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Helping Kuwait’s abandoned children


Knights knock off Bears in Fiesta Bowl




Pilot lands plane on India highway

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Kuwait’s Secret Garden PAGES 4 & 5

Local FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

Mohammed Al-Waladah

Nafis or Nayif with a visitor

Yasser Al-Farwaniya

Kuwait’s abandoned children Another class of bedoons growing up in local hospitals The Kuwait law does not offer a solution for children who are abandoned in Kuwait but whose parents and/or nationality are known. By Jamie Etheridge


here are several abandoned children in Kuwait who live in hospitals in Kuwait. During a visit to the Kuwait Times office yesterday, local activist Bibi Al-Ayoub, spoke about five children she has personally visited and hopes to help. The first is a child known as Mohammed Al-Waladah who was born in 2008 or 2009 in a maternity hospital to an Indonesian mother. His mother was dumped at the Amiri hospital, badly beaten. During her treatment, they discovered that she was seven months pregnant. Mohammed’s mother died 10 days after giving birth. His father identified as an Indian driver, who worked for the same family, was jailed and then later deported. Only after Al-Ayoub raised his case on social media did the government, working in concert with the Indonesian embassy in Kuwait, send him to an orphanage in Indonesia. The second case is a child of an Ethiopian mother, known as Yasser Al-Farwaniya. He lived in Farwaniya hospital in a shared room in the pediatric ward since birth until about three-andhalf to four years old. He was transferred to Kuwait orphanage on Thursday, December 26. The mother escaped from the hospital the day after giving birth and has not been heard from

The sign in Arabic reads: It is not allowed to visit or give any gifts to children whose identity is unknown in the second ward until after seeing the head of the pediatrics department. Those who do not comply will be legally responsible. Thank you, Dr Iman Mubarak Al-Enaizi, Head of Pediatrics Specialized Department, Al-Sabah Hospital. — All photos courtesy of Bibi Al-Ayoub

ever since. Though she gave the number and name of a Syrian man, when authorities called him, the man denied being the father and has refused to visit the child. A third baby, Nafis was living in Al-Sabah hospital. This baby was found abandoned in a supermarket in Kuwait. He has lived in the hospital from one-and-a-half years until he was three or four years old. Then along with Yasser, he was transferred to the Kuwait Orphanage on Dec 26. Now there are two children as of today who still live in Kuwait hospitals. The first is Abdulrahman, a six-month-old Kuwaiti baby who lives in Farwaniya hospital. The legal status of the child is unclear. The parents were married by a temporary contract and the contract was ripped up. Till now the father has not claimed the child and the mother’s family is unable to take the baby home. The baby is living in the premature babies’ department. A fifth child, another Kuwaiti baby, is known as Jory. She is almost two years old and has been living in Jahra hospital since birth. She lives in a shared room and receives visitors but it’s unclear what has happened to her parents. The Kuwait law does not permit children who are abandoned in Kuwait but whose parents and/or nationality are known, into the state orphanage. They cannot travel, go to school or even open medical files as they have no official papers. They are in effect another class of bedoons in Kuwait. Deeply touched by their plight, Al-Ayoub is now working to set up a shelter for the abandoned children of Kuwait. If you have any information about abandoned children in the hospitals in Kuwait or you would like to help, please What’s App Ms Al-Ayoub at 9922-7111.

Growing up in a hospital without parental love and affection can have a range of negative affects including emotional, social and psychological. Photo shows living conditions of Nafis (now called Nayif) and Mohammed who lived from infancy in the hospital.

Available at The Sultan Centre & Carrefour

Local FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

Kuwait’s Secret Garden

By Hussain Al Qatari


hat can you do with a few discarded car tires, some rope, seedlings and a small patch of abandoned dirt? More than you would imagine if you are like local entrepreneur and gardening enthusiast Mimi Al-Nisef. Together with a group of likeminded neighbors, Al-Nisef took an abandoned plot of land that was once a small park but that had long fallen into dereliction and disrepair. “It was very dirty, and no one sat there despite the fact that it’s a beautiful park and is very convenient for the residents around it,” said Al-Nisef. Thanks to a lot of hard work by the volunteers and a generous donation from Kuwait Healthy Living, a non-profit health advocacy organization, the park is now clean and tidy. There are shade trees, benches and a tire swing for

the kids. Residents and volunteers have also planted trees, vegetables, herbs and other plants in brightly painted tires and turned what was once an eyesore into a tiny oasis in the middle of Salmiya. The Secret Garden Project, as it’s known, is among a growing list of local initiatives to help beautify and green Kuwait. Several community activists groups have sprung up in the last few years to encourage collective efforts to clean up Kuwait’s local community parks and public spaces. The MantaqaME (also QortubaME, FaihaME, SurraMe, etc.) projects have seen volunteers repaint, plant and clean up local parks in Kuwaiti neighborhoods. In Rumaithiya, volunteers cleaned up and repainted the tunnel connecting Jabriya near the New English School to Rumaithiya. Other community groups like Let’s Draw Kuwait, Give Hope, or Save AlSawaber focus on garnering community support or involvement for charity, art or to help save historic

Local FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

The aim is to encourage people living in Kuwait to get involved in planting and watering plants.

Kuwaiti landmarks. The idea for the Secret Garden project grew out of Al-Nisef’s own love of gardening. “Everything grew very slowly and organically. My mother and I started this on our own, and then some neighbors joined us. We got the kids involved too in painting and cleaning up,” Al-Nisef explained. “The park now serves as a weekly picnic destination for the residents of the neighborhood.” Still in its infant stage, the Secret Garden includes a variety of veggies and herbs like tomatoes, kale, lettuce and rocket leaves, with little signs of each plant’s caretaker. An ambitious resident even planted an avocado tree and is taking care of it. The goals of the project are simple: to start a community garden funded and maintained completely by the residents. “We didn’t want to make this a project that involves people other than the residents. It’s not an exclusionist policy, but we wanted to make sure that the people are actually going to sustain the park and look after the plants.” Growing food is not a main objective, explains Al-Nisef, who also is the founder and organizer of the nomadic weekly pop up farmer’s market, Shakshooka Market. Instead, the aim is to encourage people living in Kuwait to get involved in planting and watering plants. “If something edible grows, then that’s great. But we care more about how the children are planting seeds and coming back the following week to see that they have sprouted and a plant has started to shoot from the soil,” she explains. Mimi hopes that people will take similar initiatives in their own neighborhoods around Kuwait. “I don’t want to be responsible for secret gardens around Kuwait. I want people to take such initiatives on themselves,” she says. Located off Baghdad Street, the Secret Garden is a community project and open to the residents of neighboring apartment buildings who want to cultivate plants but lack space to do so.

es, i c a m phar t a e l res b o a l t i s a e v n A d fi n a s p co-o


Local FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

Deer seen at the Kuwait Zoo


A lone giraffe in its enclosure

on the

By Bader Khaled



was shocked to learn recently that the Kuwait Zoo would be selling off its overstock of animals including peacocks, ponies, reindeer and love birds. I have never before heard of a zoo selling animals due to overpopulation. Typically, zoos will use a variety of methods to control overpopulation including separating males and females of the same species, birth control, sterilization and in some cases euthanasia. A failure to control the population of any species suggests not a lack of necessary space but a failure of appropriate wildlife management and care. The Kuwait Zoo is controversial for a variety of reasons - least of which is the 210 pygmy goats or 180 Java Starlings among the 629 animals it recently offered up for sale. Any visitor to the zoo can see the sad state of disrepair that many of the cages are in. Signs throughout the zoo are posted to show animals that died due to being feed plastic bags, waste or other random items by visitors. Cages are often ill

A peacock

Children feed animals in the Zoo —Photos by Joseph Shagra

maintained, the grassy lawn littered with debris and the animals lethargic and in many cases in enclosures too small, too overcrowded or quite simply inappropriate for their proper maintenance and a healthy life style. That being said, I still advocate visiting the zoo and taking your children there. During the cooler winter and spring months, the zoo is a perfect destination for a weekend jaunt. Its large, open grounds provide an opportunity for the children to run and play and spend time outside, the zoo trolley is a fun 10-15 minute ride through the grounds (though the driving can be a bit scary!) and the animals themselves need as much attention as we can give them. In fact, the more attention we can give the zoo, the more hope it has of being improved. Imagine if Kuwait were to invite international dignitaries and instead of taking them on a tour of the Scientific Center, they walked with them to see the hippos or the elephants? What would foreign diplomats think of Kuwait Zoo’s small camel enclosure or the poor state of the bear’s den? Each visitor to the zoo pays a nominal fee but

each fil helps raise funds for the care and feeding of the animals. The more visitors, then, will hopefully translate into better upkeep for the zoo itself. Also the more visitors, the more people that are likely to help promote the proper care of the zoo. In the 1990s, a study in the US showed that neighborhoods deteriorated faster and crime rose when they were neglected and not kept clean and tidy. But once you clean up a neighborhood, the crime rate drops and the quality of life improves. Essentially it’s a question of attention. If the community focused attention on a neighborhood and took care of it, it became a more beautiful, well cared for and safe place for all. Crime is not the issue with the Kuwait Zoo...but attention definitely is something it could use and hopefully positive attention, attendance and greater care will result in a cleaner, tidier and more quality experience for visitors and the animals as well.

Local FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

Baby ducklings crowded into cages alongside dyed baby chicks at the Friday Market. Chicks and baby ducklings are popular gifts for children and can be bought cheaply at the Friday Market in Al Rai. They are often colored with harmful dyes and many will not survive to adulthood due to lack of proper care. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Ex-boyfriend seeks KD3,000 for not to publish past photos Wife finds hubby with paramour in bed KUWAIT: A female citizen sought police help as her Lebanese boyfriend threatened to publish the pictures he took with her unless she pays him KD3,000. She admitted that she had a relation with the man but left him after she married someone else. She said she was shocked when her ex-boyfriend calling her years after being separated telling her that he had the pictures and he is ready to put them away if she pays him KD3,000. Detectives are investigating the case.

handed him over to police. A security source said that the house owner in Jahra area told police that he caught the man who trespassed into his house under the influence of drugs. The police went to the house and arrested the suspect who said that he broke into the house in an attempt to speak with the neighbors’ daughter claiming that she is his friend and wanted to celebrate new year with her.

Citizen held for forgery Farwaniya detectives arrested a citizen who forged several powers of attorney and used them to sell real estate properties of citizens without their knowledge. He was found to be an ex-convict who was terminated from service centers. He was arrested six years ago for a similar offence. A security source said that following the arrest of an Arab expatriate involved with a gang that sells real estate through forgery, it was found that seven citizens were affected by this action. They were conned by a citizen after they put their houses up for sale. The source said detectives arrested the suspect in 2007 on fraud and swindling charges and was released from jail a year ago. He said that he monitors ads in papers about selling houses and then uses stamps of retired employees at the justice ministry to make powers of attorney for the swindled people. He said he was able to forge a company with a capital of KD15 million. Investigations are going on.

Reckless act A reckless man followed four girls in a Farwaniya mall and trapped them in an elevator to force them to take his number. When they refused he caressed their bodies before escaping. A security source said police operations received a call about the incident and the girls told what happened. When the mothers of the girls arrived they refused to press charges in fear of repercussions. — Al-Rai

Wife finds husband with paramour A citizen who returned to her house found a woman with her husband in an intimate situation in bed. A security source said the wife told police that she took the opportunity of the new year to return to her husband following a dispute during which she stayed with her family. She wanted to surprise him with her return only to be shocked with her husband having the woman on her bed. The husband was charged with adultery and the police authorities are working on the case.

RIYADH: A Saudi court has sentenced a man convicted of defaming a Kuwaiti singer by accusing her on Twitter of adultery to three months in jail and 80 lashes, a news website reported yesterday. The Saudi national, apparently a fan of a rival pop star, was sentenced for “accusing (Kuwaiti singer) Shams of adultery without providing proof,” the Saudi Sabq news website cited the verdict as saying. The ruling is based on Islamic sharia law which stipulates flogging for those who accuse others of having extra-marital sex without giving proof. The man was also jailed for three months and fined 10,000 riyals ($2,700), the news website said. Shams had filed a libel case against the man who owned a Twitter account titled in Arabic “the lawyer of Queen Ahlam,” another Gulf pop star. As well as accusing Shams of adultery, he posted fabricated photos depicting her in “obscene” situations, Sabq said, without elaborating. The microblogging website is hugely popular in Saudi Arabia, which is also one of the 10-most censored countries for media, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. Some 41 percent of internet users in the oil-rich kingdom use Twitter, a study published by the USbased Business Insider website found. — AFP

New Year revelers held An Ahmadi patrol arrested a citizen and his girlfriend while dancing in Fintas area and found them to be under the influence of alcohol. The patrol was on the lookout on new year’s eve when they spotted a car with the driver and his companion dancing inside with very loud music coming out. The two were celebrating and a locally made liquor bottle was found in the car. Trespasser arrested A drug addict jumped into his neighbors’ house to join their daughter in celebrating new year. He said that he had a relationship with her through the phone while the house owner caught him and

Saudi jailed for defaming Kuwaiti singer Shams


in brief

Educating children about environment KUWAIT: Kuwait Environment Protection Society has launched “the young environmentalist program,” designed to promote environmental education among the young citizens. Dr Adiba Al-Herban, member of the wild life protection department at the association, said in a statement yesterday that the program is aimed at educating school children about necessity of safeguarding the environment. The program, to be executed simultaneously with the broader “green schools” program, covers 70 schools and 3,000 students. Up to 16 specialized experts from the society will be involved in the educating activity. Students will be involved in diverse entertaining activities implying the message that protecting the Kuwaiti environment is a vital necessity. Gas pipeline leakage at normal levels: EPA KUWAIT: The leakage at one of Kuwait National Petroleum Company’s (KNPC) gas pipelines is within normal levels, said an official at the Environment Public Authority (EPA) here yesterday. EPA’s Deputy Director General for technical affairs, Mohammad AlEnizi, told KUNA that the authority’s team checked the location of the leakage and determined that it was within normal levels. However, the official called on campers near the site of the leakage to move their camp sites to other locations just as a precautionary measure. KPC’s Jan propane, butane gas prices KUWAIT: Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) announced in a press statement yesterday its January prices for Propane and Butane gas. Price of the metric ton of Propane is set at $1010 and Butane at $1020. Propane and Butane prices are affected by fluctuations of the crude oil market, and the value of the US dollar also weighs on pricing, along with geopolitical factors and natural disasters. The two gases are used in the petrochemical industry, in cooking, in heating, and other areas.

Local FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

KUWAIT: Desert camping is an old Kuwaiti tradition when citizens take a trip with their families and friends into the desert to escape the city and enjoy the countryside. — Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Demand to raise housing loans amid squabble Wealth disclosure issue hangs fire KUWAIT: As several members of parliament presented a list of the new year’s priorities such as increase of housing loans, children’s allowance, rents, education and health issues, they hope that the new cabinet will meet the MPs’ aspirations and reach a consensus on popular demands. MP Dr Ali Al-Omair asked the government to present alternatives that serve the same purpose if it wants to use them instead of a housing loan. He said that the government is required to ease the burden in the construction sector because KD70,000 loan is inadequate. Even the ownership of flats now costs

more than KD70,000, then how it is possible to build or buy a house, they ask. Al-Omair said if the government wants to present alternatives instead of agreeing to increase the loan value to KD 100,000, then we would say that the issue does not need any more postponement. Al-Omair said during the last meeting of the financial committee, a government memo was presented and linked the increase of the rent allowance with the rise of the rents and wondered whether the lack of increase of loan allowance did stop the rise in rents while it is not linked to the increase. He said it is hoped that the owners were renting out for the same

value of rent allowance, as it is noticed that rents have increased significantly. He said we previously proposed regulating rents, but the issue needs amendment to start with, either by supporting the youth and increase their salaries or through fighting the rise in rentals. Wealth disclosure Amidst constant demands that members of the Municipal Council, deputies of the director general and directors of municipality branches disclose their financial status, a municipality source said a secret committee was formed to make sure that council members do not own

Appeal to bring local actress home after heart attack in Thailand

Bid to smuggle in drugs foiled KUWAIT: Kuwait international Airport Customs officials foiled an attempt by an unknown person to smuggle in drugs. The drugs were hidden in two sweets and candy wrappers in an improvised way. A customs official source said the two parcels became suspicious as no one claimed them after arriving from Canada. When they opened them they found the candy wrappers and when they opened them they found illicit tablets and marijuana along with drugs paraphernalia. Investigations are underway. —Al-Anbaa

contracting companies. It added that a letter from a government body demanded that the issue be considered and that members should disclose their wealth. The source said this request may not be accepted by all members and those included in the request, and added that most municipal council members have their own private business so that this issue does not mean that they enter Kuwait municipality tenders. Council member Fahad Al-Sane said he is ready to disclose his financial position in case he was asked to do so, adding that he will be among the first to comply with it. — Al-Rai

A TV grab of Kuwaiti actress Shahad. (Inset) Shahad in a Thai hospital.

KUWAIT: Kuwaiti actors appealed to the government to bring local Kuwaiti actress Shahad home for medical treatment. The popular small screen star suffered a cardiac arrest while giving birth in Thailand, where she has been living for more than a year. Shahad received electric shocks and is now semi comatose and remains in the intensive care unit of the hospital in Thailand. Actor Ahmad Al-Salman said that he, along with many colleagues, wish Shahad a speedy recovery, and stressed that the health ministry must follow her case through the foreign treatment office. Shahad’s story was first brought up by actor Mahmoud Bushihri on Twitter as he appealed for all her fans to pray for her as her heart stopped while delivering the baby.


Israeli ex-PM Sharon slips closer to death


How ‘revolution’ restyles Egypt’s pop culture


Legal weed sales bring long lines to Colorado


BEIRUT: A Lebanese man carries an injured woman away from the site of a car bomb explosion in a Shiite area and stronghold of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah at the southern suburb of Beirut yesterday. — AP

Car bomb kills 5 in Hezbollah bastion Saudi hails arrest of Qaeda-linked suspect BEIRUT: A large car bomb killed five people and wounded at least 20 in a Hezbollah bastion in south Beirut yesterday, a health ministry source said. “According to an initial toll, five people have been killed and more than 20 injured,” the source said on condition of anonymity. Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television said: “The terrorist explosion targeted a densely populated residential area, just 150 to 200 meters (yards) away from Hezbollah’s political bureau.” The official National News Agency reported that the explosion was caused by an explosivespacked four-wheel-drive vehicle in the Haret Hreik neighborhood. The district is a symbolic one for Hezbollah, which once based many of its leadership institutions in the area. Much of the neighborhood was reduced to rubble during the massive Israeli air bombing that accompanied its 2006 war with Hezbollah, but it has since been rebuilt. QAEDA-LINKED SUSPECT Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has hailed Lebanon’s arrest of a Saudi who is the suspected leader of a group linked to Al-Qaeda, a pan-Arab daily yesterday quoted Riyadh’s ambassador to Beirut as saying. Majid Al-Majid is the suspected chief of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, which claimed it carried out a deadly November 19 double suicide bombing at Iran’s Beirut embassy that killed 25 people.

Majid “is a terrorist who attacked his own country before attacking the Iranian embassy. The monarchy has been searching for him long before he staged this,” Ambassador Ali Awad Assiri told Al-Hayat. “He has been wanted by the Saudi courts for a long time,” Assiri said. The envoy also said Saudi Arabia “had informed all states that he was wanted. “Should DNA tests prove the person detained is indeed Majid, we will be pleased with the arrest.” The report comes a day after a Lebanese minister said Majid had been arrested by the army’s intelligence services and was being interrogated “in secret.” Officials later said the suspect’s DNA was being tested to remove any doubt over his identity. Meanwhile, the Iranian embassy in Beirut asked yesterday to be involved in the investigation into the double suicide bombing. Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour said he had received a note from the Iranian embassy in Beirut that included “a request for access to the current investigation with Majid Al-Majid, with him being one of the suspects in the explosion that targeted the embassy.” He said he would raise the request with the relevant authorities. The Abdullah Azzam Brigades group was designated in the United States in 2012 as a “terrorist organization.” The group was formed in 2009 and is believed to have branches in both the Arabian

Peninsula and Lebanon. The Lebanese unit is named after Ziad AlJarrah, a Lebanese who took part in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. It has sporadically fired rockets into northern Israel, and the Brigades also claimed responsibility for the 2010 bombing attack of a Japanese oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. It is named for the Palestinian mentor of the late Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. He was killed in a 1989 bomb blast. According to Islamist sites, Majid was revealed to be the leader of the Brigades in 2012. On Wednesday, a Twitter account belonging to Sirajeddin Zreikat, a member of the Brigades, appeared to have been suspended. Zreikat had claimed responsibility in the group’s name for the Iranian embassy bombing. That attack came amid rising tension in Lebanon over the role of the Iran-backed Shiite movement Hezbollah in the war in neighboring Syria. Hezbollah and Iran are allied with the Syrian regime, and it has dispatched fighters to battle the uprising alongside government forces. In claiming the embassy bombing, Zreikat warned of more attacks in Lebanon if Hezbollah kept sending troops to support Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. In 2009, Lebanon sentenced Majid in absentia to life in prison for belonging to a different extremist group, the Al-Qaeda-inspired Fatah Al-Islam. — Agencies


International FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

Sharon slips closer to death Sharp decline in condition of ex-Israeli leader JERUSALEM: Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, comatose since a 2006 stroke, slipped closer to death yesterday after a sharp decline in the condition of the ex-general who long symbolized Israel’s military might. Reviled by Arabs over his hardline policies and viewed with a mixture of respect and suspicion by many Israelis, 85-year-old Sharon has been on life support at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv for the past eight years, far from the public gaze. “I am no prophet, but the feeling of his doctors and his sons ... is that there has been a change for the worse,” Sheba director Zeev Rotstein told reporters. Rotstein, in the first official medical statement on Sharon’s condition after reports on Wednesday that he had suffered a kidney malfunction, said doctors expect a deterioration in several life-sustaining organs. “We are defining his condition as critical, and there is definitely a threat to his life,” he said. “The feeling of everyone ... is that this decline is very serious.” Sharon’s two sons were at his bedside, doctors said, and a state funeral was planned. One of Israel’s most famous generals, Sharon left his mark on the region through military

invasion, Jewish settlement building on captured land and a shock, unilateral decision to pull Israeli troops and settlers out of the Gaza Strip in 2005. In 1983, an Israeli state inquiry found Sharon, then the defense minister, indirectly responsible for the killing of hundreds of Palestinian men, women and children at Beirut’s Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. He was forced to resign his post. The slaughter took place after the Israeli army, which invaded Lebanon in 1982, allowed Israeli-backed Christian Phalangist militiamen to enter the camps, ostensibly to search for Palestinian gunmen. “He’ll be remembered as the last of his generation of Israeli fighters and founders,” Dedi Cohen, a 38year-old lawyer, told Reuters in Tel Aviv. “He was a bulldozer who got things done. I know he was controversial, but he had values. He stood for something. That’s missing today,” Cohen said. Raanan Gissin, a former senior aide to Sharon, said that doctors believe death could come within days or even hours. “It’s a very sad moment ... for people in Israel because Ariel Sharon was an icon in

Dubai coastguard search for missing free diver DUBAI: The wife and friends of an experienced Algerian diver who went missing 32 kilometers (20 miles) off Dubai say coastguard is searching for him after he disappeared in the waters almost 24 hours ago. Rana Ghaleb says she was on the boat on Wednesday afternoon when her husband, Adel Ait-Ghezala, went free diving with two other friends, wearing only a wetsuit, flippers, goggles and a specialized watch. The group was spearfishing. Ghaleb says her 35 year-old husband never emerged from the water. Ait-Ghezala is a Ph.D. student at the American University in Washington DC. The couple was visiting Dubai from their home in the United States. A family friend says several boats, divers and a helicopter are involved in the search operation yesterday. —AP

