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Kuwaiti team raises flag on South Pole

Referendum on Egypt draft constitution on Jan 14-15


NO: 16017

150 FILS


SAFAR 12, 1435 AH

Happiness for some in Pakistan gated Communities



City slickers hit leaders Arsenal for six


Heavy snow blankets Holy Land in white Scores evacuated as torrential rains flood Gaza

Max 14º Min 07º High Tide 05:52 & 18:57 Low Tide 00:10 & 12:27

in my view

Standstill again proves govt’s incompetence By Dr M Ziyad Al-Alyan Deputy Editor-in-Chief


t has become a well-known scenario in Kuwait - the country comes to a standstill thanks to seemingly random and unplanned road closures. This past week, Kuwait proudly hosted the GCC summit and the resultant hours of stalled traffic left many of us wondering why we continue to host events if the country’s infrastructure is so obviously incapable of supporting them. I understand we are a small country and must maintain our international ties. But there are other ways of doing it that do not interrupt life and business in Kuwait. The recent Africa-Arab summit that was held left nothing more than a feeling of disgust in most people we talked to. Work, school and social life were brought to a standstill. I wish we could say that there was an economic benefit from all the fuss. Quite the opposite! I will not elaborate as many of you already know what I mean. I began writing this article, reviewed it and sent it for publication while stuck in the back of the car driving me to the airport for a flight I knew I would never make. This despite the fact that I live five minutes from the airport. Road closure after road closure in a haphazard way, all guarded by numerous uniformed police officers. I have never seen so many officers on the roads before even during the National and Liberation Day holidays when the streets are packed with merrymakers. This scene made me wonder - where are all these officers on other days when they are needed the most? We are all familiar with the chaotic scenes every morning on the way to work. The emergency lane is routinely used as a regular lane. People driving on the emergency lane or cutting across curbs to bypass traffic are common sights on the daily journey. Where are the police then? When one is driving at the maximum legal limit on a highway, and another vehicle comes storming behind you almost ending up in your backseat, where are these highly trained officers? The only times I regularly see them is when they are in hot pursuit of a taxi driving at 30 miles per hour, trying to earn a living. This pursuit usually ends with the officers parking behind the taxi and waving to the driver to get out of the car and walk to them. This, by the way, is illegal in all countries. Nevertheless, we excuse our officers because after all, keeping Kuwait’s roads as organized as they are today takes a lot out of them. The cherry on top for me during this drive was when I stopped at a road closure and asked one of the officers about an alternative route to the one he had just closed to the airport. His reply was classic: “Wallah, I don’t know.” I am afraid that’s all one can say when asked about where this country is heading. Why has our educational system declined to such shameful lows? Why does the oldest airline in the GCC only has 12 operational planes - all of which are outdated? Why are most Kuwaiti business groups diverting the majority of their work to neighboring countries and why does the best hospitality lounge in Kuwait’s airport belong to Emirates airlines? The answer to all of it: “Wallah, I don’t know.” The solution by some ministers to all these issues seems to be the deportation of the expatriates, the top agenda item for the esteemed Social Affairs and Labor Minister Thekra Al-Rasheedi. Oh, how I wish that for one day only, no single expatriate would go to work. I would like to see the impact that will have on the country. It never ceases to amaze me how ignorant and uneducated some of these decision makers are. What’s really spectacular is that one doesn’t need to have a university degree to enter parliament. It’s time to tackle the core of the problem: Education. It’s time to change the constitution and place highly educated people in our parliaments and ministries so the country can finally start to rise from the slump it has sadly fallen in.

Palestinians play with snow next to a section of Israel’s controversial separation barrier in the West Bank village of Al-Ram on the outskirts of Jerusalem yesterday following a snowstorm. (Inset) Palestinian rescue members evacuate a cat following heavy rains in Gaza City yesterday. — AFP/AP

Iran sends second monkey into space

A monkey is seen before it was sent into space. — AP

TEHRAN: Iran said yesterday it has successfully sent a monkey into space for a second time, part of an ambitious program aimed at manned space flight. Iran’s state TV said that the launch of the rocket dubbed Pajohesh, or Research in Farsi, was Iran’s first use of liquid fuel. It reached a height of 120 km. It said the monkey, named Fargam or Auspicious, was returned to earth safely. TV footage showed the rocket blasting off and then showed the monkey, strapped snugly into a seat. The report said Fargam’s capsule parachuted safely to earth after detaching from the rocket in a mission that lasted 15 minutes. Iran frequently claims techno-

logical breakthroughs that are impossible to independently verify. The Islamic Republic has said it aims to send an astronaut into space. “The launch of Pajohesh is another long step getting the Islamic Republic of Iran closer to sending a man into space,” the official IRNA news agency said. Fargam is a male monkey of rhesus macaque race with brown fur and a pink face. The primate weighs three kilograms and has a height of 56 cm. Iranian scientists say a bigger monkey or another animal will be tested in the next space flight. State TV said the rocket was equipped with new features including sonic sensors and Continued on Page 13

JERUSALEM: The heaviest snowfall in decades blocked roads across Israel and the Palestinian territories yesterday, while torrential rains flooded areas of the Gaza Strip. The heavy snow prompted Israeli authorities to interrupt the Jewish Sabbath to lay on relief trains. In northern Israel, 45 towns and villages were cut off and 200 snowbound motorists were rescued overnight, police said. Nationwide, 29,600 households were without electricity, nearly 13,000 of them in Jerusalem, the Israel Electric Corp said. Jerusalem city workers managed to clear most roads of drifting snow but appealed to residents to stay at home as fallen trees posed a persistent traffic hazard. Few ventured out, apart from observant Jews walking to synagogues. The two main highways into the city, which climb to around 795 m above sea level, remained closed in both directions for a third straight day. Jerusalem-based meteorologist Boaz Nechemia told AFP that between 45 and 60 cm of snow had accumulated in the Holy City by yesterday. “We haven’t had such a snowfall in some 70 years,” he said, noting that a metre of snow fell on Jerusalem in 1920. With road travel almost impossible, authorities laid on free trains to Tel Aviv and Haifa on the coast, interrupting the usual shutdown of public transport on the Jewish day of prayer and rest, which runs from sundown on Friday to Saturday night. The army said it was using armoured vehicles to distribute aid to areas cut off by the bad weather. Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said yesterday that “we are still facing two crucial days”. Continued on Page 13

Chinese rover lands on moon BEIJING: China yesterday carried out the first soft landing on the moon since 1976, joining the United States and former Soviet Union in accomplishing the feat in a major step for Beijing’s ambitious space program. The emerging superpower is also set to become the third country to complete a lunar rover mission when it deploys its Yutu, or Jade Rabbit vehicle. Scientists burst into applause as a computer generated image representing the spacecraft, named Chang’e-3, was seen landing on the moon’s surface via screens at a Beijing control centre, state broadcaster Chinese Central Television (CCTV) showed. “Chang’e-3 has successfully carried out a soft-landing on the moon. This makes the China world’s third nation to achieve a lunar soft landing,” said the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in an online post on the mission’s official page on Sina Weibo, a Chinese Twitter equivalent. The landing came 12 days after blast-off and was the first of its kind since the former Soviet Union’s mission nearly four decades ago. Many Chinese took to the country’s Internet message boards expressing joy at the news, which state news agency Xinhua described as a “historic breakthrough” in an emotional editorial. Continued on Page 13

KUWAIT: The Movenpick Hotel at the Free Trade Zone celebrated a Christmas tree lighting event yesterday. Hundreds of people gathered to witness the 14-m-high tree which was beautifully decorated. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat (More pics on Page 2)



Number of runaway Filipino maids falls Kapihan sa Kuwait forum

‘Colder days ahead’ KUWAIT: Astronomer Saleh Al-Ojairi said that the clouds that covered Kuwait Friday and caused scattered showers in some areas will disperse gradually, before returning with more scattered showers. He said the three coming days will be bitterly cold in desert areas with temperatures reaching one degree Celsius. He advised people to remain in their homes during these days, and urged seagoers to also stay ashore as waves will be strong. Meanwhile, cold Shamal (northwesterly) winds are likely to hit the Gulf region in the coming days, causing a “significant” drop in temperatures and could churn waters in the Arabian Gulf. Winds are also likely to blow dust and sand in open inland areas that could reduce visibility.

Saleh Al-Ojairi

KUWAIT: Labor Attache Atty Cesar Chavez, second right, was the chief guest of a weekly ‘Kapihan sa Kuwait’ forum last Tuesday at Carlton Hotel, Kuwait City. By Ben Garcia KUWAIT: After instituting several reforms at the Philippine Embassy shelter, the number of Filipino runaway housemaids continues to decline, said a labor official. Speaking at ‘Kapihan sa Kuwait’, a regular weekly forum for the Filipino community held at the Carlton Tower Hotel, Philippine Labor Attache to Kuwait Cesar Chavez noted several reforms were instituted by his two month-old administration. “The 10-15 a day rate is now down 3-5 runaway housemaids daily. This is the result of reforms at the embassy, especially on the requirements acceptable to us at the shelter,” he said. The Kapihan sa Kuwait forum, aired over Internet radio (, is hosted by four Pinoy media personalities in Kuwait led by Pastor Gil Bantugan, Maxxy Santiago, Ben Garcia and Kuya Germs. The latest event on Tuesday was attended by Consul General Raul Dado, Assistant labor Attache Ching Ardivilla and Welfare Officer

Norlita Lugtu. “During the course of my two months’ stay here, I studied the system and procedures in the delivery of basic services to our workers. We have done improvements and reforms in the processing of work contracts (submitted by recruitment agencies). We are now expediting release from two to three days to just one day,” he added. “We hope to improve further in the area of processing. We also adjusted the rules for the admission of distressed workers - we kept the good ones and we added new rules to help our runaway workers,” Chavez mentioned. “We are open to suggestions to serve OFWs as we want it to be. In the management of cases resolution, we have adjusted some points, like our intention to pursue cases against erring and abusive employers. There are lots more - reintegration programs by OWWA and community activities will be strengthened too. Starting next year, we will focus more on the preventive mechanisms to prevent disputes between employees and

employers. We will be concentrating more on preventive measures we believe prevention is the best cure, and we also hope for the continuing cooperation of the Filipino community leaders and organizations here,” he stated. Chavez said that most of the problems of runaways are trivial in nature. “Simple misunderstandings, non-payment of salary for a month, and maids are fleeing. There are many cases of workers who only want a transfer to another employer. Sometimes they only want to see their boyfriends and one them was encouraged to abscond by her friend because she had a better pay. These petty problems are not acceptable reasons for running away. They knew the condition and the provisions of their work contracts, and they should abide by it. Their work contract governs their employment. We no longer tolerate and allow the transfer of employees to another employer. There is more to do and we hope that in due time, we will be able to further decrease the number of runaway

housemaids,” the labor attache said. “Our target is that runaway workers should not stay in the embassy a day longer than necessary - we want to repatriate them as soon as possible,” Chavez pointed out. Asked on the protection of Filipino runaway housemaids at the shelter being run by Kuwaiti government, he said: “They are fine. The facility is good, a ‘one stop shop’ for the resolution of their cases. If they feel they’re not comfortable there, we are not obligating them to stay there. The shelter put up by the Kuwaiti government will also house Pinoy officers to look unto their cases, so I think if the plan will be instituted, there is no reason for them to be worried for their safety,” he added. Chavez also explained that the government shelter for runaway housemaids will only serve as a temporary shelter and hoped that a long-term solution will be applied. “I don’t believe in remedial measures - we have to deal with the root of the problem to completely eliminate these problems,” he said.

Amir to inaugurate sand village KUWAIT: Preparations are almost over to organize an international festival of sand sculptures as part of the 2014 Proud 2 Be Kuwaiti Festival, President of the P2BK Project Dhari Al-Wazzan said in a statement yesterday. The event, dubbed the Remal (sand) Festival,

is touted as the ‘largest sand village in the world, according to Al-Wazzan, who announced that HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlSabah is set to inaugurate the event next month. 73 sculptors from 20 countries were invited

to take part in the three-month event and build sculptures that reflect the story of world famous folk tales. “One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights) has been chosen as this year’s theme”, Al-Wazzan announced, hoping that the village becomes a tourist attraction in Kuwait.

KUWAIT: Movenpick Hotel at the Free Trade Zone celebrated the Christmas Tree Lighting Event 2013 yesterday. Hundreds of people gathered to witness the 14meter-high tree which was beautifully decorated. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Premier, speaker to attend key panel meeting By A. Saleh and agencies KUWAIT: Prime Minister HH Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah and Parliament Speaker are set to attend a key meeting of the parliament’s budgets committee today to discuss repeated violations reported in State Audit Bureau’s annual repor ts. Repporteur Mohammad Al-Huwailah said that the meeting, which will also be attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah and State Audit Bureau chief Abdulaziz Al-Adasani, will tackle the reasons behind the errors repetition “and attempt to find solutions”. “The meeting comes after years in which the government has failed to address the repeated violations as per the committee’s request”, MP Dr Al-Huwailah said in a statement yesterday, adding that the government “formed several committees, but no actual results were realized”. Committee President Adnan Abdulsamad hoped that the government provides solutions to “end violations found in final account reports” released by ministries at the end of each year, calling some of the violations “very serious and clear violation to public funds”. “[ Today ’s meeting] is an opportunity to discuss ways of rectifying the errors, opening a door for financial and administrative reform”, Abdulsamad said as

quoted by Al-Rai yesterday. He further announced that the panel will propose solutions during the meeting “and we hope for positive governmental response”. Meanwhile, financial committee member MP Hmoud Al-Hmdan said in statements to Al-Rai daily that the government and parliament are “in agreement” over proposals to increase the allowance paid to citizens as a child support. The lawmaker did not specify however whether the two sides have agreed to increase the allowance from KD50 per child to KD75 or KD100. In other news, Al-Watan daily reported yesterday quoting ‘parliamentary sources’ that a cabinet reshuffle which sees at least five ministers exit the cabinet’s formation is highly expected should a constitutional court on Dec 24 rules against challenges to last July’s election results. The sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity named Minister of Planning Rola Dashty, Minister of Social Affairs and Labor Thekra Al-Rashidi and Minister of Electricity and Water Abdul-Aziz Al-Ibrahim as the likely candidates to lose their posts, while a new minister would be selected to succeed Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah as Health Minister. Sheikh Al-Sabah would still retain his position as Minister of Cabinet Affairs, and also handle the Ministry of Parliament Affairs portfolio, the sources

said. Separately, Islamist former MP Mohammad Hayef demanded action from the government to stop what he called ‘building statues at the International Fairground in Mishref’ and said it was ‘promoting paganism’. Hayef, who is the General Secretary for the Thawabet AlUmma (pillars of the nation) group refers to sand sculptures currently being built as part of the Proud 2 Be Kuwaiti project and touted as ‘the largest sand village in the world’. “Building statues from clay and keeping them for years as a touristic attraction is not a justification to go ahead with this project or any other action that violates the Islamic Sharia”, Hayef said in a statement yesterday. Moving to another subject, the Federation of Gulf Cooperation Council Chambers (FGCCC) announced a meeting to be held at the end of the month to discuss difficulties emerged after authorities in the United Arab Emirates started taking fees on transportation into the state as of today (Sunday). As per the decision, a 100 Dirham fee is collected for every bus entering the UAE in addition to 5 Dirham for every passenger, while a 100 Dirham is taken for every trailer truck in addition to 10 Dirham for every 1 ton of loading. A 500 Dirham is also taken for transporting 18 items that include food, live animals and refrigerated products.



Maximum care for people with special needs KUWAIT: Undersecretary of the Ministry of Information Salah Al-Mubarki stressed here yesterday the ministry’s keenness and care for persons with special needs upon directives from His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah. This came in his speech following the signing of an agreement with the Kuwait Blind

Association to transfer Al-Arabi magazine and Kuwait Gazette (Al-Kuwait Al-Youm) to (Braille), a tactile writing system used by the blind and the visually impaired. Al-Mubarki added that His Highness the Amir stresses continuously the need for paying more attention to the persons with special needs through promoting their participation in cultural

life and giving them the opportunity to develop their creative abilities. He pointed out that the visual disability should not be a barrier that stands between the blind and their eagerness to become acquainted with cultural creativity, especially the Al-Arabi and the Kuwait Gazette (Al-Kuwait Al-Youm), which influenced the cultural life not only in

Kuwait plans new law to ban dangerous toys EPA to form a joint committee By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: New regulations to ban toys that are dangerous and harmful are in the works, according to an inspector. Currently, banned items include air guns and fireworks. “We are allowed to confiscate such items as there is a law banning them due to their dangerous nature. We are now expecting new laws to be issued soon that set the age limit for toys, so children below a certain age can’t buy them. After this law is signed by the minister and approved, we will apply it during our inspections. If we don’t find a warning on a toy, we may confiscate it and the owner will be penalized,” inspector Ahmad Al-Dalal from the Customer Protection Department of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry told Kuwait Times. “Presently, we conduct inspections in various toy shops as well as other shops. Our work focuses on the price mainly. The Customs Department is in charge of controlling the criteria and parameters of the imported toys before they enter the country. Some toys may be smuggled in, and if we find them, we confiscate them,” he added. The Customer Protection Department receives complaints on the hotline 135. “We received complaints about air guns sold in a toy shop, so we went there and the shop was handed a fine. Some customers complain about fake toys, and this also applies to video games. And during the winter season, complaints about fireworks increase as it’s sold more,” explained Dalal. The Environment Public Authority will soon form a joint committee including the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Municipality, and the Ministry of Health to control the import and check some kinds of toys made in Asia, after European and American studies found them dangerous to

KUWAIT: Toys displayed in one of the shops in Kuwait over the weekend.

the health of children as they contain hazardous materials. This committee will be responsible for examining these toys and banning them from entering the country if tests prove them harmful. Each institution of this committee will work separately and within two months, the committee will issue a final report that will decide whether these toys will be banned or not. Shops claim their toys are safe for children and were checked by the authorities in charge. “We are only selling safe toys. We are a famous shop, and we would not risk losing our reputation for a few dinars. We care about children’s safety. I also have kids, and I wouldn’t accept my kids being

injured by dangerous toys,” said Omar, a salesman in a Salmiya toyshop. Abdullah, a salesman in a toyshop in Shuwaikh, stressed that most toys in their store have signs showing the age of kids that should play with them. “All toys have passed the checking of the Customs Department which means they are safe. We are keen to sell safe and good quality toys only. Frankly, most of our toys are made in China, but this doesn’t mean they are of a low quality. We also have toys from Taiwan, Spain and other countries. We are operating in Kuwait for more than 70 years, so we care about our reputation,” he pointed out.

Kuwait but in different parts of the Arab world. He stated that the Minister of Information and Minister of State for Youth Affairs Sheikh Salman Sabah Salem Al-Hmoud Al-Sabah issued his directives to the ministry’s various departments to enable the persons with special needs to keep up with all that is new in publications, arts and literature. — KUNA

KU to receive online applications KUWAIT: Kuwait University will start receiving online applications for the second term 2013-2014 from Dec 21 to 25, for Kuwaitis, children of Kuwaiti women and GCC students with fulfilled requirements. Dean of Admissions and Registration Dr Subeeh AlMukhaizeem said in a press release yesterday that students of undetermined nationality who are graduates of the Unified System, Institute of Religion, American schools, and English schools including those expected to graduate, can also apply for the second term online. Non-Kuwaiti students can apply in the Admission and Registration hall in Shuwaikh from 22 to 25 December during working hours, said the dean, adding that students who submit applications must not go below the minimum grades, set by the university, and must meet all required conditions. All students need to complete their applications regarding grades and required documents. Admission guidelines are all available on the website of the Deanship of Admission and Registration, said Al-Mukhaizeem. Kuwait University is offering a hotline service from 19 to 31 December for students who have inquiries regarding applications or reporting errors in the online registration system, he noted. After admission results are announced, official documents of accepted students for the second

term will be received by the deanship from Dec 24 to 26. Students will receive SMS, specifying periods of time to submit their papers and enroll in the registration hall, he said. Minimum percentages for students with special needs for Kuwaitis and children of Kuwaiti women who meet the required conditions are lower than the proportions set by the university, for acceptance of students, the dean stated. All special needs’ students must provide the university with a certificate of disability from the Ministry of Social Affairs, he added. Al-Mukhaizeem called on students of English high schools expected to graduate in the current first term to apply for admission online on the specified dates, and to submit their final result papers to the deanship after they graduate, in order to complete their admission procedures and determine their majors. Transferred students from other universities and the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training can submit their applications at the registration hall from Dec 15 to Jan 6, he noted, adding that they must hand in their accredited papers and required documents. The dean noted the importance of adhering the specified dates to submit applications, asserting that the deanship would not accept any admission requests once the specified period of time was over. —- KUNA


LOCAL In my view

Local Spotlight

Parliamentary questions...!!!?

A city known for its rich culture

Guns must be collected !

By Farouk Luqman


airo is one of the first cities on my list because of its special influence on me and my generation and those preceding it. The reasons are many and varied. First of all, Egypt held the foremost position in Arab culture and education. Our teachers of Arabic were mainly Egyptians because they were better educated, qualified and had the fundamentals of modern teaching which were lacking in the native teachers of much of the Arab world. Add to this the spread of the powerful effect of the press and movies which were scarce and inferior in other Arab countries and one can appreciate the qualitative impact of Egypt on many Arab generations from Aden to Morocco. The press was far more advanced than any seen in the Middle East although one cannot overlook the fine Lebanese newspapers, especially the weekly magazines that flowed from Beirut to every corner. The movies were a spectacular source of entertainment which has survived from the beginning of the 20th century until today. Practically all the leading heroes and heroines, tragic and comic had an Egyptian accent and of course, all the great jokes, dramas, songs and their singers originated in Egypt at a time when the rest of the Arab world lacked even the rudiments of a press let alone movies. At the turn of the last century, while Egypt boasted such great newspapers as Al Ahram and magazines such as Al Hilal and Mussawar, the Arab press was still technically backward and the movie industry, non-existent. Very soon the new generation from Morocco to the Gulf via Aden was speaking with an Egyptian accent and cracking jokes like them. I vividly remember during the primary school level that I knew more about Egypt than I did about Aden and South Arabia in general; more Egyptian jokes and songs than other Arab ones. The British recruited Egyptian teachers from Cairo. Most of our Arabic teachers were Egyptians while our English teachers were either Indian or British. But the whole culture was Egyptian and the British colonialists everywhere had to recruit them because they were qualified and worked for lower wages. The textbooks also came from Cairo although the quality of their print was poor. Next to the colony of Aden was the hermit Kingdom of Yemen where movies were banned and there was no press. So millions of Yemenis would go to Aden every year to watch the wonders of movies and the spectacular scenes of Egyptian girls acting and dancing-especially belly dancing which was something unheard of in the rest of the Arabian Peninsula. There were Indian films too but these were confined to Indian cinemagoers and were of course more conservative compared to their Egyptian counterparts. However, during the British Raj in India, Indian films were more daring than after the country gained independence. Almost sixty-five years after liberation, kissing is still banned in Indian movies although they permit it in foreign language films shown in India. It is bewildering why English and French moviegoers can watch such scenes inside an Indian theater and not be allowed to see similar acts in Hindi and Bengali movies. Tourism between Aden and Cairo was one-way naturally because Egypt had much more to offer than Aden and the surrounding countries. The same applied to education. Many of us went to Egypt for high school and university education but none came to our countries. For example my four elder brothers from a different mother and in their forties, went to Cairo and the American university for their degrees while I was sent to Mumbai and Columbia University in New York for my masters degree in journalism. Cairo is one of the oldest cities in the Middle East and the richest in heritage and education. The Al Azhar Muslim University which is the oldest to date and some modern schools of higher learning were built by the monarchy. Mohammed Ali Pasha, and later Kings Fuad and Farouk who were very progressive leaders opened up schools and colleges as well as hospitals to all Arabs who could reach Cairo and donated many scholarships to the needy to study and graduate from there. Nearly 10 million others living near Cairo commuted to the city in trams run by electricity like in Mumbai and other Asian and African cities. They were introduced by the foreign powers after they supplanted the Ottoman Turks. The trams were cheap and efficient and drove so slowly that you could board them even as they were moving like I used to do in my college days in Mumbai. But the story of Cairo would not be complete without mention of its one time magnificent newspaper which was published before the July 1952 revolution led by Gamal Abdul Nasser who died in l970. The publication had beaten every other press in the Middle East. Before Nasser’s arrival and his unfortunate nationalization of the press, Egypt boasted the best dailies and weeklies in the region. Its famous Al Hilal monthly which has run for over 125 years still enjoys a wide readership. It was established by Lebanese ÈmigrÈ George Zaidan and carried on by his two talented sons Amil and Shukri who were the real founders of the magazine industry until they were ousted and their publications seized without compensation. “Lebanese” runs under government ownership and it was at one time Nasser’s own mouthpiece edited by his friend and confidant Mohammed Heikal who still survives. Egyptian papers and magazines used to be flown to other cities and lapped up by readers and quoted by the local press. For other Arabs Cairo is truly touristic. Apart from the pyramids and other relics, its cafes and nightclubs are a major attraction as well as its movie houses and its theaters where plays - especially comedies are performed and still draw large crowds.

By Muna Al-Fuzai

I kuwait digest

Mandela, icon of humanity! By Dr Aseel Al-Awadhi


ho of us can combine the characteristics of both a successful political leader and a profound-mannered human being? Who can make politics a lifelong career without losing sight of his principles or moral values and ethics? Who can fully understand the meaning of freedom and dignity and live for it? Who has the ability to tolerate with humiliation and deprivation of his own rights for the sake of a better future for his people? Who can spend 27 years in jail and come out more tolerant and loving? Who can forgive when he possesses the power to avenge? Who can reach out to his own jailors because he believes that clemency is a trait of good people? Who can turn his feelings of fury and misery into a peaceful fuel used to spread tolerance and love? Who would give up power only five years after assuming it to set a good example of the importance of peaceful passage of power? Who of us can be Nelson Mandela?! Very unusual traits of a very unusual man. He was the most humane politician when very few have managed, throughout history, to rise beyond tier own societies and become iconic for the whole of humanity. What is being written nowadays in tribute of Mandela worldwide reflects the high place this person has had in the hearts of different peoples worldwide. Mandela’s most important trait for me is not only his struggle against apartheid and racial discrimination and freedom because many share this with him in terms of struggle. The most important traits Mandela had was his positive feelings, love and clemency that controlled him

during his struggle, and this is the most difficult equation. Mandela defended his and his people’s dignity without resorting to grudges and hatred, without insulting or abusing anybody verbally or physically. Mandela used speech that gathered rather than divided people. He tried to convince both white and the black compatriots that they are partners and that their society would never prosper by excluding either party. He never resorted to revenge when he took power. He reached out to everybody including the prosecutor who was behind wasting 27 years of his life behind bars, going through psychological and physical agonies away from his family and loved ones. In one of his famous quotations, Mandela emphasized that man can never be free unless he was free of his own anger and rage. This is a message for those who usually cry louder the more they agonize and for all those who hated, classified and fought others merely for political disagreements - for all those who took revenge on their own people and country for losing power or personal interest; for all those fully soaked with negative feelings; for all unemployed people who spend their time fault-finding and criticizing others - for all of you and us, we have a good example to follow. May Allah rest his soul in peace, inspire our politicians with the same amount of wisdom, smiles, calmness, positive feelings, acceptance of others, tolerance towards enemies, firmness and holding tight to principles and not clinging to positions! — Al-Jarida

kuwait digest

True price of a struggle By Dr Sulaiman Al-Khadhari


ebates on many political issues in Kuwait mostly never go out of criticizing the executive authority for failure to properly implement the law, leading most people - myself included - to conclude that the majority of problems are a result of the government’s bad decision-making and shortsighted policies, in addition to promoting tribal and sectarian alignments in one way or another. This could be very true, but has been repeated a lot in the past with no results and therefore cannot change the current reality. It has since turned into being more like people venting their frustration out, and wondering about their responsibility is over the ongoing situation and how much they are willing to pay the price for change. The court recently acquitted people accused of storming the parliament’s building. While the incidents that happened that day were wrong, we were still hoping that the ruling would not penalize young citizens given the political nature of the storming incident. Despite that, and if we take into account what has been rumored regarding the accused people’s testi-

monies in the storming case (or other cases pertaining with expressing political opinion for that matter), we can’t help sometimes but to look into lawyers’ attempts to question legal or investigation procedures in a bid to demand the that their clients are found not guilty. Such attempts include denying criminal intent behind a man’s speech which include offensive remarks — an excuse used during trials of offenders of HH the Amir for example. In my opinion, using such alibis or ‘legal tricks’ weakens the integrity of the case defended. It also reveals a moral crisis that the opposition, or at least part of it, suffer from - the unwillingness to pay the price for political reform. As a matter of fact, this price is small in Kuwait compared to other Arab countries were oppositionists pay with their lives and freedoms as a price to push their societies forward. I still remember when the opposition suspended their demonstrations to push for the 2009 parliament’s dissolution in the summer of 2011, because of the travel season! But it looks like in Kuwait, even the opposition movement is in luxurious style! — Al-Rai

kuwait digest

The wrong direction By Ali Mahmoud Khajah


believe that when we focus on politics alone, we are going in a wrong direction that is useless unless we have a fully aware society, which, except for a few limited attempts, we are not working hard enough to achieve. We have to organize our feelings and discontent in a better way that would make banning a book or an opinion in Kuwait more painful than a minister’s statement or decree. We always seek solutions to our social problems through politics. We hold a minister accountable for bad education, threaten another for deteriorated health services, set new laws to solve the housing problem and so on. Well, politics may help in solving some problems and ‘stir stagnant waters’ in some major government sectors the way it previously did when some laws were set to impose more monitoring or reform. But is politics really the only solution for all our problems? In its Tuesday issue, Al-Qabas carried news about banning a concert at the College of Social Sciences at KU by the Social Sciences Society members, which comprises of students annually elected to represent the students. This year’s election was won by the Allies List (Muslim Brotherhood). This means that through their representatives, the majority of the college students banned a concert simply because it is against their beliefs. KU’s political club, a subdivision of Kuwait Students Union (also comprising of Muslim Brotherhood) conditioned that female students wishing to go on a cultural trip to the EU headquarters in Belgium should be accompanied by male ‘mahrams’ (close male relatives). This union was also elected by KU students. The previous example does not involve politics. It is

rather about the way the society thinks when its majority elects those who promote and encourage the domination of single-sided opinions and fight whoever opposes them. They also try imposing their own opinions by force and that is the bottom line! Suppose our politicians actually managed to pass development-related legislations that would totally change the situations on the ground by building new cities, a new airport, new hospitals, schools, universities and better roads. In other words, suppose they really achieved the people’s aspirations for development through political decisions. Will such development eliminate the society’s atavism and tardiness? Will a concert be allowed in a more modern university? Will people stop trying to impose their own opinions on others if new cities and hospitals were built? Naturally enough, such concepts will not be changed or altered by new buildings - what we really need is new better mindsets! Therefore, I believe that when we focus on politics alone, we are going in a wrong direction, that is useless unless we have a fully aware society, which, except for a few limited attempts, we are not working hard enough to achieve. We have to organize our feelings and discontent in a better way that would make banning a book or an opinion in Kuwait more painful than a minister’s statement or decree. Silencing opposing opinions should be more painful than a public fund violation story. This would be the right direction and path we should focus on - building societies before facilities because a sound mind will surely be able to construct and build whereas a building alone will not create sound minds! — Al-Jarida

t is becoming very common to hear or read about shootings in Kuwait. I know some may think we should not be surprised over such news because the whole world is in a mess and people are being killed every day by gunfire. But we are not in a war zone or area of conflicts, so we naturally consider the news of people being killed by guns as a serious matter. More people are firing guns, especially during wedding celebrations, as a gesture to express their joy, but they are not considering the fact that someone can get hurt and injured! Recently, a young Kuwaiti was killed in Wafra by a gunshot during a fight with his friends. I agree, crimes can occur by various weapons and means. But the fact that anyone can buy a gun will make it easy to use it against others. There is no way but to have a campaign to collect weapons from civilians. I know that there have been some calls to do so that never succeeded. I think such campaigns will do well if we are serious about it. It is becoming well known to the public how much are guns worth. This should be an indicator that there is a black market for guns for people to buy, and here is the question - why would anybody want to buy a gun and for what reason? I can’t think of anybody who seeks to buy a gun which could cost him big amount of money just for pleasure. I think with my simple mind that he may plan to use it at a later time. What other reason would lead him to buy a gun? Such people must be arrested and questioned and this should include all, even the ones who fire guns at weddings as a gesture to express their happiness. Somebody could get shot and possibly get killed, so I don’t see any fun in such kind of celebrations! This is an old Arab habit when people were living in a desert. Right now, no one lives in a desert and they live in crowded areas full of people and pedestrians. This is why I believe it is a must for the ministry of interior to be serious about seizing guns from the public and track the sources who make it easy for people to buy them. I also think the media should be involved by taking a bigger role in awareness campaigns in cooperation with MoI by enforcing laws against all users of guns. A news item appeared recently about a young Kuwaiti who was shot dead in Um Safak and his charred body was found in the desert. The news was all over the social media and raised many questions about how many weapons are available with no one to stop or enforce laws against those who get to buy weapons and use it against others without supervision. In every country, there are restrictions and regulations on purchase of guns. Those who break these laws get tracked and punished for carrying illegal weapons without a license. This is what we should do as well.

kuwait digest

Protect our parliament By Abdullatif Al-Duaij


ongratulations to everyone who were acquitted by court in the parliament’s storming case, and I wholeheartedly wish that the appeals court upholds the ruling. I also congratulate the Kuwaiti people for a ruling that recognizes the importance of freedom of expression, which was put ahead of the parliament building’s inviolability, and above the trespass and property damage accusations. I hope that this ruling, along with the support of freedom of expression it implicates, sets a precedent for future cases filed against people who express their opinions. There is no doubt that the accused men had crossed the line of expression and ‘stormed’ or entered the parliament’s building without permission. However, the court put in mind the good intentions, the political implications and the circumstances which led the men to commit their actions. That is, of course, in addition to the main justifications based on which the ruling was made, which are contradictory witnesses’ statements and lack of hard evidence. With that being said, I had also hoped that there would be a political conviction in the storming case, which would protect the parliament once and for all from future attempts to break inside its building or showing any form of disrespect. This is important especially when some of the people accused said that they are willing to repeat what they believe was their right to do as a result of their number or ability. The parliament is an expression of voters’ will, and no one has the right to change it unless it’s in line with the constitution or through ballot boxes. Regardless of the parliament’s character, be it dominated by a pro-government majority, including members suspected of taking bribes or whatever, at the end of the day it remains the choice of the Kuwaiti voter and a true expression of the people’s will. I was never too enthusiastic about the parliament in Kuwait, as I believe that democracy means freedom, justice and equality. I have repeatedly criticized MPs and parliamentary formations, but at the end of the day, the parliament remains a ‘National Assembly’, and MPs are still representatives of the people and a reflection of people’s choices and will. Again, congratulations on the ruling, and I call parliament members to legislate a law that protects the parliament from trespassing or offense regardless of intentions. —Al-Qabas



The explorers cruise on an Antarctica beach.

Explorers on board prepare for arrival.

Kuwaiti flag raised on South Pole KUWAIT: The Kuwait Exploration Team carried out a successful mission to Antarctica recently in which the Kuwaiti flag was raised on the South Pole. It was the second adventure of its kind after an expedition to the North Pole last March which started from Iceland through Norway. In their latest expedition, the Kuwaiti team which consisted of EQUATE engineer Abdullah Al-Husainan, Munawer AlKhatrash, and Abdullah Buqumashah, joined 90 other explorers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Russia, Germany and other countries, as they embarked from the Argentinean city of Ushuaia on board the Plancius expedition ship. The Kuwaiti team was named after the late Omar Al-Omar, in memory of the team member who participated in the North Pole expedition and passed away last September before he could participate in the South Pole adventure. “The motivation behind the trip was to send a message of peace, respect and love from Kuwait in the first place, and from the Arab and Islamic worlds in general,” AlHusainan said in a statement to the press. In addition to the unmatched adventurous experience, the Kuwaiti team return from the trip with a ‘rich bank of information’ received through scientific lectures that experts gave during the expedition.

Al-Husainan after placing the Kuwaiti flag.

Kuwaiti found dead in camping area By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: A security source said a 26year- old Kuwaiti man was found dead near a camp in Wafra. The source added the victim was killed and his body was torched. A relative of the victim called police and told them the victim was killed, but when police arrived at the scene, they found a charred body. The source said the suspect later gave himself up to Fahaheel police and said he

killed him following a dispute. Police added that the suspect said he shot his victim before setting his body alight to cover the evidence. Avenues fight The security information department at the Interior Ministry said a fight that took place at the Avenues mall was the result of three men harassing two women who were walking at a distance from their husbands. An argument ensued

between the husbands and the harassers, then one of the wives was injured when she attempted to prevent her husband from stabbing one of the men. Police broke up the fight and took all of them to Andalus police station. Road accident A woman and her son were killed, while four persons were wounded in a horrific accident on Salmy road. They all belong to one family.

KUWAIT: Firemen in action after fire broke out in an apartment in Hawally yesterday.

MGRP signs employment contract with Industries Union KUWAIT: Manpower and Government Restructuring Program (MGRP) concluded a contract with Kuwait Industries Union to train and employ a number of job-seekers in the industrial sector, said MGRP official. In a statement on Saturday, MGRP Secretary General Fawzi Al-Majdali expressed happiness over signing the contract, stressing that the law No. 19 of the year 2000 concerning national labor in the private sector will achieve several goals of the state to restore the balance in the distribution of the workforce in non-governmental sectors. Such sectors play a key role in the development of national economy, which requires strengthening the training of job-seekers, he said, adding that Kuwait Industries Union has a program specialized in training and employing 20 people according to the vision of the program, aimed to support national employment in the private sector. The first stage of the 11-month contract, which starts this December, includes career counseling and guidance, registration and evaluation tests for the trainees for two months, starting from signing the contract, said AlMajdali. The second stage, which is to last for a month, includes basic training for employment such as the provision of training courses required by the Industries Union’s offer and the Restructuring Program, MGRP Secretary General said. The third stage includes special training as the fourth includes recruitment and the fifth is of the final evaluation in which the program’s impact on the trainees is evaluated, in addition to taking the opinions of the recruiters and the trainees of this program and the opportunities made available for them, Al-Majdali added. For his part, Chairman of Kuwait Industries Union Hussain Al-Kharafi praised the cooperation with the Restructuring Program, which activates the memorandum of understanding between the two sides, noting that he wishes the program success and hopes for localizing the vital sector of industries. —- KUNA

Kuwait aid reaches Syrians in Lebanon BEIRUT: Kuwait Red Crescent Society announced delivering aid to Syrian refugees in Al-Beqaa in Lebanon in order to alleviate their worsening humanitarian conditions amid the snow storm (Alexa). The society’s team provided 2500 refugees with mattresses and blankets on Saturday, the society’s Representative in Beirut said. He called on humanitarian organizations to provide Syrian refugees with immediate aid, especially those living in temporary tents located in areas that do not have the simplest means of survival in such decreasing temperatures. More aid will arrive at Al-Beqaa later, said AlAnezi, adding that Chairman of the society Humood Al-Barjas is continuously in contact with Kuwait’s Embassy in Beirut to arrange the Kuwaiti humanitarian programs, which aim to aid Syrian refugees in different countries. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon reached 842,000, mainly in Al-Beqaa and the North Governorate. Kuwait is considered as one of top countries in the international community in supporting Syrian refugees and providing them with aid since the crisis started in March 2011. — KUNA

The Kuwaiti flag raised on the South Pole.

Abdullah Al-Husainan



‘Ingratitude’ leads Indian man to commit suicide Search for Wafra robbers KUWAIT: A man was found dead inside a Mangaf apartment in a case classified as suicide according to preliminary investigations. Police and paramedics headed to the scene where a suicide case was reported, and found the Asian man hanging dead from a rope tied to the ceiling of his room. A medical diagnoses later confirmed that the cause of death was a broken neck. Preliminary investigations indicate that the 46-year-old Indian man was financially secure at one point when he worked in an oil company, and helped several friends with their own money problems. The man suffered a financial setback later, and was rejected by all those who he had helped before, leading him to sink into depression and ultimately end his life, investigations indicate. The body was taken to the forensic department after crime scene investigators examined the scene. Investigations are ongoing. Child dead in Fintas accident A child was killed when he was run over in an accident in Fintas. Paramedics and police rushed to the scene in response to an emergency call, but the 7-year-old boy had already succumbed to his injuries by the time they arrived. A Syrian man turned himself over to police at the scene, and said that he hit the kid

accidently. The body was taken to the forensic department as the driver was taken in police’s custody for legal procedures. Bombing threat A search is on for a drunk man who reportedly told a person in Jahra that he planned to bomb Camp Virginia - a United States Army base in Kuwait. A man had explained in an emergency call that while he was driving in the area, a person in a car waved him to stop and asked for help. When he approached him, the man said that the driver seemed in an inebriated state as he told him that he was on his way to bomb the military camp, before driving away from the scene. Police identified the suspect based on the information that the caller provided. Investigations are ongoing in search for the Kuwaiti man. Abandoned baby Investigations are ongoing to identify and arrest people who left a newborn in a public place in Ardiya where it was found. Police had headed to a place in the area where a Kuwaiti man reported finding an infant inside a box while jogging in the area. The baby was taken to Farwaniya Hospital for medical attention, and doctors estimated

its age to be between three and six days. Robbery gang Ahmadi detectives are looking for leads to help them identify and arrest two suspects who committed a robbery at a gas station in Wafra. Police headed to the scene following an emergency call, and listened to a worker who said that two suspects used a German Shepherd dog to intimidate workers, then stole KD 80 from him and drove away. The worker gave a description of the vehicle that the suspects used, except for the license plate number which he could not recall. Investigations are ongoing. Car thieves Two men were arrested while search is ongoing for a third suspect in a theft case targeting cars left for maintenance at a Shuwaikh garage. Security personnel at a garage owned by a certified car dealer in Industrial Shuwaikh approached local police and handed over a man they said they had caught trying to steal a customer’s car. Investigations revealed that he and two others stole three cars in a similar fashion before, and led police to the locations where the vehicles were kept. Detectives arrested one of his accomplices and investigations are ongoing in search for the third.

Zain sponsors GUST job fair KUWAIT: Zain, the leading telecommunications company in Kuwait, announced yesterday its sponsorship and participation in the 14th GUST Job Fair, which was held at Gulf University for Science and Technology’s main campus, on Dec 11 and 12. The event was organized by GUST Center for Business Development and Corporate Relations. Zain’s sponsorship of the job fair is in line with the company’s core belief that education and educational development are essential for individuals to then go-on to be successful and contributing members of society. This particular event plays a big role in exposing bright and optimistic youth who are looking for job opportunities. Zain is committed to playing an active role in the investment in the human capital of Kuwait. The company seeks to provide young and eager Kuwaitis with suitable job opportunities that allow them to apply their practical skills, achieve their potential, and fully develop their capabilities. Zain’s Human Resources department is dedicated to seeking young and enthusiastic Kuwaitis to employ, thereby growing the

NBK launches new competition on Instagram KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) launches a new competition on Instagram which will award eight winners with cash prizes up to KD 2,000. NBK followers on Instagram can take part in this competition by taking pictures of the desert on the occasion of the camping season and post them on NBK page on Instagram @NBKPage with the hash tag #NBKDesert. The competition runs for four weeks. Every week the best two photos will be awarded with cash prizes. “As a green bank, NBK considers the environment as our most precious asset. The concept behind this competition is to raise environmental awareness and encourage people to participate and help in keep the environment clean and take part in social responsibility,” said Zaina Al-Humaidhi, NBK Public Relations Officer. Al-Humaidhi added: “NBK greatly values social media as an easy mean to communicate with customers and build a strong and lasting relationship. We look forward to receiving photos from our followers and present them with valuable prizes.” Participants must be followers of NBK’s official Instagram account to take part in the competition. NBK enjoys the largest social media presence in Kuwait. NBK views social media networks as important aspects

Zaina Al-Humaidhi

for supporting the lifestyle and banking habits of NBK clients. For more information regarding banking transactions, events and competitions check out National Bank of Kuwait official Facebook page NBK Official Page or follow NBK on Twitter and Instagram @NBKPage, You Tube NBKMedia, Linkedin National Bank of Kuwait, Foursquare NBK and Google+ NBKMedia.

Kuwait to donate $500,000 to CERF

increasing the talent pool available at Zain, while at the same time employing worthy Kuwaiti nationals. Zain was present at the exhibition and its rep-

resentatives highlighted to visitors the available job vacancies in addition to providing a detailed explanation of the nature of work at various departments and divisions.

NEW YORK: Kuwait announced its pledge to donate a voluntary contribution of $500,000 to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for the year 2014. Kuwait realizes importance of CERF in delivering emergency aid to affected areas expeditiously, rescuing the lives of thousands of human beings, limiting risks they face, helping affected people with early recovery, and aiding in faster reconstruction, Lulua Saud Al-Rashid, member of the Permanent Mission of Kuwait to the United Nations (UN), said in her speech at the H igh-level Conference for the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), held here last

night. Al-Rashid stated, “As an embodiment of Kuwait ’s cooperation with CERF, desire to support efforts of multilateral humanitarian response, meeting urgent humanitarian needs, proceeding from Kuwait’s belief in importance of the role of the UN and its specialized agencies and funds in the area of humanitarian aid and emergency relief; my country has worked on doubling its voluntary annual donations to a number of these agencies and funds. “Therefore, CERF won the highest percentage of this increase, making it up to $500,000 star ting from 2014, compared to $300,000 in previous years.” —KUNA

Pigeon keeping a popular pastime KUWAIT: Pigeon keeping is a popular hobby for both locals and expatriates in Kuwait. Despite some controversy over the noise they create, many pigeon keepers maintain coops in their gardens or rooftops. Historically, in the region, civilizations like the Abbasids and the Greeks were known to have relied upon the homing pigeon to deliver letters and messages over long distances. They relied on the bird’s keen sense of memory of its original habitat and its tendency to return home when straying afar. Today, keeping the domesticated pigeon has taken other forms, with some people collecting different species of the bird for its bodily features, in what is termed as ‘fancying’. Others collect the bird for its aerial acrobatics, particularly its ability to flip and tumble while flying, in what is known as the ‘roller pigeon’. Fahad Al-Basman, 35, has been an avid pigeon fancying dealer for 17 years now. The father of four, who describes himself as being of a middle-class income, said his initial plans were to use the pastime as a business, but this soon transformed into a passion. Aside from breeding, buying and selling the most colourful and outrageous looking birds, he owns a plot of land which he has dedicated to dealers from Kuwait and abroad, who have come to the country to buy or sell their pigeons. “I spend around KD 15,000 a year on feed, maintenance and employees. I have had visitors come from as far as Iran, Hungary and the United States. The visitors are offered cages to house their pigeons and accommodation for a charge that is extremely modest. “I lose more money than I make from this, but it is the convergence with people I aim for not the material gain,” he said of the venue which has an Instagram page under the name ‘q8basman’ which displays the breeds on offer. Despite being one of the leading pioneers of the pastime in Kuwait (once heading an unofficial local society) pigeon breeders do not have an official grounds where they can purchase and sell their produce, he says.

