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SAFAR 8, 1435 AH

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5Amir27 40 20 opens Gulf summit, Sheikh Sabah hopes Iran nuke deal ends tension in region

KUWAIT: (From left) GCC Secretary General Abdullatif Al-Zayani, HH the Crown Prince of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Omani Deputy Premier Fahd bin Mahmud Al-Said, HH the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa and Emirati Vice-President, Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid AlMaktoum pose for a group photo before the 34th GCC summit at Bayan Palace yesterday. — KUNA (See Pages 2 & 3)

Panel refuses to stiffen cop attackers’ penalty Hashem doesn’t want ministers to vote By B Izzak KUWAIT: The National Assembly’s legal and legislative committee yesterday rejected a proposal to amend provisions of the penal code to toughen penalties of protesters who assault policemen. Rapporteur of the panel MP Abdulkareem Al-Kandari said after the meeting the committee rejected the amendment on the grounds that the present penalty is sufficient to provide protection for policemen who deal with protests and gatherings. The amendment proposal was made by the government in an Amiri decree during the absence of the National Assembly. All Amiri decrees issued during the absence of the Assembly must be approved by the house when it reconvenes. Rejection of the decrees makes them illegal. Kuwait witnessed a large number of protests and demonstrations during the past two years as a result of political disputes. The Assembly has the right to override the committee’s rejection and still approve the amendment. MP Safa Al-Hashem yesterday submitted a proposal calling to amend two provisions of the Assembly’s internal charter to prevent unelected Cabinet ministers from voting during the election of the

speaker, deputy speaker and members of Assembly committees. In her amendment, Hashem wants to prevent ministers from voting to elect parliament speaker, deputy speaker and committee members. The 16-member Cabinet forms the largest bloc in the Assembly and can influence the outcome of any voting. Hashem said the proposed amendment implements the constitutional provision that stipulates the complete separation between powers. The lawmaker also criticized Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah over what she said was his failure to run the affairs of the country, citing the example that he did not call for any meeting in the past seven months of the Supreme Petroleum Council which he chairs as a premier. Hashem, who last month grilled the prime minister over his policies, said that the grilling was right because the premier has so far failed to manage the country properly. In another development, dozens of stateless people, locally known as bedoons, staged a peaceful gathering yesterday to commemorate International Human Rights Day. Police dispersed the gathering without incident but arrested a Kuwaiti activist and later released him.

Max 17º Min 06º High Tide 05:52 & 18:57 Low Tide 00:10 & 12:27

KUWAIT: HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah opened an annual summit of wealthy Gulf states yesterday with a call for an end to the “human catastrophe” in Syria. Sheikh Sabah, who gave a share of the spotlight at the Gulf Cooperation Council summit to the head of Syria’s main opposition bloc, also condemned the United Nations for failing to halt the 33-month conflict. “The human catastrophe is still ongoing in Syria which calls on us to double efforts and work with the international community, especially the UN Security Council which has remained unable to put an end to this human tragedy,” said the Amir. He issued the plea as National Coalition president Ahmad Jarba appealed for urgent help for the Syrian opposition and for civilians. “The Syrian people need you today to tell the whole world that the Syrian regime will have no future in the country,” said Jarba, who also thanked Kuwait for launching an “aid fund” without providing any details. Jarba accused President Bashar AlAssad’s regime of “supplying arms” to the Al-Qaedalinked Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) in a bid to defeat the revolution. Jarba reiterated that the opposition had agreed to attend next month’s Geneva 2 peace conference under conditions including that Assad plays no role in any transitional government. During the two-day summit, leaders are due to discuss boosting economic integration, military and security coordination in addition to upgrading the GCC into a confederation, and ties with Iran. Only three leaders are attending, the rulers of Qatar, Bahrain and host country Kuwait. The Saudi crown prince is representing King Abdullah, while Oman is represented by the deputy premier and the United Arab Emirates by its vice-president and prime minister. Ties between Sunni-ruled GCC states and neighbouring Shiite Iran have come to the foreground since a landmark deal was reached last month Continued on Page 13

Leaders pay tribute to Mandela Obama, Castro shake hands, Zuma humiliated SOWETO, South Africa: US President Barack Obama led world tributes yesterday to Nelson Mandela, hailing him as “a giant of history” at a rain-soaked memorial attended by tens of thousands of South Africans united in proud, noisy celebration. Obama was one of nearly 100 world leaders at the event in Soweto’s World Cup stadium, where songs of praise and rebellion, many harking back to the apartheid era that Mandela helped condemn to history, echoed down from the dancing crowds in the stands. “It is hard to eulogise any man ... how much harder to do so for a giant of history, who moved a nation towards justice,” Obama said, after being introduced to wild cheers. “He showed us the power of action, of taking risks on behalf of our ideals,” Obama said of the prisoner-turned-president whose life story earned uncommon universal respect. In a nod to Mandela’s extraordinary global reach, popularity and influence, the Indian, Brazilian, Cuban and Namibian presidents all delivered eulogies extolling his courage and moral leadership. But it was Obama’s impassioned tribute that really galvanised the crowd, which at times became impatient with the long roster of speakers and a poor sound system that dampened the spontaneity of the occasion. The four-hour event began at midday (1000 GMT) with a stirring rendition of the national anthem, Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika (God Bless Africa), led by a mass choir and picked up by the rest of

JOHANNESBURG: A giant screen shows US President Barack Obama delivering a speech during the memorial service for late South African President Nelson Mandela at Soccer City Stadium yesterday. — AFP the stadium. “This is once in your life. This is his- ing. Despite the profound sense of national sortory,” said Noma Kova, 36. “I didn’t want to row triggered by Mandela’s death last Thursday, watch this on TV.” Some 80,000 had been the mood was upbeat, with people determined expected, but the venue was two-thirds full as to celebrate the memory of one of the 20th the ceremony got under way under a curtain of century’s towering political figures. Continued on Page 13 rain that had been falling since the early morn-

in the


UK drops visas for Oman, Qatar, UAE LONDON: Short-term visitors from Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates will not need visas to enter Britain from next year, interior minister Theresa May announced yesterday. Travellers from the three Gulf nations will need to obtain an electronic visa waiver document online in order to enter Britain without a visa, May said, adding that the new rules will come into force on Jan 1. It will be open to visitors planning to stay in Britain for less than six months. May, the Home Secretary, said she intends to extend the plans to cover Kuwait later next year. “Some visitors may still prefer a longterm multi-entry visit visa and the facility to obtain these visas will remain,” she said. Under the new system, visitors from the three Gulf countries will need to obtain the free electronic visa waiver at least 48 hours before travelling.

Qatar launches gene mapping DOHA: Qatar yesterday launched a genetic code mapping project for its small population to help in treating diseases. The “Qatar Genome” project is a “road map for future treatment,” said Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the wife of the former emir, at the opening of the World Innovation Summit for Health in Doha. “Innovation is not only in finding a new medicine, it is in finding solutions to reduce the need for taking the medicine,” she said. Qatar has a population of 2.1 million, including some 300,000 Qatari nationals. Neighbouring Saudi Arabia announced on Sunday launching a genetic code mapping project aimed at identifying the basis of chronic diseases prevalent in the desert kingdom. The Saudi program will work over five years on sequencing 100,000 human genomes to study both normal and diseaseassociated genes specific to the Saudi population.

Saudis behead man for incest RIYADH: Saudi authorities yesterday beheaded a man convicted of incest in the south of the conservative Muslim kingdom, the interior ministry said. Hasan Ghazwani, a Saudi national, was executed in the city of Jizan, the ministry said. It said Ghazwani’s affair had led to a pregnancy but did not disclose their family relationship or whether the woman had delivered. The ministr y cited a saying attributed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that stipulates death for those who commit incest. A Pakistani man was also executed yesterday for smuggling drugs into the kingdom, it said in a separate statement. He was executed in the capital Riyadh. The latest beheadings brings to 75 the number of executions carried out in Saudi Arabia this year, according to an AFP count. In 2012, the country carried out 76 executions, according to a tally based on official figures.

Hagel affirms US, Qatar defence ties AL-UDEID AIRBASE, Qatar: Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel reaffirmed US military ties with Qatar yesterday during a regional tour aimed at shoring up Gulf alliances amid disagreements over policy on Iran and Syria. Hagel met Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and his minister of state for defence, Major General Hamad bin Ali Al-Attiyah, in Doha where they renewed a defence agreement. US air force commanders also gave Hagel a tour of the Combined Air Operations Centre, where officers oversee combat aircraft in Afghanistan and track air traffic across the volatile Middle East. Speaking to reporters after the tour of the base, Hagel acknowledged the US and its Gulf allies had some differences over tactics when it comes to Syria or Iran but agreed on the main objectives.



GCC achievements below leaders’ ambitions, people’s hopes: Speaker Slow pace of progress due to huge challenges, enormous responsibilities KUWAIT: Kuwait’s National Assembly Speaker and Chairman of the 7th Round of the Legislative Councils of the Gulf Cooperation Council member states Marzouq Al-Ghanem praised significant achievements of the GCC, but underlined achievements are below leaders’ ambitions and people’s hopes. “Thanks to Allah and the wisdom of leaders of the six Gulf countries, the GCC has entered its fourth decade with achievements that are considered a success by any standard,” Ghanem said in a speech at the opening session of the 34th Summit of the Supreme Council of the GCC that kicked off yesterday evening. Ghanem, however, said that the achievements still below the high ambitions of Gulf leaders and great hopes of people. “The Gulf people are looking forward to accelerating the pace of achievement, increasing the effectiveness of the GCC, expanding economic cooperation to emerge as an influential bloc on the global economy through creation of a common market, enhancing and diversifying educational and cultural exchange, offering all support to the youth and their causes,” he said. He ascribed the slow pace of achievement to the huge challenges facing the Gulf countries as well as the enormous responsibilities they shoulder. “It hasn’t addressed all the challenges and rapid paced developments because there is no organization that has ever shouldered such a huge development and security responsibilities similar to that of the GCC,” he said. “Nor has ever an organization shouldered such a great national, regional, humanitarian and ethical responsibilities similar to that of the GCC.” Meanwhile, Ghanem expressed pride in Kuwait’s

National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem addresses the GCC Summit yesterday. — KUNA

hosting of the Gulf Summit and welcomed the visiting Gulf leaders. He recalled the unforgettable stances of the Gulf countries during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in

1991. “The Gulf states unity to liberate Kuwait from the Iraqi invasion in 1991 had embodied the wisdom of the formation of the Gulf Cooperation Council and gave it a

credibility and leverage and respected status.” On the other hand, he expressed gratitude for the Gulf leaders’ unlimited support to the regular meetings of heads of the GCC Legislative Councils. “Due to your support, the regular meetings of the heads of the GCC Legislative Councils have developed into a pillar of the joint GCC action,” he said. Ghanem pointed out that the meetings of the heads of the GCC Legislative Councils have made remarkable achievements in terms of way of action and institutional work as well as the effective interaction and exchange of views. “Among the fruits of these meetings are the continuous consultations and unifications of stances which helped the GCC parliaments emerge as one bloc in regional and international parliamentary gatherings,” he said. “Moreover, the recent agreement to form a joint committee to review economic laws to pave the way for full economic integration among member states,” he added. Ghanem urged Gulf leaders to offer similar support to the civil society organizations in the Gulf countries to play its aspired role to be a link between the governments and people. HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah inaugurated the 34th Summit of the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The GCC consists of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman. The GCC was established in 1981. The purpose of the GCC is to achieve coordination, integration and inter-connection among member states in all fields in order to achieve unity, as well as formulate similar regulations in economic and financial affairs, commerce, customs and communications, as well as education and culture. — KUNA

Dignitaries are in attendance at the summit.

GCC: Oil-rich dynasties in a changing region KUWAIT: The Gulf Cooperation Council comprises six conservative Arab monarchies sitting on 40 percent of the world’s oil and a quarter of its natural gas. The GCC was formed in May 1981, two years after the Islamic revolution in Shiite Iran sent tremors across the Sunni-led Gulf states, many of which have sizable Shiite populations. Comprising Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain, the mostly desert GCC has a population of just 47 million, nearly half of whom are expatriates. The six nations are ruled by family dynasties and ban political parties, while only Kuwait and Shiite-majority Bahrain have elected chambers with legislative powers. GCC members have individually signed major defence pacts with the United States since US-led forces drove Saddam Hussein’s army from Kuwait in 1991, and today maintain a number of major US military bases housing some 35,000 troops. The GCC states managed to dodge the pro-democracy protests unleashed by the 2011 Arab Spring, except for Bahrain, where the Sunni monarchy launched a brutal crackdown on protests led by members of the island’s Shiite majority. At the height of the unrest - in which dozens of people were killed and hundreds of mainly Shiite activists were detained - an international force led by Saudi Arabia rolled into Bahrain in mid-March 2011 to help quell the demonstrations. The GCC has sought to deepen economic links among members but efforts to develop a common market, customs union and shared currency have made little progress. The GCC allows for the free movement of citizens and capital and permits property ownership across the bloc, but some restrictions on economic activities remain. Despite long-running projects aimed at diversification, the GCC economies remain heavily dependent on oil and natural gas, which make up around 90 percent of total public revenues. The six GCC states, four of which are members of OPEC, together pump around 17.5 million barrels of oil per day, a fifth of global production and around 55 percent of OPEC’s output. High oil prices over the past decade have sent the GCC’s combined GDP soaring, to $1.6 trillion in 2012. GCC members are forecast to post a record oil income of $740 billion in 2013, up from $680 billion the previous year. — AFP

Qatari Amir hopes summit achieves ambitions of people KUWAIT: Qatari Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad AlThani expressed yesterday hope that the 34th GCC summit in Kuwait would achieve ambitions and wishes of GCC people. In a statement upon his arrival, Sheikh Tamim

KUWAIT: Gulf Cooperation Council ministerial leaders gather for their 34th summit at Bayan Royal Palace in Kuwait City yesterday. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

expressed pleasure to participate in the 34th summit, also expressed heartfelt greetings and best wishes of the best health to His Highness the Amir of Kuwait, and progress and welfare to the people of Kuwait under the wise leadership of His Highness

the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Sheikh Tamim hoped the GCC summit would further enhance the common march and realize the aspirations of the peoples of the GCC member states.



Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

HH the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

UAE Vice President, PM and Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.

Omani Deputy Premier Fahd bin Mahmud Al-Said.

Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa.


Gulf Arab countries’ population and economy

Saudi Crown Prince Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz AlSaud (top) and Bahrain’s King Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani (above) are pictured after their arrival.


LOCAL kuwait digest

kuwait digest

Help the govt to do its job

Forgiveness By Dr Ibtihal Al-Khateeb

By Abdullatif Al-Duaij



don’t know if there are any precious words left to say about Nelson Mandela. Everything that needed to be said has mostly been said, and everything that has been said mostly does not do the man justice. For one man to create this much change, not only within a geographical area but within an intellectual area, and not only around him but around humanity as a whole - it takes more than one column to pay tribute to such a human being. He was the kind of person who would probably not like it to speak in detail about his qualities and virtues, but is there any other way to remember him? Maybe talking about his humanness and how he challenged his own humanity is the best way to remember Mandela on the occasion of his passing. Mandela was like any other human being - he worked, sometimes reached good results and sometimes committed mistakes. But every time he would correct his path towards more freedom, humanness and equality. A man who started his life believing in armed struggle, but soon abandoned that road in favor of peaceful struggle, and quickly ascended to a higher level of tolerant struggle that goes above all scars, pain and deprivation. We need to remember that today more than any other day as we live in a time filled with hatred and resentment. Mandela was a son of his past and creator of his future. However, he adopted a different approach that did not belong to his past, and through which he did not give up his future. He chose tolerance and forgiveness. He chose peace, not only in political life, but also within himself. He purified his inner self from hatred and resentment, reaching the hardest of all achievements - a pure, sophisticated sole that carried no hate even toward its executioner. Twenty seven years in jail, and he comes out with forgiveness to his wardens. I believe that this is a human goal that is worth fighting for. If you have not learned anything from Mandela’s life, if you failed to understand the determination, sanctification of freedom and equality, and devoting life for principles and free struggle; if we could not comprehend the undying yearning for decent living, social equality and national dignity, maybe we can at least feel the level of tolerance he showed and which cannot be ignored. Maybe then we can learn something about the human soul - that it can be something great, that it can bring miracles, that it can reach angelic levels so as to forgive those who held it captive, respect those who humiliated it, and treat those who practiced discrimination against it with equality. Only then would the human sole be real, be present, and leave an impact for generations to carry not only in tales, but also in their genes. Such ascension has to leave a genetic effect on us in one way or another, and I hope it does as long as we stay on this earth. I am not a person who holds grudges - a person would have to commit a heinous crime to infuriate me or make me lose my ability to forgive. But I surely would not have forgiven someone who had thrown me in jail for 27 years. Or is it jail that helps calm the human spirit and makes it perceive existence from a different perspective? This is the lesson I want to learn from Mandela. How I can rise above pain, and as hard as it is, to forgive? I do not compare my struggle to Mandela’s, but when I see my struggle dwarfed immensely besides his struggle, and when my mind starts realizing how vast the difference is, then I will definitely begin my own journey of tolerance, and forgive the unforgiven. They are very little, but regardless of their number, they make up the biggest challenge. Mandela has gone, and so will millions of human beings who will become great in many fields. Planet Earth will eventually go away when it collides with the galaxy lurking billions of light years away from us, and which can sometimes be seen with the naked eye, as if it was fate that reminds us of our mortality and absurdity of our destiny. All of us and everything around us are moving towards their end, and there is nothing that gives meaning to this darkness but luminous souls that are able to forgive, and forgive even fate. Nelson Mandela, rest in peace that you always fought for and which no one deserves as much as you do. — Al-Jarida

In my view

Rise up to challenges By Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi


he Arab world is now open to all options and the accelerating developments entail myriad dangers. Today, the Gulf states have an opportunity, coupled with risks. And as they say, “during times of crises there are chances for new beginnings.” The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states are facing major challenges that call upon their leaders to realize their responsibilities while taking decisive decision. In politics, taking decisions proactively is preferable to making them under the exigencies of circumstances and necessity. Gulf citizens live in enormous wealth, their countries having a huge gross domestic product (GDP) and political stability that makes them, in light of the anarchy that has swept across the region, an oasis of security and stability. These are positive facts but, at the same time, their sustainability is not guaranteed especially as the accelerating changes make prediction impossible. These changes are not limited to the so-called Arab Spring or the new reality it has created, or the successive crises such as the Syrian crisis and the Egyptian developments. Rather, they could be the beginning of a new chapter of political and strategic changes in the region. The way the US has been dealing with the political problems in the region, for instance, has sent a clear message that its strategic commitment toward the region’s stability is taking a turning point, and its interaction with the new players in the Arab political arena signaled new political directions. On the other hand, changes in the global energy market and the emergence of shale oil and the declining US dependence on Gulf oil means that foreign interests will change according to these variables. The US policy is an interest-based policy rather than a principled one. As such, American policy will change according to their evolving interests. Also, changes in the global balance of power and the emergence of new powers will impose different political agendas. Yet, the Gulf states remain the only states that have historically succeeded in establishing a homogeneous alliance (GCC), which has been able thus far to play an important role in the economic, social and political harmony among its member states despite what is being said about its shortcomings, project delays and modest achievements. The Gulf states, as societies where political awareness is developing, have started to see a growing political voice from the street and a diversity of views, which is normal in the development of any society and requires an open mind to accommodate the diversity as it is a source of strength and important to a healthy state. The freedom of the press and the development of the social media promoted dialogue, in addition to raising the hopes and aspirations of the peoples of the region. Some Gulf states fear the unity of the Gulf because countries are not the same in terms of size and potentials. These countries fear that the larger ones will dominate the system. In its general and superficial form, this excuse is justified. However, experience has shown us that countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands were able to consolidate their status in the EU in the presence of larger countries, such as Germany, France and Britain. Enacting statutory formulas for these blocs are the guarantee for such a project. Also the people’s participation guaran-

tees continuity and development as it makes the unity related to the people and not only to governments. Some believe that the unfulfilled independence of some states puts an obstacle to unity, considering that the Union will be among independent countries. This makes independence and sovereignty-seeking countries deal with any unity initiative in a more sensitive manner. In the literature of national loyalty, sentiments mix with logic particularly that the Arab people are emotional and vulnerable while issues of sovereignty require tough decisions. It is incorrect to take crucial decisions and then portray them as reactions to events. The Union project is a strategic step. When King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz proposed the initiative to the GCC members in December 2011, he based his proposition on the fourth article for the Statutes of the GCC, which stipulates that among its objectives is “the application of coordination and integration between members states in all aspects reaching unity.” This text, which clearly signals the importance of unity, was introduced on the establishment of the Council in 1981. Hence, it’s not correct to say that such a large-scale project is a reaction to the ongoing developments in the region. The people of the Gulf should know that opportunities are coming their way but that history is ruthless. The crises of the region taught the Gulf people the importance of their unity and to speak in one voice and one vision. Away from emotions, the issue of implementing a union initiative is not easy and has many requirements. To be realistic, there is also another side that needs to be taken into account; the organization of the internal affairs of Gulf states. The expansion of popular participation, the promotion of human rights, the consolidation of institutions and the separation of powers are key demands not only to ensure the Gulf states as independent countries, but also for their unity. When the Union is grounded in institution-based states, the continuity becomes secured, as there is no room for improvisations or personal sensitivities. Those who read the map of global alliances realize that the features of the new world have been formed only by the huge groupings that can easily impose their conditions due to their strength and loud voice as a group. Now negotiations are under way to conclude a free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union. Studies suggest that such an agreement will have significant gains for both sides and can provide more than one million job opportunities for the United States. However, the studies said that the countries that will not be covered by the convention would be negatively affected. A new world is being formed, new players are appearing, alliances are being made, and we are part of this world around us. It’s in our hands if we want to be among the major players on this planet or if we want to stay on the sidelines as a part of the big countries’ agreements or areas of influence. Those who are capable of having a dialogue, and understanding its requirements make the future. This area was historically a starting point of civilizations and conquests and it’s unfair to stay on the sidelines of major events. The people of the Gulf are required to rise up to the challenges and make fateful decisions as great people only accomplish great achievements.

In my view

US failure to act as an ‘honest broker’ By Hassan Barari


aving closely followed the Palestinian-Israeli peace process since the Madrid peace conference, I can hardly avoid the conclusion that the Unites States is part of the problem as it has failed to act as an “honest broker”. I just finished reading Rashid Khalidi’s intriguing book entitled “Brokers of Deception” in which he makes the case that the US has never been an impartial mediator in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Is this a surprise? Hardly! Here again, another US secretary of the state steps in the ring to help Israelis and the Palestinians work out a fair deal. Explicit in Kerry’s move is his desire to succeed where his predecessor failed. He wants the PalestinianIsraeli peace deal to be his signature legacy. Yet, I am not sure that he understands the requirements for a fair deal. Forcing the Palestinians to conform to the Israeli government’s vision is one thing and working to dismantle the structure of occupation and the matrix of Israeli control to achieve a lasting peace is another thing. I am not saying that Kerry should not try to mediate. On the contrary, the US is the only country on this planet that can pressure the Israeli government to come to terms with what is widely deemed as a fair deal. But his shuttle diplomacy is nothing but a smokescreen concealing the American attempt to force the Palestinians to accept less than a fair deal. To use Aaron David Miller’s words, America is “Israel’s lawyer”.

In his last visit to Israel less than a week ago, Kerry presented his ideas about ways of protecting Israel’s security if a Palestinian state was established. Perhaps, it is the first time that the Americans outlined their own proposals with regard to the issue of security. It seems that by providing proposals, Kerry wants to know of the security argument being tossed willy-nilly around all the time. In other words, Kerry thinks that his ideas can meet the requirement of Israel’s security without infringing on Palestinian sovereignty. We don’t know yet the contents of Kerry’s proposals. For Netanyahu, Israeli security entails the presence of military troops along the Jordan River. He made it perfectly clear that his country would not consider the notion of dependence on a third party presence along the Jordan River. It is difficult to square this position with the Palestinians insistence on full sovereignty. Palestinians are not oblivious to the Israeli security argument, yet they are open to a different idea that would not compromise their independence. President Abbas is quite amenable to the idea of third party presence in the future Palestinian state. Israelis are divided over the issues. There are some who argue that future threats will come from missiles, which makes territories and topography less important for the security of Israel. Against that, there are those who believe that the Jordan valley is a buffer and Israel should make sure that it remains so. To be sure, there are

those who still use the security pretext to undermine the prospects of an independent Palestinians state. Therefore, one should not take Netanyahu’s line that Israel is ready for peace at face value. I found his foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, more honest when he says that peace with the Palestinians is unlikely. True, Lieberman is against peace on ideological grounds, but his statement made at the annual Saban Forum in Washington a few days ago reflect the sentiments of the majority in the government. Given the rigidity of the situation, Kerry needs to understand that the Palestinians will not settle for any deal that does not fit the bill of “fair” deal. Although Abbas is desperate to get a deal, he cannot do that at any price. Half of his people are supporting Hamas and a bad deal with Israel will only guarantee the end of Abbas. For peace to materialize, Kerry should work toward ending the structure of the occupation and the matrix of control. Since American mediation in the conflict started back in the 1970s, no single American president - Bill Clinton included - ever worked toward dismantling the structure of occupation. All we have seen is a complicit American role that attaches primacy to Israeli demands. We may recall the humiliating withdrawal of President Obama from his position articulated during the first month of his first term. As it stands, American cannot be an “honest” broker.


here are people in Kuwait who feel that whenever the government or any senior official commits a mistake, tolerance becomes difficult while defamation becomes necessary without any sense of respect of the person accused or suspected of committing the error. As long as the official at fault works in the government, cheap shots become legitimate, exaggeration becomes necessary, and harshness becomes essential to display patriotism. What is worse than that is the determination to hold the government solely responsible for the deterioration and corruption that affect the country. In the meantime, the citizens or people in general are depicted as ‘innocent victims’ who never encouraged the government to commit mistakes. The majority of problems we are going through today originate from the people, and are a result of their behavior and level of awareness which took root and grew under the oil boom. There is no doubt that the government committed mistakes, sometimes spontaneously and some other times deliberately. However, the right way to describe it is that the many errors the government committed became ‘traditions’ and social ways to express the oil boom in Kuwait. Those mistakes gained ‘Kuwaiti’ character, and perhaps became free from the influence of the government or official institutions which are mostly blamed for deterioration and corruption. There are many errors in Kuwait, and some tragic mistakes as well, but they have become pure Kuwaiti habits as result of the influence that the oil boom left on the current generations. Maybe the government was responsible for those errors or some of them at the beginning, but now those have grown to become national behaviors and desires that the government cannot deal with alone. The government in Kuwait is responsible for the Kuwaiti citizen from the cradle to the grave. It takes care of people’s education, health, employment and even funeral ser vices. Therefore, Kuwaitis have become used to hold the government solely responsible for everything, including mistakes committed by citizens who are in fact victims of the oil boom. It is time for us to look at our problems, crises and misfortunes as being national results and responsibilities created - in addition to the oil boom’s circumstances - by the people, and that the people are capable and responsible for correcting them. People need to bear this responsibility instead of demanding that the government does the job alone. — Al-Qabas

kuwait digest

Assad playing dirty games By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed


or the past one year, the strategy of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime pivoted on the notion of crushing the uprising through the use of force by strengthening the latter’s capabilities by importing arms and forces from Iran, Iraq and Hezbollah. It is mainly due to these factors that Assad succeeded in clinging to power throughout the year while battles are neither won nor lost. Despite all the huge reinforcements, he could not defeat the opposition that has besieged the capital again and blockaded the airport road and is rivaling him in the rest of the country. Practically, Assad’s plan has failed and it has become difficult for his Russian and Iranian allies to make more sacrifices without any ray of hope. The fall of Assad’s regime is just a matter of time. His time could only be artificially prolonged. The regime’s new move is not to fight the Free Syrian Army, which has served as the backbone of the Syrian revolution for more than two years; it is rather to damage it from the inside. The rival “Islamic Front” group emerged suddenly out of nowhere. It distanced itself from other groups like Daesh and Al-Nusrah Front. Later three leaders, along with their battalions, announced their departure from the Free Syrian Army, including Ahmad Isa Al-Sheikh, Zahran Alloush and Saddam Al-Jamal, with the latter being quoted as saying that the reason for separating from the group is that he was not happy with the foreign support, though the veracity of the claim could not be verified. These discords, whether genuine or part of the war propaganda, shows an attempt to weaken the only military force that represents the Syrian revolution and that had been fighting non-stop since the beginning of the uprising. Other armed groups and battalions do not represent the revolution because they are either representing certain revolting districts or areas or an extension of militant groups, which are an extension of the AlQaeda group fighting in Iraq, Yemen and Somalia, and who had been used by Assad’s regime in Lebanon and Iraq during the last decade. Interestingly, most of the dissidents are allying with the new Islamic Front group, which was founded at a time when the regime’s vulnerability had become visible. And now comes the question: Can the dissidents and other militant groups linked with Al-Qaeda defeat Assad’s regime? Absolutely not, but they are capable of damaging the Free Syrian Army.



KUWAIT: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah is cutting the ribbon at the opening of the exhibition yesterday. — Photos by Joseph Shagra

Defence, aviation expo gathers businesses, showcases knowhow Military equipment lures youth into joining ranks By Velina Nacheva KUWAIT: Military might was the buzzing topic in Kuwait yesterday. The latest military technology vehicles and gadgets as well as defense sector capabilities were the main attractions at the opening of the second edition of the Gulf Defense and Aerospace Exhibition yesterday. Under the patronage of the Ministry of Defense, the three - day event is held at the Kuwait International Fairground in Mishref. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah opened the exhibition yesterday. After the opening of the forum, Sheikh Khaled said that the exhibition offers a good chance to review the latest military equipment and services and to provide a good opportunity to encourage Kuwaiti youth to join the military. He said that defence ministry aims at materializing the vision of HH the Amir and the Supreme Commander of Kuwait’s Armed Forces Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to turn Kuwait into a regional financial and commercial hub by supporting the organizers in attracting military bodies from Kuwait and neighboring companies to participate. Kuwait Army assistant chief of staff for army supply Brig Lafi Al-Azmi said that the defence ministry aims at making the exhibition a chance to demonstrate what the duties are of the Kuwait army, Ministry of Interior and the National Guard. It showcases equipment used by various forces. The expo is seen as a vehicle that communicates the duties and allure of the forces to the youth, which Azmi said are “targeted to join the military”. “Our ambition is unlimited; we look forward to achieving more through increasing the machinery and equipment on display as well as the number of companies participating this year,” added Azmi.

Some army divisions will perform live drills for the public today and tomorrow. Kuwait army chief of joint staff Lt Gen Abdul Rahman Mohammed Al-Othman, Defence undersecretary Jassar Al-Jassar and diplomats and military attaches in Kuwait also attended the opening of the exhibition. The exhibition brings together leading companies from the defense industry from around the world who use the forum as a platform to network with their local counterparts and other interested parties. The Kuwaiti organizations represented at the event included booths of the Kuwait

Aerospace Technologies, Ministry of Defense, National Guard, Ministry of Interior, Navy, Coast Guard and the Kuwait Ship Technology company in addition to Kuwait-based National Offset Company. Other companies that were represented at the exhibition included Boeing (leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems), General Atomics Aeronautical Systems of the United States, Abu Dhabi Ship Building, Bell Helicopter, Raytheon, Damen shipyards, Eurofighter and Lockheed Martin Corp.



Maid held with 10kg of qat By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: An Ethiopian housemaid was arrested on arrival at Kuwait international airport for attempting to smuggle 10 kg of qat she hid in her luggage, said security sources. Case papers indicate that custom officers noticed that the maid looked confused and on subjecting her to thorough inspection, the drug was found hidden in bags inside her luggage. A case was filed and the suspect was referred to relevant authorities. Horrible accident Marine firefighters from the Ras Salmiya center yester-

day rescued three injured people who were trapped inside two vehicles that collided just outside the center, said security sources. The sources added that alarmed by the loud bang, firemen rushed out and quickly rescued the injured before one of the two cars burst into a ball of flames. Meanwhile, Jleeb firefighters rescued a driver who was trapped in his car after it collided into another along the Sixth Ring road, said security sources. Strange actions A special forces agent was arrested for breaking and entering his neighbor’s house, said security sources. Case

papers indicate that a young lady and her father called the police reporting that the suspect, who lives nearby, had broken into their house and acting strangely. The young lady added that the suspect was scared off by her screams. The suspect, who was arrested at his house, denied the charges and accused the girl of lying. He also got angry on being held at Bayan police station’s detention facility and broke a glass window, which required sending him to receive medical treatment for his wounds, before bringing him back. Bike stolen An Egyptian living in Salwa reported that a motor-

bike was stolen from his doorstep, said securit y sources. Liquor factory Ahmadi security stormed a home-made liquor factory in Mahboula where they arrested three Asians and confiscated a huge amount of liquor and equipment. Cash stolen A Asian reported that two people had robbed KD 122 in cash from him after threatening to harm him unless he gave them the money he had. A case was filed and further investigation is in progress.

Municipal Council member arrested in Saudi Arabia Girlfriend charged with scam

Marina FM offers students opportunity to share their memorable moments KUWAIT: Marina FM recently offered the Kuwaiti students studying in the United States, an opportunity to reach out to their friends and families in Kuwait through a variety of segments aired live during the 30th NUKS-USA Conference. Marina FM sponsored the event for the third consecutive year, which was held in San Diego under the patronage of HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al- Hamad Al-Sabah. Marina FM, part of the United Networks Group, is one of the Kuwait’s most popular radio stations that offers listeners a variety of entertaining segments from music to interactive and engaging programs. Marina FM, the media sponsor of the 30th NUKS-USA Conference, continues to demonstrate its efforts in supporting and encouraging young aspiring students to reach out to

their friends and families as well as giving them the chance to contribute to the Kuwait’s socioeconomic development by sharing their opinion and different point of views. The Diwaniyah program was broadcast from the venue of the conference during the same week, exposing listeners to a two-hour upbeat and interactive experience while engaging with the students. The team included Khaled Al-Ansari, Nawaf Al-Najadeh, Mahmoud Behbahani, Hmoud Adel as well as Dr Hussain Al-Mukaimi. Kuwaiti students in the US were able to listen to Marina FM through its smartphone application. The application provides added value features that enable the students to tune into the live broadcast, listen to their favorite songs, and receive the latest updates and replaying their favorite programs.

KUWAIT: A member of Kuwait’s Municipal Council was reportedly held in Saudi Arabia after he quarreled with an officer near the border with Kuwait. According to a source with knowledge of the case, the councilor was making his way to Kuwait with his friends on Thursday when a Saudi officer issued him a traffic ticket. The man who was unnamed in the report engaged in a verbal altercation with the officer, who called for backup to place the man and his friends under arrest. The report suggested that the municipal member could be released soon following coordination between Saudi and Kuwaiti authorities. Fugitive nabbed Mubarak Al-Kabeer police arrested a man wanted for attempted murder and burglary charges pressed in Farwaniya police station. He was arrested after patrol officers pulled the man over while he was driving an SUV in Mubarak Al-Kabeer. He was placed under arrest after an identity check revealed his criminal record, and taken to the authorities for further action. Meanwhile, a Kuwaiti man filed a case at the Sabahiya police station and accused a relative of making murder threats. In his statements to officers, the man said that his relative called him while he was in his house in the area and made the threats over previ-

ous disputes between them. The case was referred to detectives in order to summon the man for questioning. Fireman missing A search is on for a fireman reported missing in Sulaibikhat. Local police station officers were approached Monday by a Kuwaiti man who reported his son missing, stating that the firefighter who is in his twenties left the family house for work but never returned. He went to his workplace after the young man did not return back his calls, but was told that his son never showed up for work that day. Investigations are ongoing. Auto thieves Jahra police are looking to identify and arrest two suspects who stole a car after forcing its driver to stop by deliberately hitting his vehicle. According to a case filed at the Saad Al-Abdullah police station, the suspects targeted a 2009 model vehicle and hit it from behind, then forced its driver to get out at knifepoint and stole it. The Asian driver informed his employer who reported the case. Police also found out that the vehicle which the suspects left behind was reported stolen three months ago. Investigations are ongoing.

Italy Navy commander plans stronger ties with Kuwait ROME: Admiral Giuseppe De Giorgi, commander of the Italian Navy, yesterday hailed the distinctive ties bounding Italy with the State of Kuwait noting the two countries’ fruitful security cooperation for maintaining global peace. Admiral De Giorgi made the statement on occasion of planned dispatch of the Italian aircraft- carrier, Carvour, to the Kuwaiti shores as part of a tour to several coastal Gulf and African countries. The planned mission, due to end in April 2014, is meant to manifest the deep-rooted ties of friendship and cooperation between Italy and Kuwait, the other GCC states and African countries, the navy commander said. He expressed hope the journey would further deepen these bonds and expand cooperation with these countries, including Kuwait, where the Italian expedition would exclusively

hold an on-land exhibition, close to the aircraft docking location. There are expanses for developing the relations with Kuwait at the economic, commercial and military levels, he said, expressing desire to launch joint defense ventures such as building ships and executing technological projects. The commander of the Italian Navy, which hosts expeditions of Kuwaiti officers at its academies, indicated at readiness to supply Kuwait with naval multi-winged aircraft. Carvour will be accompanied by several military vessels, including a frigate, he said, adding that the expedition would take part in an air defense exhibition due in Kuwait. The mission is aimed at contributing to the fight against piracy, securing key naval routes and demonstrating Italy’s distinctive military capacities.— KUNA

In a similar incident, a man stole a car in Adan by giving its owner his own vehicle which later turned out to be stolen. The suspect reportedly approached an Egyptian man who had offered his car for sale, and asked to take his car for a test drive. The man gave his car keys to the seller - as a way to ensure trust. The man called police after the alleged buyer disappeared for more than two hours and did not return calls. Police found that the car left with the seller was reported stolen. Investigations are ongoing. KD 50,000 gift A man was left with a broken heart and heavy debt when his girlfriend escaped from the country shortly after he gave her cash he obtained through a bank loan, according to his testimonies. In his statements to police, the man said that he gave KD 50,000 to a woman he was romantically involved with, adding that the two had already discussed marriage plans. The woman reportedly disappeared shortly after she received the cash as she did not return any of the man’s calls. He later learned through friends who work in the border security department that the woman left for Turkey. The case was referred to the Criminal Investigations Department for further investigations.

KD29m contract to construct power lines KUWAIT: A KD 29.7 million contract was signed to extend and construct overhead power lines in Roudtain, Jahra and Saad Al-Abduallah power substations, Ministry of Electricity and Water said in a statement yesterday. The statement said that Minister of Electricity and Water and Minister of Public Works Abdulaziz Al-Ibrahim signed this contract that will provide two 300 voltage overhead power lines in Roudtain’s substations instead of the existing ones that connect Sabiya power station with Jahra’s substation. Two other 300 voltage overhead power lines will be provided in Roudtain’s substation and they will be replacing old lines connecting Sabiya power station with Saad Al-Abduallah substation . The contract also provides for the construction of two additional power lines to connect Roudtain’s substations. — KUNA

Ratifying Kuwait, Egypt protocols necessary

KUWAIT: Bedoons staged a protest in Taima yesterday. Musaed Al-Museileen, an activist was arrested during the protest and was released later. — Photos by Al-Aan

CAIRO: Minister of Justice and Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Shareeda Al-Mousherji said here it was important to ratify cooperation protocols signed between Kuwait and Egypt. He hailed the existing ties between both countries, and said that the future would witness a huge development in these relations, while speaking after meeting the Egyptian Justice Minister Adel Abdelhamid. Pointing out to their respective justice ministries, he said this would be through the exchange of expertise between employees in the various legal state institutions and authorities. The stability of Egypt is that of the whole region, especially of Arab Gulf states who regard Egypt “the key to security and stability in the Middle East, “ he suggested. The minister said he has kept a watchful eye over developments in the Arab North African nation. He also expressed hope the people of Egypt choose a political system that responds to their aspirations and restores their country’s historical position on the world stage. For his part, the Egyptian minister welcomed the visit by his Kuwaiti counterpart, adding it was being carried out amid the keenness of both nations to bolster their cooperation. Jointly signed protocols would aim to ease legal procedures for Kuwaitis in Egypt and Egyptians in Kuwait, he said. The worst threat to the judiciary in Egypt is that it is being dragged into political quarrels, he suggested. On these accusations, he strictly underlined that judges in the country are completely independent and do not have any political affiliations. —- KUNA

Genome research at Dasman Diabetes Institute KUWAIT: University College London was this week in the international news as a result of its breakthrough finding of a gene that causes a rare bone disorder, Lenz-Majewski syndrome. Yesterday, Prof Philip Beales the Director of the Centre for Translational Genomics at University College and Dr Kazem Behbehani Director General of the Dasman Diabetes Institute, announced that an agreement has been reached between the two institutions that will see a joint genome research pro-

gramme developed in the coming months. In announcing the agreement, Prof Beales stated that the Dasman Diabetes Institute, which was founded by the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences in 2006, has become a leading international diabetes research partner and that University College London is proud to be working with it. Dr Behbehani said that he looks forward to involving the Dasman Diabetes Institute in an international research program with the University College London.


Abu Qatada challenges Jordanian court authority Page 8

Thai PM rejects protesters’ demand to step down Page 11

KIEV: Pro-European Union activists gather in their tent camps in Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, yesterday. Ukraine’s embattled President Viktor Yanukovych yesterday promised that some demonstrators arrested in the massive protests sweeping the capital will be released, part of a bid to defuse a political stand-off that is threatening his leadership. — AP

Ukraine leader slams ‘revolution’ calls President to seek protesters’ release KIEV: Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych yesterday slammed opposition calls for revolution as a “threat to national security” as he met his predecessors in a bid to defuse an escalating standoff over a rejected EU pact. Several demonstrators were injured in fresh clashes with police early yesterday as EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and a top US diplomat arrived in Kiev for talks in a sign of the global concern about the explosive situation. Convening ex-leaders Leonid Kuchma, Leonid Kravchuk and Viktor Yushchenko at an unprecedented meeting at the presidential administration, Yanukovych also said a delegation would likely be flying to Brussels to renew negotiations on key political and free trade agreements today. “Calls for a revolution pose a threat to national security,” Yanukovych said in comments broadcast on national television. “I want that this dark page is turned and is never allowed to happen again.” Yanukovych’s decision to scrap key trade and political agreements with the EU under pressure from Russia and police violence against protesters have plunged the ex-Soviet country into its most acute political crisis since the pro-democracy Orange Revolution in 2004. Calls for PM to step down Protests have gone into a third week, with both the authorities and the opposition showing few signs of compromise. Yanukovych incensed the opposition further by meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin for secret talks on Friday. The former Ukranian presidents have suggested holding round-table talks between the authorities and the opposition to calm ever-increasing tensions. Opposition leaders said they would not negotiate with Yanukovych until he sacked the government of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, released arrested demonstrators and punished riot police accused of crushing a protest on November 30. Kuchma and Kravchuk pointedly noted during the meeting that prime ministers had stepped down before, and indicated that Azarov could do the same. “Civil society is now awaiting a signal from the president,” said Kuchma, Ukraine’s president between 1994 and 2004. Yanukovych made no public comments on the fate of the government. In an apparent bid to placate the demonstrators, Yanukovych said that he had asked the general prosecutor to secure the release of some

of the demonstrators arrested after clashes with police. Yanukovych, without giving further details, said he would work for the release of those who had not committed serious violence. He also implied the security forces bore some responsibility for clashes. “There are guilty on both sides,” he said. “I am not a supporter of reacting harshly and having people judged.” Fresh clashes with police At least 10 protesters were reported injured in fresh clashes with baton-wielding police in the early hours of yesterday as security forces pushed them back and removed barricades from around the government headquarters in the capital Kiev. “More than 10 people are injured,” a lawmaker from nationalist Svoboda (Freedom) party, Yuriy Syrotyuk, told AFP. He said one suffered punctured lungs and several had broken arms or legs. Police said two officers were injured in a crush as the authorities sought on Monday evening to reclaim control of the city centre and remove barricades around the seat of government and the presidential administration. On her visit, Ashton was to meet Yanukovych and three opposition leaders as well as representatives of civil society for talks aimed at supporting a political solution. The three opposition leaders-Yatsenyuk, former world boxing champion Vitali Klitschko and the nationalist Svoboda party chief Oleg Tyagnybok-also met visiting US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland yesterday. Nuland was also due to meet Yanukovych later yesterday. US Vice President Joe Biden on Monday in a telephone call conveyed Washington’s “deep concern” to Yanukovych, a White House statement said. The party of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko said Monday armed law enforcement officers had raided its headquarters, taking away documents and computer servers. The protesters remained defiant, with several hundred braving falling snow and temperatures of around -7 degrees centigrade (19 degrees Fahrenheit) to spend another night on Kiev’s Independence Square. On Sunday, hundreds of thousands filled Independence Square, and dozens of masked protesters tore down a statue of Lenin. Ukraine’s Security Service opened an investigation into an alleged attempt to seize power, in an apparent bid by the state to target key opposition figures. — AFP

French troops kill 19 Islamists in Mali BAMAKO: French troops killed 19 Islamist militants during an army operation in Mali’s rebel-infested northern desert yesterday, a French military source told AFP, as the country prepared to stage nationwide elections. The violence comes with Malians due to vote on Sunday in a second round of parliamentary polls supposed to mark the west African nation’s first steps to recovery after it was plunged into chaos by a military coup in March last year. “A French military operation is underway north of Timbuktu. French troops are facing a pretty determined group. At the moment, 19 members of this group have been killed,” the Bamako-based source said. “The French troops haven’t reported any deaths or injuries. We are in control of the situation,” the source said, without specifying which Islamist group the militants were part of.