Ship readied for Syria chem arms disposal PORTSMOUTH, Virginia: A cargo ship is being outfitted in Virginia with sophisticated technology capable of destroying Syria’s chemical weapons. The 648-foot MV Cape Ray is undergoing work in a Portsmouth shipyard before sea trials and its expected voyage to the Mediterranean. The vessel in the Maritime Administration’s ready reserve is rolling out the gangplank yesterday for media visits. A key shipboard addition is a high-tech system that can neutralize lethal chemical weapons such as nerve gas with water and bleaching compounds. It could treat more than two dozen metric tons of chemicals daily in international waters. The confirmed use of chemical weapons last August in a suburb of Damascus, Syria, killed 1,400 people, according to the US government. That led to a US-Russian agreement for eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons. —AP

TEL AVIV: Journalists wait for Zeev Rotstein, the director of Tel Hashomer hospital where the comatose former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon is being treated, near Tel Aviv yesterday. —AP Israel,” Gissin said. War and peace Sharon’s devastating illness began shortly after he quit the right-wing Likud party, where he had promoted Jewish settlement in territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war, and founded a centrist faction with the declared aim of advancing peace with

his long-standing foe, the Palestinians. Battling a Palestinian uprising that began in 2000 after peace talks collapsed, Sharon initiated the building of a contentious barrier across the occupied West Bank and presented a plan to “disengage” from the Gaza Strip. “As a prime minister he took a very brave step in leaving the (Gaza) settlements. He did something unex-

pected that was very surprising for a right-wing prime minister, for the better,” said Anat Harel, 25, a computer science student in the southern town of Ashkelon. Critics of Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza point to the territory’s seizure two years later by Hamas Islamists opposed to Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and repeated rocket fire from the enclave. “We worked together but it is no secret that our ways parted at the moment he started talking about the (Gaza) disengagement,” Yuli Edelstein, the Speaker of the Israeli Parliament, said on Israel Radio. “But even these things do not cancel out his military past, his contribution to the country, or my memories of him.” In the Gaza Strip, a Hamas leader spoke bitterly of a man the movement sees as one of the Palestinians’ worst enemies. “Ariel Sharon is going the same direction as other tyrants and criminals whose hands were covered in Palestinian blood,” said the leader, Khalil Al-Hayya. There was no sympathy either in the occupied West Bank. “God willing he dies,” said Rauf Ramia, a labourer from the Qalandia refugee camp. “He’s a terrible person.” —Reuters

Kerry in Israel to revive peace talks JERUSALEM: US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Israel yesterday in his latest bid to reenergize peace negotiations and find scarce common ground between pessimistic Israeli and Palestinian officials. His visit, the 10th to the region in under a year, aims to lay the foundations of a “framework agreement” that addresses the core issues of the decades-old conflict and open the way for an independent Palestine, according to US officials. But on the question of borders, security, refugees and the status of Jerusalem, leaders from both sides have sounded far apart this week. Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin yesterday rejected the creation of a Palestinian state based on the lines predating the 1967 Six Day War, in which Israel captured and occupied Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank. “The Jordan Valley must be under Israeli sovereignty forever,” he said, referring to the border area with Jordan, from which Palestinians want a full Israeli withdrawal. “The 1967 borders are Auschwitz borders,” Ha’aretz newspaper quoted him as saying, suggesting that any such move would lead to the destruction of Israel. On Tuesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas renewed a call for all Israeli settlers and soldiers within the 1967 lines to be evacuated, saying he would not hesitate to reject a

TEL AVIV: US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, Israel yesterday. —AP bad deal. “We will say “yes” to any ideas suggested to us which meet our rights. But we will not fear and will not hesitate for a moment ... to say “no,” whatever the pressure, to any proposal which detracts from or doesn’t fulfil the higher national interests of our people,” he said in a speech. Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat last month said a framework agreement could allow the talks to be continued for another year. However, earlier this week, he said the US-bro-

kered talks were “failing” and threatened to haul Israel before the International Criminal Court. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, a senior US State Department official said Kerry was not expecting a breakthrough during his latest visit, when he is due to see Netanyahu and Abbas separately on several occasions. The official, who declined to be named, said an eventual framework accord would act as a guideline for reaching a full peace treaty by the end of April. —Reuters

International FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

CAIRO: Egyptian youths dance, to “Mahraganat,” Arabic for “festivals,” music, a rapid-fire electronic beat, mixed with hypnotic rhythms, during a bachelors party, in El-Marg, a suburb northeast of Cairo. Mahraganat singers emerged before the 2011 revolution, but it spread rapidly, they say, because of the loosening of societal restrictions attributed at least in part to the uprising. Now it is heard everywhere from weddings to the car stereos of upper-class youth. —AP

How ‘revolution’ restyles pop culture Post-Mubarak Egypt sees changes beyond politics CAIRO: Egypt’s dizzying ride over the past three years since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak has not only shaken up the country’s politics. It has revolutionized its pop culture scene, from language to music and art, bringing in a vibe of rebellion and voices from the urban poor. New phrases have been coined and have become an inseparable part of everyday language. Graffiti has emerged as a new and popular art form, putting politics on city walls and chronicling the mood on the “revolutionary street.” Popular music has become dominated by young and rebellious musicians from urban slums who were once dismissed as vulgar. Their songs, blaring from Nile party boats, minibus taxis and the motorized rickshaws known as tuk-tuks, have come to provide a soundtrack to Cairo’s bustling streets. The changes bring new platforms for airing grievances and voicing demands for change - and have spread with stunning speed among various levels of society. What joins them is the spirit of “el-Meidan” or “The Square.” Initially, the term was just a shorthand reference to Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the center of the 2011 uprising that brought down Mubarak and of protests since. But the term evolved to become a symbol for bringing together Egyptians of all social classes, ages, professions and sects to collectively demand change. The term has kept its resonance even as Egypt has become more bitterly divided over the country’s post-Mubarak path. Islamist and non-Islamists are now pitted against each other following the military’s July ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. “The square brought together people who would normally never meet,” said Ammar Abu Bakr, a graffiti artist. “People opened their hearts to one another and were no longer afraid of each other. Artists of all disciplines performed in the square, not to show off, but because everyone felt he or she can do whatever they like,” he said. “El-Meidan” is not the only word that has gained new meaning as politics and turmoil infuse Egypt’s rich dialect of Arabic. “Sheep” has become an insult used by anti-Islamists against members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood - a dig at their vows of obedience to

their leaders. Islamists fire back with “worshippers of boots” to refer to supporters of the popularly backed military coup that ousted Morsi after a year in office. “The lemon squeezers” are secular and liberal Egyptians who voted for Morsi in the 2012 presidential election only to prevent his opponent, Mubarak’s last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, from winning. It refers to an Arabic saying that if you’re given a terrible dish, all you can do is squeeze a lemon on it to make it more palatable. More than any other form of pop culture, graffiti has epitomized the revolutionary mood. The images have traced the arc from defiance during the anti-Mubarak uprising and joy at his fall, through opposition to the military and then Morsi, and now back to anger at the military and at Mubarak regime remnants - or “feloul” - who revolutionaries believe are trying to rewrite history to dismiss their uprising as a foreign-backed plot. Little seen before 2011, graffiti now provides a substitute for galleries and museums that only a tiny minority of Egyptians bothers to visit. The canvas of choice for graffiti artists since 2011 has been a wall of the American University in Cairo running around 100 meters (yards) down a street from Tahrir. The tradition since the revolution has been for artists to routinely whitewash over old work and start anew. Now, says artist Alaa Abdel-Hameed, an informal deal has been struck among graffiti artists to abandon the practice and instead expand on existing work. The images there speak of anger at the military. One shows a Dracula-like soldier with blood dripping from his mouth. Underneath him are skulls labeled “bread, freedom and social justice,” the slogan of the 2011 revolution. There is also the image of a chimp carrying a framed picture of a gorilla wearing a military cap, a dig at the adoration of the military leadership. “Down with everyone who committed betrayal,” declares a scrawled slogan. Abdel-Hameed this year tried another form of street art. He made 200 sculptures of eagles, Egypt’s official symbol adorning its national flag, and plastered them upside down on walls around the city.

All but a handful have been demolished, likely by opponents of Morsi who took them as a criticism of his ouster - though in fact Abdel-Hameed put them up before the coup. The other art form on the streets is heard, not seen “Mahraganat,” or “festival,” music, which emerged from the densely populated slums encircling Cairo. “It is the only genuine musical movement in Egypt now ... It has no boundaries,” said Mohammed Gamal, author of a book on Egypt’s hardcore soccer fans known as the Ultras, who are among the most avid Mahraganat fans, and a close follower of pop culture. Mahraganat musicians, in their late teens and early 20s, fill their rapid-fire songs with street slang often lewd - about the life of the unemployed youth trying to get by, hitting topics of love, drugs, partying, and politics. “Poverty has taken hold, we reached the stage of hunger, if the hopes go, I will stage another revolution,” goes the lyric of one popular Mahraganat song. “In Egypt, there are the rich, the poor and those who are below poverty,” Ahmed Mustafa, a Mahraganat singer better known by his stage name “Ortega,” said in a recent television interview. “I am below poverty, but I will do whatever I like.” Mahraganat style emerged before 2011, but it spread rapidly because of the loosening of societal restrictions attributed in part to the uprising. Now it is heard everywhere from weddings to the car stereos of upper-class youth. “The country has been in a revolutionary mode, and people take interest in underground forms of music as well as everything else that is not mainstream,” said Salma El-Tarzi, a filmmaker who directed a documentary tracking the journey of three of Mahraganat singers from obscurity to the mainstream. At a recent concert in the poor Cairo district of El-Marg, the Mahraganat band “el-Dawshagiyah” - or “the Noisemakers” - sang one of their songs to the crowd - “Hey girl, give me a kiss and I will give you my wallet. Give me a kiss and I will stop chasing you.” “We sing about the reality on the ground in Egypt, the youths who are jobless and the revolution,” said Ahmed Shaaban, one of the band members. “The upper classes used to have nothing but contempt for us, now they look for our music.” — AP

International FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

Al Shabab boasts of twin hotel bombing killing 11 MOGADISHU: Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Al Shabab said yesterday it carried out a twin bombing of a hotel in Mogadishu that killed 11, boasting it was the start of its campaign for the new year. “This is the beginning of 2014,” Al Shabab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage said in a New Year message, a day after the hotel attacks. “The fate of foreigners and local mercenaries will remain the same until they leave the country... they will have no safe haven in Somalia.” The first car bomb exploded outside the Jazeera hotel, near the international airport. It is one of the seaside capital’s most upmarket

and its clientele includes Somali politicians and visiting foreign officials. The second car bomb ripped through the blast scene as ambulances rushed in and Somali soldiers were helping the wounded. The Al Shabab “takes full responsibility for last night’s attack that targeted a meeting of senior apostate intelligence officials in Mogadishu,” Rage added. “The apostates are the eyes and ears of the invaders, and these attacks serve as a well-deserved punishment for their role in guiding and assisting the invading forces in their crusade against Islam and the Muslims of Somalia.”

The Al Shabab once controlled most of southern and central Somalia but withdrew from fixed positions in Mogadishu two years ago. African Union troops-including large contingents from Uganda, Kenya and Burundi-have since recaptured a series of insurgent bastions and tried to prop up Somalia’s fledgling government forces. But a string of devastating Al Shabab attacks against foreign and government targets have shattered hopes of a rebirth for the war-ravaged capital and demonstrated that the Islamist outfit’s disruptive power is undiminished. —AFP

International FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

Gun battles in Bangui create fresh panic Deposed leader denies orchestrating violence

This long time exposure picture taken yesterday shows the city center of the western city of Quimperle flooded by the Laita river. Britanny is placed under flood warning due to heavy rains and high tidal coefficient. — AFP

Powerful cyclone nears France’s Reunion island LE PORT, Reunion: A cyclone packing winds of 150 kilometers (93 miles) per hour neared the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion yesterday, lashing the coast with huge waves and leaving thousands of homes without power. One person had already been seriously wounded and seven others suffered light injuries in accidents caused by the strong winds of incoming cyclone Bejisa. State-run power supplier EDF said about 82,000 households on the islandwhich is on red alert-had no electricity. Waves more than eight metres (26 feet) high were lashing the coast, and were expected to get even higher during the course of the afternoon. Several trees and traffic lights were uprooted on the island. The French weather service predicted that Bejisa would pack winds of up to 200 km/h later in the day. “The cyclone has not even struck and yet it has caused so much damage,” said a resident from the western town of Saint-Gilles. “I don’t know what will happen when it’s over us.” La Reunion suffered heavy damage in 2002 due to cyclone Dina, which claimed six lives and caused widespread flooding. — AFP

BANGUI, Central African Republic: Gun battles between rival militias in the Central African Republic capital Bangui killed one person and sent hundreds fleeing to a makeshift camp near the airport. Machine gun fire could be heard near the camp as fresh clashes broke out between Christian militias and the Muslim former rebels who overthrew the president in a March coup, witnesses said. Three wounded children and 13 adults were taken to an improvised hospital in the camp run by Doctors without Borders (MSF) in the space of a single hour, and one later died. “It doesn’t stop. Only yesterday we saw a sixmonth-old baby who died after being hit by a stray bullet,” one MSF worker told AFP. Around 100,000 people displaced by weeks of violence have sought refuge near the main French army base by Bangui airport. The tit-for-tat violence by Christian vigilantes and rebels from the Seleka coalition that helped Michel Djotodia become the country’s first Muslim head of state is believed to have killed more than 1,000 people last month. The UN children’s agency on Monday warned about “unprecedented” levels of violence against youngsters in the country, saying at least two children had been beheaded. The latest violence came ahead of a visit by French Defence Minister JeanYves Le Drian to the Central African Republic (CAR), where 1,600 French troops and around 4,000 African peacekeepers are attempting to curb escalating religious strife. The United Nations has said it will speed up planning for a possible UN peacekeeping force to the CAR following a plea from French President Francois Hollande for the world body to play a bigger role in the troubled country. Weeks of violence in the CAR have pitted majority Christians against Muslims, who make up about one-fifth of the population The European Union said it would send 20,000 tarpaulins to the stricken country to help those find shelter who have been dis-

placed by the violence. Francois Bozize, the former Central African leader, denied backing Christian militias that have wreaked havoc in the country and called on the current president who deposed him to resign in an interview broadcast yesterday. The Central African Republic has plunged into chaos since mainly Muslim Seleka rebels staged a coup in March, prompting French forces to intervene last month after hundreds died in violence pitting the former rebels against Christian militias known as the anti-balaka (anti-machete). Michel Djotodia, the Seleka leader who was installed as president of the former French colony, has accused Bozize of supporting the Christian militias battling his former rebels-a claim the latter denies. “It is the Seleka who brought disorder to the country, misery and death. The anti-balaka phenomenon has appeared following abuses committed by the Seleka in the country,” Bozize-who is in exile in an undisclosed location-said in a telephone inter-

BANGUI: French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian speaks to French troops from Operation Sangaris, at Mpoko Camp in Bangui, Central African Republic, yesterday. — AP

Museveni resists pressure to sign anti-gay law KAMPALA: Uganda President Yoweri Museveni will not rush to approve a controversial anti-gay draft law, widely criticized internationally but overwhelmingly backed by local political and religious leaders, his spokesman said yesterday. Uganda’s parliament adopted the bill on December 20. It will see repeat offenders jailed for life, sparking an international outcry as lawmakers hailed it as a victory against “evil”. “There has been pressure from religious leaders and parliament to sign the bill into law,” presidential spokesman Tamale Mirundi told AFP, adding that Museveni “won’t rush to assent the bill before he studies it” fully. “President Museveni is a practical president, he takes decisions based on analysis and not on how many support or are against it,” he added.

Deputies voted overwhelmingly in favor of the text, which has been condemned by rights activists and world leaders-with US President Barack Obama describing it as “odious” and Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu comparing it to apartheid. But gay rights activists in Uganda say the legislation has widespread support in the fiercely homophobic nation. An earlier draft not approved by parliament had proposed the death penalty for repeat offenders. Some Ugandans have raised concerns that donor aid could be restricted if the bill is signed into law, while British tycoon Richard Branson has urged companies to boycott Uganda over the draconian bill. Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has warned the law “would reinforce stigma and prejudice, and institution-

view on RFI radio. “That’s what triggered the appearance of the anti-balaka. From my position, I did not create a so-called anti-balaka rebellion.” Asked whether he condemned the atrocities perpetrated by the Christian militias, he responded: “That’s what you say. I’m not on the ground. That’s what the press says. If they have committed (atrocities), then I condemn them.” The sectarian violence in the Central African Republic, an unstable and impoverished country, is believed to have killed more than 1,000 people last month and sent tens of thousands fleeing. Bozize called on Djotodia to resign “so that the situation be brought under control once and for all.” French President Francois Hollande, who gave the green light for 1,600 French troops to be deployed in the country, has called for new elections to be held. Bozize did not rule out returning to the country and running in any future vote. “Nothing is stopping me from being a candidate or not,” he said. “But let’s clear up the security situation in the country.” — AFP

alise discrimination.” Homophobia is widespread in Uganda, where American-style evangelical Christianity is on the rise. Gay men and women in the country face frequent harassment and threats of violence, and rights activists have also reported cases of lesbians being subjected to “corrective” rapes. In 2011, prominent Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato was bludgeoned to death at his home after a newspaper splashed photos, names and addresses of gays in Uganda on its front page along with a yellow banner reading “Hang Them”. AIDS activists say the law will prevent gays from having access to essential public health information, such as how to protect themselves from HIV and how to access life saving treatment and support services. — AFP

Italian navy rescues 233 migrants south of Sicily ROME: The Italian navy has rescued 233 mostly African migrants from a 10 metre (yard) boat in Mediterranean waters south of Sicily as the immigration crisis that killed hundreds in shipwrecks in 2013 showed no signs of letting up in the new year. The navy picked them up in choppy seas late on Wednesday and was ferrying them on Thursday to a port near Syracuse on Sicily’s eastern coast, a statement said. On board were men and women from Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia, Zambia and Mali as well as from Pakistan, the navy said. Sea arrivals to Italy from Northern Africa more than tripled in 2013, fuelled by refugees from Syria’s civil war and political strife in the Horn of Africa. In October, 366 Eritreans drowned in a shipwreck near the shore of the Italian island of Lampedusa.

International FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

2014’s first big storm bears down on northeast US HARTFORD: A winter storm was bearing down on the Northeast yesterday, promising heavy snow, strong winds and frigid temperatures that will make commutes hazardous for the first work day of the new year. Snow began falling overnight in parts of New England and New York, but the real brunt of the storm wasn’t expected to hit until later. As much as a foot of snow or more was forecast for some areas overnight today, and temperatures were expected to plummet, with some areas seeing highs just above zero, according to the National Weather Service. “There will be travel problems,” said Hugh Johnson, a weather service meteorologist in Albany, NY. “It will be very cold.” Up to 14 inches of snow is forecast for the Boston area and the National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for Long Island - where 8 to 10 inches of snow could fall and winds could gust up to 45 mph - from

evening into today afternoon. Some schools in New England closed schools pre-emptively, cities issued onstreet parking bans and homeless shelters were expected to fill beyond capacity. The storm dropped up to a foot of snow on parts of Michigan and 6 inches or more in Illinois, prompting hundreds of flight cancellations Wednesday into and out of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, according to the aviation tracking website About 1,000 US flights were canceled yesterday, with O’Hare and New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International most affected. Authorities said the weather may have been a factor in a fatal crash Wednesday evening involving a pickup and a bus carrying casino patrons in Indiana. Police said the truck’s driver was killed and 15 bus passengers were injured in the collision on a snow-covered and slushy high-

way in Rolling Prairie. Sections of interior southern New England and New York could get up to a foot of snow by the time the storm moves out, with forecasts generally calling for 6 to 12 inches. New York City, likely to see 3 to 7 inches, issued a snow alert. New York Gov Andrew Cuomo urged the city’s commuters to leave their cars at home in case major highways are closed for yesterday’s evening rush hour. “We are looking at a serious storm situation,” Cuomo said. Although lesser amounts of snow were forecast to the south, Philadelphia and parts of southern New Jersey were expected to see 3 to 7 inches of blowing, drifting snow. In Toms River, NJ, Jonas Caldwell said he was prepared for whatever the storm might bring. “Santa brought me a snow blower, and I’ve got rock salt for the ice, so now I’m just waiting for the storm,” he said while grabbing a coffee at a convenience store.—AP

Mexico’s Zapatista rebel movement marks 20 years SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS: In the misty mountain strongholds of the southern Mexico state of Chiapas, ski mask-clad members and supporters of the Zapatista rebel movement gathered to mark the 20th anniversary of a New Year’s uprising that wrenched the world’s attention to the plight of the country’s impoverished and oft-ignored indigenous. The Zapatistas and hundreds of sympathizers from around the world gathered Tuesday night to remember an armed uprising that although brief - calming after 12 days of bloodshed under a government truce - was followed by an occasionally tense two-decade standoff. Before the revolt, “We were fooled, manipulated, controlled and forgotten. We were sunk in ignorance and poverty. But 20 years ago, on these days, we said ‘enough,’” an indigenous leader known as Comandante Hortensia told the crowd at one of the celebrations, held in a schoolyard in the town of Oventic. About 2,000 people from Mexico, the US, Europe and elsewhere danced, played basketball and sang political songs in the chilly night, as well as listening to Zapatista commanders speak in Spanish and the indigenous languages of Tzotzil and Tzeltal. The Zapatista rebellion stunned Mexico and drew widespread support from leftists across the world with its message of indigenous rights and opposition to economic globalization. But since then, little has changed in the secretive, closed-off enclaves the Zapatistas have formed in the half-dozen communities they hold. Poverty remains as bad as, or worse than it was before the uprising, in part because the Zapatistas refuse all government aid programs. And the world’s attention has drifted to other, more outwardly successful efforts in indigenous empowerment. In Bolivia, where Evo Morales took office as the first indigenous president in 2006, Aymara and Quechua Indians now appear in the presidential Cabinet and as anchors on national news shows. Pipesmoking Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos seemed to acknowledge that many have turned their attention elsewhere. “They left. Some went faster than others. And the majority of them don’t look at us, or they do so with the same distance and intellectual disdain that they did before the dawn of Jan. 1, 1994,” Marcos wrote in a statement released Saturday. The movement itself has not always encouraged attention. After bursts of protest marches and nationwide tours, jungle conventions and biting, humorous communiques, it has sometimes withdrawn back into its communities for long periods of near-silence. For some, its greatest achievement was prompting Mexico to enshrine sweeping anti-discrimination measures in its constitution in 2001. Passaged followed a Zapatista caravan across a dozen states to the capital, climaxing in dramatic speeches by masked rebels in Congress. But the Zapatistas were enraged when lawmakers watered down sections that interested them most: expanding indigenous autonomy and control over land and natural resources. Mexico’s indigenous remain an oft-discriminated minority who often denied entry to, or service at, posh restaurants and stores. They only occasionally receive attention, as when a basketball team of Trique Indian boys, some of whom play shoeless, won a youth basketball tourney this year. But the Zapatistas known by their initials as the EZLN are still alive and kicking, said the Roman Catholic Bishop of San Cristobal de las Casas, Felipe Arizmendi. The church has long played a role in indigenous movements in Chiapas. “The EZLN remains alive, not as a military option, but as a social and political organization that fights for a dignified life,” Arizmendi said last week. “It is an effort to demonstrate that autonomy is possible; you don’t have to depend on the government.” Indeed, they don’t: The Zapatistas run their own schools and health clinics, though most appear to be terribly underfunded and ill-equipped.—AP

COLORADO: A long line of buyers trails from a store selling marijuana in Pueblo West, Colo on Wednesday, Jan 1, 2014. — AP

