Director of Jerusalem Affairs at the Fatah movement Hatem Abdulqader said in remarks that Israel was launching an open war against the Palestinians residing in Jerusalem. He strongly condemned the Israeli violations against Al-Aqsa mosque and Palestinians in the city, stressing the need to protect Palestinians who were unjustly treated by Israeli authorities. — KUNA

noted that the thrust of such a policy is predicated on the spirit of the UN Charter and international law which condone the principles of mutual trust, noninterference in other’s affairs, peaceful coexistence, and opting for peaceful resolutions of conflicts. “Kuwait, last November, marked the 50th anniversary of its constitution, which has been an exemplary experiment that has laid down the roots of democracy and public participation in the governance of the nation. This unique experiment has reaped the benefits of socio-political growth, fostering firm and lasting relations with neighboring countries, and forgiving the travails of the past in favor of delineating a brighter future for the nation, the region, and the world,” he said. In that vein, he extolled Kuwait’s bilateral relations with Iraq and that country’s efforts to abide by its international commitments to Kuwait - in implementation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions. Continued on Page 15

Kuwaiti court acquits four Bedoon activists By B Izzak

NEW YORK: Kuwait Prime Minister Jaber Al Mubarak addresses the 68th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters yesterday. — AFP

Kuwait’s MoE refuses to certify AUA degrees


KUWAIT: The Court of Appeals yesterday overturned a one-month jail term against four Bedoon activists for demonstrating for their rights and demanding Kuwaiti citizenship. The four men were handed the sentence earlier this year on charges of violating the law by taking part in demonstrations despite repeated police warnings against illegal gatherings. The case may still go to the Court of

Cassation whose rulings are final. Hundreds of Bedoons, or stateless people, are on trial for the past several months on charges of illegal assembly and defying police orders. Bedoons have insisted that protesting peacefully is one of their basic rights. The new ruling comes as Bedoon activists have launched online campaigns for peaceful protests on October 2 to mark the non-violence day. Bedoons, who number around 110,000, Continued on Page 15

Accidental blast kills 2 elite Saudi soldiers


Quake death toll hits 328 GCC battles ‘superbugs’ By Ben Garcia

JERUSALEM: Palestinian women demonstrate in Jerusalem’s Al-Asqa mosque compound during clashes between Palestinian stone throwers and Israeli riot police yesterday. — AFP

Max 37 Min 25º High Tide 02:55 & 17:12 Low Tide 10:18 & 22:14

KUWAIT: Antibiotic resistant bacteria known as ‘superbugs’ are real, confirms a Kuwaiti-based doctor. Speaking with the Kuwait Times, Dr Sania Shoeb (MRCP-UK), practicing internal medicine at Al-Salam International Hospital, noted that the superbugs are real and could be a serious public health concern if the GCC governments fail to do more to stop the overuse of antibiotics. “The Ministry of Health in Kuwait has already issued guidelines on when to use the antibiotic drugs, yet compliance with those guidelines is still under surveillance.” “In some pharmacies, antibiotics are available over the counter,” she admits. “For a simple infection, some patients demand second or third line

of antibiotics, which is essentially an abuse of antibiotics. The guidelines state that if a patient has a simple infection, it should be confirmed by laboratory tests like culture and he should first try antibiotics from the first line group. If the patient does not respond to the first, then he can be prescribed a higher dosage or the second line in accordance with the cultures’ results if the infection is severe,” she said. “If such an attitude persists, then it is expected that antibiotic-resistant bacteria could spread,” Shoeb said, adding that such multi-drug resistant bacteria are already present and more could follow. “The bacteria that could be resistant to antibiotic medicine could be possible and it is presently a Continued on Page 15

GWADAR: Pakistani men walk on an island that appeared 2 kilometers off the coastline of Gwadar, after an earthquake the day before yesterday. (Inset) A Pakistani survivor walks through the debris of destroyed houses in the earthquake-devastated district of Awaran yesterday. — AFP QUETTA: The death toll from a powerful earthquake in southwest Pakistan rose to 328 yesterday after hundreds of mud houses collapsed on residents throughout the remote and thinly populated area, local officials said. Pakistan’s army airlifted hundreds of soldiers to help with the aftermath of the worst earthquake in the South Asian country since 2005, when about 75,000 people were killed in the country’s north. Tuesday’s earthquake of magnitude 7.7 struck Baluchistan, a huge earthquake-prone province of deserts and rugged mountains, and was felt across South Asia. It destroyed houses and cut communications with the worst affected district of Awaran, and was so powerful it caused a small island to emerge from the Arabian Sea, just off the Pakistani coast. “Two hundred and eighty-five bodies have so far been recovered in the Awaran district,” Abdul Rasheed Gogazai, the deputy commissioner of Awaran, the worst affected town, with a population of about 200,000 said. “And 42 bodies were found in the neighboring Kech district. We have started to

bury the dead.” Rescue teams found it hard to reach the remote location quickly, and some officials said the death toll was likely to rise as emergency workers fanned further into the mountains to assess the damage. Mohammad Shabir, a journalist, described scenes of grief and chaos in villages, saying survivors were digging rows of graves and picking through the debris. “As far as the human eye can see, all the houses here have been flattened,” he said from Awaran, adding that rescue teams were distributing supplies. The earthquake struck Pakistan at a time when the country was still mourning the deaths o f more than 80 Christians in a suicide bomb attack on an Anglican church in the city of Peshawar on Sunday. To the south, on the beach near Gwadar port, crowds of bewildered residents gathered to witness the rare phenomenon of an island that the quake thrust up out of the sea. The island would not survive long because sea waves would eventually break it down, the NDMA spokesman said. — Agencies



Premier’s meeting with Iraqi VP within bilateral ties progress

Kuwait, Malta sign agreement UNITED NATIONS: HH the Kuwaiti Premier Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah holding talks with Iraqi Vice President Khudheir AlKhuzaie yesterday. UNITED NATIONS: The meeting between Representative of His Highness the Amir, HH the Premier Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad AlSabah with Iraqi Vice President Khudheir AlKhuzaie was to build up on progress in bilateral relations, Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah said Tuesday. “International observers acknowledged that the thriving Kuwaiti-Iraqi relations are currently the most positive amid international relations,

while other indications are not as so,” Sheikh Sabah told Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) and KTV after the meeting. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the 68th UN General Assembly at the Permanent Mission of the State of Kuwait to the UN. “We are pleased with what is achieved so far concerning bilateral relations, as this visit is seen as a strong push towards improving the relations even more,” said Sheikh Sabah. In this regard, the Kuwaiti top diplomat pointed

out that four committee meetings will be held next October between the two countries, in addition to a higher ministerial meeting, to be co-chaired by foreign ministers of both countries in December in Kuwait. “We appreciate the constitutional ratification of bilateral relations by the Iraqi side, which would eventually lead to manifest cooperation on the ground,” Sheikh Sabah said, recalling the recent visit of HH the Premier to Baghdad, which also contributed to furthering relations. —KUNA

UNITED NATIONS: His Highness the Pr ime M inister of Kuwait Sheik h Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad AlSabah met here late Tuesday with Maltese counterpart Joseph Muscat o n the sid el ine o f the 6 8 th UN General Assembly. Boosting bilateral relations, regional and international affairs, as well as issues of mutual interest were discussed during the meeting. The meeting took place at the Permanent

Mission of the State of Kuwait to the UN. An agreement on aviation services was signed bet ween the t wo sides. Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled AlHamad Al-Sabah signed on behalf of the Kuwaiti side, while M altese Foreign Minister George Vella signed on behalf of his country. The meeting was attended by the official delegation accompanying His Highness Sheikh Jaber. —KUNA

MoE denies certification to 200 Kuwaiti graduates Students graduated from AUA on ministry scholarships By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: About 200 Kuwaiti students who have already graduated from the American University of Athens (AUA) were refused certification of their degrees by the Ministry of Higher Education, although they had studied there on scholarships provided by the ministry. The media committee of the AUA held a press conference on Tuesday at the Regency Hotel demanding a solution for their problem. “The ministry’s decision, which is the subject of this conference, has posed an obstacle for the students in several universities including the AUA. The students, who graduated after three years of studying at the AUA, were shocked by this decision of the Ministry which has made them lose their academic future,” said Dr Abdulaziz AlQinai, a graduate of AUA representing the students. The ministry is not clear about their criteria for certifying different universities. “They issue decisions arbitrarily which negatively affects the students and their grades. There is also discrimination in certification of degrees from this university as there are many graduates of the AUA who have had their degrees certified by the ministry, and are now teaching at the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training among other places,” he added. Six of the students filed a case against the ministry to enforce certification of their degrees as they had studied at the AUA based on the Ministry Decree No. 150/2008. Referring to the ministry’s decree No. 582/2010 which stopped sending students on scholarship to the AUA and also stopped the certification of their degrees, attorney Mohammed Al-Jasim stressed, “The ministry’s actions are illegal since legally, such a resolution can only be applied to new students; not to those already studying or those who have graduated”. “The students who won the case against the Ministry of Higher Education should be a model for the ministry to certify the degrees of the rest of the students. Furthermore, the steps of the

Attendees at the press conference From left: Yousef Al-Huseini, Mohammed Al-Jasim and Abdulaziz Al-Qinai. ministry in issuing and publishing Decree 582 was not correct as it was issued in 2010 and was published in the official newspaper only in 2012. So how will the student studying abroad know about it, and a decree does not hold unless officially published,” he further said. Al-Jasim proposed a resolution: “On an individual level, a student can file a case at the court and win it as the previous six students have. For a collective solution, I suggest that the ministry form a committee that visits Greece and does a recheck of the AUA. The ministry can also hold examinations for students to prove their knowledge”. He also explained that the argument that the AUA comprises of just one building, and therefore cannot be certified as a university, holds no merit since in Kuwait some private universities also comprise of just one building but are still certified. One of the parents criticized the Ministry of Higher Education and even accused them of corruption. “My son who was studying there speaks

English and Greek, and when he came back after his studies were disrupted due to the ministry’s decree and joined Applied Education, they were amazed by his standard and knowledge. I believe that the AUA is a very good university and I believe that the ministry took this decision as they did not receive bribes from the university as they do from the other universities in Egypt, Jordan and Bahrain”, highlighted a parent who claimed that his son is being treated for depression for wasting years of his academic life. During the conference, the committee also showed a presentation highlighting the study process and phases at the AUA, which included documents, pictures and reports. Dr Abdulaziz Al-Qinai also issued a final statement: “The embassy of Kuwait in Paris and the cultural attachÈ proved that the AUA is certified by the Greek Higher Education. The ministry did not take this correspondence into consideration. Who will now compensate the students who spent KD 30,000 per year?”

Ankara hosts Arab-Turkish economic meeting ANKARA: The first Arab-Turkish meeting of Ministers of Economy, Trade and Investment kicked off in the city of Mersin yesterday aimed to develop economic and trade relations between Turkey and the Arab countries and raise the current level of trade. Turkish Minister of Economy Zafar Jaglayan said during the opening of the meeting that the meeting comes in the context of the activation of the timetable program for the strategy of economic and trade cooperation, which was passed by the 5th Arab-Turkish Cooperation Forum that was held in Istanbul earlier this year. The minister added that the level of economic and trade cooperation between Turkey and the Arab countries witnessed an unprecedented growth in rates, but did not live up to the required level, calling for promotion of bilateral trade and investment and facilitate the flow of commercial traffic between the two sides. He demanded the removal of barriers to achieving this goal including customs and simplify bureaucratic procedures. He also called for a road map aimed at developing trade, economic and investment relations between Turkey and Arab countries. The Turkish minister considered that the recovery of the economies in the Middle East region and the continuation of commercial traffic between their countries would firm up peace in the region and bring development to their people, stressing the desire of Turkey to establish a close cooperative relations with the Arab world. He pointed to the need to increase investment in small and medium sized enterprises as an important economic engine for any economies, calling to promote and protect mutual investments and achieve food security for both the Arab and Turkish sides by entering into joint ventures.— KUNA

Some of the AUA students and parents. —Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Large quantities of natural gas at ‘Rahaya’ field

Arab film festival in Algiers ALGIERS: The 7th Arab Film Festival of Oran kicked off this week with the participation of 15 Arab countries including Kuwait. The opening ceremony was attended by a plethora of Arab artistes and cultural personalities. Egyptian actress Lila Taher, Syrian actor Asaad Feda and Algerian Director Ahmad Ruchdi were honored for their contributions to the development of

Arab cinematographic. Fourteen feature, 18 short and six documentary films will vie for prizes at the Algerian event. The contestants were selected from among over 200 movies which were presented to the festival committee. The festival, held under the theme “New Wave of Arab Cinema”, will last through Sept 30. — KUNA

KUWAIT: An official source at the Kuwait National Petroleum Company revealed that “Rahaya” contains large quantities of natural gas estimated at 35 billion square foot. He said the amount of gas is more than what officials know about. The officials refused to comment until an official announcement is made on the discovery. Meanwhile, Deputy Premier Oil Minister Mustafa Al-Shimali said the Oil Ministry plans to work on the new discovery and develop domestic and foreign refineries to open new markets. He said the ministry is getting ready to construct a new refinery in Vietnam and in China to keep a strategic reserve in the south Asian countries. During a program on Al-Watan TV, AlShimali said that the challenges faced by the ministry to develop its capabilities in the field of oil and gas requires cooperation with international companies. The ministry is also working on increasing qualified workers in the oil stations to attract youth in the future. He said the ministry has an ambitious plan to renew employees as the ministry is targeting employing 1,500 people every year for the next five years. About the Dow issue, Al-Shimali said the gov-

ernment formed an investigative committee and sent the results to fatwa and legislation, and gave it full authority to take necessary action. He said the ministry is ready to cooperate with the fatwa and legislation and provide it with all information to finish this case which had gained a lot of public interest. Meanwhile, in his first statement after retiring from the oil sector, former Oil Minister Hani Hussein said Kuwait has several emergency plans in order to face any crises related to oil export or interruption of production or refining. He said that there is a big trust in the oil companies especially KOC to implement the 2020 strategic oil plan which aims at reaching the four million barrels a day. He told Annahar newspaper that there are many challenges in modern technology, which will be solved through cooperation with specialized international companies in various fields. Former minister Hussein also applauded the experience of current Oil Minister Mustafa Al-Shimali in running the Finance Ministry. Hussein refused to comment on the Dow issue adding “the case is with the prosecution and it would be wrong to get into details at the moment.”



Statistical offices play key role in development

Faisal Al-Shayji, Owner of Different Media Agency, sent a bouquet of flowers to the Kuwait Times office on the occasion of the newspaper’s 52nd anniversary.

KUWAIT: Ahmed Shaban Cluster Director of Sales and Marketing (left) and Andrew Newton Fernandes Marketing Communications & PR Manager from JW Marriott Hotel congratulated the Kuwait Times on the newspaper’s 52nd anniversary.— Photos by Joseph Shagra

Mind Share Media Agency congratulated the Kuwait Times on the newspaper’s 52nd anniversary with a bouquet of flowers.

KUWAIT: Director of the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) Dr Abdullah Sahar affirmed yesterday the central statistical offices’ pivotal role in various domains of development, specifically since these offices are fully authorized to gather and treat data in order to present them to decision makers. The statistical office is responsible for monitoring social, economic, political, healthy, and environmental phenomena and transmitting them into a digital form, which benefits politics makers, Dr Sahar noted during his opening speech at Kuwait Statistical Sciences Conference, which kicked off here today. He also added that the role of statistics is not limited to producing and distributing data only; but it goes beyond it to include marketing data and information to beneficiaries and users, noting at the same time that marketing data strengthens and boosts interactive relationship between data producers and beneficiaries. In addition, Dr Sahar stressed importance of statistics in the development process as statistical work, census, and specialized economic and social surveys are among some of the basic tributaries in providing digital data and indicators that are dependent upon in planning decisions and formation of economic and social policies. Moreover, he considered the conference as a good opportunity to exchange opinions on the relation between statistics and development. —KUNA

Housing problems exceed boundaries of ministry ‘Practically impossible task’ KUWAIT: While the government and parliament vowed to work together to resolve the housing crisis in Kuwait, the reality is just the opposite. As reported by Al-Jarida daily on Tuesday, the problem has more dimensions which exceed the boundaries of the Ministry of Housing. They also provided statistics to support their argument. According to the Ministry of Electricity and Water, building 150,000 housing units requires an additional daily production of 15,000 megawatts of electricity and 200 million imperial gallons of water. Electricity’s total daily production capacity reaches 14,000 MW today, which means they are required to at least double the production to meet demands posed by the establishment of any new residential area project. This is practically considered an impossible task since projects to establish power plants in Al-Khairan and Al-

Mutla’a were approved four years ago but haven’t begun. Meanwhile, Ministry of Health officials have announced building a hospital with a capacity of 1,000 beds for the new residential area. On the other hand, Jaber Hospital which was to start in 2005 to serve current areas is still under construction with 2015 set as the completion date. In other words, slow government action takes about 10 years to build a hospital. In the meantime, administrative chaos recently led the ministry to seriously consider canceling current tenders for projects to build four new hospitals, which took two whole years to be awarded. The Ministry of Education is not in a better position as it faces the challenge of constructing dozens of new schools to serve the growing demand, let alone meet the demand resulting from new residential areas. According to official

estimates, the ministry is required to build 178 new schools to serve current areas for the next decade. Also, the Shaddadiya University project which has been under construction for decades is the best example of slow construction of higher institution projects in Kuwait. In other news, a youth group announced plans to file lawsuits against the government for violating the housing law which compels the state to provide a house to a Kuwaiti family within a maximum of five years after an application is submitted. In statements quoted by Al-Qabas yesterday, Watan Beleejar (state for rent) Campaign Spokesman Abbas Al-Shawwaf said that the lawsuits will be filed next week against the Prime Minister, the Minister of Housing, and General Director of the Public Authority for Housing Welfare.

Gulf states help boost Egypt foreign currency reserves By A Saleh KUWAIT: The Egyptian Central Bank (ECB) Governor, Hisham Ramez yesterday said that Kuwait has already deposited the $2 billion it had promised to deposit in ECB two months earlier, which adds Egypt’s reserves of foreign currency to $19 billion. Ramez said that the fiveyear deposit was meant to back up Egypt’s foreign currency reserves after receiving $7 billion so far from UAE, KSA and Kuwait. Notably, three major GCC states had promised to give Egypt aid and deposits with total value of $12 billion (2 billion as ECB deposit and one billion as a grant from UAE, 2 billion as ECB deposit, one billion cash and 2 billion in the form of oil and gas from KSA in addition to 2 billion as ECB deposit, a one billion grant and one billion worth of petrochemicals). Dr Khaled Al-Rasheed, Acting MoE Undersecretary, issued directives warning all ministry employees and teachers of misusing their mobile phones and urging them show respect to students and colleagues privacy. Following the Cabinet’s approval of the new

board of directors, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry recently started forming the consultancy council for the board of the National Fund for Small and Medium Projects Development. The consultancy council comprises of nine members: four Kuwaitis and five international experts, including a former British trade minister. MP Adel Al-Kharafi filed a proposal to adapt full professionalism for sports people in all games and set a system that ensures safeguarding players’ rights while transferring from one club to another. “Most countries worldwide pay due attention to sports and spend a lot on supporting their national teams and clubs”, he underlined. MP Yaqoub Al-Sane called for paying more attention to national nursing staff members, preparing special training and development programs for them, teaching some nursing and voluntary work principles in schools and universities in addition to regular evaluation of nursing teaching and training programs. MP Dr Mohammed Al-Howailah welcomed the parliamentary agreement to adapt housing

as the main issue to be discussed during the next parliamentary term and stressed that the housing problem needs radical solutions and more cooperation amongst concerned ministries and government bodies. “To do this, the Cabinet must support the housing minister, Salem Al-Othaina in his reform attempts within the housing ministry. In a bid to fight what he described as ‘treatment abroad-related corruption’, MP Hamdan Al-Azmi proposed establishing health insurance companies to provide citizens with competitive health services. In his proposal, he stressed that specialized medical committee should determine whether the insured should receive medical treatment in Kuwait or abroad and that this should be stated in the insurance policy. He also suggested inviting international and local health insurance companies for the bidding. “This project will help provide better health services to citizens, fight wasta and favoritism practiced by the treatment abroad committees and shor ten citizens’ waiting time before patients could travel on medical trips”, he underlined.

KUWAIT: Preparations in full swing for the upcoming municipal elections.

MoI completes preparations for municipal elections KUWAIT: The Ministr y of Interior announced yesterday that it had put the final touches on preparations for the upcoming municipal elections, slated for Saturday. In a press statement, the Ministry Assistant Undersecretary for Public Security Maj Gen Mahmoud Al-Dosari said that the Ministry has set plans and completed preparations to secure free, fair, smooth, and trouble -free electoral process. Al-Dosari, deputy head of the election security committee, said that police will take all necessary measures and law will be applied firmly to prove the election a real success. Moreover, Director General of the General Department of Nationality and Passports at the Ministry of Interior Brigader Mazen Jarrah AlSabah said the department was currently

issuing temporary nationality document for citizens who lost their owns to help them cast their ballot. He added that the document is valid for one day and one purpose, voting. Meanwhile, Kuwait Municipality General Director Eng. Ahmad Al-Sabeeh said the Municipality also completed all logistic preparations for the municipal elections. He noted that the Municipality has chosen polling stations and carried out required maintenance works to make them more comfortable for election monitors and voters. All equipment and tools were prepared and will be distributed to the polling stations on the eve of the electoral process, he stated. On the other hand, Al-Sabeeh warned that municipal teams will remove all illegal electioneering ads near polling stations. — KUNA

Gradual increase in drug-related crimes KUWAIT: New statistics shed more light on the growing drug business in Kuwait and showed an increase in all drugrelated crimes over the past few years. The figures published yesterday by Al-Qabas, released by the statistics department in the Interior Ministry, show that drug crimes increased gradually between 2008 and 2012 - with 87 percent between those two years. After recording 895 in 2008, the crimes which include drug trade, possession, abuse and smuggling reached 1001 in 2009, 1014 in 2010, 1083 in 2011 then jumped to 1572 in 2012. Meanwhile, the statistics show that total hashish seized in 2012 reached around 1,000 kilograms compared to 425 kg in 2011, marking a 122.3 percent increase. Heroin confiscated also increased from 12 kg in 2011 to 22 kg in 2012, whereas the quantity of opium and cocaine seized dropped during the same period. The statistics also show that out of 2,026 people arrested last year on drug-related charges, 56 percent are Kuwaiti nationals, followed by 11 percent Egyptians, 6 percent bedoons, 6 percent Iranians, 6 percent Iraqis, 5 percent Indians, 3 percent Filipinos, 3 percent Saudis, 2 percent Pakistanis, 2 percent Bangladeshis, 2 percent Sri Lankans, 2 percent Jordanians, 1.5 percent Syrians and 0.7 percent Lebanese.

TORONTO: Represented by the interior ministry’s Maj Abdul Mohsen Nasser Al-Ajmi, Kuwait took part in the International Specialized Police Conference recently in Toronto. The conference was held under the title of ‘New Facts, Can We Succeed?’.

Plans to harness hydrocarbons wealth KUWAIT: Kuwait’s efforts to galvanise nonhydrocarbons growth by channelling investment into targeted areas of the economy, particularly infrastructure and industry, are given wide-ranging coverage in a landmark report just published by the global publishing, research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group (OBG). The Report: Kuwait 2013 tracks the government’s plans to rethink the incentives it offers investors as part of a broader bid to boost FDI. It also looks at the rewards Kuwait is reaping from its standing in the GCC, which range from new, collaborative ventures to a rise in imports and exports. The report contains contributions from His Highness the Amir it Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah and the UK Prime Minister David Cameron, together with a detailed, sector-by-sector guide for investors. It also provides a wide range of interviews with leading political, economic and business representatives, including the Minister of Commerce and Industry Anas Saleh, the Governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait Mohammad Y Al Hashel and the Director-General of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development Abdulwahab Al Bader. With production of oil reaching 2.8m bpd in 2012, OBG’s new report examines the pivotal part earmarked for hydrocarbons in driving Kuwait’s economic development. It maps out the country’s plans to embark on new offshore exploration, while also weighing the possible challenges the country could face as it looks to raise output to 4m bpd by 2020. The Report: Kuwait 2013 looks in detail at the list of new projects taking shape under the country’s national development strategy, which are producing opportunities for domestic and foreign contractors. It mulls the expansion planed for Kuwait’s transport and logistics sector as the state moves to enhance its position as a regional hub. OBG’s latest publication puts Kuwait’s ongoing efforts to reform the country’s financial services industry under the microscope, especially its plans to privatise the stock exchange. The publication considers

the state’s bid to carve a niche as a regional hub for the sharia-compliant financial industry on the back of growing demand for Islamic services and products. Regional Editor, Oliver Cornock, said Kuwait faced a number of balancing acts as it steered its economy in a new direction under the country’s National Development Plan. “While oil has been the central pillar of Kuwait’s economy for decades, the country is keen to leverage its resources to drive forward the diversification process,” he said. “Our latest report provides investors with a valuable insight into how Kuwait’s business climate is evolving against a backdrop of planned privatisation, supported by the country’s considerable oil wealth.” Andrew Jeffreys, CEO, added that the Group’s new publication highlighted the expansion already under way in the country’s non-oil sector on the back of major government investment. “Kuwait’s infrastructure projects will boost activity in the construction industry, while paving the way for growth across targeted sectors of the economy, including industry and financial services,” he said. “As our research shows, the government’s long-term target of generating social and economic wellbeing for the country through its resources is also providing plenty of exciting new opportunities for foreign investors.” Mohammed Al-Omar, CEO for Kuwait Finance House said: “Your reports are highly applauded and they add significant value to business and economics. They are well known for their precision and profound thoughts.” Marking the culmination of more than six months of field research by a team of analysts from OBG, The Report: Kuwait 2013 assesses trends and developments across the economy, including macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments. The Report: Kuwait 2013 has been produced with research assistance from the Kuwait Foreign Investment Bureau (KFIB) and KIPCO Asset Management Company (KAMCO). The publication is available in print or online. —Oxford Business Group


LOCAL kuwait digest

kuwait digest

Public fund squandering

Kuwait - then and now

By Dr Shamlan Y Al-Essa By Ahmad Al-Sarraf



kuwait digest

The trait of Indifference By Dr Sulaiman Al-Khadhari


any individual traits both negative and positive, can be used to describe the characteristics of an entire society. While an individual can easily be described as being ‘productive’ or ‘creative’, these same descriptions can used for a society as a whole. The same thing goes for characteristics such as unproductiveness which can be used to describe a person with limited efficiency as well as unproductive societies that feed off other societies’ success. Even though the relationship between individual characteristics and the general features of a society may be debatable, there is general consensus that this relationship is proportional - the larger the number of people with a certain characteristic in a society, the better is the chance that the entire society adopts the same trait. Indifference is one of those traits that affects people and societies alike. While its magnitude and limits vary, it is very difficult to ignore its negative and, often, catastrophic effects, particularly when it describes the way an entire country deals with pressing issues that continue to grow as a result. Local dailies recently published the results of the 2013-14 Global Competitiveness Report, in which Kuwait ranked last among the Gulf Cooperation States in almost ever y field. While such news requires serious action from state departments as well as from civil society institutions alike, it is already fading from the list of topics discussed publically and in the media. I believe it is not an exaggeration to attribute the way the subject has been addressed from the beginning to our trait of ‘indifference’. I am not interested about the report’s results as much as I am about the indifference that has become a common feature in all of our reactions towards crises and risks that threaten the state’s entity and the future of its society. I do not think that I need to list the major topics that have been ignored during the past decades in order to prove this point. The causes for this indifference are numerous and like in any situation when the personal and the social intertwine, the scenario becomes complicated. When the state fails to give its citizens the slightest reason to play a greater role in state management, the message that decision-makers are sending to their citizens is that the only thing they can do is to remain silent and indifferent. There are some people who try to increase this feeling of indifference within the society, feed off of these sentiments and work on damaging the image of any person or institution that attempts to give people a reason for hope. Meanwhile, the situation remains unchanged to serve certain agendas and to make people believe that Kuwait is simply a temporary commercial project with limited time to be made most use of. —Al-Rai

What’s happening in Syria....


he first missionary to Kuwait arrived in 1911 led by pastor Calverley, who was joined a year later by his wife, Dr Eleanor Calverley. They lived in Kuwait for nearly 20 years, during which Dr Calverley practiced medicine at the missionary hospital where her job as a gynecologist helped relieve the pain and save the lives of thousands of women. Dr Calverley may be considered as the first female practitioner in the history of the Arabian Peninsula. After the Calverley family returned home in 1932, Dr Calverley wrote a book to describe her experience as a practicing doctor in old Kuwait. Excerpts from her book ‘My Arabian Days and Nights: A Medical Missionary in Old Kuwait’ were posted by a friend of mine on her online blog, which tell a story Dr Calverley narrated regarding a Christmas celebration in Kuwait, and how enjoyable the occasion was for her small family particularly when friends arrived with presents to be placed under the Christmas tree. In her book, Dr Calverley describes in detail the arrival of then ruler of Kuwait Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, who is the father of the current Amir HH Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, to attend the Christmas celebration that her family hosted. She describes his arrival ‘in his limousine wearing burnished clothes that fit his status and the occasion’, and how he responded to greetings by saying ‘Merry Christmas!’ much to the surprise of everyone. She then goes on to describe how everyone surrounded the Christmas tree with its beautiful lights and listened to Christmas songs, without any of the Muslim guests feeling they had done anything that violated their beliefs since they also believed in the miracle of the birth of Jesus from the Virgin Mary. Dr Calverley then continues to describe how her daughter presented Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah with a gift, a candy box, to which he responded by giving her a present that he took out of his pocket. Everyone watched in anticipation as the girl opened the present to discover that it contained 100 pearls. Fifty years after that beautiful experience, the Ministry of Interior informed hotels in Kuwait that following differences over marginal issues, they have to obtain permission from both the interior and information ministries before hosting any concert or artistic event - even if it is a one-hour piano session at the lobby. The two permissions are valid for only one month, which means that a hotel, for example, would be required to obtain a total of 24 permissions to fulfill the obligations of a 1year contract with one musician. This is why it is rare to see anyone playing any musical instruments inside the lobbies of Kuwait’s hotels. When compared to Dr Calverley’s story, the situation ironically changes in December, when the permission expires on the 23rd instead of the end of the month. This is obviously made to ensure that hotels do not host Christmas and New Year parties since a new permission can only be obtained on January 2 of the following year. Isn’t it time for things like this which damage the image of Kuwait and its people to be canceled? —Al-Qabas

kuwait digest

Arab expats feedback By Mohammad Al-Awadhi


y article that was published in two parts a couple December, my 73-year-old father has been running from of weeks ago, about the situation of Arab expa- one office to another to sign residency papers after he triates in Kuwait, received an unprecedented was informed that he can no longer have self-sponsorfeedback. Here are a few comments posted on the col- ship. Is this the appreciation he gets after serving this land for all these years? umn’s page on Al-Rai’s website: Anonymous poster: All we ask for is for expatriates to Born in Kuwait: My father spent 37 years serving Kuwait at the Ministry of Health, but as he turned 60, he be allowed to go on pilgrimages from Kuwait. We spend was fired. He spent the next seven months living without our lives serving Kuwait and the society, but when we a valid visa after the ministry refused to renew or extend seek to go on Hajj, we would be asked to go back home it. After that, we managed to find a private company that and wait in line for a visa that is issued years later. Immigrant: I am not of Arab origin but was born and accepted to transfer my father’s visa, but he died shortly raised in Kuwait. I have never known any other place to afterwards from a stroke because of the stress. Ahmad Bakr: I know many friends who gave the major- call my home for 40 years. I cannot describe how eager I am to return to Kuwait which I ity of their years, loyalty and was forced to leave in order to production to Kuwait, but in Immigrant: I am not of Arab obtain a citizenship from a return they live as ‘foreigners’ Western country. with no rights. On the conHassan Abbas (a Kuwaiti comtrary, they are treated as a origin but was born and raised in ‘burden’ or blamed for the Kuwait. I have never known any menter): Of course, no one can deny the expatriate community’s country’s problems. I live in the United Kingdom, a non- other place to call my home for great efforts towards the develof our country, and Muslim state, yet enjoy full 40 years. I cannot describe how opment returning the favor is done by citizenship rights. Abu Badr: The most eager I am to return to Kuwait helping them continue their journey. I believe that current regulaannoying term that an Arab expatriate in Kuwait can hear which I was forced to leave in tions need to be reconsidered for is ‘foreigner’, because as order to obtain a citizenship from the benefit of the future of Kuwaitis and expatriates alike. Arabs, we should all treat Fatima Al-Hawash: Greetings each other as brothers. I am a Western country. from a woman who was born, 47-years-old, and my father received education, and started a died in Kuwait at the age of 80. My sons were born in Kuwait and live here, and I am family in this generous country. Some of my children going to die here as well. In the meantime, our destiny have already got married and others are continuing their higher studies. In the meantime, I am still working to supwill continue to be moving from one sponsor to another. Frustrated resident: I couldn’t hold my tears back while port my family. Reading your article is worth a fortune. Now it’s time for my comments on the overwhelming reading the column which highlighted my misery and the misery of my children who were born in Kuwait but are feedback. I prayed last Friday at a mosque near Salmiya, living without a valid visa for three years now because my and found myself surrounded by Arab expatriates soon after the prayers. It turned out that the reason for their sponsor refuses to sign my papers. Hesham Abdulfattah: Since my sponsor refused to sign unusual gathering was my column discussing their situapapers that allow me to transfer to another employer, my tion, and they wanted to express gratitude for shedding family and I have been living without valid visas for three light on their daily sufferings and told me their own sad years now. I have been jailed twice, and couldn’t enroll stories which are not very different from what is menmy kids in school. Now I am planning to send them back tioned above. These are people with great memories home without paying fines which I couldn’t afford on the about growing up in Kuwait and have honest appreciacondition that they never enter Kuwait again in the tion and loyalty towards it, yet regret the fact that state laws and officials ignore their struggles. I stayed for nearly future. Daughter of Kuwait: Is it logical that once your kid an hour-and-a-half listening to their stories which anyone reaches 18 or enrolls in college, they lose the right to else would probably think are exaggerated. What if government officials, including senior officials obtain a visa and we can be deprived of their company? Reyaheen: My father passed away a few months ago in the interior, health and social affairs and labor minafter living in Kuwait for 50 years. He spent the last few istries, in addition to parliament members sent represenyears searching for a sponsor. Whenever I visit my home tatives to meet Arab expatriates every so often to listen to their complaints? I hope something like that would hapcountry, Lebanon, I soon feel homesick and miss Kuwait. Dear columnist: My parents arrived in Kuwait in 1965. pen but only on two conditions: that the officials listen to They got married and had kids, then their kids grew up, simple and hardworking people as a priority, and that got married and had children as well. We lived and their hearts and minds would be completely free of disworked on this good land our entire lives. Since last crimination. —Al-Rai

special mention to Minister Nayef Al-Hajraf for exposing the huge amount of public fund squandering in one of the Ministry of Education’s departments. When he visited one of the supplies warehouse in Sabhan, he was appalled at the discovery of piles of unused books which were enough for two million students and cost KD 8 million for printing. Al-Hajraf said that there are 11 warehouses for the supplies department that contain all the

With due respect to our minister, the problem is not the extravagant public funds; loss of millions every year is just the tip of the iceberg. The problem will not be solved by computerizing anything as corruption and profiteers exist in all state departments, including the Ministry of Education and the warehouses in particular. The problem has been prevalent for the last 40 years now. Stories of how book stores and warehouses, catch fires are very common every year, as this is the best way to prevent inventory-taking, recognizing corruption or even raising questions. requirements for all students in Kuwait. But unfortunately, the utilization of these supplies is not ideal because of the extravagant public funds. Al-Hajraf wants to look into the matter personally and intends to develop the supplies department and warehouse. He plans on transforming the manual handling of the supplies into something completely computerized, which will be his next project in the financial affairs sector. With due respect to our minister, the problem is not the extravagant public funds; loss of millions every year is just the tip of the iceberg. The problem will not be solved by computerizing anything as corruption and profiteers exist in all state departments, including the Ministry of Education and the warehouses in particular. The problem has been prevalent for the last 40 years now. Stories of how book stores and warehouses, catch fires are very common every year, as this is the best way to prevent inventory-taking, recognizing corruption or even raising questions. The centralized method of buying books and distributing them by the ministry is an old socialist system that has become obsolete. In democratic and civilized countries, the government announces open tenders for publication houses to print school books, and companies will compete to give the best offers. Tenders are awarded to the best company that presents a suitable price. This capitalist method creates a movement in the economy, as the best printing companies, paper and even authors who write the books are selected and presented to schools at all levels. Authoring books in the West is not subjected to government teachers, as free economy creates a group of specialists who author school books according to science, literature, mathematics, philosophy, linguistics and so on. These books are changed annually because subjects like science and mathematics are developing and books used this year may be not be good for next year. We have an Education Ministry who insists on committees responsible for the curricula, and they are usually political ideologies. Sometimes they are nationalists or Islamists according to every country’s ideology. But there are also no neutral authors who consider modernization of the curricula to develop the society. The problem is not in the rampant corruption and its spread or how some people benefit from it. The problem is in the thought process which insists on the state’s decisions for this backward society. —Al-Watan

kuwait digest

Syrian blood is political By Dr Hasan Abdullah Jouhar


t seems that the failure of officially deposing the regime pushed the insurgents to fight one another. The majority of Syrian territory is controlled by AlNosra Front and the Sham and Iraq Army. Both groups have started evicting the Free Syrian Army (FSA) from the area under their control, even if it is on parts of Syria and Iraq, pending the declaration of an Islamic Emirate. Ever since the bloody events in Syria started, the international media in general and the Arab media in particular, were neither professional nor neutral in reporting or in analyzing the situation. On the contrary, the media was provocative and in accordance with regional and international polarizations, which added more fuel to the tumult in which Syrian blood became a commodity sold for the lowest prices and Syria, with all its cultural heritage, turned into piles of debris. Media propaganda has been trying to portray the FSA as the only means of ending the battle by toppling the Syrian regime. The media has regularly and intensely highlighted its triumphs to announce it as the only alternative and as the armed wing of the opposition. The truth is completely different. The FSA and the opposition coalition were but a front used to justify regional and international political support for at least two reasons: The first, to have a national patriotic Syrian cover for the opposition to enable public recognition of it and the second, the

FSA was meant to become the nuclei of the Syrian armed forces that would control and unite the country in case they attained power. The advances made on the ground in which many

The FSA and the opposition coalition were but a front used to justify regional and international political support for at least two reasons: The first, to have a national patriotic Syrian cover for the opposition to enable public recognition of it and the second, the FSA was meant to become the nuclei of the Syrian armed forces that would control and unite the country in case they attained power. villages and towns in the countryside surrounding Aleppo, Latvia, Deir Al-Zour and Damascus were taken and controlled was not actually done by the FSA; it

was done by the extreme religious groups comprising of tens of thousands of foreign fighters from Asia, Africa and even Europe. Western governments would not dare admit such a fact because it would be embarrass them in front of their people and would not provide enough legitimacy to authorize direct military intervention. It would also make them seem as providing direct support to Al-Qaeda, Al-Nosra and the Sham and Iraq Army, who would surely have the upper hand in Syria’s future and, thus consequently, pose further annoyances to the West and the United States. The West’s hesitation and division over striking Syria clearly reveals that America and its allies have settled for changing the power balance against Bashar’s regime before the upcoming Geneva Talks. This might also be what various oppositions groups, particularly the armed ones, have realized. It seems that the failure of officially deposing the regime pushed the insurgents to fight one another. The majority of Syrian territory is controlled by AlNosra Front and the Sham and Iraq Army. Both groups have started evicting the Free Syrian Army (FSA) from the area under their control, even if it is on parts of Syria and Iraq, pending the declaration of an Islamic Emirate. Therefore, the crying over Syrian blood over the past three years was just a media show because it seems that the blood being shed is not Syrian. Even if it was, to the media, it is worthless. —Al-Jarida



Families of two drowned children sue oil company Domestic recruitment offices face charges KUWAIT: Families of two children who drowned in an unfenced artificial lake in Wafra last weekend are suing the Kuwait Oil Company who claimed responsibility for leaving the lake unfenced a few kilometers away from Wafra Road. The two cousins aged 9 and 8 were pronounced dead on the scene while another child aged 7 was rushed to the Adan Hospital in a critical condition. The three slipped into the waters when they were playing near it while their families were busy preparing lunch during a picnic. The family reportedly decided to file a case against KOC after investigations revealed that the lake was located within its operational zone. Meanwhile, a security source with knowledge of the case revealed that KOC plans to get the project’s contractor involved in the case for being directly responsible for safety procedures around the project site. Law violations Immigration Department detectives referred a number of domestic labor recruitment offices to investigations on charges of violating labor regulations. The offices were busted during recent crackdowns which revealed that they provided housemaids to customers on a daily work basis, which violates local regulations. Cases were filed with the relevant authorities for legal procedures to go forward. Phone thief A phone thief was arrested Tuesday when he voluntarily walked into a shop he had robbed a year ago and was recognized by the vigilant shopkeeper. The incident took place in Farwaniya where the man wanted to examine a newly-released expensive smartphone. The shopkeeper remembered that the same man came to his shop a year ago and made the same request, before running away with the phone. The shop-keeper played along and then called his employer, who arrived within minutes with police officers who arrested the man. The Syrian man said during investigations that he committed a total of 10 thefts because of his urgent need for money. He remains in custody pending further action. Staff fight Work at a labor department in Ahmadi was suspended for over an hour Tuesday morning after two employees engaged in a heated verbal exchange over accusations of slacking. The incident happened at a requirements assessment department for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor where people who came early to finalize their transactions stood and watched as the two female employees refused to accept their papers until a superior arrived and settled their dispute. A source familiar with the case indicated that the people stood helplessly for over an a hour before work resumed. Search for troublemaker Jahra detectives are looking to identify and arrest suspects who wrote graffiti on walls in different areas around the governorate urging stateless residents to stage a protest. Investigations were underway Tuesday after statements announcing a demonstration on October 2 were found outside a school’s wall in Sulaibiya. Criminal Evidence General Department officers were called in to take fingerprints.

Housing ministers meet in Cairo CAIRO: Meetings of the 77th session of the Executive Office of the Council of Arab Ministers of Housing and Reconstruction headed by Saudi Minister of Housing Shuwaish Al-Dhuwaihi kicked off here yesterday. Kuwait participates in these meetings with a delegation headed by the Minister of State for Housing Affairs and Minister of State for Municipal Affairs Salem Al-Utheinah. The minister stressed in his opening speech the importance of the issues contained in the draft agenda and the agenda of the preparatory meeting of senior officials who looked into the unified Arab codes for construction. The two-day meetings will look into ways to update the Arab code for loads and the transitional phase to apply the unified Arab codes for construction. The meetings will also tackle a comparative study on the concept of (shanty towns) and circulate it on the Arab states, in addition to the dissemination of requirements and regulations of the award of the Council of Arab Ministers of Housing and Reconstruction after the additions have been made. The gathering is also to look into how to continue to provide the necessary support to the website of the Council of data, information and documents, in addition to discussing developments on the Arab Center for the prevention of the dangers of earthquakes and other natural disasters. The participants will also discuss ways to implement the mandates of the Arab economic and social development summit with regard to the area of housing. —KUNA

150 university students joined NBK Summer Training Program KUWAIT: More than 150 students participated in National Bank of Kuwait’s (NBK) Summer Training programs for university students in Kuwait. NBK initiated the Summer Training Program for university students as part of its endeavors to provide young Kuwaitis the opportunity to develop their skills, gain valuable corporate experience and learn firsthand about banking.

“NBK is fully committed to providing training and career development programs as part of its corporate social responsibility,” said Emad Al-Ablani, NBK Deputy General Manager, Human Resources Group. “We are keen to utilize all our potential and expertise to support a national workforce.” Al Ablani added: “More than 150 students participated in NBK’s Summer Training programs for university students

in Kuwait this year. We are pleased to see the number of Kuwaiti students willing to gain banking skills and benefit from the opportunities provided annually by NBK during summer season increasing year after year.” NBK Summer Training programs provide hundreds of training opportunities for Kuwaiti students. In addition to the Summer Training program for university students, NBK regularly

organizes the Summer Internship Program for high school students. The five hour daily sessions featured a mixture of theoretical and practical training dedicated to providing the interns with valuable knowledge on a variety of subjects including team work, creative thinking, means of self expression and modern banking procedures, in addition to providing interns with greater exposure to daily banking practices and norms.



‘Oil, gas to turn Lebanon into industrial economy’ DUBAI: With the discovery of oil and gas off its shore, Lebanon has the potential to become like the Gulf - but it will need to do a lot of work to get its infrastructure up to par, industry experts say. “Drilling will need 30 different service companies that would deal with infrastructure, safety and the environment,” Moussa Madi, head of training at Kuwait Oil Company, said at an oil and gas seminar at the American University of Beirut. The Tuesday afternoon seminar was hosted by Mohammad Ahmad, coordinator and professor of chemical engineering at AUB. Joined by Madi, the AUB professor discussed what the impending extraction of oil and gas would mean for Lebanon. While they acknowledged that it’s unclear exactly

how much oil and gas lies beneath the sea off the coast of Lebanon, although a recent assessment indicates that there may be as much as 25 trillion cubic feet of gas, they are confident that it will have a profound effect on the economy - in a good way, if done correctly. Madi said that back in 1984 when he was a student in Beirut he did a presentation in which he predicted offshore oil exploration in the eastern Mediterranean. At Tuesday’s seminar, he pointed to a map of Lebanon’s undersea sandstones filled with evident pore spaces that indicate the presence of oil and gas. “Oil and gas will turn Lebanon into an industrial economy,” Ahmad said. “It will be like the Gulf when we

have oil and gas. This will become a reality.” “If we remove the politics, we could start drilling in three to five years,” Madi said, referring to Lebanon’s divisive political arena and more importantly the state of war between the countries that border the potentially gas-rich basin - Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Turkey, Greece and Cyprus. Indeed the politics appears to be the main sticking point as there is little doubt that there are sizeable reserves off the coast of Lebanon. But he also pointed to a lack of readiness in terms of the infrastructure and know-how required to extract oil and gas. As it is, a foreign company will need to do the drilling. “I don’t know if Lebanon is willing to invest

money [in doing its own extraction],” Madi said, noting that even with a foreign company exploring, Lebanon will need a complete revamping of its infrastructure from its roads to its telecoms and electricity.” Still, his Beirut-based counterpart remains optimistic that Lebanon will be able to successfully make the transition to an economy with petrol as one of its main engines of growth. “We should be positive,” said Ahmad, whose final year students are doing a project on creating plastic from natural gas. “We will soon have a degree in petroleum engineering, and Lebanese graduates will be able to work here, and some will come back. I don’t think Lebanon will stay this way forever.”— Albawaba

Gulf region remains an investment hub Good positive environment ANTWERP, Belgium:Speakers at a seminar on “Doing business with Arab countries” organised by the Arab-Belgium-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (ABLCC) in Antwerp has underlined that the stability in the Gulf region is the main factor for attracting foreign investments. Prof Sami Zemni, director of the Middle East and North Africa Research Group at the Belgian University of Ghent, gave a keynote speech titled “Business and economic development during revolutionary times” and argued that the poor state of economies in some Arab countries was the main reason behind the uprisings. Frank Haak from the Bank BNP Paribas Fortis spoke on the topic “GCC economies and banking system outlook and trade finance capabilities.” He noted that the six member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council are engaged in construction of big infrastructure projects like ports, airports, roads “which is a positive aspect.” “When you create a good positive environment people feel confident that this is an area where they can invest money, “he said. However, he opined that the GCC needs to deal with the problem of job creation because unemployment there is high. Haak said Kuwait is an important country as it has a lot of oil, high oil revenues and added that he hopes for the improvement in execution of the country’s infrastructure projects. Speaking on the sidelines of the seminar, Zemni said that “for the near future the Gulf region is indeed the most stable region. And this has to do with the structures of these countries.” “Until now those countries have

been most dependent on oil which has generated a lot of revenues and this has given the possibility to the people of the region to have a decent life which is a good thing to have stability in a country,” said the Belgian professor. He explained that most of the infrastructures in the Gulf region are being done by non-nationals who mostly come from the Indian subcontinent. “These people of course will not make any revolution or unrest in the host countries, “he stressed. Zemni said the Gulf region has a lot of assets and a lot of opportunities for investments these days and even though there has been crises in the Middle East and even the conflict in Syria have not really impacted much on the environment of the region. “So, yes the whole of the Gulf region remains an investment hub, “ he underlined. He opined that the Gulf region besides developing its infrastructures needs also to develop its productive sector that will benefit the local population more. “It is easy to bring in a foreign company to build a high tower. It will be good if there is a local contractor that can build an high tower. The know-how and growth of local knowledge is needed, “ he added. On his part, Qaisar Hijazin, Secretary General of ABLCC, pointed out that the economic growth in the Gulf region is between 5 to 7 percent. He said that Belgian-Arab trade exchanges increased by 11 percent in the first six months of 2013 despite the crises and that GCC exports to Belgium increased by 25 percent. Hijazin told KUNA that Kuwait is to spend

KDR 35 billion or USD 110 billion for the tenyear development plan and for social development in education and health and that the ABLCC is organizing a trade visit to Kuwait and Qatar in November. “The stability witnessed in the Gulf region and in Kuwait is the main factor to encourage Belgian investors to turn towards this region,” he stressed. He stated that many leaders both old and new in the Arab world realise that quality infrastructure and health care and education are pre conditions for stability. Stephen Ghys, logistic manager at a company making cooling systems for power plants, said he believes that at the moment the atmosphere in the Gulf region is positive for European countries to export there. “I think European companies have a kind of know-how not available elsewhere. We have the time and patience to make sure that the goods enter the Gulf countries without much complication,” he said. Ghys explained that in the Gulf countries there is a big demand for electricity and the markets in the Gulf countries for electricity will keep on increasing. “When you build a power plant you want to make sure that it works perfectly for 20 years because a breakdown of a power plant is very costly,” he added. Representatives of Belgian companies and banks and trade and economic attaches from Arab embassies attended the seminar which was sponsored by Saudi Group Al Muhaidib, Q8 Petroleum Company of Kuwait, Qatar airways and others.— KUNA

KUWAIT: The Environmental Voluntary Foundation announced a major cleaning campaign at Kuwait’s beaches starting in November with participation of state departments, private firms, and educational institutions apart from others.