KUWAIT: Today, keeping the domesticated pigeon has taken other forms, with some people collecting different species of the bird for its bodily features, in what is termed as ‘fancying’.

On his dealings, Al-Basman once sold a species of the bird for KD 500 and said that the most expensive sale he had ever witnessed was worth double that. He suggested that the northern Gulf state was more expensive than its Arab peers due to the huge variety of breeds in comparison to surrounding countries. “Many Arab Gulf pigeon fanciers come to Kuwait to buy pigeons, as it has the best breeders in the region,” he said. “Some people in the country go as far as Poland, the Netherlands, Russia and the United States to purchase their pigeons,” adds Al-Basman. Roller pigeons breeder Bader AlDulaimi, 36, fell in love with the pastime he inherited from his father and older brother. He believes that this specific form of keeping has existed in Kuwait for over 100 years, as he knows of colleagues that have great-grandfathers whom practiced the pastime. This specific type of pigeon is sold for an amount far greater than its relative, the fancier. Al-Dulaimi once sold a pigeon for as much as KD 10,000, he says, but has also spent the same on buying another. Al-Dulaimi currently owns just over 100 roller pigeons, which he interbreeds in order to produce the most acrobatic of birds. He also

buys and sells adults and hatchlings. “The roller pigeon is known for its ability to fly straight ahead and then back again in a corresponding line. It can also do somersaults in the air in a way that is unique,” he explains. On its characteristics, he says that the roller pigeon is “not large and is not small”, and that its price is quoted according to its abilities in the air or its lineage. “We breed our pigeons at home when it is hot - between April and October - and take them to our spring retreats when the weather is cooler - during the rest of the months,” he says. “When the weather is cool, that is when sales happen and competitions occur in Kuwait,” he adds. Prizes for roller pigeon competitions range anywhere from KD 5,000 to KD 30,000, and are usually organised by generous local sponsors. The prize money goes to the pigeon with the most abilities, and the competition is conducted on a knock-out basis with pigeons entered two-by-two, explains the breeder. As for his passion, Al-Dulaimi says that it introduces him to new people, especially those he has sold a competitive pigeon to - and this results in a sense of pride. It also teaches him patience as well as being a great way to utilize time, he adds. — KUNA


Bells toll in Newtown for school shooting victims

N Korea purge mirrors those in 20th century

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CAIRO: A handout picture shows Egypt’s interim president Adly Mansour (center) and constitutional committee chairman Amr Moussa (center left) posing for a picture with the 50-member panel that drafted the new constitution yesterday. — AFP

Egypt sets referendum on charter Revised constitution retains powers and privileges of military CAIRO: Egypt said yesterday a referendum on a new draft constitution will be held next month, the first step towards elected rule in a country deeply polarised after president Mohamed Morsi’s ouster. “I call upon you to vote in a referendum on the revised draft constitution on January 14 and 15,” interim president Adly Mansour said in a speech to the nation, flanked by high-ranking officials and those who drafted the new charter. The constitutional referendum is to be followed by parliamentary and presidential elections in mid-2014, according to a transition road map outlined by the new military-installed authorities. The new constitution was drafted by a 50-member panel after the interim authorities suspended the previous version of the charter written under the Islamist Morsi. Egypt’s first democratically elected president was ousted by the army on July 3 after massive street protests against his turbulent year-long rule. Morsi’s removal caused deep divi-

sions amid a sweeping and deadly government crackdown targeting his supporters that has left more than 1,000 people dead and thousands more arrested. Mansour praised the revised draft for its provisions on the “securing of human rights, freedoms and the balancing of powers”. “It is a good start on which to build the institutions of a democratic and modern state,” he said. Amr Shobaki, a member of the panel that wrote the draft, told AFP Egypt was at a “turning point and its success would mean an end to a transitional phase as right now there are no elected institutions”. The revised charter has come under severe criticism from secular movements and rights groups for retaining the powers and privileges of the military. It allows the military to prosecute civilians in some cases, appoint the defence minister and keep its budget beyond civilian scrutiny - powers held by the legislature, executive and judiciary of most

democracies. “The fact that the draft would give the military a great deal of autonomy raises concerns about whether this institution will be held accountable for violations,” Amnesty International said after the draft was published. “It also casts doubt over whether the government will be able to institute desperately needed reforms to ensure that the military, police and security agencies respect human rights and are subject to independent oversight.” The rights group said that during the military junta’s 17month rule after the fall of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, more than 12,000 civilians were tried unfairly by military courts. However, several political groups have already started lowlevel campaigning in favour of the new basic law. The Tamarod (rebellion) movement that led the campaign against Morsi’s rule is backing the charter. “Its an important leap towards democracy and realises the aims of the January 2011 revolution (against Hosni Mubarak) and the

More mob violence in CAR as sectarian strife worsens BANGUI, Central African Republic: Sectarian tensions rose in the Central African Republic Saturday even as UN chief Ban Ki-moon and local authorities pleaded for an end to the carnage between Christian and Muslims that has left hundreds dead in a week. In the capital Bangui a mob hacked a Muslim motorcyclist to death in the Combattant district not far from the airport yesterday morning, witnesses told AFP. Moments later residents brandished the man’s cut-off hands, an AFP journalist saw. Another man was wounded in the violence and sought refuge at a nearby French military base. Muslim and Christian leaders have called for calm and launched joint operations, distributing food and holding religious services that include the members of the other community. But these gestures do not always seem welcome. A young Muslim told AFP on condition of anonymity that priests and pastors had invited Muslim leaders to a service at the Notre-Dame-de-Fatima church on Thursday but were refused access by Christian faithful. The leader of the Islamic Committee of the Central African Republic (Cica), Imam Oumar Kobin Layama, at the Combattant mosque near where the Muslim motorcyclist was lynched condemned the murder. “Innocent Muslims are paying the price,” he said. “They are angry in the PK-5”, the Muslim business district, “especially younger people” who he said must be made aware of the consequences of violence. Calling for the respect of human rights after a meeting with Christian leaders he said: “We are calling for calm. The country must not go up in flames. We must not give back as we were given.”

UN chief Ban urged religious and community leaders to act as messengers of peace to help end the violence tearing apart communities who have long lived together in peace. “Do not allow the voices of hatred to sow division where none existed before,” he said in a radio message late Friday. “Whatever your faith or background, you share the same history and the same future,” he added. “The bloodshed must stop.” As concern rose about an increasingly desperate humanitarian situation, Ban assured the country the United Nations “is committed to helping your country recover from this crisis”. “You are not alone and we will not abandon you.” With French and African troops struggling to restore security in the strife-torn nation, Ban warned that those committing atrocities would be “held to account”. UN refugee agency UNHCR said that more than 600 people had been killed in the violence in CAR in the past week, including 450 in Bangui and 160 in other parts of the country. The number of dead and wounded in the rest of the country was not known but the UN’s human rights office said 27 Muslims had been killed by militia in one village and raised concerns about “retaliatory attacks between Christians and Muslim communities”. French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also warned of rising violence as he met some of the 1,600 French troops deployed in Bangui on Friday. “The spiral of confrontation has abruptly worsened,” Le Drian said, also warning of “the early beginnings of a humanitarian crisis”. Le Drian responded to accusations from the Muslim community that France favoured the country’s Christians, insisting that

BANGUI: People gather around the body of a Muslim killed in Combattant district of the capital yesterday. — AFP

French troops “will be impartial to the end” and were “very conscious of the importance of their mission”. WFP stop aid The World Food Programme meanwhile said yesterday it had stopped the distribution of food at a camp of 45,000 displaced people close to Bangui airport after it turned violent with the plundering of rations of rice, oil and beans. “We were afraid that people might get slain during the distribution” by young “bandits” from nearby areas, said WFP official Guy Adoua. French paratroopers meanwhile left for neighbouring Cameroon yesterday to bolster troops in the CAR should there be any need, their regiment said. According to the Depeche du Midi newspaper 150 men were part of this mission. A week after France sent troops into its

former colony to bolster an African peacekeeping force, bands of armed thugs continue to roam the streets, and heavy bursts of gunfire still ring out intermittently. The majority Christian and chronically unstable nation was plunged into chaos after a March coup by mostly Muslim rebels ousted president Francois Bozize. Some members of the Seleka rebel group went rogue, spreading terror which government forces could not stop. Months of massacres, rapes and looting followed, with locals forming Christian vigilante groups in response. UNHCR said the violence had forced nearly 160,000 residents of Bangui from their homes in the past week. They were spread over some 40 sites, including in camps, churches and mosques. Many were living rough, their misery compounded by recent downpours. — AFP

June 30 revolution (against Morsi),” said Mohammed Abdel Aziz, a leader of Tamarod. But Islamists are divided, with the Salafist Al-Nur party saying it will campaign in favour of it and pro-Morsi groups against it. The Anti-Coup Alliance led by the Muslim Brotherhood movement to which Morsi belongs said in a statement earlier in December that it “rejects as a total waste of billions of Egyptian pounds a potentially rigged and certainly unconstitutional referendum to rubber stamp the country’s most important document”. Egypt’s Islamists were also divided over Morsi’s ouster, with Al-Nur backing the military in deposing him along with Christian and Muslim religious institutions. The Anti-Coup Alliance has staged near daily pro-Morsi protests since his removal. The now discarded 2012 constitution written under Morsi was drafted by a 100-member panel dominated by his Islamist allies. — AFP

Iran arrests ‘spy’ for Britain’s MI6 TEHRAN: Iranian security forces have arrested a “spy” working for the British government in Kerman, a judicial official in the southeastern province told the state IRNA news agency yesterday. The announcement came just a day after Iran’s new envoy to Britain, Hassan HabibollahZadeh, held talks in London on his first visit since his appointment last month, which ended a two-year freeze in diplomatic relations. “Through the efforts of Iranian security forces, an MI6 spy has been arrested,” the head of the Kerman revolutionary court, Dadkhoda Salari, said, referring to Britain’s foreign intelligence service “He has met British intelligence officers in person 11 times, both inside the country and abroad, and provided them with intelligence,” Salari said. He said the suspect had confessed to his crimes and was now being tried. Salari gave no details as to the suspect’s nationality or identity. Britain shut its Tehran embassy after it was badly damaged in Nov 2011 by students protesting against Western sanctions imposed to put pressure on Iran to rein in its controversial nuclear program. But relations have improved since President Hassan Rouhani took office in August and Iran signed a landmark deal with major powers last month aimed at allaying concerns over its nuclear ambitions. In November, Iran and Britain each named a non-resident charge d’affaires - a diplomatic post that is one level below ambassador. Iran’s charge held talks in London on Friday, reciprocating a visit to Tehran by his British counterpart Ajay Sharma last week. Separately, a United Nations panel has urged Iran to free a US citizen jailed on espionage charges, saying his trial was not in line with international standards of fairness. The UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention faulted Iran for not charging Amir Hekmati for six months after his August 2011 arrest and for letting his lawyer see him only briefly, without access to the case file. The panel said that Iran’s “non-observance of international norms” in the case “is of such gravity as to give the deprivation of liberty of Mr Hekmati an arbitrary character.” “The Working Group believes that, taking into account all the circumstances of the case, the adequate remedy would be to release of Mr Hekmati and accord him an enforceable right to compensation,” the panel added. The document said that Iran, which is party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, did not respond to requests for comment. The opinion was issued in August and sent in late November to Hekmati’s family, which shared the document recently with AFP. — Agencies



Armenians count cost of quake that shook USSR GYUMRI, Armenia: Sitting on her bed in a converted metal shipping container that was only meant to be a temporary home, Anahit Sahradyan recalls the moment 25 years ago when a devastating earthquake tore through northern Armenia - and her life. “Before my eyes all the buildings just crumbled like sandcastles,” said Sahradyan, who only just managed to escape with her family. Now, a quarter of a century after the disaster, the 58-year-old grandmother and her family are still struggling to get by in one of the roughly 3,700 containers that pockmark the city of Gyumri and still house thousands who lost their homes. “The earthquake did not only destroy our homes, it destroyed our lives,” Anahit told AFP. “25 years on it has not become any easier.” Catastrophe struck at just before midday on Dec 7, 1988, when an earthquake measuring around 6.9 magnitude hit the region. The tremor flattened entire towns, claiming the lives of some 25,000 people and leaving another half a million without homes. The quake was not only felt in Armenia: the shock waves from the tragedy shook the entire Soviet Union and reverberated around the world. Soviet media, which were growing increasingly open at the time, blamed the high death toll on shoddy construction work and corruption. For many, the disaster - coming two years after the Chernobyl nuclear plant meltdown - highlighted the incurable fail-

ings of a sclerotic system. On a visit to New York at the time, Soviet supremo Mikhail Gorbachev reached out to the United States for assistance for the first time since World War II. A massive international campaign saw help flood across the Iron Curtain from around the globe. At the time, Soviet authorities pledged to rebuild the region in two years but - as Communism crumbled into chaos and the USSR stumbled toward its eventual dissolution in 1991 - those plans were forgotten. After a decade of neglect reconstruction work only really started in 1998 and since then swathes of the areas affected have been rebuilt. In Gyumri - the second-largest city in Armenia, around 125 km north of the capital, Yerevan - the evidence of the international help received can be seen in the names of city’s different areas, which include the Norwegian and Austrian districts. Local officials now claim that most of the building work is complete and that only a small number of inhabitants are left to be rehoused. Many of the thousands still living in containers lost private - rather than state-owned - homes in the quake and do not qualify for compensation, officials say. “By 2014 we are planning to build another 414 flats and complete the programme of providing flats for the families that lost their houses in the earthquake,” said GYUMRI, Armenia: A file picture taken on Dec 11, 1988 after a devastating earthGyumri’s mayor, Samvel Balasanyan.—AFP quake shows survivors sitting among the rubble in Leninakan (now Gyumri). — AFP

Tutu ‘not invited’ to Mandela burial Presidency insists archbishop on the list KIEV: Pro-European Union activists wearing Ukrainian national flags with an anti-Yanikovych sticker reading ‘Demand the resignation of Yanukovych’ look at supporters of Yanukovych’s party of regions during their rally next to pro-European Union’s protesters at Independence Square yesterday. — AP

Ukraine suspends mayor, official over crackdown KIEV: Ukraine yesterday suspended Kiev’s mayor and the deputy head of its security council after a brutal police crackdown last month on a pro-EU opposition protest in the capital. President Viktor Yanukovych, who ignited three weeks of demonstrations by rejecting a pact promising closer ties to the EU, announced the move by saying the two officials were suspected of “breaching the constitutional rights of citizens” taking part in the protest. Baton-wielding riot police roughly dispersed around 1,000 protesters camped out on Kiev’s Independence Square in the early hours of Nov 30, injuring dozens. The two suspended officials, mayor Olexander Popov and Security Council deputy chief Volodymyr Syvkovych, are being probed on suspicion of pressuring Kiev’s police chief “to use violence” against the protesters, Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka told journalists. Pshonka said prosecutors would ask the courts to put the the mayor, the deputy security council chief and the police chief, Viktor Koryak, under house arrest for overstepping their authority. The dramatic announcement came as Yanukovych supporters mounted a Kiev rally right next to the camp of pro-EU protesters demanding his resignation. Organisers put their number at 200,000, while police estimated 60,000 people attended. Both figures appeared inflated, according to AFP correspondents at the scene, Kiev’s Europe Square. At the nearby Independence Square, anti-Yanukovych demonstrators furious at the president’s refusal to sign the Association Agreement with the EU are camped out behind barricades. The opposition called the rival rally a staged event by Yanukovych’s Regions Party, alleging that state employees were brought in under threat of being fired. They said they feared the aim was to disrupt their camp. Police yesterday filled the street in the 200 m separating the rival demonstrations. “We came to Kiev to support our president,” said 29-year-old Dmytro Khorunzhy, who was bussed in with 1,000 others from Kirovograd region to Europe Square. “We want stability.... The (anti-Yanukovych) protests are wrecking the Ukrainian economy.”—AFP

JOHANNESBURG: South African peace icon Desmond Tutu, openly critical of the government and members of Nelson Mandela’s family, said yesterday he was not invited to his old friend’s burial. “Much as I would have loved to attend the service to say a final farewell to someone I loved and treasured, it would have been disrespectful to Tata to gatecrash what was billed as a private family funeral,” Tutu said in a statement. “Had I or my office been informed that I would be welcome, there is no way on earth that I would have missed it.” Staff said the retired archbishop cancelled a Friday flight to the Eastern Cape, where the funeral will take place today, “after receiving no indication that his name was on any guest or accreditation list”. Tutu’s account of events was at odds with that given by the government of President Jacob Zuma, which the clergyman has criticised repeatedly, and publicly. Amid an outcry, the presidency insisted the anti-apartheid campaigner was on the list of invited dignitaries. “He is definitely on the list,” presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj told AFP, saying he was “taken aback” by claims that the Nobel laureate fondly known as the “Arch” was not invited. “The Arch is not an ordinary church person, he is a special person in our country,” said Maharaj, promising to correct any misunderstanding that may have arisen. Government spokeswoman Phumla Williams told the domestic SAPA news agency that Tutu should have phoned. “With funerals they (government) don’t send invites (but) they do have a list of accredited people,” she said. “If he had called, we would have given him accreditation... they would never have turned Tutu away... there were no malicious shenanigans.” Moral beacon Tutu, who retired in 2010 but is still regarded as a moral beacon for South Africa, like Mandela, has been openly critical of Zuma’s graft-tainted administration. He has a long history with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) of Mandela and Zuma, and presided over the funerals of famous struggle activists including assassinated communist stalwart Chris Hani and former party leader Walter Sisulu. But relations have soured, and the popular clergyman was also left off the official programme for a mass memorial service held for Mandela in Soweto on Tuesday, attended by nearly 100 world leaders. Tutu, who baptised South Africa the “Rainbow Nation”, declared in May that he would no longer vote for the ANC because of “the way things have gone”. He had recently pleaded with Mandela’s family not to “besmirch” the icon’s name after some relatives became involved in a public spat over the Mandela burial site. And in 2011, the outspoken Tutu blasted Zuma’s administration for being “worse than the apartheid government” after it failed to issue the Dalai Lama a visa to attend his 80th birthday - vowing to pray for its downfall. Tutu also condemned the police “massacre” of 34 mineworkers in August last year. Limwell Gangathele, a resident of Qunu - Mandela’s childhood village and final resting place, said Tutu’s absence was “bad”. “He was a part of the struggle like Madiba. He knew him very well.” The ruling ANC declined to comment. “This is a state funeral, it’s not an ANC funeral,” the party’s secretary general Gwede Mantashe told AFP. Mandela spent his first night as a free man at Tutu’s home in 1990 after his release from 27 years in prison. The two men remained close over the years. Mandela appointed him to lead the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to probe apartheid-era wrongs, and has said that Tutu’s contribution to the country was immeasurable. The Dalai Lama, another friend of Mandela, will also not be attending the burial, having twice failed to obtain a visa for South Africa since 2009. — AFP

Yemen tribe furious over drone deaths SANAA: Angry relatives of Yemeni civilians killed in a drone strike, which Sanaa insists hit Al-Qaeda chiefs, escalated their protest yesterday, blocking a main road and demanding end to US raids. The Supreme Security Committee said a Thursday air strike that killed 17 people, mostly civilians, near Rada in the central province of Bayda, had targeted Al-Qaeda. “If the government fails to stop American planes from... bombing the people of Yemen, then it has no rule over us,” tribal chief Ahmad AlSalmani told AFP from Rada. He spoke as hundreds of armed men from the large Qayfah tribe blocked the Rada-Sanaa road linking several southern areas to the capital, witnesses said. Protesters also blocked the road on Friday during the funeral of 13 relatives and agreed to reopen it only after tribal chiefs promised to mediate. The mediation committee was said to have travelled yesterday to Sanaa to present the tribe’s demands, a local official said. “The first demand is an end to strikes. They also want financial and moral compensation,” the official said. The committee later met the regional military command in Rada, another official told AFP. “They are discussing solutions to be presented to the families of civilian casualties,” the official said, adding that tribal arbitration, which would stipulate compensation, was the probable outcome. “We have set a deadline for mediators to come back with a response from the authorities,” Salmani said. The security committee headed by President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi said Thursday’s strike targeted “a car that belonged to one of the leaders of Al-Qaeda”. A statement carried by the state news agency Saba did not give a death toll for the strike, mention any civilian casualties or admit that it was a US drone attack. Security sources and witnesses had said that the attack by two missiles hit a wedding convoy, killing mostly civilians.—AFP

MTHATHA, South Africa: People stand along the road waiting for the convoy carrying the remains of South African former president Nelson Mandela yesterday on its way to Qunu where Mandela will be buried today. — AFP



Bells toll in Newtown for school shooting victims Obama seeks gun law changes NEWTOWN: Church bells tolled in Newtown, Connecticut, yesterday to mark the anniversary of the shooting massacre that killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and President Barack Obama called on Americans to help prevent future violence in a radio address on the tragedy. The bells rang 26 times as names of each of the victims were read at St Rose of Lima church in Newtown, one of several houses of worship that held private services yesterday for a community still grieving the deaths of 20 children and six educators. Obama said in his radio address that the massacre at Sandy Hook will be remembered as a tragedy that inspired the nation to make communities safer. “We have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily. We have to do more to heal troubled minds. We have to do everything we can to protect our children from harm and make them feel loved, and valued, and cared for,” said Obama, who also observed a moment of silence and lit candles at the White House in honor of the victims. A year ago, with the grief of the horrific school shootings still fresh, many predicted it would force Congress to approve long-stalled legislation to tighten US gun laws. Led by Obama, gun control advocates called for background checks for all gun purchasers and a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. But their efforts were thwarted by the gun rights lobby, led by the influential National Rifle Association; opposition from most Republicans and the reluctance of Democrats from Republican-leaning states to anger voters by further restricting firearms. In the end, a divided Congress did not enact any new gun curbs in response to the Newtown shooting. There were not enough votes in the Senate to pass even a compromise on expanded background checks that was widely supported by voters. A handful of Democratic-led states, including Connecticut, did enact stricter gun control measures, but some Republicancontrolled states, including Texas, loosened

NEWTOWN: Residents gather outside St Rose of Lima church as bells are rung 26 times and the names of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims are called over a loudspeaker yesterday. — AFP their gun laws to expand the rights of people to carry guns in public. Surveys suggest that support for new gun laws is slipping as the Newtown memory fades. Still, some Newtown parents who lost children in the Sandy Hook massacre vowed to press on with the fight to reduce gun violence no matter how long it takes. “I know it’s not a matter of if it happens. It’s a matter of when. This absolutely keeps me going,” said Nicole Hockley, who joined a handful of Newtown parents in a private White House meeting with Vice President Joe Biden this week. “No matter how much tragedy affects you, you have to find a way forward. You have to invest in life.” Hockley’s 6-year-old son Dylan was killed at Sandy Hook a

year ago. The 20-year-old gunman, Adam Lanza, killed his mother inside their Newtown home on Dec. 14, 2012, before driving to the school where he carried out his rampage with his parent’s weapons. He killed himself as police arrived at the school. Newtown residents asked for quiet and privacy on the anniversary. Satellite television trucks filled Newtown’s streets in the days after the shooting, and media have often returned since to the community of 28,000 people for stories related to the attack. In an effort to keep the anniversary focused on quiet reflection, First Selectman E Patricia Llodra announced in October that Newtown would not host any formal remembrance events. The news media

were asked to keep their distance, and “No Media” signs went up around town as they did in the weeks after the tragedy. Some news organizations stayed away yesterday from Newtown. A reporter and photographer for The Associated Press, whose reports are available to media worldwide, were present in the community, and some townspeople were willing to share their thoughts. “You kind of hope the town can put it behind without actually forgetting about the victims,” said Andrew Snow, a 49year-old mechanic who was drinking coffee at the general store with a friend. “But it’s not easy to do. I think about it every day.” Snow, who lives in Southbury, grew up in Newtown and is moving back to support the community. — AP

Bad week for US Tea Party WASHINGTON: When the top US Republican in Congress slams far-right groups as “ridiculous,” it’s clear the Tea Party is in trouble and that its influence in the halls of power has hit a snag. This week, the House of Representatives achieved a first since 1986 by resoundingly approving a two-year bipartisan budget deal in a divided government. Three quarters of Republicans in the GOP-controlled chamber voted in favor of the measure, which repeals billions of dollars in painful automatic cuts and crucially avoids the prospect of a US government shutdown next year. But a myriad of conservative groups-in line with Tea Party ideals and feared by lawmakers because of their financial firepower-condemned the compromise before it was even official since it will slightly increase public spending in 2014 and 2015. That did it for House Speaker John Boehner, who subsequently lashed out at the groups. “This is ridiculous,” the top Republican in Congress said Wednesday. And he didn’t stop there. “Frankly, I just think that they’ve lost all credibility,” he added Thursday. “I’m as conservative as anybody around this place. And all the things that we’ve done over the three years that I’ve been speaker have not violated any conservative principle, not once.” Analysts interpreted the attack as revenge on behalf of the “establishment” of the Republican Party that, since 2010, has become destabilized by Tea Party “insurgents” who have won dozens of seats in Congress. It was sparked, they said, by the paralyzing government shutdown in October that backfired for Republicans. Over the course of 16 painful days, federal agencies sent most of their staff home because congressional Republicans refused to pass a budget due to the stubbornness of a group of Tea party lawmakers hostile to compromise. With the 2014 primaries fast approaching, the failure of this strategy led to an internal counteroffensive against the most conservative elements of the American right wing. More ‘guerrilla warfare’ to come So does a win by the moderates signal the beginning of something more permanent? “I think it’s a one-time event,” said Norman Ornstein, a congressional exper t at the conser vative American Enterprise Institute think tank in Washington. “This is not the sort of death blow to radicals or the Tea Party wing of the Republican party,” he told AFP. “We were fresh enough off the debacle they had with the shutdown that some members who might otherwise have been worried about the Tea Party were more worried about what would happen if there were no deal and they got blamed again” if that happened again, he said. — AFP

Beyond handshake, Cuban reconciliation takes shape HAVANA: Beyond this week’s handshake between the presidents of the United States and Cuba, a slow thaw in bilateral ties has helped foster reconciliation among Cubans on both sides of the Florida Straits. The rare encounter between Barack Obama and Raul Castro during a memorial in South Africa for anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela came as the two countries work towards revamping their longstanding frosty relationship, a US diplomat in Havana told AFP. “It’s all about avoiding unnecessary confrontations,” the diplomat added on condition of anonymity, emphasizing that exchanges between the two countries have increased over the past several months. The improved relations have had a tangible impact both for the 1.5 million people of Cuban descent who live in the United States and for the 11 million people living on the Caribbean island. For one thing, the Obama administration’s relaxed rules about US travel to the Americas’ only Communist country have helped half a million Cuban Americans visit this year. Remittances sent home by the Cuban diaspora — 80 percent of whom live in the United States-have also reached record levels: some $2.5 billion a year, the second biggest source of foreign currency on the island. And, with the ideological animosity of the 1960s and 1970s fading, the process of national reconciliation has expanded beyond family ties. In January, Cuban authorities began allowing citizens to travel abroad without an exit visa, as had been required for 50 years. That has allowed artists, athletes and students to travel more often, and let those branded “traitors” or “deserters” by the regime of long-time leader Fidel Castro return to Cuba. Musicians that had been “forbidden”-

including Isaac Delgado, Tanya Rodriguez and Manolin, known as the “Salsa Doctor”-as well as actress Lili Renteria have also recently come back to Cuba after long years away. And, in a powerful symbol of the about-face, state-run newspaper Granma recently paid homage to artists who have been exiled for decades and were all but forgotten back home. ‘Less ideological, more nationalistic’ The root of the changes can perhaps be traced to the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, when Cuba’s communist regime lost its most powerful backer. In the years since, the government has become “less ideological but more nationalistic,” explained sociologist Nelson Valdes, a professor emeritus at the University of New Mexico. In parallel, the Cuban diaspora has shifted from people who fled for political and ideological reasons to those who left for economic ones. These new emigrants have a different attitude toward the country they left behind, explained University of Denver professor Arturo Lopez-Levy. “Young Cubans living abroad want to preserve their contacts with Cuba, in contrast to their parents,” he said. Cuba’s Catholic Church, which in the absence of legal political opposition has become the regime’s favored interlocutor, has also become an active promoter of the ongoing reconciliation, organizing debates, forums and reviews. “Dialogue between the diverse groups that compose our society is the only way to achieve the social transformation underway in Cuba,” the Cuban church leadership said in September. Lopez-Levy added: “Reconciliation today is a necessity for development and for the stability of the country. “But it should clearly be done in line with national interests, values and balanced with internal power,” he said. — AFP

Secret Service must rely on locals abroad WASHINGTON: In the hours before President Barack Obama arrived at a Johannesburg soccer stadium to honor Nelson Mandela, the White House staff was in the dark on key details. Where would the president and Michelle Obama sit? When was Obama supposed to speak? Who else would be on stage when he did? The result was an array of confusion and security risks that typically would not be tolerated by the Secret Service in the United States, underscoring how the agency is often at the mercy of foreign governments to make arrangements when the president travels overseas. While there were metal detectors and x-ray machines at the stadium, they were not used on the initial crowds streaming in for the ceremony, according to Associated Press reporters on scene. Many people walked through with little or no screening. Inside the massive stadium there were few signs of the heavy security that routinely would accompany an event with the president and other world leaders. The VIP section where Obama and dozens of other dignitaries sat, including former Presidents George W Bush and Bill Clinton, was protected by a short pane of protective glass that covered only those sitting in the first row of seats. Obama and his wife were seated several rows back. Large crowds were allowed to gather in front of where Obama sat, with no visible security nearby. And when Obama made his

way to the stage to deliver his speech, the South African sign-language interpreter who stood an arm’s length away was a schizophrenic prone to violence. The interpreter has since been derided as a fraud and allegedly has a criminal background. Secret Service officials say the South African government was responsible for the decision to place interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie just inches from some of the most powerful people in the world during a four-hour memorial service. “Program items such as stage participants or sign-language interpreters were the responsibility of the host organizing committee,” said Secret Service spokesman Edwin Donovan.”For the purposes of this memorial service, this would include vetting them for criminal history and other appropriate records checks.” Brian Dube, a spokesman for the Ministry of State Security, declined to answer questions Saturday about what security measures were in place at the soccer stadium and what sort of background checks and screening were performed on Jantjie. Dube said those issues are part of the investigation into the hiring and use of the bogus interpreter, and he did not know when the investigation would be concluded. Dube spoke a day after South Africa’s government was confronted with a new, chilling allegation about Jantjie: He was reportedly accused of murder 10 years ago. Officials said they were — AP



Riots should not bar Modi from PM job: Murthy NEW DELHI: India’s controversial opposition candidate for premier, Narendra Modi, should not be barred from the job because of deadly anti-Muslim riots under his rule, one of India’s most respected business tycoons says. Software czar NR Narayana Murthy is the first business leader to address the issue of the 2002 riots that occurred during Modi’s first term as chief minister of Gujarat state since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in September named the politician as its candidate for premier. Asked whether the riots represented an issue which should stand in the way of the Modi from becoming prime minister in general elections due in May, Murthy told Indian news channel NDTV: “No.” “There is no human being (who is) perfect,” Murthy, the co-founder and executive chairman of software exporting giant Infosys, said in the broadcast aired yesterday. “There have been lots of riots in India so the important thing is for us to say we will correct what happened,” said Murthy, seen as one of the Indian business community’s elder statesmen for his reputation of moral probity. “We will move forward in a positive way,” Murthy said. Other business leaders have voiced support for the 63-year-old

BJP leader and a recent Nielsen poll of 100 corporate figures showed 74 percent wanted him to be premier of the world’s largest democracy. But none has tackled the issue of the riots head-on. Human rights groups allege up to 2,000 people, mainly Muslims, were beaten, shot and burnt to death in Modi’s first term as chief minister of western Gujarat state. Modi has been accused of turning a blind eye to the violence in which human rights groups say police stood by and took no action. While Modi has denied wrongdoing, one of his former ministers was jailed last year for orchestrating some of the unrest and the national human rights commission called his government’s response “a comprehensive failure”. Murthy suggested Modi be allowed to show “contrition” for the riots and “move on”. “The courts have not indicted (Modi) or passed any stricture or judgement,” he said. Many business leaders are convinced Modi can replicate his home state of Gujarat’s economic success at the national level and revive India’s sharply slumping growth. Modi will likely face ruling Congress party scion Rahul Gandhi, 43, whose family has given India three premiers, on the

national campaign trail. But analysts have questioned Modi’s pan-India appeal while Gandhi has been a stumbling performer on the hustings. Some analysts say the polls could result in an unstable outcome with smaller regional parties having diverse goals seizing the upper hand. Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who doubles up as government spokesman, said separately yesterday he does not think India will get a government with “solid majority” in the elections. Chidambaram said India is a democracy going through a “phase of churn”. In the more than six decades since India became free of British colonial rule, he said this is the “weakest point” in its democracy. Gandhi, meanwhile, in a rare news conference, appealed for all-party support for an anti-corruption bill to be introduced in parliament tomorrow to create an ombudsman or Lokpal with wide-ranging powers to root out corrupt officials in India’s sprawling bureaucracy. Corruption has been one of the biggest issues fuelling voter anger with the Congress government. “We are 99 percent there toward passing the bill, but we can’t do it alone,” Gandhi said. —AFP

BHOPAL: Indian Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan (center) is embraced by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate and chief minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi, as senior BJP leader LK Advani (left) looks on, after oath-taking at a ceremony yesterday. —AFP

Karzai does not ‘trust’ US US indulging in brinkmanship over security deal

JAFFNA: In this photograph, a Sri Lankan Tamil vendor waits for customers at a vegetable market in Jaffna. —AFP

4 years after war, Lanka’s widows fear rape and abuse JAFFNA: They arrived suddenly on her doorstep pretending to be friends of her dead husband. Faceless men she suspects were security agents, they physically abused her and threatened to come again. Scared and alone, Gowry did what she always does-she packed in a hurry and fled with her two young children, the third time in recent years that she has moved house in Sri Lanka’s former northern warzone. “Two men introduced themselves as my husband’s friends, so I invited them in,” she said in Jaffna, recounting the most recent attack that scared her into hiding again. “They forcibly tore at my dress and pushed me into my room. I fell down and screamed. “After that they ran away but they called me later saying they would come in the night,” she told AFP. Sri Lanka’s decades-long civil war may be over, but many women from the island’s ethnic Tamil minority still fear for their safety in former conflict zones amid ongoing reports of rape and sexual violence. Gowry, who would not give her real name fearing reprisals, lost her rebel husband during the final months of fighting in 2009 when government forces crushed the Tamil Tigers fighting for a separate homeland. She is among more than 89,000 war widows living in the former combat areas in the north and east. Like her, an estimated 40,000 of them are the sole wage earners for their households. Many of them face chronic insecurity and increasing marginalization, according to a recent report by the London-based Minority Rights Group International (MRG). MRG interviewed women in the former conflict zones who said sexual assaults and other abuses have been rising in the years since the war, largely due to the ongoing heavy military presence in the area. “Because they are on their own, single women have to now more frequently enter the public space which makes them more vulnerable because they have to associate with the military and other officials,” said Farah Mihlar, the South Asia expert for MRG. Mihlar said that women feel similarly threatened by businessmen from other ethnic groups, many of whom are from the Sinhalese majority, now flooding into the area as investment booms in the former no-go regions. “Even four years after the war there still is a strong sense of triumphalism, a feeling that ‘we have won the war, so we can do whatever we want’,” she said. ‘Climate of impunity’ A local human rights activist who cannot be named told AFP there have been around 400 cases of rape against women in the Jaffna district since the end of the war, but that these “are just the tip of the iceberg.” He said most women never report abuses to authorities, and the MRG report blames the government for maintaining a “climate of impunity.” “There is no justice in the former con-

flict areas. There is not a single case of a military person being prosecuted for sexual violence against women since the war ended,” said Mihlar. “As a result, women find it pointless and dangerous to complain as doing so exposes them and only puts them under threat. The perpetrators continue to roam among them, which is extremely threatening and frightening for most women,” she added. Sri Lanka’s army spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya has condemned MRG’s report and slammed allegations against his security forces as a “myth”. “We deny in the strongest terms that there is a prevailing culture of silence and impunity for sexual violence crimes,” he said, blaming the Tamil diaspora and their “false propaganda machinery” for fueling mistrust and fear. According to the army, 17 security personnel were involved in incidents of sexual violence in north Sri Lanka between 2007 to 2012. “The military has taken strict action to either discharge or award other punishments to these personnel,” he told AFP. But another recent study-by Human Rights Watch-goes even further, suggesting that the ongoing use of rape as a form of torture by Sri Lankan security forces is widespread and systematic. The report, released in February, documented 75 cases of alleged rape and sexual abuse against women and men in detention centres since the war throughout Sri Lanka. Most victims were interviewed only once they had fled the country and their testimonies are likely just a fraction of real figures for custodial rape, the report says. Its authors note that the first cases of rape of Tamil women and girls by the military were first raised by the UN rapporteur on violence against women back in 1997. Since the end of the war, the number of troops in the country’s northern peninsula has dropped from 45,000 to just 15,000 among a population of less than one million, according to the army. But human rights experts are less concerned at the size of the military than the extent of its involvement in civilian governance and in the economy, from running hotels and golf courses to directly competing with women in selling vegetables. “The attitude can’t be of an occupying army,” said Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu who heads the Colombo-based Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA). He said abuses against women can only be reduced through genuine efforts at reconciliation, pointing to a need to hand back powers to the local government in the north and employ a police force that recruits from within the community. “These assaults are not done by the military alone, some of them are from within the community as well,” he said. But if the national government hopes to achieve reconciliation and unity, he warned that the military’s heavy presence in the Tamildominated north must end, branding it “particularly poisoning”. —AFP

NEW DELHI: Visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in New Delhi yesterday he no longer “trusts” the United States, accusing the Americans of saying one thing and doing another in his troubled homeland. Karzai’s statement to journalists came a day after he insisted he would not be “intimidated” into signing a security pact allowing US troops in Afghanistan to stay on after next year. “I don’t trust them,” Karzai said in a wide-ranging discussion at a local hotel in which he singled out a letter US President Barack Obama wrote last month assuring him that US forces would “respect” the safety of Afghans in their homes. Karzai was speaking on the second day of a threeday visit to India during which the United States hopes New Delhi can persuade him to sign the troubled troop deal. Karzai, who is due to stand down after elections next year, initially endorsed the so-called Bilateral Security Agreement, or BSA. But he later said the agreement could only be signed after the presidential election in April, warning against a NATO presence if it just meant “more bombs and killings”. His stance has outraged US officials and lawmakers, who have threatened a complete forces pullout if Karzai does not sign by the end of the year. “When Obama writes to me that he will respect homes, they should prove it... implement the letter, respect Afghan homes,” Karzai said. “Just instruct no more bombings and there will be no more bombings and of course launch the peace process publicly and officially,” he said. “I am trying to make it a win-win for all,” he said. Karzai met Friday with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and foreign minister Kapil Sibal. India has consistently pledged to do all it can to promote stability in Afghanistan, mindful of how it was one of the main enemies of the Taleban regime before its ouster in the wake of the September 11 attacks in 2001. On his last visit to New Delhi in May, Karzai said he had put for-

NEW DELHI: Afghan President Hamid Karzai addresses media representatives during a press conference yesterday. —AFP ward a “wishlist” of military assistance he hoped Delhi could deliver on. India’s foreign ministry has declined to detail the list’s contents, but local media reports said it included light and heavy artillery, aircraft, and small arms and ammunition. Karzai said he was “very satisfied” with the help India is offering Afghanistan but would not disclose its nature. “India is not shying away from providing assistance to Afghanistan” but “in terms of India’s support to Afghanistan in military equipment and training, the facts are much better than you hear in the press.” The Afghan president reiterated there was a

need to talk with the Taleban as part of the peace process but “we mean those Taleban who are Afghans and not connected to any foreign terror organisations”. “Those are the ones who we are trying to reach for negotaitions and bring back normal life to Afghanistan... talks with those Taleban are a necessity,” he said. The Taleban have been fighting to drive out foreign forces from Afghanistan and impose Islamist rule, have accused Karzai of being a US puppet. But Karzai denied the Taleban was refusing to hold discussions with him, saying: “I can tell you they are talking to me.” He did not elaborate further. —AFP

Pak families march for missing relatives KARACHI: Relatives of people who have gone missing from Pakistan’s troubled southwest Baluchistan province set off on a gruelling 1200-kilometre march from the port city of Karachi to Islamabad yesterday, hoping to recover their loved ones. The more than two dozen men, women and children had camped in the commercial hub for nearly three weeks after walking 700 kilometres from Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan where a violent insurgency against the Pakistani state has raged since 2004. The latest leg of their journey stretches nearly 750 miles from Karachi, which lies on the Arabian Sea, to the capital city in the foothills of the Himalayas. Their hope is to gain public support and pressure the government into freeing relatives who have disappeared allegedly at the hands of Pakistan’s security services. “Our main objective is to secure release of our loved ones but unfortunately we have not received any help from the government so far,” Muhammad Qadir Baloch, leader of the march told AFP yesterday. Baluch, 70, who also heads a non governmental organisation, Voice of Missing Baluch Persons, said: “Our next destination is Islamabad where we will finalise our future course of action.” Tired of waiting for justice-or even news of the fate of their brothers, sons, and husbands-the men and women undertook the unprecedented march Quetta to Karachi. Baluchistan, the size of Italy and rich in copper, gold and natural gas, is Pakistan’s largest but least populous province. It is also the least developed, which has exacerbated a long-running ethnic Baluch separatist movement that wants more autonomy and a greater share of its mineral wealth. The latest armed insurgency rose up in 2004 and separatist groups still regularly carry out attacks on Pakistani forces. Rights groups accuse the military and intelligence agencies of kidnapping and killing suspected Baluch rebels before leaving their bodies by the roadside. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 300 people have suffered this fate-known as “kill and dump”-in Baluchistan since January 2011. The security services deny the allegations and say they are battling a fierce rebellion in the province. The Supreme Court has also been investigating cases of missing people in Baluchistan, issuing warnings to the government to recover these people. —AFP

Killer Indian driver gets extradition case date NEW DELHI: An Indian man who fled Australia after killing a teenager while drunk driving and speeding in Melbourne was Friday sent to prison as a court set his extradition hearing for next week. Puneet Puneet, 24, was handcuffed and led away to New Delhi’s Tihar jail amid emotional scenes at the Patiala House court complex where his family members pleaded for sympathy for their only son. Puneet, sporting a black winter cap and a black jacket, said he could not understand why he was being handcuffed. “I am not a terrorist. I am ready to abide by the law.” Puneet, who only had a provisional driver’s licence at the time of the crash, hit two students, aged 19 and 20, as they walked across a road in Melbourne in 2008. One of the students died at the scene. Australian police estimated Puneet was driving at 148 kilometres (92 miles) an hour-more than double the legal limit in the area. He also tested positive for alcohol. Puneet had been

charged with culpable driving and negligently causing serious injury, then bailed on strict conditions including the surrender of his passport. But he later fled using a fellow Indian’s passport. Australian police offered a reward in 2012 for information leading to his arrest. After four years on the run from police in India, he was nabbed in late November in Noida, a satellite city of Delhi. While Australian authorities are now seeking extradition, Puneet’s lawyer Meena Sharma said she had moved an application for his trial be held in India. “We are saying that since Puneet is an Indian citizen, he should be tried in India,” she told reporters outside the court. Earlier, judge Sheetal Chaudhary said she would hear arguments on Puneet’s extradition next Wednesday. “Fugitive Puneet be sent to judicial custody in Tihar jail till then,” she said. A member of the Australian Federal Police was present in the court as the judge read out her order. —AFP

Ghost of Suharto breathes life to old political party JAKARTA: Indonesia’s autocratic former President Suharto left office in disgrace, his political empire and the economy in ruin, but 15 years later, his old ruling party hopes nostalgia for his legacy will sweep it back into power. Indonesia, third largest of the world’s democracies, and one of its youngest, heads to the polls in 2014, first to elect a parliament and then its first new president in 10 years.

Polls show the Golkar Party, which Suharto created as the parliamentary rubber stamp for his 32-year hardline rule, is running around second place. After Suharto’s fall from office in 1998, Golkar tried to distance itself from him. No more. Now it ’s ver y positive, says Aburizal Bakrie, 67, head of Golkar and the party’s presidential candidate next year. —Reuters



Thailand military head rebuffs protesters’ intervention plea BANGKOK: Thailand’s military chief yesterday shrugged off an opposition rally leader’s appeal to intervene in support of protester efforts to topple the government and install an unelected ‘people’s council’. Weeks of boisterous demonstration have gripped Bangkok in the latest political turmoil for the putsch-prone nation, prompting premier Yingluck Shinawatra to call snap elections for February 2 to try and calm tensions. But the vote has been rejected by opposition demonstrators, who have vowed to keep up their fight to rid the country of the influence of Yingluck’s divisive brother Thaksin, a former Thai prime minister who was ousted in a

2006 military coup. Responding to calls by protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban to “stand by the people”, the country’s head of defence forces Thanasak Patimaprakorn said the “best way to solve the problem is through negotiation”. “Neutral observers should oversee the election and make sure it takes place on February 2,” he told a forum, which was also attended by the powerful army chief as well as the heads of the navy and airforce-but not the government or pro-Thaksin groups. Suthep used the Bangkok meeting, the first public talks between the generals and protesters, to ask the military to step in on his side and “finish” the stand-off.

The military has a long history of political involvement in Thailand, which has had 18 actual or attempted coups since 1932. But the army has indicated a reluctance to intervene directly in the current political crisis, although military chiefs did facilitate private talks between Suthep and Yingluck on December 1. Exper ts say the generals may be wary of unleashing fresh turbulence in the kingdom, which has been gripped by periodic bouts of sometimes bloody unrest since Thaksin was deposed. The political conflic t broadly pits a Bangkok-based middle class and royalist elite backed by the military against rural and working-class voters loyal to

Thaksin, who lives in self-exile in Dubai. Yingluck’s ruling Puea Thai Party is widely expected to win the upcoming vote, bolstered by Thaksin’s enduring popularity. Parties allied to the tycoon have won every election since 2001, most recently with a landslide victory for Puea Thai in 2011. Suthep said he wanted Yingluck to step down before the election, creating a “power vacuum” that could be filled by his proposed handpicked council. “We can keep on fighting for a year and more people will join, but I know that it will affect (the) economy,” he said at the televised meeting, which was also attended by various academics and business people. “I tried to finish

the game earlier, but the government held onto power, so I am waiting for your decision,” said the former opposition Democrat Party MP. The Democrats-whose MPs resigned en masse Sunday saying they could not achieve anything in parliament-have not won an elected majority in about two decades. Five people have been killed and more than 200 injured in violence during the current protests, which have raised international concerns about the Southeast Asian nation, a key tourism and manufacturing hub. Turnout has fallen sharply since an estimated 140,000 people flooded the streets of Bangkok on Monday. —AFP

Kerry in Vietnam on first visit as top US diplomat Kerry presses leaders to protect human rights HO CHI MINH: US Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday urged Vietnam, where he served during the war, to deepen economic reforms and respect human rights as he began a trip aimed at shoring up Southeast Asian ties. Kerry, whose experiences during the Vietnam War inspired his political activism, hailed the relationship between the former enemies as “stronger than ever”, on his first official visit to the nation as the top US diplomat.

