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Heavy rain ‘skins’ asphalt off roads

Ex-Defense Secretary Gates slams Obama in memoir

Female tailor cuts a dash on Savile Row


Moyes rues decisions as United lose again



MPs spew venom against premier and his Cabinet


NO: 16042

150 FILS



Lawmakers request special debate on Dow fine

Max 16º Min 05º High Tide 05:37 & 17:53 Low Tide 11:44

By B Izzak conspiracy theories


Sheltered at last

By Badrya Darwish


hank you guys from the ministries of interior and social affairs and labour! After all these long years, you fulfilled one of our dreams to help domestic labourers in Kuwait. I know you are a bit late, but as the saying goes - better late than never. Thank God that at last you built a shelter which will help many labourers and will enhance the reputation of Kuwait internationally. Lately, we have been barraged by statements from many human rights organizations attacking us for the ill-treatment of domestic workers. I know that the shelter will not be the magic wand which will solve the suffering of many blue-collar workers and domestic helpers, but it will at least relieve the agony of many trapped in labour disputes with their kafeels (sponsors). I hope that the word will spread and workers will be able to benefit from the shelter. The ministry should publicize the new shelter to workers who enter the country. A leaflet should be given to them with the contact details of the shelter and some of their rights. It will be comforting for someone who comes to a new country and does not know anything about their sponsor. It will make the newcomers feel more comfortable. Workers already in Kuwait should also be informed of this option. This will not be an invitation to the shelter, but this would show them that we care. It will tell them: “You are not alone.” In all honesty, our reputation outside Kuwait is very negative due to the treatment of labourers. I disagree that all stories are accurate, but unfortunately, many are true. It is a great step by you guys in the ministries of interior and labour and social affairs and whoever else took part in this project. I salute you all! I hope you will do a thorough study of how to operate the place and who will be appointed to run the place. There are 101 questions and ideas that come to mind about the shelter. But let it open first and start accepting runaway domestic workers and people in need and then we will see. Every start has snags that can be taken care of later but the idea is that this place is there. This is great!

Jerome Valcke

Row over 2022 World Cup timing PARIS: The timing of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar brought further trouble for FIFA yesterday with its number two official ruling out a June-July tournament only to be told by international football’s governing body that the matter was still under consideration. The scheduling of the tournament has been hotly debated ever since FIFA controversially awarded it to Qatar in Dec 2010, especially over fears that the summer heat in the Gulf emirate would be dangerous for players and fans alike. “The dates for the World Cup (in Qatar) will not be June-July,” Jerome Valcke, the FIFA secertary general and the second most powerful man in international football, told Radio France. Continued on Page 13

NIAGARA FALLS: The frozen mist from Niagara Falls coats the landscape around Prospect Point at Niagara Falls State Park on Tuesday — AP (See Page 9)

KUWAIT: Staunch supporters of most of the previous governments yesterday switched positions toward the new reshuffled Cabinet, strongly blasting Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, whom they urged to quit to “save” the country. The vitriolic onslaught came mainly from MP Ali Al-Rashed, a traditional government supporter and the speaker of the Assembly that was scrapped by the constitutional court last June, who unexpectedly accused the prime minister of being unable to run the country and called on him to resign. He was strongly assisted by MP Safa Al-Hashem, who sits next to him in the Assembly chamber, who lashed out at the premier and the government as well. “Today, the prime minister proves that he cannot run the affairs of the country,” shouted Rashed during the parliamentary debate of the government program and the Amiri Address delivered on Oct 29. “I call on the prime minister to save the country by quitting,” said Rashed, who warned of a fate similar to that of deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. It appears that Rashed is upset that during the election of the Assembly speaker in August, all 16 Cabinet ministers voted in favour of his rival Marzouq Al-Ghanem, who clinched the coveted post. Rashed’s close ally Hashem described the new Cabinet line-up as “ a strange combination, a cocktail that lacks harmony” in an apparent reference that the new government includes more Islamists and liberals, in addition to some ministers who previously opposed the controversial single-vote electoral law. “You change your ministers as quickly as you change your bisht (cloak),” said Hashem, who accused the government under Sheikh Jaber of failing to perform in every aspect, mainly in implementing the development plan. MP Yacoub Al-Sane, also from the same bloc as Rashed, accused the new Cabinet and the prime minister of promoting corruption and accordingly not to be trusted. “We express our anger at the new Cabinet line-up,” Sane said. Shiite MP Saleh Ashour said the prime minister made consultations on the new Cabinet with people who have influence and interests and ignored MPs. “No one is happy or satisfied with this Cabinet which cannot be depended on to solve the country’s problems,” Ashour said. MP Jamal Al-Omar however charged that the attack against the prime minister is politically and personally Continued on Page 13

Canada opens visa application center By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: The government of Canada announced yesterday the opening of a new visa application centre ( VAC) in Kuwait City to make the process of applying for a Canadian visa easier and more convenient. Ambassador of Canada to Kuwait Douglas George emphasized the aim of his country is to strengthen relations between the two countries. “We hope to see more Kuwaiti travellers visit Canada for all purposes including tourism, investment, education and others, as Canada provides an attractive and safe environment,” he noted. “Launching this center will improve our bilateral relationship. Although this center does not issue the visa directly, it will definitely simplify the procedure for visa applicants by saving time and money. The services of VAC are available for both Kuwaitis and expats, but only expats are required to undergo electronic fingerprinting,” added the ambassador. The visa process takes between 2-3

weeks. “This is because the visa is still connected to the regional office in Abu Dhabi, and student visas need even more time. VAC will always be in contact with the Ministry of Education and Canadian universities to make it easy for students to get their visa and join their university on time. Currently there are 200 Kuwaiti students in Canada, and we hope the number will increase. In the past, 10-year multiple -entry visas were issued to Kuwaitis and this made it difficult to gauge the number of Kuwaiti visitors to Canada annually,” George explained. Bedoons (stateless residents) holding ‘article 17’ passports may also benefit from VAC services. “Issuing visas to them depends on the purpose of their visit and the documents submitted along with the necessary conditions and requirements,” added George. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is expanding its VAC network around the world to provide administrative support to applicants before, during Continued on Page 13

Indian student dies in tragic accident By Sajeev K Peter

Deepthi hails from Kozhenchery in the Pathanamthitta district of Kerala. She is surKUWAIT: An Indian school student Deepthi vived by her father Salu Thomas John, mother Sheena Salu Thomas, sister Mariam Thomas, 14, died folShruti Thomas, who is studying lowing a traffic accident near in Bangalore and brother John her school in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh Thomas, who is studying in the on Tuesday afternoon. She was 3rd grade at the Indian Central studying in the ninth grade at School. the Indian Central School. As Her death sent shockwaves Deepthi was walking towards across the Indian community in her school bus along with her Kuwait, and her grief-stricken friends after the day’s class, a car parents, relatives and friends driven by a parent of another are struggling to cope with the student hit her, according to tragedy. The Indian Central reports. She was taken in a critiDeepthi Thomas School was closed yesterday to cal condition to Sabah Hospital pay homage to the departed immediately after the accident, but succumbed to her injuries later in the student. Formalities are being completed to repatriate her body to India. evening.

in the


Kuwaitis urged to avoid Thailand KUWAIT: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday urged Kuwaiti citizens planning to travel to Thailand “to wait for the time being” and urged nationals present there to leave the country. An official source at the ministry said the notification was necessary to protect citizens’ lives due to the unrest there. The source urged Kuwaitis in Thailand to contact the Kuwaiti embassy in case they needed help on +6626366600 during official working hours Monday to Friday from 9:30 am till 3:30 pm (local time). For emergencies, they can call +66918909998. Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has called February elections following weeks of opposition street protests.

Sultan Agility CEO, chairwoman named KUWAIT: Kuwaiti logistics group Agility said yesterday it has appointed Tarek Sultan as chief executive officer while naming Hanadi Al-Saleh as chairwoman of the board. Sultan, who was previously the chairman and managing director, will take up the position of deputy chairman while leading Agility’s business operations, a company statement to Kuwait’s stock exchange said. Agility said the change will bring it into compliance with the new commercial law and the corporate governance regulations set by Kuwait’s Capital Markets Authority, which requires companies to have separate a chairman and CEO.

Filming marred after ‘TNT blast’ kills 5 crew TEHRAN: An accidental blast killed five special effects crew of an Iranian film when real-life explosives detonated as they were being delivered to the set yesterday. Two other crew were hurt in the explosion in a car transporting the material to the set some 30 km southwest of Tehran, the ISNA news agency reported. The Mehr news agency said the explosives were TNT. A member of the movie industry’s special effects union, Abbas Shoghi, criticised authorities for banning the import of specialised material. “We are forced to use real-life explosives for a movie shoot because security authorities do not allow the import of props that are used in movies,” he said.



KPC seeks two weeks to review lower bonus policy 16,885 Kuwaitis trained at private sector

KUWAIT: Minister of Health Ali Al-Obaidi with his counterparts at the 76th conference of the GCC Council of Health Ministers yesterday.

Health minister commends GCC medical achievements KUWAIT: Minister of Health Ali Al-Obaidi said yesterday the GCC’s health accomplishments show the ability to meet challenges facing Gulf health systems. In a keynote speech during the 76th conference of the GCC Council of Health Ministers, the minister said such challenges require continuing coordination, joint action and exchange of experience for developing clear-cut Gulf health programs and strategies. He stressed the significance of the health sector as a main component and significant index of development programs, a thing which the GCC seeks to reaffirm through the post-2015 UN Development Goals being finally formulated by concerned international organizations. The conference focuses on concerted action by the GCC member states to combat non-communicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases. The minister described NCDs as key challenges facing development plans and programs due to relevant reflections on health systems and exhaustion of resources and potential. However, he maintained that the GCC member states’ health systems are efficient enough to fight NCDs in collaboration with state authorities, the private sector and civil society. The minister cited international reports as

highly commending the GCC member states’ health developments like low maternal and child mortality rates, vaccination and high life expectancy rates. On his part, GCC Secretary General Abdulateef Al-Zayani appreciated the efforts of the GCC health ministers to improve and develop medical services in the member states and Yemen. He hailed the formation of national health committees and medical development blueprints in the GCC countries as an unequivocal sign of great efforts by the health ministries to curb NCDs. Bahraini Health Minister Sadeq Al-Shahabi hailed the executive bureau of the GCC Council of Health Ministers for its great health efforts that resulted in the winning of three world awards in 2013. “The obtainment of such awards in just one year is a big achievement and crowns efforts exerted over the last years,” he said. The last session of the council witnessed the launching of a medicine quotation committee that held seven relevant meetings. GCC technical committees also held 120 meetings on the acceleration of health development plans in the GCC member states, not to mention public awareness programs, he added. — KUNA

OD deaths on the rise KUWAIT: Kuwait recorded more drug overdose deaths last year compared to 2012 despite increased efforts to tackle smuggling and trafficking which resulted in a recorded drop in number of addicts, a local daily reported yesterday quoting official statistics. The figures were made available to Al-Qabas daily through a security source with knowledge of the Criminal Evidence General Department statistics

for 2013. They indicate that the number of OD deaths in 2013 reached 88 of different nationalities, compared to 86 who passed away of the same reason in 2012. The majority of the victims were young people, according to the source, who warned that traffickers are increasingly targeting youth and demanded joint between the government and families to protect young men and women from drugs.

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) has asked K-company employee unions for a two week grace period to review a recent decision reducing oil sector employee end-of-year bonuses. KPC also remarked that the amendments included in the decision were fair, especially performance bonuses tied to operational profits. KPC CEO Nizar Al-Adsani reportedly met with KOC and KNPC employee syndicates which objected to the bonus reduction decision. The decision to lower bonuses and change them to performance based metrics was approved by KPC management last October but has been hotly opposed by K-company employees. The decision was also criticized by the Supreme Petroleum Council and the Oil Minister, neither of which reportedly were involved in the decision-making process. Several K-company unions have threatened to strike over the matter unless the decision is reversed. They have, how-

ever, agreed to a two-week review period at KPC’s request. KPC, which is the parent company of all the Kuwait oil sector companies (typically referred to as the collective, K-companies) reduced some bonuses from as much as 300 percent of base salary to around 100 percent of base salary. Kuwait’s oil sector is undergoing a slow and widely opposed modernization including a reformation of the administrative processes. Last year, the government replaced most of the K-companies senior management, including presidents and managing directors and has also tendered an initiative in cooperation with the London School of Economics to offer leadership training for the new management. Meanwhile, Secretar y General of the Manpower and Government Restructuring Program (MGRP) Fawzi Al-Majdali that the number of Kuwaiti employees at private companies and institutions included in the training pro-

grams amounted to 16,885 employees since 2003. Al-Majdali told reporters on the occasion of the annual meeting with officials of the human resources in the private sector companies, which included the announcement of the training plan (2014/2015 ) that the number of training programs amounted to 1,044 which included new and experienced Kuwaiti staff. He added that last year alone saw training of 4,000 new employees and experienced staff of the national labor force, noting that the training programs included the banking staff and the industrial and investment sectors as well as telecommunications and insurance. He explained that the program seeks to train the national employment through the government’s contribution to the cost of the training of national force operating in the non-state institutions, and by no more than 75 percent of that cost.

KUWAIT: The Kuwait Dive Team removed metal posts off of the Al-Kout Beach in Fahaheel, which were set up illegally and raised safety and environmental concerns. The operation was carried out in cooperation with the government’s Removal of State Property Violations Committee.

Ban on recruitment of Bangladeshis may be lifted KUWAIT: Kuwait ’s seven-year ban on the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers might be lifted. Kuwait is going to recruit about 600 workers from Bangladesh, a Dhaka Tribune report said yesterday quoting a government official. The Bangladeshi nationals will be employed in the agriculture field in Kuwait. “We have received a demand letter for 593 workers, which is placed by a Kuwaiti company,” Begum Shamsun Nahar, director general of the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, told the Dhaka Tribune yesterday.

According to the report, Kuwait would regularly recruit workers from Bangladesh. An embassy official in Kuwait, however, denied the claim that there will be regular recruitment of Bangladeshis telling the newspaper that “Kuwait has no such plan at present.” The repor t quoted the official from the Bangladesh Embassy in Kuwait City confirming that the recruitment of around 600 workers is currently under process. According to the embassy official, Kuwait may start recruiting a few thousand workers from Bangladesh for the

agriculture sector. Due to irregularities done by recruitment companies and criminal activities committed by Bangladeshi migrant workers, Kuwait placed a ban on the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers in October 2006. Sources told the Dhaka-based newspaper that the recruitment was stopped because a large number of Bangladeshis were already employed in Kuwait. Statistics provided by the embassy shows that 200,000 Bangladeshis are currently employed in Kuwait.

New systems at gas stations KUWAIT: Oula Fuel Marketing Company has announced that the implementation phase of the second part of the development plan for the stations is being executed according to the scheduled timeframe. The first station to witness these development and constructions works was Omariya Station - located between ring IV & V on Airport Road- by Oula’s contractor: Sharjah International Trading & Contracting Company. It is worth mentioning that Oula had fully shut down Omariya Station from the beginning of December

2013 due to the development works it’s witnessing in order to transform the station into a one -stop-shop where customers could find all their needs. In this regards, Eng Ziad Abu Laila Project Department Manager- said: “ Oula is currently fully developing Omariya Station and we’ve completed the first phase which contained some drilling works and putting the foundations of the building that will be added to the station, in addition to renewing the oil pumping areas in total” He added: ”We are also adding

new systems that live up to the international standards as: vapor retrieval system, surveillance cameras and sophisticated sale point systems to facilitate the payment process”. And since Oula has been the pioneer in feeding the demand of the local market and its customers; the development plan of Omariya Station one of a series of steps to implement the strategy and vision of the Board of Directors to complete the time plan set for the development of all stations first, as permitted by the concerned authorities.

Journalism contest holds meeting at AUK KUWAIT: Sheikh Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah Journalism Excellence Award Higher Committee held an enlightening meeting for the students at the American University of Kuwait (AUK) in both Arabic and English to stress the importance of the participation of young Kuwaitis in such a contest. The contest’s Higher Committee pays great attention to Kuwaiti youngsters and media employees in response to the directives of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber AlMubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Head of the committee Ayman Al-Ali and committee member Farah Al-Faraj said during the meeting. At the meeting, which was attended by Assistant Professor of Communications and head of Media and Communications Department at AUK Mohamed Satti, Al-Ali and Al-Faraj noted that significant changes have been made to strengthen the competition, now in its sixth year. The successive success of this event allowed expanding its categories to include best TV presenter and best TV report in the audiovisual branch of journalism. Winners of first and second places on this category will win KD 800 and KD 600, respectively.

There are five conditions to compete in these two categories, Al-Ali and Al-Faraj explained. Items submitted for the competition should not have been published after Jan 1, 2012, they should not have been in pervious awards, they should focus on local themes and issues, and participants should be of Kuwaiti national and not over 30 years of age. They said a number of the winners from the youth category will be sent to train at Al-Jazeera TV Channel in Qatar and some Lebanese media institutions such as Annahar Newspaper, Sawt Lebanan radio station and MTV Channel. The nominations for the annual award will be open till February 4, 2014. The contest is divided into General and Youth categories where participants will compete to win: best new report, best investigative report, best interview and best photo. They should be written in Arabic and no less than 400 words for KUNA journalists and not less than 700 words for journalists from other local media institutes. Submissions can be done, initially, through KUNA’s website until entrants complete their paperwork and hand it over in person to one of the Award’s centers. —- KUNA



KUWAIT: Scenes from different parts of Kuwait as rains cause what is known as ‘raveling’ — a loss of aggregate from the surface of an asphalt road. — Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Rain ‘skins’ off road asphalt KUWAIT: MPW’s assistant undersecretary for maintenance engineering Saud Al-Naqi said in the aftermath of the recent rainfall, many roads were literally ‘skinned’ of the asphalt layer. He said the ministry had taken samples to examine in labs to determine the causes of this phenomenon. “The problem started in 2003 and according to the studies we did on various samples, there was no problem

with the asphalt used,” he said noting that further samples were being currently examined. Naqi also rejected accusations that contractors had diluted or manipulated construction materials used in blacktopping various roads as they are usually examined in labs prior to using them on the streets. “Asphalt contracts have five-year warranties, which means that contractors

will never cheat on the materials to make more profits because they will have to do the repairs at their own expense,” he explained. Naqi added that the main reason for the phenomenon was not allowing time for new asphalt layers to settle before roads are open for traffic. He explained that paving usually starts by midnight and ends at around 4:00 am to

be opened for traffic at 6 am. “This is not enough and new asphalt layers should be left for at least 24 hours before they are used,” he underlined. Typically rain causes what is known as ‘raveling’, a loss of aggregate from the surface of an asphalt road. Raveling can also occur if the asphalt is poorly compacted, overheated or if there is too little asphalt used in the mixture made for the road.

Main transformation unit ready for operation in May Al-Zour Northern power plant By A Saleh

KUWAIT: The Jahra Road Development Project construction in progress.

Jahra Road project starts construction in trough

KUWAIT: The ministry of electricity and water predicted that the main transformation unit at Al-Zour Northern power plant will be ready for operation and linkage with the power grid by May. The significance of this plant lies in it being the main gateway through which electricity exports or imports between Kuwait and the GCC power grid would be done. It cost KD 41 million to build this plant that is expected to produce 400 kilowatts. Chairman of the National Land Transport Committee at the Saudi Chambers Council Saud Al-Nefaei said that Kuwait suggested treating the UAE likewise if it sticks to its decision to impose fees on land transport companies. He added that a joint meeting recently held in Riyadh between the Saudi Chambers Union and its GCC counterpart discussed the Emirati road tax and that the meeting recommended contacting the Emirati side to discuss the issue. Nefaei said that the UAE stressed that the decision was not yet final and that it would be gradually applied. “Imposing transit fees will increase transport cost by SR 10 which will be met with a SR 100 increase in prices,” he warned. Notably, UAE had announced impos-

ing transport fees by collecting AED 100 per bus, AED 5 per seat, AED 100 per truck and AED 10 per ton. The extraordinary general assembly the por ts employees syndicate recently held agreed to go on strike (to be scheduled later) at all three ports ( Shuwaikh, Shuaiba and Doha) in protest at the minister of communication’s reluctance in meeting the workers’ demands. The syndicate chairman Ali Al-Sakkouni blamed minister Essa Al-Kandari for the situation and stressed that the syndicate would never give up any of the employees’ rights and demands. “The minister has not visited any of the ports so far,” he underlined. “How long will citizens have to go on suffering while seeing donations sent everywhere?”, exclaimed MP Hamdan Al-Azmi, noting that while the government is sending aid to Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, it rejected proposals to increase children’s allowance, housing loans and military personnel pay hikes. MP Rakan Al-Nisf said that he had boycotted the 2012 elections because of suspicions of illegal formalities and that he took part in the recent one to show his respect to the law. “We are happy the housing portfolio was given to a young minster but citizens are getting desper-

ate because the Amiri Diwan is doing the MPW’s work,” he said, wondering who to be held responsible if any violations are detected. He also wondered about the recent rumors over a ‘conspiracy video’ and why a month has passed without hearing more information about it. MP Youssef Al-Zalzalah wondered about the plans the ministers of awqaf, education and information are to carry out after the instructions included in the speech by HH the Amir with regards to preventing tumult in Kuwait. “They must explain how they intend to maintain and protect our national unity. We are ruled by an incompetent government,” he said. The Islamic Heritage Revival Society (Bayan and Mishref branches) recently launched a project under the title of ‘Be An Islamic Preacher at the Mondial’ that aims at distributing a million copies of Holy Quran translations in various languages to fans at the World Cup in Brazil. Cleric Nazem Al-Misbah urged all Muslims to take part in the project to invite non-Muslims to Islam. MoE’s assistant undersecretary for legal affairs Dr Bader Al-Mutairi authorized educational area directors to refer errant employees for investigations and punish them by notices or deduction of a maximum of ten days’ pay at a time and cancelling bonuses.

KRCS distributes relief aid in flood-hit areas in Sudan KUWAIT: The Jahra Road Development Project announced the start of construction for the trough at the Jahra Road and Second Ring road intersections. This is part of the second phase of the project. Four other stages are ongoing and have achieved a completion rate of 49%. Engineer Yasser Boudastour, engineer Jahra Road Development Project, said the length of the tunnels 650 meters and it consists of two lanes in each direction in addition to the safety lane, and 182 piles were completed out of 1500 in the trough. Boudastour confirmed that the construction works in the trough is facing some difficulties the main one is to reduce the level of ground water during the work because of its proximity to these and the second challenge is to maintain the level of noise within the parameters allowed since the tunnels located within a residential area. In the context of the construction

works Boudastour confirmed installation of 1136 segments including the 631 segments in main Jahra road and in the roundabout UN using launching gantry and 241 segments on hospitals road and 264 other segment in different regions, as for the production of segments 2328 pieces were produced in the precast yard casting in Doha more over 3687 piles were complete and 323 pile caps and 274 piers. As for road works and conversion facilities, Boudastour added 84% were completed from conversion lines of electricity cables, and 65% of the network telephone lines, and of 33% of the conversion sewer lines. As a final point Boudastour praised the importance of the Department of Safety and Environmental Protection in the project and praised the preventive steps to be followed in order to protect workers from injury until this date the project exceeded 10 ten million manhours without physical injuries.

KHARTOUM: Kuwait Red Crescent Society field team continued providing relief aid to the victims of the floods in Al-Jazirah state in central Sudan. Kuwaiti’s Ambassador to Sudan Talal Al-Hajri checked on the aid operations by the Kuwaiti Red Crescent for those affected by floods in central Sudan and a number of other affected states.

The assistance comes from a decision by the Kuwaiti government to urgently provide about USD 5.2 million of aid that have been transported by 11 aircraft from the Ministry of Defense in addition to 275 tons of relief aid. Head of the Red Crescent team Saud al-Harbi told KUNA that the team and in cooperation with the Sudanese Red Crescent Society distrib-

10 wanted persons in custody By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: The security campaign carried out by Ahmadi security directorate from Dec 13 to Jan 4 resulted in arresting 10 wanted persons and 14 for not having identity cards or in violation of iqama laws. Forty-six locally made liquor bottles were also confiscated. Five citizens were arrested and taken to the Drugs Control General Department for possession of drugs, knives and narcotic pills. A security source said that a verbal dispute took place between two young men in the parking lot of 360 mall, and a police patrol that went there and found that both did not have IDs on them.

KUWAIT: The Kuwait National Guards celebrated the graduation of the new recruits yesterday at a ceremony held at the Sumoud Camp. It was attended by Undersecretary of the National Guard, Lt Gen Nasser Al-Da’ei.

KD 2bn allotted for 11 highway projects KUWAIT: The MPW’s highway department manager Waleed Al-Ghanim said that his department was in the process of executing 11 highway projects at a total cost of KD 2 billion. He noted that the projects include

the Sheikh Jaber Causeway at a total cost of KD 738 million, Jahra road at a total cost of KD 211 million and other projects like Jamal Abdul Nasser and Ghazali roads in addition to many bridges and flyovers.

uted aid in Um Al-Qura area yesterday which included about 130 tents, and 600 jerry cans of water. He noted that the distribution operations covered so far most of the states affected by the floods. He explained that the Kuwaiti Red Crescent began since last August urgent relief aid distribution by many teams working in different parts of Sudan. — KUNA



kuwait digest

Sykes Picot agreement


By Yousif Abdullah Al-Enaizi

kuwait digest

Where does the money go? By Nasser Al-Eidan


uwait’s real dilemma is not that it is plagued with a heated struggle for power, or by the government’s alliance with the influential - those with interests or political traders - rather it goes beyond all that to the sin of allying with religion traders! Kuwait today is in real crises, because it does not know for sure that there are those who are messing with it, its security and resources. Not only this, but also by its personal choices and its people’s voluntary decisions - I mean the financial donations and humanitarian aid. Kuwaitis are used to being charitable and helping others, but the middleman that appeared in the last few years to transfer the donations to those who deserve it is manipulating this will and employs it to serve his political and religious interests and purposes, and the examples are clear and regretful! The question now: Where does donation money go? And is there real supervision by the state on this money and means? It is not only us who asked this question European countries and America asked it repeatedly - and senior officials from their concerned ministries came to discuss with us how to keep the donations money from helping the terrorists to carry out their actions, and they accused certain societies of financing activities of groups involved in violence and terror. Despite this, no Kuwaiti government dared to do anything with them, because they were stronger than the weak governments that only aimed at remaining in power, and for this they were seeking to pacify them to get their moral and political support! One of the ironies is that these societies did not remain within their voluntary propagation role as set by law, but crossed to have political arms through nominating and supporting society figures to occupy many posts in both the legislative and executive authorities. Which means that we have ministers and MPs under government patronage that contributed, over time, to make this dangerous penetration and continued protection of those societies’ actions. This is because both heads of the two authorities were always keen on getting the blessings of these societies even if it was at the expense of Kuwait’s reputation, which is now suspected of being a state that finances terrorism. Both parties were only worried, throughout history, about surviving in their struggle for power! Finances routes The money is still going to the societies today, despite all the measures that were taken, and despite all means taken to control and trace finances routes. Even the Egyptian government in its struggle with terrorist groups asked Gulf countries including Kuwait to ban such support. Cairo complains openly that the support of Kuwait’s Brotherhood to Egypt’s Brotherhood goes through a Kuwait society as they

attempt to burn Egypt with and keep the bloodshed going - with Kuwait money and donations! The leaders of the charitable (non-charitable) work in Kuwait do not hesitate in revealing their opinions, even if they use false excuses, for example, the use of fatwas by some absent scholars like Qaradawi of the Muslim Brotherhood that angered other scholars, who believe that urging killing and violence is rejected and not in sharia. Scholars like Al-Afasi and Al-Hai have rejected this logic. Hai believes that Gen Sisi is the ruler must be obeyed, prompting Ajeel Al-Nashmi, the former head of KU sharia college, to reply that Sisi is a tyrant who should be killed. Just like that, without fear, and without thinking about the fact that this talk urges killing and affects relations between the two countries. This brings up the question: Where is the state and what is its stance towards such statements? Where does it stand towards those who teach generations, and how can we trust them with our children and their minds? Frankly... I do not think that there is fear for the “Professor” because he is totally safe. Why? Because there is a direct ally of him in the government, and this man is influential along with other Brotherhood godfathers who described HH the PM as a “safety valve”. So this is the reason why we do not see a stand by the interior minister against the “professor” or such others. Another Brotherhood goes to a conference under the patronage of HH the PM and told students while demanding a popular government that “either be what we want to be, otherwise we may not exist”! He said that and no one reacted, which means that they are under the state’s care, so there is no need for anyone to come and speak about “reform”! The list is long and scary. There is war inside university colleges lead by the likes of clerics who want to support terrorism and finance expiatory movements. Take for example the Associate Professor at the Basic Education College Dr Hajjay Al-Ajmi. Another cleric Adnan Arour asked Kuwait to stop all forms of support for him and accused him of taking Kuwaiti money to support extremists such as ISIL, who are butchering Syrians in cold blood. Such a professor who teaches our youth is carrying out this shameful mission under the watchful eye and blessings of the government! Just like that, in the absence of the state supervision, Kuwait’s money goes to kill our brothers in Syria, Iraq and Egypt, along with other countries around the world in the name of jihad, with unprecedented support from a legislative Assembly! All of this is taking place and you want as to be confident about the future of our children under such heads of the two authorities!! — Al-Watan

he recent devastating Middle East conflicts bring to mind the Sykes Picot agreement that divided the region amongst Britain, France and Tsarist Russia after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, which was a secret agreement later exposed by the communist regime that toppled the Tsarist rule in 1917.


to navigation and because he knew that princes along the coastline felt Abdul Aziz’s threat and asked for British protection, Churchill (May Allah not forgive him along with many others) said: “An Arab prince’s prime concern is protecting his regime, for which he is willing to provide all facilities for whoever protects him and we can provide such protection”.

Churchill’s Empire In fact, what was applied after the war was unknown until it was uncovered by the British professor Richard Toye in his book “Churchill’s Empire” in 2010. The references he used are amazing because in addition to all the official studies available in various state establishments and research centers, they include private papers of dozens of politicians and the minutes of governmental and parliamentary sessions to which no ordinary researcher would have access. Being a history researcher, he also had access to British universities’ databases that are inaccessible to others. What happened, then? When Churchill was appointed as First Lord of the Admiralty, it became his task to preserve the British Empire on which the sun never set, as they said. It was the naval fleet that facilitated controlling important regions in various continents and founded colonies that supplied the empire with resources and manpower needed to build and sustain it. He was known to be a hardworking minister who was personally preoccupied with checking on situations throughout the empire. He took part in its colonial wars but had not known the Middle East well enough and, thus, when he visited it during the war, he listened to diplomats and intelligence agents who were already operating in the region either openly or undercover.

Churchill’s Plan Churchill laid the region’s map on a table and divided it regardless of facts on the ground such as inconsistent racial or religious factors. He thus founded new entities such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan. Despite his hatred of both Jews and Arabs (as the author says explaining that he was an extreme racist), he also founded a Zionist state to put a wedge separating the East from West. In an attempt to reduce the effects of his plot against Sharif Hussein, Churchill appointed his son Faisal as king of Syria and then king of Iraq to please his French partners. He also founded a new state he named East Jordan and appointed Hussein’s other son, Abdullah, as king there, who was the best man for Britain but that did not last long. With the EastWest conflict and the emergence of the non-alignment countries, a new wave of liberation swept the world in the aftermath of World War II, which contributed to defeating Western colonization and local governments came to power in independent Arab states. Being liberation-focused and anti occupation, all peoples took part in those movements because they had one common goal. However, liberation battles are one thing while building ones are completely different.

Beginning of the Story The story started by preparing for World War I between the basic allies - Britain, France and Tsarist Russia on the one hand and the worn-out Ottoman Islamic Caliphate. Britain did not want the alliance to be perceived as one against Islam because the British Empire included Muslim peoples in Asia and Africa. Therefore, they had to find a Muslim partner to protect the West from such accusations. Sharif Hussein bin Ali was the man for the job. Accordingly, Egypt’s British ruler McMahon was assigned to do the job and he succeeded in convincing the Sharif of Makkah take part in the war after he was promised to be appointed ruler of the Arabian part of the Middle East which included Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and the Arabian Peninsula. Such a trend was enhanced by the existence of national Arabist movements fighting for liberation from the Ottomans. The allies did not like the agreement and substituted it with another secret one known as Sykes Picot, named after the British and the French politicians who signed it to take effect after the war. Churchill did not like the agreement because it did not provide enough protection to the empire he was responsible for because the ‘Fertile Crescent’ area, which was of crucial vitality as the route to the jewel of the British Empire’s crown - India. He also had early predictions about regional oil discoveries and their significance, namely to the royal fleet. It was too dangerous for the empire to have one Muslim nation control the whole region and thus he sought an alternative. What was the alternative? With the help of Sharif Hussein’s rival in ruling Arabia, King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, he started by deposing the former because he was sure Abdul Aziz had no ambitions beyond the Arabian peninsula, was capable of preventing tribes from repeated invasions to loot Iraq, capable of maintaining security in Arabia as well as ending bloody conflicts that had been wearing Arabia out for years. To avoid extending Abdul Aziz’s control to the coasts of the Arabian Gulf, which might pose threats

Fatal Mistake The fatal mistake everybody committed was not realizing the mines left behind by colonizers when they left. They had fortified and enhanced racism and sectarianism in every Arab country. Those who took part in liberation were not all Arabs and they should have prioritized reaching a compromised form of ruling according to each country’s respective nature. The tragedy is no governmental or party came up with of any serious project to study minorities’ problems and solve them. They also lacked a union project that observes individual traits of each state. Some might argue that the Iraqi Baath Party’s attempt to solve the Kurds problem was reasonable, but they are forgetting that the party leader Saddam Hussein was the one who spoiled the project by his unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Barazani. His racist attitude was very clear when, along with Kamal Junblat, I was deputized by the Arab committee participating in the Palestinian revolution to talk him out of his war on the Kurds. He stressed his capability to end the conflict by force, and this is written in my diaries published in a book titled ‘From a State to an Emirate’. Home-Made What is being now published about a ZionistAmerican plot to divide the region has ignored so many facts. Things are very tragic. What we are going trough now is home-made. We created it ourselves when we marginalized Shiites, Christians, Kurds, Druze and other minorities. Naturally enough, our enemies will take advantage of this fertile background we made ourselves by urging our politicians, who are the result of the same miserable situations, to solve our problems. They have actually come to power using these differences and ending them would mean their end as well. That’s why they keep asking foreigners to ‘sneak in through the windows after we had already cast them out from the doors’. The right solution to our problem is the task of a new generation whose hands have not been stained with the ongoing filthiness. Our Arab Spring is enough to clear our country and minds from contaminators we made ourselves. — Al-Jarida

In my view

Fratricidal wars a boon to Assad regime By Osama Al-Sharif


he battlefields of Syria and Iraq have merged as opposition groups, fighting the regime of Bashar Assad, combined their efforts to drive out radical fighters belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from liberated areas in the north. In Iraq’s Anbar province local Sunni tribes came together to evict AlQaeda and ISIS forces from Ramadi and Fallujah. The outcome of these two confrontations will determine the course of the Syrian civil war and the fate of the dysfunctional political process in Iraq. It is a chaotic scene in Syria. New alliances are emerging between various rebel factions as old ones crumble. Syrian rebels have gathered under the umbrella of the Islamic Front, an alliance of supposedly moderate groups, the Mujahideen Army with ties to the Syrian Free Army (SFA) and the Syria’s Thuwar or rebels. Al- Nusra Front, which is affiliated with Al-Qaeda, is yet to adopt a position on ISIS. The latter has been accused by the Syrian opposition of colluding with Damascus. It has committed atrocities against civilians and fellow rebels. Interestingly enough Al-Qaeda’s Ayman AlZawahri has distanced the terrorist organization from ISIS last year. ISIS is a relative newcomer to Syria’s battlefields. It is believed to have been formed by the Syrian regime to fight the US military in Iraq after the 2003 invasion. Like Al-Nusra Front it is composed of foreign and Arab fighters. Its emir, Abu Baker Al-Baghdadi, is seeking to establish an Islamic emirate in Iraq and Syria. The Syrian opposition in exile believes it is infiltrated by the

regime. These fratricidal wars are a boon to the Assad regime, which has always claimed that it was fighting foreign militants backed by Syria’s enemies. ISIS, whose fighters control large swaths of Aleppo and Idlib, has threatened to abandon frontline posts, which could be taken over by regime forces. In addition, Damascus warning that the crisis could spill across borders with neighboring countries has

radical groups have established a foothold. What is happening in Anbar province will have an effect on the outcome of the current struggle in northern Syria. Anbar had become an important base for AlQaeda during the US occupation of Iraq. Sunni tribes there had offered militants refuge, but as their power grew influential sheikhs joined the awakenings movement, which drove the fighters out of the main cities in

The current fighting in northern Syria is a crucial one for anti-regime rebels. It could prove to be a turning point for the opposition, which has failed to unite its forces under one banner. Eradicating ISIS will bring them together for some time, but the fact is that none believes in a political process to end the war in Syria. come true as the fight in Anbar demonstrates. Lebanon is another example of how the fighting between various groups in Syria can cross the porous borders. Recently militants in Jordan were reported to have vowed to transfer the fight into Lebanon as a response to Hezbollah’s military presence in Syria. Similar spillovers could threaten northern Kurdish areas between Syria and Iraq, southern Turkey and northern Jordan where

the province. The failure of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki to appease the Sunnis by including them in the political process has alienated Anbar again and allowed militants to come back. Presently the tribes of Anbar want to drive the militants out but are wary of Al-Maliki’s plans to launch a massive military campaign against their cities. Ironically, both Assad and Al-Maliki are claiming to be

fighting Al-Qaeda while pursuing policies that have brought sectarian tensions to a boiling point. The current fighting in northern Syria is a crucial one for antiregime rebels. It could prove to be a turning point for the opposition, which has failed to unite its forces under one banner. Eradicating ISIS will bring them together for some time, but the fact is that none believes in a political process to end the war in Syria. Even worse the political opposition in exile has little or no influence over the combatants. In addition to this, many of the newly formed military alliances share the general goal of establishing an Islamic state in Syria. It is a far cry from the original objectives of the Syrian uprising, which declared that it wants to establish a democratic, pluralistic and civil state. Eventually the various fronts and groups on the ground will have the final say. The possibility of future internecine infightings is not farfetched. In Iraq and Syria the threat of further weakening of the central authority of the state is now a reality. And in both the specter of sectarian confrontations on the one hand, and fratricidal killings on the other, will continue to haunt the people of these countries. The vast area between eastern Syria and western Iraq will prove to be one of the biggest security challenges for the entire region in 2014. It is not unlikely that rebel groups of various affiliations will fight among each other for control and authority. It is a preface for partition that now threatens the geopolitical integrity of the two afflicted countries.



KUWAIT: The program of planting trees in progress in one of the schools.

‘Green schools’ goal of national society Hundreds involved in beautification project KUWAIT: Kuwait Environment Protection Society is involved in wide-scale activities aimed at minimizing harm to the national environment and treating harmful waste and beautifying Kuwait. Shedding light on the association’s latest activities, Khalaf Al-Enezi, a member of the society

programs and activities, said yesterday that it added a plan in the program of “green schools,” which is plantation of trees during the current academic year. The society is launching the program for teaching students of schools and pupils of kindergartens “the culture of planting trees in their schools and outside their houses,” as well as how to preserve the planted and wild plants in the country, he said. Up to 25 elementary-level schools and kindergartens took part, in the past three months, in the program of planting trees, Al-Enezi said, indicating that this activity included workshops. Teams from the society were dispatched to the schools and trained the students on planting. Hundreds of students have been involved in the beautification project and more schools are expressing desire to be involved in these activities. Earlier, the society declared that it had inaugurated the third phase of its program, “green offices,” with the aim of minimizing harm to the surrounding and ensuring sound disposal of used items. Asseel Al-Thwaini, a member of the association, told KUNA that the program lured a large number of associations and establishments in the first and second stages of the program-with keenness on involving the largest number of personnel. Workshops focused on rationalizing usage and recycling of bureaus’ waste, she said, indicating at assembly of used plastic and papers item and recycling them according to standard methods. The third phase envisages recycling at the employees’ homes and minimizing usage of materials that cannot be recycled, she added. This stage aims at encouraging usage of environmentfriendly lamps and methods to ration water consumption. The personnel involved in the third stage would be monitored for three months to examine any behavioral changes in favor of the environment protection. — KUNA



Woman sexually assaulted in Salmiya apartment Family reports drunk man KUWAIT: A man faces charges for sexually assaulting his girlfriend after inviting her to his apartment in Salmiya. In a statement to the police, the Kuwaiti woman explained that she had been dating a young man for a few months during which they already discussed marriage plans. The latest date took place at a Salmiya restaurant Monday, after which the girl agreed to her boyfriend’s invitation to spend some time at his apartment. The girl told police that the suspect raped her immediately after they entered the apartment, and later kicked her out before she took a taxi to the place where she left her car, then drove to the police station to report the case. Breaking and entering Kuwait City police are looking to arrest a man who faces charges after he entered his ex-girlfriend’s house with a firearm before escaping, according to the police report. Police investigated after a Kuwaiti man reported that a stranger carrying a rifle broke into his house. The man said in the emergency call that the suspect was standing in the garden near the window of his daughter’s room. Preliminary investigations indicate that the man was trying to talk the girl into rekindling their relationship, before the unexpected appearance of her father forced him to escape. The

father gave police the license plate number of the suspect’s car. He added that he suspects that the youngster was inebriated at the time. Drunk man A drunk man went into a rampage which saw him assault his family members at their Ardiya house before police put him under arrest. The officers arrived to the scene in response to an emergency call which said a family member arrived to the house heavily intoxicated and started beating everyone up, forcing them to lock themselves inside their rooms. Police entered the house from the front door which was left wide open and placed the Kuwaiti man under arrest. He was taken to the authorities and remanded in custody for investigations over intoxication and physical assault charges.(Rai) Two hospitalized Two men were hospitalized after inhaling smoke from burning coal they left for heating inside their diwaniya. Paramedics and police rushed to the scene in Zahra in response to an emergency call in which a man reported that his two friends were not answering the door. Police broke the diwaniya’s door open and found the two lying unconscious. Paramedics rushed them to Mubarak Hospital after discovering they were

alive. Their condition is stable. Suicide attempt A teenager was rushed to the hospital following a suicide attempt in his family’s apartment in Farwaniya. The youngster’s parents rushed him to the area’s clinic after they found him unconscious in his bedroom, and he was taken in an ambulance to Farwaniya Hospital for treatment. The diagnosis revealed that the 17-year-old suffered blood poisoning from an overdose of medication tablets. The Syrian youth confirmed after he was cleared to talk to police that he had attempted suicide. A case was filed for investigations. Bodies found Investigations are ongoing to determine the circumstances behind the death of two persons in separate cases reported Monday. The first incident was reported in Sabahiya where a 37-yearold Kuwaiti man was found dead inside his house. The second man, 34-year-old Kuwaiti, was also found dead inside his house in Dhahar according to the police report. The bodies were taken to the forensic department for autopsies to determine the cause of death in both cases. No evidence of foul play was found at the scene in either case.

UN affirms importance of Syria donors conference

KUWAIT: Kuwait Fire Services Directorate PR and media manager, Col Khalil AlAmir, the head of Shohada’ fire station Lt Col Ahmed Al-Rasheedi and a number of firefighters yesterday visited Adailiya primary school where they lectured the kids on safety precaution and safe evacuation. The team also conducted an evacuation drill. —Photos by Hanan Al-Saadoun

MANAMA: The Second International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria to be held in Kuwait by mid of January is of high importance for offering the needed support to the Syrian refugees, a UN official said. Najib Fraiji, director of the UN Media Center for Arab Gulf Countries, expressed hope the conference would raise USD 6.5 billion to aid the Syrians in need for support. In his remarks during a meeting with Kuwaiti Ambassador to Bahrain Sheikh Azzam Al-Sabah here yesterday, Fraiji, also the conference media coordinator, indicated that such a sum is required to meet humanitarian needs for millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, besides those who are still suffering in Syria. He expressed the UN gratitude to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for hosting the first and second Syria’s donors’ conferences within several months. Outcome of the first conference exceeded all UN expectation, raising

financial aid higher by USD 1.7 billion than forecast, he affirmed. For his part, the Kuwaiti diplomat, Sheikh Azzam, stressed on Kuwait’s keenness on the success of the second donor’s conference, as well as the positive contribution to Geneva II conference, that will significantly help in alleviating the Syrian people suffering. Meanwhile, a UNICEF official lauded Kuwait’s efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis, describing them as a great example for the world due to its continuous humanitarian response throughout all the stages of the crisis. “I take this opportunity to thank the State of Kuwait’s leadership, government and people for its continuous efforts to help resolve this crisis, and on behalf of the UNICEF, its staff, and the children and their families, we thank Kuwait for its generosity,” Maria Calivis, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in an exclusive interview to KUNA. The international organizations

concerned with the Syrian crisis are looking forward to the Second International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria to be hosted by Kuwait, said Calivis, adding that UNICEF received USD 470 million last year as it needs USD 835 million this year. “About three million people in Syria and 350,000 others outside of it have benefited from the projects provided by the Kuwaiti grant to the organization (USD 55 million),” she said, pointing out that “it helped in providing the vaccinations against measles, rubella, mumps and polio for 1.1 million children in Syria and 685,000 others outside of it during last March and June.” In regard to education, she said “With Kuwait’s financial aid, we were able to purchase 1.1 million school bags for the children as we provided some of the needs of the refugee camps such as teachers’ salaries, tents and school supplies.” The Syrian crisis is not similar to

natural disasters, because their outcome can be repaired in a short period of time, but the aftermath of wars includes violence, instability and difficult problems that require a long time to be solved, she noted. On UNICEF’s cooperation with other organizations, she indicated that it deals with 37 civil society organizations, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and local authorities, in addition to 18 civil society organizations, partners and contractors inside and outside of Syria. The UN official stressed the UNICEF’s commitment to the highest standards of transparency regarding using the aid provided to it, especially that it is a voluntary organization working through grants, which are subjected to annual audit published on the website, as well as a separate monitoring system that follows up with the aid delivery. Calivis took up her post as Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Region based in Amman on 5 December, 2011. —KUNA

ABK sponsors KU engineering project KUWAIT: Al-Ahli Bank of Kuwait was proud to attend Kuwait University’s College of Engineering and Petroleum exhibition held in Crowne Plaza Hotel. The bank sponsored the department’s Hi-Way Graduation Project.” Sahar Al-Therban, PR Manager at ABK stated, “We are delighted with the outcome of this innovative project’s sponsorship, and today, our presence here is primarily to support these hardworking students, even as we imbibe great ideas from their project design and visual presentation.” Al-Therban continued explaining, “At ABK we believe in today’s youth, in its inherent ability to create and innovate, and we are honored to encourage students to translate their ideas into actual resource conservation plans that could well impact Kuwait’s future.” Al-Therban concluded, “We wish them all the very best, much success in their graduation and in the careers that they undertake in the future.” The students thanked ABK’s team for their presence and generosity which gave fruition to their project.

KIPCO’s support recognized by NUKS-USA KUWAIT: KIPCO - the Kuwait Projects Company - was recognized by the National Union for Kuwaiti Students USA Branch for its Platinum Sponsorship of the 30th Conference of NUKS-USA. The conference was recently held in San Diego, California, under the sponsorship of HH the Prime Minister, Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak AlHamad Al-Sabah. Faisal Al-Ayyar, KIPCO’s Vice Chairman, welcomed the student representatives and said: “KIPCO’s overall

approach to social responsibility begins with an essential element: that its brand name, values and overall work ethics be in line with high standards and the needs of the Kuwaiti society. KIPCO is committed to being a responsible company that is keen to develop young people and support its community. “As such, we continue to seek opportunities to develop and encourage young Kuwaitis to play an instrumental role in the country’s develop-

ment. The annual NUKS-USA conference offers an opportunity for KIPCO and its Group companies to interact and share our views about the future of Kuwait with the young men and women who will become tomorrow’s leaders.” The student representatives expressed their appreciation for KIPCO’s support of this annual event, which was attended by more than 3,500 Kuwaitis studying in the United States.

KUWAIT: KIPCO Vice Chairman Faisal Al-Ayyar (center) with NUKS-USA President Ahmad Qabazard (left) and NUKS-USA Vice President Hamad Alhajeri.