IAEA chief lauds bilateral cooperation with Kuwait VIENNA: Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano has praised level of the current cooperation between the agency and Kuwait and described it as “very distinctive” in many aspects, including the technical sphere, affirming IAEA’s keenness to strengthen this bilateral cooperation. Kuwait is a very important partner to IAEA, Amano stated on the sidelines of the Saudi Embassy’s celebration of the Kingdom’s National Day. She pointed at the same time to Kuwait’s amendment of the IAEA Safeguards Additional Protocol under the

agency’s Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, and Kuwait’s generous contribution in support of IAEA. Amano also stressed the importance of the agreements of technical cooperation between IAEA and Kuwait, including the recently-signed agreement between both sides for 2014-2019, in which many joint activities and projects are to be implemented. In addition, he pointed to Kuwait’s donation of USD 10 million as a contribution for the projected nuclear fuel bank to provide countries an access to enriched nuclear fuel, without the need to possess enrichment technology. — KUNA

EQUATE wins Arabian Business CSR Achievement Award KUWAIT: EQUATE Petrochemical Company was recognized with Arabian Business Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Achievement Award 2013 for the third consecutive year in terms of Kuwaiti organizations. On this occasion, EQUATE VP for Technical Services Mohammad Al-Benali said, “Realizing the significance of sustainability throughout the Kuwaiti society as a whole and embodying such principles at every level, EQUATE aspires to achieve all matters that would serve manifesting its tagline ‘Partners in Success’ with all relevant stakeholders within and outside Kuwait. Being an international company simply means understanding and having the ability to address all events and circumstances regardless of their nature.” Al-Benali, who also heads EQUATE CSR Team, added, “Based on its global capabilities and competencies, EQUATE has been determined to present its CSR Program as a role-model in all aspects, especially in terms of education, human resources and the environment by launching several initiatives and activities that address these focus-areas which are relevant to many members of the society.” Al-Benali noted, “EQUATE has introduced many initiatives and campaigns dedicated to medical, health, educational, scientific research, environmental and industrial affairs in accordance with the needs of numerous stakeholders,” commending those stakeholders, from the public sector and others, for their exemplary cooperation during such endeavors. Arabian Business Awards Ceremony 2013 was held under the patronage of Minister of Information & Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman AlHumoud Al-Sabah who was represented by Ministry of Information Assistant Undersecretary Dr Haila AlMukaimi. In recognition of its sustainability achievements, EQUATE has earned several prestigious honors, including His Highness the Amir Award for the Best Plant in Kuwait; The Gold Award in Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) for Gulf private sector companies; The Award for Best Gulf Company in Recruiting Nationals; Arabian Business Best CSR Company Award; Oil & Gas (O&G) Middle East CSR Award; O&G Best Implemented Environmental Program of the Year; Middle East Chemical Week (MECW) Plant of the Year Award; as well as Kuwait’s CSR Award in the Industrial

and Oil Sector. In addition, EQUATE has received the Highly Commended Best Community Program Award during the First Middle East CSR Award Summit. Established in 1995, EQUATE is an international joint venture between Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC), The Dow Chemical Company (Dow), Boubyan Petrochemical Company (BPC) and Qurain Petrochemical Industries Company (QPIC). Commencing production in 1997, EQUATE is the single operator of a fully integrated world-scale manufacturing facility producing over 5 million tons annually of high-quality petrochemical products which are marketed throughout the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe.


War means profit for gun seller in Aleppo

Israel ‘challenged’ by Iran charm offensive

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Iran tones down anti-Israel rhetoric Surprisingly, Rouhani condemns holocaust UNITED NATIONS: The Iranian president’s first speech to world leaders toned down anti-Israel rhetoric and offered up negotiations with the US and its allies over the disputed nuclear program, showing a more moderate face of the hard-line regime in Tehran. However, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani also took repeated digs at America and the West on Tuesday, much like those that were staples of his predecessor’s annual messages to the United Nations General Assembly. Rouhani’s speech signaled Iran’s return to a more measured, if still resolute, approach in its foreign policy even as it delivered a reality check that diplomatic warming will not come quickly or easily. Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, said he did not think Rouhani’s speech was conciliatory. But his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “set an incredibly low bar for dignified behavior” and Rouhani delivered a less polarizing, less divisive speech, he said. “Given how vitriolic that Ahmadinejad’s language was, in contrast he certainly appears as a moderate,” Sadjadpour said. Rouhani even went a step further in an interview with CNN aired yesterday, saying “the crime the Nazis created toward the Jews is reprehensible and condemnable.” Ahmadinejad, in contrast, once called the Holocaust a “myth” and later said more research was needed to determine whether it had really happened. And while Rouhani briefly touched on what he described as Palestine’s depravation and subjugation, he also ended his speech with a reference not only to the Quran and Bible, but also the Torah. Israel, however, was not pacified. The Israeli delegation walked out of his speech, and Israeli Minister for Strategic and Intelligence Affairs Yuval Steinitz called his rhetoric a “game of deception.” “Rouhani came here today in order to cheat the world,” Steinitz told reporters in a hastily organized news conference at the UN after the

speech. “And unfortunately many people are willing to be cheated.” But in a text message statement sent to reporters, Finance Minister Yair Lapid said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s instruction to Israeli delegates to walk out was a “mistake,” saying it created the impression that Israel was not interested in encouraging a peaceful solution to Iran’s suspect nuclear program. The day began with breathless speculation that America and Iran would start to bury decades of suspicion and animosity with a handshake and an exchange of pleasantries if they crossed paths inside the UN But the euphoria was fading by midday, when Rouhani skipped a lunch where he could have greeted President Barack Obama. He may have passed on lunch because alcohol was being served - something that could have been shameful for the devout Muslim back home. Rouhani spoke just hours after Obama also addressed the General Assembly. The American leader spoke of the years of isolation between the two nations since the 1979 Iranian revolution that spurred the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran. Obama said he needs proof of Iran’s goodwill before the US would be willing to shift its tough stance against the country’s nuclear program, a reference to harsh sanctions that Washington has imposed. While Ahmadinejad had insisted that Iran continued to flourish despite the punishing Western sanctions, Rouhani called them “violent” and said they violated human rights. Iran is seeking relief from the sanctions at nuclear negotiations. Experts said Rouhani’s speech may have marked a return to the subtle rapprochement of former Iranian Presidents Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and particularly Mohammad Khatami. Standoffs with the West over nuclear activities and Syria now stand as key tests of whether relations will improve. World powers for years have tried to curb Tehran’s nuclear program to prevent Iran from being able to build a bomb. But Iran

insists its program is peaceful, and has long demanded the world recognize its right under international treaties to enrich uranium - a process that can be used to produce fuel for nuclear weapons or nuclear energy. Rouhani said Iran is prepared to immediately engage in nuclear negotiations on condition that the world acknowledge it has the right to enrich uranium. He said all nations - and not just Iran should publicly commit to building nuclear programs for peaceful purposes only. Israel’s Steinitz said in reality, little has changed in Iran since Rouhani was elected in June. “Not even one centrifuge was stopped,” he said, referring to Iran’s enrichment of uranium. On Syria, Rouhani repeated Iran’s condemnation of the use of chemical weapons. But he said the greatest danger to the Mideast would be for chemical weapons to fall into the hands of extremists and terror groups, and said any negotiated disarmament plan in Syria would have to prevent that. The Syrian regime frequently refers to the opposition as terrorists. The US, France and Britain accuse Assad’s regime of launching an Aug 21 chemical attack on the Damascus suburb that killed more than 1,000 people. Iran is considered Syria’s main benefactor, and Tehran has been a lifeline for the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad in its 21/2 year sectarian civil war with opposition rebels. Western officials are hoping Iran will play a role in ending the Syrian war. And Rouhani appeared willing to sanction Iran’s participation in negotiations for a peace settlement in Syria, French officials said. That could put more pressure on Assad. Obama said it was unrealistic to expect that the US and Iran would see eye-to-eye any time soon or easily bridge the chasms between them. “I don’t believe this difficult history can be overcome overnight - the suspicions run too deep,” he said. “But I do believe that if we can resolve the issue of Iran’s nuclear program, that can serve as a major step down a long road toward a different

In budding thaw, US and Iran take it slow UNITED NATIONS: After decades of animosity and false starts, the United States and Iran may be best advised to go slow in their effort to repair relations, experts say. The US and Iranian top diplomats will meet Thursday for one of the countries’ highest-level inter-

actions since the 1979 Islamic revolution to discuss Tehran’s disputed nuclear program. But all sides have been quick to say that the encounter, which will also include European, Russian and Chinese foreign ministers, will be brief and not solve the long standoff over

Iran’s nuclear work. And after days of speculation that Iran’s new President Hassan Rowhani would meet or at least shake hands with President Barack Obama at the United Nations, a US official said that the White House reached out and concluded

that the Iranians were not ready. “My sense is the flirtation has begun and now everybody is waiting for the first big kiss but that’s probably not going to come anytime soon,” said John Tirman, executive director of the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Both Obama and Rowhani “are conscious that a better relationship is not going to be assured through speeches at the UN but rather through negotiations,” Tirman said. Tirman said that arms control negotiations historically required several months and that the two sides were mindful of historical lessons. Iran’s clerical regime sees hostility to the United States as a core value of the 1979 revolution, which ousted the Western-oriented shah. Mohammad Khatami, who rose to the presidency in 1997 on a reformist platform, faced a major backlash from hardliners who say him as moving too quickly. Rowhani was elected in June on promises to ease tensions with the West and repair an economy crippled by USled sanctions. Rowhani, who had heavily promoted his UN debut through US media appearances, appealed for Obama to ignore “warmongering pressure groups” to make peace and vowed that Iran did not want nuclear weapons. But Rowhani also offered a firm defense of the clerical regime’s core principles as he denounced the domination of the West and its “strategic violence” in the Middle East. Karim Sadjadpour, an expert on Iran at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that Rowhani needed to ensure the support of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “For the last few weeks Rowhani’s charm offense seemed intent on impressing Obama, but his UN performance seemed more intent on reassuring Khamenei that he would not deviate from revolutionary ideals,” Sadjadpour said. —AFP

relationship, one based on mutual interests and mutual respect.” Neither Obama nor Rouhani attended each other’s speech. But Rouhani said he had followed Obama’s words and was confident the two nations can manage their differences. “There is no issue or dossier that cannot be resolved through reliance on hope and prudent moderation, mutual respect, and rejection of violence and extremism,” Rouhani said. In Iran, most newspapers gave ringing approval to Rouhani’s speech, and some lavished rare praise on Obama for acknowledging the reli-

gious edict, or fatwa, against nuclear weapons by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni. But some hard-line media claimed that Obama’s more diplomatic-minded approach was the result of Iran’s resistance to sanctions. “Historic proposal” was the headline in Etemad daily, a reference to Rouhani’s proposal to “manage differences with the US.” It also said there was a “change in Obama’s tone” toward Iran in response to Rouhani’s outreach. But the hard-line daily Jomhuri-eEslami highlighted Obama’s pledge that the U.S. is not after “regime change” in Iran. — AP



Spanish king faces new hip operation MADRID: Spain’s 75-year-old King Juan Carlos recovered in a Madrid hospital yesterday after hip-replacement surgery but now faces yet another operation, feeding concerns over his future as head of state. US-based hip specialist Miguel Cabanela led the surgery Tuesday at a Madrid hospital to give the frail-looking monarch a new left hip after the previous artificial joint fitted last November became infected and painful, making it hard to walk. “Fortunately it has all gone well for his majesty, for us, for the country,” Cabanela told a news conference after a two-and-a-half-hour operation at the private Quiron Hospital in the western suburbs of the capital. But the temporary hip replacement was the king’s eighth operation in just over three years and news that more surgery must follow in two months or so kept alive speculation of a possible abdication, despite palace denials. Cabanela

said the king would likely be in hospital for four to eight days and he would require a new operation to receive a permanent prosthetic hip after a period of at least eight weeks fighting off an infection in surrounding tissue. The king would require intravenous antibiotics for about six weeks and then a twoweek period without the drugs, he said. The surgeon predicted Juan Carlos could be up and walking about six weeks after he finally receives a permanent, artificial hip. The king has treated his medical journey in a jovial manner; he waved from the car on his arrival at hospital, declaring “I am very well” and the previous day told journalists at a ceremony that he was “off to the repair shop”. But the health concerns and royal scandals have sparked debate about what to do if the king is incapacitated and whether he should in any case hand over power to his son and succes-

sor, Felipe, who is 45. Announcing news of the operation last week, the palace said however that Juan Carlos had at no time considered abdicating nor handing over his powers to Felipe while he recovers from surgery. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said the government had no plans to try to regulate the prince’s role in case the king is incapable of ruling. “Absolutely not, we have no intention of doing that,” he told reporters late Tuesday in New York where he was attending a United Nations general assembly. “There is no reason to do so either.” SCANDALS ADD TO HEALTH WOES Juan Carlos is widely respected for his role in guiding Spain’s transition to democracy after the death of longtime dictator General Francisco Franco in 1975 but his image has suffered in particular because of a corruption scandal

implicating his youngest daughter Cristina. Cristina’s husband Inak i Urdangarin has been under investigation since late 2011 for allegedly embezzling millions of euros paid by regional governments to the Noos Institute, a charitable organization which he chaired from 2004 to 2006. Urdangarin has appeared in court for questioning as part of the probe but has not been formally charged with any crime. In May, the judge leading the investigation demanded that tax authorities provide him with a report on Cristina’s assets as part of his probe into the affair. The king himself sparked outrage last year for taking an expensive elephanthunting holiday in Botswana, while Spain struggled through a recession that has left one in four people out of work. The head of state broke his hip during the trip and had to be flown home for medical

care. He issued an unprecedented public apology after his return but the hunting trip-reportedly subsidized and organized by Syrian construction magnate Mohamed Eyad Kayali-threw the spotlight on the royal family’s deluxe lifestyle and raised questions about the sources of their fortune. The affair also drew attention to the king’s friendship with Corinna zu SaynWittgenstein, a blonde German aristocrat who is 28 years his junior, after it emerged that she accompanied him on the trip to Botswana. The latest operation means Juan Carlos will almost certainly miss the annual Iberoamerican summit of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American leaders in Panama from October 18-19. Less than an hour before the royal surgery Tuesday, a stark naked man decrying “secret CIA crimes” was arrested outside the hospital entrance and driven away by police. —AFP

Despite Cruz, Senate heads toward Obamacare vote Cruz stages overnight talkathon WASHINGTON: The Democraticcontrolled Senate is on a path toward defeating tea party attempts to dismantle President Barack Obama’s health care law, despite an overnight talkathon on the chamber’s floor led by Texas Sen Ted Cruz. The freshman Cruz and other conservative Republicans were trying to delay a must-pass spending bill, but were virtually sure to lose a test vote on that legislation planned for later. Since Tuesday afternoon, Cruz with occasional remarks by Sen Mike Lee, R-Utah, and other GOP conservatives - has controlled the Senate floor and railed against Obamacare.

Republicans won’t have enough time to respond to the Senate’s eventual action. The House-passed measure is required to prevent a government shutdown after midnight Monday and contains a tea party-backed provision to “defund” implementation of what’s come to be known as “Obamacare”. Cruz is opposed to moving ahead on it under debate terms choreographed by Democrats to defeat the Obamacare provision. The mechanics of advancing the bill were overshadowed by Cruz’s filibuster, which included a reading of Dr Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” to

maries. At issue is a temporary spending bill required to keep the government fully open after the Oct 1 start of the new budget year. Hard-charging conservatives like Cruz see the measure as an opportunity to use a must-pass measure to try to derail Obama’s signature health care law. Under pressure from Cruz and tea party activists, House GOP leaders added the anti-Obamacare language to the funding measure despite fears it could spark a partial government shutdown that could hurt Republicans in the run-up to midterm elections next year - just as

WASHINGTON: Sen Ted Cruz speaks to the media after leaving a marathon speech on the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington yesterday. —AP By 8 am EDT, Cruz and his allies had spoken for more than 17 hours, the fifth longest Senate speech since precise record-keeping began in 1900. That surpassed March’s 12hour, 52-minute speech by Sen Rand Paul, R-Ky., like Cruz a tea party lawmaker and potential 2016 presidential contender, and filibusters by such Senate icons as Huey Long of Louisiana and Robert Byrd of West Virginia. Paul, who has questioned Cruz’s tactics, gave the admittedly tired Texan a respite yesterday morning by joining the debate and criticizing Obamacare. Republican leaders and several rank-and-file GOP lawmakers had opposed Cruz’s time-consuming effort with the end of the fiscal year looming. They fear that Speaker John Boehner and House

his daughters back home in Texas. “When Americans tried it, they discovered they did not like green eggs and ham and they did not like Obamacare either,” Cruz said. “They did not like Obamacare in a box, with a fox, in a house or with a mouse. It is not working.” Cruz’s effort doesn’t have a chance to succeed, however, both because Senate rules are working against him and because many of his GOP colleagues think his quixotic effort combines poor strategy with political grandstanding at the expense of other Republicans. Some of Cruz’s leading allies include organizations like the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Club for Growth that frequently give financial help to conservatives challenging more moderate Republicans in pri-

GOP-driven government shutdowns in 1995-96 help revive the political fortunes of President Bill Clinton. “I just don’t believe anybody benefits from shutting the government down, and certainly Republicans don’t,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. “We learned that in 1995.” Cruz took the floor at 2:41 p.m. Tuesday, vowing to speak until he’s “no longer able to stand.” Wearing black athletic shoes, he filled the time in a largely empty chamber, criticizing the law and comparing the fight to the battle against the Nazis. He talked about the Revolutionary War, the Washington ruling class and his Cuban-born father who worked as a cook. Missing from the debate were top Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky

and Cruz’s home-state GOP colleague John Cornyn, who say that on a second vote later this week, they will support ending Cruz’s effort to derail the funding bill. That vote is crucial because it would allow top Senate Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada to kill the Obamacare provision on a simple majority, instead of the 60 votes often needed for victory. Democrats control the chamber with 54 votes. “I think we’d all be hard-pressed to explain why we were opposed to a bill that we’re in favor of,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday. “And invoking cloture on a bill that defunds Obamacare ... strikes me as a nobrainer.” If Cruz employs all of the delaying tactics at his disposal, the Senate might not vote to pass the measure until Sunday. But with the fiscal year set to expire at midnight Monday, McConnell warned that extended delays could hamper the GOP-controlled House’s ability to send a pared-down measure back to the Senate in time to try to salvage some kind of victory, perhaps on a bipartisan proposal to eliminate a new Obamacare tax on medical devices. The overnight debate included some diversions. Lee discussed a childhood accident in which his foot was run over by a car driven by his father and spoke of his longing to be a pirate. Cruz recalled his first Christmas dinner with his future wife’s vegetarian parents, which he described as “just like any other Christmas dinner except the entree never comes.” As the sun rose, Cruz was helped by another tea party favorite and possible rival for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination: Sen Marco Rubio. The Florida lawmaker spoke for over an hour about the damage he said Obamacare is doing to the economy, as Cruz - who must remain in the chamber and standing to retain control of the debate strolled in a nearby aisle and occasionally leaned against desks. Despite his tenacity, it seemed Cruz would not surpass the longest Senate speech on record, a 24-hour, 18-minute filibuster by South Carolina Sen Strom Thurmond against the civil rights act in 1957. Senate rules required the chamber to have an initial vote on the spending bill by yesterday afternoon - a roll call that would end Cruz’s remarks short of the record. —AP

France’s minister sparks Roma row PARIS: Interior Minister Manuel Valls yesterday insisted he stood by a controversial call for tens of thousands of ethnic Roma to be kicked out of France. Valls has triggered an outcry from human rights groups, the European Commission and some of his government colleagues by saying any Roma not working should be “delivered back to the borders”, describing their way of life as “extremely different from ours,” and claiming they will never integrate into French society. The latter remark earned the minister a rebuke from his cabinet colleague, Arnaud Montebourg, who pointedly alluded to Valls’ own status as the Barcelona-born son of Spanish immigrants who left for France during Franco’s dictatorship. “A theory that such and such a person or such and such a people will never, ever be able to integrate just doesn’t stand up,” Montebourg said. “That’s what they said about the Italians, that’s what they said about the Spanish, it’s what they said about the Portuguese, and what they said about the Arabs. “Decreeing in advance that it is impossible seems to me excessive and is worthy of being corrected.” Valls hit back: “I’ve got nothing to correct. My remarks only shock those who don’t know the subject.” He then repeated remarks that Amnesty International described as likely to “perpetuate stereotypes and encourage animosity” towards the 20,000 plus Roma

currently living in France in makeshift camps. “The majority (of Roma) should be delivered back to the borders,” Valls said. “We are not here to welcome these people. I’d remind you of (former Socialist premier) Michel Rocard’s statement: It’s not France’s job to deal with the misery of the whole world.” On Tuesday he had claimed the Roma in France had no interest in integrating, reiterating previous assertions that most of them were at the mercy of begging and prostitution networks. Controversy over the issue is not new for Valls, a sharp-suited 51-year-old regarded as one of the stars of President Francois Hollande’s struggling administration. The European Commission has repeatedly questioned the legality of the government encouraging local councils to systematically dismantle illegal Roma camps and offering the expelled residents free flights and financial incentives to return to their countries of origin, primarily Bulgaria and Romania. The policy has also been criticized by the UN’s human rights arm. Roma organizations in France are threatening to bring a legal case against Valls for incitement to racial hatred and SOS Racisme, whose founder is now the Socialists’ party leader, said Wednesday his latest comments had “crossed a red line.” It is all water off a duck’s back to a ferociously ambitious, hugely energetic politician who appears

to thrive-in a way reminiscent of Britain’s Tony Blair-on taking a stand against the established beliefs and mantras of his own party. Polls repeatedly suggest Valls is among the most admired members of Hollande’s government with a cross-party appeal that has made him one of the early favorites to be the Left’s candidate in the 2017 presidential elections. Sceptics have also been quick to point out that Valls’ hardline on the Roms could play well with voters in municipal elections next year. “There are elections in the air in France,” observed Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner who has repeatedly taken France to task over the treatment of the Roma. “Every time they don’t want to talk about important things like the budget and debt, the Roma issue gets brought up.” Under pressure from the EU and what the daily Liberation described as the “humanist” wing of the government, Valls agreed last year that Roma camp clearances should not take place without alternative housing plans being put in place first. But that policy has rarely been applied and 80 percent of the 12,000 Roma expelled from their temporary homes in 2012 were forced to leave, the European Association for the Defense of Human Rights (AEDH) said in a report earlier this year. Reding said yesterday that France had made no attempt to access generous EU funds made available to promote Roma integration. —AFP

NEW YORK: US Secretary of State John Kerry delivers remarks after signing the Arms Trade Treaty during the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters yesterday. —AP

US signs landmark UN arms treaty UNITED NATIONS: US President Barack Obama’s administration signed a UN treaty yesterday to track exports of firearms and other conventional weapons, offering a major boost to the pact despite opposition at home. The United States is the world’s largest exporter of conventional arms, accounting for 30 percent of the $90 billion global industry. The landmark treaty aims to curb weapons shipments to extremists and conflict areas. Secretary of State John Kerry, signing on behalf of the United States in an oversized book at the UN headquarters, called the treaty a “significant step” for global peace efforts. “This is about keeping weapons out of the hands of terrorists and rogue actors,” Kerry said after signing the Arms Trade Treaty in front of UN officials. “This treaty strengthens our security and builds global security without undermining the legitimate international trade in conventional arms,” he said. Kerry devoted much of his remarks to assuaging concerns inside the United States, where the weapons industry holds significant political sway. The Senate needs to ratify the treaty, which has quickly galvanized US conservatives who are deeply suspicious of both gun regulations and the United Nations. “This treaty will not diminish anyone’s freedom,” Kerry said. “In fact, the treaty recognizes the freedom of both individuals and states to obtain, possess and use arms for legitimate purposes,” he said. If the Senate refuses to ratify the treaty, the United States could face the same situation as under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change in which it helped draft the pact but remained a conspicuous holdout. The United States hesitated at finalizing the arms treaty as Obama faced re-election last year. But the United States was part of efforts that sealed the treaty earlier this year, although critics say it watered it down to avoid any international enforcement. Only three nations-Iran, North Korea and Syria-voted against the treaty at the UN General Assembly on April 2. But 23 others abstained,

including major players China, India and Russia. Russia, which along with Iran is the chief supporter of Syria’s embattled President Bashar Al-Assad, said that the treaty was too vague and could be used for political ends. The treaty requires states to prohibit shipments of weapons that could be used in human rights violations including “attacks directed against civilian objects.” Italy, the world’s eighth largest arms exporter, on Wednesday became the fifth UN member and the first European Union nation to vote to ratify the treaty. The treaty comes into force once 50 nations ratify it. Advocates for the treaty said that they expected more than 100 countries to sign it by the end of yesterday, which comes during the annual UN General Assembly summit. Kathi Lynn Austin, executive director of the Conflict Awareness Project which aims to track illicit arms trafficking, hoped that the US signature would motivate Russia and China to join the treaty and develop stricter export regulations. “The recent terrorist attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi is a terrible reminder that no citizen, tourist or visitor of a country is immune from the human tragedy that results from a worldwide, unregulated arms trade,” she said. “No nation should shirk its responsibility to rapidly sign, ratify and implement the Arms Trade Treaty,” she said. The National Rifle Association, the powerful US lobby against gun regulation, vowed to fight ratification. The group opposed the treaty’s call on all countries to maintain records for at least 10 years of the import or export of weapons. “The Obama administration is once again demonstrating its contempt for our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms,” said the group’s Chris W. Cox, referring to the guarantee under the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. Senator Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, warned Obama to consult Congress before any implementation of the arms treaty, which he said “raises significant legislative and constitutional questions.” —AFP

Ukraine heads for clash with Russia over EU deal KIEV: Ukraine is preparing to take the first crucial step towards the European Union but is risking a historic deterioration in political and economic ties with its powerful neighbor Russia. As the post-Soviet nation gears up to sign a landmark Association Agreement with the EU at a summit in Vilnius in late November, a tug-of-war is intensifying between Moscow and the West over Ukraine’s moves to seek closer ties with the bloc. While Brussels is encouraging the ex-Soviet nation to become part of Europe and embrace Western values, Kiev’s former Soviet master Moscow is threatening its already struggling neighbor with new economic hardships if it signs on the dotted line at the November 28-29 summit. Dozens of high-profile guests including the US power couple Hillary and Bill Clinton and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair descended on the balmy shores of the Black Sea resort town of Yalta at a forum to discuss Ukraine’s signing of the EU deal which includes a free-trade agreement. Most Western guests at the annual forum late last week made no secret of their desire to see Ukraine move closer towards the EU and away from Russia. “We, the USA, are for Ukraine’s integration into Europe. Closer relations between Ukraine and the European Union will be of benefit both for Ukraine and Europe, and the whole world,” said Hillary Clinton, who is seen as an early Democratic frontrunner to succeed US President Barack Obama. Referring to Ukraine’s wealth of natural resources, Clinton pointedly praised the country’s “excellent chocolate sweets which could, and should, be exported to many countries all over the world.” The

comment was seen as an anti-Kremlin dig after Russia banned chocolate imports from Ukraine over safety concerns in July. The controversial ban came days after Russian President Vladimir Putin travelled to Ukraine for talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych whose decision to favour EU membership over a Russian-led Customs Union infuriated the Kremlin. With no progress apparently made, Russian customs later introduced a blanket ban on all Ukrainian imports in a move the Kremlin acknowledged was designed to give a foretaste of things to come if Kiev moves closer to Europe. Putin has warned Kiev that Russia could not simply stand by if the country opted for a political and trade tie-up with the EU that will open up European markets for Ukrainian exports. The Kremlin stepped up its campaign of intimidation at the Yalta conference, painting a doom and gloom vision of a Europe-aligned Ukraine struggling with crises and default. “If Ukraine signs the agreement with the European Union and its trade balance worsens, who will pay for Ukraine’s default which will be inevitable?” said Sergei Glazyev, a Putin economic aide. “Ukraine’s foreign exchange reserves will only last six months. Is Europe ready to take upon itself the burden of such a financial responsibility?” The war of words has already negatively affected Ukraine’s financial standing. Moody’s on Friday lowered the country’s Ukraine’s bond rating by one notch to Caa1, saying government reserves were running dry and possible problems with Russia also clouded its future. —AFP



India-US ties lose shine over economic rows Singh to meet Obama tomorrow

PESHAWAR: A Pakistani girl who was injured in a suicide attack on a church, lies in a hospital bed surrounded by relatives and nurses, in Peshawar, Pakistan. — AP

Militant group takes aim at Pakistan minorities ISLAMABAD: A Sunni militant group known for targeting rival Muslims has emerged as a dangerous new player in Pakistan, sending a pair of suicide bombers this week to detonate themselves inside a church in the deadliest ever attack against Pakistani Christians. The brutal assault, which killed 85 worshippers during Sunday services, was the first time that a militant group has taken direct aim at Pakistan’s tiny Christian community. That points to a frightening evolution in the country’s multifaceted violence - threatening a new wave of bloodshed, this time targeting non-Muslim religions, which account for barely 5 percent of Pakistan’s mainly Sunni Muslim population of 180 million. Already a nervous minority, Pakistan’s Christians are among the poorest in the country, often living in squalid settlements tucked away in the country’s sprawling cities. The community has come under brutal attacks before. But in most cases, they were unorganized mob attacks by radical Muslims who burned down entire Christian neighborhoods, usually over a personal or property dispute that escalated into charges a Christian committed blasphemy against Islam, stirring up a mob. Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws have also landed dozens of Christians in jail over flimsy charges that could get them death penalties. Claiming responsibility for Sunday’s bombing in the northwestern city of Peshawar, the group Jundallah gave the attack a political dimension, saying it targeted Christians to avenge the deaths of Muslims killed by US drone strikes - painted among militants as part of a “Christian campaign” against Islam. “This is a new dimension, a new direction to attack the Christian community at large,” said Cecil Shane Chaudhry, acting executive director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace, an advocacy group established by Catholic Church. In the past, militants have instead been focused on attacking Pakistan’s minority Shiite and Ahmadi Muslims, seen by Sunni extremists as

heretics. Now he said Christians have been added to their list. “It definitely is something to be worried about,” Chaudhry said. Its emergence highlights the enormity of the problem facing Pakistan as the new government works out a policy against militants. A complex array of independent but semi-connected groups makes up the country’s terrorist mix. Groups morph and diverge, often with divergent and even opposing goals, some acting out a radical vision of Islamic law, some angered in the war in neighboring Afghanistan, some shifting among those and other motives. Jundullah found a home in Pakistan’s tribal regions about three years ago, aligning itself with the toxic mix of up to 150 militant groups that inhabit the area, say analysts and former military officials. It has gone from relative obscurity, garnering only the occasional mention in jihadi publications, to a dangerous force, said Amir Rana, whose Pakistan Institute for the Study of Peace monitors militant groups here. It claimed responsibility for the slaying of 11 climbers from Russia, China and the Ukraine in June and an attack on an intelligence office in southern Sindh province. Rana described Jundullah as a cell of the larger Pakistani Taliban organization known as the Tehrik-e-Taliban, or TTP. He said there are about 11 such cells, each with different names and with diverse tasks. Others say the central command of the TTP fragmented long ago, and the various militant groups under its banner, while bound by ideology, differ in strategy and tactics. The former police inspector general in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, where Peshawar is the capital, said there is no cohesion among the insurgent groups, but they are loosely aligned with each other and with AlQaeda. Galvanized by the brutality of Sunday’s attack, Muslim and non-Muslim Pakistanis staged protests throughout the country. Politicians who have advocated unconditional peace talks with militants began to urge caution. —AP

NEW DELHI: When India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last visited the White House in 2009 he was feted at President Barack Obama’s first state dinner, a star-studded affair that reflected the excitement about blooming ties between the two big democracies. Back then, optimists in Washington saw India as a counterbalance to a rising China and a new engine for the US economy. In a dinner toast, Obama talked of his “duty” to bring the two countries closer. That duty has only been partly fulfilled. As the two leaders prepare to meet again at the White House tomorrow for a working bilateral meeting, Obama is under pressure from lobby groups and lawmakers seething at what they see as India’s protectionism and lax enforcement of intellectual property rights. India’s $60 billion trade with the United States is widely seen as less than it could be and is just an eighth of US trade with China. Even India’s national security adviser accepts there is a perception the relationship is drifting off course. “It arises from the macro-economic situation. US friends mention concerns about economic reforms and specific policy issues in India. These concerns are not unique to the US. They are, first and foremost, of concern to Indians,” National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon said on Friday. India has still not shaken off memories of foreign domination through trade and it is increasingly hard for the government, ahead of elections next year, to push ahead with economic reforms and deals seen as favoring US companies. In turn, Indian IT firms which operate in the United States are angered by restrictions on travel visas for skilled workers. In June, fourteen US business groups took the unusual step of forming a coalition specifically to pressure Obama over India’s perceived protectionist measures, piracy and patent laws. Indian sourcing rules for retail, IT, medicine and clean energy technology are contentious and US companies gripe about “unfair” imports from India of everything from shrimp to steel pipes. In June, more than 170 US lawmakers signed a letter to Obama about Indian policies they said threatened US jobs. Even US Vice-President Joe Biden grumbled about India’s reluctance to open up to US companies, or align with the United States on the world stage, during a visit to Mumbai in July. Traditionally, India has been reluctant to

Leaders of India, Pakistan to meet in New York NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif will meet this week on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Singh said yesterday, amid heightened tension between the neighbors over Kashmir. Analysts expect the meeting will address a series of fatal clashes along the Line of Control dividing the Himalayan region between India and Pakistan, events that followed a pact by the two nations to resume stalled talks to strengthen ties. The clashes have left dead at least 8 soldiers from both countries in less than two months. The South Asia Terrorism Portal, which tracks the violence, says this year’s toll is 44 members of the security forces, up from 17 for all of last year. “During my visit to New York, I also look forward to bilateral meetings with the leaders of some of our neighboring countries, including Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan,” Singh said in a statement ahead of his

visit. While the talks could soothe tension between the two nuclear powers, Singh’s scope of manoeuvre on concessions to Pakistan is limited, as India heads for elections that must be held by May. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the substance of any talks, but a spokesman for Sharif said the meeting was “most likely” to take place. Sharif says better relations with India are key to restoring a flagging economy but it is Pakistan’s military that traditionally sets foreign and security policies, even during periods of civilian rule. India and Pakistan have fought three wars since becoming independent from Britain in 1947, two of them over Muslim-majority Kashmir. Tit-for-tat artillery exchanges regularly rattle the de facto border. India has faced an insurgency in its part of Muslim-majority Kashmir since 1989, and has long accused Pakistan of supporting the militants fighting Indian rule. Nevertheless, despite

JALALABAD: An Afghan boy looks out through a wooden window at a house on the outskirts of Jalalabad yesterday. Economic development is considered a vital weapon to stop the country from sinking back into civil war and to stem Islamist extremism after 100,000 international combat troops pull out next year. — AFP

Pakistan’s denials that it helps the militants, fighters have for years slipped from the Pakistani side of Kashmir into the Indian side to battle Indian forces. Many analysts expect the trend to continue as the two countries jostle for influence in Afghanistan as a NATO force prepares to withdraw by the end of 2014, with each side fearing the other wants to install a proxy government in Kabul. Indian security officials say a new wave of Pakistan-based Islamist guerrillas are trying to cross the LoC, part of a shift in focus towards India ahead of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Pakistan denies the charges. Last month, Pakistan released 337 Indian prisoners, most of them fishermen, laying the ground for this month’s talks. In the run-up to the meeting, New Delhi had demanded that Pakistan address its concerns over its neighbor’s aid to the Kashmir militants. India wants Pakistan to bring to justice Hafiz Saeed, an Islamist India says masterminded a 2008 attack on its financial capital, Mumbai. Saeed roams free in Pakistan. Indian officials also want Pakistan to publicly recognize India’s role in Afghanistan and deliver on its promise of most favored nation trading status, which would involve lifting a ban on certain Indian goods. “When they talk, I think the main thing on the agenda would be how to prevent this kind of terrorist activity being repeated off and on, and intrusions at the border-how to avoid that,” said D.H. Pai Panandiker, president of New Delhi think-tank the RPG Foundation. India’s opposition was quick to accuse Singh of going soft on Pakistan, saying such a meeting would lead it to believe it could get away with violence against India. “The only reason I can think of is that in the few months that he has left in office, he perhaps wants to create history and wants to win the Nobel Peace Prize,” said Yashwant Sinha, a leader of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. — Reuters

Pakistan: Mortar from Afghanistan kills two PESHAWAR: Pakistan’s foreign ministry says security forces in neighboring Afghanistan fired a mortar round across the border, killing two Pakistanis and wounding one person. Yesterday’s statement from the ministry says it has summoned a top Afghan official to lodge a strong protest over the incident, which occurred on Tuesday in the North Waziristan tribal region. Two local Pakistani intelligence officials also con-

firmed the attack, saying the mortars fired by the Afghan forces landed near the Ghulam Khan border town, killing two. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media. The two countries have traded accusations in the past, with each side accusing the other of not doing enough to keep militants from crossing the porous border. Afghan officials declined to comment. — AP

NEW YORK: US Secretary of State John Kerry (right) meets with Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid during a bilateral meeting at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel during the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly yesterday in New York. — AP

get too close to any one big power and Singh is heading to Russia and China over the next two months on trips his staff have described as “economic diplomacy”. To be sure, India and US ties are closer now than they have ever been, thanks in part to a 2008 civil-nuclear pact forged by Singh and then President George W Bush that ended India’s isolation after nuclear weapons tests and cleared the way for closer defense ties. Menon last week described a “full spectrum” relationship of defence, economic and commercial ties with the United States, a far cry from the wariness during the Cold War when India had warm ties with the Soviet Union. The United States still sees India as a counterbalance to China and in a sign of the level of trust, revelations in the Indian media about spying by the US National Security Agency on Indian institutions, including its embassy in Washington have not led to a spike in tension, at least in public. From almost zero in 2008, India is now buying billions of dollars of defense equipment from US suppliers, including a $640 million deal to buy six C-130J Super Hercules from

Lockheed Martin that might be signed during Singh’s visit. The Indian cabinet yesterday approved a preliminary contract with Toshiba’s US nuclear unit Westinghouse relating to a major nuclear power plant project the first such deal under the 2008 agreement and likely to be signed in Washington. But the fact that it took five years to reach even a preliminary deal to work on reactors, because of worries about Indian liability laws for nuclear suppliers, underscores the problems US companies face doing business in India. “The Americans want to know what Singh and Sonia are ready to do to get the Indian economy back on track, and the Indians want to know what the Americans intend to do in Afghanistan and Pakistan after 2014,” said Bruce Riedel, who advised four US presidents on South Asian affairs, referring to Sonia Gandhi, the president of Singh’s ruling Congress party. India fears that the withdrawal of US and other Western forces from Afghanistan next year will expose it to more Islamist violence, including attacks by Pakistan-based groups. — Reuters



Australia holds ‘productive’ talks on asylum boats SYDNEY: Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has hailed “very productive” talks with her Indonesian counterpart on the fraught issue of turning back asylum-seeker boats to the sprawling archipelago. Australia’s new conservative government, led by Prime Minister Tony Abbott who swept to power in national polls earlier this month, hopes to deter asylum-seekers from taking people-smuggling boats with the threat of potential towbacks. Indonesia’s top diplomat Marty Natalegawa had warned Bishop during their meeting in New York on Monday that Jakarta could not accept any policy which infringed its sovereignty, Antara news agency reported. Bishop said she had spoken to Natalegawa about

Australia’s military-led operation to shut down people-smuggling networks, which includes forcing their boats to turn around when conditions are safe. “I had a very productive and positive meeting with Foreign Minister Natalegawa,” Bishop told reporters in New York, according to a transcript from her office. “I am not going into the operational details of our policy, but I had a very broad-ranging discussion with... Natalegawa and I am confident that we will be able to implement our policies.” Natalegawa told reporters that “Indonesia cannot accept any Australian policy that would, in nature, violate (our) sovereignty”. “I think, the message has been conveyed loud and clear and has been understood well.”