Legal weed sales bring long lines to Colorado Marijuana skeptics watch in alarm DENVER: Long lines and blustery winter weather greeted Colorado marijuana shoppers testing the nation’s first legal recreational pot shops Wednesday. It was hard to tell from talking to the shoppers, however, that they had waited hours in snow and frigid wind. “It’s a huge deal for me,” said Andre Barr, a 34-year-old deliveryman who drove from Niles, Mich, to be part of the legal weed experiment. “This wait is nothing.” The world was watching as Colorado unveiled the modern world’s first fully legal marijuana industry - no doctor’s note required (as in 18 states and Washington, DC) and no unregulated production of the drug (as in the Netherlands). Uruguay has fully legalized pot but hasn’t yet set up its system. Colorado had 24 shops open Wednesday, most of them in Denver, and aside from long lines and sporadic reports of shoppers cited for smoking pot in public, there were few problems. “Everything’s gone pretty smoothly,” said Barbara Brohl, Colorado’s top marijuana regular as head of the Department of Revenue. The agency sent its new marijuana inspectors to recreational shops to monitor sales and make sure sellers understood the state’s new marijuana-tracking inventory system meant to keep legal pot out of the black market. Denver International Airport erected signs warning travelers that they could not take marijuana home with them. Keeping pot within Colorado’s regulated system and within the state’s borders are among requirements the US Department of Justice has laid out to avoid a clampdown under federal law, which still outlaws the drug. The other state that has legalizes recreational pot, Washington, will face the same restrictions when its retail shops start operating, expected by late spring. The states’ retail experiments are crucial tests of whether marijuana can

be sold like alcohol, kept from children and highly taxed, or whether pot proves too harmful to public health and safety for legalization experiments to expand elsewhere. “This feels like freedom at last,” said Amy Reynolds, owner of two Colorado Springs medical pot shops. Reynolds came to Denver to toast the dawn of pot sales for recreational use. “It’s a plant, it’s harmless, and now anyone over 21 can buy it if they want to. Beautiful.” Marijuana skeptics, of course, watched in alarm. They warned that the celebratory vibe in Colorado masked dangerous consequences. Wider marijuana availability, they say, would lead to greater illegal use by youth, and possibly more traffic accidents and addiction problems. “It’s not just a benign recreational drug that we don’t have to worry about,” said Dr Paula Riggs, head of the Division of Substance Dependence at the University of Colorado-Denver medical campus. The only problems reported Wednesday, though, were long lines and high prices. Some shops raised prices or reduced purchasing limits as the day went on. One pot shop closed early because of tight supply. Some shoppers complained they were paying three times more than they were used to. Colorado has no statewide pricing structure, and by midafternoon, one dispensary was charging $70 for one-eighth of an ounce of high-quality pot. Medical marijuana patients just a day earlier paid as little as $25 for the same amount. Medical pot users worried they’d be priced out of the market. Colorado’s recreational pot inventory came entirely from the drug’s supply for medical uses. “We hope that the focus on recreational doesn’t take the focus away from patients who really need this medicine,” said Laura Kriho of the patient advocacy group Cannabis Therapy Institute.—AP

International FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014


in brief

Myanmar’s president backs constitutional amendment YANGON: Myanmar’s leader yesterday lent his support to reform of the country’s junta-era constitution, indicating he would back changes to allow opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to become president. Thein Sein, a former general who has won international praise for dramatic reforms since he became president in 2011, said lively debate about revising the charter showed increasing “political maturity”. “I believe that a healthy constitution must be amended from time to time to address the national, economic, and social needs of our society,” he said in a speech published in the English-language New Light of Myanmar newspaper. He said he supported amending provisions which exclude anyone whose spouse or children are overseas citizens from becoming president-a clause widely believed to be targeted at Suu Kyi whose two sons are British. “I would not want restrictions being imposed on the right of any citizen to become the leader of the country,” Thein Sein said. Suu Kyi has vociferously campaigned for a change to the 2008 constitution, which also ring-fences a quarter of the seats in parliament for unelected military personnel. The charter change issue is rising to the fore as Myanmar prepares for key 2015 parliamentary elections, seen as a definitive test of whether the military is willing to loosen its grip on power. Rwandan ex-spy chief ‘murdered’ in S Africa NAIROBI: A former head of Rwanda’s external intelligence service was found strangled in a hotel in South Africa, where he has lived in exile for several years, his opposition party said yesterday. “The Rwandan opposition is deeply saddened to announce the assassination of Colonel Patrick Karegeya in Johannesburg,” the Rwanda National Congress (RNC) said in a statement. “His body was found in a hotel where he went for a meeting.” “It is true,” Frank Ntwali, the party’s chairman for Africa said yesterday. “He was strangled by agents of (Rwandan President Paul) Kagame.” Ntwali said Karegeya was killed at the Michelangelo Towers, an upmarket hotel in the Johannesburg suburb of Sandton. It was not immediately clear if he was killed on Tuesday night or on Wednesday. Karegeya, in his early fifties, was for a long time very close to Kagame. He served as head of external intelligence for around a decade before being demoted to army spokesman and was later arrested and jailed. He was stripped of his rank of colonel in 2006 and fled into exile the following year. Another prominent Rwandan dissident in South Africa, Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, survived two assassination attempts in June 2010. The RNC statement said investigations had found “overwhelming evidence of the involvement of Rwandan intelligence operatives in those attempts”. Morsi’s trial over Egypt jailbreak set for Jan 28 CAIRO: Egypt’s deposed president Mohamed Morsi and 130 others, including Hamas members, will go on trial on January 28 over a jailbreak during the 2011 uprising, judicial sources said yesterday. The prosecution said last month there were a total of 132 defendants, all of whom were also accused of murdering police officers. It said almost 70 of the defendants belonged to the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas and Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah. The trial, set to begin exactly three years after the prison break, will be the third for Morsi on various charges, amid a crackdown on his Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement following his July ouster by the army. Prosecutors claim that Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah and jihadist militants attacked prisons and police stations during the first few days of the revolt against Hosni Mubarak, killing policemen and helping thousands to escape. Several Hamas and Hezbollah prisoners escaped during the unrest. At least two of the Hamas inmates, including militant leader Ayman Nofal, have been indicted, the prosecution sources have said. Another escapee, a Hezbollah commander named Mohamed Mansur who was convicted in 2010 of plotting attacks in Egypt, has also been charged.Also among the defendants are Brotherhood leaders who escaped from Wadi Natrun prison during the revolt, and prominent Qatar-based cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

Americans have little faith in government ‘The less government the better’ WASHINGTON: Americans enter 2014 with a profoundly negative view of their government, expressing little hope that elected officials can or will solve the nation’s biggest problems, a new poll finds. Half say America’s system of democracy needs either “a lot of changes” or a complete overhaul, according to the poll conducted by the APNORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Just 1 in 20 says it works well and needs no changes. Americans, who have a reputation for optimism, have a sharply pessimistic take on their government after years of disappointment in Washington. The percentage of Americans saying the nation is heading in the right direction hasn’t topped 50 in about a decade. In the new poll, 70 percent lack confidence in the government’s ability “to make progress on the important problems and issues facing the country in 2014.” The poll comes about two months after partisan gridlock prompted the first government shutdown in 17 years. People feel somewhat better about their personal lives. Most have at least some confidence that they’ll be able to handle their own problems in the coming year. A narrow majority say they’d do a better job running the country than today’s leaders in Washington. Local and state governments inspire more faith than the federal government, according to the poll, with 45 percent at least moderately confident in their state government and 54 percent expressing that much confidence in their local government. When asked to name up to 10 world or national problems they would “like the government to be working on” in 2014, Americans chiefly cite issues that have dominated - and often flummoxed - the White House and Congress for five years. Health care reform topped the list. It is likely, however, that those naming the issue include both opponents and supporters of President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care overhaul. Jobs and the economy were next, followed by the nation’s debt and deficit spending. Some issues that draw ample media and campaign attention rank lower in the public’s priorities. No more than 3 percent of

Americans listed gay rights, abortion or domestic spying as prime topics for government action. Regardless of the issue, however, Americans express remarkably little confidence that the federal government can make real progress. For instance, 86 percent of those who called health care reform a top priority said they want the government to put “a lot” or “a great deal” of effort into it. But about half of them (49 percent) are “not at all confident” there will be real progress, and 20 percent are only “slightly confident.” This yawning gap between public desires and expectations is one of the poll’s most striking findings. Even on an issue completely within the federal government’s control, the budget and national debt, 65 percent of those who called it a priority say they have no confidence in the government’s ability to fix it. Another 20 percent are only “slightly confident.” When it comes to the issues people cited as most important to them, 80 percent want the government to spend significant effort working on them. Yet 76 percent say they have little or no confidence the government will make real progress. But asked generally about the role of government in society, the AP-NORC Center poll finds Americans divided on how active they want government to be. Half say “the less government the better.” However, almost as many (48 percent) say “there are more things that government should be doing.” On the economy, an area historically driven by the private sector, the poll finds a clear public desire for active government. Fifty-seven percent of Americans say “we need a strong government to handle today’s complex economic problems.” Even among those who say “the less government the better,” 31 percent feel the nation needs a strong government to handle those complex problems. Americans don’t feel terribly optimistic about their own economic opportunities. Although 49 percent say their standard of living surpasses their parents’, most are broadly pessimistic about the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. And they are mixed on whether people like them have a good chance to improve their standard of living.—AP

Displaced people who fled the recent fighting between government and rebel forces in Bor, prepare to sleep in the open at night in the town of Awerial, South Sudan. — AP

Ethiopia mediates in S Sudan conflict amid fighting ADDIS ABABA: Delegations from South Sudan’s warring factions are expected to meet for the first time yesterday for peace talks in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, even as fighting continues in some parts of South Sudan. An Associated Press reporter witnessed the arrival early yesterday of former Vice President Riek Machar’s representatives at Addis Ababa’s Sheraton Hotel, where both sides were to hold direct talks. Some Western diplomats were also present as mediators waited for the arrival of the South Sudan government’s delegation. Ethiopia is playing a leading role in trying to get the two sides to negotiate a peace deal. But those efforts have been overshadowed by persistent violence in South Sudan since mid-December. South Sudan President Salva Kiir on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in Unity and Jonglei, two states where rebels loyal to Machar control the capitals. Under a regional bloc known as IGAD, East African countries have urged Machar and Kiir to negotiate an end to violence that raised fears of civil war in the world’s newest country. The United Nations and the African Union have said they support IGAD’s efforts to broker peace in South Sudan.

The fighting in South Sudan has exposed ethnic rivalry between the country’s two largest ethnic groups, the Dinka of Kiir and the Nuer of Machar. The UN says there is mounting evidence that people were targeted for their ethnicity. More than 1,000 people have been killed and nearly 200,000 displaced by violence. Kiir insists the fighting was sparked by a coup attempt mounted by soldiers loyal to Machar on Dec.15 in the capital, Juba. But that account has been disputed by some officials of the ruling party, who say the violence began when presidential guards from the Dinka group tried to disarm their Nuer colleagues. From there, violence spread across the country, with forces loyal to Machar defecting and seizing territory from loyalist forces. South Sudan has been plagued by ethnic tension and a power struggle within the ruling party that escalated after Kiir dismissed Machar as his vice president in July. Machar has criticized Kiir as a dictator and says he will contest the 2015 presidential election. South Sudan peacefully broke away from Sudan in 2011 following a 2005 peace deal. Before that, the south fought decades of war with Sudan. — AP


International FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

Mumbai’s last generation of letter writers signs out MUMBAI: Letter writer Shakil Ahmed is a proud keeper of secrets. For decades he penned the missives of Mumbai’s illiterate workers, whether lovers pledging devotion to faraway sweethearts or prostitutes sending home money while concealing their trade. Today, Ahmed is lucky if he gets to write an address. “Thousands of people used to come-we didn’t have time to eat. But in the last seven years or so it’s been going down,” the scribe said at his weathered wooden desk, perched opposite the city’s domed century-old General Post Office. “I will stay as long as I can,” he added. “But I can’t say how long that will be.” There used to be 17 letter writers in this bustling corner of the city’s south. Now there are eight, whose tasks are largely reduced to packing parcels and filling out forms. The men huddle by a disused stone fountain, also home to a mini Hindu temple and a feeding pen for a constant flurry of pigeons. A bamboo-propped blue tarpaulin keeps the birds from the writers’ heads. On Ahmed’s desk sit piles of muslin wrapping and an old tin of pens, next to a seal engraved with his initials and a wax candle to stamp his work. While the tools of his trade may have barely changed since he began 40 years ago-aged just 14 — the methods of communication have been transformed. The mobile phone revolution and the rise of instant bank transfers have left little desire for cumbersome dictation and “snail mail”-even though a quarter of Indians remain illiterate. “Now they have mobiles, people can talk in five minutes,” said Ahmed, who regularly checked his own phone while discussing his job. “Without a mobile, you can’t do anything.” The father-of-five said he earns 200 to 400 rupees ($3-6) a day”enough to feed my family”-although a colleague at another desk bemoaned the ten rupees he had made all morning. While they talked, a pair of western backpackers approached the writers to parcel up their souvenirs. Older local customers sought help filling out money order forms. ‘WE HAD TO KEEP SECRETS’ The scribes’ latter-day clerical duties hardly match their earlier status as the primary conduits between city and village life. As Mumbai, the financial capital, sucked up rural Indians in droves, the new arrivals needed to send back hard-earned cash to their families-and selected versions of their news. “A lot of prostitutes used to come and never tell us what they were doing in Mumbai,” Ahmed explained. “They just said they were doing a job here and getting this much salary.” The writers’ respect for privacy was therefore key to their success. “We had to keep secrets. If the customers didn’t trust us, they wouldn’t come. It’s a matter of trust only,” he said. Yet Ahmed would not shy away from a tweak or flourish to their prose-”for the sake of the person they were writing to”. Sometimes the customer “didn’t know what they were saying,” he added, somewhat dismissively. In the era of instant messaging, Twitter and Facebook, letter writers are not the only vanishing messengers. In July, India halted the world’s last major telegram operation, after 163 years of service. Once the main form of long-distance communication, 20 million messages were dispatched from India during the traumatic partition of the subcontinent in 1947. But since their jobs disappeared, several of Mumbai’s telegram delivery men have become gatekeepers and clerks at their old office building-now home to a telephone and broadband provider. —AFP

MUMBAI: An Indian schoolgirl walks past a mural adorning a municipal school wall in Mumbai. —AFP

‘Allah’ row deepens Malaysia’s Islamic authorities seize Bibles KUALA LUMPUR: Islamic authorities in Malaysia yesterday seized 321 Bibles from a Christian group because they used the word Allah to refer to God, signaling growing intolerance that may inflame ethnic and religious tension in the Southeast Asian country. The raid comes after a Malaysian court in October ruled that the Arabic word was exclusive to Muslims, most of whom are ethnic Malays, the largest ethnic group in the country alongside sizeable Christian, Hindu and Buddhist minorities. That ruling overturned a court decision that allowed a Roman Catholic newspaper printed in Malay, the country’s national language, to use Allah. The change has heightened concern that religious authorities, which issue rulings for Muslims and operate alongside civil courts, now have more legal muscle. Analysts say new rulings that affect nonMuslims could be a way of deflecting anger against Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government from poor Malay Muslims over subsidy cuts likely to force up electricity, petrol and sugar prices. Yesterday, the top Islamic authority

in the richest and most populous state of Selangor seized the Malay-language Bibles from the Bible Society. The society said authority officials escorted two of its officials to a police station to make statements after which they were released on bail. “We were told that we were under investigation for breaking a Selangor state law banning nonMuslims from using the word Allah,” said Bible Society of Malaysia Chairman Lee Min Choon. The raid is a marked escalation from the occasional seizure at border checkpoints of Bibles imported from Indonesia. It was the first time Islamic authorities have entered premises belonging to a Christian organization to carry out a raid. Christians from Malaysia’s rural states of Sabah and Sarawak in Borneo, who have used the word Allah for centuries, have moved in droves to Selangor and other parts of peninsular Malaysia in recent years to look for work. BAD ELEMENTS The main political party within Najib’s ruling coalition, the United Malays

National Organization (UMNO), said its Selangor members would protest at all churches in the state on Sunday against unauthorized use of the word Allah. “There are laws in Selangor and there was a decree by his Royal Highness the Sultan. So what they are doing is carrying out the Sultan’s decree,” Deputy Prime Minister and UMNO Deputy President Muhyiddin Yassin was quoted by media as saying. “They are not doing anything against the law.” The Sultan of Selangor, one of nine sultans who serve in turn as titular Malaysian head of state, decreed last year that non-Muslims must refrain from using Allah in Bibles. He asked Muslims to unite against “bad elements” that misuse the word. The increasingly assertive stand by holders of the largely ceremonial office show that Muslim leaders have become increasingly vocal about their role in defending Islam. In 2010, arsonists firebombed several churches over the initial ruling that allowed the Catholic newspaper to use the Arabic word. Two Malay men were found guilty for setting fire to one of the churches. —Reuters

Syrian Electronic Army hacks Skype LOS ANGELES: The Syrian Electronic Army, an amorphous hacker collective that supports Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, claimed credit for hacking into the social media accounts of Internet calling service Skype. The group also posted the contact information of Steve Ballmer, Microsoft Corp’s retiring chief executive, on its Twitter account along with the message, “You can thank Microsoft for monitoring your accounts/emails using this details. #SEA” That message was an apparent reference to revelations last year by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that Skype, which is owned by Microsoft, was part of the

NSA’s program to monitor communications through some of the biggest US Internet companies. A message posted on Skype’s official Twitter feed on Wednesday, apparently by the hacking group, read: “Don’t use Microsoft emails (hotmail, outlook), They are monitoring your accounts and selling the data to the governments. More details soon. #SEA” Similar messages were posted on Skype’s official Facebook pages and on a blog on its website before being taken down in late afternoon. The SEA later tweeted out copies of the message “for those who missed it.” Representatives for Microsoft could not be reached for comment. The NSA’s

practices essentially made Microsoft and other technology companies partners in government surveillance efforts against private citizens in the United States and elsewhere. Last month Microsoft joined seven other top technology companies in pressing President Barack Obama to rein in the US government’s electronic spying in a meeting at the White House. Media companies, including the New York Times and the BBC, have repeatedly been targeted by the Syrian Electronic Army and other hacker activist groups that deface websites and take over Twitter accounts. Obama and his national security team are trying to decide what recommendations

to adopt from an outside panel’s review of the NSA’s activities. A US District judge in December ruled that the US government’s gathering of Americans’ phone records is likely unlawful and raised what he called “serious doubts” about the value of the so-called metadata counter-terrorism program. A second federal judge ruled later in the month that the program was constitutional, raising the likelihood that the issue will be settled by the US Supreme Court. This week, a monitoring group said the death toll in Syria’s civil war, which began in March 2011 as peaceful protests against four decades of rule by Assad’s family, had risen to at least 130,000. —Reuters


International FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

Indian teenager gang-raped and burned alive KOLKATA: An Indian teenager was gang-raped in two separate attacks and then died after being set on fire, sparking protests in the eastern city of Kolkata, police said yesterday. The 16-year-old was assaulted first on October 26 and then again the day after by a group of more than six men near her family’s home in Madhyagram town, about 25 kilometers north of Kolkata. The second rape occurred as she was returning home after reporting the first

attack at a police station. She was then set on fire on December 23 and died in a state-run hospital late on New Year’s Eve, police said. “She gave us a dying declaration in front of the health officials that she was set on fire by two persons close to the accused when she was alone at home on December 23,” local policeman Nimbala Santosh Uttamrao said. Police made their first arrests on Wednesday, two months after the initial crime, local police chief Rajiv Kumar said.

“The accused tried to kill my daughter by setting her on fire to hush up their crimes,” the victim’s father, a migrant taxi driver from India’s poorest state Bihar said. Neither he nor the victim can be named for legal reasons. Several hundred activists on Wednesday protested in Kolkata over the crime, which was shocking in its brutality, even after a year when sex crimes have been widely reported in India. Rampant rape, assault and harass-

ment of women in India was in the spotlight in the past 12 months after the fatal gang-rape of a 23-year-old student on a moving bus in New Delhi in December 2012 sparked nationwide outrage. The parliament has since passed tougher laws to punish rapists. Activists say rape victims in India often face severe threats and intimidation from their attackers after the assault, while police often discourage them from lodging complaints. —AFP

Pakistan’s Musharraf suffers heart problem Latest dramatic twist in his treason trial RAWALPINDI: Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf was rushed to hospital yesterday after suffering a “heart problem” on his way to court, in the latest dramatic twist in his treason trial. The 70-yearold had been summoned to the special tribunal in Islamabad after failing to show up for two previous sessions due to security threats against him. Musharraf’s team says the allegations, which relate to his imposition

put on trial. While there has been no public comment on the case from the military, some observers say they are reluctant to have their former chief suffer the indignity of trial in a civilian court. The government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has repeatedly said it would not let Musharraf, currently under a travel ban, leave Pakistan before facing trial. Some Pakistani commentators have complained the

ISLAMABAD: The convoy of Pakistan’s former president and military ruler Pervez Musharraf leaves his residence in Islamabad, Pakistan yesterday. —AP of emergency rule in November 2007, are politically motivated and his lawyers have challenged the authority of the three-judge tribunal. As the general underwent tests at the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi, the garrison city neighboring Islamabad, a source from his camp said efforts were under way to fly him out of Pakistan. This will rekindle long-running rumors of a deal to whisk him away from Pakistan to avoid a destabilizing clash between the government, which brought the charges, and the powerful armed forces. Musharraf is Pakistan’s first ex-army head to be

case is an unnecessary distraction at a time when the country is struggling with a bloody homegrown Taleban insurgency, crippling gas and electricity shortages and a faltering economy. Jan Mohammad, a senior police official, told the treason court in Islamabad that Musharraf had fallen ill with a “heart problem” while being transported to the hearing under heavy guard. Security was tight at the hospital in Rawalpindi, an AFP journalist said, with soldiers and paramilitary Rangers standing guard. An aide to Musharraf, who is facing a series of criminal cases dating back to his 1999-2008 rule, said the retired gen-

eral was in “bad shape”. His spokesman Raza Bokhari said Musharraf was conscious and “oriented in time and space” and was being examined by military doctors, in an emailed statement. His wife has arrived at the hospital and his daughter is on her way from Karachi, a source said. A doctor who spoke on condition of anonymity said he was in a stable condition. LAWYER WALKOUT Earlier yesterday his lawyers walked out of court, complaining of being threatened and harassed. Anwar Mansoor Khan, one of the lawyers, told the court he has been receiving threats and was unable to sleep the night before the hearing. “I was under total threat... from 1:00 am to five in the morning. Someone was banging on my door and ringing my bell,” Khan told the court. When one of the judges asked who was threatening him, Khan answered: “This very government.” The court promised to investigate but Khan walked out of the courtroom, followed by other members of Musharraf’s legal team. Sharif was the man Musharraf ousted from power in his 1999 coup, and his lawyers have previously said the case is an attempt to settle old scores through the courts. Sharifuddin Pirzada, another of Musharraf’s lawyers, also complained that he had been threatened. Khan told the court on Wednesday he had been attacked in his car while travelling to the eastern city of Lahore following an earlier hearing. The treason allegations are the latest in a series of criminal cases faced by Musharraf since he returned to Pakistan in a thwarted bid to run in last May’s general election. These include murder charges over the assassination in late 2007 of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. On Sunday, the retired general denounced the treason case as a “vendetta” against him and claimed he had the backing of the military. The potential for the case to disrupt Pakistan’s delicate civilian-military balance means it will be keenly watched by the US and NATO as they wind down their mission in neighboring Afghanistan. —AFP

BETUL: Indian officials and bystanders gather around a light aircraft after it landed on a public highway at Betul. —AFP

Pilot lands plane on India highway NEW DELHI: A wealthy businessman who landed his private plane on a highway in central India this week had been flying without a license, reports said yesterday. The four-seater plane landed safely on the four-lane highway in Betul district of Madhya Pradesh state on Tuesday after becoming caught in rough weather, reports said. Video footage showed it descending over trees and power poles before coming in for a bumpy landing on the highway, about 180 kilometres (112 miles) from state capital Bhopal. A small crowd of people gathered around the Piper Navajo plane as trucks and police cars pulled up nearby. The pilot had been flying in the region ìwithout a valid licenceî after his old one expired in 2001, the Times of India reported, quoting an aviation official. The pilot, a local businessman, had targeted the highway after being denied permission to land at a nearby dam for security reasons, the Press Trust of India news agency reported. —AFP

