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Assembly to debate record 6 grillings

Indian couple guilty for sensational double murder


NO: 15998

150 FILS


MUHARRAM 22, 1435 AH

Swift sweeps top prize at American Music Awards


Patriots win overtime thriller against Broncos



KAC chief suspended over Jet Airways plan Carrier abandons deal to buy used aircraft conspiracy theories

Insensitive grilling

KUWAIT: The chairman of state-owned Kuwait Airways has been suspended in a dispute over his plans to buy five used aircraft from India’s Jet Airways, which the company has since abandoned. Al-Qabas quoted Communications Minister Esa AlKandari as saying he had suspended Sami Al-Nisf after he announced plans to buy the used aircraft despite a government request to stop the deal. It said Nisf’s deputy, Jassar

Al-Jassar, has been appointed as acting chairman. Nisf confirmed yesterday that he had been suspended. “I have been informed of my suspension from work. I have not gone to my office and I am studying legal procedures,” Nisf told Reuters. The plan to buy the used Airbus A330 planes was announced on Sunday, with the company adding that it would not affect a previous deal to buy new Airbus jets. Nisf

had said that Airbus, owned by aerospace and defence group EADS, would act as a mediator in the deal with Jet Airways, even though the five-year-old planes are owned by the Indian carrier. In a meeting after Nisf’s suspension, Kuwait Airways decided to abandon the plans to buy the used aircraft, it said in a statement yesterday, adding that it would discuss any deal to lease or buy aircraft at a

Max 24º Min 14º High Tide 04:07 & 18:29 Low Tide 11:08

later meeting. A company source said Kuwait Airways had been negotiating to lease the Jet Airways aircraft for eight years in a deal worth KD 134 million ($473.7 million) but decided instead to buy the planes for KD 77 million. In a statement to Reuters yesterday, a Jet Airways spokesman said no deal had been reached. “No such decisions have been taken to sell planes to other carriers,” the statement said. — Reuters

By Badrya Darwish

Kuwait welcomes Iran deal


hy our MPs, decision makers and people in high places are unaware that sometimes they make statements that tarnish Kuwait’s reputation. Do they think that we live on our own in this world and that there are no media outlets, Twitter or online communication channels that are faster than a rocket or the speed of light? Don’t they know that there are hundreds of human rights organizations that are dying to grab anything against Kuwait and blow it out of proportion? The only snag they find in our country are the labour laws and domestic helper laws. And then those who make such statements have to put us all - Kuwait, the authorities and even Kuwaiti people - on the defensive. Do not tell me that we do not care. We are part of this world. The world now is a global village. We saw when somebody wants to pick on a country, what they can do with it. Just look at our neighbours. We have been there. During the invasion, we discovered that we need the world and the world needs us. Every now and then, somebody comes out making insensitive statements towards the people working in Kuwait, such as the statement I read from an MP who says he will be questioning the Minister of Interior over the number of expats in Kuwait and the number of cars owned by expats. He provided statistics that 15 non-Kuwaitis own around 300 to 1,000 cars each. I find this too good to be true unless the expat has a rental company or a taxi company and is using the cars for his company. This is legal. I do not think that anybody will park 300 cars in front of his building and use a different one every day of the year. It is commonsensical that these people are business owners. So far, business owners in Kuwait have partnership with Kuwaitis. By the way, the number of car owners the MP mentioned is not so big or shocking. This is 15 out of 2 million expats. And if you calculate 15 out of 2 million people, the number will be a very small percentage. I am leaving the exact calculation to you because math was not one of my best topics in the good old school days. The same MP also hit on another issue - car ownership. He says that an expat should not own more than one car. With all respect to the gentleman, I will tell him that congestion on the roads will not be less because the expat cannot drive his two cars at the same time. Plus, the car owner did not steal the cars - he bought them. Let’s go to the business side of things. The car owner bought the cars from our car dealers in Kuwait. Can this MP bring us a better reason for grilling the Minister of Interior? Maybe some reasons could be illegal crossings on Iraqi-Kuwaiti borders or the smuggling of arms across the borders or heroin sales to our youth as well as the drug dealers who bring it into the country. Another reason could be the crime rate which is unfortunately growing these days. I salute him if he questions the Minister of Interior on these topics. If you can afford to buy more than one car, I urge you to do so. The more you pour money in my country, the better it is.

Death upheld for Kuwaiti woman, royal KUWAIT: The supreme court upheld yesterday a death sentence against a woman for murdering her Filipina maid after torturing her, and confirmed a 10-year sentence on her disabled husband. The Kuwaiti woman was convicted of premeditated murder based on evidence that she had regularly tortured her maid before driving over her in a remote desert area. The husband was handed the jail term for “assisting her”, according to a copy of the ruling. The couple were both sentenced to death by the lower court in February last year. Three months later, the appeals court upheld the death penalty against the woman but commuted the sentence against her husband to 10 years in jail. Continued on Page 15

DUBAI: Gulf Arab countries Kuwait and Qatar have came out in favour of Iran’s agreement with world powers over its nuclear program, saying they hoped it would help to preserve stability and security in the region. Saudi Arabia also cautiously welcomed the deal yesterday, saying “good intentions” could lead to a comprehensive agreement on Tehran’s controversial atomic program. “This agreement could be a first step towards a comprehensive solution for Iran’s nuclear program, if there are good intentions,” the government said in a statement. Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Khaled AlJarallah said he hoped the agreement “would pave the way for a permanent accord that would defuse tension, and preserves the stability and security of the region,” according to state news agency KUNA. Iran’s Arab neighbours are deeply uneasy about Tehran’s diplomatic rehabilitation and have done little to hide their scepticism as talks progressed on the nuclear deal in recent weeks, but at least in public many have now given their support. Iran’s only two Arab friends - Iraq and Syria - were quick to praise the deal on Sunday, as was the Palestinian Authority which welcomed it for putting pressure on Israel. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain also spoke out in support. Qatar said the agreement was “an important step towards safeguarding peace and stability in the region”, according to a statement by the Foreign Ministry posted on its website late on Sunday. “The State of Qatar calls for making the Middle East a nuclear weapon-free zone,” the ministry said. Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia has been locked in a decades-long rivalry with Shiite-dominated Iran. The Saudi government said a comprehensive solution should lead to the “removal of all weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear, from the Middle East and the Gulf”. Such a solution should be followed by “important steps” that would guarantee the right of all states in the region to use nuclear power for peaceful purposes, it added, the SPA state news agency reported. Saudi newspapers were sceptical of Iran’s commitment to implement the deal. Al-Riyadh daily charged in its editorial that the agreement was aimed at getting Gulf countries “stripped naked in face of Iran’s growing nuclear power, and its scary ambitions”. “This could lead to alienation between Europe and the United States (on one side) and Gulf countries (on the other),” it said. “Did Washington betray its Gulf allies?” asked Al-Eqtisadiah daily. — Agencies

DUBAI: In this Nov 13, 2013 photo, vehicles pass by a tower with a sign that reads ‘Keep Calm, There’s No Bubble’ in the Marina district. — AP

Dubai world expo bid stirs worry of bubble DUBAI: Climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, and you might spot an unusual banner: A flag placed by six climbers emblazoned with the logo of Dubai’s bid to host a World’s fair in 2020. In Dubai, the logo is also plastered on police cars, convenience store bags, storefronts, taxis, receipts, government buildings and even on new resident visa forms. Countdowns to tomorrow’s decision of who will host Expo 2020 also appear on one of Dubai’s main highways and in one of its main English-language daily newspaper. Dubai’s rulers say their futuristic city of skyscrap-

ers is ideal to host the event. But their well-oiled public-relations campaign belies a worry among many in the United Arab Emirates city that increased building and real-estate speculation driven by the event could put it on the cusp of another financial crisis. “People are betting on what’s to come rather than what’s really here,” said Faris Mansour, director of Mubadala Pramerica Real Estate Investors. He spoke on a panel at a recent real estate conference during a discussion on whether Dubai was in recovery or not. Continued on Page 15

Kuwait, Saudis tighten controls on clerics

The 13th-century Haghartsin monastery is seen some 110 km northeast of Yerevan in this June 8, 2013 photo. — AFP

Monastery finds saviour in sheikh HAGHARTSIN MONASTERY, Armenia: Standing next to a newly refurbished bell tower, priest Aristakes Aivazyan says it needed divine intervention to save Armenia’s medieval Haghartsin monastery. But it also took a lot of money from a very unlikely benefactor - the Muslim ruler of the resource-rich Arab emirate of Sharjah, Sheikh Sultan bin

Mohammed Al-Qasimi. “I cannot recall anything similar to this happening in our history that some Arab sheikh, a Muslim, helped to restore and rescue an Armenian Christian church,” Aivazyan told AFP. “Without doubt it was God who brought the sheikh to Haghartsin,” the priest, dressed in long black robes, said. Continued on Page 15

DUBAI/KUWAIT: Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have been quietly reining in their clerics on concerns that preachers could use their influence to stir up trouble and inflame sectarian divisions at a time of high tension over the crises in Syria and Egypt. Authorities in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and home to a powerful conservative clergy, have declined to respond to local media reports in recent months which said nearly 20 clerics had been sacked or suspended. In Kuwait, which has a relatively open political system compared to other Gulf Arab states, the authorities have resumed the monitoring of sermons, pulled a television preacher off the air and deported a foreign imam. The developments in the two monarchies follow the dramatic rise and fall in Egypt of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, which offers a populist religious alternative to dynastic rule and has supporters in the Gulf. The Egyptian army angered some influential clerics and ordinary citizens in the region in July and August when it overthrew the then president, Mohammad Morsi, a Brotherhood member who remains in prison, and clamped down on his supporters, killing hundreds of people. Both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have pledged to support the new

Egyptian government. “There is a more heightened sensitivity to the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood and of political activity in general,” said Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center, a Middle East research group. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia will continue to be “fairly uncompromising of perceived Muslim Brotherhood activities and anyone perceived to be supporting them”. The war in Syria is aggravating sectarian tensions across the region, with mainly Sunni rebels seeking to overthrow President Bashar Al-Assad, whose Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shiism. State-affiliated clerics in Saudi Arabia have denounced the Assad government and urged support for Syrians since the beginning of the conflict, and $140 million was raised in a government-organised campaign for Syrian refugees last year. Some Kuwaiti clerics have been using social media to raise private donations for the rebels and a number have even helped to raise funding for arms. The Muslim Brotherhood is banned in Saudi Arabia and only cautiously tolerated in Kuwait, where members of a local offshoot have made up significant factions in previous parliaments. What worries both Continued on Page 15



KUWAIT: Gulf Cooperation Council parliament and Shura council chiefs pictured during their meting in Kuwait yesterday.

GCC members moving from cooperation to integration Parliament chiefs conclude meeting KUWAIT: Gulf Cooperation Council parliament and Shura council chiefs have come up with a number of joint recommendations at the end of a meeting in Kuwait yesterday. They decided that Kuwait will host a conference of the committee of parliament chiefs on GCC economic integration in 2014, while Kuwait’s National Assembly will also be responsible for organizing a trip involving the regional group to the US Congress. Gratitude was expressed for a report by Bahrain’s Council of Representatives on geopolitical blocs that are more developed than the GCC, like the European Union and a study on foreign media policies of the region’s parliaments. Other internal issues for the meeting were also adopted like a project for a joint website and a committee tasked with placing a set of laws for the meeting. Two cables of gratitude were dispatched to both His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah and His Highness

the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for attending the event. At the conclusion of the talks, Kuwait’s National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim told reporters that the attendees “made sure to adopt the tangible proposals and to discard others that were unrealistic.” The GCC member states are moving from cooperation to full integration among each other with bold and fast-paced moves, Al-Ghanim said. “We, people of the Arab Gulf states, feel that we belong to one system which is a good thing that should be built upon to reach integration after achieving cooperation,” Al-Ghanim told reporters after the first session of Kuwait-hosted 7th meeting of GCC parliaments and Shura Councils speakers. “This meeting’s agenda includes several proposed resolutions to accelerate GCC integration efforts.” He went on to say that the conferees have “tried to be more realistic, thus they chose economic integration to start with because it is

the closest to the parliamentary legislation.” Al-Ghanim added that the GCC countries are trying to benefit from the success story of the European Union in this regard. He described the first session as “very successful,” adding that it showed the desire of all GCC parliamentarians to overcome differences to expand joint action and help achieve integration goal. He disclosed that he has proposed forming a committee to evaluate the parliamentary work in the GCC countries. He noted that the proposal was well-received by the conferees. The first session of the 7th meeting of GCC parliament and Shura speakers kicked off on Sunday. Chaired by Al-Ghanim, the session focused on the draft agenda of the seventh meeting which was opened in presence of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. — KUNA

—Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Hajraf opens Intl Open Learning Conference KUWAIT: Under auspices of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Sabah and with the attendance of Minister of Education Nayef Al-Hajraf, the first International Open Learning Conference kicked off yesterday at the Arab Open University. The conference’s workshops and seminars will be on till tomorrow. University Rector Moudhi AlHumoud, academics and representatives from prestigious Arab and international universities attended the opening ceremony. Humoud stressed that AOU is a leader in open learning programs and it has now adopted a new integrated learning program that combines both open and direc t learning. Humoud also stressed that AOU is accredited by seven Arab countries and is getting great support from its sister university in the UK.

Cabinet approves development plan KUWAIT: The government, at its weekly session yesterday examined outcome of the recent tripartite GCC summit and approved the 2013-1014 State development plan and expressed hope MPs’ planned interpellation of ministers would be on sound legal and constitutional basis. The ministers, at the session, were informed about the brief visit, paid by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where he held a meeting with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz and Qatari Amir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa Al-Thani, discussing means of cementing interGCC cooperation in various sectors, issues of common interest and latest developments on the regional and international arenas. Results of the weekly Cabinet session, held at Seif Palace, and chaired by His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, were declared in a statement, read by Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs and Minister of Health Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah AlMubarak Al-Sabah. Among the concrete outcomes of the session was the ministers’ endorsement of the 2013-2014 development plan, forwarded and illustrated by Minister of State for Planning Affairs and Minister of Development Dr. Rola Dashti. They approved the relevant bill and referred it to His

Highness the Amir, pending referral to the National Assembly. Turning to parliamentary affairs, the ministers examined National Assembly’s issues, namely interpellation motions that had been submitted to the NA Secretariat-General to question some ministers. They reviewed, in particular, constitutional, legal and objective aspects as well “diverse axes of the interpellations.” The ministers expressed satisfaction at “sound status” of the ministers, expected to be grilled by the MPs, and hoped the latters would question the executives in a manner compatible with “sound parliamentary procedures and within the constitutional and legal frameworks.” The Cabinet opted that it would be up to the grilled minister “to choose the means of dealing with the interpellation, also according to constitutional and legal bases, and in a manner that may realize common objectives that serve public interests and bolster sound parliamentary practice, in line with the rules of the law and the constitution.” Also during the session, His Highness the Prime Minister expressed deep gratitude to His Highness the Amir for his fruitful efforts that ensured success of the Third Arab-African Summit, affirming that it constituted a record accomplishment for the State of Kuwait at the international level. The ministers were informed

about activities of the Arab-African Summit, hosted by Kuwait on November 19-20, during which participating leaders affirmed necessity of cooperation between the Arab world and the African continent, particularly in the economic and development sectors, as well as tackling all obstacles hindering establishment of strategic partnership between the two sides. They reviewed His Highness the Amir’s speech at the summit, where he called for boosting the ArabAfrican cooperation fur ther and drawing up plans for joint action. The Cabinet expressed appreciation for His Highness the Amir’s three initiatives that reflected his sense and keenness on bolstering the cooperation and relations between the Arab and African states, carving out paths of cooperation and strategic partnership between the two regions. The Government statement included extensive excerpts of the final communique of the summit, where the top leaders called for ArabAfrican cooperation to deal with globalization, international terrorism and naval piracy. They also urged for ending the Israeli occupation of Arab territories, finding a just solution to the Palestinian cause and releasing Palestinian prisoners. Moreover, the Cabinet statement noted that the two sides jointly affirmed commitment to boosting cooperation on basis of strategic partnerships.—KUNA



Opinions vary on West-Iran deal KUWAIT: The West’s deal with Iran on its controversial nuclear program was met with both positive and negative reactions in Kuwait, stemming from the impact that the deal could leave on the relationship between the United States and its allies in the Arabian Gulf region as well as the economic impact of reducing sanctions on Iran. “The agreement is reassuring to the world in general and the Gulf region in specific,” Al-Rai daily said yesterday quoting Foreign Ministry insiders who described the deal as “very positive”. The sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity believe that Iran’s commitment before the 5+1 powers to limit its nuclear activity “reflects positively on the region that is desperate for political stability”. Meanwhile, member of the parliament’s foreign affairs committee MP Saleh Ashour agreed that the agreement “serves the best interest of Kuwait and Gulf countries because it leads to stability in the Middle East and ends the arms race in the region”. He further indicated that the deal opens the door to launch “direct Gulf-Iranian talks about the region’s future”, which he said “can positively reflect on Iraq, Syria and the entire region gradually”. Committee rapporteur MP Hamdan Al-Enizy on the other hand expressed caution regarding the deal “unless we can see tangible and positive results from Iran with regards to improving their goodwill regarding their nuclear program”. He also noted that the deal could be a Western reaction “to put pressure on Saudi Arabia and Gulf states for refusing a position in the Security Council as well as their stance on Syria”. MP Awdah Al-Ruwaei told Al-Rai in the meantime that America and the West in general changed the way they deal with Iran “especially after the position of Egypt, Iraq, Syria and other Arab countries became weakened”. “The Western plan to weaken Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries has commenced,” Ruwaei said, adding that the Western-Iranian convergence “strengthens Iran’s influence at the expense of Gulf states which something [Gulf states] need to realize”.

Ethiopia bans housemaids from working in Kuwait KUWAIT: Omani Charge d’Affairs to Kuwait Ahmad bin Mubarak bin Awad Basloom hosted a reception recently on occasion of the 43rd anniversary of Oman National Day in JW Marriott, Jahra ballroom. Government officials, diplomats and other dignitaries attended the event. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Kuwaiti campaign group rejects vertical housing proposal Call for releasing properties in Mutlaa By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: While the housing committee is still seeking a quick solution for the housing problem and making waiting lists shorter, a government source told a local daily that the only solution is more apartment buildings and giving citizens waiting for a house a flat instead. According to Eid Al-Shihri, Founder of the ‘Waiting for a House’ campaign, this proposal is neither realistic nor logical. “The report didn’t mention the number of apartments they are talking about. I think that such a proposal can be approved if we were suffering from shortage of lands. As we have empty lands, it’s cheaper for the government to give plots than build flats, as for the land they only need to set up the infrastructure at a cost of between KD 10,000-14,000, while a flat costs about KD 130,000,” he told Kuwait Times. There are other factors for rejecting this proposal. “The execution period of the so-called vertical housing is much longer. With the present housing crisis, we need quick solutions and people to receive their house as soon as possible. If we look at the flats that were supposed to be delivered and haven’t in Jaber Al-Ahmad area, we see that they are working on this project for more than four years and it’s not complete yet. A house can be built in less than two years, and this is the opinion of the Engineers’ Society,” added Shihri. The government should provide 170,000 housing units, he said. “We demand 12,000 units annually. With this calculation, within 15 years, all the pending applications for a house will be done with. Some people think that the number of applications will increase more, but this is not necessarily correct, as according to the statistics, the number of applications is decreasing. In 2006, the number was 9,000 applications, while it dropped to 8,139 in 2008,” he

explained. The members of the campaign are currently negotiating with the minister of housing to sign a contract for releasing properties in Mutlaa. “We are pressing the minister to release 12,000 housing units in Mutlaa so people will be able to take possession in 2015. Instead of calling it Mutlaa City, which would take more than six years, if we change its name to Nawaf Al-Ahmad area, it can be executed within two or three years. We expect that the prices of properties will drop after signing this deal, so people will be able to buy land,” concluded Shihri. Bashar Al-Istath, a member of the campaign, thinks that the proposal for apartments is a test of public reaction. “If people don’t protest against it, especially on social media, then they may approve it and apply it. In my opinion, such a solution should be optional as about 95 percent of citizens want a house, while maybe 5 percent may agree to a flat to avoid waiting years for a house. It’s good to have a variety of housing units, but this is not our main demand. Our basic demand is to release properties and we insist on 12,000 housing units every year,” he said. According to him, the government is not serious in solving this issue. “In the past, the Public Authority for Housing Care used to say that they don’t have lands available to release for housing as the Ministry of Oil along with the Ministry of Defense, which are both responsible for giving approvals to build on any property, didn’t give them approval. This statement now turns to be misleading and not true anymore, as the PAHR has received 160,000 plots that were approved by the ministries since 2008, and they didn’t do anything about it. They keep telling people there are no lands,” stressed Istath. He doesn’t believe that the parliament will back their demand and may stand with the government on their proposal, especially since most MPs are pro-government. “We

Al-Anjari urges women to work hard to achieve their dreams KUWAIT: The key for women to realize their highest ambitions is to achieve balance between their career, personal life and family life combined with hard work and perseverance. This was stated by Leaders Group General Manager Nabila Al-Anjari during the 2013 Qatar International Businesswomen Forum that was organized by Qatar’s Businesswomen Association in cooperation with Interactive Business Network earlier this month in Doha. Al-Anjari spoke on day six of the event during a seminar titled ‘Women’s ability to lead change... The way for successful busi-

nesswomen to create change’. “Women has the right to have dreams and to work hard to achieve those dreams”, she said, adding that “[women] can either provide support to themselves or deprive themselves of that right”. She further indicated that the conference in which businesswomen representing 39 countries from around the world “is proof of the era of change regarding the role of businesswomen in Gulf societies”. Furthermore, she encouraged young women for pursuing business careers “by taking advantage of the current era of technological advance-

KUWAIT: Nabila Al-Anjari pictured with other businesswomen.

ment that reduced obstacles in front of businesswomen”. Al-Anjari spoke about her own experience “which started from teaching to working in the public sector until being appointed as assistant undersecretary for tourism”, before she shifted to the private sector and founded her own company. “I found out throughout my career that women are distinguished with activity, creativity, dedication as well as productivity and the ability to work”, she said, adding that those qualifications improve “if women found appreciation and support”.

can agree on this proposal as a partial solution but not as the main solution. If there is somebody really representing us in the parliament, all these youth campaigns won’t be launched as we have work and family and we have to spend time for the campaign’s activities. We have money and we have lands in Kuwait, so why should we suffer,” he wondered.

KUWAIT: Ethiopian authorities have banned local domestic workers to travel to Kuwait for work until recruitment procedures as well as regulations that organize the work of recruitment offices and medical tests in Kuwait are reviewed, a local daily reported yesterday, quoting Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor insiders. Speaking to Annahar on the condition of anonymity, the sources warned that the decision is likely going to increase fees for housemaid recruitment with the number of main markets becoming limited to the Philippines, India and Sri Lanka. Several attempts to contact the Ethiopian embassy to confirm or deny the report were unsuccessful. It true, Ethiopia would join Indonesia which banned domestic workers from traveling to Kuwait in 2009 as well as other southeast Asian countries including Vietnam. The step would also increase fees that recruitment offices collect which currently ranges between KD 650 and KD 750 to hire a domestic worker from the Philippines, according to the sources. The sources also confirmed that local recruitment offices contacted the interior and social affairs ministries with demands to finalize requirements necessary for Kuwait to sign agreements of understanding with countries that export domestic helpers that protects the rights of both workers and employers.



In my view

Arab nations indispensable


ensions between Saudi Arabia and the United States over Washington’s approach to the Middle East were brewing for months before they burst into the open recently. First, there was the American inaction in Syria and lack of progress on Israeli-Palestinian peace. Then came America’s withdrawal of aid to the Egyptian military after the July coup. Now President Obama is pursuing a very public rapprochement with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s archrival. The mounting disagreements between the two longtime allies is now in full public view. The head of Saudi intelligence warned that it would stop cooperating with the United States on certain issues. That came just days after Saudi Arabia stunned even some of its own diplomats when it refused a rotating seat on the United Nations Security Council, citing its anger over the world’s failure to respond to the crisis in Syria. This spat reflects the Arab world’s deepening frustration with American policy toward Syria, Egypt and Palestine - as well as extreme skepticism about a possible thaw in America’s relations with Iran. The Arabs have learned from bitter experience that whether by confrontation or collaboration, whatever Iran, America and Israel decide to do leaves them feeling trampled. Like an African proverb says: Whether the elephants fight or play, the grass gets trampled. America chose Iran and Israel, over their Arab neighbors, as its designated “regional cops” in the 1960s and ‘70s, at the height of the Cold War. Since the United States and Iran became sworn enemies after the 1979 revolution, America’s military wishes have by and large been carried out by Arab proxies, often at great cost in blood, treasure and stability. Lebanon, Iraq and Syria are among the countries that have suffered immensely. Strikingly, it was only Israel, not its Arab neighbors, that had criticized the thaw in US-Iranian relations (even though Israel might gain a lot from a deal that curtails Iran’s nuclear ambitions). But ultimately, reconciliation between America and Iran will require compromise over Arab, not Israeli, interests. And these interests are neither Washington’s to cede nor Iran’s to brush aside. Arab powers fear that negotiations between America and Iran are likely to leave Israel as the sole nuclear power in the region, while allowing its occupation of Palestine to continue unabated. Improved relations between Iran and America could offer benefits - a lifting of Western sanctions and American recognition (however grudging) of Iran’s growing regional influence, starting with Syria, Bahrain and the Gulf region. The United States could use Iran’s help to stabilize Syria - as it helped with Afghanistan after 9/11.

But sooner than later, what appears to be a great diplomatic breakthrough may be revealed to be no more than hopping over a volcano. That’s because the Iranian-American detente will likely deepen the sectarian divisions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, setting the stage for an all-out region-wide sectarian conflict. Since its 1979 revolution, Iran has become increasingly militarized and religiously radicalized. The Shiite-Sunni tensions that fueled the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88 have only grown worse. As the Saudi government made clear, authoritarian Sunni regimes in the region will probably seek to undermine - rather than accept - any agreement that foresees growing Iranian influence in their backyard. That polarization will inadvertently help Al-Qaeda and other extremist Sunni groups, who are bound to see in Iranian-Western rapprochement a tool to multiply their recruits by stoking sectarian hatred. It has already happened in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, and it’s likely to continue. The consequences are potentially disastrous. Shiite-Sunni fault lines extend through most oilproducing countries. The damage to the regional and global economy from a disruption in the supply of oil could be huge. But none of this is preordained or inevitable. The theological roots of the Sunni-Shiite divide might go back 13 centuries, but the violence we are witnessing today is politically motivated and aggravated by foreign intervention in the region. The Arab states rejected America’s 2003 war in Iraq, which is now ruled by an authoritarian prime minister who is firmly under Iran’s influence. They are not taking kindly to Iran’s continued meddling in the region, including its military support for Syria’s president, Bashar Al-Assad. Indeed, the Syrian opposition has rejected any role for Iran in talks over the future of their country. While the elephants have been playing, and fighting, Arab leaders have been watching and learning. They know that long-term regional stability is a game they can play, too. With 370 million people in 22 countries that range from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, Arabs are bound to disagree about plenty of things. But they generally support a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction and that applies to both Iran and Israel. The Arab nations, because of their size and strategic significance, are indispensable in shaping the region’s future and its security. Alienating them is wrong - and dangerous. If, as Obama said recently at the United Nations, he believes that it is in America’s best interest “to see a Middle East and North Africa that is peaceful and prosperous,” he needs to make sure the Arabs are part of, and don’t lose from, any future bargain with Iran.

kuwait digest

Govt buying male votes

In my view

Primary school maths teacher By Ahmad Al-Sarraf

By Abdullatif Al-Duaij


t is clear that the Kuwaiti voter - both male and female - bear responsibility for the results of their political practices primarily. There is no doubt about this, as much as there is no doubt about the fact that Kuwaiti women bear chief responsibility for negligence of their affairs and overlooking their constitutional and legal rights. What also is not subject to debate is the fact that the society in general is the actual party responsible for the situation of the female citizens, which created justifications for their continuous oppression and supports discrimination practiced against them in favor of their male counterparts. Kuwaiti women are required to use their self awareness and capabilities in order to correct and improve their living conditions. This is correct in theory, but is hard to rely on in reality, which is rich in all forms of social and political pressure that limits circumstances of growing an advanced or responsible feminine awareness both on the individual or collective levels. We have a huge general stock of traditions that restrict women’s living conditions and behavior under minimum limits. Correcting the social situation of Kuwaiti women lies, much like correcting the general situation, on the entire society. Those in control over the general situation in all of their social levels and classifications are responsible for making this a reality. Women’s right of nomination and voting would have never been possible unless the government provided political support to realize it. The government worked exceptionally hard then, and went as far as allegedly ‘buying’ MPs’ votes to pass those rights in the parliament. If it wasn’t for those serious efforts from the government, women would have still been deprived of political rights until today, and perhaps for several more years. Unfortunately, it appears that the governmental support was motivated by efforts to ‘improve’ Kuwait’s international image and win the international community’s respect and trust. The government has the power today - without having to buy men’s votes - to guarantee enough support to enforce Kuwaiti women’s rights in accordance with constitutional and democratic principles. - Al-Qabas


he great advancements of humanity did not happen by accident, but as a result of experiments, experiences, theories and researches carried out by a large number of scientists - the majority of whom came from the West in addition to significant contributions made by scientists from the East which cannot be ignored (if we choose to ignore the East’s level of underdevelopment today that overcame its past glory). On top of the list of those great scientists and philosophers come Isaac Newton, Galileo, Michael Faraday, Leonardo da Vinci, Stephen Hawking, Socrates, Gandhi, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Charles Darwin, Madame Curie, Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Niccolo Machiavelli, AlFarabi (Alpharabius), Nicolas Copernicus, Sigmund Freud and others. These greats put their ideas in books that are still sold and read today despite being written hundreds of years ago. The fact that some people would say that they never heard of their publications does not reduce their importance or effect on science and the world. One of the most significant books is Isaac Newton’s ‘The Principles of Physics’, which is considered the nucleus of the scientific advancements we experience today and left little for other scientists to say. ‘On the Origin of Species’ by Charles Darwin is also widely considered of much importance, and even classified by some in the same level of importance with Newton’s book, despite its controversial nature that made the Western churches refuse its content since it was published in 1859. There is also the Book of Relativity by Albert Einstein; who if he was Kuwaiti, would have ended up being a primary school mathematics teacher. His book caused a scientific and even human revolution of significant importance. And there is also ‘The Prince’ by Machiavelli which influenced every leader who read it since it was published 500 years ago. ‘The Wealth of Nations’ by Adam Smith and ‘Das Kapital’ by Carl Marx are also credited for their unlimited influence on people around the world. Meanwhile, ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’ by Sigmund Freud, the father of modern psychology, is a book that cannot be ignored when searching about the secrets of the human psyche. The point behind mentioning all those scientists is not to cry about the lost glory of days in which we had a place in history. Instead, I wonder why their works and impact is not actively featured in curricula taught in Kuwait’s schools? Don’t those greats at least deserve to have public streets named after them, instead of choosing a corrupt politician to name a street after? Isn’t this considered ingratitude to everything that those geniuses gave to humanity - ourselves included? - Al-Qabas


By Marwan Bishara

In my view

Merchants of darkness By Rami Khouri


eneath the surface of wars and ethnic tensions, one of the most troubling trends in the Arab world these days is the determination by many governments to stifle freedom of expression and thereby limit the ability of citizens to make their views known and hold accountable those who exercise political power. Two different examples of this come from Egypt and the Gulf Cooperation Council states, reflecting dangerous trends in both cases. These developments are important because freedom of expression and the ability to protest peacefully in public are at the very heart of free, democratic and humane societies that respect the rights of their citizens - which is the goal that tens of millions of Arabs are struggling to achieve in the current wave of uprisings. The two approaches to restricting the freedom of expression rights of citizens in Egypt and the Gulf states reflect the dominant social/political traditions in those lands - to curtail the extent of public demonstrations in Egypt, and to preempt any such demonstrations before they reach the public sphere in the Gulf states. In the Gulf states, especially Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, authorities have indicted dozens of citizens for using social media like Twitter and Facebook to express their views, including legitimate, nonviolent criticisms of state policies. The prison sentences meted out to some of the accused, combined with the chilling effect such legal action has on the rest of the population, robs the Gulf states of their single most important national asset that will prove to be far more important to their national well-being than oil and gas in the decades ahead - the ability of their citizens to use their mind and speak freely for the public good. In Egypt, draft laws being considered by the government that seeks to quell public unrest and counter terrorism would restrict citizens’ ability to protest in public. It includes allowing the interior minister or senior officials to cancel, postpone or change the location of any planned protest, and gives governors the power to designate “protest-free” areas near state buildings. Egyptian Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi has replied to growing criticisms by saying that the draft law could be amended after dialogue with political forces and parties. That has not stopped the pressure by democracy activists - 20 Egyptian human rights organizations published a joint statement warning that the draft counterterrorism bill would lead to the reinstatement of the “police state” in Egypt. It charged that the draft law’s provisions would “serve as the legal basis for the re-establishment of the police state”. The activists charged that the proposed law broadens the definition of “terrorist acts” too broadly to include activities that are not related to terrorism, such as “disrupting the authorities from carrying out some of their activities,” “[carrying out] acts which seek to hinder the implementation of the constitution or the law,” and “preventing educational institutions from carrying out their work.” The draft legislation defines an “act of terrorism” as including “any behavior which damages the communications or information systems, the financial systems or the national economy,” the statement adds. Such restrictions that are so broadly defined (actually, ill-

defined) are dangerous because they could open the way to harassment of “peaceful political opposition members, human rights activists, and a broad range of groups working to defend democracy and human rights,” the statement said. Many Egyptians oppose the legislation because they have enjoyed new freedoms since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in early 2011; they do not want to see those freedoms eroded through the state’s over-reaction to legitimate security threats, especially in the Sinai Peninsula. Yet this hard-line approach to maintaining public order by Egypt and Gulf states is frightening and dangerous, because it threatens to maintain the Arab world in its agonizing modern legacy of national mediocrity due to lifeless citizenship. This approach perpetuates the single worst and most degrading aspect of the modern Arab security state that has defined the Arab world for the past half century or more - curtailing the ability of individual citizens to think for themselves and express their thoughts freely.

Many Egyptians oppose the legislation because they have enjoyed new freedoms since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak’s regime in early 2011; they do not want to see those freedoms eroded through the state’s overreaction to legitimate security threats, especially in the Sinai Peninsula. Yet this hardline approach to maintaining public order by Egypt and Gulf states is frightening and dangerous, because it threatens to maintain the Arab world in its agonizing modern legacy of national mediocrity due to lifeless citizenship. Every other democratic practice in society - free media, voting, civil society activism - relies on the foundation of freedom of expression. One of the reasons the Arab world has endured a steady cycle of public incompetence, corruption, waste and stagnation since the 1950s is that it has denied itself the power and creativity of its several hundred million citizens. The fact that this trend continues in some of the Arab world’s most influential countries is disheartening - but the robust resistance to the Arab state’s intellectual oppression is equally real, and gives us hope that the merchants of darkness and listless citizenship will be defeated in due course.

In my view

Helping hand to typhoon victims By Abdulateef Almulhim


few weeks back, the Philippines was hit by one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded. Typhoon Haiyan packed maximum winds of 235 kph with gusts of around 300 kph when it made landfall. The resultant damage is unimaginable. Buildings were ripped apart and the civic infrastructure totally collapsed. The Philippines is a relatively small country but very densely populated. It is one of the oldest countries in the world. It was established more than 500 years ago and went through many phases. From tantric to Islamic periods and from more than 300 years of Spanish rule to nearly 50 years of American occupation, Filipinos went through a lot and emerged as a hardworking nation that is always on the go and refuses to bog down in the face of calamities and crisis. It gained independence at the end of World War II. Saudis got exposed to Filipinos during the mid-70s. In just a few years, Filipinos were to be found in every household, company and hospitals across the Kingdom. I respect expatriates from all across the globe who came to work and live in the Kingdom, but have no hesitation in claiming that Filipino workers have proved their mettle in almost every field. It is not unique to Saudi Arabia; Filipinos have set high work standards in

almost every country they go in search of greener pastures. There was a time when the United States Navy and Air Force recruited thousands of young men and women from the Philippines for their skills. In other words, Filipinos do leave positive impact on whatever job they do. Currently, the Republic of Philippines is going through a difficult phase. In the aftermath of Haiyan, the country is faced with humanitarian crisis and needs medical, financial and other forms of assistance to recover from the losses inflicted by the super typhoon. Filipinos greatly contributed to the development of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. Almost every home in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries had, in one way or the other, utilized the talent of the hardworking Filipinos. They came as guest workers but their contributions are impossible to measure. In the wake of the natural calamity, Saudi Arabia and other countries were quick in offering generous aid to the victims. It is also the duty of individuals across the globe to help Filipinos rebuild the destroyed areas and to recover from the effects of the typhoon. It is the need of the hour to initiate a fund-raising campaign to help our Filipino friends.



KU hosts health awareness expo By Abdelllatif Sharaa KUWAIT: Dean of Kuwait University College of Engineering Dr Ali Al-Khayat opened the annual health awareness expo on the college premises in Khaldiya on Sunday. The exhibition includes stalls on first aid, tests for blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol, nutri-

New steps to solve housing problems KUWAIT: Minister of State for Housing Affairs and Minister of State for Municipal Affairs Salem Al-Othaina said his meeting yesterday with the National Assembly Housing Affairs Committee “reflected the great concern of the government and the assembly to resolve this problem.” Emerging from the meeting, the minister said he presented the committee members during the meeting, also attended by experts, with a number of projects and proposed legislations. He voiced satisfaction at the fruitful meeting that was held in a “team-work” atmosphere, for sake of finding solutions to this significant file “for the foreseeable future.” Al-Othaina added that figures, proposed laws and suggested executives plans to tackle this issue were examined during the meeting. Al-Othaina briefed the conferees about ventures in phases of planning and execution, namely the project in Western Jeleeb and Mutlaa, predicting that these housing projects

would help in “removing obstacles and limiting the waiting time” for housing applicants. He indicated at government-proposed bills, namely construction of residential towns, adding that details of the housing strategy would be revealed at a special National Assembly session in December. Asked on interpellation motions, submitted by MPs Abdullah Al-Tamimi and Faisal Al-Duwaisan, he said, “I wish that we abstain from making elaborate statements regarding this sensitive file and I have hoped I will not end up taking such a stand between two parties, citizens who support and oppose the issue. “We are trying to narrow the gap and I am ready to shoulder the responsibility if it concerns me as a minister.” Al-Othaina stressed on necessity of resolving this problem, safeguarding national unity and confirmed that he would react to the interpellation topics and refute the allegations. —- KUNA

Kuwait proposes plans for bolstering common action MANAMA: Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah yesterday said Asian Cooperation Dialogue, launched in 2002 as a platform for dialogue among the continent nations, has developed into an institutionalized entity, with regular meetings, underscoring the 2012 Kuwait-hosted summit. The dialogue at this level has continuously developed, with holding a summit once every three years, in addition to annual regular ministerial meetings, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said at the inaugural session of the 12th ACD ministerial meeting, also noting that Kuwait hosts the ACD headquarters. “One of the major achievements of the Kuwaiti summit was initiative of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah to set up a $2billion fund to support development projects in Asian states, to which Kuwait contributed with $300 million,” Sheikh Sabah Khaled said. The minister urged the ACD member states to declare their contributions to this fund very soon, noting prospected benefits these countries would reap from development ventures. Kuwait calls on member countries of the Asian Development Bank to back its bid to join the bank at the upcoming board of

governors’ meeting, he said. He praised written proposals presented by the Kingdom of Bahrain for promoting tourism in Asian cities, particularly the call that this approach be coupled with upgrading Asian countries’ infrastructures. Developing tourism in Asia also warrants securing necessary services, entertainment programs, shopping malls and other facilities, he said, noting that developing the sector would help in cementing pan-Asian ties and “cultural rapprochement” at the continental level. Sheikh Sabah Khaled declared support for naming Manama as Asia’s tourism city in 2014, adding the city hosts many tourist sites and cultural activities. Moreover, the minister indicated that Kuwait proposed plans for bolstering “regional common action” and allowing organizations in the Asian continent to attend the meetings as observers. During the meeting, the foreign ministers of ACD member states are discussing joint economic, social, scientific and media issues for promoting joint interaction, broadening scope of Asian trade and stock markets. The ACD was inaugurated in June 2002 in Cha-Am, Thailand, where 18 Asian foreign ministers met together for the first time. —- KUNA

MANAMA: Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa (center) smiles with other delegates as they pose for a group photo during an Asia Cooperation Dialogue ministerial meeting yesterday. — AP

tion, physiotherapy and other health related issues, along with a blood donation drive. Sebamed, known for its unique pH 5.5 skincare products, is participating as usual and advising on how to care for the skin to rid it of blemishes and prevent them from reappearing. The exhibition will continue until Thursday, Nov 28.



Convicted drug trafficker arrested in Salmiya Fugitive smuggling foiled KUWAIT: A fugitive sentenced to life in prison was arrested during a police crackdown in Salmiya on Sunday. Hawally patrol officers had pulled the Egyptian man over and then placed him under arrest after discovering that he is wanted to serve a 99-year prison sentence over drug trafficking charges. He was taken to the authorities for further action. Hawally police also arrested a 33-year-old Jordanian man in Salmiya after discovering that he is required by a court order to spent a year of drug rehabilitation at the Psychiatric Hospital. Meanwhile, a Kuwaiti man was arrested in Mishref after he was caught abusing drugs inside his car in the parking lot of the area’s coop society. Furthermore, a bedoon (stateless) man and Kuwaiti national were arrested with possession of heroin and meth. The three were taken to the Drug Control General Department for further action. Human smuggling Border security officers foiled two people’s attempt to smuggle their friend who is wanted on state security charges on their way into the country on Sunday. Police grew suspicious when two Kuwaiti men in a vehicle with Saudi licenses requested urgency. Police searched the vehicle and found a person hiding under the backseat of the car. The man was identified as a Kuwaiti national who is wanted by the State Security Service. He was taken to the authorities for further actions while his friends were referred to face smuggling charges.

Student’s assault Education officials in Jahra are investigating a case involving an elementary school teacher accused of stabbing one of his students with a pen. The news is circulating on social media since Sunday and indicated that the arts teacher attacked a student with a pen, another with a chair and left a third student with bruises, prompting several parents to lodge complaints against her. Acting Director of the Jahra Educational Directorate Talaq Al-Haim announced that an investigation is underway in the incident which reportedly happened at a school in Al-Waha. Physical abuse Jahra police are looking to summon a local resident accused of physically abusing his domestic worker. The case was filed at the North Jahra Police Station where a representative from an Asian embassy escorted his compatriot to lodge the complain. The representative explained that the maid sought help from the embassy from her Kuwaiti employer’s physical abuse. Investigations are ongoing. Theft case A Kuwaiti serviceman filed a case against his domestic helper and accused her of stealing KD 960 in addition to his military uniform and some clothes that belong to his wife and kids. In his statements to Sulaibikhat police station officers, the man said that the Sri Lankan maid committed the theft while the family was outside the

Cultural diplomacy helps boost Iraqi-Kuwaiti ties KUWAIT: Iraqi Ambassador to Kuwait Mohammad Bahr AlUloom said yesterday that cultural diplomacy plays a major role in fostering mutual understanding and strengthening diplomatic relations with Kuwait. “Iraq and Kuwait share the same history and their people have deep-rooted relations,” Ambassador Bahr AlUloom said on the sidelines of a seminar co-organized by the Iraqi Embassy, the Iraqi House of Wisdom institution and Kuwaiti Foundation of Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain’s Prize for Poetic Creativity. “Time has come to revive these relations,” he added. He unveiled recent significant progress in the cultural and artistic cooperation between the two countries. The ambassador stated that the Iraqi House of Wisdom institution was keen to participate in the currently held the 38th Kuwait Book Fair to strengthen cultural relations with Kuwaiti peers such as Al-Babtain foundation. He underlined that Iraq and Kuwait have made great strides in political relations in the past two years. “Now, time has come to develop cultural, social, economic, artistic and sports relations to foster understanding and build more bridges between the two nations,” Bahr AlUloom said. Earlier, Chairman of the Board of Trustees (House of Wisdom) Shamran Al-Ajli delivered a lecture in which he shed lights on the history of House of Wisdom and its role in spreading knowledge. The House of Wisdom, founded in Baghdad, is considered one of the most important intellectual centers established in Abbasid-era Baghdad, Iraq. Scientists from all over the world flocked to it during the Islamic Golden Age. At that time, Baghdad became the world’s richest city and a centre of intellectual development. Among the House of Wisdom’s scholars was Al-Khawarizmi, known as the father of algebra. —KUNA

Kuwait to host health ministers conference RIYADH: Members of the executive bodies of GCC Health Ministers held their 79th meeting in Riyadh on Sunday, and discussed preparations for the 76th GCC health ministers’ meeting, scheduled to be held in Kuwait in January. Participants also discussed a number of topics on their agenda, including the fight against non-communicable diseases “non-infectious,” alternative medicine and mental health, Director General of the Executive Board of GCC Health Ministers Tawfiq Khoja said in a statement. During the three-day meeting, participants also discussed issues regarding the development of health systems, finance and health services, and health topics, including a request by Saudi Arabia to assign a day for patient rights. The board meeting also coincided with the opening of Saudi Health Minister Abdullah Al-Rubaie of the Second Gulf Conference for Complementary Medicine. —KUNA

house, adding that she used a ladder to scale the wall and escape. Investigations are ongoing. Attempted suicide A domestic helper was hospitalized on Saturday night after she attempted suicide inside her employer ’s house in Mangaf. According to the police report, the 37-year-old Sri Lankan woman used a pair of scissors to slash her wrist before she was taken in an ambulance to the Adan Hospital. The maid is expected to face charges after she is released from the hospital. Drugs found Coastguards recovered 60 kg of hashish from Kubbar Island’s shores. Preliminary investigations led detectives to two possible scenarios behind the finding - the first is that the drugs were left by smugglers to be collected later by drug dealers, and the second that smugglers decided to dispose them when they felt police’s presence. Investigations are ongoing. Murder threat A Kuwaiti woman approached Maidan Hawally police station officers to press murder threat charges against two persons. In her statements to police, the 31-year-old woman said that the suspects, a bedoon and Gulf national, knocked on her apartment’s door and when she answered it, found that one of them was pointing a gun at her. They escaped after she screamed for help. Investigations are ongoing.

KUWAIT: The conference of challenges and changes facing Kuwait and the Arabian Gulf region during the current decade 2013-2020 began at Kuwait University under the patronage of HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad AlSabah. Sheikh Dr Salem Jaber Al-Ahmad represented the premier at the conference. Public Relations and Moral Guidance Department of the Interior Ministry, Traffic Department and National Security College participated in the conference.