Asked whether Natalegawa had indicated that he was unhappy with Australia’s plan, Bishop said: “There can be some misunderstanding as to what our policy is, and it is certainly not to, in any way, show disrespect for Indonesian sovereignty.” Bishop said she told Natalegawa that Australia would be making changes to its laws “so that we take away the product that the people-smugglers are currently selling-and that is permanent residency in Australia”. She blamed the previous Labor government of leaving “a complete mess in border protection” which she said encouraged people-smuggling, although boat arrivals slowed sharply ahead of the elections due to their tough permanent resettlement deal for

refugees with Papua New Guinea and Nauru. Bishop said that she looked forward to further talks during Abbott’s upcoming visit to Indonesia, where he will meet President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on September 30. Abbott’s controversial plan to “stop the boats”, one of his key election promises, includes buying up Indonesian fishing vessels to keep them out of the hands of people-smugglers, embedding Australian police in villages and paying local residents for intelligence. Labor’s interim opposition leader Chris Bowen voiced skepticism over whether Indonesia would accept the government’s plan, dubbed Operation Sovereign Borders. “I suspect Natalegawa

has made it very clear... that Indonesia would not cooperate with a turnback policy,” Bowen told reporters. “And I suspect that is why we have not yet seen a turnback under this government, and the government refusing to talk about whether they will turn back boats or not.” Australia’s new Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has said information about asylum-seeker arrivals will be given at weekly briefings, while turnbacks would not be discussed if they could impact current or future operations. Bowen said it appeared from reports that another asylum-seeker boat had arrived in the northern city of Darwin overnight, but that Morrison had “gone into hiding” to avoid scrutiny on arrivals. —AFP

N Korea’s nuke progress hard to rein in: Experts Conference weighs urgent need for new strategies SEOUL: North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is developing beyond the international community’s ability to rein it in with effective sanctions and export restrictions, regional analysts and nuclear experts warned yesterday. While opinion on the current level of the nuclear threat posed by North Korea was divided, a conference

start of this process anymore. They’ve been at it a long time,” said Park Jiyoung, director of the Asian Institute’s Science and Technology Policy Center. “It’s clearly likely that the North will try to go beyond its current nuclear capability ... (and) export controls can’t stop that development,” Park said. North Korea has carried out three

ducing the key components of the gas centrifuges needed to enrich uranium. “In which case, the current policy based on export controls, sanctions and interdictions has probably reached its limit of effectiveness,” Pollack told the Seoul conference. “It means we cannot easily stop the expansion of the enrichment program

CHEORWON: A rocket is fired by a US Multiple Launch Rocket System vehicle during a US military exercise near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Cheorwon, South Korea, yesterday. —AP organized by the Asian Institute thinktank in Seoul showed consensus on the urgent need for new strategies to keep the threat in check. Even as Pyongyang’s closest ally China announced an export ban to the North of technologies and goods with dualuse potential, experts questioned whether North Korea’s weapons program hadn’t already moved beyond its earlier dependence on external equipment and know-how. “They are not at the

nuclear tests-the last, and most powerful, in February this year. Satellite images suggest it has restarted a plutonium reactor at its main Yongbyon nuclear complex and doubled its uranium enrichment capacity at the same site. A new study by Washington-based nuclear proliferation expert Joshua Pollack and nuclear scientist Scott Kemp, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, further suggests North Korea is capable of indigenously pro-

... or maybe even detect its expansion,” he added. Uranium enrichment carries a far smaller footprint than plutonium and can be carried out using centrifuge cascades in relatively small buildings that give off no heat. The possibility that North Korea has, or will have, undeclared uranium enrichment facilities squirrelled away across the country would undermine the credibility of any future aid-fordenuclearization deal with Pyongyang. As a result, the international communi-

ty’s best strategy, Pollack argued, might be to focus its efforts on preventing a fourth nuclear test. Li Bin, a physicist and nuclear policy expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said North Korea could be just one test shy of making the crucial leap to miniaturization-the ability to fit a nuclear warhead on a missile. “If they can do more nuclear tests, maybe just one more, they would be able to have a small and more reliable device,” Li said. Asked what steps the international community could take to prevent a determined Pyongyang pursuing a fourth test, Li paused before replying: “I have no idea.” The one area of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program which would appear to require the most work is the development of a reliable delivery system. In December last year, it put a satellite in orbit with a rocket launch that was widely condemned as a disguised ballistic missile test. But German missile expert Markus Schiller said he was “very sure”-despite Pyongyang’s recent threats to the contrary-that the North currently had no inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) capacity. The Unha-3 carrier used in December’s launch “is not a weapon,” Schiller said. The North has smaller missiles capable of reaching South Korea, Japan and China, but Schiller said their technical unreliability made it “highly unlikely” it would risk one of its few nuclear weapons on such a carrier. The North’s nuclear arsenal is variously estimated at between six and 10 bombs. Technical capabilities aside, Schiller questioned whether the outside world tended to overplay the threat of a North Korean nuclear strike. A pre-emptive attack would result in “total war” that the North could never win, “and the leadership is well aware of that,” Schiller said. “North Korea’s weapons program is a political tool, aimed at extracting international concessions and showing strength at home,” he argued. “We should see these weapons as what they primarily are. As politics,” he added. —AFP

Malaysia proposes new detention without trial Chinese man sentenced to death for killing toddler BEIJING: A Beijing court yesterday convicted a man of murder and sentenced him to death for hurling a toddler to the ground in a case that horrified the Chinese public. The 2-year-old girl was severely injured and died in a hospital days after the incident. Her attacker, Han Lei, fled the scene, but police caught him the following day. In court, he said he thought he had been throwing a shopping cart to the ground. The July 23 incident in a southern district of Beijing started with a dispute as the girl and her mother were waiting at a bus stop, the Beijing court system said in a statement on its official microblog. The court said Han, 39, was looking for a parking space when he got out of his car, telling the mother that the carriage was in his way for parking. It said Han beat the woman to the ground, grabbed the girl from her carriage and raised her above his head before throwing her to the ground. “At that time I didn’t know it was a baby carriage. I thought because the woman had just been shopping that it was a shopping cart,” state media quoted Han as saying in court. His lawyer said Han hadn’t intended to cause the girl’s death, but the Beijing No 1 Intermediate People’s Court convicted him of murder and gave him the death penalty. A second man, Li Ming, who drove Han away from the scene, was sentenced to five years in prison for hiding the suspect, the statement said. Han’s death sentence will be reviewed by the Supreme People’s Court, as required of all death penalties in China. —AP

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s government proposed an amendment to crime laws yesterday that would give authorities the power to hold suspects for years without trial, in what critics said was a lurch back to draconian security policies that were only recently eased. The government is justifying the proposed toughening of security laws as necessary to curb a rise in violent crime in recent months, including the murder of a prominent former banker in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, that has alarmed the public. But the move to amend the 1959 Prevention of Crime Act has political resonance in a country where tough security laws have been used in the past to detain opposition figures and government critics and following an election in May that deepened ethnic and political divisions. Prime Minister Najib Razak has moved to appease conservative factions in the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) in recent weeks, signalling that the weak election victory has blunted his ability to push liberal reforms. Teo Nie Ching, an opposition member of parliament, said the new proposal appeared to be a “fundamental breach of human rights”. “It seems we are going back to the time of the ISA (Internal Security Act) even though it is called prevention of crime,” she told Reuters. The ISA, which allowed for indefinite detention, was among several tough security laws repealed by Najib in 2011. Under the amendment, a Prevention of Crime Board made up of three members and headed by a judge will be able to issue

a detention order for two years, which could be renewed for two years indefinitely, according to a copy of the bill seen by Reuters. The detention could be ordered if the board is satisfied that it is “in the interest of public order, public security or prevention of crime”, the draft bill says. Najib repealed a series of colonial-era security laws in 2011, including the ISA and Emergency Ordinance, that allowed indefinite detention without trial, saying he was seeking a new balance between national security and ensuring civil liberties. The moves were seen as an attempt to make the ruling coalition more appealing to Malaysia’s growing middle class and burgeoning youth population. But many of those voters rejected the Barisan Nasional coalition in May, weakening its majority in parliament and leaving Najib vulnerable to UMNO traditionalists who oppose more liberal security policies. Police chiefs have appealed for a replacement for the Emergency Ordinance, blaming its repeal for releasing hundreds of hard-core criminals on to the streets. Government officials could not immediately be reached for comment, but Home Minister Zahid Hamidi was quoted by online media portals as telling reporters the new proposal was not “draconian” and that the government would listen to criticism. Najib is assured of re-election as party leader at an UMNO general assembly next month, but only after he announced a slew of measures this month to help majority ethnic Malays in a move seen as appeasing party conservatives. —Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR: A man (center) opens a bus door through within a poster showing the Malaysia ethnic communities with traditional dress in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. The Malaysian government’s new measures to benefit the Malay majority are angering the multi-ethnic nation’s other races and raising fears they could accelerate a “brain drain” of talent heading overseas. —AFP

Malaysia shift on affirmative action angers minorities KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian government’s new measures to benefit the Malay majority are angering the multi-ethnic nation’s other races and raising fears they could accelerate a “brain drain” of talent heading overseas. Prime Minister Najib Razak pledged in 2010, shortly after taking office, to reform controversial decades-old affirmative-action policies for Muslim Malays, seeking to halt a flood of minority voters to the opposition. But he reversed course this month with a slate of new perks to placate conservatives in his Malay ruling party who are upset over a weakened mandate he won in May elections in which minorities continued to snub Najib. The move has angered non-Malays who complain of secondclass status and led to accusations that Najib reneged on a promise of racial inclusiveness. “Of course, I am very disappointed,” said H Y Chong, an ethnic Chinese lawyer. Chong decided after the Malay-led 56-year-old coalition government retained power in May that she would emigrate to neighboring Singapore, joining a flow of educated Chinese and Indians that economists say threatens Malaysia’s competitiveness. “This proves Prime Minister Najib is further sidelining the non-bumiputra,” she said. Muslim Malays and smaller indigenous groups-known as “bumiputra”, or “sons of the soil” —- make up more than 60 percent of Malaysia’s 28 million people. Under the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO), bumiputra have enjoyed quotas in university placements, housing, and government jobs and contracts since the 1970s to prevent business-savvy Chinese from completely dominating the economy. Chinese make up a quarter of the population. Ethnic Indians comprise about eight percent. The policies are credited with helping create a

Malay middle class and maintaining harmony despite tensions. But critics say they have become a millstone in a competitive global economy and are abused by the Malay elite. Najib’s new steps “throw acid” on the racial divide, said Malaysia politics analyst Bridget Welsh. “This will only enhance the brain drain, including in the Malay community, as this policy is geared for the UMNO elite,” she said. The measures announced on September 14 include $3 billion to increase Malay corporate equity stakes, millions more to incubate entrepreneurs, and call on state companies to award more projects to Malay-owned firms. Najib-whose father Abdul Razak Hussein, Malaysia’s second prime minister, launched the original system four decades ago after race riotssaid Malays still need help, noting Chinese outearn them by 40 percent. “This is always a delicate balancing (act) in Malaysia,” Najib said in a televised interview at the weekend. “My helping the bumiputra doesn’t mean that we will exclude the others.” It comes at a tense time for race relations, however. Facing ebbing support for the UMNOdominated coalition that has ruled tightly since independence in 1957, Najib had earlier launched campaigns for racial inclusiveness and reduced government interference in the economy. But Chinese voted in record numbers for a multi-ethnic opposition advocating an end to race bias. Analysts warn Najib is now under heightened pressure within UMNO to abandon racial unity and focus on the Malay base. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim denounced Najib’s move to once again wave the bumiputra flag, telling Time magazine it would cause Malaysia to “lose competitiveness because of the brain drain”. —AFP

Vendor’s execution draws Chinese public’s sympathy BEIJING: A Chinese street vendor convicted of killing two city officials was executed yesterday despite calls for leniency, disappointing legal activists and many members of the public who say the country’s justice system fails to protect the underprivileged and punishes them too harshly. China’s social media, which has been in a lull over social issues because of a government crackdown on potentially libelous speech, lit up over the execution of Xia Junfeng, making it one of the most discussed and searched topics of the day. Xia, who grilled meat skewers at a streetside stand in the northeastern city of Shenyang, stabbed two urban management officers to death with a knife in May 2009 in a room into which he was taken over an infraction. Xia said it was selfdefense after the two officers beat him. The trial court ruled out the possibility, saying it saw no evidence of that, and convicted him of murder. But his argument resonated with a public that has become disgusted over the impunity with which city officials impose local codes on street peddlers - often with violence. Several video clips of public beatings by the urban management officials known as chengguan in Chinese - have gone viral in China in recent years. Some people compared his case to that of Gu Kailai, the wife of fallen politician Bo Xilai, whose death sentence for murder was suspended. “I am no legal expert, but I know a sim-

ple rule: If Gu Kailai can be spared of her life for a premeditated murder, then Xia Junfeng should not die,” said Yao Bo, a well-known online commentator in Beijing. Author Yi Chen called the Supreme Court’s failure to halt Xia’s execution “crazy,” and wrote, “justice is dead.” “His life and death are more than just a legal matter, but a bellwether of the era, with the tsunami-like public opinion firmly on the side of Xia Junfeng,” Yi Chen wrote in online comments he later confirmed to AP. Xia was convicted in 2009, and a higher court later upheld the verdict. His family made a last ditch appeal arguing that there were unanswered questions in the prosecution in their submission to the Supreme Court, which must approve all executions. But the appeal was rejected. Shenyang Intermediate People’s Court said in a statement Wednesday that the Supreme Court - in ratifying the death sentence - found Xia’s crime to be “extremely vile” and his method “extremely cruel.” Xia’s wife, Zhang Jin, was notified early yesterday morning of her last chance to see her husband before the execution. “I swear I will not cry again, so that my dear man can go in peace,” Zhang posted on her microblog. News of the execution order prompted an outpouring of calls online to spare Xia, and thousands of repostings of Zhang’s comments. By midday, Xia’s case soared to the No. 1 hot topic with public opinion overwhelming on his side. —AP



Israel ‘challenged’ by Iran charm offensive JERUSALEM: As Iran’s new president reaches out to the West with a message of moderation, Israel’s hawkish approach on Tehran’s nuclear program looks likely to come under pressure, experts say. President Hassan Rowhani on Tuesday emphasized the peaceful nature of the Islamic republic’s atomic program, telling the UN General Assembly that “nuclear weapons... have no place in Iran’s security and defense doctrine.” Israel scrambled to denounce the speech, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling it “cynical” and “full of hypocrisy”. “This is exactly Iran’s strategy-to talk and play for time in order to advance its ability to achieve nuclear weapons. Rowhani knows this well,” charged Netanyahu. But Rowhani’s diplomatic overtures, which stand in stark contrast to the belligerent statements so commonly heard from his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, are proving to be quite a challenge to the Israeli premier. “For the past eight years, Israel’s efforts to convince the world... to tackle Iran’s nuclear designs

head on relied on... adamant, Holocaust-denying Ahmadinejad,” commentator Chemi Shalevan wrote in Haaretz newspaper. “Ahmadinejad... served as Israel’s number one talking point, its strategic propaganda asset, a poster boy who selfexplained Tehran’s sinister designs.” Rowhani’s message is a “real diplomatic challenge for Israel,” Professor Uzi Rabi, an Iran specialist at Tel Aviv University said. “The last time Netanyahu was at the United Nations, it was much easier for Israel to argue on Iran. I’m not sure shouting... is the best Israel can come up with (this time),” he said. Last year, Netanyahu stood before the UN General Assembly and drew a red line on a cartoonish depiction of a bomb, saying the international community must act to prevent Iran from using its nuclear program to build a weapon, a charge accepted by the West but denied by Tehran. This year, when he addresses the UN General Assembly on October 1, the Israeli leader will seek to play down the differences between Rowhani

War means profit for gun seller in Aleppo ALEPPO: While most Syrians get poorer with every day of war, Aleppo’s main gun seller Abu Mohammad is doing just fine by selling firearms, including rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and even swords. “War is great business,” said the northern city’s only gunshop owner, as he laid several hand grenades out on a counter. “I wanted to help the rebels because they had no arms or ammunition,” the 39-year-old said, adding that he makes an astonishing 50,000 Syrian pounds ($370) a day. Abu Mohammad opened his gun store in the rebel-held neighborhood of Fardos earlier this year after a leg injury cut short a nine-month stint battling alongside the Free Syrian Army. Several weapons are exhibited on the shop walls, including 9mm guns and AK-47 assault rifles, one of them silver-plated. “They’re made in Iraq and Russia, and prices range from $1,500 to $2,000, depending on the quality,” said Abu Mohammad’s 20-year-old son, a rebel fighter who lends a hand in the store. “We also have military uniforms, boots, gas masks and walkie-talkies. Most of the material comes from Turkey,” he added. Reaching for a 9mm gun, Mohammad says he enjoys helping his father out in the shop because “I love weapons.” It’s 4:00 pm and the two men running the family business are busy serving clients. Mohammad Assi, 43, walks in along with several of his brothers in arms. He is looking for ammunition for his rifle. Counting a wad of cash, Assi says he would like to buy a new rifle, “but these models aren’t very good and they’re too expensive.” He hands over 15,000 Syrian pounds ($110) for 150 rounds. “100 pounds for a bullet,” the rebel sighs. “Ammo is so scarce. That’s why it’s the most expensive thing to buy.” Gun seller Abu Mohammad understands there’s a shortage of cash, so he’s open to making deals with

some of his clients. “When the rebels seize an army base, they come to my store and swap weapons for ammunition,” he said. Some buyers come in looking for more specialized products, including one who wants a scope that will help locate snipers. Another walks in holding three swords and shows them to Abu Mohammad, who unsheathes them and inspects them for quality. “We also buy weapons off people who need the money to feed their families,” Abu Mohammad says. “Before the war broke out, there were many people who collected weapons, or who held onto them after they’d finished their draft service. They aren’t going to use them, so they bring them over to me to make some money off them,” he added. Though most of Abu Mohammad’s clients are rebels, some civilians visit his store as well. “I only sell hunting weapons and 9mm guns to civilians. I never sell them military-grade weapons,” he said. More than a year after a massive rebel assault on Aleppo-once Syria’s commercial capital-the city is divided into rebel and army-controlled districts. Those who have not fled the city face not only escalating poverty and daily battles in their districts, but also the danger of theft and looting by criminal groups. “I’m here to buy a gun... Because of the situation, I prefer to be armed in order to protect my family,” said a 65-year-old man who brought his grandson to Abu Mohammad’s store. The gun seller is also adept at repairing damaged weapons. Laying out a sniper rifle on his work table, he points a laser light through the barrel to check its accuracy. “I’ve always liked fixing weapons and making them,” said Abu Mohammad, who used to work at a weapons factory. “It’s one of the few things I’m good at,” he says with a smile. —AFP

and his predecessor, the top-selling Yediot Aharonot daily said. “Netanyahu will say that, like Ahmadinejad, Rowhani also adheres to the goal of destroying the State of Israel and attacking the entire Western world.” Rabi agreed: “Israel is trying to make sure everyone is keenly aware that the Iranian charm offensive is just tactics - it doesn’t mean there’s real change.” Israel’s concerns over a thaw were further stoked on Monday when officials said US Secretary of State John Kerry would hold his first nuclear talks with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif at a landmark meeting at the UN headquarters on September 26. “Netanyahu... is not going to be in the negotiations room so he’s trying to remind the US of the reality that there’s not been evidence of change,” Dr Emily Landau of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies said. Israel fears the meeting could undermine its efforts to put further pressure on Iran, according to Dr Raz Zimmt, a research fellow at Tel Aviv

New grouping includes Qaeda-linked faction BEIRUT: Powerful Syrian insurgent units have rejected the authority of the opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC), badly damaging efforts by Western-backed political exiles to forge a moderate rebel military force on the ground. Thirteen groups, including at least three previously considered part of the coalition’s military wing, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), signed a statement calling for the opposition to President Bashar Al-Assad to be reorganized under an Islamic framework and to be run only by groups fighting inside Syria. The signatories range from hardliners such as the Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and Ahrar Al-Sham battalions to more moderate Islamist groups such as the Tawheed Brigade and Islam Brigade. “These forces feel that all groups formed abroad without having returned to the country do not represent them, and they will not recognize them,” said the statement read in an online video by Abdulaziz Salameh, the political leader of the Tawheed Brigade. “Therefore the National Coalition and its transitional government led by Ahmad Tumeh do not represent them and will not be recognized,” he said. Western powers and their Gulf Arab allies had encouraged the SNC to lead a credible force within Syria under the FSA’s banner and undercut Islamist militant groups piling into the conflict. This effort to find a partner which the West

Iran Jews mark Sukkot with hopes pinned on Rouhani duration of the week-long festivity as they mark the exodus of the Jewish people from captivity in Egypt, in the Old Testament. “We pray for it to rain, as it is a sign of good fortune for the entire year to come,” said Eliza Masoudi Panah, a mother in her 40s accompanied by her teenage daughter under the hut. WELL-INTEGRATED MINORITY Recognized as a religious minority, along with Christians and Zoroastrians, the Jewish community has a representative in parliament and appears to be well-integrated in a society dominated by Muslims. It operates schools, a library and a hospital-funded in part by public funds-in Tehran. But they hope that with the presidency of Rouhani, a moderate mid-ranking Shiite cleric who took office in August, their standing will improve. The government of Rouhani’s hardline predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “never sent a (New Year) message to the Jewish community,” Sameyah said. “We welcome the approach of the new government towards minorities,” he said referring to messages from Rouhani and his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, wishing Jews worldwide a happy New Year in early September. Sameyah says he was unfazed by the regular anti-Israeli tirades of Ahmadinejad and other Iranian officials over the past eight years during his two terms in office.

HOLOCAUST ‘REPREHENSIBLE’ And in a radical about-turn from his Holocaust-denying predecessor’s rhetoric, Rowhani, in an interview with CNN, condemned the Nazi genocide as a “reprehensible” crime. “I’m not sure the US can help it. Rowhani is the star of the UN,” Rabi said. “The Iranians could come up with an interim suspension of uranium enrichment, but in the long term Iran is going to prevail when it comes to its nuclear plan,” Rabi predicted. And with much of the Middle East in crisis, Iran knows Washington may need its help in other areas, such as Syria. “This is why they’re coming up with a new initiative” to talk with the West, Rabi told AFP, saying Iran was “capitalizing on the Syria saga.”But Landau disagreed, saying the real reason for Iran’s reaching out was the pressure of Western sanctions. “What we’re not seeing is any indication that Iran is willing to change course as far as the nuclear issue is concerned,” she said. “The US wants to see real concrete steps from Iran.” —AFP

Syria rebels reject oppn, seek Islamic leadership

TEHRAN: A religious Iranian Jew inspects an “Etrog” (citron), one of four species used during the celebration of Sukkot, the feast of the Tabernacles, to be blessed at a synagogue in downtown Tehran. —AFP

TEHRAN: The Sukkot holiday has come at a time of raised hopes for the small Jewish community in Iran of a new approach towards minorities under the Islamic republic’s new President Hassan Rouhani. In a radical about-turn from his Holocaust-denying predecessor, Rouhani, in an interview with CNN, condemned the Nazi genocide as a “reprehensible” crime. “Any crime that happens in history against humanity, including the crime the Nazis created toward the Jews, is reprehensible and condemnable,” he told the US network in an interview Tuesday. Iranian Jews have shed more than 70 percent of their 80,000 to 100,00 population of before the 1979 Islamic revolution. Now some 8,750 — according to a 2011 census-to 20,000 Jews still live in Iran. Those who have chosen to remainscattered across Iran but mostly in Tehran, Isfahan and Shiraz-”have an easy life,” Tehran’s Jewish community head Homayoun Sameyah Najaf Abady said. “We do not have a problem. The government does not create problems for us,” he said in a Sukkot prayer ceremony in the Abrishami synagogue in the centre of the capital, attended by some 200 faithful. One of the 10 active synagogues in Tehran, Abrishami, which can accommodate 500 people, is adorned with marble floors and walls and chandeliers. A large hut with glass walls has been set up on its roof to host families for the

University’s Iranian studies centre. “Israel’s government and prime minister are facing difficulties convincing the international community to treat Iran the same way it has treated it before,” Zimmt told AFP. “In the West, they see Rowhani as totally different from Ahmadinejad. They’re right, but... Rowhani hasn’t come up with a concrete proposal on how to resolve the nuclear issue. “Any pact between Iran and the West... might isolate Israel,” Zimmt said. Washington has been “working behind the scenes to allay Israeli concerns and has said that the Iranian president will be judged by his actions,” Israel’s Maariv newspaper said on Sunday. But Rowhani’s “charm offensive,” together with developments in the wider Middle East region, may trump Israel’s protestations, analysts warned. “Both the US and Iranian administrations have decided there’s a window of opportunity to talk,” Zimmt said. As part of efforts to burnish the Islamic republic’s image, Rowhani’s delegation to the UN includes a Jewish MP, Iranian media reported.

“The political differences between Iran and Israel do not affect us,” he said. “Jews of Iran are Iranians first. We live with the same economic problems faced by our compatriots.” Iran’s economy has been hard hit by Western sanctions targeting its vital oil sector and access to the global banking system, leading to massive depreciation of its currency and raging inflation. The sanctions aim to force Tehran to cut back on its controversial nuclear activities, which Western powers and Israel suspect mask military objectives despite repeated Iranian denials. JEW VS ZIONIST Sameyah stressed he is well respected as a minority member and that he has friends both within the paramilitary Basij volunteer force and the elite Revolutionary Guards who “respect me and my religion.” However, he admits to grievances with the state broadcaster which “fails to distinguish between Jews and Zionists”-the Islamic republic does not recognize Israel as a state. There are other cases of discrimination, Sameyah said, including a bar on holding high public office. “Important offices are out of the question. In a bank, for example, the furthest we go can is become the deputy,” he said. But this is “not a major issue” he added with a smile. “As you know, we are good with money. Most of us are in the private sector.” —AFP

and its allies could then back with weapons supplies could collapse if the rebel signatories hold their position - some groups have previously backed away from statements with hardline forces. “If the statement proves to accurately represent the groups mentioned and they do not immediately fall apart again, it is a very big deal,” wrote analyst Aron Lund on the blog Syria Comment. “It represents the rebellion of a large part of the ‘mainstream FSA’ against its purported political leadership, and openly aligns these factions with more hardline Islamist forces.” CHRONIC INFIGHTING Since the 2-1/2-year-old revolt against Assad began, Syria’s opposition forces have been riven with factionalism and rivalries. There have also been tensions between Islamist groups and those that support a secular vision for a post-Assad Syria. Charles Lister of IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre said the three moderate Islamist groups which signed the statement - the Tawheed Brigade, the Islam Brigade and Suqor Al-Sham - had represented SNC’s main rebel presence on the ground. “The inclusion of the core of the SNC force...effectively depletes the SNC’s armed wing, the Syrian Military Council,” Lister said. “It is likely that the moderate Islamist coalition has ceased to exist as a single organization structure.” Islamist forces grew in power as the Syrian

conflict changed from peaceful protests into an armed insurgency after a fierce crackdown by Assad’s forces. Militant groups, some linked to Al-Qaeda, have become even stronger in the ensuing civil war. Many Islamist groups that do not share Al-Qaeda’s ideology had maintained a pragmatic stance. But the statement indicates that Tawheed and others have closed ranks with hardliners on the ground rather than the Western- and Gulf-backed SNC abroad. “These forces call on all military and civilian forces to unite under a clear Islamic framework based on Sharia law, which should be the sole source of legislation,” the statement said. One of the most radical groups fighting in Syria, AlQaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, was not involved in the statement, although it was not immediately clear if that was its own choice or because the other groups deliberately excluded it. Whatever their ideological background, many opposition groups inside Syria are skeptical and resentful of the SNC, a fractious umbrella organization for opposition groups abroad. Critics accuse it of not being transparent with funding and in its political processes. They say it is out of touch with people in Syria, where more than 100,000 have been killed and swathes of territory have been destroyed by combat and shelling. —Reuters




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Syria rebels break ranks in challenge for foreign backers By Sara Hussein


decision by key Syrian rebel groups to break with the Western-backed National Coalition further splinters the opposition and poses a key challenge for its international supporters, analysts say. A new alliance sees members of the military command of the West’s ally General Salim Idriss join forces with the AlQaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front. It effectively guts the Syrian Military Council (SMC) that Idriss heads, and raises questions about how much influence the West and other rebel backers will now have on the ground, experts say. And both the language of the announcement and the participation of Al-Nusra will raise fears in the West about increasing radicalization in the armed opposition. The announcement by 13 rebel factions, including the powerful Ahrar al-Sham, Liwa AlTawhid and Liwa Al-Islam groups, came on Tuesday night. In a statement, they said the key opposition grouping known as the National Coalition to which Idriss belongs “does not represent us, nor do we recognize it.” The group called “on all military and civilian groups to unite in a clear Islamic context that... is based on sharia (Islamic) law, making it the sole source of legislation.” The announcement strips the mainstream rebel force of some of its most important players, according to Charles Lister, an analyst at IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre. “It’s extremely damaging,” he said. The 13 groups “represent a very significant portion of the armed opposition and the groups that have had the most strategically valuable impact.” “The impact this will have on the ability of the SMC to represent itself as the core of the opposition will be huge.” Aron Lund, a Syria expert, agreed, in an analysis posted on the Syria Comment blog. “It represents the rebellion of a large part of the ‘mainstream Free Syrian Army’ against its purported leadership, and openly aligns these factions with more hardline forces,” he wrote. Thomas Pierret, a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, pointed out that last year some of the factions had refused to join Al-Nusra in a similar denunciation of the Coalition. He said a US-Russian deal to strip Syria of its chemical weapons, which halted US plans for military action against the regime, had changed the calculus for some. “After the chemical weapons crisis, insurgents have lost any possible hope in the benefits of an alliance with the West,” he said. While the Islamist bent of the alliance is clear, many of Syria’s rebel groups use Islamist language, and Lister said he did not expect to see all the factions fall in line with Al-Nusra. In fact, analysts pointed to a notable jihadist absence from the new grouping-that of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The group, which began as Al-Qaeda’s Iraqi arm and expanded into Syria earlier this year, has clashed with other rebel groups in recent months. Lund said it was too early to see the new grouping as intended to confront ISIL, noting that nothing in its statement would be objectionable to the Al-Qaeda affiliate. “It might in fact suit them pretty well, since it weakens the hand of the Western-backed camp and adds weight to Islamist demands,” he wrote, adding that ISIL could even join the alliance going forward. But Lister said ISIL’s exclusion was “not accidental.”“The fact that there’s nothing in the statement that ISIL would disagree with and yet they’re not included is significant in and of itself.” Pierret added that the group’s Islamist language “may be a means for the signatories to bolter their Islamic credentials in anticipation of a possible future step against ISIL.” Even without ISIL, the alignment of formerly Westernbacked brigades with Al-Nusra will pose problems for the West, much of which lists the group as a “terrorist organization.” Washington has been talking about ramping up military aid to the rebels through Idriss, but the new alliance could make that impossible. “They’ve got no way forward, they’ve put themselves in a box. It becomes more and more difficult to provide arms,” said Yezid Sayigh, a senior associate at the Carnegie Middle East Centre. The decision by key rebel factions to reject the National Coalition could further diminish the chances of a negotiated solution to the conflict, with the Coalition no longer able to claim it represents the opposition. “The National Coalition wasn’t exactly going anywhere anyway... (but) its lack of meaningful control or influence is just being highlighted all the more,” Sayigh said. “Bottom line is that the issue of representation is going to be massive one.” —AFP

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After Syria, Congress wary of Obama’s Iran thaw By Patricia Zengerle


fter balking at President Barack Obama’s plan to attack Syria, the US Congress is also stirring in opposition to his latest foreign policy goal: an effort to improve relations with Iran. Congress imposed sanctions that are damaging the Iranian economy and, according to US officials, are responsible for a moderate tone from Iran’s new leadership, which will restart talks this week over its nuclear program. US lawmakers have the power to lift sanctions if they think Tehran is making concessions and scaling back its nuclear ambitions, but many Republicans and some of Obama’s fellow Democrats are skeptical about a charm offensive by new President Hassan Rouhani. “We need to approach the current diplomatic initiative with eyes wide open, and we must not allow Iran to use negotiations as a tool of delay and deception,” Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Kelly Ayotte said in a statement. Many US lawmakers are deeply supportive of Israel and suspect Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapons capability, one of the few areas where bitterly divided Republicans and Democrats agree on policy. “Congress has no stake in giving Iran the benefit of the doubt, period. And until they see something quite dramatic on the part of the

Iranians, they won’t,” said Aaron David Miller, a former senior State Department official now at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. The Senate and House of Representatives have passed repeated packages of tough sanctions on Iran. Obama has the legal right to waive most of them for 120 days, and then another 120 days, as an option if nuclear negotiations with Iran, which begin today, are going well. In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Obama said he was determined to test President Rouhani’s recent diplomatic gestures and challenged him to take concrete steps toward resolving Iran’s long-running nuclear dispute with the West. “Conciliatory words will have to be matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable,” Obama told the annual gathering of world leaders in New York. In the event Obama were to temporarily waive sanctions, it could worsen already bad relations with Congress, which pushed back against the administration, expressing serious misgivings earlier this month about a planned US attack on Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons. Lawmakers ended up not taking a vote on Syria, perhaps saving Obama from an embarrassing defeat, but now the White House is at odds with Republican fiscal conservatives in Congress over a possible government shutdown and the

debt ceiling. Failure by Obama to rein in sanctions hawks in Congress could hinder talks on Iran’s nuclear program, which Tehran says is peaceful. “For the Iranians to negotiate with the Obama administration, they have to be convinced that the Obama administration can deliver what they need from Congress,” said Jon Alterman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. CONSISTENT VOICE Rouhani hinted at that problem in a speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. He called for “a consistent voice from Washington” and expressed hope Obama would not be swayed by “war-mongering pressure groups” in dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue. The Senate Banking Committee is expected soon to begin debating its version of a new package of sanctions that easily passed the House of Representatives in July. The House bill would cut Iran’s crude exports to global customers by an additional 1 million barrels per day in a year, on top of US and European Union sanctions that have about halved Tehran’s oil sales since 2011. Deeper cuts in Iran’s oil sales could worsen the damage Western sanctions have already done to Iran’s economy, which suffered a loss of about $26 billion in petroleum revenue in 2012, soaring

inflation, and a devaluation of its currency, the rial. Republican Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a coauthor of the new House sanctions bill, dismissed Rouhani’s speech as rhetoric. “Through crippling economic sanctions we can continue to increase the pressure on the regime, targeting its ability to pursue a nuclear weapons capability,” Royce said in a statement. Two senior Democrats - Senator Charles Schumer and Robert Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee - joined Republican lawmakers on Monday to call on Obama to stay tough on Iran. Menendez was unimpressed with the UN speech by Iran’s new president. “While I welcome the statement by President Rouhani that Iran is seeking a peaceful and diplomatic path, I was disappointed by the overwhelmingly antagonistic rhetoric that characterized his remarks,” he said. On Tuesday, 11 Republicans who opposed Obama’s proposal to strike Syria, led by potential 2016 presidential contender Senator Marco Rubio, urged a hard line on Iran. “We all agree that Iran should not perceive any weakness as a result of our differences over Syria policy,” they said in a letter released while Obama delivered his address to the UN General Assembly in New York.—Reuters

Kenya raid projects Al Shabaab onto global stage By Abdi Sheikh and Richard Lough


omali Islamist militant group Al Shabaab’s attack on a shopping mall in the heart of the Kenyan capital has thrust it to the forefront of the global jihadist movement after years of internal feuding over the group’s aims. The apparent sophistication of the weekend raid, involving 15 or so heavily-armed fighters who held off Kenya’s military for four days, suggests careful planning and a trained strike force that goes beyond the group’s hallmark hit-and-run tactics. Regional intelligence experts said they believed the raiders, who killed 67 people in an assault that shocked Kenya and the world, were members of a crack unit loyal to the group’s leader, Ahmed Godane, who has been seeking to rebrand Al Shabaab as a significant international jihadist group. Al Shabaab had threatened revenge against Kenya since its troops joined the war against Islamist militants in its chaotic northern neighbour two years ago in an operation codenamed “Linda Nchi”, or “Protect the Country” in Swahili. The group had created funding, recruiting and training networks in Kenya, security agencies say. The mall attack bears out Western fears that the insurgents would use Somalia, a hotspot in the US-led war on Islamist militants across the globe, as a launch pad for strikes on regional countries even as African troops put them on the defensive in the Horn of Africa state. Al Shabaab has been weakened by an African Union-led offensive that has expelled the group from urban strongholds over the past two years, but they remain a dangerous threat. “They have not been dying in the past two years. They have developed guerrilla tactics instead of face-to-face fighting,” said a Somali intelligence officer who identified himself as Ahmed, a former Islamist fighter. “There are still many foreign fighters with Godane.” Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage said that the gunmen who burst into the Israeli-built, upscale Westgate mall around midday on Saturday were “well-trained special

forces”. Their exact identity, though, remains unknown. A Nairobi-based diplomat said it was possible Godane’s own secret service, the Amniyat, an elite unit which has its own chain of command, logistics network and financial resources, carried out the raid. A second Somali intelligence agent, who gave his name as Mohamed, told Reuters he understood the Westgate attackers were a crack Shabaab unit known as the Iktihaam, after the Arabic term meaning to storm in. The Kenyan military said the assailants were a “multi-national collection”, but they have not confirmed reports that the raiders, whom President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Tuesday had been “defeated”, include some Americans and British woman. Al Shabaab is a militia which emerged from Somalia’s Islamic Courts Union movement that pushed US-backed warlords out of the capital Mogadishu before being ousted by Somali and Ethiopian forces. Al Shabaab went on to seize large swathes of territory.

POWER STRUGGLE Foreign combatants from the United States, Europe and the Gulf states have steadily gained influence within Al Shabaab, many drawn by Godane’s ambition to take the group’s militant campaign beyond Somalia’s borders. Al Shabaab’s first signature strike abroad came in 2010 when coordinated explosions killed more than 70 people in the Ugandan capital Kampala on the night of the World Cup soccer final. The group said the attack was to avenge the deployment of Ugandan peacekeepers in Somalia. Repeated threats of a big strike on Kenyan soil failed to materialize, however, denting the aspirations of the ultra-hardliners to be a prominent affiliate within the al Qaeda franchise. But Saturday’s highimpact attack on the mall, a symbol of Kenya’s economic power, has changed that. “A lot of people have been thinking of Al Shabaab as a Somali issue but (after) this attack they are going to be

viewed more as a part of Al-Qaeda and the global terrorist network,” said Ali Soufan, whose Soufan Group provides strategic security intelligence to governments and businesses. This could help al Shabaab to win new supporters and resources among militants committed to anti-Western jihad. It also follows deep rifts within the group that saw a power struggle between those who wanted to keep its Jihad within Somalia - the so-called “indigenous faction” - and those led by Godane who wanted to take extend the campaign further afield. “External attacks tend to happen when a group is trying to consolidate,” said Leah Farrall, a former senior counter terrorism intelligence analyst with the Australian Federal Police. “In recent months you have been seeing a tremendous amount of fracturing in their domestic environment.” It is an internal fight that Godane appears to have won. After falling out with Godane, Al Shabaab’s one-time spiritual leader, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, fled

NAIROBI: A morgue worker attends to bodies of the Westgate Mall attack yesterday at Nairobi’s mortuary. —AFP

and is now in government custody. A prominent US-born militant, Omar Hammami, known as Al-Amriki, or “the American”, was killed in a gunbattle this month, after he criticised Godane’s wider jihadist ambitions. HOME GROWN While al Shabaab has pressed the narrative of a crack strike unit, capable of hitting across international borders, analysts said Kenya would also need to look closer to home to hunt down those who helped plan and orchestrate the raid. Reports from Kenya’s military that the gunmen moved covertly through Westgate’s air ventilation system indicated a high-level of planning requiring a detailed knowledge of the mall. “I would be very surprised if Al Shabaab carried out this attack on its own,” said Abdi Aynte, director of the Mogadishu-based Heritage Institute for Policy Studies. “They might have contracted a local Kenyan group to do some of the logistics and reconnaissance.” Al Shabaab’s most important affiliate in Kenya is Al Hijra, a group formerly known as the Muslim Youth Centre (MYC) based in Nairobi’s rundown Majengo neighborhood. Kenyan MYC members have trained and fought alongside Al Shabaab in Somalia. Kenya’s 2011 military foray into Somali led to a surge in shootings, grenade and bomb attacks across Kenya. The Kenyan government blamed the attacks on al Shabaab, while security experts said local sympathizers were more likely responsible. In July, the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea said al Hijra had suffered unexplained killings and disappearances of its members, believed to be the result of covert operations by Kenyan and international security services. But UN investigators said al Hijra was “striving to regain the initiative, in part through its fighters in Somalia returning to conduct new and more complex operations”, such as the mall attack. “You’ve got a home grown problem in Kenya with links to combat training and fighting in Somalia and longstanding recruitment networks operating in Kenya,” the diplomat said. “The ingredients are all there.” —Reuters


Saudi car owners fined for allowing women to drive DUBAI: Saudi traffic police have fined several car owners after six women were found defying the kingdom’s male-only driving rules, a Saudi daily reported yesterday. The fines in Eastern Province coincide with a campaign called by women’s rights activists to challenge the ban on women driving in the conservative Islamic kingdom late next month. Traffic police issued fines totaling 5,400 riyals ($1,400) for allowing “an unqualified person to drive”, Al-Sharq newspaper reported, quoting an acting police spokesman. “The drivers were stopped near the beach and in uninhabited areas that are still being developed,” Major Mansour Al-Shakra said. “They were driving for fun and not to learn how to drive.” No laws explicitly ban Saudi women from driving, but citizens must use locally issued licenses. These are not issued to women, making it in effect illegal for them to drive. Women who have defied the rules in the past have also faced charges of organizing political protests, which are also prohibited in the monarchy, where there are no political parties and the only elections are for city councils. A group of Saudi activists last week called on women to get behind the wheel on Oct 26 to challenge the ban. At least two similar campaigns in the past two years have failed to bring change, with the authorities detaining several women and making them sign pledges not to drive again. Saudi Arabia is a conservative monarchy backed by religious scholars. It upholds an austere form of Sunni

Islam and gives wide powers to clerics who dominate the judicial system and run their own police squad to enforce religious morals. King Abdullah has pushed some cautious social reforms in Saudi Arabia, including efforts to bring more women into the workforce and to give them a voice in policy making by appointing them to the advisory Shoura Council. — Reuters

2 elite soldiers killed RIYADH: Two Saudi National Guard soldiers have been killed in an accidental blast during a training mission east of Riyadh, state news agency SPA reported. The accident, in which two other soldiers were hurt, took place Tuesday during “a regular training mission using live ammunition,” said National Guard ministry spokesman Colonel Khaled Al-Muqbel. A “bomb exploded inside an army vehicle, burning it completely,” Muqbel said, adding that an investigation had begun. The National Guard is the kingdom’s parallel army and a pillar of the ruling royals, recruited from tribes that have traditionally backed Saud dynasty rule. It is a trained army of between 180,000 and 200,000 men, divided into infantry units, mechanized brigades, special units and military police. It operates in parallel, and as a palace-directed counter balance, to the regular Saudi ground forces. — Agencies

PM pushes for Mideast peace at UN Assembly Continued from Page 1 Shunning past difficulties between the two states, he said that Kuwait and Iraq have been in recent times witnessing tangible growth in their relations. Sheikh Jaber added that he looked forward to working closely with Iraqi officials to discover the whereabouts of the remains of missing Kuwaitis and those of other countries in Iraq and also to seriously search for Kuwait’s National Archives in that country - all in implementation of UN Security Council resolution No 2017 for the year 2013. He expressed his appreciation for the UN efforts in dealing with some issues still hanging between Iraq and Kuwait. Turning to the situation in Syria, the Prime Minister urged the UN Security Council to seek the right steps to the crisis in the strife-ridden country. Realizing the enormity of the suffering of the Syrian people, Kuwait last January hosted an international donors’ conference to alleviate the humanitarian situation in Syria, said the Prime Minister, noting that the conference came up with pledges of $1.5 billion from the donors, including $300 million from Kuwait. That money was turned over to the relevant UN agencies to distribute to the Syrian people in the form of humanitarian relief aid. In that respect, he thanked the donor countries for their generosity. Referring to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Prime Minister noted the continued lack of trust between the Palestinians and the Israelis, fueled by Israel’s policy of illegal settlement on Palestinian lands, continued blockade of Gaza Strip, and the imprisonment of many Palestinians. He said the intensity of Israeli misbehavior toward the Palestinians spiked after Palestine was granted the position of Observer Status in the UN. He urged the international community to continue apply-

ing pressure on Israel to make it abide by UN resolutions regarding the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. Taking up the Iranian nuclear issue, the Prime Minister told the UN General Assembly that Kuwait stood behind all efforts to bring a peaceful solution to it - one that would ensure the safe usage of nuclear energy by Iran and all countries of the region under the watchful eye of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). He urged Iran to implement sincerely the resolutions of the Security Council and the IAEA as a way out of the current impasse. The Prime Minister noted Kuwait’s 50-year anniversary - since it joined the United Nations and its vast network of organizations and agencies. He came out in favor of a reworking of the UN’s millennium development goals, stressing the notion that ever since its independence in 1961, Kuwait has generously given aid to developing countries through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, whose helping hand has extended beyond the Arab world. In that respect, he said that Kuwait has recently given $500 million to Yemen to defray the cost of development plans for the years 2012-2014, which could help in meeting that country’s fiscal obligations. He added that Kuwait has always shown great interest in regional and international cooperation as it has hosted over the years numerous conferences and summits aimed at resolving problems and enhancing development and growth. “In fact, Kuwait is hosting the third Afro-Arab summit in November; The 34th meeting of the GCC Higher Council in December and the 25th regular Arab summit in March, 2014,” Sheikh Jaber hinted. He ended his speech by underlining Kuwait’s abidance by the UN charter and international laws and its commitment to honor international pacts and agreements. — KUNA


GCC battles ‘superbugs’ Continued from Page 1 real concern for many health authorities all over the world”. “The problem is that even without a doctor’s prescription, medicines are brought into the country and sometimes patients self-prescribe. This is due to migration from third world countries, where antibiotics are bought over the counter,” she noted. University of Queensland researchers have warned that the Arabian Gulf states are facing a rapid growth in superbugs due to the overuse of antibiotics, poor hand-hygiene and lack of awareness. “MoH in Kuwait had an excellent awareness campaign about the use of antibiotics but we need to do more on this topic,” Shoeb said. A press release published by the University of Queensland said, “With more than 15,000 expatriate Australians living and working in the United Arab Emirates alone, the rise of potentially deadly superbugs (antibiotic resistant bacteria) in the region is of international concern.” UQ Centre for Clinical Research PhD candidate Hosam Mamoon Zowawi and his advisor, Professor David Paterson, have collaborated with international researchers to lead the first systematic literature review of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain. “The study found a particular strain of potentially deadly superbugs - carbapenem-resistant bacteria, which kills up to half of infected patients - has increased up to 90 percent over the past two decades. Zowawi said the study identified unique risk factors that could have contributed to the rise and spread of hospital- and community-acquired infections across the GCC states, with the unnecessary use of antibiotics standing out as a particular risk, the press release said. “Superbugs are born and grow from the irrational use of antibiotics and it’s clear from our research that active guidelines must be implemented to restrict their use in the GCC region,” Zowawi was quoted as saying in the press release. “Although non-prescription sales of antibiotics are illegal in the GCC states, 68

percent of pharmacies in Abu Dhabi, 78 percent in Riyadh and 87 out of 88 pharmacies included in a study in Saudi Arabia had sold antibiotics to patients unnecessarily and/or without a prescription. Furthermore, 75 percent of patients who received antibiotic treatment in the intensive care unit of a Qatar hospital in 2004 did not have a microbiologically-proven infection.” Researchers also found that poor hand-hygiene compliance in hospitals and the region’s large population of migrant workers could have also contributed to the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Zowawi, who received a full scholarship from the government of Saudi Arabia to pursue PhD studies at the UQ Centre for Clinical Research, said intervention methods are desperately needed to combat the medical disaster facing the GCC states. “Our recommended management strategies for combating superbugs in the GCC region begin with implementing an antimicrobial stewardship program in health care facilities to reduce over-prescription, shorten hospital stays, and reduce costs,” Zowawi said. “Improving basic infection control precautions like hand-hygiene, and prohibiting the availability of antibiotics without a prescription should also be mandatory, particularly in conjunction with a mass education campaign about antibiotic use.” Professor Paterson, who leads the Centre for Clinical Research Infection and Immunity group, said Zowawi is working with multiple laboratories and companies to design, test and validate innovative diagnostic tests for rapidly identifying antibiotic-resistance in bacteria. “We have developed the first GCC-wide network of collaborating hospitals and institutes to study superbugs in the region, which we hope will expand toward developing an ongoing surveillance project for antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” he said in the press release. “Better diagnostic methods, in conjunction with up-to-date regional surveillance data, would improve the targeted use of antibiotics for physicians and could save lives by helping microbiologists track outbreaks around the world.” (Information published on were used in this report).

Kuwaiti court acquits four Bedoon... Continued from Page 1 are campaigning to get Kuwaiti citizenship which authorities say many of them have no right in it. In another development, the Public Prosecution interrogated three supporters of opposition leader and former MP Mussallam Al-Barrak on charges of insulting the Amir by repeating parts of a speech delivered by Barrak in October last year and deemed offensive to the Amir. The three were among around 56 people who repeated parts of the controversial speech at a rally at Barrak’s Diwaniya after the Criminal Court sentenced him to five years in jail a few months ago. The Court of Appeals later cancelled the ruling because it was illegal and decided to conduct a retrial instead of sending it back to the lower court, a move that was contested by Barrak lawyers. The Court of Cassation is scheduled to rule on the challenge next month. The Administrative Court meanwhile ordered the Interior Ministry to return the passport of Shiite activist Emran Qurashi 10 years after the ministry seized the document. According to Qurashi lawyer, Ali Al-Ali, the ministry issued a passport for Qurashi, a Kuwaiti citizen, in 1998 but was seized by authorities in 2002 with-

out any legal justification. The ruling is not final. Meanwhile, former housing minister and opposition MP Shuaib Al-Muwaizri warned against inflating the housing crisis in the country to justify the spending of billions of dinars for influential businessman under the pretext of resolving the crisis. Muwaizri said that the way the housing is being inflated indicates to a plan to pave the way for multi-billion contracts to highly influential contractors. Muwaizri said that if the government applies the law correctly which calls for providing more land for housing, the crisis can be resolved within just three years. Liberal MP Rakan Al-Nasef meanwhile submitted a new proposal to help resolve the housing crisis in which over 107,000 Kuwaiti families are on the waiting list for a government house. Waiting periods exceed 15 years. The proposal calls on the government to free 5.0 percent of Kuwait’s territory over the next five years and that the government should commit to construct at least 10,000 homes every year. He said this will help reduce the size of the problem. At an informal meeting attended by 36 MPs on Tuesday, it was decided to make the housing crisis the national assembly’s top priority in next term starting late Octber.



