Page 1



Stage set for annual GulfRun in Bahrain

Merkel breaks pelvis after ski accident


NO: 16040

150 FILS




Nissan unveils London black taxi model

Rodman, ex-NBA All Stars arrive in North Korea



Seven new faces in reshuffled Cabinet 4 Islamists, 2 MPs, 1 woman, 1 Shiite in new lineup

Max 16º Min 07º High Tide 03:22 & 16:29 Low Tide 10:12 & 22:40

conspiracy theories

Shuffle and reshuffle By Badrya Darwish

Sheikh Sabah Dep PM, Foreign

Sheikh Mohammad Dep PM, Interior

Sheikh Khaled Dep PM, Defence

Anas Al-Saleh Finance

Ali Al-Omair Oil, Assembly Affairs

Ahmad Al-Mulaifi Education

Abdulmohsen Al-Mudej Commerce

Nayef Al-Ajmi Awqaf, Justice


reat! A new Cabinet was announced yesterday. To begin with, what is the idea of all this reshuffling? It is more or less the old Cabinet with a few new faces. Of course the sovereign ministries remained unchanged, thank God for that, except for Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah AlSabah who was relieved from having two portfolios - Minister of Health and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs. I am sure he does not regret handing over the Ministry of Health which caused him a lot of health issues. I feel sorry for the young man because the minute he was given this extra portfolio, the parliament attacked him and started threatening to grill him. He was not even given a chance to step in the ministry’s door when he was forced to face a grilling for all the accumulated sins of the deteriorating ministry in years past. Mabrouk, Sheikh Mohammad! At last you can feel relief from all the grillings! This does not mean that the rest of the ministers will not be grilled. The parliament already issued threats that if the Cabinet does not attend today’s session, they will grill them. Of course, we ended up with only one lady in the new Cabinet. Thekra Rasheedi is out and so is Rola Dashti. There is one question on my mind right now. If a minister enters a ministry and appoints many members of his family, do these poor members now have to face the same destiny as the departing minister? Or does the reshuffle not apply to them? This is a good lesson for all ministers. When they are in charge of a ministry, they should appoint people based on merit and avoid friendships and nepotism. OK, if there was corruption in one ministry and the minister resigns, does the new minister have to bear the consequences? Or would the old minister resign and the chapter gets closed. I hope somebody can enlighten me on this because I do not understand the reshuffling of portfolios. Is it done to finish a job somewhere and then the case is closed? Good luck to all the newcomers! The never-ending grilling series of 2014 will soon commence. We just have to wait and watch. In all honesty, as a journalist I cannot keep up remembering the names and posts of the ministers who change all the time. Let’s hope 2014 brings more stability to our great parliament and Cabinet which, of course, would mean greater stability for our economy.

Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber

Yasser Abul Sheikh Mohammad Abdulaziz Al-Ibrahim Hind Al-Sabeeh Sheikh Salman Housing Cabinet Affairs Electricity, Public Works Labour, Planning Info, Youth Affairs KUWAIT: Two Amiri decrees were issued yes- two weeks after all the 15 Cabinet ministers The other three ministers who were not terday accepting the resignation of seven submitted their resignations to the prime retained are minister of oil Mustafa Alministers and appointing seven others after minister following a series of grillings target- Shamali, minister of finance Sheikh Salem Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al- ing several ministers and the prime minister Abdulaziz Al-Sabah and minister of awqaf and Sabah carried out an expanded reshuffle in himself. Islamic affairs and justice Sharida Alhis fifth Cabinet that was formed in August All the ministers who were grilled or were Maousherji. All the three ministers requested following parliamentary elections. The line-up scheduled to be grilled were left out of the to be left out on health grounds.The new oil includes a new minister for oil and another for cabinet. They include former state minister for minister is Ali Al-Omair, a British-educated finance after the outgoing ministers request- planning and development Rola Dashti, state Islamist who has been a member of parliaed to be relieved of their posts. The number of minister for housing and municipality Salem ment since 2006. Omair, 55, was also given Islamist ministers doubled to four and the Al-Othaina, minister of social affairs and the portfolio of state minister for National number of women and Shiites was cut to just labour Thekra Al-Rasheedi and education Assembly affairs. His appointment raises to one each from two in the previous lineup. minister Nayef Al-Hajraf. In addition, Sheikh two the number of elected MPs in the The new ministers were sworn-in by HH Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah, who was Cabinet, along with Communications Minister the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah state minister for Cabinet affairs and minister Essa Al-Kandari. Omair is a senior member of who urged the Cabinet to cooperate with the of health was relieved of the health portfolio the Islamic Salaf Alliance, a pro-government National Assembly to serve the interests of after he was grilled and remains state minister group. the country. The new developments came for Cabinet affairs. Continued on Page 13

Ali Al-Obaidi Health

‘Polar vortex’ slams US

Iraqis riot as jet lands in Kuwait

By A Saleh

KUWAIT: Fifteen Iraqi passengers rioted onboard a Turkish flight that made an emergency landing at Kuwait International Airport while en route to Basra, said security sources. Due to bad weather conditions, the pilot decided to make an emergency landing in Kuwait where he waited for 45 minutes. After determining that the weather conditions in Basra would not improve soon, he decided to fly back to Istanbul. This angered the Iraqi passengers, who assaulted the cabin crew and forced open the plane doors to prevent the pilot from taking off. Kuwait Airport security intervened and took the Iraqi passengers to a nearby hotel pending arrangement of another flight to take them to Basra, after the Turkish pilot and crew decided against pressing charges.

Essa Al-Kandari Comm, Municipality

INDIANAPOLIS: A pedestrian makes his way along a snow packed street yesterday as temperatures hovered around 23 below zero. — AP

CHICAGO: A “polar vortex” dropped over a huge section of the United States yesterday, sending temperatures plunging across the Midwest as the East Coast braced for the bitter Arctic blast. Meteorologists predicted the lowest temperatures in two decades in some areas of the country, with the mercury at -37 Celsius in Milwaukee. Icy roads and snow storms created travel chaos, with thousands of flights canceled or delayed. The northeastern United States has endured heavy snow and deadly freezing conditions since the start of the year, and the extreme cold has claimed about a dozen lives nationwide. “The coldest weather in years will be making its presence known from the Upper Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic region for the beginning of the work week,” the National Weather Service said. Wind chill warnings were in effect from Montana as far south as Tennessee and Alabama, with temperatures feeling as cold as -50 degrees Fahrenheit, it said, describing the conditions as “lifethreatening”. On the East Coast, a brief lull in the deep freeze greeted commuters yesterday, but temperatures were expected to drop by 40 degrees overnight. In Milwaukee, on the shores of Lake Michigan, officials warned residents to stay indoors and urged schools to shut down. “Police are reaching out to homeless citizens in order to help them find the nearest shelter,” city spokeswoman Sarah DeRoo told AFP. All schools were closed in Minnesota. In Cook County in Illinois, which includes Chicago, warming centers were opened for anyone suffering, including those whose home heating did not work. Continued on Page 13



New Kuwaiti effort to raise awareness of safe driving Stage set for GulfRun By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: Car fans will enjoy the seventh annual car show by GulfRun that will be held on Jan 10 and 11 at the 360 mall. This show is an annual exhibition showcasing sports cars participating in the highly anticipated car race that is scheduled to take place on Jan 23 and 24 at the Bahrain International Circuit. According to Ahmed Al-Mudhaf, GulfRun CEO and Founder, the aim of GulfRun has always been to provide a venue for drivers with professional and qualified instructors at hand to ensure a responsible and professional

GulfRun is an annual car race that is managed and organized by a group of young Kuwaiti car enthusiasts who want to provide a venue for amateur drivers and to raise awareness of safe driving. “Over 60 participants are classified into different categories according to their vehicle modification and power. On the racetrack, they are trained and compete in different motorsports events at the Formula 1 circuit in Bahrain. Drivers can compete against their peers in a safe and secure environment whilst learning valuable driving skills. About 60 percent of participants this year have participated in the past, while about 40 percent are

KUWAIT: Fahad Al-Fahad, Ahmad Al-Mudhaf, and Ahmad Al-Majid during the press conference held at 360 Mall. —Photo by Joseph Shagra approach to automobile racing. “What started as a simple weekend getaway has evolved into a fully encompassing event that will showcase some of Kuwait’s best drivers and track-modified vehicles,” he said during a press conference yesterday at the 360 mall.

new participants,” added Mudhaf. Sixty-five cars will be participating in three categories. “The categories are - Street, Super, and Unlimited. Our main goal of this race is to create professional champions that will represent Kuwait in international car racing champi-

onships in the future. Motorsports in an important activity for Kuwaitis, but we don’t have the suitable locations to practice. One of the previous participants of GulfRun, amateur Sami Haidar, registered a world record of 2:13 minutes with a street car in Bahrain,” stressed Ahmad Al-Majid, CEO of Provision, the sports department of GulfRun. Fahd Al-Fahd, representing Wataniya Telecom, noted that sponsoring this event is part of the company’s strategy of social responsibility. “We realize the importance of motorsports in our community and the huge number of youths practicing car racing in streets, which is both illegal and dangerous for them and others. So we decided to support this event to give the amateur drivers the opportunity to practice their hobby in safe place,” he pointed out. About GulfRun GulfRun started in 2005 and was organized by a group of young Kuwaitis who shared a passion for cars. The GulfRun team wanted to provide a venue for amateur drivers while endorsing the importance of safe driving. The Bahrain International Circuit, with the help of qualified trainers and professional instructors, set the scene for what was to become an annual racing and training event. The goal behind GulfRun was simple - promote automobile racing and training in a safe and secure environment. The success of the first GulfRun set the course for an established annual racing and training event fueled by the passion to drive. As interest grew, the event evolved from a weekend track day with a dozen cars into an open public event consisted of over 60 drivers supported by local sponsors. GulfRun has developed from an annual event into a complete season of motorsports activities that include the 24HR Karting Endurance Race in partnership with Pro-Vision Sport Management, the GulfRun Carshow, GulfRun Race and GulfRun Racing Academy.

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Airways Corporation signed a partnership agreement with the Golden Tulip Hotels Group, through which Waha Club members will be offered 500 miles of free travel when they stay at a Golden Tulip hotel.

Thursday, Jan 16 off for Prophet’s b-day KUWAIT: Official sources said that the Cabinet will postpone the Prophet’s (PBUH) birthday holiday that falls on Jan 13 (Monday) till Thursday Jan 16. The sources said that the Civil Services Commission (CSC) would contact all official bodies and ministries requesting strict han-

dling of pre-holiday sick leaves to ensure steady work process, especially in view of the high rates of absent employees before the New Year holiday. “This would not have happened if officials in those bodies were stricter with employees pretending to be sick,” stressed the sources.

Gazette delay does not nullify decisions, rulings KUWAIT: Following a promise from the information minister and minister of state for youth affair Sheikh Salman Al-Humoud AlSabah, government printing press workers ended their strike that had delayed the publication of Kuwait’s official gazette Al-Kuwait Al-Youm for 24 hours. Commenting on the delay, constitution expert Dr Mohammed AlFeyali said decisions, decrees and court rulings were usually published in the gazette to

publicize them and make sure that many people have been notified. He added that any delay in publishing the gazette does not nullify those decisions, that usually take effect on the day that follows publication day. Feyali also stressed the need to reconsider the official gazette’s performance, suggesting to build a special website for the gazette so that citizens could access its contents as well as to avoid any printing or publication delays.

KD 8.9bn spent in development plan KUWAIT: Emad Al-Ablani, NBK Deputy General Manager, Human Resources Group, Ahmed Al-Khader, NBK’s Assistant General Manager, Consumer Banking Group and Mohammed Al-Othman, NBK’s Executive Manager, Consumer Banking Group in a group photo with the trainees.

NBK welcomes new batch of Kuwaiti graduates KUWAIT: National Bank of Kuwait (NBK ) recently welcomed the fourth batch of trainees in the Shabab Training Program. This intensive program is specially designed to develop the skills of newly recruited diploma holding graduates. NBK Shabab Training Program extends over a period of two and a half months. The program is tailored to provide young Kuwaitis who recently joined the bank with theoretical and practical skills covering the different aspects of the banking industry. “NBK maintains its leading position as one

of the country’s largest employers in the private sector. NBK will continue its efforts to provide career and training opportunities for nationals and to support the country’s aim to encourage young Kuwaitis to assume roles in the private sector,” said Emad Al-Ablani, NBK Deputy General Manager, Human Resources Group. Al-Ablani added “NBK Shabab program falls within the framework of NBK’s strategy to attrac t and hire qualified nationals. NBK Shabab program aims at improving young Kuwaiti skills in order to prepare them as high-

ly qualified Kuwaiti banking leaders of the future.” Annually, NBK offers many training programs including NBK Academy, the Summer Internship Program and the first of its kind in the region NBK High Fliers Program in collaboration with the American University of Beirut. In collaboration with the renowned Harvard University, NBK also organizes an executive training program in line with the bank’s commitment to developing and investing in its key resource and human capital.

KUWAIT: Minister of State for National Affairs and Minister of State of Planning and Development Dr Rola Dashti said yesterday the governmental sector spent KD 8.9 billion in the first three years of the country’s national development plan. This figure makes up 57 percent of the sum worth KD 15.6 billion allocated for the development plan, the minister said in news remarks. A sum of KD 30.8 billion has been allocated as expected investments for the development plan for the next four years; including KD 15.6 billion for the public sector and KD 15.2 billion for the private sector, she added. The private sector’s investments for the four years of the plan hit KD 15.2 billion, of which KD 6.8 billion, or 45 percent, were earmarked, the minister said. All details bearing on governmental investments in the 2010/2011-2013-2014

development plan are now available on the website of the Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development, she noted. It is the right of everyone to get access to information in a democratic society like Kuwait in order to ensure the principle of transparency and accountability, she added. Citizens are partners with the government in the development plan aiming to achieve public welfare as part of the national development plan purposed to transfer Kuwait into a financial and commercial hub, the minister remarked. The Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development is keen to provide citizens with all details and information pertinent to the national development process and present and future blueprints through its website with a view to ensuring available reliable information, she pointed out. —KUNA

KPC hosts conference on risk management KUWAIT: Chief Executive Officer of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) Nizar Al-Adsani said yesterday the KPC is looking to increase and enhance the understanding of the overall risk management and how it contributes to the creation of an added value for the Kuwaiti oil sector. Al-Adsani said in his speech during the opening of the 2nd Kuwait conference on overall risk management that the overall risk management is a process through which planning, organization, command and control in the activities of any institution take place more effectively in order to reduce the effects of the risks that may threaten the capital and the profits of that enterprise. He said that the KPC’s hosting of this conference stems from its aspiration to enhance the understanding of the overall risk management through participants’ interactions in the conference for the benefit of the oil sector in the country. He added that the overall risk management does not only include the risks associated with accidental losses that may occur to any organization, but also extends to financial, strategic, operational and other risks and challenges. He pointed out that the multiple external factors in recent years pushed to maximize the benefit of the overall project risk management as government industrial actors and bodies have become more keen on efforts exerted by the corporate in the field of risk management. Al-Adsani stressed the importance of energy as a vital source for the well-being of human life, asserting the desire of the KPC for establishing partnerships with most of the oil companies on the basis of mutual benefit between the parties that lead to the construction of the brightest future of energy in the interest of all parties. For her part, head of the overall risk management team in the KPC and coordinator of the conference Iman Al-Gharabally said that the aim of the conference is to gather knowledge of overall risk management from a variety of companies and institutions so as to share best practices, strategies and tools to enable efforts to manage systemic risk in the process of making decision on the level of the enterprise. She explained that the conference would help the senior management to set a methodological and competitive value through effective management of risk and capital. — KUNA

KUWAIT: The Second Kuwait conference on overall risk management in progress.—Photos by Joseph Shagra



KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah pictured with the new ministers after a Cabinet reshuffle yesterday.—KUNA

Panel agrees to increase children’s allowance

Promedia announces waste management conference KUWAIT: Promedia International is set to organize the 6th Kuwait Waste Management Conference and Exhibition, featuring discussion about the latest technologies in waste management and recycling solutions. The two-day event takes place in April at the Radisson Blu Hotel, and is organized in cooperation with the Kuwait Municipality. Jamal Omran, head of the event’s organizing committee, said in a statement that Kuwait is in need for ‘major projects’ to recycle solid waste in order to cut dependency on landfills. One current proposal calls for establishing a 500,000 square meter plant to recycle waste, containing incinerators with a daily capacity of 3,000 tons and uses thermal energy to produce electricity.

MPs call for more incentives By A Saleh

Jamal Omran

KUWAIT: Rapporteur of the parliamentary financial and economic committee MP Mohammed Al-Jabri said that the committee agreed to increase children’s allowance to KD 75 for a maximum of seven kids, noting that the increase would annually cost KD 270 million. He also said that the committee agreed to increase the rent allowance to KD 250 at an annual cost of KD 142 million. MP Askar Al-Enezi ealier stressed the need to pass well-deserved incentives, namely children’s allowance, rent allowance, housing loans and military personnel salary increases to help citizens face the skyrocketing cost of living. Meanwhile, MP Yousef Al-Zalzalah criti-

cized the new Cabinet formation describing it as ‘insufficient to fulfill citizens’ aspirations’. He also criticized the government’s rejection of a proposal to increase children’s allowance, housing loans and rent allowance. Commenting on the new Cabinet formation, MP Saadoun Hammad Al-Otaibi said that the first grilling motion he intends to file once the new Cabinet is in office would be against Minister of Public Works Abdul Aziz AlIbrahim. In another development, well-informed sources said that the cabinet’s secretariat had recently contacted the operators of the national portfolio, allocated by the investment public authority to invest in stock markets requesting technical opinion about the

Jaber Bridge contract bidding aired live KUWAIT: The Central Tender Committee (CTC) awarded yesterday a KD 165.708 million ($580 million) tender to Alamiah Company to design, construct and maintain Sheikh Jaber Bridge Project, in a live online bidding through its website. The live tender bidding aimed at enhancing CTC’s principle of transparency. The live bidding showed the names

Visitor fingerprinting underway KUWAIT: The Interior Ministry started adding visitors’ information into its database, including fingerprints which it began recording yesterday according to news reports. The new measure comes in a bid to provide ‘security control’ over visitors’ activity in Kuwait which allows police to easily identify and arrest offenders who come to Kuwait on a visit visa. The system also allows authorities to

of the bidding companies, the amount of their bids and the owner of the project. Six international companies have submitted their bids to win Sheikh Jaber Bridge contract; the highest offer reached KD 248.389 million ($869 million), yet the company with the lowest bid has won the contract. — KUNA

Airbus contract to be signed this month KUWAIT: Kuwait Airways prepares to officially sign a deal with Airbus to purchase new aircraft before the end of the month after the two sides reached a memorandum of understanding last month, a local daily reported yesterday. Sources who spoke to Al-Qabas on the condition of anonymity said that the board is set to discuss this week the funding mechanism for the approxi-

mately KD 1 billion deal. A study in this regard is being prepared by the board�s financial and administrative advisor Amani Buresli, and is set to be discussed during the meetings. Meanwhile, the sources noted that KAC is expected to receive a work plan for the next five years from IATA within two weeks.

feasibility of keeping the five-year portfolio which is about to reach the end of that period. The sources added that the bodies consulted included the investment authority, the capital markets authority, KSE and the companies running the portfolio like Kuwait Investment Co. The national por tfolio had been approved by the finance minister’s decision number 24/2008 and that the final decision about keeping it would be in the hands of the cabinet once it had reviewed relevant audit bureau reports made in the period of 2009-2013 which show that the portfolio had not achieved its aims in supporting national economy.

easily detect visitors who are wanted for legal action, said security sources quoted by Al-Rai yesterday. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the sources explained that new fingerprint scanners were installed at the Kuwait International Airport to scan fingerprints of people with visit visas, while existing ones are used to scan fingerprints of people with residency visas.

TEC special entrance offer

KUWAIT: Four Arabs were arrested for smuggling narcotic tablets. Tips were received about two expatriates trading in drugs, and after investigations, they were arrested red-handed while selling 10,000 tablets to an undercover. The duo said they had two partners, and when their flat was raided 7,000 more tablets were found. They, along with the drugs, were sent to concerned authorities. —By Hanan Al-Saadoun

KUWAIT: The Touristic Enterprises Company announced a special offer on entrance tickets to the Entertainment City as each can be used by two persons to enter the facility. The special offer is valid starting from today through Thursday, announced Meshary Al-Asousy, the Vice President for the Entertainment City Affairs. The Entertainment City welcomes visitors between 4pm and 12am on weekdays, and from 10am to 10pm on weekends. Entrance on Mondays is exclusively for female visitors.

Meshary Al-Asousy

GCC exploring new growth horizons MANAMA: The year 2014 may be one in which the course of the GCC’s oil and gas industry is driven by the fickle winds of international events rather than its own steering. The sails are set to withstand possible storms ahead. But there are new destinations to explore too — with three Gulf countries launching pioneering projects. The last three years have been exceptionally good for the GCC oil producers. Prices have remained high and stable, due to disruptions elsewhere — the loss of supplies from Iran due to sanctions, and wars and insecurity in Libya, Syria, Yemen and South Sudan. Despite rising output from Iraq, and a flood of new US supplies from shale, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait were all able to hold production at near-record levels. Oman’s production also continued its rebound, while even Bahrain’s minor output has doubled since 2008. The exception, Qatar, continued to hold production steady from its maturing oilfields, while enjoying continued high liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices with a combination of strong Japanese demand and few new competing projects. Despite rising budgetar y demands, this meant that the four largest producers recorded healthy budget surpluses. This year may be more challenging, though the real headwinds are not likely to start blowing until later in the decade. US crude could gain another one million barrels per day (b/d), according to its Energy I nformation Administration, while Chinese demand growth moderates. The call on Opec during the year might decline by about one million b/d. Iraq, with important work on its Gulf export facilities complete, could gain between 0.3 to 0.5 million b/d. Sanctioned Iranian production might start to return to the market from the middle of the year, if a deal over its nuclear programme is struck. Libyan production, currently almost completely shut-in by protests, is a wild-card. So the Opec swing producers - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE - might by year-end have, collectively, to shoulder cuts of some two mil-

lion b/d, or accept lower prices. Already US benchmarks have at times traded at heavy discounts to Brent crude, presenting Saudi Arabia, a major supplier and refiner on the US Gulf Coast, with a dilemma. Af ter three years of minimal new LNG capacity, new plants in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia should enter service, and this is just a prelude to a wave of massive projects from Australia, the US and perhaps East Africa in the rest of the decade. None of these expansions are anywhere in the Gulf, so Qatar will start to face more worldwide competition, that may erode its pricing power in Asia. Given its low costs, its LNG exports will remain very profitable, but not quite as lucrative as over the past five years. In Qatar, the first train of the Barzan gas project with ExxonMobil should come online this year, with the second following the year after, totalling two billion cubic feet of gas per day. Most of this will be directed to the domestic power and industrial sector. This marks the final major development of the supergiant North Field, until and unless the moratorium on new projects is lifted. From this point on, the heady expansion of the early 2000s may ebb - Qatar will have to rely for growth on downstream gas industries and non-oil investments. Gas is also a key theme elsewhere in all other GCC states. After several years of gas shortages, there are some moves to raise prices, notably in Oman. But most of the effort has concentrated on boosting supply, from new domestic developments and imports. Abu Dhabi’s $10 billion Shah sour gas projec t, in par tnership with US energy firm Occidental, is expected to begin producing at the end of the year, or perhaps more likely in 2015. This will help in easing a gas crunch expected until the emirate’s nuclear reactors begin to come online from 2017 onwards. The UAE also hopes for more gas via an expansion of the Dolphin pipeline from Qatar, as its LNG import project in the emirate of Fujairah will probably not be ready before 2017.

Saudi Aramco has stepped up its gas efforts in recent years, to meet soaring domestic demand for power and petrochemicals, and to try to keep the burning of crude oil for electricity in check . The first of the GCC ’s three ground-breaking projects of the year is moving ahead, with plans for shale gas production in the north-eastern region around Tabuk. Oman has the GCC’s second major innovative project of 2014, the Khazzan gas development, approved by BP last month. Some $16 billion will be spent to drill 300 wells into deep, tight reservoirs, with production starting in 2017 and reaching one billion cubic feet per day essential for meeting domestic demand while sustaining the Sultanate’s LNG exports. By contrast, Kuwait’s domestic gas projects the deep, sour Jurassic gas in north Kuwait, and the shared Dorra field with Saudi Arabia appear shelved due to political infighting. Consequently the LNG import terminal is likely to be expanded: a cleaner and cheaper solution than the country’s heavy burning of fuel oil, but still expensive. Though much smaller, Oman and Bahrain continue to make steady progress on boosting oil output. Oman is by far the most innovative of the GCC producers, using steam injection at the Occidental-operated Mukhaizna heavy oilfield, plus a variety of other enhanced recovery methods and continuing exploration. Saudi Arabia continues to manage its production around 9.6 to 10 million b/d, with adjustments to meet disruptions elsewhere and its own seasonal domestic demand. With no major new fields planned after the completion of Manifa, the main story will be a ‘rebalancing’ towards lighter oil output by expanding the Khurais and Shaybah fields, adding 550,000 b/d by 2016-17. And, despite continuing near-record production, little further progress appears likely in Kuwait towards the country’s four million b/d target, with dates for heavy oil output repeatedly pushed back, and Kuwait deciding not to pay its share of expanding the joint Khafji field with Saudi Arabia.—Trade Arabia

KUWAIT: Torrential rains continued for a second day yesterday in Kuwait leaving some low-lying areas under water. Weather experts said that the cold weather will continue until mid-February. —Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat and Joseph Shagra


LOCAL kuwait digest

kuwait digest

Arab societies and democracy

Govt’s lack of general vision

By Dr Hassan Abbas By Abdullatif Al-Duaij



The problem is not in how fast decisions are made. It is not even in the ministers themselves. The real problem is in the government’s lack of a general vision, and government’s failure to find a true project to deal with the challenges and problems that the country faces. The health minister made a similar decision as well when he wiped out the efforts of a hardworking doctor simply because she stuck to the rules. He went on to destroy her spirit and deprive the medical sector of her services by a decision to transfer her from the largest hospital in Kuwait to the smallest one. Do you believe that he needs more encouragement to take rash decisions with such confidence and speed? This is not to mention that the ministry could have simply waited until the doctor could be transferred during regular transfer periods - at which point the case would not have generated much if any attention. The problem is not in how fast decisions are made. It is not even in the ministers themselves. The real problem is in the government’s lack of a general vision, and government’s failure to find a true project to deal with the challenges and problems that the country faces. Hundreds of ministers of different backgrounds have been appointed since Kuwait’s independence, yet their performance and decision-making criteria were characterized by the same confusing approach that distinguishes all cabinets formed in Kuwait. Therefore, the problem is in the approach and general policy. So an advice to the prime minister - change the approach and stick to the system of ruling; after that even undersecretaries will have the courage to take decisions. — Al-Qabas


ccording to latest newspaper reports, it appears that HH the Prime Minister is ‘active’ in looking for ministers who have decision-making abilities. This of course indicates that the premier is trying to avoid a problem that came as a result of ministers’ inability to take decisions or being reluctant when it comes to critical issues and those that require prompt solutions. But does the real problem lie in this issue? The answer, in my opinion, is no. For example, the communications minister took an immediate and personal decision to suspend the chairman of Kuwait Airways; which is an institution that is older than the entire Cabinet itself. Furthermore, the suspended official is a former minister in his own right, an advisor to HH the Amir and a staunch supporter of the government and its policies in recent years. Does the communications minister need more encouragement on taking personal decisions?

In my view

Mideast peace agreement By Hassan Barari


pparently, it is hard to keep the lid on the mutual mistrust between Jordan and the Palestinian leaders. Despite their public statements to the contrary, Jordanian leaders fear that the Palestinian Authority (PA) may cut a deal with Israel at Jordan’s expense. In fact, it is no longer a secret that the late King Hussein was furious when the Palestinians took him off guard and signed the Oslo agreement in September 1993. The Palestinians kept Jordan in the dark concerning their wheeling and dealing with the Israelis. And Israelis are aware of this situation and have effectively exploited it on many occasions to extract concessions from the Palestinians or to force them to come to terms with Israel’s objectives. Having experienced the bitterness of the Palestinians’ habit to succumb to the Israeli schemes and pressure, Jordanians are wary that President Mahmoud Abbas may opt for a deal with the Israelis that could jeopardize Jordan’s interests in the final status talks. Few, if any, in Jordan views favorably the Palestinian negotiators. The common feeling among Jordanian ruling elite is that President Abbas takes Jordan for granted. Abbas, according to this line of thinking, is more interested in an agreement with Israel that could lead to an independent Palestinian state. For various reasons, Jordanians feel that Abbas will give up on the refugees’ right. He thinks that Jordan cannot defy such an agreement and risk its relationship with the United States. In a rare public lecture, former Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit said last week that Jordan should not trust the Palestinian negotiators. He suspected that the PA would act out of desperation and scapegoat Jordan’s interest in the final status talks. While Bakhit is not holding an executive post, many believe that his message was coordinated with the regime. Bakhit’s lecture made headlines in Jordan local newspapers. Soon many members of the Parliament reiterated the message delivered by Bakhit in his public lecture. While historically there has been no love lost between Jordan and the Palestinian national movement, the two sides are no longer mortal adversaries.

Once Jordan gave up its claim on the Palestinian land and accepted the right of the PLO to represent the Palestinians, the level of tension has been kept on the backburner. When Jordan started to publicly advocate the two-state solution, Palestinian leaders began to feel relieved. King Abdallah of Jordan has brought up the two-state solution in much of his dealing with the West. And yet, Abbas defines a good agreement differently. Caught in domestic rivalry with Hamas, Abbas fears that his standing could take a nosedive if he fails to bring the Israelis agree to a two-state solution. Also, his organization is desperate for an “achievement” in the peace talks to be in a better position to compete with Hamas in the future. Many Jordanians politicians and intellectuals understand and indeed fear the grave consequences of this logic. As a quid pro quo for establishing an independent state, the Palestinians may write off the right of return. Over the last decade, Israelis leaders have made the Palestinian recognition of the “Jewishness” of Israeli state the key to their negotiation with the Palestinians. Arabs, on the whole, think that such recognition would mean the abolishing of the right of return of the Palestinian refugees. Implicit in US Secretary of States John Kerry’s mediation is his acceptance of the Israeli characterization of the Jewishness of Israel. In his last week’s visit to the region, he tried to put pressure on the Palestinian side to accept Israel’s military presence in the Jordan Valley. All in all, one can make the case that John Kerry - like his predecessors - tries to force the Palestinians to conform to Israel’s vision of the final resolution of the conflict. Hence, the American biased position may compel Abbas to come to terms with Israel’s terms for peace. The problem with the Jordanian anger and suspicion is that Jordan has never articulated any alternative plan. Meaning, while Jordanians are almost certain that the outcome of any peace deal between the Palestinians and Israel would be at their expense, it is not possible to point out to what Jordan will do to get different results.

ver two years after the beginning of the Arab Spring, it is safe to say that the experience remains a failure. All countries hit by the Arab Spring have failed to achieve positive results, while other countries made efforts to ‘fortify’ themselves and make sure the wave stays away from their borders. What is the reason behind the failure of the democratic experience which Arab nations have long been yearning for? There are two shortcomings in the Arab World in accordance with the democratic ideology’s perspective. The first pertains with the Arab culture which suffers under a centralization mentality in everything. Centralization in decision making and management, which stems from the fact that Arabs subconsciously depend on social stratification due to the tribal system. This creates a huge gap between the democratic and tribal ideologies. As long as decision making lies completely in the hands of those who have priority according to the social system, then the democratic experience is doomed to fail. The father is the decision maker within the family, the chief is the decision maker within the tribe, and so on. This stratification-based system determines individuals’ fates, in total contradiction with the concept of individuality which is the main concept based on which the democratic ideology is formed.

If we want democracy and especially ‘full democracy’, then we should start building a free generation that depends from childhood on self-development and avoids centralization, in order to provide an environment where the democratic ideology would be applicable. The second shortcoming pertains with religious belief. Islam as a religious belief links the human being and the Heavens, providing yet another obstacle in front of Arab societies’ transformation into democratic systems. The democratic ideology indicates that a human being is not required to force his beliefs and opinions on others, which fundamentally contradicts with a main concept in religion which is ‘the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice’. As long as Muslims believe that following a unified approach is a religious requirement, democracy will be meaningless in their societies. I am not trying through this discussion to imply that we should do away with the social stratification concept or replace it with a more democratic approach, nor am I saying that one concept is better than the other. The point I am trying to make is this we must follow one systematic ideology that is free from double standards and duality. If we want to stick to the traditional Arabic culture (including religion), then we should forget about democracy and instead search for a system from within our conservative culture that achieves balance between the society and individual rules. But if we want democracy and especially ‘full democracy’, then we should start building a free generation that depends from childhood on self-development and avoids centralization, in order to provide an environment where the democratic ideology would be applicable. You cannot, however, stay committed to your traditions while at the same time demand a democratic system of ruling. That would be as futile as attempting to plant a palm tree on the South Pole! — Al-Rai

In my view

Can the Arab revolutions survive Syria? By Hamid Dabashi

By Hamid Dabashi


s we mark the commencement of Year 4 of the Arab revolutions, a quick glance around the Arab world may leave much to be desired from the initial promise of the crescendo of events that warranted the term “Arab Spring”. Mohamed Bouazizi’s selfimmolation on Dec 17, 2010, his death on Jan 4, 2011, and the subsequent uprising in Tunisia that resulted in the fall of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on Jan 14, 2011, triggered a series of uprisings all the way from Oman and Yemen, to Egypt, Syria, and Morocco. Now more than three tumultuous and groundbreaking years later, things seem to be different - the Arab Spring seems to have come to a premature Arab Winter. In Egypt, the democratically elected president was toppled by a military coup, and what is even more unsettling is the fact that leading Egyptian intellectuals seem to be cheering along the sidelines. In Tunisia, mass demonstrations demanding the resignation of the Islamist-led government continue. In Libya, private and public sectors have staged a general strike demanding the government confront the armed militias. In Yemen, the shady shape of “Al-Qaeda” seems to have staged a comeback. In Bahrain, all signs of resistance to the ruling regime seem to have been uprooted, to the point that even an art exhibition depicting the Bahrain uprising is not tolerated. Any sign of protest in Saudi Arabia is brutally suppressed, Moroccan constitutional reform now seems bogus, Iraq still reels under sectarian violence, and Kuwait and Jordan are dormant. All these events, however, pale in comparison with the continued carnage in Syria. The numbers are staggering. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, from an estimated population of 22.4 million, more than 100,000 people have been killed; 9.3 million people are in dire need of help inside Syria, while some 6.3 million people have

been internally displaced. Syria as a country, for all intents and purposes, has disintegrated, while Bashar Al-Assad stands morbidly still and entirely unfazed. External forces A quick look at the composition of the external forces now turning Syria into a proxy war clearly shows that all of them have one single and common purpose: To put an end to the momentum of the Arab revolutions. They have successfully changed the discourse away from the democratic will of the Syrian people and degraded it into one of civil war. That narrative transmutation of “revolution” into “civil war” is by far the most dangerous threat facing the Arab revolutions today. Revolutions are destabilising. The United States, as an imperial project with vast material and strategic interests in the Arab world is not happy with these revolutions that destabilise the region, endanger its allies, and potentially embolden its adversaries. Israel has even more at stake to thwart this revolutionary tide. For the entire duration of its colonial project, Israel has relied on corrupt Arab potentates like the ones the Arab revolutionaries are overthrowing. The apartheid state prefers a tyrant like Assad over messy unfolding democratic movements like the ones in Egypt and Tunisia. Saudi Arabia is a staunch ally of the US and Israel in this opposition to the uprisings. As a retrograde monarchy with no democratic institutions ever allowed disrupting its tribal rule, it is naturally opposed to any mass revolution that ipso facto exposes its political obscurantism. Iran is a strange bedfellow with Saudi Arabia in this endeavour. Having swallowed a vastly cosmopolitan political culture, and eliminating all its ideological rivals in the aftermath of the Iranian revolution of 1977-1979, the custodians of the Islamic Republic are not happy with a tsunami of revolutions that returns to the global stage what they are doing

their best to repress. Initially they branded these revolutions as “Islamic Awakening”, and when Egyptians revolted against the Muslim Brotherhood, they learned their lesson and let a moderate like Hassan Rouhani become president and began negotiating a better deal for their future with “the Great Satan”. Tunisia third anniversary Though these players may appear at odds with each other, in fact, they are united in doing all they can to divert these revolutions. The combined interests of all these forces have successfully turned a popular democratic uprising in Syria into a civil war in which there are obviously two sides that are to be separated and adjudicated. As Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah help Assad; the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states are aiding and abetting an entire army of mercenary fighters who sport and brandish one Islamist brand or another. They are all categorically mercenaries and no amount of branding them Islamist should detract from that fact. The fabrication of a Sunni-Shiite fight is an entirely bogus claim. This is a fight between Saudi Arabia and Iran - one supported by Russia and the other by the US/Israel - a fake fight to divert attention from the real issue - the Arab revolutions. From the very beginning there were two kinds of reactions to the Arab revolutions: The distrustful naysayers who thought the whole thing was a passing fever, or else manipulated and “kidnapped” by the US; and those who were deeply invested in these revolutions, never blinded to the tumultuous road ahead, and yet unflinchingly hopeful. We did not inherit the postcolonial world of 2011 overnight. It took the combined calamity of domestic tyrannies and European imperialism of some 200 years or more to bring us to where we were when Bouazizi set himself on fire. It will not take another 200 years to

set things right; nor will the counterrevolutionary forces from Washington DC, Tel Aviv, Riyadh, or Tehran just pack up their interests and disappear into thin air overnight. Resistance to these regional and global counterrevolutionary forces must be local - domestic to the Syrian people themselves - and their peaceful desire for a transition to democracy. This, therefore, is the time for the formation of voluntary associations, labour unions, women’s rights organisations and student assemblies. In Syria, as elsewhere, the brutes that are gathered around Assad or the mercenary thugs among those who are fighting him are categorically incapable of governing a civilised society. Syrians, as the rest of Arabs and Muslims, must be busy translating the civilised will of their democratic uprising into institutions of resistance to tyranny - right now, as those who know nothing but the language of violence are busy discrediting and destroying each other. The Syrian debacle has put a damper on the Arab revolutions and beyond. Every country from Afghanistan to Iran to Morocco now points to Syria as a justification that all these revolutions were in vain, that the ruling regimes and all their atrocities are better than this carnage. This is a bogus binary. The choice has never been between the carnage we witness in Syria and the corrupt elite and the deep states that rule from Morocco to Turkey, from Afghanistan through Iran to Saudi Arabia. The choice is between the will of the people and their revolutionary uprisings and the conspiracy of counterrevolutionary forces to put an end to these aspirations. In between these two forces what has irreversibly changed is the calculus of the democratic will of the people at large, 422 million Arabs and 1.3 billion Muslims. That calculus of liberation is the major momentum of our contemporary history - and it will not be reversed.



KUWAIT: Kuwait’s former Ambassador in Madrid Adel Al-Ayyar being decorated with the Order of Civil Merit during a ceremony held at the Spanish Embassy on Sunday. — Photos by Joseph Shagra

Arabs plan to coordinate proposals for Geneva II Pledges would be high: Al-Jarallah

Spain decorates Al-Ayyar with ‘Order of Civil Merit’ KUWAIT: The Spanish government decorated State of Kuwait’s former Ambassador in Madrid Adel Al-Ayyar with the Order of Civil Merit, the highest order granted by Spanish King Juan Carlos. Al-Ayyar was decorated with the Order of Civil Merit during a ceremony held by the Spanish Embassy on Sunday, attended by Parliament Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim. Speaking to reporters on sidelines of the ceremony, AlGhanim said granting Al-Ayyar the Order of Civil Merit was in recognition of his role in further promoting bilateral relations. “This is a moment of pride for all of us as Kuwaitis, and reflected the dedication of our diplomats abroad,” he said. Al-Ayyar expressed content for being honored with the Order. He dedicated the Order of Civil Merit to all those who worked with him during his tenure, which began in September 2006 and ended last September. The Spanish government announced last October that it has granted Ambassador Al-Ayyar the Order of Civil Merit in appreciation of his role to deepening strategic and historic relations between the two countries. The Order of Civil Merit, established by King Alfonso XIII of Spain in 1926, recognizes extraordinary service by Spanish and foreign citizens for the benefit of Spain.— KUNA

Technological Quran competition launched KUWAIT: The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs has launched a technological Quran competition as part of the Kuwait International Quran Prize, held annually under the sponsorship of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. The new contest comes at the behest of His Highness the Amir to carry out fresh technological projects aiming to serve the holy book, the deputy chairman of the organizing committee, Khaled Bughaith, told a news conference Sunday. Competing projects should be mainly related to the Holy Quran and its sciences and the product ought to be pertinent to the main topic of the contest, he said. Individuals and institutions can partake in the technological Quran competition, Bughaith pointed out. The annual Kuwait International Quran Prize is primarily meant to promote the status of Kuwait as a pioneering state in serving the Holy Quran and caring for Quran memorizers. It also aims to cater for those individuals or institutions at home and abroad that are in charge of teaching the Holy Quran. — KUNA

Minimum rate set for companies’ capitals KUWAIT: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is expected to release a decision soon that sets the minimum rates for capitals of Kuwaiti companies which varies depending on a firm’s classification, a local daily reported yesterday quoting sources with knowledge of the news. The decision gives a unified rate for companies’ minimum capitals and also allows new companies to reduce their capitals’ minimum, reported al Rai. Under the proposed decision, the minimum capital for shareholding companies will be set at KD25,000, whereas the minimum for closed companies will be set at KD10,000. Meanwhile, the minimum capital for partnership companies and those with limited responsibilities will be set at KD1,000, whereas the minimum for holding companies is likely to be kept open depending on the company’s proposed business or industry. “The decision comes in line with the World Bank’s recommendations to improve Kuwait’s business environment and facilitate money transfer procedures,” reported the newspaper quoting unnamed sources. The new procedures help small project owners to develop their ideas through companies capable of meeting the minimum capital rate.

KUWAIT: Foreign Undersecretary Khaled Al-Jarallah said Arab countries would hold a coordination meeting before the Geneva II conference, to discuss ideas and proposals that might be submitted to the Jan 22 meeting. Representatives of the Arab countries that will be invited for the Geneva II meeting would coordinate their proposals and ideas to the conference, Al-Jarallah told reporters on sidelines of a ceremony held by the Spanish embassy to decorate Kuwait’s former Ambassador in Madrid Adel Al-Ayyar the Order of Civil Merit. “The State of Kuwait will receive an invitation to attend the Geneva II conference over the Syrian conflict,” he said. He hoped the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces would attend the meeting “because the conference will be senseless without the participation of the coalition.” Asked about the second donors conference for

Syria, due in Kuwait on Jan 15, Al-Jarallah hoped pledges would be high “so we can reach the $6.4 billion target set by the UN.” He said the Syrian people suffered greatly. “Everybody in the conference realizes that they (Syrians) are in dire need of assistance and support ... through generous contributions from participants.” Kuwait hosted the first donors conference last January and pledged USD 300 million out of a total of $1.5 billion pledged by the donors. Meanwhile, Al-Jarallah regretted the control of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) of some areas in Iraq’s Anbar province. He voiced concern over the security unrest in Iraq, hoping the Iraqi parties succeed in defeating terrorism. Asked about Egypt, Al-Jarallah reiterated Kuwait’s support to the Arab country, its leadership and the roadmap. “We will be committed to any other support if needed. We are also

worried about the situation in Egypt ... and hopes stability prevails ... and the Egyptian government implement the roadmap, “ he added. On US Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement in which he said Iran could be present on sidelines of the Geneva II, AlJarallah said “I think Iran has a very important role in the Syrian issue but it is not for us to determine Iran’s attendance or not.” Al-Jarallah, on the other hand, called on Kuwaiti citizens anew to leave Lebanon immediately due to the security uncertainty in the Arab country. Al-Jarallah was asked about Kerry’s upcoming meeting with the Arab peace process follow-up committee, and said Kuwait believed in the importance of the peace process. “We have no other alternative but this process and we want the implementation of the roadmap on the basis of the two states and land-for-peace principles.” — KUNA



Duo uses stolen credit cards to make KD 16,200 purchases Mugging suspects in police custody KUWAIT: Farwaniya detectives arrested two people who made purchases valued at thousands of dinars using stolen credit cards. The arrest took place following investigations after police received information about two Malaysian nationals staying in a five-star hotel in Kuwait City who made large purchases of expensive brands. Police found credit cards that belonged to European nationals in the suspects’ possession. Investigations revealed that they used the cards to purchase items worth KD 16,200 in total, including smar tphones and watches which they kept inside their hotel rooms. They were taken to the authorities for further investigations.

the scene, while they helped the other driver, identified as a Kuwaiti national, to the hospital. Investigations went underway to determine the circumstances which led to the accident. In a separate incident, a male driver died after he was run over on the Seventh Ring Road. Preliminary investigations indicate that the 24-year-old Kuwaiti was changing his car’s tyre at the side of the road when he was hit by a speeding vehicle. Criminal investigators were summoned after paramedics pronounced the man dead, and they transferred the body to the forensic department after examining the scene. Police apprehended the driver and took him to the nearest police station for questioning.

Suicide attempt Police reported to a house in Mangaf Saturday night in response to an emergency call in which a Kuwaiti woman said that her son was about to commit suicide. Police placed the young man, who was holding a knife against his neck, under control before he was taken by paramedics to Adan Hospital. His condition was described as stable after he received treatment for wounds on his neck and hand. The man had been through psychological problems that made him short-tempered in the past few weeks that preceded the incident, according to his mother.

Jleeb mugging Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh detectives nabbed a three-man gang that targeted pedestrians while impersonating police. The arrests took place following investigations in multiple cases reported by victims of Asian nationalities; who gave identical descriptions of a car they said the suspects had used. Detectives identified the car and summoned its owner for questioning. The Kuwaiti man admitted that he committed seven muggings with the help of two accomplices. The two, a stateless man and a Gulf national, were detained and referred with the first suspect to the authorities to face charges.

Zain employees donate winter clothes to the needy KUWAIT: Delivering on its commitment to continually support the community in the spirit of giving, Zain, the leading telecommunications company in Kuwait, announced that its employees volunteered to donate winter coats and clothes to those who are in great need to stay warm during the cold winter season. In close cooperation with Zain employees, was the social media influencer Shuaib Rashid who encouraged his social media audience and the wider public to join Zain’s initiative and help those in desperate need. As part of the company’s corporate social responsibility strategy, Zain was keen to build

up on its successful initiatives and deliver on its commitment during the cold winter days. The initiative aimed at encouraging the public, as well as the company’s own employees to volunteer and donate their unused winter coats and clothes to those who cannot afford to buy. Zain’s core values are built to give to the less for tunate, and by encouraging its employees, it is making sure that they will be encouraging more friends and relatives to do the same. Zain recently participated in various activities and charitable initiatives that promote a culture of giving and highlights how people can exert little effort while mak-

ing a huge difference in others lives. The company’s previous initiatives included a charitable campaign which aimed at collecting used, cleaned, and re-packaged clothes for distribution to 100 needy families in Kuwait. Other initiatives included the ‘Iftar Saem’ Banquets, annual hospital and care center visits, distribution of 2000 ‘Machla Boxes’ to all areas on Kuwait for the underprivileged families in the occasion of the Holy Month of Ramadan. The company also donated a bus for Zain Hospital’s medical staff to be transported to-and-from the hospital located in Shuwaikh medical area.

Wafra camp fire A man died in a fire on Sunday at a camp in Wafra. Firefighters accompanied by paramedics and police had rushed to the scene after the fire was reported, and discovered that one victim had burned to death. The person is believed to be the camp’s Asian keeper since he was the only person there at the time of the fire according to investigations. Police could not confirm his identity because all his identifications and belongings were gutted in the blaze. The body was taken for an autopsy and a case was filed for investigations.

Amghara accident A man was killed and another was injured in a two-car collision on Sunday in Amghara. Paramedics headed to the scene located at the Fourth Ring Road with police shortly after the accident was reported. They pronounced one driver, identified as a stateless resident, dead at

Contraband seller Mubarak Al-Kabeer police arrested a man who faces charges for selling contraband that includes banned sexual material. The Egyptian man was nabbed in an ambush set up based on investigations on information regarding his illegal activity. Police found aphrodisiacs and other banned objects in the man’s custody as he was taken in for investigations.

Blacklisted man Kuwait International Airport officers refused to grant entrance to a man after discovering that he was blacklisted after being deported 15 years ago. The man, an Australian citizen of Arab decent, had arrived from a Gulf state when a fingerprint identity scan revealed that his name was blacklisted over a drug possession charge. The man was sent back in the same plane that brought him to Kuwait, according to the police report.