Police, pro-Europe protesters clash in Ukraine

Adulterers may be stoned under new Afghanistan law Page 11

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GHAZIABAD: In this file photo, Rajesh Talwar, father of murdered teenager Arushi, holds his bleeding face after being attacked by a youth outside a court in Ghaziabad, India. — AFP

Couple convicted in double murder Police claim ‘honor killing’ GHAZIABAD: An Indian dentist couple could face the death penalty after a judge yesterday convicted them of murdering their teenage daughter and a servant in a sensational trial that riveted the country. Rajesh and Nupur Talwar are due to be sentenced today after being found guilty of slitting the throats of Aarushi, 14, and their Nepalese live-in help Hemraj Banjade, with “clinical precision” at their home in an affluent New Delhi suburb in May 2008. “ The penalty is life imprisonment or death-there are only two sentences,” prosecutor RK Saini told a horde of reporters at the decrepit court complex in Ghaziabad, a satellite city of the Indian capital. Saini, who declared he had “done his duty”, said he would reveal today whether he would argue for the death penalty for the Talwars, who were immediately taken into custody. Investigators alleged the Talwars killed Aarushi in a fit of rage when they found her with the 45-year-old servant in an “objectionable” situation, while the couple insist they are victims of a bungled police probe and a media witch-hunt. Police suggested the double-murder was a so-called “honour killing”. The trial came as India increasingly focuses on violent crimes against women following the fatal gang-rape of a student in Delhi last year that sparked national outrage. The case has spawned a nation of armchair detectives debating every twist in the investigation, turned the Talwars into household names and polarised public opinion. The prosecution conceded there was no forensic or material evidence against the couple, and based its case on the “last-seen theory”-which holds that the victims were last seen with the accused. “We only have truth on our side, the facts and evidence as we knew them,” Vandana Talwar, Rajesh’s sister-

in-law, told reporters. “But we’re pitched against an organisation (the Central Bureau of Investigation) that believes and deals with fabrications, manipulations, with suppressing and hiding all the facts showing the parents are innocent,” she said. Aarushi, who friends described as a chirpy, high-achieving student, was found on her bed with her throat cut one morning in May 2008. Police initially blamed the missing domestic servant Hemraj-only to discover his decomposing body on the roof a day later. His throat was also cut and he had a head wound. Officers then arrested Rajesh Talwar’s dental assistant along with two other local servants-Hemraj’s friends-but they were freed due to lack of evidence. The botched probe-investigators failed to seal the crime scene, allowing neighbours, relatives and journalists to swarm over it, or to find the second body for over 24 hoursprompted police to close the case in 2010, citing no substantial evidence. The Talwars insisted they wanted the killers found and petitioned the court to reopen the case. Rajesh told AFP in a recent interview Aarushi’s death had “been the deepest grief I have ever known”. But police ended up charging the parents with murder as they became the centre of a lurid media frenzy. Salacious news reports, based often on claims by unnamed police sources, appeared about their lives, demonising them as decadent-even part of a wifeswapping club-leading to criticism by that the Talwars were being subject to “trial by media”. The case so obsessed the public that one man with no link to the case attacked Rajesh with a meat cleaver during a court appearance in 2011, leaving his cheek and hand deeply scarred. —AFP

India journo resigns over sexual assault NEW DELHI: A young woman resigned yesterday from a top Indian investigative news magazine, which is at the centre of a sex scandal after her boss allegedly assaulted her, reports said. The woman, quoted by the Press Trust of India news agency, said she resigned from Tehelka to be “free from any kind of pressure” as its employee. The Mumbai-based journalist publicly pleaded with the magazine’s editor Sunday to halt what she called intimidation and harassment. She said a member of his family had visited her mother in New Delhi asking to “protect” him. Police have begun investi-

gating editor Tarun Tejpal after the woman claimed he sexually assaulted her twice in a hotel in the holiday state of Goa during a conference organised by the magazine last month. Tejpal applied for pre-trial bail yesterday, denying the assault allegation and offering to cooperate with police. The bail plea is expected to be heard today. Tehelka, which pioneered undercover sting operations in India, has been embroiled in the scandal since last week when it was leaked that Tejpal had offered to take six months’ leave for “misconduct”. —AFP



Syria peace talks date set in Geneva GENEVA: An international peace conference aimed at ending Syria’s civil war will be held on Jan. 22, the first face -to-face talks between the government of President Bashar Al-Assad and rebels seeking to overthrow him, the United Nations said yesterday. The United Nations is hoping for a peaceful transition in Syria, building on an agreement between world powers reached in June last year. The deal calls for the warring sides to set up a transitional governing body with full executive powers, including over military and security entities, but leaves open the fate of Assad. “We will go to Geneva with a mission of hope,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement. The announcement came as Syria mediator Lakhdar Brahimi met senior US and Russian officials in Geneva in his latest effort to get negotiations on track to end a war, now in its third year, that has killed more than 100,000 people. Brahimi, with backing from world powers, has been trying to convene a peace

conference since May and had hoped it could be held in December. He will hold a news conference at 1530 GMT. The participation of Syria’s ally Iran in the peace conference has been a major stumbling block as Washington has opposed it, while Russia has backed Tehran’s attendance, as has Brahimi. It was not clear from Ban’s statement whether Iran would be invited to the “Geneva 2” talks. He said he expected “all regional and international partners to demonstrate their meaningful support for constructive negotiations”. World powers including the United States clinched a deal on curtailing Iran’s nuclear programme at the weekend, in a sign of easing tensions between the longtime foes. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said it was not yet agreed whether Iran should be invited, Interfax news agency reported. A senior European Union diplomat involved in issues relating to Iran and Syria said the United States

has been holding this up, but after Sunday’s nuclear deal, “I cannot imagine Washington continuing to object to an Iranian presence”. Political transition The invitation from Ban Ki-moon says the basis of the Geneva 2 meeting is the world powers’ Geneva declaration of June 2012, so Iran would just have to acknowledge the Geneva communiquÈ, the diplomat said. The United States and its allies say Iran must accept the June 2012 agreement before it can be invited to Geneva 2. “Until Iran publicly endorses the Geneva communiquÈ, and therefore makes clear that it supports the purpose of the Geneva 2 conference, it is hard to see how it can play a constructive role in finding a political solution to the conflict,” a spokeswoman for the British Foreign Office said. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said “a political transition would mean that Assad can have no future role in Syria”. A US official said US Secretary

of State John Kerry would attend the January talks. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov blamed the Syrian opposition for delays in convening the conference, saying it had repeatedly set out conditions for participation, including Assad’s exit, which Moscow says cannot be a precondition for a peace process. Lavrov, speaking in Rome during a trip with President Vladimir Putin, said: “It could have been held much earlier if the opposition had felt responsibility for its country and had not put forward preconditions when we met in September, October, November,” state-run Russian news agency RIA reported. Factional fighting and fragmentation among those seeking to overthrow Assad have hampered the revolt as well as diplomatic efforts to form a representative opposition party to negotiate with Assad’s delegation. Islamist fighters in Syria joined forces on Friday to form what may be the biggest rebel army in the country, further undermining Western-backed military commanders. — Reuters

Egypt moderates under fire from Mubarak loyalists and Islamists Promoting democracy difficult during militant violence

BENGHAZI: The wreckage of a burnt car is seen outside a building used by Ansar AlSharia militia after it was torched by residents yesterday. — AFP

Libya army, jihadists in deadly Benghazi battle BENGHAZI: Jihadist group Ansar Al-Sharia attacked Libyan special forces yesterday in the eastern city of Benghazi, sparking a battle in which at least eight people were killed and dozens wounded, officials said. The bloodshed came a day after US Secretary of State John Kerry vowed to work with the international community to try to restore order in Libya which has been hit by growing unrest. Military governor Colonel Abdullah AlSaidi declared a “state of alert” and ordered all soldiers to report for duty at their barracks, in what was the first such confrontation between the army and Libya’s heavilyarmed top jihadist group. The government warned that the army was a “red line” not to be crossed and called in a statement for calm, urging Benghazi residents to cooperate with loyalist forces. Nine people were killed and 49 wounded, it said, although a health ministry later gave AFP a casualty toll of eight dead and 51 wounded. Medics at Benghazi’s Al-Jala hospital have said at least five soldiers were among the dead. There was no immediate casualty toll for the jihadists, as they were being treated in a clinic run by Ansar AlIslam. “A violent clash has been taking place for several hours between our forces and an Ansar Al-Sharia cell,” Colonel Milud Al-Zwei, spokesman for Libya’s special forces, told AFP. He said the fighting broke out after a special forces patrol near the group’s headquarters came under attack, prompting retaliation from the army “with all types of weapons”. Zwei said fighting between the two sides spread to other districts of Benghazi, especially near the group’s charity clinic in the Selmani area. Explosions and gunfire were heard in several neighbourhoods, an AFP journalist said. Witnesses said gunmen had set up checkpoints on roads leading into Benghazi to prevent reinforcements reaching the Islamists. As a relative calm gripped the city in the afternoon, a group of angry residents torched an office belonging to the jihadists.

Sharia Islamic law Ansar Al-Sharia emerged after the 2011 fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, with its military wing composed of former rebel fighters. Blamed for the murders of judges and security personnel in Benghazi, it is also suspected of responsibility for a September 2012 attack in which the US ambassador and three other Americans were killed. It denies any involvement. The group, which demands implementation of sharia Islamic laws as the sole source of legislation, controls areas of Benghazi as well as Sirte and Derna, also in eastern Libya. Libyan and foreign analysts say jihadists are responsible for much of the violence in eastern Libya but that the government has been loathe to take on the heavily-armed groups for fear of reprisal. Ansar Al-Sharia itself has said it does not recognise state institutions or its security forces, even as the government struggles to integrate former rebel fighters into a regular army and police force. The violence in Benghazi comes as the authorities have been taking steps to evacuate militias from Tripoli, on the back of popular discontent in the capital against armed groups. On November 15, 46 people were killed and more than 500 wounded in clashes in Tripoli after militiamen opened fire on peaceful demonstrators calling for them to leave the city. In similar protests, Benghazi residents had in September 2012 managed to dislodge Ansar Al-Sharia from their headquarters, only for the jihadists to return a few weeks later. On Sunday, the US secretary of state held talks in London with Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan and British Foreign Minister William Hague to discuss the growing unrest in Libya. Kerry later said the talks focused on how Washington and London can “help Libya to achieve the stability that it needs”. “Libya has gone through great turmoil, particularly after the course of the last weeks,” he said. Exrebels who helped topple and kill Gaddafi in 2011 have banded into militias and carved their own fiefdoms, each with its own ideology and regional allegiance. — AFP

CAIRO: A leading Egyptian social democrat fears the elite that thrived under former President Hosni Mubarak will once again dominate politics in elections promised by the army after it overthrew Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. The 2011 popular revolt against Mubarak raised hopes for an end to decades of corruption and nepotism, but political turmoil since then has dimmed aspirations for genuine democracy. Mohamed Abul Ghar, a physician who heads the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, is close to the army-backed interim prime minister and his deputy, who belong to the same party. Abul Ghar, 73, had hoped newly-formed liberal and leftist parties would set the most populous Arab state on a democratic, non-Islamist path after 30 years of Mubarak’s one-man rule. Instead, they were trounced at the polls by the well-organised Muslim Brotherhood, which eventually propelled one of its leaders, Mohamed Mursi, to the presidency in June 2012. A year later, the army ousted Mursi after mass protests against his rule, installed a government and set a political roadmap it said would lead to free and fair elections. Abul Ghar, whose party won 23 of parliament’s 508 seats in a poll conducted in late 2011 and early 2012, said Mubarak loyalists could return if a new constitution he is helping to draft stipulates that future elections be based on an individual candidacy system, not party lists or a hybrid of the two. “There is a push and direction to make it individual seats not proportional seats,” said Abul Ghar, who was picked by the interim presidency to join a 50-member committee amending the Islamisttinged constitution driven through under Morsi. In the 2011-2012 parliamentary vote, two-thirds of seats were elected by proportional representation, via party lists, while the remaining third went to individual candidates. “With individual seats, the people who will win probably will be Mubarak people in small areas, villages and certain districts. Very, very rich people will spend a lot our chances will not be good,” Abul Ghar said. Sisi for president? A proportional list system would make it easier for small moderate parties to unite against Mubarak loyalists and for voters to base decisions “on an idea or opinion, not a person”. Abul Ghar supported Mursi’s removal by the army, but now worries about a return to the old political order. Sitting in his living room in the Cairo district of Dokki, Abul Ghar complains that Egyptians will have few options when they vote in presidential elections. Many want army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, whose popularity swelled after he ousted Mursi, to run for president - even if that returns Egypt to the army-backed rule of the past. “If Sisi runs, probably I’m going to vote for him,” Abul Ghar acknowledged, saying he would choose a military man over an Islamist after Mursi’s rule in which he was accused of trying to usurp power and impose the Brotherhood’s views on Egypt. Most demoralising for Abul Ghar is what he calls a campaign by all sides, including the military and the Brotherhood, to squeeze out anyone seeking the political middle ground. “The moderates are being isolated more and more,” said Abul Ghar, who was once among the throngs in Tahrir Square who helped topple Mubarak. “We want real democracy and this is not good for any of those people - the Islamists and the Mubarak people.” The Muslim Brotherhood, which came out on top

Iran deal stirs history for Obama WASHINGTON: For US President Barack Obama, the interim deal to cap Iran’s nuclear program is a belated down payment on the transformative foreign policy he always envisioned. That is one reason why his Republican foes are suspicious of the pact, viewing it as typical of a diplomatic doctrine rooted in weakness and an over eagerness to engage America’s enemies at the expense of its friends. The deal, forged after intense negotiations between Tehran and world powers, is the most serious breakthrough in more than 30 years of near hatred between Washington and Iran. It means more to the president than a rare win in a grim political season: it represents hopes of validation for several core aspects of his political vision-including the idea that America should talk to its enemies; that military force should be a true last resort; and that non proliferation should be at the center of US foreign policy. If the Iran initiative evolves into understandings wider than the nuclear issue, it would offers an opening for Obama to transform his legacy as a statesman. It also comes as the prime rationale of his domestic agenda-the idea that an activist government is a force for good-is being tested by the woeful debut of his health care law. The Iran deal gestated far from the high-stakes talks at a plush hotel in Geneva. It was first hinted at during a 2007 Democratic presidential debate in South Carolina. At that event Obama repudiated the Bush administration’s ‘axis of evil’ talk, and

shocked the foreign policy establishment by offering to engage US enemies, including Iran. “The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them . . . is ridiculous,” Obama said, invoking US-Soviet talks led by presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. Obama, in his first inaugural address, offered a

hand to US foes if they would “unclench” their fists, but failed to coax Iran into dialogue during his first term. Until the election of the ‘moderate’ President Hassan Rouhani, this year, engaging the enemy bore little fruit, with the possible exception of the US-engineered opening of military-ruled Myanmar.—AFP

TEHRAN: Iranian newspapers headlining the deal made with major powers over Iran’s disputed nuclear deal are displayed on the ground outside a kiosk yesterday. — AFP

in every national vote in Egypt after Mubarak’s fall, may yet be allowed to contest next year’s parliamentary election via its Freedom and Justice Party, or by running candidates as individuals. But even if the Brotherhood chose to take part, its electoral dominance might be over in a reshaped political landscape, where both state and private media condemn it as a terrorist organisation - and lionise the police and military. Mursi and other Brotherhood leaders are now on trial. Thousands of Islamists are behind bars as the movement endures one of the toughest crackdowns in its 85-year history. Yet liberals have failed to build popular new parties and look ill-placed to exploit the Brotherhood’s plight. This could allow a comeback by the “felool”, or Mubarak-era remnants. “Deep state” Although Mubarak is being retried for involvement in the deaths of protesters during the 2011 uprising, liberals like Abul Ghar worry that entrenched business and security interests that were so powerful during his rule are regaining influence. Islamists, and some liberals, argue that they never really went away - Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected leader, often complained of the “deep state” embedded in the police, army and judiciary that he said obstructed his government at every turn.

But Islamists and liberals, briefly united against Mubarak in Tahrir, are deeply divided again. Months of bloodshed after Morsi’s fall have crippled chances for reconciliation between backers of the army takeover and Islamists who call it a coup. Many liberals applauded the military’s action and those with misgivings have mostly been side-lined. The political climate has been further aggravated by Islamist militant attacks that have multiplied in the Sinai Peninsula and elsewhere since Morsi’s removal on July 3. “The terrorist attacks going on make the situation more difficult,” Abul Ghar said, adding that the violence made it easy for any government to take anti-democratic actions. The government makes no distinction between the Brotherhood, which formally renounced violence in the 1970s, and militants, routinely referring to all of them as “terrorists”. Abul Ghar, who went to university with some Islamists who later became senior Brotherhood members, says reconciliation is not possible unless the Brotherhood turns more moderate. He bemoans the failure of liberals and leftists to take the lead during the rocky transition after Mubarak’s fall, when the army first broadly cooperated with the Brotherhood and then turned against it in a shift hailed by its non-Islamist foes. “We thought we were representing the future, a better future for the country,” Abul Ghar said. “It will take time.” — Reuters

Tunisia stumbles to democracy in a troubled neighbourhood TUNIS: Tunisia offers perhaps the last hope for Arab Spring democracy; only in the small nation that inspired revolts from Cairo to Tripoli has the negotiating table won out over the gun, so far. After months of crisis, Islamists and their secular opponents are bargaining over forming a caretaker government, a new constitution is a few penstrokes from completion and a second free election is around the corner. Tunisia’s stumbling way towards democracy is far from secure. A fragile political balance could yet be upset by infighting, economic malaise or the threat of violent militants determined to stamp their fundamentalist view onto the Arab World’s most secular nation. Still, Tunisia stands out in a troubled neighbourhood where not much has gone right in the three years since Arab peoples began rising up against their autocratic leaders. “We had five revolutions in the region and the others faced so many obstacles. Tunisia’s is the last hope,” Islamist party chief Rached Ghannouchi told Reuters. “We have conflict here, but we fight with words, with courts and laws, not bullets.” Elsewhere in North Africa, the military has removed Egypt’s first freely-elected president and Libya is a mess of militia anarchy. Further afield, more than 100,000 people have died in Syria’s civil war while Yemen is gripped by Al-Qaeda attacks and sectarian violence as it pursues reconciliation talks. Tunisia’s delicate consensus relies on two men: Ghannouchi, whose ruling Islamist party Ennahda is resigning as part of the effort to end the political crisis, and Beji Caid Essebsi, a former parliamentary speaker in the autocratic regime that once forced Ghannouchi into exile. Egypt, where Islamist president Mohamed Mursi has gone on trial and hundreds have died in violence since his removal in July, has offered a sobering lesson. “Tunisian leaders on both sides realise that violence benefits no one. They don’t want to go down the path of Egypt,” said one Western diplomat. Regional mess Tunisia began it all. In December 2010, a despairing vegetable seller set himself on fire, starting the Jasmine revolt that ousted autocrat Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali early the following year. Leaders of Egypt, Libya and Yemen also fell subsequently. Much of the region has been plagued since by conflict among Islamists and secular factions, or old regimes and new rulers. But Tunisia, reliant on European tourism and remittances from overseas workers, has not slipped into widespread violence despite fierce debate over the role of Islam and mass rallies against Ennahda. Unlike in Egypt, the Tunisian military has no history of political interference and has stayed out of the fray as party leaders fought over the shape of democracy. Whereas Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood resisted pressure from the Egyptian army, Tunisia’s Ennahda has proven more flexible. Tunisians have also reconciled with old regime officials, allowing former members of Ben Ali’s Constitutional Democratic Rally party back into politics. A proposed ban on “remnants”, as old regime figures are known, has stalled. By contrast, the party of former Egyptian autocrat Hosni Mubarak has been dissolved. Part of this may be expediency. Rather than the army, it was Tunisia’s powerful nationwide UGTT labour movement that stepped in as broker to cajole the two sides to the table. What has emerged in two messy years since

Islamists won Tunisia’s first free election, is an uneasy consensus between two main blocks Ghannouchi’s Ennahda and the secular alliance that has formed around Essebsi’s Nidaa Tounes. “Tunisia is at a crossroads between Essebsi and Ghannouchi,” Nabil Karoui, owner of Nessma TV channel in an open letter printed in local newspapers. “It can be two possibilities: Two leaders of two rival tribes or two leaders for one country.” No painless path A positive outcome did not always seem so close. At the start of the year, militant gunmen shot dead left-wing opposition leader Chokri Belaid. Five months later another government critic, Mohamed Brahmi, was gunned down, pitching the country into crisis over Ennahda’s rule. The revival of ultraconservative Islamists once suppressed by Ben Ali had already inflamed debate over the role of Islam and the freedom of expression, cultural liberties and women’s rights many feared were under threat. The crisis quickly spread into protests as the opposition blamed Ennahda for being soft on radicals such as Ansar al-Sharia, a group linked to AlQaeda, allowing them to thrive. But Ennahda had already shown its taste for compromise from the start after winning around 40 percent of parliamentary seats in the first election and sharing power with two secular smaller parties. Ghannouchi, a white-haired Islamist scholar, has played a vital role in keeping hardliners in his party onboard, party officials and diplomats say. Likewise he has yielded to the opposition at major moments in the crisis. “Ennahda can be a model for Islamists in the region if it accepts concessions more,” said Boussairi Bou Abdeli of the Maghreb Republican Party. “The dialogue between Ghannouchi and Essebsi helps, but the key is in the hands of Ghannouchi.” After Belaid’s assassination, Ennahda gave up important ministries to the opposition. It reined in hardliners demanding conservative amendments to the constitution, and eventually agreed to step down to make way for a caretaker administration. Events in Egypt were decisive. Watching the bloodshed in Cairo, Ennahda officials say they learned from Morsi’s errors and from their own mistakes in government.”Maybe Tunisia is becoming a model for dealing with the difficulties of a democratic transition. In Egypt they failed,” said Lotfi Zitoun, a senior Ennahda official. “Before Egypt, we thought the Arab Spring process was irreversible... In Egypt we saw it can be stopped.” Under Tunisia’s political deal, the Ennahda’s government will resign within weeks once negotiators have selected a new prime minister to lead a non-partisan caretaker cabinet which will run the country until elections. The constituent assembly, suspended during the crisis, will go back to work to finish writing the constitution and an election committee will be selected to oversee the vote.Talks stalled this month over who should be the new prime minister but party officials say the two sides are close to naming an independent acceptable to all. Former central bankers and finance ministers top the list. The election date may be the next stumbling block with Ennahda pushing for a quick vote and the opposition wanting more time to organise. Mistrust between the parties remains raw, especially for those who see Ennahda clinging on to power.—Reuters



EU hails successful election in Mali BAMAKO: The European Union said yesterday Mali’s parliamentary elections had confounded fears over possible Islamist violence and were “another success” despite low-level protests in the north and a poor turnout. Louis Michel, head of the bloc’s election observation mission, paid tribute to “the success of the organisation of elections, particularly with regard to the logistical, material and human conditions that prevailed during voting operations”. Sunday’s polls marked Mali’s latest steps to recovery after the west African nation was plunged into chaos by a military coup in March last year, and finalised a process begun with the election of

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in August. But voters were prevented from taking part by Tuareg separatist protesters in a northeastern town of around 14,000 people, while there were demonstrations in the northern rebel stronghold of Kidal and reports of ballot box thefts elsewhere. Michel said the election “took place peacefully, despite some small-scale incidents in the north which are not likely to jeopardise the integrity of the vote”. Meanwhile the justice ministry said in statement that troublemakers would be “sought and punished throughout the national territory”. Some 6.5 million Malians were eligible to cast ballots for a

new 147-member national assembly but turnout is thought to have paled compared with the presidential election, in which 50 percent of the electorate voted. The Citizen’s Electoral Observation Deck, a monitoring programme put together by charities which deployed 3,700 observers, also said the vote went smoothly, but noted turnout could be “less than 30 percent”. The ministry of territorial administration, one of the bodies responsible for organising the elections, said “early trends” in voting might be known. A second round will take place on December 15 if no party is able to form a government. “A presidential election may

be different in nature from a parliamentary election, but I would still appeal to political parties, candidates and citizens to use the second round to further strengthen democratic rebuilding,” Michel said. “I urge all political actors to mobilise on December 15. Voting is not only a right, it is a moral duty, especially in the context of Mali.” One hundred EU observers visited 789 out of 17,983 polling stations, reporting that voting went well in almost all of them. This was despite fears that Al-Qaeda-linked militants driven from the towns and cities of northern Mali by a French-led military operation launched

in January would use the election to launch violent reprisals. The ECOWAS bloc of 15 west African nations also noted poor turnout, saying around a tenth of voters had cast their ballots by midday at two polling stations visited by observers in Bamako and that the rate had risen to just 16.5 percent by the close in another. Amos Sawyer, the head of ECOWAS’s election observation mission, said however that Malians had displayed “orderly conduct” throughout the country. “The electoral process... has been orderly, security and the general atmosphere is fine and the preparation has been very good,” he said. — AFP

EU condemns Russia Police, pro-Europe protesters clash in Ukraine

LONDON: Protesters dressed in otter costumes demonstrate yesterday against a proposed High Speed 2 (HS2) rail line, as the government publishes a ‘Hybrid Bill’ to get the first phase of the rail project started. The first phase of the project aims to link London and Birmingham and is expected to be completed by 2016. —AFP

Weak at home, France seeks grandeur abroad PARIS: The hero of France’s top movie comedy of the moment is a French foreign minister who complains about American isolationism and says the Germans must be humoured - but above all kept off the UN Security Council. One reason for the box-office success of “Quai d’Orsay” - named after the 19th century palace by the River Seine where France conducts its world affairs - is how closely it flirts with real-life policy. Another reason, underlined by a weekend poll showing two-thirds of French mired in pessimism about the next decade, is that it transports local audiences into a domain where their country continues to flex real muscle. November has been a torrid month for France, rapped by the European Commission for failing to reform its economy and hit by a new sovereign debt downgrade. Nationwide anger at rising taxes has sparked often violent protests, notably by Breton livestock workers up in arms over a planned road freight levy. Yet abroad, it has exuded self-confidence and strength: it played hard ball in major-power nuclear talks with Iran that brought a landmark deal on Sunday; it is gearing up for a risky new peace intervention in ex-colony Central African Republic; and some 1,200 French troops took part in a NATO exercise in eastern Europe - five times more than the US contingent. It would be just as premature to declare France an emerging world superpower as it would be to pronounce the euro-zone’s second largest economy beyond hope of repair. But the disconnect between its domestic fragility and international robustness is all too real - and is re-defining French ties with strategic allies and trading partners alike. “The logic is: ‘I intervene, therefore I am’,” said Dominique Moisi, senior adviser at the French Institute for International Affairs. “The more France feels inferior economically, the more it wants to be active diplomatically - it reminds it of past greatness and is also popular with the French themselves.” Why change? This French paradox is all the more deeprooted because it stems from things that Paris cannot - or will not - change. While the French are no fans of small government, there is wide acceptance that public spending which consumes 57 percent of national output is a drag on the economy. Yet no leader of any political hue has dared bring it down meaningfully. Strict labour law has given those with permanent contracts some of the best worker rights in the world. That has distorted the jobs market by encouraging more and more employers to offer precarious temporary contracts - but reform is proving a long haul as beneficiaries of the current system resist change.Likewise, France’s power on the world scene stems from a set of circumstances which it is in no hurry to change. France’s permanent veto-wielding seat on the UN Security Council next to those of the United States, Russia, Britain and China was set in the UN Charter signed after World War Two. That veto has given it real leverage in talks over Iran’s nuclear programme and just about every major international affair. Talk of reform to replace the two European seats with joint European Union representation has never got very far. Like Britain, France has a strong army and a public opinion historically inured to war. But France’s 1958 constitution, drawn up after the collapse of the short-lived Fourth Republic, gives its presidents unparalleled leeway on defence matters. Those powers allowed Francois Hollande to make a snap decision in January to send French troops to Mali to head off an Al-Qaeda-backed advance on the southern capital Bamako. On Syria, while Britain’s David Cameron lost a parliament vote in August on military action and

the United States’ Barack Obama finally backed away from a confrontation with Congress, French jets were already on standby. “In the Syrian conflict, the Gulf countries in particular noted that the French decision to use military force was not dependent on parliamentary approval,” Bruno Tertrais, analyst at the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research said. “All three countries (France, Britain, the United States) have security pacts in the Gulf but France is considered to be a bit more credible politically.” French diplomats were furious at having to stand down their forces at the last minute. The Syrian episode confirmed French suspicions that the United States, no longer as dependent on the Gulf for its energy, was less focused on the region. That paved the way for the stance France took as defender of Gulf and Israeli interests in the first Geneva talks with Iran this month when it rejected a sanctions-freezing pact Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius dismissed as a “fool’s game”. Tehran and even some allies vented their frustration. The country that a decade ago was branded “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” by some in the United States for opposing the Iraq war was now denounced as “gun-slinging frogs” by hard-line Iranians. Yet the French line allowed Hollande to declare on Sunday that the final Nov 24 deal “respected all the demands made by France”. Proliferation experts agreed that new restrictions imposed on Tehran in return for sanctions relief made it harder for the Islamic state to acquire any atomic bomb. Contract-hunting for France Influence brings friends - and trading partners. With European growth prospects bleak, France has told its diplomats to venture forth and seek business. Fabius wants to beat former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s record of circling the world 38 times during her 20092013 tenure: in 18 months, he has already managed 17.5 revolutions. Hollande is at it, too. As with last week’s trip to Israel, he travels with an entourage of up to 50 CEOs from French bluechips such as nuclear firm Areva and defence group Dassault. “Every time we sign an engineering deal, it means French jobs,” Guillaume PÈpy, the head of state rail company SNCF said on the Middle East trip. “We hunt in a pack.” The campaign has had some notable successes: power engineering group Alstom secured a 4billion-euro order for rolling stock - the biggest in its history - during Hollande’s trip to South Africa in October. Cautious at home But trade diplomacy will not be enough to put the domestic economy to rights. And France’s high-profile policy stances risk irking trade partners: now it has backed the Iran deal, it must convince Israel and the Gulf states it did not go soft. The real imponderable is why Hollande and his government do not act with the same decisiveness at home as abroad. True, unlike on foreign and defence issues, any major domestic economic reform does have to go through parliament - but then Hollande’s Socialists have a majority in the lower house where most legislative power resides. There is also the risk of falling foul of trade unions who could bring the country to a standstill. But the last time they did that was in 1995; subsequent laws require them to maintain a minimum service in areas such as transport and education. Those close to Hollande say he is preoccupied by two main dangers: the threat of an internal rebellion in the Socialist Party he led for over a decade before becoming president; and the risk of spontaneous street protests. “The Turks got caught out by a row over a public park,” he recalled earlier this year of violent protests that exploded over an urban redevelopment plan for an Istanbul park. —Reuters

BRUSSELS/KIEV: The European Union expressed strong disapproval yesterday over Russia’s pressure on Ukraine to reject an EU trade deal, while police fired tear gas at proEurope protesters in the former Soviet republic’s capital, Kiev. Ukraine had been expected to sign a far-reaching trade and political association agreement with the EU at a summit in Vilnius on Friday. But it suddenly announced last week it had decided to seek closer trade relations with Moscow instead. The decision followed months of Russian pressure, including threats to cut off Ukraine’s gas supplies and impose trade restrictions. At the same time, Moscow has accused the European Union of putting the squeeze on Kiev, too. Protests have since broken out on the streets of Kiev, with tens of thousands of people demonstrating in favour of closer relations with the European Union, the biggest outpouring since its pro-democracy Orange Revolution nine years ago. In unusually firm language yesterday, the EU’s two most senior officials, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, denounced Russia’s actions and said the EU offer remained on the table. “While being aware of the external pressure that Ukraine is experiencing, we believe that short term considerations should not override the long term benefits that this partnership would bring,” they said in a joint statement. “ The European Union will not force Ukraine, or any other partner, to choose between the European Union or any other regional entity... We therefore strongly disapprove of the Russian position and actions in this respect.” There were further, smaller protests yesterday in Kiev, with Ukrainian police clashing with demonstrators and firing teargas to try to control the crowds. At the end of last week, the European Union appeared minded to quietly accept Ukraine’s decision to back away. But the protests - with their hallmarks of Ukraine’s democracy drive of 20042005 - look to have spurred the EU into renewed action and a reiteration of its position. “The offer of signing an unprecedented association agreement and a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement is still on the table,” the joint EU statement read. “It is up to

KIEV: Protesters use tear gas and throw stones during clashes with riot police in front of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine during a rally in Ukraine yesterday. — AFP Ukraine to freely decide what kind of engagement they seek with the European Union. Ukrainian citizens have shown again these last days that they fully understand and embrace the historic nature of the European association.” While it seems unlikely that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich will have another change of mind between now and the Vilnius summit, he is still expected to attend the event and will have dinner with EU leaders on Thursday night. EU officials said that occasion might be an opportunity for heads of state and government such as Germany’s Angela Merkel, Britain’s David Cameron and France’s Francois Hollande, to speak one-toone with Yanukovich and convince him of the benefits of looking West to the EU, even if he doesn’t budge now. It remains unclear what Russian President Vladimir Putin said to Yanukovich to convince him to turn his back on the EU. But diplomatic sources in Moscow, Kiev and Brussels have indicated it probably involved a combination of threats to withdraw political support, targeted economic pressure and the inducement of cheaper Russian gas for Ukraine. Russia set up its own customs union with

Belarus and Kazakhstan in 2010 and wants Armenia and Ukraine, as well as other former Soviet republics, to join it. Ultimately, it sees it as a viable alternative to the 28-member European Union. One of the problems for Ukraine in signing the EU free-trade deal would have been the cost. While the country of 46 million people, with high debts and a fragile currency, would have enjoyed near immediate free-trade access, it would also have been obliged to adopt EU regulations in many areas. EU officials have said Russian officials told Ukraine introducing EU requirements would have cost as much as $100 billion, while Russia cutting off trade and imposing other restrictions on Ukraine would have hurt the country to the tune $500 billion, although it is not clear over what period. At the same time, while an EU free-trade deal might help Ukrainian business and growth over time, it is not a first step towards EU membership, the ultimate prize. And it was not clear whether signing up with the EU would have done much to bolster Yanukovich’s reelection hopes in 2015, either. One of the many issues Brussels wanted Yanukovich to resolve

before signing the deal was the imprisonment of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a bitter Yanukovich rival and a potential election challenger. Now Ukraine has backed away from the EU, there is less pressure on Yanukovich to meet demands to free Tymoshenko and end “selective justice”, or to get to grips with the widespread corruption and malfeasance the EU regards as plaguing Ukraine. The EU’s statement indicates more than anything a desire to remain open to Ukraine and put an end to the sense of a zero-sum game with Russia over the vast country wedged between the two. While there seems little prospect of Yanukovich suddenly signing up to the deal in Vilnius, it is possible he will drift back to the EU, especially if Ukrainian citizens demand it. “The EU stands ready to be more open and more supportive to those who are willing to engage in reforms and modernisation,” Van Rompuy and Barroso said. “Stronger relations with the European Union do not come at the expense of relations between our Eastern partners and their other neighbours, such as Russia. The Eastern Partnership is conceived as a win-win where we all stand to gain.” — Reuters

German parties edge carefully towards ‘grand coalition’ deal BERLIN: Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD) head into a decisive week of German coalition talks on track to form a government but under fire from their own members for a series of policy compromises. The chancellor’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) beat the SPD in an election two months ago, but failed to secure a parliamentary majority, forcing her into talks with her arch-rivals. Negotiations have dragged on, leaving Merkel’s outgoing centre-right coalition in charge but unable to move on urgent European policy decisions.

LENGENWANG: A snow fence casts a shadow as the sun shines over a snow-covered field near in southern Germany yesterday. —AFP

The parties are expected to overcome their remaining differences and divide up cabinets posts this week. But complaints within the CDU about policy compromises have grown louder in recent weeks as the SPD has demanded and won concessions from Merkel on a minimum wage and other measures conservatives fear could hurt the economy. “The news from the coalition talks is setting off alarm bells in industry,” Kurt Lauck, president of a business lobby within the CDU, wrote to Merkel in a letter published in German newspapers at the weekend. Meanwhile, SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel faces a major challenge in convincing the grassroots of his party to back a coalition deal that may not contain the big public spending boost they had called for in the German election campaign. Der Spiegel magazine reported at the weekend that scepticism about entering what would be the second “grand coalition” with Merkel in less than a decade was high in local SPD chapters ahead of a high-stakes party referendum in early December, where 470,000 rank-and-file members will get to vote on the coalition. Were they to veto the deal, which still seems unlikely, Germany could face many more months of political uncertainty, and possibly even new elections. “We really need to pull together to bring the party along. This is not a done deal by any means,” said Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament and a top negotiator for the SPD in the talks. Some of the critical rhetoric from both camps is posturing. By taking a sceptical line, both the SPD and CDU are sending the message to each other that they can live without a deal. They may be hoping this will help them wring last-minute concessions from the other side in a final round of negoti-

ations that is scheduled for Tuesday and likely to spill into the early morning hours of Wednesday. But the mood is clearly different than it was in 2005, when Merkel won a narrow victory over the SPD, and was forced to form the first right-left coalition of Germany’s big “Volksparteien”, or people’s parties, since the 1960s. Back then, the CDU was happy to be returning to government after seven years in opposition, and the SPD was glad to have thwarted Merkel’s goal of a centre-right government. This time around, there is a much deeper sense of ambivalence in both camps, like an estranged couple that has agreed to live under one roof for the good of the children-or in this case the country. Berlin’s European partners also have reason to be disappointed. Some had hoped the centre-left SPD would push Merkel towards a more growthfriendly vision for Europe. Instead, the future of the crisis-plagued single currency bloc has played only a minor role in the talks, and a deal on the most pressing European issue-the creation of a new body to wind down stricken banks-has proved elusive. Anti-euro voices within the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), sister party to Merkel’s CDU, also appear to be growing louder. Over the weekend, the CSU’s most prominent eurosceptic Peter Gauweiler was elected to the post of deputy party leader. And Alexander Dobrindt, a CSU politician who repeatedly called for Greece to leave the euro at the height of the crisis, is expected to win a top position in Merkel’s new cabinet. “The talks have been very disappointing for those who had hoped the SPD would push hard on the European themes it stressed during the campaign,” said Ulrike Guerot of the Open Society Initiative.—Reuters



Wintry storm threatens Thanksgiving travels More than 300 flights cancelled

TEGUCIGALPA: Honduras presidential candidate for the Partido Nacional (PN) Juan Orlando Hernandez celebrates with his wife Ana de Hernandez after claiming victory in the presidential vote.— AFP

Ruling party candidate leads in Honduras vote TEGUCIGALPA: The ruling party candidate held a comfortable lead in early vote counting to become Honduras’ next president, while two of his four main opponents began crying foul early yesterday over the results in the violent and impoverished Central American nation. With just over half the ballots tallied by late Sunday, Juan Orlando Hernandez of the governing National Party had the edge over Xiomara Castro, whose husband Manuel Zelaya was ousted in a 2009 coup that has left the country politically unstable. Hernandez and Castro went into Sunday’s election neck-and-neck in opinion polls, and expectations of a close finish raised fears that a disputed result would produce more instability and protests. Voting went off peacefully amid a heavy turnout, however, and the uncertainty of the final results plus a cold, rainy night kept the streets quiet. The winner will likely have no more than a third of the vote and face a divided Congress, whose 128 members were also up for election. As a result, the political situation is unlikely to change in the failing state of 8.5 million people, which is home to the world’s highest homicide rate and a transit point for much of the South American cocaine heading to the U.S. Both of the two top candidates claimed victory, with Hernandez saying he would start with the job of leading Hondurans out of the misery they’ve endured. Poverty and violence have climbed in the last four years under President Por firio Lobo, also of the National Party. Castro said her campaign’s numbers gave her a victory by 3 points, then left her election-night party at a hotel and was not heard from the rest of the night. Zelaya urged her supporters to stay at the polls and keep monitoring the count. “We don’t accept the results,” Zelaya said early yesterday. “There are more than 1 million votes that have yet to be counted.” Salvador Nasrallah, a popular sports-

caster and candidate of the Anticorruption Party who was in fourth place, also questioned the official returns. “Our data do not match the official data that the system is transmitting,” Nasrallah said. “The preliminary results we have given so far do not show any tendency or declare any winner,” he said Sunday night. Both US Ambassador Lisa Kubiske and Ulrike Lunacek, head of the European Union observer mission, said reports from the polls indicated the vote and subsequent count so far were regular. “We had 110 observers in almost all Honduras states, and we have seen a transparent process with all parties represented at the table,” Kubiske said, noting that there is a system in place for people to peacefully file complaints or contest the results. Castro, 54, had led the race for months portraying herself as the candidate for change, promising relief from violence and poverty and constitutional reform that would make the country more equitable. “From the data from our surveys and vote counts, I am the president of Honduras,” she said early in the night. “The victory is overwhelming and irreversible.” Hernandez, 45, erased Castro’s early lead in a field of eight candidates as he focused his campaign on a promise to bring law and order. As president of Congress, Hernandez pushed through legislation creating a military police force to patrol the streets in place of the National Police, which are penetrated by corruption and often accused of extrajudicial killings. “Today the people voted to leave behind the political crisis of 2009 that left thousands in Honduras jobless, migrating and divided, that left us alone and isolated,” Hernandez said. The number of people working for less than minimum wage of $350 a month in Honduras has grown from 28 percent in 2008 to 43 percent today. “There is insecurity, fear, violence, hunger and unemployment. There are problems that are so deep that I doubt anyone can really solve them,” said Jose Barreiro, a voter. — AP

Money, star power await Obama on fundraising tour SEATTLE: Money, star power and Hollywood awaited President Barack Obama on a West Coast swing featuring a bit of official business, but mostly fundraising for a Democratic Party eager to go on offense after a politically debilitating two months. Obama arrived Sunday evening in Seattle. He also planned stops in San Francisco and Los Angeles, raising money for House and Senate Democrats as well as the national party. High-profile events on the schedule included a reception at the home of retired basketball star Earvin “Magic” Johnson and his wife, Cookie, in Beverly Hills, California, and one at the house of Marta Kauffman, co-creator of television’s “Friends.” “In the year before an election like this, I think the most tangible way that an incumbent president of either party, frankly, can benefit his party’s prospects in congressional races is to try to help them raise money,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. “And I would anticipate that the president’s efforts on that front will continue into next year.” The trip comes as Obama’s health care law approaches a crucial Nov. 30 deadline for an improved insurance enrollment website whose catastrophic start Oct 1 dealt a serious political blow to the White House. Also, the US and other

world powers just sealed a historic deal with Iran for a temporary freeze of its nuclear program. In addition to a half-dozen fundraisers, Obama intended to use the trip to keep the heat on Congress to pass an overhaul of immigration laws. He planned to address that issue during a stop yesterday at a Chinese recreation center in San Francisco, and to promote his economic agenda today at the DreamWorks Animation studio in Glendale, California. In recent days White House officials have tried to draw attention back to the economy to avoid getting bogged down by the botched launch of the health care enrollment. Lately, Obama has devoted time to raising money for the party, helping the Democratic National Committee reduce a massive 2012 debt and build up cash for House and Senate Democratic Committees. The White House has been especially attentive to Senate Democrats to ensure that the party retains its majority in the chamber. The House is controlled by the Republican Party. In Seattle, he was set to attend two events Sunday, one at the home of Tom Campion, co-founder of the clothing chain Zumiez, and the other at the house of a former Microsoft executive, Jon Shirley. —AP

NEW MEXICO: A large storm already blamed for at least eight deaths in the West slogged through Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and other parts of the Southwest on Sunday, leading to hundreds of flight cancellations as it slowly churned east ahead of Thanksgiving. After the storm plows through the Southwest, meteorologists expect the Arctic mass to head south and east, threatening plans for today and tomorrow as people hit the roads and airports for some of the busiest travel days of the year. More than 300 flights were cancelled at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, representing about one-third of the scheduled departures, and a spokeswoman said deicing equipment had been prepared as officials planned for the worst in a flurry of conference calls and meetings. “It’s certainly going to be a travel impact as we see the first few people making their way for Thanksgiving,” National Weather Ser vice meteorologist Tom Bradshaw said. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for chunks of North Texas from noon Sunday until midday yesterday. Parts of Oklahoma are also under a winter storm warning, while an advisory has been issued for other parts of the state. A mix of rain and sleet began falling north of Dallas on Interstate 35 by midday Sunday, and areas of southwestern Oklahoma woke up to several inches of snow. Several inches of snow fell overnight in Altus in far southwestern Oklahoma, said Damaris Machabo, a receptionist at a Holiday Inn motel. “It looks great. I love the snow,” Machabo said. The snow and freezing temperatures made driving in the area treacherous, but Machabo said she had no problems getting to work early Sunday. Forecasts called for more snow in the area later in the day.

LAWTON: Chrissy Green and daughter Skyla take their turn down the hill at Cameron Stadium in Lawton, Oklahoma, Sunday, Nov 24, 2013, after a morning snowstorm left a blanket of inviting icy stuff on the slope.— AP At Dallas-Fort Worth In Tucson, firefighters on Friday Portions of New Mexico - especially in some of the higher eleva- recovered the body of a man who International Airport, spokestions - also had several inches of was swept away by high water in woman Cynthia Vega said most of snow, and near white out condi- the Santa Cruz River. Tucson police the cancelled flights were in the tions were reported along stretches said Sunday an autopsy revealed afternoon and evening hours and of Interstate 40 west of signs of trauma, and they were were with American Airlines and investigating the death as a homi- American Eagle. The possibility of Albuquerque. Then along the New Mexico- cide. They did not say whether they ice on the runways led to a series of Texas border, into the El Paso area, had ruled out the storm as a cause conference calls and meetings early Sunday, she added, noting the aira mix of snow, sleet and ice forced of his death. By early Sunday, the weather port had liquid and solid deicers some road closures and created was blamed for at least eight ready for use. The storm system, messy driving conditions. Flagstaff in Arizona had 11 inch- deaths in several fatal traffic acci- though, was particularly hard to es of snow by early Sunday, and dents. The storm also caused hun- predict because a couple of was expected to get another inch dreds of rollover accidents, includ- degrees here or there with the temby the end of the day before the ing one that injured three members perature will determine whether storm petered out. Metro Phoenix of singer Willie Nelson’s band when regions see rain, sleet or snow, and other parts of central Arizona their bus hit a pillar on Interstate 30 Bradshaw said. “It’s very difficult to received between 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 near Sulphur Springs, about 75 pin those down,” Bradshaw said. “It’s inches of rain over the course of the miles northeast of Dallas. Dallas slow moving and it’s sort of bringstorm. The storms caused cancella- prepared for the storm by declaring ing its energy out in pieces so it’s tions of sporting events and “Ice Force Level 1,” code for sending kind of hard to time these as they parades and damaged the roofs of 30 sanding trucks to trouble shoot come across with a great deal of accuracy.” — AP hazardous road conditions. homes across Arizona.

