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Thai PM calls snap election, protesters want power now

SAFAR 7, 1435 AH

North Korea accuses Kim Jong-Un’s uncle of corruption

Suleiman the Magnificent reconquers Arab world

Lakers rejoice as Bryant returns, but Raptors crash party


NO: 16012

150 FILS

7Activists, 12 ex-MPs 40acquitted 17 over storming of Assembly Reenergized opposition vows to resume reforms push

Max 15º Min 05º High Tide 04:25 & 18:03 Low Tide 11:29

$4.4bn KAC jet order hits nerve in Kuwait By Velina Nacheva and Jamie Etheridge KUWAIT: Kuwait Airways has inked a $4.4 billion deal to buy 25 new Airbus jets - the first significant renewal of the airline’s ageing fleet since 1990. The deal comes amid growing controversy in Kuwait over the carrier’s privatization plans, leadership and allegations of corruption. Kuwait Airways Chairman Sami Al-Nisf was suspended on Nov 25 and later replaced and a plan to buy used aircraft from India’s Jet Airways was scrapped after a public outcry over the issue. Social media in Kuwait buzzed with criticism over the Jet Airways deal with many comparing the troubled KAC, which has failed to turn a profit in more than two decades, with the phenomenal success of regional carriers like Qatar Airways and Emirates. Local lawmakers also weighed into the issue with much criticism of the government and KAC officials. “A question to every Kuwait Airways official, past and present: Aren’t you ashamed of yourselves? Don’t you fear God?” asked pro-government MP Maasouma Al-Mubarak. Describing the deal as “a slap in the face” Mubarak compared Kuwait Airways’ downward spiral to the growth trajectory of Gulf carriers. “Qatar Airways was established in 1999 and is today considered one of the best airlines in the world with a fleet of 252 aircraft that provide distinguished services that include in-flight Internet access. Emirates was established in 1985 and now has 300 aircraft. Kuwait Airways was established in 1953, and now has just 17 planes, only half of which are considered usable,” she charged. Kuwait Airways is currently undergoing a multi-year privatization process that has faced much resistance from vested interests both inside the company and in the government. The privatization plan must still be approved by parliament. Company officials, however, argue that the deal will help the company restructure and help raise its value ahead of the sale of a strategic 35 percent stake to private investors. Commenting on the Airbus deal, KAC vice-chairman Jassar Al-Jassar said that the new fleet will be “an essential part of the airline’s growth plans.” Others have labeled the move as an effort by the government to ‘save face’ after other regional airlines shelled out billions on new plane orders at the Dubai air show in November. Currently, Kuwait Airways operates three A320 aircraft, three A310, five A300 and four A340 jets - all ageing. The fleet faces regular maintenance issues and several KAC flights have been grounded or had to abort flight plans due to maintenance concerns over the last few years. The 25 Airbus planes include 10 A350-900 and 15 A320neo aircraft known for being more efficient. The A320neo is equipped with engines that will deliver up to 15 percent in fuel savings. According to Airbus in October-end 2013, firm orders for the neo stood at 2,487 planes from 44 customers, making it the fastest selling commercial airliner ever. Jassar was quoted in a press release yesterday saying that the Airbus (aircraft) family “is the ideal choice for an airline like ours”. He said “The A350-900 will strengthen our long-haul route development whilst the A320neo will further boost our regional route network. These aircraft are an essential part of our ambitious growth plans.”

KUWAIT: Prominent opposition leader and former MP Musallam Al-Barrak (center) and former speaker and MP Ahmad Al-Sadoun (center left) celebrate yesterday with opposition activists and ex-MPs after a court acquitted them of charges of storming the Assembly building in 2011. — Photo by Yasser AlZayyat By B Izzak KUWAIT: The criminal court yesterday acquitted 70 opposition activists including nine former MPs of storming the National Assembly building two years ago to demand the dismissal of the government over allegations of corruption. Judge

Trafficked Congolese teenager goes home


damaging public property and assaulting police among other charges, has been in court for almost 20 months. Hundreds of opposition activists stormed the seaside building of the Assembly in Kuwait City in the night of Nov 16, 2011 after staging a noisy rally demanding the removal of the Continued on Page 13

Brotherhood chief Badie goes on trial


Kuwait seeks to calm Saudi-Omani spat With US ties frayed, Riyadh calls for Gulf union KUWAIT: The 34th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit kicks off in Kuwait today with the controversial union, the bloodshed in Syria and ties with Iran high on the agenda, officials have said. Leaders of the six-nation wealthy alliance will also discuss progress made in economic integration, defense and security coordination in the face of turbulent times in most of the Middle East as a result of the Arab Spring uprisings. With its decades-old US alliance strained over the Syria war and a nuclear deal with Iran, Saudi Arabia is calling on the Gulf monarchies to unite for their own self-defence. But ahead of the twoday summit, a rift over the proposal between

DHL tests delivery drones FRANKFURT: Germany’s express delivery and mail company Deutsche Post DHL is testing a drone that could be used to deliver urgently needed goods to hard-to-reach places. The small pilotless helicopter flew a package of medicine yesterday from a pharmacy in the town of Bonn to the company’s headquarters on the other side of the Rhine River. The aircraft can carry up to 3 kg. Company spokesman Thomas Kutsch said the flights all this week are strictly a research project to see if the technology works and there are no plans yet to start actual drone deliveries. The test flights required permission from local aviation authorities. On-line retailer Amazon is also working on a drone to deliver goods to customers despite legal obstacles in the US. — AP

Hisham Abdullah issued the written verdict but without the details of the case and the reasons on which he based his decision. The details of the case are expected to be available in the next few days. The high-profile case in which the 70 defendants were charged of storming a public building,

BONN: A Deutsche Post DHL drone controlled remotely transports a package during a test flight at the company’s headquarters yesterday. — AP

Oman and the kingdom surfaced in public with Muscat threatening to pull out of the 32-year-old bloc. The spat began at the Manama Dialogue when Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Nizar Madani bluntly said that upgrading the GCC into a union was “no longer a luxury” but a “strategic, security and economic necessity”. Madani said “Gulf countries should no longer depend on others to ensure their safety”. The oilrich monarchies “must unite under one political entity in order to face internal and external challenges,” said the minister. “All countries have realised that blind dependence on a foreign Continued on Page 13

The roads in red will be closed today and tomorrow from 12 noon to 2 pm.

Saudis mapping genes to research diseases RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has launched a genetic code mapping project aimed at identifying the basis of chronic diseases prevalent in the desert kingdom. The Saudi Human Genome Program will be run by Saudi researchers, in cooperation with the US Life Technologies Corporation, at the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST). “The program aims to identify the causes of prevalent chronic diseases in Saudi Arabia,” Prince Moqrin bin Abdul Aziz, the second deputy prime minister, said yesterday. The programe will work over five years on sequencing 100,000 human genomes to study both normal and disease-associated genes specific to the Saudi population, said a statement by Life Technologies. “ This genomic variant data will be fully analysed and used to create a Saudi-specific database that will provide the basis for future development of personalised medicine in the Kingdom,” it said. The sequencing will be performed using Life Technologies’ semiconductor-based Ion Proton DNA sequencer, it added. The instruments will be deployed at 15 genome centres across the Kingdom, it said. Continued on Page 13

RIYADH: Saudi second deputy Prime Minister Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz inaugurates the website of the first Saudi Human Genome Project in the Middle East at the King Abdulaziz City for Science yesterday. — AFP



Archeologist sheds light on ‘Ubaid period’ in Kuwait As-Sabbiya Kuwait-Polish Mission By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: A search for raw materials was the sole reason why the Ubaid period existed in the Gulf, explains Prof Piotr Belinski, head of the Kuwait Polish Archeological Mission, as he reported the current development of the As-Sabbiya Kuwait-

teries were produced by local inhabitants, but also it was the main reason why they had close contacts with the Arabian Neolithic and Mesopotamian Ubaid,” he added. Belinski said they probably bartered fish for grains or corn. “We found some earthenware which we believed were used to store grains and

KUWAIT: Prof Piotr Belinski, head of Kuwait Polish Archeological Mission explains their mission to local press. With him are Polish Ambassador to Kuwait Grezegorz Olszak (left) and Dr Shehab A. Shehab. — Photo by Joseph Shagra

Polish Mission. But he believes the Ubaid period existed and lasted a bit longer in the north of Kuwait because there were sources of food and water at that time. “The Ubaid period can be traced back to 5,600 BC, as revealed by the artefacts we unearthed since the start of our mission, starting with painted amphorae that were excavated on the shorelines of the Gulf peninsula a few years earlier by a British team. The pot-

corn. We believe that they probably imported agricultural products from Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) in exchange for fish or probably the amphorae,” he said. The Ubaid period according to Belinski existed for a long period and spread widely in the north, reaching Anatolia, down to the southern Gulf. The team has found evidence of the Ubaid period in about 60 sites scattered from the north

to the south of the Gulf connected to the making of Ubaid potteries. Bahra 1, according to Belinski, was the biggest settlement that had pottery workshops, where they found a number of potteries and shell ornaments. “Bahra 1 could be the main city, maybe with more than 8 families or about 100 inhabitants,” he said. Belinski also stressed that at that time, the Ubaid used various metal tools imported from the copper producing areas of Turkey and Oman. “At that time, they already had metal tools. There were two main producers of copper in that period - Turkey and Oman. Cyprus too because the name of the country itself comes from copper, but there’s no evidence yet,” he opined. Polish Ambassador to Kuwait Grezegorz Olszak introduced Director of the NCCAL Dr Shehab A Shehab as being the backbone of the Kuwait Polish Archeological Mission. “Dr Shehab A Shehab’s role has been very critical throughout the years. He’s been a great inspiration for the success of our mission,” the envoy said. Cooperation between the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw and the National Council of Culture, Arts and Letters of Kuwait was initiated by Shehab. The mission has been involved in research in Kuwait since 2007, investigating tumuli in the As-Sabbiya. Then there were survey and excavation projects of tumuli and desert wells in northern Kuwait. In 2009, the mission began excavating Bahra 1, and since 201,1 other Kuwaiti-Polish teams have begun work on Failaka Island. The Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology of the University Of Warsaw (PCMA) is dedicated to the organization and coordination of archaeological research, both excavations and study projects, as well as conservation, reconstruction and restoration projects in the Middle East, northeastern Africa, the Gulf region and Cyprus.

GCC Summit’s media center inaugurated KUWAIT: Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs and Minister of Health, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah inaugurated on Sunday the media center of the 34th GCC Summit. Sheikh Mohammad, who is also the president of the higher coordination committee for conferences, said the center will provide all journalists with needed materials to cover the Dec 10-11 summit. The minister said more than 100 Gulf, Arab and Western media figures were invited to cover the summit, wishing them the best in doing their task. Meanwhile, Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Al-Sabah said Kuwait was honored to receive media figures from around the globe. Sheikh Salman expressed appreciation to media figures who accepted the invitations, wishing them success in covering the summit. Media centers set by the Information ministry play a pivotal role in covering events and activities taking place in summits. The center primarily provides for Arab and foreign journalists with necessary means to

cover the 34th summit of the GCC, hosted by Kuwait and due to kickoff tomorrow, Adel AlIbrahim, the president of media center and member of the media higher committee said. Al-Ibrahim added the center is not only serving reporters invited to cover the summit, but to any journalist who wishes to cover the event. Al-Ibrahim explained that the center also functioned as a coordinator between reporters and officials who wishes to have exclusive interviews, noting that the center will contact the official on the journalist’s behalf. The Information ministry seeks to shed light on summits and conferences held in Kuwait, in addition to ensure success of coverage through various means and publications. For his part, Director of Media in Arab countries from the Ministry of Information foreign media Abdullah Al-Khaldi said that the center has been established four times this year. He added nearly 100 foreign and Arab media involved in covering the GCC summit. — KUNA

Cabinet creates standing business panel

KUWAIT: The Ministry of Interor Undersecretary, Lt Gen Ghazi Al-Omar yesterday received at his office Lt Col Abdullah Menawer Al-Muttairi who recently got his doctorate degree. Al-Muttairi presented a copy of his thesis ‘The Role of Voluntary Work in Kuwait’s Civil Defence’ to Al-Omar.

Bahraini PM calls for advancing from GCC cooperation to union MANAMA: Bahrain Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al-Khalifa underlined importance of advancing from the state of cooperation among the Arab Gulf countries to the union “as a safe haven” with political and strategic horizons, thus honoring Gulf people’s aspirations. The 34th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit, due in Kuwait today, “will be an important mark that can establish a new phase of the common Gulf action,” Prince Khalifa said. Prince Khalifa said the December 10-11 34th Summit, to be chaired by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah, would be held amidst “changes that require unconventional methods to deal with the new reality that has been formulating in the region and other regions.” He voiced confident that the summit would have “constructive” resolutions that would further contribute to the prosperity of people and integration of the GCC member countries at all levels. Prince Khalifa said moving from the “state of cooperation to the state of the Gulf union is a pressing demand more than ever.” He added the Gulf people were keen on seeing the union as reality. “Peoples of the members of the Council hope that the Gulf unity be reality especially that it is one of the demands declared since the establishment of the GCC in 1981 ... Time has come to establish the Gulf union without delay,” affirmed Prince Khalifa. “The endorsement of the Gulf union will put the framework that will meet aspirations of peoples of the Council members,” he added, cit-

ing the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the EU and African Union. The Bahraini Prime Minister reaffirmed that this was the right time to establish the Gulf union. “It is a win-win situation that we should move to with the objective of achieving sustainable security and stability in the region.” Prince Khalifa lamented the state of division among the Arabs. “We have to have clearer policies to make the change that we want not the others want.” Prince Khalifa, meanwhile, called for having a unified media address, and the economic unity like the single Gulf currency and the Gulf central bank to ultimately establish the common market. “We have to have an economic and political strength which ... confronts any shock created by our modern world that aim at partitioning our entities,” he said. Prince Khalifa, on the other hand, said the regional countries were responsible for security and stability of the area in a drive to guarantee implementation of development plans. Peaceful coexistence, mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs are basic principles of international relations. “Abiding by these principles in the Arabian Gulf region will contribute to security and stability,” he said. Asked about relations between Bahrain and Kuwait, Prince Khalifa commended Kuwait’s contributions to economic development in the Kingdom. He also praised the “vital and important” role of Kuwait in the march of the sixmember GCC. The GCC consists of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and the UAE. — KUNA

KUWAIT: The government has decided to set up a permanent committee on the improvement of the business atmosphere in Kuwait. The committee, which will be chaired by Director General of the Direct Investment Promotion Authority Sheikh Meshaal Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, is mainly intended to promote and stimulate direct investment in the country. The decision was made during a weekly cabinet meeting held yesterday at Bayan Palace under chairmanship of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. During the meeting, the ministers listened to a presentation from Sheikh Meshaal on Kuwait’s status in a recent business facilitation report issued by the World Bank, Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs and Health Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Mubarak AlSabah said in news remarks following the meeting. Sheikh Meshaal stressed that necessary steps should be taken to address the retreat in Kuwait’s position in the assessment report by means of reconsidering business-bearing laws and bylaws, the minister said. The committee comprises the ministers of commerce and industry, electricity and water, and justice, the minister pointed out. The ministers were then apprised of a recent letter sent to His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah from Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama on bilateral friendly relations. On the occasion of the 34th session of the GCC summit due in Kuwait today, the cabinet welcomed the participating Gulf leaders and hoped that the gathering would come up with recommendations and resolutions that would push forward Gulf cooperation and integration and fulfill the expectations and hopes of their people, the cabinet minister said. The Kuwaiti delegation partaking in the event will be led by His Highness the Amir and comprises His Highness the Crown Prince, His Highness the Prime Minister, and the minister of Amiri Diwan affairs, the deputy premier and foreign minister, the deputy premier and interior minister, the deputy minister of Amiri Diwan affairs Sheikh Ali Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah, the deputy premier and minister of finance, the deputy premier and defense minister and several other ministers. Afterwards, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah expounded on the outcomes of a recent visit to Kuwait by British Foreign Secretary William Hague, where closer ties between both friendly countries were discussed. The ministers also reviewed an agreement between Kuwait and Iraq in the field of higher education and scientific research. The cabinet then considered several political reports on the current Arab and international situations, and congratulated Dubai on winning the EXPO 2020 bid. It further offered sincere condolence over the death of South Africa’s former president and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela. — KUNA

Tribal chief hails ‘GCC unity’ KUWAIT: Amir of the Ajman tribe Sultan Bin Salman Al-Hethleen released a statement yesterday in which he reiterated support to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries bid for unity ahead of the scheduled GCC summit in Kuwait today. “The request made by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz to GCC leaders to move into the phase of unity achieves benefit and rejects

evil”, he said in a statement made available to the press yesterday. Bin Hethleen also mentioned the European Union which he said “achieved unity after decades of wars and experiments”. “Unifying policies is the natural beginning for full unification”, he said, adding that “GCC countries have successfully converged while retaining each country’s political system and legal structure”.

APICORP symposium discusses outlook for MENA energy markets KUWAIT: Energy industry leaders from the region converged on the second annual APICORP 2013 Symposium today in Kuwait to discuss the outlook for oil and gas markets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) over the next few years. Organized by the Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP), the Multilateral Development Bank owned by the ten member nations of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), the Symposium discussed market trends and challenges faced by the industry against the background of ongoing political turmoil in parts of the region; the expanding global map of oil and gas resources; and the vulnerabilities created by the rapid growth of domestic energy markets. Ahmad Bin Hamad Al Nuaimi, Chief Executive and General Manager of APICORP said: “The APICORP 2013 Symposium was a perfect platform to discuss the global shifts taking place in energy supply and demand and the impact they are having on the region’s oil and gas industries. The event also offered an opportunity to discuss the confluence of several new trends we are seeing in the industry stretching across resources, policy, economic growth and security.” “As a dynamic oil and gas hub, Kuwait provided the ideal setting to share ideas, aspirations, and generate solutions for the industry’s challenges. One of the largest shareholders of APICORP with a 17% stake, Kuwait has been a supporter of APICORP’s mandate and growth initiatives. It was in Kuwait almost four decades ago that APICORP was established and announced following an agreement signed by the ten member states of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries. We believe Kuwait’s ambitious plans to develop into the ‘oil and gas capital of the world’ has many potential synergies with APICORP’s mandate and strategy, which is focused on supporting the development of the Arab hydrocarbon and petrochemical industries and promoting cooperation and economic integration in the regional industry.” The main speakers at the Symposium addressed three critical themes: Oil Markets and

Prices: Current Trends and Future Outlook; Shale Oil: Expected Developments and their Implications; and MENA Natural Gas: Growing Shortfall and the Issue of Domestic Pricing. Dr. Roberto M. Sieber, Chief Economist and Global Head, Market Analysis at Hess Energy Trading Company (HETCO) provided his mediumterm outlook on the global oil market, with particular focus on the impact of the North American unconventional energy revolution on global oil supply and demand. He analysed the gap between market expectations and reality in the past and shared his views on the economy, oil consumption, the price range for international oil and changes in the refining industry and their implications for trade flows. Dr. Bassam Fattouh Director Oil and Middle East Program, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies took the analysis of the US shale oil revolution a step further by assessing its implications for Middle East producers. He also provided insights on the drivers of the shale revolution and outlined two possible scenarios of its impact on oil supply dynamics and trade flows. Dr. Fattouh also discussed the impact of the US oil supply shock on the Middle East’s key producers. Dr. Hakim Darbouche, Commercial Adviser, OMV Exploration & Production focused on the factors shaping domestic gas pricing policies in MENA. Driven in large part by artificially-low domestic prices, demand for natural gas in most countries of the region has grown faster than supply since the early 2000s, he said. The resulting gas deficit and pricing policy issues can no longer be ignored. Dr Darbouche argued that unless current prices are adjusted to reflect new regional gas market realities, the MENA region will increasingly become an import centre rather than a major source of new supply. This is the second year that APICORP is holding its Symposium. The inaugural Symposium held in Bahrain last year explored the impact of the shifting global economic environment and the changing political and energy landscape in MENA on the region’s energy investment outlook.

NBK offers Kuwaiti graduates career, training opportunities KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) offers fresh Kuwaiti graduates and diploma holders career and training opportunities through its ongoing campaign “Looking for the career of a life time?” This ongoing campaign is launched in support to the country’s aim to encourage young Kuwaitis to assume roles in the private sector. When applying, new graduates will have the opportunity to join one of NBK’s training programs specifically designed to develop the skills of newly recruited diploma holders in order to prepare them as highly qualified Kuwaiti banking leaders of the future. Sultan Bin Salman Al-Hethleen

This campaign succeeded in attracting hundreds of young nationals every year. NBK provides this opportunity as part of its commitment to supporting Kuwaiti nationals. NBK offers applicants different kinds of training programs that best suit their qualifications. These programs aim to provide the trainees with theoretical and practical skills covering the different aspects of the banking industry. NBK maintains its leading position as one of the country’s largest employers in the private sector and is committed to supporting Kuwaiti nationals and empowering them to realize their potentials.



Congolese teen heads home over scrubbing instead of studying Happy ending for visa trafficking victim

Amir’s envoy offers condolence for Mandela KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s Representative, Deputy Minister of Amiri Diwan Affairs Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah visited the embassy of South Africa in Kuwait yesterday.

The visit was intended to offer condolence on behalf of H is H ighness the Amir, His Highness the Crown Prince and the Kuwaiti people over the death of former S outh African President Nelson Mandela. —KUNA

KUWAIT: A Congolese teenager who became stranded in Kuwait after falling victim to a human trafficking scheme returned home more than a month following her arrival to the country. The 16-year-old Furaha’s story had a happy ending when she chose to return to Congo after turning down several offers to help her study Arabic in Kuwait. Furaha came to Kuwait on what she thought was a scholarship to study Arabic and the Holy Quran; a decision she took after she and her family converted to Islam, reported Al Rai. She later discovered that she was issued a domestic helper’s visa after her family paid $1500 to a person who claimed that he could help her receive a scholarship to Kuwait. Furaha says that she was escorted to a domestic helpers recruitment office directly from the airport after arriving in Kuwait. The teen worked two weeks as a domestic servant with a family in Kuwait before asking to be returned. The family took her back to the recruitment office and was then reassigned to a second family but she fled that family, allegedly after physical abuse and sexual harassment. She was picked up by a Kuwaiti lady who dropped at the Ethiopian embassy because she assumed she was Ethiopian and she could not speak French. And then someone at the embassy who could speak French abandoned her at the police station and she then called an uncle in Sudan and during that conversation a local Kuwaiti law yer named Ghadeer Al-Najdi spoke with her uncle and then took her to the Al Rai newspaper because there is no Congolese embassy in Kuwait. The politics of trafficking Several MPs quickly criticized the incident and slammed the lack of government oversight and possible corruption that led to the trafficking. MP

Awdah Al-Ruwaei described Furaha’s ordeal as “a heavy blow to a country that is supposed to be a state of law and institutions”, announcing plans to send a number of questions to Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khalid Al-Sabah on how a domestic helper’s visa was issued to an underage girl.“ How can a student who comes to a country for education suddenly find herself a housemaid?” he

KUWAIT: Furaha’s picture taken before she left for the airport, as appeared in Al-Rai’s. wondered as he demanded “opening the human trafficking file”. MP Osama Al-Tahous said in the meantime that Furaha’s story was one example of the results of corruption “in all state depar tments”. “I do not claim to know what corruption led to this but it surely exposes a lack of monitoring on the part of concerned officials and ministries,” he said. A happy ending Furaha’s flight was Saturday night, and made available only after the owner of a domestic

helper’s office that recruited her agreed to give her passport back. The man suggested that he also was a victim in the case. “As an owner of a domestic helpers recruitment office, my job is to receive requests from citizens and residents and then work to fulfill their demands according to the specifications they requested,” he said. “ To achieve that, coordination happens in order to receive domestic workers from countries that have agreements signed with Kuwait in that regard.” Meanwhile, the owner’s statements suggest that he was under the impression that he had recruited a worker looking to work as a housemaid in Kuwait when he sent a representative to collect her from the terminal. Nevertheless, he went to Al-Rai’s newspaper building to hand over Furaha’s passport after learning that she wanted to go back to her home country. The report does not specify whether the owner relinquished the money he was ask ing in exchange for what he paid to recruit Furaha, or if it was covered by a donor. There was also no mention of the middlemen involved in bringing Furaha to Kuwait. I t ’s unclear if other young women have been tricked into ser vitude in Kuwait or if similar illicit recruitment schemes are currently engaging women to come to Kuwait. The recruitment agency owner, who was not named, reportedly gave Furaha $300 in cash that he said a philanthropist had entrusted with him. Fur thermore, a woman identified as Futouh Abdullah who had provided a shelter for Furaha, met the teenager at the airport and gave her $1,500 which her family had paid for her visa. Asked about why she chose to return home despite several offers that included paying full expenses for her scholarship and stay in Kuwait, Furaha simply said that “I plan to come to Kuwait again, but this time not on a maid’s visa.”

Al-Jarba praises Kuwait, GCC for vital support to Syrian people KUWAIT: Chairman of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) Ahmad Al-Asi Al-Jarba yesterday highly appreciated the support offered by the GCC States, particularly Kuwait, to the Syrian people who suffer a large-scale humanitarian tragedy. AlJarba expressed deep gratitude to the State of Kuwait for hosting him, saying he was honored with the meetings with His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak AlHamad Al-Sabah, and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.

KUWAIT: Commander of the 30th Italian Naval group addressing a press conference here yesterday.

Italian Naval Group arrives in Kuwait KUWAIT: The 30th Italian Naval group ship belonging to the Command and Logistic Support Unit (ETNA) arrived in Kuwait yesterday. Speaking at a news conference on the occasion on Sunday, Italian Ambassador to Kuwait Fabrizio Nicoletti said that three more ships of the same group are expected to arrive on Tuesday, led by the Flagship Aircraft Carrier Cavour. The visit is part of a mission called “a Country on the Move”, which will bring the Naval Group towards the Arabian Gulf and Africa, and the trip will end on April 7, he noted. The visit aims to strengthen the relations between both Kuwait and Italy’s navy, which date back to the 80s, he stated, adding that the two countries will take procedures to boost their naval abilities and cooperation in the field. Moreover, he noted that it is also a chance to develop Italy’s diplomatic relations with regional countries and stakeholders. The ships arrival is an opportunity to represent the excellence of Italian entrepreneurship for the occasion of the Gulf Defense and Aerospace Exhibition Conference, said the ambassador. The ships will be like a “floating exhibition” where people can come on board and visit, he said, noting that the exhibition will not only present Italy’s military technologies but will also showcase all kinds of Italian products. The ships also have a humanitarian aspect, with the participation of the Italian Red Cross, Red Crescent and other humanitarian organizations, said Nicoletti. The ambassador noted that Italy is

among the top countries in receiving refugees from Syria and North Africa. The Italian Navy had rescued about 120 Syrians who fled their country on a boat yesterday near Sardinia said Nicoletti, adding that the Italian government pays huge attention to the Syrian crisis. Nicoletti said that his country continuously provides Syrian refugees with all kinds of aid they need. “In our culture, we are not a nation that agrees with war, we are a nation fully commited to the UN, and we will go anywhere where people need help” said Nicoletti, adding that his country opposes war and had always been committed to saving people. The ambassador considered Kuwait a strategic partner to Italy, noting that the two countries had signed many defense agreements. Moreover, Nicoletti praised

the wise leadership of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah. “Kuwait and Italy are connected, since Kuwait is in the center of the Gulf and Italy is in the center of the Mediterranean”, he said, noting that “Italians consider that the two locations are inter-connected, therefore, Kuwait is a very important partner both economically and politically”, he also added. The 30th Naval Group commanded by Rear Admiral Paolo Treu set sail from Italy on November 13, crossing the Suez Canal before entering the Arabian Gulf. The ships will visit the ports of Muscat and Dubai after leaving Kuwait. Moreover, in January, the Naval Group will begin circumnavigation in the African continent to provide humanitarian aid and military training, said the ambassador. —KUNA

New structure for health zones soon KUWAIT: Well-informed sources said that the health ministry will adopt a new administrative structure for its health zones soon. In this regard, health sources said that undersecretary Dr. Khaled Al-Sahlawi presided a meeting last week to discuss the new structure that had been previously rejected by the Civil Services Commission (CSC). The sources added that the new structure would give health zone directors liabilities equal to those given to assistant undersecretaries in terms of administrative and financial issues. Meanwhile, MoH’s assistant undersecretary for technical affairs Dr Jaal Al-Harbi said that after conducting the studies on aviation routes, landing and takeoff, lighting, noise fac-

tors and volume of operation, the Civil Aviation Department agreed to build a helipad in Al-Sabah health zone. Separately, well-informed health sources stressed that following a warning issued by WHO and the FDA, the ministry was about to ban and withdraw a food supplement from pharmacies in local markets because it was proven that it causes the spread of acute non-viral hepatitis. The sources explained that the food supplement that purports to boost energy, build muscle and lose weight, had already been banned and taken off the shelves in various GCC states.

Underscoring the significance of his mission in Kuwait, he said the visit comes only two days ahead of the GCC Summit, adding that he apprised the top leaders of current political, field and humanitarian conditions in Syria. Al-Jarba said that the Kuwaiti leaders would relay “this picture” to their GCC counterparts at the summit, where the Syrian cause “would be a core topic” in the discussions. Praising Kuwait’s major role in supporting the Syrian refugees, he noted its hosting of the international donors’ conference for Syria in January. His Highness

the Amir had played a major role in this respect, he pointed out. Up to seven million Syrians have become relocated, homeless or refugees outside the country. “In Syria, the people are experiencing grave tragedy and most of them have lost their homes and jobs and the situation is literally catastrophic,” Al-Jarba said. Re-affirming Kuwait’s key role in backing his people, Al-Jarba expressed confidence that the second donors’ conference, also to be hosted by Kuwait, would be crowned with success, noting that the forthcoming convention would be quite necessary in shadow of the mounting

catastrophes in Syria. Al-Jarba stressed that he, along with the Syrian opposition leaders, was pinning high hopes on the GCC Summit for further support for the Syrian cause. He reiterated the coalition would take part in the Geneva II conciliation conference, due in end of January, “but on basis of the basic principles of the Syrian revolution.” Al-Jarba explained that the opposition had presented several requests, at the recent London meeting that grouped foreign ministers of allied states, namely carving out “a humanitarian corridor.” —KUNA


LOCAL kuwait digest

kuwait digest

Dr Haifa and research!

Happy returns of the day!

By Mudaffar Abdullah

By Arwa Al-Waqian




ec 10 coincides with International Human Rights Day, which marks the 65th anniversar y of the World Declaration of Human Rights. So wishing all humanity and humans that preserve their rights many happy returns of the day. Years go by and man is still oppressed and deprived of many of his rights. It is very painful that this anniversary comes while thousands of displaced and refugees are still wandering around the globe and Arab children are going through the worst situations ever in their lives! With the advent of this commemoration, freedom of expression is still a dream and our Arab world still deals with a prisoner of conscience like a hitman or murderer. Racism is still deep-rooted in our souls and we still deal with expatriates with much arrogance, senior officials are still appointed by wasta, women’s oppression is still at it peak as many of them are still deprived of the right to be promoted to higher positions in a job and still face unlimited quotidian challenges. The day is back while many issues remain unsolved. We have seen too many recommendations made in conferences but nothing in real life. Human trafficking rates are still alarming. The worst thing is that at this very moment, some people are still being sold or purchased somewhere around the world, including in the Arab world. Too many minor females are still being forced to get married in the Arab world and yet we still think we are fine! Arab human beings’ freedom is still being violated. They are deprived of expressing opinion without thinking it over many times to avoid crossing any red lines. Women are still begging for freedom in making the simplest decisions in their lives - ones that are still being made by men. Arab children are still helpless and used for begging and having their innocence traded in till they lose it! So, wish the Arab man better returns of the day, wish more freedom for all mankind without discrimination based on color, race or religion and hope we can all accept and tolerate others without holding them accountable! “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind”: M K Gandhi — Al-Jarida

kuwait digest

Expose corruption details By Abdullatif Al-Duaij


ny solid survey must have the basics based on which it was carried out clarified first, before the results and indicators are announced. Those in charge of a survey are required first to identify the quantity of people surveyed, point out its quality and explain the process as per which the opinions were taken, analyzed and became the bases for the result. Quantity and quality play key roles in determining a study’s direction and results. Transparency International released several reports in the past number of years about corruption around the world, including Kuwait. The reports indicate that Kuwait’s position when it comes to combating corruption is deteriorating, and continues to worsen year after year. These reports are adopted by the Kuwait Transparency Society which makes sure to republish them, whereas opposition groups take the duty to promote them as ‘proof’ or indicators of alleged corruption in the government. There is no problem here as the government or ruling system could indeed be corrupt. The main problem in Kuwait is the fact that we are supposed to be immune from corruption and abuse of power. We have the Audit

Bureau, the Central Tenders Committee, an elected parliament, opposition figures, a public funds protection committee, and many nongovernmental organizations responsible for monitoring the government’s performance such as the Kuwait Transparency Society itself. I believe that as a result, accusations are supposed to be directed to the monitoring parties before the government. Allegations of incompetency or ‘conspiring with forces of corruption’ must be pointed at civil and political institutions who are responsible to monitor the government’s performance on the political, economic and administrative levels. The Kuwait Transparency Society, which broadcasts the fact that corruption is spreading in Kuwait, is required to reveal details, indications or at least implications that prove those accusations. All that we have heard or read so far is that corruption is on the rise, but no one explained what the faces of corruption are or who are the parties involved in it. Can the society be generous enough to publish the details and general guidelines of the Transparency International’s study, and explain what are the faces and strongholds of corruption so at least it can be countered? — Al-Qabas

oth the minister of education and members of the teaching staff at Kuwait University surely made a huge mistake when they took an attitude I will not describe as hostile against Dr Haifa Al-Kandari and the survey she conducted amongst her students, which proved the existence of sexual harassment within campus. The university campus is actually a word of our own invention. It is a hypothetical term that has moral and scientific conditions. However, the findings in Dr Haifa’s survey can happen in any university. The presence of sexual harassment, which was proven by the questionnaire, is not Dr Haifa’s own opinion. It was the result of scientific research. Hence, suspending Dr Kandari is a violation of article 14 of the constitution that states that: “The state shall promote science, letters and the arts and encourage scientific research therein”. Dr Kandari’s scientific effort should have been rewarded and built upon to pass a legislation on sexual harassment at workplaces, which is missing in Kuwait. Psychological and psychiatric centers should have been consulted on gender disorders. Dr Haifa might not realize the dilemma caused by quickly passing a law in parliament incriminating imitating the opposite gender and imprisoning or fining culprits despite the stories published about sexual harassment of those who had been jailed with other men in one cell. Nobody paid any attention to the social remedies Dr Kandari called for in an interview with the sexually disordered. They hastily jumped to punishment. The minister’s and the teaching staff members’ attitude is strangely unexplainable and that includes what has been said about suspending her to avoid suspicion. A university campus is an integral part of the society and students are members of the same society. Nobody is sacred or perfect. We have to admit that the Kuwaiti society has changed and is constantly changing, the way social behaviors do in various countries, because of the lack of the usual family role in bringing up their kids. — Al-Jarida

kuwait digest

Mandela in Arabs’ eyes

kuwait digest

Learning till last moment! By Dr Sajed Al-Abdeli


recently came up with a new idea of recording the articles included in my recent book “A Word and Two”, which comprises of a number of articles with advice and guidelines on day-today life. This gave me a unique opportunity to reread those articles that I wrote in various periods of my life during which I had been through a variety of moods, tempers and psychological states. The amazing thing is that I was astonished with some articles, paragraphs or even phrases I used in the book as if I was reading them for the first time though I wrote them myself. Sometimes a certain piece of advice caught my attention and made me wonder - how did such a thought slip my mind when I recently went through a challenge for which it would come so handy?! I would have been much better off if I had remembered that particular piece of advice. This made me realize that recognizing a certain thought diffusively and even becoming capable of writing about it does not necessarily mean that it has become an integral part of our intrinsic programming that can easily affect our conduct whenever we need it. It take more to do so! The secret does not necessarily lie in the invalidity or inapplicability of those principles - it rather lies in the incapability of those possessing them to apply them on themselves. Therefore, one can acquire knowledge and guidance from those who possess them, marvel at them and teach them to others as well. But he will never be able to act as a one hundred per cent model application of them. This is exactly what is called the ‘distance between theory and application’ , which includes a group of hindrances and obstacles with the most significant one that lies in the fact that man may have sound thoughts but he gets confused and over-emotional in challenges and, thus, loses focus. This is an everyday scene around us. Accordingly, even the wisest men will always need support and consultancy from advisors who might only need to calm us down and help us recall and apply what we already know properly. One will naturally enough lose control over his nerve and emotions in distress and this varies from one person to another. But the repetition of such challenges provides experience that makes one grow stronger and more capable of sound judgment the way he used to be in the first place. To sum it up, recalling, re-reading, re-teaching or re-discussing pieces of advice with relevant parties during symposiums, training courses or workshops actually reinforces them in our minds and souls. A man should keep on learning until the last moment of his life! — Al-Jarida

By Dr Hassan Abbas


ow is Nelson Mandela perceived in the Arab World? Arab people’s opinions are not going to affect the man’s legacy, but I wanted to discuss the issue for the sake of comparison only. Why did Mandela succeed when we, the Arab people, failed? A person’s opinion of Mandela is irrelevant to the legacy he left to this world and how it sees him as a source of inspiration. My question is, what was the key to Mandela’s success at a time when Arab revolutions suffered defeat? Was the difference in revolutionary principles, the reasons that ignited the revolutions or the methods by which they were executed? The majority of revolutions came as a result of persecution, injustice, oppression and demands to retain the society’s rights. This happened with the Europeans, with Mandela, with Che Guevara, with Mahatma Gandhi, with Ruhollah Khomeini and others. All those revolutions share a group of variables. They start with (1) a tyrant regime, then (2) a case of public frustration, then (3) the presence of an educated leadership with high level of awareness and connection to the people which earns them public trust, followed by (4) a systematic work plan to rally the public behind a unified revolutionary movement, before (5) beginning the revolutionary project, (6) a coup against the oppressive regime, then (7) handing power over to political elites who support the revolutionary principles in order to avoid chaos and handle the transitional period of the country towards stability. These seven stages are considered the points in common between all successful revolutions. In the Arab World, revolutions were in reality raids and combat wars. Arab states that were established throughout history came only after family coups and armed struggles that served certain interests instead of the general good. Arab coups, including those that happened in the 21st century, came only following frustration that was let out in a spontaneous manner. They happened by jumping to step number 5 directly without taking the prior steps with the same level of importance and awareness. It is therefore not surprising to see Arab revolutions end with a tyrant regime being replaced by another. Can Arabs finally understand the meaning behind Mandela’s messages about achieving justice being more difficult than abolishing injustice, building countries being more difficult than destroying tyrannies, the impossibility of building trust on the land of betrayal, that society grows not on the belief of eliminating the other, and that unity is the fruit of tolerance while the fruit of revenge is more fighting? Those were Mandela’s lessons, but can they inspire the elites behind Arab revolutions? — Al-Rai



Top officials reject prior supervision canceling Solution to housing problem KUWAIT: Senior government officials are against the cabinet’s recent request to exempt housing projects from prior supervision, Al-Rai daily reported yesterday without giving specific names. The repor t quotes ‘informed sources’ who said that the

top officials “believe that supervision and accountability are positive factors to support projects”. “The problem is not seen in supervision or accountability themselves, but in projects’ slowdown for several reasons”, they said.

Trade Center to transform Kuwait into financial, commercial hub KUWAIT: Municipal Council Member advisor Ahmed Al-Fadhala stressed here yesterday the need to establish Kuwait Trade Center so that it becomes an economic monument in line with the desire of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to transform Kuwait into a global, financial trade center. All of the developed countries in the world and some of the GCC states have global and international financial hubs for free trade, Al-Fadhala, also head of committee for organizing engineering professional practice, said yesterday. He added that members of the Municipal Council and himself support the wise leadership’s desire of turning Kuwait into a global trade center through the provision of the proposal of the trade center’s establishment and determining its location, preferably on

one of the country’s waterfronts. He added that the trade center will include headquar ters of banks and global investment firms, major facilities and halls for receiving international delegations and holding economic conferences, in addition to multipurpose halls for exhibitions, as well as restaurants and branches of local and international banks and all financial services. He also called for the development of the southern islands of the country, such as Umm Al-Maradim, Qaroh and Kubbar, as well as establishing transitional tourism government projects, already set out in the development plan. In regards with the recycling of waste in residential areas, Al-Fadhala said that the application of the system that sorts out households’ waste will save the country large sums of money. —KUNA

ACA, KTC seminar on combating corruption KUWAIT: The Anti-Corruption Authority (ACA) held yesterday, in cooperation with the Kuwait Transparency Society (KTC), a seminar entitled (Combating Corruption is a Shared Responsibility) on the occasion of the ‘International AntiCorruption Day’. The gathering was held in the presence of representative of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Minister of Communications Issa Al-Kandari. The minister said in his speech that the world is witnessing in this day of every year special anti-corruption celebrations, adding that it is fortunate that Kuwait celebrates this event with the existence of an independent body tasked with combating corruption. He pointed out that corruption is a way to destroy the nations, adding that the political leadership was aware of these risks, thus, prompting it to call for the establishment of a body to combat corruption. He noted the issuance of a bill that has granted the authority full independence and provided it with all terms of reference. For his part, Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Authority Adviser Abdulrahman Al-Nimash thanked His Highness the Amir for his patronage, noting that the celebration of the International Anti-Corruption Day observed on December 9 stems from the directives of His Highness, who stressed at the opening of the second session of the National Assembly on the need to confront corruption. He explained that corruption in all its forms and types is an undesirable phenomenon for any nation, as its negative effects destroy the political, social and economic development in every country. For his part, Dr Mubasharor Resident Representative, said in his speech that in Kuwait, the UN Country Team is working to support the implementation of fundamental human rights through development activities designed to, inter alia, promote women’s economic and legal empowerment, facilitate access to education for children with learning disabilities, as well as ensuring a cleaner and safer natural and urban environment for future generations and protect heritage for the benefit of all Kuwaitis. In turn, head of Kuwait Transparency Society Salah AlGhazali said that with the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the (United Nations Convention Against Corruption) on December 9, 2003, “we in Kuwait recall with our allies in the world this occasion when the United Nations decided after strenuous discussions and negotiations to issue this Convention which was ratified in the city of Merida, Mexico.” He added that Kuwait Transparency Society has been keen to establish a celebration on this occasion, since its foundation in 2005. —KUNA

The cabinet made the request during an extraordinary session last Thursday in which discussion focused on the housing problem in Kuwait. An official statement on official state Kuwait News Agency following the meeting explained that the step under which the Public Authority for Housing Welfare would be exempted from being monitored by the State Audit Bureau - would ensure “avoiding prolonged routine procedures; hence, accelerating the construction and distribution of housing projects”. “The senior officials are looking to commit to transparency and avoid suspicions which could arise from carrying out mega projects without prior supervision”, said the sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The government’s request draws criticism from several MPs who speculated that lack of supervision improves the chances of graft in state projects. In other news, the government asked for a one-week notice to respond to draft laws that stipulate increases in child allowance, retirement pensions and housing loans, and that during a meeting for the parliament’s financial committee on Sunday. Repporteur Mohammad Al-Jabri told Al-Rai in the meantime that the government was likely to approve a bill to increase the housing loan from KD70,000 to KD100,000, and the child’s allowance from KD50 to KD75.

KUWAIT: The Commercial Bank of Kuwait celebrated the conclusion of a sixmonth marketing campaign which included three raffle draws on brandnew Audi cars for bank clients who became eligible by using the CBK credit card. Noura Al-Jumaei was announced during the event as the ‘Grand Prize’ winner of an Audi R8 sports car.

PACI wins GCC e-government excellence award KUWAIT: Director General of the Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI) Musaed Al-Asousi expressed his pride for PACI which has won the 3rd GCC e-government award in Dubai for the (Kuwait Finder) application on smart devices. Al-Asousi said in a press statement yesterday that the 3rd round of the e-Government exhibition and conference was held in the UAE this year under the patronage of UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum in the presence of the GCC Secretary General, Abdullatif Al-Zayani. He added that the gathering aimed to pro-

mote Gulf Co-operation in the areas of e-government, raise the level of its efficiency, exchange of experiences and create a positive culture of competition so as to contribute to the Gulf sustainable development. He said that the victory attained by PACI in winning this award demonstrated the success of the (Kuwait Finder) project, especially since there were more than 80 projects from several countries competing in the same field. He added that the program has proven its efficiency as the best application that can be downloaded and used on smart devices. — KUNA



Maid attempts suicide in Jaber Al-Ahmad area ‘Wandering’ camels under control KUWAIT: A domestic worker was hospitalized in a critical condition following a suicide attempt in Jaber Al-Ahmad area, according to her employer. Paramedics and police headed to a house in the area where a woman reported that her housemaid was bleeding heavily from a self-inflicted wound. The Filipina was rushed to Sabah Hospital and admitted inside the intensive care unit. Preliminary investigations indicate that the maid used a knife to cut her wrist while her employers were outside the house. Investigations are ongoing to determine the motives behind the maid’s suicide attempt. Smuggling with style A building janitor was arrested at Kuwait International Airport when drugs were found in a hair styling gel pack inside his luggage. Custom officials decided to open the man’s luggage when they noticed that he was nervous after arriving on a flight from his home country of Egypt. The haris was arrested after customs officers found hashish rolls immersed inside the gel pack. The man denied trafficking charges and claimed that the drugs were for his personal use. He was taken to the Drug Control General Department for further action.

Landmine detonated Explosives disposal units at the Kuwaiti Army detonated a landmine that was found recently in the Abdali farms area. Bomb squads accompanied police to the area where a Kuwaiti man reported finding a foreign object which he suspected was a landmine. The area was secured until the landmine was detonated on site, and the surrounding area was swept in search of further explosives that could be buried underground. Drug overdose A drug addict was hospitalized after he suffered complications of an overdose inside his house in Mubarak Al-Kabeer. Paramedics and police arrived at the house shortly after the man’s family reported finding him unconscious. The 47year-old Kuwaiti was rushed to Adan Hospital where his condition later stabilized. Police are waiting for the man to be discharged in order to be taken for questioning. Nine hurt in crash Nine people were injured in an accident between a bus and a half lorry at the Doha junc-

World marks Human Rights Day KUWAIT: The world celebrates on Dec 10 every year the International Day of Human Rights, which was chosen by the UN specifically seen as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The year 2013 is of special importance as it crowns 20 years of the announcement of the Vienna Declaration for Human Rights, which was the result of the World Conference on Human Rights that was held in the Austrian capital in June 1993. There have been many shifts and changes on the ground that formed pressuring elements on abstaining countries or those unwilling to engage within the international system of human rights on the pretext of traditions or cultural and national sovereignty. In parallel to that, the world is witnessing phases of fundamental change in the field of human rights, where the Human Rights Council had completed its first round since it was founded in 2006 in addition to starting the comprehensive international review of 192 UN member states. Moreover, awareness about human rights in the world has seen a steady rise through the allocation of thousands of academic programs for human rights in universities and research

centers as well as a noticeable increase of the international non-governmental organizations on human rights. Furthermore, the role played by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights since 1993 in the establishment of a specialized body tackling the issue of human rights must not be neglected, whereas in the past, the administrative body of the UN was the sole body in charge of human rights issues. This led to the activation of the culture of human rights within the international system and in particular with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which was largely lacking the operational and knowledge dimension in this area. And perhaps the most significant development in the field of human rights witnessed by the concept of international criminal justice, which began its first steps through the creation of a special criminal court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, followed by Rwanda and Sierra Leone along with the adoption of the Rome Convention in 1998 when the International Criminal Court was established and its entry into force in 2002. —KUNA

tion Sunday morning. Several ambulances were dispatched to the scene after the accident was reported, and they carried the injured men to the hospital after firefighters helped free them from the wrecked vehicles. Preliminary investigations indicate that the accident happened when the bus swerved towards the truck, leading both drivers to lose control over their vehicles that ended up overturned. The victims who are all expatriates were diagnosed with broken bones and contusions and were rushed to different hospitals. Further investigations in the accident are ongoing. ‘Wandering’ camels Police intervened to force two camels out of a main road in Mubarak Al-Kabeer after several attempts to control the mammals failed. Patrol officers headed to the scene in response to emergency calls made by frustrated drivers as well as pedestrians who couldn’t control the stubborn camels. A police officer who said that he has previous knowledge in dealing with camels was eventually able to move the animals to the side of the road. No accidents or any other incidents were reported.