IPL chief Modi expelled

Gattuso sacked by Palermo

Call to pursue doping case

MUMBAI: Former Indian Premier League (IPL) chief Lalit Modi was expelled from the Indian cricket board (BCCI) yesterday after its disciplinary committee found him guilty of “various acts of indiscipline and misconduct”. Earlier this month, a three-member BCCI disciplinary committee found Modi guilty of financial and administrative irregularities during his stint as the IPL chairman. “ Lalit Modi is guilty of committing acts of serious misconduct and indiscipline, and therefore ... is hereby expelled from the BCCI,” the board said in a statement after its meeting in Chennai. “He shall forfeit all his rights and privileges as Administrator. He shall not in future be entitled to hold any position or office, or be admitted in any committee or any member or associate member of the board.” Modi, who has denied any wrongdoings, was suspended as chairman and commissioner of the IPL in April 2010 soon after the third edition of the Twenty20 League. The cash-rich tournament was hit by a spot-fixing scandal this year which prompted BCCI to slap former India fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and another Indian cricketer with life bans.—Reuters

ROME: Manager Gennaro Gattuso has been sacked by Palermo after a string of bad results in Serie B, president Maurizio Zamparini said yesterday. “It’s with great sadness that I write to say that I have relieved Gennaro Gattuso of his duties as first-team manager,” Zamparini wrote on the club’s official website ( “Unfortunately for both me and him, we might have bitten off a little bit too much for his first experience as manager, at a club with a demanding public like Palermo’s. Results have shown that we were wrong (to offer Gattuso the job).” Gattuso, a former Italy international and AC Milan midfielder who arrived from Sion in June after a disappointing time as player-coach last season, was fired by the trigger-happy Zamparini after losing 2-1 at Bari on Tuesday. Palermo, relegated from Serie A last season, are languishing in 12th place after winning two of their opening six games. The club said Gattuso would be replaced by Giuseppe Iachini, who managed Siena last season until leaving after they too were relegated to Serie B. Zamparini, nicknamed the ‘manager eater’ is famous for firing coaches and has now sacked at least 26. The exact number is tricky to pin down as it depends on the interpretation of the title “interim manager” and is further confused by the fact that he has fired the same manager on more than one occasion. —Reuters

AUSTIN: Justice Department lawyers urged a federal judge not to dismiss the government’s fraud lawsuit against Lance Armstrong, arguing the US Postal Service was forever tainted by its sponsorship of his team while he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France. The Postal Service, which insists it didn’t know about a team drug regimen that was exposed last year by the US Anti-Doping Agency, is now permanently linked to what the government lawyers called “the greatest fraud in the history of professional sports” in court records filed Monday night. Former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis’ first sued Armstrong in 2010 under the False Claims Act, which allows whistleblowers to get a share of any money recovered based on their disclosures. The Justice Department joined the lawsuit in February, announcing it would seek at least the $40 million the Postal Service paid to Armstrong’s team and additional damages that could push closer to $120 million. The government claims Armstrong violated his contract with the Postal Service and was “unjustly enriched” while cheating to win the Tour de France. Six of his seven titles came under Postal Ser vice sponsorship.—AP

Cardinals blank Nationals

CLEVELAND: Alejandro De Aza No. 30 of the Chicago White Sox hits a solo home run to take the lead over the Cleveland Indians during the ninth inning. —AFP

Indians stun White Sox CLEVELAND: Pinch-hitter Jason Giambi belted a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning to give Cleveland a stunning 5-4 win over the White Sox on Tuesday night, keeping the Indians up with the lead pack in the AL wild-card race. Giambi drove a 1-1 pitch from Addison Reed (5-4) into the lower deck in right field to save the Indians from a potentially devastating loss. Giambi’s shot bailed out controversial closer Chris Perez, who gave up two homers in the top of the ninth. As he rounded third base, the 42-yearold Giambi slowed down before being engulfed by his teammates as the Indians celebrated their 13th straight win over Chicago. Bryan Shaw (6-3) came in after Perez had nearly given away a game the Indians couldn’t afford to lose. RAYS 7, YANKEES 0 In New York, Matt Moore had New York flailing for five wild innings, and the Rays beat the Yankees to push them to the brink of missing out on the postseason for the second time in 19 years. Tampa Bay roughed up Hiroki Kuroda in tightening its grip on an AL wild-card spot with its fifth straight win. Matt Joyce had a leadoff homer as the Rays jumped ahead 3-0 in the first and David DeJesus had two RBI doubles. Tampa Bay has a one-game lead over Cleveland for the top wild card with five to play. Texas and Kansas City played later. The Yankees trail the Indians, who won 5-4, by five games - and also are behind the Rangers and Royals. The Yankees would be eliminated Wednesday if Cleveland wins and they lose. Moore (16-4) gave up only three hits but threw three wild pitches to up his AL-leading total to 16 and walked six. TIGERS 4, TWINS 2 In Minneapolis, Doug Fister struck out seven and the Tigers homered three times in the fourth inning to clinch a playoff berth with a victory over the Twins. Victor Martinez and Omar Infante went back-to-back and Austin Jackson hit a two-run homer later in the fourth to put the Tigers in front. Fister (14-9) gave up two runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings to help Detroit secure at least an AL wild card. Cleveland rallied to beat the Chicago White Sox 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth inning to prevent the Tigers from clinching their third straight AL Central title. One more Tigers win or Indians loss will lock it up for Detroit. BLUE JAYS 3, ORIOLES 2 In Baltimore, the Toronto Blue Jays eliminated Baltimore from the playoff hunt, using two clutch RBI singles by Mark DeRosa to beat the Orioles. Baltimore’s sixth straight loss, combined with Cleveland’s comeback win over the Chicago White Sox, left the Orioles six games behind the Indians for the final wild-card slot with five games left. DeRosa singled in the tying run in the eighth inning and put the Blue Jays

ahead in the 10th. Sergio Santos (1-1) worked a per fect ninth and Casey Janssen got three outs for his 34th save. Jose Reyes drew a one-out walk in the Toronto 10th off Francisco Rodriguez (21) and Munenori Kawasaki singled. Reyes appeared to be picked off second but was called safe, drawing Orioles manager Buck Showalter out to argue the call. Brett Lawrie then hit into a fielder’s choice and DeRosa singled to right. RANGERS 3, ASTROS 2 In Arlington, Adrian Beltre homered at home for the first time in more than a month and the Texas Rangers stayed close in the wild-card race, beating Houston and sending the Astros to their 11th straight loss. With five games left in the regular season, Texas remained a game behind Cleveland for the AL’s second wild-card spot. Tampa Bay is a game ahead of the Indians in a crowded pack. Beltre’s 29th homer snapped a 2-all tie with one out in the sixth. That came after Yu Darvish gave up the lead in the top half of the inning. Matt Dominguez homered for the Astros. Their 107th loss overall matched the franchise record set last year. MARINERS 4, ROYALS 0 In Seattle, Justin Smoak hit a threerun homer in the fifth inning and the Mariners beat Kansas City, putting the Royals’ postseason hopes in serious jeopardy. Mariners rookie left-hander James Paxton (3-0), making just his fourth major league start, worked a career-high seven innings, allowing four hits, walking none and striking out a career-high 10. The playoff picture looks as bleak as it can be for the Royals (83-74). They are four games behind Cleveland for the second wild-card berth with five games to play. The Royals’ three competitors for the two wild-card spots - Tampa Bay, Texas and Cleveland - all won Tuesday. The Royals need to win every game and have both the Indians and Rangers completely collapse. It was the 13th shutout for the Mariners and the ninth time the Royals have been shut out. ANGELS 3, ATHLETICS 0 In Anaheim, Jason Vargas earned his second shutout of the season with a four-hitter and Howie Kendrick homered, leading the Angels to a victory over the Athletics. The Athletics, who clinched their second straight division title Sunday, remain a game behind the Red Sox for the best record in the majors following Boston’s 83 loss at Colorado. Vargas (9-7) threw 110 pitches, retiring 15 consecutive batters at one point and striking out five en route to his fifth shutout and 10th complete game in 153 career starts. The left-hander, who was acquired from Seattle last December for slugger Kendrys Morales, is 3-3 with a 4.64 ERA in his last nine outings after missing almost two months because of a blood clot near his armpit. Griffin (14-10) gave up three runs and five hits over five innings. —AP

ST. LOUIS: Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha lost his no-hit bid on Ryan Zimmerman’s infield single with two outs in the ninth inning, and St. Louis beat the Washington Nationals 2-0 Tuesday night to close in on the NL Central title. Making his ninth career start, Wacha came about as close as possible to finishing off the third no-hitter in the majors this season. Instead, he became the third pitcher to have a bid broken up with one out to go. Zimmerman hit a chopper just over Wacha’s glove - the pitcher said he thought it nicked his mitt - and the ball bounced slowly toward shortstop. A charging Pete Kozma grabbed it with his bare hand and whipped a throw to first that was a little wide, pulling Matt Adams off the bag just as Zimmerman arrived. The crowd at Busch Stadium let out a loud, collective groan. Third baseman David Freese sat crouched in the infield, stunned at how close his 22-year-old teammate had come. Wacha (4-1) was pulled after Zimmerman’s hit and walked off to a huge ovation. Trevor Rosenthal got Jayson Werth to ground out for his second save. Washington left-hander Gio Gonzalez (11-8) pitched seven effective innings, allowing two runs and six hits. PIRATES 8, CUBS 2 In Chicago, Gerrit Cole threw six strong innings, helping Pittsburgh take over the NL wild-card lead. The Pirates moved one game ahead of Cincinnati, which lost 4-2 to the Mets. Pittsburgh remained two games behind NL Central-leading St. Louis. One night after clinching their first postseason spot in 21 years, Cole and the Pirates showed few signs of a letdown. Cole hit a two-run single, Pedro Alvarez drove in three runs and Jordy Mercer homered. Cole (10-7) won his fourth straight start, giving up two runs and seven hits. Cole’s single came during a three-run second inning against Chris Rusin (2-6). METS 4, REDS 2 In Cincinnati, Daniel Murphy hit a three-run homer off Mike Leake, whose long streak of scoreless innings got shattered early, and the Mets dealt the Reds a costly setback to their hopes of a second straight NL Central title. The Reds and Pirates clinched playoff spots on Monday night, but hope to chase down first-place St. Louis with closing surges. Leake’s one very bad inning made that much less likely for Cincinnati. Leake (14-7) gave up four runs and eight hits in only 1 2-3 innings, matching the shortest start of his career. Wilfredo Tovar ended his scoreless innings streak at 21 2-3 with an RBI single, and Murphy’s homer gave left-hander Jon Niese (8-8) the big lead. Niese allowed two runs and eight hits in seven innings. Vic Black faced three batters in the ninth, getting his first career save on his second try. BRAVES 3, BREWERS 2 In Atlanta, Andrelton Simmons hit a game-ending RBI single with two out in the ninth, lifting the Braves to the victory. Justin Upton sparked the winning rally with a leadoff single against Donovan Hand (0-5). Upton advanced on Evan Gattis’ one-out grounder that Scooter Gennett bobbled behind second base for an infield hit. After Brian McCann popped out, Simmons’ first hit of the night ended the game. Craig Kimbrel (4-3), who leads the majors with 49 saves, struck out the side in the ninth. Jeff Bianchi hit his first homer of the season in the fifth for Milwaukee. PHILLIES 2, MARLINS 1 In Miami, Darin Ruf and Kevin Frandsen each drove in a run in the first inning, and the Phillies handed the Marlins their 100th loss of the season. It’s the second triple-digit-loss season in Marlins

ST. LOUIS: Yadier Molina No. 4 of the St. Louis Cardinals is tagged out at home by Wilson Ramos No. 40 of the Washington Nationals in the fourth inning at Busch Stadium. —AFP history, joining the 108-defeat year in 1998. Mike DODGERS 2, GIANTS 1 Redmond, the first-year Marlins manager, was a In San Francisco, Hyun-Jin Ryu and two relievers rookie on that team, playing in 37 games. Ruf drew a bases-loaded walk, Frandsen fol- combined on a five-hitter that sent the Dodgers lowed with an RBI groundout and that was all the past the Giants. Matt Kemp hit a tiebreaking home offense that the Phillies would need. Michael run leading off the sixth inning for the Dodgers. Stutes (3-1) got the win by working a scoreless fifth Yasiel Puig also homered after getting hit by a inning in relief, and Jonathan Papelbon pitched the pitch from Giants starter Matt Cain earlier in the game. ninth for his 29th save in 36 chances. Carl Crawford added three hits for the NL West Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez (4-6) allowed five hits and struck out five in seven innings. Justin champions, who have won three straight. Tony Ruggiano had two hits for Miami, one of them an Abreu homered for San Francisco. The Giants got just one runner past first base and were held to no RBI double where he was thrown out at third. more than one run for the third time in four games. DIAMONDBACKS 2, PADRES 1 INTERLEAGUE In San Diego, Didi Gregorius tripled home the ROCKIES 8, RED SOX 3 tiebreaking run in the 12th inning to lift the In Denver, Charlie Blackmon hit his first career Diamondbacks over the Padres. Paul Goldschmidt hit his NL-best 36th homer for leadoff homer and Tyler Chatwood pitched seven the Diamondbacks, extending his hitting streak to strong innings, leading Colorado to the victory. John Lackey (10-13) struggled on the road 14 games and increasing his league-leading RBI total to 124. Gregorius tripled down the right-field again, allowing four runs and six hits in six innings. line against Luke Gregerson (6-8) to score fellow The right-hander is 1-5 away from Fenway Park since the All-Star break. rookie Chris Owings, who doubled with one out. Lackey also gave up solo homers to Troy Josh Collmenter (5-4) pitched a perfect inning and Brad Ziegler got three outs for his 12th save. Tulowitzki and Corey Dickerson. Chatwood (8-5) The Diamondbacks set a major league record for shut down a potent Red Sox lineup, yielding an most extra innings played in a season with 79. unearned run and three hits. Jarrod Saltalamacchia Arizona, which is 17-7 in extra-inning games, broke hit a two-run homer in the ninth for AL East champion Boston. —AP the record of 76 set by the 1969 Minnesota Twins.

MLB results/standings Toronto 3, Baltimore 2 (10 Innings); Cleveland 5, Chicago White Sox 4; Tampa Bay 7, NY Yankees 0; Atlanta 3, Milwaukee 2; NY Mets 4, Cincinnati 2; Philadelphia 2, Miami 1; Texas 3, Houston 2; Pittsburgh 8, Chicago Cubs 2; Detroit 4, Minnesota 2; St. Louis 2, Washington 0; Colorado 8, Boston 3; LA Angels 3, Oakland 0; Seattle 4, Kansas City 0; Arizona 2, San Diego 1 (12 innings); LA Dodgers 2, San Francisco 1. American League Eastern Division W L PCT Boston 95 63 .601 Tampa Bay 88 69 .561 NY Yankees 82 75 .522 Baltimore 81 76 .516 Toronto 72 85 .459 Central Division Detroit 92 66 .582 Cleveland 87 70 .554 Kansas City 83 74 .529 Minnesota 66 91 .420 Chicago White Sox 62 95 .395 Western Division Oakland 94 64 .595 Texas 86 71 .548 LA Angels 77 80 .490 Seattle 69 89 .437 Houston 51 107 .323

GB 6.5 12.5 13.5 22.5

Atlanta Washington NY Mets Philadelphia Miami

4.5 8.5 25.5 29.5

St. Louis Pittsburgh Cincinnati Milwaukee Chicago Cubs

7.5 16.5 25 43

LA Dodgers Arizona San Diego San Francisco Colorado

National League Eastern Division 93 64 84 74 72 85 72 85 58 100 Central Division 93 65 91 67 90 68 70 87 65 93 Western Division 91 66 80 77 73 84 72 85 72 86

.592 .532 .459 .459 .367

9.5 21 21 35.5

.589 .576 .570 .446 .411

2 3 22.5 28

.580 .510 .465 .459 .456

11 18 19 19.5

Martin defends time trial title FLORENCE: Germany’s Tony Martin claimed his third consecutive title in the men’s time trial at the world road race cycling championships yesterday. Britain’s reigning Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins finished second, with Swiss former champion Fabian Cancellara taking the bronze. Martin clocked a winning time of 1hr 05min 36sec on the mainly flat 57.8km course from Montecatini Terme to Florence to beat Wiggins by 46sec, with Cancellara finishing 48sec off the German’s pace. American Taylor Phinney, expected to be in the hunt for a possible podium finish, finished fifth 2:08 adrift, with Belarusian Vasil Kiryienka fourth at 1:26. Wiggins, who had hoped to add a maiden world title in the event to a list of honors which includes the 2012 Olympic time trial crown, was sitting in bronze medal position for most of the race but finished strongly to push Cancellara down a place. Meanwhile, dozens of European cyclists rolled into the North Korean port town of Rajin this week for the last leg of a rare two-stage race from China to North Korea. Clad in skin-tight shiny outfits and accompanied by a fleet of support cars, the 47 cyclists from Sweden, Germany and more than 10 other countries rode from China to the Wonjong border crossing to take on the 50-km (31-mile) road into Rajin. Such free-wheeling travel by foreigners is

unusual in North Korea, a reclusive and isolated state under international sanctions for nuclear and missile tests. “They were really good bike roads, some of the best roads you can have for biking,” Gaavert Waag, manager of Nordic Ways - the events company behind the race - told Reuters by telephone. “We wanted to do something that was nearly impossible to do,” he said. “They stopped all the traffic for us. Not that they have much traffic but they closed all the roads for our bikes.” Laborers from China, North Korea’s closest ally, finished work on the main road between Rajin and the border last year in a Chinese-backed effort to upgrade a dusty track into a functioning trade route. Rajin is one of two towns that make up the Rajin-Songbon, or Rason, special economic zone in the northeast corner of North Korea. Both Russia and China have access to Rajin as a port and have invested in updating infrastructure. The cycling race follows Sunday’s completion of a Russian-operated train line that links Rason with the Russian Far East town of Khasan, part of a more ambitious plan to build a railway from Europe to Asia. First designated a special economic zone in the mid 1990s, Rason is popular among ethnic Korean Chinese businessmen looking to set up small factories and take advantage of cheap labour.

In recent years, the area has become a popular destination for Western Christian missionaries wanting to start social projects such as bakeries and orphanages from which to conduct their evangelical work. Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American who had been working as a Christian missionary in China and North Korea, was arrested at the Wonjong border crossing near Rason last year. —Reuters

ITALY: Gold medalist Tony Mar tin of Germany poses on the podium of the Elite Men’s Time Trial of the UCI Road World Championships. —AFP



Srinivasan shrugs off critics, eyes BCCI return NEW DELHI: Narayanaswami Srinivasan, the most powerful man in cricket, faces a lastditch challenge to his reinstatement this weekend as head of India’s board, days after his son-in-law was charged in a corruption scandal. The combative president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should be a shoo-in at Sunday’s annual meeting in Chennai after nobody came forward to contest his re-election for a third year in office. But he now faces a new hurdle on Friday after the Supreme Court agreed to consider a request for an injunction against Srinivasan to prevent him from standing for election, brought by a cricket association in eastern Bihar state. India, cricket’s superpower, generates 70 percent of international the game’s revenue due to its vast television audiences, allowing the BCCI to have its way in all significant decisions on the game’s future. Other international boards dread falling out with the BCCI, aware that the sale of television rights when India is in town is vital to their survival. But the hearing is yet another headache for the 68-year-old, who had to nominally step aside from the helm of the BCCI in Junecurtailing his powers when his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was named as a suspect in a corruption inquiry. Meiyappan was on Saturday charged with cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy as part of a police investigation into claims of spot-fixing in the Indian Premier League (IPL), a Twenty20 tournament run by the BCCI. Meiyappan had been the team principal of the Chennai Super Kings when the scandal broke, one of the top IPL teams and which is owned by Srinivasan. But while the charging of Meiyappan has emboldened Srinivasan’s critics, it has not stopped the man himself from seeking to resume his innings at the helm of the wealthiest and most powerful cricketing body in the world. “I am not disqualified and neither can you push me out,” Srinivasan told reporters after charges were laid against Meiyappan. “If Gurunath is wrong, the law will take its own course. “It is up to him to defend his position. It has got nothing to do with me.” However, many of the game’s leading figures, including former BCCI president Inderjit Singh Bindra, argue that such a stance is untenable and Srinivasan has no moral or ethical right to seek another term. “The IPL scandal involving Gurunath and Srinivasan is much bigger in scope and dimension than the 2000 saga,” Bindra tweeted, referring to the Hansie Cronje scandal that gripped cricket at the turn of the century. The former South African captain, who was killed in a mystery plane crash two years later, was nailed by Delhi police at the turn of the century for hobnobbing with illegal bookmakers. Ajay Shirke, who resigned as board treas-

urer in May as the scandal unfurled, told the Mumbai-based DNA newspaper that the BCCI had become a “a laughing stock” with the allegations against Meiyappan. Local media, quoting the 11,500-page charge-sheet submitted in court by Mumbai police, reported that in one instance, Meiyappan told a bookmaker ahead of a match in Jaipur on May 12 that the Super Kings would score between 130-140 runs and lose the game. The team, led by Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, scored 141-5 in 20 overs and lost to Rajasthan Royals by five wickets with 17 balls to spare. The scandal that involves several other matches has already seen two Rajasthan Royals players, Test fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and upcoming spinner Ankeet Chavan, banned for life by the BCCI. The Indian Express wrote in an editorial that “given that Srinivasan is the owner of Chennai Super Kings and the father-in-law of Meiyappan, it is risible that he is now on the verge of being reinstated as BCCI chief.” But even his critics concede Srinivasan is a wily operator who has crucially managed to keep the support of the country’s six southern cricket associations, which include his own Tamil Nadu. As part of a rotational system, the southern associations get to choose the president this time round and they all maintain that Srinivasan cannot be held responsible for any alleged wrongdoing by his son-in-law. A BCCI insider told AFP that Srinivasan would “not to take victory for granted” but nevertheless had reason to be confident. “When strings are pulled, the puppets fall in line,” said the source. Srinivasan has already shown his willingness to stare down his critics on the international stage, stonewalling pressure to make India join the Decision Review System and refusing to change the IPL timetable to avoid it clashing with Test matches elsewhere. He also blocked implementation of a specially commissioned report by Britain’s former top judge Harry Woolf calling for restructuring of the International Cricket Council (ICC), the game’s world governing body. Srinivasan’s fate will be of particular interest to Cricket South Africa (CSA), which had been expected to host India for a moneyspinning series at the end of the year. The tour has been plunged into doubt after CSA named former ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat as its chief executive despite Srinivasan’s strong objections and the BCCI is already making alternative arrangements. International news organisations, including Agence France-Presse (AFP), have suspended their on-field coverage of matches hosted by the BCCI since last year after the board imposed restrictions on picture agencies.—AFP

Kasey Kahne in action in this file photo.

Kahne says he was angry — not hurt CHARLOTTE: Kasey Kahne was frustrated he’d blown his championship chances with a “hardheaded mistake” at New Hampshire, and it boiled over into a brief televised interview that left viewers speculating about his health. Kahne said Tuesday there was nothing physically wrong with him following his accident at New Hampshire. Rather, he realized immediately after his crash with 47 laps remaining Sunday that his title hopes were over, and he allowed his anger to derail the now widely discussed interview with ESPN reporter Jerry Punch. “I screwed up and I was frustrated. Two races in, I’m already out of the Chase. It’s a (crummy) deal,” Kahne told The Associated Press. Fans watching Kahne’s post-crash interview on television immediately took to social media to say Kahne appeared dazed, confused and some speculated he had a concussion. Punch tried to ask Kahne what happened to cause the crash, and Kahne said, “I don’t know. I’m not sure what happened.” Punch tried again, and Kahne didn’t offer any more insight. After a third question from Punch, Kahne told him he couldn’t hear him and the interview came to an awkward end. “I couldn’t hear what he was saying,” Kahne said Tuesday. “I knew he asked what had happened. At that point, I didn’t know exactly what had happened. I knew we were three-wide getting into Turn 3. Did we have a little contact, and that’s why we spun? I wasn’t positive on that. But I was really just mad, and I didn’t think too much of (the interview) until I saw people thought something was wrong with me.” Kahne’s health was just fine, he said, and he’d already been medically cleared by the care center. He returned to his car with 25 laps remaining in the race, but the damage was done: Kahne had been running eighth at the time of the accident, which occurred when he was stubbornly racing Brian Vickers for position on a restart, and he wound up 37th. It dropped him to last in the

13-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field. “I just screwed up. I was under him and we were really close together and racing hard and you can lose grip pretty easy off of (Turn) 4, and I maybe should have just backed up a little bit,” Kahne said. “But I was trying to stay beside him to be there when we got to the next corner. I needed to just give up and get in line and try to pass him later. I didn’t want to give up that one spot, and I ended up giving up 30 spots because I was hardheaded and made a hardheaded mistake.” It seems only fans were concerned about Kahne following the interview. Denny Hamlin made fun of the interview on Twitter, posting a picture of an irritated Kahne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Tuesday he thought the 30odd seconds captured his Hendrick Motorsports teammate correctly. “I know a lot of people were commenting on Kasey and how odd that interview was, but if you know Kasey, he has a tendency to have that kind of reaction sometimes,” Earnhardt said. “I wasn’t that surprised. The wreck was odd, how his accident happened was odd, and I think he was sort of trying to hold himself accountable while he was being interviewed. I think he was a bit angry with himself.” The accident dropped Kahne 71 points behind leader Matt Kenseth, winner of the first two Chase races. It’s more than a full race behind Kenseth, and Kahne has resigned himself to his fate. It’s tough to swallow for Kahne, who worked so hard over the summer to earn a spot in the field. “The first thing you think about is you are racing to make the Chase, and now you are out of it with eight races still to go,” he said. “It’s just so many points out. I could see Matt having one bad race, everybody having one bad race. But not two bad races. The guys who are going to win the championship are definitely not going to have two bad races.”—AP

Photo of the day

Marc Marquez poses for a portrait during the Moto Grand Prix 2013 at- Misano World Circuit in Misano, San Marino.—

Oracle wins seventh America’s Cup race SAN FRANCISCO: The longest America’s Cup in history will come down to two 72-foot, space-age catamarans making a final, dramatic sprint around San Francisco Bay, on a five-leg course framed by the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. Skipper Jimmy Spithill and defending champion Oracle Team USA saw to that by extending their almost unimaginable winning streak to seven on Tuesday to force a winner-take-all finale against Emirates Team New Zealand. Oracle came through a wild start with two collisions to win Race 17, and then sped past the Kiwis after they made a tactical error to give up the lead in Race 18 in strong wind. All but defeated a week ago, Oracle Team USA tied the faltering Kiwis 8-8 on the scoreboard by winning its 10th race overall. Oracle was docked two points for illegally modifying boats in warmup regattas and Dirk de Ridder, who trimmed the 131foot wing sail, was disqualified. If it hadn’t been hit with the harshest penalties in the 162-year history of the America’s Cup, Oracle Team USA’s sailors would be hoisting the oldest trophy in international sports in victory and spraying each other with champagne. Instead, the epic 19th race is scheduled for Wednesday, weatherpermitting, on San Francisco Bay. Either Oracle will finish one of the greatest comebacks in sports history or Team New Zealand, marooned on match point for the past week, will get the win it needs to claim the Auld Mug for the second time in 18 years and ease the nerves of the 4.5 million residents of the island nation. Oracle has gotten faster as it’s made changes to its black cat every night in its big boatshed on Pier 80 and has steadily learned to sail it better under the watchful eye of team CEO Russell Coutts, a four-time America’s Cup winner. But there’s a bigger reason Oracle is still alive. “Never giving up,” Spithill said. The 34-year-old Australian has been almost defiant in leading his well-funded, deep team after it was penalized just four days before the sailing began. “I really feel it’s because we’ve been through such hard times in this campaign that it’s prepared us for this situation,” Spithill said. “I spoke yesterday a lot about the capsize and stuff like that and what went on before this regatta. This team has just been through so much and some incredibly difficult times. Those were key moments, we needed those key moments to prepare us as a team.” Oracle’s first boat capsized in October and its wing sail was destroyed, costing the team four months of training time until a new one arrived from New Zealand. Barker, the losing skipper in the 2003 and 2007 America’s Cup, looked deflated after the double losses. “We got beaten today, and that’s tough to handle, but sometimes you just have to accept that,” he said. “It’s frustrating, but we know we can still win this, and we will go out there and give it absolutely everything we can tomorrow.” Spithill may very well have gotten into the heads of Barker and the Kiwi crew on Sept. 12. With Oracle trailing 6 to minus-1, he said: “I think the question is, imagine if these guys lost from here, what an upset that would be. They’ve almost got it in the bag. That’s my motivation.” On Tuesday, Spithill said: “It’s not over. That’s the key point here is, we’ve got to finish it off.” In terms

SAN FRANCISCO: With the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, Emirates Team New Zealand heads to the start of America’s Cup race 18 in San Francisco. —AFP of drama, this America’s Cup rivals the 1983 regatta, when Australia II rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat Dennis Conner in seven races to end the New York Yacht Club’s 132-year winning streak. Tuesday’s races were so pivotal that software billionaire Larry Ellison, who owns Oracle Team USA, skipped making a keynote speech before 60,000 people at Oracle Open World so he could witness the comeback firsthand from a chase boat on the bay. Barker dominated Spithill at the start of Race 18 and beat him to the first mark with his 72-foot catamaran, allowing the Kiwis to control the race. The Kiwis led by 7 seconds rounding the second gate mark before committing the blunder that cost them the lead and, perhaps, the America’s Cup. Team New Zealand tacked too early heading into the first cross going upwind and slowed dramatically as the boats zigzagged toward the Golden Gate Bridge on the only windward leg on the course. The American-backed boat - with only one American on its 11-man crew - went speeding past and built its lead to more than 1,000 yards on the windward fourth leg going past Alcatraz Island. The final margin was 54 seconds. Spithill did a flyby of Pier 27-29, with his crew lining the port hull to wave and pump their fists toward the crowd. Oracle, which trailed 8-1 last Wednesday, has dramatically increased its speed sailing upwind after struggling repeatedly against the Kiwis earlier in the regatta. As it overhauled the Kiwis in Race 18, Oracle’s hulls were out of the water, riding on hydrofoils. “I think it’s fairly clear to see that we could have tacked pretty much anywhere and we would have been behind at the end of that leg,” Barker said. “They were going pretty damn well. This was the first time that we’ve recognized that there was a condition where we’re maybe not as strong as we need to be. It’s tough because you’re doing everything you can. The guys never gave up, but clearly the Oracle guys were going pretty well in that

stuff.” Earlier, Oracle forced Emirates Team New Zealand into two penalties during the wild start of Race 17 and won by 27 seconds. Spithill appeared in trouble just before the start but hooked behind Barker into a favored leeward position as the boats jockeyed just inside the Golden Gate Bridge. The 72-foot catamarans touched, and Oracle tactician Ben Ainslie yelled at the Kiwis to tack away. They collided again, this time harder, with Ainslie gesturing angrily. Team New Zealand sat dead in the water to clear the penalties as Oracle pulled away - and stayed ahead the whole way around the course. Spithill and his mates are the first to win seven straight races in an America’s Cup match. There have been three five-race winning streaks when the Cup was best-of-9. This regatta started as bestof-17, but Oracle will need to win 11 races to keep the Cup. Oracle has twice trailed by seven points, most recently when Team New Zealand won Race 11 on Wednesday for an 8-1 lead. After Oracle won Race 12, Team New Zealand was denied the chance to seize the Cup when Race 13 was abandoned because of a 40-minute time limit with the Kiwis well ahead in light wind. When the race was resailed in a better breeze, Oracle won to begin its winning streak. With the two victories Tuesday, Oracle Team USA has won for the ninth time in 13 races since Ainslie, a British Olympic star, replaced American John Kostecki as tactician. Ainslie has teamed with Australian strategist Tom Slingsby, also an Olympic gold medalist, to help guide Spithill around the course. It’s been an agonizing week for New Zealanders, who’ve been getting up early to watch the races on TV. At the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club in Wellington, Kate Robinson said that she had been rooting for Spithill a week ago as Oracle struggled. “I wanted him to do better,” she said. “But not this well.” And if Team New Zealand loses? “I’ll probably cry,” she said. And she wasn’t joking. —AP

Lee handed 12-year ban for match-fixing LONDON: British snooker player Stephen Lee was handed a 12-year ban for match-fixing yesterday that will effectively end his top level career in the game. The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) said in a statement that the former world number five was barred from playing until Oct 12, 2024, which will be his 50th birthday. The ban has been timed from the start of his initial suspension last year. Lee, 38, was also ordered

Stephen Lee

to pay 40,000 pounds ($63,900) towards the ‘considerable’ costs of the investigation and hearing. “I’m absolutely devastated. I’ve done nothing wrong and I’m totally innocent,” Lee told reporters. He has always denied the allegations, which relate to seven matches played in 2008 and 2009 including the UK and world championships, and said he was confident of winning an appeal. The WPBSA had described it as “the worst case of snooker corruption we’ve seen”. Lee was found guilty at an independent tribunal hearing held from Sept 9-11 of “agreeing an arrangement... (and of)... accepting or receiving or offering to receive... payment” for influencing the outcome or conduct of matches. WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson said the ban “demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that snooker is free from corruption. “It is an important part of our anti-corruption approach that players found to be involved in fixing matches or any aspect of a match are severely dealt with. “The message we are sending is that if you get involved in match fixing you will be found out and removed from the sport.” Lee was accused of giving inside information to associates, who then bet on the basis of it and passed it to others to do the same.

Lawyer Adam Lewis, in his written decision for independent arbitration body Sport Resolutions, said it had not been established Lee deliberately lost a match when he could and should have won. “Rather it is established, on the balance of probabilities, that Mr Lee acted improperly in relation to matches that he either believed he would lose, or that he believed he would win sufficiently comfortably that he could drop the first frame,” the barrister wrote. “Lee did not strike me as a cynical cheat, but rather as a weak man who, under financial pressure, succumbed to the temptation to take improper steps that he may well have justified to himself as not really wrong, because the ultimate result of the match, win or lose, was the same.” Lewis said a life ban had not been imposed because it was not deemed proportionate, in the circumstances, or necessary in order to deter. He pointed out also that at the time the offences were committed, there was no stipulation in WPBSA disciplinary rules that any player found guilty of match-fixing should incur a life ban in the absence of exceptional mitigating circumstances. Former professional Willie Thorne said Lee’s 12year suspension amounted to the end of the player’s career.—Reuters



Emergency around Olympic city Sochi because of floods SOCHI: Regional authorities declared a state of emergency in Sochi and evacuated a village because of flooding and mudslides less than five months before the Russian city hosts the Winter Olympics. Knee-high puddles in the city centre caused long traffic jams after heavy rain, a Reuters photographer said, and firefighters were pumping water from the streets. An emergency services spokeswoman said a state of emergency had been declared but that water levels were receding on Wednesday in Sochi. “Now the situation has started to stabilise,” she said. A highway leading to some of the Alpine event venues was flooded by up to 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) of

water, which emergency workers said they were trying to drain, the regional branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry said. Residents were evacuated from Kepsha, a village near the highway, that was threatened by mudslides, it said. Alexander Zhukov, the head of the Russian Olympic Committee, told state television he had no doubt Sochi would be ready for the Games, which open on Feb. 7 and will be a crucial part of President Vladimir Putin’s legacy. Not only would Sochi be ready to welcome world athletes and guests but Russia’s hosting will be “high level,” Zhukov told Rossiya-24 television in an inter-

view broadcast on Wednesday. Putin, who has staked his personal reputation and Russia’s prestige on a successful Olympics, ordered officials last week to quickly overcome failures and delays in preparations, saying he expected nothing less than a “brilliant Games”. The cost of hosting the Games is expected to rise to $50 billion dollars, much more than expected initially and more than any other Olympics. Work is still underway on venues and other infrastructure, where an International Olympic Committee delegation was making its final inspection of sites before the Games on Wednesday.

Much of the city and Olympic village resembles a muddy construction site. Poor weather has plagued preparations in the sprawling Black Sea city, which rises from the palm-lined subtropical shore to mountains of the Caucasus range. Passengers had to wade through ankle-deep water at Sochi airport earlier this month during heavy rain, and a state of emergency was declared in March due to flooding. The rainfall is due to continue this week, according to the emergency services, which said they were using drones to monitor the situation in the worstaffected areas. — Reuters

Venus fights back to reach Tokyo quarters

David Ferrer in action in this file photo

Ferrer through in Malaysia KUALA LUMPUR: Spain’s Nicolas Almagro and Vasek Pospisil of Canada yesterday became the latest seeds to exit the Malaysian Open, but there was no such trouble for world number four David Ferrer. The Spaniard, the top seed in Kuala Lumpur, swatted aside Matteo Viola of Italy 6-2, 6-3 in 73 minutes to book his ticket to the final eight. “It wasn’t as easy as the scores suggest. It’s just that Viola was a little nervous and made a couple of mistakes in the first set,” said Ferrer. “But credit to him, he came back in the second and played some good rallies. “First match (of the tournament) is always tough, but I feel good and I was consistent,” Ferrer said. “I’m happy to seal the win in straight sets.” Third seed Almagro, who has endured a wretched season with injuries, was sluggish and mixed his game with six aces and five double faults as he crashed out 6-4, 6-3 to Frenchman Adrian Mannarino

in 76 minutes. Seventh seed Pospisil, meanwhile, found Argentine Federico Delbonis a tough nut to crack and suffered a 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/1) defeat, also in the second round. The eighth seed and former champion Nikolay Davydenko was sent packing on Tuesday. Almagro was so upset with his loss that he smashed his racquet against the floor after the final point, while his opponent was grinning from ear to ear. “My only goal in this match was to try harder and play as well as I could,” said Mannarino. “I’m really pleased with the way I performed as my shots found the lines perfectly. It doesn’t matter who I play next (either fifth seed Julien Benneteau or Pablo Andujar). “All I care about is going out to give my best. “The court is a little slow and while it is not to my liking, I managed to win most of the long rallies. That’s strange as I expected him to be better than me and my plan was to try to finish off the points as quickly as possible.” — AFP

Berdych sends Agut packing BANGKOK: Top seed Tomas Berdych returned to the Thailand Open after half a decade’s absence yesterday with a hard-fought 6-3, 6-3 win over Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the quarter-finals.

THAILAND: Tomas Berdych of Czechoslovakia returns to Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain during the second round of the Tennis ATP Thailand Open 2013 tournament. — AFP

The world number six Berdych, who this month helped the Czech Republic into a second straight Davis Cup final, took revenge for a loss to the Spaniard Bautista Agut in January in Chennai. After an opening-round bye, Berdych spent 41 minutes in winning the opening set and saved break points in his first two service games of

the second on his way to victory. “I faced some tough moments, but I reacted well,” he said. “It was a long trip down here but I felt good in the match, I’ve had good practice and I’m ready to play.” Berdych drew a time violation trailing 0-40 on serve in the third game of the second set after the ballgirls appeared not to be quick enough. But he got out of trouble in the game to hold and said it didn’t take much to re-establish his rhythm. “You cannot blame the ballgirls, they are trying their best. But sometimes it can be a matter of seconds,” said the Czech. Sixth seed Feliciano Lopez and Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands also booked their places in the quarter-finals. While Lopez went through without problems over Japan’s Go Soeda, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, there was plenty of hard work for Sijsling, who beat compatriot Robin Haase for the second time this season as he posted a 6-7 (7/9), 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) second-round win which took twoand-a-quarter hours. Sijsling, ranked 75th to the 60th of Dutch number one Haase, said: “It went well but it was a very tough match and we both played well. He got a bit defensive and tried to make the points longer, physically it was tough.” “I tried to play attacking tennis and it worked for me. I got to the net more and I think that helped in the end,” added the Bangkok debutant. In concluding first-round play at the hard courts of the Impact Arena, Russian fifth seed Mikhail Youzhny struck six aces and saved all three break points in a 6-3, 6-2 defeat of Italian Paolo Lorenzi. Making his tournament debut, Youzhny will next play Uzbek Denis Istomin, winner over South Korea’s Jeong Suk-Young 6-3, 6-0. Youzhny, 31, is one of 14 over-30 winners on the ATP this season. He now stands 33-20 in 2013. Lu Yen-Hsun of Taiwan moved into the second round after defeating another Russian, Evgeny Donskoy, 6-3, 6-2. — AFP

TOKYO: Venus Williams snatched victory from the jaws of defeat yesterday to beat fast-rising Romanian Simona Halep 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 and reach the quarter-finals of the Pan Pacific Open. The 33-year-old American, who dominated women’s tennis a little over a decade ago but was diagnosed with the autoimmune disorder Sjogren’s Syndrome in 2011, warned after her match in Tokyo that she had no thoughts of retiring. In any case, sister Serena would not let her, Venus said. “I don’t know how I was able to win that match,” Venus, who knocked out ailing top seed Victoria Azarenka in the previous round, told reporters. “She played unbelievable. I’ve never seen her hit the ball that hard. “It came down to who was more determined, who would fight harder and believe more. I’m glad that person was me.” Second seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland overpowered Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 6-4 and next faces German Angelique Kerber after the fifth seed flattened Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-2. Williams dropped the first set and was down 4-3 and a break in the second before producing an impressive comeback to set up a meeting with Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard, who upset Serbian sixth seed Jelena Jankovic 7-5, 6-2 under a closed centre-court roof as rain halted play outside. Only Serena, with nine, has won more titles than Halep’s four in 2013, and the 13th seed gave Venus the runaround for a set and a half, leaving the seven-times grand slam champion shaking her head as she whipped winners from all parts of the court. But Williams, who has slipped to 63rd in the world after two years of illness or injury, showed her experience on the big points. After levelling at a set-all, she ruined Halep’s

JAPAN: Venus Williams of USA reacts during her third round match against Simona Halep of Romania in the Pan Pacific Open tennis tournament. — AFP hopes of celebrating her 22nd birthday on Friday still in the tournament with a blistering crosscourt forehand on her first match point. Williams added: “The motivation for me now is knowing my luck’s got to change. “My body’s got to cooperate at some point. What am I going to do anyway? Watch on TV? That’s just lazy. “And Serena wouldn’t let me quit,” she added with a laugh. “She’d be like, ‘You’re playing doubles!’. I’d be, ‘Okay’. “I perhaps don’t have the

health of the other players but physically I’m always trying to get an edge. I can’t go in there with fear. “I’ve tried traditional medicine and non-pharmaceutical things. It’s like tennis-you always have to try new things. “There’s no roadmap. I’m on my own here.”Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki, winner in Tokyo three years ago, swept into the last eight with a 6-1, 6-1 demolition of Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova. — AFP

Golf’s ‘next year’ is only 16 days away ATLANTA: Tiger Woods said he was tired. Phil Mickelson already was looking for ways to reduce his schedule by 25 percent. “Just wait until next year,” Jim Furyk said, more out of dread than anticipation. The PGA Tour has agreed to create a week off before the Ryder Cup in 2014. That means two majors and a World Golf Championship in a fourweek span. And then four straight FedEx Cup playoff events, including a three-day window between the final round in Boston and the opening round in Denver. And don’t forget: With the new wraparound season, “next year” is only 16 days away. That leaves just enough time to review a 2013 season marked by weather (wind, fog, snow), surprises and slumps, rules violations, deer antler spray and the first time in 24 years that none of the 54-hole leaders in the majors went on to win. The PGA Tour announces its player of the year on Friday. Here are a few other awards to consider until then. COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: The PGA Tour did away with this award a few years ago because too many winners were “coming back” from bad play rather than a serious injury. Henrik Stenson would be the popular choice under that context. The winner, though, should be Boo Weekley. Three years after playing in the Ryder Cup, he lost his full PGA Tour card and then failed at Qschool. Playing on sponsor exemptions in 2012, he earned back his card on the last day of the season with a 67 at Disney. Weekley started the year at No. 299 in the world. He won at Colonial, advanced to the Tour Championship and now is among the top 50. He will be playing all four majors next year for the first time since 2009. BEST YEAR WITHOUT A WIN: Steve Stricker won $4.4 million despite going into semi-retirement. He was runner-up at Kapalua, Doral and the Tour Championship. Then again, he played only six fewer tournaments than normal. The nod goes to Graham DeLaet of Canada, who was 95th on the money list a year ago. He had seven top 10s, more than his previous two seasons on tour combined, and two of his best results came in the FedEx Cup playoffs. DeLaet played in his first two majors, rose to No. 32 in the world and earned a spot on the Presidents Cup team. PACE OF PLAY AWARD: The 30-man field at Kapalua. A fluke weather pattern that brought 40 mph gusts was so bizarre that the Tournament of Champions didn’t start until the day it was supposed to end. Rickie Fowler hit the opening tee shot on Monday morning, and the 54-hole tournament ended 29 hours later. It can be done. TIMING AWARD: Vijay Singh filed a lawsuit against the PGA Tour for “public humiliation and ridicule” over its investigation of his admission that he used deer antler spray, which was reported to contain a banned substance. It was filed one week after the tour said it was

Phil Mickelson dropping its case against him - and one day before the start of The Players Championship.

PGA Tour history with a 59, and the only one to do it with a bogey on his card.

BEST DECISION: Jordan Spieth had a pair of top 10s in South America and was closing in on full Tour status for the year. He wanted to go to Chile to lock up his card, but the Texas teenager felt compelled to honor a sponsor’s exemption he had received in the Puerto Rico Open. Spieth tied for second, which got him into the Tampa Bay Championship, where he tied for seventh. He then earned enough money to secure a PGA Tour card, became a PGA Tour member by winning the John Deere Classic, locked up a spot in the Tour Championship with a 62 on the final day at the TPC Boston, was picked for the Presidents Cup team and ended the year 10th on the PGA Tour money list. Just think if he had gone to Chile.

BEST ROUND BY A WINNER: Phil Mickelson shot 66 on Sunday to win the British Open at Muirfield. Some call it the best closing round in a major. It would have to rank behind Jack Nicklaus’ 65 at the 1986 Masters, and Johnny Miller’s 63 at Oakmont. It was the best on Sunday at Muirfield, which is all that mattered to him.

