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Kuwait’s telcos launch new mobile technologies

Syrian forces kill 85 in barrel bomb Aleppo attacks


NO: 16066

150 FILS



Gutsy Gallacher grabs Dubai double

Dylan Farrow breaks silence on Woody Allen molestation




Why not Boeing? KAC narrows options with Airbus deal

Max 17º Min 8º High Tide 01:38 & 14:38 Low Tide 08:33 & 20:44

conspiracy theories

Millionaires yet debtors

By Badrya Darwish


laughed my head off reading a report in a local newspaper that Kuwait ranks second in the Middle East region in the number of millionaires. Amazingly, the same report crowned Dubai as number one. It shocked me that Saudi Arabia was excluded from the ranking. I think that Saudi Arabia is known worldwide for being a leader in millionaire numbers. Where are the Qatari brothers as well? They were also excluded. Where are the Harrods’ owners? Where are the leading European football club owners of Paris Saint-Germain FC and Malaga FC? Let’s trust the report that Kuwait came in second place. I have a suggestion for those who compiled the report to do a follow-up report on how many people in Kuwait live in debt. Wouldn’t that be interesting statistics? If we are so lucky to have so many millionaires, then where are these annoying numbers of debtors coming from? You just have to watch the news from the last 10 years and see how many people owe to the banks. It was a lucrative topic for the opposition to play with people’s emotions. Many employees of various ages were even banned from travelling for incurred debts. You know us Kuwaitis - travelling is in our blood. If you want to kill us, ban us from travelling. The debtors’ problem, actually, was an enigma for the government. It was a big issue for the nation. Every day the media was over-busy on how to solve the debtors’ problem. Their case was debated by different parliaments. MPs were constantly debating how to help debtors. At the end of the day, the only thing the government came up with was to reduce the interests and not scrap the debts. Then there were the slogans - MPs used the topic in their election campaigns and pre-election seminars. Many votes were cast for those who promised to solve the debt problem. The problem grew to such an extent that the Central Bank forced banks to put a limit on borrowing. Accordingly, employees could only borrow up to 40 percent of their salary. There were many promises and votes. There were many seminars on the topic. Suddenly, nobody mentions it at all. I do not know if the problem was solved secretly under the table. I doubt it. It is like the Silence of the Lambs - the famous movie of Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. From debtors we turned into millionaires. Isn’t that ironic?

By Dr M Ziad Al-Alyan KUWAIT: A representative from Airbus is due in Kuwait next week to finalize a $4.4 billion deal with Kuwait Airways for the purchase of 25 new aircraft. The deal has garnered a lot of attention none of it good. Even leading MPs have questioned the speed and secrecy with which the deal was reached and have asked for greater transparency on the issue. MP Safa Al-Hashem said that it was “suspicious that there are so many concerns surrounding the Kuwait Airways-Airbus deal, which has been shrouded in secrecy.” I tend to agree. Why af ter only recently assuming the helm of KAC did the new management of KAC rush to ink a deal with Airbus? Why weren’t other airlines considered in depth?

mixed-supplier fleet can generate more cost savings and revenues as the airline can leverage the advantages and efficiencies of both through sub -fleet planning to maximize profits. I have to ask why all of Kuwait was precluded from insight into the decision-mak ing process. What are the qualifications of the technical board and why wasn’t more consideration given to the impact a single supplier might have on KAC’s long-term future as an airline Kuwait can be proud of again (some day)? There is also the question of political relations. Kuwait has a long and fruitful relationship with its close partner, the United States. I wonder what will be the financial or political impac t of unfairly excluding Boeing from an opportunity to fly our friendly skies? In

UAE summons Qatar envoy over ‘insults’

Yusef Al-Qaradawi

Israel, US spar over boycott warning Kerry, Zarif meet privately

MUNICH: US Secretary of State John Kerry waves while boarding his plane at Franz-Josef-Strauss Airport yesterday. — AFP

Why not Boeing? Historically, Kuwait Air ways has flown both Airbus and Boeing. In fact most major airlines fly both rather than choosing the slightly cheaper but narrower option of only one. Low budget airlines typically go for one aircraft supplier as a way to keep costs down. But this also limits their ability to negotiate future deals. Also let’s think a decade down the road. If we order only from Airbus and in 10 years Airbus has a full slate of orders, it may delay delivery or the placing of new orders until it clears its backlog. This could impact KAC’s ability to operate its fleet. Kuwait Airways isn’t a low-cost carrier and in order to take its place among its sister airlines in the region, it should have a comparable fleet. Emirates or Qatar Airways don’t fly only Airbus planes. Operating a

JERUSALEM: Israel and Washington were at loggerheads yesterday after senior Israeli figures attacked US Secretary of State John Kerry for warning of a growing boycott threat if peace talks fail. The latest spat erupted a day after Kerry warned of the potential economic impact on Israel if theUS-brokered negotiations with the Palestinians collapsed, in which he made reference to “talk of boycotts”. His remarks sparked several outspoken reactions from senior cabinet ministers in Israel, which prompted an unusually pointed response from the US State Department urging Kerry’s critics to get their facts straight. “For Israel there’s an increasing delegitimisation campaign that has been building up. Continued on Page13

ABU DHABI: The UAE summoned the Qatari ambassador yesterday to protest against remarks made by a Muslim Brotherhood-linked cleric who slammed the Emirates for jailing Islamists, the foreign ministry said. The summons was the first of its kind by a member of the sixnation Gulf Cooperation Council Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates against another GCC state since the bloc’s formation in 1981. Qatar’s ambassador to the UAE, Fares Al-Nuaimi, was summoned to the foreign ministry in Abu Dhabi and handed “an official letter of protest” over “insults” by cleric Yusef Al-Qaradawi, WAM news agency reported.

Qaradawi, an Egyptian-born Muslim scholar, wields huge influence through his regular appearances on Al-Jazeera television from his base in exile in Qatar, where he has lived for decades. He is a staunch backer of Egypt’s deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, unlike the UAE which supports the interim government installed in Cairo by the military that overthrew Morsi last July 3. In a Friday sermon two weeks ago delivered at a mosque in the Qatari capital Doha and broadcast by state television, Qaradawi condemned the UAE as a country which was against Islamic rule, UAE media reported. Continued on Page 13

fact, if KAC was going to go hand-inhand with a single aircraft supplier, why not our good American friends? Haven’t they proved reliable in times of need? Boeing is a reputable, quality airline and its aircraft just as reliable, safe, efficient and durable as its European rival. To maintain a balance and buy from both seems to me a more reasonable choice given our need to maintain friends on every continent. To wholly exclude one in favor of the other seems unnecessarily risky, financially unsound and a choice that leaves Kuwait Air ways and Kuwait itself with few options for the future. I don’t know what the leadership of KAC was thinking and it seems neither does the rest of Kuwait. I wish they would explain it to us.

Actor Philip Hoffman found dead NEW YORK: Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his New York apartment yesterday, a law enforcement official said. He was 46. Media reports suggested a drug overdose could be to blame, but the official, who declined to be named, told AFP the cause of death was under investigation. Police responded to the scene in Manhattan’s West Village after receiving a call at about 11:15 am (1615 GMT), the official said. The Wall Street Journal, which broke the story, said Hoffman was found with a needle in his arm by a screenwriter in the bathroom of his apartment. Continued on Page 13

Panel approves ban on ‘usury’ MP proposes changes in election law By B Izzak KUWAIT: The National Assembly’s legal and legislative committee yesterday approved a draft law that makes bank interest illegal in Kuwait. The draft law was approved by three members and opposed by two, member of the committee MP Yacoub Al-Sane said. Islamist MPs view that conventional banks charge interest which is known as usury in Islam, while the profits or charges taken by Islamic banks are not considered as interest. Similar bids to outlaw bank interest have failed in the past. Sane said the committee also approved a draft law calling to abolish a law issued in 2010 to establish public shareholding companies to build power and water desalination plants in the country. The law has been implemented once for the Al-Zour North Plant amid an ongoing controversy over the awarding process. Under the law that may be scrapped, half of the company shares will be given to citizens free of charge, 40 percent goes to a strategic local or foreign investor and 10 percent to the government. Continued on Page 13

Counterterrorism law alarms Saudi activists DUBAI: Saudi Arabia put into effect a sweeping new counterterrorism law yesterday that human rights activists say allows the kingdom to prosecute as a terrorist anyone who demands reform, exposes corruption or otherwise engages in dissent. The law states that any act that “undermines” the state or society, including calls for regime change in Saudi Arabia, can be tried as an act of terrorism. It also grants security services broad powers to raid homes and track phone calls and Internet activity. Human rights activists were alarmed by the law and said it is clearly aimed at keeping the kingdom’s ruling

Al Saud family firmly in control amid the demands for democratic reform that have grown louder since the Arab Spring protests that shook the region in 2011 and toppled longtime autocrats. Saudi activist Abdulaziz Al-Shubaily described the law as a “catastrophe”. And Human Rights Watch researcher Adam Coogle warned: “The new law is draconian in spirit and letter, and there is every reason to fear that the authorities will easily and eagerly use it against peaceful dissidents.” The measure was approved by the Cabinet on Dec. 16 and ratified by King Abdullah. Continued on Page 13



Kuwait’s telcos launch new mobile technologies KUWAIT: The roll-out of fourth-generation longterm evolution (4G LTE) networks across Kuwait is expected to offer a boost to the mobile market. While the average revenue per user (ARPU) remains among the highest in the region, it has nonetheless been falling in recent years. Zain, the largest operator as measured by market share, has joined forces with Chinese giant Huawei to expand and enhance its 4G LTE network, while Wataniya moves to achieve nationwide coverage for its network, and VIVA continues with its 4G LTE expansion strategy, backed by new financing that will help with infrastructure and deployment expenses. Although costly infrastructure is often cited as a stumbling block in 4G LTE development, Kuwait’s smaller geographic area and well-established telecommunications industry will allow operators to avoid some of these hurdles in the development of affordable 4G LTE services.

KUWAIT: In this file photo a phone user is seen talking on his phone in front of Zain’s office. —Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat Strong market potential Kuwait has in some respects been viewed as a telecommunications innovator in the Gulf and was the first GCC country to license a second mobile operator, Wataniya, in 1999. Today Zain and Wataniya have a presence across a host of

According to the World Cellular Information Service, mobile subscriptions in Kuwait are expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 7 percent over the next five years, supported by population and GDP growth, as well as a rise in data usage countries in the Middle East and Africa, although both are under increased pressure domestically following the entrance of VIVA in 2008. The rise in competition has squeezed profit margins, but statistics suggest Kuwait remains an attractive market. According to the World Cellular Information Service, mobile subscriptions in Kuwait are expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 7percent over the next five years, supported by population and GDP growth, as well as a rise in data usage. Although Kuwait’s ARPU fell below $30 for the first time in 2013, according to Informa Telecoms and Media, it remains the second-highest in the region behind Qatar. Mobile penetration reached 176 percent at the end of 2011, according to Business Monitor International, which predicted penetration will hit 190percent by 2016, owing in large part to the common consumer practice of holding more than one SIM card. Telcos in Kuwait also benefit from a relatively under-developed fixed-line broadband market, which means consumers often choose to forgo a fixed connection in favour of a mobile option. According to Informa Telecoms and Media research, household broadband penetration stands at 45 percent. 4G LTE opportunities While Kuwait lags in the fixed broadband market, it offers relatively advanced mobile data ser vices. In October 2012 the Ministr y of Communications granted formal approval for telecoms companies to roll out 4G LTE networks. Zain launched its network in November 2012, followed by VIVA this past March. Wataniya, meanwhile, has taken a slightly more circumspect approach, offering 4G LTE service in selected areas as of July 2013, with plans to expand its network across the country by 2014.

Consumers have eagerly embraced faster, smoother mobile internet services on smart phones and tablets. Zain reported that 10 percent of its customers in Kuwait had migrated to 4G LTE as of November, while companywide the telco saw its data revenues rise by 22percent for the first three quarters of 2013. Data now accounts for 28percent of the firm’s revenues in Kuwait. Zain recently announced plans to launch a commercial LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) network in Kuwait in 2014, which will eventually deliver speeds of up to 300 Mbps, double what is possible on existing LTE networks. Meanwhile, VIVA obtained $270m in financing from the National Bank of Kuwait Group in June 2013, to expand its 4G LTE network and upgrade services. The telco also added five new store outlets to its network in late 2013, in an effort to reach more customers. Building 4G LTE networks is often costly Wataniya, for example, spent $350m to upgrade to an LTE network. But with a total land area of just 17,820 km, and a well-established telecoms sector that was one of the first to launch 4G LTE technologies in the Gulf, Kuwait is better-positioned to embrace the latest mobile innovations than larger nations with less-developed infrastructure. Also helping growth is the competitive pricing of 4G LTE data plans. Zain offers a 30GB 4G LTE plan for KD16 ($56.70) per month, and 80GB for KD24 ($85.04), or $1.89 and $1.06 per GB, respectively, substantially lower than the global average of $4.86 per GB, according to research firm GSMA Intelligence. The affordability and availability of these new technologies, coupled with a push among all three companies to expand 4G LTE offerings, should ensure a rise in the number of data customers, although the pricing may mean growth in profits will be modest. —Oxford Business Group

MPs, EPA mull environment bills KUWAIT: National Assembly (parliament) members and Environment Public Authority (EPA) discussed yesterday a couple of suggestions on a new bill on the EPA and the country’s environment draft law. The bills were considered during a parliament session that was attended by Minister of Oil and Minister of State for National Assembly Affairs Ali Al-Omair and Deputy GeneralDirector of the EPA for Technical Affairs Mohammed Al-Enezi. Speaking to KUNA following the session, Al-Enezi said the parliamentary legislative committee had sent the suggestions to the committee on public utilities for further deliberations, while the EPA spoke highly of the proposals as “excellent initiatives”. He noted that the committee on public utilities will come up with technical remarks in this regard with a week. On his part, the chief of the EPA’s legal affairs department, Jassem Al-Jasmi said that the country’s environmental law mainly aims to protect Kuwaiti environment. He said similar UAE, Qatari, Egyptian and European environmental laws were discussed. — KUNA

Liquor haul in Shuwaikh By Hanan Al-Saadoun KUWAIT: Shuwaikh port customs officers foiled an attempt to smuggle in 2,730 bottles of liquor from the UAE. He said after joint cooperation between the customs department and Shuwaikh port detectives, three containers from the UAE marked as containing animal feed were searched and 2,730 bottles were discovered. The haul was sent to concerned authorities.

Bedoon teachers may get pay hike KUWAIT: Education Minister Ahmad AlMulaifi has expressed dissatisfaction with salaries paid to bedoon teachers and said they should be increased or to be brought up to the level of what expats receive, since salaries are based on efforts and not nationality. Mulaifi, who was answering his followers on Twitter, said that he will not accept tribalism, sectarianism or any biasness at the expense of competence and quality. He said education requires patience and planning, because change cannot take place overnight and needs a good example in word and deed.

As for the curriculum, Mulaifi said it is difficult and not suitable for the current and coming periods, adding that the development process is ongoing, and “this time it will be different”. He said he prefers to call exams “evaluations”, so that “we deal with the problems before the student moves to the next stage”. On private tuitions, Mulaifi said if teachers exert efforts and care in the classroom, the parent will not need a private tutor. “We are going through a new process and we ask Allah to grant us health to transform it from plans on paper to practice,” he tweeted.

Kuwaiti students visit Tashkent TASHKENT: A delegation of Kuwaiti students is in Uzbekistan as part of a cultural program by Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), and the students were greeted upon arrival yesterday by Uzbek Health Minister Anvar Alimov, as well as the Kuwaiti Embassy’s Third Secretary Abdelaziz Al-Dhifiri. The fund is organizing such trip for the fifth time and the objective is to treat top

achieving students from across the country to a first-hand look at its projects and contributions to development abroad. Minister Alimov said Uzbek President Islom Karimov himself had given directives to see to the needs of the Kuwaiti delegation and to see that they get a good pleasant stay in the country. Uzbek leaders, he added, are most keen on bolstering relations and interaction with Kuwait.—KUNA

KUWAIT: As part of the several inspection tours of Interior Ministry leaderships, Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Maj Gen Abdel Fattah Al-Ali visited the driving education department at the Capital traffic department, where he was received by Assistant Director Lt Col Abdelwahab Ghazi Al-Omar.

Agenda for second govt summit unveiled DUBAI: The agenda of the Second Government Summit, which will be held from Feb 10 to 12,under the theme Leading Government Services, has been unveiled, highlighting the Summit’s focus on how governments can take advantage of technology and smart services and learn from the expertise of the aviation, hospitality and banking sectors to achieve excellence in government services to achieve citizen happiness. Mohammed Abdullah Al-Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the Government Summit, said the Summit has adopted an efficient agenda that includes vital topics focused on leading government services to take them to the next stage for achieving happiness for citizens. “ The Organizing Committee of the Summit chooses harmonious topics in a series of interactive and discussion sessions which will be delivered by a number of leaders and dignitaries, ministers, government officials, executives, managers from the private sector, experts and thinkers from various countries around the world,” said Al-Gergawi. “The new topics are very relevant and will enable the participants and speakers to find suitable development methods in the field of government services and transfer expertise and knowledge to all participating countries. They will also help promote the Government Summit as a global government forum for best practices and an annual forum for exchanging the experiences,” added Al-Gergawi. Stating that citizen happiness and economic productivity are directly impacted by the quality of healthcare, education and social services, Al- Gergawi said the Summit will host effective sessions focused on these sectors. Key technological trends in smart education as well as the main opportunities and challenges that technology offers for the education sector will be discussed. Global cities Al-Gergawi said the Summit will also look at how global cities are adopting smart concepts of service delivery and adapting to the opportunities and challenges posed by the dynamics of the global economy. The Summit agenda has been inspired

Mohammed Al-Gergawi by the quality service delivery model of leading international airlines, and the event offers an opportunity to discuss these benchmarks of reliable multi-channel service delivery, addressing the need of a wide range of customers across the globe, Al Gergawi said. The Summit will therefore bring together leaders of the world’s best airlines and will highlight how airlines design and manage a unique customer experience to deliver excellent services. Sessions have been designed to offer insights on the experiences of worldrenowned experts from the banking sector and leading hospitality organizations around the world to improve and deliver an efficient customer experience in government. There is even a session which is aimed to highlight management lessons from the world of football to enhance service delivery and create a fan following of customers. Agenda includes sessions that will explore current possibilities before governments to make the best out of latest advances in technology and translate them into efficient services to enhance citizen happiness and quality of life. The event will discuss how governments as well as private corporations are devising new ways to use technology to take services to the next level and to create public-private partnerships that generate value to citizens. The Summits agenda highlights several other important issues related to the future governments, best world practices and international cooperation in service delivery.



KUWAIT: Some of the participants of the forum. —Photos by Joseph Shagra

Naser Al-Kanderi (left) receiving the award during the forum.

Scientific forum to exchange telecom sector experiences Rapid developments in past few years By Nawara Fattahova KUWAIT: Telecommunication companies and Internet providers met yesterday at the Second Kuwait Communication Forum at the JW Marriot Hotel organised by the Ministry of Communication. They discussed future plans and services in addition to obstacles they face. “From here comes the importance of holding a scientific forum to exchange experiences with the private sector and set the solutions and recommendations to develop this sector. A few years ago, the ministry launched mega infrastructure projects that will change the present spectrum and turn it to 4G completely,” said Nasser Al-Kandari, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Communication. During the past few years, the telecommunication sector has rapidly developed. “We organized the frequency equality between telecommunication companies. As the first step, we organized the license market of the Internet and charges for Internet and international calls. Furthermore, we connected the network of the ministry with numerous international land and sea cables, which provides

stability to calls and the Internet,” he added. “ We plan to set up an authority for telecommunication and IT this year. We realize the importance of this sector, on which all other sectors depend on for transferring information and communication technology. We hope that this forum will come up with recommendations that will develop the sector in particular and the country in general,” concluded Kandari. Anas Mirza, General Manager of National Technology Enterprises Company (NTEC), spoke about the company’s experience and challenge to transfer subscribers from one company to another. “76,000 users have shifted to other mobile telecommunication companies in the seven months since the beginning of this project (number portability) in 2013. This figure equals to about 10,000 users monthly out of 4 million subscribers of all companies. The international percentage of this transfer is about 2 percent per year and we achieved this number within 7 months only. This project took us 1,000 work hours, and is still ongoing. We haven’t faced any obstacles and we have a helpdesk working

24/7,” he pointed out. According to him, the number portabilityproject has many advantages. “It’s a vital project for users. It maintains competition in the market between the companies, which have provided various services and decreased prices. This project eliminates monopoly and is in favor of the consumer. We are proud of this project,” stressed Mirza. Munthir Al-Omani, Head of the Technology Sector at Zain, promised users up-to-date services on an international level. “We are currently working on establishing data centers in Kuwait. As mobile telecommunication is fully saturated, companies are focusing on value added services such as broadband connectivity, and we are planning initiatives that will be made public soon,” he noted. He also highlighted some of the problems they face in this sector. “We face various obstacles, especially with the infrastructure as we are ahead of the ministry. We also face problems with licenses from the ministry and when dividing frequencies. We demand more facilities and follow-up by the Ministry of these demands,” Omani added.

Moathir Al-Omani, Najeeb Al-Awadhi, Ahmad Ibraheem, and Ayman Al-Banaw during the first session of the second telecommunication forum held yesterday.

Ploy to cover up alcohol disappearance? KUWAIT: While investigations are making progress in a case involving the disappearance of thousands of liquor bottles prepared to be destroyed, a report yesterday suggested that officers involved might be working on finding a ‘way out’ of the problem. Al-Rai daily had reported on Thursday that ministry staff discovered while supervising the process of destroying 60,000 liquor bottles seized in operations since 2010 that at least 10,000 bottles were missing, and later raised the number to 17,000. The bottles were stored in one of five containers that was found to be empty, according to

sources quoted in the report. Yesterday, the same daily quoted ‘high ranking security sources’ who indicated that senior officials questioned over the missing bottles are trying to fabricate a story based on the assumption that the bottles were damaged during storage rather than being stolen. “Around 35,000 corks were collected during a wide operation at the bottle destruction site,” said the sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity. They explained that the stoppers were taken back to the ministry’s warehouses “to be used as the basis for a formal response to the public

Govt urged to fight financial demands

KUWAIT: Kuwait Fire Services Directorate Acting Director General Brig Khalid AlTarkeet made a field visit to the new directorate’s building, in addition to the prevention sector, located in west Mishrif area, yesterday. —By Hanan Al-Saadoun

KUWAIT: A top economic committee urged the government to ‘investigate the legality and constitutionality’ of MPs’ proposals for draft laws that adds to the state’s increasing current expenditure. The news came as the parliament prepares to vote tomorrow on proposals to increase the rent and children allowance for Kuwaitis, and less than two weeks after the cabinet approved a draft law for the 2014/2015 state budget with projected deficit of KD1.62 billion based on an oil price rate of $75 per barrel. “ The government is required to inspect the legality and constitutionality of extremely costly and economically harmful proposals, even if that required consulting with the Constitutional Court”, reads a letter released by the Economic Development Committee, a 10-member council formed by the Supreme Council of

Planning Development on May 2013, and quoted by newspapers yesterday. The letter reportedly contains 15 recommendations reached following its 6th meeting last week to discuss the general framework for the 2014/2015 budget, featuring a team from the Ministry of Finance led by minister Anas Al-Saleh. The recommendations, which were adopted during an extraordinary meeting between the Cabinet and the Supreme Council of Planning Development last Thursday, call the government to stop giving away “unjustifiable allowances and financial benefits,” and curb government expenditure. And while the committee warned of a “frightening future facing the budget in the upcoming few years”, it reiterated demands to rationalize subsidies, and lead by example through efforts to “cut unnecessary government spending”.

prosecution’s skepticisms by claiming that the missing bottles were damaged due to improper storage”. The sources claimed that the same ploy was successfully used to cover up a previous case involving the disappearance of nearly 950 bottles. News about the case prompted Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khalid Al-Sabah to launch an immediate probe amid suspicions that police officers might have stolen, facilitated the theft of or failed to properly guard the missing bottles.

36,000 housing units await distribution KUWAIT: The number of land plots available to Kuwaiti nationals covers applications for housing, said the State Minister for Housing Yasser Abul, who pledged the government’s commitment to the task. As things stand, some 36,000 housing units await distribution. But the Public Authority for Housing Welfare is committed to a timeframe set by the government, added the minister. The issue of housing was a topic of discussion between the minister and the parliament’s separate committees for legal affairs and housing. The cooperation with the lawmakers was commended by the minister, who stated that “the solution was near.” He told reporters that there are many of these solutions which need expert evaluation. Currently, the minister is awaiting the verdict of a housing conference expected to be held a week on Sunday aimed at discussing the matter. On the plans of his predecessor, Salem Al-Othaina, on housing units expected to be distributed in the 2014/15 fiscal year, the minister said he was committed. —KUNA

Kuwaiti students rank first in Smart Brain competition KUWAIT: A group of talented Kuwaiti students ranked first positions in “Smart Brain International Competition” held in Chiang Mai city in Thailand, among other 800 students from all over the world, Minister of Education, Minister of Higher Education Ahmed Al-Mulaifi said yesterday. Students of Sabah Al Ahmed Center for Giftedness and Creativity affiliated to the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of

Sciences (KFAS) were received by Al-Mulaifi at the honoring hall at Kuwait International Airport yesterday. The Minister expressed gratitude to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah for establishing such center that supports the gifted Kuwaiti students. Al-Mulaifi congratulated the wining students for putting Kuwait at the top of world countries cherishing smart students, pointing

out that the Kuwaiti students possess distinguished mental abilities and innate intelligence. He praised the modern technology followed by Sabah Al-Ahmad Center, applied in mathematics to improve the children’s mental abilities. KFAS Director General Dr Adnan Shihab Eldin congratulated the wining students, expressing hope that they would fulfill further achievements in various fields. He stressed on the keenness of KFAS

KUWAIT: Some of the Kuwaiti students who won prizes in ‘Smart Brain International Competition’.

Chairman, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, in supporting the distinguished Kuwaiti students at all levels. Sabah Al-Ahmad Center has received great care from the side of His highness the Amir since its establishment, and is hardly working to spread knowledge, and encourag youth to pursuit education. Smart Brain is part of the global Smart

Brain Franchise, which spans over 20 countries and teaches over 275,000 children every year. It seeks to bring the internationally renowned Abacus Mental Arithmetic and Whole Brain Development Program to every child, thereby instilling a powerful learning tool that will aid the child in overall learning abilities such as reading comprehension, math, memory recall and concentration. —KUNA


LOCAL In my view

In my view

What if you were living in a refugee camp?

GCC emergency center in Kuwait

By Labeed Abdal

By Harun Yahya

Public Interest


n a step that reflects the amount of anxiety and concern in the Middle East region, leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council states decided to establish a GCC emergency center, to be headquartered in Kuwait, in order to provide all preparations and means to face disasters, whether natural or manmade. These risks that could come from within Gulf states or nearby countries include earthquakes and unexpected and violent weather fluctuations, as well as war threats and nuclear arsenals. I believe that a unified emergency center is important to achieve coordination with regional and international observatories and improve Gulf states’ riskmanagement capabilities. In order to face potential dangers efficiently, the center requires joint efforts to maintain full preparedness at all times against all kinds of possible risks. The stability of Gulf states as well as their economic, security and even strategic integration must always remain their top priority. In fact, this was the essential reason behind the establishment of the Gulf Cooperation Council over three decades ago. The Arab world is going through a very critical period of noncreative chaos and videogame-like conflicts, which requires efforts to stay alert regarding their direct and indirect effects. The need for these efforts becomes greater if we consider threats of ‘changing the map of the Arab world’ or breaking its countries down to smaller states. Achieving international peace and security always requires the absence of clear violations of the basic principles agreed upon in international conventions, which protect countries’ sovereignty, people and legitimate ambitions.

kuwait digest

Put an end to ‘arm twisting’ By Abdallah Al-Najjar


e said in this column two years ago that Kuwait did not see gas or oil leaks from reservoirs, pipes and gas lines as the case was in Ahmadi some time ago, until after terminating many specialized foreign workers in this field, replacing them with Kuwaitis who are not good at this job and do not comply with working hours. Still some of them are calling for a strike to protest what they called intentions to reduce their salaries that surpass ministers’ salaries! I do not, of course, mean that all those working in the oil field are lazy - rather there are some who do not deserve those salaries, and there are employees in ministries and government departments who exert double the effort of those lazy ones and still their salaries are no more than a quarter of those working in the oil sector. Dr Ali Al-Omair, after becoming oil minister, must put an end to these tactics (arm twisting), and can bring in specialized workers to replace strikers for much less salaries than those of the lazy ones - KD 5,000 compared to KD 1,000 for those working day and night in state ministries and departments!. The criminal security sector, which includes the criminal detectives directorate general, drugs control general department and criminal evidence department, have people working at all times and all days under all circumstances. Their lives are in danger, they also do not see their families often, and despite this, we did not hear from them that their salaries should be raised or that they will

The criminal security sector, which includes the criminal detectives directorate general, drugs control general department and criminal evidence department, have people working at all times and all days under all circumstances. not work honestly until after their salaries are increased! These people risk their souls when they storm suspicious places where drugs are hidden or chase dangerous criminals, and we know that some of them have been hit by bullets from criminals, or attacked by knives and sticks, and despite this we did not hear them demanding rewards for their jobs otherwise their activities will stop, such as the case in the oil sector. Those people chase criminals, and exert tremendous efforts to solve the mystery of many crimes. They watch for liquor and drugs smugglers, as the latest strike against dealers was the foiling of an attempt to smuggle 370 kg of drugs as published in all papers last week. All that is to bring security to all governorates and areas, to leave citizens and expats at peace, yet we did not hear that officers and detectives will organize a general strike, although their salaries do not reach half of those working in the oil sector! A smart man may say that workers in criminal security are uniformed and cannot reject orders, so we say to them that Kuwait fire service directorate men, especially those working in the fire fighting centers, work with efforts that are much more than those working in oil, and their jobs are dangerous, as they face fire every day, and rescue drivers when they get trapped in their cars following an accident. They rescue those who drown, and do their jobs under the scorching heat of summer, while they are civilians in military uniform - so why do not they strike to ask for an increase in their salaries?! We say to the oil minister, for the second time - stop them in their tracks, and there are several solutions! —Al-Watan



kuwait digest

Democratic right to go on strike By Abdullatif Al-Duaij


Muslim Brotherhood, accusing the pan-Arab party of do not know whether oil sector employees are ‘instigating’ labor forces and using them to seek right in their demands, but I know for certain that they have the right to go on strike to achieve what revenge from the government. It is clear that there are people who use the they demand. It is important to differentiate between Muslim Brotherhood as a ‘bogey’ to scare people the right to demonstrate or go on strike - in a case of away from anything that they do not desire, especialfreedom of opinion - and between the reason why ly when it comes to public demands to improve politthose actions are carried out. The right to demonical and living conditions. The Muslim Brotherhood is strate or go on strike remains guaranteed in demonot a threat to the people, at cratic societies. Diligent and least not currently. Maybe productive workers do not they are a threat to some choose to go on strike arbiDespite the fact that oil is a governments who have trarily. It is often motivated national wealth - or actually opposing views, or when by injustice and attempts to changed their obedient undermine their essential the only wealth - which makes they tone. However, they never role in the production process, which needs to be it an issue of common interest committed anything, especially in Kuwait, that justifies immediately countered. in Kuwaiti, the oil sector’s the ongoing operation to Again, I do not necessarily and eliminate support oil sector employees strike should remain a union- persecute them. in their plans to go on strike, Despite the fact that oil is but I support their right to ist-commercial case, or a case a national wealth - or actually do so, as well as the right of between the corporation and the only wealth - which every worker to seek organmakes it an issue of common ized work stoppage as a its employees. interest in Kuwaiti, the oil legitimate way to achieve sector’s strike should remain their demands. There is a a unionist-commercial case, or a case between the state of indignation against the oil sector’s planned corporation and its employees. I am confident that strike currently. Unfortunately, there are attempts to the interests of both the workers and the company take this as a general sentiment against all labor will finally prevail, as neither the workers are likely forces and strikes. These sentiments are even driving willing to risk losing their source of livelihood, nor is calls to propose unconstitutional and undemocratic the corporation likely going to put its reputation on legislations to ban labor strikes or demonstrations. the line in order to deprive workers from what they Sadly, there are people who link between labor deserve. —Al-Qabas strikes and the Gulf Arab campaign against the

kuwait digest

The useless committees By Waleed Al-Ghanim


one accountable or end injustice. Even if a committee he government’s approach in investigation and manages to file a report containing honest diagnoses, accountability is useless, and in reality has nothing ministers usually ignore the results and recommendato do with probes or intentions to hold anyone tions in order to avoid baring political and administrative accountable. Forming an investigation committee is the responsibility. government’s philosophy to deal with any issue or How many committees has the Cabinet formed in the calamity. In reality however, it seems to be a ‘media past few years? And how many show’ and a political drug to have ministers waste time until the public is It appears that the farthest committees formed to investigate corrupdistracted by a new issue. issues? Meanwhile, The Cabinet announces that state departments can go tion-related how many reports were filed forming committees to investigate corruption cases. Ministers to address problems and fight by committees in the Fatwa Legislation Department, form subcommittees to probe corruption is to form commit- and the Audit Bureau or the parliathose cases. Meanwhile, the parliament forms their own tees which fail to convict any- ment over a variety of topics? Were there any results or reccommittees to study the same problems. In the meantime, the one, hold anyone accountable ommendations that were adopted? Has there been any Audit Bureau sends reports to or end injustice. official who was convicted in ministers that diagnose the any of those reports? problems and violations comTrue reform and serious efforts to make achievements mitted in their respective ministries. In response, ministers for the country and citizens require taking responsibility form committees to look into what is mentioned in the to hold culprits accountable and relieve them of their bureau’s reports. And so on. duties. Forming useless committees is the main thing It appears that the farthest that state departments that sponsors corruption in the country and provides a can go to address problems and fight corruption is to safe environment for corrupt individuals. —Al-Qabas form committees which fail to convict anyone, hold any-

letter to Editor

‘Mixed marriages’ Sir, Muna Al-Fuzai has written a second article on her perspective on “mixed marriages”. The first article appeared approximately one year ago. She seems fascinated by the subject, although married to a Kuwaiti of the same religion. From Ms Al-Fuzai’s tone, it sounds almost as if her husband has either married another woman or has considered it — leading her to jealousy or petty speculation. Perhaps the object of his eye is blonde with blue eyes as she seems to point towards this with the statement of, “...fulfils their fantasies of getting married to a Western woman with blue eyes and blonde hair...” (as if there are not hundreds if not thousands of single or divorced Kuwaiti women with dyed blonde hair and blue contact lenses.) She goes on to say that, “According to some sources (and she does not name the “sources” revealing a lack of journalistic integrity), these women are most likely homeless back home and broke. So they use Islam to solve their personal troubles.” Wow. Fascinating. I know of not even one Western woman (blonde or otherwise) who has ever come to Kuwait “homeless or broke.” They have usually come here for work of some kind and have the means to move around the globe freely (financially and other-

wise). And none of the Western women I have ever met during my twenty years in Kuwait have ever married for any reason other than love and respect. As she is a Muslim woman, I question why she is questioning. “The increase of such marriages has more negative outputs than good, and yet we are still watching these cases with no one trying to seek the root of the problem...” To which I say, Ms Al-Fuzai, read the Holy Quran! It has been written and it has not been changed. “The fact that these women accept to stand in line with other women shows how desperate they are....” and “... especially if each party has his or her own agenda to hook themselves to a stranger in a serious bond like marriage.” Isn’t the divorce rate among Kuwaitis (of the same religion, often through arranged marriages where both parties are basically “hooking themselves to a stranger”) over 50 percent? Shame on you, Ms Al-Fuzai, to stand in judgement of your own sisters and your own religion! Just for the record, the male Kuwaitis I have spoken to do not want to divorce because of their children. So perhaps Ms Al-Fuzai should write an informative article on the need for upgrading family law in the country to allow for better custody rights for fathers. Desert Girl

ave you ever thought of taking to the streets on a cold winter day with no possessions, money, food or even an ID card? Can you imagine having your children with you and having nothing to protect them or keep them warm with? Six million Syrians had never thought of that either, but today they have all had to abandon their homes. For these people who have become refugees, the real problem starts now; dispersed families and poor and unhealthy living conditions. Thousands losing their lives on the roads. It is the innocent Syrian people who have been affected by the harsh civil war raging in Syria for years. But how many people know that there are people in Syria who lived under very difficult conditions even before the civil war? Syria was one of the countries with the most refugee camps even before the civil war. Some of those in the very worst conditions in Syria, which hosts two million refugees in camps, are the Palestinians living there as refugees. The population of the Yarmouk refugee camp, initially set up for Palestinians fleeing 1948 Arab-Israeli war, reached 600,000 with increasing waves of migration. Although some people have left the camp as the civil war went on, it still has a large refugee population. Life in the camp - which Assad’s forces first attempted to intimidate with attacks and then placed under an embargo, refusing to allow food and medicines in - is becoming harder by the day. So much so that when people were forced for want of food to try and live on tree leaves last year, Syrian religious scholars issued a fatwa saying that “dog and cat meat can be eaten.” That is by itself sufficient to show the conditions the people there are struggling to survive in. The refugees in the Yarmouk camp need urgent humanitarian