Al-Mousherji meets Egypt’s top judges CAIRO: Kuwaiti Minister of Justice, Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Shareeda Al-Mousherji met here yesterday Egypt’s top judges on bilateral judicial cooperation. The visiting Kuwaiti minister met separately the president of the Court of Cassation, the chairman the Supreme Judicial Council and the prosecutor general, on ways and means of reinforcing and cementing Kuwaiti-Egyptian relations in general and legal and judicial ones in particular. Following his meetings, Al-Mousherji said: “The bridge of communication between Kuwait and Egypt continues in various domains, especially legal and judicial areas.” He said his country is interest in making use of the Egyptian judicial experience, saying Egyptian judicial authorities are highly reputed on both Arab and international arenas. He added that his talks with Egyptian judicial officials mainly aimed to set out plans and thoughts targeting a further promotion and expansion of judicial cooperation between Kuwait and Egypt. —KUNA

Jahra municipality inspects Subbiya camping area By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Jahra municipality recently launched its second inspection campaign on the Subbiya camping area. The campaign resulted in the removal of 16 illegal mobile and fixed grocery shops, confiscation of 3 truckloads of food stuff and toys from peddlers and filing of 33 citations. In this regard, the municipality’s acting PR manager, Abdul Mohsen Abalkhail said

that inspection of spring camps would continue throughout the camping season to prevent peddlers from selling any potentially dangerous food stuffs. On his part, the cleanliness and road illegal occupancy manager, Mamdouh Al-Najdi said that the campaign was surprising to peddlers and those in violation of municipality bylaws and regulations. He added that inspection would continue till the end of the camping season by the end of March.

Foreign influx to Gulf takes on ‘dangerous dimension’ ABU DHABI: The Gulf Cooperation Council has been flooded by foreigners. A senior GCC official said the six Gulf Arab states were threatened by millions of foreigners. The official said the foreigners, most of them laborers, were establishing private economies. “The growth of such an economy is bound to cause huge problems in the future,” former Bahraini Labor Minister Majid Al-Alawi said. In a television appearance in midNovember 2013, Al-Alawi said the foreign presence was changing the environment throughout the region. He said foreigners have sponsored office towers as well as private islands in the Gulf.”The presence of a high number of foreigners took a dangerous dimension a decade ago with the mushrooming of projects to have high-rise buildings and create amazing and strange islands,” Al Alawi said. “Many foreigners have come, have settled here and, in the process, have set up their own private economy.” The Bahraini minister, speaking amid riots by foreigners in neighboring Saudi Arabia, said expatriates were not involved in the GCC economies. Instead, they were involved in such services as laundry, rentals and cellular phones.”It is a private economy by and for the foreigners settling here,” Al-Alawi said.

Al-Alawi said foreigners have been moving steadily into GCC states since the 1970s. Over the last decade, he said, the flow of the foreigners in the region intensified. “We do support the rights of foreigners, but we need to be aware that the presence of more than 15 million expatriates in the Gulf countries is a serious threat to the local demography,” Al-Alawi said. “Such a huge number is also a security threat.” The International Monetary Fund agreed. In a report, IMF warned that the GCC, with an increasing youth population, faced rising unemployment unless it controlled the influx of cheap foreign labor, which dominates 80 percent of the market. Several GCC states, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have reported unemployment of between 12 and 14 percent. “With a rapidly rising youth population, private-sector job creation for GCC nationals has become a challenge and unemployment could rise in the coming years unless more nationals find jobs in the private sector,” the IMF said on Nov 20. “Allowing a more competitive labor market could help gradually raise the wages of foreign workers and make lowskilled nationals more attractive to employers.”

Algeria invites Kuwaiti investors KUWAIT: President of the Algerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Al-Taher Qalil yesterday invited Arab investors to come to do business in his country and take advantage of the facilities granted by his government to foreign investors. Speaking to Kuwait News Agency on the sidelines of his visit to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Kuwait heading an economic and commercial delegation, Qalil said the visit of the Algerian delegation is limited to Kuwait and aimed mainly to benefit from the experiences of the Kuwaiti private sector in the investment domain. He added that the Algerian government has amended legislation to attract foreign investors from all parts of the world, pointing out that Algeria gives priority to Arab investors in general and Kuwaitis in particular. He said a request was made for operating a direct air route between both countries’ capitals stemming from its importance in the development of economic and trade relations. He pointed out that Algeria is able to finance the foreign investors as the country does not lack capital, but needs the necessary expertise in the field of investment and economic projects in all sectors. —KUNA

IAEA delegation in Kuwait for cooperation KUWAIT: Health Undersecretary Dr Khaled Al-Sehlawi held talks yesterday with a visiting delegation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on safe applications of the nuclear energy in such areas as medicine. Dr. Al-Sehlawi said in a statement the discussions dealt with mutual cooperation, adding that the IAEA delegation briefed the Kuwaiti side about the agency initiatives and researches in nuclear renewable energy sector. Bilateral consultations during the meeting covered issues of joint concern related to nuclear medicine, radioactive therapy, preventive medicine, healthy nutrition and management of protection from radiation. The IAEA delegation, due to stay in the country till December 10, will visit Kuwait Cancer Control Center and Jaber AlAhmad Al-Sabah Molecular Imaging Center. The visitors were apprised of latest installments at these advanced medical facilities, as prelude to establishing strategic cooperation between the IAEA and Kuwait, in line with the State development strategy. The IAEA delegation includes Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation Dr. Kwaku Aning and Dr. Ali Boussaha, Director for the Asia and the Pacific Division in the same department. — KUNA


Car bombs and roadside bombings kill 21 in Iraq

Ukrainians keep up protests as special troops sent in Page 10

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BANGKOK: Anti government protesters sit with a placard outside the Government House, which houses Thai prime minister’s office in Bangkok, Thailand, yesterday. Desperate to defuse Thailand’s deepening political crisis, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said yesterday she is dissolving the lower house of Parliament and called for early elections. But the moves did nothing to stem a growing tide of more than 150,000 protesters vowing to overthrow her in one of the nation’s largest demonstrations in years. — AP

Thai PM calls snap election, protesters want power now Govt says election to be held on Feb 2 BANGKOK: Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved parliament yesterday and called a snap election, but anti-government protest leaders pressed ahead with mass demonstrations in Bangkok seeking to install an unelected body to run the country. Police estimated about 160,000 protesters converged on Yingluck’s office at Government House, but there was none of the violence and bloodshed seen before the demonstrations paused last Thursday out of respect for the king’s birthday. The protesters want to oust Yingluck and eradicate the influence of her brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was toppled by the military in 2006 and has chosen to live in exile rather than serve a jail term for graft. There was a carnival atmosphere as protesters gathered at Government House, with unarmed police and troops inside the gates. The demonstrators made no attempt to get into the grounds but said they would camp outside overnight. After

nightfall, protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban made a speech to his supporters. “From this minute onwards, all Thais have taken power back for the people,” he said. He called Yingluck’s government incompetent and corrupt for policies such as a costly rice intervention scheme and water management projects, and he said the people would select a new prime minister. But he gave no clues as to how that would be done, or how he planned to take over the levers of power. Aware that the allies of Yingluck and Thaksin would almost certainly win any election, Suthep has called for a “people’s council” of appointed “good people” to replace the government. As such, he was dismissive of the early election. “The dissolving of parliament is not our aim,” he told Reuters. Opposition Democrat Party lawmakers resigned en masse from parliament on Sunday, saying they could not work with Yingluck.

Tehran improves accuracy of missiles TEHRAN: Iran has dramatically improved the accuracy of its ballistic missiles by using laser systems, its defense minister said yesterday. In comments broadcast on state TV, Hossein Dehghan said Iranian missiles can now strike within two meters (yards) of their targets, compared to 200 meters (yards) previously. “The inaccuracy of (our) ballistic long-range missiles in hitting targets is so minimal that we can pinpoint targets. The accuracy of surface-to-surface missiles is now two meters, while at some stage in the past it was 200 meters. We strive to reach zero inaccuracy,” Dehghan said. The remarks were also posted on his ministry’s website. Iran frequently announces breakthroughs in military technology that are impossible to independently verify. But the Pentagon released a rare public report last June noting significant advances in Iranian missile technology, acknowledging that the Islamic Republic has improved the accuracy and firing capabilities of its missiles. Many of Iran’s missiles use solid fuel, or a combination of both solid and liquid fuel, improving the accuracy of the weapons. Iran has a variety of missiles, some with a reported range of 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles), enough to reach much of the Middle East. Military commanders have described them as a strategic asset and a strong deterrent, capable of hitting U.S. bases or Israel in the event of a strike on Iran. Commanders said Iran’s capability of firing multiple missiles within seconds is another technological achievement by Iran’s military. They say this would create a challenge for the U.S. or Israel to intercept incoming missiles should a war break out. Iran unveiled several underground missile silos in 2011. Revolutionary Guard commanders say the medium- and longrange missiles stored in them are ready to launch in case of an attack on Iran. Such sites are harder to detect and can arm faster than missiles outdoors. Iran’s military leaders believe future wars will be air- and sea-based. Tehran has sought to upgrade its missile and air defense systems as well as naval power in anticipation of such a possibility. Iran considers both the United States and Israel as potential adversaries. Neither country has ruled out a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program, which they say could have a military dimension. Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes. Israel is about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) away from Iran’s western borders, while the U.S. —AP

Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva sidestepped a question on whether his party would take part in the election. “House dissolution is the first step towards solving the problem,” Abhisit, a former prime minister, told Reuters as he marched with thousands of flag-waving protesters in Bangkok’s central business district. “Today, we march. I will walk with the people to Government House.” An election would not end the deadlock if the main opposition party did not take part, said Pavin Chachavalpongpun of Kyoto University’s Centre for Southeast Asian Studies. “This is only a short-term solution because there is no guarantee that the Democrats will come back and play by the rules,” Pavin said. “It seems like Thailand is going nowhere.” In April 2006, amid mass protests, the Democrats refused to contest a snap election called by Thaksin, who was deposed by the military five months later. Yingluck announced the election in a televised statement. “At this stage, when there are many

people opposed to the government from many groups, the best way is to give back the power to the Thai people and hold an election. So the Thai people will decide,” she said. The government said the vote would be held on Feb 2. Suthep’s campaign opens up the prospect of a minority of people in Thailand, a country of 66 million and the second-biggest economy in Southeast Asia, dislodging a democratically elected leader, this time without help from the military. The politically powerful army, which has staged or attempted 18 coups in the past 80 years, has said it does not want to get involved, although it has tried to mediate. The protests follow nearly a decade of rivalry between forces aligned with the Bangkok-based establishment and those who support Thaksin, a former telecommunications tycoon who won huge support in the countryside with pro-poor policies. Thaksin fled Thailand in 2008 to avoid the

graft conviction but is seen as the power behind his sister’s government. The protests were sparked last month by a government bid to introduce an amnesty that would have expunged his conviction. The pro-establishment Democrat Party has not won an election since 1992. Yingluck’s Puea Thai Party won the last election in 2011 by a landslide, enjoying widespread support in the north and northeast, Thailand’s poorest regions. Thailand’s first female prime minister will stand again, said Jarupong Ruangsuwan, head of her party. “We want the Democrat Party to take part in elections and not to play street games,” he added. Protester Somchai Kasemporn, 51, a traditional medicine doctor from Bangkok who marched to Government House, dismissed Yingluck as a lame duck. “The question is: does she even have the legitimacy to dissolve parliament? This is all about a crooked man, Thaksin, who rules for profit and thinks that because he has votes, he is the winner,” he said.—Reuters



Syria peace talks date set in Geneva RAMALLAH: US Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposals on security will lead to the “total failure” of the struggling peace talks with Israel, a senior Palestinian official warned yesterday. Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top official with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), said Kerry’s ideas on the future configuration of security arrangements which were presented to the Palestinian leadership last week, had provoked a “real crisis”. “These ideas will drive Kerry’s efforts to an impasse and to total failure because he is treating our issues with a high degree of indifference,” he told AFP. His remarks were made just days after Kerry wrapped up his latest visit to the region in a bid forward to drive forward the negotiations, which have been treading water since they were launched in late July. The proposals focus on security arrangements in the Jordan Valley which runs down the eastern flank of the West Bank, with commentators saying it would allow Israel to maintain a long-term military presence there.

Unsurprisingly, the US suggestions reportedly won a positive reaction from the Israelis, but were sharply dismissed by the Palestinians as “very bad ideas, which we cannot accept”. Israel has always insisted on maintaining a military presence in the Jordan Valley, but the notion has been rejected out of hand by the Palestinians who claim it would make a mockery of their sovereignty and merely perpetuate the occupation. “(Kerry) only wants to win over the Israelis and (allow) settlement expansion at our expense,” Abed Rabbo charged. Earlier on Monday, an Israeli newspaper said that Washington was considering delaying the planned release of another 26 veteran Palestinian prisoners in a bid to pressure Ramallah into agreeing to its security proposals. Several senior Palestinian officials reacted by stressing that the leadership would not accept any delay in the releases, which are due to take place at the end of the month. “We completely reject any postponement in releasing the third batch of prisoners who should be

freed on December 29,” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP by phone from Washington. Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina echoed his remarks in a statement to the official WAFA news agency, saying the leadership “would not accept the postponement of the release of prisoners”. Abed Rabbo too rejected any delay in implementing the third phase of releases-one of the conditions agreed on that brought the two sides back to the negotiating table for the first time in nearly three years. “Our position is clear; Israel should implement the agreement, period,” he told Voice of Palestine radio. “We insist on full implementation of the prisoner agreement, including releasing the third batch at the end of December.” Last week, Haaretz newspaper said Kerry was pushing to get some form of agreement on security as a way of driving the direct negotiations forward. “The Americans hope that if they come to an understanding with (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu on the security issue, they can demand (he)

begin to present clear positions on the border of the future Palestinian state,” the paper said. Although Kerry’s proposals have reportedly gone a long way in addressing Israel’s security demands, they have also pushed the Israeli leader in to a tight corner, commentators said. Writing in the top-selling Yediot Aharonot, Nahum Barnea said Kerry’s plan had posed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with “a serious problem.” “The military plan ... robs Netanyahu of the immediate argument that he raised every time he was called upon to discuss drawing up the future border between Israel and Palestine: security arrangements.” The US plan “reopens the internal debate on the 1967 lines and the fate of the settlements,” he said, suggesting that the pressure could cause Netanyahu’s coalition to collapse. “In this debate, it is not only public opinion that is divided, but also the government and the coalition. If Netanyahu has to decide where he is headed-a constraint he abhors-he will find a government that is headed for a split,” he wrote. — AFP

Car bombs and roadside bombings kill 21 in Iraq Iraq must reveal fate of Iran exiles BAGHDAD: A series of attacks, including a car bomb outside a cafe, killed at least 21 people in Iraq yesterday, officials said.Iraqi authorities have struggled to quell a surge in violence - mostly from insurgent attacks and bombings that engulfed the country following a deadly security crackdown on a Sunni protest camp in April. Since then, the level of bloodshed has soared to heights unseen since Iraq stood on the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007. The deadliest of yesterday’s attacks took place outside a cafe in the town of Buhriz, about 60 kilometers (35 miles) north of the capital, Baghdad, killing 12 people and wounding 24, police said. Three more bombings around the country killed an additional six people. A roadside bomb targeted an army patrol just south of the capital, killing one Iraqi soldier and wounded two others, while in Baghdad’s eastern Basmaya district a bomb at an outdoor market killed three people and wounded seven, police said.In a village just north of Baghdad, three policemen were killed and 10 were wounded when a car bomb exploded near their checkpoint. And in the southwestern suburbs of Baghdad, a roadside bomb struck a car carrying anti-al Qaeda Sunni fighters, killing two and wounding three, police and hospital officials said. The Sunni militia group, known as the Sahwa, joined forces with U.S. troops at the height of the Iraq war to fight Al-Qaeda. Since then, Sahwa members have been a frequent target for Sunni insurgents, who call the militiamen traitors. Hospital officials confirmed the casualty figures for all the attacks. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Monday’s attacks, but insurgent groups frequently target civilians in cafes and public areas, as well as members of the security forces, in an attempt to undermine confidence in the Shiite-led government and stir up Iraq’s already simmering sectarian tensions. The attacks came a day after a series of bombings in and around Baghdad killed at least 39 people. At least 150 people have died in attacks across the country so far this month, according to an Associated Press count. Meanwhile, UN rights experts demanded yesterday that Baghdad get to the bottom of what happened to seven Iranian opposition members missing since a September attack on a refugee camp in Iraq. “We call upon the government of Iraq to speed up the investigations in order to disclose the fate and whereabouts of the individuals,” the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances said in a statement. The seven Iranian exiles-six of them women-are members of the People’s Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran (PMOI) and disappeared after a September 1 attack in Camp Ashraf, northeast of Baghdad. The UN experts lamented that the facts of what happened had yet to be clearly established three months after the attack that left 52 people dead. The PMOI charges that Iraqi security forces answering to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki were behind the killings. Iraqi authorities blame PMOI infighting. The UN experts did not explicitly take sides, but did make reference to the allegations against the Iraqi security forces.—Agencies

CAIRO: Students of Al-Azhar University who support the Muslim Brotherhood gesture towards riot police during clashes outside their campus in Cairo yesterday. Police have shown little tolerance for the Islamists’ rallies since Morsi’s removal, and a new law allows them to clamp down hard on all but interior ministry-sanctioned demonstrations. — AFP

Egypt Brotherhood chief in court as new trial begins CAIRO: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood chief Mohammed Badie yesterday attended the first session of his second trial, his lawyer said, marking his first public appearance since he was arrested in August. Badie, the Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide, appeared alongside 14 other members of the Islamist movement to face charges of inciting violence in the Cairo neighbourhood of Bahr al-Aazam that led to deadly clashes in July, lawyer Mohamed Damaty said. “All 15 defendants including Badie attended the trial today,” Damaty told reporters outside a Cairo police academy where yesterday’s session was held. Other senior Brotherhood officials in the dock included Essam al-Erian and Mohammed al-Beltagui, he said, adding that the trial was later adjourned to February 11. Badie and his two deputies, Khairat al-Shater and Rashad Bayoumi, are already being tried on separate charges related to the deaths of protesters who stormed the Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters on June 30. Badie was not present at the two sessions held so far of his first trial. Damaty slammed yesterday’s hearing as “political” in nature. “There is no proof that they (defendants) have committed the crimes that they are accused of,” he

said. “We asked for their release but the court has adjourned the proceedings to February 11.” Only a few Egyptian journalists were allowed to attend Monday’s opening session. Several Muslim Brotherhood leaders and members including Badie have been put on trial as part of a massive crackdown by Egypt’s new military-installed authorities against the movement following the army’s overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July. Morsi himself belongs to the Brotherhood movement, which a Cairo court banned in September. Security forces launched a sweeping crackdown on Morsi’s supporters in August, violently dispersing two protest camps in the capital.More than 1,000 people have been killed since Morsi’s ouster-mainly his supporters-and the authorities have arrested thousands more, mostly Islamists. Morsi is on trial for his alleged involvement in the deaths of protesters outside the presidential palace in December 2012. The army ousted Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, on July 3 after millions of people took to the streets to demand his resignation, accusing him of betraying the revolution that brought him to power. — AFP

Violence rattles Turkey, Kurdish peace process ISTANBUL: The peace process between Turkey and Kurdish rebels appeared fragile yesterday after three days of violent confrontations rocked the Kurdish southeast. The weekend clashes in several cities, which left two protesters dead and saw four Turkish soldiers briefly kidnapped, were the worst since Kurdish rebels announced a ceasefire nine months ago. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday accused certain groups of trying to damage the peace process. “These are actions perpetrated by those who want to hurt the process,” Erdogan said. “However, we will continue the process... without falling into this trap.” The wave of unrest was triggered by reports that cemeteries containing the bodies of fighters from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the southeastern town of Yuksekova had been destroyed-claims denied by the local authorities. Two protesters were shot dead by police in clashes in Yuksekova on Friday night, setting off weekend protests in several towns including the main southeastern city of Diyarbakir and even Turkey’s biggest metropolis Istanbul. In a statement from his prison cell, jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan denounced the deaths. “These killings are a great provocation against the peace process,” said Ocalan. Four Turkish soldiers in plain clothes were kidnapped on Sunday in a rural area near Diyarbakir by Kurdish rebels who torched their vehicle and whisked them off to an unknown location. They were freed yesterday after intervention by lawmakers from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), a local security source said. “The soldiers were returned to the local authorities and are in good health,” the source told AFP. In the past, Kurdish rebels frequently kidnapped soldiers, workers and local officials as bargaining chips for the release of captured PKK members. In Diyarbakir on Sunday, police fired tear gas and water cannon to break up a demonstration by around 5,000 people brandishing effigies of Ocalan. Protesters also hurled explosive devices at a police station in the town of Dogubeyazit near the Iranian border and set fire to a local bank branch in Hakkari near the frontier with Iraq. Around a dozen people, including four policemen, were injured in Diyarbakir alone, and around at least 22 protesters were arrested, local media reported. The latest incidents come after months of calm between the Turkish state and

ANKARA: In this Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 file photo, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses lawmakers at the parliament in Ankara, Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for a decade, is entering election season on uncertain footing: without the support of key groups that had powered his previous electoral wins and facing divisions within his own party. — AP

the PKK, which declared a truce in March following clandestine negotiations between Ocalan and the country’s spy agency. The process stalled after Kurdish rebels announced in September they were suspending their retreat from Turkish soil, accusing the government of failing to deliver on promised reforms. The violence erupted after Erdogan’s government on Thursday submitted to parliament a so-called “democratisation” package of reforms mainly affecting Kurds. The reforms include education in Kurdish in private schools, election campaigns in Kurdish and the removal of a ban on the use of the letters Q, W and X, which are used in Kurdish spelling but not in Turkish. Kurds are also demanding the release of Kurdish prisoners and political activists, the lifting of restrictions on Kurdish-language education in state schools and reducing the 10-percent election threshold required to secure seats in parliament. The PKK, which is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and much of the international community, launched an insurgency seeking self-rule in the southeast in 1984 that has claimed about 45,000 lives. — AFP



Man who tried to behead UK soldier says he loves Al-Qaeda LONDON: A man accused of the gruesome murder of a British soldier told his trial yesterday that he loves Al-Qaeda and considers the Islamic militants to be his “brothers”. Michael Adebolajo, 28, sat surrounded by security guards as he began giving evidence in his trial at London’s Old Bailey court. He and Michael Adebowale, 22, are accused of murdering 25-year-old soldier Lee Rigby in broad daylight as he walked back to his London barracks in May. The court has heard that the pair ran Rigby over with a car before attack-

ing him with knives and Adebolajo attempted to behead him with a meat cleaver. The defendants, both Britons of Nigerian descent, deny murder. The soldier’s family sat just metres (feet) from Adebolajo in the courtroom as he said: “Al-Qaeda, I consider to be mujahideen. I love them, they’re my brothers.” He added that he has never met members of the militant group. Adebolajo said he had been raised as a Christian but converted to Islam in his first year at Greenwich University in

south London, close to where Rigby was killed. “My religion is everything,” he told the court. The jury heard that Adebolajo, who has asked to be called Mujaahid Abu Hamza in court, is married and has six children. Growing up in Romford, east of London, he said that the “vast majority” of his school friends were white Britons. One of them had joined the army and was killed in Iraq. Adebolajo said he held former prime minister Tony Blair, who sent British forces to join the US-led invasion of Iraq

in 2003, “responsible” for his friend’s death. Adebolajo tried to travel to Somalia in 2010 but was captured in Kenya and brought back to Britain, the court heard. He said that before the brutal attack on Rigby, he had attended demonstrations organised by an Islamist group banned under British anti-terror laws, but then realised the protests were “impotent rage”. “In reality, no demonstration will make a difference,” he added. He told the court several times that he was a “soldier” and that he did not regret

what happened to Rigby. “I will never regret obeying the command of Allah. That is all I can say,” he said. The trial heard last week that Adebolajo told police he and Adebowale had targeted a soldier because they believed this was “the most fair target” in an attack aimed at avenging the deaths of Muslims abroad. He said he tried to behead Rigby because it was the most “humane” way to kill him, comparing it to halal butchery methods. —AFP

Big storm dumps snow on East Coast, travel dicey Storm cancels more than 3,200 flights

WASHINGTON: Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by his wife Jill, signs a condolence book inside the South African Embassy in Washington, yesterday, as they paid their respects to former South African President Nelson Mandela. During the visit Biden said that the former president was, “the most remarkable man I met in my whole career.” President Obama is en route to South Africa to attend a today’s memorial service for Mandela. At back right is South African Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool. — AP

Obama heading to S Africa for Mandela memorial WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama has taken off for South Africa to attend a national memorial service for anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela. Obama and his wife, Michelle, boarded Air Force One under cold, rainy skies yesterday morning for the long flight. The occasion presented an opportunity for a rare get-together of American presidents. Former President George W. Bush was already on board the plane, along with former first ladies Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton. Former President Bill Clinton was traveling separately from Rio de Janeiro, where he was attending a Clinton Global Initiative event. And former President Jimmy Carter also planned to join the group in Johannesburg. George H.W. Bush is the only living president who will not attend. His spokesman said the 89year-old no longer is able to travel long distances. The American leaders will join dozens of other dignitaries and tens of thousands of mourners at the memorial service at a Johannesburg stadium. Mandela will be buried Dec. 15, following a state funeral in his hometown of Qunu. Obama has called Mandela a personal hero, and his own political rise has drawn inevitable comparisons to the former South African leader. Each was his nation’s first black president and a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize - though those close to the U.S. leader say he is aware of the vast differences in the politicians’ experiences. “President Obama would believe that the challenges he has faced pale in comparison to those faced by President Mandela,” Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s senior adviser, said in an interview this summer before the president made a trip to South Africa.

Mandela was hospitalized during Obama’s visit, preventing a meeting between the two men. Obama did, however, meet with several members of Mandela’s family and made an emotional visit to Robben Island, standing with his wife and two daughters in the tiny cell where the South African leader spent 18 of his 27 years in prison. Obama and Mandela met in person only once, a hastily arranged 2005 meeting in a Washington hotel room when Obama was a US senator. A photo of the meeting hangs in Obama’s personal office at the White House, showing a smiling Mandela sitting on a chair, his legs outstretched, as the young senator reaches down to shake his hand. A copy of the photo also hangs in Mandela’s office in Johannesburg. The two men did speak occasionally by telephone, including after the 2008 election, when Mandela called Obama to congratulate him on his victory. The US president called Mandela in 2010 after the South African leader’s young granddaughter was killed in a car accident. Obama also wrote the introduction to Mandela’s memoir, “Conversations with Myself.” Mandela had already shaped Obama’s political beliefs well before their first encounter. As a student at Occidental College in Los Angeles, Obama joined protests against the school’s investments during South Africa’s apartheid era. In 1981, Obama focused his first public political speech on the topic. “The day that he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they’re guided by their hopes and not by their fears,” Obama said in remarks shortly after Mandela died. —AP

Maduro to raise pressure on business after local vote CARACAS: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro pledged to deepen his “economic offensive” to force businesses to cut prices after his ruling Socialist Party won the most votes in weekend municipal elections. With three-quarters of the 337 mayoral races counted by yesterday morning, the Socialists and their allies had 49 percent of votes, compared to 43 percent for the opposition coalition and its partners. That result derailed efforts by Maduro’s critics to turn the vote into a show of disapproval for his government and the legacy of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez. The president’s candidates benefited from a populist crackdown in November to force merchants to slash prices of goods such as TVs, car parts and home hardware. “This week we are going to deepen the economic offensive to help the working class and protect the middle class,” a triumphant Maduro told supporters in a rally after the results were announced late on Sunday night. “This week it’s going to be the housing and food sectors. We’re going in with guns blazing, keep an eye out.” Maduro’s personal approval rating jumped sharply after he instituted the economic measures, which won over consumers weary of the country’s 54 percent annual inflation. Maduro blames the rising prices on an “economic war” he says is financed by political adversaries. The initial steps focused on home appliances and later extended to controls on rent of commercial buildings such as shopping malls, to try to lower prices. Sunday’s election was the biggest political test for Maduro since he narrowly won a presidential election in April following Chavez’s death from cancer. He called the results a tribute to the late leader whose 14-year rule polarized the OPEC nation. “Here it is, commander, the gift of your people ... the gift of loyalty and love,” he told a crowd, whose mostly bored expressions broke into joyful chanting at the mention of Chavez’s name. The results may help Maduro to enact unpopular economic measures such as a currency devaluation that Wall Street investors call necessary to close the government’s fiscal gap and reduce capital flight. — Reuters

PHILADELPHIA: A plodding storm that dumped heavy snow on the unsuspecting Mid-Atlantic region made roads slippery in the Northeast for today’s commute while travel disruptions continued to ripple across the country days after the same system first began wreaking havoc in the skies. The seemingly never-ending storm that coated parts of Texas in ice struck with unexpected force on the East Coast, blanketing some spots in a foot of snow, grinding highways to a halt and causing scattered school closures or delays. The federal government was allowing workers to arrive up to two hours later than normal or take unscheduled leave as freezing rain continued. Travel problems could linger into today afternoon, with freezing rain and icy conditions sticking around as wintry weather stretched from Missouri to Maine. The storm canceled more than 3,200 flights Sunday and delayed thousands more, according to estimates from the website More than 1,300 flights yesterday were already canceled, the greatest share from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which was still reeling from the effects of the ice storm that brought North Texas to a standstill. About 650 people were stranded there Sunday night, down from Saturday night when about 2,000 travelers were stranded, spokesman David Magana said. The forecast for today remained up in the air for the Northeast, depending on how quickly the system moves and temperatures rise, according to the National Weather Service. Meanwhile, a winter storm warning was issued for Washington and Baltimore, where up to a quarter inch of ice was expected because of freezing rain that could cause power outages. The expectation was for another weather system moving out of Virginia to follow the same path as Sunday’s storm overnight. It was forecast to dump icy drizzle and eventually freezing rain through the New York City area and into Boston, National Weather Service meteorologist Greg Heavener said. Indeed, slippery conditions were reported overnight in the New York City area: One crash involving about 20 vehicles closed southbound lanes of Interstate 95 in Greenwich, Conn., for a couple of hours. No serious injuries were immediately reported. Forecasters said air travel would likely remain a hassle, too. “I think the further north you look, departures and arrivals could be affected because of icy issues,” Heavener said. What was forecast in the Philadelphia area to be a tame storm system with about an inch of snow gradually changing over to rain mushroomed into a full-blown snowstorm. Bands of heavy snow made for a wide range of accumulation: a foot was reported in Newark, Del. Philadelphia International Airport received 8.6 inches, more than it had all of last year. Other areas received far less: a little over an inch was reported in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, which usually is hit harder than downtown Philadelphia. Sunday’s snow fell so heavily in Philadelphia that yard markers at Lincoln Financial Field - where the Eagles beat the Detroit Lions - were completely

WILMINGTON: Juan Carlos, right, ties a rope to his vehicle as he tries to dig out snow around the truck along Lancaster Pike in Wilmington, Del., when they spun out of control as the first snow of the season moves into the area, Sunday. — AP obscured. It was almost as bad in Pittsburgh, where steady freezing rain, wet snow and sleet. Parts of northwest and southwest Virginia and southern the snow intensified after the opening kickoff. Philadelphia fan Dave Hamilton, of Ivyland, lay- West Virginia got snow, while sleet and freezing rain ered up for the game in Eagles gear. “Twenty-seven prevailed west and north of Richmond. In Maryland, a chain-reaction accident on years I’ve been a season-ticket holder, I’ve never seen snow at the game like this,” he said. “It just kept Interstate 81 in Washington County involving more than 20 vehicles delayed snow removal efforts for coming down.” Heavy snow in the Philadelphia area led to a hours. The highway was closed for more than three number of accidents, including a fatal crash on the hours after a tractor-trailer ran into the median to Pennsylvania Turnpike that spawned fender-ben- avoid cars that had spun out. It was hit by another ders involving 50 cars, stranding some motorists for tractor-trailer that overturned and spilled its load. up to seven hours. More than two dozen vehicles Several other tractor-trailers ran off the road and were involved in another series of crashes on near- jackknifed as their drivers tried to avoid the crash. “The small streets, a lot of them are icy,” said by Interstate 78. Paul Jones, 24, a youth hockey coach from Warminster in the Philadelphia suburbs, Mahdi Abdi, 52, a cab driver in Washington. “I don’t was on his way to a game in Lancaster when he got even go in.” But the nasty weather wasn’t limited to stuck - along with his fiancee, another coach and the East Coast. Nebraska and Iowa saw snow; multiple weather-related crashes were reported in three players - in a major backup on the turnpike. The roadway was “snow-covered, slick,” Jones Wisconsin, including two that were fatal; thousands said by phone from the car, where he was a passen- of customers lost power in Mississippi because of ger and had been at a standstill for more than an sleet and freezing rain. A snowstorm that hit along the Utah-Arizona hour. “People are in and out” of their vehicles, he said. “Kids are having a snowball fight on the side of border left hundreds of travelers stranded on the road, making snow angels, people are walking Interstate 15 overnight into Sunday. The Arizona their dogs.” Stacey Jackson, a spokeswoman for the Highway Patrol said passengers in about 300 vehiPhiladelphia airport, said Sunday a number of pas- cles became stranded after up to 10 inches of snow sengers were expected to remain in the airport and slick road conditions prompted the closure of overnight since area hotels had been full for several part of the highway. There were no immediate days. She said staff would hand out pillows and reports of serious injuries. The specter of bad driving conditions for yesterblankets to travelers to make them “feel at home day’s commute had some motorists concerned not even though they are not.” Air passengers in the Washington-area experi- just about getting to work but getting out at all. enced increasing delays at both Dulles International New Jersey’s new US senator, Cory Booker, tweeted and Ronald Reagan Washington National airports. a promise to one Mount Holly resident to help him Virginia, parts of West Virginia and the metropolitan shovel out his car if he still needed the help in the Washington, D.C., area braced for blackouts under morning. — AP



Kenya killings dampen 50th independence celebrations MOYALE: Three long wounds where the machete struck run along the skull of 20-year old Abdi Isse, one of scores wounded in a week of ethnic violence in Kenya’s remote north. “They attacked at dawn, shooting anyone and everyone, women and children too, cutting others with machetes,” said a relative Adan Hassan, as a nurse in the basic clinic swatted away flies from the sweating patient. Next door, two men lie with gunshot wounds, one in the leg, the other wounded in the shoulder, with a fist of flesh torn from his back where the bullet exited. Months of tensions erupted last week between long-time rival ethnic groups the Gabra and Borana, in the frontier distric t of Moyale, on the northern border with Ethiopia. Dozens have been reported shot or hacked to death in the nor thern region, shops have been looted, houses torched and thousands forced to flee for their lives. As Kenya readies for jubilee celebrations this week for 50

years of independence from former colonial masters Britain, the killings are a stark reminder of the challenges that remain to reconcile deep ethnic and political divisions. Many say age-old tribal tensions have been exacerbated by politicians, and in a region awash with guns-with war-torn Somalia not far away-clashes here can swiftly escalate. Bitter memories remain of the carnage that broke out after Kenya’s contested elections in 2007 during which over 1,000 were killed. President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto are now facing international trial for crimes against humanity for allegedly masterminding that violence, charges they fiercely deny. Moyale town has a Borana MP, but the wider county district has been dominated by the Gabra since elections in March. With a national devolution project bringing in extra powers and budgets for local government, competition for positions has become even more fierce.

“ There have been fights with the Borana before, but this is something different,” said Hassan, an elder in the Gabra group. The Borana on the other side of the divided town of Moyale have similar views. “These guys mean business, they attack us with machine guns, grenades,” said Adan Mohammed, who recently graduated in business from a Nairobi university, before returning to his home town some 600 kilometres (360 miles) north. “They are being encouraged by the politicians, so that tribe takes power,” he said. Escape to Ethiopia Outside on the rutted and dusty street, an army truck rumbles past, crowded with troops in full combat gear and with a machine gunner posted on top. A military helicopter flies low over the suburbs where smoke still smoulders from torched houses. On Sunday, two days after the government ordered the army to restore order, residents say gunners from helicopters opened fire on a militia force

based in a school perched in a hilltop position inside the town. But Moyale town straddles the border with Ethiopia, and gunmen are reported to have escaped there. In Moyale, both sides say dozens have been killed, but no one can give exact figures. “Access to the battlefield has been limited,” said local Red Cross chief Stephen Bonaya, saying that thousands have fled the town. “Many have run to Ethiopia, others to the bush to places where they feel safe,” Bonaya said, adding that the main road south to Nairobi was cut. Patrolling on foot in body armour and helmets, the army had appeared by Sunday to have restored calm to the town centre, but the situation outside the town was still volatile. At Moyale’s main hospital, a policeman is carried in by comrades, shot in the thigh and shoulder in an ambush just outside town. “We entered a village searching for guns and they ambushed us,” said George Odur, grimacing in pain as soldiers laid him onto a trolley

for surgery, his military fatigues dark with blood. In the back of the police truck also lies a man arrested after the shooting. “We know him, he’s a Gabra, I know him from school,” said one onlooker, as the thin and sweating man shakes his head with his eyes to the ground, telling those who listened he was innocent and that he had not shot any soldiers. At the hospital, the people are all Borana, since they control this section of town, but the building is almost empty. “We do what we can,” said clinical officer Anthony Muror, one of the few medical staff who dared to stay, as he comes from neither of the warring communities. The army may have ended the fighting, but the long-standing divisions between the communities will be hard to reconcile. “Yes, we are all Muslim, yes our language is similar... but these are bad people,” said camel herder Ali Mohamed. “I am not fighting, but that is only because I don’t have a gun.” — AFP

Mandela funeral: The ‘world is coming to South Africa’ Week-long funeral rites will culminate Sunday

KIEV: Ukrainian lawmaker and chairman of the opposition party Udar (Punch), WBC heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko surrounded by police trying to stop the possible collisions between police and Pro-European Union activists in Kiev, Ukraine, yesterday. Hundreds of police in full riot gear yesterday flooded the center of Kiev key sites of mass anti-government protests that have gripped the capital for weeks, raising fears of a crackdown. — AP

Ukrainians keep up protests as special troops sent in KIEV: Pro-EU Ukrainian demonstrators yesterday kept up their protest against President Viktor Yanukovych as the authorities sent internal troops and riot police into central Kiev in an increasingly tense showdown. Upping the stakes after more than a fortnight of protests over the government’s rejection of a pact with the European Union, the protesters the day earlier symbolically toppled the statue of the Soviet Union’s founder Vladimir Lenin in Kiev. Protests continued as Yanukovych announced he wanted to hold talks with leaders of the opposition and also meet former presidents. A presidential statement said the president backed an initiative for talks proposed by Ukraine’s first ex-Soviet president Leonid Kravchuk. He will also meet with Kravchuk and two other former leaders Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko on Tuesday, it said. Meanwhile, thousands braved subfreezing temperatures to maintain the open-ended demonstration on Independence Square in Kiev while others guarded barricades thrown up the day earlier around key government buildings. Raising fears of a possible looming showdown with protesters, dozens of interior ministry troops and anti-riot police were sent into central Kiev and could be seen moving in columns through the streets. “We are now going to defend our Maidan,” said opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk, referring to Kiev ’s Independence Square by its Ukrainian name. Opposition MP Andriy Parubiy called on male protestors to man the barricades and women and children to go to a safe place inside the square. However there were no reports so far of any clashes. The leader of the UDAR (Punch) opposition party and former world boxing champion Vitali Klitschko urged people to head en masse to Independence Square. Meanwhile, three metro stations in central Kiev were closed as a result of bomb alerts, in what the opposition said it feared was a ruse to prevent more of their supporters heading into central Kiev. “It is impossible now to make a step backwards,” said protestor Volodymyr Kiblyk from the central town of Znamenka who has been at the Kiev protests for two weeks. Hundreds of thousands had on Sunday filled Independence Square to bursting point to denounce Yanukovych’s rejection of an EU pact under Kremlin pressure, in the biggest protests since the 2004 Orange Revolution. In a hugely symbolic denouement to

the rally, dozens of masked protesters, some brandishing flags of the ultranationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party, tore down a 3.4 metre (11 feet) high statue of Lenin after putting a rope noose round his neck. Police opened a criminal probe into “mass riots” over the felling of the monument but said Monday that so far no-one has been arrested over the incident. Jailed ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko told Sunday ’s rally the opposition was demanding the “immediate” resignation of Yanukovych, in a no-holds-barred statement read by her daughter. Protesters have seized control of Independence Square for over a week, setting up a tent city. The protesters have also occupied Kiev city hall with dozens again sleeping there overnight on Sunday. However the authorities have repeatedly said they have a court order allowing security forces to retake control if necessary. With tensions rising to boiling point, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Yanukovych on Sunday to urge dialogue, the United Nations said. European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will travel to Ukraine today for a two-day visit to find a way out of the crisis, the EU Commission said. Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) said it had opened an investigation into alleged attempts by politicians to seize power, in an apparent bid by the state to target key opposition figures. The size of Sunday’s protest, the third mass rally in successive weekends, increased the pressure on Yanukovych who further galvanised his opponents by meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in almost total secrecy on Friday. The opposition threatened to also blockade Yanukovych’s luxurious Mezhygirya residence on the banks of the Dnipro River outside Kiev if he did not dismiss the government within the next 48 hours. The president on Friday incensed protesters further by discussing a strategic partnership treaty with Putin, who wants Ukraine to join a Moscow-led Customs Union. Analysts believe Russia may have offered Ukraine cheaper gas and billions of dollars in aid in exchange for joining the Customs Union at Yanukovych’s closed-door meeting with Putin on Friday in Sochi. Meanwhile, the foreign ministers of Romania and Georgia, meeting in Bucharest, urged all sides to talk. Romania’s Titus Corlatean said: “The use of force is not the solution, dialogue is the solution. “We believe that the future of Ukraine is strongly linked to Europe and the European Union.”— AFP

JOHANNESBURG: South Africa raced yesterday to meet the unprecedented logistical challenge of hosting close to 100 world leaders flying in from every corner of the globe for the state funeral of freedom icon Nelson Mandela. “The world literally is coming to South Africa,” said the government’s head of public diplomacy, Clayson Monyela. “I don’t think it has ever happened before,” Monyela said of the wave of 91 heads of state and government, including US President Barack Obama, descending on the country. Many will join the 80,000 people expected to cram today into the FNB stadium in Soweto for a sweeping, emotional tribute to their inspirational first black president. The memorial service, in the venue where Mandela made his last major public appearance for the 2010 World Cup final, is seen as a final chance for grieving South Africans to unite in a mass celebration of his life ahead of the more formal state funeral. Another 120,000 people will be able to watch a live broadcast of the event on giant screens set up in three overflow stadiums in Johannesburg. ‘You are never prepared enough’ Although Mandela had been critically ill for months, the announcement of his death on Thursday night was still a body blow for a country that had looked to his unassailable moral authority as a comforting constant in a time of uncertain social and economic change. “I don’t think you are ever prepared enough,” said Zelda la Grange, who was Mandela’s longtime personal assistant both during and after his presidency. “We had prepared ourselves emotionally but still we are overcome by this feeling of loss and sadness,” La Grange said. The week-long funeral rites will culminate Sunday in Mandela’s burial at a family plot in his rural, boyhood home of Qunu. A stage was being erected Monday with VIP seating at the site in Eastern Cape province, which has attracted crowds of mourners in the last three days, bringing floral tributes for the anti-apartheid champion. Prior to that, his body will lie in state for three days from tomorrow in the amphitheatre of the Union Buildings in Pretoria where he was sworn in as president in 1994. Each morning, his coffin will be carried through the streets of the capital in a funeral cortege, to give as many people as possible the chance to pay their final respects. Around 11,000 troops have been mobilised to ensure security and help with crowd control efforts during the week-long series of funeral events. Despite the sudden influx of international dignitaries and the compressed preparation

JOHANNESBURG: People gather outside Nelson Mandela’s former house in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa, yesterday. Scores of heads of state and government and other foreign dignitaries, including royalty, are beginning to converge on South Africa as the final preparations for today’s national memorial service for liberation struggle icon Nelson Mandela are put in place. — AP time, National Police spokesman Solomon Makgale insisted that the security apparatus would hold firm. “Having so many heads of state is not a security headache for us. We’ve learned over the years,” Makgale said, adding that they would be “working closely” with the foreign leaders’ own security details. As well as Obama and three previous occupants of the White House, British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon were all on the guest list. Parliament was to meet Monday in Cape Town for a special session to honour Mandela who emerged from 27 years in prison to lead his country out of the shadow of apartheid into a multi-racial democracy. Two banners hanging at the entrance to the national assembly carried giant portraits of Mandela in tribal dress and as an elder statesman. His ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and grandson Mandla are both ruling African National Congress (ANC) members of parliament, but it was unclear if they would participate in the session. Former president FW de Klerk, who shared the 1993 Nobel peace Prize with Mandela, was

also invited. Tuesday marks the 20th anniversary of the day the two men received the prize in Oslo. Winnie and Mandla both attended a Methodist service in Johannesburg on Sunday as part of a national day of prayer for Mandela observed in churches, mosques, synagogues and temples across the country. President Jacob Zuma used the occasion to make a passionate public appeal for South Africans to unite behind Mandela’s ideals of equality, freedom and justice and to “keep his dream alive”. Cuban state media said President Raul Castro would attend the state funeral, but not his ailing older brother Fidel-a long time friend of Mandela’s. Africa will be represented by Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan and more than a dozen other heads of state and government. Notable absentees include Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who cited high travel and security costs, and Mandela’s fellow Nobel peace laureate, the Dalai Lama, who since 2009 has twice been denied a visa for South Africa. Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey and singeractivist Bono, as well as British billionaire Richard Branson and musician Peter Gabriel are expected to be among the celebrity mourners. — AFP

Somali court sentences rape victim, journalists MOGADISHU: A Somali court yesterday sentenced to jail a woman who said she was raped and two journalists who broadcast her story, saying they were guilty of defamation and insulting state institutions. The 19-year old woman, who is

also a journalist, was handed a suspended six-month jail sentence for defamation and lying, during which time she will be confined to her home, said Judge Hashi Elmi Nur. The journalists are to serve out their sentences, of one year and six

MOGADISHU: Abdimalik Yusuf (L), head of Shabelle radio and Mohamed Bashir a journalist stand chained near court in Mogadishu yesterday. A Somali court yesterday sentenced to jail a woman who said she was raped and the two journalists Yusuf and Bashir who broadcast her story, saying they were guilty of defamation and insulting state institutions. —AFP

months respectively, or pay a fine in order to win early release. It is the second time this year Somalia has jailed a woman for speaking out about rape and journalists for interviewing her. “The manager of Radio Shabelle Abdulmalik Yusuf was found guilty of offending state institutions, and therefore will serve a prison term of one year,” the judge told the court. “Journalist Mohamed Bashir was found guilty of defamation and making false rape accusations, so he is given a six-month jail term.” Both have the possibility of paying a fine to leave jail, equivalent to around a dollar per day of their sentence, so around 365 dollars (265 euros) for Yusuf, and 180 dollars (130 euros) for Bashir. Rape, and reporting on sexual assault, is one of the most sensitive topics in Somalia. The alleged victim last month told the independent Radio Shabelle she was attacked and raped at gunpoint by two fellow journalists. But it was the journalists who listened to her story who were jailed. Last month the United Nations in Somalia called for a “proper investigation” into the case, while Washington said it was “deeply con-

cerned”. Neither of the men accused of the rape were arrested. In February, a Somali journalist and a rape victim he interviewed were both sentenced to a year in prison after being found guilty of “offending state institutions”. In that case, the court found the woman had lied after a midwife conducted a “finger test” to see if she had been raped, which Human Rights Watch (HRW ) said was an “unscientific and degrading practice that has long been discredited”. They were released two months into their jail term after the case sparked widespread international criticism. In August, a Somali woman who alleged she was gang-raped by African Union soldiers was also held by police for questioning. Last month HRW called on the government to order a new and impartial investigation into that case, saying the response to the incident “has been marred by mismanagement, opacity, and the harassment of the female rape survivor and support service providers”. This “points to security officials trying to silence both those who report the pervasive problem of sexual violence and those who help rape survivors”, HRW added.—AFP



Hagel talks drones, Afghan peace with Pakistan premier Sharif reaffirms Pakistan’s support for Afghan peace

DHAKA: Bangladesh Rapid Action Battalion personnel keep watch during an ongoing blockade organised by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) activists and Islamist allies in Dhaka yesterday. In addition to the blockade, the Jamaat-e-Islami party has called a dawn-to-dusk shutdown across Bangladesh to protest against the ‘warrant of execution’ issued to Assistant Secretary General Abdul Quader Molla for war crimes. — AFP

Peaceful end to Bangladesh crisis possible: UN envoy DHAKA: A UN envoy said yesterday a peaceful solution to election impasse in Bangladesh was possible despite boycotts by major parties and escalating violence, which has left 73 people dead since late October. Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, the United Nations’ assistant secretary for political affairs, made the comments after three days of talks with the Bangladesh government, opposition parties and the election commission. “I do believe that there is a possibility of finding a peaceful solution to this current deadlock if we have political will, if we have leadership, if we have an attitude of compromise, and most importantly if we are able to engage in peaceful dialogue,” he said. The comments were the first he made since arriving in the Bangladeshi capital. The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its smaller Islamist allies are boycotting elections scheduled for January 5, saying they will not take part in any contest under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. They want her to resign and make way for the polls under a neutral governmentdemands that Hasina has rejected outright. Local media said the UN special envoy has asked the authorities to defer the election in an effort to ensure participation of the opposition parties. Fernandez-Taranco would meet the

political leaders again later Monday and Tuesday in a bid to broker a deal to resolve the deepening crisis. Hasina’s plan to go ahead with the polls without the BNP was dealt a major blow last week when her key ally, Jatiya Party, the third largest political outfit led by ex-military dictator Hussain Muhammad Ershad, announced that it was also boycotting. Yesterday Ershad said that seven senior officials from his party who had joined Hasina’s interim cabinet which would oversee the polls had quit, sending their resignation letters by post. With the elections only four weeks away, the 18-party opposition alliance has stepped up a series of protests including a crippling transport blockade and nationwide strikes to force Hasina to quit. The opposition on Monday extended a 72-hour nationwide blockade of roads, rails and waterways to another three days as part of their protests. Violence triggered by the protests have killed 73 people since late October the latest being a 14-year-old boy who was shot dead in a northwestern town during clashes between protesters and police and ruling party activists, local police chief Emran Hossain told AFP. This year Bangladesh has witnessed its worst political violence since independence with clashes between opposition protesters demanding a halt to war crime trials of their leaders and police leaving at least 150 people dead. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel held talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday as Washington sought to defuse tensions over controversial US drone strikes and Islamabad’s role in Afghanistan. In the first visit by a US defence secretary in nearly four years, Hagel flew from Kabul to Islamabad to meet the premier and the country’s new army chief, General Raheel Sharif. Ties between Washington and Islamabad have been seriously strained over US drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal belt as well as Afghan Taliban sanctuaries inside Pakistan’s borders. Prime Minister Sharif “reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for the Afghan peace and reconciliation process,” a Pakistan government statement said. “ The Prime Minister also conveyed Pakistan’s deep concern over continuing US drone strikes, stressing that drone strikes were counter-productive to our efforts to combat terrorism.” President Barack Obama has defended the drone strikes as an effective, lawful tool used with restraint to target suspected AlQaeda militants. But human rights groups and Pakistani politicians say the missile attacks have killed innocent civilians and must stop. After greeting Prime Minister Sharif, Hagel said Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan had a “lot of common and mutual interests” and that he looked forward to discussing regional issues. Hagel was in Pakistan “in recognition of the tremendous support that Pakistan has provided in the war on terror”, a senior US defence official told reporters. The defence secretary wanted to affirm continued US military assistance, the official said. “There is some friction in the relationship”, and Hagel wished to tackle that “head on”, he added. The visit came as Hagel’s deputies withdrew Sunday’s statement that said NATO shipments out of Afghanistan through Pakistan

US optimistic on Afghan elections KABUL: An American organization tasked with furthering democracy in developing nations said yesterday that next April’s elections in Afghanistan will not be perfect, but they should be better than the previous polls which were marred by widespread fraud. The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs said that an assessment mission to Afghanistan found “guarded optimism” about the April 5 polls that will elect a new president to

succeed Hamid Karzai, along with local council members that will administer the country’s 34 provinces. Bu the organization said the elections still faced “serious challenges,” including security, potential fraud and even weather conditions that could affect voter turnout. The 2009 presidential election was so soiled that UNbacked fraud investigators threw out more than 1 million votes - enough to force them into a second-round vote.