The military coup in Bamako opened the way for Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other Islamist groups to seize the vast north of the country, where they ran cities under their brutal version of sharia law for nine months. Former colonial power France intervened in January to drive out the radicals. After several months of calm, with French and African troops overseeing security, jihadist groups launched fresh attacks in September, leaving a dozen civilians, Malians and African troops dead. French, UN and Malian forces launched Operation Hydra in late October after being taken aback by the renewed violence, after two Chadian UN peacekeepers and a civilian were killed in the northern town of Tessalit. The goal of Hydra was “to put pressure on any terrorist movements to avoid their resurgence”, the French mil-

itary said, indicating that about 1,500 troops were involved, including some 600 French, 600 Malians and 300 UN soldiers. Mali is also battling the latest separatist rebellion launched by the Tuareg, traditionally a federation of nomad tribes that rebelled in Mali and Niger in the 1960s and the 1990s, and are seeking some kind of self-determination for the country’s north, a swathe of desert the size of Texas they call Azawad. The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) ambushed soldiers as they were on patrol at a market near the border with Niger on November 8. The clash followed three attacks by the MNLA on soldiers in the rebel stronghold of Kidal in September, after the militants pulled out of peace talks with the government, dealing a blow to hopes of a durable peace in the troubled nation. — AFP



Kerry back to Israel as Palestinians warn on security ideas RAMALLAH: US Secretary of State John Kerry is to fly back to Israel just days after his last visit amid a Palestinian warning that his proposals on security would lead to “total failure”. Kerry will head to Israel today, five days after he landed back from Jerusalem and after spending most of the weekend meeting in Washington with Israeli leaders. “This is an important time in the negotiations, and he felt it was important to return to the region,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters in Washington, adding that Kerry would spend two days in Israel and Ramallah for talks. The announcement came after Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top official with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), on Monday said that Kerry’s ideas on the future configuration of security arrangements which were presented to the Palestinian leadership last week, had provoked a “real crisis”. Israel insists to maintain militarty presence in Valley “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. The

Israel passes law to detain illegal African migrants JERUSALEM: Israel’s parliament has approved a law which allows illegal immigrants from Africa to be detained for up to a year without trial, MPs announced yesterday. The government-backed bill amends earlier legislation from 2012 under which illegal immigrants could be held for three years without trial that was overturned by the Supreme Court in September. The new bill passed by 30 votes in favour to 15 against during a late-night vote in the 120member parliament, or Knesset. It was the latest in a series of measures aimed at cracking down on the numbers of Africans entering the country illegally, which Israel says poses a threat to the state’s Jewish character. Last year, Israel launched a crackdown on what it said were 60,000 illegal African immigrants, rounding up and deporting 3,920 by the end of the year, and building a hitech fence along the border with Egypt. On November 24, the cabinet approved measures aimed at tackling the question of illegal immigrants, including a crackdown on employers and financial incentives for those agreeing to return to their country of origin. It has also invested in the construction of a sprawling detention facility for illegals arriving in Israel and for immigrants already in the country who “disturb the public order,” the premier’s office said. The facility, to be inaugurated on December 12 and run by the Israel Prisons Services, will be open during the day but locked at night, and it will initially house up to 3,300 people, Haaretz newspaper reported. It said capacity could be expanded to hold up to 11,000.—AFP

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. 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. Psaki denied reports that Kerry and the administration of President Barack Obama were seeking some kind of interim framework ahead of a full peace accord. “Just to be absolutely clear, we are not focused on an interim deal, we are focused on a final deal,” Psaki told reporters, while adding “there of course will be a process to getting there”. Delay in release of prisoners 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. 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. 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

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. Bidding to keep the peace process on track, Kerry met Monday in Washington with Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erakat and his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni. Over the weekend he also held his first talks with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman since the latter returned to his post after a corruption scandal. On a positive note Monday Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians signed a historic watersharing initiative, at the World Bank in Washington, that could protect water resources in the region amid rising demand. “It gives a glimmer of hope that we can overcome more obstacles in the future,” said Silvan Shalom, Israel’s minister of energy and water resources, at the signing. “We showed that we can work together despite the political problems,” echoed Palestinian water minister Shaddad Attili. — AFP

Abu Qatada challenges Jordan court authority Trial follows long extradition fight in Britain AMMAN: Radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada told a Jordanian court yesterday he was not guilty of terrorism charges and challenged its authority to try him under the terms of his deportation from Britain five months ago. Appearing in court in brown prison fatigues, Abu Qatada said the presence of a military judge in the panel of three judges violated the agreement under which he was flown back to Jordan in July after many years of legal battles in Britain. The Islamist cleric has already been sentenced in absentia by a Jordanian court to life imprisonment for conspiracy to carry out al Qaeda-style attacks against US and other targets inside Jordan. He is now being retried on those charges. “I have been prevented from defending myself for a long period, and God knows that I am innocent,” said Abu Qatada, saying that the charges against him were fabricated. “There has been a betrayal of the agreement under which I have come. There is now a military judge - this is the first betrayal by you. I have come to be tried by civilian judges.” “This court is a betrayal of the agreement and I don’t recognise it,” said Abu Qatada, whose real name is Mahmoud Othman. Before the trial started he joked with reporters about his life in Britain, where he spent two decades.

me.” His lawyer Ghazi Thuneibat called for Abu Qatada’s release, saying his client’s rights had been violated by the presence of a military judge and baseless evidence that was extracted under torture from other defendants. But prosecutor Colonel Fawaz al-Atoum said Jordan’s state security court law allowed for military tribunals in cases of terrorism. Atoum also dismissed demands by Abu Qatada’s lawyer that the court should not look at previous evidence that human rights activists say was extracted under torture, a claim denied by the Jordanian authorities. Jordan’s military tribunals have been criticised by international human rights organisations which have called for their abolition and for civilians to face trial in civilian courts. They say constitutional amendments in 2011 that restricted the jurisdiction of military courts to cases of terrorism and espionage were insufficient. Linked by a Spanish judge to the late al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, Abu Qatada was in and out of jail in Britain since first being arrested in 2001. He was sent back to prison last March for breaching his bail conditions. His return was made possible by an extradition treaty

adopted by Jordan and Britain that satisfied the concerns of British judges about the use of evidence obtained through torture. Writngs influence Qaeda youths Jordanian security officials and experts on Islamist radical groups say Abu Qatada ideological writings have influenced many Qaeda youths. Sermons of the heavily bearded Abu Qatada were found in a Hamburg flat used by some of those who carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. In 2005, al Qaeda claimed responsibility for three suicide bombings that ripped through luxury hotels in Jordan’s capital, killing dozens of people. Jordanian authorities have arrested scores of hardline Islamists in recent months along its northern border with Syria as they were about to cross the frontier to join jihadist groups fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Jordan regularly arrests Islamist suspects and puts them on trial in military courts that human rights groups say are illegal and lack proper legal safeguards. Many civil society groups say many of the Islamist cases are politically motivated. — Reuters

Treatment is good “It’s better here than Britain. The treatment is good here. The British press have not been fair to me and hurt

AMMAN: The sons of a radical al-Qaeda-linked preacher Abu Qatada, arrive to attend the first session of his new trial at the Jordanian military court in Amman, Jordan, yesterday. Qatada deported from Britain pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges at the start of his trial in one of two terror cases yesterday before a Jordanian military court. — AP

Yemen kidnappers free Dutch couple SANAA: A Dutch couple kidnapped in Yemen six months ago have been freed in the capital Sanaa, the two countries announced yesterday. The couple, in good health, will be flown back home today, they said, without giving details on the abductors or how the pair’s release was secured. “Dutch journalist Judith Spiegel and her partner Boudewijn Berendsen, abducted since June 8, have been freed,” a security official said, quoted by Yemen’s state news agency Saba. “The kidnappers freed the Dutch couple in an area near the embassy of the Netherlands and they are in a good health condition,” Saba reported, without giving details. The Dutch ambassador in Sanaa, Jeroen Verheul, wrote on Twitter: “Happy to confirm that Judith and Boudewijn have been released safe and sound.” The Hague said “the Yemeni and Netherlands governments are extremely pleased to welcome the news of the release” of the couple. “They were recently released in the vicinity of the Netherlands embassy,” said the Dutch foreign ministry. “The couple is in a good physical condition, extremely happy to have survived their ordeal unharmed and wishes nothing more than to be soonest reunited with their family,” it said. The couple had made an emotional plea in an Internet video dated July 13 for their government to act to secure their release, warning at the time that they faced execution within 10 days by their “armed” abductors. Dutch media said Spiegel is a journalist based in Sanaa for various Dutch media outlets, including public broadcaster NOS and financial daily NRC Handelsblad. Berendsen is employed in the insurance industry. Both Spiegel and her partner also teach at the Lebanese International University in Sanaa, local media reported. Media reports said the couple were abducted from their home in the southwestern Hadda neighbourhood of

Sanaa. Hundreds of people have been abducted in Yemen over the past 15 years, mostly by tribesmen and nearly all of them later freed unharmed. Al-Qaeda militants have also seized foreigners in the country, including two diplomats-an Iranian and a Saudi-as well as a South African couple. Yemen’s powerful tribes carry out frequent kidnappings of foreigners to use them as bargaining chips in disputes with the central government. In May, members of a southern tribe released three Red Cross employees, including a Swiss national and a Kenyan, and two Egyptians following tribal mediation. - AFP

A file still image grabbed from a video dated July 13, 2013 and posted on YouTube and Facebook on July 16, 2013 shows Dutch nationals Judith Spiegel (R) and her partner Boudewijn Berendsen speaking in an undisclosed location. The Dutch couple kidnapped in Yemen six months ago have been freed in the capital Sanaa. — AFP



Big parties near Austrian coalition deal, avoid big changes VIENNA: The two big pro-Europe parties that have dominated post-war Austrian politics are closing in on a deal to extend their coalition government by eschewing major change in favour of largely staying the course. Barring last-minute surprises, Chancellor Werner Faymann’s centre-left Social Democrats (SPO) and their junior partners, the conservative People’s Party (OVP), will unveil a deal in days to extend the coalition that has governed since 2006. Voters punished the two heavyweights in September elections which bolstered the eurosceptic far right - by giving them historically low support. But

they appeared set on a broad continuation of existing policy in the Alpine republic, one of the European Union’s most affluent and stable member states - although not without a need for some reforms. “There is no big Social Democrat or People’s Party project that is going to be realised. In all the important political areas we met in the middle and found a compromise,” one SPO source said, declining to be named as talks were continuing. Critics say Austria needs to reform public finances and pensions and cut a swollen bureaucracy to ensure prosperi-

ty in a country with the EU’s lowest jobless rate. Other sticking points have been education reform and child benefit. Christoph Leitl, head of the influential Chamber of Commerce and an OVP negotiator, criticised the two parties for, as he put it, simply scratching together what they could to yield budgets for 2014-15 without taking a longer-term view. “At the moment I don’t get a sense of the fresh start that was promised. I don’t see the earth-shaking reforms that this country would need,” Leitl, who had sparked a pre-vote debate by complaining Austria was “going to the dogs”, told

ORF radio. The SPO, which campaigned as a defender of Austria’s generous social safety net, fended off an OVP push to start raising the official retirement age of 60 for women earlier than in 2024, as now planned. Instead the parties will focus on raising the actual average retirement age of around 58.5. Despite OVP lobbying, the accord will not name companies like OMV, Telekom Austria or Austrian Post as candidates to have their state stakes reduced to blocking minorities, the SPO source said. Instead the parties agreed to revamp the OeIAG state holding company and

let it propose buying or selling stakes. The parties still need to agree on cabinet posts. Local media have speculated that OVP leader Michael Spindelegger, now foreign minister, might switch to the finance ministry, replacing Maria Fekter. Fekter had suggested last month that her days as finance minister were numbered, which would rob her euro zone peers of a plain-speaker who has stepped on many toes - including Faymann’s. The next finance minister faces a tough task in cutting state debt and deficits while still propping up ailing banks like nationalised Hypo Alpe Adria. — Reuters

Hollande due in C Africa after French casualties Air France stop flights for security reasons

OSLO: Ahmet Uzumcu, on stage second left, Director General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, holds the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize in City Hall Oslo yesterday. The OPCW received the 2013 Peace Nobel Prize for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons. — AP

OPCW hopes Nobel prize will speed up chemical arms ban OSLO: The body tasked with ridding the world of chemical weapons picked up its Nobel Peace Prize in a ceremony in Oslo yesterday after saying it hoped the prestige would speed a global ban on the dreaded arms. Eliminating such weapons is “a noble cause,” the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)’s director general, Ahmet Uzumcu, said Monday. A handful of countries, including Israel, Egypt and North Korea, are not implementing a global ban watched over by the OPCW. The Hague-based watchdog was thrust from obscurity into the spotlight this year because of its lead role in organising the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, whose use nearly propelled the United States into a new Middle East war. The Norwegian Nobel Committee’s October 11 announcement that the OPCW won the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts has further elevated its reputation. The body notably intends to use the eight million Swedish kronor ($1.2 million, 898,000 euros) that comes with the prize in the ceremony Tuesday to establish its own annual award. “Hopefully in the near future we will be able to do away with a whole category of weapons, chemical weapons,” the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Thorbjoern Jagland, said Monday. Prize awarded to Mandela The honour bestowed on the OPCW brings it into an elite group of people and organisations seen as having promoted peace in the world-including Nelson Mandela, whose memorial service in South Africa was also held yesterday. Since the global ban on producing and storing chemical weapons came into force in 1997, 190 nations have signed up to the Chemical Weapons Convention administered by the OPCW. More than 80 percent of declared chemical weapons have been destroyed. But, as the OPCW itself underlines, the job is not yet complete. Six states remain outside the con-

Winter now blankets US KANSAS CITY: Fresh winter snow moved into the US mid-Atlantic region yesterday, shutting schools and offices in the nation’s capital and elsewhere as the midsection of the country remained in the grip of Arctic air that showed no signs of easing. From 2 to 8 inches (5.1 cm to 20.3 cm) of snow was forecast to fall from northern Virginia, across Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and into southern New England, Brian Korty, meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) said in a forecast. “What we really have is a fast but generally weak storm system moving across the mid-Atlantic region,” said Korty. “We’re basically in a cold winter pattern.” The new snowfall followed a swath of snow and sleet that swept through the nation over the weekend and Monday, dumping up to 10 inches or more on many areas. Treacherous traffic and power outages forced many government offices and schools to close.— Reuters

vention: Israel and Myanmar have signed the pact but not ratified it, while Angola, Egypt, North Korea and South Sudan have failed to do either. Uzumcu, a Turkish citizen, said Monday: “I see no reason for any country” not to implement the convention. “I sincerely hope (the others) will reconsider and join this Chemical Weapons Convention,” he added. Among convention members, the United States and Russia have both pledged to scrap their chemical weapons, but failed to meet a 2012 deadline to do so. The big challenge: Syria The OPCW’s reception of its Nobel Peace Prize comes at a time when it faces its most logistically challenging task ever: destroying chemical weapons from Syria, which became a member in October. Syria’s hasty adherence to the convention averted strikes by US-led forces after a nerve gas attack that killed hundreds on the outskirts of Damascus on August 21. A roadmap adopted last month by the OPCW to rid Syria of its chemical stockpile says “priority” weapons must be removed from the country by December 31. Before receiving the award yesterday, Uzumcu told AFP that destruction of the weapons could begin in early 2014. “We hope that by the end of January, the destruction on the American ship could start,” he said. The Syrian weapons are to be destroyed aboard the US Navy’s MV Cape Ray, a 200metre (650-foot) cargo ship equipped with two hydrolysis systems. Hydrolysis involves breaking down a lethal chemical agent such as mustard gas with hot water and other compounds, which results in a sludge equivalent to industrial toxic waste. But Syria’s chemical arms must first be transported through a war zone to the Mediterranean port of Latakia. “Much will depend in fact on the security situation and unfortunately the security situation has deteriorated over the past weeks,” Uzumcu said. “There could be some slight delays but I’m not that worried about delays,” he added. —AFP

BANGUI: French President Francois Hollande was expected in the Central African Republic, on the second day of an operation to disarm rogue rebels that has already killed two French soldiers. As the poverty-stricken country’s former colonial master led the military effort to restore order after a year of chaos, Washington said it was offering to fly in African peacekeepers. The French deaths came moments after Paris announced Monday that the capital Bangui had been largely purged of marauding armed groups. The two paratroopers were fatally wounded while conducting a night patrol in Bangui, the first casualties since France’s 1,600-strong contingent deployed last week. “They lost their lives to save many others,” said Hollande, who is to stop in Bangui on his way back from South Africa, where he attended a memorial honouring Nelson Mandela. A year to the day after Seleka-a motley coalition of Muslim rebels and foreign warlords-took up arms, Hollande was to hold talks with their leader turned president, Michel Djotodia. He was also due to meet Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye and deliver a message of encouragement to his troops, a source at the French presidency said. Among the leaders gathered in Soweto to celebrate Mandela’s life was US President Barack Obama, who on Monday urged the transitional Central African government “to arrest those who are committing crimes.” The US also said its military would provide C17 Globemaster transport aircraft to fly African Union peacekeeping troops from Burundi to the Central African Republic. They will add to 2,500 African Union peacekeeping troops already on the ground as part of the MISCA force. The French forces had deployed in the wake of days of horrendous fighting in Bangui in which nearly 400 people were killed. The stench of dead bodies still permeates some areas of the capital. Most of the clashes were between Christian and Muslim militias armed with guns and machetes. Bangui calm before deaths After only a day of vehicle and house searches, the French military had said Monday that all rebel patrols had left Bangui and that the situation was calm. Besides the incident that killed two French soldiers, AFP reporters in Bangui said that several shops were looted Tuesday morning and Seleka vehicles still visible.

BANGUI: Wounded civilians wait for care at Bangui’s hospital yesteday. French President Francois Hollande was expected in the Central African Republic, on the second day of an operation to disarm rogue rebels that has already killed two French soldiers. — AFP Swarms of residents anxious to see their tormentors disarmed trailed French soldiers across the streets of Bangui, egging them on and pointing them to alleged Seleka hideouts. “We have started to go out because the French are here,” said Arlette Papaye, a local tradeswoman. “We had remained holed up in our homes and cellars. We are hungry. The French must chase out the Seleka.” Air France announced yesterday it had indefinitely suspended its flights to Bangui for security reasons. Djotodia’s Seleka launched their offensive in December 2012 and, after a peace initiative collapsed, captured Bangui and ousted president Francois Bozize in March. Djotodia became the first Muslim president but while some Seleka members remained loyal to him, others went rogue and government forces were powerless to end their reign of terror. Months of massacres, rapes and looting spurred a humanitarian catastrophe a third of the population needs food aid — while the increasingly sectarian nature of the unrest fuelled international fears a genocide was in the making. The UN children’s agency UNICEF told AFP in

Bangui that nearly 480,000 people-mostly women and children-had been displaced since the March coup. France says deployment costs ‘minimal’ The military intervention has prompted some criticism from Hollande’s foes at home at a difficult time for the French economy. Christian Jacob, who heads the right-wing UMP party’s parliamentary group, raised concerns over “the length of the intervention, France’s isolation and financing.” Hollande early this year sent troops to another troubled African nation, Mali, to stop Islamists and Tuareg rebels from advancing on the capital Bamako. But Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the cost of the deployment was “minimal” as the French troops were drawn from bases in other African countries. “If we did not intervene quickly it would have cost much more,” he told France Inter radio. France has also been anxious to avoid charges of meddling in its former African colony for political or economic reasons. It has repeatedly emphasised it is ultimately Africa’s responsibility to tackle the various crises on the continent. — AFP

Putin orders military to boost Arctic presence MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s military yesterday to step up its presence in the Arctic after Canada signalled its intention to claim the North Pole and surrounding waters. The tough and quick response to Canada’s announcement reflected Russia’s desire to protect its oil and natural gas interests in the pristine but energy-rich region amid competing claims there by countries that also include

Norway and Denmark. Putin told an expanded defence ministry meeting that Russia’s national interests and security lay in bolstering its presence in the Arctic after making a brief post-Soviet retreat. “I would like you to devote special attention to deploying infrastructure and military units in the Arctic,” the Kremlin chief said in televised remarks. Canada last week filed a claim with the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental

Shelf concerning the outer limits of its continental shelf in the Atlantic Ocean. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said the submission includes Canada’s stake on the North Pole. Russia has an overlapping claim to both the North Pole as well as large parts of the Arctic that the US Geological Survey believes could hold 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and as much as 30 its hidden natural gas reserves.—AFP



N Korea accused of ‘reign of terror’ over shock purge SEOUL: North Korea’s state media yesterday sought to whip up public support for the shock purge of leader Kim JongUn’s uncle and former mentor, as South Korea accused Kim of waging a “reign of terror”. The North confirmed Monday that Jang Song-Thaek-seen as Kim’s political regent and the country’s unofficial number two-had been stripped of all posts and titles, accusing him of corruption and building a rival power base. State T V showed photos of Jang being dragged out of his seat at a meeting by two officers, in an extremely rare public humiliation of a figure who has now been demonised as a drug-taking womaniser. The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said citizens angered by Jang’s alleged crimes, which have been laid out in unusual detail, vowed to “burn Jang to death” or “cut his throat”. “Those miscreants who sought to ruin our unity deserve a divine punishment... I want to

throw Jang and his group into boiling water,” it quoted Ri Yong-Song, a thermal power plant worker in Pyongyang, as saying. Merciless iron hammers The newspaper, in an article titled “Merciless iron hammers for anti-party elements!” also quoted a machinery plant worker who described Jang and his faction as “human trash” who were “worse than animals”. The paper published a full front-page editorial that called for unity under Kim Jong-Un, who has ruled since his father Kim Jong-Il died in December 2011, warning that North Korea would “never forgive any traitors”. South Korean President Park Geun-Hye yesterday accused the young leader of resorting to extreme violence to cement his leadership. “North Korea is now engaged in a reign of terror while carrying out a massive purge to consolidate the power of

Kim Jong-Un,” she told a cabinet meeting, according to her office. Park said that cross-border relations could now become even shakier. “The situation on the Korean peninsula and in Northeast Asia is rapidly changing, and we cannot lower our guard against North Korean threats and changes in its political situation,” she said. Speculation over Jang’s fate Jang, along with his unnamed associates, was accused of a litany of crimes at a party meeting on Sunday, including hindering the North’s state-run production of resources, including iron and fertilisers, by selling them off too cheaply. The Kim family has ruled the North for six decades with an iron fist, regularly purging those showing the slightest sign of dissent. Most are executed or sent to prison camps. Analysts warn Jang’s ouster-the biggest political upheaval since Jong-Un

took power-may cause significant instability even in the world’s most tightly controlled nation. Chosun Sinbo, a pro-Pyongyang newspaper based in Japan, addressed those fears, saying the North’s public “fully supports the party’s decision”. “There is no change in people’s lives,” it said. “Now a sigh of relief is spreading among workers at state bodies related to economy and fertiliser production after those who disrupted their businesses have been purged.” Jang, who is married to the sister of the late Kim Jong-Il, played a key role in cementing the leadership of the inexperienced Jong-Un. But analysts say the 67-year-old’s power and influence had become increasingly resented by his nephew, who is aged around 30. The North did not say what type of punishment Jang will face. Ryoo KihlJae, Seoul’s representative for North Korea affairs, said last week it appeared

that Jang was “not in any physical danger”. But he could soon be slapped a term at a prison camp given the serious charges laid against him, said an official of the South’s unification ministry. “Most of those who were accused of anti-party, counter-revolutionary acts (like Jang) received punishments that left them unable to live normally, at least (a term at) prison camps,” said the official, who declined to be named. One Seoul-based news radio station run by North Korean defectors claimed Jang had already been executed last Thursday, and that the latest photos of him had been forged. But the official rejected the claim, saying Seoul saw no trace of doctored imagery in the photos. “I think Jang is probably in a detention centre at the moment and will be sent to a prison camp once investigations on his charges are completed,” said Hong Hyun-Ik, an analyst at South Korea’s Sejong Institute. —AFP

Bangladesh Islamist given last-minute execution stay

BANGKOK: Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra arrives at the Army Club in Bangkok yesterday. Thailand’s premier called a snap election to try to defuse the kingdom’s political crisis, but protesters vowed to keep up their “people’s revolution” as an estimated 140,000 demonstrators flooded the streets of Bangkok. —AFP

Thai PM rejects anti-government protesters’ demand to step down Yingluck’s party expected to win upcoming vote BANGKOK: Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday refused demands by anti-government protesters that she resign before upcoming elections, urging them to abandon their self-styled “people’s revolution”. Bangkok has been shaken by more than a month of mass opposition rallies aimed at ousting Yingluck and ridding the kingdom of the influence of her older brother, deposed former leader Thaksin. In a sharp drop from the roughly 140,000 people who attended protests Monday, police said some 7,650 protesters gathered in the capital Tuesday afternoon, calling for the elected government to step down. The demonstrators are a looselyallied group united by their animosity towards Thaksin, a billionaire tycoonturned-politician who was overthrown in a military coup seven years ago but is widely thought to control the government from abroad. Yingluck, who called an early election on Monday to try to calm the political turmoil, said her cabinet was legally bound to act as an interim government until the polls are held. “I would like the protesters to stop and to use the electoral system to choose who will become the next government,” she told reporters after a cabinet meeting early yesterday. ‘Give me some fairness’ A visibly emotional Yingluck-who said she had not discussed with party colleagues whether she would run in the February 2 election-reacted angrily to protesters’ calls that her family be removed from Thailand.

“I have retreated as far as I can-give me some fairness,” she said. Rally leader Suthep Thaugsuban has rejected elections and vowed to set up a parallel government that would suspend the democratic system in Thailand and redraw its constitution. The firebrand former deputy prime minister, who faces an arrest warrant for insurrection over the protests, issued an ultimatum late Monday calling on Yingluck and her colleagues to resign from the caretaker government. Thaksin is loathed by many in the royalist elite and Bangkok middle class, but loved among the working classes and those in his rural northeastern heartland. His overthrow in 2006 by generals loyal to the king ushered in years of political turmoil and rival street protests by the royalist “Yellow Shirts” and Thaksin’s supporters, known as the “Red Shirts”. Pro-Thaksin parties have won every election in more than a decade, but all governments linked to the divisive former premier since 2006 have been cut short by military or judicial intervention without serving a full term. Observers have raised fears that if another Thaksin-allied government is forcibly removed it could trigger a fresh round of violence. Yingluck’s ruling Puea Thai Party is widely expected to win the upcoming vote, bolstered by Thaksin’s enduring popularity. The opposition Democrat Partywhose MPs resigned en masse Sunday because they could not achieve anything in parliament-has not won an elected majority in about two decades. Democrat Party officials said

Monday they had not yet decided whether to take part in the upcoming election. Demonstrators were divided on whether they would vote in the polls. “We’ll boycott if it is the party line,” protester Nui Amnoyporn, 50, told AFP. Democracy is important But Pond, who refused to give his surname, said he planned to vote. “Democracy is important. I will vote for the Democrat Party,” the 25-yearold motor engineer said. Tensions remain high after several days of street clashes last week when police used tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets against rock-throwing demonstrators. The unrest, which saw protesters besiege key government buildings, has left five people dead and more than 200 injured in street violence. Police on Tuesday said they had found evidence of damage at offices in a sprawling government complex in suburban Bangkok used by protesters as their base for about a week until Tuesday. “Some breakages were discovered in the offices of the Royal National Police. Investigators initially found damage to doors, drawers and computers,” Police Major General Anucha Romyanan told AFP. The demonstrations were triggered by an amnesty bill, since dropped by Yingluck’s ruling party, which opponents feared would have cleared the way for Thaksin’s return. The former premier went into exile in 2008 to avoid jail for a corruption conviction which he says was politically motivated. —AFP

Singapore charges 24 Indian workers for rioting SINGAPORE: Singapore yesterday filed charges against 24 Indian nationals who allegedly took part in its first riot for over 40 years, as officials and activists warned against inciting racial hatred over the incident. The men face up to seven years in jail plus caning for the hour-long fracas on Sunday night, triggered when an Indian construction worker was struck and killed by a private bus in a district known as Little India. They were among an estimated 400 South Asian migrant workers involved in the rampage that left 39 police and civil defence staff injured and 25 vehiclesincluding 16 police cars-damaged or burnt. The charge sheet said the men threw pieces of concrete and were “members of an unlawful assembly whose common object was to overawe, by a show of criminal force, police officers in the exercise of their lawful power to main-

tain law and order at the scene”. The suspects, aged between 22 to 40, looked sombre as the charges were read in Tamil in court by an interpreter. They were remanded at a police complex for one week for further investigations. Police earlier said the suspects could be charged with a more serious offence punishable by up to 10 years in jail, but they faced a lesser charge yesterday. Singapore’s foreign ministry said it was working closely with the Indian High Commissioner (ambassador) “to facilitate consular access and support for their nationals, including legal representation”. Two Bangladeshis, another Indian national and a Malaysian also arrested after the riot were released because investigations showed they were not involved. The 55-year-old Singaporean bus driver who knocked down and killed Indian construction worker Sakthivel Kumaravelu, 33, has been

released on bail after being charged with causing death by a negligent act. The wealthy but tiny Southeast Asian nation of 5.4 million depends heavily on guest workers, with labourers from South Asia dominating sectors like construction. Sunday’s riot was the second incident involving a large group of foreign workers in the past year. In November 2012 171 Chinese bus drivers stopped work to demand better wages and living conditions-the first industrial strike in Singapore since 1986. Five of the drivers served jail terms after it was declared an illegal strike, while 29 others were deported without trial. Officials have called for calm after the Little India riot, which triggered a wave of foreigner-bashing in social media. On the Facebook page of Yahoo! Singapore, reader Tan Beng Ming wrote: “Jail them, cane them and send them packing! For good measure, send their compatriots back too!”—AFP

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s highest court yesterday halted the execution of a top Islamist just 90 minutes before he was to become the first person executed for war crimes committed during the country ’s bloody independence fight. Supreme Court chamber judge Syed Mahmud Hossain stopped the execution of Abdul Quader Molla, a senior leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party described by prosecutors as “the Butcher of Mirpur”, until 10:30 am today (0430 GMT), the court registrar said. “The execution has been halted pending a hearing on Wednesday,” the registrar told AFP, without elaborating. Defence lawyer Shishir Munir said they were seeking a last-minute review of Molla’s execution order as the country’s constitution enshrines rights for a death-row convict to have his appeal heard in the Supreme Court. Molla has been convicted of mass murder and rape during the Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war against Pakistan. Earlier in the day, Bangladesh’s secular government had said it would go ahead with the execution of Molla at one minute past midnight - despite a global outcry over the lack of a right to appeal. In anticipation of the hanging, security has been tightened across the country and outside the jail in Old Dhaka where it was set to take place.

Observers worry Molla’s execution could trigger massive protests in the unrest-plagued country, which is experiencing its worst political violence since independence. At least 224 people have died in battles between opposition protesters, police and government supporters since January this year. Bangladesh’s deputy law minister Quamrul Islam had earlier announced the execution, adding the Jamaat leader had refused to seek a last-minute presidential clemency. Prisons chief Main Uddin Khandaker said all preparations had been made for the execution. Twenty-three members of Molla’s extended family visited the jail to say good-bye to him, his son Hasan Jamil told AFP outside the prison gate earlier in the day. “My father is being executed only because of his involvement in Islamic movement in the country,” Jamil said, adding Molla looked calm hours ahead of when the execution had been scheduled, and had asked all family members to be “patient”. On Sunday, a tribunal signed an execution order for Molla, and sent it to the main jail in the capital Dhaka, raising speculation that the former journalist could be hanged any moment. New York-based activist group Human Rights Watch and two UN Special

Rapporteurs have warned that by executing Molla without giving him the opportunity to appeal for a review, the country could be breaking international law. “What logic do they have to stop the execution?” Islam told AFP when asked about the criticism from rights experts. “Did they stop the execution of Saddam Hussein?” he said, referring to the former Iraqi dictator who was hanged in December 2006. Molla was convicted of rape, murder and mass murder, including the killing of over 350 unarmed Bengali civilians. Prosecutors described him as the “Butcher of Mirpur”, after a Dhaka suburb where he committed most of the atrocities. A domestic war crimes court had originally sentenced him to life imprisonment in February - but the sentence prompted protests by tens of thousands of secular demonstrators, who viewed it as too lenient. Under pressure, the government amended the war crime law retroactively to allow it to appeal the sentence and seek the death penalty, which the Supreme Court then handed down in September. UN expert Gabriela Knaul argued that any death sentence had to be “reviewed by a higher tribunal, as laid down in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Bangladesh is a party”.—AFP



Mandela Memorial

From presidents to Spice Girls, Mandela charmed all BRUSSELS: Thousands upon thousands of people, great and small, met Nelson Mandela, and as a correspondent in South Africa from 1997-2000, I was fortunate to be among them. During his presidency and in the early years of his retirement from office, Mandela made a point of meeting as many of the people who beat a path to his door as possible. He loved the gatherings which, while often stage-managed and to a certain extent set up for the media, were also perfect opportunities to observe Madiba at close range. Two meetings are crystallised in the memory, not so much for their political importance but for what they showed of his personality and almost child-like enjoyment of the moment, not to mention the intense impact he had on people. The first was an encounter with the Spice Girls in 1997, when the British band was taking the world by storm. They were performing at a concert in Johannesburg to help raise money for the Prince’s Trust, a charity overseen by Prince Charles.

Hugged and kissed As he was hugged and kissed by each of the women in turn, including Ginger Spice wearing bright-red, six-inch (15cm) platform shoes and a super-short Japanese-style dress, Mandela beamed and declared it to be the “greatest day of my life”. It was a phrase he often used when meeting high-profile visitors, an easy way of flattering them since it was nearly always the greatest day of their lives rather than of his. But he always managed to say it with a ring of truth, and perhaps at some level meeting five excitable 20-something women in skimpy clothes really was a great day certainly not the sort of thing that happens in prison. His minders said they were sure he hadn’t heard of the Spice Girls until that morning, but it didn’t matter to Mandela. That was the mark of the man: that he could switch from meeting kings and presidents one day, a child from Soweto

or his former jailers the next and the Spice Girls the day after, and genuinely be able to say each time that it was the best of all possible days. That said, it was the boxers he met, including Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, who really put a smile on his face, reminding him of his earliest sporting passion. A global star silenced The other meeting that stands out took place with Tiger Woods and his father Earl Woods in 1998. Tiger had won the US Masters the year before and was on his way to being regarded as the world’s greatest player at the age of 22. But rather than a champion with the world at his feet, the person who met Mandela that day looked like an awestruck schoolboy in an oversized grey suit, one hand in his pocket. No one but Woods knows what was said in the private meeting with Mandela, but in an appearance in front of the press immediately afterwards, Tiger barely uttered a

word. In photos, he can be seen staring in silent amazement while his father talked about the importance of his son meeting Mandela. Despite his reticence 15 years ago, the moment clearly left an impression on Woods. He called the meeting an inspiration and wrote on Twitter the day Madiba died: “Pop & I felt your aura when we met. I feel it today & I will feel it forever.” The only time I shook hands with Mandela again provided a moment of amusing insight into his character. It was at a Foreign Correspondents’ Association dinner in Johannesburg in 1998 and Mandela had been invited as the guest of honour. About 150 journalists were there, including Charlayne Hunter-Gault, at the time a correspondent for US National Public Radio who had been one of the first people to interview Mandela when he was released from prison. Knowing Hunter-Gault a little bit and knowing that she knew Mandela, I

shamelessly stood beside her as Mandela came down the receiving line shaking hands with everyone as he left. As he got to Hunter-Gault, Mandela broke into a broad smile and held his arms out wide for a hug. “Charlayne! Charlayne! Lovely to see you again,” he said in his distinctive voice, taking her hands in his and holding her with a tight gaze. “When are you going to become a South African citizen?” he asked with a twinkle in his eye. “We would be honoured to have someone as lovely as you as a South African.” His flirtatious banter left HunterGault, a striking woman seldom at a loss for words, speechless and close to blushes. He may be 80 but he’s an outrageous charmer, I remember thinking. But before I could complete the thought his hand was outstretched in my direction. We exchanged a quick shake. “Hello,” I said, “nice to meet you.” But there was no reply. He had already moved down the line. —Reuters

Dancing with sorrow, joy and pride for Mandela

JOHANNESBURG: Mandela’s family members attend the memorial service of South African former president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium (Soccer City) in Johannesburg yesterday. — AFP

For Mandela, harsh island jail was a crucible CAPE TOWN: A half-century ago Nelson Mandela was taken as a prisoner to Robben Island, 11 kilometers (seven miles) across the bay from Cape Town, where he would begin serving a life sentence for plotting to overthrow South Africa’s racist apartheid system. The island jail was where Mandela became a worldwide symbol of resistance and where he spent 18 of his 27 years in prison, most of them toiling in the island’s limestone quarry. It is where he succeeded in rising above his inmate status by building productive relations with his jailers, first to improve the conditions for prisoners and ultimately to negotiate the end of apartheid. Today at Robben Island, black former inmates work with white former guards to run the one of South Africa’s most inspirational tourist attractions. It’s a striking example of Mandela’s policy of reconciliation in action, with visitors hearing firsthand about his legendary leadership, tolerance and reverence for education. Prisoners help educate guards Mandela encouraged others at the prison to study and take correspondence courses. Prisoners would gather in small groups for Socratic seminars. “The University of Robben Island,” Lionel Davis, Mandela’s fellow prisoner, said proudly of the jail where he was incarcerated from 1964 to 1971. “I was not the same person when I left the island, I learned so much,” said Davis, 76. “It was a university created by us, the political prisoners. And Mandela was a big part of that. We political prisoners even helped educate prison guards, who needed education for promotion.” Many of the guards were white, and most of the prisoners were black. But to Mandela, “education was the enemy of prejudice,” and to those guards he thought would be open to persuasion, he offered lessons on the African National Congress, his liberation movement. Now four ferries a day, guided by former political prisoners, bring hundreds of tourists to Robben Island. Some 320,000 people visited last year alone. Robben Island had been a prison and leper colony for more than 300 years before it became a dumping ground for apartheid’s highest-profile foes. During white rule, the wind-whipped 5square-kilometer (2-square-mile) spit of land in the cold, gray Atlantic became a silent rebuke to the graceful city of Cape Town with its striking

Dutch-inspired architecture and majestic backdrop of Table Mountain, and a source of pride to the city’s surrounding blacks-only slums. Mandela’s 12 years in the quarry Life as a prisoner was hard on the island. The diet was meager and inmates were allowed only two letters a year. News from outside would come sporadically - from occasional smuggled newspapers, or from visitors including Winnie, Mandela’s then-wife, on her two permitted visits a year. Mandela’s 12 years in the quarry caused eye and lung problems that troubled him for the rest of his life, and by the time he emerged from prison, he had forgotten some of the simplest daily routines. Because shoelaces were banned in the jail, he did not remember how to tie them. Robben Island also left a lasting mark by throwing together and uniting a black leadership. The jailers who hoped to break the spirit of the anti-apartheid movement didn’t count on the discipline, ingenuity and optimism of the jailed. In the end, it was white rulers who ended up cut off. Subjected to international sanctions and boycotts, they concluded apartheid was unsustainable and reached out to Mandela to negotiate an exit. Long walk to freedom Mandela was already prominent when the so-called Rivonia trial ended in 1964 with a life sentence for him and seven co-defendants found guilty of sabotage. He was a dashing figure - tall, handsome, with a trial lawyer’s flair for rhetoric and a royal pedigree and bearing. Fellow Rivonia defendants recognized his propaganda potential, encouraging him to write what would become the basis of his memoir, “Long Walk to Freedom,” during his time at Robben Island. Prison authorities would not have allowed such a project, so Mandela wrote at night in secret in his concrete-floored, 2-square-meter (yard) cell. Other inmates helped hide the manuscript and then smuggle it from the island. Robben Island has loomed large in the life of Christo Brand, who went to the prison in 1978 to work as a jailer. “I was 18 years old and Mandela was 60,” said Brand. Gradually a bond developed, so that Brand would smuggle in items that Mandela wanted - whole wheat bread and hair cream. Brand even sneaked in a baby so that Mandela could see his granddaughter Zoleka, now aged 33.—AP

JOHANNESBURG: A boy with “Rest In Peace Nelson Mandela” painted on his face looks up to the skies during the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto. — AP

SOWETO: “Viva Tata Madiba, Viva!” they shouted as the train door opened disgorging hundreds of mourners onto the platform. From the station they walked, jogged, sang and chanted through an unusually rain-sodden Johannesburg morning toward the Soweto stadium, determined to pay their respects to Tata (Father) Nelson Mandela. Bin-bag ponchos and a sliver of the same unwavering determination that vanquished white rule were all they needed to take this, another step along this reborn country’s long walk to freedom. “If he was able to stay behind bars for 27 years for us, what is one day, just one raindrenched day?” asked Musa Mbele. This was an important day for South Africa. I am a born- free A young and still troubled nation was saying a celebratory goodbye to its hero, its talisman, its president and founding father. “I’m a bornfree. I was born in ‘94,” said 19-year-old engineering student Luyanda with a big smile. “The first few days I was crying. I’ve been watching everything on TV, documentaries. But today is a day of celebration”, Luyanda said. With access on a first-come basis, people began gathering before daybreak to secure a seat and join nearly 100 heads of state and government who came to pay tribute to Mandela’s life and legacy. Earlier in the day, some 70 kilometers (40 miles) away at the Waterkloof air force base, journalists watched as plane after plane swooped down bringing in the world leaders, from China, Germany, Brazil and every corner of the globe. As the stadium stands filled up, the physical structure seemed to undulate as the crowd stomped their feet and danced as one, like a giant Mexican wave. “This is once in your life. This is history,” said Noma Kova, 36. “I didn’t want to watch this on TV.” They sang folk songs, religious songs and above all songs of the struggle which Mandela spearheaded. For many of the tens of thousands who formed a heaving mass inside the venue, the horrors of Soweto, Sharpesville and Boipatong are as raw as the everyday humiliation of passbooks and separate toilets. “I used to live on the main street of Soweto, and in 1976... I remember we would see students drop on the street like flies while we ran around

JOHANNESBURG: Dancers perform during the memorial service of former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium (Soccer City) in Johannesburg yesterday. — AFP ducking bullets,” said Jabu Maseko, 54, an office equipment business owner. Humiliating time “The most humiliating time was when I went to apply for a dom (pass) and being asked to strip naked in a room full of people for a socalled medical examination.” Many in the stadium were wrapped in the South African flag or yellow-green coloured shawls printed with the slogan “Mandela Forever,” and portraits of their hero. “We’ve come full circle,” said Dudu Manala, 49, member of the Imilonjikantu choir of Soweto who sang at Mandela’s inauguration in 1994. “Today we must let him go peacefully. Today is a day of celebration, and in our culture there’s always singing, when a child is born, when someone passes away, we cry, but we sing also,” Manala said. “It’s a way of de-stressing, it’s like a therapy. But there will be more crying, when millions of people see the coffin, that is when they will feel the loss, the parting.” Mandela’s body was to lie in state in Pretoria

for three consecutive days from today. Thousands of mourners had used a free train service from central Johannesburg to reach the stadium, mixing excitedly together on the platform and in the compartments-men and women of all ages and races. “I am going to the memorial to be closer to the national mood, to come out of my bubble,” said white Afrikaans speaker Marcel Boezaart, 26. Nigerian Fola Folowosele, 27, had been visiting friends in South Africa when the news that Mandela had died broke last Thursday. For Folowosele, there was never any doubt in his mind that he would stay to be part of the week-long state funeral that followed. “He’s perhaps Africa’s greatest son, and this is a once-in-alifetime experience,” he said. Some in the crowd recalled treasured moments when they had seen or, in some cases, even met or spoken to the man they had come to remember. “When you say Mandela, you are talking South Africa,” said Julenda Ntlekoana, a nurse who met Mandela when he visited her Johannesburg hospital after he retired from office. —AFP

Mandela blurs US political lines JOHANNESBURG: Nelson Mandela’s memorial service wrought an unusual truce yesterday across the faultlines of US presidential politics. A current, a past, and a possible future US president crowded aboard Air Force One for the 16-hour flight from Washington to South Africa. Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton have had their share of political spats but had plenty of time to swap political gossip in the plane’s conference room. Obama and his wife Michelle, making the most of their current lease of the iconic blue and white presidential jet, were berthed in the plush cabin up front. Bush and his wife Laura were in the medical suite behind Obama’s office, while Clinton, accompanied by her globe-trotting aide Huma Abedin, camped out in the senior staff quarters. While aiming to project cordiality in public, Bush and Obama are not exactly close. Privately disagreements still fester over the Iraq war. Obama had branded the conflict launched by Bush as a “dumb war”, and built a career opposing it. There are many former officials in the Republican camp, meanwhile, who are angry that Obama did not reach a deal with I raq to leave some US soldiers behind after his troop withdrawal, and they partly blame the president for the country’s current violent torment. Common ground Bush though, unlike his voluble

former vice president Dick Cheney, has made good on his vow not to snipe at Obama from the sidelines and tells anyone who will listen that he is glad to be done with politics. There is common ground between the pair on African soil however : Obama has singled out Bush for praise over his multi-billion dollar emergency plan to battle HIV and AIDS. Obama, Clinton and Bush were joined in South Africa by two other US presidents-Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter-who had their own share of spats when Clinton was in office. Clinton and Obama have not exactly seen eye-to-eye over the younger Democrat’s presidency: the scars of Obama’s bitter 2008 primary campaign took a long time to heal. The recent book “Double Down” which charted Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, revealed that at one point the president struggled to tolerate Clinton for a whole round of golf. “I like him ... in doses,” Obama is reported to have told an aide. The relationship between the only twoterm Democratic presidents since World War II took a turn for the better however when the president unexpectedly chose Hillary Clinton as his first secretary of state. Then, Bill Clinton threw himself wholeheartedly into Obama’s re-election campaign, winning the president’s gratitude. No event featuring Hillary Clinton these days is free of rampant speculation about whether she will take another tilt at the presi-

dency in 2016 — she remains the hot favourite for the Democratic Party nomination. Distinct relationship with Mandela Each of the former presidents had a distinct relationship with Mandela. For Obama, he was a distant political hero, who inspired him to take up activism when he was a student. Mandela and Obama met in Washington before the younger man made it to the White House. But the much anticipated meeting between the first black presidents of South Africa and the United States never happened, as Mandela was too

sick to accept visitors when Obama was in the country in June.For Clinton, Mandela was a trusted confidant at his hour of greatest need when he was under withering fire from political opponents over his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Bush felt the lash of Mandela’s tongue-as the then retired South African president railed against the impending Iraq war in 2003. Mandela was in prison for the entirety of Carter’s 1977-1981 presidency. But the two men came to know one another as sage former statesmen in the Elders group, which was founded by Mandela. —AFP

JOHANNESBURG: US President Barack Obama (R) talks with the widow of former South African President Nelson Mandela, Graca Machel, during the memorial service for late former South African president Nelson Mandela. —AFP



Amir opens Gulf summit...