Bus plunges into gorge in West India, killing 30 MUMBAI: A bus plunged into a 120-meter deep gorge yesterday in western India, splitting open on the rocky ground below, killing at least 30 people, police said. The driver lost control of the bus after it collided with a truck on a road near Malshej Ghat, a hilly tourist spot about 160 kilometers northeast of Mumbai, police officer Raghunath Yadav said. The death toll rose as rescuers found more bodies in the bus wreckage. Another police officer, Hemant Patel, said two or three people were unaccounted for by late afternoon. Yadav said seven people were hospitalized for injuries, some of them in serious condition. The truck driver was also hurt but managed to keep the vehicle on the road. Patel said the badly injured passengers were found scattered in the gorge as the bus was split open when it hit the rocky ground. Their families rushed to the site in shock and later collected the bodies of their dear ones for cremation, he said. India has the world’s deadliest roads, with more than 110,000 people killed annually. Most crashes are blamed on reckless driving, poorly maintained roads and aging vehicles. —AP

Business FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

Euro-zone manufacturing posts strongest growth

Slow start to 2014 as China disappoints PAGE 22


BANGKOK: A Thai anti government protester walks past barricades as he rallies at Government House in Bangkok yesterday. — AFP (See Page 22)

Oman budget sees slowdown in spending growth No fresh detail on privatization plans, new taxes MUSCAT: Oman’s 2014 budget plan will slow growth in state spending as the government grapples with rising pressure on its finances, Financial Affairs Minister Darwish Al-Balushi said yesterday. “The continuation and stability of growth require a careful examination of current financial reality,” Balushi told a news conference, stressing the need to keep state spending within “sustainable limits”. His budget plan appeared to mark a shift towards more cautious fiscal policy. Oman boosted expenditure sharply between 2011 and 2013, spending on welfare programs, public sector wages and job creation to ensure social peace after scattered street protests demanded more jobs and an end to corruption. This put state finances under pressure. The International Monetary Fund warned Oman would need to reform its spending and find new revenue sources in the next few years to avoid falling into a pattern of ballooning budget deficits. The 2014 budget plan seems to heed this warning. State spending this year is projected at 13.5 billion rials ($35.1 billion), up just 5 percent from the original plan in the 2013 budget, which envisaged a 29 percent leap from 2012. Revenues in 2014 are estimated at 11.7 billion rials, up 4.5 percent from the 2013 plan. Though this year’s budget projects a deficit, it conservatively assumes an average oil price of $85 a barrel; Brent crude is currently trading around $111.0. This suggests Oman’s revenues - about three-quarters of which come

from oil - could again be much larger than projected this year and the government may again post a surplus. Nevertheless, the government realizes that to have stable finances in the long term, it needs to increase non-oil revenues, diversify the economy beyond oil and encourage more foreign and domestic investment by private firms, Balushi said. According to the latest official data, actual government spending totaled 11.20 billion rials in the first 10 months of 2013 against revenues of 11.74 billion rials, leaving Oman with a budget surplus of 544 million rials - well down from a 2.81 billion rial surplus in the same period a year ago. FINANCING Balushi said the government planned to borrow 400 million rials this year, including 200 million rials overseas from commercial banks and “strategic partners” such as insurance companies. Officials had said earlier that Oman might issue its first international bond this year since 1997, but Balushi did not mention this as a possibility. However, he said the government aimed to conduct part of its domestic borrowing in 2014 in the form of its first issue of Islamic bonds. Oman has lagged other Gulf states in introducing Islamic finance and is working to develop the industry. Oman is spending billions of dollars on infrastructure projects, such as port facilities and a railway, to diversify its economy. Balushi said such projects would continue but the government

hoped to attract more private investment in them. “Instead of the government carrying the burden of 100 percent of the big projects, the private sector should be allowed and encouraged to take part. This is one way to control expenditures,” he said. He predicted economic growth of 5 percent in both 2013 and 2014, but with the private sector playing an increasing role; non-oil activity is forecast to expand 7.3 percent this year after 5.6 percent last year. The government has said it will revive its privatization program to raise revenue and stimulate the private sector, and is arranging an offer of 19 percent of Oman Telecommunications Co which is expected to raise around $600 million. But Balushi declined yesterday to detail further privatization plans, saying that talking publicly about them might affect the stock market. He also avoided discussing how the government might increase revenues through new taxes. A state advisory body has suggested Oman should place a 2 percent tax on the billions of dollars which foreign workers send back to their home countries every year, but this could hurt private firms and it is not clear if the government will go ahead with it. Other Gulf oil exporting countries are also feeling pressure to slow their state spending growth after three years of rapid rises triggered by the Arab Spring uprisings. Last week, Saudi Arabia revealed a 2014 budget which projected the slowest spending rise in a decade. — Reuters


Business FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

Fiat shares surge on Chrysler merger Fiat’s Europe sales sag, Chrysler’s rise in North America MILAN: Fiat shares jumped yesterday after it struck a $4.35 billion deal to gain full control of Chrysler Group LLC, but doubts remained over whether the Italian carmaker can use the merger to cut losses in Europe. Investors welcomed the deal struck by Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne under which Fiat will buy the 41.46 percent of the No 3 US automaker it does not already own, without raising funds from the stock market. Marchionne, who has run both companies since Chrysler’s 2009 US government-funded bankruptcy restructuring, aims to merge the two into the world’s seventh-largest auto group. However, analysts worried about how the deal will increase Fiat’s already heavy debt burden, despite a relatively low price negotiated by Marchionne after more than a year of talks. Fiat shares rose as much as 16 percent to levels last seen in August 2011 after the agreement, announced late on Wednesday, which aims to combine the two automakers’ resources and rejuvenate Fiat’s product lineup. “They paid less than the market had expected and there will be no capital increase to fund this, so no wonder the stock is flying,” a Milan-based trader said. “While it’s still to be seen how this will bode for Fiat’s future, this is a good start to the year for a company that has had quite a tough ride recently, especially in Europe.” Fiat will buy the stake in the profitable US group from a retiree healthcare trust affiliated to the United Auto Workers union. The trust will receive $3.65 billion in cash for the stake, $1.9 billion of which will come from Chrysler and $1.75 billion from Fiat. After the deal closes, Chrysler has committed to giving the UAW trust another $700 million over three years. However, Citigroup analysts said Fiat’s debt would

MILAN: A combo photo shows the logos of Italian car manufacturer Fiat and US automobile heavyweight Chrysler. —AFP become the highest for any European motor manufacturer. “Group net debt will rise to around 10 billion euros ($13.8 billion) upon completion of this transaction ... leaving it the most indebted OEM (original equipment manufacturer) in

Europe,” they said in a note. “We continue to have concerns about the sustainability of this heavy debt burden.” INVESTMENTS It remains to be seen whether the

Kurdistan oil flow to Turkey begins Exports await Iraqi consent ANKARA: Crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan has started flowing via a new pipeline to the Turkish Mediterranean export hub of Ceyhan but will not be shipped to world markets without the consent of Baghdad, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said yesterday. Yildiz hopes a deal can be reached this month for exports to begin, he told a news conference in Ankara. Flows through the pipeline would start at 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) and rise to 400,000, he said. Turkey signed a multi-billion-dollar energy package late last year with Iraqi Kurdistan (KRG) under which the semiautonomous region plans independent energy exports via Turkey. Kurdistan could eventually export some 2 million

bpd of oil to world markets and at least 10 billion cubic meters per year of gas to Turkey. Its bid to export oil and gas independently from Baghdad has infuriated officials in the Iraqi capital, which claims sole authority to manage Iraqi oil. Turkey has been working to get the central government on board before exports start. “The flow of crude oil from Iraq has begun. It is being stored. It will not be exported without the consent of the Iraqi government,” Yildiz told the news conference. The Turkish-KRG deal has significance for major oil companies as well as for the Kurds and Turkey, which stand to benefit from domestic supply and onward westward export through Ceyhan. Kurdistan has struck

deals with ExxonMobil, Chevron and Total among others as it seeks to develop its energy industry. Ankara has set up the Turkish Energy Company (TEC), a state-backed entity which has struck partnership deals with Exxon and will be Turkey’s counterparty in dealings with Kurdistan. Yildiz visited Baghdad in December for talks with Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Hussain alShahristani, who has long opposed Turkey’s courtship of the Kurdish region. Baghdad says Kurdish efforts towards oil independence could lead to the break-up of Iraq, but Turkey has repeatedly said it respects Iraq’s sensitivities over territorial integrity and that increasing oil revenues will help the whole of the country.—Reuters

merger will cut Fiat’s losses in Europe, where the company had promised to break even by 2016. Marchionne’s plan depends on Fiat’s ability to share technology, cash and dealer networks with Chrysler, both easily and cheaply. Chrysler and Fiat currently have to manage their finances separately. A full merger will make it easier - but not automatic - to combine the cash pools of the two companies, giving Fiat more funds to expand its product lineup. Chrysler, which Fiat has been running since the bailout deal with the US government, is now a profit centre for Fiat. The Italian carmaker has been hurt by sagging sales in Europe, whereas those in Chrysler’s North American home market have risen nearly 50 percent since 2009. The deal raises expectations that it will allow investment in underused Italian plants and to launch new models in what analysts and ratings agencies expect to be a steadying market from 2014. Fiat has plans to build Jeeps and a new line of Alfa Romeos in Italy for export to markets in Asia, Latin America and the United States to offset flagging demand in crisis-hit Italy. But whether Marchionne will put billions of euros into Italy and Europe, where the group has lost much of its market position in recent years, or elsewhere is still uncertain. “The bad news is that he’s spent no money for the past two years at Fiat because he was waiting for this to happen,” said a London-based analyst at a major investment bank. “He’s not getting any exposure to European recovery. The US asset is not as good as its peers and needs money spent on it. Marchionne has shown he can get the job done but I’m still buying a dream.” By 1112 GMT Fiat shares were up 12.4 percent at 6.68 euros, with traded volume four times the previous month’s daily average. —Reuters

Sri Lanka cuts lending rates to spur growth COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s central bank yesterday cut a key lending rate by 50 basis points to 8.0 percent after inflation eased to its lowest level in nearly two years and as the economy shows signs of sustained growth. The move by the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka represents the fourth consecutive reduction since December 2012. The deposit rate was kept at 6.5 percent. The bank said it expected the island’s economy grew 7.2 percent in 2013, up from 6.4 percent in 2012 after announcing last week that inflation had hit a 22-month low of 4.7 percent. “Economic growth is expected to accelerate further during the new year, while inflation is projected to remain in mid-single digits,” the bank added in a statement. It cut the two rates by 50 basis points in both October and May, while reducing them by 25 points in December 2012. The bank has announced a slew of recent figures indicating a pick-up in the economy, which recorded strong growth in the two years after the end of bloody civil war in 2009, but has dipped since. It forecast overseas trade will continue to rebound as developed nations see improvements in their economies, while it also said the country’s trade deficit had narrowed to $7.8 billion by the end of 2013. “The external sector is also envisaged to improve further, with the expected recovery in advanced economies and structural measures adopted domestically to strengthen the sector,” the bank said. The country’s balance of payments also improved to record a surplus of $700 million in calendar 2013 compared to a modest surplus of $150 million the previous year, it added. —AFP


Business FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

Gold jumps in thin volumes LONDON: Gold jumped yesterday on physical buying after prices plunged to a six-month low, but investors remained unenthusiastic because of a brighter global economic outlook and speculation of an imminent end to the US monetary stimulus. Gold plunged 28 percent in 2013, ending a 12-year bull run, as the US Federal Reserve announced plans to unwind ultra-loose monetary policy from this month by trimming its monthly asset purchases by $10 billion to $75 billion a month. Quantitative easing has helped to drive gold prices higher in recent years, maintaining pressure on long-term interest rates and stoking inflation fears. Price movements were still driven by low volumes in the New Year holiday week, analysts said. “Liquidity is still very low this week and I’m not sure we can read much in today’s gains ... we have to wait until next week to have a clearer picture of where we are heading to.” Commerzbank commodity analyst Daniel Briesemann said. “But as long as investment liquidation (in exchangetraded funds) continues, gold will probably stay under pressure.” Spot gold rose to a two-week high of $1,228.10 an ounce in early trading and was trading up 1.1 percent at $1,219.04 by 1118 GMT. It had dropped to its weakest since June 28 at $1,184.50 an ounce on Tuesday. US gold futures for February delivery rose as much as 2 percent in early trading. Holdings in the SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, remained unchanged at their lowest since January 2009 at 798.22 tons on Tuesday. In other markets, European shares touched fresh 5-1/2 year highs on Thursday before slipping back, while the dollar rose 0.5 percent against a basket of major currencies. Traders are likely to monitor US weekly jobless claims and the Institute for Supply Management’s index of national factory activity later on Thursday for indications of the strength of the US recovery. PHYSICAL DEMAND Some dealers said the gold market was supported by Chinese buyers returning after the price drop. Premiums for gold bars in Singapore were little changed from last week at $1.30 to $1.50 an ounce to the spot London prices. In Hong Kong, premiums were steady at between $1.80 and a high of $2 an ounce. Silver rose 3.2 percent to $19.94 an ounce, while US silver futures gained more than 5 percent. Silver dropped 36 percent in 2013, its worst annual performance since at least 1982. Silver was the second-largest loser for the year on the 19-commodity Thomson Reuters/Core Commodity CRB index, preceded by corn and followed by gold. Spot platinum was up 1.5 percent at $1,391 an ounce - it posted a 12 percent annual loss in 2013. Best-performing palladium rose 1.3 percent to $720.25 an ounce and was the only precious metal to post a positive performance in 2013, up nearly 2 percent.—Reuters

Slow start to 2014 as China disappoints European, Asian share markets soft, Nikkei still shut LONDON: World share markets made a soft start to 2014 yesterday in the wake of disappointing data on Chinese manufacturing, while investors showed renewed appetite for commodities and the dollar as the new year got underway. Gold grabbed the limelight with a 1.5 percent jump to $1,220 an ounce, recouping just a little of the losses that made last year its worst in three decades. The buying spilled over into silver and copper, with dealers talking of demand from Chinese traders looking to pick up commodities on the cheap. The other action was in the yen, which resumed its long decline on the back of speculation the Bank of Japan will ease policy further while other central banks stay put or begin to rein in the huge amounts of cash being pumped into the economy. The drop in the yen has been viewed as positive for Japanese exports and corporate earnings, and a major reason its share markets outperformed all others last year. After China’s official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 51.0 in December, manufacturing indices for Europe and the United States will offer more ideas on how global industry was faring into the end of last year. Figures from the euro zone set a positive early tone as they showed manufacturing growing at the fastest rate since mid-2011 in December on brisk business in Germany and Italy, though a moribund French economy continued to weigh. “With producers reporting further growth of new orders, exports and backlogs of work, the stage is set for a good start to 2014,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, which compiles the survey of purchasing managers. European stocks had started the year at a 5-1/2 year high, but an initial push higher proved short-lived despite the upbeat data as London’s FTSE, Paris’s CAC 40 and Frankfurt’s Dax dropped 0.5, 0.6 and 0.5 percent respectively. Safe-haven European benchmark German bonds were also out of favour as investors continued to shed them in favor of riskier assets, while the euro sagged to a near

one-week low as the dollar strengthened. YEN HEADING LOWER For the major currencies the main theme continued to be weakness in the yen. The dollar hovered near a five-year high versus the Japanese currency at 105.35 yen, with the focus on whether US data later in the day will support the case for the Federal Reserve gradually scaling

will eventually lift the dollar up on the euro. Yields on US 10-year paper are up at two-and-a-half year highs of 3.03 percent. Even shorter-dated rates have been rising as improving US economic data justifies the Federal Reserve’s decision to start tapering its asset-buying. Prices of German Bund futures fell to their lowest since September 2013 yesterday as investors continued to offload the

TOKYO: New Year shoppers pick up ‘lucky bags’ containing items worth three times as much as their price tag, during the annual event to celebrate the New Year business at a department store in Tokyo yesterday. Lucky bags are sold to celebrate the New Year business, Japan’s biggest holiday of the year. —AFP back its bond-buying stimulus. The euro steadied at 144.70 yen, having clocked up gains of 26 percent over 2013 to reach a five-year peak of 145.67. On the dollar it was down to $1.3733, but still not far from its recent two-year peak of $1.3892. Dealers suspect the single currency has been supported by the repatriation of funds by European banks and a large and expanding current account surplus in the euro-zone. But there remains a general assumption that rising US Treasury yields

top-rated bonds in favor of riskier assets. US business and jobless claims data are due later and a speech by outgoing Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday may offer some more guidance on the central bank’s tapering plans. In oil markets, US crude futures were trading 22 cents higher yesterday at $98.64 a barrel, while Brent added 20 cents to $111.00. Having ended last year essentially flat, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.5 percent yesterday. —Reuters

Brent rises above $111 SINGAPORE: Brent crude rose past $111 a barrel yesterday on a drop in US inventories and output cuts in Libya and South Sudan, but slowing economic expansion in China capped gains. Growth in factory activity in second largest oil consumer China slowed in late 2013, according to purchasing managers’ indexes published by the government and HSBC, weighed down by shrinking export orders. China’s factory activity expanded at its slowest in three months in December, according to the HSBC survey, consistent with views that the economy’s growth rate has moderated. “The Chinese PMI data were not exactly bullish,” IHS oil consultant Victor Shum said. “The only thing sup-

porting oil prices is probably the US inventories.” February Brent crude rose 50 cents from Tuesday to $111.30 a barrel by 0739 GMT. US crude for February delivery was at $98.88, up 46 cents. Markets were shut on Wednesday for the New Year. Data from the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday a drop of 5.7 million barrels in US crude stockpiles, nearly double the 3-millionbarrel draw expected by analysts surveyed by Reuters. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) will release its data on Jan 3 due to the holiday. Lower US inventories helped buoy the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil price in 2013. The average for the past year was $98.05 a barrel, up 4.2 percent from

$94.14 in 2012. The average Brent price for 2013 was $108.70 in 2013, down 2.7 percent from $111.68 in 2012 in a wellsupplied market despite disruptions in the Middle East, Africa and North Sea. Production in Libya, Iran, Iraq and the United States will be closely watched this year, IHS’ Shum said, in addition to any signs of further stimulus tapering by the US Federal Reserve. In Libya, oil output is still less than 250,000 barrels per day (bpd), down from 1.4 million bpd in July, as ports in the eastern part of the country remain shut. South Sudanese President Salva Kiir declared a state of emergency in two states on Wednesday as his negotiators prepared for peace talks with rebels to end more than two weeks of

violence that has pushed the country towards civil war. Iran and six world powers will implement an agreement in late January obliging Tehran to suspend its most sensitive nuclear work, an Iranian official was quoted as saying on Tuesday. That raises the prospect of a fairly rapid increase in Iranian crude exports over 2014, according to some analysts. “It may be six months or more before all of the Iranian oil returns to the market - and it will depend on Iran’s political compliance,” Jason Schenker, president of consultancy Prestige Economics said in a note. “When that happens, however, Brent crude oil prices could fall swiftly.”—Reuters

Business FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

Euro-zone manufacturing posts strongest growth BRUSSELS: Business activity in the euro-zone posted its strongest growth in 31 months in a fresh sign of recovery though France remained a sore point, a key survey showed yesterday. Markit Economics’ said its Euro-zone Composite Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for December rose to 52.7 from 51.6 in November, the third consecutive monthly rise. “A strengthening upturn in the manufacturing sector is helping the euro area recovery become firmly established,” said Markit’s chief economist

Chris Williamson. The latest data pointed to an increase in production of approximately one percent in the last 2013 quarter. “With producers reporting further growth of new orders, exports and backlogs of work, the stage is set for a good start to 2014, during which it seems likely that the manufacturing sector will help drive a meaningful, albeit still modest recovery,” he added. Germany, Italy and Spain recorded the strongest rises in output since early 2011 but

France on the other hand saw a steepening downturn in part due to a fall in exports. “This suggests that competitiveness is a key issue which the French manufacturing sector needs to address,” Markit said. Even Greece registered a 52-month high while France fell to a seven-month low. With growth holding, levels of employment remained stable in December, seeing job creations in Germany, Italy and Ireland, and a slowing rate of job cuts in Spain and Greece.— AFP

Russia’s crude output hits post-Soviet high

BANGKOK: A Thai anti-government protester washes his face at a protest site outside the Government House in Bangkok. — AFP

Thai currency plunge Stocks at 4-month low; Baht on 10-day decline BANGKOK: Thai stocks and the baht currency tumbled yesterday as uncertainty deepened about a February election that anti-government forces are determined to block in their bid to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. The benchmark index dropped 2.7 percent to a four-month low of 1,263.72 before the midday break and the baht lost for a 10th straight day against the dollar. Investors are worried a Feb 2 poll will not go ahead, leaving Yingluck’s government exposed to prolonged attacks by opponents. National Security Council chief Paradorn Pattanatabut said yesterday security agencies were considering declaring a state of emergency after protesters said they would try to “shut down” the capital from Jan 13. “The situation has intensified,” Paradorn said. “We may need to call for tougher measures and security agencies have planned for that.” The latest bout of political tumult erupted in November after a blunder by the ruling Puea Thai Party, which tried to push through an unpopular amnesty bill that would have annulled the jail sentence of Yingluck’s self-exiled brother and former premier, Thaksin Shinawatra, the divisive tycoon at the heart of eight years of on-off conflict. Protesters say Yingluck is a puppet of Dubai-based Thaksin, who they call a corrupt crony capitalist who has subverted a democratic system that needs to be suspended and overhauled. Backed by Bangkok’s conservative elite, their broader aim is to neutralize the power of Thaksin’s political juggernaut, rooted among the rural poor in the populous north and northeast, which has won every poll since 2001. Yingluck dissolved parliament on Dec 9 to defuse massive street protests. However, calling a new election she is almost certain to win has had the opposite effect, sparking deadly clashes, mysterious shootings and concerns about military intervention or legal paralysis. SHARES DUMPED The crisis has hurt Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy, which

is already suffering from weak spending and sluggish export growth. The baht slid to 32.91 per dollar yesterday, its weakest since February 2010. The share selloff came after foreign investors offloaded $1.26 billion of Thai shares in December, compared with $6.2 billion for the whole year. Thailand’s Election Commission (EC) met yesterday to try to find a solution to break the poll deadlock but, with Thais deeply polarized, that appears increasingly unlikely. The conflict is all too familiar in Thailand after eight years of upheaval characterized by violent street protests and blockades, as well as judicial and military intervention. Yingluck has spent much of the past two weeks in her northern strongholds but returned to Bangkok on Wednesday to join military leaders in paying a New Year goodwill visit to King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s top aide, Prem Tinsulanonda, a retired general in his 90s. Yingluck is clinging on, asserting her democratic mandate from an election landslide in 2011, but protesters backed by Bangkok’s royalist establishment, the opposition Democrat Party and old-money families are demanding she resigns to allow an appointed “people’s council” to take over. Thailand has been in a tense stalemate for weeks and the government is looking increasingly isolated. The mostly peaceful protests descended into chaos on Dec. 26 when a hard core of demonstrators tried to invade an election registration centre. Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, while unknown gunmen killed a policeman and a demonstrator. Scores were wounded. The EC urged Yingluck to postpone the election after those clashes but was quickly rebuffed by the government, which said any delay would be unconstitutional. The next day, the country’s powerful army chief refused to rule out intervening to defuse the crisis, a marked shift from the usual denials by a coupprone military. — Reuters

MOSCOW: World energy power Russia said yesterday that its 2013 oil output hit a post-Soviet high while natural gas production of its giant Gazprom holding slipped for the second successive year. The mixed figures-highlighted by yet another dip in oil exports outside ex-Soviet territoriespoint to lingering problems in a sector that accounts for about half of Russia’s budget revenues. It also remains instrumental to President Vladimir Putin as he battles a rapid economic slowdown that has put a strain on the commitment to broader social spending he made when re-elected to a third term in 2012. The Russian energy ministry’s reporting unit said oil and gas condensate production grew by 1.0 percent last year to reach a new record of 523.3 million tons (10.51 million barrels per day). Russia had established its previous postSoviet high in 2012 when output stood at 10.40 million barrels per day. Its post-Soviet low came in 1994 when daily output slumped to 6.0 million barrels-less than half of the 12.4 million barrels Russia and 14 other republics produced as part of the Soviet Union in 1988. The current output rate outpaces that of Saudi Arabia and clinches for Russia the title of the world’s biggest oil producer. But Russia lacks the quick ability of Saudi Arabia to boost output in case of a global economic rebound or more serious turmoil in the Middle East. It also appears to be unable to break through any further on large foreign markets to which it has no direct pipeline and that in some cases are starting to depend on US shale oil. Yesterday’s figures showed exports outside the former Soviet nations declining by 2.2 percent. Russia’s overall natural gas production rose last year amid stiffer competition for state-owned Gazpom from privately-owned firms such as Novatek and Lukoil. Total natural gas output rose by 2.1 percent to 668.0 billion cubic meters (23.6 trillion cubic feet). Gazprom’s production was reported at 476.1 billion cubic meters-down from its 2012 figure of 478.8 billion cubic meters and well off its 2011 output of 513.1 billion cubic meters. The drop reflects the reality that almost all of Gazprom’s foreign sales are focused on European and post-Soviet countries now experiencing some of the slowest growth rates in the world. Gazprom has also been slow to shift its focus to liquefied natural gas (LNG) production that could help it reach the growing markets of Asia and Latin America.— AFP