Many observers blamed much of the fraud on Karzai’s supporters, but the president blamed the U.S. for interfering against him. In the end the opposing candidate dropped out and he was elected was elected to a second and final five-year term. Since then, reforms have been made to the process to make the elections commissions more independent of the presidency. — AP

RAWALPINDI: In this handout photograph released by Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) yesterday Pakistan’s army chief General Raheel Sharif (R) meets with US defence secretary Chuck Hagel at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi. Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel visited Pakistan yesterday for talks as Washington seeks to defuse tensions over controversial US drone strikes and Islamabad’s role in Afghanistan. — AFP

were to resume due to the end of anti-drone protests. In recent weeks, activists opposed to the drone raids forcibly searched trucks in northwest Pakistan in a campaign to disrupt NATO supply routes through the Torkham gate border crossing. The club-wielding protesters have prompted US officials to halt the shipments to protect truck drivers ferrying NATO equipment. Contractors were still concerned over anti-drone protests and the suspension had not been lifted, officials travelling with Hagel said. Torkham gate is the main overland route used by the Americans and NATO to withdraw military hardware from Afghanistan as part of the troop pullout set to wrap up by the end of 2014. US officials are anxious to forge a constructive dialogue with

Pakistan’s new army chief General Raheel Sharif, who is expected to be at the centre of sensitive security decisions. “Issues concerning (the) defence relationship, Pak-US bilateral ties and regional stability came under discussion,” the Pakistan military said after Hagel met the army chief. Since 2002, Washington has given Pakistan more than $16 billion in security assistance and “coalition support funds”, US officials said. Pakistan is seen as crucial to peace in neighbouring Afghanistan as it was a key backer of the hardline 1996-2001 Taliban regime in Kabul and is believed to shelter some of the movement’s leaders. Pakistan is also battling a homegrown Islamist insurgency, but US officials have long accused

Islamabad’s spy service of maintaining ties to the Afghan Taleban. Hagel visited Pakistan after two days in Afghanistan, where he urged the country’s president, Hamid Karzai, to sign a longdelayed pact that will allow NATOled forces to stay in the country after 2014. Hagel began his trip last week in Bahrain, seeking to reassure Gulf allies that the United States would retain a robust military presence in the region despite an interim nuclear deal with Iran. Hagel was due to travel later yesterday to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, where he was expected to renew his message of solidarity with the Gulf Arab states. The Saudis in particular are wary of the diplomatic opening with Tehran as they view Shiite-led Iran as a regional rival. —AFP



Philippine govt, rebels sign power-sharing accord MANILA: Philippine officials have signed a power-sharing accord with the country’s largest Muslim rebel group and expect to sign a final peace pact with the insurgents next month to end a decadeslong rebellion in the volatile south. The accord, which outlines the powers of a Muslim autonomous government in a region to be called Bangsamoro, was signed Sunday by negotiators for the government and the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Malaysia, which has been brokering the talks, officials said yesterday. The accord is the third of four proposed pacts that are to constitute a final

peace agreement between the government and the Moro guerrillas. The insurgents have been fighting for self-rule for minority Muslims in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation in an insurgency that has left thousands of combatants and civilians dead and held back progress in some of the country’s poorest regions. President Benigno Aquino III said the remaining accord to be tackled next month, involving rebel disarmament, is expected to be difficult because it entails the insurgents relinquishing their arms. “This is a heavy and contentious issue for them because if they undertake this

act, it would mean an extreme demonstration of their trust to our government and country,” Aquino told reporters. The power-sharing accord would allow minority Muslims to rule a more powerful autonomous region through a 50-member assembly to be led by a chief minister. The Philippine government would retain authority over areas such as defense, foreign and monetary policy, postal service and immigration, according to a copy of the pact. The autonomous government would wield exclusive power over such areas as agriculture, trade, tourism and education, and could contract loans and establish free ports, it said. The United

States and other governments have backed the peace talks, hoping they will turn battlefields into prosperous communities and economic growth hubs instead of breeding grounds for Muslim extremists who could create trouble in the country and elsewhere. However, at least three smaller armed groups oppose the current peace talks. Moro rebels from one group took scores of hostages in September and occupied coastal communities in southern Zamboanga city in a bloody siege they launched after accusing the government of reneging on its commitments under a 1996 peace pact. Thousands of troops ended the week-

slong uprising with a major offensive that killed more than 200 people, most of them insurgents. While the talks were underway in Malaysia last week, a group of Muslim rebels stormed a police station in the southern Philippines, briefly held a city police chief hostage and shot and killed a civilian in an apparent attempt to release some detained comrades. Government negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said cease-fire officials were dealing with the incident, which underscored the difficulty of forging peace in the country. “We have always said that the road ahead is going to be rough,” she said. —AP

N Korea accuses Kim’s uncle of corruption ‘Storm of purge’ coming

JAKARTA: People look on as a fire is extinguished following a collision between a commuter train and fuel truck at Bintaro, western Jakarta, yesterday. At least four people were killed when a commuter train collided with a fuel truck near the Indonesian capital Jakarta yesterday, derailing a women-only carriage which burst into flames, officials said. — AFP

Five dead as commuter train hits truck in Jakarta JAKARTA: A commuter train hit a truck hauling gasoline in Indonesia’s capital yesterday, killing five people and sending a fireball of orange flames and black smoke shooting skyward. The accident in southern Jakarta killed the train engineer, his assistant, a technician and two female passengers, said Jakarta Deputy Police Chief Brig. Gen. Sujarno, who revised the death toll down by two, explaining that police earlier thought the truck driver and his assistant had also died. They were instead among nearly 100 people injured, he said by text message. Sujarno, who uses one name, said the fuel tanker truck was stopped on the rail tracks at a crossing and unable to move forward because of backed-up traffic on the road. “A fuel truck ran onto the railroad tracks and the (train’s) brakes could not stop it from hitting the truck. It exploded and bounced off,” said Imron, a passenger who escaped from the train. “It happened so fast!” A burned-out passenger car was seen lying on its side as plumes of black smoke billowed from parts of the engulfed train. It was headed to central Jakarta when it hit the truck carrying 24,000 liters (6,340 gal-

lons) of gasoline. About 500 passengers were traveling in the train’s eight cars, and all train signals were working at the time of the crash, said train company spokesman Sukendar Mulya. Two train cars derailed, including a womenonly carriage, and hundreds of panicked passengers ran away, many screaming and crying. Rescuers pulled out three bodies pinned under the wreckage, said Sukarno, a firefighter. The cause of the accident is being investigated. “My position was near the door, but I could not move because I was ... trampled by other passengers,” Veronica, a commuter from the derailed women-only car who uses only one name told MetroTV. “We managed to escape after people from outside broke the windows. I saw many victims with burns on their legs, hands and stomachs.” She said that the carriage quickly filled with thick smoke, making it difficult to breathe. The accident occurred near the site of a collision between two trains in 1987 that killed 156 people and injured hundreds more. Commuter trains are often packed with passengers due to the lack of other forms of public transportation in Jakarta, which has some of the worst traffic jams in Asia.— AP

Abe defends Japan secrets law as poll ratings plunge TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday defended as “necessary” an unpopular secrets law that he rushed through parliament, as a new poll showed his support rating had plunged 10 percent in a month. The conservative hawk admitted he could have better explained the new law, but insisted that it was a vital step to protect Japan and bring it into line with its allies. “Unless our country establishes rules to manage confidential information, we cannot obtain such information from other countries,” he told reporters. “In order to protect people’s lives and property, it was necessary to pass the special secrecy law as quickly as possible.” The bill, which vastly broadens the scope of information that ministers can designate as a state secret, was railroaded through both chambers in just a month, thanks to the handsome majority Abe commands in the two houses. Supporters have claimed Japan’s notoriously leaky government machine needs to be plugged to help support the creation of a new US-style National Security Council, and to encourage ally Washington to share its secrets. But journalists, lawyers, academics and rights groups say the law is illiberal and represents “the largest threat to democracy in postwar Japan”. They claim it undermines press freedoms and the public’s right to know. Last week, a couple of demonstrations in Tokyo attracted upwards of 3,000 people in protest at the legislation. Abe on Monday moved to try to mollify opponents, insisting the law, which allows for up to 10 years’ jail for people who spill state secrets, was not draconian. “I heard about people’s concern that the scope of secrecy will be limitless, that people will be deprived of their right to

know and ordinary life will be threatened,” he said. “But that should never happen. Before, we did not even have rules. Under the law, transparency will improve. I want to make that clear.” The premier, however, acknowledged public scepticism, adding: “With hindsight, perhaps I should have explained more carefully and taken more time in doing so.” Abe’s easy success has provided a boost to his conservative base, who have demanded that he beef up Japan’s military and toughen its diplomacy in the face of increasing hostility from China, particularly over disputed islands. They see it as pay-off for toeing the line as he pushed several rounds of economic stimulus and monetary easing in his effort to get the economy back on track-a priority that has been applauded by the public. But the premier, who is set to mark his first year in office later this month, has suffered in the opinion polls over the secrets bill. A survey published by Kyodo News on Monday showed his once-comfortable personal approval rating had dropped 10.3 percent to 47.6 percent since the last poll in November. A poll by national broadcaster NHK showed a similar drop since last month. Although not disastrously low-Abe’s predecessor was bumbling along under 20 percent in the months before he got hammered in last December’s general election-the numbers are a reminder of the price Abe will pay if he takes his eye off the ball. Japan’s electorate, which is deeply wedded to its pacifist constitution, is naturally sceptical of Abe’s nationalist tendencies and analysts say voters are only prepared to grant him licence while Japan’s once-stagnant economy continues to improve. —AFP

SEOUL: North Korea confirmed yesterday that the powerful uncle of young leader Kim Jong-Un has been purged, with state TV airing humiliating images of Jang Song-Thaek being dragged away by uniformed officers. The official news agency KCNA accused the man once seen as the power behind the throne of being a corrupt, drug-taking womaniser bent on building his own faction in the ruling party. One South Korean analyst predicted a sweeping purge would follow, leaving Kim as the undisputed centre of power. KCNA said Jang, once seen as his nephew’s mentor, had been stripped of all his posts and of party membership for committing criminal acts and leading a “counter-revolutionary faction”. It said the decision was taken Sunday at a high-level meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party attended by Kim. State TV yesterday showed photos of Jang being dragged out of his seat at a meeting by two officers-an extremely rare publication of humiliating images involving a senior official. It was not certain if the incident happened at Sunday’s meeting. But the TV aired other photos from Sunday showing a stony-faced Kim sitting at the podium with other top officials. Analysts said Jang’s main role had been to ensure a smooth transition after the inexperienced Kim Jong-Un came to power following the death of his father Kim Jong-Il in December 2011. But they said Jang had become increasingly resented by the leader, who is aged about 30. “Jong-Un has built a solid power base for the past two years, and he no longer needed a regent who appeared to be increasingly powerful and threatening,” said Paik Hak-Soon, a researcher at the South’s Sejong Institute think tank. South Korea’s spy agency said last week that Jang had apparently been purged and two associates executed, in the secretive nation’s biggest political upheaval since the death of Kim Jong-Il. KCNA said the meeting on Sunday confirmed it had “eliminated Jang and purged his group, unable to remain an onlooker to its acts any longer”. The regime said it removed Jang and his associates for trying to build a faction within the party, and for appointing his followers to top positions to serve his own political ends. The KCNA report said Jang “had improper relations with several women and was wined and dined at back parlours of deluxe restaurants”, becoming “affected by the capitalist way of living”. “Ideologically sick and extremely idle and easy-going, he used drugs and squandered foreign currency at casinos while he was receiving medical treatment in a foreign country under the care of the party,” it said. Jang was also accused of hindering North Korea’s state-run production of iron, fertilisers and vinalon-a home-made synthetic fibre-by selling off resources at cheap prices and “throwing the state financial management system into

PYONGYANG: This undated image grab taken from footage shown by North Korea’s KCTV and released by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency yesterday, shows Jang Song-Thaek (C) reportedly being dragged out from his chair by two police officials during a meeting in Pyongyang. North Korea confirmed yesterday that the powerful uncle of young leader Kim Jong-Un has been purged, with state TV airing humiliating images of Jang Song-Thaek being dragged away by uniformed officers. — AFP “There will be a storm of purge across the confusion”. Kim Jong-Un’s takeover was the second country... so Kim Jong-Un becomes the one and dynastic succession in the family that has ruled only centre of power, challenged by no one,” he the isolated nuclear-armed state since 1948 said. Jang had for decades forged an extensive through a pervasive personality cult and with an network of friends in the party and the government, said Kim Kwang-Jin, analyst at the iron fist. Jang has fallen out of favour before. In 2004 Institute for National Security Strategy and a he was understood to have undergone “re-edu- defector who once worked under Jang handling cation” as a steel mill labourer because of sus- party finances. “After two of his associates were executed, pected corruption, but he made a comeback the following year. Jang expanded his influence rap- now the next target will be those who used to idly after Kim Jong-Il suffered a stroke in 2008, be working at state bodies once supervised by leaving his health impaired. He was appointed Jang,” Kim said, citing the police agency and vice chairman of the nation’s top body, the state bodies related to finance and the economy. “This is a very serious and grave situation,” National Defence Commission, in 2010. His wife Kim Kyong-Hui, who is Kim Jong-Il’s Kim said. Ji Jae-Ryong, the North’s ambassador sister, has also long been at the centre of power. to China who is known to be a close friend of Jang, is also a potential target of the She was promoted to four-star general at the purge, said Cheong Seong-Chang, another anasame time as Kim Jong-Un in 2010. The pair were once viewed as the ultimate lyst at the Sejong Institute. “The latest move power couple in Pyongyang. But in the past year proves again that fear is a major tool to maintain Kim Kyong-Hui has been less visible, with power even under the new leader, Kim Jong-Un,” reports that she was seriously ill and had sought Cheong said, warning of more “bloody purges” ahead. hospital treatment in Singapore. North and South Korea have remained tech“This time, Jang is gone for good. He’ll never be allowed into politics again,” said Paik from the nically at war since their 1950-53 conflict ended Sejong Institute. Yang Moo-Jin, a professor at the with just an armistice and no peace treaty. Seoul University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said was “closely monitoring” the situation in the the move could spark a sweeping purge target- North, said unification ministry spokesman Kim Eui-Do. — AFP ing those loyal to Jang.

Foreign worker riot shocks Singapore SINGAPORE: Singapore faced shocking scenes of burning cars and littered streets yesterday following a riot by South Asian workers in the worst outbreak of violence in more than 40 years in the tightly controlled city-state. The hour-long fracas on Sunday night, triggered when an Indian construction worker was struck and killed by a private bus in the Little India district, compelled Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to order the creation of a special committee to investigate the incident. Police said about 400 people were involved in the riot, and that

27 South Asian workers had been arrested on charges punishable by up to seven years in prison as well as caning. Lee said there could be “no excuse” for the rampage that left 39 police and civil defence staff injured, and 25 vehicles-including 16 police cars-damaged or torched. “The riot was an isolated incident arising from the unlawful actions of an unruly mob reacting to a fatal traffic accident,” Lee said in a statement. “We must not allow this bad incident to tarnish our views of the foreign worker community here.” Lee added that the committee

SINGAPORE: This photograph made available by The New Paper yesterday shows rioters on a rampage in Singapore’s Little India district late on Sunday. Hundreds of South Asian workers rioted after being enraged by a fatal road accident, leaving 18 people injured and police vehicles burnt in the city-state’s worst outbreak of violence in more than 40 years. — AFP

of inquiry to be convened by the interior ministry will review the factors that led to the riot, as well as existing measures to manage areas where foreign workers congregate. Singapore is one of the wealthiest places in the world, but the island republic of 5.4 million people depends heavily on guest workers, with labourers from South Asia dominating sectors like construction. Widely regarded as one of the world’s safest societies, the citystate prides itself on social order and racial harmony, and many citizens expressed dismay over the mayhem. “My God,” a reader named Hayeden wrote on the Yahoo! Singapore website. “How can such a thing happen to my Singapore.” Prominent blogger Andrew Loh said Singaporeans were astonished as “we have not seen something of this scale before”. Police said the 27 men arrested were aged between 23 and 45, and included 24 Indian nationals, two Bangladeshis and one Singapore permanent resident. Analysts played down suggestions that the riot, which was brought under control by elite police commandoes, could be an indication of wider discontent among poorly paid migrant workers. Devadas Krishnadas, the founder and managing director of Future-Moves, a Singapore-based risk consultancy, said it was “an isolated incident where a variety of factors combined to blow matters out of hand”. “The fact that it involved foreign

workers is incidental, not central, to the events,” he wrote in a commentary for Singapore’s Today newspaper. “There is no justification to generalise the blame across any group, any race or any gender,” he added. The incident triggered online attacks on foreign workers, whose large presence has been a hot political topic in recent years. Others called for calm and warned against stoking racial hatred. Jolovan Wham, an activist on migrant workers’ welfare, said that “in the absence of sufficient information about the ‘riot’, it is difficult to determine if it is a symptom of pent-up rage”.The civil defence force said emergency workers who tried to extricate the man from under the private bus had been attacked by a crowd before a fullblown riot erupted. The victim was identified as Sakthivel Kumaravelu, a 33-year-old who worked for a scaffolding company and was among the many migrant workers who congregate in Little India on Sundays. Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew, an MP for the affected district, said the cause of the riot was still unclear, but that “alcohol could have been a contributory factor”. There have already been calls to curb alcohol consumption in public places in the congested Little India precinct. Resident Basher Marican, 69, who was returning home when the riot escalated, told AFP: “It was very unruly, I walked past a crowd along the restaurants. —AFP

NEWS Activists, ex-MPs acquitted... Continued from Page 1 government and the dismissal of the former prime minister Sheikh Nasser AlMohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. At the end of the rally, a large number activists marched on the nearby residence of the then prime minister and riot police stopped them exactly outside the main gate of the Assembly building. Tensions soared and riot police used tear gas in a bid to disperse the protesters who instead went inside the Assembly building and called for the removal of the prime minister. They stayed for less than an hour inside the Assembly and left no traces of damage. During a large number of hearings in the criminal court, a large number of witnesses were called to testify and one of them, a member of the servicemen guarding the Assembly, told the court that protesters did not force the main gate open. Instead, he opened it for them at the orders of his commander who incidentally told the court something contradictory. That testimony, according to a number of defense lawyers, turned the case in favor of the defendants and threw a cloud of doubt over the testimonies and the entire case. Defense lawyers had argued that the protesters had no criminal intent when they entered the Assembly and that they did not assault any policemen. Activists and tweeters immediately rejoiced after the ruling was announced

and praised the Kuwaiti judiciary. They harshly criticized former Assembly speaker Jassem Al-Khorafi, MP Ali AlRashed, who became speaker of the nullified Assembly and former prime minister Sheik h Nasser. Prominent opposition leader Musallam Al-Barrak, who lead the protesters into the Assembly, celebrated the court ruling at his diwaniya in Andalus along with several opposition leaders and activists. Barrak praised the ruling and said the protestors had entered the Assembly to press to change a bad situation when the several members of the Assembly were implicated in a massive bribery scandal. He vowed that if the same situation was to return, he would do the same thing. The former lawmaker said that the opposition movement will resume a push for a comprehensive political project that should lead to an elected government to resolve the country’s tragic situation. Mohammad Al-Jassem, a lawyer for the defense team, hailed yesterday’s verdict as a political “turning point” for Kuwait. “We hope that this reignites the opposition and helps reunite them,” he said. “Thank God for this ruling. We are ver y satisfied,” said Mohammad AlHumaidi, director of the Kuwait Society for Human Rights who had defended a number of the activists. “All Kuwaitis were waiting for this verdict ... which is so crucial for the future of the country,” Humaidi said.


Kuwait seeks to calm Saudi-Omani... Continued from Page 1 power is no longer acceptable. GCC countries must decide their own futures,” said Madani. Omani Foreign Minister Yussef bin Alawi, who was among the audience, stood up and said that his country will not become a member of the proposed union and later threatened that if the union is announced, “Oman will withdraw from the GCC”. Saudi Arabia officials later riposted that the union must go ahead with or without Oman. Kuwait’s State Minister for Cabinet Affairs and Minister of Health Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah tried to cool the situation. Speaking after opening the media center for the GCC summit late Sunday, Sheik h Mohammad said that differences among GCC states are natural. He also said that the proposal for the union was still under deliberations and “when the GCC states reach a consensus, a special summit will be held in the Saudi capital Riyadh to make the announcement”. GCC Secretary General Abdullatif AlZayani meanwhile said “consultations were still ongoing to find the best formula and method to achieve the purpose of setting up the confederation in the defense, security and economic aspects”. O ther issues on the summit agenda include the assessment of progress made on boosting defense and security coordination in the face of instability in the region, in addition to economic coordination. The common GCC currency will be discussed but Zayani said that all matters related to the currency is

being handled by the Riyadh-based GCC Monetary Council. Oman and UAE have opted out of the common currency. “The economic resolutions that had been taken by the Gulf leaders are sufficient at the present time. We do not need to take more decisions, but rather to ensure the accurate implementation of the previous ones,” economist Haidar Jumaa told state news agency KUNA. Moreover, he urged Gulf leaders to be more cautious in tackling the issue of economic unity. “After the financial crisis that struck the Eurozone, the Gulf Cooperation Council has to be more cautious in its attempt to replicate the Eurozone experience,” Jumaa said. “The GCC leaders have to test the workability of what they had agreed upon so far, before taking further steps.” He added that that the Eurozone crisis had huge impacts on the GCC economic integration plans. “There was a strong desire to launch a single Gulf currency, but I am confident that the European crisis has put the brake on the Gulf states’ scheme.” Besides the controversy over the union, the summit will study the 33-month- old bloody conflict in Syria in which around 128,000 people have lost their lives. Ahead of the summit, Kuwait hosted Ahmad Al-Jarba, the leader of the mainstream Syrian opposition group - the National Coalition - on his first official visit to the country during which he was received by HH the Amir. Talks at the summit will include the Kuwait 2 donors conference to be hosted by Kuwait on Jan 15 and the Geneva 2 peace talks slated for Jan 22 to

try to find a political settlement to the crisis in Syria. Leaders of the Gulf states will also review the implications of the deal struck by neighbouring Shiite Iran and Western powers on Tehran’s nuclear program. GCC foreign ministers have welcomed the deal and hoped that it will lead to a final settlement to the controversy. A week before the summit, I ran’s Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif toured four GCC members - Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and UAE - but he did not go to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, although he said he has plans to visit Riyadh at an appropriate time. — Agencies

Saudis mapping... Continued from Page 1 “We believe the Saudi Human Genome Program will help shape the understanding of health and disease and usher in an era of personalised medicine in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said KACST president Mohammed Al-Suwayl. KACST and China’s Shenzhen-based BGI succeeded in 2010 in decoding the entire genetic makeup of the single-humped camel, the omnipresent dromedary native to the Arabian Peninsula. Unlocking the genetics underpinning the camel’s immune system could lead to potential medical discoveries, and the genome data can also help scientists understand better how the mammal produces its highly nutritious and medically valuable milk. — AFP




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Washington Watch

‘Consensus’ widens gulf with EU electorates By Paul Taylor


all it the Brussels Consensus. A system of beliefs rooted in European Union treaties helps explain the growing gulf between policy elites and ordinary citizens that may cause a political earthquake in European Parliament elections next May. These articles of faith are widely regarded as self-evident truths in the European Commission and the European Central Bank but are often regarded by voters as the cause of their misfortunes rather than the solution to them. This disparity, exacerbated by a fouryear slump and soaring unemployment due to the euro zone’s debt crisis, is fuelling attacks on the EU itself and on its single currency, the euro, by populists of the far right and the radical left. Like the free-market Washington Consensus that prevailed in the 1990s after the collapse of communism, there is no official definition of the Brussels Consensus. Economist John Williamson coined the Washington Consensus in 1989 to describe a set of neo-liberal economic policies prescribed by the US Treasury, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank for developing countries in trouble. Here is a rough outline of its European cousin, with apologies for journalistic simplification and exaggeration: 1) Brussels knows best. The answer to the financial and economic crisis is “more Europe”. 2) Free trade is always better than protection. 3) The free movement of workers and services within the EU’s single market takes precedence over protecting the rights of workers in their own country. 4) Europe needs more immigrants to boost growth and pay for our pensions and welfare benefits in the future. 5) It is better to tax consumption and carbon dioxide emissions than labour and high incomes. 6) Free and unfettered competition takes precedence over promoting national or European industrial champions. 7) To fight unemployment, you need to reduce the protection and sometimes the pay of workers currently in jobs. 8) The “community method” of European integration is always better and more legitimate than intergovernmental cooperation. 9) National sovereignty is an outdated idea, both in Europe and around the world. 10) The market should prevail in all things, including public services - except agriculture. Some of those principles, such as free trade, have broad support in most of the 28 European Union countries, while others, such as increasing immigration or reducing job protection, are widely disputed. “The EU is a patchwork of different national debates. The French national debate leans more than others towards protectionism,” said European Commission VicePresident Olli Rehn, a contender for the Liberal group’s nomination to head the EU executive next year. “I’m a free trader since it has been a key source of growth and prosperity for Europeans. I know there are different views in many parts of Europe, but a majority of European people are more for free trade than for protection,” he said. The European credo is resolutely post-national, based on an assumption that ever fewer problems can be solved nationally given globalised supply chains and cross-border problems such as pollution, climate change, resource shortages and migration. But critics say it takes too little account of the losers that EU free market policies create, as well as the wider circle of people who fear they could become losers. In Germany, the EU’s economic powerhouse, a major concern surrounds preserving parliamentary budget sovereignty amid fears of a “transfer union” that would hand over hard-earned taxpayers’ money to profligate European partners. Issues of migration are high on many Europeans’ worry list, though not always for the same reasons. Britain has just announced plans to restrict the welfare rights of migrants from poor EU newcomers Romania and Bulgaria, who will be able to work freely throughout the EU from January after a seven-year transition period expires. Eurosceptical politicians and media drove Prime Minister David Cameron to respond by waging a campaign against alleged “benefit tourism” by poor east European migrants, even though official figures show migrant workers pay more into the British welfare system than they take out, and make up proportionately far fewer claimants than British nationals do. France and several other states are fighting to curb abuses of another EU rule that allows workers posted on temporary assignment from other member states to pay social charges at home rather than in their host country. Companies in countries such as France, Germany, Denmark and Belgium use this system to sub-contract lower-cost labour from eastern Europe, notably in the construction sector, doing some higher-cost local workers out of a job. To supporters of the Brussels Consensus, this is simply the operation of the European single market bringing economic efficiency to overtaxed countries. —Reuterst

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One in 5 in US reaches affluence By Hope Yen


t’s not just the wealthiest 1 percent. Fully 20 percent of US adults become rich for parts of their lives, wielding outsize influence on America’s economy and politics. This little-known group may pose the biggest barrier to reducing the nation’s income inequality. The growing numbers of the US poor have been well documented, but survey data provided to The Associated Press detail the flip side of the record income gap - the rise of the “new rich”. Made up largely of older professionals, working married couples and more educated singles, the new rich are those with household income of $250,000 or more at some point during their working lives. That puts them, if sometimes temporarily, in the top 2 percent of earners. Even outside periods of unusual wealth, members of this group generally hover in the $100,000-plus income range, keeping them in the top 20 percent of earners. Companies increasingly are marketing to this rising demographic, fueling a surge of “mass luxury” products and services from premium Starbucks coffee and organic groceries to concierge medicine and VIP lanes at airports. Political parties are taking a renewed look at the up-for-grabs group, once solidly Republican. They’re not the traditional rich. In a country where poverty is at a record high, today’s new rich are notable for their sense of economic fragility. They’ve reached the top 2 percent, only to fall below it, in many cases. That makes them much more fiscally conservative than other Americans, polling suggests, and less likely to support public programs, such as food stamps or early public education, to help the disadvantaged. Last week, President Barack Obama asserted that growing inequality is “the defining challenge of our time,” signaling that it will be a major theme for Democrats in next year’s elections. New research suggests that affluent Americans are more numerous than government data depict, encompassing 21 percent of working-age adults for at least a year by the time they turn 60. That proportion has more than doubled since 1979. At the same time, an increasing polarization of low-wage work

and high-skill jobs has left middle-income careers depleted. “For many in this group, the American dream is not dead. They have reached affluence for parts of their lives and see it as very attainable, even if the dream has become more elusive for everyone else,” says Mark Rank, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, who calculated numbers on the affluent for a forthcoming book, “Chasing the American Dream,” to be published by the Oxford University Press. As the fastest-growing group based on take-home pay, the new rich tend to enjoy better schools, employment and gated communities, making it easier to pass on their privilege to their children. Their success has implications for politics and policy. The group is more liberal than lower-income groups on issues such as abortion and gay marriage, according to an analysis of General Social Survey data by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. But when it comes to money, their views aren’t so open. They’re wary of any government role in closing the income gap. In Gallup polling in October, 60 percent of people making $90,000 or more said average Americans already had “plenty of opportunity” to get ahead. Among those making less than $48,000, the share was 48 percent. “In this country, you don’t get anywhere without working hard,” said James Lott, 28, a pharmacist in Renton, Washington, who adds to his six-figure salary by day-trading stocks. The son of Nigerian immigrants, Lott says he was able to get ahead by earning an advanced pharmacy degree. He makes nearly $200,000 a year. After growing up on food stamps, Lott now splurges occasionally on nicer restaurants, Hugo Boss shoes and extended vacations to New Orleans, Atlanta and parts of Latin America. He believes government should play a role in helping the disadvantaged. But he says the poor should be encouraged to support themselves, explaining that his single mother rose out of hardship by starting a day-care business in their home. “I definitely don’t see myself as rich,” says Lott, who is saving to purchase a downtown luxury condominium. That will be the case, he says, “the day I don’t have to go to

work every single day.” Sometimes referred to by marketers as the “mass affluent”, the new rich make up roughly 25 million US households and account for nearly 40 percent of total US consumer spending. While paychecks shrank for most Americans after the 20072009 recession, theirs held steady or edged higher. In 2012, the top 20 percent of US households took home a record 51 percent of the nation’s income. The median income of this group is more than $150,000. Once concentrated in the old-money enclaves of the Northeast, the new rich are now spread across the US, mostly in bigger cities and their suburbs. They include Washington, DC; Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seattle. By race, whites are three times more likely to reach affluence than nonwhites. Paul F Nunes, managing director at Accenture’s Institute for High Performance and Research, calls this group “the new power brokers of consumption.” Because they spend just 60 percent of their beforetax income, often setting the rest aside for retirement or investing, he says their capacity to spend more will be important to a US economic recovery. In Miami, developers are betting on a growing luxury market, building higher-end malls featuring Cartier, Armani and Louis Vuitton and hoping to expand on South Florida’s Bal Harbour, a favored hideaway of the rich. “It’s not that I don’t have money. It’s more like I don’t have time,” said Deborah Sponder, 57, walking her dog Ava recently along Miami’s blossoming Design District. She was headed to one of her two art galleries - this one between the Emilio Pucci and Cartier stores and close to the Louis Vuitton and Hermes storefronts. But Sponder says she doesn’t consider her income of $250,000 as upper class, noting that she is paying college tuition for her three children. “Between rent, schooling and everything - it comes in and goes out.” Economists say the group’s influence will only grow as middle-class families below them struggle. Corporate profits and the stock market are hitting records while the median household income of $51,000 is at its lowest since 1995. That’s a boon for upper-income people who are more likely

to invest in stocks. At the same time, some 54 percent of working-age Americans will experience near-poverty for portions of their lives, hurt by globalization and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs. Both Democrats and Republicans are awakening to the political realities presented by this new demographic bubble. Traditionally Republican, the group makes up more than 1 in 4 voters and is now more politically divided, better educated and less white and male than in the past, according to Election Day exit polls dating to the 1970s. Sixty-nine percent of upper-income voters backed Republican Ronald Reagan and his supply-side economics of tax cuts in 1984. By 2008, Democrat Barack Obama had split their vote evenly, 49-49. In 2012, Obama lost the group, with 54 percent backing Republican Mitt Romney. Still, Obama’s performance among higherincome voters exceeded nearly every Democrat before him. Some Democratic analysts have urged the party to tread more lightly on issues of income inequality, even after the recent election of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who made the issue his top campaign priority. In recent weeks, media attention has also focused on growing liberal enthusiasm for Sen Elizabeth Warren, whose push to hold banks and Wall Street accountable could stoke Occupy Wall Street-style populist anger against the rich. “For the Democrats’ part, traditional economic populism is poorly suited for affluent professionals,” says Alan Abramowitz, an Emory University professor who specializes in political polarization. The new rich includes Robert Kane, 39, of Colorado Springs, Colorado. A former stock broker who once owned three houses and voted steadfastly Republican, Kane says he was humbled after the 2008 financial meltdown, which he says exposed Wall Street’s excesses. Now a senior vice president for a private equity firm specializing in the marijuana business, Kane says he’s concerned about upward mobility for the poor and calls wealthy politicians such as Romney “out of touch”. But Kane, now a registered independent, draws the line when it comes to higher taxes. “A dollar is best in your hand rather than the government’s,” he says. —AP

Crises in Asia let Biden show US resolve By Josh Lederman


s Vice President Joe Biden left for Asia on a mission to reinforce America’s determination to be a major Pacific player, a regional crisis over disputed airspace threatened to drown out his message. In the end, it was quite the opposite. From one capital to the next, Biden found himself at the center of the dispute, playing referee for China and its neighbors. He also acted as emissar y between Japan and South Korea in a separate feud between the US allies. The intense diplomacy on issues far removed from Washington made clear the degree to which leaders in Asia still look to America to try to solve problems when it seems like no one else can. Biden tried repeatedly to head off the notion that the Obama administration’s push to “rebalance” its foreign policy toward a

fast-growing Asia had petered out. “The United States never says anything it does not do,” Biden said in Seoul. Even if the White House has found it difficult to keep one foot in Asia amid crises in the Mideast, there was little doubt that Asian powers see the US playing a leading role, decades after wars in Japan, Vietnam and Korea brought tens of thousands of US troops to the region. Each country wanted something specific from Biden. Japan and South Korea wanted the US to stand firm against China’s unilateral declaration of an air defense zone over disputed islands in the East China Sea. Japan, in particular, wanted assurances the US wouldn’t acquiesce by advising US commercial pilots to comply with the zone. China wanted the vice president to mimic specific phrasing about pursuing a “new model of majorcountry relations” that’s become an officially sanctioned mantra for

Chinese officials. He did, often. South Korea wanted Biden to help choreograph an exchange of public gestures between Seoul and Tokyo to alleviate resentments over Japanese colonialism that have reached a fever pitch. As if to demonstrate how closely Asia is watching the US, North Korea released an elderly US tourist detained since October - hours before Biden was set to visit the Demilitarized Zone. Security experts speculated the move probably was intended to deny Biden the chance to cast a spotlight on the US list of indictments against the North. Biden just wanted everyone to cool it. He quietly urged Beijing to refrain from enforcing the airspace zone, hoping to give the government a way out, rather than insisting that it formally rescind the zone. He wanted Tokyo to drop its objections to a major trade deal. He wanted Seoul to avoid sudden movements and consult with its

neighbors before expanding its own air defense zone to send a stern message to China. South Korea on Sunday said it was expanding its zone, which overlaps with China’s, and the State Department said it supported the step. It’s an open question whether Biden achieved the desired results, and all the issues he raised will require significant follow-up with the leaders he saw in Asia. In more than one instance, Biden’s outreach seemed to brush up against the reality that some American diplomatic pursuits in Asia are working at cross purposes. Biden said the US commitment to its allies is unwavering. But the US is pursuing closer economic ties with China, whose growth and increasing assertiveness have the region on edge. Michael Green, a White House adviser on Asia in the George W. Bush administration, said by embracing Chinese diplomatic

language about a new model of major-country relations, Biden sent an implicit message that America’s bonds with allies like Japan and South Korea are becoming less important. “That was not the intended message, I am sure, but that is how it is being read by worried allied capitals,” Green said. US officials have said they don’t want to be the mediator for regional disputes in Asia. In fact, the US has tried to avoid taking sides on the question of sovereignty of the islands in the East China Sea - a major point of contention for China and its neighbors. But it’s difficult to be “all in”, as the White House has described its Asia policy, and also stay out. Asian nations looking to the US for leadership and conflict resolution may be less inclined to welcome America’s presence in the region if they perceive the US only wants to engage when it has something to gain. —AP



Messi, Ronaldo, Ribery to contest Ballon d’Or

Waqar, Gilchrist inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame

LONDON: World governing body FIFA named Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery as the three nominations from a 10-player shortlist for the Ballon d’Or award yesterday. Barcelona and Argentina forward Messi has won the prestigious award, formerly called FIFA World Player of the Year, for the past four years, while Real Madrid’s Ronaldo topped the poll in 2008. Despite not winning any silverware last season Portuguese Ronaldo is favorite to end Messi’s reign as officially the world’s best player when the results are announced on Jan 13. The 28-year-old has 25 goals for Madrid this season and bagged a stunning hat-trick as Portugal beat Sweden in a World Cup qualifying playoff to reach next year’s finals in Brazil. Messi scored 56 times for Barcelona last season, helping the Catalans win the Spanish title while Ribery helped Bayern Munich win the Bundesliga and the Champions League. Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, Bayern Munich’s Jupp Heynkes and Borussia Dortmund’s Juergen Klopp form the shortlist for the Coach of the Year award. Paris St Germain’s Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic failed to make the final Ballon d’Or shortlist although he is in contention for the Puskas Award for the “most beautiful goal of the year” for his long-range overhead volley against England. —Reuters

NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s pace bowling great Waqar Younis and former Australian wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist were yesterday inducted into cricket’s Hall of Fame, the International Cricket Council said. Waqar joins Hanif Mohammad and former team-mates Imran Khan, Javed Miandad and Wasim Akram as the Pakistanis in the exclusive club. Gilchrist will be the 19th Australian male inductee, the ICC said. Waqar will be honored by the governing body during the Twenty20 international between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Dubai on Wednesday, while Gilchrist will be feted during the third Ashes Test in Perth on Friday. Waqar claimed 373 wickets in 87 Tests and 416 wickets in 262 one-day internationals before retiring after the 2003 World Cup. He now works as a television commentator. “It’s a huge honor for me,” said the 42year-old Waqar. “I’m truly grateful to the people who’ve considered me worthy of such an honor.” Gilchrist, also a prolific batsman, was a threetime World Cup winner in 1999, 2003 and 2007. He played 96 Tests during a 12-year career that ended in 2008, making 5,570 runs and claiming 416 dismissals behind the stumps. —AFP

Capello happy with Russia WCup draw MOSCOW: Russia manager Fabio Capello said yesterday that he considered his team to be the favorites of the 2014 World Cup Group H ahead of Belgium, South Korea and Algeria. “Everybody is saying that Belgium are the favorites in our group, but I feel that it’s Russia who are the true favorites,” Capello was quoted as saying by Sport Express daily. “I’m pleased with the draw. But I’m pleased even more with the fact that we will play in Cuiaba, Curitiba and Rio de Janeiro,” Capello said. “We were lucky from the logistics point of view as we have avoided playing in the northeast of Brazil where the weather is so hot and humid in summer.” The 67-year-old Italian coach added that he would like to chose town of Campinas, which is situated not far from Sao Paulo, as his team’s base for next summer’s competition. Capello said that Group H contained four strong teams and that he would not under-estimate them. “Belgium are an excellent team consisting of young and skilled players,” he said. “We will need to find the means to cope with them.” —AFP

Big win puts Aussies on brink of Ashes victory

TORONTO: Jake Gardiner #51 of the Toronto Maple Leafs gets hit by Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins during NHL action at the Air Canada Centre on December 8, 2013. —AFP

Capitals trounce Rangers NEW YORK: Jason Chimera, Steve Oleksy and Mikhail Grabovski scored second-period goals to power the Washington Capitals to a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers on Sunday night. Washington defenseman Nate Schmidt added a goal in the third for the Capitals, who beat Nashville at home on Saturday. Schmidt, a 22year-old rookie, scored his first NHL goal in that game. Grabovski’s goal came on a penalty shot. In his fourth NHL game, Philipp Grubauer made 30 saves for Washington (16-12-2) to earn his first career win. The Capitals have won four of five. New York (15-15-1), beaten at home in overtime by New Jersey on Saturday, has lost three of five. Henrik Lundqvist made 32 saves, and Benoit Pouliot scored the Rangers’ lone goal with 1:53 left to spoil Grubauer’s shutout bid. BLACKHAWKS 6, PANTHERS 2 Patrick Sharp had a goal and two assists as Chicago scored a season-high three times on the power play in a win over Florida. The Blackhawks used their potent offense to win after starting goalie Corey Crawford left in the first period because of a lower-body injury. Marian Hossa, Brent Seabrook and Brandon Saad each had goal and an assist, and Michal Handzus and Andrew Shaw also scored. Patrick Kane had three assists for Chicago, which ended a three-game losing streak - its longest regular-season skid since February 2012. Rookie Antti Raanta, recalled after veteran backup Nikolai Khabublin was injured on Nov. 16, stopped 29 of 31 shots for the win in relief of Crawford, who made four saves. Dylan Olsen and Goc scored for Florida. Scott Clemmensen made 26 saves in his third start and fifth appearance this season. WILD 3, SHARKS 1 Josh Harding made 37 saves in another strong home outing as Minnesota beat San Jose despite recording only 13 shots. Zach Parise scored twice - once into an empty net and Mikko Koivu added a goal for the Wild, who have won three of four. Patrick Marleau scored

with 1:41 left for San Jose, which went 1-3 on a four-game trip. The Sharks, who have lost three in a row in regulation for the first time this season, are 0-5-1 in their last six games in Minnesota. Antti Niemi made 10 saves. Parise and Koivu scored second-period goals to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead. Parise pushed the Wild’s edge back to two goals when he scored at 19:54. Harding, who improved to 13-1 at home, is 16-4-3 overall. BRUINS 5, MAPLE LEAFS 2 Carl Soderberg and Torey Krug scored second-period power-play goals as Boston defeated Toronto. The Bruins were coming off a Saturday night win over Pittsburgh in which Shawn Thornton had a takedown of Brooks Orpik. The Bruins were without the suspended Thornton as well as Loui Eriksson and Chris Kelly, who were both injured in the game. The Leafs controlled the play early on and led 1-0 after the first on a goal by Peter Holland. But the Bruins had a three-goal outburst in the second period, including a pair of power-play goals in a 93-second stretch. Toronto, which also gave up two power-play goals in a win against the Senators on Saturday, went 0 for 4 on the power play Sunday. The Bruins outshot the Leafs 40-32. Jay McClement also scored for Toronto. Kevan Miller, Jarome Iginla and Patrice Bergeron also scored for Boston. CANUCKS 3, AVALANCHE 1 Mike Santorelli scored two goals and added an assist in Vancouver’s victory over Colorado. The Canucks (17-10-5) earned their fifth win in sixth games and moved within a point of the Avalanche (20-8) in the tight Western Conference standings. Jean-Sebastien Giguere lost for the first time in eight decisions this season. The Avalanche were beaten for just the third time in nine games. Ryan Kesler also scored for the Canucks, who were outshot 2921. Jamie McGinn had the lone goal for Colorado, scored with only 7.1 seconds left. That kept Roberto Luongo from earning his 65th NHL shutout. He is 14-8-5 this season. —AP

NHL results/standings Minnesota 3, San Jose 1; Boston 5, Toronto 2; Washington 4, NY Rangers 1; Chicago 6, Florida 2; Vancouver 3, Colorado 1. Western Conference Pacific Division W L OTL GF Anaheim 20 7 5 101 San Jose 19 6 5 101 Los Angeles 19 7 4 79 Vancouver 17 10 5 86 Phoenix 16 8 5 94 Calgary 11 14 4 78 Edmonton 10 18 3 84

Chicago St. Louis Minnesota Colorado Dallas Winnipeg Nashville

Central Division 21 6 5 116 19 6 3 98 18 9 5 77 20 8 0 82 14 9 5 81 14 13 4 82 13 14 3 67

GA 84 75 62 81 93 98 105

PTS 45 43 42 39 37 26 23

89 66 75 65 80 88 88

47 41 41 40 33 32 29

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division Boston 20 8 2 84 Montreal 19 9 3 85 Detroit 15 9 7 85 Tampa Bay 17 10 2 80 Toronto 16 12 3 86 Ottawa 11 14 5 86 Florida 9 17 5 70 Buffalo 6 22 2 51

61 65 82 70 87 99 104 91

42 41 37 36 35 27 23 14

Metropolitan Division Pittsburgh 20 10 1 96 70 41 Washington 16 12 2 92 85 34 Carolina 13 12 5 71 84 31 NY Rangers 15 15 1 69 80 31 New Jersey 12 13 6 69 77 30 Philadelphia 13 14 2 64 73 28 Columbus 12 14 3 72 80 27 NY Islanders 8 17 5 75 104 21 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L).