Nine dead in Indian train fire near Mumbai Page 11

Morsi absence delays murder trial till Feb 1 Page 8

Turkish purge reaches top ranks Concern about erosion of judicial independence ANKARA: Turkey’s deputy police chief has been sacked, the most senior commander yet targeted in a purge of a force heavily influenced by a cleric Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accuses of plotting to seize the levers of state power. Erdogan’s AK Party meanwhile sent plans to parliament to allow government more say over the appointment of prosecutors and judges. Erdogan argues that a judiciary and police in the sway of the Hizmet (Service) movement of cleric Fethullah Gulen contrived a graft investigation now shaking his administration. The police website said the deputy head of the national police, Muammer Bucak, and provincial chiefs, among them the commanders in the capital Ankara and the Aegean province of Izmir, were removed from their posts overnight. The government has purged hundreds of police since the graft scandal erupted on Dec 17 with the detention of dozens of people including businessmen close to the government and three cabinet ministers’ sons. Among the dozens questioned, most have been released. A remaining 24, including two of the ministers’ sons, remain in custody, according to local media. The scandal has shaken investor confidence in Turkey before elections this year and heightened concern about the erosion of judicial independence, something which in the longer term could damage its bid for membership of the European Union. “We urge Turkey, as a candidate country committed to the political criteria of take all the necessary measures to ensure that allegations of wrongdoing are addressed without discrimination,” a spokesman for the European Commission said when asked in Brussels about the affair. Details of the corruption allegations have not been made public, but are believed to relate to construction and real estate projects and Turkey’s gold trade with Iran, according to Turkish newspaper reports citing prosecutors’ documents. The affair, exposing a deep rift within the Turkish political establishment, has hit market confidence, driving the lira to new lows. Ratings agency Fitch warned that “strains on institutional integrity” were among the factors which could weaken Turkey’s creditworthiness. Moody’s, which raised Turkey to investment grade last May, said domestic political risk was already factored into its rating, suggesting it plans

no imminent change. Continued uncertainty or even instability could present hazards for the region, where Ankara has extended its role under Erdogan. Turkey borders Iraq, Iran and Syria and hosts hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees. Grip on Judiciary Erdogan has cast the graft investigation, which poses arguably the biggest challenge of his 11-year rule, as an attempted “judicial coup” backed by foreign forces. His allies argue the accusations have been fabricated. Gulen, who lives in the United States, denies involvement in launching the corruption investigation which broke into the public view three months before local elections that will constitute a test of Erdogan’s long-standing popularity. The ruling party bill on the judiciary, published on parliament’s website, proposes changes to the structure of the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), the body responsible for appointments in the judiciary, which Erdogan has criticised since the corruption scandal erupted last month. It allows the undersecretary of the justice minister to be elected as chairman of the HSYK board, a move which would give the government a tighter grip over the choice of judges. Erdogan and Hizmet, which exercises influence through a network of contacts built on sponsorship of schools and other social and media organisations, accuse each other of manipulating police and judiciary and threatening stability. Mustafa Sentop, a deputy chairman of the AKP, said the bill was meant to stop a “parallel structure” - a term Erdogan’s supporters use to refer to Hizmet - from wielding influence. “We aim to ensure the independency and neutrality of the judiciary and to prevent a parallel structure, groups within the HSYK, from achieving political goals through the judiciary,” he told Reuters. “This is not an attempt to intervene against an independent judiciary,” he said. Justice Minister Beckir Bozdag also said that the government would block an investigation by the HSYK into alleged political pressure on police and prosecutors involved in the graft probe. The moves against the judiciary triggered concern from the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muiznieks. “Proposals

TOKYO: Visiting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan signs a commemorative plate as Mitsubishi delivers a ‘Turksat-4A’ satellite to Turkish space company Turksat at Mitsubishi’s Kamakura plant in suburban Tokyo yesterday. The communication satellite will be launched from Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan next month and another satellite will be delivered to Turksat from Mitsubishi this year. — AFP

to curb powers of HSYK represent serious setback for the independence of the judiciary in Turkey,” he said in a tweet. The AKP bill is due to be discussed by a parliamentary commission on Friday, Turkish media reports said. “In terms of changing the HSYK, we can work with the opposition for a better solution, including a constitutional change. This may include the appointment of members by parliament,” Bozdag said. The HSYK had said Tuesday it planned to look into allegations that new Istanbul police chief Selami Altinok was blocking prosecutors from carrying out further arrests in the graft probe. But Bozdag said the government would not allow such a probe into Altinok and Istanbul chief prosecutor Turan Colakkadi, who removed one of the lead

investigators in the widening corruption case, Hurriyet newspaper reported. Others being investigated by the HSYK include prosecutor Muammer Akkas, who was barred last month from expanding the corruption investigation amid reports it may target Erdogan’s son. In addition, it is looking into the activities of Istanbul prosecutor Zekeriya Oz, who was reportedly accused of corruption over a Dubai holiday paid for by a Turkish construction company. The row is damaging faith in Turkey’s institutions. “All this will act as a drag on investment, growth and development, while weighing against the EU accession drive,” said Timothy Ash, head of emerging markets at Standard Bank. “This has been a gift to Turkey’s opponents and critics in Europe.” — Agencies



Eyeing talks, Iran may put Assad ties in play BEIRUT: For weeks, American officials have lobbied to exclude Iran from the Geneva talks on the Syrian conflict in late January, pointing to Tehran’s military and financial aid to the government of Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad. But last Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry did an about-face: Iran could take part in the conference on the sidelines, he said, a move that could bolster the importance of the talks. Kerry’s statement was dismissed by an Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman who said that Iran “will not accept any proposal that does not respect its dignity.” Still, the comments could present an opening for Iranian officials who have long wanted the international community to acknowledge their role as a key regional power and have indicated that there will be no resolution to the conflict in Syria without their participation. Most importantly, they may now be willing to make some unprecedented compromises in negotiations to end the conflict, including removing Assad from power, diplomats and analysts say. “I don’t think it’s a red line for them,” said a diplomat who recently met with senior Iranian officials. “They would be ready to see some alternative to Mr Assad provided that alternative is credible and does not generate chaos,” said the diplomat, who asked that he not be identified because of the sensitivity of his discussions. Since the conflict broke out in 2011, Iran has firmly backed Assad with weapons, shipments of oil and military advisers. As the Syrian civil war took on an increasingly sectarian character, Shi’ite Iran has seen Assad as a bulwark against the spread of hostile Sunni Muslim militancy across the Arab world. Assad is a member of the Alawite minority sect, an offshoot of Shiism. Nevertheless, there has been a price to pay for Iran in losing support in Arab countries where Sunnis are the majority, and in the rise of sectarian hostility in Syria’s volatile neighbours like Lebanon and Iraq. The new suggestions that Iran might consider loosening its support for Assad come after a year in which the Syrian leader markedly improved his position both on the battlefield and in the diplomatic arena, with firm Iranian help. A year ago rebels were steadily advancing on Damascus and many Western countries were openly proclaiming that Assad’s days were numbered. But since then Syrian government forces have won battlefield victories with the support of thousands of fighters from Iran’s allies, Lebanon’s Hezbollah Shiite militia. If Iran is now open to a compromise on Syria, it is likely to find the West far more receptive than before. Western countries that once demanded Assad be removed as a pre-condition to any settlement are showing reservations about their support for his foes as Al-Qaeda-linked fighters have seized control of rebel-held areas. In September, US President Barack Obama called

Brigades, a militant group which supports hardline Sunni rebels in Syria. And in Iraq, a Shiite-led government with close ties to Tehran is facing one of its strongest challenges yet as Sunni militant fighters allied with Syria’s rebels have taken control of the cities of Fallujah and Ramadi. The attacks sufficiently alarmed Iranian officials that a top military official offered to send military aid to the Iraqi government on Monday. “What has changed is that the Iranians for the time being have so many strategic and security problems on their hands,” said Walter Posch, an Iran expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. “Any security apparatus would be stretched with these problems. So you concentrate on these regional problems and come out as unscathed as possible and try to weather the storm.” On a visit to Tehran last month, European Parliamentarian Marietje Schaake heard Iranian parliamentarians and other officials express support for a political resolution to the Syrian conflict.

ALEPPO: Bodies of handcuffed and blindfolded dead men lie on the ground of the Aleppo headquarters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) after they were allegedly executed by the AlQaeda-linked group yesterday. — AFP off missile strikes to punish Damascus for using chemical weapons, ending more than two years of speculation that the West might join the war against Assad as it did against Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. Iran’s own relationship with the West has also been transformed with the election of President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate. Secret negotiations with the United States culminated in an historic deal in November to ease some sanctions on Iran in return for curbs to its nuclear program. However, even if they were to accept the removal of Assad it is unlikely that Iranian leaders would agree to a successor government hostile to Tehran or one that would threaten their logistical pipeline through Syria to Lebanon’s Hezbollah. “The person of Bashar Assad is expendable for Iran,” Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote in an email. “The question is whether Iran believes it can preserve its strategic interests in Syria and the Middle East if the Assad regime were to collapse.” Sectarian Backlash Despite Iran’s steadfast support of Assad, there have been occasional signs that it was keeping its options open: last February, then foreign minister Ali

Akbar Salehi met with Moaz Khatib, the head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition at the time, on the sidelines of a security conference in Munich. There have also been signs that support for Assad was divisive among senior Iranian government officials. In late August, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a veteran politician who heads the Expediency Council advisory body, was quoted as blaming the Assad government for a chemical attack in Damascus which killed hundreds of people and nearly led to US armed intervention. “From one side the people are chemically bombed by their own government and from another side they wait for the bombs of America,” Rafsanjani said in an audio clip leaked on the internet which was quoted by a semi-official news agency. The news agency later changed the comments and Rafsanjani claimed he had been misquoted. Iranian officials are also taking stock of the high price the country is paying for its involvement in the Syria conflict which has inflamed sectarian divisions across the region. In late November, the Iranian embassy in Beirut was hit by a double suicide bombing which killed at least 23 people. Among the dead was the cultural attachÈ at the embassy. The group that claimed responsibility was the Abdullah Azzam

No Backing Away From Interests “There is a general sense of openness to being a part of the Geneva talks but without preconditions. And that the future of Syria should be left up to the Syrian people,” said Schaake. Still, even if Assad goes, the Iranian government will not back away from their interests in Syria, particularly if it means ties to Hezbollah are threatened. One hardline Iranian lawmaker Schaake spoke to praised Hezbollah and said the militant group should be given a prize for its work. “So these discussions weren’t always at the solution-oriented level that we might wish to see,” Schaake added. The head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Mohammad Ali Jafari, made clear last month how important Syria remains to Iran: “We will take whatever action we can and is necessary to protect Syria and we will do this with pride,” he said, according to the Tabnak news site. There are indications that Iran is already preparing for a post-Assad scenario: for months Iran has been training and organising local militias in Syria modelled after the Basij militia in Iran. These militias have been set up to support the Syrian government but if a government hostile to Iran’s interests follows Assad they could be used to fight it. “They train these militias as a backup,” said Posch. When the United Nations announced the list of participants for the conference last Monday, Iran was not on the list of countries invited in the first round. Whether Iran is ultimately invited or chooses to participate on the sidelines, the conference will be only the beginning. “The real work will not take place on the 22nd of January,” the diplomat said. “This is to kick some political momentum into a process. The real work will begin after the 22nd of January if they get to that stage.” — Reuters

Morsi absence delays murder trial till Feb 1 ‘Weather conditions’ prevent appearance

JUBA: A boy stands next to people washing their clothes in a stream at an internally displaced persons’ camp run by the United Nations in Juba on Tuesday. — AFP

S Sudan battles rage, peace talks hit hurdle JUBA: South Sudan’s government and rebels were locked in fierce battles across the country yesterday, as peace talks taking place in neighbouring Ethiopia appeared to flounder. A rebel spokesman indicated that there would be no imminent truce in the country unless the government freed a group of alleged coup plotters detained after the fighting began more than three weeks ago, a demand again rejected by Juba. Military officials from both sides meanwhile said that a major battle was still raging for control of Bor, capital of Jonglei State and situated just north of the capital Juba. Fighting was also taking place in the oilproducing Upper Nile State, while the rebels said more troops previously based in Juba had defected from the government side and could launch an assault on the capital. “Our forces are coordinating themselves,” rebel spokesman Moses Ruai Lat said, adding that anti-government fighters were preparing to strike at Juba and Malakal, capital of Upper Nile State. The spokesman for the national army, Philip Aguer, confirmed fighting was in progress around Bor. An AFP reporter reached the town of Minkammen, 25 km south of Bor, and said the area was flooded with fleeing civilians and that the rumble of heavy artillery fire could be heard in the distance. “People fleeing the fighting around Bor keep coming by boat every day, we are doing our best to support them,” said John Parach, a local government relief coordinator. The unrest began on Dec 15 as a clash between army units loyal to South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and those loyal to exvice president Riek Machar, and has escalated into war between government troops and a loose alliance of ethnic militia forces and mutinous army commanders. Thousands of people have already been killed, aid workers say, while more than 200,000 have fled their homes - many of them seeking protection from overstretched UN peacekeepers amid a wave of ethnic violence pitting members of Kiir’s

Dinka tribe against Machar’s Nuer tribe. The two sides have been holding peace talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, but the rebel delegation signalled the chances of an immediate truce was slim because the antigovernment side wanted its detained allies freed by Juba. “Our colleagues must be released so that they come and participate,” rebel spokesman Yohanis Musa Pauk told reporters in Addis Ababa. “You cannot go to negotiations while there are some people being detained. We are just waiting for the release of our detainees, when they release them very soon we will sign the cessation of hostilities agreement,” he added. ‘Unfolding humanitarian catastrophe’ The government is currently holding 11 of Machar’s allies, many of them senior figures and former ministers, and has been under pressure from IGAD - the East African regional bloc trying to broker a truce - as well as Western diplomats to release them as a goodwill gesture. The government, however, has so far resisted the demands and maintains the detainees should be put on trial for their role in what the president says was an attempted coup. “The government is still insisting that those who were found to be attempting to take power by force have to go through legal procedures,” presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said. “If they are found not guilty they will be released. But if they are found to be the ones who masterminded the failed coup attempt on the 15, then the law has to take its measures,” he added. The humanitarian crisis in South Sudan meanwhile continued to worsen, with Peter Maurer, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), describing the situation as “dire”. “South Sudan is facing a serious crisis that comes on top of a situation that was already difficult,” said the ICRC president. “It is unquestionable that the needs are dire, but their full scope is unknown.” He also appealed to the warring factions to “respect humanitarian law”. —AFP

CAIRO: An Egyptian court yesterday adjourned the murder trial of deposed president Mohamed Morsi to Feb 1, citing “weather conditions” that prevented the Islamist’s transport to court from prison. It had been scheduled as the second hearing in Morsi’s trial, after an initial court appearance in November in which he denounced the tribunal and insisted he was still the country’s president. Morsi, who was toppled by the military in July, is accused of inciting the killings of opposition protesters in Dec 2012 outside the presidential palace. “Because of the weather conditions, Mohamed Morsi could not be brought, so the trial will be adjourned to February 1,” said presiding judge Ahmed Sabry Youssef. Morsi is held in prison some 60 km from the Mediterranean city of Alexandria. Interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim said the pilot of the helicopter that was meant to transport Morsi refused to set off because of “bad weather conditions and heavy fog in Alexandria,” the state news agency MENA reported. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood in a statement said the minister’s excuse was “risible” and accused authorities of holding him in an undisclosed location. One of Morsi’s lawyers told AFP he had not been allowed visits to the ousted leader for a month. An official at the Burj Al-Arab airport close to the prison said there was heavy fog in the area yesterday morning but that no flights were affected. Morsi is on trial with 14 codefendants, but only some of them were brought yesterday to the makeshift courthouse in a police academy on Cairo’s outskirts. Police, meanwhile, fired tear gas at Morsi supporters who had rallied in protest at the trial. In Cairo’s Nasr City neighbourhood, tyres were burnt and some car windows were smashed during brief clashes. The interior ministry said 17 people had been arrested. In the police academy, defendants were held in a room adjacent to the court room as they waited for the hearing to start. “This is a political trial,” yelled Essam AlErian, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, who was among the defendants. His lawyer Bahaa el-Din Abdel Rahman told AFP his client and other defendants had embarked on a hunger strike. “All the accused who are present today are on hunger strike and reaffirm that they reject this trial,” he said. Morsi’s trial is seen as a test for Egypt’s new authorities, who have come under fire for heavyhandedness. With more than 1,000 people killed since Morsi’s overthrow and thousands of Islamists arrested, the chances of political reconciliation in the Arab world’s most populous nation are ever more remote. Morsi will also face separate trials on charges of espionage and colluding with militants to carry out attacks in Egypt. He was catapulted from the underground offices of the long-banned Muslim Brotherhood to become Egypt’s first freely elected president in June 2012 following Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow in an early 2011 uprising. But his single year in power was marred by political turmoil, deadly clashes and a crippling economic crisis. In Dec 2012, members of the

CAIRO: Riot police officers detain a man following clashes between supporters of Egypt’s ousted President Mohamed Morsi and riot police yesterday. — AP Muslim Brotherhood attacked opposition protesters camped outside the presidential palace in protest at a decree by Morsi to grant himself extra-judicial powers. At least seven people were killed in the clashes, and dozens of opposition protesters were detained and beaten by Morsi’s supporters. The incident was a turning point in

Morsi’s presidency, galvanising a disparate opposition that eventually organised mass protests in June 2013 that prompted the military to topple and detain him. Morsi’s defence says there is no proof he incited the clashes, and that most of those killed in the violence were Brotherhood members. — AFP

13,000 families flee Fallujah FALLUJAH: More than 13,000 families have fled Fallujah, NGOs said yesterday, warning of a “critical” humanitarian situation as masked gunmen locked in a days-long standoff with Iraqi troops hold the city. And though traffic police returned to its streets, some shops reopened and more cars could be seen, Fallujah was still hit by clashes and shelling, after an Al-Qaeda-linked group urged Sunnis to keep fighting the Shiite-led government. Fallujah and parts of nearby Ramadi, both in the western province of Anbar which borders Syria, have been outside government hands for days - the first time militants have exercised such open control in major cities since the height of the insurgency that followed the 2003 US-led invasion. Yesterday, the Iraqi Red Crescent said it had provided humanitarian assistance to more than 8,000 families across Anbar but added that upwards of 13,000 had fled and were living with relatives, or in schools or other public buildings. “There is a critical humanitarian situation in Anbar province which is likely to worsen as operations continue,” Nickolay Mladenov, the UN special envoy to Iraq, said in a statement. “The situation in Fallujah is particularly concerning as existing stocks of food, water and life-saving medicines begin to run out.” Earlier yesterday, uniformed traffic police, whose sole responsibility is directing vehicles and controlling intersections, were back on the streets in sever-

al parts of central Fallujah, an AFP journalist reported. They were apparently on duty with the blessing of the gunmen, whose allegiance was not immediately clear. The gunmen were deployed in areas around the edge of Fallujah, at the entrances of neighbourhoods, and on bridges - including one from which the bodies of American contractors were infamously hung in 2004, prompting the first of two US assaults that year. Some shops in the city reopened, and light traffic returned to the streets. But the city still faces the threat of an assault by soldiers deployed nearby. Also yesterday, two areas of Fallujah saw brief clashes and shelling, witnesses said, but it was not immediately clear who was involved in the fighting. More than 250 killed The Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has been active in Fallujah, but so have anti-government tribes. The security forces have meanwhile recruited their own tribal allies in the fighting that has raged in Anbar province for more than a week and killed more than 250 people. Near the provincial capital Ramadi, meanwhile, soldiers backed by helicopters battled gunmen in the Khaldiyah area, a police captain said. On Tuesday, ISIL spokesman Abu Mohammed Al-Adnani urged Iraqi Sunnis to continue battling government forces. —AFP



Gates blast rocks Obama admin

BALTIMORE: A man walks past a car partially covered in ice yesterday as temperatures continue to remain well below freezing. — AP

Relief on the way for shivering Americans Chicago colder than South Pole CHICAGO: After days of an arctic chill so cold that a Chicago zoo brought their polar bear inside, the United States woke up to a break in the weather yesterday. The National Weather Service said “a much anticipated warm up” was expected over the eastern two-thirds of the United States which had shivered through a week of record-breaking cold and two massive snowstorms. But it will still be longunderwear and scarf weather for many: the weather service predicts temperatures will be 15 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit below average in parts of the upper Midwest. And every US state except sunny Florida and tropical Hawaii were forecast to dip below freezing either during the day or overnight yesterday. Air travel, which had been an utter nightmare with more than 18,000 flights cancelled since today, was starting to slowly return to normal. Yesterday morning 664 US flights had been cancelled and more than 1,000 were delayed, according to, a site that monitors air travel. The slight warming comes after some truly stunning temperatures - in some cases lower than the surface of Mars. Chicago was colder than the South Pole when officials at the Lincoln Park zoo decided to keep Anana the polar bear inside on Monday. Unlike her wild cousins she hadn’t built up the protective fat stores to insulate herself against the chill. It was so cold in Kentucky that an escaped inmate begged to be let back into prison so he could warm up

after spending the night shivering in an abandoned house, officials told AFP. And more than 500 passengers spent the night aboard trains stranded by snow drifts in Illinois. The most dangerous cold - cold that can cause frostbite in minutes and death in a matter of hours - hit the Midwest, as a weather phenomenon called the ‘polar vortex’ brought frigid air from the Arctic. Schools, businesses and government offices were closed. Water mains and household pipes froze. Airplanes were grounded, trains were halted and roads and sidewalks became ice rinks. The National Guard was called in to help rescue hundreds of stranded motorists. There were reports of at least 20 deaths caused by the extreme weather. Many were from traffic accidents, but four women were found dead in the snow, including an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s disease in New York and a young woman found outside her home in Minnesota. Hypothermia was blamed for the death of a man in Wisconsin and contributed to a death in Ohio. And at least four men suffered heart attacks while shoveling snow in Chicago. The town of Embarrass, Minnesota, recorded the lowest temperature in the United States Tuesday at a frigid -37 Celsius. It had warmed up to -25 Celsius yesterday morning. Then there was the wind chill: a calculation that represents how much colder it feels when the blinding gusts hit you in the face. That dipped as low as -52 Celsius in Montana

and was in the -40 to -50 Celsius range in parts of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin on Monday and Tuesday. That’s cold enough to toss a cup of boiling water into the air and watch it turn into snow before it hits the ground. The Mars Rover has been sending back daily temperature readings from its tour of the Red Planet ranging from -25 to -31 degrees Celsius. “To be fair, though, Mars is still way colder,” the Smithsonian Institute wrote in a blog post. “The Curiosity rover is driving around in a crater at, roughly, the equivalent latitude of Venezuela.” But then again, Mars is 78 million miles further away from the Sun. Even hardy Canadians were complaining of the cold amid widespread power outages. Temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees Celsius with a wind chill plunged the western Prairies region into a deep freeze. The streets of Toronto, Montreal and the capital Ottawa were coated with black ice after unusually warm temperatures brought rain Monday before the mercur y plunged overnight. Toronto’s Pearson Airport temporarily halted ground operations early Tuesday because of “equipment freezing” and out of concern for the safety of airport personnel, it said on its Twitter account. A quarter of its flights were cancelled on yesterday morning. — AFP

Obama on dogged comeback trail WASHINGTON: With soaring ambitions trimmed, the White House is charting a dogged course to repair President Barack Obama’s popularity and to limit a natural waning of his political powers. Obama endured a brutal 2013 - which crushed the promise of much of his second White House term and pitched his approval ratings to 40 percent or below. For once, his Hawaii Christmas vacation was uninterrupted by crises at home or abroad, and the president and his stuff - running on empty in December were able to recharge. Several new faces have also joined his famously insular White House crew, as the reenergized president tries to fashion a rebound in frigid Washington. He took the stage Tuesday in his first public appearance of the New Year, demanding an extension to long-term unemployment benefits, which lapsed for 1.3 million Americans when Congress left town for Christmas without acting. The event repositioned Obama as the warrior for the struggling middle classes - and Republicans as their hard hearted enemy a tableau that swept him to reelection in 2012. “When times get tough, we are not a people who say, you’re on your own,” Obama said. “We’re a people who believe that we’re all in it together. And we know, ‘there but for the grace of God go I.’” It was perhaps the opening shot of this year’s mid-term elections race in which a third of the Senate, and all of the House of Representatives will be up for grabs. His words also played into a growing theme in American politics - the struggles of many people to make ends meet despite a quickening but uneven economic recovery. Several Republican lawmakers, including possible presidential hopefuls Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio are expected to make speeches and unveil initiatives on poverty reduction in coming weeks. The White House was Tuesday cheered by an early symbolic victory, after six Republican senators joined Democrats in the Senate to advance the move to extend unemployment benefits to a final vote. The measure still faces a difficult path in the House, reflecting the cold reality of Obama’s presidency - that Republicans have power to block or slow much of his agenda. A year ago, Obama acted as though his handsome reelection win could rewire political dynamics in divided Washington and help him overpower Republicans. But after 12 months of struggle, which saw his aspirations for gun reforms, job creation measures and immigration reform stall on Capitol Hill, and a government shutdown and a near debt default, his aspirations appear to have narrowed. Senior administration officials now argue that the success of Obama’s administration can no longer be judged entirely on what laws make it through Congress.—AFP

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama’s “team of rivals” first-term cabinet has come back to haunt him, following surprisingly blunt critiques of his leadership and top aides by exPentagon boss Robert Gates. Gates, the Washington Republican lifer who served six presidents in senior national security jobs, sent political shockwaves through Washington after his unsparing assessments of the Obama administration in his new book, leaked to top newspapers. Tell-all memoirs by former administration officials looking to gild their retirement nest eggs and bolster their own legacies are nothing new - and uniformly infuriate presidents and top subordinates whichever party runs the White House. But the Gates bombshell was so remarkable because of the pedigree of the former defense secretary and CIA chief, his long experience as a confidant of presidents, and his reputation for unruffled integrity and discretion. So it is more difficult for the White House to write off the book - “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War” - due to be published on Jan 14, as a typical episode of Washington score settling. It may be that privately, despite taking the high ground in public, White House officials are second-guessing the president’s decision to ask Gates, a Republican holdover from the George W Bush administration, to stay on as defense secretary in his first cabinet. Given the deep respect Obama appears to have for Gates, and a belief that they were on the same page strategically on many issues, the revelations may be personally hurtful to the president. In the most damaging revelations, Gates suggests Obama soured on his own troop surge strategy in Afghanistan and lost confidence in General David Petraeus and other military brass he picked to lead it. Gates also slams White House aides for obsessive attempts to

control all US national security and foreign policy to the detriment of the State Department and the Pentagon, and excerpts from his book reek of a deep distaste for Washington and its political games. In comments which could reverberate in the 2016 presidential campaign, he says Hillary Clinton told Obama that she only opposed a troop surge strategy in Iraq for political reasons during the heat of their primary battle. He also blasted Vice President Joe Biden as “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue” of the last four decades. The political gang that Gates so disdained was out in the president’s defense yesterday. “He always indicated he had a good working relationship with the president,” David Axelrod, a former top Obama aide who remains close to the president, told NBC. Axelrod also argued that the Afghan war strategy - for which Gates was partly responsible -was “a mess” when Obama took office in 2009. Former White House chief of staff Bill Daley said on CBS that Gates’s memoir was “rather unfortunate,” adding that it was a “disservice” to publish such a book while the administration was still fighting the Afghan war. Many of Gates’s critiques are not new in themselves - and have been floating around the Obama White House for years. But Gates’ stature gives them extra currency and they are likely to linger in the political discourse in Washington for years, and in the histories that will shape Obama’s legacy after he leaves office. While Gates said plenty of positive things about Obama - calling him a man of “integrity” and praising him for gutsy decision to order a raid to kill Osama bin Laden - and Clinton - who he sees as smart, and a great ambassador for America abroad - it is the criticisms that will likely be remembered.—AFP



French court upholds the controversial burqa ban Woman convicted of wearing full-face veil in public

BAMAKO: Deputy general of the Serval operation Vincent Guionie (left) speaks with an unidentified officer at the Damien Boiteux camp, the French army headquarters in Bamako. — AFP

After Mali’s action, France remains Africa’s gendarme DAKAR: A year after dispatching warplanes and troops to repel an Islamist incursion in Mali, France is fighting in another of its former colonies, demonstrating it is destined to play reluctant “gendarme” in Africa, say analysts. With the Mali intervention deemed a success by the international community, France is withdrawing most of its soldiers but has launched another operation in the Central African Republic (CAR) to stop escalating inter-communal religious conflict. France’s Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has welcomed the achievements of Operation Serval, launched on January 11, 2013 to drive militants linked to Al-Qaeda out of Timbuktu and Mali’s other northern cities. The country has been “liberated” and the mission’s success was “universally recognized in the international arena”, he said on a New Year’s Eve visit to Mali. But he struck a more solemn tone two days later in Bangui, where the principal task was to boost the morale of troops bogged down in the quagmire of the CAR crisis. About 7,000 French soldiers have been deployed in UN-backed military and humanitarian missions in Mali and the CAR. ‘GENDARME OF AFRICA’ “Broadly, you’d say-and this has been the case for quite some time-that France finds itself obliged to intervene and is, despite itself, the gendarme of Africa,” said Bruno Tertrais of the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research. With nearly 6,000 men permanently stationed across the continent, France is uniquely placed to act quickly when law and order breaks down and regimes collapse. Its deployment is organized around two main poles, Libreville in the west (940 troops), and Djibouti in the east (2,000) and it also has troops in Chad (950), Senegal (350) and Ivory Coast (450), as well as special forces stationed notably in Niger. With the gradual return to stability in Mali, the emergence of the CAR crisis and the more general threat of Islamist terrorism across the vast, ungovernable Sahel region, France is in the process of redrawing its military presence across Africa. “I’m seeing the heads of state to discuss with them how we will in the coming months... reorganize and expand our presence geographically in Africa,” Le Drian said Thursday last week in Bangui. France intervened in Africa 19 times between 1962 and 1995, often to sway a state’s internal politics under the murky “francafrique” system put in place by Charles de Gaulle to maintain political and business interests in the former colonies. But it began to adopt a more multilateral approach under Jacques Chirac’s 1995 to 2007 presidency, eschewing political meddling in

favor of backing United Nations and African Union peacekeeping operations when crises arose. In 2003 and 2008, France led European Union operations respectively to combat rebels in north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and to secure the Central African and Chadian borders with Sudan’s Darfur region. France went into Ivory Coast in 2011 to help fighters loyal to election winner Alassane Ouattara arrest defeated former president Laurent Gbagbo and in the same year led an intervention in Libya to support rebels fighting Muammar Gaddafi. Current President Francois Hollande underlined the new approach in a speech to Senegal’s parliament in October 2012, vowing that the days of francafrique were over. The broad approval both in Africa and in the West for France’s intervention in Mali has created a climate which makes its operation in the CAR more palatable to its former colonies. ‘BARBARIAN FORCES’ A year after Operation Serval was launched, the government in Bamako has reasserted itself through nationwide polls which saw former premier Ibrahim Boubacar Keita elected president and parliament reopened. “At the institutional level, all is well... On the security front, things are more mixed,” Bamako-based political analyst Souleymane Drabo said. “Overall security is largely restored in the regions of Timbuktu and Gao but there are still sporadic terrorist activities taking place there,” he added. The challenge for Mali now is to seek a peaceful settlement with its Tuareg separatist movement, restore its authority in the rebel bastion of Kidal and wipe out the Islamist insurgency. The economy is also an urgent issue in a country ravaged by conflict and ranked 182nd of 187 nations in the 2012 Human Development Index. In his New Year address, however, Keita put Mali’s ongoing woes in perspective, recalling that before France’s intervention “three-quarters of the country was in the hands of barbarian forces, jihadists... (who) did not think twice about rape, amputations, floggings, stonings, vandalism, executions”. Paul Melly and Vincent Darracq argued in a paper for the Chatham House think-tank published last year that Hollande’s Africa strategy has amounted to rather more than the military action in Mali. “He has attempted to refashion France’s wider political approach towards the continent and make a distinct break from the message and policy priorities of the Sarkozy era. “President Nicolas Sarkozy was self-confident and direct, but Hollande has shown a subtler ear for the tone of African diplomacy and how this can be used to productive effect.” — AFP

VERSAILLES: A French court yesterday convicted a young woman for wearing a full-face Islamic veil in public and threw out her bid to have the country’s controversial burqa ban declared unconstitutional. Cassandra Belin, 20, was also convicted for insulting and threatening three police officers at the time of her arrest, which sparked two days of rioting in the town of Trappes, near Paris, in July, 2013. She was given a one-month suspended prison sentence for the clash with the police and a 150-euro ($200) fine for wearing the veil. Her lawyers, who argued that the burqa ban

905,000, according to the provisional official figures. Without immigration, the population would have shrunk by more than 200,000. Chancellor Angela Merkel has called Germany’s rapidly ageing population and low birthrate the biggest long-term challenge facing the country, and acknowledged that more immigration will be crucial to keep Europe’s biggest economy humming. But some of her conservative allies have recently seized on fears of a mass invasion of poor Romanians and Bulgarians seeking to benefit from the country’s relatively generous social welfare system. As the debate gathered steam, Merkel and her new left-right “grand coalition” government agreed to weigh whether to take action to curb so-called “benefits tourism”. Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU in 2007, becoming the bloc’s poorest members. Wary of an inundation from the two countries, some EU members kept their job markets closed to Romanian and Bulgarian citizens for several years until this month. Weeks before the expiration, Britain rushed through measures to require new EU migrants wait for three months before applying for unemployment payments and other benefits. — AFP

The European Court of Human Rights is expected to rule later this year in a case brought by a French Muslim who argues that the burqa ban violates her rights to freedom of religion, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, and breaches a prohibition against discrimination. France argues that the ban is necessary for security reasons and to uphold the country’s secular traditions. But critics say if security is a consideration, then motorcycle helmets should also be outlawed. In theory the ban covers all face coverings, but in practice the only arrests have been of women wearing Muslim veils. — AFP

Gunmen kill 3 in north Nigeria mosque attack KANO: Gunmen opened fire on worshippers at a mosque near northern Nigeria’s main city of Kano, killing three of them and wounding 12 as they prayed, witnesses and police said yesterday. Islamist insurgent group Boko Haram is active in Kano, Nigeria’s second biggest city and relic of a medieval Islamic empire that thrived for centuries on trade routes crossing the Sahara to the Mediterranean coast. The militants see anyone who does not follow their austere brand of Islam as apostates and have assassinated Muslim clerics who oppose them. They often target the security forces or Christians, but they have attacked mosques in the past. Police spokesman Musa Majiya declined to speculate on who was behind Tuesday night’s attack in Kwankwaso village, about 30 km from Kano and home of Kano state governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso. Criminal gangs also operate in the area. “We were inside the mosque praying when we heard gunshots just as we were almost finishing the prayer,” witness Adamu Inuwa said, speaking by telephone from a hospital bed where he was nursing a gunshot wound. “It was terrible. They were shouting ‘Allah akbar’ (God is Greatest) and shooting sporadically everywhere. I escaped through the fence.” Boko Haram has fought for the past four years to carve a breakaway Islamist state out of majority Muslim northern Nigeria, and is now the gravest security threat to Africa’s top energy producer. They have killed thousands since launching an uprising in 2009 - the vast majority Muslims - and an offensive President Goodluck Jonathan ordered in May last year has so far failed to quell them. But there is also a patchwork of criminal gangs loosely associated with the rebels who take advantage of northern Nigeria’s security vacuum to rob and kill. Some are connected to local politicians. “I don’t know why Boko Haram would attack the hometown of the state governor,” said the governor’s special assistant Suleiman Iliya, pointing out that the governor defected to the opposition last month. “I think maybe the attack was political.” Political violence is expected to increase this year, ahead of closely fought presidential and regional elections in 2015. — Reuters

German population rises as immigration debate rages BERLIN: Germany saw a boost to its population last year due to the biggest influx of immigrants in two decades, mainly from Europe’s crisis-hit countries, according to official estimates published yesterday. The announcement came as the German cabinet debated whether the country needed new measures to grapple with immigration from poor EU member states Romania and Bulgaria following the lifting of work restrictions from January 1. The figures released by the federal statistics office Destatis showed that the number of people living in Germany had surged to 80.8 million in 2013 from 80.5 million-the third annual increase in a row. “Once again, the high level of positive net immigration offset a lack of births,” Destatis said in a statement. It said that the difference between the number of newcomers and those leaving the country was believed to have surpassed 400,000 for the first time in 20 years, due in large part to heavy immigration from the ailing economies of southern and eastern Europe. In 1993, the figure had reached 462,000. The number of births in Germany tallied between 675,000 and 695,000 while the number of deaths reached between 885,000 and

impinges on religious freedom and unfairly target Muslims, had asked for an emergency ruling on the constitutionality of the ban before sentencing. But that request was rejected on the grounds that the Constitutional Council had previously upheld the 2011 law. Belin’s lawyer, Philippe Bataille, said he would consider an appeal and pledged to continue to fight to have the ban overturned. “I’m not throwing in the towel,” he said. Thibault de Montbrial, the lawyer for the three police officers, welcomed the court’s ruling. “We cannot tolerate exceptions to the law of the land,” he said.

ARIZONA: Photo shows a US Air force HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter conducting a rescue operation during Exercise Angel Thunder, near the town of Bisbee in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. Four people are believed to have been killed in a helicopter crash in eastern England on Tuesday January 7, 2013, police said, with a local US Air Force base confirming they were ‘working on an incident’. — AFP

US military copter crashes in Britain Four killed; munitions across the site CLEY NEXT THE SEA: British police said yesterday they would be working with the US Air Force and others to find out why a US military helicopter crashed on the coast of eastern England, killing all four crew on board. Wreckage included munitions was spread over a wide area of the crash site in difficult terrain. The helicopter, a Pave Hawk assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing based at RAF Lakenheath air base, was performing a low-level training mission along the Norfolk coast when it went down in marshland on Tuesday evening. The cause of the crash, which occurred in a nature reserve near the village of Cley next the Sea, was not known. The area is about 130 miles northeast of London. “We will be working with our partners at the Ministry of Defense, Air Accident Investigation Branch and US Air Force to gather all evidence from the scene and then recover the aircraft,” said Chief Superintendent Bob Scully of Nor folk Constabulary, the local police force. “This is difficult terrain with marshland and tides coupled with wreckage containing munitions covering a large area,” he said in a statement. A 400-metre (quarter mile) area around the crash site remained cordoned off to preserve public safety. No one on the ground was thought to have been hurt, authorities said. Earlier, the 48th Fighter Wing, which also flies F15 fighter jets, confirmed the deaths of all four airmen on board and said their names would be released 24 hours after their next-of-kin had been informed. The Pave Hawk is made by Sikorsky Aircraft Co, a unit of United Technologies Corp. According to the US Air Force website, it is a modified version of the Army Black Hawk and its primary

mission is “to conduct day or night operations into hostile environments to recover downed aircrew or other isolated personnel during war ”. RAF Lakenheath is home to Europe’s only F-15 fighter wing. SCATTERED DEBRIS Scully told reporters at Cley next the Sea that debris was scattered across an area about the size of a football field. Most of the debris was in marshland although some of it was vulnerable to high tides and was being removed swiftly. Scully said a coroner, who under English law will be responsible for the investigation into the four deaths, was carrying a daylight assessment and once he had given his consent, authorities would arrange for the removal of the bodies. “The situation that we have now is that we are obviously moving from a potential rescue operation to one of preserving the scene and carrying out an investigation,” Scully told reporters. “We are now working with the US military and the RAF (Britain’s Royal Air Force) to assist in their investigation and ours at the present time, and at some point we will hand over to the air investigation side of the military, both UK and US.” A second helicopter, which had been taking part in the same training exercise as the one that crashed, had landed at the site and was still there, Scully said. “It will be a matter for the investigation to determine whether or not there was any causal link. My understanding is that apparently not, but we don’t know. And that’s the important thing, we shouldn’t be speculating here,” Scully said.— Reuters

Scandal-hit Catholic group tests papal reform drive

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel (right) arrives on crutches followed by vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel to lead the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin yesterday. Merkel received get well message from her cabinet staff at their first meeting of 2014 after her Christmas holiday skiing accident. — AFP

VATICAN CITY: A scandal-tainted conservative Catholic religious movement whose founder was a sexual predator begins a series of meetings in Rome yesterday in what is being seen as a key test of Pope Francis’s reform drive. Top members of the Legionaries of Christ are meeting to reform their congregation and elect a new leadership in their first meetings since they were put under Vatican oversight in 2010 after the scandals first exploded. “Pope Francis faces the first major challenge, the first major clash of his pontificate,” said Jesus Bastante, a columnist for the Spanish-language Vatican affairs website Religion Digital. Francis has called for a radical overhaul of the group and a Vatican-appointed delegate, Italian cardinal Velasio De Paolis, will inaugurate the proceedings with a mass and will take part in the discussions. There have been tensions between senior Legionaries in favor of the status quo and De Paolis, whose mandate runs out at the meetings. “The Legion is not some internal issue to be discussed and decided on exclusively by the Legionaries,” Bastante said, adding that the gravity of the scandals meant “the pope cannot be gentle”. The Legionaries were once held up by late pope John Paul II as a model because of their ability to gain new followers and encourage vocations to the priesthood. The group was founded by a Mexican priest, Marcial Maciel, in 1941 and currently counts 953 priests and 70,000 lay people among its members in 22 countries and is particularly strong in North and South America. Maciel, who died at the age of 88 in 2008, was revealed to have sexually abused seminarians and fathered at least three children despite his vow of chastity. He was also accused of abusing his own children. The Vatican has been criticized for failing to do enough despite reports about Maciel’s behavior dating back to the 1980s which went public in the 1990s. Maciel was only removed from leadership of the movement by the Vatican in 2006 after John Paul II’s death and the crimes have cast a shadow over his pontificate.

‘AUTHENTIC, PROFOUND RENEWAL’ Father Felix Alarcon, 80, one of eight Legion priests who denounced Maciel’s abuses to John Paul II in the 1980s, told Religion Digital that the congregation. “The Legion, such as we know it, should be eliminated,” he said, adding that he hoped the pope “resolves this”. Francis in June called for “an authentic and profound renewal” of the congregation and has instituted a committee to look into the thousands of child sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Roman Catholic Church. The Legionaries have in recent years embarked on a transparency drive and internal investigations has revealed that a total of nine priests committed child sex abuses while 10 more are still being investigated. The investigations brought to light other disturbing aspects of the congregation, such as the personality cult surrounding Maciel and the rules on secrecy instituted to ensure there were no whistleblowers. Victim support groups say the reforms so far are insufficient and complain that senior members of the group from Maciel’s time are still in place and there is talk of the movement being disbanded altogether. “You might say we’re refounding,” Sylvester Heereman, the German cleric appointed as acting general director in 2012, said in an interview with the National Catholic Register magazine in the run-up to the talks. “We’re building on something that in a mysterious way has been very damaged by the flaws of the founder and human nature but we stay because we believe there’s more to it than that,” he said. A total of 84 priests have left the congregation since 2010 and the number of ordinations of Legionary priests have gone down from 60 in 2010 to 30 in 2013. Heereman admitted that there were some Legionaries who wanted a return to the past and were hurt by the criticism of the role played by the founder. The group’s “extraordinary general chapter” will continue for weeks, with no major announcements expected before late January or February. — AFP



Aborted defense deal underlines India’s problem NEW DELHI: India’s decision to cancel a $740-million helicopter contract with Italian-owned AgustaWestland last week added to an already long list of failed defense deals which have left the military short of crucial equipment. The deal to supply 12 transport helicopters, which were to ferry India’s top-most leaders, was signed in February 2010, but was terminated last week after an investigation in Italy in 2013 brought to light alleged bribery. Italian authorities arrested Giuseppe Orsi, the chairman of AgustaWestland’s Italian parent company Finmeccanica, while India’s ex-air force chief SP Tyagi is under investigation in New Delhi. Graft allegations in India’s big-ticket defense imports have scuppered other deals in the recent past, stretching back to the 1987 Bofors artillery guns scandal and another deal for 197 helicopters in 2007. Rahul Bedi, for Jane’s Defense Weekly, blames “corruption, lack of decision making and excessive bureaucracy” as the three main problems that block India’s military purchases. After the Bofors debacle, India’s artillery upgrade hit another airpocket in 2009 when the defense ministry blacklisted seven firms including front-runners Singapore Technologies and state-run Israeli Military Industries over corruption concerns. The contract for front-line helicopters capable of operating at high altitude which was cancelled in 2007 has still not been re-issued. At the same time, India’s military needs are growing, with tensions on its western border with Pakistan, an increasingly assertive China to the north and growing ambitions for India’s role in world affairs.

FARNBOROUGH: An Agusta Westland helicopter flies through a gap in the clouds during a flying display at the third day at the Farnborough International Airshow in Hampshire, southern England. India’s decision to cancel a 740-million dollar helicopter contract with Italian-owned AgustaWestLand added another item to an already long list of failed defense deals despite the urgent need for new kit in the military. — AFP BUREAUCRATIC HOLDUPS In March 2012 then army chief V.K. Singh To counter corruption, various measures have sent a letter to Prime M inister Manmohan Singh revealing in embarrassing detail alleged been introduced including a requirement for all procurement deficiencies. “Tanks are out of vendors to sign an integrity pact which promises ammunition, the air defense is obsolete and ethical behavior. Bharat Verma, editor of Indian infantry is short of critical weapons,” Singh Defense Review magazine, told AFP that this as wrote, later revealing that he had once been well as numerous levels of technical screening offered a bribe of $2.8 million for a contract. A means that “at least 18 departments” within the report in India’s The Hindu newspaper, quot- defense ministry must sign off on a deal. Each ing top personal security officers, said that the stage created an opportunity for graft between the c a n c e l l a t i o n o f t h e A g u s t a We s t l a n d d e a l Indian dealmakers and foreign vendors who pro“could endanger the country ’s highest offi- vide most of India’s advanced hardware because of the country’s weak domestic production. cials”.