This is of course only one of the most urgent situations but the word “refugee” now represents the same difficulty for almost everyone. There is no improvement in the lives of all refugees, particularly in the Middle East, not just those forced to depart from Syria. assistance. This is of course only one of the most urgent situations but the word “refugee” now represents the same difficulty for almost everyone. There is no improvement in the lives of all refugees, particularly in the Middle East, not just those forced to depart from Syria. Increasing numbers of people are being forced to abandon the places they live in every year. Some of these migrate within the country concerned, while the rest move to either neighboring or more distant lands. Afghan refugees, 95 percent of whom have sought refuge in neighboring countries such as Pakistan and Iran, represent the largest part of the world’s refugees; one in every four refugees in the world is an Afghan. Afghanistan is followed by Somalia and Iraq. There are 450,000 UN-registered refugees in Lebanon. These refugees, living in 12 settlements under very harsh circumstances, are trying to survive in poverty. Their fundamental rights are denied them and they lack even symbolic political rights. In other words, these people are still living as refugees with no citizenship rights after 66 years. New generations are being born and growing up in refugee camps. So how can this problem of refugees be solved? The first requirement for people forced to migrate because of troubles at home is the right to enter countries where they can be safe and can move around freely. In this way, they will not be forced to wait at border crossings after long journeys, and at least the first step in the journey will be made easier. There is an urgent need for a union of Muslim states, resembling the European Union, to be set up to resolve this problem and the growing refugee question in the Middle East. In this way, citizens of countries that enjoy free rights of movement into one another, like the EU, will have a way out when troubles arise and will be able to find a humanitarian corridor. Rights such as dual nationality and the right to work without visas will put an end to conditions that restrict refugees and prevent them from living under humane conditions and provide a solution that all people of good conscience can be comfortable with. Even when we look at the implementation of a more humane phase by improving the lives of refugees, we still see the need for the Middle East to have its own union. In order for there to be a rapid solution to this emergency situation without lengthy political and bureaucratic procedures, everyone who espouses freedom and equality should call for such a union. The writer has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics, religion and science. He can be followed on Twitter via @harun_yahya



KNPC to complete fourth gas pipeline project in March KUWAIT: Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) is set to complete the fourth gas pipeline project next March, said the company Deputy Chief Executive Officer For Planning and Local Marketing Shukri Al-Mahrous. Al-Mahrous said in an interview in the latest issue of “Alam Al-Muasasah” (KPC World) magazine, published by the Kuwaiti Petroleum Corporation, the umbrella of the national oil companies, that the company had launched this huge financial project in 2010, adding that it includes building a fourth unit to treat liquefied oil gas, with a storage capacity of 805 million cubic feet of gas and 106,000 barrel per day of condensates. The project aims to treat future greater output of gases and condensates, emanating from oil and gas fields, turning them into liquefied gases for exporting, while separating ethane and methane gases, said Al-Mahrous. KNPC had recently completed all engineering studies for its fifth line project to produce liquefied gas, noted AlMahous, adding that the company is also working on executing a project to build northern tanks for liquefied gas, which will enable the company to store and export gasrelated products. The new tanks will allow the KNPC to load two liquefied gas tankers at once, increasing the storage and exporting capacity for extra gas products, expected to come out of building new gas liquefying units in Al-Ahmadi refinery, he explained. Al-Mahrous also mentioned the company’s sulphur treatment project, noting that Kuwait produces about 850,000 tons of sulphur each year, which is expected to rise to two million tons by 2018. —KUNA

Second phase of Sudan flood relief begins KHARTOUM: The Kuwaiti Relief Organisation has begun its second phase of humanitarian relief for flood victims in Sudan, by distributing food and supplies to some 400 families in Khartoum. The current relief efforts are targeting the city of Omdurman in Khartoum State, and follow a first phase during which food was also distributed, along with the rehabilitation of public utilities and homes, Kuwait’s Ambassador to Sudan Talal Al-Hajeri said in a statement. Overseeing the operation is the ambassador himself, along with the deputy governor of Khartoum State, and representatives of the Kuwaiti Relief Organisation, the Society of the Revival of Islamic Heritage and the International Islamic Charity Organisation. The ambassador went on to stress that the relief aid was gathered thanks to the people of Kuwait who have pledged their support to the people of Sudan in their ordeal, brought about as a result of the biggest unprecedented floods in Sudan for over 20 years. — KUNA

Kuwait, Zimbabwe to strengthen relations KUWAIT: Kuwait’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ahmad Khaled Al-Jiran met with Vice-President of Zimbabwe Joice Mujuru on Sunday and discussed ways to boost bilateral relations between the two countries. During the meeting, Ambassador Al-Jiran conveyed His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah’s greetings to Vice-President of Zimbabwe, recalling, with most appreciation, her country’s significant role at the UN Security Council (UNSC) during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and Zimbabwe’s support for resolutions issued relevant to the invasion, Kuwaiti embassy there said in a statement. Also, he pointed out availability of several cooperation opportunities between Kuwait and Zimbabwe in light of their existing friendship relation, specifically in the economic field as the African country is rich in natural resources, asserting at the same time importance of exchange of visits between senior officials of both countries in order to strengthen bilateral relations in various fields. For her part, Mujuru expressed satisfaction with the pace of her country ’s relation with Kuwait since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, as well as efforts exerted to boost these relations over the years, affirming at the same time Zimbabwe’s aspiration to developing relations with Kuwait in various cooperation fields, added the statement. Also, the Vice-President of Zimbabwe lauded the recent infrastructural development of Gulf countries, as well as what these countries had accomplished of other developments despite difficulty of desert environment and climate, praising at the same time the significant role of Kuwait Fund For Arab Economic Development (KFAED) in financing developmental projects in her country, which had a major impact on rise of Zimbabwe’s economic and social development. —KUNA

Arab states known for tolerance ABU DHABI: Hassan Al-Mustafa, a Saudi journalist, wrote an article in Al- Riyadh Newspaper on Jan 10 titled “No to Sectarianism in the [Persian] Gulf”, in which he quoted Phrases from the speech of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Foreign Minister of UAE about the dangerous of sectarianism in the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly, which took place in September last year. The minister warned citizens from sectarianism saying that “it is a significant issue which incites violence and it needs to be address”. Al-Mustafa added that Arab countries were known of tolerance and coexistence over centuries, but when religion turned to be political and used for exclusion and marginalization the situation has changed. Religious discourse becomes used as a mean to incite violence and abuse against other sects. He explained that incitement, has taken different forms including verbal abuse, armed attacks such as killing and bombing. These violence attacks have caused fragmentation in the Arab communities and threatening national unity. He added that Sectarian violence appears in Iraq and Syria, where armed parties are more active. Explosions in Lebanon as well have led to exacerbate tension between sects there. Al-Mustafa concluded that the call of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed to fight extremism and sectarianism should be the priority of governments in the [Persian] Gulf. Sedition discourse in TV channels and social communication networks and scenes of killing in Syria and Iraq fueled hatred and exacerbate tension between sects. —Bayt News

KUWAIT: Private school students participate in a clean up campaign of Sulaibikhat beaches yesterday.—Photos by Joseph Shagra

Minister to meet MP over expat cut proposal ‘Open to listen to all ideas’ KUWAIT: The minister of social affairs and labor plans to meet MP Abdullah AlTamimi this week in order to discuss his proposal of a law that regulates expatriates’ residence and limits their maximum stay in Kuwait to five years. Hind Al-Subaih that the meeting was to “discuss different views over the need to address demographic imbalance in Kuwait”. “We hope to join efforts in order to reach a final formula that achieves security and stability for our country,” Al-Subaih told Al-Rai daily on Saturday.

Al-Tamimi’s proposal stipulates trimming expatriate communities to a maximum of 124,000 each, or 10 percent of Kuwaitis’ population. There are nearly 2.7 million foreigners living in Kuwait, making around 68 percent of the country’s total population of 3.9 million. If implemented, the law would require hundreds of thousands of foreigners to leave Kuwait within 3 months. Al-Subaih, who is also minister of planning and development, did not indicate specifically that the government has plans

to put the proposed draft law under serious consideration. “We are open to listen to all ideas and proposals as part of ongoing efforts to achieve what best serves the general interest,” Subaih said. Although the government had announced plans to discuss ways to achieve demographic balance, including cutting the expatriate population, it is highly unlikely that Tamimi’s proposal will be seriously considered given its negative impact on the business sector that relies

heavily on foreign labor. Despite Kuwait’s large expatriate community, current labor regulations fall short of fully guaranteeing worker’s rights which remain largely outmatched by employers’ powers under the sponsorship or ‘kafala’ system. In this regard, Al-Jarida daily reported yesterday that nearly 54,000 labor-related complaints were filed with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor in 2013, including over 46,000 complaints of nonpayment of wages and dues.

KFAED to finance dam project in Armenia KUWAIT: Kuwait Fund For Arab Economic Development (KFAED) will finance a strategic project of establishing a water dam to serve the cultural sector in Armenia, Kuwait’s Ambassador to Armenia Bassam Mohammad Al-Qabandi said yesterday. The project is being studied by a group of experts sent by KFAED. It is the first venture of its kind to be funded by KFAED in Armenia, a country that basically depends on the agricultural sector, the diplomat added in a statement. This project contributes to boosting the bilateral ties between Kuwait and Armenia at all levels, he said, hoping that it would see the light soon. The ambassador held a dinner banquet for the KFAED delegation, visiting Armenia to discuss the finance of the water dam project. —KUNA

KUWAIT: Members of the KFAED delegation pictured with Ambassador Bassam Mohammad Al-Qabandi yesterday.



KUWAIT: Fire broke out in Amghara scrap yard, Saturday evening. The fire was in a 3,000 sq meters area used as a storage area for air conditioning equipment and construction material. Quick response of firemen prevented the fire from spreading to nearby areas. — By Hanan Al-Saadoun

Yemen educational projects SANAA: Director-General of Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) Abdulwahab Al-Bader said here yesterday that KFAED will finance KD 17.5 million for educational projects in Yemen. Upon arrival at Sanaa International Airport, Al-Bader said in news remarks that he will hold talks with a number of

Yemini officials during his stay here. Al-Bader said he will be also signing an agreement for financing educational projects in the amount of KD 17.5 million, adding that the agreement is part of a program agreed between the KFAED and Yemeni government after the 2006 meeting of donors for Yemen, which was held in London. — KUNA

Officer questioned over participation in protest Longtime illegal held in Khaitan KUWAIT: A police officer faces disciplinary measures after taking part in a protest organized by fans of a local football team. Brig Gen Husain Al-Sherazi, the Assistant Director of the Capital Security Department, gave orders to summon the sergeant major for questioning over reports that he participated in a protest by Arabi Sports Club fans outside the Kuwait Football Association building in Adailiya. The officer, who was not named in the news report, could face legal procedures for violating the Interior Ministry’s’ regulations. The fans had demonstrated against allegations of bad refereeing during the Crown Prince Cup final that took place last Tuesday.

KUWAIT: Deputy Minister of Amiri Diwan Affairs Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah, representative of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, conveyed condolences of HH the Amir, HH the Crown Prince and HH the Prime Minister to the representative of Sultan of Bohra in Kuwait Yousuf Saifuldeen on the demise of Sultan Dr Mohammad Burhanuddeen.

Illegal resident A man managed to stay in Kuwait illegally for over two and half decades before he was finally caught during a crackdown in Khaitan on Friday night. Farwaniya police raided a shop based on information that it offered international calling services illegally, and arrested a man who ran the place. The Bangladeshi man said during questioning that he entered Kuwait two years before the 1990 Iraqi invasion, and never left since, adding that he has been living illegally during the entire period. Police could not find a trace of the man in the Interior Ministry’s database, which seems to support this statements. The man remains in police’s custody pending deportation procedures. Seventy eight people were arrested during the 3-hour operation, according to the police report.

Missing teens Sabah Al-Salem detectives found three underage girls reported missing following investigations in a case filed at the area’s police station. A Kuwaiti man had reported that his 15-year-old daughter went missing after school, and police found her with two other girls. Investigations revealed that the two girls, aged 14 and 15, were also reported missing, and that one of them was involved in similar cases in the past. The three teenagers were reunited with their families and all cases were closed. Drug possession Two people were arrested with possession

of drugs in separate cases reported early Monday morning. The first incident took place in Hawally at 2:45 am when patrol officers pulled a driver and then arrested him after 6 narcotic pills were found in his possession. The 24-year-old Lebanese was transferred to the Criminal Investigations Department for further action. The second incident happened in Salmiya at 4:15 am when traffic police pulled over a car whose driver jumped the red traffic light. The Kuwaiti man was placed under arrest after police discovered that he was drunk, while a search revealed an amount of hashish, shabu (meth) and other drugs in his possession. He was taken to the Criminal Investigations Department to face charges.

Indian domestic helps in Gulf cry for help HYDERABAD: Palepu Lakshmi (36) left Venkatapuram in West Godavari for Muscat in 2009 hoping to change her fortunes by earning a hefty sum of money abroad. She left behind her two school-going girls. Her husband had died when her daughters were still toddlers. Not a month had passed since her arrival on the foreign soil when she was put in jail. It’s been five years now and she continues to languish in jail and her claims of being wrongly implicated for the killing of her employer’s daughter have not convinced the authorities. She was imprisoned for life. Without any legal aid at their disposal many

women domestic workers who migrated to West Asia in hope of better livelihood have been wrongly implicated in different cases. And, they continue to languish in jails for years without having anyone to fight their case. More importantly, the highest number of domestic helps in Gulf countries hail from Andhra Pradesh, says Sister Lissy who has been to Oman recently to study the plight of migrant women workers. According to an estimate, a staggering number of 300,000 Telugus are working as domestic helps in Gulf countries notwithstanding harsh treatment meted out by their employers. — Indian Express

Egyptian role in Kuwaiti culture development CAIRO: Two Kuwaiti writers have affirmed Egypt’s substantial and deeprooted impact on the Kuwaiti cultural heritage and development, noting its deep impact on the Gulf country general renaissance. The Egyptian presence in the State of Kuwait at the intellectual, cultural, scientific, technical and media levels has always contributed to its renaissance, said Dr Taleb Al-Refaee, speaking at a seminar, held late Saturday, as part of the 45th session of Cairo International Book Fair. Egyptian artists, scientists and writers have been taking part in development of the Kuwaiti society since the 30s of the last century, he said, naming among the eminent figures who played such a role; the scholar AbdelRazzak Al-Sanhouri, Mohsen Al-Hafez and Othman Khalil Othman. He also noted in this respect the major role, played by Dr Ahmad Zaki in development of Kuwait’s top magazine, AlArabi. Choosing Kuwait as a guest of honor at the international fair affirms sincereness of this close relationship. Meanwhile, the Kuwaiti novelist, Laila Al-Othman, touched on the Kuwaiti woman experience on the cul-

Laila Al-Othman

Dr Taleb Al-Refaee

tural arena, praising the females for successfully balancing their housing daily duties with the urge to be creative and productive in intellectual arenas. Speaking at the same seminar, AlOthman said enrollment of the Kuwaiti girls at schools in the middle of last century signaled start of their activities in diverse cultural, artistic and intellectual domains, such as literary and theatrical creativity. She also indicated that story- writing in Kuwait gained strength with the expansion of educational sector and the press, as well as the Kuwaiti society openness with external cultures.

The 90s witnessed a noticeable turning point, due to repercussions of the Iraqi aggression, for the bitter experience prompted the Kuwaiti writers and artists to express their feelings and trauma in writing and drama works. The hardships caused by the aggression resulted in the creation of the “war literature” in Kuwait, she added. Currently, the new generation of writers are adding to this process, for being abreast of the cultural renewable movement. The night-time seminar was attended by eminent literati and writers, as well as the Kuwaiti ambassador to Egypt, Salem Al-Zamanan. — KUNA

KUWAIT: The Touristic Enterprises Company participated in the 18th East Mediterranean International Travel and Tourism Exhibition which was organized recently in Istanbul. The TEC joined the Ministry of Commerce and Industry as well as other state departments and travel agencies working in Kuwait which represented the country in the international event.


Ukraine president to return, opposition demands change Page 9

Lebanon car bomb kills four, UN voices concern Page 8

ALEPPO: People inspect the rubble of destroyed buildings following reported air strikes by government forces in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo yesterday. At least 85 people were killed in 24 hours of Syrian regime air raids on the city of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, after 10 days of inconclusive peace talks. — AFP

Syria barrel bomb raids ‘kill 85’ DAMASCUS: At least 85 people were killed in 24 hours of Syrian regime air raids on the city of Aleppo, a monitoring group said yesterday, after 10 days of inconclusive peace talks. The deaths came as a suicide car bombing in a Hezbollah stronghold across the border in Lebanon killed four people on Saturday, in the latest regional spillover of the conflict. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said regime helicopters hit rebel-held areas of Aleppo with barrels packed with explosives. The so-called barrel bombs are a controversial weapon, condemned by rights groups as indiscriminate. “At least 85 people were killed, including 65 civilians, 10 of whom were children,” on Saturday, the Observatory said. The group said 34 people were killed in one neighbourhood alone, and 10 of the dead were jihadists from Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate. Once Syria’s economic hub, Aleppo is now divided between regime and rebel-held areas, with large swathes of the city devastated by the fighting that began there in mid-2012. In December, government aircraft launched a sustained blitz on the city that killed hundreds of people, mostly civilians. Regime forces have launched an offensive on rebelheld areas in the east of the city, with Defence Minister General Fahd al-Freij visiting the province on Friday. Quoted by state news agency SANA, he praised the army for its “great victories and their liberation of many areas in Aleppo.” On Sunday, Al-Watan newspaper, which is close to the regime, said the army had “cleansed” most of Karam al-Turab on the eastern outskirts of Aleppo, and Bani Zeid in the north. It said the army planned to take three eastern and three northern neighbourhoods to seize the city in a pincer movement. It said “vast military operations” were also underway to capture the majority Turkmen town of Zara in central Homs province, near the famed Krak des Chevaliers castle and the Lebanese border. The Observatory confirmed the army had seized most of Karam al-Turab, and said fierce fighting was underway around Zara. It also seven people, six men and a women had been killed in a regime air raid on the town of Mleha, southeast of Damascus. Opposition sank talks The latest violence came the day after Syrian government and opposition delegations wrapped up peace talks in Geneva without tangible results or a government committment to return to the table. Yesterday, state news agency SANA carried scathing remarks from deputy foreign minister Faisal al-Moqdad, who accused the opposition of being “mercenaries

manipulated by foreign forces.” Al-Watan added that the conflict had “transferred to the political and diplomatic field, which is one that the Syrians know well.” “Syria has a strong army of diplomats and politicians who can defeat all those they face,” the paper said. A top international goal for the talks was greater humanitarian access, particularly in besieged areas like the Old City of Homs. No deal was forthcoming and Western nations are now planning a UN Security Council resolution on the issue, as well as possibly on the slow pace of a programme to move Syria’s chemical

weapons out of the country. Despite not being on the agenda at the talks, aid has entered the besieged Palestinian refugee camp Yarmuk on the outskirts of Damascus. Yesterday, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA distributed hundreds of food parcels for the fourth consecutive day. UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said 3,420 food parcels had been delivered to the estimated 18,000 people trapped in the camp since the agency gained access to it on January 18. More than 136,000 people have been killed since

Syria’s conflict began in March 2011, and the fighting has raised tensions in neighbouring Lebanon. On Saturday, a bomb killed four people and injured at least 15 others in the eastern town of Hermel. The town is a stronghold of the Shiite movement Hezbollah, which has come under attack since dispatching fighters to battle alongside Syria’s regime. The attacks have largely killed civilians. Al-Nusra Front in Lebanon, a group named after the Syrian AlQaeda affiliate but whose links to its namesake are unclear, claimed the latest attack, saying it was a response to Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria. — AFP



Shadowy Jihadist group poses grave threat to Egypt CAIRO: A jihadist group behind a wave of spectacular attacks is a grave threat to Egypt’s stability as political turmoil triggered by the Islamist president’s ouster rocks the country, analysts say. In less than a fortnight, Ansar Beit alMaqdis (Partisans of Jerusalem) has claimed responsibility for several highprofile attacks. These include a car bombing at police headquarters in Cairo, shooting down a military helicopter with a missile and assassinating a police general in broad daylight in the capital. “Vengeance is coming,” the Sinai-based group warned army chief Abdel Fattah alSisi, who is expected to stand for the presidency after he ousted Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president. The group’s attacks have “made Egyptian authorities look like they were chasing ghosts”, said David Barnett, research associate at US-based think tank the Foundation for Defence of Democracies.

“It is the main militant group that has the potential to escalate the destabilisation in the country.” Analysts say Ansar Beit al-Maqdis is inspired by Al-Qaeda. But Egyptian security officials claim the “terrorist group is derived” from Morsi’s Islamist Muslim Brotherhood which won all elections after the 2011 ouster of Hosni Mubarak. Ansar Beit al-Maqdis is thought to have been founded primarily by Egyptians in 2011 after the anti-Mubarak revolt, with most of its fighters drawn from Sinai tribes. In recent months the group has also seen support coming from the Nile Delta and some areas of Cairo, experts say. Although its overall command structure and source of funding are major unknowns, two of its known leaders are Shadi el-Menei, who has eluded arrest so far and is from Sinai’s Sawarka tribe, and Abu Osama el-Masry, of whom little is known. The group is also believed to be led or

backed by militants who broke out of prison in 2001 during the anti-Mubarak revolt. “Its links with Al-Qaeda are tenuous at best,” said Barnett. The group’s videos often feature clips of Al-Qaeda’s Egyptborn leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. The group’s “early goal was to attack Israel and prevent co-operation between Egypt and Israel by sabotaging gas pipelines”, said France-based Matthieu Guidere, an expert on Islamist militants. Interior minister targeted On Friday its fighters fired a rocket at Israel’s Red Sea resort of Eilat, the group said in a statement. “On July 3 (the day Morsi was removed) the group issued a fatwa declaring the Egyptian army as infidels. From there, it turned from an antiIsraeli jihadist group to one focusing against the Egyptian security forces,” Guidere said. Ansar Beit al-Maqdis also claimed a September 5 car bomb attack in Cairo targeting interior minister Mohamed

Yemen rebels overrun tribal strongholds SANAA: Shiite Huthi rebels have overrun strongholds of powerful tribes in northern Yemen, witnesses said yesterday, in a major advance following a month of combat that has left scores dead. The rebels have been pushing out from the mountains of the far north to areas closer to Sanaa to expand their hoped-for autonomous unit in a promised federal Yemen. In another indication of the growing unrest in the country, a German citizen kidnapped in the capital on Friday is being held in a tribal region of the eastern Marib province, a foreign ministry official said yesterday. The Huthis seized the town of Huth and Khamri village-the seat of the Hashid tribal chief, as tribal defence lines crumbled, local sources and witnesses said. The Huthis “completely took over the regions of Huth and Khamri,” rebel spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam told AFP by telephone. “Members of Hashid backed by takfiris (Sunni extremists) have fled.” Tribal chief sheikh Hussein al-Ahmar ordered his fighters to evacuate his family’s farm in Khamri and set it ablaze, witnesses said, adding that the tribesmen have retreated to neighbouring areas. The witnesses saw dozens of horses and vehicles fleeing from the farm and said

scores of tribesmen have been captured by the advancing rebels. The violence in Amran province dates back to January 5, and dozens of people have been killed in the fighting, including 60 on Friday alone. The capture of Khamri represents a severe blow to the powerful Ahmar clan, which leads the Hashid. Divisions within the Hashid tribe could have contributed to the defeat, sources said, pointing out that some have sided with the Huthis. The division is a result of an ongoing dispute between the Hashid chief sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmar and former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who also belongs to the vast Hashid tribe. Ahmar had sided with nationwide Arab Spring protests that forced Saleh to step down in February 2012 after 33 years in power. In addition to taking on the northern tribes, the Shiite Huthis have also been battling hardline Sunni Salafists who established religious schools in parts of the north. The Huthis have accused the Salafists of bringing foreign extremists into their region. Grievances fuel unrest Mediators dispatched by President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi have succeeded in brokering ceasefires in several areas,

but some of the truces have broken down. The Huthis, named after their late leader Abdel Malek Al-Huthi, are part of the Zaidi Shiite community.They rose up in 2004 against Saleh’s government, accusing it of marginalising them politically and economically. Hadi has pledged that Yemen will adopt a federal constitution in a bid to address local grievances that have fuelled violence across the Arab world’s poorest country. But at a ceremony last month to mark the conclusion of a troubled 10-month national dialogue, he put off any decision on the thorny issue of how many components it will have, promising that a special commission will decide. The prospect of a federal Yemen, originally mooted as way to address grievances of the formerly independent southwhere secessionist violence has been on the rise-has spawned demands for autonomy elsewhere, including the rebel-held far north. The German man in his 60s was kidnapped Friday by a Yemeni man who is pressing authorities to release his two detained sons, the foreign ministry official said. —AFP

Ibrahim, who escaped unhurt. Its deadliest assault was a December 24 suicide car bomb that ripped through a police building north of Cairo, killing 15 people. On January 25, as Egyptians marked the third anniversary of the start of the anti-Mubarak revolt, the group claimed it downed a military helicopter in Sinai with a missile, killing five soldiers. “The level of sophistication is beyond what observers thought they were capable of,” Barnett said of the group’s ability to stage assaults outside the Sinai. “The attacks suggest there are well experienced fighters in the group. Some of them have significant experience in fighting.” Sinai-based researcher Ismail Alexandrani said Ansar Beit al-Maqdis had procured weapons from Libya and Sudan after the fall of Mubarak. “We can also say that some jihadists who previously fought in Afghanistan, Syria and Bosnia have joined the group,” he added. Ansar Beit al-Maqdis believes in gaining power through violence, analysts

believe. “The overthrow of Morsi’s government is a prime indication for their argument that the way to success is through violence and not through democratic process,” said Barnett. The Muslim Brotherhood says that it renounced violence decades ago.Morsi’s overthrow has polarised Egypt, with Amnesty International saying that 1,400 people have been killed in political violence since last July. Deputy interior minister Shafiq Saeed said the authorities “have arrested members from the group who have confessed that (Ansar Beit al-Maqdis) belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood”, and denied that jihadist attacks had risen. “The government is so entrenched in the battle against the Brotherhood that they appear to be losing the sight of the actual battle around them,” said Barnett. “The reality is that there is real danger from the jihadi group capable of carrying out attacks.” —AFP

UN voices concern after Lebanon blast Nusra Front claim responsibility

BAALBEK: The United Nations urged Lebanon’s feuding factions to refrain from getting involved in Syria’s crisis after a suicide car bomb left at least four people dead near the border Saturday. The explosion happened at a petrol station in Hermel, a stronghold of the Shiite movement Hezbollah, Lebanon’s interior minister said. The AlNusra Front in Lebanon, a group named after Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, claimed the attack on Twitter, saying it was a suicide bombing in response to Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria. It was the seventh attack to target Hezbollah in Lebanon since mid-2013, when the group sent men to Syria to fight alongside President Bashar alAssad’s troops against mainly Sunni rebel groups. “At least four people were killed and more than 15 wounded, two or three of them in critical condition,” Interior Minister Marwan Charbel told Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television station. The United Nations Security Council issued a statement condemning the “terrorist attack” and calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. Council members also appealed to all Lebanese people “to preserve national unity in the face of attempts to undermine the country’s stability” and for all parties to refrain from any involvement in the Syrian crisis. In a separate statement the UN secretary general’s spokesman Martin Nesirky said Ban Kimoon also strongly condemned the car bombing and extended his condolences to the bereaved. “The recent escalation in acts of terrorism and violence in Lebanon is of grave concern,” he said, adding that Ban called on all players, including the army and security forces, “to confront such unacceptable and indiscriminate actions and to safeguard their country’s security and stability”. The explosion, which came at around 1600 GMT after nightfall, sparked a huge blaze that hindered the arrival of emergency services. Al-Manar broadcast footage of a massive fire at the site. Security forces later closed off the area and firefighters

managed to extinguish the blaze. The petrol station is part of a charitable network set up by Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, a leading Shiite cleric and Hezbollah spiritual guide who died in 2010.

‘Repaying the favour’ In a statement on Twitter, Al-Nusra in Lebanon said it was a “second martyrdom operation against the Party of Iran (Hezbollah) stronghold in Hermel...

like those before it, only benefits the Israeli enemy”. It was the second blast in less than a month to hit Hermel, in the east of the country and close to the border with war-ravaged Syria. On January 16, a car bombing outside the main government administration building in Hermel killed three people. That attack was also claimed by the Al-Nusra Front in Lebanon, a group that has emerged recently.It is unclear

HERMEL: Lebanese army soldiers guard the site where a deadly car bomb blew up Saturday evening near a gas station, in the predominately Shiite town of Hermel, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the Syrian border in northeast Lebanon, yesterday. —AP because of the continuation of the Party of Iran’s crimes against our oppressed people in our beloved Sham (Syria), and its insistence on sending more of its mercenaries to kill the Syrian people”. “Faced with the massacres it is carrying out, we can only repay the favour in its heartland, to push it to reconsider its calculations.” Caretaker Lebanese prime minister Najib Mikati condemned the bombing as a “terrorist attack”, and called for unity to “protect our homeland”. Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi, speaking on satellite television channel AlMayadeen, said “this terrorist attack,

if there is any relation between the group and Al-Nusra in Syria. The AlNusra Front in Lebanon had previously claimed another attack five days earlier in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Hezbollah’s heartland. The outbreak of the conflict in Syria in March 2011 has inflamed sectarian tensions in Lebanon. While Hezbollah has sent fighters to battle alongside Assad’s forces, many Lebanese Sunnis back the rebels fighting his regime. Lebanon’s northern port city of Tripoli has seen regular clashes between Sunni groups and Alawites, the Shiite offshoot sect to which Assad belongs. —AFP

Attacks kill 13 as Iraqi forces hit Anbar militants BAGHDAD: Iraqi government forces pressed their assault on militant strongholds in Anbar province yesterday as attacks elsewhere killed 13 people, with intensifying violence fuelling fears of a return to all-out conflict. The effort to win back parts of Ramadi, capital of the western province of Anbar and one of two cities that either entirely or partly fell out of government control weeks ago, comes with violence at its highest level since 2008. Soldiers and police fought alongside armed pro-government tribesmen in southern Ramadi in some of the heaviest clashes of recent weeks, a police officer and an AFP journalist said. They were making slow progress in retaking militant-held neighbourhoods as acting Defence Minister Saadun al-Dulaimi visited to oversee operations. Two police officers said the assault had led to government forces wresting back control of parts or most of several key areas of Ramadi, including the Malaab, Street 60, Humeirah and Albu Jabar districts. The renewed government assault came a day after the defence ministry announced warplanes and artillery had hit a neighbourhood of northern Fallujah, a rare military operation inside the city itself. The army has largely stayed out of Fallujah, a short drive from Baghdad, fearing major incursions could ignite a protracted conflict with massive civilian casualties and damage to property. US battles in the city, a bas-

tion of militants following the 2003 US-led invasion, were among their bloodiest since the Vietnam War. For weeks, anti-government forces have held parts of Ramadi and all of Fallujah, the first time they have exercised such open control in cities since the peak of violence that followed the invasion nearly 11 years ago. The Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has been involved in the fighting, as have other militant groups and anti-government tribes, while the police and army have recruited their own tribal allies.