WORST DECISION: Even with video evidence that his golf ball moved slightly as he tried to remove a twig, Woods maintained that it only oscillated. It was clear enough that he was given a two-shot penalty. Woods accepted the penalty. But in seven answers to the media, he insisted the ball didn’t moved. The question went from “What was he seeing?” to “What was he thinking?” BEST ROUND: Jim Furyk at the BMW Championship became only the sixth player in

BEST SHOT: Justin Rose’s 4-iron to the 18th at Merion to wrap up the U.S. Open. Too bad it didn’t stay on the green, but that wasn’t his fault. BEST PUTT: Adam Scott’s 20-foot birdie on the 18th hole in regulation at the Masters. BEST ADVICE: Steve Williams, the caddie for Adam Scott, who said before they walked off the green, “This isn’t over yet.” And it wasn’t. BEST DRESSED: Condoleezza Rice. In a green jacket. BEST YEAR: Arnold Palmer. He hosted a PGA Tour event at Bay Hill for the 35th year, and this time was able to stick around to see Woods win. His Pittsburgh Pirates clinched a playoff berth for the first time in 21 years. He celebrated his 84th birthday. And he had dinner with Kate Upton. — AP



Colombian ‘futbol’ telenovela is a ratings GOOOOOOOOL! BOGOTA: With Colombia’s national football team close to qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, viewers are tuning in by the millions to a telenovela about their dream team of the 1990s. The soap opera-known simply as “La Seleccion” (marketed in English as “Football Dreams, a World of Passion”) — is an undeniable runaway smash hit. The series focuses on the personal struggles and love stories of the national team’s four main players: Carlos “El Pibe” (The Kid) Valderrama, goalkeeper Rene “El Loco” (Madman) Higuita, striker Faustino Asprilla and midfielder Freddy Rincon. These players formed the backbone of the team that played in World Cup tournaments in Italy in 1990, the United States in 1994, and France in 1998. “These characters are representative of Colombia, and rich from a dramatic point of view,” said series co-director Ricardo Coral. Valderrama, known for his trademark bushy blond afro, was the team captain and a born leader. Internationally he played for Montpellier in France, Real Valladolid in Spain, and later with US soccer teams. Higuita, who sported long, curly black hair, was the goalkeeper known for his spectacular “scor-

pion kick” and for daring forays far from his goal posts. He also played for Real Valladolid, and for Veracruz in Mexico. Striker Asprilla, a media diva, played internationally in Italy and Britain, while midfielder Rincon, who played for SSC Napoli, Real Madrid and teams in Brazil, was known for his tenacity and determination, Coral said. Fed up with ‘narco-dramas’ Colombian soaps in the past years have focused on the usual fare of steamy love stories as well as “narco dramas”-stories about the country’s decadeslong conflict involving drug traffickers, leftist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitary forces. “We wanted to state-loud and clear-that Colombia is not only made up of drug traffickers and paramilitary fighters,” Coral told AFP. “We want to change that view and give a fresh one that shows high personal values, hard work, and massive effort, which also represents us.” Coral acknowledges Colombia’s dark side, “but we’re fed up with seeing it.” The decision to shy away from drug trafficking

led producers to cut out a scene in which Higuita meets Colombia’s most famous drug lord, the late Pablo Escobar. Colombian football clubs were soaked with drug money in the 1980s and 1990s, so it was impossible to avoid the topic. “We mention it, but it’s not a main part of the storyline,” said Coral, who acknowledged taking some artistic liberties. “The story is based on their lives, but it’s not a fully accurate portrayal. We had to introduce changes to create more tension for dramatic purposes,” he said. Nevertheless there is plenty of humor, and reallife drama worthy of a Garcia Marquez novel-like the time that Higuita was courting a young woman who turned out to be his half-sister. “His father shows up and tells him: ‘she is your sister, you can’t get involved with her,’” Coral said. “It sounds like fiction, but it’s true.” Part of the success of the series relies on the physical similarities between the actors and the football stars. Edgar Vittorino, the actor who portrays Valderrama, said he was terrified to represent a national icon. People would “love or hate me for the rest of my life because I was portraying their idol,” he

told AFP. Vittorino was studying in the United States when he was approached by the series producers. He prepared by buying a blond afro wig in New York and watching videos of Valderrama interviews. Later he visited the neighborhood where Valderrama grew up, in the northern coastal city of Santa Marta, and spent an afternoon with the football great. “Every year there was a telenovela about narcotrafficking and violence. Now, not just parents, but children too, can sit down and watch this show,” Vittorino said. The first part of the series ends with the 5-0 blowout Colombia dished out to Argentina in Buenos Aires in a 1993 World Cup qualifying match, and with players visiting Higuita in prison, where he spent six months for helping negotiate the release of a friend’s kidnapped daughter. The prison sentence meant that Higuita missed the 1994 World Cup tournament in the United States. Filming for the second part of the series begins in early 2014, and will take the team through the qualifying round and into the 1998 World Cup in France. — AFP

Four-star Guangzhou drive towards AFC final

FRANCE: Marseille’s Cameroonian defender Nicolas Nkoulou (left) tackles SaintEtienne’s French forward Mevlut Erding (right) during the French League football match. — AFP

Marseille get back to winning ways PARIS: Marseille put their recent patchy form behind them to beat Saint-Etienne 2-1 at the Stade Velodrome in Ligue 1 on Tuesday evening. After a fine start to the season, OM had gone four matches without a win in all competitions before hosting Les Verts. However, Saint-Etienne had not won in Marseille since August 1979, when Michel Platini was among the scorers, and their miserable record in the fixture was extended as they failed to fully recover from the concession of two first-half goals. Elie Baup’s side came flying out of the blocks and opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when Benjamin Mendy connected first-time with a Mathieu Valbuena cross from the right, his shot bouncing over the stranded Stephane Ruffier and into the net. The young full-back’s first Ligue 1 goal was followed by a first top-flight goal for midfielder Giannelli Imbula four minutes later. Imbula slotted low past Ruffier from a Rod Fanni cross at the end of a fine Marseille move, to leave Saint-Etienne facing a second straight defeat already. The visitors were handed a lifeline just after the half-hour mark when Alaixys Romao was harshly adjudged to have handled a Yohan Mollo cross right on the edge of the area and Faouzi Ghoulam stepped up to slot the penalty past Steve Mandanda in goal. However, they could not find an equaliser, and might have lost by more goals, with

Ruffier notably saving twice from Valbuena before the interval. “After they came back to 2-1 we found things a bit more complicated,” admitted Baup, speaking to Canal Plus television after the game. “But we have played well since the start of season, even in losing to Monaco and Arsenal, and we were rewarded tonight.” The win takes Marseille above SaintEtienne and provisionally into second place in the table, behind leaders Monaco on goal difference before the unbeaten principality club play host to Bastia late yesterday. Earlier on Tuesday, Lille followed up their weekend 2-0 win at Sochaux with a convincing 3-0 home victory against Evian. Salomon Kalou’s neat back-flick turned a Florent Balmont shot into the net to give Lille an early lead in France’s far north, and the unfortunate Jesper Hansen then scored an own-goal 32 minutes in. The Danish goalkeeper, who was making his Ligue 1 debut, did well to tip a Nolan Roux header onto the bar, but the ball then richocheted off him and into the net to make it 2-0. Ronny Rodelin then took advantage of poor defending to seal the victory in the second half. Among the other games yesterday, defending champions Paris Saint-Germain, who trail the leaders by two points, go to struggling Valenciennes without captain Thiago Silva, who faces six weeks out with a thigh injury. — AFP

Morton stun Celtic in Scottish League Cup LONDON: Celtic’s dreams of a domestic treble were dashed on Tuesday when they were stunned 1-0 by second-tier strugglers Morton in the third round of the Scottish League Cup. With the scores level after 90 minutes at Celtic Park, visitors Morton were awarded a penalty early in extra time for a handball by

Dougie Imrie Celtic defender Efe Ambrose. Dougie Imrie duly converted from the spot and Morton survived a late scare when Charlie Mulgrew hit the post to dump the hosts out of the competition and book a place in the quarter-finals. Celtic won 27 corners to Morton’s two and beaten manager Neil Lennon said he could not fault his side for effort. “I have got to be philosophical about it,” he said. “It wasn’t for the attitude or want of trying in the game. It just wasn’t our night, for

whatever reason. “The only disappointment for me is we had 26 corners and we didn’t convert one of them with the height we had in the team. “We have to take our chances. We ended up putting Virgil van Dijk up to give us something different and certainly we created a lot more.” He added: “If you don’t take your chances, you don’t expect to win the game. “I thought we would at least get one tonight and that is a surprise and disappointment to me. “But I am not going to hammer the players. It has been a very demanding start to the season for them and I think they are looking forward to the game on Saturday (at Kilmarnock). “It is a frustration, but I will get over it very quickly. I have too much to look forward to, to dwell on it.” Morton manager Allan Moore said the result was “incredible”, but admitted: “We rode our luck.” He added: “The fact they put their centrehalf up front was testament to how well we played. “Our league form hasn’t been good. We had work rate and desire in abundance tonight. There are a lot of jerseys in there full of sweat.” The result was rendered all the more remarkable by the fact that Morton’s recent form has seen them slump to second-bottom in the Scottish Championship. “There aren’t many times I’ve come here even in my playing career and got good results,” Moore added. “But to a man we were excellent, especially after the league form we’ve had over the last couple of weeks. What a dressing room it was-that’s why you come to play football.”—AFP

SINGAPORE: Marcello Lippi’s Guangzhou Evergrande hit back after conceding an early goal to floor Japan’s Kashiwa Reysol 4-1 and put one foot in the AFC Champions League final yesterday. Striker Cleo, who is on loan from Guangzhou, put Kashiwa ahead after 10 minutes. But four second-half goals, including a Muriqui double and a Dario Conca rocket, gave the visitors a big win in the semi-final first leg. The Chinese champions, coached by World Cup-winning manager Lippi, will now be huge favourites to reach the final as they seek to end China’s 23-year Asian title drought. In Wednesday’s other semi-final fixture, FC Seoul scored either side of half-time in a 2-0 home win over Iran’s Esteghlal to give themselves a glorious chance of reaching the final. Kashiwa were quickly on the scoresheet and it was a soft one as Jorge Wagner’s diagonal free-kick floated in and bounced into the net after a barely perceptible touch from the head of Cleo. The early strike rocked the visitors, and with Kashiwa’s massed ranks of yellow fans in full voice, the tournament’s form team suddenly looked out of sorts. Cleo and Junya Tanaka both had chances but Kashiwa rode their luck when Guangzhou’s Muriqui, latching on to a scuffed shot, curled his strike at goal only to be denied by the inside of the post. Wagner’s deliveries were causing constant problems for Zeng Cheng in the Guangzhou goal, and it was only the goalkeeper’s trailing legs that kept out Tanaka when he looked odds-on to score. Cleo was also picked out by Wagner near half-time with a high one that he chested down and half-volleyed over the bar from close range. Lippi introduced midfielder Zhao Xuri after half-time and he was quickly in the thick of it, setting up Muriqui for a chance in the box and taking a pot-shot from distance. And Guangzhou were firmly in the ascendancy when Muriqui pounced to make it 1-1. Sun Xiang’s cross from the left was poorly dealt with by the Kashiwa defence and the Brazilian made no mistake this time as he thumped in his shot into the roof of the net. Kashiwa nearly regained the lead but Naoya Kondo’s header was cleared off the line-and they were immediately floored when Guangzhou went straight up the other end and

TOKYO: Brazilian striker Cleo (left) of Japanese club Kashiwa Reysol shoots the ball against Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande’s Sun Xiang, 32 (center) and Kim Young Gwon, 28, during their Asian Champions League semifinal soccer match. — AP grabbed a second. As Guangzhou poured forward, the ball fell to Conca and the sparkling Argentine midfielder unleashed a fierce leftfooted shot that gave the visitors a 2-1 lead on 67 minutes. Kashiwa gifted Guangzhou their third when Conca’s corner bounced off a defender at the near post and into the goal on 82 minutes, in a strike that was credited to Brazilian striker Elkeson. And Muriqui rubbed salt into the wounds with Guangzhou’s fourth when he rounded Kashiwa goalkeeper Takanori Sugeno and completed his brace in the first minute of injury time. In Seoul, it was honours even until six minutes before half-time when dependable Montenegrin striker Dejan Damjanovic popped up to put the home side in front. Go Yo-Han fired the ball across the area and when Mauricio Molina’s header was athletically

parried by the goalkeeper, Damjanovic was on hand to nod the rebound home at the far post. Seoul doubled their advantage two minutes after the break when Go, fed by a pull-back across the box from Yun Il-Lok, turned on to his right foot and lashed his shot into the net. Esteghlal nearly hit back when Javad Nekounam’s free header floated over, and when Mohammad Ghazi’s thumping volley flashed wide. But Seoul’s Molina and Damjanovic both had their heads in their hands when they nodded what looked certain goals narrowly off-target in a frantic few minutes at the end. And Molina drew a fantastic save from Mahdi Rahmati in injury time when his sizzling drive was turned away for a corner. Seoul will defend their lead in a tough away leg in Tehran on October 2, while Guangzhou have an easier task in front of their home fans on the same evening. — AFP

Moyes wants to sign more top-class talent MANCHESTER: Manchester United manager David Moyes has said he’s still short of players ready to go straight into the English champions’ first-team and warned fans to prepare for more days like last weekend’s derby defeat. United were thrashed 4-1 by Manchester City, a result immediately billed as a “demolition derby”, on Sunday. Moyes, speaking ahead of yesterday ’s League Cup tie against arch-rivals Liverpool, said he was under no illusions about the scale of the task confronting him in succeeding retired United manager Alex Ferguson, who bowed out with the team winning the Premier League by 11 points last season. “It was always going to be tough following such a great manager with a great team and I think people with real football knowledge will know there are probably some changes to be made,” Moyes said in comments reported by Britain’s national press yesterday. “It is not going to be made in one fell swoop. It is going to be done in time. “That is why the Manchester United board realised the job that needed to be done was a long-term one. “There was always going to be days like this and there might well be more days like this,” the Scot added. Moyes’s delayed arrival from Everton meant the only major signing United made during the last transfer window was Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini from his old club. United failed in their attempts to bring Spain Under-21 captain Thiago Alcantara and midfielders Cesc Fabregas, Ander Herrera and Daniele de Rossi to Old Trafford. Meanwhile Everton’s Leighton Baines remained at Goodison Park while fellow leftback Fabio Coentrao could not be enticed away from Real Madrid. “I don’t think it’s actually the squad, I think we’ve got numbers,” said Moyes as he prepared to face a Liverpool side set to be buoyed by the return from suspension of striker Luis Suarez. “Maybe we’ve got work to do to bring in players not for the squad but to go right into the team. “That will happen. But going back to that transfer window, we always said it was going to be a tough one and it was going to take a little

Manchester United’s Scottish manager David Moyes bit more time.” Moyes accepted that for all his here then I realise maybe I wasn’t,” said Moyes. “It long experience of football, which he hoped had is a club on its own. It is a fantastic place to work prepared him for the daunting task of succeed- with great players. “But we have to do well ing Ferguson, nothing could compare to the job enough to make sure people on the outside of actually being United manager. “I thought I think the work we are doing is the right stuff,” he was (prepared) but obviously when you come added. —AFP

Today’s matches on TV

Italian Calcio League Internazionale v Fiorentin Aljazeera Sport HD 3


Spanish League Bilbao v Real Betis Aljazeera Sport HD 9

Getafe v Celta de Vigo Aljazeera Sport HD 9


Villarreal v Espanyol Aljazeera Sport HD 4


French League 21:00

Montpellier v Stade Rannes Aljazeera Sport HD 5


Venus fights back to reach Tokyo quarters

Lee handed 12-year ban for match-fixing




Srinivasan shrugs off critics, eyes BCCI return

Page 17

LONDON: Manchester United’s Javier Hernandez (centre) scores against Liverpool during their English League Cup soccer match at Old Trafford Stadium. — AP

Hernandez ruins Suarez’s return Man United edge Liverpool in League Cup LONDON: Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez ruined Luis Suarez’s long-awaited return from suspension as the Mexican clinched a 1-0 win against Liverpool in the League Cup third round yesterday. Suarez was making his first appearance of the season following the completion of his 10-match ban for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in a Premier League clash last term. But the controversial Uruguayan’s presence in the Liverpool starting line-up wasn’t enough to galvanise his team to victory at Old Trafford as Hernandez bagged the winner for United less than two minutes into the second half. David Moyes’s team were on course to

bounce back from Sunday’s painful 4-1 derby defeat at Manchester City, and also avenge a 1-0 loss against Liverpool in the league this season, when Wayne Rooney’s corner picked out the unmarked Hernandez to volley home in the 46th minute. Suarez, who had angered Liverpool with his failed attempt to engineer a move to Arsenal during his suspension, hit the bar with a free-kick in the closing stages and also went close when his powerful strike rippled the side-netting, but United held on to move into the fourth round. League Cup holders Swansea suffered an embarrassing exit as Championship side Birmingham won 3-1 at St Andrews. Michael

Laudrup’s side routed Bradford at Wembley last season to clinch the first trophy in the Welsh club’s 100-year history. But Laudrup made 10 changes from the line-up that beat Crystal Palace in the league on Sunday and their defence of the trophy ended at the first attempt. On-loan Fulham centre-half Dan Burn headed Birmingham in front in the 57th minute before striker Matt Green, who was playing non league football with Mansfield last season, got across his marker to slide in a Chris Burke cross four minutes later. Tom Adeyemi added the third in the 81st minute and Wilfried Bony’s stoppage-time strike was no consolation for Swansea.

Newcastle eased through with a 2-0 win over Championship side Leeds at St James’ Park. Leeds manager Brian McDermott was given his first break in coaching by Newcastle boss Alan Pardew when he was in charge at Reading in 2000. But there was little chance of Pardew being so accommodating this time, even though the Magpies fielded a team featuring six changes. The hosts went ahead when Senegal striker Papiss Cisse ended his 11-game goal-drought with a header from Shola Ameobi’s cross in the 31st minute for his first goal since April. And French midfielder Yoan Gouffran sealed the victory as he smashed in a powerful shot from the edge of the area for his first goal

Bayern crush Hanover in German Cup BERLIN: Holders Bayern Munich crushed Hanover 96 4-1 with two goals from Thomas Mueller to reach the German Cup round of 16 yesterday. Bayern looked to be cruising to an easy victory when Mueller and Claudio Pizarro struck in the first half with the hosts in complete control. It took some time for Hanover to find their way back into the game but they did so with determination when Didier Ya Konan cut the deficit with a fine volley in the 37th minute when defenders Dante and Daniel van Buyten were out of position. Mueller, however, made sure of Bayern’s spot in the next round when he connected with a Xherdan Shaqiri free kick to grab his second goal in the 64th. Substitute Franck Ribery added another when keeper Ron-robert Zieler failed to hold a powerful Mueller drive 12 minutes from time. Schalke 04 were far less convincing but managed to recover from their 4-0 demolition by Bayern Munich last week to beat third-tier

Darmstadt 98 3-1. Benedikt Hoewedes rose high to head the visitors back into the lead on the hour after Jefferson Farfan’s 35thminute lead was cancelled out by Hanno Behrens’ header a minute later. Max Meyer sealed the win in the 86th.Second tier Kaiserslautern came from a goal down to dump out Bundesliga Hertha Berlin 3-1. Unmarked Peter Niemeyer controlled and drilled in to put Hertha ahead in the 25th minute but the hosts bounced back in the second half, scoring three times through Mohamadou Idrissou, Karim Matmour and Canadian Olivier Occean. Last season’s finalists VfB Stuttgart also bowed out with a 2-1 defeat at Freiburg. Eintracht Frankfurt comfortably beat second division VfL Bochum 2-0 with Japanese Takashi Inui scoring one goal and setting up another in the space of two minutes. Borussia Dortmund left it late against 1860 GERMANY: Bayern Munich’s Toni Kroos (left) challenges for the ball Munich on Tuesday, scoring twice in with Hannover’s Szabolcs Huszti of Hungary during the German Cup second round match. — AP extra time to advance. — Reuters

for the club in the 67th minute. Stoke midfielder Stephen Ireland scored his first goal for the club in a 2-0 win over League One strugglers Tranmere Rovers Rovers are currently 19th in the third tier with just one win so far this season and Mark Hughes’ men were always in control at Prenton Park. Ireland was handed his first Stoke start as Hughes made seven changes and the onloan Aston Villa midfielder opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, collecting a through ball from Marko Arnautovic before slotting home for his first goal since December 2011. Former Liverpool and Tottenham striker Peter Crouch notched the second in the 90th minute. — AFP

Valencia scrape 1-0 win MADRID: Valencia’s troubled start to the La Liga season continued when they again played poorly and had to rely on a scuffed Jonas effort in the fourth minute of added time to secure a 1-0 win at Granada yesterday. Valencia’s preparations for the match in Andalucia were disrupted after their France defender Adil Rami criticised coach Miroslav Djukic in a radio interview, labelled his team mates “sycophants” and was sent home. Djukic’s players turned in an error-strewn performance against a Granada side that flirted with relegation last season, barely mustering a shot on target until substitute Sergio Canales sprinted clear on the left and crossed for Jonas to bundle the ball into the net. The unconvincing victory lifted Valencia to seventh on nine points from six matches and will do little to ease the pressure on Serb Djukic, a former Valencia player who took over from Ernesto Valverde at the end of last season. Valencia’s fellow strugglers Sevilla secured their first win of the campaign with a 4-1 success at home to Rayo Vallecano, who had two players sent off at the Sanchez Pizjuan. Unai Emery, a former Valencia coach now with the Andalusian side, has also been under pressure after Sevilla recorded three defeats and two draws in their opening five matches. Ivan Rakitic and Carlos Bacca both scored twice to help lift Emery’s team off the bottom of the table. Real Madrid will be without record signing Gareth Bale when they play at

Elche late yesterday. Bale was rested as a precaution after tweaking a muscle at the weekend and should be fit for Saturday’s derby at home to Atletico Madrid. Champions Barcelona and Atletico are the only two teams to have won all six of their matches after Real were held to a 2-2 draw at promoted Villarreal this month. — Reuters

Falcao’s double lifts Monaco PARIS: Striker Radamel Falcao scored his sixth and seventh goals in as many Ligue 1 matches as big-spending Monaco beat Bastia 3-0 at home yesterday to maintain their grip at the top of Ligue 1. The Colombian, signed this year from Atletico Madrid for 60 million euros ($81 million), is now the league’s leading scorer ahead of team mate Emmanuel Riviere who opened the scoring in the 39th minute with his sixth of the season. Falcao doubled the lead two minutes later when Joao Moutinho, another multi-million signing, set him up with a deep pass over the defence. He wrapped it up from close range one minute from time as Monaco moved on 17 points from seven games. They are two points ahead of champions Paris St Germain who won 1-0 at Valenciennes thanks to a rare combination between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani. — Reuters

Kuwait steps up oil production


Page 22 Airbus nets 68 A320 orders in China as market grows Page 23


VIVA upgrades its network to LTE Advance

France vows huge spending cuts Page 25

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WASHINGTON: The US Capitol dome is seen at sunrise over Washington, DC, yesterday. The US Senate faces a Sunday showdown over whether to keep government running, but bickering over US President Barack Obama’s signature health care law is bringing federal agencies dangerously close to a shutdown. — AFP

Clock ticking towards US govt shutdown Debt cap closes room to maneuver on Oct 17: Lew WASHINGTON: With the clock ticking toward a possible US government shutdown, a fractured Congress scrambled yesterday to piece together a deal that would keep the doors open into next month. The Republican-led House of Representatives last week passed a contentious measure that funds government operations at current levels through December 15, but which also strips President Barack Obama’s three-yearold health care law of all its funding. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has set an initial procedural vote on the matter for midday yesterday, and both parties acknowledge that the measure will reach the 60 votes necessary in the 100-member body. Reid said he will then strip out the provision defunding the health care law known as Obamacare, and amend the budget bill to fund government only until November 15 instead of midDecember. That would push Congress to quickly work out a long-term budget deal instead of extending the fiscal crisis right up to the end-of-year holiday period. Reid said the Senate should ultimately pass its legislation by “sometime on Sunday,” leaving the House 48 hours or less to either pass the amended bill or send a reworked counteroffer back to the Senate. If no spending agreement is reached, gov-

ernment agencies would begin shutting their doors early Tuesday, the day after the end of the current fiscal year, and hundreds of thousands of federal workers would likely be ordered to stay home with no pay. But in a sign of the divisive nature of the debate, conservative Senator Ted Cruz took to the Senate floor pledging to speak “until I am no longer able to stand.” Twenty-one hours later he was still going strong, railing against Obamacare as “the biggest job killer in this country. “The American people want to stop this madness, and so do I,” Cruz said. As lawmakers squabble over the way forward, a second fiscal crisis was rapidly approaching: the need to raise the US debt ceiling or risk a catastrophic credit default. US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said yesterday the government will have exhausted its borrowing authority by Oct 17, leaving the United States just $30 billion cash on hand to pay its bills. That’s a slightly worse financial position than Treasury predicted last month and adds to the pressure on Congress to increase the government’s borrowing cap soon to avert a first-ever US default on its obligations. In a letter to top congressional leaders, Lew warned that a repeat of the debt brinksman-

ship of 2011 could inflict great harm on the economy and that “if the government should ultimately become unable to pay all of its bills, the results could be catastrophic.” The government reached its $16.7 trillion debt limit in May. Since then, it has been using “extraordinary measures” such as suspending US investments in federal employee trust funds to create about $300 billion in additional borrowing room. But on the 17th the government will be left with only its cash cushion and daily receipts to pay its bills. Lew warned that before long it would not be able to meet all of its obligations. Economists and financial market experts warn that the stock market could plummet and that investors would demand higher returns on Treasury notes, which could raise interest rates and harm the economy. It’s generally assumed that Treasury would make sure that the government wouldn’t default on Treasury notes held by investors, including foreign countries like China, If it did default on such debt obligations it could be a catastrophe for the economy. A House-passed stopgap spending measure pending before the Senate contains a GOP-backed provision that would give Social Security recipients and bondholders priority in receiving payments from the government.

Lew again rejected the idea. “The United States should never have to choose, for example, whether to pay Social Security to seniors, pay benefits to our veterans, or make payments to state and local jurisdictions and health care providers under Medicare and Medicaid,” Mr. Lew said. “There is no way of knowing the damage any prioritization plan would have on our economy and financial markets. It would represent an irresponsible retreat from a core American value: We are a nation that honors all of its commitments.” Lew again warned that President Barack Obama would not negotiate with Republicans over the debt limit. “The president remains willing to negotiate over the future direction of fiscal policy, but he will not negotiate over whether the United States will pay its bills for past commitments,” Lew wrote. Meanwhile, orders for long-lasting US manufactured goods barely grew in August in a possible sign that companies are holding back on investments due to uncertainty over government spending. Other data yesterday showed sales of new US homes last month were near their lowest level of the year, a sign that a rise in interest rates was weighing on the economy. Durable goods orders rose 0.1 percent during the month, driven by the strongest rise in vehicle

Gold flat on US uncertainty LONDON: Gold was little changed yesterday struggling to hold gains in the previous session as a lack of clarity over the outlook for US economic stimulus more than offset concern over budget talks in Washington that could boost the metal. US lawmakers are seeking to approve legislation to keep most government offices running at the end of this month, when budgets are due to expire, but they have yet to find common ground. Investors, surprised by last week’s decision by the Federal Reserve not to trim its bond-buying stimulus, are uncertain over the central bank’s next steps and how to interpret mixed signals from policymakers about the strength of the economy. “The US debt talks were potentially seen as likely to increase safehaven demand for gold but maybe the market has become so used to this discussion coming up every time at the end of the year that is not a massive factor anymore,” Danske Bank analyst Christin Tuxen said. “On the other hand, we do still expect the Fed will taper in December ...the bond-buying

reduction is certainly not cancelled but only postponed and that is still the focus,” she added. Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,320.80 per ounce by 1311 GMT. US gold rose $5.00 to $1,321.50 an ounce after a threeday fall. Bullion has fallen about 20 percent this year - after 12 years of gains - while the U.S Federal Reserve signalled in May that it would begin tapering its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases by the end of 2013. Traders said strong open interest for October COMEX options at around $1,325 indicated that their expiry on Wednesday would probably help keep prices stable in coming sessions. “Ahead of option expiry on the Comex this evening, I suspect we will fluctuate either side of $1,325,” Marex Spectron said in a note. However, data from the International Monetary Fund showed that central banks continued to increase gold reserves in August, with Russia buying nearly 13 tons. When gold prices fell sharply in April and June, physical demand increased. But with continued volatility in prices and expectations

orders since February, Commerce Department data showed. The data also showed shipments of non-military capital goods other than aircraft grew 1.3 percent during the month, snapping two straight months of declines. The reading for these so-called “core” shipments feeds directly into the government’s estimates for total economic growth and the increase supports the view that government austerity has so far taken only a modest bite from national output. But concerns are growing. “Companies are still cautious in their capex (capital expenditure) due to the uncertain economic scenario,” said Annalisa Piazza, an analyst at Newedge Strategy. The data, which cover everything from toasters to tanks, had little impact on sentiment on Wall Street, where eyes have grown more focused on debates in the US Congress over government spending and the national debt. Stock index futures were little changed. The US economy grew at a respectable 2.5 percent annual rate in the second quarter but many economists expect the pace will slow in the third. Worries over the path of fiscal policy have been growing, and new orders for core durable goods, which are viewed as a gauge of business spending plans, rose just 1.5 percent in August. — Agencies

Qatar drops, markets stay in narrow range MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS

TOKYO: A pure gold dragon (center) and a pair of Chinese styled lions are displayed at a gold products exhibition at Tokyo’s Takashimaya department store yesterday. The dragon, weighing 1.8kg, is priced 27.5 million yen (275,000 USD) and a pair of lions, weighing 80kg, are 1 billion yen ($10 million). — AFP of further declines, consumers in for the National Day have kept top markets China and India now things quiet, traders said. India is are staying away, and premiums also expected to see a fresh bout of over London prices remained buying after new rules on gold unchanged from last week’s. China, imports and exports were clarified, the second-biggest gold consumer, but buying is unlikely to return to is headed into a strong buying sea- the strong volumes seen in the first son, but market holidays next week half of the year. — Reuters

DUBAI: Qatar’s shares fell to a two-week low yesterday and are seen facing further pressure ahead of a planned listing, while most other regional bourses traded in a tight intraday range as investors await further catalysts following big market gains this year. Doha’s benchmark fell 1 percent to its lowest since Sept. 11. The measure has lost 2.8 percent this week on expectations state-run energy firm Qatar Petroleum will launch an initial public offering for its unit. QP has picked two banks to help arrange the IPO, an issue which could be worth around 3.2 billion riyals ($880 million), banking sources told Reuters. The IPO may launch by the end of this year. “Local retail and institutional investors are selling for the IPO but foreigners are gradually accumulating,” said Ahmed Shehada, head of trading at QNB Financial Services. “There is a lot of value in the market and with Q3 reporting soon, expect most names to have positive earnings.” Companies in Qatar will begin announcing third-quarter earnings in the second week of October. Shehada said

the market could face more selling pressure in the short term as investors free up cash to participate in the IPO, but by the year-end the index - now standing at 9,596 points - could cross the 10,000-mark again. This year’s intraday peak was 10,103 points - also a five-year high hit on Aug 22. In June, global index compiler MSCI upgraded Qatar to emerging market status, which is likely to underpin longerterm bullish sentiment on the bourse as larger funds flow in. The market is up 15.5 percent year-to-date. Fund managers estimated the upgrade might draw fresh $500 million to Qatar when it takes effect next May. In the United Arab Emirates, Dubai’s index edged up 0.3 percent, gaining for a fifth straight session and is 1.4 percent below the year’s peak. Dubai is sitting on 67.8 percent year-to-date gains, which makes it the world’s second best performing market after Venezuela. And while the outlook is bullish, retail investors dominate the market and are targeting smallcap stocks, which are now outperforming blue-chips. — Reuters



Guinea sits on vast fortune while its people struggle CONAKRY: Emilia Camara rests in the porch of her threadbare, ramshackle home in capital of Guinea, musing that she really ought to be a lot better off as she watches a sliver of paint peeling away and floating to the floor. The symbolism of her crumbling home is not lost on Camara for she has struggled in penury, like millions of Guineans, as she has watched a succession of dictators run down the economy in what could and should be one of the richest nations in Africa. “None of my five university graduate children or husband work,” she sighs as she watches five of her grandchildren finish off bowls of rice and palm oil sauce at a wobbly table on which worn-out kitchen utensils sit. “I manage to feed my family every day by selling fruit,” she says. Guinea, a former French colony and a dictatorship for a more than half a century, is on the cusp of its first parliamentary elections since 2002, but on the streets of Conakry, optimism seems as scarce a commodity as reliable electricity and water. The country-already the world’s largest producer of bauxite, used to make aluminium-has all manner of other untapped minerals too, including diamonds, gold, uranium and one of the planet’s richest deposits of undeveloped iron ore. Yet it remains one of the poorest nations in west Africa, hamstrung by corrupt and incompetent autocrats who mismanaged and plundered the public purse following independence from France in 1958. A military junta took control in December 2008 at the of death of President Lansana Conte, who seized power in a coup 24 years earlier, and a transitional administration oversaw the introduction of civilian rule at the end of 2010. Today the economy is stagnating, youth unemployment is estimated by the government to be somewhere around 60 percent and Guinea is languishing 178th out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Program. Power cuts are regular, the water supply is woefully inadequate, local government is weak and the private sector embryonic at best, according to the African Economic Outlook, published by the United Nations and Africa Development Bank. “The electricity in Guinea is like a flashing light show. It comes and goes constantly,” says Ibrahim Bangoura, one of Camara’s children who, despite being 36 and having an engineering degree, still has to live off his mother. The elections have been postponed for almost three years following the inauguration of Alpha Conde, the country’s first democratically-elected president whose advisers have included billionaire investor George Soros and former UK prime minister Tony Blair. “We go several days without water and electricity. We are so accustomed to the lack of power it no longer affects our studies,” said Mohamed Lamine Kaba, a 22-year-old law student who nevertheless intends to vote for Conde’s Rally of the Guinean People. Government spokesman Albert Damantang Camara defends Conde’s record strenuously, pointing out that Guinea was on its knees when his boss came to power. “We were facing a catastrophic situation with the coffers completely empty, an exponentially increasing debt and an inflation rate of 29 percent,” he says. He admits that the wavering electricity supply is “our biggest challenge” and concedes that the infrastructure providing the capital with clean water will need to be “completely rebuilt”. In Conde’s favor, literacy rates and attendance at medical centres have improved since 2010 but ordinary Guineans are seeing few improvements to their lives in a country where more than half the population still lives in poverty. Even those lucky enough to find work often discover that their wages do not cover the basics. Alpha Barry Sadio, a chauffeur, told AFP he was struggling on a monthly salary of 800,000 Guinean francs ($114, 87 euros). “I give 600,000 GNF to my wife and I tell her to manage. We eat almost nothing but rice. A kilo (2.2 pounds) of meat, which costs 32,000 GNF, just isn’t within our reach,” he said. Yet many Guineans believe Conde is better placed to control public finances and get the economy moving than any of his rivals or the private sector. “Alpha spends money wisely. Since he came to power, there has been no shortage of rice and fuel,” said hauliage driver Moussa Donzo. Other Guineans recognize that change has been slow but are willing to cut Conde some slack, suggesting that his program of economic reforms has been severely curtailed by anti-government protests which have left 50 people dead since 2011. According to Cherif Mohamed Aballah, the chairman of a leading business association, almost 1,000 traders have been victims of protests which since 2007 have cost the economy some 80 billion GNF. —AFP

Kuwait steps up oil production Ban on foreign ownerships a stumbling block KUWAIT: Income from Kuwait’s hydrocarbons sector looks set to rise this year as the country ramps up oil production on the back of growing demand both locally and overseas, particularly from Asia. Oil revenues reached an all-time high of KD30bn ($104.9bn) in August, according to figures from the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), buoyed by consistently high prices. Planned infrastructure upgrades, new finds and a focus on human resources are set to support the state’s efforts to meet higher production targets, although foreign ownership laws continue to slow sector development. Crude oil prices hit a six-month high in August 2013, according to the NBK’s review for the month. While prices were slightly down for the month in a year-on-year (y-o-y) comparison, averaging $106 per barrel, the state was able to offset the impact by increasing production by 5 percent to 2.9m barrels per day (bpd). Output averaged 2.8m bpd in 2012, according to the US Energy Information Administration. High demand Increased production has enabled Kuwait to significantly boost its oil exports to key Asian countries this summer. Exports of crude to China hit a six-month high of 224,000 bpd in July 2013, up 52.2 percent on

the previous month, according to Kuwait’s state-owned news agency, KUNA. Data from the Korea National Oil Corporation showed that Kuwait’s oil exports to South Korea also increased in July to reach 518,000 bpd, marking a rise of 45.1 percent on the same month last year. The country exported 224,000 bpd to Japan in July, up 34.4 percent y-o-y. With international demand rising, the Kuwaiti government plans to increase oil production to 4m bpd by 2020, while also targeting 4bn cu feet of gas output per day by 2030. Much of Kuwait’s oil comes from a small number of mature fields dominated by Greater Burgan which, at 1.3m bpd, accounts for almost half of production. However, the discovery this summer of new fields in western Kuwait containing reserves of commercial-grade oil and gas will bolster plans to expand output. The government also hopes to increase production at the four northern fields of Raudhatain, Sabriya, Al-Ratqa and Abdali from 525,000-575,000 bpd to 1m bpd by 2015. Planned upgrades to Kuwait’s oil infrastructure will play a key part in helping reach production goals. In November 2012, the state-owned energy company, the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), announced plans to channel $100bn into the oil and gas industry over a five-year period for upstream

Deadly riots in Sudan over fuel subsidy cuts KHARTOUM: Protesters demonstrating after Sudan’s government scrapped fuel subsidies set fire to cars at a luxury hotel near Khartoum airport yesterday, after three people died in rioting. The education ministry said schools in the capital would remain shut until September 30. An AFP correspondent reported several users saying Internet access had been cut, but it was not immediately known if this was a fault or a deliberate move by the authorities. The correspondent said the vehicles that were burned were in a car park just 500 metres (yards) from the international airport, and said police responded with tear gas. A petrol station in the area was also set alight, the correspondent added, and some 20 protesters were arrested. Two people have now been killed in the Khartoum area in riots sparked by the lifting of fuel subsidies, police and the family of one of the victims said yesterday. The deaths since Tuesday take to three the number of people who have died since demonstrations erupted in central Sudan on Monday before spreading to the capital. On Monday, the government announced steep price rises for petroleum products after suspending subsidies in a bid to reform the economy. On Tuesday, protesters ransacked and then torched offices of the ruling National Congress Party in Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman, witnesses told AFP. “The people want the fall of the regime!” chanted hundreds of demonstrators, including students, echoing the Arab Spring mantra first heard in Tunisia in late 2010. An AFP correspondent said around 1,000 demonstrators spilled into Omdurman’s heavily populated AlThawra district and were confronted by anti-riot police. The Omdurman protests lasted

KHARTOUM: Protesters burn tires and close the highway to northern cities amid a wave of unrest over the lifting of fuel subsidies by the Sudanese government, in Kadro, 15 miles (24.14 kilometers) north of downtown Khartoum yesterday. —AP until around dawn yesterday. One student was killed in the Omdurman, named to AFP by his family as Omar Mohammed Ahmed Al-Khidr. Police said that another man was killed in Khartoum, without naming him, and that other civilians and police were injured. “Most areas in Khartoum (province) saw unrest and unauthorized gatherings aimed at damaging property and allowing looting, necessitating police intervention,” a statement said. It said one man was killed in the capital “while trying to steal the property of a citizen who fought back”. The protests first broke out in Wad Madani in Al-Jazeera state southeast of Khartoum on Monday, where one man died. They later spread to the streets of Khartoum, Omdurman and Nyala, capital of South Darfur state. A Nyala resident told AFP by phone that thousands of students filled the

In the oil and gas sector, Enhanced Technical Service Agreements (ETSAs) are one way for international oil companies to enter the market. ETSAs, which satisfy Kuwait’s constitutional requirements, offer a fee, commonly combined with performance-based payments, in exchange for technical expertise. While ETSAs could prove useful in attracting investors, questions about their legality will need resolving. Shell’s plans to develop Kuwait’s Jurassic gas fields on the back of an $800m ETSA it signed with the KPC in February 2010 have been delayed. In May 2012, Kuwait’s public prosecutor began investigating the ETSA following questions raised by several members of parliament about the legitimacy of awarding the contract without opening the project up to competition. The Jurassic fields are estimated to hold 35trn cu feet of natural gas reserves. Kuwait has set ambitious production targets for its hydrocarbons sector. While ETSAs mark a step in the right direction to boost output, more extensive reforms to foreign ownership legislation could be a surer long-term route. However, Kuwait is not alone in having much domestic support for a refusal to allow foreign ownership of its natural resources. Mexico’s current proposed reforms to the energy sector left untouched a ban on foreign ownership of oil and gas. —Oxford Business Group

and downstream upgrades, renovations and expansion programs. Efforts are also being made to develop human resources. The government announced in September 2013 it had signed a KD10.8m ($37.8m) training contract with National Technology Enterprises Company, part of the Kuwait Investment Authority. The deal is aimed at equipping management in the oil sector with new skills. However, the constitutional ban on foreign ownership of natural resources remains a stumbling block for the state as it looks to attract foreign investors, particularly when it comes to developing technically challenging gas and oil fields, such as the Ratqa heavy oilfield and Jurassic gas reserves in northern Kuwait. Sheikh Meshaal Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, head of the Kuwait Foreign Investment Bureau, told Reuters in April 2012 that Kuwait was working to reform its foreign investment laws, paving the way for the country to attract private investment for major projects, including the $14.5bn Al-Zour refinery. In December 2012, Kuwait took a step forward when it introduced new corporate legislation, including the creation of a “one stop shop” for incorporation and licensing. The reform will also allow single shareholders to establish businesses and permit share transfers within companies.

streets there and blocked a main road. He estimated their numbers at 3,000 and said they were shouting “No to price hikes!” and calling for the ouster of the government. Oil prices at the pump have shot up to 20.80 Sudanese pounds ($4.71) a gallon from 12.50 pounds ($2.83), while diesel has risen from 8.50 pounds a gallon to 13.90 pounds. Inflation in Sudan is already running at 40 percent. President Omar Al-Bashir said on Sunday the subsidies had reached “a level that is dangerous for the economy”. Sudan lost billions of dollars in oil receipts when South Sudan gained independence two years ago, taking with it about 75 percent of the formerly united country’s crude production. Since then Sudan has been plagued by inflation, a weakened currency and a severe shortage of dollars to pay for imports. —AFP

Dubai’s Union Properties to seek foreign ownership rise DUBAI: Dubai developer Union Properties is to seek board approval to increase the percentage of shares which foreign investors are allowed to hold in the company, its chairman said yesterday. The move is part of a wider trend by companies in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to review their often-low foreign ownership caps ahead of their admittance into the MSCI Emerging Markets Index in May. “We are studying how much we could increase (the foreign ownership limit) to and will recommend to the board by December,” Khalid bin Kalban, chairman of Union Properties, told reporters at a media event in Dubai. At present, non-UAE nationals can own up to 15 percent of the developer, a favorite stock among retail investors on the Dubai Financial Market. The stock was down 4 percent at 0840 GMT, trimming year-todate gains to 118.7 percent. It has benefited in 2013 from a strong rally on the Dubai bourse and renewed confidence in the emirate’s real estate sector, which has recovered from the bursting of a bubble in 2009. Last week, Dubai-listed lender Mashreq said it will allow foreigners to own up to 20 percent of its shares. In June, Qatar’s stock market said Commercial Bank of Qatar and Qatar Islamic Bank would raise foreign ownership limits to 25 percent within nine months. Index compiler MSCI announced in June that both the UAE and Qatar would be upgraded to emerging market status in a long-awaited move. The shift will draw in new funds into both markets from investors who track the MSCI index. Profit hike Kalban said he expected top shareholder Emirates NBD to retain its stake at the current 15 percent level after the lender sold parts of its holding in the market over the past few months. It held 48 percent at the start of 2013. “ENBD dropping its stake has been positive for us and investors have shown a lot of interest in the company,” said Kalban, adding he didn’t expect any takeover moves for the firm. Union Properties was working on six new projects worth a total of 1.5 billion dirhams ($408.4 million), of which it would require around 800 million dirhams from local banks to help fund their construction, Kalban said. The recovery in the real estate market is also helping Union Properties’ bottom line - Kalban said it would likely make a profit for the first nine months of 2013 in the region of 250-260 million dirhams. This is up from the 156 million dirhams it posted in the corresponding period of 2012. —Reuters

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 2.877 4.530 2.669 2.147 2.835 226.700 36.636 3.469 6.526 9.054 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES 75.777 78.079 738.080 754.750 77.387

ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash 40.950 Egyptian Pound - Transfer 40.753 Yemen Riyal/for 1000 1.326 Tunisian Dinar 173.200 Jordanian Dinar 401.290 Lebanese Lira/for 1000 1.906 Syrian Lier 3.087 Morocco Dirham 34.853 EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 284.050 Euro 383.890 Sterling Pound 455.470 Canadian dollar 276.580 Turkish lira 141.870 Swiss Franc 312.140 Australian Dollar 267.290 US Dollar Buying 282.850 20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

GOLD 250.000 127.000 66.000

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 270.83 279.97 316.08 386.32 283.30 457.28 2.93 3.659 4.516 2.145 2.835 2.685 77.20 754.03 41.10 403.20 736.76 78.23 75.68

SELL CASH 263.000 282.000 311.000 384.000 287.400 443.000 3.000 3.800 5.150 2.700 3.600 2.920 78.000 759.500 41.100 416.200 746.400 79.000 76.300

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

Selling Rate 283.800 278.745 454.780 383.175 311.130 751.360 77.245 77.900 76.545 400.060 41.122 2.146 4.535 2.666 3.649 6.514 696.170 3.845

Thai Bhat Syrian Pound Nepalese Rupees Malaysian Ringgit

9.120 4.090 3.825 86.675

Singapore Dollar South African Rand Sri Lankan Rupee Taiwan Thai Baht

0.222867 0.022825 0.001891 0.009479 0.008696

0.228867 0.031325 0.002471 0.009659 0.009246

Bahraini Dinar Egyptian Pound Iranian Riyal Iraqi Dinar Jordanian Dinar Kuwaiti Dinar Lebanese Pound Moroccan Dirhams Nigerian Naira Omani Riyal Qatar Riyal Saudi Riyal Syrian Pound Tunisian Dinar Turkish Lira UAE Dirhams Yemeni Riyal

Arab 0.746992 0.038169 0.000079 0.000183 0.396422 1.0000000 0.000139 0.022767 0.001204 0.731761 0.077311 0.075110 0.001934 0.169369 0.142808 0.076355 0.001290

0.754992 0.041269 0.000080 0.000243 0.403922 1.0000000 0.000239 0.046767 0.001839 0.737441 0.078524 0.075810 0.002154 0.177369 0.149808 0.077504 0.001370

Bahrain Exchange Company COUNTRY Belgian Franc British Pound Czech Korune Danish Krone Euro Norwegian Krone Romanian Leu Slovakia Swedish Krona Swiss Franc Turkish Lira

SELL CASH Europe 0.007384 0.447530 0.006681 0.047239 0.377097 0.043462 0.081962 0.008155 0.040273 0.304691 0.142808

SELLDRAFT 0.008384 0.456530 0.018681 0.052239 0.384597 0.048662 0.81962 0.018155 0.045273 0.314191 0.149808

Australasia 0.258207 0.227764

0.269707 0.237264

Canadian Dollar US Dollars US Dollars Mint

America 0.270632 0.279950 0.280450

0.279132 0.284300 0.284300

Bangladesh Taka Chinese Yuan Hong Kong Dollar Indian Rupee Indonesian Rupiah Japanese Yen Kenyan Shilling Korean Won Malaysian Ringgit Nepalese Rupee Pakistan Rupee Philippine Peso Sierra Leone

Asia 0.003084 0.044989 0.034550 0.004389 0.000020 0.002797 0.003327 0.000253 0.084547 0.002944 0.002519 0.006416 0.000069

0.003684 0.048489 0.037300 0.004790 0.000026 0.002977 0.003327 0.000268 0.090547 0.003114 0.002799 0.006696 0.000075

Australian Dollar New Zealand Dollar

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) 283.450 385.650 456.550 277.450 4.542 41.105 2.147 3.640 6.518 2.663 754.950 77.100 75.750



Kuwait real estate market robust NBK ECONOMIC REPORT KUWAIT: Real estate data for August show sales rising by a strong 86 percent year-on-year to KD 223 million. Historically, August tends to be weaker than other months for seasonal reasons (summer vacation). This year, the level is the best on record and the year-on-year increase is the highest in 5 years. Compared to July, August sales were down 48 percent. The m/m drop is attributed to the fact July saw 5 weeks’ worth of data, along with August hosting of the Eid Holiday and increased number of travelers who postponed their annual leave until after Eid. Sales in the residential sector reached KD 104.8 million in August, a 35 percent y/y increase. Growing demand has helped this sector maintain y/y growth. However, August witnessed an increased number of smaller size transactions; plots (rather than buildings) made up 73 percent of all residential transactions. The average transaction size was KD 201,000, a 12.4 percent decrease y/y. Investment sector sales totaled KD 54.8 million in August, up 54 percent y/y. The average transaction was KD 772,000 and the total number of transactions in August was off 5 percent y/y. Apartments made up almost half of all transactions in this sector, continuing a recent upward trend. Overall, interest and volumes remain sustained in that

sector with 3-month average sales of nearly KD 120 million. Commercial sector sales reached KD 64 million in August, their highest level so far this year. Also, the commercial sector was the only one to record an increase in m/m sales. Sales were almost 10 times the level of August 2012, on the back of one large transaction. There were only 6 transactions in the month

Fed’s priority should be inflation checking

with one in Kuwait City valued at KD 50 million. The Savings and Credit Bank approved KD 36.5 million in loans during August, while disbursing KD 9.9 million. The value of disbursed loans dropped 15 percent m/m, likely affected by the Eid holiday. Also, similar to recent trends, about two-thirds of approved loans were for new constructions, while loans for the purchase of existing struc-

tures were 7 percent of total. Since 3Q2012, loan approvals have been shifting towards new constructions. It

remains to be seen if this is part of a new longer-term trend in Kuwait’s housing sector.

Airbus nets 68 A320 orders in China as market grows

By Hayder Tawfik KUWAIT: Last week the Federal Reserve surprised the market by not taking any actions. It has caught most of investors around the world on the wrong foot. So now everyone assumes rightly that the Fed will continue with its Quantitative Easing policy and continue buying $85 billion worth of bonds on monthly basis. So, nothing has changed! But the Fed said earlier that once unemployment falls to a certain level then it would start the tapering. Unemployment has been falling and economic growth has been quite impressive. So what made them change their mind? The September employment data was quite disappointing and some signs of economic slowdown have been hitting the headlines. So, obviously the Fed may have some concern about the economy and the employment. I think the sharp rise of yields on US treasury bonds and more so around the world in particular in countries like India, Brazil, the euro-zone, Russia etc. have caused some concern indeed. At present we all know that the world economy is very weak and vulnerable to big moves in interest rates. India is such an example. A sudden rise in interest rates in the US will hit the housing market badly at a time when it has been growing and contributing to the economic growth. Also, it will hit consumer spending just ahead of the coming Christmas shopping season. Since the tapering talk started, there has been a huge sell of bonds and currencies of the emerging economies including some large ones such as India, Indonesia and Brazil. I will not be surprised if we see an international financial crisis hitting any one of those economies if yields carry on rising. As I said in my previous articles, the Federal Reserve has been very active in stimulating economic growth since the financial crises started back in 2008 and

Beijing airshow targets emerging market

has been quite successful. Other economies such as the euro-zone block has taken the opposite measures and in the process created a massive unemployment and weak economic growth. As for the emerging economies they enjoyed the big fall in interest rates that accompanied strong currencies. These unhealthy combinations has created a big headache for everyone and any early tapering by the Fe will for sure will lead to international crises. I think they all should focus their attention and efforts on inflation rather than economic growth or job creation. The most important two global economic blocks, the US and the euro-zone has no problem with inflation so they should continue with low interest rates policy and be more active in Quantitative Easing till economic growth can be self sustainable. International investors should focus on those assets that benefit most from low interest rates environment in the US and the euro-zone economy and try to avoid the emerging economies for the coming months. —Hayder Tawfik - Executive Vice President of Asset Management, at Dimah Capital.

IMF warns Sri Lanka of slower growth COLOMBO: The IMF yesterday warned Sri Lanka that its economy may grow more slowly than expected as it urged the island nation to improve its business climate. The IMF mission made the comments after a visit to assess the economy. Mission chief Todd Schneider told reporters in Colombo his talks with business leaders suggested economic conditions had worsened. The IMF expects growth for the current calendar year to be about 6.5 percent, Schneider said, a full percentage point lower than the central bank’s recent forecast of 7.5 percent. Lower exports due to weaker overseas markets, slower credit disbursement to the private sector and flat government revenues will drag down growth, Schneider added. The economy recorded eight percent-plus growth rates for two straight years after security forces crushed separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in May 2009 and declared an end to decades of ethnic war. The island logged growth of 6.4 percent last year. “Efforts to boost growth should focus on structural measures such as tariff reforms, enhanced revenue mobilization and improvements in the general business climate,” Schneider said. Sri Lanka must also ensure investments made with foreign borrowing offer healthy returns in order to service external debt, which he described as too high. “New external borrowings should be done with a close eye to sustainability,” Schneider said. The government and banks have raised billions of dollars in debt at rates of sometimes over eight per-

cent, making the borrowing among the world’s most expensive. Schneider said Sri Lanka’s short-term external debt represented 51 percent of the country’s foreign reserves. Central bank data showed the nation’s foreign reserves totalled $6.3 billion at the end of July. — AFP

COLOMBO: International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission leader to Sri Lanka, Todd Schneider, arrives at a press conference in Colombo yesterday. The IMF warned that Sri Lanka’s external debt was too high and said the country’s growth forecast for 2013 was 6.5 percent, one full point less than the government’s estimate. —AFP

BEIJING: Three Chinese companies have ordered a total of 68 A320 aircraft, Airbus said yesterday as it also announced a lighter version of a wide-bodied jet aimed at emerging markets. In deals worth more than $6.75 billion at list prices, the aircraft-leasing firm BOC Aviation ordered 25 planes, Qingdao Airlines requested 23 planes and Zhejiang Loong Airlines sought 20. The European planemaker announced the orders in statements on the sidelines of an air show in Beijing. Air travel is rising steadily in Asia and other emerging markets, with passenger trips in China reaching 320 million in 2012, up nine percent from the year before. The orders marked a “vote of confidence in the long-term appeal of our popular A320 family”, John Leahy, Airbus’s chief operating officer for customers, said in a statement. Separately, Airbus announced a new lighter version of its A330-300 wide-body jet which it said was aimed at high-growth markets. “The new lower-weight A330300 variant specially designed for regional and domestic use is Airbus’ solution for markets with large populations and fast-growing, concentrated air traffic flows,” Fabrice Bregier, Airbus president and CEO, said in a statement. Bregier, visiting China for the air show, said the announcement was being made in the country “because here we see strong pent-up demand for efficient and reliable wide-body aircraft connecting mega cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou”. Airbus said the increased fuel efficiency from the lighter weight of about 200 tons “will result in an overall cost reduction by up to 15 percent compared with today’s long-range A330-300 variants”. Speaking to AFP, Bregier said: “It is a solution for regional flights last-

BEIJING: An Airbus A380 model is displayed at the Beijing International Aviation Expo in Beijing yesterday. Three Chinese companies have ordered a total of 68 A320 aircraft, Airbus announced yesterday as air travel takes off in the world’s most populous country. —AFP ing two to three hours, a plane whose cost per seat is equal to that of the A320 but which supports twice as many passengers.” Eric Chen, president of Airbus China, told a press conference the company plans to deliver the first of the new A330-300 aircraft by the end of 2015 or early 2016. “The Chinese market has special features: concentrated airports and a large population,” he added. “That’s why we think this aircraft will be a popular solution to these challenges.” BOC Aviation’s order for A320s includes 12 A320neos, which are designed to cut emissions and fuel consumption, while Qingdao Airlines’ includes 18 neos and Zhejiang Loong Airlines’ has nine.