“The foremost problem is Indians creating a system where foreign vendors are forced to pay bribes,” Verma said, adding that bureaucrats and politicians involved almost always go unpunished. Uncertainties and delays in India’s MultiRole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), a $10.4 billion deal for 126 fighter aircraft, is a case study in the country’s slow progress in modernizing its armed forces. The first international tenders for the project were invited in 2007 and exclusive negotiations began with French company Dassault in January 2012. Successive deadlines have since slipped by and it now faces new uncertainty with elections due by May this year after which a change of government is likely. Manoj Joshi, a fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, a Delhi-based think tank said that a lack of skills and knowledge in India’s bureaucracy also led to problems in defense procurement. “Someone who is heading the animal husbandry on one day is given charge of the defense (bureaucracy) on other. (Our) civilian bureaucracy doesn’t have an expertise about the market and product which further complicates the situation,” he added. Joshi was a member of a task force set up by the government in July 2011 to study the processes and procedures related to India’s national security and come up with its recommendations to solve them. Key recommendations from the task force included bringing in military officers to key positions in the defense ministry and introducing strict long-term planning for procurement and expenditure. “Nothing has been done about its recommendations to the best of my knowledge,” Joshi said.— AFP

India takes aim at US diplomats’ privileges American club targeted as diplomatic row escalates

DAHANU: Indian railway and police officials inspect burnt carriages of a long distance passenger train near Dahanu railway station, on the outskirts of Mumbai yesterday. — AFP

Nine dead in train fire near Mumbai MUMBAI: A fire on an overnight train killed at least nine people yesterday with sleeping victims overcome by flames and smoke as the blaze ripped through three carriages, a railway official said. The blaze, which comes less than a fortnight after 26 people were killed in a similar fire tragedy, happened shortly after the train left Mumbai for the northern city of Dehradun. “Nine people have died from the fire which spread to three coaches in the night. The fire broke out at about 2:30 am,” said the Western Railway spokesman Sharat Chandrayan. The blaze, the cause of which is not yet known, started when the train was in Thane district neighboring Mumbai. “The gateman at a railway station informed the guard inside the train,” Chandrayan said. The train continued on its journey later in the morning after the three burnt carriages were detached and the fire was extinguished. So far four of the victims have been identified. Many passengers managed to escape from the blazing and smoke-filled coaches by breaking open the back doors, a survivor, Mehul, told news channel CNN-IBN, but he said others died of suffocation. “All the windows and doors were sealed shut and the compartments were packed with smoke. Some escaped but those who couldn’t died because they couldn’t breathe,” Mehul

told the channel. Indian Railways Minister Mallikarjun Kharge ordered compensation for relatives of the victims as well as an enquiry into the incident, another Western Railway official said. The families of the dead will receive 500,000 rupees (8,000 dollars) with the injured receiving 50,000. Last month, a fire raced through a train carriage packed with sleeping passengers in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh, killing 26 people and forcing terrified passengers to smash windows in a frantic bid to escape. The poorly funded and accident-prone Indian rail network, one of the world’s largest, is still the main form of long-distance travel in the vast country. The exit doors of Indian trains are customarily locked at night, while the carriage windows are covered with bars, making escape difficult. These tragedies come a little over a year after another train accident also in the state of Andhra Pradesh killed 32 people and shone the spotlight again on the Indian rail network’s dismal safety record. India’s worst rail accident was in 1981 when a train plunged into a river in the eastern state of Bihar, killing an estimated 800 people. Many also die unlawfully crossing the tracks, which lack proper barriers and crossing points. An official report in 2012 found that 15,000 are killed this way in India every year-a figure the government described as a “massacre”. — AFP

Delhi new leader battles India’s age-old VIP perks NEW DELHI: For years, India’s senior politicians have resided in the capital’s most luxurious colonial-era bungalows, protected by gun-toting police and chauffeur-driven cars running red lights with sirens blazing - even if it was for a wife’s shopping trip. This was all shamelessly done dressed in flowing cotton tunics and trousers, the dress code of any official wanting to associate themselves with the founding fathers of independence and the country’s frugal Gandhian legacy. Now, these symbols have come under attack after bespectacled former tax collector Arvind Kejriwal, head of the anti-corruption Common Man’s Party, shocked India by becoming chief minister of Delhi state in local elections last month. From eschewing guards, placing his safety in the hands of “God”, to dressing in polyester shirts, Kejriwal has rejected these

New Chief Minister of India’s national capital region Arvind Kejriwal

symbols of privilege enjoyed by a tiny minority of judges, civil servants and politicians in this city of 16 million people. “When God decides otherwise, nobody can save you, whatever the number of bodyguards,” he told local media. Some politicians have begun to replicate him but critics say the renunciations will soon backfire, so deeply ingrained are the privileges. It has already become a media obsession, with reporters following Kejriwal for any sign of slip-ups. After his election - he travelled to his inauguration by a suburban metro train - Kejriwal refused to move into the bungalow reserved for the capital’s chief minister. But the press has jumped on his accepting a five-room ground-level apartment instead pretty luxurious by Delhi’s standards. His ministers have come under fire for accepting expensive official cars. When Kejriwal recently attended a Sikh temple, his non-descript car arrived almost imperceptibly. There was no police guard or sirens. He sat in the front seat by his driver, unusual for politicians for whom backseats symbolize status. The tiny blue and scratched Maruti-Suzuki sedan was parked uneasily next to a huge Ford Endeavour and Toyota Land Cruiser with tinted windows and stickers proclaiming out-of-date VIP parking stickers. “These symbols are a huge disconnect between politicians and voters,” said Shazia Ilmi, one of Kejriwal’s senior aides, as he toured the temple. “We have to physically break them.” “It’s not just symbolic. They cost a lot of money.” Mindful of angry voters, some politicians now are copying Kejriwal. The chief minister of Rajasthan state, Vasundhara Raje, has refused an official residence and toned down her security detail. However, Raje is a descendant of one of India’s hugely wealthy former royal families and her self-denial may not have the same effect. Banning sirens on official cars was part of Kejriwal’s campaign. For Indians tired of corruption scandals, the sight of cavalcades of white VIP cars with fluttering flags routinely causing traffic chaos had long jarred. Guards have been known to beat up attendants demanding a VIP car pay road tolls. “I’ve been driving for the past few days. I stop at all red lights. I don’t think my time is wasted,” Kejriwal told lawmakers.—Reuters

NEW DELHI: India chipped away at America’s diplomatic perks yesterday, ordering the envoys to obey local traffic laws and warning that a popular US Embassy club violates diplomatic law because it is open to outsiders. The move was the latest in a campaign to exert pressure on the US following the arrest and strip search last month of Devyani Khobragade, an Indian diplomat based in New York City. Indian officials have called the strip search barbaric and unnecessary. Khobragade, 39, is accused of paying her Indian maid less than the US minimum wage and lying about it on a visa application. She pleaded not guilty to fraud charges and is free on bail. The case has caused an outcry in India, where the idea of an educated, middle class woman facing a strip search is seen as outrageous and heavy-handed. India has unleashed a steady stream of retaliatory measures. Some of the moves, such as preventing the American Center from screening movies, are seen as little more than needling the US. But other actions have raised some alarm, including the removal of concrete traffic barriers around the US Embassy and revoking diplomats’ ID cards. Yesterday, the Press Trust of India news agency reported that India ordered the US to stop all “commercial activities” by Jan. 16 at the American Community Support Association club. The club has a restaurant, bar, bowling alley, swimming pool and other amenities. India says the fact that non-diplomats can join the club, at a cost of more than $1,300 per year, violates the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. US Embassy officials

had no comment. Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman E Vishnu Vardhan Reddy said the government was waiting for a response from the United States. Asked whether India would shut down the club if the US doesn’t comply, he said: “It all depends on what the US Embassy does next. Embassies anywhere in the world cannot engage in commercial activities.” PTI also reported that New Delhi warned that US Embassy vehicles would not be immune to penalties for traffic offenses such as unauthorized parking and running red lights. Khobragade was arrested Dec. 13 and was stripsearched in custody, as is common practice according to the US Marshals. But anger is still smoldering in India, more than a month after the arrest. Khobragade could face a maximum sentence of 10 years for visa fraud and five years for making a false declaration if convicted. She has said she has full diplomatic immunity. US federal officials dispute that, saying her immunity is limited to acts performed in the exercise of consular functions. US prosecutors and lawyers for Devyani are at odds over a possible plea deal. A letter filed Tuesday by attorneys for Khobragade accused federal prosecutors of trying to pressure her into pleading guilty by next week. The attorneys renewed a request for an extension of the Jan 13 deadline for an indictment. On Monday, prosecutors said in a court filing that they had “participated in hours of discussions in the hope of negotiating a plea that could be entered in court before Jan 13.” It said there had been no response to the government’s latest offer. — AP



Cambodia defends bloody protest crackdown PHNOM PENH: Cambodia yesterday defended its bloody crackdown on street protests in the face of growing international alarm, denouncing the rallies against strongman premier Hun Sen as violent and illegal. Anti-government demonstrations have been banned indefinitely after several striking workers were shot dead by police last week while dozens of others were injured. On Monday five land activists were detained temporarily as they tried to hold a rally. “The demonstrations abused the law,” Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told reporters, insisting that the government had exercised restraint for months. “The public generally applauds the decision by the government to halt the violent demonstrations,” he said. But the United Nations’ human rights office said Tuesday it was alarmed by Cambodia’s crackdown and urged authorities to show restraint. Hun Sen has faced an increasing challenge to his nearly three-decade rule from garment workers seeking a pay rise, as well as from opposition supporters demanding that he call a new election due to alleged vote fraud in a July poll. Cambodia National Rescue Party leader Sam Rainsy and his deputy Kem Sokha have been summoned to Phnom Penh


in brief

A380 door ‘leaky’? SINGAPORE: A malfunctioning door is the focus of an investigation into why a Singapore Airlines Airbus 380 superjumbo was forced to make an emergency landing in Azerbaijan, the carrier said yesterday. Nearly 500 passengers arrived in Singapore Tuesday in a A380 relief jet after their original flight from London to Singapore was forced to land in capital Baku due to a loss in cabin pressure. “The root cause of the incident is being investigated and a team of specialists from Airbus will be assisting,” an airline spokesman said in a statement. “We are focusing on a door on the main deck that appears to have suffered a leak, leading to the change in cabin pressure,” he said. “A replacement door will be fitted to the aircraft in Baku before it returns to Singapore for a more thorough inspection.” Passengers had spoken of noise coming from one door as the aircraft came in to land in the central Asian republic. Food scandal widens TOKYO: More than 1,000 people have fallen ill after eating pesticide-contaminated frozen food as a scandal widens across Japan, Jiji Press reported yesterday. People have reported vomiting, diarrhoea and other symptoms of food poisoning after eating products including pizza and lasagne made by a subsidiary of Maruha Nichiro Holdings, the nation’s largest seafood firm. The number of people affected by the tainted food has now risen to over 1,000, with more than 200 taken ill in the northern main island of Hokkaido alone, Jiji said. In western Osaka prefecture, a nine-month-old baby was hospitalized with vomiting on Monday after eating a product called creamy corn croquettes, the report said. Police began investigating the company last month after it revealed some of its frozen food had been tainted with malathion, an agricultural chemical often used to kill aphids in corn and rice fields. Detectives are looking at the possibility that the pesticide was deliberately added to the food at some stage of production at a factory in Gunma, north of Tokyo, Jiji said. Taiwan gets missiles TAIPEI: Taiwan has received the first shipment of anti-ship missiles which it ordered from the United States for its submarines, strengthening their attack capability, a senior official was yesterday quoted as saying. Taiwan ordered the Harpoon missiles in 2008 as part of a $6.5 billion arms purchase which sparked strong protests from Beijing. The island already has Harpoons installed on its frigates and F16 fighter jets. The first batch of such missiles for the navy’s two Dutch-built submarines has been shipped to Taiwan, the state Central News Agency said, citing a recent report to a closed session of parliament by deputy defence minister Andrew Hsia. “The missiles will be able to extend the range of the two submarines’ striking capabilities, enabling them to launch a pre-emptive attack when necessary,” Hsia was quoted as saying. The report said Taiwan spent Tw$5.9 billion ($194 million) on the missiles, but did not say how many had been bought and the number delivered. The missile has a range of 150 nautical miles (278 km), nearly ten times the range of torpedoes which are currently the subs’ major weaponry. The defense ministry declined to comment on the report. Rape suspect flees TOKYO: Japanese police have launched a rare nationwide man hunt for a rape suspect who fled from an interrogation room at a prosecutors’ office near Tokyo. Police said yesterday that the suspect, Yuta Sugimoto, 20, fled the day before while meeting with his lawyer at the prosecutors’ office in Kawasaki, south of Tokyo. He apparently loosened his waist rope after requesting a toilet break, Kanagawa prefectural police official said on condition of anonymity due to departmental rules. The suspect tore himself away from police officers and escaped. The rare escape of a suspect during interrogation caught a nationwide attention was not only an embarrassment for the authorities but raised safety concerns among local residents. Police yesterday mobilized 4,000 officers for the manhunt following an unsuccessful overnight search. The escape also triggered fears among residents in the area. Some parents accompanied their children to schools, while students went to school in groups. Curbing air pollution BEIJING: China has set new targets for its provinces to reduce air pollution by 5 to 25 percent, state media said late on Tuesday, underscoring the government’s concern about a source of public anger. China regularly issues directives to try to tackle air pollution in major cities, but these have had limited effect. Former health minister Chen Zhu said air pollution in the country causes premature deaths of 350,000 to 500,000 people yearly, state media reported on Tuesday. Chen wrote the article in a December issue of the Lancet medical journal. Air quality in large parts of northern and southern China reached unhealthy levels on Tuesday. Under the new regulations, Beijing, its neighboring city of Tianjin and northern Hebei province will have to cut the amount of PM 2.5 particles, which are especially bad for health, by 25 percent annually, state news agency Xinhua said, citing the ministry of environmental protection. China’s commercial capital, Shanghai, the eastern provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shandong and northern Shanxi will have to impose cuts of 20 percent. Reductions of 15 percent were set for Guangdong and Chongqing and 10 percent for the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Xinhua said.

Municipal Court on January 14 for questioning in connection with the recent unrest. The opposition party has boycotted parliament since last year’s election, alleging that Hun Sen was returned to power because of widespread vote-rigging. The 61-year-old prime minister has ruled for 28 years and vowed to continue until he is 74. He has faced mounting criticism over his rights record as well as accusations of excessive force against demonstrators. Last Friday police opened fire on striking garment factory employees demanding a minimum wage of $160 per month for their work in an industry which supplies brands like Gap, Nike and H&M. Rights activists said at least four civilians were shot dead in what they described as the country’s worst state violence against its citizens in 15 years. The strike has since been called off and most of the garment workers have returned to work, while some fled back to their villages in fear. On Saturday dozens of security personnel armed with shields and batons chased hundreds of opposition protesters-including monks, women and children from their rally base in a park in the capital, according to activists. — AFP

PHNOM PENH: Cambodian soldiers patrol along a street in Phnom Penh. — AFP

North Korea to hold parliamentary election Rodman sings Happy Birthday to N Korean leader after outcry SEOUL: North Korea announced yesterday elections to its rubber-stamp parliament in March, the first under leader Kim Jong-Un as he seeks to cement his grip on power after purging his uncle. The presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) decided the election held every five years-would take place on March 9, the North’s official KCNA news agency said. It comes at a time of heightened speculation over the stability of Kim’s regime and growing concern over the North’s nuclear weapons program. The last parliamentary vote-a highly staged process with only one approved candidate standing for each of the 687 districtswas held in 2009 under the leadership of Kim’s father, Kim Jong-Il. Kim succeeded his father in December 2011, and the March election will be closely watched for any further revelations on the changing power structure in Pyongyang. He has already overseen sweeping changes within the North’s ruling elite-the most dramatic example being the execution of his powerful uncle and political mentor Jang Song-Thaek last month on charges of treason and corruption. In his New Year message last week, Kim said the country had been strengthened by the removal of “factionalist scum”. Jang, like many top North Korean officials was a member of the SPA, and the March vote will provide an opportunity to see if any senior figures are removed from the candidates’ list. “It will also be interesting to see who the new faces are, as some of them may be tagged for a key role under Kim Jong-Un,” said Kim Yeon-Chul, a professor at Inje University’s Unification Department.

Cheong Seong-Chang of the Sejong Institute think-tank in Seoul said the election could herald a “generational change” under Kim Jong-Un. The announcement of the vote coincided with the young leader’s birthday yesterday. His precise age is a matter of some speculation due to confusion about the year of his birth, with various reports that it was 1982, 1983 or 1984. Kim might well be among the parliamentary candidates if he chooses to follow his father’s example of standing in the election. The rubber-stamp parliament usually sits twice a year for a day or two to pass govern-

ment budgets and approve personnel changes. The last session in April 2013 adopted a special ordinance formalizing the country’s position as a nuclear weapons state-a status that both South Korea and the United States have vowed not to recognize. “We will not accept North Korea as a nuclear state,” US Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated Tuesday at a joint press conference in Washington with his South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-Se. The very public purging of Jang amounted to a rare admission of dissent within North Korea and triggered concerns that the

PYONGYANG: Dennis Rodman arrives at his hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea after a morning practice session yesterday. — AP

Asylum seekers allege mistreatment by navy KUPANG: Asylum seekers trying to reach Australia claimed yesterday that members of the Australian navy subjected them to verbal and physical mistreatment as their boat was towed back to Indonesia. One of the migrants, Yousif Ibrahim from Sudan, said they were handcuffed, called insulting names, and one was beaten with shoes before and during their voyage back to Indonesia, where they arrived Monday. The 28-year-old also said four people were left with burn marks on their hands when they were forced to hold on to a hot pipe on their boat as punishment for wanting to go to the toilet. “We asked for water, they didn’t want to give us. They called us inhuman words, like illegal refugees, monkeys from Africa,” he said. Another asylum seeker speaking to local media made similar claims. Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison refused to comment on the claims but insisted that Australian personnel act with the “highest levels of professionalism”. Ibrahim was among 45 immigrants, mostly from Somalia and Sudan, who set off from Indonesia, a major transit point for would-be refugees, to make the treacherous sea crossing to

Australia last month. But they were picked up on an island in Australian waters by officers from three Australian navy vessels and towed back to Indonesian waters, he said, as part of Canberra’s hardline border protection policies. It was the first reported instance that the Australian navy has turned a boat back without informing Indonesian authorities, and prompted fresh anger in Jakarta at Canberra’s policies. After stopping on the island, the asylum seekers found themselves surrounded by members of the Australian navy, Ibrahim said. “They told us to go back to the boat, we refused. Then they used violence against us. One tried to run but they beat him with shoes,” he said, speaking from a hotel in Kupang, eastern Indonesia, where they are being housed while their cases are processed. “They have pistols and weapons. We are afraid.” He said the migrants were handcuffed and taken back to the boat. They were released from the cuffs on the boat and then towed for four days towards Indonesia before the Australians left. They arrived on their own in Rote Island, eastern Indonesia, on Monday.

SIBINTUN: A man watches as Mount Sinabung spews volcanic materials in Sibintun, North Sumatra, Indonesia yesterday. The volcano has sporadically erupted since September, forcing thousands of people who live around its slopes to flee their homes. — AP

regime might try to promote unity by targeting the South. Kerry said an additional 800 US troops would be deployed to South Korea for a nine-month tour from February. “We will continue to modernize our capabilities so that we are prepared to face any threat,” he told reporters. The United States already has 28,500 troops in the South. Both countries have rejected overtures from the North about resuming six-party talks on its nuclear program, insisting that Pyongyang must demonstrate some commitment to denuclearization. Meanwhile, Dennis Rodman led an auditorium of North Koreans in singing “Happy Birthday” to their leader yesterday, a day after the former US basketball star sparked controversy by appearing to suggest a Korean-American was to blame for his captivity in North Korea. Rodman brought a team of fellow former National Basketball Association stars to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, to mark the birthday of leader Kim Jong Un with an exhibition game. The birthday is believed to have been yesterday though that has not been confirmed. “It started out as surreal, then people joined in and it sort of faded a bit, but it seemed pretty heartfelt from Rodman’s side,” said Simon Cockerell, a tour guide who watched the game in Pyongyang, said of Rodman’s birthday singing. “It was unexpected, and probably unplanned,” he said. “Kim Jong Un appeared to smile, but he didn’t appear to expect it.” Cockerell, whose company Koryo Tours took a group of tourists to the game, said the audience had stood and cheered Kim for up to six minutes when he appeared with his wife.—Agencies

Guardian website blocked in China BEIJING: Access to the website of the British newspaper the Guardian has been blocked in China, the newspaper said yesterday, adding that it did not know why. The websites of the New York Times Co and Bloomberg News have been blocked in China for more than a year after they published reports about the wealth of family members of former Premier Wen Jiabao and President Xi Jinping, respectively. China’s ruling Communist Party, anxious to maintain power and preserve stability, routinely blocks access to foreign news websites it deems inappropriate or politically sensitive. The Guardian cited an anti-censorship website,, as saying that its website was first blocked on Tuesday. “The reasons for the Guardian block are unclear no China-related stories published by the Guardian in the past two days would obviously be perceived as dangerous by the country’s leadership,” the newspaper said in an article on its website. Access to the Guardian, and other blocked websites, is limited to people with virtual private networks (VPNs) that can bypass China’s internet blocking mechanism, known as the Great Firewall. When asked about the Guardian’s website being blocked in China, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: “This is the first time I have heard of this. “I don’t understand the situation. You can inquire with China’s relevant department,” she said at a daily news briefing. The Guardian said a Jan 6 report it ran explored tension in China’s ethnically diverse and troubled northwestern region of Xinjiang, but added that the newspaper “has covered the subject before without any noticeable fallout”. The blocking of the Guardian’s website comes after the United States expressed concern about China’s efforts to restrict the activity of foreign news organization. Neither the New York Times Co nor Bloomberg News was given new journalist visas for more than a year. Foreign journalists from the two media organizations had feared they may have to leave China after the government gave no indication it would grant them their accreditations, a move criticized by US Vice President Joe Biden on a visit to Beijing last month. But the government in December renewed the press accreditations for journalists from Bloomberg News and several New York Times reporters. The Chinese-language websites of Thomson Reuters and the Wall Street Journal were blocked in mid-November. The websites became accessible on Dec 25. Foreign reporters working in China face numerous difficulties, including a lack of access to top officials and harassment, and even violence, when covering sensitive issues such as protests. China says foreign media are granted wide-ranging freedoms. — Reuters

NEWS MPs spew venom... Continued from Page 1 motivated because of the change of “chairs”. “Some MPs have a (personal) problem with the prime minister and the Assembly speaker. Positions were totally the opposite several months ago apparently because chairs (posts) had been changed,” Omar said, in a clear reference to Rashed who supported the previous government when he was speaker of parliament and is a foe now after losing the post. Nevertheless, Omar acknowledged that the new Cabinet disappointed the people and the Assembly although we “still have a glimmer of hope that the Cabinet may perform well”. He warned that if the government does not bear its responsibilities within a few months, “it must resign”. MP Abdulkarim Al-Kandari said the people have completely lost their trust in the government and the Assembly as well because nothing has been achieved. “In a country that has witnessed the largest financial scandals, no one has been held accountable,” Kandari wondered. He said that after 50 years of parliamentary work, Kuwait still does not have a law to combat corruption and top officials are still not required to disclose their wealth. “The solution lies in the need for a comprehensive revision of the country’s democratic system,” he said. After the session, 13 MPs filed a request calling on the Assembly to hold a special session to debate the $2.2 billion fine paid to US petrochemicals giant Dow Chemical after Kuwait unilaterally scrapped a multibillion-dollar joint venture. MPs want to know why the fine was hurriedly paid. New Oil Minister Ali Al-Omair called on MPs to wait until a parliamentary panel completes its investigation in the case.


Row over 2022 World Cup timing Continued from Page 1 “ To be honest, I think it will be held between November 15 and January 15 at the latest. If you play between November 15 and the end of December that’s the time when the weather conditions are best, when you can play in temperatures equivalent to a warm spring season in Europe, averaging 25 degrees. That would be perfect for playing football.” However, FIFA reacted swiftly to Valcke’s comments by saying they were his personal views and that no formal decision to move the date of the tournament would be taken before this year ’s Wo r l d C u p f i n a l s i n B r a z i l s t a r t i n g i n J u n e . “Secretary General Jerome Valcke explained today in the Radio France interview - as he had already mentioned previously - that in his view the 2022 FIFA World Cup must take place in winter and the best possible time frame would be 15 November to 15 Januar y,” said FIFA. “As the event will not be played until eight years’ time the consultation process will not be rushed and will be given the

necessary time to consider all of the elements relevant for a decision. “Consequently, no decision will be taken before the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil as agreed by the FIFA executive committee.” Valcke did not say whether he favoured a World Cup in the winter of 2021-22 or 2022-23, but the deciding factor could be the timing of the Winter Olympics in early 2022. The president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, has also voiced support for a winter World Cup with a preference for November-December over January-February. The awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar has been beset by criticism, especially over the searing heat that bakes the Gulf emirate in the summer when the tournament is traditionally held. Calls had grown increasingly strident to switch it to the winter time to accomodate players and supporters. But this ran into opposition from European clubs, who would lose their top players for several weeks in the middle of the season and from the International Olympic Committee fear ful of any competition with the 2022 Winter Olympics. Qatari

World Cup organisers reac ted with caution to Valcke’s words, saying they would follow whatever directives they received from FIFA. “During the FIFA Executive Committee meeting in October it was agreed that FIFA would enter a period of consultation on the ideal time of year to host the World Cup in Qatar ≠ with a recommendation expected after the World Cup in Brazil,” the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee said in a state ment. “We await the outcome of this consultation period. We will be ready to host the World Cup regardless of the outcome.≤ There was particular anger in England at FIFA giving the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, a country, with little football tradition, while scorning the attempt by England, the sport’s birthplace, to host the 2018 edition. Jim Boyce, a FIFA vice-president from the British controlled province of Nor thern Ireland, said he was “totally surprised” by Valcke’s decision to state what “may have been his personal opinion, even though there had been a widespread belief the 2022 World Cup could not be played in the summer due to the heat. — Reuters

Canada opens visa application center Continued from Page 1 and after their temporary resident application is assessed by a CIC immigration officer. VAC service agents are available by phone, email or in person to answer questions in local languages and to make sure that applications are complete. This helps avoid unnecessary delays or refusals due to incomplete applications. The VAC is also equipped to collect biometrics of

all nationals that must submit their biometric information as part of their application. For an additional fee, VACs also offers other services, including photocopies, application photographs and self-service computer terminals for those wishing to take advantage of the new online applications. It is important to note that VACs are not involved in the decision-making process and are not authorized to provide applicants with advice about their visas. To

apply for the visa, the applicant should hold a valid passport with at least two empty pages and a bank statement. The local partner of VAC Tareq Al-Rashdan said the deal with Canada was the fourth one after Morocco, Lebanon and Algeria. “The current location of VAC in Al Nassar Tower (on Fahd Al-Salem St in Kuwait City) will be shifted to a new location in April to provide more space and easier service for the applicants,” he stated.




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Tunisia Islamists compromise to secure legacy By Antoine Lambroschini unisia’s ruling Islamists have opted for a strategy of compromise on the thorniest aspects of the future constitution to save their political legacy, challenged by social unrest and elections this year, analysts say. Unlike its Egyptian counterpart the Muslim Brotherhood, also elected after a popular uprising in 2011 but deposed by the army last year and outlawed, Ennahda has survived a succession of crises and is set to step down to ensure a peaceful transition. Tunisia’s Islamist party has pledged to relinquish power in the coming days, under a deal that aims to see an electoral commission formed and the draft charter ratified by Jan 14, the third anniversary of the revolution. Since the scrutiny of the new constitution began last week, they have accepted a lesser role for Islam, and the principle of equal rights for women, while holding to their promise not to criminalise “attacks on the sacred”. Despite chaotic scenes in parliament, more than 40 articles out of around 150 have now been passed by a healthy majority, raising hope that two-thirds of the 217 elected members will approve the charter and avoid it being put to a referendum. For independent political analyst Selim Kharrat, Ennahda chose consensus, more than two years after triumphing in parliamentary polls, to be able to hand over power with its head held high. “The only concrete achievement that Ennahda can still hope for is the adoption of the constitution,” he said, alluding to the struggling economy and the country’s fragile security situation, given the presence of armed jihadist groups. “They must also show the world that political Islam can be compatible with international democratic standards, especially if you look at what’s going on in other Arab-Muslim countries.” Until now, the party has also managed to control its more radical elements and goad them into accepting difficult compromises. Habib Ellouze, an Ennahda hardliner, was reprimanded after calling a leftwing politician an enemy of Islam, allegedly resulting in death threats against the opposition MP. Faced with the outrage of secular opponents in the assembly, the Islamists agreed to a proposed amendment to the constitution making it illegal to accuse someone of apostasy. “There is a real effort by Ennahda to respect the compromise agreements reached with (the opposition), even though its elected members are far from unified,” Kharrat said. Sami Brahem, an expert on Islamic culture, argue that the Islamists were obliged to adapt to their more conservative positions to avoid alienating liberal Tunisians. “You could say that Ennahda has shown itself to be a modern movement, but also that it didn’t have a choice, because Tunisian society is modern and progressive,” he said.


One eye on Egypt According to Mourad Sellami, a political journalist with Tunisian daily Le Quotidien, Ennahda has been motivated by fears of a similar scenario to what happened in Egypt, where the army toppled the Muslim Brotherhood last July after days of mass protest. Tunisia’s latest political crisis erupted shortly afterwards, when the killing of opposition MP Mohamed Brahmi by suspected Islamist militants brought tens of thousands of demonstrators onto the streets to demand Ennahda’s resignation. “I think Ennahda has drawn lessons from the failure of the Brothers in Egypt. That’s the reason it accepted freedom of conscience, concessions on the relationship between religion and the state,” Sellami said. Another key factor behind Ennahda’s decision to hand power to a transitional technocrat government, the journalist argued, is the rise in social tensions linked to Tunisia’s ongoing economic malaise, which the Islamists want to distance themselves from before the next elections. Protests and strikes have multiplied, with unemployed youths demanding work, particularly in the country’s impoverished interior, amid the prospect of unpopular taxes to fill the state’s empty coffers. “There are pitfalls everywhere. Ennahda’s strategy of moderation also comes from a lack of alternatives. They know that the next government will have no magic wand, that they will still have the same problems, and they won’t be able to say: ‘You see, that wasn’t our fault,’” Sellami said. Whatever the constitutional compromises ratified in recent days, Kharrat says the real challenge will be inserting them into the penal code and civil law, which will be the responsibility of the next parliament. “Whether Ennahda or the so-called democratic opposition win the elections, nothing today guarantees that the constitution will apply as it should.” — AFP

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Under-fire Erdogan sidles up to military By Fulya Ozerkan urkey’s embattled Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears willing to mend fences with the once all-powerful army which he fought hard to rein in, as he seeks to defeat an influential organisation accused of trying to topple his government. In what is billed by observers as a dramatic turnaround, Erdogan said on Sunday he favoured fresh trials for hundreds of military officers jailed for coup-plotting in 2012 and 2013. The court cases which landed the officers behind bars were central to his efforts to curb a military which had long dictated the running of the country, carrying out three coups since 1960. The move comes after Erdogan’s top political advisor Yalcin Akdogan last month suggested the military officers had been framed by the same prosecutors who launched a corruption probe into his government. The government took further retaliatory action on Tuesday, sacking 350 police officers in Ankara in the latest purge against a force Erdogan once backed as a counterweight to the army. The graft investigation - dubbed a “dirty” plot by Erdogan - is believed to have been masterminded by his ally-turned-foe, the self-exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who wields tremendous influence in the police and judiciary.

injustice,” said Soli Ozel, professor of international relations at Istanbul’s Kadir Has University. “But the balance has changed. Erdogan now sees the Gulen group as his number one adversary and he is bringing the army over to his side to tackle it,” he told AFP. A string of public figures including high-profile businessmen and the sons of three ministers were detained on Dec 17 over allegations of bribery for construction projects as well as illicit money transfers to sanctions-hit Iran. Erdogan was forced into a major cabinet reshuffle after the resignation of the three ministers whose sons were implicated and accused Gulen of orchestrating a “judicial coup” and his followers of acting as a “state within state”. The military, which sees itself as the guardian of Turkey’s secular principles, has staged three coups in 1960, 1971 and 1980 - and forced out an Islamist government in 1997. But since coming to power in 2002, Erdogan’s Islamic-leaning government has sought to water down the military’s influence in politics, a move seen as crucial for full membership in the European Union. In 2012 and 2013, hundreds of military officers including former army chief General Ilker Basbug were convicted and given long jail terms for plotting to overthrow Erdogan’s government in the mass “Sledgehammer” and “Ergenekon” trials.

Switching sides? When Gulen was still his ally, the prosecutors led Erdogan’s efforts to crack down on the military’s power. “The government had cooperated with the Gulen movement to break the military’s dominance in politics and turned a deaf ear to pleas of

Evidence ‘fabricated’ Shortly after Erdogan’s advisor Akdogan suggested so-called Gulenists had plotted against the army in court, the military demanded a review of the trials, saying evidence had been fabricated and manipulated. The government gave the green light


for a review of the court cases after a meeting between Erdogan and Metin Feyzioglu, head of the Union of Bar Associations. “If this country’s prime minister, interior minister and advisors talk of a parallel state within the judiciary, we cannot turn a deaf ear to that,” Feyzioglu said. However he added that an amnesty was “not in the pipeline”. “People who cry they are innocent are expecting, not a pardon, but a fair trial,” he said. Some analysts have said the government was forming an alliance with its former foe - the army - to battle the Gulen movement. The organisation, known as Hizmet (Service) is a global foundation involved particularly in education and social issues. However, it does not have a political party and is not expected to run in this year’s elections, which kick off in March with local polls. “The government has resorted to implicit moves in order to draw the army over to its side in its battle with the (Gulen) community,” wrote journalist Ismet Berkan in the Hurriyet newspaper. “And the military declared as its condition ... the revisiting of the Sledgehammer and Ergenekon trials”. The opposition has accused Erodgan of using the retrials as an attempt to draw eyes away from the multi-billion dollar corruption probe targeting key figures in his circle. “They want to cover up the theft... They want to change the agenda,” said Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the Republican People’s Party (CHP). Hikmet Sami Turk, a former justice minister, said he saw the latest move as an attempt to fix the injustice of the trials. “The verdicts delivered in the Sledgehammer and Ergenekon trials were far from satisfying the public conscience,” he told AFP. “Now a remedy is being sought. I believe the existing laws are enough to undo the injustice”. — AFP

Wary US’ response limited over Iraq By Missy Ryan he Obama administration is considering expanding its support to Iraqi forces as they fight off a renewed AlQaeda threat, but Washington’s ability to significantly increase security assistance to Baghdad will remain limited. US officials say they are in discussions with the Iraqi government about training its elite forces in a third country, which would allow the United States to provide one modest measure of new assistance against militants in the absence of a troop deal that allows US soldiers to operate within Iraq. No further details were immediately available about where that might take place or how many troops it might involve. Reluctance to further empower Prime Minister Nouri AlMaliki or put American boots on the ground constrains US support for Iraq as it battles militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an Al-Qaeda affiliate, in Anbar province, and seeks to reverse a striking surge in violence across the country in the last year. The United States is sending missiles, surveillance aircraft and other gear that may help Iraqi forces rebuff Al-Qaeda in the western province, a Sunni Muslim stronghold. But Washington also wants Maliki, a Shiite, to do more to reach out to minority Kurds and Sunnis who accuse him of fanning sectarian tensions. The conflict in Anbar is the latest in a string of events pitting Maliki against Iraqi Sunnis, many of whom resent the Shiite domination that has followed the US-led ouster of Sunni leader Saddam Hussein in 2003. Colin Kahl, a former senior Pentagon official specializing in the Middle East, said the US military’s ability to conduct overt activities in Iraq was extremely limited, but that the Obama administration was likely providing the Iraqi government with intelligence to help them target Al-Qaeda. “As we do so, we have to be mindful that we are not empowering Maliki’s bad behavior, and we need to be careful not to do anything that makes it look like we are taking sides in a sectarian fight,” Kahl said. Beyond such modest support, and despite growing US fears that the war in Syria is fuelling a regional Al-Qaeda comeback, US officials say their hands are largely tied in Iraq. Secretary of State John Kerry made clear last weekend the Obama administration has no appetite for sending US troops back. “This is a fight that belongs to the Iraqis,” he said. “We’re not contemplating putting boots on the ground. This is their fight, but we’re going to help them in their fight.” And without a Status of Forces Agreement, which provides a legal underpinning for stationing US soldiers overseas, the United States can hardly conduct overt military activities in Iraq. Maliki, too, would be loathe to be seen inviting back US troops whose presence many Iraqis saw as an occupation force.


Iran, Afghanistan Since 2011, when the Obama administration abruptly pulled US soldiers from Iraq after failing to reach a troop deal with Maliki’s government, the upheaval of the Arab Spring

and the war in Syria have helped push Iraq from the center of US foreign policy discussions. As the Pentagon seeks to wind down the war in Afghanistan, and Kerry pursues diplomatic deals to address Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the IsraeliPalestinian dispute, increasing bloodshed in Iraq has not altered that calculus. The reluctance of the Obama administration - and of Maliki himself - to revisit the years of US military involvement in Iraq has dramatically curtailed US influence there. Since the departure of US forces in 2011, the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq, attached to the US embassy in Baghdad, has become the anchor of US security assistance for Iraq. At least 100 Pentagon employees there oversee military sales to Iraq and advise Iraqi ministries. But some covert activities can take place. The Iraqi government invited US special forces to return to provide counterterrorism and intelligence support to local forces, according to a report in The New York Times. Some in the US Congress, including influential lawmakers such as John McCain, warn of Maliki’s autocratic tendencies and close ties with Iran. They complain he has continued to

allow Iran to send military assistance to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad across Iraqi airspace and has not lived up to promises to protect Iranian dissidents in Iraq. Ken Pollack, a former White House and intelligence official who was a leading advocate for the 2003 war with Iraq, said the current US focus on the return of Al-Qaeda, with its possible intent to strike the West, overlooked the true sectarian and political roots of recent conflict in Iraq. “Sending weapons isn’t going to fix the problem,” he said. “It’s going to force the Maliki government to rely on force.” Pollack and others have urged the administration to condition security assistance on conciliatory steps by Maliki, perhaps by bringing in minority leaders into his government. After Maliki made a plea for increased military sales in a visit to Washington in November, the administration has been working to speed up delivery of military equipment, including Hellfire missiles and surveillance aircraft. An Iraqi request for Apache attack helicopters has not yet moved forward, largely because of congressional concerns. Congress has approved the sale of F-16 fighters to Iraq, but they are not expected to be delivered until fall. — Reuters

A gunman aims his weapon during clashes with Iraqi security forces in Fallujah on Jan 5, 2014. — AP



Neymar misses King’s Cup MADRID: Barcelona’s Brazilian forward Neymar has come down with a stomach bug and will miss the domestic King’s Cup clash at home to Getafe yesterday, the club said. “The Brazilian striker turned up this morning at the stadium with a bout of gastroenteritis. After the doctors saw him, they recommended that he go home and rest,” the club said in an online statement. The 21-year-old’s last-minute withdrawal led coach Tata Martino to call up Xavi Hernandez to complete the 18-player squad for yesterday’s match at the Camp Nou, Barcelona said. Star striker Lionel Messi has been included in the team after recovering from a hamstring injury. The 26-year-old four-time World Player of the Year has not played since tearing his hamstring in Barca’s 4-1 win over Real Betis on November 10. After beginning his treatment for the injury in Barcelona, Messi returned to his native Argentina to continue his recovery in December. He returned to Barcelona last week and resumed training with his teammates. —AFP

Dolphins fire manager

N Zealand cricket fan grabs $83,000 HAMILTON: A New Zealand cricket fan won NZ$100,000 ($83,000) yesterday after taking a spectacular catch in the crowd at a one-day international between the West Indies and the Black Caps in Hamilton. As part of a sponsorship promotion, brewer Tui pledged to make the payout to any spectator who made a onehanded catch while wearing one of its distinctive orange T-shirts when the ball cleared the boundary. With the series reaching its fifth and final match, it appeared the prize would go unclaimed, despite some brave failures, including a leaping man who sent boundary advertising hoardings flying in Queenstown last week in his eagerness to cash in. But Michael Morton finally snared the prize when he latched onto a six from West Indies opening batsman Kieran Powell on the grassy embankment at Seddon Park. “It’s pretty unbelievable,” he told Sky News. “I was sitting there next to my dad and he yelled out, so I jumped up, put my hand out and somehow it stuck. I’m pretty happy.” Asked if he was a cricketer because of the comfortable way he took the catch, Morton replied: “Not any more, but maybe I should be.” —AFP

MIAMI: Jeff Ireland was fired Tuesday as general manager of the Miami Dolphins after the team dropped its final two regular-season games to miss the NFL playoffs. “After a series of discussions, we both felt that it was in our mutual best interest to part ways,” Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said in a statement. “Jeff was a loyal and dedicated member of the Dolphins and we wish him and his family nothing but the best.” The Dolphins went 8-8 but missed the playoffs for the fifth season in a row, a campaign marred by a harassment scandal involving the treatment of Jonathan Martin by fellow offensive lineman Richie Incognito. Ireland was made the Dolphins general manager in January of 2008 and took full control of personnel matters and gridiron operations when Bill Parcells stepped aside at the start of the 2010 season. Under Ireland’s tenure, the Dolphins went 46-50 with a playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the 2008 campaign. “I’ve spent the last six years with the best organization in football,” Ireland said. “Steve and I came to an agreement that the best thing moving forward for all parties would be to part ways.” —AFP

Sumo Grand champions flex muscles in New Year offering

AMES: Rico Gathers No 2 of the Baylor Bears grabs a loose ball during the second half in front of Mont Morris No 11 and Naz Long No 15 of the Iowa State Cyclones on January 7, 2014. —AFP

No 5 Michigan State beat No 3 Ohio State EAST LANSING: Keith Appling made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 29 seconds left and finished with 20 points, seven assists and six rebounds to help No 5 Michigan State beat No 3 Ohio State 72-68 in overtime Tuesday night after blowing a 17-point lead in the second half. The Spartans (14-1, 3-0 Big Ten) led 55-38 and the Buckeyes (15-1, 21) forced overtime with a 20-3 run to close regulation. Ohio State entered the day as one of six unbeaten teams in Division I. Aaron Craft’s three-point play with 2:02 left in the second half and his layup, after throwing an inbounds pass off Adreian Payne’s backside, with a minute left pulled Ohio State within one. Payne made one of two free throws on the ensuing possession, allowing Amir Williams’ putback dunk with 19 seconds left to tie the game and send it to overtime. Ohio State scored the first points of the extra period, taking its first lead since it was ahead 19 17, but gave up some pivotal 3pointers. Michigan State redshirt freshman Kenny Kaminski made a season-high third 3-pointer to break a tie with 2:40 left in overtime and Payne connected on a shot beyond the arc on the Spartans’ next possession. Appling made two free throws with 14.4 seconds left to give Michigan State a three-point lead and Ohio State’s Marc Loving missed an off-balance 3-pointer with 3 seconds left. Appling made one of two free throws with one second to go. The Buckeyes had a season-high 21 turnovers, leading to them not having a double-digit scorer until there was fewer than 4 minutes left in regulation. Sam Thompson finished with 18 points, including six straight late in regulation, and Loving scored 10 points. Payne didn’t start because of a right foot sprain, but was healthy enough to play 32 minutes and score 18 points. Gary Harris scored 13 points for the Spartans, the first team to score 70-plus points against Ohio State this season. Michigan State, which beat then-No 1 Kentucky nearly two months ago, has won seven straight games since losing to North Carolina. NO 9 IOWA STATE STUN NO 7 BAYLOR DeAndre Kane had a season-high 30 points with nine assists, eight rebounds and five steals as No 9 Iowa State rolled past No 7 Baylor 87-72 on Tuesday night, setting a school record with its 14th straight win. Melvin Ejim added 18 points for the Cyclones (14-0, 2-0 Big 12). They outscored Baylor 4734 in the second half and rolled to a surprisingly decisive win over a fellow Big 12 title contender. Kane had 17 points in the first half, helping his struggling teammates take a two-point lead. The rest of the Cyclones got untracked early in the second half and blew past the Bears with a 28-12 run. Gary Franklin and Brady Heslip both had 15 points for Baylor (12-2, 0-1), which saw its win streak snapped at six games. Baylor couldn’t have asked for a tougher draw to open Big 12. The Cyclones had already beaten ranked teams Michigan and Iowa at home this season and entered play 39-3 in Ames since 2011-12. The Bears hung around until early in the second half, when Iowa State slowly but surely overwhelmed yet another visitor. The Cyclones pushed their lead to 63-51 as Kane, a senior transfer from Marshall, and Monte Morris answered what seemed like a momentum-killing 3 from Heslip with layups. Taurean Prince was called for a flagrant foul

on Kane with just under 10 minutes left. Kane hit both free throws, and Naz Long’s 3 put Iowa State ahead 68-54. This was the first matchup of top 10 teams in Ames in 13 years. It could end up having a huge say in the Big 12 title race. Though Baylor and Iowa State were picked to finish behind Kansas and Oklahoma State, the prospect of the Bears and Cyclones competing for the league title suddenly looks a lot more realistic than it did in November. The Jayhawks have already lost four times. The Cowboys dropped their Big 12 opener at Kansas State in their first game without center Michael Cobbins, who’s out for the season with an Achilles injury. Meanwhile, the Bears rolled into league play with just one loss - No 2 Syracuse in Hawaii - and Iowa State’s start remains the best in school history. HOOD SCORES 27, NO 16 DUKE OVERCOME GA TECH Rodney Hood scored 15 of his 27 points in the second half, and No 16 Duke beat Georgia Tech 79-57 on Tuesday night. Quinn Cook added 13 points and slumping freshman Jabari Parker had 12 on 4-of-12 shooting for the Blue Devils (12-3, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). Playing their first game outside the top 10 since November 2007, they spent half the night proving they deserved their drop before Hood helped them pull away for their 25th straight win at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Marcus GeorgesHunt scored 18 points for the short-handed Yellow Jackets (9-6, 0-2), who shot 49 percent yet lost their second straight. Duke had trouble getting any sort of separation until Hood hit 3-pointers 45 seconds apart down the stretch. UCONN WOMEN ROUT HOUSTON Breanna Stewart scored 24 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked six shots to lead top-ranked UConn to a 90-40 rout of Houston in the first meeting between the two programs. The sophomore, who earned her second USA Basketball female athlete of the year honor Tuesday, also had four assists while playing just 21 minutes for Connecticut (16-0, 4-0 American). Morgan Tuck added a career-high 19 points and Stefanie Dolson had eight points, nine rebounds and a careerhigh seven blocked shots. The Huskies tied a team record with 17 blocks. Alecia Smith and Marche Amerson each had 11 to lead Houston. The Cougars (4-11, 04) lost their fourth straight game since coach Todd Buchanan abruptly resigned last month citing personal reasons. Houston became the 76th straight team to fall to Connecticut in their first meeting with the Huskies. Houston’s Yasmeen Thompson scored the game’s first basket on a layup to give the Cougars what would be their only lead. UConn scored the next 18 points and never looked back, holding Houston without a point for just under 5 minutes. The Huskies had six blocked shots during that run. A 3-pointer from Tuck and a layup by Kiah Stokes made it 39-5 midway through the first half. Stokes finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Houston outscored the Huskies 1413 the rest of the half, but trailed 52-19 at intermission. Stewart, who reached the 20-point plateau for the seventh time this season, had 17 points in the first half, while combining with Dolson to block 10 shots before intermission. UConn’s 17 blocks, were just two shy of the NCAA record. —Agencies

TOKYO: Sumo’s two grand champions, all but naked in a chilly winter drizzle, performed a prematch ritual at a grand shrine in Tokyo yesterday as a traditional New Year offering to Shinto gods. Some 2,800 visitors watched the two Mongolian behemoths pound the ground with their feet and flex their muscles in the front yard of the main sanctuary at Meiji Shrine. The two top-ranked “yokozuna” wrestlers, who go by the ring names of Hakuho and Harumafuji, were the latest-and largest-of the millions of New Year pilgrims to the shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji, the great grandfather of reigning Emperor Akihito. About 3.2 million people prayed at the shine in the first three days of the New Year, a common practice at shrines across Japan where people wish for good fortune over the coming 12 months. During each of two-minute rituals performed by the man-mountain wrestlers, spectators shouted “Yoi-sho (alley-oop)” in unison to cheer on their power-packed moves. The rite, known as dohyo-iri (ring-entering ceremony), is performed at the start of each day in sumo’s topdivision tournament. It has also become a New Year fixture at Meiji Shrine after the holy place was built in 1920 with the dohyo-iri rite used in a ceremony to purify its construction ground, a shrine official said. The rite has been also periodically featured at high-profile shrines across the country, making explicit the links between the sport and the Shinto tradition in which it is steeped. “I was able to finish my dohyo-iri with all my heart,” said 29-year-old Harumafuji, a grand champion for more than two years, whose real name is

TOKYO: Accompanied by sumo wrestlers Kyokutenho (left-holding a sword) and Kaisei (right), Mongolian-born sumo grand champion, or ‘yokozuna’, Hakuho performs a ringentering ceremony at Meiji Shrine in Tokyo yesterday. —AFP Davaanyam Byambadorj. “I want to fix up my injury and do my best,” the Mongolian told reporters in Japanese, referring to a pain in his left ankle in the run-up to the first of the year’s six tournaments, which opens in Tokyo this Sunday. Hakuho, 28, has set his sights high for the New Year after winning 27 tournaments in his 13-year career which has included six-and-a-half years as yokozuna. He is aiming to break the

record of 32 career tournament wins set by the late yokozuna Taiho. “Each and every win will bring me closer to the awesome record,” said Hakuho, who was born as Monkhbatyn Davaajargal. “But I am a bit scared because if I think too big it might create some kind of problem for me,” said the wrestler, who, like many of his fellow grapplers, is superstitious. “I should really stay cool and will aim for 30 wins first of all.” —AFP

Roma in command as Peterhansel suffers SAN JUAN: Spaniard Nani Roma moved into the Dakar Rally lead with victory in the third stage on Tuesday as favourite Stephane Peterhansel suffered a nightmare day. Frenchman Peterhansel began the day in the overall lead following his victory in Monday’s second stage, but punctured six times as he came home in 28th place, more than 28 minutes down on Roma. Poland’s Krzysztof Holowczyc came in second 1min 07sec down with South African Leroy Poulter third at 3min 19sec. In the overall standings, Roma leads a trio of Mini drivers with Argentine Orlando Terranova second at 9min 06sec and Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar in third at 10min. Terranova was fourth on the day, losing just under 5min to Roma while AlAttiyah came in seventh after suffering four punctures, and lost just over 10min. Peterhansel is down in fifth place overall but is 24min 08sec behind Roma. And the 11-time former winner (six times in the moto section and five times in cars) admitted he had not enjoyed the 301km timed section from San Rafael to San Juan. “I’ve never known a Dakar stage like this one,” said a frustrated Peterhansel. “It was a nightmare today. We punctured six times! Unfortunately we opened on the course and we paid for it. “On the first I hit a big rock, that’s my fault, but then we were the first to go out and we found ourselves completely off-piste in very tall vegetation thanks to a last-gasp swerve due to bad weather and mud. “And when we got out of that, we had three slow punctures out of four wheels, certainly due to the pines in the sides of the wheels. “Unfortunately, as we were the first car, we cleared the track for the rest behind. We were thrown into the lion’s den but I can’t see how we could have done anything differently. “We couldn’t have imagined that in clearing a path in the vegetation we’d get three punctures out of four.” For Roma it was a particularly satisfying day. “You know, sometimes the Dakar is crazy and this stage was like that,” he said. “The drivers in front of me had some problems and I tried to be really concentrated all through the stage and not make mistakes. “Anyway, I’ve got here and I’m happy, but on the Dakar, Valparaiso is still far. We need to be like that and really concentrate every day.” In the motorcycle section, Spaniard Joan Barreda on a Honda increased his overall lead by winning the third stage, a 373km timed special. Frenchman Cyril Despres on a Yamaha came in second 4min 41sec back with Spain’s Marc Coma third on a KTM at 6min 56sec. Those three remain in those exact positions in the overall standings with Barreda holding a lead of over 13 minutes. It was a particularly physically demanding course for the motorc yclists despite the length of the stage being reduced due to heavy rain. At one point they reached 4.3km above sea level. It proved treacherous for one rider as Portugal’s Ruben Faria had to be air-lifted to hospital by helicopter after a crash, although that was more for precautionary reasons than anything else. —AFP

SAN RAFAEL: Mini driver Stephane Peterhansel and co-pilot Jean Paul Cottret, both of France, race during the third stage of the Dakar Rally between the cities of San Rafael and San Juan in Argentina on Tuesday, Jan 7, 2014. —AP

World champ Chan, Moir, Virtue seek Olympic spots OTTAWA: Three-time men’s world champion Patrick Chan and reigning Olympic ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir top the line-up at the 100th anniversary Canadian Figure Skating Championships that begin on Friday. A century after Canada’s capital first hosted the event, Ottawa again becomes the nation’s figure skating focus with tickets even being sold for Thursday’s practice sessions. Skaters will seek berths at next month’s Sochi Winter Olympics with the largest line-up of Canadian figure skaters at an Olympics since the 1988 Calgary Winter Games. “Skate Canada is proud to be sending the biggest figure skating team in the world to Sochi and the largest Canadian team since 1988,” Skate Canada chief executive Dan Thompson said. Short progams will be staged on Friday with free programs on Saturday. Chan finished fifth at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics but since then has proven himself the man to beat in global showdowns, taking world titles in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Chan seeks his seventh consecutive Canadian national crown but comes into the event after a runner-up finish last month at the ISU Grand Prix final in Fukuoka, losing to Japanese teen Yuzuru Hanyu.