The stand-off has prompted more than 140,000 people to flee their homes, the UN refugee agency said, describing it as the worst displacement in Iraq since the peak of the 2006-2008 sectarian conflict. Elsewhere in Iraq yesterday, attacks in and around Baghdad and north of the capital killed 13 people, security and medical officials said. Violence has spiked markedly in recent months, with more than 1,000 people killed in January, the highest toll for a month since April 2008, according to government data. —AFP

WEST BANK: A handout picture released by the Palestinian president’s office (PPO) shows Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas (R) meeting with Commissioner General of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Filippo Grandi (C), in the presence of Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah (L) in the West Bank city of Ramallah yesterday.—AFP



Ukraine president to return, opposition demands change Opposition leaders say West ready to support them

VALLADOLID: Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy gives the thumbs up to supporters during the Popular Party National Convention in Valladolid yesterday. — AFP

Spain cannot block independence vote MADRID: Spain cannot block a non-binding vote on Catalan independence that could become the basis for negotiations on Catalonia’s future, the president of the northeastern region said in an interview published yesterday. “If I call a consultation, not to declare the independence of Catalonia nor to break with the Spanish state, but to know the opinion of the citizens of this country, a knee-jerk anti-democratic response from Spain would be pretty bad and disgraceful in the view of the entire world,” Artur Mas told La Vanguardia, Catalonia’s leading newspaper. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has pledged to go to the Constitutional Tribunal to block any Catalan attempts to hold a referendum, arguing sovereignty is a matter for all of Spain to decide, but Mas said there was another possible approach. “It is what I call the solution tolerated by the central government. They let us hold the consultation, they don’t get involved, and afterwards we go to Madrid to negotiate,” he said. Over the past three years the independence movement in Catalonia has gained force, with roughly half of Catalans saying they want independence from Spain and a much bigger majority saying they should have the right to decide. Catalonia, which has its own language, has significant selfgoverning powers. But economic doldrums, public spending cuts and perceptions of unfair taxes and the concentration of power in Madrid have fed breakaway fever. The independence movement has become a major headache for Rajoy, who is struggling to pull Spain out of six years of economic stagnation and unemployment of 26 percent. “The unity of all Spaniards is what makes us great, and what the great majority of Spaniards want,” Rajoy said yesterday. “Those who don’t agree with that must respect that desire, and respect the law.” Three possible steps Mas, who only became a supporter of independence four years ago, set out a three-step process for Catalonia. The first step of the process, taken in January, was to ask Spanish parliament to allow Catalonia to hold a referendum. Parliament, dominated by the ruling conservative People’s Party, is expected to turn down that initiative. The second step, Mas said, will be to hold a consultation without the express permission of the national parliament. He said the consultation would be legal under Catalonia’s autonomy statute, which defines the region’s powers. The Catalan government has already set a date of Nov. 9 for a referendum - two months after an independence vote in Scotland - and has decided on a two-question formula: Do you want Catalonia to become a state? If your answer is yes, do you want this state to be independent? If the central government blocked a non-binding consultation, Mas set out a third step, which he said was not ideal, which would be to use the next election in Catalonia, which must be held by 2016, as a proxy vote on independence. —Reuters

Muslim cleric, Christian pastor killed in Nigeria KANO: Nigeria’s Boko Haram was suspected yesterday of killing a Muslim cleric who had criticised the Islamic extremist group, and of shooting dead a Christian preacher, in the latest violence to hit northern Nigeria. The deaths came after seven people were killed by a roadside bomb in a border area of the remote northeast, which has seen mounting militant activity in recent months, and heavy casualties last weekend. The first attack happened when unidentified gunmen shot at Muslim cleric Adam Albani’s car at about 10:30 pm (2130 GMT) on Saturday in Zaria, as he drove home from teaching a theology class. Local resident Mohammed Usman said Albani’s wife and son were hit, while the gunmen appeared to have dragged the cleric from the car and shot him at close range. “We kept hearing gunshots very close to our homes and later we heard the sound of a car retreating and when we later came to the scene we found Sheikh Albani lying outside the car with lots of bullet holes on him,” he added. “He was still alive but his wife and a child she was holding in the front seat were already dead while the rest of the children sitting in the back seat were unharmed.” Albani’s brother Kaburu Adam said the cleric, who had criticised the group and given his support to the Nigerian military campaign against them, died shortly after he was admitted to hospital. Separately, gunmen killed a pastor in an attack on a church in Sabon Garin Yambdula, in the Madagali area of Adamawa state late on Friday. Ten people tried to repel the attack with hunting rifles, said Madagali local government chairman Maina Ularamu. The attackers made off with four cows and also killed two goats, said Ularamu, who declined to say whether Boko Haram fighters were responsible. But the attack came after 26 people, most of them worshippers, were killed in a Roman Catholic church in Waga Chakawa, also in Madagali, last Sunday. —AFP

KIEV: Ukraine’s embattled president announced he would return to work after four days’ sick leave, as protesters filled Kiev’s main square yesterday demanding he give up power. Opposition leaders, addressing the crowd on their return home from meeting European and US officials, said they hoped for international mediation in negotiations with the government and for constitutional change to limit presidential power. Calling for a complete change of leadership after weeks of crisis that have divided the country and set the West against Yanukovich’s Russian allies, opposition figures who attended a security conference in Munich told supporters they would secure international economic aid if they were able to take power. Yanukovich, who angered opponents in November by spurning a trade pact with the European Union and turning instead to Moscow for financial support, announced on Thursday he was on sick leave and has not been seen in public since. Critics saw in that a tactic to deflect pressure for political compromise. On Friday, he signed legislation revoking unpopular new restrictions on protest meetings that has, however, failed to appease opponents who are demanding the release of dozens of people arrested in recent weeks. Yesterday, a presidential statement said Yanukovich planned to return to work on Monday after an acute respiratory infection: “After undergoing required treatment, the president of Ukraine feels well and his health is satisfactory,” it quoted a state medical official, Oleksandr Orda, as saying.

Protest On the capital’s Independence Square, focus of a sprawling, barricaded protest camp throughout the winter, thousands of people gathered to listen to opposition leaders despite a freezing wind and Arctic temperatures which helped keep attendance well below those of major rallies in recent weeks. Vitaly Klitschko, a former world champion heavyweight boxer-turned-politician, said they had discussed with senior Western officials in Munich bringing in international mediators in talks with the Ukrainian authorities. “The democratic world has understood that there is no trust in the Yanukovich regime,” he told the crowd. “So we spoke about international mediation in negotiations with Yanukovich, so that afterward there will no differing interpretations of obligations.” Arseny Yatsenyuk of the Batkivshchyna party, who turned down an offer last week from Yanukovich to become prime minister, called on the authorities to free 116 prisoners. The president signed a law allowing protesters to be set free - but only once demonstrators stop occupying public buildings. Yatsenyuk also renewed a call for a release of his party’s leader, former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, whose freedom has also been a demand of the European Union. And he said there should be an international inquiry into “the criminal regime”, held under the auspices of the Council of Europe. “We told our Western partners we need real financial help to get the country out of crisis,” Yatsenyuk said. “But when we say ‘we’, we mean the Ukrainian people - not a penny

KIEV: A woman holds a candle next to masked protesters during an anti-government mass rally in Kiev yesterday. Tens of thousands of protesters rallied in Ukraine, with more than 50,000 people on Kiev’s barricaded Independence Square — that has become the epicentre of a two-month protest movement — as thousands more were arriving. —AFP must go to the Yanukovich regime. “They are ready to help the Ukrainian people. But we must restore popular authority,” he added. “Parliament must amend the constitution and get rid of the dictatorial powers of the president.” Some opposition leaders have urged the European Union, whose foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is due in Kiev on Tuesday, to impose sanctions to hurt the business and financial interests of the president and his leading supporters. However, few

European governments see that as worthwhile at present. Ashton said in Munich yesterday: “It’s really important first and foremost that the violence in Ukraine stops, and that they move to a constructive dialogue, look at the issues of constitutional reform, the role of parliament and moving forward so that people can have faith in the transparency and openness of the process that will eventually of course lead them to free and fair elections in the future.” —Reuters



India set to ease visa restrictions NEW DELHI: Tourists travelling to India from up to 180 countries will no longer have to queue up at their local consulates to obtain visas under reforms expected to be approved this week, local media reported yesterday. Most foreigners currently have to wait several weeks before learning whether they will be allowed to enter

the countr y after submitting their applications at visa processing centres, a major deterrent for potential visitors. But India’s intelligence agencies have now given their backing to proposals that would allow tourists to apply online and then wait only three days before receiving the green light, the Indian Express reported.

They would then be able to pick up their visas on arrival at any airport. India currently issues visas on arrival to visitors from about a dozen foreign nations, including Japan and Indonesia. But visitors from countries which account for the bulk of its tourists-such as the United States, Britain and

France-have to go through the timeconsuming process of applying in person. The reforms were first mooted last October but only for around 40 countries. The citizens of a handful of countries, including Pakistan, will not be included in the changes, the daily said. Despite its cultural attrac tions, beaches and mountains, India attracts

relatively few foreign holidaymakers — 6.58 million in 2012, which was about a quarter of Thailand or Malaysia. A final decision on the visa reforms is likely to be taken on Wednesday at a meeting to be attended by the country’s top intelligence officers. No one from the interior ministry was immediately available for comment. —AFP

Death toll could rise in Indonesia volcano eruption KARO: Indonesian officials searched through thick ash for bodies yesterday after Mount Sinabung volcano erupted, killing at least 15 people, with the only sign of life an ownerless mobile phone ringing inside an abandoned bag. Dark, searing clouds engulfed victims during the eruption on Saturday, leaving rescuers with little hope of finding survivors as they searched through ash up to 30 centimetres (12 inches) thick. Officials said about 170 people armed with chainsaws and oxygen apparatus spread out through the destruction in Sukameriah village, just 2.7 kilometres (1.7 miles) from

covered in thick white ash. It was hard to walk in ash which nearly reached my calves,” Gito, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told AFP. “We didn’t find bodies but we picked up a bag belonging to one of the victims. The cellphone was ringing,” he added. Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency, was unable to put a figure to the number of people still missing, but said there was a “chance” that the death toll might rise. Residents had been evacuated from the village, located in the “red zone” around the volcano where human activities are strictly banned.

SUKA MERIAH: Rescuers search for victims of the eruption of Mount Sinabung in Suka Meriah, North Sumatra, Indonesia, yesterday. Mount Sinabung erupted Saturday killing more than a dozen people. — AP Sinabung’s crater, Sunday before the search was called off. “There’s no sign of human life. All the crops were gone. Many houses were damaged and those still standing were

“It’s very dangerous and completely out of bounds. But many of the tourists still secretly went to the area to take photographs,” disaster official Tri Budiarto said. The search was halted

Sunday afternoon, said Lieutenant Colonel Asep Sukarna, who led the operation. “After two visits to the village, the volcanology agency recommended that we stop search for safety reasons. Visibility is low because of the thick smog and we could hear volcanic tremors,” he told AFP. They hoped to continue the search tomorrow, he said. Sukarna was pessimistic about finding anyone alive. “I doubt it would be possible for anyone to survive the heat clouds yesterday. So far, we have not found any more bodies,” he said. The volcano on the western island of Sumatra started erupting in September, but on Saturday spewed hot rocks and ash 2,000 metres (16,00 feet) into the air, blanketing the surrounding countryside with grey dust. Fourteen people-mainly local tourists, including four high school students on a sightseeing trip-were killed by lethal heat clouds which cascaded down the volcano. Amid the apocalyptic scenes were ash-covered bodies, their faces swollen and their tongues sticking out, an AFP reporter on the ground said Saturday. A 24-year-old man who was accompanying his father to pay respects at the graves of their relatives died from his injuries early Sunday, raising the death toll to 15, Nugroho said. Two other people are being treated for serious burns at a local hospital. Officials are putting up more signs to warn people not to enter the area, officials said. Mount Sinabung is one of 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia that straddle major tectonic fault lines, known as the Pacific Ring of Fire. The country’s most active volcano, Mount Merapi in central Java, killed more than 350 people in a series of eruptions in 2010. —AFP

KABUL: Afghanistan’s former foreign affairs minister and a presidential election candidate Abdullah Abdullah, left, greets his supporters during his first presidential election campaign in Kabul, Afghanistan, yesteraday. Campaigning officially opened in Afghanistan’s presidential election, with 11 candidates vying to succeed President Hamid Karzai in polls seen as a crucial test of whether Afghanistan can ensure a stable political transition. — AP

Killings rattle Afghan voters as election campaign starts ‘Reforms will begin with us’ KABUL: Afghanistan’s presidential candidates held rallies in Kabul yesterday at the start of a campaign to elect Hamid Karzai’s successor, as the killing of a frontrunner’s aides highlighted the security threat to the poll. Gunmen shot dead two members of former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah’s team in the western city of Herat on Saturday, dealing an early blow to hopes of a peaceful campaign as the country prepares for its first democratic transfer of power. The April 5 election is seen as a key test of the effectiveness of the 350,000-strong Afghan security forces as foreign troops prepare to exit the country, while the future of US troops in the country beyond 2014 is set to dominate the agenda. In the capital yesterday thousands of people, mostly men, gathered in giant wedding halls where candidates delivered speeches and called on war-weary Afghans to vote for them. Abdullah, who came second to Karzai in the chaotic and fraud-riddled 2009 election, conveyed his condolences to the families of his slain aides and outlined his priorities as “security in the far villages of Afghanistan, fighting corruption, (and) enforcing rule of law”. He said the signing of a bilateral security agreement (BSA), which would allow about 10,000 US troops to be deployed in the country after NATO withdraws by December, was essential to safeguarding the country’s future. “Afghanistan is in a place, in a position that needs the continuation of international cooperation and help,” Abdullah said. “Inshallah (God willing), with the signing of this agreement, the problems...will be solved.” Earlier, Abdullah’s rival Ashraf Ghani, a 64-year-old academic, told

one packed hall: “Reforms will begin with us: myself, Mr Dostum and Mr Danish.” He was referring to his running mates, the former Uzbek warlord General Abdul Rashid Dostum and ethnic Hazara tribal chieftain Sarwar Danish. Security was tight at the rallies, which were guarded by the Afghan national army. But the killing of Abdullah’s aides weighed heavily on some people’s minds. Voters ‘concerned’ Arefa Alizada, an 18-year-old Abdullah supporter who attended one of the rallies, said: “I am concerned about security of the election, especially after I heard that two campaigners were killed yesterday. If it worsens, I and many other people won’t be able to vote.” Afghanistan has been gripped by a deadly insurgency for the past 12 years. Most US and NATO troops are set to leave at the end of this year, leaving Afghans in charge of their own security. Karzai had been expected to sign the bilateral security agreement late last year. But he has stalled and said his successor might now complete negotiations plunging relations with the US, Afghanistan’s key donor, to a fresh low. Karzai has ruled the country since the fall of the Taleban in 2001, sur viving assassination attempts and the treacherous currents of Afghan political life as billions of dollars of military and development aid poured into the country. He is barred from seeking a third term, leaving an open field to compete in the April 5 vote, which is likely to trigger a second-round run-off in late May between the two strongest candidates. Waheed Wafa, a political analyst, described Abdullah and

Ghani as the front-runners, with Karzai loyalist Zalmai Rassoul seen as a possible third force. In comments likely to cause further friction with his NATO allies, Karzai criticised their conduct during the 12-year conflict in an interview with Britain’s Sunday Times, in which he described the Taliban as “brothers” and the US as “rivals”. Karzai told the newspaper that “the US-led NATO mission in terms of bringing security has not been successful, particularly in Helmand”, a southern stronghold of Taleban militants where British troops are based. “We have immense respect for the life of NATO soldiers lost in Afghanistan and strong disagreement for the way US conducted itself in Afghanistan,” he said. Western and Afghan officials say all 11 candidates suppor t the BSA. But, except for Abdullah, they have declined to say so publicly for fear of clashing with Karzai. Taleban insurgents have threatened to target the campaign, and the Afghan police and army face a major challenge with little support from the dwindling number of NATO troops. Disputes over millions of fraudulent ballots led to a major crisis after voting in 2009, before Abdullah pulled out of the run-off and left Karzai to take power. Election organisers are again expected to be busy with complaints of fake votes, ballot-box stuffing and polling booths unable to open due to intimidation. “Holding elections is not an easy job in the current situation in Afghanistan,” Yousuf Nuristani, chairman of the Independent Election Commission, told candidates recently. “We hope you carry out your election campaigns in accordance with the law and in a good environment.” — AFP

China ships sail through disputed waters: Japan TOKYO: Chinese ships sailed through disputed waters off Tokyo-controlled islands on Sunday as diplomatic tension between Tokyo and Beijing intensifies. Three Chinese coastguard vessels spent more than two hours in the 12nautical-mile territorial waters off one of the Senkakus, which China claims and calls the Diaoyus, Japan’s coastguard said. They left the waters at about 12:30 pm (0330 GMT), it said. China’s State Oceanic Administration said three of its coastguard ships were patrolling “territorial waters surrounding the Diaoyu islands” yesterday, according to official state news agency Xinhua. It came days after a diplomatic battle over Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to a contested war shrine reached the UN Security Council, with China and Japan accusing each other of threatening stability. China’s UN ambassador, Liu Jieyi, seized upon a debate on the lessons

of conflict to slam Abe for going to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honours war criminals among the country’s war dead. Last week also saw a report in Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper that Chinese air force officials had drafted proposals for a new Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the South China Sea. The United States has warned China that any move to declare a new air zone including disputed islands would be seen “as a provocative and unilateral act that would raise tensions and call into serious question China’s commitment to diplomatically manage territorial disputes,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters. She stressed, however, that the reports were “unconfirmed” at this time. China’s foreign ministr y spokesman Hong Lei said right-wing forces in Japan had repeatedly made such allegations with the intention of

shifting international attention from the “plot” to change Japan’s pacifist constitution, Xinhua reported. “We sternly warned these forces not to mislead public opinions with rumours and play up tensions for their own selfish benefit,” he said in a press release Saturday quoted by Xinhua. Hong said China had the right to adopt all measures, including setting up air defence zones, to safeguard national security, according to Xinhua. Beijing claims the South China Sea almost in its entirety, even areas far from its shoreline. In November China abruptly declared an ADIZ over the East China Sea, including the disputed islands at the heart of the sovereignty row with Tokyo, sparking international criticism. Chinese state-owned ships and aircraft have regularly approached the Senkakus to demonstrate Beijing’s territorial claims, particularly after Japan nationalised some of the islands in September 2012. — AFP

Projects Engineer MENA Real Estate Company (GDREC) - Kuwait

Risk Manager MENA Real Estate Company (GDREC) - Kuwait

Investment Manager MENA Real Estate Company (GDREC) - Kuwait

Political Specialist Embassy of the United States of America - Kuwait

You will be responsible for developing real estate master plans within the developments proposed by MENA's management to facilitate financial analysis, as well as, conceptualizing and designing major landmark projects in liaison with the company’s Project’s Development Department.

You will be responsible for advising the company on any potential risks to its profitability, assets, existence or realization of business objectives, identifying and assessing threats, as well as, managing the risk to the company's employees, clients, reputation, assets and interests of stakeholders.

You will be responsible for understanding the financial evaluation of projects as potential investment opportunities, conducting financial analysis to project future cash flows, profitability, cost-benefit analysis, as well as, supervising the research process and data analysis related to special projects and assignments.

You will be responsible for analyzing the political trends in local politics and forecasting directions in Kuwait internal politics, as well as, preparing analytical reports and briefings on political issues for the Executive Office and Political Section.

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Job Reference: JB3002510

Job Reference: JB3002508

Job Reference: JB3002512

Job Reference: JB3010509

Internal Audit Manager A Leading Exchange Company Kuwait

Aerospace Engineering Instructors - Australian College of Kuwait - Kuwait

Learning Disabilities Senior Coordinator - Australian College of Kuwait - Kuwait

Engineering Teaching Positions - Australian College of Kuwait - Kuwait

You will be responsible for directing, controlling and managing the Cash Inspection Unit Team and Operational Risks and Controls Unit efficiently and effectively to achieve the company’s objectives, as well as, performing risk assessments.

You are required to have at least 10 years of industry experience, a sound knowledge of EASA Part-66 / 145 / 147 Rules and Regulations, be a Category B2 License holder, as well as, having knowledge of Electrical and electronic systems, Navigation and Communication systems and Instrumentation systems.

You will be responsible for providing ACK students with the support, guidance, and mentoring necessary to maximize their academic and personal growth, as well as, maintaining conditions that are conducive to student’s academic progress and resilience.

You will be required to have previous teaching experience in a recognized academic institution (preferably a university), excellent command over the English language, as well as, the ability to communicate effectively with diverse stake-holders.

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IT Specialist – Systems Engineer- Australian College of Kuwait - Kuwait

Female Sales Associate A Leading Cosmetic Company Kuwait

US Tax Preparer American Tax Bureau Kuwait

MTU Diesel Mechanic Abdul Rahman AlBisher & Zaid AlKazemi Co. - Kuwait

You will be responsible for performing a variety of complex duties that involve the identification, collection, and reporting of data, as well as, developing and maintaining management information systems, databases, and web page development operations.

You will be responsible for promoting the company’s line of products to cosmetics centers and pharmacists through visits/calls, following up with customers on monthly orders, as well as, implementing implementing promotional activities and events prepared.

You will be responsible for providing excellent customer service, performing thorough client interviews, explaining the IRS and State Processes to clients, accurately inputting all client information into the software, as well as, taking ownership of completing the entire tax returns.

You will be responsible for hands-on service work (repairs, warranty jobs and overhauls) in the workshop and the field, as well as, completing all service, repair and warranty jobs in accordance with the MTU guidelines.

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MTU Sales Engineer Abdul Rahman AlBisher & Zaid AlKazemi Co. - Kuwait

Office Manager American Tax Bureau Kuwait

Accounts Supervisor A Leading Exchange Company Kuwait

Barista Dip N Dip Kuwait

You will be responsible for seeking out potential sales and managing customer relationships, suggesting projects/tenders in which to participate in, as well as, establishing contacts with decision-making authority.

You will be responsible for hiring, training and scheduling office staff, communicating the internal office processes to the staff, demonstrating quality customer service, as well as, developing and adhering to an annual budget.

You will be responsible supervising the Senior Accounts Assistants and Accounts Assistants, ensuring that the reconciliation of bank statements and the calculation of foreign currency payments are completed in a timely manner, as well as, meeting all accounts payable on schedule.

You will be responsible for welcoming and connecting with customers, determining customer’s needs and suggest an appropriate product, offering demonstrations, as well as, preparing a variety of beverages and retail selling of prepared food.

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Waiter / Waitress Dip N Dip Kuwait

MTU Applications Engineer Abdul Rahman AlBisher & Zaid AlKazemi Co. - Kuwait

Cook Dip N Dip Kuwait

Site Foreman A Leading holding Company Kuwait

You will be responsible for providing service to guests according to established standards in a courteous and professional manner, serving as directed and required to ensure maximum guest satisfaction, as well as, serving tables in the dining area and taking clients’ orders.

You will be responsible for determining technical specifications for the MTU systems, supporting the sales team by identifying MTU system business opportunities, as well as, interpreting customer requirements and offering/designing solutions.

You will be responsible for following all safety procedures in handling all kitchen equipment, keeping the Kitchen and all the appliances clean and tidy, as well as, ensuring the proper storage of food items and keeping track of their expiry date.

You will be responsible for handling various project’s labor, achieving targets set by the supervisor/engineer/manager, as well as, forecasting and arranging the material required for the projects.

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NEWS Actor Philip Hoffman found dead Continued from Page 1 Hoffman - whose recent movies included “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “The Master” - won an Oscar for best actor in 2006 for “Capote” and was seen as one of the pre-eminent actors of his generation. Born Philip Hoffman in July 1967 in New York state, he was the third of four children of a Xerox executive and a feminist housewife who divorced when he was nine. An avid athlete, the stocky youth became involved in school theatrics after suffering an injury. He earned a drama degree from New York University in 1989, though he fell into alcohol and drug abuse for a while. After inserting his grandfather’s name, Seymour, between his existing names, he made his big screen debut in a 1991 independent film called “Triple Bogey on a Par Five Hole”. In 1997, he made a quiet splash as a clos-

eted gay crewmember who makes a tentative pass at star Mark Wahlberg in Paul Thomas Anderson’s porn industry tale “Boogie Nights”, followed by a quirky turn as a toady in the Coen brothers’“The Big Lebowski” (1998). In Anthony Minghella’s unique crime thriller “The Talented Mr Ripley,” he stole the show from co-stars Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow with his stealthy supporting role as slippery and duplicitous preppie Freddie Miles. The hardworking actor played music reporter Lester Bangs in Cameron Crowe’s “Almost Famous” (2000) and then took on the role of a lonely lecher in Todd Solondz’s “Happiness” (1998). He also had striking roles in Anderson’s “Magnolia”, starring Tom Cruise (1999); in “Flawless”, in which he plays a melodramatic drag queen, opposite Robert De Niro; in “Punch-Drunk Love”; and in big-budget pictures like the 2003 Oscar winner “Cold Mountain”. — AFP

Counterterrorism law alarms Saudi... Continued from Page 1 It was published in its entirety for the first time on Friday in the government’s official gazette Um Al-Qura. In defense of the law, the Saudi minister of culture and information, Abdel Aziz Khoja, was quoted in December as saying that the legislation strikes a balance between prevention of crimes and protection of human rights according to Islamic law. Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s last absolute monarchies. All decisions are centered in the hands of King Abdullah. There is no parliament. There is little written law, and judges - implementing the country’s strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam - have broad leeway to impose verdicts and sentences. An attempt to pass a similar counterterrorism law in 2011 was shelved after rights groups in Saudi Arabia and abroad leaked a copy online. Since then, dozens of activists have been detained, a prominent rights organization was shut down, and authorities more aggressively monitor social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, where jokes about the ageing monarchy are rife and anger over corruption, poverty and unemployment is palpable. The new law defines terrorism as any criminal act that “destabilizes the society’s security or the state’s stability or exposes its national unity to harm.” It also states that terrorist acts include disabling the ruling system or “offending the nation’s reputation or its position.” Activists said that simply exposing corruption could be seen as a violation of the law. Some also warned that Saudi

women who get behind the wheel of a car in violation of the ban on female drivers could be tried under the new anti-terror law. The law also gives the interior minister the power to end sentences and drop charges. It says only the interior minister can order the release of a person on trial. Judges would have no say. Other worrying aspects, activists said, include an article that says police can raid homes and offices on suspicion of anti-government activity without prior approval from a judge or even a superior. Suspects can also be held incommunicado for 90 days, and lawyers are not required to be present during the initial interrogation. Coogle said the law “enshrines some of the unlawful practices that Saudi authorities were already committing,” such as detention of suspects for many years without trial. He said it also does not specify the punishment for crimes committed under the new law. However, he said the measure does not include some of the most controversial language of the 2011 draft, which went further by criminalizing insults against Islam and protests as acts of terrorism. Shubaily is among 12 activists in the country who founded the Saudi Association for Civil and Political Rights, known in Arabic by its acronym HASEM. The group was shut down, eight of its founding members were imprisoned, and he is facing trial. “If I call for the release of someone from jail for being held longer than their sentence, I can be tried for ‘asking the state to take action,’” Shubaily said. “When I call for a constitutional monarchy, I can now be charged with terrorism. They characterize you as a terrorist because you ask the kingdom to do something it does not want to do,” he added. — AP

UAE summons Qatar envoy over ‘insults’ Continued from Page 1 The cleric also accused UAE of “standing against Islamist regimes, punishing its leaders and putting them in jail”. His comments came just days after the UAE jailed a group of 30 Emiratis and Egyptians to terms ranging from three months to five years for forming a Muslim Brotherhood cell. The Brotherhood is banned in much of the region, and the UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia pledged billions of dollars in aid to Egypt after the overthrow of Morsi, who hails from the Islamist organisation. Qatar, however, has backed the Brotherhood in several countries swept by the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, and has criticised Cairo for banning the group and launching a deadly crackdown against it. On Saturday, Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled AlAttiyah disavowed Qaradawi’s remarks, saying “they do not reflect Qatari foreign policy” and insisting that ties between the two nations are “strategic in all aspects”. “The foreign policy of Qatar is expressed and conveyed only through the official channels of the state,” Attiyah said, according to the English language Gulf News.

But the UAE foreign ministry said that response “did not reflect a decisive stance rejecting Qaradawi’s speech”, and therefore Abu Dhabi had to take “an unprecedented measure” and summon Doha’s envoy. “We have waited for our neighbour to express a clear rejection of this insolence and to offer sufficient clarifications and assurances for this misrepresentation and incitement against the UAE and guarantees that this distortion and incitement does not occur again,” WAM quoted UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash as saying. “But unfortunately, and despite the self restraint and calm approach, we found no desire or response for such a thing from the brothers in Qatar,” he added. He said the Emirates will not accept “insults” of its leaders and its people, or abusive language directed at its values. “It is shameful that we allow Al-Qaradawi to continue his insults of the UAE and the ties (that bind) the peoples of the Arabian Gulf,” Gargash said on Twitter. A Qaradawi aide told Reuters that the cleric had expressed his own views and that he would not stop, adding that “Qatar allows him to say what he wants as an individual and that no one had called him over the remarks”. — Agencies


Israel, US spar over boycott warning Continued from Page 1 People are very sensitive to it. There are talk of boycotts and other kinds of things,” the US diplomat warned at a security conference in Munich yesterday. His remarks quickly came under attack by a series of hardline Israeli ministers, one describing them as “offensive” and another accusing the US diplomat of working “to amplify” the boycott threat. And even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the cabinet that “attempts to impose a boycott on the State of Israel are immoral and unjust”. “Moreover, they will not achieve their goal.” But US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki hit back at Kerry’s critics. Kerry, she said, had demonstrated steadfast support of Israel for over 30 years, “including staunch opposition to boycotts” and his remarks in Munich had merely “described some well-known and previously stated facts about what is at stake for both sides if this process fails, including the consequences for the Palestinians”. “His only reference to a boycott was a description of actions undertaken by others that he has always opposed,” she said. “Secretary Kerry has always expected opposition and difficult moments in the process, but he also expects all parties to accurately portray his record and statements.” Earlier, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz lashed out at Kerry in remarks carried by Israel’s army radio. “What Kerry said is offensive, unfair and intolerable,” he said. “You can’t expect Israel to negotiate with a gun at its head while it discusses issues critical to its diplomatic and security interests.” And Economy Minister Naftali Bennett of the far-right Jewish Home party, which is part of the ruling coalition but against territorial concessions to Palestinians, accused Kerry of taking sides against Israel. “There is no nation that would give its country up over economic threats, and neither will we,” he said in a statement issued late on Saturday. “We expect our friends in the world to stand by our side in the face of the anti-Semitic boycott attempts, not amplify them.” A growing number of governments and businesses have recently said they will not trade with Israeli firms with ties to Jewish settlements, highlighting the creeping success of a Palestinian-led boycott campaign. The so-called BDS movement - boycott, divestment and sanctions -works to convince governments, businesses and celebrities to cut ties with Israeli companies active in the occupied Palestinian territories, in a bid to repeat the success of the boycott which ended apartheid in South Africa. Last week, US actress Scarlett Johansson was forced to chose between being an ambassador for Oxfam and taking on a new role as the public face of Israel’s SodaStream, which has a factory in the West Bank, after the international

aid group said the two roles were “incompatible”. She resigned her position at Oxfam. On the same day, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund blacklisted two Israeli companies involved in construction in annexed east Jerusalem. Since Jan 1, the European Union has blocked all grants and funding to Israeli entities operating beyond the pre-1967 war lines, sparking growing alarm in Israel. Separately, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif yesterday pledged good faith in talks to dispel Western fears over Iran’s nuclear program, after a rare meeting with Kerry. Iran will enter the next round of talks later this month “with political will and good faith to reach an agreement,” Zarif said. It would be “foolish of us (and) ... a disaster for everyone” if the process did not lead to definitive results, Zarif told a panel at the Munich conference. World powers hold another round of talks with Iran on Feb 18 after reaching an initial accord in November to curb uranium enrichment and open up nuclear facilities to allay concerns Tehran is seeking to acquire atomic weapons. Kerry and Zarif “discussed the upcoming negotiations with the P5+1 and the EU on a comprehensive agreement that will begin in Vienna”, a senior US State Department official said. The P5+1 groups the permanent five members of the UN Security Council - the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France - and Germany in talks with Iran. “Kerry reiterated the importance of both sides negotiating in good faith and Iran abiding by its commitments under the Joint Plan of Action (agreed in November),” said the official. “He also made clear that the United States will continue to enforce existing sanctions,” he added. Zarif told the panel “it would be a major mistake for our friends to believe that we are here because sanctions have been effective”. Rather, they had had the opposite effect and caused “a lot of resentment”, he said, describing a very large “trust deficit” in Iran needing to be overcome. Zarif stressed that the election of moderate President Hassan Rouhani last year reflected Iranians’ desire for “a constructive engagement with the international community which will bring mutual respect”. Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt told the panel there had been many missed opportunities in the past and this one had to be taken now. “I do not know if (the talks) will succeed or not but it would be truly criminal not to do everything to make (them) succeed,” Bildt said. Iran announced Saturday that it had received the first instalment out of a total $4.2 billion to be unfrozen from foreign accounts under Western sanctions, as agreed in November. Not everyone is convinced of Iran’s good intentions. Influential US Senator John McCain advised a “don’t trust, but verify” approach, pointing to Iran’s “long record, well documented, of deception (on) their efforts to develop nuclear weapons”. — Agencies

Panel approves ban on ‘usury’ Continued from Page 1 Sane said that the law does not serve public interests because it does not call for employing Kuwaitis, the state is obliged to provide fuel free of cost and the law was approved to benefit merchants. The lawmaker called on the finance minister to form a committee to investigate the awarding process of the Al-Zour plant because it involved violations. In another development, MP Nabeel Al-Fadhl yesterday submitted a new draft election law that includes a number of amendments to the existing law, mainly that candidates contesting parliamentary election must hold university degrees and submit a certificate showing they are psychologically fit. The present law only requires candidates to be able to read and write in Arabic without requiring any educational qualifications. A similar proposal submitted in the past was rejected by the National Assembly. The new draft law requires candidates to submit

the result of a psychological examination from the Psychology Hospital proving the candidate is fit to carry out parliamentary duties. It also restricts the right to vote and contest the elections to Kuwaiti nationals who have attained their citizenship in accordance with articles 1, 2 and 3 - meaning Kuwaitis by birth - and excludes naturalized citizens who are currently allowed to vote after a certain period of gaining nationality. The draft law also calls for the establishment of a higher election commission and defines its duties and authorities. It also specifically defines what crimes and jail sentences can disqualify a Kuwaiti national from running in the election. Meanwhile, MP Safa Al-Hashem yesterday sent a series of questions to Communications Minister Essa Al-Kandari over a deal to purchase 25 new aircraft by Kuwait Airways Co. (KAC). She asked to know the details of the deal and who ordered that its value must remain confidential, saying that the deal is suspicious.