Leaders pay tribute to Mandela

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Continued from Page 1

between Tehran and world powers over its disputed nuclear program. Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif last week toured four Gulf countries, but not Saudi Arabia nor Bahrain. Zarif tried to assure the Gulf states the nuclear deal was not at their expense, and called for a new page in relations, although Saudi Arabia in particular appears to remain sceptical. In his speech, Sheikh Sabah said the Gulf states had “expressed their satisfaction with the interim Geneva deal... hoping it would succeed and lead to an everlasting agreement that would keep tension away from the region”. This year’s summit is being staged amid differences over a Saudi proposal to upgrade the GCC into a confederation. At the weekend, Oman threatened to pull out of the loose alliance if a union was announced, while Saudi Arabia, solidly backed by Bahrain, has insisted it is time to move ahead. ‘Give people more power’ Kuwait’s State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Sabah told reporters talks over the union were ongoing. “When consensus is reached, a special summit will convene in Riyadh to make the announcement,” he said, ruling out a major declaration at the Kuwait

meeting. Details on the confederation proposed by the Saudi king in 2011 have not been disclosed. “Oman does not want to be a part of any measure that might be seen as directed against Iran,” said Emirati political analyst Abdulkhaleq Abdullah. Muscat enjoys good relations with Tehran and might be distancing itself from a union led by heavyweight Saudi Arabia, which sees Tehran as a regional rival. Kuwait’s foreign ministry undersecretary Khaled Al-Jarallah said the summit would approve the establishment of a unified GCC military command. But activists called on the Gulf monarchies to give their people more power, as well as a role in managing oil wealth. “It is time that the Gulf people participated in the running of their affairs... through the establishment of true parliaments,” said a letter by the Gulf Forum for Civil Societies to the Gulf summit. GCC states, which have a combined gross domestic product of $1.6 trillion, will also assess their economic integration projects, especially a slow-moving customs union and plans for a common currency. On the back of high oil prices, the six nations, with a combined population of 47 million, almost half of them foreigners, have accumulated financial assets worth $2 trillion. This is expected to grow to $2.4 trillion in 2014. — AFP

“His long walk is over, he can finally rest,” African National Congress (ANC) Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa said in an opening address. On several occasions, Ramaphosa felt forced to admonish boisterous sections of the crowd for chanting during the speeches. In his tribute, UN Secretary General Ban Kimoon noted that Mandela had managed to unite people in death, much as he had in life. “Look around this stage ... we see leaders representing many points of view ... all here, all united,” he said. Before taking to the lectern, Obama shook hands with Raul Castro, leader of long-time Cold War rival Cuba. The handshake was seen by millions watching the memorial being broadcast live around the world, and comes as Obama tries to make good on a vow to reach out even to US enemies. Crowds had begun gathering at the Soweto stadium before daybreak and, as the gates opened, they swarmed inside the venue where Mandela made his last major public appearance at the 2010 World Cup final. Wrapped in the South African flag or yellow and green shawls printed with the slogan “Mandela Forever”, they danced and sang - oblivious to the constant drizzle. “He’s God given, he’s God taken. We will never stop to cherish him,” said Shahim Ismail, who took a day off from the sports academy he runs in Johannesburg to attend the event. Mandela’s widow, Graca Machel, received a huge ovation as she took her seat on the main stage erected at one end of the pitch. News of Mandela’s death at his home in Johannesburg resonated around the world, triggering a wave of loving admiration from political and religious leaders, some of whom agree on little else. But in his tribute, Obama took a swipe at authoritarian rulers who spoke of embracing Mandela’s legacy without acting on it. “There are too many leaders who claim solidarity with Madiba’s struggle for free-

JOHANNESBURG: US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron pose for a picture with Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt next to US First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday. — AFP dom, but do not tolerate dissent from their own people,” he said. The memorial event was part of extended observances that will culminate in Mandela’s burial on Sunday in the rural village of Qunu where he spent his early childhood. South African President Jacob Zuma, who was roundly booed by sections of the crowd in a reflection of growing public dissatisfaction with the current generation of ANC leaders, hailed Mandela as a “fearless freedom fighter”. Although Mandela had been critically ill for months, the announcement of his death was a body blow for this recently reborn nation. He had been out of public life for more than a decade, but South Africans looked to his unassailable moral

authority as a comforting constant in a time of uncertain social and economic change. Ahead of the burial in Qunu, Mandela’s body will lie in state for three days from today in the amphitheatre of the Union Buildings in Pretoria where he was sworn in as president in 1994. Each morning, his coffin will be borne through the streets of the capital in a funeral cortege. British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande and Afghan President Hamid Karzai were among the leaders attending the memorial ceremony. Celebrity mourners included Bono and South African actress Charlize Theron. — AFP




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Ukraine ‘paid-for’ protests played down on Russia TV By Anna Malpas

hile hundreds of thousands were protesting in Ukraine at the weekend, a steely-voiced Russian newsreader dismissively told viewers that the protests had dwindled to a few hundred people and seemed to have run out of steam. In the end, Sunday’s protest on Kiev’s Independence Square, or Maidan, was likely the biggest in Ukraine since the 2004 Orange Revolution and the assessment of the anchor on Russian Channel One television rapidly went viral on the Internet. The phrase “there are just a few hundred people on the Maidan” became a hit on Twitter as the protest swelled to hundreds of thousands and demonstrators spectacularly toppled a granite Lenin statue. The almost farcical assessment of the protest was symbolic of Russian state television’s clearly conscious move to downplay the scale of the massive Ukrainian protests. The pro-Western protests broke out on November 21 over President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to reject a pact with the European Union in favour of promoting ties with Russia. The main news channels are tightly controlled by the Kremlin and broadcast dogmatic Soviet-style scripts with a clear bias against the Ukrainian opposition. “The context on all channels is given in a didactic tone. They make no attempt to describe the scale of the event,” said Anna Kachkayeva, an independent media analyst. On Rossiya 24 rolling news channel, veteran presenter Dmitry Kiselyov read a highly opinionated monologue on the week’s events in his signature heavyweight style. A protester who faced up to riot police “in America would be shot on the spot,” he suggested. Kiselyov has just been entrusted with running a revamped state news agency, making him one of the most powerful people in Russian media. He added a touch of innuendo to a report on German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle’s visit to the Maidan with opposition leader Vitali Klitschko and his heavyweight boxing champion brother Vladimir. “For Westerwelle - who is in a gay marriage - a meeting with the Klitschko brothers on the Maidan turned out to be a major event,” he said. Westerwelle “got warmed up or maybe overheated by the bodies of the heavyweights,” he added. In fact, Westerwelle is in a civil union with his male partner but Germany does not recognise gay marriage. Kiselyov’s coverage prompted a Ukrainian journalist to burst into a live broadcast in Kiev and hand over an ironic “Oscar” statuette for his performances. Russian state television concentrates on “provocateurs” who are deemed to control the protests. “Why are they carrying out these provocations?” a young man said on Channel One as he attended a rally supporting Yanukovych. Opposition protesters are paid money for turning out, the channels insist. Rossiya 1 said that Ukrainian Internet ads promised payment of 50 to 100 hryvnias per day ($6 to $12) for attending the protests. The actual political demands of opposition protesters are given little or no airtime. “It’s manipulation and distortion of facts,” said Irina Petrovskaya, television critic for opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta. The propaganda is effective, because “even now, the masses of working people do not use the Internet widely,” she said. To get a more objective picture and hear opposition views, Russians must turn to smaller channels Ren TV or TV Rain - which are aimed at a more sophisticated urban audience, or to Internet news sites and Twitter. Far from subtle, state news broadcasts emphasise that the protests must be financed by the European Union and the United States. The NTV channel, renowned for its muck-raking documentaries timed for political expediency, aired a documentary called “The Techniques of the Maidan”. The doom-laden voiceover alleged that the protests were “officially supported and secretly sponsored by the United States”. Meanwhile Rossiya 1 television reported that a camp at the US embassy in Ukraine taught “resisting police (and) organising riots,” citing lawmakers from Yanukovych’s Regions Party. Never mind that the footage showed clearly that the innocuous-looking event took place more than a year ago. -— AFP


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Memorial brings together enemies, rivals By Mariette Le Roux thread of reconciliation ran through Tuesday’s memorial service for peace icon Nelson Mandela, which was marked by a historic handshake between arch foes America and Cuba. Several speakers at the memorial service, which gathered tens of thousands of people at Soweto’s Soccer City stadium despite persistent rain, referred to Mandela’s ability to unite people from opposing camps, even in death. “He has done it again,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, gesturing around the Soccer City stadium where rivals both local and international had gathered to honour the memory of South Africa’s first black president. “We see leaders representing many points of view, and people from all walks of life. All here, united,” said Ban. US President Barack Obama shook hands with Raul Castro, leader of long-time Cold War foe Cuba, before mounting the stage to give his speech. The gesture was interpreted by some as a sign of Obama’s willingness to reach out to US enemies. And the Cuban government hailed it as a hopeful sign, writing on its website: “may this... be the beginning of the end of the US aggressions against Cuba?” Yesterday’s gathering brought together mourners from both sides of the apartheidera black-white divide, the leaders of other international rivals like Zimbabwe and Britain, as well as representatives of competing South African political parties. “He


(Mandela) showed the awesome power of forgiveness - and of connecting people with each other... the true meaning of peace,” Ban told the crowd. Cuba and the United States have had limited ties for half a century, most of it under the iron fist rule of Raul’s brother Fidel Castro. Washington has

maintained a trade embargo against Cuba for decades. Obama’s gesture was witnessed by millions as the memorial event was broadcast live around the world. Other mourners referred to Mandela’s role as conciliator having led negotiations for a peaceful set-

Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff (left) watches as President Barack Obama shakes hands with Cuba’s President Raul Castro during the memorial service for former South African president Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in Soweto near Johannesburg yesterday. — AP

tlement after decades of white minority rule. Fellow Nobel Peace laureate, archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu, used the opportunity for a unifying gesture of his own: delivering part of his message in Afrikaans - the language of the former oppressor. “God, I ask you to bless our country,” the archbishop emeritus prayed as he closed the ceremony. “You gave us a wonderful gift in this icon of reconciliation”, referring to the man known as the father of the South African nation. Family spokesman Thanduxolo Mandela told the Soweto crowd he was sure Mandela was “smiling from above”, looking down on the patchwork of people gathered in his memory. “As Mandela would have wished it, among those here this morning are the powerful and the weak, the rich and the poor, the mighty and the ordinary, all here ... unified,” he said. “This is what he strove for, the equality of man, the brotherhood of humanity.” Elsewhere, in Cape Town, Mandela’s former jailers and fellow prisoners united in his memory across the water from Robben Island where he spent 18 of his 27 years in prison. “With his death, we have reconciled again as South Africans. We have reconciled as a world community. It is up to us to make that legacy a reality,” said former Robben Island inmate Lionel Davis. “It is our duty that we as South Africa fulfil that legacy of Mandela from today onwards, that we endeavour to break down the barriers that still keep us apart.” — AFP

Iran won’t be major gas exporter soon By Daniel Fineren he world’s largest gas reserves may tempt some energy companies back to Iran if sanctions are lifted, but Tehran is unlikely to become a significant gas supplier to Europe or Asia for at least a decade. European companies with the technology to fully exploit Iran’s vast South Pars field under the Gulf abandoned it in the late 2000s, under US pressure, dashing its hopes of following Qatar’s meteoric rise up the global gas exporters’ league. Last month’s nuclear deal between the West and the new Iranian government has ignited hopes that its oil production could bounce back if Washington and the European Union relax controls on exports. But Iran has little chance of becoming a significant gas exporter for at least a decade because of high domestic demand and internal obstacles to developing reserves, which were a problem long before sanctions forced foreigners out. The lifting of sanctions on Iran “could potentially have a huge impact on exports over the longer term, but it will take years for things to get moving,” Laurent Ruseckas, senior adviser on the Global Gas team at consultants IHS, said. In the short term, it makes more economic sense for Iran to use gas to satisfy domestic demand for power generation and industry and for re-injection into ageing oilfields to maintain production, Ruseckas said. Oilfield re-injection is a higher-value use for gas than exports, because oil sells for much more on the global market and does not require billions of dollars in capital investment in gas export projects that take years to pay back. Over 1 trillion cubic feet (tcf ), or over 28 billion cubic metres (bcm), of gas was re-injected to help boost oil production in 2011, according to the US Energy Information Administration, and some estimates indicate that over 8 bcf/d (around 83 bcm/year) will be needed within a decade.


Net Importer Iran’s marketed gas production, excluding flared and reinjected gas, has more than doubled to 160.5 bcm in 2012 from 75 bcm in 2002. But Tehran has looked on while Qatar has become one of the world’s richest countries after western energy companies built multi-billion dollar plants over the last decade that turned the tiny Gulf state into the world’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter. The two countries share the world’s largest gas field, which Iran calls South Pars and Qatar the North Field. It straddles their offshore Gulf border and accounts for nearly all of Qatar’s gas production and around 35 percent of Iran’s. An abundance of condensate and natural gas liquids in the field means it can produce enough income to cover drilling costs before pumping out gas. That makes Iranian LNG export projects potentially highly competitive, even as supply swells due to U.S. shale gas and big finds off East Africa. Phase 12 of the South Pars development, which is expected to start up next year, could boost supplies by as much as 28 bcm/year when it is fully operational. “We have to make efforts to launch a section of this phase as soon as possible,” Iran’s oil and gas minister, Bijan Zanganeh, was quoted as saying by ministry website Shana during a recent visit to the sites. “Important petroleum industry projects must not be delayed due to waiting for the lifting of sanctions.” According to figures from the Pars Oil and Gas Company, which manages the whole project, phases 13 to 24 could add up to 142 bcm/year of capacity by 2019, if completed on time. Iran already produces more gas than Qatar. The difference is that Qatar, with a population of less than 2 million, uses just 26 bcm of it, leaving 125 bcm free for export, according to data from BP. Iran has used nearly all the gas it produces to supply its 77 million people

with heat, electricity and fuel. Domestic demand has risen to 156 bcm in 2012 from 79 bcm in 2002, according to BP figures, which exclude gas used for re-injection. Even if its domestic consumption rises at only the half annual growth rate seen over the past decade, that implies increases of 8-9 bcm every year over the next five years. That would take Iran’s gas consumption to around 200 bcm/year in 2018, not counting its rising use for re-injection. Iran has been a net importer for most of the past decade, and this year asked Turkmenistan for more supplies to help ease shortages that are forcing Iranian power plants to burn billions of dollars of pricey and polluting oil products. Zanganeh said in October that Iran faces a 30 bcm shortfall in supplies this year and serious supply shortfalls over the next two years because South Pars has not been developed quickly enough. Iranian gas projects have a record of falling far behind schedule. Phase 13 suffered a big setback when one of its offshore platforms sank to the bottom of the Gulf during an installation attempt in January. Zanganeh said compressor problems with phases 17 and 18 might need the expertise of foreign companies to fix, Iranian news agency Shana reported last week. On Saturday, the minister said he hoped most of phases 12, 15 and 18 would be complete by March 2015. Potential Pecking Order The previous government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad signed numerous gas export deals with Arab neighbours, devised plans to supply Europe via several pipelines, and planned gas-freezing LNG export plants to supply gas to Asia. But Turkey has been the only country to receive significant volumes so far, and because of Iran’s own winter heating needs, it has been unable to supply the 10 bcm/year contracted with Turkey. Any gas

that Iran can spare in future is likely to go to gas-hungry neighbours that have signed import contracts. “It would be a strategic and semi-political choice on Iran’s part, as well as a commercial one, but I don’t imagine that Europe would be at the top of the queue,” Ruseckas said. The head of Iran’s gas export company said over the weekend that it would pipe around 7 mcm/day to Iraq from next July, with flows rising to 25 mcm/day in 2015 and 40 mcm/day by the early 2020s. If sanctions are lifted, Pakistan would probably be next in line for any spare gas, because Iran has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on building a 22 bcm/year pipeline, and the two countries say they will redouble efforts to finish the longdelayed project soon. Iran has also agreed to pipe around 10 bcm/year to Oman within a few years and has built a pipeline to the United Arab Emirates designed to carry 10 bcm/year. “Iran could export some more gas by 2025 but will not export in the range of 50 bcm/year before at least the 2030s,” David Ramin Jalilvand said in a study published by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies in June. Zanganeh is already courting European energy giants in the hope they will swoop back in as soon as bans on investment are lifted. Three large Gulf gas discoveries announced by Iran in 2011 - Kayyam, Farouz and Madar - are potential projects, and their exploitation could be a big boost to Iran’s export hopes. But building big LNG plants that take years to complete in a country that has had a tense relationship with the West for decades will be a daunting prospect for many energy companies, particularly at a time that the US shale gas boom allows them to be picky over projects. “There is something between zero to no chance of us going back into Iran,” a western energy company executive said of Iran’s gas sector. — Reuters



Travel ban floors Tyson

Vettel to become a dad

NBA’s Odom sentenced

LONDON: Former world heavyweight champion boxer Mike Tyson has been forced to cancel appearances in London after discovering he is banned from entering Britain. Tyson, a convicted rapist, had been scheduled to be in London this week as he continues a promotional tour for his new autobiography Undisputed Truth, which included a photocall with journalists and a book signing. His publishers Waterstone said recent changes to British immigration laws meant he was unable to travel to the country and has been re-routed to Paris instead. Tweets posted on 47-year-old Tyson’s official Twitter account as recently as Friday suggest the boxer was unaware he would be hit by the changes. He wrote: “So, UK fans, who is brave enough to get in the ring and ask me a question?” And then in subsequent tweets added: “Tweet me a question with #UndisputedTruthBook in it. The 5 best get to step in the ring & ask me it in person” and “Ok, lots of questions there. If you’ve won, @harpercollinsUK will be in touch soon. Thanks everyone for participating.” A spokesman for HarperCollins said: “There was a change in the UK immigration law in December 2012 of which we were unaware. — AFP

BERLIN: World Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel is set to become the fastest father on the planet with the German and his girlfriend expecting their first child. The 26-year-old Red Bull star won this season’s world drivers’ championship for the fourth time in succession. Vettel likes to keep his private life out of the media spotlight, but German magazine Bunte revealed the Formula One star and his long-time girlfriend Hanna are expecting their first child in 2014. His spokesman has confirmed the news, but the sex of the child is unknown. Having won all of the last nine Formula One races this season, Vettel finished with a total of 13 victories from the 19 races, but has not always been popular having been booed on the podium on occasion. Having had his overall victory confirmed in India with three races left, Vettel paid a tender tribute to Hanna. “My family and her give me so much strength,” said Vettel. “The season was not as easy as it might have seemed from the outside. “It wasn’t easy to be booed on the podium after a few races, when I hadn’t done anything wrong.—AFP

LOS ANGELES: Former Los Angeles Lakers star Lamar Odom pleaded no contest Monday to driving under the influence and was sentenced to three years probation and three months of treatment for alcohol abuse. The 34year-old was also ordered to pay $1,814 in fines and penalties over the August 30 incident in which he was seen driving erratically in Los Angeles. He had been due to appear in court this Wednesday, but his lawyer entered the no contest plea on his behalf. His arrest came amid a rash of news stories about alleged drug use and troubles in his marriage to reality TV show star Khloe Kardashian. The ex Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers standout, an NBA player for 14 seasons, was seen driving his white Mercedes SUV in a “serpentine manner at 50 miles per hour,” a California Highway Patrol (CHP) police report said. Odom’s driving license was suspended for a year, after he refused to take either a blood or breath test. A separate meeting of California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will be held to determine its status. Odom averaged 13.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game over his 961-game NBA career.—AFP

Q8Racing, ProRider win GulfRun 24HR Karting Endurance 3

KUWAIT: The third Wataniya GulfRun 24 hour Karting Endurance race took place from December 5th to December 7th, which saw 18 teams consisting of 188 drivers take part in practice sessions and a highly competitive 24 hour endurance race. After 24 hours of racing, in the Elite class Q8 Racing team finished in first place with a total of 2243 laps completed, followed by McDonald’s Karting team in 2nd place and Team Gulf Cable in 3rd place. In the Silver class ProRider team finished in first place with a total of 2168 laps completed, followed by Ali Al-Ghanim Racing team in 2nd place and JPS Racing in 3rd place. Ahmed Al-Mudhaf, CEO and Founder of GulfRun said, “We have witnessed an exciting race in which 17 teams completed the race. We are very proud of the drivers who participated and the atmosphere at the circuit was very special.” Ahmed Almajed, CEO and Founder of Pro-Vision Sports Management added that “The SIRBB circuit proved to be an excellent venue for the karting endurance race with the changes we implemented on the circuit.” The Wataniya GulfRun 24HR Endurance Karting 3 is organized by GulfRun and Pro-Vision Sports

Lee - the hot favorite in Superseries Final KUALA LUMPUR: Five shuttlers including the men’s world number one Lee Chong Wei will be seeking record fourth BWF World Superseries Finals crowns in the season-ending event beginning today. The Malaysian ace is on home soil and hot favorite to reclaim the title he last won in 2010. The Danish men’s team of Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen and China’s dominant women’s pairing of Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang will also be gunning for their fourth doubles crowns in the event. Lee, who won the World Superseries Finals three times in a row from 2008-2010, also will be looking to add to a record 34 crowns in all Superseries events. He appears to have a clear path as nemesis Lin Dan will not play in the tournament at the Cheras Badminton Stadium in Kuala Lumpur. Lin, the reigning world champion, and his compatriot Chen Long-the current titleholder-both failed to qualify for the $500,000 championship. The finals bring together the top eight performers in each category based on points earned from the 12 Superseries tournaments. The premier event will see video linecall review being trialled in a bid to stamp out faulty decisions which have caused rows in the past. Despite a heartbreaking loss to Lin in the Worlds in August when Lee had to concede in the final due to cramps, the Malaysian has been a force this year, winning six of the

12 Superseries titles so far. Possible threats include Japan’s Kenichi Tago, one of the few players to have beaten Lee this year. Tago pulled an upset in the French Open semi-finals in October. In the men’s doubles, the Boe Mogensen pairing will be hard-pressed to earn their fourth consecutive title in the Malaysian event due to a dip in form this year. The favorites are world champions Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia, who have stormed to the top of the world rankings on the back of their wins at the world championships and four Superseries events this year. Wang and Yu have dominated women’s doubles since 2010. But Chinese teammates Ma Jin and Tang Jinhua and Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl will mount a challenge. The women’s singles will feature China’s Olympic champion Li Xuerui, along with Wang Shixian. In their way is Taiwan’s 19-year-old Tai Tzu Ying, who won the Malaysia Open in January. The top contenders in a tough-to-call mixed doubles competitions will be China’s reigning Olympic champs Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei, and world champions Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia. Zhang and Zhao have won six Superseries events this year, while Tontowi and Liliyana took four including the coveted All-England Open.— AFP

Ailing Lysacek unable to defend his Olympic title SOCHI: Olympic men’s champion Evan Lysacek has abandoned hopes of defending his title in February’s Sochi Olympics after failing to recover from a hip injury. The 28-year-old tore the labrum in his left hip in August and despite aggressive treatment and physical therapy, he has been unable to regain full fitness. With his doctor warning that the American risks suffering permanent damage unless he stops skating, Lysacek has opted to stop training until he has healed completely. “Words cannot describe how disappointed I

am to not be able to compete in Sochi,” Lysacek, who has not competed since his 2010 triumph in Vancouver, said in a statement released by US Figure Skating. “The proudest moments of my life have been representing the United States in the last two Winter Olympics. “I have suffered numerous injuries over the course of my skating career and they are some of the hardest things an athlete has to overcome. While none of my past injuries have sidelined me quite like this one, I remain determined to regain my health and skate again.” —Reuters

Management with the support of Kuwait Quarter Mile Club. The race follows international regulations and certified marshals fly in from the UK to regulate the race in accordance to FIA regulations. The 18 teams comprise of 4 to 12 drivers per team who drive a maximum stint time of roughly 2 hours, after which they switch drivers, and keep going for 24 hours of nonstop racing. The GulfRun Karting Endurance Race was first launched in 2011 to create an exciting competition in Kuwait that aligns with GulfRun’s objective to promote automobile racing and training in a safe and secure environment and karting is one of the pillars of motorsports. GulfRun’s and Pro-Vision Sport Management team extend their gratitude to the continuous support by Kuwait’s private sector, which acknowledges the important role sport plays amongst Kuwait’s youth. GulfRun 24HR Karting Endurance Race is supported by a wide range of sponsors: Title sponsorship by Wataniya Telecom, Strategic Partner SIRBB Circuit, Platinum Sponsors Audi, Algida, Gulf Cables, Jashanmal, and Consolidated Contractors Company, Gold sponsorship by Slider Station, Al-Sawan Co., Dealership sponsor Hyundai.

Ducks rout Islanders ANAHEIM: Corey Perry scored two goals and captain Ryan Getzlaf extended his point streak to 12 games in the Anaheim Ducks’ 5-2 victory over the spiraling New York Islanders on Monday night. Cam Fowler had his first career short-handed goal and added two assists. Saku Koivu scored his first goal in nearly two months in the Ducks’ third consecutive win and the Islanders’ 10th straight loss. Perry scored a goal in his career-best sixth straight game late in the second period, and added a power-play goal in the third to clinch the sixth 20-goal season of his career. Andrew Cogliano also scored, and Jonas Hiller made 35 saves for Anaheim. John Tavares and Thomas Vanek scored for the Islanders, who also have lost 10 consecutive road games since Nov 1. Anaheim improved to 11-0-2 at home, still the only NHL team without a regulation home loss this season. PENGUINS 2, BLUE JACKETS 1 Evgeni Malkin scored in his return from a lowerbody injury and Sidney Crosby added his 16th goal as Pittsburgh beat Columbus. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 32 shots for the Penguins, who won their sixth straight home game. Malkin extended his point streak to 10 games. Malkin missed two games last week after being injured during a morning skate. He scored at 4:16 into the second period for his eighth goal of the season. Crosby pushed his season-point total to an NHL-best 43 when he deflected in a shot by Pascal Dupuis midway through the third. The Blue Jackets had won three of four. CANUCKS 2, HURRICANES 0 Eddie Lack made 31 saves in his first NHL shutout as Vancouver beat Carolina. With starting goalie Roberto Luongo getting the night off, the rookie earned his fourth win of the season in his first appearance on home ice. Christopher Tanev and Jannik Hanzen, into an empty net, scored for Vancouver. Chris Higgins had two assists. Justin Peters made 24 saves for Carolina, which had a three-game winning streak ended. SENATORS 5, FLYERS 4, SO Jason Spezza scored the winning goal in the shootout to lift Ottawa over Philadelphia. The Senators earned their first shootout win of the season after dropping their first four in the tiebreaker. Ottawa ended a five-game skid at home. Clarke MacArthur had two regulation goals for the Senators, and Patrick Wiercioch and Kyle Turris also scored. Craig Anderson made 25 saves. Michael Raffl netted his first NHL goal, and Jakub Voracek, Luke Schenn and Kimmo Timonen also scored for the Flyers. Steve Mason stopped 30 shots.—AP

ANAHEIM: New York Islanders right wing Michael Grabner (second from left) of Austria, runs into Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller, of Switzerland, along with defenseman Hampus Lindholm (left) of Sweden, and defenseman Mark Fistric as he tries to score during the first period of an NHL hockey game on Monday, Dec 9, 2013.— AP

NHL results/standings Ottawa 5, Philadelphia 4 (So); Pittsburgh 2, Columbus 1; Vancouver 2, Carolina 0; Anaheim 5, NY Islanders 2.

W Anaheim 21 San Jose 19 Los Angeles 19 Vancouver 18 Phoenix 16 Calgary 11 Edmonton 10

Western Conference Pacific Division L OTL GF GA 7 5 106 86 6 5 101 75 7 4 79 62 10 5 88 81 8 5 94 93 14 4 78 98 18 3 84 105 Central Division 6 5 116 6 3 98 9 5 77 8 0 82 9 5 81 13 4 82 14 3 67

Chicago St. Louis Minnesota Colorado Dallas Winnipeg Nashville

21 19 18 20 14 14 13

89 66 75 65 80 88 88


Eastern Conference Atlantic Division 20 8 2 84 61

PTS 47 43 42 41 37 26 23 47 41 41 40 33 32 29


Montreal Detroit Tampa Bay Toronto Ottawa Florida Buffalo

19 15 17 16 12 9 6

Pittsburgh 21 Washington 16 NY Rangers 15 Carolina 13 New Jersey 12 Philadelphia13 Columbus 12 NY Islanders 8

9 9 10 12 14 17 22

3 7 2 3 5 5 2

85 85 80 86 91 70 51

65 82 70 87 103 104 91

41 37 36 35 29 23 14

Metropolitan Division 10 1 98 71 12 2 92 85 15 1 69 80 13 5 71 86 13 6 69 77 14 3 68 78 15 3 73 82 18 5 77 109

43 34 31 31 30 29 27 21

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



Free fall champion Felix lands in Kuwait KUWAIT: Red Bull Athlete Felix Baumgartner, the man who set several world records, will meet the members of the media and VIPs at the Badriah Ballroom, Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa where he will give the details of his historic jump along with the preparations that preceded it. Felix will also meet his fans at the 360 Mall at 6:30pm today. Lucky winners from competitions held on social media @redbullkuwait will have the chance to take photos with Felix.

Felix Baumgartner broke the speed of sound reaching an estimated speed of 833.9 mph (1,342.8 km/h) jumping from the stratosphere, which when certified will make him the first man to break the speed of sound in free fall while delivering valuable data for future space exploration. Felix climbed to 128,100 feet (39,045 meters) in a helium-filled balloon Sunday morning Oct 14, 2012. This is exactly 65 years after Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier flying

in an experimental rocket powered airplane. Felix broke two other world records (highest freefall, highest manned balloon flight), leaving the longest freefall record to project mentor Col Joe Kittinger. Felix’s entire trip back to earth lasted 9:09 minutes, with 4:22 of that time in freefall (without drogue). Countless millions of people around the world watched his ascent and jump live on television broadcasts and live stream on the Internet.

At one point during his freefall Baumgartner appeared to spin rapidly, but he quick ly re gained control and moments later opened his parachute as members of the ground crew cheered and viewers around the world heaved a sigh of relief. Baumgartner and his team spent five years training and preparing for the mission that is designed to improve our scientific unders tanding of how the body copes with the extreme conditions near space.

Bobcats overpower Warriors CHARLOTTE: Kemba Walker scored 27 of his 31 points in the second half as the Charlotte Bobcats ruined Stephen Curry’s homecoming with a wire-to-wire 115-111 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Monday night. Curry overcame a slow start to finish with a seasonhigh 43 points, 32 of them coming in the second half. Curry, a Charlotte native who burst on the national scene while playing at nearby Davidson College, scored 19 points in the fourth quarter, including a 27-footer with a hand in his face, to cut the Bobcats’ lead to 111109 with 11 seconds left. But the Warriors couldn’t contain Walker, and the point guard hit four free throws in the final 11 seconds to seal the victory. Gerald Henderson had 24 points and Josh McRoberts had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Bobcats, who won their second straight game.

PAPHOS: Players from Cyprus’ National Rugby Union Team, nicknamed the ‘Moufflons’, compete in a scrum during their European Nations Cup match against Austria at the Pafiako Stadium in this file photo. —AFP

Rugby ‘world record’ unsung in the football-mad Cyprus PAPHOS: Most Cypriots are blissfully unaware of it but their national rugby XV has notched up a 21st straight triumph, thanks largely to former expats and foreign soldiers on the football-mad island. A crowd of fewer than 500 turned up at the end of November in the coastal resort of Paphos to watch the team nicknamed the “Mouflons” beat Austria 22-8 in a somewhat disorganized but enthusiastic head-to-head at the less lofty levels of world rugby. And the language on the field, among the supporters and in the local pub after the international, was very much English rather than Greek, reflecting the dual culture of the participants. Rugby union was long confined to the two British military bases and the barracks of Argentine soldiers in the UN peacekeeping force on the divided Mediterranean island. Locals only came into contact with the sport about a decade ago when Greek Cypriot expatriates started returning home from South Africa in large numbers. After starting out with beach rugby in the southern resort, the ex-South Africans in 2003 founded the Paphos Tigers, growing in strength on the back of matches against army clubs. A year later, the Limassol Crusaders and Nicosia Barbarians were born, leading to a federation and national team being formed in coordination with Cypriots living in Britain. The debut was a friendly against Greece in March 2007, when, strapped up in ill-fitting shirts hastily bought in a pub, Cyprus romped to victory 39-3. MOUFLONS FIGHT THE TIDE The Mouflons, named after a native wild sheep, have not looked back since, fighting the tide on an island where football is by the far the most popular sport and has a fanatical support base. Out of 26 internationals-albeit never against any giants in the world of rugger-they have only suffered a single loss and that was back in September 2008 against Israel. “We have good players, experienced. We are very close together. We’ve got that bond. Everyone is welcome, we give ever yone a chance,” says Tony Thoma, 36, the hooker and captain. Because of injury, Touma who used to live in South Africa was speaking on the phone from England, where he works as an accountant and is also a rugby team player-coach. Cyprus figures in the European nations championship and has since 2008 been promoted a division every season on the back of its successful run. It now tops division 2C, ahead of Hungary, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Austria, and has its sights set for next year on climbing to 2B, which currently lists

Israel, Lithuania, Andorra, Denmark and Serbia. But it was not even in the running for the 2015 World Cup qualifiers, with the spot taken by Slovenia only to be eliminated by Luxembourg, which the Mouflons had crushed twice in 2011. Under the rules of the International Rugby Board, its sport’s governing body, competing nations must have at least four local clubs, but four of the seven in the Cypriot league come from the British sovereign bases. And for the IRB, the record run of international victories is held by Lithuania of division 2A which notched up 18 straight successes between 2006 and 2010. At the very highest level of the sport, New Zealand’s All Blacks won all 14 Tests they played this year-a first for a team from a major playing nation in the professional era. Rugby in Cyprus, to move forward, must develop beyond the circle of exSouth Africans and expats-a tall order in a country where the media long ignored the very existence of the Mouflons. The federation, surviving on an annual subsidy of 30,000 euros ($41,000), the cost of a match abroad, and desperate for sponsors in recession-hit Cyprus has little to offer recruits except a passion for the game. “A lot of players have improved so much. For a long time we always had more or less the same players. A lot of older ones are now moving on, and new ones are coming,” says captain Thoma. ‘THE BIGGEST HONOR’ Yannis Loizias, an 18-year-old who plays centre for the Harlequins in London, was in the team against Slovenia in early November and scored two tries against Austria. A convert, Panayiotis Nikolaidis, 27, works at the University of Cyprus and only discovered rugby through a friend last year. Recruited after a training match against a British soldiers line-up, he made his debut towards the end of the match against Austria. “I was so excited. I’ve experienced a lot of things with rugby. I’ve trained a lot. And that’s the highest” to play for your country, he says. Marcus “Marcos” Holden, 24, a fullback who plays professional rugby in France, says having represented Cyprus for the past five years was “the biggest honor”. “This is our strength, every player will say the same. It is a passion. From the national anthem to our crazy war cry at the end.” But Holden admits the unbeaten run has to end as the Mouflons climb up the divisions towards the higher echelons of international rugby. “It’s gonna be completely different. But until then I’m happy to be in a world record,” he says.— AFP

KINGS 112, MAVERICKS 97 DeMarcus Cousins had 32 points and 19 rebounds and Derrick Williams scored a careerhigh 31 to pace Sacramento to the victory over Dallas. Earlier in the day, the Kings completed a seven-player deal with Toronto that brought them Rudy Gay, Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy. Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson, John Salmons and Chuck Hayes went to the Raptors. Using just 10 players, the Kings led by 19 points after three quarters and by as many as 24 points in the fourth in winning their second straight. Monta Ellis had 21 points for the Mavericks, who had won three straight, including the last two on the road. The loss also ended a five-game win streak against the Kings. CLIPPERS 94, 76ERS 83 Blake Griffin scored 26 points and Chris Paul added 25 points and 13 assists as short-handed Los Angeles defeated Philadelphia. DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and a season-high 21 rebounds, and Jared Dudley scored 10 points for the Clippers, who won their second straight. The Clippers are 2-1 on a seven-game road trip. Los Angeles played without J.J. Redick (injuries to right hand and wrist), Reggie Bullock (sprained left ankle), Maalik Wayns (left knee) and Matt Barnes (torn retina in left eye). Evan Turner scored 25 points and Thaddeus Young added 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Sixers, who struggled once again without Michael Carter-Williams. The Sixers are 1-6 without their floor leader, who missed his third straight game with a skin infection. NUGGETS 75, WIZARDS 74 Wilson Chandler scored 17 points, Nate Robinson added 16, and Kenneth Faried had a key block and transition dunk with 33 seconds left to lift Denver past Washington. Washington had three possessions after Faried put Denver ahead, but John Wall missed a layup, Trevor Ariza missed a 3-pointer, Chandler blocked a layup try by Garrett Temple, and Robinson stripped the ball from Wall in the closing seconds. Chandler also had eight rebounds to help the Nuggets rally from 12 points down in the second half, and Robinson helped the Denver reserves outscore their depleted Washington counterparts 34-5. Wall finished with 20 points and eight assists, Marcin Gortat scored 16 points, and Trevor Booker added 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Wizards. TRAIL BLAZERS 105, JAZZ 94 LaMarcus Aldridge scored 24 points and

CHARLOTTE: Golden State Warriors’ Jermaine O’Neal (left) intercepts a pass by Charlotte Bobcats’ Cody Zeller (right) around David Lee during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte on Monday, Dec 9, 2013. — AP Damian Lillard added 17 to propel Portland past Utah. Robin Lopez chipped in 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Wesley Matthews added 16 points for the Blazers, who bounced back with their second win over Utah this season after losing to Dallas on Saturday to end a fourgame winning streak. Reserve Alec Burks had 20 points for the Jazz, who dropped their fourth game in a row. Enes Kanter added 19 points and Gordon Hayward chipped in 17 for Utah.

GRIZZLIES 94, MAGIC 85 Zach Randolph had 19 points and 12 rebounds, and Jon Leuer added 16 points and a career-best 12 boards to lead Memphis over Orlando. Mike Conley had 13 points and Jerryd Bayless finished with 11 points, including a late 3-pointer to preserve the win and end a twogame slide. Conley also had seven assists. Andrew Nicholson and Jameer Nelson led the Magic with 19 points apiece. Nicholson also grabbed 11 rebounds in Orlando’s sixth straight loss.—AP

NBA results/standings Charlotte 115, Golden State 111; LA Clippers 94, Philadelphia 83; Denver 75, Washington 74; Memphis 94, Orlando 85; Portland 105, Utah 94; Sacramento 112, Dallas 97.

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

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L 10 12 7 12 7 15 6 14 5 14 Central Division 18 3 10 11 8 10 7 13 4 16 Southeast Division 16 5 11 10 10 11 9 11 6 15

PCT .455 .368 .318 .300 .263

GB 1.5 3 3 3.5

.857 .476 .444 .350 .200

8 8.5 10.5 13.5

.762 .524 .476 .450 .286

5 6 6.5 10

Western Conference Northwest Division Portland 18 4 .818 Oklahoma City 15 4 .789 Denver 13 8 .619 Minnesota 9 11 .450 Utah 4 19 .174 Pacific Division LA Clippers 14 8 .636 Phoenix 11 9 .550 Golden State 12 10 .545 LA Lakers 10 10 .500 Sacramento 6 13 .316 Southwest Division San Antonio 15 4 .789 Houston 15 7 .682 Dallas 13 9 .591 Memphis 10 10 .500 New Orleans 9 10 .474

1.5 4.5 8 14.5 2 2 3 6.5 1.5 3.5 5.5 6

Pakistan, Sri Lanka tune up for World Twenty20 DUBAI: Sri Lanka and Pakistan will use their two-match series in Dubai starting today to size each other up ahead of the World Twenty20 in three months’ time. Pakistan, fourth in the Twenty20 rankings, are also aiming to topple Sri Lanka from the top of the standings by winning both matches, the second of which takes place on Friday. “Sri Lanka are a top side so this is in itself a motivation to beat the number one side and if we win both it will lift us to the top of the world,” Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez said. If the series is a 1-1 draw nothing the teams will maintain their current rankings while a 20 loss would Hafeez’s team down to fifth. Pakistan go into the matches well prepared after playing four Twenty20 games against South Africa last month. They also overcame a tough resistance from minnows Afghanistan

by six wickets in a last ball thriller in Sharjah on Sunday-the first Twenty20 between the two countries. Pakistan will be at full strength and boosted by the return of magician offspinner Saeed Ajmal, who skipped Sunday’s game to rest back home. “We leaked quite a few runs against Afghanistan so we will have to be at our best to beat Sri Lanka and Ajmal’s return will help that,” said Hafeez, who was man of the match against Afghanistan for his 42 not out. Sri Lanka, led by Dinesh Chandimal, will have to overcome rustiness after most of their recent matches at home were ruined by rain. Last month they beat New Zealand 1-0 with the other match abandoned because of inclement weather. “The advantage Pakistan’s got is that they have played a lot of international cricket in the last six-eight months whereas unfortunately we

haven’t played nearly as much because of weather and various other things,” said coach Graham Ford. Sri Lanka are hoping their batting will see them through with the experienced Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara providing a contrast to Pakistan’s fragile and unpredictable batsmen. Ajantha Mendis and Sachithra Senanayake are the two specialist spinners in the bowling spearheaded by paceman Lasith Malinga. Pakistan finished runners-up in the first World Twenty20 held in South Africa in 2007 before winning the title in England two years later. Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka in the final at Lord’s-a defeat which Sri Lanka avenged by winning the semi-final in Colombo on their way to runners-up finish in the fourth edition last year. The fifth edition will be held in Bangladesh from March 16 to April 6.—AFP



Myanmar organizes ‘coming-out’ party for athletes NAYPYIDAW: Myanmar officially welcomes thousands of athletes yesterday for the Southeast Asian Games, an event billed as a ‘coming-out’ party for the former pariah nation emerging from decades of international isolation. The opening ceremony for the regional showpiece is being held in a spotless, purpose-built 30,000-capacity stadium in Naypyidaw, the utilitarian capital built by secretive generals-far from the bustle of commercial capital Yangon. Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, last hosted the games more than four decades ago and the return of the multi-sport event comes as political and economic reforms sweep the impoverished nation following the dissolution of the ruling junta in 2011. The SEA Games are held every two years, offering regional bragging rights and a chance for athletes from lesser sporting nations to shine in sports ranging from athletics to the obscure caneball game chinlone and martial arts vovinam and pencak silat. Myanmar currently top the medals table after accusations in the run-up that in excluding the likes of tennis and gymnastics, the host nation was guilty of of cherry-picking events to help home athletes. Thousands of curious local fans have been lured to the games, with many determined to grasp the chance to interact with foreign guests.