After the defeat, Chan said he planned no pre-Olympic changes to his routine, featuring quadruple jumps and performed to Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons.” “I have the formula to success and I have the formula to win the Olympics just through putting it together and having it turn out the way I have been training it,” Chan said. “If you get older and experienced, you learn to appreciate just little things and that for me was skating clean in the long (program) wherein nobody else did, so that’s a check in my book.” Virtue, 24, and Moir, 26, won gold at Vancouver and seek a sixth Canadian title. They won world titles in 2010 and 2012 but lost the world title last year in Canada to training partners Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the US duo expected to challenge them for gold at Sochi. Teen Kaetlyn Osmond hopes to defend her Canadian women’s crown and make her Olympic debut at Sochi while the pairs event will feature two-time defending Canadian champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, who were third in last year’s worlds. Other top Sochi hopefuls include treble Canadian podium finisher Kevin Reynolds and 2011 Canadian pairs champions Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch. —AFP



From palm trees to snow: Winter Olympics’ Sochi SOCHI: For visitors to the Winter Olympics, Sochi may feel like a landscape from a dream - familiar and strange at once. Palm trees evoke a tropical seaside resort, but the Black Sea itself is seriously cold; turn away from the palms and the jagged, snow-covered peaks of the Caucasus Mountains rise nearby. Lively and garish modern buildings mix with Stalin Gothic piles, like trophy wives on the arms of elderly men. Billboards are written in an alphabet where some letters sound exactly like you think they do, others mean something else and the rest are flat-out alien. What may seem oddest of all is the city’s cheerful and relaxed aura in a country stereotyped as dour. Even a local statue of Vladimir Lenin catches the casual vibe. He’s not haranguing the masses, just standing under some trees with one hand in his pocket as if he’s killing time waiting for a date. Some questions and answers about the resort city often called the Russian Riviera: AM I IN SOCHI? Rather like New York City, Sochi is a sprawling municipality, incorporating four boroughs. Confusingly, one of the four is called Sochi. So it’s possible to both be in Sochi and say “I’m going to Sochi.” All the Olympic events take place in the Adler borough, though the snow sports venues are

often referred to as being in specific settlements such as Krasnaya Polyana and EstoSadok. Sochi borough is more or less the Manhattan of the city, home to the best restaurants, coolest clubs and the main cultural institutions. The urban part of Adler also has attractive restaurants. But while its attractions are relatively cosmopolitan, and its coastline is 90 miles long, Sochi is not a big city population-wise, with only about 350,000 inhabitants. WILL THEY UNDERSTAND ME (AND VICE VERSA)? Volunteer staff at Olympics test events spoke excellent English and sometimes struck up conversations just to improve their skills (or show off). But outside the Olympic venues and large hotels, communication in languages other than Russian is likely to be difficult. The Games’ organizing committee recommends that mobile device users download a translation app. The Cyrillic alphabet isn’t as hard as it may look, and spending a couple of hours to master it brings sizeable rewards. Russian has many loanwords from English, French and German, so being able to sound out words can make the place pop into better focus. For example, knowing that “teatp” is pronounced “teater,” it’s a reasonable and correct guess that it means “theater.” Note that

bars advertising “xayc” are offering “house” music and not a homey atmosphere. HOW’S THE WEATHER? Rain, snow, sun, fog, warmish, cold - a few days at the Olympics likely will include them all. On the coast, where the ice sports and opening and closing ceremonies take place, daytime temperatures should be around 50 F (10 C) and freezing is unlikely. In the mountains, temperatures generally don’t get severely cold; at the lower elevations, where ski-jumping and sliding sports take place, the prospect of rain and abovefreezing temperatures is a concern. WHAT’S FOR DINNER? Russian cooking can be hard on the waistline but good for the taste buds. Even nominally low-calorie soups such as the beet-based borscht boost their count when a typical large dollop of sour cream is added. Pelmeni, dumplings filled with minced meat or vegetables, meet almost everyone’s taste. Entrees often come without additional items, so potatoes and other vegetables must be ordered separately. Russia has a wine industry of sorts, but refined palates may find it disappointing. Vodka, seen as both Russia’s treasure and its curse, is often ordered by the gram, with 100 grams (3.5 ounces) the standard to get the night start-

ed. Sochi also a good place to sample the food of nearby Georgia, including the renowned cheese-filled hot bread called khachapuri and tsatsivi, chicken in walnut sauce, and the plum-based soup kharcho. WHAT CAN I DO? Downtown Sochi and Adler both have long and appealing seaside promenades, complete with tacky souvenir stands, lively bars and restaurants. Sochi also has an attractive passenger harbor, whose spired terminal is one of the city’s standout buildings, and an art museum. The most idiosyncratic attraction may be Sochi’s extensive mountainside botanical garden, the Dendrarium, with an unusual array of plants showing the variable climate. Sochi has long been a choice destination for Russia’s political elite. Joseph Stalin’s summer residence in Zeleni Mys even features a wax mannequin of the dictator at his desk. A swim in the Black Sea may make an unusual Winter Olympics memory. The beaches are stony and the water temperature will be around 50 F (10 C); concerns have been raised about pollution in the sea around Dagomys, north of downtown Sochi. Although most of Sochi’s sports facilities will be devoted to the games, the Gornaya Karusel ski area expects to have some slopes open to the public, organizers say.

A classic Russian way to while away an afternoon is a trip to the banya, like a sauna but somewhat steamier. If your hotel doesn’t have one, it can likely recommend a good one nearby. A proper trip to the banya involves several hours of repeatedly heating up and cooling down, along with snacking and having a few drinks. Local tourist agencies offer other excursions. These include day trips to the separatist Georgian region of Abkhazia, but visitors will need a doubleentry Russian visa to get back into Sochi, and travel to the rest of Georgia is forbidden to those who come to Abkhazia from the Russian side. WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF RUSSIA? A trip to Sochi can be a jumping-off point for exploring other parts of Russia, notably Moscow and St Petersburg. Unless there’s time to spare or the spirit of adventure overtakes you, the train isn’t a good option. The fastest train from Sochi to Moscow takes a full 24 hours; St Petersburg is another half day beyond. February is the most severe of the winter months in both Moscow and St Petersburg and visitors to these cities should be prepared for temperatures colder than anything they’re likely to experience even in the mountains of Sochi. —AP

Moscow airports ban carry-on liquids ahead of Winter Games MOSCOW: Moscow’s two main international airports yesterday announced a flat ban on all carry-on liquids as part of a mass security clampdown ahead of next month’s Sochi Winter Games. Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo airports handle the vast majority of Russia’s international air traffic and will receive the bulk of foreign fans arriving for the February 7-23 Olympic festivities on the shores of the Black Sea. Extending even to some prescribed medication and cosmetics, the unexpected banthe latest in a string of tough security moves leading up to the Games sparked a furious online debate among Russians. Russia this week launched the largest security operation in Olympic history aimed at warding off the threat of Islamist violence following last month’s twin suicide strikes in the southern hub of Volgograd. The December 29-30 bombings left 34 dead and sparked fears of a renewed terror campaign by militants from the nearby North Caucasus who have threatened attacks before and during the Games. Sheremetyevo airport said on its website that the ban covers “all liquids, including personal hygiene items, cosmetics, medicines, liquids, sprays and gels in any amount.” It also applies to “items used in arts and crafts such as paints, soil and glue.” The restrictions-adopted by the Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) - will remain in force until March 21. The two Moscow airports had previously let passengers take up to 100 milliliters (3.4 ounces) of liquids on board flights.Security has been a major concern ever since President Vladimir Putin beat extreme odds in 2007 to bring Russia’s first post-Soviet Games to the Black Sea summer resort. Sochi will also host the March 7-16 Paralympic Games and Putin has publicly forbidden security officials from taking vacations until the last foreign visitor leaves the country from that event. SOCHI MAIL INSPECTIONS Russia on Tuesday saw soldiers in armored vehicles and navy officers on the Black Sea join a 37,000-strong contingent overseeing security in and around Sochi. A Kremlin decree also establishes a so-called “forbidden zone” that blocks highways into the city and prevents residents from using roads leading to Olympic venues without special permits. Russia’s postal service further announced that it has assumed checks of all mail and parcels sent to the Krasnodar region in and around Sochi “in order to ensure safety” at the Olympic events. Security analysts argue that the tremendous attention devoted to the Sochi venues may leave the vast country exposed to attacks at other sites. They add that draconian police measures may prove ineffective without serious efforts to infiltrate potential terror cells, notably through the use of modern technology. “Passive (police) measures are certainly more visible, but they are also much more expensive and wasteful,” independent security analyst Andrei Soldatov told Moscow Echo radio. Russia’s latest restriction provoked an immediate chorus of complaints. The flagship Aeroflot airline in particular sparked an outcry by warning that travelers will be stripped of their medication unless they can prove it needs to be used during flights. “This is really inconvenient,” a man who identified himself as Yevgeny Koval complained on Aeroflot’s Twitter account. The liquid restrictions came as other global airlines and governments relax tough guidelines first introduced in 2001 in response to the September 11 attacks in the United States. The US Depar tment of Homeland Security now allows travelers to take items such as baby formula and medicine “in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces” as long as they are declared at check-in. The European Union also allows up to a liter (33,8 ounces) of “drinks, toothpaste, cosmetic creams (and) gels” into aircraft cabins provided they are carried in transparent bags and split between smaller containers. —AFP

SAVOIE: A photo shows (left to right) Norway’s Marie Hoeie Gjefsen, Keisey Serwa, Katrin Mueller and France’s Marie Berger Sabbatel competing during the FIS World Cup Women’s Ski Cross event at the Val Thorens ski resort, French Alps. Some 26 years after freestyle skiing has been shown as a demonstration sport at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, the halfpipe and ski slopestyle disciplines will make their Olympic debut at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. —AFP

Ovechkin leads Russia bid for Olympics gold MOSCOW: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was named in Russia’s squad for next month’s Olympics in Sochi while veteran defenseman Sergey Gonchar and forward Alexander Semin were surprise omissions from the 25-man roster. Forward Ovechkin is among 15 NHL players named in the squad, but Russia’s head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov is also banking on the strength of the domestic Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). Ten players made the cut from the Russiandominated competition, one more than Bilyaletdinov’s predecessor, Vyacheslav Bykov, selected four years ago for the Vancouver Games. Ilya Kovalchuk, a former NHL forward with the Atlanta Thrashers and New Jersey Devils who joined SKA St Petersburg in the KHL last year, is among the top players from Russian teams. Along with Ovechkin, those drawn from the NHL include Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings and Evgeny Malkin of the Pittsburg Penguins, both strong attacking players. Dynamo Moscow’s key player, the hard-working, experienced 31-year-old forward Sergei Soin, was a surprise inclusion. “In terms of Sergei Soin, just like Alexander Eremenko, he’s a two-time Gagarin Cup (KHL playoffs) winner and won’t be intimidated by high profile players,” said Bilyaletdinov. “He will be able to help out when we are shorthanded and will help to limit the offensive play of our opponents,” he added on the

official website of the Ice Hockey Federation of Russia ( HIGH HOPES Russia also have high hopes for Valeri Nichushkin, 18, who signed a three-year contract with the Dallas Stars last year after helping Traktor Chelyabinsk reach the KHL final. “Valeri Nichushkin was called up after we saw him play for the Dallas Stars during our trip to Nor th America (in November),” added Bilyaletdinov. “At the moment, he is in excellent form. You could say we are putting our faith in him, but he is an exceedingly talented player and I’m sure he’ll justify his selection.” The Sochi Games are the first Olympics to be held in Russia since Moscow 1980 and the hosts will be under pressure to deliver. Ice hockey is among the sports where Russia is seen as having a strong chance of winning a gold medal. Russia’s men’s ice hockey team are number three in the International Ice Hockey Federation rankings behind Sweden and Finland, having been top for the previous four years. The Soviet Union won seven men’s ice hockey gold medals in the nine Olympics held between 1956 and 1988 but Russia have failed to win an Olympic medal since 2002 when they claimed bronze in Salt Lake City. In the preliminary round, Russia will face Slovakia and the United States after their first Group A game against Slovenia on Feb. 13. The men’s competition takes place from Feb 12-23. —Reuters

No flag for India athletes at Winter Olympic Games NEW DELHI: India’s athletes lost all hope yesterday of competing under the national flag at the Winter Olympics after the country’s suspended Olympic association said it would hold elections two days after the Games open in Sochi. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) will hold a poll to elect new leaders on February 9, a senior source said, meaning luge medal hope Shiva Keshavan and three other competitors will be classed as independents, not as Indians. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) froze India’s membership in December 2012 after the national association in New Delhi elected a number of tainted officials to key posts. The IOA last month bowed to pressure and agreed to keep tainted officials out of the fresh elections, but rejected a request from India’s sports ministry to hold the new contest before the start of the Games. A furious Keshavan, preparing abroad for his fifth Winter Olympics that open on February 7, told the Mail Today newspaper yesterday that not being able to compete under the national flag was “shameful and pathetic”. “It is a sad and embarrassing situation that Indian sport has been put in,” the 32-

year-old said. “People around the world know about the failure of our systems and about corruption and bad governance in sports. “ The essence of the Olympic Games is to ‘represent’ and I feel it is shameful and pathetic for all of us Indians that athletes may not walk under the Indian flag.” IOC president Thomas Bach explained on December 10 that if elections were not held before February 7, Indian qualifiers for Sochi would be officially classified “as independent athletes under the Olympic flag”. A source in the Indian association said yesterday: “A notification to hold the elections on Feb 9 has been issued by senior IOA official S Reghunathan, who has chaired the last few meetings.” The officials in the row include IOA secretarygeneral Lalit Bhanot who is out on bail facing corruption charges linked to the chaotic 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. The IOA source said holding the elections before the Games would have “created complications”. “The decision to have elections on February 9 was taken at a special general body meeting last month,” he said. “We would have had to call another general body meeting to change the dates.” —AFP



Tears, blackout - now a win for China’s Li? MELBOURNE: Li Na blacked out during last year’s Australian Open final and in 2012 she departed in floods of tears. Now she may feel that, finally, her time has come. The season’s first Grand Slam has been a love-hate affair for the Chinese star, a popular figure at Melbourne Park who has twice made the final without being able to lift the trophy. But ongoing improvement under coach Carlos Rodriguez has put Li, who turns 32 next month, in a strong position to make the trophy hers. Li, currently ranked fourth in the world, ended 2013 at a career-high three following her runner-up finish to Serena Williams at the season-ending WTA Championships. It capped a year that began in bittersweet circumstances for Li, who was a set up against Victoria Azarenka in the Melbourne final before painfully rolling her left ankle. After the traditional break for Australia Day fireworks, Li went down again in the third set, smashing the back of her head on the court and briefly blacking out. “I think I was a little bit worried when I fell down and my head hit the floor, because for two seconds I couldn’t really see anything. It was totally black,” she said at the time. “So when the physio came, she was like, ‘Focus on my finger’. I started laughing. I was thinking, ‘This is a tennis court, not a hospital!’” Li became Asia’s

first Grand Slam singles finalist at the Australian Open in 2011, when she was also a set up against Kim Clijsters before losing in three. However, it proved the springboard to her greatest success, when she made history as Asia’s first Grand Slam winner at the French Open later that year. With expectations sky-high, and sponsors and media clamoring for her attentions, Li’s form dipped and she fled her press conference in tears after a fourthround Australian Open defeat to Clijsters in 2012. Months later, after nose-diving out of the London Olympics’ first round, Li took the tough decision to sideline her husband, Jiang Shan, as coach in favor of Argentina’s Rodriguez. It proved another bold but highly effective move from Li, who famously walked away from China’s harsh state system in an example that would later be followed by other athletes. She approaches the Australian Open in good form after starting the year with victory at the Shenzhen Open, beating compatriot Peng Shuai in the final. Li will now feel confident about facing anyoneexcept perhaps the intimidating Williams, against whom she employed an unusual tactic in the WTA Championships final in October. “Yeah, don’t look at her at all, you know,” she confided to reporters in Istanbul. The trick did not work for Li, who went down 2-6, 6-3, 6-0. —AFP

Li Na of China

Del Potro stands firm as seeds tumble in Sydney Errani joins seed exodus; Tomic battle through

MELBOURNE: Richard Gasquet of France serves in his match with Jordan Thompson of Australia at the invitational Kooyong Classic tennis tournament in Melbourne yesterday. —AFP

Frenchmen Gasquet, Simon win at Kooyong MELBOURNE: France’s Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon earned opening-day wins at the Kooyong Classic yesterday as preparation for next week’s Australian Open began to heat up. World number nine Gasquet was tested by 321st-ranked Australian Jordan Thompson-a late substitute for a fatigued Lleyton Hewitt-before escaping with a 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7/4) win. The eight-man tournament is considered the top tune-up for the season’s first Grand Slam, starting Monday. And Simon rallied from the depths to overhaul Stanislas Wawrinka 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 after the Swiss served for a straight-set victory in the event. Wawrinka, world number eight, committed more than 40 unforced errors in windy conditions as Simon seized the initiative in the match which had appeared to have been a lost cause. “It was a good win, it’s always difficult to play Stan,” said Simon. “He doesn’t give much rhythm and you never know what to expect. “It’s good to be playing this kind of tennis with the Grand Slam coming.” Czech Tomas Berdych, ranked seventh, had earlier shrugged off a slow start to recover from 5-2 down in the first set to defeat Fernando Verdasco 7-5, 6-2. While Kei Nishikori beat Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7/5), 6-4. Teenager Thompson gave good account of himself in the first big match of his career, ending with a respectable 16 aces but missing out on a huge upset as he failed on two match points late in the final

set. The Aussie benefited as Gasquet, recovering from recent back pain, committed more than 40 unforced errors, around half of them on his strong backhand side. Gasquet said the complaint which stopped him last week in Doha was not completely healed, one of the reasons he was repeatedly called for foot faults on his serve. “I’m not happy with my form at the moment. I need to be 100 percent for Monday. We will have to see what happens over the next couple of days,” said the Frenchman who has never been past the fourth round of the Australian Open. Berdych admitted that he was distracted by a red-and-white court background which made it tough for him to see the ball as he faced Verdasco. “I struggled with the background, it was really tough to make out the ball. But after a while I started to see it more clearly,” he said. “I began hitting the ball better and my game got better and better as the match went on.” Berdych recovered from 5-2 down in the opening set and took victory on his first match point after a double break in the second. “I faced some tough situations, it was a solid start,” said Berdych, a first-round loser last week in Doha. “I need as many matches as possible in these fast conditions before the Australian Open,” Berdych added. “I have improvements to make to my game, but they won’t be dramatic, just little by little.” —AFP

Dominant Serena guns for her 18th major title MELBOURNE: Serena Williams is gunning to match Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova by winning an 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, with her blistering form suggesting she can reach the milestone. The world number one cemented her dominance of the sport with 11 titles last year, including the US and French Opens. And she picked up where she left off by winning the Brisbane International on Saturday, beating reigning Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka in the final, with her powerful serve proving the difference. Williams also beat world number three Maria Sharapova en route to the title the 58th of her remarkable career-to ensure she enters the seasonopening Grand Slam as red-hot favorite. “It was a great test, it showed me where my level was, and I feel like I definitely have some room for improvement and things that I want to improve on going into Melbourne, and things I have to improve on if I want to win,” she said in Brisbane. Despite her rich vein of form, Williams, 32, is not taking an 18th Grand Slam title and sixth Australian Open crown for granted, knowing she needs to start from scratch at Melbourne Park next week. Last year, an injury-hit campaign ended with defeat to young fellow American Sloane Stephens in the quarter-

finals. But Czech-American great Navratilova believes Williams is not only poised to equal her career Grand Slam haul, but could even catch Steffi Graf’s Open-era record of 22. “If she can stay healthy there is no doubt she can go into the 20s. The sky is the limit,” Navratilova said this week. Belarusian Azarenka, who won an incident-packed Melbourne final last year against Li Na to successfully defend her title, appears best placed to halt Williams, despite the 6-4, 7-5 Brisbane defeat. Azarenka was responsible for two of Williams’ five losses last year but knows she faces a major battle against a player who won the Australian Open in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010. She nevertheless remains confident of clinching a third successive Australian Open crown. “I’m a perfectionist. I want to play better, I want to win,” Azarenka said. Sharapova is another former Melbourne winner searching for her next major title and she will be hoping to avoid Williams until the final, with the American having a 15-2 record over her long-time rival. The glamorous Russian, now under coach Sven Groeneveld after a failed, one-tournament partnership with Jimmy Connors, endured a frustrating 2013 when a shoulder injury forced her off the tour in August. —AFP

MELBOURNE: World number five Juan Martin del Potro, the man tipped to challenge for grand slam titles this season, began his year with a scrappy win over Frenchman Nicolas Mahut to advance to the quarter-finals of the Sydney International yesterday. The Sydney warm-up to the Australian Open has proved a graveyard for the seeds this week but the 25year-old former US Open champion avoided an early flight to Melbourne by coming back to win 1-6 6-3 6-4. Rated a dark horse to win the title at Melbourne Park and add to his sole grand slam triumph at Flushing Meadows in 2009, the top seeded Argentine will next take on Czech veteran Radek Stepanek for a place in the last four. Other seeds struggled, with No.3 Andreas Seppi from Italy bundled out by Australia’s Marinko Matesovic 6-3 6-4 and sixth seed Julien Benneteau of France dumped in straight sets by Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky. Defending champion Bernard Tomic advanced with a hard-fought 6-3 4-6 6-4 win over Slovenian qualifier Blaz Kavcic, continuing his habit of raising his game for home fans at the start of the year. The rangy 21-year-old, ranked 52nd in the world, has disappointed some in Australia for failing to live up to sky-high expectations and has been drawn into controversy by his coach and father John Tomic. Tomic senior has been barred from the Australian Open after a court in Spain convicted him of assaulting his son’s former hitting partner last year. “The majority of the crowd like me in Australia,” the 21-year-old Tomic told reporters after setting up a quarterfinal with Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov. “At the end of the day, if you win, it’s going to put a zip to everyone.” The women’s draw, which has already seen top seed Agnieszka Radwanska and former world number one Caroline Wozniacki sent packing, lost third seed Sara Errani, last year’s surprise French Open semi-finalist, who was upset 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 by Bulgaria’s Tsvetana Pironkova in the quarter-finals. The Italian world number seven took a medical time-out in the second set to have treatment on her lower back, raising concerns over her fitness ahead of the year’s first grand slam. Former Wimbledon semifinalist Pironkova will play second seed and for-

SYDNEY: Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina lunges to play a shot in his match against Nicolas Mahut of France during the Sydney International Tennis Tournament in Sydney, Australia yesterday. —AP mer Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who wore down Lucie Safarova 7-6 6-2, for a place in the final. BERDYCH WINS The invitational Kooyong Classic kicked off in Melbourne’s leafy eastern suburbs yesterday, with a smattering of men’s top 10 players warming up at the eight-man exhibition, which offers the same surface used at Melbourne Park. World number seven Tomas Berdych roared back from a 5-2 deficit in the first set to overhaul Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 7-5 6-2 in his first hit-out of 2014 in brilliant sunshine. Japanese number one Kei Nishikori also enjoyed an opening win over Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov 7-6 (7-5) 6-4. World number nine Richard Gasquet of France

Greats Federer and Laver trade shots in Melbourne A rare Australian Open warmup MELBOURNE: Roger Federer traded shots with his hero Rod Laver yesterday in the stadium that bears the Australian great’s name before promising that his hunger for grand slam titles remains as strong as ever. The 17times grand slam champion beamed with pride after enjoying a few rallies with the 75year-old, who was dressed in traditional whites and impressed a packed crowd with his movement ahead of Federer’s exhibition match with French world number 10 JoWilfried Tsonga. “Hitting with Rod Laver for me clearly is an absolute dream come true,” Federer told reporters after a crowd-pleasing 6-7(5) 6-3 7-5 win over Tsonga in the fund-raising event for his charity, the Roger Federer Foundation. “It’s in his arena as well, it’s named after him and he deserves it so much. “He told me that his wrist was hurting less on the forehand so he asked me to play there a bit more often. “While I was playing my racket was feeling extremely heavy, that means I was very nervous which I really was because you don’t want to miss a shot. “I was happy we had some rallies. What an honor it was for me and I hope that the crowd enjoyed it and I’m very thankful that he was willing to do something like this because it’s not normal in any way and that’s why I really appreciate it.” The 32-year-old Federer has

won four of his 17 major titles in Rod Laver Arena and famously burst into tears when receiving the second of his winner’s trophies in 2006 from the Australian, the only man to complete two grand slams in calendar years. Laver has returned the admiration and said during the Melbourne launch of his autobiography in October last year that the Swiss could hit back from his disappointing 2013 by winning the year’s first grand slam. Federer heads into the grand slam seeded sixth and after losing the final of the Brisbane International to fellow 32-year-old Lleyton Hewitt of Australia. The Swiss has not set any goals for himself at Melbourne Park as he battles to return to peak form but said the tour was still keeping the competitive juices flowing. “It’s a different feeling today and the enjoyment factor I get out of playing on tour is totally different,” he said. “It’s a much deeper love I have today for the game and a much bigger appreciation and respect I have. “I just remember playing on court 25 all along in my career. So now that I can play on centre court it’s an absolute privilege most of the time and if they put me on Hisense (Arena) or Margaret Court (Arena), I don’t care,” he said of the two other showcourts at Melbourne Park. “As long as I can play in great conditions and enjoy myself I’ll keep on playing.” —Reuters

nearly suffered an embarrassing defeat by teenager Jordan Thompson, and had to save two match points before fending off the 321stranked Australian 7-5 3-6 7-6 (7-4). Sam Stosur’s stuttering revival after a dismal Hopman Cup continued with a second straight win at the Hobart International in front of home fans. The former US Open champion had to save two match points against 54th-ranked Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic as she labored through a 6-4 2-6 7-6 (9-7) match blighted by an astonishing 22 double-faults from both players. World number three David Ferrer, bidding for his fourth straight Auckland Open crown, began his 10th appearance in the event with a 6-7 (7-5) 6-3 6-1 win over American Donald Young. —Reuters

Ferrer survives as top seeds exist Auckland AUCKLAND: Defending champion David Ferrer survived a scare to reach the quar ter-finals of the Auckland Open yesterday, as four seeded players exited early in a day of upsets. The Spanish world number three, top seed this year at the tournament he has won four times, recovered from a sluggish start to down American qualifier Donald Young 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-1. “It was difficult, I started off very bad making a lot of mistakes,” Ferrer said. “In the second set I tried to play more focused, be myself and it worked. In the third one, I could play my tennis.” German second seed Tommy Haas could not conjure a similar escape, beaten 6-4, 6-4 by big-hitting American wildcard Jack Sock. Haas’s compatriot Daniel Brands, seeded ninth, lost 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 to another American Bradley Klahn, while California native Steve Johnson was responsible for ousting two high-profile names from the tournament. Johnson overcame Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 7-5, 67 (3/7), 6-4 in a first-round match rescheduled from Tuesday due to rain, then a few hours later beat South African fourth seed Kevin Anderson 7-5, 6-4. French sixth seed Benoit Paire lost 6-3, 6-4 to Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain. Both third seed John Isner of the United States and German fifth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber emerged from their second round encounters unscathed. However the pair will meet in the quarter finals today, further opening the draw as Ferrer chases a record-breaking fifth Auckland title. —AFP



New Pietersen row reveals old tensions LONDON: Controversy has been as much a part of Kevin Pietersen’s career as linseed oil in an old bat, so the fact several British newspapers carried reports yesterday of England coach Andy Flower issuing a ‘he goes or I go’ ultimatum came as no great surprise. Both the 33-year-old Pietersen, who finished as the tourists’ top scorer in the series despite managing just 294 runs at a rate of 29.40, and Flower did their best to rubbish the reports in bland public statements. But it seems new England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) managing director Paul Downton will have to decide if the talented shotmaker remains ‘worth the trouble’. According to former England seamer Mike Selvey, the long-serving cricket correspondent of the Guardian, Flower’s view was clear. “So adamant is Flower that the presence of Pietersen in the dressing room is detrimental to the future development of the side that he is believed to be pre-

pared to resign his position should Downton, James Whitaker, the new national selector, and Alastair Cook-if he retains the captaincy-insist that Pietersen should be a part of that process,” Selvey wrote. There is also the question of whether Pietersen’s chronic knee injury means his best days are now behind him, despite his stated desire to score 10,000 Test runs-a goal which, if he reaches it, is likely to help, not hinder, England’s prospects. Indeed Pietersen’s maiden Test century has a claim to being England’s most important of the 21st century so far, given that it secured the draw that saw England regain the Ashes in 2005 after a 19-year gap since their last series win over Australia. On a day when conventional ‘bat for a draw’ tactics simply led a to a flurry of wickets at the other end, Pietersen audaciously counter-attacked bowlers of the calibre of Glenn McGrath,

Brett Lee and Shane Warne. And in Mumbai in 2012 he made 186 against India on a spinners’ pitch where most batsmen were struggling just to stay at the crease. England’s desire to have a captain across all three formats saw the lanky shotmaker given the job in 2008. But a falling-out with coach Peter Moores-not to mention his then assistant Flower-meant Pietersen’s tenure lasted barely five months before both men lost their posts. Last year’s Headingley Test against South Africa encapsulated Pietersen’s England career. Having produced a match-saving century where Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel were treated like club bowlers, Pietersen gave an equally stunning post-match press conference in which he proclaimed “it’s tough being me in this dressing room”. The comments chimed with the idea of Pietersen the mercenary, after he clashed with England’s management over

his desire to play more often in the lucrative Twenty20 Indian Premier League. Soon afterwards it emerged he’d sent “provocative” texts allegedly critical of then England captain Andrew Strauss to South African players. Pietersen was briefly dropped by England, only to be recalled when Cook took over following Strauss’s retirement. Few people were more admiring of Pietersen’s innings at Headingley than Geoffrey Boycott, coincidentally the most controversial England player of his generation, although in his case he faced accusations of not being a team man on account of scoring too slowly. ‘ONE-DAY CLOWNS’ Roll on a few months, and Boycott was calling Pietersen “a mug” and all the top order “one-day clowns”. There is a case for saying a truly great batsman would, at least at some point, have found a way to

Ducks record 14th win in 15 games ANAHEIM: Mathieu Perreault scored two goals and Jonas Hiller made 30 saves in his 12th consecutive victory as the Anaheim Ducks beat the Boston Bruins 5-2 Tuesday for their 14th win in 15 games. Perreault, Corey Perry and Nick Bonino scored power-play goals for the NHL-leading Ducks, who improved to 18-0-2 at home. Andrew Cogliano scored short-handed during the Ducks’ three-goal second period. Teemu Selanne added two assists in Anaheim’s eighth consecutive win at home, matching its 8-0 streak to open the season. Daniel Paille and Dougie Hamilton scored for the Bruins, who played without forward Milan Lucic for the first time this season due to an illness. Tuukka Rask stopped 15 shots, but the Atlantic Division leaders couldn’t overcome their special-teams woes in the opener of a threegame California road trip. PENGUINS 5, CANUCKS 4, SO Sidney Crosby tied the score with 55 seconds left in regulation and added the only goal in a shootout to rally Pittsburgh past slumping Vancouver. Crosby and Kris Letang scored 16 seconds apart late in the third period to tie it for Pittsburgh after the Canucks grabbed a 4-2 lead. Evgeni Malkin and Brian Gibbons also scored for the Penguins. Jussi Jokinen added two assists, and Crosby had one of his own. Marc-Andre Fleury made 22 saves for the win. Chris Higgins, Zack Kassian and Christopher Tanev each had a goal and an assist for Vancouver, which lost its fifth in a row. Jason Garrison also scored and Eddie Lack made 31 saves. Vancouver appeared to be on its way to a victory when Higgins beat Fleury through the legs on a breakaway with 6:53 left in regulation and Kassian batted down a puck off the rush and swatted it past the goalie 17 seconds later. WILD 2, KINGS 1, SO Nino Niederreiter scored the tying goal early in the third period and netted the only goal in a fourround shootout to lead Minnesota over Los Angeles. The Wild, playing their first game since leading scorer Mikko Koivu broke his ankle Saturday at Washington, have won three straight for the first time since Nov 1-5. Koivu underwent surgery Monday and is expected to miss at least four weeks. Darcy Kuemper made 17 of his 39 saves during the first period in his third appearance this season and fifth NHL start. Jarret Stoll scored for the Kings, and Jonathan Quick made 16 saves in his second straight start after missing 24 games because of a groin injury. PREDATORS 3, SHARKS 2 Mattias Ekholm’s first NHL goal proved to be the game winner as Nashville beat San Jose for its first victory in four games. David Legwand also had a goal and an assist, and Shea Weber added two assists for the Predators, who have earned points in five of six games. Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau scored for San Jose, which has lost two of three. The Predators took control against the Sharks by scoring three goals in the second period. Nashville is undefeated in regulation this season when scoring at least three times. San Jose played without forward Logan Couture, who is scheduled for surgery yesterday for what is believed to be a hand injury.

EDMONTON: Boyd Gordon No 27 of the Edmonton Oilers checks Derek Roy No 12 of the St Louis Blues during an NHL game at Rexall Place on January 7, 2014 in Edmonton, Canada. —AFP FLYERS 3, DEVILS 2, OT Brayden Schenn scored at 1:50 of overtime as the Flyers beat the Devils after giving up a late shorthanded goal that forced the extra session. Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell also scored for Philadelphia, which ended a six-game road trip with a 5-1 record. Ray Emery made 31 saves and won for the eighth time in nine games. Michael Ryder tied it at 2 on a short-handed goal with 30 seconds left in regulation. It came on a great feed from defenseman Marek Zidlicky, with goalie Martin Brodeur on the bench for an extra skater. Adam Henrique also scored for New Jersey, which is 0-2-1 in its last three games. Schenn’s game-winner was set up by a great back-door pass by defenseman Nicklas Grossman from the left point. BLUES 5, OILERS 2 Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist, and the Blues won their season-high sixth straight game. Chris Stewart, Maxim Lapierre, David Backes and Patrick Berglund also scored for the Blues, who are 11-1-2 in their last 14 games. They are two points behind Central Division-leading Chicago. Nail Yakupov and Mark Arcobello had goals for the

NY Islanders 5, Toronto 3; Philadelphia 3, New Jersey 2 (OT); Nashville 3, San Jose 2; Tampa Bay 4, Winnipeg 2; Phoenix 6, Calgary 0; St. Louis 5, Edmonton 2; Pittsburgh 5, Vancouver 4 (SO); Anaheim 5, Boston 2; Minnesota 2, Los Angeles 1 (SO).

GA 113 114 91 113 127 137 161

PTS 69 60 57 55 51 36 33

Central Division 29 7 9 167 30 7 5 155 26 12 4 123 23 17 5 108 20 15 7 123 19 19 6 105 19 22 5 125

124 97 108 114 131 131 139

67 65 56 51 47 44 43

Chicago St. Louis Colorado Minnesota Dallas Nashville Winnipeg

West Indies destroy New Zealand to draw series HAMILTON: The West Indies hammered their highestever limited-overs total to crush New Zealand by 203 runs in the fifth and final one-day international yesterday, drawing the series 2-2. Skipper Dwayne Bravo and Kirk Edwards both scored centuries as the visitors flayed New Zealand’s attack to reach 363 for four, before Nikita Miller dominated with the ball to skittle the Black Caps for 160. The mammoth total was the highest ever posted by the West Indies in a 50-over match, surpassing the 360 against Sri Lanka in 1987. Bravo, whose team has been hit by injuries and poor form while on tour, said the stunning victory showed anything was possible. “We came into this game with our backs against the wall and needed a big win,” he said, “Everyone played a big part and played hard to represent our country.” Bravo and Edwards came together at 143-3 and put on 211 runs, with Edwards finishing unbeaten on 123, his maiden ODI century. The captain was dismissed shortly before the end of the innings for 106. Opener Kieran Powell had launched a blistering assault at the start of the innings, smashing 73 runs off just 44 balls with 12 fours and two sixes. He plundered 18 off a single Mitchell McClenaghan over, with one lucky spectator winning NZ$100,000 ($83,000) from a beer sponsor by catching one of his sixes one-handed. New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum brought on his brother Nathan to try to stem the runs and the tactic paid off almost immediately when Powell was out lbw for 73,

trying to sweep. Fellow opener Johnson Charles was run out for 31 when Nathan McCullum sent the stumps flying with a direct hit as the batsman attempted a quick single. Lendl Simmons followed soon after, caught by Kane Williamson off Corey Anderson. Bravo came to the crease and steadied the innings with Edwards, who smashed a six to notch his half century. The West Indies bludgeoned 117 off the last 10 overs, with Bravo dismissed trying to smash Williamson out of the ground. New Zealand made a disastrous start, slumping to 65 for five after just 15 overs through a combination of rash shots and a much-improved West Indian attack. The Black Caps openers went cheaply, with Martin Guptill out lbw for six and danger man Jesse Ryder (17) scooping the ball skyward going for a slog. Brendon McCullum failed to stop the rot coming in the middle order, offering Johnson Charles a simple catch when he charged down the wicket to a seemingly innocuous delivery from Nikita Miller, who finished with figures of four for 45. A luckless Luke Ronchi dismissed himself for 15 when he dislodged the bails with his foot as he squared up for a shot, in a sign nothing was going the Black Caps’ way. “It was a terrible day for us,” Brendon McCullum said. “The West Indies boys certainly came out today and put in a performance we knew they were capable of. We weren’t able to get there today and were comprehensively beaten.” —AFP


NHL results/standings

Western Conference Pacific Division W L OTL GF Anaheim 32 8 5 151 San Jose 27 11 6 144 Los Angeles 26 13 5 114 Vancouver 23 13 9 121 Phoenix 21 12 9 129 Calgary 15 22 6 100 Edmonton 14 27 5 119

steer a middle course. But, as former England captain Mike Brearley once wrote, it’s wishful to think a tortoise can ever jump like a gazelle. And after the Sydney thrashing, Michael Vaughan-the first England captain Pietersen played under-said: “I hope England do not take the easy way out of this mess by making Kevin Pietersen the victim for the Ashes whitewash.” Speaking late last month, Pietersen put his own case: “Clearly I’ve made a few mistakes-and that’s been highlighted-but I won’t change the way I play for anybody because I think I’ve been pretty successful. “You take the rough with the smooth. That is what happens.” Yet successive England teams have appeared to put as high a price on social conformity as actual playing ability. “They don’t want me but they want my runs,” Boycott once remarked of his England career. The same rueful ‘epitaph’ may yet apply to Pietersen too. —AFP

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division Boston 28 13 2 126 Tampa Bay 26 13 4 123 Montreal 25 14 5 114 Detroit 19 14 10 114 Toronto 21 18 5 122 Ottawa 19 18 7 126 Florida 16 21 6 102 Buffalo 12 26 4 74

94 102 103 121 132 141 136 118

58 56 55 48 47 45 38 28

Metropolitan Division Pittsburgh 32 12 1 147 107 65 Philadelphia 22 17 4 114 118 48 Washington 20 16 6 128 128 46 Carolina 18 16 9 105 124 45 NY Rangers 21 20 3 108 119 45 New Jersey 17 18 9 103 113 43 Columbus 19 20 4 117 126 42 NY Islanders 16 22 7 124 149 39 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L).

Oilers, who have lost five of six games and 11 of 14. Blues forward TJ Oshie had to be helped off the ice late in the third period after a knee-on-knee collision with Edmonton’s Taylor Hall. Berglund sealed the win with an empty-net goal in the final minute. ISLANDERS 5, MAPLE LEAFS 3 Frans Nielsen, Calvin De Haan and Cal Clutterbuck scored third-period goals to lead the Islanders to the victory. New York kicked off a sixgame road trip with their second win in two nights with backup Kevin Poulin in goal. Poulin relieved injured starter Evgeni Nabokov on Monday and backstopped the Islanders’ 7-3 win over Dallas. Poulin made 23 saves against the Maple Leafs. It was another frustrating loss for Toronto, which outshot the Islanders 26-25 in its first game since being beaten 7-1 at home by the New York Rangers on Saturday night. Kyle Okposo and Michael Grabner also scored for the Islanders, and John Tavares added three assists after registering five points against Dallas. Tyler Bozak, Mason Raymond and Joffrey Lupul scored for Toronto. LIGHTNING 4, JETS 2 Martin St Louis scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period and added an empty-netter to help Tampa Bay get the win in the penalty-filled game. Valtteri Filppula and Ondrej Palat also scored for the Lightning, who won for the sixth time in seven road games. They handed the Jets their fourth consecutive loss overall. Olli Jokinen and Dustin Byfuglien scored for Winnipeg, and goalie Ondrej Pavelec had an assist. The Jets were outshot by a wide margin for most of the game but still went into the third tied at 2. They scored two power-play goals and had managed to kill off four of the chances they handed Tampa Bay until St. Louis tipped in Victor Hedman’s point shot at 8:39 on a fifth power play. COYOTES 6, FLAMES 0 Thomas Greiss stopped 27 shots, Lauri Korpikoski had a goal and two assists, and Phoenix rolled to the way. Coming off a disappointing loss to Philadelphia, Phoenix took control of what was a tight-checking game with three goals in the second period. Unlike Saturday, when they blew a pair of two-goal leads, the Coyotes kept pushing behind Greiss’ second career shutout to win in regulation for the first time since beating the Islanders on Dec 12. Mikkel Boedker, Shane Doan, Martin Hanzal and Michael Stone each had a goal and an assist for Phoenix. Rob Klinkhammer also scored, and Mike Ribeiro and Radim Vrbata each had two assists. Reto Berra allowed at least five goals for the third time this season, and the Flames were shut out for the fourth time in six games. Calgary has lost nine of 11. —AP

HAMILTON, New Zealand: Completed scoreboard in the fifth and final one-day international between New Zealand and the West Indies in Hamilton yesterday: K. Williamson lbw Holder 16 West Indies R. Taylor c Ramdin b Miller 9 K. Powell lbw N.McCullum 73 B McCullum c Charles b Miller 6 J. Charles run out (N.McCullum) 31 C. Anderson c Bravo b Russell 29 K. Edwards not out 123 L. Ronchi hit wicket b Miller 15 L. Simmons c Williamson b Anderson 9 N.McCullum c Ramdin b Russell 18 D. Bravo c N.McCullum b Williamson 106 K.Mills run out (Holder) 26 A. Russell not out 6 T.Southee c Bravo b Miller 9 Extras: (lb4, w11) 15 M.McClenaghan not out 0 Total: 4 wickets; 50 overs) 363 9 Fall of wickets: 1-95 (Powell), 2-116 (Charles), Extras: lb6, w3) Total: (all out; 29.5 overs) 160 3-143 (Simmons), 4-354 (Bravo) Did not bat: C. Walton, D. Ramdin, S. Narine, Fall of wickets: 1-21 (Guptill), 2-37 (Ryder), 345 ( Williamson), 4-50 ( Taylor), 5-65 J.Holder, N. Miller Bowling: Southee 10-0-64-0, McClenaghan 8- (B.McCullum), 6-94 (Anderson), 7-123 0-64-0, N. McCullum 10-0-64-1, Anderson 10- (N.McCullum), 8-125 (Ronchi), 9-151 (Southee), 10-160 (Mills) 1-77-1, Mills 8-0-60-0, Williamson 4-0-30-1 Bowling: Holder 5-0-35-2, Bravo 5-0-12-1, Miller 10-1-45-4, Narine 5.5-0-31-0, Russell 4New Zealand 0-31-2 M. Guptill b Bravo 6 Series: Series is drawn 2-2. J. Ryder c Simmons b Holder 17

Bowlers give Sri Lanka an edge over Pakistan DUBAI: Sri Lanka owed it to their bowlers for taking the opening day honors against Pakistan in the second Test in Dubai yesterday. A three-pronged pace and one-man spin attack helped Sri Lanka bowl out Pakistan for just 165 after Angelo Mathews won the toss and opted to bowl on a seaming Dubai stadium pitch. Paceman Nuwan Pradeep finished with a careerbest 3-62 while spinner Rangan Herath took 3-26. Fast bowlers Shaminda Eranga (2-25) and Suranga Lakmal (2-45) were also useful in the second session. By the close Sri Lanka had knocked off 57 runs for the loss of opener Dimuth Karunaratne, out leg-before to Junaid Khan for 32. Kaushal Silva and Kumar Sangakkara were each on 12 as Sri Lanka now trail Pakistan by 108 wuns with nine wickets intact on a day dominated by the bowlers. But initially it looked as if Sri Lanka had miscalculated in bowling first as Ahmed Shehzad, trapped legbefore by Pradeep in the tenth over for three, was the only man out by lunch, but five wickets fell for 71 runs as Pakistan slumped from 57-1 to 128-6 at tea. Pradeep said his hard work paid off. “I came into the team after a long time,” said Pradeep who played his last Test in January last year. “During that period I worked hard in

the club as well as with the A team and from that experience I bowled well today.” Opener Khurram Manzoor top-scored with 73 in an otherwise insipid batting display. Manzoor termed the seam movement as difficult to handle. “It wasn’t easy out there, toss was vital because pitch is helping seam bowlers,” said Manzoor. “Whoever plays positive will score runs. Sri Lankans really bowled very well and the first hour on Thursday will be important for us.” Sri Lankan pacemen had little success in the first session and their hard work was also spoiled by sloppy fielding. Mathews floored Shehzad in the slips off Lakmal with the batsman still to get off the mark, but the lapse did not prove costly. Mahela Jayawardene dropped Hafeez off the first ball he faced from Pradeep, but the paceman had the last laugh when he bowled Hafeez through the gate soon after lunch. Pakistan had pinned their hopes on Younis Khan and Misbah-ul Haq but they lost their last eight wickets for 58 runs. Eranga took the prized wickets of Younis and Misbah in the space of seven balls. Younis, who made 13, tried to cut a wide delivery while Misbah was squared up on a moving delivery on one-both caught behind. —AFP

SCOREBOARD DUBAI: Scoreboard at close on the opening day of the second Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at Dubai stadium yesterday: (Manzoor), 6-127 (Shafiq), 7-129 (Sarfraz), 8Pakistan 1st innings 151 (Ajmal), 9-151 (Ali) Khurram Manzoor c Prasanna b Lakmal 73 Bowling: Lakmal 21-6-45-2, Eranga 14-4-25Ahmed Shehzad lbw b Pradeep 3 2, Pradeep 18-2-62-3, Herath 10.5-3-26-3 Mohammad Hafeez b Pradeep 21 Sri Lanka Ist innings Younis Khan c Prasanna b Eranga 13 D. Karunaratne lbw b Junaid 32 Misbah-ul Haq c Prasanna b Eranga 1 K. Silva not out 12 Asad Shafiq c Silva b Lakmal 6 K. Sangakkara not out 12 Sarfraz Ahmed c Prasanna b Pradeep 7 Extras: (lb1) 1 Bilawal Bhatti not out 24 Total: (for one wkt; 16 overs) 57 Saeed Ajmal c Silva b Herath 8 To bat: K. Sangakkara, M. Jayawardene, D. Rahat Ali lbw b Herath 0 Chandmial, A. Mathews, P. Jayawardene, S. Junaid Khan lbw b Herath 2 Lakmal, S. Eranga, R. Herath, N. Pradeep. Extras: (lb7) 7 Fall of wickets: 1-40 (Karunaratne) Total: (all out; 63.5 overs) 165 Fall of wickets: 1-28 (Shehzad), 2-78 (Hafeez), Bowling: Junaid 7-1-26-1, Ali 7-1-28-0, Ajmal 3-107 ( Younis), 4-109 (Misbah), 5-118 1-1-0-0, Bhatti 1-0-2-0.