The two latter carriers are both start-up airlines. Qingdao Airlines will begin operations next year and take delivery of the first A320s in 2016, the statement said. Zhejiang Loong will begin business this year. Singapore-based BOC Aviation is the aircraft-leasing arm of the major state-owned Bank of China. Airbus A320s make up a core part of its fleet. A BOC spokeswoman in Singapore told AFP the list price for the 25 planes it ordered is $2.6 billion. The list prices for the orders from Qingdao Airlines and Zhejiang Loong Airlines amounted to more than $4.15 billion, according to Dow Jones Newswires. BOC Aviation had ordered another 50 A320s in January, half of them from

the “neo” series, with delivery to begin next year and continue through 2019. Air China also ordered 100 A320s in May, due to be handed over between 2014 and 2020. Airbus has a factory in China that assembles A320-series planes. The company predicted in its annual industry forecast on Tuesday that the Asia-Pacific would overtake Europe and North America in air traffic by 2032. With overall growth rising 4.7 percent a year, the world would need another 29,000 new commercial aircraft over the next two decades, it said. By then twothirds of people in emerging markets would take a flight each year, compared to one in five now, Leahy said.—AFP

US stocks little changed after 4 days of declines NEW YORK: The stock market is adrift a week after setting a record. Stocks were flat in late-morning trading as investors continue to worry about the economy and the growing possibility of a government shutdown. The Dow Jones industrial average was up less than a point to 15,336 as of 11:15 a.m. (1515 GMT). The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was down less than a point to 1,697. The Nasdaq composite was up less than a point to 3,769. The US government will run out of funding on Sept. 30, unless both parties can agree to pass a temporary funding bill in the next few days. The Senate will vote Wednesday on the temporary measure, which will then likely head back to the House of Representatives for debate. The funding fight is expected to go through the weekend. The Dow and S&P 500 surged to all-time highs on Sept. 18, but have fallen four consecutive days on concerns a government shutdown could harm the fragile U.S. economic recovery. The mood of investors has shifted from giddiness over more

Federal Reserve stimulus to concern about Washington politicking. “The action over the last few days has been far more tied to the intractably of Congress and the president than the concerns about what the Federal Reserve is going to do next,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank, which manages $66 billion in assets. Ablin said investors are left with bad memories of August 2011, the last time Congress and President Barack Obama fought over the debt ceiling and the budget, which ultimately led Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the credit rating of the US. The Dow went through nearly three weeks of triple-digit gains and losses during that month, a rough ride that made even hardened Wall Street traders nauseous. “All we’re doing now is worrying,” Ablin said. Investors did get an unexpectedly positive August durable goods report yesterday. Orders for long-lasting manufactured goods rose 0.1 percent last month, following an 8.1 percent decline in July. Among stocks making big moves: Mako Surgical soared

$13.32, or 83 percent, to $29.49 after medical technology company Stryker said it would buy Mako for $1.65 billion, or $30 per share. Ascena Retail Group shares jumped $2.74, or 16 percent, to

$20.07. The parent company of Lane Bryant, Dressbarn and Maurices, reported results that were significantly better than financial analysts expected in its most recent quarter. —AP

ATHENS: Teachers from Larissa and Thessaloniki march, holding banners reading “Us or them” and “Today I’m jobless- tomorrow you will be” during a demonstration in central Athens yesterday on the second day of strike of public servants against job cuts imposed by the government in return for international bailout loans. — AFP



Oil climbs above $109, Iran diplomacy in focus LONDON: Oil prices climbed above $109 a barrel yesterday as expectations faded that new talks over Iran’s nuclear program would bring a rapid thaw in relations with the United States. The West’s standoff with Iran over its nuclear ambitions has helped support oil prices for nearly a decade. Years of sanctions have cut Iranian oil exports by more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd) to less than half their pre-2012 levels. Brent crude oil futures rose more than $1 to reach $109.85 at 1020 GMT. U.S. crude gained 53 cents to $103.66 a barrel, after four days of losses that drove it to seven-week lows in the previous session.

But a rebound in supplies from Iraq and Libya and an assurance by Saudi Arabia’s oil minister that the market has enough supply is likely to cap gains. “It is higher probably because talks with Iran are not going so well,” said Christopher Bellew, oil trader at Jefferies Bache. “But recently when we have reached the $109.50 mark the market has tended to run out of steam because there is more oil coming from Iraq and Libya and a high level of Saudi output. There is also a lot of speculative length in the market that has not been shaken out yet.” Iran has agreed to talks on its nuclear program with top diplomats from six world powers on Thursday, including US

Secretary of State John Kerry, strengthening expectations that Tehran’s relations with the United States could thaw. But a failed effort to arrange a simple handshake between US President Barack Obama and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly highlighted entrenched distrust that will be hard to overcome. Rouhani told CNN he did not meet Obama at the UN General Assembly because the two sides “didn’t have sufficient time to really coordinate the meeting.” Oil supply has improved as Iraq boosted output from its southern oilfields after

repairing a leaking pipeline, although planned work continued to affect exports from OPEC’s No 2 producer. Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali AlNaimi further allayed supply fears when he said the market had enough supply and prices were at a favorable level, affirming the willingness of the world’s top crude exporter to meet shortages. Libya also ramped up oil exports this week, with several tankers loading or fixed to load, after the country’s western oil fields reopened. Strikes by a combination of armed groups, oil workers, federalists and local activists had brought Libya’s oil exports to a virtual standstill

earlier this month and its eastern export terminals remain closed. Investors are also watching out for data from the US government’s Energy Information Administration, which will be released at 10:30 am EDT (1430 GMT). US crude stocks fell by 54,000 barrels last week, less than the 1.1 million barrel draw anticipated by analysts, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday. Refined product inventories rose by more than 800,000 barrels. “We are expecting a drawdown and that is bullish for crude though more so for WTI,” Rob Montefusco, oil trader at Sucden Financial, said. —Reuters

Wal-Mart ‘Made in America’ drive follows suppliers’ lead al-Mart Stores Inc, whose focus on lowcost sourcing helped to fuel the offshoring of US manufacturing, has been promoting a patriotic new image in recent months. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company says it is “leading an American renewal in manufacturing” and “bringing jobs back to the US” with its pledge made in January to buy an additional $50 billion in US-made goods over the next 10 years. But an examination of the company’s “Made in America” campaign suggests Wal-Mart’s caught on to a reshoring phenomenon that was already underway. In many cases, Wal-Mart’s suppliers had already decided to produce in the United States, as rising wages in China and other emerging economies, along with increased labor productivity and flexibility back home, eroded the allure of offshore production. Though wrapped in the stars and stripes, the world’s largest retailer’s push to bring jobs back to the United States also makes business sense both for suppliers and retailers. Some manufacturers are finding they can profitably produce certain goods at home that they once made offshore. And retailers like WalMart benefit from being able to buy those goods closer to distribution centers and stores with lower shipping costs, while gaining goodwill by selling more U.S.-made products. “This is not a public relations effort. This is an economic, financial, mathematical-driven effort. The economics are substantially different than they were in the 80s and 90s,” Bill Simon, chief executive of the Walmart US chain, told the Reuters Global Consumer and Retail Summit earlier this month. The initiative is modest for now. For a company with $466.1 billion in annual sales, an additional $50 billion of spending over a decade will barely register. Also, the main Walmart US unit sells mostly groceries and already procures two-thirds of its goods including a lot of food - from US sources. Wal-Mart’s high-profile commitment is, though, an important symbolic shift. A retailer that for decades has prompted hundreds of US companies to move production overseas, thanks to its relentless insistence on cost-cutting, now is urging at least some production back. It will even offer longer-term purchasing guidance to some companies to encourage them. Hampton Products International did not need Wal-Mart to tell it about the changing cost structure of global commerce. Hampton, which supplies locks and door hardware to retailers including Wal-Mart, began “resurrecting manufacturing” at its Wisconsin plant back in 2008, said CEO H. Kim Kelley. Wal-Mart’s push this year served mainly to speed its business decision, Kelley said. “We moved much more quickly and aggressively to ramp manufacturing to meet Wal-Mart’s timetable,” he said. But ultimately, Hampton’s decision to manufacture some products back in the United States was driven by simple but compelling math, Kelley said. Take the example of a door hardware part that Kelley declined - citing competitive issues - to define more precisely than that. Over the past six years, the price of producing the part in China has risen 24 percent to $2.20 from $1.77, because of the Chinese currency’s appreciation and increased labor costs. Throw in transport costs and US tariffs, and that product, delivered to the United States today, would cost about $2.53, Kelley said. By moving production back to the United States, Hampton can make the part today for just $2.16, a nearly 15 percent saving even including the amortized investment in its new US plant. In addition, Hampton has reduced inventory sitting idle on a ship or in finished goods in its distribution centers. Relocating production to the United States also yields a number of soft but important benefits, Kelley said. These include better control of the manufacturing process, an ability to respond swiftly to customers, and a much smaller impact on the environment as the US plant uses less energy than its Chinese counterpart and is 7,500 miles closer to where the product is sold. “The benefits are obvious,” said Kelley. “We cut our costs, improve our sustainability, reduce the cost of finished goods inventory and create US jobs.”


Commitments Wal-Mart’s push is aimed at product categories that have been difficult to produce at a cost advantage in the United States for some time. The retailer plans to sell everything from General Electric Co light bulbs made in Ohio and Illinois to Element Electronics Corp televi-

sions that will be assembled in South Carolina. The latest company to sign on is Korona S A, a Polish candlemaker that will produce Walmart US’s Mainstays tea light candles in Virginia, a move that Wal-Mart said took more than a year to put together. Wal-Mart still declines to sign long-term contracts with suppliers, but its market power is so immense that companies will sometimes make investments based on expected demand from the retailer. Also, Wal-Mart has helped some suppliers make contact with state economic development officials who can offer tax breaks or other incentives. Renfro Corp began ramping up US sock production two years ago, said CEO Bud Kilby, sinking more than $10 million into two factories in Tennessee and Alabama and hiring nearly 250 new workers. It is ready to do more now that Wal-Mart has asked Renfro to further expand its US capacity. Wal-Mart has not given Renfro firm orders associated with the request, but the sock maker is set to invest at least another $10 million and create another 195 jobs, Kilby said. “We trust them,” Kilby said. “They asked us to do it and they made a commitment to support it and to buy product. But there is no contractual agreement - no purchase orders or anything like that.” Wal-Mart’s US manufacturing summit in Orlando, Florida in August featured speakers such as Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and GE CEO Jeff Immelt. The meeting gave hundreds of suppliers the chance to meet with governors or economic development officials from 34 states, as well as two banks and one private equity firm. “We can provide the certainty to the people who invest capital, to make it worthwhile,” said Simon, the Walmart US CEO. Wal-Mart sometimes makes what it calls “multi-year commitments” based on financial data suppliers share. “It really depends on what they need and how much of their capital expense and their strategic plan they’re willing to share,” said Michelle Gloeckler, senior vice president of Walmart US’s home business and a leading executive on the retailer’s Made-inAmerica commitment. When 1888 Mills LLC came to Wal-Mart in 2012, it projected that the cost of making towels in the United States was coming closer to the cost of overseas production. The textiles company felt it could order new machinery to help it reduce the cost differential, but only if it had a multi-year commitment from Wal-Mart, Gloeckler recalled. Wal-Mart crunched the numbers and agreed to carry 1888 Mills’ “Made Here” towels for an undisclosed number of years. It also agreed to stock 600 stores at first and then add more as production increased, a staged rollout unusual for the chain. The “Made Here” towels are selling 30 percent better than those they replaced on the shelf that were made outside the United States by another supplier, Gloeckler said. Management consultants began highlighting the benefits of US manufacturing years ago. With wages rising elsewhere and US energy costs on the decline, the United States can be a competitive manufacturing hub again, says Hal Sirkin, a senior partner of the Boston Consulting Group and co-author of the book “Globality: Competing with Everyone from Everywhere for Everything” who spoke at WalMart’s summit. “We are seeing a lot of products now that have already reached the point where it is already cheaper to manufacture it and deliver it in the United States than to have it made in China and have it shipped across and pay tariffs and duties,” he said. It costs slightly more to make a vacuum cleaner in China than in the United States when you add up the cost of labor, buying components and raw materials, overhead, energy costs, shipping and “soft costs” such as managing inventory, he said. Labor costs are typically about 20 to 25 percent of the total cost of a product. For categories like clothing, that require more manual work, production is likely to stay in countries with lower wages, Sirkin said. Manufacturing experts largely welcome Wal-Mart’s commitment to purchase U.S. goods, though the size of its pledge has not impressed them. “It’s not an aggressive target,” said Thomas Duesterberg, executive director of the Manufacturing and Society in the 21st Century project at the Aspen Institute. Wal-Mart says that $50 billion is just a starting point. The retailer’s effort matters regardless of the size, said Suzanne Berger, a professor and manufacturing expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “A WalMart decision, however minimal or cosmetic, is a powerful signal,” she said. —Reuters



France vows ‘unprecedented’ spending cuts in 2014 budget Paris seeks to rein in huge deficit

MADRID: Maria Isabel Rodriguez Romero cries as police arrives to evict her and her family in Madrid, Spain yesterday. Rodriguez Romero, 45 years old, has 6 family members, all unemployed, including a 8-year-old daughter, and her mother with bipolar syndrome. —AP

Industry on worrying slide in EU, warns report BRUSSELS: Industry in the European Union is in a “worrying” state with crucial ground being lost on productivity and employment, the European Commission warned yesterday. In two separate reports on competitiveness, the commission painted a bleak picture of industry in Europe, battered by a sharp drop in investment and anaemic internal demand. Confounding the problem, the reports said, were the huge gaps between the bloc’s most dynamic countries, especially Germany, and the laggards to the south and east. “Moreover, the cost of energy is increasing in almost all member states, contributing to the de-industrialization of Europe,” the commission said. The matter is an urgent one for European countries faced with recurrent news of closing factories and entire employment sectors disappearing or being sent overseas. Reclaiming lost industry is seen as the best hope of bringing solid growth back to the EU, which has yet to recover from the doldrums of the debt crisis. Accordingly, the EU had set itself an ambitious target to lift industry back to 20 percent of overall economic output but in the summer of 2013, the share stood at 15 percent and was on a falling trend. “We’re a long way away from pre-crisis levels,” Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani told a news conference. “Europe is losing ground.” he said. In a statement presenting the reports, the commission noted “worrying developments in two essential areas for any economy: productivity and employment.”

Productivity, once a strongpoint in many European countries, was now lagging the United States and Japan, Tajani said. “We are going to have to turn things around,” he said. Italy was especially problematic, Tajani said, having undergone a deindustrialization so acute that it is now at the level of Greece and Portugal instead of the top tier. “Spain has overtaken Italy in terms of productivity thanks to reforms undertaken,” Tajani said. Many EU countries are plagued with a raft of problems, he said, including too much red tape, inadequate infrastructure and lacklustre innovation where the United States was “way ahead of us”. But the Commissioner said his assessment was hardly a mystery and that there was a broad consensus to revive industry across the EU. “We have done a lot of things for steel, cars and shipyards,” he said. “We have to do even more.” On the positive side, industry on a nominal level remained stable between 2012 and 2013 even if its share in the whole economy shrank. And exports were expanding compared to the United States and Japan, giving the bloc a 365 billion euro trade surplus ($495 billion) for 2012. The reports were to be the basis of a discussion for EU industry ministers meeting in Brussels on today. Restarting industry will also headline a summit of EU leaders in February. In the second quarter this year, the EU economy expanded a modest 0.4 percent from the previous quarter while euro-zone nations ended a record 18-months of recession.—AFP

Vietnam economic growth up in January-September HANOI: Vietnam’s economic growth picked up slightly in the first nine months of the year, official figures showed yesterday, but experts warned the communist country could still miss its annual target. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew 5.14 percent in the first three quarters of 2013 from a year earlier, according to preliminary data from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, compared with 4.73 percent for the same period in 2012. This year’s growth rate is “moderate, within control and acceptable”, said independent analyst Cao Sy Kiem, a former governor of Vietnam’s central bank. But he said the authorities would have to take “really strong measures” if they are to meet their goal of economic growth of around 5.5 percent for 2013, after a 13-year low of 5.03 percent in 2012. According to an online report from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, much of

the January-September GDP growth was due to the service sector, which was up 6.25 percent. Meanwhile inflation fell for the first time in four months in September, to 6.30 percent year-on-year, from 7.50 percent in August, according to figures released yesterday by the General Statistics Office. Communist Vietnam is struggling with a host of economic woes, including sluggish domestic demand, a banking sector weighed down with high levels of toxic debt and record numbers of bankruptcies. In May, the central bank cut interest rates for the eighth time in little more than a year in an attempt to spur bank lending and boost consumption. The authorities repeatedly raised interest rates in 2011 to cool down the economy and to rein in double-digit inflation, but last year were forced to reverse course and resort to stimulus measures. —AFP

CONKARY: People walking in a street of Conakry. Guinea, a country on the cusp of its first parliamentary elections since 2002, is the world’s largest producer of bauxite, used to make aluminum — has all manner of other untapped minerals too, including diamonds, gold, uranium and one of the planet’s richest deposits of undeveloped iron ore. — AFP

PARIS: France yesterday unveiled its draft 2014 budget, vowing “unprecedented” cuts in public spending as the euro-zone’s second largest economy tries to rein in its deficit without compromising much-needed growth. But critics on either side of the political spectrum remained skeptical that it would alleviate hardship in France, which is suffering from record-high unemployment, limited investment and low consumer spending. Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici and Budget Minister Bernard Cazeneuve presented the draft budget to the cabinet, outlining 15 billion euros ($20 billion) worth of cuts. “We prefer to find savings rather than increasing taxes,” Moscovici and Cazeneuve said in their introduction to the draft budget. Some 80 percent of savings next year will come from cuts in public spending, which is far higher in France than in its main European partners, and only 20 percent from a rise in taxes. State spending, which will reach 57.1 percent of GDP this year, is expected to drop to 56.7 percent in 2014. The two ministers said its level, excluding debt interest and pension payments, would fall in absolute terms by 1.5 billion euros from 2013 levels-a reduction they described as unprecedented for post-war France. Public debt, meanwhile, will reach a record 95.1 percent of GDP in 2014 — far higher than previous government estimates-before falling back again the following year. The ministers reiterated a pledge that France’s public deficit would gradually drop, meeting the 2015 EUmandated deadline to bring it below three percent. These decisions are all based on predictions of 0.9 percent economic growth next year and 0.1 percent in 2013 — compared to zero growth in 2012. But critics blasted the budget, saying it would not help French people already seriously battered by the ongoing financial crisis. Jean-Luc Melenchon, figurehead of the farleft, said the spending cuts just added to previous, huge cuts already implemented by the Socialist government since President Francois

PARIS: French Economy, Finance and Foreign Trade Minister Pierre Moscovici (center) and French Junior Minister for Budget Bernard Cazeneuve (left) pose prior to presenting France’s budget for next year yesterday at the national assembly in Paris.—AFP Hollande came to power last year. “We must end this policy that continuously increases the suffering of the people and leads to economic, social and political disaster,” he said in a statement. Valerie Pecresse of the main opposition right-wing UMP and a former budget minister, said there were no real “savings” in the draft and that spending was being stabilized rather than decreased. “ This budget is an anti-spending power budget and therefore an anti-growth budget,” she said on France 2 television. The government, however, said it expected consumers’ purchasing power to rebound, with growth of 0.3 percent this year and 0.8 percent in 2014 — compared to a drop of 0.9 percent in 2012.

Hollande said the draft budget-which still needs to be approved by parliament-encouraged “a return to growth and employment.” Among taxes outlined in the draft, a new one percent tax on the gross operating surplus of companies with more than 50 million euros in turnover sparked controversy among a business community already worried about low investment in France. In terms of jobs in what critics regard as France’s bloated public sector, the budget is broadly neutral. Although 13,123 jobs are to be eliminated in non-priority ministries, there are plans to create nearly 11,000 others in education, the justice department and the police. —AFP

Playing politics with energy bills in Britain LONDON: Britain’s Labor Party has seized the initiative by promising to freeze gas and electricity prices for 20 months if it wins the next general election, due in May 2015, putting utilities and its political opponents on the defensive. Price freezes may be poor policy, perhaps even irresponsible, but as a way to seize political advantage the pledge was a master-stroke, pushing questions about the cost of living to the top of the political agenda. Concerns about high living costs resonate with voters more than fears about crime, immigration, unemployment or any other subject except healthcare and public services, according to polling firm YouGov. Polls show two-thirds of voters worry they will not have enough money to live comfortably over the next two to three years. Consumer prices have risen faster than earnings for 58 out of the last 60 months, according to Britain’s Office for National Statistics, resulting in the biggest fall in real incomes in a century. Between 2005 and 2013, gas and electricity prices have risen almost three times as fast as the overall rate of inflation. Together with big increases in other administered prices for transport, water and sewerage services, utility bills have been one of the biggest contributors to inflation and the squeeze on living standards. Gas and electricity charges are a large and visible item of household expenditure. On average fuel accounts for 5 percent of household spending, but the share is considerably higher for families in the lower half of the income distribution. In 2011, 4.5 million households were living in “fuel poverty”, needing to spend more than 10 percent of their income on fuel to maintain an adequate level of warmth, according to Britain’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). It is almost certain that fuel poverty has increased since then as bills continue to rise more rapidly than incomes. In a detailed social attitudes survey into energy and climate issues conducted by the University of Cardiff in August 2012, four out of five respondents expressed concerns that gas and electricity will become unaffordable in future. (“Transforming the UK energy system: public values, attitudes and acceptability”, July 2013) Keeping bills affordable was the most important single priority for respondents (40 per-

cent), followed by making sure Britain has enough energy to prevent blackouts and shortages (32 percent). Tackling climate change came a distant third (27 percent). Policy analysts and journalists obsess about the details of public policy, analyzing promises made by parties forensically for their affordability, practicality and likely impact. In a rather dry, hyper-rational model of the political process, politicians and the media explain and communicate the alternatives offered by the different parties and then voters weigh up the options and cast their ballots accordingly. But there is not much evidence voters care about or are even aware of such nuances, let alone that they carefully and rationally weigh up the alternatives. Successful politicians know they have to distil their ideas into a few simple messages that resonate emotionally with the electorate and appear to respond to its concerns. In that respect, Labor Leader Ed Miliband’s promise to freeze utility prices was a superb piece of political messaging. It connects directly with an issue that matters intensely to many voters, especially in the middle and lower parts of the income distribution and in the central regions of England where the outcome of the next election will be determined. Polls conducted by YouGov show the ruling Conservative Party has an unassailable lead among voters in southern England, while Labour has equally commanding leads in northern England, Scotland and London. The split has been very stable for the past three years and is unlikely to shift ahead of May 2015. The outcome of the next election will therefore be determined in swing districts of the Midlands, where the Conservatives (on 36 percent) and Labour (on 40 percent) are locked in a tight race. The East Midlands and West Midlands statistical regions have some of the highest rates of fuel poverty in England, according to DECC, so this is where the issue of soaring utility bills is likely to resonate most strongly with voters. (“Annual Report on Fuel Poverty Statistics”, May 2013) Under an alternative measure of fuel poverty, which the government will use in future, the West and East Midlands have the highest rates of fuel poverty in the country. Britain’s two major political parties are franti-

cally trying to define the political narrative on which the next general election will be fought. For the Conservatives, the narrative will centre around economic competence, welfare payments, and tax and spending policy. The gradual upturn in the business cycle should ensure the economy is growing fairly briskly when the next election campaign is fought, enabling the party and its junior coalition partner, the Liberal Democrats, to make a strong showing on questions of economic competence. For Labour, therefore, the challenge is to shift the debate away from the economy’s performance in broad terms (measures such as GDP and unemployment) to focus on the question of whether individual households are better or worse off and how they might fare under different governments in future. Putting the spotlight on gas and electricity bills performs that role perfectly. Even if the economy is in a sustained upturn by May 2015, most households will still be worse off in real terms than in 2010, and a big part of the reason will be higher energy prices. Labour’s plan for price controls has drawn predictable protests from energy suppliers, business groups, the financial services sector and many parts of the business-friendly media, all of whom have accused the party of cynical populism. None of that matters very much, since these groups were not likely to support the party in the run-up to 2015 in any event, and the party’s election strategy does not depend on winning them over. In fact, Labour is likely to welcome the fight. Much of the business and media establishment is preoccupied by the concerns of people in the upper half of the income distribution in southern England, an area where the party cannot win in 2015. Labour’s promise to freeze prices puts its rivals in an awkward dilemma: back the freeze or appear to be supporting more price increases above the rate of families’ earnings growth. A major political fight over the level of utility bills would suit Labour well. Much of the predicted increase in bills between now and 2020 will be driven by the costs of government policies to improve energy efficiency and make power supplies greener, all of which are being loaded onto power and gas bills. —Reuters

Fiat chief’s dealmaking record at stake with Chrysler offering MILAN/PARIS: Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne’s decision to push ahead with a Chrysler IPO he does not want has raised the stakes in a buyout dispute with the US carmaker’s minority shareholder - as well as for his own legacy. It may be one of the consummate dealmaker’s biggest bluffs yet, bankers and analysts said on Tuesday. Chrysler, 58.5 percent-owned by Italy’s Fiat, filed paperwork late on Monday in a step towards the flotation of shares held by the United Auto Workers, which owns the rest of Chrysler through its retirees’ healthcare trust. Group CEO Marchionne is proceeding with the initial public offering demanded by the union, after the two sides failed to agree on a buyout deal in more than a year of talks. Fiat needs full Chrysler ownership to fund an ambitious recovery and expansion program with the US carmaker’s cash. But the Chrysler filing raised eyebrows by informing potential investors that Fiat was “reconsidering” the entire tie-up and warned that the group may be harmed by a share sale. Fiat would also be free to sell Chrysler following a flotation, the 390-page document says. “Fiat’s talk about scaling back the alliance with Chrysler is simply that, just talk,” said an analyst with a Milan brokerage. By raising the prospect of an aborted merger,

Marchionne may hope to pressure the union into a compromise buyout deal, or reduce the Chrysler valuation that emerges from the IPO process. Marchionne has been holding out for a lower buyout price than the UAW is seeking - thought to be well over $5 billion - at the risk of more damaging delays to his industrial plans. Hanging in the balance is the completion of a trans-Atlantic tie-up already five years in the making, which has shielded Fiat from a European slump that has threatened some of its peers. Fiat shares fell just 0.4 percent to close at 6.16 euros on Tuesday, as investors took Marchionne’s latest negotiating stance largely in their stride. The 61-yearold former aluminium boss is no stranger to tense backroom talks. In 2005, soon after joining as CEO, he persuaded General Motors to pay Fiat $2 billion not to exercise an option to sell its auto division to the US carmaker. Four years later he took control of bankrupt Chrysler through an initial 20 percent stake, stepping in after rival CEO Carlos Ghosn got cold feet over a similar cash-free deal he had negotiated for Nissan. More recently, Marchionne has pulled off the Italian carmaker’s separation from Fiat Industrial and the agricultural machinery maker’s subsequent merger with CNH - after sweetening a buyout offer to minority investors. That was supposed to be a template for Fiat-

Chrysler, down to its primary stock market listing in New York. But Chrysler’s minority shareholder is proving troublesome, and Marchionne is struggling to deliver the final act. In his tussle with the UAW’s representatives, Marchionne’s hand - and his take-it-or-leave-it bluster could be undermined by financial realities. “It’s highly unlikely that Fiat could ever walk away,” said George Galliers, a London-based analyst with ISI Group. “That would just leave them back where they were, with a very broken European business,” he said. “For Marchionne’s credibility and the Fiat equity story, the damage would be irreversible.” Chrysler’s first-half performance accounted for more than half of the combined group’s revenue, transforming what would have been a 501 million euro ($676 million) loss for Fiat alone into a 435 million euro profit. Furthermore, Chrysler’s cash and industrial scale are critical to Marchionne’s expansion plan for the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands, designed to help Fiat’s idle Italian plants export their way out of trouble. Chrysler’s filing language seems designed to deter investors from subscribing to the IPO in the hope of an eventual buyout premium from Fiat, Galliers and other observers said. “If you’re swapping a long-term shareholder like the VEBA (union trust) for a bunch of specu-

lators, the danger is you’ll have a book full of hedge funds that just want to cause trouble,” said a Milan banker close to the Italian carmaker. Marchionne is more likely to head off a listing with an eleventh-hour deal to buy part or all of the UAW stake, some analysts predict. He recently hired Ron Bloom, who brokered Chrysler’s 2009 rescue for the US government. Under complex agreements dating from Chrysler’s rescue, Fiat has the right to buy up the UAW stake for a predefined price that rises each year and currently stands at around $6 billion. Fiat also has call options on five tranches of union-held shares that amount to 16.6 percent of Chrysler but are subject to a lawsuit over the strike price. The trust’s IPO request covers another portion of its holding, also 16.6 percent. Based on rival automakers’ market valuations and expected 2014 earnings, the UAW’s 41.5 percent Chrysler stake is worth about $5.6 billion, UBS estimated on Tuesday. Accounting for Fiat’s call options and progress of the related Delaware court dispute, any comprehensive buyout deal is likely to come in close to $4.9 billion, said Philippe Houchois, a London-based analyst with the bank. The eventual outcome, and the price Fiat pays, could cement or challenge Marchionne’s reputation as one of the auto industry’s most accomplished dealmakers. — Reuters



KUWAIT: (From right to left): Eng Moayad Abo Alya, plants manager, Aantonio D’Alessandro, RMC General Manager, Ghaleb Khalil Hilal, Cement General Manager, Rozzanigo Matteo Country Manager, Bader Bsaiso, IT manager and Mohammad Abu, Alya Marketing manager. (Right) Hilal Cement and Kuwait RMC team. — Photos by Joseph Shagra

Hilal Cement, Al-Mahaliya RMC Group revolutionize Kuwait cement market i.nova system to offer customized, tailor-made products KUWAIT: Italcementi Group, the parent Company of Hilal Cement and the three ready mix companies (Mahaliya Ready Mix, Kuwait-German Ready Mix and Gulf Ready Mix) launched the new i.nova system in Kuwait at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The presentation was held by Matteo Rozzanigo, Country Manager of Hilal Cement and Al-Mahaliya RMC Group, Ghaleb Khalil, General Manager of Hilal Cement, and Antonio D’Alessandro, General Manager of Al-Mahaliya RMC Group, who highlighted the strategic aspects of the project presented by the entire group world-wide. The innovative product offer system runs in all the subsidiaries around the world. The entire range of products developed by the fifth world cement producer, leader in innovation in the construction material sector, is now available in the market with a portfolio focused on the concept of performance. It is a user-friendly and easy to read approach. The customer is the hub of a strategy which is no longer founded on the simple supply of a single product, but clearly focused on the ability to offer suitable solutions to satisfy the different requests with different products that guarantee a specific performance. This is the first time, at a world-wide level, that a company operating in the building materials sector revolutionizes its supply system, making product classification quick and easy using a language that is readily recognized and commonly used at an international level. Each type of cement or concrete is, in fact, grouped according to its performance; thus becomes the instrument that guides consumers and helps them choose the best product to suit their individual needs. Commenting on the launch of the new branding system, Rozzanigo said: “The new branding system

A new approach to offer the market the best product for each individual requirement: from standard cements to innovative solutions. The i.nova branding system is one of its kind at a world-wide level for the construction material market.

Country Manager Rozzanigo Matteo (left) and Chairman Salah Altabtabaei.

VIVA upgrades its network to LTE Advance Operator offers speeds of up to 1 Gigabits per second KUWAIT: VIVA, Kuwait’s fastest-growing and most developed telecom operator, announced yesterday that it is upgrading its network to LTE Advance; the next generation of LTE technology that can provide download speeds of up to 1 Gigabits per second. The Core Network for VIVA has been upgraded to offer LTE Advance services to its customers, and VIVA has

Eng Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Badran, VIVA’s Chief Executive Officer started the trials of its access network upgrade. The LTE service allows subscribers to connect to mobile networks at much higher speeds while improving on reliability and performance. Commenting on this announcement, Eng Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Badran, VIVA’s Chief Executive Officer said: “At

VIVA, we strive to continuously bring the latest technologies to the Kuwaiti market. Through our network upgrade to LTE Advance, we aim to bring our customers much faster internet speeds in order for them to enjoy uninterrupted data streaming whether at home or on their smartphone devices.” To find out more about VIVA LTE Advanced Network, or any of its numerous competitive promotions, products and packages visit any of the 26 VIVA branches or visit our website at or contact its 24 hour call center at 102. VIVA is the fastest-growing telecom operator in Kuwait. Launched in December 2008, VIVA makes things Possible for its customers by transforming communication, information and entertainment experiences. The company has rapidly established an unrivalled position in the market through its customer centric approach. VIVA’s quest is to be the mobile brand of choice in Kuwait by being transparent, engaging, energetic and fulfilling. VIVA continues to take a considerable share of the market by offering an innovative range of best value products, services and content propositions; a state of the art, nationwide network and world-class service. VIVA offers internet speeds of more than 100 Mbps, due to the implementation of the most advanced fourth generation (4G LTE) network in Kuwait resulting in superior coverage, performance and reliability.

US, UK fine ICAP former staff over Libor scam WASHINGTON: US and British authorities yesterday fined ICAP, the world’s biggest interdealer broker, $87 million and criminally charged three former employees for their role in the Libor benchmark rate rigging scandal. The scandal, which has laid bare the failings of regulators and bank bosses, has already seen three banks fined $2.6 billion, four individuals charged, scores of institutions and traders grilled and a spate of lawsuits launched. The US Department of Justice (DoJ) charged New Zealand resident Darrell Read alongside Daniel Wilkinson and Colin Goodman, both from England, with wire fraud and conspiring to commit wire fraud in a criminal complaint. Simultaneously, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) ordered ICAP’s ICAP Europe Ltd unit (IEL) to pay $65 million and 14 million pounds ($22 million) respectively to settle allegations of wrongdoing. “We deeply regret and strongly

condemn the inexcusable actions of the brokers who sought to assist certain bank traders in their efforts to manipulate yen Libor,” said ICAP Chief Executive Michael Spencer in a statement. “Their conduct contravenes all that ICAP stands for.” Tracey McDermott, the head of enforcement at the FCA, said the misconduct cast a shadow over the financial services industry. “The findings we publish today illustrate, once again, individuals within the industry acting with a cavalier disregard both for regulatory obligations and the interests of the markets. IEL’s significant failings in culture and controls allowed that misconduct to flourish and fell far short of our expectations.” ICAP, run by one of London’s wealthiest businessmen, is the first interdealer broker sanctioned for manipulating interest rates such as Libor, the London interbank lending rate, a benchmark that is used to price trillions of dollars worth of products such as derivatives and mortgages worldwide. —Reuters

i-nova is a new strategic tool to address the challenges of the market with determination and innovation. i.nova revolutionizes the selection process that leads to the purchase of building materials. Those looking for a product by Italcementi Group are presented with a wide, articulated and complete range that covers all Group sectors, from cement to concrete, from lime to mortar, among which the customer can choose in a simple and intuitive way. The performance as the Group’s unique selling proposition (USP) hence becomes the core choice criteria. To purchase an Italcementi Group product, you no longer have to know the name of the product, but simply identify the desired performance.Not just products, but performance to create a new way of building, rich in alternatives compared to traditional products.” The new branding system i.nova will enhance the perception of the added value that more than ten years of research and innovation have generated in the Italcementi Group products portfolio, among which cements that absorb carbon dioxide, drain water or let light through. The new i.nova branding system has totally redesigned the structure of Hilal Cement and RMC’s product portfolio by dividing products into families of performance. Therefore, within the next months i.nova’s identity will be realized on all Hilal Cement and RMC packaging, marketing tools and invoices. With regards to the products currently available in Kuwait, Hilal Cement and RMC have organized their products in four main families: (classic cement and concrete), (ultra-high performance cement and concrete), (white cement, high decorative and aesthetic ranges) and (concrete for specific uses).

Al-Danah draws of KD500,000, KD125,000, KD25,000 today Join Gulf Bank and TV celebrity Aiman El-Kaissouni KUWAIT: Gulf Bank announced that it will hold the third major Al-Danah draw of 2013 today ( 26 September 2013) at the Avenues Mall - Dome 1 at 7pm. The draw will be hosted by TV personality, Aiman El-Kaissouni, host of the show ‘Super Star’ and held in the presence of a representative from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The event will include prize draws in which winners will receive KD500,000, KD125,000 and KD25,000 respectively. The event promises to be filled with excitement and visitors can look forward to numerous valuable on the spot prizes during the event. In addition Gulf Bank recently held a competition on its Instagram account (@gulf_bank) in which followers were asked ‘What Would You Do With a Million KD?’ and answered with videos showcasing their answers. The top ten winners of the Instagram competition will receive KD200 in an Al-Danah account. Customers can also inquire about information regarding the Al Danah account by visiting Gulf Bank’s booth during the event. To take part in the Al Danah draws, customers must have an Al Danah account contain-

Aiman El-Kaissouni

ing at least KD 200. Customers can open a new Al Danah account at any one of the 56 Gulf Bank branches in Kuwait. Existing Al Danah account holders can increase their chances of winning one of the two KD1,000 prizes, which are drawn each

working day, and the following quarterly draw for KD50,000, KD250,000 and 1 million Kuwaiti Dinars which will be held on 9 January 2014 by increasing their deposits. Gulf Bank’s Al Danah draw account offers its customers the biggest cash prizes in Kuwait, while at the same time helping them to save money. Customers increase their chances of winning by keeping as much money as they can in their Al Danah account, for as long as possible. In addition to the unique prize draws, the Al Danah account also offers the special Al Danah ATM Deposit-Only Card to help account holders deposit their money easily and quickly, and the Al Danah Calculator, which helps customers calculate their winning chances from their current Al Danah account balance. For further information on the Al Danah account and prize draws, visit one of Gulf Bank’s 56 branches, or call Gulf Bank’s Customer Contact Center on 1805805. General information about the Al-Danah account, as well as Gulf Bank’s other products and services, can also be found at the Bank’s website at

Saudi Aramco, GE and Tata Consultancy announce first all-female services center DHAHRAN: Saudi Aramco, GE and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) announced yesterday the launch of the first all-female business process services center in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The center will be staffed by Saudi females with TCS and GE owning 76% and 24% equity in the new venture, which will initially serve Saudi Aramco and GE as anchor clients. The collaboration of the three companies underscores their strong commitment to support Saudi Arabia’s localization strategies to diversify the Kingdom’s economy and enable the growth of a viable employment sector. The new business process services center will serve as a building block to localize the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in the Kingdom. The three partners will work together with the intention of scaling up the new venture to create up to 3,000 jobs for Saudi professional females. GE will create up to 1,000 employment opportunities for this initiative. Abdullatif A Al-Othman, Governor, Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority, delivered a keynote speech at the launch ceremony in Dhahran, headquarters of Saudi Aramco. The event was also addressed by Khalid A Al-Falih, president and CEO, Saudi Aramco; Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO, GE; Cyrus Mistry, Chairman of Tata Group, and N Chandrasekaran, CEO and Managing Director, TCS. The center brings a unique business model to Saudi Arabia, and is set to become a rich training ground for building new capabilities, skills and careers for Saudi females. It will be employing skilled graduates in the areas of finance, accounting, human

resources management and supply chain management services. In highlighting Saudi Aramco’s strategic intent, Khalid A Al-Falih, President and CEO, Saudi Aramco said: “We are helping to build the nation’s capacity as it move towards a knowledge economy by maximizing local content, adding value through integrated industrial parks, and promoting economic diversification and entrepreneurship. In light of the demographic realities, this comprehensive framework offers a winning formula to create jobs.” Describing the importance of business process services to the services industry, Al-Falih added: “In addition to the array of manufacturing and industrial jobs, services are an even bigger creator of wide ranging employment through an extensive range of office functions. In recent decades, the world, including Saudi Arabian enterprises, has been outsourcing these functions offshore. It’s time to bring those jobs home.” The center will help corporations in the Kingdom to take advantage of a globally accepted business and operating model which allows business to focus on core competencies. It will provide support knowledge and industry-specific services with TCS’ globally recognized integrated delivery processes and bestin-class execution. GE’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt said: “GE is committed to partnering with the Kingdom in helping to achieve their social and economic growth aspirations and goals. Today, Saudi Arabia is placing high emphasis on creating jobs for its youth and women and we are proud to be supporting female employ-

ment opportunities in the Kingdom, offering placement opportunities and world class training programs.” Initially providing services to anchor clients Saudi Aramco and GE, the center will eventually expand its customer base to other companies and institutions across the Kingdom. In due course, GE and TCS will also work with leading Saudi universities and educational institutions to launch specialized training programs to achieve further job creation goals. Cyrus Mistry, Chairman of Tata Group, said: “The Tata Group has a long history of encouraging women to achieve their potential and contribute to the community and we are delighted to work with Saudi Aramco and GE to help provide careers for women in the Kingdom and enable them to contribute to its economic progress. Saudi Arabia is a focus market for the Tata Group where we have built strong partnerships and this ambitious initiative is an example of our commitment to this market.” N Chandrasekaran, CEO and MD, Tata Consultancy Services said: “This unique initiative will leverage a new talent pool in the Kingdom to meet the business needs of corporations in the region. It is an example of our long-term commitment to this market. By drawing on our proven global expertise in business process services, our ability to partner with corporations as well as develop talented professionals, we will help achieve the goals of this pioneering venture.” TCS today delivers business process services from 20 service locations in over 10 countries including China, Philippines, India, Hungary, United Kingdom, Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, Mexico and the United States.