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Dear Obama, spare us the lecturing By Jack Shafer


earing his best straight face, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney lectured China on press freedom last week. In a redundant official statement, he accused Beijing of restricting “the ability of journalists to do their work” and “impede their ability to do their jobs.” If the Chinese cared about public opinion, they would have called a news conference of their own and read aloud from former Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr’s comprehensive October report for the Committee to Protect Journalists, which cataloged the Obama administration’s hostility toward the press. Downie found that although President Barack Obama promised a more open government, his administration has prosecuted sources under the Espionage Act, imposed delays on and denials of FOIA requests, and closed its doors on reporters, systematically blunting the press. And recent revelations about mass surveillance by the National Security Agency and the secret subpoena of reporters’ phone logs and emails have contributed to a climate of fear in some newsrooms. Carney’s jawboning, in which he also called for the unblocking of Western news sites, was precipitated by the slowdown game China’s visa offices have been playing with US foreign correspondents. Two New York Times reporters have had to leave the country in the past 13 months because their visa applications went unprocessed, and Bloomberg News’s Chinabased reporters “have also experienced visa delays,” the Times reports today. Nearly all observers agree that the slowdowns and denials directed at the Times can be attributed to its aggressive coverage of crony capitalism in China. But Carney isn’t the only member of the Obama administration agitating for freedom of the press in China. The Times also reports that Vice President Joseph R Biden Jr “warned” Chinese leaders during his visit there last month that there would be consequences if the country continued its efforts to oust US reporters. What consequences? Congress might get mad about it, Biden told the Chinese, and retaliate somehow. The stifled laughter of the Chinese was not recorded, although I’m sure the country’s leaders and diplomats made Onion-esque jokes about Biden and his rhetorical pop-gun after he left earshot. It’s not much of a threat to tell the leaders of the world’s second-most powerful economy that your legislature, which can’t agree on anything, will soon arrive to tickle them if they don’t behave. I imply no equivalence here between the Obama administration’s treatment of the press and that of the Chinese. Unlike China, the United States doesn’t deny press credentials and work visas to foreign reporters who muckrake here the way the Times did in China. But both sides rely on a passive-aggressive approach to tame and circumvent the press. China doesn’t deport Times reporters for publishing scoops; it uses the visa process to starve them out. It doesn’t lock up Times reporters for their great work; it uses the Great Firewall to lock out the domestic audience from reading their stories. It doesn’t prohibit foreign reporters from travelling the country; it merely denies them permission to visit “sensitive” areas. (Not everybody in China has gotten the passive-aggressive memo: A CNN reporter got roughed up by Chinese security this month and spirited away while attempting to cover a Chinese activist’s trial.) Likewise, the Obama administration hasn’t imprisoned any US journalists - yet. New York Times reporter James Risen might end up in jail if he doesn’t reveal his sources in one of eight leak prosecutions/investigations since 2009. Nor has it strongarmed reporters, although from the looks of Downie’s report, national security reporters live in dread of getting themselves and their sources snared in a government surveillance dragnet. The administration hasn’t stoppered the flow of information from the government to reporters completely, but as one reporter told Downie, the leak investigations have left sources “scared to death,” frightened even to discuss unclassified information with reporters. Downie will probably discount the passive part of my passive-aggressive analysis. Not prone to hyperbole, he writes in his report, “The administration’s war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration, when I was one of the editors involved in the Washington Post’s investigation of Watergate.” While the hypocrisy vantage remains there for the Chinese to seize and to beat the Americans with, they’re continuing to do what they do best: stall and prevaricate. A foreign ministry spokesman issued a statement today claiming that Austin Ramzy, one of the Times reporters hung up in the visa dispute, had not adequately followed the laws and regulations governing work visas. “China expresses its displeasure,” the statement reads. “China does not accept the unjustifiable accusations by the US side, and demands the US side to respect facts and take cautious words and acts” and blah blah blah. —Reuters

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

US school shootings continue unabated By Kimberly Hefling


here’s been no real reduction in the number of U.S. school shootings despite increased security put in place after the rampage at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in Dec 2012. In Pennsylvania and New Mexico, Colorado and Tennessee, and elsewhere, gunfire has echoed through school hallways, and killed students or their teachers in some cases. “Lockdown” is now part of the school vocabulary. An Associated Press analysis finds that there have been at least 11 school shootings this academic year alone, in addition to other cases of gun violence, in school parking lots and elsewhere on campus, when classes were not in session. Last August, for example, a gun discharged in a 5-year-old’s backpack while students were waiting for the opening bell in the cafeteria at Westside Elementary School in Memphis. No one was hurt. Experts say the rate of school shootings is statistically unchanged since the mid- to late-1990s, yet still remains troubling. Ronald Stephens, executive director of the National School Safety Center, said there have been about 500 school-associated violent deaths in the past 20 years. The numbers don’t include a string of recent shootings at colleges and universities. Just last week, a man was shot and critically wounded at the Palm Bay Campus of Eastern Florida State College, according to police. Finding factors to blame, rightfully or not, is almost the easy part: bad parenting, easy access to guns, less value for the sanctity of life, violent video games, a broken mental health system. Stopping the violence isn’t. “I think that’s one of the major problems. There are not easy answers,” Stephens said. “A line I often use is do everything you can, knowing you can’t do everything.” Bill Bond, who was principal at Heath High School in West Paducah in 1997 when a 14year-old freshman fired on a prayer group, killing three female students and wounding five, sees few differences in how shootings are carried out today. The one consistency, he said, is that the shooters are males confronting hopelessness. “You see troubled young men who are desperate and they strike

out and they don’t see that they have any hope,” Bond said. Safe environments Schools generally are much safer than they were five, 10 or 15 years ago, Stephens said. While a single death is one too many, Stephens noted that perspective is important. In Chicago there were 500 homicides in 2012, about the same number in the nation’s 132,000-plus K-12 schools over two decades. “I believe schools are much safer than they used to be but clearly they still have a good ways to

plans and more metal detectors, surveillance cameras and fences. They’ve taken other steps, too, such as requiring ID badges and dress codes. Similar to fire drills, some schools practice locking down classrooms, among their responses to potential violence. The incident involving the 5-year-old in Memphis led to the use of hand-held metal detecting wands inside elementary schools in Shelby County’s school district. Attention also has focused on hiring school resource officers, sworn law enforcement officers who are trained to work in a

In this Oct 21, 2013 file photo, a Sparks Middle School student is comforted as he cries after being released from Agnes Risley Elementary School, where some students were evacuated to after a shooting, in Sparks, Nevada. —AP go,” Stephens said. The recent budget deal in Congress provides $140 million to support safe school environments, and is a $29 million increase, according to the office of Sen Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. About 90 percent of districts have tightened security since the Newtown shootings, estimates Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers. Many schools now have elaborate school safety

school environment, said Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers. He said his organization estimates there are about 10,000 of them in the US. Canady said it was such an officer who helped avert more bloodshed at Arapahoe High School in the Denver suburb of Centennial when an 18-year-old student took a shotgun into the building on Dec 13 and fatally shot another student. Since the shootings at Colorado’s Columbine High School in 1999, in which two

students killed 12 classmates and a teacher and wounded 26 others before killing themselves, police nationwide have adopted “active shooter” policies where officers are trained to confront a shooter immediately. “The goal is to stop it, from the law enforcement side, stop it as quickly as you can because we know with an active shooter if you don’t stop it, more lives will be lost,” Canady said. Risks Confronting a shooter certainly carriers risks. In Sparks, Nevada, math teacher Michael Landsberry was killed in November after calmly approaching a 12-year-old with a gun and asked him to put the weapon down, witnesses said. The boy, who had wounded two classmates, killed himself. Weingarten said more emphasis needs to be placed on improving school cultures by ensuring schools have resources for counselors, social workers and after-care programs. Many of these kinds of programs were scaled back during budget cuts of recent years. Experts have said a healthy school culture can prevent such incidents and even lead students to tell adults about classmates who display warning signs that they could commit such violence. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told reporters Thursday that he also believes strong mental health support systems in schools are important. But he said schools are doing a “fantastic” job with school security and often schools are the safest place in a community. He blames easy access to guns as a root cause of the problem, but that’s a contention that doesn’t have widespread agreement as gun control continues to be a hotly debated topic. “This is a societal problem, it’s not a school problem,” Duncan said. Bond, who is now the safe schools specialist with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, said there was a time when he believed school shootings would stop. He’s come to a sad realization that gives him a “sick pit in my stomach” that they won’t end, he said. “Schools are still part of the American society and the American society is violent,” Bond said. —AP

Argentina policies adrift as spiral looms


n the midst of Argentina’s biggest currency devaluation in a decade, with the peso’s plunge rattling financial markets worldwide, President Cristina Fernandez’s first public address in weeks was silent on the matter. She didn’t say a word about the currency, but instead took to national television last week to announce the latest government measure - a new form of high school scholarship. While the president has avoided mention of currency policy, the increasingly unpredictable messages from her ministers have amplified the risks weighing on the peso. An announcement suggesting long-awaited relief from currency controls for ordinary Argentines in practice meant a trickle of US dollars for an affluent minority. Officials also promised to cut the tax rate on spending dollars overseas, but revoked the measure just two days later. Critics say the government’s erratic decision-making is the biggest risk looming over the volatile peso, as the policies that triggered the currency crunch have only become more contradictory as the crisis unfolds. The stakes aren’t what they were in 2002, when a record sovereign default shook the global economy, as Argentina has since been ostracized from global credit markets. Still, the sense of a government without its bearings is familiar to some. “Every day it’s a different argument,” said former central bank president Aldo Pignanelli in a radio interview, pointing the finger at brash 42-year-old Economy Minister Axel Kicillof. “In 2002 we got things right and wrong, but we faced the storm. I see what this kid is

doing and it gets me furious, because we’re losing precious time to take coherent measures.” Even the dynamics of the peso’s 15 percent drop last week are shrouded in uncertainty. At the start of the historic slide, on Wednesday, there was no government intervention, but by Thursday the central bank was intervening heavily to hold the line, as it has this week. Officials blamed a “speculative attack” in the tightly controlled interbank market. With the right mix of policies, the devaluation could have helped boost exports and brought relief for Argentina’s dwindling foreign reserves. But the chaotic approach has meant the central bank is burning more quickly through reserves and there is even more pressure on perilously high inflation. As veterans of previous crises, Argentines have assumed a familiar defensive crouch, hoarding any dollars they have and spending pesos like they are going out of style. “Right now all you can do is buy. Today. Not tomorrow,” said Walter Yofre, 41, an accountant on a bustling retail boulevard in Buenos Aires. “I just got a memory chip for 268 pesos. This morning the store was charging 245!” Trade on a major grains exchange has dried up as farmers stockpile their soybeans rather than taking pesos. Goods are backing up at the border as officials try to slow the impact of more expensive imports. And ordinary supply chains are frozen with uncertainty in a country where the dollar is a reference for everything from real estate to raw materials. “You pick up the phone and 90 percent of your suppliers will

tell you they’re out of stock,” said Gaston Luccisano, who runs a kitchen goods store in the middle-class neighborhood of Caballito. “The guy could be staring at a stack of plates but he won’t sell until he knows what it will cost to restock.” Many economists say officials are obsessing over symptoms while aggravating the illness with an improvised approach. Economy Minister Kicillof, a former professor of Marxist, spent this week chasing down what he calls speculative price gouging by major corporations. In daily meetings with business leaders, he and top officials have warned cement makers to avoid “unpatriotic” pricing and forced retailers to roll back new price tags. Bleeding reserves Devaluations can help exporters and eventually slow the drain on Argentina’s foreign reserves, which fell over 30 percent in the past year to below $29 billion. But shock and uncertainty over the measure has also fueled the rush for dollars. Reserves have fallen more than $2.3 billion so far this month as the central bank fights to defend the new exchange rate more than ten times what was lost in all of December. “There is no doubt: this crisis has been entirely self-inflicted by confused policies,” said Eric Ritondale, senior economist for Econviews in Buenos Aires. Making matters worse, the spike in import costs and a stampede of shoppers trying to lock in prices for durable goods is now feeding Argentina’s inflationary demons. Consumer

prices have risen about 4 percent in four weeks, according to economic consultancy Elypsis, who put the annual inflation rate near 30 percent. Private economists reported inflation of about 25 percent last year - more than double the price increases recognized in the government’s official index. To interrupt the inflationary feedback loop, the government would need a coordinated program to cut back deficit spending, stop the money presses at the central bank and keep wage hikes under control, economists say. The central bank has taken some tentative first steps since the devaluation, hiking a key interest rate this week and signaling tighter monetary policy. The best case scenario, according to Ritondale of Econviews, would be interest rate hikes triggering a sharp economic slowdown. The economy could shrink 3 or 4 percent this year, he said, cooling inflation and restoring enough of a trade surplus to replenish foreign reserves. That would be an orderly adjustment compared to the crisis set off in 2001, when a string of presidents resigned amid riots and looting as the unemployment rate climbed to more than 20 percent. There is little or no risk a similar financial collapse, as Argentina’s exclusion from international credit markets since then has left the country with few foreign debts. Most Argentines are also numbed by years of an overheating economy, discussing the latest prices like the weather. “So, have you bought anything?” is a common conversation starter. —Reuters


S P ORTS Zimmerman Boxing eyes match ORLANDO: George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of second-degree murder last year in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, plans to take up celebrity boxing and is on the lookout for an opponent, the website Radar Online reported. Zimmerman, 30, linked to the Radar Online report in a post on his Twitter account with the words, “Here we go.” Promoter Damon Feldman is behind the celebrity boxing match, set to take place on March 1, according to Radar Online. “Boxing isn’t new to me,” Zimmerman told Radar Online in an article posted on the celebrity news outlet’s website last week. Zimmerman began boxing long before the February 2012 incident with 17-year-old Martin that drew national attention, he told Radar Online. The case polarized the nation around issues of racial justice, self defense and gun control. Zimmerman’s plans to enter the ring come after he successfully capitalized on his celebrity in December by auctioning a flag painting on eBay, selling the artwork for just over $100,000. Some of the proceeds from the event would go to an animal rescue charity, Zimmerman told Radar Online, but he declined to name the organization. He also suggested he might not box again after the event. “Obviously if I get my butt kicked around, then no!” he told the website. —Reuters

Golovkin retains WBA title

Corinthians fans invade ground SAO PAULO: Around 100 furious Corinthians fans, armed with sticks and iron bars, invaded their team’s training ground in Saturday, demanding to speak to the players about the 5-1 midweek defeat by Santos, the club said. Startled club directors considered calling off Sunday’s match against Ponte Preta before declaring that it would go ahead, and said that employees were attacked and robbed during the invasion. Photographs showed the fans, many of them shirtless and some hooded, forcing their way into the training ground in Sao Paulo after making a hole in the fence, just as the team were about to start a practice session. Brazilian media reported that the players fled to their dressing room and locked themselves in before police reinforcements arrived and negotiated with the supporters for two hours. Coach Mano Menezes agreed to hold a meeting with five representatives of the supporters. “The Corinthians directors repudiate and deeply lament the acts of vandalism by a group of supporters at the training ground this morning,” the club said in a statement, adding that they would co-operate with police to identify and punish the culprits. —Reuters

MONACO: Kazakh star Gennady Golovkin defended his WBA middleweight crown with a seventh round knock-out of Ghana’s Osumanu Adama in Monte Carlo. The 31-year-old, a silver medallist at the 2004 Olympics in Athens when an amateur, took his record to a perfect 29 victories in as many fights and 26 of those coming inside the distance. Adama was dropped three times on Saturday night before referee Luis Pabon waved off the contest. The 33-year-old Chicago-based Ghanaian’s record dropped to 22 wins, with 16 KOs, and four defeats. The first knock-down came at the end of the first round from an overhand right before Adama took to using his reach advantage to keep Golovkin at bay with his jab. But he was knocked down again at the end of the sixth round and when he was put on the canvas in the seventh from a jab, the referee decided he’d seen enough. Golovkin, considered one of the best pound-for-pound (P4P) fighters in the world now wants to fight WBC champion Sergio Martinez of Argentina, also considered a top 10 P4P fighter. “I felt comfortable right from the beginning of the fight, he wasn’t easy to box but he never hurt me,” said the Kazakh. He said he wants to fight Martinez “to prove who is the best middleweight right now.” —AP

Lightning strike down Canadiens

SOCHI: A worker climbs the roof of the Bolshoy ice dome, home to the ice hockey events in the seaside cluster prior to the start of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. —AFP

First teams arrive as Russia races to finish SOCHI: Russia yesterday welcomed the first teams to its southern resort of Sochi less than a week ahead of the start to the Olympic Games, as organisers worked all out to finish accommodation on time. The Games, the biggest event Russia has hosted since the fall of the Soviet Union, are to get underway on February 7 at a ceremony starting at 2014 local time (1614 GMT) that is expected to project Russia’s status as a world and sporting power. Athletes from five teams, including New Zealand and Japan, were given official welcoming ceremonies as they arrived at the Olympic Village ahead of the main influx of athletes next week. Media arriving early for the Games have found organisers racing against the clock to finish accommodation on time, with rooms still being furnished even after journalists had checked in. “There are still some issues to be solved as it is always just before the games,” International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach acknowledged as he attended a session of the IOC executive board in Sochi. “But always in this respect we are in contact with the organising committee and we hope that the situation will be solved in the next couple of days,” he added. After winning the right to host the Games in a bid spearheaded by President Vladimir Putin, Russia had to build almost all its infrastructure from scratch in an almost virgin area, a drive that has caused huge concern among environmental activists. “The first time I visited the Olympic Park was in August 2009 and it was an empty site. I’m not afraid that things are not yet completed-they are tiny details and will be finished soon,” said Oleg Kharchenko, the chief architect from state contractor Olympstroi. Teams from New Zealand, Mongolia, Japan, Belgium and the Philippines are the first being ceremonially welcomed on Sunday in the two Olympic villages by the sea and by the mountains. The Russian team is due to arrive on February 5. High security The world will be scrutinising Russia to

see whether it is capable of hosting a world class Games amid concerns about issues ranging from the risk of attacks by Caucasus militants and Russia’s now notorious law against gay propaganda. Russia is proudly presenting what it sees as a new concept for the Games, with stadium events like figure skating and ice hockey held in the Olympic Park on the temperate coastline and the alpine and nordic events in the snowy mountains above. Despite being billed as the Sochi Games, the event is centred over 30 kilometres to the south of the city close to the resort of Adler, with self contained “mountain” and “coastal” clusters. A security blanket has descended on the area after the deadly suicide bombings in Volgograd in December that killed 34 people and exposed the risk of militant attacks on the Games. Cars need a special permit to enter the Sochi area and airport-style security is in force for commuters using local trains, with hundreds of volunteers body-searching passengers at each station. Australian Olympic team chef de mission Ian Chesterman said team members are banned from travelling into Sochi city as a security precaution. Closely watched will be the enforcement of the “gay propaganda” law passed by the Russian parliament last year which bans the promotion of homosexuality to minors. The law, which activists say is patently homophobic, prompted calls in some quarters for a boycott of the Games although these were never followed up at a political level. The so-called “mayor” of the coastal Olympic village is the Russian pole vault champion Elena Isinbayeva who caused a furore with her anti-gay remarks at the World Athletics Championships in August. The weather, however should pose little problem. According to the Russian weather centre’s chief Sochi forecaster Valery Lukyanov, temperatures are near ideal for the first days of the Games, reaching up to 12 degrees Celsius by the sea but freezing nicely down to a minimum of minus 12 at night in the mountains. —AFP

Canadian curlers set to rock Sochi CANADA: Canada and Sweden will seek to complete curling Olympic gold medal hattricks at the Sochi Olympics while trying to nudge the ancient niche sport a little closer to the modern mainstream. A game played with brooms, curling will never sweep spectators off their feet the same way the downhill racers will but every four years the sporting world renews its fascination with the medieval game that has surprisingly produced some of the Olympics’ highest television ratings. With nearly one million registered curlers in Canada, more than the rest of the world combined, the sport enjoys a high profile in the country with competitions routinely attracting sold-out crowds and top television ratings. But along with that popularity come expectations. Only the Canadian men’s and women’s ice hockey teams in Sochi will be under greater pressure than the curlers to bring home gold. Since curling was added to the

Olympic lineup at the 1998 Nagano Winter Games, Canadian rinks have won medals at each edition in the men’s and women’s events. CANADA DOMINANT On the men’s side Canada has been the dominant force, taking silver in Nagano and Salt Lake City and gold in Turin and Vancouver. The torch has now been passed to Brad Jacobs who will try to skip Canada to a third straight gold in Sochi while Jennifer Jones will bid to put the Canadian women on top of the podium for the first time since Nagano and end a run of silver and bronze medal finishes. Jacobs’s fist-pumping foursome head to Russia as the title favourites having marched through the Canadian Olympic trials - considered by many a higher quality competition than the Olympics - undefeated, including a victory over reigning Olympic champion Kevin Martin. —Reuters

MONTREAL: Nate Thompson scored twice, including the winner at 4:36 of overtime, to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday afternoon. Ben Bishop stopped 28 shots for Tampa Bay, which snapped a two-game losing streak. Daniel Briere scored for Montreal. Carey Price made 34 saves. Thompson scored the clincher when Alex Killorn found him all alone in from of Price. The Lightning have a five-point advantage over the Canadiens in the Atlantic Division. After the Lightning took a 1-0 lead in the second period, Briere tied it at 7:25 of the third, taking a cross-ice pass from captain Brian Gionta and firing home his ninth of the season over Bishop’s shoulder. The goal was Briere’s second in as many games. Thompson was credited with the game’s first goal, at 5:58 of the second, after defenseman P.K. Subban put the puck in his own net.

dominated the pace but Bobrovsky made several big stops to maintain the two-goal lead. He improved to 11-2 in his last 13 starts. Columbus has won the last six meetings with the Panthers, dating to 2007, and is 9-4 in the series. Tim Thomas had 26 saves for the Panthers, who have lost three straight. MAPLE LEAFS 6, SENATORS 3 Phil Kessel scored three goals as Toronto beat Ottawa for its sixth straight win at home. With 5:59 left, Tyler Bozak fed a pass to Kessel, who scored his 30th goal of the season to complete his hat trick and give Toronto a 4-3 lead. Kessel is second in the NHL in goals this season. Toronto’s (30-21-6) streak is its longest since the Maple Leafs concluded the 2006-07 season with 10 straight home victories. They have won

time all season. Anaheim has lost three of five at Honda Center after opening the season 20-0-2 at home. Ellis had sat out the Stars’ previous nine games since Jan. 12, but Kari Lehtonen’s veteran backup posted Dallas’ third shutout victory in six games. Ellis played 23 games with Anaheim from February 2011 to 2012. Captain Jamie Benn added an empty-net goal with 28 seconds left for the Stars, who snapped a five-game road skid. FLAMES 4, WILD 3 Mikael Backlund scored two goals, including the winner 2:25 into overtime to give Calgary a victory over Minnesota. Backlund took the puck to the net and sent a pass to Sean Monahan for a shot that was stopped by goalie Darcy Kuemper. The puck bounced into the air, and Backlund bat-

FLYERS 2, KINGS 0 Steve Mason posted his second shutout in three games with 35 saves and Wayne Simmonds scored his 100th NHL goal, leading Philadelphia over Los Angeles. It was the 22nd career shutout and third this season for Mason, who stopped 33 shots in a 5-0 win against Detroit last Tuesday after getting pulled by coach Craig Berube in two of his previous three starts. Mason got a break with less than 31/2 minutes left, when Justin Williams tried a wraparound and hit the left post. Claude Giroux added his 17th goal on a power play with 1:58 left, converting a cross-ice pass at the left of the crease from Scott Hartnell while Matt Greene was serving an interference penalty. AVALANCHE 7, SABRES 1 Jamie McGinn had two goals and an assist, and Gabriel Landeskog also had two goals as Colorado beat Buffalo. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and two assists and Semyon Varlamov had 27 saves for the Avalanche, who have won three straight. Varlamov also had his second assist of the season. The Avalanche were playing their final home game before going on a four-game East Coast road trip ahead of the Olympic break. They have won eight of 10 and are 35-14-5. It’s their best start to a season since 2000-01 when they won the Stanley Cup. Marc-Andre Cliche scored his first NHL goal and Tyson Barrie also scored for the Avalanche. Matt D’Agostini scored Buffalo. BRUINS 4, OILERS 0 David Krejci scored a second-period powerplay goal and Chad Johnson made 22 saves for his second career shutout as Boston earned a victory over Edmonton. Krejci’s 12th goal of the season at 2:06 of the second period was enough for the Bruins to win for the sixth time in their past eight games and maintain the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. Dougie Hamilton, Carl Soderberg and Torey Krug scored in the third for Boston. Jarome Iginla and Zdeno Chara each had two assists. Edmonton goalie Ben Scrivens was coming off a scintillating performance against San Jose on Wednesday, when he set the NHL regular-season record for saves in a regulation shutout with 59 during the Oilers’ 3-0 win over the Sharks. Scrivens made 37 saves on Saturday. COYOTES 3, PENGUINS 1 Zbynek Michalek scored against his former team, his first goal in 83 games, as Phoenix became the first Pacific Division team to beat Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh in regulation this season. Mike Ribeiro had a goal and an assist for Phoenix, and Radim Vrbata scored the third goal for the Coyotes. Michalek’s previous goal was scored on March 5, 2012, for Pittsburgh against Phoenix. Evgeni Malkin scored for the Penguins, who entered 8-0-1 against Pacific Division foes. The Penguins, who had won three straight over the Coyotes, made their first appearance in Arizona in 3 1-2 years. Mike Smith, back in goal after Phoenix had gone with Thomas Greiss the previous two games, made 23 saves. Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 27 shots. BLUE JACKETS 4, PANTHERS 1 Linemates Ryan Johansen and Boone Jenner each had a goal and an assist in the first period, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 36 saves to lead Columbus past Florida. After Brad Boyes cut Florida’s deficit to 2-1 early in the second period, Nick Foligno and Mark Letestu scored for the Blue Jackets. Nathan Horton had two assists in the opening 20 minutes. Down 3-1 going into the third, the Panthers

MONTREAL: Teddy Purcell No. 16 of the Tampa Bay Lightning stick handles the puck in front of Daniel Briere No. 48 of the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game at the Bell Centre. —AFP five straight over Ottawa. Bozak stretched the lead to two goals with 1:33 remaining, one-timing a pass from Kessel past Craig Anderson for his 11th goal. Nazem Kadri added an empty-netter with 28 seconds to go. Joffrey Lupul also scored for Toronto. Chris Neil scored two goals, and Colin Greening added one for Ottawa (24-21-10). BLUES 4, PREDATORS 3 Vladimir Tarasenko scored and added an assist in regulation, and then netted the deciding goal in the shootout to lead St. Louis over Nashville. Brian Elliott, who has won 14 of his last 15 at home, stopped three of four shots in the shootout. Nashville fell to 1-7 in the tiebreaker. Jaden Schwartz and David Backes also scored for the Blues, who have beaten the Predators eight of the last nine. Elliott made 28 saves to end a three-game losing streak. Paul Gaustad, Mike Fisher and Roman Josi scored the Nashville goals, and Carter Hutton turned aside 31 shots. STARS 2, DUCKS 0 Dan Ellis made 26 saves against his former team in his 14th career shutout, and Trevor Daley scored in Dallas’ victory over Anaheim. Jonas Hiller stopped 25 shots for the NHLleading Ducks, who were shut out for the first

ted it down and past Kuemper to give Calgary a 5-0 homestand. The last time the Flames swept a homestand that long was in 1997, Jarome Iginla’s rookie season. TJ Galiardi, with his first goal in 38 games, and Dennis Wideman also scored for Calgary (2127-7), which hadn’t won five in a row since March 2012. Mark Giordano had two assists to extend his career-high point streak to nine games. Matt Cooke, Dany Heatley and Keith Ballard scored for Minnesota (29-21-7). SHARKS 2, BLACKHAWKS 1 Joe Thornton capped San Jose’s perfect shootout with a nifty move past Corey Crawford that helped the Sharks snap a three-game losing streak with a victory over Chicago. Joe Pavelski scored a short-handed goal and opened the shootout with a goal. Patrick Marleau also scored in the tiebreaker for the Sharks, who have won eight of their past nine shootouts. Antti Niemi made 29 saves and stopped Patrick Sharp in the second round of the shootout. Brandon Saad scored a power-play goal, and Crawford made 38 saves for the Blackhawks, who have lost five of six games as they limp toward the Olympic break. —AP

NHL results/standings Boston 4, Edmonton 0; Tampa Bay 2, Montreal 1 (OT); Colorado 7, Buffalo 1; Philadelphia 2, Los Angeles 0; Toronto 6, Ottawa 3; Columbus 4, Florida 1; St. Louis 4, Nashville 3 (SO); Phoenix 3, Pittsburgh 1; Calgary 4, Minnesota 3 (OT); Dallas 2, Anaheim 0; San Jose 2, Chicago 1 (SO). Western Conference Pacific Division W L OTL GF Anaheim 40 12 5 189 San Jose 35 15 6 168 Los Angeles 30 21 6 134 Vancouver 27 20 9 142 Phoenix 26 19 10 159 Calgary 21 27 7 132 Edmonton 18 33 6 147

GA 139 134 122 147 164 173 194

PTS 85 76 66 63 62 49 42

Central Division 33 10 14 200 37 12 5 185 35 14 5 165 29 21 7 140 25 21 9 158 25 23 9 142 26 25 5 159

158 125 142 144 160 172 165

80 79 75 65 59 59 57

Chicago St. Louis Colorado Minnesota Dallas Nashville Winnipeg

Eastern Conference Atlantic Division Boston 35 16 3 164 Tampa Bay 32 18 5 162 Toronto 30 21 6 170 Montreal 29 20 6 136 Detroit 24 19 11 139 Ottawa 24 21 10 158 Florida 21 27 7 133 Buffalo 15 31 8 105

119 137 176 137 152 176 174 161

73 69 66 64 59 58 49 38

Metropolitan Division Pittsburgh 38 15 2 176 132 78 NY Rangers 30 23 3 145 140 63 Columbus 28 23 4 163 154 60 Philadelphia 27 23 6 152 163 60 Carolina 25 20 9 137 151 59 New Jersey 23 21 12 132 140 58 Washington 24 22 9 158 167 57 NY Islanders 21 28 8 159 191 50 Note: Overtime losses (OTL) are worth one point in the standings and are not included in the loss column (L).