US government shutdown forced President Barak Obama to cancel a trip to the region, allowing China to occupy centre stage at key regional summits. The region is beset by political and territorial tensions, including bitter maritime disputes between an increasingly assertive Beijing and a number of its neighboursamong them Vietnam. Kerry is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh in

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — a vast trade agreement currently under negotiation. “Vietnam has the potential to become one of the US’s leading economic partners in the region,” Kerry said. The TPP could help Vietnam to “maintain the momentum” for market reforms, particularly of its notoriously inefficient state-owned companies. ‘Protect rights’ One-party Vietnam has faced a bar-

HO CHI MINH: Visiting US State Secretary John Kerry (right) looks at Intel products as he tours booths of US companies present in Vietnam on the sidelines of a meeting with US businesses yesterday. —AFP “I can’t think of two countries that have worked harder, done more and done better to try and bring themselves together to change history, and change the future,” Kerry told students, businesspeople and reporters at an event in Ho Chi Minh City yesterday. Washington is eager to underscore its commitment to Asia after its “pivot” policy was shaken earlier this year when the

Hanoi to discuss deepening trade and security ties as part of his three-day visit. Yesterday, Kerry hailed Vietnam’s “extraordinary” economic transformation since ties were normalised two decades ago, saying that bilateral trade had grown 50 fold since 1995. Vietnam is on the “doorstep of another great transformation,” he said, as negotiators inch closer towards signing the

rage of criticism from activists over its record on human rights and crackdowns on freedom of expression and worship. US lawmakers and New York-based Human Rights Watch have urged Kerry to use his visit to link progress on rights to Vietnam’s participation in the TPP. “A commitment to an open internet, to a more open society... and to the protection of individual peo-

ple’s human rights,” is essential for growth and prosperity, he said. “It strengthens a country, it doesn’t weaken it,” Kerry said, adding that the US urged Vietnam’s leaders to “protect those rights”. Today, Kerry is due to visit to the Mekong Delta where he was a wartime Swift Boat skipper on the dangerous gunboat missions patrolling the rivers in the area. Kerry served with the US Navy from 1966 to 1970 as a naval lieutenant. He was decorated with three Purple Hearts, awarded for any injury received during combat which requires medical treatment, a Bronze star and a Silver star. It was on his return after two tours of duty that he became a fierce campaigner against the war, which ended in 1975. Kerry, who celebrated his 70th birthday on Wednesday, said he was excited to have returned to Vietnam, his first time back in the communist country since he joined president Bill Clinton on his landmark visit in 2000. Kerry’s trip will also include a visit to the Philippines, a longstanding US ally, where he will tour the devastated city of Tacloban which was hit by a typhoon last month, as well as meeting Filipino leaders in Manila. It is a chance to “tighten the slack” left by Obama’s absence at the APEC forum in Bali this year, said Jonathan London of the Department of Asian and International Studies at City University of Hong Kong. “Kerry’s visit is an opportunity for (Vietnam and the US) to more clearly define ways forward in the context of an East Asian diplomatic scene that has been destabilised by China’s increasing aggressive regional posture,” he told AFP. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei all have their own disputes with China over territory in the South China Sea, while Beijing has also locked horns with Tokyo over areas in the East Sea. Kerry, a practicing Catholic, attended a mass at the French-colonial era Notre Dame Cathedral. US officials have recently hailed improvements in freedom of religion in the oneparty state long criticised for harassing and jailing Catholic activists. —AFP

Philippine rebuilding to cost $3bn: Aquino MANILA: The Philippines will need nearly $3 billion to rebuild parts of the country destroyed by the deadliest typhoon in its history, the presidential palace said yesterday. President Benigno Aquino told reporters in Tokyo late Friday that scores of towns and cities across the central islands that were devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan needed national government help to clean up debris and restore damaged infrastructure. “The task is really daunting is it not? That’s why we are saying it will take about 130 billion pesos ($2.94 billion) to put everybody in at least a better situation than where they were,” he said according to a transcript released by Malacanang palace. Haiyan smashed across the central islands with peak winds of 315 kilometres (195 miles) an hour on November 8, unleashing tsunami-like storm surges that killed thousands of people on the islands of Leyte and Samar. The official death toll stood yesterday at 6,033, with the authorities still looking for 1,779 people listed as missing. About a million houses were also destroyed, leaving four million people homeless, according to the government’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. Tropical Storm Thelma, which killed about 5,100 people on the Leyte city of Ormoc in 1991, was previously the deadliest storm recorded in the Philippines, which is hit by about 20 typhoons and tropical storms each year. Aquino was speaking on the sidelines of a summit between Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the palace said. —AFP

N Korea purge mirrors those in 20th century PARIS: For people familiar with the way that dictators such as Stalin, Hitler and Mao methodically ousted their opponents, the purging and execution of the No. 2 official in North Korea is nothing new. In recent history, Saddam Hussein also was skilled at such tactics to seize and consolidate his power in Iraq. North Korea’s execution of Kim Jong Un’s uncle in the impoverished, closed and nuclear-armed country suggests that its leader has learned how to rule that way. The execution of Jang Song Thaek, portrayed in North Korean state media as a morally corrupt traitor, rid Kim of one potential rival. It also may have been designed to sow fear among any others. Here’s a look at how some despots of yesteryear used purges to quash dissent and cement their lock-hold on power. STALIN Soviet leader Josef Stalin arguably set the bar on 20th-century totalitarianism. But it took him years to gain full control after the death of Bolshevik icon Vladimir Lenin. Stalin and his cronies set up show trials of the late 1930s to convict and execute potential rivals - often with trumped-up charges and forced confessions. Nikolai Bukharin was shot for spying. Two other Communist notables - Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev - were executed as alleged conspirators of Leon Trotsky, Stalin’s last and best-known rival. Trotsky was assassinated by an icepick to the head while he was in exile in Mexico in 1940. Stalin died in power 13 years later. MAO In China, Communist Party Chairman M a o Ze d o n g l e d p u rg e s d u r i n g t h e Cultural Revolution. Perhaps the highestprofile target was the longtime Chinese

president and Communist revolutionary Liu Shaoqi. Young suppor ters of the Cu l t u r a l R e vo l u t i o n k n ow n a s R e d Guards ransacked Liu’s home, and he and his wife were dragged away for interrogation. Denied medical treatment as a “lackey of imperialism,” Liu died in 1969 of pneumonia. HITLER In 1934, a year after the Nazis took power in Germany, Adolf Hitler carried out a purge of political and military rivals known as “The Night of the Long Knives.” Among its victims was one of his top rivals, Ernst Roehm, the leader of the Sturmabteilung storm troopers, who was arrested and shot. A spinoff group, the SS became unchallenged and the most powerful instrument of Nazi power. SADDAM Saddam Hussein led at least two purges in Iraq. In 1968, the Baath Party regained power under the leadership of Gen. Ahmed Hassan Al-Bakr, a distant cousin of Saddam. As his deputy, Saddam purged key party figures. Eleven years later, Saddam forced al-Bakr to resign - and hundreds of Baath and military officials were executed. IDI AMIN In the early 1970s, erratic Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, who liked to have political prisoners hammer each other to death, reportedly appointed former Prime Minister Benedicto Kiwanuka as the African country’s chief justice. But after a falling-out between the two men over Amin’s alleged disregard for the rule of law, Kiwanuka was arrested and killed in September 1972, according to Uganda’s government-run New Vision newspaper. —AP

US warns North Korea against provocation after execution

MANILA: Hundreds of participants, some wearing Santa hats, warm up before joining a 10kilometer fun run to raise funds for the survivors of super typhoon Haiyan yesterday. —AFP

Jang’s execution leaves China in weak position BEIJING: The stunning execution of Kim Jong Un’s powerful uncle strips China of its most important link to North Korea’s leadership and deepens concerns over how the unruly neighbor will proceed on Beijing’s key issues of nuclear disarmament and economic reform. Facing heightened uncertainty, Beijing will likely avoid for now any response that might boost panic or paranoia in Pyongyang, where China is both valued and resented as a key backer of Kim’s regime. “It’s like when you have a gas leak. You want to be very, very careful not to set off any sparks,” said Jingdong Yuan, an expert on northeast Asian security at the University of Sydney. At the same time, China is likely dusting off its contingency plans

MOSCOW: In this Nov 21, 1930 photo (from left to right) former Russian leader Josef Stalin and Soviet politician Nikolai Bukharin are seen together.

for instability or even a regime collapse that could see thousands of refugees swarming across its borders, put the North’s nuclear facilities at risk, and prompt action by the US and South Korean militaries, Yuan said. “This is not a welcome development as far as China is concerned,” said. Long considered Kim’s mentor and the country’s No. 2, Jang Song Thaek formed a key conduit between Pyongyang and Beijing because of his association with the government of Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, along with his support for China-backed reforms to revive the North’s moribund economy. Jang met with top Chinese officials during their visits to Pyongyang, and in 2012,

Jang traveled to China at the head of one of the largest North Korean delegations ever to visit the Chinese capital to discuss construction of special economic zones that Beijing hopes will ensure North Korea’s stability. His execution on a myriad of charges from treason to drug abuse further diminishes China’s narrow influence on the government of the younger Kim. Despite being North Korea’s only significant ally and a crucial source of trade and aid, Beijing has been unsuccessful in persuading North Korea to rejoin six-nation nuclear disarmament talks, while its overwhelming desire for stability along its northeastern border prevents it from getting overly tough on its neighbor. —AP

SEOUL: The United States has warned North Korea against any “provocative acts” following the shock execution of leader Kim Jong-Un’s uncle, as the reclusive state campaigned to rally support behind the young supremo. Washington also sought to step up talks with its Asian allies, voicing concern over regional stability after Jang Song-Thaek-seen as Kim’s political regent and the country’s unofficial number two-was executed on Thursday following a special military trial. “Certainly, it’s something we’re concerned about, and we would urge the North Koreans not to take provocative acts, not to do so going forward, because it’s not in the interest of regional stability,” US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said on Friday. The comments came after South Korea’s defence chief Kim Kwan-Jin pledged to increase military vigilance against any potential provocations, saying the stunning purge indicated Kim JongUn’s firm resolve to tighten his grip on power. “We will heighten readiness against North Korea as (Jang’s execution) can lead to provocations against the South,” he said in the parliamentary defence meeting on Friday. “This case can be seen as part of the reign of terror by Kim Jong-Un as he is seeking to consolidate his power with an iron fist.” He said the Stalinist regime risked misjudging the security situation on the peninsula, voicing concern over rivalry among North Korean military leaders eager to prove their loyalty to the young leader. Meanwhile, the reclusive state yesterday launched a fresh media blitz in a bid to rationalise Jang’s elimination and rally support behind the young leader. Rodong Sinmun, the official daily, splashed on its front page a

colour photo of Kim, wearing a great coat with his hands in his pockets, touring a military design institute in his first public activity following the purge. He was accompanied by Choe Ryong-Hae, a close Kim Jong-Un confidant who holds the military rank of vice marshal, and trailed by other military officers, one of whom was seen jotting down Kim’s “fieldguidance” instructions in his notebook. ‘Incredibly brutal act’ The inspection trip was apparently aimed at displaying the young Kim’s continued stranglehold on power after the shocking elimination of Jang, condemned by Pyongyang as “a traitor for all ages”. Pyongyang also appeared to be cracking down on Jang’s loyalists, with Yonhap news agency saying North Korean businessmen in China have been summoned back in large numbers. The move appeared aimed at cracking the whip on those “classified as having connections” with Jang, who served as a key go-between for relations with China, Yonhap said yesterday citing unnamed sources. Jang, 67, played a major role in cementing the leadership of the inexperienced Kim when he succeeded his father Kim Jong-Il in 2011, but analysts said his power and influence had become increasingly resented. Harf, the State Department spokeswoman, denounced his execution as an “incredibly brutal act” that underscores North Korea’s “horrific human rights record” but refused to speculate on the reasons behind the purge. “We’re going to increase our discussions with our allies and partners in the region about the internal situation in North Korea,” she told reporters. —AFP



Chinese rover lands on moon

Heavy snow blankets...

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“Space exploration is the cause of mankind, not just ‘the patent’ of a certain country,” the commentary said. “China will share the achievements of its lunar exploration with the whole world and use them to benefit humanity.” The landing marks the latest step in an ambitious space program which is seen as a symbol of China’s rising global stature and technological advancement, as well as the Communist Party’s success in reversing the fortunes of the once impoverished nation. It comes a decade after the country first sent an astronaut into space, and ahead of plans to establish a permanent space station by 2020 and eventually send a human to the moon. News of the landing quickly made an impact on China’s hugely popular Internet message boards, with the words ‘Chang’e-3 lunar landing’ racing to the top of the list of searched items on Weibo just minutes after touchdown. “Congratulations on Chang’e-3’s successful lunar landing. Long live China!” said one netizen. “Felt so excited when it landed!” added another. The probe touched down on an ancient 400-km wide plain known in Latin as Sinus Iridum, or The Bay of Rainbows. The landing was previously described as the “most difficult” part of the mission by CAS on Chang’e-3’s Weibo site. The probe used sensors and 3D imaging to identify a flat surface. Thrusters were then deployed 100 m from the lunar surface to gently guide the craft into position. The landing process started at 9pm (13.00 GMT) and lasted for about 12 minutes. Karl Bergquist, international relations administrator at the European Space Agency (ESA), who has worked with Chinese space officials on the Chang’e-3 mission, told AFP the key challenge was to identify a flat location for the landing. The rover is set to be released from the landing craft in “a few hours”, according to a post on Chang’e-3’s Weibo page late yesterday. Following separation, the rover will spend about three months exploring the moon’s surface and look-

Access to West Bank cities such as Ramallah remained blocked by heavy snowfall, an AFP correspondent said, with the only source of power in many cases being private generators. Low ground on the coast was spared the snowfall, but torrential rains left areas of the Gaza Strip submerged. Gaza was “a disaster area with water as far as the eye can see,” the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees said. “Four thousand UNRWA workers are battling the floods and have evacuated hundreds of families to UNRWA facilities,” spokesman Chris Gunness said. “We have distributed 5,000 litres of fuel to local pumping stations, but the

situation is dire and with the flood waters rising, the risk of water-borne disease can only increase,” he said. The territory’s Hamas rulers said 5,500 people had been rescued and sheltered after their homes were flooded yesterday. In some places, security forces and rescue workers were evacuating residents using small boats. Gaza’s Coastal Municipalities Water Authority said there are more than 15 areas that are heavily flooded. On Friday, Israel opened the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza to deliver gas for domestic use and to fuel pumps to drain the floodwaters. An official of the Hamas government said Israel would open the crossing again today to deliver fuel to the Palestinian territory’s sole power plant, which is currently not operational. — AFP

Iran sends second monkey... Continued from Page 1

Picture of the moon’s surface taken by the lunar probe Chang’e-3. — AP ing for natural resources. The rover can climb slopes of up to 30 degrees and travel at 200 m per hour, according to the Shanghai Aerospace Systems Engineering Research Institute. The Chang’e-3 mission is named after the goddess of the moon in Chinese mythology and the rover vehicle is called Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, after her pet. Yutu’s name was chosen in an online poll of 3.4 million voters. “China wants to go to the moon for geostrategic reasons and domestic legitimacy,” said Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor of national security affairs at the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, and an expert on Chinese space activities. “With the US exploration moribund at best, that opens a window for China to be perceived as the global technology leader though the US still has more, and more advanced, assets in space,” she added. — AFP

electronic devices that enabled scientists to monitor the monkey, its vital signs and voice. Mohammad Ebrahimi said Iran’s first use of liquid fuel meant the rocket’s speed was about half that of a rocket using solid fuel. Iran said it sent its first monkey into space in January, reaching the same height of 120 km. “The rocket carrying the first monkey used solid fuel and had a high speed. But a liquid fuel rocket has a lower speed and is better for the safety and protection of the living creature because it causes less pressure,” IRNA quoted him as saying. “The capsule was equipped with a shock absorber to provide better protection for the

monkey.” Ebrahimi said the monkey’s appetite showed it was in good health after the journey. Iran aerospace program is a source of national pride. It’s also one of the pillars of its aspirations to be seen as the technological hub for Islamic and developing countries. The US and its allies worry that technology from the space program could also be used to develop long-range missiles that could potentially be armed with nuclear warheads. In the January mission, one of two official packages of photos of the simian space traveler depicted the wrong monkey, causing some international observers to wonder whether the monkey had died in space or that the launch didn’t go

well.But Iranian officials later said one set of pictures showed an archive photo of one of the alternate monkeys. They said three to five monkeys are simultaneously tested for such a flight and two or three are chosen for the launch. Finally, the one that is best suited for the mission is chosen for the voyage. The Islamic Republic has not revealed where the rocket launch took place, but it has a major satellite launch complex near Semnan, about 200 km east of Tehran. Iran says it wants to put its own satellites into orbit to monitor natural disasters in the earthquake-prone nation, improve telecommunications and expand military surveillance of the region. — AP




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Washington Watch

Mandela and Arafat By Dr James J Zogby


ast week, I wrote a piece about a poster that has been hanging in my office for more than two decades. It features a photo of Nelson Mandela embracing PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat taken when the two leaders first met following Mandela’s release from prison. The poster also included a quote from Mandela in which he likened his struggle against apartheid to the struggle of the Palestinian people. I noted that I was pleased to have had the poster signed by both men. Some readers raised objections to the piece and made disparaging remarks about the Palestinian leader the kindest of which was to point out the obvious fact that “Arafat was no Mandela”. While that statement was, of course, true, it missed the point. I wasn’t comparing Arafat to Mandela, I was quoting Mandela who was pointing out the similarities between the South African and Palestinian peoples’ struggles. Some of the other comments were so ignorant of history and reality and so focused on the failings of Arafat that I was reminded of a time eighteen years ago when I was testifying at US Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the state of the Palestinian economy. After I finished my remarks, a Senator challenged me asking, “Why aren’t the Palestinians able to get their economy going? Why can’t Arafat be more like South Africa’s Nelson Mandela or Russia’s Boris Yeltsin?” The questions were “no brainers” that could only have been asked by someone who was either unaware of the Palestinian reality or so blinded by prejudice that they could not or would not see that reality even it were pointed out to them. I thought it best to assume that my questioner was simply unaware and so I answered respectfully. The fundamental difference between Arafat’s situation and that faced the South African and Russian leaders was that when Mandela and Yeltsin assumed the presidency in their respective countries, they inherited states that were fully sovereign entities with functioning institutions and sustainable economies. They controlled their own borders, were able to freely import and export goods, collect revenues, and establish mutually beneficial state-to-state relations. In contrast, what the Palestinian leader received as a result of his agreement with the Israelis were several tiny cantons of densely populated and largely underdeveloped areas of the West Bank and Gaza that remained surrounded by Israeli-controlled territories. Palestinians did not control their borders and were, therefore, unable to conduct normal commerce with the outside world. In my capacity as co-chair of Builders for Peace (a project launched by then Vice-President Al Gore to promote private sector investment in the Palestinian territories), I had learned first-hand how Israeli control over imports and exports and even the movement of goods within the territories created severe impediments to investment and economic development in the West Bank and Gaza. Additionally, within a year of the signing of their agreement with Israel, Israel denied most Palestinians access to Jerusalem and its surrounding areas. While attention is paid to the religious dimension of the city, Jerusalem was more than that. It was the Palestinian’s metropol - the hub of their commercial and cultural life. It was the center of the West Bank, housing the region’s major employers, and its medical, educational, financial, and social institutions. And so, when in 1994 Israel severed Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank it was as if the region had lost its heart. To understand the significance of this closure, imagine the impact on residents of northern Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland if they were suddenly cut off from entering Washington, DC. The two realities - the Palestinian and the South African - were so profoundly different. The only way they might have been comparable was if Mandela had become the mayor of Soweto, with the apartheid regime still governing the rest of the country. But Mandela and the ANC did not assume control of just the areas of the country populated largely by blacks, he and his movement won the right to compete in elections and then the right to govern the entire country. In contrast, the best that Arafat could hope for and what he agreed to settle for was the right to establish an independent state on the 22 percent of Palestine that Israel had occupied in the aftermath of the 1967 war. That is what he believed he would get. But what he got instead was the “right” to establish a captive “provisional self-governing authority” on less than one-fifth of that 22 percent - with limited rights to operate beyond those areas. By the time I was testifying (about three years after Palestinians had signed their agreement with the Israelis), Palestinian income levels had declined, unemployment had sharply increased, as had Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied lands, and Palestinians had grown restive and increasingly frustrated at the failure of peace to change the quality of their lives. There were, to be sure, profound errors made by the Palestinian leader - not the least of which was the trust he placed in the agreements he signed. But the mistakes in judgment, the lack of strategic vision, and the reliance on violence do not, alone, explain the reasons for the Palestinian dilemma. Arafat was handed a bad situation over which he had little control and few tools at his disposal and told that he was expected to perform like Mandela and Yeltsin! He was, in reality, being set up to fail. To place the blame solely on his shoulders is either ignorant of reality or just downright cruel. NOTE: Dr James J Zogby is the President of the Arab American Institute

All articles appearing on these pages are the personal opinion of the writers. Kuwait Times takes no responsibility for views expressed therein. Kuwait Times invites readers to voice their opinions. Please send submissions via email to: or via snail mail to PO Box 1301 Safat, Kuwait. The editor reserves the right to edit any submission as necessary.

Cold War colors US stand on Ukraine By Jo Biddle


mid a mounting political crisis, the United States is turning up the heat on Ukraine’s leaders, seeking to push the former Soviet republic into the EU’s embrace and away from the grasp of former foe Russia. In recent days, Washington has toughened its stand, denouncing with “disgust” a police crackdown on demonstrators, while a top US diplomat popped up in Kiev’s Maidan Square to address protesters and hand out cakes. Vice President Joe Biden telephoned President Viktor Yanukovych to voice Washington’s “deep concern,” while the State Department said it was even weighing possible sanctions. Observers may ask why the US is deepening its involvement after Yanukovych’s abrupt decision not to sign an association accord with the European Union, which many in Europe had seen as a done deal. But behind the scenes, analysts see the battle for the future soul of Ukraine as a continuation of a decades-long ideological struggle. “Really since the end of the Cold War, the United States and its European allies have worked studiously to pull the former countries of the Soviet bloc westward,” Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow

Charles Kupchan told AFP. “Part of that has been altruistic, in the sense that the record shows that those countries that have become members of NATO and the EU have done much better than those countries that have not. “But part of it is also a continuation of the great game for geopolitical influence in Russia’s so-called near abroad.” Russia pushing ‘either-or’ choice With central Europe already having reorientated toward the EU, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who wants to set up a Moscow-led customs union with former Soviet countries, and the Kremlin are showing a nationalistic streak. “Right now we’re seeing some head-butting going on between Putin’s effort to keep Ukraine in Russia’s sphere of influence and the efforts of Europe and the United States to pull it out of that sphere,” said Kupchan. The EU has said it cannot sign a free trade agreement with Ukraine if the ex-Soviet country joins the Customs Union, while Moscow has threatened an increase in gas prices and trade restrictions if cash-strapped Kiev opts for European integration. “The Russians are trying to force on Ukraine an either or choice,” said former US ambassador to Kiev Steven Pifer, now a

senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “It doesn’t help the process of what is going on in Ukraine if there’s a Russia-US fight going on, it’s only going to cause the Russians to dig in further,” he said. US Secretary of State John Kerry last week insisted ahead of a visit to neighboring Moldova that Europe and its allies were not in a “bidding war” over what path Ukraine takes. Ukraine’s Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said Wednesday that Kiev would like a staggering Ä20 billion ($27.5 billion) EU loan before signing the accord which perhaps could help it pay off $2 billion it owes to Russian energy company Gazprom. But the United States could help keep up the pressure on Kiev through such options as sanctions, or by promising support at the world lender the IMF if Ukraine’s leaders resume talks on a multibillion-dollar loan, Pifer said. And indeed, the EU said after more talks that it would help Kiev sign a deal with the IMF, and once there was a firm commitment from Ukraine to sign the pact, then it would prepare a “roadmap” for its implementation. Sanctions were just “one tool in the tool box that we are considering,” a State Department spokes-

woman said Thursday, adding “it’s certainly something that’s on the table” without going into detail. US Assistant Secretar y for Europe Victoria Nuland has shuttled between Kiev and Moscow over the past week, and on Wednesday turned up in the square where the 2004 Orange Revolution unfolded. She told reporters she had had a “tough” but “realistic” conversation with Yanukovych. “I have no doubt after our meeting that President Yanukovych knows what he needs to do. The whole world is watching. We want to see a better future for Ukraine,” she said. Analysts say it’s uncertain how the political standoff is going to end, and whether Yanukovych can make the tough compromises needed. Joerg Forbrig, exper t with the Washington-based German Marshall Fund of the United States, saw Nuland’s show of support as “too little, too late”. Kerry’s decision to skip last week’s summit talks of a European security body in Kiev was also a mistake that left the Ukrainians feeling abandoned, according to analysts. “It should have been a must for Kerry to attend the meeting... to familiarize himself with the situation in Ukraine,” Forbrig said. —AFP

Apprenticeship over for young Kim By Chang Won Lim


early two years ago, seven elders of the North Korean regime marched with Kim Jong-Un alongside his father’s hearse on a bitterly cold and snowy day in Pyongyang. The funeral on Dec 28, 2011 - held nine days after the regime announced the death of Kim Jong-Il - was a powerful symbol of continuity as the untested new supremo took over a nucleararmed country that was frozen in decades of economic and diplomatic isolation. Today, after the shock purge and execution of Kim’s uncle Jang Song-Thaek, five of a core leadership group dubbed the “Gang of Seven” have now been discarded. Aged only around 30, Kim himself appears to have shaken off his apprenticeship to emerge the uncontested master of his fate, and North Korea-watchers worry about what that means for a regime that already ranks as the world’s most opaque. The purge in fact masks “chronic instability” in North Korea as Kim surrounds himself with a new generation of yes-men who lack the experience of the old guard, according to Korea Foundation analyst Cha Du-Hyeogn. “ The North needs a scapegoat to shift the blame for all its policy failures,” he added, after Jang was accused of an array of crimes ranging from undermining industrial production to consorting with prostitutes at foreign casinos. His crimes were seen as so extreme that they entailed a rare admission from North Korean state media that people’s livelihoods in the “socialist paradise” have suffered, quoting a confession from Jang that his machinations had driven the economy “into catastrophe”. The 67-year-

old’s misdemeanours also encompassed a failure to pay due respect to Kim Jong-Un, according to an exceptionally vitriolic attack from the KCNA news agency. That suggests that Nor th Korea is reinforcing the world’s most potent cult of personality with a new level of adoration focussed on the young Kim himself, and not just on his venerat-

said. “It aims to inject maximum terror among the people in order to rally loyalty to Kim Jong-Un and cement his one-man rule,” he said. But in presiding over what South Korea’s president calls a “reign of terror”, one that Japan fears could presage a long period of chaos, Kim has lost decades of accumulated experience and trouble-shooting ability embodied by Jang and the others who

on with concern, as is South Korea, as they tr y to discern Kim’s intentions. Jang was at the pinnacle of economic policymaking and a key go-between for relations with China, and foreign capitals along with North Korea-watchers are poring over the past week’s events to determine the young leader ’s next steps. Does Jang’s ouster mean

This undated picture released yesterday shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (center) inspecting the design institute of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) at an undisclosed location in North Korea. —AFP ed father and grandfather. “It is quite rare that the execution of a high official was carried out in such a public way. This shows a high level of brutality,” professor Yang Moo-Jin of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul

are no longer on the scene. Anxiously peering in China has declared the purge of Jang and his associates an “internal affair” for its erratic ally. But the United States is looking

more reform for a country in desperate need of outside investment, or less? Will Kim proceed with another nuclear test to declare emphatically that he is in control, or will he now lie low for a while? Kim has already sub-

stantially reshuffled his top brass - an all-important centre of power in a country that lavishes the lion’s share of its meagre resources on the armed forces. That was perhaps to be expected as he builds up a cadre of loyalists in the military. But the very public purge at the heart of the Kim dynasty Jang was married to the late leader’s sister - has few parallels in the history of a regime that has tended to consign high-profile dissidents to internal exile rather than outright oblivion. “The incident is a reflection that the regime’s power base is still not stable,” said Toshimitsu Shigemura, a North Korea expert at Waseda University in Japan. “An uncle was trying to control a young leader. The uncle tried to take power and failed,” he said. “He (Jang) needed to be executed because otherwise his followers would remain and could retaliate.” In the 1970s, when he was still the dauphin, Kim Jong-Il purged a powerful uncle he saw as a rival to succeeding his own father founding leader Kim Il-Sung. But Jang’s execution is particularly noteworthy given the crucial role he was seen as having played in securing Kim Jong-Un’s own succession two years ago. The new lineup of Kim’s cronies at the heart of power may become clearer at events next week marking the two-year anniversary of his father’s death. “In the ceremony, we might see new people and those who have been promoted. That should indicate who planned it (the purge) and whose performance was rewarded,” Shigemura said. Those insiders will bask in the warmth of proximity to Kim. For Jang’s followers, the climate has turned sub-zero, matching the icy winter that again has Pyongyang in its grip. —AFP



Blackhawks Mayers hangs up skates

Bremen boss orders 4 am training

CHICAGO: Jamal Mayers, who won a Stanley Cup title last season with the Chicago Blackhawks, announced his retirement from the National Hockey League on Friday. The 39-year-old Canadian played the final two of his 14 seasons with the Blackhawks. He also played for the St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames and San Jose Sharks. “It really has been an amazing experience to have had the chance to play 14 seasons in the NHL, and finish it all off last season as a part of the Chicago Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup,” said Mayers. Mayers won a gold medal at the 2007 IIHF World Championships with Canada, who beat Finland 4-2 in the final. Mayers starred with Western Michigan University before being chosen 89th overall by St. Louis in the 1993 NHL entry draft. His best season came in 2005-06 with the Blues when he finished with 15 goals, 26 points and 129 penalty minutes. In 915 career NHL games, Mayers scored 90 goals and earned 1,200 penalty minutes. In 63 playoff games, he scored five goals and added eight assists. — AFP

Wilkinson hands Toulon crucial bonus point win PARIS: Former England great Jonny Wilkinson guaranteed holders Toulon what could be a crucial bonus point as he scored their fourth try in a 32-20 win over English side Exeter on Saturday in their Pool 2 clash. The 34-year-old former England fly-half came on with just over 20 minutes remaining and the match evenly-balanced at 18-13 in Toulon’s favour, but took the game away from his compatriots creating a try and then scoring one himself. Toulon had got off to a good start. A swift passing movement down the blindside involving Matt Giteau, Alexis Palisson and Maxime Mermoz released David Smith down the left wing and he finished it off in style for their first try in the 12th minute. Exter, though, struck back as they won a Toulon line-out and got the ball out to the left wing where Tom James beat Palisson’s high tackle and then broke Drew Mitchell’s tackle before handing off to Don Armand, who brushed aside Sebastien Tillous-Borde to touch down-Henry Slade converted for a 7-5 lead in the 19th minute. Palisson had to go off with what looked like a dislocated left shoulder, team-mate Chris Masoe had departed a few minutes earlier, and was replaced by Delon Armitage. Giteau-who was selected ahead of Wilkinsonsubsequently missed a relatively easy penalty but redeemed himself by creating Smith’s second try, although there was a suspicion of his decisive pass being forward. Extra points Nevertheless the try was awarded after a video review and Giteau landed his first kick of the day for 127. He added a penalty shortly before half-time but Slade replied for Exeter with one of his own to leave the visitors only 15-10 down at the break-alarmingly for Toulon the boos rang out as they walked off. Giteau and Slade exchanged penalties in the opening 16 minutes of the second-half to leave the game finely-balanced but to the home supporters’ relief Wilkinson was sent on by Bernard Laporte just before the hour mark. That paid off almost immediately as he produced a great offload to Mitchell to set up their third try with 15 minutes remaining, the Australian fullback breaking Slade’s tackle before coming to ground five metres outbut the ball was worked out to replacement prop Xavier Chiocci who crashed over. Giteau added the extra points to give Toulon a 25-13 lead. Toulon supporters showered the ground with paper in celebration when Wilkinson touched down under the posts to give the hosts a bonus point and Giteau added the conversion for 32-13. Exeter got a consolation try two minutes from time as Ben White went over with Ceri Sweeney adding the extras. Yesterday’s other early match saw Ulster overcome pea soup fog conditions to thump Treviso 35-3, although they had to wait till the 77th minute for the bonus point as fullback Jared Payne scored their fourth try.—AFP

BERLIN: Werder Bremen coach Robin Dutt has admitted his side are already battling to avoid relegation having gone five games without a win to drop further down the Bundesliga table. Having been routed 7-0 at home by European champions Bayern Munich last Saturday, Werder’s 3-2 defeat at Hertha Berlin on Friday left them 14th in the table. A disgruntled Dutt ordered a 4am training session in the gym on their return to Bremen as punishment for another defeat. Hertha’s Brazilian midfielder Ronny hit Berlin’s winner early in the second-half and inflicting Bremen’s fourth defeat in their last five games. “It won’t help the team to hear this, but we are in the relegation battle,” said Dutt, who took charge at the start of the season and whose side are home to second-placed Bayer Leverkusen next Saturday. “There aren’t many teams below us in the table.” Director of sport Thomas Eichin was just as blunt. “I don’t like talking about it, but yes, if you want to put it like that, we are in the relegation battle,” he said. “As soon as an opponent comes into our penalty area, there seems to be a grave danger,” said Eichin. Veteran midfielder Aaron Hunt, who was making his 200th Bundesliga appearance, pointed the finger of blame squarely at the defence. —AFP

West Ham regrets Carroll signing LONDON: West Ham United would not have signed striker Andy Carroll had they known he would have been out through injury for so long, co-owner David Sullivan said yesterday. West Ham splashed a club record 15 million pounds ($24.42 million) to sign the burly target man from Liverpool on a permanent deal in June after he spent the previous season on loan at Upton Park. He has yet to make an appearance since completing the move, however, and is still at least three weeks away from fitness as he recovers from a fractured foot. “Had we known he would be out for this long, we would not have signed him,” Sullivan told the BBC’s Football Focus. “We are not a rich enough club to deal with that. You know any player can get injured but we can’t buy a player knowing he is going to be out for half the season. “When we signed him we were assured by the medical staff that the very, very latest he would be back was Sept. 1. —Reuters

Hirscher overcomes deficit to win W Cup VAL D’ISERE: Two-time defending World Cup champion Marcel Hirscher won the giant slalom yesterday, while favorite Ted Ligety and Bode Miller didn’t finish their first runs. Ligety took a gate too wide halfway down and went off course. Miller tripped over his skis near the bottom. “Just a little bit (of ) bad luck on my part,” said Ligety, who failed to qualify for the second run for the first time in nearly five years. Ligety had won the first two giant slaloms of the season, but was undone by an uncharacteristic technical error. Hirscher earned his second win of the season after his slalom victory in Levi, Finland. Hirscher was third after the first run, 0.41 seconds behind Frenchman Alexis Pinturault. But he improved the second time down the tricky Stade Olympique de Bellevarde course to finish 0.76 seconds ahead of Thomas Fanara of France. Stefan Luitz of Germany was third. Pinturault made an error on the top section and finished fourth. Miller got his skis tangled near the bottom and tumbled over. US men’s head coach Sasha Rearick said Miller also was unlucky. “He got his outside ski caught right at the initiation of the turn in the flat light. Those things can kind of happen,” Rearick said. “I was proud of the effort he put in today and the way he approached the hill.” Both Miller and Ligety will take part in the slalom today. “Looking forward to it,” Rearick said. “Get some revenge on Val d’Isere.” The 29year-old Ligety entered the race looking for his fifth straight World Cup win in giant slalom dating to last year. Ligety won the final two GS races last season and the opening two this year at Soelden, Austria, and Beaver Creek, Colo. But he missed a gate turning in from the left side, went down on his hip and out of a first run for the first time since Februar y 2009 at Sestriere, Italy. “It’s been a few years. But I’ve had a bunch of races where (on) second runs I went out,” Ligety said. “You just have to fight.” Hirscher said he’d prefer to measure his performance against Ligety’s to see where he stands in GS terms. Great victory “It’s a great victory for sure. But we don’t know where we really are right now,” Hirscher said. “Was it a really good run from us or is Ted skiing better than the rest of the world right now? That’s the question.”

VAL D’ISERE: Austria’s Marcel Hirscher, center, winner of a men’s World Cup giant slalom, celebrates on the podium with second placed Thomas Fanara of France, left, and third place Stefan Luitz, of Germany, in Val D’Isere, France, yesterday. — AP L i g e t y, t h e fo u r - t i m e d e fe n d i n g World Cup GS champion, doesn’t consider the Bellevarde among his favorite courses. “It’s always super, super bumpy and miserable to ski, so I wasn’t surprised by that at all,” Ligety said. “It’s not ideal. It’s the kind of hill where anything can really happen, because it ’s such a tough and rough and bumpy hill.” Svindal, an Olympic bronze medalist in the discipline, can testify to that. The b ur ly No r wegia n wa s the s econd to start and lost his balance approaching a gate from the right, missed the next gate and almost toppled over as his right foot lifted off the ground. “One of my bindings went,” Svindal said. “ The conditions were difficult but that’s the World Cup. You have to adapt.” — AP

Tina Weirather wins World Cup super-G race

MORITZ: Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather celebrates in the finish area after winning an alpine ski, women’s World Cup super-G, in St Moritz, Switzerland, yesteday. Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein followed up three recent second-place finishes with her first victory of the World Cup season, winning a women’s super-G yesterday. — AP

ST. MORITZ: Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein followed up three recent second-place finishes with her first victory of the World Cup season, winning a women’s super-G yesterday.Weirather timed 1 minute, 17.38 seconds in near-perfect race conditions on a still, sunny day, having been runner-up twice last weekend and once in November. Stacey Cook was the bestplaced American in 16th, 1.74 behind Weirather. Lindsey Vonn, who won this race last year, skipped the St. Moritz race weekend. She has chosen a lighter World Cup schedule to manage a knee injury before the Sochi Olympics. After a stellar 2013 season, the US team is still seeking a first podium finish after six speed races in this World Cup campaign. Kajsa Kling of Sweden raced down from start No. 44 to be runner-up, 0.31 seconds behind. Anna Fenninger of Austria was third, trailing Weirather by 0.39, for her fourth podium finish in nine races. Pre-race favorite Lara Gut of Switzerland was seventh, 1.12 back, and retained her lead in the overall and super-G standings. Weirather earned 100 race points and moved up to second overall, trailing Gut by 37. Weirather’s second career World Cup victory was also her second in super-G. The 24-year-old racer won in March at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Her mother, Hanni Wenzel, won 33 World Cup races including two overall titles in 1978 and ‘80. Wenzel’s standout 1980 season included two gold medals and one silver at the Lake Placid Olympics. — AP

Pinturault posts fastest time in first run of GS VAL D’ISERE: Frenchman Alexis Pinturault posted the fastest time in the first run of a World Cup giant slalom race yesterday, while favorite Ted Ligety was among several racers to go out. Pinturault clocked 1 minute, 8.51 seconds, putting him 0.30 seconds clear of German Stefan Luitz and 0.41 ahead of Austrian Marcel Hirscher and Frenchman Thomas Fanara. Ligety was aiming for his third consecutive giant slalom win of the season but the American predicted before the race that the Stade Olympique de Bellevarde course would be tough. Ligety took a gate too wide and went down on his hip and then off course. “It’s always super, super bumpy and miserable to ski so I wasn’t surprised by that at all,” Ligety said. “You just have to fight. Just a little bit (of ) bad luck on my part today.” He had to think back more than four years to the last time he went out on a first run of a GS race- in Sestriere in February, 2009. “It’s been a few years. But I’ve had a bunch of races

where second runs I went out,” Ligety said. “It’s not ideal. It’s the kind of hill where anything can really happen, because it’s such a tough and rough and bumpy hill.” Next up was Aksel Lund Svindal, but the burly Norwegian lost his balance approaching a gate from the right, missed the next gate and almost toppled over. American Bode Miller tripped over his skis near the bottom. Hirscher, the two-time defending World Cup champion who has two third-place finishes in giant slalom this season and won the slalom in Levi, Finland, last month, also struggled to generate his usual speed on the choppy course. Frenchman Cyprien Richard bumped a gate with his shoulder and slid on his back with the finish line in sight, while Italian Massimiliano Blardone also failed to finish. Ivica Kostelic of Croatia did not start. Last Sunday, Ligety edged Miller at Beaver Creek, Colorado, to win a fourth straight World Cup GS race, a streak going back to last season. — AP

VAL D’ISERE: France’s Alexis Pinturault competes during a men’s giant slalom of the FIS Ski World Cup yesterday in Val d’Isere, French Alps. Austria’s Marcel Hirscher won ahead France’s Thomas Fanara and Germany’s Stefan Lutz. — AFP



Sergio Garcia goes 4 shots clear in Thailand CHONBURI: Sergio Garcia finished with back-toback birdies to shoot a second straight 7-under 65 yesterday and seize a four-shot lead after the third round of the Thailand Golf Championship. Garcia had eight birdies overall to go with a lone bogey on the fourth to move to an 18-under total of 198 at the Asian Tour event. “I was able to hit some really nice shots and then was able to roll two or three really good putts in and it was nice to be able to finish birdie, birdie on this difficult finishing stretch,” Garcia said. Henrik Stenson also shot a 65 to sit tied for second with Anirban Lahiri of India (67). Justin Rose, who shared the overnight lead with Garcia, only managed a 70 to fall five shots back. Garcia raised some eyebrows by playing with his girlfriend, Katharina Boehm, as his caddie this week, but the partnership seems to be working just fine on the golf course. The Spaniard, though, did joke that Boehm was holding him back. “I think if she will not be on the bag it would probably be like 25 under,” he said. “No, seriously, it’s great to have her around, forget about having

NHL results/standings Pittsburgh 3, New Jersey 2; Florida 3, Washington 2 (SO); Vancouver 4, Edmonton 0.

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

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

Western Conference Pacific Division W L OTL GF 22 7 5 108 20 6 6 106 21 7 4 88 19 10 5 92 18 8 5 103 12 15 4 81 11 20 3 91 Central Division 23 6 5 129 21 6 3 106 21 9 0 87 18 11 5 79 14 11 5 84 15 14 3 74 14 14 5 86 Eastern Conference Atlantic Division 22 8 2 90 19 11 3 86 18 10 3 87 15 9 9 88 16 14 3 90 13 14 6 94 11 17 5 76 7 23 2 54 Metropolitan Division 22 10 1 101 17 12 3 100 13 13 7 76 14 15 3 82 14 15 3 72 15 17 1 72 12 15 6 75 9 19 5 83

GA 87 79 63 81 97 101 117

PTS 49 46 46 43 41 28 25

93 70 71 80 89 90 94

51 45 42 41 33 33 33

64 73 77 87 96 106 108 94

46 41 39 39 35 32 27 16

73 93 93 88 86 88 85 117

45 37 33 31 31 31 30 23

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

her on the bag this week. Just a very positive person, a lot of good energy, that’s what I love about her, and it’s great to be able to go through this with her. I think the experience, not only for me but for her, I’m sure is interesting and a lot of memories.” Stenson, the hottest player in golf over the past few months, had a bogey-free round to put himself in contention. Having become the first player to win both the FedEx Cup and the European money title this year, Stenson certainly looks like the biggest threat to Garcia’s chances of winning a first title of 2013. “That was a good day, definitely was the best I played this week,” Stenson said. “Made some good birdies and some really good saves to keep the momentum going. ... I saw Sergio, he finished with two birdies to pull away four ahead again, so it’s going to take some golf to catch him tomorrow. I know he’s desperate to get his hands on a trophy, he’s played well this year but has not managed to win anything. I’ll try to challenge and see what happens.” — AP

BANGKOK: This handout photo taken and released by the Asian Tour yesterday shows Sergio Garcia of Spain taking part in the third day of the Thai Golf Championship at the Amata Spring Country Club in Chon Buri, outside Bangkok. The one million USD season ending Asian Tour event is being held from December 12 to 16. — AFP

Panthers get 10-round shootout win over Capitals SUNRISE: Tomas Kopecky scored the winning goal in the 10th round of the shootout, lifting the Florida Panthers to a 32 win over the Washington Capitals on Friday night. Kopecky’s goal went high over Philipp Grubauer and into the net. It came after the Panthers missed five previous chances to win the game during the shootout. Jonathan Huberdeau, Brad Boyes, and Nick Bjugstad also scored in the tiebreaker for Florida. Aleksander Barkov and Dylan Olsen had the regulation goals, and Scott Clemmensen made 23 saves. Eric Fehr, Nicklas Backstrom, and Mikhail Grabovski scored shootout goals for Washington. Joel Ward and Backstrom scored in regulation, and Grubauer stopped 39 shots. The Panthers won for the fourth time in five games and snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Capitals. The Caps lost for the first time in four games. Washington got off to a sluggish start. It only had seven shots in the first period and was without a shot on net in the second until the 9:37 mark. That changed quickly after Erik Gudbranson’s blow to Fehr’s head at 16:16 of the second. Troy Brouwer then dropped the gloves with Gudbranson, drawing a fighting penalty. Gudbranson got a match penalty. Both teams scored during the resulting 4-on-4 play. The Capitals tied it at 1 when Backstrom scored 18 seconds into the 4-on-4 on a wrist shot from the slot. The Panthers then answered that goal when Barkov stole the puck near the blue line, brought it to the right circle, and wristed it past Grubauer on the stick side at 17:56. Ward added a power-play goal with 30 seconds left in the second, leaving it tied again. Originally ruled no-goal during a scrum in front of the net, the officials used a video review to determine the puck had crossed the goal line. Olsen’s goal started the scoring in the second. His badangle shot from low in the left circle got past Grubauer 2:13 into the period for his third goal in his past nine games. The Capitals had a goal disallowed in the game’s opening minute when it was ruled that Martin Erat nudged Clemmensen out of the goal and interference was called. Canucks 4, Oilers 0 Goaltender Roberto Luongo made 19 saves for the 65th

VANCOUVER: David Booth #7 of the Vancouver Canucks gets stopped by goalie Devan Dubnyk #40 of the Edmonton Oilers during the second period in NHL action at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Jeff Petry #2 of the Edmonton Oilers tries to help defend on the play. — AFP shutout of his NHL career as the Vancouver Canucks blanked the Edmonton Oilers 4-0. Luongo moved within one shutout of tying Patrick Roy for 14th place on the NHL’s all-time list in that category. He helped the Canucks (19-10-5) post their sixth straight win, while the Oilers (1120-3), appearing tired and listless throughout, lost for the second time in two nights. Vancouver moved into sole possession of sixth place in the ultra-competitive Western Conference, only three points away from second and five out of first.