Clock ticks on authority for Guantanamo detention GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE: A persistent knock came from inside the heavy, locked cell door. A young US Army guard strode over and leaned in to hear the detainee through a shatterproof window. “What do you want?” the guard asked, not unkindly, in one of the many daily moments in which suspected terrorists demand to be dealt with as their lives hang in legal limbo. During nearly 12 years of legal disputes and political battles, the United States has put off deciding the fate of Al-Qaeda and Taleban militants who were captured after the Sept 11 attacks but denied quick or full access to the American justice system. Now, as Congress considers whether to grant trials and transfers to most detainees, time may be running out on the law that allows the US to hold them. The 2001 law is known as the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, or AUMF. It allowed the US military to invade Afghanistan to pursue, detain and punish extremists linked to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The law has been used to justify attacks on militants in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere. Will it remain valid if US combat troops withdraw from Afghanistan at the end of 2014 whether thousands stay as trainers or if the US pulls out entirely? That’s an open legal question that, officials and experts say, must be resolved over the next year. “The jury is still out on when the AUMF might expire,” said Army Lt Col Todd Breasseale, a Pentagon spokesman. “Many argue that’s not set.” If US troops withdraw, “it certainly increases the pressure, as some administration officials have argued, to decide whether the AUMF should remain in effect as is, or if a new version is necessary,” Breasseale said in a statement. In 2009, on the second day of his presidency, Obama ordered the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to be closed within one year. Obama long has derided the facility, where critics say detainees have been abused, interrogated and held illegally, as a blow to American values and credibility worldwide. Opponents in Congress refuse to let the detainees come to the US for trial, citing security risks to Americans. Lawmakers have blocked the transfer and resettlement of most of the remaining detainees to other nations, fearing they will return to terrorist havens upon their release. Nearly 30 percent of Guantanamo detainees who have been released have since resumed the fight. Today, 164 detainees are held at Guantanamo, down from a peak of about 660 a decade ago. Most were tried, transferred or cleared for release under President George W. Bush. Seventy-eight have left since Obama took office. The sprawling camp of barbed wire and hardened cell blocks costs US taxpayers about $454 million each year; that comes to about $2.7 million per detainee. The facility shows no signs of shutting down beyond a temporary budget freeze on the detainees’ library, where well-worn copies of the Quran, the “Hunger Games” series and Obama’s book, “The Audacity of Hope,” are among the 6,000 titles available for reading. New housing is being built for some of the estimated 5,500 US troops and contractors at the Navy base. More than one-third of them work for the detention camp. Medical staff openly discuss how they will care for aging detainees in coming years.

The Republican-led US House has written legislation that requires the Pentagon to give Congress an annual plan for Guantanamo until the youngest detainee, now in his late 20s, turns 66, meaning the detention camp could remain open for nearly 40 more years. Early this year, as many as 100 detainees began a hunger strike to protest their uncertain fate. Guantanamo medical officials said last week that 13 detainees were so underweight that they must be force-fed if they refuse to eat, although some voluntarily accept food and nutrition drinks on any given day. At least some detainees - Guantanamo officials won’t say how many - are treated regularly for mental health issues. Others lash out at camp personnel on a near-daily basis, biting and hitting medical staff and throwing feces and other bodily fluids at military guards. Many of those guards are in their 20s and suffering from post-traumatic stress from working 12hour shifts with openly aggressive inmates. During a brief observation this past week, several detainees appeared listless as they shuffled under dim lights to prepare for morning Islamic prayers. They looked of normal weight and in regular health, and wore beards and prayer caps. One approached a mirrored one-way window and stood wordlessly for several moments as if he knew people were watching him on the other side of the unbreakable glass. All the detainees are men. The decision to close Guantanamo’s detention camp largely hinges on when the US declares that the global fight against terrorism has come to an end. Legal experts say the military cannot continue holding detainees if the fighting in a conflict during which they were captured is over. A 2004 Supreme Court ruling in a Guantanamo case warned of an “unraveling” understanding of longstanding laws of war if authorities creep beyond that widely accepted legal boundary. The AUMF was designed to retaliate against those responsible for the 2001 attacks. But it has been stretched to permit lethal US strikes against Al-Qaeda’s many allied affiliates, including extremists and guerrilla groups that have shown little or

no interest in attacking American targets. The Obama administration has appeared reluctant to scale back those authorities, which lets it conduct drone strikes on suspected terrorists in North Africa and the Mideast. “Make no mistake, our nation is still threatened by terrorists,” Obama said last May in a speech in which he also repeated his demand that Congress allow trials and transfers for most Guantanamo detainees. As it stands, the legal authority to hold detainees at Guantanamo will continue until either the president or Congress declares the fight over. Federal courts are gearing up to consider cases from Guantanamo detainees who, eyeing the looming end of the war in Afghanistan, will argue the law is no longer valid. The chairman of the US Senate Armed Services, Sen. Carl Levin, said it’s unlikely that either Congress or the White House will let the 2001 law expire. “As long as there is an Al-Qaeda that is threatening the US, no one is probably going to try that,” Levin, D-Mich., told The Associated Press. Levin wants to allow some detainees to be transferred to other nations or trial in the US, and has included that in the 2014 Defense Department legislation that the Senate is considering after failing to approve it last week. If any troops remain in Afghanistan even as trainers, as expected, then technically the US still would be involved in active hostilities in Afghanistan, and “then at least arguably, the AUMF could still be in effect,” Levin said. For the first time in years, senior administration officials held a closed hearing of a periodic review board this past week to start reconsidering the cases of 46 detainees who earlier were deemed too dangerous to release. Most are from Yemen, where lawmakers say AlQaeda is too strong to risk releasing a detainee who might be easily re-recruited to jihad. But many never will be tried in a US court because the government is unwilling to reveal its evidence in their cases, probably because it was obtained during harsh interrogations or though other classified methods.—AP

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE: In this photo, a cell is shown during a tour of Camp V detention facility for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. —AP



Case against Pakistan’s Mumbai attacks accused ‘flawed’ ISLAMABAD: Lawyers for seven Pakistanis accused of involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks yesterday said the case against them “lacks evidence”, a day before the fifth anniversary of the assault that left 166 people dead. The three-day onslaught by 10 heavily-armed men on high-profile targets in India’s financial capital was blamed on the Pakistanbased Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant group and relations between the nuclear-armed neighbours plunged. Pakistan charged seven men in 2009 over the attacks, but has insisted it needs to gather more evidence in India before proceeding further, infuriat-

ing New Delhi. Rizwan Abbasi, a lawyer for the men, yesterday said the Indians only had themselves to blame for the slow progress. “This case has many legal flaws and lacks evidence. It is being delayed in Pakistan because India has failed to provide required evidence against the accused,” he told a news conference. The only gunman to survive the siege, Pakistani-born Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, was tried in Mumbai and hanged late last year for waging war against India, murder and terrorist attacks. “By hanging Kasab, India destroyed the only living evidence of these attacks and created problems for investigations in Pakistan,” Abbasi said.

New Delhi has branded Pakistan’s attempts at prosecuting the men a “facade” and has insisted it has already handed over enough evidence to convict the accused. In July last year Pakistan told India that fresh evidence in the case was inadmissible because Pakistani lawyers were not given the chance to cross-examine Indian officials. Abbasi claimed the dossiers handed over by India contained only “information and no solid evidence”. “There was also no proof that the attackers had any link with my clients because the phone numbers Indian authorities said were used for the contacts were not of Pakistani companies,” he said. New Delhi

has accused elements of the Pakistani state, — notably its Inter-Services Intelligence agency-of involvement in the attacks, which Islamabad denies. The failure of the legal process in Pakistan to convict anyone over the bloodshed, which was broadcast around the world on live television, has hampered efforts for a lasting peace agreement with India. The founder of LeT and alleged mastermind of the Mumbai attacks, Hafiz Saeed, lives openly in Pakistan despite a $5 million US government bounty on him. Last month India and the US agreed to step up measures to halt funds flowing to extremist groups in Pakistan, naming LeT in particular. — AFP

Adulterers may be stoned under new Afghanistan law Taleban set to return as foreign troops withdraw?

KOLKATA: An Indian social activist holds a placard as policemen (background right) look on during a rally on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in Kolkata yesterday. The activists pledged to wage a struggle against all forms of violence against women. — AFP

Mexico to honor Malala MEXICO CITY: Mexico said Sunday it will award its 2013 International Prize for Equality and Non-Discrimination to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot by the Taleban for championing girls’ rights to education. The award seeks to recognize Malala’s efforts for “the protection of human rights” and especially her fight to protect the right to education without discrimination on “grounds of age, gender, sex and religion,” Mexico’s official National Council to Prevent Discrimination said in a statement. The award ceremony is planned for early 2014. The 16-year-old, who survived

a gunshot wound to the head in 2012, has become a global ambassador for the rights of children. She is currently living in Britain, where she underwent surgery after the attack. Malala, who since age 11 has written a blog about girls’ right to education, has written an autobiography, addressed the United Nations and set up a fund to help girls around the world go to school and promote universal access to education. Last week, she was awarded the European Union’s prestigious Sakharov human rights prize at a ceremony significantly held on World Children’s Day. —AFP

KABUL: Death by stoning for convicted adulterers is being written into Afghan law, a senior official said yesterday, the latest sign that human rights won at great cost since the Taleban were ousted in 2001 are rolling back as foreign troops withdraw. “We are working on the draft of a sharia penal code where the punishment for adultery, if there are four eyewitnesses, is stoning,” said Rohullah Qarizada, who is part of the sharia Islamic law committee working on the draft and head of the Afghan Independent Bar Association. Billions have been invested on promoting human rights in Afghanistan over more than 12 years of war and donors fear that hard won progress, particularly for women, may be eroding. During the Taleban’s 1996-2001 time in power, convicted adulterers were routinely shot or stoned in executions held mostly on Fridays. Women were not permitted to go out on their own, girls were barred from schools and men were obliged to grow long beards. Providing fresh evidence popular support for the brutal punishment has endured, two lovers narrowly escaped being stoned in Baghlan province north of Kabul, but were publicly shot over the weekend instead, officials said. “While they were fleeing, suddenly their car crashed and locals arrested them. People wanted to stone them on the spot but some elders disagreed,” the provincial head of women’s affairs, Khadija Yaqeen, told Reuters yesterday. “The next day they decided and shot both of them dead in public. Our findings show that the woman’s father had ordered to shoot both man and woman.” The public execution was confirmed by the provincial police chief’s spokesman, who said the killings were unlawful. “It is absolutely shocking that 12

Karzai hedges on Afghan security pact despite assembly backing KABUL: President Hamid Karzai has hedged on signing a security pact which would allow some US troops to stay in Afghanistan, putting himself at odds both with Washington and with an Afghan assembly. The “loya jirga” assembly of 2,500 chieftains, tribal elders and politicians on Sunday overwhelmingly endorsed the agreement to permit some US soldiers to remain after 2014, the year when most of NATO’s 75,000 combat troops pull out. The meeting urged Karzai to sign the deal promptly. But the president did not indicate when the deal would be inked, and said it would only go ahead under certain conditions. US Secretary of State John Kerry said the assembly’s vote was a “compelling affirmation from the Afghan people themselves of their commitment to a long-term partnership with the United States”. “Very significantly, the loya jirga also urged that the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) should be signed before the end of the year,” he said. Supporters say the BSA is vital for the period after 2014 because the Afghan government remains fragile despite 12 years of war against Taleban insurgents. The Taleban, who before the assembly had threatened to target delegates if they backed the agreement, condemned the pact. The “illegal and insignificant pact of slavery with America will neither benefit the American invaders nor criminal slaves”, they said in a statement referring to the jirga members. Opening the assembly in Kabul on Thursday, Karzai exasperated Washington by saying he wanted to delay signing the BSA until after the successful completion of April’s presidential election. After four days of discussions under tight security, jirga delegates anxious to conclude the deal with Afghanistan’s main financial and military partner said in their closing statement that Karzai should sign before the end of 2013. “Given the current situation, and Afghanistan’s need... the contents of this agreement as a whole is endorsed by the members of this Loya Jirga,” they said. Peace, or ‘disaster’ However, Karzai set conditions including US “coopera-

tion” in efforts to make peace with the Taleban, and said he would “work on the agreement and continue bargaining”. Karzai also appeared to toughen his stance on US military raids on Afghan homes, a sensitive topic that threatened to derail the deal last week. “If the US goes into Afghan homes one more time, there will be no agreement,” he said, repeating the point for emphasis. In the days before the jirga his spokesman said Kabul and Washington had agreed to allow US raids but only in “exceptional circumstances” in which the lives of US troops were in danger. That wording was echoed in a letter from President Barack Obama to Karzai though it did not appear in the draft BSA text released by Kabul on the eve of the jirga. Kate Clark, senior analyst with the Afghan Analysts Network, said that with the BSA unsigned, Karzai retains some bargaining power. One explanation for his sudden imposition of conditions on a deal the US thought was concluded, she wrote on the AAN website, was that he is genuinely concerned about what happens once the Americans have the BSA. “As Karzai said on the first day of the jirga, there is no trust between them. He does not believe their assurances,” she wrote. “He wants to hold on to some form of leverage, as, in his mind, this is the only way to force the US to refrain from stomping over Afghan sovereignty.” The pact must be approved by the Afghan parliament before it can go into effect. But the question of when it would be signed has largely overshadowed discussions of its content in recent days. The US State Department warned that failure promptly to sign the pact could jeopardise billions of dollars in vital aid to the war-torn country. The White House has said it needs a swift decision to start planning the movement of US troops, and warned that Obama had not yet decided whether to keep any American forces in Afghanistan at all beyond 2014. A draft text of the BSA released by Kabul last week appeared to show Karzai had bowed to a US demand that American troops would remain exempt from Afghan jurisdiction if they are accused of crimes. — AFP

Gangs target Aussie pupils as drug mules SYDNEY: Australian authorities yesterday warned that high school students were being recruited by international drug syndicates to help them bring illicit substances into the country. The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service said students were allegedly asked to reveal their home addresses so they could collect parcels containing drug precursors, reportedly from China, in exchange for a few hundred dollars. “In this type of situation, a student is approached by criminals and tricked by an offer of earning so-called ‘easy money’ to pick up or receive a package concealing an illegal substance,” regional director Tim Fitzgerald said. “These ‘initial receivers’ collect, or take delivery of the goods and pass these substances onto the criminals.” In a case uncovered by authorities this year, two Sydney-based teenagers were allegedly paid several hundred dollars to accept parcels-one of which held four k ilos of ephedrine, enough to make Aus$250,000 ($229,000) of the drug crystal meth, or “ice”. Fitzgerald said while the parcels looked harmless, substances were hidden inside the contents, as he warned

students against accepting offers they might see on social networking sites or receive via text message. “They’ve got general goods inside them, in some instances like motorbike helmets, LED lights and shoes, and within those goods are concealed precursors such as ephedrine,” he told broadcaster ABC. “The promises that the syndicates give these students in a lot of instances is that because of their age, they won’t be held legally responsible and that’s completely incorrect,” Fitzgerald added. Those caught importing a border-controlled precursor, such as ephedrine, could face a fine of up to Aus$850,000 or 25 years in prison. New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said it was not known how widespread the practice was, but he urged parents to be vigilant because “organised criminals don’t care about your children”. “I don’t think that I’ve heard of a lower act than trying to get our children involved in this grubby business that these drug importers, these merchants of misery, are involved in,” he said. — AFP

years after the fall of the Taleban government, the Karzai administration might bring back stoning as a punishment,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. The US based rights group has urged funding to be tied to commitments and last month, Norway took the rare step of cutting aid on the grounds that Afghanistan had failed to meet commitments to protect women’s rights and fight corruption. Most donors, however,

have stopped short of using money to pressure President Hamid Karzai’s administration and US and United Nations officials were aware of the plan to reintroduce stoning, Qarizada said. The new law, he told Reuters, was unlikely to make stoning a common practice. “The judge asks each witness many questions and if one answer differs from other witnesses then the court will reject the claim,” Qarizada said. — Reuters

Nepal’s oldest party leads 1st poll results KATMANDU: Nepal’s oldest political party won the most seats in the first set of results from last week’s election ahead of two prominent communist parties, the country’s election commission said yesterday. The results showed that the Nepali Congress Party had won 105 of the 240 directly elected seats. The Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) trailed with 91 seats and the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has 26 seats. Counting for the 240 directly elected seats was completed yesterday. The Election Commission said counting of the second sets of ballots - where voters pick a political party - had also started. Those 335 seats will be divided among the 122 competing political parties according to the proportion of the total vote each gets. The election for Nepal’s Constituent Assembly was held Nov 19 and final results are expected by the end of the week. The Maoists, a party made up of former communist rebels, has withdrawn from the ballot counting after initial results showed them losing

most of the seats. That was a big drop from the last elections in 2008, when they won the largest number of seats. They demanded an independent probe because of alleged widespread irregularities and have threatened to boycott the Constituent Assembly. Party spokesman Agni Sapkota said the party will decide its next move during a meeting yesterday. Independent observers, including former US President Jimmy Carter, have said the election was free and fair of any irregularities. The Maoists fought government troops between 1996 and 2006, but then gave up their armed revolt, joined a peace process and mainstream politics. Their fighters joined the national army. Political leaders in the last assembly elected in 2008 disagreed over who got to lead the nation and on creating a federal system divided by ethnic groups or by geography. The resulting power vacuum has left Nepal without a proper constitution. — AP



More than a million seek China govt jobs BEIJING: More than one million people took China’s national civil service exam at the weekend in a modern version of an age-old rite, but faced huge odds against clinching one of the few government jobs available. A total of 1.12 million took the National Public Servant Exam, according to figures from the State Administration of Civil Service figures. But only 19,000 positions were available, the state-run Global Times newspaper said, meaning that fewer than 1 in 50 candidates will be successful. The most competitive role was with the National Ethnic Affairs Commission, where 14,384 candidates were vying for just two jobs, it added. Domestic reports said it was so popular because the application process appeared to be less arduous than for other positions. Government jobs are especially

appealing to Chinese because they are seen as stable employment and bring with them a range of privileges, as well as the status of being an official. The benefits can include living allowances, pensions, health insurance and even property-a valuable commodity in China’s prolonged housing boom. The current civil service test is a legacy of the ancient imperial examination known as the keju, introduced during the Sui Dynasty, which ruled from 580-618 AD, and often regarded as a key meritocratic element of the governing system. Early forms of the examinations were largely based on Confucian texts. They were open only to boys who were able to complete their education, either because of family wealth or sponsorship by benefactors. The tests were only held every three

years, and local officials would often present those who passed with a special banner to be hung at the entrance to their home, to ensure the success was remembered for generations. Nonetheless many posters on Sina Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter, ridiculed the candidates. “This really is China’s peculiar landscape”, said one poster with the username “Law and its value”. “Do they really want to pass the test to ‘serve the people’? No. They desperately hope to go and enjoy a privileged system of wages.” Another said: “Every time (they take the test), they are in fact just competing to be able to take bribes and bend the law.” Other netizens asked whether more civil servants were needed in China, following government pledges to cut down on bureaucracy. Chinese Premier Li

Keqiang said in March that the number of people on the government’s payroll will “decrease, not increase”, as he vowed to drive down the costs of running the world’s most populous country. “Who wouldn’t want to have a job that is guaranteed for life?” said one netizen. “But the real question should be: ‘Is it really necessary to recruit tens of thousands of civil servants every year?’” After the Communist Party came to power in 1949, employment in China’s huge state apparatus was achieved largely through personal recommendation or graduation from state colleges. But an open examination system was introduced in 1994 and later rolled out to include all new government jobs, amid growing public resentment over nepotism, official abuse and jobs being offered on the basis of loyalty to party

ideology, rather than ability. There were seven million civil servants in China by the end of 2012, government figures show. The annual exam includes an aptitude test and a written policy essay. Candidates who pass the written exam will then be subjected to a tough interview round. Exams can be taken at different levels of government, but the annual National Public Servant Exam offers the best jobs with the state. “Although the national civil service exam is more difficult than the provincial, I wanted to accumulate experience for other provincial exams,” the Global Times quoted one candidate Liu Yue as saying. The postgraduate was seeking one of two vacancies at the Tianjin Maritime Affairs Bureau-alongside 800 other applicants. —AFP

Thai Finance Ministry occupied amidst huge anti-govt protests More than 1,000 protesters storm in

SENDAI: US Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy puts on a cap of the Rakuten Golden Eagles for a photo during her visit to the Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces Tohoku District Headquarters in Sendai, northern Japan yesterday. —AP

Kennedy in Japan tsunami zone, highlights US ties ISHINOMAKI: Just 10 days after arriving in Japan as the new US ambassador, Caroline Kennedy is making a two-day visit to areas devastated by the 2011 tsunami to meet survivors and highlight America’s commitment to supporting its ally. The appointment of the daughter of President John F Kennedy has been popular among Japanese, and it was no different in the industrial port city of Ishinomaki, where residents stood in the wind and pouring rain waiting for a glimpse of the new ambassador. She visited a park with a wide vista of the city’s tsunami-ravaged waterfront before heading to an elementary school, where students performed skits in English and sang “Happy Birthday” to Kennedy, who turns 56 tomorrow. Kennedy has so far stuck to carefully scripted events, mostly avoiding interviews as she adapts to a more public role after living a largely private life. Thousands of people turned out last week to see her ride in a horse-drawn carriage to present her diplomatic credentials to Emperor Akihito. The Japanese media have praised her low-key style, which many see as appropriate for a working mom who has had little to do with politics, let alone diplomacy, throughout her career. She could become the most influential US ambassador to Japan since Edwin Reischauer, who was President Kennedy’s envoy 50 years ago, said Nancy Snow, an American visiting professor at Keio University in Tokyo. “She is primarily a softpower ambassador who will play to her strengths in culture, education and shared values between the US and Japan,” Snow

said. “She will highlight her many roles that resonate here: wife, mother, public service and humanitarian advocate.” The visit to the disaster region fits with those priorities. Kennedy tried her hand at calligraphy and exchanged high-fives with schoolchildren as she toured the northeastern region, about 340 kilometers (210 miles) north of Tokyo. She brushed in black ink the Japanese character for the word “tomo,” or friend. She then sat down to read “Where the Wild Things Are,” the classic children’s tale by American author Maurice Sendak, to a sixth-grade class. Her visit was also a tribute to the US “Tomodachi,” or friendship, program that provided initial rescue and relief and longer-term support for survivors of the disaster. She presented 112 books to the Mangokuura Elementary School, donated in memory of Taylor Anderson, an American who died in the tsunami while teaching at the school and others in Ishinomaki. Rebuilding has barely begun. Makeshift stores, restaurants, car washes and laundries have been set up in areas flattened by the tsunami, which was triggered by a magnitude-9 earthquake. The disaster left more than 18,000 people dead or missing, and tens of thousands of people remain in temporary, prefabricated housing more than 2 1/2 years later. Her new-found celebrity in Japan aside, Kennedy will also have to prove herself as a first-time diplomat. Kyouji Yanagisawa, a former national security official in the Prime Minister’s Office, said: “She is highly regarded largely for her top-brand image, as we hardly know her political skills.” — AP

Japan PM calls China air defence zone ‘dangerous’ TOKYO: China and Japan raised the temperature in a territorial dispute yesterday with both sides summoning the other’s ambassador over Beijing’s declaration of an air defence zone, a move Tokyo called “profoundly dangerous”. The diplomatic scuffle came after Washington said it would stand by Japan in any military clash over the Senkaku Islands, which Beijing claims as the Diaoyus, and as Seoul and Taipei voiced their disquiet at China’s weekend announcement. “I am strongly concerned as it is a profoundly dangerous act that may cause unintended consequences,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told parliament. “Japan will ask China to restrain itself while we continue cooperating with the international community,” he said. The comments are the first from the premier on the issue since Beijing on Saturday said it had established an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) that requires all aircraft flying over an area of the East China Sea to obey its orders. The zone covers the Tokyocontrolled Senkaku islands, where ships and aircraft from the two countries already shadow each other in a potentially dangerous confrontation. US Secretary of State John Kerry declared Washington “deeply concerned”, saying the move raised “risks of an incident”. “This unilateral action constitutes an attempt to change

the status quo in the East China Sea,” Kerry said. Tokyo called in Beijing’s ambassador to demand a roll-back of the plan which it said would “interfere with freedom of flight over the high seas”, but reportedly received short shrift from Cheng Yonghua, who said Tokyo should retract its “unreasonable demand”. Cheng’s opposite number in Beijing also got a carpeting in which he was told Japan should not make “irresponsible remarks” about the ADIZ. Under the rules aircraft are expected to provide their flight plan, clearly mark their nationality, and maintain two-way radio communication allowing them to “respond in a timely and accurate manner” to identification inquiries from Chinese authorities, the defence ministry said. The area also includes waters claimed by Taiwan and South Korea, and provoked anger in both places. Part of the zone overlaps South Korea’s own air defence zone and incorporates a disputed, submerged, South Korean-controlled rockknown as Ieodo-that has long been a source of diplomatic tension with Beijing. “I’d like to say once again that we have unchanging territorial control over Ieodo,” defence ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok said yesterday. In Taipei, the government pledged to “defend its sovereignty over the archipelago” (the Senkakus). Japan’s foreign ministry said it would not respect the Chinese demarcation, which had “no validity whatsoever in Japan”.—AFP

BANGKOK: About 1,000 anti-government demonstrators forced their way into Thailand’s Finance Ministry yesterday and protest leaders called for the occupation of other government buildings in an escalating bid to topple Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. The swiftly rising political tension came as more than 30,000 demonstrators marched to 13 areas across the city, raising the risk of a clash with police, a day after about 100,000 gathered in the city’s historic quarter. The protesters, led by the opposition Democrat Party, say Yingluck has become a puppet for her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted in a 2006 military coup and convicted of graft two years later - charges that he says were politically motivated. Yingluck swept to power in a 2011 election that was seen as a victory for the working poor and a defeat for the traditional Bangkok elite that backs the opposition Democrats - from top generals to royal advisers, middleclass bureaucrats and business leaders. Many of Bangkok’s working class have recently joined the protests, the biggest demonstrations since deadly political unrest in April-May 2010, when Thaksin’s supporters paralysed Bangkok to try to bring down a Democrat-led government. “I invite protesters to stay here overnight at the Finance Ministry,” protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban told a crowd gathered in front of the ministry. “I urge other protesters to do the same and seize other government buildings and offices around the country.” The protesters began the day chanting “Get Out!” against the government as they fanned out to state offices, military and naval bases and state television channels. A German photojournalist was attacked after a speaker at one protest site identified him as a pro-government sympathiser. Nick Nostitz said he was punched several times before escaping behind nearby police lines. The Finance Ministry’s power was cut briefly after the protesters burst inside, a Reuters witness said. The mounting tension condemned the baht currency to an

BANGKOK: Anti-government protesters wave national flags during a demonstration yesterday. —APF 11-week low, down 0.4 percent to 31.97 to the dollar. Anti-government rallies, which began last month, were triggered by a government-backed amnesty bill that could have led to the return of Yingluck’s brother, ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, without facing jail time for a 2008 corruption sentence. Although the bill has been dropped, the demonstrations have grown into an all-out call for government change and the ouster of Yingluck who is widely viewed as Thaksin’s proxy as he wields influence over government policies from a base in Dubai. “ This week is precarious. The options are very limited for the government,” said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a political analyst at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University. Yingluck, who faces a no-confidence debate on Tuesday, said she would not leave office. “I have no intention to resign or dissolve the House,” she told

reporters. As the protesters marched, they urged civil servants to join their campaign. Suthep, a former deputy prime minister under the previous Democrat-led government, exhorted the crowd to seize the government’s Public Relations department, a few blocks away from the Finance Ministry. By afternoon, about 500 protesters were inside the grounds but not inside the building, which is controlled by the office of the Prime Minister and home to government radio stations, according to witnesses. Thaksin, who won elections in 2001 and 2005 by landslides, remains a populist hero among the poor, whose votes helped Yingluck and her party sweep polls in 2011. But corruption scandals steadily eroded his popularity among Bangkok’s middle class. That was compounded by royalist accusations that Thaksin was undermining the monarchy, which he denied.

Nevertheless, the former telecommunications tycoon, who fled just before his 2008 graft conviction, remains deeply mistrusted by the Bangkok-based establishment. The protests have brought back memories of a tumultuous 2008 when antiThaksin “yellow shirt” protesters shut down Bangkok’s airports and held crippling rallies against a Thaksin government, which was eventually disbanded by a court. Yingluck’s ruling Puea Thai Party received a blow last week when the Constitutional Court rejected its proposals to make the Senate fully elected. That could have strengthened her government given her widespread support among voters in the heavily populated north and northeast. Supporters of Thaksin and Yingluck gathered in a stadium at the opposite end of the city, about 15 km (9 miles) away, say the court verdict is the latest attempt by anti-Thaksin forces to thwart the legislative process. — Reuters

US role in typhoon relief boosts new military deal with Manila MANILA: Emergency relief provided by US troops in areas devastated by typhoon Haiyan in the central Philippines makes a strong case for the two allies to clinch a new military accord, Manila’s foreign minister said yesterday. The Philippines and the United States have been negotiating a new security agreement allowing wider and more prolonged access for the US military at bases and other facilities in its former colony. It also provides for storage of equipment and supplies for humanitarian and maritime opera-

tions. Last month, after four meetings, the talks stalled over legal and constitutional issues. Both sides, however, are committed to concluding a deal, a boost to the foreign policy of President Barack Obama’s administration focusing on Asia and the Pacific. “What has been demonstrated in the central Philippines as a result of this typhoon and the assistance provided in terms of relief, rescue operation... is the need for this framework agreement that we are working on with the United States,”

TACLOBAN: In this photo, a father cuddles his son aboard an US Air Force C-130 plane on a mercy flight from typhoon-ravaged Tacloban city, Leyte province in central Philippines to Manila. — AFP

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario told reporters. “It accentuates one of the main purposes of the framework agreement, which is to make humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and response a very major aspect of the agreement.” The United States ran two militar y bases in the Philippines until the early 1990s, but abandoned them when the government refused to extend the necessary agreements. The current talks are taking place as the Philippines is engaged in a longrunning territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea. Tensions have periodically sharpened, with vessels from each side keeping close watch on the other. Fifty ships and aircraft The world’s biggest-ever storm to make landfall struck the central Philippines on Nov. 8, killing more than 5,200 people, displacing 4.4 million and destroying 24 billion pesos ($547 million) in crops and infrastructure. Within days, the US military sent some 50 ships and aircraft to help distribute food, water and other supplies and speed up delivery by reopening roads, ports and airports. Washington has contributed nearly $52 million in relief and shelter materials, including about $30 million in direct aid from the US Department of Defense, which sent the aircraft carrier USS George Washington and escort ships. New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith, speaking to journalists after meet-

ing del Rosario, said the storm “has brought all of us even closer together”. “We realised that this is a jewel of a friendship. We must preserve it at all cost. So I think... all other ongoing negotiations will all be given a positive boost as a direct result of this.” Smith said the United States was committed to long-term reconstruction, particularly housing. “There’s a colossal need,” he said. “We saw it first hand and that would be something that we take back because we want to be part of the solution.” The UN humanitarian office said life saving assistance is still urgently needed, particularly food, water and shelter due to limited access and lack of long-term supplies. The UN says it needs to raise $348 million to address those needs. China’s post-typhoon relief efforts were initially criticised, even by Chinese media, as inadequate, but Beijing last week sent a state of the art hospital ship to assist. The head of China’s relief mission said there could be no notion of diplomatic disputes in times of humanitarian crises. “ We know that our neighbour is suffering from the ... disaster. It is our duty to provide assistance in the fastest possible time,” Rear Admiral Shen Hao said yesterday aboard the 14,000-tonne Peace Ark. “In the eyes of the doctors and nurses there is no conflict, there is no problem. The only thing in their eyes is medical assistance.” — Reuters






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One step at a time: The Gabr fellows’ story By Dr James J Zogby n the midst of the confusion and uncertainty that characterizes current US-Egypt relations and with American and Egyptian attitudes toward each other having plummeted to all-time lows, I recently had the opportunity to participate in a “little” gem of a project that shows a way forward. Last month, twenty American and Egyptian young professionals visited the US as part of a program sponsored by the Shafik Gabr Foundation. This group of Gabr Fellows was evenly divided between nationals from both countries and included artists, academics, and specialists in fields ranging from law to energy. The goals of the program were to promote mutual understanding and to spawn implementable projects through which the participants could apply their expertise and their shared experiences to make a difference in improving the US-Egypt relationship. The Fellows had earlier spent three weeks in Egypt visiting historical sites and participating in discussions with academics, policy experts, and community leaders. While in the US, they visited five cities seeing our historical sites and meeting with opinion makers to discuss a broad range of policy concerns from the state of race relations in the US and the partisan split in Congress to the current debate over immigration policy and health care reform. As important as these discussions may have been, the Fellows also benefited from the time they spent with each other, debating gender equality and the role of religion in an effort to better understand the differences that exist in their respective cultural contexts. In conversations that followed I learned how important these side conversations had been to the Fellows. The Egyptians were struck by the persistence of race as a defining issue in American life and they were surprised by the dysfunctional nature of Washington politics. Both of these combined to shatter their view of the “American monolith”. For their part, the US participants came away from their experience with a better understanding of the aspirations of “ordinary Egyptians”, which helped to demystify their notions of today’s Egypt. Not only did each side develop a better understanding of the other - but a number of Fellows told me that they also ended up with greater insight into and appreciation of their own culture and traditions. The Gabr program was about more than developing “feel good”, personal relationships. A key component of the effort is the commitment of the Fellows to work in teams developing projects designed to bring their shared experience to others. One team, for example, is working on an “artist-in-residence” exchange program that would provide opportunities for young and accomplished artists from Egypt and the US to be hosted in each other’s country and then to display the work they produce during their residency back in their home country. Another team has developed a project creating a network of “microclinics” to provide rural Egyptians with expanded healthcare options. Modeled after a similar successful network operating Kentucky, this program will also provide training and a business plan empowering Egyptians to self-start similar efforts in their communities. Another project (one of my personal favorites) involves the installation of two large screens - one each in Egypt and the US - that will serve as “communication portals” creating a 24/7 connection - a sort of massive permanent “FaceTime” providing residents in Egypt and the US the opportunity to look into each other’s worlds, to engage in conversations, or simply, as one Fellow noted, to give each other a virtual “high five”. The twenty Fellows have now returned to their homes - though they remain in contact with their team members as they continue to refine their cooperative projects. Soon their programs will be up-and-running and the next group of Gabr Fellows will be preparing to begin their journey. The Gabr Foundation intends to expand the program with more groups coming each year. Shafik Gabr, a successful Egyptian businessman, was prompted to launch the Fellows initiative by the unraveling of the US/Egypt relationship following the dramatic events of 2011. Gabr is an Egyptian who is deeply devoted to his country. At the same time, he has long-standing ties to and affection for the United States. The growing distrust between Egyptians and Americans and the unsettling confusion in America’s handling of relations in the postMubarak era caused him great pain and then moved him to act.


NOTE: Dr James J Zogby is the President of the Arab American Institute

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Iran deal blunts possibility of Israel strike By John Davison nuclear deal between Iran and world powers has blunted Israel’s military threats against Tehran but the Jewish state can still exert pressure on its arch-foe through diplomatic and intelligence means, analysts say. Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program for the next six months in exchange for limited sanctions relief following marathon talks with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany in Geneva that ended Sunday. Western countries accuse Iran of seeking to build a nuclear weapon, a charge Tehran has long denied. Israel’s shrill response to the deal saw Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasise the Jewish state was “not bound” by the agreement and would strike Iran if necessary to stop it reaching atomic weapons capability. But experts say the Geneva deal has taken the military option firmly off the table, at least for the six-month negotiating period. “As long as the international community is moving into this six-month period where there’s supposed to be a negotiated comprehensive deal, it’s hard to believe Israel would take action,” said Dr Emily Landau of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies. Yoel Guzansky, former Iran analyst at the Israeli prime minister’s office and a research fellow at INSS, agreed. “Israel’s options are now few and limited,” Guzansky said. “Netanyahu has said a nuclear agreement is not binding for Israel, which reserves the right to defend itself by itself. But the real chances of (a military strike) happening after an agreement which effectively sides the entire international community with Iran, are significantly less than they were yesterday,” he said. “The fact an agreement was signed between Iran and the P5+1 countries will make it hard for Israel to act on its own.” However, this does not leave Israel with no options whatsoever, since the interim deal paves the way for further negotiations whose success remains to be seen. “In terms of (US President Barack) Obama’s project of putting time on the clock and not allowing the Iranians to move forward with their nuclear program during the months of negotiations, the deal is more or less something that can be lived with (for the Israelis),” Landau said. Under the deal, Tehran will limit uranium enrichment - the area that raises most suspicions over Iran’s nuclear program - to low levels that can only be used for civilian energy purposes. In return, it will get $7 billion in sanctions relief. “What we’ve seen over the past weeks (in terms of talks) will seem quite easy compared to how future talks will be,” Landau said. “It’s not a great deal, but it’s not a disaster either.” Dr Uzi Rabi, an Iran specialist at Tel Aviv University, said Israel might use the interim period to put Iran under diplomatic and


intelligence pressure. “This represents a six-month period where the Iranians are going to recover economically,” he said. “Israel now needs to start thinking, how are we going to cope. This could include a concerted intelligence effort to expose the military dimension of Iran’s nuclear effort, or to expose any violation by Iran of the terms of the agreement.” And any slip up by Iran would make it easier for Israel to push once again for military action in the long term, said Guzansky. “International legitimacy (the green light from world powers) is not the main consideration of Israel if and when it considers striking an Iranian nuclear facility,” he said. “The backing of the US and other countries would be important, and Israel would find it hard to act without at least their ‘yellow light’. “But if and when the Iranians cheat - they’ve cheated before, and might do

so again - and then Israel will have the legitimacy to use other means and to say, I told you so,” said Guzansky. “If Israel finds a secret site Iran didn’t declare,” Israel will find it easier to take action. In the meantime, the diplomatic effect of the deal could see Israel and the US’s Arab allies finding more in common, despite their past enmity, the analysts said. “When you talk about alliances now in the Middle East, (Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE) is a tacit alliance,” Guzansky said. “Those countries are even more concerned about Iran than Israel is. “The next six months will be a test for US-Israeli relations and US-Arab relations.” Rabi agreed. “The Saudis are furious about what’s going on. It seems many American allies in the region have reasons to be annoyed,” he said. “Shifting alliances is the best way to describe the situation.” — AFP

US risked Israeli ties By Jo Biddle he Iran nuclear deal will raise US-Israeli tensions, yet Washington risked Israel’s fury believing a global settlement will ensure security for both the US and the Middle East, analysts said. Just hours after the six powers guiding the talks with Iran announced a ground-breaking deal in Geneva, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu angrily denounced it as a “historic mistake”. But US officials have long said privately that nothing short of a total dismantling of Iran’s nuclear energy program will satisfy the Israeli leader - something they warn is totally unrealistic. In a bid to soothe tensions, US President Barack Obama Sunday phoned Netanyahu and urged the two nations “to begin consultations immediately regarding our efforts to negotiate a comprehensive solution” with Iran, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. Secretary of State John Kerry however defended the accord reached with the so-called P5+1 group that will freeze Iran’s program for six months to negotiate a comprehensive deal, saying “you can’t always start where you want to wind up.” “Israel will actually gain a larger breathing space in terms of the breakout capacity of Iran,” Kerry insisted on ABC television’s “This Week”. “Do you want to sit there and argue that you have to dismantle your program before you stopped it, and while you’re arguing about this dismantling it, they progress?” he asked. Senior policy analyst Alireza Nader with the RAND Corporation said only a negotiated settlement backed by


international inspections could provide guarantees that Iran was not secretly trying to pursue an atomic weapon. “Even if there’s a military conflict with Iran and either the US or Israel attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, you can’t wipe out Iran’s knowledge base,” he told AFP. “Iran has mastered the fuel cycle, so it could reconstitute any aspects of its nuclear program that have been damaged and destroyed.” While in the short term US-Israeli tensions will rise, Nader said: “I would argue that Israel really has no more closer ally than the United States, neither does Saudi Arabia for that matter. The security of the region is still dependant on the United States,” he added. And he argued Israel would not seek to undermine an accord which the international community has signed off on with a strike on Iran in the coming six months. That would only increase Israel’s isolation, as it comes under fire for a lack of Arab-Israeli peace deal, and be seen as “a highly provocative act by the rest of the world,” Nader said. “What we are witnessing is a potential rapprochement between the United States and Iran that could basically redraw the geo-strategic map in the Middle East itself,” Fawaz Gerges, professor of Middle East politics with the London School of Economics, told MSNBC. Even if the United States was not on the same page as Israel or Saudi Arabia over Iran, people should “remember the United States has broader national security interests that must take into account security and stability in the region and American national interests as well.” —AFP

Dems reach breaking point on filibusters By Charles Babington s Democrats watched Senate Republicans use filibuster powers to thwart more and more of President Barack Obama’s agenda and nominees, they wondered how much worse it could get. They finally reached a breaking point this past week when party leaders concluded that what they called GOP obstruction had made a mockery of American democracy. The Senate vote Thursday to curb some filibuster powers, after years of hesitation, will go down as a singular moment. Historians may view it as an inevitable step in the relentless march of partisanship, which severely has damaged the ability of Congress to conduct even routine business. Senate Democrats opened themselves up to future retaliation by furious Republicans in order to let Obama, a Democrat, do things many of his predecessors typically did with minimal fuss: fill executive jobs and vacant judgeships. “They’re at peace with the idea that this president, along with future presidents, deserve to, with rare exceptions, put their own people in place,” said Jim Manley, who spoke Friday with his former boss, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “The current situation was untenable,” Manley said, “and something had to change.” The final straw for Democrats came when Republicans used the filibuster, which allows 41 of the 100 senators to block almost any action, to bar Obama nominees from three vacancies on a powerful federal appeals court. Republican senators didn’t pretend the nominees were unqualified, which struck some Democrats as a virtual taunt. Democrats dismissed the GOP claim that the vacancies needn’t be filled at all. In Democrats’ eyes, the Senate’s 45 Republicans had turned democracy on its head. The party that lost the past two presidential elections and failed to win control of the Senate nonetheless was dictating who the president could or could not appoint to important government posts. “Today’s pattern of obstruction, it


just isn’t normal,” Obama said, praising the Senate’s 52-48 vote to change the rules. Republicans used the filibuster “as a reckless and relentless tool,” he said, “simply because they opposed the policies that the American people voted for in the last election.” “Neither party has been blameless for these tactics,” the president noted. Indeed, Democrats blocked or delayed so many of President George W Bush’s appointees that Republicans, who ran the Senate in 2005, threatened to curtail filibuster powers in much the same way Democrats have done now. A bipartisan truce halted that effort, but it didn’t last long. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky now says Obama and other Democrats will regret destroying a time-honored protection of minority rights in Congress, “perhaps a lot sooner than you think.” “The solution to this problem is an election,” said a visibly angry McConnell. “We look forward to having a great election in 2014.” Yet in a sharply divided society, US elections often settle less than the winners had hoped. Bush won re-election in 2004, but got nowhere trying to partly privatize Social Security. Obama was given a second term last year after defending his landmark health care law, only to find congressional Republicans as determined as ever to undo it. House Republicans, who control their chamber by 32 seats, voted 40 times to rescind or restrict that law. In the Senate, where Republicans have a 10-seat disadvantage, they increasingly turned to the filibuster to block the president’s agenda as much as possible. Both parties had a different view when the power structure was reversed. Republicans in 2005 threatened to curtail filibuster powers when they controlled the Senate. A bipartisan truce halted the effort. It didn’t last long. Obama told reporters that in the 60 years before he took office, “only 20 presidential nominees to executive positions had to overcome filibusters. In just under five years since I took office, nearly 30 nominees have been treated this way.” Now people ask whether the Senate rules change will make things better for the government and nation, or worse. Reid

said it will help the country and the Senate. Others disagree, saying the quarrels will grow even hotter. Thursday’s actions did not prevent the minority party from using filibusters to block legislation or Supreme Court nominees. Sooner or later, some activists in both parties say, those barriers will fall, too. “It is just a matter of time - perhaps as soon as the next Congress - before one party or the other eliminates the filibuster for legislation, not just judicial appointments,” said John Ullyot, a GOP Senate aide during the 2005 filibuster debates. “The genie is out of the bottle,” he said, “and there’s no putting it back in.” Some Republicans say they look forward to the day when a GOP president can use a simple Senate majority to revoke Obama’s 2010 healthcare overhaul. In the meantime, advocates of bipartisanship fear that the rules change will snuff out any remaining hope of progress in Congress. Former Sen George Voinovich, an Ohio Republican who often worked with Democrats, said Republicans’ justified anger makes it highly unlikely House-Senate budget negotiators will reach even a modest accord to curb deficits and redirect spending cuts to make them less damaging. “We’re not going to get anything,” said Voinovich, who has been urging the two-party negotiators to make courageous decisions. “The public is unbelievably upset” at the federal government, he said, and fallout from the filibuster rules change will make matters worse. Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, now the Senate’s longest-serving member, said he resisted changing filibuster rules for years, even when fellow Democrats complained. “Yet over the past five years,” Leahy said in a floor speech Thursday, Senate Republicans resorted to obstructionism that “crossed the line from use of the Senate rules to abuse of the rules.” The filibuster rules change will bring the Senate somewhat closer to the House, where the minority party has few powers. In many ways, however, the Senate and the nation have been growing more partisan for years as the realignment of American politics drives moderates from both parties.—AP



DUBAI: Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, is seen engulfed in fog as it stands behind a traditional mosque in the early hours of the morning yesterday. — AFP

Kuwait, Saudis tighten controls on clerics Continued on Page 15 countries - and other Gulf monarchies - is that the Brotherhood espouses an active political doctrine that urges staunch Sunnis to agitate for change. That flies in the face of traditional Gulf theology, particularly the Wahhabi strain of Sunni Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia, which preaches that good Muslims should obey their rulers in most circumstances. Khalid Al-Dakhil, a Saudi political analyst, said he believes many of the outspoken imams in the kingdom who worry the authorities are influenced by the Brotherhood. “(The Muslim Brotherhood) allege that they do not seek power but in reality they use religion as a cover for their agenda and say that they want to serve Islam,” Dakhil said. Despite the ban, Saudi Arabia has unofficially tolerated informal meetings of the Muslim Brotherhood so long as they avoid any discussion of politics. But concern about the movement’s influence has grown more pointed since the Saudi royal family backed Egyptian army chief General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s overthrow of Morsi in July. Saudi authorities suspended a Riyadh preacher who was filmed in August attacking Sisi in a sermon that provoked a brief scuffle inside the mosque. In the same month, Kuwaiti Tareq Al-Suwaidan, known across the Arab world for his lectures on selfimprovement, was fired from his job as a host on a Saudi television show after he identified himself as “one of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood” during a lecture in Yemen. The channel’s owner, Saudi billionaire Prince Alaweed bin Talal, criticised him as having “extremist inclinations”. “Some preachers discuss issues that have nothing to do with their country, but rather harm it,” said Mohammad al-Zulfa, a former member of Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council, a quasi-parliament appointed by the king to advise on policy. In some parts of the Gulf, weekly sermons are approved by the government in advance. In Kuwait, which boasts a relatively free forum for speech and debate, the Islamic Affairs Ministry issues sample sermons but the imams don’t have to use them. Khaled AlHais, the government official in charge of overseeing mosques in Hawally governorate, said clerics were free to

talk about most things as long as they don’t refer to people or families or make sectarian remarks. The government banned the television show of Kuwaiti Sunni Muslim cleric Shafi Al-Ajmi in August after one episode on the state channel, after he voiced support for arming Syrian rebels in speeches and on social media and called for the killing of fighters linked to the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah who are fighting on Assad’s side. Ajmi, who has more than a quarter of a million followers on Twitter, has since been suspended from giving sermons, local media have reported. The ministry sent out a missive this summer calling on clerics to concentrate on moral issues, and started recording sermons in August after a break of more than a year. But while the authorities may still have leverage when it comes to sermons, controlling what people say on social media, which is ubiquitous in both countries, is a far more complicated task. Saudi Arabia monitors Twitter feeds of well-known preachers and Kuwaiti clerics who do not conform to guidelines can risk suspension while foreign clerics can be deported. Authorities maintain their efforts to manage the message on social media are only aimed at ensuring “consistency” to avoid confusion. “Preaching should be consistent. One cannot hold one view on the mosque’s podium and then contradict it on (social media) sites,” Abdul Muhsen Al-Sheikh, undersecretary in the Islamic Affairs Ministry, told pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat in September. Hais, the Kuwaiti religious official, said: “Everyone has the freedom to use Twitter and Facebook but we watch what they write, to see if it is similar to what they say (in the mosque).” Saudi cleric Abdulaziz Al-Qassem, a lawyer who supports limited reforms in Saudi Arabia, said it was unlikely that the government would go so far as to insist that imams only deliver government-approved sermons. With tens of thousands of mosques in Saudi Arabia, and the clergy’s independence and power so strong, such a scenario was not only unlikely but probably impossible to implement. “The country is barely able to manage the economy and the rule of law,” he said. But he added: “Preachers are taking part in partisan and factional battles and leaving aside the role of the mosque as a podium for preaching ... Mosques have been abducted.” — Reuters