IICO to host meeting on relief efforts in Syria KUWAIT: The International Islamic Charity Organization (IICO), acting upon instructions of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah AlAhmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, will host an international meeting to discuss humanitarian needs of conflict-traumatized Syrians. In a press statement, Chairman of the Kuwait-based IICO Abdullah Al-Maatouq said the meeting will be attended by 88 charities and non-government organizations. He added the meeting will tackle the joint programs and projects which will be presented to leaders who will participate in the second international Syria donors conference, to be

held in Kuwait on Jan 15. Al-Maatouq, also a UN humanitarian envoy and an advisor at the Amiri Diwan, pointed out that Kuwaiti charities and NGOs will mull a joint project to help desperate Syrians in 2014. He noted that Syrian people and international relief organizations are pinning high hopes on the second international Syria donors conference. He unveiled that the international humanitarian organizations seek to raise $6 billion during the conference, to be attended by representatives of more than 60 countries. He recalled His Highness the Amir of

Kuwait’s initiative to host the first international conference of Syria donors in January 2013, which raised $1.5 billion in aid pledges including $300 million from Kuwait. The United Nations announced in October that more than 100,000 Syrians have been killed in the Syrian conflict and over two millions have fled their country, and another 4.2 million are internally displaced. Recent reports also estimated that the number of Syrians, who fled their countries to escape the 31-months conflict, at over two million, of which nearly 52 percent are under the age of 17. — KUNA

INJAZ Job Shadow program sponsored by DDI KUWAIT: INJAZ-Kuwait announced the successful conclusion of the Dasman Diabetes Institute (DDI) sponsorship of the INJAZ Job Shadow program for the second consecutive year, which was hosted at the DDI premises over three days, during the month of December 2013. The program witnessed more than 60 students who attended from the Om Al-Hakem School, Lubna Bint Al-Hareth School and Tulaitola School, for Girls. During the program, students toured the various facilities of the Institute including the Fitness and Rehabilitation Center, the Human Resources division, the Imaging Center and the Clinical Skills Unit, where they were familiarized with the procedures to undertake during emergency situations with the help and support of 6 DDI employee volunteers. Rana Al-Nibari, CEO of INJAZ-Kuwait said: “‘Job Shadow’ is one of the fundamental programs offered through INJAZ, and aims at providing students with a realistic view of the working environment, the importance of the various departments across different companies, and most importantly gain awareness of the requirements needed to earn such positions. The program also allows students to identify and recognize career opportunities and potential job positions. I would like to thank the Dasman Diabetes Institute for their continuous support and for believing in the impact of the INJAZ programs, and the importance of equipping youth with a real understanding of what awaits them in the work environment.” The students were presented with a clear understanding of the Institute and its operations. The DDI employees managed to engage and involve the students in the various responsibilities and tasks of various departments. Dr Bahareh Azizi, Director of Business Development and Communications at the Dasman Diabetes Institute, said: “We are glad to work with INJAZ and allow high school students the opportunity to experience the various aspects of the medical, scientific, and healthcare profession. We hope this cultivates their interest in the scientific and medical field, and inspires them to pursue their careers in these areas”. The Dasman Diabetes Institute is the leader in establishing change in Kuwait in the fight against Diabetes. The Institution,

KUWAIT: Some participants of the INJAZ-Kuwait Job Shadow program at the Dasman Diabetes Institute. established in2006, was developed as a central focal point for fighting the epidemic, integrating a more holistic approach towards the disease. The idea was to build a center in which research, educational initiatives, and clinical services are encompassed under one roof. From an outside perspective, the staff at Dasman range from scientists performing research on various aspects of the disease, clinicians treating patients, educators and nutritionists providing patients and healthcare professions with educational and training courses, to fitness experts working with patients towards lifestyle changes. Furthermore, the research endeavors present here at Dasman have provided and developed international research and educational collaborations with countries, like the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada. These collaborations have resulted in the exchange of technical expertise, as well as the ability to connect with key networks involved in working towards methods of

prevention and therapy for diabetes. All of these aspects of Dasman add to the unique, competent atmosphere prepared to address the challenges of diabetes on several fronts, understanding that tackling of chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, requires the knowledge and skills of multiple areas of discipline. The Institute is extremely keen on educating the future on diabetes, especially the prevention of the onset of Type 2 diabetes. A number of prevention programs have been established where children from various schools visit the Institute and learn all about the disease and what can be done in order to put a stop to it. INJAZ has aided in this process as they referred three different government schools to the Institute in order to participate in a “Job Shadow” workshop in which the students visit the different departments of the Institute and learn more about the working world and DDIπs role in the community.

Appeal to change BOT system KUWAIT: Chairman of Kuwait Real Estate Union Tawfiq AlJarrah called for changing the Build-Operate-Transfer system (BOT) to a partnership law that goes in accordance with international standards. He told the press Sunday that he hopes the change would be applicable and achieve sustainable development, adding that it should also be treated as an international law to be respected and followed. He said that the new B.O.T law should gain the trust of the local and foreign

investors by providing collateral to funding bodies and reimbursing affected businessmen. The significance of amending the B.O.T law lies in making the private sector a major partner in the country’s infrastructure projects; especially the long-awaited housing projects. Enabling the private sector to tackle the housing projects would speed up the process of providing more houses to the public in a timely fashion. —KUNA


Tunisia votes for equality in new charter

Airport camp microcosm of CAR conflict Page 9

Page 8

KAMPALA: Young South Sudanese refugees relax on a makeshift mattress yesterday in the Ugandan town Koboko, pending to be transported to the Arua district settlement camp, about 535 km northwest of the capital Kampala. (Inset) South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (left) meets Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir in the capital Juba yesterday. — AFP/AP

China weighs in in South Sudan Bashir calls for peace on visit to Juba ADDIS ABABA: Peace talks between South Sudan’s government and rebels started in Ethiopia yesterday, as key power China added its weight to efforts to end weeks of fighting in the world’s youngest nation. Sudan said meanwhile that it and South Sudan agreed meanwhile during a visit to Juba by Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir to consider setting up a joint force to protect vital oilfields. Ethiopian government spokesman Getachew Reda, whose government has spent days trying to get the two sides into the same room, told AFP that formal negotiations on a possible ceasefire had finally started in an Addis Ababa luxury hotel - even as fighting continued to rage back in South Sudan. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, speaking at the start of a four-nation Africa visit, said Beijing was also trying to push for peace and was actively engaged in mediation efforts. China has invested heavily in the country’s oil sector and buys most of its crude output. “China is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, so we are paying close attention to the evolving situation in South Sudan,” Wang told reporters. “We have been making mediation efforts, and the Chinese government special representative for African affairs is visiting the region and has had meetings with both sides,” he said, offering to personally “directly engage” with the two sides while in Addis Ababa. A surge in diplomatic effor ts also saw Sudan’s President Bashir jet into South Sudan’s capital Juba for talks with his counterpart Salva Kiir during which he stressed Khartoum’s support for “a peaceful resolution to the conflict”.

Sudan’s foreign minister Ali Ahmed Karti also said the two are “in consultations about the deployment of a mixed force to protect the oilfields in the South.” But fighting has continued to rage, with both sides vowing to step up their offensives across the country - which has been teetering on the brink of all-out civil war less than three years after gaining independence from Khartoum. Heavy fighting has been reported in oil-producing Unity and Upper Nile states in the north, and in particular near rebel-held Bor, capital of Jonglei State just north of the capital. Army spokesman Philip Aguer said it was only a “matter of time” before Bor was recaptured. The conflict in South Sudan erupted on Dec 15, pitting army units loyal to Kiir against a loose alliance of ethnic militia forces and mutinous army commanders nominally headed by Riek Machar, a former vice president who was sacked last July. Machar denies allegations that he started the conflict by attempting a coup, and in turn accuses the president of orchestrating a violent purge. Civilians suffering UN officials say they believe thousands of people have already been killed, and both sides are alleged to have committed atrocities. UN peacekeeping bases have also been overwhelmed with tens of thousands civilians seeking shelter, many of them fleeing ethnic violence between Kiir’s Dinka community and Machar’s Nuer tribe. “We’re very concerned about the effects on the civilian population,” the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, also said on the

start of a visit to the country. He said the Geneva-based organisation was “particularly alarmed by violence directed against civilians and against people no longer taking part in the hostilities” - signalling that a reported wave of atrocities was ongoing. British aid group Oxfam also reminded delegates at the Addis Ababa peace talks of their “duty to their citizens to reach a swift and peaceful resolution to the conflict”. “Thousands of families already living in extreme poverty have been pushed from their homes and cut off from what they need to survive,” Oxfam’s Desire Assogbavi said. A top rebel delegate at the talks, however, indicated that finding a quick resolution to the conflict would be difficult. “I am optimistic. Our delegation is going in with an open mind,” rebel delegate Mabior Garang said, but added the rebels were “suspicious of the sincerity of the government”. “They keep shifting the goalposts and are adamant on not releasing detainees, but we should first get to the table and discuss a cessation of hostilities,” he added. A key sticking point has been rebel and international demands that the South Sudanese government release 11 officials close to Machar so they can participate in the talks, which diplomats hope will secure a truce as well as viable ceasefire-monitoring mechanisms. The South Sudanese government, however, has repeated that the rebel suspects would not be freed and should face justice. Secretary of State John Kerry of the United States, which was instrumental in helping South Sudan win independence, has urged rival southern factions not to use the Addis talks for buying time. — AFP

14 killed in China mosque stampede BEIJING: Fourteen people, some of them children, were killed and 10 injured in a stampede that broke out as food was being distributed at a mosque in China’s Ningxia region, state media reported yesterday. The stampede occurred at lunchtime on Sunday while traditional food items were being handed out to people attending an event to commemorate a late religious leader, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing the local government. The injured were hospitalised, with four in critical condition, the brief report said. One photo posted online by Chinese news outlets showed six bodies laid out side-by-side inside a building, with several children in colourful outfits among the dead. “Those poor children,” wrote one poster. Ningxia is one of China’s poorer regions, and

other Internet users lamented its poverty. “Are Chinese people so poor, for all this to happen over a piece of pastry?” asked one poster on Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter. Another added: “The Chinese people’s living conditions are so poor that they will do this for a few free cakes! Murder caused by a pie!” Some Internet users displayed images of red candles online to commemorate those who died. Others wondered what might have triggered such a large stampede. “It must be thoroughly investigated,” said one. Pictures posted online showed a large crowd, most of them men and many wearing white Islamic caps, standing outside the green mosque, apparently after the incident. Clothes and shoes were scattered on the ground, along with what

appeared to be a collapsed section of scaffolding. An inquiry was under way into the cause of the stampede at the mosque in Xiji, around 280 km south of the regional capital Yinchuan. “The investigation is still underway. We have nothing to reveal,” a man at the Xiji county police surnamed Wang told AFP. According to, a regional news portal connected to the local authorities, at a meeting on Monday a Ningxia Communist Party committee “determined that the Xiji stampede was caused by poor organisation and insufficient supervision during a regular religious activity”. The committee said that “religious activities must be strictly managed, placing public safety above all else so as not to allow any life-threatening situations”, added. — AFP



Tunisia votes for gender equality in new charter TUNIS: Tunisia’s national assembly voted yesterday to enshrine gender equality “without discrimination” in its draft constitution, a key step towards safeguarding the most liberal laws in the Arab world on women’s rights. “All male and female citizens have the same rights and duties. They are equal before the law without discrimination,” states article 20 of the text, which was approved by 159 lawmakers out of the 169 who voted. Tunisia has set itself a tight timetable for adopting the long-delayed new charter of January 14, the third anniversary of the overthrow of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in the popular revolt that sparked the Arab Spring. Since the 1950s, when it gained independence from France, Tunisia has had the Arab world’s most progressive laws on women’s rights, although men remain privileged notably in the question of inheritance. Some have accused the outgoing Islamist-led government of

wanting to roll back those rights. Ennahda, the ruling Islamist party, sparked a storm of controversy in 2012 when it tried to introduce the concept of gender “complementarity” rather than equality into the post-uprising constitution. The new formula was agreed during recent negotiations between Ennahda and the secular opposition aimed at thrashing out a series of compromises and ending the political crisis triggered by the assassination of an opposition politician by suspected Islamist militants last year. Rights groups had expressed reservations about the article on gender equality, arguing that it limits the protection of rights to citizens and not foreigners, and does not specify the prohibited grounds of discrimination. They urged the assembly, in a joint statement last week, to “enshrine the principles of equality and non-discrimination before the law and extend it to

anyone subject to the jurisdiction of Tunisian authorities, including both citizens and foreigners”. “Article 20 should specify that discrimination, direct and indirect, is prohibited on the grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status,” said the NGOs, which included Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Article 45, which would guarantee the protection of women’s rights by the state and the “equality of opportunity for men and women,” has yet to be examined. But women’s rights activists in Tunisia welcomed the provisional approval of article 20. “We wanted to add details that would ban discrimination based on sex or skin colour,” Ahlem Belhaj, former president of the Tunisian Association of Women Democrats, told AFP. “But it is very good news that (gender) equality has been adopted. It was

our demand and it’s a victor y,” she added. Rights and freedoms under scrutiny The national assembly looked at the constitution’s “rights and freedoms” chapter yesterday, and earlier approved article 21 stating that “the right to life is sacred” and “nothing can harm it except in certain extreme cases established by the law”. The compromise was criticised for failing to abolish the death penalty, with a proposed amendment to do so rejected, although in practice no execution has been carried out in Tunisia since the 1990s. Different articles on freedom of expression and opinion are also up for scrutiny, which carry weighty significance in a country that only recently emerged from five decades of dictatorship. Examination of the draft constitution has been marked by raucous scenes and interruptions, including for several hours

on Sunday, after a deputy claimed he had received death threats because a colleague accused him of being an “enemy of Islam”. The death threats claim came a day after the assembly adopted articles making Islam the state religion but guaranteeing freedom of conscience. Tunisia’s politicians have committed to adopting the draft charter which must be approved by two-thirds of parliament’s 217 members or put to a referendum -by Jan 14. Under an accord reached by Tunisia’s divided political factions, members of the assembly must also pass an electoral law and set up a commission to oversee elections this year, whereupon Ennahda’s outgoing premier Ali Larayedh has agreed to hand power to a caretaker government of technocrats. The powerful UGTT trade union, which has been mediating in the political crisis, is insisting that Larayedh step down by Thursday at the latest. — AFP

Syrian rebels besiege Qaeda-linked jihadists Regime rubs hands in glee

TEL AVIV: African asylum seekers who entered Israel illegally stage a protest in front of several Western embassies yesterday. — AFP

African asylum seekers in Israel stage more protests TEL AVIV: Thousands of African asylum seekers demonstrated outside Western embassies in Tel Aviv yesterday in a second day of mass protests against Israel’s immigration policies. The migrants, primarily from Eritrea and Sudan, marched from downtown Tel Aviv to the embassies, calling for help in the face of Israel’s refusal to grant them refugee status and its detention without trial of hundreds of asylum seekers. A police spokesman said the march by some 10,000 migrants was coordinated and was peaceful. Under legislation passed on Dec 10, authorities can detain illegal immigrants entering Israel for up to a year without trial. A sprawling detention facility has been opened in the Negev desert to house both them and immigrants already in the country deemed to have disturbed public order. The demonstrators marched past the Israeli office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, chanting “Wake up UN”. The UNHCR has not been responsible for determining the refugee status of asylum seekers in Israel since 2009, when that authority was transferred to the interior ministry. UNHCR official Sharon Harel said Israel did not approved a single request for refugee status last year, although an interior ministry spokeswoman told AFP it had granted 10. Harel said the asylum seekers already in Israel - 14,000 from Eritrea and 36,000 from Sudan - received collective protection on arrival and were not returned to their countries of origin. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the protests, insisting that all illegal immigrants would be deported. “Demonstrations and strikes won’t do any good,” he told members of his Likud party in comments broadcast by army radio. “Just as we’ve succeed-

ed in blocking off illegal infiltrations thanks to the security fence, we’re determined to send back those who made it in before the border was closed,” Netanyahu added. Along with arrests and deportations, Israel has also built a high-tech fence along the border with Egypt’s barren Sinai, the main point of clandestine entry. “These are not refugees... they are illegal immigrants who’ve come looking for work,” Netanyahu said. “Last year we turned back 2,600 of them, six times the number as in 2012. And this year we’re aiming to make even more leave.” But the UNHCR condemned Israel for not affording “those with protection needs” with “access to refugee status determination”, defining them as “infiltrators” without “taking into account the reasons why they had to flee from their country of origin”. The interior ministry rejected the UN criticism, insisting “all the requests for asylum are examined by the population and immigration authority”. “Any foreign national who has requested political asylum in Israel is protected from expulsion until the examination of their request has been completed,” it said. The right-leaning government has made removal of African migrants who slipped into Egypt before the completion of a high-tech border barrier last year a priority. Tens of thousands of African migrants held a mass rally in central Tel Aviv on Sunday to mark the launch of a three-day nationwide strike. Israel says that there are nearly 60,000 illegal immigrants from Africa in the country and that they pose a threat to the state’s Jewish character. Many migrants live in poor southern neighbourhoods of Tel Aviv where race riots erupted in 2012. — AFP

Kerry ends Mideast trip without framework deal JERUSALEM: After four days of intense diplomacy, US Secretary of State John Kerry headed home yesterday, insisting progress had been made despite failing to agree a framework to guide Israeli-Palestinian talks. On his 10th visit to the region as US top diplomat, Kerry spent hours locked in separate meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas. He also made a surprise day trip to key Arab allies, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. With the US remaining tight-lipped about the details, little news has filtered out about Kerry’s proposals to bridge the huge gaps between the two sides as they seek to draw up the contours of two states living side by side. According to a report in Israeli daily Maariv, Kerry pressed Netanyahu to agree to a formula which would enable the return of some Palestinian refugees, who fled or were expelled from Israel when the Jewish state was created in 1948. Netanyahu refused, Maariv said. According to the newspaper, Israeli negotiators also wish to extend talks beyond their agreed April deadline to Jan 2015, in return for freezing some settlement construction in the occupied West Bank. Jordan and Saudi Arabia will be key to any deal. Kerry, who has made a Middle East peace deal a personal quest since taking office in February, is due to meet this week with top members of the Arab League to brief them on his discussions in Israel and the West Bank. This trip was clouded by bitter recriminations

TEL AVIV: US Secretary of State John Kerry waves as he boards his plane at Ben Gurion International Airport yesterday. — AFP from both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, accusing each other of not being serious partners in the search for peace. On Sunday, Netanyahu renewed allegations that Palestinians were “continuing their campaign of inciting hatred”. The Palestinians, meanwhile, reportedly told Kerry they will refuse to recognise Israel as a Jewish state, and remain steadfast in their opposition to stationing any Israeli troops on the border between the West Bank and Jordan to ensure Israel’s security in a new Palestinian state. Kerry left yesterday without having agreed a framework to guide the negotiations in the crunch months ahead, but US officials had already warned there would be no breakthrough on this trip. —AFP

DAMASCUS: Syrian rebels were laying siege yesterday to jihadists in their northern stronghold of Raqa, in an all-out offensive aimed at crushing the Al-Qaeda affiliate they accuse of widespread abuses. Raqa is the latest front in a fight pitting a broad coalition of moderates and Islamists opposed to President Bashar Al-Assad against the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. As the fighting raged, the National Coalition re-elected Ahmad Jarba to lead the opposition bloc, less than three weeks before slated peace talks in Switzerland. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebels attacking ISIL in Raqa also “released 50 Syrian prisoners” held by the Sunni extremists. Raqa is the only provincial capital lost by the regime since the conflict erupted as Assad unleashed a bloody crackdown against protests that began in March 2011. The city later fell into the grip of ISIL, which entered the conflict in late spring 2013 to join the fight against Assad’s regime. Opponents initially welcomed jihadists, but tensions mounted as ISIL was accused of imposing a reign of terror in areas where it operates, especially Raqa. ISIL is said to hold hundreds of prisoners in its now besieged Raqa headquarters and in other bases, including foreign journalists. Turkish photographer Bunyamin Aygun, kidnapped in December, was freed Sunday, and 10 Syrian Kurds kidnapped at ISIL checkpoints escaped, the Observatory said. The Raqa offensive comes after three powerful rebel alliances on Friday launched what activists called a second “revolution”. The rebels have since made speedy advances, expelling ISIL from checkpoints, neighbourhoods, bases and villages in Aleppo, Idlib and Hama provinces. ISIL withdrew yesterday from Tal Abyad near Turkey, the Observatory said. In Darkush, Idlib, an ISIL car bombing at a rebel checkpoint killed an unknown number of fighters yesterday, the Observatory said. In Hreitan, an “unknown group” on Sunday kidnapped Yehya Naanaa, former head of Aleppo’s opposition provincial council, the National Coalition said. A key complaint among rebels including the Islamic Front, the Syrian Revolutionaries Front and Mujahedeen Army - is that ISIL wants hegemony over opposition areas. Activists have reported horrific abuses by the jihadists, including kidnappings, torture, assassinations and public executions.

ALEPPO: People demonstrate outside the offices of the Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), demanding that they stop fighting with the rebels yesterday in this northern Syrian city. — AFP ‘Decapitated child found’ Yesterday, the body of a decapitated child was found near ISIL’s headquarters in Kafranbel, Idlib, the Observatory said. While many Assad opponents have welcomed news of the advance on ISIL, some fear it might distract the rebels from fighting his forces, which continued to bombard opposition-held areas yesterday. In rebel-held Bazaa in Aleppo province, an air raid killed 10 people including three children, the Observatory said. A security official in Damascus told AFP the fighting between the rebels and ISIL was “expected, and will become more violent”. He added that as different rebel factions receive assistance from different sources, “nothing unites them except terrorism”. The regime brands all its opponents “terrorists”. The Observatory said the main group besieging ISIL’s Raqa headquarters is Al-Nusra Front, which like ISIL is affiliated to Al-Qaeda but seen as more moderate. ISIL and Al-Nusra have had tense relations for months, after ISIL announced

it was Al-Qaeda’s representative in Syria. AlNusra, operating in Syria for longer, refused to work under ISIL’s command. On Sunday in Istanbul, where the opposition holds its meetings, the National Coalition re-elected Jarba as its leader. Seen as close to key rebel backer Saudi Arabia, Jarba was first elected in July and will now lead the bloc for another six months. His re-election comes ahead of January 22 peace talks in Switzerland that would bring rebels and regime representatives to the table. The Coalition will discuss today whether to attend the talks, although a key group - the Syrian National Council - has already announced its boycott. A US State Department official said in Brussels, meanwhile, that Syria’s ally Iran could show it wants to play a constructive role in the talks by urging Damascus to stop bombarding civilians and allow aid access. The Syrian conflict is estimated to have killed more than 130,000 people in nearly three years, and forced millions more to flee their homes. — AFP

Maliki urges Fallujah to oust militants RAMADI: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki called yesterday for Fallujah residents to expel “terrorists” to avoid a security forces assault, as a senior tribal leader insisted that Al-Qaeda-linked militants had left. Fallujah has been outside government control for days, while parts of Anbar provincial capital Ramadi, farther west, are also held by militants. It is the first time militants have exercised such open control in major cities since the height of the bloody insurgency that followed the US-led invasion of 2003. Maliki called on “the people of Fallujah and its tribes to expel the terrorists” so “their areas are not subjected to the danger of armed clashes,” state television reported. He also ordered security forces “not to strike residential areas in Fallujah”, it said. A senior official told AFP on Sunday Iraqi forces were preparing “a major attack” on Fallujah. And ground forces commander Staff General Ali Ghaidan Majeed said the city should “wait for what is coming” - a reference to the impending assault. Sheikh Ali Al-Hammad, a senior tribal leader from Fallujah, insisted yesterday that Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces had departed the city, saying it is now held by Sunni tribesmen. “There is no ISIL in the city,” Hammad told AFP by telephone. “They all left. The gunmen inside are from the sons of the tribes, and they are here to defend” Fallujah, he said. But a witness said ISIL fighters were still in the city, but had lowered their characteristic black flags to avoid being targeted, and Iraqi officials had previously said ISIL was in control. In any case, Fallujah remains outside government control, and even if the departure of ISIL militants is confirmed, Baghdad may still seek to retake it. US Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that Washington would provide assistance to Iraqi forces but that it was “their fight”, while Iran’s deputy chief of staff, General Mohammad Hejazi, also offered “equipment and advice” to Baghdad. Fighting in Anbar has reportedly killed more than 200 people in just three days, making it the deadliest violence to hit the province in years.

Echoes of a bloody past Both Ramadi and Fallujah were insurgent strongholds in the years after 2003, and Fallujah was the target of two major assaults in which US forces saw some of their heaviest fighting since the Vietnam War. American forces suffered almost one-third of their Iraq dead in Anbar, according to independent website They eventually wrested back control of Anbar from militants, with the support of Sunni Arab tribesmen who formed the Sahwa (Awakening) militias, which allied with US troops against Al-Qaeda from late 2006. But two years after US forces withdrew from the country, Sunni militants have regained strength, bolstered by the war in neighbouring Syria and widespread Sunni Arab anger with Iraq’s Shiite-led government. Fighting erupted in the Ramadi area on December 30, when security forces cleared a year-old protest camp where Sunni Arabs had been demonstrating

against what they see as the marginalisation and targeting of their minority community by Baghdad. The violence spread to Fallujah, and the subsequent withdrawal of security forces from parts of both cities cleared the way for militants to seize control. Maliki had long sought the closure of the protest camp outside Ramadi, dubbing it a “headquarters for the leadership of Al-Qaeda”. But its removal has caused a sharp decline in the security situation. ISIL, the latest incarnation of the jihadist group’s Iraq affiliate, has made a striking comeback from past defeats, launching numerous attacks in both Iraq and neighbouring Syria last year. Violence in Iraq in 2013 reached a level not seen since 2008, when the country was just emerging from a brutal period of sectarian killings. More than 250 people have been killed in the first five days of this month, exceeding the toll for the whole of January last year. — AFP

NAJAF: Mourners grieve over the flag-draped coffin of Iraqi soldier Layth Ahmed, who was killed during clashes in Ramadi, in this Shiite holy city yesterday. — AP



Airport camp microcosm of CAR conflict BANGUI, Central African Republic: In the mist and pale light of dawn, the makeshift camp near Bangui’s airport was waking up. Between the hulks of ruined civilian planes, thousands of displaced people prepared for another tough day. Some 100,000 people who had fled their homes are crammed into a vast tent city near the bases of foreign soldiers at the airport - a microcosm of the conflict wracking the Central African Republic. A relief worker points out that like in the country as a whole, there is a Christian majority and a fearful Muslim minority at the camp, along with sporadic clashes and signs of a humanitarian crisis. The landlocked country descended into crisis after a coup in March last year by a rebel coalition called the Seleka, who then installed their leader Michel Djotodia as the country’s first Muslim president. Djotodia later ordered them to disband, but has proved unable to control the fighters who went on killing, raping and pillaging, prompting Christians to form vigilante groups in response. Nearly a million people have been displaced since the coup, and more than 1,000 killed in the past month alone. Beside the runway where a huge Antonov cargo aircraft with UN supplies thundered in to land, displaced residents say they mostly fled the capital Bangui because of the violence pitting Muslim former rebels against Christian militias in a deadly cycle

Czech parties ink coalition deal PRAGUE: Three Czech parties yesterday signed a coalition deal that should pave the way for a new cabinet months after a bribery and spy scandal toppled the prime minister. Bohuslav Sobotka, the most likely next prime minister, announced the completion of a coalition deal 72 days after a snap election sparked by the scandal. The deal includes “both the part containing the programme and the supplement distributing government jobs,” Sobotka told reporters, pledging “a change for the better, support for economic growth and employment.” Sobotka’s left-wing Social Democrats (CSSD) won the election but were forced to join forces with the populist ANO party, which sprang out of nowhere to finish a close second in the snap vote. The smaller centrist Christian Democrats complete the coalition, which will command a stable majority of 111 votes in the Czech Republic’s 200-seat parliament. October’s election followed months of political turmoil after the previous centre-right administration fell last June. The prime minister at the time, Petr Necas, was toppled by a bribery and spy scandal involving his then lover and now wife. All eyes are now on President Milos Zeman, an outspoken left-winger who took office last March as the first directly elected president of the EU member of 10.5 million people. Zeman is due to name the prime minister and then approve cabinet ministers at his proposal. But he has repeatedly suggested he might decline to do so in some cases if he deems the candidates’ skills inadequate to their new jobs. He already stunned local politicians by naming a non-partisan cabinet of cronies shortly after the Necas government was toppled. This cabinet is still ruling the country. Josef Mlejnek, a political analyst at Charles University in Prague, called the coalition deal “a formal step” and said he expected “some fight” over the cabinet. “I’d expect the president to try and affect the composition of the cabinet... to push through a cabinet in which he will have an ally,” he told AFP. Sobotka, a 42-year-old lawyer turned politician perceived as short on charisma, insisted that “there’s no reason for the president to put off” his appointment. “I hope Chairman Sobotka will persuade the president with his charm,” added Andrej Babis, the billionaire head of ANO and the second wealthiest Czech, who runs a chemical and farming group. Under the deal, Babis should become the next finance minister. But he may face trouble over allegations he collaborated with the communist-era secret police as current laws bar collaborators from holding ministerial posts.The coalition has pledged to keep the public finance deficit at or under 3.0 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the threshold fixed by the European Union. At Babis’s request, it has also vowed not to hike taxes this year but instead trim spending on public administration. Dependent on car production and exports to the struggling eurozone, the Czech Republic exited a record 18-month recession in the second quarter of 2013. But a full recovery is still remote as the economy - central Europe’s third biggest after Poland and Austria contracted by 0.1 percent in the third quarter of last year compared to the previous three months. The Czech central bank expects an 0.9-percent contraction for 2013 - the same as in 2012 - ahead of 1.5-percent growth this year. — AFP

of revenge attacks. They have brought the overcrowded camp to bustling life, with small shops selling whatever basic produce is available, telephones and other goods, while hairdressers have opened their stalls. “I have been trying to sell stuff for a week,” Ernest says behind his meagre display of goods. “But we are looking for food. We fled a war. There’s no money, nothing to eat.” Many people never leave the makeshift camp for the capital, fearing attacks.One camp resident Vivien, 27, told AFP that she makes return trips to her home in Bangui to retrieve whatever she can, “when there’s no shooting”. The tension in the airport camp runs as high as on the streets of Bangui. An elderly woman, Louise, said that “if we want to share out our food, young men armed with machetes come to take away all that the aid workers give. This is wrong.” Resentful Christians often gather at the roadside to stone and insult convoys of foreign Muslims leaving the CAR for fear of attack, including people from Cameroon and particularly Chad.

BANGUI: A French soldier talks to curious children as he mans a roadblock in the Miskine neighborhood of the capital yesterday. — AP

‘It’s unbearable’ In Bangui itself, Chadian Rahama Bichara, 47, faced with militias and angry crowds, said that his family in 2007 had “come to seek peace, but now we have to leave to find it somewhere else”. His compatriot Ibrahim Tidjani had a similar story.

“I arrived here in 1998. At home, it was too dangerous, we were always threatened and many of my family were killed. Today I have to relive all that and it’s unbearable.” A Muslim who ventures out on Bangui streets has run the risk of meeting up with a lynch mob, but this

Merkel forced to cancel meetings after ski fall Chancellor suffers pelvic fracture BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel was injured in a fall while cross-country skiing in Switzerland forcing her to stay off her feet and cancel meetings, her spokesman said yesterday, just as her new government got down to business. Taking reporters by surprise, Steffen Seibert said that Merkel, 59, had cancelled two meetings with international leaders this week and also cut back her schedule for the next three weeks while she recovers. The chancellor suffered a fractured pelvis which “makes it necessary for her to lie down a lot for three weeks and/or use a walking aid”, Seibert said. “She, therefore during this time, will concentrate on a few appointments at the chancellery and in Berlin and otherwise do her work at home,” he said, stressing that this did not mean she would be out of touch. “It goes without saying that as chancellor, she is at work and both capable of acting as well as communicating fully,” Seibert said. Merkel will lead tomorrow’s cabinet meeting, the first of 2014 for her new “grand coalition” government, he said. But she has had to cancel a planned trip to Warsaw tomorrow as well as a visit to Berlin by Luxembourg’s new prime minister which had been scheduled for Thursday, Seibert said, adding that new dates would be found for the talks. Merkel planned to speak yesterday by phone with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel “to personally once again convey to them by phone the reasons for the cancellation”, he said. However, Merkel would not be returning to Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum in the plush ski resort of Davos later this month, but not due to her accident. The decision to forgo this year’s annual meeting had been taken beforehand, Seibert said. News of the Merkel’s fall comes as her compatriot Formula One legend Michael Schumacher remains in a critical condition in a French hospital after a very serious skiing accident in the French Alps on Dec 29. Merkel expressed shock over that accident and hopes for his recovery. ‘Low speed’ The chancellor was cross-country skiing in the southeastern Swiss region of Engadin, which boasts top ski resorts such as St Moritz, over the Christmas holidays when she had her accident. After she fell, the injury was initially thought to be just painful bruising, but after her return to Berlin, doctors on Friday diagnosed a fracture in the pelvic area, Seibert said. “She is now following the doctors’ advice in order to enable optimal healing,” he said. Seibert did not give details about the incident, saying only that Merkel had fallen while cross-country skiing during her holiday, which ended December 30, and adding that he could not say whether others were involved.

British lawyers in wigs take to the picket line LONDON: Hundreds of British lawyers many dressed in traditional white curled wigs and black gowns - swapped courtrooms for picket lines yesterday to protest planned cuts to legal aid. Cases were disrupted at courts including London’s famous Old Bailey criminal court as barristers in England and Wales staged their first national walkout. Only

past week the Chadian troops in the African force known as MISCA rolled into the city to protect convoys and embassy premises. For fleeing foreigners, the road out of Bangui passes right by the airport, which operates on a day-to-day basis, making it

difficult to predict incoming and outgoing flights. Everything depends on the situation in the capital. A newly arrived French businessman who asked not to be named had a striking memory of his first moments in the CAR. “Our plane landed, at least that happened, but there was quite a lot of shooting close by the airport perimeter. It was impossible to get out and because of the curfew, I slept here.” On the tarmac, the huge Antonov opened its hold, crammed full of heavy metal crates bearing the stamp of the United Nations. The plane has made a big aid delivery, but the supplies are never enough to cope with the scale of the CAR’s humanitarian crisis. A few metres away, the French flag snaps in the heat of the dry season over Camp Boali, which is home to the 1,600 troops of Operation Sangaris, with patrols regularly leaving for Bangui on a mission to disarm militia forces. The airport car park is favoured by the street kids locally known as “Godobes”, who try to sell the military rations they get from French soldiers and the African contingent. The French and African troops share the task of making the sector secure. “We do our best, but it’s out of control. They have weapons, knives, machetes,” a Cameroonian officer says, before rushing away to see to a young Muslim who has just been attacked on his motorcycle. — AFP

one of 18 courts at the Old Bailey managed to hold a sitting during the halfday strike. The British government, which has slashed billions from public spending in the name of deficit reduction, plans to cut lawyers’ fees to reduce the legal aid budget by ¬£220 million ($360 million) by 2019. The government says Britain’s legal-

LONDON: British lawyers protest outside Southwark Crown Court as they demonstrate against British government cuts to legal aid yesterday. — AP

aid system, which costs about ¬£2 billion a year, is among the world’s most expensive. It insists barristers are well paid - with 1,200 receiving ¬£100,000 or more in income from legal aid fees last year - and says their fees will remain “generous”. But the Criminal Bar Association said the average earnings of barristers - lawyers who argue in court - after services tax and expenses was around ¬£36,000 ($59,000). Lawyers say the cuts could see fees fall by as much as 30 percent, which they say will discourage attorneys from taking criminal cases, in which defendants often rely on state funding for legal representation. Protesters said many lawyers don’t fit the “fat cat” image of popular imagination. “I’m sent to cover a number of cases at the magistrates’ court and if, for example, it’s a bail hearing I would expect to get paid 50 pounds, even if it takes a whole day, and that’s before tax ... and travel expenses are taken into account,” said Tony Massiah, a 26-yearold lawyer protesting outside London’s Southwark Crown Court. “A lot of my colleagues I finished bar school with have already left. They’ve gone into teaching or become solicitors as they simply can’t survive.” — AP

However he said it was assumed Merkel was moving at a “low speed”. The injury was kept quiet for over a week until Seibert’s announcement at a regular government news conference. Merkel was sworn in for a third term at the helm of Europe’s top economy on Dec 17 following her conser vatives’ resounding vic tor y in September elections. But she was forced to seek a “grand coalition” with the Social Democrats after her previous junior partners, the Free Democrats, failed to win parliamentary seats. After three months of tough negotiations to form a government, it now faces thorny and pressing issues such as how to handle immigration from poor EU members Romania and Bulgaria, as well as Germany’s ambitious exit from nuclear power. Merkel underwent a knee operation in April 2011 which left her on crutches for several days. — AFP

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel poses for a photograph after the recording of her annual New Year’s speech at the Chancellery on Dec 30, 2013. — AFP



Obama eyes modest momentum on Capitol Hill in 2014 WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama gets back to work this week eager to test whether a modest budget deal passed in the waning days of 2013 can spark bipartisan momentum on Capitol Hill. As he opens his sixth year in office, he also faces legacy-defining decisions on the future of government surveillance programs and the American-led war in Afghanistan. Looming over it all will be the November congressional elections, Obama’s last chance to stock Capitol Hill with more Democratic lawmakers who could help him expand his presidential playing field. For Republicans, those contests are an opportunity to seize control of the Senate, which would render Obama a lame duck for his final two years in the White House. The wild card in 2014, for the White House and congressional Democrats facing reelection, will be the fate of the president’s health care law. The website woes that tainted its launch have largely been resolved and enrollment has picked up. But the White House has been tight-lipped

about who has enrolled, raising uncertainty about whether the insurance exchanges are on track to get the percentage of young and healthy people who are critical to keeping prices down. The health care questions aside, Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said the White House enters the new year buoyed by the “modest amount of legislative momentum” generated by the December budget deal. “We’re hopeful Congress can build on it and make progress on other priorities where common ground exists,” Earnest said. It won’t take long to test that proposition, with debates on unemployment insurance, budget spending and the government’s borrowing limit expected in quick succession in the opening weeks of the year. If all three can be resolved in dramafree fashion - by Washington standards the White House believes it could create a more favorable atmosphere for Obama to pursue second-term priorities such as an immigration overhaul and a higher minimum wage, though both would still face steep odds.

The president returned to Washington on Sunday morning after an overnight flight from his home state of Hawaii. He’d spent two quiet weeks on the island of Oahu golfing and spending time with his family and childhood friends. Obama will step back quickly into the debate over expired unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, has scheduled a vote Monday night on a bill that would reinstate the benefits for three months. Obama will try to make his case the following day, holding a White House event with some of those whose benefits expired at the end of December. “For decades, Republicans and Democrats put partisanship and ideology aside to offer some security for job-seekers, even when the unemployment rate was lower than it is today,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address. “Instead of punishing families who can least afford it, Republicans should make it their New Year’s resolution to do the right thing and restore this vital economic security for their constituents right now.”

Debt ceiling The issue with the greatest potential to upset the tepid truce forged in December’s budget deal is the debt ceiling. As part of the agreement that ended the 16-day partial government shutdown in October, Congress suspended the $16 trillion-plus debt limit. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew says bookkeeping maneuvers he can use to keep under that ceiling will last only until late February or early March. Obama once again has pledged that he won’t negotiate on the matter. House Republicans will plot their strategy at a caucus retreat later this month. Aside from fiscal matters, the president also must make decisions on what changes he wants in the government’s vast surveillance powers. He’s expected to announce those changes before his Jan. 28 State of the Union address, though an exact date has not been set. A presidential commission presented Obama with more than 40 recommendations and the president signaled at a yearend news conference that he was open to many of the proposals. But he’s facing

pushback from his intelligence advisers, who argue that the widespread collection of telephone and Internet records is crucial to national security. The president also must make a decision on the future of the American force presence in Afghanistan. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is yet to sign a bilateral security agreement with the US that the Obama administration says is crucial if American troops are to stay in the country after the war formally concludes at the end of 2014. The White House had hoped to have the agreement signed before Jan. 1, but indicated there was some flexibility on that timing. Officials say that without an agreement soon, the U.S. will be forced to start making plans to bring all of its troops home. “We are talking about weeks, not months, left on the clock,” said Caitlin Hayden, Obama’s National Security Council spokeswoman. Aides say January’s packed agenda will keep the president in Washington for much of the lead up to his State of the Union address, though some brief domestic travel may occur. —AP

Spanish minister in Panama to end $1.6-bn canal crisis PANAMA CITY: A Spanish cabinet minister is to meet Panama’s president to help break a $1.6-billion impasse that threatens to halt work on a major expansion of the Panama Canal. Spanish Public Works Minister Ana Pastor arrived in the Central American country late Sunday and is to meet President Ricardo Martinelli and Panama Canal Authority Administrator Jorge Quijano. Pastor’s goal is to mediate in a conflict between Panama and the construction group working on the canal expansion led by Spanish builder Sacyr. The Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) consortium, which also includes Italian, Belgian and Panamanian companies, has threatened to halt the project in three weeks if canal authorities fail to pay a massive extra $1.6-billion charge. Ahead of the Martinelli meeting, Pastor will hold a closed-door meeting with top consortium officials, including Sacyr CEO Manuel Manriquez. The Panama Canal expansion project aims to make the 80-kilometer (50-mile) waterway, which handles five percent of global maritime trade, big enough to handle new, so-called mega cargo ships that can carry 12,000 containers. Currently the canal can handle only ships large enough to carry 5,000 containers. The United States built the canal between 1904 and 1914 and had full control of the waterway until handing it over to Panama in late 1999. The consortium began work on a third set of larger canal locks in 2009 and expects to complete construction in June 2015, already nine

months over the contractual date. Work is about 70 percent complete. The overall cost of the project has been estimated at $5.2 billion. A year ago, GUPC demanded that the Panama Canal Authority pay the extra $1.6 billion for “unforeseen” costs. A Sacyr spokesman said the extra charges were due to “technical matters, questions over cement ingredients, geotechnical matters, geological questions, tax matters, financial matters, labor issues and weather conditions.” Jose Pelaez, in charge of building the third set of locks, said Saturday that the cost overrun problems were due to problems in the regional geology that the Canal Authority had not detected. The payment conflict reached a boiling point when, in a letter to canal authorities dated December 30, Sacyr gave a 21-day deadline for Panama to pay the extra charges or they will suspend work. “We’re being cornered,” Quijano said, adding that the Canal Authority cannot become “hostage to a contractor.” According to the Canal Authority, there was already a four-month delay shortly after the project began caused by the reversal of a GUPC plan to use lower-quality cement. On Sunday, the Canal Authority said that the contractor’s claims “have no legal standing and are not clear,” and are not reason enough to halt the project. Moreover, the consortium had “14 months before submitting their bid to closely study the components of the project” in order to submit a “solid” bid. —AFP

ASPEN: Emergency crews work near a passenger plane that crashed upon landing at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport in Aspen, Colorado on Sunday. —AP

Aspen plane crash kills 1, wounds 2 Jet skids off runway, bursts into flames

PANAMA CITY: People visit the Panama Canal in Gatun, north from Panama City. The consortium responsible for most of the expansion of the canal issued an ultimatum giving the Panama Canal Authority under a month to pay for a cost overrun to build a third set of locks, threatening to halt the Panama Canal’s expansion. —AP

Man reunited with family after AP photo published WASHINGTON: Nicholas Simmons disappeared from his parents’ house in a small upstate New York town on New Year’s Day, leaving behind his wallet, cellphone and everything else. Four days later, an Associated Press photographer, looking for a way to illustrate unusually cold weather, snapped his picture as he warmed himself on a steam grate a few blocks from the US Capitol. Paul and Michelle Simmons saw the AP photograph in USA Today Sunday morning after it was brought to their attention through a Facebook page set up to help find their 20-year-old son, according to police and family friends. While questions remain unanswered about why the young man left and how he ended up in Washington, his mother expressed her relief on Facebook that her son had been located. “It could have been months before we had

a lead on his whereabouts. My baby looks so lost and I will be spending the rest of my life making him well,” she wrote. The photo, taken Saturday by AP photographer Jacquelyn Martin, showed Simmons with his unshaven face pressed against a gate outside the Federal Trade Commission. He wore a ski jacket and a hood over his head. A thick gray blanket covered his lower body. Martin was assigned to the White House that weekend, but with President Barack Obama still on vacation in Hawaii, she spent the day looking for shots that would illustrate the cold weather. That is how she found Nick Simmons, in an area where homeless people often gather when it is frigid outside. She found a cluster of men huddled around the grate, introduced herself and started taking pictures. Then she noticed one person in particular, huddled under a blanket.—AP

DENVER: A private jet went off the side of a runway in Aspen, flipped over and burst into flames, killing one man and injuring two others, Colorado authorities say. Officials said the flight to the wealthy mountain resort city originated in Mexico and all three aboard were Mexican pilots, two were flying and one was a passenger. Alex Burchetta, director of operations for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, identified the man who died as co-pilot Sergio Carranza Brabata. He did not know where in Mexico the 54-year-old Brabata lived. Burchetta said the plane went off the right side of the runway Sunday afternoon, flipped over and burst into flames. “The injuries were traumatic in nature, but they were not thermal,” he said. “So the fire never reached inside the cabin as far as we can tell.” Ginny Dyche, a spokeswoman for Aspen Valley Hospital, said the facility received two patients who were involved in the crash. She later said one patient in fair condition and another in critical condition were transferred elsewhere. The sheriff ’s office identified the two others aboard as Miguel Henriqez and Moises Carranza, but didn’t say who was the most seriously injured. It also wasn’t clear which of the two were piloting along with Brabata. Aspen attracts celebrities and the wealthy for its sk iing and all around ambiance, a popularity that leads to numerous private aircraft using its airport. And at least two celebrities reported on Twitter that they were witnesses, confirming their tweets with The AP. Country singer LeAnn Rimes Cibrian tweeted via @leannrimes on Sunday: “So sad! Horrible plane crash we just saw happen at the Aspen airport.” Comedian Kevin

Nealon sent a series of tweets about the crash through @kevin_nealon. His first one said, “Horrible plane crash here at Aspen airport. Exploded into flames as it was landing. I think it was a private jet.” Later he tweeted, “Airport is closed now. I think I’ll drive back to LA after seeing that.” Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, confirmed the plane was a Canadair CL-600, a midsized private jet. The aircraft is registered to the Bank of Utah in Salt Lake City, according to Federal Aviation Administration records. Bank officials did not immediately respond to phone and email messages seeking comment. The sheriff’s office said the airport was closed after the crash and would reopen as soon as possible. But it did not provide a timeline, saying the NTSB must give the OK to remove the debris from the runway. An investigation by the NTSB and FAA was expected to get underway Monday morning, the office said. Allen Kenitzer, an FAA spokesman, said the plane was headed from Tucson, Ariz., and crashed upon landing. Officials said the crash happened at 12:22 pm MST. A plane with the same tail number took off at 6 am MST from the airport in Toluca, a city 35 miles west of Mexico City, before stopping in Tucson, according to a Mexican federal official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. The official said the passengers aboard were three Mexican men. He declined to release their names, citing security reasons. Tucson International Airport officials didn’t immediately have more information. Attempts by The Associated Press to reach airport officials in Colorado were not immediately successful.—AP

Mom gets custody of brain-dead girl SAN FRANCISCO: The body of a 13-year-old California girl who was declared brain-dead after complications from a tonsillectomy was released to her mother on Sunday, according to the Oakland hospital where she was being treated.Children’s Hospital and Research Center chief of pediatrics David Durand said in a statement the coroner in Oakland has given Latasha Winkfield custody of Jahi McMath’s body and that her destination is unknown, according to a hospital statement. “She is safely out of Children’s,” tweeted Chris Dolan, an attorney for the family, on Sunday evening. Jahi’s family reached an agreement on Friday with the hospital allowing her to be moved to a different facility if they did so before 5 p.m. local time on Tuesday, when a restraining order keeping the hospital from removing her from life support is set to expire.

McMath was admitted to Children’s Hospital on Dec. 9 to have her tonsils removed and for other procedures to address sleep apnea. After the surgery, she went into cardiac arrest and suffered brain swelling. The hospital declared her brain-dead three days later, and made plans to remove her from the ventilator, but her family has fought in state and federal court to keep her on life support. The case has drawn international attention, as well as support from relatives of Terri Schiavo, who died in Florida in 2005 after a 15-year battle over whether to keep her body alive in a persistent vegetative state. “I have everything in place, I just need to get it moving,” Chris Dolan, an attorney for the family, told KPIX 5 in San Francisco on Sunday. He said McMath will be moved “come hell or high water” before the deadline,

though he did not elaborate. To move the girl, her family needed to provide transportation and find a facility willing to take her, both the hospital and the family have said. A Long Island, New York, extended-care facility, the New Beginnings Community Center, has offered to care for the child. But it was not immediately clear if McMath’s family had accepted the offer, and Dolan could not immediately be reached for further comment. McMath’s lungs and heart are only continuing to function because of air being forced in and out of her body by the ventilator, without which her breathing and heartbeat would cease, according to medical experts. Unlike a person in a coma or a vegetative state, McMath lacks any brain activity, rendering her unable to breathe on her own, doctors said.—-Reuters


in brief

‘Jihad Jane’ faces life sentence for terror plot PHILADELPHIA: A woman who called herself “Jihad Jane” and helped suspected terrorists overseas faces the possibility of life in prison at her sentencing this week in the US. A federal judge must decide if 50-year-old Colleen LaRose presented a real threat or was easy prey for extremists seeking followers with US passports. LaRose admits she plotted to kill a Swedish artist over a cartoon that offended Muslims. Prosecutors will seek a long sentence, despite her extensive cooperation. LaRose, who called herself “Jihad Jane” in videos posted on YouTube, returned from Ireland in 2009 to surrender to the FBI. Man in toddler-slapping plane case faces sentence ATLANTA: A man who pleaded guilty to slapping a crying toddler on a flight is due in federal court for sentencing. Joe Rickey Hundley pleaded guilty in October after reaching a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. Prosecutors say Hundley used a racial slur to refer to the 19month-old boy, who’s black, and then hit him under the right eye as the flight from Minneapolis began its descent to the Atlanta airport last February. The misdemeanor simple assault charge carries a possible prison sentence of up to a year and a fine of up to $100,000. Prosecutors have recommended six months in prison, but Hundley reserved his right to argue for a lower sentence. The judge isn’t required to follow the recommendations in the plea agreement. Ohio boy breaks through pond ice and drowns FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio: Authorities say a 9-year-old boy drowned when he fell through the ice on a pond in southwestern Ohio. The boy’s sister also fell through the ice on the pond in Clermont County east of Cincinnati on Sunday, but she was rescued and is expected to recover. A dive team recovered the boy’s body. He was pronounced dead at a hospital. The property’s owner, Landon Wiliams, says he told three children to get off the ice, and the brother and sister broke through as they were leaving. Williams says he used an electrical extension cord to help pull the girl to safety. But the girl’s brother went underwater as rescue crews arrived. Their names haven’t been released.