New York, New Jersey ready for Super Bowl NEW YORK: Some 80,000 football fans from around the world are set to pack into New Jersey’s Met Life Stadium late yesterday for the first NFL Super Bowl championship played in the New York area, an event that has shone a fresh spotlight on the region. The weather forecast is mild, rather than the below-freezing conditions that had been feared for the first outdoor coldweather Super Bowl, and police have so far faced just one highly visible threat, a Friday hoax in which suspicious but harmless powder was sent to hotels around the region. For fans from the New York area, the game presents a rare opportunity to see a Super Bowl without traveling to Florida, California or other warm-weather locations that often host what is typically the mostwatched sporting event in the United States. “I normally watch the game on TV and get wings and whatever, but the combination of the location and the fact that one of my coworkers could get the tickets at face value, meant we could go and pay only a

moderately exorbitant amount of money,” said Julia Lunetta, a 33-year-old tech worker from Dobbs Ferry, New York, who plans to attend the Denver Broncos-Seattle Seahawks matchup with friends from work. The game’s location, at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, some 10 miles (16 km) west of New York City, has posed logistical challenges for organizers, with events in the week leading up to the 6:25 p.m. ET (2300 GMT) kickoff spread among New York City, Jersey City and Newark, New Jersey. Late yesterday, police would be out in force, inspecting fans even as they board the trains and buses that are expected to carry about 30,000 people to the stadium. Officials from more than 100 state and federal law enforcement agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation, are monitoring the region from a command center located at an undisclosed site near the stadium. “There’s been a lot of planning for a lot of months and even years in making this Super Bowl successful, and that’s in large part

because of the broad metropolitan area that we’re in,” said Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football League. “It’s more complex being in a larger area where you’re crossing over states and different jurisdictions, but everyone has been fantastic.” Despite earlier expectations for bitter cold and possible snow at the 48th Super Bowl, Sunday brought mild temperatures, with a forecast high of 48 degrees Fahrenheit (9 degrees Celsius), with lows expected to drop to just about freezing. The National Weather Service warned there was a chance of rain. Online ticket resellers showed seats starting at about $1,600 and rising above $2,000, up from opening prices of about $1,300 a week earlier. BOOST FOR NEW JERSEY While much of the focus has been on New York, where a 3/4-mile (1.2 km) stretch of taken over by a four-day street fair where fans could try to kick a field goal, get a player’s autograph or ride a 60-foot-high (18meter-high) toboggan slide, the game has also been a boost to New Jersey. The Seattle Seahawks and Denver

Broncos both stayed in Jersey City, across the Hudson River from Manhattan, and fans could be seen roaming near the hotels the teams had taken over, trying to catch a glimpse of the players. Troy Maragos, a 29-year-old pastor from Chicago, opted to spend a few nights in that city of 254,441 people ahead of the game. “I’m impressed by how clean everything is,” Maragos said as he boarded a train. “The subway system is great, it’s been nice that it’s so easy to get back and forth from New York.” Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said having both teams stay had been a boost for local businesses. “From an economic point of view, we won’t have the full sense of it until sometime after the Super Bowl, but the restaurants are more full than usual, there are fans visiting here,” Fulop said. “It’s going to be a benefit to New York, it’s going to be a benefit to New Jersey, it’s going to benefit the whole region.” READY FOR IT TO BE OVER Even as the estimated 400,000 people who are believed to have traveled into the

region for the game and related events geared up for kickoff, some New Yorkers were looking forward to seeing the crowds thin out on Monday. At a United Parcel Service Inc store on Broadway that faced the Super Bowl Boulevard street fair, Mello Smith complained that the crowds slowed things down. “This is hard for the customers, too,” Smith said. “They are complaining. They want their deliveries or they want to drop off, and it’s a hassle.” Likewise, Dustin Drankoski, a 27-year-old a photo editor, said the added crowds in an already congested area of Manhattan had made his commute to his office near Times Square even more difficult. “The real annoyance is all the tourists and the lines of people,” Drankoski said. “There are lines of people in the subway station waiting to go through the stalls and they don’t know how to use their MetroCards, so you just have to wait,” he said. “The people who are really impacted are the drivers. There’s no way to get around this area.” —Reuters

Manning wins fifth NFL MVP award, Super Bowl beckons NEW YORK: Peyton Manning claimed a fifth National Football League most valuable player award on Saturday but the Denver Broncos quarterback will need another Super Bowl ring to cement his place among the all-time greats. Manning, who will lead the Broncos against the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl on Sunday, was the clear favourite in the MVP race

Brown have captured the award three occasions. Manning was not on hand to accept the award at New York’s Radio City Music Hall leaving that duty to his son Marshall and father Archie, a former New Orleans Saints quarterback, though he did send a pre-recorded message. “This is a very special award,” Manning said in

NEW JERSEY: Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning talks with reporters during a news conference. —AP after he set single season marks for touchdown passes (55) and yards (5,477). Manning, who had neck surgery in 2011 and missed the entire season before being released by Indianapolis and signed by Denver in 2012, also won the award in 2009, 2008, 2004 and shared it with Steve McNair in 2003. No one other than Manning had won MVP honours four-times and only quarterbacks Johnny Unitas, Brett Favre and running back Jim

the message. “I am extremely honored to have it presented by Joe Montana and Aaron Rodgers. “I am humbled by this recognition and grateful to my family, Pat Bowlen, John Elway, John Fox and the entire Denver Bronco organisation, and of course, my coaches and my teammates.” SURGERY RECOVERY After 14 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, not even Manning was certain how long it

would take to recover from his surgery and adjust to a new team. But after just two years in Denver, Manning has the Broncos back in the Super Bowl for the first time in 15 years. With Manning at the controls of Denver ’s powerhouse offense, the Broncos scored a record 606 points, 161 ahead the next best team. There is no disputing Manning’s Hall of Fame credentials but with just one Super Bowl ring, where he ranks among the sport’s best has been a subject of fierce debate. When it comes to Super Bowl wins, Peyton is not even the best quar terback in the Manning family with younger brother Eli having guided the New York Giants to two titles. The Broncos were tipped as Super Bowl favorites from the start of season and Manning has been under mounting pressure to prove that he can also get the job done when it counts most and turn his record-setting campaign into a Super Bowl title. With a win over the Seahawks late yesterday, Manning would become the first quarterback to win the Super Bowl as starter for two different teams. The fifth MVP award along with a second Super Bowl ring would cement Manning’s credentials as one of the top two-or-three quarterbacks of all-time and certainly would not hurt the likeable quarterback’s incredible popularity. Already the NFL’s most marketable player, Manning pulls in an estimated $12 million a year in endorsements, ranking 21st overall across all sports according to Forbes. O ther big winners were the Carolina Panthers, with Ron Rivera taking coach of the year honours after guiding his team back to the post-season while linebacker Luke Kuechly was voted defensive player of the year. New York Jets defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was voted defensive rookie of year while Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy grabbed offensive rookie honors. San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was named comeback player of the year while Chicago Bears defensive back Charles Tillman accepted the Walter Payton man of the year award. —Reuters

ST. MORITZ: Ted Ligety of the Unites States celebrates in the finish area after winning an alpine ski men’s World Cup giant slalom. —AP

Ligety wins WCup giant slalom ST. MORITZ: Ted Ligety of the United States put together two nearly flawless runs in difficult conditions to win a World Cup giant slalom late yesterday, the last men’s race before the Sochi Olympics. Ligety, a two-time world champion in the event, overcame poor visibility to finish a massive 1.51 seconds faster than Marcel Hirscher of Austria in the combined time. “It’s so tough when you can’t see anything ... I’m glad I was able to make it to the finish line,” said Ligety, who posted the fastest time in both runs. The convincing win boosted Ligety’s Olympic hopes. “It’s nice to get in another good race and I hope I can carry that confidence over the next two weeks,” Ligety said. Hirscher jumped from third to second, while Alexis Pinturault of France fell from second to third after both heats to finish 1.69 seconds behind Ligety. As fog shrouded the middle section of the course, Ligety raced to his 21st career victory and his third in a giant slalom this season. He also has a victory in a super combined this year. Ligety won the first two giant slaloms of the season, with

Hirscher getting the next two. Felix Neureuther of Germany, winner of the previous giant slalom race, skipped the event to rest a painful back before the Olympics. Hirscher still retained his lead in the giant slalom standings. Overall World Cup leader Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway fell in the second heat. Bode Miller of the United States hit a rut and crashed out about halfway into the first run. Miller won the giant slalom title at the 2003 World Championships, the last time men raced in St. Moritz. The 36-year-old American said he was ready for his fifth Olympics, despite yesterday’s mishap. “My skiing is generally pretty solid now,” Miller said. “There were already big holes in some places when I went down and you can’t see where they are and the coaches can’t tell you where they are. The guys making it down were skiing very conservatively, trying not to crash and not to make mistakes. Ted is the only one really who skied normally. “I didn’t want to be 2.5 seconds behind and so tried to ski normally. But I had big problems from the start,” Miller said. —AP

Ireland ease past Scotland Six Nations championship DUBLIN: Ireland comfortably won their opening Six Nations championship match at the Aviva Stadium yesterday, taking their time to get going before beating Scotland 28-6 as they look to put last year’s poor campaign firmly behind them. Ireland, who last season endured their worst Six Nations in 14 years, showed signs of the rugby that brought them come so close to beating New Zealand in November with tries from Rob Kearney, Andrew Trimble and Jamie Heaslip easing them home. “We learned a lot in the November series and if we can make this place a bit of a fortress, we can go places,” Heaslip, who took over as captain after illness ruled Paul O’Connell out of the game shortly before

kickoff, said in a pitchside interview. “It was tough losing Paulie this morning, he’s an unbelievable leader but we’ve got some great leaders in the team and we played with a lot of passion today.” Having watched their side come within 30 seconds of toppling the world champions last time out, the home crowd were hoping for more of the same but witnessed a disappointingly flat performance for much of the first half. After weathering early Scottish pressure and a missed penalty from Greig Laidlaw, Ireland took the lead on 14 minutes through a Johnny Sexton penalty before Laidlaw knocked over his second kick at goal to level the scores.

DUBLIN: Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton (centre) is tackled by Scotland’s Richie Gray during their Six Nations Rugby Union international match. —AP

Sexton quickly restored the three-point advantage but Scotland, despite lacking any sort of cutting edge with ball in hand, continued to wrestle back the initiative, frustrating the home side until just before the break when Sexton provided the spark Ireland needed. FANTASTIC BREAK The Racing Metro flyhalf made a fantastic break from inside his own half, weaving past the Scottish defence before finding Heaslip with a pinpoint long pass to put the big number eight into a footrace for the corner. Heaslip was correctly adjudged to have put a foot in touch before placing the ball but Ireland stole a lineout and had their try a minute later through Trimble. For the Ulster winger, who has been in and out of the national team for years, his 13th international try was a particularly sweet one, having been overlooked during last year’s championship due to Ireland’s strength in the position. Joe Schmidt’s side refused to let an early secondhalf penalty from Laidlaw kill their momentum and they had a second try minutes later when their forwards rumbled over from a lineout to give Heaslip his score. Sexton added the conversion and tagged on another penalty after more relentless pressure from the home side, for whom record try scorer Brian O’Driscoll became the country’s most-capped player with his 129th cap. Scotland, who beat Ireland last year but have not won their opening match since 2006, had no answer and Ireland fullback Kearney, with equal parts power and finesse, marked his 50th appearance with the game’s third try 10 minutes from time. Schmidt emptied the bench, giving prop Martin Moore a debut, but there was no let-up, an indication that Ireland may be starting to put together the kind of depth to put them in contention for a first championship since 2009. Ireland next meet holders Wales, who eased past Italy, in Dublin on Saturday, while Scotland host England, who went down 26-24 to France in their opening fixture. Italy travel to France late yesterday. —Reuters

SLOVENIA: Frida Hansdotter of Sweden celebrates on the podium after winning an alpine skiing women’s Slalom in Kranjska Gora. —AP

Hansdotter grabs slalom win SLOVENIA: Frida Hansdotter’s wait for her first World Cup victory after eight second places finally ended yesterday, in good time for the Sochi Olympics. The 28-year-old Hansdotter won on a soft course in heavy snow after American teen Mikaela Shiffrin failed to hold on to her opening-run lead. Hansdotter, who trailed Shiffrin by 0.31 seconds going into the final run, finished in an overall time of 1 minute, 50.17 seconds. Shiffrin dropped to seventh after getting stuck in a rut early in her final run. “Most of the time I’ve finished just behind Mikaela Shiffrin, she is just so good. But I knew that some day, it would be my day,” Hansdotter said. “Now I am looking forward to the Olympics. I want to leave Sochi with a medal around my neck.” Austrian sisters Marlies and Bernadette Schild were second and third, coming 0.05 and 0.15 behind respectively. The last racer on the visibly deteriorating course, Shiffrin caught a hole in the snow early in the run and was thrown forward. She recovered but, having lost her pace, ended up 0.72 behind Hansdotter. Shiffrin’s chance to retain her World Cup season title even

before the Olympics was already gone before her final run as both Hansdotter and Marlies Schild had secured podium spots by then. Shiffrin saw her 144-point lead over Hansdotter in the slalom standings reduced to 80 points, 438 to 358. Marlies Schild is third with 325 points. The event was moved from Maribor because of a lack of snow there, but the Podkoren course in Kranjska Gora had been softened by days of rain and snowfall. The unfavorable weather conditions forced organizers to cancel a GS on the same course Saturday. “To ski that good when conditions are so hard is great,” Hansdotter said. “Normally I am not at my best on soft snow. On a course like this, you can only just go for it.” Marlies Schild, a four-time World Cup slalom champion, called it a “run in hell.” “It made me nervous,” the Austrian said. “The next race is at the Olympics, I am now really fired up for that.” Shiffrin overcame the tough conditions earlier to post the fastest first-run time. The 18-year-old slalom world champion was chasing her third straight win and fourth of the season. —AP



Wizards stop Thunder

SYDNEY: Australian players celebrate with their trophy after winning their T20 International cricket match and the series against England. —AP

England’s tour finally ends with a whimper SYDNEY: England’s sorry tour of Australia finally ended with a whimper yesterday-a crushing 84-run defeat to give the hosts a clean sweep of the three-game Twenty20 series. The Australians, with man-of-thematch George Bailey smashing an unbeaten 49 off 20 balls, scored 195 for six after winning the toss in Sydney. The home side then dismissed the psychologically-scarred tourists for 111 in the 18th over to sweep the series. It marked the end of a disastrous 103-day tour for England, who lost the Ashes Tests 5-0 and the one-day international series 4-1, meaning Australia won 12-1 across the three formats. In between the losses, the international careers of spinner Graeme Swann and coach Andy Flower have been ended. The future is also uncertain for Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior and Jonathan Trott while Alastair Cook’s Test captaincy is far from certain. “It’s been good fun throughout the tour. We’ve been hugely disappointing, not at the races for three months, but you have to give credit to Australia,” said England T20 skipper Stuart Broad. “We’ve got a two-week break at home and then go to the Caribbean but we know we’re a decent T20 side. “We can now get together as a group for a decent period to work on specific things, improve and learn from this week. “We’ve got a dangerous side. We’ve got to go to Bangladesh (for the world T20) with confidence and hopefully we can get some momentum in the Caribbean.” England, perhaps with their minds on the team’s departure home in the hours after the Sydney match, surrendered limply to the Australian bowlers. Eoin Morgan was the best of a bad lot

with 34 off 20 balls as the Australian bowlers shared in the wickets. Nathan Coulter-Nile and spinners Glenn Maxwell and James Muirhead each claimed two wickets. Skipper Bailey earlier clubbed 26 runs off the last over to steer Australia to their insurmountable total after winning the toss at Sydney’s Olympic stadium. The Aussie skipper smacked 4-6-6-4-4-2 off Jade Dernbach’s last over of the innings. In all Australia hit 13 sixes in their innings. Bailey smashed a total of three sixes and four fours in an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 56 with wicketkeeper Matthew Wade (19 off 10 balls). Bailey said Australia’s selectors had some welcome headaches to solve ahead of the World T20. “It was a challenge we threw out to the group... there would be spots up for grabs,” he said. “Guys needed to commit to how the team wanted to play and I can’t fault any of them. “It’s been very, very pleasing and we’ve finished it off with the most complete performance tonight, which is great. “It was a couple of lucky nights (with the bat for me) so hopefully that can continue for a bit further. “Both nights we’ve had solid starts and that’s been key to us — (Aaron) Finch and White in all three games.” Opener Cameron White continued his strong T20 series with 41 off 37 balls, while fast bowler Ben Cutting-elevated to number four in the batting order cracked three sixes in his 29 off 16 balls. Recalled veteran Brad Hodge, batting in his first T20 international in six years, scored seven. Broad was the best of England’s bowlers with three for 30, including the wickets of Hodge and Dan Christian in his final over. —AFP

SCOREBOARD SYDNEY: Scoreboard in the third Twenty20 international between Australia and England in Sydney yesterday: Australia: C. White c Buttler b Jordan 41 A. Finch c Broad b Bresnan 30 G. Maxwell c Hales b Broad 14 B. Cutting c & b Root 29 G. Bailey not out 49 B. Hodge c Dernbach b Broad 7 D. Christian b Broad 0 M. Wade not out 19 Extras (lb2, w4) 6 Total (6 wickets; 20 overs) 195 Fall of wickets: 1-48 (Finch), 2-65 (Maxwell), 3-118 (Cutting), 4-130 ( White), 5-139 (Hodge), 6-139 (Christian) Bowling: Broad 4-0-30-3, Jordan 4-0-23-1 (1w), Bresnan 4-0-42-1, Stokes 3-0-36-0 (1w), Dernbach 4-0-49-0 (2w), Root 1-0-13-1. Did not bat: M. Starc, N.Coulter-Nile, J. Muirhead.

England: L. Wright c Cutting b Starc 8 A. Hales c Muirhead b Coulter-Nile 6 B. Stokes c Cutting b Maxwell 5 J. Root c Cutting b Maxwell 11 E. Morgan c Starc b Cutting 34 J. Buttler c Maxwell b Christian 8 R. Bopara b Coulter-Nile 4 T. Bresnan st Wade b Muirhead 14 C. Jordan not out 10 S. Broad b Muirhead 2 J. Dernbach run out (Bailey/Wade) 1 Extras (b2, lb4, w2) 8 Total (all out; 17.2 overs) 111 Fall of wickets: 1-11 (Wright), 2-19 (Hales), 325 (Stokes), 4-60 (Root),5-79 (Buttler), 6-82 (Morgan), 7-92 (Bopara), 8-98 (Bresnan), 9104 (Broad),10-111 (Dernbach) Bowling: Starc 2.2-0-8-1 (1w), Coulter-Nile 40-21-2, Maxwell 4-0-31-2, Cutting 3-0-18-1 (1w), Christian 2-0-14-1, Muirhead 2-0-13-2. Australia won by 84 runs.

Umar Akmal

Akmal bailed after scuffle LAHORE: Pakistan cricket star Umar Akmal was released on bail yesterday, a day after his arrest for violating traffic rules and scuffling with a policeman. The 23-year-old was charged with interfering with government work and “scuffling” with the policeman after he failed to stop at a traffic signal and refused to show documents on Saturday. Traffic policeman Mohammad Zeeshan accused Akmal of tearing his uniform and assaulting him, charges the batsman denied. Akmal’s lawyer said the court allowed bail in the sum of 100,000 rupees (around 950 dollars). “Akmal’s bail has been confirmed,” lawyer Wasim Mumtaz told reporters outside the court. “We will register our protest as Akmal was kept under unlawful detention.” A visibly

upset Akmal later told reporters he had tried his best to comply with the law. “It was a case of police showing their strength and I tried my level best to resolve the matter,” said Akmal, who regularly plays limited-overs cricket for Pakistan. Akmal’s father criticised the arrest. “When our own people insult our national heroes then the rest of the world will also do this,” said Mohammad Akmal. “It’s insulting and unacceptable.” Akmal has played 16 Tests, 89 one-day internationals and 52 Twenty20s for Pakistan in a career that began in 2009. He is regarded as one of Pakistan’s most talented batsman, but has failed to live up to his potential because of his rashness in batting, which led to him being dropped from the Test side in 2011. —AFP

WASHINGTON: John Wall scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half as the Washington Wizards took advantage of a rare off-game from hometown star Kevin Durant in a 96-81 win over the Thunder on Saturday night that stopped Oklahoma City’s 10-game winning streak. Two days after being selected to the AllStar game for the first time, Wall also had 15 assists and six steals and went 7 for 11 from the field after halftime, more than making up for an 0-for-7 first half. Trevor Ariza added 18 points and did a solid job defending Durant, whose 26 points came on 8-for-21 shooting, including 0 for 6 from 3-point range, along with five turnovers. The victory moved the Wizards to .500 for the seventh time this season. A win Monday against Portland would give Washington a winning record for the first time since October 2009.

PISTONS 113, 76ERS 96 Andre Drummond had 22 points and 14 rebounds as Detroit’s talented frontcourt overwhelmed short-handed Philadelphia. Greg Monroe added 21 points and 12 rebounds. He and Drummond combined to go 18 of 21 from the field. Brandon Jennings and Kyle Singler added 20 points apiece for Detroit. Philadelphia was without rookie of the year candidate Michael Carter-Williams, who sat out with a sore right shoulder. Tony Wroten led the 76ers with 18 points. The Pistons have won back-to-back games at The Palace for the first time since their first two home games of the season. Detroit is 915 at home. HAWKS 120, TIMBERWOLVES 113 Kyle Korver scored 24 points, including a

the Bulls 50-34. New Orleans led 50-39 at the half, and with Davis dominating the middle the Pelicans maintained a doubledigit lead for most of the second half. GRIZZLIES 99, BUCKS 90 Nick Calathes, subbing for an injured Mike Conley, scored a career-high 22 points as the surging Grizzlies defeated the Bucks. Zach Randolph had 23 points and 10 rebounds for Memphis, which won its season-best sixth straight and 11 of 12 overall. M arc G asol had 19 points and James Johnson scored 14. Brandon Knight led Milwaukee with 23 points, including 18 in the second half. K night also had seven assists and six rebounds. Ersan Ilyasova finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Bucks, who have lost six in a row. Khris M iddleton

HEAT 106, KNICKS 91 LeBron James had 30 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, as Miami avoided a winless season in the Big Apple by ending New York’s four-game winning streak. Dwyane Wade added 22 points for the Heat, who avoided becoming the first team to go 0-4 in New York this season after losing on their previous trip to Madison Square Garden last month and both games in Brooklyn. Carmelo Anthony had 26 points and eight rebounds for the Knicks, who had been 4-1 against the Heat over the last two seasons but were overmatched in this one. They finished 4-4 on their eight- game homestand, which matched the longest in franchise history. CLIPPERS 102, JAZZ 87 Jamal Crawford scored 27 points off the bench, and Blake Griffin had 25 points and 11 rebounds as Los Angeles pulled away in the third quarter to beat Utah. The Clippers, looking to win their second straight division title, are 19-7 since Dec. 14 and 11-4 since All-Star point guard Chris Paul separated his right shoulder. They lead second-place Phoenix by 31/2 games in the Pacific Division standings following the Suns’ victory over Charlotte. DeAndre Jordan had 14 rebounds and 10 points during a foulplagued 35 minutes. Enes Kanter led Utah with 23 points and 14 boards, while teammates Derrick Favors and Jeremy Evans sat out with injuries. Favors has inflammation in his right hip, and Evans has a bruised tailbone and right elbow. PACERS 97, NETS 96 Paul George and Roy Hibbert both had 20 points as Indiana overcame an early deficit to beat Brooklyn. Lance Stephenson, left out of the All-Star game despite leading the NBA in triple-doubles, added 14 points for the Pacers (36-10), who improved the league’s best home record to 22-2. David West had 17 points and George Hill scored 10. Shaun Livingston had a season-high 24 points for the Nets, who couldn’t hold an early seven-point lead against the Eastern Conference leaders. Joe Johnson, an All-Star selection, spent much of the night dueling with Stephenson and scored 16 for Brooklyn, which has lost three straight since starting January with 11 wins in 12 games. TRAIL BLAZERS 106, RAPTORS 103 LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and 15 rebounds, and Damian Lillard hit a go-ahead free throw with 11.8 seconds as Portland pulled out the victor y after holding off Toronto’s furious second-half rally. The Raptors wiped out a 19-point deficit to take a 103-102 lead on two free throws by DeMar DeRozan with 25 seconds remaining. Lillard and Wesley Matthews scored 21 points apiece for Portland and Nicolas Batum added 18. DeRozan finished with 36 points and 12 assists, doing most of his damage during a 30-point second half. He accounted for 22 of the Raptors’ 26 second-half baskets with 12 field goals and 10 assists. Kyle Lowry added 23 points for Toronto. SPURS 95, KINGS 93 Tim Duncan had 23 points and 17 rebounds, and Tony Parker added 18 points and 10 assists as San Antonio snapped a three-game slide by rallying past skidding Sacramento. Patty Mills scored 15 points and Boris Diaw added 14 for San Antonio. Isaiah Thomas had 26 points, Rudy Gay scored 23 and Derrick Williams added 14 for Sacramento, which has lost seven straight. After being outplayed by Gay and Thomas for much of the game, the veteran Spurs took over down the stretch to end their longest losing streak of the season. Parker and Duncan scored San Antonio’s final eight points. ROCKETS 106, CAVALIERS 92 James Harden returned from injury to score 28 points and Jeremy Lin had his first career triple-double to lead Houston to its third straight win with the victor y over Cleveland. Dwight Howard added 26 points and Lin came off the bench to tally 15 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Harden sat out the last two games with a bruised left thumb. It showed no signs of bothering him Saturday, when he also had four assists and three rebounds. Luol Deng had 24 points and Kyrie Irving added 21 points and seven assists for Cleveland, which lost its fourth straight game.

NEW YORK: Knicks Carmelo Anthony drives on Miami Heat LeBron James during their NBA game at Madison Square Garden. —AFP trio of 3-pointers in a third-quarter stretch that gave Atlanta the lead, as the Hawks overcame Kevin Love’s 43 points to beat Minnesota. Paul Millsap, guarded by Love much of the night in a matchup of All-Stars, had 20 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out late in the game. A jam by Minnesota’s Corey Brewer with 2:55 remaining cut Atlanta’s lead to 107104. Jeff Teague, who had 19 points, drove fo r a l ay u p a n d D e M ar re Car ro l l ’s f re e throws pushed the lead to seven points. Love’s 3-pointer again trimmed the margin to three before Atlanta’s Gustavo Ayon banked in an unlikely scoop shot to thwart the comeback attempt. PELICANS 88, BULLS 79 Anthony Davis scored 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead New Orleans past Chicago. Tyreke Evans added 11 points for the Pelicans, who have won four of their past five games. DJ Augustin scored 23 points, Taj Gibson added 17 and Joakim Noah had 14 for Chicago. Davis also blocked six shots and the Pelicans dominated in the paint, outscoring

scored 12 points, while Larry Sanders and Caron Butler finished with 10 each. The Grizzlies were playing their first game without Conley, the starting point guard who sprained his ankle in Friday night ’s win at M innesota. The team announced before the game that Conley will miss at least a week. SUNS 105, BOBCATS 95 Goran Dragic scored 25 points and Phoenix made almost 57 percent of its shots through three quar ters to defeat Charlotte. Marcus Morris added 15 points for the Suns, who have won five straight games and seven of their last eight. It’s the second t i m e t he S uns have won f i ve i n a row, matching their longest winning streak of the season. Phoenix held Charlotte to 14 second-quarter points, the lowest total in that quarter for an opponent this season. The Suns limited Al Jefferson, Charlotte’s leading scorer, to just 10 points after he’d logged three straight 30-point games. He was 4 of 15 from the field and didn’t play in the fourth quarter. Reserve Anthony Tolliver led the Bobcats with 14 points and Jannero Pargo added 12 points and six assists. —AP

NBA results/standings Indiana 97, Brooklyn 96; Washington 96, Oklahoma City 81; Atlanta 120, Minnesota 113; Detroit 113, Philadelphia 96; Houston 106, Cleveland 92; Memphis 99, Milwaukee 90; New Orleans 88, Chicago 79; San Antonio 95, Sacramento 93; Miami 106, NY Knicks 91; Phoenix 105, Charlotte 95; Portland 106, Toronto 103; LA Clippers 102, Utah 87. Eastern Conference Western Conference Atlantic Division Northwest Division W L PCT GB Oklahoma City 38 11 .776 Toronto 25 22 .532 Portland 34 13 .723 3 Brooklyn 20 25 .444 4 Minnesota 23 24 .489 14 NY Knicks 19 28 .404 6 Denver 22 23 .489 14 Philadelphia 15 33 .313 10.5 Utah 16 31 .340 21 Boston 15 33 .313 10.5

Indiana Chicago Detroit Cleveland Milwaukee

Central Division 36 10 .783 23 23 .500 19 27 .413 16 31 .340 8 39 .170

Southeast Division Miami 33 13 .717 Atlanta 25 21 .543 Washington 23 23 .500 Charlotte 21 28 .429 Orlando 13 35 .271

13 17 20.5 28.5

8 10 13.5 21

LA Clippers Phoenix Golden State LA Lakers Sacramento

Pacific Division 34 16 .680 29 18 .617 29 19 .604 16 31 .340 15 32 .319

3.5 4 16.5 17.5

San Antonio Houston Memphis Dallas New Orleans

Southwest Division 34 13 .723 32 17 .653 26 20 .565 27 21 .563 20 26 .435

3 7.5 7.5 13.5



Gallacher wins Dubai double DUBAI: Stephen Gallacher birdied two of the last three holes yesterday to become the first player to successfully defend the Dubai Desert Classic. Starting the day two strokes clear of the field, the 39-year-old Scot was reeled in by the time he walked off the second green after twice straying off the tee.

Argentinian upstart Emiliano Grillo, who sunk a 40-footer for eagle at the par-five last after his overcooked second outrageously rebounded back onto the green off an hospitality tent. Wearing black, the same as he did on the final day last year, Gallacher drew level with a birdie at 16 and then a sublime chip from the

The title defence was something that other former winners such as Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Seve Ballesteros were unable to accomplish and it revived Gallacher’s hopes of playing in the Ryder Cup in Scotland in September. The new world rankings out today will see him move up to 37th and he is assured of playing in all

DUBAI: Stephen Gallacher (left) of Scotland poses with his trophy alongside Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohamad Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, son of ruler of Dubai, after winning the 2014 Omega Dubai Desert Classic. —AFP But instead of going under, after four bogeys in nine holes, he battled back and, on a day of high drama, emerged in front again on the back nine and held his nerve over the last three holes. The target of 15 under was set by

greenside rough for birdie at the next eased him back ahead. He needed to par the last to win and he managed that by sinking an edgy three-footer after his third shot had spun back too far to the front edge.

four majors this year, including his first participation at the Masters in early April. “It took everything I had after the poor front nine, but I just tried to build on yesterday (63) and stay patient,” he said. “I was quite fortu-

nate that no-one ran away with it and I just tried to hit every shot at a time, just like yesterday. “I knew a five (at the last) was going to win it and it’s the only time that I’ve hit a back spin like that all week and it’s nearly gone in the water. “But yesterday was the key - to be 10 under through 10 holes. “I wish I could play this course every week.”Grillo was solo in second for the biggest prize of his fledging career so far with France’s Romain Wattel and Brooks Koepka of the United States a further stroke back on 14 under after a 66 and 70 respectively. Tournament favorite Rory McIlroy endured a torrid final day and could only manage a 74 and a tie for ninth. The Irishman was steady enough to start with, parring the first six holes, but a bogey at the next appeared to suck the confidence out of him and three bogeys in four holes after the turn ended his challenge. “It was just one of those days,” he said. “I think anything that sort of could go wrong did. Okay I hit a couple of loose drives, but I didn’t really get away with them or stuff like that. Just sort of, you know, one of those days.” World number three Henrik Stenson closed with a 68, but could do no better than tie for 29th. Woods, meanwhile, finished with a flourish, birdieing his final three holes for a closing 71. But he was already, at the start of the day, too far behind to have any say in the proceedings as he left Dubai tied for 41st and still looking to kick his 2014 season into full gear. “Unfortunately I turned it around too late,” he commented. —AFP

Czechs, Japan into quarters, Germans court controversy PARIS: The Czech Republic, seeking a third consecutive Davis Cup title, moved into the quarter finals while France swamped Australia and Germany courted controversy as first round ties reached their conclusion yesterday. The Czechs held the upper hand 2-1 going into the reverse singles against the Netherlands and Tomas Berdych bagged the all-important third point with a three-set win over lowly-

over last year’s semi-finalists. “It’s a bit hard being overjoyed to win like that but to make history is unbelievable,” Nishikori, the world number 18, reflected. The Czechs may have to travel to Tokyo without their star player, world number seven Berdych. “I’ve won the salad bowl twice, I’ve given the team a lot over the past 10, 11 years. I’d say a rest would be fully deserved,” he had

TOKYO: Kei Nishikori of Japan returns the ball against Frank Dancevic of Canada during their 1st round of Davis Cup World Group tennis in Tokyo. —AP ranked Thiemo de Bakker. The Dutch claimed the final dead rubber when Igor Sijsling saw off Lukas Rosol giving the Czechs a 3-2 victory and a last eight date with Japan, first time quarter-finalists after defeating Canada in Tokyo. There was an air of anti-climax about Japan’s feat after Canada’s Frank Dancevic retired injured from his rubber with Kei Nishikori. Go Soeda thrashed Peter Polansky 6-1, 6-4 in the dead final rubber to complete a 4-1 rout

warned earlier. Serbia, trailing Switzerland 3-0, had only honour at stake in Novi Sad. With the Swiss resting their top two players - Australian Open winner Stanislas Wawrinka and Roger Federer - last year’s beaten finalists duly clinched the closing two academic rubbers courtesy of Filip Krajinovic and Dusan Lajovic. The Swiss host Kazakhstan, who saw off Belgium 3-2 in Almaty, in the quarter-finals. Germany, who held an unassailable 3-0 lead

Makarova triumphs in Pattaya PATTAYA: Ekaterina Makarova won her second career title yesterday, claiming a 6-3 7-6 (7) victory over Czech Karolina Pliskova at the Pattaya Open. The Russian left-hander, whose only previous title came when she won Eastbourne in 2010, withstood a strong challenge in both sets, but her greater consistency and more aggressive play in the tiebreak earned her a victory. Pliskova, who was also seeking her second career title after winning in Kuala Lumpur in February 2013, struck six aces in her opening service game but still had to fight off two break points before holding for 1-1. She then failed to convert three break points on Makarova’s serve in the next game and went on to lose her serve at 4-3 in the only break of the match when she hit a forehand long. The second set went with serve, with Pliskova failing to convert two further break points to lead 4-2. In a dramatic finale, Makarova built a 5-2

lead in the tiebreak but faced set point at 6-5 after she netted a smash. Pliskova though hit her only double-fault of the match and also failed to win a second set point at 7-6 before Makarova secured victory on her first match point. “I was angry a little bit because she served twice really good and she returned just on the line and then it was 5-5,” said Makarova. “Then I missed a pretty easy ball. It got tighter and tighter and she had set point again. I just had to be focused and get everything in and try to be as aggressive as I could.” Pliskova said she considered that she had been second best throughout. “I think she played better than me the whole match,” Pliskova said. “I was just trying to stay in the match and trying to fight,” she said. “What happened in my last matches that I won, from two match points down and 0-3 in the third - I was hoping that this could happen again. But it didn’t.” —AFP

over five-time former winners Spain in Frankfurt, soured their win by claiming that three of their players were unfit to play. That left the crowd and the Spanish shortchanged, with the hosts unable to play the opening rubber of the day - Germany’s last man standing, Daniel Brands, beating Roberto Bautista Agut in the fifth rubber. As Germany looked forward to facing France in the next round, the team were accused of damaging the image of German tennis. Ex-Germany professional Nicolas Kiefer said: “It is a pity and sad, it has tarnished everything which has been built up in the last two days. “From the outside, this is not a good look for us.” Germany captain Carsten Arriens had earlier explained, to jeers from spectators in the Frankfurt arena: “The three players are not in a position to play, the fact we must forfeit a game is not ideal.” In Saturday’s doubles rubber, Germany’s Tommy Haas and Philipp Kohlschreiber enjoyed a four-sets win over Fernando Verdasco and David Marrero. But the victory came at a cost with Kohlschreiber picking up a thigh problem and Haas aggravating a shoulder injury, as had Friday’s singles winner Florian Mayer. “All three of us are all really beat up, we’re flat, there’s no way we can play,” said Haas. The German Tennis Union (DTB) said the trio had all been seen by an International Tennis Federation (ITF) doctor. DTB president Karl Altenburg added: “We will assess what happened later in calm.” Over on the clay court of Mouilleron-leCaptif, France completed a 5-0 whitewash of Australia, Gael Monfils and Julien Benneteau dishing out three-set defeats to Aussie teenager Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis respectively. Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, teaming up for the first time, had claimed the decisive point in Saturday’s doubles against Chris Guccione and Lleyton Hewitt. In the two remaining ties, Italy lead Argentina 2-1 in Mar del Plata, and Andy Murray’s Great Britain lead the USA by the same margin in San Diego. The quarter-finals of the 114-year-old competition are scheduled for April 4-6. —AFP