ADELAIDE: Australia wrapped up a comprehensive 218-run victory over England yesterday to take a 2-0 series lead, leaving them on the brink of reclaiming the Ashes. The home team captured the four remaining wickets in just under an hour on the final morning in Adelaide and are now just one victory away from winning back the famous urn after three consecutive series defeats. It was a second emphatic reverse for England after they lost in Brisbane by 381 runs and the tourists must regroup before the third Test, which starts in Perth on Friday. England have only won once in 12 Tests on the traditionally pacy WACA pitch. “I think that something that is most pleasing is we are finally getting some results,” said Australian skipper Michael Clarke, who nevertheless cautioned that his side still had work to do in their quest to return to the top of the world rankings. “I think we have to be realistic,” said Clarke. “That’s our second Test win in the past 12 months-certainly not a record we’re proud of. There’s a lot of work for us to do to get back to being the number one team in the world and that’s our goal.” Australia’s victory in Brisbane was their first Test win since they beat Sri Lanka in January. They lost 3-0 to England in July-August. England captain Alastair Cook admitted his side lost the game on the first day when they were guilty of several dropped catches, allowing Australia to pile up an imposing 570 for nine declared, with Clarke making 148. “On that first day we had an opportunity to a put a bit of pressure on Australia. We let a few chances go, and they really made us pay for that,” he said. Cook said England’s first innings total of 172 was not good enough. “You don’t get too many chances on good wickets and we had the opportunity then and we didn’t take it. I thought that was the main difference. Australia took their chances very well,” he said. “The only guys who can change it are the guys in the dressing room. No one else can change it for us. We can’t sit there moping about it. It’s hurting us like hell but we’re the only guys who can change it.” Demon paceman Mitchell Johnson was named man-of-the-match for the second consecutive Test after his seven for 40 in England’s first innings. “I guess having that intimidation factor is definitely a bonus,” said Johnson, who has now taken 17 wickets in the series at 12.70, silencing the England fans who mercilessly taunted him for wayward bowling during the last Ashes series Down Under. “It wasn’t probably quite there in the last couple of Ashes series for me, so to be able to come out, just back my ability, and know what I wanted to bowl, I have just really enjoyed it, so I will continue to do that throughout the series.”

ADELAIDE: The Australian team celebrates after dismissing England batsman Graeme Swann (right) on the final day of the second Ashes cricket Test match yesterday. —AFP Under overcast skies yesterday, wicketkeeper Matt Prior showed defiance for the tourists, reaching 69 off 102 balls, before he became the ninth batsman to go. Stuart Broad fell to the fifth ball of the final day, caught in the deep by Nathan Lyon for 29 off Siddle after pulling the previous ball for six. England’s Barmy Army supporters attempted to get under Johnson’s skin, but the paceman retorted by peppering Prior with a couple of short-pitched deliveries. Prior saw off Johnson and was looking to

reprise his fighting unbeaten century to force a draw against New Zealand in March. The wicketkeeper reached his 27th Test half-century off 88 balls. Graeme Swann (six) was caught at second slip off Ryan Harris and Prior’s resistance ended when he fell hooking Siddle to Harris on the boundary rope. Siddle was the pick of the Australian bowlers with figures of 4-57. Monty Panesar was the final England wicket to fall, hitting to Chris Rogers at short extra cover to give Harris his third scalp of the innings.—AFP

SCOREBOARD ADELAIDE, Australia: Scoreboard on the final day of the second Ashes Test between Australia and England at the Adelaide Oval yesterday: 69 Australia 1st innings 570 for 9 declared (M. Matt Prior c Harris b Siddle Clarke 148, B. Haddin 118; S. Stuart Broad c Lyon B Siddle 29 Broad 3-98) Graeme Swann c Clarke b Harris 6 England 1st innings 172 (I. Bell 72 not out, M. James Anderson not out 13 Carberry 60; M. Johnson Monty Panesar c Rogers b Harris 0 7-40) Extras (lb1, w4, nb1) 6 Australia 2nd innings 132 for 3 declared (D. Total (all out; 101.4 overs) 312 Warner 83 not out; J. Anderson Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Cook), 2-20 (Carberry), 32-19) 131 (Pietersen), 4-143 (Bell), 5-171 (Root), 6England 2nd innings (overnight 247 for 6): 210 (Stokes), 7-255 (Broad), 8-293 (Swann), 9Alastair Cook c Harris b Johnson 1 301 (Prior), 10-312 (Panesar) Michael Carberry c Lyon b Siddle 14 Bowling: Harris 19.4-3-54-3 (1nb, 2w), Johnson Joe Root c Haddin b Lyon 87 Kevin Pietersen b Siddle 53 24-8-73-1 (2w), Siddle 19-4-57-4, Lyon 26-7-78Ian Bell c Johnson b Smith 6 1, Watson 6-3-6-0, Smith 7-0-43-1. Ben Stokes c Clarke b Harris 28 Result: Australia won by 218 runs

Connacht lead Irish provinces in Rugby European Cup wins PARIS: Perennial underachievers Connacht claimed their most famous scalp in leading their three rival Irish provincial sides to wins in European Cup action on the weekend. The unfashionable Galway-based side, coached by ex-Samoan flanker Pat Lam, produced the result of a scintillating three days of rugby, holding on for a 16-14 win over four-time champions Toulouse. It bucked a losing run of 10 successive matches, Connacht’s previous win of the season coming over Italian side Zebre in their opening European Cup pool game. The three other provinces all recorded bonus-point victories in what was a memorable weekend for Irish rugby fans. Threetime former champions Leinster put Northampton to the sword, 40-7, two-time champs Munster racked up a 36-8 win over Perpignan and Ulster trounced Treviso 480. Toulouse skipper Thierry Dusautoir was full of praise for Connacht, and said the gulf between the French giants and the “fourth” Irish province was not evident on the pitch. “Connacht were more aggressive than we were and they played a very good game. We’re really disappointed about our performance and about the result - we expected to win this game,” Dusautoir told “Rugby has nothing to do about the gaps between our budgets. A game is 15 men against 15, and the 15 Irish men were better than us today.” Dusautoir added: “We played them a couple of years

ago and, although we got two wins, they were not so easy to get. “So we were aware of the fact that they are a good team, even if they’re ranking last in the Celtic League. “Irish teams are not the same in Celtic League and in Heineken Cup. This competition is special for them.” Connacht coach Lam said that self-belief had been behind the victory. “Although we are at the bottom of the table this year, ever y single game we played we could have won,” said Lam. “We have a team with no superstars, we missed so many opportunities throughout the season, but we still came here confident. We just had to make sure that everyone did their job.” One player to have done his job for Leinster was talismanic Ireland centre Brian O’Driscoll. The 34-year-old was in cracking form in both attack and defence against a toothless Northampton side. “You would never expect to come to Northampton and get a result like that,” Leinster coach Matt O’Connor admitted. “The way we played in the first 20 minutes was very, very good and they couldn’t live with the tempo at that point.” Leinster had bagged a bonus point in 36 minutes and led 26-0 at the break, and then came out firing in the second half. “That’s a quality performance against a very good side, but we don’t want to get lost in it-it’s cup rugby and every game and every point matters,” O’Connor said. Ulster’s

win over Treviso was important in that it followed victory over both Montpellier and main pool 5 rivals Leicester, who now have a seven-point deficit on the Northern Irishmen. “We put a lot of pressure on ourselves this week, we knew we had to be good against a side like that,” said Ulster skipper Johann Muller. “Mentally we were really there, and when you’re mentally there, physically it falls into place.” Toulouse apart, all the serious contenders for the continent’s biggest club rugby crown posted wins over the weekend. Defending champions Toulon bounced back from a 230 defeat in the Top 14 to Stade Francais with a nervy 14-9 win over Exeter and domestic rivals Clermont waltzed past Scarlets 32-11. English heavyweights Leicester beat Montpellier 41-32 in an entertaining match, while Saracens thrashed Zebre 39-10 and Harlequins put in a great performance to beat the expensively-assembled RacingMetro 32-8 in front of 30,000 fans in the western French city of Nantes. Racing-Metro’s directors took a dim view of the result, immediately announcing that they had switched the mouthwatering Top 14 clash with Toulon away from Stade de France to its own much more modest stadium. “In light of the result against Harlequins on Saturday this has forced us to accept we are not a part of the great teams of the moment,” the club said. “ The Stade de France is reserved for such teams and we do not belong there.” —AFP



Lakers celebrate Bryant as Raptors crash party

Wataniya Telecom sponsors GulfRun KUWAIT: The third Wataniya GulfRun 24 hour Karting Endurance race took place from December 5th to December 7th. The race saw 18 teams consisting of 188 drivers take part in practice sessions and a highly competitive 24 hour endurance race at the recently launched SIRBB Circuit at Kuwait Classic Cars Museum in Shuwaikh. The event was organized by GulfRun group represented by Marzouq Al-Ghanim, Ahmad AlMudhaf and Khalid Al-Fraih, and Pro-Vision group represented by Ahmad Al-Majid and Ahmad AlHazami. Team manager Tariq Al-Fahad was very proud of his team, Q8Racing, who won the first place in the race. His team consisted of Azzam AlOtaibi, Abdulrazaq Al-Anjiri, Ahmad Al-Ghanim, Ahmad Al-Kandari, Ahmad al-Ali, Yousef Al-Fahad, Ahmad Al-Fahad. The second place winner was McDonald’s team and the third place winner was Gulf of cables team. The GulfRun Karting Endurance Race followed

international regulations and certified marshals fly in from the UK to regulate the race in accordance to FIA regulations. 18 teams participated in the exciting and challenging 24 hour long karting endurance race. The teams comprised 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. Wataniya Telecom is pleased to provide youth in Kuwait an opportunity to enjoy karting in a safe, controlled and fun environment. The GulfRun Karting Endurance Race was first launched in 2011 to create an exciting competition for youth that aligns with GulfRun’s objective to promote automobile racing and training in a safe and secure environment. Wataniya Telecom is very proud of the drivers who participated in the 24 hour race at international standards. The company will continue to support youth in Kuwait in all categories including sports, education, entertainment and technology.

LOS ANGELES: Kobe Bryant’s long awaited return to the basketball court began as a wild celebration on Sunday, but ended as a quiet reminder that the rusty All Star has more work ahead to get back to his brilliant best. Bryant made his anticipated season debut in front of a frenzied Staples Center crowd, showing small hints of old form but mostly looking out of sorts as the Lakers were defeated by the Toronto Raptors 106-94. In his first NBA action since he tore his left Achilles in April, the 35-year-old Bryant tested his surgically repaired foot during 28 minutes that saw him record nine points, eight rebounds and eight turnovers. The Lakers all-time leading scorer made just two of nine shots and conceded that Sunday’s return was just the first of many hurdles to come. “I’m still feeling it out a little bit. My rhythm is completely out of sync,” Bryant told reporters. “It’s a start. The last time I had eight months off I was still in the womb.” Bryant’s arrival was a rebirth of sorts for the Los Angeles crowd who showered him with boisterous cheers from the moment he walked into the arena. He received a standing ovation during pregame warm ups and chants of “KOBE” filled the air prior to tip-off. Looking less explosive than usual, Bryant picked his spots carefully and was more of a willing passer than aggressive shooter. He missed his first couple of shots and did not register a point until conver ting a free throw with 6:26 remaining in the first half. By then the Lakers (10-10) were playing from behind, they trailed the entire game, and Bryant was not only tr ying to catch up to Toronto (7-12) but to his new team mates as well. The 18-year veteran had never played with many of the Los Angeles players and that was all too evident by his many errant passes and misconnections. “You play training camp and (19) games, you play a certain way and when that is disrupted there are times when you don’t know where to go,” said Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni. “One game is not going to kill

the Heat 107-97 on Tuesday night.

quarter that extended Boston’s lead to 92-56. The Celtics then scored the first four points of the fourth for a 40-point bulge, triggering loud boos that would get louder at the final buzzer. Boston went on to surpass a 38-point victory by the Clippers over Chicago that had been the NBA’s biggest victor y this season. Carmelo Anthony scored 19 points for the Knicks.

us. We’re going to get through this.” Midway through the fourth quarter, with his team trailing 8981, Bryant re-entered the game and had a chance to save the Lakers as he has on many occasions before. But on this night, Bryant’s superhuman feats were grounded and he went the entire second half without a field goal. “I don’t feel normal at all,” he said. “I couldn’t wait to start watching film and start criticizing every little thing. That’s the exciting part. “You sit and watch and break it down and get ready for the next game.”

THUNDER 118, PACERS 94 Kevin Durant had 36 points and 10 rebounds as Oklahoma City turned a matchup of two of the NBA’s best teams into a blowout over Indiana. The Thunder (15-4) improved to 10-0 at home. Durant was 14 of 23 from the field and Oklahoma City shot a season-best 61 percent (47 of 77). Russell Westbrook finished with 26 points, Reggie Jackson had 15 and Serge Ibaka 13 for the Thunder. Paul George scored 32 points for the Pacers (18-3), who shot 40 percent (34 of 85).

HEAT 110, PISTONS 95 LeBron James had 24 points, nine assists and seven rebounds as Miami cruised past Detroit, avenging a home loss to the Pistons less than a week ago. Ray Allen added 18 points for the Heat, who were without Dwyane Wade but still shot 56 percent from the field and 11 of 28 from 3-point range. Miami took a 16-5 lead, and although the Pistons fought back, the Heat went on a 132 run in the third quarter to make it 74-57. Andre Drummond had 19 points and 14 rebounds for Detroit, which had its four-game winning streak snapped. The Pistons beat

CELTICS 114, KNICKS 73 Jordan Crawford scored 23 points and Boston had the mostlopsided victory in the NBA this season, battering New York. Jared Sullinger added 21 points for the Celtics, who jumped to leads of 120, 18-1 and 25-3 and improved their Atlantic Division-leading record to 10-12. The Celtics led 5831 at halftime, then Crawford made four 3-pointers in a 34-point

ROCKETS 98, MAGIC 88 Dwight Howard celebrated his 28th birthday in a big way, getting 20 points and 22 rebounds to lead Houston over Orlando. James Harden scored 27 points and also had 10 assists and eight rebounds for the Rockets. Terrence Jones added 16 points and 13 rebounds. Glenn Davis scored 18 points in Orlando’s fifth straight loss. —Agencies

NBA results/standings Boston 114, NY Knicks 73; Miami 110, Detroit 95; Houston 98, Orlando 88; Oklahoma City 118, Indiana 94; Toronto 106, LA Lakers 94.

Boston Toronto Philadelphia Brooklyn NY Knicks

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L PCT 10 12 .455 7 12 .368 7 14 .333 6 14 .300 5 14 .263 Central Division 18 3 10 11 8 10 7 13 4 16

Indiana Detroit Chicago Cleveland Milwaukee

Miami Atlanta Washington Charlotte Orlando

.857 .476 .444 .350 .200

Southeast Division 16 5 .762 11 10 .524 9 10 .474 9 11 .450 6 14 .300

GB 1.5 2.5 3 3.5

Western Conference Northwest Division Portland 17 4 .810 Oklahoma City 15 4 .789 Denver 12 8 .600 Minnesota 9 11 .450 Utah 4 18 .182

8 8.5 10.5 13.5

LA Clippers Golden State Phoenix LA Lakers Sacramento

5 6 6.5 9.5

San Antonio Houston Dallas New Orleans Memphis

Pacific Division 13 8 12 9 11 9 10 10 5 13

1 4.5 7.5 13.5

.619 .571 .550 .500 .278

1 1.5 2.5 6.5

Southwest Division 15 4 .789 15 7 .682 13 8 .619 9 10 .474 9 10 .474

1.5 3 6 6

Return of Nismo Festival brings bumper crowd to Fuji speedway

CALIFORNIA: Zach Johnson holds up the trophy after winning a playoff against Tiger Woods in the final round of the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge golf tournament at Sherwood Country Club on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013. —AP

Johnson steals Woods thunder THOUSAND OAKS: Tournament host Tiger Woods was denied a sixth win of the year in sensational fashion when he lost the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge in a playoff with Zach Johnson at Sherwood Country Club on Sunday. Johnson, who had twice finished second to fellow American Woods at this elite limited-field event, sealed victory with a rock-solid par at the 18th, the first extra hole, where Woods lipped out with a five-footer to bogey. The duo had finished regulation amid high drama and sharp swings of fortune on 13-under 275, Woods parring the last for a two-under 70 and Johnson, who came from four strokes behind with four birdies in the last eight holes, closing with a 68. “It was a bit too much drama at the end there,” a beaming Johnson told reporters after earning the winner’s cheque for $1 million. “I feel very fortunate and somewhat lucky to be sitting here as a champion.” Tied for the lead at 13 under, Johnson appeared to have the title firmly in his grasp in regulation when five-times champion Woods, from the left rough at the 18th, dumped his approach into a greenside bunker. However Johnson, perfectly positioned in the fairway, stunningly found water with his second, took a penalty drop and then holed out from 58 yards in the fairway for a par four as the galleries erupted in deafening celebration. “It was just a bad swing and I got caught up in the moment,” Johnson said of his poor approach from the 18th fairway. “That was the worst shot I hit all day ... probably the worst I hit all week. “Certainly the next shot was a little too dramatic for me, but I was very lucky to hit that one in.” Woods did well to get up and down from the bunker to take the tournament into a playoff, but was unable to

repeat the feat from a similar position in the same bunker on the first extra hole. “I hit another really good bunker shot and didn’t have as good a lie the second time around,” world number one Woods said of the first extra hole. “It came out great. “The putt (for par), I’ve been blocking them all day, and then with that little left-to-righter, I didn’t block that one. “Pretty impressive what he did,” Woods said of Johnson’s form down the stretch. “Excluding that last shot on 18 in regulation, he really hit it well coming in with three good approach shots.” Bubba Watson, the 2012 Masters champion, closed with a 70 to share third place at nine under with fellow American Matt Kuchar, who piled up eight birdies, a bogey and a double in a 67. Defending champion Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, who also triumphed here in 2010, signed off with a 69 to finish alone in sixth at five under. STRETCHED LEAD Two ahead of the chasing pack overnight after grinding out a 72 in difficult scoring conditions on Saturday, Woods appeared to be in cruise control as he stretched his lead to three with a two-putt birdie at the par-five second. He also birdied the par-five fifth, after reaching the green in two, but remained three ahead as his playing partner Johnson also birdied the hole. As the afternoon sunshine brightened, Woods then missed makeable birdie putts from six feet at the sixth and from 10 feet at the ninth to reach the turn in two-under 34 with a threestroke cushion. Woods was briefly handed a fourshot advantage when Johnson bogeyed the 10th after his approach landed on the green before spinning back down the hill. —Reuters

DUBAI: Fuji Speedway played host to the NISMO Festival on Sunday, December 1, where dozens of the marque’s most storied machines took to the track in front of over 32,000 adoring fans. After one year away (while Nismo was being relocated to a new HQ in Yokohama) this year’s festival reaffirmed its position as the preeminent of the manufacturer-based post-season extravaganzas. With an objective of bringing fans closer to the brand through the celebration of its successes - both current and historic - the NISMO Festival is eagerly awaited by motorsports enthusiasts, and widely acknowledged as the event that closes out the annual motorsports calendar in Japan. The day was filled with ontrack activity, keeping fans enthralled as iconic machines battled in exhibition races, some of them piloted by their original drivers. After the opening ceremony, this year celebrating 80 years of Nissan, the first of the ontrack sessions got underway with the Nissan Historic Demo Car Run. Featuring some of Nissan’s most coveted vehicles across four decades from the ‘60s to the turn of the century, racers including the Nissan R380, R381 and R382 sports cars, and the first Skyline2000 GT-R ventured out on track amongst more modern machinery including a brace of Group A Skyline GT-Rs (R32), Group C machiner y (R91CP, R92CP) and the unique NP35. There was also the familiar coloring of JGTC (All-Japan Grand Touring Championship) titlewinning entries in the form of Pennzoil and Xanavi Nismo-liveried cars. This was quickly followed by the NISSAN GT-R CTe (Club Track edition) Prestige Cup, with a field of a dozen identically prepared R35 GT-Rs on track for their 6-lap exhibition race. Drifting was also represented - and by one of the country’s most highly respected outfits, Team Orange. Their “Drift Show” had S13, S14 and S15 variants of Silvia, as well as the NorthAmerican spec. 180SX smoking their tires and exciting the crowds in the grandstand. The NISSAN Historic Car Exhibition Race, where ‘minor touring’ cars including the legendary B110 (16 examples), KPGC10 (3 examples) and B310 (13 examples) were demonstrated alongside ‘Hakosuka’ GT-Rs, Bluebirds and Sunnys, providing a reminiscent recap of a golden age in Japanese motorsports history. LEGENDARY DRIVERS IN ABUNDANCE In commemoration of NISMO’s first-ever

president Mr. Yasuharu Nanba (who famously took Nissan’s first international motorsports victory with a class-win in the Mobilgas Trial [Round Australia Rally] in 1958), a minute’s silence was observed prior to the day’s activities getting underway. NISMO’s current president Mr. Shoichi Miyatani appropriately reprised this at the finale when he praised the late leader, thanking him for his vision and remarking how the perfect weather gracing the event would have pleased him. The “Advent of NISSAN GT-R NISMO” brought some of the most famous of Nissan’s racers out on track, with legendary cars running alongside their modern counterparts in a fete of the brand’s halo model. Away from the track, there was plenty to keep visitors busy. Rows of vendors throughout the paddock had collectors and specialists in awe at the variety of rare and hard-to-find items and obvious musts for any die-hard Nissan fan. There was a variety of Driver Talkshows and an auction, autograph sessions, plus the Pit Stop Simulation held on the roof of the main pit building. In the run-up to next year’s all-new challenger in SUPER GT’s GT500 class, the NISSAN

GT-R NISMO GT500 was on show to the public, setting the scene for what promises to be an intensely exciting 2014 season in Japan’s top racing series. The car also demonstrates how Nissan’s race-bred technologies reach roadgoing vehicles. The Grid Walk was another major thrill, where fans were able to get ‘up close and personal’ with cars they may have hitherto only seen on track or on television. As well as the cars, the drivers were also easily approached, and the grid quickly became as packed as before any major race, spectators feverishly snapping photos with their heroes and the race queens. As if all that excitement wasn’t enough, the action continued with the NISMO GP 2013, where NISMO ATHLETE GLOBAL TEAM drivers Lucas Ordonez and Alex Buncombe joined all the current GT-Rs and Zs in Japanese racing for an 18-car blowout that had the crowd on their feet. The finale brought to an end a day filled with action and excitement, climaxing in the drivers throwing presents to the fans in the stands in appreciation of their unwavering support, both now and in the future. That future will be celebrated at the next NISMO Festival.



Osasuna rally for draw at Malaga BARCELONA: Ten-man Osasuna roared back from a three-goal deficit to secure a 3-3 draw at Malaga on Sunday, giving the Pamplona-based side the away-goal advantage in their Copa del Rey matchup. Malaga had gone up 3-0 early in the second half, but forward Roberto Torres pulled one back from long range in the 57th before crossing for the unmarked Manu Omwu to head in Osasuna’s second goal four minutes later. Malaga still appeared set to win the first leg when Osasuna’s Raoul Loe was dismissed with his second booking in the 64th, only for Emiliano Armenteros to follow up his own rebound in the 78th to pull Osasuna level for good. “The game turned against us, but we stayed patient, worked the ball and we’re able to turn it around,” said Torres, who added that he was confident his team would advance to face the winner of the tie between Real Madrid and minnow Olimpic Xativa. Malaga also finished with 10 men when Ignacio Camacho saw red for bringing down Jordan Loties from behind in the 84th.

Malaga’s first-year coach Bernd Schuster was at a loss to explain his team’s collapse. “It’s difficult, very difficult to understand,” said Schuster. Malaga is 15th in the 20-team Spanish league, just two points from the relegation zone. With this latest draw, it has just one win in its last 10 games. “It’s tough to see what we need to do to win a game if we can’t do it after leading 3-0,” Schuster said. “We are able to fall apart all by ourselves. The only thing that was lacking was (Osasuna’s) fourth goal. I was expecting it after Camacho’s red card. It was the only thing missing to round off the night.” Elsewhere in the round of 32, seven-time winner Valencia was held to a 0-0 draw at third-division Nastic Tarragona, while Espanyol needed a late goal from Christian Stuani to secure a 2-2 draw at second-division Real Jaen. Odion Ighalo scored two goals to guide Granada to a 2-0 win at second-division Alcorcon. Almeria struck three times in 11 first-half minutes to earn a 3-1 victory at secondtier Las Palmas. Valencia was fortunate not to head

back to Mestalla with a loss after being outplayed by Nastic, whose pair of Ivory Coast forwards Junior Wakalible and Jean Luc Gbayara ran amok in the visitors’ defense. Valencia will miss Brazilian striker Jonas for the return leg against Nastic after he was dismissed with a second booking in the 87th. Espanyol took control after midfielder David Lopez scored in first-half injury time, but Jaen came back to take the lead after Sidnei scored an own goal in the 65th and Jozabed Sanchez netted five minutes later. The match swung back to finally favor Espanyol when Stuani headed in a corner kick with two minutes to play to give his team the away-goal advantage entering the return leg. At Alcorcon, Ighalo headed in Fran Rico’s free kick to open the scoring for Granada on the half-hour mark, and the Nigerian striker added a second goal in the 81st minute after expertly wrong-footing his marker on the break. Almeria striker Oscar Diaz scored two goals to fuel its big win in the Canary Islands. The return legs will be in two weeks’ time. —AP

Photo of the day

Competitor performs at the WISBI Challenge Final 2013 in Spielberg, Austria. —

Brazil league match marred by violence

MONACO: Monaco’s Joao Moutinho of Portugal (right) jumps for the ball with Ajaccio’s Jean Baptiste Pierazzi of France during their French League One soccer match on Sunday, Dec 8, 2013. —AP

Monaco beat Ajaccio 1-0 in French league PARIS: Monaco beat lowly Ajaccio 1-0 Sunday with a late goal from Emmanuel Riviere to climb to second place in the French league, two points behind leader Paris Saint-Germain. Missing Colombia striker Radamel Falcao through injury, Monaco needed to work hard to convert its domination into a goal. Valere Germain missed an easy tap-in from a low cross by Layvin Kurzawa in the 75th minute, but Andrea Raggi at the far post prevented the ball from running out of bounds and cut it back for Riviere, who scored from close range. Also Sunday, 10-man Bordeaux earned a third straight win by defeating Lille 1-0 to get back in the race for a European spot, while mid-table Lyon beat Bastia 3-1 and Toulouse drew 1-1 with Montpellier. “It was important to take advantage of Lille’s slip,” Monaco defender Eric Abidal said. “It was not a pretty match, but like the coach sometimes says, no matter how you play, the most important thing is to win.” Monaco forward Anthony Martial, one of the most promising prospects in the league at 18, took a pass from James Rodriguez in the 16th and dribbled past three defenders to fire a low strike that Ajaccio goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa palmed away. Ochoa frustrated Monaco by tipping a powerful drive from Jeremy Toulalan over the bar in the 20th and saving a header from Ricardo Carvalho in the 56th from a corner. Ajaccio was reduced to 10 men in the 62nd when Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi picked up a second yellow card for tripping Rodriguez. Monaco capitalized on its numerical superiority to take the lead before striking the post twice with free kicks from Rodriguez in the 80th and playmaker Joao Moutinho in the 84th. In Bordeaux, Landry N’Guemo fired a long-range strike in the 27th minute that deflected off Lille defender Simon Kjaer to beat goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, who had not conceded a goal in his previous 11 league games. Bordeaux went down to 10 men in the 58th when

defender Maxime Poundje was sent off for clattering into Lille fullback Franck Beria. A resilient Bordeaux side managed to protect its slim lead thanks to N’Guemo clearing a bicycle kick from Lille leftback Pape Souare off the line in the 84th. “We’ve missed that solidarity to make the difference in some games,” Bordeaux goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso said. “There’s a state of mind which is emerging. We must try to keep it.” Lille lost ground in the title race and dropped to third place, four points behind PSG, while Bordeaux went level on points with fifth-place Marseille. “We were not at the races this afternoon,” Lille midfielder Rio Mavuba said. “We were beaten in our heads. They showed more desire than us.” In Bastia, Florian Raspentino converted a cross from Julian Palmieri to put the hosts ahead in the 34th. But Alexandre Lacazette equalized in the 54th before Yassine Benzia gave Lyon the lead by heading home a cross from Clement Grenier in the 56th. Bafetimbi Gomis sealed the win in the 85th with an assist from fullback Henri Bedimo. Bastia dropped to 12th after its first home loss this season. In Toulouse, Abel Aguilar scored the equalizer in the 71st after Montpellier striker Souleymane Camara opened the scoring in the 19th. Montpellier goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren stopped a penalty from Toulouse forward Eden Ben Basat following a foul from Daniel Congre, who was red-carded in the 49th. Toulouse also lost a man in the 67th when Jonathan Zebina picked up a second yellow card for dissent. On Saturday, it was: Paris Saint-Germain 5, Sochaux 0; Reims 1, Nice 0; Lorient 2, Rennes 0; and Valenciennes 1, Guingamp 1. The match between Saint-Etienne and Evian was postponed because of a frozen pitch. Marseille coach Elie Baup was dismissed Saturday after the 2010 champion lost 1-0 to Nantes the day before. Baup was replaced by sporting director Jose Anigo who will be in charge until the winter break. —AP

SAO PAULO: A key Brazilian league match was stopped for more than an hour after fans started fighting in the stands on Sunday, prompting police to fire rubber bullets to contain the crowd and bring a helicopter onto the field to airlift an injured man to a hospital. Supporters from Atletico Paranaense and Vasco da Gama charged against each other and it took several moments for police to take control of the situation in the southern city of Joinville. Groups of fans punched and kicked each other several times until police arrived and fired rubber bullets to clear the crowd. Doctors said three other fans were hospitalized but none of their injuries were life-threatening. The man airlifted from the pitch had a serious head injury but his life also wasn’t at risk, according to information released by the Hospital Sao Jose. The match, which restarted after about an hour and 10 minutes, was important for both teams as Atletico Paranaense was trying to secure a spot in next year’s Copa Libertadores and Vasco da Gama, a four-time Brazilian champion, was hoping to avoid relegation. Atletico Paranaense won 5-1 to reach its goal and demote the Rio de Janeiro club. Fan violence has been rampant in Brazil this year with several cases of fighting in stadiums across the country, raising concerns ahead of the World Cup. The match was being played in Joinville instead of Atletico’s base in Curitiba because the club had been punished for fan violence earlier this year. “This is deplorable,” said Vasco da Gama coach Adilson Batista. “It’s sad to see images like these just before the World Cup in our country. I’m shocked, this is not sport.” Television images showed players yelling at the fans and telling them to calm down. Some players put their hands on their heads as they watched the fight. A few fans tried to leave the stands to find safety, including a young woman. A ball girl was shown crying. “We tried to tell the fans to stop because things would only get worse. We looked at the stands and there were no cops. There was nobody there to stop the fighting,” said Atletico Paranaense defender Luiz Alberto, who was shown crying profusely as the altercation was taking place. “I’m playing for 20 years and I’ve

JOINVILLE: Fans of Rio de Janeiro’s Vasco da Gama attack a fan of Parana’s Atletico PR, during a Brazilian Championship football match on December 8, 2013. —AFP never seen anything like this in person. We will have a World Cup in our country and we know these images will be shown everywhere.” One Atletico Paranaense supporter was caught in the middle of several Vasco da Gama fans and was hit several times. TV images showed him motionless on the ground after police arrived to clear the Vasco fans. “This is very sad, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Atletico Paranaense midfielder Everton said. “One of the fans was alone on the ground and he was being hit for about 10 minutes without anybody doing anything. They wouldn’t stop hitting him.” A Vasco supporter also became separated from his group and was attacked by rivals. “It’s hard to focus on playing football after seeing what we saw in the stands,” Vasco defender Chris said. During the hour-long stoppage, Atletico Paranaense coach Vagner Mancini said: “I just feel like going home right now.” Police were not in

Ronaldo targeting goal record in Copenhagen MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo can set a new record for goals scored in a Champions League group stage when already-qualified Real Madrid visit FC Copenhagen today. The Portuguese has found the net eight times in just four European appearances this season to equal the record jointly held by Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Filippo Inzaghi, Hernan Crespo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has also scored eight times for Paris Saint-Germain this season. Ronaldo has missed Madrid’s last three games due to a slight muscular injury and suspension respectively, but Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti confirmed that he will return in midweek despite Madrid having already sealed their place in the last 16. “Cristiano is fine, he is training with the rest of the team and he will play today without any problem,” said the Italian. And despite a lot of talk surrounding what he may do at the World Cup next summer, Ronaldo insisted his primary focus is on delivering trophies for Madrid before making his way to Brazil. “There’s still a long way to go to the World Cup and I am focused on my club. I want to win everything and then we’ll see about the World Cup,” he said. “We have to enjoy the present, right now we are playing well in the Champions League, La Liga and now the Copa del Rey. “I hope Madrid can win something important. There is sill a long way to go until the World Cup and anything could happen. My aim is to stay focused on my club and give my best.” Gareth Bale is also expected to return in the Danish capital as he trained alongside Ronaldo on Sunday despite missing Real’s 0-0 draw away to third tier Olimpic Xativa in the first-leg of their Copa del Rey tie on Saturday due to the flu. Copenhagen cannot make the last 16 no matter how results today go due to their inferior head-to-head record against Galatasaray and Juventus. —AFP

the stands when the fighting began behind one of the goals in the stadium. A police official said about 80 private security guards were on hand to make sure the fan groups remained separated. “It’s a private event so the security was being provided by a security company hired by Atletico Paranaense,” officer Adilson Moreira told reporters. The referee stopped the match just after 15 minutes, with Atletico Paranaense leading 1-0. After the fighting was over, a police helicopter landed near one of the goals to airlift the most seriously injured fan to a hospital. The referee allowed the match to restart when more police officers were called in. They replaced the security guards separating the fan sections in the stands. Vasco directors did not want the match to continue, saying they feared for their players’ safety. No altercations were reported after the match ended. —AP

Keane continues war of words with Ferguson LONDON: Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has lashed out again at retired Old Trafford manager Alex Ferguson in a ITV4 documentary set to be aired today. The fiery Irishman claims the Scottish coach is trying to exert “control and power” at the struggling defending champions and has a “massive ego”. Keane, who was the midfield driving force in a glorious spell for the club between 1993 and 2005, but who has fallen out with Ferguson since then, said his former boss at Nottingham Forest, Brian Clough, was the best manager he worked under. United have endured a difficult start to life under Ferguson’s successor David Moyes, having already lost three league games at Old Trafford, leaving them in ninth spot and 13 points behind front-runners Arsenal. Keane said of Ferguson, now a director at United: “Everything is about control and power. He’s still striving for it now even though he’s not manager. There’s massive ego involved in that.” Keane, who left United in 2005 after a disagreement with Ferguson, was speaking in an ITV4 documentary called ‘Keane and Vieira: The Best of Enemies’ concerning his rivalry with former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira. He said that his relationship with the former United boss is now “non existent”. The Irishman even took issue with Ferguson praising him in his recently released autobiography for “covering every blade of grass” in the 1999 Champions League semi-final second leg against Juventus. Keane added: “Stuff like that almost insults me. I get offended when people give quotes like that about me. It’s like praising the postman for delivering letters.” Keane admitted he had cried in his car when his United career came to an abrupt end over a candid interview he gave to the club’s

in-house television station criticizing his teammates. He said: “Of course I was upset: I did shed a few tears in my car for about two minutes. “But I also told myself I had to get on with my life. “I walked out with nothing, I had no club lined up and I was injured. “I told David Gill I had been injured playing for Man United. “I could have played for Manchester United easily for another couple of years.” Keane said Ferguson’s strongest trait was his “ruthlessness”, while labeling “loyalty” his biggest weakness. Ferguson said in his autobiography that his authority at Old Trafford would have been undermined had he not forced Keane out in 2005. The Scot said Keane had “slaughtered” several of his team-mates in the MUTV interview. Ferguson said Keane invited the United players to watch the interview, but that the decision backfired when several senior players, including Dutch duo Edwin van der Sar and Ruud van Nistelrooy, rounded on the captain. Ferguson said at a press conference promoting the release of his book in October: “‘We had to react to the situation so quickly because his actions were so quick. For one reason or another he decides to go and criticize his team-mates. “We decided we had to do something. The meeting in the room was horrendous. I just couldn’t lose my control in this situation. “Throughout my career I have been strong enough to deal with important issues like that. Roy overstepped his mark. There was no other thing we could do.” Keane told ITV in October: “I do remember having conversations with the manager when I was at the club about loyalty and, in my opinion, I don’t think he knows the meaning of the word.” —AFP



Kenyan fan commits suicide after United loss to Newcastle NAIROBI: A Kenyan soccer fan unable to cope with Manchester United’s loss to northern rival Newcastle United committed suicide over the weekend, a senior Kenyan police official said yesterday. John Macharia, 28, plunged to his death from a multi-storey apartment block in Nairobi after David Moyes’ men suffered a second home defeat in four days, denting the champions’ chance of retaining their Premier League title. “Macharia jumped from seventh floor of an apartment at Pipeline Estate after realizing that his team Manchester United lost 10 to Newcastle at Old Trafford and committed suicide,” Nairobi’s County Police Commander Benson Kibui said. Newcastle’s first win at Old Trafford since February 1972

means the champions are now 13 points adrift of league leaders Arsenal. Macharia’s death is reminiscent of the suicide by a Kenyan Arsenal fan in 2009. Suleiman Omondi, 29, was found hanging in his flat after the Gunners were trounced 3-1 by Manchester United in the second leg of a Champions League semi-final game. Kibui urged soccer-obsessed Kenyan fans to support local teams rather than foreign clubs who do not have a link to the east African nation that is best known in the sporting world for producing middle and long-distance champion runners. “The football fans should enjoy the matches... but they should not commit suicide since life is very precious,” Kibui added. —Reuters

MUNICH: (From left) Bayern’s Jan Kirchhoff, Mario Mandzukic of Croatia, Claudio Pizarro of Peru, Javier Martinez of Spain and Bayern’s Thiago Alcantara of Spain stretch during a last training session prior the Champions League group D soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and Manchester City in Munich yesterday. Munich will face Manchester today. —AP

Man City face uphill task to end Bayern record run MUNICH: Coach Manuel Pellegrini admits Manchester City face an uphill task to break Bayern Munich’s record winning streak in the Champions League in today’s battle for top spot in Group D. Bayern are on record runs in both the Bundesliga and Champions League and their 3-1 win at CSKA Moscow a fortnight ago was their tenth straight victory in Europe, breaking Barcelona’s previous record. Bayern have turned the Allianz Arena into something of a fortress of late, winning all 18 home matches in all competitions since their last defeat in Munich last March at the hands of Arsenal. Both City and Bayern sides are through to the knock-out stages and all that remains to be settled is who will finish top of the group. The defending champions have won all of their five group games so far, including a dominant 3-1 win last October at City, who are three points behind the German side. Pellegrini’s side would need to better that result at the Allianz Arena to knock Pep Guardiola’s Munich from top spot. City have already pulled off a landmark achievement by reaching the Champions League’s knock-out stages, at the third attempt,

with a 4-2 home win over Czech outfit Viktoria Pilsen at home a fortnight ago. “We have qualified for the next round and this is very good,” said Pellegrini. “It would be better to be first in the group, but we have already played against a very strong Bayern Munich team. “They played better than us (in Manchester) and it will be very difficult to beat them 3-0 at their ground. “But we will try to do a very good match and we will try to win.” Despite beating CSKA Moscow and Pilsen on the road in Europe this season, City’s away record in the Premier League is poor with only two wins in eight away games, including Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Southampton. Pellegrini is hoping to have Spanish playmaker David Silva back from injury. The Spanish attacking midfielder has missed City’s last five matches due to a calf injury. Germany captain Philipp Lahm could return for Bayern having missed the last few weeks with a hamstring injury, but Bayern are definitely without winger Arjen Robben. The Dutchman is recovering from a deep thigh cut, but the European champions showed no signs of missing Robben, who had scored in

each of his four matches before injury struck, when they romped to a 7-0 win at Werder Bremen on Saturday. It was the Bavarian giants’ 40th unbeaten Bundesliga match since losing to Bayer Leverkusen in October 2012 and Guardiola said he was ‘honored’ by his team’s performance. France’s Franck Ribery showed he is back at his best after a rib injury with two goals and two assists in an outstanding display. Despite becoming the first German team to win the treble of European, league and cup titles under Jupp Heynckes last season, his successor Guardiola is ensuring Bayern maintain their high standards. “The coach never lets up,” said centre-back Jerome Boateng. “We were focused from the start (in Bremen) and we never let up, results like that happen when you play at such a frenzy.” Bayern face more international competition after the City game as they travel to Morocco to play in the Club World Cup and will want to finish their Champions League group campaign on a high. “The team is happy, we have a great mentality, but we have to keep playing at that level,” said Ribery with an eye on the City clash. —AFP

Champions League set for some much-needed drama MANCHESTER: Manchester United’s Scottish manager David Moyes attends a press conference at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England yesterday ahead of the UEFA Champions League football match between Manchester United and Shaktar Donetsk today. —AFP

What went wrong? Man United wonder LONDON: Manchester United’s home defeat by Newcastle United at the weekend left them 13 points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal and in danger of missing out on a Champions League place. With Everton having won at Old Trafford four days earlier, the 20-time English champions have now lost consecutive home league games for the first time since 2002. Here, AFP Sports looks at the factors behind United’s alarming slump since David Moyes succeeded Alex Ferguson as manager in July. FLIMSINESS IN CENTRAL MIDFIELD Not since Roy Keane’s pomp have United had a real driving force in the centre of the pitch and their lack of options in that area has been highlighted by an Achilles injury that has sidelined Michael Carrick. Moyes has tested two different partnerships in United’s last two matches-Marouane Fellaini and Ryan Giggs in the loss to Everton, Phil Jones and Tom Cleverley in the 1-0 defeat by Newcastle-and neither worked. Giggs’s age means that he must be managed carefully, while Fellaini is still finding his feet following his move from Everton and neither Jones nor Cleverley are specialist holding players. Former United youth-team player Robbie Savage, now a media pundit, said: “They have missed (Carrick’s) ability to keep the ball, and they do not have another defensiveminded player in their squad.” INJURY TO ROBIN VAN PERSIE Former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini said that Van Persie was the deciding factor in last season’s title race as the Dutchman’s 26 league goals helped United finish 11 points clear at the top of the table. His recent absence with groin and toe injuries saw United held at Cardiff City and Tottenham Hotspur, before being beaten by Everton. He returned against Newcastle, but did not appear fully fit. Moyes admitted that he should have been substituted with 30 minutes to play, but with United chasing the game and Wayne Rooney suspended, the former Arsenal man stayed on.