Kabul says 88 prisoners to be freed despite US worry KABUL: Afghanistan will release 88 prisoners as planned even though the United States considers them dangerous and wants them to remain in detention, the board reviewing their cases said. The prisoners are being held at a jail at the Bagram air base north of Kabul. The United States only recently transferred the prison to Afghan control after it had become a serious source of tension with the Afghan government. President Hamid Karzai instructed Afghan intelligence officials to provide the review board with more evidence against the prisoners, after the United States said there was proof of their involvement in the killing of foreign troops and they posed a serious threat to security. But the head of the review board, Abdul Shakor Dadras, said the evidence did not warrant keeping the prisoners any longer. “The documents we have seen so far provide no reason to convict them,” Dadras told Reuters by telephone late on Sunday. “Our decision is to

release them as soon as possible if there is no incriminating evidence against them.” The disagreement over the prisoners is a further strain on Afghan-US relations already seriously soured by Karzai’s refusal to sign a bilateral security deal to shape the US military presence after most foreign troops leave this year. US senators in Afghanistan last week pressed the president to stop the release, warning it would irreparably damage relations with the United States. The planned release has also alarmed many senior Afghan security officials, who often see released prisoners return to the battlefield. US officials say about 40 percent of the prisoners were involved in attacks in which 57 Afghan civilians and members of the Afghan security forces were killed or wounded. Thirty percent of the prisoners had taken part in direct attacks that killed or wounded 60 members of Afghanistan’s US-led NATO force. Karzai’s office did not immediately comment. — Reuters

India judge calls premarital sex immoral, against religion NEW DELHI: An Indian judge has declared premarital sex “immoral” and against “every religion” and added that no educated woman should have sex believing that her partner will marry her. Sessions court judge Virender Bhat made the comments while finding a 29-year-old Indian man not guilty of raping a woman just because he had promised beforehand to marry her. “When a grown up, educated and office-going woman subjects herself to sexual intercourse” she does so “at her own peril”, Bhat was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India. Bhat made the statements late last month in a New Delhi court but they were only reported by local media yesterday. Premarital sex remains taboo in many parts of India even as the country undergoes rapid social change after economic reforms in the 1990s opened up the country to the rest of the world. The comments come after a Delhi judge last year termed live-in relationships immoral and an “infamous product of Western culture”. Bhat was ruling in the case of a woman who filed a complaint of rape against the man, an Indian employee of a multinational company, in May 2011. The woman alleged that the man, whom she met through a

chat website in July 2006, had sex with her on several occasions by promising to marry her. “Every act of sexual intercourse between two adults on the assurance of promise of marriage does not become rape if the assurance or promise is not fulfilled later on by the boy,” the judge said. The woman must (also) “understand she is engaging in an act which not only is immoral but also against the tenets of every religion,” the judge added. “No religion in the world allows premarital sex,” the judge added. Dhat was presiding over a fast-track court set up in Delhi to deal with cases of sexual crimes against women. The fast-track court was one of the reforms introduced after the fatal gang-rape of a student in December 2012 that shocked the nation and also prompted lawmakers to toughen laws against rapists. Two years ago, the Supreme Court dismissed a string of cases filed against south Indian actress Khushboo KhanSundar who was accused of violating public decency by voicing support for women to have pre-marital sex. The Supreme Court has also backed the rights of unwed couples to live together. — AFP

Pakistani security personnel examine the site of a suicide bombing in the Ibrahimzai area of Hangu district yesterday. A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a government school in northwest Pakistan, killing a teenage boy, officials said. — AFP

Pakistan blast kills 10 in tribal elder’s home PESHAWAR: At least 10 people were killed and another nine wounded yesterday in an explosion at the home of a tribal leader in a restive area of northwest Pakistan, officials said. The blast came in a remote village in Khyber tribal district, close to the Afghan border in Tirah Valley, which last year saw fierce fighting between the Pakistani military and Taliban militants. “The initial information suggests that the blast triggered by explosives killed at least 10 people including three children and wounded nine others,” a senior local administration official, Nasir Khan, said. He said the explosion occurred in the reception area of the home of a local tribal elder. “We are trying to ascertain the exact nature of the blast,” Khan said. Another local administration official confirmed the incident and casualties. Last year saw a concerted military push in Tirah Valley, which is

hemmed in by steep mountains and riddled with caves, and has been a stronghold for Islamist militants in Khyber. The armed forces targeted Taleban and Lashkar-e-Islam militia fighters who were beginning to threaten the nearby city of Peshawar. Khyber straddles the NATO supply line into Afghanistan, used by US-led troops to evacuate military equipment as they withdraw by the end of this year. Thousands fled the fighting in Khyber district in the early months of last year, according to aid groups, though by June the army said it had taken control of all the key strategic heights. Pakistani troops have been fighting for years against homegrown insurgents in the tribal belt, which Washington considers the main hub of Taleban and AlQaeda militants plotting attacks on the West and in Afghanistan. — AFP

Death toll rises to 17 in India building crash PANAJI: Rescuers found two more bodies under a massive pile of broken concrete from a building that collapsed while being constructed in southern India, raising the death toll to at least 17 workers, a state official said yesterday. Twelve others were feared trapped in the rubble and were presumed dead, the top elected official of Goa state, Manohar Parrikar, told reporters. Rescuers have recovered 22 sur vivors, pulling the last from the wreckage late Sunday, Parrikar said. There

was little hope of finding any more people alive in the rubble two days after Saturday ’s collapse of the five-story structure. Digging at the site was halted temporarily on Monday after two adjacent buildings, also under construction, developed wide cracks, raising fears that they might also collapse. Police cordoned off the area and called engineers to inspect the two buildings, police officer Mohan Naik said. The building was being construc ted in marshland in

Canacona, about 70 kilometers (45 miles) from Panaji, the capital of Goa state. Police said they were unable to determine how many workers were at the site when the structure crumpled because they could not reach the builder and contractor, who are suspected of fleeing. Building collapses are common in India, as massive demand for housing and lax regulations often encourage builders to cut corners by using substandard materials or add unauthorized extra floors. — AP

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (center) walks with Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, center left, as she arrives for a press conference in Dhaka yesterday. — AP

Bangladesh PM defiant after violent poll victory Awami League wins as oppn boycotts DHAKA: Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina insisted yesterday her walkover win in an election boycotted by the opposition was legitimate and blamed her rivals for the unprecedented bloodshed on polling day. In defiant comments the day after her re-election, Hasina accused the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party of making a mistake by shunning the vote and made clear she was not in the mood to offer any olive branches to BNP leader Khaleda Zia, her arch-enemy. Hasina’s ruling Awami League cruised to victory in Sunday’s election after the BNP and 20 other opposition parties refused to take part over fears the contest would be rigged. But although the landslide should allow Hasina to rule for another five years, the opposition says her victory lacks any credibility. It has called for new polls organized by a caretaker government to be held as soon as possible. The boycott should “not mean there will be a question of legitimacy”, Hasina told foreign journalists at her official residence in Dhaka. “People participated in the poll and other parties participated,” she added in reference to a handful of Awami League allies who did stand. The BNP blames the government for the crisis after it refused demands for the election to be organized by a neutral caretaker administration as in previous years. The prime minister said she had offered Zia-who has been under de facto house arrest for over a week-the chance to join an interim cross-party government before the vote. “I offered to share power with our opposition, I have done as much as I can do but they didn’t respond,” she said. “Now if they realize that they made a mistake in not participating in the elec-

tion, perhaps then they may come forward to discuss with us or make an offer,” she added. “If they come forward to discuss with us, they have to leave all these terrorist activities behind because what they are doing, it is absolutely killing people, killing police, killing innocent people.” Sunday’s vote was the most violent in Bangladesh’s history, with police saying at least 26 were killed while nearly 600 polling stations were attacked by opposition supporters. While there has been no official word on the nationwide turnout, election officials said less than one in four people had voted in the capital Dhaka. The credibility of the poll had been undermined even before polling day when 153 Awami League members or allies were declared elected unopposed to the 300-seat parliament. The Daily Star said the Awami League had won “a hollow victory which gives it neither a mandate nor an ethical standing to govern effectively”, while the New Age daily said Hasina was leading the country towards disaster. “What do you want? I should start crying: ‘Oh we have crisis, we have crisis?’ I am leading the country,” Hasina, who first came to power in 1996 and then thrashed Zia in a 2008 comeback, said of her critics. Although Bangladesh has been rocked by political violence throughout its short history, the leading rights monitor Ain O Salish Kendra said it was by far the deadliest election day and campaign period. While most of the 26 people who died were shot by police, the toll also included an election official and polling station security guard. Nearly 600 polling stations were torched or trashed, according to police and election organizers. Zia has been under de facto house arrest after calling a series of protests in recent weeks designed to derail the election.



Japan PM to visit Africa, Mideast with cash pledge TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Africa and the Middle East this week, reports said yesterday, bearing development cash pledges as Tokyo pushes back against growing Chinese influence in the resource-rich region. Abe is expected to promise $577 million in loans to Mozambique when he stops in the capital Maputo as part of a tour that will also take in Ivory Coast, Ethiopia and Oman from Thursday. The sub-Saharan trip, the first by a Japanese premier in eight years, will fulfil a pledge to visit Africa that Abe made when he hosted a summit of the continent’s countries last year.

It also comes as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi left home yesterday for a tour of Ethiopia, Djibouti, Ghana and Senegal. At the Tokyo International Conference on International Development in June, Abe said “Africa will be a growth centre over the next couple of decades” and Japan must make a commitment in a way that would benefit both sides. The Nikkei business daily said Abe will commit more than 60 billion yen ($577 million) in loans to Mozambique for the construction of highways, and some 10 billion yen to Ethiopia for the construction of a geothermal power

plant. The conservative Sankei Shimbun reported a similar story, saying the construction of a road will support the mining activities of Japanese companies in neighboring inland countries which have large deposits of rare-earth minerals and rare metals. Officials from some 50 Japanese corporations are likely to accompany the prime minister, Jiji Press reported. Despite relatively longstanding connections, Japan’s importance to Africa has slipped behind that of China, whose more aggressive approach has given it five times the trading volume and eight times the direct investment. Beijing is

criticized in some corners for what is sometimes seen as little more than a resources grab, and for not linking investment with demands for improved human rights or more transparent governance in recipient countries. Japanese officials have stressed the need to transform their country’s relationship with Africa from one of donorrecipient to that of business partnership, as Tokyo’s firms seek to tap a burgeoning market. Even so, Abe in the June conference pledged 1.4 trillion yen in aid. The cash, half of which was to be dedicated to spending on much-needed infrastructure projects, is included in the 3.2

trillion yen that Japan’s public and private sectors will invest in Africa over the next five years. Africa snapped sharply into focus last January in Japan with the siege of the In Amenas gas plant in the Algerian desert, in which 10 Japanese nationals died. The hostage crisis and its bloody end shook a country unused to extremist violence and largely unaware of the perils its companies face in some of the more unstable parts of the world. It led to promises of greater engagement in the region, partly as a way to offset these dangers and aid firms bringing muchneeded resources to Japan. —AFP

Japan PM wants talks with China, Korea on war shrine Beijing calls on Abe to ‘correct views’

GUANGDONG: Customs officers stand guard in front of some illegal ivory during destruction in Dongguan, southern Guangdong province, China yesterday. China destroyed about 6 tons of illegal ivory from its stockpile yesterday, in an unprecedented move wildlife groups say shows growing concern about the black market trade by authorities in the world’s biggest market for elephant tusks. —AP

China destroys 6 tons of ivory in landmark move DONGGUAN, China: China destroyed about 6 tons of illegal ivory from its stockpile yesterday in an unprecedented move wildlife groups say shows growing concern about the black market trade by authorities in the world’s biggest market for elephant tusks. Authorities displayed a pile of ornaments, carvings and tusks to reporters, diplomats and conservationists before feeding them into two crushing machines. Tusks that were too long were cut up into smaller chunks by workers with circular saws before they could be pulverized. Forestry and customs officials organized what they said was the country’s first large-scale ivory destruction in Dongguan in southern Guangdong province, where much of China’s ivory trade is focused. Conservation groups say China is the world’s biggest market for ivory. Demand is fueled by rapid growth in the world’s second biggest economy, which has created a vast middle class with the spending power to buy ivory carvings prized as status symbols. Ivory can fetch up to $2,000 a kilogram on the black market, earning it the nickname “white gold.”Officials said the 6.1 metric tons of ivory destroyed was just a portion of the illegal ivory held by China, though they

wouldn’t disclose how big the country’s total stockpile is. The destroyed ivory came from shipments from Africa intercepted by customs officers as well as from carving factories and shops in China. China is following other countries that have destroyed their ivory stocks in the past year. In June, the Philippines burned and crushed more than 5 tons of ivory worth an estimated $10 million confiscated since 2009, becoming the first Asian country to do so. In November, the United States destroyed 6 tons of ivory seized over 25 years. Gabon burned nearly 5 tons in 2012. The International Fund for Animal Welfare said the destruction was a powerful symbolic act that shows that the Chinese government is “concerned about the toll ivory trafficking is taking on elephant populations, as well as the other threats to regional security that arise in connection with wildlife crime.” Ivory destruction in countries along the trade chain “clearly tells consumers everywhere that ivory buying is unethical and wrong,” IFAW CEO Azzedine Downs, who attended the event, said in a statement. IFAW estimates that more than 35,000 elephants were killed last year by poachers for ivory. — AP

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said yesterday that he wants to explain to leaders in China and South Korea about his visits to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which honors the country’s war dead, but Beijing again called on him to correct his views on Japan’s role in World War II. Abe said that Japan has not made any direct overtures, but he hopes the leaders can meet to help resolve antagonism over territorial disputes and historical issues. “At the moment, there is no plan for a summit meeting, but since there are some difficulties and issues we should be speaking together without setting any preconditions,” he told reporters after making a new year’s visit to the Grand Shrine of Ise, in western Japan. “I would really like to explain the intent of my visits to the Yasukuni Shrine directly to them,” Abe said. “We are not making any direct approach on this, but the door to dialogue is open. I would like to hold Japan-China and Japan-South Korea summit meetings.” Japan colonized Korea and occupied par ts of China before and during World War II and that often brutal legacy taints relations with its neighbors decades later. China and South Korea reacted angrily to Abe’s Dec. 26 visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, where 14 class A war criminals are enshrined among the 2.5 million war dead. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has said earlier Abe won’t be welcome in Beijing until he admits his mistake. Yesterday, Chinese Foreign Ministr y spokeswoman Hua

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (center) and his cabinet ministers follow a Shinto priest (right) during a visit to the Ise shrine in Ise, Mie prefecture, central Japan yesterday. Abe defended his visit to a controversial war shrine while admitting there was no immediate prospect of holding summits with his South Korean and Chinese counterparts. — AFP Chunying said that to improve relations with Beijing, Abe “needs to correctly view and deeply reflect on the Japan’s militarist history of external invasion and colonialism, show sincerity and make concrete efforts to improve ties with neighboring countries.” “Judging from his moves, Prime Minister Abe is hypocritical when he pays lip-service to improving relations with China. It is he himself who closed the door to dia-

logue with China,” she said in a daily briefing. South Korean President Park Geun-hye blamed Tokyo for the strained ties, and said that any summit with Abe could be held only after sufficient preparations. “I have never said I won’t have the Korea-Japan summit talks. But I think the ... talks must bring out results that are helpful for the development of ties between the two countries so there should be sufficient preparations” for the

Cambodia police free 5 held in crackdown

Harry Potter wizard invoked again as Japan slams China TOKYO: The diplomatic bickering between Japan and China descended into name-calling in the British press yesterday, with ambassadorial claim and counter-claim invoking the fictional evil wizard of the Harry Potter series, Lord Voldemort. In an opinion piece published in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Tokyo’s envoy to London Keiichi Hayashi compared Beijing to the arch-villain of JK Rowling’s multi-million selling books and the resulting movie franchise. “East Asia is now at a crossroads. There are two paths open to China,” he wrote. “One is to seek dialogue, and abide by the rule of law. The other is to play the role of Voldemort in the region by letting loose the evil of an arms race and escalation of tensions, although Japan will not escalate the situation from its side,” he said. “The answer seems obvious. Although China has so far refused to enable dialogue between our leaders, I sincerely hope that it will come forward, rather than keep invoking the ghost of ‘militarism’ of seven decades ago, which no longer exists,” Hayashi wrote. Asia’s two biggest economies have long endured a difficult relationship characterized by disagreements on a wide range of issues, many of which are connected to bitter memories of violence in Asia by Japanese soldiers before and during World War II. But ties have soured since Tokyo bought a set of disputed islands in the East China Sea in 2012, fuelling nationalism in both nations that has seen paramilitary ships and planes from both sides involved in regular standoffs around the isles. Hayashi’s letter was an apparent response to an earlier op-ed-also referencing the boy-wizard’s nemesis-published in the Daily Telegraph on January 1 by Liu Xiaoming, Chinese ambassador to London. Liu harshly criticized Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s December 26 visit to Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni war shrine, which honours

war dead, including men convicted of serious war crimes in the wake of Japan’s 1945 World War II defeat. The shinto shrine is seen by China and other Asian nations as a symbol of Japan’s militarist past. “If militarism is like the haunting Voldemort of Japan, the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo is a kind of horcrux, representing the darkest parts of that nation’s soul,” the Chinese envoy wrote. In the Harry Potter series, a horcrux is a receptacle in which evil characters store fragments of their souls to enable them to achieve immortality. Voldemort is only rarely referred to by his name in the books and films, with Hogwarts students and teachers frequently calling him simply “You Know Who”. Hayashi said Abe’s visit was “by no means to pay homage to war criminals or to praise militarism.” “It is ironic that a country that has increased its own military spending by more than 10 percent a year for the past 20 years should call a neighbor ‘militarist’,” Hayashi wrote. “Its attempt to change the status quo by force or coercion has raised concerns not only in Japan, but also among its neighbors throughout the East China Sea and the South China Sea,” he wrote in a reference to China’s vigorous claims to territories disputed by nations such as the Philippines and Vietnam. Yesterday, Abe defended his shrine pilgrimage and said he would like the opportunity to explain his motivation face-to-face with Chinese President Xi Jinping, although he conceded: “There is no prospect for summit talks at this point”. For its part, Beijing accused Abe of double-dealing and levelled the familiar charge that he had “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people”. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said from actions such as his visit to Yasukuni, “it is not hard to see that Abe has continually claimed to attach importance to developing relations but, in reality, these statements are hypocritical.” —AFP

summit, Park said. Abe has said Japan should never wage war again, though he favors strengthening the military and revising the country’s pacifist constitution. That agenda is popular with some Japanese, though polls show the majority are more concerned about the economy. “I am confident that we can gain understanding ... if we firmly explain the Abe administration’s pro-active pacifism,” he said. —AP

Department of Education Region 8 director Luisa Yu (centre right) joins a student dance prior to the start of classes at a makeshift classroom in the Typhoon devastated town of Tanauan, Leyte province, central Philippines yesterday as schools reopened for the first time since the disaster on November 8. — AFP

Classes reopen in Philippine typhoon zone TACLOBAN, Philippines: Schools reopened yesterday in badly damaged central Philippine towns for the first time since one of the world’s strongest storms ever to hit land killed thousands two months ago. Crowding into makeshift classrooms built from tarpaulins and plywood, the children-many of them still traumatized-sat quietly as teachers tried to engage them in friendly banter. Mothers refused to leave the tents despite appeals from teachers to let the children slowly resume their daily routine, an AFP reporter said. “Only about 50 percent of our school’s nearly 1,000 pupils are back,” lamented principal Maria Evelyn Encina in the seaside village of San Roque near the central city of Tacloban, where giant tsunami-like waves triggered by Super Typhoon Haiyan wiped out entire neighborhoods. She said at least nine students had been among the dead, although the fate of many others and their families remained unknown. “They could be in evacuation centres or taken in by their relatives in the mass evacuation that followed,” Encina said. “But we can’t know for sure. We just want to let them know wherever they are that we are here waiting for them.” What passes for a community learning

centre now are desks under a white tent donated by relief organizations. It sits about 50 metres from the sea, in an area that the government has officially dubbed a “permanent danger zone”, the principal said. “We need a more permanent structure in the longer term, but in the meantime this will suffice,” Encina said. Haiyan cut a swathe of destruction when it struck on November 8, bringing powerful winds that topped 315 kilometres (197 miles) an hour. It also triggered giant storm surges which swamped large areas, leaving nearly 8,000 dead or missing and nearly 30,000 others injured. It also displaced four million people, 1.7 million of them children, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The agency along with other groups is leading a campaign to help some 550,000 children, teachers and day care workers return to schools. “UNICEF’s objective is to ensure that children affected by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan’s local name) return to quality learning as soon as possible,” said the group’s officer in charge in the Philippines, Angela Kearney. By reestablishing a daily routine, UNICEF says it hopes to transform schools into “safe spaces” that provide some sense of normalcy. —AFP

PHNOM PENH: Cambodian police released five women activists who were detained earlier yesterday after trying to petition the French Embassy for help in freeing anti-government protesters arrested last week. The five were picked up by plainclothes police on their way to the embassy, according to the local rights group LICADHO and the family of one of the women. Police released them hours later after they signed a document stating they would not incite to protest or join demonstrations, said LICADHO activist Om Sam Ath. The women activists were seeking help for 23 people who were recently arrested in connection with labor and political protests. Police shot dead at least four people at a labor rally Friday, and opposition leaders have been summoned in court to answer accusations of inciting social unrest. The protests are the biggest challenge in many years to the authoritarian rule of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has led the country for almost three decades. Protests over the election have been generally peaceful, but a strike by workers in Cambodia’s key garment sector has put extra pressure on Hun Sen’s regime. Authorities on Saturday banned rallies and street marches in the capital, Phnom Penh, and forcibly cleared about 1,000 anti-government demonstrators from a city park. Sam Rainsy, the head of the main opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, said he won’t give up peaceful protests to force Hun Sen to resign and call fresh elections. The opposition claims elections in July were rigged and cheated them of victory. The women who were held yesterday are veteran protesters against land-grabbing. Police officials could not be reached for comment. —AP

Naked man gets stuck in washing machine SYDNEY: A naked Australian man was left red-faced after getting stuck in a washing machine during a game of hide and seek, after police had to grease him up with olive oil to get him out. The man clambered into the top-loader machine on Saturday afternoon in his unit north of Melbourne, aiming to surprise his girlfriend when she got home. But he became wedged, sparking a delicate rescue effort. “He was trying to surprise his missus and became stuck,” Sergeant Tim Gleeson told the Herald Sun after police, firefighters, paramedics, and a local search and rescue squad used olive oil to manoeuvre the man out of his predicament. “They greased him up until he was free,” Sgt Gleeson added. “It was just a game gone wrong. It would be fair to say the gentleman was very embarrassed,” added Sergeant Michelle De Araugo. —AFP



Seven new faces in...

‘Polar vortex’ slams US

Continued from Page 1

Continued from Page 1

The minister of commerce and industry Anas Al-Saleh, a representative of the business community, was moved to the ministry of finance and Abdulmohsen Al-Mudej, a former oil minister and a veteran liberal politician, was appointed as deputy premier and minister of commerce and industry. Nayef Al-Ajmi, an Islamist activist and the deputy dean of the Islamic Studies College at Kuwait University, was appointed minister of awqaf and Islamic affairs and justice, replacing Maousherji. Both are Salafists. Ali Al-Obaidi, the new health minister, had served in the same post briefly about two years ago. He is also an Islamist. The new housing minister Yasser Hasan Abul is the only Shiite member of the Cabinet, down from two in the previous government. Similarly, Hind Al-Sabeeh, a newcomer, is the only female in the Cabinet. She was appointed minister of social affairs and labour and state minister for planning and development, incidentally replacing the two female ministers who held these portfolios in the previous Cabinet, Dashti and Rasheedi. The number of ruling family members was reduced to six from seven in the previous Cabinet after the departure of the finance minister, but they still control the key ministries of defence, interior and foreign affairs, in addition to information and the state ministry for Cabinet affairs. Activists and several MPs lashed out at the new lineup, with MP Nabeel Al-Fadhl calling it a “rotten eggs” government. “By looking at some of the ministers, we can call this government the rotten eggs Cabinet,” Fadhl said on Twitter in clear reference to claims that some of the new faces back the opposition. MP Youssef Al-Zalzalah said he believes people will regret not keeping the old Cabinet. MP Mohammad Tana said he has reservations on a number of names but added that he will extend a hand of cooperation to the Cabinet. MP Saadoun Hammad said An Afghan child holds her boots in a camp for the internally displaced on the outskirts of he will file to grill Minister of Electricity and Water and Public Mazar-e Sharif, north of Kabul, yesterday. Mazar-e Sharif has been experiencing below freezing weather and snow. — AP Works Abdulaziz Al-Ibrahim.

“This winter storm will be one for the record books, and we want to make sure everyone stays safe and warm until it passes,” Illinois state governor Pat Quinn said. Exposed skin could suffer frostbite in as little as five minutes in such conditions, experts warn. More than 3,000 flights within, into or out of the United States were canceled on Monday, according to industry tracker FlightAware, including nearly 800 at Chicago O’Hare International, one of the country’s busiest airports. Hundreds more flights were canceled or delayed from other major hubs like New York’s John F Kennedy or Newark International. A Delta passenger airplane skidded into a snow bank at JFK on Sunday. Nobody was hurt, but the plane had to be towed to its gate. In Wisconsin, Sunday’s National Football League playoff showdown between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers at the open-air Lambeau Field was one of the coldest NFL games in history. The Packers helped the more than 70,000 football fans at the stadium battle the freeze by handing out free coffee, hot chocolate and hand warmers. Green Bay lost to San Francisco, 23-20. In Indianapolis, Mayor Greg Ballard urged residents to simply stay indoors. Freezing rain is forecast to hit the south and east, while the New England region and New York could see more snow. The southern city of Atlanta will likely experience record low temperatures, while in normally balmy Florida, the National Weather Service issued a hard freeze warning in the northern part of the state. The extreme cold disrupted flights and classes in Canada as well. In the Atlantic island province of Newfoundland, more than 30,000 people were without power. Nationwide, officials warned of “treacherous” travel conditions. Meteorologists said that a warming trend would mercifully begin at mid-week. Deaths blamed on the frigid weather include a worker crushed by a 100-ft pile of salt being prepared to treat roads in the Philadelphia area on Friday, and a 71-year-old woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease who froze to death after getting lost in New York state, officials said. — AFP




Founder and Publisher

YOUSUF S. AL-ALYAN Editor-in-Chief

ABD AL-RAHMAN AL-ALYAN EDITORIAL : 24833199-24833358-24833432 ADVERTISING : 24835616/7 FAX : 24835620/1 CIRCULATION : 24833199 Extn. 163 ACCOUNTS : 24835619 COMMERCIAL : 24835618 P.O.Box 1301 Safat,13014 Kuwait. E MAIL Website:


Col Ndala: Slain hope of reformed DR Congo army By Habibou Bangre efections, corruption, war crimes - DR Congo’s top military commanders have tended to make headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent years. So the rocket attack that destroyed Col Mamadou Ndala’s vehicle on Thursday did not only kill the nation’s rising star but also the man who embodied the hope for a disciplined, effective and republican army. With key backing from a special UN brigade, Ndala was the champion of the war against the M23 rebellion, which late last year handed the Democratic Republic of Congo’s forces their first clearcut victory in half a century. “Brave”, “a patriot”, “humble”: top army officers, residents of eastern DRC and even some of his critics have been heaping tributes on Ndala, who died at 35. According to relatives, Mamadou Moustapha Ndala was born in the northeastern Orientale province that neighbours troubled North Kivu and joined the army in 1997. “He was never hung-up about his modest education and was very well-read: he routinely referred to De Gaulle and Charlemagne in conversation,” a rights activist who knew him said. “He was incredibly easy-going and modest, miles from the extravagance Congolese officers are known for. He liked sport, combat films and kept his private life to himself.” “He was brave, polite and open-minded,” said one major, speaking on condition of anonymity. His battlefield heroics and charisma had made him a key player in eastern DR Congo and his tall figure and gaptoothed smile had become ubiquitous on TV screens in North Kivu. “Mamadou”, as many residents and fellow servicemen called him, rose to prominence during the 18month insurgency by the M23 rebel group around the main hub of Goma. The rebel outfit - which was accused of being a Rwandan proxy - briefly captured the North Kivu capital in November 2012. When the rebels pulled out under intense diplomatic pressure, Kinshasa decided to rotate its units in a bid to obviate the risk of internal dissent and defections. Commandos were also sent in to beef up government positions in the area and among them was the young Ndala, who had recently been promoted to colonel. He was the protege of the region’s top commander, General JeanLucien Bauma, also a native of Orientale, but Ndala quickly made a name for himself.


Goma ‘liberator’ He is credited with several of the military victories that saw the Congolese army - until then seen as less effective than the M23 - begin to turn the tide on the rebels. Goma residents began calling him a “liberator” and his popularity was such that in July last year, people poured out of their homes in a bid to blockade the airport when a rumour emerged that he had been recalled to Kinshasa. He earned further kudos that same month for single-handedly calming a threatening mob angered by the United Nations’ perceived passivity in the face of M23 attacks. His death near Beni as his units hunted down Ugandan rebels triggered an outpouring of praise from government officials and top brass for a commander who was never far from the frontline. “Mamadou, in line with his feats on the battlefield, had successfully carved himself an image as determined commander,” said Christoph Vogel, a PhD researcher focusing on DR Congo. “Despite his modest background and his love of the cameras, he had managed to establish good working relations with his UN colleagues,” he said.—AFP

Col Mamadou Ndala

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

Iraq facing reconciliation or war By Mohamad Ali Harissi n intensifying revolt in a Sunni Arab province of Iraq sparked by the Shiite-led government’s dispersal of a year-old protest leaves the country at the crossroads between reconciliation and civil war, analysts say. Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki must decide in the coming days whether to offer a real share of power to the disenchanted Sunni minority, or press on with allegedly sectarian policies and often heavy-handed security tactics that have fuelled its alienation. “The coming days will determine the fate of Iraq,” said Ihsan Al-Shammari, a political science professor at Baghdad University. “The country stands at a crossroads - reconciliation as a democratic state, or splitting in total chaos and civil war, leading to the division” of the country, Shammari said. There will either be “a democratic Iraq in which everyone is equal,” or “we move towards the abyss.” Discontent among Sunnis had been mounting for years, fanned by anger over their perceived exclusion from power in Baghdad and targeting by security forces. But a decision by Maliki to break up the year-old protest camp outside Anbar provincial capital Ramadi on December 30 sparked unrest in the province’s main cities.


Al-Qaeda-linked militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took advantage of the situation to seize control of the city of Fallujah just 60 km from the Iraqi capital - as well as parts of Ramadi. “The most active and important Al-Qaeda cells are now close to Baghdad, and this happened due to a miscalculation by the government that is dragging Iraq towards the unknown,” said Issam AlFaili, a political science professor at Mustansiriyah University in Baghdad. Faili warned of an “increase in crises and of larger and more dangerous social divisions” in the country. Due to “continual political crises,” the government was unable to see “the coming tsunami, the tsunami of ISIL,” Faili said. Iraqi officials have blamed much of the recent violence in Anbar on ISIL, although anti-government tribesmen have also been involved in the fighting. The Al-Qaeda franchise in Iraq fell from the height of its influence in the years after the invasion, suffering defeats by US forces, especially after Sunni tribesmen joined them from late 2006 in a process that became known as the “Awakening”. But its latest incarnation, ISIL, has made a striking comeback, bolstered by newfound areas to operate in neighbouring Syria, where it has become a major player in the nearly three-year-old civil war.

“ISIL has been able to leverage its networks and capabilities in Iraq to become a strong presence in Syria, and has used its presence in Syria to leverage its position in Iraq,” said Daniel Byman, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Centre for Middle East Policy. Iraq in 2008 emerged from years of brutal sectarian killings largely because the government and the US military, then still on the ground, engaged Sunni tribes who turned against Al-Qaeda militants. Analysts say Maliki’s government needs to do the same again now to bring Iraq back from the brink. The minority community dominated the country from its creation in the aftermath of World War I to the US-led invasion of 2003, and its sense of disempowerment was a driving force behind the insurgency that followed the invasion. It also fuelled the discontent that helped propel violence last year to levels not seen since 2008. Sunnis in government were also angered by Maliki’s order to clear the Ramadi protest camp - 44 members of parliament tendered their resignations the same day. It is up to “the authorities to focus on the moderate Sunni Arab parties to attract them to government” and give them a major role at the federal level, Shammari said. “Sunni Arabs are the ones who will determine the fate of Iraq.” — AFP

Islamists boosted by Bangladesh mayhem By Christian Otton angladesh’s main Islamist party was banned from weekend elections and many of its leaders are in custody or face execution, but moves to marginalise Jamaat-eIslami will ultimately backfire, analysts say. After its split from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in a 1971 independence war, Bangladesh was founded as an officially secular nation and secularism was enshrined in a 2010 constitutional amendment. Although 90 percent of its population is Muslim, radical Islam failed to make much impact in the four decades after independence, its leading lights tainted by siding with Pakistani forces during the war. Jamaat-e-Islami, the only Islamist party to have made electoral inroads, has never seen its support move beyond single digits at elections, although it has been in government on several occasions in coalitions with the centre -right Bangladesh Nationalist Party. But analysts and politicians say a decision to bar Jamaat from Sunday’s election and a subsequent crackdown on its leaders, most of whom are in detention or have gone underground, has played into its hands. “As the government has been using excessive force to crack down on Jamaat over the past year, we have seen them become more powerful, more organised and winning more support,” said Nur Khan Liton, head of Dhaka-based Ain O Salish Kendra rights group. “Instead of using force, the government should have taken them on politically.” The election, a walkover for the ruling Awami League after it was boycotted by the BNP, was plagued by violence in the build-up and on polling day. A N M Muniruzzaman, head of the Institute of Peace and Security Studies, said Bangladesh was becoming more radicalised. “It is a recipe for the growth of extremism and a conducive playground for non-state actors,” the retired general told AFP. “It’s a bad sign for democratic and major political parties.” Bangladesh has experienced its deadliest year of political violence since independence, with some of the worst unrest erupting after a tribunal set up by the government began sentencing senior Jamaat figures for crimes committed during the 1971 war. When Abdul Quader Molla was hanged last month for his role in a war-time massacre, thousands of supporters took to the streets and many of the protests turned violent. There were similar scenes in May after a crackdown on another radical Islamist group, Hefajat-e-Islam, with around 40 people killed in running street battles. Previously, protests by radical Islamists had rarely attracted much of a crowd and the outpouring of anger took authorities by surprise. Three other Jamaat leaders have been sentenced to death by the war crimes tribunal, a court that lacks international oversight and that Jamaat says is designed to silence it.


Election ban A high court ruling to bar Jamaat from the election, which judges said was due to its failure to respect the constitution’s secular nature, was also widely seen as having been government-influenced. Other Islamist movements, such as Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, have bounced back from similar bans to win power at elections. But one of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s top advisors said judges had no choice. “Jamaat wants to create an Islamic, theocratic state based on sharia law,” Gowher Rizvi told AFP. Authorities could not “allow them to undermine the very constitution that the people have set up, allow them to change the very character of the state.” It is an accusation fiercely rejected by one of the few leading Jamaat members to have evaded arrest during mass pre-election detentions. In an interview at a Dhaka hideout, former lawmaker Syed Abdullah Taher said the party made no secret of its ideology but wanted to convert people “gradually to the cause of Islam” through democratic means. The government says

Jamaat bears responsibility for the bulk of the bloodshed in the last 12 months, in particular accusing its supporters of slicing the tendons of rivals with razor blades. Taher says such claims are nonsense and part of a smear campaign. “We never believe in violence, we never believe in terrorism,” he said. “Our party is very disciplined, we have full control of our party.” Asked about the future of the party, he says it will concentrate on its social welfare programmes, which have mushroomed in recent years and drawn in followers in one of Asia’s poorest nations. If Jamaat does grow in strength, many observers believe the main opposition BNP, which is in an alliance with the Islamists, will see its support decline. While emphasising the alliance was “an arithmetical electoral arrangement, not an ideological one”, BNP vice chairman Shamsher Chowdhury acknowledged the violent political climate risked radicalising a country known for its religious moderation. “Any situation which is absolutely unstable and uncertain can be exploited by extremists on the left and right,” he said. — AFP

A Bangladeshi wanting to vote is attacked by protestors in a field in Rajshahi, some 260 km from Dhaka, on Sunday. — AFP



Liverpool announce India tie-up

Rossi has damaged collateral knee ligament

LONDON: India’s growing importance to the English Premier League was emphasised when leading club Liverpool announced yesterday their first marketing deal with an Indian company. The Reds have signed a three-year agreement with smart mobile firm XOLO which will allow supporters in India to enjoy tailored content on their phones, buy merchandise and have the chance to meet leading Liverpool players. Although India is best-known in sporting terms for its mass enthusiasm for cricket, the globally popular football Premier League has started to make inroads in recent years into the lucrative Indian market. Liverpool, currently fourth in the table, have also set up an ‘International Academy’ in the western Indian town of Pune. “Through this partnership we will deliver exclusive LFC content and exciting opportunities for fans to visit our home, Anfield,” said Liverpool chief commercial officer Billy Hogan yesterday. “We have millions of fans in India and we are committed to bringing the Club closer to them. Teaming up with XOLO and launching our very first International Academy in Pune represent the start of our journey in India to make fans feel like their club is right on their doorstep.” Liverpool’s aim is for the academy to be a “world class purposebuilt residential complex”, featuring full-size pitches, practice areas, classrooms, changing rooms, a gym, canteen, lecture theatre, residential and medical facilities. —AFP

FLORENCE: Fiorentina striker Giuseppe Rossi has damaged ligaments in his right knee, though the injury is not as bad as first thought.Rossi was thought to have ruptured the cruciate ligament in his right knee for a third time but tests yesterday revealed that the American-born forward has a collateral ligament injury. While still serious, Rossi could avoid a third surgery on that knee and may return in three months rather than six. Fiorentina said Rossi will soon be seen by the same surgeon who carried out the second operation “in order to correctly evaluate the extent of the injury and the prognosis.” Rossi limped off in tears in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Livorno following a strong tackle from Leandro Rinaudo. “We are more optimistic,” Rossi’s agent, Andrea Pastorello, said as the pair left the hospital to applause from fans.Rossi tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in 2011, and did so again in training six months later before he had returned to first-team football. The 26-year-old Rossi is the top scorer in Serie A this season with 14 goals in 17 matches and had returned to the Italy team. He was expected to be a key part of Cesare Prandelli’s World Cup plans. “Because of what’s happened, Giuseppe has a great strength of character,” Prandelli said. “He knows how much we value him. I’ll say now: stay strong Giuseppe, we’re waiting for you.” — AP

England ‘will struggle’ at World Cup: Fowler

NEW DELHI: Former England striker and Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler said yesterday he expected England to struggle at the World Cup in Brazil as he tipped one of the top Latin sides to win. He predicted that England could qualify from the group stage, where they face Costa Rica, Italy and Uruguay, but “beyond that they will struggle”. Liverpool legend said that there were other international teams which were “stronger, better”. “Spain, Brazil and Argentina... I would say one of these teams could win, are strong contenders,” he said. He was also asked if current Liverpool attackers Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge could become one of the best ever strike forces for his former club, which he tipped as serious contenders for the English Premier League title. “Definitely,” he said. “What I like about both of them is... when Daniel came last January and played a large portion of matches without Suarez he scored goals and whenever Suarez has played alone he too has scored goals.” The leftfooter, who scored 183 goals in 369 appearances for Liverpool, also dismissed recent reports linking him with the manager’s job at struggling Torquay United in England league two football. —AFP

Former grand slam champs knocked out in Sydney

Caroline Wozniacki

Wozniacki through at Sydney International SYDNEY: Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki opened her season with a win over German Julia Goerges in the first round of the Sydney International yesternday. Danish sixth seed Wozniacki, who became engaged to golf star Rory McIlroy on New Year’s Eve, lost the first set to Goerges but rallied to come through 3-6, 62, 6-4. The 23-year-old, who withdrew from a WTA event in Brisbane last weekend due to a shoulder injury, was making her sixth straight appearance at the Sydney tournament as she prepares for the Australian Open. But fourth-seeded Serb Jelena Jankovic’s preparations for Melbourne hit a hurdle yesterday when she was beaten by world number 23 Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2. Jankovic, who is ranked eighth in the world, was 3-1 down in the second set and was never back in the game as Makarova held her nerve to serve out for the match, winning with an ace. “I tried to be aggressive and not let her attack, because she’s really good playing down the line from the backhand,” Makarova said. “So I tried to let her move her to the backhand, not to stand and hit it. I was moving quite good (too)... today was a good match.” Earlier United States qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands beat Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard 6-4, 6-3 while Czech Lucie Safarova bundled out Italian Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 6-4.

Mattek-Sands will now face defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska who, fresh from the final of the Hopman Cup in Perth, said she was expecting a tough match. “I think Bethanie is playing well. I definitely have to play good tennis,” she said. Radwanska, the top-seed at the Sydney International and world number 5, played a thrilling final for Poland at the Hopman Cup with Grzegorz Panfil on Saturday, but lost to France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Alize Cornet. But Cornet could not continue her run on Monday and lost to American Christina McHale who took the match 6-7 (4/7), 6-2, 7-5. German fifth seed Angelique Kerber beat last year’s runner-up Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 while qualifier Lauren Davis from the United States took on Australian wildcard Jarmila Gajdosova, winning 6-4, 7-6 (10/8). Romania’s Sorana Cirstea went down to Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova 6-4, 6-1 and American Victoria Duval lost to Kaia Kanepi from Estonia 6-1, 6-3. Fellow American Varvara Lepchenko-a late edition after the US’s Sloane Stephens pulled out with injury-beat Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 3-6, 7-5. In the men’s singles, French sixth seed Julien Benneteau beat Australian Matthew Ebden 6-2, 6-2 and Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin won over Spaniard Pablo Andujar 61, 6-2. — AFP

Radwanska faces down power to combat big hitters SYDNEY: Power is not one of the things used to describe Agniezska Radwanska’s tennis game. Touch, guile and tenacity would be more appropriate for the world number five, who begins the defence of her Sydney International title in the second round against American qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Radwanska, who combines her offseason with university studies, has realised she will probably never blast the likes of world number one Serena Williams or powerful Russian Maria Sharapova off court. So, like other top women players on the circuit, she gets used to combatting what is blasted back across at her with two male hitting partners. “I have couple of hitting partners, they’re guys, so of course they’re playing stronger than the girls,” Radwanska told reporters in Sydney when asked what she did to try to compete with the taller, more powerful women on tour. “So of course the practice (is) always a little bit harder and you do much more in practice to be prepared ... for the match.” Radwanska is the only player in the women’s top five who is playing this week to fine tune her preparations for the season opening grand slam in Melbourne that starts on Jan. 13. Williams, two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka and Sharapova all played in Brisbane, while China’s Li Na won the Shenzhen tour-

nament in her homeland. Radwanska skipped her title defence in Auckland to play the Hopman Cup this year after she spent more than two months away from competitive tennis following a gruelling Asian swing at the end of 2013. The three weeks in Asia had cost her at the season-ending W TA Championships in Istanbul, where she lost all three of her round robin matches, she said. “I think I really had a lot of matches in Asia. I played 13 matches in 18 days, which was a lot. “I think a little bit too much. “I thought I would be ready, and I just remember I had just two days off and I said ‘I’m going to practice and go back on court and be ready for the Championships’. “I think it was not enough rest between.” Eager to rest, but also to try to ensure she started 2014 in the same way she had in 2013, when she won 13 successive matches and claimed two titles before she lost to Li in the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park, she only took two weeks off after Istanbul. “I had vacation right after Istanbul. So two weeks after, and then of course back on court and hard work from the beginning. So I really practised a lot the last few weeks,” she said. “I really did a lot of fitness, you know, to be healthy and strong for the whole year. “Hopefully I can have the same good start of the season like last year. We’ll see.” — Reuters

SYDNEY: Former grand slam champions Svetlana Kuznetsova and Francesca Schiavone ended their competitive Australian Open preparations early with first round losses at the Sydney International yesterday. Double grand slam winner Kuznetsova, who had a good second half of 2013 to enter the Sydney tournament inside the top 20 after battling back from knee injuries in 2012, was surprisingly beaten 6-3 3-6 7-5 by American lucky loser Varvara Lepchenko. Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champion, was bundled out by Lucie Safarova 6-4 6-4. The 33-year-old Italian was also knocked out of the first round of the Brisbane tournament last week by former world number one Jelena Jankovic. Serbia’s Jankovic, the fourth seed in Sydney, is due to face Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova on the main Ken Rosewall Arena court later on Monday, while Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki will face Germany’s Julia Goerges. Australia’s Samantha Stosur’s bid to ensure she was not the third grand slam champion to leave a tournament in the first round yesterday was proving a struggle against American Madison Brengle at the Hobart International. Rain had disrupted play in Tasmania with Stosur and qualifier Brengle forced off court for more than two hours with the Australian holding a 2-1 lead in the first set. The 23-year-old Brengle, however, took advantage of the break to regroup and raced to a 6-5 lead in the first set to place the top seed under immense pressure before rain again forced them from the court. Wrist Injury Stosur, the 2011 US Open champion, has not advanced beyond the fourth round at home in the past five years, with six first round exits in 14

SYDNEY: Christina McHale of the US hits a return against Alize Cornet of France during their women’s singles match at the APIA Sydney International tennis tournament yesterday. — AFP tournaments in Sydney, Brisbane and the Australian Open. She lost all three of her matches in the Hopman Cup in Perth before entering Hobart, which had attracted a strong field before a rash of late withdrawals. Fifth seed Flavia Pennetta was the latest withdrawal from the tournament on Monday with a wrist injury, following seven-times grand slam champion Venus Williams, who pulled out on Sunday. Pennetta had been due to face Williams in the first round. “Unfortunately I felt some pain

in my wrist in Perth and it hasn’t had time to recover so sadly I have to withdraw,” Pennetta said. The 33-year-old Williams was beaten in the final of the Auckland Classic by Ana Ivanovic on Saturday and said she could not have withstood another tournament so went directly to Melbourne to prepare for the season-opening grand slam. Champion Elena Vesnina, who arrived in Hobart last week to prepare for her title defence, is scheduled to play Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig later yesterday. — Reuters

5 things to know about League Cup semifinals

MANCHESTER: The oft-derided League Cup is proving to be a saving grace for M a n c h e s t e r U n i t e d, We s t H a m a n d Sunderland amid their wretched campaigns in the Premier League. The competition that is widely regarded as inferior to the FA Cu p h a s re a c h e d t h e s e m i f i n a l s, w i t h Sunderland hosting United in their first leg today and West Ham visiting Manchester City tomorrow. While City is going strong in the league, United languishes in seventh place in a weak defense of its title and West Ham and Sunderland occupy the bottom two positions. United and West Ham were also knocked out of the FA Cup over the weekend. Here are five things to k now about this week’s League Cup semifinals:

Away Comforts Man United will be happy to be starting the semifinals away from Old Trafford, with the team unbeaten on its travels since the 41 loss in the Manchester derby in September. That run contains a 2 -1 win at Sunderland in October. Conversely, David Moyes’ side has lost four of its last six home matches in all competitions and the Old Trafford fear factor from the Alex Ferguson era looks to have disappeared. Speaking after a demoralizing 2-1 loss to Swansea in the FA Cup on Sunday, Moyes couldn’t say whether star strikers Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney would be back from injury for the first leg. What he did say, though, is that style could be sacrificed for substance as United seeks more consistency. “It doesn’t matter what style, whatever you do, you have to find a way of winning,” Moyes said. Cup Form Last-place Sunderland is relying on its results in cup competitions to salvage something from this season and give its fans something to cheer. Sunderland has beaten Chelsea and Southampton at home en route to the last four of the League Cup, and advanced to the fourth round of the FA Cup by easing past Carlisle on Sunday. “We are going to become a cup team,” Sunderland manager Gus Poyet said with a smile. Allardyce Secure Speculation that losing at Etihad Stadium may be the final straw for West Ham manager Sam Allardyce proved to be misguided, with the club’s co-chairmen putting on record

their support for the coach in an open letter on Monday. “We know Sam has not lost his ambition or desire and is committed to making West Ham United a great Premier League club,” the letter read. “Despite an extremely difficult draw,” it continued, “we are determined to do all we can to get to the (League) Cup final over two legs with Manchester City.” Allardyce will do well to get City back to Upton Park with the semifinal still up for grabs, given he has only 14 available senior players to choose from amid a savage injury crisis that leaves him without a fit center back and a shortage of genuine strikers. On Sunday, he made nine changes and fielded a number of youth-team players in an unrecognizable starting XI in the FA Cup against second-tier club Nottingham Forest. West Ham was crushed 5-0 in one of the most embarrassing results in its history. Unstoppable At Home Another reason Allardyce should be fearful is City’s continued excellence at home, where the team has a flawless domestic record after

11 matches in the league and cup. City manager Manuel Pellegrini rested a number of his top players for the 1-1 draw at second-tier club Blackburn in the FA Cup on Saturday, so the likes of Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Joe Hart will return against West Ham. “A good thing about this club is we have a big squad with a lot of players, so we can rotate without the change changing the way we play,” City striker Alvaro Negredo said. City is still involved in four competitions this season, but hasn’t reached the final of the League Cup since winning it in 1976. Hart No. 1 There’s no doubt now - Joe Hart is back as Manchester City’s No. 1. The England goalkeeper was dropped by Pellegrini after a string of errors in the first three months of the season, but regained his place from Costel Pantilimon for the games over the festive period and performed well. Pantilimon, meanwhile, was at fault for Blackburn’s equalizer in the 1-1 draw with City in the FA Cup on Saturday and is destined for another prolonged spell as Hart’s back-up. — AP

Di Natale to retire at end of season MILAN: Udinese striker Antonio Di Natale said he will retire at the end of the season, bringing an end to a career which has seen him top Serie A’s scoring charts on two occasions. In their first league outing of 2014, Udinese suffered a 3-1 defeat at home to Verona and Di Natale said post-match he intends to call it quits at the end of the campaign. “I’ve spoken to my family, and now I will speak to the club about it,” said the 36year-old Naples-born player. The news could not have come at a worse time for Udinese, who after a fifth place finish last season and a bright start to this campaign have dropped to 13th. Informed of the news, Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin told reporters: “I don’t know what to say. I didn’t know.” Despite playing at a club that has enjoyed little domestic success, Di Natale has been considered one of Italy’s most lethal strikers in recent years. He finished top scorer in the 2009-2010 Serie A season,

prompting an offer to join Juventus which he refused because his children were in school and well settled in the northern town of Udine. It also earned Di Natale a place at Italy’s disastrous 2010 World Cup, where he scored in a 3-2 defeat to Slovakia which left Italy bottom of their group and sealed their first round exit. Di Natale also finished top scorer in 2010-2011, two goals ahead of Napoli’s Edinson Cavani and seven ahead of Inter striker Samuel Eto’o. A season later, he finished joint third and the first Italian - in the Serie A scoring charts to earn a place at Euro 2012, where he was the only player to score against eventual winners Spain, during a 1-1 draw. Italy went on to the final but were defeated 4-0 by Spain. Last season Di Natale scored 23 goals to finish the season as the top-ranked Italian striker but six behind Uruguayan sensation Cavani. — AFP



Jayawardene not worried after 2 quick dismissals DUBAI: Sri Lanka’s seasoned batsman Mahela Jayawardene doesn’t blame a lack of test matches for his two quick dismissals in the drawn first test against Pakistan. Debutant Bilawal Bhatti dismissed Jayawardene for 5 and 0 in Abu Dhabi, and captain Angelo Mathews played a career-best knock of 157 not out to set up a stiff target of 302 and force Pakistan to settle for a draw. “Difficult to say that the long break had a big effect,” Jayawardene said Monday after the team’s training for the second test, which starts Wednesday. “I got two good balls and I couldn’t avoid getting out to them. I’m not thinking too much about what’s been, but I prepared well for that match and I’m preparing for the next one.”