Valencia hold off Atletico in King’s Cup MADRID: Valencia forward Helder Postiga headed an equalizer in the final minute of added time to snatch a 1-1 draw at home to King’s Cup holders Atletico Madrid in an intense and entertaining last 16, first leg tie on Tuesday. After Raul Garcia had nodded the visitors ahead in the 72nd minute, Portugal forward Postiga finally beat inspired keeper Thibaut Courtois when he was on hand to send a mis-hit Sofiane Feghouli cross into the net from close range after 93 minutes. In new coach Juan Antonio Pizzi’s second game in charge, a fired-up Valencia dominated possession at the Mestalla but fell behind when a fluffed clearance by keeper Vicente Guaita fell to midfielder Garcia. Garcia also had Atletico’s best chance of the first half but his rising effort was well saved by Guaita, while Valencia’s Juan Bernat drew a fine save from Courtois with a low drive seven minutes after the break. Courtois made three more brilliant saves as Valencia pressed for an equalizer, first leaping to tip a curling effort from substitute Sergio Canales around the post in the 76th minute. The Belgium international, on loan from Chelsea, then denied Pablo Piatti in the 82nd before producing possibly his best stop of the night a minute later from Feghouli’s close-range blast. It looked as if Diego Simeone’s Atletico side, who are level with Barcelona at the top of La Liga, would hold on to their lead ahead of the second leg at the Calderon in a week’s time but Postiga struck in the final action of the

game. Nevertheless, with an away goal in the bank, Atletico, who beat bitter city rivals Real Madrid 2-1 in last season’s final, will be favorites to advance to face Real Betis or Athletic Bilbao, who play on Wednesday, in the quarter-finals. AWAY GOAL Atletico have won all their home matches this season apart from a 1-1 draw against Barcelona, who they play in La Liga on Saturday, in August’s Spanish Super Cup first leg. “I think we deserved more but we are content with the draw, the tie is still open and we will carry on fighting,” Postiga said told Spanish television broadcaster Canal Plus. “The intensity of the team was good and we have to continue in the same vein,” he added. “We were up against a great goalkeeper and a solid defence and we knew how tough it would be to score a goal against Atletico.” Courtois told Canal Plus the away goal could be crucial for next week’s second leg. “It was a great match and Valencia are always a great opponent and there was a fantastic atmosphere,” he said. “In the first half we hardly created anything and in the second I had a lot of work to do. “We were hoping to hold out until the end but it wasn’t to be but the positive thing is we’ve scored an away goal and that’s important for the return leg.” Record King’s Cup winners Barca welcome Getafe in their last 16, first leg while Real host Osasuna today. —Reuters

VALENCIA: Atletico Madrid’s Turkish midfielder Arda Turan (left) vies with Valencia’s Portuguese defender Joao Pereira during the Spanish Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) round of 16 first-leg football match Valencia CF vs Club Atletico de Madrid at the Mestalla stadium on January 7, 2014. —AFP

Sunderland worsen Man United misery

MADRID: Real Madrid’s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with Real Madrid’s Welsh striker Gareth Bale after scoring his second goal during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid vs RC Celta de Vigo at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on January 6, 2014. —AFP

Real’s Bale to replace under fire Di Maria MADRID: Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Gareth Bale will return to his side’s starting line-up for their Copa del Rey last 16, first-leg meeting with Osasuna today. Bale hasn’t started Madrid’s last three matches due to a calf injury, but did make his return as a substitute for the final 25 minutes of Monday’s 3-0 win over Celta Vigo. Angel di Maria was the man to be replaced by Bale and the Argentine controversially grabbed his genitals as he was coming off the field following whistles by the Santiago Bernabeu crowd to his departure. Real have since opened an investigation into the gesture with Di Maria protesting his innocence and apologizing if any unintended offence had been taken. And whilst Ancelotti confirmed Di Maria wouldn’t start against Osasuna, he insisted the reasoning was to give Bale some much needed match practice. “Tomorrow he will not start because I am going to play a fresher player. “There is no problem in him playing. He is happy to be here, he is calm and has a good relationship with his teammates. He won’t play (tomorrow) but not for this reason. “We have Bale who didn’t play against Celta Vigo and he will start tomorrow.” Rumors have linked Di Maria with a move to free-spending Ligue 1 side Monaco

this month. However, Ancelotti reiterated his stance that he didn’t see anyone leaving or arriving at the Bernabeu during the January transfer window, including Manchester United target Fabio Coentrao. “I have not spoken to Coentrao and Di Maria because there is nothing to speak about. There will be no signings nor sales. We have a very good squad and don’t have great injury problems just now so we don’t need anyone.” Xabi Alonso will also miss out against Osasuna as he continues to suffer from a burst left eardrum. The midfielder suffered the injury in the win away to Valencia just before Christmas, but it had been expected he could continue to play without any problems. However, the Spanish international had to be withdrawn at half-time against Celta earlier in the week because the noise in the stadium was affecting him. “He doesn’t have problems in training but when he hears the noise in the stadium it bothers him. It will improve, although he is not in the squad tomorrow,” said Ancelotti. “He won’t have problems playing, but we need to see what it is that he is feeling. Today he will meet with a specialist to try and find a solution to the problem.” —AFP

SUNDERLAND: Sunderland gained the upper hand on Manchester United by deservedly winning their League Cup semi-final, first leg 2-1 on Tuesday to intensify the pressure on visiting manager David Moyes after a testing week. Italian Fabio Borini scored a second-half penalty to give the Premier League’s bottom club a onegoal lead ahead of the return at Old Trafford after a 52nd minute Nemanja Vidic header cancelled out Ryan Giggs’s own goal in first-half stoppage time. It was United’s third straight defeat after they were beaten at home in the FA Cup third round by Swansea City on Sunday and by Tottenham Hotspur in the league the previous week, heaping pressure on Moyes in his first season in charge. The second leg will be on Jan 22 to decide who will face either favorites Manchester City or West Ham United, who played at the Etihad Stadium yesterday, in the final on March 2. For beleaguered United manager Moyes, the League Cup has developed added significance with the club already out of the FA Cup, looking unlikely to retain their Premier League title and long odds to win the Champions League. For the fans who booed them off the pitch following the loss to Swansea, there was little to perk up the spirits. This was the first time since 1932 that United had lost their opening three games of the year and the first time since 1992 that they had lost three times in a week. OFFICIALS BLAMED Moyes blamed the officials, who he criticised for awarding Sunderland the free kick that led to the first goal, rather than his players who he described as being “unbelievable”. “It looks as though we are having to play them (the officials) as well as the opposition at the moment,” he said. “I thought the players, our crowd were unbelievable, the players deserved to get a result. It’s a two-legged game and I am really looking forward to the second leg.” Sunderland have only reached the League Cup final once, in 1985 when they lost to Norwich City, and their fans do not need reminding they were relegated from the top flight that season. The knockout competitions have again provided Sunderland with their only moments of relief in a miserable campaign, having won all five home ties in the League and FA Cups. There were rows of empty seats at the Stadium of Light but those who ventured into the cold saw them make a bright start. They kept possession well in the opening minutes, subduing a United side for

Confusion over air travel with WCup months away RIO DE JANEIRO: Five months out from the World Cup, Brazilian authorities seem unsure about how to handle the crunch of 500,000 international visitors expecting to rely on air travel for the month-long tournament. The chief of staff for Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said this week that a presidential decree was being considered to open more air routes to foreign carriers, partly aimed at keeping down soaring prices. The state-run tourism agency Embratur also said foreign carriers may be needed to help move traffic to the 12 host cities. Those views clash with the position of Civil Aviation secretary Wellington Moreira Franco who, in a recent interview with The Associated Press, said the body would rely on domestic operators only. “We will consider all possibilities, including opening the market,” Gleisi Hoffmann, Rousseff’s chief of staff, told the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S Paulo. She said it could be done quickly through what she called “provisional measures.” Robert Mann, an independent airline industry analyst and former airline executive based in New York, said foreign carriers coming in at the last minute might make matters worse. “It will simply add to the congestion already experienced in Brazilian air traffic control, airport and

terminal facilities,” Mann said in an email to AP. He said a similar surge in Brazilian carriers could cause the same problems. “While the inbound international flying is relatively easily planned, the key issue is that much of the intra-Brazilian flying would be almost at a moment’s notice since it corresponds with which teams advance in the early rounds. So one may plan in theory, but the actual demand may differ in practice.” Carlos Ebner, the International Air Transport Association country director for Brazil, said any changes would be complex and require time. “The logistics are complicated,” he said in a statement to the Brazilian Association of Airlines. “These are not buses. It takes three or four months at least in advance for companies to be able to plan.” Ebner said the knockout stage of the tournament, when the 32 teams are winnowed to 16, would be unpredictable and the most difficult. “We will be dealing with the unknown,” Ebner said. “There won’t be time to mount an operation.” Brazil’s airports are generally old and outdated, which is likely to create bottlenecks in the air and on the ground. Delays are sure to anger visiting football fans - and more than 3 million Brazilians expected to attend - and could embarrass Rousseff, who is up for re-

election in October. Air will be the mode of travel for foreigners. Brazil has limited rail service and the road network is underdeveloped and crowded. Some airports are undergoing last-minute renovations, but many of the upgrades won’t be finished in time. Airports listed as the most crowded are Belo Horizonte, Fortaleza, Sao Paulo and Brasilia. Air travel is only part of a long list of problems surrounding the World Cup, which opens on June 12 in Sao Paulo and ends on July 13 in Rio. Only six of the 12 World Cup venues are ready, and at least two of the six may not be delivered until April. This leaves less time for television broadcasters to prepare. It also causes confusion in ensuring that tickets correspond to stadium seating configurations, which may not be known until the last minute. Brazil is spending about $3.6 billion on new stadiums or refurbishing old ones, and the price keeps increasing with cost overruns and worker overtime. FIFA President Sepp Blatter acknowledged to the Swiss newspaper 24 Heures that Brazil is “the country that is the furthest behind” in World Cup preparations in his four decades of experience. Hotel prices and air fares are also sky rocketing with the government promising a crackdown on price gouging. —AP

SUNDERLAND: Sunderland’s captain Phil Bardsley (left) vies for the ball with Manchester United’s Danny Welbeck during their English League Cup semifinal first leg soccer match at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland on Tuesday, Jan 7, 2014. —AP whom exciting Belgian teenager Adnan Januzaj provided a lone attacking threat. SUNDERLAND BREAKTHROUGH After Giggs rattled the bar with a dipping drive, the 18-year-old Januzaj had the ball in the net seven minutes before halftime only to be denied the opening goal by the offside flag. In the end it was Sunderland who made the breakthrough in first-half injury time. Jonny Evans gave away a needless free kick and Seb Larsson’s whipped set piece was diverted in by Giggs under pressure from former United player Phil Bardsley. It was the first goal United had conceded in the competition all season. The gloom among the travelling fans was briefly lifted seven minutes into the second half when Serb defender Vidic, returning to the side, drew them level with a towering far post header. Yet it was Sunderland

who displayed a resilience lacking for much of their league campaign, retaking the lead through on-loan Liverpool forward Borini from the penalty spot after Adam Johnson had been felled in the area by Tom Cleverley. There was no backs-to-the-wall finale and it was Sunderland, who had not beaten United in 20 matches, who looked the more likely to increase their lead, with United leaving it late before throwing bodies forward to try and force a leveler. “It’s something very strange but with the way we are playing maybe it is suited to playing against the big teams. It was a very tight game, and sometimes a decision goes for you and you win the game,” Sunderland manager Gus Poyet said. “We know it’s not easy to beat Manchester United but now we go to Old Trafford with a lead. It has been a long time since we were in a final so we will try our best.” —Reuters

Extras Mikel eyes Africa’s Best Player award ABUJA: Nigeria’s John Obi Mikel is hoping to be crowned Africa’s best player at the Confederation of African Football awards this week, he said yesterday. The Chelsea midfielder is vying for the prestigious award with the Ivorian pair of Yaya Toure, of English Premier League rivals Manchester City, and Didier Drogba, from Turkish club Galatasaray. “It is an honor to be selected and nominated for the award. I am looking forward to winning it for my country,” Mikel, who has twice been voted Africa’s best young player said by phone from London. The 26-year-old helped Nigeria win a third Africa Cup of Nations in February last year and also qualify for a fifth World Cup finals in November. Moyes in ‘hot water’ over referee remarks LONDON: David Moyes’s problems increased yesterday when the Football Association said they were looking into the Manchester United manager’s latest attack on referees. Moyes said United were “playing” officials as well as the opposition” after Sunderland’s 2-1 victory at the Stadium of Light in the first leg of a League Cup semi-final on Tuesday condemned his side to three consecutive defeats for the first time in 13 years. Moyes had previously seen his team lose by the same scoreline at home to Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City in the past week, leaving reigning champions United 11 points off the pace in the Premier League and out of the FA Cup. The Scot was angry

with referee Andre Marriner for awarding a free-kick against Jonny Evans in the build-up to Sunderland’s opener, which saw Ryan Giggs turn the ball into his own net in first-half stoppage time. “We defended a terrible free-kick, but how the referee has given a free-kick for that is way beyond me,” Moyes said. PSG’s star Alex in homophobia row PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain’s former Chelsea defender Alex has provoked accusations of homophobia by claiming: “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Yves”. The Brazilian international, a born-again Christian, reveals his faith-based disapproval of homosexuality in a documentary on evangelical believers in football by French pay TV company Canal+. The program was broadcasted yesterday evening, just hours after Thomas Hitzlsperger became the first German international, and one of only a handful of top footballers worldwide, to come out as gay. The coincidence exacerbated the backlash against Alex on social media. “Here we have the reason why players find it so difficult to come out,” wrote @gillypea1978 in one of many tweets on a similar theme. The Canal+ program also features former PSG defender Marcos Ceara, now an evangelical preacher, who declares: “I’m not really for homosexuality. For me that is a little out with God’s plan.” Alex then delivers his quip about Adam and Eve, according to excerpts from the program published by French daily Le Parisien.

Sumo champions flex their muscles



Sunderland worsen Man United misery


Valencia hold off Atletico in King’s Cup

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CHICAGO: Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah battles multiple players for a rebound during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, Jan 7, 2014. The Bulls won 92-87. - AP

Jazz silence Oklahoma City Thunder Mavs end home skid, 110-97 over Lakers SALT LAKE CITY: Gordon Hayward scored a career-high 37 points, including Utah’s final 17 points, to help the Jazz overcome Kevin Durant’s 48 points and beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 112-101 on Tuesday night. After the Thunder sliced a 24-point Jazz lead to 99-94, Hayward made five straight jumpers - two of them 3-pointers - in his personal 17-7 run to clinch Utah’s fourth straight home win. Hayward went 13 for 16 from the field and had 11 rebounds and seven assists. Derrick Favors had 15 and Marvin Williams scored 12 as the Jazz stopped the Thunder’s eight-game road winning streak. Without Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, Durant took the ball nearly every possession in the fourth quarter. He made 11 of 13 from the line in the final 12 minutes while matching this season’s NBA-high scoring total that he set against the Timberwolves on Saturday. CAVALIERS 111, 76ERS 93 CJ Miles set a team record with 10 3-pointers and scored a season-high 34 points, leading the Cavaliers to the victory. Miles made eight 3s in the first half, when the Cavs opened a 26-point lead that allowed them to coast to a rare easy win. He notched his ninth with 9:53 left and drained No. 10 with 9:17 remaining. He went 10 of 14 from outside the arc. Cleveland’s second victory in 10 games came hours after the club acquired forward Luol Deng from Chicago in a trade for center Andrew Bynum and future draft picks. Deng wasn’t in uniform, but Cavs All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving returned after missing three games with a bruised left knee and finished with 16 points. Sixers rookie Michael Carter-Williams scored a seasonhigh 33. KINGS 123, TRAIL BLAZERS 119 DeMarcus Cousins had 35 points and 13 rebounds, Rudy Gay scored 32 points and the Kings held off a furious rally to beat the Trail Blazers. Cousins and Gay provided the spark for a 32-12 run at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarters that put Sacramento ahead by 19 points. Gay fouled out with 4:12 remaining, and the Blazers nearly rallied back. Damian Lillard scored 26 of his 41 points in the final period to pull Portland within two in the final minute. But the Kings made just enough free throws to hold off the Blazers, who have lost four of their last six games. LaMarcus Aldridge added 24 points and eight rebounds, and Nicolas Batum finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and five assists while playing with a fractured left middle finger for Portland. WARRIORS 101, BUCKS 80 David Lee had 22 points and 18 rebounds to lead Golden State to its 10th straight win. Lee was 10 of 12 from the field for the Warriors, who have their longest winning streak since their NBA-title season in 1975. Stephen Curry contributed 15 points for the Warriors despite connecting on just 5 of 18 shots. Klay Thompson also scored 15 points. The Warriors, playing their sixth game of a seven-city trip, led by just two at the half against the Bucks, who have the NBA’s worst record. Golden State broke open the game with a 23-7 run to start the third quarter, highlighted by a step-back 3-pointer from the

corner by Curry. Ersan Ilyasova had 20 points and Brandon Knight 18 for the Bucks.

Evans added 13 for New Orleans.

SPURS 110, GRIZZLIES 108, OT Manu Ginobili scored on a driving layup with 1.8 seconds left in overtime, lifting San Antonio to the road win. Mike Conley had an opportunity to win the game for Memphis, but his 25-footer fell short. Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 24 points, while Marco Belinelli added 19 and Kawhi Leonard had 17. Conley had 30 points for the Grizzlies. Memphis trailed by 16 with five minutes left in regulation, and then used a 23-7 run to force overtime. Conley hit a runner at the end of regulation after Ginobili had scored on a layup. San Antonio played without center Tiago Splitter, who sprained his right shoulder in Saturday’s win over the Clippers and is out for three to five weeks.

PACERS 86, RAPTORS 79 Roy Hibbert scored 22 points and Danny Granger matched his season high with 13, helping Indiana to its third consecutive win. The NBA-leading Pacers held the Raptors to a season low in points. Toronto has lost two straight on the road - at Miami and Indiana - after winning four straight. The Raptors were led by DeMar DeRozan with 28 points and Patrick Patterson with 20 against a Pacers team that looked more like itself after losing in Toronto last week. Indiana had a 40-26 scoring advantage in the paint and limited the Raptors to 37 percent shooting from the field. And instead of struggling in the second half, the Pacers pulled away. They closed the first half on an 8-3 spurt to take a 44-36 lead they extended to 17 in the third.

HEAT 107, PELICANS 88 LeBron James scored 32 points and Dwyane Wade had 22 to power Miami to the win. It was the 10th 30-point game of the season for James. The Heat are 9-1 when he scores that many. Chris Andersen was 7 for 7 from the field and scored 15 points, and Chris Bosh added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Heat, who trailed by 11 points early in the third quarter. Miami then outscored New Orleans 59-26 over the next 20 minutes, the run ending when James, Wade and Bosh departed for the night with about 3 minutes left. Anthony Davis led the Pelicans with 22 points and 12 rebounds, most of his numbers coming in the first half. Eric Gordon scored 15 and Tyreke

NUGGETS 129, CELTICS 98 Randy Foye scored a season-high 23 points, connecting on seven 3-pointers, and Denver routed Boston for its third straight win after an eight-game losing streak. Kenneth Faried had 21 points and 13 rebounds and Ty Lawson added 19 points and 13 assists for the Nuggets, who sent the Celtics to their fifth loss in a row and reversed a 106-98 loss at Boston on Dec. 6. The Nuggets returned to .500 (17-17) with the victory. Jerryd Bayless, acquired earlier in the day by Boston as part of a three-team trade that also involved Memphis and Oklahoma City, had six points in 25 minutes in his Celtics debut. Jeff Green led Boston with 17 points. Brandon Bass had 15.

NBA results/standings Washington 97, Charlotte 83; Cleveland 111, Philadelphia 93; Indiana 86, Toronto 79; Miami 107, New Orleans 88; NY Knicks 89, Detroit 85; Chicago 92, Phoenix 87; San Antonio 110, Memphis 108 (OT); Golden State 101, Milwaukee 80; Dallas 110, LA Lakers 97; Denver 129, Boston 98; Utah 112, Oklahoma City 101; Sacramento 123, Portland 119. Eastern Conference Western Conference Atlantic Division Northwest Division Toronto 16 17 .485 Oklahoma City 27 8 .771 Brooklyn 13 21 .382 3.5 Portland 26 9 .743 1 Boston 13 22 .371 4 Denver 17 17 .500 9.5 NY Knicks 12 22 .353 4.5 Minnesota 17 17 .500 9.5 Philadelphia 12 23 .343 5 Utah 12 25 .324 16

Indiana Chicago Detroit Cleveland Milwaukee

28 15 14 12 7

Miami Atlanta Washington Charlotte Orlando

27 18 15 15 10

Central Division 6 .824 18 .45512.5 21 .400 14.5 23 .34316.5 27 .206 21 Southeast Division 8 .771 17 .514 9 17 .46910.5 21 .41712.5 24 .29416.5

Golden State LA Clippers Phoenix LA Lakers Sacramento San Antonio Houston Dallas New Orleans Memphis

Pacific Division 13 .649 13 .649 13 .606 2 21 .400 9 22 .333 11 Southwest Division 27 8 .771 22 13 .629 5 20 15 .571 7 15 18 .455 11 15 19 .44111.5 24 24 20 14 11

MAVERICKS 110, LAKERS 97 Dirk Nowitzki scored 27 points and Dallas avoided its longest home losing streak in 14 years. The Mavericks had lost four straight at home, the last victory in their arena coming against Memphis the week before Christmas. Los Angeles lost for the eighth time in nine games. Nowitzki had three baskets on passes from Gal Mekel in a 59-second span early in the second quarter to put Dallas up 43-39. Nowitzki started the span with a running layup before consecutive 11-foot jumpers that sandwiched a 3-pointer by Jodie Meeks. Meeks led the Lakers with 24 points. KNICKS 89, PISTONS 85 Carmelo Anthony scored 13 of his 34 points in the third quarter, and then made the clinching free throws with 2.9 seconds left as the Knicks handed the Pistons a season-high fifth straight loss. Raymond Felton finished with 12 points and six assists in his return from injury for the Knicks, who came home from a 2-1 Texas swing and held on after blowing most of the 17-point lead they built while outscoring the Pistons 32-17 in the third quarter. Andrea Bargnani had 13 points and 11 rebounds, helping the Knicks overcome the absence of an ill Tyson Chandler to beat the Pistons at Madison Square Garden for the eighth straight time. Josh Smith had 21 points and 12 rebounds for Detroit, while Andre Drummond finished with 12 points and 17 boards. BULLS 92, SUNS 87 Taj Gibson had 19 points and 10 rebounds as the Bulls won their first game after parting with Luol Deng in a trade. Joakim Noah added 14 points and 16 rebounds, helping the Bulls to their sixth victory in eight games. DJ Augustin and Jimmy Butler each scored 13. Tony Snell added 12 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers during an 8-0 run early in the fourth quarter that extended the lead to 13. Chicago dealt Deng to Cleveland late Monday night after the two-time All-Star turned down a proposed contract extension, a move that hurts in the short term but gives the Bulls flexibility to add to their roster down the road. Goran Dragic scored 21 for Phoenix, but the Suns simply couldn’t get into gear after winning 11 of their previous 14. WIZARDS 97, BOBCATS 83 Bradley Beal scored 21 points to lead five Washington players in double figures for the victory. Marcin Gortat added 18 points and John Wall had 17 for the Wizards. Gortat added 12 rebounds while helping hold Charlotte center Al Jefferson to six points on 3-of-9 shooting. Gerald Henderson led the Bobcats with a season-high 27 points. Kemba Walker added 19 and Ramon Sessions 10 as they fell to 15-21 with their sixth loss in seven games. The Bobcats dropped to 8-11 at home. The Wizards used a 17-0 run in the third quarter - when the Bobcats went scoreless for more than six minutes - to take control of what was a close game. Wall helped ignite the decisive run when he grabbed a loose ball as the 24-second shot clock wound down and hit a 3-point shot from 35 feet. — AP


Wanted by four countries, ex-banker faces extradition Page 22

Shares and dollar rise on more signs of economic recovery


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Dutch pension fund quits Israel over settlements

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Tigerair sells Philippine affiliate to Cebu Pacific Page 25

HUAIBEI: A laborer is seen working in a textile factory in Huaibei, in north China’s Anhui province on October 22, 2011. China’s manufacturing activity contracted to a 11-month low in July 2013, an HSBC survey showed on July 24, the first evidence of the Asian economic giant losing further momentum in the third quarter. — AFP

US private sector adds more jobs in December in the


German industrial orders up FRANKFURT: German industrial orders, a key measure of demand for German-made goods both at home and abroad, rose sharply in November, outpacing analysts’ expectations, data showed yesterday. Industrial orders rose by 2.1 percent in November compared with the level in October, buoyed by a disproportionately large number of big-ticket orders, the economy ministry said in a statement. Analysts had been projecting a more modest increase of around 1.5 percent in November. The ministry said that domestic orders increased by 1.9 percent and export orders were up by 2.2 percent. By sector, orders for semi-finished goods edged up by 0.4 percent, orders for capital goods climbed by 3.2 percent and orders for consumer goods rose by 2.1 percent.

Egyptian pound weakens CAIRO: The Egyptian pound weakened slightly at a forex auction yesterday and on the black market. The central bank sold $38.6 million to banks with a cut-off price of 6.9525 pounds to the dollar, allowing the pound to weaken from 6.9476 at the previous sale on Monday. It had offered to sell up to $40 million. On the black market, a trader said the dollar was offered at 7.36 to the pound yesterday. Monday’s rate was 7.32. The central bank introduced dollar currency sales a year ago to help counter a run on the pound. It has burned through at least $20 billion - or roughly half its reserves - supporting the currency since Egypt’s 2011 revolution, which hit tourism revenues and foreign investment. A central bank official said on Tuesday the bank has relaxed restrictions on foreign currency transfers abroad, allowing individuals to make a onetime transfer abroad of up to $100,000 this calendar year. Under currency transfer restrictions brought in after the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak, the central bank set an open-ended $100,000 limit on the amount of hard currency an individual could transfer abroad.

Hungarian industrial output soars BUDAPEST: Industrial output in Hungary rose 5.8 percent in November year-on-year, official preliminary data showed yesterday, continuing a broadly positive trend seen since April. Analysts say that the “emerging” economies of eastern and central Europe are in general showing signs of recovery, helped by an improvement in the eurozone, a key export market. Non-eurozone EU member state Hungary emerged from recession in the first quarter of 2013 and unemployment has fallen to a four-year low. On a month-on-month seasonally and calendar-adjusted basis however, output dipped 0.5 percent in November, the second half percent monthly drop in a row. Final output data will be released by the national statistics office KSH on January 14.

NEW YORK: US private employers hired staff at the fastest pace in 13 months in December, data from a payrolls processor showed yesterday, burnishing expectations that similar figures due later in the week from the government will confirm the US economy was gathering steam at the end of last year. Companies added 238,000 jobs last month after an upwardly revised 229,000 in November, the ADP National Employment Report showed, topping expectations in a Reuters poll for a gain of 200,000. It was the largest monthly gain since November 2012 and brought a three-month average of corporate hiring to nearly 225,000 a month, the fastest such pace in 21 months. “We’re now going to start to see an economic recovery more typical of the economic recoveries we’ve seen historically,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, which jointly develops the report with payrolls processor ADP. “It feels like the jobs market has kicked into a higher gear.” The data was also likely a welcome affirmation of positive economic momentum for policy makers at the US Federal Reserve, who last month were confident enough in the recent improvement in activity to set plans to scale back their massive stimulus program.

US stocks were modestly lower following the report, while the euro fell to a one-month low against the dollar. The dollar also extended its gains against the yen. US Treasury bond prices extended their decline, with the benchmark 10-year Treasury notes last trading 12/32 lower in price with a yield of 2.982 percent, up 4.5 basis points from late on Monday. The ADP report comes two days ahead of the government’s nonfarm payrolls report, a measure of the labor market that is more comprehensive and includes both public and private sector employment. Analysts are looking for 196,000 jobs to have been added in December, and a rise in private payrolls of 195,000. Both numbers would represent slight declines from November. Retail sales up Moody’s Zandi said that based on the ADP report, he estimated that payrolls would show 230,000 jobs created in December. In the ADP report, November’s job growth figure was revised up to 229,000 from the initially reported 215,000. Separately, applications for US home mortgages rose 2.6 percent in the latest week, rebounding from a 13-

year low set at the end of last year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Recent data has pointed to an acceleration in economic conditions. On Tuesday, the Commerce Department said the November US trade deficit was the smallest in four years as exports hit a record high and weak oil prices restrained import growth. Also yesterday, retail industry tracker Shopper Trak said that sales rose 2.7 percent in the NovemberDecember holiday shopping season, boosted by promotions and discounts. J.C. Penney Co Inc, which has struggled to grow its sales after massive declines, described its holiday performance as pleasing, and affirmed its fourth-quarter outlook. Investors have been especially sensitive to signs of economic improvement ever since the US Federal Reser ve in December announced that it would begin to slow its massive stimulus program, which was a major contributor to the S&P 500’s rally of nearly 30 percent in 2013. Since the Fed said it would begin to slow the program when certain economic indicators met its targets, some traders had previously taken strong data as a negative because it suggested a faster end to the program. — Reuters

German exports in spotlight of US treasury chief visit FRANKFURT: Germany’s booming trade surplus, long a source of friction in Europe, was back in the spotlight yesterday as US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew was due to meet Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. Just ahead of the talks where Lew is expected to call on Berlin to boost demand to strengthen economic growth, new trade data showed that German exports are still growing while imports are shrinking. Germany has come under fire on both sides of the Atlantic for its persistently high trade surplus, with critics arguing that its economic prowess comes at the expense of the eurozone’s weaker members. In October, the US Treasury riled Germany by saying that it needed to tap its surpluses to boost demand and help the eurozone pull back from deflation. And similar sentiments were expressed by the EU Commission, which even announced it was putting the German surplus under scrutiny. Ties between Berlin and Washington became frayed last year over US spying on Europeans including the revelation that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone was tapped. Germany’s critics argue that Europe’s top economy needs to boost domestic demand and so help its EU partners by spurring export-driven growth in their economies rather than continue to rely mostly on its own exports for growth. Long the envy of its European Union partners for its strong public finances and powerful economy, Germany

runs a huge trade surplus as one of the world’s top exporters with China and the United States. But Berlin has persistently dismissed the criticism as incomprehensible”, arguing that the high surplus reflects the competitiveness of German firms. Data published by the federal statistics office yesterday showed that the trade surplus expanded in November as exports grew while imports contracted. In seasonally adjusted terms, Germany exported goods worth 93.2 billion euros ($127 billion) in November, up from 92.9 billion euros in October, Destatis calculated. Imports, on the other hand, declined by 1.1 percent to 75.4 billion euros from 76.2 billion euros. In regional terms, exports to the 18-member euro area inched up by 0.1 percent on a 12-months basis in November, while imports from that region contracted by 1.0 percent. Similarly, exports to the European Union as a whole were up 1.8 percent, but imports from the EU stagnated. And exports to the rest of the world were unchanged while imports from the rest of the world were down 1.0 percent. More pressure on Germany Analysts said the data will likely put Germany back in the hot seat. “Clearly, these figures should bring again those back onto the scene who urge Germany to do more to help rebalancing the eurozone,” said Natixis economist

Johannes Gareis. Chris Williamson at Markit in London agreed. “The widening surplus is likely to put increasing political pressure on Germany to rebalance its economy away from export-oriented growth towards domestic consumption,” he said. The rise in the surplus was the biggest since comparable data were available in 1990, Williamson noted. The argument is that other eurozone member states hope that will help fuel faster export-driven growth in their own economies. “However, the flip-side is that stronger German export gains, especially to non-euro countries, helps boost business activity at companies within the euro area that are suppliers to German firms,” Williamson argued. Berlin has consistently countered that making its strong economy weak will not automatically strengthen the weaker members of the single currency area. Indeed, Germany’s fundamental strength benefits the euro area as a whole, said BayernLB economist Stefan Kipar. The data “fuel hope that the flow of goods in the area will gather strength as the crisis countries recover,” he said. Newedge Strategy analyst Annalisa Piazza believed imports will “continue on a modest positive trend over the next few months as German domestic demand remains well supported by the recent positive momentum, due to the stabilization of the labour market and rising business confidence.” — AFP



Aramco to skip diesel term imports on delivered basis SINGAPORE: State oil giant Saudi Aramco will skip diesel term imports on a delivered basis, removing a huge chunk of demand from the Asian and Middle East oil markets and potentially reducing refinery margins, industry sources said yesterday. The company is skipping term imports of diesel on a delivered basis this year for the first time after years of tying up contracts with sellers to import at least about 2.2 million to 3 million barrels a month of the oil product. Cargoes chartered on a delivered basis means the seller usually pays the freight charges to deliver cargoes to the buyer. Aramco might instead focus on tying up term contracts on a free-on-board (FOB) basis with sellers like India’s Reliance Industries, though this is not certain and overall term volumes will be much less than past years, the sources said. The company usually ties up term contracts on

both delivered basis and on a FOB basis. The move is a further sign that top oil exporter Saudi Arabia is becoming self-sufficient in meeting its diesel needs after the start-up of the new Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemicals Co (SATORP) refinery in Jubail, a joint venture with Saudi Aramco and Total. “Once SATORP started production, it really changed the dynamics,” a Gulf-based trader said. Many refineries in Asia and the Middle East depend on Saudi Arabia’s diesel imports to absorb excess cargoes in the region. With a significantly reduced demand from Saudi Arabia and even exports from its refineries, traders are worried the supply glut in Asia will pressure refinery margins. SATORP, the first of a trio of 400,000-barrel-perday (bpd) refineries due to open over the next four years, started diesel production in the second half of last year and has exported the fuel to Kenya. It is

Dubai’s Aramex expects double-digit net profit DUBAI: Dubai-listed logistics group Aramex expects double-digit net profit and revenue growth for 2013 and is eyeing acquisitions in South Africa and east Africa in the second half of this year, its vice-chairman said yesterday. Nine-month net profit at the firm rose 13 percent year-on-year and fullyear results should be in line with this, Fadi Ghandour, founder and vicechairman, told Reuters on the sidelines of a youth unemployment event. Ghandour said he was “relatively optimistic” about the company’s performance in 2014, with African expansion, the growth of internet shopping in the Middle East and its oil and gas business all expected to be key earnings drivers this year. Africa would be Aramex’s main focus for growth, Ghandour said, with expansion through a mixture of new operations, setting up licence agreements in some countries - which would be fully-fledged Aramex businesses but owned by local partners and acquisitions. “Most interesting is going to be east Africa and South Africa. We’ve

done one a couple of years ago in South Africa and we’d like to do one more,” he said, referring to the purchase of logistics firm Berco Group in December 2011. Nigeria and Turkey were also attractive locations, although the former had great potential but was a challenging market. Ghandour did not expect to make any acquisitions before the third quarter of this year and anything costing below $100 million, Aramex could finance itself, he said. The company’s unleveraged balance sheet meant it would have no difficulty borrowing from banks if it needed funding for any purchases, he said. “ We know, from our talking to (banks) informally over the past two to three months, that there is plenty of debt available to tap into,” Ghandour said, adding the firm had no plans to make a debut bond offering. Aramex shares closed 0.3 percent higher yesterday at 2.99 dirhams, just short of a seven-and-a-half-year closing peak of 3.04 dirhams set on Dec 31. — Reuters

Most China execs say cannot work with Japan firms: Poll TOKYO: About 60 percent of Chinese corporate leaders say they cannot do business with Japanese firms because of thorny relations between the two countries, a poll published yesterday showed. About the same percentage of South Korean bosses said they tried to keep dealings with Japanese companies to a minimum, citing political tensions between the two countries. However the survey, carried out jointly by the Nikkei of Japan, South Korea’s Maeil Business Newspaper and China’s Global Times, found around 80 percent of Japanese executives have no problem dealing with companies from the other two countries. That stands in marked contrast to just 13 percent of Chinese businessmen who said they were able to separate their company’s dealings from the diplomatic frostiness. Tokyo is at odds with both Beijing and Seoul over different territorial disputes. Relations have also long been strained by differing interpretations of their shared history. That was exemplified by the visit last month to Tokyo’s Yasukuni Shrine by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which he claimed was a bid to promote peace. Seoul and

Beijing see the shrine, which counts convicted war criminals among the 2.5 million souls it honours, as a place that glorifies Japan’s 20th century outrages. The survey was carried out in December, before Abe’s visit. “Japanese, Chinese and South Korean corporate leaders hold strikingly different views on cooperating amid political tensions,” the Nikkei said. Nearly two-thirds of Japanese executives named Southeast Asia as their most promising market. About 38 percent said it was China, down eight percentage points from last year’s survey. “China plus one” has become a buzzword in corporate Japan as firms seek a second foothold overseas as well as the world’s second-largest economy. Southeast Asia, with a population of some 600 million, offers fertile ground for expansion. For Japanese companies, “it’s wise to diversify investment to places like Southeast Asia to keep some distance from China and avoid getting sucked in”, said Mitsumaru Kumagai, chief economist at the Daiwa Institute of Research. The poll received answers from 109 companies in Japan, 100 in China and 137 in South Korea. — AFP

also expected to meet domestic diesel needs from the new refinery. Impact remains to be seen Exxon Mobil Corp earlier sold gasoil cargoes through a rare term tender from its joint-venture Saudi Aramco Mobil Refinery Co (SAMREF) refinery in Yanbu. Gasoil from SAMREF, which is a joint venture between Exxon Mobil and Saudi Aramco, is usually sold within Saudi Arabia, with occasional spot cargoes offered for exports. Saudi Aramco imported on average about 7.5 million barrels of diesel each month from January to October last year, with record volumes of nearly 11 million in July, government data published from 2002 through the Joint Organisations Data Initiative showed. Of this, the company normally buys 2 million to 3 million barrels in the off-peak period and about 5

million to 6 million in the peak summer period through its delivered term contracts, with the rest on an FOB basis or in the spot market, traders said. While a major term diesel buyer is removed from the market and could pressure refinery margins in the short term, the long-term impact remains to be seen, traders said. “They don’t normally buy a lot of cargoes during winter, so they probably can fill their shorts from the new refineries or other existing refineries, but once it’s summer or if there are any refinery issues, then we might see a buying spree by them,” a Singapore-based trader said. Saudi Arabia has historically been short of gasoline and gasoil. Its petro-dollar fuelled economy and growing population have rapidly driven up internal demand, especially when power generation surges in the hot summer months from May to August. — Reuters

Wanted by four countries, ex-banker faces extradition Judge expected to rule on Ablyazov’s extradition PARIS: He is wanted in his native Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Russia. He was ordered jailed in Britain. An opposition leader from a country that has been ruled by the same man since 1989, a former banker accused of siphoning off billions, Mukhtar Ablyazov has been jailed since police special forces seized him July 31 in the south of France. Today, a judge is expected to rule on his extradition. Courts in London have frozen his assets and issued more than $4 billion in judgments against Ablyazov, who fled Britain days just before he was convicted of contempt of court. The Kazakh is often compared with Mikhail Khodorkovsky for making his fortune during the wild post-Soviet years, then running afoul of the political leadership when he started using his wealth to bankroll the opposition. “This is not a story about a bank. This is not a story about a theft. This is a settling of political scores,” said Peter Sahlas, a lawyer representing Ablyazov. A former energy minister once aligned with President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Ablyazov was chairman of BTA Bank when it was nationalized in 2009, one of many Kazakh financial institutions to falter after the US subprime mortgage crisis. Even before the financial crisis, he has said, he was under pressure from Nazarbayev to hand over a 50 percent share of the bank, which he said amounted to extortion. He ultimately received asylum in Britain, where he continued to use his wealth - ill-gotten, according to the Kazakh, Russian and Ukrainian governments - to fund Kazakhstan’s weak opposition movement, as well as invest in property including a mansion in London and an estate in Surrey, on the outskirts of the capital. Diverting money The bank, meanwhile, pressed 11 separate claims against him, accusing him of diverting money that, among other things, was intended for a Moscow skyscraper that remains unfinished and a Kazakh real estate development project that never materialized. Sentenced to prison for contempt of court in Britain after judges said he continued to move his money around in violation of orders freezing his assets, Ablyazov fled in February 2012, citing threats to his life. “Much of what he says appears at first sight to be exaggerated and implausible, and it is striking that the fears for his personal safety on which he now relies so heavily were voiced only after judgment was given,” a British magistrate said after the Kazakh disappeared. With Ablyazov, his wife and their two youngest children on the run - first in Latvia, then Switzerland, then Italy - the bank won rulings in

Britain at every turn. At the end of May, Italian commandos stormed the home where the family had been staying. Ablyazov wasn’t there, neither was his 12year-old son. But his wife, Alma Shalabayeva, and their 6-year-old daughter were, and the Italian forces whisked them away to a waiting private jet, where they were taken to Kazakhstan and Shalabayeva was accused of falsifying passports. Uproar over their swift and secret expulsion nearly toppled the Italian government, which revoked the expulsion order retroactively. By then, Shalabayeva said, she was in Almaty under house arrest and 24-hour surveillance. “Not being able to get Ablyazov, they had the brilliant idea to take hostages,” Sahlas said. By mid-summer, Ablyazov, too, was taken into cus-

fugitive,” Sahlas said. He said the Kazakh government had initially demanded $1 million in cash bail. Throughout the saga, BTA has pressed its case, saying Ablyazov stashed millions of dollars in off-shore accounts as the bank was faltering during the global financial crisis. Now Kazakhstan’s third-largest financial institution, the bank returned to profitability in August in part with the sale of Ablyazov’s assets. “An extradition is a question of law but also a question of politics,” said Jean-Pierre Mignard, another lawyer for Ablyazov. He said the key concern is whether Ablyazov could be treated fairly in the Russian or Ukrainian legal systems, and whether either of those countries would send the former banker back to Kazakhstan,

PARIS: Jean Pierre Mignard, right, and Peter Sahlas, left, the lawyers representing Mukhtar Ablyazov sit with his wife Alma Shalabayeva, centre right, and daughter Madina Ablyazova, centre left, during a press conference, in Paris, Tuesday. An opposition leader from a country that has been ruled by the same man since 1989, a former banker accused of siphoning off billions, Mukhtar Ablyazov has been jailed since police special forces seized him July 31 in the south of France. — AP

tody after private detectives hired by the bank tracked him to a home in the south of France. French law enforcement, agreeing to enforce an Interpol request for arrest, was told the former banker might be armed and arrived prepared, with armored trucks, aircraft and special forces. Under pressure from the Italian government, Kazakhstan allowed Shalabayeva and the little girl to return at the end of December, requiring them to put up the family home as collateral and return at authorities’ request. From hostage to fugitive “They want to turn her from a hostage into a

which has no extradition agreement with France. A French judicial panel rules today on the extradition requests from Russia and Ukraine. Lawyers said one or both could be accepted, or they could be entirely rejected and Ablyazov could ultimately be freed. Human rights groups have urged France to decide against extradition. Either way, said Ablyazov ’s 26-year-old daughter Madina, he will continue to oppose the Kazakh government and the family will support him. “There is absolutely no going back,” she said. “It is a matter of principle.” — AP

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

2.712 4.548 2.684 2.166 2.847 224.150 36.568 3.641 6.343 8.598 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

75.644 77.941 736.880 753.420 77.420

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 257.12 269.49 317.75 389.72 282.95 467.86 2.77 3.640 4.543 2.168 2.846 2.692 77.10 753.10 40.66 402.70 735.85 78.14 75.58

SELL CASH 257.000 269.000 317.000 392.000 285.600 472.000 2.800 3.900 4.870 2.300 3.400 2.790 77.400 753.800 41.100 407.700 741.800 78.500 75.800

Thai Bhat Syrian Pound Nepalese Rupees Malaysian Ringgit Chinese Yuan Renminbi

41.000 40.357 1.323 172.110 400.580 1.903 2.022 35.444

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

283.550 387.900 466.160 266.750 130.670 314.710 254.340 282.350 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

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

0.006412 0.000069 0.220279 0.020747 0.001877 0.009408 0.008397

0.006692 0.000075 0.226279 0.029247 0.002457 0.009588 0.008947

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

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

09.800 3.010 3.855 88.370 46.975

Australian Dollar New Zealand Dollar

Canadian Dollar US Dollars US Dollars Mint

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

BUY Europe 0.007371 0.457648 0.006057 0.047728 0.380496 0.041897 0.081818 0.008131 0.039495 0.306334 0.131552

SELL 0.008371 0.466648 0.018057 0.052728 0.387996 0.047097 0.81818 0.018131 0.044495 0.316534 0.138552

Australasia 0.244557 0.227804

0.256057 0.237304

America 0.260637 0.279450 0.279950

0.269137 0.283800 0.283800

Asia 0.003566 0.045175 0.034478 0.004353 0.000018 0.002636 0.003360 0.000256 0.082498 0.002981 0.002492

0.004166 0.048675 0.037228 0.004754 0.000024 0.002816 0.003360 0.000271 0.088498 0.003151 0.002772

Arab 0.745666 0.037815 0.000078 0.000185 0.395714 1.0000000 0.000139 0.022706 0.001201 0.730462 0.077174 0.074977 0.002173 0.169062 0.131552 0.076218 0.001288

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

0.753666 0.040915 0.000080 0.000245 0.403214 1.0000000 0.000239 0.046706 0.001836 0.736142 0.078387 0.075677 0.002393 0.177062 0.138552 0.077367 0.001368

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) 283.100 387.650 465.100 268.150 4.545 40.680 2.165 3.642 6.335 2.695 753.900 77.100 75.600



Natural gas exports: Slow walk or ‘danger zone’? WASHINGTON: The debate over exporting liquefied natural gas is intensifying as the Energy Department considers an array of applications to ship the fuel to Japan, India and other countries where prices are far higher than in the United States. Some large manufacturers that use natural gas say the department is moving too quickly to approve gas exports, pushing the United States into a “danger zone” that could raise prices and harm the economy. Environmental groups worry that tentative approval of several large export projects may accelerate a fracking boom they say could harm public health and the environment. Industry groups, meanwhile, say the administration is moving too slowly, with just one of nearly two dozen proposed LNG export terminals given final approval in the past two years. Four other projects have received conditional backing. “The Department of Energy’s slow-walk of LNG export licenses violates our trade obligations” and could cause the US to lose billions of dollars in the global gas market, said Margo Thorning, director of the Act on LNG campaign, an advocacy group that supports gas exports. “In a perfect world, we’d like to just see them approve all the applications that meet the requirements and let the market

figure out which ones are actually going to be built,” said Marty Durbin, president and CEO of America’s Natural Gas Alliance, an industry group that has pushed for more exports to keep the US competitive in a global market. If built, the projects already given tentative or final approval would export about 6.7 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day, enough to meet the needs of nearly 70,000 homes for one year. And that is just the beginning. The proposals considered so far represent less than one-quarter of the total amount energy companies are seeking to export. Energy companies say the US should act now, before other countries such as Russia or Iran approve export projects that could help meet growing energy demands in Asia and other parts of the world. The push for LNG exports comes amid a boom largely resulting from a drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which involves pumping huge volumes of water, sand and chemicals underground to split open rocks to allow oil and gas to flow. Improved technology has allowed energy companies to gain access to huge stores of natural gas underneath states from Wyoming to Pennsylvania but has raised widespread concerns that it might lead to groundwater

contamination and even earthquakes. American oil companies are pushing to export crude oil for the first time since the Arab oil embargo in the early 1970s. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz suggested at an industry gathering last month that the drilling boom may mean it is time to revisit the ban on crude exports. Top gas exporter President Barack Obama has said he generally supports natural gas exports and predicts the U.S. could become a net gas exporter by 2020. Moniz, who took over as energy secretary last year, has pledged to move “expeditiously” on pending applications to export natural gas. The Energy Department “understands the significance of this issue - as well as the importance of getting it right,” said Paula Gant, deputy assistant energy secretary for oil and natural gas. The high stakes are illustrated by the conflicting views of US manufacturers. Most business groups back LNG exports as a way to reduce the nation’s trade deficit and support thousands of jobs. But some manufacturers that use natural gas as a raw material or fuel source oppose exports, saying they could drive up domestic prices and increase manufacturing costs. Major companies, including Dow

Chemical Co., aluminum producer Alcoa Inc. and steelmaker Nucor Corp., are working together as members of America’s Energy Advantage to oppose the exports. The group argues that the Energy Department has no legal standards for approving exports and is using a flawed study to support its finding that such projects are in the public interest. On the other side, the National Association of Manufacturers said the Obama administration is in danger of violating treaty obligations under the World Trade Organization by restricting exports of coal and natural gas to energy-hungry countries in Asia and Europe. The manufacturers group, which represents more than 12,000 companies, from multinational corporations to small tooland-die shops, said new exports could help expand the US economy by adding jobs. “Unfortunately, it has become increasingly difficult to get a permit to do just about anything in the United States, and infrastructure projects like LNG and coal export terminals are crippled by delays and regulatory obstacles,” said Jay Timmons, the manufacturers association’s president and CEO. Quick approbals Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake

Climate Action Network, an environmental group that opposes a proposed LNG export terminal on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, said the natural gas industry wants quick approvals of massive export projects so it can make more money before other countries such as Russia and India start producing their own liquefied natural gas. In September, the Energy Department gave tentative approval to a $3.8 billion export project proposed by Virginia-based Dominion Resources. The Cove Point, Md., plant would be the largest LNG terminal on the East Coast, shipping millions of cubic feet of natural gas to Japan and India every day on 1,000-foot-long-tankers rumbling through the Chesapeake Bay. “Let’s slow down, so we can have a conversation about how this makes sense, not just economically but environmentally,” Tidwell said. Kevin Book, an energy analyst, said the Energy Department is seeking a political and economic “sweet spot,” with enough export projects approved to keep the drilling boom going, but not so many as to risk an oversupply of natural gas. Book expects no more than six or eight LNG terminals to be built. “The resource is vast, but terminals are very expensive to build and there are limits in how many will be built or are needed,” he said. —Reuters

Shares, dollar rise on more signs of economic recovery Peripheral euro zone debt in demand

NEW YORK: Preet Bharara, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announces a settlement with JPMorgan Chase, Tuesday in New York. JPMorgan Chase & Co., already beset by other costly legal woes, has agreed to pay $1.7 billion to settle criminal charges that it ignored obvious warning signs of Bernard Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme, Bharara said Tuesday. —AP