Mi Hyang Lee

Lee bags NZ Women’s Open CHRISTCHURCH: Mi Hyang Lee of South Korea shot a course-record 9-under 63 yesterday to win the Women’s New Zealand Golf Open by a stroke from and defending champion Lydia Ko. Lee, ranked 256th and whose best finish in 2013 was a tie for 19th at the Evian Championship, had an eagle and seven birdies in a final round that saw her leap 20 places into the lead with a total of 9-under 207. Sixteen-year-old New Zealander Ko, the world No. 4, had a long birdie putt on the final green for a chance to force a play-

off to the 54-hole event at the Clearwater course in Christchurch. But in front of huge home gallery, she left her effort short as she carded a two-under 70. Ko and her playing partners, Americans Beth Allen and Anya Alvarez, all stood on the final tee one shot off the clubhouse lead. Both Allen and overnight leader Alvarez bogeyed the hole after their approaches missed the green to fall back into a tie for third with South Korean Seon Woo Bae. —AP

Watson moves clear of pack PHOENIX: Shotmaker extraordinaire Bubba Watson birdied three of the first eight holes and conjured another from desert scrub on 17 to seize a two-stroke lead in Saturday’s third round of the Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Arizona. The former Masters champion, co-leader with Australian journeyman Matt Jones after the delayed second round was completed earlier in the day, fired a three-under-par 68 in front of record crowds on a sunny day at the TPC Scottsdale. American left-hander Watson, seeking his first PGA Tour title since his breakthrough major win at the 2012 Masters, mixed four birdies and a lone bogey at the 10th with several scrambled pars for a 15-under total of 198. Burly Kevin Stadler reeled off five birdies in the last six holes for a 67 to sit two strokes off the pace, one ahead of fellow Americans Harris English (69) and Ryan Moore (64) and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama (68). Jones recovered from a run of three straight bogeys on the back nine with birdies on the last two holes for a 72 to finish at 11 under, eight better than local favourite Phil Mickelson, whose 72 included a doublebogey at the par-three 16th. But it was Watson, renowned for his creative shot-making and power hitting off the tee, who thrilled many of the 189,722 fans who turned out in a record number for any golf tournament. “It was a struggle down the back nine but I held it together, made some key putts, made some key up-and-downs,” Watson, who missed several fairways after the turn, told Golf Channel. “I held it together, that’s the part I like. “Got one more tough day but what I am seeing, building for the future, is it’s coming together pretty good.” Watson covered the

back nine in level-par 36, offsetting a bogey at the 10th with a stunning birdie at the parfour 17th where his drive ended up in desert scrub with little chance of reaching the green before he got up and down from 44 yards. AMAZED PLAYING PARTNERS Watched in amazement by his playing partners Jones and Greg Chalmers, also of Australia, Watson struck his second shot to 15 feet before coolly sinking the putt. “That was very big,” Watson smiled. “That was easily my best shot of the week, hitting that chip shot ... to get it on the green from there was pretty amazing.” English, two shots off the pace after the second round, made a fast start by draining a 15-foot eagle putt at the par-five third to move briefly into a tie at the top with Watson and Jones. Both Watson and Jones birdied the third to edge a stroke clear before the Australian slipped back with bogeys at the fourth and sixth. Watson took advantage, birdies at the sixth and eighth putting him four ahead before his lead was trimmed to three when English birdied the ninth. Out in three-under 32, Watson made his only bogey of the day at the par-four 10th, where his approach ended up in a greenside bunker and he missed a six-foot putt for par. Watson was unfortunate not to birdie the 16th, his putt from seven feet taking an unexpected bounce into the air off some sand before finishing up an inch to the right of the cup. The flamboyant strokemaker then produced his miracle birdie at the 17th to regain a two-shot lead before parring the last. —Reuters

Joy for Pavlyuchenkova in Paris PARIS: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia beat third-seeded Sara Errani of Italy 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 yesterday in the final of the Open GDF Suez for her sixth career title. Pavlyuchenkova captured her first title of the season and her first since winning the Portugal Open in May 2013. The unseeded Russian dictated the points, making 48 winners to 18 for Errani. Errani won seven straight games to rally from a 3-1 deficit in the first set and lead 2-0 in the second. But Pavlyuchenkova responded by also winning seven straight games to even the match and lead 1-0 in the third. In the final set, Pavlyuchenkova hit a backhand return winner to break for a 5-3 lead and sealed the victory with a forehand winner. Pavlyuchenkova got off to a good start by breaking Errani in the third game. But she made numerous unforced errors to squander that advantage, dropping serve at 3-2 with a wide backhand and at 4-3 with a forehand into the net. Errani hit a backhand drop shot to take the opening set. Errani broke Pavlyuchenkova in the opening game of the second set with a forehand pass. Pavlyuchenkova saved a break point at 2-0 to stay in the match and the momentum suddenly changed. Pavlyuchenkova slapped forehand return winners to break serve at 2-1 and 3-2 in the second set before Errani sent a forehand long to lose the set. In the decider, Errani capitalized on a backhand error from Pavlyuchenkova to break for a 2-1 lead. However, Pavlyuchenkova broke back in the sixth game when Errani’s backhand sailed long. Pavlyuchenkova has defeated three top 10 players in the same tournament for the first time in her career. She beat Maria Sharapova of Russia in the semifinals and Angelique Kerber of Germany in the quarterfinals. Errani lost in the final of the Paris tournament for the second straight time. —AP

PARIS: Sara Errani of Italy (left) poses with winner Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia following their single final match of the 22nd Gaz de France WTA Open 2014 tennis tournament. —AP



Atletico hit Sociedad for four, go top of League

BERGAMO: Napoli’s Swiss midfielder Gokhan Inler (right) vies for the ball with Atalanta’s Argentinian midfielder Maximiliano Moralez during the Serie A football match. —AFP

Atalanta see off lifeless Napoli MILAN: Argentinian striker German Denis punished Napoli with a brace in an impressive 3-0 home win for Atalanta which further dented the scudetto hopes of Rafael Benitez’s reshuffled side yesterday. Three days ahead of their Italian Cup semi-final first leg away to Roma, Benitez chose to rest Gonzalo Higuain, Marek Hamsik and Jorginho despite the prospect of a tricky encounter in rain-hit Bergamo. Napoli had won only two of their last 10 encounters away to Atalanta and after a stale first half were playing catch-up when Denis beat Pepe Reina from distance with a bouncing drive tow minutes after the restart. Sensing the danger, Benitez sent Higuain on in place of Esteban Zapata on the hour, but barely five minutes later Atalanta doubled their advantage. Denis pounced on Gokhan Inler’s poor clearance and after controlling beat Reina with a precise finish from just inside the area. Atalanta virtually wrapped up the points on 70 minutes when Maxi Moralez ran on to Denis’s header to beat Reina from close range with an angled strike. Benitez immediately replaced Blerim Dzemaili with Jorginho then handed new signing Faouzi Ghoulam his debut when the Algerian replaced defender Anthony Reveillere six minutes later. But the late changes did little to spark a Napoli side which, having drawn with Bologna and Chievo in their last two league encounters, ultimately lacked punch and imagination. Napoli’s first defeat since November has left them in third place but they will see their 12-point deficit to leaders Juventus grow to 15 points if the champions account for Inter in Turin in Sunday’s late game. Benitez refused to blame his tactical

choices, instead pointing the finger at “three individual errors”. “We wanted to win this game with fresh players, but one error followed another-that’s why we lost 3-0,” the Spaniard added to Sky Sport Italia. “In short, we gifted them three goals.” Roma, in second place at six points behind Juve and six ahead of Napoli, hosted Parma but their encounter was rained off after just eight minutes after players complained of the impossible playing conditions. Elsewhere, Sergio Almiron scored a late equaliser for basement side Catania in a pulsating game as they fought back to level 3-3 with fellow strugglers Livorno. Antonio Candreva and Keita Balde scored one apiece for Lazio in a precious 20 win away to Chievo which leaves the Verona-based side hovering dangerously above the relegation zone. Lazio lost one of their prized players on Friday when Brazilian international midfielder Hernanes signed for rivals Inter on a four-and-a-half year deal. But Lazio coach Edy Reja said: “There’s no point reflecting on that. We have to look ahead and hope the younger players we have step up to the plate. “I have a side that, if they work hard, can hope for a promising finish,” this season. City rivals Verona, meanwhile, moved back up among the Europa League places to fifth after a 2-1 win away to relegation candidates Sassuolo. Verona were handed a boost when Sassuolo defender Thomas Manfredini turned into his own net on 50 minutes and striker Luca Toni doubled the visitors’ lead two minutes from time. Sassuolo scored a late consolation when Antonio Floro Flores headed past Rafael in the Verona net although his injury-time goal was clearly offside. —AFP

Italian League A results/standings Atalanta 3 (Denis 47, 64, Moralez 70) Napoli 0; Played Saturday Catania 3 (Bergessio 61, Barrientos 75, Almiron Bologna 0 Udinese 2 (Di Natale 15-pen, Lopez 88) Livorno 3 (Emeghara 50, 77, Paulinho 72-pen); 90+2); Cagliari 1 (Pinilla 39-pen) Fiorentina 0; AC Chievo 0 Lazio 2 (Candreva 6, Keita 70); Roma v Milan 1 (Rami 49) Torino 1 (Immobile 17). Parma - postponed due to rain; Sassuolo 1 (Floro Playing today Flores 90+2) Verona 2 (Manfredini 50-og, Toni 86). Genoa v Sampdoria Italian Serie A table ahead of yesterday’s late game (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points): Genoa 21 7 6 8 23 27 26 Juventus 21 18 2 1 51 15 56 Atalanta 22 8 3 11 24 30 27 AS Roma 21 15 5 1 45 11 50 Cagliari 22 5 9 8 21 31 24 Napoli 22 13 5 4 44 26 44 Udinese 22 7 2 13 22 32 23 Fiorentina 22 12 5 5 40 24 41 Sampdoria 21 5 7 9 25 32 22 Verona 22 11 2 9 37 35 35 Chievo 22 4 6 12 16 29 18 Inter Milan 21 8 9 4 38 24 33 Bologna 22 3 9 10 20 38 18 Torino 22 8 9 5 35 28 33 Livorno 22 4 5 13 22 40 17 Parma 21 8 8 5 32 27 32 Sassuolo 22 4 5 13 23 48 17 Lazio 22 8 7 7 29 29 31 Catania 22 3 6 13 16 40 15 AC Milan 22 7 8 7 35 32 29

FRANCE: Lille’s French defender Dijbril Sidibe (left) vies with Nice’s French forward Jeremy Pied (right) during the French L1 football match. —AFP

Nice defeat leaves Lille hanging on to CL spot PARIS: Lille were left hanging on to a Champions League place by a single point following their 1-0 defeat at Nice yesterday. Saint-Etienne’s 3-0 success over struggling Valenciennes on Saturday put the pressure on Lille but the 2011 champions failed to respond. Former Paris Saint-Germain forward Mathieu Bodmer scored the only goal with a cute back-heel in first half stoppage time, although there was a suspicion of offside. At the turn of the year, Lille were challenging the top two, PSG and Monaco, but

they have now dropped to 13 points off the summit after earning just two points from their last five matches. Things could even get worse if fifth placed Marseille and Lyon in sixth both win later yesterday. If that happened there would be three teams within four points of the third-placed northerners. The defeat could have been worse for Lille but for Rio Mavuba clearing a Dario Cvitanich header off the line and Idrissa Gueye getting away with what appeared a blatant handball inside the Lille box. —AFP

MADRID: Atletico Madrid moved to the top of La Liga outright for the first time since their double winning season in 1996 with a 4-0 win over Real Sociedad yesterday. On an emotional evening at the Vicente Calderon, former players and fans paid their tributes to former Spain and Atletico player and coach Luis Aragones, who died on Saturday, before the match. Fittingly it was David Villa, the competition’s top scorer when Aragones led Spain to the European Championships in 2008, who opened the scoring as he swept home Diego Costa’s low cross. Costa himself doubled Atletico’s advantage with a composed finish before Miranda headed home the third. And Diego Ribas rounded off a fine evening for Atletico as he marked his debut after returning to the club on loan from Wolfsburg with a thumping finish three minutes from the end. Following Barcelona’s shock home defeat to Valencia on Saturday, Atletico now lead the Catalans by three points, but Real Madrid can move to within a point of the leaders should they beat Athletic Bilbao later yesterday. After a quiet start, overshadowed by the respects paid to Aragones, Villa thought he had opened the scoring 14 minutes in, but he was rightly flagged for offside. Sociedad were unlucky not to have a penalty moments later when Miranda was adjudged to have brought down Antoine Griezmann inches outside the area by referee Javier Estrada Fernandez. David Zuruztuza then stung the palms of Atleti keeper Thibaut Courtois, whilst at the other end Costa blazed wildly over when well-positioned 20 yards out. The hosts went in front seven minutes before the break when Villa finished off a fine team move for his 12th goal of the season. Villa’s joy didn’t last long, though, as he had to be substitut-

MADRID: Atletico Madrid’s Brazilian forward Diego da Silva Costa vies with Real Sociedad’s defender Inigo Martinez Berridi during the Spanish League football match. —AFP The home fans then gave Diego a heroes welcome as he replaced Jose Sosa. Costa made sure of the three points 18 minutes from time when he coolly slotted Raul Garcia’s through ball into the far corner. Atletico struck again just

ed just two minutes later after pulling up with a muscular injury. Sociedad enjoyed the majority of possession after the break as Atletico decided to sit on their lead, but the Basque side failed to seriously test Courtois.

two minutes later as Miranda rose highest to power home Koke’s corner. And Diego rounded off the scoring when he showed great poise inside the Sociedad box before blasting high into the roof of the net. —AFP

Spanish League results/standings Elche 1 (Herrera 58) Almeria 0; Real Betis 2 (Ruben Castro 71, 88) Espanyol 0; Atletico Madrid 4 (Villa 38, Diego Costa 72, Miranda 74, Diego 87) Real Sociedad 0 Spanish League after yesterday’s two early matches (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points): Atletico 22 Barcelona 22 Real Madrid21 Bilbao 21 Villarreal 21 Sociedad 22 Sevilla 22 Valencia 22 Levante 22 Espanyol 22

18 17 17 13 11 10 8 8 7 7

3 3 2 3 4 6 7 4 7 5

1 2 2 5 6 6 7 10 8 10

56 59 60 41 39 42 41 31 22 25

14 16 21 27 22 34 37 35 30 29

57 54 53 42 37 36 31 28 28 26

Celta Vigo Getafe Malaga Granada Elche Osasuna Almeria Valladolid Vallecano Real Betis

22 22 22 22 22 21 22 22 22 22

7 7 6 7 6 6 6 4 5 3

4 4 6 3 6 4 4 8 2 5

11 11 10 12 10 11 12 10 15 14

29 22 22 20 20 18 22 24 21 20

35 34 29 29 32 34 41 37 51 47

25 25 24 24 24 22 22 20 17 14

Bayern rout Frankfurt BERLIN: Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich maintained their 13-point lead with a 5-0 home romp against Eintracht Frankfurt to extend their record 44-match unbeaten run yesterday. Bayern ran riot against strugglers Frankfurt with Mario Goetze, Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and centreback Dante all getting on the scoresheet at Munich’s Allianz Arena. Spain’s Thiago Alcantara set a new Bundesliga record with 185 ball contacts as Bayern’s midfield dominated. “They showed from the start who was the boss,” enthused ex-Bayern president Franz Beckenbauer. “At the break they could have been three of four-nil ahead.” Germany star Goetze put the hosts ahead when he chested down Mario Mandzukic’s cross and slammed his shot inside the far post with only 12 minutes gone. France star Ribery then proved he has recovered from a leg injury when he added Bayern’s second just before the break. Likewise, Robben came off the bench and fired home Goetze’s final pass to put his leg injury behind him on 67 minutes before Dante headed Bayern’s fourth two minutes later. Fittingly, Mandzukic, who was dropped ten days ago for poor training performances, netted their fifth on 89 minutes and was mobbed by his team-mates. “He has reacted really well and today was a super performance,” enthused Bayern’s director of sport Matthias Sammer. This was Bayern’s 17th win in 19 games and they have conceded just nine league goals. The European champions now face Freiburg, Hamburg and Nuremberg, who are all in the bottom four, before their Champions League last 16, first-leg match at Arsenal on February 19. Earlier, ten-man Nuremberg climbed out of the bottom three for the first time since October with only their second win of the season after yesterday’s 3-1 victory at Hertha Berlin to climb to 15th. Nuremberg’s Swiss striker Josip Drmic scored twice, including a penalty deep in added time to claim his second brace in as many weeks. There was drama on the stroke of 90 minutes when Nuremberg midfielder Ondrej Petrak was sent off for saving a shot with his hand. Despite furious protests from Hertha, referee Michael Weiner did not award the home team a penalty as Berlin’s Ramos had fired from an offside position. On Saturday, second-placed Bayer Leverkusen broke their three-match losing streak with a 2-1 win at home

MUNICH: Bayern Munich’s Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara (right) heads the ball beside of Frankfurt’s defender Sebastian Jung (left) during the German First Division Bundesliga football match. —AFP Boateng lunged for the ball. Wolfsburg drew level despite being down to 10 men, after Daniel Caligiuri was sent off for insulting the referee five minutes into the second-half, when teenager Maximilian Arnold fired home on 65 minutes. But Boateng then fired home the winner for his sixth goal of the season to give Schalke their second straight win. Hanover 96’s revival under new coach Tayfun Korkut continued as they earned a 3-1 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach with Senegal’s Mame Diouf scoring twice. There was a strong South Korean influence in Mainz’s 2-0 win at

to VfB Stuttgart in the Bundesliga. Swiss striker Eren Derdiyok headed home Leverkusen’s winner six minutes from time. Stuttgart’s Moritz Leitner had given the visitors an early lead before Bayer striker Stefan Kiessling equalised in the first half. Schalke 04 moved up to fourth with a 2-1 victory at home to tenman VfL Wolfsburg with Ghana midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng firing home the winner nine minutes from time. The Royal Blues, who have lost just once in nine games, had taken an early lead after a scrappy goal was credited to Brazilian centreback Felipe Santana as both he and

home to Freiburg as Park Joo-Ho and Koo Ja-Cheol netted to lift Mainz to seventh. Werder Bremen’s poor form continues as they suffered a 3-1 defeat at Augsburg with the visitors finishing up with ten men. Hamburg’s slump also as they were drubbed 3-0 at Hoffenheim, leaving Bert van Marwijk’s side second from bottom as they suffered their fifth straight defeat. On Friday, third-placed Borussia Dortmund picked up their first win in five league games with a 2-1 victory at bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig with Gabon winger Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring both goals. —AFP

German League results/standings (Kiessling 26, Derdiyok 84) VfB Stuttgart 1 (Leitner 12); Hoffenheim 3 (Roberto Firmino 4, Suele 44, Beck 60) Hamburg 0; Mainz 2 (Park 24, Koo 86) Freiburg 0; Augsburg 3 (Werner 11, Halil Altintop 49, Hahn 55) Werder Bremen 1 (Callsen-Bracker 3Played Saturday Schalke 04 2 (Santana 9, Boateng 81) VfL og); Hanover 96 3 (Rudnevs 57, M. Diouf 82, 90) Wolfsburg 1 (Arnold 65); Bayer Leverkusen 2 Borussia Moenchengladbach 1 (Mlapa 84). German Bundesliga table after yesterday’s evening match (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points): Hertha Berlin 1 (Ramos 4) Nuremberg 3 (Feulner 20, Drmic 68, 90pen); Bayern Munich 5 (Goetze 12, Ribery 44, Robben 67, Dante 69, Mandzukic 89) Eintracht Frankfurt 0.

Bayern Munich Bayer Leverkusen Borussia Dortmund Schalke 04 Moenchengladbach VfL Wolfsburg Mainz 05 Hertha Berlin Augsburg

19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19

17 13 11 10 10 9 9 8 8

2 1 3 4 3 3 3 4 4

0 5 5 5 6 7 7 7 7

50 36 42 37 36 30 29 28 26

9 20 23 29 24 24 32 24 28

53 40 36 34 33 30 30 28 28

Hanover 96 Hoffenheim Werder Bremen VfB Stuttgart Eintracht Frankfurt Nuremberg Freiburg Hamburg Braunschweig

19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19 19

7 5 5 5 4 2 4 4 3

3 6 5 4 6 11 5 4 3

9 8 9 10 9 6 10 11 13

29 39 23 32 21 24 19 33 11

33 42 40 37 33 34 35 44 34

24 21 20 19 18 17 17 16 12

Ligety wins WCup giant slalom


Atletico hit Sociedad for four, go top of League



Czechs, Japan into quarters, Germans court controversy Page 18

LONDON: Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (left) competes with Crystal Palace’s Jonathan Parr during their English Premier League soccer match at Emirates Stadium. — AP

Alex fires Arsenal back on top Arsenal 2

Crystal Palace 0

LONDON: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored twice as Arsenal moved back to the top of the Premier League table with a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium yesterday. With previous leaders Manchester City hosting Chelsea today Arsene Wenger’s team had an opportunity to regain top spot and, thanks to Oxlade-Chamberlain’s first goals of the season, they seized it. The midfielder, 20, was making

just his second league start of the campaign after missing the first five months of it with a knee problem. And with Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey out through injury, Wenger had brought in Kim Kallstrom on loan from Spartak Moscow to boost his midfield options. But the Sweden international signed with a back problem that, despite the club doctors informing Wenger prior to the transfer, could mean that he misses around six games. Wenger chose to deploy OxladeChamberlain in central midfield and also turned to Lukas Podolski for just his fifth Premier League start of the campaign to add some creativity alongside Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla. But Palace nullified them with surprising ease for 45 minutes as manager Tony Pulis opted to anchor Mile Jedinak and Kagisho Dikgacoi in

front of his defence in the hope of stifling the home side. The hosts fired an early warning when Ozil spotted left-back Nacho Monreal racing upfield and lifted a superb ball over the Palace defence. The angle was tight for the Spain defender, but he still forced Julian Speroni into a fine stop with his legs. Monreal’s chance appeared to increase Palace’s resolve not to let Arsenal go into an early lead and one of their former players nearly put the visitors in front on 14 minutes. Marouane Chamakh has looked rejuvenated in recent weeks and when he received the ball in midfield, he easily skipped past Laurent Koscielny. But just as he was bearing down on Wojciech Szczesny, his touch eluded him and the Arsenal goalkeeper dived at his feet to save. The closest either side came in the opening half was on 34

Anichebe rescues point to frustrate Liverpool West Brom 1

Liverpool 1

WEST BROMWICH: Victor Anichebe came off the bench to rescue a point for West Bromwich Albion as they hit back to draw 1-1 with Liverpool in the Premier League yesterday. Former Everton striker Anichebe capitalised on a mistake by Liverpool defender Kole Toure in the 67th minute, three minutes after he had been introduced, to cancel out Daniel Sturridge’s first-half opener. The result left Albion a point above the relegation places, while fourth-place Liverpool’s lead over Merseyside rivals Everton is now only two points following the Toffees’ 2-1 defeat of Aston Villa on Saturday. West Brom manager Pepe Mel made five changes to the team beaten 4-3 by Aston Villa in the mid-week derby. Right-back Billy Jones, centre-back Gareth McAuley, midfielder Zoltan Gera and forwards Saido Berahino and Matej Vydra came into the side for Steven Reid, Diego Lugano, James Morrison, Nicolas Anelka and Anichebe. Liverpool’s starting line-up was unchanged from the 4-0 Merseyside derby victory over Everton, with midfielder Joe Allen fit enough for a place on the bench. Brendan Rodgers’s side enjoyed the bulk of the possession early on but it was Albion who carved out

the first chance when Youssouf Mulumbu struck a low angled shot from 18 yards that was blocked by Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard. However, Liverpool seized control of the contest with the opening goal in the 24th minute as strike partners Luis Suarez and Sturridge combined to devastating effect. Raheem Sterling’s pass found Suarez inside the penalty area and the Uruguay international jinked his way through the hosts’ defence before crossing for Sturridge, who was left with a simple tap-in at the back post. West Brom’s players appealed to referee Kevin Friend for offside but television replays suggested that Jones had been level with Sturridge when Suarez crossed. Liverpool could have doubled their lead from a Philippe Coutinho corner a few minutes later after a scramble inside the six-yard box, but Toure could only shoot straight at Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster. West Brom were dealt a blow in the 41st minute when defender Jonas Olsson limped out injured and was replaced by Lugano. The hosts could have been on level terms going into the break, though, when Gera found space to shoot just outside the area, only to screw his effort wide of Simon Mignolet’s goal. Mel’s side continued to show positive intent immediately after half-time and Jon Flanagan had to make a last-ditch block to deny Chris Brunt after he got on the end of a Mulumbu cross. Mignolet made his first significant save from the resulting corner when he showed razor-sharp reflexes to beat away a powerful header from McAuley. Suarez should have increased Liverpool’s lead on the hour when he got on the end of Toure’s long ball and outmuscled Uruguay team-mate Lugano, only to

minutes when Ozil’s free-kick was met by the head of Koscielny. The central defender got the faintest of touches, but as the ball looked destined for the corner of the net, Speroni fully extended himself to make a fine save. However, all of Palace’s first-half efforts counted for little just two minutes into the second half. On the first occasion that Jedinak failed to close down Arsenal’s midfield, Cazorla found space to clip a majestic ball over the Palace back line and Oxlade-Chamberlain ghosted into the area before lobbing over the advancing Speroni. Moments later, with Bacary Sagna caught upfield, Jason Puncheon found space on Palace’s left wing. The attacking midfielder, who made his move to Palace from Southampton permanent on Friday, crossed and Yannick

EPL results/standings “Arsenal 2 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 47, 73) Crystal Palace 0; West Bromwich Albion 1 (Anichebe 67) Liverpool 1 (Sturridge 24).” Playing today Man City v Chelsea “English Premier League table after yesterday’s matches (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points):” Arsenal Man City Chelsea Liverpool Everton Tottenham Man Utd Newcastle Southampton Aston Villa Stoke Swansea Hull Sunderland Norwich West Brom Crystal Palace West Ham Cardiff Fulham

24 23 23 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 24

17 4 3 47 21 55 17 2 4 68 26 53 15 5 3 43 20 50 14 5 5 58 29 47 12 9 3 37 25 45 13 5 6 31 32 44 12 4 8 39 29 40 11 4 9 32 31 37 9 8 7 34 27 35 7 6 11 27 34 27 6 7 11 24 38 25 6 6 12 29 35 24 6 6 12 23 30 24 6 6 12 25 36 24 6 6 12 19 37 24 4 11 9 28 34 23 7 2 15 15 33 23 5 7 12 24 33 22 5 6 13 19 41 21 6 1 17 22 53 19

shoot straight at Foster from 12 yards. Liverpool were punished for their profligacy in the 67th minute after Toure’s mistake allowed Albion to equalise. The Ivorian passed the ball across the edge of the penalty area and Anichebe was alert enough to intercept before emphatically striking a low shot past Mignolet and into the bottom-left corner of the net. Both sides pressed for a winner in the remainder of the contest, with Albion appearing the more likely of the two teams to snatch it, but neither team managed to land a knockout blow. — AFP

Bolasie headed the ball on to Cameron Jerome, whose header was well stopped by Szczesny. Cazorla was at then at the heart of another of Arsenal’s better moves when he found Arteta, who rolled the ball on to Podolski, but the Germany forward fired wide when he should have at least tested Speroni. With Arsenal still dominating possession but also looking more likely to make it count, Pulis brought on midfielder Barry Bannan for Jerome in the hope of adding some craft. Within minutes Puncheon had beaten Arsenal’s offside trap and cut the ball back to Bannan, but the Scot fired over from 15 yards. Oxlade-Chamberlain then sealed the win on 73 minutes when he received the ball from substitute Rosicky and exchanged passes with Olivier Giroud before sprinting into the area and driving past Speroni. — AFP

A duel worth waiting By Ahmad Al Othman KUWAIT: Can a title race be decided in early February? Most people would think not, but I have a sneaky feeling it will. Officiated by Mike Dean, the Etihad Stadium is in line to host a fixture many predict will have a say in the Premier League’s course. A 3-point difference separates the 1st and 3rd placed teams, so simply put, it’s a 6-point game. Highly anticipated and of great importance, today’s match has one or two personal duels worth waiting for — Hazard and Oscar vs Toure and Silva. Manchester City, today’s favorites, have won all their home league matches and 14 of their last 15 competitions. All experts and pundits agree that it’s their race to lose due to a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s their attack. Scoring 21 goals against Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United in 4 matches is a frightening statistic that sends shivers to all upcoming defenders. In fact, they are the league’s top-scoring offensive side with 68 goals, and are on course to break Chelsea’s record of 103 goals in 2011. Unfortunately for them, Sergio Aguero’s injury is likely to rule him out for one month, a race against time for the much awaited Barcelona clash. Then there’s Yaya Toure. The 30-year-old Ivorian has already scored as many league goals as the last previous two

seasons combined. He’s been scoring from free kicks, counterattacks and simple tap-ins. If City do triumph in their quest for any of the four major trophies, you can be quite sure of Toure’s impression and impact in doing so. As expected, Chelsea’s approach to the game will be a defensive and a conservative one. Back in August last year, the Blues paid a similar visit to archrivals United and Jose Mourinho opted at the time to start without a striker. Such a move invited a large number of critics to blast the Portuguese’s negativity, but it’s yet to be seen if he intends to have the same approach tonight. After missing more than 30 chances against West Ham United, Chelsea fans will feel at least a point will suffice under these circumstances and considering Man City’s home form. Whether Matic is likely to be handed his second start is too soon to be determined, but Chelsea’s midfield will have to be at its very best to salvage a result today. Can Chelsea do what all sides couldn’t by snatching a point at the Etihad or dare I say win and draw level on points with the Citizens, or can City keep up their unrivaled home form and shrug off the fierce competition from the London duo? Did You Know? Jose Mourinho replaced Manuel Pellegrini as Real Madrid manager back in 2010.