The veteran of 139 test matches last played a test match against Australia in January 2013 before failing at Abu Dhabi. Jayawardene did not face Bhatti in last month’s Twenty20 and one-day series against Pakistan after he was given paternity leave. “When you face a bowler for the first time there is always a small difference,” said Jayawardene, who has hit 31 centuries and scored 10,811 runs. “He bowled in really good areas when I went to bat ... I had watched how Bhatti bowls, but watching him and playing him are very different things.” The Pakistan team was looking to finish off the first test inside four days after reducing Sri Lanka to 186-4 at the end of the third day’s play for an overall lead of just seven runs.

But Mathews featured in two big century stands with Dinesh Chandimal (89) and Prasanna Jayawardene (63 not out) before setting Pakistan left with no other choice but to play out a draw. Opening batsman Kaushal Silva (81) also scored a fine half century before he was dismissed in the last over on the third day. “The way our batsmen played in the second innings was really good ... We got back into the game and that’s what test cricket is about,” Jayawardene said. “When we are behind, we have to show a little character and we did that, even turning it into a potentially winning situation. That was a great boost of confidence, particularly for the young players who are getting that experience.”

Sri Lanka neutralized Pakistan offspinner Saeed Ajmal, who returned wicketless in the second innings despite bowling 49 overs to finish the match with just two wickets. “If we play him like we did in the first match and also play the quicks well, there’s a good chance we can win the series,” Jayawardene said. “We won the last series against Pakistan 1-0 in Sri Lanka by coming up with similar plans.” With Sri Lanka not playing much of test cricket this year, Jayawardene has not set long term goals for himself. “This year there are only 5 or 6 tests remaining,” he said. “I’ve said before that I don’t have a plan for the long term ... When you get to this stage in your cricketing career, it’s not easy to have long-term targets.” —AP

Jackson, Durant lead Thunder over Celtics

PYONGYANG: Former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman, foreground right, and fellow US basketball players arrive at a hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea after returning from an official dinner yesterday. Rodman arrived in the North Korean capital with a squad of former basketball stars in what he calls “basketball diplomacy,” although US officials have criticized his efforts. — AP

Rodman, ex-NBA All Stars arrive in North Korea PYONGYANG: Dennis Rodman said yesterday that a game he and other former National Basketball Association players are planning in North Korea will be a “birthday present” for one of their most unlikely fans: leader Kim Jong Un. Rodman’s squad - featuring ex-All Stars Kenny Anderson, Cliff Robinson and Vin Baker - will play against a team of North Koreans on Wednesday, which is believed to be Kim’s birthday. The former NBA players, who arrived in Pyongyang on Monday, also include Eric “Sleepy” Floyd, guard Doug Christie and Charles D. Smith, who played for the New York Knicks. Four streetballers are also on the squad. Rodman told The Associated Press he was glad to be in North Korea for the game, though he said he has gotten death threats for his repeated visits. He said proceeds from the game would go to a charity for the deaf in North Korea. “The marshal is actually trying to change this country in a great way,” Rodman said of Kim, using the leader’s official title. “I think that people thought that this was a joke, and Dennis Rodman is just doing this because fame and fortune.” Instead, he said, he sees the game as a “birthday present” for Kim and his country. “Just to even have us here, it’s an awesome feeling. I want these guys here to show the world, and speak about North Korea in a great light,” he said. “I hope people will have a different view about North Korea.” The game will be another milestone in Rodman’s surprising relationship with Kim, who rarely meets with foreigners and about whom very little is known outside of North Korea. Rodman is the highest-profile American to meet Kim since the leader inherited power after his father, Kim Jong Il, died in late 2011. Rodman traveled to North Korea for the first time last February with the Harlem Globetrotters for an HBO series. After spending time together, Rodman called Kim a “friend for life” and came back just before Christmas to hold tryouts for the North Korean basketball team, though he did not

meet with Kim then. Rodman has been given the red-carpet treatment on each of his trips, but visiting North Korea for any high-profile American is a political minefield. To keep the game itself friendly, the two sides will only play against each other in the first half, and then mix together in the second. Americans are regarded as enemies in North Korea since the two countries never signed a peace treaty to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War. Thousands of U.S. troops are still based in South Korea, and the Demilitarized Zone between the North and South is one of the most heavily fortified borders in the world. Relations are also tense because of the North’s development of nuclear weapons and its threats to use them if a conflict breaks out with Washington or Seoul. Rodman has also been slammed for not trying to use his influence with Kim to secure the release of Kenneth Bae, an American missionary with health problems who is being held in North Korea on charges of committing “anti-state” crimes. To make the trip more complicated, Kim’s once-powerful uncle was recently executed for a long litany of alleged crimes, including trying divide the regime and usurp power from Kim. Although that has generated speculation abroad about the regime’s unity, North Korean officials say the execution settled the issue and there is no instability. Rodman, however, says none of that is his concern. “I’m not a president, I’m not a politician, I’m not an ambassador,” he said before arriving. “I’m just an athlete and the reason for me to go is to bring peace to the world, that’s it. That’s all I want, no money. I want no money, no money.” Former Knicks player Smith said he hopes the game will lead to better relations between the two countries. “It’s new being here, but overall the concept is not new,” he said. “The team is made up of a lot of guys who really care, that’s the most important, it’s not about bringing dream-teamers. It’s about guys who are coming that want to be a part of this, that care, and really that care about humanity.” — AP

OKLAHOMA CITY: Reggie Jackson scored a career-high 27 points, Kevin Durant added 21 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, and the Oklahoma City Thunder halted their homecourt swoon with a 119-96 win over the Boston Celtics on Sunday night. Serge Ibaka added 17 points and 11 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which had lost three of its previous four home games after starting the season 13-0 at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder (27-7) have the best record in the Western Conference. Oklahoma City is 4-2 since All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook had arthroscopic knee surger y on Dec. 27. Jeff Green and Aver y Bradley scored 19 points apiece for Boston, which has lost four straight games and seven of its last eight. A day after the Thunder narrowly avoided a three-game losing streak - rallying from a 13point fourth-quarter deficit to win at Minnesota behind Durant’s season-high 48-point effort they seized control early against the Celtics, going on a 10-0 run in the first quarter and never trailed again. Oklahoma City matched its season high for points in a half and led 66-56 at the break. The Thunder scored the first six points of the second half and the Celtics came no closer than 11 the rest of the way. Durant didn’t record his first field goal until 51/2 minutes into the second quarter, but still had 17 points by halftime thanks to 9-of-10 free throw shooting. He sat out the entire fourth quarter with the game in hand. Jackson hit six of his first seven shots and was 3 of 3 from 3point range while scoring 19 in the first half. He surpassed his previous career high of 23 points with 2:57 left in the third quarter, taking a pass from Durant and rising for a one-handed dunk. Jackson finished 9 of 12 from the field. Ibaka followed with another slam moments later to put Oklahoma City ahead 89-68. Jordan Crawford scored 17 points and Kris Humphries added 14 for the Celtics. Jeremy Lamb scored 13 points and Kendrick Perkins added a seasonhigh 12 points to go with six rebounds for the Thunder. Heat 102, Raptors 97 Rallying from a nine-point, third-quarter deficit, the Miami Heat earned a victory over the Toronto Raptors in a battle of division leaders. LeBron James led the Heat with 30 points and the Southeast Division-leading Heat (26-8) won for the 10th time in their past 12 games. Toronto got a team-high 26 points from guard DeMar DeRozan, who pulled Toronto to within 96-95 with 1:04 left in the fourth quarter before Miami closed the game at the free throw line. Toronto, which leads the Atlantic Division at 16-16, had its five-game win streak snapped but is 9-4 since they traded forward Rudy Gay. Pacers 82, Cavaliers 78 All-Star forward Paul George had a teamhigh 16 points and six assists, as the Indiana Pacers held off the stubborn Cavaliers. The Pacers (27-6) saw their 16-point, fourth-quarter lead cut to just one in the final minute but recovered to seal it at the free throw line. Dion Waiters scored 12 of his 14 points in the fourth to lead a comeback for the Cavs (11-23). Warriors 112, Wizards 96 Klay Thompson scored 26 points on six 3pointers and David Lee had 21 points and 11 rebounds as the Golden State Warriors won their ninth straight game. The Warriors (23-13) used a 30-5 run during the third quarter to pull

DALLAS: Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Shawn Marion, Monta Ellis New York Knicks forwards Amar’e Stoudemire (1) and Carmelo Anthony (7) and Dallas Mavericks forward Shawn Marion (0) and guard Monta Ellis (11) scramble for a loose ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game, in Dallas. The Knicks won 92-80. — AP

NBA results/standings Memphis 112, Detroit 84; Indiana 82, Cleveland 78; Miami 102, Toronto 97; Golden State 112, Washington 96; Oklahoma City 119, Boston 96; NY Knicks 92, Dallas 80; Denver 137, LA Lakers 115. Western Conference Eastern Conference Atlantic Division Northwest Division W L PCT GB Oklahoma City 27 7 .794 Toronto 16 16 .500 26 8 .765 1 Portland Boston 13 21 .382 4 Denver 16 17 .485 10.5 Brooklyn 12 21 .364 4.5 Minnesota 16 17 .485 10.5 Philadelphia 12 21 .364 4.5 Utah 11 25 .306 17 NY Knicks 11 22 .333 5.5 Pacific Division Central Division Golden State 23 13 .639 Indiana 27 6 .818 23 13 .639 LA Clippers Chicago 14 18 .438 12.5 Phoenix 20 12 .625 1 Detroit 14 20 .412 13.5 14 20 .412 8 Cleveland 11 23 .324 16.5 LA Lakers Sacramento 10 22 .313 11 Milwaukee 7 26 .212 20 Southwest Division Southeast Division San Antonio 26 8 .765 Miami 26 8 .765 22 13 .629 4.5 Houston Atlanta 18 16 .529 8 19 15 .559 7 Washington 14 17 .452 10.5 Dallas 15 17 .469 10 Charlotte 15 20 .429 11.5 New Orleans 15 18 .455 10.5. Orlando 10 23 .303 15.5 Memphis away and have won nine straight games for the first time since 1975. Point guard John Wall had 14 points and 10 assists for the Wizards (14-17), who have lost three straight games. Knicks 92, Mavericks 80 New York forward Carmelo Anthony scored a game -high 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds as the Knicks completed a solid fourgame road trip. The Knicks (11-22) split their four-game road trip, but they went 2-1 against the Texas trio of the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets and Dallas. The Mavericks (19-15) dropped their fourth consecutive home game. Grizzlies 112, Pistons 84 Reserve forward Joe Leuer tied his careerhigh with 23 points and power forward Zach

Randolph powered for 16 points and 16 rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies blew out the Detroit Pistons. It was the Grizzlies’ (15-18) eighth consecutive win over the Pistons. Power forward Greg Monroe had 19 points for the Pistons (14-20), who have lost four straight. Nuggets 137, Lakers 115 Nate Robinson scored 12 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, sparking the Denver Nuggets to a rout of the Los Angeles Lakers. The Nuggets (16-17), who won their second straight after ending an eight-game losing streak with a win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday, dealt the Lakers their seventh defeat in their last eight outings. Pau Gasol led Los Angeles (14-20) with 25 points and 10 rebounds. — Reuters

Pakistan look to spinners for win over Sri Lanka DUBAI: Pakistan are hoping for a wicket that takes turn to give their spinners an edge in the second Test against Sri Lanka star ting tomorrow in Dubai. Saeed Ajmal toiled for 49 wicketless overs in Sri Lanka’s second innings in the drawn first Test in Abu Dhabi last week, as skipper Angelo Mathews hit a career best 157 not out. His fighting knock helped Sri Lanka erase Pakistan’s 179-run lead and set them a 302-run victory target. They finished on 158-2. It was the first time in Ajmal’s 31-Test career that the 36-yearold had bowled more than 17 overs in a second innings and finished wicketless. Ajmal has taken 24 wickets at Dubai stadium, including seven against England which helped Pakistan inflict a 3-0 series defeat on the then-world number one team in 2012. Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq is hoping his spinners get more help from the pitch in Dubai for the second of three Tests. “It was a sort of a setback for

both teams as regards spinners in Abu Dhabi, but I think the Dubai wicket will be different and spinners will get turn on the third day,” he said. Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by nine wickets in Dubai on their way to a 1-0 series win in 2011. In that game Ajmal took eight wickets and Abdul Rehman four. Left-arm spinner Rehman is likely to replace fast bowler Rahat Ali, who went wicketless in the first Test. Despite hundreds from Misbah and Younis Khan last week, Pakistan will also look to bolster their batting after they slumped from 329-4 to 383 all out in their first innings in Abu Dhabi. “We need to work on our batting more as we should have got 450-odd runs on the board to have a big lead to put pressure on the opposition,” said Misbah. Pakistan have the option of replacing opener Khurram Manzoor with Shan Masood. The recalled Sarfraz Ahmed will keep wicket after Adnan Akmal had to return home following a fractured finger

in the first Test. Sri Lanka have summoned one-day opener Kusal Perera after Lahiru Thirimanne failed to recover from an ankle injury. They have not sought a replacement for paceman Nuwan Kulasekara, who returned home with a hamstring injury. Sri Lanka will be counting on the vastly experienced Mahela Jayawardene to come good after he failed in the first Test, managing five and nought. Spinner Rangana Herath will also look for more rewards after getting just four wickets in Abu Dhabi. And off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake will try to secure his place in the side after getting support from his skipper. “We all know Sachithra is a good spinner. Playing in his first Test, it was not easy playing on a pitch like this,” said Mathews after Senanayake went wicketless in Abu Dhabi. Mathews, who scored 91 in the first innings before his unbeaten century in the second, was delighted with his own form.

“I was a little bit under pressure and I am happy that I justified my place,” he said. Teams (from): Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Khurram Manzoor, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan, Sarfraz Ahmed, Junaid Khan, Saeed Ajmal, Abdul Rehman, Rahat Ali, Mohammad Talha. Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (capt), Dinesh Chandimal, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Kaushal Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Perera, Prasanna Jayawardene, Suranga Lakmal, Shaminda Eranga, Nuwan Pradeep, Sachithra Senanayake, Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera, Vishwa Fernando. Umpires: Bruce Oxenford (AUS) and Sundaram Ravi(IND) TV umpire: Richard Kettleborough (ENG) Match referee: Javagal Srinath (IND). — AFP

DUBAI: Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Irfan delivers a ball during a practice session at the Dubai Sports city in Dubai yesterday. Sri Lanka and Pakistan are due to play three Test matches, the second Test match starting tomorrow at the Dubai Sports city cricket stadium. — AFP



France call up uncapped Stade trio, but no Michalak MARCOUSSIS: Stade Francais saw their surging Top 14 form rewarded when a trio of uncapped players were yesterday called up for France’s Six Nations squad, notably fly-half Jules Plisson ahead of the experienced Francois Trinh-Duc and Frederic Michalak. Coach Philippe Saint-Andre also handed call-ups to storming blindside flanker Antoine Burban and full-back Hugo Bonneval, while Castres full-back Geoffrey Palis is included in a national squad for the first time. Plisson, 22, has been at the play-making heart of Stade Francais’ surge to second in the highly competitive Top 14, even up against the skills and kicking ability of teammate Morne Steyn, the current Springbok fly-half. In the absence of the injured Camille Lopez, Plisson was preferred by Saint-Andre to Michalak, who has played only once for Toulon since the end of November, and Montpellier’s Trinh-Duc, who can count himself unlucky to miss out. Although previous coach Marc Lievremont’s preferred starting No 10, Trinh-Duc is not a favourite

with Saint-Andre, having only played a total of 85 minutes in 2013 in five matches in a variety of positions. “There were talks over Jules Plisson and Francois again this morning,” Saint-Andre admitted. “Francois is making a massive effort and he’s almost there, but Jules Plisson is currently putting in some high-quality performances. “We’ve picked the most in-form and confident players of the moment.” Turning to Michalak, SaintAndre said: “Frederic was the starter in last year’s Six Nations and he played exceptionally in the November 2012 Tests. “But he got injured and is currently lacking game time. He needs more time.” Burban’s defensive workrate and scavenging skills have seen him establish himself as arguably the leading flanker in the French league. The 26year-old has benefited from the absence through injury of Racing-Metro rival Wenceslas Lauret for his inclusion in the 30-man squad and he and Toulouse No 8 Louis Picamoles are the sole additions up front from the forwards who disputed the November internationals. Bonneval has thrived off the domi-

nance granted the Stade backs by their rock-solid set-piece play and has proved himself steady under the high ball, thus earning a second call-up to a France squad. Racing-Metro scrum-half Maxime Machenaud, back from injury, is named alongside Toulouse’s Jean-Marc Doussain, in place of Morgan Parra and Jonathan Pelissie. Among the centres, Toulon’s Mathieu Bastareaud takes the place of Florian Fritz, unavailable through injuries sustained in a motorbike accident. The team are set to wind up their preparations for the tournament, won last year by Wales, at a training camp beginning on January 19 in Canet-en-Rousillon. France open their campaign on February 1 when they host England at the Stade de France. SaintAndre will be hoping 2014 makes for better reading than last year, when France lost eight of their 11 Tests, drawing another and winning just two. It was the national team’s worst record since 1980, but concerted efforts will now be made to get back on track in time for the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.

Squad Forwards (16): Thomas Domingo (Clermont), Yannick Forestier (Castres), Benjamin Kayser (Clermont), Dimitri Szarzewski (Racing-Metro), Nicolas Mas (Montpellier), Rabah Slimani (Stade Francais), Alexandre Flanquart (Stade Francais), Yoann Maestri ( Toulouse), Pascal Pape (Stade Francais), Sebastien Vahaamahina (Perpignan), Antoine Burban (Stade Francais), Thierr y Dusautoir ( Toulouse, capt), Bernard Le Roux (Racing-Metro), Yannick Nyanga ( Toulouse), Damien Chouly (Clermont), Louis Picamoles (Toulouse) Backs (14): Jean-Marc Doussain ( Toulouse), Maxime Machenaud (Racing-Metro), Jules Plisson (Stade Francais), Remi Tales (Castres), Mathieu Bastareaud ( Toulon), Gael Fickou ( Toulouse), Wesley Fofana (Clermont), Maxime Mermoz (Toulon), Sofiane Guitoune (Perpignan), Yoann Huget (Toulouse), Maxime Medard (Toulouse), Geoffrey Palis (Castres), Hugo Bonneval (Stade Francais), Brice Dulin (Castres). — AFP

Over-heated Sousa takes Dakar opener KIROV: In this photo provided by, Olympic torch bearers Vyacheslav Kokorin, left, and Konstantin Bakulev hold Olympic torches during the torch relay in Kirov, Russia, Sunday. The relay for the Sochi Winter Games, which began on Oct 7, 2013 in Moscow, will pass through many cities that showcase the historical, cultural and ethnic richness of Russia. — AP SOCHI OLYMPICS

The good and the bad LONDON: Today marks the 1-month countdown to the start of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, a defining moment on the world stage for Russia and Vladimir Putin. These games are among the most contentious in Olympic history, embroiled in controversy over terrorist threats, human rights, gay rights, cost overruns, corruption and environmental damage. But is it all doom and gloom for Putin’s pet project? Before the Olympic cauldron is lit on Feb. 7, it’s time for a look at the good and the bad for Russia’s first Winter Games. The negatives: TERROR THREAT: The two bombings in Volgograd - which killed 34 people in suicide attacks on the rail station and a trolley bus - have escalated the security alarm. Sochi is located on the edge of the Caucasus region, where insurgents are seeking to create an Islamic state. Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov has urged his fighters to attack the Sochi Olympics, which he described as “satanic dances on the bones of our ancestors.” A massive security apparatus will be in place for the games, meaning painstaking metal-detector, X-ray and other checks for athletes, spectators and media. Ticketholders will need to obtain “spectator passes,” providing passport and other information to authorities. Email, phone and internet usage will reportedly be monitored by Russian security agencies. Putin is expected to attend many Olympic events, causing further security lockdowns. A heavy presence of Russian security forces could turn the games into an armed camp and undermine any prospect of a welcoming, festival atmosphere. GAY RIGHTS: The Russian law banning gay “propaganda” has caused a furious backlash in the West and tarnished the country’s international reputation heading into the Olympics. While Russia has promised there will be no discrimination at the games, critics continue to bash the law. The IOC has been assailed for not pushing Russia to repeal the legislation. Some athletes are planning to make their views known in Sochi, either by speaking out or carrying or wearing symbols promoting gay rights. That’s something which could land athletes in trouble with the IOC, which prohibits any political gestures at the games. HUMAN RIGHTS: Russia’s human rights record remains under scrutiny. With the games approaching, Putin has launched a charm offensive of sorts - pardoning former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and granting amnesty for Pussy Riot punk band members and Greenpeace activists. He has even rescinded an order banning any demonstrations in or around the games. Critics call the moves window dressing. Will protest applications be granted? Will anyone dare come out to demonstrate? Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch has accused Russian authorities of mistreating migrant workers and harassing activists and journalists. PUTIN’S POLITICS: Putin’s prickly relations with the West have soured any “feel-good” factor about the Olympics. Tensions with the U.S. and President Barack Obama grew after Putin granted temporary asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Putin’s policies on Syria and Iran, and Russia’s backsliding on democratic reforms have antagonized Western leaders. For the first time since 2000, the U.S. delegation to the Olympics will not include a president, vice president or first lady. Obama is sending several openly gay athletes, including tennis great Billie Jean King and figure skater Brian Boitano. French President Francois Hollande and German President Joachim Gauck are not going to Sochi, either. WEATHER WORRIES: Sochi is a subtropical resort on the Black Sea. Temperatures on the coast, where the indoor ice events will be held, will be mild. That’s fine, but there is uncertainty over conditions in the mountains for the snow events. While there is already a good layer of snow in place, a spell of warm or wet weather could cause problems. As a precaution, organizers have

stored up 450,000 cubic meters of snow. Also worth noting: flooding and avalanches are common in the region. RECORD COST: $51 billion. That’s the overall price tag for the games, by far the most expensive in history, summer or winter, and more than three times the budget of the 2012 London Games. The cost includes the long-term investment in roads, tunnels, railways and ski facilities. Everything has been built from scratch as Russia seeks to turn Sochi into a year-round tourist destination. The costs have soared way above previous projections amid allegations of financial mismanagement, corruption and favors doled out to oligarchs and Putin’s friends. So what’s the good news then? Yes, there are things to look forward to. Here’s a sampling: NEW SPORTS: Twelve new events are on the sports program in Sochi, with women’s ski jumping perhaps the biggest attraction. Female jumpers are making their debut after being rejected for inclusion in Vancouver four years ago. In a nod to the young X Games generation, the IOC has also added ski halfpipe and ski and snowboard slopestyle events. Snowboard star Shaun White, aka the Flying Tomato, will unveil a new trick - a frontside double-cork 1440. It’s a variation of the Double McTwist 1260 he nailed at the 2010 Vancouver Games. HOCKEY FEVER: The NHL players are back. Hockey is the sport Russia really cares about and the host nation will be out to make amends after the disaster in Vancouver. The Russians failed to medal in hockey, knocked out in the quarterfinals by Canada. It was symbolic of Russia’s worst overall showing at a Winter Games, winning only 15 medals and finishing 11th in the table. Sochi will offer a chance of redemption for superstar Alex Ovechkin, who is desperate to lead Russia to its first Olympic title since a “Unified Team” of former Soviet republics took gold in Albertville in 1992. Of course, Canada and the US might have something to say about that. SKI STARS: Alpine skiing features the anticipated returns of American stars Lindsey Vonn and Bode Miller from knee injuries, though Vonn’s status remains uncertain. High-profile medal contenders include 18-year-old American Mikaela Shiffrin, as well as Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway and Tina Maze of Slovenia. COMPACT LAYOUT: All the indoor venues and the stadium for the ceremonies are located in the Olympic Park in the coastal cluster. It’s possible to walk or take a short shuttle bus between all the venues. The mountain cluster is only about 45 minutes away. It’s a much more compact setup than previous games in Vancouver and Turin. Spectators can use a brand new train service to travel between the coast and the mountains.

SAN LUIS: Portugal’s Carlos Sousa, driving a Haval, claimed the opening stage of the 36th Dakar Rally on Sunday, but double defending champion Stephane Peterhansel lost time after suffering a puncture. Sousa finished the 180km special from Rosario to San Luis in 2hr 20min 36sec with Argentina’s Orlando Terranova, in a Mini, 11 seconds behind and fellow Mini driver, Qatar’s 2011 champion Nasser AlAttiyah, in third, 47 seconds back. Sousa said he “suffered like a dog” after his Chinese-made Haval over-heated, sending dirty air into the driver’s compartment. “Our car doesn’t have air conditioning and all the air inlets got clogged. After 50 kilometres, the turbo air outlet broke down and sent all the air directly towards me,” he said. “It must have got hotter than 70 degrees centigrade and we had trouble breathing. The reason I drove so fast was that I wanted to get out of that inferno, but I really thought we wouldn’t make it. “ We suffered like dogs to earn it.” France’s Peterhansel, in a third Mini, and seeking a 12th overall title (after six on motorcycles and five in cars), suffered a puncture and was down in sixth place, 4min 21sec behind Sousa. “At 30km before the finish we had a flat tyre. Apart from the flat, I had good feelings with the car and the special. True, it wasn’t a great start, since losing three minutes in such a short special is nothing to write home about, but it’s a start nonetheless,” said Peterhansel. Honda’s Joan Barreda clocked a time of 2hr 25min 31sec to take the motorcycle stage with Spanish compatriot Marc Coma, on a KTM, 37 seconds behind. Frenchman Cyril Despres, the defending champion and seeking a sixth career title, was in third, 1min 40sec off the provisional leader. “I’m really happy with the first stage. At the beginning I had some trouble easing into the race due to a slight problem with the suspension, but afterwards everything went smoothly,” said Barreda.

BISCHOFSHOFEN: Austria’s new wonder boy Thomas Diethart won the Four Hills ski jumping tournament in Bischofshofen yesterday in an event that went right down to the wire. Diethart, 21, a virtual unknown just three weeks ago, beat his compatriot Thomas Morgenstern and Swiss fourtime Olympic champion Simon Ammann to take the tournament trophy. He scored 296.5 points after two jumps, beating Slovenia’s Peter Prevc with 294.8 points and 2011 Four Hills winner Morgenstern with 293.6 points. This gave him a total 1012.6 points over four events and makes it six wins in a row for the Austrian team at the prestigious tournament, which began on December 29 in Oberstdorf, Germany. Diethart was already leading the Four Hills standings going into yesterday’s event. The youngster with the distinctive earrings shot to the top of the standings on New Year’s Day in only his sixth World Cup outing. Still ahead after Saturday’s event in Innsbruck, which was cut short due to strong winds, he gave a commanding performance in Bischofshofen on Monday, surpassing his closest rival Ammann in a first-round duel. Ammann, affectionately nicknamed Harry Potter since he won his first Olympic gold medals in Salt Lake City in 2002, has repeatedly said he is desperate to add the Four Hills trophy to his already impressive collection, which includes a world championship gold and a World Cup title. But he was unable to keep up with his Austrian rivals in the final leg, despite sitting out Sunday’s training and qualification rounds to recuperate,

D-Day comes, it feels good to be racing again.” This year, 431 vehicles, taking part in the auto, motorbike, quad and lorr y events, will cross Argentina, Bolivia and Chile. But they could run into environmental protests along the way with fears over the impact of the race on the world’s highest salt flats at Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, despite only the motorcycles being allowed to cross into the country. In Chile, concerns have been raised over possible damage caused by the vehicles roaring over the Inca Trail. The second stage of the race on Monday is over 400km from San Luis to San Rafael. — AFP

Thomas Diethart and must be satisfied with a tournament third place. Diethart, in his second World Cup win, now walks home with 20,000 Swiss francs (16,245 euros, $22,121) in prize money and the “golden eagle” trophy. World champion Kamil Stoch of Poland, the current overall World Cup leader, finished seventh in the Four Hills, having performed poorly at the start of the tournament due to illness. Japan’s Noriaki Kasai, one of the veterans here and a crowd favourite, was fifth in the final standings in his 23rd Four Hills competition. Austrian

record World Cup winner Gregor Schlierenzauer, on the other hand, was unable to defend his title, taking eighth place. Kasai’s Japanese colleague and World Cup number 10 Taku Takeuchi did not compete due to illness, after already missing Sunday’s training and qualification rounds. The ski jumpers now move on to the ski flying event-which take place on a 200metre (656-foot) hill, rather than ski jumping’s usual 130 or 140 metres-in Tauplitz, Austria on January 11-12. — AFP

Webb Simpson, with heavy heart in 3-way tie for lead

THE BOSS: Dmitry Chernyshenko, a native of Sochi, is the affable head of the local organizing committee. The bespectacled Chernyshenko, who comes from the world of advertising, loves technology. He carries an iPad wherever he goes and is an enthusiastic user of Twitter (@DChernyshenko, enko). He led Sochi’s winning bid for the games and has spent the last seven years getting the city ready for its big moment.

AND FINALLY: Hey, the mascots are kind of cute. — AP

Despres, the champion in 2005, 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2013, said it had been an emotional day for him on his debut for Yamaha, having switched from KTM this year. “I took some time to find my bearings and ease into my pace,” said Despres. “The first special is always tough when you come from cold Europe and you get thrown into the thick of things, so I’m happy to get good feelings. “I got a bit emotional at the start, what with starting a new adventure... It was a difficult year, with the decision to move to Yamaha, and then having to prepare the motorcycle, working with the entire team... So when

Austria’s Diethart wins Four Hills

THE VENUES: They’re brand new, they’re ready and they’ll look great on TV. Gleaming arenas are in place for hockey, curling, speedskating and figure skating.

THE STAKES: National pride and Putin’s personal prestige are on the line. There’s simply too much at play for Russia not to make the games a success. Besides, once the competition begins, the athletes take center stage and the host nation begins winning medals, the atmosphere invariably takes off.

SAN LUIS: Mini driver Orlando Terranova, of Argentina, and co-pilot Paulo Fiuza, of Portugal, race during the first stage of the Dakar Rally between the cities of Rosario and San Luis in San Luis, Argentina, Sunday. — AP

KAPALUA: Webb Simpson drives off the 18th tee box during the third round of the Tournament of Champions golf tournament, Sunday, in Kapalua, Hawaii. — AP

KAPALUA: Webb Simpson might have pulled out of the Tournament of Champions to be with his caddie if he were not on an island in the middle of the Pacific. Reassurance came from Paul Tesori, his caddie and close friend whose newborn son is in intensive care in a Florida hospital. “Paul sent me a text this morning, just told me he loved me and wanted to go out and fight as hard as I would any other day,” Simpson said Sunday after doing just that. Simpson made four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the back nine at Kapalua for a 5-under 68, giving him a share of the lead with defending champion Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth going into the final round yesterday on the Plantation Course. On a glorious day of sun and surf, Simpson played with a heavy heart. His caddie and friend, Paul Tesori, was in a hospital in Florida with newborn son Isaiah in intensive care. Simpson said the child suffered a seizure shortly after he was born with indications of an infection in his brain. One of Tesori’s best friends in the business is Ted Scott, the caddie for Bubba Watson, who is filling in this week

as Simpson’s caddie. Tesori tweeted that he tuned into the telecast at Kapalua in time to see his son’s name on Scott’s hat. “I felt like we were out there playing for Isaiah,” Simpson said. “Paul needs something to watch there in the hospital. It’s been a long few days, so hopefully, we gave him something good to see on TV. But it was tough. I was thinking about him a lot out there.” Winning yesterday won’t be easy. Simpson was the first to reach 14-under 205, thanks to a terrific par save on the 17th and a long two-putt par on the 18th hole, a par 5 with a front hole location that made it difficult to get close because the green and the grain move sharply away. Spieth, the 20-year-old Texan who looks just as good as he did during a sensational rookie season, got back into the mix with a tough birdie on the par-3 eighth and capped off a 69 with a 15-foot birdie putt on the 17th and a long two-putt for par on the 18th. Spieth won the John Deere Classic last year. This is his first time with at least a share of the 54-hole lead. —AP



Rousseff says Brazil will meet World Cup challenges BRASILIA: Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff yesterday insisted her giant nation would pull off a successful World Cup, swatting aside FIFA criticism that the hosts started preparing late. “We love football and so we shall proudly receive the Cup and make it the Cup of Cups,” Rousseff insisted on her Twitter feed. “Demand for tickets is the biggest there has been for any Cup, and that shows fans across the world have confidence in Brazil,” Rousseff added, in comments which prompted FIFA president Sepp Blatter to make conciliatory noises over the Twittersphere. In his opening gambit, Blatter, in an interview published Sunday in Switzerland, had chided Brazil for being slow to start preparations for its first World Cup since 1950.

“Brazil has come to realize that they started too late. They are the country who are the most delayed (in terms of World Cup organization) since I have been at FIFA,” Blatter told Swiss newspaper 24 Hours. “Yet they are the only country who have had such a long time-seven years to prepare.” On Monday, however, he tempered his criticism. “I fully agree with @dilmabr tweets today. The whole world, including me, is looking forward to#CopadasCopas (Cup of Cups). Brazil will be a great host. Brazil 2014 will be a success,” Blatter tweeted, accepting the hosts are working hard to finalize preparations. The tournament kicks off June 12 with a match in Sao Paulo between five-time champions Brazil and Croatia. But the build-up has been plagued by con-

struction delays and spiraling costs, as well as civil unrest over the billions being spent on the tournament and also the 2016 Rio Olympics. Rousseff, who was booed along with Blatter when she attended last June’s Confederations Cup dress rehearsal, insisted Brazil will get it right. “Brazilians start 2014 confident in our hosting,” she tweeted. “The tourists will have the opportunity to get to know this multicultural and resilient country,” the leftist leader added. “Everyone who comes to Brazil will be well received,” she said. “We are a happy, welcoming people.”Fueling FIFA’s concerns is the fact that several stadia still have yet to be completed. A double fatality in late November at the Sao Paulo arena staging the opening match put back that stadium’s comple-

tion schedule and tests will only take place there in mid-April. There have also been construction worker deaths in the Amazonian city of Manaus on two occasions, as well as in the capital city Brasilia. FIFA originally had insisted all 12 venues be ready by December 31, but was compelled to drop the deadline after it became clear that almost half the venues would not meet it. The specter of further social unrest also hangs over the event, despite most Brazilians saying they back the event itself. Blatter insists security will be state of the art, and said in his Swiss interview that “I believe that Brazilians will not attack football directly. This is the sport’s home, it’s a religion,” a point echoed by Rousseff. — AFP

Arkansas State beat Ball State 23-20 MOBILE: Arkansas State was down to an interim coach, a backup quarterback and less than a minute remaining in the game. None of it fazed the Red Wolves, who are used to a little bit of postseason adversity. Allen Muse caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Fredi Knighten with 32 seconds remaining to lift Arkansas State past Ball State 23-20 at the GoDaddy Bowl on Sunday night. Ball State had a chance to tie at the end of regulation, but Scott Secor’s 38-yard field-goal attempt was blocked by Ryan Carrethers as time expired. For a second straight season, Arkansas State shrugged off a coaching change to win the GoDaddy Bowl. Arkansas State lost coach Bryan Harsin to Boise State in December. He’s the latest in a string of three ASU coaches, including Hugh Freeze (Mississippi) and Gus Malzahn (Auburn), who have left the program for a more highprofile job. John Thompson was the team’s interim coach for a second straight season, and the veteran defensive coordinator led a staff that managed to cobble together a workable offense with Knighten, who replaced injured starter Adam Kennedy in the second quarter. Thompson was not retained by new coach Blake Anderson - the former North Carolina offensive coordinator who is Arkansas State’s fifth head coach in five seasons - but is confident he left the program in good hands. Despite all the coaching changes, Arkansas State has won 28 games over the past three seasons, turning into one of the Sun Belt Conference’s best programs. “Arkansas State is not just that little football team up there in northeast Arkansas,” Thompson said. “Arkansas State should now have a national brand. I don’t think there were many other football games going on tonight. There are a lot of good things about (this win).” Quitting Knighten rescued Arkansas State’s offense on Sunday after Kennedy left the game in the second quarter with a knee injury, finishing with 115 yards passing and 97 yards rushing. Muse, who considered quitting football following his father’s suicide three years ago, wound up with the biggest catch of the night just five plays after Ball State scored what appeared to be the decisive touchdown. “I’m extremely blessed,” Muse said. “It’s

really hard to put into words what this means.” Ball State (10-3) went ahead 20-16 with 1:33 remaining on a 1-yard touchdown run by Jahwan Edwards, but couldn’t hold the lead. Edwards finished with a game-high 146 yards rushing, but had to watch as Arkansas State rallied for the win. “It’s not over until the time’s over,” Edwards said. “It’s hard to swallow.” Keith Wenning capped his Ball State career with 215 yards passing, one touchdown and one interception. He’s the first Ball State quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards in a season. Arkansas State moved the ball well throughout the third quarter, but had to settle for two short field goals to take a 1610 lead. It nearly came back to haunt them. But Knighten’s clutch throw to Muse proved to be the difference. Ball State still had a chance to tie. The Cardinals drove downfield - and with the help of a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Arkansas State’s Andrew Tryon for a late hit - lined up for the 38-yard field goal with 2 seconds left. But it never got past the line of scrimmage, smacking off Carrethers hands and setting off an Arkansas State celebration that quickly spilled onto the field. “It was crazy,” Carrethers said. “I’ve never experienced anything like that. To put everything on the line and then come through like that - it was an amazing feeling. I couldn’t have written it any better.” Ball State’s normally prolific passing offense struggled early in the game. Wenning missed on four of his first five pass attempts - and also took a vicious hit on a sack by Rocky Hayes. “When we pressured him, our guys brought some steam,” Thompson said. “Just hitting him. (Quarterbacks) don’t like to get hit.” Edwards rushed for 92 yards in the first half, including 44 yards on a 14-play drive that ended with Wenning’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Willie Snead. It helped Ball State push out to a 10-3 lead by late in the second quarter, but Arkansas State responded with its own long drive just before halftime, capped by Sirgregory Thornton’s 1-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 10. Wenning, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound senior, holds just about every passing record in Ball State history, but struggled in his finale. He completed 23 of 44 passes. “The seniors and the rest of the team - that’s who I’m hurting for right now,” Wenning said. — AP

GREEN BAY: Green Bay Packers defensive end Mike Daniels (76) sacks San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Sunday, in Green Bay, Wis. — AP

Rematches galore in next NFL playoff round


he road was kind in the wild-card round. The next challenge might be more daunting for the Saints, 49ers and Chargers. Not to mention the Colts, the only team to win at home this weekend. Not that any of the first-round playoff winners are shying away from the next test. Rather, their attitude is “Bring it on.” “They got us the first time,” 49ers AllPro linebacker NaVorro Bowman said of the Carolina Panthers, who won at San Francisco two months ago. “What’s on our minds is to get them now. It’s the playoffs, win or go home.” Going ahead were the 49ers after a 23-20 victory at frigid Green Bay; New Orleans, which finally got a postseason win away from the Big Easy by beating Philadelphia 26-24; San Diego, a 27-10 winner at Cincinnati, which had not lost at home all season; and Indianapolis, a 45-44 victor against Kansas City thanks to a stunning come-

back from a 28-point deficit. Next Saturday, it’s New Orleans (12-5) at Seattle (13-3) on Saturday, followed by Indianapolis (12-5) at New England (12-4). Sunday ’s matchups are San Francisco (13-4) at Carolina (12-4), then San Diego (10-7) at Denver (13-3). All but Colts-Patriots are rematches of a regular-season meeting. In addition to the Panthers’ 10-9 win on Nov. 10 at Candlestick Park, the Seahawks routed the Saints 34-7 in Seattle, and the Chargers won 27-20 at Denver last month. “We’re loose, we’re confident, we’re peaking at the right time,” said safety Eric Weddle, who spearheaded a stingy Chargers defense against the Bengals. “We are a team to be dealt with. We’re a confident bunch, especially in the second half, in the fourth quarter. We feel we’re ready for those situations. The pressure is not going to get to us.” —AP

ANAHEIM: Goaltender Eddie Lack #31 of the Vancouver Canucks watches the puck, as Francois Beauchemin #23 of the Anaheim Ducks and Chris Tanev #8 of the Canucks pursue the play in the third period at Honda Center on Sunday in Anaheim, California. The Ducks defeated the Canucks 4-3 in overtime. — AFP

Perry’s OT goal lifts Ducks over Canucks, 4-3 ANAHEIM: Corey Perry scored his league-leading eighth game-winning goal of the season with 1.3 seconds on the clock in overtime, giving the Anaheim Ducks a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night. The Ducks, off to a franchise-best 31-8-5 start and 17-0-2 at Honda Center, are the only team in the league without a regulation loss at home. Anaheim is also the third NHL team to open a season with a home point streak of 19 or more games, joining San Jose (2008-09) and Philadelphia (1979-80). Nick Bonino got the tying goal with 1:27 left in the third period. Saku Koivu and Matt Beleskey scored in the second and Jonas Hiller stopped 17 shots. Ryan Kesler and Henrik Sedin scored power play goals 2 minutes apart in the first and defenseman Kevin Bieksa scored in the third for the Canucks. Rookie Eddie Lack made a careerhigh 45 saves. Pittsburg 6, Winnipeg 5 Evgeni Malkin scored twice in his return from injury, and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Winnipeg Jets 6-5 on Sunday. James Neal added two goals for Pittsburgh, which matched a club record by winning its 12th straight home game. Jussi Jokinen scored his third goal in two games, and Matt Niskanen put in the winner with less than 8 minutes left. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 29 shots, and coach Dan Bylsma won his 232nd game with Pittsburgh. He moved into a tie with Eddie Johnston for the most victories in franchise history. Evander Kane had two goals and an assist for the Jets. Jacob Trouba, Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele also scored, but Winnipeg remained winless in Pittsburgh since 2006. Al Montoya made 33 saves, but couldn’t make an early two-goal lead stand. Malkin missed nine games with a lower leg injury, yet hardly looked rusty. He scored his 10th and 11th goals of the season and added an assist.

NHL results/standings Pittsburgh 6, Winnipeg 5; Carolina 2, Nashville 1; San Jose 3, Chicago 2 (SO); Edmonton 5, Tampa Bay 3; Anaheim 4, Vancouver 3 (OT). Western Conference Pacific Division W L OTL GF Anaheim 31 8 5 146 San Jose 27 10 6 142 Los Angeles 26 13 4 113 Vancouver 23 13 8 117 Phoenix 20 12 9 123 Calgary 14 21 6 96 Edmonton 14 26 5 117 Central Division Chicago 29 7 9 167 St. Louis 29 7 5 150 Colorado 26 11 4 120 Minnesota 22 17 5 106 Dallas 20 14 7 120 Winnipeg 19 21 5 123 Nashville 18 19 6 102

GA 111 111 89 108 127 128 156

PTS 67 60 56 54 49 34 33

124 95 104 113 124 135 129

67 63 56 49 47 43 42

31 saves to lift Carolina to its season-high fourth straight win. Skinner netted the winner with 3:31 left on a shot from the right wing that slipped under goalie Carter Hutton’s pads for his teamleading 20th goal. Patric Hornqvist had tied it for Nashville with a power-play goal at 6:46 of the third period. The Predators, who had earned points in four straight games, dropped their third in a row. The Hurricanes played without injured captain Eric Staal. Khudobin, filling in for injured goalie Cam Ward, improved to 5-0 this season and helped the Hurricanes win both ends of a back-to-back set for the first time this season. Staal, who missed his first game since Feb. 26, 2011, had played in 191 consecutive regular sea-

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division Boston 28 12 2 124 89 58 Tampa Bay 25 13 4 119 100 54 Montreal 24 14 5 112 102 53 Detroit 19 14 10 114 121 48 Toronto 21 17 5 119 127 47 Ottawa 19 18 7 126 141 45 Florida 16 20 6 101 134 38 Buffalo 12 26 4 74 118 28 Metropolitan Division Pittsburgh 31 12 1 142 103 63 Philadelphia 21 17 4 111 116 46 Washington 20 16 6 128 128 46 Carolina 18 16 9 105 124 45 NY Rangers 21 20 2 105 115 44 New Jersey 17 18 8 101 110 42 Columbus 18 20 4 113 123 40 NY Islanders 14 22 7 112 143 35 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L). son games - the third longest streak in franchise history. Oilers 5, Lightning 3 Jordan Eberle scored two goals, and Edmonton snapped a four-game losing streak by beating Tampa Bay. Taylor Hall, Luke Gazdic, and Boyd Gordon also scored for the Oilers (14-26-5), who have won three of 13. Edmonton avoided its fourth five-game losing streak of the season. It was the Oilers’ first win against a team above the playoff cutline in a month. Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman and Valtteri Filppula had goals for the Lightning (25-13-4), whose five-game winning streak on the road ended. — Agencies

Sharks 3, Blackhawks 2, SO Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski scored in a shootout, and San Jose earned its first victory in Chicago in three years. Alex Stalock made 33 saves through overtime as San Jose bounced back from a loss at Colorado on Saturday. Jason Demers scored in the first period, and Brett Burns had a tying goal in the third. Couture beat Corey Crawford with a shot into the right side of the net after Stalock stopped Chicago captain Jonathan Toews leading off the shootout. Patrick Sharp then shot wide before Pavelski scored to give the Sharks their first win at the United Center since a 5-3 victory on Dec 30, 2010. Crawford made 40 saves in his first home start since he left Chicago’s 6-2 victory over Florida on Dec. 8 because of a lower-body injury. Defensemen Niklas Hjalmarsson and Michal Rozsival scored in the third period for the Blackhawks, who have earned at least one point in their last 10 games. Hurricanes 2, Predators 1 Alexander Semin and Jeff Skinner both had a goal and an assist, and Anton Khudobin made

MALMO: Finland’s coach Karri Kivi jubilates with the trophy after Finland won the World Junior Ice Hockey Championships final match against Sweden at the Malmo Arena in Malmo, on Sunday. — AFP



United in decline as Moyes era faces crunch time MANCHESTER: Moments before Alex Ferguson left Old Trafford for the final time as a coach, he issued a defiant message to the Manchester United fans who were so used to hanging on his every word. “I’d like to remind you,” Ferguson said as he stood inside the center circle, getting lightly coated with raindrops, “that when we had bad times here, the club stood by me. All my staff stood by me. The players stood by me. “Your job now is to stand by our new manager.” That was eight months ago. United had just beaten Swansea 2-1 with a late winner by Rio Ferdinand in so-called “Fergie Time” and the team had already romped to a 20th English league title, enhancing Ferguson’s status as the greatest British manager of all time after more than 26 trophy-laden years at United. How ironic, then, that Swansea was back at Old Trafford on Sunday, administering a fourth loss in United’s last six home matches to usher the creaking hosts further into decline under Ferguson’s successor, David Moyes. Swansea won 2-1, its winning goal coming in the final minute, by which time Ferdinand had hobbled off injured. The contrast to that day in May when United lifted the Premier League trophy on Ferguson’s Old Trafford farewell was acute. The natives are getting restless. The atmosphere at

Old Trafford is soporific. The smattering of boos greeting the final whistle of each home defeat - there have been five already this season in all competitions - is small but growing in number. United fans are undoubtedly prepared to give Moyes time. They are a knowledgeable bunch, clearly understanding that replacing Ferguson is nigh impossible, but they expect better than what they are getting at present. For the first time, local and national press are calling it a crisis, an empire in decline. United is seventh in the Premier League, 11 points behind leader Arsenal and five points adrift of the fourth and final Champions League place that just so happens to be occupied by Liverpool - United’s biggest rival. Sunday’s defeat to Swansea came in the third round of the FA Cup, only United’s second exit at that early stage - the first hurdle for top-flight clubs - since 1985. “It has been a tough start, a tough opening period,” Moyes said, when asked to sum up his first six months in the job. “I am disappointed we have not won more games or played better but I am sure it will change, I have no doubt about that.” Moyes’ first half year in charge of England’s biggest club has been turbulent but interesting. He was accused of lacking European experience from his 11 years at Everton but qualified United from a tough

Champions League group with a game to spare. With a last-16 match against Olympiakos to come, he will be confident of at least reaching the quarterfinals. He has guided United through to the League Cup semifinals, where it plays Sunderland in the first leg on Tuesday, and has got the best out of England striker Wayne Rooney, whose relationship with Ferguson had broken down by the end of last season. The blossoming of Adnan Januzaj, a young winger with superb balance and movement, is also a major plus. But the negatives outweigh the positives. Failing to qualify for next season’s Champions League, which is a real possibility, would be a disaster not just because of the loss of finances but because United’s pulling power would be seriously hit. Moyes and United chief executive Ed Woodward already found attracting the big names hard enough in the offseason transfer window so January is likely to be even tougher, especially since Champions League football next season can’t be promised. Moyes said Sunday there is an “urgency” to bring in players this month but acknowledges the ones he wants won’t be available. Rooney and possibly goalkeeper David de Gea aside, United’s senior players are missing or aren’t delivering. Robin van Persie, the league’s top scorer for the last two seasons, is currently injured and has played only twice since Nov. 10

while Michael Carrick, the heartbeat of the midfield, has also had a spell out and hasn’t been such a dominating force. There’s no consistency to United’s defensive unit and players such as Rafael da Silva, Javier Hernandez, Nani and Antonio Valencia appear to be lacking in confidence. One of Ferguson’s greatest strengths was squeezing that extra 10 percent out of players, but Moyes hasn’t quite been able to do that yet. Ferguson, famously, was given time by the United board despite going his first four seasons without a trophy. Beating Crystal Palace in a replay to win the FA Cup in 1990 was seen as pivotal. “Without that triumph at Wembley, the crowds would have shrivelled. Disaffection might have swept the club,” Ferguson wrote in his recent autobiography. Maybe winning the League Cup will be the catalyst for Moyes, who is six months into a six-year contract. Ferguson hand-picked Moyes as his successor and still holds massive sway at United through his past achievements and his role as a director. Ferguson attends almost every United home match, sitting in the directors’ box behind Moyes. His backing is imperative for the new man in charge but his continued presence around Old Trafford is a constant reminder of the difference between United then and United now. — AP

Walcott out of World Cup with knee injury LONDON: Arsenal and England forward Theo Walcott has been ruled out for at least six months after rupturing knee ligaments and will miss this year’s World Cup, the club said yesterday. Walcott suffered the injury late in the 20 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup third round on Saturday and he left the field on a stretcher after appearing to jar his knee in a challenge with Danny Rose. The 24-year-old did not appear in too much discomfort and caused controversy by indicating the score to Tottenham fans behind the goal as he was carried off. The Football Association took no action over Walcott’s gestures but any relief at avoiding disciplinary action was quickly overshadowed by the medical bulletin which revealed he had ruptured anterior cruciate ligaments in his left knee. “Theo will have surgery in London in the near future and is expected to be out for at

least six months, therefore missing the remainder of the season and the World Cup in Brazil in the summer,” Arsenal said on their website. Walcott, capped 36 times by England, missed two months of this season with an abdominal injury and had looked in great form since returning, scoring five goals in five games before Saturday’s derby. His absence will be keenly felt by Premier League leaders Arsenal as they try to maintain their title challenge and will also be a major blow for England manager Roy Hodgson. “Everyone at Arsenal wishes Theo a speedy recovery and we look forward to seeing him back on a football pitch as soon as possible,” the club said. Walcott, aged 17, was an unused member of England’s squad for the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany and was surprisingly left out of the squad for the 2010 tournament in South Africa. — Reuters