“It’s so good for us, it’s so exciting.... For a long time people didn’t see what Myanmar was like and we didn’t see what other people were like. It’s a

chance to change that,” said 20-year-old aspiring tour guide Moh Moh Nay Wynn. Local media, entirely state controlled until recently, have

NAYPYIDAW: Myanmar’s Khine Khin Oo (Blue) and Thailand’s Sudapan Sees fight during the women’s boxing semi-final at the 27th SEA Games at Naypyidaw on December 9, 2013. — AFP

reflected that buzz, but have also been peppered with appeals by officials for their countrymen to respect regional norms after years in the shadows. A daily SEA Games official newspaper has carried notices from Myanmar’s football manager urging his players to refrain from robust tackling while signs across the vast main complex appeal to locals not to spit betel nut-with limited success. Most of the 22-day competition has been taking place in Naypyidaw, a sleepy, planned city 300 kilometers north of Yangon, which hosts the early rounds of men’s football plus body-building, weightlifting and kempo, a martial art. And while the purpose-built facilities have won praise, the distance, lack of hotels and poor transport links between venues have left the event shorn of foreign fans. The overwhelming majority of those who have made the journey are the thousands of athletes and media, but fears over empty seats appear to have eased with busloads of local students taking up free tickets. “The SEA Games is important for the status of a country,” said Thiha Saw, a veteran journalist who has taken advantage of the thaw in press controls to publish a daily private newspaper. “We haven’t held it for 44 years. As hosts the country’s reputation grows. That is something Myanmar is seeking,” he said. — AFP

Bears maul Cowboys

KUWAIT: Jose Kurishinkal presenting man of the match award to Anfar Khazi.

16th CETAA cricket - TKM beat NSS, book semi finals KUWAIT: The 3rd day (6th Dec) of the 16th Prof Ramachandran Memorial Cricket Tournament (RMC) conducted by College of Engineering Trivandrum Alumni Association (CETAA) and sponsored by GTE Olayan Co, saw TKM overcome NSS in an exciting match to claim the last semifinal spot. In another close encounter, TEC beat KEA to claim the top spot in Pool B. Batting first against TKM, NSS lost Praveen in the second over LBW to Riju but prolific scorer Sachin found good support in Deepak (10) to take the score to 76 by the 7 th over. But the fall of Sachin (58 - 5 sixes & 5 fours) bowled by a beautiful yorker from Anfar saw TKM claw their way back into the match. But Aneesh (20 n.o.) and Joe (13) with some late order flourish took NSS to a seemingly match winning total of 122 for 5 wickets off their 12 overs. Anfar (3 wickets), Riju and Mukesh (1 wicket each) toiled manfully for TKM. In reply, TKM lost 2 early wickets and looked in deep trouble but Isaac joined Anfar for the 3rd wicket to turn the match around. While Anfar (42 - man of the match) was at his belligerent best, Isaac (39) showed the value of experience to guide TKM to an exciting 5 wicket win with an over to spare. Rahul and Ziad (11 n.o) also made crucial contributions while Priyan and Mahesh (2 wickets each) and Aneesh (1 wicket) tried hard for NSS. In another match to decide the toppers in Pool B, KEA won the toss and put TEC into bat. That decision seemed right as TEC lost wickets at regular intervals. Girish (16), Shajeer (20), and Dinto (13) all got starts but could not carry on to something substantial. Arun (16) made a useful late order contribution to take TEC to a none too impressive 80 all out in 12 overs. For KEA, Sreejith (5 wickets in his 2nd over

including a hat-trick) was the main wrecker-in chief with able support from wicket keeper Renju (3 catches), Melvin and J.James (2 wickets each). In reply KEA were well on course reaching 37 by the 3rd over with Sreejith (10), Binu (12) and Faisal (10) making useful contributions. However the remaining batsmen failed against the sustained bowling of TEC. Key bowlers were Girish (3 wickets - man of the match) and Sajeer (4 wickets). KEA were all out for 70 in 10.4 overs leaving TEC winners by 10 runs and toppers of Pool B. In an earlier inconsequential match, AECK went on the attack against CET to pile up 162 for 2 wickets in their 12 overs. Prolific scorer Mahesh (67- man of the match) was again in good touch ably supported by Rafi (40 n.o.) and Melvin (49 n.o.). Skipper George (2 wickets) was the only bowler to make any impression for CET. Facing a daunting task, none of the CET batsmen got going and CET finished on 65 for 9 wickets off their 12 overs leaving AECK comprehensive winners by 97 runs. Sujesh was the main wicket taker with 3 wickets for AECK. In the last match of the day, MACE met NIT to decide the bottom spot in pool B. Batting first NIT were all out for 68 in 9.2 overs with Sharon (22) making the bulk of the runs. For MACE, Tinu (3 wickets), Saju and Sandeep (2 each) shared the wickets. In reply, MACE hit off the required runs for the loss of 4 wickets with 1.2 overs to spare. Sageer (17), Aju (15) and Dileep (10 n.o.) ensured there were no alarms for MACE in the end. On the 4th day of the tournament (13th Dec), the knock out stage will begin with the semi-finals. In the first match, reigning champions AECK will play 8 times winners KEA at 7 AM while runner-up TEC will play former champions TKM at 9.30 AM.

CHICAGO: Chicago quarterback Josh McCown made a strong case to become the team’s permanent starter after he dominated Dallas in a 45-28 win on Monday that vaulted the Bears into joint first place in the NFC North. Making his fourth straight start in place of the injured Jay Cutler, McCown warmed up the home crowd in freezing conditions by passing for 348 yards, four touchdowns and running for another score. The 34-year-old McCown has been stellar all season and now has 13 touchdown passes and just one interception. His latest output helped Chicago (7-6) tie with Detroit (7-6) in the divisional race. But despite McCown’s strong form, Cutler is expected to return from injury soon and regain his place. “There’s no change in the plan. We’ll see where Jay is this week,” Bears coach Marc Trestman told reporters of the stated plan to start Cutler when he’s cleared medically. “I thought (McCown) played an excellent game.” Matt Forte rushed for 99 yards and added 73 receiving yards and a score for the Bears in a shootout victory that did not include a turnover by either team. Dallas (7-6) fell one game behind first-place Philadelphia (8-5) in the NFC East with the loss. The Cowboys managed to keep pace early and tied the game 14-14 late in the second quarter, but McCown caught fire and never looked back. Chicago’s backup quarterback led two quick drives just before halftime, resulting in a field goal and a 25-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery as the Bears scored 28 points without reply to put the game out of reach. McCown’s pass to Jeffery featured a spectacular grab in the back corner of the end zone where the receiver leaped above a defender. “You want to put a ball where a guy can catch it but not put the ball in jeopardy, so to speak,” McCown said. “My part was relatively easy. His part was unreal.” Dallas tallied two fourth-quarter touchdowns to trim the final deficit. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo threw for three scores but only 104 yards while running back DeMarco Murray picked up 146 yards on the ground. — Reuters

NFL result/standings Chicago 45, Dallas 28.

New England Miami NY Jets Buffalo Cincinnati Baltimore Pittsburgh Cleveland Indianapolis Tennessee Jacksonville Houston

KUWAIT: Girish receiving the man of the match award from Suresh Krishnan.

CHICAGO: Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) makes a touchdown run against Chicago Bears safeties Chris Conte (47) and Major Wright during the first half of an NFL football game on Monday, Dec 9, 2013. — AP

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

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 Detroit Chicago Green Bay Minnesota

National Football Conference NFC East 8 5 0 0 334 7 6 0 0 357 5 8 0 0 251 3 10 0 0 279 NFC North 7 6 0 0 346 7 6 0 1 368 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

301 348 334 407

.615 .538 .385 .231

321 360 326 395

.538 .538 .500 .269

243 188 291 362

.769 .692 .308 .231

205 214 257 308

.846 .692 .615 .385

Club Cup puts Morocco on world stage - at last WELLINGTON: After four failed bids to host the World Cup, Morocco finally gets to stage a world soccer championship over the next 10 days although this one is little more than a consolation prize. The North African country will stage the Club World Cup, the quirky and, in Europe at least, rather unloved tournament featuring the club champions of each continent, whose participants this year range from part-timers Auckland City to all-conquering Bayern Munich. The cast also includes ever-grinning Brazilian Ronaldinho, who will lead Atletico Mineiro’s challenge from South America, Italy World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi and Mohamed Aboutrika, one of the finest African players of his generation. Ronaldinho, apparently out of the running for a place in Brazil’s World Cup squad, has recovered from a hamstring injury just in time for what could be his last appearance at an international tournament. Lippi will lead Asian champions Guangzhou Evergrande, the first Chinese side ever to take part, and Aboutrika, 35, is in the squad of African champions Ah Ahli after he was

persuaded to postpone his retirement. Bayern and Brazil’s Atletico Mineiro will parachute in at the semi-final stage next week, while the tournament gets under way today evening in Agadir when Raja Casablanca, who qualified as champions of the host nation, face Oceania representatives Auckland. Rather oddly, Raja warmed up by the tournament by sacking Mohamed Fakhir, the coach who led them to the Moroccan league title last season, and replaced him with Faouzi Benzarti. The Tunisian, who has coached six clubs in his homeland and the national side, has had less than a week to prepare his team. “This is not my first experience of taking charge of a club during a critical time. For me, trust in the group is the most important thing, trust,” Benzarti told reporters on Monday. “The last three or four days show we have time to do something together. If we cooperate we can make progress very quickly.” Auckland, champions of the Oceania confederation which is dominated by New Zealand, are taking part for the fourth time in five years and will be attempting to

progress beyond the preliminary round for only the second time. The quarter-finals, which somewhat confusingly feature only four teams, will be played in a doubleheader in Agadir on Saturday. CONCACAF champions Monterrey, back for a third successive appearance and hoping to become the first Mexican team to reach the final, will face either Raja Casablanca or Auckland for a place against Atletico Mineiro in today’s semi-final. EUROPEAN DOMINATION Saturday’s other quarter-final pits Guangzhou against African champions Al Ahli from Egypt, with the winners to play Bayern. “Winning this competition would crown the treble we won last season,” Bayern forward Thomas Mueller told Al Ahli won the African Champions League in November despite not playing any domestic football after the Egyptian championship was cancelled earlier this year. Aboutrika had planned to retire after the final against Orlando Pirates but was persuaded to play in Morocco and is included in their squad.

The competition has been played in its current form every year since 2005 after being spawned by the old Intercontinental Cup which was played annually in Tokyo between the champions of Europe and South America. As much as anything, it has become an unhappy illustration of the weakness of club football outside Europe. No European team has ever failed to reach the final since 2005 and they have lifted the trophy on all but two occasions, winning five finals in a row before Corinthians beat Chelsea last year. Africa is staging the tournament for the first time, Morocco having won the right to host it two years ago after rivals Iran, South Africa and United Arab Emirates withdrew. Two stadiums will be used, in the coastal resort of Agadir and in Marrakech. Morocco, which hosted the African Nations Cup in 1988, bid to stage the 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010 World Cups. They came close twice, losing out by 10 votes to seven to the United States in the race for the 1994 tournament and were beaten by 14 votes to 10 by South Africa for 2010. — Reuters



Celtic face motivated Barca with a point to prove MADRID: Barcelona welcome Celtic to the Camp Nou today still needing a point to mathematically ensure they finish top of Champions League Group H. The Catalans appeared to be cruising to first place and the benefit of having the second-leg of their last 16 tie at home having beaten AC Milan 3-1 to qualify on matchday four. However, a 2-1 defeat away to Ajax in their last European outing leaves them just two points clear of Milan. Defeat in Amsterdam was followed by another loss, this time on the domestic front, as Athletic Bilbao ended Barca’s 26-game unbeaten run in La Liga five days later. Gerardo Martino’s men bounced back with a 4-1 win away to Cartagena in the Copa del Rey on Friday

and midfielder Alex Song is looking for that improvement to continue against the Scottish champions. “We know that we have lost, but we are professionals, we have great players in the squad and we know we how to focus ourselves once more,” he told the club’s website. “We have been critical of ourselves (for the defeats) but now we need to look forward to improve things. That is what we do every day in training along with the management team. “We want to win the game and put in a good performance. We have a lot to show after the last game in the Champions League. I am calm because we are preparing as we always do, with a lot of desire to play well.” Barca will again be without the injured

Lionel Messi, Victor Valdes and Dani Alves, but Jordi Alba-who scored an injury time minute winner when the two sides met at the Camp Nou last season-returned against Cartagena after three months out and is expected to start. Neymar, Andres Iniesta and Xavi are also expected to return having been rested at the weekend. Celtic’s 3-0 home defeat to Milan last time out extinguished any hopes they had of playing European football after Christmas. It has been a frustrating campaign for Neil Lennon’s men who have taken just three points from their five games to date. However, Finish striker Teemu Pukki is backing his side to cause an upset and go out on a high. “We can

win it and we all want to win it,” he told the club’s website. “We want to show in this match that we can win games in the Champions League. “As much as we still wanted to be in the tournament at this stage we have nothing to lose now. We can go into the game with no pressure and the Camp Nou is one of the best places to play.” Lennon will be able to recall captain Scott Brown for the first time in the Champions League since he was sent-off in Barca’s 1-0 win in Glasgow back in October. And Greek forward Georgios Samaras is also expected to return despite missing Celtic’s last two games in which they have scored 12 times without reply. — AFP

Chelsea urged to cut out mistakes

NAPLES: SS Napoli’s players take part in a training session on the eve of UEFA Champions League group F football match between SSC Napoli and Arsenal FC at the San Paolo Stadium in Naples yesterday. — AFP

Tinkering, blunders put Benitez under pressure MILAN: Rafael Benitez is facing his first rumblings of discontent at Napoli where defensive blunders and his habit of tinkering with the team have upset the supporters. Napoli need to beat Arsenal at home in their Champions League clash today to reach the last 16 for the second time in a row and even then they will depend on Borussia Dortmund’s result at Olympique Marseille. Arsenal need a draw to qualify for the round of 16 for the 14th season running and, having already won away to Borussia Dortmund in Group F, they are unlikely to be intimidated by the San Paolo stadium despite its fearsome reputation. If Napoli and Dortmund both win, they and Arsenal would all finish on 12 points, leaving the qualifiers to be decided on the results involving the three teams. This would in turn come down to goal difference, as all three sides would have nine points. Helped by the windfall they obtained from selling Edinson Cavani to Paris St Germain, Napoli were Serie A’s biggest spenders in the close season as they splurged 37 million euros ($50.63 million) on Gonzalo Higuain alone. They started the season well with four league wins in a row but have now drifted eight points behind Serie A leaders Juventus. On Saturday, they threw away a two-goal lead in a 3-3 draw at home to Udinese which earned them a chorus of jeers from the home crowd, the first since Benitez replaced Walter Mazzarri as coach in the close season. “We have to do better in defense,” said the former Chelsea, Liverpool and Inter

Milan coach. “We have committed individual mistakes that we cannot allow to happen. “Everyone expected Napoli to be playing the way we were at the start of the championship and with more points in the bag. “I’m as unhappy about it as anyone else. Against Arsenal, we have to score two or three goals and play better in defense.” Benitez’s own selection policy is also in the spotlight. He has fielded 14 different line-ups in Napoli’s 15 Serie A matches so far and the mistakes on Saturday were made by players he brought in under his rotation system. Defender Federico Fernandez let Udinese back into the game with an embarrassing own goal seconds before halftime and second choice goalkeeper Rafael misjudged a Bruno Fernandes shot to allow Udinese to make it 2-2. Napoli’s previous home game ended in a 1-0 defeat to midtable Parma. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is baffled by the way the group has turned out, with Marseille losing all their matches and the other teams taking points off each other. “It’s the first time I’ve seen that (12 points is not enough) after 150 Champions League games,” he said after his team beat Marseille in their last match. “It’s unbelievable but it’s reality. It’s tricky but we have to finish the job. I will have to play a fullstrength team against Napoli. I can’t take any risks.” “It would be a mistake to think we just don’t have to lose big,” added Wenger. “We have to play in a positive way and try to win the game, anything else will be a gamble.”— Reuters

Speedy attacks the key for Barcelona BARCELONA: The key to Barcelona beating Celtic in the Champions League will be quick circulation of the ball in attack, the Spanish club’s coach Tata Martino said yesterday. The Catalan side need a point today to finish top of Group H after they lost at Ajax in their last match and the pressure is on after they followed that up with defeat by Athletic Bilbao in La Liga. AC Milan are second on eight points and the Italians play Ajax who are point further back. “It is very important for us to finish first and I don’t think any games are easy,” Martino told a news conference. “Every match has consequences and we need now to be precise and quick on the ball going forward. I imagine most of the game will be squeezed into 30 or 40 metres of the pitch. “We need to be well organised as well so as not to be caught on the counter by Celtic who are capable of quick breaks.” Barca’s form has been affected by injuries and Atletico Madrid have drawn level with them at the top of La Liga but while Lionel Messi, Victor Valdes and

Dani Alves are still in the treatment room, the list of absentees is diminishing. Xavi and Andres Iniesta have both been given the all-clear to face Celtic as has Cristian Tello but they will be without the suspended Cesc Fabregas. “There have been games where I have thought we have been close to the level I am looking for and others not. We need to have more consistency and then will play our best. The match against Ajax was a step back for us,” said Martino. Neymar again leads the attack against Celtic in the absence of Messi who will not be available until after Christmas and the coach is not concerned about his lack of goals although the Brazilian has scored only four in total this season and none in Europe. “For a striker it is not just about goals but also how they play in the team and Neymar has all the facets to do well. He has the right attitude and the goals are going to come,” added Martino. “He is not a goalscorer like Leo, who has different characteristics, but the goals will come. Leo has the ability to make it look easy.” — Reuters

Matches on TV (Local Timings) UEFA Champions League A Wien v Zenit St Petersburg 22:45 Aljazeera Sport +2 Napoli v Arsenal 22:45 Aljazeera Sport HD 1 Aljazeera Sport +9 Atletico de Madrid v Porto 22:45 Aljazeera Sport HD 2 Aljazeera Sport +8 Marseille v Borussia Dortmund 22:45 Aljazeera Sport +3

Barcelona v Celtic Aljazeera Sport HD 6 Aljazeera Sport +10 AC Milan v Ajax Aljazeera Sport HD 3 Aljazeera Sport +7 Schalke 04 v Basel Aljazeera Sport +4 Chelsea v Steaua Bucuresti Aljazeera Sport HD 5 Aljazeera Sport +6



22:45 22:45

LONDON: Chelsea defender Gary Cahill has warned his team-mates they must cut out their habit of making careless mistakes if the Blues are to make a serious bid to win the Champions League. Jose Mourinho’s side face Steaua Bucharest in their final Group E fixture at Stamford Bridge today still smarting from a surprise 3-2 defeat at Stoke at the weekend. Chelsea have already qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League, but a victory against Romanian minnows Steaua is essential to ensure Chelsea finish top of group, and in theory secure an easier draw in the knockout stages. To do that they will need to be far more steady at the back than in recent weeks. The loss at Stoke not only damaged Chelsea’s chances of winning the Premier League, but also exposed a worryingly soft defense that has now conceded six goals in just two matches. In Mourinho’s previous spell in charge, the Blues boss prided himself on sending out teams with supremely-disciplined defenses that were rarely breached and hardly ever due to sloppy play. But the current defensive crop have been far less solid of late and England centreback Cahill believes that is down to individual errors. “Losing games is a concern. We’ve kept a lot of clean sheets this season, but in the last two games we’ve let too many goals in. That’s unlike us and it’s down to individual mistakes,” Cahill said. “We talked about it after Sunderland and there were unfortunate incidents at the setpieces. “We’ve had a look at it and they were not major mistakes. Maybe it’s just a bit of bad luck but obviously, away from home, we’ve got to keep it tight. “I feel we’ve done that most of the season, but this result was poor for us.” Chelsea have now conceded more goals in the league than in the whole of Mourinho’s first season in charge in 2004-05 when they won the Premier League. Set-pieces have been a particular concern, and goalkeeper Petr Cech was culpable for Peter Crouch’s goal at Stoke. Mourinho knows Chelsea must become tougher at the back to thrive in the latter stages of Europe’s elite club

COBHAM: Chelsea players attend a training session at Cobham training ground in Cobham, England yesterday. — AP competition, yet he needs to strike a balance between sending out defensive-minded teams and ensuring he doesn’t dilute the talents of playmakers like Eden Hazard. The Belgian has been in fine form and underlined his class with two goals and an assist in the 4-3 win at Sunderland last week. Mourinho is still not completely satisfied with Hazard however and he said: “Eden has to try to improve the way he starts every game - the focus, the ambition, the mentality. If he does that, the potential is very good,” Mourinho said. “He needs to become comfortable with big responsibilities, this is a quality

of the big players. “They know they are better than the others, so they accept the responsibility of being better than the others. “When the team is not playing well enough to win the match, the big players know the team is waiting for them to resolve the problems. “The football world is full of teams where an individual can make the difference when collectively you cannot do it. “He’s a fantastic player who can only improve, but if he can feel comfortable with his responsibility to be a special player that can make a difference for us and for him.” — AFP

Schalke 04 eager to ‘light the fireworks’ BERLIN: Schalke 04 will be eager to “light the fireworks” against Basel today as they seek a spot in the Champions League knockout stage and offer troubled coach Jens Keller a much-needed respite. Schalke lost 2-1 against Borussia Moenchengladbach in the Bundesliga on Saturday to drop 17 points behind leaders Bayern Munich. The royal blues were also left with 10 men after captain Benedikt Hoewedes was sent off, piling more pressure on embattled Keller who has yet to win over their demanding fans. A win against the Swiss side, however, and a spot in the round of 16 would quickly ease concerns and improve his odds of surviving at the club past the winter break. “We must now come together as a team,” said keeper Ralf Faehrmann, who has pushed past Timo Hildebrand to become the first choice in the past two weeks. “Then we need to really light the fireworks in the stadium against Basel because we really want a spot in the knockout stage. We now need to work harder to get luck on our side.” Schalke, who beat Basel in Switzerland, are third in Group E on seven points, one behind the Swiss and two off leaders Chelsea and only a win will do if Schalke are to advance. “We are well aware that only victory is good enough for us and that is something our opponents must feel from the very first minute of the game,” said midfielder Kevin Prince Boateng. The experienced Ghana international is again expected to lead the charge but will be without suspended rugged midfield partner Jermain Jones whose physical presence in this game would have been key. Basel narrowly escaped defeat in the Swiss league on Saturday thanks to a last-gasp equalizer in their 1-1 draw against Grasshoppers. They are still top of the Swiss Super League after 17 games and have lost only one game all season. This comes as no real surprise having won the championship four years in a row. They are the only one of the five teams who fought their way through the qualifying rounds of the competition still in with a chance of reaching the last 16 after having gone unbeaten so far away from home. Basel have no suspensions for today and midfielder Marcelo Diaz is their only major injury absence. Schalke will have to watch out for Giovanni Sio, their Ivorian forward who has a habit of coming on late in the game and shaking things up, as he did against Chelsea. He also scored a stoppage time equalizer in the 1-1 draw with Grasshoppers on Saturday. — Reuters

GELSENKIRCHEN: Basel 1893’s midfielder Fabian Frei reacts during a training session at the arena, in Gelsenkirchen, western Germany yesterday, on the eve of the UEFA Champions League football match against FC Schalke 04. — AFP

Allegri wary of Ajax; Super Mario returns MILAN: AC Milan need only a point against Ajax today to secure entry to the last 16 of the Champions League, but embattled coach Massimiliano Allegri is taking nothing for granted. For the second consecutive season Milan’s run-in to Christmas is anything but festive: they currently sit ninth in Serie A, 22 points behind leaders Juventus and 14 adrift of the first Champions League qualifying spot. With Ajax conceding only three defeats on their way to second place in the Dutch top flight, Allegri says it would be a mistake to underestimate Frank De Boer’s side, who, with a win, would qualify. “Ajax have shown some great form of late and they have great technique throughout the team. We have to have the right attitude against them and, above all, score goals,” said the Italian. Milan’s 3-0 rout of Celtic in Scotland a fortnight ago, when Ajax stunned Barcelona 2-1 in Amsterdam to stay in contention, kept the Italian giants in second place in Group H with a one-point lead on the Dutchmen. It means the seven-time European champions need just a point at the San Siro to join leaders Barcelona in the knockout phase. But despite Ajax’s mediocre away form in the competition - they have not won any of their

last six away fixtures - Milan are not entertaining playing for a draw, and hope to draw on the current form of striker Mario Balotelli. Balotelli last week ended a two-month goal drought in Serie A when he scored Milan’s second in a 3-1 win away to basement side Catania. On Saturday the 23-year-old scored twice, including a stunning free kick from distance seven minutes from time, in a 2-2 draw away to Livorno and could have had a hat-trick only for a looping drive smack off the crossbar at the death. While pundits in Italy suggest his purple patch is down to Allegri’s demand for more “consistency” and “intensity”, Balotelli was dismissive. “The goals had dried up, that was all. Tonight I scored two, I could have had three,” said Balotelli, who saved Milan’s blushes in Amsterdam with an injury-time penalty which secured a precious 1-1 draw. Instead, Balotelli sent out a message ahead of Wednesday’s decider when he underlined the defensive lapses that have seen Milan’s drop precious points throughout the season. “The team is playing quite well, we’re finding the goals that just weren’t coming before,” said Balotelli. “But we need to pay more attention when other teams are on the counter-attack. Every time they shoot, they score.” — AFP



Fans shame Turkish

Photo of the day

Football Federation ISTANBUL: Supporters of Istanbul giant Galatasaray yesterday publicly paid tribute to Nelson Mandela, after the Turkish Football Federation threatened to punish two top Ivorian club players for their homage to the late

South African anti-apartheid hero. Star striker Didier Drogba had removed his club shirt after a match Friday against SB Elazigspor to reveal a T-shirt that read “Thank You Madiba”, using Mandela’s clan name. Drogba is

ISTANBUL: Galatasaray’s Didier Drogba from Ivory Coast salutes soccer fans as he wears a jersey in sign of respect for Nelson Mandela before their Turkish League match with Elazigspor in Istanbul. — AP

among the nominees of the African Football Confederation’s 25-man shortlist for the prize of African Footballer of the Year for 2013. Teammate Emmanuel Eboue also honored the former South African president who died on Thursday with a T-shirt that said “Rest in Peace Nelson Mandela”. The Turkish Football Federation said the two players faced disciplinary action for breaching a ban on wearing political slogans and messages on T-shirts. But yesterday Galatasaray supporters vented their anger at the decision sporting banners that read “No to Racism” and “Madiba the world will never forget” when the Turkish players entered the field before a Champions League match against Juventus. Turkish Sports Minister Suat Kilic has lashed out at the football authorities, calling on the federation to review its decision against the two star players. “I don’t find it a healthy choice in terms of Turkey’s image abroad and the two footballers’ (freedom of ) expression,” he said. US President Barack Obama led world tributes yesterday to Mandela, hailing him as “a giant of history” at a memorial at Soweto’s World Cup stadium attended by tens of thousands of South Africans — AFP

Olympiakos cruise through Olympiakos 3

Anderlecht 1

ATHENS: Former Argentina international Javier Saviola scored twice and missed a penalty as Olympiakos reached the Champions League knockout stages with a 3-1 win over eight-man Anderlecht yesterday. Benfica beat Group C winners Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in Lisbon elsewhere yesterday, but the Greek champions’ win secured them second place and a berth in the last 16 for the first time since 2010.

Their victory in a dramatic game, which featured three home penalties and three red cards for the visitors, means they edge out Benfica courtesy of a better head-to-head record after both teams finished with 10 points. Saviola eased the nerves of the home fans when he broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute by pouncing on a loose ball in the box to fire past ‘keeper Silvio Proto. Saviola, 31, who ironicially played for Benfica for three seasons and helped the Lisbon club to the domestic double in 2010, made up for an earlier miss by converting David Fuster’s initial shot that was deflected into his path. However, the Brussels outfit were back on level terms within six minutes thanks to American midfielder Sacha Kljestan. The 28-year-old Californian finished off a counter-attack, that evolved from

ATHENS: Anderlecht’s Alexandar Mitrovic heads the ball in front of Olympiakos’ Leandro Salino during an UEFA Champions League group C football match between Olympiakos and Anderlecht at the Karaiskaki stadium yesterday. — AFP

a botched Olympiakos corner, and tucked the ball into an empty goal after an unselfish pass from teenage midfielder Dennis Praet. Olympiakos, who have yet to lose a league match since former Real Madrid midfielder Michel took over as coach early in 2013, dominated first-half possession and had a golden chance to go back in front just after the break. Senegalese centre-back Cheikhou Kouyate was sent-off when he brought down Fuster inside the box, but Saviola’s low spotkick was brilliantly parried away by Proto to keep the visitors on level terms. Saviola redeemed himself moments later when Fuster again caused panic in the Anderlecht penalty area and he banged home the rebound to put the Greeks 2-1 up with half an hour to play. Down to 10 men, the visitors bravely battled on and were relieved to see Saviola substituted to a standing ovation after scoring the crucial second goal. Slovakian Vladimir Weiss kept the tension at breaking point when he missed another Olympiakos penalty with 18 minutes left as Proto saved from the spot for the second time in the half. It was the first time since 2009 when Bordeaux squandered two penalties in a 2-1 win against Bayern Munich-that a team had missed twice from the spot in the same Champions League fixture. French full-back Fabrice N’Sakala continued the frustration for the Belgian champions when he was dismissed with two minutes left before Proto was shown a straight red for bringing down Weiss inside the area deep into stoppage time. Another Argentine, Alejandro Dominguez, finally found the target from the spot to guarantee qualification and put a flattering look on the scoreline. — AFP

(L-R) Cole Seely and Jessy Nelson take part in a testing session on the Red Bull Straight Rhythm course at Thing Ranch in Alpine, CA, USA on 10 October, 2013.—

Swansea draw with Hull 1-1 Swansea 1

Hull 1

SWANSEA: Danny Graham finally ended his 11-month goal drought as the Hull striker returned to haunt his former club in a 1-1 draw against Swansea on Monday. Graham enjoyed a prolific 18month spell with Swansea before moving to Sunderland for £5 million in January and then onto Hull on loan in August. The 28-year-old has struggled at both Sunderland and Hull, but he produced a fine strike early in the first half at the Liberty Stadium to put his name on the scoresheet for the first time since he netted for Swansea in a League Cup win at Chelsea in January. Graham’s first goal for Hull wasn’t enough to secure the points however as Swansea defender Chico Flores equalized in the second half. The result left both sides in mid-table, with 10th

placed Swansea one point above their opponents. “Certainly it’s been a longtime coming,” Graham said of a 30-game drought that lasted 1,626 minutes. “I wanted to go crazy when I scored but I had a good relationship with the Swansea fans and had good times down here so I wasn’t going to celebrate.” Michael Laudrup, Swansea’s manager, added: “In the second half we did much better and got the equaliser, but after such a bad first half we didn’t deserve to win today.” Swansea forward Michu was back in the team after five weeks out with an ankle injury. But it took Graham just nine minutes to show his old employers the sort of predatory finishing he produced on a regular basis during his time in south Wales. Swansea defender Ashley Williams contributed to his side’s downfall with a careless pass to Ahmed Elmohamady. Elmohamady raced down the right flank before whipping over a cross to the far post, where Graham had found space to guide a left-foot volley past Gerhard Tremmel from close-range. Graham could have been forgiven for embarking on a jubilant celebration after ending his long drought, but

instead he showed his respect for Swansea by putting his hands in the air in a gesture of apology. Williams had an opportunity to atone for his earlier blunder when Jonathan De Guzman’s corner dropped to him in the Hull penalty area, but the Wales international dragged his shot well wide. That summed up a lacklustre first-half for Swansea, who dominated possession without threatening to break down Hull’s defense. Tom Huddlestone wasted a golden chance to double Hull’s lead when he sliced over from 12 yards, and Swansea made the most of that escape as they grabbed a fortuitous equalizer on the hour. A Swansea short corner routine ended with Jonjo Shelvey whipping over a cross and, with Hull’s defenders reacting too slowly, the ball hit Flores and looped into the net. Hull were twice left to rue the officials’ decisions as they appealed in vain for a penalty when Dwight Tiendalli’s arm made contact with the ball following a Huddlestone corner, while David Meyler had the ball in the net only to see his effort ruled out for offside. — AFP

Viktoria Plzen extend European campaign Plzen 2


PRAGUE: Viktoria Plzen scored two late goals to beat CSKA Moscow 2-1 yesterday, securing third place in Champions League Group D and extending their European campaign. With the home side looking destined to finish bottom

of the group, substitute Tomas Wagner rifled home the winner in the 90th minute to send Plzen into the Europa League thanks to a better head-tohead away goals record against the Russians. By the end, CSKA were down to nine men after Alan Dragoev was dismissed for tangling with Vaclav Prochazka after 67 minutes and Pontus Wernbloom was dismissed in the last minute. Plzen created more chances but nearly paid the price for their inability to finish when CSKA’s Ahmed Musa broke free of his marker in the 65th minute to head Keisuke Honda’s drifting cross

past Plzen keeper Matus Kozacik. But with CSKA down to 10 men Plzen finally broke down CSKA’s defense in the 76th minute when Daniel Kolar headed in a cross from captain Pavel Horvath to level. Plzen continued to push forward and Wagner fired home after latching onto a Frantisek Rajtoral cross at the far post. The game marked Plzen manager Pavel Vrba’s last game in charge before taking over the Czech national side. Bayern Munich topped the group depite being beaten at home 3-2 by Manchester City, who had also already qualified for the knockout stages. — Reuters

Leverkusen book last 16 Real Sociedad 0

Leverkusen 1

SAN SEBASTIAN: Bayer Leverkusen secured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League from Group A thanks to a 1-0 win away to Real Sociedad yesterday, while Shakhtar Donetsk lost 1-0 at Manchester United. Sami Hyppia’s men went into the game knowing they needed to better the Ukrainian champions’ result and they deservedly went ahead four minutes into the second half when defender Omer Toprak slammed home from close range. Leverkusen should have added

to their advantage as Stefan Kiessling hit the post and was also denied by a fine save from Enaut Zubikarai. And the Bundesliga side were nearly made to pay for their profligacy as Antoine Griezmann forced Bernd Leno into an important save with a low header 17 minutes from time. United’s victory means they top the group, while Leverkusen are likely to face a tricky tie against another group winner when the draw for the last 16 is made in Nyon, Switzerland on December 16. With Real already eliminated and unable even to make the Europa League, it was no surprise that Leverkusen started the brighter and they were very unfortunate not to take the lead when Gonzalo Castro curled a free-kick off the inside of the post after just 11 minutes. The Basque side, who were still looking for their first goal at home in the

competition this season, improved as the half wore on and Carlos Vela was inches away from connecting with Griezmann’s low cross a minute before the break. However, the Germans started the second period with more urgency and, after Zubikarai had produced a wonderful save to deny Kiessling, Toprak bundled the ball home from the resulting corner. Kiessling then struck the post with a precise header and saw Zubikarai make another fine save moments later as Leverkusen went in search of a second goal that would seal the three points. But Real did show some spirit as the clock wound down and, after Griezmann pulled a shot wide of the target when well-placed inside the area, the Frenchman forced Leno into his only serious save of the evening as his headed effort was held low to his left by the German under-21 international. — AFP

ISTANBUL: Workers clear the snow covering the field during the UEFA Champions League group B football match between Galatasaray and Juventus at the TT Arena Stadium yesterday. Heavy snowfall in Istanbul forced the abandonment of the match, competition organizers UEFA announced. — AFP

Heavy snow forces end to Galatasaray v Juve clash MILAN: Heavy snowfall in Istanbul forced the abandonment of the Galatasaray v Juventus Champions League Group B clash yesterday, competition organizers UEFA announced. The match was halted shortly after the half-hour mark, with the scoreline 0-0, as increasingly heavy snowfall made playing conditions nearly impossible. The referee called the players off the pitch as efforts were made to clear the snow. However after a 25-minute delay, UEFA announced the match had been abandoned. A message on the official Twitter page of UEFA said: “The #UCL fixture between @GalatasaraySK & @juventusfc has been abandoned after a snow storm caused the pitch to become unplayable.” A message on the mico-blogging site by Juventus said: “#GalaJuve has been abandoned due to snow. We’ll bring you news on the rescheduled fixture as soon as we have it.” Under competition regulations the remaining match time must either be played today, or on another date set by UEFA. The match clock stopped at 31 minutes. Juventus need a point from their final game in the group to secure their ticket to the last 16 knockout phase along with leaders Real Madrid. Galatasaray require a win to pip Juventus to second place. Bizarrely, it is

ISTANBUL: Juventus’ Arturo Vidal (left) vies with Galatasaray’s Albert Riera during the UEFA Champions League group B football match between Galatasaray and Juventus at the TT Arena Stadium in Istanbul yesterday. Heavy snowfall in Istanbul forced the abandonment of the match, competition organizers UEFA announced. — AFP the third time a match between the being held to a 1-1 draw in Istanbul. In sides had to be postponed. In 1998 2003, following terror attacks in Istanbul, when Italy refused to extradite the Galatasaray hosted Juventus a week latKurdish separatist leader Abdullah er than planned and won 2-0 in their Ocalan to Turkey, the match was delayed group clash thanks to a brace from for a week, with Galatasaray eventually Hakan Sukur. — AFP

McCown shines again as Bears maul Cowboys



Unlikely scorers as Swansea draw with Hull


Tinkering, blunders put Benitez under pressure

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MANCHESTER: Donetsk’s goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov (centre) punches the ball clear as Manchester United’s Phil Jones (second right) attempts to head the ball during their Champions League group A soccer match between Manchester United and Shakhtar Donetsk at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester yesterday. — AP

United find home comforts, secure top spot Man Utd 1

Shakhtar 0

MANCHESTER: Manchester United drew a line beneath recent back-to-back home defeats by overcoming Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 at Old Trafford yesterday to secure top spot in Champions League Group A. Beaten 1-0 by first Everton and then Newcastle United in their last two home games, United sur-

vived several near-misses against the Ukrainian champions before prevailing through a second-half goal from Phil Jones. As well as eliminating Shakhtar, the result gave United three home victories in the group phase for the first time since they last won the competition in 2007-08.Manager David Moyes can now look forward to a favorable tie in the last 16 when the draw is made next Monday, while Shakhtar slip into the Europa League due to Bayer Leverkusen’s 1-0 win over Real Sociedad in the other group game. Having already seen their team beaten twice in the space of a week, there was an understandable nervousness about the Old Trafford crowd that Shakhtar seemed eager to exploit.

Alex Teixeira could have put the visitors ahead in the 12th minute after running onto a pass from fellow Brazilian Taison, but he sent the ball inches wide of United goalkeeper David de Gea’s left-hand post. Andriy Pyatov had already saved from Jones by that stage and the Shakhtar goalkeeper also had to box away a half-volley from tournament debutant Adnan Januzaj, but United continued to look vulnerable. One-time United target Douglas Costa slashed a shot wide after Alexander Buttner committed himself too early, while Alex Teixeira could only fire straight at De Gea after ghosting past Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans. Giggs and Ferdinand looked particularly ponderous, both conceding possession in

dangerous positions, but gradually United roused themselves. Wayne Rooney, back in the team after a domestic suspension, brushed the side-netting with a free-kick, while Ashley Young spurned two excellent opportunities prior to half-time. The first saw him collect a lofted pass from Giggs before lobbing narrowly wide with only Pyatov to beat and he then sliced badly off-target with his left foot after being teed up by Rooney. The visitors threatened again early in the second period, Yaroslav Rakitskiy seeing a shot deflected wide by Jones after a corner ran right across the United box, and news that Leverkusen had taken the lead in Spain did not aid the hosts’ cause. They improved, however, with Pyatov palming away an in-

swinging Young free-kick and repelling a volley from Shinji Kagawa before Rooney feathered a chip onto the roof of the net. Moyes’s decision to introduce Robin van Persie and Tom Cleverley energized the crowd further and in the 67th minute, United scored. Van Persie’s right-wing corner took a glancing blow off a defender at the near post and sat up invitingly for Jones, who smartly readjusted his body position and lashed home a low volley. Cleverley volleyed over as United looked to extend their lead and Van Persie dinked a shot wide in stoppage time, but Jones’s strike proved enough to settle the game and begin the process of repairing Old Trafford’s once formidable reputation. — AFP

Real blank Copenhagen Copenhagen 0

Real 2

COPENHAGEN: Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to score nine goals in the group stage of the Champions League yesterday as he helped the Spanish giants to a 2-0 victor y at Copenhagen. Madrid, which already secured top spot in Group B, took the lead when Croatia playmaker Luk a M odric curled the ball into the top-right

corner in the 25th minute. Ronaldo, who seemed absent during the first 45 minutes, scored three minutes into the second half - pouncing on a ball headed on by Pepe. Though M adrid had more possession, Copenhagen caused its opponents problems on the counter-attack. The Danish club finished bottom of the group. — AP

Benfica beat PSG, bow out Benfica 2


LISBON: Benfica were eliminated from this season’s Champions League yesterday despite coming from behind to beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in Lisbon in their final game in Group C. Edinson Cavani gave the visitors the lead at the Estadio da Luz only for Brazilian forward Lima to level from the penalty spot before half-time. Nicolas Gaitan then scored what proved to be the winning goal for the Portuguese giants in the 58th minute, but the final outcome was academic as Olympiakos got the victory they required in the night’s other Group C game. The Greek side beat Anderlecht 3-1 in Greece and advance to the last 16 due to their superior head-to-head record against Benfica, twice winners of the European Cup in the 1960s. PSG, meanwhile, had already sealed their progress as winners of the section

before this game, and their coach Laurent Blanc was therefore able to leave Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva behind in Paris along with suspended duo Marco Verratti and Gregory Van der Wiel. In their absence, Blanc gave starts to the likes of Zoumana Camara, Javier Pastore, Adrien Rabiot and Jeremy Menez, while there was a debut at rightback for the Malian Kalifa Traore. Benfica’s fate was out of their hands but they showed the greater urgency right from kick-off against a PSG side playing without pressure. Enzo Perez signaled their intent with a curling effort inside the opening five minutes that was heading for the top corner until Salvatore Sirigu intervened with a fine flying save. Sirigu then boxed away a Silvio shot, while Gaitan and Nemanja Matic both narrowly missed the target in the opening half hour. The Ligue 1 leaders had offered little at the other end with the exception of a first-time Menez strike that was stopped by Artur in the home goal. However, PSG got their noses in front in the 37th minute as Cavani converted his 15th goal in all competitions this season, rolling in a Menez cutback from on the goalline. Benfica could feel hard done by as Menez may have been offside when Pastore

played the initial pass, but the hosts were afforded the chance to draw level just before the break. Debutant Traore was penalised by English referee Mark Clattenburg for a clumsy challenge on Silvio right on the edge of the area, and Lima confidently beat Sirigu from 12 yards from the resulting penalty. Buoyed by that, Benfica continued to push forward after the restart, and Sirigu was again called into action to save a powerful shot by Lima. They went on to take the lead for the first time in the 58th minute, though, Argentine winger Gaitan tucking away the loose ball for his first goal of the campaign after Camara had blocked a Maxi Pereira cross. Blanc responded by sending on the fresh legs of energetic duo Blaise Matuidi and Ezequiel Lavezzi for the final half hour and the latter nearly leveled midway through the second half, lifting the ball just past the far post from a Menez assist. Benfica held on, but there were no favors from Anderlecht in Greece, and last season’s Europa League runners-up will have to settle for another crack at that competition in the New Year. PSG, meanwhile, can still dream of returning to the Estadio da Luz for the final in May as their thoughts turn to next week’s draw for the last 16. — AFP

MUNICH: Bayern’s Jerome Boateng (right) and Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko challenge for the ball during the Champions League group D soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and Manchester City yesterday. — AP

City surprise Bayern Bayern 2

Man City 3

MUNICH: Manchester City, seemingly down and out as they trailed Bayern Munich 2-0 after 12 minutes, hit back for a stunning 3-2 away win to end the Germans team’s run of 10 consecutive Champions League wins yesterday. Bayern appeared to be strolling to another win as Thomas Mueller and Mario Goetze, helped by poor defending, put the defending champions quickly in control. City, missing sever-

al regulars, composed themselves and David Silva began the fightback with a goal just before the half-hour. Aleksandar Kolarov leveled with a penalty in the 59th minute and James Milner side-footed the winner three minutes later. Both teams had already qualified before kickoff and finished Group D with 15 points each, Bayern keeping top spot on their head-tohead record. — Reuters


Egyptian urban inflation soars Page 22

US Volcker rule to curb Wall St bank trading bets


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Zain designated as Middle East Operator of the Year

The all-new BMW X5 debuts in Kuwait

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BRUSSELS: German Finance Minister Wolfgan Schaeuble (center) talks with Dutch Finance Minister and president of Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem (right) and an unidentified advisor (left) before the start of an Economic and Financial Affairs Council meeting at the EU Headquarters in Brussels yesterday. — AFP