Dubai world expo bid stirs worry of bubble Continued from Page 1 While the World’s Fair no longer holds the popularity of other global events like the Olympics or World Cup, it remains a chance for millions of people from around the world to discuss and see the business of the future. Dubai is competing with Yekaterinburg in Russia, Izmir in Turkey and Sao Paulo to host Expo 2020. Dubai’s rulers say the city of 2.2 million people most of them foreigners - is a perfect fit to host the exhibition. It is home to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, one of the world’s largest malls, a man-made island shaped like a palm tree and an indoor ski slope. A spending spree is already underway in Dubai for the expo - even before officials announce this week which city will host it. Authorities say they will build an entirely new city with a university around the exhibition pavilion that would host the expo in what is now still a desert near the Jebel Ali seaport, one of the world’s busiest. That’s where the Emirates is building what it hopes will be the world’s biggest airport. The city’s logo for the expo, an interconnected, geometrical Arabesque design, also mirrors how its leaders see Dubai - as a geographical link between Europe and Asia. “We are ready to host the world in 2020 and we are fully capable of organizing the best event ever in the history of this global gathering,” Dubai ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid wrote on his Twitter page last month. Despite the Dubai expo’s planned theme of sustainability, not all World’s fairs have been profitable. The last world expo in Shanghai in 2010 was a success that showcased China’s rise as a modern industrial power. However, the Hanover, Germany, fair in 2000 drew far fewer visitors than expected and lost an estimated $1 billion. Dubai estimates a successful Expo 2020 bid will generate $23 billion between 2015 and 2021, or 24 percent of the city’s gross domestic product. They say total financing will cost $8.4 billion. They believe some 17.5 million visitors from outside the Emirates will come to Dubai for the six-month-long event. Since the United Arab Emirates’ unification 42 years ago, Dubai has evolved from a desolate corner of the Arabian Peninsula into a global hub for business. Its residential property boom over the years has been a

magnet for the world’s super rich. Recent investors include Syrian, Libyan and Egyptian millionaires waiting out unrest back home. Regional instability combined with efforts to rebound from the financial crisis have resulted in soaring Dubai property rates, up by around 20 percent since last year - the world’s largest year-on-year average price increase. In some neighborhoods, rents skyrocketed by more than 40 percent. Lurking beneath Dubai’s massive push are fears it is headed toward another real estate bubble whether it wins the bid or not. Some analysts argue hosting the expo can help avert another crisis, while others say a massive building project for the expo will create another boom-and-bust c ycle like the one that brought the city to its knees in 2008. Dubai saw property values slashed by more than half and the city’s government ultimately needed a $10 billion bailout from oil-rich neighbor Abu Dhabi in 2009. Mansour, director of Mubadala Pramerica Real Estate Investors, predicts the real estate market will fall and correct itself in the next 18 to 24 months. “The (investment) capital is temporary and can quickly move out,” Mansour warned. A report by the Emiratesbased branch of Chartered Financial Analysts Institute found 55 percent of surveyed investors worry a successful bid will create another economic bubble. Only a quarter of the 215 people surveyed believed the Emirates had done enough to make its economy immune to another crash. Another report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research said there are “a number of uncertainties surrounding tourism forecasts and spending” in Dubai’s expo projections. However, it also said the event could raise Dubai’s GDP during the fair by 2 percent. UAE Minister of Economy Sultan Al Mansoori told the state-backed Gulf News daily that an Expo win would be positive for the economy. “We are making sure there will be no bubble if we win,” the newspaper quoted him as saying. A fire-red poster the length of a towering building overlooking Dubai’s main thoroughfare advertising a real estate website is one of the most vivid displays of the city’s fears. In in Arabic, it says: “Be assured, the real estate market is well.” In English, it simply reads: “Keep calm. There’s no bubble.” — AP

Assembly to debate record 6 grillings By B Izzak KUWAIT: The National Assembly is expected to set a new record today by debating six grillings including two against the prime minister over a variety of allegations including failing to perform their duties and mismanagement. The session is scheduled to continue until all the grillings are debated, according to Assembly Speaker Marzouk Al-Ghanem, which could mean continuing to work overnight until tomorrow morning. The record belongs to a session held about three years ago in which former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and three ministers were grilled on the same day and the debate continued for close to 20 hours and ended with two no-confidence motions. Today’s session however is scheduled to start with a vote on a no-confidence motion against Health Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah which was filed two weeks ago following a grilling debate in which the minister was accused of mismanagement and negligence. The minister was grilled by MP Hussein Al-Quwaian over claims that he was not paying enough attention to the ministry of health as he holds another portfolio. Two MPs in favour and two against will speak at the start of the session and the minister as well as Quwaiaan will also make arguments. The vote comes as the case of a Kuwaiti doctor at Amiri Hospital is gaining momentum. Dr Kefaya Abdulmalek claimed that she was transferred from Amiri Hospital in Kuwait City to the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Sulaibkhat to appease a lawmaker whose father was receiving treatment at the hospital and whom Dr Kefaya allegedly did not keep long enough in the ICU. Friends and supporters of the doctor staged a second protest yesterday in solidarity and to condemn a decision by the Assembly’s health panel

stating that her transfer was a routine decision by the minister and was not politically-motivated. The minister is however well-positioned to survive the no-confidence vote with a comfortable margin. After that, the grillings will start in order of submission. Accordingly, the first to be debated is the grilling against State Minister for Planning and Development Rola Dashti, who is accused of failing to implement the country’s development plan. The grilling was submitted by MP Khalil Abdullah who said that he wants to show that Dashti is not a capable minister and should be dismissed from the Cabinet. Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah will then face two grillings that are likely to be debated in public. One of the grillings was submitted by opposition MP Riyadh Al-Adasani in which he accused the minister of failing to perform his duties as head of the government. Another grilling submitted by Adasani was withdrawn after the Assembly supported a request by the prime minister to delete two issues in the grilling because they allegedly violated the constitution. The second grilling against the prime minister was filed by MP Safa Al-Hashem who made almost the same accusations. There were reports that the two grillings may be merged but it has not been confirmed yet. Two other grillings are against State Minister for Housing and Municipality Salem Al-Othaina over alleged failure to deal with the housing crisis and for removing tents used by Shiites to mark a Ashura, while the last grilling is against Dashti field by Hashem. The Cabinet at its weekly meeting yesterday declared its support of the ministers but added that it has left the constitutional and legal issues to the concerned ministers, which means that the government may object to some of the grillings on constitutional and legal grounds.

Monastery finds saviour in sheikh Continued from Page 1 Perched spectacularly amid thickly forested mountains about 100 km northeast of Yerevan, Haghartsin monastery is a masterpiece of medieval Armenian ecclesiastical architecture. Founded in the tenth century, the monastery - which includes three churches and once housed some 250 monks - survived attacks from Arab and Ottoman invaders and anti-religious campaigns under Soviet rule during its turbulent history. But after weathering those storms, decades of neglect in recent years meant the complex looked headed for collapse as plants twisted through walls and cracks threatened to send buildings tumbling. “The monastery was in need of serious reconstruction but the repairs were always delayed by the lack of finances,” father Aivazyan said. That was until a fortuitous visit from Qasimi, who had been invited to Armenia by former president Robert Kocharian on a trip set up by the Armenian business community in the emirate. “In 2005 his royal highness visited Armenia and generously offered to renovate the complex during a tour of various Armenian regions,” says Varouj Nerguizian, a Sharjah-based Armenian businessman who has advised the sheikh. Nerguizian refused to say how much the sheikh had given for the refurbishment but local media reported that it could be around $1.7 million. Now, after years of building work including a new road up to the monastery to help boost visitor numbers, the refurbished structure was finally opened last month. “It falls within the natural context of his royal highness’ philanthropy as well respect for other religions,” Nerguizian. Perched on the Arabian Gulf, after Abu

Dhabi and Dubai, Sharjah is the third largest of the seven emirates that make up the UAE. Qasimi, 74, - who came to power in 1972 after his brother, then king, was killed in a failed coup - has sought to boost the emirate as a tourist and cultural hub in the region. Despite a thriving community of Armenian businessmen that now boasts its own church in the emirate of some 900,000 inhabitants - there have been few links between Yerevan and Sharjah. For those working at the monastery, the surprise of seeing an Arab leader visiting the holy Christian site remains a vivid memory. “He came with his entourage of about 10 people and looked around for quite a while at all the churches and stone crosses before asking to go into the main Church of Our Lady,” recalled Artak Sahakyan, who sells candles to visiting worshippers. “When he came out he said that he believed that the word of God was really heard here,” Sahakyan said. Armenia is considered to be the oldest Christian country in the world and its Apostolic Church belongs to the ancient Oriental Orthodox branch. The church is hugely influential in Armenia and two monasteries and its main cathedral are already listed on UNESCO’s list of world heritage site. After a history of conflict between Armenia and its Muslim neighbours of Turkey and Azerbaijan, those working at the Harghartsin monastery say they hope the support they have received from a Muslim ruler shows that the two faiths can get along. “The sheikh is a deeply religious man so seeing a monastery is such a bad state it is not surprising that he felt touched,” says father Aivazyan. “It is as if the with this generous gesture the sheikh is saying that we need to be tolerant of other religions as in the end we all serve one God,” Aivazyan said. — AFP

Death upheld for Kuwaiti woman, royal Continued from Page 1 According to the ruling, the woman beat her maid for several days until her health deteriorated. The couple then took the maid “unconscious” to a remote area in the desert where they threw her from the back seat of the car and then drove over her until she died. More than 100,000 Filipinos, many of them women working as maids, live in Kuwait, where some 600,000 domestic helpers, mostly Asians, are employed. The supreme court also upheld a death sentence for a member of the state’s ruling family convicted of killing his nephew, also a royal, according to the verdict. Sheikh Faisal Abdullah Al-Sabah was convicted of

shooting Sheikh Basel Salem Al-Sabah to death at the latter’s palace in June 2010, apparently over a dispute on board membership at a sports club. Sheikh Basel was the grandson of the late former emir Sheikh Sabah Salem Al-Sabah and the son of late minister of defence and interior Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah. Courts in Kuwait have in the past handed down death sentences to members of the Al-Sabah ruling family. Both rulings are final and cannot be challenged but could be commuted to a life term by HH the Amir. Executions in Kuwait are carried out by hanging. Kuwait resumed executions earlier this year after a moratorium since 2007. Around 50 prisoners are currently on death row. — Agencies



Former Man United defender Foulkes dies

Investigation launched into Ligue 1 violence

Jayawardene rested for one-day series

LONDON: Former Manchester United defender Bill Foulkes, a survivor of the 1958 Munich air disaster, has died at the age of 81, the club announced yesterday. Foulkes made his United debut in 1952 and played 688 times for the club-a figure surpassed by only Ryan Giggs, Bobby Charlton and Paul Scholes. He was one of the people who survived after a plane carrying the United squad crashed on a snow-covered runway in Munich in February 1958 while returning from a European Cup match in Belgrade. The crash claimed the lives of 23 people, including United stars such as Duncan Edwards and Tommy Taylor, but Foulkes went on to play for the team that won the club’s first European Cup in 1968. United said that he had passed away in the early hours of Monday morning but did not disclose the cause of death. “Bill was a giant character in the post-war history of Manchester United,” said United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward. “He was a very gentle man, who I was privileged to meet on several occasions, including most memorably with his team-mates at the Champions League final in Moscow, 50 years after his heroics in the Munich air crash.—AFP

PARIS: An investigation has been launched into the violence that surrounded Sunday’s French Ligue 1 match between Nice and SaintEtienne, the public prosecutor in Nice said yesterday. Eight people were hurt after fans from the two sides tore up seats inside the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice and hurled them at each other. Saint-Etienne’s fans, who had earlier seen the bus carrying them to the ground come under fire from a barrage of stones thrown by rival Nice supporters, had to be surrounded by police and evacuated from the stadium before the game began. According to a source close to the investigation, the French interior ministry may even discuss the matter. Some 200 seats were torn up and used as missiles, Nice’s head of security Andre Bloch said Sunday night. Nice’s public prosecutor Eric Bedos said that an investigation was underway, although he didn’t give any more details. Nice’s deputy mayor Christian Estrosi blamed SaintEtienne’s fans and condemned their “attitude and the acts of vandalism that dishonoured football and even sporting values.” He added that “all the elements at our disposal show that the Saint-Etienne fans behaved like hooligans.” Saint-Etienne official Roland Romeyer did not point his finger at either set of fans but told RTL radio station: “It’s clear that these are not normal people, they’re not people who had the education that I had from the point of view of respect and human values.” — AFP

COLOMBO: Mahela Jayawardene has been rested for the limited-overs leg of Sri Lanka’s series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates starting next month. Sri Lanka Cricket said in a statement on Monday that 36-year-old Jayawardene, who has played 407 ODIs and scored over 11,000 runs, had requested leave on personal grounds. Left-handed batsman Kithuruwan Vithanage, who has played two tests but has yet to represent Sri Lanka in limited overs cricket, was named as his replacement. Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath was named in the one-day squad but was not considered for the Twenty20 series as “he was being rested considering the excessive amount of cricket he played and the available cricket for him up to the 2015 World Cup.” Sri Lanka play Pakistan in two T20 internationals in Dubai on Dec. 11 and 13 before moving to Sharjah for the start of the fivematch one-day international series on Dec. 18. —Reuters

Feng shoots 66 and wins LPGA Tour finale

SAO PAULO: German driver Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull celebrates his victory in the podium of the Brazilian Formula one Grand Prix at the Interlagos racetrack in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Sunday. — AFP

Massa signs off from Ferrari in frustration SAO PAULO: Felipe Massa cursed race stewards for ruining his Ferrari farewell in front of his home fans at the Brazilian Grand Prix yesterday. The Sao Paulo driver had gone from ninth on the starting grid to fourth, with ever y chance of team mate Fernando Alonso handing him third as a parting gift, when he was given a drive-through penalty for fully crossing a white line at the pit lane entry. “Unbelievable, unacceptable,” he had shouted over the team radio when told. He shook his fists as he drove through the pitlane and was still incensed after finishing the race in seventh place. “I’m really disappointed,” he told reporters in the Interlagos paddock. “For sure they (the stewards) didn’t do the right thing. If you really need to do that, you need to penalize everybody who passed there, not just me. Its really unacceptable and I feel sorry because the race could have been completely different.” Massa, whose last win was at Interlagos in 2008 when he missed out on the title to Britain’s Lewis Hamilton by a single point, said Alonso had told him before the race that he would help him to the best possible send-off. “He just came to say wherever you

are behind me, I let you by,” said the Brazilian, who is moving to Williams after eight years at Ferrari. Alonso, who had already made sure of second place overall in the championship, finished the race in third place and paid tribute afterwards to his departing team mate. “He’s been a fantastic team mate and even if we continue to see one another in the paddock, I will miss the relationship we have had. I wish him all the best for the future,” said the Spaniard. Massa is being replaced at Ferrari by returning 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen. The drive-through cost Ferrari the chance of leapfrogging Mercedes for second place overall in the championship but the Italian team still made sure Massa was left in no doubt about their affection for him. Given a guard of honour by mechanics as he drove out of the garage before the start of the race, they donned T-shirts afterwards thanking him for his contribution. “I will miss the human part, you can see my relationship with Ferrari, how many friends I have here,” said Massa. “It was a very emotional day, not only for me but for everybody that is working together with me and this is what I will miss more.” — Reuters

NAPLES: The only trouble Shanshan Feng faced Sunday was figuring out how to light the cannon that signaled the end of the LPGA Tour season. She made the golf look easy at the LPGA Titleholders. Two shots behind going into the final round, the 24-year-old from China ran off four birdies in the opening six holes to seize control, and she closed with a 6-under 66 to win by one shot and claim the richest prize in women’s golf. It also was her second win this year, which meant as much to her as the $700,000 check. “I had a goal to win two tournaments,” she said. “I won in China. I didn’t think I was going to achieve my goal, and I made it in my last tournament in Florida.” Feng said her win last month in Beijing required a little luck - a shot that took a weird and wild bounce out of the rough, raced across the green and crashed into the flagstick to set up a tap-in eagle. Sunday was sheer skill. Feng was in such control of her game that she missed three birdie chances inside 6 feet in the middle of her round that kept the outcome in doubt until the end. Gerina Piller stayed within one shot of Feng, and she hit a 7-iron into 10 feet for a chance at birdie to force a playoff. The putt narrowly missed, and Piller had to settle for a 69 and her best finish on the LPGA Tour. Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand had a 70 and finished alone in third. Feng finished at 15-under 273, the number she had in mind at the start of the day - even if it didn’t result in a win. “Before I started, I never thought I was going to win,” Feng said. “I knew I was only two behind. But I thought all the people in the last group were really strong competitors.” No one was stronger than Feng, who played the final 31 holes without a bogey. Natalie Gulbis, tied for the 54-hole lead with Pornanong and Piller, wasn’t up to the task. Going for her first win in six years, Gulbis didn’t make a birdie until the 14th hole, and by then she couldn’t stop a spectacular slide. Gulbis closed with an 82. Stacy

NAPLES: Shanshan Feng fires from the 18th fairway during the final and fourth round of the CME Group Titleholders LPGA golf tournament Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Fla. China’s Feng took home the top prize of $700,000 shooting a 15-under par for the tournament. — AP Lewis had to settle for only one prize. The Women’s British Open champion became the first American since Beth Daniel in 1994 to win the Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average. She had to win to capture the money list, but after an early birdie, Lewis never regained any momentum. She closed with a 71 and tied for sixth. “As Americans, we hear about that all the time - it’s been 18 years or it’s been 20 years or whatever it is,” Lewis said. “I’m just glad to have that kind of checked off the list. We’ve got to get American golf on the map. That’s been the goal and I’m just fortunate I’ve been playing good golf.” Inbee Park, who clinched player of the year last week in Mexico, had a 68 to finish fifth. She won the LPGA Tour money title. The only other award at stake Sunday was rookie of the year. That went to Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand, who closed with a 72. She won by one point over Caroline Masson of

Germany. Feng just stole the show on the final day of the season. As winner of the CME Group Titleholders, she lit the cannon to signal the end of the year. That proved far more difficult than the 7iron she hit into 8 feet for birdie on the 15th, or that pitch up the slope on the 17th hole that led to her final birdie. “I was really nervous,” she said. “I don’t know how I did it. Once it touched the thing and then it just went out in like a half a second, and I was shocked it released so fast and it was gone already. I was really excited.” As for that paycheck? Feng says she is not a big spender and said she would put it in the bank, perhaps buy herself a small gift later. Piller put up a good fight. She stuffed her approach on No. 15 to within 4 feet for birdie to pull within one shot. Feng was in the group ahead and went over the green on her second shot into the par-5 17th, and then hit a chip that settled within tap-in range to reach 15

under. Piller matched her birdie at the 17th with a solid up-and-down from a collection area, but she couldn’t get that last birdie to force a playoff. “I was happy with the way I hit the putt,” Piller said. “I just didn’t read enough break.” The win should take Feng to No. 4 in the world. Park, who went into a minor slump after winning her third straight major at the US Women’s Open, closed out her LPGA season with two top 10s. She still has one event left in Taiwan before taking a long winter ’s break, with plans to go to Australia to prepare for next season. She won the money title for the second straight season. “I played better this year,” Park said. “There is definitely room to improve for next year and I probably have a little more pressure on me next year, but I think I have a lot of pressure this year, anyways. A little bit more doesn’t really make a difference for me.” —AP

Al Zayani sponsors India Cup Golf Tournament at Sahara Country Club

KUWAIT: On a very special sunny Friday at the Sahara Golf Resort, Al-Zayani invited over 100 golfers of various nationalities for a one day golf tournament, the India Cup 2013, and an opportunity to win a free Jaguar XF with a hole-in-one. The winners of the event were presented their trophies by Satish C. Mehta, the Ambassador of India to Kuwait, during the prize giving ceremony held after a sumptuous buffet lunch. Later, the participants were given a chance to test-drive all Jaguar models including the exciting F-type around Sahara Golf Resort. Derek Davies, Automotive Director at Al-Zayani, said, “On a day like this, and in the presence of a number of elite people in society, it is an honour for us, Al-Zayani and Jaguar, to take part in such an

exciting event which reflects how alive Jaguar is as a brand.” The day ended with H.E. the Ambassador of India giving out the awards to the following winners: A Div.1st-J K Choi A Div. 2nd - Greg Panza A Div. 3rd- Jim Batchler B Div.1st-Parag Patel B Div. 2nd -Papi Reddy B Div. 3rd - Omar Shafi C Div.1st- Mohan Singh C Div. 2nd- Alison Peterson

C Div. 3rd - Henry Hill Junior Winner - Abdulwahab Boushihry Nearest the pin - Hoor Qabazard (ladies) Longest drive - DS Lee (ladies) Nearest the pin - Andy Tait (men) Longest drive - Alan McDonald (men) The Organizers were very thankful to Al-Zayani and Jaguar for sponsoring this fabulous tournament at the Sahara Golf resort. Juno Sethi, one of the organizers, said, “We definitely had fantastic golf today at the Sahara and we would like the India Cup to be an annual event for years to come. We are already looking forward to next year’s tournament.”


S P ORT S Photo of the day

Gustavsson, Red Wings beat Buffalo Sabres 3-1

Cyrille Oumedjkane of France dives from the 27 metre platform on Hong Island during the last competition day of the eighth and final stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Krabi, Thailand on October 26 2013. —

Wataniya Telecom sponsors Gulf Run karting race KUWAIT: Aspiring to spread awareness on the importance of applying safe driving rules and in order to reduce from the rate of car accidents in Kuwait, Wataniya Telecom has announced its sponsorship of the Gulf Run 24 Hour Karting Endurance Race taking place at Sirbb Racetrack on the 6th and 7th of December next month. The 24 hours endurance race will include18 participating teams with 180 participantsare participating. Qualifying positions will be selected on 5thDec. On December 6th, the Gulf Run Karting will commence and will end on Dec the 7th. The winning teams will be announced and awarded with Medals and Awards. Wataniya commented on the sponsorship of this exhilarating race saying “The Gulf Run has proved to be very successful

in the past few years in which it has helped in educating the drivers and raising awareness on safe driving methods and all the important rules and regulations that should be met. For this reason Wataniya was inspired to sponsor the Gulf Run and support in spreading the message.” The Gulf Run race is giving a chance to the youth to enjoy car racing however in safe and controlled environment thus lessening from street racing which eventually jeopardizes the safety of the drivers and others on the road.Briefing for the race will take place prior to the event to make sure all rules and regulations are clear to all. Wataniya Telecom invites everybody to attend and witness this thrilling event, which is an important one for the youth and the community.

BUFFALO: Jonas Gustavsson made 21 saves, including a stop on Steve Ott’s penalty shot, and the Detroit Red Wings sent the Buffalo Sabres to their fourth straight loss, 3-1 on Sunday. Johan Franzen, Daniel Alfredsson and Darren Helm scored for the Red Wings. Henrik Zetterberg had an assist for his 700th career point. Cody Hodgson scored Buffalo’s only goal. The Sabres are winless since a victory in interim head coach Ted Nolan’s first game on Nov. 15. Detroit improved to 7-3-1 on the road. Buffalo has lost 11 of 13 home games. Ryan Miller made 32 saves for the Sabres. He is 2-8-2 against Detroit in his career. The Sabres took a 1-0 lead 11:58 into the game on a highlight-reel goal from Hodgson. Drew Stafford intercepted a clearing attempt and passed in the slot to Hodgson, who forced Gustavsson out of the crease goal and then, with his body behind the goal line, used his backhand to tuck the puck into the net. Detroit controlled play for most of the first period but Miller made 14 saves, including a left pad save on Joakim Andersson in the closing seconds, to maintain the Sabres’ lead. It took less than a minute of second period play for Detroit to tie it. Alfredsson found Darren Helm in the slot, and Helm spun away from Tyler Ennis to lift a backhand past Miller. Ott was awarded a penalty shot when Niklas Kronwall hooked him on a breakaway nine minutes into the second period. The Sabres captain went to his backhand again but Gustavsson stopped him. The go-ahead goal came on a power play when Franzen’s shot deflected off Sabres defenseman Alexander Sulzer and past Miller. Zetterberg assisted on the tally and improved his point total to 28, good for second in the NHL. Hurricanes 4, Senators 1 The Carolina Hurricanes scored three goals in a sevenminute stretch of the second period to defeat the Ottawa Senators and end a four-game losing streak. Right wingers Patrick Dwyer and Tuomo Ruutu and center Elias Lindholm scored for Carolina during the game-turning span. Center Eric Staal, who added an empty-net goal, and defenseman Justin Faulk provided two assists apiece. Center Jason Spezza scored for Ottawa just 67 seconds into the game. Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward, in his third game back from an injury, secured his first victory in more than a month. He stopped 35 shots. The Senators, who snapped a three-game losing streak by winning Saturday at Detroit, have given up at least four goals in their last nine losses. Goalie Robin Lehner made 33 saves, but he was unable to win for the second day in a row. — Reuters

NHL results/standings Detroit 3, BUFFALO 1; CAROLINA 4 Ottawa 1.

Anaheim San Jose Los Angeles Phoenix Vancouver Calgary Edmonton Chicago St. Louis Colorado Minnesota Dallas Nashville Winnipeg

Boston Toronto Tampa Bay Detroit Montreal Ottawa Florida Buffalo Pittsburgh Washington NY Rangers New Jersey Carolina Philadelphia Columbus NY Islanders

Western Conference Pacific Division W L OTL GF 17 6 3 80 15 3 5 79 15 6 3 64 14 5 4 78 12 9 4 65 8 11 4 64 7 15 2 64 Central Division 16 4 4 87 16 3 3 79 17 5 0 69 15 5 4 64 11 9 2 61 11 10 2 52 10 11 4 66 Eastern Conference Atlantic Division 15 6 2 64 14 8 1 66 14 8 1 67 11 7 7 63 13 9 2 64 9 11 4 68 6 13 5 53 5 19 1 44 Metropolitan Division 15 9 0 69 12 10 2 72 12 11 0 48 9 9 5 49 9 10 5 49 10 10 2 49 8 12 3 56 8 13 3 68

GA 65 52 51 74 65 84 84

PTS 37 35 33 32 28 20 16

70 50 45 55 65 67 75

36 35 34 34 24 24 24

43 54 61 70 51 77 80 79

32 29 29 29 28 22 17 11

54 68 54 55 67 53 71 82

30 26 24 23 23 22 19 19

Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L).

GulfRun 24HR Karting Endurance 3 at SIRBB circuit from Dec 5-7 KUWAIT: GulfRun and Pro-Vision Sports Management announced yesterday that GulfRun 24HR Karting Endurance 3 will be taking place from December 5th to December 7th at the recently launched SIRBB Circuit in Kuwait. 18 teams have signed up to participate in the exciting and challenging 24 hour long karting endurance race. The GulfRun Karting Endurance Race follows international regulations and certified marshals fly in from the UK to regulate the race in accordance to FIA regulations. The 18 teams comprise of 4 to 12 drivers per team who drive a maximum stint time of roughly 2 hours, after which they switch drivers, and keep going for 24 hours of non- stop racing. The GulfRun Karting Endurance Race was first launched in 2011 to create an exciting competition in Kuwait that aligns with GulfRun’s objective to pro-

mote automobile racing and training in a safe and secure environment and karting is one of the pillars of motorsports. Ahmed Al-Mudhaf, CEO and Founder of GulfRun said, “We are extremely pleased to have the SIRBB Circuit to race on this year. With the teams we have registered this year and this great circuit, the drivers and fans can look forward to an exciting race.” Ahmed Almajed, CEO and Founder of Pro-Vision Sports Management added that “We expect the atmosphere to be very special this year with all the details we have planned.” GulfRun’s and Pro-Vision Sport Management team extend their gratitude to the continuous support by Kuwait’s private sector, which acknowledges the important role sport plays amongst Kuwait’s youth.

BUFFALO: Ryan Miller #30 and Christian Ehrhoff #10 of the Buffalo Sabres defend the net as Henrik Zetterberg #40 of the Detroit Red Wings looks to shoot the puck while teammates Gustav Nyquist #14 and Johan Franzen #93 wait for the reboud at First Niagara Center on November 24, 2013 in Buffalo, New York. Detroit defeated Buffalo 3-1. ñ AFP

India recall Zaheer for S Africa tour NEW DELHI: India yesterday picked veteran seamer Zaheer Khan for next month’s Test series in South Africa, but again ignored opener Gautam Gambhir for the first tour in the postSachin Tendulkar era. Khan, an 88-Test veteran who needs five wickets to reach the 300 mark, had not been considered since the third Test against England in Kolkata a year ago due to form and fitness issues. The 35-year-old was not handed a central contract this season, but found favour with the selectors after he claimed 13 wickets in three Ranji Trophy first-class matches for Mumbai, including a five-wicket haul. Khan will spearhead a five-man seam attack in South Africa where he claimed 10 wickets in two Tests on the previous tour in 2010-2011. But the left-arm seamer was not selected for the three-match one-day series against the Proteas which starts on December 5 and precedes the Tests. Gambhir, who was also sidelined after the home series against England, failed to impress the selectors despite making 153 on a green-top on Saturday to fashion Delhi’s Ranji Trophy win over Haryana. The Test series between top-ranked South Africa and number two India, which was originally scheduled for four matches, was curtailed to two to accommodate a farewell home

The GulfRun team. — Photo by Yasser Al Zayyat

series for Tendulkar. Tendulkar, the world’s leading run-getter in both Test and one-day cricket and the only batsman to score 100 international centuries, retired after playing his 200th Test earlier this month. The tour opens with the first one-day international at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on December 5. The remaining two one-dayers will be held in Durban (Dec 8) and Centurion (Dec 11). India will play a two-day warm-up match in Benoni on Dec 14-15 ahead of two back-to-back Tests in Johannesburg (Dec 18-22) and Durban (Dec 26-30). Test squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kolhi, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravindra Jadeja, Zaheer Khan, Ambati Rayudu, Wriddhiman Saha, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha. One-day squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Yuvraj Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ambati Rayudu, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra. — AFP

Shock, support as Trott quits Ashes with stress LONDON: England players past and present expressed shock and offered support after batsman Jonathan Trott withdrew from the Ashes tour of Australia yesterday due to a “stress-related illness”. The surprise departure, which echoes a situation involving Marcus Trescothick in 2006-2007, comes after Trott made disappointing scores of 10 and nine in England’s 381-run first-Test defeat in Brisbane. Trott’s display was blasted as “poor and weak” by Australia batsman David Warner, in comments that drew censure from England captain Alastair Cook and head coach Andy Flower. England all-rounder Stuart Broad pledged support for Trott on Twitter, writing: “Love Trotty. Absolute champion of a man. He knows he has all the support of all the people around him. Puts cricket in perspective.” Former England captain Nasser Hussain said the news had come as “a real shock”, while another former skipper, Michael Vaughan, expressed regret for questioning Trott’s performances in the media. “I do feel guilty for criticising Trott this week... I wasn’t to know what he was going through and I can only comment on what I see,” Vaughan wrote on Twitter. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said Trott, 32, would take an indefinite break from cricket and would not be returning to the five-Test tour. “Jonathan Trott has returned from England’s current tour of Australia with a stress-related

illness,” an ECB tweet said. “Trott will take a break from cricket for the foreseeable future and will take no further part in the tour... Trott’s return to cricket will be determined in due course.” Trott has been a stalwart of the England team, accumulating 3,763 runs at an average of 46.45 in his 49 Tests, but he was dismissed tamely in both innings by fiery paceman Mitchell Johnson. In a brief statement released by the ECB, Trott said: “I don’t feel it’s right that I’m playing, knowing that I’m not 100 percent. I cannot currently operate at the level I have done in the past. “My priority now is to take a break from cricket so that I can focus on my recovery.” Former England opener Trescothick, who left the 20062007 Ashes tour and was finally forced to quit international cricket because of depression, called it “sad news”. “To come out and talk about these things for the first time is tough. I’m sure he’s not feeling great at all, but he’s definitely made the right decision,” Trescothick told BBC radio. Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff tweeted: “Trotty will be back. Over the hardest hurdle in his recovery by facing it head on, which is something we are not all able to do.” Trott’s departure adds to the dramatic fall-out from the first Test, after Australia captain Michael Clarke was fined for telling England tail-ender James Anderson to “get ready for a broken fucking arm”.

Prior to the news of Trott’s departure, Warner admitted that he “probably went a little bit too far” with his comments, which were described as “disrespectful” by England skipper Cook. “I made those comments for a reason,” Warner told reporters at Brisbane airport. “It is Ashes cricket. Probably went a little bit too far with the comments, but it’s cricket and now it’s in the back of their mind.” England coach Flower criticised Warner for his remarks, but revealed that Trott had been suffering from the condition for some time. “We’ve been on tour for a month and he (Trott) has had his ups and downs and it is not directly related,” Flower said of Warner’s insults. “I will also say that players commenting about fellow professionals in the media is disrespectful and on this occasion he (Warner) has got that horribly wrong.” Australia coach Darren Lehmann had backed his players’ tough approach at Brisbane’s Gabba ground, saying he liked them playing “hard cricket”, but he voiced support for Trott. Writing on Twitter, he said: “I wish Johnathon Trott a speedy recovery from a tough situation, a safe flight home to be with family!” The chief executive of the Professional Cricketers’ Association, which represents players in England and Wales, said Trott’s exit was not necessarily linked to criticism of his performances. — AFP

BRISBANE: This file photo taken on November 23, 2013 shows England batsman Jonathan Trott walking from the pitch on day three of the first Ashes cricket Test match between England and Australia in Brisbane. Trott has left the Ashes tour of Australia due to a “stress-related illness”. — AFP



Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose out for season CHICAGO: Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose is out for the remainder of the season. The team said that Rose had successful surger y yesterday morning in Chicago to repair a torn medial meniscus in his right knee. He was hurt Friday night at Portland. The 2011 NBA MVP missed all of last season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in Chicago’s 2012 playoff opener against Philadelphia. He has played in just 50 NBA games 49 in the regular season and that lone playoff game since the Bulls’ run to the Eastern Conference finals during his MVP season. The latest injury occurred in the third quarter against the Trail Blazers. He lost his footing while trying to change direction to get back on defense when Nicolas Batum stole a pass from Joakim Noah and started the other way. Rose limped across the court

and couldn’t put any weight on his knee. After the Blazers scored, he came out of the game during a timeout. It didn’t appear there was any contact on the play. Rose was unable to return and was on crutches afterward. With Rose back, the Bulls were expected to challenge LeBron James and the Miami Heat for supremacy in the Eastern Conference and contend for their first championship since the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen era. Instead, they’re in a familiar spot - trying to get by without their cornerstone player. “We, of course, feel very badly for Derrick. He’s in good spirits, about as well as can be expected under the circumstances, and he’s already thinking about his rehab,” coach Tom Thibodeau said Sunday, before the team announced their star was gone for the sea-

son. “Typical Derrick. He’s concerned about his team, his teammates.” The top-seeded Bulls bowed out in the first round of the playoffs in 2012 against Philadelphia after Rose went down and fell into a season-long holding pattern without him last year, waiting for a return that didn’t happen. His recovery took on a circus-like feel. Fans saw him shooting and dunking before games last season and wondered why he wasn’t playing, particularly as the Bulls fought through injuries and illnesses down the stretch. Adidas released videos documenting his progress, but Rose mostly stayed in the background, saying little about his recovery. That changed midway through the season. There was also speculation that Rose’s camp was advising him to sit out last season and that there was a rift with the organization, particularly after older

brother Reggie Rose ripped management for standing pat at the trade deadline. But Derrick Rose denied that. All of that faded into the background with Rose back this season - and insisting he could regain his MVP form. He was off to an up-and-down start. He was averaging 15.9 points and was shooting just over 35 percent. He was looking a little better in his last two games, with 19 points in a loss at Denver and 20 against Portland. Without Rose, veteran Kirk Hinrich figures to start with second-year pro Marquis Teague backing him up. “I think we have an understanding of what we need to do,” Thibodeau said. “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We have to circle the wagons, and then get out there and get the job done.” — AP

Dragic scores 23 as Suns hold off Magic 104-96

GLASGOW: Celtic’s Scottish defender Charlie Mulgrew speaks during a press conference at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland, yesterday, ahead of the team’s UEFA Champions League group football match against AC Milan today. — AFP

Celtic need to be more clinical: Neil Lennon GLASGOW: Celtic manager Neil Lennon says his side will have to be more clinical in front of goal if they are to have any chance of qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League. The Hoops face AC Milan at Celtic Park today knowing that only a win will be enough if they are to have a chance of grabbing second spot in Group H. However, Lennon’s side, who sit bottom of Group H on three points, have struggled for goals in Europe this season with a return of just two goals from their four matches so far. And the Celtic boss knows his strikers will need to be on top form if they are to fire the Glasgow giants to victory. “Tuesday night is about what we do. We need to score more goals. It is an area we have to do better in. We have to do better at home domestically too,” Lennon said. “It’s not that we have not had the chances. We probably had more in the Milan game than any other. They are always going to be scarce against Barcelona. Ajax at home was OK but Ajax away we didn’t get going until the second half so I’m looking for a huge reaction. “We must be more clinical but that’s what separates the wheat from the chaff in football and usually quality counts. “They are all pressure games but for us to have any chance of going through, even into the Europa League, we know that a win coupled with Ajax dropping points would guarantee that. “That’s a huge incentive but just winning and adding points gives that bit more credence to what we are doing here. Psychologically it would also give everybody a life. “Ultimately, if we lose it’s goodbye to qualifying. We would then just have to go to the Nou Camp, get a win there and get into the Europa League.

“The players enjoy the pressure and they will galvanise themselves again. “It’s at home, it’s a big name in Europe and these chances don’t come around often. “I think they will make the most of it. They don’t want this to be their last home game in Europe for another eight or nine months. “They can find a performance. They have good character and that’s what disappointed me about the defeat to Ajax. I know they are a lot better than that. “But we are still in it - that’s the beauty of it. If we can find that level of intensity and performance we have shown in the past, it should be a good game. “The Champions League is a great event. It’s the one you want to stay in and be as successful as possible. We will give it everything.” Milan have struggled domestically this season and slipped to 11th place in Seria A on Saturday following a 1-1 draw with ten-man Genoa. Pressure is mounting on boss Massimo Allegri who has a lengthy injury list including Marco Amelia, Stephan El Shaarawy, Mattia De Sciglio, Giampaolo Pazzini, Antonio Nocerino and Cristian Zaccardo. However, Lennon has dismissed their domestic form and says the Italian giants reserve their best for Europe. “I won’t use their league form as a barometer. They have reser ved their best form for the Champions League. They drew with Barcelona and drew with Ajax,” Lennon said. “The team are full of international class players. I think all off their focus is on the Champions League and once that finishes in December I reckon you will see Milan’s league form improve dramatically.” — AFP

ORLANDO: Goran Dragic scored 23 points and Gerald Green added 20 to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 104-96 victory over the Orlando Magic on Sunday night. Two days after stopping a four-game losing streak at Charlotte, the Suns took the lead early in the first quarter and never relinquished it. Orlando trimmed what had been a 14-point deficit to three late in the fourth quarter. However, Channing Frye made a difficult jumper and Dragic scored the game’s next seven points to put it away. Dragic made 10 of 17 shots and also had 13 assists. Frye finished with 14 points and seven rebounds. Nikola Vucevic led Orlando with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Reserve Andrew Nicholson had 19 and Aaron Afflalo added 16 for the Magic, who have lost four straight games and seven of eight overall. Phoenix played for the fourth straight game without leading scorer Eric Bledsoe, who’s still bothered by a bruised left shin. Green filled in, scoring 15 of his 20 points in the first two quarters to help the Suns build a 53-44 halftime lead. Reserves Marcus and Markieff Morris also had big nights, combining for 28 points and 13 rebounds. Marcus Morris had 16, including a jumper that gave Phoenix its biggest lead at 88-74. Markieff Morris finished with 12, the last of his baskets helping the Suns remain in control while Orlando was making its final push for the lead. Jameer Nelson, who had 11 of his 15 points in the second half, made two 3-pointers during a 16-5 run that carried the Magic back into the game. He made a pair of free throws to trim the deficit to 95-92 with just over 3 minutes left, however that was as close as it would get down the stretch. Frye steadied the Suns with a 12-foot jumper. Dragic followed with a driving layup, then a 3-pointer and 17-foot jumper to finish a 9-0 spurt that built the lead back to 12. LAKERS 100, KINGS 86 Reserve forward Xavier Henry scored 12 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and Pau Gasol had 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead Los Angeles over Sacramento. Steve Blake finished with 12 assists, nine points and five rebounds. Blake, who has started all 14 games for the Lakers at point guard in place of the injured Steve Nash, has recorded double digits in assists in each of the last five. The Lakers, back at .500 following their third straight victory, began a stretch of four consecutive games against teams with losing records (Washington, Brooklyn and Detroit). Greivis Vasquez led Sacramento with 20 points and DeMarcus Cousins added 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. THUNDER 95, JAZZ 73 Kevin Durant scored 19 points and Serge Ibaka had 17 points and 11 rebounds to help Oklahoma City extend its best season-opening start at home with a win over struggling Utah. The Thunder (9-3) played without All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, who sat out to rest his surgically repaired right knee. Even without Westbrook, Oklahoma City’s lead swelled to as many as 37 points in the third quarter. Durant, the NBA’s leading scorer at 29.5 points per game, didn’t play in the fourth quarter - finishing with nine rebounds and hitting 12 of 13 free throws. The Thunder have won six straight at home to open the season, their best opening stretch since moving to Oklahoma City. Enes Kanter and Rudy Gobert led the Jazz (1-14), losers of six straight games, with 10 points apiece.

PISTONS 109, NETS 97 Reserve Rodney Stuckey scored a season-high 27 points as Detroit sent Brooklyn to a fifth straight loss and sole possession of last place in the Atlantic Division. The Nets, with their enormous payroll and enormous expectations, fell to 3-10, a halfgame behind the New York Knicks, and were hearing boos at Barclays Center in the second half. Greg Monroe had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Pistons, who bounced back from consecutive losses to Atlanta. Brandon Jennings added 14 points and 10 assists, making all 10 free throws to make up for a 2-for-10 shooting performance. Joe Johnson made eight 3-pointers and scored a seasonhigh 34 points, but the short-handed Nets couldn’t overcome another cold night from Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, who were a combined 7 for 22. — Agencies

NBA results/standings Detroit 109, Brooklyn 97; LA Clippers 121, Chicago 82; Phoenix 104, Orlando 96; Oklahoma City 95, Utah 73; LA Lakers 100, Sacramento 86.