Western delegates race to Iran’s lucrative markets Page 22 Weak inflation could prompt ECB rate cut


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Al-Sayer unveils special ‘Platinum Package’

Tata Motors readies for India auto show

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ABU DHABI: The Etihad Airways headquarters in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi (inset). Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways said yesterday it has entered the final stage of an assessment whether to purchase a stake in Italy’s debt-laden airline Alitalia. — AFP

Etihad in final stage for Alitalia stake buy Abu-Dhabi-based airline may buy 40% stake in Italian carrier DUBAI: Etihad Airways and Alitalia are in the final phase of a due diligence process that may result in an investment by the Abu Dhabi carrier in the troubled Italian airline, both companies said in a joint statement yesterday. Alitalia and Etihad have been in talks for weeks on a possible investment by the Gulf carrier, which sources close to the matter say could involve Etihad buying a 40 percent stake in Alitalia for as much as 300 million euros ($404.6 million). The two companies and their advisors will determine a common strategy that meets the objectives of both parties in the next 30 days, the statement said. “Any issues that may prevent the establishment of an appropriate business plan will have to be resolved to

ensure the plan can be implemented to move Alitalia to sustainable profitability,” the statement added. The announcement comes as Italy’s Prime Minister Enrico Letta is on a two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates to boost bilateral ties between the two countries. A spokesman for the Italian premier’s office confirmed that Alitalia has been among the topics discussed in Abu Dhabi. More details on the talks are expected to be released at a scheduled press conference later this evening. Loss-making Alitalia successfully completed a vital 300 million euro capital hike in December, which analysts said then would keep it flying for six months. But a decision by its former top shareholder and partner Air France not to

Gold gaining for 4th week in a row KUWAIT: Gold kept its edge for the fourth week running and ended the first month of 2014 on a gain of five percent, as shown in a specialized report issued here yesterday. According to the Sabaek Al-Kuwait report, gold closed at $1,241 per ounce and managed to withstand the shock of the Fed’s decision to curb quantitative easing measures. True to analysts’ forecasts, demand for the yellow metal increased and investment funds are again stocking the commodity which resulted in strong prices. “Prices would most probably increase further towards $,300 per ounce in the coming period,” it said. Among the factors bolstering demand, the report mentioned resumption of business after the new year holiday in Beijing, as well as the Indian decision to amend custom fees on gold imports. As for last week’s drop in price, the report said it was only profit-taking through electronic transactions. “However, we forecast more demand for the commodity, in kind, in the near future, since all are confident that though current price levels are higher than those of previous months, they still make good purchase opportunities.” When it came to silver, the report said the metal failed to gain from the positive factors that bolstered gold, and failed to approach the $21 per ounce level early last week, and actually faltered below USD 19 per ounce on Wednesday. This was attributed to dense profit-taking and hot speculating action. “But the biggest bets are on a hike of the metal to the USD 25 range within Q1 of 2014.” The local market was a scene of much profittaking as well early in the week, with pure gold selling above KD11.5 per gram for 24 carat. Later in the week , prices came lower and demand increased. — KUNA

subscribe to the emergency cash call means the Italian carrier is seeking another industrial partner to help revive its fortunes. A tie-up with the Gulf carrier could boost Alitalia’s liquidity and allow it to invest in a new strategy focused on long-haul routes that could make it profitable again. Etihad, on the other hand, is looking to expand its global reach through strategic stake purchases in other airlines. It has already bought minority stakes in several carriers including Air Berlin, Virgin Australia and Aer Lingus. Reports have suggested that Etihad is preparing a big investment in Alitalia, which is in debt to the tune of 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion). In October,

shareholders gave unanimous approval for a capital increase of up to 300 million euros to save Alitalia from bankruptcy The carrier is looking for a foreign par tner to rescue it. Etihad is expanding rapidly and has bought minor shares in several smaller carriers around the world as it competes with larger Gulf rivals Emirates and Qatar A i r w ays. I n N ove m b e r, I n d i a’s J e t Airways said it had completed the sale of a 24-percent stake to Etihad after obtaining regulatory approvals. Etihad also announced in mid-November that it was acquiring 33.3 percent of Swiss carrier Darwin Airline, which it plans to rebrand as Etihad Regional. That acquisition is awaiting regulator y approval. — Agencies

Egypt says stimulus package almost ready Govt seeks to reassure investors CAIRO: Egypt will announce details of its second stimulus package since Islamist President Mohammad Morsi was ousted in July within days, its finance minister said yesterday, aiming to boost tepid growth and reassure investors. Egypt’s economy has continued to suffer from investment outflows and a drop in tourism during political turmoil since autocrat President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in an uprising in 2011. The economy grew by just 1.04 percent in the three months through last September from a year earlier, according to latest central bank data. In the latest sign of turmoil, a senior Egyptian Interior Ministry official was killed outside his home in Cairo on Tuesday, putting pressure on the military-backed government as it struggles to contain an Islamist insurgency. The interim government is trying to give out assurances that the country is safe for investors. Bolstered by a pledge of more than $12 billion in aid from Gulf countries since Morsi was ousted, the government introduced a 30 billion Egyptian pound ($4.3 billion) stimulus package in 2013 and

said it would follow up with a second package, also of around 30 billion pounds, this month. Finance Minister Ahmed Galal previously said that 20 billion pounds of the new stimulus package would be spent on public investment. The rest would be used to cover a public sector minimum wage being introduced. “It is ready, we just have a part missing with the oil ministry, ... and we’ll announce it within days,” Galal told reporters at an investment conference yesterday. Army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who deposed Morsi after mass protests against his rule, could also announce within days that he will run for the presidency, a vote he is almost sure to win. Khalil Ibrahim, managing director in asset management at EFG Hermes, said the killing of the Interior Ministr y official could unnerve investors. “They get assurances and this puts them back,” he said. Galal said the government aimed to launch the second stimulus package without increasing the budget deficit, which stood at around 14 percent of gross domestic product in June, the end of the

last fiscal year. The government aims to bring the deficit down to 10 percent of GDP by next June. Galal said the deficit would shrink to 8 percent of GDP within the next two to three years. Speaking at the same conference, Investment Minister Osama Saleh said that Egypt expects to beat its target of attracting $4 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the year ending in June 2014, but did not say by how much. FDI totalled $3 billion in the year ending June 2013, almost $1 billion less than in the previous year. Before the 2011 revolution, Egypt was attracting net foreign direct investment of around $8 billion annually, according to central bank data. George Kazakos, a partner in Levant Partners, a Greece-based asset management firm, said political turmoil was still a problem for foreign investors. “ The re a re op p or t uni t i e s i n Egypt but only under conditions,” he said on the sidelines of the conference. “I will wait. You have to see the political situation start to settle in order to see foreign investment.” —Reuters

Giant construction deal lifts Abu Dhabi MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS DUBAI: A $6.1 billion contract awarded by Abu Dhabi state fund Aabar to Dubai’s Arabtec helped fuel a cement sector rally in Abu Dhabi but failed to offset profit-taking on Dubai’s bourse yesterday, while banks lifted Saudi Arabia’s market. Confirming a Reuters report on Saturday, Arabtec said yesterday that it would build 37 towers for Aabar, which is its biggest shareholder, and become Aabar’s contractor of choice for projects around the world worth $20 billion. Arabtec’s stock rose 2.8 percent and another Dubai-based builder, Drake and Scull, gained 2.0 percent. But a 1.4 percent drop by heavyweight property developer Emaar dragged Dubai’s main market index down 0.4 percent. Emaar might have been affected by news of the full conversion of its $500 million bond into shares last week, said Ali Adou, portfolio manager at The National Investor. “Overall, the market has to cool down, especially after the rally that we saw since the beginning of this year,” he said. Dubai’s index gained 12 percent in January. Dubai’s main index closed at 3,754 points; since Jan. 23 it has been unsuccessfully testing resistance around 3,807 points, the 50 percent retracement of the drop from its 2008 peak. Abu Dhabi’s main index rose 0.4 percent, led by Ras Al-Khaima Cement Co which on Sunday reported a 7.9 million dirham ($2.2 million) profit for 2013, recovering from a 7.3 million dirham loss in 2012. That, along with news of the Aabar-Arabtec deal, sparked a rally in the cement sector. Shares in Ras Al Khaima Cement surged 14.6 percent; Ras AlKhaima White Cement and Construction Materials, Gulf Cement, Union Cement and Sharjah Cement also rose. Large property projects, along with construction related to the Expo 2020 world’s fair in Dubai, will “obviously impact cement prices and benefit local cement producers”, said Marwan Shurrab, fund manager and head of trading at Vision Investments. The cement rally offset losses by Dana Gas, which on Sunday posted a 6 percent fall in 2013 net profit, and Union National Bank, whose fourth-quarter profit fell short of analysts’ estimates. Saudi In Saudi Arabia, the main index rose 0.9 percent, led by the banking sector which continued a rally ignited last week by Riyad Bank’s proposal to double its capital by issuing bonus shares. Riyad Bank rose 2.7 percent to a fresh five-year high yesterday. Egypt’s bourse rose 0.4 percent after Finance Minister Ahmed Galal said the government would announce details of a fresh $4 billion stimulus package within days. — Reuters



5 new year resolutions everyone should keep

Dimah report

Time is right to invest in cyclical stocks By Hayder Tawfik


irst, let me start by defining what are cyclical stocks and why they called so. A cyclical stock is a stock which has business that is highly correlated to the economic activity. When the economy is weak or let’s say is in a recession the revenues and profits of a cyclical company tend to drop and that lead the stock price downward. The opposite is correct so conversely, when the economy is in a good shape or coming out of recession i.e. expanding, the share price tends to goes up with the profit growth. The best example is the industrial sector or automobile sector. Consumers are more likely to buy new cars or treat themselves to big consumer items if their economic situation is improving. The technology sector is another good example of cyclical stocks. Technology companies are more likely to invest more when they believe that economic activity is picking up or its expanding. It has taken roughly five years to see that global economic activity is picking up cross the board. The global economy seems to be finally firing on all cylinders. Unemployment is coming down albeit slowly, GDP growth is returning to most countries. The US economy growing at historical trend, the Euro Zone is growing again and the emerging markets are once again realizing production gains. As we’ve moved passed the recovery phase of the business cycle, we think that the time is right to invest in more economically sensitive stocks. Over the last few months’ cyclical stocks have outperformed defensive and growth stocks. We believe cyclical stocks could prove to be the best buys in the upcoming two years. Given the bullish prospects of 2014, they could just be the winners for the next couple of years. Ignoring the recent corrections in the equity markets and in particular in the emerging markets all the positive factors are supportive of the expansion in the global economic activity. Also, the recent falls in government bond yields will continue making borrowings attractive for house purchase and consumer spending. These factors should help drive cyclical stocks higher in the months ahead. In the US, the housing market continues to improve as both pending home sales as well as new housing starts have been increasing over the last year. At the same time, the hydraulic fracturing boom has sent energy prices into the basement, benefiting both retail and industrial consumers of energy. Corporate technology spending has also improved as sales of productivity software and new devices have climbed. In Europe, economic growth has also returned- with many nations in the struggling euro-zone having moved out of recession. Euro-zone’s debt problems have gradually become secondary issue and measures to help economic recovery have been talked about continuously. As for Japan last year’s stimulative measures to reactivate the economy and helped it come out of deflation have begun to bear fruit and many emerging markets are still producing swift GDP growth. All of these factors should help improve earnings and stock valuation for the cyclical sector. Most equity analysts predict that earnings for the cyclical sector should grow by at least 10%, that is more than double of the earnings growth of 2013. The good news is that this earnings forecast is not priced in the sector valuation yet. In some way these analysts’ predictions seem to be reality as those that reported earnings already have beaten the estimates. Some examples of these are the mining companies. Whereas, defensive stocks such as food and utilities have reported below estimate earnings. The very low level of inflation rates deprives defensive sector from increasing their prices, hence lower growth in earnings. . We strongly recommend that investors overweight industrials, metal and mining, technology and consumers discretionary stocks. As we mentioned earlier, all the official data is supporting and pointing towards a pickup in global economic activity that can be very positive for cyclical stocks. This means that those investors who have been correctly running underweight investment positions in cyclical stocks should start loading up on cyclical stocks again. As these companies profit from the expanding economy, portfolios should benefit as well hence higher rate of returns. —Hayder Tawfik is Executive Vice President of Asset Management, at Dimah Capital- weekly report By Lama Ataya


anuary is over, and if you’re keeping those resolutions you made a couple of weeks ago, then good going! After all, it is said that it takes 21 days to form a habit. But for those of you who have faltered take heart, you have eleven months left to make 2014 your year. Below is a list of the top five New Year’s resolutions listed by the career experts at, the Middle East’s #1 jobsite, which you should keep: 1. Take control of your life Accept it. Life is full of troubles and is never going to be perfect the way you want it to be. You can choose to complain about what you don’t have or just be happy no matter what. Happiness is a daily decision and it is up to you to make that decision. Be in control of your emotions, learn to ignore

2. Make peace with your past “Make peace with your past so it won’t destroy your present.” ? Paulo Coelho Look at 2013 as an opportunity to set things right and make peace with your past. Apologize for your errors, forgive yourself, and move on. This process of reconciliation will free you to find the opportunities for growth embedded in every situation opportunities that are often missed when we are lost in fear and repression.

immune system. And yes, good health and a good work-life balance lead to better productivity. The ‘Work-life Balance in the MENA’ poll, September 2012, reveals that professionals in the MENA region are keen on maintaining a healthy work-life balance. In fact, 26.9% of polled professionals believe that their poor work-life balance has jeopardized both their mental health and happiness, and a staggering 64.8% of them would even accept a pay cut to have more free time on their job. To sustain peak performance over the long term and to avoid stress and burnout, you need to eat well, sleep well, and try to squeeze some exercise into your routine on a regular basis. ‘Healthy Living’ should be your motto in 2014.

3. Get in shape Getting in shape is not about being a size zero or having six-pack abs; it is about being healthy and strong and building your

4. Take up a hobby Despite all your personal and professional responsibilities, make sure to remove time for yourself and pursue a hobby; be it gar-

things that upset you, look past people who annoy you, and wake up every morning telling yourself that you will make a real effort to be a more happy and grateful person today.

dening, cooking, yoga, playing the guitar, or anything else your heart desires. Embrace your inner talent and give voice to your true self. You will find that taking up a regular hobby can be quite liberating and can lower your stress levels. 5. Save! No job is totally secure and in today’s job market it makes a lot of sense not to be reckless with your spending habits, as your savings may well be your life jacket when you’re in between jobs. So whatever your income level, always aim to put a fraction away for a rainy day. According to the Bayt.comSalary Survey-May 2013, 36% of MENA professionals did not save any percentage of their monthly income in 2013. Moreover, 79% of polled MENA professionals are in consensus that the cost of living will further increase in 2014, suggesting acquiring some level of saving habits may not be a bad idea after all.

UAE’s Dana Gas says Q4 profit rises 12% DUBAI: Dana Gas made a net profit of 128 million dirhams ($34.9 million) in the fourth quarter of 2013, up 12 percent from a year earlier, the United Arab Emirates energy company said yesterday. Net profit for the full year fell 6 percent to 571 million dirhams, due in part to rising royalty payments to the Egyptian government and lower sales of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Dana Gas said in its preliminary results statement that it had not received any significant payments from Kurdistan since July 2013 and was pushing for payments to resume as soon as possible. “In the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, we continue to maintain operations and deliver on our commitments,” Chief Executive Officer Patrick Allman-Ward said. “We have also taken action to resolve our issues with the KRG and confirm our contractual rights.” The company collected $134 million in Egypt last year, leaving the trade receivables balance for its operations there at $274 million at the end of December. It collected $69 million from Kurdistan in early 2013, but the flow of funds dried up over summer, leaving a trade receivable balance of $515 million at the end of 2013 - up from $354 at the end of 2012. Non-payment prompted the company to file an arbitration case in October to confirm its rights under a 2007 contract with the Kurdish region government (KRG). Dana, which leads a consortium of investors in Kurdistan, said yesterday that a London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) tribunal had been set up to hear the case. Dana Gas also said it expected its Zora offshore gas field project to start supplying around 40 million cubic feet per day of gas to northern parts of the UAE from early 2015. Delays in getting paid for operations in Kurdistan and Egypt contributed to Dana having to restructure a $920 million Islamic bond in April 2013. In January 2014, Dana said it had received conversion notices for $38 million out of a $425 million convertible Islamic bond, which was issued as part of the restructuring. — Reuters

MUSANZE: A woman harvests flowers of pyrethre flowers, which will be latter dried to produce pyrethrum, a natural insecticide, in Musanze, northern Rwanda, at the foot of the Volcanoes National Park. The culture of pyrethrum was first introduced in 1936 but fell into disuse after the genocide in 1994. —AFP

Western delegates race to Iran’s lucrative markets Rouhani era could herald a sanctions-free Iran The French firms hope to regain their share against Asian rivals, particularly Chinese firms, which are not bound by the Western sanctions. The number of cars produced in Iran was more than halved between 2011 and 2013, from 1.7 million to just 500,000. Iran clinched the interim deal in November with the P5+1 groupBritain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany-under which it agreed to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief. The six-month agreement, which took effect January 20, is aimed at buying time for a comprehensive agreement. Western nations have long accused Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons capability alongside its civilian program, charges denied by Tehran. The breakthrough in the talks has been largely attributed to the election last year of Rouhani, a reputed moderate who had vowed to pursue a diplomatic solution to the nuclear impasse. “Among the regional countries and compared to Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Libya, Iran is paradoxically known to enjoy a remarkable stability,” an

TEHRAN: Six months after the inauguration of Iran’s moderate President Hassan Rouhani, Western diplomats and businessmen are racing to Tehran hoping that a diplomatic thaw will reopen lucrative markets. A landmark agreement reached with world powers on Iran’s controversial nuclear program in November has raised hopes that Western sanctions could be lifted on the oilrich country with a population of 76 million. A delegation of 110 members of MEDEFFrance’s largest employers’ union-is due in Tehran on Monday to resume talks after an absence of several years. No contracts will be signed due to the strict international sanctions still in place, but the visit is seen as a key step towards regaining a foothold in the country. Iran’s auto market was once dominated by French giants including Peugeot, which halted operations in 2012, and Renault, which sharply scaled back its presence due to US sanctions on spare parts deliveries in June 2013.

Iranian analyst, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP. Western diplomats return Iran has also seen recent high-profile political visits, including by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who led a delegation last week aimed at boosting economic ties between the two countries, which back opposite sides in Syria’s civil war. Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino visited Tehran in December. And Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt is due to arrive in Tehran today, while his Polish counterpart Radoslaw Sikorski is expected in late February. The recent visits of former British foreign minister Jack Straw and ex-UN chief Kofi Annan could be also added to the list. Iran’s diplomatic ties with Western countries were severely strained under Rouhani’s predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known for his hard line on the nuclear program and incendiary rhetoric towards Israel.—AFP

EXCHANGE RATES Al-Muzaini Exchange Co. 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

2.780 4.534 2.687 2.168 2.833 224.000 36.544 3.643 6.258 8.621 0.271 0.273 GCC COUNTRIES

Saudi Riyal Qatari Riyal Omani Riyal Bahraini Dinar UAE Dirham

75.684 77.982 737.270 753.820 77.292

Malaysian Ringgit Chinese Yuan Renminbi Thai Bhat Turkish Lira

UAE Exchange Centre WLL COUNTRYSELL DRAFT 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 CASH 250.84 259.80 321.17 391.03 282.40 470.62 2.82 3.629 4.516 2.162 2.840 2.682 76.96 751.63 40.55 401.92 734.42 77.98 75.44

247.84 260.80 319.17 392.03 285.40 473.62 2.84 3.898 4.816 2.597 3.375 2.790 77.42 753.70 41.15 407.57 741.72 78.53 75.84

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

40.150 40.325 1.324 177.760 400.790 1.904 2.022 35.463

EUROPEAN & AMERICAN COUNTRIES US Dollar Transfer 283.700 Euro 385.830 Sterling Pound 469.380 Canadian dollar 257.320 Turkish lira 125.560 Swiss Franc 316.630 Australian Dollar 251.220 US Dollar Buying 282.500 GOLD 20 Gram 10 Gram 5 Gram

240.000 121.000 62.500

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 Syrian Pound Nepalese Rupees

Selling Rate 283.450 257.530 467.870 383.765 313.120 748.450 77.150 78.705 76.455 399.465 40.659 2.165 4.528 2.686 3.641 6.248 696.210 3.775 2.980 3.825

85.555 47.185 9.570 125.685

Singapore Dollar South African Rand Sri Lankan Rupee Taiwan Thai Baht

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

Australian Dollar New Zealand Dollar

Canadian Dollar US Dollars US Dollars Mint

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

SELLDRAFT Europe 0.007375 0.460243 0.006092 0.047268 0.377616 0.041363 0.081861 0.008138 0.039406 0.306880 0.124977

0.008375 0.469243 0.018092 0.052268 0.385116 0.046563 0.81861 0.018138 0.044405 0.317080 0.131977

Australasia 0.240333 0.223796

0.251833 0.233296

America 0.249955 0.279600 0.280100

0.258455 0.283950 0.283950

Asia 0.003434 0.045432 0.034457 0.004171 0.000018 0.002697 0.003368 0.000253 0.082544 0.003081 0.002430 0.006535 0.000069

0.004034 0.048932 0.037207 0.004572 0.000024 0.002877 0.003368 0.000268 0.088544 0.003251 0.002710 0.006815 0.000075

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

0.219170 0.019611 0.001898 0.009240 0.008331 Arab 0.746064 0.037270 0.000078 0.000185 0.395926 1.0000000 0.000139 0.024516 0.001202 0.730851 0.077215 0.075017 0.002174 0.172987 0.124977 0.076259 0.001289

0.225170 0.028111 0.002478 0.009420 0.008881

0.754064 0.040370 0.000080 0.000245 0.403426 1.0000000 0.000239 0.048516 0.001837 0.736531 0.078428 0.075717 0.002394 0.180987 0.131977 0.077408

Al Mulla Exchange CurrencyTransferRate (Per 1000) 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

282.600 388.650 470.250 255.000 4.528 40.246 2.159 3.635 6.260 2.685 752.450 77.000 75.500



Tata Motors readies for India auto show Turmoil over chief’s death roils

Commodities weaken on market turmoil Weekly commodities update By Ole Hansen, Saxo Bank A/S


ommodities moved lower during the course of the week as the diverging outlook between emerging and developed economies continued to raise uncertainty about the demand outlook for commodities. The weakness was primarily driven by losses in both metal sectors with industrial metals being hurt by weak China manufacturing data together with a slowdown in activity ahead of the Lunar New Year shutdown in several Asian markets. Precious metals failed to find support from the emerging-market turmoil and as result went looking for support. The energy sector was mostly driven by the near-term outlook for US weather which created some extreme volatility in natural gas and supported heating oil. The prospect of another cold snap in America blanketing the likes of New York’s Central Park has underpinned heating oil prices. Photo: John Anderson\Thinkstock The agriculture sector was mixed with continued weakness in key crops such as wheat while while rising cocoa and coffee prices ensured a strong week for soft commodities. Coffee had the best weekly performance since December following two consecutive weeks of losses. Arabica coffee found support from above normal temperatures and dry weather in Brazil which has raised the risk of the upcoming crop being lower than current market forecasts. Robusta coffee found spillover support from Arabica but also from reduced supplies from Vietnam and Indonesia. Vietnam is sitting on a very large coffee crop which could indicate the current strength may not continue with exports eventually expected to pick up. The most active Cocoa contract for delivery in March rose the most since 2011 but stabilised after reaching USD 2,900 per ton. Increased demand from the three major regions of Europe, North America and Asia helped support the price while increased supply from the Ivory Coast may help stabilise the price, not least due to its current near overbought condition. Crazy volatility in natural gas After a steady climb for natural gas throughout the first half of January a return of extreme levels of volatility left many traders battered and bruised. A daily trading range of more than 12 percent was seen on three occasions this past week resulting in volatility spiking to almost 100 percent. The price reached $5.5 per therm two days in a row before quickly retracing below $5. The rally was driven by the speedy reduction in inventory levels which was triggered by rising demand at a time of weatherinflicted lower production. A forecast for milder weather into February resulted in a sharp reversal with the NGH4 contract seeing its biggest two day decline in more than four years. Gold rangebound Gold returned to the lower end of

its current range with the near-term outlook very much depending on the direction of the US stock market and the dollar. The positive pull from risk aversion related to the emerging-market turmoil gave support early on but solid US economic data and the ongoing tapering of the US Federal Reserve asset purchase program together with slowing Chinese demand sent the metal looking for support once again. The failure to gain a proper foothold above resistance at $1,272 /oz triggered another bailing out of long positions but with stock markets still not showing any signs of finding the gear that drove them higher last year, gold may find enough support from this weakness to stay above important support at $1,231 /ounce. Despite the current rangebound nature, gold nevertheless had a good January which yielded a positive return for the first time since August and in the process, the yellow metal outperformed both bonds, stocks and the dollar. Compared with the beginning of the year, the investor attitude towards gold has been on the mend, but so far institutional investors continue to stay clear while hedge funds are only engaging on a relatively small scale. Continued stock market weakness and a prolonged emerging-market crisis may alter the outlook for global growth and eventually persuade investors back into gold, but until such time, a bearish approach by many investors will continue to limit the upside. Strong dollar WTI crude oil reached the highest level since early January as declining product inventories and the US winter lend support. Further upside beyond $99/barrel seems limited at this stage considering the impact the current turmoil may have on future demand and also considering the current strength of the dollar and stock market weakness. The discount to Brent crude moved below $10 for the first time since November as rising Libya production ensured increased availability of Opec oil while US demand was supported by the cold weather. As we approach February and March, further contraction of the spread could be hard to achieve as demand for crude oil from US Gulf Coast refineries may ease as the spring maintenance season kicks off.

NEW DELHI: Tata Motors is launching two models this week for India’s Auto Expo but the sudden death of its operations chief has left the vehicle giant in turmoil as it struggles to rebuild its fortunes. Tata Motors, a unit of giant Indian tea-tosteel conglomerate Tata, has become almost totally dependent on British prestige marques Jaguar and LandRover (JLR) for profit while its domestic woes go from bad to worse. Tata Motors managing director Karl Slym had been seeking to drive a revival of India’s largest vehicle group when police last weekend said he had plunged from a Bangkok hotel upper floor in an apparent suicide. The death of the Britishborn executive, a cricket-mad Indophile, marked a “huge loss for Tata Motors”, said Deepak Rathore, director of Indian consultancy Emerging Markets Automotive Advisors. He “had the right ideas about where Tata should head in product quality, service and new models”, Rathore said. Slym, 51, took over in 2012 as the once red-hot Indian car market was going into a deep descent due to a sharply slowing economy, high fuel prices and surging borrowing costs. India’s passenger car market, the sixth largest globally, fell 10 percent in 2013, the first drop in 11 years and a far cry from the scorching 28.2 percent growth it notched a couple of years earlier. JLR sales offset domestic dive A storming performance by storied JLR, a far-sighted 2008 purchase by former Tata group chief Ratan Tata to spread the Indian motor group’s wings globally, has kept Tata Motors out of the red and now accounts for 95 percent of its profit. In Tata Motors’s most recently reported second-quarter, profit surged by 71 percent to 35.42 billion rupees ($558 million) from a year earlier as JLR’s robust performance offset a domestic dive. On a standalone basis, Tata Motors’ India operations swung to a second-quarter loss of 8.04 billion rupees from a profit of 8.7 billion rupees a year earlier on slumping sales. “As far as profits go, JLR right now is Tata Motors,” Rathore commented. Underlining the company’s poor health, Tata Motors reported Saturday passenger vehicle sales slid 27.85 percent to 10,974 units in January while sales of commercial vehicles plummeted 36.6 percent to 36,657 units. Sales of the hatchback Nano, launched in 2010 and which flopped as aspirational Indians

AHMEDABAD: Former Tata Motors managing director Karl Slym poses during the launch of a motor car in Ahmedabad. Tata Motors is launching two models this week for India’s Auto Expo but the sudden death of its operations chief has left the vehicle giant in turmoil as it struggles to rebuild its fortunes. — AFP

were turned off by its “world’s cheapest car” branding, skidded 72 percent in the first three financial quarters to December 2013 from a year earlier. Underscoring investor nervousness about Slym’s loss, Tata Motors’ shares tumbled what analysts described as a “knee-jerk” six percent last Monday, a day after his death, before retracing some losses to finish down 3.5 percent at 348.85 rupees Friday. But Tata Motors’ quality, customer service and innovation problems go back long before the general vehicle industry began stalling, industry players say. Slym told AFP late last year he was determined to create a “wonderful (customer) experience” to improve impressions of Tata Motors. He said he was determined to “keep reinvigorating our lineup” and steer the Nano upmarket. New models for Delhi Auto Expo Just before Slym’s death, the company brought out a power-steering variant of the Nano to broaden its appeal. Last month, the company also showed off the first variant of a new generation of petrol engines called Revotron. And today, just ahead of the

February 7-11 auto show, it is set to unveil a heavily revamped compact sedan and hatchback. “It was far too early to call him a turnaround king but he (Slym) was putting some necessary changes in motion,” veteran car industry analyst Murad Ali Baig told AFP. He had got the board’s nod for a new product lineup until 2020 and to revamp manufacturing to eliminate customer complaints about post-purchase glitches. “It will take time to find someone who can pick up the baton-someone who knew the Indian market” like Slym, whose career was India-centric, said analyst Rathore. Slym’s “intense focus was on product quality,” said Tata spokeswoman Minari Shah. At the Delhi Auto Expo, 47 carmakers from around the globe from Ford to Volkswagen will launch 69 car and motorbike models-the most in the fair’s 14-year history-and stage 15 global unveilings. At Tata Motors, they are toning down the usual hoopla that goes with industry launches out of respect to Slym, but the group knows it must turn around quickly. “The best thing to do is to go forward with his plans. It’s the best tribute,” Tata’s Shah said.— AFP

Arabtec extends reach with giant construction order Sign of recovering confidence DUBAI: Dubai construction firm Arabtec clinched a $6.1 billion contract yesterday, its biggest ever by value, as its relationship with Abu Dhabi state fund Aabar, a key shareholder, promised to make the firm one of the region’s top builders. Arabtec said it had signed a memorandum of understanding to build 37 mixed-use, residential and hotel towers for Aabar in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The announcement pushed up stock markets, especially cement shares, in Abu Dhabi and Dubai because it was a fresh sign that their real estate markets are recovering strongly after prices halved during the global financial crisis. The news also suggested that after a few years of caution following the crisis, Abu Dhabi’s state funds, backed by the emirate’s oil wealth, are again ready to spend actively to develop the economy. The fortunes of Arabtec, already a major player in the region with a workforce of about 63,000 people, may be transformed by its relationship with Aabar, which is Arabtec’s largest shareholder with a 22 percent stake. Early last year, in a move supported by the Abu Dhabi fund, Arabtec replaced its founder and chief executive Riad Kamal with Abu Dhabi-based private investor Hasan Abdullah Ismaik and embarked on an ambitious growth strategy.

The new $6.1 billion contract dwar fs Arabtec’s 2012 revenues of $1.5 billion. In addition, Aabar said yesterday that it would assign all future construction work in its $20 billion real estate portfolio around the world to the Dubai firm. That portfolio includes projects in the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Morocco, Jordan, Serbia and other countries. Coping with this expansion of its business may pose a challenge to the company. “This is uncharted territory for Arabtec, to do such giant projects across the region with a backlog in excess of 60 billion dirhams ($16.3 billion),” said Nishit Lakhotia, head of research at Securities & Investment Co (SICO) in Bahrain. “Obviously, in countries where Arabtec does not have a presence yet, it can be a bit more risky to execute projects. That cannot be ruled out.” But he added, “They have been preparing for this. The recent strategic partnerships, acquisitions, rights issue and management changes are all part of this preparation.” Shares in Arabtec closed 2.8 percent higher on the Dubai bourse, though they came well off their highs, having risen 8.2 percent at one stage. The stock has climbed more than 50 percent so far this year after a 54 percent gain in 2013.

Margins Arabtec said it would start work this year on the new buildings for Aabar and that all the projects would be completed by 2020, when Dubai is due to host the World Expo. It did not say what profit margins it expected. “Margins in the UAE are still very competitive and it’s likely that margins are tight on such a major project,” said Lakhotia. Arabtec has won a series of contracts in Abu Dhabi, including high-profile projects such as development of Abu Dhabi’s main airport and the Louvre museum there, since Aabar began building a major stake in the firm in 2012. The firm also secured a $1.55 billion contract to build a resort in the Aqaba area of southern Jordan last month. The UAE’s real estate market has been recovering since 2012, partly because of a tourism and trade boom in Dubai, which has attracted foreign money. “Our growing backlog has now become a major benchmark of the speedy recovery of the sector. We expect to see good results with efforts to diversify into higher-margin sectors in association with international partners,” Arabtec’s Ismaik said in a statement. Aabar owns stakes in a range of high-profile companies within the UAE and abroad, including commodities trader Glencore and Italian bank UniCredit. — Reuters

Dubai’s Aramex Q4 net profit up 16%

UNB Q4 net profit more than doubles ABU DHABI: Union National Bank, Abu Dhabi’s fourth-largest lender by market value, yesterday said its fourth-quarter net profit more than doubled from a year earlier but it still fell short of analysts’ expectations. The bank said in a bourse filing it made a net profit of 306 million dirhams ($83.3 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, up from 136 million dirhams in the prior-year period. Six analysts forecast on average a net profit of 362.1 million dirhams in a Reuters poll. UNB, which is 50 percent owned by the Abu Dhabi government, made a full-year profit of 1.75 billion dirhams compared to 1.6 billion dirhams in 2012, helped by a 10 percent rise in non-interest income and a modest gain in net interest income. Banks in the United Arab

Emirates have reported strong earnings growth for the fourth quarter as they benefit from the improving economic picture in the Gulf Arab nation, especially in the key real estate sector, which was buffeted following a 2009 crash. The bank recommended a cash dividend of 0.15 dirhams per share and a 5 percent bonus share issue for 2013. This was up from the 0.10 dirhams distributed for the previous year. General provisions totalled 1.1 billion dirhams for the full year compared to 1 billion dirhams in 2012, the statement said, without providing a break-down for the quarter. Deposits at the bank grew 3 percent in 2013 to 65.1 billion dirhams, while net loans and advances increased 5 percent to reach 60 billion dirhams at the end of December. — Reuters

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani workers prepare solar energy light panels on a road divider in Islamabad yesterday. The country faces an electricity shortfall of around 4,000 megawatts in the sweltering summer, leading to lengthy blackouts that can make the lives of the population a misery and have strangled economic growth. — AFP

DUBAI: Dubai-based logistics firm Aramex posted a 16 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit yesterday, boosted by growing revenues from its international business. The company made a net profit of 76.4 million dirhams ($20.8 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, up from 65.7 million dirhams in the prior-year period, it said in a statement to the Dubai bourse. The earnings edged slightly ahead of the average forecast of four analysts polled by Reuters, who expected a profit figure of 74.4 million dirhams. Revenue in the quarter grew 5 percent year-on-year to 850 million dirhams, with its international express business recording revenues 11 percent higher in the same timeframe. Hussein Hachem, Aramex’s chief executive, said in the statement the firm was “very confident of carrying our strong performance through 2014”, with the firm expected to continue expanding in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.—Reuters



S African Airways turns to state for survival JOHANNESBURG: Hapless and helpless, South Africa’s struggling national carrier awaits news on a state cash injection vital to stay in the skies, but which shows up its inability to make money. Eighty years after its creation, loss-making South African Airways (SAA) battles with an ageing fleet and a weak national currency. “It’s not a secret that our balance sheet is very weak,” chief financial officer Wolf Meyer admitted. “There are currently discussions with the national Treasury, we hope that we get good news soon on the capitalization,” he said. State intervention is key to SAA’s survival and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is

expected to shed more light on saving the airline during his annual budget speech in parliament this month. In the meantime, the government has extended a two-year guarantee of five million rands ($444 million, 329 million euros) issued in 2012 in exchange for a vast restructuring. When that guarantee was first approved, irate opposition parties accused the government of wasting taxpayer money, while some companies said it was distorting the market. A year and a half later the turn-around strategy still has not been implemented and main opposition party the Democratic Alliance

(DA) has renewed its call to privatize the carrier. “Government needs to stop throwing good money at a bad problem,” the party said last week. “We simply cannot continue with ‘business as usual’ any longer.” Last Wednesday, SAA reported improved results for the financial year that ended in 2013, but the situation remains bleak. Though better than the 1.3 billion rand loss a year before, the 991-million-rand operating loss was still a glaring indicator of existing problems. The results were released months behind schedule because talks between the treasury and the actual shareholder, the

ministry of public enterprises, dragged on, said Meyer. Air traffic on the continent is soaring. Despite the losses, the 13.5 percent increase in revenues indicates market potential even in the face of aggressive competition from companies based in the Gulf. But the company warned of rising fuel costs and the rand’s slide against the dollar, which ate into earnings. In the domestic market, low-cost subsidiary Mango cashed in on two competitors going out of business. On the international front, SAA, which is member of the Star Alliance group, is building a name for itself, Meyer said. —AFP

MARIKANA: South Africa’s platinum mine workers stage a protest after they rejected a fresh wage offer at a public meeting in Marikana vowing to continue a week-long strike that has brought the sector to a standstill. —AFP

S African mediators make proposal to end platinum strike JOHANNESBURG: South African government mediators have put forward a proposal designed to end a strike that has hit around 40 percent of global platinum supply, they said at the weekend. It was not immediately clear what the proposal entails and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) declined to say what is in it. “The mediated proposal or a variation thereof could form the basis of a final settlement in this dispute,” said Nerine Kahn, CCMA director in a statement. Talks between South Africa’s main platinum union, AMCU, and three platinum producers Anglo American Platinum, Lonmin and