Allardyce gets Hammers backing LONDON: West Ham manager Sam Allardyce received something close to the dreaded vote of confidence from the club’s co-chairmen yesterday following the Premier League club’s embarrassing 5-0 FA Cup defeat by second-tier Nottingham Forest. In an open letter on the east London club’s website, David Gold and David Sullivan backed Allardyce to turn around the fortunes of the Hammers, currently second bottom and facing relegation from English football’s lucrative top flight. “We know Sam has not lost his ambition or desire and is committed to making West Ham United a great Premier League club,” the open letter read. “Sam has been handed a near impossible task of coming through three crucial games in the space of six days with a squad of only 14 fit and available senior players. “We have experienced difficult times before and we know what will get us results - hard work, determination and perseverance. “To that end, we are all working round the clock to do everything in our powers to help arrest our slump in form.” That lengthy injury list has seen the Hammers have to do without striker Andy Carroll so far this season, while James Tomkins, Winston Reid, James Collins, Mark Noble and Ricardo Vaz Te are currently sidelined, with club captain Kevin Nolan suspended. “Our first priority is to get our key players fit,” the letter added. “Our record signing Andy Carroll continues to make good progress following his return to first-team training and he should be back on the pitch very soon...Trust us, Andy Carroll is desperate to play and is ready to do his bit for the team and we are confident that

the return of all of our injured players will lead to an upturn in our fortunes. “Thereafter, our second priority is to bring in the new talent needed to bolster our squad in the most needed areas. “January is not an easy time to do business but we are pleased to confirm we are close to securing one of our key striking targets. A defender is high on the list of priorities as well and progress is being made on that front.” However, the Hammers do at least have a League Cup semi-final against Premier League rivals Manchester City to look forward to, with the first leg at Eastlands tomorrow. And Allardyce said the fact that fixture was on the horizon lay behind his decision to rest several senior players from the Forest clash, with the Hammers fielding five debutants and three players with fewer than 10 firstteam appearances between them. “First-team players were rested (against Forest) to play Wednesday, the last thing I wanted to do was have players going in to the semi-final fatigued or not as fresh as City, who have a much bigger, more talented squad,” he said. “We planned to get as many fit for tomorrow and Saturday as possible but I don’t think by Wednesday we’ll have any defenders fit certainly. By Saturday we might. “All of our defenders in central areas are missing and until they are back fit again and stay fit it puts us in a very, very difficult situation.” As for his controversial selection against Forest, Allardyce added: “To be fair, there were too many of them (novice players) on the field. I would have liked to play three or four but that wasn’t the case with a massive Capital One (League) Cup semi-final coming up.” — AFP

Holloway gets Millwall job LONDON: Ian Holloway returned to football yesterday as manager of Millwall. Holloway finds himself back in football at another south London club after leaving Premier League strugglers Crystal Palace in October, having overseen the Eagles’ promotion to the top flight. The 50-year-old replaced Steve Lomas who was sacked last month after winning just five out of 22 games. Millwall are currently only one point above the second-tier Championship relegation zone and bowed out of the FA Cup with a 4-1 defeat by fourth tier Southend on Saturday. “Millwall Football Club can confirm that terms have been agreed with Ian Holloway for him to become new manager following the departure of Steve Lomas on Boxing Day. “Ollie is set to take up his new position this week and will be in charge of the team for the Championship fixture at Huddersfield Town on Saturday,” a club statement said. Lions chairman John Berylson, who promised to back Holloway in the transfer market,

added: “The fact that we have been able to attract someone of Ian’s calibre and track record is testament to the fact that he shares our view of the potential we have to progress as a club and to move forward. “In our determination to bring Ian in on a two-and-a-half-year contract, we have demonstrated both the level of our ambition and commitment towards re-establishing ourselves as a competitive Championship club, and in due course challenging towards the top end of this division. “We are under no illusions that our first priority under Ian’s leadership is to ensure we maintain our Championship status,” the American businessman explained. “The new manager inherits an experienced and talented squad that has not been playing to its potential so far this season. He will receive the backing of the board to strengthen as he deems necessary.” Holloway previously took Blackpool into the Premier League in 2010 and has also managed Bristol Rovers, QPR, Plymouth and Leicester. — AFP

LISBON: Fans react as the car carrying the coffin of Benfica football legend Eusebio da Silva Ferreira arrives in the Luz stadium in Lisbon yesterday. Portugal paid final homage yesterday to Portuguese footballing legend Eusebio, also known as the “Black Panther”, whose death has sparked worldwide tributes. (Inset), officials carry the coffin of Benfica football legend Eusebio da Silva Ferreira on the pitch of the Luz stadium. — AFP

Portugal pays final homage to Eusebio LISBON: Tens of thousands of people turned out in the rain yesterday to say a final farewell to Portuguese football legend Eusebio, who grew up in grinding African poverty to become one of the world’s greatest players. Mourners lined the streets of Lisbon and applauded as the black hearse carrying Eusebio’s coffin, drapped in the red and white colours of his club Benfica, passed by in a funeral cortege broadcast live on TV. Earlier about 10,000 mourners applauded and cheered as six pall-bearers carried the coffin and placed it on a golden plinth in the centre of the pitch at Benfica’s “Stadium of Light”. The coffin remained on the plinth for only a few minutes before it was carried around the stadium in the hearse as Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli’s “Con te partiro” was played from loudspeakers. Mourners, many in tears, threw red and white Benfica scarves on the hearse and waved red and green Portuguese flags as it passed by, crying out: “Eusebio, Eusebio”. “Eusebio was out of this world like (Cristiano) Ronaldo and (Lionel) Messi. He will be Benfica’s eternal myth,” said Benfica coach Jorge Jesus. Fans left flowers, handmade posters and Benfica scarves at a statue of the player that sits outside the stadium. Flags flew at half mast across Lisbon with the Portuguese government decreeing three days of mourning for Eusebio da Silva Ferreira, who died of a heart attack early Sunday aged 71. “Portugal has today lost one of its most beloved sons, Eusebio da Silva Ferreira. The country mourns his death,” President Anibal Cavaco Silva had said. Cavaco Silva and Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho both attended the funeral mass held in the Seminary Church near the stadium, which was broadcast live on Portuguese television. Eusebio will be buried at the nearby Lumiar cemetary after the mass. Born into poverty in Africa, Eusebio scored 733 goals in 745 matches and rivalled all-time greats including Pele, Alfredo Di Stefano and Bobby Charlton. “I was the best player in the world, top scorer in the world and Europe. I did everything, except win a World Cup,” Eusebio said in a interview in 2011, recalling his tears after Portugal’s loss in the 1966 World Cup semi-final to England. From humble origins in the former Portuguese colony of Mozambique, Eusebio was to emerge as one of the world’s most feared strik-

ers, combining panther-like pace with a ferocious shooting ability. Born in 1942, the poor boy from Maputo rose to prominence in Mozambique football circles as a teenager through his performances for Sporting Lourenco Marques. With his exceptional technique, strength and goal-scoring record, it was not long before word of Eusebio’s prowess soon filtered back to Portugal and he joined Benfica. In an early game for Benfica he outshone Pele in a friendly against Santos and in 1962 he scored the crucial goals in a 5-3 victory over Real Madrid in the European Cup final. When Madrid’s legendary Hungarian Ferenc Puskas symbolically handed his jersey to Eusebio after the match, the message was clear-the torch had passed, and in 1965 Eusebio was awarded the Ballon d’Or. Pele, the Brazilian widely regarded as the greatest footballer of all time, took to his Twitter account to tell the world: “I cry for the death of my brother Eusebio. We became friends during the 1966 World Cup in England.” Pele published a photo of the two men together when Portugal beat Brazil 3-1 that year,

with Eusebio scoring two of the goals. While Eusebio excelled with Benfica in Europe, it was his exploits at the 1966 World Cup for which he will be best remembered. Eusebio’s nine goals in England propelled Portugal to a third-place finish, and a succession of opposing teams simply had no answer to the power and pace of his play. In the quarter-finals Eusebio was unstoppable, pulling off a one-man rescue act after Portugal went 3-0 down against North Korea after just 20 minutes. The Koreans were blown away by a four-goal display from Eusebio as the Portuguese won 5-3. He scored his ninth of the tournament in the third-place play-off win over the Soviet Union. He finished his 64-cap career having accumulated 41 goals for Portugal. He also earned European football’s Golden Boot award twice and was Portugal’s top scorer every season between 1964 and 1973. He helped Benfica to 11 league championships and five domestic cups. Married with two daughters, in retirement he became an ambassador for Benfica and the Portuguese football federation. — AFP

UDINE: Verona’s Luca Toni, center, scores, during a Serie A soccer match between Udinese and Verona at the Friuli Stadium in Udine, Italy, yesterday. — AP

Former grand slam champs knocked out in Sydney



Portugal pays final homage to Eusebio


Rodman, ex-NBA All Stars arrive in North Korea

Page 16

MADRID: Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo from Portugal, top right, in action with Celta’s Yoel Rodriguez, top left, during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Celta Vigo at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, yesterday. — AP

Ronaldo seals Real win over Celta MADRID: Real Madrid moved back to within five points of La Liga co-leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid with a hard-fought 3-0 win at home to Celta Vigo yeterday. Karim Benzema opened the scoring before a late double from Cristiano Ronaldo sealed the win as Celta were made to pay for passing up a host of clear-cut chances. With the scoreline still deadlocked with an hour played, Real boss Carlo Ancelotti introduced the fit-again Gareth Bale and Jese Rodriguez from the bench in the search of a goal. The Italian was rewarded when Jese squared for Benzema to break the deadlock 23 minutes from time. Ronaldo killed the game as a contest when he rolled home

Dani Carvajal’s cross before Bale provided his seventh assist of the season for Ronaldo to fire home his second in stoppage time. The visitors had enjoyed the best of the first-half and should have been in front after just five minutes when Charles galloped into a huge gap behind the Madrid defence but could only fire into the side-netting. Real didn’t get going until midway through the half as Benzema’s shot from close range was deflected just wide on 23 minutes, before Luka Modric fired a long-range effort just over. Borja Oubina then passed up another great chance for Celta when he headed over Alex Lopez’s cross from point-

blank range. And Rafinha Alcantara was unfortunate to see his effort deflect just wide off Pepe with Lopez completely wrong-footed. There were more problems for Ancelotti to contend with at the break as Xabi Alonso had to replaced by Asier Illarramendi. However, Madrid improved after the restart and wasted a great opening to score the opener when Angel di Maria overhit his pass to Carvajal with three other teammates waiting inside the area. Ancelotti then turned to in-form 20-year-old forward Jese in the quest for a goal and he nearly obliged with his first touch but Yoel Rodriguez was equal to his low effort. Bale was next to be introduced for the largely ineffec-

Kaka surpasses century as Milan rout Atalanta MILAN: Brazilian forward Kaka boosted his World Cup hopes by scoring his 100th and 101st goals for AC Milan in a welcome 3-0 win over Atalanta at the San Siro yesterday. Kaka is one of several Europe-based stars hoping to nail a place in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s squad and did his chances a world of good with two well-taken goals that helped move struggling Milan up three places to 10th. Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri, who on Sunday confirmed his departure from the club at the end of the season, had labelled the game a relegation dogfight and was relieved after Atalanta rattled the woodwork twice. “There was only one point between us and we were only five points clear of the bottom three,” said the 46year-old coach. “Atalanta had a few scoring chances in the second half but overall I don’t think we gave too many chances away. We should have defended better, but Atalanta are a strong side and (goalkeeper) Christian Abbiati did well.” Mario Balotelli, recovering from flu, started on the bench with Alessandro Matri spearheading the attack in Allegri’s preferred 4-3-2-1 formation, which also featured midfielder Bryan Cristante. Former Valencia defender Adil Rami also made his debut while Japan midfielder Keisuke Honda, who arrived in Milan during the festive break, watched the game from the stands alongside club CEO Adriano Galliani. Cristante, making only his second senior appearance, marked the occasion by scoring Milan’s third in the 67th minute to virtually secure what was only Milan’s second win in their past 10 games and fifth of the campaign. Before then, Kaka led the charge, scoring his 100th goal for Milan after collecting a pass deep on the left of the area to turn and beat Andrea Consigli with an angled strike at the keeper’s far post. Matri made way for Balotelli just before the hour mark and the Italy striker played a role in Kaka’s second, holding off defender Giulio Migliaccio deep on the right to

cross for Robinho. When the ball bobbled in front of the unmarked Brazilian, Kaka promptly took possession to smash the ball past Consigli from close range. Milan had barely finished celebrating when Cristante added their third, smashing a crisp daisycutter just inside Consigli’s far post from the edge of the area. Kaka was not alone in netting twice, Luca Toni hitting a first-half brace in a 3-1 win for Verona away to Udinese which allowed the visitors to leapfrog Inter into fourth ahead of the Nerazzurri’s trip later Monday to Lazio. Afterwards, Udinese’s talismanic striker Antonio Di Natale announced his imminent retirement. “I’ve spoken to my family, and now I will speak to the club about it,” said the 36-year-old Naples-born player, who has twice finished the league’s top scorer. Elsewhere, basement side Catania claimed only their third win in 18 games from a 2-0 home defeat of Bologna, while Genoa won by the same scoreline at home to struggling new boys Sassuolo, who remain third from bottom. Ciro Immobile opened the scoring for Torino in the 21st minute at Parma, but from then on it was all downhill for the visitors as Marco Marchionni, Alessandro Lucarelli and Amauri all netted to secure a precious 3-1 home win. Earlier, a brace from Belgian international Dries Mertens secured a 2-0 win for Napoli over Sampdoria which pushed Napoli to within two points of second-placed Roma. Napoli’s 12th win left them in third with a 10-point deficit to leaders Juventus, who went eight points clear of Roma with a 3-0 rout of the Giallorossi on Sunday. Sampodoria had been unbeaten since former Serbia coach Sinisa Mihajlovic took over the helm and he admitted: “I have no qualms, Napoli deserved the win. “We knew it would be tough to win here but I was happy with the performance and the fact we created chances against a strong side like Napoli in their stadium.” — AFP

MILAN: AC Milan Brazilian forward Kaka celebrates after scoring his 100th goal with AC Milan, during the Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Atalanta at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, yesterday. — AP

tive Di Maria. However, it was Celta who had the next big opening as Charles failed to hit the target again with just Lopez to beat from the edge of the area. And the Galicians were finally made to rue their missed opportunities two minutes later when Jese got to the byline and his low cross was stabbed home by Benzema. Ronaldo came close for the first time of the evening when he dragged a shot just wide with 15 minutes remaining. But he wasn’t to be denied as he slid in to meet Carvajal’s cross eight minutes from time. And Ronaldo soon had his 29th goal of the season as he swept home Bale’s driven cross from the right at the near post. — AFP

Clattenburg cleared by FA LONDON: Referee Mark Clattenburg was yesterday cleared of misconduct by the Football Association (FA) following a complaint from Southampton about his alleged comments to England midfielder Adam Lallana. Saints had complained about critical comments allegedly made by Clattenburg to Lallana during Southampton’s defeat at Everton in December. The Premier League club had claimed in a letter to the referees’ governing body, Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), that Clattenburg, frustrated by Lallana’s constant appeals for decisions to go his side’s way, had told the player: “You are very different now, since you’ve played for England - you never used to be like this.” They complained to the FA after the PGMOL ruled out action against Clattenburg and said they did not want him refereeing any of their matches until the issue was resolved. A club spokesman said last week: “An official insulting any player, no matter his intentions, is clearly not acceptable behaviour. For this reason we do not accept the verdict of the PGMOL in relation to this case and do not consider the matter to be over. “Under the circumstances we do not feel it appropriate for Mr Clattenburg to officiate in any of our matches until this matter is properly resolved.” But the FA has considered the complaint and will take no action against Clattenburg. An FA statement said: “The FA can confirm it received a complaint from Southampton concerning referee Mark Clattenburg and his alleged comments made to their player Adam Lallana. “The FA has given its full consideration to this matter and it is our view that the comments, as disclosed in Southampton’s letter of complaint, do not constitute misconduct under the FA’s rules. “Consequently, The FA will not be taking any further action in relation to this matter and now considers this case to be closed.” Clattenburg is no stranger to controversy after Chelsea accused him of racially abusing midfielder John Obi Mikel last season during a match with Manchester United at Stamford Bridge. — AFP


Nissan taxi readies for battle with London’s black cabs Page 23

‘2014, the year of hard truths for Britain’


Page 25

Sporty, practical or spacious, the Mini range has it all

Swiss central bank hard hit by gold price fall

Page 26

Page 22

TOKYO: Women wearing kimonos pose with the logo mark of the Japan Exchange Group at the opening ceremony of the first trading day of the year at the Tokyo Stock Exchange on yesterday. Tokyo shares opened 0.97 percent lower on January 6, the first day of trading for 2014, as a weaker dollar and softer Wall Street shares prompted profit taking. —AFP

Saudi unveils unemployment insurance Kingdom tries to tackle population growth, future oil revenue RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will introduce compulsory unemployment insurance this year for all citizens with jobs, the world’s top oil exporter said yesterday. Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy that has no income tax, is trying to push more citizens into work to tackle long-term unemployment that officials see as unsustainable in light of high population growth and uncertainty over future oil revenue. The introduction of unemployment insurance is designed to make it more attractive for young Saudis to seek jobs in private companies, where the starting salary and other benefits are less generous than in government jobs. While the official unemployment rate is around 12 percent, economists say only 30-40 percent of working age adults participate in the labor force. Most Saudis who do not have jobs are financially supported by a relative. Most of those who work are employed by the state, but the government cannot support such a large wage bill in the long term, and the International Monetary Fund has warned that the private sector must meet future job

demand. “If there is a guarantee of income, particularly when that is connected to the level of previous earnings, it should make people more comfortable with taking positions in the private sector,” said Paul Gamble, director, sovereign group, Fitch Earnings. Under the new regulations, announced by the Labor Ministry after they were approved at a cabinet meeting on Monday, all Saudi workers in both the private and public sectors will be charged one percent of their monthly salary as a subscription. Their employer will pay the same amount into the scheme, which will be operated by a new state insurance body to be set up within six months. Those who lose their jobs will be entitled to up to 12 months of compensation, set at 60 percent of the average salary they earned in the previous three years for the first three months and then 50 percent for the following nine months. Benefits are capped at 9,000 riyals ($2,400) for the first three months and 7,000 riyals for the rest of the year. There

World stocks fall after China, US services data

NEW YORK: A global stock index dipped yesterday after data showed weak service sector growth in China and the United States, while gold edged up to its highest in nearly three weeks. US Treasuries prices extended gains after the services data, which showed a private index of US service industry activity unexpectedly fell in December. Earlier, figures showing that China’s services sector growth slowed sharply last month added to a stack of disappointing data from the world’s second largest economy over the last week. MSCI’s world stock index, which tracks 45 countries, was down 0.2 percent, while the S&P 500 fell slightly after the services data. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 3.41 points or 0.02 percent, to 16,473.4, the S&P 500 lost 0.62 points or 0.03 percent, to 1,830.75 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 14.676 points or 0.36 percent, to 4,117.23. Traders are still second-guessing the Federal Reserve’s take on economic data and how it might alter the US central bank’s plan to withdraw its quantitative easing stimulus, said Peter Jankovskis, cochief investment officer at OakBrook Investments in Lisle, Illinois. “On balance today’s data is not going to raise concerns the Fed may accelerate the taper,” he said. Wednesday’s December Fed meeting minutes and Friday’s non-farm payrolls data could determine

stocks’ next move. They should give further clues on how quickly the Fed is likely to scale back its huge stimulus program in the coming months. European shares edged higher as China’s data was offset by positive euro zone data, including some showing gradual recoveries in Italy and Spain. The pan-regional FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.1 percent. The euro rebounded as the euro-zone data suggested the European Central Bank will not loosen its policy further any time soon. The euro recovered from a onemonth low during Asian trading to gain 0.1 percent at $1.3604, finding support as euro zone sentiment hit its highest in nearly three years. In the US bond market, benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were up 8/32 in price to yield 2.965 percent, down 3 basis points from late on Friday. China data There was plenty of evidence to support the caution China data has fostered among investors. Figures yesterday showing China’s huge services sector slowed sharply in December to its lowest point since August 2011 came hot on the heels of a similar official survey on Friday and two other PMIs last week showing factory activity also soured. — Reuters

is a minimum payment of 2,000 riyals. Workers who resign from their jobs, have an alternative source of employment or income from investments, or have been paying into the scheme for less than a year are not eligible for compensation. Spending warning Riyadh has raised spending on social benefits in the past three years in response to the 2011 “Arab Spring” uprisings. While Saudi Arabia escaped mass protests, its leaders were uncomfortably aware that unemployment spurred demonstrations elsewhere. Unlike those benefits, however, the new social insurance will be partly paid for by mandatory contributions from workers and employers. Although Saudis do not pay tax, they already make mandatory contributions to a social insurance fund to pay for their state pensions. The IMF and independent economists have long warned Riyadh it must rein in lavish government spending

despite years of high budget surpluses and foreign currency reserves bigger than annual gross domestic product. Last month it announced spending plans for 2014 that are 4.3 percent higher than it budgeted for 2013, although the increase is smaller than in previous years. It is not yet clear if the payments Saudis will make into the scheme will cover the cost of insurance payments. “It may not be the most cost effective solution in the near term but if it helps normalize the labor market it is a price worth paying,” said Gamble. Besides the new unemployment insurance, Saudi Arabia has also introduced tough new quotas for companies to employ Saudi nationals as well as foreign workers, who are cheaper and easier to fire. It has also introduced a fee that companies must pay for each expatriate they hire over the number of Saudi workers, and has cracked down on visa irregularities to reduce the number of foreigners looking for jobs inside the kingdom. — Reuters

US services index slips on sharp fall in orders WASHINGTON: US service companies expanded at a steady but slightly slower pace in December as sales dipped and new orders plunged to a four-year low. The report suggests economic growth may remain modest in the coming months. The Institute for Supply Management said yesterday that its service-sector index fell to 53 last month, down from 53.9 in November. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion. A measure of new orders plummeted 7 points to 49.4, the first time it has dropped below 50 since July 2009. A gauge of business stockpiles also fell sharply. But a gauge of hiring increased 3.3 points to 55.8, evidence that services firms are adding more jobs. That’s a good sign for December’s jobs report, which will be released Friday. The survey covers businesses that employ 90 percent of the workforce, including retail, construction, health care and financial services firms. Anthony Nieves, chairman of the ISM’s services survey, said the declines in orders and business stockpiles likely occurred after “a little bit of excess” had built up in anticipation of the winter holidays. He expects the orders index to recover in the coming months. The rise in hiring suggests companies are still “confident enough in the pipeline to add jobs,” he added. The drop in new orders would point to slower growth, if it continued, economists said. But most expect the decline will be temporary. “This will likely prove to be transient, rather than the start of a new trend,” said Thomas Feltmate,

an economist at TD Bank. “As ... consumer confidence continues to improve, we expect to see an acceleration in consumer spending in 2014, which should prove supportive of future supplier orders.” Other economists noted that severe weather last month could have hampered business for many firms. One company in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry told the ISM that “both customers and employees were unable to reach the workplace” because of bad weather. Service companies have grown at a modest pace this year. It has averaged 54.7 over the past 12 months. The survey typically tracks growth in consumer spending, which drives 70 percent of economic growth. Spending by consumers was restrained for most of last year. But Americans have opened their wallets a bit more in recent months. That could push the index higher in 2014. Retail sales posted healthy gains in November and December, according to government figures. The biggest increases were at auto dealers, furniture stores, and at electronics and appliance stores. Those outlets have benefited as Americans have purchased more homes and cars. Online shopping has also grown at a strong pace. However, traditional retailers, such as department stores and clothing stores, haven’t benefited as much. Many were disappointed by this season’s holiday sales. The dip in the services index comes after the ISM said Thursday that its manufacturing index remained near a 2 1/2-year high in November. Measures of new orders and employment grew at a faster pace, pointing to higher output in the coming months. — AP



Swiss central bank hard hit by gold price fall CB not to pay dividends to Swiss cantons

This image provided by Roku Inc, shows a screen frame grab of Roku’s service. Internet streaming platform company Roku Inc is launching a line of TVs that plays back video from services like Netflix without requiring an extra set-top box.—AP

Global tech spending seen slipping 1% in 2014: Data LAS VEGAS: The Consumer Electronics Association estimates that global spending on technology will slip 1 percent in 2014 to $1.06 trillion as the lower average selling price of smartphones and tablets offsets unit growth in markets like China. The decline is off the peak of $1.07 trillion estimated for 2013. Steve Koenig, the association’s director of industry analysis, issued the forecast at the opening of the annual International CES gadget show on Sunday. The retreat doesn’t reflect less consumer appetite for what Koenig called the “dynamic duo” of tech gadgets. Spending on smartphones and tablets is still expected to account for some 43 cents of every dollar spent on technology this year. But the average price of smartphones, for example, will fall from $444 in 2010 to an estimated $297 this year, despite the number of smartphones sold rising to 1.21 billion up from 1.01 billion. “These lower-end devices are what’s required to penetrate most deeply into these emerging markets,”

he said. Smartphones and tablets remain such key drivers of technology spending that they are eating into other categories of devices like point-and-shoot cameras, video cameras, portable GPS devices and handheld gaming devices. However, within other categories of devices there are a few pockets of growth, including wearable devices. Smartwatch sales are expected to be 1.5 million units globally this year, up from 1 million in 2013, said Shawn DuBravac, the association’s chief economist. “This is a very nascent market. We’re still looking for that killer application for that particular device,” he said. Ultra HD televisions, which roughly quadruple the number of pixels of a highdefinition set, are also seen taking off. There were 60,000 such sets sold in the US alone last year, a number expected to hit 485,000 this year, the association said. However, that’s still a small number compared to the nearly 40 million TVs sold in the US each year, DuBravac said. — AP

T-Mobile expands coverage with spectrum from Verizon NEW YORK: Fourth-ranked US wireless carrier TMobile US said yesterday it was buying 700 MHz lowband spectrum from market leader Verizon Wireless to strengthen its coverage in major urban markets. TMobile said the deal would cost it $2.37 billion in cash and the transfer of certain AWS and PCS spectrum licenses, together worth $950 million. T-Mobile, fighting to better establish itself against Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, said the deal would give it important low-bad spectrum in nine of the top 10 US wireless markets and 21 of the top 30. “Low-band spectrum substantially improves inbuilding coverage as well as coverage in rural areas,” the company said. “It also travels greater distances than high-band spectrum and therefore is a more efficient way to provide coverage at the edge of cities and in less densely populated areas,” the company said. T-Mobile launched last year an aggressive attack to win customers from the industry leaders. Billing itself as the “un-network”, the company offered no-contract subscriptions, pitched to users wary of the other companies’ required two-year contracts. It was widely expected this week to announce an offer of hundreds of dollars in credit to customers to switch from the other carriers. In what is seen as a preemptive move, however, last week AT&T-which failed in its 2011 bid to take over T-Mobile-countered with a deal worth up to $450 for those switching to its service and trading in their old smartphones for new models. — AFP

ZURICH: Switzerland’s central bank said yesterday it lost billions in 2013 as gold prices plunged and therefore could not pay dividends to the Swiss cantons for the first time in more than a century. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) has been dishing out dividends to the Swiss cantons ever since its creation in 1907, and to the Swiss Confederation since 1991. But yesterday the bank said neither would receive handouts this year, after provisional figures showed it would be reporting a loss of 9.0 billion Swiss francs ($9.9 billion, 7.3 billion euros) for 2013. It had lost far more on the value of its gold holdings, which shed 15 billion francs during a year when the price for the precious metal dropped by 28 percent. That deep loss was offset though by gains of 3.0 billion Swiss francs on the bank’s foreign currency positions, and another increase of 3.0 billion on a stabilization fund it put in place in 2008 to save Switzerland’s largest bank, UBS, from collapse. But since SNB needed to put aside 3.0 billion Swiss francs as a provision for its currency reserves, it said it expected to end up about 12 billion francs in the red. “As this loss will be substantially larger than the 5.3 billion Swiss francs in the distribution reserve, the SNB cannot make a profit distribution,” the bank explained. The loss does not come as much of a surprise since SNB already said in October that the value of its gold holdings had shrunk by 10.7 billion francs during the first nine months of the year. But the news that the bank would not be padding state and cantonal coffers this year did come as a blow and sparked worries of looming budget deficits. Last year, SNB reported a 6.9-billion-franc profit and redistributed one billion francs of its profit to the Swiss Confederation and cantons.

This year, the country’s 26 cantons, which resemble US states, stand to lose out on 667 million Swiss francs, according to Peter Hegglin, who heads an organization of all the Swiss cantonal financial chiefs. “This is a shame, because many of the cantons are already suffering from financial difficulties,” he told AFP, pointing out that SNB’s contributions usually represent between 0.4 and 1.2 percent of cantonal budgets. At the federal level, the withheld cash could also translate into a small budget deficit. Bern had hoped to post a 121-million-franc surplus,

but now that it will lose out on 333 million francs from the central bank, it could post a deficit of some 212 million francs, a finance ministry spokesman told AFP. He stressed though that in light of the 66 billion Swiss francs in expected revenues, the deficit was tiny. And in the case of an economic upswing, higher-than-expected tax revenues could easily compensate for the loss and put Switzerland back in the black. The SNB is set to announce its full results on March 7. — AFP

TICINO: Gold bars stacked at the plant of gold refiner and producer Argor-Heraeus in Mendrisio, in the southern Swiss canton of Ticino. Switzerland’s central bank said yesterday it lost billions in 2013 amid a sharp drop in gold prices and that it therefore would not pay dividends to Bern or the Swiss cantons. — AFP

UK regulators to probe co-op bank leaders LONDON: British regulators launched investigations yesterday into the troubled Co-operative Bank, whose former chairman was filmed allegedly buying drugs in a sting by a tabloid newspaper. Both the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority launched enforcement investigations amid questions as to how Paul Flowers, a Methodist minister who led the bank for three years, got the job in the first place. The Mail on Sunday’s video was allegedly shot just days after he testified before a parliamentary committee on the bank’s disas-

trous financial performance. Flowers failed to answer basic questions about his own bank. The PRA, which is part of the Bank of England, did not name Flowers, but said it will consider the “role of former senior managers” in its investigation. The regulator is responsible for the safety and soundness of banks and the Co-operative Bank faces many questions in that regard after having to plug a 1.5 billion pounds ($2.4 billion) hole in its finances. The bank reshaped its leadership in the wake of troubles that emerged from its 2009

Afghan govt revenues 20% short of target

N Korea confirms new coal minister following purge SEOUL: North Korea has replaced its coal minister, apparently after the shock execution of leader Kim JongUn’s uncle, who had been accused of attempting to take control of the country’s lucrative coal export business. Pyongyang’s state-run Korean Central News Agency introduced Mun Myong-Hak as “Minister of Coal Industry” as it was reporting on the 30th anniversary of the Pukchang Area Coal-Mining Complex in the western province of South Phyongan yesterday. The last time the North’s coal minister was mentioned in the country’s state media was a year ago, when Rim Nam-Su was in office. The shock purge and execution of Jang Song-Thaek, the once-powerful uncle and political regent to young leader Kim Jong-Un, was sparked by his attempts to take over the North’s coal export industry, South Korea’s spy chief Nam Jae-Joon said last month. The moves by Jang contributed to the North’s economic troubles, Kim Jong-Ha, chief secretary of the secretariat of the cabinet said last month in an interview with the Choson Sinbo, a pro-Pyongyang newspaper in Japan. The Choson Sinbo report also indirectly confirmed Kim Jong-Ha had replaced Kim YongHo following Jang’s downfall. It is not known what became of Kim Yong-Ho or Rim Nam-Su.

acquisition of the Britannia Building society and its aborted interest in the purchase of some 630 branches from another UK lender, Lloyds Bank. The institution agreed last year to a rescue plan that saw hedge funds move in and take a huge share of its operations. The FCA will examine whether the bank’s leaders behaved appropriately. The two probes are in addition to a separate independent review announced by the Treasury. That independent review will take place once it is clear that it won’t prejudice any enforcement investigations by the regulators. —AP

KABUL: Afghanistan fell about 20 percent short of its domestic revenue target in 2013 despite better tax collection as the economy slowed ahead of this year’s planned withdrawal of foreign troops, the Ministry of Finance told Reuters yesterday. “There’s concern that after the withdrawal of international troops, Afghanistan will fall again and that economic growth will drop,” spokesman Abdul Qadir Jaillani said. “There was tension created by the media and investors held back, which brought some problems in,” he said regarding 2013. The government collected about 100 billion Afghani (about $1.8 billion) toward a budget of 354 billion. The data is preliminary and figures are expected to be finalized this week. Despite missing a target of about 123 billion Afghani, funds collected rose by about 15 percent from the previous year, the figures showed. Still, most of the government’s budget is provided by foreign aid and donors say that corruption con-

Last week, Pyongyang’s Chosun Chungang TV introduced Kim Yong-Kwang as the new Minister of Metal Industry. “Probably, these are all part of a government reshuffle related with Jang’s purge,” Chang Yong-Seok, Senior Researcher at the Institute for Peace and Unification at the Seoul National University, said. Further changes affecting higher posts including the powerful National Defence Commission (NDC) are likely to come in April when the North’s rubber-stamp parliament opens, he said. Jang was one of deputy chairmen at the NDC, currently chaired by the young leader. Kim Jong-Ha said North Korea would move to independently produce and reprocess coal and other natural resources for exports. “The cabinet will fulfill its function properly as a control tower of the economy,” he said, adding that it was trying to regain control over projects and put them in order. The impoverished but mineral-rich North has sought for years to bolster its crumbling economy by increasing exports of minerals, especially to China. A military court which handed Jang a death sentence found him guilty of “committing such acts of treachery as selling off precious resources of the country at cheap prices”, according to Pyongyang’s state media. — AFP

tinues to mar tax collection. Afghanistan regularly ranks among the most corrupt in the world and diverting revenue is an easy way for powerful officials and warlords to boost their incomes. “Weaknesses in administration and higher leakages, particularly in customs” play a significant part in weak tax collection, the World Bank said a recent report. Jaillani said the government had worked to strengthen mechanisms for collecting taxes and that he expected further improvement this year. “For the last three years we have concentrated on our revenue, we have trained our staff and worked on capacitybuilding,” he said. “We are improving day by day.” “We are still optimistic. I think 2014 will be very good for Afghans because this is the year Afghans will take responsibility for their country.” The government’s overall budget will rise in 2014, as donors seek to give Afghans increased control over the way aid is spent in the country. — Reuters

EXCHANGE RATES Al-Muzaini Exchange Co.

UAE Exchange Centre WLL

ASIAN COUNTRIES Japanese Yen Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Srilankan Rupees Nepali Rupees Singapore Dollar Hongkong Dollar Bangladesh Taka Philippine Peso Thai Baht Irani Riyal transfer Irani Riyal cash

2.694 4.574 2.679 2.161 2.862 224.100 36.485 3.633 6.414 87.653 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

75.470 77.763 735.190 751.690 77.074

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

SELL DRAFT 254.91 268.22 322.04 392.27 282.50 469.52 2.74 3.634 4.569 2.164 2.857 2.685 76.98 751.90 40.75 402.07 734.68 78.01 75.46

SELL CASH 255.000 268.000 323.000 395.000 285.200 473.000 2.800 3.800 4.880 2.600 3.400 2.760 77.300 752.700 41.100 407.100 740.800 78.400 75.700

ARAB COUNTRIES Egyptian Pound - Cash Egyptian Pound - Transfer Yemen Riyal/for 1000 Tunisian Dinar Jordanian Dinar Lebanese Lira/for 1000 Syrian Lira Morocco Dirham

40.450 40.264 1.320 172.920 399.660 1.899 2.017 35.363

EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer Euro Sterling Pound Canadian dollar Turkish lira Swiss Franc Australian Dollar US Dollar Buying

282.900 391.820 467.490 266.510 133.440 320.390 253.760 281.700 GOLD

20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

230.000 118.000 60.000

Dollarco Exchange Co. Ltd Rate for Transfer US Dollar Canadian Dollar Sterling Pound Euro Swiss Frank Bahrain Dinar UAE Dirhams Qatari Riyals Saudi Riyals Jordanian Dinar Egyptian Pound Sri Lankan Rupees Indian Rupees Pakistani Rupees Bangladesh Taka Philippines Pesso Cyprus pound Japanese Yen

Selling Rate 282.700 269.510 461.550 390.375 319.945 746.465 76.945 78.500 76.255 398.510 40.993 2.160 4.567 2.652 3.632 6.379 694.370 3.745

Thai Bhat Syrian Pound Nepalese Rupees Malaysian Ringgit Chinese Yuan Renminbi

09.800 3.010 3.855 88.370 46.975

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



0.007353 0.459122 0.006221 0.048186 0.384323 0.042422 0.086970 0.008101 0.039928 0.311793 0.133173

0.008353 0.468122 0.018221 0.053186 0.391823 0.047622 0.86970 0.018101 0.044928 0.321993 0.140173

Australasia Australian Dollar New Zealand Dollar

0.244371 0.225968

0.255871 0.235468

America Canadian Dollar US Dollars US Dollars Mint

0.260076 0.278800 0.279300

0.268576 0.283150 0.283150

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

0.003557 0.045068 0.034393 0.004342 0.000019 0.002607 0.003267 0.000258 0.082300 0.002974 0.002486

0.004157 0.048568 0.037143 0.004743 0.000025 0.002787 0.003267 0.000273 0.088300 0.003144 0.002766

Philippine Peso Sierra Leone Singapore Dollar South African Rand Sri Lankan Rupee Taiwan Thai Baht

0.006396 0.000062 0.219977 0.021059 0.001871 0.009322 0.008376

0.006676 0.000088 0.225977 0.029559 0.002451 0.009502 0.008926

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

0.743942 0.037440 0.000078 0.000187 0.394793 1.0000000 0.000138 0.022626 0.001198 0.728773 0.076996 0.074803 0.002168 0.168662 0.133173 0.076041 0.001285

0.751942 0.040540 0.000080 0.000247 0.402293 1.0000000 0.000238 0.046626 0.001831 0.734453 0.078209 0.075503 0.002388 0.176662 0.140173 0.077190 0.001365

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

Transfer Rate (Per 1000) 282.300 390.250 468.150 267.550 4.570 40.610 2.158 3.632 6.376 2.678 751.850 76.850 75.400



Singapore’s OCBC bank in talks to buy HK lender SINGAPORE: Singapore’s Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC) said yesterday it was in exclusive talks to acquire Hong Kong’s Wing Hang Bank, in a move that could give it greater access to the Chinese market. Dow Jones Newswires said a potential deal could value the Hong Kong lender at more than $5.0 billion. OCBC said in a statement to the Singapore Exchange it signed an “exclusivity agreement” on December 31 with the substantial shareholders of Wing Hang. Under the accord, the substantial shareholders agreed to hold exclusive talks with OCBC until the end of January to finalize terms “for a possible transaction” that would involve the Singapore bank making a general offer for all Wing Hang shares. OCBC, Singapore’s second biggest bank by total assets, stressed that no deal has yet been reached. “Accordingly, at this stage, there is no certainty that the terms of a possible

offer will be agreed, or that a possible offer or any similar transaction will ultimately be consummated,” OCBC said. Grace Wu, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Daiwa Capital Markets, said Hong Kong banks are attractive buys because of their presence in the giant Chinese market. “For banks in Asia, acquiring a Hong Kong bank would provide immediate access to China, as most of them have locally incorporated subsidiaries in the mainland,” Wu said. “And for banks like Wing Hang Bank-which also enjoys a presence in Macau the M&A (merger and acquisition) appeal is even greater, in our view.” Wing Hang has 75 branches across Hong Kong, mainland China and Macau, according to its website. Singapore banks have been seeking growth beyond the city-state’s small domestic market. In 2001 its biggest bank DBS bought Hong Kong’s Dao Heng Bank for Sg$10 billion ($7.89 billion). — AFP

Restive staff seize bosses at French Goodyear site PARIS: Farm tires filled the doorway, and the two Goodyear managers were trapped in the conference room with angry workers demanding more money in exchange for the inevitable loss of their jobs. yesterday’s meeting was not going well. Goodyear has tried to shutter the plant in the northern city of Amiens for five years without success. Their latest attempt was met with a “boss-napping,” a French tactic that had largely faded away after the height of the economic crisis in 2009. More theater than actual threat, these aim to grab management’s attention - by grabbing management. The Amiens plant has an especially contentious past. Goodyear’s hopes to close the plant have been hindered by violent protests that included bonfires of tires, government concerns and France’s prolonged layoff procedures. Now, the union is willing to accept the inevitable loss of jobs - but at a cost. “Clearly it was no longer possible to keep fighting for our jobs,” Mickael Wamen, the union president, told LCI television. “So we decided to change tactics and fight for the largest compensation possible.” In exchange for freeing the bosses, they’re demanding 80,000 euros ($108,000) plus 2,500 euros ($3,400) for each year worked. By late in the day, the managers were still trapped. Evelyne Becker, a union representative at the factory, said the two were blocked from leaving after an especially difficult meeting with staff. Goodyear confirmed the two managers were being held against their will. “This kind of initiative, always to be condemned, is especially inopportune and counterproductive at a

time when we should concentrate on the future of employees affected by the restructuring, after several years looking for a solution,” Goodyear said in a statement. The factory and its nearly 1,200 workers have become an emblem of France’s labor issues. Last year, an outspoken American executive who had considered taking it over derided the staff as overpaid loafers. “The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three,” Maurice Taylor, the CEO of Titan tires, wrote to a French government official. Workers have seized on Goodyear’s profitability in their fight against the factory closure, but the company says profit margins have been slipping for years and that the business in Europe isn’t sustainable. The workers have burned tires in protest, fired paintballs at police and come under tear gas spray. But yesterday’s boss-napping appeared to take the conflict to a new stage, years after bossnappings struck at large global companies, targeting foreign managers as well as local executives. The incidents, which usually last from a few hours to a couple of days, are punishable under French law by five years in prison and a 75,000-euro fine - as long as the boss goes free in under a week. But generally the workers are not prosecuted, and in many cases they have even tried to make the manager’s time in captivity more comfortable. At a 3M boss-napping in 2009, workers brought the manager a meal of mussels and fries. — AP

TOKYO: Japan’s Finance Minister Taro Aso (center) delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the first trading day of the year at the Tokyo Stock Exchange yesterday. — AFP

US factory orders up on planes, business spending Investment could fuel economy WASHINGTON: US factories orders climbed in November, led by a surge in aircraft demand. And businesses stepped up spending on machinery, computers and other long-lasting goods, a sign of investment that could fuel economic growth. Factory orders rose 1.8 percent in November, the Commerce Department said yesterday. That follows a 0.5 percent decrease in October. Orders received by manufacturers totaled a seasonally adjusted $497.8 billion in November, the highest level on records dating to 1992. Orders have increased 2.5 percent over the past 12 months. The improvements could signal accelerating growth in 2014. Americans are buying more cars and homes, increasing demand for steel, furniture and other goods. That has led factories to hire more workers, generating additional economic momentum. Still, overall economic growth remains modest by historical standards. And though factory orders have strengthened in recent months, their growth rate has slowed during the recovery from the 2008 financial crisis. A 21.8 percent jump in volatile aircraft orders drove the November gains. But orders rose in many other categories, a sign of strength at factories and confidence among companies. Core capital goods, a proxy for business investment, rose 1 percent. Economists watch this category because it excludes volatile orders for aircraft and defense equipment. Demand also rose for construction machinery, computers, communications equipment, furniture and motor vehicle parts. Most of the gains occurred in long-lasting goods, which increased 3.4 percent in November. Orders for

SAN DIEGO: Dale Watkins Jr, President of Sheffield Platers Inc, talks with employee Eva Gasca, at his factory in San Diego. The Commerce Department reports on orders placed with US factories in November yesterday. — AP nondurable goods such as food products, clothing and paper rose a modest 0.3 percent. Separate economic reports indicate that manufacturing has remained strong and could drive further growth. Factory activity in December remained near a 21/2-year high, according to the Institute for Supply Management. The trade group said last week that its index of manufacturing activity

slipped to 57 in from 57.3 in November. That’s still the second-highest reading since April 2011. And any reading above 50 signals growth. Manufacturers have also bolstered hiring in recent months. Factories added 66,000 jobs from July through November, according to government’s employment reports. The government releases its December employment report on Friday. — Reuters

Epson to display SureColor printers at SGI Mideast 2014

This handout image obtained from Nissan GB yesterday shows Nissan’s new interpretation of the London Taxi. The new Taxi, which Nissan hopes will become a replacement for the iconic “Black Cab”, was unveiled in London. — AFP

Nissan taxi readies for battle with London’s black cabs LONDON: Nissan Motor Co unveiled its new Taxi for London yesterday, having adapted an existing van to look more like the city’s traditional black cabs and allow the Japanese group to challenge the London market’s current duopoly. Nissan, which already supplies taxis in New York, Barcelona and Tokyo, said the new petrol-engine taxi would be based on its NV200 multi-purpose van and should be on the streets by the end of the year. The company first unveiled the taxi in August 2012 but had to adapt it after feedback from the city’s transport bodies. “We have worked closely with the mayor’s office and associated stakeholders and interested parties to ensure that Nissan’s new cab not only raises the bar for both driver and passenger, but is also as instantly recognisable as its legendary forebears,” Executive Vice -President Andy Palmer said. The vehicle was adapted to give it round headlamps, a re-modelled grille similar to those found on the traditional London black cabs and LED lighting to make sure the yellow taxi

sign is clearly visible. It will also adhere to the strict regulations for London’s so-called Hackney Carriages, or black cabs, including a 25-foot turning circle enabling it to turn around in London’s narrow streets. Once on the road, Nissan will compete against the dominant manufacturer, London Taxi Co (LTC), which operated as Manganese Bronze until it was saved last year by Chinese carmaker Geely. Eco City Vehicles also runs the Mercedes Vito taxi. Transport for London said there were almost 23,000 black taxis licensed to operate in the capital at the beginning of January, with the Mercedes Vito accounting for 2,177. The rest are made by LTC. Steve McNamara, the general secretar y of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association, said the new taxi would be welcomed by the industry because it would be cleaner than the traditional diesel cabs. Industry rumors have suggested that they will also be cheaper than their competitors. Nissan said that it also hopes to have an electric taxi on the streets of a British city in 2015. — Reuters

ABU DHABI: Epson will showcase its latest range of printers - including the SC-F7000, SC-F2000, and SC-S70610 from its SureColor Series - at the 17th Annual Sign & Graphic Imaging (SGI) Middle East, the latest edition of the largest and longest-running event for the region’s signage, outdoor media, screen and digital printing industries running from January 7 to 9, 2014 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The new SC-F7000 dye sublimation printer and the company’s first direct-to-garment t-shirt printer, SC-F2000, will be the highlight of the Epson’s state-of-the-art stand. SC-F7000 is the first printer in its category to have each component designed and manufactured by one company to ensure quality, performance and reliability for maximum productivity and lower total cost of ownership. A durable and robust roll-fed Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key (CMYK) model, it supports a range of applications. The 64-inch printer can be used for quality soft signage, sportswear, apparel, accessories, customized promotional items, and decorated gadgets. SC-F2000, on the other hand, is a high performing printer with a low maintenance and running cost which is perfect for small and medium print businesses. The printer comes with Epson’s Garment Creator Software that can produce customized designs on t-shirts, caps and bags up to 25mm thick. Featuring Epson’s durable Thin Film Piezo (TFP) printhead, SC-F2000 can quickly print on white and dark-colored t-shirt without sacrificing print quality. Designed for print companies that need maximum quality and application flexibility, the 8- and 10-colour SC-S70610 is Epson’s first 64-inch (162.6cm) roll-fed printer to support orange, light black, white and metallic inks simultaneously. Epson will also display the L800 photo printer from its Ink Tank Systems range. This ultra-high-capacity printer with an integrated ink tank is equipped with Epson’s Micro Piezo printhead technology and prints up to 1,800 high quality 10x15 cm photos to deliver an ultra-low-cost per photo. Shihab Zubair, Business Development Manager, Epson Middle East, said, “SGI Middle East is one of the biggest platforms to showcase the latest products and services in printing and signage industries. Our participation in the exhibition will be the biggest so far where we will showcase Epson’s top imaging solutions, including the latest such as the SC-F7000, the SC-F2000, and the SC-S70610 to our target audience. The companies in the Middle East have shown a keen interest in advanced printing technology and we ensure that our latest products

Shihab Zubair, Business Development Manager, Epson Middle East and solutions are at par with regional business requirements.” When you want to make a bigger, bolder and brighter statement that captures audience attention, Epson multimedia projectors are the ideal choice. Epson will be displaying its best-in-class projector that suits the needs of demanding

large venues and is designed for exhibition halls; offering outstanding advertising images that really captures the audience attention. With the company stand spread across 144 sq m, it is the biggest participation by Epson at the SGI Middle East. The company will be exhibiting at Hall 6, Stand D05.