Penguins 3, Devils 2 The Pittsburgh Penguins tallied three first-period goals and held on to sneak by the New Jersey Devils 3-2. The win pushed the Penguins’ home winning streak to a season-high seven games and increased their overall lead atop the Metropolitan Division standings. Just 41 seconds into the game, the Penguins pounced on a rebound and forward Pascal Dupuis stuffed it past Devils goaltender Cory Schnneider. — Agencies

Emotional Van der Walt wins Mandela Championship DURBAN: South Africa’s Dawie Van der Walt fired a four-under 66 in the third and final round to win the Nelson Mandela Championship by two shots at the rain affected EPGA event yesterday. The 30-year-old finished the shortened tournament on 15 under par to finish ahead of Englishman Matthew Baldwin and Spaniard Jorge Campillo as he picked up his second European title at the saturated Mount Edgecombe golf club. The win comes on the eve of Mandela’s funeral after the former president passed away at the age of 95 last week. “It’s obviously really special, making you part of history,” Van der Walt said following his victory which follows his maiden European win last March at the Tshwane Open, also in South Africa. “Winning the Nelson Mandela at this time, when it’s sad for everyone, everyone is mourning and today’s (Sunday) the big day, it means a lot and it’s something I can keep close to my heart for ever. “I haven’t been in that good form, I’ve been struggling with an injury, so this is almost overwhelming. To win the last event of the year is going

to make Christmas a lot more fun,” he added. Frenchman Romain Wattel was alone in fourth three shots back, while South African Oliver Bekker was a further stroke back to complete the top five. Overnight leader Daniel Brooks of England blew a three-shot lead as he ballooned to a six-over score of 76 to slide down the leaderboard and a joint 11th-place finish. The tournament was reduced to 54 holes after heavy rain washed out the first day’s play as the European Tour remains in South Africa and heads to the Durban Open which begins next Thursday. “Once I got that birdie on 15, I was pretty comfortable that the tournament was mine to lose. I wasn’t sure what the guys behind me were doing, but I knew that they would have to go for birdies if they were to force a play-off,” added the champion. “So I was pretty relaxed coming home-it helped that I had been in that position before.” Meanwhile, in Naples, United States, Defending champions Kenny Perry and Sean O’Hair combined for an eight-under 64 on Friday to share the firstround lead at the Franklin Templeton Shootout

with two other teams.The duo were joined by the teams of Harris English and Matt Kuchar, and Charles Howell and Justin Leonard atop the leaderboard after the alternate-shot format opening round at Tiburon Golf Club. Perry and O’Hair are trying to become the first back-to-back winners in unofficial event founded by Australian Greg Norman since Hank Kuehne and Jeff Sluman won in 2003 and 2004. Perry is trying to win this event for the fourth time overall, but for the first time with the same partner. South Africa’s Retief Goosen and Sweden’s Freddie Jacobson were in fourth place on fiveunder 67, while Chris DiMarco and Billy Horschel, and Jason Dufner and Dustin Johnson shared fifth on 68. The tournament features 24 players competing in a team format. Yesterday’s second round will be a better ball format, and competition concludes today with a scramble. Last year, O’Hair and Perry combined to shoot a 31-under-par 185 and beat the team of Howell and South Africa’s Rory Sabbatini by one stroke. — Agencies

KUALA LUMPUR: Wang Shixian of China hits a return against Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan during their women’s singles semi final at the BWF badminton World Superseries Finals in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. — AFP

Lee close to record Superseries Finals title KUALA LUMPUR: World number one Lee Chong Wei yesterday advanced to the last round of the BWF World Superseries Finals, closing in on winning the title for a record fourth time. The Malaysian, who won three men’s singles crowns from 2008-2010, crushed Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen 21-14, 21-16 in 40 minutes to reach Sunday’s final on home turf. Lee jointly holds the record of three titles with women’s pair Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang of China and Denmark’s men’s pair Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen. Wang and Yu, who won from 2010-2012, are out of contention after they pulled out Saturday due to injury. Boe and Mogensen will play later against world champions Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia. It was a straight forward victory for Lee, whose court coverage and ability to retrieve every shuttlecock the French Open champion threw at him frustrated the Dane. Lee beat Jorgensen 23-21, 24-22 at the group stage on Friday. “Today, I was ready for him. I was determined to beat him quickly and started the match on fire,” the Olympic silver medallist said.

MOSCOW: A handout picture taken during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic torch relay yesterday, and released by the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Organizing Committee shows a torchbearer carrying an Olympic torch in Russia’s industrial Urals city of Yekaterinburg, 1667 km (1036 miles) east of Moscow. Russian torchbearers has started in October the history’s longest Olympic torch relay ahead of February’s Winter Games in Sochi. — AFP

Game- throwing “The only downside to my victory was that I allowed him back into the match in the second game after taking a big lead.” “I have to cut this

out as it is not good to give opponents a hint of a comeback.” In the final, Lee will meet the winner of the match between Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto and Japan’s Kenichi Tago. In women’s singles, China’s Li Xuerui easily beat South Korea’s Bae Yeon-Ju 21-15, 21-9. In the women’s doubles, world champions Wang and Yu raised eyebrows when they conceded a walkover to compatriots Ma Jin and Tang Jinhua, after citing a hip injury to Yu. This is not the first time Chinese players have opted out of facing others from their country in international matches and comes on the heels of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) introducing a random draw for the semi-finals in a bid to avoid “game-throwing”. The change was prompted by the scandal at last year’s Olympics when Wang and Yu together with three other women’s pairs were charged for not using their “best efforts” to win matches. In the finals, Ma and Tang will now take on Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl, who defeated South Koreans Jang Ye-Na and Kim So-Young 21-12, 21-18 yesterday. The Danish duo, who have a good track record in Malaysia, are hoping to become the first European winners of this category. In the men’s doubles, Kim Ki-Jung and Kim Sa-Rang defeated fellow South Koreans Ko Sung-Hyun and Lee Yong-Dae 21-14, 19-21, 21-16. — AFP

S P ORT S Photo of the day

Win was nice but just a step forward for NZ: Hesson

Daniel Mueller performs in Steinsoultz, France on October 19, 2013. —

Australia wrest back control again in Perth PERTH: Australia wrested control of the third test back from England for the second day in a row yesterday, reducing the tourists to 180 for four at the close of play and taking another step towards reclaiming the Ashes. Ian Bell, who had made nine not out, and Ben Stokes, unbeaten on 14, will resume on day three on Sunday with England trailing Australia’s first innings tally of 385 by 205 runs. The tourists need at least a draw to keep the series alive and had built a solid platform when Alastair Cook and Michael Carberry put together the highest opening partnership in eight tests against Australia this year. Australia’s bowlers, though, are charged with confidence after dominating the English batsmen in the first two tests in Brisbane and Adelaide and defied energy-sapping temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius to strike back. Carberry and Joe Root, controversially, fell in the half an hour before tea and Cook and Kevin Pietersen were dismissed in the final session - all without the standout bowler of the first two tests, Mitchell Johnson, taking a single wicket. “Other bowlers are getting vital wickets at vital times,” Australia bowling coach Craig McDermott told reporters. “Everyone’s chipping in, bowling tightly, bowling good lines and more importantly swinging the old ball. “We’ve got 12 overs until the new ball tomorrow, so a wicket early would be ideal and we can get stuck into them with the new ball.” England dealt with the first new ball reasonably well but Carberry had already survived a couple of scares when he played on a Ryan Harris delivery from around the wicket for 43 half an hour before tea with 85 runs on the board. The tourists would probably have been happy to get to tea with just one wicket down only for Root to follow Carberry to the dressing room for four some 20 minutes later. Shane Watson’s delivery beat his bat and umpire Marais Erasmus raised his finger in the midst of a frenzied appeal from the Australians, who thought they had heard a nick. Root immediately sought a review but departed shaking his head as the TV umpire and the battery of technology available to him did not find sufficient evidence to overturn the decision. “It was obviously a disappointing dismissal for us, and a key dismissal for us,” said Carberry. “He obviously felt he didn’t hit the ball, so he reviewed it. Obviously we’re bitterly disappointed.” Cook dug in with a circumspect Pietersen, though, and they successfully weathered a difficult period after tea when the “Freo Doctor” sea breeze enabled the Australian pacemen to get some movement from the ball. The England captain cut a short Peter Siddle delivery for his sixth four to reach his half century and looked set for his first big score of the series. But just when the pair looked they might be ready to start attacking the bowlers, Cook’s counterpart Michael Clarke brought on spinner Nathan Lyon and was immediately rewarded with the most prized England wicket. When Lyon’s fourth ball took a bit of bounce off the wicket, Cook failed to properly execute his cut shot and the ball flew into the safe hands of David Warner at point. Superb catch With his captain gone for 72, Pietersen seemed to lose interest in the conservative gameplan and, after becoming the fifth England player to score 8,000 test runs, fell victim to Siddle for the 10th time in his career. Attempting to


WELLINGTON: New Zealand coach Mike Hesson conceded that at times in the past 12 months he had felt the cricketing gods were conspiring against his side winning a test match after putting themselves in a position to do so. New Zealand had not won a test since they beat Sri Lanka in Colombo in Nov. 2012, a match that ended with Brendon McCullum replacing Ross Taylor as captain. Under McCullum, the team had failed to win a test, having drawn six and lost four games before they clinched their first win with an innings and 73 run victory over West Indies in the second test in Wellington on Friday. On at least four of those previous occasions, however, New Zealand had been in a position where they could have broken that duck and won the game. None more so than in the third test against England in March when Matt Prior saved the tourists at Eden Park with a century, and against West Indies last week in Dunedin when rain halted the game when New Zealand needed 33 runs to win. “Yeah. I think there was,” Hesson said when asked if he had at times felt the luck of the game was never going to go New Zealand’s way. “When the ball bounced on Prior’s stumps and ricocheted quite a distance there were a few of us looking at each other and going ‘what have we done here?,” he added of a delivery at Eden Park that Prior survived. “Then Dunedin was a few things down there that occurred where you wondered ‘when was it going to turn?’. “I guess for it to change so quickly yesterday was satisfying for the guys. “We have put in a lot of work in different tests ... and it just hasn’t worked for us so now we’re all pretty delighted that the win has come.” Hesson, like McCullum, had felt that it was a matter of time before they claimed the win, believing the team was slowly improving from match to match and getting

more consistent in their bowling and batting. “If the performance came in isolation I guess it wouldn’t bring as much satisfaction. Since England last (March) we have been consistent in the way we have gone about things. “It’s not a win in isolation. It’s something we have built up over a period of time and we know that we haven’t nailed it yet, but this is just another step forward for this team.” Pace trio Hesson believed his trio of pace bowlers, Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner complimented each other’s strengths and weaknesses and the introduction of leg-spinner Ish Sodhi gave them greater balance as well as attacking options. Top-order batsman Kane Williamson was also a more than adequate off-spinning option, which allowed New Zealand the luxury of nurturing Corey Anderson as a batting all-rounder he said. “Corey in the last 12 months has certainly grown as a cricketer,” Hesson said. “He complements the bowling group very well and is growing into a very good all round cricketer.” Hesson was reluctant to develop Anderson, who can bowl at over 140 kph, as a third seamer which could allow greater flexibility in the composition of the side because of his size. The 23-year-old Anderson would not look out of place in the All Blacks loose forwards and Hesson said he had injuries earlier in his career that was a factor against turning him into an out and out third seamer. “Corey is a big guy and he has had injury concerns so it’s not something we want to push,” Hesson said. “In certain conditions when you play two spinners he could do that third seamer role but he is a batsman who bowls for us. “We certainly don’t want to turn him into a 20 (over) a day man.” — Reuters

punish a short ball from the Victorian, Pietersen did not really get hold of his shot and Johnson leaped to take a superb catch at mid on and send him packing for 19. “I just thought it was fantastic piece of athleticism really, great catch and a really important wicket for us,” McDermott added. “The two wickets in that last session were very crucial to our day. And the last three hours of bowling and fielding were superb.” Johnson’s was the first wicket to fall in a day which started when England removed the last four Australian batsmen at a cost of an additional 59 runs to their overnight tally of 326. The England attack, though, will rue not driving home their advantage when they had Australia floundering at 143-5 on the opening day of the match. “Ideally we’d have liked to have lost a few less wickets,” Carberry added. “But having said that Australia, credit to them, bowled very well. “We’re still in the hunt. We’re 200 behind so we have to get through the new ball tomorrow and get up near the Australians’ total.” — Reuters

SCOREBOARD PERTH: Scoreboard at close on the second day of the third Ashes test between England and Australia at the WACA yesterday. Australia won the toss and chose to bat Australia first innings (overnight 326-6) C. Rogers run out 11 D. Warner c Carberry b Swann 60 S. Watson c Swann b Broad 18 M. Clarke c Cook b Swann 24 S. Smith c Prior b Haddin 111 G. Bailey c Pietersen b Broad 7 B. Haddin c Anderson b Stokes 55 M. Johnson c Prior b Broad 39 P. Siddle c Prior b Bresnan 21 R. Harris c Root b Anderson 12 N. Lyon not out 17 Extras (lb-6, w-3, nb-1) 10 Total (all out, 103.3 overs) 385 Fall of wickets: 1-13 2-52 3-106 4-129 5-143 6-267 7-326 8338 9-354 Bowling: Anderson 23-5-60-2 (w-1), Broad 22-2-100-3 (w1), Bresnan 23.3-4-81-1, Stokes 17-3-63-1 (w-1, nb-1), Swann 17-0-71-2, Root 1-0-4-0 England first innings A. Cook c Warner b Lyon 72 M. Carberry b Harris 43 J. Root c Haddin b Watson 4 K. Pietersen c Johnson b Siddle 19 I. Bell not out 9 B. Stokes not out 14 Extras (b-6, lb-7, w-5, nb-1) 19 Total (for four wickets, 68 overs) 180 Still to bat: M. Prior, S. Broad, G. Swann, J. Anderson, T. Bresnan Fall of wickets: 1-85 2-90 3-136 4-146 Bowling (to date): Harris 15-7-26-1, Johnson 15-6-43-0 (nb1), Watson 9-2-32-1, Siddle 13-5-27-1, Lyon 16-6-39-1 Australia lead the five-match series 2-0.

PERTH: England’s Alastair Cook plays a cut shot against Australia during his innings of 72 runs on the second day of their Ashes cricket Test match in Perth, Australia, yesterday. — AP

DUBAI: Shahid Afridi plays a shot during the 2nd T20 match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan in Dubai, on Friday.— AFP

S Lanka over the moon after Pakistan win DUBAI: Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal said his team were over the moon on keeping their world number one status intact with a win against Pakistan in the second Twenty20 in Dubai on Friday. The 24-run win levelled the two-match series 1-1 and dashed Pakistan’s hopes of replacing Sri Lanka as the number one team in the Twenty20 rankings. Chandimal said his team showed great resolve in their comeback win after losing the first match, which was also in Dubai, by three wickets. “We are over the moon. We keep our No. 1 rankings and it’s a matter of great delight,” said Chandimal after the match. Openers Kusal Perera (59-ball 84) and Tillakaratne Dilshan (33-ball 48) set the platform for a big 211-3 total, putting up 100 by the 12th over. Seekkuge Prasanna, playing his first Twenty20 hit an aggressive eightball 21 while the experienced Kumar Sangakkara gave the final touches with a rapid 21-ball 44. “Kusal and Dilshan batted really well. After that Seekkuge and Sangakkara batted well at the end. You know he’s a legend (Sangakkara),” said Chandimal, who admitted beating Pakistan was not easy. “They played exceptionally well so we had to come back. They have some very good bowlers and we had a gameplan and we executed that in the middle and that’s why we won the game.”

Pakistan were on course for achieving the target at 83-3 but lost Sharjeel Khan (50), Umar Akmal, Umar Amin and Bilawal Bhatti (all three without scoring) in the space of seven balls and two runs. Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez conceded losing four wickets in the middle was the turning point. “We were going well but lost four wickets in the middle which really made the difference and the credit goes to Sri Lanka,” said Hafeez, who also blamed bowlers. “We leaked some runs as a bowling unit. We were thinking of chasing 160170 on this track,” said Hafeez. Sohail Tanvir (41) and Saeed Ajmal (20) put on 63 for the ninth wicket-the best for this wicket in all T20 cricket-but the target proved beyond Pakistan’s reach. “As captain I am happy to see good performances from Sharjeel and Tanvir and we really achieved what we wanted to before the mega event,” said Hafeez, referring to the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh in March-April next year. “We had a plan and we wanted to inject some youngsters to check our combination for the mega event and we have achieved that,” said Hafeez. The two teams now play five oneday internationals with the first game in Sharjah on Wednesday. — AFP

McCullum unlikely to play wicketkeeper again WELLINGTON: Captain Brendon McCullum is unlikely to pull on the wicketkeeping gloves again for New Zealand, coach Mike Hesson said yesterday. The 32-year-old is battling a long-term back injury and has already given up the gruelling role in test matches, with BJ Watling taking the gloves in the longest form of the game. McCullum was still performing the role last year in limited overs matches and filled in during the second test in England in May when Watling was injured. He also played keeper in a one -day match on the recent tour of Bangladesh. However, specialist Luke Ronchi is being used more frequently in limited overs matches, while batsman Tom Latham, who has appeared for New Zealand in Twenty20 and one-day matches, can also play wicketkeeper if needed. “He’s unlikely to be used as a keeper. I think he’s too valuable a player for us to keep using him as a keeper,” Hesson said when asked how McCullum’s back injury would be managed. New Zealand have a five-match ODI series and two Twenty20 matches against West Indies following next week’s third and final test in Hamilton. Local media had reported before the West Indies series that McCullum was contemplating retirement due to the injury and while he had appeared to be having trouble in the first test in Dunedin, Hesson said McCullum was managing the issue well. “He is frustrated because he is in the best physical shape he has ever been. His fitness tests have been through the roof as well,” Hesson said. “He’s always a bit stiff but it doesn’t seem to be affecting his movement too much. “He’s like anyone else, we just keep monitoring him (and) ... he will need to keep working on that maintenance and making sure he’s pretty diligent around that. “He still throws himself around the field and puts himself in compromising positions. So far, so good.” — Reuters

DUNEDIN: Captain of New Zealand Brendon McCullum plays a shot during the final day of the first international cricket Test match between New Zealand and the West Indies at the University Oval in Dunedin. — AFP



Hugo Lloris fears Suarez factor could derail Spurs LONDON: Hugo Lloris admits Luis Suarez presents the biggest barrier to Tottenham’s efforts to continue their recent revival with victory over Liverpool today. Andre Villas-Boas’ Spurs side have recovered impressively from the shock of losing 6-0 at Manchester City and will face the Reds at White Hart Lane knowing victory will bring them level on points with Brendan Rodgers’ team. Since the City defeat, which came on the back of a home loss to Newcastle, Spurs have won four and drawn one to haul themselves back into contention in the Premier League title race and wrap up qualification to the Europa League knock-out stages. Another victory would enhance belief at the

north London club that the season is back on track but French goalkeeper Lloris knows they must cope with the threat of Suarez, the top-flight’s inform striker who has scored 15 times already this season. “They have a very good team with a superb striker in Suarez,” Lloris said. “It’s true that, at the moment, maybe he’s the best player in the Premier League, but we have to show good resilience when we come up against him and against the team as a whole. “You know when you play against a great player that you have to expect anything at any moment, so we just have to make sure that we remain focused and concentrate on our game.

“It’s important to get a good result against Liverpool and to get the win because there is only three points difference between them and us.” Villas-Boas must decide whether to recall striker Roberto Soldado, who pressed his claims with a hat-trick in the 4-1 midweek Europa League victory over Anzhi Makhachkala after being replaced by Jermain Defoe in the last two Premier League lineups. Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen is in contention after returning against Anzhi after a month’s absence with an ankle injury. Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Rodgers believes the trip to Tottenham starts a run of four games that will give

him a clear indication of what his team can aim for this season. The Reds head into the weekend second in the table after 15 matches and they trail leaders Arsenal by five points. After the trip to White Hart Lane, Rodgers’ team host Cardiff before travelling to Manchester City and Chelsea to finish off 2013. The three away matches are against teams that have a minimum expectation of finishing in the top four and Rodgers is looking forward to measuring his own side against tough opposition. “There are four games from Tottenham away to Chelsea away, which takes us to the end of the year and the 19-game mark,” Rodgers said.—AFP

Gordon leads Pelicans past Grizzlies, 104-98

MUNICH: Bayern’s Thiago Alcantara of Spain, left, and Hamburg’s Milan Badelj challenge for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and Hamburger SV in Munich, Germany, yesterday. — AP

Moyes wants faltering United to narrow focus BIRMINGHAM: Manager David Moyes wants Manchester United to clear their minds of title talk as they look to avoid losing three successive Premier League games for the first time since 2001. United travel to Aston Villa today for a league fixture that they have not lost since 1995, but with the champions already 13 points behind leaders Arsenal, their grip on the title is weakening. However, Moyes believes that discussing the possibility of closing the gap and winning a 21st league title has to stop until they get back in the mix with the other contenders. “The gap is bigger than we would like it to be,” he said. “We would like to be closer. We can only do one game at a time. Let’s look at it later on next year and let us see if we can answer the question better then. “This club expected to win all the games. That is the fact and that is why if you lose one or two then things get said. I knew that was the situation before I got the job, I understand that. “There are a lot of games we can get points in, but we need to go and do it, not talk about it. We need to make sure it happens on the field.” United will be without striker Robin van Persie, who has been ruled out for a month with a thigh strain. Moyes described the absence of last season’s top goalscorer as a “big blow” and he is also expected to be without Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini, Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic. Wayne Rooney is set to return to league action after missing last weekend’s defeat by Newcastle United through suspension after he picked up his fifth booking of the season in the loss against Everton just four days before. The England striker will make his 500th club appearance if he features against Villa and Moyes expects him to pick up plenty more with a midfield role a possibility later in his career. “He can go far in terms of numbers because as he gets older, he is adaptable and such a good football player,” Moyes said. “Maybe if he gets older and loses a bit of his pace he can always drop a bit deeper and can play deeper. The big thing for Wayne is that there are some big targets ahead for him. “There are some fantastic legends around this club and Wayne has got a chance to turn out to be one of them. He already is with what he does but I am talking real, real top status.” For all United’s early-season struggles, Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert does not buy into the belief that the dominant force of the last 20 years are now in decline. “It’s the same group of lads who had the mentality of winning things,” Lambert said. “Maybe the difference is from the outside looking in, you can’t afford to drop. That’s the high standard Man United have set, not just over five to 10 years, over 20 years, (former manager Alex) Ferguson’s reign. People jump on the bandwagon saying they are a spent force but I don’t buy into that.” However, Lambert says his side will not be concerned by their poor record at home to United and will go out to attack the champions. “I have good faith in the lads to go on the front foot,” he said. “If we can do that, we will make it a game, that’s for sure.” Beaten 2-0 at Fulham last weekend, which was their first defeat in six league games, Aston Villa are in 11th place in the table ahead of the weekend’s fixtures, three points below United. — AFP

NEW ORLEANS: Eric Gordon made 10 of 12 shots on his way to 25 points, and the New Orleans Pelicans won their second straight game, 104-98 over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night. Jrue Holiday added 20 points and 12 assists, hitting a clutch 3-pointer in the final minute to give New Orleans some breathing room after the Pelicans’ 19-point, fourthquarter lead was trimmed to six with nearly five minutes remaining. Ryan Anderson scored 18 for New Orleans, which also benefited from a season-low six turnovers. However, New Orleans lost Tyreke Evans for the second half after aggravated a left ankle sprain that first occurred late last week. Jon Leuer scored 19 and Mike Conley 18 for Memphis, which has lost two straight. Zach Randolph added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who were done in by a 21-3 Pelicans run that started in the last half of the third quarter. The Grizzlies were as close as 63-62 on Kosta Koufos’ 6foot runner halfway through the third quarter, but Randolph went to the bench with his fourth foul soon after. New Orleans then started to dominate, going on a 21-3 run that gave the Pelicans their largest lead at 84-65 early in the fourth quarter. The surge included Gordon’s layup and 27-footer with a second left in the third quarter. Gordon, who hit all three of his 3-point shots, hit from long range early in the fourth quarter to make it 87-70 with 10 minutes left. Memphis nearly had an answer, though. Mike Miller’s free throws began a 15-3 run, which he capped with a 3 to cut it to 94-88 with 4:53 still left. New Orleans called timeout soon after, and when the game resumed, Gordon hit a 20-foot jumper, Holiday followed with a 9-foot floater, AlFarouq Aminu sank a pair of clutch free throws and Holiday connected from 3. That put New Orleans ahead 103-93 with 54 seconds left, and Memphis could not recover. Memphis shot 75 percent during the first 10 minutes of the game, allowing them to open an early 32-24 lead on Tony Allen’s finger roll even as New Orleans shot better than 50 percent. The lead grew to 10 when Jerryd Bayless’ driving layup made it 40-30. The gap remained about the same until Holiday’s 3 with 4:05 left in the period sparked a 10-0 run that included a 3 and layup by Anderson, the latter giving New Orleans a 4948 lead. Evans, who’d been playing on a sore left ankle, reinjured himself on a drive in the final seconds of the half, but was able to hobble back to the free throw line and make two foul shots to give the Pelicans a 55-54 lead heading into the locker room. Pacers 99, Bobcats 94 Lance Stephenson scored 20 points to help the Indiana Pacers defeat the Charlotte Bobcats 99-94. Stephenson made nine of 14 field goals and had 11 rebounds and seven assists. Roy Hibbert added 18 points and 11 rebounds and David West added 14 points and eight rebounds as the Pacers (20-3) remained undefeated in 11 home games. Charlotte center Al Jefferson had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Bobcats (10-13). Cavaliers 109, Magic 100 Kyrie Irving scored 31 points to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to just their second road win of the season, beating the Orlando Magic 109-100. Irving, who had 37 points in Tuesday’s win over the New York Knicks, hit 12 of 24 shots as the Cavs (9-13) won for the fifth time in their last six games. Dion Waters had 21 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter when he sparked the Cavs to the game-winning run. Rookie guard Victor Oladipo led the Magic with a season-high 26 points. Raptors 108, 76ers 100 DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points and the Toronto Raptors defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 108-100. Terrence Ross added 24 points for the Raptors (8-13), who have won two of their past eight games while the Sixers (7-16) lost their fifth in a row. Tony Wroten led the 76ers with 23 points. Celtics 90, Knicks 86 The Boston Celtics blew a 17-point second-quarter lead and then rallied from 11 points down in the fourth to beat the New York Knicks 90-86. It was Boston’s second win over New York in six days, but this one was entirely different than the 114-73 blowout last Sunday. The Celtics, down 7968 with 10:32 left, held the Knicks (6-16) to just two field goals in the final 7:16 and took the lead for good on Avery Bradley’s three-pointer from the right corner with 2:38 left. Jared Sullinger led the first-place Celtics with 19 points. Hawks 101, Wizards 99 (overtime) Atlanta Hawks forward Al Horford had his best game of the season. Horford hit two tying free throws with five seconds to play to force overtime and then hit a fade-away jumper as time expired to lift the Hawks over the Wizards 101-99. Horford finished with a season-high 34 points and 15 rebounds to lead Atlanta (12-11) to their 11th straight home win over Washington (9-12). Washington forward Trevor Booker had a season-high 22 points, including a reverse layup that tied the game 99-99 with one second left in overtime. Pistons 103, Nets 99 Andre Drummond scored 22 points and 13 rebounds and Greg Monroe contributed 22 points and 11 rebounds as the Detroit Pistons ended a three-game losing streak

NEW ORLEANS: New Orleans Pelicans small forward Al-Farouq Aminu, top left, watches his shot go through the basket as Memphis Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph, right, pursues in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Friday. — AP

with a 103-99 win over the Brooklyn Nets. Detroit (11-13) led by 21 early in the fourth and survived the Nets’ (8-15) late surge. Nets power forward Kevin Garnett grabbed his 14,000th rebound during the third quarter, becoming the 10th player in league history to reach that mark. He is only the third player to have 25,000 points, 14,000 rebounds and 5,000 assists, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone. Thunder 122, Lakers 97 Forward Kevin Durant scored 31 points to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to an easy 122-97 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Durant added eight rebounds, five assists and four steal in 31 minutes of action. Guard Russell Westbrook flirted with a near triple double as he collected 19 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds. The Lakers (10-12) got 14 points and seven rebounds from center Pau Gasol while guard Kobe Bryant handed out 13 points but scored only four. Oklahoma City (18-4) moved to 11-0 at home.

NBA results/standings Indiana 99, Charlotte 94; Cleveland 109, Orlando 100; Toronto 108, Philadelphia 100; Atlanta 101, Washington 99 (OT); Boston 90, NY Knicks 86; Detroit 103, Brooklyn 99; New Orleans 104, Memphis 98; Oklahoma City 122, LA Lakers 97; Chicago 91, Milwaukee 90; San Antonio 117, Minnesota 110; Utah 103, Denver 93; Phoenix 116, Sacramento 107; Houston 116, Golden State 112.

Boston Toronto Brooklyn Philadelphia NY Knicks Indiana Detroit Chicago Cleveland Milwaukee

Spurs 117, Timberwolves 110 Point guard Tony Parker had 29 points and six assists to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 117-110 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Parker was 13 of 24 from the field in 36 minutes as the Spurs returned from a two game road trip. San Antonio had five other players in double figures with forward Kawhi Leonard getting 19, while guards Manu Ginobili had 20 and Marco Belinelli 12. Forwards Boris Diaw had 12 and Tim Duncan chipped in 12 with 14 rebounds for San Antonio (18-4). Minnesota (11-12) had their all-time record fall to 9-41 in San Antonio.

Miami Atlanta Charlotte Washington Orlando

Bulls 91, Bucks 90 Forward Mike Dunleavy’s three-pointer with 5.8 seconds left capped off a fourth quarter comeback for the Chicago Bulls, who snapped a three-game losing streak with a 91-90 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. bChicago (9-12) trailed by as many as 10 points in the second half, but chipped away at Milwaukee’s lead in the final quarter. Bulls center Joakim Noah blocked guard O.J. Mayo’s attempt at a buzzer-beater, sealing the victory for Chicago. Milwaukee (5-18) was looking to beat the Bulls for the second time in a week.

LA Clippers Phoenix Golden State LA Lakers Sacramento

Jazz 103, Nuggets 93 Guard Gordon Hayward scored a season-high 30 points and grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds, center Derrick Favors had 19 points and the Utah Jazz beat the Denver Nuggets 103-93. Forward Richard Jefferson scored 14 points for the Jazz, who led most of the way. Forwards Wilson Chandler and Jordan Hamilton had 17 points apiece for the Nuggets, who had their six-game home winning streak snapped.

Portland Oklahoma City Denver Minnesota Utah

San Antonio Houston Dallas New Orleans Memphis

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division W L 11 14 8 13 8 15 7 17 6 16 Central Division 20 3 11 13 9 12 9 13 5 18 Southeast Division 16 6 12 11 10 13 9 12 7 16 Western Conference Northwest Division 19 4 18 4 13 9 11 12 6 19 Pacific Division 15 9 13 9 13 11 10 12 6 15 Southwest Division 18 4 16 8 13 10 11 10 10 12

PCT .440 .381 .348 .292 .273

GB 1 2 3.5 3.5

.870 .458 .429 .409 .217

9.5 10 10.5 15

.727 .522 .435 .429 .304

4.5 6.5 6.5 9.5

.826 .818 .591 .478 .240

0.5 5.5 8 14

.625 .591 .542 .455 .286

1 2 4 7.5

.818 .667 .565 .524 .455

3 5.5 6.5 8

Suns 116, Kings 107 Guards Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe combined for 57 points on 21-for-30 shooting from the field and the Phoenix Suns beat the new-look Kings 116-107. Dragic had a game-high 29 points including four of Phoenix’s 12 three-pointers while Bledsoe added 28 points and eight assists for the Suns, who have won a season-high four straight and moved to 13-9 on the season. Guard Isaiah Thomas had 27 points and his new teammate forward Rudy Gay added 24 for the Kings. Rockets 116, Warriors 112 Center Dwight Howard slammed home forward Terrence Jones’ miss to start a three-point play with 2:15 to go, highlighting a late run that allowed the Houston Rockets to record a 116-112 victory over the Golden State Warriors. The win allowed the Rockets (16-8) to continue their recent mastery of the Warriors (13-11), beating them for the second time this season and 19th time in the last 22 meetings. Shooting guard James Harden had 26 points to lead the way for the Rockets. — Agencies

RENNES: Rennes’ French forward Mevlut Erding (L) vies with Paris Saint-Germain’s Italian midfielder Thiago Motta during the French L1 football match between Rennes and Paris Saint-Germain yesterday, at Route de Lorient stadium in Rennes, western France. — AFP



No festive cheer for West Ham, Sunderland West Ham 0

Sunderland 0

LONDON: Premier League strugglers West Ham United and Sunderland played out a 0-0 draw yesterday that did little for

either side’s fortunes in the relegation battle. Sunderland enjoyed the best of the match at Upton Park, but the closest they came to breaking the deadlock was a first-half shot from Phil Bardsley that came back off the frame of the goal. Sunderland remain bottom of the table, five points behind fourth-bottom West Ham, who inched a point clear of the relegation places. West Ham were without the suspended Kevin Nolan and the injured Stewart Downing, with Ravel Morrison and Joe Cole deputising, while Lee Cattermole, Emanuele Giaccherini

and Fabio Borini all came in for Sunderland. Narrowly beaten by Chelsea and then Tottenham Hotspur in their last two outings, Sunderland appeared eager to make it third time lucky and they took the game to their hosts from the start. Ki Sung-yueng had an early shot saved by West Ham goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, while Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore dragged an effort wide after going clean through. West Ham had seen Modibo Maiga blaze over in the early stages and they put the ball in the net in

the 21st minute, only for Guy Demel’s volley to be ruled out for a foul. Sunderland quickly reasserted control, however, and they came within inches of taking the lead in the 34th minute when full-back Bardsley rattled the crossbar with an ambitious attempt from 25 yards. Giaccherini had an effort deflected narrowly wide, while Cattermole also tested Jaaskelainen from distance. Morrison worked Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone early in the second half, but with the hosts struggling to break their opponents down, manager Sam

Allardyce sent on Jack Collison for Matt Jarvis. Mohamed Diame hit the side netting from an angle for West Ham, but Sunderland continued to threaten, with Giaccherini shooting wastefully wide and Jaaskelainen saving comfortably from Altidore. Visiting manager Gus Poyet introduced Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson as Sunderland pushed for a precious three points, and Jaaskelainen had to come to West Ham’s rescue again to turn away another effort from Ki. — AFP

Everton late show destroys Fulham Everton 4

Matches on TV (Local Timings)

Fulham 1

NEWCASTLE: Newcastle United’s French midfielder Moussa Sissoko (C) runs with the ball under pressure from Sunderland’s English midfielder Jack Cork (R) during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Southampton at St James’ Park in Newcastle Upon Tyne, northeast England, yesterday. — AFP

Rodriguez earns Saints draw with Newcastle Newcastle 1

Southampton 1

NEWCASTLE: Jay Rodriguez scored his sixth goal of the season to secure a 1-1 draw for Southampton with in-form Newcastle in their Premier League clash yesterday. Yoann Gouffran had given Newcastle the lead in the first-half only for Rodriguez to reply in the second to leave Newcastle in sixth spot-having taken 16 points from the last 21 — and the Saints in eighth. The hosts took a deserved lead in the

27th minute as Gouffran slotted home his sixth of the season-the 10th successive goal scored by a Frenchman for the Magpies-although it stemmed from a dreadful error by Jos Hooiveld. Southampton had almost gifted an opener to Newcastle in the opening minutes as Gouffran stole the ball off Argentinian ‘keeper Paulo Gazzaniga and teed up Loic Remy but the Frenchman’s goalbound shot was cleared before it crossed the line by Calum Chambers. The visitors, though, came out fired up in the second-half with Steven Davis hitting the bar with a fine effort before he set up Rodriguez playing a neat one-two with the England international who fired past Tim Krul. Newcastle, though, almost retook the lead immediately with another of

their legion of French players, Mathieu Debuchy, seeing his shot well saved by Gazzaniga. However, the Argentinian had Remy to thank for the sides staying level as a minute later he made a mess of his clearance kick with the ball going to the former Marseille striker, but he just shot high over the bar. Play had to be held up while referee Mike Jones received attention after he was accidentally hit by Moussa Sissokho which gave the hosts some time to gather themselves under incessant Southampton wave of attacks. The match ended with an unseemly free for all between the two sides after the hosts reacted angrily to a Morgan Schneiderlein challenge on Massadio Haidara-Jones bringing proceedings to an end shortly afterwards. — AFP

LIVERPOOL: Defender Seamus Coleman and midfielder Gareth Barry were the unlikely goalscorers as Everton scored three late goals to beat Fulham 4-1 Saturday at Goodison Park and provisionally move fourth in the Premier League. For a long spell in the second half, it seemed the hosts had squandered the lead given to them in the 18th minute by Leon Osman on his 300th Premier League appearance when Dimitar Berbatov equalized from the penalty spot in the 67th. However, Coleman struck with 17 minutes remaining and Barry nodded home from close range in the 84th before Kevin Mirallas added a fourth in injury time. That brought Fulham’s second-half revival to a shuddering halt and extended its losing run at this ground to 21 games. Everton lost on-loan Barcelona prodigy Gerard Deulofeu to a hamstring injury which could see him miss the festive programme. A nondescript opening was eventually brought to life by a goal of some quality both in its creation and execution. Centreback Sylvain Distin picked up the ball on the halfway line and played it short to Bryan Oviedo, who slipped it inside for Steven Pienaar. The South African instantly shuffled the ball across to Osman, who having controlled it with his right foot transferred it to his left before curling a composed effort inside Maarten Stekelenburg’s post from just inside the penalty area. It should have promoted a rush of goals as Everton was well on top at that point but could not press it home. Deulofeu provided Everton’s greatest attacking threat down the right but he lacked an end product. On-loan striker On-loan striker Romelu Lukaku unusually struggled to impose himself in the Fulham area, with his best effort an instinctive chest down from Pienaar’s corner which Stekelenburg brilliantly tipped around the post. Osman looked most likely to add to Everton’s lead and his dipping volley after Ross Barkley’s shot had ballooned back off a defender dropped just wide. Everton narrowly went into the break ahead as Berbatov fired over with the last kick of the half. Fulham looked a different side after the interval and twice early on forced Tim Howard into saves, firstly from Scott Parker and then Steve Sidwell. Everton’s chances became more infrequent and although Oveido had a goalbound shot virtually headed off the line by Sascha Riether, Fulham deservedly equalized when Barry was adjudged to have brought down Alex Kacaniklic and Berbatov stroked home. The Toffees’ chance seemed to have gone but they are unbeaten at Goodison in 2013 and rallied with Pienaar, who looked to be offside, cutting back for Coleman to score. Barry atoned for his error in his own penalty area by heading in from close range after a scramble at a corner and in added time Mirallas ensured the scoreline flattered Everton. — AP

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE Norwich City V Swansea City 16:30 Aljazeera Sport +7 Aljazeera Sport HD 3 Aston Villa v Man United 16:30 Aljazeera Sport HD 1 Aljazeera Sport +9 Tottenham v Liverpool 19:00 Aljazeera Sport HD 1 Aljazeera Sport +9 ITALIAN CALCIO LEAGUE Genoa CFC v Atalanta BC Aljazeera Sport +5 Aljazeera Sport HD 4 Parma FC v Cagliari Calcio Aljazeera Sport +2 SS Lazio v Livorno Calcio Aljazeera Sport +4 Fiorentina v Bologna Aljazeera Sport +8 Aljazeera Sport HD 2 Juventus v Sassuolo Calcio Aljazeera Sport +7 Aljazeera Sport HD 3 Napoli v Internazionale Aljazeera Sport +7 Aljazeera Sport HD 3 SPANISH LEAGUE Malaga CF v Getafe CF Aljazeera Sport +5 Almeria v Espanyol Aljazeera Sport +8 Aljazeera Sport HD 2 Real Sociedad v Real Betis Aljazeera Sport +8 Aljazeera Sport HD 2 Sevilla FC v Bilbao Aljazeera Sport +5 Aljazeera Sport HD 4 Atletico v Valencia Aljazeera Sport H+8 Aljazeera Sport HD 2 GERMAN BUNDESLIGA Schalke 04 v SC Freiburg Dubai Sports Bayer 04 v Eintracht Dubai Sports FRENCH LEAGUE Bordeaux v Valenciennes Aljazeera Sport +6 Aljazeera Sport HD 5 Lille OSC v Bastia Aljazeera Sport +6 Aljazeera Sport HD 5 Lyonnais v Marseille Aljazeera Sport +6 Aljazeera Sport HD 5


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CARDIFF: West Bromwich Albion’s Chris Brunt, left, is challenged by Cardiff City’s Jordon Mutch during the English Premier League soccermatch at The Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff, yesterday. — AFP

Cardiff ease away from danger with WBA win Cardiff 1

West Brom 0

CARDIFF: Cardiff City eased their relegation fears with a crucial 1-0 win over fellow strugglers West Bromwich Albion yesterday. Peter Whittingham scored the only goal of the game on 65 minutes when he showed great determination to turn in Craig Noone’s cross. The two sides started

the day one and two points above the drop zone but the Welsh team’s victory means they now have a little breathing space having opened up a gap of four points to Crystal Palace in 18th place. West Brom dropped to 16th after a fourth Premier League defeat in a row, and sixth game since their last win against Palace at the beginning of November. Cardiff snapped their own five-match winless streak. The game was a turgid affair with little entertainment to warm the spirits of the fans who braved the chilly conditions. West Brom’s travelling support did at least keep themselves busy jeering their former striker Peter Odemwingie

throughout. The Nigerian, who moved to Cardiff in the summer, has not been forgiven for trying to engineer a move away from the Baggies to QPR last January without his club’s permission. Neither goalkeeper was seriously tested in the first half although Cardiff’s Steven Caulker came close with a volley, while Albion’s best effor t came from an inadver tent intervention from home defender Andrew Taylor, who forced his own goalkeeper David Marshall into a smart stop. Just before the goal, WBA almost took the lead but Gary Medel cleared Gareth McAuley’s shot off the line. — AFP

LIVERPOOL: Everton’s Kevin Mirallas left, scores the fourth goal of the game for his side during their English Premier League soccer match against Fulham at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, yesterday. — AP


Everton late show destroys Fulham

Gordon leads Pelicans past Grizzlies, 104-98



Hirscher overcomes deficit to win W Cup

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MANCHESTER: Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud shoots wide past Manchester City’s Pablo Zabaleta, left, during their English Premier League soccer match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England, yesterday. — AP

Man City humble Arsenal Man City 6

Arsenal 3

LONDON: Manchester City asserted their Premier League title credentials with an extraordinary 6-3 defeat of leaders Arsenal yesterday that took them to within three points of Arsene Wenger’s side. Sergio Aguero gave City a 14th-minute lead and Alvaro Negredo restored the hosts’ advantage after Theo Walcott had marked his first start for Arsenal since September by

equalising. City lost Aguero to injury early in the second half, but a brace from Fernandinho, a David Silva strike and a Yaya Toure penalty secured victory for the 2012 champions, with Walcott and Per Mertesacker replying in vain. “It’s not easy to score six goals against Arsenal; the best defence in the Premier League, the best team this year,” said City manager Manuel Pellegrini. “We are three points behind. We must continue working and improving because we have a lot more things to improve.” City have won all eight of their home games this season-scoring 35 goals and climbed to second place in the table, although Chelsea can move above them by beating second-bottom Crystal Palace later. Arsenal, meanwhile, have now lost three

times this season, and manager Wenger said: “Overall, they deserved the win. We have to go home and recover and come back for the next time. We made too many technical mistakes today.” Held 1-1 at Southampton last weekend, City made a determined start at the Etihad Stadium and took the lead in the 14th minute. Samir Nasri’s right-wing corner was headed on by Martin Demichelis and Aguero hooked home a waist-high volley at the back post to notch his 15th goal in 13 games. Negredo spurned an opportunity to extend City’s lead when he shot wide and Arsenal capitalised in the 31st minute, with Walcott bobbling a shot home from a Mesut Ozil pass after Aaron Ramsey robbed Toure. Negredo again failed to find the target moments later, this time from Silva’s pass, but

he atoned in the 39th minute by tucking in a low cross from Pablo Zabaleta to restore the hosts’ advantage. To make matters worse for Arsenal, centreback Laurent Koscielny had to be stretchered off after cutting his knee as he slid in alongside Negredo, with the club announcing via Twitter that he had suffered a “deep laceration”. City saw Aguero limp off early in the second half, but they extended their lead in the 50th minute when Fernandinho picked up a loose pass from Ozil and curled a sublime finish around Wojciech Szczesny. Olivier Giroud squandered two chances to reduce the arrears, volleying over from a Jack Wilshere pass and then heading Bacary Sagna’s cross fractionally wide, before Walcott struck again in the 63rd minute. Ramsey

Hull, Stoke draw in game of two halves

Chelsea edge Palace to close on Arsenal Chelsea 2

Crystal Palace 1

LONDON: Chelsea moved into second place in the Premier League after first-half goals from Fernando Torres and Ramires secured a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge yesterday. Jose Mourinho’s side took advantage of Arsenal’s heavy 6-3 defeat at Manchester City earlier in the day to move to within two points of the leaders. But this was another unconvincing display from the Blues and Palace, rooted in the bottom three, will consider themselves unlucky not to have added to Marouane Chamakh’s equaliser. Chelsea manager Mourinho had restated his belief before this game that his team are in a period of transition, even suggesting that the Europa League champions could end the season empty-handed. The stuttering performance against Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League in midweek supported the manager’s view that his side are not firing on all cylinders, although victory against the Romanian side ensured they qualified for the knockout stage as group winners. With Arsenal faltering, this was an opportunity for Chelsea to stake a claim on the

domestic front. On paper at least, it should have been a routine three points for Mourinho’s side, despite Palace’s recent resurgence under new manager Tony Pulis. Three wins in four games had revived the visitors’ season, moving Palace off the foot of the table, but Pulis’s side were making the short journey from Selhurst Park more in hope than expectation. And the way the opening stages of the match unfolded, it seemed there was little prospect of an upset, with Chelsea quickly assuming control. Pulis’s impact on the visitors was apparent, with Palace appearing well organised and defending impressively, but they were undone in the 16th minute. Willian produced a burst of pace to take him past Mile Jedinak and create enough space to drill in a low shot from 25 yards. Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni made contact, but managed only to divert the ball onto the post and Torres reacted first to side-foot the rebound into an empty net for only his second league goal of the season. A Cameron Jerome shot forced Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech into action, but there were few signs an equaliser was imminent before an incisive move led to Chamakh’s 29th-minute leveller. Torres conceded possession just inside his own half and David Luiz was guilty of diving in as the ball was worked through Chamakh and Jason Puncheon to Joel Ward on the left. The full-back then whipped in a low cross towards Chamakh, who had drifted away from John Terry and struck a left-foot volley from 12 yards out past Cech for his third goal in three games. — AFP

dinked a pass behind the City defence for the England forward, who collected the ball and shaped a graceful shot into the top-right corner. Silva converted a low cross from Jesus Navas and Fernandinho dinked home his second goal before Mertesacker headed in an injury-time consolation for Arsenal, only for Toure to complete the scoring from the spot after Szczesny tripped James Milner. Elsewhere on Saturday, Everton will look to move into the top four by winning at home to Fulham, while Newcastle United and Southampton will have eyes on the European places when they meet at St James’ Park. Cardiff City host West Bromwich Albion and bottom club Sunderland visit fourth-bottom West Ham United, with Stoke City travelling to Hull City in the late game. —AFP

Hull 0

Stoke 0

LONDON: Crystal Palace's Congolese midfielder Yannick Bolasie (left) vies in the air with Chelsea's Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic (right) during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge yesterday. —AFP

KINGSTON UPON HULL: Former Manchester United team-mates Mark Hughes and Steve Bruce shared the spoils after Stoke City drew 0-0 at Hull City in the Premier League yesterday. Hull enjoyed the best of the first hour, with visiting goalkeeper Asmir Begovic producing three fine saves, but Stoke came closest to snatching victory when Ryan Shawcross hit the bar in the latter stages. The result meant that Hull remained in 12th place in the table, one point and one place above Stoke, who had stunned titlechasing Chelsea 3-2 in their previous outing. Hull manager Bruce kept faith with the team that had started in Monday’s 1-1 draw at Swansea City, while Stephen Ireland and Oussama Assaidi were both drafted into the Stoke line-up by visiting manager Hughes after scoring against Chelsea. The hosts had beaten Liverpool 3-1 in their previous home fixture and they were

the dominant team in a one-sided first half at the KC Stadium. Begovic had to save smartly from Ahmed Elmohamady and Yannick Sagno, while Curtis Davies planted a downward header narrowly wide from a Tom Huddlestone free-kick. Hull were also the first team to threaten in the second period, with Jake Livermore volleying just wide, but Stoke could have made the breakthrough moments later when Shawcross was unable to make telling contact with a Marko Arnautovic corner. Elmohamady thought he had put Hull ahead with around half an hour to play, but his well directed back-post header drew a stunning full-length save from Begovic.Stoke continued to menace on the counter-attack, however, and they put the ball in the net when Ireland tapped in after Peter Crouch’s header was parried by Allan McGregor, only for the flag to go up for offside. The visitors drew encouragement from the near-miss, and after McGregor plunged to his left to turn away a snapshot from Crouch, Shawcross sent a header against the bar from the resulting corner. Neither side was able to land a telling blow in the closing stages, leaving both glancing nervously over their shoulders ahead of the busy Christmas period. — AFP


How to have a great first week on the job Page 22

Happiness, safety for some in Pakistan’s gated communities


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Will Fed conclude 2013 with a bang or whimper?