Opinion FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

VOLGOGRAD: Photo shows the wreckage of a trolleybus following a suicide attack that destroyed the packed trolleybus killing 14 people in the southern Russian city of Volgograd. — AFP

Grassroots terror - the importance of location By Scott Stewart


ot all grassroots militants who want to conduct a terrorist attack are created equal. As we have previously discussed, this is true in several aspects, including personal intellect, drive and capability. But recent events in Russia and the United States have highlighted another dimension of this inequality, that of location. On Dec 13, Terry Loewen, an avionics technician working at the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita, Kansas, attempted to drive what he believed to be a vehicle bomb onto the airport’s tarmac area, using his employee badge to gain access. Loewen, a convert to Islam who had been radicalized by material he accessed via the Internet, believed he was about to conduct a suicide bombing operation at the behest of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Unfortunately for the aspiring suicide bomber, the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula “operative” he met in a jihadist chat room was an employee of the FBI-and the device he attempted to drive onto the tarmac was inert. Loewen was arrested after his deactivated airport access card failed to open the gate onto the tarmac and charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction (a term used in US federal law to define an improvised explosive device). He was also charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Loewen has joined a long list of would-be grassroots terror operatives who intended to conduct attacks but found themselves ensnared in FBI operations. The primary reason for this dynamic is that grassroots operatives often aspire to conduct attacks that surpass their operational capabilities. This means that they must look for assistance to conduct spectacular attacks, and their efforts to seek help frequently result in them being brought to the attention of law enforcement. A few aspiring grassroots operatives, like the Tsarnayev brothers, who attacked the Boston Marathon in April, and Ft Hood shooter Nidal Hasan, recognized their operational limitations and conducted attacks within those capabilities without searching for outside help. Such operatives tend to be more successful than those who aspire to carry out grandiose attacks, compelling militant ideologues to go to great lengths to convince other grassroots operatives to act within their means. Just last week, AlQaeda’s media branch, As-Sahab, released an hour-long video praising successful grassroots operatives (including the Tsarnaev brothers and Hasan) and urging others to conduct similarly simple attacks. Yet, as detailed in criminal complaints and other court

documents, it is clear that many aspiring grassroots attackers simply do not have the mental make-up required to accurately assess their capabilities and thus plan attacks they cannot realistically accomplish without outside help. Such individuals tend to be far more aspirational, idealistic and grandiose in their planning. Some less-equipped operatives with elaborate ambitions have connected with professional terrorist organizations, which can train, equip and dispatch assailants to carry out attacks. Past examples of this include shoe bomber Richard Reid and would-be Christmas Day 2009 airline bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. In both these cases, malfunctioning explosive devices resulted in narrowly averted catastrophic attacks against commercial aircraft. ADVANTAGES IN CAUCASUS While many people will read a criminal complaint like the one filed in the Loewen case and poke fun at his naive and bumbling attempt to join the global jihad, the primary aspect that sets Loewen apart from attackers such as Reid and Abdulmutallab is location. Reid and Abdulmutallab were situated in places where it was possible to easily connect with a legitimate terrorist organization. Loewen was not. This is where the recent events in Russia come in. On Dec 30, a suicide bomber detonated a device aboard a trolley bus during the morning rush hour in the Russian city of Volgograd, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens more. It was the second suicide bombing in two days in Volgograd. Russian authorities identified the bomber as Pavel Pechenkin, an ethnic Russian convert to Islam from the Mari El republic in central Russia, who moved to Dagestan to fight with jihadists there. Pechenkin reportedly worked as either a paramedic or an emergency room nurse in his home city before becoming radicalized. Despite the heavy pressure Russian security forces have applied to militant groups such as the Caucasus Emirate in the area, an active insurgency continues. In addition to the ethnic and religious foundations of the Caucasus insurgency, provincial militants are greatly aided by the difficult topography and complex ethnic mosaic of the region. But for Russians like Pechenkin who become radicalized and want to fight in the insurgency or conduct terrorist attacks in Russia, the presence of an active jihadist insurgency in the Caucasus makes it possible to travel easily and attend militant training camps, where they can be educated and equipped for future attacks. The fact that most jihadists in the Caucasus speak Russian is also helpful in this regard. While the Russian security services are looking to identify and arrest such grassroots opera-

tives before they can join established jihadist networks, it is difficult to interdict them all. Compared to ethnic Muslim jihadists from the Caucasus, it is more difficult to profile ethnic Slavic operatives based on appearance alone. It is also easier for them to conduct attacks within ethnic Russian areas. Pechenkin was identified as having been radicalized in 2012, so it might have been more difficult for him to travel to Moscow than to Volgograd-the largest ethnically Slavic city near the Caucuses-hence the use of a Russian suicide operative for an attack in Volgograd rather than Moscow. The “black widow” (a term describing female suicide bombers thought to be the sisters or widows of jihadists) who attacked the train station in Volgograd the day before was reportedly spotted by police near the entrance to the station and detonated her device as police approached. Pechenkin was able to fit into the crowd in Volgograd without drawing attention to himself. The insurgency in the Caucasus has long benefitted from the availability of military ordnance, and unlike the United States or the United Kingdom it is a relatively easy place to buy high-grade explosives such as TNT (often called trotyl in Russia). As a result, most terrorist bombings in the Caucasus are conducted with military-grade explosives rather than the low-grade explosives or improvised explosive mixtures frequently used in attacks in the West. Of course, this principle of organization and support does not just apply to the Caucuses alone; grassroots jihadists in many parts of the world benefit from proximity and alignment to professional terrorist groups and arms. Location dictates the availability (or lack thereof) of quality explosives and professional terrorist tradecraft. Grassroots militants who connect with a militant organization gain access to all the terrorist tradecraft expertise and logistical capabilities of the group. This means they can acquire explosive devices and have their attacks planned by professional terror operatives. The organization can also plan their travel, ensuring that they get to the attack site prepared and ready to go. Such grassroots operatives can also find ideological support and reinforcement for their beliefs that can serve to steel their resolve to conduct a suicide attack-or manipulate them into undertaking one. The militant groups in the Caucuses and elsewhere have become adept at grooming and preparing individuals for suicide attacks. Grassroots operatives working as lone wolves or in small cells simply do not have this type of support. Indeed, had Loewen been able to connect with a militant group, with assistance he could easily have become a successful suicide bomber rather than a bumbler ensnared by a law enforcement sting. — Stratfor


Apartment blocks form a symmetrical pattern in Hong Kong yesterday. Home prices in the southern Chinese city have risen by 120 percent since 2008, and by more than 30 per cent from their previous peak in 1997, with prices in the luxury market being pushed up by wealthy buyers from mainland China. — AFP


The good-skin diet: 10 foods for a healthier complexion

s beauty products get more high-tech, the top complexion cures still come from the most natural quarters: the aisles of your supermarket. “Increasingly, studies are finding links between certain nutrients and wrinkle reduction, radiance, and acne prevention,” says David Bank, MD, a dermatologist in Mount Kisco, New York. Here are 10 cream-ofthe-crop ways to nourish your skin from the inside and out.


Get glowing with chocolate Cocoa hydrates your skin, making it firmer and more supple, D. Bank says. “And dark chocolate contains high levels of flavonols, a potent type of antioxidant,” adds Nicholas Perricone, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. For maximum flavonol content, eat chocolate that’s at least 70 percent cacao. A couple of squares a day should be enough to improve luminosity. “When applied topically, the caffeine in chocolate may temporarily reduce skin puffiness,” says Jessica Wu, MD, a dermatologist in Los Angeles and the author of Feed Your Face.

with copper, a mineral that boosts collagen production. Snack on a handful of walnuts each day to improve your complexion’s texture. The ground walnut it contains acts as an exfoliant. Fight crow’s-feet with peppers “Women who eat green and yellow vegetables regularly tend to have fewer wrinkles, especially around the eyes,” Dr Wu says. Also, studies found that carotenoids — the antioxidants in yellow and orange veggies — can decrease skin’s sensitivity to the sun, Dr Bank says. Aim for about two cups of peppers daily. Brighten up with sunflower seeds Loaded with vitamin E, sunflower seeds keep your skin supple by protecting its top layers from the sun. Eat a handful daily. A high essential-fatty-acid content makes sunflower seed oil a treat for parched body parts, such as lips and heels, when topically applied, Dr Bank says.

Prevent wrinkles with yoghurt The protein you get from eating dairy helps skin become firmer, so it’s more resistant to lines, Dr. Wu says. Greek yoghurt is especially beneficial. “The protein content is often double that of regular yogurt,” D. Perricone adds. Eat a single serving daily to make your complexion smoother and to calm irritated, dry, or sensitive skin.

Zap zits with kidney beans They’re high in zinc, and studies indicate a correlation between blemishes and low zinc levels, Dr. Wu explains. “That may be because of zinc’s healing properties.” Have a fourounce serving of kidney beans to help you stay in the clear. In addition, studies show topical zinc to be as effective against acne as antibiotics are.

Protect with pomegranates They’re packed with polyphenol antioxidants, Dr Perricone says. Polyphenols fight free radicals and regulate skin’s blood flow, giving it rosiness. One pomegranate or a few glasses of juice daily should do the trick. When applied to skin, the fruits’ antioxidants help smooth lines and moisturize, Dr Bank says.

Even out your skin tone with soy Drink a latte with soy milk or eat edamame and you may get a clearer complexion. “Soy contains minerals and proteins that have been shown to reduce hyperpigmentation,” Dr. Bank says. One cup a day should yield results.

Soften skin with walnuts “Walnuts contain omega-3 essential fatty acids, which can improve skin’s elasticity,” Dr Bank says. The nuts are also loaded

Look younger with oatmeal Steel-cut oatmeal is less processed than other varieties, so it retains more vitamins. “Plus, it takes longer to break down in your body, which helps keep your blood sugar stable,” Dr Wu

says. “This is important because studies found that spiked blood sugar elevates your body’s level of androgens, hormones that can contribute to wrinkles.” Oats are also exceptionally skin healing. Calm redness with green tea “It’s very high in antioxidants, particularly one named EGCG, which is proved to reduce redness,” says Jeffrey Morrison, MD, nutrition consultant for Equinox Sports Clubs in New York City. “Studies have also demonstrated that green tea helps fight inflammation,” Dr. Bank says. Sip at least one cup of green tea a day, and fight redness. —

Food FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

Apple of your eye APPLE CAKE



pples in cake? You bet - and it’s a recipe that can be whipped together in a single bowl. Finish off the cake with your favorite whipped cream or frosting recipe, such as vanilla or lemon.


Ingredients: 1 cup graham cracker crumbs 1 cup sugar, divided 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter 1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided 16 ounces cream cheese, softened 2 eggs 4 cups sliced apples (from 2 to 3 apples) 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Ingredients: 2 cups diced apples 1 1/1 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1 egg, beaten 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions: 1) Preheat oven to 350ºF. 2) Combine graham crackers, 3 tablespoons sugar, butter, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon together in a large bowl; mix well. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake 10 minutes. 3) In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar together until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well. Add vanilla and beat; pour mixture into prepared pie crust. 4) In a large bowl, combine remaining 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Add apples and toss to coat. Spoon apples over cheesecake filling; sprinkle pecans evenly over. Bake one hour, remove, and cool before serv-

Directions: 1) Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease an 8-inch round cake pan. 2) Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; whisk until lightly mixed. Pour into prepared cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes; remove from cake pan and cool completely



Ingredients: 2 large apples, chopped 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup butter, room temperature 1 cup sugar, 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda Directions: 1) Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners. 2) Place apples and water in a medium pot; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until softened, 15 to 25 minutes. Transfer apples, using a slotted spoon, to a food processor; puree until smooth. Set aside. 3) Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Add apple puree and vanilla; beat until smooth. 4) In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture, slowly beating to incorporate, until just combined. 5) Spoon into prepared muffin cups. Bake until tops are springy to the touch, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


Ingredients: 1 prepared pie shell 2 apples, peeled, thinly sliced 2 large eggs 4 cups whipping cream 3 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla Directions: 1) Preheat oven to 350ºF. 2) Fill prepared pie shell with apples. 3) Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add cream, sugar, and vanilla; cream until foamy. Pour over apples; bake 40 minutes, until golden brown. Ingredients: 3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, sliced 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup sugar 1 large egg 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 cup butter, melted Directions: 1) Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease an 8-inch baking dish. 2) Toss apples and lemon juice in a large bowl. Arrange along bottom of prepared baking dish. 3) In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, egg, and cinnamon until resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle over apples. Pour melted butter over the top of the entire dish. 4) Bake 30 minutes, until juices bubble and top is golden. Serve warm or cold.

Ingredients: 4 large apples, cored, peeled, sliced 1 1/2 cups water 3/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 teaspoons cornstarch Directions: 1) Place apples, water, and sugar in a large pot; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until apples are very soft, 20 to 25 minutes. 2) In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and cornstarch until no lumps remain. Add to apple mixture and cook, stirring to break down lumps, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. 3) Transfer mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth. Pour into dessert cups and chill.

Health FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

Rhytidectomy: Taking things at face value Can a simple facelift turn the clock back by a decade?


facelift is a surgical procedure that is typically used to give a more youthful appearance to the face. Technically, it is also called a rhytidectomy. This type of cosmetic surgery reshapes the lower one-third of the face by removing excess facial skin. Some facelift procedures also include the tightening of underlying tissues. To achieve the best result, it is often combined with other additional procedures addressing the forehead, cheeks, brows and eyes. According to statistics, facelifts are increasingly popular among both men and women. The first facelift was performed in Berlin in 1901 by surgeon Eugen Hollander. According to Medilexicon’s medical dictionary, a rhytidectomy is: “Literally, excision of wrinkles. Usually used to designate rejuvenative surgery of the cheeks and neck performed by tightening the facial supporting structures and excising excess skin; face-lift.” The facelift procedure An incision is made in front of the ear extending up into the hair or hairline. The incision stretches downward in front of the ear, comes under the ear and then upward behind the ear. It then ends in the hair or hairline behind the ear. If necessary, the deeper tissues of the face can be tightened. The excess skin is removed. The incisions are then closed with sutures and staples. In some cases a drain is placed under the skin behind the ear to drain off any excess blood and fluids. This drainage tube is removed a day or two after the procedure. Then bandages are applied. New surgical techniques There are new methods for performing facelifts. New surgical options are constantly being developed. These advances aim at improving cosmetic procedures: Lasers: A face-lift procedure called laser neck and jaw liposculpture and resurfacing, uses lasers. This can be done through a one-inch incision under the chin using only a local anesthetic. Endoscopy: Endoscopic techniques are now used to do face lifts and brow lifts. This method allows for smaller incisions. As a result, there are fewer traumas to tissues, and a faster recovery time. Facial structures are raised, and there is no need to cut away folds of skin. However, this type of procedure also depends on the patient. Liposuction: This method is used to remove focal deposits of fat in the face. It is usually used in the area between the chin and neck. Liposuction can be combined with a face lift or performed separately. Face lift surgery can last from two to five hours. It can be performed in an outpatient facility with local anesthetics and sedatives to relax the patient. However, in some cases surgery can be performed under general anesthesia and the patient may stay in the hospital overnight. Facelifts are effectively combined with eyelid surgery and other facial procedures. The result of a facelift is a smoother, more youthful appearance. The procedure removes and tightens sagging skin. The droop of the cheeks around the jaw line is reduced. The corners of the mouth are lifted and the creases between the cheeks and lips are diminished. The results usually last between five to 10 years. The incisions in front of and behind the ear are usually not noticeable. For a satisfactory and pleasing result, the adequate techniques are required in each individual case. In men, achieving a natural appearance following surgery can be more challenging because men have hair in front of their ears (sideburns). The sideburns can be pulled backwards and upwards. This may result in an odd look. In both men and women, one of the obvious signs of having had a facelift is a distorted earlobe. If skin is removed in excess, the face can assume a pulled-back or startled appearance. Additional procedures to supplement the facelift may be necessary for optimal results, including neck lift, eyelid surgery, liposuction, fat injection, removal of cheek fat, forehead lift, brow lift, chemical or laser peel, and cheek or chin implants. Most patients are very pleased with the results of their facelifts. The following points should be discussed and con-

sidered before going forward with a facelift procedure: Undergoing a facelift surgery is not recommended for anyone with serious medical problems. The individual who is considering undergoing the procedure should be in good general health. The risk of postoperative complications is increased in cigarette smokers. There is a higher risk of complications for patients with high blood pressure and diabetes. The patient should have reasonable expectations. Surgery will not detain the overall aging process. Patient should be psychologically stable. For best results, patient should have good skin elasticity and bone structure. Patients should abstain from taking aspirin or other blood thinners for at least one week prior to surgery. Prior to surgery, the plastic surgeon will review the patient’s medical history. There will be analysis and evaluation of blood pressure, blood clotting, medications, cigarette

What are the complications of facelift surgery? Complications of facelift surgery are infrequent - cosmetic procedures are generally safe. However, any surgery comes with some risk. The risks and complications of facelift surgery include: Bleeding Bruising Complications of anesthesia Damage to the facial nerves controlling muscles (usually temporary) Hematoma (inflammation, pain, swelling and redness) Infection Loss of hair although uncommon (around the incision site) Numbness (can improve within days or weeks) Scarring Skin necrosis (tissue death) Unevenness between two sides of the face Widening or thickening of scar

smoking, drug use, allergies, scarring, and skin condition. Moreover, the plastic surgeon will discuss with the patient what the surgery will involve, where it will take place, the type of anesthesia used, the recovery, and potential complications that may develop. The surgeon and patient should discuss thoroughly what the goals and expectations of the surgery are, according to the skin type and bone structure. Recovery after your facelift Pain and discomfort are usually minimal and medication can be given to relieve tenderness. Most patients do experience a slight discomfort after a facelift. Bruising and swelling can persist for a few days. Recovery time is usually one week but activities can begin the day after the procedure. Sutures are removed about five to ten days after surgery. Incisions and bandages must be kept dry and the patient should follow the specific instructions about bathing and washing. Vigorous activity should be avoided for some time. Following doctor’s directives is crucial and will speed the healing process, allowing for the best possible result. Full recovery takes about two to three weeks while bruises heal and swelling diminishes. Some numbness and muscle stiffness is normal for some time. Scars can take nearly a year to fade and tone down. Most patients are very satisfied with the results of their facelift. They feel that they have recovered a more youthful appearance. Both men and women enjoy their rejuvenated look. The results of a facelift can last approximately 10 years. Genetics and lifestyle factors play a role in aging and the appearance of skin. A healthy lifestyle, including not smoking, limiting stress, sun exposure and contact with pollutants can help extend the beneficial effects of the facelift surgery.

Health FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

What is a liquid facelift? R

egardless of what some beauty companies want you to believe, there is no such thing as a cream or lotion that will “lift” or “firm” the skin by applying it to your face. But there are many products that can be injected into the skin and produce dramatic improvements. Many doctors specializing in these products call these treatments “liquid facelifts.” By using a combination of injectable fillers and/or muscle immobilizing products such as Botox, lines can be minimized or erased, and sagging skin lifted and filled out. “With these injectable products, you can dramatically improve your appearance without the downtime of surgery,” explains New York plastic surgeon Dr David Palaia. “Middle-aged people who have mild jowls, volume loss, vertical lip lines, crow’s feet, lines along the side of the nose and chin - sometimes called marionette lines - can benefit greatly. Also, injectable products can correct asymmetries and even those bands in the neck below the chin that become prominent with age.” Collagen injections used to be all the rage, but not anymore, explains Palaia: “It’s too reactive. Now, you have much better options, including newer and greatly improved methods of using your own fat.” How long does it last? Before discussing some of those options - and costs - it’s important to know that, with the exception of fat transfers, a “liquid facelift” is not permanent and must be repeated every few months with shorter-acting products, or every couple of years with more long-lasting products. It’s also very important to select a physician who will produce a natural look. “Subtlety and moderation are key for great results,” Palaia says. “You want to look better, not different. When you see someone who looks ‘overdone,’ or frozen, they did not have a good doctor. And seeing those bad results makes people think it is the fault of the products.” How drastic are the effects? “Basically, no one should be able to tell that you had a liquid facelift or any cosmetic work, essentially. You should simply enjoy comments from people such as, ‘Wow, you look fantastic, did you lose weight? Did you change your makeup?’ You never want to hear someone ask, ‘Did you have some work done?’” Which product is right for you? Some of the new fillers with hyaluronic acid - such as Juvederm, Restylane and Belotero - are popular and well-tolerated because the hyaluronic acid is a natural substance in the body, thus less likely to have allergy issues. Those fillers tend to be more expensive than a filler such as Radiesse, but both last eight to 10 months. “There are also many others, such as Sculptra,” explains Dr Palaia, “that cause the body to create its own collagen, and lasts even longer. Each product has a unique set of factors that might make one a better choice for you than another, so a careful consultation with a good physician will determine which is the perfect option for you.” Remember silicone injections? “No one is really using it anymore,” Palaia says. “Now there are much better products available.” Fat transfers, using a patient’s own body fat, also fell off in popularity years ago but have returned to the discussion. “Fat transfers earned a bad reputation because the methods were not as effective, but the newer methods have made it a cost-effective way to permanently fill out an area,” says Palaia. Because it is permanent, patients should try temporary options first to be certain they like the look. Also, fat transfer is not an option for the lips, because it doesn’t take well to that area. What about time, costs and risks? On average, the entire “liquid facelift” takes 15 to 30 minutes, and may cause some swelling and bruising at the injection sites for a day or so. Costs can range from $400 to $1,200 for Botox, and $600 to $1,800 for filler injections. The wide range of price has to do with amount of product used. Doctors usually charge per syringe. Of course, as with anything, there can be complications such as an allergic reaction, a product forming lumps or excess swelling and bruising. In the hands of a skilled doctor who has a lot of experience with these products, your chances of having problems are much reduced. The physician should be your first consideration - not bargain-hunting with prices. Just because you hear of a great deal from a dentist or family doctor offering filler and Botox, doesn’t mean they will give you the best results. Think of it this way: Would you go to a plastic surgeon or dermatologist to repair issues with your teeth? So when it comes to aesthetic issues with your skin, choose a highly trained plastic surgeon or dermatologist. —

Tr a v e l FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

A paradise called dozen stores on a walk along the main roads of Male. Male also has a range of bookstores, where you purchase stationery as well as a range of popular fiction, non-fiction and selfhelp books. To take back memories of your holiday in a more material form, the souvenir shops on the northern end Chandhanee Magu provide the perfect outlet. Wooden ashtrays, turtle shaped salt and pepper shakers, shell necklaces and packs of playing cards, these shops offer kitsch of every kind and shape for the discerning traveler.