FAILURE TO STRENGTHEN Fellaini, a £27.5 million ($45 million, 33.2 million euros) recruit from Moyes’s former club Everton, was the only major new arrival during the close season. Whereas United missed out on targets including Leighton Baines, Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara and Ander Herrera, all of their rivals strengthened. Arsenal were transformed by the £42.4 million record signing of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid, while Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City all invested at least £50 million in new players-and all are now looking down on United. MOYES’S METHODS Changing-room dissent was not tolerated by Ferguson, but Rio Ferdinand openly questioned Moyes’s methods at the weekend when he said that the Scot’s habit of waiting until the last minute before naming his starting XI was creating “nervous energy”. Moyes pledged not to tinker with Ferguson’s winning formula, but he has already overseen sweeping changes, notably with the introduction of a completely new set of coaches. Pundits including former United defender Gary Neville have observed that United appear to be taking up deeper defensive positions on the pitch, while they have also become more vulnerable at set-pieces. For his part, Moyes has emphasized that the club are going through a “great transition”. LOSS OF FEAR FACTOR West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke said that his side felt no fear about visiting Old Trafford prior to a 2-1 win there in September and United’s home ground is losing its capacity to intimidate. Teams who had the temerity to take the lead against Ferguson’s United could expect a ferocious onslaught as the hosts pushed for an equaliser, but Newcastle saw out their victory in relative serenity. “Usually whenever we’re chasing a goal at Old Trafford, especially at the Stretford End, we put teams under an enormous amount of pressure,” said centre-back Jonny Evans. “But with the lack of confidence and creativity, we didn’t produce that. It is hard to put your finger on it.” —AFP

BERNE: The Champions League is set for some much-needed drama this week with the conclusion of a group stage which has been all too predictable and produced an embarrassing procession of onesided matches. Eight places in the round of 16 are still up for grabs, with much of the attention focused on Group F where Napoli, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal are battling for two spots. With Juventus and AC Milan each needing a point to qualify against tricky opponents, Italy could end up with all three of their teams in the last 16, or none at all. Benfica’s chances of reaching the final in their own Estadio da Luz are out of their hands and will be prematurely ended if Olympiakos beat winless Anderlecht, while their compatriots Porto also face an uphill battle. Swiss champions Basel, whose two wins over Chelsea have provided the only real upsets, need a point to progress at the expense of Bundesliga side Schalke 04. Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen, Zenit St Petersburg and Ajax Amsterdam are also still in with a chance of going through. Manchester United, Real Madrid, Paris St Germain, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona have safely qualified

and can use the games to give their lesser-used players a runout. So far, four games in the group stage have been won by five-goal margins, six games won by four goals and 13 matches have ended with a difference of three goals. Despite the group stage’s predictable nature, this season has at least proved more competitive than last term when 13 of the 16 knockout stage places had been booked before the final round of group matches. As expec ted, Group F has turned out to be by far the toughest. Leaders Arsenal (12 points) travel to Napoli (9) needing a draw, or a defeat by less than three goals, while Borussia Dortmund (9), will go through if they beat pointless Olympique Marseille away, regardless of the other result. Should Napoli and Dortmund both win, they will finish level with Arsenal on 12 points and the qualifiers will be decided by the results between the three teams. Group E will also have a dramatic finish when habitual over-achievers Basel (8 points) visit spectacularly inconsistent Schalke (7) needing a point to join Chelsea in the last 16. Despite their dismal domestic form, seven-times champions AC

Milan (8) should get the point they need at home to Ajax Amsterdam (7) and follow Barcelona through from Group H. “The Dutch have achieved great results and have good technique and we must take all the necessary precautions,” said Milan’s unflappable coach Massimiliano Allegri whose future is the source of constant speculation. “We have to score a goal, we cannot think of playing for the 0-0.” FORMIDABLE REPUTATION A point also appears to be well within the reach of Serie A leaders Juventus (6) when they visit Galatasaray (4) in Group B, especially as they Turks’ formidable home reputation took a huge knock when they were thrashed 6-1 by Real Madrid. Juventus have won their last seven league games without conceding a goal and would be in the last 16 already had they not conceded a late goal at home to Galatasaray and drawn 2-2. “We made qualification more difficult for ourselves and it’s only right that now we have to resolve the situation,” said Juventus coach Antonio Conte. Zenit St Petersburg (6) are favorites to follow Atletico Madrid through from Group G and give Russian football a boost as they

Beleaguered Man United eye Europe’s silver lining LONDON: Manchester United will once again look to the Champions League for distraction from their domestic woes when they host Shakhtar Donetsk in their concluding group-phase game today. Consecutive home defeats by Everton and Newcastle United have left the defending champions 13 points behind leaders Arsenal in the Premier League and they are seven points below the Champions League places. Manager David Moyes has had to face a barrage of questions about his ability to turn the situation around, but in European competition he has found solace. United are unbeaten in the Champions League this season and secured a place in the knockout rounds with a superb 5-0 victory away to Bayer Leverkusen in their last outing. They can secure top spot in Group A, and with it an advantageous draw for the last 16, if they avoid defeat against Shakhtar, and Moyes has called on his players to finish the job. “It’s important we give ourselves every chance of progressing even further in the Champions League by finishing top,” he said. “It won’t make it easier, but it will give us a little bit of an advantage by having the second game at home (in the last 16). “We will do everything we can to be top and, as well as that, we’re unbeaten in the group and want to stay unbeaten if we can make that happen.” Moyes made seven changes for Saturday’s l-0 loss to Newcastle-some enforced-and with a place in the round of 16 already secure, he suggested that he could shuffle his pack again. Asked if he might rotate his squad for the visit of the Ukrainian champions, he replied: “We have quali-

fied, so it gives me a chance to have a look at that.” Moyes will have Wayne Rooney available again after he missed the loss to Newcastle through suspension, while Marouane Fellaini is in contention after he was suspended for the trip to Leverkusen. “It is important to get through with a game to spare but we realise there is still a job to do,” said United defender Chris Smalling. “We want to finish in that top spot, so we will still be focused going into the match against Shakhtar.” Shakhtar approach the game in second place in the group, three points behind United and a point above third-place Leverkusen.Mircea Lucescu’s side need to match Leverkusen’s result away to eliminated Real Sociedad to go through and will qualify as group winners if they win at Old Trafford. Teams are separated by head-to-head record if they finish level on points and Lucescu’s side drew 1-1 with United in October’s reverse fixture. Shakhtar have had a week to prepare for the game, having played their final match prior to the Ukrainian Premier League’s winter break-a 1-0 win at Chornomorets Odesa in-on December 3. Shakhtar have never won in England, but they beat Chelsea in Donetsk in last season’s competition and only lost the return game after Victor Moses scored a 94th-minute winner. United, meanwhile, are seeking to register three group-phase wins for the first time since they last won the competition in 2007-08, and Moyes says he cannot explain why their form has been so much better than in the league.—AFP

visit winless debutants Austria Vienna for their final match. Porto (5) have a tough trip to Atletico and, although the Spaniards are already through, their Argentine coach Diego Simeone is not known for allowing his teams to relax. Benfica and Olympiakos (both 7 points) will duel for the second qualifying place in Group C where Paris St Germain are already through. The Greeks are firm favorites as they have the better head-to-head record and need only to beat bottom side Anderlecht at home while the Portuguese host formidable PSG. Group A, where Manchester United are qualified, is also set for a ner ve -wracking finale. Shakhtar Donetsk (8) are currently second, but must visit Old Trafford while Bayer Leverkusen, who are a point behind, have a much easier trip to Real Sociedad who have mustered only one point so far. Bayern Munich’s home clash with Manchester City, which should have been one of the highlights of the group stage, is effectively a friendly as both teams qualified from Group D with two games each to spare. Matches in Groups A to D will be played today and Groups E to H tomorrow —Reuters

Matches on TV (Local Timings) UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Real Sociedad v Bayer 04 22:45 Aljazeera Sport +4 Man United v Shakhtar 22:45 Aljazeera Sport 2 HD Aljazeera Sport +8 Galatasaray v Juventus 22:45 Aljazeera Sport 1 HD Aljazeera Sport +10 Aljazeera Sport +9 Kobenhavn v Real Madrid 22:45 Aljazeera Sport 4 HD Benfica v Paris Saint-Germain 22:45 Aljazeera Sport 5 HD Aljazeera Sport +6 Bayern Munich v Man City 22:45 Aljazeera Sport 3 HD Aljazeera Sport +7 Olympiacos v Anderlecht 22:45 Aljazeera Sport +2 Viktoria Plzen v CSKA Moskva 22:45 Aljazeera Sport +3

Brazilian league match marred by violence

Lakers celebrate Bryant’s return as Raptors crash party




Kenyan commits suicide after United loss to Newcastle Page 19

SAN DIEGO: San Diego Chargers wide receiver Eddie Royal (left) gets past New York Giants strong safety Antrel Rolle in the second half during an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec 8, 2013. (Inset) Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden (23) upends New England Patriots tight end Matthew Mulligan (88) after a catch in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game. — AP

Broncos clinch playoff berth GLENDALE: Unbothered by the freezing weather, Matt Prater set an NFL record with a 64-yard field goal and Peyton Manning threw four more touchdown passes Sunday, lifting the Denver Broncos to a 51-28 victory over the Tennessee Titans. The temperature was 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celsius) when Prater kicked his record setter to close the first half and pull Denver within 21-20. Manning opened the third quarter by leading the Broncos on a pair of touchdown drives, and the Broncos (11-2) easily wrapped up a playoff spot. Denver’s quarterback set a franchise record with 39 completions and finished with 397 yards. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 172 yards for the Titans (5-8), who went 73 yards in five plays to score on the game’s first drive and led 21-10 in the middle of the second quarter. SAINTS 31, PANTHERS 13 Drew Brees passed for 313 yards and four touchdowns, helping New Orleans regain sole possession of first place in the NFC South and snap Carolina’s winning streak at eight games. The Panthers’ defense had not allowed more than two touchdowns in a game this season until the Saints scored three in the second quarter alone, when Brees completed 14 of 16 passes for 159 yards. The Saints (10-3) also became the only team this season to score more than 24 points against Carolina, which entered the game No 1 in scoring defense, allowing 13.1 points per game. Brees’ first two scoring strikes went to Marques Colston, who made nine catches for 125 yards. Jimmy Graham added two TD receptions. Graham Gano kicked two field goals in the first quarter for Carolina (9-4), and Cam Newton threw a touchdown pass to Steve Smith with 5:15 left in the game. EAGLES 34, LIONS 20 LeSean McCoy ran for a club-best 217 yards, including touchdowns of 57 and 40 yards, as the Eagles overcame two TD returns by Jeremy Ross in a blizzard. Ross returned a punt 58 yards for a score and ran a kickoff 98 yards. But McCoy sprinted 57 yards up the middle for a tying TD, and Nick Foles connected with Riley Cooper on the 2-point conversion. Foles sneaked in from the 1 and Chris Polk had a 38-yard touchdown run to cap a 28-point fourth quarter for the Eagles (8-5). Snow began falling two hours before kickoff and intensified after the game started. Workers used shovels and hand-held blowers to clear off yard lines. Conditions were so poor neither team tried a field goal, and there were 2-point conversion attempts after seven of the eight TDs. The Eagles, looking to go worst-to-first in the NFC East, won their fifth straight game and took over sole possession of first place. Dallas can make it a tie for the top spot with a victory at Chicago on Monday night. The Lions (7-6) have a half-game lead over the Bears in the NFC North. RAVENS 29, VIKINGS 26 Joe Flacco threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to rookie Marlon Brown with 4 seconds left to ice the win. Brown’s catch concluded a five-play, 80-yard drive that took only 41 seconds. It came after Matt Cassel threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to Cordarrelle Patterson with 45 seconds remaining. Just before that, Baltimore’s Jacoby Jones took a kickoff 77 yards for a score, which followed a 41-yard touchdown run by Toby Gerhart, who had replaced an injured Adrian Peterson (ankle) for Minnesota (3-9-1). The zaniness began when Flacco threw a 1-yard, fourth-down pass to Dennis Pitta with 2:05 go to for a 15-12 Ravens lead. Baltimore (7-6) has its first three-game winning streak of the season and the inside track for the second AFC wild card.

PATRIOTS 27, BROWNS 26 Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes in the final 61 seconds and New England recovered an onside kick to set up the comeback win. The Patriots (10-3) cut the deficit to 26-21 on Brady’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Julian Edelman with 1:01 left. Cleveland received a 15-yard penalty on the play, then Kyle Arrington recovered the onside kick at the Cleveland 40yard line. Brady completed a 10-yard pass to Danny Amendola, then Leon McFadden was called for defensive pass interference in the end zone. That put the ball at the 1, where Brady connected with Amendola again. The Browns (4-9) moved to the Patriots 40 with 1 second left, but Billy Cundiff missed a 58-yard field goal. New England lost tight end Rob Gronkowski to a leg injury in the third quarter. 49ERS 19, SEAHAWKS 17 Phil Dawson kicked a 22-yard field goal with 26 seconds remaining as the Niners held off the nemesis Seahawks, denying Seattle a chance to clinch the division at Candlestick Park. Frank Gore broke a 51-yard gain with just more than four minutes left to set up the go-ahead 11-play, 76-yard drive as the 49ers (9-4) kept the playoff-bound Seahawks (11-2) from grabbing away the West in San Francisco. Dawson’s fourth field goal of the day gave him 20 straight converted field goals, a franchise record topping Joe Nedney’s 18 consecutive in 2006-07. Russell Wilson threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Luke Willson and Marshawn Lynch ran for an 11-yard score for Seattle, denied a franchise-best sixth road victory. The 49ers are unbeaten at home against the West since losing to the Seahawks on Oct. 26, 2008. BENGALS 42, COLTS 28 Andy Dalton threw for three touchdowns and ran for another as the Bengals remained perfect at home and in control of the AFC North. The Bengals (9-4) improved to 6-0 at

Paul Brown Stadium on a cold, windy day: 28 degrees at kickoff with a wind chill of 19 and light flurries. Dalton gave his most consistent performance since October, throwing for three touchdowns that kept the Bengals ahead and finishing it off with an 8-yard run in the fourth quarter. Dalton was 24 of 35 for 275 yards without a sack or interception. The Colts (8-5) had another slow start in the cold, falling behind 21-0 before Andrew Luck threw four touchdown passes to keep them close. CHIEFS 45, REDSKINS 10 The Chiefs scored on their first four possessions in the snow, sacked Robert Griffin III five times and Kirk Cousins once, and returned both a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown. The score was 17-0 after the first quarter and 38-10 at halftime. Quintin Demps immediately answered the lone Redskins touchdown with a 95-yard kickoff return that resembled at times a winter stroll, part of a stunning tally of 321 return yards by Kansas City in the first half alone. Jamaal Charles ran 19 times for 151 yards for Kansas City. The Chiefs (10-3), who lost two to the Denver Broncos sandwiched around a defeat to the San Diego Chargers after starting 9-0, beat up on a bad team. The Redskins (3-10) certainly qualify: Sunday’s game was their fifth straight loss, and coach Mike Shanahan appears increasingly likely to be gone after a third losing season in four years. CARDINALS 30, RAMS 10 Carson Palmer completed 27 of 32 passes, 12 of them to Larry Fitzgerald, as the Cardinals ended an eight-game losing streak against NFC West foes. Palmer, questionable for the game with a sore right elbow, threw for 269 yards and a touchdown as the Cardinals (8-5) won for the fifth time in six games. Arizona’s Karlos Dansby returned an interception 23 yards for a touchdown and John Abraham tackled Kellen Clemens for a safety. Tavon Austin’s 56-yard run set up the

NFL results/standings Philadelphia 34, Detroit 20; Miami 34, Pittsburgh 28; Tampa Bay 27, Buffalo 6; Kansas City 45, Washington 10; Baltimore 29, Minnesota 26; Cincinnati 42, Indianapolis 28; New England 27, Cleveland 26; NY Jets 37, Oakland 27; Green Bay 22, Atlanta 21; Denver 51, Tennessee 28; Arizona 30, St. Louis 10; San Diego 37, NY Giants 14; San Francisco 19, Seattle 17; New Orleans 31, Carolina 13.

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

American Football Conference AFC East W L T OTL PF 10 3 0 1 349 7 6 0 0 286 6 7 0 0 226 4 9 0 2 273 AFC North 9 4 0 2 334 7 6 0 1 278 5 8 0 0 291 4 9 0 0 257 AFC South 8 5 0 0 313 5 8 0 1 292 4 9 0 0 201 2 11 0 1 250 AFC West 11 2 0 1 515 10 3 0 0 343 6 7 0 1 316 4 9 0 0 264

PA 287 276 337 334

PCT .769 .538 .462 .308

244 261 312 324

.692 .538 .385 .308

Detroit Chicago Green Bay Minnesota

316 318 372 350

.615 .385 .308 .154

New Orleans Carolina Tampa Bay Atlanta

345 224 291 337

.846 .769 .462 .308

Seattle San Francisco Arizona St. Louis

Philadelphia Dallas NY Giants Washington

National Football Conference NFC East 8 5 0 0 334 7 5 0 0 329 5 8 0 0 251 3 10 0 0 279 NFC North 7 6 0 0 346 6 6 0 1 323 6 6 1 0 316 3 9 1 0 315 NFC South 10 3 0 0 343 9 4 0 0 298 4 9 0 1 244 3 10 0 0 282 NFC West 11 2 0 0 357 9 4 0 0 316 8 5 0 0 305 5 8 0 0 289

301 303 334 407

.615 .583 .385 .231

321 332 326 395

.538 .500 .500 .269

243 188 291 362

.769 .692 .308 .231

205 214 257 308

.846 .692 .615 .385

only touchdown for the Rams (5-8), a 1-yard run by Zac Stacy. Austin injured his left ankle on the play and didn’t return. The Cardinals lost rookie safety Tyrann Mathieu in the third quarter with a left knee injury. DOLPHINS 34, STEELERS 28 Charles Clay caught two touchdown passes, including a 12-yard strike from Ryan Tannehill with 2:53 remaining. Daniel Thomas ran for 105 yards and a score. His zig-zag 55-yard burst at snowy Heinz Field set up Clay’s winner. Tannehill completed 20 of 33 passes for 201 yards and three scores for the Dolphins (7-6). Miami won for the third time in its last four games. Ben Roethlisberger passed for 349 yards and three scores but the Steelers (5-8) lost their second straight game. Antonio Brown raced into the end zone after a series of laterals on the final play, but officials ruled he stepped out of bounds before scoring. The Steelers snapped the ball at their own 21 just before the clock hit all zeros. Emmanuel caught a short pass from Roethlisberger, starting a flurry of laterals that included getting the ball into the hands of 330-pound tackle Marcus Gilbert. Gilbert flipped it to Roethlisberger who then appeared to throw it forward to Brown. No flags were thrown, however, as Brown raced down the sideline before touching the sideline. PACKERS 22, FALCONS 21 Matt Flynn threw for 258 yards and the Packers’ struggling defense forced a key fourth-quarter turnover to snap a fivegame winless string. Mike Neal’s sack forced Matt Ryan to fumble. Defensive lineman Johnny Jolly scooped up the loose ball and celebrated with a little belly dance at chilly Lambeau Field. Four plays later, Flynn found Andrew Quarless for a 2yard go-ahead score with about 12 minutes left for the Packers (6-6-1). The score completed a comeback from an 11point halftime deficit and whipped the fans swathed in parkas and knit caps into a frigid frenzy. It was 9 degrees when the game started, with a wind chill of minus-1. Matt Bryant missed a 52-yard field goal with 6:42 left for Atlanta (3-10). JETS 37, RAIDERS 27 Geno Smith threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score as the Jets set a season high for points and stopped a three-game skid. Chris Ivory had a touchdown run, Nick Folk kicked three field goals and Antonio Allen blocked a punt and returned it for a score to help the Jets (6-7) in the AFC playoff hunt. Smith ended a miserable stretch that included getting benched last week by throwing his first touchdown toss since Week 7. The Jets also prevented the first four-game losing streak under coach Rex Ryan. Matt McGloin threw two touchdown passes and fullback Marcel Reece, starting because Oakland was down three running backs, had a 63-yard TD run for the Raiders (4-9). Oakland has lost three straight overall, and 13 consecutive in the Eastern time zone. BUCCANEERS 27, BILLS 6 Mike Glennon threw two touchdown passes and Bobby Rainey scored on an 80-yard run on the second play of the day. The Bucs (4-9) intercepted EJ Manuel four times en route to their fourth win in five games following an 0-8 start. Manuel, Buffalo’s first-round draft pick out of Florida State, was sacked seven times and doubled his interception total for the season. The Bills (4-9) have lost five of six, are assured of finishing without a winning record for the ninth straight year, and also are likely to extend the NFL’s longest current playoff drought to 14 consecutive seasons. — AP


Tokyo Gas aims to invest in coal power industry Page 22

New American Airlines emerges as deal closes


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Ooredoo wins ‘Best Mobile Operator’ award

DHL Express soars to greater heights

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MUMBAI: An Indian woman looks at a screen on the facade of the Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai yesterday. India’s Sensex jumped 1.7 percent to a record high after sweeping victories for India’s pro-business opposition party in state elections suggested it will win national polls in May. —AP

Frustrated India investors cheer oppn gains Sensex jumps 1.6% to record high MUMBAI: Sweeping wins for India’s pro-business opposition party in state elections are being welcomed by investors as a sign that national polls next year will deliver a government capable of tackling the malaise in Asia’s third-largest economy. Business leaders are openly cheering on the Bharatiya Janata Party. Several surveys show overwhelming business support for BJP prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, reflecting widespread frustration with the ruling Congress party-led government’s failure to end extravagant corruption and scythe through a thicket of bureaucratic red tape that has stifled investment. India’s economy has slowed from an average 8 percent growth over a decade to less than 5 percent in the last year, too slow to alleviate the poverty affecting hundreds of millions of people or provide enough jobs for its swelling population. Investors hope the BJP can do better, given an earlier incarnation as a government that opened markets. They are especially banking on Modi’s reputation for promoting the west-

ern state of Gujarat, which he’s led for 12 years, as an industrial haven. India’s benchmark Sensex stock index surged 1.6 percent yesterday to a record high after official results confirmed that BJP trounced Congress in four heartland states, including New Delhi. The rupee strengthened. General elections are due by May. A BJP victory might also be welcomed abroad. South Korea’s POSCO has been trying to advance plans for a $12 billion steel plant in Orissa state since 2007 and giant US retailer Wal-Mart recently dropped plans to open stores in India because of onerous local product sourcing requirements. Enthusiasm for the BJP has not been dimmed by recent moves at odds with its probusiness reputation. The party led street demonstrations last year against opening up India’s huge but underdeveloped retailing industry to foreign investment. A BJP lawmaker recently asked the Supreme Court to block Etihad Airways deal to buy a 24 percent stake in Indian carrier Jet Airways.

Even Modi’s government in Gujarat this year irked solar power companies by trying to cut their promised fees. Before the party lost power in 2004, it had long been seen as India’s main business-friendly party compared with the left-leaning Congress. The BJP once championed the reforms it railed against recently and investors believe it will flip back to supporting them if it returns to office. In India’s fractious politics, “the job of the opposition party is to oppose whatever the ruling party is doing,” said political analyst Sanjay Kumar. The Congress-led government last year eased restrictions on foreign investment in retail and aviation, hoping to revive growth. But it also dismayed businesses by passing land rights and environmental protection laws that make it harder to obtain land for factories and mines. Modi’s campaign has pushed his businessfriendly credentials, emphasizing a reputation for rolling out the red carpet for business, not red tape, under his leadership in Gujarat. The

Abu Dhabi crosses 4,000 mark; Dubai surges on real estate MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS DUBAI: Abu Dhabi’s bourse crossed the 4,000 mark for the first time in five years yesterday, playing catch-up to gains on neighboring Dubai’s market, which extended a rally driven by the recovery in the real estate sector. Abu Dhabi’s index climbed 0.3 percent to 4,001 points, it’s highest close since September 2008. The market is up 52.1 percent year-to-date, while Dubai’s index has rallied 91.1 percent in 2013. Shares that were previously lagging the benchmark performance led gains yesterday. National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi National Energy (TAQA) advanced 1.6 and 3.8 percent respectively. “Abu Dhabi is just seeing a catch-up move, I don’t think it will trigger a major change in sentiment,” said Sebastien Henin, portfolio manager at The National Investor. Dubai’s measure meanwhile rose 1.5

percent to finish at 3,100 points, a new five-year high. Real estate stocks rallied, buoyed by a strong recovery in the property prices and rent and optimism over demand for new projects. Emaar Properties and Deyaar Development jumped 3.4 and 5.3 percent respectively. “Investors are more comfortable to invest in Dubai real estate, which reflects the economic recovery. It shows a vote of confidence, which is lacking in the Abu Dhabi real estate,” Henin said. In Saudi Arabia, the index advanced 0.5 percent to 8,360 points, up for a fourth consecutive session. It nears 8,425 points - the intraday high of the year hit on Nov 18. Petrochemical and banking shares gained with National Industrialization (Tasnee) up 2.6 percent and lender SABB climbing 2 percent. Building and investment firms also rose as investors begin targeting stocks that could benefit from

next year’s budget, which is expected to be announced in the second half of December. “There is momentum building up as a result of the budget - which is going to be announced later this month,” said John Sfakianakis, chief investment strategist at Saudi investment firm MASIC. “I would not be surprised if people start pricing that in. Historically, the market tends to rally as it heads into the announcement and then again in the beginning of the new year.” Shares in Kingdom Holding climbed 0.7 percent and Emaar Economic City added 0.4 percent. In Egypt, the benchmark index slipped 0.2 percent to 6,468 points, as it hit a major resistance level in thin trading cues. It failed to break above the Nov. 20 intraday high of 6,510 - the year’s peak. Qatar’s benchmark ended near flat at Sunday’s 63-month high, while Kuwait’s measure slipped 0.2 percent. — Reuters

state’s economy has grown more than 9 percent a year since 2011 even as the country’s growth waned. Opponents say that the coastal state with its ports and established merchant class was prosperous long before Modi became chief minister. Gujarat’s continued growth also isn’t unique. Nearby Maharashtra state grew at the around same pace or faster in the same period. The business community’s Modi fever may be wishful thinking, said Abheek Barua, chief economist at HDFC Bank. India’s problems are too deeply ingrained to be solved by one man or one party. Even if the BJP were to win a majority in parliament, it would likely be too small to avoid the gridlock that plagues Indian politics. Replicating the red carpet experience for land acquisition and permits in India’s far-flung states would be even more difficult. “The business community has sort of rallied behind Modi,” Barua said. “Partly because of the attraction of Gujarat and partly because of disgust with the current government’s record.” Still, many businessmen such as Prem Bajaj are sold on Gujarat’s streamlined bureau-

cracy. Bajaj’s appreciation is striking because his plant is one of the 80 solar companies that the Gujarat government is trying to reduce the fees it pays under a special solar promotion deal from 12.5 rupees to 9 rupees per kilowatt hour. The state government says the companies’ setup costs were 40 percent less than expected. The state regulator rejected the move, ruling the contracts were binding, but the government has appealed. Bajaj proposed a 5 megawatt power plant in the state last year and said the approval process was a different world from Mumbai, India’s commercial capital. There, it can take months simply to get a telephone line, and bureaucrats tend to “put out their hand” to process simple documents. But in Gujarat, not only was he never asked for a bribe, it seemed like officials were eager to help. “You would show up with a piece of paper you need to get stamped, and the people in the agency knew what it was and sometimes you could be in and out within 10 or 20 minutes,” he said. “ To me, that was amazing.” — AP

Abu Dhabi may need to lower growth target DUBAI: Abu Dhabi probably won’t reach its target for industrial growth by 2020 and will need to lower it, a senior government official said yesterday. The oil-exporting emirate is investing billions of dirhams to diversify its economy, but the goal for industry is hard to reach, Ayman Al Makkawy, directorgeneral of the emirate’s new Industrial Development Bureau (IDB), said yesterday. The original target was for industry to contribute 19 percent of the economy by 2020 and 24 percent by 2030. It now accounts for about 5.9 percent. “Progress has been flat after the (global) crisis. It is not impossible, but it is difficult to achieve,” al Makkawy said at a MEED conference. “We may take a fresh look at the original targets.” The world has changed after the targets were set a few years ago, he added. IDB was set up last month through a new law as the governing body for industry in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Most of Abu Dhabi’s industrial GDP comes from

government-owned operations in chemicals and base metals. Several new initiatives will be rolled out to encourage private-sector industry, Al Makkawy said. Some of the initiatives include securing approval for gas supply from the government for new projects, stimulating downstream industries and expansion of free zones, he said. He declined to go into details as the plans have yet to be made public. The emirate has set up industrial areas and zones in the last couple of years, including the Khalifa Industrial Zone, which has begun attracting companies from overseas to set up industries. Wealthy Gulf states are likely to see their oil and gas revenues drop next year but heavy government spending and increasingly energetic private sectors will keep economic growth robust, a Reuters poll suggested in September. The US-allied UAE is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, with per capita income of $48,200 in 2012, according to World Bank figures. — Reuters



Tokyo Gas aims to invest in coal power industry Firm to expand business to LNG projects

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan artisans make brightly colored metal decorations for cargo trucks and buses in his shop in Rawalpindi yesterday. Decorating trucks and buses, with colorful floral patterns and intricate designs, is part of Pakistani transport tradition. — AFP

Burgan Bank announces winners of Yawmi draw KUWAIT: Burgan Bank announced yesterday the names of the five lucky winners of its Yawmi account draw, each taking home a prize of KD 5,000. The lucky winners for the daily draws took home a cash-prize of KD 5000 each, and they are: 1.WAEL HUSNI MOHAMMAD BAIDAS 2.MARTAB ALI MUNAWAR HUSSAIN 3.JEZA DUAIJ ZRAIB ALDAIHANI 4.DHAWI FALAH DHAWI ALNESAFI 5.MEJBEL MOHAMMAD MEJBEL ALRASHDAN With its new and enhanced features, the Yawmi Account has become more convenient, easier, and faster for customers to benefit from. Now, customers will be eligible to enter the draw after 48 hours only from opening the account. Customers are also required to deposit KD 100 or equivalent only to enter the daily draw, and the coupon value to enter the draw stands at KD 10. The newly designed Yawmi account

has been launched to provide a highly innovative offering along with a higher frequency and incentive of winning for everyone. Today, the Yawmi account is a well understood product, where its popularity can be seen from the number of increasing account holders. Burgan Bank encourages everyone to open a Yawmi account and/or increase their deposit to maximize their chances to becoming a daily winner. The more customers deposit, the higher the chances they receive of winning the draw. Opening a Yawmi account is simple, customers are urged to visit their nearest Burgan Bank branch and receive all the details, or simply call the bank’s Call Center at 1804080 where customer service representatives will be delighted to assist with any questions on the Yawmi account or any of the bank’s products and ser vices. Customers can also log on to Burgan Bank’s for further information.

Dabbagh plans stake sale in lubricants arm DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Dabbagh Group is planning to sell a 19 percent stake in its lubricants business Petromin ahead of a potential public offering of the unit in 2015, banking sources aware of the matter said yesterday. Proceeds from the stake sale will be used by family-owned Dabbagh Group to repay debt used to buy out its Indian partner earlier this year, three of the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity as the matter is not public. Dabbagh Group, which has interests in food, real estate and automobile services among others, owns all of Jeddah-based Petromin after buying out a 49 percent stake held by India’s Hinduja Group in May this year following strategy differences between the two partners. Petromin, the oldest lubricants company in the Middle East and formed by royal decree in 1968, makes more than 150 lubricant products and exports to more than 35 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, according to its website. “There is financing tied to this asset and they are looking to take it out by selling a minority stake,” one of the banking sources said. “Both local and regional buyers may been keen to participate as Petromin is a profitable business.”

The company has hired Saudi Fransi Capital, the investment banking arm of Banque Saudi Fransi, to arrange the stake sale, two of the sources said. Jeddah-based Dabbagh may consider selling a further 30 percent of Petromin to the public through a bourse listing in the first half of 2015, which would leave Dabbagh with a 51 percent stake, the two sources said. A spokesman for Dabbagh Group did not return an email seeking comment. Petromin and Saudi Fransi Capital were not available for comment. The buyout from Hinduja Group had valued Petromin at around $700 million, the three sources said. The 19 percent stake is being offered to a small group of Saudi and Gulf-based investors and one or more party could end up holding some of the company following the process, the second banking source said. Dabbagh Group and Gulf Oil International Group, a Hinduja unit, had paid $200 million to buy Petromin in 2007 from a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Mobil Investments, an ExxonMobil affiliate. Hinduja said in 2010 that Petromin had production capacity of 300,000 metric tons of lubricants and greases combined. — Reuters

TOKYO: Japan’s biggest city gas supplier Tokyo Gas Co is aiming to invest in coal-fired power to expand its business, underlining the country’s increased reliance on the dirty fuel since the crippling of its nuclear power industry. Tokyo Gas, which currently uses only natural gas at the power plants it owns or holds stakes in, wants to take market share from Fukushima nuclear plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co by investing in or buying coal-fired power. Japan cut its greenhouse gas emissions targets in November, primarily because it has burned more coal, as well as natural gas, to fill the supply shortage left after its nuclear power industry was shuttered following the Fukushima disaster. Japan’s 10 main utilities consumed nearly 16 percent more coal in the first 10 months of 2013 compared with a year ago. Consumption rose 26 percent in October alone. “Our task is how we access the coal power business. Taking an equity stake is possible, but we may just receive power (from coal plants),” Tokyo Gas President Tsuyoshi Okamoto told Reuters in an interview on Monday. “We cannot provide details, but we’d like to be involved in the coal power business in many ways.” Okamoto could not say how much Tokyo Gas

might invest in coal-fired power or what companies it might be targeting. Getting a base supply of coal-fired output could be key to selling electricity to residential areas when the power market for homes is liberalised by 2016, he said. Tokyo Gas owns or has a share in companies producing a total of about 2 gigawatts (GW) of gas-fired power, but it is considering investing in various projects to raise its domestic power business to 5 GW by 2020. The company is also interested in helping Tokyo Electric, or Tepco, replace its decades-old power plants on Tokyo Bay, including the 3.6-GW Sodegaura gas-fired power plant in Chiba, east of Tokyo, Okamoto said. Replacing the Sodegaura plant could cost around 300 billion yen ($2.92 billion), industry sources estimate. Tokyo Gas, Japan’s third largest buyer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), is also looking at trading the super-cooled fuel in the future so that it can ship LNG purchased in long-term contracts to other countries. “As the number of LNG projects increase, so does the contractual flexibility and there are some cases of contracts with no destination clauses,” he said. Removing destination clauses and delinking

OMV, Gazprom reach interim deal on gas Europe’s gas needs, for suspected anticompetitive behavior including overcharging customers by linking the price of its gas to oil. The problems of EconGas were a major factor in continuing losses at OMV’s Gas and Power unit last quarter. OMV recently succeeded in renegotiating a similar long-term gas supply agreement with Norway’s Statoil. OMV’s Gas and Power chief HansPeter Floren said yesterday: “This interim agreement together with the recently adjusted terms of the agreement with Statoil... enables EconGas to deliver an improved per formance in the near future.” OMV shares were up 1.5 percent to 35.07 euros by 1201 GMT, the top gainers in a flat European oil and gas index. —Reuters

VIENNA: Austrian energy group OMV said it had reached an interim deal with Gazprom over their long-term gas-supply contract, bringing prices closer to market conditions. The agreement, backdated to April 1, will help OMV ’s struggling EconGas unit, and the company said yesterday there was a possibility to review the terms again in the near future. It gave no details of the changes. OMV had been negotiating for months with Gazprom to adjust the terms of the contract, which indexed gas prices to oil prices. Crude oil prices have persisted at high levels in the last two years while the European gas market has seen prices fall. The European Commission is investigating Russia’s Gazprom, which supplies a quarter of

Jupiter CEO Bonham Carter to step down “While there may be some disappointment at his (Bonham Carter’s) loss as CEO, this should be balanced by the value which he can continue to add to Jupiter in his new role, and the obvious talents of Maarten Slendebroek as his successor,” said JPMorgan in a note to clients. Bonham Carter is the company’s eighth largest shareholder with a 2.8 percent stake worth around 49 million pounds ($80 million), according to Thomson Reuters data. “In our view his (Slendebroek’s) impact on Jupiter’s business and net flows has already been witnessed in the resilience of group flows during a period when the UK retail environment has been quieter,” JPMorgan added. The bank retained its “overweight” stance on the company. At 0840 GMT, Jupiter shares were up 0.4 percent at 380.1 pence. —Reuters

LONDON: Jupiter Fund Management said yesterday that Edward Bonham Carter would step down as chief executive after 14 years at the helm, during which he led a management buy-out and subsequent listing of the company. He will be replaced by Distribution and Strategy Director Maar ten Slendebroek on March 17, 2014, and take up a role as vice chairman, responsible for “engaging with key stakeholders” and reporting to Slendebroek. Bonham Carter, brother to actress Helena Bonham Carter, has run the firm since 2000, overseeing a series of landmark events in its history such as a private equity-backed management buyout in 2007 and a stock market listing in 2010. Slendebroek joined the company in September 2012 after 18 years at BlackRock, most recently as head of the international retail business.

gas prices from oil have been the main focal points of buyers wanting to join forces to gain concessions from global LNG exporters. “If we could have substantial volumes of LNG that can be shipped with no destination restriction, shipping to our power stations in Mexico and Belgium is possible, as well as selling to new LNG importers in Southeast Asia,” Okamoto said. Japan, the world’s biggest LNG buyer, has rapidly increased LNG purchases after the Fukushima disaster in 2011, buying a record 86.9 million tons in the year ended March 31 and racking up a record trade deficit. Tokyo Gas bought 12.1 million tons for that year, accounting for about 14 percent of the imports. It uses about 9 percent of its LNG imports for power generation, and sells the rest for residential use and industry. Almost all of Japan’s long-term LNG import contracts are currently linked to oil prices, but many Japanese firms are hoping to shift to either US or European gas pricing benchmarks to cut import costs. Tokyo Gas is also pursuing opportunities for increasing its bargaining power via a buyers’ club made up of companies in South Korea, India, China and Taiwan, he said. — Reuters

Czech inflation rises, deflation still looms PRAGUE: Czech inflation accelerated on an annual basis for the first time for four months in November, official data showed yesterday, but a monthly price drop suggested a risk of deflation. Troubled by low inflation, the central bank intervened on the forex market last month to weaken the koruna currency and keep the rate at about 27 koruna to the euro. The move was intended to give the economy an export boost and push inflation closer to the central bank’s target of two percent by making imported goods more expensive. With its eye on inflation, the bank had previously slashed lending rates to a record low of 0.05 percent. Yesterday’s data showed that consumer prices grew by by 1.1 percent on a 12-month basis in November after 0.9percent the month before. Price growth was fuelled by higher food prices, the Czech Statistical Office said. But on a monthly basis prices slid by 0.1 percent in November, following an 0.2-percent rise in October. “If we look at the economy through core inflation, we can say we have been in deflation for four and a half years,” said David Marek, an analyst with Prague-based investment bank Patria Finance. He added that annual inflation remained positive only because of an increase in sales tax early this year, while core inflation-adjusted for seasonal influences, regulated prices and other administrative steps-was negative. Marek said the central bank’s forex intervention “had not affected the November (inflation) figure yet”. He expected annual inflation to be between zero and one percent in the first half of 2014 and at 1.0-1.5 percent in the second half, with lower power prices among the key factors. The country, with central Europe’s third-biggest economy after Poland and Austria and forming part of the region which analysts refer to as emerging Europe, shook off a record 18-month recession in the second quarter of this year. But the European Union member of 10.5 million people-which is heavily dependent on car production and exports to the euro-zone which it has yet to join-posted another quarterly contraction of 0.1 percent in the third quarter. In further signs that the economy is far from a lasting recovery, the labor ministry said yesterday that Czech unemployment had risen to 7.7 percent in November from 7.6 the previous month. Central banks and policymakers regard deflation, meaning a period of falling prices, with deep concern as it can set in motion a vicious spiral of falling demand, rising unemployment and a further fall in demand. Disinflation is a process of a slowing of the rate of increase in prices, which is a policy target when inflation is high but becomes a concern when it takes inflation down to about one percent or less. —AFP

EXCHANGE RATES Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. ASIAN COUNTRIES 2.750 4.634 2.610 2.162 2.903 227.060 36.518 3.636 6.440 8.828 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES Saudi Riyal 75.537 Qatari Riyal 77.831 Omani Riyal 735.840 Bahraini Dinar 752.360 UAE Dirham 77.142 ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash 40.600 Egyptian Pound - Transfer 40.660 Yemen Riyal/for 1000 1.321 Tunisian Dinar 171.090 Jordanian Dinar 400.010 Lebanese Lira/for 1000 1.900 Syrian Lira 3.077 Morocco Dirham 35.394 EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 283.150 Euro 389.330 Sterling Pound 464.080 Canadian dollar 266.750 Turkish lira 140.030 Swiss Franc 318.150 Australian Dollar 258.800 US Dollar Buying 281.950 GOLD 20 Gram 233.000 10 Gram 118.000 5 Gram 61.000 Japanese Yen Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka Philippine Peso Thai Baht Irani Riyal transfer Irani Riyal cash

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 263.06 270.20 316.41 387.43 282.85 468.29 2.82 3.638 4.549 2.158 2.859 2.610 77.08 752.83 41.05 402.56 735.59 78.11 75.56

SELL CASH 262.000 270.000 316.000 389.000 285.600 471.000 2.800 3.800 4.860 2.600 3.400 2.760 77.400 753.7000 41.100 407.600 741.700 78.500 75.800

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 282.900 269.190 463.010 388.670 315.095 746.995 77.000 78.550 76.310 398.790 41.020 2.163 4.629 2.614 3.634 6.427 694.860 3.765 09.765

Syrian Pound Nepalese Rupees Malaysian Ringgit Chinese Yuan Renminbi

Singapore Dollar South African Rand Sri Lankan Rupee Taiwan Thai Baht

3.015 3.840 88.340 46.930

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 0.007360 0.455806 0.006635 0.047921 0.382324 0.042077 0.081702 0.008113 0.039521 0.311003 0.138373 Australasia 0.249736 0.228575 America 0.260710 0.279050 0.279550 Asia 0.003334 0.045109 0.034433 0.004389 0.000020 0.002688 0.003352 0.000258 0.084542 0.002976 0.002453 0.006423 0.000069

SELL 0.008360 0.464806 0.018835 0.052921 0.389824 0.047277 0.81702 0.018113 0.044521 0.321203 0.145373 0.261236 0.238075 0.269210 0.283400 0.283400 0.003934 0.048609 0.037183 0.004790 0.000026 0.002846 0.003352 0.000273 0.090542 0.003146 0.002733 0.006703 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

0.223231 0.021558 0.001894 0.009442 0.008525 Arab 0.744605 0.037687 0.000078 0.000186 0.395147 1.0000000 0.000138 0.022656 0.001198 0.729422 0.077064 0.074870 0.002170 0.166182 0.138373 0.076109 0.001286

0.229231 0.030058 0.002474 0.009622 0.009075 0.752605 0.040787 0.000080 0.000246 0.402647 1.0000000 0.000238 0.046656 0.001833 0.735102 0.078277 0.075570 0.002390 0.174182 0.145373 0.077258 0.001366

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) 282.900 389.350 465.750 267.650 4.598 41.063 2.161 3.642 6.452 2.610 753.500 77.100 75.600



DHL Express soars to greater heights Kuwait’s No 1 express service provider grows with market: Hariri By Sajeev K Peter KUWAIT: DHL Express Kuwait, the leading express logistics provider, has widened its market share in Kuwait with a customercentric strategy and innovative services and solutions, said Omar Hariri, Country Manager, DHL Express Kuwait yesterday. Talking to Kuwait Times in an interview, Hariri gave a snapshot of DHL Express’ operations in Kuwait and explained how the courier firm has emerged as the ‘provider of choice’ for the customers. Omar Hariri took over in June this year as head of the DHL Express operations in Kuwait. As an express service specialist, who joins Kuwait office from DHL Express Saudi Arabia, Hariri finds the market quite interesting. According to him, there are a lot of similarities between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in terms of cultures and processes. “Of course, compared to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait is a small market. That makes it more challenging because you always have to be on top in terms of services. You have to be right first time when you provide services,” Hariri said. Giving an overview of DHL’s customer-centric culture, he said, “For us, customer satisfaction is our top priority. We strive to provide top quality services - focusing on our ‘insanely’ customercentric culture.” Elaborating further, he said DHL Express Kuwait will look into

each and every process in order to meet customer needs. “But we don’t stop at one level. We always look to improve our ser vices because the market is growing. And we want to grow along with the market,” he explained. Being the only express company in Kuwait that operates its own aircraft for delivery services, DHL Express has its own dedicated aircraft that comes to Kuwait

in clearance and customs formalities. We offer unique door-todoor solutions that are hasslefree. Put all these together, we ensure that shipments move without any hassle,” he elaborated. TRACKING SYSTEM Talking about the unique DHL tracking system, Hariri said, DHL Express deploys different tools

KUWAIT: Omar Hariri, Country Manager, DHL Express Kuwait, talks during the interview. —Photo by Sajeev K Peter International Airport on a daily basis. “We have around 58 vehicles comprising trucks and vans delivering shipments around Kuwait. We have around 198 employees in DHL Kuwait. Similarly, we have dedicated clearance facility with resourceful clearance agents who are experts

depending on customers - individual or corporate. “Especially with the availability of smartphones today, customers can download an application on their smartphone that will help them track their shipments. We also have an active tracking system by which we can

inform the customers through text messages that their shipment has arrived. They can also visit our website. For corporate customers, we have a customized software that can help them make their booking, track the shipment and print invoices.DHL also allows the customers to track their express shipments using a personalized reference number. Adding this reference on their waybill allows DHL account-holders to differentiate shipments on their monthly invoice,” he explained. MARKET SHARE Hariri said DHL Express as the market leader, enjoys a market share of nearly 50 percent. “We have achieved this growth despite a mounting competition. Every player in the market is introducing new products and services to push into the market. But with our innovative solutions and services, we make a difference in the market,” Hariri said. While DHL Express grows around 13 percent globally year on year, it grows approximately 15 percent y-o-y in Kuwait. “Usually the growth is coming from our loyal partners and customers who help us to get into new businesses. Since we enter as consultants, we are able to go and understand the entire supply chain mechanism so that we can identify the room for improvement and improve the customers’ supply chain. This

approach helps us strengthen the customer’s trust in a strategic relationship,” he said. Shedding light on future strategy, Hariri explained that DHL Express is always the ‘provider of choice’ for its customers. “DHL Express is available in 220 countries. We invest heavily in assets, facilities and network so that we are available everywhere. We are called ‘the big yellow machine’, because it is a huge machine of network that produces efficiency and precision in terms of shipments. Our strategists always look into processes and facilities in order to make sure that our services are always top class as the ‘Provider of Choice,” he said. DHL Express is also the ‘Employer of Choice’ for its staff. “It is not easy dealing with different people. But we make huge investments in people by training, motivating and engaging them to work in a nice environment,” he said. In 2013, DHL Express bagged ‘the Best Employer Award’ becoming number 1 in Kuwait and number 5 in the entire Middle East. “This clearly demonstrates that DHL Express is the ideal company to work with. DHL is also the ‘investment of choice’ for investors,” he said. SKY BOX DHL Express has introduced a new signature product called Sky Box seven months ago in

Kuwait catering to individuals who wish to shop online. “It gives you the option to shop from USA and U.K. You can also buy from many stores, consolidate your purchases and bring them together. The video tracking facility will allow you to see your shipment virtually. And in three days’ time, the product will be delivered at your doorstep without any hassle,” he explained. “Our Sky Box product has become a success story with more than 600 active customers enjoying the ser vice. We are looking for ward to focusing more on this product in 2014 to ensure that there is more awareness about the product in the market as it penetrates into it,” he said. Talking about the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program, Hariri said as a market leader, it is the responsibility of the company to respond to the society and environment. “We focus on environmental protection, disaster management and support voluntary service programs of our employees. We follow the motto, ‘GoGreen, GoHelp and GoTeach’. Last year we sent aid to help the displaced Syrians. Similarly, we undertook initiatives in Kuwait by organizing beach cleaning and blood donation campaigns. School children regularly visit DHL offices on field trips to learn about the courier service industry,” Hariri added.

China inflation slows to 3.0% in November Tightening of monetary policy not imminent

KUWAIT: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a press conference in Tokyo yesterday. Prime Minister Abe’s growth strategy centers on cheap credit, a weak yen and longer-term reforms to boost competitiveness, but corporate investment and personal incomes have yet to rebound. —AP

Japan Q3 economic growth shrinks TOKYO: Japan’s growth in the three months to September slowed markedly, revised data showed yesterday, highlighting the challenges of Tokyo’s bid to fire up the world’s third-largest economy. The once-anemic economy had been outpacing other G7 nations in the first half of the year as a policy blitz led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, dubbed Abenomics, helped push down the yen, giving a boost to exporters and sparking a stock market rally. That had stoked optimism over Japan’s prospects. But yesterday, the Cabinet Office revised down Japan’s third-quarter economic growth to a final reading of 0.3 percent from an initial figure of 0.5 percent-a marked slowdown from 0.9 percent growth in the previous quarter. On an annualized basis, which stretches the data across a full year, growth was 1.1 percent in the quarter against an initial reading of 1.9 percent. A turndown in corporate capital spending was largely to blame for the downward revision, while Japan’s key export sector remains under pressure as Tokyo logs ballooning trade deficits. The fresh Gross Domestic Product figures mean Japan’s headline-grabbing growth in the first half of the year has now fallen well behind the US economy, which expanded at a revised 3.6 percent annualized rate in the third quarter. Some economists predict the Japanese economy will pick up pace toward the year end, but they remain divided over whether the government’s stimulus policies will cement lasting growth. The data Monday come after Tokyo on Thursday approved a spending package worth almost $54 billion in a bid to offset a tax hike that comes into effect next year and which critics fear will derail Japan’s budding economic recovery. The 5.5-trillion-yen ($53.8 billion) stimulus is loaded with public works spending, including construction projects for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, rebuilding coastal communities shattered by the 2011 quake-tsunami and updating the country’s ageing infrastructure.