NBK in consortium to arrange Zour financing

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NEW YORK: Revelers dressed as Santa Claus run as they arrive at Tompkins Square Park. Total retail sales nearing Christmas rose 0.7 percent in November, the Commerce Department said Thursday. It was the biggest gain in five months. — AFP

Europe faces uncertain 2014 after crisis People still battling unemployment, poverty ATHENS: Is Europe on the verge of a popular uprising? The question was asked by one of Greece’s most respected newspapers as another year of painful austerity drew to a close. If public anger does explode on the streets, wrote Kathimerini, it will not be provoked by politicians or labour unions, but come from ordinary people who “never imagined themselves doing such a thing”. Desperation is weighing not just on Greece, but on countries across Europe facing the same paradox: despite the end of the Great Recession, people continue to struggle with the daily reality of unemployment and poverty. Greece, Italy and Portugal are forecast to return to growth next year, while Spain has already emerged from recession and Ireland has ended its bailout program. But the disconnect between economic data and quality of life is fuelling populism, rightwing extremism and anti-European sentiment-and is likely to play a big part in European Parliament elections in May. “An improvement? We see no improvement, and will not for quite some time,” said Manuel Moreno, a 34-yearold who just lost his job at a humanitarian organisation in Madrid. “It took 15 years for things to improve after the 1990 economic crisis. This time round, the situation is much worse. We could see no recovery for 20 to 25 years,” he said. Yet according to the figures, Spain is already doing better. In 2012, its banks needed 41.3

billion euros ($56 billion) from the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund-the so-called “troika”-to save them after the collapse of a real-estate bubble. Last November, the government announced it would exit the rescue programme at the beginning of the year. The Spanish economy came out of recession in the third quarter of 2013, and the government is predicting 0.7-percent growth in 2014. Nevertheless, the jobless rate in Spain, where more than one in four are officially out of work, is not expected to fall before 2015, according to the European Commission. It’s a similar story in Ireland, another of Europe’s ailing children in 2010, which entered an 85-billion-euro ($115-billion) bailout that year but announced last November it would exit the programme in December. Many Irish workers are still moving abroad in search of work. Like fellow bailout recipients Greece and Portugal, the country had more emigrants than immigrants last year. Alan Cawley, 26, moved to England from the Irish town of Sligo in April 2012 to take a job at construction firm Murphy. “I did a degree in construction management and a master’s in environmental systems. When I finished I was quite well-qualified, but there was no work in Ireland,” he told AFP. “I do feel sad about leaving Ireland, although at the same time I think it is good to broaden your horizons. But I do want to go back to live in Ireland one day-I

Cypriots protest against bailout austerity measures NICOSIA: Hundreds of Cypriots protested yesterday against harsh austerity measures imposed since the eurozone country agreed a tough bailout agreement in March. Demonstrators from mainly leftwing unions, students and others gathered outside the finance ministry and marched on the presidential palace to voice their anger at a steep fall in the standard of living. Many Cypriots are also disgruntled over record unemployment of around 17 percent that is expected to rise to 20 percent next year, a planned sell-off of state-run utilities and the prospect of homes being repossessed by banks. Under the terms of the bailout agreed with the troika of international lenders, Cyprus has endured tough austerity measures aimed at getting it its debt-ridden economy back on track.

The 10-billion-euro bailout deal also included the closure of the island’s second largest bank Laiki and a 47.5 percent “haircut” on deposits above 100,000 euros at the main lender, the Bank of Cyprus. Employees in the private and public sector have seen their salaries and pensions slashed while taxes have increased and more than 40,000 Cypriots now rely on food parcels. The 2014 budget expected to be approved this week provides for a further 10 percent cut in public spending compared with 2013. Protesters shouted slogans against the troika and sell-off of state utilities., while banners read: “No to austerity: we have a right to work.” Since the bailout was agreed there have been few large-scale protests or strikes, but as austerity begins to bite Cypriots are becoming more agitated. —AFP

miss the gaelic football and hurling.” In Portugal, where the troika imposed massive austerity cuts, the figures no longer seem to add up. The economy is forecast to grow 0.8 percent in 2014 and official unemployment is expected to drop-but analysts say actual unemployment is far worse, as many Portuguese have given up looking for work. Fatigue has also hit Greece and Spain. After turning out to protest in huge numbers in 2011 and 2012, the Spanish seem to have lost the energy or the wherewithal to go on strike. And Greece’s largest union, GSEE, cancelled a street protest on November 6 because of weak turnout. “People feel let down by unions who only think of their own interests,” said Vangelis Floras, an electricity company pensioner. Greece’s embattled coalition government insists that after six years of recession, the economy will register a sliver of growth in 2014. But it’s a hollow message for the country’s 1.3 million unemployed, a rate of over 27 percent that keeps on climbing. ‘Austerity can kill’ “Greeks are adapting, better even than other people, but there are risks of explosion,” said journalist Polydefkis Papadopoulos. “ When the debt crisis exploded in 2010, nothing budged for a year. There were few layoffs, and some salaries even rose,” he said. “It’s the same now with this supposed economic

improvement. When will people feel the positive effects?” Against this backdrop, Greece’s neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn is garnering renewed support in opinion polls, boosted by exasperation with traditional politicians despite the fact the party is under investigation for murders and other crimes. In Italy, which is also expected to exit recession in 2014, the threat to the established order comes from populism-in particular, from comedian Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement. Across the continent, there is growing dissatisfaction with the European Union’s perceived impotence against immigration and unemployment. “A great battle is in progress, between the Europe of the people and the Europe of the populists,” Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta said in November. “I am fighting for a Europe that understands that austerity can kill, and that the policy of nothing-but-austerity will benefit the Le Pens (France’s far-right leader) and euro-sceptics like Grillo,” he said. Opinion polls have shown Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France leading among voters for next year’s European Parliament election and the party is expected to take around 16 percent of the vote in local elections in March. Le Pen and Dutch anti-Islamic leader Geert Wilders have now launched what they call a “historic” alliance for the upcoming European elections, with other euro-sceptic parties expected to join. — AFP

Japan seeks ASEAN backing on China with $20bn pledge TOKYO: Japan pledged $20 billion in aid and loans to Southeast Asia yesterday, the latest step in its bid to woo global public opinion in a territorial dispute with China. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered the cash over five years for members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at a celebratory summit to mark 40 years of ties with the bloc. The announcement crowns a year of courting by Abe, who has visited all 10 countries in the grouping at least once since he came to power last year, always with one eye on wresting back influence in the region from China. “Together with ASEAN, I want to build the future of Asia where laws, rather than power, rule, and people who worked hard will be rewarded-which would lead to a prosperous society with mutual respect.” That apparently was an oblique reference to his country’s fractious

spat over the sovereignty of a small chain of islands in the East China Sea, where Japan is keen to garner support for its view that Beijing’s behaviour is aggressive and coercive. The case has taken on a greater urgency since China’s declaration last month of an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the East China Seaincluding the contested archipelago. Beijing said all aircraft entering the zone have to submit flight plans and obey orders issued by Chinese authorities, in an announcement that was widely criticised as inflammatory. That came after more than 12 months of confrontations between Japanese and Chinese coastguards in the seas near the islands, as well as forays by military and paramilitary planes, and shows of strength by naval vessels. — AFP



Will Fed conclude 2013 with a bang or whimper? Fed officials expect no rate hike till 2015 NEW YORK: The Federal Reserve holds the wild card for the US stock market next week. Will the US central bank now slow the pace of its stimulative bond buying as the economy’s outlook begins to brighten or will it wait, setting the stage for stock investors’ undreamed of gains to keep going? Fed policymakers gather for the last time in 2013 for a two-day meeting that concludes on Wednesday. Many investors are still expecting the Fed to delay scaling back its $85billion-a-month bond buying program until early next year. But recent developments suggest a December move by the Fed is at least in the realm of possibilities. Those developments include a stronger-than-expected November jobs report, a US budget deal in Washington and the latest signs of tame inflation. A decision to begin scaling back quantitative easing now is “potentially the largest factor for the market in the near term,” said Robert McIver, co-portfolio manager of the Jensen Quality Growth Fund in Lake Oswego, Oregon. “The very thought of it has had a very negative reaction in the market,” so a period of consolidation is likely to follow, he said. Indeed, stocks logged their worst week in nearly four months this week. The Fed’s ultra-loose money policy, adopted more than four years ago, has helped lift the Standard & Poor’s 500 index 24 percent so far this year. In an effort to promote economic growth, the Fed has been buying Treasuries and mortgage-backed bonds to keep long-term

interest rates low. Stocks temporarily pulled back from their rally this year when Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke began hinting in May that a reduction in the stimulus program may be near.

argue investors are making too much out of the issue of tapering since the Fed is likely to continue its accommodative measures for many months to come.

Stronger jobs market Comments by Fed policymakers this week have leaned toward the central bank being closer to trimming bond purchases. St Louis Fed President James Bullard, who is a voting member on the Fed’s policymaking committee, said the Fed could slightly reduce the purchase program this month after signs of a stronger job market. Most economists in a Reuters poll this week said they expect Fed policymakers to defer action until January or March, but the number of those expecting a Fed move in December has increased compared with one month ago. Some stock traders, guarding against a Fed surprise, have been using options as a hedge against possible losses. What the Fed will do is still an open question. The central bank surprised many investors in September when it kept its stimulus in place. The S&P 500 is on track to end 2013 with its best yearly gain since 2003, so what the Fed decides could mean the difference between pulling back or resuming the advance. “Once we get the Fed news out of the way next week, I expect the seasonal factor to kick in and we may see historical highs again leading up to the new year,” said Ryan Detrick, analyst at Schaeffer’s Investment Research in Cincinnati, Ohio. Some analysts

Low rates promised Even as it has begun to talk about reducing stimulus, the Fed has vowed to keep interest rates low for a long time, and most Fed officials expect no rate hike until 2015. That means the Fed is likely to be very careful to create a cushion for the economy, as well as the markets, they said. “I think people are fibrilating about tapering. Every day they’re looking for a new speck of information about it,” said John Rutledge, chief investment officer of Safanad, a New York-based private investment firm. “I don’t think they will announce anything next week, and when they do announce tapering, they will take great pains” to reassure the market. Several stock market strategists in a Reuters poll released Thursday said they expected any reduction in its bond buying to be a small amount initially. Investors will be keen to hear any comments from the Fed on how long it is likely to keep rates low. Given the amount of talk surrounding a Fed tapering, investors could hardly be in for a punch, analysts said. “One would expect there would be a knee-jerk reaction,” said Eric Kuby, chief investment officer at North Star Investment Management Corp in Chicago. But, “it would be more of a surprise than a shock.” —Reuters report

How to have a great first week on the job


tarting a new job can be a stressful experience. Even experienced professionals commonly experience some anxiety at the prospect of starting a new job. Indeed, it is very common for people nowadays to worry about whether their new boss will like them, or whether their work performance will be up to par. No matter how you feel about your new job, remember one thing: once you’re in it, you have to win it. This is the only way to survive in today’s workplace. Fortunately, there are many steps that one can take to have a great first week at work. The career experts at, the Middle East’s number 1 job site, have compiled the following checklist to help you better navigate your early days on your new job: Your roles and responsibilities From the very first day you step into the office, people will try to get you to say “yes” to tasks that may or may not fall within your job description. While it is good to be helpful, it is also important to carefully read your job description and understand your job requirements well. Practice saying: “Let me think about the best way to approach this and then get back to you.” Schedule a meeting with your boss to discuss and review your priorities. Fortunately, 60.5 percent of professionals in the MENA region said that management’s expectations of them are most of the time realistic (according to the ‘Work Satisfaction

Clashes seen at Italy’s anti-austerity protests ROME: Protesters clashed with police at anti-austerity demonstrations in Rome, Turin and Venice yesterday, as part of a wave of social action led by Italy’s Forconi (Pitchforks) movement of farmers and truck drivers. Students threw paint bombs at the police in Turin in northern Italy, a oncemighty industrial hub that has been laid low by the economic crisis and has been at the epicentre of protests that began this week. Far-right activists wearing Italian flag masks and white nooses around their necks also rallied outside the European Commission’s office in Rome and took down a European flag outside before being chased off by police. In Venice, police fired tear gas to break up far-right and far-left protesters near the train station. Two people were detained and around 10 police

officers were lightly injured in the Venice protest, which forced the closure of a new bridge between two islands by award-winning architect Santiago Calatrava. “The situation is very worrying because it is an expression of great social unease,” Economic Development Minister Flavio Zanonato said at the opening of an airplane components factory near Milan. “We must hurry up and re-launch our country,” he said. Speaker of parliament Laura Boldrini warned that “more fuel should not be added on the fire of this rage”. The Forconi movement, which originated in Sicily, is preparing to set up a picket in central Rome starting on Wednesday until its demands for fresh elections and a wholesale changeover of the ruling class are met. —AFP

UAE Govt Summit focuses on lessons from private sector

in the MENA’ poll, November 2012).

growth in your new job.

Your boss Make an effort to understand your boss’s preferences and peeves. Just as you are mindful of treating your friends and family members while keeping their likes and dislikes in mind. The same would apply to your manager. Make sure you understand the job role assigned to you and how that will help your boss offload some of their work burden. Any boss would like to work with a person who is punctual and honest, and who is willing to accept new challenges. Therefore, try to always take new job assignments head-on to demonstrate your enthusiasm. In fact, 28.8 percent of employers who took part in the ‘Hiring Practices in the MENA’ poll, February 2012, said that hunger, drive and ambition are the most important factors they look for in new employees.

Team or solo? Every job role is different. You have to determine what role you are going to play. Some jobs need team work where you have to support other members of the team toward a joint outcome. In that case, understand the team dynamics and the positive influence that you can exert. The good news is that 86.8 percent of professionals in the MENA region feel that their coworkers are professional, according to the ‘Work Satisfaction in the MENA’ poll. In isolated job roles, on the other hand, you would probably be answerable to your boss only.

Office politics Before you step on a deadly land mine, you want to come in as an observer to the organization you are now part of. All new people are automatically given a state of grace for their ignorance during those first few weeks at a new job, so make sure to ask many questions and be watchful. It will be your knowledge of the culture, your personality, and how you do your job that will set the bar for how well you integrate. A successful integration is a good indicator of your future success and career

TURIN: A man holds a smoke bomb during a protest by students against the local government yesterday. —AFP

Company’s do’s and don’ts Each company has its own values, rules and norms to follow. You should get yourself acquainted with all the do’s and don’ts of your new company. These include attendance, work ethics, and the dress code, among others. Communication Just like any relationship, communication is key to making your relationship with your new job successful. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or to ask your supervisor for guidance whenever you need it. A good manager should appreciate your desire to mesh with the company, and to learn how best to contribute to its success.

DUBAI: Mohammed Abdullah Al-Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, and Head of the Organizing Committee for the Government Summit, said that the principal pillars of the second annual summit, which will held under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, UAE Vicepresident Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, will be citizen’s happiness, lessons from the private sector and the future of government services. Al-Gergawi said that the agenda of the Summit, which is held under the theme Leading Government Services, from February 10-12, 2014 has been inspired by the directives of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid AlMaktoum during the first Summit that had focused on developing creative concepts in providing government services and his vision of for future government that exceeds customers’ expectations beside finding an inspiring model of government services based on the ‘five-star’ hospitality, financial services and aviation industries, for which the United Arab Emirates is internationally renowned. Al-Gergawi stressed on the Government Summit’s role as an interactive platform to consolidate the UAE’s regional and international leading position in the development of government performance and moving toward mobile government that reaches out to people as well as shifting to mobile cities that can accomplish customer transactions at any time for enhanced quality of life in line with the UAE Vision 2021. The 2014 Summit will provide an ideal platform for senior government officials to share best practices, and discuss key topics that lead to the highest possible levels of customer experience. Attracting further strategic partnerships Al-Gergawi highlighted that the Summit in its second edition continues its partnerships with a number of international organisations and institutions such as the United Nations, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and at the national level with the Mohammed bin Rashid

Mohammed Al-Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs School of Governments a knowledge partner. Following the overwhelming success of the Government Summit in its first edition, UAE University is also coming on board as another major knowledge partner, and the World Economic Forum as a strategic partner. The Summit will be attended by over 60 regional and international speakers and intellectuals in addition to over 3500 delegates. It will witness the launch of a series of international reports on the development of government services, and propose many worksheets and constructive discussions that will contribute to the expansion and dissemination of knowledge and establishing a model government sector development in the region. The previous edition of the Summit received strong support from the UAE leadership. It was also very positively received by the public, and discussed topics of concern on a regional and international level. During the last Summit, the UAE leadership established a new model for governmental transparency at the regional level, and an innovative practice of directly interacting with the public on topics related to national, social and development issues.

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

ASIAN COUNTRIES 2.729 4.559 2.636 2.157 2.899 227.110 36.470 3.631 6.410 8.835 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES 75.430 77.721 734.800 751.300 77.033

ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash 40.070 Egyptian Pound - Transfer 40.604 Yemen Riyal/for 1000 1.320 Tunisian Dinar 170.950 Jordanian Dinar 399.450 Lebanese Lira/for 1000 1.898 Syrian Lira 2.016 Morocco Dirham 35.344 EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 282.750 Euro 391.610 Sterling Pound 465.120 Canadian dollar 269.800 Turkish lira 138.400 Swiss Franc 321.310 Australian Dollar 258.430 US Dollar Buying 281.550 20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

GOLD 233.000 118.000 61.000

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

SELL DRAFT 262.45 270.72 323.46 392.54 282.25 468.20 2.81 3.631 4.610 2.161 2.885 2.640 76.91 751.23 40.97 401.71 734.03 77.94 75.40

SELL CASH 262.000 271.000 323.000 395.000 285.000 471.000 2.800 3.800 4.850 2.600 3.400 2.760 77.200 752.100 41.100 406.800 740.100 78.300 75.600

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 282.600 269.670 466.480 390.235 318.860 746.200 76.920 78.470 76.230 398.365 40.977 2.160 4.613 2.634 3.630 6.393 694.120 3.745 09.800

Syrian Pound Nepalese Rupees Malaysian Ringgit Chinese Yuan Renminbi

3.015 3.884 88.925 46.975

Singapore Dollar South African Rand Sri Lankan Rupee Taiwan Thai Baht

0.223172 0.021527 0.001891 0.009432 0.008516

0.229172 0.030027 0.002471 0.009612 0.009066

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

Arab 0.743809 0.037645 0.000078 0.000186 0.394722 1.0000000 0.000138 0.022620 0.001196 0.728643 0.076982 0.074790 0.002167 0.166000 0.139284 0.076028 0.001285

0.751809 0.040745 0.000080 0.000246 0.402222 1.0000000 0.000238 0.046620 0.001831 0.734323 0.078195 0.075490 0.002387 0.174000 0.146284 0.077177 0.001365

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

SELL CASH Europe 0.007351 0.458278 0.006619 0.048057 0.383746 0.042254 0.081615 0.008099 0.039208 0.312095 0.139284

SELLDRAFT 0.008351 0.467278 0.018619 0.053057 0.391246 0.047454 0.81615 0.018099 0.044208 0.322295 0.146284

Australasia 0.250026 0.228185

0.261526 0.237685

Canadian Dollar US Dollars US Dollars Mint

America 0.261431 0.278750 0.279250

0.269931 0.283100 0.283100

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

Asia 0.003464 0.045059 0.034395 0.004398 0.000020 0.002671 0.003348 0.000258 0.084587 0.002973 0.002422 0.006416 0.000069

0.004064 0.048559 0.037145 0.004799 0.000026 0.002851 0.003348 0.000273 0.090587 0.003143 0.002702 0.006696 0.000075

Australian Dollar New Zealand Dollar

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

Transfer Rate (Per 1000) 282.300 391.100 466.050 268.250 4.610 40.965 2.157 3.635 6.390 2.637 751.700 76.800 75.400



NBK in consortium to arrange Zour financing KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) participates in a consortium of international banks to arrange a loan of $1.43 billion to finance the first phase of the Az-Zour North Power and Desalination Project in Kuwait, the first Public Private Partnership (PPP) project in Kuwait. NBK is the only Kuwaiti and the only Arab bank to take part in this consortium. It is also the largest contributor to the financing among the participating commercial banks. In addition to NBK, the consortium includes Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Nippon Expor t and Investment Insurance (NEXI) - both are Japanese governmental agencies - Bank of TokyoMitsubishi UFJ Ltd, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Standard Chartered Bank. The shareholders of the special pur-

pose Project Company, Shamal Az-Zour Al-Oula for the Building, Execution, Operation, Management and Maintenance of the First Phase of AzZour Power Plant KSC, are Azour North One KSCC (40 percent), Kuwaiti public institutions (10 percent), and the remaining 50 percent will be made available to the Kuwaiti citizens through an IPO following the commencement of operations. The Project Company will build a combined cycle natural gas-fired power plant with the capacity of approximately 1,500 MW and a seawater desalination plant with the capacity of approximately 105 million imperial gallons per day at Az-Zour North. It will sell the power and freshwater generated to the Ministry of Electricity and Water for 40 years on the BOOT basis.

Australia PM backs removing Qantas foreign ownership limit

Shaikha Al-Bahar

Shaikha Al-Bahar, NBK Kuwait Chief Executive Officer, said: “Being the only Kuwaiti and Arab bank in this consortium and having the largest contribution to the financing reflects NBK’s strong reputation, professionalism and track-record in arranging and leading mega financing deals in Kuwait and the region.” “NBK has always been at the forefront in supporting Kuwait’s power sector,” Al Bahar added. “In addition to its importance to increase the power production in order to meet the growing demand, this project is the first in Kuwait under the PPP scheme. This is an indication of the improvement in the execution of Kuwait’s Development Plan. We are positive on Kuwait’s economic outlook as more projects are expected to be implemented in the future.”

Founded in 1952 as the first indigenous bank and the first joint stock company in Kuwait and the Gulf Region, NBK is the largest financial institution in Kuwait and has been consistently awarded the highest credit rating in the region from Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch Ratings. NBK was also named among the 50 safest banks in the world for the eight consecutive times. NBK continues to enjoy the widest banking presence with an international network reaching 170 branches worldwide. NBK’s international presence spans many of the world’s leading financial centers including London, Paris, Geneva, New York and Singapore, as well as China (Shanghai). Meanwhile, regional coverage extends to Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Turkey.

Happiness, safety for some in Pakistan’s gated communities Growing demand for realty sends prices soaring

SYDNEY: Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott has suggested he may support lifting foreign ownership restrictions on Qantas, saying the embattled carrier’s push for a level playing field was not unreasonable. Qantas has been lobbying the government to relax the Qantas Sale Act which limits foreign ownership in the national carrier to 49 percent. The struggling airline argues the cap hurts its ability to compete, particularly against domestic rival Virgin Australia, which is majority-owned by state-backed Singapore Airlines, Air New Zealand and Etihad. “Where we can be helpful we will certainly try to be helpful but as I understand it, what Qantas wants is to be unshackled,” Abbott said in an interview in the Australian Financial Review published yesterday. “They want to be able to compete with Virgin on a level playing field. Now I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request on their part, but that’s a matter for the parliament as well as the government.” Earlier this month Qantas flagged a halfyear loss of up to Aus$300 million (US$269 million) and said it would axe 1,000 jobs as it struggles under the weight of record fuel costs and fierce competition from subsidised rivals. The announcement saw

Standard & Poor’s downgrade the airline’s credit rating to “junk” status, cutting it from BBB-, the lowest investment grade, to BB+ and placed it on a creditwatch with negative implications. The AFR said Qantas apparently sought a government guarantee in the short-term to protect its credit rating but no agreement had been reached. Abbott has previously indicated that government assistance was unlikely, saying: “If we subsidise Qantas, why not subsidise everyone?” “If we subsidise everyone, that’s just a bottomless pit into which we will descend and if we offer a guarantee to Qantas then why not offer a guarantee to everyone?” But the long-term fix of removing the foreign ownership restrictions would be opposed by the Labor opposition which argues that with the airline’s share price hovering around Aus$1, the ‘flying kangaroo’ would be vulnerable to an equity raid. Chief executive Alan Joyce has stressed that the airline is not seeking “an anti-competitive handout or bail out” but said the carrier was “hand-cuffed” by the Qantas Sale Act. Qantas claims domestic rival Virgin Australia is waging a campaign to weaken it in the lucrative domestic market with cheap seats underwritten by foreign cash injections. —AFP

RAWALPINDI: On the edge of Rawalpindi, Islamabad’s scruffy, congested twin city, a grand arched gateway opens to a rather different Pakistan, one of tidy lawns, golf courses and constant, reliable electricity. Welcome to Bahria Town, where Pakistan’s new middle class takes refuge from the Taleban attacks and endless power cuts that plague the rest of the countr y. Cars glide softly over the smooth tarmac carpeting the gentle hills of Pak istan’s largest gated community, past immaculate green verges dotted with statues of cattle-which, unlike their real counterparts elsewhere in the country, pose no threat to traffic. There’s a horse-riding centre, a golf course, a posh cinema, an immaculately air-conditioned cafe and a mini-zoo with “the only black panther in Pakistan”, whose growling excites young couples tak ing a walk . Elsewhere 20-metre models of the Eiffel Tower and Nelson’s Column-complete with lionswatch over this vision of suburbia which seems a world away from the rest of Pakistan’s seething, traffic-choked and crumbling cities. For Riaz, an employee of a multinational firm, it is heaven compared to the sprawling, violent metropolis of Karachi that he left a few months ago. An unprecedented wave of murders and kidnappings gripping the port city, Pakistan’s economic capital, forced him to quit for the quiet comfort of Bahria Town. “Here we have peace, though it’s a bit lacking in life and cafes,” Riaz told AFP as he walked through the zoo with his young son.

From jungle to gardens Popularised in the United States in the 1990s, gated communities have spread across the world. They have grown in popularity in Pakistan in the last decade as Islamist violence and crime have spiralled and a crippling energy crisis has left people without electricity for hours at a time in the blistering summer. Pakistan now has at least two dozen gated communities, according to Shaista Zulfiqar of real estate brokerage Bahria Town has expanded to three cities-Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi housing some 100,000 people in total. When work started on Bahria Town Islamabad in the early 2000s, the area was nothing but “jungle”, said 28-year-old Arif Ali, one of the first residents. For the residents of Bahria Town and the dozens of other closed communities like it around the unstable country of 180 million people, life passes calmly. Cameras watch over the enclave 24 hours a day, on top of the guards patrolling to kick out interlopers. The power cuts that plague life in the rest of Pakistan are no more than a distant memory thanks to enormous generators guzzling to run the residents’ air-conditioners and HD TVs. Boom town Bahria Town is also a town without a mayor. The development company, owned by billionaire Malik Riaz, sells the land, builds the houses, hospitals, schools, runs the security, electricity, water, sewage, all in return for a local “tax”. Bahria Town and its rivals like Gulberg Greens and Khudadad City offer a corner of walled-in paradise-for those who can afford it.

“People from middle and upper middle class, including businessmen, government employees and bankers invest in gated communities,” said Zulfiqar from The population also includes members of the Pakistani diaspora who have become rich in Canada, Australia, the UK and the Gulf. Demand has seen prices rocket-in 2007 a 200 square metre house in Bahria Town Lahore cost around four million rupees ($40,000). A similar property in 2012 would have cost nine million rupees. Would-be residents have the choice of buying plots of land or houses of different sizes, with prices running up to 100-300 million rupees, according to Bahria Town vice-CEO Muhammad Ilyas. Speculation has also pushed prices up as property remains a safe haven as the rupee collapses against the dollar. “It’s a very good investment, I have made 300 percent profit since 2007,” said Umar Paracha, who buys and sells Bahria Town plots in Islamabad, though he lives elsewhere. “I am just an investor, I purchase a plot and after two or three months I sell it for a profit of one million or half a million rupees.” But for most Pakistanis-a fifth of whom live on less than $1.25 a day, according to the World Bank-communities like Bahria Town are a distant, impossible dream. At a roundabout facing the entrance to Bahria Town Islamabad, dozens of scruffy men wait for work, squatting on the ground looking at this portal to another world. “It does not seem like Pakistan, it seems like a new country,” said one of them, Haji Gulzar. “The difference is like day and night, black and white, earth and sky.” —AFP

After bumpy 2013, wary world watches America To many around the world, it made little sense: The world’s most powerful government, so mired in dysfunction that it couldn’t operate. The world’s defender of individual freedoms, accused of spying on its citizens and friends. The world’s military giant planning, then balking at, an armed response to the suspected use of deadly chemical weapons. Former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright once dubbed the United States “the indispensable nation.” But as the world watched America shamble through a string of crises in 2013, the notion of the US as an unflappable leader began to seem ever more quaint. Instead, to hear some around the world tell it, the United States came off looking uncertain, unmoored and even untrustworthy. Unsettling, to say the least, for a global audience of people who understand that when America sneezes, the world catches a cold. The National Security Agency spying scandal and the government shutdown created, for some, a contradictory image of the United States: a bully when dealing with others, a weakling when dealing with itself. “They are,” in the words of Denmark university student Julie Simonsen, “like a colossus with feet of clay.” “When I was a child, America was a dream country. It was a country we admired as a role model,” says Chieko Kotani, a 51-year-old tourism worker in Tokyo. “Over the past year, however, I think America’s status in the international community has declined. It seems to have lost its leadership quite a bit.” Debate over global dominance It’s not that the world hates America. Many still want to go there. Across the globe, people praise the nation’s technological achievements, charity and democratic ideals. South Koreans, for example, were delighted last month when President Barack Obama asked a young Korean heckler who had interrupted his speech on immigration reforms in San Francisco to stay, rather than ordering him removed. “I wish we had that kind of president who listens to the opinions of the minority,” says Kim Jin-hwan, a 32-year-old baker from Seoul. “I was very jealous.” The debate over global dominance is nothing new. China has been catching up to the US or awhile. And the balance of power often shifts naturally with time. After all, America was once an isolationist nation: In his inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson called for “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.” During World War I, President Woodrow

Wilson argued that US involvement was critical to global harmony. But not until World War II, and Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, did American opinion shift in favor of global engagement. The United States emerged from the war a dominant economic and military force, led the creation of the United Nations and helped rebuild Japan and Germany. A superpower was born. Lately, though, there are signs that America is again turning inward. In a survey released this month by the Pew Research Center, most Americans said they think the nation’s influence in global affairs is declining. The survey, conducted with the Council on Foreign Relations, also found that just 17 percent of Americans believe the country plays a more important and powerful role as a world leader today than it did 10 years ago; more than half said it’s less important and powerful now. ‘Jefferson, wake up, they’ve gone crazy’ The question of America’s role came into sharp focus when the US government shut down for 16 days during a standoff over Obama’s health-care law. His Republican opponents demanded changes be made to the law in return for essential federal funding. Democrats said no. The result: Some 800,000 federal workers were furloughed temporarily, and other parts of the world expressed wonder. “Jefferson, wake up, they’ve gone crazy!” screamed a headline in France’s Le Monde. “A superpower has paralyzed itself,” proclaimed German magazine Der Spiegel. In the Philippines, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima dubbed the shutdown “highly unfortunate for the rest of the world.” In Australia, which has universal health care, the drama was viewed with marked confusion. Why was an argument over access to health care, which most Australians view as a basic right, causing an entire nation’s government to grind to a halt? “I was just absolutely gobsmacked that the tea party - a party of such extremes in America - could shut down government on a point of principle at the cost of universal health care for Americans,” says Rachael Vincent, a Sydney nonprofit worker. On the other hand, some saw the fact that the US didn’t implode as an example of American endurance. In Spain, for instance, the US avoided an image hit over the past year largely because most Spaniards were more focused on their country’s miserable economy and 26 percent unemployment than America’s foibles. Many Spaniards gave the US credit for recovering from the financial crisis faster

than Spain, and found it interesting that despite the shutdown, “the United States more or less kept functioning,” says Miguel Bermejo, 25, of Madrid. But though commended by some for its resilience, the American government was reviled by others when documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden showed the United States was monitoring the phone conversations of at least 35 global leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel called it a “grave breach of trust.” French President Francois Hollande told Obama such practices were unacceptable between allies. And Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said it sent a

president and approval of his foreign policy have dropped in most countries surveyed over the past four years. In Indonesia, where Obama attended school as a child, the events of 2013 sapped away some of the nation’s fondness for the president. Of particular irritation: Allegations that the US and Australia carried out a joint surveillance operation on Indonesia, and Obama’s decision to cancel a high-profile trip to Asia so he could deal with the shutdown. Outside the president’s old elementary school in Jakarta, teacher Edi Kusyanto pondered his changing feelings toward the president as he stroked the head of a statue depicting Obama as a smiling young schoolboy. Though

HONG KONG: A large television screen shows a news report on Edward Snowden, a former US National Security Agency contractor who leaked top-secret documents about sweeping US surveillance programs, outside a shopping mall. —AP shiver down her spine. Thousands of Germans marched in protest, some wearing tinfoil hats to symbolically ward off eavesdroppers. Govt shutdown, NSA spy scandals For critics, it called into question the whole notion of American democracy. “Everyone used to mock China and joke about their levels of Internet security and that there was no freedom at all. But now, the moment you use the words ‘National Security’ in the US, everyone keeps quiet and looks the other way,” says Kunal Sharma, a business executive from New Delhi. “The Snowden revelations have made me change my opinion about the US - the land of the brave and home of the free - quite a bit.” And though Obama remains relatively popular in much of the world, faith is slipping. According to Pew, confidence in the

Kusyanto still considers Obama a great leader, he also now sees him as indecisive. “There is always a sense of pride when I look at this statue,” Kusyanto says. “But at this moment, there is a feeling of confusion when following the developments in the US and the world under his leadership. The government shutdown, the NSA spying scandal and the chaos in Syria all showed the weakness of Obama.” One of the most dramatic tests of Obama’s resolve was his handling of the Syrian conflict and the alleged use of chemical weapons by President Bashar Assad’s government. Obama initially readied military strikes, then abruptly backed off in favor of working with Russia and the UN to destroy the weapons. The turnabout left many confused. Obama’s tactical change was greeted

with skepticism and borderline disappointment in Israel, where America’s evolving image has been especially apparent. Though the nation considers the US its most important ally, Israelis from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on down have been uncharacteristically outspoken about their frustration over the limits of American influence. Unmistakable all-American emblems Yehonathan Gottlieb, a 38-year-old Jerusalem lawyer, says the US’s reaction to the crisis created the perception of a weaker America. “Its status in the Middle East has been undermined,” Gottlieb says. Before Obama’s change of direction on Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the United States for casting itself as exceptional. “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation,” Putin wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece. To some, the longstanding ideal of American exceptionalism - in the morally superior sense, at least - falls flat. Student activist Juan Sebastian Lopez, 26, of Bogota, Colombia, said his young countrymen no longer view Washington - a strong ally in counterdrug and counterinsurgency efforts - as a powerful moral leader. Lopez was especially disappointed that the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Obama could push for military action in Syria and allow spying on his own people. So where do the events of 2013 leave the United States in the eyes of the world? Chris Capitis, a 28-year-old supervisor at TGI Friday’s in Manila, Philippines, a former American colony, believes that though the United States might be weaker, the nation’s omnipresence and widely emulated culture will keep it relevant. “When you turn on the TV, you’ll see an American. When you log onto the Internet, you’ll land on US-built websites. You hear their music, watch their movies and even eat their food. These are longlasting,” Capitis said at a branch of the US restaurant chain, where NBA basketball games play on the TVs and a cornucopia of American emblems - a colored poster of Marilyn Monroe, American road signs adorn a brick wall. “The US is here. It’ll be difficult to dislodge it.” For Paul Bailey, an Australian writer and musician, the world will always need an America - perhaps not in its current, chaotic form but a powerful, inspiring leader that is far from dispensable. “I don’t see much hope for the US today,” he says, “but I see much less hope for the world without it.” —AP



KSE indices end in red zone for second week BAYAN WEEKLY MARKET REPORT KUWAIT: Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) ended last week in the red zone. The price index closed at 7,704.34 points, down by 0.78 percent from the week before closing, the weighted index decreased by 0.68 percent after closing at 453.34 points, whereas the KSX-15 index closed at 1,076.02 points down by 0.26 percent. Fur thermore, last week ’s average daily turnover decreased by 0.92 percent, compared to the preceding week , reaching KD 24.07 million, whereas trading volume average was 280.97 million shares, recording increase of 46.08 percent. All KSE indices closed in the red zone for the second consecutive week , as a result to the selling operations that controlled the trading activities during most of the week’s sessions, whereas the selling pressures included many listed stocks, both large-caps and smallcaps, targeting profit collection. This action came among a limited fluctuating performance due to the speculative activity that continued to control the trading activities. Moreover, the stock market is still suffering from a noticeable repulsion against trading, and weak purchasing operations, which negatively affected the trading activity in the market, especially the value that recorded in one of the sessions its lowest level since last October. On the other hand, some of the last week’s traded stocks witnessed random purchasing operations enabled the market indices to limit its losses on the weekly level; also the market received some support

and gas sector headed the losers list as its index declined by 3 percent to end the week’s activity at 1,198.99 points. The consumer goods sector was second on the losers’ list, which index declined by 2.42 percent, closing at 1,238.30 points, followed by the basic materials sector, as its index closed at 1,144.45 points at a loss of 1.72 percent. The financial services sector was the least declining as its index closed at 1,140.38 points with a 0.22 percent decrease. On the other hand, last week’s highest gainer was the consumer services sector, achieving 1.79 percent growth rate as its index closed at 1,156.15 points. Whereas, in the second place, the technology sector’s index closed at 1,011.26 points recording 0.43 percent increase.

from the collection operations performed by the investment groups, in order to improve its annual financial results, as we are

S&P downgrades Venezuela citing policy ‘radicalization’ WASHINGTON: Standard & Poor’s cut Venezuela’s credit rating by one step Friday and put the country on watch for another downgrade, citing the “growing radicalization of economic policy.” “We expect the results of the December 8 municipal elections to reinforce the recent trend toward more government intervention in the economy, creating greater uncertainty,” S&P said. S&P cut the rating to “B-,” already well into junk-bond territory, and added a “negative outlook” to the rating. The agency said it foresees the continuation of “erratic” economic policies by the government of Nicolas Maduro, seven months after he took the presidency following the death of socialist strongman Hugo Chavez, his longtime mentor. In November, the National Assembly granted Maduro power to rule by decree for one year to fight corruption and respond to what he has called an “economic war” unleashed by the opposition with US support. He quickly rolled out a series of measures to force price cuts, notably on household appliances and cars, and threatened speculators with prison. But S&P pointed to a sharp rundown in the country’s international reserves over the past two months as the government tries to get inflation under control with price-control programs. That has left Venezuela even more dependent on oil income, and weakens the government’s ability to endure any financial shocks, the agency said. “The recent political shift overturns an earlier initiative that had taken place in mid-year to introduce more pragmatic economic policy,” it said. S&P said it expected Caracas to continue confronting fiscal pressures by devaluing the bolivar, increasing the local currency value of oil receipts. Even so, it expects further deterioration of the situation, which “could increase the risks of a government debt default over the next two years.” Maduro survived the first major test of his rocky seven-month-old presidency Sunday, as the ruling Socialists won a majority of votes in Venezuela’s local elections. But the opposition won in five of the country’s most populous cities, including Caracas, increasing pressure on Maduro. —AFP

approaching the year end. For the annual performance, the price index ended last week recording 29.83 percent annual gains

compared to its closing in 2012, while the weighted index increased by 8.55 percent, and the KSX-15 recorded 6.63 percent growth.

Sectors’ indices Ten of KSE’s sectors ended last week in the red zone, while the other two recorded increases. The oil

Sectors’ activity The financial ser vices sector dominated total trade volume during last week with 437.59 million shares changing hands, representing 31.15 percent of the total market trading volume. The industrial sector was second in terms of trading volume as the sector’s traded shares were 30.99 percent of last week’s total trading volume, with a total of 435.33 million shares. On the other hand, the real estate sector’s stocks were the highest traded in terms of value; with a turnover of KD 34.07 million or 28.31 percent of last week’s total market trading value. The financial ser vices sector took the second place as the sector ’s last week turnover was KD 32.84 million represented 27.29 percent of the total market trading value.

France to help fund new metro in Brazil’s trade hub SAO PAULO: France will help fund a new metro line in Brazil’s commercial hub Sao Paulo, in one of two major accords signed Friday during President Francois Hollande’s trip to promote trade. Sao Paulo state, the wealthiest in this Latin American powerhouse, will also make what Hollande called a “major” investment near Paris in a project that aims to create 2,500 French jobs. “I think the metro must be built quickly,” Hollande quipped Thursday as he got a taste of the horrendous Sao Paolo traffic, when he flew in from Brasilia for an encounter with the local French community. Hollande met with Sao Paulo state governor Geraldo Alckmin to sign the deal for a $410 million investment by France’s development agency to build a metro between the airport and the city center. The second agreement concerned what the French leader described as “a major Brazilian investment” of some $890 million from Sao Paulo to build a world trade center near Paris’ airport. Hollande then joined his Brazilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff at a forum attended by business leaders from both countries. “I want to see more French investments in Brazil,” Hollande told the forum. “I also want Brazilian investments in France.” Expressing full confidence in Brazil’s potential, he renewed his call for doubling two-way trade, currently valued at around $9 billion, by 2020 based on technology transfer. He also suggested regular bilateral consultations to further that aim. “To double our trade by 2020, a target set by our two heads of state, infrastructure contracts, the strategic axes of our partnership, are important; energy, space, defense, high technology,” France’s minister for foreign trade Nicole Bricq told AFP. She stressed the role French medium-sized companies must play in responding to the aspirations of Brazil’s new middle class for a “better quality of life”, particularly in health and sustainable urban life. France is the fifth biggest investor in Brazil, with 600 French firms operating in the world’s seventh largest economy. Insisting Brazil’s economy is fundamentally strong despite its anemic GDP growth, 2.5 percent expected this year, Rousseff also lobbied for French investment in this emerging power of 200 million people. Both she and Hollande stressed the importance of nailing down a free trade deal between the

European Union and South American trading bloc Mercosur. The protracted negotiations have stalled over differences on agriculture-notably Europe’s subsidies to its farmers, which undermine South America’s efforts to sell its own products. “Brazil and Mercosur are ready to make their trade offers. We hope to see an exchange of offers in January,” Rousseff told the forum. Hollande, accompanied by a large business delegation and several ministers, arrived Thursday in Brasilia where he had wide -ranging talks with Rousseff with a strong economic focus.