Toronto Philadelphia Boston NY Knicks Brooklyn Indiana Chicago Detroit Cleveland Milwaukee Miami Atlanta Charlotte Washington Orlando

Portland Oklahoma City Minnesota Denver Utah LA Clippers Golden State Phoenix LA Lakers Sacramento San Antonio Dallas Houston Memphis New Orleans

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT 6 7 .462 6 9 .400 5 10 .333 3 9 .250 3 10 .231 Central Division 12 1 .923 6 6 .500 5 8 .385 4 10 .286 2 10 .167 Southeast Division 10 3 .769 8 6 .571 7 7 .500 5 8 .385 4 9 .308 Western Conference Northwest Division 12 2 .857 9 3 .750 8 7 .533 6 6 .500 1 14 .067 Pacific Division 10 5 .667 8 6 .571 7 6 .538 7 7 .500 4 9 .308 Southwest Division 12 1 .923 9 5 .643 9 5 .643 7 6 .538 6 6 .500

GB 1 2 2.5 3 5.5 7 8.5 9.5 2.5 3.5 5 6

2 4.5 5 11.5 1.5 2 2.5 5 3.5 3.5 5 5.5

Dortmund braced for must-win Napoli clash DORTMUND: Captain Roman Weidenfeller has insisted Borussia Dortmund convert their chances against Napoli today in a must-win game as last season’s Champions League finalists face a group-stage exit. Dortmund’s 1-0 defeat at home to Arsenal three weeks ago left them third in Group F on six points, three behind joint leaders Napoli and the Gunners and heading for the Europa League. Both Napoli and Dortmund come into their penultimate group stage game after suffering defeats in their respective leagues. Borussia have lost their last three games in all competitions, including Saturday’s comprehensive 3-0 home defeat to Bayern Munich in a repeat of May’s Champions League final. A fourth straight defeat would further erode confidence and, if Arsenal only draw with Marseille in London, end their Champions League’s knock-out stages ahead of their final match at Marseille on December 11. Dortmund now find themselves seven points adrift of Bayern in the Bundesliga and Weidenfeller has said his team must improve their finishing and take their chances against Rafael Benitez’s Napoli. “I think today’s game is much more important than (the defeat to) Bayern,” said Weidenfeller, who was sent off in Dortmund’s 2-1 defeat at Napoli in September. “We have to win against Napoli at home, it’s as simple as that. “As I have been saying for a few weeks now, there is a lack of single-mindedness and determination with us at the moment “Our problem is that we are not finishing our chances. “There are too many times when we play the ball across the penalty area and don’t go directly for goal. “We have to take our chances, because football is decided by goals and at the moment, we’re not scoring them.” Dortmund’s star-studded attack were left frus-

trated by Bayern’s defence as both attacking midfielders Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marco Reus squandered clear chances. Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund have only scored one goal in their last three games and to make matters worse, they have lost their entire back four in recent weeks. Both Mats Hummels and Marcel Schmelzer returned from international duty with Germany carrying leg injuries and new-signing Manuel Friedrich was thrown in at centre back alongside Greece’s Sokratis. A second defeat in four days would put a significant dent in Dortmund’s ambitions, but Weidenfeller insisted there is still all to play for. “Nothing is decided yet. Neither in the Champions League or in the Bundesliga,” he said. “We can’t just assume that we’ll be German champions again after a year’s break (when Bayern were Bundesliga winners last season). “We’re seven points behind Bayern, but the season is still long enough.” Napoli only need to avoid defeat at the Westfalenstadion to seal progress to the knock-out stages. They will be without playmaker Marek Hamsik, who suffered a foot injury during Saturday’s shock 1-0 defeat to Parma. The Slovakia international is likely to be replaced by Lorenzo Insigne, who normally operates on the left, or versatile Belgian Dries Mertens. Benitez has said he expects a much better performance in Germany with the prize of a place in the knock-out stage at stake. “Tonight we played badly, especially in attack. In the end, we didn’t execute the plan we’d made for this game,” he said after the Parma defeat. “Now we have to turn our focus to Dortmund, we’ll be looking to recharge our physical and mental batteries for a match which is crucial to us. “I’m sure the urgency of the game will give the lads the required incentive.” — AFP

LOS ANGELES: Los Angeles Lakers guard Jodie Meeks, left, puts up a shot as Sacramento Kings forward Patrick Patterson defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sundayin Los Angeles. — AP



Palace face tough fight to beat drop, says Pulis LONDON: Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis yesterday conceded his new team face a tough battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League. Pulis has been pitched into a daunting fight to beat the drop after agreeing a two-and-a-half-year contract to replace Ian Holloway, who resigned a month ago. The former Stoke boss was in the stands at Hull on Saturday as the Eagles responded to the presence of their new boss with a crucial 1-0 win, and he will take charge for the first time against Norwich on Saturday. But, despite that welcome gift, Pulis arrives at

Selhurst Park with Palace second bottom of the table after nine defeats from their 12 matches and he admitted it will take a significant effort to stay up. “I’m still very ambitious, I like climbing hills,” he said. “This is going to be a tough job, but one I will relish. “I told the players we will be underdogs. People expect us to be relegated.” Pulis won promotion with Stoke and kept them in the top-flight for four seasons before leaving his post in May.He has a reputation for producing aggressive and direct sides, who rely on their strength and organisation to over-power opponents. In

Palace’s dire circumstances those qualities and Pulis’s experience could be key factors. And, asked if he had considered turning down Palace’s approach because of the club’s status as top-flight minnows, Pulis struck an upbeat note. “It’s a club in the Premiership, a smashing club with great history. It’s going to be a tough job and I have not come in with any illusions,” he said. “This club has had a remarkable few years and the board of directors and chairman have to be applauded for looking after the club and pushing it on. “This is an opportunity to try and achieve something Palace have

not achieved; get in the Premiership and stay there and take the club forward.” Pulis was also keen to dismiss suggestions that he is becoming the equivalent of a firefighter sent in to rescue teams in trouble. “What people don’t talk about is I’ve been promoted out of every division and been to the final of an FA Cup,” he said.“People talk about me being a firefighter, but I have also been very successful. It annoys me that in this country you get pigeon-holed for certain things. “Everyone talks about not being relegated, but as a manager I have got a few promotions.” — AFP

Chelsea ready to clinch last 16 spot

AMSTERDAM: Ajax Amsterdam player Bogdan Krkic (C) takes part in a training session yesterday in Amsterdam, on the eve of the Champions League football match Ajax Amsterdam vs FC Barcelona today. — AFP

Top spot Barca’s aim in Amsterdam MADRID: Injury-struck Barcelona can ensure they finish top of Champions League Group H with just a point when they travel to face Ajax today. Gerardo Martino’s men have already qualified for the last-16 and shrugged off the absence of Lionel Messi and Victor Valdes among others to maintain their place atop La Liga with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Granada on Saturday. Cesc Fabregas was on target once more at the weekend and he has echoed his coach’s calls for there to be no excuses despite the absence of a number of key players. “We want to be prepared for everything that is coming,” he said. “There is total unity in the group and understanding with the coach. “We need to try so that the other players aren’t missed and we managed that against Granada, but we are talking about very important players.” The Catalans will be boosted by the return of Xavi Hernandez after he sat out the Granada match with a hamstring problem. However, Adriano has joined Jordi Alba and Adriano on the sidelines, leaving Martin Montoya as the only senior full-back available to Martino. Their absence could see Carles Puyol make a return to right-back, where he began his career, or 20year-old Barca B prospect Patric may be handed his

debut after being included in Martino’s 19-man squad for the trip to Amsterdam. Despite his side’s injury problems, Martino has still selected a strong squad and the likes of Fabregas, Andres Iniesta, Alexis Sanchez and Neymar are all expected to start. Ajax, meanwhile, still have aspirations of joining Barca in the last-16 as they lie third in the group, but just a point behind AC Milan with the Dutch champions still to travel to Milan on matchday six. However, Frank de Boer’s men could be without two of their more influential attacking players as Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Siem de Jong are doubtful after picking up injuries on international duty last week. Both men missed Saturday’s comfortable 3-0 home win over Heracles which kept Ajax just two points behind Vitesse Arnhem atop the Eredivisie. Danny Hoesen and Davy Klaasen made their claim to be included as both scored in De Jong and Sigthorsson’s absence. However, De Boer knows that much more will be required if they are to take something from Barcelona today. “It’s good for their confidence that they scored. They did their best, but I know they can both still do much better,” he told the club’s website. — AFP

LONDON: The Arsenal squad take part in a training session at the club’s training ground in north London, yesterday, ahead of their UEFA Champions League group football match against Marseille in London today. — AFP

Wenger, Cazorla wary of renegade Marseille LONDON: Manager Arsene Wenger has warned Arsenal not to underestimate Marseille as the Premier League leaders look to close on a place in the Champions League last 16 today. Marseille can no longer qualify for the next phase, while Arsenal will go into the match at the Emirates Stadium level on points with Napoli at the top of Group F and with a place in the knockout rounds in sight. Marseille have lost all four of their European games to date and recently went seven games without a win in all competitions, but Wenger, whose side won 2-1 in September’s reverse fixture, says they deserve respect. “They started in a difficult position because they lost their first game at home (against Arsenal),” said the Frenchman. “Also they went through a bad patch in the French championship, which for me had a consequence on their Champions League form. “They are a good side who went through a difficult period and that difficult period which they had certainly had an impact. “Now, they have played a very good game in Naples (losing 3-2) and were unlucky to lose. I am sure that they will be difficult to beat tonight.” Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla echoed his manager’s words of warning, telling the club website: “There is nothing at stake for Marseille because they have zero points, but they are going to make things difficult for us. “It may be tough and if we’re not careful we might slip, and then we might not be able to get through to the next round. “We need to understand that it’s a vital match. If we get the right result, we can automatically go to the next round. “If we obtained a bad result, then it would make

things very complicated for us to go to Napoli and win there.” Arsenal’s 1-0 win at Borussia Dortmund in their last European outing means that they will qualify for the last 16 if they beat Marseille and the German side draw their home game with Napoli. Wenger saw his team return to winning ways in the Premier League on Saturday with a 2-0 victory at home to Southampton, following a 1-0 loss at Manchester United in their last game before the international break. Olivier Giroud scored twice, capitalising on a blunder by Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc and then netting a late penalty, as Arsenal stretched their lead at the top of the table to four points. Wenger may rotate his starting XI against Marseille, with England winger Theo Walcott in contention to start after making his return from an abdominal problem as a second-half substitute against Southampton. Marseille secured a first away win since September on Friday when they won 3-1 at Ajaccio in Ligue 1. Victory came at a cost, however, with former Lille forward Dimitri Payet sustaining a swollen knee that has ruled him out of the trip to north London. Mathieu Valbuena and goal-scorer Andre-Pierre Gignac picked up knocks in the game as well, while manager Elie Baup also has doubts over Rod Fanni, Nicolas N’Koulou and Saber Khelifa. Gignac had to go off against Ajaccio after hurting one of his ribs, having scored Marseille’s second goal in the 39th minute with a stunning 20-yard volley. It was the France international’s first league start since a 1-0 loss at Nice on October 18 and Baup said he was encouraged by the 27-year-old’s performance.—AFP

PARIS: Chelsea travel to Switzerland to face FC Basel in the Champions League today knowing that a point will be enough to seal their place in the last 16. Last year, as reigning European champions, the Blues were eliminated in the group stage, but while they have not always convinced since the return to the dugout of Jose Mourinho, they have seized control of Group E since a shock home defeat to Basel in September. That 2-1 loss at Stamford Bridge has been followed by comprehensive victories away to Steaua Bucharest and twice against Schalke, Mourinho’s men rattling in 10 goals and conceding none in those games to sit three points clear of the Germans at the top of the section. As they return to the St Jakob-Park, scene of a 2-1 win in the first leg of last season’s Europa League semi-final in April, Chelsea will be looking to extend a run of just one defeat in 13 matches in all competitions. They were convincing 3-0 winners away to West Ham United on Saturday, a result that left them in third place in the Premier League and eased concerns about their away form, which had previously been patchy. Veteran midfielder Frank Lampard scored twice against his former club at the weekend and now he is looking forward to gaining revenge on Basel following that September shocker. “The great thing about that game is it’s a bit of a distant memory now, because of results since then,” Lampard told Chelsea TV. “It wasn’t easy to go and win three on the bounce and we still have a bit more to do. We can put the record straight today. “We lost at home (to Basel), but we won there last year in the Europa League. Let’s try to get that win. Then you can relax in that last game a little bit. We need to go and do the job.” Against West Ham, Chelsea were without left-back Ashley Cole, who has not started any of the team’s last three games, with Cesar Azpilicueta again deputising on the left of the defence. Fernando Torres has also been on the sidelines due to an adductor injury, although Mourinho has indicated that he is “almost ready” to return. The margins are fine for Chelsea, as a defeat in Switzerland would leave them just a point clear of Basel while also giving Schalke the chance to move level on points at the top if they can win away in Bucharest. Basel are fresh from celebrating their 120th birthday with a 4-1 win against Thun at the weekend which kept them clear at the top of their domestic Super League and have been beaten just once in 19 outings since early August. However, they have taken just one point from two home outings so far in this season’s group stage and a defeat here, coupled with a win for Schalke, will end their prospects of reaching the last 16. Coach Murat Yakin will look for his side to flourish in the role of underdog again, but must do without midfielder Marcelo Diaz after he suffered a broken rib while on international duty with Chile. — AFP

COBHAM: Chelsea’s, from left, Eden Hazard, John Obi Mikel, Cesar Azpilicueta, Branislav Ivanovic, Samuel Eto’o and Oscar in action, during a training session at Cobham training ground in Cobham, England, yesterday. Chelsea will play Basel in the Champions League group E soccer match at St Jakob-Park stadium today. — AP

Pellegrini puzzled by hit-and-miss Man City MANCHESTER: Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini admitted he cannot explain the disparity between his side’s home and away form after their 6-0 demolition of Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur. City have won all six of their home games this season-the only team in the English Football League to have done soand have plundered a Premier League record 26 goals. Their victories at the Etihad Stadium also include a 4-1 thrashing of defending champions Manchester United and a 7-0 evisceration of Norwich City, but their away form is a different matter entirely. City have won just once on the road, at West Ham United, and it is due to defeats at Cardiff City, Aston Villa, Chelsea and bottom club Sunderland that they find themselves six points behind leaders Arsenal. “This team at home score more than four goals a game. The problem is away,” Pellegrini said. “I don’t think we play so differently away from home. We normally have more chances than the home team. They don’t have a lot of possession of the ball. “But for different reasons we have not had the results we wanted. I am absolutely sure if we continue to play like this we will get results away from home.” Jesus Navas opened the scoring after only 14 seconds of Sunday’s game and completed the scoring in injury time, with a Sandro own goal, a brace from Sergio Aguero and a superb Alvaro Negredo strike swelling City’s lead in between. Tottenham trail City by only two points, but their title aspirations have been exposed by a run of three games without victory that includes a 1-0 loss at home to Newcastle United in their previous outing. Spurs had not lost by six goals in the league since a 7-1 thrashing by Newcastle in 1996 and manager Andre Villas-Boas conceded that their after-

noon at the Etihad Stadium would take some time to digest. “To lose 6-0 is extremely embarrassing,” said the Portuguese coach. “We have high expectations for the season and losing to a rival by that scoreline is always difficult. A defeat like this tends to stick more to your career than the good things you achieve. “Our game plan, our confidence and motivation was affected after we suffered a goal in 13 seconds (sic). It is a bad moment. We have to be ashamed of the result.” City’s attack shredded a defence that had previously conceded just six goals in the league, while the Spurs attack has registered only nine goals despite several big-money signings during the close season. However, Villas-Boas cited the inconsistency of his team’s rivals as a reason to remain optimistic over the campaign’s winter months. “The only thing that is astonishing in this league is that surprising results can happen,” said the former Chelsea manager, whose side trail second-place Liverpool by only four points. “City are on four defeats. We are on four defeats, at such an early stage in the season. “The December and January results will be vital in how the league will finish. At the moment you can be third or ninth. That is the reality.” City will now turn their attentions to tomorrow’s Champions League game at home to Czech champions Viktoria Pilsen, having already secured a place in the last 16. Pellegrini revealed that goalkeeper Joe Hart would start the game, after he was left on the bench in favour of Romanian understudy Costel Pantilimon for the fifth game in succession against Spurs. “Joe Hart will play tomorrow,” said the Chilean. Pellegrini also disclosed that captain Vincent Kompany is due to return to training later this week after spending close to two months on the sidelines with a thigh injury. — AFP

Matches on TV (Local Timings)

UEFA Champions League Zenit v Atletico Aljazeera Sport 2 HD


Steaua v Schalke Aljazeera Sport +4


Basel v Chelsea Aljazeera Sport 3 HD


Borussia v SSC Napoli Aljazeera Sport 1 HD


Arsenal v Marseille Aljazeera Sport +2


FC Porto v Austria Wien Aljazeera Sport 5 HD


Ajax v Barcelona Aljazeera Sport 2 HD


Sceltic v AC Milan Aljazeera Sport 2 HD


KUALA LUMPUR: Nominee for the Asia Football Confederation (AFC) men’s “Player of the Year” award, Iran’s Esteghlal football player Javad Nekonam, speaks during a press conference at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. The awards gala will take place in the Malaysian capital today. — AFP

Dragic scores 23 as Suns hold off Magic 104-96

Shock, support as Trott quits Ashes with stress




Top spot Barca’s aim in Amsterdam

Page 19

FOXBOROUGH: New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) scores a against touchdown Denver Broncos strong safety Mike Adams (20) and defensive end Shaun Phillips (90) in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday in Foxborough, Mass. — AP

Patriots stun Broncos with big rally LOS ANGELES: Tom Brady handed another painful loss to arch-rival Peyton Manning as a furious rally and a Denver miscue gave the New England Patriots a wild 34-31 overtime win over the Broncos on Sunday. Patriots trailed 24-0 at halftime but came to life in the second half, striking with 31 straight points to set up an exciting overtime finish. When a New England punt struck a Broncos player and was recovered by the Patriots at Denver’s 13 yard-line, it allowed Stephen Gostkowski to kick the winning 31-yard field goal. It was a familiar outcome in the longtime duel between the quarterbacks as Brady improved to 10-4 in matchups against Manning. He threw for 344 yards and three scores to improve the Patriots to 8-3, one game behind the Broncos (92) and Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) in the AFC race. Manning endured his worst game of the season as he completed just 19 of 36 passes for 150 yards, two scores and one interception. Denver leaned on running back Knowshon Moreno, who exploded for 224 rushing yards and a TD, in building a lead but soon found themselves in the midst of a Brady aerial assault. CHARGERS 41, CHIEFS 38 At Kansas City, Philip Rivers threw for 392 yards and three touchdowns, the winner a 26-yarder to Seyi Ajirotutu with 24 seconds remaining to end a three-game slide. Kansas City (92) won its first nine games, but has lost two in a row. It remained tied with Denver atop the AFC West. The Chiefs had taken the lead when Alex Smith hit Dwayne Bowe for a go-ahead score with 1:22 left. But the Chargers (5-6) still had two timeouts, and they used both as they quickly moved downfield. Ajirotutu’s TD in tight coverage was just his third catch of the season. It also represented the eighth and final lead change in the game. “It’s one of those you’ll never forget, that’s for sure,” said Rivers, who toyed with a defense that had been among the NFL’s best, but was missing injured pass rushers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston for much of the game. “It’s kind of what our season’s been about. Can you drive and score at the end?” San Diego could. Jamaal Charles added 115 yards rushing and two touchdowns for the Chiefs, who had their highest best point total of the season. PACKERS 26, VIKINGS 26 At Green Bay, backup quarterback Matt Flynn threw for 218 yards to help the Packers storm back from a 16-point deficit, but Minnesota (2-8-1) and Green Bay (5-5-1) could only muster field goals in overtime. Mason Crosby hit from 20 yards at 10:28 of the extra period and Blair Walsh connected from 35 with 3:54 left. One last chance for the Vikings went nowhere with 1 second left, and the teams walked off with the first tie in the NFL since the Rams and 49ers ended 24-24 on Nov. 11, 2012. It was the first game under the tiebreaking rules instituted in 2012 that ended in a tie after both teams kicked field goals to begin the extra period. It was the second time a game had each team make field goals to open overtime; Houston won the other last November over

Jacksonville. “It’s an empty feeling. You go out there and didn’t lose the game,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “But you feel like you didn’t accomplish what you set out to do.” BUCCANEERS 24, LIONS 21 At Detroit, Matthew Stafford’s fourth interception went in and out of Calvin Johnson’s hands to rookie Johnthan Banks inside the Tampa Bay 5 in the final minute, allowing the Buccaneers to hold on. Tampa Bay (3-8) has won three straight after losing its first eight, joining the 1978 St. Louis Cardinals as the only team to do that. Tampa Bay rookie Mike Glennon was 14 of 21 for 247 yards and threw two touchdowns to Tiquan Underwood, whose second score was an 85-yarder early in the fourth quarter. The Lions (6-5) have lost two straight for the first time this season. They can blame five turnovers for throwing away a chance to improve their playoff position because no one in the NFC North won Sunday. They are tied with Chicago atop the division. Johnson had seven receptions for 115 yards, but he and the Lions didn’t take advantage of the Bucs playing the second half without cornerback Darrelle Revis (groin). RAMS 42, BEARS 21 At St. Louis, Tavon Austin’s 65-yard touchdown run - his fourth straight this season from beyond midfield - jump-started a 21-point first quarter. The Rams (5-6) followed a 30-point rout of Indianapolis in front of their largest crowd of the season, about half of them clad Bears orange, with another big win. Late scores by rookie backup running back Benny Cunningham and defensive end Robert Quinn helped finish off the Bears (6-5), who remained tied for the NFC North lead with Detroit.

Josh McCown passed for 352 yards and two touchdowns with an interception for Chicago, which had won four straight in the series. The Long brothers - Chicago guard Kyle and St. Louis defensive end Chris - lined up close to each other all day and were the focal point of one skirmish in the first half. After McCown threw an incomplete pass to fullback Tony Fiammetta in the second half, Fiammetta and Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson squared off, causing players from both teams to rumble. Kyle Long raced down the field get to Rams end William Hayes, and had him down before his big brother intervened. Chris Long, who had taken the play off, raced off the sideline to corral Kyle Long and drag him from the fight to the sideline. PANTHERS 20, DOLPHINS 16 At Miami, the Panthers won their seventh in a row, with two consecutive late drives led by Cam Newton. The Panthers quarterback converted a fourth-and-10 at his 20 with a completion to keep alive the winning drive, and Carolina scored a touchdown with 43 seconds left. Newton hit Greg Olsen with a 1-yard pass to cap a 12-play drive. Carolina also rallied past the New England Patriots with a late drive last Monday night. “We didn’t play our best early on,” Newton said. “We couldn’t get it going. But we just find ways to win.” The Panthers (8-3) overcame a 16-3 first-half deficit to extend their longest winning streak since 2003. Miami (5-6) fell to 2-2 since tackle Jonathan Martin left the team and the Dolphins’ bullying scandal began to mushroom. COWBOYS 24, GIANTS 21 Tony Romo came through with clutch plays to lift the visit-

NFL results/standings Tampa Bay 24, Detroit 21; Green Bay 26, Minnesota 26 (OT); Jacksonville 13, Houston 6; San Diego 41, Kansas City 38; Carolina 20, Miami 16; Pittsburgh 27, Cleveland 11; St. Louis 42, Chicago 21; Baltimore 19, NY Jets 3; Tennessee 23, Oakland 19; Arizona 40, Indianapolis 11; Dallas 24, NY Giants 21.

New England NY Jets Miami Buffalo Cincinnati Pittsburgh Baltimore Cleveland Indianapolis Tennessee Jacksonville Houston Denver Kansas City San Diego Oakland

American Football Conference AFC East W L T OTL PF 8 3 0 1 288 5 6 0 0 186 5 6 0 0 229 4 7 0 1 236 AFC North 7 4 0 2 275 5 6 0 0 243 5 6 0 1 227 4 7 0 0 203 AFC South 7 4 0 0 263 5 6 0 1 250 2 9 0 0 142 2 9 0 1 199 AFC West 9 2 0 1 429 9 2 0 0 270 5 6 0 1 269 4 7 0 0 213

PA 230 287 245 273

PCT .727 .455 .455 .364

Dallas Philadelphia NY Giants Washington

206 256 215 265

.636 .455 .455 .364

Detroit Chicago Green Bay Minnesota

260 245 324 289

.636 .455 .182 .182

New Orleans Carolina Tampa Bay Atlanta

289 179 260 269

.818 .818 .455 .364

Seattle Arizona San Francisco St. Louis

National Football Conference NFC East 6 5 0 0 298 6 5 0 0 276 4 7 0 0 213 3 7 0 0 246 NFC North 6 5 0 0 286 6 5 0 0 303 5 5 1 0 284 2 8 1 0 266 NFC South 9 2 0 0 305 8 3 0 0 258 3 8 0 1 211 2 9 0 0 227 NFC West 10 1 0 0 306 7 4 0 0 254 6 4 0 0 247 5 6 0 0 266

279 260 280 311

.545 .545 .364 .300

277 309 265 346

.545 .545 .500 .227

196 151 258 309

.818 .727 .273 .182

179 223 178 255

.909 .636 .600 .455

ing Cowboys (6-5) into the NFC East lead, tied with Philadelphia. Romo threw for two touchdowns and led a drive that set up Dan Bailey’ 35 -yard field goal on the final play. Dallas ended the Giants’ four-game winning streak and most of their playoff hopes. Romo hit two crucial third-down passes on the 14-play drive that covered the final 4:45 after New York (4-7) tied the game on a 4-yard pass from Eli Manning to Louis Murphy Jr. and a 2-point conversion run by Andre Brown. Romo hit Jason Witten on TDs of 20 and 2 yards, and Dallas got a defensive touchdown on a 50-yard fumble return by Jeff Heath. CARDINALS 40, COLTS 11 Carson Palmer threw two touchdown passes to Larry Fitzgerald, Karlos Dansby returned an interception 22 yards for a score and the Host Cardinals (7-4) won their fourth in a row to strengthen their wild-card playoff chances. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians beat the team that propelled him to coaching prominence last season, when he took over as Colts interim coach while Chuck Pagano fought leukemia. Arians was the NFL’s Coach of the Year for 2012. “The emotions of this game were gone way before kickoff,” Arians said. “I saw a lot of friends, a lot of dear guys on that team. But once the whistle blows, it’s just you and your brother in the backyard.” Fitzgerald caught five passes for 52 yards, becoming the youngest player in NFL history to reach 11,000 yards receiving. Arizona’s Michael Floyd had his second straight 100-yard receiving day with seven catches for 104 yards. Andrew Luck threw for 163 yards, but had only 84 through three quarters as the Colts (7-4) fell behind 34-3. RAVENS 19, JETS 3 At Baltimore, Joe Flacco threw a 66-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones and Justin Tucker kicked four field goals. Jones had four catches for 103 yards and returned five punts for 108 yards. The defending Super Bowl champion Ravens (5-6) had lost four of five before bouncing back to beat New York (5-6) and keep their playoff hopes alive. Baltimore won on the strength of its defense as the Jets committed three turnovers and went 1 for 12 on third-down conversions. Rookie Geno Smith completed nine of 22 passes for 127 yards and two interceptions, both by Corey Graham. STEELERS 27, BROWNS 11 At Cleveland, the Steelers (5-6) continued their climb back into AFC wild-card contention as Ben Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes. Roethlisberger connected on a 41yard TD pass to Antonio Brown and hit Emmanuel Sanders on a 4-yarder for the Steelers, who have turned their season around following an 0-4 start. Roethlisberger finished 22 of 34 for 217 yards and improved to 16-1 against the Browns (4-7), who have lost five of six. Browns quarterback Jason Campbell sustained a concussion in the third quarter when he was sacked by cornerback William Gay. Campbell was struck in the helmet by Gay and his head snapped back and banged the turf. Gay later picked off Brandon Weeden and returned it 21 yards for a TD. — AP


Amouage opens first exclusive shop in Kuwait Page 23 Flydubai develops futuristic formula for success Page 25


Wal-Mart CEO resigns; McMillon to succeed

Kuwait budget surplus may reach KD13 billion Page 26

Page 22

MANAMA: Delegates to a trade meeting of Asian nations, including Iran and Gulf Arab countries, gather in Manama yesterday. The Asia Cooperation Dialogue ministerial meeting aims to boost trade relations in the region. —AP

Dubai to boost 2014 spending 11% Revenue seen rising 13%, deficit to drop 41% DUBAI: Dubai plans to boost its government spending by 11 percent next year to the highest level since its property bubble burst in 2008 as it launches new infrastructure projects, a senior government official said yesterday. At the same time, solid economic growth is expected to increase revenues enough to cut Dubai’s budget deficit by 41 percent, Abdulrahman Al-Saleh, director general of the emirate’s department of finance, was quoted as saying by the United Arab Emirates state news agency WAM. The 2014 budget plan, approved by Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-

Maktoum, indicates growing confidence in the emirate’s recovery from its 2008-2010 property crash, which brought it close to defaulting on its debt. The government could have eliminated the deficit entirely in 2014 but decided instead to raise spending to 37.88 billion dirhams ($10.3 billion) to support economic growth, Saleh said. “The emirate plans to launch new projects in the coming period to support Expo 2020, which will make the emirate even more attractive to investments,” WAM said. Dubai is bidding for the right to host the 2020 World Expo, and will find out on

Hard for Iran to ramp up oil exports: IEA MOSCOW: It would be difficult for Iran to revive its oil output to former levels quickly even if international restrictions on its exports are lifted, International Energy Agency (IEA) head Maria van der Hoeven said yesterday. Van der Hoeven was speaking to reporters in Moscow after Iran and six world powers reached a deal on Sunday to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for limited relief on sanctions. “If some oil sanctions relief will happen ... it’s unlikely that Iran would be able to jump back to pre-sanctions levels immediately,” van der Hoeven said, whose agency monitors oil markets on behalf of developed economies. The deal struck in Geneva leaves US and European oil sanctions in place for six months, but an easing of a ban on European shipping insurance may ease crude exports to the OPEC member state’s big Asian customers. Van der Hoeven declined to comment when questioned about Iran’s access to shipping insurance for oil export cargoes. The US and EU sanctions have slashed Iran’s oil exports to around 1 million barrels per day (bpd) from 2.5 million bpd before they were imposed. — Reuters

Jenaan changes Egypt strategy on wheat ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi-based agriculture investment firm Jenaan said it was changing its strategy in Egypt to growing wheat and helping ensure food supplies for the domestic market, instead of forage for export. Jenaan, which has agricultural investments from Spain to Ethiopia, said it changed its policy in part because it had been losing money in Egypt and in part due to advice from the government of Abu Dhabi. “The Abu Dhabi government has advised us that we have to be part of Egypt’s food security, and that is why we have already started growing wheat there now,” Jenaan Chairman Mohammad al Otaiba told Reuters. Jenaan has acquired 160,000 feddans of land in East Oweinat, in Egypt’s south and in Minya governorate since 2007. A feddan is the equivalent of 0.42 hectare. Jenaan was producing forage to feed livestock in Abu Dhabi but was losing money, partly due to an export tax of 300 Egyptian pounds ($43.56) a ton on the crops it exported back to Abu Dhabi. “We were incurring loss after loss,” Otaiba said. “We consider Egypt to be like our own country. We are brothers,

but we were taxed and that ate up our profits so we had losses,” he said. Otaiba also mentioned problems in Egypt with obtaining supplies of diesel to fuel its machinery, which slowed farm operations. “After the revolution matters became even worse. There were a lot of strikes and it was hard to get labor,” he said, referring to the uprising that toppled former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. “Now the situation is much more stable, but we have decided to sell all our production locally inside Egypt, and that way we will avoid the export tax,” Otaiba said. Jenaan has started cultivating 10,000 feddans of wheat in Egypt’s East Oweinat already and is looking to plant 30,000 feddans more next year. Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer, is expected to produce around 8.1 million to 8.3 million tons in the 2014-2015 harvest season. The North African country buys around 10 million tons of wheat a year from abroad through the state buying agency and private buyers. The government sells subsidized saucer-sized flat loaves of bread for less than 1 US cent to millions of Egyptians. —Reuters

Wednesday whether its bid is successful. WAM added, “Dubai plans to maintain the size of its investments in infrastructure through the next five years. The government is committed not to use oil revenues to fund infrastructure projects.” Infrastructure spending is projected to increase 13 percent next year to 6.35 billion dirhams. Among other projects, Dubai has said it plans to spend 2 billion dirhams by 2017 to build a canal through its downtown area, creating new waterfront land that could be used for hotels, marinas and other tourist areas. Meanwhile, the government’s revenue is

projected to rise 13 percent to a record 37.00 billion dirhams in 2014 as the department of finance expects income from fees, which account for 67 percent of the total, to jump 24 percent on the back of an expanding economy. Income from customs and foreign bank taxes, which represent 21 percent of revenue, is seen edging up 1 percent next year. Net oil revenue accounts for only 9 percent of the total. The budget plan envisages Dubai posting a deficit of 882 million dirhams next year, or 0.26 percent of gross domestic product, down from a 1.5 billion dirham deficit planned

for 2013. The statement on the budget plan did not say if Dubai would issue government bonds to finance its deficit. Although it has almost eliminated the deficit, Dubai will still face a challenge in coming years handling the debt mountain accumulated in the wake of the crash. The emirate’s government and state-linked entities face debt repayments of about $50 billion between 2014 and 2016. Most of the UAE’s state expenditures are conducted by the seven individual emirates rather than the federal government. Dubai accounts for about 12 percent of the total. — Reuters

Insurance relief in Iran deal may lift oil sales DUBAI: The easing of a ban on European insurance for shipments of Iranian oil may lift Iran’s crude exports to big oil buyers in Asia, including India and China. The easing of EU shipping insurance sanctions was part of a deal on Sunday between Iran and six world powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for limited sanctions relief. Oil buyers in Asia, Turkey and South Africa have reduced imports of Iranian oil to avoid the threat of US sanctions, but also have had imports curtailed by the ban on UK-dominated providers of shipping insurance. Iranian oil sales have fallen by more than half from 2011 levels to about 1 million barrels a day as a result of EU and US sanctions on oil trade, shipping insurance and banking. “The relief in EU sanctions on oil shipping insurance is a big deal and creates the conditions to make it easier for Iran to get at least up to the sanctioned levels,” Olivier Jakob from Petromatrix energy consultancy said. “A lifting of the insurance ban could free up some of Iran’s strained tanker fleet for increasing use in domestic floating crude oil storage,” Goldman Sachs said in a note. India’s refiners cut oil purchases further after European reinsurers added a clause that could mean claims arising during the processing of Iranian oil would not be met. Although Sunday’s interim deal is not intended to allow any increase in Iranian oil exports, a “joint plan of action” document posted on European Union and US government websites says that in return for Iran meeting its commitments, the West would: “Pause efforts to further reduce Iran’s crude oil sales, enabling Iran’s current customers to purchase their current average amounts of crude oil. Enable the repatriation of an agreed amount of revenue held abroad. For such oil sales, suspend the EU and US sanctions on associated insurance and transportation services.” It is not clear whether this also means that the problematic clauses in Indian refiners’ insurance contracts will be removed, but alleviating insurance headaches for some shipments should help smooth a trade that has dipped below sanctioned levels this year. Kevin Book, managing director at ClearView Energy Partners in Washington, said the easing on insurance could provide for an increase of 200,000 to 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in Iranian exports, par-

SAKHIR: Oil pumps work in the desert oil fields of Sakhir, Bahrain. Oil prices could be headed lower after the preliminary nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, even though it does not loosen sanctions on Iran’s oil exports. —AP ticularly to Indian refiners. A fact sheet posted on the US State Department’s website on Sunday said that the nuclear deal would not allow any increase in Iranian crude sales over the next six months. “Under this first step, the EU crude oil ban will remain in effect and Iran will be held to approximately 1 million bpd in sales, resulting in continuing lost sales worth an additional $4 billion per month, every month, going forward,” the fact sheet said. Analysts at Barclays bank said no more than 400,000 bpd of Iranian oil were likely to return to the market in the coming months, adding that Iran could struggle to drastically increase its exports due to remaining sanctions and difficulties restarting shut-in production. Iran is home to some of the world’s largest oil and

gas reserves, but US energy firms have been barred by Washington from Iran for nearly two decades. Several European energy giants had planned multibillion dollar investments over the last decade to help develop Iranian reserves, which could significantly improve global energy supplies over the long term. US pressure drove European energy companies away from Iran in the late 2000s, however, for fear of jeopardizing their interests in the US market if they stayed. Western bans on investment in or provision of technical services to Iran’s energy sector remain firmly in place, and western energy giants who are keen to go into Iran as soon as sanctions are lifted will have to wait. Sanctions preventing the sale of refined petroleum products to Iran, which needs to import such fuels because it lacks refining capacity, also remain in effect.— Reuters



Essar Energy’s profit dented by higher costs At Essar ’s Vadinar refiner y, which underwent an expansion last year, current price refining margins rose 9 percent to $6.97 per barrel, driven by further operational improvements and lower input oil prices during the period. Brent prices fell as much as 12 percent during Essar’s first half amid dwindling geopolitical concerns about Iran, increased Libyan production, and the US agreeing to call off military action against Syria. “Further work is now under way at Vadinar to boost margins by an additional $1.50 per barrel over the next three years,” Essar said in a statement, adding that the changes included a new hydrogen mak-

er projects in 2012 for the hit, prompting JP Morgan Cazenove analyst Nitin Sharma to cut his full-year net earnings estimate to $10 million from $51 million. Essar also said it had taken a $483 million loss from the rupee’s depreciation, the majority of which was unrealized. The rupee hit a spate of record lows in August, but began to stabilize the following month after a series of measures by India’s central bank. The rupee shed about 9 percent from when it began falling in August to the end of September. Essar Energy also said that it would dispose of some non-core assets to improve margins, cash flow and profitability.

MUMBAI: Essar Energy Plc reported a first-half loss as a weak rupee and costs from power projects in 2012 offset a rise in the Indian power plant operator and oil refiner’s revenue. Essar’s London-listed stock fell as much as 7.6 percent in value to its year-low yesterday morning, making it the biggest percentage loser on the FTSE-250 index. The power, oil and gas arm of privately held Indian conglomerate Essar Group posted a current price pretax loss of $44.4 million in the six months ended Sept. 30, compared with a profit of $52.7 million a year earlier. Essar blamed depreciation and interest charges from its Maham and Vadinar pow-

tor for failing to do so, the statement said. The TRA separately told Reuters it had also fined Etisalat, but declined to reveal how much, adding the block was now removed. “We regret that this happened,” du Chief Executive Osman Sultan told Reuters. “But I’m quite confident the operators will work in a good spirit to make number portability ... give a good choice for customers.” Etisalat did not respond to requests for comment. Du has rapidly built up market share since ending Abu Dhabibased Etisalat’s domestic monopoly in 2007, reaching near-parity in the mobile market within a few years. Analysts have attributed du’s growth to its more nimble pricing tariffs and marketing strategy - it was the first to introduce per-second billing, for example - and a slow response from Etisalat, with the Gulf’s No.2 telecom operator by market value more preoccupied with expanding abroad. Etisalat has changed much of its senior management in recent years, recruiting foreign heads of marketing, finance and strategy, with the new team focusing more on its domestic market, provider of the vast majority of third-quarter profit despite the company having operations in 15 countries. Etisalat’s more competitive stance has helped it win back some mobile market share - du’s share was 46.4 percent as of Oct. 31, down from 47.2 percent a year earlier, according to Dubai-based du’s third-quarter earnings report.— Reuters

Dubai International mulls sale of Mauser FRANKFURT/DUBAI: The private equity arm of Dubai Holding, owned by the emirate’s ruler, is weighing the sale of German packaging group Mauser, three sources aware of the matter said, in a deal seen fetching between 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) and 1.5 billion. The sale of Mauser would be one of the largest asset disposals by Dubai since its debt crisis in 2009, when several of its state entities were forced to restructure debt and seek more time for repayment. Backed by a recovery in core sectors such as property, trade and tourism, Dubai is now witnessing strong economic growth and renewed investor confidence. Yet the emirate, facing debt repayments of about $50 billion over the next three years, still needs to sell assets to raise money. The private equity unit, Dubai International Capital (DIC), is planning to launch a formal sale process for Mauser by January 2014, two of the banking sources

said, requesting anonymity as the plan is not public. A third source said banks working with potential bidders had visited DIC in Dubai over the last couple of weeks to discuss the sale and they expect formal bids to be due in the first quarter of 2014. The sale is mainly seen attracting large private equity players, with few of them trying to pre-empt a formal process and seeking exclusive negotiations, though DIC is keen to engage in a competitive process for the asset, one of the sources said. “Mauser has been a great turnaround story and DIC is keen that they get the best value for it through a competitive process. They have been waiting for a good time to dispose this and looks like it will be next year,” the source said. DIC Chief Executive David Smoot declined to comment. Mauser was not available for comment. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is assisting DIC in the sale, the three sources said. The US bank also declined to comment. — Reuters

margins fell 37 percent to $5.03 per barrel at its Stanlow refinery in Britain, dragged down by imports from the United States, Russia and the Middle East that impacted light distillate and fuel oil cracks. The company undertook a major turnaround at Stanlow earlier this year, refurbishing its catalytic cracker at a cost of around $35 million, to give the unit another 25 years of life. Essar’s current price earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell 7 percent to $543.7 million. Revenue rose 5 percent to $13.4 billion. Essar shares were down 6.6 percent at 94 pence at 1212 GMT. — Reuters

Wal-Mart CEO resigns; McMillon to succeed

Etisalat fined for blocking rival du’s promo texts DUBAI: The UAE telecom regulator yesterday fined former monopoly Etisalat for blocking text messages that would have provided its customers with details on how to switch to rival operator du. The penalty is a rare rebuke in the United Arab Emirates, where both operators are majority-owned by state institutions and the regulator is often seen by analysts as more interested in protecting the companies’ revenues than standing up for consumer interests. The case comes ahead of the launch of mobile number portability next month in the country after a delay of more than five years. This will allow subscribers to retain the same phone number when changing provider and could be a crucial tool for Etisalat and du - the only two mobile operators - in trying to lure high-value business customers and people on monthly contracts from their rival. Etisalat is the bigger player in both of these segments and is seen by analysts as having more to lose from the introduction of the service. Du launched a publicity campaign urging people to send a text message to a specific number to receive information relating to number portability. Etisalat blocked this number from around Nov 21, preventing its customers from receiving du’s response, a Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) statement said. The regulator ordered Etisalat to lift the block on Friday and yesterday issued a “Violation Decision” against the opera-

ing unit and improved efficiency measures. Essar Energy runs Vadinar in the western-Indian state of Gujarat through its Essar Oil unit, India’s second-largest private refiner. Most of Vadinar’s output is middle distillates such as diesel, gasoil, jet fuel and kerosene. In June, Essar forecast a 7 percent rise in India’s annual diesel demand, and a 5 percent growth in gasoline demand. The Indian government had eased its pricecontrol mechanism for diesel this year, allowing state -run fuel retailers to increase prices gradually. Essar Energy said current price refining

Duke to stay on as chairman BENTONVILLE, Arkansas: Wal-Mart Stores CEO and President Mike Duke plans to step down Feb 1. The company says Doug McMillon, head of international operations, will succeed him. Duke, 63, who had been with Wal-Mart since 1995, had been at the helm since February 2009. Duke will stay on as chairman. McMillon, 47, marks the fifth CEO since Wal-Mart’s founder Sam Walton, and all of them have been homegrown with years of experience before taking the helm. McMillon was also elected to the company’s board of directors, effective immediately. McMillon, who succeeded Duke as head of the international business four years ago, is a 23 year company veteran. He started as a summer associate in a Wal-Mart distribution center in 1984 and then in 1990, he rejoined Wal-Mart at a Tulsa, Oklahoma store. He then moved up the executive ladder, working in a variety of merchandising jobs at the Wal-Mart US division. Before he took over international operations, McMillon served as president and CEO of Sam’s Club from 2006 to 2009. “This leadership change comes at a time of strength and growth at Wal-Mart,” said Rob Walton, chairman of Wal-Mart’s board of directors. “The company has the right strategy to serve the changing customer around the world, and Doug has been actively involved in this process. The company has a strong management team to execute that strategy.” The announcement came just days before the kickoff of the holiday shopping season. It also comes as Wal-Mart is trying to boost sales in the US and abroad amid a challenging global economy that’s weighing on its low-income shoppers. It’s also confronting a host of issues that are hurting its reputation. It’s grappling with allegations of bribery in its Mexico operations that surfaced in April 2012 as well as criticism over its treatment of its hourly workers. WalMart is also facing pressure to increase its oversight of factory conditions abroad following a building collapse in April in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,127 garment workers. The tragedy is the deadliest incident in the history of the garment industry. Dave Tovar, a spokesman at Wal-Mart said Duke’s decision to leave Wal-Mart was “a personal one,” and he said it had nothing to do with the bribery allegations. “He decided it was time to retire,” Tovar told The Associated Press. He

Doug McMillon, President and CEO, Wal-Mart International, speaks at the shareholders meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Wal-Mart Stores yesterday announced that CEO and President Mike Duke is stepping down from those posts, and named McMillon as his successor.—AP added that Duke approached Walton and the board voted Friday. Duke, became CEO in February 2009. He assumed the top role when the retailer’s strong performance made it the rare winner during the Great Recession, but that soon changed a few months after he took the helm. As the economy slowly recovered, times got tough for Wal-Mart, resulting in a more than two year slump in its US namesake business. Customers who were hurting financially spent less and others fled to competitors offering better convenience. The company also blamed mistakes in pricing and merchandising. And its move to declutter its stores backfired when shoppers couldn’t find their favorite products. The decision to clean up the stores was not made on Duke’s watch, but Wal-Mart’s detour away from its everyday low price strategy to temporarily slashing prices on key items was. During Duke’s tenure, he named a new US executive team, which reversed the slump in the third quarter of 2011 by restocking thousands of

items and pushing low prices across the store. But those gains have been reversed since early this year. The US Wal-Mart business has posted three straight quarterly declines in a key sales metric, breaking the streak of consecutive quarterly revenue gains. The company has blamed a combination of factors but particularly financial pressures shoppers are facing. The management transition also comes when Wal-Mart is trying to fight off online rivals like, eBay Inc. and other online retailers, which are luring shoppers to the Web with their vast offerings of products and low prices. The discounter is also following its own shoppers, who are buying and researching on their smartphones and tablets. Under Duke’s stewardship, the company has launched a number of initiatives that have merged its online business with the power of its more than 4,000 stores. That includes launching same-day delivery in five markets and new shopping apps. Wal-Mart’s shares edged up in premarket trading. — AP

MAF’s supermarket talks in Egypt fail DUBAI: Dubai retail group Majid Al-Futtaim (MAF) said talks to buy Egypt’s largest supermarket chain from family-owned Mansour Group had collapsed and the two groups would instead look to build their businesses in Egypt independently. MAF, which is the sole franchisee of French

hypermarket chain Carrefour in the Middle East, had been in advanced negotiations to buy Mansour Group’s Metro chain and discount grocery store Kheir Zaman, Reuters had reported in April, citing sources familiar with the matter. A deal was seen worth between $200 million

and $300 million. MAF gave no reason for the breakdown in talks. Metro is one of Egypt’s largest supermarket chains with more than 40 outlets in 10 cities. Kheir Zaman, a discount grocery store, has over 2,000 employees and 30 stores throughout the country.—Reuters

EXCHANGE RATES Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. ASIAN COUNTRIES 2.836 4.535 2.635 2.162 2.818 228.930 36.593 3.641 6.513 8.978 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES Saudi Riyal 75.670 Qatari Riyal 77.969 Omani Riyal 737.140 Bahraini Dinar 753.690 UAE Dirham 77.278 ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash 40.950 Egyptian Pound - Transfer 40.726 Yemen Riyal/for 1000 1.324 Tunisian Dinar 171.080 Jordanian Dinar 400.720 Lebanese Lira/for 1000 1.904 Syrian Lira 3.083 Morocco Dirham 34.718 EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 283.650 Euro 386.050 Sterling Pound 458.800 Canadian dollar 272.350 Turkish lira 141.150 Swiss Franc 313.600 Australian Dollar 268.050 US Dollar Buying 282.450 GOLD 20 Gram 244.000 10 Gram 124.000 5 Gram 64.000 Japanese Yen Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka Philippine Peso Thai Baht Irani Riyal Irani Riyal

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 270.24 275.99 315.01 386.57 283.30 460.99 2.89 3.644 4.498 2.162 2.812 2.642 77.20 754.03 41.12 403.20 736.76 78.23 75.68

SELL CASH 268.000 274.000 313.000 386.000 286.200 461.000 2.900 3.800 4.890 2.600 3.400 2.770 77.600 755.3000 41.200 408.500 743.300 78.600 76.000

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 Thai Bhat

Selling Rate 283.650 274.575 458.005 386.530 311.135 748.980 77.205 78.760 76.510 399.850 41.126 2.162 4.559 2.636 3.644 6.501 696.700 3.830 09.965

Syrian Pound Nepalese Rupees Malaysian Ringgit Chinese Yuan Renminbi

Singapore Dollar South African Rand Sri Lankan Rupee Taiwan Thai Baht

3.025 3.805 89.415 46.975

Bahrain Exchange Company CURRENCY Belgian Franc British Pound Czech Korune Danish Krone Euro Norwegian Krone Romanian Leu Slovakia Swedish Krona Swiss Franc Turkish Lira Australian Dollar New Zealand Dollar Canadian Dollar US Dollars US Dollars Mint 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

BUY Europe 0.007373 0.450823 0.006661 0.047539 0.379388 0.042615 0.081847 0.008136 0.038871 0.305791 0.138622 Australasia 0.258822 0.230688 America 0.265788 0.279550 0.280050 Asia 0.003292 0.045191 0.034498 0.004355 0.000020 0.002755 0.003360 0.000258 0.085400 0.003038 0.002515 0.006449 0.000069

SELL 0.008373 0.459823 0.018661 0.052539 0.386888 0.047815 0.81847 0.018136 0.043871 0.315991 0.145622 0.270322 0.240188 0.274266 0.283900 0.283900 0.003892 0.048691 0.037248 0.004756 0.000026 0.002935 0.003360 0.000273 0.091400 0.003208 0.002795 0.006729 0.000075

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

0.225002 0.021959 0.001898 0.009505 0.008725 Arab 0.745931 0.038395 0.000078 0.000186 0.395856 1.0000000 0.000139 0.022718 0.001201 0.730722 0.077202 0.075003 0.002174 0.167006 0.138622 0.078246 0.001288

0.231002 0.030459 0.002478 0.009685 0.009275 0.753931 0.041495 0.000080 0.000246 0.403355 1.0000000 0.000239 0.046718 0.001836 0.736402 0.078415 0.075703 0.002394 0.175006 0.145622 0.077395 0.001388

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) 283.300 386.650 458.750 272.550 4.530 41.075 2.161 3.643 6.505 2.635 753.800 77.100 75.600



KUWAIT: Amouage CEO David Crickmore (second left), Head of Sales and Marketing Ross Donald ( left), Regional Retail Manager Iwona Fiecek and Sales Manager Faysal Saab pose for a photo in front of the House of Amouage yesterday. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: The first standalone shop by Amouage at Grand Avenue.