London-based Capital Economics called the package “disappointing”. “The measures focused on old-fashioned subsidies and public works which will do very little to boost competitiveness,” it said. The package came as concern grows that April’s sales tax hike-to 8.0 percent from 5.0 percent-will take a bite out of Abenomics. Economists estimate the impact on households at some 8.0 trillion yen, threatening consumer demand just as the economy is picking up. However the tax hike is seen as crucial to battling another threat to Japan’s prospects: a mammoth national debt. Standing at more than twice the size of the economy, Japan has the heaviest debt burden among industrialized nations. The International Monetary Fund, among others, has been calling on Tokyo to gets its fiscal house in order. Analysts have been warning that Tokyo’s bold pro-growth program-a mix of big government spending and central bank monetary easing-is not enough on its own without promised economic reforms. The proposed shake-up, including loosening rigid labor laws and signing wide-ranging free trade deals, is seen as key to ushering in lasting change in an economy plagued by years of deflation. Legislators passed a bill that paves the way for an opening up of the electricity sector, and Abe has vowed to remove some subsidies for the protected agricultural sector. But deeper reforms have so far been more talk than action. That has raised the prospect of the Bank of Japan having to expand its already unprecedented monetary easing measures, launched in April, to give another jolt to the economy. Critics of Abe’s policy say growth so far is largely thanks to stimulus spending and the Bank of Japan’s injections of vast sums into the financial system, similar to the US Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing. Separately yesterday, Japan’s current account-the broadest measure of its trade with the rest of the world-logged a deficit of 127.9 billion yen in October, official figures showed, reversing a 420.8 billion yen surplus a year ago. —AFP

BEIJING: Chinese inflation slowed to 3.0 percent in November to snap two months of acceleration in consumer prices, official figures showed yesterday, well under the government’s target for the year. Analysts saw the result as largely positive for the world’s secondlargest economy, signalling no imminent need for authorities to tighten monetary policy. The annual rise in the consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, compared with an increase of 3.2 percent recorded in October, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced. It was also lower than the median forecast of 3.1 percent by 11 economists in a Wall Street Journal sur vey reported by Dow Jones Newswires. Inflation for the first 11 months of the year came in at 2.6 percent, far below the government’s full-year target of 3.5 percent. China’s exports grew far more strongly than expected in November while import growth weakened, fuelling the country’s biggest trade surplus in nearly five years, the government announced Sunday. Exports increased 12.7 percent year-on-year to $202.2 billion, the General Administration of Customs said. Imports were up 5.3 percent year-on-year to $168.4 billion, with the monthly trade surplus expanding to $33.8 billion from $31.1 billion in October the biggest since January 2009. The latest inflation and trade data came after China’s economy snapped out of a first-half slump, with gross domestic product growth in the third quarter accelerating to 7.8 percent year-on-year after slowing during the first two quarters. “Good news on the inflation front,” Bank of America Merrill

BEIJING: Two men play a game in a Hutong alleyway in Beijing yesterday. Chinese inflation decelerated to 3.0 percent in November, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said, well under the government’s target for the year. — AFP Lynch economists Zhi Xiaojia and Lu Ting wrote in a report after the release of the price data. “In the past few weeks markets have been worried that the PBoC could be forced to tame rising CPI inflation by tightening credit supply, evidenced by rising bond yields,” they added, referring to the People’s Bank of China, the central bank. But with the inflation slowdown and the producer price index (PPI), which measures prices for goods at the factory gate, continuing to fall, “markets could breathe a sigh of relief”, they said. PPI fell 1.4 percent

year-on-year in November, according to the NBS, maintaining a long string of decreases. Month-onmonth from October, the PPI was unchanged for a second consecutive month, after recording slight increases in August and September. “As long as PPI inflation remains negative, there is little passthrough effect to CPI inflation,” ANZ bank economists Liu Li-Gang and Zhou Hao wrote in a report. Sunday ’s strong trade data for November, which showed improved demand for Chinese exports in advanced economies, as well as a report earlier this month

UK wage growth at 6-year high as economy recovers LONDON: Wages in Britain grew at their fastest rate in six years during November, a labor market survey indicated yesterday, providing a rare signal that a long-term decline in real incomes is being checked by a return to economic growth. Prices have been consistently outpacing wages in Britain in recent years, squeezing household budgets and making the cost of living a key political battleground ahead of a general election in 2015. However, last month starting salaries for permanent staff rose at their highest rate since November 2007, according to survey data from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and consultancy KPMG. The survey’s pay index has been steadily rising in recent months and in November hit 59.7, up from 57.6 in October. REC Chief Executive Kevin Green said he expected salaries to keep increasing into 2014. The survey focuses only on data from recruitment agencies, and so is not fully

representative of the labor market, but nevertheless suggests that Britain’s unexpectedly strong economic recovery this year is having an impact on earnings. A recovery in real wages, if borne out by other jobs data, would help Prime Minister David Cameron’s government to blunt allegations by the opposition Labour party that it has not done enough to help households cope with rising costs. The state of the labour market is also closely watched by investors because it plays a key role in the Bank of England’s monetary policy. The unemployment rate fell last month, bringing it closer to the level at which the central bank says it will consider raising interest rates. The REC/KPMG survey also indicated that the number of people finding jobs had grown and demand for staff had hit a 15year peak, adding more weight to the market’s view that a rate hike may come as early as December 2014, sooner than implied by official projections. —Reuters

on Chinese manufacturing activity were also seen as positive signals for China. “There are significant signs of improvement in the global economy”, Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Lu and colleague Sylvia Sheng wrote in a separate report, citing in particular the United States, Britain and the eurozone economies. Figures released by the NBS at the beginning of December showed that China’s purchasing m a n a g e r s’ i n d e x ( P M I ) , a k e y measure of manufacturing activi t y, r e m a i n e d a t a 1 9 - m o n t h high. —AFP

EU scraps duty on jet fuel imports BRUSSELS: The European Union adopted a regulation yesterday making jet fuel imports duty-free starting next year, ending months of uncertainty that had worried airlines, refiners and traders. EU ministers ‘today adopted a regulation removing duties on jet fuel imports as from 1 January 2014’, the executive European Commission said in a statement. Yesterdayís move applies to all imports of jet fuel, regardless of origin, the Commission said. Europe’s aviation sector, fuel traders and oil producers in the Middle East and India had feared a change to the European Union’s tariff scheme from next year could lead to a 4.7 percent levy on purchases of jet fuel from outside the bloc. The suspension of the duties for jet fuel will be reviewed within five years, the Commission said. In June, the EU said it would impose a duty on imports from Gulf Cooperation Council states, which include Saudi Arabia and Qatar, starting on Jan 1, 2014 after removing the group from the so-called generalized scheme of preferences, which offers trade advantages to developing economies. The EU ministers yesterday cancelled that duty. European demand for jet fuel totaled 1.2 million barrels per day last year, of which one third was imported, mostly from the Middle East, according to the International Energy Agency. —Reuters



Gold clouded by US stimulus doubts SINGAPORE: Gold was trading in a tight range yesterday as markets fretted over when the U.S. Federal Reserve would start to taper its economic stimulus and as stronger equities dented the metal’s safe-haven appeal. But gold’s success in holding its ground on Friday despite strong US nonfarm payroll data shows expectations of a December tapering may have already been priced in. Short covering could also offer some support in the near-term as investors re-adjust their expectations. Data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed that hedge funds and money managers raised their bearish bets in US gold futures and options close to a 7-1/2

year high in the week to Dec 3, another reason that short-covering rallies could emerge. “We could expect a short-term recovery in gold prices as, in our view, the mood of the market is exaggerated regarding the macroeconomic situation in the US,” said Alexis Garatti, an economist at Haitong International Research in Hong Kong. Garatti said he does not expect the Fed to begin tapering its $85 billion bond purchases this month. Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,230.52 an ounce by 0734 GMT. Most Asian share markets rose, energised by a potent cocktail of upbeat Chinese trade data, a weaker yen and a firm finish on Wall Street. Gold prices

have fallen about 27 percent this year amid a shift in investor money to equities, and improving US economy. Markets are in data-watch mode to figure out how soon the Fed could begin cutting back its stimulus measures, which have supported bullion in its role as a hedge against inflation. Haitong’s Garatti, who expects a tapering only in 2014, said gold prices would trade in a wide $1,200-$1,400 range next year, with fluctuations caused by data flow. Holdings in SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 3 tons to 835.71 tons on Friday - the fund’s lowest since early 2009. — Reuters TOKYO: A woman walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo indicating higher global stock markets, including Japan’s Nikkei 225 (top center) that gained 301.20 points to 15,601.06 at point yesterday.—AP

Asian markets rise after US jobs data HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly rose yesterday and the dollar edged higher against the yen as Wall Street rallied in response to a surprisingly sharp fall in the US jobless rate. Japanese shares enjoyed healthy gains despite the government’s downgrade of third-quarter growth, which has raised questions about the strength of a recovery fuelled by government spending. Tokyo jumped 2.29 percent, or 350.35 points, to 15,650.21 and Seoul climbed 1.01 percent, or 19.97 points, to 2,000.38. But Sydney fell 0.80 percent, or 41.6 points, to 5,144.4. Shanghai was flat, edging 1.09 points higher to end at 2,238.20 and Hong Kong added 0.29 percent, or 68.07 points, to close at 23,811.17. The Sensex in Mumbai rose 1.00 percent to a record high after the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, widely seen as business-friendly, recorded a string of victories in state elections. Traders took their cue from New York, where the three main indexes posted solid gains Friday after the Labor Department said the jobless rate dropped to a five-year low of 7.0 percent in November, from 7.3 percent in October. It also said the economy added a healthy 203,000 jobs. The upbeat data increase the chances that the Federal Reserve will begin to wind down its stimulus program sooner rather than later. Fears of a reduction in the Fed’s $85 billion a month bond-buying schemewhich has been credited with fuelling an equities rally in world markets-pushed down stocks last week. However, analysts said it may hold off any taper at its December meeting because the pace of jobs growth is still below the levels seen at the start of the year, while economic growth in October-December is expected to be sluggish. They forecast that the central bank will wait to see whether the jobs figures can be sustained over another month. The Dow surged 1.26 percent, the S&P 500 added 1.12 percent and the Nasdaq jumped 0.73 percent Friday. “The correction stage of the US shares prior to the

employment data release is over and there is greater optimism in the market, buoyed by the reaction to the strong employment figures,” Mitsushige Akino, fund manager at Ichiyoshi Asset Management, told Dow Jones Newswires. On forex markets, the dollar climbed against the yen since an end to the stimulus would mean fewer dollars circulating in financial markets, pushing up demand. The dollar bought 103.05 yen Monday compared with 102.85 on Friday in New York. The euro fetched 141.15 yen, levels not seen since October 2008, compared with 141.03 yen on Friday. It stood at $1.3699 against $1.3705. The euro was supported by the European Central Bank’s decision last week to delay any new interest rate cuts despite prolonged low inflation. Japan growth slows Japan said yesterday that economic growth in the three months to September slowed to 0.3 percent quarter-on-quarter, less than the 0.5 percent initially stated and well down from the 0.9 percent in the previous three months. While analysts tipped a pick-up in pace in October-December they remain divided over whether stimulus policies-which stoked impressive increases earlier in the year-will cement lasting growth. Shanghai ended flat despite official figures Sunday showing a bigger-thanexpected trade surplus of $31.1 billion in October. In India dealers cheered the BJP’s election success, which raised hopes it could come to power with decisive strength in a general election in May and introduce pro-market reforms to boost the ailing economy. The rupee also strengthened to 60.84 to the dollar at one point, its strongest since August before easing slightly to 61.15. It had closed on Friday at 61.42. On oil markets New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate for January delivery, was up seven cents at $97.72 a barrel in afternoon trade. Brent North Sea crude for January fell nine cents to $111.52. —AFP

Brent oil steadies above $111 on US, China data LONDON: Brent crude steadied above $111 a barrel yesterday, underpinned by upbeat economic data from the United States and China, the world’s two biggest oil consumers. Brent futures were down 10 cents at $111.51 a barrel by 0930 GMT, after rising more than $1 in the previous session. US crude rose 20 cents to $97.85, after ending Friday with its largest weekly percentage gain since July 5. “Oil continues to draw support from bullish macro sentiment following decent US payrolls figures and strong trade data from China,” V TB Capital oil strategist Andrey Kryuchenkov said. Ben Le Brun, market analyst at OptionsXpress, agreed: “The United States and China are two big growth engines of the world economy, so any improvement in terms of their economies is going to reflect well in future crude oil demand,” Le Brun said. Chinese trade figures on Sunday showed exports well above forecasts in November, rising 12.7 percent from a year earlier, while imports up 5.3 percent added to recent signs that economic growth is stabilising. Crude imports by China, the world’s second-largest consumer, reached

23.56 million tonnes in November, or 5.73 million barrels per day (bpd), up 19.1 percent from the previous month on a daily basis. US data released on Friday showed the jobless rate fell last month to its lowest since November 2008, fuelling speculation that the Federal Reserve might act when it holds its next policy meeting on Dec 17-18. But the prospect that a strengthening US economy could persuade the Federal Reserve to begin curbing its commodityfriendly stimulus dragged on prices. Weather-related oil production losses provided price support. North Sea oil producers cut output and moved staff from some platforms as a major storm blasted toward mainland Europe in what meteorologists warned could be the worst weather to hit the continent in years. “Potential North Sea production cuts due to severe weather in Europe could see Brent perform better this week,” analysts at ANZ said in a note. Brent rose 1.7 percent last week. Cold weather also dented oil and gas production in the United States and could further crimp output in top crudeproducing states, such as Texas and North Dakota. — Reuters

Euro-bound Latvia returns to deflation RIGA: Latvia returned to deflation in November as consumer prices fell by 0.4 percent on a 12-month basis, official data showed yesterday, just weeks ahead of the Baltic state’s euro-zone entry. The national statistics office also released data showing that Latvia remained on track to post the strongest growth in the European Union for a third year running. The Baltic state of two million people will swap its lats currency for the euro on January 1, becoming the eurozone’s 18th member. Alongside this development, Latvia along with the other Baltic states of Estonia and Lithuania is considered by economists to form part of what they term emerging Europe, a region which they say is now well placed for firm recovery pro-

vided that the euro-zone continues to climb away from recent recession. In Latvia, shops and services are already displaying prices in both currencies, while post offices will release the first euro-coin starter packs to the public today. The 0.4percent deflation rate in November on an annual basis followed a zero rate in October. On a monthly basis, prices fell even more sharply by 0.5 percent in November, down from 0.3 percent inflation in October. ‘The inflation data for November are a surprise,’ Nordea bank chief economist Andris Strazds said. He explained that in contrast to previous months, deflation was recorded across the board and not just in the price of a particular product group.—AFP



Kuwait money supply growth strong NBK ECONOMIC REPORT KUWAIT: Credit growth exceeded expectations in October, recording the largest monthly gain in five years. The non-financial sector drove the increase while household credit was weaker than in recent months. Money supply continued its healthy expansion following gains in time and foreign deposits. Bank credit increased by 391 million in October, pushing year-on-year (y/y) growth to 7.8 percent. October’s data confirms the accelerating trend in credit growth which exceeded previous expectations. October’s strength was particularly visible in growth of non-financial business credit which accelerated to its most rapid pace since the financial crisis. Household credit grew at a more moderate pace gaining by KD 47 million. Growth eased to 16.7 percent y/y from the 18 percent pace maintained over the past five months. Despite this, the sector remains the largest contributor to credit growth accounting alone for 29 percent of total credit and about half of all credit gains year-to-date. The non-financial business sector’s strong gain of KD 365 million was behind October’s exceptional performance. Growth in credit to the sector accelerated

to 7.3 percent. An unusual increase of KD 71 million in credit to the oil & gas sector coupled with strong increases in lending to the trade and real estate sectors helped propel the sector in October. Meanwhile, the non-bank financial sector remained in deleveraging mode, registering a KD21 million drop in credit. Year-on-

year, the sector’s debt to the domestic banking sector shrank by 19 percent. Private sector deposits saw a second consecutive month of sizeable gains, adding KD 468 million on the month. KD time deposits (+KD 171 mn) and foreign deposits (+KD 209 mn) drove the increase, while dinar sight deposits and

savings deposits experienced modest growth. As a result, money supply saw another strong month. Broad money (M2) expanded by KD 466 million, leading year-on-year growth to accelerate to 10.6 percent from 9.6 percent in October. The narrower M1 measure increased by only KD 72 million, with growth slowing

to 19 percent from a month ago. Deposit rates on dinar time deposits remained steady at relatively low levels. Average rates remained unchanged for 1month, 3-month, 6-month, and 12month time deposits at 0.56 percent, 0.74 percent, 0.94 percent, and 1.12 percent, respectively.

Fed economic stimulus will end in 2014: Survey NEW YORK: The vast majority of business economists believe the Federal Reserve will begin to pull back on its massive economic stimulus program in the first three months of 2014, according to a November survey done by the National Association of Business Economists. The survey also showed a majority of economists believe the United States’ economic recovery will accelerate next year. NABE surveyed 51 economists between Nov 8 and Nov 19 and found that 62 percent of respondents believe the Fed will pull back on its bond-buying program in the first quarter of 2014. Another 30 percent believe the Fed will begin to reduce its bond buying in the second quarter of 2014. Combined, nine out of 10 economists believe the Fed’s stimulus program will wind down next year, after being place in its current form since December 2012. The Federal Reserve has been buying $85 billion in bonds each month in an effort to

keep interest rates low and stimulate the economy. The central bank was widely expected to taper its bond purchases in September, but decided to wait and see more evidence whether the nation’s economic recovery is sustainable. In its survey, NABE said its forecasters expect the US economy will grow faster next year than in 2013. The organization forecasts that the country’s economy will grow at a 2.8 percent annual rate in 2014 versus the 2.1 percent annual rate it is expected to grow this year. The partial shutdown of the federal government in early October likely had a modest impact on economic growth, NABE said. Of the forecasters polled by NABE, 73 percent said that the October shutdown likely reduced US economic growth in the fourth quarter by 0.5 percent or less. Fewer than 25 percent of economists believed the shutdown had no impact on the US economy or even helped the US economy. —AP

HSBC considers listing British banking arm LONDON: HSBC Holdings Plc is considering floating up to 30 percent of its British retail and commercial banking arm to help meet UK regulation and unlock value for shareholders, the Financial Times said yesterday. British banks now have to ring-fence their retail banking units from riskier investment banking under new rules designed to give more protection to depositors and taxpayers should any more bailouts be needed. A listing would be a logical move to meet that requirement. The FT, citing three people familiar with the project, said the plan was at an early stage but the matter had been discussed with investors and informally at board level. HSBC declined to comment. HSBC is Europe’s biggest bank with a market value of $200 billion and its UK arm is estimated to be worth about 20 billion pounds ($32.7 billion). “Such a move would crystallise a higher rating for the whole group, especially in the light of buoyant investor sentiment on the UK economy,” said Shailesh Raikundlia, analyst at Espirito Santo. By 0930 GMT HSBC shares were up 0.2 percent 660.9 pence, in line with a slightly firmer European banking index. If HSBC listed its UK arm it would partially reverse its takeover of UK bank Midland more than 20 years ago, which resulted in it moving its stock market listing to London from Hong Kong. There is frequent speculation the bank could move its headquarters back to Asia, and spinning off its retail busi-

ness into a separate UK listing may make that prospect more likely, analysts said. HSBC is structured as a collection of country based subsidiaries, and the holding company wholly owns its businesses around the world. The main exception is its 62 percent holding in Hong Kong bank Hang Seng. The bank has been cleaning up its structure and selling minority holdings such as its stake in Chinese insurer Ping An as part of a far reaching restructuring by Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver since he took the helm at the start of 2011. Gulliver has stressed in recent results that Hong Kong and Britain are its twin “home markets”, together accounting for more than half of profits so far this year. Profits in Britain have rebounded after several difficult years when the domestic economy slowed. Britain is forcing banks to safeguard their retail and commercial operations after recommendations in the Vickers report, an independent review on the structure of banking, although the changes are not due to come into force until 2019. Investors could be attracted by a new listing to rival Lloyds Banking Group, which is currently seen as the only listed bank almost purely focused on UK banking. But that space is set to get more crowded with other UK banks earmarked to list in the coming years, including TSB and Williams & Glyn’s which are respectively being spun out from Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland Santander UK , Virgin Money and other smaller lenders.— Reuters

WUHAN: Workers on the assembly line at the Sino-French joint venture Dongfeng Peugeot-Citroen Automobile (DPCA) plant in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province. China’s exports grew much more strongly than expected in November, official figures showed as a rebound in overseas shipments gained strength on demand from the United States and Europe. — AFP

An American Airlines plane besides a two US Airways plane at Washington’s Ronald Reagan National Airport. — AP

New American Airlines emerges as deal closes CEO vows to make merger work American Airlines has emerged from bankruptcy protection and US Airways culminated its long pursuit of a merger partner after the two completed their deal yesterday to create the world’s biggest airline. The merger survived a challenge from the government and criticism from consumer groups, who fear it will lead to higher prices. It’s the latest in a series of mergers that will leave four airlines controlling more than 80 percent of the US air-travel market and with more power than ever to limit seats and boost profits. American emerges from bankruptcy as American Airlines Group Inc. It will mark a monumental victory for CEO Doug Parker and his executive team at smaller US Airways, who convinced American’s creditors that a merger made more sense than letting American remain an independent company. Plans call for Parker to mark the day by ringing the opening bell on the Nasdaq Stock Market, where the new company will debut under the ticker symbol AAL. Parker’s team will spend the next two years or longer combining the two carriers. The American Airlines name will live on, while US Air ways will join Continental, Northwest and other airlines that now exist only in the memories of employees and longtime travelers. American Airlines and US Airways seem an unlikely couple, even to the man who will lead the combined company after their merger yesterday. Doug Parker says, however, that American’s buttoned-down, corporate culture will be the perfect complement to his scrappy US Airways, where “we sometimes fire before we’re ready.” At his spartan, temporary office in American’s Fort Worth headquarters, the longtime US Airways CEO sat down for a wide-ranging interview. Parker talked about the merger, the government’s attempt to block the deal, looming competition from foreign airlines, and the public’s perception of air travel. The answers have been edited for length and clarity. Q: Do you see a gap widening between people in first- or business-class and leisure travelers in the back of the plane? Parker: No, I don’t necessarily. You described it as the front versus the back, and the reality is all the seats in coach are not the same, and customers prefer certain ones over others and are willing to pay more either through loyalty or just paying more for a ticket in order to get a better seat in the coach cabin. I don’t see a gap first versus coach as being a major change going forward. Q: What are your biggest challenges in making this merger work? Parker: It’s two complex organizations that need to be melded into one over time. That’s the biggest challenge by far. It’s not easy, but we have people that have done it before-both airlines have been through a merger in the

semi-recent past. We have consultants on board who’ve done this with other carriers, so we’ll learn from what we’ve seen at others as well as what we’ve seen ourselves. Q: Were Justice Department officials right when they said the merger would cause prices to rise? Parker: Airline prices are like prices in other businesses - they track with supply and demand, and we’re not reducing any of the supply. Prices may change because demand changes, or they could change for any number of factors like costs going up, but this merger shouldn’t have an impact on prices one way or another because we’re not taking out any seats. Q: Will you still compete chiefly on price? Parker. We know that something around 25 percent of our customers will go to the lowest price irrespective of time or inconvenience. In a low-margin business like ours, you can’t give up 25 percent of your customers, so we have to match on price. Q: What’s the new American’s frequent-flier program going to look like? Parker: Nothing yet to announce. What we do know is this: Customers immediately will be able to combine their miles and use their miles to fly on a larger network. Q: Would you raise the number of miles needed to earn a trip, or change to a point system? Parker: I don’t know. It’s going to be important to compete on the in-flight product, it’s going to be important to compete for frequent fliers, who will have now three real options to travel around the world. Q: Are you worried about competition from the fast-growing Middle Eastern carriers? Parker. They’re a real threat. This is a global business and one where we have to compete globally. We can’t ignore any global threat and we can’t be asked to compete on different terms. Q: Do you mean the US subsidies for foreign airlines that buy Boeing planes? Parker. That’s one thing. There are a number of areas-their (lower) taxation versus the taxation the US government puts on US carriers; the access they’re getting (to closed markets). Q: Can US airlines ever provide the same level of service as the best Asian and Middle Eastern airlines? Parker: Of course we can. On the ability to get people to more places, to do so safely and efficiently and with seats that are as good or better than anyone else’s in the world-the things customers really care about-we can. They do have some advantages, but we can compete against those carriers, certainly on like routes. Q: You said recently that US Airways has more of a bias for action than American. What did you mean? Parker: The culture of American is probably a little more buttoned down than the US Airways

US Airways CEO Doug Parker during a news conference at DFW International Airport in Grapevine. —AP culture, but that has some real benefits. The US Airways culture is, I think, a little more open and does have a little more bias for action. That also means we sometimes fire before we’re ready. Q: You also said that if the DOJ lawsuit stopped the merger, it would have been less exciting to go back to the way things were. Parker: I was certainly thinking, ‘How do we motivate the team?’ (He had promised US Airways employees pay raises, and senior executives stood to get jobs with the new company.) It was going to be a lot harder to go back and tell them, ‘Well, now we’re back to where we were.’ Q: Tell us about yourself. Do you have any hobbies? Parker: I used to run, and my knee now is down to not much cartilage, so I do the elliptical (exercise machine) instead. Most of what I’m doing, if I’m not working, is with my family. I have three kids one in college, a sophomore in high school, and a girl who’s in eighth grade. Q: When was your last vacation, and where did you go? Parker: We took a few days and went over to Southern California at the end of July with the family. We haven’t had a real, get-out-of-thecountry vacation in too long. Q: Finally, why do people love to hate the airlines? Parker: I don’t know. It’s something we need to get past. It affects the people that work at the airlines. We have people out there every day who do just amazing things to help get people from Point A to Point B. It’s a noble job. It drives commerce, it gets people to go see their loved ones, it gets people to be able to see the world. — AP



Ooredoo wins ‘Best Mobile Operator’ Company wins ‘Best Marketing Campaign’ and ‘Best CSR Initiative’ at CommsMEA Awards KUWAIT: Ooredoo has seen incredible success in a week of award ceremonies in December, winning lead prizes at the “World Communication Awards” in London and the “CommsMEA Awards” in Dubai over two consecutive days. Ooredoo received the “Best Mobile Operator” award at the 15th Annual World Communication Awards on Tuesday, beating international competition to receive the prestigious trophy. Previous winners of the award include giants of the industry, demonstrating Ooredoo’s rising profile on the international stage. The following day, the company received “Best Marketing Campaign of the Year” and “Best CSR Initiative” at the CommsMEA Awards. All three awards paid tribute to the diverse elements of Ooredoo’s strategy for promoting human growth, and in particular the company’s success in taking its operations to the next level and enhancing the customer experience in 2013.

Ooredoo received “Best Mobile Operator” award in recognition of the significant progress the company has achieved in 2013, in addition to its success in transforming its global operations into the Ooredoo brand during the year. Ooredoo has become the leading provider of 4G services in the GCC, launching 4G mobile broadband networks in Qatar, Oman and Kuwait in 2013, as part of its network enhancement strategy. In addition, its operations in Tunisia have launched 3G services, and Ooredoo is set to launch 3G in Algeria before the end of the year. In a packed and challenging entry field, Ooredoo was the only operator from the MENA region to be recognised at the World Communication Awards CommsMEA’s “Best Marketing Campaign of the Year” award was achieved for the launch of the Ooredoo brand, where it was rolled-out in Qatar in March 2013 and has since achieved 100 percent brand awareness in its home

market. Since the Qatar launch, Ooredoo has also successfully transformed its operations in Algeria to support the new brand, and plans are in place to rebrand one Asian operation by the end of the year. The award for “Best CSR Initiative” was presented for Tunisiana’s “Najja7ni Employment” service, which has provided hundreds of thousands of young Tunisians with up-to-date mobile content about jobs, careers and employability skills. As an important next step, Ooredoo, Silatech and the Applied Innovation Institute have recently launched their first Arab Mobile App Challenge to support entrepreneurship and the development of Arabic applications. These latest honours join a string of major international awards received by the company in recent months. In November, Ooredoo won the “Best Middle Eastern Wholesale Carrier” award at the Global Carrier Awards held in

Amsterdam, another major milestone international award for its operations in Qatar. Other regional and international awards for Ooredoo in 2013 include “Best Communications Company” at the

Telecoms World Middle East Awards, “Best Customer Retention Programme” at the Insights Middle East Call Centre Awards and ‘Loyalty Programme of the Year - Middle East and Africa’ at the Loyalty Awards in London.

Ooredoo Public Relations Manager, Ali Al-Sulaiti receiving the award

Alghanim Chevrolet launches Best trade-in offer in December Up to KD500 on buying new Chevrolet

Al Mulla Exchange opens at prestigious 360 Mall KUWAIT: Al Mulla Exchange, the premier exchange company in Kuwait, inaugurated their newest branch at the prestigious 360 Mall last week. A large crowd of customers, well-wishers and Al Mulla Exchange officials witnessed the opening of the new branch. The opening of a new branch of Al Mulla Exchange in the 360 degree mall underlines the company’s commitment to making their money remittance services accessible to all sections of society and increasing the convenience factor for their customers. The new branch also attests to the growing demand from the public for the safe, secure and fast remittance services of Al Mulla Exchange. Since its inception in 2001, Al Mulla Exchange has revolutionized the exchange

industry in Kuwait through ongoing investments in technology and by offering innovative, customer-centric remittance solutions. As with other branches of Al Mulla Exchange, the new branch in 360 Mall offers free insurance and loyalty points on every transaction, as well as SMS confirmation on delivery of remittances. Server to server transactions also ensures that the account of the beneficiary is credited within seconds in the most secure manner. Besides making money transfer a quick, safe and relaxed experience for customers, Kuwait’s premier exchange also offers the facility to send money from the comfort of one’s home or office through their online service at

Experts to gather in Dubai to tackle marketing challenges DUBAI: The role of market research for driving business, delivering insights, and capturing trends within the region, will be explored at upcoming ESOMAR Best of - MENAP event in Dubai from 11-12 March 2014 at the Address Dubai Marina Hotel. Building on the success of its first two conferences in the MENAP region, ESOMAR’s Bestof MENAP 2014 will bring together leading international and regional research and marketing experts to discuss the exceptional economic, social and political changes across MENAP countries, which are creating unique challenges for marketers.

“This event has established itself as an important forum for discussion and driving innovation in the region. We are delighted to be back in Dubai,” notes Finn Raben, ESOMAR Director General. “The insight industry is well positioned to help clients in MENAP to understand how to connect with their customers and how to formulate the right strategy for success.” “With the GCC showing 7.1% net growth in research turnover in the last year, it provides a great opportunity to not only celebrate research but to showcase the impact it can have.” Abdulhamed Alhaffar, Program Committee Member says “This event is an amazing opportunity for professional researchers and marketers to get exposed to most recent development in the marketing research and to meet

industry leaders from across the region and globe “. A full program of presentations from leading global and regional experts will showcase strategies to help clients create value from research insights and develop foresight for gaining competitive advantage. The conference features keynote Stan Sthanunathan, Sr Vice President - Consumer & Market Insights, Unilever, UK as well as speakers from regional and global companies such as Yahoo!, TNS, Vodafone, Ipsos, Unilever, Nielsen, Booz & Co, Millward Brown and ALJ Toyota. The program also features a one-day workshop on “Improving Decision Making” led by David Smith, of DVL Smith, UK, to help marketers and researchers understand the ingredients for successful business decision-making and how to acquire the additional consultative skills needed to operate as a decision facilitator. Registration options for the workshops and the conference are available online at About ESOMAR: ESOMAR is the essential organization for encouraging, advancing and elevating market research worldwide. With more than 4,900 members from over 130 countries, ESOMAR’s aim is to promote the value of market and opinion research in illuminating real issues and bringing about effective decision-making. To facilitate this ongoing dialogue, ESOMAR creates and manages a comprehensive program of industry-specific and thematic conferences, publications and communications as well as actively advocating self-regulation and the worldwide code of practice. For more information on ESOMAR, please visit

KUWAIT: Once again, Yusuf A Alghanim & Sons Automotive has set the bar in Kuwait with its trade-in promotion that has always been well received. In order to meet customers’ expectations Yusuf A Alghanim & Sons automotive, the exclusive distributor of Chevrolet vehicles in Kuwait, has launched the muchanticipated trade-in promotion during the month of December 2013.This limited time, special promotion will provide many individuals to trade in their used vehicles for the best trade in value as well as up to KD 500 above the initial price of their traded in vehicle upon the purchasing of Chevrolet’s new vehicle. Those who are seeking an elegant and modern drive need not to look further than the Chevrolet Cruze, a car that continues to evolve into one of Chevrolet’s most impressive vehicles in its segment, offering competitive amenities, quietness, safety features and space expected of a larger sedan, but still providing the efficiency and value of a compact car. Now available with the new infotainment system ‘MyLink’, the sleek and sporty Cruze offers more value for customers than ever. Apart from its large sunroof, the Cruze is equipped with ABS, Stabilitrak, USB connectivity, airbags, Bluetooth, rearview camera, Cruise Control and remote engine starter plus 16-inch alloy wheels and fog lamps. The Cruze also proves to be the economical luxury 4-wheel drive as it is powered with a 1.8-liter engine that generates an impressive 140 hp. Rugged, powerful and lean, the Tahoe is the ideal SUV that contains features sought by the youth, fans of powerful cars, top executives as well as families who seek spacious, solid cars that conveniently and comfortably transport them downtown or carry them through the great outdoors. Tahoe is equipped with an 8cylinder, 5.3-liter V8 engine with 6speed automatic transmission with overdrive that reaches up to 320 hp. The Tahoe has proven to be the ultimate vehicle of choice for any need or want due to its rich features and security measures that comprise of eight airbags, ABS, Stabilitrak, Cruise

Control and remote engine starter. Rethought, reshaped and redesigned, the Traverse provides its owner with a new exterior design and impressive engineering developments. The Traverse’s powerful performance is complemented with standard-setting safety features. The enhanced Traverse’s exterior starting with the front grill, headlights and smooth, seamless lines that greatly beautify and enhance the hood and backdoor. Comfortably seating eight passengers, the interior is equipped with Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system that provides 6.5 inches of touch screen interface for all entertainment needs. Apart from allowing one to access MP3 files, iPods, iPads and more, the MyLink system seamlessly integrates a smartphone’s capabilities into the vehicle via USB or Bluetooth. The Chevrolet Traverse is designed to help avoid crashes and protect the driver and his/her passengers in the event of a collision. From the StabiliTrak Electronic Stability Control System, six standard air bags, to the OnStar Automatic Crash Response, the Chevrolet Traverse has covered every area when it comes to providing a safe journey on every road and in every type of terrain. The Traverse has a 3.6-liter, direct-injected V6 engine and standard 6-speed automatic transmission that provide smooth shifting and effortless, quiet acceleration while contributing to impressive highway fuel economy. Fans of crossover vehicles will inevitably be attracted to the Captiva that possesses an unrivaled performance on any road. The new Captiva comes with an enhanced, proportionate exterior that exudes a harmonious blend of modernity and liveliness especially in the front and back ends of the car that include bumpers, headlamps and a front unique grill. Under the hood lies the option of a 2.4-liter and four-cylinder engine that runs at 169 hp or a 3-liter, 6-cylinder engine that reaches 264 hp, elements that position the Captiva as the most powerful crossover vehicle in the market. The Chevrolet Captiva’s spacious cabin is comprised of three rows that seat up to seven passengers. Enriched with the latest modern technologies

including a powerful air conditioning system that is located throughout the mid-size SUV, the new Captiva includes Bluetooth, CD and an MP3 system. The exciting new Captiva maintains a 360 safety package including ABS, StabiliTrak, rear park assisting sensors, a solid exterior and many more beneficial tools all of which make Captiva one of the most secure and safe vehicles in the market. Yusuf A Alghanim & Sons Automotive is committed to offering an exceptional shopping and ownership experience, a factor that is fur-

thered by the company’s excellent products and services that cater to customers’ every need and want. The company grounds itself in Chevrolet’s promise that vows to provide customers with unmatchable customer service, transparency as well as efficient, effective and genuine service, elements that affirm the company’s position as a pioneer in the vehicle industry. Drop by any Yusuf A Alghanim & Sons Automotive showroom to benefit from this exclusive valuable offer by choosing your favorite new Chevrolet car.

Dewan Architects & Engineers outline energy savings strategies KUWAIT: Dewan Architects & Engineers, one of the region’s leading architectural and engineering consulting firms, explored sustainable building and design strategies that help save huge environmental and financial costs. The presentation was delivered at the largest international building and construction event in the Middle East - the Big-5 Sustainability Design and Construction Conference. Eng Jaber, Architect & Sustainability Specialist at Dewan, showcased the substantial energy savings the company had achieved through the innovative and sustainable design of several of its landmark projects - including a 33 percent saving at the Premier Inn Hotel at Abu Dhabi International Airport, a 20 percent saving at the Bateen School in the UAE, and a 25-30 percent saving at Samarra University in Iraq. Mohamed Al Assam, Founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Dewan, said: “Too often, design aesthetics and sustainability are treated as somehow adversarial to each other; this is simply not true. The essence of great design is sustainability. It starts from the earliest planning phases and should be integrated at every stage, seamlessly assimilated into the surrounding local environment - that is what defines iconic architecture. We are proud to say that sustainability is integral to every project at Dewan, which has enabled us to demonstrate clear and substantial energy savings at our landmark developments”. Sustainability is increasingly recognized as a pri-

ority in the region, as concerns grow about the looming threat of climate change and energy shortages. According to research figures, almost 70 percent of the power generated is consumed by commercial buildings and with the rise in electricity costs, the government of the UAE, on both the Federal and Emirate level, has taken serious measures to reduce its negative impact on the environment. The authorities have taken various sustainability initiatives and directives aimed at developers,

architects, engineers, and the contractors and have invested great sums of money in renewable and energy efficient technologies.. The UAE is now recognized as a key developer in sustainability and was chosen on numerous occasions to educate the world on the emerging trends and technologies to achieving sustainability in all forms (Energy, Water, Infrastructure and Construction practices amongst a few). It is no surprise that it has been chosen to host the permanent headquarter of International Renewable Energy Agency in 2009, along with being the home for other international events such as the World Future Energy Summit and now the Expo 2020. Dawan’s presentation explored a range of techniques in the design and construction of buildings to improve efficiency, cut waste, and minimize environmental damage. For example, it discussed how envelope insulation materials and systems can reduce up to 50 percent of energy consumption, while efficient landscaping, through soil enhancement products, can similarly cut irrigation demand in half. Other technologies include lighting programs and national initiatives, efficient MEP Technologies, and renewable energy sources. The presentation went on to examine how to fuse local cultural and social understanding together with modern design technologies to overcome climatic challenges and reduce energy consumption, drawing upon lessons from iconic buildings around the region.



Twitter names Marjorie Scardino to board NEW YORK: Twitter has named Marjorie Scardino as a director, adding a woman to the all-white male board for which it’s been sharply criticized. Scardino, 66, was the CEO of Pearson PLC, a publishing and education company, from 1997 to 2012, Twitter Inc. said in a regulatory filing on Thursday. Before that, she worked at The Economist Group, publisher of The Economist and CQ Roll Call. Her roles at the company included CEO.

Twitter tweeted the news of Scardino’s appointment from its official account. Twitter, like Facebook before its own IPO, was criticized for not having women or minorities on its board of directors. Facebook named its chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, to its board after it went public in May 2012. Unlike Facebook, though, Twitter still doesn’t have any high-ranking female executives. Scardino joins CEO Dick Costolo, Chairman

Jack Dorsey, along with co-founder Evan Williams and venture capitalists such as Peter Fenton, a general partner at Benchmark Capital, on Twitter’s board. Faced with criticism about its lack of board diversity - three of Twitter’s directors are named Peter - Costolo tweeted earlier this year that diversifying the board “has to be about more than checking a box.” As head of Pearson, Scardino was the first woman to become CEO of a FTSE 100 company 16

years ago. The index of leading British stocks is similar to the S&P 500 in the US. In her words, not much has changed in that time when it comes to gender imbalance. Last year, she told the U.K. ‘s Telegraph that she “thought in 1997 that by the time I left Pearson things would be different in terms of how many women there were as chief executives or chairmen or board members. It’s not too different and for that I’m sorry.” — AP

US tech companies call for more controls on surveillance

NEW YORK: This undated photo provided by Apple shows the screen on an iPhone using Apple’s iBeacon, offering precise location technology. On Friday, Apple Inc. will begin using iBeacon, a part of its iOS 7 mobile software, to send shoppers inside its US stores messages about products, events and other information based where they are in the stores. — AP

Lots of high-end laptops to pick from NEW YORK: Whether you’re looking for something thin and light, or want a tablet that performs like a laptop, there’s plenty to choose from if you’re willing to spend a bit more for a high-end laptop computer. Regardless of how much cash you have, you need to take into account the needs of the person you are shopping for. Is a supersharp touch screen important? What about a fast processor? How much weight is the gift recipient willing to cart around? This gift guide covers laptops with starting prices of more than $1,000, including a class of thin, light Windows laptops known as ultrabooks. If that’s too pricey, check our earlier review of budget and mid-priced laptops at . Prices listed are manufacturers’ suggestions, and you can often shop around for deals. Dell Inc.’s XPS 12 What sets this ultrabook apart from others is the way it converts into a tablet. Basically, you pop the screen out of its frame, flip it around and then close the laptop. The move puts the screen on the outside and the keyboard on the inside. It’s a quick and easy switch. But because the keyboard remains connected, you’re not dropping any of its 3.4 pounds. While reasonable for a laptop, that’s about triple the weight of many full sized tablets currently on the market. The XPS might be good for someone who needs a fairly powerful laptop for work, but still wants to kick back in bed without a keyboard getting in the way. Apple Inc.’s MacBook Pro There’s no touch screen, something that Apple opposes in laptops, but it does offer nearly the same crystal-clear resolution as the latest iPads. The screen is among the best at this price. And of course, there’s no Windows 8, an operating system that some people find confusing to use. The MacBook uses Apple’s Mac system and integrates well with other Apple products, including iPhones, iPads and Apple TVs. Two price cuts this year totaling $400 brings the 13-inch model to $1,299, just $200 more than the less-powerful MacBook Air of that size. Sony Corp.’s Vaio Pro 13 The Vaio is exceptionally thin when closed and weighs about 2.3 pounds, making it the lightest 13-inch model I tested. Part of that comes from its carbon-fiber construction, which improves durability while reducing weight. But it also made the laptop feel cheap and plastic-like. The small size also comes with sacrifices. Sony says battery life is up to 6.5 hours, considerably less than other laptops at this price. This might be good for someone who wants to get work done on the road while traveling light. You can save $100 by going with an 11-inch model.

Lenovo Group Ltd.’s Yoga 2 Pro Like its name implies, the Yoga is very flexible. Besides the traditional laptop mode, you can bend its 13-inch screen all the way back to close it, so the screen is on the front and the keyboard is exposed on the back. In that configuration, it works like a tablet. You can also bend it into a triangle, laying one edge on a flat surface and having the display angled like a tent. This lets you use it as a tablet, but keep it upright. It’s particularly helpful when you’re crunched for space. Or, you can flip it almost all the way around, so that the keyboard is on the bottom and the screen leans back at whatever angle you like. That’s good for watching videos while kicking back on the couch or in bed. The laptop itself feels thin, light and relatively sturdy. Although it weighs more than the Sony Vaio, it’s slightly thinner. The rubber edges that give the laptop traction when it’s in tent mode are a nice touch. And if you want your laptop to stand out, the Yoga comes in orange besides the more traditional silver and gray combination. Samsung Electronic Co.’s ATIV Book 9 Plus This was one of the more beautiful laptops I looked at. From its metal construction to its high definition touch screen, it screams elegance and class. The laptop is super thin, at 0.54 inches thick, but weighs just over 3 pounds, similar to several others I tested. It feels heavy relative to its compact size. Battery life clocked in at 7.5 hours, considerably less than other laptops at that price. But the trade-off is a super-sharp screen that offers a higher resolution than the MacBook Pro, which already has among the best displays at that price. You might like this if you want to impress the other mobile workers at the coffee house, don’t want a lot of bulk and don’t feel the need to replace your tablets. Microsoft Surface 2 Pro. Ok, so this isn’t actually a laptop, but it does a lot of the same work without the bulk of one. The Surface Pro 2 is a more powerful version of Microsoft’s Surface 2 tablet, and the company is pushing both as replacements for laptops. Just like a PC laptop, it runs Windows 8 and gives you access to all the Microsoft Office programs. This tablet’s kickstand has been redesigned to include two positions - important because that now makes it practical to actually use on your lap. You’re better off paying the extra $10 for the $130 Type Cover 2; the keys on the Touch Cover 2 don’t move and are harder to use. Looking for something cheaper? The Surface 2 runs a lightweight version of Windows 8.1 called RT. But that tablet works only with apps designed specifically for it, not the broader pool of programs available for Windows PCs. — AP

LONDON: Eight major US web companies, including Apple, Google and Facebook, made a joint call yesterday for tighter controls on how governments collect personal data, intensifying the furore over online surveillance. In an open letter to US President Barack Obama and Congress, the companies said recent revelations showed the balance had tipped too far in favour of the state in many countries and away from the individual. In June, former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden exposed top secret government surveillance programmes that tap into communications on cables linking technology companies’ various data centres overseas. After Snowden’s disclosure, many of the big Internet companies warned that American businesses may lose revenue abroad as distrustful customers switched to local alternatives. “We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens,” said the letter from the eight firms which also included Microsoft Corp, Twitter, LinkedIn Corp, Yahoo Inc and AOL Inc. “But this summer’s revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide. “The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favour of the state and away from the rights of the individual - rights that are enshrined in our Constitution. This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It’s time for a change.” Several of the eight companies, which have a combined market capitalisation of nearly $1.4 trillion, have responded by publicising their decision to boost encryption and security on their sites. The companies have detailed their ‘Reform Government Surveillance’ campaign on a website, calling on the US government to take the lead by limiting how much user information a government can collect. “People won’t use technology they don’t trust,” Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said on the website. “Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it.” The campaign also calls on governments to

OKLAHOMA: In this undated file photo made available by Google, hundreds of fans funnel hot air from the computer servers into a cooling unit to be recirculated at a Google data center in Mayes County, Okla. The green lights are the server status LEDs reflecting from the front of the servers. Eight major technology companies, including Google, Facebook and Twitter, have joined forces to call for tighter controls on government surveillance, issuing an open letter yesterday to President Barack Obama arguing for reforms in the way the US snoops on people. — AP limit surveillance to specific, known users and not to collect data in bulk, and asks that companies have the right to publish the number and nature of government demands for user information. “The security of users’ data is critical, which is why we’ve invested so much in encryption and fight for transparency around government requests for information,” Google Chief Executive Larry Page said on the website. “This is undermined by the apparent wholesale collection of data, in secret and without independent oversight, by many governments around the world. It’s time for reform and we

Tech Tips: Decline gadget protection at register LOS ANGELES: So, you’ve selected the gadgets to give your loved ones, and you’re at the checkout line. Suddenly you’re asked if you want an extended warranty or protection plan for a modest sum, and the line is piling up behind you. Do you opt for the foot-long receipt with terms and conditions that you’ll have to keep in a secure place? Even if such a plan is right for you, just say no. Many plans can be started within 30 days of buying your phone, TV, camera or other gadget. Some online outfits will cover gadgets starting a year or more after purchase. Waiting will let you shop around to make sure you get the right coverage at a reasonable price. In many cases, you might conclude you don’t even need it. Here’s a quick thumbnail of what’s at stake: What’s what Most products already come with a warranty covering factory defects and other problems that are not of your own doing. With an extended warranty, you pay a service provider, typically an outside company, to cover problems that arise after the manufacturer’s warranty period ends. Such extended warranty plans won’t cover accidents and other problems if it’s your fault, though. Typically, they cover what manufacturers’ warranties cover, but do so for several months or a few years longer. For accidents, you’ll need a protection plan. These plans can extend the warranty, but also cover accidental drops, spills and dunks, which have become more frequent thanks to the rising number of mobile devices these days. They often don’t cover loss and theft. For that, you’ll need insurance, which is offered by wireless carriers if you are getting a mobile device. Do you really need it? Retailers will push such plans because it’s another revenue stream for them. Consumer Reports magazine doesn’t believe buyers need them. It says the “vast majority” of repairs that qualify for warranty coverage occur within the standard warranty period. It also says the cost of the extra coverage - a median $73 for items purchased in-store and $64 for online purchases - is too high given the very low risk something will happen outside that period. Also, credit card companies will often extend the warranty for free. Senior Editor Jim Willcox says you should even forego extra warranty coverage on lesser-known TV makers. “Before you add on the cost of an extended warranty, why not just buy a better TV from a major brand?” he says. Consumer Reports also doesn’t believe protection plans are worth it. Plans for gadgets such as phones and tablets typically run $7 to $11 a month, or up to $264 over two years. On top of that, if you do make a claim, you’ll end up paying a deductible of $49 to $200. In many cases, you’re better off accepting the risk of paying $500 or more to replace your gadget if something terrible does happen. And for phones, even though cracked screens are common, they will typically still work until your next upgrade. The fine print Every plan is different and each has its own minefield of exceptions. The Advanced Geek Squad Protection Plan at Best Buy covers liquid spills, but not complete submersion - just in case you’re thinking of going kayaking with your iPad. Some plans don’t start coverage right away. For instance, Protect Your Bubble’s coverage doesn’t kick in until 14 days after you sign up. SquareTrade may offer you a refurbished item if a new one isn’t in stock. Few plans cover loss of data. It’s one big reason not to buy such plans at the register. Take the time to research what’s covered and what’s not. — AP

urge the U.S. government to lead the way.” Obama last week said he intended to propose NSA reforms to reassure Americans that their privacy was not being violated by the agency. British-based campaign group Big Brother Watch welcomed the move by the Internet groups and said surveillance laws in Britain, the US and many other countries were no longer fit for the Internet age. “This statement of principles, by some of the world’s biggest companies, is a watershed moment and one that cannot go ignored in any country that regards itself as a democracy,” it said. — Reuters

Tech Tips

Guide to protecting Internet accounts NEW YORK: Security experts say passwords for more than 2 million Facebook, Google and other accounts have been compromised and circulated online, just the latest example of breaches involving leading Internet companies. Some services including Twitter have responded by disabling the affected passwords. But there are several things you can do to minimize further threats -even if your account isn’t among the 2 million that were compromised. Here are some tips to help you secure your online accounts: One thing leads to another When a malicious hacker gets a password to one account, it’s often a stepping stone to a more serious breach, especially because many people use the same passwords on multiple accounts. So if someone breaks into your Facebook account, that person might try the same password on your banking or Amazon account. Suddenly, it’s not just about fake messages being posted to your social media accounts. It’s about your hard-earned money. It’s particularly bad if the compromised password is for an email account. That’s because when you click on a link on a site saying you’ve forgotten your password, the service will typically send a reset message by email. People who are able to break into your email account, therefore, can use it to create their own passwords for all sorts of accounts. You’ll be locked out as they shop and spend, courtesy of you. If the compromised password is one you use for work, someone can use it to break in to your employer’s network, where there are files with trade secrets or customers’ credit card numbers. Better passwords Many breaches occur because passwords are too easy to guess. There’s no evidence that guessing was how these 2 million accounts got compromised, but it’s still a good reminder to strengthen your passwords. Researchers at security company Trustwave analyzed the passwords compromised and found that only 5 percent were excellent and 17 percent were good. The rest were moderate or worse. What makes a password strong? Make them long. The minimum should be eight characters, but even longer is better. Use combinations of letters and numbers, upper and lower case and symbols

such as the exclamation mark. Try to vary it as much as you can. “My!PaSsWoRd-32” is far better than “mypassword32.” Avoid words that are in dictionaries, as there are programs that can crack passwords by going through databases of known words. These programs know about such tricks as adding numbers and symbols, so you’ll want to make sure the words you use aren’t in the databases. One trick is to think of a sentence and use just the first letter of each word - as in “tqbfjotld” for “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” Avoid easy-to-guess words, even if they aren’t in the dictionary. Avoid your name, company name or hometown, for instance. Avoid pets and relatives’ names, too. Likewise, avoid things that can be looked up, such as your birthday or ZIP code. One other thing to consider: Many sites let you reset your password by answering a security question, but these answers such as your pet or mother’s maiden name- are possible to look up. So try to make these answers complex just like passwords, by adding numbers and special characters and making up responses. A second layer Many services offer a second level of authentication when you’re accessing them from a computer or device for the first time. These services will send you a text message to a phone number on file, for instance. The text message contains a code that you need in addition to your password. The idea is that a hacker may have your password, but won’t have ready access to your phone. Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter are among the services offering this dual authentication. It’s typically an option, something you have to turn on. Do that. It may be a pain, but it will save you grief later. In most cases, you won’t be asked for this second code when you return to a computer you’ve used before, but be sure to decline that option if you’re in a public place such as a library or Internet cafe. One final thought Change your passwords regularly. It’s possible your account information is already circulating. If you have a regular schedule for changing passwords for major accounts, you reduce the amount of time that someone can do harm with that information. — AP


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

Air pollution in Europe kills even at guideline levels PARIS: Europeans with long-term exposure to particulate pollution from road traffic or industry run a higher risk of premature death, even if air quality meets EU standards, a study said yesterday. Published in The Lancet, the paper pointed the finger at fine particles of soot and dust, emissions of which are also stirring a health scare in parts of Asia, especially China. Scientists led by Rob Beelen of Utrecht University in the Netherlands looked at 22 previously-published studies that monitored the health of 367,000 people in 13 countries in western Europe. The individuals, recruited in the 1990s, were followed for nearly 14 years. During the time of the study, 29,000 people died, according to the data. Beelen’s team went around to all the

study areas to get readings of traffic pollution between 2008 and 2011. They used these as a basis for calculating the long-term exposure of local residents to two kinds of particulate matter and to two kinds of gas emissions. They took into account factors such as smoking habits, socio-economic status, physical activity, body-mass index and education that can skew the results. The biggest source of concern was PM2.5, meaning particles measuring under 2.5 microns, or 2.5 millionths of a meter, across, they found. Previous research has found PM2.5 is so small that it can lodge deep in the lungs, causing respiratory problems, and may even cross over into the bloodstream. The risk of early death rose by seven

percent with every increase of five micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter, the new study found. “A difference of five micrograms can be found between a location at a busy urban road” and a quiet street, Beelen said. European Union guidelines set down maximum exposure to PM2.5 of 25 micrograms per cubic meter. But even in locations where the pollution levels were well below this, there were still higher-than-normal cases of early death. In an email exchange with AFP, Beelen said that the loss of life expectancy through background exposure to PM2.5 was likely to be “up to a few months”. “Although this does not seem to be much, you have to keep in mind that everybody is exposed to some level of

air pollution and that it is not a voluntary exposure, in contrast to, for example, smoking.” The study-the first of its kind in Europe-reflects similar findings in investigations in North America. There was one important difference, though: exposure to PM2.5 was linked to mortality in men, but not in women. Beelen said the work adds weight to the argument that the EU should toughen up its air pollution standards and adopt the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines of 10 micrograms per cubic meter. In October, the European Environment Agency (EAA) said that urban levels of PM2.5 had fallen by 16 percent between 2002 and 2011, but many people still lived in areas where exposure breached both EU and the tougher UN marks.