GE to acquire Thermo Fisher units for $1.06bn NEW YORK: General Electric plans to acquire cell research divisions from Thermo Fischer Scientific for $1.06 billion to boost the conglomerate’s health unit, the companies announced yesterday. Under the transaction, GE Healthcare will buy Thermo Fisher cell research businesses to further efforts to develop major new medicines and vaccines in life sciences. GE said the deal would enhance its “bioprocessing footprint in Asia, the Americas and Europe.” Cell culture plays a major role in the manufacturing of medicines to treat cancer,

rheumatoid arthritis and other ailments, GE said. GE will also boost its technologies in protein analysis with the deal. “Life Sciences is one of our strongest and fastest-growing business areas, driven by the world’s demand for improved diagnostics and new, safer medicines,” said John Dineen, chief executive of GE Healthcare. “This deal makes a good business even better and will help us realize our vision of bringing better healthcare to more people at lower cost.” GE recently announced plans to spin off its North American retail finance business as it seeks to emphasize its industrial business. — AFP



Asian shares slip, Tokyo hit by strong yen HONG KONG: Asia’s markets fell yesterday in the first full day of trade in the new year, with Tokyo tumbling as the dollar and euro retreated from five-year highs against the yen. Investors were given a mixed lead from Wall Street after Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke called for continued efforts to reinforce the recovery in the US economy. Tokyo fell 2.35 percent, or 382.43 points, to 15,908.88, Sydney lost 0.47 percent, or 25.2 points, to 5,324.9, Shanghai gave up 1.80 percent, or 37.43 points, to finish at 2,045.71, while Hong Kong lost 0.58 percent, or 133.13 points, to close at 22,684.15. However, Seoul rose 0.37 percent, or 7.14 points, to close at 1,953.28. Japan’s Nikkei started the year with heavy losses after surging 57 percent in 2013, with profit-taking adding to downward pressure, while the yen rebounded from recent lows. The dollar and euro early last week hit highs against the yen not seen since October 2008, but they fell back on Friday in thin trade as many dealers stayed away after the holiday season. “Tokyo stocks are overbought, and a break in the yen’s fall, plus weaker futures are sure to result in some long-needed profit-taking after the December runup,” said Hiroichi Nishi, general manager of equities at SMBC Nikko Securities. “Hopes for a continued US economic recovery and longer-term dollar appreciation should keep sharp selloffs well contained, however,” he added. The US currency stood at 104.43 yen Monday in Tokyo against 104.85 yen in New York Friday, and well off the mid-105 yen mark seen at the start of last week. The euro bought 141.85 yen compared with 142.44 yen, well down from the 145.69 reached last Monday. The single currency was also

at $1.3582, from $1.3586. In the United States Bernanke, in a speech to economists Friday as he prepares to leave office, called for continued efforts to make sure the world’s number one economy keeps growing and unemployment carries on falling. Highlighting that the US jobless rate fell from 10 percent in 2009 to 7.0 percent recently, Bernanke nevertheless insisted: “Much progress has been made, but more remains to be done.” He added that the Fed’s decision last month to cut its monthly bond-buying by $10 billion to $75 billion did not indicate any lesser commitment to maintain an easy-money policy “for as long as needed”. The Dow Friday added 0.17 percent, the S&P 500 dipped 0.03 percent and the Nasdaq fell 0.27 percent. Chinese shares extended their losses from last week on fears that the restart of initial public offerings after a year-long hiatus will cause a glut at a time with there is already concern about liquidity. But Capital Securities analyst Amy Lin told Dow Jones Newswires they thought it was a “short-term reaction to the restart of the IPOs, given the number of the IPOs does come in higher and faster than many had expected”. She added that “in the medium-term the market should rebound because IPOs are what investors want for the market (to stay active and viable)”. On oil markets New York’s main contract West Texas Intermediate for February delivery was up 32 cents at $94.28 in afternoon trade, while Brent North Sea crude also for February rose 42 cents to $107.31. Gold fetched $1,237.60 at 1035 GMT compared with $1,233.55 late Friday.

In other markets: • Bangkok edged up 0.51 percent, or 6.22 points, to 1,230.84. Coal producer Banpu fell 4.72 percent to 25.25 baht while Bangkok Bank rose 2.97 percent to 173.50 baht. • Jakarta dropped 1.29 percent, or 54.85 points, to 4,202.81. State miner Aneka Tambang fell 3.37 percent to 1,005 rupiah, while car maker Astra International rose 1.48 percent to 6,850 rupiah. • Kuala Lumpur lost 0.30 percent, or 5.56 points, to 1,829.18. Plantation conglomerate IOI slipped 2.6 percent to 4.46 ringgit, while Berjaya Corp fell 2.7 percent to 0.55 and budget airline AirAsia gained 0.8 percent to 2.39 ringgit. • Mumbai fell 0.31 percent, or 64.03 points, to 20,787.30. Pharma firm Wockhardt fell 2.69 percent to 431.05 rupees while private bank ICICI Bank fell 2.46 percent to 1,040.70 rupees. • Taipei fell 0.54 percent, or 46.53 points, to 8,500.01. Hon Hai Precision eased 0.50 percent to Tw$79.0 while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was unchanged at Tw$102.5. • Wellington was flat, edging down 3.7 points to 4,765.32. Contact Energy lost 1.35 percent to NZ$5.10, Fletcher Building was up 0.81 percent at NZ$8.69 and Air New Zealand was steady on NZ$1.645. • Manila closed 0.64 percent higher, adding 37.88 points to 5,985.81. Ayala Corp. added 0.96 percent to 525.50 pesos and its real estate arm Ayala Land put on 0.99 percent to 25.50 pesos. • Singapore fell 0.24 percent, or 7.65 points, to 3,123,82. Agribusiness company Wilmar International rose 0.30 percent to Sg$3.36 while real estate developer Capitaland eased 0.67 percent to Sg$2.96. — AFP

TOKYO: A pedestrian looks at a quotation board displaying the Nikkei key index of the Tokyo stock exchange yesterday. Tokyo shares fell 2.18 percent in morning trading, the first day of trading for 2014, as a weaker dollar and fall on Wall Street stoked profit-taking. — AFP

Yen rebounds against dollar, euro in Asia TOKYO: The yen climbed against the dollar and euro yesterday after hitting fiveyear lows last week, but analysts said the rebound will likely only be short-lived. In afternoon Tokyo trade, the dollar bought 104.30 yen, compared with 104.85 yen in New York Friday, and well off the 105.41 yen range seen on December 30 — the greenback’s strongest level since October 2008. The euro also slipped to 141.55 yen from 142.44 yen in US trade, after hitting 145.69 yen last Monday-also its best since October 2008. The single currency fetched $1.3572, against $1.3586. Tokyo’s big-spending and easy money policies, aimed at kickstarting the Japanese economy, helped send the yen down by about one-quarter against the dollar since late 2012, while the euro has also benefited from an improvement in the euro-zone outlook. The weaker dollar and profit-taking sent Tokyo’s Nikkei-225 stock index down 2.35 percent Monday. “We’re seeing some risk-off yen buying at the moment as the Nikkei falls, but the general momentum for the (dollar-yen rate) should still be up,” Junichi Ishikawa, market analyst at IG Securities in Tokyo, told Dow Jones Newswires. Investors will be keeping a close eye on US payrolls data at the end of the week after the Federal Reserve’s announcement last month that it would cut its bond buying programme by $10 billion to $75 billion a month in January. The pullback had hinged on a signs of

a firm recovery in the world’s biggest economy, and there is now speculation that the Fed may announce a further reduction at its January meeting. The European Central Bank and Bank of England are also due to hold policy meetings while the minutes of the Fed’s most recent meeting are due Wednesday. “Looking ahead to this week, central bank actions will gather most of the limelight,” Credit Agricole said. “Investors will be scrutinizing the December (Fed meeting) minutes for more clues on the pace of further reduction in asset purchases going forward. “We currently look for another $10 billion reduction to $65 billion to be announced in the January...meeting,” it added. Policymakers in England and at the ECB are expected to stand pat on policy moves, while there is speculation the Bank of Japan may soon expand its stimulus at its next policy later this month. The greenback was mostly higher against other Asia-Pacific currencies. It rose to Sg$1.2697 from Sg$1.2676 on Friday, to Tw$29.99 from Tw$29.95, to 1,065.30 South Korean won from 1,054.70 won, and to 44.73 Philippine pesos from 44.64 pesos. It also firmed to 12,235 Indonesian rupiah from 12,130 rupiah and to 33.11 Thai baht from 33.00 baht. The unit weakened to 62.30 Indian rupees from 62.42 rupees. The Australian dollar fetched 89.44 US cents from 89.79 cents, while the Chinese yuan bought 17.24 yen from 17.20 yen. — AFP

Gold rises to 3-week high SINGAPORE: Gold rallied for a fifth day to its highest level in nearly three weeks yesterday, as softer equity markets prompted investors to tap the asset’s safe-haven qualities. The metal’s rally comes despite a stronger dollar and bullish comments from the Federal Reserve on the US economy, but follows a near 30 percent loss last year. “Weaker equities will have more of an impact on gold prices than a stronger dollar,” said Helen Lau, an analyst at UOB-Kay Hian Securities in Hong Kong. “Because it is all about allocation by funds. If there is an increase in allocation towards gold and less towards stocks, there will be a decrease in outflows from gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and that is a positive for prices,” she said. Lau expects gold to average $1,200 for the year, and likely hit $1,300 in the first quarter. Spot gold rose 0.5 percent to $1,242.36 an ounce by 0354 GMT. It earlier hit a near three-week peak of $1,245.86. The metal lost nearly 30 percent of its value last year as global stocks jumped and as the Fed announced plans to begin tapering its bond-buying stimulus. Outflows from the top eight gold ETFs totalled about 740 tons in 2013 as investors shifted money to equities, hurting prices. Yesterday, Asian shares fell to a two-week low after growth in China’s services sector

slowed sharply last month. The dollar hovered near a four-week high, supported by an upbeat outlook for the US economy. Physical demand for bullion in China, the world’s biggest gold consumer, remained strong with premiums climbing to about$19 an ounce from Friday’s $17. Data cues Economic data releases this week could help determine whether the recent rally in gold prices can hold. US nonfarm payrolls and trade numbers expected later this week will provide clues on the strength of the economic recovery, while the minutes of the December Fed policy meeting - at which the central bank decided to cut back bond purchases - may hint at how aggressive the Fed will be with tapering. Ben Bernanke, who steps down as head of the Fed at the end of the month, on Friday gave an upbeat assessment of the US economy in coming quarters, though he did temper the good news in housing, finance and fiscal policies by repeating that the overall recovery “clearly remains incomplete”. In what could possibly be his last speech as Fed chairman, Bernanke also said the US central bank is no less committed to highly accommodative policy now that it has trimmed its bond-buying stimulus. —Reuters



Britain needs $41bn of cuts after poll: Osborne ‘2014, the year of hard truths for Britain’

SHANGHAI: A woman mends clothes with a sewing machine on a street in Shanghai yesterday. China’s economy probably grew 7.6 percent in 2013, according to a government report cited by state media, slightly above its official target for the year and just below last year’s performance. — AFP

Data preview

Investors see some light at end of tunnel for euro-zone By Neil Mellor


ark it ’s PMI data allowed investors to discern some light at the end of the tunnel for the Euro-area last autumn, but subsequent releases rather downgraded the experience to a glimmer. Most recent trends have augured badly for the French economy in par ticular and according to Markit, the December figures showed that “France is seeing a steepening downturn, in par t the result of widening expor t losses”. Today’s figures are the finalized releases but confirmation of this bleak backdrop might yet prompt French officials to bemoan the damaging impact of a currency running adrift from its fundamentals. In the US, a revised durable goods report precedes anon-manufacturing ISM for December: any further improvement in the figures and market sentiment will increasingly be embroiled in a tug of war between an improving economy and a central bank keen to exert maximum control over policy expectations. 7th: For some time, the EUR’s performance has generally suffered from what we might call a “diode” effect, with negative data releases failing to undermine the currency whilst positive releases only serve to underpin it. With the proviso that seasonal illiquidity might yet be concealing fundamental change in this regard, then provided that the December’s PMIs confirm the preliminary picture, a positive German unemployment report could easily initiate a marked recovery for the EUR. Of course, the report is followed shortly afterward by Euro-area inflation with any marked fall a potential catalyst for EUR selling by way of speculation about the ECB’s response. That said, the last two ECB rate cuts have simply offered-up buying opportunities for the EUR and were inflation to fall markedly for December, there should be no precluding a similar outcome. US trade for November rounds off the day. 8th: After German industrial orders grace the European calendar alone,

ADP employment figures for November provide their usual hints for the week-ending non-farm payrolls repor t. Depth of the US economic recovery is not the be-all-and-end-all of US monetary policy as we believe that the Fed will be willing to sit on the rough margins on the curve for as long as it can for the sake of the recovery; but the non-farm payrolls report sits on a pedestal and there can be no refuting the turbulence that it can induce into the price action and for a fair stretch of time. 9th: The European Commission publishes its host of sentiment reports before the BOE and ECB reveal their hand on policy for the first time this year. With ECB policy firmly in the grip of political forces, it will be impossible to say whether Council members with dovish sympathies have once more formed a cabal to force Mario Draghi’s hand - as we presume they did on the introduction of forward guidance and recent rate cuts. Meanwhile, the rather less opaque policy stance of the BOE has attained a greater degree of clarity of late, with recent policy statements seemingly at odds with the plethora of positive data releases: it would seem that Committee members are concerned about the longevity of the UK economic recovery and feel little need to adjust policy accordingly. At the ver y least, however, policy makers might require a little information from the Christmas period before making any fresh assertions about the UK economic outlook. Perhaps the real issue to look out for however is just how concerned the Bank is becoming about the impact of GBP’s stellar performance. 10th: Lead indicators for November will give us some tentative insight in to the health of the Japanese economic recovery as the countdown to the sales tax hike begins in earnest. French and UK industrial production figures then provide the warm up act before the day’s key event, US non-farm payrolls for December.-Neil Mellor is currency strategist at BNY Mellon email: neil.mellor@bnymellon

LONDON: British finance minister George Osborne warned yesterday that the government needs to find an extra £25 billion ($41 billion, 30 billion euros) of painful cuts after next year’s general election. In a speech later yesterday, Osborne warned that 2014 is to be the year of “hard truths” and that although Britain had cut the budget deficit, it was still borrowing around £100 billion a year. “We need to find a further £25 billion of cuts after the election. We have to make decisions about where those cuts are to be found,” he told BBC radio. “We have to make decisions about whether we seek them in departments or whether we seek them in the welfare budget. But the reason we need to make those savings, this is not an end in itself, this is a means to an end.” Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, said he wanted Britain to be “a country in control of its own destiny”. “And a country which is saddled not just with a high deficit, but also a high debt, is one that can’t do those things,” he said. Osborne said that there was no “magic wand” he could wave to make Britain richer. He was to tell an audience in central England that there is “still a long way to go” in reducing the public deficit, despite three years of austerity since the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition came to power. “As a result of the painful cuts we’ve made, the deficit is down by a third,” he was to say, according to pre-released extracts. “That’s the good news. “We’re borrowing around £100 billion a yearand paying half that money a year in interest just to service our debts. “We’ve got to make more cuts. That’s why 2014 is the year of hard truths... the year when Britain faces a choice.”

George Osborne Prime Minister David Cameron on Sunday will carry on using the triple lock after the next promised any revenue from tax cuts would bene- election to protect the basic state pension,” fit lower income earners, and told pensioners Cameron wrote in the Sunday Times. “We can they would continue to receive guaranteed rises only afford to do this because we are taking difin their state payouts until at least 2020 if the ficult decisions to cut the deficit and get spending under control as part of our long-term ecoConservatives win the next general election. Cameron vowed that a Tor y government nomic plan.” The premier has already suggested would continue the so-called “triple lock” system, that the state pension would be the only benefit meaning pensions would rise in line with the exempt from a new cap on overall welfare higher rate-inflation or wages-or 2.5 percent. “A spending. The opposition Labor party has also Conservative government will offer pensioners a said it was committed to the triple lock if it wins more secure future by pledging today that we power in 2015. —AFP

Congress returns, mulls Fed chair nominee WASHINGTON: The US Congress returned to work yesterday with a politically driven agenda in an election year that will determine control of the Senate and House of Representatives. President Barack Obama’s nomination of Janet Yellen to head the Federal Reserve and a three-month extension of benefits for the longterm unemployed are first up in Senate, with votes scheduled Monday night. The benefits would affect an estimated 1.3 million Americans. The payments stopped on Dec 28. The issue is vital to the Democratic Party’s core voters who are crucial in midterm elections like the one later this year. “Dealing with declining middle-class incomes and not enough job growth will be the No. 1 issue,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer. Critical to economic stability is a smooth transition to a new chairman of the Federal Reserve. The Senate is expected to confirm Yellen to the powerful post,

making her the first woman to head the Fed. She would replace Ben Bernanke on Feb. 1. Republicans also intend to focus on every facet of Obama’s health care law, sensing a political boost in its troubled launch as the party looks to maintain its House majority and seize control of the Democratic-led Senate. First up in the House, according to Majority Leader Eric Cantoris legislation addressing the security of personal data, part of his party’s effort “to protect the American people from the harmful effects of Obamacare.” Republicans also promise closer scrutiny of the administration’s count of enrollment numbers in the program, which is meant to provide health insurance coverage to millions of Americans. Lawmakers also face a Jan. 15 deadline to agree on a spending bill to keep the government running and avoid a partial shutdown that disrupted Congress last fall.

Chinese tycoon wants to ‘rebuild’ New York Times

JPMorgan Chase to pay $2bn in Madoff probe NEW YORK: JPMorgan Chase, the US bank used by Bernard Madoff who masterminded the biggest fraud on record, has agreed to pay about $2.0 billion to US authorities to avoid litigation, press reports said yesterday. Madoff masterminded a massive and long-running socalled Ponzi investment fraud which came to light in 2008 as the financial crisis gathered speed. At the time of its collapse in 2008, Madoff Securities claimed it had about $65 billion in client assets, whereas in fact it had only about $300 million. The fraud ruined many investors and stoked public anger over the causes and consequences of the crisis. Reports in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, citing people close to the matter, said JPMorgan Chase would announce the settlement this week. The Wall Street Journal said: “The bulk of the fines are expected to be routed to victims of Mr Madoff.” JPMorgan Chase, the biggest US bank by assets, was the main bank used by Madoff for more than 20 years. The sources quoted by the two papers said the bank had agreed to pay up to close criminal and civil investigations by federal authorities which suspected that the bank had ignored signs that Madoff was operating a fraudulent scheme. The New York Times said that the expected announcement would take to $20 billion the total amount paid by the bank in the last 12 months to settle various government investigations. The paper noted that the bank had declined to comment on its report but had insisted that all of

its staff had acted in good faith. The various authorities involved also declined to comment. The New York Times also reported that in a highly unusual move demonstrating the extreme gravity of the case, the settlement would include a deferred prosecution agreement suspending criminal action provided that the bank acknowledged the facts against it and changed its behavior. The expected settlement indicated a new conciliatory stance by the bank, the report said, adding: “Within the bank, there is growing impatience among executives who worry that the scrutiny distracts from its record profits.” However, the bank was the target of recent bribery investigations by US authorities over its practice of hiring in China the children of people among the country’s ruling elite, the newspaper noted. In 2009, Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison. His Ponzi or pyramid scheme was based on using money from incoming investors to pay high returns to longer standing investors. When the financial markets collapsed and investors withdrew their funds, the Madoff illusion was exposed. The liquidator of the Madoff business, Ir ving Picard, had begun action against the bank with a claim of up to $20 billion in damages, but a federal judge and then an appeal court rejected this action, arguing that only investors who had been deceived could launch them. However, that procedural issue is now before the Supreme Court. —AFP

A short-term measure is likely this month just to let the government continue operating. Several other contentious issues loom. Twentysix senators have signed on to a new Iran sanctions bill that Obama opposes while his administration negotiates with the Iranian government over its nuclear program. The legislation would impose sanctions if the talks falter, with a full Senate vote possible this month. Also likely is a vote on legislation to give victims of rape and sexual assault in the military an independent route outside the chain of command for prosecuting attackers. Military leaders and several powerful senators oppose the proposal. Unclear is whether the House will tackle major legislation to overhaul immigration laws. Some House Republicans still resist any legislation, fearing it would lead to a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally. — AP

DAVOS: Swiss soldiers install a fence as a security measure for the upcoming World Economic Forum WEF in Davos Switzerland yesterday. The annual WEF meeting lasts from Jan 22 to Jan 25, 2014. —AP

Turkish lira hits record low amid political crisis ANKARA: The Turkish lira plunged to a new low against the dollar yesterday, pressured by a high-level corruption scandal rattling the government. The lira fell to 2.1947 to the dollar, after dropping to 2.18 on Thursday and 2.17 on Friday. The latest pressure against the Turkish currency arises from political tensions over a corruption and bribery investigation which has shaken Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s pro-business government. “We are faced with a significant challenge ... Whether or not the legal developments have (a) negative impact on foreign direct investment, we will see, but we are committed to improving the investment climate,” Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek told The Financial Times on Sunday. Simsek said that the fall of the lira would “obviously have some negative implications” for the Turkish economy. “The bottom line for the first half of 2014 is slower growth, more modest growth, on the back of (US Federal Reserve) tapering and domestic political and economic

conditions,” he said. Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan sought to play down the impact of the crisis on the once fast-growing emerging economy as only “temporary”, although analysts warned that investors had taken fright. He also said the government would not revise its projection of 4.0-percent growth of the economy this year-down from a high point of close to nine percent in 2010. Turkey’s central bank, statutorily independent, is trying to prop up the lira by selling dollars from its reserves. Last year the lira and the economy were undermined by signals of a tightening of US monetary policy which caused some investment funds to flow out of emerging economies, by demonstrations and unrest in the middle of the year, and by investor concerns over a current account deficit and high level of consumer credit. The central bank raised effective interest rates sharply while holding down the official rate, and began to sell foreign reserves to shore up the currency. —AFP

BEIJING: A Chinese tycoon said yesterday he is serious about buying the New York Times and wants to work on “rebuilding its credibility and influence” by reforming its award-winning coverage of China. Chen Guangbiao, listed as one of China’s 400 richest people and a man known as much for his publicity stunts as his charitable giving, penned an op-ed in the state-run Global Times newspaper headlined: “I intend to buy The New York Times, please don’t take it as a joke”. “The tradition and style of The New York Times make it very difficult to have objective coverage of China,” Chen wrote. “If we could purchase it, its tone might turn around. Therefore I have been involved in discussing acquisition-related matters with like-minded investors.” The New York Times has published several award-winning reports on China, including a 2012 investigation into the family wealth of then-premier Wen Jiabao that was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. The paper’s website has been blocked ever since in China, the world’s second-biggest economy, and several of its reporters have had difficulty obtaining visas. Chinese state media and officials often interpret overseas criticism of the ruling Communist Party as an attack on the country itself. Chen added that if he succeeds he “will conduct some necessary reforms, the ultimate goal of which is to make the paper’s reports more authentic and objective, thus rebuilding its credibility and influence”. Last Monday, Chen said at an event in the southern Chinese boom town of Shenzhen that he planned to travel to the US “to go discuss the acquisition” of the paper, a remark that many dismissed as the wealthy entrepreneur’s latest play for attention. Four days later, Chen was spotted by a Chinese Business News reporter at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport. A New York Times spokeswoman told a reporter for the newspaper last week that the company had “no information” about any negotiations with Chen. Chen built his fortune, estimated at five billion yuan ($825 million) by Chinese wealth publisher the Hurun Report, on the recycling company Huangpu Renewable Resources Utilization Group. But he has been derided by critics as a publicity hound who will go to great lengths for attention. In the past, he has sold “canned fresh air” to residents of smog-ridden Beijing and also recently posed in front of a wall made out of thousands of “bricks” made of banknotes. In his op-ed, Chen wrote that he has “persuaded a Hong Kong entrepreneur to contribute $600 million to this cause” of buying the paper, whose parent company is listed on Wall Street and has a market capitalization of more than $2 billion. “I have said as long as the price is reasonable, there is nothing that cannot be bought,” he wrote. He added that he first had the idea of purchasing the newspaper when he placed an advertisement in it in December 2012 asserting Chinese sovereignty over a disputed island group called the Diaoyus by China and the Senkakus by Japan. “I find Americans know little about a civilized and open China that has been enjoying unprecedented development,” Chen wrote. —AFP



Seven stars: Sporty, practical or spacious The Mini range has it all KUWAIT: Catering to a discerning clientele in Kuwait, the MINI family has been growing in recent years. Ali Alghanim & Sons Automotive, the BMW Group importer in Kuwait now offers a MINI to suit everyone thorough its comprehensive range of seven MINI models. MINI - FOR STYLE ICONS It’s now more than 10 years since MINI founded the premium compact car segment. There might be many imitators today, but no other brand offers so much style, practicality and driving fun. Whether you choose the MINI Cooper or the athletic MINI Cooper S with its award-winning 184hp twin-scroll turbocharged engine, the MINI Hatch is equally comfortable in the crowded city as it is on the motorway. Its design has already become an icon, and it continues the tradition of the original Mini by Sir Alec Issigonis in a unique way. MINI CABRIO - FOR SUN LOVERS Perfect for the Middle East’s roads, the MINI Cabrio comes with a soft top and space for up to four people. Even while driving at a speed of up to 30 km/h, the top folds back fully automatically in just 15 seconds. This is a car simply begging for driving in the open air for any weather condition, even challenging the driver to use the Always-Open timer - a unique feature typical of MINI Cabrio, the Openometer records the time spent by the owner driving with the top down. As well as supplying driving excitement by the bucketload, the MINI Cabrio is a frugal fuel-sipper; with the MINI Cooper engine delivering combined fuel economy of 6 litres/100km while still achieving 122hp. MINI CLUBMAN - FOR PRACTICAL PEOPLE The MINI Clubman is reminiscent of its classic forerunners in terms of design. In its split-

off at the traffic lights, too. Our dynamic engine options ensure you’ll experience a sporty drive from all models, ranging from 122hp to 211hp on the John Cooper Works engine variant.

door configuration, the MINI Clubman brings back memories of its famous predecessors: the Austin Mini Countryman, the Morris Mini Traveller, and the Mini Clubman Estate sold very successfully between 1960 and 1982. The MINI Clubman is a comfortable four-seater with a unique club door making access to the back seats very easy. If you don’t need all the seats, you can increase the luggage capacity to 930 litres by folding the rear seats flat, compared with 260 litres with the seats up. With a flat easy-load space, you shouldn’t struggle with stacking your luggage either.

MINI COUNTRYMAN - FOR ADVENTURES The MINI Countryman is not only an SUV; with four doors, tons of storage space and optional ALL4 all-wheel drive, it’s far more than a practical temptation. A sporty crossover delivering remarkable performance from a solid chassis and engine range offering between 122hp to 218hp, it also provides enviable flexibility with loads of luggage capacity. From the economical MINI Cooper Countryman to the rally rocket MINI John Cooper Works Countryman, they all create a big impression and hardly know any boundaries on the roads.

ened chassis ensure the sportiest of rides. Hit 80km/h and the built-in active rear spoiler activates, promising top performance at top speeds. It may be a sporty drive, but driving a MINI CoupÈ doesn’t mean than you have to leave your bags behind - with 280 litres of luggage space available via the easily accessible tailgate, you’ll be able to fit in more than you think.

MINI COUPE - FOR ACTION HEROES As unique as your fingerprint, the MINI CoupÈ is a stylish piece of kit. With its stunning roof line and bold design features, you’ll turn heads wherever you drive. Providing the ultimate in road-hugging performance, the MINI Coupe’s low centre of gravity and stiff-

MINI ROADSTER - FOR SPORTY RACERS You’ll be drawn in by the two-seater MINI convertible with a larger than life personality. As a true rebel, the MINI Roadster delivers driving excitement in spades, creating an addiction to more than just the summer sun. With one quick move, you can open the roof and feel the wind in your hair. You won’t have to wait longer either - at just 10 seconds to open or close the roof, it’s a nifty little trick to show

MINI PACEMAN - FOR DESIGN FANS The MINI Paceman is the newest member of the MINI family, combining design, sportiness and driving dynamics wit practicality and ever yday utility like no other model. Exceptional style stretches beyond its stunning exterior looks; surfaces and design features. It’s more than just a good-looking car, though; the John Cooper Works model delivers up to 218hp, so the exceptional performance really does give you bragging rights. With standard ALL4 all-wheel drive on the John Cooper Works model, yet still delivering an impressive 0-100km/h in under seven seconds, you’ll be able to steer clear of the petrol station with an incredible standard consumption of 7.4 litres/100km. Committed to constantly improving the overall experience of their customers, all MINI models from Ali Alghanim & Sons Automotive come with a 5 year or 150,000 km warranty. The vehicles also come with a service package for 4 years or 84,000 km and free registration. Ali Alghanim & Sons Automotive recently launched a dedicated MINI showroom located in Shuwaikh Industrial area- a first in Kuwait. The new establishment can home up to eight cars allowing customers to experience the entire MINI product portfolio in one location. The showroom also houses a full MINI lifestyle section offering a range of MINI branded products offering functionality for everyday use. For those looking for a more dynamic model head to the John Cooper Works (JCW) corner where fans can add additional performance and style to their MINI vehicles.

Air Arabia celebrates 10 years in Qatar Airline announces additional flights

$800 million Saudi printing market sustains 8% annual growth rate RIYADH: Recent market studies indicate that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s (KSA) printing market - the oldest and the largest in the Gulf - is worth an impressive $800 million and as it grows steadily at a rate of eight percent per annum. This upbeat growth forecast is underpinned by the thriving publishing segment that is responsible for producing an estimated 5.1 million copies of newspapers daily and nearly 2 million copies of magazines in the Kingdom each month. Backed by 10 years of significant success, Saudi Print & Pack 2014, the 11th International Trade Exhibition for Printing & Packaging Technologies will be held at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center (RICEC) from 17 to 20 February, 2014. The event has played a pertinent role in the development of the industry by consistently introducing the latest printing technologies, machineries, equipment and supplies to the regional market. The show will be held concurrently with Saudi Plastics & Petrochem 2014, the 11th International Plastics & Petrochemicals Trade Fair. The 2014 edition is expected to be bigger with more countries participating for a projected 15 percent event growth, and is set to address the challenges and opportunities in the industries that have emerged as a result of technological innovations in recent years. A wide range of offerings, including prepress equipment, stitching machines, buffing machines, folding and cutting machines, prepress software, digital direct printing techniques, silkscreen printing techniques, audit equipment, paper and printing supplies will be on display. Zeyad Al-Rukban, Deputy General

Manager at the Riyadh Exhibitions Company, said: “The printing industry in the Kingdom is the oldest and the biggest in the entire Gulf region. The country’s economic growth, increasing government expenditure, population expansion, rising cultural and educational activities and the growth in retail have all contributed to intensifying printing, advertising and marketing activities. This in turn has created additional demand for printing equipment and services leading to the overall growth of the industry.” “Today, most governmental organizations have their own printing presses. For instance, the Ministry of Defense alone has 20. The universities and educational facilities have their own publishing arms as well. The demand for cutting-edge products and services is therefore very high. In addition to catering to this demand, Saudi Print & Pack 2014 also advocates the optimal use of technology to boost the industry’s productivity,” concluded Al-Rukban. Organized by the Riyadh Exhibitions Company (REC), Saudi Print & Pack and Saudi Plastics & Petrochem 2014 will feature exhibitors from over 27 countries and will be spread over an area of 20,000 square meters. A key highlight of the upcoming event will be the 10 exclusive national pavilions to showcase the potential of the local market. Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) and The National Industrialization Company (TASNEE), two of the most reputed organizations in the country, have pledged their support for the event as Diamond Sponsors, while Saudi Polymers has been confirmed as the official Platinum Sponsor.

SHARJAH: After completing a successful decade of operations in Qatar, Air Arabia, the first and largest low-cost carrier (LCC) in the Middle East and North Africa, today announced that the expansion of its services to Doha. The airline has increased its existing twice daily services between Sharjah and Doha to three times daily, becoming one of the frequent fliers between the two countries. Air Arabia entered Qatar with a regular service to Doha on January 6, 2004. Over the past decade, the airline continued to enjoy good performance on the Sharjah-Doha route which resulted in the airline expanding its services from a few weekly flights to three times daily. With the additional frequency, the number of weekly flights to Doha will go up to 21 non-stop services, which depart Sharjah International Airport daily at 08:20, 15:30, and 18:30. Return flights depart Doha daily at 09:20, 16:30, and 19:30. Commenting on the occasion, Adel Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia, said: “We are delighted to celebrate the New Year by launching an additional flight to Doha, which has always been a key market for us. Having completed a decade long operations in this very exciting market is a key milestone for us, and it is ambition to further expand our services from Doha beyond Sharjah to connect Air Arabia’s

other hubs.” Ali added: “Since inception in 2003, we have been committed to the improve intra-GCC connectivity to most major destinations in the Gulf. As we continue to play a vital role in connecting the nations, we have ambitious plans to strengthen operations to all airports within the GCC, offering enormous choice for customers seeking to travel around the region, where air

travel is the only viable mode of transport.” The strengthening of Qatar services further cements Air Arabia’s position as the leading lowcost carrier to GCC markets. In 10 years of operations, Air Arabia’s network has expanded to serve over 15 destinations in the GCC from hubs in the UAE and Egypt, with further expansion plans along the way. The airline now operates 154 weekly flights within the Gulf.

Etihad Airways celebrates record-breaking 2013 Airline reports double-digit passenger, cargo growth ABU DHABI: Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is celebrating a year of record-breaking success after achieving its highest ever passenger and cargo volumes in 2013. Nearly12 million people flew with Etihad Airways last year, marking a significant increase of nearly 16per cent in comparison to 2012’s figure of 10.3 million. Bangkok was once again the airline’s busiest route, with a total of 742,759passengers flying to Thailand’s capital city in 2013, a year-on-year increase of 7 per cent. Manilawas the second busiest route (547,068 passengers), followed by London(544,564passengers), Jeddah (373,651 passengers) and Paris (338,969 passengers). Etihad Airways carried 73 per cent of the more than 16.4million passengers who travelled through Abu Dhabi airport in

2013. With the addition of the airline’s equity alliance partners that operate flights into Abu Dhabi, the combined total rises to 79per cent of passenger traffic at Abu Dhabi airport. James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said: “Our record-breaking numbers in 2013 reflect the continued success of our strategic master plan, which focuses on three fundamental pillars; organic network growth, the forging of codeshare partnerships, and minority equity investments in other airlines. “As the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, we also continued to support Abu Dhabi’s growth as a leading international travel hub, while facilitating trade to and from the country.” Six destinations were introduced to Etihad Airways’ network in 2013, with new services

launched to Washington DC in March, Amsterdam in May, Sao Paulo and Belgrade in June, Sana’a in September, and Ho Chi Minh City in October. Frequencies were also increased on 18 existing routes last year and new codeshare agreements were signed with Kenya Airways, Air Serbia, South African Airways, Belavia, Korean Airlines, Air Canada and airBaltic. During 2013, building on its organic growth, Etihad Airways also expanded its codeshare and equity partnerships, which delivered more than 1.8 million passengers onto Etihad Airways flights, 38 per cent higher than the 1.3 million in 2012 In addition to its four existing equity partners - airberlin, Air Seychelles, Virgin Australia and Aer Lingus - Etihad Airways announced investments in three additional carriers in 2013.



LAS VEGAS: Chris George plays a video game wearing the PrioVR full body harness with 17 body and head sensors each containing a magnetometer, gyroscope and accelerometer to translate body motion into action by gaming characters, by Yei Technologies.

LAS VEGAS: A DJI Innovations DJI Phantom 2 Vision aerial system drone with controller.

CES stage set for new wave of gadgets LAS VEGAS: As spending on gadgets flattens in a world obsessed with smartphones and tablets, the Consumer Electronics Show here hopes to be a launch pad for a new must-have device. From drones and smart cars to remote-controlled door locks and eyewear, the annual CES event officially starting today promises to showcase an “Internet of Things” with users at its heart. The technology extravaganza that plays out each year in the glitz-laden city of Las Vegas has evolved beyond the eye-popping television technology for which it is known, to serve as a stage for once-dumb devices given brains in the form of computer chips and Internet connections. “You will see two types of technology here,” Shawn DuBravac, chief economist at the Consumer Electronics Association which puts on the international show, said Sunday. “You will see the technologically feasible and the ones that are commercially viable.”Innovations on display but not prime for market will include bendable screens. Potentially disruptive technology that is available includes 3D printers that let users print objects in a fashion similar to printing documents. “It is still a very nascent market, but we are starting to see it grow,” DuBravac said. The CES stage is typically a prime showcase for gizmos that don’t usually get a spotlight. “You will see a lot about the Internet of things; all the gadgets that are not a tablet, smartphone or personal computer but are attached to the Internet,” said Forrester analyst Frank Gillett. “Like your car telling you that you are speeding too much or door locks that you unlock with a smartphone. There are all kinds of gadgety things like that we will see.” New technologies A driver of the hot CES trend of wearable computers such as bracelets or pendants that track wearers’ activities or health is proliferation of low-cost sensors. Sensors in cars help drivers park or enable cruise-control features to modify speed depending on traffic, while Internet-linked thermostats in homes can sense when residents’ smartphones are nearing and adjust temperatures to welcome them. And door locks with wireless connectivity and sensors can open automati-

cally for people arriving home, or be controlled remotely using smartphones. As a result, protecting personal information gathered by sensors is “certainly on the radar for all manufacturers at CES,” according to DuBravac. “I almost wonder sometimes if privacy is an anomaly instead of the other way around,” DuBravac said, noting that in small towns of days gone by everyone seemed to know everyone else’s doings. “If I can get a richer experience by sharing my data, that is a fair trade-off,” he suggested. The latest in television ultra-high definition screens will be on display, but analysts expected them to land in the market with a thud similar to that made by 3-D televisions. “Your television gets a zillion more pixels, but most people won’t be able to notice the difference,” Gillett said, though DuBravac expects scores of Ultra HD television announcements at CES. UItra HD television stands to benefit from availability of rich content at online venues such as Netflix, YouTube as well as from major film studios. They are also hitting the market about eight years after consumers upgraded en masse to high definition screens, and historic buying patterns indicate people will be looking for replacement TVs. The global market for technology hit a record high of $1.068 trillion in 2013 powered by uptake in smartphones and tablets, according to Steve Koenig, director of industry analysis at the Consumer Electronics Association. He forecast that figure would ebb slightly this year and level off at $1.055 trillion, noting that regions where demand for smartphones or tablets is hottest tend to be places where low prices are needed to penetrate markets. “North America is no longer in the lead in terms of technology spending,” Koenig said. “The spending coming on line in Asia has sealed the deal in terms of leadership and America will have to settle for number two. Simply put, there is strength in numbers in China.” Amazingly, 43 cents of every dollar spent on consumer electronics this year was predicted to go on smartphones and tablets. “We are now awaiting that next wave of innovation, and that is really what CES is all about,” Koenig added — AFP

LAS VEGAS: Liquid Image’s EGO LS wearable camera is displayed connected to a module during a press event at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

LAS VEGAS: Casey Macioge representing AcousticSheep LLC wears a RunPhones headband, a moisture wicking headband with removable headphones.

LAS VEGAS: The MX3 Meizu smartphone from Chinese company Future Technology Enterprise Ltd.

LAS VEGAS: The Kolibree toothbrush, the world’s first Internet-connected toothbrush, is displayed at the “CES: Unveiled,” media preview for International CES, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. — AFP photos

App developers see wearable devices as next big thing SAN FRANCISCO: Wearable computers like Google Glass and the Samsung Galaxy Gear watch may not have caught fire yet, but that hasn’t stopped mobile game developers from rushing to create apps for the new devices, eager to seize what they hope is the next big moment in consumer technology. Niccolo DeMasi, the CEO of mobile games maker Glu Mobile , compares the potential of wearables to that of Apple Inc’s iPhone launch in 2007 - an event that was the catalyst to create much of the mobile app world that exists now. DeMasi and others are betting that by developing compelling apps designed with the wearables’ special features in mind, they can create overwhelming demand for the products. “A whole new app ecosystem is going to be born,” said Shawn Hardin, chief executive officer of Mind Pirate, which will release “Global Food Fight,” its first game for Google Glass, this month. “Those who are going to make that happen in a big way are going to be valuable companies because of it, and those who wait too late won’t be a part of it.” The market for mobile game apps is expected to grow to $17 billion this year from just $6 billion in 2010, analysts said, and wearables could fuel growth in the years to come. An array of new smartwatches and devices like fitness tracker Fitbit will go on display this week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, heralding a potential breakthrough for the devices in 2014. Google Glass is expected to launch broadly sometime this year. So far, its user-

testing version has only been available at a $1,500 price to about 15,000 developers and consumers who registered to be part of its early adopter program. Galaxy Gear smartwatches from Samsung have garnered mixed reviews since their September launch, and consumers have not warmed to them yet. Despite the slow start, Juniper Research expects more than 130 million smart wearable devices will ship by 2018. Moreover, global shipments of wearable “smart glasses” alone will reach 10 million each year by 2018, compared with an estimated 87,000 in 2013, according to the research firm. Wearable computing devices basically function as mini-computers, mainly strapped on a user’s wrist or face, though they may end up being worn on other parts of the body, too. In developing apps for them, programmers will focus on their voicecommand features as well as GPS, gyroscope, compass and WiFi capabilities. Apps for more conventional mobile devices, by contrast, mostly use their touch-screen interface. Fun and games Glu wanted to get a jump on its rivals by creating a word puzzle game called “Spellista” for the prototype of Google Inc’s Glass. Because Glass allows hands-free experiences, Spellista’s gameplay relies on voice commands and head movements that work with the device’s gyroscope. With voice commands, a gamer can snap pictures on its 5megapixel camera and create word puzzles to share with friends. Another distinct feature of Glass is how it transmits sound. With Spellista, a user hears

the game’s tutorial through sound vibrations traveling through the skull behind the ear rather than traditional speakers. That lets the user simultaneously hear ambient sound. Over 2,000 developers, including Glu, have access to the programming code and tools needed to design apps for Glass. With Mind Pirate’s app, “Global Food Fight,” the Silicon Valley startup wants to demonstrate that wearable devices are wellsuited for “micro-engagement” - or 30- to 90second game sessions. The three-dimensional app is designed for multiple players. Gamers can use head movements and taps on the Glass touchpad to virtually hurl tomatoes or gooey pies at one another and build obstacle courses to help them dodge hits. “You could sit on a train and launch a food fight using voice commands, and you could be playing with multiple people” who could be virtually anywhere, Hardin explained. Mind Pirate has set up an incubator program, providing resources to four developers to work on games and apps for Glass and other wearable computing devices in partnership with the Canadian Film Centre, a Toronto-based film training institute. Timothy Jordan, senior developer advocate for Google Glass, said the game concepts that developers come up with need to be path-breaking. “If something works well on another platform and you stamp it on Glass, you’re doing it wrong,” he said. Games and apps have often popularized new hardware, helping to familiarize consumers with the technology. Rovio’s Angry Birds demonstrated the iPhone’s easy

LOS ANGELES: File photo shows Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren, wearing Google Glass, answers questions from the media during a news conference. — AP swipe and touch features, and the card game Solitaire made using the mouse on Microsoft Corp’s Windows operating software seem intuitive. “It’s early days in wearables, but I would be unsurprised if 2017 to 2027 turns out to be a great 10-year wave for all wearable computing, whether it’s watches or something like Glass,” DeMasi said. Companies such as Qualcomm Inc and Fitbit will use the Consumer Electronics Show to showcase wearable fitness trackers and smartwatches, in addition to single- and binocular-lens “glasses.” “There’ll be a lot of

competitive offerings - and I think some of these are going to be really, really well-suited for new kinds of entertainment and gameplay,” Hardin said, without providing details. To be sure, not all developers think wearable devices are destined for glory any time soon. There are plenty of questions over the price point, limited battery life and other concerns. Misha Lyalin, CEO of ZeptoLab, which created the hit mobile game “Cut the Rope,” says the category is mostly an R&D project for most game developers at this stage. — Reuters


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

Growing number of seniors caring for other seniors New face of America’s network of caregivers

WASHINGTON: In this Thursday, April 14, 1994 file photo, heads of the nation’s largest cigarette companies are sworn in before a hearing of a House Energy subcommittee which was holding hearings on the contents of cigarettes on Capitol Hill in Washington. — AP

Historic smoking report marks 50th anniversary ATLANTA: Fifty years ago, ashtrays seemed to be on every table and desk. Athletes and even Fred Flintstone endorsed cigarettes in TV commercials. Smoke hung in the air in restaurants, offices and airplane cabins. More than 42 percent of US adults smoked, and there was a good chance your doctor was among them. The turning point came on Jan 11, 1964. It was on that Saturday morning that US Surgeon General Luther Terry released an emphatic and authoritative report that said smoking causes illness and death - and the government should do something about it. In the decades that followed, warning labels were put on cigarette packs, cigarette commercials were banned, taxes were raised and new restrictions were placed on where people could light up. “It was the beginning,” said Kenneth Warner, a University of Michigan public health professor who is a leading authority on smoking and health. It was not the end. While the US smoking rate has fallen by more than half to 18 percent, that still translates to more than 43 million smokers. Smoking is still far and away the leading preventable cause of death in the US. Some experts predict large numbers of Americans will puff away for decades to come. New campaigns Nevertheless, the Terry report has been called one of the most important documents in US public health history, and on its 50th anniversary, officials are not only rolling out new anti-smoking campaigns but reflecting on what the nation did right that day. The report’s bottom-line message was hardly revolutionary. Since 1950, head-turning studies that found higher rates of lung cancer in heavy smokers had been appearing in medical journals. A widely read article in Reader’s Digest in 1952, “Cancer by the Carton,” contributed to the largest drop in cigarette consumption since the Depression. In 1954, the American Cancer Society announced that smokers had a higher cancer risk. But the tobacco industry fought back. Manufacturers came out with cigarettes with filters that they claimed would trap toxins before they settled into smokers’ lungs. And in 1954, they placed a full-page ad in hundreds of newspapers in which they argued that research linking their products and cancer was inconclusive. It was a brilliant counter-offensive that left physicians and the public unsure how dangerous smoking really was. Cigarette sales rebounded. In 1957 and 1959, Surgeon General Leroy Burney issued statements that heavy smoking causes lung cancer. But they had little impact. Expert panel Amid pressure from health advocates, President John F. Kennedy’s surgeon general, Dr. Luther Terry, announced in 1962 that he was convening an expert panel to examine all the evidence and issue a comprehensive, debate-settling report. To ensure the panel was unimpeachable, he let the tobacco industry veto any proposed members it regarded as biased. Surveys indicated a third to a half of all physicians smoked tobacco products at the time, and the committee reflected the culture: Half its 10 members were smokers, who puffed away during committee meetings. Terry himself was a cigarette smoker. Dr. Eugene Guthrie, an assistant surgeon general, helped persuade Terry to kick the habit a few months before the press conference releasing the report. “I told him, ‘You gotta quit that. I think you can get away with a pipe - if you don’t do it openly.’ He said, ‘You gotta be kidding!’ I said, ‘No, I’m not. It just wouldn’t do. If you smoke any cigarettes, you better do it in a closet,’” Guthrie recalled in a recent interview with

The Associated Press. The press conference was held on a Saturday partly out of concern about its effect on the stock market. About 200 reporters attended. The committee said cigarette smoking clearly did cause lung cancer and was responsible for the nation’s escalating male cancer death rate. It also said there was no valid evidence filters were reducing the danger. The committee also said - more vaguely - that the government should address the problem. “This was front-page news, and every American knew it,” said Robin Koval, president of Legacy, an anti-smoking organization. Cigarette consumption dropped a whopping 15 percent over the next three months but then began to rebound. Health officials realized it would take more than one report. In 1965, Congress required cigarette packs to carry warning labels. Two years later, the Federal Communications Commission ordered TV and radio stations to provide free air time for anti-smoking public service announcements. Cigarette commercials were banned in 1971. Still, progress was slow. Warner recalled teaching at the University of Michigan in 1972, when nearly half the faculty members at the school of public health were smokers. He was one of them. “I felt like a hypocrite and an idiot,” he said. But smoking was still the norm, and it was difficult to quit, he said. Birth of a movement The 1970s also saw the birth of a movement to protect nonsmokers from cigarette fumes, with no-smoking sections on airplanes, in restaurants and in other places. Those eventually gave way to complete smoking bans. Cigarette machines disappeared, cigarette taxes rose, and restrictions on the sale of cigarettes to minors got tougher. Tobacco companies also came under increasing legal attack. In the biggest case of them all, more than 40 states brought lawsuits demanding compensation for the costs of treating smoking-related illnesses. Big Tobacco settled in 1998 by agreeing to pay about $200 billion and curtail marketing of cigarettes to youths. In 1998, while the settlement was being completed, tobacco executives appeared before Congress and publicly acknowledged for the first time that their products can cause lung cancer and be addictive. Experts agree that the Terry report clearly triggered decades of changes that whittled the smoking rate down. But it was based on data that was already out there. Why, then, did it make such a difference? For one thing, the drumbeat about the dangers of smoking was getting louder in 1964, experts said. But the way the committee was assembled and the carefully neutral manner in which it reached its conclusion were at least as important, said Dr. Tim McAfee, director of the Office on Smoking and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Secondhand smoke At the same time, he and others said any celebration of the anniversary must be tempered by the size of the problem that still exists. Each year, an estimated 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, and 8.6 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking, according to the CDC. Donald Shopland finds that depressing. Fifty years ago, he was a 19-year-old who smoked two packs a day while working as a clerk for the surgeon general’s committee. He quit cigarettes right after the 1964 report came out, and went on to a long and distinguished public health career in which he wrote or edited scores of books and reports on smoking’s effects. “We should be much further along than we are,” the Georgia retiree lamented. —AP

Meat pumped with pond water in China SHANGHAI: China has held seven people in southern Guangdong province for injecting dirty pond water into lamb meat to swell its weight and raise its price, state television reported in the latest food scandal to hit the world’s second largest economy. The suspects slaughtered up to 100 sheep per day at an illegal warehouse, pumping bacteria-ridden water into the meat before it was sold at markets, food stalls and restaurants in major cities such as Guangzhou and Foshan, China Central Television (CCTV) said in a three-minute report. China has been hit

by a number of food safety scandals, from deadly chemical-laced dairy products to recycled “gutter oil” used for cooking. Last week, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world’s largest retailer, apologised after a Chinese supplier of donkey meat snacks was found to have mixed fox meat into the product. Authorities raided the illegal lamb meat abattoir in Guangdong at the end of December, finding around 30 carcasses injected with water, 335 live sheep, forged inspection stamps, and equipment to inject water into the meat, the report showed.—Reuters