Madoff-related fraud to cost JPMorgan $2.5bn NEW YORK: For more than 15 years, there were signs something was amiss with what federal prosecutors in Manhattan call the “703 account” at JPMorgan Chase & Co. Money was being transferred back and forth for no reason. The account holder was recording double-digit returns on investments that were too good to be true. The bank itself was worried enough about possible fraud to withdraw its own investments from him. The name on the account was Bernard Madoff and on Tuesday, JPMorgan paid a steep price for keeping quiet about its suspicions. Federal authorities announced that the nation’s largest bank will add to its other costly financial woes by forfeiting a record $1.7 billion to settle criminal charges alleging it turned a blind eye to the Madoff fraud, plus pay an additional $543 million to settle civil claims by victims. It also will pay a $350 million civil penalty for what the Treasury Department called “critical and widespread deficiencies” in its programs to prevent money laundering and other suspicious activity. The bank failed to carry out its legal obligations to guard against money laundering while Madoff “built his massive house of cards,” George Venizelos, head of the FBI’s New York office, said at a news conference. Madoff banked at JPMorgan through what court papers referred to as the “703 account.” In 2008, the bank’s London desk circulated a memo describing JPMorgan’s inability to validate his trading activity or custody of assets and his “odd choice” of a one-man accounting firm, the government said. In late October 2008, it filed a suspicious activity report with British officials. In the weeks that followed, JPMorgan withdrew about $300 million of its own money from Madoff feeder funds. The fraud was revealed when Madoff was arrested in December 2008. Largest forfeiture “Despite all these alarm bells, JPMorgan never closed or even seriously questioned Madoff’s Ponzi-enabling 703 account,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. “On the other hand, when it came to its own money, JPMorgan knew how to connect the dots and take action to protect itself against risk.” In a statement, JPMorgan said it recognized it “could have done a better job pulling together various pieces of information and concerns about Madoff from different parts of the bank over time.” It added: “We do not believe that any JPMorgan Chase employee knowingly assisted Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.” Prosecutors called the $1.7 billion the largest forfeiture by a US bank and the largest Department of Justice penalty for a Bank Secrecy Act violation. The settlement includes a so-called deferred prosecution agreement that requires the bank to acknowledge failures in its protections against money laundering but also allows it to avoid criminal charges. No individual executives were accused of wrongdoing. The agreement resolves two felony viola-

tions of the Bank Secrecy Act in connection with the bank’s relationship with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, the private investment arm of Madoff’s former business. The civil penalty was imposed by the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Criminal charges will be deferred for two years as JPMorgan admits to its conduct, pays the $1.7 billion to a fund established for victims of Madoff ’s fraud and reforms its anti-money laundering policies, prosecutors said. A statement of facts included in the agreement describes internal communications at JPMorgan expressing concerns about how Madoff was generating his purported returns. As early as 1998, a JPMorgan fund manager wrote that the returns were “possibly too good to be true” and there were “too many red flags.” In more recent years, executives were disturbed by the fact that Madoff wouldn’t let the bank examine his books, the statement of facts says. “How much do we have in Madoff at the moment?” a bank analyst wrote in a 2008 email. “To be honest, the more I think about it, the more concerned I am.” Major deals When Madoff finally revealed to the FBI that his investment advisory business was a Ponzi scheme, fictitious account statements for thousands of clients showed $60 billion in assets. Of the roughly $17.5 billion in principal that was real, most of it was gone. Since then, a court-appointed trustee has recovered more than $9.78 billion - including a portion of the JPMorgan civil payout - to redistribute to clients that invested directly with Madoff. The $1.7 billion criminal forfeiture will go to a second victims’ pool, already with $2.35 billion, that is processing claims from clients of so-called feeder funds that also invested heavily with Madoff. The JPMorgan settlement is the latest in a series of major deals it has made to resolve its legal troubles. In November, the bank agreed to pay $13 billion over risky mortgage securities it sold before the financial crisis - the largest settlement to date between the Justice Department and a corporation. The more than $2.5 billion that JPMorgan is paying comes from a company that reported $21.3 billion in net income for 2012. JPMorgan already has set aside $23 billion this year to cover settlement and litigation costs - including the $13 billion. The settlement of criminal charges “is good, but still inadequate to stop what can only be called a one-bank crime spree,” said Dennis Kelleher, president of Better Markets, a group that advocates strict financial regulation. “Once again, not a single individual working for JPMorgan Chase has been held accountable. Banks do not commit crimes; bankers do,” Kelleher said in a statement. “Until individuals, including executives, are held personally liable, fined and jailed, the crime spree will continue.” —AFP

LONDON: Global equities and the dollar rose yesterday, as solid German economic data pointed to a pick-up in world trade and kept European shares near five-and-a-half year highs. News on Tuesday that the US trade deficit was at a four-year low also bolstered optimism over the global economy and lifted the dollar. Meanwhile, a bumper Irish debt sale has boosted confidence in debt from the euro zone periphery. The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 45 countries, edged up 0.1 percent on Wednesday to reach its highest level in five-anda-half years. Japan’s Nikkei jumped 1.9 percent to approach a six-year peak. Data showing that exports from Europe’s biggest economy, Germany, rose for a fourth straight month in November was the latest sign that the euro zone economy and world trade are slowly recovering from the 2008 financial crisis. Further signs came from bumper demand on Tuesday for Ireland’s first debt sale since it exited an international bailout programme. Spanish and Irish government bond yields hovered near multi-year lows yesterday. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index slipped 0.1 percent but remained close to its highest level since mid-2008. Futures on the US

stock markets, which have hit record highs, edged back by 0.1 percent. Shares in Asia excluding Japan rose, and the MSCI Emerging Markets index was up 0.3 percent. Francois Savary, chief investment officer at Swiss bank Reyl, says equity markets may slip back this month as investors cash in gains on the rally so far. And Old Mutual Global Investors fund manager Francois Zagame cautions that the global economy still needs to strengthen further. But both are optimistic over the longerterm prospects for equities in 2014. “We’re cautiously optimistic on equities altogether,” Zagame said. “The data points in the US are OK to good, but it’s still sub-trend growth. We’ve had our doubts over Europe, but it looks as if Europe should muddle through.” US economy on the mend The US dollar climbed against the yen after the US trade deficit shrank, and also edged up against the euro. Signs of a US recovery have reassured some investors that the world’s biggest economy can withstand a Federal Reserve decision to scale its bond-buying programme. That programme drove many investors into equities by curtailing returns on cash and

bonds, fuelling much of last year’s stock market rally. Minutes of the Fed’s December meeting are due later yesterday. Markets will be hoping for a clear commitment to keeping rates low for a long time to come. The European Central Bank also meets on Thursday for the first time in 2014. Analysts and investors doubt it will do more than flag its readiness to act in the future, despite another surprising fall in euro zone inflation. Data on Tuesday showed inflation in the euro zone eased to just 0.8 percent in December, highlighting the risk of deflation. “While we think that the ECB will remain on hold this week, we are expecting a very dovish statement from ECB President (Mario) Draghi,” economists at ANZ wrote in a note to clients. The generally positive economic backdrop also caused gold to ease for a second session yesterday. Even though most investors remain optimistic on prospects for 2014, the economic recovery still faces threats. One is a possible spike in bond yields as the Fed winds down its bond-buying. Another is a rise in oil prices amid unrest in the Middle East and Africa. Brent crude has steadied above $107 a barrel after new worries over Libyan supplies. —Reuters

Kuwait’s budget surplus to decline NBK ECONOMIC REPORT KUWAIT: According to forecasts by the National Bank of Kuwait, nonoil growth in the Kuwaiti economy is set to reach 4.5% in 2014 and 2015, from 4% in 2013. However, overall GDP will decrease by 0.6% in 2014 due to a projected fall in oil production, before rising by 3.1% in 2015. Inflation is expected to rise from 2.6% in 2013 to 3% in 2014, and 3.5% in 2015. l High oil prices, large fiscal and trade surpluses, and the government’s vast financial reserves continue to provide a positive nearterm backdrop for the Kuwaiti economy. Although the headline rate of economic growth will look weak in 2014, this is entirely driven by cuts in oil output; non-oil growth, while far from firing on all cylinders, is forecast to improve slightly to 4.5% thanks to better project execution and continued strength in the consumer sector. Both of these factors could disappoint, however, resulting in softer economic growth than forecast. We expect gradual progress on much-needed economic reforms to boost private investment levels and improve the economy’s longer-term performance. l The consumer sector remains an important growth driver, but there are signs that growth may be softening a little. Consumer credit growth has come off its peak (though remains strong), employment growth has eased, and the impact of earlier increases in wages and benefits may be fading. Early figures also suggest that take-up of debt relief under the Family Fund law implemented in 4Q 2013 has been much lower than the KD 0.8 billion in loans applicable under the scheme. The boost to disposable incomes and additional lending will therefore be smaller than initially assumed. l Following a brief cut in 1Q 2013, crude oil output rebounded to around 3.0 mbpd in mid-year,

close to its full capacity. As demand weakens and non-OPEC supply continues to rise, we expect OPEC - including Kuwait - to cut output significantly in 1H 2014 in order to balance the market and keep prices close to $100 pb. Real hydrocarbon GDP is seen falling by 4% in 2014 before registering a small rise in 2015. l Despite continued strength in the consumer sector, inflation remained low through 2013, averaging 2.7% in the first 10 months. This was in spite of a pick-up in housing rent pressures, which were more or less offset by decelerating inflation in the food segment. Inflation in the remaining segments - sometimes thought of as ‘core’ - reached just 0.7% y/y in August, its lowest for years. Some upward drift in inflation is seen in 2014, as core pressures rise and food price inflation stabilizes. But inflation should remain in the 3-4% range over the next two years. l The budget is set to record another huge surplus in FY2013/14, at 22% of GDP. This is slightly down from the 25% of GDP recorded a year earlier. Oil revenues are expected to dip slightly on softer oil prices while spending posts a small rise of 4%. Comments from senior government ministers in late 2013 about the need to control growth in subsidy payments suggest that the government will maintain tighter control of spending in future, compared to the 15% average annual increase seen over the past decade. So long as oil prices remain high, this will limit the decline in the surplus going forward. l A similar moderation is likely in Kuwait’s giant current account surplus, due to a combination of peaking oil receipts and rising imports. But the surplus will remain above 30% of GDP. (Chart 18.) Kuwait: money and finance.

Signs of credit growth shifting gear; stock market holds on to gains made in 1H 2013... l Improvements in the broader economic climate have been reflected in financial conditions. Deposit and credit growth have generally accelerated, spurred on by low interest rates, comfortable liquidity conditions, a buoyant consumer sector and better business confidence. Meanwhile, corporate profitability has improved and the stock market has held on to the advances made in 1H 2013. We expect further steady improvements in the financial climate in 2014; though acknowledge the uncertainties for global markets and liquidity related to the US Fed potentially reducing the size of its monetary stimulus early in the year (so-called “taper”). l Annual growth in broad money (M2) averaged 10% in the first 10 months of 2013, up from a 7% average in 2012 and consistent with decent growth in the broader economy. Growth in the more volatile short-term measure, M1, has been much stronger - helped by the low interest rate environment. Private sector deposit growth has provided further evidence of improved economic activity, accelerating to 10% y/y in the first 10 months of 2013, up from 6% through 2012. Overall liquidity conditions would have been stronger still were it not for government deposits, which have dipped following a surge in 2012. l Growth in private credit accelerated to 8% in October 2013, its fastest for more than four years. The improvement has been driven by a pick-up in lending to industry, particularly the real estate and oil sectors. Although this may partly reflect some one-off factors, we see it as supportive of our view of a pick-up in business sentiment more generally. Moreover, stronger lending growth has come despite a

slight easing in consumer sector borrowing. The latter, although still very strong at 17% y/y, may soon be affected by implementation of the Family Fund law, which could see around KD 0.4 billion in household debt - 4% of the total acquired by the government. l Growth in commercial bank assets has also improved slightly, reaching 10% y/y in October, supported by stronger credit conditions. Private sector credit accounts for the majority of all bank assets. The rise in foreign assets - which had been a driving force behind bank balance sheet expansion since 2011 - abated in 1H 2013. This could suggest that banks were utilizing funds overseas in the absence of better domestic lending opportunities, which are now materializing. l The Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) has maintained its main lending rate, the discount rate, at 2.0% since October 2012. The benchmark deposit rate - the oneweek repo rate - has remained at 1.5%. Banks’ weighted commercial lending rates drifted 20 bps lower to 4.6% through 2013 as the impact of the CBK discount rate cut filtered through the system. Meanwhile, the Kuwaiti dinar remained more or less unchanged against the US dollar in 2013, and by extension fell by around 3% against the strengthening euro. l The 7-month rally in the Kuwait stock market subsided in mid-2013, but equities managed to hold onto most of their earlier gains. Despite the leveling off, the main price-weighted KSE index was still up by 31% in the year to mid-December, while the valueweighted index was up a more modest 10%. The quieter domestic political environment, optimism on project implementation and the Syrian crisis were among the key factors affecting the market during 2013.



Kuwait’s ports witness volume growth KUWAIT: Kuwait Financial Centre “Markaz ” recently published the executive summary of its report on Kuwait Ports. In this report, Markaz analyzes the importance and contribution of Kuwait Ports in the economy of Kuwait. According to Markaz report, economic benefits provided by the Kuwait seaport sector include its support for a large contribution to GDP through facilitating sea trade, contribution towards achieving economic diversification in the country, stimulating demand in the economy and Kuwait’s development as a transport and logistics hub, by capitalizing on GCC ports’ lack of capacity. Kuwait has three commercial ports namely: i) Shuwaikh, ii) Shuaiba and iii) Doha. The three ports are operated by Kuwait Ports Authority (KPA). The ports in Kuwait have witnessed a volume growth at a CAGR of 2.92% in TEUs between 2005 and 2012. The cargo volume at Kuwait ports have increased at a CAGR of 1.59% in Tonnes between 2005 and 2012. The number of vessels arrived at Shuwaikh Port has remained almost constant between

2005 and 2012. The Cargo volume at Shuwaikh Port has increased at a CAGR of 2.60% between 2005 and 2012. The total container throughput at Shuwaikh port has increased at a CAGR of 3.13% between 2005 and 2012. The largest Port Development under execution in Kuwait is the Boubyan Island Port Project (Mubarak Al Kabeer). The Kuwait Government has plans to privatize Kuwaiti ports to develop them and steps taken in September 2013 for privatization of Mubarak port are the beginning of the process. The growing trade in Kuwait also has an impact on its port developments. Exports in Kuwait are predominantly oil based with hydrocarbon exports forming about 90%-95% of total exports. Kuwait’s total exports have grown at a CAGR of 12.63% between 2006 and 2012. Kuwait’s non-oil exports have grown at a CAGR of 11.38% during the same period while Kuwait’s imports have grown at a CAGR of 6.37%. Reexports in Kuwait form a very small portion of total exports. However, the contribution of reexports in total non-oil exports has varied

between 19% and 35% for the period 2006- 12. Growing trade The growing trade in Kuwait has resulted in some of countries becoming important trading partners for Kuwait. Some of the major trade partners of Kuwait in 2012 in terms of exports were China, the U.A.E, Saudi Arabia, India, European Union, the United States and Indonesia. Notably, while Kuwait has consistently maintained a positive balance of trade, it has a negative balance of trade with these countries implying that these countries are also major importing partners for Kuwait. 98% of exports in 2012 were made through ships. Contribution of other modes of transport, were miniscule for exports. In 2012, 62% of Kuwait imports were made through ships. In Kuwait seaport transports is preferred over other modes of transport due to its strategic location and also because sea transport is ideal for moving heavy goods. Some of the demand drivers for Kuwait port sector are its geographic location, growing trade,

economic growth and diversification, growing importance of emerging markets, expected lack in handling capacity in the GCC region between 2013-14 and the plans for growing rail network which complements transport through seaports. Challenges for Kuwait seaport sector include delays in implementing Kuwait Development Plan, political uncertainty in the country, effects of global economic environment, Kuwait public private partnership project put on hold, possible overcapacity in the GCC ports in 2015 and financing. Economic benefits provided by the Kuwait seaport sector include its support for a large contribution to GDP through facilitating sea trade, contribution towards achieving economic diversification in the country, stimulating demand in the economy and Kuwait’s development as a transport and logistics hub. Kuwait needs to improve significantly the efficiency of its ports in terms of various parameters like efficiency of customs administration, inland supply transit, availability and quality of seaport transport infrastructure and sea transport service levels.

Yahoo dives deeper into media with online magazines LAS VEGAS: Yahoo on Tuesday dove deeper into being an Internet Age media company, bringing in news, music and television stars for the launch of online magazines focused on technology and food. The fresh online offerings were showcased by Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer during a Consumer Electronics Show (CES) keynote presentation at a packed theater here. “Yahoo is about making the world’s daily habits inspiring and entertaining, and there are few places as inspiring and entertaining as CES,” Mayer said. “We have been hard at work re-imagining Yahoo’s core businesses across search, communications, media and video - all powered by two powerful platforms, Flickr and Tumblr.” Late last year, Yahoo had more than 400 million mobile monthly users for the first time in the Internet pioneer’s history, according to Mayer. About 800 million people use Yahoo monthly overall, the California-based company said. The theatrical keynote production included appearances by newly-hired Yahoo Global Anchor Katie Couric and Yahoo Tech vice president David Pogue, a former New York Times reporter. Cecily Strong and Keenan Thompson of beloved US comedy program Saturday Night Live appeared in a faux news report skit lampooning trendy technology companies and concepts. Targets included SnapChat, Bitcoin, and in-flight smartphone use. Grammy award-winning musician John Legend entertained the audience with a set of songs. Announcements woven into the stage show included the launches of a Yahoo News digest app design to deliver concise, personalized summaries of global happenings twice daily to smartphones. “Yahoo News Digest, at its core, simplifieds news and solves the problem of information overload and TL;DR,” said Yahoo product manager Nick D’Aloisio, referring to an acronym for ‘Too Long; Didn’t Read.’ Digital magazines Yahoo Food and Yahoo Tech were launched with fanfare. “We found our inspiration in magazines,” Mayer said. “They are elegant, beautiful and have a distinctive voice.” Yahoo Food is devoted to things culinary, while the Tech magazine team headed by Pogue has a stated mission of demystifying the world of geeky gadgets, services and trends. “Everyone at CES is a gear-head, but the rest of the country is struggling,” Pogue said.

“The first language we are going to speak is called English; it’s called human.” Pogue said Yahoo Tech would be a “jargon-free, coollooking” source of news and information presented in terms people not immersed in the industry can appreciate. And instead of banner or display ads, Yahoo digital magazines will follow the lead of their glossy predecessors and weave clearly labeled advertising into content, according to Mayer. Pogue said he will be reviewing projects seeking backing at crowd-source funding websites Kickstarter and Indiegogo, giving as an example a stand that keeps a single razor blade sharp for five years. “It is brilliant, but it also costs $600,” Pogue said of the razor system. Mayer mentioned the acquisition of yet another firm, Aviate, which specializes in automatically organizing applications on smartphone home screens based on clues such as location or time of day and on people’s habits. Mayer took over as Yahoo chief in July of 2012, and her plan to revive the company includes being at the center of people’s Internet habits, especially on mobile devices. “We reach for our mobile devices as soon as we wake up to check the morning headlines,” Couric said, telling the audience she was eager to get to work interviewing “anyone with an important or interesting story to tell.” Digital magazines were touted as part of Yahoo’s longterm strategy. “A common theme for us is simplifying our business and how people consume information,” Mayer said. Forrester analyst David Cooperstein saw it as a savvy move to differentiate Yahoo from Google, Facebook or other online venues by providing the professional content people are looking for instead of user-generated material they might find interesting. “It is a more mainstream play, basically,” Cooperstein said. “By bringing in familiar faces from John Legend to SNL it indicates to me she is talking about more traditional content online, which is the only angle her competitors haven’t taken. And every good keynote should have some theatrics in it.” Despite many investments, Yahoo last year lost its Number 2 position in the US digital ad market to social networking titan Facebook, according to industry-tracker eMarketer. Yahoo’s share of global digital ad revenue slid about a half percent to 2.87 percent last year, while Facebook and Google say their shares rise, eMarketer reported. — AFP

Dutch pension fund quits Israel over settlements THE HAGUE: Dutch pension asset manager PGGM, one of the largest in the country, said yesterday it was divesting from five Israeli banks because they finance Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. The announcement comes a month after a major Dutch water supplier ended a partnership with an Israeli water company which supplies Israeli towns and Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. “PGGM recently decided to no longer invest in five Israeli banks,” said the company, which manages about 153 billion euros ($208 bn)in funds. “ The reason for this was their involvement in financing Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories,” PGGM said in a statement. PGGM said there was “a concern, as the settlements in the Palestinian territories are considered illegal under humanitarian law,” and regarded by international observers as an “important obstacle to a peaceful (twostate) solution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.” It said it would no longer do business with the Hapoalim and Leumi banks, the First National Bank of Israel, the Israel Discount Bank and the Mizrahi Tefahot Bank. PGGM added it based its decision on a 2004 UN International Court of Justice rul-

ing that the Jewish settlements were in breach of the Geneva Convention relating to occupying powers transferring their own citizens into occupied territories. The group said it had been discussing the issue with the Israeli banks “for several years” but that the banks “have limited to no possibilities to end their involvement in the financing of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.”“Therefore, it was concluded that engagement as a tool to bring about change will not be effective in this case,” PGGM said. All investment in the banks ended on January 1 “as concerns remain and changes are not expected in the foreseeable future,” it added. PGGM’s investments in Israeli banks amount to a few tens of millions of euros, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported. “But its decision is liable to damage the banks’ image, and could lead other business concerns in Europe to follow suit,” the paper said. Last month Dutch water supplier Vitens ended a partnership with Israeli water company Mekorot due to the “political context.” The decision came days after a visit to the Mekorot offices in Israel by Dutch trade minister Lilianne Ploumen was abruptly cancelled. — AFP



US war on poverty still not won, 50 years on WASHINGTON: In his first State of the Union address, President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty in America. Fifty years later some progress has been made but gaping inequality remains. “ This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America,” Johnson told Congress on January 8, 1964, two months after he succeeded the assassinated John F. Kennedy. “We shall not rest until that war is won,” he declared. The US poverty rate has dropped from 26 percent in 1964 to 16 percent today, thanks in particular to a variety of food aid programs and tax credits, says the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. But poverty in the world’s largest economy is far from being eradicated. In 2012 it affected some 47 million Americans, including 13 million children, which James Ziliak, director of the Center for Poverty Research at the University of Kentucky, dubs “a very high number.” A US Census Bureau report revealed Tuesday that

nearly one in three Americans experienced poverty for at least two months during the global recession between 2009 and 2011. Some battles have been won, such as that targeting extreme malnutrition, or have have seen partial wins, such as the program providing health insurance for the poor and the aged, he said. “If we did not have any safety net programs, the rate would be doubled,” he told AFP. By any measure, poverty has gone down significantly among the elderly, which was one of Johnson’s priorities. One in five American kids is poor Poverty among children has also declined since Johnson made his famous call to arms. But one in five kids in America still lives in poverty and more than one in five children in New York, for example, lives in a family that does not have enough to eat, the Coalition against Hunger says. A total of 25 major cities also reported that

requests for food assistance or the number of homeless had gone up in the past year, illustrating the slow pace of progress in the war on poverty. As for the gap between rich and poor, it is progressing at a “dangerous” pace, in the words of President Barack Obama, who said last year that the richest 10 percent of no longer take in a third of all revenue but rather half. New York City’s new mayor Bill de Blasio was elected in November on a pledge to end inequality in the nation’s largest metropolis, which has the largest number of billionaires in the world but where 21 percent of the people live below the poverty line. In his 1964 speech Johnson also called for abolishing all forms of racial discrimination. Now, a half century later, “a large gap” in economic terms remains between white and black households, says the CBPP. The situation is difficult because lawmakers disagree on what the solution is. Republicans and Democrats struggle to reach agreement on levels of

food aid in the so-called Snap programSupplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-or food stamps, denying meals to some families. Another program extending jobless benefits to long-term unemployed people ran out of funds on December 31. In 1996 an overhaul of some aid programs led to a rise in extreme poverty, mainly in single-parent homes, according to a study released in May by the University of Michigan. But spending more money on the problem is just a partial solution, according to the Brookings Institution, a prestigious think tank. It says that in order to wage an effective war on poverty, three factors must be addressed: education, because it is difficult to escape poverty with a good education or marketable skill; jobs, because unemployment is the “surest route to poverty, and the family, because “kids in single-parent families are about five times as likely to be poor as children in married-couple families.” — AFP

Cambodia garment workers dying for higher wages Demands doubling of minimum wage to $160 a month

MANILA: This file photo taken on August 31, 2012 shows applicants queueing up for a job recruitment event for Philippine budget carrier Cebu Pacific, next to scale model of one of the airlines fleet in Manila. Philippine carrier Cebu Pacific is to buy the Filipino unit of Singapore-based budget carrier Tigerair in a deal that will also create a strategic alliance, the airlines announced on yesterday. — AFP

Tigerair sells Philippine affiliate to Cebu Pacific MANILA: Philippine carrier Cebu Pacific is to buy the Filipino unit of Singaporebased budget carrier Tigerair in a deal that will also create a strategic alliance, the airlines announced yesterday. Cebu Pacific said it would pay US$15 million to wholly own Tigerair Philippines, a small carrier that is 40 percent controlled by Tigerair, and expects the transaction to close in a few months. The amount also includes payment for the 60 percent share of Tigerair Philippines owned by Filipino investors. The carrier was previously known as Southeast Asian Airlines but was renamed after the Singapore carrier bought into it in mid-2012. Group chief executive Koay Peng Yen told a teleconference Tigerair had accumulated a loss of 84 million Singapore dollars (US$66.12 million)on its Philippine investment as of September 30 last year. As part of the agreement announced in Manila and Singapore yesterday, Cebu Pacific and Tigerair will jointly operate routes between Singapore and the Philippines. The websites of both Tigerair and Cebu Pacific will be used to market all routes operated by both airlines. Cebu Pacific president and chief executive Lance Gokongwei said that “as the relation grows” the two airlines could consider further cooperation such as shared ground-handling operations. “We’re very excited and eager to start our

cooperation agreement with Tigerair,” Gokongwei told the teleconference. “ Tigerair and Cebu Pacific share a vision for both airlines to join forces and compete more effectively in the regional market,” Koay said in a joint statement. “We also look forward to achieving greater cost savings from the coordinated operations while providing more travel options and greater convenience for our customers.” The joint statement said the alliance would allow Cebu Pacific to target high-growth markets including Australia and India, while Tigerair would be able to fly more passengers to other cities in Cebu Pacific’s network in the Philippines and North Asia. Cebu Pacific said it operates an average of 2,200 flights per week with 48 aircraft to 24 international and 33 Philippine cities. The Tigerair group, which also includes Tigerair Singapore, Tigerair Mandala and Tigerair Australia, said it flies to more than 50 destinations across 13 Asia-Pacific countries using 51 aircraft. Instead of folding it into Cebu Pacific, Gokongwei said Tigerair Philippines would operate as a distinct entity for the time being, retaining its existing managers and brand name. It now operates an average of 118 flights per week with five aircraft to 11 domestic and international destinations from Manila and Clark airports. — AFP

PHNOM PENH: Cambodian workers demanding higher wages to toil in factories making Gap jeans and Nike trainers have found themselves on the frontline of a bloody crackdown on dissent by strongman premier Hun Sen. Months of peaceful protests by opposition supporters demanding new elections have posed little threat to Hun Sen, one of the world’s longest-serving leaders. But when striking factory workers began to join forces with the opposition, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) responded swiftly with at least four workers shot dead and dozens wounded by security forces. The tough tactics reflect the potent political force represented by the hundreds of thousands of Cambodian workers who stitch the clothes and footwear worn by many in the West. “If the two streams of protest had been allowed to merge-political opponents and striking workers-they would have presented a threat of enormous magnitude to the Hun Sen regime,” said Cambodia expert Carl Thayer. If the two movements come together and adopt a militant stance, the Hun Sen regime “can either resort to brute force to crush opposition or the CPP can jettison Hun Sen in the hopes of clinging to power,” said Thayer, a professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia. About 650,000 workers provide the backbone of Cambodia’s multi-billion dollar garment industry-a key source of foreign income for the impoverished Southeast Asian nation. They are demanding a doubling of the minimum wage to $160 a month, or about $8 a day. So far the government has offered them $100. Safety worries are also rife in an industry that periodically sees mass fainting episodes often blamed on poor health, bad ventilation or exposure to dangerous chemicals. Struggle to survive Mother-of-two Oeurn Dany, 30, works for up to 10 hours a day, six days a week, to feed her

applied to tutorials on how to “mine” virtual currencies, as well as hardware and software used to obtain them. Taobao Marketplace, a consumer-to-consumer platform, has nearly 500 million registered users, according to the company. A spokeswoman for parent Alibaba Group told AFP that the ban applied to the trading of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies through Taobao, which lists more than 800 million products. However, Taobao had never accepted Bitcoin as a payment method, she said. Alibaba, which is preparing for an overseas stock listing which some analysts expect to rival Facebook in how it values the Chinese company, also operates China’s leading third-party online payment platform, Alipay Taobao said in its statement that the PBoC had ordered payment providers, which include Alipay, to shut down payment channels using Bitcoin and other such currencies. Before the government ban, Chinese speculators poured money into Bitcoin, driving the price on the BTC China exchange up 9,122 percent from January 1 to November 30 last year and making the country at times the world’s biggest Bitcoin market. Bitcoins were created in 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis by an anonymous programmer who wanted a currency independent of any central bank or financial institution. — AFP

‘Not scared to return to the streets’ Despite the lull in tensions, the workers say the battle is not over. “We will continue our demand for higher wages until we have enough money,” said Khim Vat, 42, who works at a factory

producing clothes for brands including Nike. “I’m very angry about the recent crackdown but I will join any strike in the future - I’m not scared.” Pressure is mounting from international brands and labour movements to avoid further bloodshed. “We strongly oppose any form of violence, and urge the Royal Government of Cambodia to drive negotiations among stakeholders to peacefully resolve this dispute,” Gap Inc. spokeswoman Laura Wilkinson told AFP. H&M said it too opposed “all kinds of violence”, appealing for peaceful wage talks. The row highlights a broader dilemma facing manufacturers-how to balance the expectations of Western consumers for affordable clothing with the demands of workers for a rising wage. The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) says the strikes have already cost the industry $200 million. The risk for Cambodia is that if the industry becomes uncompetitive, the brands might take their business elsewhere. With a current minimum wage of around $80 per month for garment workers, Cambodian labour costs are already higher than in Bangladesh, the world’s second largest clothes manufacturer, but below those of industry leader China. By comparison, garment sector workers receive a minimum or average monthly wage of about $68 in Bangladesh, $80-$100 in Myanmar, $90-$130 in Vietnam and $170-$250 in China. “There will always be another low cost labour source somewhere on the horizon,” said Douglas Clayton, chief executive of Leopard Capital, a private-equity firm that invests in frontier markets. “Bangladesh, Pakistan and Myanmar can still provide lots of willing workers,” he said. “Western brands will do the minimum response required to avoid negative publicity. They know that most Western shoppers care more about value than values.” — AFP

Al Mulla exchange launches premiere lounge in Qurain

China online marketplace Taobao to ban Bitcoins SHANGHAI: China’s largest online marketplace, Alibaba Group’s Taobao, said yesterday that it would ban the trading of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies from January 14, after a government crackdown on the units. The People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the country’s central bank, in December ordered financial institutions to halt Bitcoin-related services and products and cautioned against its potential use in money-laundering, according to a statement. Bitcoins-a form of digitally-created “emoney”-are stored in a virtual wallet, and can be sent directly to another person, bypassing banks and remaining largely anonymous. The PBoC also banned domestic third-party payment companies from providing clearing services for virtual currencies, according to state media reports. “In order to better promote the healthy development of Taobao Marketplace and effectively safeguard interests of Taobao members, Taobao will adjust its management practices on prohibited goods according to related state laws and regulations,” Taobao said in a statement on its website. “Newly added rules include a ban on sales of Internet virtual currencies like Bitcoin and Litecoin,” it said. Taobao said the trading ban also

family and send her children to school. “We have many difficulties to survive with the current wage,” she told AFP. “Workers also often get sick due to the conditions, including chemical substances on the cloth.” Rather than a boycott, she urged consumers to buy more clothes made in Cambodia so she has enough work, while pressuring the brands to ensure fair wages and conditions. Opposition leader Sam Rainsy has urged Western clothing companies and consumers to be responsible when buying what he described as “blood garments”. He urged consumers in the United States and Europe “to check if there is any drop of blood in the garment they intend to buy”. Hun Sen has overseen Cambodia’s transformation from a nation devastated by the regime’s “Killing Fields” genocide era in the late 1970s to become one of Southeast Asia’s most vibrant economies. The 61-year-old prime minister has ruled for 28 years and vowed to continue until he is 74. His government is regularly accused of ignoring human rights and suppressing political dissent, and the opposition has boycotted parliament since July elections, alleging widespread vote rigging. Hun Sen’s critics allege that the deadly crackdown on striking workers, some of whom were throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at police, was a pretext for a raid the following day on a peaceful opposition protest in a Phnom Penh park. The government has since indefinitely banned demonstrations and the garment workers have ended their strike. Most have returned to work while some fled back to their villages in fear.


l Mulla Exchange, the premier money exchange company in Kuwait, continues to surprise the remittance market in the country by introducing innovative products and ser vices. Their latest offering is the Premiere Lounge, which has been launched for discerning high value customers who would like to savor a remittance experience like no other. Located near to upscale Lu&Lu hypermarket in Qurain, this service is a first for the Exchange industry as a whole, not just in Kuwait but anywhere in the world. An added advantage to this ‘invitation-only’ service is that it comes at no extra cost to the High-Value customers, who are identified and given a personalised access card to the Lounge by AMIEC. . Unlike other branches where the customer has to stand in a queue to do their transaction, this service offers a one-to-one interface for the customer to have his transaction done at leisure and in the privacy of a cabin. With this new service, Al Mulla Exchange expects that they will be able to address the need of the selected few who would like to have their remittance done with utmost care and comfort and at no extra cost. As the fastest growing Exchange company in Kuwait with a 52-branch network, Al Mulla Exchange has rapidly become the moneyremittance company of choice across all corridors. The company plans to open more of the exclusive Premiere Lounge outlets in every area where Al Mulla Exchange is located in depending on the customer response to this innovative service.



Wataniya Telecom invites customers to experiment its brilliant network KUWAIT: Wataniya Telecom, the first private telecom operator in Kuwait, is now presenting the most advanced network to its customers along with excellent 4G/LTE internet service and brilliant mobile network coverage. Wataniya has rebuilt its network utilizing the new U900 technology with an invest-

ment of over $ 400 million in partnership with Huawei and Ericsson for a better future for its customers. Along with its recently launched campaign, Wataniya is now offering its customers the opportunity to test the network at its booth in the 1st Avenues dome area today.

The booth will operate from 10 am to 10 pm until Saturday the 11th of Jan, 2014. Wataniya is inviting customers to take part of its network modernization success to celebrate the amazing results achieved. The U900 technology provides high voice clarity giving customers incredible voice

experience while indoor and significant reduction in drop calls. Customers can enjoy the best of indoor coverage and voice clarity from Wataniya Telecom. The new U900 technology is characterized by its deep indoor penetration and its ability to reach beyond barriers such as

cement, metal, wood and water. Therefore, it delivers better indoor coverage such as in basements, high-rise buildings, elevators, and even under water. Customers of Wataniya using mobile phones that support 3G/4G networks on 900 MHz will feel the difference in call clarity and strength of indoor coverage.

Sony launches much-anticipated Xperia Z1 Compact at CES 2014 DUBAI: Sony Mobile launched the Xperia Z1 Compact amidst much fanfare at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014 in Las Vegas. This beautifully crafted waterproof smartphone brings the best of Sony in a design that fits perfectly in the palm of your hand. Built with a solid aluminum frame, the Xperia Z1 Compact is as stunning as it is durable. It is also impressively fast. Xperia Z1 Compact is made with the same components as Sony’s compact digital cameras, allowing you to capture the most incredible imagery. Superior Auto ensures optimal camera settings, so feel free to shoot in low light conditions, snap away in fast moving environments, and zoom in with perfect clarity. Thinking of switching to Xperia(tm) from another smartphone brand? Move contacts, music, photos, messages, apps and more with Xperia Transfer, Sony’s easy-to-use content transfer app. In compliance with IP55 and IP58, Xperia Z1 Compact is protected against the ingress of dust and is waterproof. Provided that all the covers for the micro USB port, the micro SIM slot and the memory card slot are firmly closed, the phone will stay protected against low pressure jets of water from all practicable directions and can be kept under 1.50 metre of freshwater for up to 30 minutes.

handed use. Did we mention that it also comes in a range of stunning colours? Xperia Z1 Compact supports super-fast LTE networks, giving you access to entertainment anytime and anywhere. With the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon(tm) 800 Quad-core 2.2 Ghz processor and 2GB

leading compact digital cameras. It combines a large 1/2.3” 20.7 MP Exmor RS(tm) for mobile image sensor, Sony’s awardwinning G Lens, and intelligent BIONZ(tm) for mobile image processing engine. So you can zoom in on the petals of that beautiful rose without losing sharpness. Get a crisp and clear image that captures the romantic mood of your candlelight dinner. And catch sharp and blur-free images, even when the kids are jumping up and down. With Superior Auto as the camera default mode, Xperia(tm) Z1 Compact allows everyone to become a camera pro. I t uses intelligent scene recognition technology, making sure that you always shoot with the optimal settings. As a result, you get images delivered with an incredible sharpness, clarity and

A waterproof beauty, designed to perfection Xperia Z1 Compact has been carefully crafted using only premium materials and

clean lines. It comes with a solid one-piece aluminum frame that creates a completely seamless expression, and the front is made of durable tempered glass. I ts IP55/IP58 rating makes this slim and sleek smartphone both waterproof* and dust resistant. The smartphone features all the same screen, camera and performance technologies you would expect from a premium smartphone. And with a 4.3”display, Xperia Z1 Compact is perfect for one-

RAM, this smartphone comes with ultrafast performance and breathtaking graphics. And not only do you have a long-lasting 2300mAh battery, Battery STAMINA Mode also helps you cleverly maximize every bit of that energy. Quality and Performance of a Compact Digital Camera Xperia Z1 Compact is built with the very same components as Sony’s industry

brightness. Afraid you pressed the shutter button too late? Timeshift burst takes 61 frames within just 2 seconds, starting even before you press the shutter. Want to share a special occasion with family and friends? Social live lets you broadcast videos live via Facebook. Looking to find out more about the delicious chocolate you’re eating? Info-eye will give you all the details. Do it all with Xperia Z1 Compact, featuring

a camera with apps that take you way beyond traditional image making. And there are more apps available to download. With new camera apps being continuously released, there’s really no end to what this camera can do. Easy Transfer Xperia Transfer is an ultra-easy, safe and simple app that’ll help you move your contacts, photos, bookmarks, apps, music, messages and much more from your old Android or iOS device to your new Xperia Z1 Compact. And Xperia(tm) Transfer Mobile* makes the switch even easier. No need to use your PC or Mac, transfer directly from phone to phone. Moving from an iOS or Android phone to Xperia has never been easier or faster. Xperia Z1 Compact supports super-fast LTE networks, giving you access to entertainment anytime and anywhere. With the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon(tm) 800 Quad-core 2.2 Ghz processor and 2GB RAM, this smartphone comes with ultrafast performance and breathtaking graphics. And not only do you have a long-lasting 2300mAh battery, Battery STAMINA Mode also helps you cleverly maximize every bit of that energy. * Xperia Transfer Mobile available Q1, 2014. USB host cable needed for iPhone to Xpeira transfer. Discover a rich colour viewing experience that’s true to life The rich colours spectrum of a stunning red dress, skin tones that look just as they do to the naked eye and videos that let you enjoy every detail of every scene. Built with the latest Sony BRAVIA technologies optimized for mobile, Xperia Z1 Compact features a 4.3” TRILUMINOS Display for mobile, for a wider palette of rich, natural colours. And its X-Reality for mobile picture engine enhances everything you watch by analyzing and complimenting lacking pixels for greater clarity and a lifelike viewing experience that’s razor sharp and incredibly bright. To give you an even richer experience, this smartphone pairs perfectly with a range of different accessories. SmartWatch 2 SW2 interacts with your smartphone over Bluetooth(r) and mirrors what’s happening in your life, keeping you informed of incoming messages and more. And the Magnetic Charging Dock DK32 lets you connect, charge and view your smartphone at the perfect angle. Connect all of these perfect partners with just one touch, quick and easy, via the magic of wireless NFC-technology. Millions of songs. Amazing blockbusters. And all of the hottest games you could wish for. Combining the best of Sony technologies, Sony’s media apps give you seamless access to online and offline entertainment.

Times of India presents Realty India Expo at Ramada Hotel KUWAIT: The first strategy with reference to investment by an NRI in real estate would be to shortlist the specific purpose or objective of making investment in real estate, says Subhash Lakhotia. Non-Resident Indians should now think of making investment in India in the real estate sector. If Non Resident Indians invest today in the real estate sector, surely it will bring higher appreciation in the years to come. Before venturing into investment in real estate in India, the Non Resident Indians in particular should take care of the provisions contained in the Foreign Exchange Management Act as well as the Income tax Act. A fair knowledge of these two enactments will help the Non Resident Indians to take a wise decision of investment in real estate keeping in view the provisions of law affecting such Real Estate Investment. Under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, an Indian citizen who resides outside India is permitted to acquire any immovable property in India other than agricultural/plantation property or a farm house. Thus, it is very clear that Non-Resident Indians enjoy almost all the privileges which are enjoyed by a resident Indian with reference to purchase of immovable property in India. Under the above mentioned Act. An Indian citizen who is a resident outside India popularly known as Non Resident Indian has the permission for the following activities with reference to acquisition and transfer of immovable property in India: 1. Acquire immovable property other than agricultural land/ plantation property or a farm house by way of purchase subject to the conditions regarding RBI

rules mentioned in clause (a) of the Regulation. 2. Acquire any immovable property other than agricultural land/ plantation property/ farm house by way of gift from an Indian citizen resident outside India or from a PLO. 3. Acquire property by inheritance. 4. Transfer by way of sale any immov-

dent outside India who is a citizen of India or to a person of Indian origin resident outside India. Before making any investment in real estate the Non Resident Indian should have a clear objective. The strategy will be different depending upon the fact whether the investment in real estate is made for acquiring a residential proper-

able property other than agricultural/plantation property of a farm house by way of sale to a person resident in India. 5. Transfer agricultural land/farm house or plantation property way of gift or sale to an Indian citizen resident in India. 6. Transfer residential or commercial property in India by way of gift to a person resident in India or to a person resi-

ty for self-use or for making profit through subsequent sale. Again the strategy will be quite different if a Non Resident Indian is interested to invest in real estate, just with the sole objective of receiving a regular flow of money by way of rental income. Hence, the first strategy with reference to investment by a Non Resident Indian in real estate

would be to shortlist the specific purpose or objective of making investment in real estate. Purchase of property by NRI for self use A Non Resident Indian Can Make An Investment in a residential property for his own use. This property can be in the form of ownership flat or it could be in the form of buying a piece of land and constructing a house thereon. In both the situations, it is of advantage for a Non Resident Indian to make investment in a residential self-occupied property by taking a loan. If he takes loan for a selfoccupied house property, the he would enjoy a deduction from his Indian income in respect of interest paid on loan taken for such self-occupied residential property. This loan can be taken either from the bank or financial institution or from any member of the family or friend or relative. The maximum deduction in respect of interest on loan that is allowed for self-occupied house property is Rs. 1,50,000. Similarly, as per the provisions contained in section 80C of the Income tax Act, 1961 within the overall deduction of Rs. 1 lakh, the Non Resident Indian, just like a Resident Indian would also enjoy deduction in respect of repayment of the housing loan for self occupied property. However, the deduction for repayment of the loan would be permissible only in respect of loan taken from bank, financial institution etc. Hence, whenever the Non Resident Indian is contemplating to purchase a residential house property for self-use, the best investment strategy would be to take loan and make the investment.

Omar Alghanim

Real wealth of the ME is its people KUWAIT: Omar Alghanim, CEO of Alghanim Industries and Chairman of Gulf Bank, addressed visiting second year Harvard Business School (HBS) students and members of the Harvard University Alumni Association of Kuwait (HUAAK)on the importance of entrepreneurism during a dinner on 6 January, which was sponsored by the HUAAK to mark the inaugural HBS ‘Trek’ to Kuwait. Attending the dinner were 30 students from HBS as part of a business tour of the GCC, which included stops in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The visit to Kuwait was organised by Hamad Al Wazzan and Khaled Jafar, who are currently studying at HBS. Also present at the dinner was Dr Brian Hall, the Albert H. Gordon Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, as well as several prominent Kuwaiti Harvard alumni, including: Mohammad Eissa, Managing Director of Gulf Investment Corporation, Yousef Al Essa, CEO, Amwal International Investment Company and Salah Al Fulaij, CEO, NBK Capital. Alghanim, who is also an HBS alumnus, spoke at length on the importance of entrepreneurism and its crucial role in the future economic development of Kuwait and the other GCC economies. He said:”If we in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region are to see our economic potential realised, real change needs to happen. We have to ensure that our business environment encourages new business growth, and we fully recognise the role our young people will play in our future prosperity. “To improve the environment for business, we must make it easier for business start-ups to form and thrive. MENA as a region currently fairs very poorly for starting a business when compared to the rest of the world. The latest World Bank research positions MENA at 104 overall, when compared against 189 countries. Changes, such as reducing the bureaucracy around starting a business, addressing sponsorship arrangements so that the right qualified people can be attracted and ensuring that investors are properly protected, are all positive steps which are readily achievable and will help to move the region forward. “But I am convinced that the most important driver of change - and the most pressing need - is our willingness to invest in our most precious asset, our people, especially as more and more young people are coming on to the job market. “Today, unemployment amongst young people in MENA is the highest in the world, at just under 30%, when the world average is around 13%. Yet our investment in education is on a par, if not more than any other region. Governments spend much time and money exploring education reform and forgetting to focus on providing practical skills and training to impress employers and allow them to develop business ideas, generate wealth and manage it. “The result of this style of learning has led to a lack of entrepreneurism in the region which many local economies have been able to mask through reliance on oil revenues. For example, in Kuwait today, 93% of Kuwaitis work in the public sector. Yet we all know that the long term economic health of our region depends on vibrant, diversified economies and that these are only possible with a dynamic private sector driven by entrepreneurism. “The solution does not rely on governments to solve alone. They cannot continue to take the strain of employment. The private sector must play its part in spurring entrepreneurship in the region, if for no other reason than simply because it has the most to lose if it doesn’t. “To illustrate the magnitude of the problem, the World Bank estimates that 66 million new jobs for MENA youth must be created in next 10 years. If this is to be achieved then we must work together to make education more relevant to the job market, and provide career guidance, job experience and financial support in an environment which welcomes and encourages entrepreneurism. “The first steps of progress towards these goals are being taken and we are now seeing closer ties between government and the private sector to build entrepreneurism into general business culture in MENA. Initiatives such as INJAZ, which is supported by both the private and the public sector, are beginning to have an impact but more commitment and effort is needed if entrepreneurism in this region is to flourish. Investing in our people in this way is, in my opinion, the only way to create the future thriving and dynamic society we envisage.” The HBS Trek to Kuwait took place between 3-6 January, 2014.