Shanghai on Friday became the latest Chinese city to undergo a pollution alert, with concentrations of PM2.5 24 times higher than UN levels. Beelen said that such levels were far higher than those in Europe, but he could not venture an opinion as to how dangerous they were. “Our study focuses on long-term exposure... exposure to daily variation with sometimes high peaks is another research question.” The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in October classified outdoor air pollution as a leading cause of cancer, placing it in the riskiest of four categories of sources. A worldwide study called the Global Burden of Disease found that outdoor air pollution was to blame for 3.2 million deaths per year. —AFP

Ancient farming seen curbing extinctions of animals, plants Chinese fish and rice farming reduces pests OSLO: Ancient farming practices, such as raising fish in rice paddies in China or Aboriginal Australian fire controls, will get a new lease of life under plans to slow extinctions of animals and plants, experts said yesterday. Turning to traditional farming is seen as a way of limiting what UN studies say is the worst spate of extinctions since the dinosaurs vanished 65 million years ago, driven by a rising human population that is wrecking natural habitats. A 115-nation group seeking to protect the diversity of wildlife, which underpins everything from food supplies to medicines, will look at ways to revive and promote indigenous peoples’ practices at talks in Turkey from Dec 9-14. “Indigenous and local knowledge ... has played a key role in arresting biodiversity loss and conserving biodiversity,” Zakri Abdul Hamid, founding chair of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), told Reuters. The idea is partly to compare traditional farming around the world and see if the practices can be used in other nations. Among ideas, raising fish in the waters of rice paddies, a practice used in south China for 1,200 years and in

some other Asian nations, can reduce pests. Most modern rice paddies are not used to raise fish. Farming the two together “reduces by 68 percent the need for pesticides and by 24 percent the need for chemical fertilizer compared with monocultures”, an IPBES report said. Pesticides often kill many more species than those targeted. And in countries including Australia, Indonesia, Japan and Venezuela, traditional burning of small patches of countryside can create a mosaic of firebreaks that prevents the spread of devastating blazes in the dry season, it said. Wildfires, arctic Small fires mean that wildlife can get out of harm’s way more easily than in a big fire, reducing risks of extinctions. In Australia, such protection generates carbon credits for Aborigines by slowing deforestation - a source of up to a fifth of man-made greenhouse gases blamed for causing global warming. In June, Australia’s Indigenous Land Corporation said it sold 25,000 tons of carbon credits for savannah burning, the first such open market sale, to Chevron for more than $A20 ($18.20) a ton.

Trees and other plants absorb carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from human activities, from the air as they grow and release it when they burn or rot. Sam Johnston, an Australian expert at the UN University ’s Institute for Advanced Studies, said carbon markets might be used elsewhere. “We’ve found almost identical conditions in parts of Africa and Latin America,” he told Reuters. Other examples of traditional knowledge include pits dug on Tanzanian hillsides to collect rainfall in the rainy season to limit erosion, or weather observations by Inuit people in the Arctic to complement satellite data about melting ice. And many Pacific island communities safeguard fish stocks around coral reefs, for instance by declaring some areas sacred sites that are then off limits to fishing. Anne Larigauderie, incoming executive secretary of IPBES, said indigenous peoples often felt ignored by government planners. “There is a great need for recognition and acceptance of their knowledge,” she said. Other efforts to slow extinctions include creating more protected areas and enforcing laws on wildlife protection. —Reuters

FDA approves $1,000-a-day hepatitis C pill NEW YORK: US regulators on Friday approved Gilead Sciences Inc’s Sovaldi as a potentially easier cure for chronic infection with the liverdestroying hepatitis C virus. The once-a-day pill is the first approved to treat certain types of hepatitis C infection without the need for interferon, an injected drug that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. Hepatitis C, which is often undiagnosed, affects about 3.2 million Americans, killing more than 15,000 each year, mostly from illnesses such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. Most patients will be treated with the $1,000-a-day drug for 12 weeks, resulting in a total list price of $84,000, according to Gilead spokeswoman Cara Miller. “Today marks a landmark advance in the treatment of hepatitis C, opening up new opportunities to stop the spread of this virus and the ravages of this disease,” Dr John Ward, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s division of viral hepatitis, said in a statement. Last year, the CDC recommended

that all baby boomers, born from 1945 to 1965, be tested for the virus. Introduction of blood and organ screening in the 1990s has dramatically lowered infection rates for

younger generations. Gilead said Sovaldi, also known as sofosbuvir, can be used in combination with ribavirin, an older antiviral pill, for patients with genotypes 2 and 3 infections, which account for about 28 percent of US patients

infected with the virus. For patients with genotype 1, which accounts for about 70 percent of US infections, the new drug must still be used with both interferon and ribavirin,

although it can be considered for use in patients with genotype 1 infections who cannot use interferon. Patients with the much less common genotype 4 infections will also be treated with a three-drug combi-

nation. The Gilead drug’s approval was supported by several studies showing that it helped to eradicate the virus in significantly more patients, with fewer side effects, than the current drug regimen. Sovaldi is the first in a new class of medications known as nucleotide analogue inhibitors, or “nukes,” designed to block a specific protein that the hepatitis C virus needs to copy itself. Analysts, on average, have forecast Sovaldi sales of $1.9 billion next year, according to BMO Capital Markets. Gilead has said it plans to file in the first half of next year for FDA approval of an all-oral regimen for genotype 1 patients. Companies including Bristol-Myers Squibb, AbbVie and Boehringer Ingelheim are also spending millions to develop new hepatitis C treatments. Shares of Gilead, which have nearly doubled over the past 12 months, were up half a percentage point at $74.39 in after-hours trading. The shares rose 1 percent to close at $73.99 in regular Nasdaq trading on Friday. —Reuters

Hong Kong’s illegal cancer drug trade driven by mainland buyers HONG KONG: Safety fears over medication in mainland China are driving a risky illegal trade in cancer drugs in Hong Kong, experts say, warning of shortages in a similar scenario to the milk formula crisis that emptied shelves in the territory. Hong Kong pharmacies are selling the drugs under the counter to mainland Chinese visitors who have lost faith in their own medical system and are dodging high prices, in another example of how demand from China can impact wider markets. One shopper at a Hong Kong pharmacy in the bustling commercial area of Mong Kok told AFP he had travelled from the southern mainland city of Guangzhou to buy the breast cancer treatment Herceptin. “My wife needs it to survive,” the man, surnamed Li, told AFP. “I will save more than 8,000 yuan ($1,280) per bottle if I buy Herceptin here. They may charge you 24,000 yuan for this on the mainland.” Customers from China buying the medication without the required prescription is “very common” said Chui Chun-ming, the chairman of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Hong Kong. “This illegal trade brings them (pharmacies) a lot of money,” he said, referring to the city’s small independent high street businesses. Chui says that 90 percent of the cancer drugs sold in pharmacies in Hong Kong go to mainland buyers as most local residents get them direct from hospitals or their own doctors. With drug companies imposing supply quotas for different countries based on factors including population size, Hong Kong could fall short if demand continues from beyond its borders, Chui told AFP. “The problem is Hong Kong is a very small city and the supply is very limited,” he said. “In a few years, it might turn out to be another ‘infant formula’ issue.” Chinese parents became distrustful of domestic milk brands after a huge 2008 scandal involving formula tainted with melamine that killed six children and sickened 300,000 others.

Their concern triggered a rush on milk powder, which saw shelves emptied around the worldHong Kong banned travellers taking out more than 1.8 kilogrammes of formula from March 1 this year. ‘People are not trusting their supply chains’ Mainland demand has heaped pressure on Hong Kong’s healthcare system in the past. Hospitals have banned mainland women who do not have local spouses from giving birth in the city to tackle increasing “birth tourism”, fuelled by mums-to-be seeking better medical care and residency rights for their children. Among their concerns are fears over the safety of medicines produced in China. Recent scandals include drug capsules made from toxic raw material derived from scrap leather and the busting of a ring peddling counterfeit tablets. In 2008 a blood thinner called heparin, produced in China, was found to be contaminated and linked to dozens of deaths. “People are not trusting their supply chains,” Ben Cavender, an associate principal at the Shanghai-based China Market Research Group told AFP. “They are worried that the drugs may be labeled incorrectly, or the quality is not that high, or the company decides to make it more cheaply in China than in the other countries, or they might be fake.” Buying or selling an anti-cancer drug without a prescription can lead to maximum fines of HK$100,000 ($13,000) and two years’ imprisonment for buyers, salesmen and pharmacy owners, according to the Department of Health. A spokesman told AFP that it had boosted surveillance in response to mainland drug demand. There were 24 cases in 2012 which led to convictions for the illegal sale of prescription medicines. But despite the threat of prosecution, the trade continues. When an AFP reporter

visited four small independent pharmacies in Hong Kong and asked for 440mg of Herceptin, all offered to sell it without a prescription. Supply ‘burden’ Tse Hung-hing, President of the Hong Kong Medical Association, said he feared the consequences of the uncontrolled sale of such strong medication. “They (anti-cancer drugs) are more toxic. It is not like you are buying Panadol,” he said. Tse added that the organization had reported the problem to Hong Kong’s Department of Health, but had not seen a significant response. Pharmacies tend to buy their cancer drugs from private doctors as a safer route than getting them direct from drugs companies, as direct orders are likely to be more closely monitored by the authorities, says Chui. The Hong Kong branch of Roche, which manufactures Herceptin, said it had been “made aware” of reports of mainland visitors coming over to buy oncology drugs. “We are committed to supporting the relevant authorities with any investigations,” it said in a statement to AFP. According to a 2012 report released by the China National Cancer Registry, the country sees 3.12 million new cancer cases every year. From 2006 to 2010, the number of cancer cases in Hong Kong rose at an average rate of 2.7 per cent each year, four times more than the annual population growth rate, a report by Hong Kong Cancer Registry (HKCR) showed. Chui believes the increasing pressure on Hong Kong’s cancer drug supply could soon reach crisis point. “The majority of community pharmacies in Hong Kong are owned by businessmen rather than professional pharmacists,” he said. “There is a high-probability that, in up to three years, the supply of anti-cancer drugs will become an issue.” —AFP

BEIJING: A woman and child walk at a park on November 26, 2013. —AFP photos

Search for surrogates draws Chinese to US BEIJING: For decades China has been a top destination for Americans seeking to adopt a child from abroad, but now its own citizens are making the reverse trek across the Pacific to fulfil their parental dreams-through surrogacy. After cancer left her unable to bear her own children three years ago, one Chinese woman in her late 30s-who asked for anonymitydecided to research her options. Her eggs were still viable, but her choices were few with surrogacy illegal in China, so she and her husband set their sights abroad, ultimately deciding on the US. After a trip to Los Angeles last year to transfer their eggs and sperm and an extended visit to their surrogate’s home state Tennessee for the birth and subsequent formalities, she and her husband are now the happy parents of three-monthold twins, at a cost of $150,000. “I wanted to do everything properly,” she said by phone from the US. “We have a lot of underground (fertility) therapy agencies in China, but I just don’t trust the doctors.” With the cost standing at around 34 times average urban incomes in China it is a process reserved mainly for the rich. ‘We get calls every day’ A dozen US-based surrogacy agencies contacted by AFP say they have seen a marked rise in Chinese clients over the past three years. The Agency for Surrogacy Solutions in Encino, California, recently had its contract translated into Chinese and is working with a Chinese-speaking consultant to recruit potential customers. “A third of our clients are Chinese,” said its president Kathryn Kaycoff-Manos, up from virtually none three years ago. “It’s huge. And we get calls every day.” Stuart Bell, the co-owner of Los Angeles-based Growing Generations, one of the world’s largest surrogacy agencies, added Beijing and Shanghai to his Asia itinerary for the first time in September, meeting about 10 potential clients in each. “There seems to be a lot of infertility going on in China,” he said, and frustration over the options available. The Chinese Population Association estimates 40 million people are infertile in the country-one in eight of the child-bearing population, four times the proportion 20 years ago. Two-thirds of the semen at Shanghai’s main sperm bank failed to meet World Health Organisation standards, the Shanghai Morning Post reported, with experts citing heavy pollution as a main contributing factor. About 60 to 70 percent of Chinese clients seek surrogacy for medical reasons, US agencies say, but there are other motivations related to Chinese law. Gay couples looking to have children cannot adopt in China and are increasingly turning to the US, they say, as are government employees sidestepping China’s one-child pol-

icy. There are several exceptions to the rule, including multiple births, and the Communist Party has promised to adjust it further. But wealthy Chinese who want more than one offspring are largely able to do so simply by paying a fine, with the average penalty in Beijing estimated at 100,000 yuan ($16,400) according to the official news agency Xinhua. For government employees the calculation is more complicated, as their jobs are in jeopardy if they are discovered to have had a second child-so avoiding appearing pregnant is key. “I once helped a Beijing couple-their son is almost two years old now, and the intended mother worked for a state-owned bank,” said one China-based surrogacy agent. “As general manager in a leading position, how could you violate the policy yourself?” Other motives include older professional women who put off having children for the sake of their careers. On his last trip, Bell said, he met a married woman in her mid-40s who worked her way up to a top job at a large financial firm but felt she lost track of her priorities along the way. “‘I worked so hard to get where I am, only to get to the point where I forgot the most important thing’,” he quoted her as saying. ‘We don’t have any regrets in life’ California is the destination of choice for most Chinese couples because of its wellestablished surrogacy industry and welcoming legal framework, noted Andrew Vorzimer, a Los Angeles-based attorney who called its reproductive law regime “the best in the world”. The Golden State generally allows both client parents to be named on the birth certificate, excluding the surrogate and enabling the child to be recognized as theirs under Chinese law. “Commercial surrogacy, really the birthplace was California,” said Vorzimer. After Tony Jiang, 36, of Shanghai, and his wife had three children through a Californian surrogate they had so many inquiries he left his job to start his own fertility consultancy. “I think if we go abroad, we try to do it in the best place we can find in the world, because after trying it there, we don’t have any regrets in life,” he said. There are some fringe benefits to pursuing surrogacy in the US, including the child having American citizenship and an increased likelihood of twins or triplets through in-vitro fertilization. But Jiang insisted: “It’s not a kind of fashion. It’s only for people in true need.” The process is long and convoluted, and Chinese clients risk stigmatization if the truth emerges. “Especially for some Chinese, they don’t much discuss this openly,” said the new mother. “Even if they have children through therapy in the US, when they bring them back home, they won’t mention about the therapy at all. “They don’t want people to know.” —AFP

BEIJING: Two Chinese families are seen at a park.


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

Experts urge US to measure, pursue our happiness WASHINGTON: A panel of experts thinks the US government should be more in touch with Americans’ feelings. By gauging happiness, there’d be more to consider than cold hard cash when deciding matters that affect daily lives, according to a report this week from the National Academy of Sciences, which advises the government. The panel of economists, psychologists and other experts assembled by the academy recommended that federal statistics and surveys, which normally deal with income, spending, health and housing, include a few extra questions on happiness. “You want to know how people are doing?” said panel chairman Arthur Stone, a professor of psychology at New York’s Stony Brook University. “One of things you may want to do is ask them.” Asking how people feel can be as important as how much they are spending, Stone said. For example, economists have something they call the “misery index” which adds the unemployment and inflation rates, but doesn’t include how people feel. If you want to know misery, the question to ask is “how much suffering is going on,” he said. The panel suggests a series of questions to measure daily happiness and general well-being, asking how often you smiled, were stressed, laughed or were in pain. Example questions ranged from a simple yes-no “Yesterday, did you spend time with friends or family?” to a more complex 1-10 rating for “Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?”

Over the past decade, these types of questions have shown to be valid scientifically, said Carol Graham, a Brookings Institution economist who was on the panel. The report said the answers can help governments shape policy on basic benefits, such as retirement age and pensions, care for the chronic and terminally ill, unemployment and working conditions. It cited a study by one of the Nobel Prizewinning panelists that showed people’s feelings about commuting problems

helped officials decided whether or not to create commuter toll lanes on highways. In terms of collecting happiness data, the United States government “is a bit of a laggard” behind other industrial nations, said John Helliwell, an economist who codirects an institute that studies well-being at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. In one of the few surveys where the government does ask, the U.S. is a pretty happy nation. Last year, about 87 percent

WASHINGTON: A smiley face balloon floats over Revere Beach in Revere, as beachgoers head for the water on Sunday, July 16, 2006. —AP

of Americans considered themselves very happy or pretty happy. But it’s far behind No. 1 Denmark, a host of northern European countries, Canada, Israel and Mexico. The United States ranked 17th in a world happiness ranking report directed by Helliwell, which was based on international surveys and came out in September. When governments and academics study happiness they find that money isn’t everything. Many of the richest countries, including the United States, weren’t in the Top 10 in self-reported happiness in the report. “Having no money is terrible for everything,” said Graham, author of several books on the economics and measuring of happiness. But after people make “a comfortable amount of money,” it doesn’t add too much to happiness, she said. That’s what a study last week in the journal PLoS One found. It used worldwide surveys and found that as people made more money worldwide they got happier - but only to a point. That point is just shy of $36,000 a year per person, or $144,000 for a family of four. Once people reached that point, happiness measurements level off and even go down ever so slightly, said study lead author, Eugenio Proto, an economist at the University of Warwick. According to the study, in general, people in the U.S. passed that “bliss point” a few years ago, however federal income figures don’t show nearly that high a household wealth level. Happiness studies, Helliwell said, “keep reminding you that there is much more to life than income and housing.” —AP

J&J, Pharmacyclics leukemia drug effective long term NEW YORK: A closely watched leukemia drug developed by Johnson & Johnson and Pharmacyclics Inc maintained its effectiveness in keeping the disease at bay for most patients, according to long-term follow-up data from a midstage study being presented at a major medical meeting. The oral drug, ibrutinib, last month won US approval to treat a rare and aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma known as mantle cell lymphoma. It is awaiting a Food and Drug Administration decision on treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a slowly progressing form of blood cancer that primarily affects people aged 65 and older. Some industry analysts had expected the CLL approval to come at the same time as the lymphoma decision. Data from this and other studies being presented at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting in New Orleans could give regulators additional comfort about the medicine’s safety and effectiveness in treating CLL. “Patients receiving ibrutinib are doing much better than historically what we’re used to seeing with CLL,” Dr John Byrd, a co-leader of the study, said in a telephone interview. The 148-patient ibrutinib extension study looked at both previously untreated CLL patients and those who had relapsed or stopped responding following prior therapies. With a median follow-up of more than 27 months of treatment, nearly all of the previously untreated, or treatment-naive, patients and almost three quarters of the relapsed and refractory patients had no evidence of the disease progressing. Remissions continue “With extended follow-up the remissions with ibrutinib appear to be continuing and the safety of this long-term is being maintained,” said Byrd, professor of internal medicine and director of hematology at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus. “There has not been an increase of infections or other late-term complications, suggesting that it’s going to be a drug that patients can take for a continued, extended period of time without it being a detriment,” he added. —Reuters


W H AT ’ S O N

ASSE holds mega conference and exhibition 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

GUST professor Dr Al-Sharoufi wins gold medal


ulf University for Science and Technology (GUST) Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics, Dr Hussain Al-Sharoufi, has recently won a Gold Medal for his writing application, Academic Writing Wizard,at the Sixth International Invention Fair in the Middle East held in Kuwait. The fair was organized by the Kuwait Science Club and under the patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AlSabah. The Sixth International Invention Fair is one of the largest specialized exhibitions of inventions in the Middle East, and deemed the second most significant exhibition all over the world. Being part of the efforts of the International Exhibition of Geneva, it is also deemed an opportunity for revealing culture of invention to societies and strengthening the existing relationships among the inventors, companies and corporations. There were over 130 international inventors participating in this conference. Dr Hussain participated also in an international conference on Communication,11-14/06/2014, in Brasov Romania. He won Best Paper Award for the paper he presented on the main idea used in AWW, Lexical Cohesive Trio. The same paper was accepted for publication in Pragmatics and Society, an (A) journal in Linguistics, John Benjamins Publishing Company. Dr Hussain’s novel writing tool is a new web-based application that helps teachers and students alike in achieving their academic goals easily and effectively. It helps students plan, organize, write, and edit their academic essays using a new idea in teaching academic writing, Lexical Cohesive Trio. AWW provides teachers with an exceptional environment to assign essays, receive students’ essays, mark them, and provide a comprehensive feedback on every single paragraph. AWW helps also in generating statistical reports which help in assessing learning outcomes. Teaching academic writing is a laborious and daunting experience, especially for non-native speakers of English. Academic Writing Wizard is the new solution to solving writing problems. The application has the potential of dramatically improving students’ academic writing. By consciously using cohesive elements from detailed categorized lists, students become aware of numerous options that boost their writing and help them start afresh with their academic assignments. GUST is extremely proud of Dr Al-Sharoufi’s achievements and wishes him further success in all his current and future projects.


merican Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Kuwait Chapter organized 7th International Health, Safety, Security Environment (HSSE) and Loss Prevention Conference & Exhibition during 26th Nov - 28th Nov 2013 which was a mega event. The prime objective of the conference was to promote Health, Safety, Security, and Environmental protection on workforce and common public across the globe by providing a forum for practitioners from Industries, Institutions, and Government Agencies to share the experiences, technological advancements, and innovative approaches and it is a best opportunity for the professionals to learn. To provide a focus on the future of industries and environment, the theme of this conference is “HSSE - Solutions to HSE Challenges”. The inauguration for the event was held on 26th November 2013 at Radisson Blu Hotel, Kuwait. Fadhel Al-Ali, Chairman, Organizing Committee of the Conference welcomed the distinguished dignitaries and professional from Kuwait and from the other nations, industries and organizations. On Behalf of the chief guest Mustafa Al-Shamali, Minister of Oil, Nizar Al-Adsani Chief Executive Officer of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation inaugurated the conference and exhibition and addressed the professionals and highlighted the importance of such event. The keynote addresses were given by the following: Mohammed Hussain President and CEO Equate Main Partner of ASSE Kuwait Chapter, Hashem Sayed Hashem, CEO, Kuwait Oil Company, Mohammed Gazi Al-Mutairi, CEO, Kuwait National Petroleum Company and on behalf of Ahmad Al-Omar, Saudi Arabian Chevron President, Hussain Hakami HES/OE Manager Colonel Nabeel Al Safy- Projects General Coordinator from SDFC Brill Rhynd Consultant from RIMSCO Raymond Clarke CEO of IQ Arabia. Our distinguished delegate from USA, the President of American Society of Safety Engineers, Kathy Seabrook addressed the professional and guests and appreciated the efforts by one of the prestigious chapter in the society, Kuwait Chapter and congratulated organizing committee and the members for their voluntary efforts to bring out such a wonderful conference. Launching of the ASSE Global Logo was also done by the President of American Society of Safety Engineers USA, Kathy Seabrook and Fred Fortman Executive

Director of American Society of Safety Engineers USA. Mohiuddeen -Director PDC organizing Committee has provided an overview of this conference and highlight-

ed on the untiring efforts put in by dedicated members and support extended by various sponsors and organizations.

We’re all going to the Zoo tomorrow!


ll the children from the PKG and KG classes set out from TSK on their journey, ready to learn about animals and their habitats. Of course, other than a safari or polar outing, we never get to see animals in their natural environment, but as an alternative, Kuwait Zoo was a real treat. The children from TSK are learning about animals in their classes and had many questions for their teachers to answer, like; Why do elephants have long noses?, What does a tiger eat? and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see? When you work with very young children, they make you remember that the world is a stimulating and wonderful place. All the children came back from their trips brimming with excitement about the animals they had seen and the knowledge they now had about each one. Classroom learning was enhanced and fun was had by all. As the photographs show, there’s nothing better than sharing an educational day out with your friends. Learning is always active and fun at The Sunshine Kindergarten, so why not visit us at, send us a tweet, or message us on Facebook - we’d love to hear from you.

Focus conducts Colors Day & Children’s Day celebrations

KISR to organize training course


uwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) is organizing a training course on Coastal EngineeringFundamentals and Applications during 5-9 Jan 2014. The main objective of this training is to teach the participants the basic concepts of Coastal Engineering *To introduce the physics of waves, tides, currents and sediment transport in coastal environments *To let them understand the concept of coastal dynamics and sediment transport *To introduce the participants the design concept of some of the important coastal structures like Breakwaters, Submarine pipelines, Shore protection structures and Scour protection systems *To let them know how to select the design conditions for coastal structures in Kuwait At the end of the training program, the participants will have up to date technical knowledge to carry out the coastal projects better. The training will be imparted through a series of Lectures, †Field visits and exposure to case Study results of some of the important coast engineering problems in Kuwait. Dr S Neelamani, Senior Research Scientist and Program Manager of Coastal Management Program and Dr K Al-Banaa, Associate Research Scientist of Coastal Management Program will be the trainers. Practicing Engineers, R&D personnel, Field Engineers from private and public sector organizations and University faculties can participate in this training course.

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


orum of CADD Users Kuwait conducted “Colors Day” and “Children’s Day” celebrations on 29th November, 2013 at SMCA hall, Abbasiya. Children of all age groups exhibited their talents with great enthusiasm in the coloring and painting contest. Colors day attracted the audience including parents and friends of participants. In the inaugural meeting presided by FOCUS President Salim Raj, event opened by John Arts Kalabhavan drawing a caricature of famous poet “Kunjunni Mash”. Kumari Jinu Elezabath Joji rendered Children’s Day message. FOCUS Colors Day Convener, Siraj Ismail, welcomed the gathering. General Secretary Ratheesan, delivered facilitation speech and Treasurer, Joseph M.T proposed the vote of thanks in the function. The Colors day wrapped up with the prize distribution to the winners. Large number of children and FOCUS family members from all the sixteen units graced the occasion with their active participation and benevolent presence. The contest was conducted in four categories ranging from LGK to Class X and separate

entries for elderly ladies and gents. The following are the winners: 1 st Prize - Sania Jose, Anjel Sara Jiji,Ann Rose Joshi, Jocelin Theresa Jose,Santhosh Thomas Jitha Manoj 2nd Prize - Jiji Mathew, Niya Ann Sam, Nikitha Ann Sam, Kevin Koshy, Shahim Abdul Rehman, Beena Thomas Various cultural performances by the members of FOCUS kids Arjun Ajikumar, Sidharth Shyam, Soumya Shabeer added colour to the event. A musical show by famous singer Anwar Sarang, Rafi Kallyi, Neelima enthralled the audience. Comedy show performed by Manoj (98.4 UFM fame) was ejoyed by one and all. Focus officials Joji V.Alex,Sunil George, Mohammed Niyas ,Shaji Kutty, S. Ratheesh Kumar, Nithin Kumar, Shaju M.Jose, Shaheer, C.O. Koshy, Sajeed Ali, Shafeer, Arun Jacob, Sumesh Bindhu Santhosh Kumar were gave leadership for the successful conducting of the event in a very professional way. The event was a memorable one marked another feather in the crown of FOCUS Kuwait.



he General body meeting of the Angamaly Pravasi Association, Kuwait (APAK) was held at Hi-Dine Auditorium, Abbassiya. The meeting was presided over by the President of the Association Bacon Joseph and was inaugurated by the Chairman of its Advisory Board Jacob Pynadath. The annual report was presented by General Secretary Martin Kurian and Sajeev Paul Treasurer presented the accounts of the report year and was passed by the General Body. Following this the General Body elected the Office Bearers for the year 2013 - 2014. PresidentMr.Bacon Joseph, Vice President- Jose Augusthy, General Secretary - Nigi Paily,Joint Secretary - Martin Kurian, Treasurer - Sajeev Paul, Joint Treasurer - Jose Varghese, Office Secretary - Libin Paul, Auditor - Shibu Pynadath, Advisory Board Chairman - Saju Geo Thachil.

W H AT ’ S O N


Embassy Information

Getting together with close friends from Kuwait to say farewell, Mu Mu Cho, spouse of the Ambassador Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Mynamar, hosted a lunch on December 4 at Sky Lounge, Safir Hotel & Residences, Kuwait.

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

Fans gather to meet Spiderman at Marina Mall


ans of all ages, from the young to the young-at-heart gathered at Marina Mall in Kuwait to meet with their childhood hero, Spiderman. Organized by OSN, comic book enthusiasts interacted with their favorite childhood superhero, posed for photographs and took home souvenir autographs of the fiction world’s biggest vigilante. OSN brought Spiderman to Jeddah recently, which was an overwhelming success with numerous fans thronging to meet their favorite superhero. OSN exclusively screens the animated series, Ultimate Spider-Man on Disney XD, the popular children’s television channel, daily at 8:05pm KSA.

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:


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

Zen Alan Carr: Chatty Man Absolutely Fabulous The Office Doctor Who Robin Hood Nina And The Neurons Poetry Pie Mr Bloom’s Nursery Little Human Planet Show Me Show Me Buzz & Tell Nina And The Neurons Poetry Pie Mr Bloom’s Nursery Little Human Planet Show Me Show Me Buzz & Tell Robin Hood Blackadder II Come Fly With Me The Weakest Link Absolutely Fabulous Hebburn Doctor Who Robin Hood David Copperfield The Weakest Link Doctors Doctors Doctors Doctors Doctors Doctor Who David Copperfield The Cafe Last Of The Summer Wine Hebburn My Family Paradox Spooks Luther Live At The Apollo Last Of The Summer Wine My Family

00:00 DIY SOS: The Big Build 01:00 The Restaurant Inspector 01:45 Cash In The Attic 02:35 Marbella Mansions 03:20 Antiques Roadshow 04:10 Antiques Roadshow 05:05 DIY SOS: The Big Build 06:00 Bargain Hunt 06:45 Bargain Hunt 07:25 Come Dine With Me: Supersized 09:00 Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes 09:50 Rick Stein’s French Odyssey 10:20 Rick Stein’s French Odyssey 10:50 The Little Paris Kitchen 11:15 Raymond Blanc’s Kitchen Secrets 11:40 Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey: Christmas 12:35 Hairy Bikers’ Christmas Party 13:25 The Restaurant Inspector 14:10 Antiques Roadshow 15:05 Antiques Roadshow 16:00 Antiques Roadshow 16:55 Antiques Roadshow 17:45 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 19:15 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 20:00 The Restaurant Inspector 20:45 Come Dine With Me: Supersized 22:20 Antiques Roadshow 23:15 Bargain Hunt

00:05 Bugs, Bites And Parasites 00:55 Life Or Death: Medical Mysteries 01:45 World’s Strangest 02:35 How It’s Made 03:00 How It’s Made 03:25 How It’s Made

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

How It’s Made How It’s Made How Do They Do It? How Do They Do It? How Do They Do It? How Do They Do It? How Do They Do It? Kings Of Crash World’s Biggest Ship Wheeler Dealers Diamond Divers Bush Pilots Jungle Gold: Wild Ride Strip The City Destroyed In Seconds Destroyed In Seconds How It’s Made How It’s Made How It’s Made How It’s Made How It’s Made Storage Hunters Storage Hunters Storage Hunters Storage Hunters Storage Hunters Border Security Border Security Border Security Border Security Border Security Mythbusters Treehouse Masters You Have Been Warned Diamond Divers Bush Pilots

00:40 Dark Matters: Twisted But True 01:30 Stunt Junkies 02:00 Smash Lab 02:50 Smash Lab 03:45 Smash Lab 04:35 Smash Lab 05:25 Smash Lab 06:15 Gadget Show - World Tour 06:40 How Tech Works 07:05 Stunt Junkies 07:30 Stunt Junkies 08:00 Mighty Planes 08:50 Rocket City Rednecks 09:15 Rocket City Rednecks 09:40 Gadget Show - World Tour 10:05 How Tech Works 10:30 How The Universe Works 11:25 How The Universe Works 12:20 How The Universe Works 13:10 How The Universe Works 14:00 How The Universe Works 14:50 Stunt Junkies 15:20 Gadget Show - World Tour 15:45 How Tech Works 16:10 Futurecar 17:00 Bang Goes The Theory 17:25 Bang Goes The Theory 17:55 Game Changers 18:20 Game Changers 18:45 Junkyard Wars 19:35 Rocket City Rednecks 20:00 Rocket City Rednecks 20:30 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 21:20 Mighty Ships 22:10 Gadget Show - World Tour 22:35 How Tech Works 23:00 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 23:50 Mighty Ships

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The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody Jonas Jonas Suite Life On Deck Suite Life On Deck Wizards Of Waverly Place Wizards Of Waverly Place The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody Jonas Jonas Suite Life On Deck Suite Life On Deck Wizards Of Waverly Place

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Wizards Of Waverly Place Austin And Ally Austin And Ally A.N.T. Farm A.N.T. Farm That’s So Raven Shake It Up Good Luck Charlie Dog With A Blog Gravity Falls Wolfblood My Babysitter’s A Vampire A.N.T. Farm Cars Toons Teen Beach Movie Dog With A Blog Shake It Up A.N.T. Farm Jessie Austin And Ally Good Luck Charlie That’s So Raven Dog With A Blog My Babysitter’s A Vampire Wolfblood Gravity Falls A.N.T. Farm Good Luck Charlie Austin And Ally Dog With A Blog My Babysitter’s A Vampire Wolfblood Gravity Falls Good Luck Charlie Violetta Violetta Violetta Violetta Violetta Wizards Of Waverly Place

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Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Tastiest Places To Chowdown Tastiest Places To Chowdown Unwrapped Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Unique Eats Food Crafters United Tastes Of America Chopped Amazing Wedding Cakes Unwrapped Unwrapped Everyday Italian Everyday Italian Everyday Italian Everyday Italian Aarti Party Aarti Party Aarti Party Aarti Party Reza’s African Kitchen Barefoot Contessa - Specials Charly’s Cake Angels Charly’s Cake Angels Charly’s Cake Angels Barefoot Contessa - Back To Barefoot Contessa - Back To Barefoot Contessa - Back To Reza’s African Kitchen Reza’s African Kitchen Siba’s Table Siba’s Table Amazing Wedding Cakes Siba’s Table Barefoot Contessa - Specials Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Iron Chef America Iron Chef America Barefoot Contessa - Specials Chopped Charly’s Cake Angels Charly’s Cake Angels Amazing Wedding Cakes

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart

The X Factor season finale same time as the US, only on OSN


fter its phenomenal success this year, the world’s biggest singing competition is about to announce the next global superstar, this month. The competition has been fierce, not just for the contestants, but also between the judges but ultimately it will be the fans who decide who really has The X Factor. Look forward to a night of glitter and glamour, confetti and streamers, rising talents and superstars as The X Factor announces its latest gem, at the same time as the US, exclusively on OSN First HD on Dec 20 at 20:00KSA. The multi award-winning Homeland Season 3 will also come to a thrilling end this month (Dec 17, 21:00 KSA) along with the hugely popular True Blood (Dec 1, 22:00 KSA). On the movies front, OSN lights up the festive season with the latest sci-fi thriller featuring a star-studded cast, headed by the ever-so versatile, Idris Elba in Pacific Rim. While young fans who can’t get enough of the British pop band can enjoy an all-access behind-the-scenes look at their heartthrobs in One Direction: This Is Us exclusively on OSN. For some high-flying fun for the entire family, OSN will also premier Disney’s newest animated feature, Planes.

DETROIT CITY ON OSN MOVIES COMEDY HD  01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 Saturday Night Live 02:30 Legit 03:00 Hot In Cleveland 03:30 Baby Daddy 04:00 The Simpsons 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 The Simpsons 08:30 The War At Home 09:00 Hot In Cleveland 09:30 Two And A Half Men 10:00 The Mindy Project 10:30 Friends 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 All Of Us 12:30 The Simpsons 13:00 The War At Home 13:30 Friends 14:00 Baby Daddy 14:30 Two And A Half Men 15:00 The Mindy Project 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 Go On 19:00 Two And A Half Men 19:30 The Mindy Project 20:00 The Cleveland Show 20:30 Don’t Trust The B In Apartment 23 21:00 2 Broke Girls 21:30 2 Broke Girls 22:00 New Girl 22:30 Girls 23:00 Legit 23:30 The Cleveland Show

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Burn Notice Last Resort Alphas Rescue Me The Glades Almost Human Burn Notice Fairly Legal Criminal Minds Almost Human Last Resort The Glades Coronation Street Criminal Minds Burn Notice Coronation Street The X Factor U.S. Criminal Minds Top Gear (US) Zero Hour Red Widow The Newsroom Rescue Me

Covert Affairs Scandal The Americans Coronation Street C.S.I. New York Coronation Street C.S.I. New York Covert Affairs Live Good Morning America C.S.I. New York Covert Affairs Castle C.S.I. New York Covert Affairs House Of Cards Scandal

00:00 A Dangerous Man 02:00 7 Below 04:00 How I Spent My Summer Vacation 06:00 Carjacked

08:00 The Presence 09:30 Tombstone 11:45 Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows 14:00 Metal Tornado 16:00 Tombstone 18:15 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part Two 20:00 Metal Tornado 22:00 Seconds Apart

00:00 7 Below-18 02:00 How I Spent My Summer Vacation-PG15 04:00 Carjacked-PG15 06:00 The Presence-PG15 07:30 Tombstone-PG15 09:45 Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows-PG15 12:00 Metal Tornado-PG15 14:00 Tombstone-PG15 16:15 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part Two-PG15 18:00 Metal Tornado-PG15 20:00 Seconds Apart-PG15 22:00 Universal Soldier: Day Of Reckoning-PG15

00:00 How To Make Love To A Woman-18 02:00 Calendar Girls-PG15 04:00 Stop! Or My Mom Will ShootPG15 06:00 12 Wishes Of Christmas-PG15 08:00 Chasing Liberty-PG15 10:00 Blame It On The Bellboy-PG15 12:00 Stop! Or My Mom Will ShootPG15 14:00 Who Framed Roger Rabbit-PG 16:00 Blame It On The Bellboy-PG15 18:00 Sleepless In Seattle-PG 20:00 Detroit Rock City-18 22:00 How To Make Love To A Woman-18

01:00 PG15 03:00 05:00 09:00 PG15 10:45 13:00 PG15 15:00 17:00 18:45 21:00 23:15

HappythankyoumorepleaseLove Takes Wing-PG15 Treasure Island-PG15 HappythankyoumorepleaseReign Over Me-PG15 Too Late To Say GoodbyeNow Is Good-PG15 StreetDance 2-PG15 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy-PG15 Flight-18 Peacock-18

19:00 In Time-PG15 21:00 Skyfall-PG15 23:30 Total Recall-18

01:00 Crab Island 02:30 Emilie Jolie 04:15 Three Investigators And The Secret Of Terror... 06:00 Crab Island 08:00 Rainbow Valley Heroes 10:00 Jumanji 11:45 Problem Child 13:15 Over The Hedge 14:45 The Fantastic Adventure Of The Ugly Duckling 16:15 American Girl: McKenna Shoots For The Stars 18:00 Jumanji 20:00 Rookie Of The Year 21:45 The Fantastic Adventure Of The Ugly Duckling 23:15 American Girl: McKenna Shoots For The Stars

00:00 The Runway-PG15 02:00 Midnight In Paris-PG15 04:00 Sinbad: Legend Of The Seven Seas-FAM 06:00 Flicka 3-FAM 08:00 The Odd Life Of Timothy Green-PG 10:00 Just Crazy Enough-PG15 12:00 Midnight In Paris-PG15 14:00 Deadly Hope-PG15 16:00 The Odd Life Of Timothy Green-PG 18:00 The Double-PG15 20:00 The Campaign-18 22:00 Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters-PG15

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Inside The PGA Tour ICC Cricket 360 Live Cricket Test Match Live NEDBANK Golf Trans World Sport Futbol Mundial Amlin Challenge Cup Total Rugby ICC Cricket 360 Live Snooker

02:00 02:30 03:30 06:30 07:00 07:30 09:30 10:00 Series 20:30 21:00

Futbol Mundial WWE Bottom Line Live NHL NFL Gameday Futbol Mundial Amlin Challenge Cup Total Rugby Live HSBC Sevens World NFL Gameday Live NFL

01:00 Mahler On The Couch-18 03:00 The Paperboy-18 05:00 Like Crazy-PG15 07:00 Thorne: Scaredy Cat-PG15 09:00 Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close-PG 11:15 Look Again-PG15 13:00 My Kid Could Paint That-PG15 15:00 Regarding Henry-PG15 17:00 Look Again-PG15 19:00 The Woman In Black-PG15 21:00 He Got Game-18 23:15 Shark City-18

01:30 Asian Tour Golf 02:00 ICC Cricket 360 02:30 Snooker UK Championship 06:30 Futbol Mundial 07:00 Trans World Sport 08:00 Live PGA European Tour 12:00 PGA Tour 17:00 Live Snooker UK Championship 20:30 Futbol Mundial 21:00 Live PGA Tour

00:00 After Life-18 01:45 Katy Perry The Movie: Part Of Me-PG 03:30 Flower Girl-PG15 05:00 Bobby Fischer Against The World-PG15 07:00 Flicka 3-FAM 09:00 Cool It-PG15 11:00 Premium Rush-PG15 13:00 Playdate-PG15 15:00 Five-PG15 17:00 Cool It-PG15

02:00 UFC Prelims 04:00 UFC 07:00 Snooker UK Championship 11:00 WWE Experience 12:00 WWE This Week 12:30 WWE SmackDown 14:30 WWE Bottom Line 15:30 UIM F1 H2O Powerboat Champs 17:00 Motor Sports 2013 18:00 NHL 20:00 UFC Unleashed 22:00 UFC

‘Saturday Night Live’ pokes fun at diversity issue


ith Kerry Washington as guest host, “Saturday Night Live” wasted no time poking fun at itself after receiving criticism for having no black women among its 16 regular cast members. In the opening skit, the “Scandal” actress portrayed First Lady Michelle Obama, talking with her husband about an upcoming state dinner at the White House. “Michelle, this is such a treat,” said the president, impersonated by Jay Pharoah. “I feel like it’s been years since I’ve seen you.” An aide came in, saying Oprah Winfrey had arrived for the dinner and wanted to see the president. “Don’t you think you should get changed?” he asked Washington. She wondered whether cast member Kenan Thompson couldn’t play Winfrey; Both Thompson and Pharoah have said recently they will no longer impersonate women on the NBC late-night comedy institution. Washington left the stage and returned as Winfrey. She was then asked to portray Beyonce - before the show’s executive producer, Lorne Michaels, stepped in. Michaels said producers would like to apologize to Washington for the number of black women she would be asked to play in the show. “We make this request both because Ms. Washington is an actress of considerable range and talent, and also because ‘Saturday Night Live’ does not currently have a black woman in the cast,” he said. “We agree this is not an ideal situation and look forward to rectifying it in the future - unless, of course, we fall in love with another white guy first.” The show has had four black women among its regular cast since coming on the air in 1975 with the last one, biracial Maya Rudolph, leaving in 2007. Both Pharoah and Thompson had recently addressed the situation in interviews with Pharoah even lobbying for a specific comic to be added - Darmirra Brunson of the OWN sitcom “Love Thy Neighbor.” To drive the point home in the skit, the presidential aide announced that six different Matthew McConaugheys were there to attend the state dinner - and six different white male cast members trooped in dressed as the actor. Then the Rev. Al Sharpton appeared on the stage. “What have we learned from this sketch?” Sharpton said. “As usual, nothing.” He then delivered the show’s traditional opening line of “live from New York, it’s Saturday night.”— AP

Classifieds TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2013





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AVENUES-1 JACKIE CHAN, BINGBING LI 1911 (DIG) 1911 (DIG) 1911 (DIG) 1911 (DIG) 1911 (DIG)

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LAILA SAVING SANTA (DIG) THE HUNGER GAMES:CATCHING FIRE (DIG) CARRIE (DIG) 6th Dec 2013 Laila Cinema is booked for Festival

Saravanan Subramaniyan S/o Subramaniyan holder of Indian Passport No. G9950267 born on 2nd March 1976 (native district: Thiruvarur), residing at No. 112/219, Mariamman Kovil street, Maruthangavali, Muthupet. Thiruvarur District, shall henceforth be known as Sameer Mohamed. (C 4593) 5-12-2013 FOR SALE Mazda (6) white color, model 2011, excellent condition, still under warranty, km 42,000, KD 2,300. Tel: 50994848. (C 4596) Nissan Pathfinder 2003 model, in good condition, white. Serious buyer may contact 97277135. Gold star no frost double door fridge, dining table 5 chairs, exercise cycle dressing table, tipois, glass flower pots, at reasonable price. Contact: 99602164. (C 4594) 7-12-2013

SITUATION WANTED Accountant, M.Com (Finance) Graduate. Pursuing MBA. 10 years of experience (3-1/2 years in Kuwait) in finalization of company

accounts and assisting in the Audit process. Kuwait driving license, transferable visa, seeking for better opportunities. Tel: 97253248. Email: (C 4595) 9-12-2013

112 Prayer timings

Fajr: Shorook Duhr: Asr: Maghrib: Isha:

05:07 06:31 11:40 14:31 16:50 18:12

No: 16012

6:00 PM 8:00 PM 10:45 PM Korean Film

Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (



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546 672 500 472 221 325 1072 857 561 303 640 510 127 215 284 777 542 678 742 982 1080 63 177 786 774 104 166 775 674 618 217 647 61 618 572 393 129 605 634 229 402 307 859 219 1074 59 415 135 576 981 239 981 185


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Departure Flights on Tuesday 10/12/2013 Flt Route Time 976 GOA 00:05 206 LAHORE 00:10 327 DUBAI 00:15 490 MANGALORE 00:15 573 MUMBAI 01:10 411 AMSTERDAM 01:45 44 DHAKA 01:45 637 FRANKFURT 02:10 240 SIALKOT 02:20 621 ADDIS ABABA 02:45 773 ISTANBUL-ATATURK 02:55 854 DUBAI 03:50 381 DELHI 03:50 306 ABU DHABI 04:00 644 MUSCAT 04:05 613 CAIRO 04:10 1085 DOHA 04:15 68 DUBAI 05:00 283 DHAKA 05:15 1077 DOHA 05:15 560 SOHAG 06:20 70 DUBAI 06:30 164 DUBAI 06:55 643 AMMAN 07:05 765 ISTANBUL-SABIHA 07:05 212 BAHRAIN 07:15 545 ALEXANDRIA 07:15 771 ISTANBUL-ATATURK 07:30 303 KANDAHAR 08:00 54 DUBAI 08:30 156 LONDON 08:45 513 TEHRAN 09:25 671 DUBAI 09:30 126 SHARJAH 09:40 101 LONDON 09:50 856 DUBAI 09:55 302 ABU DHABI 10:05 1071 DOHA 10:10 56 DUBAI 10:20 618 LAR 10:55 214 BAHRAIN 11:25 561 AMMAN 11:25 541 CAIRO 11:30 165 ROME 11:50 677 MUSCAT 12:20 776 JEDDAH 12:25 776 JEDDAH 12:25 324 AL NAJAF 12:40 405 BEIRUT 12:55 521 BAGRAM 13:00 785 JEDDAH 13:00 176 DUBAI 13:45



611 872 58 342 1079 673 741 617 473 222 501 773 238 304 1073 858 538 641 128 511 216 184 266 134 982 554 64 1081 218 62 648 120 361 607 571 351 3942 604 343 171 230 403 308 220 301 60 860 205 415 1075 575 528 411


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stars CROSSWORD 394

STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) You should find this a nearly perfect time to be assertive and to move forward in your career. You have all of the drive and energy that you could possibly want--it should not be too hard to channel. Your path is open and clear for whatever you want to accomplish. This afternoon you have an opportunity to sign up for an exercise program and a friend will sign up with you. This is a good thing and will help you maintain a good health habit. They may be giving classes in how to choose healthy meals and partake in healthy dieting. It would be good to make the time for these courses. It won't be long before you and your friend will be taking some shopping trips for a new and betterfitting suit or other clothing. Harmony rules and this is a happy time.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) Feeling in touch or in harmony with those around you helps you to enjoy open communication. It is a time when you should not be surprised at some sort of extra support or recognition, particularly regarding your work situation. Expect a little added boost. A round table discussion will give all that are present, food for ideas and thoughts. Others may find you quite charismatic or commanding in speaking. People will have no problem in relating to just what you mean. Your optimism and faith will be strong and carry you through to success. The kids in your home seem to want everything they see on television--a talk is due. You may find enjoyment in reading a book later this evening and while you are at it, you encourage young people to read.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

ACROSS 1. Indian physicist who with Albert Einstein proposed statistical laws based on the indistinguishability of particles. 5. Capable of being tamed. 12. (computer science) A computer that is running software that allows users to leave messages and access information of general interest. 15. Weapons considered collectively. 16. Containing no liquid or actuated without the use of liquid. 17. A reproach for some lapse or misdeed. 18. The Tibeto-Burman language spoken in the Dali region of Yunnan. 19. Not mined. 20. Goddess of criminal rashness and its punishment. 21. Muslim name for God. 23. An association of nations dedicated to economic and political cooperation in southeastern Asia. 25. A radioactive element of the actinide series. 26. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 28. The slender spear of the Bantu-speaking people of Africa. 30. A soft silver-white ductile metallic element (liquid at normal temperatures). 32. A federal agency established to coordinate programs aimed at reducing pollution and protecting the environment. 33. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite. 34. (Babylonian) God of wisdom and agriculture and patron of scribes and schools. 37. Be idle. 39. Injure or wound seriously and leave permanent disfiguration or mutilation. 42. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 43. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 44. American prizefighter who won the world heavyweight championship three times (born in 1942). 46. Cause to be embarrassed. 49. In a competent capable manner. 51. A bar of sand. 54. Fertility goddess in ancient Greek mythology. 56. Inquire about. 57. Prolific and influential Spanish artist who lived in France (1881-1973). 58. An esoteric or occult matter that is traditionally secret. 60. A French river that flows through the heart of Paris and then northward into the English Channel. 62. (Brit) An area of open or forested country. 63. A person active in party politics. 66. A yellow trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group. 67. Not final or absolute. 70. An organic compound that contains a hydroxyl group bonded to a carbon atom which in turn is doubly bonded to another carbon atom. 72. Having an eye or eyes or eyelike feature especially as specified. 75. Swedish oceanographer who recognized the role of the Coriolis effect on ocean currents (1874-1954). 77. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 78. The biblical name for ancient Syria. 80. A British peer ranking below a Marquess and above a Viscount. 81. Any culture medium that uses agar as the gelling agent. 85. A benevolent aspect of Devi.