NOBLESVILLE: Paul Gregoline lies in bed, awaiting the helper who will get him up, bathed and groomed. He is 92 years old, has Alzheimer’s disease and needs a hand with nearly every task the day brings. When the aide arrives, though, he doesn’t look so different from the client himself - bald and bespectacled. “Just a couple of old geezers,” jokes Warren Manchess, the 74-year-old caregiver. As demand for senior services provided by nurses’ aides, home health aides and other such workers grows with the aging of baby boomers, so are those professions’ employment of other seniors. The new face of America’s network of caregivers is increasingly wrinkled. Among the overall population of direct-care workers, 29 percent are projected to be 55 or older by 2018, up from 22 percent a decade earlier, according to an analysis by the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute, or PHI, a New York-based nonprofit advocating for workers caring for the country’s elderly and disabled. In some segments of the workforce, including personal and home care aides, those 55 and older are the largest single age demographic. “I think people are surprised that this workforce is as old as it is,” said Abby Marquand, a researcher at PHI. “There’s often people who have chronic disease themselves who have to muster up the energy to perform these really physically taxing caregiving needs.” Manchess came out of retirement to work for Home Instead Senior Care after caring for his mother-in-law, who, too, had Alzheimer’s and whom he regarded as his hero. The experience, though taxing, inspired his new career. Abrasive personality Three days a week, he arrives at Gregoline’s house, giving the retired electrician’s wife a needed break. He carefully shaves and dresses his client, prepares breakfast and lunch, cleans the house

and quickly remedies any accidents. He does the laundry and swaddles Gregoline in a warm towel from the dryer, reads him the sports page to keep him updated on his beloved Bears and sometimes pulls out dominoes or puzzles to pass the time. Gregoline is rather sedate this afternoon, relaxing in his favorite chair while occasionally offering glimpses of his trademark wit. Asked if he remembered anything about the Army, he says: “It was a bitch!” Offered the chance to go outside, he responds: “No! I’ll freeze my ass off out there!” Describing an abrasive personality of long ago, he offers: “He followed me around like a bad conscience.” Manchess has worked for Gregoline for about a year, and the men are at ease around each other. Past aides to Gregoline have been in their 20s, but Manchess says he thinks his age is an asset. “Age can be an advantage,” he said, pointing to the common conversation points and life experience, including his own health troubles and aches and pains that can come with age. “We hit it off pretty well. Maybe I didn’t seem to be too much out of the ordinary.” Tough job market Around the country, senior service agencies are seeing a burgeoning share of older workers. About one-third of Home Instead’s 65,000 caregivers are over 60. Visiting Angels, another in-home care provider, says about 30 percent of its workers are over 50. And at least one network, Seniors Helping Seniors, is built entirely on the model of hiring older caregivers. Like most occupations, some of the growth in older caregivers is driven by the overall aging of the population and the trend of people working later in life. But with incredibly high rates of turnover and a constant need for more workers, home care agencies have also shown a willingness to hire older people new to the field who have found a tough job market as

NOBLESVILLE: Paul Gregoline rests in his favorite chair as caregiver Warren Manchess leaves the room, in Noblesville. — AP

NOBLESVILLE: Caregiver Warren Manchess helping Paul Gregoline with a meal, in Noblesville. — AP they try to supplement their retirement income. The jobs are among the fastest-growing positions in the U.S., but are also notoriously physically demanding, with low pay and high rates of injur y. Manchess has had spinal surgery and says he’s especially careful when vacuuming. He’s not sure how many years he’ll be able to continue this work, and he acknowledges it can be tough. “Halfway through my shift, I’m a

little weary myself,” he said. “It takes its toll.” Manchess had worked as an Air Force pilot, then in real estate, then as a school bus driver, before becoming a professional caregiver. As Gregoline contentedly nibbles on his ham sandwich, Manchess wraps up his shift, turning reflective when considering his life’s careers. “I think this is about as rewarding, if not more rewarding, than any of them,” he said. — AP

Internet-connected toothbrush makes debut LAS VEGAS: Brush smarter. That’s the message from the makers of what is billed as the world’s first Internet-connected toothbrush. Unveiled Sunday at a preview event for the Consumer Electronics Show, the device from French-based startup Kolibree aims “to reinvent oral care,” according to co-founder Loic Cessot. “The technology in the industry has not evolved for years,” Cessot said. “ The idea is not to brush stronger, but smarter.” The Kolibree toothbrush includes a sensor which detects how much tartar is being

removed in a brushing. It also records brushing activity so users can maintain a consistent cleaning each time. The device conveys the information wirelessly to a smartphone app-a particularly useful aid for parents who want to monitor the teeth cleaning efforts of small children, according to Cessot. “When you use a normal toothbrush you never really know what you’ve cleaned. It might be 30 percent. The only person who really knows is the dentist.” But the app can tell users if they have missed

hard-to-clean areas or are not getting a thorough brushing. The app, which is open for developers to add on other programs, aims to increase motivation and make the experience more fun, said Cessot. The self-funded startup created by Cessot and former Microsoft and Google executive Thomas Serval plans to release the toothbrush worldwide in the third quarter, getting a boost from a crowdsourcing effort. Orders will be available initially through Kickstarter from $99 to $200, depending on the model and will include a free mobile app. —AFP

Health law leaves volunteer firefighting in limbo

FREEPORT, Maine: Fire chiefs and lawmakers are working to protect the system of volunteer firefighting that has served rural America for more than a century but is threatened by an ambiguity in President Barack Obama’s health care law. Small and rural fire departments from California to Maine, which has one of the country’s highest percentages of volunteer and oncall firefighters, rely on volunteers to avoid the budget-strapping cost of paying them to be on duty in between fighting fires. The volunteers are considered employees for tax purposes, a classification that grew out of an ongoing effort to attract firefighters by offering them such incentives as stipends, retirement benefits and free gym memberships. That leaves open the question of whether the volunteer firefighters fall under the health care law’s requirement that employers with 50 or more employees working at least 30 hours a week must provide health insurance for them. Fire departments say they can’t afford to pay such a cost. “Most of these are operating on a shoestring budget - holding pancake dinners to raise money to put enough gas in the truck so they can respond to the next fire, the next medical call,” said Dave Finger, director of government relations for the National Volunteer Fire Council. Cost of insurance Faced with the cost of insurance, or being fined if they fail to provide it, departments would likely be forced to reduce the number of hours firefighters can volunteer or eliminate the benefit programs, officials said. That has both fire chiefs and lawmakers raising concerns. Darrel Fournier, fire chief in Freeport, a town of about 8,000 people near the coast in southern Maine that’s home to L.L. Bean, said his department is bracing for what could be significant costs under the health care law. He expects he’ll have to provide coverage for the five firefighters he employs part time. That would cost the city and ultimately taxpayers - about $75,000, or a penalty of $150,000. Additionally, in a busy winter with lots of fires, emergency calls and accidents, he said his roughly 50 volunteers could work more than 30 hours a week, meeting the threshold under the law that would require him to provide health insurance for them as well. To avoid the penalty, Freeport could cut back on the number of hours part-time and volunteer

firefighters have to work. But that would mean finding more volunteers to make up the difference, something the department and others across the country already struggle to do, Fournier said. When he started in Freeport in 1972, there was a waiting list of 25 people. After three months actively recruiting in the community, Fournier said he’s lucky that he’ll soon be interviewing nine potential volunteer firefighters. “It’s pretty amazing how this law is touching different operations,” he said in an interview in Freeport’s brick firehouse, where yellow fire trucks and ambulances were lined up awaiting the next call. “I’m not sure everyone thought that through.” Final regulations The question is expected to be answered when the Internal Revenue Service releases final regulations this year before the provision takes effect in 2015. A Treasury spokeswoman said the department is taking the concerns into account as it works toward the final regulations but wouldn’t comment on what they’re likely to include. In the meantime, Maine’s U.S. senators are backing a recently introduced bill aimed at ensuring volunteer firefighters and other emergency responders are exempt from the health care law requirement. Republicans point to the confusion as another example of the problems with the law, which has been plagued by a fum-

bled rollout and criticism over canceled health care plans. “This is yet another adverse and unanticipated impact of Obamacare,” said Maine Republican Susan Collins. City and town leaders are also discussing ways to keep their staff under 50 employees to dodge the costs, Maine Municipal Association officials said. School superintendents are making sure their substitute teachers aren’t working more than 30 hours a week to avoid having to cover them, Collins said. Others point to factors that they say show the concern is overblown. Many small towns only have about 20 to 30 volunteer firefighters, likely making them too small to be affected by the law’s mandate. And though Fournier described a busy winter with a lot of work for firefighters, they often fall short of working enough hours to be affected by the insurance requirement. Most volunteers also receive insurance coverage through their primary work as teachers, business professionals or city employees. It’s too early to ring the alarm, concluded Trish Riley, an adjunct professor of health policy at the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service. “With any major piece of legislation like this, there are bound to be unintended conse quences,” she said. “But you can’t leap to conclusions before the federal government has the opportunity to address it.”— AP

FREEPORT: Fire Chief Darrel Fournier speaks to a reporter in Freeport, Maine. Fire chiefs and lawmakers are working to protect the system of volunteer firefighting that has served rural America for more than a century but is threatened by an ambiguity in President Barack Obama’s health care law. — AP

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


Well-water pollution from oil, gas drilling PITTSBURGH: In at least four states that have nurtured the nation’s energy boom, hundreds of complaints have been made about well-water contamination from oil or gas drilling, and pollution was confirmed in a number of them, according to a review that casts doubt on industry suggestions that such problems rarely happen. The Associated Press requested data on drilling-related complaints in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Texas and found major differences in how the states report such problems. Texas provided the most detail, while the other states provided only general outlines. And while the confirmed problems represent only a tiny portion of the thousands of oil and gas wells

drilled each year in the US, the lack of detail in some state reports could help fuel public confusion and mistrust. The AP found that Pennsylvania received 398 complaints in 2013 alleging that oil or natural gas drilling polluted or otherwise affected private water wells, compared with 499 in 2012. The Pennsylvania complaints can include allegations of short-term diminished water flow, as well as pollution from stray gas or other substances. More than 100 cases of pollution were confirmed over the past five years. Just hearing the total number of complaints shocked Heather McMicken, an eastern Pennsylvania homeowner who complained about water-well contamination that state offi-

PITTSBURGH: Marchers concerned with water pollution protest against hydraulic fracturing and gas well drilling as they cross the Rachel Carson Bridge on their way through town to the Developing Unconventional Gas East convention and exhibition being held in Pittsburgh. — AP

cials eventually confirmed. “Wow, I’m very surprised,” said McMicken, recalling that she and her husband never knew how many other people made similar complaints, since the main source of information “was just through the grapevine.” Hydraulic fracturing The McMickens were one of three families that eventually reached a $1.6 million settlement with a drilling company. Heather McMicken said the state should be forthcoming with details. Over the past 10 years, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has led to a boom in oil and natural gas production around the nation. It has reduced imports and led to hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue for companies and landowners, but also created pollution fears. Extracting fuel from shale formations requires pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, sand and chemicals into the ground to break apart rock and free the gas. Some of that water, along with large quantities of existing underground water, returns to the surface, and it can contain high levels of salt, drilling chemicals, heavy metals and naturally occurring low-level radiation. But some conventional oil and gas wells are still drilled, so the complaints about water contamination can come from them, too. Experts say the most common type of pollution involves methane, not chemicals from the drilling process. Some people who rely on well water near

drilling operations have complained about pollution, but there’s been considerable confusion over how widespread such problems are. For example, starting in 2011, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection aggressively fought efforts by the AP and other news organizations to obtain information about complaints related to drilling. The department has argued in court filings that it does not count how many contamination “determination letters” it issues or track where they are kept in its files. Historic opportunity Steve Forde, a spokesman for the Marcellus Shale Coalition, the leading industry group in Pennsylvania, said in a statement that “transparency and making data available to the public is critical to getting this historic opportunity right and maintaining the public’s trust.” When the state Environmental Department determines natural gas development has caused problems, Forde said, “our member companies work collaboratively with the homeowner and regulators to find a speedy resolution.” Among the findings in the AP’s review: • Pennsylvania has confirmed at least 106 water-well contamination cases since 2005, out of more than 5,000 new wells. There were five confirmed cases of water-well contamination in the first nine months of 2012, 18 in all of 2011 and 29 in 2010. The Environmental Department said more complete data may be available in several months.

PITTSBURG: Environmental protection groups participate in a global Frackdown Day in PIttsburgh, calling for a moratorium on Shale Gas Drilling and the hydraulic fracturing process. — AP • Ohio had 37 complaints in 2010 and no confirmed contamination of water supplies; 54 complaints in 2011 and two confirmed cases of contamination; 59 complaints in 2012 and two confirmed contaminations; and 40 complaints for the first 11 months of 2013, with two confirmed contaminations and 14 still under investigation, Department of Natural Resources spokesman Mark Bruce said in an email. None of the six confirmed cases of contamination was related to fracking, Bruce said.—AP


W H AT ’ S O N

Christmas comes alive at Carmel SEND US YOUR INSTAGRAM PICS


hat’s more fun than clicking a beautiful picture? Sharing it with others! Let other people see the way you see Kuwait - through your lens. Friday Times will feature snapshots of Kuwait through Instagram feeds. If you want to share your Instagram photos, email us at



t was a Christmas celebration in its true spirit as the Carmelites conveyed the universal message of love, peace and hope through a tableau depicting the birth of our Savior-Jesus Christ. At the onset Sr Hazel set the tone by delivering a warm message of heaven’s love for us. The Principal, Sr Serena reminded the students that there can be no Christmas without Christ and to keep Him at the heart of it.

Each class rendered a melodious Christmas carol that resounded with enthusiasm and merriment. The school band rocked away the old time Christmas tunes and the setting , symbols and costumes spelt Christmas all the way. Todd Bullock, The Cultural Attache at the US Embassy our Chief Guest was delighted to be a part of the Carmel celebration and his message echoed his sentiment. He wrapped up his Christmas message with the unfailing

emotion of gratitude and appreciation, which he urged us to show during the festive season. The vote of thanks by Ms D’mello stressed on the much needed peace to strengthen our relationship as we move into the New Year. “Peace on earth goodwill to mankind” may it ring through to the end of time.

Yousuf was born Jan 5th to Hibatullah and Waleed Janem, their second son. Grandfather of Yousuf, Abdellatif Sharaa is very happy and thanks Almighty Allah for His blessings. May Allah bless the Janems...

Cinemagic January schedule Thursday, January 9 at 7:30PM REPO MAN Considered one of the more unique Science Fiction films, and a standout essential film of the 80�s, as well as being ranked #7 on the top 50 cult films of all time, Repo Man follows a Punk Rocker who after getting fired from his job as a clerk, becomes a repo man and is jolted into a new lifestyle that he quickly begins to enjoy. All that is flipped on its head when he meets a girl who tells him of a 64 Malibu that contains four dead aliens and that there�s $20,000 for the man that can repossess it. Saturday, January 11 at 7:30PM CACHE Winner of Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival, Cache comes from the mind of visionary filmmaker Michael Hanneke (whose Amour won him universal acclaim at the 2012 Academy Awards). This film, starring Juliet Binoche follows a married couple who are terrorized by a series of surveillance videotapes left on their front porch. Thursday, January 16 at 7:30PM SURPRISE FILM OF THE MONTH Every month we�ll be playing a surprise film, where you won�t know what you�re watching until just a minute before the film begins. One thing is for sure, every month the surprise film will be either my favourite film of the list, or the most unique in one way or the other. This month�s film was won and was nominated for over 30 awards worldwide including the Oscars, Golden Globes, Independent Spirit Awards, and the Baftas. A unique, hilarious, bizarre, and poetic little film. Saturday, January 18 at 7:30PM PIETA Winner of the Golden Lion (Best Film) at the Venice Film Festival, Kang-do is a heartless man who has no living family members and whose job is to threaten debtors to repay his clients, the loan sharks who demand a 10x return on a one month loan. To recover the interest, the debtors would sign an insurance for handicap, and Kang-do would injure the debtors brutally to file the claim. One day he receives a visit from a strange, middle-aged woman claiming she is his longlost mother. Over the following weeks, the woman stubbornly follows him and he continues to do his job. But he is slowly moved and changed by the motherly love expressed from this woman. Thursday, January 23 at 7:30PM TALK TO HER Winner of over 27 awards worldwide, mostly for Best Film or Best Foreign Film, Talk to her is considered by many fans of the legendary Pedro Almodovar to be his best film. Two men meet by chance at a private clinic, each looking after a woman in a coma. Marco�s girlfriend Lydia was a bullfighter who was mauled, and Benigno looks after a young ballet student. The lives of the four characters flow in all directions, past, present, and future, taking them to an unsuspected destiny. Cinemagic is organizing these events as part of its efforts to contribute to the development of an internationally competitive Kuwaiti audio-visual production industry, partly by bringing the filmmakers and audiences together and by increasing the public�s interest in - and appreciation for - the art of film-making. Cinemagic movies are screened in the old Salmiya, on the rooftop of Xcite and LG.

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

Kayamkulam NRIs family meet


ayamkulam NRIs Kuwait Chapter celebrated its annual family get-together with its full spirit and fervor on last Friday at Rhythm Auditorium, Abbassiya. KNS Das, Country Head, Lulu Exchange inaugurated the celebration by lighting the lamp. Pancily Varkey, Country Head, UAE Exchange, founder President B S Pillai, felicitated the occasion. In his inaugural address, Das appreciated the Kayamkulam NRIs for its continued socio-welfare services and extended his new X-mas and New Year wishes to all attendees. Thereafter, Pancily Varkey was honored with a memento, as he bid farewell to Kuwait for taking up his new assignment in the UAE. Kayamkulam NRIs sincerely appreciated Pancily Varkey for his generous support and extended wishes on his new assignment. In his reply speech, Panicly Varkey thanked the association for giving such an unforgettable honor and extended his wishes to one and all present. During the celebration, Xmas father distributed gifts to all, after which a musical orchestra by String Connections led by Sai Appukuttan was staged to entertain the audience, which was an added attraction. Gopalakrishnan welcomed the audience and Convener Sreekumar proposed vote of thanks. At the end of the program, all ‘Kayans’ were served with delicious dinner.

World renowned percussionist Sivamani to perform in Kuwait


ndian Cultural Society presents unique musical fusion & live concert on Friday 10th January 2014. “Chennai Kings” a show that will bring the fragrance of India from Kashmir to Kanyakumari on 10th Jan. At AIS (Dr. Kamel Al Rays Auditorium). For the first time in Kuwait, world renowned percussionist Sivamani & his team will present foot thumping fusion music along with noted playback singers Haricharan” & Suchitra. They will rock the evening with hit numbers in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam and Kannada. Kuwait’s own talents will be another flavor of entertainment. Anandan Sivamani is truly a World Percussionist. A versatile & creative drummer, he has featured as a soloist, with his band Rhythm Asia, in several international collaborations. He plays many instruments including drums, octoban, darbuka, udukai, and kanjira etc. He is affiliated with the Chennai Super Kings team, but gained recognition through his role as A. R. Rahman’s lead percussionist. Schooled in both the Carnatic rhyth-

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

Billy Cobham, Vikku Vinayakram, Freddy Santiago, Terry Bozzio, Wil Calhoun, Myanta, Ranjit Barot and Dr L. Subramanian commanding the respect of a true Master Percussionist. So join us on Friday 10th Jan. 2014

sharp 6.30 at AIS (Dr. Kamil Al Rays Auditorium) Maidan Hawally, Kuwait. For more details Email;

W H AT ’ S O N


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


KSNA Kuwait holds farewell meeting


erala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi (KSNA) Kuwait Chapter hosted a farewell meeting to honor its Chairman Pancily Varkey who is leaving Kuwait after completing his tenure as Country Head, UAE Exchange. KSNA Kuwait Ad-Hoc Committee members and sub-committee members who attended the meeting spoke about Varkey’s rich contribution in supporting and encouraging various cultural and social activities of Indian community in Kuwait. In his reply, Varkey expressed gratitude to all those who supported him during his five-year stay in Kuwait.

The Ad-Hoc committee honored Varkey by presenting him a memento. KSNA Kuwait Chapter Coordinator Sajeev K Peter welcomed the gathering while Ad-Hoc Committee member Vijay Karayil proposed a vote of thanks. Ad-Hoc Committee members Babuji Bathery, Adv Johny Kunnil, B S Pillai, Sunil P Antony and Sehemjkumar K K delivered felicitations speeches. Ad-Hoc Committee member Nixon George anchored the event. Sub-committee members who spoke on the occasion included K P Balakrishnan, Saji Janardhanan, Babu Chakola, Dileep Naderi, Siju Sadasivan, R Naganathan, Chessil

Ramapuram, Hassan Koya, K, Sajeesh Kumar, Krishnakumar, MMF General Convener Anil P Alex and Girish Ottapalam. Media persons A M Hassan, Anil Keloth Nambiar, K P Sunoj and Anwar Sadath Thalassery also felicitated Varkey. KSNA Kuwait will conduct a ‘Pravasi Amateur Drama Festival’ on February 25 and 26, 2014 at Indian Community School, Khaitan alongside other Gulf states in which five theatre groups from Kuwait will compete for Kerala state government awards.

South African Citizens who are out of the country and wish to apply for registration to vote in the upcoming General Elections are hereby offered the opportunity to apply for registration. Registrations will take place at the South African Embassy on 26 and 27 January 2014 from 08h30 to 15h30 at Villa No 3, House No 91, Street 1, Block 10, Salwa. To be eligible to register at the SA Embassy, a person must • Be a South African Citizen and be 16 years of age and older; • Submit a valid green bar-coded Identity Document, a valid Temporary Identity Certificate (valid for 2 months) or a Smart Card; • Submit a valid South African Passport; and • Submit in person the application form, the identity document and a valid passport. For any further enquiries, please phone: 25617988 during working hours. nnnnnnn


Marafie Foundation members visit Kerala


delegation comprising of 10 member of Marafie Charitable Society recently paid a visit to the South Indian State of Kerala, headed by Abdul Ilah and Abdul Fatah Marafie. This is first time such a large number of Kuwaitis visited Kerala. They have visited Alleppey, Kochi, Fort Kochi and Mattanchery and returned with full satisfaction after spending 5 days. According to them, the boating in the back waters and the stay at the House boat were so exciting.

Also, they have visited the Kidney Dialysis Center at the St Thomas Hospital, Kattanam which was donated by the Marafie Foundation. The center was started in 2009 and so far 7,000 dialysis processes have been performed. Because of the free and reduced rate dialysis given by such centers, now the dialysis cost at Kerala has reduced to Rs 650, which was Rs 3000 a couple of years ago. During the visit, they have inaugurated he newly renovated Dialysis Ward at the Hospital. The Foundation has

offered another 3 more units, thus very soon 9 units will give the dialysis services to the Kidney patients, at an average of 15 - 20 dialysis per day. They have visited Dr Joseph Marthoma Metropolitan who is the head of the Marthoma Church and the President of the Governing Board of the St Thomas Hospital, who hosted a dinner for the delegation at his residence in Thiruvalla. Marafie Group executive Philip Mathew accompanied the delegation.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is happy to announce that a NEW visa application centre (VAC) is now open and serving applicants. The VAC is located at: 12th Floor, Al Nassar Tower, Fahad Al Salem Street Alqibla Area, Kuwait City, Kuwait (Parking available at: Al Watiya Souk) E-mail: Telephone: +965 2291 3770. Anyone wishing to apply for a temporary resident (visitor) visa, study permit, work permit or permanent resident travel document is encouraged to take advantage of the services provided at the VAC. The VAC is also equipped to collect biometrics, for all nationals that must submit their biometric information as part of their application. For more information on what VACs do, please visit the CIC website at nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF INDIA India and Kuwait have enjoyed historically close, warm and friendly ties. The visit of His Highness Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of Kuwait to India in November 2013 has imparted a new thrust to the strengthening further of the bilateral ties. To facilitate travel of Kuwaiti nationals to India for business, tourism, medical and study purposes, the embassy has adopted the following visa structure for Kuwaiti nationals with immediate effect:

ACK to host 2nd English Language Teaching Annual Conference


rganized by its English Department in collaboration with the British Council in Kuwait, the Australian College of Kuwait (ACK) is set to host its 2nd annual conference from the 11th - 12th of January, 2014, with this year’s theme focusing on “Research-Based Strategies for Teaching Language and Literacy to Arab ESL (English as a Second Language) Students”. The first installation of the conference in 2013 attracted a diverse audience of English language teaching professionals from various public and private institutions. Building on its success, ACK is proud to host the 2nd conference with the aim of promoting the career development of English teachers, tailoring a platform for the exchange of ideas, sharing teaching methods and strategies for teaching language and literacy to Arab ESL students. Dr Abdessattar Mahfoudhi, Head of the English Department at ACK, said: “We are excited about hosting our second annual conference, which is becoming more international this year. This conference is an opportunity to bring the latest in the field of learning and teaching English as Second Language (ESL) to Kuwait and to help build more connections among institutions and people working in this field.” Fetwi Yosief, English Projects Manager at British Council in Kuwait, stated: “I believe partnership is very crucial in any work we do and we are pleased to collaborate with

ACK in order to develop professional development of teachers in Kuwait. Through the conference, we hope we are going to help teachers explore new ideas, be able to share experiences and strengthen the network of English Language Teaching (ELT) professionals.” ACK invites academics, instructors, researchers and all

those in the field to attend its 2nd Annual Conference, as this year’s keynote speaker will be Professor Rod Ellis, MA, MEd, PhD, one of the leading researchers in second language acquisition and teaching. Registration is available through the college’s website,

Please apply Indian visa online at and deposit visa application, with applicable visa fee and service charge, at either M/s. BLS International Services, Emad Commercial Centre, Basement floor Ahmed Al-Jaber Street, Sharq, Kuwait city (Telephone: 22986607 - Fax: 22470006) or M/s. BLS International Services, Mujamma Unood, 4th floor, Office No.25-26 Makka Street, Entrance 5, Fahaheel, Kuwait (Telephone: 22986607 - Fax: 22470006). For additional information, please contact Second Secretary (Consular) in the Embassy at In addition, a service charge of KD 5 will also apply for each visa service provided. nnnnnnn


150 chefs to partake in HORECA cooking contest


ore than 150 chefs representing several hotels and restaurants in Kuwait and the Middle East are set to take part in a cooking contest organized as part of the 2014 HORECA; an exhibition for hospitality and catering organized by the Leaders Group in cooperation

with Hospitality Services Company. The event takes place at the Badriya Ballroom in the Jumeirah Hotel during the period between the 27th and 29th of January 2014. Meanwhile, the organizing committee announced

selecting 7 experts in international cuisines for the judging panel which will decide winners in 15 categories held as part of the competition.

The US Embassy in Kuwait has new procedures for obtaining appointments and picking up passports after visa issuance. We now provide an online visa appointment system, live call center, and in-person pick-up facilities in Kuwait. Please monitor our website and social media for additional information. This new system offers more flexibility for travelers to the US and to meet the increase in demand for visa appointments. The general application steps on the new visa appointment system are: 1. Go to (if this is the first time on, you will need to create a profile to login). 2. Please complete your DS-160 Online Visa Application which is available at 3. Please print and take your deposit slip to any Burgan Bank location to pay your visa application fee. 4. Schedule an appointment for your visa interview online at or by phone through the Call Center (at +965-22271673). 5. If you need to change or cancel your appointment, please do so 24 hours beforehand, as a courtesy to other applicants. For more information, please visit the US Embassy website - as it is the best source of information regarding these changes.


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

Animal Cops Houston Crime Scene Wild Untamed & Uncut Lions And Giants Meet The Sloths Meet The Sloths America’s Cutest Pets Animal Cops Houston Steve Irwin’s Wildlife Warriors Steve Irwin’s Wildlife Warriors Swamp Brothers Monkey Life Penguin Safari Wild France Meet The Sloths Meet The Sloths Lions And Giants Animal Cops Philadelphia Monkey Life Swamp Brothers Gator Boys Outback Rangers Outback Rangers Lions And Giants My Cat From Hell Wild France Growing Up... Natural Born Hunters Natural Born Hunters Meet The Sloths Meet The Sloths America’s Cutest Pets Lions Of Crocodile River Bondi Vet Steve Irwin’s Wildlife Warriors

00:15 Doctors 00:45 Blackadder’s Christmas Carol 01:35 Only Fools And Horses Christmas Special 02:40 The Hound Of The Baskervilles 04:15 The Weakest Link 05:00 Balamory 05:20 Charlie And Lola 05:35 The Green Balloon Club 06:00 3rd & Bird 06:10 Poetry Pie 06:15 Balamory 06:35 Charlie And Lola 06:50 The Green Balloon Club 07:15 3rd & Bird 07:25 Poetry Pie 07:30 The Weakest Link 08:15 My Family: Christmas Special 2005 08:45 Only Fools And Horses Christmas Special 09:50 Eastenders 10:20 Doctors 10:50 Sally Lockhart Mysteries 12:25 Only Fools And Horses Christmas Special 13:30 Eastenders 14:00 Doctors 14:30 BBC Proms 2011: Hooray For Hollywood 16:25 The Weakest Link 17:10 Eastenders 17:40 Doctors 18:10 Abandoned At Birth 19:00 Last Of The Summer Wine 19:30 Moone Boy 20:00 Tess Of The D’urbervilles 20:55 Life On Mars 21:45 Case Sensitive: The Point Of Rescue 23:15 The Weakest Link

00:40 01:10 01:35 02:25 03:10 04:00 04:25 05:10 05:40 06:05 06:30 07:15

Cash In The Attic Cash In The Attic Come Dine With Me MasterChef Australia MasterChef Australia The Little Paris Kitchen Fantasy Homes By The Sea Cash In The Attic Cash In The Attic The Little Paris Kitchen Bargain Hunt Fantasy Homes By The Sea

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

Bargain Hunt Marbella Mansions Masterchef: The Professionals The Little Paris Kitchen Come Dine With Me Come Dine With Me Gok’s Fashion Fix Fantasy Homes By The Sea Antiques Roadshow Design Star Design Star Bargain Hunt Cash In The Attic Cash In The Attic Antiques Roadshow Marbella Mansions Food & Drink A Taste Of Greenland Come Dine With Me Antiques Roadshow Bargain Hunt

00:30 Dynamo: Magician Impossible 01:20 Ultimate Survival 02:10 Bush Pilots 03:00 Bush Pilots 03:50 Border Security 04:15 Auction Kings 04:40 American Digger 05:05 How Do They Do It? 05:30 How It’s Made 06:00 Sons Of Guns 07:00 Bush Pilots 07:50 Flying Wild Alaska 08:40 Fast N’ Loud 09:30 Border Security 09:55 Auction Kings 10:20 American Digger 10:45 How Do They Do It? 11:10 How It’s Made 11:35 Dynamo: Magician Impossible 12:25 Bush Pilots 13:15 Ultimate Survival 14:05 Border Security 14:30 Auction Kings 14:55 American Digger 15:20 Alaska: The Last Frontier 16:10 Fast N’ Loud 17:00 Ultimate Survival 17:50 Dirty Jobs 18:40 Bush Pilots 19:30 Sons Of Guns 20:20 How Do They Do It? 20:45 How It’s Made 21:10 Auction Kings 21:35 American Digger 22:00 Bear Grylls: How To Stay Alive 22:50 Swimming With Monsters: Steve Backshall 23:40 River Monsters

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

The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody Sonny With A Chance Sonny With A Chance Suite Life On Deck Suite Life On Deck Wizards Of Waverly Place Wizards Of Waverly Place The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody Sonny With A Chance Sonny With A Chance Suite Life On Deck Suite Life On Deck Wizards Of Waverly Place Wizards Of Waverly Place Austin And Ally Austin And Ally A.N.T. Farm A.N.T. Farm Gravity Falls My Babysitter’s A Vampire Jessie Good Luck Charlie Dog With A Blog A Goofy Movie Dog With A Blog Jessie Wolfblood Suite Life On Deck

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

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

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

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

Sandwich King Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Tastiest Places To Chowdown Easy Chinese: San Francisco Charly’s Cake Angels Unwrapped Reza, Spice Prince Of India Reza, Spice Prince Of India Sandwich King Sandwich King Andy Bates American Street Iron Chef America Chopped Unwrapped Tastiest Places To Chowdown Food Network Challenge Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam Roadtrip With G. Garvin Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Iron Chef America Barefoot Contessa Amazing Wedding Cakes Easy Chinese: San Francisco Andy Bates American Street Tastiest Places To Chowdown Grill It! With Bobby Flay Reza, Spice Prince Of India Charly’s Cake Angels Siba’s Table Barefoot Contessa


OSN Pehla affirms position as top provider of South Asian content with launch of two channels


THATʼS MY BOY ON OSN MOVIES COMEDY HD  14:40 Healthy Appetite With Ellie Krieger 15:05 Food Network Challenge 15:55 Roadtrip With G. Garvin 16:20 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 16:45 Chopped 17:35 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 18:00 Barefoot Contessa - Back To Basics 18:25 Symon’s Suppers 18:50 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 19:15 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 19:40 Siba’s Table 20:05 Reza’s African Kitchen 20:30 Tastiest Places To Chowdown 20:55 Roadtrip With G. Garvin 21:20 Chopped 22:10 Food Network Challenge 23:00 Unwrapped 23:25 Unwrapped 23:50 Unique Eats

00:00 Big, Bigger, Biggest 01:00 Inside 02:00 80s Greatest 03:00 Inside Combat Rescue 04:00 Crash Science 05:00 Hunter Hunted 06:00 Pirate Patrol 07:00 Air Crash Investigation 08:00 Big, Bigger, Biggest 09:00 Inside 10:00 80s Greatest 11:00 Pirate Patrol 12:00 A Traveler’s Guide To The Planets 13:00 My Dog Ate What? 14:00 Inside 15:00 World’s Toughest Fixes 16:00 Megastructures 17:00 Street Monkeys 18:00 Quest For The Megafish Of The Amazon 19:00 Diggers 19:30 Diggers 20:00 What Would Happen If 20:30 What Would Happen If 21:00 Naked Science 22:00 Untamed Americas 23:00 World’s Toughest Fixes

00:00 Web Therapy 00:30 The Daily Show Global Edition 01:00 The Colbert Report Global Edition 01:30 South Park 02:00 Family Guy 02:30 The League 03:00 Breaking In 03:30 Go On 04:00 Arrested Development 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Arrested Development 06:00 Two And A Half Men 06:30 Friends 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 Arrested Development 08:30 Arrested Development 09:00 Breaking In 09:30 2 Broke Girls 10:00 Trophy Wife 10:30 Friends 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Two And A Half Men 12:30 Arrested Development 13:00 Arrested Development 13:30 Friends 14:00 Go On 14:30 2 Broke Girls 15:00 Trophy Wife 15:30 The Daily Show Global Edition 16:00 The Colbert Report Global Edition 16:30 Two And A Half Men 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 Raising Hope 18:30 Melissa & Joey 19:00 The Crazy Ones

19:30 Trophy Wife 20:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 21:00 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 21:30 The Colbert Report 22:00 It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia 22:30 Family Guy 23:00 The League 23:30 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

03:00 15:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00

Rescue Me Defiance The Ellen DeGeneres Show Bones The Fosters Grey’s Anatomy Mistresses The Killing Rescue Me

21:00 Switched At Birth OSN MOVIES ACTION HD 00:00 House Of The Rising Sun-18 02:00 Beverly Hills Cop-18 04:00 The New Daughter-PG15 06:00 Iron Sky-PG15 08:00 The Rescue-PG15 10:00 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part Two-PG15 12:00 Soldiers Of Fortune-PG15 14:00 The Rescue-PG15 16:00 Battleship-PG15 18:15 Soldiers Of Fortune-PG15 20:00 Beverly Hills Cop 2-18 22:00 Elephant White-PG15

00:15 Amphibious-18 02:00 The Corruptor-18 04:00 Arctic Blast-PG15 06:00 Men In Black 3-PG 08:00 The Man Inside-PG15 10:00 Superman vs. The Elite-PG15 12:00 The Presence-PG15 14:00 The Man Inside-PG15 16:00 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part One-PG15 18:00 The Presence-PG15 20:00 Three Kings-18 22:00 Body Count-PG15

00:00 That’s My Boy-R 02:00 Dude, Where’s My Car?-18 06:00 3 Holiday Tails-PG 08:00 Norbit-PG15 10:00 Jack And Jill-PG15 14:00 Mrs. Miracle-PG15 16:00 Jack And Jill-PG15 18:00 The Beautician And The Beast-PG15 20:00 Venus & Vegas-PG15 22:00 That’s My Boy-R

01:00 03:00 05:00 07:00 09:00 10:30 12:00 15:00 17:00 19:00 21:00 22:45

Carnage-PG15 Lying To Be Perfect-PG15 Cinderella PT 1-PG15 Cinderella PT 2-PG15 Carnage-PG15 A Christmas Kiss-PG15 Treasure Island-PG15 A Woman-PG15 Beneath Hill 60-PG15 Beastly-PG15 Girl In Progress-PG15 Dark Tide-PG15

00:30 Idlewild-18 02:30 The Mortician-18 04:45 Reign Over Me-PG15

07:00 09:00 11:00 13:00 15:15 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00

Me And You-PG15 Stomp The Yard-PG15 The Perfect Man-PG The Rainmaker-PG15 Jack The Bear-PG15 The Perfect Man-PG Dying Young-PG15 Year Of The Dog-PG15 Casino-18

01:00 Easter Egg Escapade 02:45 Wheelers 04:30 Emilie Jolie 06:00 Beethoven 08:00 Krazzy Planet 10:00 Jingle All The Way 11:30 Curious George 13:00 Emilie Jolie 14:30 Back To The Sea 16:15 Scooby-Doo! Music Of The Vampire 18:00 Jingle All The Way 20:00 Problem Child 2 22:00 Back To The Sea 23:45 Krazzy Planet

01:00 Drift-PG15 03:00 Dead Lines-PG15 05:00 Love Will Keep Us TogetherPG15 07:00 The Chateau Meroux-PG15 09:00 Wreck-It Ralph-PG 11:00 Saving Grace B. Jones-PG15 13:00 Crisis Point-PG15 15:00 My Own Love Song-PG15 17:00 Wreck-It Ralph-PG 19:00 What To Expect When You’re Expecting-PG15 21:00 Margaret-18 23:30 Machine Gun Preacher-18

00:00 Pizza Man-PG 02:00 Rewind-PG15 04:00 Dr Seuss’ Cat In The Hat-PG 06:00 Flicka 3-FAM 08:00 Hotel Transylvania-PG 09:45 A Christmas Story 2-PG 11:15 Rewind-PG15 12:45 George Harrison: Living In The Material World-PG15 16:15 Hotel Transylvania-PG 18:00 Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days-PG 20:00 The Grey-18 22:00 For A Good Time, Call-18 23:30 Excision-R

01:30 The Ashes Highlights 02:30 Live Cricket The Ashes 10:30 ICC Cricket 360 11:00 Top 14 13:00 PGA Tour 17:30 Top 14 19:30 Top 14 Highlights 20:00 PGA Tour Highlights 21:00 Futbol Mundial 21:30 ICC Cricket 360 22:00 The Ashes Highlights 23:00 PDC World Darts Championship

03:30 PDC Worlds Darts Championship 06:30 Futbol Mundial 07:00 Trans World Sport 08:00 Top 14 Highlights 08:30 Super Rugby Final Highlights 09:00 Currie Cup Final Highlights 09:30 ITM Cup Final Highlights 10:00 Super League Final Highlights 10:30 NRL Final Highlights 11:00 AFL Premiership Highlights 12:00 PDC Worlds Darts Championship 15:00 ICC Cricket 360 15:30 Rugby League World Cup 18:00 PRO 12 20:00 AFL Premiership Highlights 21:00 Trans World Sport 22:00 PGA European Tour Highlights

SN, the region’s leading pay-TV network, is sealing its position as the top provider of popular South Asian content with the addition of GEO News and SAB TV for OSN Pehla subscribers. Available exclusively on OSN Pehla, GEO News is the highest rated news broadcaster from Pakistan. The channel offers premium content for Urdu-speaking expatriates with a focus on news and current affairs. Extremely popular with families, the Indian comedy entertainment channel, SAB TV is the only one in its genre. Owned by Multi Screen Media, it has achieved an impressive 300 per cent growth in viewership over the last few years, particularly among youth and children. The newest additions follow the recent revamp of CricOne to OSN Sports Cricket HD, showcasing cricket from across the world, live and exclusive, including the prestigious India Premier League (IPL). GEO News and SAB TV add to OSN Pehla’s growing portfolio of over 30 popular South Asian channels in Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil and Malayalam. David Butorac, Chief Executive Officer of OSN, said: “Since its launch in August 2013, the response to OSN Pehla has been overwhelming. The large community of South Asians who live in the MENA region can now have complete control over their entertainment experience though our award-winning technology and can enjoy worldclass cricketing action in high definition. We are delighted that OSN Pehla serves as a bridge for the large South Asian community to their home countries.” He added: “GEO News and SAB TV have clearly proved their popularity among South Asians. With the addition of several channels planned in the next few months, we are redefining the South Asian TV experience.” Iman Aslam, President, GEO TV Network said: “GEO News has set its ambition to be ubiquitous. Our launch on OSN Pehla brings us closer to our mission in the Middle East. As a credible source of news and current affairs in Urdu, GEO News enjoys a loyal and well informed audience. With an estimated 1.8 million Urdu speaking expatriates in the region, GEO News is sure to become the expat’s window to their homeland to stay on top of local issues. OSN Pehla’s extensive reach, technological and digital capabilities and high standards in customer service are an ideal fit for us to provide a value-added TV experience for our audiences.” Neeraj Arora, EVP and Head of International Business, Multi Screen Media adds: “We identified a unique offering in the South Asian television sector with SAB TV, which offers round-the-clock and original family comedy content. Our emphasis is to connect with families by providing innovative, light-hearted and clean entertainment. Our partnership with OSN will take SAB TV to a wider audience of not just Indians but people from across South Asia, who live and work in the MENA region.” GEO News brings unparalleled current affairs programming including highly rated shows such as: Aaj Kamran Khan Kay Saath that discusses the stories and events of the day; Capital Talk, which provides insights and analysis into the key issues of Pakistan; and Score which brings thrilling performances, spell binding competitions, and informative commentaries. Featuring enjoyable ‘family viewing’ experiences, from silent comedy to humorous sketch shows and sitcoms, SAB TV is the winner of the ‘Brand Leadership Award’ in media and entertainment. Headlining shows on SAB TV include: Tarak Mehta Ka Ulta Chasma, which follows the lives of residents in an apartment block; Baal Veer, the ultimate hero for children; and F.I.R, story of a boisterous female sub-inspector Chandramukhi Chautala and Chief Inspector Hanuman Prasad Pandey, who solve interesting mysteries. GEO News and SAB TV will be available on OSN Pehla Variety and OSN Pehla Prime Packages. For more details on OSN Pehla and to subscribe, please visit:

0 0 E S 0 M 0 F 0 L 0 B 0 0 E 1 W 1

Classifieds TUESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2014



1:00 PM 3:30 PM 5:30 PM 7:45 PM 9:45 PM 12:15 AM


2:15 PM 4:30 PM 6:45 PM 9:15 PM


1:00 PM 3:30 PM 5:45 PM 8:15 PM 10:30 PM 12:45 AM


1:45 PM 4:00 PM 6:15 PM 8:15 PM 10:15 PM 12:15 AM 1:30 PM 3:45 PM 6:00 PM 9:15 PM 12:30 AM 12:30 PM

1:30 PM 5:00 PM 8:30 PM 12:05 AM


1:15 PM 3:15 PM 5:15 PM 7:15 PM 9:15 PM 11:15 PM 1:15 AM


12:30 PM 3:00 PM 5:30 PM 8:00 PM 10:30 PM 1:00 AM


12:45 PM 2:45 PM 4:45 PM 6:45 PM 10:15 PM 12:15 AM


2:30 PM 5:00 PM 7:30 PM 10:00 PM 12:30 AM


1:00 PM 3:30 PM 5:30 PM 7:45 PM 10:15 PM 12:45 AM


2:15 PM 4:30 PM 6:45 PM 9:00 PM 11:15 PM


1:45 PM 3:45 PM 6:00 PM 8:00 PM 10:00 PM 12:15 AM




1:30 PM 3:30 PM 5:30 PM 7:45 PM 9:45 PM 12:05 AM


2:00 PM 4:00 PM 6:00 PM 8:00 PM 9:45 PM

3:00 PM 5:00 PM 7:00 PM 9:30 PM 12:05 AM 1:30 PM 3:30 PM 5:15 PM 7:00 PM 9:00 PM 10:45 PM 12:45 AM


2:00 PM 4:15 PM 6:15 PM 8:30 PM 10:30 PM 12:45 AM

1:00 PM 3:30 PM 5:30 PM 7:45 PM 10:00 PM



1:45 PM 3:45 PM 6:00 PM 8:15 PM 10:00 PM 12:30 AM






Jaguar 2.5X, model 2002, done 82,000 km, excellent condition, full insurance till May 14. Price KD 1,150. Contact: 66572082. (C 4611) 7-1-2014

Job Opportunity in a new diet restaurant for:

- Cook - Cook Assistance Please contact us:

CHANGE OF NAME Thiru R. Mathivanan (Hindu), son of Thiru Ramasamy, born on 9th April 1972 (native district: Ariyalur), residing at No. 46/6, main road, V.Viragalur village, Thirupair Post, Ariyalur District, has converted to Islam with the name of Abdullah on 24th August 1998. R. Mathivanan Arivalur, 10th January 2013 (C 4610) 7-1-2014

2:00 PM 4:15 PM 6:30 PM 8:45 PM 11:00 PM 12:30 PM 3:00 PM 5:00 PM 7:00 PM 9:30 PM 12:05 AM

I, Nazia Nazir Ahmed Mukadam, Passport No: Z2237838, hereby change my name to Nazia Nazir Mukadam. Address: Al-Bahr, flat no. 302, 170, Adell road, Mahim (W), Mumbai 400016, India. (C 4608) 6-1-2014

1:30 PM 3:45 PM 5:45 PM 8:00 PM 10:00 PM 12:15 AM

96660040 I, Vijaykumar Baburao Painginkar, R/o Paingin, Canacona, Goa, India, change my name to Yousef Vijaykumar Painginkar, Passport No. F5608432. Address in Kuwait: Rabiya, block 2, street 26, H-05. Address in India: House816B, Paingin, Canacona, Goa - 403702. (C 4607) 5-1-2014 SITUATION VACANT Very experienced cook for Kuwaiti home, transferable residency, very lucrative salary, male applicants only. Contact 94088822. (C 4609) 6-1-2014

1:45 PM 4:00 PM 6:15 PM 8:30 PM 10:30 PM 12:30 AM


12:45 PM 2:30 PM 4:45 PM 7:00 PM 8:45 PM 11:00 PM 12:45 AM


1:30 PM 3:45 PM 5:45 PM 8:00 PM 10:00 PM 12:05 AM



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

1889988 Prayer timings Fajr: Shorook Duhr: Asr: Maghrib: Isha:

1:00 PM 3:30 PM 6:00 PM

05:19 06:43 11:54 14:46 17:04 18:26

Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (



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


1078 546 500 472 221 300 325 562 1072 857 303 640 510 127 215 777 982 1080 63 1168 284 177 542 742 786 678 674 166 104 774 618 217 647 61 618 572 393 129 605 636 229 402 307 859 219 1074 59 415 576 239 981 135 185 981


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




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


481 872 58 342 1079 673 741 617 473 222 501 773 238 304 1073 858 538 641 128 511 216 184 266 1169 134 982 554 64 1081 218 62 648 120 361 607 571 351 3942 604 343 636 171 230 403 308 220 301 60 860 205 415 1075 575 528 411


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


s ta rs CROSSWORD 422

STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) ARIES Conversations with co-workers are fun, but may be short today. There is a lot of work set out for you, but you are happy and there is plenty of work. Harmonious times with the family are available at home this afternoon. Everyone goes to his or her own corner to do homework, read, work on a hobby or tend to responsibilities. There may be a block meeting tonight in your neighborhood that will help to eventually eliminate some community problems this year. Be sure to attend this meeting because you will be able to offer a different slant to a subject matter. Did you ever think of the kitchen as a place of awareness you and a loved one enjoy uninterrupted conversations in the kitchen this evening. Perhaps new scheduling is in order for the family.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) Shift a negative to a positive by changing your surroundings or your mind. Group meetings can be confusing if they are not organized—you could help with the organizing. This would be a good time to make notes and write up your synopsis of the meeting as well as your thoughts in order to bring about an improvement to group gatherings. Remember that you may not be able to change things overnight; just keep your notes and all the facts together. Today you will have an opportunity to use your great wit. Your practical vision and common sense will create recognition in your career. Community needs keep coming to your attention and you may find an interest in involving yourself more and more with a new library or some useful citizen’s project.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

ACROSS 1. (sports) The chief official (as in boxing or American football) who is expected to ensure fair play. 4. A cut of pork ribs with much of the meat trimmed off. 12. Explosive consisting of a yellow crystalline compound that is a flammable toxic derivative of toluene. 15. The act of using. 16. Make love. 17. The sense organ for hearing and equilibrium. 18. Necrotic tissue. 20. (Greek mythology) The goddess of the hearth and its fire in ancient mythology. 22. Elaborately or excessively ornamented. 24. A river that rises in northeastern Turkey (near the source of the Euphrates) and flows generally eastward through Armenia to the Caspian Sea. 25. Challenge the honesty or credibility of. 26. A woman's large folded hooped hood. 28. Soft decayed area in a tooth. 30. Tropical American tree grown in southern United States having a whitish pink-tinged fruit. 32. An associate degree in nursing. 33. A sedimentary rock formed by the deposition of successive layers of clay. 36. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 40. (folklore) A corpse that rises at night to drink the blood of the living. 43. Selected as the best. 45. God of death. 46. (Irish) Mother of the ancient Irish gods. 47. A woman sahib. 48. A flexible container with a single opening. 49. An indehiscent fruit derived from a single ovary having one or many seeds within a fleshy wall or pericarp. 51. The sixth month of the civil year. 53. A very poisonous metallic element that has three allotropic forms. 54. A member of the Nahuatl people who established an empire in Mexico that was overthrown by Cortes in 1519. 57. A cord that is drawn through eyelets or around hooks in order to draw together two edges (as of a shoe or garment). 61. The sacred city of Lamaism. 65. A ceremonial procession including people marching. 67. Eel-shaped vertebrate without jaws or paired appendages including the cyclostomes and some extinct forms. 70. An Arabic speaking person who lives in Arabia or North Africa. 71. (Sumerian and Akkadian) A demon personifying death. 74. American prizefighter who won the world heavyweight championship three times (born in 1942). 75. A Bantu language spoken in southern Zaire. 76. Type and genus of the Isoetaceae and sole extant genus of the order Isoetales. 77. (computer science) Memory whose contents can be accessed and read but cannot be changed. 78. The dynasty that ruled much of Manchuria and northeastern China from 947 to 1125. 79. Ridge-like ingrowth of the exoskeleton of an arthropod that supports internal organs and provides attachment points for muscles. 80. A nucleic acid consisting of large molecules shaped like a double helix. DOWN 1. (anatomy) A fold or wrinkle or crease.