Facebook and Twitter too late for China’s Internet BEIJING: Facebook Inc and Twitter face a daunting task in China, if access to their social networks is unblocked, as they would be up against deeply entrenched domestic rivals which cater to local needs and tastes. Years of isolated growth means China’s sophisticated social media companies, including Tencent Holdings, Sina Inc and Renren Inc, won’t be too worried if Facebook and Twitter prise open the door to China’s 591 million Internet users, the world’s biggest online population. Access to Facebook and Twitter has been blocked in China since 2009, but will be lifted by the government in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) which is due to launch this weekend, the South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday a move that has been popularly dubbed the “Internet Concession”. But it may be too late for them to repeat their success elsewhere in one of the world’s most promising, yet most restricted, Internet markets where online advertising revenues soared almost 47 percent last year to $12.3 billion. “The Chinese

social media landscape is among the most developed, sophisticated landscapes out there,” said Sam Flemming, chief executive of China-based social media intelligence firm CIC. “These aren’t just niche social networks, these are a major part of the Internet in China.” China’s water-cooler Tencent’s popular messaging app WeChat has 236 million active users, more than half of all China’s smartphone users, and micro-blogging service Sina Weibo had more than 500 million registered accounts last year. Tencent, whose market value topped $100 billion this month, stole the march on rivals with its WeChat social messaging app that lets users talk privately and in groups, play games, update friends on recent events, send voice messages and make online payments. Facebook, valued at $118 billion, said in its IPO prospectus last year that its China market share was almost zero, and recent studies say Twitter

has no more than 50,000 active users in China. Access to both is limited to people with Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) that can bypass China’s Great Firewall - the colloquial term for Beijing’s Internet blocking mechanism. “Weibo has similar features to Twitter, but its role in China for the dissemination of news, information and entertainment, that’s what’s critical,” said CIC’s Flemming. “Weibo is the zeitgeist of China, the water cooler of China.” Crackdown on rumours A major challenge for the likes of Facebook and Twitter on entering the Chinese Internet would be how to address the issue of official censorship, which has a stranglehold on domestic online media. Chinese authorities are cracking down on anyone posting “online rumours” and have arrested influential celebrities on Weibo, known as “Big Vs”, and even jailed a 16-year old boy for spreading rumours online. “Facebook would make extensive compromis-

es it’s not willing to make in other parts of the world in order to facilitate its introduction in China,” said David Kirkpatrick, author of ‘The Facebook Effect’, adding that a Chinese fondness for brands, and a desire to interact globally, would draw users to the social network, which has 1.15 billion monthly active users worldwide. Renren, its nearest Chinese equivalent, has 54 million users as of June, and a market value of less than $1.3 billion. While Twitter - which has 200 million active users and has been valued at around $15 billion ahead of a likely IPO - can offer information and content from outside China, little of it is in Chinese. Overall, the effect of China unblocking these social networks, even on a scale larger than just the Shanghai FTZ, is likely to be limited. “The impact is primarily on people who have a global point of view and need to communicate globally. Most Chinese people are not pining for an alternative to Weibo and WeChat,” said Kirkpatrick. — Reuters

California law allows kids to erase digital indiscretions ‘Eraser’ law will let kids scrub online past

TOKYO: Japan’s agriculture machinery maker Shibuya Seiki and National Agriculture and Food Research Organisation displays a robot to pick a ripe strawberry for a demonstration at the annual autoID and communication expo yesterday. — AFP

Japan robot can pick strawberries for farmers TOKYO: A robot that picks ripe strawberries as the farmer sleeps was unveiled in Japan yesterday, with its developer saying it could cut workloads by two-thirds. The device, which can gather a piece of fruit every eight seconds, uses three cameras to determine which strawberries are ready to pick before darting out an arm and snipping them into its basket. The two-metre (6ft 6ins) robot moves on rails between rows of strawberries, which are usually grown in elevated planters in greenhouses in Japan. It “calculates the degree of ripeness from the colour of the strawberry, which it observes with two digital cameras”, said Mitsutaka Kurita, an official of Shibuya Seiki which developed the machine. “It also uses the images from the two cameras to calculate the distance from the target, then approaches the strawberry

SAN FRANCISCO: California teenagers, who post photographs of themselves wearing too little clothing or having had too much to drink, will have the legal right to erase their online indiscretions under newly enacted first-in-thenation legislation. The so-called ‘eraser bill,’ which Democratic Governor Jerry Brown signed into law on Monday, will require social media websites to allow California children under age 18 to remove their own postings as of January 2015, even as top sites already allow users to delete their own posts. The law forces companies to provide a way for minors to delete digital skeletons - rants, postings and pictures that could harm their reputations, their chances of getting into college and their employment opportunities. James Steyer, chief executive of Common Sense Media, a San Francisco group that pushed for the measure, called it a milestone and “a really important step forward in the discussion of kids and teen privacy.... “Kids and teens deserve the right to make

mistakes without penalties for their entire lives,” Steyer told Reuters. “This is the beginning of the reframing of the privacy issue when it comes to kids and teens, to let them control their own information and correct their mistakes.” While mainstream sites like Facebook and Twitter already allow users to delete posts, the law requires all social media sites to provide a delete button for minors. Senate leader Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat who wrote the bill, said it protected children “who often act impetuously with postings of illadvised pictures or messages before they think through the consequences. “They deserve the right to remove this material that could haunt them for years to come,” Steinberg said in a statement. The California senate had unanimously approved the measure, which the state assembly approved 62-12. Emma Llanso, policy counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology, a group advocating internet free-

dom in Washington, DC, praised the law for its good intentions, but said her organization opposes any age-based internet restrictions. “This kind of bill could act as a disincentive to creating sites and services aimed at minors,” she said, adding that her group fears that if other states adopt similar legislation, it could create a patchwork of laws that could prove difficult for technology companies to manage. Steinberg said that a recent Kaplan study found that more than one out of four college-admissions officers check applicants’ Facebook profiles and perform Google searches on candidates. Steyer, the father of four children, including two teens, said he believes more work needs to be done to protect young people’s online privacy. He hopes other states will follow California’s lead. “Just because you post a semi-naked picture of yourself at age 15 doesn’t mean it should haunt you for the rest of your life or prevent you from getting into college, getting a job or ruin your reputation with your peers,” he said. — Reuters

it is aiming at,” he said. A third camera then takes a detailed picture of the fruit, which it uses for the final calculation before moving in for the snip. Strawberry farming is highly labour-intensive, requiring 70 times the input that growing rice requires and twice that of tomatoes and cucumbers, said a statement from co-developer the National Agriculture and Food Research Organisation. “This robot would harvest two-thirds of strawberries during the night when growers are sleeping,” Kurita said. “The farmer can then pick the rest of the strawberries that the robot couldn’t get at,” he said. The robot will be on sale early next year for about five million yen ($50,000). Strawberries are available all year round in Japan, where they usually cost at least 500 yen for a small punnet. — AFP

Microloans surging in Silicon Valley SAN JOSE: A daycare provider needed cribs and high chairs. A coffee truck needed a generator. A couple renting party supplies needed to move from a garage into a storefront. When these Silicon Valley small businesses needed an influx of cash, and fast, they didn’t find help at a bank. They turned instead to a type of financing more commonly associated with buying a sewing machine for a Guatemalan tailor or a tractor for an African farmer. Microlending, a decades old form of financing for the world’s poorest, is now booming in Silicon Valley. The region leads the country for microlending as a growing echelon of would-be businesspersons who can’t qualify for traditional bank loans meets money from cash-rich techies and firms, including eBay and Microsoft, who want to donate in innovative ways. “Our clients are entrepreneurial people, but the mainstream financial system doesn’t work for them,” said Eric Weaver, founder and CEO of the San Jose, California,-based Opportunity Fund, which invested a record $7.6 million in loans to small businesses last year, creating about 1,900 jobs. Beneficiaries range from dry cleaners to barbeque joints, and the lender is now believed to be the largest financer of food trucks in the state. “A food truck or a hot dog cart is a US equivalent of a cow in a developing country,” he said. “It’s something a family can support itself with.” Paul Cruce tried banks, and even the high tech crowdsourcing route to get his Holy Cow Coffee Company to join the “upscale food truck brigade” before turning to Opportunity Fund. Today, with a new generator powering the refrigerator, espresso machine, coffee brewer and crepe griddle, the Holy Cow truck is a popular attraction at farmer’s markets. “I borrowed from Opportunity Fund rather than a bank because they are more in tune with the needs of small business and have more favorable credit terms,” Cruce said. Microlending was devised by Bangladeshi banker Mohammad Yunus, who won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for developing the financial instrument that supports would-be business owners too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans. Today, the global microfinance industry has more than 200 million clients with $73 billion in outstanding loans, according to the London-based Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation. Just a small fraction of those - about $165 million - are in the United

States, where about 400 institutions offer microloans. Those firms typically give about 45 loans a year, compared with a record 1,200 from Opportunity Fund last year. The program, which is nonprofit and sustained by donations, has extended to Los Angeles in recent years. And this summer, Opportunity Fund teamed with Pacific Coast Ventures to target loans to Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. Because microlenders work closely with recipients, providing financial education and business support, the microloans in the San Francisco Bay area have a delinquency rate of under 1 percent, compared with loss rates of about 5 percent for more typical loans. Rates range from about 8 to 12 percent, well below the 30 percent credit card rates many entrepreneurs use to try to launch businesses. Despite a booming tech industry, the region faces growing inequality, stagnant job growth, soaring housing and transportation costs and widespread low wages. Small business owners who are largely immigrants point to their microloans, usually around $15,000, as a turning point for “making it.” Argentine chef Manuel Godino had no credit but lots of demand for his empanadas, which he cooked in an industrial kitchen and sold to cafes and restaurants. A microloan helped him launch his own storefront Venga Empanadas in San Francisco’s Mission District, where he employs another eight people. Confectioner Cristina Arantes tapped Opportunity Fund to support her Kika’s Treats, making chocolate shortbreads and caramels. Tina Ferguson-Riffe turned her $20,000 loan into a barbeque joint, Smoke Berkeley, where she employs seven others. Yale University economics professor Dale Karlan said domestic microlenders should strive for self-sustenance, rather than depending on charitable dollars. “Overseas, they figured out how to make this work, and for-profits stepped in,” he said. “If they have to lose money to make these loans, then this is a subsidy, not a loan, and then we have to think about the most important things to subsidize, which might not be a small business.” John Kohler, director of Impact Capital at Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society, said microloans can be a crucial source of funding for the 20 to 30 million people in the US who have no checking accounts or credit. — AP

SYDNEY: This Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (Royal Automobile Club of WA) handout photo illustration received yesterday shows the world’s first Attention Powered Car designed to raise awareness about the deadly impact of inattention on our roads. — AFP

Australia researchers unveil ‘attention-powered’ car SYDNEY: Australian road safety researchers yesterday unveiled a pioneering “attention-powered car” which uses a headset to monitor brain activity and slow acceleration during periods of distraction. The car, commissioned by the Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia, is about to depart on an awareness-raising road trip of Western Australia-a sprawling west coast state accounting for about one-third of the Australian continent. Lead researcher Geoffrey Mackellar, from neuro-engineering company Emotiv, said the car’s accelerator could be overridden by a headset with 14 sensors measuring the type and amount of brain activity which determined whether a driver was distracted. In the testing phase, drivers were set specific challenges such as using their mobile phone, switching channels on the radio, drinking water or reading a map so that researchers could record their brain activity while doing so. They were also sent on a 15 kilometres per hour “boredom lap” to see what happened when their brains “zoned out”-”pretty nasty but we enjoyed it”, Mackellar said. Emad Tahtouh, from production company FINCH, said the car used an array of neural inputs and specially-designed software to “go when you’re paying attention and slow when you’re not”. “We’re looking at things like blink rate, blink duration, gaze rate-how long they look at a point-eyes moving, head tilts, and also frequency of task-switching and the level of brain activity when they flick over to those tasks, so it’s a huge pool of data,” he said. “If someone lost attention and they switched tasks to, say, reading their mobile phone, or even if they just zoned out, it would usually be represented by a very sharp dip and sometimes very erratic behaviour.”

The car worked by reducing acceleration when it detected a loss of attention, and speeding back up once full focus was back on driving. The pilot vehicle, a customised Hyundai i40, was built for the RAC as part of a research and publicity campaign to reduce the number of road deaths in the state, which currently run above the national average and are the worst in Australia. Although the system could have potential

commercial applications, the RAC said their current focus was on research and public awareness. “The impact of inattention is now comparable to the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by speed and drink driving,” said RAC chief Pat Walker. “Nationally, it is estimated inattention was a factor in 46 percent of fatal crashes.” The Australian government estimates that road accidents cost the economy Aus$27 billion (US$25 billion) every year. — AFP

TOKYO: Japan’s electronics maker Epson employee Fusashi Kimura wears the company’s head mount display (HMD) “Moverio”, which reads two-dimensional bar codes and display guide and information for the user, at a demonstration at the annual autoID and communication expo yesterday. — AFP


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

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccines KUWAIT: Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are a group of more than 150 related viruses. They are called papillomaviruses because certain types may cause warts, or papillomas, which are benign (noncancerous) growths. Some types of HPV are associated with certain types of cancer. These are called “high-risk,” oncogenic, or carcinogenic HPVs. Of the more than 150 types of HPV, more than 40 types can be passed from one person to another Transmission can occur in the genitals, anal, or oral regions. Although HPVs are usually transmitted sexually, we cannot say for certain when or how the infection occurred. Most HPV infections occur without any symptoms and go away without any treatment over the course of a few years. However, HPV infections sometimes persist for many years, with or without causing detectable cell abnormalities. Infection with high-risk HPV is the major cause of cervical cancer. Almost all women will have an HPV infection at some point, but very

few will develop cervical cancer. The immune system of most women will usually suppress or eliminate HPVs. Only HPV infections that are persistent (do not go away over many years) can lead to cervical cancer. High-risk HPV types also cause most anal cancers. Infection with high-risk HPV is also known to cause some cancers of the oropharynx, vulva, vagina, and penis The vaccine (Gardasil) is produced by Merck & Co., Inc. It is called a quadrivalent vaccine because it protects against four HPV types: 6, 11, 16, and 18. Gardasil is given through a series of three injections into muscle tissue over a 6-month period. The other vaccine (Cervarix) is produced by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). It is called a bivalent vaccine because it targets two HPV types: 16 and 18. This vaccine is also given in three doses over a 6-month period. The FDA has approved Cervarix for use in females ages 9 to 25 for the prevention of cervical cancer caused by HPV types 16 and 18. Because the vaccines do not protect

against all HPV infections that cause cervical cancer, it is important for vaccinated women to continue to undergo cervical cancer screening. There could be some future changes in recommendations for vaccinated women. The HPV vaccines work like other immunizations that guard against viral infections. The investigators hypothesized that the unique surface components of HPV might create an antibody response that is capable of protecting the body against infection, and that these components could be used to form the basis of a vaccine. Although HPV vaccines can help prevent future HPV infection, they do not help eliminate existing HPV infections. Both Gardasil and Cervarix are proven to be effective only if given before infection with HPV, so it is recommended that they be given before an individual is sexually active. For females recommended that Gardasil or Cervarix vaccination be given routinely at ages 11 or 12, although the series may be started for girls as early as 9 years of age.

Vaccination is also recommended for girls and women ages 13 to 26 who have not been vaccinated already or who did not complete the three-dose series. If a woman reaches the age of 26 before completing the three-dose series, the recommendations say that she can still receive the remaining doses. Although Gardasil and Cervarix have been found to be generally safe when given to people who are already infected with HPV, the vaccines do not treat infection and they provide maximum benefit if a person receives them before he or she is sexually active. If someone infected with HPV will still get residual benefit from vaccination, even if he or she has already been infected with one or more of the types included in the vaccines. These vaccines do not protect against all HPV types that can cause cancer, Pap tests continue to be essential to detect cervical cancers and precancerous changes. In addition, Pap tests are critically important for women who have not been vaccinated or who are

already infected with HPV. There could be future changes in screening recommendations for vaccinated women. The vaccination, Pap smear screening is available in Noor clinic. If you have any questions, or you are interested the vaccination, please contact the Noor Clinic, OB/GYN department.

Dietary changes help prevent kidney stones Avoid stone-forming foods

WASHINGTON: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks during an event discussing the federal health care overhaul in Philadelphia. With new health insurance markets launching next week, the Obama administration is unveiling premiums and plan choices for 36 states where the federal government is taking the lead to cover uninsured residents. —AP

Premiums unveiled for health overhaul plans WASHINGTON: With new health insurance markets launching next week, the Obama administration is unveiling premiums and plan choices for 36 states where the federal government is taking the lead to cover uninsured residents. Before tax credits that work like an upfront discount for most consumers, sticker-price premiums for a mid-range benchmark plan will average $328 a month nationally for an individual, comparable to payments for a new car. The overview of premiums and plan choices, released Wednesday by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, comes as the White House swings into full campaign mode to promote the benefits of the Affordable Care Act to a skeptical public. Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, refuse to abandon their quest to derail “Obamacare” and flirt with a government shutdown to force the issue. Sebelius stressed the positive in a preview call with reporters. Consumers will be able to choose from an average of 53 plan options when the new markets open Oct. 1 for people who don’t have health care on the job. “For millions of Americans, these new options will finally make health insurance work within their budgets,” she said. A report by her department estimated that about 95 percent of consumers will have two or more insurers to choose from. And the administration says premiums will generally be lower than what congressional budget experts estimated when the legislation was being debated. About onefourth of the insurers participating are new to the individual coverage market, a sign that could be good for competition. But averages can be misleading. When it comes to the new health care law, individuals can get dramatically different results based on their particular circumstances. Where you live, the plan you pick, family size, age, tax credits based on your income, and even tobacco use will all impact the bottom line. All those variables could make the system hard to navigate. For example, the average individual premium for a benchmark policy known as the “second lowest cost silver plan” ranges from a low of $192 in Minnesota to a high of $516 in Wyoming. That’s the sticker price, before tax credits. In the three states with the highest uninsured population, the benchmark plan will average $373 in California, $305 in Texas, and $328 in Florida. Differences between states can be due to the number of insurers competing and other factors. “One surprise is Texas,” said Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation. “That is a state that has put up roadblocks to implementation, but the premiums there are below average.” The second-lowest-cost silver plan is important because tax credits are keyed to its cost in local areas. But consumers don’t have to take silver. They can pick from four levels of coverage, from bronze to platinum. All the plans cover the same benefits and cap annual outof-pocket expenses at $6,350 for an individual, $12,700 for families. The big difference is cost sharing through annual deductibles and copayments. Bronze covers 60 percent of expected costs; silver, 70 percent, on up to platinum at 90 percent. Bronze plans have the lowest premiums and the highest cost

sharing. The administration report found that factoring in tax credits, a 27-year-old making $25,000 a year would see the premium for the benchmark silver plan drop to $145 in nearly every state. But if that hypothetical young adult used the tax credit to buy the cheapest bronze plan, he or she could cut the monthly premium to $74 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, $102 in Orlando, and $119 in Pittsburgh. For a family of four making $50,000, the tax credit would cut the monthly premium for the benchmark silver plan to $282. But if the family used its tax credit to buy the cheapest bronze plan, the premium would be $26 a month in Dallas-Fort Worth, $126 in Orlando, and $209 in Pittsburgh. In the Washington, D.C., metro area, the hypothetical family could find a zero-premium bronze plan, while the lowest an individual could get after applying their tax credit would be $66. Such differences are sure to leave many people scratching their heads. Officials said they’re due to complicated interactions between the tax credits and insurance company pricing strategies in dynamic markets. Another outside analyst said the administration analysis of premiums is consistent with what the 14 states running their own insurance markets have reported. But Dan Mendelson, president of the market analysis firm Avalere Health, said the focus on premiums is too narrow. “The analysis doesn’t account for cost sharing,” Mendelson said. “This is a limitation.” To get an idea of the true cost of coverage, consumers have to add up premiums and their expected out-of-pocket costs. “Consumers are going to need to shop,” Mendelson added. “Sometimes a silver offering doesn’t cost much more than a bronze.” He added two other caveats: Be ready for significant cost sharing, and check carefully that your doctors and nearby hospitals are in the plan’s network. Starting Jan. 1, virtually all Americans will be required to carry health insurance or face fines. At the same time, the health care law will prohibit insurance companies from turning away people in poor health, or charging them more. And it will limit what insurers can charge their oldest customers. Experts say the plans under the health care law are not comparable to what’s currently sold on the individual health insurance markets, because the coverage is broader and the financial protection for policyholders is more robust. Obama is directly engaging in the promotional campaign for the health care law. Tuesday, he and former President Bill Clinton talked health care during a session sponsored by Clinton’s foundation. And Obama is planning a speech on the law on Thursday. In response to the administration’s premium and plan-choice information, a spokesman for Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that premiums that are “lower than projected” are not the same as “lower than they are now.” “The White House is making every effort possible to spin the bad news that seems to come every day, but the American people know that even this rosy scenario is not what they were promised when Democrats were ramming this bill through Congress on a party-line vote,” McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said in a statement. —AP

NEW YORK: If you’ve ever had a kidney stone, you surely remember it. The pain can be unbearable, coming in waves until the tiny stone passes through your urinary plumbing and out of the body. Kidney stones are more common in men than in women, and they tend to recur. In about half of people who have had one, kidney stones strike again within seven years without preventive measures. Preventing kidney stones is not complicated, but it does take some determination. “It means drinking plenty of fluids and following a diet that is low in sodium, with limited animal protein and age-appropriate intake of calcium,” says Dr. Melanie Hoenig, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard-affiliated Deaconess Medical Center. “Dietary changes are important, but it is difficult to stick with them every day.” Kidney stones form when certain chemicals become concentrated enough in your urine to form crystals. The crystals grow into larger masses (stones), which may make their way through the urinary tract. If the stone gets stuck somewhere and blocks the flow of urine, it causes pain. Most stones occur when calcium combines with one of two substances: oxalate or phosphorous. Stones can also form from uric acid, which forms as the body metabolizes protein. To prevent kidney stones, you need to prevent the conditions that make stones more likely

to form. Here are the most important steps: Drink plenty of water: Drinking extra water dilutes the substances in urine that lead to stones. Strive to drink enough fluids to pass 2 liters of urine a day, which is roughly eight standard 8-ounce cups. It may help to include some citrus beverages, like lemonade and orange juice. The citrate in these beverages help to block stone formation. Get the calcium you need: Getting too little calcium in your diet can cause oxalate levels to rise and cause kidney stones. To prevent this, make sure to take in an amount of calcium appropriate to your age. Ideally, obtain calcium from foods, since some studies have linked taking calcium supplements to kidney stones. Men 50 and older should get 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium per day, along with 800 to 1,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D to help the body absorb the calcium. Reduce sodium: A high-sodium diet can trigger kidney stones because it increases the amount of calcium in your urine. A low-sodium diet is therefore recommended for the stone prone. Federal guidelines suggest limiting total daily sodium intake to 2,300 mg. If sodium has contributed to kidney stones in the past, try to reduce daily sodium to 1,500 mg. Limit animal protein: Eating too much animal protein, such as meat, eggs, and seafood, boosts the level of uric acid and could lead to kidney

stones. A high-protein diet also reduces levels of citrate, the chemical in urine that helps prevent stones from forming. If you’re prone to stones, limit your daily meat intake to a quantity that is no bigger than a pack of playing cards. This is also a heart-healthy portion. Avoid stone-forming foods: Beets, chocolate, spinach, rhubarb, tea, and most nuts are rich in oxalate, and colas are rich in phosphate, both of which can contribute to kidney stones. If you suffer from stones, your doctor may advise you to avoid these foods or to consume them in smaller amounts. For everyone else, particular foods and drinks are unlikely to trigger kidney stones unless consumed in extremely high amounts. Some studies have shown that men who take high doses of vitamin C in the form of supplements are at slightly higher risk of kidney stones. That may be because the body converts vitamin C into oxalate. For individuals with at least one previous episode of kidney stones, Dr. Hoenig recommends an evaluation to determine what factors may have contributed to the stones. Based on the tests, your doctor can provide specific dietary advice and, in some cases, medications and dietary supplements. Ask your doctor to refer you to a specialized “stone clinic” if you feel you need more help preventing kidney stones. —MCT

Mosquito density worries health experts MADURAI: Amid fears of a possible dengue epidemic striking Madurai in October, the fever season, the Indian Public Health Association (IPHA) has expressed concern over the high mosquito density in the city. The association, focusing on the dengueprone districts of Madurai, Tirunelveli, Theni, Virudhunagar, Tuticorin and Kanyakumari, has called for urgent steps to prevent mosquito breeding and a clear-cut proactive strategy to contain the dengue vector in residential areas and public spaces. A team of IPHA experts, led by its State president S. Elango, toured susceptible areas in and around Madurai, such as Anna Nagar, K.K.Nagar, Viswanathapuram, Ulaganeri, Othakadai, Thiruvadhavur and Thirumogur on Monday. “The dengue virus is active in these areas and fever symptoms are accentuated. A clear shift noticed in our assessment is that the threat is more in urban areas than rural areas,” Dr.Elango said here yesterday following an inspection trip to Tuticorin. He appealed to the district administration and Corporation authorities to deploy more sanitary workers for the task of destroying mosquito larvae to prevent a dengue outbreak in October, especially in view of the emergency situation that prevailed during the same month last year. According to Dr.Elango, who is a former Director of Public Health, Tamil Nadu, the densi-

MADURAI: Mosquito nets on display for sale at a roadside makeshift shop in the city. ty of the aedes mosquito needs be brought down and the public sensitised to the risk of water stagnation. Dr.Elango expressed concern at the paucity of entomologists.

“It is high time the government appointed more entomologists in Corporations and municipalities to tackle mosquito-borne diseases in a scientific manner,” he observed. — AFP

Stop worrying about fat HARVARD: Fat seems to always top the list of things that are “bad” for you. But for good overall health and to lower risk of heart disease, cancer, or even obesity, scrupulously counting how much fat you consume is not a helpful strategy. “Focusing only on grams of total fat, whether in a food or in your diet, can lead a person to make poor decisions,” says Dr Dariush Mozaffarian, an associate professor of medicine at Harvardaffiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. High on the list of bad food decisions is eating processed foods and fast foods that bill themselves as low-fat, reducedfat, or fat-free. Lowering total fat alone does not make a food healthier, and many of these products are high in salt, sugar, and refined carbohydrates. For example, low-fat deli sandwiches are loaded with salt and refined carbohydrates and low-fat frozen yogur t or low-fat muffins may contain a lot of refined carbohydrates, such as white flour and sugar.

More important, avoiding all fats means you miss out on the benefits of healthy fats, like those in nuts, fish, avocados, and olive oil. Recent research suggests that extra-virgin olive oil is particularly beneficial. “A common mistake is to avoid and replace foods that have healthy fats and that are good for you with low-fat processed and packaged foods that are high in refined carbohydrates and sodium,” Dr. Mozaffarian says. Instead of obsessing about fats, focus on healthy foods. “Eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, vegetable oils, whole grains, and modest por tions of dair y,” Dr. Mozaffarian advises. “Avoid processed meats, sugary beverages, and foods high in refined grains, starches, sugars, and salt.” One reason we tend to be preoccupied with fat is its connection with heart disease. Fat-particularly saturated fat from animal foods-is bad for the heart, right? Dr Mozaffarian and his colleagues have taken a hard look at the scientific evidence that consuming a lot of saturated fat leads

to heart disease. “The association is not as firmly established as many people believe,” he says. “The evidence does not support a major benefit of focusing on saturated fat alone, without considering the overall food itself and what is eaten instead.” The take-home message: Don’t avoid a food simply because it contains some saturated fat, and don’t think a food is healthy only because it is saturated fat-free. That means a fast-food sandwich that bills itself as “low-fat” may still be a Trojan horse for heart disease if it contains processed or cured meats, which research has consistently linked to heart disease. More important than total fat intake is what kind of fats you eat and from which foods. Unsaturated fats, for example, are healthier choices than foods rich in saturated fat from animal sources, foods containing partially hydrogenated oils and trans fat, and foods high in refined carbohydrates, starches, and sugars. Unsaturated fats exist in two forms: polyunsaturated and

monounsaturated. You can obtain polyunsaturated fats from salmon and other fatty fish as well as corn, soybean, safflower, and cottonseed oils. Rich sources of monounsaturated fats include olives and olive oil, canola and peanut oils, and most nuts. The most unhealthy type of fat is trans fat from partially hydrogenated oils. Trans fats form when vegetable oils are processed to make them more solid at room temperature. You’ll find trans fats in many baked goods (such as donuts, muffins, and pie crusts), snack foods (crackers, popcorn), and some fried foods. No amount of trans fat from partially hydrogenated oils is considered healthy. When we prepare meals, we don’t reach for fats-we reach for foods. This is one key to solving the dietary fat dilemma. “Focus on foods that have been shown to be good for health, not on trying to make your diet higher or lower in any one type of nutrient,” Dr. Mozaffarian says.—MCT


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

Dr Al Khashan joins Dar Al Shifa Clinic KUWAIT: Dar Al Shifa Clinic recently announced the appointment of Dr. Sulaiman Al Khashan, armed with an FRCPC- Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and certified in a rare specialty of movement disorder and Parkinson’s disease from British Columbia (UBC) University in Canada. Dr Al Khashan is known for his rare skills and is considered to be one of the few experts in Kuwait to practice this field of specialty in the private sector. Dr.Al Khashan is also a member in the Kuwait Neurology Society and the Royal Canadian College as well as the American Academy of Neurology. Among his most prominent accomplishments in Kuwait, Dr Al Khashan has successfully established a Neurology unit in Farwaniya Hospital, and has also proceeded to introduce a Parkinson and Movement Disorder clinic in IbnSina Hospital. Dr Al Khashan is well versed in the diagnosis of all neurological diseases including epilepsy, migraines and all types of headaches, as well as brain strokes, peripheral neuropathy, myopathy, multiple sclerosis (MS),Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. It is worthy to note that Parkinson’s disease is a chronic disease that affects many aspects in the lives of its patients including movement, psy-

Arthritic knees: Exercise can help, but don’t overdo it Reduced pain and stiffness

Dr. Sulaiman Al Khashan

chological, mental disturbances, sleeping disorders and others. Parkinson’s disease symptoms are harder to control as the condition progresses overtime, which requires constant alteration in the dose of medications,the addition of more medications, or sometimes referring to surgery in occasional cases. With Dr. Al Khashan’s new appointment and unique specialty, Dar Al Shifa Clinic will continueto provide optimal solutions and services to all its patients in Kuwait.

NEW YORK: Do you have knee osteoarthritis and want to be more active with less pain? It turns out that the best medicine for wear-andtear knee arthritis is exercise-but you have to stick with it to get the benefit, even if it hurts a little. The key to success is matching the right type of exercise to your knee condition. This allows you to gradually strengthen and stabilize the joint. “The most important thing is to do low-level, repetitive exercise without stressing the joints too much,” says Dr. Donald T. Reilly, an orthopedic surgeon at Harvard-affiliated Deaconess Medical Center. “Those kinds of exercises diminish the forces that are put across the joint.” In June 2013, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) released revised guidelines for how to treat knee osteoarthritis. The guidelines strongly endorsed therapeutic exercise, both at home and supervised by a physical therapist. In studies the AAOS panel reviewed, aerobic exercise and strength training reduced pain and stiffness and improved overall daily functioning. Osteoarthritis breaks down the cushion of cartilage that allows the knee joints to flex without grinding bone-on-bone. As the cartilage breaks down, movement causes pain, stiffness, and swelling. But not all knee arthritis is the same-and so not all knee arthritis exercise should be, either. Men with severe osteoarthritis may be limited in how much exercise they can do. Those with mild to moderate arthritis can work the joint harder. “I tell my patients to do whatever they think they can do,” Dr. Reilly says. “You have to find out

your limits and get into the right groove, where you don’t do too much to set yourself back but you don’t do so little that you don’t progress.” If you are not currently engaged in an exercise program, check in with the physician treating your arthritis. Establish the safe and healthy limits of your planned knee conditioning. It’s best to start low and go slow, gradually increasing the amount of exercise. A home exercise program that includes aerobic activities like swimming and light cycling can be very helpful. To strengthen and stabilize the knee itself, you’ll need to do resistance exercises that work a variety of muscles. Working with a physical therapist in the beginning can help you develop a safe and beneficial exercise routine. The knee is just one part of a continuous “kinetic chain” of muscles, tendons, and ligaments. To get results, you can’t just pick one knee-bending exercise and crank away. “Even though the arthritis is in the knee, you still need to focus on the whole body,” says Dr. Matthew T. Provencher, chief of the Sports Medicine Service at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. An effective knee-conditioning program includes stretches and strengthening exercises that work the major muscles of the lower abdomen, hips, thighs, calves, and ankles. Besides firming up muscle support around the knees, these exercises improve balance. This is important, Dr. Provencher says, because poor balance “makes it challenging to keep your knee in a good position to prevent pain.” The AAOS guidelines also endorse balance training as part of an overall knee -conditioning program

because it gets better results than strength training alone. Don’t start a new exercise program without checking in with a doctor who knows your condition. Arthritis at the patellofemoral joint, where the kneecap (patella) slides along a groove at the end of the femur (thighbone), tends to cause pain when you bend deeply at the knees or rise from a sitting position. “You can still strengthen with exercises that don’t bend the knee a lot,” Dr. Reilly says. “You can do it with straight-leg exercises, which strengthen the quadriceps muscles but don’t put high loads on the patellofemoral joint.” Physical therapists are trained to guide you in what exercises you can do safely depending on your medical condition. Knee conditioning takes commitment and effort, but the rewards are predictable. “You can get back to living life with less pain,” Dr. Provencher says. “Numerous studies have demonstrated that if you do this, working either on your own or with a physical therapist, you’ll be better able to do the things you enjoy in life.” Try this daily routine to strengthen the muscles that stabilize and support the knee. It can also improve balance by training your brain to be aware of your leg’s position in space: • Lie on your back with one leg bent at the knee. • Extend the other leg and slowly trace out the letters of the alphabet in broad strokes. Do it without watching your toe move. • Switch legs and do the same. • Repeat with each leg three to five times, or u n t i l yo u r fe e l t h e m u s c l e s g e t t i n g fatigued.— MCT

Living better with heart failure by changing what you eat ORLANDO: Diet can dramatically lower hypertension and improve heart function in patients with a common type of heart failure, according to research presented at today’s Heart Failure Society of America meeting in Orlando. After 21 days of following a low-sodium Dietar y Approaches to Stop Hyper tension (DASH) eating plan, patients saw a drop in blood pressure similar to taking anti-hypertension medicine. “Our work suggests diet could play an important role in the progression of heart failure, although patients should always talk to their

doctor before making major dietary changes,” says Scott Hummel, M.D., cardiologist at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center. “We’re excited to confirm these results in longer-term studies that also help us understand the challenges patients face when they try to improve their eating habits.” Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, or “diastolic” heart failure, happens when the heart becomes stiff and does not pump out enough blood. The condition is found in more than half of older adults with hear t failure. Although taking diuretics to help the body get

rid of extra fluid is useful, this type of heart failure has no standard treatment. The heart failure patients, most of them in their 60s and 70s, agreed to keep food diaries and eat only the meals prepared for them in the metabolic kitchen at the University of Michigan Clinical Research Unit. The meals, which could be picked up and heated at home, matched the DASH diet eating plan, which is high in potassium, magnesium, calcium and antioxidants and is recommended for hypertension treatment by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart

Association. The study diet also contained a daily sodium intake of no more than 1,150 milligrams. That’s much lower than what adults in the United States usually eat-about 4,200 mg a day for men, and 3,300 mg a day for women. Doctors have long known that the low-sodium DASH diet can lower blood pressure in saltsensitive patients. The U-M study, although small, showed the DASH diet can improve left ventricular relaxation and reduce diastolic chamber stiffness, meaning a more efficient transfer of blood between the heart and arteries, Hummel says. —AP


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


Group photo taken during Ambassador Tueller’s speech.

Lisa Heilbronn’s reception.

US Ambassador hosts reception Matthew Tueller, Ambassador of the United States of America, recently hosted a welcome reception for the Public Affairs Counselor Lisa Heilbronn at his residence in Bayan on September 18.


appy birthday to our beloved daughter Joy. We will forever give God thanks for your life. You are indeed a gift and joy to us your parents and to the world. May the favor of God continually follow you all the days of your life. As you mark your 4th birthday, we can only say thank you God. Lots of love from daddy, mummy, Favor, Aunty Chinwe, Aunty Berna, Aunty Deborah, LAIF, friends and well-wishers.


Lisa, Tueller and Dr Kazem Behbahani

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 AlMubarakiya 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 9722-5615.


Adoor NRI forum general meeting tomorrow door NRI Forum- Kuwait Chapter is the sole body of Adoor NRIs in Kuwait, conducting the Grand General meeting on 27th September, Friday at 6:30 PM. The venue will be United Indian School Auditorium, Abbassiya. The Non Resident Indians in Kuwait from the jurisdiction of Adoor Municipality and Panchayats of Pallickal, Erathu, Kadampanadu, Ezhamkulam, Enadimangalam, & Enathu of Kerala are eligible to be members of Adoor NRI Forum ñ Kuwait Chapter. Those who are interested, kindly contact for further details on the below given numbers: Sam C Vilanilam 55468239 The organizers are whole heartedly welcoming those working in Kuwait from the above mentioned Municipality & Panchayaths to the General meeting on 27th. Transport arrangements are made from different parts of Kuwait.


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.


8th Expo Pakistan to commence in September he 8th Expo Pakistan will be held from September 26 to 29 in Karachi. Held annually, Expo Pakistan is the biggest trade fair in the country showcasing the largest collection of Pakistan’s export merchandise and services. Foreign Exhibitors also use the event to launch their products. Expo Pakistan 2012 was visited by delegates from 52 countries and generated a business of over $ 518 million. A 16 member delegation from Kuwait including reputable companies like AlYasra Foods also took part in the last exhibition. Expo Pakistan 2013 is being held under the auspices of the Trade Development Authority Pakistan. Details about the event can be viewed Further information and details of sponsorship can be obtained from the office of Commercial Secretary, Pakistan Embassy, Jabriya (25356594) during office hours.


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

Happy Chappies Nursery School attend Porshe Road Safety Program


hildren from the Happy Chappies Nursery School attended the Porshe Early Childhood Road Safety Programme, sponsored by Porsche Centre Kuwait, Behbehani Motors Company at Qadsiya Sports Club. The children learnt the ‘Golden Rules’ clicking their seat belts, keeping arms and heads inside the windows, looking and listening when crossing the road and reminding the grownups not to use the mobile when driving! Everyone had a great time, especially driving the Porsche pedal cars around the indoor road circuit. The children received gifts and goodie bags to take home and everyone gave a big thankyou and thumbs up to Porsche Centre Kuwait, Behbehani Motors Company and Qadsiya Sports Club for facilitating such an important educational programme for the children of Kuwait. The programme is approved by the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Education and is available to children aged 3 to 8 years from all schools and nurseries in Kuwait. Schools are invited to contact the Programme Director to schedule visits or for further information.

Lisa delivers her speech.

US Ambassador Matthew Tueller introduces Lisa.


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 Avenues ranked Kuwait’s No.1 shopping, leisure destination



he Avenues ranked number one as the best shopping and leisure destination in Kuwait, according to the latest market research conducted by the market research organization, IPSOS. In a press release, The Avenues management said that the research results were based on extensive opinion polls of individual shopping experiences that positioned The Avenues on the lead above other malls in the Kuwait. According to the market research, The Avenues attracts visitors from all of Kuwait’s governorates, the majority coming from Hawally, followed by Farwaniya, Asima (Capital), Mubarak Al-Kabeer, Ahmadi and finally Jahra. The market research also indicatesThe Avenues was the most visited mall across all age groups and segments, with 78 percent of the polled public saying it was the first destination they think of visiting among the malls. As for the number and frequency of visits in the last three months, 100 percent of the polled public said that they visited The Avenues in this period. 84 percent said that The Avenues was the mall they visited the most in the last three months, while 83 percent considered The Avenues to be the best shopping and entertainment destination. Visits to The Avenues accounted for 60 percent of the overall visits made to malls in general, while hours spent at The Avenues per visit increased after the new districts consecutive opening since last year. Meanwhile, 77 percent of the polled public expressed their satisfaction with the shopping experience at The Avenues, with similar percentages among both

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. 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


gender and across the different age groups. As such, 71 percent of the polled public considered themselves to be selfpromoters of The Avenues given the distinguished shopping and entertainment experience that they have. More than half the polled public described The Avenues as the best commercial and entertainment mall in Kuwait based on their shopping requirements,

the broad range of brands, as well as the availability of family requirements, selection of restaurants and family-friendly atmosphere. Commenting on the IPSOS market researchoutcome, The Avenues management said, “We are proud to have achieved The Avenues as Kuwait’s number one shopping and entertainment destination according to numbers and statistics. We are also delighted to have

ranked The Avenues as one of the leading destinations to all GCC visitors.” It added, “We will furthercontinue to conduct such market research to evaluate the visitors’ shopping experience and to determine their future needs, which will then be taken into account towards our future phases of The Avenues in order to benchmark it among the world’s leading retail and leisuredestinations”.

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 nnnnnnn

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


KNES Special Educational Needs students get their rewards


n Wednesday, September 18, 2013 a group of students and teachers from Kuwait National English School (KNES) Special Educational Needs department visited the Royal Suite Hotel in Shuwaikh Port. This prominent ceremony honoured the marvelous achievements of those who were rewarded for their excellence in sports and it was a privilege to be amongst such gathering. The prestigious event was sponsored by Al-Sheikha Sheikha Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah. During this event, students from KNES interacted with students from other schools and received with a memento of the occasion. Children also posed for pictures with the royal guest of honour, Sheikha Sheikha Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah.

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

VVPA monthly meeting


alaikuda Vanambadi Poets Association’s monthly meeting was held on September 13, 2013 at hotel Saravanabawan, Fahaheel. VVPA founder Semponmari K Sethu inaugurated the event and Mani and yoga master Santhakumar participated as the chief guests. VVPA poets Nilavan, Sivasankar, Vidhyasagar, Sathya, Rani and Pariv delivered their excellent poems. Lalithamani, Ranimohan, Ganesan and Shanmugam sang wonderful songs. VVPA members Suresh, Ravidevi, Sreedhar, Samy, Bharathi, Tamilselvan, Kasi, Madurai Mathi and Mahadeven also participated. VVPA Vice President Alex gave vote of thanks. Saravanabawan chief staff Sundaresan supported us in this event.

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 Ben Earl: Trick Artist 01:20 The Big Brain Theory 02:10 Mythbusters 03:00 Mythbusters 03:50 Border Security - Series 6 Specials 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 Finding Bigfoot 08:40 American Chopper: Senior vs Junior 09:30 Border Security - Series 6 Specials 09:55 Auction Hunters 10:20 Auction Kings 10:45 How Do They Do It? 11:10 How It’s Made 11:35 Ben Earl: Trick Artist 12:25 The Big Brain Theory 13:15 Mythbusters 14:05 Border Security - Series 6 Specials 14:30 Auction Hunters 14:55 Auction Kings 15:20 Countdown To Collision 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 Sons Of Guns 22:50 Amish Mafia 23:40 Shadow Ops

00:05 Tech Toys 360 00:30 Sci-Fi Science 01:00 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 01:50 Scrapheap Challenge 02:45 Scanning The Skies 03:35 Sci-Trek 04:25 Engineered 05:15 The Gadget Show 05:40 Tech Toys 360 06:05 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 07:00 How Stuff’s Made 07:50 Bang Goes The Theory 08:40 The Gadget Show 09:05 Tech Toys 360 09:30 Eco-Tech 10:20 Engineered 11:15 Scrapheap Challenge 12:05 NASA’s Greatest Missions 13:00 Bang Goes The Theory 13:50 Sci-Fi Science 14:20 The Gadget Show 14:45 Tech Toys 360 15:10 How Stuff’s Made 16:00 Finding Bigfoot 16:55 Engineered 17:45 Scrapheap Challenge 18:35 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 19:30 How Stuff’s Made 20:20 Bang Goes The Theory 21:10 The Gadget Show 21:35 Tech Toys 360 22:00 Stuck With Hackett 22:25 Stuck With Hackett 22:50 Bang Goes The Theory 23:40 The Gadget Show

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Dr G: Medical Examiner Psychic Witness LA: City Of Demons I Was Murdered I Was Murdered I Almost Got Away With It Dr G: Medical Examiner Psychic Witness Nightmare Next Door

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Mystery Diagnosis Street Patrol Street Patrol Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Solved Disappeared Mystery Diagnosis Street Patrol Street Patrol Forensic Detectives On The Case With Paula Zahn Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? Disappeared Solved Forensic Detectives On The Case With Paula Zahn Dr G: Medical Examiner Nightmare Next Door Couples Who Kill On The Case With Paula Zahn Nightmare Next Door I Almost Got Away With It

Hannah Montana Brandy & Mr Whiskers Emperor’s New School The Replacements Brandy & Mr Whiskers Emperor’s New School The Replacements Brandy & Mr Whiskers Austin And Ally Austin And Ally A.N.T. Farm Jessie Good Luck Charlie Sofia The First Doc McStuffins Jake And The Neverland A.N.T. Farm Jessie Jessie 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 My Babysitter’s A Vampire Gravity Falls Jessie Violetta A.N.T. Farm Wolfblood Gravity Falls Shake It Up That’s So Raven A.N.T. Farm Violetta Jessie My Babysitter’s A Vampire Austin And Ally That’s So Raven Jessie A.N.T. Farm Good Luck Charlie Wizards Of Waverly Place

06:00 Kid vs Kat 06:10 Iron Man Armored Adventures 06:35 Kickin It 07:00 Max Steel 07:25 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 Kickin It 14:55 Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja 15:20 Slugterra 15:45 Lab Rats 16:10 Lab Rats 16:35 Crash & Bernstein 17:00 Lab Rats 17:30 Kickin It 18:00 Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja 18:25 Phineas And Ferb 18:35 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

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Dr G: Medical Examiner Psychic Witness LA: City Of Demons I Was Murdered I Was Murdered I Almost Got Away With It Dr G: Medical Examiner Psychic Witness Nightmare Next Door Mystery Diagnosis Street Patrol Street Patrol Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? On The Case With Paula Zahn Solved Disappeared Mystery Diagnosis Street Patrol Street Patrol Forensic Detectives On The Case With Paula Zahn Real Emergency Calls Who On Earth Did I Marry? Disappeared Solved Forensic Detectives On The Case With Paula Zahn Dr G: Medical Examiner Nightmare Next Door Couples Who Kill On The Case With Paula Zahn Nightmare Next Door I Almost Got Away With It

00:30 The Daily Show 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 Louie 02:00 It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia 02:30 The League 04:00 Seinfeld 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 All Of Us 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 Seinfeld 08:30 All Of Us 10:00 Hot In Cleveland 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:30 Seinfeld 13:00 All Of Us 15:00 Hot In Cleveland 15:30 The Daily Show 16:00 The Colbert Report 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 Family Tools 18:30 30 Rock 19:00 30 Rock 19:30 Hot In Cleveland 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Web Therapy 22:30 It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia 23:00 The League 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

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House Of Cards Good Morning America Treme Good Morning America Emmerdale Coronation Street Body Of Proof Emmerdale Coronation Street Drop Dead Diva House Of Cards Live Good Morning America Drop Dead Diva Body Of Proof House Of Cards Drop Dead Diva Body Of Proof House Of Cards Treme Nip/Tuck

00:00 Wrong Side Of Town 02:00 London Boulevard 04:00 Dead Man Running 06:00 Blackthorn 08:00 Source Code 10:00 The Tourist 12:00 Rewind 14:00 Lara Croft: Tomb Raider 16:00 The Tourist 18:00 Lara Croft: Tomb Raider 20:00 Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life 22:00 Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark

00:00 London Boulevard-18 02:00 Dead Man Running-PG15 04:00 Blackthorn-PG15 06:00 Source Code-PG15 08:00 The Tourist-PG15 10:00 Rewind-PG15 12:00 Lara Croft: Tomb Raider-PG15 14:00 The Tourist-PG15 16:00 Lara Croft: Tomb Raider-PG15 18:00 Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life-PG15 20:00 Don’t Be Afraid Of The DarkPG15 22:00 Scream Of The Banshee-18

00:00 Friends With Benefits-18 02:00 Calendar Girls-PG15 04:00 A Heartbeat Away-PG15 06:00 Turner & Hooch-PG15 08:00 Kung Fu Panda 2-PG 10:00 Judy Moody And The Not Bummer Summer-PG 12:00 A Heartbeat Away-PG15 14:00 From Prada To Nada-PG15 16:00 Judy Moody And The Not Bummer Summer-PG 18:00 Johnny English Reborn-PG15 20:00 Casino Jack-18 22:00 Friends With Benefits-18

01:00 Shadow Dancer-PG15 03:00 The Terminal-PG15 05:15 And Soon The DarknessPG15 07:00 Saving Grace B. Jones-PG15 09:00 Shadow Dancer-PG15 11:00 Now Is Good-PG15 13:00 Another Harvest Moon-PG15 15:00 Comes A Bright Day-PG15 17:00 Drew Peterson: Untouchable-PG15 19:00 The Ides Of March-PG15 21:00 Melancholia-18 23:15 A Little Bit Of Heaven-18

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DOLPHIN TALE ON OSN MOVIES HD 13:30 Puss In Boots 15:15 Tom & Jerry: Robin Hood And His Merry Mouse 16:30 Iz And The Zizzles 18:00 Super Buddies 20:00 Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked 22:00 Tom & Jerry: Robin Hood And His Merry Mouse 23:30 Iz And The Zizzles

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Larry Crowne-PG15 Larry Crowne-PG15 Gnomeo & Juliet-PG The Makeover-PG15 Carnage-PG15 The Muppets-PG Damsels In Distress-PG15 Crisis Point-PG15 Carnage-PG15 Battleship-PG15 Ted-18 The Sweeney-18

01:30 Rugby Union Currie Cup 03:30 PGA European Tour Weekly 04:00 Inside The PGA Tour 04:30 European Senior Tour Highlights 05:30 European Challenge Tour Golf Highlights 06:30 Futbol Mundial 07:00 NRL Premiership 09:00 Trans World Sport 10:00 Inside The PGA Tour 10:30 PGA European Tour Weekly 11:00 Rugby Union Currie Cup 13:00 Cricket Champions League Twenty20 16:00 Trans World Sport 17:00 ICC Cricket 360 17:30 Live Cricket Champions League Twenty20 20:30 Trans World Sport 21:30 Futbol Mundial 22:00 Live Super League

Woodstock-18 Ondine-PG15 Taken Back: Finding HaleyMe And You-PG15 Stomp The Yard-PG15 Take Shelter-PG15 33 Postcards-PG15 Stomp The Yard-PG15 The Grey-18 After Life-18 Schindler’s List-18

Gone-PG15 People Like Us-PG15 The Pirates! Band Of MisfitsDolphin Tale-PG Will-PG People Like Us-PG15 Of Two Minds-PG15 John Carter-PG15 Will-PG Colombiana-PG15 Paranormal Activity 4-18 Wanderlust-R

01:15 The Nimbols: Part I 02:45 The Nimbols: Part II 04:15 Princess Sydney: The Three Gold Coins 06:00 Beethoven 08:00 Olentzero Christmas Tale 10:00 Super Buddies 11:30 Elf

00:30 Cricket Champions League Twenty20 03:30 Sailing America’s Cup Highlights 04:30 AFL Premiership 07:00 Cricket Champions League Twenty20 10:00 Cricket Champions League Twenty20 13:00 Futbol Mundial 13:30 European Challenge Tour 14:30 Inside The PGA Tour 15:00 PGA European Tour Weekly 15:30 Live PGA European Tour 19:30 WWE NXT 20:30 NFL Gameday 21:00 UFC The Ultimate Fighter 22:00 Cricket Champions League Twenty20

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Golfing World AFL Premiership World Cup of Pool World Cup of Pool Golfing World Golfing World Asian Tour Highlights Asian Tour Golf Total Rugby World Cup of Pool World Cup of Pool Futbol Mundial Golfing World Super League

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Total Rugby Top 14 Futbol Mundial Trans World Sport Golfing World AFL Premiership Highlights Total Rugby Asian Tour Highlights Asian Tour Golf Futbol Mundial

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UFC The Ultimate Fighter Triahlon UK European Le Mans Series NHL Ping Pong World US Bass Fishing WWE SmackDown

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Ping Pong World US Bass Fishing NHL WWE Vintage Collection WWE Bottom Line WWE This Week Porsche GT 3 Cup Challenge ITU World Triathlon Series Triahlon UK Mobil 1 The Grid

‘Help lead the fight against extreme poverty’ Four days left to submit communications ideas for Cannes Chimera


he third Cannes Chimera global communications challenge, set to the brief ‘Help Lead the Fight Against Extreme Poverty’, will close for entries on 30 September. This latest challenge set by Cannes Lions and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, calls for new communications concepts that can incite the public to support an emerging international agenda to ensure that extreme poverty is virtually eliminated by 2030. “It’s a huge goal and it’s 17 years away. So how do we make that goal relevant today? How do we bring it forward so people think about it, care about it, talk about it? How do we get people to get involved and want to see it get accomplished? We believe that by using the great power of creativity, some very inspirational communications ideas will emerge that will answer the brief and kick-start the momentum to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030.” says Tom Scott, Director of Global Brand & Innovation at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Innovative and world-changing ideas that answer to this brief can be submitted, by no later than 30 September, on just two pages. Up to ten competition winners will be eligible for up to an initial $100,000 (US) to work and perfect their idea and will be invited to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation campus in Seattle for a 2-day workshop during which they will be mentored by the Cannes Chimera, a ‘super-agency’ made up of Cannes Lions Grands Prix winners. Following the workshop, winners may apply for additional funding of up to $1Million (US) to implement their concept in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and its global partners. “Whilst anybody can submit an idea, we particularly call on people in the advertising and communications industry to take part, since they have the extraordinary ability to change human behaviour through great creative storytelling and can influence others to take action that will ultimately impact the world in future years,” comments Philip Thomas, CEO of Lions Festivals. “Who better than the great minds of our indus-

try to put to good use their creative and persuasive talents to help build a better future for mankind?” he added. The previous Cannes Chimera challenge “Aid is Working. Tell the World”, which called for communications ideas in four specific submission categories Mobile, Data, Young Audiences and The Progress of Development - to help change the global conversation about the impact of investments in foreign aid, is about to enter its second stage. During the first week of October, the nine winners of this challenge, will attend an intensive but inspirational twoday workshop where they will join forces with the Cannes Chimera, winners of the 2012 Cannes Lions Grands Prix, to brainstorm and perfect their ideas before using their $100,000 funding to further develop their concepts, ahead of reapplying for a further $1 Million to put their idea into practice. “Every day we apply our creative talent to solve clients’ problems, but now we have the chance to use it to solve critical world issues. What a fantastic opportunity to help make the world a better place,” says Chimera member Graham Fink, Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy Shanghai, ahead of the forthcoming workshop. Nick Law, Global Chief Creative Officer of R/GA New York, a Chimera member for two consecutive years, adds, “Most days we use our talent to change minds; this is an opportunity to change lives”. The Cannes Chimera Initiative was launched by the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, which brings together the global advertising and communications industry, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropic foundation, in an effort to generate communications ideas that motivate global audiences to support change and take actions that address a unique development issue through a competitive brief. For more information on the 2013 creative brief and background please visit All entries must be submitted online through by 30 September 2013.