86. An aromatic ointment used in antiquity. 87. A person who guesses. 88. Lacking in rigor or strictness. DOWN 1. A small cake leavened with yeast. 2. Using speech rather than writing. 3. Perennial mountain rice native to Mediterranean region and introduced into North America. 4. Someone who escapes. 5. The 19th letter of the Greek alphabet. 6. A former copper coin of Pakistan. 7. A woman sahib. 8. A small zodiacal constellation in the northern hemisphere. 9. Ruffed grouse. 10. Of or relating to the spleen. 11. A doctor's degree in education. 12. An undergarment worn by women to support their breasts. 13. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 14. A detailed description of design criteria for a piece of work. 22. (informal) Informed about the latest trends. 24. The capital and largest city of Yemen. 27. A rotating disk shaped to convert circular into linear motion. 29. A state in midwestern United States. 31. East Indian tree yielding a resin used medicinally and burned as incense. 35. Strong lightweight wood of the balsa tree used especially for floats. 36. A virtually extinct Caucasian language spoken exclusively in Turkey. 38. A bluish-white lustrous metallic element. 40. American professional baseball player who hit more home runs than Babe Ruth (born in 1934). 41. Made from residue of grapes or apples after pressing. 45. Realistic Norwegian author who wrote plays on social and political themes (1828-1906). 47. United States dancer and choreographer who collaborated with Ruth Saint Denis (18911972). 48. A populous province in northeastern China. 50. With no effort to conceal. 52. Any of several small ungulate mammals of Africa and Asia with rodent-like incisors and feet with hooflike toes. 53. A line spoken by an actor to the audience but not intended for others on the stage. 55. Lower in esteem. 59. Having the same or similar characteristics. 61. United States swimmer who in 1926 became the first woman to swim the English Channel (1903- ). 64. Lake in northwestern Russia near the border with Finland. 65. Of or relating to or affecting a lobe. 68. (Hinduism and Buddhism) The effects of a person's actions that determine his destiny in his next incarnation. 69. Cause to feel relaxed. 71. Soft white semisolid fat obtained by rendering the fatty tissue of the hog v 1. 73. River in eastern Asia. 74. The time during which someone's life continues. 76. A heavy long-handled hammer used to drive stakes or wedges. 79. A form of address for a married woman. 82. A class of proteins produced in lymph tissue in vertebrates and that function as antibodies in the immune response. 83. That is to say. 84. A colorless and odorless inert gas.


Your conservative mind explodes when it has the opportunity to be free and create. You could be working in the wonderful world of computer gaming, or for a group of creative and independent young people that are toy makers, auctioneers on the internet, writers or entertainment organizers, etc. Whatever you do-change some of the ways you choose a job. An example might be that talents in math do not mean you have to be an accountant all of your life. Your profession should be something you really enjoy--this is where you will have an opportunity to meet the people that have similar likes with you. You are the type of person that makes a positive difference, so find the best condition for meeting the most people while experiencing the most satisfac-

Cancer (June 21-July 22) There are new backup systems that you look into so that your ideas are not lost--then you move into action. Perhaps politics, law, education, travel and religion could be some of the areas you review. You long for new and exciting challenges and experiences. Metaphysical or philosophical musings could capture your attention. This should be a super day for getting things accomplished. You should find your hand and eye coordination good, making just about any task run smoothly. This afternoon you return calls and visit with friends--perhaps making plans for get-togethers. You may even feel like exercising and getting out of doors later this afternoon. You enjoy taking care of your animals this evening.

Leo (July 23-August 22) You may be in an interesting job these days--detective or researcher. You can update and increase your problem-solving abilities faster than most--so you may find people requesting your help. Today moves along quickly and before you know it, this workday has ended. Visiting more with neighbors or family this afternoon could help to take care of some unfinished personal business. Sharing your feelings with others becomes important. Being out among people and learning different opinions takes on more significance for you now. In talking with others you discover a food sampling party. You have not ever been to one of these before and promise yourself to remember this so you can attend one. You gain a lot of new ideas for gifts today.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) There is a great deal of mental activity going on with you today. You seriously contemplate how to contain your temptation to communicate with others--there is work to accomplish. Knowledge, the exchange of ideas and the idea of being smart as a fox are usually the things that have a special appeal. Today, however, is not the time . . . A schedule must be met. One way to help yourself refrain from outbursts might be to keep a notepad handy for recording ideas that might come to you from time to time. When you next take a step outside your office, you will be able to chat with friends. Figuring out new ways to communicate is something you truly enjoy. New technology has you plotting about how to budget your money.

Word Search

Libra (September 23-October 22) You often look for ways to be of service to others. You may have finally finished your part of a group project a little early and decide to look for ways that will help the others in this group. Your mind is quite clear and natural. Taking a different approach to things, assessing new ideas and a breakthrough in thinking are right up your alley. You enjoy learning as well as teaching and may decide to try a few different ways of working to be of help to others. This afternoon, on the home front, you have many ideas that will be helpful to you and to family members for budgeting and gift purchasing. Ideas could be flowing from and to you. There are openings for all the family members to participate in this activity. Take on a give and take attitude.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) It is important that you think about what you are going to say before you say it today. A meeting with an authority figure will encourage you to be expressive and you will want to choose your words carefully; facts equal power. You may decide to enter your ideas in writing. This will help you gain a focus and also give you an opportunity to fine-tune any changes necessary. Concentrate now on the things you are able to improve upon at this time. Assignments this afternoon may seem challenging but not impossible. You may even find these assignments a great way to show off your talents at solving any problem or creative thinking. You enjoy the home responsibilities this evening and may volunteer to help perform someone else's chores.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) This is a time in which you discover new and different reasons to relish and applaud life. A kind of mini-revolution may find you developing your value system, allowing you to like new things. You have a different approach to love and compassion. Someone that you are close to could look up to you for guidance and perhaps seek a recommendation concerning a very personal issue. You should have no difficulty in understanding a situation. Your ability to cut to the chase and get at what lies beneath the surface is highly beneficial to the conclusion of most situations. This afternoon proves interesting as you volunteer to help with a family affair. Children bring a multitude of laughter as you help at a birthday party or some other extravaganza.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) You use your mind to make clear choices and to think things through. Career decisions are unwavering and easy to chart. You see your way through ideas, concepts and your ability to communicate and express them to others. It should be a great time to get many things done as there are very few interruptions and progress seems to move along rather quickly. You could be tempted to write, work on a car or sew into the late hours of the night because the rhythm of your work is productive. Be sure to hug family members this evening--perhaps a dinner and a shopping trip is in order. Shopping early for gifts, decorations or that special party costume will be a wise choice. Who knows, you might discover a new shopping area.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) As you begin to become involved in your working day, you find that the day moves along very quickly. As the going-home time nears, you consider meeting friends for dinner. If you are in a relationship, this would be a good evening for you to do the cooking. You should find it a rather fortunate day for making plans or decisions and finding your way through whatever you may encounter. You should feel quite successful and have no problems in coping. Good advice from a guide or older person may be forthcoming. Expect a good day. Anything of a domestic nature or having to do with things from the past will dissolve. Chasing down a rat or a mouse may bring some excitement into your life this evening--it also brings up a story-time idea.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) In just about any social circle, you shine--others will be impressed with your knowledge of rather conceptual and spiritual ideas and your ability to present them to others. You could be working with a school system or church office as a secretary or helper. You may find yourself giving a lecture or perhaps teaching some math technique. A question and answer period after the lecture may tempt you to invite people to some private sessions for extra help. You may want to be careful not to go too far in helping those that may need a different sort of counseling than you are able to offer, however. Hugs tend to bring a comfortable feeling of acceptance--that may be all that is needed in many cases. We create our future when we dream.

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lifestyle G o s s i p

Swanepoel says models need to be smart


andice Swanepoel says models need to be both smart and beautiful. The Victoria’s Secret Angel thinks to succeed in the fashion industry a girl needs to have more than just good looks and the smartest models she knows are those who have managed to turn their names into a brand. Candice told the Huffington Post: “Some of the smartest businesswomen I know are models. There are so many beautiful girls around that you need more than that. It’s really about being smart now and turning it into a business.” The blonde admits models often get stereotyped for being

dumb but insists it makes them stronger. She added: “We grow a thick skin, so it’s OK.” Models who have managed to turn their hand to business include Sports Illustrated cover girl Elle Macpherson, who launched lingerie line, Elle Macpherson Intimates, and has a range of beauty products called Elle Macpherson - The Body. Brazilian fashion model Gisele Bundchen has her own line of flipflop sandals, Ipanema, which she launched in 2001. Within three years, sales topped $30 million, with a portion of proceeds going to eco-friendly causes.

Jacobs pleased with Louis Vuitton successor

ulie Deane wants to keep The Cambridge Satchel Company entirely British. The entrepreneur started making the traditional leather satchels with the help of her mother in her kitchen at home, and although they are now made in a factory, Julie says they will remain entirely British. Julie exclusively told BANG Showbiz at the launch of her new Spitalfields store: “We’re not trying to do anything sneaky. They’re not mostly made somewhere else and finished off here. Every single part of our production is in the UK.” “It’s not like buying 5,000 widgets from somewhere, they all arrive and you just send them out. There’s nothing special about that.” The 46-year-old mother-of-two first started the business so that she could afford to send her children to private school, after her daughter suffered at the hands of bullies, but she hasn’t been without her own problems since starting The Cambridge Satchel Company. She said: “One of my manufacturers had stolen leather to launch a satchels brand ... I thought ‘no I’m not going to put up with it so I started my own factory so nobody does that again. “So now I have this amazing factory in Leicester and they make around 600 bags a day, every day in the UK and that’s set to expand a huge amount.”


Lilly isn’t happy with

starstruck meeting Donatella Versace

having the ‘Best Butt Ever’


elena Gomez claims meeting Donatella Versace was her “Princess Diaries moment.” The singer and actress attended her first Fashion Week show in Milan earlier this year and admits she was starstruck when she was given the opportunity to meet one of her fashion icons. Selena told Teen VOGUE Magazine: “It was surreal because I got to geek out instead of having to be very pristine. It was my total ‘Princess Diaries’ moment.” The 21-year-old ‘Spring Breakers’ actress claims she makes her own decisions on what to wear to red carpet events and Donatella is one of her favorites. She said: “I’ve always been an Italian girl - Dolce & Gabbana and Versace. They capture the body really well. And I love Marchesa.” Selena has her own fashion line for American discount store K Mart and has also designed for Adidas’ Neo range. She explained: “It’s been really fun. They’ve been super open to letting me having a say, which isn’t always the case. We made it edgier than my line, because I wanted it to be a little darker. “It’s stuff I’d wear; I’d rock those jeggings, for sure. And their beanies-I wanted every color.”

Mary J Blige

Julie Deane: Cambridge Satchel Company will stay British J

stays fit to feel good



arc Jacobs thinks Nicolas GhesquiËre is a “brilliant” choice to replace him at Louis Vuitton. The designer - who left his position as the luxury brand’s creative director in October - has given his successor the thumbs up and is excited to see what changes Nicolas brings to the fashion house. He said: “He is a brilliant designer and he’ll do something completely different. I’ve always admired Nicolas. I’m curious to see what he’ll do. We have such different aesthetics “Things need to change. I’m really glad someone I respect and admire, and think is a really great talent, is there.” Marc quit Louis Vuitton to focus on his own eponymous brand and prepare it for an IPO, where shares of stock in a company are sold to the general public. In a talk with architect Peter Marino held at London’s Tate Modern museum, he admitted: “I’m a little scared. A healthy fear. I don’t know where it’s all going to go. I learned a lot from working for Vuitton.” The fashion favourite also touched upon his last ever show for the label at Paris Fashion Week and its sombre swan song vibe, insisting he didn’t know his spring/summer 2014 collection would be his last at the time. According to the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Marc added: “What inspired the set were pieces of previous sets, painted black. My idea was I didn’t know what to do, so we did it all in black.”

ary J Blige says the need to “feel really good” is the motivation behind her fitness regime. The 42-year-old star has been training for years in the hopes of recapturing her fitness “zenith” of the late 90s when she first wore a revealing stage number that enabled her to flaunt her toned physique. Since then she has been dedicated to maintaining a regular workout session and admits “as you get older” fitness can falter. She told The Metro newspaper: “I’ve been training since 1997. My break-out training moment was when I had a show at Radio City Music Hall and I remember getting ripped for the first time and I wore this little studded bra top and these low waist leather pants and that was the first time of getting a taste of looking good. “Then I fell off. You get older, you fall off, but you keep going to maintain. I thought, ‘This time I’ve got to reach my zenith. I’m older and need to feel really good.’ “


he former ‘Lost’ star appeared on the cover of Women’s Health magazine with an arrow pointing to her behind, declaring it the perfect posterior, but she was upset because she wasn’t aware of their intentions. She told talk show host Conan O’Brien: “You think I would have done the shoot if they said, ‘Oh by the way, we’re gonna say ‘Best Butt Ever’ and put a big arrow to your behind?’ “ The 34-year-old star also didn’t think the cover was in good taste, saying: “Every woman is after a sort of classy image. I didn’t want T&A on my cover, it’s a women’s magazine. It’s not [men’s magazine] Maxim.” The Canadian star also said she phoned Women’s Health to complain once she saw the cover. Meanwhile, Evangeline has said she initially wasn’t sure about taking the role of elf Tauriel in new fantasy film ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ because she knew some fans would take exception to her version of the character. She told Entertainment Weekly magazine: “I did have to hesitate and go, ‘Whoa, people are going to hate me,’ but I really couldn’t refuse. It was just too good to say no to.”


lifestyle F e a t u r e s

BVLGARI signs in as the latest luxury brand at Prestige, The Avenues


abanee Co announced signing another leasing agreement with BVLGARI International Company to induct its legendary name BVLGARI, Italy’s renowned brand in fine jewelry and watches among other diversified portfolio in luxury goods and accessories, to include occupying a leasable area of more than 500 square meters in Prestige, one of The Avenues new districts. On this occasion, Leasing Director at Mabanee Co Saud Abdul Mohsen Al-Zabin expressed his great pleasure of joining BVLGARI, the renowned Italian luxury brand, to the series of high-end brands at Prestige to ultimately complete the world class luxury shopping experience. Al-Zabin also emphasized that Mabanee Co strives towards bringing international upscale brands and design-

ers to reposition The Avenues as the leading retail centers in the region offering the ultimate shopping experience to its visitors. BVLGARI, founded in 1884, is an Italian luxury goods company with an enriched legacy of designing the distinct collections of fine jewelries, as well as luxury watches, fragrances and leather goods. And throughout its history, BVLGARI has been a continued story of success due to its expensively unique and creative characters in fine jewelry through incorporating both classic and contemporary schools of design handcrafted by the World’s greatest artists and designers. At the height of its global milestone success, BVLGARI market entry into Prestige district at The Avenues is a solid proof of how its brand loyalty is so attached towards its local clientele due to its ongoing new waves and

trendy designs in fine jewelry and other luxury goods as well. Prestige district is the largest concentration of elegance and luxury, housing 48 international high-end brands and exotic culinary experiences to also include 12 of the largest flagship stores in the Middle East. Prestige also provides a world class shopping experience through luxurious and sophisticated designs to reflect an enriched ambiance as well as upscale amenities to its visitors who can exclusively access Prestige district from the Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan Road.

Catch ‘The Body Shop’ special editions while you can


he Body Shop announced the launch of luxurious; special-edition collections that are here to spice up the holidays so every woman can spoil herself each and every day. Evoking the heart-warming spirit of this season, these decadent delights are bursting with natural ingredients, sumptuous textures and the gorgeous gourmand scents: zingy Ginger Sparkle; fruity Cranberry Joy; and indulgent Vanilla Bliss. Ginger Sparkle: With lavish, textures and a warm, spicy fragrance, this ginger-infused Special Edition collection is a feast for the senses. It contains body polish, shower gel, hand lotion, hand wash, shimmer lotion and body butter. Cranberry Joy: The much-loved, delectable Cranberry Joy collection is back for the holidays. This rich line-up of bath, body and home fragrance treats containing cranberry extract and a raft of skin-beneficial Community Fair Trade ingredients has a mouth-watering fruity fragrance. Vanilla Bliss: It offers a unique, top-to-toe experience with wonderfully indulgent Vanilla Bliss. Enriched with vanilla extract and a host of richly decadent Community Fair Trade ingredients, the lavish collection has a delicious gourmand fragrance. Time for some delicious metime! So, at The Body Shop, customers enjoy the thrill of finding naturally-inspired products, rich in the highestquality ingredients, which deliver true beauty innovation and efficacy. “Take comfort in knowing that a gift from The Body Shop helps spread JOY far and wide. As a Brand, we encourage and take concrete actions to help others,

through our Campaigns, our commitment to animal welfare, our endeavour to protect the planet and our Community Fair Trade program, which helps to enrich the lives of some 300,000 people living in marginalized

communities around the world. 80% of our products contain one or more Community Fair Trade ingredients. We call this Beauty with Heart!’ said Brett Lilley - Business Manager at The Body Shop.

Gap Kids and babyGap Holiday Collection 2013


he Holiday season is all about fun, fresh pops of color, traditional holiday patterns and cozy cups of cocoa as you cuddle up with your loved ones and enjoy the cooler weather. The Gap Holiday Collection is inspired by Swiss Lodges, Starry Nights, Cherries Jubilee, Snowballs and Enchanted Forests and has something to suit every little girl and boy! ‘The Warm Up’ is an exciting collection for both boys and girls, which is making a big statement this season. Vivacious accessories and Gap active classics are reinvented using exciting color palettes which are as bright as they are icy. Traditional silhouettes are cozy, while combining fun and unexpected color infusions. Key items from this collection include FairIsle sweaters and sweater dresses, woven tops, colored cords and icy-colored, light wash denim. Ivory fur-lined accessories pull this collection together beautifully. ‘Park Avenue’ is an extension of The Warm Up style story, with the Park Ave little lady sharing The Warm Up

girl’s love for bright, icy, neon hues. A bit more luxe and ladylike, this collection is casual enough to wear throughout the day and includes beautiful pieces such as tweed and party dresses. Park Avenue for boys has elements of English sportswear, inspired by winter in the big city. This wardrobe consists of bright, warm wovens and knits, 5pocket corduroys, and lined-bottom trousers. ‘All that Glitters’ encompasses a palette of soft, pretty hues, completed with sparkly corduroys, foiled denims, and oh-so-sweet dresses for girls. Navy is the new black, according to the ‘Starry Night’ style story. This darling collection is as rich as the night it’s inspired by. With a color palette resembling shades of cloud and sky, tasteful embellishments contrast perfectly against bold textures of velvet and pretty graphic tees. Winter party dresses, open stitch sweaters and feminine eye lash dresses encapsulate this perfectly pretty collection while the boys’ collection includes check and chambray dressy shirts and masculine, structured blazers.

‘Simple Chic’ continues to keep the bold color palate fresh, updating key transitional items with new color blocking and clean graphics for striped dresses, woven tops, fashion sweaters, and printed denim. The ‘Lemon Drop’ girl’s collection is inspired by authentic Gap brand classics such as denim and great knits, injected with modern, fresh elements. The babyGap Holiday Collection is an artful combination of all things cute and cozy, drawing inspiration from style stories such as, ‘Wonderland,’ ‘Pastoral Living,’ ‘Rhode Island,’ and ‘Rose Cliff.’ Inspired by the stunning scenery of the region, the ‘Rhode Island’ style story celebrates long weekends with friends and family, reflected in fun, optimistic color palettes consisting of vibrant pops of color in easy-towear holiday fabrics. The ‘Enchanted Forest’ style story is perfect for the cooler months. Fun prints, intarsias, and graphics on bodysuits and novelty one-pieces create an irresistible

holiday moment, making this the perfect collection for the giving season. The charming, ‘Snowball’ style story is focused around a palette of ivory with tones of gray and a fun pop of colorful red. The ‘Biltmore Manor’ style story unveils a soft color palette starkly contrasted against unexpected splashes of color creating an exciting kaleidoscopic palette. ‘Wonderland’ is inspired by a twist on the classic tale, Alice in Wonderland, with graphic bodysuits, dot-printed cardigans and adorable knit one-pieces encapsulating the ultimate newborn wardrobe. Nautical inspiration personifies the ‘Bar Harbour’ collection as piqued bodysuits, whale icon sweaters, printed dresses, and cap-toe ballet pumps knot the babyGap Holiday Collection together, perfectly!


lifestyle F e a t u r e s

(From left) A photo shows a Wakaskatsina mask (Circa 1930), a Katsina Jemez mask and a Hakto mask during (Circa 1910) an auction of sacred objects from the Hopi and San Carlos Apache Native American tribes in Paris.

Photo shows a Katsina Hapota mask during an auction of sacred objects from the Hopi and San Carlos Apache Native American tribes in Paris. — AFP photos

A mask of the third Mesa Angwushahayíi.

Tribal masks under hammer in controversial French sale A

‘Hemiskatsina’ sacred mask of the Arizona’s Hopi native American tribe.

‘Wakaskatsina’ sacred mask.

Paris auction of sacred objects from the Hopi and San Carlos Apache Native American tribes kicked off yesterday despite objections from the United States and activists. The US embassy had asked Paris to suspend the sale of the colorful ceremonial masks, headdresses and other objects after the failure Friday of a legal challenge by advocacy group Survival International on behalf of Arizona’s Hopi tribe. Worn by dancers during religious ceremonies and considered living beings by the up to 18,000-strong Hopi, the objects are deeply sacred and the tribe insists that their mere description as masks or artefacts is offensive. In a letter to the EVE auction house, the US embassy said it had asked for the suspension so that the two tribes “might have the opportunity to identify the objects, investigate their provenance and determine whether they have a claim to recover the items under the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, to which France is a signatory, or under other laws”. The convention aims to fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural proper ty across the world. But EVE announced yesterday the sale would go ahead as planned. “On the one hand, the Hopi tribe had the possibility to lay out its arguments in front of the judge and was dismissed, and on the other hand, an exchange of detailed letters took place with the San Carlos Apache tribe”, it said in a statement. The battle is a rerun of one earlier this year in which French firm Neret-Minet ignored international appeals to halt the sale of some 70 Hopi masks that eventually fetched around 930,000 euros ($1.3 million). That auction was decried as a sacrilege by activists including Hollywood legend Robert Redford. The sale of sacred Indian artefacts has been outlawed in the United States since 1990 but the law does not extend to sales overseas. On Friday, the judge in charge of the legal challenge against EVE on behalf of the Hopi acknowledged that the sale of the objects could “constitute an affront to the dignity” of the tribe. But she said “this moral and philosophical consideration does not in itself give the judge the right to suspend the sale of these masks which is not forbidden in France.” Pierre Servan-Schreiber, the lawyer representing the Hopis, slammed the decision. It “does not respond to the following question: can absolutely everything be bought and sold to the highest bidder? Are there not some objects that by their very nature cannot be considered as mere objects of art and must be returned?” he asked. “It’s only a matter of time before we are proved right. We will not give up.” Objects for sale include a leather helmet mask framed by two large crow wings, going for 60,000 to 80,000 euros. — AFP

French auctioneer Alan Leroy stands during an auction of sacred objects from the Hopi and San Carlos Apache Native American tribes in Paris yesterday.

A file picture shows the ‘Hemiskatsinmana’ sacred mask of the Arizona’s Hopi native American tribe.

Photo shows a Kachina doll (circa 1900) during an auction of sacred objects from the Hopi and San Carlos Apache Native American tribes.

Walk this way, says China’s heavy metal shoemaker TANGSHAN: A Chinese factory worker says walking in huge iron shoes weighing more than 200 kilograms each can cure back pain, but faces hefty competition in his bid to build the country’s heaviest footwear. “I’ve been walking with iron shoes for seven years,” said Zhang Fuxing, before strapping two crudely-welded iron blocks to his feet. “After they reached 400 kilograms (882 pounds), I felt very proud. Next spring I plan to add 50 kilograms.” Zhang took a deep breath before each wrenching step in the towering footwear, with every impact leaving him struggling for balance. It took him over a minute to take 10 paces, but he claims to walk up to 15 meters each day in the shoes, which he has gradually increased in weight, and touts them as a cure for back pain and haemorrhoids. Zhang, 52, credits his ability to move the shoes - which he leaves outdoors, safe in the knowledge that they are close to impossible for most people to lift - to the Chinese spiritual martial art Qigong, said to

involve controlling the flow of supposed bodily energies. “It’s not strong muscles that make you able to walk like this, the power comes from internal organs,” he said, adding: “When you walk with your heart it will work.” Zhang believes his shoes to be the heaviest in China, but admits that competition from a number of other eccentrics renders his claim uncertain. One of two Chinese iron shoe wearers to share a Guinness World Record for walking 10 meters backwards in heavyweight iron boots is Zhang Zhenghui from Changsha. According to a 2010 report by the official Xinhua news agency he has gold-painted shoes weighing more than 200 kilograms. Lai Yingying, an entertainer from Fujian in the east, was shown by state broadcaster CCTV wearing shoes tipping the scales at a total of 300 kilograms. A runner, Liu Mei, took to exercising in metal footwear after growing bored of tying sandbags onto his trainers, the state-run China News Service

reported, and challenged other exponents to compete for the title of “Iron Shoe King”. His call “hit the world of eccentric stunt people like a tidal wave”, the report said, but there is no record of the contest having taken place. Zhang Fuxing - who runs a workshop making machine parts - says he was inspired by one of these pioneers. “I saw someone wearing iron shoes on TV. They said it was good for the heart and bones,” he said. At the time Zhang was suffering from back pain “so bad that I couldn’t bend over to wash my face”, but claims his symptoms disappeared just months after donning the footwear, an experience which left him wanting to share them with a wider audience. He now manufactures a range of weighted metal footwear, which users strap over their existing shoes, in a small factory near his hometown in the northern city of Tangshan, and sells them online. A snazzy red pair weighing

10 kilograms each costs 550 yuan (RM291), while the heaviest 60 kilogram boots sell for 1450 yuan. He claims to have sold several hundred pairs, including at least 10 to his neighbors, several of whom gathered around on a chilly morning to watch Zhang take his wobbling steps. “We’ve all worn his iron shoes, it makes your legs feel better,” said Chen Guanghua, a woman in her sixties. “We can’t all play badminton, but anyone can wear shoes.” — AFP

This picture shows Zhang Fuxing walking with his iron shoes.

This picture shows two men lifting up a pair of Zhang Fuxing’s iron shoes.

This picture shows a pair of Zhang Fuxing’s iron shoes at a residential district in Tangshan, in northern China’s Hebei province.

This picture shows Zhang Fuxing showing his iron shoes at a residential district in Tangshan, in northern China’s Hebei province. — AFP photos


lifestyle M u s i c


M o v i e s

Erratic TV violence ratings fail parents V

iolent dramas on the broadcast networks carry milder parental cautions than cable shows like “The Walking Dead” but can equal them in graphic gore, a failure of the TV ratings system, a new study found. Scenes of stabbings, shootings, rape, decapitation and mutilation invariably received a TV14 “parents strongly cautioned” rating on network TV, according to the Parents Television Council study released yesterday.. But similar fare on cable typically was given the most stringent label, TV-MA for mature audiences only, researchers for the media watchdog group found. “There are zero-point-zero series rated TV-MA on broadcast,” said the media watchdog council President Tim Winter, despite programs that are awash in violent scenes. It is vital to examine the media’s effect on children and real-world violence, Winter said, adding that he hopes his nonpartisan group’s findings are part of a wide-ranging search for solutions. The study of 14 series during a four-week period found a 6 percent difference in the overall incidence of violence of all types on cable versus broadcast, with 1,482 violent acts on the cable programs and 1,392 on the network series. Federally regulated broadcasters face sanctions if they cross the line on indecency or expletives but not violence. With competition from unregulated cable and its variously daring series such as “Breaking Bad” and “Masters of Sex,” networks have resorted to more mayhem. Episode ratings are decided by networks and cable channels, similar to how the movie studios’ Motion Picture Association of America self-governs by issuing its own movie ratings. The T V Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board, which is composed of TV industry members and public interest advocates,

checks for ratings uniformity and responds to public complaints. It received 38 complaints in the past year. The ratings system “serves as a valuable resource for parents and helps them make responsible viewing decisions based on what is appropriate for their own families. The industry regularly reviews the TV ratings to ensure they continue to be useful to parents,” Missi Tessier, spokeswoman for the board’s executive secretariat, said in response to the PTC study. NBC, CBS, Fox and CW did not comment on the study, which did not include any ABC shows. Under political and social pressure in the mid-1990s, the voluntary system was established by the TV industry to be used with the so-called V-chip that can block shows electronically. Networks find it financially vital to avoid applying TV-MA ratings, Winters said, which scare off advertisers. To assess how the ratings are used, the PTC said it analyzed the seven shows each on cable and broadcast TV that had the highest levels of violence. Each show’s first four episodes of the 2012-13 season were analyzed. TV-14 warns that a program may include intense violence, sex or language not suitable for children under 14, while TV-MA is intended for shows that might have indecent language, graphic violence or explicit sexuality, according to the T V Parental Guidelines webpage. The PTC study defined graphic as “especially vivid, brutal and realistic acts of violence” that are explicitly depicted. Among the network examples cited: A bar fight scene on NBC’s “Revolution” in which a character wields a sword and a dagger to slash open a man’s chest, cut another’s neck and stab a third in the chest. The blood-spattered character pulls his sword from the last victim’s body.

In this film publicity image released by Warner Bros, Joseph Gordon Levitt, left, and Leonardo DiCaprio are shown in a scene from “Inception.”

CW’s “Supernatural,” in which a trail of blood leads to the bodies of two priests impaled on a cemetery’s wrought-iron fence. Their eyes have been gouged out and blood drips down their faces. A woman is tortured in captivity, with an implanted camera sending images of her agony online in an episode of CBS’ “Criminal Minds.” An FBI agent watches as a hammer is driven into the victim’s head. Depictions of shootings, stabbings and dismemberment were found on cable shows including AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and “Breaking Bad” and FX’s “Sons of Anarchy.” Five of the seven cable shows had TV-MA ratings, with “Walking Dead” eventually switching from TV-14 to MA. Other broadcast shows in the study included NBC’s “The Blacklist,” Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow,” CBS’ “CSI” and NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” Although administered differently, movie ratings have also been criticism for being soft on violence. A study last month found the number of scenes featuring gun violence in PG-13 movies has come to rival or surpass the rate of such action in R-rated projects. The PTC’s Winter said his group’s study, taken together with the movie report, “starts to weave together a fabric that urgently needs a public response.”— AP

This file publicity photo released by AMC shows a walker in Episode 16, “Welcome to the Tombs,” from Season 3 of the TV series, “The Walking Dead.” — AP photos

This photo provided by FX shows Denis O’Hare as Spalding in a scene from FX’s “American Horror Story: Coven.”

This file image released by NBC shows, from left, Tracy Spiridakos as Charlie Matheson, Billy Burke as Miles Matheson, Daniella Alonso as Nora, and Paras Patel as Albert, in a scene from “Revolution.”

This image released by 20th Century Fox shows Liam Neeson in a scene from “Taken 2.”

Brazil’s TV dream machine fueled by 7,000 people


n a Rio suburb, wealthy and beautiful heiresses, orphans and assassins lunch together in a mini-city where Globo television creates the soap operas that captivate more than 50 million Brazilians. Mind-boggling, super-realistic cardboard sets are spread across 165 hectares (407 acres) of unused farmland surrounded by hills filled with tropical vegetation to form the ultra-modern television production center, Latin America’s largest. Located in the Jacarepagua neighborhood, the mini-city is self-sufficient, served by a gas power plant. Around 7,000 people work to feed Brazil’s gigantic “telenovela” dream machine, traveling aboard 300 electric cars. Once inside, a cobblestone street dating from the 1940s is dotted with storefronts that bear French names and where a group of actors is filming an episode of “Joia Rara” (Precious Jewel), which broadcasts at 6:00 pm. The director yells out his instructions for a scene in which a worker riles up the crowd as he seeks support for his run for a congressional seat. He is suddenly interrupted by a woman, holding a girl by the hand, who accuses him of walking out on her when she was pregnant. A few steps away lies Itapire, a small Amazonian

city with wooden stilt houses surrounded with water, in a scene from “Beyond the Horizon,” which broadcasts at 7:00 pm. “The Rio of the 1940s and Itapire are just two of 22 mock-up cities currently set up within the enclosure,” said Renata Puppim, spokeswoman for this temple of TV production known as the Jacarepagua Project or simply “Projac.” A little further, a small church has three facades, depending on the shoot’s needs of the day: colonial, gothic or contemporary. These make-believe cities are built in three months by legions of workers and craftsmen who recycle the materials from one soap opera to the next. “We are Brazil’s number one consumer of nails, and among the first of lumber and paint. Each soap opera needs about 60 highly sophisticated sets,” said Puppim. Objects used during filming are carefully preserved, including 180,000 costumes ordered by time period and hanging in a huge cloak room. As soaps go, so goes fashion TV series, which last six to eight months and are broadcast six days of the week, bring much fame to the actors, who are better paid than their colleagues in film. They often head up

fashion trends and even characters’ expressions are mimicked by fans. “Joia Rara” lead actor Bruno Gagliasso, 31, was hired by Globo in 2001. He noted that the television network covers 99 percent of the Brazilian territory home to 200 million people. “But a film, when it is successful, is only seen by a million people,” Gagliasso said. Launched in 1995, Projac features 65 hectares of developed land and another 100 reserved for reforestation efforts. The project groups all soap opera production activities, from filming to sets, costumes and special effects, and from recording studios-including four that are 1,000 square meters or 10,760 square feet-to editing and mixing suites.

who have recently joined the middle class. A big success last year, “it saw its broadcast rights bought by 124 countries during the past 10 months and was dubbed in 17 languages, a record in terms of rights in the history of Globo,” Netto said. The key to soap opera success for Globo has been to lock in a good story on universal themes that gives hope to all ethnic and social groups. The story varies depending on the public’s expectations and current news trends. These monster productions that last between 180 and 200 episodes require massive budgets, by Brazilian standards, of about 700,000 reais a piece ($307,200), according to Netto. But Globo defrays the costs through advertising and the marketing of an assortment of related products. — AFP

A world record “More than 2,500 hours of programming and series are produced each year, a world record,” said Raphael Correa Netto, Globo’s director of international sales. “In 2012, Globo marketed 59 products equivalent to 25,000 hours of content in 33 different languages for 92 countries. In the first semester of this year, 42 titles were marketed for 123 countries.” The star series of 9:00 pm, “Avenida Brasil,” reflects the 40 million Brazilians

Joel, MacLaine feted at Kennedy Center Honors


This publicity photo released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Sandra Bullock, left, as Dr. Ryan Stone and George Clooney as Matt Kowalsky in “Gravity”. — AP

‘Gravity,’ ‘Her’ tie for LA Film Critics top honor


he Los Angeles Film Critics Association split between the space odyssey “Gravity” and the futuristic romance “Her,” lending no more certainty to an awards season that’s so far been full of contenders. The two films shared best picture in the awards announced Sunday by the LA critics, but “Gravity” was the top award-winner. The innovatively made, lost-in-space drama won for best director (Alfonso Cuaron), best editing (Cuaron and Mark Sanger) and best cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki). “Her,” which is about a man (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with his computer operating system (voiced by Scarlet Johansson), also won for K.K. Barrett’s sleek, near-future production design. But the critics otherwise spread its honors around. Dual winners were the theme. Best actress was shared by Cate Blanchett for her fallen socialite in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine,” and Adele Exarchopoulos for the lesbian coming-of-age tale “Blue Is the Warmest Color.”

(The later film also won for best foreign language film.) Best supporting actor was also a two-fer, with the group jointly honoring Jared Leto’s performance as an HIV-positive transsexual in “Dallas Buyers Club” and, more surprisingly, James Franco’s performance as the cornrowed gangster Alien in “Spring Breakers.” Best actor went to Bruce Dern for his performance in Alexander Payne’s father-son road trip “Nebraska.” Early movie awards can help sort out the Academy Awards race, but they’ve been particularly varied this year. Last week, the New York Film Critics Circle named David O Russell’s Abscam fictionalization “American Hustle” best film. The National Board of Review picked “Her.” —AP

ith notes of rock, jazz and opera, Washington feted piano man Billy Joel, actress Shirley MacLaine and guitarist Carlos Santana on Sunday at the Kennedy Center Honors, the capital’s annual celebration of the arts. Jazz pianist Herbie Hancock and opera singer Martina Arroyo rounded out the list of honorees at the country’s prestigious awards ceremony for stars of the stage, screen and concert hall. “The diverse group of extraordinary individuals we honor today haven’t just proven themselves to be the best of the best,” President Barack Obama said at a White House ceremony before the show. “Despite all their success, all their fame, they’ve remained true to themselves - and inspired the rest of us to do the same.” The evening started with a tribute to Santana, a 10-time Grammy winner originally from Mexico. Singer Harry Belafonte, himself a Kennedy Center honoree, joked that he was a victim of the Latino musician’s greatness, saying he thought Santana got his spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “We should’ve built a bigger fence,” he deadpanned, referring to the debate in Washington about immigration reform and border security with Mexico. “The Latino thing has arrived. It has become the new black. And now Carlos is a citizen of the world.” The theme continued when Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic member of the nation’s highest court, introduced opera diva Arroyo. The daughter of a Puerto Rican father and an African-American mother, Arroyo grew up in an unlikely place for a future opera star: New York City’s Harlem neighborhood. “Martina faced an uphill battle,” Sotomayor said. “She never gave up.” Musicians filled the Kennedy Center with opera and Santana’s unique fusion sound in honor of the two performers. Then, rapper Snoop Dogg electrified the stage with a rap tribute to Hancock, the keyboardist and band leader who hails from the Obamas’ home state of Illinois. “Hey, Herbie, you know we love you, baby,” the rapper shouted. “Thank you for creating Hip Hop!”

The actress and the piano man MacLaine, who won an Oscar for her performance in the 1983 film “Terms of Endearment,” was the sole actress highlighted during a night dominated by musicians. “Ask me how my feet are, and ask me how my back is, and ask me where my martini is,” she joked on Saturday at a State Department reception for the honorees. MacLaine grew up in the Washington area and joins her brother, actor Warren Beatty, as a recipient of the award. “It’s more about my life and my past and my background and my home and my parents and dancing and work ethic,” she told Reuters. “This is squaring the circle of living here.” MacLaine’s other-worldly beliefs, described in her many books, also got some ribbing. Perhaps the most emotional moment of the night came during the tribute to Joel, who’s songs were described as a soundtrack for the lives of generations of Americans. During a performance of Joel’s song “Goodnight Saigon,” a group of Vietnam veterans came on stage to sing along as Garth Brooks crooned the words “And we would all go down together.” The veterans saluted Joel at the end of the ballad. He saluted back. “It’s a little overwhelming,” Joel told Reuters on Saturday night, referring to the award. Asked to pick a favorite song or album, the composer - who has focused on his “first love” of writing instrumental music in recent years - demurred. “I like ‘em all. They’re kinda like my kids. It’s hard to pick a favorite,” he said. “I like something about all of ‘em. I remember the birth.” The final performance of the evening was Joel’s famous hit “Piano Man,” with the Kennedy Center audience singing along. The show, which was recorded on Sunday, will be broadcast on CBS on December 29.— Reuters

Walk this way, says China’s heavy metal shoe maker



Undated pictures received on February 18, 2011, show scenes from the television drama ‘The Magnificent Century’. — AFP photos


the Magnificent reconquers Arab world


an a smash TV soap bring closure for historical wrongs and succour from contemporary turmoil? Check out a Turkish series on the 16th-century Ottoman monarch Suleiman the Magnificent. From the Arab world to the Balkans, the story of the sultan’s harem and his romance with a Slav beauty has captivated nations that suffered under Ottomon domination. “This series is a real phenomenon,” said Khulud Abu Hommos, executive vice president of the OSN network. “The Magnificent Century”-or “The Sultan’s Harem” in its dubbed Arabic version-tells the tale of Suleiman and Roxelana, against a background of palace intrigue at the peak of Ottoman power. A sumptuous costume drama, more than 300 episodes have been aired so far in what Abu Hommos told AFP was “the highest ever watched drama show on OSN”-though she declined to give figures. “It is also a kind of fairy tale, mixing romance with history,” she said, but “it has political relevance. “In the Arab world where people are frustrated with the political situation, it gives them pride in Muslim history-it portrays Muslim leaders as just and fair.” As for Michel Naufal, an expert on ArabTurkish relations, fascination with the Turkish series is the result of “a sort of reconciliation with the past”. “Abuses, repression and the Turkification of the Young Turks” linger on in the memory from the final years of the Ottoman empire before its collapse in the wake of World War I, he said. But with the series, “people are rediscovering the good side of the Ottoman empire, this federation before federalism, an empire where ethnic and religious communities co-existed,” he said.

People visit Topkapi Palace at the Sultanahmet neighborhood of Istanbul.

People enter Topkapi Palace at the Sultanahmet neighborhood.

Arab audiences spellbound The story of a slave girl conquering the heart of one of the empire’s most famous sultans, of their marriage and a son lining up as successor, has held Arab audiences spellbound for more than two years. The elaborate sets and costumes have swept the fashion world in Arab countries. “Women are buying apparel like those of actresses in the series and asking me to imitate their hairstyles,” said Maro Dheini who runs a hairdressing salon in Dubai. But photographs on Facebook of a glitzy Suleiman-themed party attended by families close to President Bashar al-Assad in war-battered Syria have stirred anger on social media. Balkan countries struggled for almost 500 years for freedom from the Ottoman empire, only to find themselves glued to television screens for Suleiman the Magnificent’s exploits. From Albania in the south to Croatia in the north, the series often beats the most popular Western or local shows in the ratings. Both private and several state-run television stations have broadcast the series, with regular reruns. In the tiny Adriatic state of Montenegro, ratings show

that an average of 57,000 people, or around nine percent of the population, watch every episode. “Viewers can identify with characters, cultural stereotypes... Hundreds of years under Turkish rule mean that we here share similar values,” said film and TV critic Vuk Perovic. In Croatia, the first territory in the Balkans freed from Turkish rule in the early 17th century, “The Magnificent Century” holds a 21 percent audience share. Its popularity has boosted efforts to rebuild a 16th century wooden bridge named after the famed sultan in the town of Osijek. Suleiman’s rule in Serbia was marked by the 1521 fall of Belgrade. Local historians say the “ruthless” sultan forced more than 2,000 Serbian families to work in Turkey.

‘In discord with history’ “In the show, the Turkish army’s relations to the local population is more subtle and benign, in discord with historic data,” history professor Ema Miljkovic said. But viewers seem indifferent to such complaints, as audience figures show that even on its third re-run, Suleiman commands a share of around 20 percent. And five books on Suleiman’s adventures have sold tens of thousands of copies. Aficionados are organizing a themed New Year’s Eve party near the walls of Belgrade’s Kalemegdan fortress, which failed to stave off the sultan’s occupation of the city.

People visit Topkapi Palace at the Sultanahmet neighbourhood of Istanbul.

Two Albanian actors in supporting roles, Nik Xhelilaj and Amelda Abazi, only add to the popularity of the Turkish series back home. In Macedonia, communications professor Dona Kolar Panov said: “The show is a popular topic to reflect on shared cultural traditions in the region, but also to overcome the past marred with nationalism, political violence and wars, to finally put to rest the Balkan ghosts.” Sociologist Klime Babunski from Skopje also stressed cultural familiarity. “We have all grown up with tales from the Ottoman empire era, either through the education system or from folk tales,” he said. In Kosovo, scene of the Kosovo Polje battle where the Serbian kingdom was defeated by invading Ottoman troops in 1389, the show has united ethnic Albanians and

the minority Serbs. Although they watch it on different channels, subtitled in their own languages, fans share their opinions on the Internet. A magazine in the ethnically divided northern town of Kosovska Mitrovica reported: “It’s a quarter past eight in the evening. Streets on both sides of the town are empty. Worshippers are glued to the screens. Congratulations, Suleiman!”— AFP

A woman visits Topkapi Palace at the Sultanahmet neighborhood of Istanbul.

10th Dec 2013  

Kuwait Times

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