2. (Old Testament) The eldest son of Isaac who would have inherited the Covenant that God made with Abraham and that Abraham passed on to Isaac. 3. (Norse mythology) An enormous wolf that was fathered by Loki and that killed Odin. 4. A harsh noise made by scraping. 5. A woman poet. 6. Transient cessation of respiration. 7. European strong-scented perennial herb with gray-green bitter-tasting leaves. 8. Angular distance above the horizon (especially of a celestial object). 9. An intensely radioactive metallic element that occurs in minute amounts in uranium ores. 10. A college town in central New York on Lake Cayuga. 11. Any of numerous hairy-bodied insects including social and solitary species. 12. Brightly colored tropical freshwater fishes. 13. Sole genus of the family Naiadaceae. 14. Worthless material that is discarded. 19. A zodiacal constellation in the northern hemisphere between Taurus and Cancer on the ecliptic. 21. A deep bow. 23. The cardinal number that is the product of 10 and 100. 27. The basic unit of electric current adopted under the System International d'Unites. 29. A genus of tropical American plants have sword-shaped leaves and a fleshy compound fruits composed of the fruits of several flowers (such as pineapples). 31. Of an instrument of certain death. 34. Lap that forms a cloth border doubled back and stitched down v 1. 35. A region of northeastern France famous for its wines. 37. A small cake leavened with yeast. 38. A republic in the Middle East in western Asia. 39. A feeling of intense anger. 41. (British) A waterproof raincoat made of rubberized fabric. 42. Filled with the emotional impact of overwhelming surprise or shock. 44. A genus of Mustelidae. 50. Water buffalo of the Philippines. 52. (informal) Very tired. 55. A narrow headband or strip of ribbon worn as a headband. 56. The square of a body of any size of type. 58. (grammar) An expression including a subject and predicate but not constituting a complete sentence. 59. Any of numerous low-growing cushionforming plants of the genus Draba having rosette-forming leaves and terminal racemes of small flowers with scapose or leafy stems. 60. Marked by features of the immediate and usually discounted past. 62. A broken piece of a brittle artifact. 63. Gallery where works of art can be displayed. 64. (Jungian psychology) The inner self (not the external persona) that is in touch with the unconscious. 66. Wild sheep of northern Africa. 68. A door-like movable barrier in a fence or wall. 69. A recurring sleep state during which rapid eye movements do not occur and dreaming does not occur. 72. Of southern Europe. 73. The sound made by a cow or bull.


You love to visit a music store or a bookstore during your noon breaks— today is no exception. The friends you have made during your visit to these places are quite enjoyable. You talk over philosophy, religion and all that is mystical and you enjoy playing or listening to music. Your value system and the way you care for others may shoot up a notch to a higher plane because of these days. A hot topic in the workplace may have your blood pressure up this afternoon—wait, give someone else a chance; this is his or her issue—not yours. You stay with your own itinerary this afternoon. At home this evening, you may not want to go out again—a friend’s phone conversation may surprise you and you find time moving along very quickly with lots of laughter.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) In-depth discussions and probing conversations find you at your mental best. Others are able to follow your lead and much can be accomplished in your work world. Your mind could be quite clear and natural for giving instructions, helping or teaching. A love for the unusual may show itself in the way you express yourself—you are most original. If you are speaking to a crowd today, you will be expressive and meaningful. Because of your enthusiasm, people listening in the back of the room are already figuring out how to put their own ideas to work, perhaps, like you did. A volunteer group that you are usually involved with may want you to join them once again this year. It is through helping others that we gain much satisfaction.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Learn how to handle interruptions and avoid overwork that leads to stress. Enthusiastic people like yourself will accept the stress as a challenge to show off your ability to solve problems. What if you are in a position to have no outside interruptions you may be competing with your own time schedule. You cannot avoid stress but you can handle it. Your success this month will be large in measure. This day may be a bit taxing. After a meal, the pressures seem to ease a great deal. It would be a good idea to walk outside for a short time of exercise. Tonight brings clear communication with your loved ones. Forgiveness and understanding arouse deep feelings and a healing is possible where needed. Family scenes at your house are positive these days.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) Be aware that although this month can be rather slow, the rest of the year will be faster than most of us can keep up with easily. Fight the urge to try new things just now. Make this a time of planning instead of action. Take advantage of this time to plan your goals for work, play, health regimen, finances and do not leave out romance! Get rid of anything that has outlived its purpose and can no longer give you pleasure or serve you. This is a way to clear a space for new and wonderful growth coming your way soon. Figuring out ways to make your nest egg grow can be a preoccupation with family members. There are some good choices; vote on one and get prepared to follow through with the decision. Romance is in the air.

Word Search

Libra (September 23-October 22) As you get on the freeway this week, be observant and try not to prove a point with your vehicle; you will be safe. A new game or some sort of toy is in the forecast . . . Perhaps you have decided to spend a few gift cards. Your creative insights can enrich your business today. You may decide a new direction or addition to your business expertise is needed at this time. This may call for added education. There are good energies around whatever you set out to accomplish. A good investment at this time will bring many profits later. An advisor may be necessary with this regard. Since you have had many adventures in life, a friend may call for your advice. This may involve travel. Whatever the scenario, you will be able to help make your friend’s life better.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) This morning is full of wonderful sights. It may be the weather or it may be a new life form. Whatever the case, a situation that is easy to observe and absorb goes with your spirit throughout the day. When a friend or work partner is not as energetic to learn or accomplish new things, you seem to understand that they are not as excited and energized about life as you. A situation today will uncover and explain a previous misunderstanding. You may be reminded in subtle ways, thank goodness, that it is good to be humble. You will find that an after-work gathering of friends is quite enjoyable. Sharing interests, experiences and ideas boosts the spirit for all participants. Unconventional romantic and social connections are likely this evening.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Finding the truth of a matter will help you put a closure on some long-term issue. Gulp down your pride now and a healing will be created. Your mental focus is good and ideas will come easily. Others appreciate your suggestions and enjoy complimenting you, perhaps because you seem so modest. If there are decisions that need to be made, today is a good day to make wise choices. Trust in yourself. There is a tendency to rush things, but you will be happier with the results if you can pace yourself. The evening could be devoted to your hobby as your hand and eye coordination are in fine shape. Keep up with these fun activities as you are more able to be successful in your work when your mind is occasionally otherwise occupied.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) There is a need to do your own thing today, and if allowed to do so, you will make a great deal of progress. You will have insight into your path of progress. Perhaps you will be able to ease up on the pressure you have put yourself through lately. You will soon be paying a debt from last year and clearing away old paperwork as well. Old business that was not finished at the end of last year can be completed now. New ways to communicate will make themselves clear; conversations and interactions go well. A dialogue with an older person may take place this afternoon and lessons are learned. New insight is coming to help you in caring for your health. This may take the form of a new book by a new author. Good luck surrounds you today.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Wonderful ideas could benefit you and others if you could write them down as they come to you. New technologies are difficult to learn, but you will discover something very special. Whether you are in your own business or working for someone else—you will make great progress today. You have an opportunity to give advice to young people today. When you answer questions, you are good at making people feel comfortable and the little humor you add endears you to many. People remember your concerns and want to help you with your special project. Tonight you may try to encourage creativeness among the members of your household. Do not become too frustrated if an older person has a change of mind after getting you deeply involved.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) You turn a negative to a positive quickly today. Find a blank sheet of paper, start writing out what you are grateful for and keep this list with you during the day. Before commenting on how you feel, look at where the truth has stopped and emotions have begun. Stay with the truth—listen to music or get busy with some project. Of course, if you are in a workplace, consider a walk at the noon break or visit a pet store, music store or library—any place that will help you to move into a positive awareness. You could come up with new discoveries, creative ideas or inventions when you return to the workplace. You feel positive and creative this evening. Your passions are high and an intimate time with your loved one can be sensational.

Yesterday’s Solution

Yesterday’s Solution

Daily SuDoku

Yesterday’s Solution


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


Amiri Hospital


Maternity Hospital


Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital


Chest Hospital


Farwaniya Hospital


Adan Hospital


Ibn Sina Hospital


Al-Razi Hospital


Physiotherapy Hospital






Sama Safwan Abu Halaifa Danat Al-Sultan

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

23915883 23715414 23726558


Modern Jahra Madina Munawara

Jahra-Block 3 Lot 1 Jahra-Block 92

24575518 24566622


Ahlam Khaldiya Coop

Fahad Al-Salem St Khaldiya Coop

22436184 24833967


New Shifa Ferdous Coop Modern Safwan

Farwaniya Block 40 Ferdous Coop Old Kheitan Block 11

24734000 24881201 24726638

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

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

25726265 25647075 22625999 22564549 25340559 25326554 25721264 25380581 25628241






















Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh








Kaizen center


















Abdullah Salem




Industrial Shuwaikh






Bneid Al-Gar






Ayoun Al-Qibla










Maidan Hawally






W Hawally






New Jahra


West Jahra


South Jahra


North Jahra


North Jleeb








N Khaitan





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


Plastic Surgeons Dr. Mohammad Al-Khalaf


Dr. Khaled Hamadi

Dr. Abdal-Redha Lari


Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rashed

Dr. Abdel Quttainah


Family Doctor Dr Divya Damodar


Psychiatrists Dr. Esam Al-Ansari


Dr Eisa M. Al-Balhan


Gynaecologists & Obstetricians DrAdrian arbe


Dr. Verginia s.Marin

2572-6666 ext 8321


25665898 25340300

Dr. Zahra Qabazard


Dr. Sohail Qamar


Dr. Snaa Maaroof


Dr. Pradip Gujare


Dr. Zacharias Mathew


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



Dr. Fozeya Ali Al-Qatan


Dr. Majeda Khalefa Aliytami


Dr. Shamah Al-Matar


Dr. Ahmad Al-Khooly


Dr. Anesah Al-Rasheed



Dr. Abidallah Al-Amer


Dr. Faysal Al-Fozan


Dr. Abdallateef Al-Katrash


Dr. Abidallah Al-Duweisan


Dr. Bader Al-Ansari


General Surgeons Dr. Amer Zawaz Al-Amer


Dr. Mohammad Yousef Basher


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

22666300 25728004

Dr. Nadem Al-Ghabra


Dr. Mobarak Aldoub


Dr Nasser Behbehani


Soor Center Tel: 2290-1677 Fax: 2290 1688



Dr. Mousa Khadada


Dr. Sohal Najem Al-Shemeri


Dr. Jasem Mola Hassan


Gastrologists Dr. Sami Aman


Dr. Mohammad Al-Shamaly


Dr. Foad Abidallah Al-Ali


Kaizen center 25716707


Dr. Ahmad Al-Ansari 25658888 Dr. Kamal Al-Shomr 25329924 Physiotherapists & VD Dr. Deyaa Shehab


Dr. Musaed Faraj Khamees


Rheumatologists: Dr. Adel Al-Awadi

Dr Anil Thomas

Dr. Salem soso

Dr. Abd Al-Naser Al-Othman


Dr. Khaled Al-Jarallah


Internist, Chest & Heart DR.Mohammes Akkad

24555050 Ext 210

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


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

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

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


lifestyle G o s s i p convinced Kylie to join The Voice

W persuaded Kylie Minogue to sign up as a judge on ‘The Voice’. The Black Eyed Peas star interrupted a meeting between BBC bosses and the ‘Spinning Around’ hit-maker in a bid to convince the Australian pop singer to accept a role on the panel alongside fellow judges Sir Tom Jones and Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson. Speaking to The Sun newspaper, Kylie recalled: “I was considering it and I didn’t I know what the answer was. Then I had a meeting in LA and bombed the meeting. “I

had just one question to Will - how was the experience? He said he loved it, so I thought, ‘OK, that’s cool’.” The 45-year-old singer admits she became overwhelmed with nerves and lost many nights sleep as a result of the pressure to make a decision, but looking back believes she made the right choice. Kylie added: “I lost sleep back then, I really felt a lot of pressure and I didn’t know what the right decision was. “My record company were really keen but I didn’t buckle. I feel like it was the right decision now because this feels great,

it feels like it’s the right time.” Meanwhile, who will appear as a judge for a third time when ‘The Voice’ returns on Saturday- revealed he wasn’t willing to sign up if Kylie turned down the offer, as he explained: “I was like ‘I can’t make my decision but I guarantee you if Kylie says yes, I’m in.”

Rihanna working on eighth album R

ihanna is back in the studio working on her eighth album. The ‘We Found Love’ star is reportedly planning a duet with Katy Perry and has been working with producer DJ Mustard on her next, as-yet-untitled, record. He told music website Hiphop-N-More: “I’m finally going in [the studio] with Rihanna.”I’m just doing what I think she would like, and if she don’t like it we’ll just figure out something else in the studio, and I’ll just keep making beats ‘till she figure it out. But she’s gonna get one. (sic)” DJ Mustard, real name Dijon McFarlane, has previously worked with the likes of Young Jeezy, B.O.B, Meek Mill and Bow Wow and has hinted at a more urban sound for Rihanna’s next album. In November last year, it was announced that the producer had signed with the singer’s label, Jay Z’s Roc Nation. Contributors on her last record, ‘Unapologetic’, which was released in November 2012, included David Guetta, Sia and ex-boyfriend Chris Brown. Fellow US superstar Katy Perry recently revealed that she was planning a duet with Rihanna in the near future, after years of speculation. In an interview with Los Angeles radio station 102.7 KIIS FM, she said: “We’ve actually been talking about it for years, so we can’t let anyone down. We have to do the best song ever. Beyond that, I think we’ll definitely get around to it and when it happens, you are going to know.”

Elisabeth Rohm praises

Robert De Niro

Jennifer Lawrence

unfazed by older roles


lisabeth Rohm says it was “intoxicating” working with Jennifer Lawrence in ‘American Hustle’. The 40-year-old actress plays Dolly Polito in David O Russell’s hit film alongside the blonde beauty who stars as a drunken housewife Rosalyn Rosenfeld, and she found the 23year-old beauty is an “old soul” who is also extremely professional in the way she carries herself when in character. Talking to, she said: “She’s [Lawrence] an old soul.”She has such a command of herself, such maturity and power, that it’s intoxicating to work with her.” Lawrence found shooting crime drama ‘American Hustle’ - which also stars Hollywood A-


obert De Niro doesn’t mind being cast in older roles. The 70-year-old star has resigned himself to the fact he’ll never play the romantic lead in a movie ever again and is happy to provide comic relief as a grandfather figure instead. He told the Metro newspaper: “That’s just life. We can’t play certain parts any more. We’re playing the father or the grandfather or the great-grandfather and that can be written in a funny way, so it’s fine. But you’re not carrying the movie as the young romantic lead - those days are gone. “I’m hoping that if things work out with digital technology, they can finally make us look younger and I can go on for another 40 years.” De Niro stars alongside fellow Hollywood veterans Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas and Kevin Kline in new comedy ‘Last Vegas’, which chronicles the ageing pals’ trip to the US gambling city for a stag party, and is glad there is a growing market for movies tailored to the older generation. He said: “I don’t go to see enough films. But I’m told that since baby-boomers will still actually go to see a movie in a theatre - because it’s a communal experience that our generation is used to - there’s now a trend towards making some movies that those people could possibly identify themselves in.”

Elba spent hours in

make-up for Mandela role


dris Elba spent hours in make-up every day for ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom’. The 41-year-old actor - who plays the late South African president Nelson Mandela in the biopic about his life - spent four hours per day in the cosmetics chair before filming while professionals applied prosthetics. He has been quoted saying: “I had four hours every day sitting in the chair from 6am. It was tough. I’m normally five minutes in the make-up chair. “I was shocked. We did a really interesting journey designing the prosthetics. “I look nothing like Nelson Mandela so it was more Idris actually ageing than Idris turning into Mandela. What came of it was the older we played Mandela, the more I started to look like him, the more the voice, the characteristics and the walk started to come into play.” Elba previously admitted he wanted to portray the legendary civil rights activist as a “real” person by showing his sense of humor and his penchant for women - parts of his personality the public may not be aware of. He explained: “He’s a huge worldwide citizen. Everyone knows what he looks like, what he sounds like. I realized that he has a massive aura. We would always see Mandela on the TV, on the news, but we would never know his aura, it was so big. “I never met him, but everyone talks about how he walked into a room and you would feel [special] when you met him. He was also very funny and was always making people smile, which is very funny because he seems so serious. “It’s kind of interesting to know that he liked to joke, he’s a human. He had his flaws, he had his moments. We wanted to make him real.”

Joey Jordison: I did not quit Slipknot


lipknot drummer Joey Jordison insists he did not quit the band and was left “blindsided” by the news. The 38-year-old musician played in the Grammy-Award winning heavy metal act since their formation in 1995 and was co-songwriter with frontman Corey Taylor. A statement on the band’s website last month cited “personal reasons” for his departure but he has now refuted claims he had decided to quit. In a statement posted on Facebook, Joey wrote: “To my fans, friends and associates.”I would like to start the New Year by addressing the recent rumours and speculation regarding my departure from Slipknot. I want to make it very clear that I DID NOT QUIT SLIPKNOT.”He continued: “This band has been my life for the past 18 years, and I would never abandon it, or my fans.” This news has blindsided me as much as it has all of you. “While there is much I would

like to say, I must remain silent to further details at this time. “I would like to thank you all for your unwavering love and support, and wish everyone a very happy and healthy New Year.” The rest of the band previously wished Joey “the best” for the future and said there is “a lot going on behind the scenes” which fans are unaware of. Joey also formed American horror-punk supergroup Murderdolls in 2002 and they announced their split in March last year. Slipknot’s last album ‘All Hope Is Gone’ was released in 2008 before the death of bassist Paul Gray, and despite dropping hints about new material they have never confirmed that they will be recording another LP.

Marilyn Monroe’s dress crowned most iconic screen costume


arilyn Monroe’s white dress has been crowned the most iconic screen costume of all time. The halter neck outfit created by costume designer William Travilla for 1955 movie ‘Seven Year Itch’ has topped a new poll by the British Heart Foundation as the most memorable screen outfit ever. Since the film was released, the image of Marilyn laughing as a gust of wind blows up the frock has gone down in pop culture history. Following in second place is farm girl Dorothy Gale’s blue frock and red sparkly shoes from classic film ‘The Wizard of Oz’, which is based on the 1900 novel of the same name by L. Frank Baum. Meanwhile, Olivia

Newton-John’s sexy black ensemble which she wore in the final scene of 1978 hit film ‘Grease’ sits in third place. The actress paired skin tight leather leggings with an off-theshoulder black top and red mules, and wore her blonde locks down in tight curls. In fourth position is the bikini worn by Ursula Andress in Bond classic ‘Dr No’ and in fifth spot is the black Hubert de Givency cocktail dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’, which she paired with a statement necklace and black gloves.

Listers Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Christian Bale and Jeremy Renner - “so real” and previously claimed the atmosphere on set, everything from lighting to costume, was very “character-driven” The Oscar-winning actress explained: “It’s all characterdriven. Everything, all of it. The costumes, the lighting is all 360 so that we never stop, so there never is my close-up, your closeup. All of it is so real.”




Sweet dream: Eurythmics uniting at Beatles tribute he Eurythmics are reuniting - to pay tribute to the Beatles. The Recording Academy announced yesterday that Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart will perform as a duo for “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute To The Beatles.” The event will be taped at the Los Angeles Convention Center on Jan 27, a day after the Grammy Awards. Longtime Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich, who is also producing the Beatles special, thought the Eurythmics would be ideal to honor the iconic group. “When it came around to booking this show, what I felt was important was to try and find those artists who not only would be able to interpret Beatles songs, but would also have an ... understanding of what they meant,” he said in an interview. The Eurythmics, who sold millions of albums and whose hits include “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These),” released their debut in 1981. Ehrlich said Lennox and Stewart, who have launched successful solo careers, are thrilled to perform in tribute to the Beatles.


File photo shows Annie Lennox, left, and Dave Stewart as the Eurythmics performing on stage at the Rock at the Ring three-day music festival at the Nuerburgring race circuit in Nuerburg, Germany. — AP

Ehrlich wouldn’t say which Beatles tune the British duo would perform, but John Mayer and Keith Urban will pair up to perform “Don’t Let Me Down,” while Alicia Keys and John Legend will perform a duet on “Let It Be.” Maroon 5 also will hit the stage. The special will air on CBS on Feb 9 - exactly 50 years after the Beatles made their US debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” An estimated 73 million viewers tuned in to watch the event, which has become one of the world’s top cultural moments. “They really did change people’s lives, so what I’m hoping this show ... gets across is the message that occasionally in history we are touched by certain artists who have a profound effect on us beyond just the music that they make,” Ehrlich said. Ehrlich wouldn’t confirm if Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr would attend the event, although the Beatles will be honored with a lifetime achievement award two days earlier at the Recording Academy’s Special Merit Awards in Los Angeles. The special will include about a dozen performances, Ehrlich said. More performers will be announced at a later date. — AP

New Bruce Springsteen album ‘High Hopes’ goes online B

From left to right, British actor Will Poulter, French actress Lea Seydoux and British actor George MacKay, pose for photographers, at the BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) press conference, to announce them as three of five nominees for the EE rising star award 2014, at the BAFTA building in central London yesterday. —AP

Nyong’o, Seydoux, up for rising star film award enyan actress Lupita Nyong’o and “Blue is the Warmest Color” actress Lea Seydoux are among nominees for the British film academy’s Rising Star award. Nyong’o made an acclaimed feature film debut in slavery epic “12 Years a Slave,” while Seydoux plays half of a young French lesbian couple in the Cannes festival prize-winner. Other finalists announced yesterday include American actor Dane DeHaan, who plays a troubled poetic muse in Beat Generation saga “Kill Your Darlings.” Two British actors round out the list - George MacKay, who stars in Proclaimers musical “Sunshine on Leith,” and Will Poulter of comedy “We’re the Millers.” The winner will be decided by public vote and announced during the British Academy Film Awards - Britain’s equivalent to the Oscars - on Feb 16. —AP


Lupita Nyong’o arrives at the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala at the Palm Springs Convention Center on Saturday. —AP

ruce Springsteen’s 18th studio album “High Hopes” went online Sunday in the United States, nine days before its general releaseand on the 41st anniversary of The Boss’s debut outing. Television network CBS had announced it would host the Internet-only pre-release at after the conclusion of this week’s episode of “The Good Wife” at around 10:00 pm (0300 GMT Monday) in a unique tie-in with the top-rated legal drama. But American fans of the New Jersey-born rock ‘n’ roll voice of blue-collar America - whose first album “Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ.” came out on January 5, 1973, two years before “Born to Run” established him as a musical powerhouse were delighted to discover the audio stream unexpectedly going online earlier in the evening. Initial reviews were upbeat. “Once again, Springsteen is the minister in the chapel, offering guidance, sympathy and, occasionally, a raised fist of solidarity with the dispossessed,” wrote pop music critic Tris McCall of the Star-Ledger newspaper in Springsteen’s home state. “By the time that track draws to its haunting conclusion, you’ll likely find that despite the rocky start, the album’s familiar themes of hope, redemption and love’s ability to trump adversity have worked their magic the way they do on any good Springsteen release,” added Pete Chianca at Blogness on the Edge of Town, a blog devoted to the 64-year-old rock icon. As a CBS spokeswoman told AFP this week, the online stream is available only in the United States, ahead of the general release of “High Hopes” on January 14. In Paris, only the title track-released in November as a video-could be heard on the website; the other 11 songs came up as “currently not available.” Cryptically, Springsteen’s Twitter feed said Sunday: “More advance album streams to be announced soon.” Some lucky fans already have “High Hopes”-Springsteen’s first album since “Wrecking Ball” in 2012 - on their personal digital players after it briefly leaked out on as an MP3 download last weekend. No explanation has been given for the apparent snafu. Springsteen’s label is Columbia Records, a Sony Music Entertainment subsidiary formerly owned by CBS that was behind the surprise online release of Beyonce’s eponymous fifth album on December 13. That record remains on top of the Billboard 200 chart, having sold more than 1.3 million copies.

Eagerly anticipated, “High Hopes” is a mix of cover versions, studio outtakes and re-recordings that Springsteen - who has concerts upcoming in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand - has called “music I always felt needed to be released,” although he’s already played many of the numbers live. Three songs will feature on next week’s episode of “The Good Wife,” after Sunday’s program-which ran in the same time slot as the season premiere of “Downton Abbey” on public television-ended with an invitation to viewers to log on to the audio stream. Nine tracks on “High Hopes” feature Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello, who stood in for guitarist Steve Van Zandt on Springsteen’s tour of Australia last year, and two include Clarence

Armani new men’s

collection 2014 In this Dec 4, 2013 photos, Aaron Pritchard replaces grass after laying a headstone on the previously unmarked grave of blues musician Aaron Sparks in Crestwood, Mo. —AP

Grave marker project helps bury the blues lues guitarist Tommy Bankhead rubbed shoulders with some of the genre’s royalty, from Howlin’ Wolf and Elmore James to Albert King and Sonny Boy Williamson. But visitors to the overgrown St Louis cemetery where Bankhead was buried more than a decade ago would never know his musical legacy. Or his name. Be it neglect, inattention or hard times, Bankhead’s family never added a grave marker to his burial plot. That will soon change thanks to the Killer Blues Headstone Project, a nonprofit effort to bring belated recognition to long-forgotten blues musicians. Though the group has posthumously honored musicians as far away as California, its efforts are concentrated in a fertile blues corridor that stretches from the Mississippi Delta through St. Louis, north to Chicago and Michigan. “These guys gave so much to America via music,” said Aaron Pritchard, the project’s vice president. “They deserve a headstone.” Pritchard, 33, grew up on rock ‘n’ roll and discovered the St. Louis blues scene after high school but stopped playing music for a living to raise his two small children. A retail manager by day, Pritchard must be equal parts musicologist, cultural historian, archivist and Internet detective for the blues genealogy project. Several years ago, he met a kindred spirit in Steven Salter of Whitehall, Mich.,


whose own search for his musical idols began with a detour to the Chicago area while en route to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. After stopping at the graves of McKinley Morganfield, better known as Muddy Waters, and Chester Burnett (aka Howlin’ Wolf), Salter found an unmarked grave for blues pianist Otis Spann. A letter bemoaning Spann’s fate to a blues magazine ignited a successful fundraiser and convinced Salter to launch the headstone project in 2008. “I figured if I didn’t get to see them while they were alive, I could at least stop by their gravesites and pay my respects,” the 62year-old said. “When I got there, there was nothing but a piece of grass.” While heartfelt, the project’s efforts remain modest. They have laid 22 headstones, with several more completed but awaiting placement. The flat grave markers cost between $300 and $400 each and are engraved with the artist’s dates of birth and death, along with images of keyboards, saxophones, musical notes or guitars. There’s no shortage of candidates: The project’s website lists another two dozen late musicians whose earthly whereabouts are unknown. And Pritchard carries a dog-eared reference book that lists the vital statistics of more than 1,400 blues players, organized by state. —AP

rom research into new materials and manufacturing techniques a new collection has been created, which suggests a different way of dressing - a look that is basic, pure, modern and visual. Graphic effects obtained with a high-definition technique offer playful geometric shapes on clothes, bags and shoes; the hexagon, at times in relief, is a recurring theme. Material that is the result of the complex processing of wool, jersey and lined leather features small laser-cut holes lasered at a high frequency to create patterns reminiscent of digital codes.


Shape Shapes empty out and become lightweight. Linings and buttons disappear, the latter replaced by zippers and press-studs. Seams are minimized with heat welding and heat adhesion. This is seen on the jacket in light wool that is rough cut, appearing slim, dry and well defined. Also, see the straight-legged trousers, their line blurred by two pleats at the waist for comfort. Shantung jacket-shirts, lined and laser-cut, and with no ethnic allusions, are constructed around a brand new collar with staggered lapels. Colours and play of light Infinite shades of white, putty and ice with touches of Armani blue and teal green. Contrasting geometric shapes find expression on jersey niki. A shimmering cotton and viscose yarn creates a luminous chill effect. Light tea and dove colours are used for blousons. Small punctures are laser-etched into nappa leather, and tiny granules are also pressed between soft nappa and a microfibre lining, with the resulting illusion that the garments are covered in tiny flakes.

Clemons, the much-loved E Street Band saxophonist who died in 2011 at the age of 69. “Down in the Hole” has Springsteen’s children on backing vocals-including his youngest Sam, who turned 20 on Sunday. Springsteen’s visit to the Vietnam war memorial in Washington inspired “The Wall,” while “American Skin (41 Shots)” recalls the now virtually forgotten killing of a 23-year-old unarmed immigrant from Guinea, Amadou Bailo Diallo, by New York police officers in 1999. Among the three cover versions, Springsteen takes Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream” and makes it so much his own, it’s hardly recognizable from the minimalist original released in 1980 by the seminal New York electropunk duo. — AFP


lifestyle F e a t u r e s

‘Shop at Your Best’ at

Dubai Shopping Festival 2014 By Nawara Fattahova


whole month of shopping, special offers, and many entertaining events await visitors to Dubai at the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) 2014 from Jan 2 to Feb 2, 2014. The festival is sparkling with over 150 attractions themed “Shop at Your Best”. The 19th edition of the Dubai Shopping Festival has exciting activities highlighting Dubai as an international family tourism destination that offers unique shopping experiences. More than 100 million dirhams’ worth of prizes are waiting for the lucky winners of various raffle draws in different locations including a RollsRoyce, Lamborghini, 8 BMWs, Infinity, Nissan Patrol, 32 diamond rings, kilos of gold and many others. The Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has unveiled the calendar of events for this year’s activities. The DSF 2014 calendar of events is a line-up of over 150 events and activities that will be spread far and wide across the city at key DSF destinations. “With the aim of ensuring that the whole of Dubai feels the festival spirit, the organizers identified several key locations across Dubai and turned them into main DSF destinations. Areas such as Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Al Seef Street, Al Rigga Street and The Walk - Jumeirah Beach Residence will host events and activities aimed at ensuring that residents and visitors in all nooks and corners of the city are able to participate and experience the festivities,” said Laila Mohammed Suhail, CEO, Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment during a press conference held on the opening day of the DSF. “With all eyes on Dubai post the Expo 2020 win, we are fully aware that we have to rise up to the expectations as DSF 2014 is the first festival after the announcement. We have made extra efforts to make sure that DSF truly lives up to its reputation as a festival for all by identifying a number of additional and special areas of Dubai to host the numerous activities to enable maximum exposure and opportunities for visitors to experience the vibrancy of this extravaganza and also reap its benefits,” she added. Nasr Hakim, Media Center Manager, Marketing and Communications Department, stated that this year’s DSF calendar of events features attractions in diverse fields from shopping to entertainment, fashion to lifestyle, and arts and

DSF 2014

culture including international shows, concerts, shopping promotions and mega raffles offering prizes worth millions of dirhams. This is a true manifestation of the festival theme “Shop at your Best” that is bound to make DSF 2014 the most memorable edition yet since the shopping and entertainment extravaganza was launched in 1996. Monthly spending in Dubai is about 14 million dirhams by four million visitors. “About 25-30 percent of these visitors are international visitors, while the rest are residents of the United Arab Emirates. More than 6,000 stores are participating in the festival, all offering special discounts, and an inspection committee is controlling the stores to make sure the sales are real. The inspectors also check the raffle draws and the prizes given away. The annual growth of the festival is 5-10 percent,” Hakim added. Suhail lauded the excellent role played by the private sector, and expressed her deep appreciation for the high level of support extended by the strategic partners of DFRE and the key sponsors of DSF 2014 to ensure that the festival yet again is a resounding success. “Studies have revealed that Dubai is well on course to achieving its tourism vision for 2020 of attracting 20 million tourists and 300 billion dirhams in tourism revenues annually, of which a major share would come from retail sales. Retail purchases by visitors is set to reach almost 33 billion dirhams by 2017, accounting for more than a quarter of total sales, which is expected to increase at 5.7 per cent annually over the period 2013-20 17,” explained Suhail. The opening day kicked off on Thursday, Jan 2 on Al Seef Street with the carnival including roaming, stage and street performers, where about 1,000 artistes from international troupes performed to entertain spectators. This was followed by spectacular fireworks.

Laila Mohammed Suhail, CEO, Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment.

calendar of events


ichael Jackson The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil from 30 Dec - 14 Jan, at the Dubai World Trade Centre. This captures the essence, soul and inspiration of the King of Pop through a riveting fusion of visuals, dance, music and fantasy. No stranger to the Middle East, Cirque du Soleil is a leading Quebec-based organization providing high-quality artistic entertainment that has brought wonder and delight to more than 100 million spectators in more than 300 cities in over 40 countries on six continents. DSF Carnival Weekends - Key DSF Destinations Celebrations and carnivals go hand in hand, and DSF 2014 will be remembered for its visual feasts thanks to a colorful line-up of roaming, stage and street artistes getting together to perform at the DSF Carnival, which will be the biggest carnival in the history of DSF. Performers in funny, freak and fashionable attire, musicians, dancers, acrobats performing antics, gymnasts, clowns, stilt walkers, inflatable and animal characters will be performing in key DSF Destinations like the Al Seef Street, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Jumeirah Street, Al Riqqa Street and Global Village. The performers will showcase a variety of arts and skills from different continents and regions such as the Pele Pele dance group from Swaziland, the Mexico Tierra Mestiza troupe, labia players from India, and even character parades such as the Mobile App Stores. Vertical Fashion show 20 Jan, Burj Khalifa The attention grabbing Vertical Fashion Show will be

done at lofty heights with the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and The Dubai Mall offering the perfect backdrops, The first of its kind event will feature trained dancers who will perform choreographed vertical acrobatics.

live demonstration of the Bedouin customs and traditions including their ceremonies, food habits, houses livestock etc. as DSF seeks to bring to modern Dubai a bit of the glorious past of the region’s hardy and ingenious desert dwellers.

DSF Music Nights 2, 9, 16 Jan, Burj Park Enjoy some of the lilting melodies of Arabia, and get a close glimpse of top Arabian entertainers, Make sure you do not miss the DSF Music Nights concerts that will feature some of the popular artistes and entertainers in the Arab world. Held at the Burj Park in collaboration with Rotana, the shows feature Fares Karam and Hatem Al Iraqi on 2 January, renowned singer Mohammed Abdo on 9 January and Rabeh Saqer and Diana Haddad on 16 January.

Carpet and art oasis 2 Jan - 2 Feb, Dubai Festival City Carpets have long been appreciated for their beauty. That beauty is achieved through the choice of colors and designs, as well as by the manipulation of designs and colors to form pleasing patterns. The Carpet & Art Oasis is an exhibition and sale of some of the rarest, largest, and most unique carpets and rugs from around the world. Apart from carpets and rugs from the well known carpet producing countries, works of art and handicrafts are also on display. Amazing and beautiful handmade Persian carpet worth USD 2 millions is present in this place. Four people worked on this carpet for 11 years to come with this great carpet. Other precious and unique carpets are available there.

24 Jan, Zabeel Park Renowned Egyptian singer Mohamed Mounir, whose musical career spans three decades, and Lebanese superstar Nancy Ajram will take the stage at Zabeel Park to produce one of the most magical music nights for their fans in Dubai. Bedouin lifestyle 2 Jan -2 Feb, Al Seef Street DSF visitors will be able to savour the classic atmosphere of a bygone era at the Bedouin Lifestyle event. It is a unique festival where the lifestyle of Bedouins will be brought alive by nomads from different countries as they showcase their traditional way of living. Visitors will get a

Fashion events Market outside the box 23 Jan -2 Feb Bun Park, Downtown Dubai Dubai’s newest pop-up fashion and lifestyle festival brings an alternative shopping experience in a city always buzzing with excitement. Creating a new market concept incorporating recycled elements, it will have a mix of local funky labels and global brands existing side by side, cafÈs, food kiosks and continuous entertainment in an outdoor setting. It will be the first market that caters to non-massproduced sustainable fashion and lifestyle brands where


lifestyle F e a t u r e s Bubble Gum Show 12-21 Jan, Mall of the Emirates A fun-packed show that will hold families spellbound at The Mall of the Emirates. The hour-long show features Nu Sxool dancers, a Katy Perry impersonator, cheerleaders, a soap bubble magician plus special guests in the form of the amazing ONE DIRECTION tribute. Ice Rink Show “The Swans” 24 Jan -2 Feb, Dubai Ice Rink, The Dubai Mall A marvelous combination of aerial acrobatic acts and charming and classic ice skating performances will create a breathtaking piece of art that will dazzle visitors to Dubai Ice Rink at The Dubai Mall. Flying Superkids Show 9-18 Jan, Zabeel Park Based on gymnastic skills, the Flying Superkids show is the only one of its kind in the world and is an attempt to defy gravity combined with singing, dancing, and comedy. This truly enchanting show is backed by a beautiful light design and a uniquely composed soundtrack to support the choreography.

visitors can come together in celebration of DSF. The Market Outside the Box will also encourage healthier and alternative lifestyles and experiences that are conducive to the city’s overall festive spirit and growth as a cultural and retail hub.

Furby Live Show 16-25 Jan, The Walk - JBR Children have a wide range of entertainment to choose from this DSF and The Walk- JBR will go into party mode for kids with the internationally renowned Furby Live Show. in a 25-minute show featuring a great story, fun music and groovy dancing, lots of humor, a bit of drama, and even yummy food, Blue Furby, Pink Furby and two of their friends will put on a fantastic show three times a day.

Mega raffles and promotions

Fashion Squad 2 Jan -2 Feb, Various locations in Dubai Comprising experienced and renowned fashion experts from diverse fields, this DSF fashion squad will pay homage to Dubai’s Street style. The squad will roam the streets and malls, and give tickets in the form of coupons to the best dressed that will entitle them to enter an exciting competition. It is an interactive and exciting way to bridge tourism, social media, and shopping and help make Dubai a retail experience destination.

Infiniti Mega raffle 2 Jan-2 Feb Change your life this DSF with The Infiniti Mega Raffle. DSF visitors who buy a raffle ticket for just AED 200 will get the dream opportunity take home daily not one but two luxury Infiniti cars - a QX6O and G25 and what’s more a cash prize of AED 100,000! Tickets are available at Gold Souk, main shopping malls, selected ENOC and EPPCO petrol stations and Global Village.

ITCloset 2 Jan -2 Feb, Various Malls in Dubai A unique virtual and high tech shopping experience where people can transform their look without the hassle of a trial room. This virtual shopping experience will have different points of retail activation where people can transform their look - the ideal platform to engage the visitors in a new and interactive activity.

Nissan Grand Raffle 2 Jan-2 Feb The Nissan Grand Raffle is giving away shoppers this DSF the chance to drive away with a Nissan car every day. Raffle coupons will be available at ENOC and EPPCO stations during DSF and can be obtained on a minimum purchase of AED 20 for all non-fuel purchases. The lucky winner can choose his prize from one of 14 Nissan models.

and shopping centers that are participating in the promotion are Al Am Center, Al Bustan Centre, Barsha Mall, Bin Sougat Centre, Century Mall, Etihaad Mall, Madina Mall, Mazaya Center, Karama Center, Times Square Centre and Union Cooperative. Dine and win 2Jan-2 Feb An innovative promotion covering the food services sector, it is part of efforts to engage various segments of the retail sector, one of the pillars of Dubai’s economy. The DINE & WIN promotion during DSF 2014 offers customers spending AED 100 at fine dining restaurants, outlets serving distinct cuisines or at fast food outlets in Dubai, the chance to win a whopping prize of AED 350,000 in cash. The lucky winner will be picked at the draw to be held on the last day of DSF.

Other concerts and shows Omar Khairat Concert 16 Jan, Emirates Golf Club The Emirates Golf Club will play host to one of the well known musicians in the Arab World. Oman Khairat is one of the most applauded and influential composers and pianists in the Middle East, and his music brings a western harmonic flair to classical Arabic music. Zakir Hussain Nirvana 25 Jan, Madinat Arena - Jumeirah The “Legend” Ustad Zakir Hussain is back in Dubai to perform during DSF. The award-winning tabla maestro will take the audience on a musical extravaganza of percussion and melody featuring some of the greatest artists of our time. Grammy Award Winner Zakir Hussain will be joined by Bollywood sensation Shank ar Mahadevan, Jazz virtuoso Louis Banks, Maestro of the Sitar Niladria Kumar and percussion extraordinaire Taufiq Qureshi. Naseeruddin Shah Theatre Fiesta 16-18, Centrepoint Theatre, DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates Famous Indian film and stage actor Naseeruddin Shah is promising to give theatre goers three fascinating plays in three languages this DSF. The Naseeruddin Shah Theatre Fiesta will feature famous Urdu play, Ismat Apa Ke Naam, English play, A Walk in the Woods and Hindi play Katha Collage.

The Cocoon 13-14 Jan, The Dubai Mall In the same vein as a caterpillar’s journey to becoming a butterfly, this innovative makeover destination welcomes visitors to undergo an enriching beauty transformation. The space has a fun and artistic design, and is a place where you can have your hair, make-up and nails done in one spot. The Cocoon is a free makeover event that is open to the public. The Abaya Select 22 Jan, Emirates Towers Abaya fashion is a growing sector that is attracting more and more clients regionally into the fashion hub of Dubai. The Abaya Select show is an exclusive by invitation only event where selected designers can showcase their collections to potential buyers and clients.

Fireworks The 19th edition of DSF takes the concept of fireworks as a festival attraction to a new high. In addition to the spectacular fireworks show on the opening day, there will be daily fireworks at 9pm at Al Seef Street that is brought to DSF by the Al Zarooni Group. During the weekends, there will be special fireworks shows at various locations long the Dubai Creek at 8pm in addition to the daily fireworks at 9pm at Al Seef Street. A big hit with visitors, firework displays have become synonymous with the Festival since its inception. The drama of each display allows everyone to escape their daily lives for a few minutes and become transfixed by the dazzling array of patterns and colors which fill the sky above Dubai every night, in a reflection of the city’s vibrancy and joy throughout the 32 days.

Special shows for families and children The 7 Sopranos Show 2-11 Jan, The Walk- JBR The 7 Sopranos are Australia’s most exciting young operatic and cross over voices who enthrall fans with their favorite opera and music classics from around the world. With stunning voices, looks and high glamour, and above all a strong sense of entertainment, the 7 Sopranos have become a hit with music lovers of all genres around the world. The 7 Sopranos is the brainchild of acclaimed soprano Tarita Botsman. They will perform three times a day from 2-11 January with each show lasting 30 minutes.

Gold Raffle 2Jan-2 Feb In an unbeatable multi-million dirham promotion, the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group is offering DSF shoppers the chance to win kilos of gold and 1/4 carat Diamond Solitaire rings across the 32 days of the festival. Shop and win 2Jan-2 Feb SHOP & WIN is a brand new shopping promotion during DSF, offering one lucky shopper the chance to win a cash prize of AED 500,000.The promotion is designed to target communities well beyond Dubai’s major malls - in areas that have less than 100 shopping outlets and includes the participation of community malls and midsize shopping centers. Against each spend of AED 200, the shopper earns a raffle coupon and automatic entry into a mega draw with the chance to win AED 500,000 cash on the final day of the promotion. Among the malls

Indian Republic Day - Kavi Sammelan and Mushaira 30 Jan, Indian School, Sheikh Rashid Auditorium A literary tradition spanning many centuries, this event has become an integral part of the annual cultural itinerary of the UAE and a DSF highlight. Being held for the l2~ successive year, this creative gathering will feature a galaxy of popular Hindi and Urdu poets. Chinese New Year - The East China State Circus 28 Jan -2 Feb, Madinat Jumeirah The East China State Circus is the embodiment of a traditional art form which can trace its history back to over 2000 years. This spectacular presentation lives and breathes with the enthusiasm of its acrobatic artistes and is a must-see attraction for audiences of all ages. ASAP Live in Dubai 24 Jan, Dubai Festival City The Filipino Channel (TFC) brings its longest-running and top-rating musical show, “ASAP Live in Dubai” to the entertainment capital of the Middle East at the Dubai Festival City. “ASAP Live in Dubai” will feature a line-up of more than 40 of the most respected recording artists, the most awarded performers and the most exciting showbiz

personalities from the Philippines including Total Performer Gary Valenciano, Divine Diva Zsa Zsa Padilla, Dynamic Diva Vina Morales and Concert King Martin Nievera. Jamie Rivera Live in Dubai 10 Jan, Al Nasr Leisureland The inspirational diva, Jamie Rivera will be in the Middle East for the first time ever, to perform in front of thousands of her adoring fans. Jamie has had her share of honors gained for the Philippines among which was her performance in the role of Kim in the award-winning musical “MISS SAIGON”. Her latest album entitled ‘INSPIRATIONS” also won the Best Inspirational Album in the 2011 CMMA. Jamie is also now part of the Walk Of Fame in Eastwood, Manila. DSF 2014 will offer visitors many more events and activities that will further enhance the festival’s image as a hub of shopping and entertainment. They include a wide range of international concerts featuring entertainers from different countries - the Philip Kirkorov Concert, Valerly Meladze Concert, the Paris Opera Ballet Gala, Viennese Orchestra, Salaam Dubai 2014, Mix Tape Rewind show, Indian Idol Junior & Comedy Circus Live in Dubai, and The Weight Loss Show. The Mexican Circus 6 Jan -2 Feb, Al Rigga Street The Mexican Circus gives eager audiences the opportunity to witness this world famous circus with its special acts and breath-taking shows. Some of the riveting acts that are being presented in the ring are the Globe of Death, Wheel of Death, the Cyclone, well as performing bears, clowns and jugglers. The action-packed performances are full of thrilling stunts, animal shows and risky maneuvers, done by talented performers with years of dedicated training. Global Village 2Jan-2 Feb Dubai is a true representative of global oneness and cultural understanding. True to the DSF theme, ‘One World, One Family, One Festival’, the Global Village is the melting pot of cultures, flavours, colours, rhythms and the joy that humanity celebrates in its existence. It brings together people from several countries as they showcase their uniqueness, intermingling with one another as citizens of the world. The Global Village is a true discovery of nations with pavilions from countries around the world featuring native cuisines, dance forms, costumes, handicrafts, and much more.

World of Sports 2 Jan-2 Feb Sports enthusiasts visiting Dubai during DSF will be spoilt for choice by a wide array of top sporting events that will take place during this period including the Dubai World Cup Carnival 2014, the Al Marmoum Camel Racing Season, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon 2014, the Omega Dubai Deser t Classics, the UAE International Basketball Championship, the Dubai Show Jumping Championships 2014, Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series 2014, the Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 2013 Cricket Series, the GAC (Table Tennis) World Tour Grand Finals, Dunlop 24Hrs and the American Wrestling Show. Key DSF Destinations Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard 2 Jan-2 Feb A favorite destination of visitors to Dubai, the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard will feature a number of street artists, painters and solo musicians who will entertain visitors on the go. Al Seef Street 2Jan-2 Feb Al Seef Street will come alive with a range of entertainment for families and children. This year, Al Seef Street will host the DSF Stage which will celebrate culture with folk dances and activities and entertainers dressed in colourful national costumes. Al Riqqa Street 2Jan-2 Feb Al Riqqa Street will be a hive of family-oriented activities throughout the 32 days of DSF with its key entertainment being a DSF Stage for musical performances, a Redemption Games Fun Fair Area, Fun Fair rides, and a Sports Zone. There will also be several kiosks offering a variety of merchandise and a broad choice of food. The Walk - Jumeirah Beach Residence 2Jan-2 Feb A popular area for entertainment, recreation and relaxation, The Walk - JBR will host a variety of shows and roaming performers as well as a Farmers and Flowers Market showcasing and selling home grown products. Al Shindagha Heritage Area 2 Jan to 2 Feb The rich Emirati heritage will take pride of place during DSF 2014. A wide spread of heritage and cultural activities will be held in Heritage and Diving Village, traditional folklore groups, traditional weddings diving shows, traditional games and bands, a traditional souk, traditional food, marine-related handicrafts, a falconry show and a camel caravan.

‘Shop at Your Best’ at Dubai Shopping Festival 2014



Visitors tour colorful ice structures during the opening ceremony of the Harbin International Ice and Snow festival in Harbin, in northeastern’s China’s Heilongjiang province, Sunday. — AP

Rarely seen Van Gogh moves to National Gallery


Vincent Van Gogh painting that has been hidden away at a Virginia estate for decades will have a new home at the National Gallery of Art. The rarely seen 1890 painting, “Green Wheat Fields, Auvers,” depicts a landscape in bright greens and blues from northern France when Van Gogh was living just north of Paris in Auvers-sur-Oise. The painting was given to the museum by philanthropist and art collector Paul Mellon, and it has been kept in his family’s home in Upperville, Virginia, since 1955. It will go on display Friday alongside five other Van Gogh paintings. The museum now holds nine altogether. The painting has only been exhibited once before in the United States in a show devoted to the Mellon collection in 1966 at the National Gallery of Art. The painting spent its early years with Van Gogh’s brother Theo and then was traded in Germany. It was shown in a major exhibition in Cologne, Germany, in 1912 and then in Berlin. But it has mostly been out of view since the 1930s, said French paintings curator Mary Morton. The painting was created while Van Gogh was struggling. He had cut off his earlobe on Christmas Eve in 1888 and committed himself to an asylum in southern France a few months later before he returned to northern France and turned to painting spectacular landscapes. “It’s really one of the great landscapes of that moment. It is in very good condition,” Morton said, adding that it retains the thick paint and expressive, emotional brush stokes that Van Gogh became famous for. “This is why we love him so much.” It’s likely impossible to pinpoint when this painting was created. It’s not dated. But it is part of a group of paintings he likely completed

Man charters helicopter after friend pick-up fails


man chartered a helicopter after his friend failed to pick him up from the airport. The extravagant guy ordered the chopper for the 12-minute journey from Branson to Shell Knob in Missouri in the US and he filmed the whole picturesque journey. The guy uploaded a video of his short jaunt on YouTube under the name Justin Case, and wrote: “Friend backed out on picking me up at the airport (2 hours out of his way), told him not to worry about it I’ll just charter a helicopter. He thought I was joking.” At the end of the journey he is shown throwing his bags down into a waiting speed boat before he jumps in himself and films the helicopter flying off. — Bang Showbiz

in June or July of 1890 before his death in late July. There’s no way to know what his final painting was, Morton said. While there are multiple Van Gogh exhibitions around the world every year, this painting has never been part of those. “What’s great about this picture is that it really is just a field painting. It’s just about grass and wind and sky,” Morton said. “It’s very sort of pure in that sense. There’s no story. There are no figures. There’s nothing to read. It’s just this feeling he has while he’s out there, and he’s completely absorbed by the environment.”— AP

People visit an exhibition of digital versions of some of Vincent van Gogh’s best-known paintings which are part of a multimedia exhibition in Moscow, Russia, Saturday. — AP photos

Woman files for divorce over peas


woman in Kuwait filed for divorce after finding out her new husband prefers to eat peas using bread rather than a fork. The woman reportedly couldn’t bear the “shocking sight” and asked for a separation just one week after tying the knot with the man. This news emerges as figures obtained by lawyer Hawra Al-Habib reveal there are on average 18 divorce cases a day in the

country, according to Kuwait Times reports. However, in the majority of Muslim countries Islamic Law states a wife must go to court if she wants a divorce, while a husband can get a divorce without any reason by simply stating “I divorce you” three times. — Bang Showbiz

7 jan  
7 jan  

Kuwait Times