Several contracts and accords were signed during the visit, including the supply of a $550 million civilian-military telecoms satellite by French-Italian firm Thales Alenia Space. As expected no decision was announced on France’s bid to sell its Rafale fighter jet. Brazil is looking to buy 36 multi-purpose jets to modernize its air force-a multi-billion-dollar deal. The Rafale fighter, built by French firm Dassault Aviation, is up against US aviation giant Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and Swedish manufacturer Saab’s Gripen. After the meetings Hollande left Brazil for neighboring French Guiana. —AFP

JALALABAD: Afghan laborers work at a brick factory on the outskirts of Jalalabad yesterday. Over a third of Afghans are living in abject poverty, as those in power are more concerned about addressing their vested interests rather than the basic needs of the population, a UN report said. —AFP



Consumers’ big purchases lift hopes for US economy WASHINGTON: Americans ramped up spending at retail businesses in November, providing a boost to the economy just in time for the holidays. But traditional retail stores didn’t benefit as much from the latest burst of spending. Consumers bought more cars, electronics, furniture and other big-ticket items. They also did more shopping online. Those trends reflect changes in consumers’ shopping habits and in the broader economy. Total retail sales rose 0.7 percent in November, the Commerce Department said Thursday. It was the biggest gain in five months. And spending at retail businesses rose 0.6 percent in October, higher than previously estimated. Steady hiring and modest wage gains have boosted consumers’ confidence and given them more money to spend. Big increases in stock and home prices have also driven up household wealth. Stock

indexes have reached record highs this year, disproportionately benefiting wealthier households. Those trends are probably pushing up sales of more-expensive goods. Auto sales jumped 1.8 percent in November, furniture purchases increased 1.2 percent and sales at electronics and appliance stores rose 1.1 percent. “Consumers who have money are spending and spending big,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial. “Those who don’t aren’t.” Sales of ever yday items, such as clothes and groceries, fell last month. And sales at sporting goods outlets and department stores barely rose. That partly reflects steep discounting as many shoppers still demand bargains before they buy. But it also suggests Americans cut back on smaller purchases after splurging on cars and other large items. And it reflects shifts in where Americans

do their holiday shopping. “You can see why traditional retailers were squirming,” Swonk said. Many large chains and industry groups have issued gloomy reports on the holiday shopping season. The National Retail Federation estimates that sales during the four-day Thanksgiving Day weekend dropped 2.9 percent to $57.4 billion compared with last year. That was the first decline in the seven years the group has tracked the data. And other industr y data have shown that, so far, fewer Americans have visited malls and brick and mortar stores compared with last year. But more people are shopping on their computers. Online and catalog sales rose 2.2 percent in November from the previous month - the biggest monthover-month gain since July 2012. In the past year, online sales jumped 9.4 percent. That’s double the 4.7 percent

increase in total retail sales. Michael Niemira, chief economist at the International Council of Shopping Centers, pointed to another factor that could illustrate the growing health of the consumer. Americans plan to purchase nearly $30 billion in gift cards this year, according to a survey by the retail federation, a record high. Yet purchases of gift cards don’t count as sales in either industry or government data. Those sales are tallied when the cards are redeemed. Overall, Americans appear to be spending more, which could give a much-needed boost to theeconomy in the final three months of the year. Consumer spending rose only 1.4 percent in the July-September quarter, the weakest gain in nearly four years. But economists are becoming more optimistic about the current quarter. Paul Dales, an economist at Capital

Economics, expects consumer spending will rise at about a 3 percent annual pace, roughly double the third quarter’s rate. He forecasts that overall growth will be 2 percent at an annual rate. That would be down from the thirdquarter’s solid growth rate of 3.6 percent. But nearly half that growth came from inventory restocking, as companies added more goods to their warehouses and store shelves. More spending would ensure that businesses aren’t caught with unwanted supplies and keep the economy expanding. Consumer spending drives roughly 70 percent of growth. Hiring has been solid since the summer, giving more Americans paychecks to spend. Employers added 203,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate fell to a five-year low of 7 percent. Wages even picked up a bit and have risen 2 percent over the past year, outpacing inflation. — AP

Oil reform caps year of major changes in Mexico Pena Nieto’s economic policies questioned

WUHAN: A picture shows Philippe Varin, CEO of French automobile manufacturer PSA Peugeot Citroen, visiting the production line in a new plant of Dongfeng Peugeot-Citroen Automobile Limited (DPCA) in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei province. —AFP

Great expectations for an investment rotation NEW YORK: After years of sticking with plainvanilla bond funds, investors are starting to turn their backs on them and opt for stocks instead. The move isn’t big enough to be the “great rotation” from bonds to stocks that many experts predicted-it’s more of a good rotation-but fund managers say more is on the way. Investors plugged $198 billion into stock mutual funds through the first 11 months of the year. That’s the most since the dot-com stock bubble in 2000, according to Morningstar. Bond mutual funds are also taking in money, but the dollars are increasingly going only to niche corners of the market. Investors pulled $73 billion out of the largest category of bond mutual funds, intermediate-term bond funds, over that time. It marks a stark shift in behavior. Since the 2008 financial crisis, investors have largely sought the safety of bonds and shunned stocks. Heading into this year, many strategists expected investors to dump their bonds and move into stocks en masse. Bonds had served investors well for three decades, but interest rates had fallen sharply. Stocks, meanwhile, have the potential to offer bigger returns. Early this year, there was no rotation, as investors were comfortable adding money to both stock and bond mutual funds. “Then a switch went off in May,” says Michael Rawson, a fund analyst at Morningstar. That’s when worries about rising interest rates began to spike, which hurt bond prices. Investors have since increasingly shown their preference for stocks over traditional types of bond funds. Consider: In June alone, investors pulled $16 billion out of municipal bond mutual funds, according to Morningstar. Through November, investors have yanked a net total of $49 billion this year. Net investment in stock mutual funds and exchange-traded funds this year will likely top that of the four prior years combined, according to Strategic Insight, which tracks the mutual fund industry. In a sign of how the tide has turned, Vanguard earlier this week closed one of its stock mutual funds to most new accounts and re-opened two of its bond funds. Funds typically close to new investors when they’re attracting lots of money and want to keep from getting too big and unwieldy. They reopen when they want to attract more dollars. A major driver for the shift is fear that rising interest rates will hurt bond funds. When interest rates rise, prices for existing bonds

fall because their yields suddenly look less attractive. During the summer, such worries flared as the yield on the 10-year Treasury note nearly doubled from 1.6 percent at the start of May to roughly 3 percent in September. Stocks, meanwhile, have climbed around the world amid rising corporate earnings, stimulus from the Federal Reserve and hope that economies from Europe to Japan are improving. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index set a record high earlier this week. To be sure, most investors will always have some interest in bonds. They tend to be less volatile than stocks, and the need for income investments will rise as more Baby Boomers retire. Pension funds and other institutional investors also need the steadiness that bonds provide. “You need to have that anchor to lower volatility,” says Avi Nachmany, director of research at Strategic Insight. Investors used to flip between investments quickly and opportunistically, Nachmany says. But now, they increasingly stick to a plan and keep a certain percentage of their portfolios in stocks and a certain percentage in bonds. Target-date retirement mutual funds have grown in popularity, for example, and they always keep a portion of their investments in bonds. This means money will continue to flow into bond funds, particularly those that can better weather rising interest rates. These include floating-rate funds, whose yields ratchet higher with broad market rates, and possibly high-yield bond funds. Investors are also turning to mutual funds that use hedgefund techniques to try to provide steadier returns, Nachmany says. Investors who have made the move from bonds to stocks have set themselves up well, if Wall Street strategists are to be believed. Most investment banks are forecasting continued gains for stocks in 2014, though more modest than this year’s 24.5 percent surge. This year is on track to be the best for the S&P 500 in at least a decade. Investment banks also are calling for continued struggles for bonds. “Investors have begun to see the potential for stocks after 10 to 12 years of getting not much return, versus high-quality bonds,” says John Manley, chief equity strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management. “I think it’s just the beginning” of the rotation into stocks from bonds. —AP

US judge approves retail credit card fee settlement NEW YORK: A US federal judge on Friday approved an estimated $5.7 billion class action settlement between merchants and Visa Inc and MasterCard Inc over credit card fees despite objections from thousands of retailers who complained it was inadequate. The settlement is believed to be the largest in a US antitrust class action. Merchants first sued Visa and MasterCard in 2005, accusing the two companies of fixing the fees charged to merchants each time their customers used their credit or debit cards. They were accused also of preventing merchants from steering customers to cheaper forms of payments. US District Judge John Gleeson of Brooklyn, New York, approved the settlement in a written order. He also dismissed some of the objections made by merchants opposed to the deal as hyperbole. At a fairness hearing in September, he noted that one objector cast Visa and

MasterCard as Nazis. “I conclude that the proposed settlement secures both a significant damage award and meaningful injunctive relief for a class of merchants that would face a substantial likelihood of securing no relief at all if this case were to proceed,” Gleeson wrote. The value of the settlement, reached last year, decreased to $5.7 billion from roughly $7.2 billion after thousands of merchants opted out of the deal, according to Craig Wildfang, an attorney for the plaintiffs. Mallory Duncan, general counsel for the National Retail Federation, which opposed the settlement, said in a statement that her organization was reviewing Gleeson’s ruling and expected to file an appeal. “The settlement permanently ties the hands of thousands of businesses who wanted nothing to do with this misguided case, and a decision to approve it violates established law and common sense,” she said. —Reuters

MEXICO CITY: This week’s opening of Mexico’s oil industry to private and foreign investment caps a remarkable series of legislative victories by a president trying to reengineer the country’s most dysfunctional institutions. Enrique Pena Nieto struck an unprecedented political deal with the two main opposition parties in his first days in office. Then he pushed through reforms meant to bring higher standards, greater openness and competition to the oligarch-dominated telecommunications industry, the education and tax systems, the banking system, and, now, the state-run petroleum business. Even with that track record, the hardest work lies ahead. Mexico has reams of progressive laws on the books, virtually all of which have been thwarted by corruption and inefficiency involving officials at every level. Many police officers work for drug traffickers. Federal regulators turn a blind eye to blatantly monopolistic practices among the nation’s largest companies. As a result, Mexicans have been left deeply skeptical about the potential for change. The second year of Pena Nieto’s six-year term will show whether the 47year-old president and his rejuvenated Institutional Revolutionary Party have the ability to protect his reforms from the swarms of specialinterest exemptions typically inserted into Mexican legislation by members of Congress allied with special interests. Then the president and his team must prove they can impose their will on federal, state and municipal officials, from education bureaucrats to local courts, charged with enacting his laws on the ground. Inside Mexico, analysts and ordinary citizens are skeptical that Pena Nieto’s year of successes will eventually lead to real change in the face of resistance from powerful players, from teachers unions to big corporations. “In terms of public opinion there’s been a sort of party and celebration that they’ve been able to strike certain deals between the various political parties,” said Enrique Gutierrez Marquez, a political science expert at the Iberoamerican University in Mexico City. “That’s fine, but there’s a long way to go before this talk becomes reality. “ Question marks hang over many of Pena Nieto’s reforms. He sent a tough message by almost immediately jailing the powerful head of the country ’s largest teachers’

VERACRUZ: In this file photo, oil worker Vicente Gonzalez looks up as the drill is pulled upwards on the Centenario deep-water drilling platform off the coast of Veracruz, Mexico in the Gulf of Mexico. —AP union on corruption charges. But the government is still thrashing out the details of the education reform with state governors who will have to overcome long-standing relationships of mutual dependency with the union if Mexican parents are ever to see the differences in their local schools. And Congress, distracted by other battles, has missed its deadline for passing the secondary laws that would allow actual changes in the oligarch-dominated telecommunications business, which offers Mexicans some of the highest prices and most limited service among the world’s largest economies. Mexicans appear to have waning patience: Pena Nieto’s approval ratings dropped from 54 percent to just under 50 percent since the start of his term, according to a November poll of 1,000 adults by the Mitofsky polling firm. Disapproval rose from 34.5 percent to nearly 49 percent. Pena Nieto’s promises to bring peace to the country after a sevenyear drug war have since largely faded from official discourse as his administration struggles to make a significant impact on the criminal violence that continues to kill thousands each year and leave untold more victims of kidnapping and extortion.

Pena Nieto pledged during his campaign to repair the fabric of a damaged society with social programs focused on drawing youth away from a life of crime. He also promised to focus intensely on violent crimes such as murder, kidnapping and extortion that affect ordinary citizens the most. So far, his security strategy appears largely consistent with that of his predecessor Felipe Calderon, who dispatched thousands of troops to hotspots and focused on arresting and killing the heads of criminal cartels. Some Mexican states remain largely in the grip of organized crime, and millions of citizens feel unsafe, afraid and skeptical of the government’s ability to protect them. The country ’s second most important problem, according to opinion polls, is the flagging economy, which decelerated during Pena Nieto’s first year, sending the growth projection for 2013 from 3.5 percent to 1.3 percent, according to recent government figures. Pena Nieto’s reforms have been praised by many economists as necessary for Mexico’s long-term growth, but many ordinary citizens are growing frustrated that he hasn’t been able to jumpstart the economy more quickly with relatively easy moves like a surge in government spend-

ing. Pena Nieto started his term by striking an unprecedented 95-point deal, the Pact for Mexico, between the PRI and the country’s main leftism and conservative parties. The new president went on to display a deft political touch with a fiscal reform that pleased the left by increasing social spending and increasing taxes on the wealthiest. That was followed by the oil industr y reform approved Thursday, which delighted the conservative National Action Party by allowing the government to give private companies contracts and licenses to explore and drill for oil and gas, deals now prohibited under Mexico’s Constitution. But even after the strong approval given by both houses of Congress this week, skeptics are asking whether Mexico has the ability or will to regulate the private contracts for the benefit of all Mexicans rather than just a few. His reform of Mexico’s political system, which would allow some public officials to run for re-election, was passed by the Senate on Friday. “We have to see very real progress taking place by the second half of next year,” said Oscar de los Reyes, a professor of law and public administration at the Technological Institute of Monterrey, one of the country’s leading universities. — AP

RBS says it did not ‘mislead’ investors in $6.5bn lawsuit LONDON: Royal Bank of Scotland said it and its former bosses might have made bad business decisions in the past but that did not mean they misled investors or acted illegally, as the bank defended itself against a 4 billion pound (US$6.5 billion) lawsuit from shareholders. RBS’s defence document, lodged in London’s High

Court late on Friday, said “it was clear to the market” that the bank’s core Tier 1 capital ratio-a key measure of financial strength-was “significantly below 4 percent” at the time of a rights issue in 2008, even though it did not publish a figure. RBS said the rights issue prospectus gave an accurate picture of its

LONDON: A man uses an ATM at a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). — AFP

capital position and made clear the fundraising was part of a plan to rebuild its capital ratios. RBS also rejected the allegation that it was forced into the 12 billion pound rights issue by Britain’s financial regulator. The bank’s directors at the time voluntarily launched the cash call that is at the heart of the lawsuit, according to a copy of the defence document seen by Reuters. The Royal Bank of Scotland Shareholder Action Group is suing the bank and four former directors on behalf of about 100 institutions and 10,000 private shareholders, alleging they were misled over the bank’s financial strength in a rights issue prospectus published months before RBS almost collapsed. Fred Goodwin, the disgraced former chief executive of RBS who was ousted at the time of the government bailout, is among the directors accused. “Had shareholders been given the true picture of the bank’s position, they would have had a better opportunity to assess the risks

which caused the shares to collapse and led to billions of pounds of losses for private and institutional shareholders alike,” the action group said in a statement on Friday. RBS is 82 percent owned by the UK government after a 45 billion pound taxpayer bailout in October 2008, after the rights issue which was announced the previous April. “While RBS and its former directors made some business decisions that have been criticised, this does not mean that they misled investors or acted illegally,” RBS said in a statement. “We believe we have strong defences to the claims that are being brought against the group and that is why we intend to defend these vigorously and to protect the interests of our shareholders including UK taxpayers.” The defence document said the allegations reflect the benefit of hindsight and said the last four months of 2008 witnessed “unprecedented and unforeseeable turmoil” in financial markets. — Reuters



Key sector opportunities outlined during Sharjah-India Roundtable Trade between UAE and India at $75bn for 2012-13

QTA represents Qatar at GCC Tourism Cooperation Meetings DOHA: On the invitation of the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and in coordination with the Federation of GCC Chambers, the fourth joint meeting of the Committee on Tourism Cooperation and Gulf Tourism Committee was held at the General Secretariat in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Monday, December 2, 2013, with the participation of members of both Committees. The Gulf Tourism Cooperation Committee also held its 12th meeting, on Tuesday, December 3, 2013, with Qatar represented by the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) alongside representatives from other GCC countries. The fourth meeting of the Gulf Tourism Cooperation Committee and the Gulf Tourism Committee addressed a number of topics, including thanking Oman’s Ministry of Tourism for inviting GCC members to participate in the tourism industry seminar which will be held this month within the first Oman Tourism Investment conference. The meetings stressed the importance of employing GCC nationals in the private sector, and the need to learn from the successful experiences of other GCC countries, especially the Sultanate of Oman’s experience in encouraging nationals’ engagement in the private sector, in the tourism field in particular. The meeting also included thanks to the Saudi General Commission for Tourism & Antiquities for inviting member states to participate in the educational tourism workshop to be held early next year. The meeting emphasized that all member states should submit their studies and findings in the field of tourism to the General Secretariat to be distributed to all member states, and highlighted the General Secretariat’s report on the establishment of a database for tourism statistics. It encouraged all responsible parties in charge of tourism in GCC countries to cooperate with statistical agencies to complete the productivity tables prepared by the General Secretariat. The meeting also raised the subject of issuing tourist visas for Interior Ministers of GCC countries, in the hope of finalizing this issue before Expo 2020 in the United Arab Emirates, and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar as the two events will have a great impact on the tourism industry in the region. The concept of tourism media was included to the Gulf Press Association’s agenda because of its effect on the accuracy of published material and urged the responsible parties for tourism on allocating a communications officer to deliver information to the press. Members at the twelfth Gulf Tourism Cooperation Committee meeting discussed a range of topics and reached a number of con-

clusions, the most important of which was the cooperation agreement in the field of training, where they were briefed on Qatar’s proposal to re-consider updating the courses required from member states. The state of Qatar was assigned to coordinate with the World Tourism Organization on the accreditation of the previously required courses and the new courses which will start at the beginning of next year. The committees have agreed on the importance of developing sites and tourist destinations, and have acknowledged the Kingdom of Bahrain for hosting representatives of government agencies to showcase its achievements in this field. The committees have also advised the General Secretariat to adopt Bahrain’s approach which focuses on the quality of methods used for preserving the architectural heritage and antiquities and effective methods for funding these projects in addition to activating the role of the private sector in this area. The meeting reviewed the European Union’s response which states that collaboration must be bilateral or directly with institutions and private organizations responsible for promoting tourism. They have also discussed cooperation with The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) after the first meeting of the group responsible for tourism back in 2011, in addition to discussing cooperation with the Republic of Turkey, the Kingdom of Morocco and The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Commenting on the two meetings, Issabin Mohammed Al-Mohannadi, Chairman of Qatar Tourism Authority said: “Qatar Tourism Authority had the honor of meeting with representatives from the tourism sectors in the GCC countries, and to strengthen collaboration between these countries which guarantees the best results. These meetings fall within the framework of continuous coordination between GCC countries in all fields, and we have emphasized the need to position the tourism sector as a key player in supporting the region’s economy, because of its importance and the value it will bring to everyone”. The meetings recommended that all GCC states participated in all events and meetings recognized by the Gulf Tourism Committee, taking into account that decisions made by the Gulf Tourism Committee do not oppose the decisions issued by the World Tourism Organization. The committees also reviewed the proposal of Prince Sultan bin Salman, Chairman of the Saudi General Authority for Tourism and Antiquities, to upgrade the status of the tourism Committee to a ministerial committee.

DUBAI: The Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) has concluded its first SharjahIndia Roundtable. Held at the Dubai World Trade Centre in collaboration with the Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC), the Roundtable formed part of a series of roundtable events in line with the Authority’s strategy to promote Sharjah as a leading business and investment hub in the region. The Roundtable, which took place on December 11, was attended by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan AlQasimi, Chairperson of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), Ashok Babu, Acting Consul General of India in Dubai, Paras Shahdadpuri, President of the IBPC, Dr Ghanim AlHajiri, Chairman of Sharjah Airport, Marwan bin Jassim Al-Sarkal, CEO of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), Khalid AlHuraimel, Group CEO of Bee’ah, Saud Mohamed AlMazrouei, Director of Commercial Affairs at Hamriyah Free Zone Authority, Binu Pisharadi, Commercial Affairs Manager of Sharjah Healthcare City (SHCC), Dr Khalid Omar Al-Midfa, Director General of SMC, Badr Jafar, President of Crescent Enterprises, and a number of prominent businessmen, investors, and stakeholders in the Indian business community. Speaking during the opening address, Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al-Qasimi, Chairperson of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), said, “Sharjah and India are no strangers. We have a long and successful shared business history that has brought benefit and progress to both our countries. The Indian business community has consistently acted as positive drivers of business and commerce within our Emirate and there are many Indian companies whose regional and even international success stories started right here in Sharjah or the GCC.” Sheikha Bodour also went on to emphasise that the Sharjah-India Roundtable was aimed at exploring the many mutually beneficial opportunities that Sharjah has to offer the Indian business and investment community. In his opening note, Paras Shahdadpuri, President of the Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC), remarked, “Investors are looking for a “hassle free” environment. In Sharjah, thanks to forward thinking business legislation put in place by the Sharjah government, we are assured that our business and investment interests are being taken care of. The Emirate offers excellent infrastructure, good logistics, and space in which to expand at very competitive prices. Sharjah also has a very diversified economy and a strong consumer base, all of which positively impact ROI and makes it an excellent location to base operations from. The synergy that exists between Sharjah and India is clear and the Indian business community look forward to continue capitalising on this already strong and established relationship.” Economic and commercial relations between the UAE and India continue to grow and have contributed to the stability and strength of a rapidly diversifying and deepening bilateral relationship. Trade between the two countries, which was valued at $180 million per annum in the 1970s, is today is close to $75 billion, having increased by 4.16 percent from the year before, (according to DGCIS, Kolkata) making the UAE, India’s largest trading partner for the year 2012-13. When looking at the emirate of Sharjah specifically, exports and re-exports between India and Sharjah were valued at AED 21.162 billion in 2012, according to the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. There are also a large number of major Indian corporations that are based in Sharjah specifically, with 17,350 Indian companies registered in the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. These include companies and corporations such as Giant Group of Industries, Dr Sunny’s Healthcare Group, and Kingston Holdings, with many more still present in the region at large, such as LuLu Group, Land Mark Group, NMC Health Care, GEMS Education, Nikai Group, Mulk Holdings, Sky Line University College, and Thumbay Group.

The Roundtable focused on the four key sectors that have been identified by Shurooq as major areas of potential growth, namely travel and tourism, environment, healthcare, and transport and logistics. Presentations, highlighting the numerous investment and business opportunities that Sharjah has to offer in each of these sectors, were delivered by representatives from authorities and government bodies. In addition, the event also aimed to act as a platform for Sharjah’s various government bodies to coordinate their overall strategies with regards to promoting Sharjah’s investment sector and economy. Speaking during the first presentation on travel and tourism sector, Marwan Al-Sarkal, CEO of Shurooq, outlined the immense potential that the emirate of Sharjah has in this sector in addition to giving an overview of the diverse range of tourism related projects that Shurooq is developing to leverage this potential. “The latest projections

Indian Ocean, with active ports on both. This combined with Sharjah’s well-developed air transport and cargo capabilities means it is ideally situated to see to the logistics needs of businesses looking to secure a regional base in the GCC. Our focus at the Hamriyah Free Zone Authority is to leverage this strategic advantage by offering foreign investors and business an ideal environment in which to base their operations.” Al-Mazrouei also emphasised Sharjah’s strength as an economic centre, stating: “Sharjah has the most diversified economy in the region, with no single sector contributing more that 20 percent of the Emirate’s GDP. It is also the manufacturing heart of the UAE, with one third of the UAE’s total manufacturing activities taking place in Sharjah. This combined with a very healthy SME sector with more than 45,000 strong small and mediumsized businesses - makes Sharjah a highly competitive investment destination.”

show that Sharjah’s travel and leisure sector is likely to grow from AED 1.24 billion this year to AED 1.49 billion by 2016, furthermore tourism’s contribution to Sharjah’s GDP is expected to jump from 9 percent now to approximately 12 percent by 2016,” Shurooq CEO stated. Al-Sarkal went on to say: “ The Emirate is becoming an increasingly popular tourism and leisure destination, thanks to a carefully executed investment and development strategy under the directives of Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed AlQasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. This strategy has seen a diverse range of projects across the major sectors being undertaken, which offer highly rewarding investment oppor tunities for local and foreign investors. In line with Sharjah’s overall strategy, Shurooq has initiated large array of ground breaking projects, aimed at stimulating the Emirate’s burgeoning tourism sector, such as AlJabal Resort - The Chedi Khorfakkan, Sir Bu Nair Island, Mlieha, the Heart of Sharjah, Al-Bait Hotel, Al-Majaz Waterfront, the Flag Island, the Kalba Eco-tourism project, Al-Montazah Park, and AlHisn Island - Dibba Al-Hisn. Each of these projects has been carefully designed to stimulate the local economy, while also providing foreign investors with unique opportunities to capitalise on the phenomenal growth being witnessed in Sharjah’s tourism and leisure sector.” Exploring the opportunities in Sharjah’s logistics sector, Saud Mohamed Al-Mazrouei, Director of Commercial Affairs at Hamriyah Free Zone Authority, said, “Sharjah has a strategic location rivalled by none in the region. Not only is it the only emirate to share a border with all six of the other emirates, it is also the only emirate in the UAE with direct access to both the Arabian Gulf and the

Highlighting the opportunities in Sharjah’s environment sector, Khalid Al-Huraimel, Group CEO of Bee’ah said, “Our aim at Bee’ah is to spearhead the development of sustainable and economically viable solutions for waste management and to thereby drastically reduce Sharjah and by extension the UAE’s carbon footprint. Under the directives of the Sharjah government we are working to tackle waste in the region and build a strong waste management infrastructure, with the ultimate goal of leading the emirate of Sharjah to become the first city in the Middle East to achieve Zero-wasteTo-Landfill by 2015. With this in mind we are currently looking to expand our operations and actively seeking partners, technology providers, and investors for a number of projects in the Middle East, which means that there is both a range of diverse investment opportunities available for foreign direct investors, as well as business opportunities for waste management solution providers.” Concluding the presentations, Binu Pisharadi, Commercial Affairs Manager of Sharjah Healthcare City (SHCC) outlined the array investment opportunities in healthcare and related fields available in Sharjah to prospective investors. “Sharjah and the Northern Emirates’ population alone is expected to grow considerably, which will demand a significant increase in overall healthcare facilities - the current estimation indicates that Sharjah will require approximately 630 additional hospital beds by end of 2016. The supply of specialised medical centres is also either limited or lacking, which represents a key opportunity for investors wishing to enter the market. Taking these factors into account Sharjah’s healthcare industry is expected to grow by 9.3 percent from its current AED 4.59 billion to AED 6.55 billion in 2016,” Pisharadi elaborated.

Nissan to hold 80th Heritage Car Parade in Yokohama

ABK’s unique daily interest account KUWAIT: Al-Ahli Bank of Kuwait’s (ABK) Daily Interest Account is the first account where the customer earns interest on a daily basis, thus enabling consistent growth and savings. With regards to the account, Stewart Lockie, General Manager, Retail Banking mentioned, “At ABK we design products that will encourage our customers to save and invest their money well. Our Daily Interest Account is the first of its kind in Kuwait, where interest is earned every day, and it simply adds on to

the present amount in the account. Besides, the customer enjoys flexibility, as he can withdraw from and deposit into the account freely without any restrictions. The great news is that the percentage you earn as interest increases, as your savings grow.” Lockie further stated, “Our customers can open an account with KD 100 or with the equivalent amount using the US dollar, pound or euro, provided you are minimum 21-years-old.”

ABK’s Al-Manal: Pays like a fixed deposit, works like current account KUWAIT: In today’s ever-changing and challenging market the customer and his banking needs are important to Al-Ahli Bank of Kuwait (ABK). ABK prides itself on keeping the customer’s needs a major priority, and tailor’s products to suit them. As such, Al-Manal account is unique in its concept in the sense that though it pays like a fixed deposit it works like a current account, so you get the best of both worlds. Stewart Lockie, GM, Retail said “ABK would like to remind our clients that Al-Manal account lends a unique benefit, as it enables you to save and withdraw your funds with

greater ease. The minimum deposit is KD 5,000, but the higher your deposit, the better the interest rates. The monthly interest is paid directly into the account, so you can watch your money grow. The best news on this account is the flexibility the customer can exercise, as there are no withdrawal penalties, whether partial or full. In case of partial withdrawal, interest will continue being calculated on the remainder amount, so you enjoy complete freedom with your money.” Al-Manal deposit account works for you when the money is idle, so transfer your excess funds and start earning interest today.

DUBAI: Nissan Motor Co, Ltd will hold an 80th Anniversary Heritage Car Parade in Yokohama on December 23 to commemorate the establishment of the company 80 years ago and express its appreciation to customers. The parade event will take place at the Nissan Global Headquarters Gallery in Yokohama and the surrounding area. Nissan was founded as Jidosha Seizo Co, Ltd on December 26, 1933. In June 1934, the company changed its name to the current Nissan Motor Co, Ltd. The heritage car parade will be held just days before the 80th anniversary of the company’s founding. A line of heritage vehicles will take to the streets of Yokohama to show appreciation for the long-time patronage of Nissan’s valued customers. Approximately 100 Nissan models from different eras, including heritage cars brought in and driven by customers,will travel about 10kilometersthroughoutthe city of Yokohama, where the company was founded, and where its global headquarters is currently located. A commemorative event for the 80th anniversary will also be held in the Nissan Global Headquarters Gallery. Parade course Global Headquarters Gallery (Start) - Pacifico Yokohama - Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse -Osanbashi entrance Yamashita Park - (halfway point) - Prefectural office building - Bashamichi Station - Landmark Tower - Nearby special site (Goal). Main events on December 23

• Special venue doorsopen at 10:30. Approximately 100 heritage cars will be on display before the parade begins.

• A demonstration runof heritage cars owned by Nissan (10:45, 12:00 and 15:15, only inside the special venue). • 80th anniversary ceremony (12:30) Event on stage in the Global Headquarters Gallery. • Heritage Car Parade in Yokohama starts (13:30) Cars will depart (in order of entry number)from the front of the Nissan Global Headquarters Gallery.

Saudi medical devices market to surge to $1.6bn by 2018 RIYADH: The market for medical devices in Saudi Arabia was valued at $ 1.1 billion at the beginning of 2013 and is estimated to reach a total of $1.6 billion by the end of 2018, suggesting a complete annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9 percent within the next five years. This accounts for almost 50 percent of the Middle East’s medical devices industry. The projected robust growth of the Kingdom’s medical devices sector in the coming years is attributed to several factors including an overall increase in health care spending by the government, rise in per capita income, growing penetration of the healthcare insurance, and huge investment in both human resource and infrastructure. The Saudi government has undertaken several initiatives to improve the existing healthcare industry that would significantly contribute towards the development of its allied sectors. CompuGroup Medical (CGM), a leading IT healthcare solutions provider in the Middle East and Turkey, says that there is a need to increase the local production of medical devices that are currently restricted to very few items. CGM added that it would limit the reliance of the Kingdom’s healthcare sector on imports which account for more than 80 percent of the overall market value. Thomas Reitmayr, Vice President - Business Development, CompuGroup Medical Central

and East Europe, said: “The government of Saudi Arabia is highly proactive in the development of healthcare facilities both in terms of planning and building of new treatment centres and upgrading and improvement of existing facilities. In addition, many new specialty and super specialty healthcare facilities are under various stages of planning and development in the Kingdom. All of this naturally leads to an upsurge in the demand for medical devices, equipment, services and solutions.” “CGM is keen on providing the best and the most advanced medical solutions to the growing Saudi healthcare sector. We have achieved tremendous success with our local clients so far and are looking forward to leverage this success to contribute towards the progress and development of the local medical field,” added Mehmet Bilginsoy, General Manager, CompuGroup Medical Middle East. As one of the leading eHealth companies in the world, CGM has introduced quite a number of scalable technology products and solutions that continue to play major roles in enhancing the quality and extent of healthcare across the KSA. Among CGM’s key offerings are the CORTTEX Integrated Hospital Information Management System Environment, the CGM CNG Clinical Information Systems, and the iOSbased iCNG Mobile Applications.



Facebook seeks to get smarter with big data WASHINGTON: Facebook is working to become your new best friend, getting to know you better by infusing the billion-member social network’s software with artificial intelligence. The California-based social network giant is hiring professor Yann LeCun of NYU’s Center for Data Science to head up a new artificial intelligence lab, aiming to use cutting-edge science to make Facebook more interesting and relevant. For now, Facebook feeds may seem like a random jumble, but LeCun argues these “can be improved by intelligent systems.” “This could include things like ranking (the items in) news feeds, or determining the ads that are shown to users, to be more relevant,” LeCun told AFP after his appointment on December 9. “Then there are things that are less directly connected, like analyzing content, understanding natural language and being able to model users... to allow them to learn new things, entertain them and help them achieve their goals.” Facebook is the world’s biggest social network, but it faces the challenge of maintaining growth, keeping users engaged and delivering enough advertising to

generate revenue growth without turning members off. LeCun said the new artificial intelligence lab would be the largest research facility of its kind in the world, though he declined to provide numbers. “We’re limited only by how many smart people there are in the world that we can hire,” the Frenchborn mathematician and computer scientist said. The lab will be based in three locations-New York, London and Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California. But it will also be part of the broader artificial intelligence research community, according to LeCun, who starts his new job in January while keeping his NYU post. Facebook’s move follows Google’s forays into artificial intelligence, and notably its acquisition earlier this year of DNNresearch, a startup created by University of Toronto professor Geoffrey Hinton and two of his graduate students, known for computer models of brain functions, which includes pattern and speech recognition. Getting computers to ‘think’ Artificial intelligence can help computers “think” in

ways similar to humans and help solve problems. In one famous example, IBM’s Watson computer beat human contestants in the TV trivia game “Jeopardy.” Big tech companies are all working on artificial intelligence to varying degrees, said Greg Sterling, analyst at Opus Research. It’s a somewhat “loaded and elusive term,” he said, but it could “power a range of consumer and enterprise-facing applications”-even if Facebook doesn’t quite know what those applications are yet. LeCun, the founding director of NYU’s Center for Data Science, is known for creating an early version of a pattern-recognition algorithm that mimics in part the visual cortex of animals and humans. LeCun’s recent research projects include the application of “deep learning” methods for visual scene understanding, driverless cars and small flying robots, as well as speech recognition, and applications in biology and medicine. James Hendler, who heads the Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications, said Facebook already uses some artificial intelligence algorithms for

its “social network graph,” but that applying these to photos, videos and other “multimedia” data requires a boost in power. “As they move into their own search and more of these new multimedia data types, they need more,” Hendler said. “I expect that it will in the short term mainly focus on improving existing algorithms, for example better selection of what shows up in a user’s Web feed. “In the long run, we should see a lot more capabilities such as searching for photos of things one might be interested in, and more information in Facebook that results from your activities on other websites.” Facebook has acknowledged in recent weeks it has been tweaking user news feeds and the new investment signals more changes are coming. “There’s been a lot of speculation that people have been leaving Facebook because they are upset that the newsfeed filtering doesn’t let them see a lot of the things they’d like to see from their friends,” Hendler said. “The community has speculated for a while that Facebook would need to hire some AI researchers to help them solve this problem.” —AFP

Google removes privacy feature from Android mobile software

Epson enters direct-to-garment t-shirt printing market DUBAI: Epson Middle East has announced the launch of its first-ever directto-garment t-shirt printer, the SureColor SC-F2000. With the garment printing market expected to be worth over EUR 200 million by 2014, small to medium businesses can benefit from the SureColor SC-F2000’s revenue-generating features. Combining high performance with low maintenance and running costs, the latest addition to Epson’s textile printer line up enables businesses to offer new t-shirt design and print services. Online t-shirt shops, production t-shirt printers and even corporate users will benefit from the SC-F2000 as its ink is crack-resistant and is soft against the skin. Users can configure the system to suit their needs by choosing from two sets of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK) ink for white garments or CMYK with up to four white inks for coloured garments. Epson’s Garment Creator software is bundled with the package, which includes a cost calculation function that allows users to estimate the print cost by calculating the amount and cost of the ink used for each print job. This is useful when setting a tax rate or discount. The software enables designers to unleash their creativity and easily produce customised, eye-catching designs of up to 25mm thick on t-shirts, caps and bags. Shihab Zubair, Business Development Manager, Epson Middle East said: “This is a unique industry offering as it is the first system where a printhead, ink and chassis have been designed and manufactured by a single brand. The hardware and ink are designed to work together and users benefit from the reliability and high-quality output that Epson is renowned for.” “Aside from enjoying the new revenue stream, businesses can be assured that Epson has applied its years of print knowledge and know-how to deliver an eco-friendly device that excels in performance and delivers low running costs,” he added. Featuring Epson’s durable thin-film piezo (TFP) printhead, the SC-F2000 is capable of printing a single white t-shirt in 27 seconds when using dual colour mode and a dark coloured t-shirt in 111 seconds using white and colour ink, so production is quick without sacrificing print quality. When used in conjunction with Epson’s UltraChrome DG Ink (available in 250 or 600ml cartridges), the SureColor SC-F2000 excels on dark fabric due to the high-quality of its white ink. The white ink is circulated within the system and has been designed to reduce clogging, which increases productivity, allowing deadlines to be met consistently. The SC-F2000 offers a resolution of up to 1440x1440 dpi for accurate dot shape and placement, while its wide colour gamut produces vibrant colours, sharp contours and smooth gradations. Despite its ability to create a lasting visual impact, Epson’s UltraChrome DG ink is eco-friendly. It has been awarded a part certification from Oeko-Tex Standard 1001, indicating that it does not contain any harmful substrates. Key features: Prints a t-shirt in 27 seconds in its fastest print mode1 White ink mode, colour ink mode or dual colour depending on set-up Platen 14 x16 inches (355x406mm) with frame included Full front operation with a colour LCD panel Low maintenance Can print on thick media up to 25mm TFP printhead CMYKW 5-colour UltraChrome DG inks supplied in 250 or 600ml cartridges Wide colour gamut Low ink consumption White ink mode, colour ink mode or dual colour depending on set-up Certified part Oeko-Tex Standard2 Pre-treatment kit is available, which includes rollers and 20L of pre-treatment liquid for roughly 3,000 t-shirts Different size platen enabling correct fit depending on t-shirt size and print area (small: 10x12 inches (254x305mm), medium: 14 x16 inches (355x406mm), large: 16x20 inches (406x508mm)

SAN FRANCISCO: Google Inc has removed an experimental privacy feature from its Android mobile software that had allowed users to block apps from collecting personal information such as address book data and a user’s location. The change means that owners of smartphones using Android 4.4.2, the latest version of the world’s most popular operating system for mobile devices released this week, must provide access to their personal data in order to use certain apps. A company spokesman said the feature had been included by accident in Android 4.3, the version released last summer. “We are suspicious of this explanation, and do not think that it in any way justifies removing the feature rather than improving it,” said Peter Eckersley, technology projects director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The digital rights website first publicized the change in a blog post on Friday. Android users who wish to retain the privacy controls by not upgrading to Android 4.4.2 could be vulnerable to security risks, Eckersley said. “For the time being, users will need to chose between either privacy or security on the Android devices, but not both.” Many third-party apps for Android devices, such as music-

identifying service Shazam and popular smartphone flashlight apps, require access to personal information that does not always have an obvious connection to the app’s functionality, such as phone call information and location data. The privacy feature allowed users to pick and choose which personal data a third-party app can collect, Eckersley said. Users had to install a special Apps Ops Launcher software, which was created by another company, in order to access the hidden privacy controls. Android software was loaded on 81 percent of

all smartphones shipped worldwide in the third quarter, according to industry research firm IDC. Apple Inc’s iOS, the software used on the iPhone, had 12.9 percent market share. Privacy has become an increasingly important issue as smartphones, which are loaded with consumers’ personal information, become the primary computing device for many consumers. In November Google agreed to pay a $17 million fine to settle allegations that it secretly tracked Web users by placing special digital files on the Web browsers of their smartphones. — Reuters

Motorola CEO talks to AP about global vision NEW YORK: Google’s $12.4 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility was widely seen as a way for Google to acquire patents to defend its Android operating system from intellectual property lawsuits. Yet Motorola hasn’t given up on making phones. In August, it started selling the Moto X, the first smartphone assembled in the United States. By manufacturing the phone closer to its customers, Motorola can offer unprecedented customization. Last month, the Moto G came out, targeted at budget-conscious Americans and people in emerging markets. The phone, which has a highresolution screen and other features found in leading smartphones, starts at $179 in the US, compared with the $600-plus price tag on the typical high-end smartphone. Even with its new phone lineup, Motorola remains in transition. The company enjoyed strong sales after introducing the Razr flip phone in 2004. But it struggled to develop another hit. Under Google, it has lost nearly $2 billion and trimmed its workforce from 20,000 to about 3,800. Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside, a Google veteran who took the helm in May 2012 with the Internet company’s takeover, sat down with The Associated Press to talk about Motorola, its products and its vision for making the Internet affordable and accessible to everyone. Questions and answers have been edited for length. Q: A lot of people know Motorola for early cellphones and the Razr line. Today, how would you describe Motorola? A: Our product is not necessarily the hardware, but the mobile Web. Our mission is to provide access to hundreds of millions of people, if not billions over time, to mobile services. With Moto G, you’re starting to see the strategy. You have a product that spec for spec does stand up to an iPhone at one-fourth the price. Q. Why couldn’t Motorola as a stand-alone company move in that direction? A. Google gives Motorola a couple things. One is that willingness to have a long-term vision that’s bold, and really encouraging us to have that vision, and giving us the capital to make the transition. You also have to (believe in) the long-run value

of having everybody connected on high-quality devices that can access all the services that we’re used to. Only Google has that long-term mindset. Q: Where does Google end and Motorola begin? A: Although Google is our shareholder, Motorola is going to operate independently. Our (technology) systems are separate. That actually imposes costs on us. We’d love to be able to leverage Google’s data centers and internal tools. But because Android is a platform available to all (phone makers), if we had any IT access, that independence could be breached. We get the code for the next-version Android at the same time as everybody else. Sometimes it’s frustrating, because you actually want to do more. Q: What’s been the biggest headache in incorporating the two companies? A: The expectations are really high. You have people at Motorola who expect, now that Google owns us, we’re going to do everything together. You have outsiders who expect a completely different software or hardware strategy because the companies are now together. Another challenge is more internal. Managing the cultural shift from a company that had been very engineering-led and driven, but not as consumer-led and driven as we want to become. Q: Even though you can’t get the Android software early from Google, are there things you can get from it? A: Our approach to communication with consumers is a good example. In our industry, the people who build the products tend not to use social networks. Our product managers are doing that. The product managers of Google, typically they’re very active in ... direct dialogue with consumers to understand the market and understand people. We’ve done several of these international excursions where we take fairly junior product managers (and) have them literally live with normal people and understand how our consumers using their devices. Q: What early signs (are you) seeing in what

people are going to be wanting from their smartphones? A: Phones break. They’re glass. That’s likely to change in the next 24 months, as plastic becomes more present and producible. You’ll be speaking to (the) phone, asking it to do things, and it will be responding and actually doing what you intend, as opposed to you reading a command line. Wearables are obviously an area that’s of interest. No one has really come up with the killer-use case that defines what that means and how that works. Q: Who would you consider your closest competitor? A: Apple, Samsung. They’ve shown, especially Samsung, that marketing can really create a product and a phenomenon. We’re never going to have the money that they have to market our products. So, we have to have products that do something a little bit differently, which is what you’re starting to see with Moto G. You also have a number of Chinese manufacturers that can manufacture at very low cost. Q: What are some of the impossible dreams that you insist on the people who you manage? A: If you think of your mission as expanding the market to the billion people who are next to move into the smartphone world, you start looking at the problem very differently. You start thinking about all the issues that that consumer faces. A simple example is a lot of people don’t know that they could benefit from a smartphone. How do we explain the benefits of a smartphone from someone who doesn’t have one and whose friends don’t have one? How do you get that first person to think about a smartphone experience? It’s not an easy problem to solve. Q: What are your favorite apps? A: I use Twitter a lot, mostly to listen to what people are saying. I’m constantly searching for Moto G and Moto X, or if a competitor launches a product, I’ll be scanning for that. I use Google Plus to share photos, mostly, with my family. I use an app called TrainingPeaks, because I’m a triathlete. — AP

Software AG named a leader in the Magic Quadrant 2013 DUBAI: Software AG yesterday announced that it has been positioned in the Leaders Quadrant by Gartner, Inc, a leading industry analyst firm, for the third straight year in its recently released “Magic Quadrant for Integrated IT Portfolio Analysis Applications 2013” by Daniel B Stang and Jim Duggan, published on November 19, 2013. Amongst the leaders Software AG is positioned furthest up and to the right for its “Ability to Execute” and its “Completeness of Vision”. According to Gartner, “The IIPA software market helps IT leaders link, monitor, analyze and communicate their activities on a single portfolio-level software platform, providing CIOs and other executives with holistic views of the IT portfolio while IT plans and

executes in response to business and IT strategies.” “Todays’ businesses are in the middle of a dramatic transformation to digital enterprises driven by the four forces of social, mobile, big data and cloud. With our Integrated IT Portfolio Analysis Application in place, the CIO office has the intelligence to make the right decisions on the IT strategy to support this transformation. Furthermore it gives IT departments the tools to derive the IT strategy from the business strategy as well as to plan and monitor the transformation of the different IT portfolios, thus ensuring successful and reliable delivery of the enterprise transformation,” said Dr Wolfram Jost, Chief Technology O fficer and member of the Board,

Software AG. “We are glad to be able to offer our customers with planning IT the leading technology in this area.” The Digital Enterprise: a synthesis of Business and IT Software AG is building a suite of solutions that provides the range of business analysis and IT planning and execution capabilities necessary to address today’s digital demands. In particular, its new Business Process and IT Management platform provides the ability to collaboratively assess the business and operating model from the business all the way to the supporting solution and technology layer. It enables the organization to conduct integrated portfolio analysis and combine this with the strategic

and operational plans to result in an overall alignment and transformation that meets strategic goals as well as constraints that are present in the regulatory, business, technology and information environment. Further Software AG platforms deliver the needed IT agility, visibility and responsiveness through integration and process automation, complex information management and the means to create real-time solutions for digital business products. This Software AG Suite of platforms helps customers exploit mobile, social, cloud and big datawhether it’s to transform a specific business process, create entirely new product lines or change delivery models.