EU FMs wrangle over ‘Banking Union’ Marathon talks in Brussels aim to get economy moving BRUSSELS: EU finance ministers voiced optimism yesterday they can overcome deep-seated differences to forge a historic Banking Union to curb the excesses of the financial crisis and get the economy moving again. At what are expected to be marathon talks in Brussels, ministers will haggle over the creation of a European-wide body to wind up failing banks and prevent them bringing down the wider economy, as happened in Ireland, Spain and Cyprus. This body would also have a pot of emergency cash-funded by the banking system-to cover the costs of a collapsing lender and so avoid the taxpayer having to pick up the bill. This would go hand-in-hand with an already agreed supervisory mechanism under which the European Central Bank will scrutinize the top 130 or so euro-zone banks directly and thousands more indirectly via national authorities. “I think there are strong chances to have a deal today,” said Lithuania’s finance minister, Rimantas Sadzius, who is chair-

ing the talks in Brussels. “Whether this will be the final legal regulation or not, we will see, but we must have a deal,” Sadzius added. However, while all agree that a so-called Single Resolution Mechanism (SRM) to close down tottering banks is necessary, it is politically tricky as it would mean handing control over national banks to Brussels. Divisions remain on several key issues and diplomats and ministers have acknowledged that a second round of talks may be necessary to thrash out the details before EU leaders can clear the deal at a summit next week. Firstly, there are disagreements over the mechanism’s scope. The European Commission, backed by France, wants it to have the power to shut down all 6,000 euro-zone banks if they get into difficulties. However, European powerhouse Germany believes the mechanism should have jurisdiction only over the 130 top banks under ECB supervision-perhaps with an eye on its

OPEC sticks to 2014 oil demand growth forecast VIENNA: The OPEC oil cartel yesterday stuck to its forecast that 2014 global oil demand would grow at a faster rate than in 2013 thanks to accelerating world economic growth. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said in its December monthly report average 2014 demand would be 98.84 million barrels per day, up 1.04 mbpd from 2013. This compares with an expected rise of 0.87 mbpd for 2013 to 89.79 mbpd. OPEC said the main growth-driver in 2014 would be developing economies, with demand from members of the OECD group of advanced economies set to decline by 0.2 mbpd. It forecast global economic growth of 3.5 percent after 2.9 percent in 2013, with OECD economies projected to grow by 1.9 percent compared to 1.2 percent in 2013. China’s economy is expected to expand by 7.8 percent, the same level as 2013 thanks to recent stimulus efforts and rising exports. Indian growth is forecast to accelerate to 5.6 percent from 4.7 percent. OPEC, whose members including Saudi Arabia pump about a third of the world’s oil, last week agreed at a meeting in Vienna to keep its production ceiling at 30 million barrels per day. But OPEC production could increase in the coming months as Iraq and Iran-fresh from a breakthrough deal with over its nuclear program-look to export more. Libyan oil supplies may also recover from a recent plunge. World oil prices could head lower next year as higher OPEC output coupled with increased shale production risks oversupplying the market despite upbeat Asian demand for crude, analysts say. — AFP

regional banking sector which would then not fall under EU control. A major scrap is also looming over who controls the new body. The Commission wants to have the final say over whether and how a failing bank is wound up but Germany would prefer member states to have the last word. Finally, there is discord over whether the fund-which the Commission wants to total some 55 billion euros ($76 billion) over 10 years-should be a centralized European pot or come under national control. French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici appeared to signal a compromise on this thorny issue as he entered the talks yesterday. “The resolution fund has to be a genuinely single fund ... with the same rules for everyone and coordinated decision mechanisms ... which is capable of responding to difficult situations of bankruptcy,” Moscovici told reporters. But he suggested this fund could be made up of “national

mechanisms initially with a transition phase” leading eventually to a pan-European pot. “We are constantly moving forward. I think we have today the elements to work out a political agreement.” Others, however, were less optimistic. European Central Bank Executive Board member Joerg Asmussen said that while he saw differences narrowing, “I do not expect that we will reach a final agreement.” He said he has already pencilled in another meeting “before the EU summit” next week. The ECB wants the mechanism to wrap up failing banks to become active at the same time its supervisory tasks come online late next year. The ministers are under a certain amount of time pressure. Their leaders have tasked them to forge agreement before an EU summit to finalize the Banking Union on 19-20 December. This would allow time to nail down a final proposal with the European Parliament, whose mandate ends in May. — Reuters

NBAD steps up hiring ahead of Expo boom DUBAI: National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) will take on more staff to grow its commercial business and tap the “enormous opportunities” created by Dubai’s successful 2020 World Expo bid, its CEO said, even as it pursues international expansion. The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) largest lender plans to add around 900 jobs to its current headcount of 6,500 next year across 18 countries, with a focus on new hubs in emerging markets as well as retail and commercial operations at home. “Net target for next year will be an increase of 14 percent in headcount including direct retail sales, trade finance specialists and contractors,” Alex Thursby told Reuters in an interview at the bank’s head office in Abu Dhabi. “We believe we can grow here and overseas.” The bank shed 100 jobs during 2013. Like many of its peers in the Gulf, NBAD - the largest lender by market value in the UAE - is looking to grow its international revenues to counter stiff competition at home, where 51 foreign and local lenders operate. Taking charge on July 1, Thursby arrived at the bank having led Australia and New Zealand Banking Group’s push into Asia and was expected to do the same at NBAD, outlining in October a plan to expand its operations through a West-East corridor stretching from west Africa to China. “Fundamentally, we believe in the West-East corridor which is the Middle East, Asia and Africa. That economic integration and reliance is getting

stronger and stronger, whether be it for oil, minerals, agricultural products, finished manufacturing products and flows of financial and strategic investments,” he said. But Dubai’s successful bid to host the 2020 world fair, confirmed two weeks ago, is expected to kick-start billions of dollars of infrastructure spending as well as provide wider economic benefits, something which changes the equation. “Revenue coming from international markets right now is 20 percent and it will increase slowly. But there are events that can affect our strategy and targets and getting Expo changes the UAE a bit,” Thursby said. “The Expo presents an enormous opportunity for trade finance, new people moving in, for mortgages, for credit cards, for deposits and account services. The investment and the flow of business internationally is going to appreciate greatly.” Total spending related to the Expo, including private sector projects, could reach $18.3 billion, HSBC estimated in October, with a huge exhibition centre built on the 438-hectare Expo site, plus tens of thousands of new hotel rooms and an extension to Dubai’s metro line expected to cost around 5 billion dirhams ($1.4 billion). This is on top of a 13-percent increase in infrastructure spending outlined in Dubai’s 2014 budget, which includes funds for a 2 billion dirhams canal development through its downtown area, expected to be completed by 2017. Dubai’s economy has been booming in recent

months, fuelled by increased trade and tourism and recovering house prices - the 28.5 percent property price rise in the nine months to Sept. 30 was the highest in the world, estate agent Knight Frank said on Friday. This, coupled with the step up in infrastructure spending and the expected boost from winning the 2020 world fair, has revived fears of another boom-and-bust cycle of the kind which brought it close to default four years ago. The International Monetar y Fund in July warned Dubai that it might need to intervene to cool its property market. Over-inflated Dubai real estate prices crashed by more than 50 percent in 2009 and 2010, triggering a corporate debt crisis which unsettled financial markets around the world. “I don’t have any concerns about overheating. Everyone in the world has realized that over-leverage can be dangerous. At this point in time, the footing of the UAE’s economy and its capacity has grown since 2008,” Thursby said. UAE banks were hit hard by the local property crash and sovereign debt problems, with high provisioning dragging down profits for a number of quarters. NBAD, which narrowed quarterly net impairment charges by 18.5 percent to 299 million dirhams in the third quarter, will continue taking provisions in the coming quarter despite a recovery in the quality of assets and a more solid financial position of government-related entities, Thursby said. — Reuters



Egyptian urban inflation soars CAIRO: Egyptian urban consumer inflation soared in November to its highest annual rate in nearly four years, increasing the risk of social unrest and potentially serving up a policy dilemma for the central bank. Crippled by political turmoil since a popular uprising toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011, Egypt’s economy expanded just 2.1 percent in the year to June 30. The central bank has cut interest rates three times by a total of 150 basis points since the army deposed Islamist President Mohammad Morsi in July, most recently - and unexpectedly - by 50 basis points at a meeting last week. The bank said then it was

more concerned about boosting growth than taming inflation. But urban consumer prices rose 13 percent in November year on year, state statistics agency CAPMAS said yesterday, their highest rate of increase since January 2010 and well up on October’s 10.4 percent. Food costs, some of which are already heavily subsidized by the government, were a major factor in the increase. “At the moment, the central bank is stuck, because it’s trying to cut the yield on government debt and at the same time help stimulate the economy and keep inflation in check,” said Angus Blair, chairman of business and economic forecasting think-tank

Signet. “You’ve got an economic dilemma which they have to try and tackle.” Spokespeople at the central bank could not immediately be reached for comment on the data, which also showed monthly inflation at 0.9 percent. But in a statement accompanying Thursday’s rate cut decision it had acknowledged the possibility of higher inflation. “While upside risks to the inflation outlook continue to moderate as the possibility of a rebound in international food prices is unlikely in light of recent global developments, annual inflation could increase above ...current levels in November and December,” it said.

Rising food prices The price index for urban food and non-alcoholic beverages rose by almost 20 percent while that for hotels, cafes and restaurants gained more than 22 percent, CAPMAS data showed. “Clearly in a period where there is a restive population people expect a better standard of living and it’s likely that there will be social repercussions if inflation continues to run at these levels,” said Blair. More than 26 percent of Egyptians live below the poverty line, according to the latest CAPMAS data, and the government is hooked on a subsidy regime under which it spends a fifth of its budget keeping energy and some food prices, including bread, well below mar-

ket cost. It has also launched a 29.6 billion Egyptian pound ($4.3 billion) stimulus package, aided by over $12 billion in aid pledged by Arab Gulf countries, since the army ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July following mass protests against his rule. Egypt’s Investment Minister Osama Saleh said the government plans to launch a second 24 billion pound package in January. The budget reached a deficit of around 14 percent of GDP in the year to June 30, though Thursday’s rate cut promises to ease pressure on government finances, with debt yields having fallen at two auctions since then. —Reuters

Iran, India meeting to discuss oil payments Move follows easing of sanctions

BEIJING: A vegetable vendor (center) waits for the customers at a market in Beijing yesterday. Chinese inflation slowed to 3.0 percent in November to snap two months of acceleration in consumer prices, official figures showed.—AFP

Morocco set for $4bn in World Bank loans RABAT: Morocco is set to receive $4 billion in loans from the World Bank from 2014 to 2017 for government energy, infrastructure and other projects, a source from the World Bank said yesterday. Under the deal, the bank will extend $1 billion each year to finance different projects, the source said. Morocco is under pressure from international lenders to push ahead with reforms to its fuel and food subsidies, for tighter control over its public wage bill and its state pension payments to help narrow its budget deficit. “The approval of the deal by the World Bank Board of Directors is expected by early 2014,” the source said. The North African kingdom received $600 million each year under a previous 2011-2013 agreement with the bank, but its government has asked for an increase in financial support from the bank . Reforms to subsidies are politically sensitive as they increase living costs. A reform to fuel subsidies already helped split the ruling coalition and forced the palace to name new cabinet members as way to reassert

control of the reform program. Analysts believe the establishment around King Mohamed is worried that the Islamistleaning Justice and Development party, which heads the government, plans to push though more reforms that may provoke protests over higher costs. It is a tricky balance with international lenders demanding that Morocco do more to reduce deficits and limit public spending, which has risen as the palace seeks to calm the kind of popular discontent seen in the 2011 Arab Spring revolts. Unlike its North African neighbors, Tunisia and Libya, where unrest ousted long-term autocratic leaders, Morocco managed to end protests in 2011 with a combination of social spending, harsh policing and constitutional reforms. But the palace is keen to avoid any renewed unrest. In 2012, the IMF approved a $6.2 billion precautionary line of credit for Morocco over two years while urging reforms to the subsidy system, although it did not formally link the aid to any reform measures. — Reuters

NEW DELHI: Indian and Iranian officials are meeting this week to discuss how to unlock the first oil payments to the Middle Eastern nation since the US and other world powers eased sanctions last month in exchange for curbs to Tehran’s nuclear program. Last month six world powers and Tehran reached an interim deal that provided limited relief to Iran from economic sanctions, opening the way for some oil payments to resume. The deal is a chance for Iran’s new leadership to revive the country’s economy, plagued with high inflation and a weakened currency since being cut off from the global financial system after sanctions were imposed in 2012. The West believes Iran is trying to make a bomb, while the Middle Eastern nation says it program is for power generation. India and Iran are to discuss how to restart oil payments in foreign currencies, including a plan to process partial payments for oil in euros through a Turkish bank, two government sources said. A delegation of Iranian officials led by Gholamali Kamyab, deputy governor at Iranian Central Bank, is in India until Dec 13, and is

meeting with officials of the finance ministry and Reserve Bank of India, the sources said. Iran had asked Indian refiners in mid-October, before the deal was reached with world powers, to resume paying for oil imports in euros through Turkey’s Halkbank but the refiners are still seeking directions from the government. India started settling 55 percent of its payments for Iranian crude in euros through Halkbank in mid-2012. The rest was settled in rupees through India’s UCO Bank. But the Halkbank route was halted in February this year when fresh sanctions prevented Iran from repatriating cash earned from oil it has been able to sell, crippling its economy by choking off its biggest revenue stream. Since then Indian refiners have been withholding payment for 55 percent of their Iranian oil imports, while Iran scouted for an alternative way to receive that money in hard currencies like dollar and euros. At the end of November Indian refiners owed about $2.2 billion for partial payments to Iran, on top of about $4 billion lying in Tehran’s account with UCO Bank, industry officials said yesterday. India is Iran’s second-largest buyer but its

oil imports from the OPEC member plunged to about 170,000 bpd in the April-October period, a decline of about 40 percent from a year ago, tanker arrival data made available to Reuters showed. A finance ministry official said this week India would continue to settle part of its oil payments in rupee through UCO Bank until receiving further information on the lifting of US and EU sanctions on Iran. India wants to fix its trade imbalance with Iran, tilted now in favour of Tehran because of oil purchases. New Delhi wants to boost its exports to the Islamic nation by letting Iran pay for goods in the billions of rupees it has in UCO Bank. Indian expor ts to Iran are expected to touch $6 billion in the year to March 31, 2014, almost double from last fiscal year’s $3.2 billion, said Ajay Sahai, direc tor general, Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO). He said the rupee trade mechanism had helped exports of agricultural commodities, pharmaceutical and auto components to Tehran. An industry delegation will visit Iran nex t week to push up expor ts, industr y sources said. — Reuters

TUI Travel sees strong 2014 Customers spend more on holidays LONDON: TUI Travel, the world’s biggest tour operator, beat forecast profits thanks to strong sales of more expensive holidays in the UK and Germany, and said it would hit ambitious 2014 targets as people spend more on foreign holidays. The British group, which owns the Thomson and First Choice holiday brands, posted a 13 percent rise in underlying operating profit yesterday - higher than its upgraded 11 percent guidance - as a result of the growing popularity of higher-margin holidays, such as all-inclusive deals, and packages to furtheraway destinations. The company said it was confident of delivering its target for underlying profit growth of 7 to 10 percent next year and for the following four years, given encouraging winter trading and early summer holiday sales. Chief Executive Peter Long noted in particular that TUI was benefiting from an improvement in sales of holidays to Egypt after Britain’s foreign office recently relaxed some of its travel advice. TUI hiked its final divided by 17 percent to 9.75 pence per share, bringing the full-year payout to 13.5 pence per share, 15 percent higher than last

year. “In the UK, given improving consumer confidence, rising house prices, economic growth and increasing employment, we believe that the trading outlook for summer 2014 is increasingly positive,” said Numis analyst Wyn Ellis, who upped his target price for the stock to 425 pence from 400. Shares in the company were down 0.4 percent at 382.9 pence at 1145 GMT, having earlier reached 396.7 percent. Investec analyst James Hollins said TUI’s guidance for a flat performance in the first half of the year, excluding Easter which in 2014 falls in its fiscal second half, could put pressure on the company to meet its profit growth targets. “This is not a stretch, but also not a guarantee. We remain skeptical on achieving returns targets and we retain our “sell” (rating),” he said. TUI’s underlying operating profit on a constant currency basis came in at 555 million pounds ($909.45 million) for the year to the end of September, on revenue which was 4 percent higher, and the company said improvements to its online presence and back office and IT cost savings also helped. Pretax profit of 473 million pounds beat a consensus fore-

cast of 460 million pounds. The group’s UK and German businesses performed particularly strongly, posting profit growth of 27 percent and 30 percent, in contrast to France, where profits were 28 percent lower. Long said the French business was being restructured and would take until 2014-15 to get back to break-even. Weakness in that unit, which accounts for less than 10 percent of revenues its mainstream business, stemmed from pressure on incomes and the fact that French holidaymakers tend to travel to Tunisia and Egypt, both affected by political unrest, he said. French holiday operator Club Med earlier this month posted an 11 percent drop in operating profit for the year ended Oct. 31, also citing political unrest in North Africa and tough economic conditions. Back in the UK, rival travel firm Thomas Cook, recovering from a dramatic slump in sales over the last two years, also had a strong year. Last month it posted a forecast-beating 49 percent leap in earnings for the year to Sept 30. — AP

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 282.700 269.000 466.070 390.375 318.830 746.465 76.945 78.500 76.255 398.510 40.991 2.159 4.618 2.620 3.632 6.379 694.370 3.735 09.795

Syrian Pound Nepalese Rupees Malaysian Ringgit Chinese Yuan Renminbi

Singapore Dollar South African Rand Sri Lankan Rupee Taiwan Thai Baht

3.010 3.885 89.105 46.942

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 0.007354 0.458866 0.006624 0.048076 0.383884 0.042119 0.081644 0.008104 0.039423 0.312028 0.139334 Australasia 0.249563 0.228409 America 0.260897 0.278850 0.279350 Asia 0.003437 0.045076 0.034408 0.004399 0.000020 0.002658 0.003349 0.000258 0.084619 0.002974 0.002430 0.006419 0.000069

SELL 0.008354 0.467868 0.018824 0.053076 0.391384 0.047319 0.81644 0.018104 0.044423 0.322228 0.146334 0.261053 0.2397909 0.269397 0.283200 0.283200 0.004037 0.048576 0.037158 0.004800 0.000026 0.002838 0.003349 0.000273 0.090619 0.003144 0.002710 0.006699 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

0.223253 0.021456 0.001892 0.009435 0.008519 Arab 0.744074 0.037659 0.000078 0.000186 0.394864 1.0000000 0.000138 0.022632 0.001197 0.728903 0.077009 0.074817 0.002168 0.166061 0.139334 0.076055 0.001285

0.229253 0.029956 0.002472 0.009615 0.009069 0.752074 0.040759 0.000080 0.000246 0.402364 1.0000000 0.000238 0.046632 0.001832 0.734583 0.078222 0.075517 0.002388 0.174061 0.146334 0.077204 0.001365

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) 282.400 391.100 466.650 267.650 4.617 40.980 2.158 3.637 6.380 2.620 752.000 77.000 75.450



US Volcker rule to curb Wall St bank trading bets

CBK announces Audi R8 winner KUWAIT: The Commercial Bank of Kuwait announced Noura Al-Juma’ei as the ‘Grand Prize’ winner of an Audi R8 sports car, and that at the conclusion of a 6-month marketing campaign. The announcement came following a raffle draw held last Sunday at the Sahara Resort and was attended by Ministry of Commerce representative Ahmad Al-Hamad. CBK Assistant General Manager - Public Relations and Media Department, Amani

Al-Wara’a, welcomed Al-Juma’ei who drove to the resort after being called and notified about her win. “I would like to thank the CBK for helping making my team come true”, Al-Juma’ei said during the event, saying that the Audi R8 was her ‘dream car’. The raffle draw was the final of three held during the campaign on brand-new Audi cars for bank clients who became eligible by using the CBK credit card.

Greece’s creditors back in Athens this week ATHENS: International auditors are due back in Athens this week to assess Greece’s progress in implementing reforms in exchange for loans, a Greek official said yesterday, clearing up earlier confusion over their return. “The auditors will meet with the finance minister today afternoon,” said a source at the office of Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras. The meeting is expected to be closely watched for any hints of disagreements between the Greek government and the country’s so-called troika of creditors-the European Union, International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank. On Saturday, the European Commission said the creditors would delay their next visit until January, “after the authorities have made further progress in implementation” of reforms. Stournaras described this announcement as “unfortunate” during a meeting of euro-zone finance ministers in Brussels late Monday. He also insisted that officials would work with the troika mission chiefs to close as many pending issues as possible

before the Christmas break. An agreement with the troika is necessary to unblock a tranche of financial aid worth one-billion-euro ($1.4 billion) pending since June. It is believed that the two sides will aim to at least reach agreement over the privatization of troubled Greek defense contractor EAS. Athens has been keen to wrap the talks before it assumes the rotating EU presidency in January. The international creditors and Athens disagree on the level of a forecasted financing gap for 2014 and the measures that need to be taken to cover it. The troika predicts the 2014 financing gap will exceed 1.5 billion euros, while the Greek government estimates the sum to be slightly more than 500 million euros. Discussions are reportedly stumbling on the issue of a new property tax, debtor property auctions, layoffs in the state sector and the slow pace of privatization. Athens yesterday also raised 1.625 billion euros ($2.23 billion) in six-month treasury bills at a steady interest rate of 4.15 percent. — AFP

NEW DELHI: An Indian pedestrian talks on his mobile phone outside a Nokia store in New Delhi. Finnish handset maker Nokia faces a tax bill of more than 210 billion rupees ($3.4 billion) in India from liabilities arising out of unpaid charges and penalties since 2006.—AFP

Nokia faces $3.4bn tax claim in India: Report MUMBAI: Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia faces a tax bill of more than 210 billion rupees ($3.4 billion) in India from liabilities arising out of unpaid charges and penalties since 2006, a report said yesterday. Indian tax authorities froze some of Nokia’s assets in October including its bank accounts and buildings over a dispute which has forced Nokia to approach the Indian courts seeking relief. Nokia has reportedly offered to pay about 30 billion rupees ($490 million), but the income tax department “has informed the Delhi High Court that Nokia India and its parent Nokia Corp have a tax liability adding up to 211.53 billion rupees”, the Times of India reported. The paper said the submission was made by the income tax department in its reply to Nokia’s plea for the unfreezing of its assets in India. Nokia’s Indian unit was not immediately available for comment on

the report. The case is due to be heard in court yesterday. Nokia, which has one of its biggest plants worldwide in the southern Indian city of Chennai, is among a string of multinationals which face tax problems in India, including Cadbury, Royal Dutch Shell and Vodafone. The alleged tax evasion involves software royalty payments to Nokia’s parent, on which 10 percent tax should have been deducted and paid to Indian authorities, the income tax department claims. Nokia hopes that its Chennai manufacturing plant could be unfrozen ahead of its sale to Microsoft Corporation. Software giant Microsoft agreed in September to acquire Nokia’s devices and services business for $7.2 billion, with the Chennai factory part of the deal. The plant employs about 8,000 people and includes productions lines, maintenance assembly and testing operations. —AFP

WASHINGTON: World Bank Group President Dr. Jim Yong Kim (right) speaks during a conversation with the Economic Club of Washington with club president David Rubenstein, in Washington, DC yesterday.—AFP

WASHINGTON: Wall Street banks will need to prove to regulators their trades are done on behalf of clients or to protect against market risks and are not speculative bets for their own profit, under the final version of the Volcker rule released by US officials yesterday. The rule - which five regulatory agencies adopted yesterday- appears to more sharply crack down on so-called proprietary trading than when it was proposed two years ago, likely disappointing banks hoping for more leeway. The five financial regulators that crafted the rule said that they are extending the deadline by which banks have to fully comply by one year to July 2015. Named after former Federal Reser ve Chairman Paul Volcker, who championed the reform, the rule prohibits banks from betting on financial markets with their own money and is a crucial part of the efforts to reform Wall Street. Regulators have struggled for years to agree on a text that, while prohibiting such risky activity, would still allow banks to take on risk on behalf of clients as market-makers, to hedge risk, or when underwriting securities. In the final wording, banks could still engage in market making and take on positions to help clients trade, but their inventories should not exceed “the reasonably expected near-term demands of customers”, the regulators said. The regulators also seek to put an end to socalled portfolio hedging, a practice in which banks entered all kinds of trades that were supposed to hedge risk elsewhere in the business but that could be used as veiled speculation. “The rule would prohibit so-called ‘macro-hedging’ that has caused large speculative losses at institutions in the past,” Martin Gruenberg, the head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, said in a statement. The provision is designed to prevent a repeat of such trading debacles as JPMorgan’s $6 billion trading loss in 2012, dubbed the “London Whale” because of the huge positions the bank took in credit markets. Other changes from the originally proposed rule include a wider exemption for the trading of government bonds, which will now be permitted for foreign sovereign fixed income instruments and not just for US bonds, after complaints from Europe. Implementation of the changes would be delayed by a year until July 2015, the regulators said, a widely expected move after they repeatedly missed deadlines for the rule, which has now mushroomed into almost 900 pages. The

chief executives of the biggest banks would have to attest their banks have appropriate programs in place to achieve compliance with the rule, but would not themselves have to confirm their banks are in compliance. Large investment banks have such sprawling legal structures engaging in different financial activities that the rule needs to be adopted by a patchwork of US agencies: three bank watchdogs and two market regulators. The agencies

that need to adopt the rule, including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the bank regulators, are expecting to largely proceed as planned on Tuesday despite the threat of snowstorms on the US East Coast, which caused federal government offices to shut down. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission canceled a public vote on the rule, but said it would adopt it behind closed doors.— Reuters

Super savings at unbeatable installments from Honda Alghanim KUWAIT: Honda Alghanim, the sole distributor of Honda in Kuwait, has announced a massive savings promotion throughout the month of December which includes installments on Honda City and Civic vehicles. Benefit from Honda Alghanim’s exclusive promotions on the best cars at affordable prices and flexible payment plans. Renowned for its elegant lines, the sporty Honda Civic has exceptional performance and technological features that offers drivers more style, performance and fuel efficiency. The Honda Civic is available at a monthly installment starting at KD89. On the same note, the striking Honda City provides its driver with excellent features as well including precise control, smooth and powerful performance. The Honda City is now available at a monthly installment starting at KD69. Customers are encouraged to take advantage of this limited time offer by visiting the Honda showroom in Safat Alghanim. The showroom is open from 8.30 am until 10 pm from Saturday to Thursday and from 9.30 am until 10 pm on Fridays. Alghanim Motors, the sole distributor of Honda automobiles, power products, marine and motorcycles in Kuwait is committed to providing customers with flexible payment solutions, as well as offering comfortable amenities in its new service center located in Shuwaikh. The Alghanim Motors Service Center provides efficient and cost-effective services at all times. The waiting lounge offers customers a wide array of amenities such as an electronic gaming area, digital satellite channels, free

wireless Internet access as well as relaxing massage chairs. Honda Alghanim’s customers will also enjoy excellent customer service, quality maintenance options and competitive prices on genuine spare parts, all of which are provided by a team of professional and highly skilled technicians.

Air Arabia enhances online offering, launches all new website SHARJAH: As part of its drive to further improve passenger convenience and online experience, Air Arabia, the first and largest lowcost carrier (LCC) in the Middle East and North Africa, yesterday unveiled its new website. Equipped with a number of features intended to make flying with Air Arabia even more pleasant experience, the new website provides quick and easy guide allowing passengers to plan and book at the convenience of their fingertips. The homepage of the new website contains readily visible banners to Air Arabia’s monthly promotions such as ‘hottest flights’ and ‘most popular places,’ which provide a combination of special flight rates, offering significant savings when booking at any given time. These offers are exclusive for online bookings. The new modern design, look and feel of the website and its userfriendly interface also allow passengers to have quick and easy access to most important travel information such as check flights, purchase air tickets, online check-in, view

reservations, change flights, seat selection, pre-book baggage, and many more. The new website also offers a comprehensive destination guide highlighting important information about each city that Air Arabia flies to. Furthermore, the new state-ofthe-art website uses latest cutting edge technology features that not only makes the website faster to browse, but also supports visitors with smart and rich help tools that makes the information personal and geographically relevant as well as provides location-specific offers. Speaking of the new website, Adel Ali, Group CEO of Air Arabia, said: “At Air Arabia, we strive to listen to our passengers, and improve the level of service we offer to our ever growing customer base. The enhanced design and features of the new website are aimed at serving three different categories of customers: those who know where they seek to travel; customers who wish to receive information or help once they decided the destination; and lastly those who need advice

to identify a destination they would like to travel. The new website has taken into considerations these requirements, and we are confident that our customers will find significant value in the new website while they continue to avail our value for money offerings.” Currently offered 8 languages, English, Arabic, French, Russian,

Spanish, German, Italian and Turkish, the new website will see addition of more languages in the months to come. The launch of the new website comes shortly after Air Arabia unveiled its mobile website, accessible from any smart phone, as well as its iPhone app that is available for free in the Apple Apps store.

Irish bank tests send few signals to anxious EU rivals LONDON: Banks in Europe, keen for any hints about next year’s industry health check by European regulators, will find few pointers from Ireland’s just-completed review of its three major lenders. The Irish test results - released by banks on December 2 as a pre-cursor to the country’s December 15 exit from its sovereign bailout - could have provided a flavor of the tests the European Central Bank (ECB) is lining up for the euro zone’s 128 largest banks over the next year. Dublin had hoped its own “balance sheet assessment” of Ireland’s main banks would count as part of Europe’s banking industry check-up. But the Irish banks are not off the hook as the ECB has said they will be put through their paces in the same way as other banks in 2014. “ The Irish Central Bank’s Balance Sheet Assessment was conducted completely independently from the ECB’s planned comprehensive assessment,” a spokeswoman for the ECB said. The ECB aims to check if Europe’s banks have set aside enough for bad loans. Banks will also be tested to see if they have enough capital to withstand future shocks and prevent a repeat of the bank failures that followed the financial crisis. But Bank of Ireland was the only one to publish a detailed statement, a point noted by several London-based analysts and experts. Irish finance minister Michael Noonan said on December 6 AIB and permanent TSB would publish more details shortly. Bank of Ireland’s more detailed statement said the central bank estimated it needed an extra 846 million euros in loan-loss provisions, plus an increase of 547 million euros related to expected loss-changes on defaulted loans. Bank of Ireland

disagrees and is in talks with the central bank on the findings. “I don’t think you can get too much read across from one bank,” said Richard Barfield, a London-based director at PwC’s risk consulting practice. “It would be better for the European system if there was a coordinated release of information from the comprehensive assessments,” a senior Irish banker said of the lessons that could be learned from the handling of the Irish test results. Alan Bowe, a London-based financial credit analyst at JP Morgan, said a key factor of the European tests would be the harmonisation of definitions of non-performing loans (NPLs) and forbearance when borrowers are given more time to pay. “We don’t know the definition of NPL and forbearance they were using here,” Bowe said of the Irish tests. The central bank declined to comment on the definitions used in its review, but has previously published guidelines on NPLs and forbearance that are similar to the European regulator’s. Bank of Ireland did provide some detail on mortgage loan-loss provisions. The central bank estimated the bank needed to set aside an extra 360 million euros for mortgage loan losses. This was because it looked at industry-wide data to see whether the banks’ existing provisions were adequate. Bank of Ireland said it did not believe the industry-wide grid model reflected its risk profile or its likely losses. Bowe said the European tests would look at bank loans individually instead of the industry-wide grid approach used for the Irish banks. “I don’t think it’s going to be done with the same broad brush approach, the time for the AQR (asset quality review) is much longer than the Irish regu-

lator had,” Bowe said. The ECB has close to a year to complete its review. The review also said Bank of Ireland’s property and commercial loans needed an extra 486 million euros ($666.77 million) of provisions, while the expected loss on defaulted loans was 547 million euros higher than the bank’s. Ciaran Callaghan, credit analyst at Dublin-based Merrion Capital, said he expected a similarly tough treatment of banks in the euro zone tests, as banks were given less discretion over their provisions and their assumptions. “This enhanced regulatory intrusion is bound to catch some banks out,” he said, pointing to the prospect of banks having to raise more capital if their bad loans treatment was overhauled. Bank of Ireland is still in discussions with the Irish regulator over some of the review’s findings. The decision whether to take extra provisions or not rests with the bank. “I don’t think there will be the same give and take (in the EU tests),” Bowe said, adding that the EU tests would be more detailed than the Irish ones. If the ECB decides a bank’s provisions are too low, remedial action will be mandatory. Three sources with direct knowledge of the process said the central bank’s guiding force in its review was to stay close to what the ECB would be doing in Frankfurt to avoid duplication. The ECB was silent on any interaction between Ireland’s review and its upcoming tests until December 6, when Noonan’s claim that ECB head Mario Draghi had agreed Ireland would not have to do a repeat exercise triggered the ECB statement that Ireland would be treated in the same way as everyone else. — Reuters



Oil recovers to $110 after biggest decline LONDON: Brent crude oil rose to around $110 a barrel yesterday, recouping some of the previous session’s sharp losses as the US dollar weakened. The US currency hit a six-week low against the euro, increasing the purchasing power for European consumers who have to buy oil in dollars on international markets. Brent for January was up 80 cents at $110.19 a barrel by 1210 GMT, having risen briefly by more than $1 to a high of $110.45. Brent dropped 2 percent on Monday, its biggest loss in five weeks, following mixed economic data from

Germany. US crude oil futures, were up $1.11 at $98.45 a barrel, their highest in six weeks, after their first decline in seven sessions on Monday. “The poor day yesterday (for Brent) was (due to) the mixed German data, which called into question the European recovery,” said Gareth Lewis-Davies, senior energy strategist at BNP Paribas. “I think that was overdone and we’ve seen about 40 percent of the falls yesterday have been recovered.” Helping underpin Brent was persistently low output in Libya at 250,000 barrels

per day (bpd), down from 1.4 million bpd in July. Blockades of Libya’s eastern terminals and intermittent disruptions in the west could cap output at 800,000 bpd in 2014, Adam Longson, a commodities strategist at Morgan Stanley, wrote in a note. Implied Chinese oil demand in November rose 1.5 percent from October’s 9.79 million bpd and was the highest level in five months. However, it was down 5.1 percent from a year earlier, according to Reuters calculations based on preliminary government data.

Brent’s premium to US crude narrowed to its lowest in four weeks as TransCanada Corp began filling a 700,000 bpd pipeline that will transport crude from Cushing, Oklahoma, to Gulf Coast refiners. The company did not say when it expects the line to begin commercial service. The market awaited data on US crude stocks from industry group the American Petroleum Institute to be released at 2130 GMT for an indication of the supply situation in the United States. US crude oil stocks are forecast to have fallen for a second week last week by 2.7

million barrels, a Reuters poll of analysts showed. This is after trade sources said on Friday the supply of North Sea crude that underpins the Brent benchmark - known as Brent, Forties, Oseberg and Ekofisk (BFOE) - would rise in January. “The healthy BFOE loadings program for January and continued dismal refining margins in Europe leave the outlook for Brent spreads moderately bearish, while draws in Cushing have finally started to rein in the W TI-Brent spread,” Seth Kleinman, head of energy research at Citigroup, said in a note. — Reuters

Kuwait unveils NPC framework under the new companies law

Zara Merali

Abdul-Aziz Al-Yaqout

By Abdul-Aziz Al-Yaqout and Zara Merali

zations (i.e. ones s that are more than a ‘sports or social club’ for example). An NPC may have one or more managers appointed by the articles of association or elected by the partners. In Kuwait, limited liability companies are not required to have a board of directors, unless formed by more than seven partners in which case a Supervisory Board must be put in place. The term - which is renewable - of each member is three years, e. Unlike a public association, board members of an NPC may be remunerated providing that this is indicated in the articles of association or authorised by a general assembly resolution. The articles of association may stipulate the managerial structure, overall powers, voting thresholds, appointment and dismissal requirements all under the articles of association.


hile 100 percent Kuwaiti owned public associations have existed since the 1960s, Kuwait introduced for the first time a not-for-profit legal structure in Kuwait under the new Companies Law (Law No. 25 of 2012 (as amended by Law No 97 of 2013) and its associated regulations Resolution No. 425 of 2013). An NPC is a company established under the Companies Law that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals rather than distributing them as profit or dividends. Under this new structure, it does noes not mean that a company cannot engage in commercial activities nor that it cannot generate revenues. Rather, an NPC simply refers to the fact that surplus revenues are reinvested into the company’s objectives rather than distributed. Thus the advantage of an NPC is the ability of a company to reinvest its surplus revenues to achieve the company’s objectives making it particularly well suited to organisations with social, developments or wider economic goals, over and above just profit. NPCs may be structured as limited liability companies Under the Companies Law NPCs can be established in a variety of forms. The most common, easiest, fastest and least expensive company structure is the ‘with limited liability’ (“WLL”) . If established as a limited liability company, the NPC must be 51 percent Kuwaiti owned, have a minimum of two members (i.e. shareholders) and a maximum of 50 members. A WLL structure allows NPC members the opportunity to limit their liability. Each individual member’s liability of an NPC is limited to the extent of each partner’s share capital in the company. The minimum share capital of a limited liability company is KD 7,500. Depending upon the purpose of the company, the share capital requirement may increase. Audit requirements An NPC must appoint an auditor and submit an annual report to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (“MOCI”) in the first three months of its financial year. This must detail its business activities and financial sources as well as attach its balance sheet signed by the authorised signatories of the company, its auditor and any other information requested by the MOCI. Advantages of an NPC over a public association Many social organizations are established as a ‘public association’ under the Public Association Law (Law No. 24 of 1962), regulated by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour (“MOSAL”). These entities can enter into contracts in their own name and can employ staff. However, Kuwaiti groups with an international connection have struggled with this structure given that public associations must be 100 percent Kuwaiti owned and they cannot have a connection with a foreign public association (except with the express permission of MOSAL). A key limitation of a public association structure is that its founders are not protected from liabilities such as claims by creditors (if applicable), employees or volunteer staff, counterparties to any contracts with which the association enters into. Public associations are exposed to less risks than commercial companies. Such risks may be effectively managed by having relevant insurance in place and/or by including exclusions or limitations of liability in its contracts with other parties. Specific insurance or legal advice should be obtained in this regard. A further benefit of an NPC a flexible management structure better suited to more sophisticated not-for-profit organi-

Advantages of an NPC over a charity In Kuwait, charities are organisations established by an Order of council of Ministers (No. 74 of 1999) Concerning Charity Societies and Philanthropic Organizations (“Charity Law”). They are permitted to establish an official fund and/or endowment for the benefit of research, education and society. A charity may be established by a natural or legal person (i.e. a real person or a company) or by instructions stated in a will, each in accordance with the Charity Law and its associated by-laws (Ministerial Order No. 48 of 1999). However, to establish a charity KD 250,000 must be deposited in a local bank as the initial capital of the charity and the charity must establish its independent premises. Charities are also regulated by the Central Bank of Kuwait and their maintenance involves greater financial compliances. A charity may also employ persons directly. Charities are established by making an application to MOSAL. Although charities have distinct legal characteristics, regulated by both MOSAL and the Central Bank of Kuwait, they are neither companies nor do they enjoy limited liability. Therefore, the advantage of the NPC structure over a charity is that an NPC enjoys limited liability and it is less heavily regulated than a charity (as charities are permitted to accept donations and charities). That is, the right to accept charities is attached to substantial regulatory oversight. Restrictions on an NPC structure • A NPC cannot be merged with another company, unless that company is a non-profit company; • The NPC cannot receive charity nor donations and it cannot create an endowment and in this sense it is distinct and separate from a charitable entity. • The NPC must be licensed by the relevant authorities to exercise any activities relating to ‘vulnerable persons’ such as children, the elderly, hospitalised, disabled or other persons with special needs. Furthermore, an NPC may not conduct any activities which are political, religious, ideological, sectarian, illegal, or contrary to Kuwaiti public order and morality. Since the enactment of the Companies Law DLA Piper has advised several organizations on the establishment of NPCs and is advising on important structural issues to further strengthen foreign shareholder interests and to help NPCs manage the restrictions on self-financing .Additionally, the firm supports INJAZ Al-Arab in the region, a charitable organisation which aims to harness and mentor young Arab business leaders of the future, helping to inspire a culture of entrepreneurialism and business innovation amongst Arab youth, providing us with first-hand knowledge and experience of the issues faced by organisations operating within the not for profit sector through our continued pro bono work.



The all-new BMW X5 debuts in Kuwait Sportier look, more spacious interior and increased comfort KUWAIT: Ali Alghanim & Sons Automotive, the official BMW Group importer in Kuwait, has welcomed the all-new BMW X5 - pioneer of the Sports Activity Vehicle segment and global market leader in its class. The all-new BMW X5 debuted at the Avenues Shopping Mall in Kuwait from the 1st till 14th of December. Visitors were able to experience the entire range of improvements on the Sports Activity Vehicle daily from 10:00 am until 10:00pm. Offering more space, comfort, power and functionality, the new model is poised to deliver even more driving pleasure to discerning customers in Kuwait. Established back in 1999, the first generation BMW X5 was the first vehicle of its kind to combine superior dynamics on-road with impressive off-road characteristics thanks to BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive system. Since its inception, the BMW X5 has been the absolute market leader in the Sports Activity Vehicle segment, and one of BMW ’s best-selling model series accounting for almost a third of all BMW models sold globally. This third generation BMW X5 will once again set new standards with its evolutionary design features, spacious interior and increased driving comfort. In addition, for the first time, the X5 will be available with a choice of new suspension packages. These include the Adaptive Suspension Comfort, Dynamic, Professional and Adaptive M Suspension, all of which provides further enhanced ride comfort. Design: Sportier, expressive The design of the new BMW X5 combines the X hallmark characteristics with the power, presence and the sportiness of classic BMW models. An even more

expressive front-end look with twin circular headlights extending into the new broad-set kidney grille; an elegantly stretched silhouette, new distinctive rear and a new Sparkling Brown color option. Side on, the eye-catching curved airbreather over the athletically moulded wheel arches; horizontal lines and taut surfaces optimise the models aerodynamic properties. From the rear, new aeroblades can be seen along with a newly shaped rectangular exhaust pipe and accentuated lights for a more distinctive look. Personalized luxury Inside the redesigned exterior of the new BMW X5 is a more luxurious interior environment with a selection of high quality leather and trims available, atmospheric lighting options and increased spaciousness. Due to the model’s 3.2cm extended wheelbase, the cockpit now plays host to a newly raised seating position and striking horizontal lines which extend into the door trim and noticeably enhance the interior.

When it comes to storage, the boot can now hold 650 - 1,870 litres, a noticeable increase on its predecessor’s capacity. In addition, an optional third row of seats will turn the new BMW X5 into a sevenseater. The outer seats in the second row can be tilted far towards the front, making it easy to access the two additional seats. In addition, the BMW iDrive controller features a new touch sensitive controller for intuitive and convenient operations of the iDrive system. Instead of having to scroll for letter input, users can now write letters on the surface of the iDrive controller. Customers keen to make the configuration of the exterior and interior a little more personalised, can for the first time, order the new BMW X5 with Pure Experience and Pure Excellence design packages, in addition to the M Sport package. The exterior and interior content of these two design packages can be ordered separately, and they can be combined with each other with standard equipment or the M Sport package.

Engines: Increased performance BMW Twin Power Turbo technology and additional BMW EfficientDynamics features ensure that the new BMW X5 is faster and more efficient than ever. Under the bonnet sits a newly enhanced engine variant, the BMW X5 xDrive50i with a new generation of the V8 petrol engine (330 kW/450 hp), 10 percent more power power than the predecessor X5 model. The Driving Experience Control switch is fitted as standard with Comfort, Dynamic and Professional adaptive suspension packages and Adaptive M suspension which can be specified to enhance the car’s sporty handling properties and ride comfort. Joining the BMW X5 xDrive50i in Februar y 2014 will be the BMW X5 xDrive35i engine (225 kW/306 hp). BMW Group’s commitment to reducing fuel consumption and emissions is as visible as ever as this model boasts weight minimisation features, optimised air guidance, enhanced engine technology and the standard-fitted - and extremely efficient - eight-speed auto-

matic gearbox with additional BMW EfficientDynamics technology; Auto Start Stop function, ECO PRO mode including coasting function and Proactive Driving Assistant. Commenting on the launch of the all-new BMW X5, Yousef Qatami, Managing Director of Mohamed Yousuf Naghi Motors (BMW Group), said: “Our customers here in Kuwait are constantly on the lookout for the best in motoring. Since its inception, the BMW X5 has been delivering just that - the best in the Sports Activity Segment. We are confident that this latest third generation BMW X5 will continue building on the sheer dominance that the BMW X5 has over its segment.” The BMW X5 is BMW Group’s best-selling Sports Activity Vehicle and has over the years continued to set new standards in the automotive industry in terms of its unusually sporty characteristics and innovative on-road technology. The third generation will once again establish a new benchmark in its class and ensure that this X model family member stays in pole position.