Classifieds THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2013



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CHANGE OF NAME I, Bondalapati Venkata Ramana Devi, holder of Indian Passport No. J5550579, hereby change my name to Syeda Ayisha Siddeeqa. (C 4519) 26-9-2013 I, Byju Kandankulangara Vaylil holder of Indian Passport # H3127996 hereby change my name to Faiju Kandankulangara Vayalil. (C 4517) I, Shakeel Abbas Pawashkar holder of Indian Passport No. F8317333 hereby change my name to Shakeel Abbas Pawashkar Al Refaei. (C 4518) 25-9-2013 I, Zainamol Noordeen Mytheen Kunju, holder of Indian Passport No. K2085439, hereby change my name to Zaina Nooruddin Mohiddin Kunju. (C 4516) 24-9-2013 I, Ameer Shahib Hassip Sheriph S/O Amir Sharif, date of brith 15.06.1969, Passport No: H0114576, hereby change my name to Asif Sharif Amir Sharif. (C 4512) 22-9-2013 I, Subramaniyan S/O Kaathan, holder of Indian Passport No: G9654545 converted to Islam do hereby change my name to Ahmed Omar Hashem. (C 4511)

SITUATION WANTED English and Arabic speaking Indian housemaid available for work in Salwa / Mishref. Contact: 67780245. (C 4514) 23-9-2013 MATRIMONIAL Orthodox Christian parents from Mavelikara/ Aleppey Dist, settled in USA seek suitable alliance for their daughter, 29 years/165 cm, born and brought up in Kuwait and did MBBS in India. She is very humble, loving, God fearing, family oriented, currently living

with her parents in Houston and working in a Doctors Clinic. Looking for professionally qualified, nondrinking, non-smoking, God fearing, family oriented, loving and caring boy, who is willing to relocate/ settle in USA. If interested please forward your complete bio data with photograph to email:,

24-9-2013 Proposals are invited for a Christian, 28 years old, 154cm, fair, B.Sc nurse, working in Kerala from parents of suitable boys. Contact:

LOST Original policy document No. 633002905-3 of Sajjad Haider Chohan of State Life Insurance Cooperation of Pakistan Gulf Zone is reported to have been lost.

Anyone find the same or claiming any interest in it should communicate with Manager Kuwait State Life Office. Tel: 22452208. (C 4515) 23-9-2013

Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (



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s ta rs CROSSWORD 322

STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) ARIES A drive to question situations may find you working through some strong internal changes. Push too hard and you could be too dominating, even oppressive, to yourself and others. When it comes to business and career, you have a mind that just cannot help but take care of business. This is where most of your energies and concerns will be this day. Your thoughts and ideas are nothing if not practical and your clear-sightedness makes some form of management or supervision almost unavoidable. You love large-scale organization and your career or business will always be close to your heart. Your sense of discrimination, when it comes to practical issues, is excellent and you value clearheaded thinking in others. Romance is possible tonight.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) You will be pleased with what you accomplish today. In difficult situations you perform very well. You know just what to do and can act without haste. You are asked to make use of your natural talents. This may mean you have a special way with clients, customers or patients. You may not have realized that anyone noticed your special ways of dealing with people. There are future opportunities for you to grow in this company if you want. There are also options for you to grow within your own scope of expertise by going into business for yourself. All of this can be something you take a little time to think about and do a bit of research before making any decision—it is something about which you might contemplate.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

ACROSS 1. (computer science) The rate at which data is transferred (as by a modem). 4. A ball game played with a bat and ball between two teams of 9 players. 12. A periodic paperback publication. 15. Resinlike substance secreted by certain lac insects. 16. Free-swimming mostly freshwater flatworms. 17. A constellation in the southern hemisphere near Telescopium and Norma. 18. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 19. The wrist bone in line with the 4th and 5th fingers. 20. Viscera and trimmings of a butchered animal often considered inedible by humans. 22. A small cake leavened with yeast. 24. Offering little or no hope. 26. Avatar of Vishnu. 27. An award for winning a championship or commemorating some other event. 28. Flightless New Zealand rail of thievish disposition having short wings each with a spur used in fighting. 29. An oil reservoir in an internal combustion engine. 32. The seventh month of the Moslem calendar. 33. The quantity a cask will hold. 37. New World chameleons. 39. A member of a North American Indian people of central Arizona. 40. Similar to the color of jade. 41. Inspired by a feeling of fearful wonderment or reverence. 44. Petty quarrel. 45. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 47. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 50. Angular distance above the horizon (especially of a celestial object). 51. Subdivision not used in some classifications. 53. A soft wool fabric with a colorful swirled pattern of curved shapes. 56. A public promotion of some product or service. 57. A city in southern Turkey on the Seyhan River. 59. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 61. Date used in reckoning dates before the supposed year Christ was born. 62. Of or relating to or characteristic of religious rituals. 66. An infective disease caused by sporozoan parasites that are transmitted through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. 71. An agency of the United Nations affiliated with the World Bank. 72. Small spiny outgrowth on the wings of certain insects. 75. A manner of speaking that is natural to native speakers of a language. 76. Airtight sealed metal container for food or drink or paint etc.. 77. (British) Property that provides tax income for local governments. 79. American prizefighter who won the world heavyweight championship three times (born in 1942). 80. A condition (mostly in boys) characterized

by behavioral and learning disorders. 81. A ray of moonlight. 82. Brief episode in which the brain gets insufficient blood supply. DOWN 1. Divulge information or secrets. 2. A metabolic acid found in yeast and liver cells. 3. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 4. Enlarged prostate. 5. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 6. South Asian deer with three-tined antlers. 7. A substitution of part of speech or gender or number or tense etc. (e.g., editorial `we' for `I'). 8. Moderate or restrain. 9. A passageway between buildings or giving access to a basement. 10. Being one more than fifty. 11. Of or relating to a member of the Buddhist people inhabiting the Mekong river in Laos and Thailand. 12. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 13. The biblical name for ancient Syria. 14. Offering fun and gaiety. 21. Noisy quarrel. 23. More than enough in size or scope or capacity. 25. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 30. Not subjected to an aging process. 31. (statistics) Relating to or constituting the most frequent value in a distribution. 34. Strike with disgust or revulsion. 35. A river that rises in central Germany and flows north to join the Elbe River. 36. The combined stakes of the betters. 38. The capital and largest city of Yemen. 42. As soon as. 43. An official prosecutor for a judicial district. 46. (sports) With hand brought forward and up from below shoulder level. 48. An accountant certified by the state. 49. A revolutionary doctrine that advocates destruction of the social system for its own sake. 52. The United Nations agency concerned with atomic energy. 54. A city in northern India. 55. Fed beyond capacity or desire. 58. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 60. Lacking either stimulating or irritating characteristics. 63. A member of the Uniat Church. 64. Garlic mayonnaise. 65. (folklore) A corpse that rises at night to drink the blood of the living. 67. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 68. The United Nations agency concerned with civil aviation. 69. 4-wheeled motor vehicle. 70. Exhibiting or restored to vigorous good health. 73. A local computer network for communication between computers. 74. A gradual decline (in size or strength or power or number). 78. (Akkadian) God of wisdom.


Today may be the day you make a big change of some sort. You or a partner has made preliminary preparations so you should have an easy adjustment. You are fortunate to have plenty of help if you need help. You prosper through new insights, inventions and an independent point of view—do not push. In most cases, you will find it easy to take charge and show off your enterprising nature. You have plans to increase a business situation and this afternoon would be a good time to present your plans or your ideas. Clarify your ideas on paper first. You could feel great support from those around you. You draw emotional sustenance from friends this evening. A social engagement will create many friendly smiles.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) You may be busy doing extra preparation in connection with your job. Try not to become involved in the frivolous conversations that tend to happen in a small office. You have a lot to offer a new company, especially if they allow you free rein to submit your creative suggestions. This is a good time to buckle down and concentrate on your career. Your organizational abilities and sense of responsibility will be what guides you and proves successful—as well as your fine talent. Your career could assume a much more determined and firm direction. This is a time of getting your name known. You will find others appreciate your hard work. You can expect a little boost now, some sort of extra support or recognition from those around you.

Leo (July 23-August 22) The workflow for today is fast moving and easily accomplished. You find success through your ability to follow through on important instructions and put together packages of information. You could work with or as a photographer or artist. At the very least, you could enjoy some form of art as a hobby. Off work early this afternoon the contents of a store window may catch your eye. This is a time when you may be concentrating on decorating a room or furnishing a new home or apartment. If you remain as careful as usual, you will do well in your choice of purchases. This evening is a good time to enjoy the company of a loved one, read a romantic book or take in a movie. This is also a happy day for relationships and matters of the heart.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) You are at your most practical when it comes to negotiations. There are opportunities for negotiating and getting your way in most activities today. Whether you feel guilty or grateful, you rush around getting all sorts of chores accomplished, as you know the person you will be with for the rest of the day would be most enjoyable if in a good mood. You are called on to make use of your common sense before the day is over. There is a need to be respected and it may be an emotionally charged issue in your life at this time. There is much enthusiasm for whatever you want to enjoy or accomplish today. Surprises this evening will keep everyone happy. Romance is private, intimate and rewarding this evening.

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Libra (September 23-October 22) A puzzle appears today and you spare no time in getting down to finding the answer. Others will be amazed at how well you uncover or find the solution to an old problem. With research to support your theories, you will be able to help make some much needed changes. You feel things passionately and you don’t mind letting authorities or publishers know what you think. You can be quite loyal, if sometimes possessive, so you will need to be careful and attentive or aware to those areas of your life. You have a sense for power, wealth and passion and will have no problem reaching certain goals. If you support a family with children, this evening would be a good time to help them learn about goals and create opportunities to encourage them.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) You meet with new moneymaking ideas this morning and may spend the majority of the day creating the avenue with which you will proceed. All of this may be a very good idea but you will be able to make a better decision if you could find a person that took the big moneymaking step that you might want to take. You will either be encouraged or have the opportunity to do a bit more research. It’s as if ambition and authority are answers in themselves, rather than only a means to an ideal objective. Bide your time. Secrets, conspiracies and the hidden links that unite all things take on less importance in your life now. You have learned the importance of putting the negative situations of the past. Help others to think in positive, healing ways.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) You are a born leader, so others find it easy to use your instructions and follow your example. You enjoy helping others solve their personal or technical problems. This is a very lucky day for making plans or decisions and finding your way through just about any problem you may discover. You feel successful and able to handle difficult situations. Perhaps some family member or friend has a new computer; you are helping him or her learn the particulars. Perhaps you are putting in a sprinkler system yourself and someone will be helping you. You are quick on the learning curve and whether you are teaching or taking on a new skill, you are having fun and turning the day into a successful one for everyone involved. You may get lucky in money.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) You could be seen by others as just the person to be put in charge of some project requiring a conservative mind—a day for thinking. You enjoy conversations about philosophy or even a little religion. If you pay attention, you may find ways that these discussions move into a new understanding for everyone. Lasting ethics will guide you now, opening up avenues that have remained blocked. Generally, this is a fruitful period for real-estate investments. You may feel like talking a bit more than usual, exploring new ideas or getting happily lost in a conversation. Perhaps a short trip or a special phone call is in order. Family, home and the other roots in your life give you a sense of mission. Conversations with loved ones are positive.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) You have a great desire and drive to be thorough and responsible down to the smallest details. Improved powers of concentration insure that you will get a lot accomplished today. You always know what is essential and what is not. You love the routine. You tend neither to spend much time in procrastinating about the future nor reminiscing about the past. You like to be in the moment of the day. Obtaining and exchanging information takes on more significance for you. Being more involved with neighbors or siblings satisfies a deep emotional need to be needed and included. You enjoy helping others and in being privileged to know their heart. This evening may find you visiting and exchanging ideas with loved ones.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) You look for ways to advance your job status. A supervisor may give you suggestions as well. This is a perfect time for new ideas—breakthroughs in thinking—a novel approach. Law, politics, education, travel or religion, among other things, may take part in this search for advancement. Lectures and self-help literature seem to attract your attention. You enjoy working with your mind and your sharp perceptions make finding new solutions easy. You bring an unexpected twist to whatever you set your mind to accomplish. You are able to teach or help others to be more original when it comes to the words or thoughts they use. Your laser-like mind makes conversations fast-paced and illuminating. You share hugs tonight.

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Mom selling Kurt Cobain’s childhood home in Washington T

his month marks the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s final studio album, and fans aren’t just able to buy a new “super deluxe” box set to celebrate the occasion. They can also buy the childhood home of late frontman Kurt Cobain, complete with his mattress. Cobain’s mother, Wendy O’Connor, is putting the tired, 1.5-story bungalow two hours southwest of Seattle on the market this week. To help sell it, the family is offering a glimpse into the early life of its tortured and talented son through photos shot at the house, including

Kurt Cobain celebrates a birthday. one of a chocolate-frosted birthday cake for Kurt and a shot of a teenage Cobain smiling, guitar in hand, in his messy room. The home, last assessed at less than $67,000, is being listed for $500,000. It’s a short walk from a riverfront park dedicated to Cobain’s memory, and the family said it would welcome a partnership to make the home into a museum. His room still has the stencil-like

band names - Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin - he reportedly put on the walls, as well as the holes he put in them. “We’ve decided to sell the home to create a legacy for Kurt, and yes, there are some mixed feelings since we have all loved the home and it carries so many great memories,” Cobain’s sister, Kim Cobain, said in an emailed statement. “But our family has moved on from Washington, and (we) feel it’s time to let go of the home.” The house, a 1923 structure with dingy carpeting, water-stained wooden shingles on some interior walls, and a recent coat of yellow paint, is on East 1st Street in Aberdeen, a gritty and struggling former timber town at the mouth of the Chehalis River near the southwest Washington coast. Cobain’s parents bought it in 1969, when Kurt was 2. He lived there until they separated when he was 9, and again with his mom during his later teen years. The heroin-addicted Cobain committed suicide in Seattle in 1994, at age 27, after a meteoric career that popularized the Pacific Northwest’s heavy, muddy “grunge” rock. The last of Nirvana’s three studio albums, “In Utero,” came out in September 1993, and Universal Music Group has released a re-mastered version and a “super deluxe” box set. Cobain described his early childhood in Aberdeen as happy. As author Charles R. Cross noted in his Cobain biography, “Heavier Than Heaven,” he would ride his bike around the small yard and pound on a set of Mickey Mouse drums his parents bought him. In one event that entered family lore, Cobain’s father, Don, trapped a rat in a garbage can in the garage. Don tried to spear it with a broomstick, but the rodent clambered up the handle, over Don’s shoulder to the ground and across Kurt’s toes to safety - prompting endless laughter from the 5-year-old. But his parents’ divorce scarred him deeply. At one point, he scrawled “I hate Mom, I hate Dad” on his bedroom wall, Cross wrote. “It’s a place where he had very fond memories, but it’s the house where his parents got divorced,” Cross said in an interview. “He couldn’t wait to get away, but it’s a place that helped shape who he became.” The home was last lived in by a family friend four

Photo shows graffiti, mostly written about Kurt Cobain adorns the underside of the Young Street Bridge blocks from his childhood home.

Photo shows young Kurt Cobain, left, and his sister Kim in their childhood home.

In this undated photo provided by Kim Cobain, a young Kurt Cobain plays piano in his childhood home in Aberdeen, Wash. — AP photos

Young Kurt Cobain plays guitar in his childhood home. years ago. According to The Agency, the Beverly Hills, California-based luxury real estate firm marketing the property, it features the dining room table and hutch from when Cobain lived there. Cobain’s mattress is tucked away in a musty upstairs crawl space. Cobain lived in about 20 houses in his life, Cross said, and this isn’t the first one offered for sale based on its connection to rock history. In 2002, an Oregon couple bought a home in nearby Montesano for $42,500. When they learned that Cobain had lived there with his father from 11 to 15, they sold it for $210,000. — AP

Photo shows young Kurt Cobain, left and his sister Kim in their childhood home.

Photo shows a guitar statue stands out at ‘Kurt Cobain Landing,’ a tiny park blocks from the childhood home of Kurt Cobain and overlooking the Wishkah River.

Photo shows Kurt Cobain in his childhood home.

Theater hunts for lost Lawyer puts price on musicals and puts them on Jackson’s death at trial climax D


he promoters of Michael Jackson’s doomed last tour should pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to the late pop icon’s family over his 2009 death, a lawyer said in closing arguments Tuesday. In a heartstrings-tugging final presentation wrapping up a five-month trial, attorney Brian Panish urged jurors to award $85 million to each of the star’s three children and $35 million to his mother in so-called non-economic damages, such as the loss of love and comfort. On top of that were economic damages, for which he did not set a figure, but cited analyses suggesting that the self-styled King of Pop could have made around $1.5 billion if he had lived and pursued a comeback world tour. In the day’s most arresting moment, he played a 15-minute video compilation of Jackson’s hits, including “Thriller” and the star moonwalking to “Billie Jean,” combined with home-movie clips of the singer playing with his children. “That I think is the best evidence of whether Mr. Jackson could have sold tickets,” he said after the extended video, which left some of the dozens of fans in court sobbing and hugging each other. Panish insisted however he wasn’t trying to play on the jury’s emotions. “We’re not

looking for sympathy, we’re looking for justice,” he told the trial, which moved to a larger 300-person capacity courtroom for its final stage. Presiding judge Yvette Palazuelos unexpectedly ruled that the final few days of the trial, which started in April, can be televised. Jackson died on June 25, 2009 from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol at his rented mansion outside Los Angeles, where he was rehearsing for the “This is It” shows at London’s 02 Arena. He was 50 years old. Dr Conrad Murray, a cardiologist, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in a criminal trial in 2011 for giving the drug to the star-who suffered from chronic insomnia-to help him sleep. Murray was jailed for four years. In the civil trial, the singer’s mother Katherine Jackson, 83, alleges that AEG Live negligently hired an inappropriate and incompetent doctor and missed a series of red flags about his failing health in the run-up to his death. “ They chose not to check anything about Dr Murray’s background .. They chose to run the risk, to make a huge profit, and they lost and they’re responsible,” said Panish. “AEG wanted the King of Pop in their arena in London. They would do whatever it took to get him on stage... They were so

excited about how much money they were going to make,” he added. “They knew what they were getting. Now they want to come in and deny it.” If the jury decides in the Jackson family’s favor, Panish suggested the jury split whatever compensation amount they decide on in the ratio of 30 percent for each of the three children, and 10 percent for Jackson’s 83-year-old mother Katherine, “because Katherine has a lesser life expectancy.” But he stressed that the jury will make the final decision. “Thats up to you,” he said. AEG Live counters that it did not sign a contract with Murray, and that a promised $150,000 a month for his services would come from an advance it was making to Jackson, meaning effectively that the star hired his own doctor. The issue of who hired Murray is crucial to the case, and Panish re-played video clips of AEG Live CEO Randy Philips, in which he told Sky News that Murray was “willing to leave his practice for a very large sum of money. “So we hired him,” said Philips, in what could prove decisive in the jurors’ decision-making process. AEG Live’s lead lawyer, Marvin Putnam, presented his side’s closing arguments yesterday. Panish will then make final rebuttals today, before the jury retires to consider its verdict. — AFP

Brian Panish, attorney for the Michael Jackson family delivers his closing argument to jurors in a packed courtroom in downtown Los Angeles, Tuesday. —AP

on’t be fooled by how mild-mannered Ben West seems. He’s the musical theater world’s Sherlock Holmes and Victor Frankenstein rolled into one. As artistic director of the nonprofit UnsungMusicalsCo Inc, West scours libraries, newspaper archives and databases for overlooked and undervalued musicals. Then he breathes life into them. “The intention is to return them to the canon,” he says as he puts the finishing touches on the latest of his “lost” shows “Bless You All!” a 1950 revue with songs by Harold Rome and sketches by Arnold Auerbach. West, who also directs, has restructured the show, trimmed a few numbers, restored a sketch and streamlined the story. “I always try to stay true to the original author’s intent,” he says from the company’s temporary home at the Connelly Theatre. Now celebrating its fifth year, UnsungMusicalsCo. has produced 13 shows that range from developmental readings to fully staged off-Broadway productions, including “The Fig Leaves Are Falling” and “Make Mine Manhattan.” West, who grew up in Miami but visited New York regularly to see shows while his mom came for business, is a walking encyclopedia of the golden age of musical theater, roughly 19311971. He and his three-person staff operate on a shoestring budget, and West supplements his income as an administrative assistant. (“Bless You All!” will cost about $40,000.) He finds potential works in various places, getting a clue from an old newspaper review or from archival collections. He found a never-produced Arnold Horwitt musical in the copyright office, so obscure that even the lyricist’s children were unaware it existed. He stumbled across the manuscript for the concert “Gatsby” at the New York Public Library of the Performing Arts in the papers of its lyricist, Carolyn Leigh, while looking for another show. He tries to make sense of the manuscripts’ often chicken-scratch longhand and, if the work is unfinished, he’ll stitch in new music or characters. “The material is there,” he says. “It’s just finding it and making it usable.” West also seeks out permission to mount his revivals from the creators’ heirs, many of whom are thrilled that shows never produced or forgotten from 60 years ago will be seen and heard. He sat down with The Associated Press to explain the process. AP: How do you pick shows to revive? West: The criteria that I look for is obscure but artistically sound. Which is to say, not flops. For example, “Make My Manhattan,” which was our first full production, was a huge hit in 1948. But its authors never became household names. But the show ran almost a year and

went on tour with Bert Lahr. AP: Why did it - and other shows - disappear? West: I think there are certain criteria that cause shows to be forgotten, mainly the style. The traditional revue, for example, is gone. And also if an author has not become a household name, I think they tend not to be investigated. AP: Your new one - “Bless You All!” - Apparently got good reviews. What happened? West: I think it was actually behind its time. It was this homage - they didn’t bill it as an homage, of course - to a 1930s revue in 1950, when variety shows are on the air and the revue is not popular. And yet it got good reviews but it just did not run.

Artistic director of the nonprofit Unsung Musicals Co Inc, Ben West. — AP AP: How have shows changed since the golden years? West: It seems like a heavy emphasis is now being put on the concept and the drive to be original and new, in terms of the architecture of the show, with the story taking a back seat to that. AP: Most of these old shows were never recorded. Would that have helped you? West: If I did have the opportunity to hear an original, I don’t think I’d pass it up. But, at the same time, I’m not digging through cabinets to find it. I try to come to it with fresh eyes. I sort of like not knowing what it was because then we get to create it new. AP: What is the ultimate goal of UnsungMusicalsCo? West: I would love the shows to live on in whatever form that may be. I may have the touch of an idealist. I’m not sure that all of the stuff we’re doing I would love to see in a Broadway house. An off-Broadway house would be fabulous or for regionals to do it. Essentially I want the shows to live on. — AP




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M o v i e s

A simple approach works for Elton John


step back in time proved to be a forward-looking move for Elton John. Upon the suggestion of producer T Bone Burnett, the 66-year-old singer reverted to a musical format he used when starting out more than four decades ago. The new album features John, his piano and vocals backed primarily by bass and drums, with subtle embellishments. The disc, “The Diving Board,” is getting positive reviews and John said he’s “ecstatic” about how it came out. His compositions with writing partner Bernie Taupin offer mature reflections, from Taupin’s tribute to his father and the World War II generation in “Oceans Away” to the title cut’s take on stardom. He performed one of the new songs, “Home Again,” on the Emmy Awards telecast. “I’ve made over 35, 36 albums and I’d never thought of making an album like that,” John said. “I mean, how crazy am I?” Hearing it reminded critic Robert Hilburn of John’s shows at the Troubadour club in Los Angeles in 1970. Those shows, and the review Hilburn wrote about one of them for the Los Angeles Times, essentially introduced John to a US audience and propelled him toward becoming one of music’s biggest stars in the 1970s. “If he had been playing some of these (new) songs that night, I think the enthusiasm in the room would have been the same,” Hilburn said. Burnett was in the audience for at least one of those nights (the Troubadour was a favorite watering hole at the time), and remembered the Little Richard-like sense of abandon

John exhibited at the piano. He felt it was time for an album where the piano came first. He was a facilitator, pushing John in a direction he was probably headed but didn’t know it yet - to reconnect with what got him excited about music in the first place. An in-demand producer, Burnett had worked with John on his collaboration with a musical hero, Leon Russell. “The timing was right,” Burnett

became clear, there was no sitdown with Taupin to lay out a master plan. There was no thematic scheme. It was the same as always: John tells Taupin he needs new songs by a certain date, and waits for lyrics to arrive. He then sits down at a piano and puts them to music. “I don’t see any reason to change it because I like it more and more as I get older,” John said. “It’s always

Elton John performs “Home Again” at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards at Nokia Theatre. —AP said. “It just takes a lot to say, ‘Oh, I’m going to step up and play an hour’s worth of piano.’ It takes a lot of energy and fortitude. It’s a lot easier to hire some great musicians and let them put it all together and go sing. “The arrangements, the tone - all of it depended on him,” he said. “The Diving Board” continues one of music’s oddest creative partnerships. Once the musical approach

exciting to not know what you’re going to get.” John loves the reveal, seeing Taupin’s face when he first hears the tunes John has put to the words. Capitol Records is offering “The Diving Board” in three versions - the standard CD, a “deluxe” version that includes a bonus track and three songs recorded live in the studio and a “super deluxe” package with CD and vinyl versions of the album, a photo book and

DVD of the in-studio live performance recorded in April. The challenge will be reaching an audience. John is at that career stage reached by artists with a long track record where many fans aren’t interested in hearing something new. They want what they remember. Artists can rage at the injustice and try to squeeze into new styles. They can essentially turn off the creative spigot and make money on memories - like John’s frequent touring partner Billy Joel. Or they can be creatively liberated by not having to worry about hits. “I’m not going to get played on the radio,” he said. “I’m not a chart artist anymore and that’s fine. It gives me the chance to do what I want to do.” The current state of the industry, with a focus on pop hits and short-term careers, makes it much harder for musicians trying to make serious artistic statements, Hilburn said. “I think it’s sad,” he said. “I think it’s sad for Elton. I think he probably knows in his heart that (‘The Diving Board’) is not going to get attention.” When he tries to play a new song in a big arena, John said it’s “usually met by a mass exodus to the toilet.” In some upcoming European shows, he plans to try some of the new songs to see which ones click with the audience, in the hope that two or three of them can be included in the set when he plays the United States later this fall. After releasing so many songs over the years, he said he can’t really complain about it. “Of course, it’s frustrating,” he said. “You want people to like the new stuff as well as the old stuff. ” —AP

Lohan’s mom pleads not guilty to DWI charge in NY


Dina Lohan leaves court in Hempstead, NY on Tuesday after pleading not guilty to drunken driving charges. —AP

er license suspended, Dina Lohan left a suburban New York courthouse in a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce on Tuesday after entering a not guilty plea on speeding and drunken driving charges. Lohan, 50, was surrounded by a media throng usually associated with her troubled actress daughter, Lindsay, as she left a Long Island courthouse following her arraignment. She was released without bail until her next court appearance Oct 23. The only apparent family member accompanying Lohan to court was her mother, Ann Sullivan. Judge Joy Watson released Lohan without bail but ordered her driver’s license suspended, citing the severity of the alleged drunken driving charge. State police arrested Lohan on Sept 12 after stopping her for allegedly driving 77 mph in a 55 mph zone on a Long Island parkway. Police said her bloodalcohol level was 0.20, more than double

British artist and former drummer for the Beatles Ringo Starr and German artist married to American actor Robert Redford, Sibylle Szaggars, pose in front of a 1964 yellow submarine before the inauguration of the “Passion Ocean” exhibition yesterday at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. —AFP Photos

the legal limit of 0.08. Defense attorney Mark Heller said his client has no criminal record and is a lifelong Long Island resident who has raised four children as a single mother. He did not specifically address the allegations against her, and she did not comment to reporters. “Dina Lohan is painfully mindful of the gravity of her arrest for driving while intoxicated,” he said. “I am confident that the district attorney’s office and the judicial system will temper justice with mercy. “ Lohan’s arrest about nine miles from her Merrick, NY, home came just months after her 27-year-old daughter completed her sixth stint in rehab for drug and alcohol abuse. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey this summer, the younger Lohan admitted an addiction to alcohol which she described as a gateway to other drugs. The actress’ father, Michael, also has said he has dealt with drug and alcohol addiction. —AP

British musician and artistRingo Starr and his wife Barbara Bach pose after receiving the “Insigne de Commandeur de l’ordre des Arts et Lettres” medal.

France honors Beatles drummer Ringo Starr


eatles drummer Ringo Starr has joined one of the art world’s most exclusive clubs after being appointed a Commander of France’s Order of Arts and Letters. In Monaco where an exhibition featuring two of his paintings is taking place, the man who is considered one of the world’s best drummers was handed the award Tuesday by France’s ambassador Hugues Moret. He joins a club that already features Chinese film director Wong Kar Wai, Scottish actor Sean Connery, singer David Bowie and the late Irish poet Seamus Heaney. The award ceremony took place in front of the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco, which is holding an exhibition that showcases the hidden passion for art of various famous people including Starr, Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan. “I’m a drummer, but I can do other things. Like painting, living, breathing,” the 73year-old quipped while posing for photos in front of the museum, which coincidentally has on display an old, bright yellow submarine.

British artist and former drummer for the Beatles Ringo Starr poses in front of one of his paintings.


Cher saves ‘best effort’ for first album in 12 years


ew musicians are able to keep their careers alive for more than five decades, but pop diva Cher says her latest album is her “best effort ever.” Cher, 67, a staple of American dance music, released her 26th studio album, “Closer to the Truth” on Tuesday, her first record in 12 years. “It’s my best effort ever, so I’m happy with that. I’m singing better than ever and the songs are really good. I’m unbelievably proud of it,” the singer said in an interview with Reuters at her home in California’s beachside community of Malibu. The new album, which includes the Paul Oakenfoldproduced single “Woman’s World,” a discopop ode to strong women, also features songs written by pop star Pink, such as “Lie to Me” and the rousing “I Walk Alone.” “A song either is good or is bad as far as your feelings go. So I know pretty much immediately, I just know. Also, if it doesn’t touch me, I can’t sing it,” the singer said. The California native first gained recognition as part of musical duo Sonny & Cher, known for their 1965 hit song “I Got You Babe.” With a singing voice that rang deep into the lower registers, Cher embarked on a solo career that has spanned five decades and made the singer a household name across the world. Despite amassing a legion of fans, including more than 1.7 million Twitter followers and 500,000 Facebook likes, the singer said she is still surprised by continued interest in her work. “It just didn’t occur to me that anybody would be waiting with bated breath for my next project,” Cher said. “I’ve been doing it for what, 50 years almost? It just didn’t occur to me to

do it anymore. Nobody gets that, but I just didn’t think about it,” she added. Dance music diva Dance anthems have become a musical home for the singer, who has become a long-standing name in disco with songs such as 1974’s “Dark Lady” to “Believe,” which earned the singer her first and only Grammy award in 2000. Cher will once again hit the road to support her new album, and said she will be using new technology in her live performances, embarking on a North American tour spanning 49 cities, kicking off in Phoenix in March 2014. “I like the new songs. I hope I get to do some of those. I’d like to do ‘You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me’ and ‘Welcome to Burlesque’ because I just think that’s so campy and fun. You know, concerts should just be fun,” Cher said. With six decades in show business under her belt, Cher is forthcoming with her opinions, from speaking out in defense of the lesbian, gay and transgender community that regards her as an icon, to weighing in on the antics of younger pop stars. Cher said she wasn’t a fan of singer and former Disney Channel actress Miley Cyrus’ recent raunchy and provocative performance at MTV’s Video Music Awards, where Cyrus “twerked” her way into headlines with sexually suggestive dancing. “I didn’t like it because I didn’t think it was her best effort. I thought she really needed to go back and rethink it. I just didn’t think it was up to the standards that I would’ve liked to see professionally,” the singer said. —Reuters

Charlize Theron

Theron-produced ‘Murder Mystery’ lands ‘The Proposal’ director Fletcher


ob and Harvey Weinstein’s TWCDimension is teaming up with Endgame Entertainment on the action-comedy “Murder Mystery,” which Anne Fletcher (“The Proposal”) has signed on to direct from a script by James Vanderbilt (“The Amazing Spider-Man”). Story follows a married couple who take the honeymoon they never had in hopes of saving their struggling marriage, but soon find themselves in the middle of their very own murder mystery when one of their fellow cruise passengers is found dead. They must travel across Europe to discover the true murderer’s identity while trying to reignite the spark to their relationship. Beau Flynn and Tripp Vinson are producing the long-gestating project along with Vanderbilt, Endgame’s James D Stern and Charlize Theron of Denver and Delilah Productions. Endgame’s Douglas E. Hansen and Tower Hill’s William Shively will executive produce with Denver and Delilah’s Beth Kono and A.J. Dix. “Murder Mystery” is the second film to be announced under the new moniker TWC-Dimension that has the Weinstein brothers working together

on films for which they share a common passion. The company is also in negotiations to acquire several other projects that will be announced later. “‘Murder Mystery’ is a throwback to Agatha Christie novels with a comedic spin. We have been huge fans of Anne Fletcher for years and have wanted to work with her. This film seems like the perfect project to team up with Anne, Endgame and Tripp,” TWC co-chairmen Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein said in a joint statement. “James’s script is absolutely great. It’s a modern version of the old ‘Nick and Nora’ movies it has it all - suspense, romance and humor,” added Stern. “Bob and Harvey shared that sentiment and I am thrilled to partner with them again, and Anne is just the perfect director to bring this story to the screen.” Overseeing production for TWCDimension are Matthew Signer and Keith Levine, while Julie Goldstein and Lucas Smith will oversee the project on behalf of Endgame. TWC-Dimension’s Phillip Muhl negotiated the deal with Endgame’s Greg Schenz. Fletcher is represented by UTA and attorney David Weber. —Reuters


lifestyle F A S H I O N

Guy Laroche creates intergalactic sports skirt


uturistic looks played a major part in Guy Laroche’s spring-summer show, which put a spin on designer Marcel Marongiu’s signature male styles. “I was trying to stretch boundaries for masculine and feminine; also there was something a bit science-fiction in the shapes,” said Marongiu after the show’s in Paris Grand Palais. The result was a Paris collection with some great ideas, but one that seemed to lack energy overall in its 42 looks. High notes were a series of sporty skirts that could be described as intergalactic tennis-wear. Cut on the bias, the techo-fabric had a voluminous and

Models wear creations for Guy Laroche’s ready-to-wear Spring/Summer 2014 fashion collection, in Paris yesterday. —AP photos

exaggerated natural flounce - appearing to float upward as it would in zero-gravity. The science-fiction theme continued with an all-white shattered glass-effect zipper jacket and crossover top. It was achieved with fastidiously hand-sewn pieces of leather. However, the gray fringing details that appeared on several ensembles and the white shirt and black masculine-tailored pant looks didn’t feel very fresh. Marongiu, it seems, worked best in zero-gravity. — AP


lifestyle F A S H I O N

Cedric Charlier


Paris designers make their mark


evolved into hippy-style, brightly striped vests and skirts in bright red, blue, white and black. The finale - also one of the collection’s most striking looks - was another style evolution completely: a space-age metallic ensemble in a beautiful red and green. Despite the diverse musings, the collection held together thanks to Charlier’s cleanly-cut, hard edged silhouettes and the leitmotif of geometric lines, on bands around the body or on lapels. — AP

he first day of Paris ready-to-wear collections, which showcases the design world’s up-and-coming talents, is a day largely ignored by the top magazine editors. After attending the catwalks in New York, London and Milan many exhausted fashion insiders use it as a welcome chance to get back into shape and buck the sleep deprivation after hundreds of seemingly endless back-to-back shows. But Tuesday demonstrated that while these fledgling day-one designers may be new, they still have something important to say, with the big trends in the season’s fashion conversation so far, littering the catwalk on all sides of Paris. The spring-summer 2014 collections saw Devastee hit the trend spot with its black and white designs seen from the likes of Jil Sander and Missoni in Milan, as too did Belgian designer Anthony Vaccarello with a provocative spin worthy of Donatella Versace. Cedric Charlier dabbled in the 90s-era high-shine metallic look that’s been seen in high rotation. Aganovich, meanwhile, rounded the day with an alternative and inventive take on historical vestments. Day one is becoming something that’s harder to ignore.

hood matched square shoulders with a high collar only to blow out into the Eastern-style curviness of harem pants. Elsewhere, fabric that swept down diagonally in large rectangular earthy pink pleats from the midriff continued the exploration of shapes, at times giving silhouettes a certain ecclesiastical air. A rich and playful jacquard motif also cropped up, sometimes accompanying a model with clown make up.

AGANOVICH Serbian designer Nana Aganovich was inspired by grand portraits of Elizabeth I and her layered fabrics and high collars. If so, the queenly reference was hard to spot in the collection’s billowing linens, tight angular hoods and soft harem pants. Still, Aganovich put on a thoughtful and inventive show, with strong plays on shape. In one all-black look, a square

ANTHONY VACCARELLO Swimwear and naval themes inspired Anthony Vaccarello this season. But if only it could be this simple. For spring-summer the young Belgian designer infused these references with his signature no-holds-barred raunchiness. Most of the looks dripped with sex appeal in their melange of plunging necklines and breast exposing mesh tops. That’s not to mention myri-

ad revealing straps that held together cave-woman style loin cloths. But it was pure overkill with one splash-dye, cropped, white demin jacket which jarred against a split microskirt with red and black leather straps. The best designs were, predictably, those that kept it simple. One all-black look nicely twinned a thick, textured cropped Tshirt with oversize gems and a cotton vest that-only slightly-exposed the midriff. It was twinned with sober and classical black pants. Next season Vaccarello might do well to tone it down a notch or three. CEDRIC CHARLIER Kimono styles opened the show for Cedric Charlier in his Paris ready-towear outing. The Belgian designer is noted for his varied styles - and this was seen in abundance on Tuesday’s show as the fold over oriental jackets

Flawless $60million pink diamond up for auction in Geneva


flawless 59.60-carat pink diamond known as the “Pink Star” is up for grabs at a Sotheby’s auction in November with an asking price of $60 million (49 million euros), the highest ever sought for a gemstone. David Bennett, chairman of Sotheby’s jewelry division in Europe and the Middle East, said the diamond belonged in “the ranks of the earth’s greatest natural treasures”. “It is difficult to exaggerate the rarity of vivid pink diamonds weighing only five carats, so this 59.60 carat stone is simply off any scale,” he said in a statement. The sparkling oval-cut rock, which has received the highest possible color and clarit y rating from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), was presented to reporters yesterday and will be part of the auction house’s Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva on November 13. Set on a ring, the gem measures 2.69 by 2.06 centimeters (1.06 by 0.81 inches), and weighs 11.92 grams (0.026 pounds). It would rake in around $5.0 million per gram or

African country it came from. It was then cut and polished over a period of two years by Steinmetz Diamonds, and was called the “Steinmetz Pink” when it was first unveiled to the public in 2003. The all-but translucent rock was renamed after it was first sold four years

$1.0 million per carat if Sotheby ’s receives its asking price. At a luxury Geneva hotel, amid tight security, a model gracefully turns her hand to allow the glimmering stone to catch the light. “It’s very flattering, it’s very feminin. It ’s the color of rose champagne,” Bennett told AFP. Listed as an internally flawless fancy vivid pink diamond, the now plum-sized shimmering gem was 132.5 carats in the rough when it was mined by De Beers in Africa in 1999, Sotheby’s said, not specifying which

later for an undisclosed sum to an unidentified buyer.

A model shows during a press preview yesterday a 59.6-carat pink diamond that will be auctioned by Sotheby’s in the Swiss city of Geneva in November at a record asking price of $60 million (49 million euros). — AFP photos

‘Extremely rare’ In addition to receiving the highest color and clarity ratings possible for pink diamonds, the rock falls into a rare subgroup of stones with the chemically purest diamond cr ystals and often extraordinary optical transparency, comprising less than two percent of all gem diamonds, according to the GIA. “The occurrence of pink diamonds in nature is extremely rare in any size,” GIA senior

vice president Tom Moses said in the statement, pointing out that “polished pink diamonds over 10 carats very rarely occur with an intense color.” The “Pink Star” is the largest in its category to ever be graded by the institute and is more than twice the size of the 24.78-carat “Graff Pink” diamond that set the world auction record for a diamond and any gemstone or jewel when it was sold at Sotheby’s in Geneva in 2010 for $46.2 million. The diamond was among the world’s rarest diamonds shown in an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC in 2003, that also included the De Beers Millennium Star, the Allnatt diamond and the Moussaieff Red. It was also the star attraction at a London Natural History Museum exhibit of diamonds in 2005 and 2006. Before going under the hammer in November, the “Pink Star” will go on a worldwide tour of cities including Hong Kong, New York, London, Zurich and Geneva, Sotheby’s said. — AFP

Flawless $60-mn pink diamond up for auction in Geneva



These handout pictures show the world’s first inflatable concert hall in the disaster-hit northeastern coast town of Matsushima in Miyagi prefecture. — AFP

Japan to open ‘world’s first’ inflatable concert hall A

giant purple structure believed to be the world’s first inflatable concert hall is to open on Japan’s disasterhit northeastern coast, promoters said yesterday. British sculptor Anish Kapoor and Japanese architect Arata Isozaki created the unusual Ark Nova, a balloon made of a coated polyester material which has been erected at a park in the town of Matsushima. The structure, which organizers say is a world’s first, measures about 18 meters high (60 feet) and 35 meters wide when fully inflated with room for about 500 guests. It can be easily deflated and travel around the region to host events that “help bring people together,” a press statement said. Wood from the area’s damaged cedar trees will be used for seating. The first event will run from Friday through October 14, including performances by the Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra and traditional Japanese kabuki theatre. The event was arranged with the help of Switzerland’s Lucerne Festival, a prominent gathering of world-renowned musicians Japan’s northeast coast was ravaged by a magnitude 9.0-earthquake and monster tsunami in March 2011, killing nearly 19,000 people and sparking a crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant, the worst atomic accident in a generation. The tourist town of Matsushima itself was left largely unscathed because of its protected bay. — AFP

University of Pennsylvania graduates class of dogs


training center inspired by canine rescue work on 9/11 is graduating its first class of working dogs, some of whom will embark on search-and-rescue careers while others will serve as canine assistants to people with medical conditions. An excited yellow Labrador retriever named Socks was fitted with a mortarboard and tassel at Tuesday’s commencement ceremony at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center before going off to start her new job on the campus police force. Socks is among seven dogs in the inaugural class at the center, which opened in Philadelphia on Sept 11, 2012. Cindy Otto, a longtime emergency clinician at the University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary school, wanted to honor the animals that worked so hard after terrorists struck the US in 2001. “I spent 10 days at ground zero taking care of the working dogs there and

A Labrador retriever named Socks has her cap adjusted by Maureen Rush, Vice President of Public Safety, University of Pennsylvania, left, and her handler police officer Julie Wesley during a commencement ceremony. — AP

recognized what an incredible gift those dogs are to our society and how important they are,” said Otto, now the center’s director. All 16 dogs currently being trained at the center are named for canines who served on 9/11. Donated by breeders, the pooches live in “foster homes” with volunteers who care for them while they’re not learning how to sniff out explosives, drugs or missing persons. Six other dogs who graduated with Socks did not get mortarboards Tuesday because they are still awaiting permanent placements. But the pooches demonstrated their search skills on a manufactured “rubble pile” and their agility on an obstacle course. Officials said local police and fire departments have expressed significant interest in the remaining dogs, including a chocolate Lab named Thunder. The animals cost $10,000 each, with the money going to defray the costs of training. “Thunder is definitely an urban search-and-rescue dog,” Otto said. “He is bold, he is strong, he has no fear on the rubble, and he will search like a machine, which is exactly what you want in a disaster setting.” A more mellow golden retriever named Bretagne will likely become a diabetic alert dog, able to help detect when her owner’s blood sugar is getting low. And Socks, the first canine member of the Penn police, has already started attending advanced bomb detection school, said Maureen Rush, superintendent of the campus force. “Socks is way ahead of the game because of the great work that’s been done already through the Working Dog Center,” Rush said. Meanwhile, the second class of working dogs is training hard. Three have already put their noses to work in an ovarian cancer detection study. —AP

Christie’s hopes for more openness in China ahead of first auction


nternational auction house Christie’s on Tuesday expressed hopes for greater openness in China’s growing art markets before its first auction on the country’s mainland. “We’re happy to operate here without the freedom to sell cultural relics, and when that changes we’ll change with it,” Christie’s International chief executive Steven Murphy told a press conference. He was referring to current rules barring foreign auction firms from selling cultural relics dated earlier than 1949. “We’re patient and we’re respectful,” he added, two days before the firm’s first auction in mainland China, to be held in the commercial capital Shanghai. “We’re hopeful that will open up at some point.” The firm said in April it became the first international auction house authorized to operate in mainland China without a local partner. Christie’s, which has long operated in Hong Kong, had been organizing sales in China since 2005 by authorizing a Chinese auction firm to use its international trademark, due to strict regulations on setting up a solely-foreign invested auction house. “Being here in China, which is a vital part of the world, is essential,” Murphy said. Murphy’s remarks came as Christie’s unveiled a three-day exhibition of items, ranging from

Asian contemporary art to Western masterworks and jewelry, ahead of an auction tomorrow evening. Highlights include a contemplative 1963 stilllife by Giorgio Morandi, Homme Assis by Pablo Picasso in 1969, and Andy Warhol’s Diamond Dust Shoes of 1980-1981. China has one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing markets for art, with the country’s buyers now common at international auctions. Among the auction house’s goals in China are “to connect Shanghai and therefore mainland China into Christie’s network” which includes New York, London, Paris and Milan, Murphy said. A total 27.9 billion yuan ($4.6 billion) worth of cultural relics and artworks were sold last year in the domestic auction market, according to China’s commerce ministry. “China’s art market will remain on a long-term growth trend, judging from the growth in the Chinese economy and its wealthy population,” Cai Jinqing, managing director for Christie’s China, told reporters. The population of millionaires in US dollar terms had reached 1.05 million in China by the end of 2012, Hurun Research Institute said in August, adding art collection is among the top five investment choices of China’s moneyed classes. Christie’s, one of numerous business interests

A photograph of US artist Andy Warhol is displayed at a preview of a Christie’s auction in Shanghai. — AFP photos

of French billionaire Francois Pinault, was at the centre of controversy in 2009 when two bronze animal heads looted from Beijing’s Old Summer Palace in 1860 were put up for auction in Paris. The animal heads were then owned by Pierre Berge, the partner of late French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, until Pinault acquired the two bronzes and handed them back to China in June this year. — AFP

Visitors look at painting by Pablo Picasso at a preview of a Christie’s auction.

Visitors looks at the painting ‘Fatman’ by Indonesian artist Nyoman Masriadi.

26th Sep 2013  

Kuwait Times

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