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

Dar Al-Shifa achieves Platinum Status from ACI for quality care KUWAIT: Dar Al-Shifa Hospital recently celebrated its receipt of the Platinum level of Qmentum International accreditation program from Accreditation Canada International (ACI). This marks another significant achievement to the hospital’s successful track record, after receiving the accreditation from the Canadian Council on Health Services Accreditation (CCHSA), later referred to as Accreditation Canada (AC), in 2007, for quality care and the promotion of patient safety. This was a historical achievement for the healthcare sector in Kuwait, since through attaining this accreditation, Dar Al-Shifa Hospital became the first hospital to pave the way into the journey of quality care and reaching accreditation standards. Following that, in 2010, the hospital was the first in the region to receive the Qmentum International Accreditation program. Attendees at the ceremony included His Excellency, Douglas George, Ambassador of Canada to the State of Kuwait, and Chief Executive Officer of Accreditation Canada International for healthcare services, SÈbastien Audette. Dar Al Shifa Hospital was represented by Taleb Jeraq, Head of Higher Committee of the hospital and members of the Higher Committee, Narjis Al-Yousifi and Bader Jeraq, in addition to Ahmed Nasrallah, Chief Executive Officer of Dar Al-Shifa Hospital, the hospital’s management team, medical staff, technicians and nursing staff, as well as a large number of community partners and public figures from various fields in Kuwait. The ceremony began with a warm welcome by Taleb Jeraq, who stressed that similar achievementsare clear indications of the firm belief of the hospital’s management and staff, and explained the importance of exerting continuous efforts for the development of the quali-

ty system and keeping up with the latest developments worldwide. Moreover, Jeraq stated that a Golden Jubilee can only be possible with high quality care services, strong determination and a futuristic vision in creating the safest environment for patients. In the same context, Ahmed Nasrallah stated that Dar Al-Shifa Hospital will remain committed to the health and safety of its patients and its community, and will be keen in developing centers of excellence, which would only be possible with a highly competent team and the latest technological equipment. Moreover, Nasrallah added that Dar Al Shifa Hospital was always a leader in providing quality care in the Kuwait healthcare sector, due to its strong conviction and sense of responsibility towards patients and their families. On the occasion of 2013 marking the Golden Jubilee of Dar Al-Shifa hospital, a documentary was prepared and displayed at the ceremony, highlighting the hospital’s history since its inception in

1963, while featuring the initial facility and its evolvement throughout the years to become a multidisciplinary ten-floor building, with the latest enhanced services; which in turn strongly reflects the role the hospital had in the healthcare sector in Kuwait during the past 50 years. Following that, Douglas George, the Canadian Ambassador to Kuwait commended the deep bilateral relations shared between the State of Kuwait and Canada. He further expressed his interest in what Dar Al-Shifa Hospital had achieved throughout the years, and noted that what the hospital accomplished is a remarkable success in its medical and scientific track record across Kuwait. He further stated: “We hope to increase the levels of cooperation between Accreditation Canada and Dar Al-Shifa Hospital in Kuwait, in an effort to provide superior quality across the healthcare sector, while also contributing to helping save people’s lives.” He ended his speech by congratulating Dar Al- Shifa Hospital for the full score secured in achieving the

accreditation. Douglas George ended his speech by congratulating Dar AlShifa hospital for fulfilling the entire criteria in achieving the accreditation. Sebastien Audette, Chief Executive Officer of Accreditation Canada International, gave a key note speech, in which he stated that this achievement is a mere reflection of Dar Al-Shifa Hospital’s senior management and its employees’ continuous commitment in becoming a leading figure other hospitals can follow. This follows the strict application of the best international practices across the healthcare industry, and the hospital’s primary belief that patients’ safety as well as employees working in the sector are amongst senior healthcare executives’ utmost priorities. He further reiterated that the new Accreditation Canada Program (Qmentum) is a difficult program for worldwide organizations operating in the healthcare industry due to its strict measures in quality and safety placed. Moreover, Audette noted that Dar Al-

Shifa Hospital is a source of pride to have met these standards, and joining the Accreditation Canada program with exemplary results. This is a testament to the hospital’s higher committee’s commitment and continuous efforts in adopting the highest quality and safety measures in its overall strategy that aims ultimately at raising the standards of the healthcare practice in Kuwait. During the evening, Audette provided the hospital’s management the new Accreditation Canada certificate, where the hospital managed to fulfill its entire requirements. Such efforts can only mirror the hospital’s slogan of “Hands that care”. Jeraq, Nasrallah, and Narjis Al-Yousifi, during the closing remarks, provided Douglas George, a token of appreciation, and another to Sebastian Audette, as well as other certificates and awards of appreciation to all employees at Dar Al Shifa Hospital, who worked towards attaining the “Platinum” standard of the Accreditation Canada.

Life-saving prostate cancer vaccine moves a step closer ‘Switching off’ the disease

BEIJING: This picture taken yesterday shows the moon shining over the Turret of Palace Museum at the Forbidden City in Beijing. A space module carrying China’s first lunar rover is scheduled to land on the moon soon, describing the manouevre as the mission’s greatest challenge. —AFP

China prepares for first lunar rover landing on the moon BEIJING: China will attempt to land a probe carrying the country’s first lunar rover on the moon soon in a major breakthrough for its ambitious space programme. The spacecraft is expected to make touchdown at about 1300 GMT, the mission’s official microblogging page said, 12 days after Chang’e-3 blasted off on a Long March-3B carrier rocket. China is aiming to become the third country to carry out a rover mission, following the United States and former Soviet Union, which also made the last soft landing on the moon 37 years ago. “At about 9pm, Chang’e-3’s probe will carry out a soft landing on the moon,” the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) said in an online post written for the official Chang’e-3 page on Sina Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter. State broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), who had earlier said on its microblog the landing was scheduled for 9.40pm, had posted a later message saying it would be at 9pm. The probe is expected to touch down on an ancient 400-km wide plain known in Latin as Sinus Iridum, or The Bay of Rainbows. The landing-which is expected to be carried out independently by the spacecraft-was described as the “most difficult” part of the mission by CAS in an earlier post on Chang’e3’s Weibo page. The landing craft uses sensors and 3D imaging to identify a flat surface. Thrusters are deployed 100 metres (330 feet) from the lunar surface to gently guide the craft into position. The probe, which is also fitted with shock absorbers in the legs to cushion the impact of the landing, will “free-fall” for the crucial final few metres of descent.

“Chang’e-3 is completely relying on autocontrol for descent, range and velocity measurements, finding the proper landing point, and free-falling,” a post on Chang’e-3’s Weibo page said. “At this stage, the Earth base is effectively powerless, and there is only about 10 minutes to finish the process.” The landing had “practically zero” chance of manual intervention, according to sources cited by state news agency Xinhua. The sources also warned that “unknown features such as lunar rocks, pits and entrenchments might still influence the outcome of the landing”, Xinhua said. Karl Bergquist, international relations administrator at the European Space Agency (ESA), who has worked with Chinese space officials on the Chang’e-3 mission, said the key challenge was to identify a flat location for the landing. “I was told by Chinese space officials that the lander and rover are each equipped with a camera and that when the rover separates from the lander they will both take a picture of each other from distance which will then be sent back to Earth,” he told AFP. “I am sure that all those involved in this project in China will feel a great relief and elation when they obtain such images, just like we would do too here at ESA in a similar situation”. After reaching the lunar surface, the module will release its rover, which can climb slopes of up to 30 degrees and travel at 200 metres per hour, according to the Shanghai Aerospace Systems Engineering Research Institute. The Chang’e-3 mission is named after the goddess of the moon in Chinese mythology and the rover vehicle is called Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, after her pet.—AFP

NOTTINGHAM: Scientists at Nottingham Trent University believe they have found a vaccine which can effectively ‘switch-off ’ cancerous tumours by spurring the immune system into overdrive. A vaccine to prevent prostate cancer and save thousands of lives is a step closer after scientists discovered a protein which stops tumour growth in 90 per cent of cases. Researchers at Notting Trent University discovered that by injecting part of a tumour protein into the cells surrounding the tumour it kicks the body’s immune system into overdrive. The immune system then prevents the tumour growing any further, effectively ‘switching off’ the cancer. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer for British men, with more than 40,000 diagnosed each year leading to 10,000 deaths. Scientists believe it could work in 90 per cent of tumours. If so, a developed vaccine could potentially save thousands of lives. “Developing cancer vaccines that can overcome the capacity of tumours to ‘evade’ the immune system is essential for the development of new therapies for aggressive disease,” Dr Stephanie McArdle, lead researcher based in Nottingham Trent’s John van Geest Cancer Research Centre. “It induces characteristics that are consistent with anti-tumour protection; capable of triggering an immune attack against prostate cancer cells and protecting against established prostate tumours.” The only vaccine which exists for prostate cancer currently uses the blood of a sufferer. It is treated to recognised the cancerous cells, before being injected back into the body. But it has only been found to extend life by four months.

NOTTINGHAM: Scientists believe they have found a protein which triggers the immune system into fighting cancerous prostate cells. Scientists say the new vaccine would be cheaper to produce and could be given to patients in a relatively simple formulation. Although the discovery has so far only been made in the lab and tested on mice scientists are hoping to begin clinical trials soon. Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research at Prostate Cancer UK said: “There are simply too few treatment options available for men with advanced prostate cancer and we need to offer men a greater choice of effective therapies. “If success-

ful it could lead to a new generation of immunotherapies. “Although this is a good mouse model, it’s too early to tell whether this study will translate into humans so we need to see further investigation to see if this treatment may have benefits for men with prostate cancer. “One man dies from prostate cancer every hour so we need more research into better treatments in order to beat it once and for all.” The research was published in the European Journal of Immunology. —AP

Malaysia’s once-nomadic Penan caught between two worlds LONG KELUAN, Malaysia: Through eons spent roaming Borneo’s rainforests, Malaysia’s Penan people became supremely adapted to surviving, and thriving, in the wild. But that has left the Penan-keepers of a rapidly-disappearing semi-nomadic culture-equally unprepared for the transition to a modern world that is closing in fast. “Under the old ways we could do whatever we wanted and easily find what we need in the forest,” said Dau Labong, headwoman of the ramshackle settlement of Long Keluan in the rugged interior of Sarawak, Malaysia’s largest and wildest state. About 10 years ago, the community followed most of Sarawak’s estimated 16,000 Penan in abandoning nomadic life in a rainforest whose ability to sustain them has

been depleted by logging and encroaching plantations. But her band of a few dozen are struggling to adapt to concepts like settled agriculture and a money economy. Once free in the forest, they are now “controlled” by the need to grow crops and earn money-some work for logging companies-to purchase meat and other supplies. “We have not found what we want and we need the government to help us,” Dau Labong said, anxiety on her face as she sat in one of the village’s four rickety shacks in a steamy forest clearing as distant chain saws droned. The ultimate rainforest stewards, the Penan formerly lived off the land using a renowned knowledge of the jungle and sustainable foraging practices. Hunting with blowpipes and poi-

son-tipped dar ts, they gathered medicinal plants, fruit and sago palm-which yielded a pasty staple starch-and rattan for weaving. But logging and commercial agriculture have turned their world upside-down. Data published in the US journal Science last month showed Malaysia lost 14.4 percent of its forests from 2000-2012, the world’s highest rate. “ The land has become yellow,” said Long Keluan elder Udau Abong, 87, whose swaying earlobes are stretched from a fast-disappearing traditional form of piercing. The Penan captured world attention in the 1980s and 1990s with their attempts to resist logging and through Swiss environmental activist Bruno Manser, who waged a crusade to protect Penan forests and culture.—AFP


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

Indian infant deaths still high, but falling steadily Great progress with heavenly investment SHIVPURI, India: Having previously lost two babies to diarrhoea and dysentery, 25-year-old Suman Chandel lies on a bed in a clinic in remote northern India and smiles with relief. Hours earlier, Chandel gave birth to her fourth child, a seemingly healthy baby boy weighing 3kg, and is optimistic that this time the chances of survival are good. “I was very worried beforehand. I was having more and more problems with each delivery, but he seems fine and I’m happy,” says Chandel as she tries to breastfeed her newborn wrapped in a blanket. Married at 15 and pregnant three years later, Chandel’s struggles to keep her babies alive are a familiar story for millions of women battling disease, caste discrimination, powerlessness and poverty in rural India. India has long had a dismal record of deaths from preventable illness; the nation accounts for 29 percent of global first-day deaths for exampleor 309,000 newborn deaths a year, says nonprofit group Save the Children. But figures from the census office published in October suggests that after 15 years of booming economic growth and explosive modernisation, India may finally be turning the corner. “There’s a long way to

go and traditional practices are still there,” says Karin Hulshof, regional director for UNICEF, the United Nation’s children’s fund. “But there has been great progress, a great call to action, with heavenly investment (at the government and NGO levels),” she said. Initiatives have focused on health issues such as encouraging women to give birth in hospitals instead of home, and increasing health centres and immunisation drives. Education has also been a priority, including on the importance of breastfeeding, improved nutrition and using clean water for hand washing and toilets to prevent episodes of life-threatening diarrhoea. A postcode lottery Paul Vinod, head of paediatrics at one of India’s most prestigious teaching hospitals, says the figures speak for themselves-infant mortality rates have dropped from 80 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 42 deaths in 2012. Despite the improvements, India still accounts for 22 percent of the world’s deaths of children under five, and more than one quarter of all newborn deaths, the UN, WHO and World Bank estimate in a joint 2013 report. And public expenditure on health remains woeful, accounting

for just 1.2 percent of gross domestic product, according to Vinod from AIIMS hospital in New Delhi, citing government figures. “Some developed countries spend eight to 10 percent,” he said. “We should be close to three percent or five percent. Anything less than three is poor.” A child’s chances of survival are also skewed depending on where a family resides. So the mortality rate in southern Kerala state is 12 per 1,000, the new figures show, but jumps to 56 in Madhya Pradeshwhere Chandel lives. This postcode lottery is blamed by experts on population density and the priority successive state governments have placed on child health, among other reasons. Deep cultural issues, including the powerlessness of women and accepted attitudes about their role in society, also remain a huge battle. “These girls are unable to make independent decisions about their own reproductive choices or fertility,” says Anuradha Gupta, a senior official from the Indian health ministry. “We have a huge battle ahead to change societal attitudes and norms towards adolescents, particularly girls,” says Gupta in a November interview with Jhpiego, a nonprofit group attached

to Johns Hopkins University. ‘We want boys, not girls’ Pale with anemia, Radha Bagnele, 20, lies in a bed in Shivpuri District Hospital in Madhya Pradesh and listens to her mother-in-law despair about Bagnele’s newborn twin daughters. “We wanted boys, so we are not happy, we are just OK,” says Ramkunar Bagnele sitting on the bed. “Of course she will keep trying until we get them,” she adds. Married at 13, Radha already has two daughters and worries her husband does not earn enough as a farm labourer to feed and care for their expanding family, who live in a nearby village. “I’m worried, but we need a boy,” she says softly. Shivpuri hospital, together with UNICEF, have developed a 24/7 call centre and a fleet of 35 ambulances so that women throughout the district can reach a hospital or clinic in time for a safer delivery. The number of infant deaths has fallen dramatically since its introduction but problems still exist. In the delivery room, a blanket covers a woman not moving and barely conscious. Her baby died shortly after delivery at home two days earlier, and the woman later collapsed from complications.—AFP

‘Arctic shifts to a new normal’ WASHINGTON: The rapid melting in the Arctic eased up this year. But the government says global warming is still dramatically altering the top of the world, reducing the number of reindeer and shrinking snow and ice, while increasing certain fish and extending the growing season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued its report card for the Arctic on Thursday, portraying 2013 as moderate compared with the roasting 2012. Overall Arctic temperatures didn’t soar quite as high, and Greenland ice sheets and summer sea ice didn’t melt as much. “The Arctic caught a break, if you will, in 2013, but one year doesn’t change the long-term trend toward a warmer Arctic,” said report card editor Martin Jeffries, a University of Alaska geophysicist who is the science adviser to the US Arctic Research Commission. “The Arctic has shifted to a new normal,” Jeffries said at the American Geophysical Union scientific conference in San Francisco, where the 136-page report card was released. While 2013 looks a tad cool compared with the last six years, it is unusually warm compared with the 20th century, he said. Central Alaska’s summer was one of the warmest on record, coming months after its coldest April since 1924, NOAA said. Fairbanks experienced a record 36 days of more than 80 degrees. And snow cover in May and June was near record low levels in North America and broke a record for the least snow in Eurasia. But one of the biggest climate change indicators, summer sea ice, wasn’t as bad as expected. Sea ice in 2013 reached its sixth-

lowest level in the three decades that NOAA has been keeping track. That’s up from the lowest ever in 2012. But the seven lowest levels have all occurred in the last seven years. The 2013 figure “is simply natural variability,” said National Snow and Ice Data Center director Mark Serreze, who wasn’t part of the NOAA report but praised it. “There is nothing about the year 2013 that provides any evidence that the Arctic is starting a path toward recovery.” He added: “Looking back 20 years from now, the world will be warmer and we’ll have much less sea ice than today. We’ll see that 2013 was just a temporary respite.” More ominous are long-term trends, NOAA’s report card said. Average Arctic temperatures have increased 3.6 degrees since the 1960s, rising twice as fast as the rest of the world. The growing season has lengthened by nearly a month since 1982. Fish species are moving north, permafrost is melting, and shrubs are greening in ways that weren’t seen before. While some fish and muskox are doing better, other animals associated with Arctic, like polar bears and walruses, are not. The report cited severe declines in the size of reindeer herds. “Many of the herds at the overall level are at all-time lows,” said study co-author Michael Svoboda of the Canadian Wildlife Service. Jeffries and University of Virginia environmental scientist Howard Epstein, another study co-author, warned that changes in the Arctic reverberate around the globe. White ice reflects solar energy, but because it is melting away, the oceans and the land are warming up more, Jeffries said.—AP


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Kala (Art) Kuwait bids farewell to Mohanan


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


Dr Ghalib with Sheikh Meshaal

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

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

ala (Art) Kuwait organized a function to bid farewell to Mohanan Varakkkoth, Executive Committee Member, Kala(Art) Kuwait from Riggai Unit. Mohanan is leaving Kuwait after 20 years of service at Ministry Of Health as a male nurse and he is hailing from Kannur, Kerala. The function was presided over by the Vice President of Kala (Art) Kuwait, Samkutty Thomas. Mukesh V P General Secretary, welcomed and acknowledged the contributions of Mohanan to the organization and community. Executive Members K Sadik, Mr. Jaison Joseph, Mohanana Ayyappan and Riggai unit member Vibin Joseph

made felicitation speeches on the occasion remembering the warm relationship and cooperation they maintained with Mohanan. Kala(Art) Kuwait Executive Committee presented a memento to V Mohanan as a token of love and wished him all the best for his future endeavors. Mohanan extended his thanks to all the Kala(Art) Kuwait members, friends, Associations Leaders and assured his continued services to the pravasis at Kerala.

IKFS president meets Sheikh Meshaal


KFS President, Dr Ghalib Al-Mashoor met Dr Sheikh Meshaal Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, Chief of Kuwait Foreign Investment Bureau. Sheikh Meshaal (the son of Former Amir of Kuwait Late Sheikh Jaber Al-Sabah). Sheikh Meshaal said that IKFS executives are most welcome to discuss about various projects to be carried out thru mutual understanding and joint venture which could be beneficial to the people of both friendly countries India and Kuwait. He added that “Kuwait Foreign Investment Bureau offices” are functioning under the umbrella of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in Kuwait. Sheikh Meshaal also invited Dr Ghalib to visit H.E.’s offices for further discussion of different investment projects to be carried out which will further cement the centuries old bilateral relationship between Kuwait and the world’s best democratic & largest populated country India.

Fitness Convention event held for the 6th year in Kuwait


Poster exhibition: ‘Missions of Mahatma Gandhi’


ith the goal to inculcate moral values and importance of social service among students, ICSK conducted a poster exhibition on ‘Missions of Mahatma Gandhi’- Public Service and Dignity of Labour - at the auditorium. To pay tribute to ‘the Father of our Nation’ ICSK Senior decided to grace the occasion with variety of activities which displayed the students’ talents. The dance rendered by Sumitha on Gandhiji’s favourite song “ Raghupati Raghava Rajaram” song was indeed a graceful performance. The students of class VIII presented fancy dress. The jaw dropping moment was the Tableau presented by the students of class IX based on Dandi March. The audience experienced a moment of great national pride. The members of Toast Masters Club Diya Ann Varghese & Omar presented a speech on Gandhiji’s public service. The function was inaugurated by Dr Kamlesh Kumari, Honorary. Joint Secretary; Board of Trustees inspired the students with her speech on the need for social service among students in their life. In his Introductory Speech Dr V. Binumon Principal, stressed on changing one’s own self before trying to change others. The students of Class X & XI presented a power point on Gandhiji’s life. The vote of thanks was given by Akanksha, a member of Toast Masters club. “Pictures speak louder than words” this was conveyed through the magnificent posters in the exhibition which brought out the creativity of young enthusiastic students of Senior School. Students enthusiastically participated in the exhibition. The judges had a tough time to decide the winners.

l Corniche Club was host to international health and fitness experts for the sixth consecutive year. The five speakers delivered seminars to a wide range of Kuwait’s health and fitness professionals and major players in the industry on how to improve the awareness of health and wellness in Kuwait and offer valuable insights of how to build on their expertise and advance their businesses. These presenters included: Fred Hoffman — Award-winning International Fitness Consultant Speaker, Author and an IHRSA speaker. Dr. Jim Bell — CEO of IFPA: International Fitness Professionals and an expert speaker. Duncan Green — Managing Director and Principal Consultant for MomentumBD Ltd. Dave Wright — CEO of CFM/MYZONE and an IHRSA speaker. Bridget Rosser — Certified DiSC train-

er and Consultant. Delegates at the conference came from many different health clubs in Kuwait including Marina Hotel, Sahara, C Club, Palms, Crown Plaza, Club Fit, Multiworks and Al Corniche Club. The event was sponsored by Porsche Centre Kuwait, Behbhani Motors Co. with the additional co-sponsors Wataniya, Linas and Dinas. Dr. Jim Bell did a special session ‘Get 20 years younger, fast’ at the Al Corniche for all their members and guests to attend. Al Corniche Club General Manager, Gerard Oliver, was pleased with the success of the conference. “We are privileged to have benefitted from five excellent speakers with expertise gained worldwide - their knowledge will help us to build the fitness industry here in Kuwait. It was also a great opportunity to network with managers and trainers from other Clubs.”

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

Artist Johnarts Kalabhavan presents a caricature of Bollywood heartthrob Vidya Balan to the actress in a recent function in Kuwait City.

The Embassy of Mexico presents its compliments the photo showcases the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico illuminated with the colors of the South African flag as a sign of solidarity and the value of Mexico gives to the legacy of social justice, reconciliation and peace of Nelson Mandela.


W H AT ’ S O N

PWF holds ‘Coffee Morning’


n Dec 7, the new executive committee of Pakistan Women Forum honored their new patron Mrs Ghazala Hussain, wife of the Pakistani Ambassador Abrar Hussain, with a Coffee Morning at their residence. The members welcomed her with a bouquet of flowers and the founder Mrs Yasmeen Mozaffar apprised the new members of the Aim and Objectives of PWF. The President, Mrs Yasmeen Mirza gave a brief account of the future

events that are planned by the Forum. There was a makeup demonstration by an experienced beautician Mrs. Ambreen who also gave us valuable instructions on skin care. The Coffee Morning was well - attended and very enjoyable. Pakistan Women Forum (PWF) is a non-profit organization which actively promotes charitable and educational causes in support of women and children. PWF was established in April 2006 and is governed by its

elected executive council. PWF is a voluntary organization open to all women of Pakistan origin in Kuwait. It provides a platform for Pakistani women to promote their national interest. Since its inception in April 2006, the forum has vigorously pursued educational, cultural and charitable activities.

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.


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

Shubashis Goldar, Charge d’Affairs, inaugurates Kala (Art) ‘Niram 2013’


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


iram 2013 children’s day painting competition distribution of prizes was held at Indian Community School, Khaitan on Friday, 29 November. Shubashis Goldar, Charge d’Affairs, Embassy of India, Kuwait inaugurated the function. Kala (Art) Kuwait President K Hassan Koya chaired the function and General Secretary Mukesh V. P. welcomed the gathering. Anoop John, Manager, Wataniya Sales Operations, Pancily Varkey, Country Head UAE Exchange, Mohammed Harees, Resident Director, Lulu Hyper Market, Vargheese Puthukkulangara, Director, Kerala Pravasi Welfare Board, Lisy Kuriakose, poet, felicitated the function and Jaisaon Joseph, K. Sadik, C Bhaskaran, Artist Shammy John, Artist Sasikrishnan and Renuka Bhaskaran also were present in the dais and distributed prizes to the winners of each group. The program reporting was done by Samkutty Thomas, General Convener Niram-2013 and Judging Assessment was briefed by Artist Sasikrishnan. Kala (Art) Kuwait Treasurer K Sadik congratulated the winners and thanked the guests and audience. Overall Champion Ship 1st Position achieved by Indian Educational School (BVB), Abbasiya, 2nd Position achieved by United Indian School, Abbasiya and 3rd Position achieved by Carmel School, Khaitan. The Panel of Judges Artist Sasikrishnan, Artist Shammy John, Artist John Mavelikkara and Artist Lalu Lonappan were honored by KALA(Art) Kuwait by giving mementos to them in recognition of their laudable services in the field of arts. It is noteworthy that a total of 2415 students from 20 Indian schools in Kuwait had entered the competition classified as 5 groups. Accordingly, 1st Prize to each group (5), 2nd Prize to 6, 3rd prize to

9, Merit Prize to 55 and 172 consolation prizes (Total 247 Prizes) were distributed. K. Aboobakkar, Johney Kalamachal, A. Mohanan, Mohanan V. Shyjith, Rakesh, Shamsudeen, Sunil Kumar, Aneesh Varghese, Vibin Kalabhavan, Anil Varghese, Suresh, Sasi and Kanakaraj were active as volunteers to ensure the smooth and successful holding of the program. Compeering was done by Jeeves Erinjery and Noura Nazeem. The List of Winners as follows: Group-A: Ist Prize- Mridula Pallissery Ravindran, 1st Std., IES-Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan, Abbassiya, IInd Prize- Anita Treesa Benny, 1st Std, Al-Wataniya English Private School (DPS), Fahaheel, IIIrd PrizeMegha Elanbilakkat R, 1st Std, IES-Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan, Abbassiya & Albert Shibu George, 1st Std. Indian English Academy (Donbosco), Salmiya Group-B: Ist Prize- Joanne Rebecca Vargheses, 3rd Std., Carmel School, IInd Prize- Nova Catherine Shygen, 3rd Std, Gulf Indian School, Fahaheel, IIIrd Prize- Abijith Biju Kumaran, 4th Std, IES-Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan, Abbassiya & Naureen Mushtaq, 4th Std, Indian Community School, Khaitan. Group-C: Ist Prize- Jackson Painadath, 8th Std, United Indian School, Abbassiya. IInd Prize- Prateek Pravanjan, 8th Std, Al-Wataniya Indian Private School (DPS), Fahaheel, IIIrd Prize- Santhra K Dineshkumar, 6th Std., Gulf Indian School, Fahaheel, & Nithin Sivan Pillai, 8th Std, IES-Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan, Abbassiya. Group-D: Ist Prize- Keerthiga Nagarajan, 10th Std, IES-Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan, Abbassiya, IInd PrizeRiya Mercy Jacob, 9th Std., Indian Community School, Khaitan, IIIrd Prize- Deeksha Sareen, 11th Std, Al-Wataniya English Private School (DPS),

Fahaheel & Arjun Narayanan Kutty, 11th Std. Indian Community School, Sr. Salmiya. Clay Sculpture: Ist Prize- Ruchitra Dinesh., 12th Std., Indian Community School, Sr. Salmiya. IInd Prize - Haseeb Abdulla, 8th Std, Al-Wataniya English Private School (DPS), Fahaheel & Aadithya S. Krishnan, 8th Std., United Indian School, Abbassiya, IIIrd Prize- Ayesha Dewage, 11th Std, Integrated Indian School. Open Canvas (for Parents & Gusts): Ist PrizeRavindran Pallissery, IInd Prize - Lalu Jacob, IIIrd Prize- Mrs Anjula Sharma. Merit Prize: Group-A: Ethaw Vinu Barghese, Jaedyn Francis Fernandes, Raina Ann Shaju, Aaron Varghese James, Amir Zubaid, Fida Lahir, Mahitha Jarradi, Thomas V John, Tarini Shetty, Maarwaan Ahmed, Ebin Babu Olakkankil. Group-B: Arathi Sasidharan, Aseel Kamal Abdullah Omar, Rachna Venkatesh, Neil Rdward D’Souza, Avanthika Biju Kumar, Fidaa Salim, Geethika Jayakumar, Jewel George Jomon, Lakshminanda Madhusoodhanan, Lensar Saji Pattamana, Meba Maria Snil, Nidhi Murali, Shyam Suresan, Fathimathul Afra, Savio Saji George, Rohan, Ananthapadmanabhan, Anjali S Kumar, Mahitha Nair, Naveen Francis Shaji. Group-C: Fedora Carol Menezes, David Noronha, Gayathri Satheesh Kumar, Anusree Dinesan, Justin Ignatius Mascarenhas, Meghna Pallissery Ravindran, Esha Jish, Varun Vineeth, Fleno Thankachan, Mohamed RIfqi, Emad Vddin, Kiran Prasad K, Aarathi Mohandas, Carol Mary Thomas, Elena Elsa George. Group-D: Hanan Abdulla, Vasanthi Hariharan, Jeslin Rlizabeth, Juliana, Krupa Sara John, Sreerag Mahadevan Cheeroth, Flency Thankachan, Soonam Shaji. Clay Sculpture: Tasneem Banu Kaliulla.

EMBASSY OF US The US Embassy in Kuwait has new procedures for obtaining appointments and picking up passports after visa issuance. Beginning August 9, 2013, we now provide an online visa appointment system, live call center, and in-person pick-up facilities in Kuwait. Please monitor our website and social media for additional information. This new system offers more flexibility for travelers to the US and to meet the increase in demand for visa appointments. The general application steps on the new visa appointment system are: 1. Go to (if this is the first time on, you will need to create a profile to login). 2. Please complete your DS-160 Online Visa Application which is available at 3. Please print and take your deposit slip to any Burgan Bank location to pay your visa application fee. 4. Schedule an appointment for your visa interview online at or by phone through the Call Center (at +965-2227-1673). 5. If you need to change or cancel your appointment, please do so 24 hours beforehand, as a courtesy to other applicants. For more information, please visit the US Embassy website - - as it is the best source of information regarding these changes. nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF CHINA he office of the Defence Attache of the Embassy of People’s Republic of China has moved to its new location. Qortuba, Block 4, Street 4, House71.



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

Zen Alan Carr: Chatty Man Absolutely Fabulous The Office Doctor Who Robin Hood Nina And The Neurons Poetry Pie Balamory Spot’s Musical Adventures Show Me Show Me Buzz & Tell Nina And The Neurons Poetry Pie Balamory Spot’s Musical Adventures Show Me Show Me Buzz & Tell Robin Hood Blackadder II Come Fly With Me The Weakest Link Absolutely Fabulous Hebburn Doctor Who Robin Hood David Copperfield The Weakest Link Doctors Doctors Doctors Doctors Doctors Doctor Who David Copperfield The Cafe Last Of The Summer Wine Hebburn My Family: Christmas 2004 Paradox Spooks The Night Watch Last Of The Summer Wine My Family: Christmas 2004

00:00 DIY SOS: The Big Build 01:00 The Restaurant Inspector 01:45 Cash In The Attic 02:35 Marbella Mansions 03:25 Antiques Roadshow 04:20 Antiques Roadshow 05:15 DIY SOS: The Big Build 06:15 Bargain Hunt 07:00 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 08:20 Hairy Bikers’ Christmas Party 09:10 Rick Stein’s Taste Of Italian Opera 10:05 French Food At Home 10:50 The Little Paris Kitchen 11:20 Raymond Blanc’s Kitchen Secrets 11:45 The Hairy Bakers’ Christmas Special 12:35 Nigel Slater’s Christmas Suppers 13:30 The Restaurant Inspector 14:15 Antiques Roadshow 15:15 Antiques Roadshow 16:10 Antiques Roadshow 17:05 Antiques Roadshow 17:55 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 19:15 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition 20:00 The Restaurant Inspector 20:45 Come Dine With Me: Supersized 22:20 Antiques Roadshow 23:15 Bargain Hunt

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

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

How It’s Made How It’s Made How Do They Do It? How Do They Do It? How Do They Do It? How Do They Do It? How Do They Do It? Kings Of Crash World’s Top 5 Wheeler Dealers Diamond Divers Bush Pilots Jungle Gold Destroyed In Seconds Destroyed In Seconds How It’s Made How It’s Made How It’s Made How It’s Made How It’s Made Storage Hunters Storage Hunters Storage Hunters Storage Hunters Storage Hunters Border Security Border Security Border Security Border Security Border Security Mythbusters Treehouse Masters You Have Been Warned Diamond Divers Bush Pilots

00:40 Dark Matters: Twisted But True 01:30 Stunt Junkies 02:00 Smash Lab 02:50 Smash Lab 03:45 Smash Lab 04:35 Smash Lab 05:25 Smash Lab 06:15 Gadget Show - World Tour 06:40 Tech Toys 360 07:05 Stunt Junkies 07:30 Stunt Junkies 08:00 Mighty Planes 08:50 Rocket City Rednecks 09:15 Rocket City Rednecks 09:40 Gadget Show - World Tour 10:05 Tech Toys 360 10:30 How The Universe Works 11:25 How The Universe Works 12:20 How The Universe Works 13:10 How Techies Changed The World 14:00 How Techies Changed The World 14:50 Stunt Junkies 15:20 Gadget Show - World Tour 15:45 Tech Toys 360 16:10 Future Firepower 17:00 Bang Goes The Theory 17:25 Bang Goes The Theory 17:55 Game Changers 18:20 Game Changers 18:45 Junkyard Wars 19:35 Rocket City Rednecks 20:00 Rocket City Rednecks 20:30 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 21:20 Mighty Ships 22:10 Gadget Show - World Tour 22:35 Tech Toys 360 23:00 Through The Wormhole With Morgan Freeman 23:50 Mighty Ships

00:00 00:20 00:45 01:05 01:30 01:50 02:15 02:35 03:00 03:20 03:45 04:05

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

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

Suite Life On Deck Suite Life On Deck Wizards Of Waverly Place Wizards Of Waverly Place Austin And Ally Austin And Ally A.N.T. Farm A.N.T. Farm That’s So Raven Shake It Up Good Luck Charlie Dog With A Blog Gravity Falls Wolfblood My Babysitter’s A Vampire Mako Mermaids Meet The Robinsons That’s So Raven Shake It Up Dear Dracula Austin And Ally Good Luck Charlie Mako Mermaids Dog With A Blog My Babysitter’s A Vampire Wolfblood Gravity Falls A.N.T. Farm Good Luck Charlie Austin And Ally Dog With A Blog My Babysitter’s A Vampire Wolfblood Gravity Falls Mako Mermaids Violetta Violetta Violetta Violetta Violetta Wizards Of Waverly Place

00:15 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 00:40 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 01:05 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 01:30 Tastiest Places To Chowdown 01:55 Tastiest Places To Chowdown 02:20 Unwrapped 02:45 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 03:10 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 03:35 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 04:00 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 04:25 Unique Eats 04:50 Food Crafters 05:15 United Tastes Of America 05:40 Chopped 06:30 Amazing Wedding Cakes 07:10 Unwrapped 07:35 Unwrapped 08:00 Everyday Italian 08:25 Everyday Italian 08:50 Everyday Italian 09:15 Everyday Italian 09:40 Aarti Party 10:05 Aarti Party 10:30 Aarti Party 10:55 Aarti Party 11:20 Reza’s African Kitchen 11:45 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Special 12:35 Charly’s Cake Angels 13:00 Charly’s Cake Angels 13:25 Charly’s Cake Angels 13:50 Charly’s Cake Angels 14:15 Charly’s Cake Angels 14:40 Charly’s Cake Angels 15:05 Charly’s Cake Angels 15:30 Charly’s Cake Angels 15:55 Charly’s Cake Angels 16:20 Charly’s Cake Angels 16:45 Reza’s African Kitchen 17:10 Reza’s African Kitchen 17:35 Reza’s African Kitchen 18:00 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Special 18:50 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 19:15 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 19:40 Iron Chef America 20:30 Iron Chef America 21:20 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Special 22:10 Chopped 23:00 Charly’s Cake Angels 23:25 Charly’s Cake Angels 23:50 Amazing Wedding Cakes

5 Questions answered on the ‘Scandal’ winter finale


ne thing you can always be certain of when you’re watching ABC’s “Scandal” is that every answer only really creates several more questions. Thus was the case with Thursday’s midseason finale. We left off with Olivia (Kerry Washington) wondering if she had just helped a murderous terrorist escape capture. And Quinn (Katie Lowes) had just made her own escape from torture at the hands of Huck (Guillermo Diaz) by the skin of her teeth - literally. And meanwhile, the VP had just found out that her husband’s penchant for men had spilled over into her career life when he had sex with Cyrus’ (Jeff Perry) husband James (Dan Bucatinsky). So, what did “Scandal” answer before going into its two month hiatus? 1. Who is Quinn loyal to? Despite landing back in bed with B6-13 agent, Charlie (George Newbern), we learned that Quinn was on a mission to take down Rowan. That was foiled and she had to make a decision. By the time she made up her mind, it was too late and Rowan was gone. She ended up back at Pope & Associates, but Huck had no apologies waiting for her. Instead, he pulled her gladiator status.


00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 Saturday Night Live 02:30 Brickleberry 03:00 Hot In Cleveland 03:30 Baby Daddy 04:00 The Simpsons 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 1600 Penn 06:00 Last Man Standing 06:30 Friends 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 The Simpsons 08:30 1600 Penn 09:00 Hot In Cleveland 09:30 Two And A Half Men 10:30 Friends 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Last Man Standing 12:30 The Simpsons 13:00 1600 Penn 13:30 Friends 14:00 Baby Daddy 14:30 Two And A Half Men 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 Last Man Standing 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 How I Met Your Mother 18:30 Go On 19:00 Two And A Half Men 19:30 The Mindy Project 20:00 The Cleveland Show 20:30 Web Therapy 21:00 2 Broke Girls 21:30 2 Broke Girls 22:00 New Girl 23:00 Brickleberry

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


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

00:00 03:00 04:00 07:30 09:00 10:30 12:00 14:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

Switched At Birth Scandal House Of Cards Coronation Street C.S.I. Coronation Street C.S.I. Switched At Birth Live Good Morning America C.S.I. Switched At Birth Castle C.S.I. Switched At Birth House Of Cards Scandal

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The Corruptor Stone’s War: War Of The Dead Three Kings The Adventures Of Tintin Big Trouble In Little China

10:00 12:00 14:00 16:00 18:00 20:00 22:00

True Justice: Blood Alley Superman vs. The Elite Alien Tornado True Justice: Blood Alley Deadly Hope Alien Tornado The Blood Bond

00:00 Stone’s War: War Of The Dead-18 02:00 Three Kings-18 04:00 The Adventures Of Tintin-PG 06:00 Big Trouble In Little ChinaPG15 08:00 True Justice: Blood AlleyPG15 10:00 Superman vs. The Elite-PG15 12:00 Alien Tornado-PG15 14:00 True Justice: Blood AlleyPG15 16:00 Deadly Hope-PG15 18:00 Alien Tornado-PG15 20:00 The Blood Bond-PG15 22:00 Boogeyman-18

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

The Angel’s Share-PG15 Detention-18 Fatal Instinct-PG15 Today’s Special-PG15 The Big Bus-PG Surf’s Up-PG Fatal Instinct-PG15 Coneheads-PG Surf’s Up-PG Lying To Be Perfect-PG15 American Reunion-18 The Angel’s Share-PG15

01:00 Look Again-PG15 03:00 Neds-PG15 05:00 Five-PG15 07:00 Seeking Justice-PG15 09:00 Look Again-PG15 11:00 The First Grader-PG15 13:00 Taken Back: Finding HaleyPG15 15:00 Would Be Kings-PG15 17:00 Dirty Teacher-PG15 19:00 The Memory Keeper’s Daughter-PG15 21:00 Margaret-18 23:30 Snowtown-R

01:30 03:30 05:15 07:00 09:00 PG15 11:00 13:00 15:00 17:15 19:00 21:15 23:30

Trishna-18 Young Adult-PG15 The Entitled-PG15 Teenage Paparazzo-PG15 When Love Is Not EnoughCarnage-PG15 Bird On A Wire-PG15 Dog Day Afternoon-PG15 Carnage-PG15 Flesh And Bone-PG15 Anonymous-18 Puncture-PG15

00:00 A Dark Truth-18 01:45 Haywire-PG15 03:30 Salmon Fishing In The Yemen-PG15 05:30 Arthur Christmas-PG 07:15 The Three Stooges-PG15 09:00 Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted-PG 11:00 StreetDance 2-PG15 13:00 Drew Peterson: Untouchable-PG15 15:00 The Iron Lady-PG15 17:00 Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted-PG 19:00 Dark Shadows-PG15 21:00 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey-PG 23:45 Take This Waltz-18

01:00 Krazzy Planet 02:30 The Pirates! Band Of Misfits 04:15 Who Framed Roger Rabbit 06:00 Arthur 3: And The War Of Two Worlds 08:00 The Happy Cricket 10:00 The Happy Cricket 2 11:30 Hammer Boy 13:00 Who Framed Roger Rabbit 14:45 Back To The Sea 16:30 Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days 18:15 Scooby-Doo! Mask Of The Blue Falcon 20:00 Snowflake , The White Gorilla 21:45 Back To The Sea 23:30 The Happy Cricket

00:00 The Greatest Movie Ever Sold-PG15 01:45 Jack Reacher-PG15 04:00 Wreck-It Ralph-PG 06:00 Horrid Henry-PG 08:00 Ice Age: Continental Drift-PG 10:00 Perfect Plan-PG15 12:00 Jack Reacher-PG15 14:15 A Heartbeat Away-PG15 16:00 Ice Age: Continental Drift-PG 18:00 Moonrise Kingdom-PG15 20:00 Rock Of Ages-PG15 22:15 The Sweeney-18

01:00 01:30 02:00 02:30 03:00 11:00 11:30 13:30 17:30 18:30 20:30 21:00

Inside PGA Tour Futbol Mundial Total Rugby ICC Cricket 360 Live Cricket Ashes Total Rugby Rugby Union Live PGA European Tour Trans World Sport Amlin Chanllenge Cup Inside PGA Tour Live PGA Tour

00:00 00:30 08:30 09:00 13:00 17:00 17:30 18:00 18:30 20:30 21:00

ICC Cricket 360 Live Cricket Test Match Inside The PGA Tour Live Asian Tour Live Champions Tour Total Rugby ICC Cricket 360 Futbol Mundial UFC NFL Gameday Live NFL

03:00 PGA Tour 07:00 PDC Worlds Darts Championship 12:00 PDC Worlds Darts Championship 17:00 Futbol Mundial 17:30 Asian Tour Golf 22:00 Live PDC Worlds Darts Championship

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Live UFC Prelims Live UFC UFC Unleashed WWE Bottom Line WWE NXT WWE Experience WWE This Week Motor Sports 2013 NHL Motor Sports 2013 Mass Participation UIM Powerboat Champs Motor Sports 2013 European Le Mans Series NHL UFC Unleashed UFC Prelims

2. Is Olivia’s mom really evil? Despite some argument on behalf of Maya by Abby (Darby Stanchfield), Maya falls in the evil column for now. I reserve the right to pull this reasoning later. Who knows? There could be more to the story of the bombed plane. Or, the dead airline crew on the Hong Kong-bound plane. Maya could still be running for her life with someone out there dead set on framing her and keeping her quiet. Rowan refused to tell Olivia the reasoning for his imprisonment of Maya for more than two decades. And, no one on “Scandal,” or any good drama for that matter, is truly 100 percent bad. 3. How will Sally Langston (Kate Burton) deal with her homosexual, philandering husband? She’s a smart and ambitious woman. We knew that. But, that also means she’ll do anything to get what she wants. In the face of her husband’s threat to leave her, Sally repeatedly impaled him with a letter opener. Without skipping a beat, she called Cyrus first. Surprising at first, we then figured out that she did it because she knew he would feel some responsibility for Daniel’s (Jack Coleman) death. She was right. The White House got you, boo. Let the presidential campaigning begin. But, wait, she’s not in the clear. A recording of her confession to Cyrus has landed on David’s (Joshua Malina) desk. It remains to be seen what he does with it. 4. Are Cyrus and James (Dan Bucatinsky) done-zo? It wasn’t looking too good after Cyrus used James as a political pawn and James then took it to a whole other level. But James is always looking to feel important. So, he has laid down an ultimatum: He won’t leave Cyrus if he’s made the president’s press secretary. Of course, that appointment isn’t going to look shady at all to the outside world But, Cyrus will do it. And although James can’t promise his love, I think Cyrus knows that if he can keep James around there’s always a chance. 5. Why is Jake (Scott Foley) still around? It didn’t seem as if showrunner Shonda Rhimes had anything major planned for Jake after making Foley a series regular, but things have changed. Rowan virtually dared Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) to try and stop him, what with that amazing “you’re a boy” lecture. But, I knew Rowan’s constant taunts that the operations of B6-13 were above his pay grade wouldn’t sit well with Fitz. And in the end, he found some way to displace Rowan as the head of the black ops organization with Jake. Nicely played, Fitz. — Reuters

Classifieds SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2013












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


546 562 257 500 472 221 251 645 470 788 535 118 857 1072 303 640 510 127 215 787 777 284 982 135 542 177 1080 63 786 176 104 774 614 674 618 217 647 328 61 618 572 393 189 129 634 229 71 402 181 307 859 219 1074 417 576 239 981 59 981 205 185


14:05 14:50 14:45 14:30 14:35 15:00 15:50 15:55 15:35 15:10 15:50 16:35 16:40 16:40 16:50 16:55 17:15 17:25 17:30 17:00 17:55 17:45 18:00 18:00 18:05 18:20 18:40 18:45 18:45 19:15 19:35 19:30 19:35 19:25 19:00 19:30 19:55 20:00 20:05 20:05 20:10 20:15 20:15 20:20 20:55 21:10 21:15 21:20 21:30 21:35 21:40 21:45 22:00 22:05 22:15 22:20 22:30 22:30 23:10 23:15 23:20


Departure Flights on Sunday 15/12/2013 Flt Route Time 976 GOA 00:05 490 MANGALORE 00:15 573 MUMBAI 01:10 411 AMSTERDAM 01:45 44 DHAKA 01:45 635 FRANKFURT 02:10 442 LAHORE 02:30 621 ADDIS ABABA 02:45 773 ISTANBUL-ATATURK 02:55 854 DUBAI 03:50 306 ABU DHABI 04:00 613 CAIRO 04:10 1085 DOHA 04:15 406 SOHAG 04:45 8274 DOHA 04:55 68 DUBAI 05:00 1077 DOHA 05:15 283 DHAKA 05:15 560 SOHAG 06:20 70 DUBAI 06:30 164 DUBAI 06:55 765 ISTANBUL-SABIHA 07:05 8525 DOHA 07:15 545 ALEXANDRIA 07:15 212 BAHRAIN 07:15 240 AMMAN 07:20 771 ISTANBUL-ATATURK 07:30 8650 DOHA 07:55 303 BAGRAM 08:00 54 DUBAI 08:30 156 LONDON 08:45 616 AHWAZ 08:50 256 BEIRUT 08:55 534 CAIRO 09:00 561 AMMAN 09:25 787 JEDDAH 09:25 671 DUBAI 09:30 126 SHARJAH 09:40 101 LONDON 09:50 856 DUBAI 09:55 302 ABU DHABI 10:05 1071 DOHA 10:10 606 MASHHAD 10:20 56 DUBAI 10:20 214 BAHRAIN 11:25 541 CAIRO 11:30 4162 MASHHAD 11:35 165 ROME 11:50 404 ASYUT 12:15 402 ALEXANDRIA 12:20 776 JEDDAH 12:25 405 BEIRUT 12:55 511 KANDAHAR 13:00 785 JEDDAH 13:00 381 DELHI 13:05 342 DAMASCUS 13:30 786 RIYADH 13:35 176 DUBAI 13:45 5484 MASHHAD 13:50



580 611 481 872 58 1079 134 673 617 473 188 222 505 77 501 471 613 252 646 238 180 304 1073 858 538 641 128 511 216 184 266 982 554 64 1081 218 62 328 648 120 619 571 351 394 343 543 171 72 230 403 308 220 301 860 205 417 1075 60 575 528 415 411


13:50 14:00 14:10 14:15 14:30 14:55 15:00 15:05 15:30 15:30 15:40 15:45 16:00 16:05 16:30 16:30 16:35 16:50 16:55 16:55 16:55 17:35 17:40 17:50 17:50 17:55 18:05 18:15 18:20 18:40 18:50 19:15 19:20 19:25 19:40 20:15 20:45 20:50 20:55 21:00 21:05 21:10 21:10 21:15 21:30 21:40 21:50 21:55 22:10 22:20 22:20 22:30 22:35 22:50 22:55 23:05 23:10 23:10 23:15 23:25 23:55 23:55


stars CROSSWORD 399

STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) Being calm, cool and collected may take some effort today. You might take a step back to see a particular situation from a different perspective. Perhaps you will see an opportunity to relax in a different environment for a short while. After a break, sensitivities are eased and life returns to some sort of sanity. Perhaps more rest, perhaps clearer conversation, a pause in time is certainly a wise idea. Serious conversations might be better served another day. Being on the go and keeping an ear to the ground help you to feel that you are keeping in touch. Learning and communicating with others delight you. This is a time when you may decide to express your creative side. You might share a joke, a puzzle or a poetry book.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) A greater regard for things of value and even the idea of value itself is the order of this day. You may find yourself really getting into the spirit of the season. You shop, lunch with friends and shop some more--do you have a listyou may find an interest in antiques or some type of artwork. This is a very enjoyable time--one of high energy and high hopes. Perhaps the mall you are visiting has gained more customers than usual. Local talent gains the attention of much of the community. You and your friends enjoy the local talent as you weave in and out of the stores. You may be thinking that you could be a singer next year. Make sure to make periodic trips to your car so that you can store your packages in the trunk of your car. Dinner out is fun tonight.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

ACROSS 1. A (usually) large and scholarly book. 5. A fishing net with three layers. 12. The rate at which heat is produced by an individual in a resting state. 15. A feeling of strong eagerness (usually in favor of a person or cause). 16. Extremely large treelike cactus of desert regions of southwestern United States having a thick columnar sparsely branched trunk bearing white flowers and edible red pulpy fruit. 17. Step on it. 18. The process whereby heat changes something from a solid to a liquid. 19. Any of a group of heavenly spirits under the god Anu. 20. A city in southern Turkey on the Seyhan River. 22. Plant bearing large mild thick-walled usually bell-shaped fruits. 24. United States sculptor (born in 1924). 25. 1 species. 28. A Russian prison camp for political prisoners. 32. A temporally organized plan for matters to be attended to. 37. Unknown god. 38. A state of commotion and loud confused noise. 41. Waterfall in Canada is the Horseshoe Falls. 43. A soft silvery metallic element of the alkali earth group. 45. One of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. 46. Any of various dark heavy viscid substances obtained as a residue. 48. (astronomy) The angular distance of a celestial point measured westward along the celestial equator from the zenith crossing. 50. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 51. Adorned by inlays. 55. Comb-plate or locomotor organ consisting of a row of strong cilia whose bases are fused. 57. An official language of the Republic of South Africa. 58. Type genus of the Soleidae. 60. An anxiety disorder associated with serious traumatic events and characterized by such symptoms as guilt about surviving or reliving the trauma in dreams or numbness and lack of involvement with reality or recurrent thoughts and images. 62. Either of two large African antelopes of the genus Taurotragus having short spirally twisted horns in both sexes. 65. Mentally or physically infirm with age. 69. (Akkadian) God of wisdom. 70. Any plant of the genus Erica. 73. With eagerness. 75. A defensive missile designed to shoot down incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles. 77. Type genus of the family Plantaginaceae. 79. A plant hormone promoting elongation of stems and roots. 80. A castrated tomcat. 81. Slowly broken down or crumbled into dust. 82. Hormone secreted by the posterior pituitary gland (trade name Pitressin) and also by nerve endings in the hypothalamus. DOWN 1. (music) The speed at which a composition is to be played. 2. A naturally occuring glyceride of oleic acid that is found in fats and oils. 3. A port in southern Sweden.