Kuwait real estate sales rose 15% in October NBK ECONOMIC REPORT

BEIJING: A woman walks past a China Everbright Bank in Beijing yesterday. China Everbright Bank, a mid-sized lender, raised over $1.6 billion from cornerstone investors yesterday for a planned initial offering in Hong Kong that could become the city’s biggest of the year. — AFP

China industrial output growth slows to 10.0% BEIJING: Growth in China’s industrial production slowed in November but retail sales expanded at a faster pace, official figures showed yesterday, painting a mixed picture of the world’s second-largest economy. Industrial output, which measures production at factories, workshops and mines, rose 10.0 percent in November year-on-year, the National Bureau of Statistics announced. That was a slowdown from the 10.3 percent expansion recorded in October, but matched the median forecast of 11 economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires. Retail sales rose 13.7 percent in November from the year before-an acceleration from the 13.3 percent registered in October. “Today’s data could be either market-neutral or slightly positive,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch economists Lu Ting, Zhi Xiaojia and others wrote in a report. They added the figures might raise expectations for stronger growth in the current fourth quarter, while “the structure of the economy seems to be improved towards consumption”. Separately, an industry group announced yesterday that auto sales in China, the world’s largest car market, rose 14.1 percent year-onyear to a record high in November. Citing solid demand for passenger vehicles, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said in a statement that a total of 2.04 million vehicles were sold in China last month. The various

November data followed publication of strong export and benign inflation figures for the month as China’s economy-a driver of global and regional growth-shows signs of strength after a slump in the first half of the year. Gross domestic product expanded 7.8 percent year-on-year in July-September, snapping a two-quarter slowdown, with data for the final three months of the year so far suggesting a steady outlook. Figures on Monday showed inflation slowed to 3.0 percent in November, after two months of acceleration in consumer prices, well under the government’s target for the year of 3.5 percent. “With a muted inflation and a pace of GDP growth in line with China’s potential, we expect the government to maintain neutral monetary and fiscal policies in the next couple of quarters while increasing their efforts on drafting and carrying out structural reforms,” the Bank of America Merrill Lynch economists wrote. The ruling Communist Party promised last month to pursue a range of reforms, including encouraging a bigger role for the private sector, further interest rate liberalization and loosened currency controls. On Sunday the General Administration of Customs said exports accelerated 12.7 percent year-on-year in November while import growth weakened, resulting in the country’s biggest trade surplus in nearly five years.—AFP

KUWAIT: Real estate data for October show sales rising by 15 percent y/y to KD251 million. October did very well considering the week-long Eid Al-Adha Holiday; thus only three weeks of data were present. Sector-wise, sales in the commercial sector saw a solid rebound from a weak September. Other sectors were softer, probably reflecting the short working month. Sales in the residential sector reached KD158 million in October, an 11 percent y/y increase. The increase is the smallest since April and is a result of the drop in the number of transactions (-16 percent y/y). In terms of location, 46 percent of transactions were in Ahmadi governorate, mostly in the Sabah Al-Ahmed Sea-City. While Mubarak Al-Kabeer maintained its position in second place two months in a row, keeping Hawalli in third. Plot transactions accounted for 65 percent of all transactions in the residential sector leaving existing homes in second with 35 percent. Investment sector sales stood at only KD61 million in October, declining 18 percent y/y. Sales in October were the lowest since August 2012. The average transaction size reached KD701,000, a 40

percent y/y increase. Whole buildings made up 36 percent of all transactions in this sector, while individual apartments received the larger share of 47 percent and the rest went to empty plots. Commercial sector sales surged to KD32 million in October from

growth in 8 out of 10 months so far this year. Away from sales, the Savings and Credit Bank (SCB) approved KD37 million in loans during October, up 66 percent y/y. The value of disbursed loans increased 37 percent y/y to KD12 million. Also,

just KD2 million a year earlier. The increase in sales came from 8 transactions, 5 of which were in Farwaniya Governorate. The increase highlights the high volatility of sales in the commercial sector. Overall, this sector has done exceptionally well in 2013 recording y/y

similar to recent trends, the vast majority of loans approved and disbursed were for new construction. Fewer were for the purchase of existing homes or maintenance. Loan activity at the SCB is to some extent linked to the distribution of plots and homes under the

government’s housing program. Although comprehensive data is not readily available, a recent report from the Public Authority for Housing and Welfare suggests that housing distributions have continued apace. The authority has completed the distribution of all 693 plots in Al-Nassem area. Also, the authority has added an additional 350 planned apartments in Jaber Al-Ahmed City bringing the total to 710 apartments in the area compared to their last report in May. Separately, the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) introduced new regulations for Ejar, a semi-mortgage product that was previously exclusive to Islamic banks. The CBK regulations now allow for all banks to provide the product amidst tighter control. According to the new regulations, banks are allowed to finance up to 50 percent of the value of the plot, 60 percent for existing homes and 70 percent for new construction. However, the CBK restricted the financing to a 10-year period, and further restricted eligibility by excluding the customer’s salary and any possible income generated by the property from the customer ’s portfolio. This new product will likely affect a relatively small proportion of the market.

‘Warp speed’ risk for UK house prices LONDON: Expectations of future British house price rises have hit a 14-year high just as central bank chief Mark Carney signalled monetary policy would remain exceptionally loose despite the potential for them to jump at ‘warp speed’. Britain is growing faster than many other big rich economies although it has still not passed its precrisis peak. There are some concerns, however, that it is a housing-led recovery - and a potential bubble - spurred by government stimulus. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said yesterday that 59 percent of surveyors in November forecast prices would rise over the next three months, the highest reading since September 1999. Speaking in New York ahead of the survey, Carney signalled that monetary policy was not about to be tightened even though there

were potential dangers in the housing market. “We’re concerned about potential developments in the housing market,” Carney said. He said activity in the housing sector was lower than before the financial crisis, and bank underwriting standards had been “substantially transformed”. “But there is a history of things shifting in the UK and the housing market of moving from stall speed to warp speed and underwriting standards slipping. So we want to avoid that,” Carney said. The RICS measure of house prices hit +58 in November, edging up from October to an 11-year high as government incentives and more optimism on the economy helped spur demand. Economists in a Reuters poll had predicted the price index would rise to +60. Positive readings mean more members reported price rises rather

than falls in the preceding three months. Prices rose for a second consecutive month in every area of Britain, while the average number of homes sold per chartered surveyor grew to 20.6, up from 15.9 in the same period of 2012. But RICS warned again of a lack of homes available to buy. “If there is not a meaningful increase in new homes, the likelihood is that prices, and for that matter rents, will continue to push upwards, making the cost of shelter ever more unaffordable,” said Simon Rubinsohn, RICS’s chief economist. Separate data showed Britain was making some progress in slowly reducing its reliance on consumers. Manufacturing output rose for a second month in October but the country’s trade deficit was bigger than forecasts. —Reuters



Zain designated as ‘Middle East Operator of the Year’ Another recognition for Zain Iraq at CommsMEA Awards

Warba Bank’s stand at the exhibition

Warba Bank stimulates high traffic to its advantageous offers KUWAIT: Adnan Al-Salem, Chief Retail Banking Officer - Warba Bank, announced that Warba Bank’s participation in the 3rd Industries and Construction Exhibition held from 2 to 5 Dec 2013 has played an important role in implementing the bank’s strategy aiming to communicate with its customers and familiarize them with the bank’s Shariacompliant services and products. In a press release on the exhibition’s conclusion, Al-Salem stated that Warba has met so many participants of individuals and companies interested in the services of the bank and its financing solutions, which contributed largely to supporting interaction between the bank and the participants. High turnout Al-Salem said that despite being the newest Islamic bank in Kuwait, Warba Bank witnessed high turnout from various customer segments desirous to utilize the bank’s diversified services and learn more about the bank’s products and financing solutions, which constitutes a great testament to the visitors’ keenness to visit Warba’s stand. He pointed out that Warba’s platinum sponsorship of this exhibition aimed at

increasing the bank’s market share by offering unique and diverse services to a new segment of customers. He added that the exhibition was a great opportunity to communicate with entities from both the public and private sectors, and identify the various needs of individuals. Such endeavors stem from the Bank’s belief in the importance of communication with the public in order to identify their needs, and seek to fulfill such needs in a Sharia compliant way. Remarkable presence Al-Salem pointed out that the high turnout witnessed by Warba’s stand proved the significant presence of the bank and is a further testament to the bank’s successful marketing policy. He stated that the bank is seeking to reach its customers throughout vivid and dynamic areas of Kuwait. It is noteworthy that Warba intends to participate in many exhibitions and similar events related to the business and banking markets in implementation of its marketing strategy aiming to promote the bank’s services, introduce its numerous modern banking products and communicate with its costumers anytime and everywhere.

BAGHDAD: Zain Group, a pioneer in mobile telecommunications in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, is proud to announce the award of the Middle East Operator of the Year accolade to its operation in Iraq at a gala awards ceremony hosted by CommsMEA in Dubai last week. This award marks a special period for Zain Iraq as just last month it was also awarded the Telecom Operator of the Year accolade at the prestigious Arabian Business Achievement Awards 2013. CommsMEA is a highly respected online and print telecom publication with circulation across the Middle East and Africa, and its annual awards ceremony identifies some of the best performing telecom companies and individuals from within the region over the past 12 months. The black-tie gala ceremony was attended by regional and international industry figures. On announcing the accolade, the five team independent judging panel of CommsMEA noted, “Zain Iraq is an exemplary telecom operator in the professional manner in which it conducts itself, and the contribution it continues to make to the telecom sector in Iraq, as well as to the wider economy in the country. We were impressed by the KPIs the company continues to announce, making it a market-leading operator serving over 14.5 million customers, reflecting a 48 percent market share. Its exceptional network covers 97 percent of Iraq’s population, with Zain having invested over $4.5 billion in Iraq since commencing its operations in 2003. We applaud these impressive developments and achievements made by the company, and believe it is a most worthy winner of the Middle East Operator of the Year 2013 award.” Also the judges noted, “Zain Iraq’s wide-ranging educational, health and cultural programs are all indicative of a company acting with sound sustainability and corporate social responsibility values, which we further recognize and congratulate.” Zain Iraq Chairman, Mohammed Charchafchi commented on the award: “We appreciate this

recognition and remain wholeheartedly committed to contributing positively to our sector and the wider economy in Iraq. Zain is one with the people of Iraq, and any success we enjoy in the country is directly linked to the people there, be it our 14.5 million customers or our 3,000 staff. We share this award with them.” Scott Gegenheimer, Zain Group CEO said: “Zain Iraq is in the final stages of its preparation for a stock market listing in 2014, which will result in more Iraqis gaining ownership of the

mously gratifying to witness the impact of our business on the economic and social development of so many Iraqis on a daily basis. Our numerous sustainable and corporate social responsibility programs across the country are just as important to Zain as are our commercial activities, and being identified as Middle East Operator of the Year is an added bonus.” Zain employs over 3,000 highly trained Iraqi nationals directly, though the number of Iraqis drawing an income as a result of Zain’s opera-

largest and most dynamic mobile operator serving their country. Zain Group will continue to support the local management team whose solid track record is marked by sustained revenue growth and improving profitability over the years, maintaining Zain’s market leadership in Iraq. We believe our team in Iraq is most deserving of this award and we wish them continued success.” Wael Ghanayem, Chief Financial and Operating Officer of Zain Iraq, added: “It is enor-

tions is estimated at many multiples of that number. Zain’s modern network infrastructure, which has recently been expanded to the northern region, is 3G-ready nationwide, and as soon as authorities provide the necessary spectrum the operator will be in the position to introduce the service immediately. The company believes there is huge pent-up potential for Zain Iraq, driven by strong macroeconomic fundamentals, especially in the mobile data segment.

DHL Express partners with SkyBox to introduce new online shopping service

Al-Zayani: Maserati starts celebration of first 100 years MODENA: With the month of December Maserati officially enters the 100th year of its history. It does so in a period of unprecedented health and unparalleled growth. More than 23,000 orders worldwide up to date are propelling Maserati into a new dimension. Today Maserati is amongst the fastest growing brands in the United States and a concrete reality in nearly 70 markets in the world, starting with China, Maserati’s second largest commercial reality on the planet. A company 100 years young, Maserati showcased only days ago at the Los Angeles Auto Show its new brand look and marketing communication campaign. Both are inspired by “ The Opposite of Ordinary” concept, a testament to the company’s first 100 years and a guideline for the next 100. For, as the whole history of Maserati proves, while some automobiles are inspired by basic geometry, Maserat is are simply inspired.

It is with great pride that Maserati introduces the Centennial Logo. Maserati’s world famous Trident was inspired from the sculptures of Italy itself. So it seemed fitting to sculpt a new image to represent our first 100 years of passion in car-making. The Maserati Centennial Logo is more medallion than graphic. It lives as a forged symbol of our racing heritage. But even more importantly, it resembles nothing found among other luxury brands. And so it serves as a constant reminder of our core belief. That in everything we build for the next 100 years, to always be-The Absolute Opposite of Ordinary. Maserati was founded in Bologna, Italy, on December 1, 1914 and officially started operation on December 14, 1914. The nucleus of the company was then represented by Alfieri Maserati and two of his brothers, Ettore and Ernesto. They all had an interest in mechanics and a love for speed. Though engaged in all matters technical and commercial of their new enterprise, they all at one point sat behind the steering wheel of their racing cars in the golden days of motor racing. A fourth brother, Bindo, joined the company when Alfieri died in 1932. A fifth brother, Mario, is credited with designing the famed Maserati logo, drawing inspiration from the Neptune fountain in downtown Bologna. Maserati produced its first car in 1926 - a race car named Tipo 26. It debuted with a victory in the 1926 Targa Florio, the first of an endless string of wins which include two editions of the Indianapolis 500, 9 wins in Formula One and the 1957 F1 World Championship. In 1947 Maserati stunned the world with its first passenger car, the A6 grand tourer. And in 1963, with the first generation Quattroporte, Maserati gave the automotive market a car that simply wasn’t

there - the world’s first sports luxury sedan. In terms of product range, the Centennial could not have come at a better time, with models such as the brand-new Quattroporte and Ghibli drawing inspiration from a long tradition of successful automobiles which have each redefined Italian sports cars in terms of style and performance, comfort and elegance - and are now taking the world by storm. Maserati is planning a long series of activities to celebrate its first 100 years as events will be organized in all major Maserati markets in the world. The zenith of the year-long activity will be the official Maserati gathering in Modena from September 19 through September 21, 2014. An estimated 250 Maserati models will convene in Modena from all over the world. The three-day program will include drives on scenic Italian roads tied to Maserati’s history and multiple sessions on racetrack. A full and detailed program of the event will be released at a later date. In the second half of 2014, Modena will play host to an extraordinary exhibition of some of the most evocative models in Maserati’s history. The Museo Casa Enzo Ferrariwill show a special displayof Maserati’s many iconic models, both passenger cars and race cars, all brought together because they hold special significance in the history of Maserati. The first tangible sign of the celebration for Maserati’s 100 years is the official Centennial book, to be released the first week of December and formally presented at the Maserati HQ showroom in Modena on Friday, December 6. “Maserati - A Century of History” has been written by four highly qualified authors and chronicles the Maserati century along three main themes: company history, model range, motor sports. A dedicated Maserati Centennial website - - will keep Maserati friends, fans, clients and collectors informed of all the activities planned to celebrate the 100th anniversary. The dedicated website is online from today, December 2. As Maserati’s Centennial celebrations get underway, the special section to mark the occasion makes its debut on The section provides exhaustive details on the legendary Maserati marque, from its establishment in 1914 to the present day while #Maserati100 is the official hashtag through which anyone can keep track of all the Centennial news, events and content. The new section will allow visitors to learn about Maserati’s history through a captivating voyage that takes in unforgettable cars, famous names, a timeline of the most important events, the biggest projects, the innovations and the many achievements in the world of racing. The content is enhanced with downloadable materials and users can even vote for their best-ever Maserati. And it doesn’t end there: on the 13month long journey from December 2013 to December 2014, will be frequently updated with new content, events, downloadable material and a section where users can upload content related to events taking place around the world to mark Maserati’s Centennial. All people will need to do to receive the updates and relive Maserati’s history is sign up for the monthly newsletter. The Maserati Centennial year will officially end on Sunday, December 14, 2014, with a dedicated event.

Bridgestone Corp reveals second generation ‘Air Free Concept (non-pneumatic) tyre’ DUBAI: Bridgestone Corporation revealed its second generation “Air Free Concept (NonPneumatic) Tyre” at the 43 Tokyo Motor Show 2013. The revolutionary new design features improved load-bearing capabilities, environmental design and driving performance. The latest improvements to the “Air Free Concept Tyre” brings Bridgestone one step closer to a viable, commercially available air free tyre. Special features With a unique structure of spokes stretching along the inner sides of the tyres supporting the weight of the vehicle, there is no need to periodically refill the tyres with air, meaning that the tyres require less maintenance. At the same time the worry of punctures is eliminated. In addition, the spoke structure is made from thermoplastic resinii and, along with the rubber in the tread portion, the materials used in the tyres are recyclable, contributing to the efficient use of resources. Further, by pursuing extremely low rolling resistance and contributing to reductions in CO2 emissions through use of proprietary technologies, Bridgestone believes it is possible to achieve even higher levels of environmental friendliness and safety. Bridgestone is pursuing this technological development with the aim of achieving a “cradle to cradle” process that proactively maximizes the cyclical use of resources from worn tyres into new tyres and the use of recyclable resources. New technologies used in and special features of the second generation tyres are as follows. 1.Increased versatility Bridgestone is further optimizing the spoke structure by using high-strength but flexible high-performance resin as a material and employing finite element method (FEM) simulations in the design to reduce stress and deformation in the inner part of the tyre. By doing so, the second generation of “Air Free Concept tyre” has increased versatility through improved load-bearing capabilities and driving performance compared with the first generationiii . High-speed travel (maximum 60 km/h) in ultralight vehiclesiv has also become possible. 2.Pursuing low rolling resistance About 90 percent of energy loss from tyre rolling resistance comes from repeated changes in the shape of tyres as they roll. In the second generation of airless tyres, Bridgestone has succeeded in making a significant reduc-

tion in energy loss by using proprietary materials technologies and simplifying the structure of the tyres. As a result, these “Air Free Concept tyre” have achieved the same level of low rolling resistance as our pneumatic fuel-efficient tyres, making possible a contribution to reductions in CO2 emissions. The Bridgestone Group’s Environmental Mission Statement outlines its goal to help contribute to a more sustainable society, with particular emphasis on three areas: ecological conservation, resource conservation, and reduction of CO2 emissions. The statement clarifies the direction of the Group’s long-term environmental aspirations as it pushes forward with a variety of activities that contribute to environmental preservation. Bridgestone is advancing development of the “Air Free Concept tyre” as a more environmentally friendly product than existing tyres and aims to bring about commercial use in a wide range of vehicles as soon as possible. Bridgestone believes that through effective resource usage and efficient operations alongside reduced CO2 emissions from improved fuel efficiency, as part of its aim to achieve a

balance between its business and the environment, it can continue to offer attractive products to its customers far into the future. The Company will continue to implement multiple technological innovations to help bring about a more sustainable society. (Note) The airless concept tyre is one of Bridgestone’s initiatives aimed toward 100 percent use of sustainable materials and contributing to globally agreed CO2 emissions reduction targets (reduction of at least 50 percent) as part of the Company’s long-term vision.

KUWAIT: DHL Express, the world’s leading International Express provider, joins forces with SkyBOX to present a new product to its customers in Kuwait. The partnership agreement with SkyBOX the leading online shopping website, introduces a new innovative online shopping service that enables customers to shop online from any store in the USA and UK through SkyBOX and have their shipments delivered to their door via DHL Express. This service, tailor-made for convenience and flexibility, facilitates online shopping from US and UK websites that do not ship internationally or accept international credit cards. SkyBOX offers a concierge service through which customers can buy from the US and UK and pay in local currency. They will then receive information on the status of their order and tracking references by email and will be able to view purchases and follow up through the VIDEO tracking. “It is essential for us to understand the market demands and provide the services that would continuously maintain our position as market leader”, said Omar Hariri DHL Express Kuwait Country Manager “Kuwaitis are renown to be savvy online shoppers, this new service caters perfectly to their growing demands and provides a carefree delivery service for online shopping”. Online shoppers in Kuwait now have the leisure to access unlimited best range products from the United States and United Kingdom internet retailers and benefit of lower prices with the boundaries of shipping removed. This new service has been running for 5 months as part of the initial testing stage and has achieved staggering results proving to be a big success in the Kuwaiti market.

Amazing offers on auto finance from ABK & GMC KUWAIT: In collaboration GMC Behbehani, ABK announces the provision of auto financing services to its clients who want a new car but need financing for it. Stewart Lockie, GM Retail banking, said “Auto Finance is one of the most important types of financing as it is related with an essential product which is an integral part of our lives. ABK strives to provide easy and affordable ways to fulfill its clients’ needs; with this offer clients can enjoy discounts up to KD 250 when financing their car with ABK amongst other benefits”. Lockie added: “ABK, keen to be unique in the services and products offered, including Auto financing, offers special packages on various vehicle brands with the largest international car agencies”. It is worth mentioning that in addition to the discount announced; ABK offers more advantages like financing up to KD15,000 without the obligation of transferring the salary to the Bank. For more information about the auto financing services please call Ahlan Ahli on 1899899, or chat live through Ahli Chat via our website to talk to one of our account managers.



Chinese investors seek to exploit Bitcoin volatility SHANGHAI: Chinese speculators have seen Bitcoin values plunge, soar and plunge again within days, but say the virtual currency’s extreme volatility is a profit opportunity despite the white-knuckle ride. China is the world’s biggest market for trading Bitcoins, but around $5 billion was wiped off the value of the currency’s global stock within an hour of an announcement from Beijing’s central bank in early December, banning financial institutions from dealing in it. Exchange rates on BTCChina, the country’s biggest Bitcoin trading platform, slumped more than 35 percent from a recent high of 7,050 yuan (around $1,150), almost as much as an ounce of gold. They climbed back above 6,000 yuan, until one of Chinese Internet giant Baidu’s websites said it would no longer accept the virtual currency as payment. The following day Bitcoins were down to 3,821 yuan-before rising again to nudge 6,000 yuan on Tuesday. “Prices are certainly volatile when it’s in the teeth of the storm, but such volatility will create short-term arbitrage opportunities,” Wei Zhicheng,

a 27-year old Shanghai based investor, told AFP. He bought more of the virtual currency when the price fell. “Risks are peer to peer with opportunities,” he said. Bitcoin was invented in the wake of the global financial crisis by a computer scientist using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. It is based on cryptography and only 21 million units can ever be created, which can be stored either virtually or on a user’s hard drive. It offers a largely anonymous payment system with no centralised structure and transactions are publicly logged in what is known as the “block chain”, with those who maintain it being paid in new units, a process known as “mining”. Bitcoin has become a global phenomenon, with the price rising so much that a Norwegian man was able to buy an apartment with some of the 5,000 Bitcoins he bought for just $24 in 2009. The explosive growth has raised alarm bells, with analysts warning of a potential crash due to a lack of fundamental underpinning. “The trading of Bitcoin has already formed a

bubble,” Ding Zhaoyong, a finance professor at Jilin University, told AFP. “The inventor did not pledge any assets to guarantee Bitcoin’s value, so when the bubble bursts, all you have left is just a string of useless numbers,” he said. But Chinese buyers have piled into Bitcoins this year, driving the BTCChina price up from 82.29 yuan on January 1 to a high of 7,588.88 yuan on Nov 30, a 9,122 percent increase. Chinese investors have a limited range of options for their money, with the authorities imposing restrictions on property purchases, historically poor returns from the domestic stock market, and low interest rates offered to savers. At the same time the authorities retain significant control over the economy, and are unlikely to welcome the prospect of that being diluted by an independent currency. Although the ruling Communist Party recently vowed that market forces will be allowed to “play a decisive role” in the future, tight capital controls remain in place, with the yuan currency not allowed to float freely against global counterparts.

In its announcement the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the central bank, defined Bitcoin as a “virtual commodity”, ruling out the possibility that it will gain legal status as currency. It ordered financial institutions not to provide services and products related to Bitcoin-although it allowed individuals to trade it at their own risk. The central bank also warned of dangers associated with Bitcoin trading, especially after media reported that three people had been detained for allegedly defrauding Bitcoin investors, leaving hundreds with more than 20 million yuan in combined losses. Nonetheless, BTCChina CEO Bobby Lee says that the e-money offers a new twist on investing for Chinese, known for conservatively investing their assets. “China has been known as a nation of savers, people save for a rainy day,” the ex-Yahoo engineer told AFP. Bitcoin is “a global asset class” equal to common investment choices including gold, shares and real estate, he said. “Bitcoin will go mainstream, I have full confidence. We hope to push this forward in China.” — AFP

Tech firms to protect personal data, profits Digital advertising at stake?

PENNSYLVANIA: In this photo, Nick McGill wears the Titan Arm as he poses at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. — AP

Students’ robotic arm can make you stronger PHILADELPHIA: Need a hand lifting something? A robotic device invented by University of Pennsylvania engineering students can help its wearer carry an additional 40 pounds. Titan Arm looks and sounds like part of a superhero’s costume. But its creators say it’s designed for ordinary people - those who need either physical rehabilitation or a little extra muscle for their job. In technical terms, the apparatus is an untethered, upper-body exoskeleton; to the layman, it’s essentially a battery-powered arm brace attached to a backpack. Either way, Titan Arm’s cost-efficient design has won the team accolades and at least $75,000 in prize money. “They built something that people can relate to,” said Robert Carpick, chairman of Penn’s mechanical engineering department. “And of course it appeals clearly to what we’ve all seen in so many science-fiction movies of superhuman strength being endowed by an exoskeleton.” The project builds on existing studies of such body equipment, sometimes called “wearable robots.” Research companies have built lower-body exoskeletons that help paralyzed people walk, though current models aren’t approved for retail and can cost $50,000 to $100,000. The Penn students were moved by the power of that concept - restoring mobility to those who have suffered traumas - as well as the idea of preventing injuries in those who perform repetitive heavy-lifting tasks, said team member Nick Parrotta. “When we started talking to physical therapists and prospective users, or people who have gone through these types of injuries, we just kept on getting more and more motivated,” said Parrotta, now in graduate school at the university. So for their senior capstone project last year, Parrotta and classmates Elizabeth Beattie, Nick McGill and Niko Vladimirov set out to develop an affordable, lightweight suit for the right arm. They

modeled pieces using 3-D printers and computer design programs, eventually making most components out of aluminum, Beattie said. The final product cost less than $2,000 and weighs 18 pounds - less than the backpack that Beattie usually carries. A handheld joystick controls motorized cables that raise and lower the arm; sensors measure the wearer’s range of motion to help track rehab progress. Since its unveiling, Titan Arm has won the $10,000 Intel Cornell Cup USA and the $65,000 James Dyson Award. The resulting publicity generated a slew of interest from potential users, including grandparents who find it hard to lift their grandchildren. “We found out that some people can’t even lift a cast-iron pan to cook dinner,” McGill said. Experts say the aging population represents a potentially big customer base for exoskeletons, which originally were researched for military applications. “There is certainly a market, but it’s slowly emerging because the systems are not perfect as yet,” said Paolo Bonato, director of the Motion Analysis Lab at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston. Titan Arm’s design impressed Yong-Lae Park, an assistant professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh who watched a video demonstration. He noted, though, that its low cost represent parts only, not the salaries or marketing built into the price of other products. Park’s research is focused on making exoskeletons less noticeable - “more like a Spider-Man suit than an Iron Man suit,” he said. The Titan team hopes to refine their prototype, although three members are now busy with graduate studies at Penn and one is working on the West Coast. Among the considerations, Parrotta said, are different control strategies and more innovative materials and manufacturing. And, of course, a second arm. — AP

SAN FRANCISCO: Even as Silicon Valley speaks out against the US government’s surveillance methods, technology companies are turning a handsome profit by mining personal data and peering into people’s online habits. The industry’s profit machine has become tarnished by revelations that the National Security Agency digs deep into the everyday lives of Web surfers. As a result, companies including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are becoming more aggressive in their attempts to counter any perception that they voluntarily give the government access to users’ email and other sensitive information. Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith, said in a blog post last week that the US government’s online surveillance efforts “threaten to seriously undermine confidence in the security and privacy of online communications.” “Indeed, government snooping potentially now constitutes an ‘advanced persistent threat,’ alongside sophisticated malware and cyber-attacks,” Smith wrote. The industry’s latest salvo came Monday with the release of an open letter to President Barack Obama and the introduction of a new website calling for more stringent controls on electronic espionage. The public relations maneuver escalates a battle that Silicon Valley has waged since June, when media reports based on internal documents revealed the NSA had fashioned an elaborate system to vacuum up some of the user data that US technology companies collect. “The entire tech industry has been implicated and is now facing a global backlash,” says Daniel Castro, a senior analyst for the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington DC think tank. As part of the industry’s crusade, companies are going to court and to the US Congress in an effort to force the government to reveal details of its online investigations. They believe data will show that, in the past five years, information turned over to the government under court order has affected a small fraction of the more than 1 billion people who use their products. At stake is the trust of massive online audiences that attract digital advertising. As companies collect personal data and learn more about each user’s interests and habits, advertising becomes easier to sell. The marketing campaigns are particularly important to Google, Yahoo and Facebook, all of which make most of their money from ads. Although Microsoft and Apple make billions from the sale of software and devices, the two companies are also hitching their fortunes to Internet services. “We are now entering a new phase of the Internet that I call ‘data wars,’” says Ethan Oberman, CEO of Internet privacy specialist SpiderOak. “It’s all about who can amass the most personal data because that data has become so valuable that whoever accumulates the most is going to win. If these companies are going to

SAN FRANCISCO: Larry Page, Google’s co-founder and chief executive, speaks during the keynote presentation at Google I/O 2013. — AP engage in these data wars, the security and pri- Staten told The Associated Press he now believes chances are remote that losses will surpass $20 vacy of this data becomes of critical significance.” The battle pits US national security agencies billion. That’s because he believes most compaagainst an industry that has been a bright spot in nies around the world are already encrypting the the country’s dreary economy. More than $1.3 vital information they store on the computers of trillion in shareholder wealth is tied up in Apple, outside vendors. “The reality is no enterprise is going to be Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo alone, and the companies collectively employ more naive,” Staten says. Wary of the US government’s electronic espionage, Brazilian President Dilma than 243,000 people. In a study for his think tank, Castro predicted Rousseff ordered a series of measures aimed at that the US government’s online surveillance will greater online independence and security for a take away up to $35 billion in revenue from US country that boasts Latin America’s largest econotechnology companies that host services over my. Other countries and international regulators the Internet and sell remote data storage - a con- are considering strict rules for data-handling by cept broadly known as “cloud computing.” The US tech companies. If that were to happen, it estimate, which covers the next three years, is could cripple the companies’ drive to grow in based on the assumption that many companies overseas markets, and could fracture the outside the US will buy services in other coun- Internet’s seamless inner-workings. The NSA says it retrieves only the online data tries rather than risk copies of their data being turned over to the US government. The predic- tied to people outside the US, a limitation that is tion doesn’t include possible losses in online ad of little solace to companies such as Google and Facebook that generate most of their revenue revenue. Without quantifying the company’s potential overseas and see the ripest opportunities for losses, a Google lawyer recently told a Senate growth in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East subcommittee that the government’s online espi- and Africa. While industry executives protest govonage could have “severe unintended conse- ernment’s intrusions on privacy, industry critics quences,” including increased business costs, less point out that technology companies continue to data security and alienated Web surfers. “The store and analyze troves of personal information impact on US companies, and the broader US in pursuit of more profit. Google and its rivals “just economy, could be significant,” said Richard want to be the exclusive spying source for their Salgado, Google’s director of law enforcement customers’ data,” American Civil Liberties Union and information security, during a Nov 13 appear- senior analyst Christopher Soghoian said in a ance before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee tweet last week. Crisis communications expert Gene Grabowski believes the companies regret on Privacy, Technology and the Law. In a worst case scenario, Forrester’s James their initial decision to cooperate with the govStaten initially theorized that global cloud com- ernment. “It appears to more than a few people puting services could lose as much as $180 billion that they betrayed their customers,” said over the next three years. That dire figure has Grabowski, an executive vice president for the been widely circulated by media outlets, but public relations firm Levick. — AP

Swiss eyes becoming world’s data vault ATTINGHAUSEN: It looks like the ideal location for a James Bond thriller: a massive underground bunker in a secret location in the Swiss Alps used for keeping data safe from prying eyes. Housed in one of Switzerland’s numerous deserted Cold War-era army barracks, the high-tech Deltalis data centre is hidden behind four-tonne steel doors built to withstand a nuclear attackplus biometric scanners and an armed guard. The centre is situated near the central Swiss village of Attinghausen, but its exact GPS location remains a closely guarded secret. Such tight security is in growing demand in a world still shaking from repeated leaks scandals and fears of spies lurking behind every byte. Business for Switzerland’s 55 data centres is booming. They benefit from the Swiss reputation for security and stability, and industry insiders predict the wealthy Alpine nation already famous for its super-safe banks will soon also be known as the world’s data vault. Revelations from former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden of widespread spying by the National Security Agency has served as “a wake-up call” to the dangers lurking in this era

of electronic espionage, said Deltalis co-director Andy Reinhardt. Tight security inside the mountain That danger is clearly something his company takes seriously. To enter the 15,000-square-metre (18,000square-yard) bunker that once served as the Swiss army’s secret headquarters one must first hand over an ID card, leave a biometric scan, go through a hyper-sensitive security portal, and finally push past an anti-nuclear steel door. From there, a maze of concrete tunnels and corridors covered with Cold War-era military maps and dotted with large pools storing underground water lead to the 600square-metre Deltalis data centre. Located 200 metres inside the mountain and 1,000 metres below the peak, the pristine, white, almost futuristic room in use since 2011 houses row upon row of humming data storage systems. The machines continuously gather and store data from individuals or companies willing to pay an undisclosed price to ensure their precious information will not be lost to power cuts, earthquakes or terrorist attacks, and will remain safe from would-be intruders. Snowden leaks, a boon for Swiss

Facebook joins NYU in artificial intelligence lab

ATTINGHAUSEN: Deltalis’ Andy Reinhardt looks inside a giant ventilation shaft at the Deltalis Swiss Mountain Data Center, a former Swiss Army bunker built in the Alps during the Cold War near Attinghausen, Central Switzerland. — AFP data storage Snowden’s disclosures Switzerland, which has some of the that online behemoths like world’s strictest data protection Facebook, Google, Skype and Yahoo laws, are especially reaping the benhave assisted the NSA and other efits of the atmosphere of paranoia. agencies in their snooping by hand- Under Swiss law, personal data is ing over user data have certainly defined as a “precious good” that proved a boon for companies like can under no circumstances be Deltalis. “I have two positions: one is handed over to governments or that I am a citizen of a European authorities without authorisation country and I find it unbelievable from a judge. And although what the Americans are doing,” said Switzerland’s reputation as the land Christoph Oschwald, the co-director of tight-lipped confidentiality has of Mount10, another data centre taken a bit of a hit with the ongoing erosion of its bank secrecy practices, housed inside a Swiss mountain. But from a business perspective, it remains miles ahead of most other he added, “It’s fantastic! It has tripled countries in terms of data protection, the business within a very short according to Peter Gruter, the head time.” While the global data storage of the Swiss Telecommunications industry is ballooning, companies in Association. — AFP

WASHINGTON: Facebook unveiled plans Monday on a partnership with New York University for a new center for artificial intelligence, aimed at harnessing the huge social network’s massive trove of data. The Californiabased tech giant named professor Yann LeCun of NYU’s Center for Data Science to head up the project. “As one of the most respected thinkers in this field, Yann has done groundbreaking research in deep learning and computer vision,” said Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer. “We’re thrilled to welcome him to Facebook.” Facebook, the world’s biggest social network with more than a billion members, is building the team across three locations-New York, London and its headquarters in Menlo Park, California. The lab will work on “machine learning,”-a branch of artificial intelligence that involves computers “learning” to extract knowledge from giant data sets. LeCun, a French-born mathematician and computer scientist, said in a blog post that he was pleased to head up the project with “the ambitious, long-term goal of bringing about major advances in artificial intelligence.” “I am thrilled to announce that I have accepted the position of director of this new lab,” LeCun wrote. “I will remain a professor at New York University on a part-time basis, and will maintain research and teaching activities at NYU.” Facebook chief and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg spoke of the plans during a call in October to discuss the company’s quarterly earnings. Zuckerberg said a working group was formed in September “to do world-class

artificial intelligence research using all of the knowledge that people have shared on Facebook.”“The goal here is to use new approaches in AI to help make sense of all the content that people share so we can generate new insights about the world to answer people’s questions,” Zuckerberg said at the time. He added that one of the goals was “to build services that are much more natural to interact with and can help solve many more problems than any existing technology today.” LeCun is a professor at NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and is the founding director of the university’s Center for Data Science. He is known for creating an early version of a pattern-recognition algorithm which mimics, in part, the visual cortex of animals and humans. The algorithm helped allow AT&T’s Bell Labs to deploy a check-reading system that by the late 1990s was reading about 20 percent of all the checks written in the US, according to NYU. LeCun’s recent research projects include the application of “deep learning” methods for visual scene understanding and navigation autonomous ground robots, driverless cars, and small flying robots, as well as speech recognition, and applications in biology and medicine. LeCun is set to start the job in January. Facebook joins other Internet firms like Google and Microsoft in researching artificial intelligence, which could help in delivering improved search results and in new products ranging from video games to driverless vehicles. — AFP


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

Mars rover finds evidence of life-friendly ancient lake SAN FRANCISCO: Scientists have found evidence of an ancient freshwater lake on Mars well suited to support microbial life, the researchers said yesterday. The lake, located inside Gale Crater where the rover landed in August 2012, likely covered an area 50 km long and 5 km wide, though its size varied over time. Analysis of sedimentary deposits gathered by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity shows the lake existed for at least tens of thousands of years, and possibly longer, geologist John Grotzinger, with the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, told reporters at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco. “We’ve come to appreciate that is a habitable system of environments that includes the lake, the associated streams and, at times when the lake was dry, the groundwater,” he said. Analysis of clays drilled out from two rock samples in the area known as Yellowknife Bay show the freshwater lake existed at a time when other parts of Mars were

dried up or dotted with shallow, acidic, salty pools illsuited for life. In contrast, the lake in Gale Crater could have supported a simple class of rock-eating microbes, known as chemolithoautotrophs, which on Earth are commonly found in caves and hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor, Grotzinger said. Scientists also reported that the clays, which form in the presence of water, were younger than expected, a finding that expands the window of time for when Mars may have been suited for life. Previous studies from Mars orbiters, landers and rovers have provided increasing evidence for a warmer, wetter, more Earth-like Mars in the planet’s past. Ancient rocks bear telltale chemical fingerprints of past interactions with water. The planet’s surface is riddled with geologic features carved by water, such as channels, dried up riverbeds, lake deltas and other sedimentary deposits.

New related studies on how much radiation blasts the planet set new boundaries for how long any organic carbon, which so far has not been found on Mars, could have been preserved inside rocks within about 5 cm of the surface, the depth of Curiosity’s drill. But finding rock samples with relatively short exposure times should not be a problem. An age-dating technique, used for the first time on Mars, reveals that winds are sand-blasting away the rock faces at Gale Crater. One of the mudstones at Yellowknife Bay, for example, has been exposed to the destructive effects of cosmic rays for only about 70 million years, well within the period of time to detect organics, said Don Hassler with the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. The Yellowknife Bay samples also showed hints of possible organics that may have been destroyed in the rover’s laboratory oven due to highly oxidizing chemicals known as perchlorates, which so far seem to be

ubiquitous in the Martian soil. Scientists will continue to look for rocks that may have higher concentrations of organics or better chemical conditions for their preservation, Grotzinger said. “A key hurdle that we need to overcome is understanding how those organics may have been preserved over time, from the time they entered the rock to the time that we actually detect them,” said Curiosity scientist Jennifer Eigenbrode with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Curiosity currently is en route to a 5 km mound of layered rock rising form the floor of Gale Crater, a formation known as Mount Sharp. Based on the new information gleaned from the Yellowknife Bay samples, scientists are developing a new strategy to look for organics there. Even if life never started on Mars, organic material presumably would have been deposited on the surface by crashing comets and asteroids. — Reuters

Five-step health plan to slash dementia risk Ground-breaking research

HONG KONG: Smog haze hangs over the downtown business districts of Hong Kong yesterday. Hong Kong announced a new air quality health index, the first in Asia to use the system, in its ongoing battle to combat air pollution. — AFP

Save your kidneys - by dyeing them green LONDON: A new procedure that combines luminous green dye, robotics and 3D vision is enabling surgeons to remove kidney tumours accurately - meaning patients no longer need lose the entire organ. Such tumours can be extremely difficult to diagnose and locate, but in the increasingly high-tech battle against cancer, the dye illuminates healthy tissue while robotic arms fitted with a high-resolution camera cut away cancerous areas. The procedure was first performed in the UK at St George’s Hospital in South London during the summer. “This is a significant advance,” says consultant urologist Steve Bromage. “It’s a new cost-effective technique that helps surgeons preserve as much kidney function as possible while still removing all the malignant tissue.” The rate of kidney cancer has risen by 68 per cent in the past two decades, and nearly 7,400 Britons a year are now affected by the disease. But the extensions of many tumours are difficult to spot with the naked eye, so surgeons currently rely on scans, and blood and tissue tests, to guide them. But these can still fail to spot all of the cancer, which makes the new dye technique so vital. The dye has previously been used to help identify eye and liver cancers. “It’s a great tool and has brought newfound clarity to the procedure,” says Professor Chris Anderson, a urologist at St George’s Hospital, who launched the new technology - known as Firefly - in the UK. He used a ‘da Vinci’ robot for the operation, which comprises miniature instruments that are inserted through small incisions and operated remotely by a surgeon using a magnified view. The procedure starts with an anaesthetist injecting the dye, called Indocyannine Green, into the patient’s kidney just before surgery. It takes about a minute for it to run through the organ. Then, with the patient under general anaesthetic, small incisions are made through which the robotic arms are inserted. A camera on these has a fluorescent light so that the dye glows clearly, both in the tissue and blood vessels. The surgeon clamps the blood vessel that is feeding the cancerous tumour and removes both the vessel and tumour.

“It was a very illuminating experience to switch on the fluoroscopic camera and see everything so clearly,” says Prof Anderson. “I’m a great advocate of new technology like robotics. “You do have to acquire new skills, which can be a challenge given surgeons’ hectic schedules, but Firefly is a simple, effective technique that gives greater insight and flexibility in the operating theatre. “Kidney cancer is on the rise, but using Firefly with robotics means minimally invasive procedures and faster recovery times.” When dealing with kidney tumours, some surgeons prefer to remove the entire organ, believing that it reduces the chances of a recurrence of the disease. It is hoped this new procedure will now encourage surgeons to spare it. Prof Anderson says: “Partial kidney removal is a complex operation that requires complete removal of the tumour and reconstruction of the remaining healthy kidney. With this technology, we are able to achieve our goal better than in the past.” Thousands of people undergo kidney cancer surgery each year. The disease is often diagnosed late because many patients are unaware they are ill due to the vagueness of symptoms, which include back pain. Chances of survival are high if the cancer is confined to the kidney, but reduced if it has spread. Bromage and fellow surgeon Neil Oakley carried out the first Firefly operation outside London to remove a tumour from Robert Holt, 77. The three-hour surgery at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport was a complete success. Holt, from Denton, Greater Manchester, was diagnosed with kidney cancer earlier this year - he has since returned to his role as a swimming coach. He said: ‘I have a very practical approach to life, and that includes my feelings about being one of the first people in the country to have this operation. “I was relaxed about the operation as I had total confidence in the doctors.” The dye technique for kidney cancer was perfected in the US, where it is now widely used. Doctors there say their experience shows there is less risk of requiring a second operation because not all the cancer has been removed. — AP

Antarctica set coldest temperature record WASHINGTON: Feeling chilly? Here’s cold comfort: You could be in East Antarctica which new data says set a record for “soulcrushing” cold. Try 135.8 degrees Fahrenheit below zero; that’s 93.2 degrees below zero Celsius, which sounds only slightly toastier. Better yet, don’t try it. That’s so cold scientists say it hurts to breathe. A new look at NASA satellite data revealed that Earth set a new record for coldest temperature recorded. It happened in August 2010 when it hit -135.8 degrees. Then on July 31 of this year, it came close again: -135.3 degrees. The old record had been -128.6 degrees, which is -89.2 degrees Celsius. Ice scientist Ted Scambos at the National Snow and Ice Data Center said the new record is “50 degrees colder than anything that has ever been seen in Alaska or Siberia or certainly North Dakota.” “It’s more like you’d see on Mars on a nice summer day in the poles,” Scambos said, from the American Geophysical Union scientific meeting in San Francisco Monday, where he announced the data. “I’m confi-

dent that these pockets are the coldest places on Earth.” However, it won’t be in the Guinness Book of World Records because these were satellite measured, not from thermometers, Scambos said. “Thank God, I don’t know how exactly it feels,” Scambos said. But he said scientists do routinely make naked 100 degree below zero dashes outside in the South Pole, so people can survive that temperature for about three minutes. Most of the time researchers need to breathe through a snorkel that brings air into the coat through a sleeve and warms it up “so you don’t inhale by accident” the cold air, Scambos said. On Monday, the coldest U.S. temperature was a relatively balmy 27 degrees below zero Fahrenheit in Yellowstone, Wyo., said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private firm Weather Underground. “If you want soul-crushing cold, you really have to go overseas,” Scambos said in a phone interview. “It’s just a whole other level of cold because on that cold plateau, conditions are perfect.”