Amouage opens first exclusive shop in Kuwait Fragrance house expands global footprint with 15th store at Grand Avenue By Sajeev K Peter KUWAIT: The international luxury fragrance house Amouage yesterday opened its first exclusive shop in The Avenues Mall in Kuwait making a strategic push into the growing boutique market. With the opening of this 15th international mono-brand shop in Grand Avenue, the niche luxury house Amouage seeks to expand its footprint in the Gulf and express the brand’s DNA in its purest form. “We are delighted to have our own store here, because Kuwait’s appetite and demand for high-end goods is always on the rise. And we could not have found a better location than The Avenues with brand adjacencies that demonstrate the same level of luxury as Amouage,” said David Crickmore, Amouage’s Chief Executive Officer, marking the official inauguration of the store. Crickmore said Kuwait’s largest mall has redefined the luxury shopping experience in the country. “We are confident that our shop is perfectly located to reach our customers and offer them Amouage’s wonderful and expanding repertoire of fine fragrances and complementary bath and body, home, travel accessories and leather goods collection,” he said. Evolution Amouage was founded 30 years ago in Oman adhering to the wonderful tradition and heritage of perfumery. But over the years, it has evolved itself into an international luxury fragrance brand creating finely blended perfumes with the highest quality of rare and luxurious ingredients sourced from around the world, bringing artistry to perfumery. Amouage’s fine fragrance portfolio comprises Gold, Dia, Ciel, Reflection, Silver, Ubar, Jubilation, Lyric, Epic, Memoir,

Honour, Interlude, Beloved and the final creation that expresses the end of the first cycle of the Amouage narrative: Fate. The House has also introduced a new stratum of craftsmanship in its Library Collection with seven Opus fragrances. Designed under the guidance of Creative Director, Christopher Chong, the new shop introduces Amouage’s fourth generation design. Fractured mirrored glass cabinets and elegant, clean-cut ivory style furnishings embody Amouage’s philosophy of contemporary artistry. The house’s signature jacquard is exquisitely carved in corian fixtures as an expressive representation of the brand’s timeless sophistication while burgundy wall panels and hand-painted wallpaper add a sense of warmth and refined elegance. Expansion “We still remember our roots. But today, we are an international luxury brand extending our message to a broader international audience. We sell to international consumers and therefore we have to stand up to the taste of global consumers,” Crickmore told Kuwait Times on the sidelines of the event. “One of the key things in our expansion strategy is to have a high quality product and other complementary products around it,” he said. The House of Amouage has now extended its product categories to include a bath and body collection comprising complementary soaps, hand-creams, shower gels, body creams and body lotions, in addition to a home collection of candles and parfums d’ambience, a range of travel accessories and exclusive leather goods handcrafted in Italy, featuring the finest top-grade leather and exotic skins. “So it is not just the fragrance. We are making a complete

The unique fragrance from Amouage.

lifestyle story with the brand. And it is gradually becoming a boutique brand,” he pointed out. Amouage’s international retail footprint now encompasses four shops in Muscat, five shops in the UAE, two in Bahrain, one shop in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait respectively, in addition to shops in Kuala Lumpur and London. Another three standalone shops are set to open early next year in Rome, Nation Towers Mall Abu Dhabi and also in Lagoona Mall in Doha. Amouage has also significantly expanded its distribution network in more than 60 countries in the world’s most premier stores including Bloomingdales and Harvey Nichols in Dubai Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and Selfridges in London, Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, Tangs and Escentials in Singapore, David Jones in Australia, KadeWe in Berlin, Gumm and Tsum in Moscow, Bon Genie in

Geneva and Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. “The Kuwait shop is very important for us. It can even rival our shop in Dubai Mall. We want to see our presence prosper in Kuwait as we see the potential to open two more Amouage shops here,” said Crickmore. In terms of business, the Gulf region is the most mature market for Amouage. “The Gulf is a very stable and important market for us,” he said. But, according to Crickmore, real growth is however seen in Europe, the United States and the Far East. Some of the European markets like Russia, Italy Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the UK and France are showing significant growth. Amouage has recently opened its shop in South America as well, broadening its footprint as a true international brand. In Asian markets, the brand has established itself in Indonesia, Malaysia Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong. “The growth trajectory is higher in Europe because we started from a low base. In terms of real numbers, around 45 percent of our total business is from Europe and America and about 20 percent is from the Far East,” he said. Trend-setter According to Crickmore, there is a trend in fragrances today. “You can see a lot of commonality in fragrances. Most of the fragrances are very much the same. But we don’t do that. We create original blends to give perfumes innovative and unique fragrances by taking ideas from music, literature or films. There is a uniqueness about our fragrances. They have their own voices and they sing a different song,” Crickmore outlined the brand’s philosophy. We don’t see ourselves as trend-setters, but definitely we are being looked up as a very serious player in fragrance industry today,” he concluded.

India refiners to start Iran cash transfer after deal Agreement freezes US plans for deeper cuts

HO CHI MINH CITY: High residential buildings under construction near Saigon river in Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam’s real estate bubble continues to harm the communist nation’s economic growth with thousands of apartments and houses going unsold, causing debts to build up in the banking and financial systems, according to official published reports. — AFP

RBS brings in lawyers to review treatment of ailing small firms LONDON: Royal Bank of Scotland has appointed law firm Clifford Chance to conduct an inquiry into the treatment received by small business customers in financial distress, responding to suggestions it closed down viable businesses too quickly. The move comes after an independent report by former Bank of England deputy governor Andrew Large, which was commissioned by RBS, recommended the bank look into concerns over its treatment of struggling small businesses. RBS has also been accused by government advisor Lawrence Tomlinson of pushing struggling small firms into its “turnaround” unit, so it can charge higher fees (on the basis they have defaulted) and take control of their assets. “To ensure our customers can have full confidence in our commitment to them, I have asked Clifford Chance to conduct an inquiry into this matter, reporting back to me in the new year,” RBS Chief Executive Ross McEwan said in a letter to Large. The Tomlinson allegations had prompted business secretary Vince Cable to demand an urgent response from Britain’s financial regulators and from RBS, 82 percent owned by taxpayers following a government rescue during the 2008 financial crisis. Tomlinson, a businessman hired as an advisor by Cable’s department in April, said RBS had engineered businesses into default in order to move them into its so-called Global Restructuring Group (GRG). Tomlinson said that manoeuvre enabled the bank to generate revenue through higher fees and the purchase of devalued assets by its property division, West Register. Britain’s Federation of Small Businesses said: “The regulators need to investigate the findings of both the Tomlinson and Sir Andrew Large reports and swiftly address any issues raised to restore trust in the banks.” Cable said he had passed the allegations on to regulators, RBS and Andrew Large. “Some of these allegations are very serious

and I am waiting for an urgent response as to what actions have been taken,” Cable said in a statement on Sunday. Yet the scrutiny of GRG could expose a contradiction in what RBS has been asked to do following its 45 billion pound ($73 billion) government rescue in 2008 - stabilise its finances at the same time as boosting support for small businesses. RBS said on Sunday that GRG had successfully turned around most of the businesses it works with. “In all cases RBS is working with customers at a time of significant stress in their lives. Not all businesses that encounter serious financial trouble can be saved,” it said. GRG is run by Derek Sach, a former executive of British private equity firm 3i Group. It is part of the bank’s non-core division, run by Rory Cullinan, frontrunner to become head of RBS’s internal “bad bank”, which is being created after the government decided against breaking the bank up. Cullinan has overseen a reduction in the group’s non-core loans from a peak of 258 billion pounds to around 40 billion. The latest RBS allegations come as banks in Britain and beyond continue to be the focus of public disquiet. Tapping in to popular mistrust of the financial sector, the government has ordered Britain’s financial watchdog to probe Co-op Bank after the arrest of its former chairman as part of an investigation into the supply of illegal drugs. Also on Monday the government said it would impose a cap on the cost of payday loans, overruling the views of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Tomlinson was hired by the business department in April as an “entrepreneur-inresidence” to help address the needs of small and medium-sized businesses”. He runs LNT Group, based in the north of England, which has annual revenue of 100 million pounds and interests from construction to care homes. — Reuters

NEW DELHI: Indian refiners are ready to start transferring cash owed for Iranian oil as early as next week following a landmark deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear program that allows importers to shift billions of dollars back to Iran. World powers agreed on Sunday to ease some of the sanctions they had imposed to force Iran to halt its nuclear program. The measures have slashed the OPEC member’s exports by more than half and cost it as much as $80 billion in lost oil sales since the beginning of 2012, the White House estimates. Since February, sanctions have prevented Iran from repatriating cash earned from the oil it has been able to export, crippling its economy by choking off its biggest revenue stream. The new agreement would allow Iran to receive about $4.2 billion in oil money from accounts held abroad if it fulfils commitments under the deal over the next six months. Iran’s biggest oil buyers are China, India, South Korea and Japan. India is Iran’s second-largest buyer and now owes Tehran about $5.3 billion for oil imports, according to government and refining sources. India’s refiners in mid-October received a request by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to settle some of those dues in euros via Turkey’s state-run bank Halkbank as soon as possible. The refiners had used that payment route until February, when it was blocked by sanctions. The request came some time before the nuclear deal, puzzling refiners as to why the payment channel could again be used. They have yet to start payments, but will do if the payment route is cleared under the nuclear deal. “Next week, if it is possible, we will start making our payments,” said PP Upadhya, managing director of Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd, one of Indian buyers of Iranian crude. A government official also said that payments would be expedited once the payment mechanism via Turkey opens up. “If that Halkbank route opens up ... rather than pushing this to a later date perhaps this money will go to the Iranians sooner rather than later,” said the official with direct knowledge of the matter. The United States had in February asked Iran’s oil buyers to stop transferring payments to Tehran, and instead keep the money in bank accounts in the currency of the importing countries. Iran was only able to use that money to buy goods and services from the importing country. The cash in the accounts has quickly risen. It is unclear how much Iran will receive from each country over the next six months under the terms of the deal. Banking and industry sources in South Korea and Japan said they were awaiting details of the weekend agreement before they can decide on how to transfer money to Iran. South Korea has $5.56 billion stuck in bank accounts, with a similar amount held up in Japan

since the beginning of the year, according to sources. In China, Kunlun Bank, owned by China National Petroleum Corp, holds the Iranian oil dues, but it was not immediately clear how much is locked up. China is Iran’s top oil buyer. The weekend agreement freezes US plans for deeper cuts to Iranian oil exports, but does not allow any extra Iranian oil into the market. That means shipments from the OPEC member will hold around 1 million barrels per day, versus the pre-sanctions level of around 2.5 million bpd. That ceiling means Iran has very little room to boost sales, given that its oil exports in the first nine months of the year have averaged about 1.08 million bpd, according to Reuters data. Of the total, China bought nearly half, followed by India and Japan which bought about 194,000 bpd each. South Korea purchased 137,000 bpd, while Turkey took about 100,000

bpd. Iranian exports were also hit by EU sanctions that barred any company based in the region from dealing with Iran. That hit global the reinsurance industry, which is mostly all based in the region, halting coverage on tankers carrying Iranian oil. Earlier this year, Indian insurers told refineries that plants, ports and pipes would not be covered if they use Iranian oil. But the recent measures lifts some of those sanctions, and that may help smooth crude exports to its Asian customers. Up until now, buyers of Iranian oil had to show a continuous reduction in purchases to qualify for a six-monthly waiver for US sanctions. The next review for most of the buyers is due soon. A rapid increase in output from rival Iraq has meant that the market is well supplied despite the fall in Iranian exports and prolonged outages in Libya. — Reuters

Cyprus leader sees ‘positive’ trend on economy NICOSIA: President Nicos Anastasiades said yesterday the Cyprus economy was showing a positive trend after an EU bailout as it faced “huge challenges” ahead to boost foreign investment and youth employment. Cyprus earlier this month passed its second evaluation from a troika of international lenders in order to receive its next tranche of a 10-billion-euro ($13-billion) rescue package to bail out its troubled economy. But the socalled troika - the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) — still expects the Cypriot economy to contract 7.7 percent this year and 4.8 percent in 2014. “To date we had two positive evaluations from the troika, something which demonstrates our full commitment to the timely implementation of the MOU (accord with the EU) in order to stabilize and restore trust in our economy,” Anastasiades told an economic conference in Nicosia. “We are taking bold decisions to implement prudent fiscal policy, we are changing what must be changed and proceeding with large and bold structural changes. We are turning the crisis into an opportunity, we are trying at least.” he said. “We still have huge challenges before us, and that is why we have to be daring, we have to be consistent, in order to restore as soon as possible the full confidence and trust in the Cypriot banking system.” In return for the bailout, Cyprus agreed to a raft of painful

reforms, including a massive downsizing of its banking sector. The island agreed to wind down its second-largest bank-Laiki-and impose losses of 47.5 percent on bigger deposits in its undercapitalized largest lender, Bank of Cyprus. The Cypriot president said future steps would be aimed at boosting foreign investment and addressing the island’s soaring youth unemployment, but he offered few details. Delegates at the conference organized by Britain’s The Economist magazine also paid tribute to the tough measures adopted by Cypriot officials. “Cypriot authorities have demonstrated strong resolve to take very difficult but necessary decisions,” said Delia Velculescu, an official in the IMF’s European department. “The economy has been more resilient than expected, with private consumption declining by less than expected and tourism and exports holding up.” Maarten Verwey, deputy director general for economic and financial affairs at the European Commission, also praised Cyprus’s “better than expected” fiscal performance. But he compared the crisis - in which Cyprus banks were heavily invested in risky Greek holdings-to the ancient Greek myth of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun before plunging into the sea. Verwey said the troika loans could “cushion the impact of this hard landing” but they were no substitute for further structural adjustment. — AFP



Turkey, India lead gains after Iran deal Foreign investors unnerved by disputes LONDON: Turkey’s stock market surged 1.6 percent yesterday after Iran sealed a historic nuclear deal with the West read as reducing political risk in the oil-producing Middle East and opening the door to more trade with one of the region’s biggest countries. While emerging markets were

generally firmer, political tensions weighed on Thai and Ukrainian assets, and oil’s 3 percent dip pushed the Russian ruble lower. But for most companies the fall in oil prices represents a cut in costs that should support their bottom lines and may aid economic growth across

the developing world. The deal will give Iran relief from crippling economic sanctions, opening the door for exports to Tehran. The bulk of the restrictions on Iran’s own oil exports and investment in oil remain in place, but traders said it would at least be easier for it to ship

to existing customers with the prospect of a freeing up of supplies if progress in relations continues. Turkish stocks soared to three-week highs while the lira currency rose 0.5 percent and Turkish dollar bond yield spreads over Treasuries dived by 10 basis points, outperforming the broader bond index. “The biggest beneficiary by far is the Turkish lira and not just because of the amount of oil that it imports, but also it’s the most geographically close country to Iran and also the most politically exposed to the situation,” said Abbas Ameli-Renani, a strategist at RBS. Oil is the biggest contributor to Turkey ’s current account deficit of over $50 billion and a $10 fall in oil prices cuts the energy trade deficit by up to $5 billion. Earlier in oil importing Asia, Indian shares rallied 2 percent, while Seoul and Taipei markets jumped 0.5-1.0 percent . The rupee firmed 0.5 percent. Israeli stocks were flat after hitting a record high after the deal on Sunday, buoyed by hopes of an easing in tensions in the region generally and shrugging off local politicians’ concerns.. The shekel rose ahead of a central bank meeting which is expected to keep interest rates steady. But the bank could signal more intervention to weaken the shekel which has bucked the weaker emerging markets trend to gain 5 percent Not all rosy While emerging equities overall rose 0.5 percent, currencies were mostly flat, reflecting the view that the US Federal Reserve and its plans to unwind economic stimulus will remain the main driver. Gulf markets were flat, as investors weighed the prospect of lower oil revenues for the region’s other major producers. Saudi stocks slid while even Dubai, which could benefit from a rise in Iranian busi-

ness, slipped. Weaker oil prices also curbed equity gains in Russia and pushed the rouble 0.4 percent lower. An oil price fall, while positive for economies such as China, India, South Africa and Turkey, may not significantly change the picture of slowing growth in many of the sector’s biggest economies. The prospect of less Fed bondbuying, or “tapering” in the market jargon, has rocked the sector over the past six months and the risk of a cut in the flow of cheap dollars into the developing world as soon as December is weighing on traders. “After the US debt ceiling saga was finished, people effectively withdrew the possibility of a December tapering. Almost the entire consensus had shifted to March, but in the last week or two there have been whispers about the possibility of a December taper,” Ameli-Renani of RBS said. The other dampener is politics, with the Thai baht at 11-week lows after more than 1000 protesters occupied the finance ministry and 30,000 people marched to topple the government. Thai stocks also touched 11-week lows, falling 1 percent at one point. In emerging Europe, tens of thousands people rallied in Kiev against the government’s U-turn away from Europe and back towards Russia. But yields on the dollar bond of Ukraine’s state oil firm Naftogaz stayed near three-week lows around 16 percent and has slipped more than 4 percentage points from mid-November highs, reflecting belief that closer ties with Russia would help the country avert near-term default. Societe Generale advised buying Ukraine’s 2017 dollar bond. “Although (the move away from Europe) arguably damages the longterm prospects of the country, the credit risk has considerably been reduced,” the bank said. — Reuters

TOKYO: Pedestrians pass before a share prices board in Tokyo yesterday. Japan’s share prices rose 237.41 points to close at 15,619.13 points at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, with sentiment buoyed by a weaker yen and the Iran nuclear deal. — AFP

Gold drops 1% after Iran nuclear deal LONDON: Gold slid around 1 percent yesterday after Iran and six world powers sealed a deal to curb its nuclear program, which eased political tensions, drove oil prices lower and lifted the dollar and equities. Bullion was also weighed down by fears of an early end to US stimulus measures and following the biggest drop in three weeks in holdings in the biggest bullionbacked exchange-traded fund. Spot gold fell as much as 1.2 percent to its lowest since July 8 at $1,227.54 an ounce in earlier trade and was down 0.9 percent at $1,231.66 by 1056 GMT. US gold futures fell 1 percent to $1,231.20 an ounce. The dollar rose 0.3 percent against a basket of currencies, while European shares rose after an interim agreement halted Iran’s most sensitive nuclear activity and suspended some US and EU sanctions on Iran’s economy for an initial six-month period. The easing of political tensions also weighed on oil prices, with Brent crude down around $2 a barrel, its biggest drop in more than three weeks. Gold is usually seen as an

hedge against oil-led inflation. “In general, you don’t have a lot going for gold at the moment, and the weakness we are seeing today, probably due to some drag from lower oil prices after the Iran deal, is just another short-term factor why you continue to see headwinds,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Michael Widmer said. “The big issue is sill the monetary tightening in the US and that hasn’t gone away as a problem for gold and as soon as it comes back you will get further downward pressure on prices.” Investors are concerned that the US Federal Reserve could begin rolling back its monthly bond purchases, known as quantitative easing, as early as next month on the back of strong US economic data. “Overall sentiment remains bearish, and much will still depend on macro data with bearish implications for gold into 2014 as currency yields gain ground and players turn away from gold in favor of better returns, with little need for inflation or safehaven hedging in the next year,” VTB Capital said. —Reuters



A flydubai aircraft on the tarmac of the newly-opened Al-Maktoum International Airport, Dubai.

flydubai looks beyond the future Glut of aircraft orders, a vote of confidence in Gulf aviation industry added, “Succeeding is part of our DNA. With or without (World Expo) 2020, inshallah our country and Dubai will be successful.”

By Velina Nacheva KUWAIT: There was a flurry of activity on the tarmac of the newly-opened AlMaktoum International Airport in Dubai, the mega city at the epicenter of world aviation. Planes from a bevy of low-cost airlines were parked next to flag-carrier twinjets, fighter and executive jets, club style helicopters and the latest range of turboprops. While fighter jets wowed aviation enthusiasts and visitors, airlines and manufacturers were talking business, negotiating hefty deals worth more than $200 billion for over 620 aircraft. In the heart of the industry’s largest forum, no-frills service airlines and their legacy counterparts exchanged knowhow, shared experience and plotted greater futuristic developments for the industry. A stellar in the aviation constellation was the plane from the fleet of Dubai’s stateowned budget airline flydubai - the fastest growing start-up airline in the world that has welcomed 10.4 million passengers since its launch four and a half years ago. Sitting in the leather seat in the recently launched business class on one of the fleet’s Boeing 737-800, flydubai’s Chief Executive Officer, Ghaith Al-Ghaith drew the region’s aviation picture of resilience, explosive growth in interregional and international traffic and the path to further success. Growth factors On the opening day of the Dubai Airshow, the region’s premier aerospace and defense forum last week, flydubai attracted a crop of headlines with the commitment for an order for 111 Boeing aircraft (737 MAX and 11 Next-Generation Boeing 737800s) - the largest single-aisle Boeing air-

flydubai’s fleet will include 35 aircraft by the end of 2013. craft order placed in the Middle East. However, in the frenzy of gluttonous aircraft order commitments, the topic of fleets’ investments remained off the industry’s radar. Asked about the financing of flydubai’s new aircraft order, Ghaith told Kuwait Times that plane financing is something an airline manages closer to the deliv-

Dubai Airshow 2013

flydubai Chief Executive Officer Ghaith AlGhaith

flydubai CEO Ghaith Al-Ghaith talking to journalists

“We are extremely confident that we will be able to get the right financing for the new fleet. As an airline we have matured so much; there is a lot of trust.” ery of the aircraft. “We cannot talk about specific (financing). We can talk about how we see the financing of such fleets. We are extremely confident that we will be able to get the right financing for this fleet. As an airline we have matured so much, and there is a lot of trust. We select the financing at the last minute, and try to get the best deal. flydubai, he stressed, has enough cash to pay all of its pre-purchase payments which will be paid from the airline’s own income. The bumper aircraft orders by the big Gulf flag-carriers and their low-cost counterparts at the air show, some argue, might bring dark clouds over the airlines’ sustainability in the Gulf resulting from the upsurge in capacity and crowded skies. If such an aviation scenario is deemed possible, one question remains unanswered: Are Gulf carriers going to become victims of their own success? Ghaith firmly denies such a claim. “I do not think so. In this part of the world, we have lived for almost 30 years in this cycle of aviation. We know exactly what we want, and we know exactly how we are going to get it. In general, this order is a statement of intent. It is a voice of

confidence in the aviation future in this part of the world. This is how we see it.” Since its maiden flight in June 2009 flydubai has been on an upward trajectory. Before the budget carrier took off, flydubai placed an order for 50 Boeing 737-800s”. “Now we are already set up, mature and successful. We now have to order more (aircraft),” Ghaith pointed out. Cost and cost-consciousness Globally, the budget aviation sector has adopted a no-frills business model based on lower aircraft operating costs and one-type fleet. “We are very cost-conscious. Cost is a very important thing for us,” said Ghaith. “In this air show, we bring our aircraft. We are conducting the interview here on the aircraft, not in a chalet. We spend money where we have to - the money we spend has to be connected to a value; this value has to always be more that we gain than we lose.” The choice of aircraft is pivotal to ensure lower operating costs and sustaining growth in the low-cost segment. “When it comes to the aircraft choice, you always have to do your homework very well. You make the right decision based on hard work,” said Ghaith. He explains that when making an aircraft choice, it is important to assess the past in order to look at the future. “It is all about how good you understand the market and do your research; it is important also to research the fleet requirements and what is being offered. Accordingly, you make the decision.” The decision to use Boeing aircraft for flydubai, aviation analysts argue, has been logical. Aviation analyst Oussama Salah observed: “ They (flydubai) stayed with Boeing. They like the product and they have what it takes to support the fleet. Of course the Boeing 737 MAX is a logical choice.” In an industry where 40 percent of the operating costs go for fuel, flydubai’s choice of the re-engined and updated Boeing 737 MAX which is purported as more fuel efficient per seat is crucial. According to Ghaith, the new aircraft helps

bring down fuel costs by 20 percent maximum. Aircraft maintenance is also related to keeping prices lower in the economy segment. Renewing flydubai’s fleet every eight years will help ensure lower costs of maintenance, Ghaith explains. The Airbus- Boeing derby Asked to comment if Boeing’s 747 was dethroned by Airbus A380 as a preferred plane for the long-haul sector, Ghaith asserts that there is no specific aircraft or manufacturer that “fits all”. Airlines, he stressed, need both manufacturers and different aircraft to fit the requirements of the different customers and different airlines. Taking the point further, he said that airline industry players should be proud that there are airline manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus that are always pushing the boundary and making aviation more and more attractive. “If it was not for their hard work, we would not be sitting here and saying we are successful. They are the people who make it possible.” Soaring higher and higher Aviation, the second major foreign currency gainer alongside tourism, will be the primary beneficiary from the development of Dubai as a global hub boosting a strategic location at the crossroads between the East and the West. “Aviation is very much linked to the development of our country. We are about logistics, about moving people, goods and services. The stronger the aviation sector, the more successful our country. The more successful our country, there will be more opportunities for the aviation sector.” Tomorrow the world will find out if Dubai wins the bid to host the World Expo 2020 - a global forum that will further contribute to the growth of the aviation industry in the region. Regardless of the outcome of the bid, Ghaith says, flydubai will be playing an even more important role in the future. He quoted the words of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, who had said that in the UAE “we always work to be more successful.” Ghaith

Blue skies ahead Currently spreading wings to 66 destinations in 35 countries, flydubai has plans to extend its current presence, increase its geographical footprint and add more frequencies.”The number of destinations will grow next year. Next year will be the majority of our growth adding more frequency to our existing routes. We shall roll our plans soon,” Ghaith said. Ghaith remains bullish on the Middle East traffic growth and the Gulf in particular. Routes within a 5.5-hour radius from Dubai continue to be the airline’s primary focus. Both new markets and mature markets, such as Kuwait with eight flights a day, are very important for flydubai. On the Dubai-Kuwait route, Ghaith said, there is still a margin for growth. “Our biggest objective is linking the GCC.” Mapping the geographical gaps that flydubai is going to fill in 2014, Ghaith said that the GCC and the Middle East as well as Africa, East Europe and countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are very important for flydubai. “China for us is not more important than those places,” he said when asked if flydubai’s network expansion plans to reach fast-growing economies, such as China. Budget, economy, or semi-premium? flydubai recently launched a business class service. The 12 business class seats will be available on 14 aircraft by the end of the year - a move viewed by aviation experts as hybridization of flydubai which is moving closer to a full-service airline.

flydubai reaches 66 destinations in 35 countries in Africa, Central Asia, Caucus, Europe, the GCC, the Middle East and the Subcontinent. Ghaith refutes such claims. “We introduced the business class because we really believe in offering customers choices. This is one of the choices we are giving to the customer. We offer business class because there is plenty of demand for it especially because there is no proper business class to and from Dubai on 44 of the destinations we fly to,” he said. flydubai’s operates from Sheikh Saad Terminal on the Kuwait-Dubai route convenience that according to Ghaith gives the airline privacy and is expected to increase demand in the future. Global demand for air travel, the world’s largest aviation watchdog predicts, will grow to 3.6 billion passengers in 2016 with emerging economies of Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East seeing the strongest growth. Ghaith makes a more optimistic forecast for the Middle East region saying that if the average passenger growth is 1 percent, the Middle East carriers will be growing 2 percent. “If the average growth is 10 percent, we will be 20 percent. We are in the Middle East, in the GCC more importantly, where still there is growth.”



Kuwait budget surplus may reach KD13 billion Crude prices fall on easing tensions NBK ECONOMIC REPORT

WTO talks fail to agree on global trade deal text GENEVA: Marathon talks on the World Trade Organization’s first-ever worldwide trade reform in Geneva failed early yesterday to agree on a text to put to ministers who meet in Bali next month. The fate of the agreement to streamline customs procedures and speed up global trade could now hang on whether the ministers can overcome remaining differences when they gather early next month at the WTO’s biennial conference in Bali. The International Chamber of Commerce says the deal would add $960 billion to the world economy and create 21 million jobs, 18 million of them in developing countries. It would also revive confidence in the WTO as a forum for trade negotiations. The proposed accord includes elements of the Doha round of trade talks, which began in 2001 but repeatedly failed to produce an agreement over the subsequent decade. WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo has forced diplomats from the 159 member countries through a punishing 10 weeks of talks to try to agree a text for the ministers to

rubber-stamp. Azevedo said on Friday he hoped to clinch a deal over the weekend. But the final Geneva negotiating session finished at 7 a.m. without agreement. Taco Stoppels, a counsellor at the Dutch mission to the WTO, tweeted that Azevedo “closed meeting by simply thanking everyone. Text is not ready”. People involved in the talks said negotiators had come very close to a deal, although progress at times had been glacial.“We spent nine hours on one paragraph this morning. Once again, a near-death experience,” one participant said late on Sunday. Unresolved issues include an Indian crop stockpiling plan that is exempt from WTO subsidy rules and a challenge to the US economic embargo on Cuba. Turkey also has concerns about new rules on transit, while there is Central American resistance to demands to stop using customs brokers to handle trade. Azevedo will address the WTO ambassadors at a meeting of the trade body’s General Council on Tuesday, which will formally submit their work to the ministerial conference. — Reuters

September, according to data provided by ‘direct communication’ between OPEC and national sources. Major declines were witnessed in sanction-constrained Iran (200,000 bpd), Libya (190,000 bpd) and Nigeria (144,000 bpd). Libyan production continues to be curtailed by ongoing labor disputes and the subsequent shut down of fields and ports. Output fell to 0.4 mbpd - more than 1 mbpd below the post-war high reached in October of last year. Saudi Arabian production was also down by 67,000 bpd in September, though output was maintained at above 10 mbpd for the third consecutive month - partly related to the start-up of the new Jubail refinery.

ply to exceed demand again, forcing OPEC to cut production in order to keep prices above $100 pb. Using the consensus forecast of a 1.1 mbpd increase in global oil demand in 2014 and a large 1.7 mbpd increase in non-OPEC supplies, global inventories could rise by 0.5 mbpd. Despite OPEC production cuts in early 2014, the price of KEC would gradually slip from $106 in 4Q 2013 to $100 by end of 2014. If, on the other hand, the rise in non-OPEC supplies turns out 0.3 mbpd stronger than expected next year, then inventories could rise by a larger 0.8 mbpd and prices could be set on a steep downward path. In this case, the price of KEC declines to under $100 by

Oil demand outlook Analysts’ forecasts for global oil demand growth this year have converged over the past month towards a slightly improved outlook, with a marginal acceleration in 2014. The International Energy Agency (IEA) now sees demand growing by 1 million barrels per day (mbpd), or 1.1 percent, this year from 0.9 mbpd (1.0 percent) last month - in line with the forecasts of the Center for Global Energy Studies. This mostly reflects better-than-expected economic data for 3Q 2013. For 2014, the consensus view for global oil demand growth remains unchanged at 1.1 mbpd (1.2 percent), consisting of a 0.3 mbpd fall in demand from developed countries and a 1.4 mbpd rise in demand from developing countries. Taken together, China and the Middle East account for more than half of the increase in demand for the world as a whole.

The largest decline in OPEC came from Iraq, which pushed down the organization’s total output to its lowest level in almost two years. Iraqi production fell 374,000 bpd to an 18-month low of 2.8 mbpd in September. The drop was due to maintenance works at southern ports, which are likely to have continued through mid-October, in addition to forced production cuts at major fields following a leak in a key oil pipeline. Non-OPEC oil supplies are projected to increase by a significant 1.5 mbpd for 2013 as a whole, of which one-quarter is due to come from OPEC natural gas liquids. Non-OPEC supply growth has come from North America, the Former Soviet Union and Africa the latter related to the ramp-up of output from South Sudan. If OPEC output remains at current levels, OPEC output is on track to fall on average this year and global supplies should increase by less than 1 mbpd. Next year, global supplies could rise more significantly on the back of even stronger growth in non-OPEC output.

mid-2014 and below $90 by end-year. Alternatively, a 0.3 mbpd shortfall in non-OPEC supply growth next year - possibly from slower-thanexpected growth in North American production could see oil prices rise sharply. In this scenario, the price of KEC accelerates from under $110 in the second half to above $120 by end of 2014. These last two scenarios would likely prompt OPEC to adjust its output in order to prevent prices moving too far in either direction.

Oil supply outlook Crude output of the OPEC-11 (excluding Iraq) fell by a significant 494,000 bpd to 28.6 mbpd in

Price projections Despite an improving demand outlook in 2014, large increases in non-OPEC output could cause sup-

KUWAIT: Oil prices have eased back through October and early November, with some benchmarks reaching 5-month lows. The price of Kuwait Export Crude (KEC) slipped from $107 per barrel (pb) in midOctober to $101 in the first week of November, its lowest since early July. Brent crude prices followed a similar pattern, falling from $112 in early October to under $103 - some $14 below its end-August peak. The price of the main US benchmark - West Texas Intermediate (WTI) - witnessed larger declines, falling by more than $16 from its early September peak of $111. WTI prices fell below $100 pb for the first time in more than 3 months. Accordingly, WTI’s discount to Brent widened from $1 in mid-July to as high as $12 in late October. An easing of tensions in the Middle East has contributed to recent price declines. Negotiations between the West and Iran surrounding the latter’s nuclear program have reduced the political factors that have elevated oil prices this year. This follows the US backing-off from military intervention in Syria in the previous month. Western sanctions have taken an estimated 1 million barrels per day (mbpd) of Iranian crude off the oil market, and oil prices have reacted to the prospects of an easing of these sanctions. Rising crude inventories in the US have also added to downward pressure on prices. Weakening demand from US refineries - due to seasonal maintenance and rising US oil production have led to a rapid climb in crude stockpiles. This also explains why WTI prices have fallen more sharply than other benchmark crudes in recent weeks. Strong global oil supplies have also helped maintain downward pressure on prices. Non-OPEC supplies have continued to surge, while elevated production levels in the GCC have partly offset supply disruptions in other OPEC countries. OPEC members, scheduled to meet in Vienna on December 4th, are expected to keep the organization’s output target at 30 mbpd - slightly below the current production level.

Budget projections The three scenarios above generate oil prices in the narrow range of $103 to $105 in the current fiscal year, with the impact on prices largely felt next year. Although oil prices may average lower than last year’s $107, higher production is expected to keep government revenues flat or slightly above the previous year. If government spending, as expected, comes in 5-10 percent below its official target of KD 21.0 billion, the budget would see a surplus of between KD 12.0 billion and KD 13.6 billion before allocations to the RFFG. This would equate to 24 percent-27 percent of forecast 2013 GDP, and would represent Kuwait’s 15th consecutive budget surplus.

Cinda IPO unveils secrets of a Chinese bad debt factory

TOKYO: Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda (left) chats with Bank of France Governor Christian Noyer (R) before starting the luncheon of the Paris Europlace financial forum in Tokyo yesterday. Noyer and his Japanese counterpart Haruhiko Kuroda attended the meeting. —AFP

Peugeot shares rise on Iran deal, CEO report PARIS: Shares in struggling French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen soared yesterday on the possibility for eased sanctions in Iran and strong signs that the group is about to hire a top executive from Renault. A source close to the matter told AFP Peugeot Citroen is about to name former Renault number two Carlos Tavares as a co-head beside current chief Philippe Varin, who has approved the hire. A union source said company representatives have been called by management to a briefing later Monday, though the topic of the meeting was not disclosed. In August, Tavares gave an interview in which he said he had little prospect of being able to succeed Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn as head of the group and left the company abruptly two weeks later. Talk of Tavares landing at Peugeot comes amid other reports that the company was still in negotiations with Chinese carmaker Dongfeng about a potential capital injection. The hiring of Tavares was widely being interpreted as a gambit by cash-strapped

Peugeot to satisfy Dongfeng, with Varin viewed as being too closely associated with the Peugeot family. Shares in Peugeot rose 4.45 percent to 10.68 euros in afternoon trade yesterday, while the Paris CAC 40 was up 0.57 percent. Peugeot, which reported falling sales for the third quarter, is in the throes of a radical restructuring involving deep job cuts and the closure of a factory. It was also rescued last year by means of big state guarantees for its financing and credit arm. The news of a possible easing of sanctions on Iran also affected the share price. Peugeot cars are a ubiquitous presence on roads in Tehran and the prospective reopening of the market could mean a boost for a company that is at pains to expand sales. Renault shares meanwhile rose by 1.15 percent, with analysts believing both French auto companies are well-placed to benefit from the easing of sanctions in Iran, a result of a historic deal on nuclear power agreed in Geneva early Sunday. — AFP

HONG KONG: China Cinda Asset Management Co Ltd lifted the lid on how Beijing turns bad loans from its banks into profits, issuing a prospectus yesterday for an initial public offering that has reeled in some of the world’s biggest investors. The IPO, seeking up to $2.5 billion, is set to be the largest in Hong Kong this year as sovereign wealth funds join hedge funds in betting that soured loans will be a growth business in China’s slowing economy. Cinda plans to list shares on Dec 12. It’s one of four debt collectors created in 1999 by China’s Ministry of Finance to process bad loans made by the country’s biggest banks to a wide range of companies. Little had been known about financial operations at the firms, known as asset management companies (AMCs), until a filing last year on a Cinda bond offering and now Monday’s prospectus. Huarong Asset Management Corp is the next AMC expected to seek an IPO, hoping to raise up to $2 billion, though no timetable has been set. Cinda’s 710-page filing shows steady growth in assets and profit in recent years. Yet it also reveals a drop in return on equity, underlining the company’s need to diversify its lines of business. “We think the proceeds will be used to continue to diversify and grow Cinda’s investment, asset management, insurance, and other financial services,” said James Antos, banking sector analyst at Mizuho Securities Asia. In the filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Cinda said total assets rose 11 percent to 283.55 billion yuan ($46.5 billion) as of June 30, versus the end of December last year. That makes it a significant player in distressed debt when stacked against global peers. By comparison, Oaktree Capital Management, the world’s largest distressed debt manager and also an investor in Cinda, had $79.8 billion under management as of the end of September. Cinda said one of the main ways it conducts the distressed asset management business is by buying assets at a discount and selling them later for a profit. It also conducts debt-to-equity swaps, where Cinda ends up owning shares of companies whose debt it owns. The total book value of Cinda’s assets acquired through debt-to-equity swaps is $7.2 billion, with unlisted companies accounting for about 79 percent. Set up to handle the bad loans of China Construction Bank , the country’s No. 2 lender, Cinda said profit attributable to equity holders was 4.06 billion yuan ($667 million) for the six months ended June 30, 2013. That was up 36 percent from 2.99 billion yuan a year earlier. But the company also said its return on average equity (ROAE) declined from 43 percent in 2010 to 30.4 percent in the six months ended June 30, 2013. Distressed asset management is Cinda’s primary business, accounting for 72.3 percent of profit before tax for six months ended June 30, the company said. A group of 10 investors, including Norway’s sovereign wealth fund and Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC, have together committed to buy about $1.1 billion of stock as cornerstone investors, Reuters reported on Sunday.—Reuters

NEW YORK: Robert Oswald (right) works with fellow traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. — AP

Egypt suspends rice exports ABU DHABI: Egypt suspended rice exports less than a week after issuing licenses to sell the grain abroad, the head of the rice committee of Egypt’s Agricultural Export Council said yesterday. “We are of course very upset about this decision, which only serves to confuse the market,” Mostafa El-Naggari told Reuters over the telephone. On Nov. 19, Egypt granted licenses allowing exporters to sell 102,000 tons of white medium-grain rice in a tender. The licenses allowed export of rice for a period until Jan. 15. The Ministry of Supply has since then suspended exports until all of the domestic needs for the government subsidy program are met, Naggari said. Egypt has an exportable surplus estimated at 800,000 tons of rice this year. “Of course there are still a lot of discussions taking place around this. The decision is strange because we already know we have a surplus for exports, so there shouldn’t be a problem,” Naggari

said. Egypt’s local consumption amounts to around 4 million tons of white rice a year, of which around 1.1 million tons are used for its subsidized rice program. The Ministry of Supply holds tenders to buy rice for the subsidy program. Rice is sold at the price of 1.5 Egyptian pounds ($0.22) a kilo to over 60 million Egyptians under that system. Naggari said that Egypt should rely more heavily on imported lower-priced long-grain rice for its subsidy program and sell its more pricey medium-grain rice abroad for more profit. “We have to start getting our local consumers used to long-grain rice as it is more profitable to export our mediumgrain rice,” he said. The restrictions on Egyptian rice exports are meant to keep prices in the local market stable, but rice exporters have complained that the ban on free exports has led to the rise of a contraband trade by creating a large price difference between domestic and export markets. — Reuters



China thief sends iPhone owner handwritten numbers BEIJING: A Chinese thief painstakingly wrote out 11 pages of telephone numbers from a stolen iPhone and sent them to the owner, state media said yesterday. The pickpocket is believed to have taken the Apple handset from Zou Bin when they shared a taxi, the Xinhua news agency said. Zou had nearly 1,000 contact numbers in the device and with no backup copy like millions of other people around the world-he was more concerned about losing the

data than the phone itself, it added. “I know you are the man who sat beside me. I can assure you that I will find you,” he said in a text message to the thief. “Look through the contact numbers in my mobile and you will know what trade I am in,” he added. “Send me back the phone to the address below if you are sensible.” The tone of the message was unmistakably threatening-Zou works in the pub industry, which in China is widely

held to have links with gangs. Days later he received a parcel containing his SIM card and 11 pages of carefully handwritten contact numbers, Xinhua said, adding he was “fossilised” by the result-a Chinese colloquialism for astonished. “It would take a while to write from one to one thousand, let alone names and a whole string of digits. I suppose (the thief ’s) hand is swelling,” Zou was quoted as saying.