Places to see in Male The Hukuru Miskiyy, (Friday Mosque) built in 1656 contains finely fluted coral block walls, and intricately engraved beams; Muleeaage, the current Presidential residence was built right before the First World War and overlooks the Friday Mosque; the Islamic Centre that was built in 1984 and has a lovely, geometric stretch of white steps leading up-to the grand mosque; the sultan park and national museum that are housed in the same compound, the latter consists of an intimate collection housed in a quaint building surrounded by trees; and the artificial beach, and swimming track, both ideal for a refreshing swim. Another interesting aspect of Male are the names of houses. From names that pay tribute to island culture, like ‘Sea-Breeze’, and ‘Sunshine Lodge’, there are also slightly eccentric variations, like ‘Forget-Me-Not’, and ‘Always Happy House’. A quintessentially Maldivian feature, it provides an amusing accompaniment to a walk around Male and an insight into the mindsets of the Maldivian people. The Male surf point Raalhugandu and the artificial beach lie on the south-eastern side of Male. The area comes to life in the late afternoons and evenings, with hundreds of Male dwellers coming out to relax and enjoy the fresh sea air and the day’s end. The surfhuts overlooking Raalhugandu, built by local surfers and residents of neighbouring houses provide a vantage point for watching the waves. Whether you are there to see the surfers expertly guide their boards over the waves, or the strong curls of the waves themselves, the sight will not disappoint.

Eating out in Male Open from early morning till 1 am in the night, the Male restaurants aim to please. Menus ranging from Thai, Italian, Indian and other international, regional and local cuisine. They are served in a range of restaurants, from the cool air-conditioned bistros to the laid-back open-air cafes. For a truly Maldivian dining experience, try the fish, preferably while listening to the waves at a waterfront

Shopping in Male Male also hosts a wide range of shops that sell every imaginable good including supermarkets, chemists, electronics, books, clothes, footwear, and jewellery. Notable shopping areas of Male include the two markets, one which sells local agricultural produce, and another that sells fish. The local market stocks agricultural produce from all Maldivian islands. It is located on the northern side of Male, and distinguished by the sight of hanging clusters of bright yellow bananas throughout the market. The market is favoured by locals and expatriates alike, mainly because of the availability of fresh, local fruit and vegetable produce at inexpensive prices. The fish market is located a mere two blocks away from the local market. The main feature of the market is its unmissable odour of freshly caught fish. Once your nostrils adjust to the strong smell, the market is a veritable delight of colour and energy. The best time to visit the fish market would be in the late-afternoons, when the local fishermen bring in their catch. Make sure you see the fish-cutters at work, with their practised blades slicing and dicing the fish neatly. Slightly off the usual tourist track are the plentiful textile shops dotted around Male. Favoured by local women who often get their clothes tailored instead of bought ready-made, these shops number in the hundreds and offer fabric of every imaginable texture, design and colour. Air-conditioned and well-maintained, these shops are well worth a visit if only to get a glimpse of local women in their element. Any tour guide will be able to point you in the direction of the larger textile shops, and you will come across a

Things to do

Why go anywhere else? Male, complete with its own artificial beach, swimming track, historic sites, and a spectacular skyline of candy-coloured skyscrapers, manages to be both an island and a city. Previously a sparsely populated island, Male has evolved into a world-class city with all the modern facilities like schools, hospitals, restaurant. The resultant effect juxtaposes its islander roots and its forward-thinking attitude - a laid-back town with both quiet and fast lanes, of course the latter being more predominant.


restaurant. The local version of fast-food are served at what are known as Sai-Hotaas (teashops). In chatter-filled environment, these hotaas serve ‘short-eats’: a variety of (often deep-fried) sweet and savoury finger-food, mostly fish and coconut based, as well as local bread ‘roshi’ to be eaten with a variety of side dishes. Hotaas have a robust clientele, and serve food on communal tables. The atmosphere is extremely informal and should you want to engage in conversation with a friendly local, this may very well be the place to do so. Cafes are big with the locals of ages and sexes in Male. Over cups of steaming coffee, tea and hot chocolate, friends catch up on the day’s affairs and business deals are conducted. In addition to various beverages, cafÈs also serve snacks and smalls in an environment more tempered than that of the hotaas. Ranging from the cozy and air-conditioned to water-front and laid back, they are the perfect place to satiate a caffeine fix or to quench dry throats with a fresh juice.

Diving Maldives The warm seas of Maldives have high visibility throughout the year, with water clear enough to see the passing fish as far as fifty meters away at times. Over a thousand species of fish and other underwater creatures inhabit the Maldivian waters. Watersports In a place that is more sea than land, there is no end to the fun things you do in the water. Maldivians swim for recreation, they play water polo with their friends at weekend picnics, they surf addictively. Excursions The best way to experience the life of an ordinary Maldivian is to travel to an inhabited island. Some of these islands are slightly more modern: with brightly painted house walls and harbour areas. The Maldives honeymoon If a honeymoon is meant to be a celebration of love in an

intimate, secluded, and most importantly, beautiful setting, then the Maldives is the world’s best backdrop for all these things. Spa and wellness Just lying on a deserted beach of a Maldivian island, taking in nothing but the continuous rhythm of the waves, the sea salt in the air and feeling the soft white sand on your bare feet is enough to sooth your senses. Relax and unwind The Maldives is considered by many to be the premier tropical beach destination in the world and the best place to relax and unwind from the hectic and chaotic lifestyle of the modern world. Seaplane photo flights Seaplane photo flight offers you the sightseeing sensation that gives you the opportunity of a life time. Enjoy your unparalleled Maldives holiday experience from the sky. —

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

K-pop icon Rain makes comeback with new album


outh Korean singer Rain, known as the “King of K-Pop”, yesterday released his first album for four years as part of a long-awaited comeback after mandatory military service. Rain, whose real name is Jung Ji-Hoon, released online his sixth album entitled “Rain Effect” as well as music videos for its double title numbers “30sexy” and “La Song”. The album is his first since he finished 21 months of military service-mandatory for all able-bodied South Korean men-in July last year. The 31-year-old composed the songs and wrote the lyrics. A video for “30 Sexy”, posted on YouTube yesterday features Rain wearing high-waisted suits and high-heeled shoes performing to a melody led by a synthesiser and backed by a simple hip hop drumbeat. “In the past, I used to present scenes of clothes being torn off and my torso exposed. I decided to come up with something different this time,” he said. A video for “La Song” shows Rain with newly permed hair performing with other dancers to a Latin melody mixed with hip hop, electronic music and rock. “I made this song which football fans can sing along to cheer their favorite teams during the (Brazil) World Cup”, Rain said. Rain commands a huge following not only in South Korea but across much of Asia and beyond. He also starred in several South Korean soap operas and Hollywood action

BBC’s Sherlock returns from the dead


enedict Cumberbatch made his longawaited comeback as Sherlock Holmes on Wednesday, but the hit BBC series still left fans scratching their heads over how the super-sleuth managed to cheat death. The show’s creators teased fans by depicting some of the more farfetched ways Holmes may have survived, in a nod to the speculation that has swept the Internet since he leapt from a rooftop a year ago in an apparent suicide bid. The BBC series, starring Cumberbatch as a modern-day version of the 19th century British detective, has been broadcast in more than 200 countries since 2010. When British Prime Minister David Cameron set up a page on China’s Twitter-like website Weibo in November, one of the most popular questions he was asked was, “When is the third series of ‘Sherlock’ due for release?” There were plenty of surprises for fans in the first episode of the new series, including a

cameo appearance by Cumberbatch’s own parents. But some viewers complained that the storyline, centering on a terrorist plot to blow up the British parliament, was difficult to follow. Fans delighted and disappointed alike flooded the Internet with comments and reactions. The Times newspaper gave the episode four stars, but complained: “You wait two years to find out how Sherlock dunnit, and three solutions come along at once.” The series has helped both Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, who plays his loyal sidekick Doctor Watson, to Hollywood stardom. Freeman plays the eponymous “Hobbit” in the new movie trilogy. Cumberbatch starred last year as the villain in the latest “Star Trek” film and as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in “The Fifth Estate”. He also features in the latest instalment of “The Hobbit” as the voice of the dragon Smaug. — AFP

A handout photo from CUBE DC Inc and released yesterday shows K-pop singer Rain posing. — AFP photos pictures including “Ninja Assassin” and “Speed Racer” by the Wachowski Brothers. He will be making a screen comeback when he stars alongside Jason Patric, John Cusack and Bruce Willis in the action movie “The Prince.” But his popularity at home was hit last year when he was accused of flouting military regulations-a highly sensi-

tive topic in a country still technically at war with North Korea. In January 2013 he was confined to barracks for a week after he sneaked out to meet his girlfriend, a top actress. Rain was also questioned by the military, prosecutors and police over his unusually long leave periods and alleged breaches of service regulations. — AFP

‘Fresh Prince’ actor James Avery dies, aged 68


S actor James Avery, most famous as Uncle Phil in hit 1990s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” died on New Year’s Eve aged 68, his publicist said Wednesday. With a deep baritone voice, Avery regularly played judges, professors or doctors in TV shows in the 1980s and 90s, as well as extensive voice work, including on animated projects. His first big-screen role was an uncredited part in 1980s classic “The Blues Brothers,” and he enjoyed a prolific TV and movie career stretching over three decades. But the role most people will remember him for is as Philip Banks on the 1990s NBC series, who played a role model to the young Will Smith’s character, a fictionalized rapper version of himself. “I’m deeply sad-

dened to say James Avery has passed away,” his “Fresh Prince” costar Alfonso Ribeiro tweeted. “He was a second father to me. I will miss him greatly.” Born James LaRue Avery in Virginia and raised in New Jersey, he had worked until September, shooting the film “Wish I Was Here” directed by Zach Braff, which will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this month. Avery died late Tuesday in hospital in Glendale, outside Los Angeles, “due to complications from open heart surgery,” his publicist Cynthia Snyder told AFP in an email. He is survived by his wife of 26 years, Barbara Avery, his mother Florence Avery, and his stepson Kevin Waters. Plans are being made for a memorial service, the spokeswoman said. — AFP

A model presents a creation made by students of the ‘Design Factory’ during an exhibition called ìShapeî at the National Museum of Kosovo in Pristina. — AFP

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

Photo shows older pinball machines line a wall of the Seattle Pinball Museum in Seattle. — AP photos

Seattle pinball museum part of silver ball revival


or $13, you can play pinball until your arms fall off at Seattle’s working pinball museum. The two-storey storefront in Seattle’s International District is filled with games from every era from the 1960s to today. The museum started in 2010 as one couple’s obsession and grew to be something they wanted to share with others. Cindy and Charlie Martin keep the equipment fixed up, offer brief historical information and “fun” ratings on small cards above the games and sell snacks, beer and soda to visitors from around the world. The Seattle museum is one of a handful around the country celebrating a pastime that seems to be in the midst of revival. — AP

Josh Saitelbach plays pinball on an 1998 Godzilla machine.

Out-of-state visitors Jeff Goldsmith, left, Jim Lindquist, center, and Dave Socha, right, play the PIN BOT pinball machine, which was released in 1986.

An information card from the 1994 The Who’s Tommy pinball machine is shown near the giant pinball that sits on top of the machine’s cabinet at the Seattle Pinball Museum in Seattle.

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

A spinner and target are shown on the 1979 Incredible Hulk pinball machine at the Seattle Pinball Museum in Seattle.

A custom ‘PINBALL’ vanity license plate is shown on a car owned by Charles and Cindy Martin, who own and operate the Seattle Pinball Museum.

Modern pinball machines line the wall at right while older models are shown at left at the Seattle Pinball Museum in Seattle.

Charles Martin, right, poses for a photo with his wife Cindy, center, and their son Michael, left, on the main level of the Seattle Pinball Museum in Seattle.

Dubai organizers sorry for New Year’s Eve mess


rganizers of a New Year’s Eve bash at one of Dubai’s most prominent hotels have apologized after many ticketholders were unable to attend because of the Gulf city’s record-breaking fireworks attempt. Local newspapers reported yesterday that hundreds of partygoers attend-

ing the Sandance concert at the Atlantis hotel were left stuck for hours on buses or by the roadside after authorities restricted access to the manmade Palm Jumeirah island for the fireworks. The hotel is located at the far end of the island, which was a

centerpiece of the pyrotechnics display. The event featured British singer Emeli Sande and veteran DJ Paul Oakenfold. The cheapest advance tickets cost the equivalent of $123. Organizers said in a statement they are “extremely sorry” and will work to find a resolution soon. — AP

In this photo provided by Dubai World Record 2014, fireworks explode over Palm Jumeirah Island, front, and World Islands, rear, to celebrate the New Year as the city attempts to breaks the Guinness World Record for the ‘Largest Firework Display. — AP

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

Pakistan’s truck art masters

fret over NATO withdrawal


akistan’s truck artists, who transform ugly lorries into flamboyant moving works of art, fear boom times for their trade could be at an end as NATO winds down its mission in Afghanistan. The workhorses of the Pakistani haulage industry are often ageing, patched-up Bedford and Dodge models, but almost without exception they are lavishly decorated. Elaborate colorful designs, calligraphy, portraits of heroes and singers, mirrors and jingling tassels are skillfully worked onto the trucks by artists such as Haider Ali. In his open-air workshop in the heart of Karachi, a goat or two browsing the dusty ground, Ali sketches out a design for a boat. Others include horses, partridges, tigers, the faces of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto or singer Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi. “The design depends on the owner of the truck. Everyone wants his truck to be different from everyone else’s,” Ali, who left school to follow his father Mohammad into the truck art business, told AFP. Truck art has become one of Pakistan’s most distinctive cultural exports in recent years, but it is still not highly regarded at home. “The higher echelons of society don’t call it art but craft-or anything else, just not art,” said Ali. Call it what you will, decorating trucks is big business-haulage firms and lorry owners shell out $5,000, even $10,000 a time to have their vehicles adorned. It can take a team of half a dozen artists nearly six weeks to decorate a truck, not just painting but working up intricate arabesque collages of laminated stickers. Jamal Elias, a truck art expert from Penn State university in the United States, said it represents the largest art sector of the Pakistani economy. “You can’t say the gallery world or textile design begins to compare in size,” he told AFP. But in Pakistan, he said, the

A truck painter paints the license plate of a truck at master painter Hussain Noor’s workshop in Rawalpindi. — AFP photos

artists “are never going to be treated as real artists as long as the social structure remains the way it is”. Boom turning to bust For the past decade, hauliers in Pakistan have been making money by ferrying supplies for the NATO mission in neighboring, landlocked Afghanistan from the port of Karachi. Profits from this work have meant they have been happy to spend on decorating their vehicles, but with NATO withdrawing from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, the artists fear the good times could be over.

A Pakistani truck painter adds the finishing touches to the bodywork of a truck in Karachi.

Lifestyle FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

A truck painter adds the finishing touches to the bodywork of a truck in Rawalpindi. “There was a great deal of demand because of NATO trucking, and everyone was trying to get the work, but the decline has already started,” said Ali. Noor Hussain, 76, who has been painting trucks in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, next to Islamabad, for 65 years, shares his fears. “We’re afraid that because of the decrease in trucks circulating, people will lose their jobs in our business,” he told AFP. “Because if there are fewer lorries in circulation, we will have fewer to dec-

orate.” Mumtaz Ahmed, another Karachi artist, said business surged under the rule of former army dictator Pervez Musharraf, who gave Pakistan’s support to the US-led invasion of Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks. A foretaste of what might happen came in late 2011 and 2012, when the Pakistan government shut NATO’s supply routes through its territory for several months in protest at a botched US air raid that killed 24 soldiers at a border post. “We felt a real slowdown when

there was the ban on NATO supplies,” said Ahmed. “Things are just getting better now. NATO has meant a good boom for us.” But in a country with a stagnant economy and galloping inflation, why bother spending so much just to decorate a lorry? “It shows our pride, our love for our job and also that our trucks are in good condition and attractive,” said Mir Hussain, who was about to spend a small fortune repairing and redecorating a truck. The more a lorry grabs the attention with its beauty, the better its owner thinks it will attract clients, though most contracts are granted without regard to looks. Perhaps the real reason behind the slightly shaky logic is the simple love of man for his machine. “His wife may be dying of hunger at home in the village, but the driver will still go ahead and have his truck decorated,” said mechanic Sajid Mahmood. — AFP

Pakistani truck painters add the finishing touches to the bodywork of a truck in Karachi.





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One year used furniture bedroom set, double coat with custom made special mattress, side table, four door cupboard with mirror. All KD 95, price negotiable, if interested call 66619705. (C 4605) 30-12-2013

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Hospitals Sabah Hospital Amiri Hospital Maternity Hospital Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital Chest Hospital Farwaniya Hospital Adan Hospital Ibn Sina Hospital Al-Razi Hospital Physiotherapy Hospital

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Clinics Rabiya Rawdha Adailiya Khaldiya Khaifan Shamiya Shuwaikh Abdullah Salim Al-Nuzha Industrial Shuwaikh Al-Qadisiya Dasmah Bneid Al-Ghar Al-Shaab Al-Kibla Ayoun Al-Kibla Mirqab Sharq Salmiya Jabriya

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Prayer timings Fajr: Shorook Duhr: Asr: Maghrib: Isha:

05:18 06:43 11:52 14:42 17:02 18:24


Te c h n o l o g y FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

Back to the future 2014: Technology trends and predictions 2013 brought us Google Glass and the Samsung Galaxy Gear, as technology began its march out of our pockets and bags and onto our heads and wrists. Elsewhere we traded up from HD to 4K televisions (and realised that 3D was never going to catch on) and said hello to the usual raft of thinner, faster, better tablets and phones, as well as what could be the last generation of games consoles as we know them. But what does 2014 have in store for the world of technology? We gathered predictions from across the industry and gave our verdict on each. Social media to grow and grow Digital media agency Digitia says the big social media services will continue to add users at the pace of the last few years. Since 2011 Twitter has gone from 200 million to 500 million and Facebook from 600 million to 800 million. Will it close in on a billion next year? Verdict? No. Although there are a lot more potential users in emerging markets, we reckon growth will slow down for social media’s Big Two. And we wouldn’t be surprised to see the birth of the next big network either. Solar charging Another of Digitia’s tips is the rise of solar-powered chargers for our gadgets. Will we be wearing headphones with solar panels built in, for example? Verdict? Unlikely. Most people charge their gadgets indoors. Solar panels small enough to carry or wear can’t gather that much power. More likely is a rise in wireless charging as we move towards a universal standard for inductive power mats/pads. Cloudy ahead Pretty much everyone is backing this one: a continued shift towards cloud storage (i.e. saving your documents to services like Google Drive, Dropbox, or iCloud). It makes things easier to access wherever you are and saves on hard drive space - but security will have to be top notch. The first big hacking of a cloud service will dent confidence, and security firms including Kaspersky and Symantec have the cloud right at the top of their list of targets for 2014. Verdict? Yes, we will be living mostly on cloud nine by this time next year. Self-parking cars Will my car soon be able to reverse neatly into a space at the touch of a button? Ford, Mercedes, Toyota and several other carmakers have demonstrated auto-parking technology - so, is it ready for public use? Verdict? Cautiously optimistic. The latest demonstrations look pretty good - but there are legal hurdles to surpass. Currently the Highway code and European law make it impossible to market a self-parking car, but talks are ongoing to update the regulations. Expect to see more robust safety tests and maybe a trial rollout next year. 3D print my life Despite a wealth of applications from medicine to cooking, 3D printing has yet to capture the public’s genuine interest - largely because it lacks accessibility. Will 2014 be

the year home manufacturing comes good? CES, the world’s largest tech show, thinks so, with an entire zone dedicated to 3D printing. Verdict? Yes - but only if prices continue to fall and the industry does more to promote its potential uses. The terrain is ripe for a huge marketing push. Sign language for computers As the Xbox One Kinect and PS4 camera systems develop, we’re increasingly going to be telling our devices what to do by waving our hands around. As other manufacturers get on the bandwagon, we’ll need a standard ‘language’ of gestures, like the pinching and swiping on smartphones. So says Accenture sub-consultancy Fjord, anyway. Verdict? Definitely. Although it could take a while for a standard to emerge, dur-

ing which time people will continue to haphazardly wave at the TV/reach for the remote control. Hire a virtual personal assistant Accenture and Forbes both predict us having a personalised e-minder, handling our relationships, monitoring our health, and running our lives through a ‘virtual lifestyle system’ that anticipates our every need. Verdict? Yes - but don’t imagine a robobutler. This will be an evolution of services like Apple’s Siri and Google Now, which learn from your activity and predict what you’re going to need next. Continues to blur the line between scary and useful. Wearable tech This is the big one. A survey for software firm Citrix showed that 91 percent of

Americans are excited about gadgets you can wear - either glasses, wristbands or clothing. 2014 promises smart-watch launches from Google and Apple, as well as a host of other tech accessories. Verdict? Definitely - led by Google Glass becoming available to all. By December 2014 you’ll be able to communicate using a stand-alone smartwatch, browse the internet in your glasses and log dozens of health measurements through wristbands, trainers and clothes. Death of the password Ericsson ConsumerLab is predicting that 2014 will be the year that we give up on written passwords and use biometric data primarily fingerprints - instead. Verdict? It makes sense - passwords are increasingly fragile. But switching over to a new means of online identification will take a long time. Expect Apple to lead the way on this one as they reveal new uses for the iPhone 5S’s fingerprint scanner. IT support to come home Industry analysts at Gartner say that EU laws will mean a 20 percet drop in ‘offshoring’ - sending jobs like customer support overseas. This could mean tech companies rely less on cheap labour (predominantly in Asia) for their helplines. Verdict? The law is the law - but it won’t affect existing arrangements. And don’t necessarily expect IT support to become any more helpful, no matter where it’s based. Internet phonecalls to take over According to, we’re supposed to see VoIP - using broadband for calls, through services like Skype - become the standard for phone calls in 2014. Verdict? Not likely. Although Skype and its ilk are useful, particularly for international calls, the reliability still isn’t there, not to mention the bandwidth.



Aries (March 21-April 19)

You have a keen mind, Aries, and are always absorbing new bits of information. What is amazing is how much of it you manage to retain. Today, however, even your considerable brain may be taxed beyond its limits. At work you may feel overwhelmed by the mass of information to sort through. At home there may be books and magazines piled up that you're anxious to read. Consider taking the evening off from intellectual pursuits. There is something to be said for passive entertainment.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

Take care not to take on too much today, Taurus. Your intentions are certainly good and your motivation pure, but even you are limited by the fact that there are a mere 24 hours in a day. Pick and choose your commitments carefully today to ensure that you can actually do what you say you will do. You'll be more effective and get more satisfaction out of devoting your energy to a few just causes.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Don't take anything at face value today, Gemini, especially if it involves money. It's likely that a friend or colleague will approach you with a deal that is too good to pass up. Don't let yourself get caught up in the promise of quick riches. Any deal that is presented as "too good to be true" usually is. Take in the information and review it at a later time. You will find that flaws are revealed once cooler heads prevail.

Cancer (June 21-July 22)

You may find yourself overwhelmed with information today, Cancer. By midday both your voice mailbox and your email box could be full up. It seems everyone needs a piece of you today. Don't try and accomplish everything that people expect of you today; it simply isn't possible. Instead, make your own decisions about what is important and what isn't. You may get some resistance from higher-ups, but in the end they will see the wisdom of your thinking.

Leo (July 23-August 22)

Even though you might have to work today, Leo, you should still try and take things fairly easy. You're just not ready to embrace your workload with your usual vigor. Be sure to eat a healthy breakfast and lunch, as your body may be rebelling from some recent indulgences. Soup and a salad are advisable for lunch, along with plenty of water. By day's end, you will feel your energy begin to return.

Virgo (August 23-September 22)

You can't force creativity. Not even you, Virgo. As much as you want to produce something fantastic right this minute, you will find that mere mortals such as us need the help of a creative muse. And alas, the muse is a fickle being. You can't just snap your finger and summon it. You must coax it out, slowly, gently. This all takes time, but the end result makes the effort worthwhile. For now, you must sit and wait, and trust that it will come to you.

COUNTRY CODES Libra (September 23-October 22)

You may be feeling a bit overwhelmed with the combination of professional and social obligations. If you're doing any entertaining tonight, see if you can drum up some extra help. Cater part of the dinner, if possible, or at the very least hire someone to help with the dishes. It's hard enough to entertain and keep the guests happy. Don't try to be a superhero.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)

You could be feeling the push-pull of internal desires versus external demands today, Scorpio. As much as you want to stay in bed today, with covers pulled tight to your chin, the world is clamoring for your attention. Your phone rings off the hook and your email box fills as quickly as you can empty it. Just for today, you wish everyone would go away. Alas, no such luck. Promise yourself that you'll indulge some relaxation once you get home. Hopefully, no one will come pounding on the door!