NEW YORK: The results of a 35-year study showing the dramatic difference made by following simple lifestyle steps amazed scientists. The research found the five measures to stave off dementia are taking regular exercise, not smoking, keeping a low body weight, eating a healthy diet and having a low alcohol intake. The study, the longest to examine the influence of environmental factors in chronic disease, found that sticking to four of the five rules slashes the risk of dementia and cognitive decline by at least 60 per cent. It also leads to 70 per cent fewer instances of diabetes, heart disease and stroke compared to people who follow none of the tips. Exercise was the strongest mitigating factor. Lead researcher Professor Peter Elwood hailed the “surprisingly large benefits” of a healthy lifestyle. He said: “The size of reduction in the instance of disease owing to these simple healthy steps has really amazed us and is of enormous importance in an ageing population. What the research shows is that following a healthy lifestyle confers surprisingly large benefits to health - healthy behaviours have a far more beneficial effect than any medical treatment or preventative procedure.” The professor, of Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, added: “Taking up and following a healthy lifestyle is, however, the responsibility of the individual. This study shows that very few people follow a fully healthy lifestyle. “Furthermore, our findings reveal that while the number of people who smoke has gone down since the study started, the number leading a fully healthy lifestyle has not changed.” The study, published in the journal PLoS One, monitored the health habits of 2,235 men aged 45 to 49 in Caerphilly, south Wales. It found that exercise plays a significant role in reducing risk of dementia. Our findings reveal that while the

NEW YORK: The study found that exercise plays a significant role in reducing risk of dementia.

NEW YORK: Golden rules for a healthy life are the key to beating dementia. number of people who smoke has gone down since the study started, the number leading a fully healthy lifestyle has not changed Prof Elwood said: “If the men had been urged to adopt just one additional healthy behaviour at the start of the study, and if only half complied, during the 35 years there would have been a 13 per cent reduction in dementia, a 12

per cent drop in diabetes, six per cent less vascular disease and a five per cent reduction in deaths.” The research comes as Britain hosts the world’s first G8 dementia summit tomorrow in London. Christopher Allen, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, which part-funded the study, said: “The results overwhelmingly support the notion that adopting a healthy lifestyle reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and dementia. “These findings will hopefully go a long way in encouraging people to consider their lifestyle and how it will impact on their health in later years.” Dr Doug Brown, director of research and development at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We have known for some time that what is good for your heart is also good for your head, and this study provides more evidence to show that healthy living could significantly reduce the chances of developing dementia. “We are calling on the G8 summit to commit to greater funding of important studies such as

this one which give us hope for reducing the impact of dementia in the future.” Rebecca Wood, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “This large study provides yet more evidence to indicate that healthy living could lower the risk of dementia. We still need more research but it’s encouraging for people to know there are simple steps they can take now to reduce their risk. “We are facing potentially large increases in the numbers of people living with dementia and if we are to deal with this crisis head on we must invest in research.” The Daily Express revealed yesterday how experts believe a Mediterranean diet may be more effective at beating dementia than drugs. They say following the diet from childhood should be a key strategy. An international group of specialists have written to Health Secretar y Jeremy Hunt and David Cameron before tomorrow’s summit demanding the diet should become central to the drive to prevent dementia. — AP

IRS nominee to face questions on health law WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama’s choice to head the Internal Revenue Service goes before a Senate committee today to face tough questions about the agency’s targeting of tea party groups and its ability to administer parts of the president’s health law. Obama nominated John Koskinen, a retired corporate and government official with experience managing numerous organizations in crisis, to take over the IRS in August. If confirmed by the Senate, the 74-year-old turnaround specialist would sign on to a five-year term, which would last beyond Obama’s stay in office. Koskinen came in to overhaul mortgage buyer Freddie Mac after its near-collapse in the financial crisis at the end of the George W. Bush administration. He also helped restructure the assets of the largest failed life insurance company in US history, Mutual Benefit Life, and helped reorganize the Penn Central Transportation Company after it became the largest bankruptcy in US history. His government experience includes handling preparations for potential computer problems associated with the Year 2000, and, as District of Columbia city administrator from 2000-03, helping restore it to financial stability after years of mismanagement. With about 90,000 employees, the IRS

processes more than 140 million individual income tax returns each year. Starting next year, the IRS will administer much of Obama’s new health care law. On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee will hold Koskinen’s confirmation hearing. Sen Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the committee, said he met privately with Koskinen in September. Afterward, Hatch promised a fair but thorough review of his nomination. “There are a great many questions he’ll have to answer and, given the experience that many of my colleagues and I had with his predecessor, he has a lot of work to do moving forward,” Hatch said. The IRS came under fire in May when agency officials acknowledged that agents had improperly targeted tea party and other conservative groups for additional scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status. The Justice Department and three congressional committees, including the Finance Committee, launched investigations. The investigations, which are ongoing, have shown that IRS workers in a Cincinnati office started singling out conservative political groups in the spring of 2010, and continued to do so until 2012. IRS supervisors in Washington oversaw the targeting, but there

has been no evidence released so far that anyone outside the IRS knew about the targeting or directed it. After the targeting became public, Obama demanded the resignation of the acting IRS commissioner and several other top officials were removed from their positions or allowed to retire. The commissioner in charge of the agency when the targeting occurred, Douglas Shulman, left last year when his term expired. Shulman was a Bush appointee. The IRS is under renewed scrutiny because it will manage big parts of the president’s health law, which has gone through a troublesome rollout. The IRS, which is part of the Treasury Department, will be in charge of enforcing the mandate that most individuals have health insurance, and collecting fines from people who don’t. The IRS will also distribute subsidies to help people buy insurance in new state-based marketplaces known as exchanges. Obama has asked for a 14 percent increase in the IRS budget for next year, in part to help the agency administer the health care law. House Republicans have responded by proposing to cut the agency’s budget by about one-fourth. —- AP


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

Founder of French breast implant scandal firm jailed MARSEILLE: A French court yestersday convicted the ex-managers of firm PIP of fraud and sentenced the company’s founder to four years after its faulty breast implants sparked a global health scare. The now-defunct firm, Poly Implant Prothese (PIP), was at the centre of worldwide concern two years ago after it was revealed to have used industrialgrade silicone in thousands of breast implants sold worldwide. The court sentenced PIP founder JeanClaude Mas to four years in prison, imposed a 75,000 euro ($103,000) fine and banned him permanently from working in medical services or running a company.Mas, a 74-year-old dubbed “the sorcerer’s apprentice of implants” by prosecutors, did not react as the verdict was read out in court. Four other former PIP executives were also convicted by the court in Marseille and given lesser sentences. The scandal first emerged in 2010 after doctors noticed abnormally high rupture rates in PIP implants. It gathered steam worldwide in 2011, with some 300,000 women in 65 countries believed to have received the faulty implants. During a month-long trial in Marseille in April, the defendants admitted to using the industrial-grade silicone but Mas, who spent eight months in pre-trial detention, denied the company’s implants posed any health risks. More than 7,500 women have reported ruptures in the implants and in France alone 15,000 have had the PIP implants replaced. But health officials in various countries have said they are not toxic and do not increase the risk of breast cancer. More than 7,000 women had declared themselves civil plaintiffs in the case and several dozen were in court Tuesday for the verdict. The court also sentenced PIP’s former general manager Claude Couty to three years in prison, with two years suspended. Quality control director

Viewing news of trauma affects mental health Predictor of acute stress response

MARSEILLE: Poly Implant Prothese founder Jean-Claude Mas leaves the courthouse with his French lawyer Yves Haddad following his trial yesterday in Marseille after he was sentenced in the trial of five managers for allegedly selling faulty breast implants that sparked global health fears. — AFP Hannelore Font and production director Loic Gossart were both sentenced to two years in prison, with one suspended, and research director Thierry Brinon was given an 18-month suspended sentence. Mas, a one-time travelling salesman who got his start in the medical business by selling pharmaceuticals, founded PIP in 1991 to take advantage of the booming market for cosmetic implants. He built the company into the third-largest global supplier of implants, but came under the spotlight when plastic surgeons began

reporting an unusual number of ruptures in his products. Health authorities later discovered he was saving millions of euros by using industrial-grade gel in 75 percent of the implants. PIP’s implants were banned and the company eventually liquidated. PIP had exported more than 80 percent of its implants, with about half going to Latin America, about a third to other countries in western Europe, about 10 percent to eastern Europe and the rest to the Middle East and Asia. —AFP

WASHINGTON: After the Boston marathon bombings, people who spent six hours a day scouring media for updates were more traumatized than those who were actually there, a US study suggested yesterday. The study raised questions about the psychological impact of repeated exposure to violence via digital and traditional media in the first major terror attack on US soil since Sept 11, 2001. The findings were based on a survey of 4,675 US adults taken shortly after the deadly April 15 attacks and the frenzied five-day manhunt in which one suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed and his brother, Dzhokhar, was arrested. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is accused of setting off homemade pressure cooker bombs at the race’s finish line, killing three people and wounding 260, some of whom had limbs blown off by the force of the blasts. Many of the bloodiest images were cropped or modified by major media outlets, but unedited pictures snapped by witnesses and raw video circulated widely on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and other social media, said study co-author Roxane Cohen Silver. “What was striking was the impact of this media exposure even for people who knew nobody, who weren’t there that day,” Silver, professor of psychology at the University of California Irvine, said. “Media exposure was a stronger predictor of acute stress response than having

been there,” she said. Acute stress response was defined as a set of symptoms including intrusive thoughts and ruminations, flashbacks, feeling on edge or hypervigilant, and trying to avoid reminders of the event. Survey respondents were asked within two to four weeks of the bombings about their media consumption the week after the attacks, and about their psychological stress symptoms. People who were there, or who knew someone who was, were more likely to experience signs of acute stress than people who were not there, and were also more likely to view more media about the attacks, said the findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. But an even stronger indication of psychological stress was whether a person viewed and read six hours or more per day of media pertaining to the bombings, said Silver. “It wasn’t that the direct exposure was not important, it was just that above and beyond having been there, media exposure was an even stronger predictor of acute stress response,” she said. When comparing people who viewed one hour a day of media about the attacks to people who consumed six hours or more, the latter group was nine times more likely to report acute stress, said the study. —AFP


W H AT ’ S O N

Flex Resorts and Real Estate end diabetes awareness month


hroughout the month of November, Flex Resorts and Real Estate Co. organized a series of various activities concerning diabetes, how to manage it, and how to combat it through early detection. The month’s activities fell under the campaign “Exercise and Diet-Prevention and Control”, as both regular exercise and a proper diet constitute the necessary defenses against diabetes. In one of the primary events, Flex Gourmet took daily measurements of sugar levels of all Flex gym members during the entire month of November. Results for diabetes were as follows: Out of 175 men aged 17 to 30 years old, 98% tested negative while 2% tested positive. Out of 195 men aged 31 to 60 years old, 93% tested negative while 7% tested positive. Out of 100 children aged 4 to 9 years old, 96% tested negative while 4% tested positive. Out of 320 women ages 17 and above, 95% tested negative while 5% tested positive. “These results show decreasing diabetes rates among those who regularly exercise and partake in sports, especially at Flex gyms which provide a team of specialists present at all times along with a healthy food program to tack-

le excess weight,” said Director of Sports Department Jamal Bouericky. However, the results also show rising diabetes rates among Kuwait as a whole due to high levels of obesity, which is a key factor of this dangerous disease. In addition, Flex Gourmet took glucose level measurements at Kuwait University on November 17 where it informed university students about the significance and dangers of the disease. It also stressed to students the importance of leading healthy lifestyles from an early age in order to minimize risks of developing diabetes in the future. To further increase awareness levels amongst the general public, Flex distributed pamphlets and brochures containing essential information about diabetes along with the necessary means to control it. “For a disease that has become so prevalent in our society, it has become imperative that we take positive action in the battle against diabetes,” said Basma Al-Naqi, Flex Resorts & Real Estate Co. “At Flex in particular, we have a strong responsibility towards the Kuwaiti society and do our utmost to increase awareness levels and promote lifestyle changes in an effort to battle obesity-related diseases.”

Kuwait Marriott Hotels donate to Philippines typhoon relief efforts


s part of its active ‘Spirit to Serve’ global initiatives, a team of around 700 associates from the JW Marriott Hotel Kuwait City, the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel Kuwait City and the Arraya Ballroom managed by Marriott International in Kuwait, recently shared over 650 Kg of clothes to the Philippines in an effort to help those affected by the deadly hurricane that recently hit the Southeast Asian country. The clothes were neatly packed, wrapped and dry-cleaned for the Catholic Cathedral of Kuwait, which helped coordinate this local contribution with the Philippines Embassy. “At Kuwait Marriott Hotels, we have come togetheras a family to help rebuild their lives from scratch as we recognize the hardship that people in the Philippines have encountered and the struggle they experience with their families. As Typhoon Haiyan has killed thousands while leaving hundreds of thousands homeless, we urge everyone to participate in aiding this relief and supporting its victims,” said George Aoun, Cluster General Manager of Kuwait Marriott Hotels. “Without the extensive level of employee involvement and enthusiasm demonstrated through the humanitarian programs,

Anandan Sivamani, a world renowned percussionist


onstop hit shows maker Indian Cultural Society Kuwait presents “Chennai Kings” a show that will bring the fragrance of India from Kashmir to Kanyakumari in Fusion & Live Concert on Friday 13th Dec 2013 at 6 pm at Al Arabi Indoor Stadium. World renowned percussionist Sivamani & his team will present foot thumping fusion music along with noted playback singers Haricharan” & Suchitra. They will rock the evening with hit numbers in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam and Kannada. Kuwait’s own talents will be a flavor of entertainment. Anandan Sivamani is truly a World Percussionist. A versatile & creative drummer, he has featured as a soloist, with his band Rhythm Asia, in several international collaborations. His style is deceptive for the uninitiated, deeply profound and mysterious at one moment. Augmenting the brute power is his rhythmic style and harmony, which surround the discerning listener with warmth, joy and bliss. He plays many instruments including drums, octoban, darbuka, udukai, and kanjira etc. He is affiliated with the Chennai Super Kings team, but gained recognition through his role as A. R. Rahman’s lead percussionist. Schooled in both the Carnatic rhythmic

tradition and Western Jazz drums, Sivamani has played world over with some of the best International artistes & is also a part of World music outfits such as the Zakir Hussain World Drums Ensemble, SILK, Asia Electric and Shraddha. Sivamani has played drums for many film score composers in Tamil Nadu. He has played drums for many Indian films including Roja, Rang De Basanti,Swades, Taal, Lagaan, Dil Se.., Guru,Kabul Express and Rockstar . He has contributed some songs to include “Kadhal Rojave, “Pudhu Vellai Malai” Chhaiya Chhaiya” and “Nadaan Parinde” etc. Sivamani has also acted in movies. He co-starred with Thomas Jane in the Telugu movie Padamati Sandhya Ragam. He has also worked on Galli Galli Sim Sim, an educational series on Pogo & Cartoon Network. Sivamani is the Brand Ambassador for Xone - wire free music. Shivamani has a band called “Asia Electrik” with Niladri Kumar, Louiz Banks and Ravi Chari. He features along with legendary masters such as Billy Cobham, Vikku Vinayakram, Freddy Santiago, Terry Bozzio, Wil Calhoun, Myanta, Ranjit Barot and Dr. L. Subramanian commanding the respect of a true Master Percussionist.

relief and supporting its victims, Marriott strives to be a responsible member of the local and regional community. It continues to become an important role in people’s lives, and help them overcome adversity, embody a passion for service and achieve personal excellence.

Marriott’s outreach efforts through our flagship ‘Spirit to Serve’ initiative would not be nearly as successful,” he added. Marriott’s “Spirit to Serve” initiative is captured in uplifting human interest stories and important environmental issues across the world. Through drives like aiding this


Winter Festival of Football


he annual Winter Festival of Football will be held on Saturday 14 December. This is a fun football event, - there are no trophies at stake, everyone plays an equal number of games and everyone receives a medal, emphasis is on participation, friendly competition and enjoyment for the players. On this date normal coaching sessions for all coaching course and centre of excellence players will be replaced by the schedule below; Our schedule is as follows; Group 1; 8:30-10am: 6 a side for players born 2006/07 age group (under 7’s/8’s) on quarter pitch. (plus 3-5 year olds on small pitches)> Group 2; 10-1:30am: 6 a side for players born 2004/05 age group (under 9’s/10’s) on quarter pitch. Group 3; 11:30-1pm: 7 a side for players born 2002/03 age group (under 11’s/12’s) on half pitch. Group 4; 1-2:30pm: 7 a side for players born 2000/01 age group (under 13’s/14’s) on half pitch. Group 5; 2:30-4pm: 7 a side for players born 1998/99 age group (under 15’s/16’s) on half pitch. Group 6; 4-5:30pm: 7 a side for players born 1996/97 age group (under 17’s/18’s) on half pitch. *In addition to all P.G.A. registered

players, teams have been invited to participate from Arsenal Soccer School, AC Milan, Skelps F.C., Saracens F.C., Hawally Pakistan English School and Don Bosco Indian School. A number of Special Guests including H.E. the British Ambassador, Frank Baker, patron of the P.G.A. will be attending the event during the day along with our Sponsors from Porsche and Sports Direct. *All players should arrive 20 minutes before their Group start time in order for teams to be organized by the coaches. *This course will end on Wednesday 18th December with the new 2014 course commencing Friday 10th January. *Our annual Winter Camp will run as follows; Winter Camp Week One December 21/22/23/24 at Bayan 4-7pm daily. Winter Camp Week Two 28/29/30/31 December 4-7pm daily. Cost is KD40 for each week, free football shirt, medal and certificate for all participants and places are limited - register now! All players are encouraged to get their name and allocated number printed on the back of their playing shirts at Sports Direct opposite the Avenues free of charge - vouchers available from the P.G.A. office.

6th Fitness Convention or the 6th time in a row Al Corniche proudly announces its Fitness Convention 2013 to be held on Thursday, 12th December at the Al Corniche Club. The event is hosted by 5 key international industry experts, who will conduct seminars covering a full range of topics. Topics include why social media is now essential for your business, how does DiSC communication help in your workplace, nutrition and exercise for optimal performance, priceless global tips to run successful health club and how to create a VIP membership service option. Dr. Jim Bell will also be conducting a very special seminar for all the doctors in Kuwait on the 10th December and one for the Al Corniche members and guests, for more information please call at the Club. Presenters include: Dr Jim Bell (PhD/MS, Exercise Physiology /MBA/BS, Engineering & CEO of IFPA); Fred Hoffman, International Fitness Expert, Consultant and Personal Trainer; Bridget Rosser, Management Consultant in the UK & Certified DISC Trainer; Dave Wright CEO of CFM/MYZONE & and IHRSA speaker; Duncan Green Managing Director and Principal Consultant for MomentumBD Ltd. Our event sponsors Porsche Centre Kuwait, Behbehani Motors Company is proud to be the main sponsor of an internationally acclaimed event that focuses on health and well-being, as well as making the fitness and spa industry in Kuwait a profitable and innovative enterprise. This convention is open to the general public and all interested parties including team members and management from health clubs across Kuwait, suppliers of fitness and health equipment and services, school teachers, researchers and the Corniche Club members, are invited to attend. It is a ‘must do’ for all owners and employees of the flourishing fitness industry in Kuwait. For more details on the event please E-mail:


TIES Center - Where cultures meet he TIES Center is glad to announce that its Winter 2 Arabic language courses will begin on Sunday January 19 until Wednesday March 5, 2014. We offer classes for all levels, from beginner to advanced. Our classes are specially tailored to meet the needs and requirements of expats living in Kuwait. You still have the chance to join if you are interested. The TIES Arabic classes are intended for all expats who wish to learn Arabic. Whether you want to Learn Arabic for business or basic communication or simply as a hobby, the TIES Center welcomes you. Throughout the course, the students will learn how to read, write and speak Arabic in a friendly, relaxed and welcoming environment. TIES Arabic program highlights: Lessons are step by step - ranging from basic to advanced level; Lessons build confidence for speaking, reading, and writing Arabic; Lessons combine language learning with cultural insights; Lessons are specially tailored for expats living in Kuwait. It is an opportunity to interact with other Westerners, who are taking the courses. For more information, please e-mail: .”


YMCA Kuwait Carol rounds begin


MCA Kuwait started the Christmas Carol rounds to visit houses to share the joy of Christmas. The Carol started with the opening prayer & blessings from Rev. V. S. Skariah (Vicar - St James MarThoma Church). Children and elders participating in the carol team to share the joy of Christmas by singing songs and wishing the families. Santa Claus is distributing

chocolates and gifts to all the houses we are visiting. Amount that was collected last year Carol rounds was offered to support Boys home Mavelikara & Karuthal an institution working among Cancer patients. This year YMCA is planning to support ‘Karuthal’ and ‘Sanjo Balabhavan’, Karnataka. This year’s Carol rounds is being coordinated under

the leadership of Johnkutty Oommen (General Convener), Parimanam Manoj, Babu Johnson, Mathew Eapen, Ajosh Mathew, Deacon Santhosh Mathew, Koshy Alexander, Sunu Oommen, Philip Thomas, Manu Raju, James Varghese, Biji Samuel, Satheesh John & M.C. Mathew Tharakan along with other YMCA members.

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


W H AT ’ S O N

ACK students showcase their aviation engineering innovations


he Australian College of Kuwait’s (ACK) Foundation Program held a showcase competition, organized by its English department, open to students currently enrolled in the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering program. The competition showcased aviation engineering prototypes, all manufactured and produced by the students, addressing certain technical areas such as mechanical, electrical, aerodynamics and more. The development of the prototypes was part of a 7-week project whereby students had clear milestones and objectives in place, such as conceptualizing and devising a plan, teamwork, problem solving and more. Each prototype was then judged by a panel from ACK, including the Dean of Academic Affairs - Dr. Gad Elbeheri - with the winners divided into three categories: most successful, most creative and most original.

Embassy Information 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

Christmas and New Year specials at Movenpick Hotel & Resort Al Bida’a

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, AlMutawakei 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


ith Christmas and New Year around the corner, Movenpick Hotel & Resort Al Bida’a Kuwait has set the stage for a grand festive season celebration to see out 2013 and welcome the New Year. The festivities begin with a Christmas Eve Dinner buffet at the hotel’s main restaurant ‘Breeze’. Guests will be treated to an elegant international buffet featuring traditional Christmas dishes and the option to dine indoors or alfresco at the restaurant’s terrace overlooking the Arabian Gulf.

Moreover, the resort’s Executive Chef Emmanuel Thomas and his team have put together a magnificent Christmas Bunch buffet packed with international Christmas Day favourites. The menu is designed to please foodies of all ages. And to get everyone in the party mood, there is ever ything from cheer y Christmas music to fun-filled activities and, of course, a visit from Santa Claus with giveaways for children. To top off the captivating mood of Christmas, the New Year celebrations are set to thrill. Two restaurants and a Ballroom come together for the most extrava-

gant dinner of 2013 featuring sensational decor and the finest cuisines from all over the world. The New Year menu includes international buffet, seafood specialties, live cooking stations and a wide range of sweets. In addition to chef’s creations, guests will look forward to the music and entertainment which will be available throughout the evening. A special festive room package is also available which includes an overnight stay at one of the pool view rooms, New Year’s Eve dinner for two and breakfast on New Year’s Day for two.

A windy winter at ESF


ith the winter chill setting in, The English School Fahaheel Upper School Drama production of “The Wind in the Willows” was perfectly timed. The play was directed by Clark. The Wind in the Willows is a classic of children’s literature by Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908. The play focuses on the four animal characters in a pastoral version of England. The novel is notable for its mixture of mysticism, adventure, morality, and camaraderie and celebrated for its evocation of the nature of the Thames valley. The setting of the Thames Valley was beautifully created on stage at The Lloyd Webber Theatre at ESF. The cast of nearly 30 Upper School IGCSE and Drama students impressed the audiences with their performing skills and dialogue delivery. The costumes and make up also deserve special mention. A big thank you to Ms Fryer for the outstanding make up. The main cast included Sarah Noun as Mole, Sara Shuhaiber as Rat, Ghazala Hosseini as Toad, Asail as Badger and Ruwan as the Magistrate. A big thank you goes out to Ms MacKenzie, Ms. Ludlow and all the Upper school Back stage helpers. ESF is now planning the next major production.

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 AlSalem Street, Al-Qibla area, Kuwait City, (Parking at Souk Watia). For information please call 22281046 from 08:30 to 17:00 (Sunday to Thursday). Working hours: Submission from 08:30 to 15:30. Passport collection from 16:00 to 17:00. For visa applications please visit the following website nnnnnnn

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

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



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TV PROGRAMS 00:15 David Copperfield 01:05 Eastenders 01:35 Doctors 02:05 Victoria Wood’s Midlife Christmas 03:05 Absolutely Fabulous 03:35 Paradox 04:30 Last Of The Summer Wine 05:00 Nina And The Neurons 05:15 Poetry Pie 05:20 Mr Bloom’s Nursery 05:40 Spot’s Musical Adventures 05:45 Show Me Show Me 06:10 Buzz & Tell 06:15 Nina And The Neurons 06:30 Poetry Pie 06:35 Mr Bloom’s Nursery 06:55 Spot’s Musical Adventures 07:00 Show Me Show Me 07:25 Buzz & Tell 07:30 Last Of The Summer Wine 08:00 Absolutely Fabulous 08:30 David Copperfield 09:15 Eastenders 09:45 Doctors 10:15 Hustle 11:05 King George & Queen Mary 12:00 Last Of The Summer Wine 12:30 David Copperfield 13:15 Absolutely Fabulous 13:45 Eastenders 14:15 Doctors 14:45 Hustle 15:35 The Weakest Link 16:20 David Copperfield 17:10 Eastenders 17:40 Doctors 18:10 Hustle 19:00 One Foot In The Grave 19:30 Absolutely Fabulous 20:00 Paradox 20:50 Come Fly With Me 21:20 Alan Carr: Chatty Man 22:05 The Office 22:35 Luther 23:30 Prison, My Family & Me vcx

00:00 Cash In The Attic 00:45 Homes Under The Hammer 01:40 Come Dine With Me 02:30 Masterchef: The Professionals 03:15 Design Star 04:00 Eating With The Enemy 04:50 Cash In The Attic 05:35 New Scandinavian Cooking 06:05 Bargain Hunt 06:50 Design Star 07:35 Chef At Home 08:00 Bargain Hunt 08:45 Homes Under The Hammer 09:35 New Scandinavian Cooking 10:00 The Little Paris Kitchen 10:25 Tareq Taylor’s Nordic Cookery 10:50 Tareq Taylor’s Nordic Cookery 11:15 Come Dine With Me 12:05 Masterchef: The Professionals 12:50 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 13:30 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 14:15 Antiques Roadshow 15:05 Homes Under The Hammer 16:00 Homes Under The Hammer 16:50 Bargain Hunt 17:35 Cash In The Attic 18:20 Antiques Roadshow 19:15 DIY SOS: The Big Build 20:10 Nigel Slater’s Christmas Suppers 21:05 Baking Mad With Eric Lanlard 21:30 Come Dine With Me 22:20 Antiques Roadshow 23:15 Bargain Hunt

00:30 Get Out Alive With Bear Grylls 01:20 Dual Survival (Brazil) 02:10 River Monsters

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

Mythbusters Border Security Storage Hunters Flip Men How Do They Do It? How It’s Made American Guns Mythbusters Alaska: The Last Frontier Fast N’ Loud Border Security Storage Hunters Flip Men How Do They Do It? How It’s Made Get Out Alive With Bear

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Ten Ways Stunt Junkies Gadget Show - World Tour Tech Toys 360 Rocket City Rednecks Rocket City Rednecks Junkyard Wars Smash Lab How The Universe Works Gadget Show - World Tour Tech Toys 360 Mega World Mighty Planes Mighty Ships Gadget Show - World Tour How Tech Works Nextworld Mega World Smash Lab How The Universe Works Junkyard Wars Stunt Junkies Gadget Show - World Tour Tech Toys 360 Rocket City Rednecks Rocket City Rednecks Nextworld Mega World Smash Lab How The Universe Works Prophets Of Science Fiction The Science Of Star Wars Gadget Show - World Tour Tech Toys 360 Prophets Of Science Fiction The Science Of Star Wars

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00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart

Oscar lessons from the first blitz of Critics’ Awards


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ome of the critics have spoken, and it’s tempting to act as if they’ve told us important things about this year’s Oscar race. Tempting, but not necessarily true particularly in a year like this one, with an abundance of strong contenders, almost all of which had enough success in the first week of critics’ kudos to emerge feeling good. With the caveat that you should never try to read too much into the tea leaves left by the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and their ilk, here are 10 lessons to be drawn from the last seven days of awards-giving: 1. This is not a year for critic-awards sweeps. Over the last few years, we’ve seen times when one film has unequivocally dominated the critics’ voting. “The Hurt Locker” did so in 2009, and the sheer number of awards it won eventually helped establish it as the alternative to “Avatar,” the little movie that could take down the big movie. The next year, David Fincher’s “The Social Network” had an even more impressive, and nearly unanimous, run through the critics’ awards - and while that may have helped establish it as the alternative to “The King’s Speech,” it wasn’t enough to persuade Academy and guild voters to forsake that crowd-pleaser for something chillier, more artful and more appealing to critics. This year, the first week of awards found “American Hustle” winning in New York, “Gravity” and “Her” tying in Los Angeles, and “12 Years a Slave” picking up three awards. (You could throw in the National Board of Review win for “Her,” but that’s not a critics’ group, though it is often lumped with them.) There’s simply too much good stuff out there for any film to sweep through awards the way “The Hurt Locker,”“The Social Network” and to a lesser degree “The Artist” did. 2. But “12 Years a Slave” remains the leader. All that talk that the race was over when “12 Years” debuted at Telluride and Toronto was clearly premature. Steve McQueen’s dark, brutal film’s appeal to the Academy and the guilds remains to be seen. But the film has done what it was expected to do, which is to win most of the critics’ awards so far. It was bypassed by the main groups in New York and LA, but it won in Boston and among the New York online critics - and so far in the best picture, best director, best actor and best supporting actress categories, it has won more awards than any other film. 3. And “Gravity” has done what it needs to do. Alfonso Cuaron’s game-changing spectacle doesn’t need to win a lot of critics’ awards - it just needs to remain in the conversation, to be seen as a serious artistic statement rather than just a great popcorn movie. And it did that with best-director wins from LA and New York online, with a shared best-picture prize in LA and with three cinematography awards for Emmanuel Lubezki. When you add that much critical respect to more than $630 million in worldwide grosses, “Gravity” is still nestled in the right awards orbit. 4. The Best Actor race is narrowing. It is one of the most competitive Oscar categories most years, but Best Actor is positively brutal this year. More than a dozen high-profile actors could easily lay claim to deserving a spot among the nominees, and you could make up a formidable slate of nominees from among the men who are scrambling to secure what might be the last open spot: Tom Hanks in “Captain Phillips,” Oscar Isaac in “Inside Llewyn Davis,” Michael B. Jordan in “Fruitvale Station,” Forest Whitaker in “The Butler,” Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Christian Bale in “American Hustle,” Joaquin Phoenix in “Her,” Idris Elba in “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”... But it is quite possible that all but one of those actors will be left out when nominations are announced, because a consensus seems to be tightening around Chiwetel Ejiofor in “12 Years a Slave” (winner of three critics’ awards), Robert Redford in “All Is Lost” and Bruce Dern in “Nebraska” (winners of one each) and Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club.” There’s not much room left at the inn once you make room for those guys. 5. Cate Blanchett is undeniable. On the Best Actress side, Blanchett was the presumed frontrunner way back in July, when Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” came out and critics began raving about her turn as the self-destructive, delusional alcoholic sent on a downward spiral by the arrest of her Bernie Madoff-style husband. And now, five months later, Blanchett is still the presumed frontrunner, easily holding off challengers like Sandra Bullock (“Gravity”) and Meryl Streep (“August: Osage County”). Her performance is so inescapable that even the LA Film Critics Association, which lives to single out the darkest of dark horses in this category - between 2009 and 2011, their picks were Yoon Jeong-hee, Kim Hye-ja and Yolande Moreau - could only offer token resistance to Blanchett’s victory parade. LAFCA made her share the award with Adele Exarchopoulos from “Blue Is the Warmest Color.” 6. So is Jared Leto. The initial attention paid to “Dallas Buyers Club” was for Matthew McConaughey’s 40-pound weight loss in the lead role - but it’s his co-star, who lost just as much weight and had less to lose to begin with, who has been reliably winning awards so far. Aside from one loss to the late James Gandolfini and a tie with James Franco (those LAFCA contrarians strike again!), Leto has dominated in the way that Michael Fassbender (“12 Years a Slave”) was once expected to dominate. Now, he just has to withstand a late charge from Jonah Hill as a rampaging, seriously unhinged stockbroker in Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street.” 7. “Her” is sneaking in there. Lots of people this awards season aren’t entirely comfortable campaigning - you could put Fassbender, Christian Bale, Joaquin Phoenix and Woody Allen in that category. But few films have had quieter launches than Spike Jonze’s “Her,” an utterly beguiling and singular near-future love story between a man and his operating system. With Jonze laying back after a New York Film Festival premiere, Phoenix off the circuit entirely, Scarlett Johansson filming another movie in Paris and Amy Adams more visible on behalf of “American Hustle,”“Her” has done little but screen - but it has also won over enough people to nab the National Board of Review’s best-picture award, share the LAFCA’s top prize with “Gravity” and get on the board in a number of other categories. Since the Oscar nominating system rewards movies that can inspire passion rather than consensus, “Her” may have quietly gotten to a very nice position in the race. (But now it might be time to make a little noise?) 8. It’s too early to tell on “The Wolf of Wall Street.” While initial reports suggested that Martin Scorsese’s threehour bacchanalia about excess in the financial industry might enter the race and become an instant juggernaut, it hasn’t happened that way. A week after guild screenings began, it made the NBR’s Top 10 list but hasn’t won any critics’ awards. But that’s not a danger sign, because “Wolf” simply wasn’t ready in time to be seen by some critics’ groups, or to be processed by the ones who did see it. The New York Film Critics voted the morning after seeing the film, and weren’t inclined to rush to judgment; the Boston Society of Film Critics had one morning screening that a hefty percentage of members couldn’t attend, but it still finished a close second to “12 Years a Slave” in best-picture voting. — Reuters

Classifieds WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2013




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Arrival Flights on Wednesday 11/12/2013 Flt Route Time 574 MUMBAI 00:10 539 CAIRO 00:40 772 ISTANBUL 00:45 1084 DOHA 00:55 620 ADDIS ABABA 01:45 267 BEIRUT 00:40 211 BAHRAIN 02:10 764 SABIHA 02:15 853 DUBAI 02:35 305 ABU DHABI-INTL 02:45 643 MUSCAT 03:05 612 CAIRO 03:10 1076 DOHA 03:45 67 DUBAI 04:00 770 ISTANBUL 05:35 170 BAHRAIN 05:40 69 DUBAI 05:50 157 LONDON 06:40 412 MANILA 06:45 529 ASYUT 06:20 53 DUBAI 07:50 206 ISLAMABAD 07:40 302 MUMBAI 07:55 352 COCHIN 08:10 344 CHENNAI 08:35 362 COLOMBO 08:45 855 DUBAI 08:40 125 SHARJAH 09:00 1070 DOHA 09:10 1186 TEHRAN 09:15 301 ABU DHABI-INTL 09:20 55 DUBAI 09:40 213 BAHRAIN 10:40 603 SHIRAZ 10:45 157 BAGHDAD 11:00 165 DUBAI 11:30 404 BEIRUT 11:55 213 BEIRUT 12:10 470 JEDDAH 12:15 403 ASYUT 12:20 1188 MASHAD 12:40 871 DUBAI 12:50 561 SOHAG 12:55 610 CAIRO 13:00 382 DELHI 13:05 522 NAJAF 13:45 792 LUXEMBOURG 13:15 480 TAIF 13:15 826 SANAA 13:30 57 DUBAI 13:50 1078 DOHA 13:55


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Departure Flights on Wednesday 11/12/2013 Flt Route Time 982 AHMEDABAD 00:05 981 WASHINGTON 00:55 573 MUMBAI 01:10 635 FRANKFURT 02:10 621 ADDIS ABABA 02:45 773 ISTANBUL-ATATURK 02:55 854 DUBAI 03:50 381 DELHI 03:50 223 AL MAKTOUM INTERNATIONAL 04:00 306 ABU DHABI 04:00 644 MUSCAT 04:05 613 CAIRO 04:10 1085 DOHA 04:15 68 DUBAI 04:40 1077 DOHA 05:15 283 DHAKA 05:30 560 SOHAG 06:20 70 DUBAI 06:30 164 DUBAI 06:55 765 ISTANBUL-SABIHA 07:05 212 BAHRAIN 07:15 771 ISTANBUL-ATATURK 07:30 537 SHARM EL SHEIKH 08:10 54 DUBAI 08:30 156 LONDON 08:45 787 JEDDAH 09:25 126 SHARJAH 09:40 789 MADINAH 09:45 856 DUBAI 09:55 117 NEW YORK 10:00 521 AL NAJAF 10:05 302 ABU DHABI 10:05 1071 DOHA 10:10 56 DUBAI 10:20 1187 TEHRAN 10:30 175 FRANKFURT 10:45 214 BAHRAIN 11:25 541 CAIRO 11:30 602 SHIRAZ 11:45 356 MASHHAD 11:55 158 AL NAJAF 12:00 103 LONDON 12:20 776 JEDDAH 12:25 405 BEIRUT 12:55 785 JEDDAH 13:00 461 MADINAH 13:10 406 SOHAG 13:20 786 RIYADH 13:35 176 DUBAI 13:45 223 AL MAKTOUM INTERNATIONAL 13:45 611 CAIRO 14:00 1189 MASHHAD 14:05 481 TAIF 14:10



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s ta rs CROSSWORD 395

STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) ARIES Professional advice may work in your best interest—whether you give or receive, it does not really matter. You have a sense of mass psychology about how to organize sale items or fast sale items and can manipulate sensitive areas of the public mind. You may find the results of your efforts are quite successful. Work and career may become a primary focus during this time. There are opportunities to make good decisions. You are at your most practical. Just be careful that you do not become so overstressed with your work that you neglect home, family and your health. A neighbor may require a bit of your time this afternoon but all is upbeat. This evening you are very passionate and are willing to go all out in an effort to please your lover.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) You appreciate the freedom to express your ideas in the workplace today— others are listening. You are good at laying out a foundation for yourself and others to build upon. This could be anything from architectural planning to outlining the outcome of a fictional story. Many people need an instruction book but you seem to intuitively and creatively complete projects, fit things together and create a positive outcome to difficult situations. Your ability to understand life in general makes you a good teacher. Your capacity to make good decisions will be respected. Underneath that hard working person that you are lies a very industrious person. Now is the time to be expressive and allow these good qualities to surface.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

ACROSS 1. Resinlike substance secreted by certain lac insects. 4. Coming into existence. 12. Having leadership guidance. 15. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 16. A room where merchandise (such as cars) is displayed. 17. A federal agency established to coordinate programs aimed at reducing pollution and protecting the environment. 18. A wired or starched collar of intricate lace. 20. Unusually great in size or amount or degree or especially extent or scope. 22. A colorless element that is one of the six inert gasses. 23. United States writer and poet (1905-1989). 25. Romanian violinist and composer (18811955). 29. The longer of the two telegraphic signals used in Morse code. 30. East Indian cereal grass whose seed yield a somewhat bitter flour, a staple in the Orient. 32. Concerning those not members of the clergy. 35. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 40. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 41. Having undesirable or negative qualities. 45. Lacking either stimulating or irritating characteristics. 49. Having no roof. 50. Parasitic on the digestive epithelium of vertebrates and higher invertebrates. 52. A larval frog or toad. 53. United States abolitionist (1786-1865). 54. A pendent spear of ice formed by the freezing of dripping water. 56. A period of time containing 365 (or 366) days. 57. Resembling a hawk (in character or appearance). 59. Make or shape as with an axe. 60. Precipitation of ice pellets when there are strong rising air currents. 62. State in northeastern India. 65. Title for a civil or military leader (especially in Turkey). 69. The 19th letter of the Greek alphabet. 73. The universal time coordinated time when a transmission is sent from Earth to a spacecraft or other celestial body. 74. English historian noted for his history of England (1800-1859). 76. A flat wing-shaped process or winglike part of an organism. 77. Seed of a pea plant. 78. A tumor derived from fibrous tissue of the meninges or choroid plexus or certain other structures associated with the brain. 79. An intricate network suggesting something that was formed by weaving or interweaving. DOWN 1. North American yellow-breasted songbirds. 2. Any culture medium that uses agar as the gelling agent. 3. A compartment in front of a motor vehicle where driver sits. 4. Everything you own. 5. The Oceanic language spoken by the Maori people in New Zealand. 6. Angular distance above the horizon (especially of a celestial object).

7. No longer concealed. 8. The father of your father or mother. 9. (Greek mythology) The winged goddess of the dawn in ancient mythology. 10. A short personal letter. 11. A soft silvery metallic element of the rare earth group. 12. Restraint consisting of a rope (or light chain) used to restrain an animal. 13. Surpassing the ordinary especially in size or scale. 14. Herb of the Pacific islands grown throughout the tropics for its edible root and in temperate areas as an ornamental for its large glossy leaves. 19. Having awns i.e. bristle- or hair-like appendages on the flowering parts of some cereals and grasses. 21. Lacking or deprive of the sense of hearing wholly or in part. 24. A substance produced by the hypothalamus that is capable of accelerating the secretion of a given hormone by the anterior pituitary gland. 26. A yellow trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group. 27. One of the most common of the five major classes of immunoglobulins. 28. The branch of computer science that deal with writing computer programs that can solve problems creatively. 31. A port city in southwestern Turkey on the Gulf of Antalya. 33. In a free manner. 34. Steps consisting of two parallel members connected by rungs. 36. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 37. A small cake leavened with yeast. 38. Make a doodle. 39. A message received and understood that reduces the recipient's uncertainty. 42. (prefix) Opposite or opposing or neutralizing. 43. A unit of apothecary weight equal to an eighth of an ounce or to 60 grains. 44. A conveyance that transports passengers or freight in carriers suspended from cables and supported by a series of towers. 46. Aquatic eel-shaped salamander having two pairs of very small feet. 47. A small Asian country high in the Himalayas between India and Tibet. 48. A gully that is shallower than a ravine. 51. A liquid used for printing or writing or drawing. 55. A soft silver-white ductile metallic element (liquid at normal temperatures). 58. West Indian evergreen with medium to long leaves. 61. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 63. Adopted in order to deceive. 64. (prefix) Indicating difference or variation. 66. Bite or chew on with the teeth. 67. Exhibiting or restored to vigorous good health. 68. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 70. The basic unit of electric current adopted under the System International d'Unites. 71. The network in the reticular formation that serves an alerting or arousal function. 72. Type genus of the family Myacidae. 75. Before noon.


A new goal in the workplace seems to be a good idea, but you may wonder if you are on the right track. The goal is probably a very good one, so keep the plan on paper for now and use the next few weeks to firm up your idea. Many people will be out of town just when you want to gain support for your idea—patience. Your innate ability to understand and be sensitive to others’ needs places you in the driver’s seat when it comes to communicating regarding groups or society in general. Knowing what people really want and need is the main key to your success. You may find yourself more involved in getting things and people organized. Managing a team is successful at this time. Making your own gifts for the holiday is a good idea this year; get busy!

Cancer (June 21-July 22) Conversations at a meeting may take the road to a misunderstanding— careful. Perhaps rephrasing your words or asking another to rephrase his or her words would be helpful toward a better understanding. You have a talent for writing and may be able to rise above the usually overworked ad department this particular day. You are kindhearted, understanding and sensitive to the needs of others. This puts you in an excellent position to communicate with all concerned. You find many ways to broaden your horizons this afternoon. You may feel the need to involve yourself in many areas of endeavor, possibly education, politics, religion or law. Travel is also a subject of attraction and you may decide the travel industry could use your creative mind.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Those in authority know of your ability to manage and direct other people. They could be seeking you out to take responsibility for a particular job requiring your special talents. It is a great time to be with others and to work together. Now is a particularly good time for you to use your imagination and creative ability when it comes to ideas and thinking. Your talent for being able to put your thoughts into words will allow you to delight and fascinate those around you. You may find a good book or movie for your preferred entertainment this evening. You should find no problem in being able to enjoy your own life situation, or feel especially kindhearted toward a friend or loved one. Expect some nice compliments to come your way tonight.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) A great deal of interaction with your co-workers may keep you in the same job position for much too long. If you want to encourage your supervisor to pay attention to your great potential, you will do well to request work that would put you in a team situation or create an opportunity to lead a group. The most emotional satisfaction at this time comes from the friends you have made during this last year. This may be a good day to plan some type of get-together. An exercise routine that you tolerate would work best if you could move the time you exercise to the early afternoon. Later today you will gently encourage a smoker to take up a different habit. At home this evening you become more comfortable in helping a friend with a homework assignment.

Word Search

Libra (September 23-October 22) Your business expertise is showing this morning as you try to find the code, equation or key to some difficult problem. Figuring out how to organize people or a project is likely to be a topic of special appeal, as well as a challenge today. When you see that there is practical worth and application in some activity, you push with everything you have to see the end result. This may be a time of concentrated study and thought. Your mind is very quick and you seem to understand your emotions and drive. If necessary, you have no problem in discussing your feelings with great insight and ease. This should be a particularly great time to be with others and to work together. A social engagement this evening turns out to be a great deal of fun!