The theft earlier this month is believed to have happened somewhere between Yiyang and Changsha in the central province of Hunan. Chinese Internet users gave the thief plaudits for his efforts, dubbing him “the conscience of the (theft) industry”. One user of Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter, posted: “What a sympathetic and faithful thief, one who values professional ethics.” — AFP

New research aims to teach computers common sense NEIL comprehends images, connects them to context

HAWTHORNE: New York State Trooper Clayton Howell checks a screen that displays driving records inside his patrol vehicle in Hawthorne, NY. — AP

NY cops in SUVs peer in on texting drivers MOUNT PLEASANT: Even for a state trooper, it’s not easy to spot drivers who are texting. Their smartphones are down on their laps, not at their ears. And they’re probably not moving their lips. That’s why New York has given state police 32 tall, unmarked SUVs to better peer down at drivers’ hands, part of one of the nation’s most aggressive attacks on texting while driving that also includes steeper penalties and dozens of highway “Texting Zones,” where motorists can pull over to use their devices. “Look at that,” Trooper Clayton Howell says, pulling alongside a black BMW while patrolling the highways north of New York City. “This guy’s looking down. I can see his thumb on the phone. I think we got him.” After a quick wail of the siren and a flash of the tucked-away flashers, an accountant from the suburbs is pulled over and politely given a ticket. New York is among 41 states that ban text messaging for all drivers and is among only 12 that prohibit using hand-held cellphones. The state this year stiffened penalties for motorists caught using hand-held devices to talk or text, increasing penalty points on the driving record from three to five, along with tickets that carry fines of up to $200. With the tough new penalties came tougher enforcement. In a two-month crackdown this summer, troopers handed out 5,553 tickets for texting while driving, compared to 924 in the same period last year. In New York’s recent push, 91 existing rest areas and turnoffs on the state Thruway and other highways have been rebranded “Texting Zones,” some advertised with blue signs declaring “It can wait. Text stop 5 miles.” “To our knowledge, New York is the first,” Jonathan Adkins, deputy executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, said of the texting turnoffs. “It’s an intriguing approach and one that we think will pay dividends and be duplicated in other states.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that at any moment during daylight hours, 660,000 drivers in the United States are texting, using cellphones or otherwise manipulating electronic devices. It says more than 3,300 people were killed and 421,000 injured in crashes caused by distracted

driving last year. Major Michael Kopy, commander of the state police troop patrolling the corridor between New York City and Albany, quoted a Virginia Tech study that found texting while driving increased the chance of a collision by 23 times and took eyes off the road for five seconds - more than the length of a football field at highway speed. Kopy worries that as teens get their driver’s licenses, texting on the road will become more prevalent. “More people are coming of driving age who have had these hand-held devices for many years, and now as they start to drive, they’re putting the two together, texting and driving, when they shouldn’t.” Howell’s SUV, called a CITE vehicle for Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement, is designed to catch just such drivers. Mousy gray in color, it swoops in undetected when Howell suspects a violation. “You can see how oblivious they are to this vehicle,” Howell said as a woman holding a phone paid him no mind. “I’m right next to them, and they have no idea.” The driver, a doctor, said she’d been running late and was on the phone to her office. It didn’t qualify as an emergency under the rules, but she got off with a warning. The accountant who was ticketed, Chris Pecchia, of Montrose, told Howell he hadn’t been texting but rather was looking at a map displayed on his phone. He was cited anyway, for driving while using a portable electronic device. “His story’s believable, but even a GPS has to be hands-free,” Howell said. Pecchia said afterward: “I can’t look at a map? What’s the difference between looking at a paper map and looking at a map on the phone?” Still, he said, he understood why the trooper pulled him over. He said he would never text while driving and has forbidden his 17-year-old daughter from doing so. Howell pulled over a registered nurse because she had earbuds in both ears. Only one earbud is permitted while driving. She got off with a warning after explaining she was listening to her GPS’s turn-by-turn directions. “I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt,” Howell said. “It’s my philosophy to educate, and when you pull somebody over and give them a warning, that’s a pretty good education.” — AP

Apps aim to help consumers avoid Black Friday hassles NEW YORK: Shoppers who want to avoid long lines to nab a deal during Black Friday can download new apps that will let them shop for bargains from the comfort of their home. Whether it is getting notifications about items going on sale, shopping from print magazines and flyers, or turning email promotions into shopping magazines, apps are helping shoppers find deals. Shop It To Me, a new free app for the iPhone, allows shoppers to track when their favorite clothing items or brands go on sale in their size at online retailers. “On Black Friday, every store is going to shove sales in your face and it can be so overwhelming that you might miss out on an item you actually want,” said Charlie Graham, chief executive of San Franciscobased company Shop It To Me, referring to the Friday after Thanksgiving and the start of Christmas shopping. Shop It To Me acts like a personal shopping assistant, constantly scouring hundreds of online retailers, such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Banana Republic and J.Crew, for the latest deals based on the shoppers’ preferences and sizes. Graham said good deals, free shipping, more variety and less hassle are luring more consumers to shop online. Hukkster for the iPhone also lets shoppers track their favorite items and sales. With a new feature on the free app users worldwide can also put in the style number of items they find in stores and track when they go on sale. ShopAdvisor, a free app for

iPhone, Android and Windows Phone, tracks items consumers find in print and tablet magazines. “What we’ve seen is that Black Friday is not necessarily the best day to go shopping anymore. Often we’ll see deals online prior to and after Black Friday that can be just as good, if not better, than those we see in store,” said Karen Macumber, chief marketing officer of ShopAdvisor, based in Boston. After scanning a product in a magazine readers can click on an ad to buy the item, or be notified when it goes on sale. Macumber said the aim of the app is to reach consumers as soon as they discover a new product and to make magazines a part of the shopping experience. Another app called Sift takes a different approach, letting users browse through promotions in their email inboxes. When users connect with their email account the app creates a catalog of promotions. “People’s email is filled with shopping promotions. Some of our users receive as many as 3,000 to 4,000 shopping emails a year,” said Saurin Shah, CEO of Sift, based in Burlingame, California. The free app also learns about shoppers’ preferences from their emails to help them discover new products in the company’s database of more than a million products. “We use what we know about them to bring what they think will be most interesting in to the front. We do all the heavy sifting,” said Shah, who added that the app can also be used to shop for other people. — Reuters

PITTSBURGH: Researchers are trying to plant a digital seed for artificial intelligence by letting a massive computer system browse millions of pictures and decide for itself what they all mean. The system at Carnegie Mellon University is called NEIL, short for Never Ending Image Learning. In mid-July, it began searching the Internet for images 24/7 and, in tiny steps, is deciding for itself how those images relate to each other. The goal is to recreate what we call common sense - the ability to learn things without being specifically taught. It’s a new approach in the quest to solve computing’s Holy Grail: getting a machine to think on its own using a form of common sense. The project is being funded by Google and the Department of Defense’s Office of Naval Research. “Any intelligent being needs to have common sense to make decisions,” said Abhinav Gupta, a professor in the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute. NEIL uses advances in computer vision to analyze and identify the shapes and colors in pictures, but it is also slowly discovering connections between objects on its own. For example, the computers have figured out that zebras tend to be found in savannahs and that tigers look somewhat like zebras. In just over four months, the network of 200 processors has identified 1,500 objects and 1,200 scenes and has connected the dots to make 2,500 associations. Some of NEIL’s computer-generated associations are wrong, such as “rhino can be a kind of antelope,” while some are odd, such as “actor can be found in jail cell” or “news anchor can look similar to Barack Obama.” But Gupta said having a computer make its own associations is an entirely different type of challenge than programing a supercomputer to do one thing very well, or fast. For example, in 1985, Carnegie Mellon researchers programmed a computer to play chess; 12 years later, a computer beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov in a match. Catherine Havasi, an artificial intelligence expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said humans constantly make decisions using “this huge body of unspoken assumptions,” while computers don’t. She said humans can also quickly respond to some questions that would take a com-

PITTSBURGH: In this photo, Abhinav Gupta (left) stands with Abhinav Shrivastava as they look over one of the clusters of computers used in their research at one of the computer server areas on campus at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. — AP puter longer to figure out. “Could a giraffe fit in your car?” she asked. “We’d have an answer, even though we haven’t thought about it” in the sense of calculating the giraffe’s body mass. Robert Sloan, an expert on artificial intelligence and head of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois, Chicago, said the NEIL approach could yield interesting results because just using language to teach a computer “has all sorts of problems unto itself.” “What I would be especially impressed by is if they can consistently say ‘zebra, zebra, zebra’ if they see the animal in different locations,” Sloan said of the computers. Gupta is pleased with the initial progress. In the future, NEIL will analyze vast numbers of YouTube videos to look for connections between objects. “When we started the project, we would not sure it

would work,” he said. “This is just the start.” Neither Mountain View, Calif-based Google Inc nor the Office of Naval Research responded to questions about why they’re funding NEIL, but there are some hints. The Naval Research website notes that “today’s battlespace environment is much more complex than in the past” and that “the rate at which data is arriving into the decision-making system is growing, while the number of humans available to convert the data to actionable intelligence is decreasing.” In other words, computers may make some of the decisions in future wars. The Navy’s website notes: “In many operational scenarios, the human presence is not an option.” NEIL’s motto is “I Crawl, I See, I Learn,” and the researchers hope to keep NEIL running forever. That means the computer might get a lot smarter. Or it might not. — AP

Inmates learn tech sector from Silicon Valley pros SAN QUENTIN: The budding entrepreneurs wear blue sweat pants labeled “prisoner” and huge, flapping blue shirts. Their doors are triple locked, and lunch is a stale peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Complicating matters, participants in this growing Silicon Valley startup incubator are barred from the Internet. Nonetheless, the program, launched by successful tech entrepreneurs for inmates north of San Francisco in the decaying San Quentin State Prison, has expanded, and a new session began this month in the gritty, downtown Los Angeles Twin Towers Correctional Facility. The reason they ’re growing is simple: Graduates, now trickling out of the penal system, are landing real jobs at real dot-coms. The rigorous, six-month training teaches carefully selected inmates the ins and outs of designing and launching technology firms, using local experts as volunteer instructors. “We believe that when incarcerated people are released into the world, they need the tools to function in today’s hightech, wired world,” says co-founder Beverly Parenti, who with her husband, Chris Redlitz, has launched thriving companies, including AdAuction, the first online media exchange. The pair were Silicon Valley pioneers in the 1990s, and they tap their many high-level connections to help with the prison program they started the program after Redlitz was invited into San Quentin in 2011 for a guest lecture and was overwhelmed by the inmates’ desire to learn. “I figured, ‘We work with young entrepreneurs every day. Why not here?’” he recalled. After discussions with prison administrators, Parenti and Redlitz decided to add a prison-based firm to their portfolio, naming it for the precarious journey from prison to home: The Last Mile. Now, during twice-a-week evening lessons, students - many locked up before smartphones or Google- practice tweeting, brainstorm new companies and discuss business books assigned as homework. Banned from the Internet to prevent networking with other criminals, they take notes on keyboard-like word processors or with pencil on paper. The program is still “bootstrapping,” as its organizers say, with just 12 graduates in its first two years and now a few dozen in classes in San Quentin and Twin Towers. But the five graduates released so far are working in the tech sector. They are guaranteed paid internships if they can finish the rigorous training program, which requires prerequisite courses, proven social skills and a lifetime oath to lead by positive example. In one recent class, while thousands of inmates exercised or played chess in San Quentin’s prison yard, students worked their way through a business model, pitching different technology concepts.“What are the distribution channels?” challenged seminar leader Andrew Kaplan, a product marketing manager at LinkedIn. “What platforms or networks do we need to think about? Who are we trying to engage?” Tommy Winfrey, 35, who is serving 25 years to life for second-degree murder

SAN FRANCISCO: In this photo, Kenyatta Leal, a former prison inmate, works at his office at Rocket Space in San Francisco. — AP and hopes to be paroled in 2018, adjusted his eyeglasses and raised a tattooed arm. “I think an important part of our brand is going to be to give our customer a voice,” he said, suggesting they share ideas on social media. On a Silicon Valley-style Demo Day, the startup students present ideas to investors, a demonstration that convinced former California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation director Matthew Cate he made the right decision to approve the training course. “This program will go a long way to not only providing these guys with jobs, but it is my hope

that they hire people like them who have changed their lives and are now ready to contribute to society, pay taxes, follow the law, support their families. All those things contribute to the economy,” he told participants after watching the 2012 Demo Day. Inmates also learn the essential startup skills of blogging, in part by answering questions on Quora, a website that allows users and experts to communicate, by having volunteers input their entries. Without real businesses to discuss, thousands of readers ask the inmates questions such as: “What does it feel like to murder someone?” —AP

LONDON: A man plays the “Forza 5” driving game on a massive screen at a launch party for the new Microsoft Xbox One console in central London. — AFP


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

Amid holiday canned-food drives, US food banks take up farming GLENMOORE: Surrounded by rows of kale and collard greens, Bill Shick ticks off statistics about yields and the man-hours it takes to harvest the leafy green vegetables. What he can’t tell you is what he would sell it for because it will all be given away by the Chester County Food Bank in its efforts to grow food for the needy. The fresh produce program gives low-sodium, low-sugar foods to the poorest Americans year-round, including during the holiday season often associated with canned-food drives. “We picked a thousand pounds this weekend and we’ll do another thousand next week,” Shick, the food bank’s agricultural director said, while standing in a greenhouse where the program grows seedlings in a suburban Philadelphia park. Chester County is among about 20 food banks across the country that have started their own farms to boost healthier eating by the needy, said Domenic Vitiello, a University of Pennsylvania professor who has studied food pantry agricultural operations. Low-income Americans are a demographic often plagued by diet-related ailments such as diabetes and heart disease. Chester County Food Bank opened about

five years ago, springing from the ashes of a similar program that relied on nearby Amish farmers. It was started explicitly with the goal of distributing food straight from the field. Canned food that is often donated to food banks because of its long shelf life is typically higher in sodium, which the American Heart Association says may increase risk for heart failure. People with diabetes also are encouraged to limit the sodium in their daily diet to 1,500 mg to help prevent or control high blood pressure, according to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “The cans we’ve gotten in through the years - it’s not the healthiest stuff,” said Larry Welsch, Chester County Food Bank’s executive director. “I’ve gotten cans of pickled cactus with 2,800 (milli) grams of sodium.” Contributing through volunteering “When we formed this food bank,” Welsch said, “it wasn’t going to be cans in, cans out.” The farming effort has offered the public new ways to contribute to the food pantry. “People are very excited to volunteer in the field,” Shick said. “It isn’t stuffing envelopes and putting cans in a box.”

In three growing houses in Chester County’s Springton Manor Farm park, the food bank cultivates seedlings for its partners, including private farmers and corporations such as Endo Health Solutions and Malvern, Pennsylvania-based Vanguard Group. Some schools use the seedlings to grow vegetables for student lunches, others raise their own crops in horticulture and culinary programs, and donate to the food bank what they do not use. The charity grows food on more than a dozen acres spread across multiple sites. To supplement its crop yield, the food bank buys from a farm auction in nearby Lancaster County. Fresh produce makes up about 22 percent of the edibles the Chester County Food Bank distributes. It ranks sixth-highest in the nation for the amount of fresh produce it distributes as a percentage of all the food it gives out, according to statistics compiled by a University of Pennsylvania researcher. Growing produce allows food banks to distribute a wider variety, including leafy greens, Shick said. But it also means footing the expense of buying commercial refrigerators and refrigerated trucks, said Ross Fraser, a spokesman for the nonprofit Feeding America. Those

costly hurdles have slowed the transition of food cupboards away from canned goods able to last for months in church basements and toward often more nutritious, but perishable food. Nationwide, most food bank agricultural programs are still in the experimental stages, but they share some characteristics, Vitiello said. They are usually located in wealthier areas because of the start-up expense, and they tend to have educational components that can be just as important as feeding people. Chester County is Pennsylvania’s wealthiest, with an economy buoyed by the pharmaceutical industry. But it also has pockets of poverty, particularly in the Kennett Square area, where there are numerous migrant farm workers who pick mushrooms; and Coatesville, a city whose fortunes have declined as a local steel mill closed and then re-opened with fewer jobs. Food bank farming programs have important roles to play in educating people to cook and use healthier food, Vitiello said. “When these programs are training low-income people in learning how to produce their own food, they’re playing a different role in the food system and promoting food justice,” Vitiello said. — AP

Paralympics boosts profile of disabled but no panacea ‘Being open’ is vital, sailor Helena Lucas says

Screen time again linked to kids’ extra weight NEW YORK: Children and teenagers who spend lots of time in front of screens - especially TVs - tend to gain more weight as they age, according to a new study. The findings are consistent with research suggesting all that idle sitting and exposure to advertisements may fuel poor eating habits. Many parents believe their children are getting a reasonable amount of recreational screen time, Mark Tremblay said. But most US and Canadian kids exceed the recommended two-hour maximum per day. “We don’t pay attention to the fact that it’s half an hour here, half an hour there, an hour here, an hour there,” Tremblay told Reuters Health. He is the director of Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute in Ottawa, Canada, and wasn’t involved in the new study. Researchers used data from a long-term study of kids who took surveys every other year. The surveys included questions about their height and weight as well as how much time they spent watching TV and DVDs and playing computer and video games. Kids were between ages nine and 16 when the study started. Out of about 4,300 girls in the study, 17 percent were overweight or obese. Twenty-four percent of the 3,500 boys were also above a healthy weight. From one survey to the next, each one-hour increase in children’s daily TV watching was tied to an increase of about 0.1 points on a body mass index (BMI) scale, which measures weight in relation to height. That’s a difference of approximately half a pound per extra hour of TV. Increases in total screen time between survey periods were linked with similar but smaller changes in BMI. “The weight of the evidence is pretty strong that television viewing is related to unhealthy changes in weight among youth,” Jennifer Falbe said. But, she told Reuters Health, “It’s important for parents to be aware of all the potentially obesogenic screens that they should really be limiting in their children’s lives.” Increases in DVD and video watching were tied to weight gain among girls, in particular.

Falbe led the study while at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. She is now at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health. When kids watch TV, “There is more purposeful, deliberate exposure to eating options, commercials that come on that might cue you to go off to the pantry and grab a cookie or a soft drink,” Tremblay said. “Typically your hands are free when you’re watching TV, so should that temptation capture you, you’re able to sit there and munch on whether it’s a healthy or an unhealthy snack.” What’s more, he said, “You can get into a pretty much hibernative state on the couch.” Even if kids are sitting down while playing a computer game, for instance, they might be a bit more active, Tremblay said. The study didn’t include many nonwhite or poor children, the researchers noted. So the findings may not apply to all US youth. Another study of factors affecting childrens’ weight published today in Pediatrics found that kids whose mothers and fathers reported consistent parenting setting age-appropriate rules and expectations and following through on them - had a lower BMI than their peers. But those differences were small, Pauline Jansen from Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues wrote. In a third report in the same journal issue, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracked 1.2 million children from low-income families in the US to see how their weight changed over time. They found 11 percent of kids who were not obese before age two became obese over the next two to three years. Close to two-thirds of children who were initially obese as babies and toddlers were no longer obese a couple of years later. Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native children were more likely than white kids to become obese and less likely to stop being obese. The study “underscores the importance of early life obesity prevention in multiple settings for low-income children and their families,” according to researchers led by Dr Liping Pan. — Reuters

Expert calls for calm as France hit by cancer vaccine scare PARIS: One of France’s top medical experts appealed for calm yesterday as a scare over a widely administered vaccine that prevents cervical cancer gathered momentum. Daniel Floret, the chair of the national committee that oversees vaccinations, said there was no evidence to link Gardasil, a vaccine against the human papilloma virus (HPV), with serious auto-immune conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Floret was responding to a criminal complaint filed by MarieOceane Bourguignon, 18, against Gardasil’s French distributor, Sanofi Pasteur MSD. The case was being given prominent play by France’s media yesterday and Bourguignon herself gave a press conference in Bordeaux to describe how she believes taking the vaccine left her in a wheelchair, scarcely able to see or hear. But Floret cautioned against reading too much into a single case. “The fact that a complaint has been made does not mean there is a problem. We are putting all the focus on the potential side effects and forgetting what this vaccine brings,” said Floret. “None of the international medical safety controls has showed up any link between this vaccine and any kind of auto-immune disease, and millions of doses have been administered.” Licensed

for use in 120 countries, Gardasil has been given to 2.3 million French adolescents. It is one of two blockbuster HPV vaccines used around the world on the basis of research showing a link between HPV and cervical, oral and anal cancer. In Britain, where the vaccine is offered to all girls between the ages of 12 and 13, the National Health Service estimates that the program saves 400 lives per year. ‘It has ruined our lives’ Bourguignon was vaccinated with Gardasil at the end of 2010 when she was 15. Within two months she had developed symptoms that included vertigo, vomiting, temporary loss of sight and the use of her legs, and facial paralysis. “I was consumed by rage,” her father, JeanJacques, 57, said yesterday. “For something like that to happen to a child in good health-it has ruined our lives.” According to her lawyer, JeanChristophe Coubris, Bourguignon has been diagnosed as suffering from either an acute form of encephalomyelitis, a generalized inflammation of the immune system, or multiple sclerosis. Her legal case seeks to establish the liability of both Sanofi and France’s medicines safety agency (ANSM), arguing that the latter body failed in its statutory duty of care when it authorised the vaccine.—AP

LONDON: Walking with Paralympic Gold Medalist Tim Prendergast along one of London’s busiest streets, ‘disability’ is not the first word that springs to mind. Weaving through the heaving crowds outside Baker Street underground train station, Prendergast, who is blind except for peripheral vision, crosses a road without pause - exhibiting the focused confidence that led him to victory in the T13 800m in Athens in 2004 with a time of 1:56.23. “People make assumptions. In fact, some people will grab your arm and move you around,” said Prendergast, who says he never uses a cane. “They have good intentions, so you can’t get cross, but it’s patronising.” The 2012 London Paralympics, with an estimated international television audience of 3.4 billion, raised awareness of disabilities and turned some competitors into heroes and heroines. But it was no panacea for the often fraught social interactions that people like Prendergast face on a daily basis. “Research clearly shows that the games had a positive impact on peoples’ perceptions of disability,” said Craig Spence, head of communications at the International Paralympics Committee. “(But) there is still a significant challenge... in bridging the gap between peoples’ perception of disabled athletes and their attitudes to disabled people in everyday life. “That requires seeing disabled people excel in the work place and in the community. The Games started a dialogue but it is now up to society to carry that legacy forward.” The assumptions that people sometimes make about disabled people can be insulting, inconvenient or even dangerous. “As a wheelchair user there is always the danger that someone will grab your chair and take you

across a road that you had no intention of crossing,” said Rosemary Frazer, Community Campaigns Manager at the disability charity Scope. ‘Why do your eyes wobble?’ Frazer is particularly incensed when she travels with her husband and staff and other passengers at airports treat her as if she were mentally impaired - or not even there. “They act as though you could not possibly explain yourself and it is very condescending. I get this when I go to the airport and try to book in. I give them our tickets and they ask my husband what help I will need to get on the plane,” she said. Being visually impaired myself, I have often experienced people doing things for me while being afraid to ask questions. This can result in them being very unhelpful. Children on the other hand will just walk up and say ‘why do your eyes wobble?’ I explain and they walk away satisfied. Although this often leaves very embarrassed parents, it is in fact refreshing. Prendergast lost his sight over a five-year period when he was a teenager. It started with dark spots that formed in the centre of his eyes and slowly expanded until they blotted out everything but his extreme peripheral vision. “I got angry. My passion was cricket and I was not going to be able to take it very far. But it was either sit around and feel sorry for myself or work out how to deal with it. You have to adapt,” Prendergast told Reuters. His disability has forced him to come up with a wide array of tools and techniques for dealing with everyday problems. For example, crossing a road, he uses other pedestrians as markers, locking onto their heels with his peripheral vision and following

them to avoid bollards and shop signs. At a train station early in the morning, before the loud speaker announcements begin, he will ask others for help. “It is easy to feel in denial about your disability and some people find it hard to ask for help, but really asking for help is the greatest source of independence. I have never been refused when I explain to someone that I cannot see,” he said. Dialogue essential Helena Lucas, another Paralympic Gold Medalist, agreed. “Being open about when you need help is vital. You have to be comfortable with yourself,” said Lucas, who won her medal in 2012 for sailing despite having no thumbs and limited movement in her arms. She sails with no major modifications to her vessel, a 2.4m R Olympicsclass sailboat. The importance of actually asking disabled people what they want is by no means confined to crossing the road. For example, if a blind person enters the education system it might seem best to teach him Braille. Yet the Royal National Institute for Blind People estimates there are only about 20,000 Braille users in Britain, representing less than one percent of blind and visually impaired people in the country. While many will not have had the chance to learn Braille, many others will choose not to use it, even if they have learned it, because it is not appropriate for their needs. Norali Yusop lost his sight to meningitis while preparing for school examinations. Living in Brunei, he was urged to learn Braille but quickly found he needed “something more efficient”. Besides, Braille textbooks were hard to come by, so he took to recording his classmates reading their books out loud. —Reuters

CHINA: This photo shows plastic surgeon Wang Xuming performing a “special” nose operation on a patient at his clinic in the southwest Chinese city of Chongqing. (Right) Plastic surgeon Wang Xuming talking to AFP at his clinic. — AFP photos

Students edge China jobs race by a nose CHINA: Battling for jobs with millions of other new graduates, Chinese students are turning to plastic surgery for an advantage-with one clinic offering noses inspired by the Eiffel Tower. Chinese employers can be frank about their preference for attractive job candidates-sometimes even posting height requirements in recruitment adverts. With a record seven million graduates entering the job market this year, combined with a growth slowdown, China’s state-run media dubbed 2013 the “toughest ever year” for would-be white-collar employees. Now surgeons across the country say that increasing numbers of students are going under the knife in the hope of boosting their prospects, expanding a cosmetic surgery market that is already the third-largest in the world. Dozens of plastic surgery clinics have plastered advertisements across the southwestern city of Chongqing, with posters promoting surgeon Wang Xuming’s “Eiffel Tower” procedure showing the shape of a well-sculpted nose next to the French landmark’s gentle curve. “We’ve been influenced by the beauty of the Eiffel Tower, we don’t just add to the nose, but rebuild it,” said Wang, adding he performs around a dozen such operations each month. ‘It’s helped them a lot’ A Chinese government-backed drive to expand the country’s university system has seen its ranks of universities and colleges more than double in the past decade, according to official statistics. But a shortage of white-collar jobs means that hundreds of thousands of graduates end up unemployed every year. About 10 percent of recent university graduates are unemployed, more than double China’s official unemployment rate for the general population, according to a June survey by MyCOS, a Beijing based education consultancy. “Some students face a lot of employment pressure after graduation, if their facial features are good, they’ll have more chance of finding a job,” said Wang. We’ve had students getting the Eiffel nose, it’s helped them a lot.” China stands behind

CHINA: This photo shows a poster advertising an “Eiffel Tower” nose operation at a clinic in the southwest Chinese city of Chongqing. only the US and Brazil for the number of plastic surgery operations performed each year, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. The swelling wallets of China’s middle class helped the sector grow up to 40 percent annually in recent years, state broadcaster CCTV said. Xu Yang, 26, who is on a museum studies course in Beijing, said she underwent liposuction this year partly to help her find a job. “I was fat, and after surgery, finding a job can be easier,” she said. “Employers sometimes care more about your appearance than your experience, especially for white-collar jobs.” At the Chongqing hospital, Wang washed his hands before operating on a patient he identified as a 33-year-old ballet dancer. After putting her under anaesthetic, he cut a piece of tissue from the patient’s forehead before

reinserting it into her nose to make it bigger. The clinic’s customers are almost exclusively female and their families often foot the bill, said a hospital manager who gave her surname as Li. “They usually come in with their mothers, and tend to be from well-off backgrounds,” she said. The Eiffel Tower nose-which costs around 60,000 yuan ($9,800) — is only loosely connected to the 19th century structure, she added. “The Eiffel is a classic building, full of aesthetic design, we try to combine medicine and art,” she explained. “We hope the noses will turn out as classics, taking on the feeling of the Eiffel Tower.” Even so, the marketing opportunity is too good to miss-and Li said a select few who undergo the procedure will win an expenses-paid trip to Paris to stand under the city emblem along with their new nose. — AFP


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

Telemedicine consults may reduce errors at rural ERs NEW YORK: Emergency rooms in rural areas don’t see many very sick or badly injured children each year. When they do, bringing in a pediatric critical care specialist by videoconference to help with treatment could prevent errors, a new study suggests. Researchers found rural ER doctors made errors in administering medication - such as giving the wrong dose or the wrong drug altogether - just 3 percent of the time when they used so-called telemedicine to connect with a specialist. That compared to an 11 percent error rate when local doctors talked with a specialist by phone and a 13 percent error rate when they didn’t consult with a specialist at all. “We know that we make a difference by being able to see the patient,” Dr James Marcin said. The study’s senior author, he is on the telemedicine team at the University of California Davis Children’s Hospital in Sacramento. Comparing telemedicine to a phone consultation, Marcin said, “It’s the difference between the doctor coming in to do an office visit with you with his or her eyes closed, versus with his or her eyes open.” During a telemedicine conference, specialists also tend to get more involved in the patient’s care and may be more likely to speak up about their treatment opinion, Marcin told Reuters Health. For the new study, he and his colleagues looked at data on 234 children with severe illnesses and injuries who were seen at one of eight rural hospital ERs in Northern California between 2003 and 2009. Those rural hospitals were small and the only hospital in their vicinity. The ERs were participating in a larger study on telemedicine. Rural doctors could use a video conferencing unit to consult with pediatric critical care specialists like Marcin whenever they chose. Telemedicine was used for 73 of the sick or injured children. For another 85 patients, local doctors consulted with a specialist over the phone.

For the remaining 76 kids, they did not ask for help. Local doctors gave 72 percent of all children at least one medication while they were in the ER, according to the findings published in Pediatrics. Among cases when doctors used telemedicine, they gave children a total of 146 medications. Five of those were the wrong drug for the child’s condition or were administered incorrectly. In comparison, there were 18 errors out of 167 medications given to children when doctors consulted a specialist over the phone. And there were 16 errors out of the 128 drugs administered when there was no consultation. “The amount of information that you can gather in a telemedicine consultation is typically much richer than what you can gath-

er from a telephone conversation,” Dr Alejandro J Lopez-Magallon said. “Also, the level of interaction with the remote care team widens because you’re not talking with a single person on the other side - you can interact with the remote physician or physicians and nursing staff, support staff and the patient and family themselves,” he told Reuters Health. Lopez-Magallon studies telemedicine at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC but wasn’t involved in the new study. He said it “supports, in this case, the use of this technology to improve patient care.” The researchers could not tell whether fewer medication errors meant sick and injured children fared better in the end. —Reuters

Number of adolescents with HIV jumps by one-third: UN GENEVA: The number of adolescents infected by the HIV virus has jumped by one third over the past decade, the UN’s health agency said yesterday, blaming gaps in care programs. “More than 2 million adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 years are living with HIV,” marking a 33 percent rise since 2001, the World Health Organization said. “Many do not receive the care and support that they need to stay in good health and prevent transmission. In addition, millions more adolescents are at risk of infection,” it warned. In the world’s most AIDS-affected region, sub-Saharan Africa, the majority of adolescents with the virus are girls who have had unprotected sex, sometimes under duress. In addition, many of those born with the virus or infected at birth in sub-Saharan Africa are becoming adolescents. In Asia, meanwhile, young drugusers were the worst affected. The WHO said that the failure to provide proper adolescent-focused programs had also resulted in a 50-percent increase in reported AIDS-related deaths in the age group from 2005 to 2012. In 2005, 70,000 adolescents died of AIDS. Seven years later, the figure was 104,000. That contrasted starkly with the 30-percent decline in the general population, the WHO underlined. The year 2005 marked the high point of global AIDS deaths, which hit 2.3 million. Last year, the toll was 1.6 million. “Adolescent girls, young men who have sex with men, those who inject drugs or are subject to sexual coercion and abuse

are at highest risk,” said Craig McClure, head of HIV programs at UN children’s agency UNICEF. “They face many barriers, including harsh laws, inequalities, stigma and discrimination which prevent them from accessing services that could test, prevent, and treat HIV,” McClure added. “About one-seventh of all new HIV infections occur during adolescence. Unless the barriers are removed, the dream of an AIDS-free generation will never be realized,” he insisted. The data was issued as the WHO released its first adolescent-specific care guidelines ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1. “Adolescents face difficult and often confusing emotional and social pressures as they grow from children into adults,” said Gottfried Hirnschall, head of the WHO’s HIV/AIDS Department. “Adolescents need health services and support, tailored to their needs. They are less likely than adults to be tested for HIV and often need more support than adults to help them maintain care and to stick to treatment,” he added. Among the measures needed, the WHO said, is an end to the requirement for parental permission to have an HIV test. In sub-Saharan Africa, it is estimated that in the 15-24 age bracket, only 10 percent of young men and 15 percent of young women know their HIV status. In other regions, although data are scarce, access to HIV testing and counseling by vulnerable adolescents is consistently reported as being very low, the WHO said. — AFP


W H AT ’ S O N

Chilling by the pool side at Crowne Plaza Kuwait SEND US YOUR INSTAGRAM PICS


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


Safir Hotel & Residences Kuwait, Fintas hosts Bill Rancic in Kuwait


afir Hotel & Residences Kuwait - Fintas was proud to welcome Bill Rancic for a short stay in the hotel during his visit to Kuwait. Saif Mohammed, General Manager of Safir Hotel & Residences Kuwait, said, “Our associates have extended their outstanding service to make the stay of Bill Rancic in Kuwait a memorable one. It gives us a great honor to be given a chance to showcase the traditional Arabian Hospitality to an important personality like Bill Rancic who has a lot of great entrepreneurial skills and ideas to share with everyone”.

rowne Plaza Kuwait brings to you a delectable surprise by offering entertaining barbecue winter evenings by its poolside every Friday night. The pool side barbecue event was launched last weekend in the presence of the media who were welcomed by the hotel management. The Poolside Barbeque, open during this perfect chilly winter evenings, offers one of the most romantic, poolside dining experiences in the city where one can select from a variety of barbeques, live cooking stations and a buffet of fresh salads, appetizers and condiments. The guests can enjoy great food, the soft breezes, good company while they are kept entertained by foot -tapping music by the hotels very own “Latin Fire” live band who complete the excellent ambience and make it an intimate poolside BBQ setting. There is also a special kids corner with face painting and balloon twisters to keep our little guests entertained throughout the evening.

Providing a complete “chill-out” experience Crowne Plaza Kuwait outdoor poolside is the ideal destination with friends and family this winter weekends.

Noted for its gourmet excellence and expertise Crowne Plaza Kuwait has been the recipient of a slew of accolades for its well known restaurants aimed at deliver-

ing guest service of the highest level and has earned the love of all its guests over the years.

Kuwait English School gets off to a winning start

Announcement Nandhanam Kuwait Arangetram 2013


andhanam Kuwait, a socio-cultural organization to promote India’s rich culture and values in Kuwait, is conducting its second ‘Arangetram’, a student’s debut on stage dance performance, at the American International School, Maidan Hawalli-Kuwait on Friday, November 29. Kavya Madhavan, a well-known film actress and a dancer (Kerala state film award for best actress twice), would be the special guest for this event. The ‘arangetram’ will be conducted in its traditional form by experienced professional artists from India including Bijeesh Krishna (vocal), Venugopal Kallamparambil (mridangam), Suresh Krishnannambudiri (violin) and Cherthala Sreenath (edakka). Nandhanam Kuwait commenced its classical dance programs from April 2010, with the traditions of Kerala Kalamandalam and with trained faculties from the very same Kerala Kalamandalam. The entry will be regulated through guest passes.

T FOKE anniversary


riends of Kannur Kuwait Expats Association (FOKE) will be holding their 8th anniversary celebration “Kannur Maholsavam” on Friday, November 29, 2013 at Delhi Public School Ahmadi. The day-long celebration will begin at 10 am followed by 9 hours of entertainment, a spontaneous fusion of Bhava, Raga, Tala and much more which will keep the entire audience spell bound till end. The main attraction of the show will be performance of famous playback singer Gayathri and Asianet star singer fame Roshan to enrich the annual celebrations. Along with them many other artists from Kuwait will perform their talents.

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

he inaugural season of the ISACK sporting calendar 2013-2014 proved an incredibly successful one for the girls’ volleyball teams at Kuwait English School. The open age, U15 and U13 girls won their respective finals achieving a rare clean sweep, defeating some of the top British schools in the finals. The open age team, coached by Walker, played NES in the final. They lost the first set, but showed true grit to come back and win in a thrilling third set. The U15 team, coached by Scott Reid, were next to play. They

faced a strong side from BSK. Their nerves seemed to get the better of them, and they also lost the first set. However, they persevered, won both the second and third sets, and ended their season as undefeated champions. The U13 team followed suit, losing the first set but then winning the second set. This lead to a nail biting final set. Their opposition, NES, fought hard and the game went right to the wire, with KES the eventual victors. Maryam Al-Shakhs served successfully to secure

the third and final championship. Head of Girls PE, Emma Welch, said of the victories, “All 3 matches were both thrilling and nail biting to watch. Obviously everyone at KES is incredibly proud of the girls and their coaches. They have all worked very hard. Thanks must also go to FSIS who hosted and umpired the 3 finals”.

Starbucks launches dedicated Instagram page for MENA region


tarbucks Coffee announced the launch of its official Instagram page for the Middle East and North Africa. The coffee house is globally renowned for its established digital platforms, and has now set up its first dedicated Instagram page for the MENA region as part of its ongoing program to connect with its customers and their needs. The MENA Instagram page (@StarbucksMiddleEast) enables Starbucks to capture everyday moments through beautiful and genuine handcrafted images. Each photo represents a part of a greater narrative, highlighting the role Starbucks plays in the lives of its customers. Instagram will also serve to highlight the inspiring photos from Starbucks’ Instagram followers which feature the company’s stores and products across the region, giving customers the opportunity to share their views, get involved in the Starbucks conversation, join the regional and store community activities and

interact with Starbucks MENA region directly. Rana Shaheen, regional communications and CSR manager at Starbucks MENA, says: “Following the success of our MENA Facebook page, which we launched earlier this year, we are very proud to kick off our new Instagram page and share our moments with all our followers. We hope that, through Instagram, Starbucks will be able to continue to build its relationships with its customers in a fun and informal way. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!” In parallel to the launch of the Instagram page, Starbucks is also working with Ahmad Al Rashid, a local Kuwaiti artist to design a special Starbucks cup that will be used both on the company’s MENA website and on various printed materials in the stores. Customers can visit Starbucks Instagram MENA page on (@StarbucksMiddleEast). Follow the page and get to know us better.

W H AT ’ S O N

GUST releases book ‘Adventuring in the Englishes’


Embassy Information


he Gulf University of Science and Technology (GUST) released a book entitled, ‘Adventuring in the Englishes’ jointly edited by Dr Ikram El-Sherif and Dr Piers Smith in the A M Al-Refai Library on Monday, November 18, 2013. The book release ceremony was conducted by Dr Donald Bates, the President and Dr Ghassan Aouad, VP for Academic Affairs in the presence of the editors and contributors of the book, management staff, faculty members, Library Department staff and students. The event was organized by the A M Al-Refai Library in coordination with the English Department.

Dr Piers Smith thanked the attendees of the event, contributors and colleagues who helped with the book; he specifically thanked: Dr Robert Cook for his enthusiastic support both for the conference and the book, Shobhita Kohli for her assistance and guidance, and Hiba Kaouri without whom there would have been no book at all. Dr Ikram El-Sheriff spoke briefly and thanked her colleagues and others present at the event. Soon after, light refreshments were served to the attendees. ‘Adventuring in the Englishes’ is the fruit of the first, English Department GELL conference organized by the

College of Arts and Sciences at GUST. It features essays by Dr Ikram El-Sheriff, Dr Piers Smith and Dr Marta Tryzna of the English Department and Dr Martin Rosenstock and Dr Thorsten Botz-Bornstein of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. There is also an interview with the university’s resident creative writer, Dr. Keith Jardim. Not only did the GELL conference produce the book but it also led to Dr Ikram’s 6 month fellowship at Durham University, UK. The Proceedings of the conference are due out shortly, and will be available for perusal in the library, for the GUST Community only.

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

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

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

EMBASSY OF US 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 +965-2227-1673). 5. If you need to change or cancel your appointment, please do so 24 hours beforehand, as a courtesy to other applicants. For more information, please visit the US Embassy website - - as it is the best source of information regarding these changes. nnnnnnn

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



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Dr G: Medical Examiner On The Case With Paula Zahn On The Case With Paula Zahn I Almost Got Away With It Deadly Sins True CSI Deadly Women Killer Kids Couples Who Kill Ghost Lab

03:45 Stephen Hawking’s Grand Design 04:35 Unchained Reaction 05:25 Space Pioneer 06:15 The Gadget Show 06:40 Tech Toys 360 07:05 X-Machines 08:00 Junkyard Wars 08:50 Rocket City Rednecks 09:15 Rocket City Rednecks 09:40 The Gadget Show 10:05 Tech Toys 360 10:30 Invisible Worlds 11:25 X-Machines 12:20 Unchained Reaction 13:10 Space Pioneer 14:00 Stephen Hawking’s Grand Design 14:50 Weird Connections 15:20 The Gadget Show 15:45 Tech Toys 360 16:10 Prophets Of Science Fiction 17:00 Invisible Worlds 17:55 X-Machines 18:45 Unchained Reaction 19:35 Space Pioneer 20:30 Weird Or What? 21:20 Prank Science 21:45 Prank Science 22:10 The Gadget Show 22:35 Tech Toys 360 23:00 Weird Or What? 23:50 Prank Science 00:15 Prank Science 00:40 Colony 01:30 Weird Connections 02:00 The Gadget Show 02:25 Tech Toys 360 02:50 Weird Or What?

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

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Zero Hour Beyond Survival With Les Victory By Design Aircrash Confidential Timewatch Beyond Survival With Les Victory By Design Extreme Engineering In Search Of The King’s Head Marley Africa Road Trip Timewatch Victory By Design Extreme Engineering Aircrash Confidential Commander In Chief Marley Africa Road Trip Timewatch Beyond Survival With Les Daredevils Extreme Engineering Victory By Design Marley Africa Road Trip Daredevils Zero Hour Crimes That Shook The World Marley Africa Road Trip Daredevils

The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody Sonny With A Chance Sonny With A Chance Suite Life On Deck Suite Life On Deck Wizards Of Waverly Place Wizards Of Waverly Place Austin And Ally

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Austin And Ally A.N.T. Farm A.N.T. Farm Jessie Good Luck Charlie Sofia The First Doc McStuffins Mickey Mouse Clubhouse A.N.T. Farm A.N.T. Farm Jessie Jessie Suite Life On Deck Suite Life On Deck Shake It Up Shake It Up Austin And Ally A.N.T. Farm That’s So Raven Dog With A Blog Good Luck Charlie My Babysitter’s A Vampire That’s So Raven Gravity Falls Jessie Violetta Dog With A Blog Austin And Ally Gravity Falls Shake It Up Good Luck Charlie A.N.T. Farm Violetta Jessie My Babysitter’s A Vampire Good Luck Charlie Gravity Falls Shake It Up Austin And Ally A.N.T. Farm Good Luck Charlie Wizards Of Waverly Place Wizards Of Waverly Place The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody Sonny With A Chance Sonny With A Chance Suite Life On Deck Suite Life On Deck Wizards Of Waverly Place Wizards Of Waverly Place

07:00 Max Steel 07:25 Phineas And Ferb 07:50 Phineas And Ferb 08:15 Crash & Bernstein 08:40 Kickin It 09:05 Ultimate Spider-Man 09:30 Phineas And Ferb 09:40 Phineas And Ferb 09:55 Phineas And Ferb 10:05 Phineas And Ferb 10:20 Lab Rats 10:45 Lab Rats 11:10 Pokemon Bw: Adventures In Unova 11:35 Max Steel 12:00 Zeke & Luther 12:25 Zeke & Luther 12:50 Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja 13:15 Scaredy Squirrel 13:40 Pair Of Kings 14:05 Pair Of Kings 14:30 Phineas And Ferb 14:40 Phineas And Ferb 14:55 Phineas And Ferb 15:20 Pokemon Bw: Adventures In Unova 15:45 Lab Rats 16:10 Lab Rats 16:35 Crash & Bernstein 17:00 Lab Rats 17:30 Kickin It 18:00 Dude, That’s My Ghost 18:25 Camp Lakebottom 18:50 Supa Strikas 19:15 Lab Rats 19:40 Monsters University: Behind The Screams 20:05 Ultimate Spider-Man 20:30 Kickin It 20:55 Pair Of Kings 21:20 Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja 21:45 Phineas And Ferb 21:55 Phineas And Ferb 22:10 Phineas And Ferb 22:20 Phineas And Ferb 22:35 Lab Rats 23:00 Kickin It 23:30 Scaredy Squirrel 00:00 Programmes Start At 7:00am KSA

03:15 Style Star 03:40 Extreme Close-Up 04:10 THS 05:05 THS 06:00 THS 07:50 Style Star 08:20 E! News 09:15 Opening Act 10:15 Married To Jonas 10:40 Chasing The Saturdays 11:10 Eric And Jessie: Game On 11:35 Eric And Jessie: Game On 12:05 E! News 13:05 Extreme Close-Up 13:35 THS 14:30 Style Star 15:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 16:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 17:00 What Would Ryan Lochte Do? 17:30 The Soup Investigates 18:00 E! News 19:00 E!ES 20:00 The Wanted Life 21:00 Hello Ross 21:30 Fashion Police 22:30 E! News 23:30 Chelsea Lately 00:00 Chelsea Lately 00:30 The Dance Scene 00:55 The Dance Scene 01:25 THS 02:20 E! Investigates


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Charly’s Cake Angels Unique Sweets Unique Sweets Food Wars Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives United Tastes Of America Chopped Iron Chef America Food Network Challenge Unwrapped

04:30 Jelly T 06:00 Arthur 3: And The War Of Two Worlds 08:00 Marco Macaco 10:00 Three Investigators And The Secret Of Terror... 11:45 Santa’s Magic Crystal 13:15 Jelly T 14:45 Luke And Lucy: The Texas Rangers 16:15 Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups 18:00 Three Investigators And The Secret Of Terror... 20:00 Jumanji 22:00 Luke And Lucy: The Texas Rangers 23:30 Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups 01:00 Marco Macaco 02:30 Luke And Lucy: The Texas Rangers

04:00 Paranorman 06:00 Mandie And The Secret Tunnel 08:00 Super Buddies 09:45 Mission: Impossible III 12:00 People Like Us 14:00 Burden Of Evil 16:00 Super Buddies 17:45 Think Like A Man 20:00 Snow White And The Huntsman 22:15 Butter 00:00 Burden Of Evil 02:00 Think Like A Man

FROM PRADA TO NADA ON OSN MOVIES COMEDY 08:25 08:50 09:15 09:40 10:05 10:30 11:45 12:10 12:35 13:00 13:50 14:15 Basics 14:40 Basics 15:05 15:30 15:55 16:20 16:45 17:35 Basics 18:00 Basics 18:25 18:50 19:15 19:40 20:05 20:30 20:55 21:20 22:10 23:00 23:50 00:15 00:40 01:05 01:30 01:55 02:20 02:45

Unwrapped Food Crafters United Tastes Of America Extra Virgin Barefoot Contessa The Next Food Network Star Aarti Party Unwrapped Unique Sweets Food Network Challenge Tyler’s Ultimate Barefoot Contessa - Back To Barefoot Contessa - Back To Siba’s Table Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Symon’s Suppers Chopped Barefoot Contessa - Back To Barefoot Contessa - Back To Tastiest Places To Chowdown Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Guy’s Big Bite Reza, Spice Prince Of India Siba’s Table Charly’s Cake Angels Chopped Iron Chef America Amazing Wedding Cakes Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Heat Seekers Meat & Potatoes Outrageous Food Amazing Wedding Cakes

03:00 Market Values 03:30 Eat Street 03:55 Street Food Around The World 04:25 Extreme Tourist Afghanistan 05:20 Banged Up Abroad 06:15 The Witch Doctor Will See You Now 07:10 Market Values 07:35 My Sri Lanka With Peter Kuruvita 08:05 Street Food Around The World 08:30 Don’t Tell My Mother 09:00 Travel Madness 09:25 Delinquent Gourmet 09:55 Eat Street 10:20 Market Values 10:50 Eat Street 11:15 Street Food Around The World 11:45 Extreme Tourist Afghanistan 12:40 Banged Up Abroad 13:35 The Witch Doctor Will See You Now 14:30 Market Values 14:55 My Sri Lanka With Peter Kuruvita 15:25 Street Food Around The World 15:50 Don’t Tell My Mother 16:20 Travel Madness 16:45 Delinquent Gourmet 17:15 Eat Street 17:40 Market Values 18:10 Eat Street 18:35 Street Food Around The World 19:05 Somewhere In China 20:00 Banged Up Abroad 21:00 Eat Street 21:30 Market Values 22:00 Scam City 22:55 Warrior Road Trip 23:50 Ultimate Traveller 00:45 Don’t Tell My Mother 01:10 Deadliest Journeys 01:40 Banged Up Abroad 02:35 Don’t Tell My Mother

03:00 Britain’s Greatest Machines 04:00 The Known Universe

05:00 World’s Deadliest Animals 06:00 Britain’s Greatest Machines 07:00 Megacities 08:00 Ultimate Airport Dubai 09:00 Pirate Patrol 10:00 Machines Of War 11:00 Britain’s Greatest Machines 12:00 The Known Universe 13:00 World’s Deadliest Animals 14:00 Ultimate Survival Alaska 15:00 Megacities 16:00 Mega Breakdown 17:00 Pirate Patrol 18:00 Machines Of War 19:00 Alaska Wing Men 20:00 A Traveler’s Guide To The Planets 21:00 Nordic Wild 22:00 Alaska Wing Men 23:00 World’s Toughest Fixes 00:00 Mad Scientists 00:30 Mad Scientists 01:00 Salvage Code Red 02:00 Wild Russia

03:00 How I Met Your Mother 03:30 Last Man Standing 04:00 Seinfeld 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 The War At Home 06:00 All Of Us 06:30 Friends 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 Seinfeld 08:30 The War At Home 09:00 How I Met Your Mother 09:30 Family Tools 10:00 Happy Endings 10:30 Friends 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 All Of Us 12:30 Seinfeld 13:00 The War At Home 13:30 Friends 14:00 Last Man Standing 14:30 Family Tools 15:00 Happy Endings 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 All Of Us 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 How I Met Your Mother 18:30 Last Man Standing 19:00 Family Tools 19:30 Happy Endings 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 Weeds 22:30 It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia 23:00 The League 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 Weeds 02:00 It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia 02:30 The League

03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 12:30 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 16:30 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 22:00 23:00

The Client List Perception Warehouse 13 Psych Necessary Roughness White Collar Perception Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Warehouse 13 Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show White Collar Psych Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show White Collar The Carrie Diaries The X Factor U.S. Downton Abbey The Client List

00:00 Psych 01:00 The Carrie Diaries 02:00 Downton Abbey

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The Killing Jar Riddle The Apparition Pizza Man Do No Harm Blackthorn Pizza Man Wild Wild West Blackthorn 5 Days Of War Underworld: Awakening The Traveler

04:00 06:00 08:00 10:00 12:00 14:00 16:00 18:00 20:00 22:00 00:00 02:00

Riddle The Apparition Pizza Man Do No Harm Blackthorn Pizza Man Wild Wild West Blackthorn 5 Days Of War Underworld: Awakening The Traveler 5 Days Of War

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From Prada To Nada Another Stakeout Alpha And Omega 3 Holiday Tails From Prada To Nada A Kiss For Jed Wood 3 Holiday Tails Blame It On The Bellboy Calendar Girls Flypaper The Sitter Calendar Girls

03:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 11:00 12:45 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00 01:00

Shadow Dancer I’ve Loved You So Long Look Again Beneath Hill 60 Shadow Dancer The Terminal Would Be Kings The Wishing Well In Time This Must Be The Place Rabbit Hole The Wishing Well

03:45 05:15 07:30 09:30 11:15 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:15 01:15

The Entitled Across The Universe Dog Day Afternoon Teenage Paparazzo Golden Christmas 3 Kathmandu Lullaby Jakob The Liar The Woman In The Fifth Yelling To The Sky Flesh And Bone Out Of Sight The Crucible

03:15 05:00 07:00 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00 01:00

Mary & Martha Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax The Three Stooges The Lucky One A View From Here One Life Arrietty The Lucky One The Girl Mama Violet & Daisy Blue Lagoon: The Awakening

03:00 03:30 04:00 05:00 07:00 11:00 16:00 16:30 17:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 21:30 22:00 01:00

European Tour Weekly Inside The PGA Tour LPGA Tour Highlights Rugby League World Cup Darts Grand Slam Live PGA European Tour Inside The PGA Tour Total Rugby Rugby League World Cup Trans World Sport LPGA Tour Highlights European Tour Weekly Inside The PGA Tour Live PGA Tour PGA European Tour