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)

Today, Sagittarius, you're expanding your horizons. You and a friend could plan a vacation that you're really excited about. It could involve a trip by air, perhaps across the ocean. The trip is mainly for pleasure, but it probably involves a place you've always been interested in and are anxious to see, so it's an educational trip as well. You have a lot to look forward to. Make the most of it and have fun.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

You really don't need to prove anything to anyone, Capricorn. You may be feeling under a bit of pressure to get a lot of work done. But some projects, especially those that require creativity, simply can't be rushed. You will find that if you take your time and allow your muse to work its magic, you will produce something of real merit in the end. If, however, you try to rush, your time will likely be spent in vain.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18)

You have so many talents and such a range of abilities, Aquarius, that sometimes it's hard for you to know where to devote your efforts. Today, don't make your usual mistake of trying to do everything. Even you have your limits! You would be better off taking a step back from the situation to prioritize your enormous "to do" list. Concentrate on just one or two important tasks rather than mingling big jobs with small ones.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)

It seems that you're ready for a major change in your life, Pisces. But take care that you don't implement change merely for the sake of change. Think carefully about what you really want to do. Some introspection just might reveal that the changes you seek are minor rather than major. You may simply want to begin working on your health a bit more. Jogging a few days a week and vowing to eat salads at lunch rather than sandwiches may bring about a wonderful ripple effect of health and well-being in your life.

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 Republic 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 Somalia 00252 South Africa 0027 South Korea 0082 Spain 0034 Sri Lanka 0094 Sudan 00249 Suriname 00597 Swaziland 00268 Sweden 0046 Switzerland 0041 Syria 00963 Taiwan 00886 Tanzania 00255 Thailand 0066 Toga 00228 Tonga 00676 Tokelau 00690 Trinidad 001868 Tunisia 00216 Turkey 0090 Tuvalu 00688 Uganda 00256 Ukraine 00380 United Arab Emirates00976

L e i s u re


Word Search

Yesterdayʼs Solution

C R O S S W O R D 4 1 7

ACROSS 1. The molecular weight of a substance expressed in grams. 4. A serration on a saw blade. 12. Counting the number of white and red blood cells and the number of platelets in 1 cubic millimeter of blood. 15. A city in the European part of Russia. 16. Arouse hostility or indifference in where there had formerly been love, affection, or friendliness. 17. 10 hao equal 1 dong. 18. Your general store of remembered information. 19. Small finch originally of the western United States and Mexico. 20. Cause to be embarrassed. 22. United States tennis player (born in Czechoslovakia) who won several singles championships. 23. Someone (especially a woman) who annoys people by constantly finding fault. 25. (Irish) Mother of the ancient Irish gods. 26. The largest island of the central Ryukyu Islands. 28. A strong wind moving 45-90 knots. 30. A unit of absorbed ionizing radiation equal to 100 ergs per gram of irradiated material. 32. Greenish-yellow pear. 35. A light strong brittle gray toxic bivalent metallic element. 36. Functioning correctly and ready for action. 38. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 42. Any customary and rightful perquisite appropriate to your station in life. 45. The ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle. 47. Small European freshwater fish with a slender bluish-green body. 48. African tree having an exceedingly thick trunk and fruit that resembles a gourd and has an edible pulp called monkey bread. 49. Liquid containing proteins and electrolytes including the liquid in blood plasma and interstitial fluid. 50. An emotional response that has been acquired by conditioning. 51. Late time of life. 52. Type genus of the Alcidae comprising solely the razorbill. 55. Give an education to. 58. Any isomeric saturated hydrocarbon found in petroleum and used as a fuel and solvent. 60. A white metallic element that burns with a brilliant light. 62. A small ball with a hole through the middle. 64. (astronomy) The angular distance of a celestial point measured westward along the celestial equator from the zenith crossing. 65. The segment of the public that is easily influenced by mass media (chiefly British). 69. Small family of usually tropical butterflies. 74. The childhood of a girl. 77. Small genus of evergreen trees of tropical America and western Africa. 78. The compass point midway between northeast and east. 79. The Palestinian uprising (beginning in 1987) against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. 82. A former agency (from 1946 to 1974) that was responsible for research into atomic energy and its peacetime uses in the United States. 83. A local computer network for communication between computers. 84. Lacking gonads. 85. The syllable naming the sixth (submediant) note of a major or minor scale in solmization.

Daily SuDoku

DOWN 1. A Muslim trained in the doctrine and law of Islam. 2. Many times at short intervals. 3. A genus of Lamnidae. 4. Unhealthy looking. 5. American prizefighter who won the world heavyweight championship three times (born in 1942). 6. Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba. 7. Someone who pays rent to use land or a building or a car that is owned by someone else. 8. Lake in northwestern Russia near the border with Finland. 9. Annual grass of Europe and North Africa. 10. (astronomy) A measure of time defined by Earth's orbital motion. 11. (of persons) Highest in rank or authority or office. 12. A Bantu language spoken by the Chaga people in northern Tanzania. 13. Any of several Old World tropical aromatic annual or perennial herbs of the genus Ocimum. 14. Fatty pinkish flesh of small salmon caught in the Pacific and Great Lakes. 21. Capital and largest city of Iraq. 24. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 27. Cubes of meat marinated and cooked on a skewer usually with vegetables. 29. Someone who works (or provides workers) during a strike. 31. A state in northwestern North America. 33. A translucent mineral consisting of hydrated silica of variable color. 34. English potter who started a pottery famous for its bone china (1754-1827). 37. An organization of countries formed in 1961 to agree on a common policy for the sale of petroleum. 39. An indehiscent fruit derived from a single ovary having one or many seeds within a fleshy wall or pericarp. 40. A large body of water constituting a principal part of the hydrosphere. 41. The capital of Switzerland. 43. (Babylonian) God of wisdom and agriculture and patron of scribes and schools. 44. Fill with high spirits. 46. The United Nations agency concerned with civil aviation. 53. A soft heavy toxic malleable metallic element. 54. Characterized by dignity and propriety. 56. No longer having or seeming to have or expecting to have life. 57. The blood group whose red cells carry both the A and B antigens. 59. Thorny shrub or small tree common in central Argentina having small orange or yellow flowers followed by edible berries. 61. A city in southern Turkey on the Seyhan River. 63. An official prosecutor for a judicial district. 66. Dignified manner or conduct. 67. One of the two main branches of orthodox Islam. 68. A short musical composition with words. 70. A quantity of no importance. 71. The face of a timepiece. 72. A particular geographical region of indefinite boundary (usually serving some special purpose or distinguished by its people or culture or geography). 73. (used of count nouns) Every one considered individually. 75. A member of the Siouan people inhabiting the valleys of the Platte and Missouri rivers in Nebraska. 76. A loud harsh or strident noise. 80. The syllable naming the fourth (subdominant) note of the diatonic scale in solmization. 81. A public promotion of some product or service.

Yesterdayʼs Solution

Yesterday’s Solution

Sports FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

Sixers roll past Denver, 114-102 DENVER: Evan Turner scored 23 points and Thaddeus Young added 17, helping the Philadelphia 76ers beat the slumping Denver Nuggets 114-102 on Wednesday night. The Sixers had seven different players score in double figures en route to their second straight win away from home. Philadelphia halted a 13-game road losing streak in Los Angeles against the Lakers over the weekend. J.J. Hickson had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets, who dropped their eighth game in a row. It’s the team’s longest skid since losing the final eight games of the 2002-03 season. Denver also has lost some of its Mile High mystique under first-year coach Brian Shaw, losing a fifth straight at Pepsi Center. The Nuggets were a franchise-best 38-3 at home last season. Stretching their lead to as many as 16 early in the fourth quarter, the Sixers cruised from there while improving to 3-13 on the road, which remains one of the worst marks in the league. There was a brief moment when the game could have changed course, when Young was called for a clear path violation after a steal by Ty Lawson with 4:51 remaining. The speedy Nuggets point guard made 1 of 2 free throws to make it a 10-point game and they also had the ball out of bounds. But Wilson Chandler’s 3-point attempt clanged off the rim. Turner ended any lingering suspense with a turnaround jumper with just over 3 minutes to go. Michael Carter-Williams had 16 points, nine rebounds and six assists for Philadelphia. He entered the game averaging 17.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists. The only rookie to average at least that many was Magic Johnson in 1979-80. Falling behind by as many as nine to open the game, the 76ers picked up their tempo in the second quarter to take a 68-56 lead at halftime. Before the game, Sixers coach Brett Brown said he planned to push the pace even in the thin air. His team did, too, frequently beating the Nuggets down the floor. The Nuggets trudged off the court at intermission to a smattering of boos from a crowd that’s not accustomed to losing at home. Randy Foye was back in the starting lineup after surrendering his spot to Jordan Hamilton the last three games. Foye has been struggling with his shot, his defense and not “making plays for his teammates,” Shaw explained before the game. Foye wound up with 14 points on 6-of-17 shooting. Shaw’s reserves have struggled lately, too, which was why he shook up his rotation against the Sixers. Quincy Miller was the first player off the bench, not Hamilton. Evan Fournier and Nate Robinson also received playing time ahead of Andre Miller, who didn’t get into the game. The Nuggets’ reserves entered the game third in points per game (41.9) and first in rebounding (19.4). RAPTORS 95, PACERS 82 DeMar DeRozan scored 26 points

Hibbert fouled out with 16 points and Paul George had 12 for the Pacers, who recorded a seasonworst 23 turnovers. Indiana had won nine of its previous 12 meetings with Toronto, including four straight in Canada. Danny Granger scored 11 points for Indiana. CLIPPERS 112, BOBCATS 85 Blake Griffin scored 13 of his 31 points in the final 7:05 and Jared Dudley got 11 of his 20 points in the third quarter, leading the Clippers to victory over the Bobcats. Dudley faced his second former team in two games, making seven of 10 shots against the club that selected him with their first pick in the 2007 NBA draft and traded him to Phoenix after one season. He had nine points against the Suns on Monday in the Clippers’ 107-88 loss. Chris Paul had 17 points and 14 assists for the Clippers, who beat the Bobcats for the sixth straight time and sent them to their 17th straight road loss against Western Conference opponents. Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker each scored 14 points for the Bobcats, whose previous six losses all were decided by five points or fewer. MAVERICKS 87, WIZARDS 78 Monta Ellis scored 23 points and Vince Carter had 13 as the Mavericks held the Wizards scoreless for more than four minutes late in the fourth quarter. The Wizards led 74-70 with 4:58 to play, but the Mavericks scored nine straight points on a 3 pointer by Carter, a hook shoot by Brandan Wright, two free throws by Carter and a jumper by Ellis. Washington didn’t score again until John Wall, who led the Wizards with 22 points, made two free throws with 46 seconds to play. Trevor Booker had 10 points and a career-high 19 rebounds for Washington. It was Dallas’ fourth straight win on the road and their eighth straight over the Wizards (1415), who failed in their attempt to rise above .500 for the first time since Oct. 31, 2009.

TORONTO: Indiana Pacers’ Danny Granger, center, shoots on Toronto Raptors’ John Salmons, left, and Amir Johnson during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Toronto on Wednesday. — AP and Kyle Lowry had 13 points and a Wednesday. Terrence Ross scored for the first time since Jan. 6, 2010. The Raptors have won eight of 10 season-high 14 assists as the 18 points and Jonas Valanciunas had Toronto Raptors extended their sea- 13 points and nine rebounds as the games since Dec. 13, when the son-best winning streak to four Raptors (15-15) ended Indiana’s five- majority of the players acquired games by beating the Indiana game winning streak and improved from Sacramento in the Rudy Gay Pacers 95-82 in the NBA on their record to .500 after 30 games deal made their Toronto debuts.Roy

WOLVES 124, PELICANS 112 Nikola Pekovic had 22 points and seven rebounds and the Timberwolves led by as many as 30 points in cruising to the victory. Kevin Love had 21 points and six rebounds and Ricky Rubio had 14 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and three steals for the Timberwolves. Minnesota shot 55.7 percent, attempted 35 free throws and forced a season-high 18 turnovers from the Pelicans. Ryan Anderson had 25 points and Tyreke Evans added 16 points and seven boards for New Orleans. Eric Gordon returned from a three-game absence because of a bruised hip, but struggled with 12 points on 5-for-12 shooting. Kevin Martin scored 20 points and reserve J.J. Barea had 17 to help the Wolves (16-16) to a needed win over New Orleans (14-16) in the jockeying for position in the tough Western Conference. — AP

Sports FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Abdallah welcoming President of ITF Francesco Bitti.

Hussein Al-Musallam, Mrs Bitti, Francesco Bitti, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber and Abdelredha Al-Ghareeb.

President of International Tennis Federation in Kuwait By Abdellatif Sharaa KUWAIT: President of the International Tennis Federation, member of IOC and President of the Association of Summer Olympics International Federations Francesco Ricci Bitti arrived in Kuwait Wednesday evening in his first visit to the country. He was received by President of Kuwait Tennis Association Sheikh

Canada stay in Hopman hunt after Pennetta injury PERTH: A wrist injury for Italian Flavia Pennetta helped Canada stay in the hunt for a maiden Hopman Cup final appearance in Perth yesterday. With the Australian Open just over a week away, Pennetta was forced to withdraw from her singles match against Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard when trailing 4-0, ending Italy’s hopes in the tournament. She immediately ruled herself out of the remainder of the event. The Canadians won the tie 3-0 after Milos Raonic beat Andreas Seppi in straight sets in the men’s singles and the mixed doubles was forfeited. They need Australia to beat Poland in Thursday’s evening tie to stand any chance of reaching the final in only their second appearance at the Hopman Cup. Poland could still qualify even if they are defeated, depending on results in the three matches. Pennetta had an operation on the same wrist, the right wrist, in 2012, but is confident the latest setback is nothing more than an inflammation. The world number 31, who said the wrist was sore when she awoke yesterday and she was close to withdrawing before the start of the match, had strapping applied after the third game but the injury was clearly affecting her serve and forehand. The 31-year-old Italian is still expecting to play in Hobart next week to complete her preparations for the year’s opening Grand Slam, starting on January 13 in Melbourne. “It’s the wrist that I had the operation on.... Sometimes it gives me some problem, I hope it’s nothing too serious,” she said. “I was thinking maybe with some warm-up it would get better but it did not. “I will have some treatment. Maybe I won’t play for one or two days to help because I think it’s more something like inflammation, it’s not like a tear or ligaments.” Bouchard said she was disappointed that the match was abbreviated, as she felt she was playing well. In the men’s singles, world number 11 Raonic overpowered the out-of-sorts Seppi 6-2, 6-4. Seppi, ranked 25th in the world, retired from his first match at the tournament due to illness, and lost both his subsequent singles outings in disappointing fashion. Raonic was a shock loser to the 288th-ranked Grzegorz Panfil on Sunday and was pleased to put that result behind him. “It was much better,” he said of his match against Seppi. “It was day and night pretty much. This time I tried to take the initiative, the other night I didn’t play my own game.” — AFP

Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Abdallah Al-Sabah, Director General of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Captain Hussein Al-Musallam and Secretary General of Kuwait Tennis Association Abdelreda Al-Ghareeb. The visit comes in appreciation of the achievements by the President of OCA, President of Kuwait Olympic Committee Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, as well as the advances the sport of tennis made both in Kuwait and in this

region. Sheikh Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah thanked President Bitti for his visit and said “we in Kuwait are looking forward to benefit from our guest’s experience and knowledge to develop the sport of tennis in Kuwait and the region further”. He said we are looking forward for his visit to Kuwait Tennis Association and its facilities, and wished him a pleasant stay in Kuwait.

Williams, Sharapova meet in Brisbane semifinals BRISBANE: Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will renew their long and notso-friendly rivalry after advancing to the semifinals at the Brisbane International, a key warm-up tournament for the Australian Open. The pair played back-to-back quarterfinals on center court yesterday, with the third-seeded Sharapova beating 2012 Brisbane champion Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. She dropped three service games in the first set and another to open the second before finding her range and staging her comeback against the No. 30-ranked Kanepi. The top-ranked Williams, the defending champion, was next on court and didn’t lose a point on serve in the first set en route to a 6-3, 6-3 win over ninthseeded Diminika Cibulkova of Slovakia. Williams has a 14-2 record and 13-match winning streak against Sharapova dating back to the 2005 Australian Open semifinals, beating the Russian most recently in last year’s French Open final. Any friendship the pair had at that stage soured when they traded personal barbs relating to their romantic relationships ahead of Wimbledon, where Sharapova made an early exit. Sharapova only played one match after that in 2013 and spent the latter months of the season recovering from a right shoulder problem. Williams, meanwhile, had a spectacular year, winning 78 of her 82 matches and capturing 11 titles, including two majors. As far as any grudges go, Williams said yesterday: “It’s very difficult I think for anyone to be best buddies when you’re so competitive.” Sharapova didn’t back away from the comments she made about Williams at Wimbledon in a New York Times profile last month, giving the impression that the relationship between the pair was still cold. On Thursday, she said she’d

BRISBANE: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates after defeating Kaia Kanepi of Estonia at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane yesterday. — AFP used the newspaper interview to “clear the air.” Rivalry Asked how she’d describe their rivalry now, Sharapova replied: “Well, I think I got to win a few times in order to call it rivalry.” “I haven’t had a lot of success against her,” she added. “It’s the first tournament of the year. I came here wanting to play as many matches as I could and obviously wanting to play the best.” Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka was playing Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland in a late match, with the winner going into a semifinal against fourth-seeded Jelena Jankovic. The Serb beat fifth-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-7 (8), 6-3, 6-1. In men’s second-round matches, Romanian qualifier Marius Copil beat third-seeded Gilles Simon 7-5, 6-3 and will next meet former No. 1-ranked

Lleyton Hewitt, who ousted No. 6-seeded Feliciano Lopez 7-5, 6-3. No. 8-seeded Jeremy Chardy beat Nicolas Mahut 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-3 and fourth-seeded Kevin Anderson withdrew due to a stomach ailment before his scheduled second-round match against Australian wildcard entry Sam Groth. In other Australasian tournaments, Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard combined to give Canada a 3-0 win over Italy at the Hopman Cup in Perth, and Venus Williams and Ana Ivanovic progressed to the semifinals at the WTA Tour’s ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand. Canada (2-1) maintained a chance of qualifying for Saturday’s Hopman Cup final from Group A when Raonic beat Andreas Seppi 6-2, 6-4 and Bouchard clinched it when Flavia Pennetta retired with a right wrist injury while trailing 4-0 in the first set. —AP

Sports FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

ORS targeting accuracy, time saving in cricket: Taufel ABU DHABI: Simon Taufel, five-time umpire of the year, yesterday said a new trialled system will help attain more accuracy and save time on referred decisions during international cricket matches. The International Cricket Council (ICC) is trialling a new review system, called Officiating Replay System (ORS), in which a non-match umpire is provided with direct replays during a match. ICC introduced the Decision Review System (DRS) in 2008 on a trial basis. The system allows both teams to

challenge decisions made by on-field umpires and have them referred to the TV official. The new system, aimed at further improving the prevalent DRS, was first trialled earlier this year in the Old Trafford Test in the Ashes between Australia and England, and then in the fifth one-day international between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi last week. The trial continues during the ongoing first Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi as well as the remaining two

Tests in that series. Taufel, now ICC manager for umpires’ training and performance after his officiating retirement in 2012, said the ORS will help in efficiency and accuracy in refered decisions. “It’s a separate technology trial which is independent of what is happening with third umpire in this Test, and we are looking at different options to better serve the game of cricket and have less interruptions and less breaks in play, and improve decision-making as much as we can,” Taufel told reporters.—AFP

Scoreboard Scoreboard at the close on the third day of the first Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi yesterday. Sri Lanka first innings 204 Pakistan first innings (overnight 327-4) Khurram Manzoor run out 21 A Shehzad c Karunaratne b Eranga 38 M Hafeez c Silva b Lakmal 11 Younus Khan b Eranga 136 Misbah c Sangakkara b Herath 135 Asad Shafiq c Silva b Lakmal 13 A Akmal c Senanayake b Eranga 6 B Bhatti c P Jayawardene b Mathews14 Saeed Ajmal lbw b Herath 0 Rahat Ali b Herath 0 Junaid Khan not out 4 Extras (lb-2, w-1, nb-2) 5 Total (all out - 129.1 overs) 383 Fall of wickets: 1-46, 2-59, 3-83, 4-301, 5-329, 6-342, 7-369, 8-378 9-378.

Bowling: Lakmal 33-9-99-2 (2nb, 1w), Mathews 13-1-43-1, Eranga 30-6-80-3, Herath 35.1-9-93-3, Senanayake 18-2-66-0 Sri Lanka second innings D. Karunaratne b Junaid 24 K. Silva c Akmal b Junaid 81 K. Sangakkara c Younus b Bhatti 55 M. Jayawardene c Shafiq b Bhatti 0 D. Chandimal not out 24 Extras (lb-2) 2 Total (four wickets - 61.3 overs) 186 Still to bat: A. Mathews, P. Jayawardene, S. Senanayake, R. Herath, S. Eranga, S. Lakmal. Fall of wickets: 1-47, 2-146, 3-150, 4-186. Bowling: Junaid 13.3-0-46-2, Rahat 17-6-330, Bhatti 14-1-65-2, Ajmal 13-3-30-0, Hafeez 4-1-10-0. Reuters

Cook can take solace from Clarke’s experience SYDNEY: England skipper Alastair Cook admits to feeling less than 100 percent as he contemplates a possible 5-0 Ashes drubbing but he could look to the experience of his opposite number for an object lesson in how quickly fortunes can turn around. Michael Clarke has certainly plumbed greater depths in the three years since he first took charge of Australia in a test in the final encounter of the 2010-11 series at the Sydney Cricket Ground. It has been England’s turn to be battered physically and mentally in this series, though, and Cook will lead his side out on Friday desperate to win the fifth test, avoid the dreaded series sweep and salvage a little pride. “When you lose games of cricket, and you lose they way we have, it’s a tough place to be as a captain, certainly when you come

on a big tour,” Cook told reporters at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday. “It does affect people, make no mistake about it. It hurts for me, but it is what it is. “All the criticism you get when you lose it’s always exaggerated and it’s kind of hyperbole when you win because that’s the way the media work. “For me to say I am 100 percent right would be wrong, but I am proud of the way I’ve handled myself in this series. “But I do know that I have a hell of a lot to learn as a player, as a captain, and I hope we can put in a good performance in this test match.”Clarke has been showered with plaudits for his captaincy in this series but has not forgotten that earlier this year he was pilloried when Australia were swept 4-0 in India and lost 3-0 in England.—Reuters

SYDNEY: England cricketer Chris Tremlett (R) busy in warmup exercises prior to a nets training session at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday. — AFP

ABU DHABI: Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara (C) and Kaushal Silva (R) run between the wickets during the third day of the first cricket Test match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi yesterday. - AFP

Bhatti’s double gives Pakistan edge in Test ABU DHABI: Paceman Bilawal Bhatti removed experienced Sri Lankan batsmen Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene off successive deliveries to put Pakistan in command of the first Test yesterday. The 22-year-old debutant removed Sangakkara (55) with the last ball of his tenth over and then had Jayawardene off the first of his next to leave Sri Lanka at 186-4 in their second innings at close on the third day on a Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch which had eased out for batsmen. Junaid (2-46) built on the strikes by dismissing Kaushal Silva for 81, caught behind in the last over of the day. Before that Silva and Sangakkara added 99 for the second wicket, which had thwarted Pakistan’s pace-cum-spin attack in the last session. Dinesh Chandimal was the unbeaten batsman at close with 24 as Sri Lanka, who trailed by 179 runs after the first innings, ended the day seven runs ahead with six wickets in hand. Earlier, Pakistan were dismissed for 383 in their first innings in reply to Sri Lanka’s 204. Bhatti proud “Sangakkara and Jayawardene are big names and (the) strength of Sri Lankan batting and I am proud at getting their wickets,” said Bhatti. “We need to get them out early on Friday for a win.” Silva’s dismissal has given Pakistan a sniff of victory on the fourth day. He hit 11 boundaries during his 275-minute stay and gave Sri Lanka a confident start of 47 with Dimuth Karunaratne (24). Silva, playing only his fourth Test, used his feet well against spinner Saeed Ajmal and looked comfortable against Pakistani bowling, reaching his maiden half-century with a single off Junaid. The experienced Sangakkara, who hit an epic double hundred to draw a Test at the same venue against