Facebook buys Indian mobile tech start-up NEW DELHI: Facebook has bought an Indian mobile technology start-up called Little Eye Labs, the first business deal in the country by the world’s biggest social network, the Indian firm said. With Facebook users increasingly logging in from mobile phones, Bangalore-based Little

Eye will help Facebook develop performance analysis and monitoring tools that provide data such as the memory and power consumption of applications. “This is Facebook’s first acquisition of an Indian company, and we are happy to become part of such an incredible team,” Little Eye said in a statement on its website yes-

terday. Though neither companies disclosed the value of the deal, reports said industry estimates were around $15 million. “The Little Eye Labs technology will help us to continue improving our Android codebase to make more efficient, higher-performing

apps,” Facebook engineering manager Subbu Subramanian said, according to The Economic Times. Little Eye Labs, which says it was founded about a year ago “by a bunch of program analysis geeks”, will now move its operations to Facebook headquarters in California. — AFP

Small steps toward Ultra HD television LAS VEGAS: After attempts to hawk 3-D and OLED TVs fizzled in recent years, television manufacturers are taking small steps toward making a new technology, Ultra HD, more viable for mainstream consumers. It’s the first TV format to be driven by the Internet video-streaming phenomenon, and at the International CES gadget show this week, major streaming players Netflix and Amazon said they’ll offer movies and TV shows in the format, and Sharp introduced a relatively inexpensive TV with near-Ultra HD quality. The moves are meant to coax consumers to pedal faster on their TV upgrade cycles. At the moment, most Americans buy new TVs about once every seven years. TV manufacturers would love to create another wave of buying like the one that sent millions of people to stores a few years ago to upgrade from standard definition, tube TVs to flat-screen HD models. Unlike the 3-D TV trend, which quickly eroded into a tech fad in recent years, analysts say Ultra HD may actually catch on. With screens that house four times more pixels than regular HD TVs, Ultra HD is a simple enough upgrade to gain widespread adoption in the next few years. Aside from being visually jarring, 3-D required sometimes pricey special glasses and gave some people headaches. Because Ultra HD content can be delivered over a standard high-speed Internet connection, it isn’t likely to get bogged down in a format war that plagued the Blu-ray disc standard. Awesome picture “You see it, you get it. It’s a big, awesome picture,” said Ben Arnold, a consumer electronics analyst at NPD Group. “Consumers will be interested in it as prices come down. Consumers are also moving toward bigger screens. All of this is good news for (Ultra HD).” In side-by-side comparisons, Ultra HD is remarkably crisper than HD. It displays richer skin textures, finer details and less pixelation. The extra resolution becomes more important as consumers spend more money on bigger screens that amplify images. But Ultra HD, or 4K, is in its very early stages. Although prototypes and demonstration models have been around for years, the first sets for consumer use didn’t hit the market until 2012 with prices in the tens of thousands of dollars. Only about 60,000 Ultra HD sets were sold last year in the U.S., with 485,000 estimated this year, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. Today, the lowest-priced Ultra HD TV being sold on is a 39-inch model from Seiki Digital for $500. The cheapest namebrand manufacturer’s model, a 58-inch screen from Toshiba, sells for $2,750. And LG announced this week it would sell an Ultra HD set as small as 49 inches diagonally, which could bring entry level prices closer to $2,000 for top brands. Sharp’s new Quattron+ brand, which brings near-4K resolution to sets by making better use of HD pixels, plans to price

a 70-inch set around $3,200. While those price tags are only likely to appeal to early-adopters, they’re getting closer to prices people currently pay for big screens running only HD. Super-sharp screens But that still isn’t close enough, said James McQuivey, principal analyst with research firm Forrester. “These TVs won’t actually sell well as long as they are priced high, something TV makers already know because in the last year they’ve dropped prices considerably,” he said. To entice consumers even further, a handful of content companies promised to make more movies and shows available for the super-sharp screens. Netflix Inc. CEO Reed Hastings made the rounds at news conferences Monday to declare that the streaming video company is working on distributing 4K video over the Internet. Hastings said all Netflix original series are being shot in 4K and that the company is working with studios on formatting movies and TV shows in 4K, with one of the first series being Sony’s “Breaking Bad.” Both Inc. and Hulu are shooting original series in 4K, and Amazon said it was working with major content producers Warner Bros., Lionsgate, 20th Century Fox and Discovery to make 4K content available. The emergence of Ultra HD marks the first time a major TV standard is being pushed forward with the Internet. “It’s a chance for the Internet to really shine,” Hastings said. Downloading huge Ultra HD files would take download speeds of only 15 megabits per second and could even work with a Wi-Fi connection, Hastings said. LG’s chief technology officer, Skott Ahn, told The Associated Press that 4K content could be streamed with 8-15 Mbps Internet speeds using the latest HEVC video compression standard. It’s not clear how close the industry is on a Blu-ray disc standard for Ultra HD. No announcements about a format were made at the show, even as The Digital Entertainment Group, an industry consortium of studios and electronics makers, declared that strong consumer interest in 4K “bodes well for the home entertainment industry.” Enough people have to own Ultra HD sets for pay TV providers to start enabling service. If the CEA’s forecast of 485,000 units sold in the US comes true, that could provide enough of a base for cable, telecoms and satellite to begin to upgrade their systems, according to Pat Esser, president of cable TV provider Cox Communications, which serves about 10 percent of U.S. pay TV subscribers. If 50,000 Cox subscribers buy Ultra HD TVs, “then you’ve got my attention,” Esser said in an interview. Widespread adoption by live-TV producers still seems a ways off. Sony Corp. promised an end-to-end production suite for professionals, and Sony Electronics President Mike Fasulo on Monday unveiled a Handicam that shoots in ultra HD for the home enthusiast, priced at $2,000 - “As I like to say, 4K for $2K.” —- AP

LAS VEGAS: An attendee tries the Epson Moverio BT-200 smart glasses, at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas yesterday. The Moverio BT-200 projects two identical 16:9 images onto the lens-based screens, generating a semi-transparent picture to fall within the user’s field of vision. The Android 4.0-based headset with portable controller features a front-facing camera and motion sensors for Augmented Reality and gaming. —- AFP

LAS VEGAS: The Murata Girl and Boy robots are demonstrated at the Murata booth at the 2014 International CES at the Las Vegas Convention Center yesterday in Las Vegas,. —-AFP

Robots invade consumer market for play, work A crowdfunding effort LAS VEGAS: The robots are coming, and they’re here to help. Help clean your windows, teach children, or even provide entertainment or companionship. This week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas highlights enormous growth in robotics in a range of fields. Meet Bo and Yana, for example-they’re cute robots that can fit in your hand and help teach youngsters about programming. “It’s all about programmable play,” said Vikas Gupta, founder of California-based i-Play, which designed the toys. The duo can play with each other, fight, display expressions with their single eye, or even hit notes on the xylophone. “Music becomes a way for kids to be engaged,” Gupta said. “We want kids to learn programming and not be bothered with cognitive overload.” The robots are designed for children as young as five, and are being launched this year in a crowdfunding effort, the former Google and Amazon executive said. But play is just one of the many areas of robotics on display at the show, from simple one-task robots to clean a roof gutter or barbecue grill and others that can be a kind of companion to the elderly. There are also so-called telepresence robots, including the Double Robotics device seen on TV shows such as NCIS Los Angeles. The Double Robotics gadget includes an iPad attached to a wheeled device that allows a telecommuter to show “face time” in the office even when working remotely. The results, at least on television, can often provide comic relief. The global market for consumer robots was $1.6 billion in 2012, dominated by the task and entertainment segments, according to ABI Research, but this is expected to grow to $6.5 billion in 2017 with security and telepresence becoming more significant. Artificial intelligence ABI analyst Philip Solis said robotics is moving slower than segments like tablets and smartphones, and is dominated by single-task robots. But the big news in this field, he said, is Google’s acquisition of several robotics firms, which could help boost the artificial intelligence needed for multi-tasking robots. A number of new, innovative robots are also being shown in Las Vegas. From the Japanese firm AIST is an interactive robot called Paro-designed to look like a baby harp seal-to simulate animal therapy for people in hospitals and extended care facilities where

LAS VEGAS: A boy plays with a robot presented by Future Robots during the 2014 International CES at the Las Vegas Convention Center yesterday in Las Vegas. —- AFP live animals are banned. Paro has five tactile, light, audition, temperature, and posture sensors, responds to being stroked and can respond to its name. The French-based firm Keecker is displaying a robot that can project video or other content from a smartphone or tablet to a wall or ceiling. This means “you can enjoy life without being tied to the television set,” said Pierre Lebeau, Keecker’s founder and chief executive. The device runs on Android to allow users to draw from any of the available apps. “You can put your kids to bed with the Milky Way, and allow them to wake up to a beautiful

sunny sky,” he said. “It helps people dream.” One of the crowd-pleasers is the “humanoid” Robo-Thespian from the British-based group Engineered Arts. Thespian can make hand-gestures, and can deliver speeches-with a British accent. To make it life-like, the robot has pneumatic actuators “so its movements are more fluid,” said engineer Morgan Roe. “We try to avoid having it look robotic.” The robot can be used at museums and exhibits, where Thespian can deliver a soliloquy and direct people. But, at this point, he can’t interact in the manner of Apple’s Siri or Google Now. “We are working on it,” Roe said. — AFP

Kids get their own tablets, with parents in control LAS VEGAS: Kid-safe tablets and smartphones are hitting the market, giving parents more control over how the mobile devices are used. Hollywood studio DreamWorks has joined the move, introducing its DreamTab at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in partnership with California-based manufacturer Fuhu. The new device will be up against competition-including from French-based Kurio, which has its own tablets on display at the huge Las Vegas show, and is also introducing a kid-safe smartphone. Fuhu already makes a tablet designed for kids called Nabi, but will expand its footprint with DreamWorks, teaming up with the animators behind films like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon. The tablet will include programs to teach kids how to draw their favorite characters. It will comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a US law that limits how much data can be collected from young children. DreamTab will be sold later this year in eight- and 12-

inch versions, running the Android operating system with Fuhu’s modifications. Tablet owners will have a kid-friendly App Zone that allows parents and children to buy apps, games, music, movies, videos, e-books and other goods. “Fuhu grabbed our attention when they came on the market because they single-handedly made a quantum leap forward in revolutionizing the kids tech space,” said DreamWorks Animation’s Jim Mainard. Parental filtering “The DreamTab posed a compelling challenge not only to our filmmakers and artists to create content for this new medium, but also for our engineers and innovators who worked hand-in-hand with the Fuhu team to develop the consumer-facing side of this groundbreaking technology.” Like the DreamTab, Kurio’s seven- and 10-inch tablets allow for parental filtering, and parents can set preset limits for the device or various applications. “You can choose any of the apps and restrict them,” said Kurio spokesman Eric Levin. “So you can decide your child can’t use Facebook after 9 pm.” — AFP

LAS VEGAS: Visitors take a brake during the 2014 International CES at the Las Vegas Convention Center yesterday. CES, the world’s largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs through Jan 10 and is expected to feature 3,200 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to about 150,000 attendees. — AFP


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

Chinese icebreaker shines spotlight on polar ambitions BEIJING: A Chinese research vessel’s escape from pack ice after evacuating 52 people from a Russian ship trapped in Antarctica has placed spotlight on the Asian power’s growing polar ambitions at both ends of the Earth. In the Arctic, China’s strategic goals include the opening up of a “Northeast Passage” shipping route Beijing hopes will shave days off the journey from China to Europe, its biggest export destination. And in the Antarctic, Beijing has mounted 30 expeditions and built three research bases, one at more than 4,000 metres (13,000 feet) altitude on one of the frozen continent’s highest ice caps. Experts say that, just as in the space race, China is playing a long game in polar exploration, with the expected territorial and natural resource benefits decades, even half a century, away. “At the moment, the only Antarctic resources that are really up to exploration are the marine living resources in the Southern Ocean,” said Donald Rothwell, a professor of international law at Australian National University who coedited a book on Antarctic security. But while mining is banned until 2048 at the earliest under the Antarctic Treaty “some have observed China’s development of its Antarctic interests allow it to be well-positioned if there is a change in the circumstances”, he told AFP. Rapid progress by latecomer The 1959 agreement designates the icy continent as a scientific preserve and bans military activity. Just as China got a late start in the space race, the world’s second-largest economy did not sign onto the treaty until 1983, but has made stunning headway in the three decades since. The Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, icebreaker was on a 155-day mission to construct a fourth Chinese station and survey a site for a planned fifth when it went to help the trapped Russian ship Akademik Shokalskiy last week. Its helicopter evacuated 52 people from the vessel, which the state-run Global Times said had once again confirmed “China’s national progress”. “It is China’s

growing industrial capacity that empowers Xue Long to perform such a rescue operation,” it said. The ship later became stuck itself, but broke free to open water on Tuesday. A new, more powerful icebreaker capable of clearing through floes 1.5 meters thick is under construc-

million a decade ago. That is still well short of the estimated $300 million Washington spends on its Antarctic program every year, and China’s presence still lags other countries. Argentina has 13 facilities on the continent, Russia 12 and the US six-and under the Antarctic Treaty there are limits on new territorial

AT SEA, Antarctica: This file photo shows the Chinese Antarctic vessel Xue Long from the bridge of the Aurora Australis ship off Antarctica, both in the frozen waters to help rescue a nearby Russian research ship (not pictured). — AFP tion with completion due by 2015, according to the official Xinhua news agency. Beijing is devoting an annual $55 million to Antarctic research and exploration, estimates Anne-Marie Brady, a professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, up from $20

claims or enlarging existing ones. Concerns over territory But China’s moves at the ends of the earth have drawn concern from critics who say the agreement’s

territorial aspect is poorly enforced. Some of the Chinese bases are within an expanse belonging to Australia, which claims 42 percent of the continent and established the first permanent Antarctic base in 1954. “We risk getting left behind,” the Australian Strategic Policy Institute warned in an October 2013 report. “China, a relative newcomer, is proposing its third station in the (Australian Antarctic Territory). We’ve no presence at all in the neglected eastern sector. Effective occupation as a measure of sovereignty might be questioned.” Beijing’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying did not directly address the issue of a possible territorial claim when asked Tuesday, but told reporters: “We hope that the international community can work together to jointly maintain the peace and stability of the Antarctic.” China supported “the peaceful use of resources in the Antarctic for the benefit of sustainable development for humankind”, she added. On the other side of the globe, China has made five expeditions to the Arctic and last May gained observer status in the Arctic Council, giving it a voice in deliberations over the future of the northern polar region. With the Arctic ice melting, China could benefit from a shipping lane running north of the Asian landmass and south to Iceland-heavily courted by China in recent months-and the rest of Europe. A Chinese merchant ship made the country’s maiden voyage along the route in August. Like Antarctic mineral exploration, commercial development is unlikely to take place for decades, yet it is noteworthy that Beijing is already making moves, said Rothwell. “China’s interest in Iceland can be seen as strategic if only because Iceland could prove to be a very pivotal shipping hub into the future-especially if the Arctic ice melts,” he said. The Xue Long’s rescue mission will have given China “a great deal of kudos in the Antarctic community”, he added. “All of that suggests to me that China is gaining a strong foothold and gaining great credibility in Antarctic affairs.” — AFP

Lose weight with skin cream? Fat chance, says US govt WASHINGTON: Americans putting their faith in miracle cures to shed unwanted pounds are likely to be disappointed, US regulators said on Tuesday in announcing settlements with four firms accused of falsely advertising weight-loss products such as skin creams. The Federal Trade Commission won agreements from L’Occitane, Inc.; Sensa Products LLC; HCG Diet Direct LLC; and LeanSpa LLC. The settlements required them to drop unsubstantiated claims from their ads and, in some cases, return money to consumers. The FTC also urged media outlets to scrutinize advertisements more carefully to avoid publishing potentially misleading ads, noting that some of the advertisements for the products - from food supplements to skin creams - appeared in mainstream publications. The commission provided guidance for publishers and broadcasters on how to screen weight-loss claims in advertisements. The FTC’s action, codenamed “Operation Failed Resolution,” was timed to coincide with the vows to lose weight so often made, and quickly abandoned, in January. Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, warned that the only slim element of the products is their chance of success. “Resolutions to lose weight are easy to make but hard to keep. And the chances of being successful

just by sprinkling something on your food, rubbing cream on your thighs, or using a supplement are slim to none,” Rich said. One agreement was with Sensa, which said that its powder sprinkled on food would cause weight loss and peddled it on television infomercials, magazine advertisements and online ads. The company said the powder “is clinically proven to cause substantial weight loss without dieting or exercise, averaging 30 pounds in six months,” the FTC said in a court filing. In contrast, a study of the product by a Sensa company executive found that users lost an average of 5.6 pounds over six months, the FTC said in its court filing. A onemonth supply of Sensa’s powder cost $59.00, plus shipping and handling, the FTC said. Sensa agreed to return $26.5 million to consumers, the commission said. Sensa said in a statement that the company had admitted no wrongdoing and that the FTC did not challenge the product’s safety. “Sensa is incorporating changes to its advertising to comply with the FTC’s consent order and continues to support the brand with new advertising and marketing materials,” the company said. In a separate court filing, the FTC said L’Occitane sold two skin creams that promised “clinically proven slimming effectiveness” and would “visibly reduce the

appearance of cellulite.” L’Occitane agreed to pay $450,000 to reimburse customers. There was no evidence that the cream slimmed thighs or reduced cellulite, the FTC said. L’Occitane said it had cooperated fully with the commission, and had implemented “even more rigorous policies and procedures that will guide future clinical testing and ensure that our marketing and advertising comply with FTC regulations and guidelines.” A third company, HCG Diet Direct, sold liquid drops that it said contained a hormone produced by human placenta that would help people lose weight. Under a settlement, the company agreed to an order requiring it to pay $3.2 million. The judgment was suspended because the company could not pay it. The FTC also reached a settlement with LeanSpa, which had used fake news websites to advertise the acai berry as a weight-loss miracle product until the company was shut down by the FTC and Connecticut attorney general’s office in 2011. Boris Mizhen, a LeanSpa executive, will surrender $7 million in cash and property while his wife, who did not participate in the scheme, will surrender $300,000. Attempts to reach the other two companies by telephone, email or by Twitter were not successful. — Reuters

Galaxies from 13.2 billion years ago BEDFORDSHIRE: A ring-tailed lemur looks at an abacus at Whipsnade Zoo in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, north of London. — AFP

‘Global sunscreen’ plan could wreck tropics PARIS: An idea by the father of the H-bomb to slow global warming by sowing the stratosphere with light-reflecting particles could wreck the weather system in the tropics, a study said yesterday. The scheme may benefit northern Europe and parts of Asia, but around the equator rainfall patterns would be disrupted, potentially drying up tropical forests in South America and intensifying droughts in Africa and Southeast Asia. “The risks from this kind of geo-engineering are huge,” said Andrew CharltonPerez, a meteorologist at Britain’s University of Reading. In 1997, US nuclear physicist Edward Teller and other scientists suggested spreading sulphate particles into the upper atmosphere, reflecting some sunlight back into space to attenuate the Earthwarming greenhouse effect from fossil fuels. This sunscreen-similar to the cooling effect from ash spewed by volcanic eruptions-would be cheaper than switching out of coal, gas and oil which cause the global warming problem, they said. The idea is a favorite among geo-engineers, who nevertheless concede that manipulating the climate system on a planetary scale should be a last-ditch option. In a paper published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the British scientists said it would take a staggering volume of particles, called aerosols, to reverse warming. “To reduce global temperatures enough to counter effects of global warming would require a massive injection of aerosol,” said Angus Ferraro at the University of Exeter, southwestern England. Each year, it would require the equivalent of five times the volume of ash disgorged by Mount Pinatubo in 1991 — the biggest volcanic eruption in the last quarter of a century. The model was based on upper-end pro-

jections of having to reverse the warming impact of atmospheric CO2 levels of 1,022 parts per million-compared to about 400 ppm today. Such a high level would drive the Earth’s surface temperature up by about 4.0 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit). Tropical rainfall is big victim The investigation, however, found that releasing the particles would have at least one serious side effect. They would start to warm the stratosphere and weaken upward convection from the troposphere, the lower levels of the atmosphere where weather takes place. The result would be to put the brakes on a mechanism of atmospheric turnover and cause a sharp drop in rainfall in the equatorial belt. “A reduction in tropical rainfall of 30 percent would, for example, quickly dry out Indonesia so much that even the wettest years after a man-made intervention would be equal to drought conditions now,” said Charlton-Perez. “The ecosystems of the tropics are among the most fragile on Earth. We would see changes happening so quickly that there would be little time for people to adapt.” In August 2012, a cost analysis, also published in Environmental Research Letters, found that the basic technology to distribute aerosols exists and could be implemented for less than $5 billion (3.65 billion euros) a year. This compared to a cost, in 2030, of between $200 billion and $2,000 billion (146 and 1,460 billion euros), to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) to safer levels, it said. That estimate, though, did not factor in any environmental risks. In a 2009 overview of geo-engineering, the Royal Society, Britain’s academy of sciences, said the advantage of aerosols was that they could be deployed quickly and start reducing temperatures within a year. —AFP

WASHINGTON: The Hubble Space Telescope has peered back to a chaotic time 13. 2 billion years ago when never-before-seen galaxies were tiny, bright blue and full of stars bursting to life all over the place. Thanks to some complex physics tricks, NASA’s aging telescope is just starting to see the universe at its infancy in living color and detail. Images released by NASA on Tuesday show galaxies that are 20 times fainter than those pictured before. They are from a new campaign to have the 23-year-old Hubble gaze much earlier and farther away than it was designed to see. “I like to call it cosmic dawn,” Hubble astronomer Jennifer Lotz said at the American Astronomical Society convention in Washington. “It’s when the lights are coming on.” It was a time when star formation was ramping up, and it was far more hectic than now. “Imagine if you went back 500 million years after the Big Bang and looked around in the sky,” astronomer Garth Illingworth of the University of California Santa Cruz said. “Galaxies are closer. They’re smaller. They’re bright blue and they’re everywhere...They are probably blobby, small, nothing like our Milky Way.” There were probably no metals at this time, no Earths, said Illingworth, who was on the scientific team using Hubble. “Things look clumpy and kind

of weird,” Lotz said. Most of the galaxies then were close to 1,000 times smaller than our Milky Way, but astronomers said they were surprised to discover a few brighter, bigger galaxies sparkling out there. These first pictures showed nearly 3,000 galaxies. Astronomers are still trying to figure out which of those galaxies are ancient and which are more recent. Because light travels nearly 6 trillion miles a year, as telescopes look farther from Earth they see earlier into the past. While Hubble and other telescopes using different light wavelengths have seen this far back, this is the first complete set of photos in the visible light spectrum that the human eye sees. To do this, Hubble is using one of Albert Einstein’s concepts that massive clusters of galaxies have such super gravity that they magnify and stretch light, Lotz said. By focusing on clusters, astronomers use them as natural binoculars to see what’s behind them. The release of the images is significant and important, said Christopher Conselice, a professor at the University of Nottingham in England. Conselice was not part of the Hubble team. “It’ll tell us about how the universe is forming and evolving,” Conselice said after the astronomers’ presentation. “I think they understated it. It could be a fundamental thing.” — AP

This undated image shows galaxies in the Abell 2744 cluster, and blue galaxies behind it, distorted and amplified by gravitational lensing. — AP

Space weather delays Orbital cargo launch

WALLOPS ISLAND: Antares rocket is seen at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia. — AFP

WASHINGTON: Turbulent space weather forced Orbital Sciences yesterday to postpone the launch of its unmanned Cygnus spacecraft on a supply mission the International Space Station. The company said it is now aiming for today to launch its cargo ship atop an Antares rocket, carrying 2,780 pounds (1,260 kilograms) of gear including science experiments, supplies and hardware. The delay was due to what NASA described as “the first significant” solar flare of the year, causing increased levels of space radiation that might have damaged the spacecraft’s electronics. The US space agency said the potent X-class solar flare erupted January 7 at 1:32 pm (1832 GMT). Solar flares are bursts of magnetic energy that originate on the Sun, unleashing radiation that can briefly disrupt radio signals and GPS and satellite communications. “Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground,” NASA said. Orbital said in a statement the delay was “due to an unusually high

level of space radiation.” The levels “exceeded by a considerable margin the constraints imposed on the mission to ensure the rocket’s electronic systems are not impacted by a harsh radiation environment.” Today, the liftoff time from Wallops Island, Virginia would be 1:10 pm (1810 GMT), allowing the cargo ship to reach the ISS by January 12. Orbital’s attempt was previously delayed in December due to a cooling system breakdown at the ISS, which required American astronauts to make two spacewalks in order to replace an ammonia cooling pump. When the launch goes ahead, it will mark the company’s first regularly contracted mission and its second trip to the orbiting outpost, coming on the heels of a successful demonstration launch in September. That mission proved “that the company can reliably carry out regularly scheduled operational missions to the ISS for NASA,” said David Thompson, Orbital’s chairman and chief executive officer. —AP


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

8 million lives saved since US alarm on smoking 50 years ago NEW YORK: More than half of American men and over a third of women were smokers on Jan 11, 1964, when Dr Luther Terry delivered the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health outlining the links between tobacco use, lung cancer and death. Fifty years later, smoking rates have been cut by about half, and a new study estimates that 8 million Americans have been saved from premature smoking-related deaths. “You look back in history to 1964, and in reality the world was a very different place when it came to tobacco use and smoking,” said Rear Admiral Boris Lushniak, the acting US Surgeon General. A collection of reports released online on Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) highlights how public-health efforts, from cigarette taxes to advertising limits, have helped curtail smoking rates. The reports also identify new trouble spots, including communities whose members have not been able to quit in significant numbers. Lushniak believes the next step should be a resolve to introduce an endgame within the next 50 years. That concept will be part of an upcoming Surgeon General’s report on Jan 16 celebrating the anniversary of the original, he said. “The next stage really needs to be a resolution to move ahead to this smoke-free generation concept,” Lushniak said. One paper estimates that about 17.7 million deaths from 1964 to 2012 were related to smoking. Without any of the tobacco control measures introduced in that period, an additional 8 million

people would have died, according to Theodore Holford of the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues. The average American lifespan is also more than two years longer because those deaths have been averted, the researchers suggest. “Tremendous acceleration” Although Terry’s 1964 report was not the first scientific review to connect cigarettes and health issues, it is widely considered a turning point in the battle against smoking. “The announcement gave tremendous acceleration to the study of cigarettes and health,” Dr Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, told Reuters Health. Terry gathered 10 doctors, pathologists, chemists, statisticians and other experts to review the available evidence. Because the tobacco industry in those days was so important to the US economy, Brawley said, the announcement was made on a Saturday to lessen any impact on the stock market. The committee’s conclusion was that smoking causes lung cancer in men and that men who smoke are more likely to die of heart disease than those who don’t. Based on research since then, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there is a two- to four-fold increase in the risk of heart disease and stroke for smokers. The CDC also estimates that smoking increases the risk of lung cancer 13 times among women and 23 times among men. The US is not alone in lowering smoking rates over the past few decades,

HAYNEVILLE: In this file photo, a woman smokes a cigarette while sitting in her truck in Hayneville, Ala. — AP another new study found. Researchers from the estimated 721 million in 1980 to 967 million in University of Washington found that Canada, 2012 as the world’s population grew. Mexico, Iceland and Norway cut the proportion Trouble spots of their populations that smoke by more than One approach to cutting the smoking rate half from 1980 to 2012. Worldwide, however, the slowdown is weaker, involves targeting groups that are more likely to said Dr Christopher Murray, one of the study’s use tobacco. People with mental illnesses, for authors. Data from 187 countries shows that example - including depression and anxiety disabout 41 percent of men and 11 percent of orders - had a slower decline in smoking rates, women worldwide smoked in 1980, and those another report says. Benjamin Cook, the report’s rates have since declined to about 31 percent for lead author and a senior scientist at the Center men and 6 percent for women in 2012. The actu- for Multicultural Mental Health Research at the al number of smokers, however, rose from an Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts, and

colleagues write that people with mental illness historically smoke at twice the rate of people without mental illnesses. “If you were able to decrease those rates of smoking among people with mental illness, then you can really make a dent in national rates,” he said. The JAMA reports did not pinpoint what have been the most effective measures to induce people to quit smoking. But public health advocates say the combination of tobacco taxes, smoke-free air laws, youth education campaigns and adequately funding state tobacco and antismoking programs has made a difference over time. “I think we know what prevents people from continuing to smoke or not smoke at all,” said Dr. Mariell Jessup, president of the American Heart Association. Persistent efforts to keep children from smoking are also key, Brawley added. “Very few smokers - less than 10 percent - start smoking as adults,” he said. “We really need to focus on keeping kids from smoking.” Brawley and Jessup said attention needs to be paid to electronic cigarettes - also known as e-cigarettes - which are electronic devices that deliver nicotine through vapor instead of tobacco smoke. Previous studies have suggested that people can use the devices as smoking cessation tools, but some public health advocates worry that e-cigarettes may introduce more people to nicotine, the addicting chemical found in tobacco. “E-cigarettes can be a very bad thing, can be a very good thing, and it can actually be both,” Brawley said. “We need to figure that out.” — Reuters


W H AT ’ S O N Advisory to Indian nationals in Kuwait


he Embassy of India has been receiving often reports from the members of Indian community residing in Kuwait regarding thefts, robberies assaults and damages to their property etc. All such incidents should be immediately reported to the local police station. In order to extend help the members of our community, please contact us with the following information so that the matter could also be taken up by the Embassy with Kuwaiti authorities:(a) Brief details of the incident; (b) Civil ID of the affected member(s) and their passport details; (c) Contact telephone number and the proof of residence of the person(s) affected; (d) Copy of FIR along with address of the Police station. 2. Please contact either Ms Hend, Ambassador’s office at Telephone No. 22561276, Fax No. 22546958 (E-mail: OR or Balram Kumar Upadhyay, Counsellor (Consular and Chief Welfare Officer) on Telephone No. 22533125, Fax No.22573910 (E-mail:

Indian passport, visa fees reduced


s a goodwill gesture, BLS International Visa Services Company Co (KSCC), which is operating as a sole partner for the Embassy of India in Kuwait to handle Passport and Visa Services, has reduced the Indian Passport processing fee from KD 1.500 to KD 1.000 and Indian Visa processing fee from KD 5.000 to KD 3.000. These rates have been implemented with effect from 17/12/2013.

Abolghasem Alavinejad, Director of Campus Services at AUK receiving certificate from Eng. Iqbal Al Tayar, with Eng. Fai Adnan Al Fassam (on the left end) and Eng. Maha Khalid Al Sane (on the right end)

Administrative Assistant & Services Coordinator from Eng. Iqbal Al Tayar, with Eng. Fai Adnan Al Fassam (on the left end) and Eng. Maha Khalid Al Sane (on the right end)

AUK receives MEW Energy Conservation for the sixth consecutive year


or the 6th consecutive year, the American University of Kuwait (AUK) received the Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) Award for Energy Conservation. AUK has been receiving MEW awards since 2008 on their collaborative efforts with the ministry on energy conservation. Abolghasem Alavinejad, Director of Campus Services at AUK, commented on this achievement saying “We must think globally, and act locally to save energy

and support the MEW energy conservation team”. The MEW relationship with AUK started when a team of ministry representatives visited the AUK campus in 2007 to inspect and provide advice on their energy conservation campaign. The visitors were impressed by how the Campus Services Department at AUK had already been applying energy conservation practices including, using light-emitting diodes, controlling the usage, and pre-

venting energy loss. According to Alavinejad, this year AUK has taken further steps by replacing all campus outdoor lightings with low consumption LED lights, and changing all the air-conditioning systems filters with advanced foam filters. In continuation of its energy conservation efforts, the campus services Department at AUK maintains collaboration with MEW by sharing experience, data, and information on energy conser-

vation methods. The American University of Kuwait (AUK) is an independent, private, equal opportunity, and co-educational liberal arts institution of higher education. The educational, cultural and administrative structure, methods and standards of AUK are based on the American model of higher learning. The language of instruction is English. More information on the American University of Kuwait can be found

Embassy of India holiday notice


he Embassy of India will be closed on the following dates during the month of January 2014.

14 January 2014, Tuesday - Eid - E - Milad 26 January 2014, Sunday - Republic Day

Announcements Musical Fusion 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 6:30 pm at AIS (D. Kamel Al Rays Auditorium), Maudan Hawally. For the first time in Kuwait, world renowned percussionist SIVAMANI & his team will present foot thumping fusion music along with noted playback singers HARICHARANî & SUCHITRA.


Bishop Moore College Alumni ‘Kudumbasangamam’ ishop Moore College Alumni Kuwait Chapter is conducting Bishop Moore family get together & New year Celebration at Hidine Auditorium Abassiya on Sunday 12th January 2014 from 6.45pm onwards. Variety of entertainment programs including solos, dance and games from members will be performed for the entertainment of the attendees. For details contact 97542985, 66710875.


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


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

Indian Lawyers’ Forum (ILF) meets with Justice Jacob Benjamin Koshy


ndian Lawyers’ Forum arranged a very warm reception to Justice JB Koshy, who is the Chairman of Kerala State Human Rights Commission. Justice JB Koshy was the Acting Chief Justice of the High Court of Kerala and was the Chief Justice of the High Court of Patna, before he took charge as the Chairman of the Kerala Human Rights Commission. While addressing the gathering, Justice Benjamin Koshy shared his rich experience as a Judge and as the Human Rights

Commission Chairman. He spoke about the landmark judgment passed by the Kerala High Court Larger Bench consisting of himself, Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justice Balasubramanian, declaring Bandhs and Harthals as unconstitutional. While discussing about the recently reported issues related to harassment against women and children in India, he expressed his serious concerns on declining of moral values in Indian society. Justice made an extensive, informative and interesting presentation on legal affairs

in India. Justice Koshy was courteous enough to patiently answer, even the questions on controversial issues posed by the members of Indian Lawyers Forum. Adv. Sumod, Adv. Thomas Stephen, Adv. Mohammed Bashir, Adv. Rajan, Adv.Bishnudas, Adv. Jaseena, Adv. Vidhya, etc. actively participated in the discussions. The Hon’ble Judge was highly impressed with Indian Lawyer’s Forum’s functions in Kuwait. Adv. Thomas Panicker, the President of the Indian Lawyers’ Forum Presided over

Fawzia Sultan Rehabilitation Institute collaborates with Faculty of Medicine


awzia Sultan Rehabilitation Institute (FSRI) yesterday announced its collaboration with Kuwait University’s Faculty of Medicine and the Kuwait Institute for Medical Specialization under the Ministry of Health, in a year-long program to train second year psychiatry residents in psychotherapy through weekly individual sessions and group training workshops. The program, which starts this month, is held in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the United States of America (US), which will conduct the group workshops. Five psychiatry residents from the Faculty of Medicine will take part of the program, as part of the Ministry of Health’s aim to establish an internationally certified psychotherapy unit within the Kuwait Psychological Medicine Hospital in the coming years. Clinical Director of Psychological Services Department, Nicholas C. Scull (Ph.D., L.C.S.W), said: “We are very glad to have been chosen to build and lead this intensive program that will support the medical development of rising Kuwaiti professionals in the field of psychotherapy. FSRI’s professionals have gained outstanding credentials and reputation in counseling and psychotherapy throughout their careers, and are well-skilled in the training and supervision of psychotherapy residents.” Two of the five US-licensed psychologists practicing in Kuwait work at FSRI. The US is known for its strict regulations and requirements to certify

and licence practicing psychologists. Scull added: “Individual sessions with each psychiatry resident in the program are supervised by FSRI’s psychologists, while the group workshops are conducted by international experts and professors chosen by the reputed University of WisconsinMadison. We are adamant that the

Clinical Director of Psychological Services Department, Nicholas C. Scull program will achieve its goal in the development of these residents’ skills and knowledge, so in turn, they would benefit the local community.” The University of WisconsinMadison’s graduate counseling psychology program is accredited by the American Psychological Association, which is the world’s largest association of psychologists. The program is ranked among top counseling psychology programs in the US. The University is also recognized globally for its research and

training in multicultural counseling and psychotherapy. Workshops provided by UWMadison comprise short-term psychodynamic counseling, long-term psychodynamic and psychoanalytic psychotherapy, and dialectical behavioral therapy. Intervening in the workshops are internationally recognized experts in their respective fields, including: l Dr. Stephen Quintana (Professor at UW-Madison, Department of Counseling Psychology), l Numan Turin (MA, Department of Counseling Psychology, University of Wisconsin), l Dr. David Ramirez (Clinical Director, Swarthmore College’s Counseling and Psychological Services Department; former President of the American Psychological Association’s Division 39 (Psychoanalysis)), l Dr. Ricardo Ainslie (Professor at the University of Texas-Austin) l David C. Lee, Ph.D. (Director of Psychology, Director of Training, Mendota Mental Health Hospital), l Erri Hewitt, Ph.D.(Wisconsin Psychiatric Institutes and Clinic. FSRI is a leading multi-disciplinary, non-profit organization that provides rehabilitation and counseling to people with physical and/or cognitive disabilities in specific areas such as psychology and psychotherapy, physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, holistic care, massage therapy and nutritional counseling; and integrates fundamental clinical aspects such as research, clinical care, education, and training.

the function and in appreciation of the commendable services rendered by Justice Benjamin Koshy to the Indian Judicial system and to the Indian society, presented a Memento to the Judge on behalf of the Forum. Mohammed Bashir, General Convener of Indian Lawyers’ Forum welcomed the Hon’ble Judge to the gathering and the Indian Lawyers’ Forum General Secretary Adv. Suresh Pulikkal thanked the Hon’ble Judge for attending the gathering.

Pinarai to address KALA’s anniversary celebrations


inarai Vijayan, Kerala state secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and a prominent Indian politician, will address KALA Kuwait’s 35th anniversary celebrations as the chief guest on Friday, January 10 at the United Indian School auditorium. A leading socio-cultural association of Indian expatriates in Kuwait, KALA Kuwait is wrapping up its year-long celebrations with a variety of programs during this valedictory function. Addressing a press conference, KALA Kuwait president TV Hikmat said the association has been actively engaged in various social and humanitarian programs for the expatriate community ever since it was formed 35 years ago. Secretary J Saji said the valedictory celebrations will start at 4.30 pm with cultural programs such as folk music, group song and poetry recitation. Pinarai Vijayan, who is also a politburo member of the CPI (M), will address the general conference at 5.30pm. Many Indian community leaders and media persons will also attend the conference. A digital photo exhibition displaying 35 years of KALA Kuwait’s history will be held as part of the conference. Others who attended the press conference included N R Rajeesh, Saji Thomas Mathew, Skaria John and Dileep Naderi.

W H AT ’ S O N


Embassy Information EMBASSY OF SLOVAK The Embassy of the Slovak Republic in Kuwait would like to inform the public that on the occasion of the New Year and the Independence Day of the Slovak Republic, the Embassy will be closed on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 and on Wednesday, January 01, 2014 and on the occasion of Catholic Epiphany Holiday, the Embassy will be closed on Monday, January 06. nnnnnnn


Another grand cultural extravaganza by DPCS


he ‘DPCS Lohri Night’ promises a night of fun, food, music and masti with a power-packed Punjabi tadka! Not resting on the laurels of its previous event - the DPCS Grand Diwali Mela, which was organized in October 2013, and which had garnered unprecedented success, the Delhi People Cultural Society (DPCS) is currently working on bringing, for its Members and their families, another cultural event - the DPCS LohriNight ! The DPCS Lohri Night is being organized by popular demand, and is the result of numerous phone calls and emails from our valued Members who want to continue to bask in the festive season and enjoy the fun and frolic that

comes with it! This event will be held on Friday, January 17th, 2014, from 5PM - 9PM. The venue for the DPCS Lohri Night which has to be befitting of this grand event has been decided and finalized at Messilah Beach. A lot can be looked forward to at the DPCS Lohri Night from the DJ playing foot-tapping, heart-pounding Punjabi and Bollywood numbers, to the professional Bhangra dancers performing to the soulful drumming of the dhol; lighting of the customary bonfire for the health, happiness, success and prosperity of Members and their families; the delicious Punjabi food; the raffle draw which will give away

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:

attractive prizes, and last but certainly not the least, an opportunity to socialize and celebrate this great Indian festival with friends and family which is the essence of all our festivals - to bring people together and strengthen the bonds of love, respect and friendship. So, let’s all get together and step into 2014 on an auspicious note, with the DPCS Lohri Night - a night filled with loads of fun, food and festive fervor with a power-packed Punjabi tadka.....Aaho! (Additional details of this event shall be communicated in the coming days, via e-mail and on the official DPCS 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


Four companies take part in 2014 HORECA


our new companies were announced to take part in the 2014 HORECA Kuwait; 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. In a statement released yesterday, Leaders Group announced that the companies will be Star Fruit Company which is specialized in foot and vegetable catering for hotels and restaurants, Mohammad Nasser Al-Hajri Company which offers tea, coffee and

ice cream choices, Protein Company which owns licenses to market international brands in food and drinks production, and Al-Ashrafiya Company; the official distributor of international brands for seafood, frozen meats, cheese, chocolate and other products.

South African Citizens who are out of the country, are not already registered 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 : l Be a South African Citizen and be 16 years of age and older; l Submit a valid green bar-coded Identity Document, a valid Temporary Identity Certificate (valid for 2 months) or a Smart Card; l Submit a valid South African Passport; and l Submit in person the application form, the identity document and a valid passport. NOTE : If persons are already registered to vote in SA but are now living abroad, they are NOT required to re-register - best for such persons to check their registration status on If they discover that they are not registered to vote, then they are advised to register. For any further enquiries, phone : Tel : 25617988 during office hours or visit the IEC Website at nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF US 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. nnnnnnn

YMCA Kuwait conducts 4th Christmas Carol


MCA Kuwait conducted its 4th Christmas Carol celebrations with colorful events in a sparkling family atmosphere at Indian Community School, Salmiya. The evening started with the opening prayer by Dr. John Thomas & Bible reading by Kumari Neha Mary Mathews. Meeting was presided over by Babu Johnson (YMCA President). H.G. Dr. Zacharias Mar Aprem Metropolitan (Metropolitan of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church Adoor-Kadampanad Diocese) inaugurated the function and delivered the Christmas - New Year message.

Rev. Samji K. Sam (Vicar - St. Peters CSI Congregation), Rev. Fr. Reji C. Varghese (Associate Vicar - St. Gregorious Indian Orthodox Church), Rev. Fr. Saju Philip (Vicar - St. Stephens Orthodox Congregation), Rev. Johny Andrews (Vicar - St. Paul’s CSI Congregation - Ahmadhi), Rev. V.S. Skariah (Vicar - St. James MarThoma Church) delivered the felicitation. Various Christian Choir groups performed Christian Carol songs. The entire Choir groups praised God through their touching Christmas Carol songs. Solos were also

sung by different members. The most exciting moment of the evening was the visit of Santa Claus into the audience who conveyed Christmas greetings to all & gave gifts to the children. Mementos for the participant choirs were distributed during the event by Rev. Samji K. Sam, Rev. Fr. Saju Philip & Rev. Johnny Andrews. Parimanam Manoj (General Secretary) welcomed all dignitaries and members & vote of thanks was delivered by Sujith Philip (Convener). Biju Vellor compered the program.

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


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

Steve Irwin’s Wildlife Warriors Animal Cops Houston Mermaids: The Body Found Lions Of Crocodile River Bondi Vet Steve Irwin’s Wildlife Warriors Steve Irwin’s Wildlife Warriors Animal Cops Houston Gator Boys Swamp Brothers Monkey Life Bondi Vet Wild France Growing Up... Lions Of Crocodile River Animal Cops Philadelphia Monkey Life Swamp Brothers Meet The Sloths Meet The Sloths Outback Rangers Outback Rangers Lions Of Crocodile River My Cat From Hell Wildest Arctic Steve Irwin’s Wildlife Warriors Steve Irwin’s Wildlife Warriors Pandamonium Bondi Vet Steve Irwin’s Wildlife Warriors Steve Irwin’s Wildlife Warriors Hippo: The Wild Feast North America Galapagos

00:00 Eastenders 00:30 Doctors 01:00 Abandoned At Birth 01:50 Life On Mars 02:40 Case Sensitive: The Point Of Rescue 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 Last Of The Summer Wine 08:45 Moone Boy 09:15 Eastenders 09:45 Doctors 10:15 Abandoned At Birth 11:05 Tess Of The D’urbervilles 12:00 The Weakest Link 12:45 Last Of The Summer Wine 13:15 Moone Boy 13:40 Eastenders 14:10 Doctors 14:40 Abandoned At Birth 15:30 Tess Of The D’urbervilles 16:25 The Weakest Link 17:10 Eastenders 17:40 Doctors 18:10 Prison, My Family & Me 19:00 One Foot In The Grave 19:30 Absolutely Fabulous 20:00 Stella 20:45 Alan Carr: Chatty Man 21:30 The Office 22:00 The Shadow Line 23:00 The Weakest Link 23:45 Eastenders

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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

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Fantasy Homes By The Sea 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 Bear Grylls: How To Stay Alive 01:20 Swimming With Monsters: Steve Backshall 02:10 River Monsters 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 Alaska: The Last Frontier 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 Bear Grylls: How To Stay Alive 12:25 Swimming With Monsters: Steve Backshall 13:15 River Monsters 14:05 Border Security 14:30 Auction Kings 14:55 American Digger 15:20 Finding Bigfoot 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 You Have Been Warned 22:50 Treehouse Masters 23:40 Mythbusters

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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 Disney Mickey Mouse Shorts Geek Charming Jessie

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Wolfblood Suite Life On Deck 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 Mako Mermaids Austin And Ally Wolfblood Jessie 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 THS 05:05 E!ES 06:00 15 Remarkable Celebrity Body Bouncebacks 07:50 Style Star 08:20 Fashion Police 09:15 Scouted 10:15 Married To Jonas 10:40 Chasing The Saturdays 11:10 The Drama Queen 12:05 Fashion Police 13:05 Extreme Close-Up 13:35 E!ES 14:30 Style Star 15:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 16:00 Kourtney & Kim Take New York 17:00 The Wanted Life 18:00 E! News 19:00 Fashion Police 20:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 21:00 The Drama Queen 22:00 E!ES 22:30 E! News 23:30 Chelsea Lately

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Unique Eats Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives Tastiest Places To Chowdown Easy Chinese: San Francisco Charly’s Cake Angels Unwrapped Unwrapped Unwrapped Unique Eats Unique Eats 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


Protesters, filmmaker traverse Egypt’s transition in ‘The Square’


REVENGE OF THE NERDS ON OSN MOVIES COMEDY HD  12:10 Tastiest Places To Chowdown 12:35 Grill It! With Bobby Flay 13:00 Reza, Spice Prince Of India 13:25 Charly’s Cake Angels 13:50 Siba’s Table 14:15 Barefoot Contessa 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 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 23:25 Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives 23:50 Roadtrip With G. Garvin

00:00 Rebuilding Titanic 01:00 Convoy: War For The Atlantic 02:00 Battleground Brothers 03:00 Diggers 03:30 Diggers 04:00 What Would Happen If 04:30 What Would Happen If 05:00 Naked Science 06:00 Untamed Americas 07:00 World’s Toughest Fixes 08:00 Rebuilding Titanic 09:00 Convoy: War For The Atlantic 10:00 Battleground Brothers 11:00 Untamed Americas 12:00 What Would Happen If 12:30 What Would Happen If 13:00 Evolutions 14:00 Untamed Americas 15:00 World’s Toughest Fixes 16:00 Rebuilding Titanic 17:00 Apocalypse: The Second World War 18:00 Battleground Brothers 19:00 Ultimate Survival Alaska 20:00 One Ocean 21:00 Animal Autopsy 22:00 Wild Russia 23:00 Mystery Files 23:30 Mystery Files

00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia 02:00 Family Guy 02:30 The League 03:00 Raising Hope 03:30 Melissa & Joey 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 Raising Hope 09:30 The Crazy Ones 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 Melissa & Joey 14:30 The Crazy Ones 15:00 Trophy Wife 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 Two And A Half Men

17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 Raising Hope 18:30 How To Live With Your Parents 19:00 Guys With Kids 19:30 Community 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

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Rescue Me Defiance The Ellen DeGeneres Show Bones Twisted Hannibal Rescue Me

00:00 Hostel-R 02:00 Graystone-PG15 04:00 Excess Baggage-PG15 06:00 Beverly Hills Cop 3-PG15 08:00 The Scorpion King 3: Battle For Redemption-PG15 10:00 Do No Harm-PG15 11:45 Snow White And The Huntsman-PG15 14:00 The Scorpion King 3: Battle For Redemption-PG15 16:00 Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows-PG15 18:15 Snow White And The Huntsman-PG15 20:30 How I Spent My Summer Vacation-PG15 22:15 Underworld: Awakening-18

00:00 Rushmore-PG15 02:00 Revenge Of The Nerds-18 04:00 Coneheads-PG 06:00 Gabe The Cupid Dog-PG 08:00 A Kiss For Jed Wood-PG15 10:00 I Don’t Know How She Does It-PG15 12:00 Coneheads-PG 14:00 White Chicks-PG15 16:00 I Don’t Know How She Does It-PG15 18:00 The Giant Mechanical ManPG15 20:00 Calendar Girls-PG15 22:00 Rushmore-PG15

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Beneath Hill 60-PG15 A Christmas Kiss-PG15 Treasure Island-PG15 A Woman-PG15 Beneath Hill 60-PG15 Beastly-PG15 Hindenburg-PG15 Love Takes Wing-PG15 The Wild Hunt-PG15 Summer Coda-PG15 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy-PG15

Vampire-18 Year Of The Dog-PG15 Dying Young-PG15 The Rainmaker-PG15 Jack The Bear-PG15 StreetDance 2-PG15 Year Of The Dog-PG15 The Crucible-PG15 StreetDance 2-PG15 The Greatest Movie Ever SoldInternal Affairs-18 J. Edgar-18

01:45 03:45 05:45 07:15 09:00 11:00 13:00 PG15 15:00 PG15 17:00 19:00 21:00 23:00

50/50-PG15 Saving Grace B. Jones-PG15 Crisis Point-PG15 My Own Love Song-PG15 People Like Us-PG15 Dirty Teacher-PG15 When Love Is Not EnoughMadea’s Big Happy FamilyPeople Like Us-PG15 Rock Of Ages-PG15 The Sessions-R Total Recall-18

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

01:00 Hotel Transylvania-PG 02:45 A Christmas Story 2-PG 04:15 George Harrison: Living In The Material World-PG15 08:00 True Justice: One Shot, One Life-PG15 10:00 Mission: Impossible III-PG15 12:15 Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days-PG 14:00 Ice Road Terror-PG15 16:00 True Justice: One Shot, One Life-PG15 18:00 Oz The Great And PowerfulPG 20:15 Killing Them Softly-18 22:00 Paranormal Activity 4-18

02:00 PGA Tour Highlights 03:00 Futbol Mundial 03:30 ICC Cricket 360 04:00 Live Cricket One Day International 12:00 ICC Cricket 360 12:30 The Ashes Highlights 13:30 PGA Tour Highlights 14:30 Futbol Mundial 15:00 HSBC Sevens World Series Highlights 15:30 Top 14 17:30 Top 14 Highlights 18:00 The Ashes Highlights 19:00 Cricket ODI Series Highlights 20:00 PGA European Tour Weekly 20:30 Inside The PGA Tour 21:00 Futbol Mundial 21:30 Trans World Sport 22:30 PGA Tour Highlights 23:30 Top 14 Highlights