03:00 UFC Fight For The Troops 06:00 UFC - The Ultimate Fighter Season 18 07:00 International Rugby Union 09:00 Total Rugby 11:30 Rugby League World Cup 13:30 Total Rugby 14:00 Darts Grand Slam 18:00 Futbol Mundial 18:30 NFL Gameday 19:00 WWE NXT 20:00 UFC - Primetime 20:30 UFC - Primetime 21:00 UFC - The Ultimate Fighter Season 18 22:00 Live Darts Grand Slam 02:00 WWE NXT

03:30 ICC Cricket 360 04:00 World Pool Masters 05:00 Live World Cup Of Golf 07:00 Snooker Champion Champions 11:00 Golfing World 12:00 World Pool Masters 20:00 Total Rugby 20:30 Futbol Mundial 21:00 Inside The PGA Tour 21:30 European Tour Weekly 22:00 PGA European Tour 02:30 Trans World Sport


04:00 Mass Participation U.K 04:30 Ping Pong World Championship 05:30 U.S Bass Fishing 06:30 Porsche GT 3 Cup Challenge Middle East 07:00 WWE Smackdown 09:00 Ping Pong World Championship 10:00 U.S Bass Fishing 13:00 WWE Vintage Collection 14:00 WWE Bottom Line 15:00 This Week In WWE 19:30 Prizefighter 23:00 UFC Prelims 01:00 UFC - Belfort vs. Henderson

03:00 04:00 04:30 05:00 06:00 06:30 07:00 Rides 08:00 09:00 10:00 10:30 11:00 Rides 12:00 12:30 13:00 13:30 14:00 15:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 19:30 20:00 21:00 21:30 22:00 22:30 23:00 00:00 00:30 01:00 Rides 02:00 02:30

Off Limits Armed & Ready Armed & Ready Man vs World Airport 24/7: Miami Airport 24/7: Miami World’s Greatest Motorcycle Globe Trekker Descending Airport 24/7: Miami Airport 24/7: Miami World’s Greatest Motorcycle Bert The Conqueror Trip Flip The Food Truck The Food Truck Bizarre Foods America International House Hunters Hotel Impossible Soul Seeker The Food Truck The Food Truck Bizarre Foods America International House Hunters International House Hunters Luxury Uncovered Luxury Uncovered Monumental Mysteries Airport 24/7: Miami Airport 24/7: Miami World’s Greatest Motorcycle Xtreme Waterparks Xtreme Waterparks

Classifieds TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2013


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360º- 3 FREE BIRDS (DIG-3D)

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A Kuwaiti family is looking to hire a driver with a valid driver’s license. Contact: 99401126. (C 4581) 25-11-2014 Professional cook for house, good knowledge of all kind of food, specially Arabic and Indian food, good salary, part time. Call: 23901053, 66519719, 67079253. (C 4577) 23-11-2014

CHANGE OF NAME I, Mohammed Zakir, holder of Indian Passport No. H4591862 issued in Kuwait on 24/08/2009, address: 86-10-2, Chegunta Ramanpet, Medak, AP, hereby change my name to Zakir Alfouddin Shaikh. (C 4583) 26-11-2014

ACCOMMODATION Single room, central A/C available. Very near to AlSalam International Hospital, Benaid Al-Gar, rent KD 90. Please contact: 66612378, 97879611. (C 4582) Sharing accommodation for couple Filipino only near Indian school Jabriya. Available November 25, 2013. Contact: 99537639. (C 4581) 25-11-2014


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Sharing accommodation available in Khaitan for a single Mangalorean/Goan R/C bachelor (furnished studio flat) opposite jamiya, rent KD 30. Contact: 66036893. (C 4578) 24-11-2013


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In Abbassiya, sharing accommodation available for a small family or work-

ing ladies, in a C-A/C building with separate bathroom, in Sreeragam furniture building (opposite to “Spencerice bakery) from 1st December. Contact: 99750711, 97168646 or 24348730. (C 4575) 17-11-2013

model, in good condition, white. Serious buyer may contact 97277135 25-11-2013 KIA Optima model 2006, excellent condition, maintained with company price KD 1200. Tel: 99839511. (C 4579) 24-11-2013

FOR SALE Honda Accord 2008, company maintained, excellent condition. Tel: 99787716 or 99673239. (C 4584) 26-11-2013


Nissan Pathfinder 2003

THE PUBLIC AUTHORITY FOR CIVIL INFORMATION Automated enquiry about the Civil ID card is


Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (



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Departure Flights on Tuesday 26/11/2013 Flt Route Time 976 GOA/CHENNAI 00:05 206 LAHORE 00:10 327 DUBAI/TUNIS 00:15 490 MANGALORE/COCHIN 00:15 573 MUMBAI 01:10 411 AMSTERDAM 01:45 44 DHAKA 01:45 637 FRANKFURT 02:10 240 SIALKOT/ISLAMABAD 02:20 773 ISTANBUL 02:55 854 DUBAI 03:50 306 ABU DHABI-INTL 04:00 644 MUSCAT 04:05 613 CAIRO 04:10 1085 DOHA 04:15 68 DUBAI 05:00 1077 DOHA 05:15 560 SOHAG 06:20 70 DUBAI 06:30 164 DUBAI 06:55 765 SABIHA 07:05 643 AMMAN-QUEEN ALIA 07:05 212 BAHRAIN 07:15 545 ALEXANDRIA 07:15 771 ISTANBUL 07:30 54 DUBAI 08:30 156 LONDON 08:45 513 TEHRAN 09:25 671 DUBAI 09:30 126 SHARJAH 09:40 101 LONDON/NEW YORK 09:50 856 DUBAI 09:55 302 ABU DHABI-INTL 10:05 1071 DOHA 10:10 56 DUBAI 10:20 618 LAR 10:55 214 BAHRAIN 11:25 561 AMMAN-QUEEN ALIA 11:25 541 CAIRO 11:30 165 ROME/PARIS 11:50 677 MUSCAT/ABU DHABI-INTL 12:20 324 NAJAF 12:40 405 BEIRUT 12:55 785 JEDDAH 13:00 511 KANDAHAR 13:00 223 AL MAKTOUM INTERNATI/BEIRUT 13:45 176 DUBAI 13:45 611 CAIRO 14:00



872 58 342 1079 673 741 617 473 501 773 238 304 1073 858 538 641 128 511 216 184 266 982 64 1081 218 283 62 648 361 120 607 571 351 3942 604 343 171 230 403 308 220 301 60 860 381 205 554 415 1075 575 528 411


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s ta rs CROSSWORD 380

STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) ARIES You could receive quite a lot of attention today, especially in relation to your work this morning. You may find that you enjoy your job more than usual. Communicating with others and making yourself clearly understood is a high just now. Your timing should be perfect and those around you should find you most spontaneous. This afternoon you may agree to help a friend with some important matters that might, in turn, help you. This could include teaching someone to balance accounts, or to carefully choose a large purchase. Your unselfish attitude with others does not go unnoticed. A love relationship that may have seemed a bit sluggish lately is now showing some improvement. A weekend trip could be quite enjoyable; start planning.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) A clear-minded insight into your own goals and the method to achieve those goals is available to you. This is a very good time to consult with someone that can help you formulate a plan of achievement. Correct choices and the best path for you may be clearer now than ever before. You seem more confident and your communications to others show strength and focus. Leadership qualities are showing and a higher-up is ready to give you challenges. This afternoon your family members may find that you have much energy and desire to have everyone join in to plan the family goals. Anything you do with writing will be successful; you have real originality. Inventions and breakthroughs are possible. Relax this evening—perhaps dessert out.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

ACROSS 1. (sports) The chief official (as in boxing or American football) who is expected to ensure fair play. 4. Kill in large numbers. 12. An adult male person (as opposed to a woman). 15. American prizefighter who won the world heavyweight championship three times (born in 1942). 16. Large siphonophore of up to 50 ft long. 17. One or some or every or all without specification. 18. Not in good physical or mental health. 19. Used by southerners for an inhabitant of a northern state in the United States (especially a Union soldier). 20. Any plant of the genus Canna having large sheathing leaves and clusters of large showy flowers. 22. Any of numerous perennial bulbous herbs having linear or broadly lanceolate leaves and usually a single showy flower. 23. A logarithmic unit of sound intensity. 24. Relating to the deepest parts of the ocean (below 6000 meters). 25. Fermented alcoholic beverage similar to but heavier than beer. 26. The elapsed time it takes for a signal to travel from Earth to a spacecraft (or other body) and back to the starting point. 29. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 31. Avatar of Vishnu. 33. A dark-skinned member of a race of people living in Australia when Europeans arrived. 35. An inactive volcano in Sicily. 38. Having the wind against the forward side of the sails. 40. Squash bugs. 44. A tool consisting of several hooks for grasping and holding. 45. A condition (mostly in boys) characterized by behavioral and learning disorders. 47. An informal term for a father. 48. A desert in central Asia. 49. A form of magnetic resonance imaging of the brain that registers blood flow to functioning areas of the brain. 52. English historian noted for his constitutional history of medieval England (1825-1901). 54. A language spoken by the Atakapa people of the Gulf coast of Louisiana and Texas. 55. The branch of computer science that deal with writing computer programs that can solve problems creatively. 56. A British doctorate. 58. An informal term for a father. 59. A member of the Himalayan people living in Nepal and Tibet who are famous for their skill as mountaineers. 63. Noisy talk. 65. Pasta in the form of slender tubes. 71. An extension at the end and at right angles to the main building. 72. Inflexibly entrenched and unchangeable. 75. An ester of adenosine that is converted to ATP for energy storage. 76. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 77. A headlong rush of people on a common impulse. 78. Large brownish-green New Zealand parrot. 79. Of flax, hemp, or jute, so as to promote loosening of the fibers form the woody tissue. 80. A great raja. 81. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine.

DOWN 1. An Indian side dish of yogurt and chopped cucumbers and spices. 2. The twelfth month of the civil year. 3. A young woman. 4. A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (trade name Daypro). 5. A federal agency established to coordinate programs aimed at reducing pollution and protecting the environment. 6. Become globular. 7. A kind of person. 8. (archaic) A fitting reward. 9. Naked freshwater or marine or parasitic protozoa that form temporary pseudopods for feeding and locomotion. 10. A light strong gray lustrous corrosionresistant metallic element used in strong lightweight alloys (as for airplane parts). 11. (used of count nouns) Every one considered individually. 12. A Dravidian language spoken in south central India. 13. A communist state in Indochina on the South China Sea. 14. City in Sudan. 21. American professional baseball player who hit more home runs than Babe Ruth (born in 1934). 27. Greek philosopher and astronomer (who predicted an eclipse in 585 BC) who was said by Aristotle to be the founder of physical science. 28. A beverage made by steeping tea leaves in water. 30. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 32. Pig-sized tailless South American amphibious rodent with partly webbed feet. 34. Having undesirable or negative qualities. 36. A slow pace of running. 37. (Babylonian) God of wisdom and agriculture and patron of scribes and schools. 39. The eighth month of the Hindu calendar. 41. (Babylonian) A demigod or first man. 42. Food mixtures either arranged on a plate or tossed and served with a moist dressing. 43. A city in southern Turkey on the Seyhan River. 46. The face of a timepiece. 50. A member of the Siouan people formerly living in the Missouri river valley in NE Nebraska. 51. Type genus of the Gadidae. 53. An optical device for obtaining interference fringes. 57. Relatively hard durable timber from the Queen's crape myrtle. 60. A city in the Saxony region of Germany on the Saale River. 61. Enthusiastic approval. 62. The large trunk artery that carries blood from the left ventricle of the heart to branch arteries. 64. (Greek mythology) A princess of Colchis who aided Jason in taking the Golden Fleece from her father. 66. The Hebrew patriarch who saved himself and his family and the animals by building an ark in which they survived 40 days and 40 nights of rain. 67. A pilgrimage to Mecca. 68. The basic unit of money in Bangladesh. 69. The content of cognition. 70. South American armadillo with three bands of bony plates. 73. An emergency procedure consisting of external cardiac massage and artificial respiration. 74. A unit of length of thread or yarn


You may find a sense of challenge today. Any emotional support you need may only come from your own self-confidence, and you have it. You must clear your mind and work through whatever challenges come your way. Challenging authority and rocking the boat will not play in your favor—think things through to the end. Old patterns of organization and power are ripe for an innovative approach but if you feel you must be the one to make those changes known, it must be done through the written word. This way you can phrase your words appropriately with no emotional overtones. Radical and inventive ideas hold the key to realizing your ambitions and advancing your status—a shakeup could be in the works. Do not expect changes overnight!

Cancer (June 21-July 22) Events may make it easy for you to be original, have breakthroughs and find new solutions to repeating problems. You may find yourself able to formulate your ideas and put them into practice. This is a great time to be with others and to work together. You may be sought after as just the person for a particular job. You may find yourself succeeding and moving ahead by using your mind and thoughts. In addition, communication and research in all forms could be key areas for career growth. You could easily come up with new solutions or inventions. You are in a great mood to enjoy some sort of social event this evening; you show appreciation to all. You may see value in an older person or someone in authority and decide to lend a helping hand.

Leo (July 23-August 22) In-depth discussions find you at your mental best. Your analytical abilities are at a high point. You are very motivated to improve your business or some problem in the work arena. You have a lot of energy as well as a positive attitude. There is a feeling of being at peace and stable on the emotional level. Constancy and a feeling of stability satisfy deep emotional needs. Lovers, children and other people or things dear to your heart are emphasized this afternoon. You may be helping a young person with homework or it may be an opportunity to guide someone in matters of importance. Being appreciated and admired for your gifts and talents bring you a great deal of satisfaction. Music is likely to play an important role for you this evening.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) A major life event may mark the end of a formative period and the beginning of more independence. You are on your own and you will be learning that this time also marks the start of increased responsibility and accountability. Now is the time to make that outward push and ride the crest of the wave into fame and fortune. It will be hard for you to do wrong, for all the cycles are working in your favor. The energies now indicate a possibility of a marriage or taking on a new role in the community or with other people. You will be in demand and recognition will be forthcoming—go for it. Friends and a social life are available this evening. Begin a remember-your-dreams diary. Be sure you note what you think might have spurred the dream.

Word Search

Libra (September 23-October 22) This is a day of fast thinking and heightened communication with others. Intellectualism, the exchange of ideas and thinking like a smart fox are the things that have special appeal and importance. You become very much the expert with a search and inquiry into the nature of a subject—be it life, scientific research, or what have you. Your investigations will take you into some interesting places. Your passion for searching, finding out and communicating takes hold now. You may be very persuasive in speaking or communicating—people will understand just what you mean. This afternoon is a good time to settle down with a good book or take in a movie. A little walk after dinner tonight may find you under a beautiful starry ceiling.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) There is a lot of energy available today for achieving just about anything you want to achieve. This energy can cause you to be somewhat impatient with others, however. Be aware of your response to others and try to think before you speak. You may be looking for new experiences today—ones in which you can expand your knowledge. The experience itself is what is foremost in your mind, not so much what you can get out of it. You seek contact, involvement and are not concerned about private matters. You will find yourself giving way to others in almost all situations as you do not want to be slowed by emotional frustrations. Your ability to manage and supervise people, plus a built-in sense of responsibility, does not go unnoticed.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) New ways to communicate or an easier and more laid-back manner will make conversations and interactions go well. You may find yourself more talkative and easygoing than usual. Problems could lose some of their definition and appear less difficult now. A casual get-together after work with some of your friends may end up as a party. Do not feel bad about attracting most of the attention in a group—you know many people. People love to be with you and find you very easy to love. A dialogue with an older person may take place and a good conversation with those you love is possible. You value fairness in all things and go out of your way to be just. You appreciate others who have been successful and may surround yourself with those in power.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) This is a very good day for job-related events. You may shine in your particular job or find that promotion or practical insights come with ease. You may be asked to represent your company in a job fair or in some other way and you will encourage and create good customer relations for your company. This will be a time of introspection and you may find yourself letting go of plans and projects started in a more outward phase. Persistent, intense and serious this afternoon, you will find yourself locating the root of a difficult problem. You will look for ways to reroute or get rid of the cause! This evening a social opportunity may find you working to make a good impression. Appearances and style may count more than substance. Romance is available.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) If the game of poker were the game of life, you would have the winning hand. You can still hold the winning or upper hand by keeping a poker face during negotiations, so to speak. You have an inborn sense of mass psychology, what the public wants and dreams of, and your ideas or projections are usually on target. Financial speculation or dealings with partners can soon see positive results. You can project images of what is desirable or ideal, using words and ideas that are enchanting and spellbinding. You would make a great film director. Circumstances should work together to help bring out your ideals—make it easier to make your dreams real. You may be testing and separating what is not important.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) This is a notable time to be with others and to work together. Co-workers may ask for you to be on their team. Independence, as well as anything unusual or different, is valued. There are all sorts of doors of opportunity opening up for you now. The comforts in your life are improving and luck is on your side. You may enjoy getting away from your usual routine this afternoon in order to enjoy something different for a change. You might consider taking a short drive or walk with a friend. Perhaps you would enjoy feeding the ducks or some bird watching at a nearby park—weather permitting, of course. This evening you will find circumstances bend to your will and things have a way of working out smoothly. Fun projects are next on your agenda.

Yesterday’s Solution

Yesterday’s Solution

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Yesterday’s Solution


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


Amiri Hospital


Maternity Hospital


Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital


Chest Hospital


Farwaniya Hospital


Adan Hospital


Ibn Sina Hospital


Al-Razi Hospital


Physiotherapy Hospital






Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan

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

23915883 23715414 23726558


Modern Jahra Madina Munawara

Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92

24575518 24566622


Ahlam Khaldiya Coop

Fahad Al-Salem St Khaldiya Coop

22436184 24833967


New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan

Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11

24734000 24881201 24726638

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

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

25726265 25647075 22625999 22564549 25340559 25326554 25721264 25380581 25628241






















Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh








Kaizen center


















Abdullah Salem




Industrial Shuwaikh






Bneid Al-Gar












Ayoun Al-Qibla




























Maidan Hawally















W Hawally









New Jahra


West Jahra


South Jahra



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4 DAYS FORECAST Temperatures DAY





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N Khaitan







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


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


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

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

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


lifestyle G O S S I P

The Monty Python gang want to work with ‘South Park’

Eastwood’s daughter to get annulment C

lint Eastwood’s daughter and Jonah Hill’s brother are having their week-long marriage annulled. Francesca Eastwood married Jonah’s brother Jordan Feldstein in a secret Las Vegas ceremony on November 17. But sources close to the couple say it was a drunken mistake when they got hitched at the ‘Simple Wedding Chapel’ - in front of an Elvis Presley impersonator. Website TMZ reports: “Francesca had immediate regrets. We shot her the day after the nuptials and she wasn’t wearing a wedding ring. “We shot Clint Eastwood a few weeks ago asking for marriage advice and he told our photographer to not rush into anything.” The wedding came after Jordan, who is Maroon 5’s music manager, was targeted by an alleged ex-girlfriend who posted messages and photographs from their relationship on controversial website The Dirty. He allegedly made efforts to have the posts removed from the site, days before he married Francesca. Clint’s daughter Francesca, whose mother is actress Frances Fisher, was most recently seen in stepmother Dina Eastwood’s reality series ‘Mrs. Eastwood & Company’ - which chronicled her

relationship with then-boyfriend, photographer Tyler Shield. Clint, 83, and Dina revealed they had split earlier this year and the 48-year-

old TV star filed for divorce in October. The screen legend is now dating Erica TomlinsonFisher.


erry Jones is reuniting with his old comedy collaborators John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Eric Idle for the ‘Monty Python Live (Mostly)’ show, and he claims the controversial American animation is the modern-day equivalent of their iconic British sketch show, ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’. The 71-year-old star told The Sun newspaper: “It’s so successful and brilliant. It makes me laugh. We’d like to do something with them but I don’t know yet because it’s early days for the Python reunion. Besides, I’m just getting used to being in my 70s.” Terry credits ‘South Park’ creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker - who have admitted the show’s style of animation is inspired by the paper cut-out cartoons made by Terry Gilliam for ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ and have cited the group’s work as a major inspiration - for making the Pythons’ reunion happen in the first place. He explained: “They sparked it off when they said they’d like to do a show with us - they were big followers of Monty Python. That sowed the seed of the Python reunion.” The comedian tied the knot with belly dancer Anna Soderstrom, who is 41 years his junior, in a secret wedding ceremony last year, just months after divorcing his wife of 42 years, Alison Telfer. However, Terry insists he will be giving Alison half of all proceeds he makes from the live shows next July. He said: “It’s not an official thing or any form of settlement. But I feel I’ll be happy to give her half the proceeds from the show. We still talk on the phone and she knows about the reunion. “I split 50/50 with my ex-wife everything I did before the divorce - I incorporate anything Python into that.”

Kanye West says

he’s like Willy Wonka T

he ‘Yeezus’ rapper, who has compared himself to late Apple boss Steve Jobs in the past, says he shares many odd character traits with the eccentric candy maker from Roald Dahl’s book and the subsequent films - including the 2005 version starring Johnny Depp. Speaking to American radio station WPGC, Kanye said: “I want to be as unrealistic as possible. The worst thing about me comparing myself to Steve Jobs is that it’s too realistic of an idea. What I need to say is I’m more like Willy Wonka.” Although Kanye didn’t elaborate too much about why he idolises Willy, he added: “I’m trying to get as close to a dream state as possible. That’s the reason why people be doing yoga, drink, smoke weed, pop molly (illegal drug MDMA). “Whatever you do, it’s like people want to get into that dream state. And I’m not promoting any of that.” He joked: “I’m not promoting yoga in no type of way! “But I’m just saying that, you just want to be, you know, I want to be as surreal as possible.” Kanye, 36, also extended a dinner invite to President Barack Obama - who advised young Americans not to aspire to be like the rap star and also called him a “jackass” - insisting they could talk their issues through. The 36-year-old hip-hop mogul believes the president only spoke about him and his fiancÈe Kim Kardashian for “entertainment value” and to try and connect with young voters. The hip-hop star said: “What I’m saying is, man, we can go to dinner. It’s all good. “At the end of the day, even for the president, it’s an entertainment value. If he’s talking about my girl or he’s talking about me, he’s just trying to lighten the mood up to show that he’s personable and he knows what’s happening in pop culture.”

Barlow determined to beat flying phobia



work with

Miley Cyrus


he 28-year-old star met Miley, 21, on a trip to Los Angeles after chatting with her on Twitter and is self-confessed fan. Lily insists the satirical video for her comeback single ‘Hard Out Here’ wasn’t an attack against the ‘Wrecking Ball’ hitmaker, despite it showing her surrounded by twerking scantily-clad dancers. Lily, 28, the Daily Mirror newspaper: “I’d never met her before so I couldn’t say we are really great friends but I do really like Miley. “She’s funny, witty and clever, I love what she does. I think her and Lorde’s album have had the most plays in my car this year. I never went on record saying the video was a direct pop at her - it wasn’t. “She’s probably way too busy for someone like me but yeah, I’d welcome the opportunity to work with her.” Lily also insisted she doesn’t feel the need to explain her ‘Hard Out Here’ video, which as well as being interpreted as an attack against Miley has been branded racist and sexist by some commentators because of its content. She said: “People have come up with so many conclusions about that video that if I had to explain each of them I’d be there for hours. So I didn’t feel the need to explain anything to her (Miley) when it came out. “Anyone who knows me, or follows me on Twitter, knows I love that girl more than anything.”

Cowell S

this thing is happening for that reason. I don’t know if its hypnotherapy or what exactly they do, but it’s meant to be brilliant and only takes an hour.” — Bang Showbiz

Payne grapples with wrestling star


iam Payne took part in a wrestling match for 1D Day on Saturday. The One Direction heartthrob showed off some impressive skills as he battled hulking Olympic gold medal winner Kurt Angle inside a wrestling ring as part of the band’s 1D Day celebrations to mark the release of their new album ‘Midnight Memories’. Gymloving Liam adopted the moniker ‘The Payne Train’ and adorned himself in a shiny blue and gold costume, complete with a mask, as he whipped up a frenzy in the ring with an array of acrobatic manoeuvres. The 21-yearold pop star, who confessed he has dreamed of wrestling “all of my life”, picked up a shock victory over his towering opponent - who won his gold medal in wrestling at the 1996 Olympic Games - following a series of fast and furious moves. Kurt, 44, admitted he was “ticked off ” following the humiliating loss at the hands of his amateur foe but it appears the bad blood didn’t last for long. The ‘TNA IMPACT Wrestling’ star praised Liam and said he is a big fan of the ‘Story of My Life’ hitmakers. Quizzed if he is a fan of boy bands, Kurt said: “Yes, I am - especially One

Direction.” Kurt will be part of the ‘ TNA IMPAC T WRESTLING Tour ’ of the UK and Ireland in January/February 2014 and all the 1D Boys have been invited to attend the live shows.

Spelling hospitalized for ‘stress’ T

will be at baby’s birth


ary Barlow is taking a course to beat his fear of flying. The Take That singer is determined to cure his phobia of planes by undergoing a special therapy session to help him calm his nerves during take-off and make his jet-setting lifestyle more bearable. He told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “I’m scared of flying - especially the take-off. I just don’t like it, and yet I have to do so much of it. I get really nervous. Maybe it’s because I’m scared of dying. “I do just get on with it and do it because I have to, really, but I don’t like it and it kind of ruins the whole day because I’m working myself up so much about getting on a plane.” Gary, 42, is bringing 10 of his most anxious pals along for the ride and he hopes the rational explanation of the plane’s innermost workings the course offers will curb his fear once and for all. The ‘X Factor’ judge added: “Someone from Virgin offered me a course that they do and I said, ‘Listen I’ll bring 10 other people I know who are REALLY scared.’ Apparently, once you’ve done it you’re never worried again. “They talk you through all the noises and explain that

n e l l A y l i L

imon Cowell will be in the delivery room when Lauren Silverman gives birth. The 54-year-old music mogul has confirmed he will be by his pregnant girlfriend’s side when she goes into labor with their first child, however, Simon will need to put on a brave face as he admits he isn’t “good with blood and guts”. He told the new UK issue of HELLO! magazine: “I will be in the delivery room, but I’ll just try not to look too far down.” Asked if he will cut the baby’s umbilical cord himself, Simon added: “Are you mad? I’m not good with all that blood and guts stuff.” It appears ‘The X Factor’ USA judge has had a change of heart in recent weeks after previously claiming he won’t watch as Lauren, 37, gives birth to their child in February. He said in September: “I know this sounds awful, but it’s like, you don’t want to go in to the restaurant while they’re making your dinner. I think there are certain things you shouldn’t see and that is one of them. I’ll be very close by, but no [I won’t watch].” Meanwhile, Simon got to know his girlfriend’s father Steven Davis and stepmother Rosy over dinner in Los Angeles last week and had kind words for his child’s future grandfather. He said: “Her dad’s a cool guy. We get on really well.”

ori Spelling was hospitalized for “stress” and last month. The former ‘90210’ star is said to have hit a low point after people hit out at her for calling Katie Holmes “plastic” and accusing the actress of not being able to sing in her new memoir ‘Spelling It Like It Is’. The wave of criticism directed at Tori resulted in her being treated in hospital for “anxiety”. A source told “Tori was hospitalized for stress and anxiety for a few days because she was receiving a lot of negative feedback about revelations she made in the book and she had no anticipation that it was going to hit a nerve. “Tori didn’t think making comments about a chance encounter with Katie Holmes would cause such a ruckus. “She just grew very anxious about having to defend her actions in the book in media interviews and decided that she needed to

go to the hospital.” Tori - who has been busy promoting her new book - has since recovered from her problems and is now “fine”. Another source told “She just wasn’t feeling well and went to the hospital, but everything was fine.” In the tome, Tori - who has four children with husband Dean McDermott described a chance encounter with Katie, 34, at voice coach Eric Vetro’s office. The 40-year-old actress wrote: “As I sat waiting outside his music room, I heard his prior appointment working with him in the other room. It was some actress singing horribly off-key ... That made me feel better. I heard him say goodbye and then the actress walked out of the room. It was Katie Holmes. “I didn’t know whether we should hug or shake hands. But the signal from her was immediately clear: Don’t even come close.”

Murphy’s mother blasts poison claims


rittany Murphy’s mother claims reports suggesting her daughter was poisoned are “madness”. The ‘8 Mile’ actress was found dead at home in December 2009 and the Los Angeles Coroner ruled her death was accidental, caused by acute pneumonia and anaemia, with her husband Simon Monjack also succumbing to the same illnesses five months later. The late star’s father, Angelo Bertolotti, wasn’t convinced by the findings and ordered a new toxicology report after sending samples of his daughter’s hair for independent analysis, which supposedly showed the presence of 10 heavy metals commonly used in rat poison. Brittany’s mother Sharon Murphy has now penned an open letter slamming her ex-partner’s “inexcusable” publicity-seeking claims, insisting he was never a father to the actress since he abandoned her as a baby. She wrote in a statement published by The Hollywood Reporter: “I have no choice now but to come forward in the face of inexcusable efforts to smear my daughter’s memory by a man who may be her biological father but was never a real father to her in her lifetime. Angelo Bertolotti has relocated to California in his old age to claim he is here for Brittany, as he never was in life.



LIFESTYLE F e a t u r e s

The Avenues

exhibits its high-fashion collectables at the ‘Prestige Luxury Museum’ worn by famous royalties, high class socialites & international celebrities


n collaboration with a group of international high-end store participants housed at the luxurious “Prestige” district, The Avenues has launched its first ever exhibition of historical collectables, including high-fashion garments, jewelries and accessories at the “Prestige Luxury Museum”. The exhibition began on Wednesday, 20th November, and will continue for a period of 2weeks. Inspired by the legacies of trendy international designers, the “Prestige Luxury Museum” exhibits a series of premier brands and exotic masterpieces in fashion, leather goods, precious jewelries and valuable accessories; all showcased with a description of their historical significance since they were worn by royalty, high class socialites and internationally renowned celebrities. The “Prestige Luxury Museum” is interactively accompanied by a

performance of classical and contemporary instrumental masterpieces. This is with the aim of generating wider cultural essence and an appreciation of fine arts amongst visitors of this luxurious museum event. The “Prestige Luxury Museum” also aims at stimulating shoppers culturally while giving them a new reason to visit the luxurious “Prestige” district, home to 48 international high-end brands and exotic culinary experiences to include 12 of the biggest flagship stores in the Middle East. On this occasion, The Avenues management expressed pleasure to be launching such a historically significant event that brings culture, art appreciation and valued exclusivity to “high-fashion” enthusiasts. The Avenues management also added that “Prestige Luxury Museum” is yet another themed-attracted exhibition aimed at bringing the traditional museum atmosphere into the luxurious “Prestige” district by premiering

the utmost collectables of high-end pieces worn by notably public and historical figures throughout the designer’s brand name milestone. In recognition of the international high-end store participants at “Prestige” district, The Avenues management praised its great appreciation and gratitude to all collaborators whom they jointlycontributed towards the successful achievement of the district’s first time “High-Fashion” exhibition ever.


rappers, journalist on trial for insulting police


he trial opened yesterday of two Tunisian rappers and a journalist accused of insulting public officials after another musician was convicted in June, with the verdict expected later in the day. Aymen Feki and Moustapha Fakhfakh, as well as the French-Tunisian journalist Hind Meddeb, are charged with abusing public officials and attacks on public morals, crimes punishable by jail terms of one year and six months respectively. The charges relate to a confrontation between police and protesters in June outside the same courthouse in a suburb of the capital where rapper Weld El 15 was jailed for insulting the police in a song. After a 40-minute hearing yesterday, the judge announced that he would deliver his verdict later in the day, an AFP journalist reported. Defence lawyer Ghazi Mrabet said the ruling would be made public at around 1700 GMT. “Mustapha, Aymen and I are here to give a sign of good faith. We believe we have done nothing wrong,” the journalist Meddeb told AFP. She admitted to shouting insults when the scuffles broke out after the conviction of Weld El 15 -- who was later freed on appeal when his jail term was reduced to a sixmonth suspended sentence. But she insisted that the insults “were not addressed” to the police or the judiciary. The two rappers also pleaded innocent to the charges against them. Mrabet asked the judge to drop the charges against all three accused, stressing that Meddeb had been questioned by the police without an interpreter present, even though “she doesn’t speak Arabic.” Since an Islamist-led government took power after Tunisia’s 2011 revolution, trials of musicians and journalists have multiplied, sparking charges from human rights groups that the authorities are stifling freedom of expression.—AFP

French-Tunisian journalist Hind Meddeb, and Tunisian rappers Mustapha Fakhfakh and Aymen El-Fikih wait before their trial at a court in the Tunis suburb of Ben Arous yesterday.—AFP

Fit chic: Gym clothes became fashionable


o long, dingy sweatpants. Workout clothes for women, once relegated to the back of the closet, are moving to the front of the fashion scene. Yoga pants are the new jeans, neon sports bras have become the “it” accessory and long athletic socks are hipper than high heels. “I’ve actually had more excitement buying workout gear than normal jeans and dresses,” says Amanda Kleinhenz, 27, who wears workout gear both in and outside of the gym in Cleveland. “I want to look good.” Blame it on the push by many Americans toward a more active lifestyle. Or call it an extension of the nation’s fascination with fashion. Either way, these days jogging suits are just as likely to be seen on a runway in New York as a treadmill in Texas. In fact, sales of workout gear are growing faster than sales of everyday clothing - by a lot. Spending on workout clothes jumped 7 percent to $31.6 billion during the 12-month period that ended in August from the same period a year ago. That compares with a 1 percent rise in spending for other clothing to about $169.2 billion. But these aren’t cheap cotton T-shirts and spandex jumpsuits. Top designers like Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney and Alexander Wang all rolled out fitness chic clothing lines, with everything from $50 leggings to $125 zip-front hoodies and $225 long john sweatpants. And big nationwide retailers like Gap, Forever 21, Victoria Secret and Macy’s have fitness lines, too. “Active has become an important part of what customers are wearing,” says Karen Hoguet, chief financial officer at Macy’s, which is expanding its active wear label to 400 stores from 160.

“Sometimes it’s for athletic endeavors. Sometimes it’s just to run errands.” This is the latest evolution in fitness fashion. Sweatpants and tees were the hallmark of athletic clothing for decades. That changed with the invention of spandex in 1959, then again with the aerobics craze of the 1980s when tights, leotards, legwarmers and nylon track suits became popular. Athletic gear giants like Nike, Reebok and Adidas were popular for years as synthetic material like Gore Tex and Lyrcra gained popularity because of their performance qualities. Then, in the late 1990s, it became cool to wear workout clothes everywhere after the Lululemon athletic chain opened and gained a loyal following of fitness enthusiasts willing to shell out $100 for yoga pants. Annie Georgia Greenberg, a New York editor for style blog Refinery29, says she noticed the trend at the New York Fashion week in September as more people were choosing shoes like the neon Nike Free Flyknit over designer pumps. Greenberg herself paired a “Gold’s Gym” t-shirt and Adidas Samba sneakers with a two-piece bejeweled suit - something she wouldn’t have done a couple years ago. “It is almost cooler to be comfortable and athletic and feel like yourself than to be overly glam,” Greenberg says. Fitness chic also sends a message to others that you are living a healthy lifestyle, says Noreen Naroo, senior creative director for apparel at fitness brand Under Armour. Recently, Naroo did mile run at her daughter’s elementary school with leggings, a sports bra, t-shirt and sneakers. She changed from her sneakers into boots to go to work. “This is exactly what women are doing - running between work and play,” Naroo says.

This photo provided by Under Armour shows a workout bra by Under Armour.

Nike says that’s one reason its women’s business has added $1 billion in revenue since fiscal 2010 to reach $4 billion in fiscal 2013. It’s been fueled in part by demand for fashionable workout gear like its leggings with compression technology that is made to be flattering. Another hit has been its “tights of the moment,” limited edition running tights with geometric or neon prints. And to capitalize on the popularity of classes like Barre and Pilates in which people usually go barefoot, Nike says it created a lightweight foot wrap called Wrap Pack which helps with hygiene and slippage, but also looks stylish. “Women don’t want to compromise performance or style,” says Heidi O’Neil, Nike’s vice president and general manager of women’s training.—AP This photo provided by Under Armour shows a pair of the company’s workout sweatpants.

This photo provided by Reebok shows workout gear, sweat socks and shorts by Reebok.—AP photos



LIFESTYLE A w a r d s

Taylor Swift announces the award for favorite male artist - pop/rock at the American Music Awards.—AP/AFP photos

Singer Justin Timberlake performs onstage.

Taylor Swift


Singer Taylor Swift, winner of the Artist of the Year, Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist, Favorite Country Female Artist, and Favorite Country Album awards, poses in the press room.

Justin Timberlake accepts Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist award.


Justin Timberlake, winner of the Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist, Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist, and Favorite Soul/R&B Album awards poses in the press room.

artist of the


aylor Swift’s fans have done it again, voting her the American Music Awards artist of the year for a third time. Swift won Sunday night’s top honor, giving her a leading four trophies as fans celebrated the women of pop music. Swift didn’t perform, but she was a constant presence on stage and the camera alighted on her as she danced to stars like Kendrick Lamar and Luke Bryan. Her win came after Katy Perry dazzled with her show-opening performance, Lady Gaga found another inventive way to grab your attention, Rihanna starred with her mother and Miley Cyrus closed performances with the assistance of a giant lip-syncing CGI kitty on her song “Wrecking Ball.” “I’m really out of breath,” Swift said after taking the stage in a sequined mini-dress. “I was really going hard with the ‘Wrecking Ball’ thing.” The 23-year-old pop star also won country album of the year for “Red” and favorite female country and pop/rock artist. “’Red’ is very different than any album I’ve made before and the reason I was able to do that was because of the fans,” Swift said. “I cannot believe what you’ve done in the last year. This album came out almost exactly a year ago and the fact that 6 million of you went out and bought it is crazy.” Justin Timberlake was next with three wins. One Direction and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won two awards and Rihanna was given the AMA’s first Icon Award to go with her win as favorite soul/R&B female artist. Rihanna and her mother took center stage midway through the show when Monica Fenty presented her pop star daughter with the first Icon Award at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. “Can we talk about how cute Rihanna’s mom is?” Justin Timberlake asked while accepting one of his three awards, before affecting a Caribbean accent. “She’s so proud of the Icon. I am too, Rihanna, I love you.” Fenty told Rihanna how proud she was of her daughter’s success, saying, “I know the journey in your career has not always been an easy one.” “Just about 20 years ago is when I really started making your life a living hell with my annoying little husky man voice, you would call it,” Rihanna said. “And I mean just disrupting the entire neighborhood. Westbury Road, Barbados, they could tell you that’s the truth. I annoyed every one of my neighbors.” She performed “Diamonds” with an orchestra and took favorite soul/R&B female artist. Timberlake won soul/R&B album, soul/R&B male artist and pop/rock male artist. Nickelodeon star Ariana Grande was named favorite new artist, Florida Georgia Line won single of the year for “Cruise” with Nelly in something of a surprise, Luke Bryan won favorite male country artist, and favorite rap/hip-hop act Macklemore & Ryan Lewis used their rap/hip-hop album acceptance speech to send a message of tolerance. Ben Haggerty, the rapper known as Macklemore, accepted the award for favorite rap/hip-hop album, then quoted Martin Luther King Jr in a live satellite feed

Lady Gaga performs onstage.

from the rap group’s latest tour stop. “Due to the fact that we are in Florida tonight accepting this award I want to acknowledge Trayvon Martin and the hundreds and hundreds of kids each year that are dying due to racial profiling and the violence that follows it,” he said. “This is really happening. These are our friends, our neighbors, our peers and our fans, and it’s time that we look out for the youth and fight against racism and the laws that protect it.” Florida became a focal point after Martin’s killer was freed under the state’s stand your ground law. It was the first win of the night for Macklemore and Lewis, whose album “The Heist” has been an unexpected hit and made them the AMA’s top nominees with six. Katy Perry opened the show looking like a princess out of a classic Japanese painting. Dressed in a traditional Japanese dress, Perry’s show-starting performance of “Unconditionally” included dozens of colorfully clad dancers waved fans, shadow danced in front of ricepaper screens and played the drums. Perry was the early focus of the awards show, held at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, arriving on the red carpet in a black strapless dress to screams from hundreds of fans. She said before the show she wanted to up her game, given the chance to open, and the whirling stage production was a wash of colors and movements before Perry disappeared in a puff of smoke. One Direction was at times drowned out by screams during an understated performance of “Story of My Life.” The decibel level was that way from the moment the British boy band arrived on the carpet, all smiles and dapper suits. Harry Styles stopped to take a picture with three fans. Timberlake strapped on an acoustic guitar and played a soulfully raucous version of “Drink You Away.” Macklemore crowd surfed on “Can’t Hold Us.” Jennifer Lopez absolutely nailed the elaborate dance numbers during her tribute to Salsa queen Celia Cruz, taking two dozen dancers through their paces while wearing a shimmering silver dress. She winked at the crowd as she finished the number, the dancers sprawled around her on the floor. Lady Gaga and R. Kelly put on an elaborate production for their song “Do What U Want,” staging a presidential affair. Kelly played the president and Gaga a Marilyn Monroe-like mistress. Kelly gazed upward as Gaga table-danced on his desk, then stormed off the stage as an actor playing a reporter chased him asking about the affair. And Cyrus shut things down with a performance that wasn’t quite as over the top as her previous appearances this year but is likely to be talked about just as much. The camera stayed on Cyrus and the lip-syncing tabby throughout, and the cat ended the song by winking and sticking out its tongue - Cyrus’ signature move.—AP

Lady Gaga arrives for the 2013 American Music Awards.

Singer Ariana Grande, winner of the Kohl’s New Artist of the Year award.

Rapper Nelly with singers Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line, winners of Single of the Year for ‘Cruise’.

From left, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles and Liam Payne of musical group One Direction, accept the award for favorite album - pop/rock for “Take Me Home”.



LIFESTYLE A w a r d s


from Sunday's American Music Awards Winners of the 2013 American Music Awards, presented Sunday at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles: Artist of the year:

Taylor Swift New artist of the year:

Ariana Grande Single of the year:

™Cruise,∫ Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly Pop/rock female artist: Luke Bryan accepts the award for favorite male artist – country.

Taylor Swift

Pop/rock male artist:

Miley Cyrus performs onstage.

Justin Timberlake

Pop/rock band, duo or group:

One Direction Pop/rock album:

™Take Me Home,∫ One Direction

Country female artist:

Taylor Swift

Country male artist:

Luke Bryan

Country band, duo or group:

Lady Antebellum Country album:

Macklemore, right, and Ryan Lewis accept the award for favorite album - rap/hip-hop for “The Heist” via satellite from Miami.

™Red,∫ Taylor Swift Rap/hip-hop artist:

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Rap/hip-hop album:

™The Heist,∫ Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Soul/R&B female artist:


Soul/R&B male artist:

Justin Timberlake Soul/R&B album:

™The 20/20 Experience,∫ Justin Timberlake

Lady Antebellum accept the Country Band, Duo or Group award on stage.

Alternative rock artist:

Imagine Dragons Latin artist:

Singer Rihanna accepts the Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist award.

Marc Anthony

Adult Contemporary:

Maroon 5

Electronic dance music artist:


Musicians Dan Reynolds, Ben McKee, Dan Platzman and Wayne Sermon of Imagine Dragons accept the Favorite Alternative Artist award.

Singer Rihanna accepts the Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist award.

Marc Anthony accepts the award for favorite artist – Latin. Ian Axel, left, of A Great Big World performs on stage with Christina Aguilera.

Singer Katy Perry performs onstage.

Musician Avicii accepts the Favorite Electronic Dance Music Artist award.

Host Pitbull presents the award for artist of the year.

Jennifer Lopez performs on stage.

Singer Lil Mama performs with singers Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas of TLC onstage.

Taylor Swift wins AMA artist of the year



KUWAIT: Jellyfish swim in an aquarium at the Scientific Center on November 24, 2013.—Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

KUWAIT: Jellyfish swim in an aquarium at the Scientific Center of Kuwait on November 24, 2013 in Kuwait City.—Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

In Paris, umbrellas built to outlast their owners

Photo shows different styles of umbrellas made in the French Maison Heurtault.


asily broken and frequently lost, the humble umbrella is not usually seen as a luxury item. But for Frenchman Michel Heurtault, whose creations can sell for thousands of euros, that is just what they are. The 48-year-old artisan uses the finest of materials for his umbrellas and parasols, which are made to last and intended to be handed down from generation to generation. Despite his high prices, Heurtault’s Paris shop attracts clients from around the world—one Qatari princess went for an umbrella handle covered with shagreen, a type of leather, at a cost of more than 8,000 euros ($10,800). “Umbrellas have always been my passion,” he says with a smile. “They were my favorite toy when I was small. I was fascinated—which my mother found very strange!” he says, recalling how he used to take them apart, using parts from two to build a single umbrella. Heurtault only set up his business in 2008, but some of his tools are more than 100 years old. The setting is also special, in one of the elegant 19th-century arches under a former railway viaduct in eastern Paris housing many chic shops of skilled artisans “All those umbrellas are made in China,” he says as he watches pedestrians pass by the shop on a wet autumn day. “Here, everything is done by hand, which is unique,” says Heurtault, who also restores umbrellas and creates them for the film industry. Heurtault’s business partner Jean-Yves Thibert says Australians and Japanese are “gaga for parasols”, while umbrellas have a following in the United States and Europe, particularly in Austria and Germany.

Throwaway culture The cheapest lady’s item costs 250 euros and is made of silk, with a leather-covered handle. For men, the cheapest is 490 euros, which buys an elegant gentleman’s umbrella in silk twill with

KT Daily Paper layout 2.indd 5

a maplewood handle. “You won’t find that kind of finish anywhere else,” says Thibert. Heurtault despairs of what he sees as today’s throwaway culture. “Things are becoming cheaper and cheaper, they don’t last, they break easily and are disposable. These umbrellas are made to last generations,” he says. “In the 1950s people didn’t lose their umbrellas, they looked after them,” he says. “Today a girl buys an umbrella for 10 euros, breaks it, and buys another for 10 euros. Of course it doesn’t last.” At Heurtault, they do things differently. Clients can opt for bespoke umbrellas, choosing the handle, the fabric, the pattern and the wood. “This is real luxury, it’s not standardized,” says Thibert, showing off antique handles sourced all over France. One is made of ivory with insets of pearl. Heurtault also works for the film industry, and has recently made parasols for a film version of Cinderella starring Cate Blanchett and a Woody Allen movie shot this summer on France’s Cote D’Azur. “Costumiers on period movies come to me because they have no other choice. These traditional methods have been lost,” says Heurtault, who began his career as a costumier, and has worked for the opera and made corsets for Christian Dior. He has just been named a Master of Art, an honor bestowed by France on highly skilled professional artisans. “It is the highest honor for an artisan,” he says proudly. “I see it as ennoblement on merit.”—AFP

French Michel Heurtault, umbrella and parasol’s creator, opens one of his models in his workshop in Paris.

An employee adjusts material and framework of an umbrella.

A picture shows an 1890 hand-painted umbrella on display at the French Maison Heurtault.—AFP photos

Photo shows different handles of umbrellas at the French Maison Heurtault.

Easily broken and frequently lost, the humble umbrella is not usually seen as a luxury item.

11/25/13 7:36 PM

26th Nov 2013  

Kuwait Times

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