Pakistan in 2011, brought up his 43rd Test fifty with a crisp cut shot off Bhatti for his sixth boundary. It was Bhatti (2-65) who seemed to have got Sangakkara on 29 when a sharp delivery trapped the left-hander leg before as English umpire Richard Kettleborough upheld the appeal, but the batsman challenged the decision. Television replays showed the ball was pitched on leg-stump and the umpire had to change the decision. But Bhatti had the last laugh as he forced an edge off Sangakkara which was smartly snapped up in the slips by Younis Khan. Sangakkara hit six boundaries during his 98-ball stay. Next over, Bhatti had a ball rear up from a good length which forced Jayawardene to hand an easy catch to gully for a first-ball duck. In the morning, Sri Lanka’s pace and spin attack brought their team back in the game by taking the last six wickets for just 54 runs after Pakistan resumed the day at 327-4. Paceman Shaminda Eranga finished with 3-80 while left-arm spinner Rangana Herath took 3-90 — all his three wickets coming in ten balls on the day. Fast bowler Suranga Lakmal grabbed 2-99. Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul Haq scored 135. He hit 16 boundaries and a six off 306 balls before being last man out, caught at long-off off from spinner Herath. In all, Misbah batted for 425 minutes and his 218-run partnership with Younis Khan (136) on Wednesday set Pakistan on track for their big lead. Pakistan lost Asad Shafiq (13) and Adnan Akmal for six before Bilawal Bhatti (14) helped his skipper add 27 for the seventh wicket. Herath dismissed Saeed Ajmal and Rahat Ali off consecutive deliveries to restrict Pakistan’s lead. The second Test will be played in Dubai (January 8-12) and the third in Sharjah (January 16-20). — AFP


Sports FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

17-year-old Lehman earns another Olympic race KEARNS: Emery Lehman will be heading back to high school in a few days. He’s going to need a lot of time off in February. The 17-year-old from suburban Chicago earned a second Olympic event with a thrilling victory over Jonathan Kuck in the 10,000 meters Wednesday, the final race of the US speedskating trials. Kuck, who finished eighth in the 10,000 at the Vancouver Games and was thought to have an outside shot at medaling in Sochi, won’t even get to skate the race after Lehman rallied at the end to win by a scant 0.07 seconds, a remarkably close margin after 25 laps around the big oval. “That was pretty insane,” said Lehman, a senior at Oak Park and River Forest High School in Oak Park, Ill. Lehman was about 4 seconds behind with three laps to go, but he turned on the speed and began closing the gap quickly. As the bell rang for the final lap, Lehman stormed ahead from the inside lane as the crowd at the Utah Olympic Oval roared, not used to seeing such a dramatic finish in speedskating’s longest event. The skaters switched over on the

backstretch, and Kuck surged to the front coming off the final turn. But Lehman, with a hand on one knee and the other arm swinging furiously, chased down Kuck on the final straightaway and stuck his right skate over the line, about two blades lengths ahead of Kuck. The youngster stuck a finger in the air, confident he had won even before the winning time of 13 minutes, 22.77 seconds was posted on the scoreboard. “First of all, I didn’t expect to be finishing anywhere close to Jonathan,” said Lehman, who knocked 7 seconds off his personal best. “I never quite died, I guess.” In the final women’s race, Maria Lamb earned her third trip to the Olympics with a victory in the 5,000. The 27-yearold Wisconsin native dominated the 11skater field with a time of 7:13.31 - more than 7 seconds ahead of runner-up Petra Acker. Lamb overcame breathing problems and a severe migraine that sent her to a hospital emergency room two days earlier. Now, she’s headed back to the Olympics after also competing at the 2006 and 2010 Winter Games. “It was a little bit scary,” Lamb said of

her health issues. “I’m just so happy I made it.” Theresa Cliff-Ryan had hoped to compete in the 5,000 - just two days after a training mishap left her with a concussion and severe facial injuries. After failing to pass a concussion test, she heeded the doctor’s advice not to skate. “I was hoping I had a shot,” said Cliff-Ryan, who lost two teeth and fractured another when she fell on her face after being taken out by a crashing skater during a training session. “It’s just a bad accident. I’m pretty bummed I didn’t get to skate.” Lehman’s victory wasn’t assured, even as he coasted around the practice lane, his suit unzipped, waving to the crowd and soaking up the cheers. There was still one more pairing to go, and Patrick Meek gave it quite an effort. Nearly lapping the other skater in his group, Edwin Park, Meek was less than a second off Lehman’s pace heading into the final lap but couldn’t match the teenager’s closing speed. Meek settled for third in 13:23.16 - the top three separated by a mere 0.39. Meek collapsed onto a padded bench after finishing the race, his back heaving as he tried desperately to take it as much

air as possible. “It was pretty nerve-racking to watch,” said Lehman, who kept up with the final pairing from the infield, decked out in a Chicago Blackhawks cap. “But it all ended up OK.” Only the winner will get to skate the race in the Olympics, though both Kuck and Meek could console themselves with knowing they already had earned spots on the Olympic team: Kuck in the 1,500, 5,000 and most likely the team pursuit; Meek in the 5,000. Lehman also has claimed a trip to Sochi as the runner-up in the 5,000, but now he’ll be much busier than expected. “I came here expecting hopefully one race, and now I’ve got two,” he said. “It’s pretty exciting.” He whipped out his smartphone and began snapping pictures before heading to the top step of the medal stand, where he sprayed a bottle of champagne that he’s still far too young to drink. He’ll head back to school next week for the start of the new semester, needing to talk with his instructors about making up the assignments he’ll miss while in Sochi. “Hopefully, my teachers were watching TV,” he said, breaking into a big smile, “and they’ll understand.” —AP

Knights knock off Bears 52-42 in Fiesta Bowl GLENDALE: Central Florida was supposed to be a patsy for Baylor in its first BCS bowl. The Knights wanted no part of it, turning the Fiesta Bowl into a big-play party. Blake Bortles threw for 301 yards and accounted for four touchdowns, Storm Johnson ran for three more scores, and No. 15 Central Florida pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the bowl season by outlasting No. 6 Baylor 52-42 on Wednesday night. “There’s not many outside of us who believe we had a chance, but we did and I think we showed what UCF football is all about,” Bortles said. A 17-point underdog, Central Florida (12-1) didn’t back down from the big, bad Bears, racing past the nation’s top offensive team with an array of big plays. The Knights jumped out to an early 14point and kept rolling, piling up 556 total yards in the highest-scoring game in Fiesta Bowl history. Rannell Hall had four catches for 113 yards and two touchdowns, and Johnson ran for 124 yards to give the Knights a rousing BCS bowl debut. “Every week was a great adventure,” UCF coach George O’Leary said. “It wasn’t always pretty, but these guys found a way to win and that’s what it’s all about.” Baylor (11-2) had a hard time keeping up with the Knights, gaining 550 total yards but losing 135 on 17 penalties. Bortles threw for three touchdowns on 20of-31 passing and ran for another score. Bryce Petty ran for three touchdowns and threw for 356 yards and two more scores for Baylor. Lache Seastrunk ran for 117 yards. The Fiesta Bowl was the BCS coming-out party for Baylor and Central Florida before college football’s switch to a playoff system next season. The Bears had been building toward

this since Art Briles became coach in 2009, winding up his high-octane offense to lead the nation in scoring and churn out the second-most yards in FBS history. Central Florida had a slower rise under O’Leary. The coach who was fired by Notre Dame five days after being hired for lying on his resume has built his reputation back up in Orlando, taking a program that went winless

in 2004 to the inaugural American Athletic Conference title and automatic BCS berth this year. The matchup was projected to be like the 2011 Fiesta Bowl, when mighty Oklahoma rolled over Connecticut 48-20. Knights weren’t listening They opened with a 76-yard scoring drive

GLENDALE: Bryce Petty No 14 of the Baylor Bears flips into the endzone to score a second quarter touchdown against the defense of Sean Maag No 31 of the UCF Knights during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium on Wednesday. —AFP

capped by Johnson’s tackle-breaking 11-yard touchdown run. Johnson scored again on UCF’s next possession, this one on a 2-yard run. The early 14-0 lead was expected. The team leading wasn’t. Baylor finally revved up its offense late in the first quarter, scoring on a 1-yard TD sneak by Petty and Central Florida looked as if it was ready to fall apart with turnovers on three consecutive plays. Baylor only turned one of those into points: a 30-yard from Petty to Levi Norwood. Petty followed Johnson’s fumble with an interception in the end zone, just his third of the season. Then came the spectacular plays, seemingly one after another. Hall darted and dashed through Baylor’s defense for a 50-yard touchdown on a screen pass, with help from Josh Reese’s downfield block. Petty hurtled himself into the end zone, flipping over UCF’s Brandon Alexander to cap a 13-yard run. That gave Baylor 659 points, breaking the NCAA record for a 13-game season set by Texas (652) in 2005. The momentum was gone shortly after, when Hall turned a swing pass into a 34-yard touchdown play - assisted again by Reese - to put the Knights up 28-20 at halftime. Petty scored his third touchdown on 1-yard run in the third quarter and dashed in for the 2-point conversion to tie the game, but Central Florida still wouldn’t back down.Bortles hit Breshad Perriman on a 10-yard touchdown pass and opened the fourth quarter by scoring on an 11-yard run to put the Knights up 42-28. Even after Baylor moved quickly for a 9yard touchdown run by Glasco Martin, UCF had an answer, going up 49-35 on Johnson’s 40-yard run through the heart of the Bears’ defense. —AP


Sports FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

Ex-United star Solskjaer named Cardiff manager LONDON: Former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been appointed as the new manager of Cardiff City, the Premier League strugglers announced yesterday. The 40-year-old joins from Norwegian club Molde and succeeds Malky Mackay, who was sacked on December 27 after his relationship with club owner Vincent Tan broke down. “Cardiff City Football Club are delighted to announce that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has joined the club as first team manager,” read a statement on the Cardiff website. “Following discussions with Tan Sri Vincent Tan and club chairman Mehmet Dalman, Ole, joining Cardiff City from Molde FK, today (Thursday) met with his new squad at the Vale training ground and will soon be unveiled to the press at Cardiff City Stadium.” Solskjaer, who attended Cardiff’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal on Wednesday in the company of Tan, has signed a “rolling contract”. Cardiff were promoted to the Premier League after a 51-year absence last season, but Solskjaer arrives to find the south Wales club one point and one place above the relegation zone. “I feel lucky to be back in the Premier League,” said the former Norway international, who was pictured holding a Cardiff shirt on the club website. “I had to have a talk about it with the family, obviously, but it is a great opportunity.” Tan sparked angry protests from some Cardiff fans by sacking Mackay, having previously dismissed his head of recruitment, Iain Moody, in October. The Malaysian also created controversy in 2012 when he forced Cardiff to change their traditional blue colours to red, but Solskjaer described reports that former United manager Alex Ferguson had warned him not to take the job as “absolute nonsense”. “He has wished me the best and given me some good advice, as he always does,” Solskjaer added. “I had a good conversation with him.” Solskjaer spent 11 years at United after signing from Molde in 1996, during which his boyish looks and razor-sharp instincts in front of goal earned him the nickname ‘The Baby-faced Assassin’. He was renowned for coming off the bench to score vital goals, notably netting a famous injury-time winner against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final in Barcelona. He joined United’s coaching staff after retiring in 2007 and was appointed manager of Molde three years later, leading the club to glory in the Norwegian top flight in 2011 and 2012 and last year’s Norwegian Cup. —AFP

Russia beat US in world junior hockey quarters MALMO: Russia beat the United States 5-3 in the world junior hockey quarterfinals yesterday, rallying to take lead on Nakita Zadorov’s two power-play goals. Zadorov scored on 5-on-3 advantages in a 1:01 span in the second period to give Russia a 4-3 lead. The 6-foot-4 defenseman plays for the London Knights in the Ontario Hockey League. Russia will face the Sweden-Slovakia winner in the semifinals. In the other quarterfinals, Canada faced Switzerland, and the Czech Republic played Finland. “We want to play Sweden,” Zadorov said. “It was a close game last time (3-2 loss), and we’re going to watch some video and play better.” Pavel Buchnevich also scored twice for Russia, Buffalo Sabres center Mikhail Grigorenko added a goal, and Andrei Vasilevski made 30 saves. “The power plays were the game-changer,” said Grigorenko, who has two goals and an assist in 18 games for Buffalo this season. “We scored two goals. We took the lead, and we kept it. Those two 5-on-3s in a row were the key. “This game made us a better team today than we were yesterday. I think we deserved to win. Hopefully, we can keep the same energy, same compete level for the semifinals.” New Jersey Devils farmhand Stefan Matteau, Plymouth Whalers forward Ryan Hartman and Wisconsin’s Nic Kerdiles had first-period goals for the United States, the tournament winner last year in Russia. —AFP

ANN ARBOR: Jay McClement No 11 of the Toronto Maple Leafs tries to control the puck against Gustav Nyquist No 14 of the Detroit Red Wings during the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium on Wednesday in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Toronto won the game 3-2 in a shootout. —AFP

Leafs top Wings at snowy Winter Classsic ANN ARBOR: Tyler Bozak scored the winning shootout goal and Jonathan Bernier made two saves in the heart-pounding final moments, lifting the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-2 victory over Detroit at the snowy Winter Classic in front of the largest crowd to watch a hockey game. The announced attendance Wednesday of 105,591 surpassed the 104,173 who watched the University of Michigan and Michigan State University play a college hockey game in the same football stadium known as the Big House in Ann Arbor in 2010. The game began with the temperature at 13 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 10 Celsius) and a steady snow that didn’t stop on a windy afternoon. It was the sixth installment in the Winter Classic series - an annual regular-season game between NHL clubs played outdoors. Because of the weather, however, this one felt more like an event than an actual game. Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg appeared to have good chance in overtime with the

puck in the Maple Leafs’ end and defenseman Cody Franson on his left side. The horn, however, sounded to stop play at the 2:30 mark of the extra period so the teams could switch sides, ensuring both played into a 10 mph (16 kph) wind for an equal amount of time. “I think I would have had a clear breakaway,” Zetterberg said. The game also was halted midway through the third period so that the teams could switch ends. In the shootout, skaters for both teams attempted shots with the wind in their face toward the same net - or end zone. After skaters with shovels cleared the snow from the ice, Pavel Datsyuk scored Detroit’s only goal in the shootout and teammate Tomas Tatar was foiled on his team’s third and final attempt because he couldn’t control the puck on the snowcovered surface and didn’t even get a shot off. “The conditions made it so some of the skill in the game was eliminated,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. The struggling yet storied

hockey franchises did their best to put on show in the snow. “I don’t know if you would call it a gem from a pace standpoint,” Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. “There was a lot of snow and a lot of things to deal with.” Joffrey Lupul, who might face discipline from the NHL for a cross-check that knocked Patrick Eaves out of the game in the first period, scored the first of two goals for the Maple Leafs in the shootout. Lightning 4, Canucks 2 Bernier, with a knit hat over his helmet, made 41 saves - the most in an outdoor regular-season game. In Wednesday’s only other NHL game, the Tampa Bay Lightning got just its second win in Vancouver in the 21year history of the club, beating the Canucks 4-2. Valtteri Filppula had a goal and an assist for the Lightning, which also posted its fourth straight road win this season. Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop made 28 saves for his 21st win of the season as the Lightning outshot the Canucks 33-30. —AP

Sports FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2014

Fabregas bullish on Messi’s return to action MADRID: Lionel Messi will be “like a bull” when he returns after almost two months out with a thigh injury, his Barcelona team mate Cesc Fabregas predicted ahead of Sunday’s La Liga match at home to Elche. Messi flew back to the Catalan capital on Wednesday from his native Argentina, where he completed the final phase of his recovery, and will join Fabregas and the rest of Gerardo Martino’s squad for training later yesterday. Martino will be wary of rushing the World Player of the Year back but is likely to give his compatriot at least some playing time against promoted Elche at the Nou Camp (1500 GMT) in Barca’s first game after the winter break. Messi may also feature in Wednesday’s King’s Cup last 16, first leg at home against Getafe in the hope he will be fully fit and able to play the whole of the La Liga match at title rivals Atletico Madrid on Jan. 11. “He definitely needed to rest physically because he had already suffered this (injury) and there was no other option than to stop playing,” Fabregas said in an interview

with Marca sports daily published yesterday. “He had four or five injuries in a row in a muscle that he uses a lot in accelerating from a standstill, which is what sets him apart,” added the former Arsenal captain, who was a contemporary of Messi’s at the Barca academy. “He had to stop no matter what and he’ll be like a bull when he is back.” Champions Barca are level on 46 points with Atletico Madrid after 17 of 38 matches and lead the Spanish capital’s second club, who play at mid-table Malaga on Saturday (1500), on goal difference. Real Madrid are five points further back in third and play at 15th-placed Celta Vigo on Monday (1800). Stability, composure Barca stumbled during Messi’s most recent absence, losing consecutive games to Ajax Amsterdam in the Champions League and Athletic Bilbao in La Liga. However, their Brazil forward Neymar, signed in the close season from Santos, came into form in the run-up

to the winter break and netted a hat-trick against Celtic, his first treble for the club, and a double against Villarreal. Fabregas said the goals will help boost the 21-year-old’s confidence. “Scoring is all about streaks,” he told Marca. “Right now the goals are going in for Neymar and that will give him a bit more confidence, stability and composure in the penalty area. “As time passes his importance to the team will increase. He is 21 and he will develop from game to game. The confidence will make him a better player.” Matchday 18 also features Sunday’s derby clash between fourth-placed Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad (1900), four points behind their Basque rivals in fifth, at Sociedad’s Anoeta stadium in San Sebastian. Valencia’s new coach Juan Antonio Pizzi has a tough test in his first game in charge when his side hosts local rivals Levante tomorrow (1900). Valencia are in 11th place after an erratic start to their campaign that prompted the sacking of Serbian coach Miroslav Djukic last month. — Reuters

Adebayor doubtful for FA Cup trip to Arsenal

OLD TRAFFORD: Manchester United’s English striker Danny Welbeck (L) attempts an overhead kick during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England, on Wednesday. — AFP

Moyes furious with Webb after defeat MANCHESTER: David Moyes labelled a controversial decision by World Cup final referee Howard Webb as “scandalous” in the wake of his team’s 2-1 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday. The Manchester United manager was incensed by a late decision not to award United a penalty kick when Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris challenged home winger Ashley Young and questioned whether England’s most respected official should be operating in the Premier League. Despite television pundits widely backing Webb’s decision not to give United the penalty, an award that would surely also have led to the goalkeeper’s dismissal, Moyes was adamant that the 42-year-old Yorkshireman should be dealt with by the PGMO, the body who appoint match officials. “It was a scandal,” fumed Moyes. “It’s reckless, it’s late, it’s in the penalty box, I don’t know what else you can say. “If you follow through on a player anywhere else on the pitch, foot-high, it’s a sending off and a penalty kick. Ashley Young gets the ball and he follows through. It’s an incredible decision that didn’t go our way. It’s one of the worst I’ve seen. “You only hope the people who put the referees in there look to see if the referees are

doing as well as they can. But they keep picking them don’t they? The people who employ referees are going to have to look at that.” Simulation The United manager’s angry mood was not helped by Webb showing a yellow card to United youngster Adnan Januzaj for “simulation” in the second half. It is not the first time this season the talented winger has been punished for diving but, on this occasion, Moyes believed his player was more sinned against than sinning. “It was a terrible decision,” added Moyes. “Adnan gets bumped, the boy tried to nudge him off the ball. That was a terrible decision.” United have now dropped 26 points in the current campaign, one more than they squandered all of last season in winning the title in Alex Ferguson’s farewell term. More alarmingly, they now face the real prospect of becoming only the second defending Premier League champions in history to finish outside the top three the following year. Moyes’s outburst therefore neatly deflected from another appalling result that ended a run of six successive victories.—AFP

LONDON: Tottenham Hotspur’s revitalised striker Emmanuel Adebayor could miss the tie of the FA Cup third round at former club Arsenal tomorrow after being carried off on a stretcher during Spurs’ 2-1 win at Manchester United on Wednesday. The 29-year-old Togo international, described as “unstoppable” by new Spurs manager Tim Sherwood after scoring the opening goal at Old Trafford, came off after 70 minutes, “needing ice on every part of his body” according to his boss afterwards. The match at the Emirates between the two fierce north London rivals is one of five allPremier League ties on what is usually one of the most exciting and dramatic days in the English season. The others see Newcastle United against Cardiff City, Norwich City against Fulham, West Bromwich Albion against Crystal Palace and Manchester United hosting Swansea City. Cup holders Wigan Athletic, who became the first side to win the FA Cup and be relegated in the same season when they shocked Manchester City in last May’s final, are at home to League One (third tier) MK Dons. Manchester City, second behind Arsenal at the top of the Premier League, make the short trip to Championship side Blackburn Rovers, while Chelsea, who have won the FA Cup five times in the last 14 years, start their quest for another honour at promotion-chasing Championship side Derby County. Roberto Martinez, who led Wigan to their unlikely triumph last season before becoming Everton’s manager, starts his quest to become only the third manager to win the trophy with two different clubs when Everton play Queens Park Rangers at Goodison Park. Shock win No one has achieved that feat since Billy Walker steered Nottingham Forest to glory in 1959 having previously won it with Sheffield Wednesday in 1935. Herbert Chapman won the trophy with Arsenal and Huddersfield Town. Liverpool again face League One Oldham Athletic, who stunned the seven times winners with a shock 3-2 win in the fourth round a year ago. Sunday’s match has an added poignancy too following the death of former Oldham and Liverpool player Wayne

Harrison, aged 46 on Christmas Day. Liverpool made Harrison the most expensive teenager in the world when they signed him as a 17-year-old from Oldham for 250,000 pounds ($414,100) in 1984 but following one injury after another he never played a first team game for them, quit the game, and worked as a van driver before succumbing to pancreatic cancer. Tales of the past will also be in the air at Bolton where Blackpool are the visitors, evoking memories of the famous 1953 final when Stanley Matthews inspired Blackpool to a 4-3 win with a hat-trick from Stan Mortensen after they trailed 3-1 with 22 minutes to go. Rare meeting Tomorrow’s FA Cup clash at the Emirates between Arsenal and Spurs is their first in the competition since Arsenal triumphed 2-1 in a 2001 semi-final at Old Trafford. And although the two clubs have played each other over 170 times, they have only met five times in the FA Cup, starting with Arsenal’s 3-0 victory in the third round in 1949, which Spurs avenged at the same stage in 1982. Their two other meetings were also semifinals with Spurs winning in 1991 and Arsenal in 1993. Spurs go into the tie boosted by their win at Old Trafford on New Year’s Day as Sherwood has overseen a quick turnaround in fortune. His recall of the previously-overlooked Adebayor looks an inspired move as the rangy forward has scored four goals in fivegames and added a much-needed cutting edge to the side’s previously misfiring attack as well as forging an immediate partnership with Roberto Soldado. However, league leaders Arsenal still start as favourites. They may have laboured to a 2-0 win over Cardiff City on Wednesday, but Arsene Wenger’s men are playing with a selfconfidence and conviction that has been missing in recent years. Although they are likely to be without injured strikers Olivier Giroud and Nicklas Bendtner, who damaged his ankle scoring the opener against Cardiff, Arsenal have lost only once at home to Spurs in the last 21 years in all competitions and beat them 1-0 in a Premier League match on their last visit in September. — Reuters


Bhatti’s double gives Pakistan edge in Test Page 44

Knights knock off Bears 52-42 in Fiesta Bowl Page 45 GLENDALE: Storm Johnson #8 of the UCF Knights runs the ball against Eddie Lackey #5 of the Baylor Bears during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium on Wednesday in Glendale, Arizona. —AFP

3rd Jan  

Friday Times

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