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Your desire to try something totally new and different could lead you on an investigation of some rather far-out ideas. Everything is working in your favor to help bring out your unique qualities. It may surprise you just a little to realize who will understand and support your rather eccentric behavior. This could all find you coming up with some new solutions to long-held problems or possibly even guiding you in discovering something very inventive. Socially, you could be the belle of the ball, so to speak, because of your rather different approach to some very enlightening subjects. Those around you will not feel cheated or bored at having listened to what you advocate. You may enjoy chatting about the evening’s events all over again with a loved one.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Money matters are on your mind today. It is time to find ways to increase the income and you know you are worth it. It could also be that you realize a career change makes sense now. Do not wait for success to come to you—reach for it. Through your words and ideas, you will make a difference in other people’s lives. Psychiatry, poetry or perhaps art may be a part of this. Because of your eloquence in speech and communication, you should find others being very responsive to what you have to say. A parent meeting or community get-together will give you an opportunity to create some positive input to help increase the safety in a neighborhood. Conditions are perfect for self-expression, wherever you find yourself.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) Spend some time in thought before making your final decision about an important work issue. This is a time when it will pay for you to be very careful in making a decision that might involve a change in direction where your professional life is concerned. There could be a tendency to make choices too quickly. Later today, you help a friend to make a wonderful presentation at her school or committee meeting. You teach young people to choose their friends with the idea that they and their friends interact with one another to help each other grow and learn. Someone in your life is learning a lot and they want to share new information with you. You have probably heard it all before—but listen anyway—this person might soon be doing the same for you.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Today you may find yourself lecturing or judging. Your thoughtful appreciation for ideas and thoughts should make this an excellent time to study. You may find yourself in the middle of a very enjoyable long conversation, writing a letter, or making that special phone call. You have an abundance of beautiful and harmonious relationships in your life and may find yourself in a creative writing class, house-design class, flying lessons, etc., with one or more of these beautiful people. You require and enjoy your close personal relationships, to assure a well-rounded life style. Those around you will have no problem in knowing just where you are coming from, as you are quite forceful and eloquent in your ability to communicate.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) You will see that your businesslike abilities are at a high. You could find yourself involved in some in-depth discussions now—you are at your mental best. Now is the time you will see why it is you had to study that dull class that was required in high school. The subject just may be the favorite pastime of a very rich customer who will appreciate your input. Sweethearts, children, and other folks or things that you consider near and dear to your heart are emphasized at this time. There may not be a more powerful need in your life just now than knowing people admire you for your capabilities and talents. Someone younger than yourself may look to you for answers to problems that are of great importance to him or her.

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Yesterday’s Solution


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lifestyle G o s s i p

Leonardo DiCaprio’s stepbrother is missing


he Wolf of Wall Street’ actor is reportedly distraught as his sibling, Adam Farrar, has been missing for a month since being released from a three-week stint in prison for theft and breaking the rules of his probation from previous arrests. A family friend told The Sun newspaper: “Adam was in jail and now I don’t know where he is. He was here at my house for about two or three days, then he just disappeared. I’ve tried calling him but his number is disconnected. I spoke to his dad a couple of days ago and still no one

has heard from him. “I’ve known him since kindergarten and I’m worried. He’s gone off the rails in the past few years. He doesn’t have a permanent home and he flits around from friends’ houses and lord knows where else.” The troubled actor - who had a few film and TV roles as a child and is thought to have inspired Leonardo, 39, to pursue his own career - is the son of ‘The Great Gatsby’ star’s stepmother Peggy, who married his father, George, when he was just one. Adam, 42, has had a string of runins with the law and in 2000 he was arrested on suspi-

cion of attempted murder when a girlfriend called the police and claimed he had choked her at their home. The case was later dropped. The insider added: “Leo has tried to stick by him but their relationship has become more difficult in recent years. We are all worried about Adam.”

Katy Perry doesn’t believe in heaven and hell

Ralph Fiennes suffers from panic attacks



he Constant Gardener’ actor often wakes up in a sweat in the middle of the night with a feeling of impending doom hanging over him and lies awake worrying about his life. He said: “I have huge anxiety attacks. I’ll wake up early in the morning with my brain anxious about something and I don’t even know what it is, just a general sense of profound uncertainty. It’s from the unconscious, I suppose, fears about existence. A weird twilight zone. “We feel we can organise our lives and have an order that we can control but really we can’t, it’s always paper-thin and underneath there’s this lurking chaos. You think, ‘This could come at me at any moment!’ “ The 50-year-old star admits his anxiety also translates into being socially awkward when he meets new people and not being able to concentrate on what they’re saying. Ralph told Britain’s Esquire magazine “I get accused of zoning out of conversations and gazing into the middle distance, which I do when I’m somehow not at ease. I often feel a bit lost in social situations and that’s when I can button up. “I have moments - not every day - when I feel myself retreating. Later on I’ll think, ‘That person meant well. I didn’t need to be like that’.” The British star’s biggest regret is his mother passing away before he became a household name thanks to the success of ‘Schindler’s List’. He recalled: “Just as ‘Schindler’s List’ was coming out and I was on the receiving end of a whole lot of attention, my mother died of cancer. I would have loved her to have seen some of the stuff I’ve been part of. I know all my brothers and sisters feel the same. We often talk about it. “My father was around for a bit but it will always be, for all of us as a family, a huge sadness that both our parents died when they did. There are moments when it surprises you; you think you’re on top of it and the grief will suddenly come back.”

he 29-year-old star grew up in a deeply Christian household with evangelist preacher parents, Keith and Mary Hudson, but she admits she no longer identifies with a single religion, however, she does believe in a “higher power”. Katy explained: “I don’t believe in a heaven or a hell, or an old man sitting on a throne. I believe in a higher power bigger than me because that keeps me accountable. “Accountability is rare to find, especially with people like myself, because nobody wants to tell you something you don’t want to hear. “I’m not Buddhist, I’m not Hindu, I’m not Christian, but I still feel like I have a deep connection with God. I pray all the time for self-control, for humility. There’s a lot of gratitude in it. Just saying ‘thank you’ sometimes is better than asking for things.” The ‘Unconditionally’ singer - whose previous hits include ‘I Kissed a Girl’ - also revealed she has a

“great relationship” with her minister parents, despite their conservative values often being at odds with her raunchy pop career. She told the new issue of US Marie Claire magazine: “People don’t understand that I have a great relationship with my parents ... like, how that can exist. There isn’t any judgment. They don’t necessarily agree with everything I do, but I don’t necessarily agree with everything they do. They’re at peace with ... they pray for me is what they do. They’re fascinated with the idea that they created someone who has this much attention on her.”

Kym Marsh ditches husband’s name on Twitter


Jennifer Lawrence

is ‘always very nervous’


he Oscar winning ‘American Hustle’ star suffers from anxiety about how she is perceived which she says help stop her from ever getting a big head. She told E! news: “I’m always just very nervous. I never feel like, ‘I’ve got this.’ I’m always very nervous and aware of how quickly people can hate you and that scares me. “I never feel like I’m on top of it or I know what I’m doing... so, no. I never get a big head, I just get more and more anxious.” ‘Jennifer’s co-star in the movie, Christian Bale, said he enjoyed working with her, as she is feisty and also because she swears a lot. He said: “She loves nothing more than a good fight. She’s up for it. She’s a tough cookie. And she talks like a sailor, so I enjoy those conversations with her.”

Britney Spears longs to have a girl


he star has sons Sean Preston, eight, and Jayden James, seven, with ex-husband Kevin Federline but would love to add to her brood with a baby girl, who she hopes would be a “mini-me”. She told InStyle magazine: “I would really like to have another baby, a girl. I think she would be like a mini-me. I think it’s going to be crazy. “I’m not going to feel as alone in the world anymore. I’m going to feel like I have a second person, like, that’s me.” Britney - who is currently dating David Lucado after splitting with ex-fiance Jason Trawick in January - also said she loves being pregnant. The 32-yearold singer also wishes she had more female friends who have babies so she could turn to them for advice. She added: “As a mom, you have all these situations you go through and you’re like, ‘What is going on? Is this normal? Is this a phase? Or what is this?’ and then you feel silly for asking questions because you know, I’m a mom. I’m supposed to know these things, but you don’t. You’re human. To be honest, I wish I had more mom friends.”

he 37-year-old star’s username is now @msm4rsh and her moniker is listed as her former moniker. The name change comes shortly after she filed for divorce from ‘EastEnders’ actor Jamie Lomas, citing unreasonable behaviour in October 2013. Her Twitter update comes shortly after the star - who has over 370,000 followers on the social networking site - asked ‘Coronation Street’ bosses to credit her role as Michelle Connor as Kym Marsh rather than Kym Lomas in the soap. A source told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “It demonstrates it’s all over between her and Jamie. The credit thing on Corrie was a huge statement and now Kym has followed it up with this. “She reckons there is no way back. Her mum and dad and close friends have been terrific support for her while all this has been going on and they will back Kym whatever she decides to do.” Jamie is believed to be planned to file his own divorce claim after alleging Kym - who he married in September 2012 - cheated on him with her former ‘Coronation Street’ colleague Oliver Mellor, who played Dr Matt Carter.


lifestyle G o s s i p

Ben Affleck regrets making ‘Daredevil’

Julie Walters wants to work with Woody Allen T

he 63-year-old actress was presented with the Outstanding Contribution to Film prize at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs) on Sunday night an honour she described as very “special”. Although Julie has achieved so much during her career which has spanned over 40 years - she admits there are still directors she would like to work with and Woody is top of her list. Speaking at the ceremony held at Old Billingsgate Market in London, she told BANG Showbiz: “People like Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, there are loads of people. “But usually I like to see a script, I don’t think I must work with someone or I must play a certain part. Then I think, ‘Who’s going to be directing it?’, ‘Who’s in it, are they gits.’” Julie also praised the event for shining a “light on British film” and for being a “platform for new talent”. The star also admitted she “felt her age” playing a grandmother in the upcoming ‘Harry Hill Movie’. She quipped: “It was heaven, just mad fun, he’s another lovely bloke, unassuming and clever, we were like a double-act. I played his nan, which would make me 103 in real life. “It was just brilliant, but very hard work though, that made me feel my age, in every day, long hours, but lovely.” Other winners at the BIFAs included James McAvoy, who took home the Best Actor prize for his performance in ‘Filth’, while Lindsay Duncan picked up the Best Actress gong for ‘Le Week-End’. - Bangshowbiz

Lamar Od

gets 3 ye ars

Jennifer Aniston went through

shops for an engagement ring

Mary-Kate Olsen


he 27-year-old fashion designer and her 44-year-old beau Olivier Sarkozy - whom she has been dating for over a year - have been spotted checking out prices on marital jewellery at the Neil Lane boutique in Los Angeles on several occasions in last month, which has sparked speculation they are about to get engaged. A source told the New York Post newspaper: “Mary-Kate has been seen several times in the last three weeks checking out huge engagement rings at the Neil Lane store. “She really likes cushion-cut diamonds, and all of the rings she has looked at are over five carats. She has narrowed it down, but still hasn’t made a final decision.” The blonde beauty initially had her eyes on a platinum-setting ring, but had no concerns when it came to money as it had a price tag of over $100,000 attached to it. Another source said: “I don’t think price was an issue.” Mary-Kate previously dated artist Nate Lowman for over two years before splitting in 2010, while Olivier romanced actress Stella Schnabel for a year before their break-up last March. Olivier was previously married to wife Charlotte and they have two children together. Charlotte has since called the coupling “grotesque” and “not right” due to their age differences.

if I didn’t think it was going to be good and that I could be good in it?” Ben admits in the early part of the last decade he made “a series of movies that didn’t work” including another flop, ‘Gigli’, which saw him cast alongside then-fiancee Jennifer Lopez. He added: “[That] one, in particular, was widely mocked because it had a funny name and overlapped with the tabloid situation.” Ben, 41, credits his wife, Jennifer Garner - who appeared with him in ‘Daredevil’ and ‘Pearl Harbour’ - for helping him recover his position in Hollywood, and helping him win an Oscar earlier this year for directing and starring in ‘Argo’. He said: “Getting to

an ‘awkward phase’ in her 30s


he actor’s recent signing up to play Batman was met with a great deal of criticism from fans, but he says he has learned from his first stint as a superhero in the 2003 big screen flop. He told Playboy magazine: “The only movie I actually regret is ‘Daredevil’. It just kills me. I love that story, that character, and the fact that it got ruined the way it did stays with me. Maybe that’s part of the motivation to do Batman.” He also reassured fans his turn as Batman will be a much better film, adding: “If I thought the result would be another ‘Daredevil’, I’d be out there picketing myself. Why would I make the movie


know her, falling in love with her and being connected with her gave me a foundation to reach out and say, ‘Okay, I’m going to do Hollywoodland; I’m going to direct ‘Gone Baby Gone’. “Those were the steps forward I needed to put positive stuff on the board. She is by leaps and bounds the most important person to me in that respect. Over the past 10 years she has allowed me to have a stable home life while accomplishing my professional goals.”

probation for DUI



he troubled basketball star struck a plea deal with a California court and has admitted no contest to the charge, in return for probation, having to complete an alcohol education class by next June and paying $1,814 in fees and fines. Lamar - whose marriage to Khloe Kardashian has been rocked by allegations of infidelity and drug use - was arrested on August 30 after driving erratically on the 101 Freeway in Los Angeles showing what officers called “objective signs of intoxication.” The reality star refused to a blood-alcohol test after his arrest, which led to automatic one-year driving ban, which still stands. California Highway Patrol public information officer Leland Tang previously told RadarOnline: “He did what no one should ever do, he refused the chemical tests. “That means that his licence is revoked and Lamar could get the most powerful attorney in the world and he is still not going to have a licence for a year.” Lamar, 34, has also had to agree to random drug testing as part of his deal to play for the Los Angeles Clippers, as he tries to get his basketball career back on track. A source said: “Lamar agreed to undergo random drug testing administered by the team, and if he returns one dirty test, he will be suspended from the team immediately.” Khloe and Lamar have temporarily split, and in a preview trailer for the new series of ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ he can be heard on the phone begging her to take him back. He says: “I would do anything to be accepted back by you guys. You guys are all I’ve got.”

he ‘Horrible Bosses’ actress is getting ready to celebrate her 45th birthday next February and looking back over her life, she says her 30s - during which she was married to Brad Pitt for five years between 2000 and 2005 - were a strange time. She told Parade magazine: “There’s nothing to worry about [getting older] - although I don’t think I had a care in the world at 25, either. That all started in my 30s, my awkward phase. I’m a little bit of a late bloomer! “But it doesn’t matter to me because it just gets better. They do say youth is wasted on the young, but I feel just as youthful now - if not more - than I did when I was 25. I’m more in my body; I’m more in my mind. Life is full. Life is wonderful. We’re very, very fortunate.” Jennifer - who is now engaged to be married to actor Justin Theroux - enjoyed her best-known role in sitcom ‘Friends’, which also finished when she was in her 30s, and she still likes to occasionally watch clips from the show. She added: “I actually will always stop and watch, not for the whole thing, but usually because I’ve forgotten a lot of the episodes. It’s sort of fun for a second, I’m like, ‘What’s this one?’ “And sometimes it comes back to me. I always know what year it was by what length my hair was or what color.”



Spring and Summer

2014 Collection New Johnny Cash album to be

released next spring T

Models present creations from the Spring and Summer 2014 collection by Polish fashion designer Lukasz Jemiol during a show in Warsaw, Poland. — AP photos

Bacharach calls musical of his songs a ‘valentine’


few years ago, Kyle Riabko found himself in the most intimidating of places on Earth for a young singersongwriter. First, he was in the home of Burt Bacharach, a songwriter who has three Academy Awards and eight Grammys. Second, Riabko was performing songs for the master himself. Third, what he was playing were a few of Bacharach’s own songs with his personal spin. “It was a very nerve-racking experience: Going to a legend’s house and sitting him down and playing him his music by you,” Riabko says. “There were a lot of sweaty palms involved.” Somehow he survived the session and even walked away with Bacharach’s respect. “He impressed me very much with his musicality, with his sensibility and the way he was handling the songs,” says Bacharach. More important, Riabko got the green light to continue tinkering with Bacharach’s impressive catalog as the 26-year-old built it into a cool new musical the 85-year-old icon would like. “One thing that I realized about Burt early on was he has such a deep respect for melody,” says Riabko, a singer and actor who appeared on Broadway in “Spring Awakening” and “Hair.” He conceived the Bacharach show with David Lane Seltzer. “My strategy was always to infuse a sense of style that was very personal to me within the music but also to maintain and always respect those melodies,” he says. “I maintained them because I feel like that is the work that we’re celebrating here.” What emerged is “What’s It All About?” a stripped-down and hauntingly emotive show now at New York Theatre Workshop in which Riabko leads a small cast through some two dozen of Bacharach’s songs, including “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” “Walk on By” and “Say a Little Prayer.” Riabko’s orchestrations have stripped down the songs and rebuilt them, making the familiar new, and he bleeds together different choruses to make connections between diffuse songs. “Burt’s written so many damn hits, you can’t do it any other way,” says Riabko, laughing. “You have to smash them all together.” He and six performers - who all play instruments move through the 90-minute show effortlessly under the direction of Steven Hoggett, creating a big neo-folk kiss to Bacharach. “Hats off to Kyle. It’s pretty incredible stuff he’s

done,” says Bacharach, who has been tough on anyone reworking his material. “This was like a valentine that was being given to me by Kyle.” The two men first worked together at the Los Angeles workshops of Bacharach’s musical he wrote with Steven Sater, “Some Lovers,” that would go on to premiere at The Old Globe in San Diego. Riabko was a cast member who fell in love with the older man’s songs, calling each a “handcrafted sculpture.” He soon reworked some, recorded a

here’s new never-before-heard music coming from Johnny Cash. Cash’s estate is releasing “Out Among the Stars,” an album he recorded with Billy Sherrill in the early 1980s that was never released by Columbia Records, then disappeared when the company dropped Cash in 1986. Turns out Cash and his wife, June Carter Cash, stashed the tapes - along with just about everything else that came into their possession. “They never threw anything away,” said their son, John Carter Cash. “They kept everything in their lives. They had an archive that had everything in it from the original audio tapes from ‘The Johnny Cash Show’ to random things like a camel saddle, a gift from the prince of Saudi Arabia.” They stored away so much, in fact, the younger Cash and archivists at Legacy Recordings didn’t find the material until last year, long after the family began issuing archival music by Cash. “Out Among the Stars” will be out March 25, and continues an intense period of interest in the singer, who helped shape modern country and rock ‘n’ roll music and became an American pop cultural figure before his death 10 years ago at age 71. Multiple music, book and restoration projects have been started in the past 18 months to mark what would have been the singer’s 80th birthday and the 10th anniversary of his death. The music being released was recorded during a difficult period for Cash personally and professionally. Columbia paired him with Sherrill, a producer and Country Music Hall of Fame member who was then the president of CBS Records Nashville. One of the main architects of country music’s so-called countrypolitan sound, Sherrill helped push the genre toward pop sounds and conventions - and away from Cash’s more independent-minded ways. The pairing came at a time when Cash was at a low ebb in his popularity. The music on “Out Among the Stars” is taken from 1981 and ‘84 sessions, at a time when country music was going through great change. “Dad was always uniquely himself,” Cash said. “And later on the world would come back around. He never modified himself. But Nashville at the time was in a completely different place. It was the ‘Urban Cowboy’ phase. It was pop country, and dad was not that. I think him working with Billy was sort of an effort by the record company to put him more in the circle of Music Row and see what could happen at the heart of that machine.” It was clear record company executives didn’t think much of the outcome. They put out a few more Cash albums after the recordings were made, but never used the music from those sessions before dropping him. Sherrill backed Cash with a band that consisted of fellow Country Hall of Fame member Hargus Robbins and a

Disney’s ‘Frozen’ cools ‘Catching Fire’ at box office

This photo shows co-conceiver Karl Riabko (left) and composer Burt Bacharach. — AP 20-minute demo on his computer and got Bacharach’s permission to keep going. Emboldened, Riabko created “What’s It All About?” by listening and then trying to categorize Bacharach’s songs, most of which were written with lyricist Hal David in the ‘60s and ‘70s. “A lot of these songs I see as colors,” he says. “I was kind of thinking of this body of work as a bunch of watercolor paints and then I took a paintbrush and used them.” What he found when he pulled the songs apart was a special songwriter, one who first decided what he wanted to say and then wrote a song around it rather than rely on a formula. Playing Bacharach’s music has turned into an education for the young rising musician. “I have it in my blood, which feels great.” — AP

young friend of Cash’s named Marty Stuart. The younger Cash and his co-producer, archivist Steve Berkowitz, decided they’d bring Stuart back in to rerecord his parts with 30 years more experience as a picker. Others, including Buddy Miller and Jerry Douglas, helped fortify the original tapes as well. The 12 tracks include a duet with Waylon Jennings and two with June Carter Cash. “We were so excited when we discovered this,” Cash said. “We were like, my goodness this is a beautiful record that nobody has ever heard. Johnny Cash is in the very prime of his voice for his lifetime. He’s pitch perfect. It’s seldom where there’s more than one vocal take. They’re a live take and they’re perfect.” John Carter Cash doesn’t think Columbia executives realized what they had in hand. Even though his father had been a major star, tastes would soon turn to Garth Brooks and Shania Twain. Biographer Robert Hilburn, who recently released “Johnny Cash: The Life,” said the music fans are about to hear was recorded during some of the most difficult years of Cash’s life. He felt like he’d lost his legacy and he was still dealing with the fallout from personal problems including infidelity and drug addiction. He soon met producer Rick Rubin, though, and wrote a coda to his career that gave his life something of a mythic quality. “Johnny Cash was redeemed, and that was a wonderful lesson,” Hilburn said. “His story is so great and it’s so dramatic and it’s so much more dramatic than I ever envisioned.” — AP


isney animated musical “Frozen” extinguished the box-office flames of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” to take top spot as the highestearning movie in North American theaters this weekend, industry figures showed Monday. The 53rd movie in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, which began with “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in 1937, “Frozen” is loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairytale “The Snow Queen.” Box office tracker Exhibitor Relations showed the movie had deposed “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” after raking in a cool $31.6 million. The latest installment of the blockbuster “Hunger Games” franchise continued to hold up well, however, earning $26.2 million for second place, taking its overall earnings to date to a healthy $335.9 million in North

America alone. The series stars Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, a teenager forced into a deadly battle for survival in the macabre post-apocalyptic kingdom of Panem. In a distant third place with $5.2 million was “Out of the Furnace,” a thriller starring Christian Bale and Casey Affleck as two brothers who are sucked into the criminal underworld as they attempt to break free from poverty. In fourth spot was superhero flick “Thor: The Dark World,” the latest movie based on Marvel’s iconic comic book character, which took in $4.8 million on its fourth weekend. In fifth was “Delivery Man.” The comedy, starring veteran funnyman Vince Vaughn as a sperm donor who discovers he has sired 533 children, earned $3.7 million. —AFP

Berlin recycled chic rebels against ‘fast fashion’


hile clothes giants H&M and Zara are dominating global street wear trends, a group of Berlin designers is resisting “fast fashion” to create their own style of recycled chic. The floor of Daniel Kroh’s workshop near Berlin Central Station is littered with piles of orange overalls and the fluorescent reflector jackets worn by German railway workers. They are the raw materials for this designer, who cuts and dyes the scraps to make men’s fashion. “I seek traces of authenticity,” Kroh explains about his unique creations, his answer to cheap and mass-produced garments made for the world in faraway textile workshops. He and a growing band of Berlin designers specialise in giving new life to textile waste to produce trendy and high-quality products. Kroh also uses the blue work pants of carpenters, which would other wise likely be burned in a garbage incinerator, to make new tailored clothes for the city’s hippest fashion pioneers. The trend, a

stance against waste and over-consumption, is not a new idea, the designers say. “My mother and my grandmother ... made new skirts with pieces from dresses or offcuts from coats, just to be economical,” says Italian designer Carla Cixi, who has lived in Berlin for five years. Cecilia Palmer, another fashion designer in the German capital, lamented that in today’s world “we throw away clothes because of a missing button or a broken zipper”. The designer, who is in her 30s, organises parties where everyone brings clothes they no longer want to trade for other pieces. Participants can also make new clothes with the sewing machines provided. ‘Like going to a fast food joint’ The big idea of the project? “Consume differently,” says Palmer, who decries the fact that tonnes of clothing end up in the garbage each year. These designers are rebelling against what they dub “dis-

posable fashion”. “It’s a scandal that some brands sell clothes that will be worn just two or three times” before they are considered outdated, said Cixi, whose crocheted creations require hours of work. Shopping at global fashion retail chains “is like going to a fast-food joint to eat hamburgers. You feel bad afterwards,” said Kroh, who scoffed at mass market clothes as having “no soul”. The designers complain that from Athens to Oslo, European youth wear the same slim-fit jeans produced in Bangladesh or Cambodia, with millions sold at unbeatable prices. It’s a fashion that pleases everyone but “ends up being all the same,” Cixi said. Each jacket or suit made by Kroh includes explanations about its origin. Eugenie Schmidt and Mariko Takahashi, who also created a recycled clothing label, have also opted to “tell the story” of each dress or pair of pants from their workshop in the former East Berlin. “The more a garment is worn, the more it contains of the history of the person who wore it,” said

Schmidt, showing off a part-transparent pink creation with stains on the sleeves. “These are traces of paint,” said Schmidt, explaining that the sweatshirt’s last owner was a painter. The catch with recycled clothing, often produced in labour-intensive ways, is that it remains unaffordable for many. A jacket can easily cost more than 400 euros ($540). The designers recognise that their style still serves a niche market. But they proudly defend it, denouncing the fact that the big chains sell Tshirts for as little as five euros. A newcomer among the mega-retailers, Irish chain Primark, has used very low prices-without advertising-to lure tens of thousands to each store opening in Europe. In Berlin, as elsewhere, shoppers pile out of the stores loaded with full bags. The rock-bottom prices are in turn fuelling controversy over labour conditions among garment makers. With an eye for irony, Schmidt and Takahashi make most of their clothes from old H&M and Zara garments. — AFP



‘Sound of Music’ actress Eleanor Parker dies at 91 E

leanor Parker, who was nominated for Academy Awards three times for her portrayals of strongwilled women and played a scheming baroness in “The Sound of Music,” has died at 91. Family friend Richard Gale said Parker died Monday morning due to complications from pneumonia. “She passed away peacefully, surrounded by her children at a medical facility near her home in Palm Springs,” Gale added. Parker was nominated for Oscars in 1950, 1951 and 1955, but then saw her career begin to wane in the early 1960s. Her last memorable role came in 1965’s “The Sound of Music,” in which she played the scheming baroness who loses Christopher Plummer to Julie Andrews. She worked only infrequently after that, appearing in films and on such TV shows as “Fantasy Island,” “Murder, She Wrote” and “The Love Boat.” She also starred in the short-lived 1960s TV series “Bracken’s World.” “I’m primarily a character actress,” she said in a 1988 interview, explaining why she never achieved the stardom of so many of her co-stars. “I’ve portrayed so many diverse individuals on the screen that my own personality never emerged.” Like William Holden, Robert Preston, Dustin

Hoffman and others, Parker was discovered at the Pasadena Playhouse. She was signed to a contract at Warner Bros., where she played only minor roles until the studio recognized her dramatic depth and cast her as Mildred Rogers in the 1946 remake of “Of Human Bondage.” The Somerset Maugham story had made Bette Davis a star 12 years before. On Parker’s first day of filming, Davis sent her flowers and a note proclaiming, “I hope Mildred does as much for your career as she did for mine.” But the film flopped, and Parker was again relegated to mediocre roles until her breakthrough performance as an inmate in a brutal prison in the 1950 film “Caged.” The role brought Parker her first Oscar nomination, for best actress. Her second came the following year as Kirk Douglas’s frustrated wife in “Detective Story.” Her career fully blossomed with such follow-up films as “Scaramouche” with Stewart Granger, “Above and Beyond” with Robert Taylor, “Escape from Fort Bravo” with Holden, “Valley of the Kings” with Taylor, and “The Naked Jungle” with Charlton Heston. She took on one of her most challenging roles in 1955 in “Interrupted Melody,” portraying opera star

Marjorie Lawrence, who continued her career after contracting polio. Faced with having to lip-sync nine arias in three languages, she holed up in a Lake Arrowhead cabin for two weeks and played records eight to 10 hours a day. The result: her third Oscar nomination. Other notable films included “The Man with the Golden Arm” and “A Hole in the Head” (both opposite Frank Sinatra) and “ The King and Four Queens” with Gable. Growing up in Cedarsville, Ohio, Parker had yearned to be an actress, and when the family moved to Cleveland, she began taking acting lessons. In the summer she worked as an apprentice in a Martha’s Vineyard stock company, waiting tables to support herself. After moving to Pasadena, she was cast in her first movie role at 19, a bit part in “They Died With Their Boots On,” starring Errol Flynn. Parker’s first three marriages ended in divorce: to Navy dentist Fred L Losse; producer Bert Friedlob, which resulted in three children, Susan, Sharon and Richard; and painter Paul Clemens, with whom she had a son, actor Paul Clemens. Her 1966 marriage to Shubert Theater manager Raymond Hirsch ended with his death in 2001. — AP

In this file photo, film actress Eleanor Parker visits Palm Mallorca, while trying to purchase a villa in Spain. — AP

For gifters

Kid picture books with snowy themes


rrrr. It’s time for all good children, at least those in chilly territory, to curl up with a good book featuring snow. Picture books abound showing off the white stuff. Here’s eight to get you started or pass on to gifters: “The Snowy Day,” written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats, reprint edition from Puffin. This 1963 Caldecott Medal winner is the tranquil story of a city boy named Peter who bundles up for crunchy outdoor adventures after discovering it snowed overnight. Cutouts, watercolors and the Brooklyn-born creator’s classic collage work. It’s considered the first full-color picture book to feature an African-American protagonist. “Snow,” written and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz, reprint edition from Square Fish. First out in 1998. A hopeful “boy with dog” lives in a great, gray city inhabited by doubtful grown-ups transformed with the season’s first snowflake. It earned Shulevitz, who survived the bombing of Warsaw as a boy, a Caldecott Honor and may be just the thing to cheer up a modern-day “grandfather with beard” who utters: “It’s only a snowflake.” “Snowflake Bentley,” by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illus-

trated by Mary Azarian, reprint edition from HMH Books for Young Readers. Another Caldecott Medal winner, this

one was also first published in 1998. It tells the story of Vermont’s Wilson “Snowflake” Bentley, a self-educated farmer who combined a microscope and an old bellows camera to become the first person to photograph a single snow crystal in 1885. “Frosty the Snowman,” illustrated by Wade Zahares, music and lyrics by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins, from Imagine. This retelling of the seasonal song standard features a trippy looking Frosty in black top hat and green mittens. Includes a three-track CD with the song and others performed by Grammy winner Kenny Loggins. “The Snow Queen,” by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, from Harper. The black crow and troll practically jump off the page in detailed, lifelike drawings by the Russian-born artist. The queen, with winged headpiece and icy eyes, lures young Kai to her

frozen castle, where he nearly perishes from cold until his rescue by childhood friend Gerda.“Big Snow,” written and illustrated by Jonathan Bean, from Farrar Straus Giroux. Tells the story of an antsy young boy who awaits a big snowstorm. Botching chores with his mother when changing bedsheets, fluffy flour for cookies and sudsy soap bubbles while cleaning the bathroom lead him into a blizzard dream at naptime. “When it Snows,” by Richard Collingridge, from Feiwel and Friends. A picture book debut that features not only an eery ode to mega-snow and various large icy creatures, but also a good word at the end for reading itself. “Ladybug Girl and the Big Snow,” by David Soman and Jacky Davis, Dial Books for Young Readers. The latest in the best-selling franchise by this husband-and-wife team. Lulu dons her trademark all-red ladybug look, dotted wings and tutu over puffy jacket and snow pants to romp in a magical big snow with her dog, Bingo. Joined by her brother, they create lots of snow animals, including a nice likeness of her pet. — AP

Blurring lines between fact and fiction on British TV T

A diver dressed in a Santa Claus costume swims with fish at the Sunshine Aquarium in Tokyo yesterday. The show will be held to attract visitors until Christmas Day. — AFP

Sundance announces 2014 premiere lineup


he Sundance Film Festival will premiere 117 independent feature films and 11 documentaries at its 30th anniversary next month - a lineup representing the 2014 fest’s most prestigious films. The premiere list, announced Monday by the festival, features a wide range of genres, from comedies to mysteries, and is populated by such A-listers as Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Sam Rockwell. Here are some of the more anticipated films of Sundance 2014. Watch for many of them at your local multiplex in the months ahead: “Calvary,” directed by John Michael McDonagh and starring Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd and Kelly Reilly. A black comedic drama about a priest whose life is threatened following a confession. “Frank,” directed by Lenny Abrahamson and starring Michael Fassbender and Maggie

Gyllenhaal. A bizarre comedy about a wannabe musician who joins an avant garde rock band guided by a musical genius named Frank. “Hits,” directed by David Cross and starring Matt Walsh and Wyatt Cenac. In a small town in upstate New York, recklessness disturbs the lives of the people who dwell there as they wallow in unrealistic expectations. “I Origins,” directed by Mike Cahill and starring Michael Pitt and Brit Marling. A molecular biologist and his lab partner discover evidence that could alter society as we know it. “Laggies,” directed by Lynn Shelton and starring Keira Knightley, Sam Rockwell, Chloe Grace Moretz and Mark Webber. A coming-ofage story, which follows a 28-year-old woman who can’t seem to grow up. “Little Accidents,” directed by Sara Colangelo and starring Elizabeth Banks, Chloe

Sevigny and Josh Lucas. In the shadow of a mining accident, three people in a quaint American coal town are drawn together. “Love is Strange,” directed by Ira Sachs and starring John Lithgow and Marisa Tomei. Finally marrying after 39 years together, Ben and George must rely on family and friends for money after George is fired from his job as a result of their nuptials. “A Most Wanted Man,” directed by Anton Corbijn and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe and Robin Wright. A modern-day thriller based on a John le Carre bestseller. “ The One I Love,” directed by Charlie McDowell and starring Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss and Ted Danson. As a couple fights to keep their marriage intact, they go away for the weekend to reconnect, but discover an unusual dilemma. —AP

wo TV shows in Britain showing “real” people in fictional situations-”The Only Way Is Essex” and “Made in Chelsea”-have gained large audiences and unleashed a social media frenzy by blurring the lines between reality and fiction. When “The Only Way Is Essex” burst onto screens in 2010, it fast became Britain’s most successful example of “structured reality TV”-a cast of people going about their daily lives but with story lines that were part fact and part fiction. Though inspired by US shows, the makers of TOWIE say it has built its success with a rapid three-day turnaround from filming to screening, allowing participants and audience to discuss it online almost immediately. TOWIE features the twenty-something, spraytanned residents of Essex, a county to the east of London whose brashness has long made it the butt of jokes in Britain. It was followed a year later by “Made in Chelsea”, about the well-funded residents of the upmarket district of west London that is the polar opposite of Essex. Despite the different social backgrounds, the content is similar-delving into who is going out with whom, break-ups and arguments, with frequent visits to bars and nightclubs. TOWIE has even ushered in a new vocabulary to Britainfrom “vajazzling”, the adding of diamante studs to the nether regions, and “well jel” for really jealous. Ruth Wrigley, the co-creator of TOWIE who previously oversaw the early series of “Big Brother” UK, describes her show as “a combination of reality and drama, so at its best it should look and feel like a drama”. In the final episode of the 10th series screened in November, the hunky Mario Falcone brought his new girlfriend to an ‘80s-themed disco, providing the perfect opportunity for his former love Lucy Mecklenburgh and her friends to discuss the delicate situation on screen. Although the scene is acted-somewhat woodenly-Falcone and Mecklenburgh used to date in real life. Wrigley, a mother of five, argues that the critics’ fretting over the blurred lines is irrelevant to the show’s youthful target audience-something she first spotted by observing her own children’s reaction to “Big Brother”. “Their generation

isn’t saying ‘is this real, is it not real?’. They don’t care,” she said. ‘Rooted in reality’ The major difference between TOWIE and US shows such as “The Hills” is the rapid turnround from production to broadcast-making it fresh for both the viewers and the characters, which sparks instant exchanges on social media. “That means it’s huge on Facebook and on Twitter, and with that audience, that’s what makes it so popular,” Wrigley said. “The first time the audience sees it is the first time the cast see it. “Just as in their real lives, they would naturally take to Twitter to say ‘I can’t believe she is saying that’-and that’s what they do with the show.” The cast of TOWIE do not have a script, and neither are they actors. They discuss with the show’s makers, Lime Pictures, what is happening in their lives and act that out on screen. “Everything in TOWIE is based in reality,” Wrigley said. If, for example, one of the cast mentions that they want to pass their driving test, or become a model, it can be incorporated into the show. “In real life that might take years to come to fruition. If you ask TOWIE, we can very quickly make it happen.” But she insists, “we’d happily show them being rejected as a model too, and film their reaction.” For a relatively low-budget formula, it is wildly successful-each episode of TOWIE was watched by around 1.2 million viewers on ITV2 in its most recent run, while E4’s “Made in Chelsea” attracts 900,000 viewers. In 2011, TOWIE beat bigger-budget shows to win a prestigious BAFTA YouTube award voted for by the audience. It is a formula that other countries want to copy-the owners of Lime, all3media, are in talks with a Spanish production company and two major broadcasters about a version based in Madrid. In Germany the formula has been adopted with a twist in shows such as “X-Diaries”-the cast are also real people, but unlike in TOWIE they follow a script. Some TV critics may despair, but Wrigley predicts the genre has a bright future. “I think it’s a generational thing. Everyone thinks their lives are worthy of a reality show-and quite frankly, if they’re produced properly, they are!” — AFP

‘Sound of Music’ actress Eleanor Parker dies at 91



Climber Daniel Arnold collaborated with climbing photographer Thomas Senf and Swiss mountain sports manufacturer Mammut to create unique mystical atmosphere images on the Eidfjord in northern Norway, using colored flares, spotlights and headlamps. Eidfjord, three hours east of the city of Bergen, is famous for the large number of icefalls (frozen waterfalls) at over 500 metres (1,640 ft) long. The innovative idea to capture the athletes climbing the huge icefalls took several hours of preparation as lamps were fixed in the ice using elaborate rope constructions and connected by 700 metres (2,296 ft) of electric cable. Thomas Senf and his team’s goal using Mammut alpine equipment was to portray the reflective ice and moving shadows combined with colored lights to create images that appear to be from another world. — AP

Bieber brings cheer to typhoon-hit Philippines F

TV tourism on the rise in NYC

ancy a cosmopolitan a la Carrie Bradshaw or titillation down the strip club favored by Tony Soprano? TV tourism is whipping up a storm in New York, where fans can live as their heroes. Twice a day, a “Sex and the City” bus fills up outside the posh Plaza Hotel with gaggles of young women desperate to tour filming locations, and to shop, drink and eat like their smallscreen heroines. Traveling around Manhattan, the bus plays clips of Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha from the hit series and a guide narrates anecdotes and vignettes about the show and the city. For three-and-a-half hours, delighted fans blur the line between fiction and reality, taking photographs at every stage. The Plaza? It’s where Carrie froze when she saw on-off lover Big leaving with another woman, says guide Stephanie Schweitzer. The bus heads

The Magnolia Bakery, a stop on the “Sex and The City” bus tour run by On Location Tours in New York. — AFP down Fifth Avenue, passing jewelers Tiffany and Co. “Who proposed to who?” asks Stephanie: the answer bursts out with an outbreak of giggles from the back of the bus. In Greenwich Village, the bus stops at a pizzeria featured in the series, near a sex shop visited by Charlotte. Some fans want pizza; others come out of the shop with a little ribboned package. ‘Coming to life’ “I don’t want it to end, I am completely obsessed with Sex and the City,” says Kristi Tanghare, 28, an American nurse studying criminal justice and stationed in Germany with her husband. “To me it’s coming to life now.” She came as a treat for her friend Jennifer Hegarty’s birthday. “So far we bought a went to Juicy Couture, and bought a purse and a matching wallet and we are

planning to get a cosmopolitan at the next stop, just like the girls.” “Sex and the City”, starring Sarah Jessica Parker, has become a TV classic since first airing from 1998 to 2004, breaking new ground by tackling head on women’s sex lives without inhibition. “Women can relate to it, it’s real,” Jennifer, ays. The next stop are the luxury boutiques on Bleecker Street. Back on the bus, everyone’s given a cupcake like those that Carrie or Miranda sometimes consoled themselves with when their love lives hit a blip. ‘Weekend hobby’ Frenchwoman Aurelie Maheux, 26, is one of the few women accompanied by a man. She said she had recently re-watched all 94 episodes of “Sex and the City” in just 10 days. She is planning to have dinner in a restaurant featured in the series and says she loves her heroines because “they are modern women, free, who talk with complete openness.” In recent years there has been a spectacular growth in specialised cinema and television tourism, particularly in New York, which has been a backdrop for countless shows and flicks. Georgette Blau, 39, is the director and president of On Location Tours, which offers seven bus tours in New York devoted to cinema or television, including the “Sex in the City” itinerary. Some offer guides speaking French or German. There are also versions of the tour by private limousine, and one tour in Boston. “To be honest, I really started as a kind of a side weekend hobby. I was in publishing, my big dream was to write for television,” Blau told AFP. One of the company’s other popular draws is a five-hour bus tour through New Jersey for cult TV show the “Sopranos” that starred the late James Gandolfini as the depressed mobster. Guide Marc Baron, a former extra on the series, narrates the tour, and even gives out little presents. Among the fans are more couples than on the “Sex in the City” tour, and on one recent Saturday a noticeable contingent from Britain. But they are just as passionate about the award-winning series, considered by some the greatest TV show of all time. Highlights of the tour are Holsten’s restaurant where Gandolfini’s character Tony Soprano ate during the last episode and the “Bada Bing” strip club which in real life is called “Satin Dolls”. It is practically deserted in the middle of the day. Two young women, one of them in a thong and a sweatshirt, shimmy around without conviction. But the fans are delighted. Blau says that around 90,000 people go on her tours each year, half of them from overseas-most often Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. When she started in 1999, she says three companies in the world offered such tours. “Now there are over 100.” — AFP


een heartthrob Justin Bieber visited young victims of Typhoon Haiyan yesterday, traveling to the Philippines after launching a worldwide campaign to help those affected by the deadly storm. Bieber arrived from Australia and flew to Tacloban, the devastated capital of central Leyte province, where he distributed shirts, toys and basketballs to children. The 19year-old pop star visited a Tacloban elementary school that is being used as an evacuation center despite being heavily damaged by last month’s typhoon, which left nearly 6,000 people dead and more than 1,700 others missing, and flattened entire towns and villages in the central Philippines. “It was like we were not hit by the typhoon, like Yolanda never came,” one girl told Manila’s TV5 Television, describing her feelings on seeing her idol. Typhoon Haiyan is known locally as Yolanda. Bieber took a quick walk around the school and checked a temporary learning space that was packed with about 300 children, including some from the local neighborhood, before moving to an outdoor stage to sing, said Kate Donovan, a spokeswoman for UNICEF.

Canadian pop megastar Justin Bieber (center) plays basketball with a young survivor of Super Typhoon Haiyan.

“He played a very beautiful set,” she said. “He played a series of Christmas songs and some of his hits as well, including ‘Baby.’” At another school also used as temporary shelter, Bieber played basketball with some boys and posed gamely for pictures with his fans. “Justin brought a lot of joy, hope and cheer to the hundreds of

tion.” Bieber arrived on a special flight, Immigration officer Jerome Ollet said. Pictures on social media showed fans snapping photos of the star at Manila’s airport. In a video posted on the fundraising platform Prizeo, Bieber asked fans to help him support victims of Typhoon Haiyan. Bieber is one of the several foreign and local celebrities and VIPs who have helped recovery efforts. Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and Australian Foreign Minister Julia Bishop flew to Tacloban on Sunday to console survivors and pledge continuing aid. Grammy-winning singer Alicia Keys visited an air force base in Manila two weeks ago and distributed crayons and coloring books to children of families who arrived aboard mercy flights by the Philippine and US military from the typhoon-ravaged provinces of Leyte and Samar. The R&B star was in Manila at the time for a concert. Bieber said donors have a chance to win a prize to hang out with him in a studio while he works on his upcoming album. “The moment I heard about the tragedy a few weeks back, I thought I can count on you guys to make a difference,” Bieber said. —AP

Justin Bieber (center, black shirt) hugs a young survivor of Super Typhoon Haiyan in Palo, Leyte province yesterday. — AFP photos children who were there,” Angela Kearney, UNICEF’s emergency coordinator for Haiyan response, said in a statement. Kearney said the money Bieber raises “will give some of the children who were caught in the path of Haiyan access to education, vaccinations, better nutrition, clean water and sanita-

Justin Bieber (left) shakes hands with young survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan.

Justin Bieber adjusts his cap prior to playing basketball.

11th Dec  

Kuwait Times

11th Dec  

Kuwait Times