03:00 Pro 12 05:00 Futbol Mundial 05:30 Super Rugby Final Highlights 06:00 Currie Cup Final Highlights 06:30 ITM Cup Final Highlights 07:00 PDC Worlds Darts Championship 10:00 Futbol Mundial 10:30 Pool Mosconi Cup 14:30 Top 14 Highlights 15:00 PRO 12 17:00 Seven World Series Highlights 17:30 Futbol Mundial 18:00 HSBC Sevens World Series 22:00 PRO 12

hree years after Egyptian-American filmmaker Jehane Noujaim waded into Cairo’s Tahrir Square to document the early rumblings of revolution, the army governs Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is back underground and protesters are on trial. But as her award-winning film “The Square” makes its debut to a wide audience next week via streaming company Netflix’s 40 million subscribers, Noujaim believes Egypt is definitely not back at square one, although it is a dark time in the country. “Everyone feels like this was an incredibly important process that needed to happen and we will never go back to where we were three years ago,” Noujaim told Reuters. “The whole country,” she added, “has gotten a political education.” For the viewer, “ The Square” may be like a crash course in understanding Egypt today, taught by protesters who first started gathering in Tahrir Square in January 2011 to call for the end of President Hosni Mubarak’s three decades of rule. For Noujaim, a 39-year-old who made the acclaimed 2004 documentary “Control Room” about broadcaster Al Jazeera, it was a lesson in patience and figuring out when to wrap the film. When she was at the Sundance Film Festival collecting the audience award for “The Square” a year ago, she already decided she had to go back to Egypt to keep filming. The “work in progress” screened at Sundance covered the fall of Mubarak and ended with the election of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi as president in mid-2012. But then, activists returned to the streets at the beginning of 2013 and the military deposed Morsi in July. “Morsi was using the tools of democracy to basically create another dictatorship, this time a dictatorship that relied on manipulating people through religion,” said Noujaim. The turn of events, in her opinion, made the story she wanted to tell more interesting. “It became about the fight against fascism, whether the face of that racism was Mubarak or the military or the Muslim Brotherhood,” she said. ‘Operating on fumes’ In that fight, Noujaim quickly found a cast of characters in Tahrir Square from diverse backgrounds that allowed her to build from the very beginning a character-driven narrative. Three characters take center stage: Ahmed Hassan, a working class man in his mid-20s, street smart but struggling to get a job; Khalid Abdalla, a British-Egyptian actor in his mid-30s who starred in “The Kite Runner” and who forms a bridge between activists and the international media; and Magdy Ashour, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in his mid-40s tortured under Mubarak who goes through a crisis of faith about the revolution and the Brotherhood. “When you are making these films, they are unfunded, we are basically operating on fumes, we are there following people for two to three years,” Noujaim said, adding “so you had better be sharing people who are worth sharing with the world.” Noujaim, who grew up 10 minutes from Tahrir Square, also assembled her crew at the square, knowing that she couldn’t hire people from outside and ask them to take the risks of filming in the middle of the revolution. “Everybody on our film team was either chased down the street by police or army, or arrested or shot at one point or another,” she said. Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan called the film “a compelling, inside look” and said “it wouldn’t exist except for the passion and determination of filmmaker Jehane Noujaim.” “The Square” won the top documentary prize at the Toronto Film Festival in September, best feature from the International Documentary Association last month and is one of 15 documentary features shortlisted for an Oscar ahead of Jan 16 nominations. Perhaps most importantly, it was the first major documentary acquired by Netflix as part of its strategy to build up original programming. Noujaim said Netflix was the best choice to reach a wide and diverse audience because its streaming subscription costs $8 a month. Netflix begins streaming the documentary in all its territories on Jan 17 and has agreed to allow the film to have theatrical release in eight to 10 US cities. It will also be distributed in countries where Netflix does not operate. Meanwhile, there is one key place where it cannot yet be screened: Egypt. The film was submitted to state censors and Noujaim is awaiting clearance nearly three months later. Knowing what is at stake, she speaks carefully about the current state of affairs in Egypt, where new presidential elections could happen as soon as April. “It’s the most important thing for us and our whole team of Egyptian filmmakers that this film is shown in Egypt,” Noujaim said. “So we are going to do everything in our power to make that happen.” — Reuters

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Nissan Pathfinder 2003 model, white color, serious buyer only. Tel: 97277135. 8-1-2013 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

ACCOMMODATION Furnished single room available in a 3 bedroom flat for one or two executive working ladies in Salmiya near Don Bosco School. Contact: 96977800. 8-1-2013 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 I, Nazia Nazir Ahmed

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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 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) SITUATION VACANT Very experienced cook for Kuwaiti home, transferable residency, very lucrative salary, male applicants only. Contact 94088822. (C 4609) 6-1-2014

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

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

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Departure Flights on Thursday 9/1/2014 Flt Route Time 976 GOA 00:05 490 MANGALORE 00:15 573 MUMBAI 01:10 411 AMSTERDAM 01:45 44 DHAKA 01:45 635 FRANKFURT 02:10 442 LAHORE 02:30 773 ISTANBUL-ATATURK 02:55 854 DUBAI 03:50 381 DELHI 03:50 306 ABU DHABI 04:00 613 CAIRO 04:10 1085 DOHA 04:15 406 SOHAG 04:45 68 DUBAI 05:00 1077 DOHA 05:15 283 DHAKA 05:15 560 SOHAG 06:20 70 DUBAI 06:30 164 DUBAI 06:55 765 ISTANBUL-SABIHA 07:05 212 BAHRAIN 07:15 8525 DOHA 07:15 8650 DHAKA 07:15 545 ALEXANDRIA 07:15 240 AMMAN 07:20 771 ISTANBUL-ATATURK 07:30 54 DUBAI 08:30 156 LONDON 08:45 616 AHWAZ 08:50 1087 DOHA 08:50 256 BEIRUT 08:55 534 CAIRO 09:00 513 RIYADH 09:15 787 JEDDAH 09:25 561 AMMAN 09:25 126 SHARJAH 09:40 101 LONDON 09:50 856 DUBAI 09:55 302 ABU DHABI 10:05 606 MASHHAD 10:20 56 DUBAI 10:20 778 JEDDAH 10:35 1071 DOHA 10:55 214 BAHRAIN 11:25 541 CAIRO 11:30 4162 MASHHAD 11:35 165 ROME 11:50 404 ASYUT 12:15 402 ALEXANDRIA 12:20 776 JEDDAH 12:25 405 BEIRUT 12:55 785 JEDDAH 13:00 342 DAMASCUS 13:30 786 RIYADH 13:35 176 DUBAI 13:45 5484 MASHHAD 13:50 580 SOHAG 13:50 611 CAIRO 14:00



481 872 58 1079 134 673 617 473 188 222 505 773 501 471 613 180 238 646 304 1073 858 538 641 128 511 216 184 266 982 554 64 556 1081 218 62 328 331 648 120 619 571 351 394 343 543 171 72 230 403 308 220 301 860 205 417 60 1075 575 528 411 415


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



s ta rs CROSSWORD 424

STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) ARIES Your professional outlook is excellent and you will accomplish quite a lot today. In a meeting this afternoon, you get your thoughts and ideas across to others very well—there is good communication. This is a very telling time for your career. Perhaps this is a time when you need to act quickly and decisively in order to capture the good opportunities flowing your way. On the way home this evening, you might consider picking up a few cut flowers from the florist for some color in your home. Insurance updates and electronically marking your possessions may be a focus much of this week. Close relationships take on more emotional depth. Feeling cared for and needed is comfortable and you enjoy sharing and enjoying your loved ones.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) You can make a difference in a few people’s thought processes today through your attitude. Someone in the workplace or among your co-worker friends may be very negative. When asked, your views can help bring in a new perspective. You may not know how the confusion or frustrations began but you can help guide and show the possibilities of thinking outside the box, so to speak. Good tools for solving problems free us from becoming bogged down in unrealistic thinking. There is an old saying, “let it flow and let it go.” do not take chances or risks just now. Be satisfied with the ordinary and the usual. Novel ideas or insights could be more damaging than useful. Compliment the cook this evening.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

ACROSS 1. Wearing or provided with clothing. 5. A member of a North American Indian people living around the mouth of the Colorado river. 12. A secret society of white Southerners to resist Black emancipation. 15. A member of a North American Indian people speaking one of the Hokan language. 16. Stain (furniture) black to make it look like ebony. 17. A tool with a flat blade attached at right angles to a long handle. 18. (informal) Very bad. 19. A person eating a meal (especially in a restaurant). 20. Tropical American tree grown in southern United States having a whitish pink-tinged fruit. 22. Grayish baboon of southern and eastern Africa. 24. An antibody in blood serum that attaches to invading microorganisms and other antigens to make them more susceptible to the action of phagocytes. 26. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 27. Coming next after the seventh and just before the ninth in position. 29. A broken piece of a brittle artifact. 32. Harsh or corrosive in tone. 33. According to the Old Testament he was a pagan king of Israel and husband of Jezebel (9th century BC). 37. (anatomy) A somewhat rounded subdivision of a bodily organ or part. 40. (Babylonian) God of wisdom and agriculture and patron of scribes and schools. 41. Thickening of tissue in the motor tracts of the lateral columns and anterior horns of the spinal cord. 43. A member of the Siouan people formerly living in the Missouri river valley in NE Nebraska. 47. A score in baseball made by a runner touching all four bases safely. 48. The head of the golf club that strikes the ball. 51. A violent commotion or disturbance. 53. An Asian peninsula (off Manchuria) separating the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan. 54. An official prosecutor for a judicial district. 55. Any of various primates with short tails or no tail at all. 56. (Akkadian) God of wisdom. 57. (Hinduism) An ascetic holy man. 59. A protocol (utilizing TCP) to transfer hypertext requests and information between servers and browsers. 62. A round shape formed by a series of concentric circles. 63. A toilet in England. 65. A tricycle (usually propelled by pedalling). 69. Lacking a crew. 74. A port city in southwestern Iran. 76. A loose sleeveless outer garment made from aba cloth. 77. A former monetary unit in Great Britain. 78. Aromatic gum resin. 80. The use of nuclear magnetic resonance of protons to produce proton density images. 81. (Irish) Mother of the ancient Irish gods. 82. Leopard lizards. 83. (Greek mythology) The winged goddess of the dawn in ancient mythology. DOWN 1. Elegant and stylish. 2. A long narrow inlet of the sea in Scotland

(especially when it is nearly landlocked). 3. A town and port in northwestern Israel in the eastern Mediterranean. 4. Childcare during the day while parents work. 5. Any of numerous trees of the family Cupressaceae that resemble cedars. 6. A religious belief of African origin involving witchcraft and sorcery. 7. Prevent from being seen or discovered. 8. Used of a single unit or thing. 9. (Russian) Small fruit or meat turnover baked or fried. 10. A very poisonous metallic element that has three allotropic forms. 11. (slang) The act of stealing. 12. An inn in some Eastern countries with a large courtyard that provides accommodation for caravans. 13. A member of a Finnish people living in the northwestern Urals in Russia. 14. English actor noted for his portrayals of Shakespeare's great tragic characters (17891833). 21. A Buddhist who has attained nirvana. 23. (informal) Roused to anger. 25. An American doctorate usually based on at least 3 years graduate study and a dissertation. 28. A ballistic missile that is capable of traveling from one continent to another. 30. A very loud utterance (like the sound of an animal). 31. Inconsistent with reason or logic or common sense. 34. Swift timid long-eared mammal larger than a rabbit having a divided upper lip and long hind legs. 35. Someone who abuses. 36. Fine white Philippine fiber from stalks of unopened leaves of talipot palms. 38. The compass point that is one point east (clockwise) of due north. 39. Having been read. 42. Title for the former hereditary monarch of Iran. 44. A highly unstable radioactive element (the heaviest of the halogen series). 45. A collection of objects laid on top of each other. 46. The basic unit of electric current adopted under the System International d'Unites. 49. Confined to bed (by illness). 50. Tropical woody herb with showy yellow flowers and flat pods. 52. Wood of a pecan tree. 58. A landlocked republic in eastern Africa. 60. Disarrange or rumple. 61. Either of two masses of lymphatic tissue one on each side of the oral pharynx. 64. The 3rd letter of the Greek alphabet. 66. Very dark black. 67. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 68. Open-heart surgery in which the rib cage is opened and a section of a blood vessel is grafted from the aorta to the coronary artery to bypass the blocked section of the coronary artery and improve the blood supply to the heart. 70. The second largest of the Hawaiian Islands. 71. A language unit by which a person or thing is known. 72. A Spanish river. 73. A platform raised above the surrounding level to give prominence to the person on it. 75. A white linen liturgical vestment with sleeves. 79. The square of a body of any size of type.

Whether you have experienced success or failure at this time, you take it in stride as a learning experience and move on to new activities. This riseabove-all-odds attitude is part of why others look to you to for encouragement. The ways in which you conduct business, projects or community concerns just now, depend on how much power you have. There is some desire to do things differently and this may stir you into creating some sort of recommendation on paper. Do not be too surprised that your ideas are not accepted—wait a while. Even if your idea never catches on, you got the attention that it takes to be included on the next decision-making team and you created some good energy around an idea. The expression of your creativity is endless.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) How do you make a positive difference in other people’s lives does what you say make a difference to people these are some deep questions you may be asking this morning as some people leave and others enter your life. We are all free to choose the people that are around us and yes, even if one is related by blood. It is good to continuously add new people into your life. A sensitive group or candid discussion with someone you trust may help you to see yourself better. You are appreciated for your compassion, intelligence, sharp business mind and a willingness to create a positive change in many areas of importance. Your frame of mind is positive and you are encouraged about your future. This evening you may seek out a party.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Use your psychic insights now when it comes to your persuasive skills. You will find your self-expression is highlighted and you will have ideas and thoughts that can be beneficial toward the professional results you are seeking. A friend or relative will be seeking advice from you today on some hot emotional issues. You will be able to find the truth and give some important insights into the situation. Others value you for your ability to make practical decisions. Work for a balance in all areas of your life. Avoid making major purchases until you have been able to check out other prices in other stores on the same type of item. You are quite charming and you will have every opportunity to gain the attention of a loved one with little effort this evening.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) Clarify the relative importance of your tasks today so that you can remain focused and have your priorities in order. Arrange your list in order of most important to least important. This could be enlightening as well as helpful information. This is the way to work with the more positive phase for you now. Getting down to basics and dealing with any open-ended business matters is a good thing. An irritating problem concerning a friend may come to your attention and eventually you will need to make some decisions regarding this matter. Start thinking about your limitations and how you rise above them. It is easy for others to accept your kindness. Learn to keep a positive flow of thinking and keep your good inner peace, thus making yourself a positive leader.

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Libra (September 23-October 22) Business or career projects may need adjustments now. Keep your dance card open because romance is a definite go! With so many things on your mind, it may be hard to concentrate on routine matters. However, routine matters are where you will find your accomplishments. To get the best results in financial affairs, you need to be less concerned about security and more willing to take risks. Your instincts are strong. You will be able to have a focus on what you want to accomplish and even, perhaps, start anew on some project with a clearer idea of what you want. Poetry and art may be possible this evening. Enjoy some form of relaxation, for example, movies, books or all healthy forms of escape could prove very enjoyable now.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Group efforts at work will be productive. Group work is fun for several of you—it may be difficult, however, to keep the flow of thought in one direction. It is a great time to be with others and to work together. Laughter and some talking are expected and do not slow the production rate. Cooperative efforts as well as rewards are enjoyed later— perhaps a free meal or an award presentation. This evening is another productive time. You could find yourself taking a class, teaching or expressing your views in a city council meeting. This is a full day with interactions between many people. Family is an important part of your relaxation this evening. A sense of humor is important to build a bond with loved ones. Laughter is more fun when it is shared.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Today you will be able to tackle tasks that require real discipline or organization. Quick answers, great wit and an abundance of insights and solutions are available. A plan is working and will develop nicely in a few days. Food is an important part of your energy and you can be hard to live with if this need is not met. A good meal with color and different textures excites your palate and returns you to your day with renewed energy. If you are looking to trim your body a bit, you may only need to decrease the size of your meals and snack on protein during the day. The amount of your production in the work world depends on your exercise and food intake because it feeds your sense of goodwill. You may want to put your feet up and relax tonight.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) Things are happening and your career or path depends on your own ambition and drive, which are strong now. A similar problem, like one from the past, appears today, but you are much more able to handle this situation the second time around. You may even wonder why you thought it was a problem. Your sense of humor comes into play when you are with your friends in a social situation this afternoon. Trying to push forward an idea may not be timed right for now. If you get the feeling an idea is not understood, try again, another day. An older person may be in your life for part of the evening and you may find yourself trying to lend a helping hand. Since young people may be watching you in the way you handle this older person, you set the example.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) Review and define your career goals and you will be focused and ready for all sorts of miracles. This is a time for getting ahead, a time for combining business and pleasure, a time to enjoy your career and savor its rewards. A need to prove yourself can lead to all kinds of challenges and can lead to a new you that leaves the old behind like an outgrown shell. An enhanced sense of personal possibility and potential is at hand. This is a time of incredible psychological growth, which can lead to personal success. You are interested in health, physical fitness and stamina at this time. You look to an older mentor for spiritual or emotional strength as a rule. You become involved in new enthusiasms— perhaps an electric car, a property to purchase, etc.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) Taking your profession seriously, you may push a little harder than usual to accomplish your goals. You are accurate and precise in your work and may find that while others need plenty of time for their work, you can get a multitude of things accomplished in a reasonable amount of time. This may cause a little jealousy in the workplace but you enjoy competing with yourself enough to rise above any problem. You spend this afternoon finishing up old business. There is an impatience now to move forward with some project but tend to the plans first and the results will be quite profitable. A problem seems to clear up magically this afternoon. You attract people that know how to make their money grow and are in control of their lives.

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


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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





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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



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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


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Gynaecologists & Obstetricians DrAdrian arbe


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2572-6666 ext 8321


25665898 25340300

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Rheumatologists: Dr. Adel Al-Awadi

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Internist, Chest & Heart DR.Mohammes Akkad

24555050 Ext 210

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


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

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

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


lifestyle G O S S I P

Madonna in love with 26-yr-old backup dancer


he 55-year-old singer, who split from her 25-year-old boyfriend of three years, Brahim Zaibat, recently after he signed up for the French version of ‘Dancing With The Stars,’ reportedly attracted disapproving glances when she brought her new Dutch beau Timor Steffens to designer Rudolph Valentino’s private New Year’s Eve Party in Gstaad, Switzerland, last Tuesday. A fellow party guest told gossip website “The chemistry between Madonna and Timor was pretty intense. Some people at the party were whispering about how Madonna had just broken up with her ex, and now she’s already with a new guy. It’s that kind of crowd. Plus, you can’t really ignore the fact that Timor is so much younger than Madonna. I mean, he’s basically a replacement for her ex. He looks just like Brahim.” But the ‘Hung Up’ hitmaker wasn’t upset by the negative attention. The source said: “Madonna didn’t give a damn that people were

whispering! She was really showing him off, drinking and dancing with him all over the place.” The couple bonded after working on a dance project together and Timor is already close to her younger children, Rocco, 13, Mercy James, seven, and David Banda, eight. The source said: “Madonna was even hinting to people that one of the reasons she likes Timor so much is because he’s a natural with her children. She isn’t really the type to come out and say something like that, but it was obvious. She had a little smile on her face whenever she watched Timor goofing around with Rocco and the other kids.”

Kellan Lutz thinks Miley Cyrus is ‘amazing’


he ‘Hercules 3D’ star, who recently insisted he is “happily single” despite being spotted getting close to the ‘Wrecking Ball’ hitmaker in Las Vegas late last month, admits he loves hanging out with the 21-year-old singer, with whom he has been friends with for six years. The 28-year-old actor told E! News: “She’s an amazing girl and she has a great head on her shoulders. I love hanging out with her because she is who she is and she’s such a shining star.” Kellan also understands why people might think they are dating. He said: “For Miley, I’ve been friends with her for six years now and we run in the same circle... it’s always interesting when two public figures who might be single are seen together. Oh let’s start a rumor that they might be together... I just laugh it off.” He added: “I’m just focused on work but I’m happy to be friends with her.” But the ‘Twilight Saga’ star, who is also friends with Miley’s ex-fiance Liam Hemsworth, is determined not to let the rumors distract him from his career. He said: “I stay out of the tabloids, I don’t care to be in the magazines, I don’t look myself up.”

Jessica Simpson hasn’t set a wedding date


he 33-year-old fashion mogul got engaged to Eric Johnson in November 2010 and the couple, who have a 20-month-old daughter, Maxwell, and six-month-old son, Ace, together are hoping to finally tie the knot later this year after postponing their nuptials twice in the past. The blonde beauty told ‘Good Morning America’ on Tuesday. “We don’t have an actual [wedding] date, but we do know that we want it to be this year. We need to get married!” She added: “I already feel like we’re an old married couple already. Like, if he wanted to run, he could’ve run when I was hormonal and pregnant.” Jessica, who was married to Nick Lachey for four years until 2006, previously revealed she had to keep postponing their special day because of her pregnancies. She said: “I keep planning on getting married, but I keep getting knocked up. It’s just one of those things.” The Weight Watchers spokesperson recently admitted she wants to lose more weight before her upcoming wedding, as her dress is very revealing. She said: “Knowing that I have the wedding coming up is an incentive to stay on Weight Watchers, count my points and stay in the gym. I mean, when you see my dress, you’ll know.”

Cake thoughts made Jennifer Lawrence fall at Oscars


he 23-year-old actress famously tripped on her gown and stumbled on the stairs as she made her way to accept the Best Actress prize at last year’s ceremony and she says she remembered too late the advice she had been given by her stylist. Speaking to the new issue of W magazine, she said: “I was at the Oscars, waiting to hear if my name was called, and I kept thinking, Cakewalk, cakewalk, cakewalk.’ “I thought, Why is ‘cakewalk’ stuck in my head? And then, as I started to walk up the stairs and the fabric from my dress tucked under my feet, I realised my stylist had told me, ‘Kick, walk, kick, walk.’ You are supposed to kick the dress out while you walk, and I totally forgot because I was thinking about cake! And that’s why I fell.” The ‘American Hustle’ actress recently admitted her fall at the Oscars has made her nervous of red carpet events. She said: “I get so nervous before going down red carpets -particularly after that fall at the Oscars. “I’ve tripped at least a couple of other times, too. I managed to forget to thank both the director and producer when I went on stage, so I wonder what was worse? I had to walk down the stairs at the wedding of my older brother recently and thought, ‘I cannot fall again. I just can’t.”

Leonardo DiCaprio is terrified of sharks Jake Gyllenhaal splits from Alyssa Miller


he ‘End of Watch’ star reportedly ended his sixmonth relationship with the Sports Illustrated model, 24, last month after they struggled to cope with him relocating to Los Angeles from New York City to film his upcoming movie ‘Nightcrawler’. A source told “They fizzled out. It happened a while ago-before the holidays. He’s back on the scene. “Things were really good between Jake and Alyssa right up until he had to leave for LA to go shoot a movie [Nightcrawler] in the fall. Then the distance just really got to them.” A friend also confirmed: “They were apart for the holidays, and things weren’t good with them even before that. She’s very much a long-term relationship girl. He’s not as much of that mind-set.” Another source said that Jake, 33, “was very taken with [Miller], but I think their work definitely drew them apart.” An insider added: “I know people are bummed, because many thought he had a chance this time.” The former couple, who started dating in June after they met at their gym in New York, were previously thought to have been getting serious as Alyssa revealed in October that she had formed a close bond with his older sister, Maggie Gyllenhaal, 36, and that Jake had been teaching her how to cook. The ‘Brokeback Mountain’ actor has dated a slew of fellow A-list stars in the past including Reese Witherspoon, Kirsten Dunst, Minka Kelly and singer Taylor Swift.


he ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ star has revealed a “gigantic great white” tried to attack him when a shark cage diving expedition went horribly wrong in Cape Town, South Africa in 2006, while he was on a break from filming ‘Blood Diamond’. The 39-year-old actor recalled the encounter during an interview on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ and said: “I had a huge fear of sharks, and when I did ‘Blood Diamond’ in 2006 I actually got stuck in a cage with a great white, which was awesome. “It was a gigantic great white ... They actually said in 30 years this has never happened, but the tuna kind of got stuck on the top of the cage and the great white leapt out and tried to bite it and went into the cage with me. “Half of its body was in and out, and I flattened down at the bottom, and it was this far away, and it chomped a few times but I survived it.” Leonardo was invited on the expedition by an organization devoted to protecting sharks but admitted it left him mentally scarred. He said: “I don’t want to do that anymore, but I don’t want to discount their work because they’re doing great stuff. But it was absolutely terrifying.”


lifestyle G O S S I P

Kim Kardashian slapped with a parking ticket


he ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ star - who has five-month-old daughter North with fiance Kanye West - was hit with the fine after she arrived back at her Rolls Royce too late from a shopping spree in Beverly Hills. The warden issued the freshly printed ticket and positioned it under her windscreen wiper after deciding justice must be done. However, the fine must have been particularly disappointing for the 33-year-old beauty as she had kindly given a valet a generous tip of $100 earlier that day. This isn’t the first encounter the stunning blonde has had with the law as she received a speeding ticket late last year after she tried to outrun paparazzi in Los Angeles. The police were reportedly furious with the photographers as well as the incident endangered multiple lives including Kim’s, other drivers on the road, and the officers involved. Meanwhile, Kim isn’t the only member of the family to commit a motoring offence recently as her half-sister Kylie Jenner was allegedly caught going too fast in her $125,000 Mercedes-Benz SUV over the weekend.

Sarah Jessica Parker has no fashion rules

Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux party with George Clooney


he former ‘Sex and the City’ actress insists she doesn’t worry about people dismissing her outfits as a “disaster” as she is only concerned with having fun with fashion. She said: “I think pulling it off or not pulling it off, that almost doesn’t exist for me, because I’m looking for experiences, not some report card. “I do love fantasy, color and the idea of no rules ... So you choose a dress people think is a disaster. In the end, who cares?” The 48-year-old star - who has son James, 11, and twin daughters Marion and Tabitha, three, with husband Matthew Broderick - has teamed up with US retailer Nordstrom for her debut shoe collection, SJP, and says all the designs are for footwear she would want to have herself. Speaking to the new edition of America’s InStyle magazine, she said: “If I’m going to ask people for their hard-earned dollars, I’d better be making shoes I want to wear. “My real dream was a smaller line, my name, built in Europe, at a reasonable price point.”


he couple were among a string of famous faces, including Jimmy Kimmel, Howard Stern, Michael Phelps, Cindy Crawford and her husband Rande Gerber, who attended an annual brunch at the El Dorado Beach Club in Los Cabos. A source said: “It was for members of the club and special guests. They had a tequila tasting.” The group had been in Mexico for over a week and also enjoyed an “intimate dinner” with George a few days after Christmas. The source added to E! Online: “George got down to Cabo around Christmas and had a party a couple days before the new year at his home. It was an intimate dinner with close family and friends.” It was recently claimed that Jennifer and Justin get along so well because of a quality they also value in their famous friends - humor. A source said: “Jen’s found a man who adores her. Justin’s forever telling her how beautiful she looks. He smiles when she walks into the room.” “He’s not afraid to look silly to make her laugh, either - they laugh all the time. Why do you think they’re friends with people like Jimmy Kimmel?”

Calvin Harris and Rita Ora moving in together


he 29-year-old DJ asked the ‘R.I.P.’ hitmaker, whom he has been dating for almost a year, to share his mansion with him in Beverly Hills in a bid to stop their hectic schedules destroying their romance. Speaking to the Daily Star newspaper, a friend of the couple said: “It’s no secret that there were times last year that they struggled: “It isn’t easy for any new couple to spend weeks at a time away from each other. Over Christmas Calvin asked Rita to move into his LA home full-time so their work commitments don’t lead to a break-up. “He believes they can make their relationship last if they both fully commit to it.” The 23year-old singer, who was kicked out of her rented apartment in London last month due to complaints about noisy late night parties, reportedly agreed to move in with her beau, but took her time giving him an answer initially. The pal explained: “Rita took her time making the decision. It’s a big step after all. “But she does spend a lot of time in LA anyway and has friends there. So in the end she knew it was the right thing to do. “Calvin was delighted when Rita told him the answer was yes.”


he 41-year-old actress admits she had the skinsmoothing injections in the past to enhance her looks, but she hated the results and is now determined to age naturally and gracefully. She told ‘Entertainment Tonight’: “I’ve tried [Botox] before, where it was like [a] little tiny touch of something. It changed my face in such a weird way that I was like, ‘No, I don’t want to [be] like [that].’ I’d rather see my face ageing than a face that doesn’t belong to me at all.” The ‘Counsellor’ star has learnt to embrace her wrinkles instead of trying to banish them because she believes each line on her face tells a story and shows that she’s spent her whole life smiling. She explained: “I love it, I don’t mind. It’s like, ‘Guess what this means, I’ve smiled my whole life.’ I love life. I’m happy I

don’t have a problem with that.” Meanwhile, the blonde beauty admits she used to struggle with bad acne as a youngster and spent years trying to get her oily skin under control, which shattered her confidence. She said: “It was embarrassing, and I did everything I could think of to make it go away. “I tried to cover it with make-up. I tried to get rid of it with medication: oral, topical, even the harshest prescriptions. Nothing helped for very long. “It was really challenging to cover them up for the cameras. It was awkward and embarrassing and frustrating, and I always felt really bad about myself.”

Cameron Diaz hates Botox

Kaley Cuoco takes husband’s surname after tying the knot


he ‘Big Bang Theory’ star and her tennis player beau got married at the Hummingbird Nest Ranch in Southern California on New Year’s Eve and she has now changed her name on Twitter to Kaley Cuoco Sweeting. A video of the 28-year-old star getting ready on her big day was also uploaded onto YouTube by her make-up artist, Jamie Greenberg. In the video, the blonde actress says: “We’re here for a very special day. It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m throwing a big, big party, I can’t wait. But, there’s one special thing that might happen tonight: I’m getting married!” Once dressed for her ceremony, she exclaimed: “I feel unbelievable. This is my custom gown by Vera Wang; I wanted to wear pink. I can’t wait to go get married to Ryan. “I’m not nervous at all. I’ve never been less nervous in my entire life.” The couple appear to be enjoying married life but Ryan, 26, has been feeling the pressure of the media attention and wanted to set the record straight on Twitter after it was reported Kaley had bought him a BMW. He posted: “As sweet as my new wife is, I can buy my own car you idiots. P.S. stop following us everywhere we go to get the exact same picture. (sic)” — Bangshowbiz



Slain actress:


Symbol of Venezuela’s crime woes

popular soap-opera actress and former Miss Venezuela, 29 year-old Monica Spear surely could have afforded to vacation elsewhere. Yet she and her ex-husband, who worked in the travel industry, spent New Year’s in the mountains of western Venezuela with their 5-year-old daughter then visited the plains of Apure state. On their return by car to Caracas, Spear and Thomas Henry Berry, a 39-year-old British citizen, became the latest symbols of the rampant violent crime that is afflicting this oil-rich nation. Robbers shot and killed the two and wounded their daughter on an isolated stretch of highway when they tried to foil the assault by locking themselves inside their car, which had been disabled by tire punctures, police said Tuesday. The slayings late Monday outraged Venezuelans, triggering a wave of calls for action on social media. TV personality Camila Canabal expressed what many were feeling in a tweet: “Sadness, anger, indignation, impotence, shame and pain, pain, pain, dammit!!!” “Monica and Thomas are the face of thousands of men and woman whose children have been left without parents because of the violence of Venezuela,” she added. Their daughter, Maya, was in stable condition after treatment for a leg wound and was with relatives in Caracas, authorities said. Fatal shootings are common in armed robberies in Venezuela, and rampant kidnapping has ensnared even foreign ambassadors and professional baseball players. Violent crime soared during the 14-year rule of Hugo Chavez, who died of cancer last March. The country has one of the world’s highest murder rates - the United Nations has ranked it 5th globally. The slaying of Spear and her ex-husband followed a pattern of late-night assaults carried out by disabling cars with obstacles placed on roadways. They were killed at about 10:30 pm between Puerto Cabello, the country’s main port, and the provincial capital of Valencia, while on a badly maintained stretch of highway that is lightly traveled at that hour. Their four-door sedan hit “a sharp object that

Venezuelan Monica Spear poses after being elected Miss Venezuela, in Caracas, on September 23, 2004. — AFP had been placed on the highway” which punctured at least two of its tires, the director of the country’s investigative police, Jose Gregorio Sierralta, told reporters. Two tow trucks arrived almost immediately afterward, said Sierralta, and the attack occurred after the car had been lifted onto one of the trucks. Seeing the assailants com-

S Koreans trek to China to see their sacred mountain

ing, the travelers locked themselves inside and the assailants fired at least six shots, he said. “They fired with viciousness,” President Nicolas Maduro said of the attackers. Police in Puerto Cabello arrested five suspects, some under the age of 18, Sierralta said. It could not immediately be determined if Spear and Berry had called the tow

trucks, or if any of the drivers were among those arrested for suspected involvement in the killings. Luis Carlos Dominguez, a longtime friend and former business associate of English-born Berry, said he was raised in Venezuela and ran a travel agency. “He knew Venezuela a lot better than many Venezuelans,” said Dominguez, describing the slain couple as people “who really loved the country,” had a good relationship despite their divorce and made it a point to vacation together. “They weren’t together,” he said. “But they were very attached for the benefit of their daughter.” Maduro lamented “the loss of a very spiritual young woman” actively involved in various charities, including one that helped placed mentally disabled teens in jobs. One top opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez, blamed Spear’s death squarely on the government: “This government is an accomplice of armed groups, judicial corruption, arms trafficking,” he tweeted. In response to the killings, Maduro announced that he would convene a security meeting on Wednesday that had originally been scheduled for the end of January. It is to bring together state governors and mayors of Venezuela’s 79 most dangerous cities. Spear was crowned Miss Venezuela in 2004, was 5th runner-up in the Miss Universe pageant the following year and had acted in numerous soap operas, most recently in “Pasion Prohibida” for the U.S.-based Telemundo network. She split her time between Caracas and south Florida, said Dominguez, while Berry lived in Caracas. Berry’s public-facing Facebook page features a series of photos of the couple in blissful days, including a trip to Venezuela’s spectacular Angel Falls that preceded their daughter’s birth. Another view into their life was available through the Twitter account of Spear, who had more than 355,000 followers. Her feed over the last week included brief videos sent on the popular Instagram service. In one, posted Sunday and described as being taken on the plains, Spear looks at the camera while riding a horse, turns away and then looks back, blowing a kiss. — AP



London Collections

This picture shows a general view of Tianchi, also known as Heaven Lake, at Changbai mountain in northeast China’s Jilin province. — AFP he spiritual birthplace of the Korean people is a volcano steeped in myth and legend. But with the peninsula divided for decades, South Koreans longing to see it must first travel to China. The peak-known as Changbai in Chinese and Paektu in Korean-and its spectacular crater lake straddle the China-North Korea border. Small tour buses screech around hairpin curves before unloading South Korean tourists for a short walk to the rim to catch sight of the forbidden North-and dream of a future as one. “Unification!” shouted a South Korean man at the site, one of the tens of thousands who make the pilgrimage every year. According to Korean myth, Dangun, who founded the nation’s first kingdom in 2333 BC, was born on the mountain to a mother who was transformed from a bear into a woman. The local tourism bureau says the site attracted about 137,000 foreign visitors in 2013, with more than half said to be South Koreans. “This place is so sacred,” said Choi Byung-Eui, who had journeyed with his father from the South Korean city of Gyeongju. He paused among the heavy, sustained gusts of wind at the crater’s edge that occasionally opened up the thick cloud to allow glimpses of the crater. “I’m so disappointed and so sad because a lot of people are divided because of the (Korean) war,” he said. “Our Korea must be one.”


‘More than just a mountain’ The peak, which stands roughly 2,750 metres (9,000 feet) high, is the highest on both the Korean peninsula and in China’s northeast, and is the source of the Yalu and Tumen rivers, which between them mark most of the border between China and North Korea. The body of water in the crater is known in Chinese as Tianchi, or Heaven Lake, and a few endangered Amur tigers still prowl the slopes as well as the broader Changbai range. South Korea spells the name as Baekdu, and a guidebook to China published in Seoul describes it as “more than just a mountain soaring high. It’s like a sacred place of national origin.” The volcano has generated headlines in recent years as seismologists warned it could erupt for the first time in centuries, raising alarms over what such a cataclysm could mean for impoverished yet nuclear-armed North Korea. That country has appropriated the

peak’s importance in Korean history into its own political propaganda by incorporating it within the mythology of the ruling Kim clan. The late North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il was officially said to have been born on its slopes in 1942, with hagiographic accounts claiming a double rainbow and new star appeared at the time. Outside scholars say his birth was in the Soviet Union. When Kim died on December 17, 2011, “layers of ice were broken... shaking the lake with big noise”, North Korea’s state news agency reported. Kim’s father and predecessor, the North’s founder Kim Il-Sung, “organised and led the antiJapanese revolution to victory from there”, according to an official biography of Kim Jong-Il. The Korean name translates as “whiteheaded mountain”, while the Chinese version can mean “eternally white”. The Changbai range spreads through Manchuria, the northeastern region from where the Manchu ethnic group conquered all of China in the 17th century, subsequently ruling as the Qing dynasty for 268 years. Its emperors are recorded making offerings to the mountain. ‘Beyond imagination’ Gao Shang, a graduate student and ethnic Manchu, said he had wanted to see the crater ever since his parents told him as a child that “there is a magic pool on the Changbai mountain”, recalling that the tale might even have included a “monster in there”. According to family lore his ancestors came from the area, he added. The mountain “is important for me”, Gao said. Some in South Korea resent China’s possession of part of the peak-five South Korean female athletes at the 2007 Asian Winter Games in Changchun, China, held up a sign reading “Mount Baekdu Is Our Land”, though they later reportedly apologized after Beijing protested. Lee KangHo, visiting with his father and son from the southern Korean port city of Busan, was overwhelmed with pride at scaling the volcano. “It’s beyond my imagination,” he said, calling the mountain the “lifeline and very root of Korea”. At the same time he was embarrassed that he could not travel through North Korea to reach it, he added. “I felt shame that I had to spend money in China in order to come here.” — AFP

Models present creations by Agi & Sam during the Autumn/Winter 2014 London Collections: Men’s fashion event in London yesterday. — AFP photos

Female tailor cuts a dash on Savile Row I

n a basement workshop on Savile Row, it is hard to miss Emily Squires among the dozen middleaged male tailors bent over closely packed benches, sewing and pressing bespoke suits and coats for the international elite. Wearing a fashionable grey jumpsuit and Dr Marten boots, the 29year-old coat maker at Henry Poole and Co is the poster girl of a new generation breathing fresh energy into the traditional craft. Two of her coats were displayed at men’s fashion week in London this week as part of a showcase of garments from Savile Row, the London street which has long been a by-word for menswear but now faces an uncertain future. Last year Squires won the Golden Shears, the Oscars of Britain’s tailoring world, for a blue-velvet frock coat and checked jodhpurs. She is still basking in the success, although most of her commissions are far more conservativeorders for a £2,000 (2,400 euros, $3,300) suit jacket and a smoking jacket are among those piled up on a shelf above her bench. “Every job you get is different. You never know what you’re going to get when you get the parcel out,” she tells AFP. Squires pulls down a bundle of pieces of cloth cut to the customer’s exact specifications in the shop upstairs, and a ticket describing what he

wants. “It’s a two-button, he’s having an out-breast pocket, flaps on his pockets, side slips and not vents,” she reads. “This is quite a light cloth, a 10oz or 11oz. It’s a navy hopsack flannel this will come up really nicely with all the pressing and steaming, you can get a really nice shape.” Squires is one of a handful of new recruits working at Henry Poole, which was established in 1806, and among a growing number of women training on Savile Row. Of the estimated 30 coatmaking diplomas handed out by the trade association Savile Row Bespoke over the last four years, at least 20 have gone to women. It’s an encouraging sign of an industry renewing itself-even if at Henry Poole, some of the veterans are working on equipment that looks at least as old as they are. But the contrast between the trade and the crazy creativity of fashion week is stark. The fourth edition of London Collections: Men attracted big names such as Burberry and Tom Ford and international buyers and press from 37 countries. The collections were typically eclectic, ranging from sharp suits to polo necks and t-shirts, brightly colored sportswear and even men’s platform heels. Organizers claim the event builds on London’s “unrivalled” men’s fashion heritage. But while the mass menswear market is boom-

Emily Squires ing in Britain-market analysts Mintel suggest growth of 12 percent in the past five years-the future of the top end is less clear. “The higher end of the market has been sustained by foreign demand, particularly from China and the Far East,” said Richard Perks, director of retail research at Mintel. “It’s a huge export earner, it’s great for marketing Britain. But it is a very rarified market.” —AFP



Children dressed up as devils wait for the beginning of La Diablada in Pillaro, Ecuador.

Revelers participate in La Diablada in Pillaro, Ecuador.

The dance of devils in

Ecuador T

Costumed revelers take cover from the rain under an umbrella.

housands of Ecuadoreans in elaborate devil masks and red costumes danced wildly in the streets of this Andean town in the “La Diablada de Pillaro,” or the Devils of Pillaro festival. Neither the rain showers nor the highland sun could stop the days of revelry in Pillaro, located 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of the capital Quito, where children, men and women all joined the celebration in homemade costumes, scaring tourists and passersby. One version says the festival, which runs from Dec 28 to Jan 6, began in the 1940s when the mainly farming families of Pillaro would gather at the end of the year to discuss their lives. The meetings would extend late into the night and end in tales of devils and souls in pain. Townsfolk decided to honor the scary tales by forming dancing groups and the custom developed into La Diablada celebration of wildly dancing and howling demons. — AP

A man with a devil’s mask dances.

A man dressed up as the devil participates.

A woman dressed up as a male waits for the beginning of La Diablada in Pillaro, Ecuador. — AP photos

Sarajevo’s legendary shoe-shiner dies ‘Gravity’, ‘12 Years a Slave’ lead UK film awards S T he space thriller “Gravity,” the unflinching slavery saga “12 Years a Slave” and the crime caper “American Hustle” gained awards-season momentum yesterday with stacks of nominations for the British Academy Film Awards, Britain’s equivalent of the Oscars. “Gravity” received nominations in 11 categories, including best picture; best director, for Alfonso Cuaron; lead actress, for Sandra Bullock; cinematography and special effects. “12 Years” had 10 nominations, including nods for star Chiwetel Ejiofor, supporting performers Lupita Nyong’o and Michael Fassbender and director Steve McQueen. “I continue to be immensely proud of the recognition this film is getting around the world,” said British actor Ejiofor, who plays a free black man kidnapped into slavery in the 19th-century United States. “There is, of course, something particularly special about receiving a BAFTA nomination from home.” David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” also was nominated in 10 categories, while Somali hijacking story “Captain Phillips” received nine nods. Liberace biopic “Behind the Candelabra” and “Saving Mr. Banks,” which tells the story behind the film adaptation of “Mary Poppins,” each got five nominations. The nominations give an awards boost to several films, especially “Gravity,” an astonishing 3-D technical achievement, and the wrenching “12 Years a Slave.”The list also demonstrates the increasing globalization of the movie business. “12 Years a Slave” is an American story with a British director and star. “Gravity” teams Hollywood stars Bullock and George Clooney with Mexican director Cuaron and British special-effects teams. The British-picture category includes motor-racing film “Rush,” which has an American director, Ron Howard, a British screenwriter in Peter Morgan and stars from Australia (Chris Hemsworth) and Germany (Daniel Bruhl, who has a supporting-actor nomination.) The best-picture nominees are: “12 Years a Slave”; “Gravity”; “American Hustle”; “Captain Phillips”; and “Philomena,” the story of an Irishwoman in search of the son she lost decades earlier. The separate category of best British film pits “Gravity,” “Philomena” and “Saving Mr. Banks” against “Rush,” biopic “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” and gritty parable “The Selfish Giant.” Bestactor nominees are Ejiofor; Leonardo DiCaprio for ode to excess “The Wolf of Wall Street”; Bruce Dern for road

British actors Helen McCrory (left) and Luke Evans pose for pictures at a photocall to mark the nominations for the 2014 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards in central London, yesterday. — AFP movie “Nebraska”; Christian Bale for “American Hustle”; and Tom Hanks for “Captain Phillips.” Bookies picked Ejiofor as the strong favorite to win. “There is traditionally a slight British bias when it comes to the BAFTAs,” said Joe Crilly, spokesman for bookmaker William Hill. “However, Ejiofor’s performance in ‘12 Years’ is so mesmeric that there needn’t be this year.” In the best-actress category, Bullock is up against Judi Dench for “Philomena”; Amy Adams for “American Hustle”; Emma Thompson for “Saving Mr. Banks”; and Cate Blanchett for “Blue Jasmine.” Dench, 79, received the 15th British Academy acting nomination of her career - a record. She said she was “honored and thrilled to be in such fine company.” The British prizes, known as BAFTAs, will be awarded at London’s Royal Opera House on Feb 16. In recent years, the British awards have helped underdog films including “Slumdog Millionaire,” “The King’s Speech,” and “The Artist” build momentum for success at the Oscars. Last year, the Iran hostage drama “Argo” took the BAFTA for best film, and went on to win the best-picture Oscar. — AP

arajevans paid tribute Tuesday to a legendary shoe-cleaner known as “uncle” Miso, who died at the age of 83 after more than 60 years working on the streets, even during the 1992-1995 war. An empty wooden chair, covered with roses, stood in front of a fast-food restaurant in the main Sarajevo Tito avenue with a large photo portrait of the man who has become a symbol of the Bosnian capital. Dozens of people paid tribute in silence, while others lit candles put around a pair of shoes on the pavement. “Emotions felt by Sarajevans after his death reflect the best of his deeds,” said architect Kenan Husic. Always in a neat suit, freshly pressed white shirt, his hair carefully combed under a hat, with a meticulously trimmed grey moustache and a large smile, “uncle” Miso did not leave his spot even during the siege and the bloodiest shellings. A Roma originally from Kosovo who moved to Bosnia just after World War II, his real name was Husein Hasani, but he took on the nickname given by his boxing coach, a Hungarian who could not pronounce his name. At 21, he took over a job from his father and soon became the most famous and the “most beautiful” shoe-shiner in Sarajevo as he said. In recent years, he was the last one to keep up with the traditional trade, which has deep roots in the Balkans, inherited from the centuries-long Ottoman rule in the region. Albina Curkovic, a retired 78-year old retired nurse, said uncle Miso was “both a lucky charm and a symbol of Sarajevo” during the war years, when he could hardly be convinced to move to a shelter during the shelling. “When he was there, we knew that even if the sky fell overnight, we have survived another day” of a more than three-year-long siege of Sarajevo, she said. Despite food shortages and poverty during the war years, he always kept treats for Sarajevo’s stray dogs, which he called

his “faithful comrades” in the streets. Sarajevo mayor Ivo Komsic said that “uncle Miso, as the only and the most famous street shoe-cleaner, was an indelible image” of the capital. In 2009 “uncle” Miso was awarded a medal for merit by city authorities, as well as a modest apartment and a pension. At the time, he trumpeted the news to his clients and passer-bys, drumming his brushes on a metal box. But tears came to his eyes as he remembered that love of his life, Dzemila, died before she could enjoy the rewards. “Now when someone puts a foot on a metal case in front of me, he often asks

why such a legend still polishes shoes,” he said in a recent interview. “But I say, this job is in my blood and you can only find me dead in this chair,” he said. Thanks to his exuberant personality, Hasani often appeared in films and TV shows shot in Sarajevo. He proudly kept dozens of news articles, written about him and the famous “brush-dance” he performed before cleaning the shoes, in a fake-leather bound memory book. “There were shoe-cleaners in every street when I started and now, I’m the only one, why? Because I have been brave and people laughed to my jokes,” he said in a documentary. — AFP

A makeshift memorial with a picture of legendary shoe-cleaner “uncle” Miso is seen on a main street in Sarajevo on January 7, 2014. — AFP

Slain actress: Symbol of Venezuela’s crime woes


Unveils fourth edition of the Splash Calendar


ove’ one of the most popular of emotion intensifies when said in conjunction with the word ‘Fashion’, inspiring a loyalty beyond reason. Two decades ago, Splash, the high-street retailer chose to fall in love with fashion and this one emotion has given the brand a journey to reflect upon and a path to create. Titled ‘In Love with Fashion’, the 2014 Limited Edition Calendar was unveiled by Micky & Renuka Jagtiani, Chairman & ViceChairperson, Landmark Group along with Raza Beig, CEO, and Splash & ICONIC. Celebrating this high fashion calendar Raza Beig invited fashion and art enthusiasts to a display of the 12 visuals that summarized artistic glamour. Weaving together the concept of love and drawing inspiration from the multi-faceted heart logo which was introduced earlier this year in the business, the calendar brings together the virtues of season-less fabrics, the glamour and beauty of textures and the love for designs. Capturing and interpreting contemporary fashion culture, the calendar is shot through the lens of renowned fashion photographer Tejal Patni and styled by international designer Furne Amato.

“Expression of style and emotion for fashion has driven multitudes of consumers to Splash and it was this thought that inspired the theme ‘Splash in Love with Fashion’ for the 2014 Splash Calendar. The calendar is a beautiful summation of fabrics and design aesthetics, styles and silhouettes which have been constant in the brand’s 20 year journey. Bound to tickle the creative urge, this fascinating combination of art and fashion brings together Tejal Patni and Furne Oné both who are stalwarts in their respective fields to present the 2014 Splash Calendar which will have direct access to the realm of your emotions”, said Raza Beig, CEO, Splash & ICONIC. All through the 12 images, six key fabrics which have had the longest standing history in the world of fashion emerge namely lace, denim, plaid, leather, florals and monochrome. In-studio designed dramatic sets and lavish props perfectly complement the variety of Amato’s designs prompting you to analyze the broad range of expressions. As you flip through the months, each image will evoke the sort of excitement that you have come to expect of fashion when presented at its best. “The Splash calendar is a great initiative by Raza and it is an artist’s dream to be associated with such a prestigious project. I have been a part of the previous three editions and the experience has always been very emotional ˝and rewarding at the same time. This year I focus on fashion trends we love and feature them to their maximum impact through application of fabrics patterns and textures. Our dear friend Furne OnÈ’s imaginative vision for the wardrobe enhances each frame,” added Tejal Patni. A numbered 500 piece limited edition calendar; it will be gifted to the region’s movers and shakers which include media, opinion makers, partners and VIPs. Also with a vision to make the calendar a part of every consumer’s living space, the calendar will be available in a desktop version, across all Splash in Centrepoint Stores.


9 Jan  

Kuwait Times