4. Highly attractive and able to arouse hope or desire. 5. Wild ox of the Malay Archipelago. 6. Disparaging terms for the common people. 7. A fee charged for exchanging currencies. 8. The quantity that can be held in a mug. 9. South American plant cultivated for its large fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers. 10. A trivalent metallic element of the rare earth group. 11. Any of various perennial South American plants of the genus Loasa having stinging hairs and showy white or yellow or reddish-orange flowers. 12. God of wealth and love. 13. Tropical Asian starlings. 14. Being or occurring in fact or actuality. 21. Catch sight of. 23. Angular distance above the horizon (especially of a celestial object). 26. Divulge information or secrets. 27. Sexually transmitted urethritis (usually caused by chlamydia). 29. A monarchy in northwestern Europe occupying most of the British Isles. 30. United States writer of poems and plays about racial conflict (born in 1934). 31. Of or relating the leg from the knee to the foot. 33. Of great mass. 34. Lacking external ears. 35. (Old Testament) A youth who was taken into the court of Nebuchadnezzar and given divine protection when thrown into a den of lions (6th century BC). 36. Lacking sufficient water or rainfall. 39. A small digital computer based on a microprocessor and designed to be used by one person at a time. 40. A member of the Siouan people formerly living in the Missouri river valley in NE Nebraska. 42. A silvery ductile metallic element found primarily in bauxite. 44. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 49. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 52. A positively charged electrode by which electrons leave an electrical device. 53. A small cake leavened with yeast. 54. Any distinct time period in a sequence of events. 56. Foul with waste matter. 59. A condensed but memorable saying embodying some important fact of experience that is taken as true by many people. 61. A sock with a separation for the big toe. 63. Relating to or characteristic of or occurring on land. 64. Not far distant in time or space or degree or circumstances. 66. An elaborate song for solo voice. 67. Showing or causing joy and pleasure. 68. An Indian nursemaid who looks after children. 71. Rate of revolution of a motor. 72. The United Nations agency concerned with the interests of labor. 74. The supernatural being conceived as the perfect and omnipotent and omniscient originator and ruler of the universe. 76. A unit of information equal to one million (1,048,576) bytes. 78. A brittle silver-white metalloid element that is related to selenium and sulfur.


You realize now, it is time to make some long-needed changes in old habit patterns that you have kept for way too long. Variety can be the spice of life. Keeping busy with new and positive activities is essential to making positive changes in your life. Becoming complacent is conducive to staying in one place too long and requires that your position be rethought. Accruing new information and expanding your way of doing things will be like a breath of fresh air, once you become acclimated to the changes you make. Now is a good time to get in touch with your inner self and understand how you feel about who you are. All those times you held back comments become less and less of a problem--you are learning about a new positive you.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) There may be someone around you who does not appreciate or possibly understand your rather eccentric behavior; a close friend or relative will be supportive. Young people learn from your actions today. Anything uncommon or extraordinary will be what captures your interest. Allowing your creative and intuitive nature to come forth will pay you back in big rewards and dividends. New solutions to long-held problems may be among the benefits. Something very inventive may surface. Allowing variety into your life will help to keep you from feeling bored with your everyday life. Change is inevitable. In your case, change is necessary for self-preservation. Do not allow yourself to become out of touch.

Leo (July 23-August 22) You might like to socialize today--fun will come soon enough. For this morning, responsibilities that you set for yourself are knocking at your door. You will see things through and then be free to enjoy the fun stuff! You may find that you can accomplish quite a lot if you take one project at a time. Understanding your friends and understanding people in general brings about an understanding of yourself. You enjoy the new friends as well as the old ones and you seem to choose the most positive-thinking people that come into your awareness. You are comfortable in being a friendly person. This evening you allow yourself to enjoy a fun social opportunity that is available to you. Among your friends, you find opportunities to let your light shine!

Virgo (August 23-September 22) You may find that there is some important personal business that requires your attention this morning and then you will have the day to do with as you please. An ethnic poet, storyteller or educator that you have been curious about is performing in town. You and perhaps a friend or two should be able to enjoy this endeavor. You may decide to take a neighbor's child with you. Perhaps this is a way you have of enjoying and sharing with the people around you but sometimes your generosity is just simply enjoying the simple, uncomplicated happiness that comes with youth. A brother or sister, or perhaps your own children, all combine to make a merry little band. This evening you change hats, so to speak, to be with your friends, creating good camaraderie.

Word Search

Libra (September 23-October 22) You should find this a good day for just about anything that your heart desires. Those around you should find you very natural and vital. Communicating with others and getting your message across is at a high. This is a great time to be in the company of other people both personally and in a work situation. Your ability to manage and direct other people puts you in a good position to assume the responsibility for a special job. Perhaps today is more of a volunteer day to help at the local hospital, nursing home, etc. A truly earnest effort, along with your hand and eye coordination, makes just about any task run well. This is a great day for getting things accomplished and for doing good deeds. Emotions are well within your control.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) We all behave in rather eccentric ways, from time to time. As strange as you may appear to some around you today--someone understands perfectly and will be more than supportive of your rather eccentric ideas. Your unique and unusual talents could bring you some awesome results in the form of new conclusions or something very inventive. Don't you know that the great inventors of our time were considered a bit bizarrethey dared to pursue their dreams and hunches and all of humankind benefited because of their dedication. You too, should allow yourself to be creative, when the mood strikes. This evening, a social event will give you ample opportunity to network as well as absorb some of the good energies. A star is shining.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) To feel cared for and needed is a comforting thing. You will find that those relationships you hold closest are more powerful and important now. Being alone and lonely is just not your favorite thing to be at this time--you need people around you to help reinforce the feeling of caring and sharing. You could easily find yourself looking for something in the romance department, or at least finding enjoyment from some emotional release. Feelings and movement are appreciated. You could find a great deal of satisfaction from just getting out and about and walking or exercising. Your ability to communicate with others should be very strong at this time. It is your turn to reach out and touch someone. Plan a get-together with friends soon.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) Singing about happy days may be part of a song, but the words present the feelings of today. This may be because you feel all of the love and affection that surrounds you today. There is a big chance for you to understand those around you and to have a special time with someone you love. This is a happy time. You place value on that which is principled and forthright and you have a particular dislike of what is secret, intense or private. People are listening when you talk because of your persuasiveness and eloquent way with words. Self-expression works well for you just now, lending itself to your ideas and thoughts. Today you look for gifts that fit the needs of the special people in your life. Tonight is a time for visiting.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) You may feel that you are caught up in a situation where you must choose a path without knowing any details or circumstances. If you are in a vehicle, you can have a bit of comfort in knowing that one is never really lost--just perhaps on an adventure. Though you would love to be out and among friends socially, your timing could be off just enough to cause you some problems. Why not stop and consider a change of plans--it could be a very positive thing. Let others know what you have decided and then enjoy the rest of the afternoon--perhaps a movie or a bit of shopping. Laugh a little! You have done well this year where finances are involved. This year you did not necessarily make more money, but you were wise with financial decisions.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) Your independence will be showing today. You may find yourself drooling over anything new, unusual or different. Your routine may be wearing a bit thin and you look for ways to change some things in your life. You want anything that is different. Although you are a bit restless, you seem to have enough common sense to create for yourself a timetable within which you can complete all the changes you are wanting: a new apartment or home, perhaps new furniture or somewhere you can have a fireplace or a time-share place in which to vacation. You are tempted to charge your purchases, but instead will hold fast to the reality that anything is possible in time--perhaps not overnight with the flash of a card. You set a good example as you remain in control.

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


Amiri Hospital


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Physiotherapy Hospital






Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan

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

23915883 23715414 23726558


Modern Jahra Madina Munawara

Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92

24575518 24566622


Ahlam Khaldiya Coop

Fahad Al-Salem St Khaldiya Coop

22436184 24833967


New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan

Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11

24734000 24881201 24726638

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

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

25726265 25647075 22625999 22564549 25340559 25326554 25721264 25380581 25628241






















Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh








Kaizen center


















Abdullah Salem




Industrial Shuwaikh






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Maidan Hawally






W Hawally






New Jahra


West Jahra


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North Jleeb








N Khaitan





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


Plastic Surgeons Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalaf


Dr. Khaled Hamadi

Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari


Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rashed

Dr. Abdel Quttainah


Family Doctor Dr Divya Damodar


Psychiatrists Dr. Esam Al-Ansari


Dr Eisa M. Al-Balhan


Gynaecologists & Obstetricians DrAdrian arbe


Dr. Verginia s.Marin

2572-6666 ext 8321


25665898 25340300

Dr. Zahra Qabazard


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(1) Ear, Nose and Throat (2) Plastic Surgeon Dr. Abdul Mohsin Jafar, FRCS (Canada)



Dr. Fozeya Ali Al-Qatan


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General Surgeons Dr. Amer Zawaz Al-Amer


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Internists, Chest & Heart Dr. Adnan Ebil Dr. Latefa Al-Duweisan

22666300 25728004

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Soor Center Tel: 2290-1677 Fax: 2290 1688



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Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman


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Kaizen center 25716707


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Rheumatologists: Dr. Adel Al-Awadi

Dr Anil Thomas

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Internist, Chest & Heart DR.Mohammes Akkad

24555050 Ext 210

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


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

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

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


lifestyle G o s s i p


is ‘grandmother’ of Victoria’s Secret


says being a part of the televised show gives her the same kind of adrenaline rush as a performer. She explained: “It’s not like a normal catwalk show - it’s a real performance. I feel like I get to really show my real self, have fun, show a side of me that doesn’t always come out. “I am normally very quiet. But we are not pretending. All the girls feel the same - it makes us feel so special.” The stunning brunette also revealed the models are given unlimited access to the lingerie, as well as creative input into their catwalk outfits. Adriana said:”I’m very lucky because I can go into the store and get what I want ... I love push-up bras, they’re so sexy, so I always ask the designers for those.”

driana Lima feels like the “grandmother” of the Victoria’s Secret models. The 32-year-old Brazilian beauty is the brand’s longest-serving Angel, having walked in her first show for the lingerie giant aged 18, and feels protective towards the younger girls in the “family” of elite models who are handpicked to take part in Victoria’s Secret’s annual catwalk extravaganza. She joked to the Daily Telegraph newspaper: “I’m the grandmother of the family! Every year[the show] gets bigger and better. It’s a real family - we all watch the show played back to us at the end, in the pink room backstage, all the girls together. It is such an experience, we work so hard, so it feels great to watch it again.” Adriana, who has walked in a total of 13 shows, opened five, and been chosen to wear coveted Fantasy Bra twice,

Judge finalizes divorce of White, Elson


Nashville judge has finalized the divorce between Jack White and British model and singer Karen Elson. Court records show the final divorce agreement was signed by a judge on Nov 26. The agreement names Elson as the primary residential parent for the couple’s two children and White will get about 150 days with them. White also retained rights to all his musical businesses, including The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, Dead Weather and his record label, Third Man Records. Karen Elson married White in 2005 in Nashville, but Elson filed for divorce last year. Although the separation started off amicably, earlier this year Elson filed for a restraining order and accused White of threatening her, which White denied. A spokeswoman for White did not return email and telephone messages left Thursday.

Reality TV star Khloe Kardashian files for divorce from NBA’s Odom


eality television personality Khloe Kardashian has filed for divorce from her husband of four years, NBA basketball player Lamar Odom, capping months of reports that the couple’s relationship had turned rocky. Kardashian, 29, cited irreconcilable differences in seeking to end her marriage in court documents filed on Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Kardashian, a younger sister of the better-known TV celebrity Kim Kardashian, married Odom, 34, a former player for the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks, in September 2009 after a whirlwind romance. The wedding was featured on the E! channel reality show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” The couple have no children together. A representative for Kardashian declined to comment to Reuters on the court filing. The divorce filing comes after months of headlines in various tabloid media outlets about marital strains between the couple as Odom, an NBA free agent who does not belong to any team, has displayed increasingly erratic behavior in public. In August, the basketball player was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving on a Los Angeles highway. Neither Kardashian nor Odom has commented publicly on the status of their marriage. The divorce filing asks that the wife’s formal name be restored to Khloe Kardashian from Khloe Kardashian Odom.

Kate Moss new face of ELEVENPARIS

Koma appointed creative director at Thierry Mugler


he 39-year-old supermodel has been chosen by the French fashion label to head their Spring/Summer 2014 campaign, with the ready-to-wear label praising her edgy yet effortless style. Dan Cohen, co-founder of ELEVENPARIS, told MailOnline: “For us, Kate Moss was a natural choice to be the new face of the brand. “Her unique style and her own close relationships with the music industry perfectly sum up what we always try to convey through our collections.” ELEVENPARIS have previously cast other high profile names in their ads, including rockstar and actor Lenny Kravitz, the godfather of punk rock Iggy Pop, British model Daisy Lowe and Sky Ferreira, who has recently been named as the new face of Redken. This year alone, Kate has appeared on the cover of Playboy’s January 2014 issue, celebrating their 60th anniversary by posing nude in a racy editorial spread, has designed a collection for Carphone Warehouse and has also been involved in campaigns such as St Tropez ‘13, Versace A/W ‘13 and Rag and Bone S/S ‘13. Kate was presented with the Special Recognition Award for her illustrious career at this year’s British Fashion Awards ceremony and was heralded by Marc Jacobs as an “inspiration” to designers and stylists worldwide.

Olivia Wilde

pencils in her eyebrows


he 29-year-old star thinks eyebrows can change the look of your face and since she’s inherited “crazy pointy” brows she tends to pencil them in, a skill she has fine tuned over the years. She explained: “It’s easier for me than a powder. I’m so fast with a pencil now too. My eyebrows are so warped from years of abuse that I brush them to the side and then I pencil in the rest. “If I brush them up they look like crazy, pointy, devil horns. Everyone in my family has crazy pointy eyebrows. So I try to soften them and take them down a notch.” Olivia is “obsessed” with shaping her eyebrows and after spending years trying to imitate supermodel Kate Moss’ eyebrows she finally decided “wispy thin” brows don’t suit her. The ‘Rush’ actress told PEOPLE magazine: “It changes your face so much when you have your eyebrows filled in and softened. “I spent years trying to look like Kate Moss with wispy thin eyebrows, which was a horrible mistake and everyone told me not to do it. So now I’m obsessed.”


avid Koma has become Thierry Mugler’s new creative director. The designer has been chosen to replace Nicola Formichetti, who left the brand in April to work for Diesel, and will take up his new role in January before unveiling his first pre-collection in June. Virginie Courtin-Clarins, director of development, marketing and communications at Mugler, told WWD: “We want to write a new page for Mugler, putting it back on the map in the fashion business. We have the potential to modernise it and I think the potential is huge.” “We agreed that we wanted a real couturier. We feel we need to focus on the product, and that’s why we’re starting with the pre-collection. Georgia-born David has built a successful eponymous label since graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2009, and regularly dresses A-list stars like Beyonce, and it hoped the designer’s strong couture background will help rebrand the luxury label. Recalling his 12-year-old self recording a television programme about Mugler, he said: “I recorded it and watched it again and again. I was completely blown away. I think the style is very distinctive and very powerful.” David’s first catwalk show will take place at Paris Fashion Week in September 2014.

Blanchett splashed her first pay cheque on Armani


ate Blanchett spent her first pay cheque on an Armani suit. The ‘Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ star - who recently signed a $10 million contract to be the face of Armani’s Si fragrance - has confessed she blew her first ever job payment in the Armani men’s tailoring department. Cate told Canada’s ELLE magazine: “When I emerged from drama school with my very first pay cheque, I bought an Armani suit, which I still have - and still wear!” Aside from having a successful acting career, Cate is also highly recognized by many high fashion designers. So much so that Karl Lagerfeld created two bespoke Chanel Boucle jackets for Cate’s role in ‘Blue Jasmine’ with just two days notice. Despite this Cate remains modest, telling the publication: “I like the simplicity of what some people might find mundane: school lunches, cooking, walking the dog”. The 44-year-old blonde likes to take care of herself and prides herself on her consistent skincare routing. She told Marie Claire online: “Find a good multi-vitamin. And for me it’s also consistency. “Being an actress, you have a lot of different products on your skin, and that’s one thing for beauty, but for skincare, I find that the consistency has really paid off for me.” —Bang Showbiz



LIFESTYLE F e a t u r e s

Passing away: Key deaths of 2013

Paul Walker ome of the notable figures who have died in the year just ending:


January: Nagisa Oshima, Japanese filmmaker, directed “Furyo”, aged 80, on January 15. Andree Putman, internationally acclaimed French designer, aged 87, on January 19.

Nelson Mandela Robert Edwards, British scientist, Nobel laureate for work on developing in vitro fertilisation (IVF), aged 87, on April 10.

May: General Jorge Videla, Argentinian dictator at the height of its “Dirty War” against leftist activists, aged 87 in prison, on May 17. Ray Manzarek, co-founder of legendary 1960s group The Doors and creator of their signature organ sound, aged 74 from cancer, on May 20.



Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan president, aged 58 from cancer, on March 5. Ieng Sary, Cambodian Khmer Rouge co-founder who was on trial for genocide and war crimes, aged 87, on March 14. Zillur Rahman, Bangladesh president, aged 84, on March 20. Boris Berezovsky, exiled Russian oligarch and Kremlin critic, in London aged 67 of hanging, on March 24.

Esther Williams, US swimming champion and Hollywood star, aged 91, on June 6. Fatai Rolling Dollar, Nigerian musician, aged 86, on June 12. Jiroemon Kimura, world’s oldest person and the oldest male ever known to have lived, aged 116, on June 12. Marc Rich, controversial founder of Swiss commodities giant Glencore, aged 78, on June 26.



Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female prime minister known as the “Iron Lady”, aged 87, on April 8.

Douglas Engelbart, US engineer who invented the computer mouse, aged 88, on July 2.

Margaret Thatcher

Fatai Rolling Dollar

Ray Manzarek

Hugo Chavez JJ Cale, US singer-songwriter whose music was covered by Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Johnny Cash, aged 74, on July 26. Berthold Beitz, patriarch of German industrial giant ThyssenKrupp, who saved hundreds of Jews from Nazi persecution, aged 99, on July 30.

August: Laszlo Csatari, most wanted Nazi war criminal, aged 98, on August 10. Dutch Prince Johan Friso, who regained only minimal consciousness after being buried in an avalanche in February 2012, aged 44, on August 12. Seamus Heaney, celebrated Irish poet and Nobel laureate, aged 74, on August 30.

September: David Frost, British TV giant, aged 74 of a heart attack on board the Queen Elizabeth cruise liner, on September 2. Ray Dolby, pioneered noise-reducing and surround-sound audio technologies, aged 80, on September 12.


November: Doris Lessing, British author and Nobel laureate, aged 94, on November 17. Frederic Sanger, British biochemist, double Nobel laureate, aged 95, on November 19. Paul Walker, American actor, aged 40 in a car accident, on November 30.

December : Nelson Mandela, apartheid icon, Nobel laureate and South African president, aged 95, on December 5.—AFP

Tom Clancy, best-selling author of spy novels, aged 66, on ctober 1.

Lou Reed

Seamus Heaney

Esther Williams

Manna Dey

Vo Nguyen Giap, Vietnamese general who defeated French and US forces, aged 102, on October 4. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of Israel’s Sephardic Jewish community, aged 93, on October 7. Erich Priebke, Nazi war criminal, aged 100, on October 11. Manna Dey, legendary Bollywood singer, aged 94, on October 24. Lou Reed, US singer-songwriter, aged 71 of complications following liver surgery, on October 27.

Jiroemon Kimura

Robert Edwards

Boris Berezovsky

Nagisa Oshima

Andree Putman

Zillur Rahman


lifestyle M u s i c


M o v i e s

Singer Austin Mahone performs at Z100’s Jingle Ball 2013, presented by Aeropostale, at Madison Square Garden on Friday. —AP photos

Singer Ariana Grande

Miley Cyrus, Macklemore perform at Jingle Ball


iley Cyrus headlined the annual Jingle Ball concert at Madison Square Garden, performing her hits “Wrecking Ball” and “We Can’t Stop.” Lindsay Lohan introduced the singer Friday night, saying she loves that Cyrus is being “herself.” Wild child Cyrus sang onstage in a

Actress Lindsay Lohan introduces Miley Cyrus on stage.

shimmery red ensemble resembling a Christmas ornament. Other performers included Selena Gomez, Enrique Iglesias and Robin Thicke, who asked the crowd: “I wonder who Miley Cyrus will twerk on tonight?” Ariana Grande shined as she belted songs such as “The Way” and

“Honeymoon Avenue” in Mariah Carey form. Girl group Fifth Harmony also impressed vocally, while Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Pitbull ignited the crowd during their high energy sets. Paramore, Jason Derulo, Fall Out Boy and Austin Mahone also performed. —AP

Miley Cyrus attends Z100’s Jingle Ball.

Singer Enrique Iglesias

Pitbull performs at Z100’s Jingle Ball 2013.

Singer Hayley Williams and her band Paramore

binge TV viewers feel no shame

Hollywood picks up 1970s pickup classic



ollywood has picked up “How to Pick Up Girls!”-the men’s paperback self-help classic from the 1970s that went on to become a sacred text of the Internet-driven “seduction community.” In a statement Friday, Los Angeles sales and distribution house The Exchange said it has optioned Eric Weber’s book with the goal of producing a feature film. Weber, a writer and director who scripted a 1978 TV movie version of his bestseller, will develop the project as an executive producer. No director has yet been selected. “The pill, the (Rolling) Stones-a lot was new in New York when I started interviewing women for ‘How to Pick Up Girls!’” said Weber in the statement. “Plenty has changed since then, but just as much has stayed remarkably the same. It’s going to be a lot of fun showing that on screen.” Published in 1970 with more than three million copies in print, “How to Pick Up Girls!” promised shy and hapless men “the pick-up system no girl can resist” using such compelling opening lines as “Are you French?” and “Didn’t I meet you in Istanbul?” In recent years, it found a new audience among self-described “pickup artists,” who swap advice on online forums known collectively as the “seduction community” and documented in the 2005 best-seller “The Game” by journalist Neil Strauss. A concept trailer for “How to Pick Up Girls!” posted on a year ago starred Weber explaining the ropes to his lovelorn twenty-something son, only to upstage him when a younger women enters the picture. A one-time New York advertising copywriter, Weber once claimed the best pickup line of all was: “I’m writing a book on picking up and I’d like to ask you a few questions.” —AFP

Concert goers enjoy Z100’s Jingle Ball 2013, presented by Aeropostale, at Madison Square Garden.

Singer Robin Thicke

Singer Selena Gomez

he majority of people who watch television online say they regularly indulge in bingewatching, and they feel no shame about it, according to a survey released Friday. Market research firm Harris Interactive quizzed 1,500 US adults who stream TV shows online at least once a week about their viewing habits, and the results confirmed a trend toward watching multiple episodes of a given show in one sitting. The survey was sponsored by on-demand streaming service Netflix. Sixty-one percent said they regularly indulged in binge viewing, which nearly three in four respondents defined as watching two to six episodes at a time. Seventy-three percent said they had positive feelings about binge viewing, and 51 percent said they prefer doing so with other people. “The couch potato has awoken,” cultural anthropologist Grant McCracken said in a statement. “Binge watching has really taken off due to a perfect storm of better TV, our current economic climate and the digital explosion of the last few years.” Netflix delighted binge viewers in February, when it dropped all 13 episodes of the first season of its Emmy-nominated political drama “House of Cards” in one fell swoop. Rivals took the cue, with inaugurating its foray into original programming, the comedy “Alpha House” starring John Goodman, with the simultaneous release of its first three episodes on its video streaming service. —AFP



‘Spider-Man’ Universe: Kurtzman to direct ‘Venom,’ Goddard to write ‘Sinister Six’


ony Pictures Entertainment, in association with Marvel Entertainment, is expanding its blockbuster “Spider-Man” franchise with new projects including “Venom” and “The Sinister Six,” the studio announced Thursday night via Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Ed Solomon will write “Venom,” which Kurtzman will direct, while Drew Goddard will write “The Sinister Six” with an eye to direct the film, which focuses on the villains in Peter Parker’s universe. The character Venom debuted in Sam Raimi’s “SpiderMan 3,” where he was played by Topher Grace. Meanwhile, Kurtzman, Orci and Jeff Pinkner will write “The Amazing Spider-Man 3,” which Sony hopes Marc Webb will return to direct. The studio plans to start production next fall in advance of a June 10, 2016 release. A


fourth “Amazing Spider-Man” movie will hit theaters on May 4, 2018. Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach will produce the films, which will continue to build on the cinematic foundation established in the first two “Amazing Spider-Man” movies. Hannah Minghella and Rachel O’Connor will oversee the development and production of the films for the studio. Kurtzman, Orci, Pinkner, Solomon and Goddard join Arad, Tolmach and Webb as members of the franchise’s brain trust, which will maintain the brand and develop a consistent tone throughout the “SpiderMan” universe. “The Spider-Man film franchise is one of our studio’s greatest assets. We are thrilled with the creative team we have assembled to delve more deeply into the world

that Marc, Avi and Matt have begun to explore in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ and ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2.’ We believe that Marc, Alex, and Drew have the uniquely exciting visions for how to expand the Spider-Man universe in each of these upcoming films,” said Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad. Goddard recently signed on to write and direct the pilot for Marvel’s Netflix series “Daredevil,” while Solomon co-wrote the surprise hit “Now You See Me.” Universe building is all the rage amongst studios these days, with Joss Whedon overseeing Marvel’s cinematic universe for Disney and Simon Kinberg shepherding the “X-Men” franchise for 20th Century Fox. Warner Bros is working closely with screenwriter David Goyer on its DC Comics properties. —Reuters

ames Franco is set to star in “The Fixer,” an indie drama that Franco’s frequent collaborator Ian Olds will direct from a script he co-wrote with Paul Felten, TheWrap has learned. The project is inspired by Olds’ work with “fixers” individuals hired by foreign journalists to facilitate, translate and gain access for their stories. Olds directed the 2009 documentary “Fixer: The Taking of Ajmal Naqshbandi,” for which he won the Best New Documentary Filmmaker award at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival. Caroline von Kuhn (“Like the Water”) of ACE Productions will produce with Vince Jolivette of Franco’s Rabbit Bandini banner. The feature film follows Osman, an Afghan journalist exiled from his wartorn country to a small bohemian community in Northern California. When he attempts to turn his menial job on the local police blotter into “Afghan-style” coverage of local crime, he gets drawn into the backwoods of this small town - a shadow Northern California where sex is casual, true friendship is hard to come by and an unfamiliar form of violence lurks all around. Franco will play one of the leads - an unstable hot-tub craftsman named Lindsay, who is at the crux of

Osman’s journey. Producers expect to start production in July in Northern California, where 90% of the script takes place. “The Fixer” may also shoot in


prise visit to Eileen’s daughter Lacey (Tika Sumpter), since Lacey told pushy, meddling Eileen she’d be too busy to come home for Christmas. Waiting for them in Alabama is a big bag of

Christmas Jubilee, until Lacey’s ex-boyfriend Oliver (JR Lemon) offers a sponsorship possibility that’s got more than one string attached. And Lacey’s got a sensitive, intelligent student (Noah Urrea) who’s being bullied by classmates and

plot: Lacey has secretly married agri-scientist Conner (Eric Lively) but is too worried about Eileen’s fragile health to tell her that she married a white man. The small town where Lacey works as a teacher can’t afford to put on the annual

pushed around by his mean redneck daddy (Chad Michael Murray). Perry doesn’t seem any more interested in the story than his audience is, since all the problems get clumsily tied up in the last five minutes

he trailers for “A Madea Christmas” promise the sight of the tough-talking, no-nonsense protagonist working as a shopping mall Mrs. Santa and shooting down the dreams of bratty kids. That never happens in the movie, alas, but the sight of Madea in a fake North Pole makes me want to share my own Christmas wish: I want Madea to have her own “Duck Soup.” Fans of the Marx Brothers fondly remember that 1933 comedy as the group’s finest and funniest, and one of the reasons it’s so great is because it’s the most unfiltered vehicle for Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo. There’s no ingÈnue, no love story, no non-comedic musical numbers, just 68 minutes of pure, anarchic brilliance. Madea is no Groucho Marx, granted, but if writer-director Tyler Perry would just let this ribald, outrageous sassy grandma loose for 90 minutes, he’d have a comedy triumph on his hands. Instead, with “A Madea Christmas,” we get sporadic (but hearty) hilarity from Madea’s interactions with those around her, zippy moments that are weighed down by yet another sappy and melodramatic Perry screenplay. Madea (Perry) takes a job in an Atlanta department store to earn extra Christmas cash, but her not-having-it attitude with customers quickly gets her fired. Friend and coworker Eileen (Anna Maria Horsford) recruits Madea to join her on a holiday trip to Alabama for a sur-

Morocco, which would stand in for Afghanistan. In a bid for authenticity, the filmmakers intend to cast an Afghan or Afghan-

James Franco

American as Osman, and they’re open to casting non-actors as well as professionals. The project received a development grant from the San Francisco Film Society, so Olds and von Kuhn will head to the Bay Area, Fremont and other NorCal areas with large Afghan-American populations in February. Golden Globe nominee Barkhad Abdi was discovered in a similar casting call for “Captain Phillips” in Minneapolis, which boasts a large Somali population. Olds served as the editor of Franco’s adaptation of “As I Lay Dying” and his SNL documentary “Saturday Night.” He also edited the Franco-produced documentary “Kink” and co-directed the documentary “Francophrenia” with Franco. Franco currently stars opposite Jason Statham in “Homefront,” and he’ll soon be seen in Paul Haggis’ romantic drama “Third Person.” Franco, who earned an Oscar nomination for his performance in “127 Hours,” is currently filming Sony’s comedy “The Interview” with Seth Rogen. The “Spring Breakers” star was recently named Best Supporting Actor by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association along with Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”). Franco is represented by CAA, while Olds is repped by WME. —Reuters

in ways that defy all logic. (Solution to bullying? Punch them in the face. Solution to evil corporations? Promise something on their behalf on a TV microphone, and they’ll be honor-bound to comply.) But you can’t have “A Madea Christmas” without Madea, and she’s the reason to see the film. Perry seemed to be holding his nose and trudging through the disappointing “Madea’s Witness Protection,” but this time Madea has her groove back, and she’s a riot. Wisely, Perry has brought in Larry the Cable Guy - who’s basically the white male version of Madea - as a comic foil, and the two of them volley entertainingly, as does Kathy Najimy as Conner’s good-ol’-gal mom. The three of them are clearly improvising like mad, and visibly having a great time doing so. Perry seemingly fears losing the core audience of church ladies who originally put him on the map, but he’s not serving them well by throwing them these warmed-over homilies. (There’s a subplot about the town being forced to take all references to Jesus out of the Christmas play, but the script winds up ignoring this bump in the road rather than resolving it.) If he had just given us Madea unleashed on shoppers, Madea substitute-teaching and then Madea shticking it up with Najimy and Mr The Cable Guy, his fans would give a much heartier “Amen” to “A Madea Christmas.” —Reuters

Why ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ took 20 years to hit the big screen C

raig Borten can rattle off the major actors and directors who were supposed to make “Dallas Buyers Club” like a gathering of old friends. Dennis Hopper agreed to direct it at one point. Woody Harrelson was going to star. Brad Pitt was attached when the project moved to Universal. Ryan Gosling’s name weaseled its way in at some point. But for two decades, every time the writer thought his movie was going to get made, somebody got cold feet. It’s not hard to see why - a drama about a man dying of AIDS was never an easy sell to financiers. Borten’s road to “Dallas” began when a girl he was dating showed him an article about the international gray market of the early 1990s, when people with AIDS were desperate for alternatives to AZT, the drug most doctors were hawking to combat HIV. The article mentioned several people who offered unapproved medicines through “buyers clubs.” One of them was a Dallas electrician named Ron Woodroof. “He was this cowboy,” Borten told TheWrap. “A brash guy who would try anything on himself. He was his own guinea pig.” Woodroof’s story struck a chord with Borten, who had lost a father and stepfather to cancer. “I had seen them go through similar things in terms of coldness of doctors,” he said. “They were both looking at and thinking about seeking out alternative treatments in Mexico.” Borten, an actor with no writing credits under his belt, began corresponding with Woodroof, trying to persuade him that the story merited a movie. In 1992, Woodroof consented and, before his death in September, sat for interviews with Borten. Borten wrote the script, began pitching it and experienced a decade of starts, stops and rejections before turning to screenwriter Melisa Wallack (“Mirror Mirror”), whom he’d met through a

mutual friend. “I was tired. I needed another eye, and she’s an incredible writer. She helped elevate everything I’d started.” Wallack’s first suggestion was that Borten lighten up a bit. “There had to be this other side to dealing drugs,” Wallack, near right, told TheWrap. “Ron had this personality that was so incredible. The funny moments in the script are from what he really would say.” Together, the writers came up with Rayon, a transgen-

This image released by Focus Features shows Jared Leto as Rayon in a scene from “Dallas Buyers Club.” —AP der character that was an amalgam of various people they’d met and read about. “There was no better way to put [Ron’s] homophobia in place than to have him face a transgender person.” Borten said. “We had so much fun with this relationship.” Eventually, Jared Leto, who’d put his acting career on hold to play in the rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars, broke his six-year hiatus to portray Rayon. The vividly drawn character came alive in Leto’s

hands. Wallack’s and Borten’s revised script lured Universal and Pitt, but it would be several more years before Universal’s subsidiary Focus Features would acquire the rights to release the film. By that point, it had a different leading man: Matthew McConaughey, in the middle of a career renaissance. But even that hadn’t come easy: McConaughey had kept Borten and Wallack’s script on his desk for 10 years before taking on a part he was born for: a charming, womanizing, homophobic Texan turned advocate for those with AIDS. Once signed, the actor spent months researching Woodroof with director Jean- Marc VallÈe. Like Leto, he shed close to 40 pounds for the part, leaving him a gaunt shadow of his typically muscular self. But as McConaughey and Leto transformed their bodies to prepare, Borten, Wallack and producer Robbie Brenner found themselves staring death in the face one more time. With production three weeks away, and with two emaciated lead actors, the financing dropped out. “The money was not in the bank for the first 10 or 11 days,” Borten said. “We were self-financing it.” Brenner called McConaughey and asked him if he would be comfortable postponing until the spring. Wallack recalled his response: “It’s a moving train; get on it.” “That’s why it got made,” Borten said. “Matthew said, ‘We’re not pushing anything.’ It was either put Matthew on a feeding tube or finance the story.” Truth Entertainment and Voltage Pictures finally stepped in, and the filmmakers ended up making “Dallas Buyers Club” for about $3.5 million, less than half of what they initially expected. “The scope had to be different,” Wallack said. Instead of portraying a grander tableau, “It was tied close to Ron Woodroof.” —Reuters

A participant at the New York ComicCon 2009, walks past a giant Spider-Man poster in New York in this February 6, 2009 file photo. —AFP

Peter Jackson stands by 48 frames-per-second


as Peter Jackson reflected on the massive chunk of his life that he’s devoted to Hobbits? “You’re not going to make me are you?” he winces. “It’s a long time. A long time.” The 52-year-old New Zealand director still has another movie to go, so he can be forgiven for not wanting to ponder too deeply the 16 years he’s already spent in the service of J.R.R. Tolkien. The latest installment, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” is his fifth Tolkien film (part two in the three movie “Hobbit” prequel to the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy) and approximately hour 84 in the Middle-earth saga. That may be a slight overestimate, but in any case, it’s been a lot of Orcs. The journey has largely been a smooth one. Each “Lord of the Rings” film was received rapturously, averaging about $1 billion a pop, and the trilogy culminated in the Oscar steamrolling of “The Return of the King.” But when Jackson turned his attention to Tolkien’s first book, “The Hobbit,” things got bumpier. He and New Line feuded over merchandising revenue from “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” was held up. Initially, Jackson was to executive produce with Guillermo del Toro directing a two-film adaptation, but after delays raged on, del Toro dropped out and Jackson returned to the director’s chair. When Jackson and Warner Bros. opted to make “The Hobbit” three films, a feeling of Hobbit overdose - and claims of overreaching - began to surround the project. The first film didn’t enjoy nearly as warm a response from critics or filmgoers. “An Unexpected Journey” made another $1 billion, but it was derided for its lengthy running time (182 minutes), its prolonged introduction of characters and its innovative use of 48 frames-per-second, double the industry standard. Jackson had already broken new ground with technical effects like the motion-capture technique used to create the hobbit mutant Gollum, and he hailed the higher frame rate as the future of filmmaking - a sharper image that could attract moviegoers like 3-D had. But the 48 fps wasn’t well received. Critics said the film seemed overamplified and that the increased clarity yielded a discombobulating hyper-realism that contrasted poorly with the set design. With “The Desolation of Smaug,” Jackson hopes to be righting the “Hobbit” ship. But he’s resolutely sticking with 48 fps as the definitive way to see the movie: “It’s by far the best way to see it,” he says. Yet Jackson and Warner Bros. have declined to show film critics Jackson’s preferred version, instead only screening in advance the film in 24 frames-per-second. “I was part of that decision,” says Jackson. “We did feel that last year, we split focus in a way. People were reviewing the frame rate as well as reviewing the movie. I felt the technology dominated.” The director, though, says he’s also worked to improve how the higher frame rate feels. “I spent a lot of time in the color-grading room really putting my head into how we make the 48 not have a video feel,” says Jackson. “Some of the criticism of the 48 frames was not actually to do with the frame rate per se, which is just making it easier on your eyes, reducing motion blur. It was to do with the fact that it felt like TV, like soap opera.” Moviegoers will get to choose. They can see “Desolation of Smaug” in 24 or 48, as well as in 3-D. Warner Bros. is increasing the number of theaters showing the film in 48 fps: 750 theaters, up from 450 on the first “Hobbit” movie. Internationally, it will play in 2,500 theaters, an increase of more than 800 screens. The film, meanwhile, is finding much better reviews. Along with Benedict Cumberbatch’s titular dragon created with motion-capture, Jackson has added a notable new character to Tolkien’s tale. Evangeline Lilly plays the female elf, Tauriel, who’s the fighting equal of Orlando Bloom’s Legolas. “It honestly was a cold-blooded decision to write a good, strong female role because there aren’t any,” says Jackson. Earlier this year while shooting pickups from the original shooting of “Desolation of Smaug,” Jackson also wrapped up leftover production for the third film, “There and Back Again,” to be released next December. His time with Tolkien is finally coming to an end. But Jackson’s life is fully entwined with the films. He makes them with his wife and creative partner Fran Walsh. Their pugs make a cameo in “Smaug.” Jackson, too, has regularly made appearances in the films. Since the timeline is about 60 years earlier in the “Hobbit” movies, he says his briefly glimpsed character in “Smaug” is the grandfather of his “Rings” cameo. “I care so much about my cameo, I even map all the connections between the films,” he laughs. “It’s just silly fun.” —AP

Peter Jackson

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Revelers dressed as Santa Claus warm up before a “mini-marathon” in Madrid, Spain yesterday. —AP

6,000 people dressed as Santa Claus run in Spain


round 6,000 people dressed as Santa Claus and his elves ran a “mini-marathon” through the streets of Madrid to promote festive cheer as the country tries to emerge from a two-year recession. While grown-ups dressed in red costumes with wispy white beards, children donned green elf outfits to run the 5.5 kilometer (3.4 miles) course through the city center. The race was organized yesterday by one of Spain’s leading department stores and it contributed 1 euro ($1.34) for each entrant to a charity that buys Christmas presents for deprived children around the world. Javier Menendez, one of the runners, said he was surprised at the number of people who have donned the robes for the run. —AP

5 free things to see and do around Little Rock

This image provided by the Arkansas Department of Tourism shows Pinnacle Mountain, which rises more than 1,000 feet above the Arkansas River Valley, providing hikers with spectacular views. —AP photos

rkansas is nicknamed the Natural State, and its capital lives up to the moniker. There are plenty of ways for people to experience the great outdoors in and around Little Rock. Plus, many of them are free.


Little Rock lies the Old Mill, which appeared in the opening scenes of the film “Gone with the Wind.” The Old Mill was built in 1933 as a replica of a water-powered mill from the 1800s. These days, the scenic spot is used for picnics and photo shoots.

Armadillos and rocks Want to see Little Rock’s namesake geological formation and maybe an armadillo? Slip on some walking shoes and head to the trails that saddle up to the Arkansas River. The trail system loops by The Little Rock and Bill Clinton’s presidential center in downtown Little Rock. Farther west, walkers, runners and cyclists can pass the aptly named Big Dam Bridge and spot armadillos in Two Rivers Park. Think of Boston’s Charles River Esplanade with a touch of Southern charm (and a slightly different accent).

Clinton’s old stomping grounds Arkansas is perhaps best known as Bill Clinton’s home state, so no list of tourist attractions would be complete without something related to the 42nd president. Clinton’s presidential center charges admission on all but a few days, but the governor’s mansion, where he and Hillary lived for years in Arkansas, is free. The mansion offers public tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but you’ll need to call ahead to schedule one. —AP

Climb every mountain - or just one Pinnacle Mountain rises more than 1,000 feet (300 meters) above the Arkansas River Valley, and it provides hikers with a spectacular view of the surrounding area. The park has a few trails, including 1.5-mile (2.4-kilometer) summit trails on the east and west sides of the mountain. But those trails get a bit steep toward the top, so the fainter of heart may prefer hiking around the base of the mountain. . Historic high school Arkansas has beautiful scenery, but it also has a history of ugly episodes in race relations. In 1957, Little Rock became the symbol of state resistance to school desegregation. Arkansas’ governor and hundreds of protesters tried to stop nine black students known as the Little Rock Nine from entering Central High School. Things got so bad that the students needed the protection of federal troops to integrate the previously all-white school. Today, the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site visitor center features a permanent exhibit on the desegregation crisis.

This Sept 10, 2012 file photo shows the exterior of Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Ark.

File photo shows the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion is shown in Little Rock, Ark, where Bill and Hillary Clinton lived before he became president.

As seen in ‘gone with the wind’ The Little Rock area is no Hollywood, but it does have a bit of cinematic history. Across the river from Little Rock in North

This April 5, 2010 file photo shows a couple strolling past The Old Mill in North Little Rock, Ark.

15th Dec 2013  
15th Dec 2013  

Kuwait Times