Impala Platinum - were suspended until Tuesday, CCMA said. The companies and AMCU also declined to disclose the content of the mediators’ proposal. Workers downed tools a week ago, seeking a doubling of wages to 12,500 rand ($1,100)a month, a demand companies have said they can illafford as they struggle to recover from a wave wildcat strikes that battered the sector in 2012 and led to dozens of deaths. “It is imperative that a resolution is affordable, achievable and sustainable,” the three companies said in a joint statement. AMCU rejected a revised 9 percent wage hike offer last week. —Reuters

Kerry downplays senator’s hostility to trade talks WASHINGTON: Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s opposition to President Barack Obama’s push for authority to fasttrack trade deals should not stand in the way of US congressional passage of the measure. Reid, a Democrat, is the senior member of Obama’s party in Congress. On Wednesday, Reid said he was “against fast track” and urged a slow approach to trade negotiations. “Look, I respect Harry Reid. I’ve worked with him for a long time, obviously,” Kerry, a former US senator, said during remarks at a security conference in Munich. “I’ve heard plenty of statements in the Senate on one day that are categorical, and we’ve wound up finding accommodation and a way to find our way forward. So this should not be a deterrent, and I hope nobody will let it stand in the way,” Kerry added. In his State of the Union address last Tuesday, Obama asked for fast-track trade negotiation authority. Legislation before the House of Representatives and Senate would grant the White House power to submit free trade deals to Congress for an up-or-down vote, without amendments. This authority would allow the Obama administration to speed up the negotiations for two massive free trade pacts that would cover about two-thirds of the world’s international trade - a pan-Pacific trading bloc and a US agreement with the

European Union. “I think that everyone would be welladvised just to not push this right now,” Reid said on Wednesday. Kerry on Saturday said that “there’s a lot of room here still” despite Reid’s comments. Also in Munich, another member of Obama’s Cabinet, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, underscored Kerry’s comments on trade. “I would hope that this would get done by the United States Senate. It’s clearly in everyone’s interest,” said Hagel, also a former member of the Senate. “Let’s be smart and let’s be wise and let’s be collaborative and use all of the opportunities and mechanisms that we have to enhance each other - culturally, trade, commerce, exchanges,” the Pentagon chief added. Fast-track authority is seen as a litmus test of political support for free trade deals, which have been opposed by some of Obama’s power bases - unions, environmentalists and consumer groups concerned about lost jobs and weaker labor and pollution restrictions. Top Republicans in the House of Representatives on Thursday called on Obama to “get his own party in line” behind the fast-track trade negotiation authority. House Speaker John Boehner complained about Reid’s stance, saying it would hinder passage of a measure that Obama and many Republicans contend would spur exports and job growth. —Reuters

Investcorp expects extended growth DUBAI: Bahrain-based investment company Investcorp expects 15-20 percent annual growth over the next five years, its chief financial officer said yesterday after reporting a 53 percent increase in first-half net profit. Investcorp, which famously took luxury brands Gucci and Tiffany & Co public in the 1990s, made a net profit of $60.1 million in the six months to Dec. 31, against $39.2 million in the same period a year earlier. “ This is a good result in the shor t term and in sync with our five-year plan,” C F O R i s h i K a p o o r to l d re p o r te r s i n Dubai. “Our growth expectations are around 15 to 20 percent a year.” Fee income for the period rose 24 percent to $74.3 million, driven by strong transac-

tion ac tivit y and higher demand for alternative investments such as hedge funds. Investcorp, which had $11.3 billion in assets under management at Dec. 31, has received increasing interest from institutional investors in hedge funds and a strong appetite for acquisitions in the United States, mainly in the real estate sector. Investcorp, which has offices in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, has fully invested its $1 billion Gulf Opportunity Fund but no new funds are imminent, K apoor said. “ We remain opportunistic and ready to raise funds on a deal-by-deal basis. We are working on at least two opportunities in the Gulf region right now,” he said. —Reuters



Dollar index rallies on Fed move NBK WEEKLY MONEY MARKETS REPORT KUWAIT: Last week ended with a risk off tone as the US dollar and the yen have rallying while for once the Euro and commodity currencies coming under pressure. Selling pressure on global equities continues with the S&P and Nikkei dropping at the end of the week. On the other hand, the turbulence in emerging markets that started in May 2013 when Chairman Bernanke mentioned the possibility of a reduction in asset purchases in the months ahead continued this week as investors who parked their money using cheap funding continued their deleveraging process. Indeed, emerging market currencies saw another round of selling early in the week and large volatility swings hit the market affecting mostly the Turkish Lira. In the developed markets, the dollar Index rose slightly last week, after the FOMC decision to taper its asset purchases by an additional 10 billion dollars. We also had better than expected economic indicators coming out of the US that supported the dollar’s strength, especially the US GDP data that grew at 3.2% annualized rate in the fourth quarter, indicating that the Federal Reserve could continue with its ongoing tapering process. The Sterling Pound fell against a broadly stronger dollar reaching a low of 1.6425, due to worse than expected business lending data ,that reduced the chance for a rise in official interest rates within a year. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney reiterated last week that Britain’s economic recovery had further to run before monetary tightening. The Euro currency fell against its US dollar counterpart, reaching a low of 1.3480, after Euro zone inflation data on Friday showed a surprise drop to 0.7% year-on-year in January, while analysts had expected a rise to 0.9 % increasing the chance for an European Central Bank rate cut rates further. US new home sales drop US new homes sales dropped more than expected in December, the Commerce Department announced last week that sales fell 7.0 % to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 414,000 units, marking the second straight month of declines in sales. Market analysts attributed the drop in home sales to bad weather that slowed the market and buyers adjusting to higher borrowing

costs and rising property valuation. New home prices rose 8.4 % in 2013, the largest increase since 2005. Consumer confidence US consumer confidence improved last month, as consumers grew more optimistic about both business conditions and the job market. The Conference Board said its index of consumer rose to 80.7 points, well above market expectation of a 78.1-point rise. The Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board said, “Consumers’ assessment of the present situation continues to improve, with both business conditions and the job market rated more favorably. Looking ahead six months, consumers expect the economy and their earnings to improve, but were somewhat mixed regarding the outlook for jobs. All in all, confidence appears to be back on track and rising expectations suggest the economy may pick up some momentum in the months ahead.” Tapering process Last week, The Federal Open Market Committee decided to reduce its bond purchases by another 10 billion US dollars, The Fed said it would buy 65 billion US dollars in bonds per month starting in February, down from 75 billion dollar. The Fed shaved its purchases of US Treasuries and mortgage bonds equally. The US Federal Reserve stuck to their plan to unwind its extraordinary economic stimulus despite recent turmoil in emerging markets. The action was widely anticipated, although some investors had speculated that the US central bank might put its plans on hold given the jitters overseas. In addition to the tapering, the Fed made no changes to its other main policies they maintained their pledge to keep interest rates low for some time to come. US unemployment claims The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week, the Labor Department said, that the Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased by 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000, slightly above market expectation a 330,000 new claims. Last week’s reading was the highest since mid-December.

US pending home sales US pending home sales dropped in December reaching a two-year low, due in part to unusually cold weather across the country, pointing to signs of a slowdown in the housing market. The pending home sales Index dropped 8.7 % to 92.4, the lowest level since October 2011, while Contracts were 8.8 % below the December 2012 levels. The Drop was due to higher borrowing costs and bad weather that held back sales. US GDP The US Gross Domestic Product grew by 3.2 % in the fourth quarter of 2013 as Americans’ spending climbed the most

in three years and exports improved , laying the ground for further improvement in 2014. The annualized gain in the GDP came in line with market expectations. The Consumer spending which accounts to more than70% of the total economic activity rose at a 3.3 %, the strongest since the fourth quarter of 2010. German business climate German business sentiment climbed in January to its highest level since July 2011, suggesting Europe’s largest economy is on track for a strong start to 2014 after growing only modestly last year. The German Ifo business climate index rose to 110.6 in January up from 109.5 last month. Germany is the euro-zone’s largest economy, and the region will need the German locomotive to lead the way to an economic recovery.

continued to grow at a solid pace. German unemployment German unemployment dropped more than expected in January, as businesses grew more confident in the strength of Europe’s largest economy. The number of people out of work reduced by a seasonally adjusted 28,000 to 2.93 million, after falling a revised 19,000 in December. The adjusted jobless rate surprisingly dropped to 6.8%, unchanged from a revised December figure and matching the lowest rate in at least two decades. Euro-zone consumer price inflation fell in January, increased possibility for further easing by the European Central Bank to sustain a fragile recovery and

ward against deflation. CPI in the 18country bloc fell to 0.7% year-on-year in the first month of 2014, down from 0.8% in December. Inflation last touched the 0.7% level in October of 2013, which was the lowest inflation reading for the single currency area in almost four years. UK strong prelim GDP The United Kingdom Gross Domestic Product posted its strongest annual rate of growth in 2013 in six years. Britain’s gross domestic product rose by 0.7% in the fourth quarter in line with economists’ forecasts. UK GDP showed four consecutive quarters of solid growth. The real GDP grew 1.9% Y/Y in 2013. Although 1.9% growth is usually, not considered strong, it marked the strongest annual average growth rate the British economy has posted since 2007, confirming that the UK economy

Carney speaks Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said in an event hosted by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, that the Britain’s economic recovery had further to run before monetary policy was tightened He said “although a few quarters of above-trend growth driven by household spending represent a good start, they are not sufficient. Even though employment is growing and unemployment has fallen...the recovery has some way to run before it would be appropriate to consider moving away from the emergency setting of monetary policy.” Asian markets Bank of Japan decided in their last meeting to set the following guidelines, they will conduct money market operations so that the monetary base will increase at an annual pace of about 6070 Trillion yen. With regard to the asset purchases, the bank will continue to purchase Japanese government bonds so that their amount outstanding will increase at an annual pace of about 50 trillion yen, and they will purchase exchangetraded funds and Japan real estate investment so that their amounts outstanding will increase at an annual pace of about 1 Trillion Yen. As for corporate bonds, the bank will continue with those asset purchases until their amounts outstanding reach 2.2 Trillion Yen. Japanese core consumer prices climbed to 1.3% in December from a year earlier, the fastest pace in more than five years, adding signs that the economy is making steady progress towards ending 15 years of oppressive deflation. Factory output also grew in December and manufacturers expect to keep increasing production, the data points to an economy that continues to pick up momentum on strong domestic demand. However, Bank of Japan Governor Kuroda expressed some caution about export demand, as many of Japan’s Asian trading partners remain weak. Kuwait Kuwaiti dinar at 0.28285 The USDKWD opened at 0.28285 yesterday morning.

Weak inflation could prompt ECB rate cut Draghi sees no deflation in euro area

US auto union close to big win thanks to VW DETROIT: American labor leaders are closing in on a decades-long goal of organizing a factory run by a foreign automaker, thanks to a bridgehead opened up at Germany’s Volkswagen. While a vote has not yet been scheduled, the United Auto Workers says that a majority of the 1,700 workers at VW’s plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee have signed cards asking for union representation. A win at VW would increase pressure on fellow German automakers BMW and Daimler AG to open the door to unionization efforts at their US facilities. It could even boost the union’s claims for recognition at factories run by Japan’s Nissan, Honda and Toyota and South Korea’s Kia and Hyundai. Despite strong traditions of organized labor in their home countries, German, Japanese and South Korean automakers have strongly resisted unionization efforts in the United States. Most of their plants are located in southern states where anti-union sentiments run high and ‘right to work’ laws make it difficult for unions to get a foothold. The foreign carmakers have also kept workers satisfied by offering wages and benefits that are in line with, or even exceed, those won by unions at General Motors, Ford and Chrysler plants. But European unions-facing plant closures at home amidst a deep and lengthy downturnhave been pressuring VW and other German carmakers to give US workers a seat on their global works councils, which gives employees a say in the management of the company. “The German unions want to see those plants unionized,” said John Russo, a labor specialist at Virginia Tech University. “They think it is important to their future. They don’t want labor relations in Germany to follow an American model.” Unions a hard sell in South Convincing southern workers to pay union dues isn’t easy, especially after the United Auto Workers was blamed for the downfall of the

Detroit Three carmakers. The layoff of 500 temporary workers as a result of slowing sales of VW’s Passat has increased job security concerns. Improved labor relations as a result of the major concessions the UAW made to help GM and Chrysler emerge from bankruptcy protection have also helped. But the UAW has VW management to thank for much of its success. The German automaker opened talks with the union in September to find a way to get its workers in Tennessee a seat on the German automaker’s global works council. Such councils are only allowed in the United States if they include union representatives. Then in December, VW abruptly ousted Jonathan Browning-who had spoken publicly about his opposition to the UAW-as head of US operations. While the personnel move was prompted by disappointing sales, which stalled VW’s expansion in the key US market, the union is certainly grateful that Browning’s replacement is seen to be a friend to labor. “People have to be able to choose which way they want to go,” Volkswagen Group of America chief Michael Horn told reporters in his first visit to the Detroit auto show since taking the helm. VW’s decision to sit down with UAW ignited a political controversy in Tennessee that spilled over into neighboring states such as Mississippi and Alabama. Conservative politicians from governors all the way down to local county commissioners have denounced both the UAW and Volkswagen-and warned that they will have trouble attracting new businesses if the union gets a foothold. The possibility of a historic win for the UAW comes as the American labor movement is fighting for its survival. The rate of unionization in the United States has dropped to its lowest since the 1930s: a paltry 11.3 percent. The UAW alone has seen its membership rolls plummet from a peak of 1.5 million in 1979 to 383,000 today. —AFP

FRANKFURT: Weaker-than-expected euro-zone inflation data could prompt the European Central Bank to cut its interest rates this week, but experts are reluctant to place their bets just yet. The ECB’s policy-setting governing council is scheduled to hold its regular monthly policy meeting on Thursday. According to data compiled by the EU’s statistics agency Eurostat last week, euro-zone inflation slowed to 0.7 percent in January from 0.8 percent in December, turning up the heat on the ECB to prevent the bloc slipping into deflation. The inflation figure is indeed far below the ECB’s target of just below 2.0 percent. According to the central bank’s own latest projections, area-wide inflation will average 1.1 percent for the whole of 2014. But ECB watchers believe that that forecast could now be over-optimistic. “After the softer inflation data in January, the staff forecast of 1.1 percent on average in 2014 looks too high,” Deutsche Bank chief economists Mark Wall and Gilles Moec wrote in an investors’ note. They conceded that the lower-thanexpected January inflation figure could be due to changes in the way the data are calculated. But inflation in Germany also come in lower than forecast. And that “raises concern about disinflation spreading to core countries”, the experts said. At last month’s meeting, ECB president Mario Draghi had taken care not to rule out any further additional monetary easing. “On balance we believe the ECB will respond to the further disappointing inflation news with a policy rate cut on February 6,” Wall and Moec said. ECB ready to act if necessary The ECB took markets by surprise in November and pared back its central “refi” refinancing rate by a quarter of a percentage point to a record low of 0.25 percent. The reason behind the move was an expectation that the 18 countries that share the euro are facing a

prolonged period of very low inflation. At the January meeting, Drahi said: “We remain determined to maintain the high degree of monetary accommodation and to take further decisive action if required.” Capital Economics economist Jonathan Loynes also believed another rate cut could be on the cards. The ECB’s decision-making governing council “will need to follow up Draghi’s dovish words with further policy action very soon. Another small cut in interest rates, perhaps accompanied by a negative deposit rate, seems the most likely course of action, if not at February’s meeting then soon after,” Loynes said. The ECB’s so-called deposit rate currently stands at zero percent and there has been much debate whether the central bank would bring it down into negative territory, an unprecedented move that could have unforeseen repercussions. UniCredit analysts were not convinced that a move could come as soon as this week, however. “Markets have started speculating on the possibility of a dovish move in the short term. We think the ECB will reiterate its commitment to maintaining an accommodative stance, but without this leading to immediate action,” the experts said. No deflation Draghi and other ECB officials have insisted time and again that the euro-zone is not facing dangerous deflation-a vicious circle of falling prices. But Wall and Moec at Deutsche Bank warned that in the present environment, “current inflation takes on added significance and all the more so when inflation is very low and the recovery weak, uneven and fragile,” they argued. “In our opinion, the set of data to emerge over the last month justifies a further easing of the policy stance on February 6. It is a question of timing. If not February, the easing will be in March, accompanying downwardly revised ECB staff inflation forecasts,” the

FRANKFURT MAIN: European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt. Deutsche Bank analysts said. In addition to changing interest rates, the ECB could pump more liquidity into the financial system via so-called LTROs, or Long Term Refinancing Operations, to get credit flowing again between banks and businesses, crucial if any economic upturn is to be sustained. The ECB already pumped more than 1.0 trillion euros ($1.3 trillion) into the banking system at the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 to avert a potentially disastrous credit crunch. —AFP

Will a weaker ruble really be good for Russia? MOSCOW: The Russian government has suggested that the slide in the value of the ruble may have a silver lining, but will it really help perk up the sluggish economy or just crimp consumption by consumers? The ruble has been caught up in the selloff of emerging market currencies, losing about 6.5 percent of its value against the dollar in recent weeks to hit a fiveyear low of more the 35 to the greenback. And it has slid by around 5 percent to a new record low of more than 48 rubles to euro. However Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev looked to the bright side of things. “This will help improve the competitiveness of a range of industries,” he told Moscow’s Prime business

news agency. “I am not a proponent of stimulating the economy through an artificial weakening of the ruble,” said Ulyukayev. “But since what we have now is not an artificial but a natural weakening ... then why not enjoy its positive effects?” he asked. Boon for the budget The government will feel an immediate boost as most of its budget revenue is from the export of gas and oil, which are sold for dollars. The budget deficit was reduced to 0.5 percent of gross domestic product last year thanks to higher oil prices. But with growth at just 1.3 percenta quarter of the Kremlin’s target-there is not

enough funds for President Vladimir Putin to fulfil his 2012 election campaign promises. “All the increases in social benefits will be financed,” noted the daily Vedomosti. “Of course with rubles that are worth less, but they will be financed.” Economist Nikolai Petrov at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics believes the ruble’s slide was intended. “The government, which is trying to make ends meet and must find 15 billion dollars for Ukraine, went consciously in that direction,” he said. The budget pinch has led the government to hold off on financing several flagship projects that are designed to boost growth, such as the high-speed rail link between Moscow and the city of Kazan to the east.—AFP



Purchasing applications on Samsung’s App Store now made easier for Wataniya Customers KUWAIT: Wataniya Telecom, the first private telecom operator in Kuwait, has collaborated with Samsung to bring more simplicity and greater ease to its customers wishing to purchase apps from Samsung’s App Store called Samsung Apps. Customers can now purchase their favorite app from Samsung Apps without the need for a credit card, making their purchase through their prepaid credit, or debiting it straight to their account and paying it later through their monthly Wataniya mobile bill.

Wataniya is the first mobile operator in Kuwait to collaborate with Samsung to provide its customers with this option. More and more customers are downloading apps and they want secure payment options which do not compromise their credit card details. At the same time many young adults and teenagers who are tech savvy want access to the latest apps but are unable to enjoy them due to credit card

restrictions. Wataniya commented on this new feature and said “Providing good service is not just about giving customers what they want, it is about anticipating their needs and creating new ways of fulfilling their expectations. Wataniya is the first telecom in Kuwait to activate this feature. We introduced “Bill through Wataniya” so that all our Samsung users get the flexibility they need without compromising on their safety.” Hayssam Yassine, the Head of Mobile Sales and Marketing, from Samsung added, “Like Wataniya, Samsung too is always looking to enhance the user experience, and ensuring their safety tops this list. Our new partnership with Wataniya provides customers with ease of mind when purchasing the latest app from our store, as well as expanding our customer base, allowing those without a credit card to access our apps.” There are no limits to the number of apps a user can buy and all the details of the purchases will be clearly visible in their bills. Also the process of purchasing the apps is very easy and customers will simply have to choose “Bill through Wataniya” as their payment option when they decide to buy an app. The amount will be debited to their phone bill or deducted from their prepaid account. Wataniya Telecom never tires in its efforts to create experiences that add convenience and enhance its customer’s day to day interactions with ease and flexibility. New services and features are constantly developed that help Wataniya customers move forward with the ever-changing landscape of technology.

Al-Sayer unveils special ‘Platinum Package’ 60th anniversary celebration KUWAIT: Mohamed Naser Al-Sayer & Sons Company announced the launch of special and exclusive pack age for special Toyota models under its new platinum package for its elite customers in Kuwait. These models feature special options, specifications and a whole range of luxury accessories, marking Al-Sayer Group 60th Anniversary. Al-Sayer Group takes this opportunity to record sincere thanks and deep gratitude to our valued customers for their firm support and trust. Since inception back in 1954 AlSayer Group embarked on an everlasting journey of relentless commitment to customer service fueled by rigor, hard work and re l e n t l e s s p u r s u i t o f f u r t h e r p e a k s a n d heights of success. The last ten years of this journey have seen a lot of expansion projects and wide range of best products and services. Our quality products and services translated into highest levels of customer delight. M a s o u d Wa h b a , Toyo t a G e n e r a l S a l e s Manager, Mohamed Naser Al-Sayer & Sons Co m p a ny c o m m e n t e d o n t h i s e ve n t , “Mohamed Naser Al-Sayer & Sons Company is offering this platinum package to its elite customers as part of our celebrations marking Al-Sayer Group 60th anniversar y ”, for models truly boasting unique luxury, power and performance. Such accessories include an info display screen showing speed on the

windshield, flat tire pump, sunlight shields for windows, under seat internal lights...etc” Offer is valid for limited period of time at Al-Rai, Al-Ahmadi Industrial Area, Shuwaikh Al-Tilal Mall and Al-Jahra showrooms as long as stock lasts. Mohamed Naser Al-Sayer &

Sons Company also assures , through its “platinum “ cars, its commitment to the journey of leadership and giving while adhering to Al-Sayer Customer Service Charter, and offering a lot of spectacular products and services in all areas and to all people.

Burgan Bank announces winners of Yawmi account ABK exclusive offer for World MasterCard cardholders KUWAIT: Al-Ahli Bank of Kuwait (ABK) has announced the launch of an exclusive offer for its World MasterCard Credit cardholders in collaboration with MasterCard and Emirates, with which cardholders will receive 10 Skywards Miles for ever y Kuwaiti Dinar they spend abroad. The offer for ABK World MasterCard cardholders is valid only for a limited time period of one month commencing Februar y 1. Currently ABK’s World MasterCard cardholders are rewarded with up to 7 Skywards Miles for every Kuwaiti Dinar spent in a foreign currency. Furthermore, cardholders will benefit from additional features, such as the Priority Pass Airpor t Lounge Access, Complimentary Travel Insurance, Local and International Concierge Services, Instant discounts with ABK Advantage, exclusive MasterCard Offers and Promotions, and access to the MasterCard Global Emergency Ser vices. Skywards Miles earned can be redeemed for reward flights and upgrades on Emirates, connecting travelers to 141 destinations in 80 countries. Stewart Lockie, GM Retail Banking stated: “ABK is always looking for ways to add value and further reward our valued customers, this Februar y our World

MasterCard Credit cardholders will be able to earn up to 10 Skywards Miles for every KD spent on their cards.” Lockie added, “The offer is for a limited time only, so travel, shop and experience the rewards with your ABK Emirates World MasterCard card this February”. For more details, please visit any ABK branch or call Ahlan Ahli 1899 899, alternatively you could also chat live with ABK’s customer service representative on Ahli Chat at Emirates Skywards Emirates Skywards, the award-winning frequent flyer program of Emirates, offers four tiers of membership - Blue, Silver, Gold and Platinum - with each membership tier providing exclusive privileges. Members earn Skywards Miles when they fly on Emirates or partner airlines, or when they use the program’s designated hotels, car rentals, financial, leisure and lifestyle partners. Skywards Miles can be redeemed for an extensive range of rewards, including tickets on Emirates and other Emirates Skywards partner airlines, flight upgrades, hotel accommodation, excursions and exclusive shopping. For more information or to join Emirates Skywards, go to

Al-Tijari announces winners of daily draw with Najma Account KUWAIT: Commercial Bank of Kuwait held the Al Najma Account Daily draw yesterday. The draw was held under the supervision of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry represented by Mr. Saquer Al-Mannaie. The winners of the Najma Daily Draw are : Mohammed Iqbal Ali KD 7000, Nabeel Abdul Ghafoor KD 7000 Mohammad Ishfaq Abdul Razaq KD 7000, Jahaber Sathik Saheb KD 7000 Abdulkareem Abdulla Al-Fadhli KD 7000. The Commercial Bank of Kuwait announces the biggest daily draw in Kuwait with the launch of the new Najma account. Customers of the bank can now enjoy a KD 7,000 daily prize which is the highest in the country and another 4 mega prizes during the year wor th

KD100,000 each on different occasions: The National Day, Eid Al-Fitr, Eid Al-Adha and on the 19th of June which is the date of the bank’s establishment. With a minimum balance of KD 500, customers will be eligible for the daily draw provided that the money is in the account one week prior to the daily draw or 2 months prior to the mega draw. In addition, for each KD25 a customer can get one chance for winning instead of KD50. Commercial Bank of Kuwait takes this opportunity to congratulate all lucky winners and also extends appreciation to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for their effective supervision of the draws which were conducted in an orderly and organized manner.

KUWAIT: Burgan Bank announced yesterday the names of the lucky winners of its Yawmi account draw, each taking home a prize of KD 5,000. The lucky winners for the daily draws took home a cash-prize of KD 5000 each, and they are: • Khalid Raja Abdullah Aladwani • Mohamed Abdulla Ahmed Abdalrahman • Jadaan Jarad Awwad Alshammari • Zeenab Mohammed Taleb Alhusni • Yousef Humoud Sulaiman Almudhayan With its new and enhanced features, the Yawmi Account has become more convenient,

easier, and faster for customers to benefit from. Now, customers will be eligible to enter the draw after 48 hours only from opening the account. Customers are also required to deposit KD 100 or equivalent only to enter the daily draw, and the coupon value to enter the draw stands at KD 10. The newly designed Yawmi account has been launched to provide a highly innovative offering along with a higher frequency and incentive of winning for everyone. Today, the Yawmi account is a well understood product, where its popularity can be seen from the number of increasing account holders. Burgan Bank encourages everyone to open a

Yawmi account and/or increase their deposit to maximize their chances to becoming a daily winner. The more customers deposit, the higher the chances they receive of winning the draw. Opening a Yawmi account is simple, customers are urged to visit their nearest Burgan Bank branch and receive all the details, or simply call the bank’s Call Center at 1804080 where customer ser vice representatives will be delighted to assist with any questions on the Yawmi account or any of the bank’s products and services. Customers can also log on to Burgan Bank’s for further information.

United Airlines drops Cleveland as hub airport WASHINGTON: United Airlines said it will drop its money-losing hub in Cleveland, slashing its daily flights and eliminating 470 jobs. The company ’s CEO Jeff Smisek announced in a letter to employees that the airline will no longer use Cleveland to connect fliers coming from other airports around the country. As a result, United’s daily departures from the city will fall from 199 current-

ly to 72 by June. “Our hub in Cleveland hasn’t been profitable for over a decade, and has generated tens of millions of dollars of annual losses in recent years,” Smisek states. “We simply cannot continue to bear these losses.” United said in November that it aims to cut $2 billion in annual costs in the coming year by shifting flights, making workers more productive, and

improving its maintenance procedures. Similar cutbacks have affected many other small hubs in cities such as Memphis, Cincinnati and Salt Lake City amid a wave of airline mergers over the last five years. Because it’s hard to fill a plane between, say, Indianapolis and Paris, airlines use hubs like Cleveland to gather passengers

and connect them to the flights they want. People who live in a hub city get a wider selection of destinations because their airport has more flights than it would if it was limited to the flights supported by local traffic. Cleveland was a hub for Continental when it merged with United in 2010 to form United Continental Holdings Inc. Ever since the merger, people in the industry have assumed it was in danger of losing its hub status, because the airline now has United’s Midwestern hub in Chicago. “Ever since the merger everyone knew this was a risk, which is why economic development officials for the city, the region and the state have discussed options with United for keeping its presence in Cleveland,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich said. “This is a disappointing decision and one we disagree with, but a point that United stressed is that demand for air travel from Cleveland remains strong and that they’re maintaining virtually all of their flights to and from major markets.” In June, Delta Air Lines Inc announced it would be closing its Memphis hub, which it had inherited in its 2008 acquisition of Northwest Airlines. Delta already has a huge hub operation in Atlanta. —AP



Lenovo signals ‘global ambitions’ China’s tech giant’s acquisition of Motorola BEIJING: In 1984, with only $25,000 in Chinese government funding and a dusty 20-square-metre bungalow as their headquarters, a small group of scientists in Beijing founded a firm called New Technology Developer Inc. Thirty years later, the tech companywhich went on to become Legend and later, Lenovo-is the world’s biggest personal computer maker, and has just completed two major deals with IBM and Google that analysts say will help it to diversify away from the sagging PC market and boost its expansion overseas. Lenovo’s $2.3 billion purchase of IBM’s low-end server business and its $2.91 billion acquisition of Motorola from Google are evidence of the Chinese tech giant’s “global ambitions”, said JeanFrancois Dufour at DCA Chine-Analyse. “Just as iPhones and iPads have overtaken Macs in commercial importance for Apple, smartphones and tablets are expected to replace PCs in part for Lenovo,” said Dufour, who called the firm “the pioneer of Chinese companies’ global offensive”. The back-to-back deals are all the more significant because of their timing, coming just as US President Barack Obama noted in his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday that “for the first time in over a decade, business leaders around the world have declared that China is no longer the world’s number one place to invest; America is”. With Chinese investment in the US doubling to $14 billion in 2013, a larger and larger share of that capital is coming from America’s rival across the Pacific-a fact unmentioned by Obama in his speech.

in China’s domestic market in 1996 and in the Asia-Pacific region three years later. Its 2003 decision to change the name of its PC brand from Legend to Lenovo in a bid to boost its sales abroad marked the begin-

Impressive course From its humble beginnings, Lenovo has charted an impressive course in the personal computer market. Under its earlier name, Legend, it secured the biggest share

ning of its ascent to global preeminence. That move was followed by a successful 2004 bid to serve as the exclusive computing technology provider for the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics and the 2008 Beijing

Games, making it the first Chinese firm to become a major Olympic sponsor. But it was Lenovo’s 2005 acquisition of IBM’s PC division for $1.75 billion that cemented its rise, setting it on track to unseat Hewlett-

ties such as basketball star Kobe Bryant and Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher, who the company named a “product engineer” for its new Yoga Tablet device. With its Motorola purchase, Lenovo

HANGZHOU: Chinese customers check out the computers at a Lenovo shop in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province yesterday. —AFP Packard as the world’s top PC vendor last year. Lenovo now has PC products in more than 160 countries and has worked to build its global brand by recruiting celebri-

hopes to replicate its PC market success in the smartphone universe. The deal “will immediately make Lenovo a strong global competitor in smartphones”, Lenovo chairman and chief executive officer Yang

Yuanqing said. As it did after the 2005 IBM deal, however, it faces tough odds. Lenovo is the number-two smartphone maker in China with a 12.5 percent market share in the third quarter of 2013, behind South Koreabased Samsung’s 18.4 percent. No 3 spot? But globally, Lenovo ranked fifth in the same quarter, with only 4.5 percent market share. Its acquisition of Motorola is likely to bump it up to the No 3 spot, Yang said, but it will remain well behind leaders Samsung and US tech giant Apple, with 31.3 percent and 15.3 percent, respectively. Varun Goel, head of portfolio management services at Karvy Stock Broking, noted that while Lenovo has succeeded in the world of PCs, the smartphone market is “a very different ball game, with entrenched players like Apple and Samsung leading the fray”. “While Lenovo has expertise in hardware, today’s smartphone industry is driven by smarter softwares,” Goel told AFP. “In the smartphone markets, Google’s Android platform has been gaining strength. There is very little differentiation that Motorola’s Android-powered phones currently have over Samsung, which uses the same platform.” “We are not sure if this acquisition will add long term value to Lenovo’s shareholders,” he added. China’s official Xinhua news agency had a more optimistic outlook. In a commentary published Thursday, it greeted Lenovo’s Motorola purchase and said by expanding their global reach, Chinese companies seek to “bring about a win-win outcome”. “The amicable combination should ... be greeted by blessing rather than doubt by the world,” it said, noting that Lenovo has pledged not to lay off any Motorola employees following the deal. —AFP


From Harvard dorm to global phenomenon SAN FRANCISCO: Key dates in the history of Facebook, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this month:

AT&T headquarters in New York

AT&T reduces rates for high-data plans NEW YORK: AT&T is reducing cellphone rates for family plans with large amounts of data. The new rates are available starting Sunday and apply to plans with at least 10 gigabytes of data shared by two or more phones on a single account. Savings start at $10 per phone per month. A family of four sharing 10 gigabytes will pay $160 a month combined instead of $200 under the most recent rates. The changes represent AT&T’s latest effort to get customers to pay more overall by upgrading from lower-use plans. In some cases, families will actually pay less if they upgrade. That family of four, for instance, already pays $170 monthly for a 4 gigabyte plan and $180 for 6 gigabytes. If they upgrade, they will pay just $160. But for the most part, more data means more revenue for AT&T Inc. David Christopher, chief marketing officer for AT&T’s wireless business, said the offer is designed to give families a worry-free experience as they consume more data for video and social networking. It also could encourage people to add tablets to their accounts, as those consume even more data and would quickly use up allotments in

the lower-use plans. The new rates will also help AT&T wean people off subsidies on new phones. Instead of having people buy phones for $100 or $200 and having the true cost baked in to monthly service fees, AT&T and other carriers have been encouraging customers to pay the full price for phones outright or in installments. Many people are already doing that, through programs such as AT&T’s Next, even though in many cases, it’s actually cheaper for people to use the subsidies for high-end phones as long as they keep their phones for two years or longer. Christopher said many customers prefer the flexibility of being able to upgrade as soon as Apple or Samsung releases a new model. Subsidized plans typically require customers to wait two years. AT&T will let existing subsidized customers take advantage of the new rates, but when they are eligible for an upgrade, they must pay full price for the phone - outright or in installments - to keep the lower rates. New customers won’t be eligible for subsidies to get these rates. AT&T is the second-largest cellphone company in the US after Verizon Wireless. —AP

Where are they now? Facebook founders have wide impact WASHINGTON: As Mark Zuckerberg took the reins at Facebook, his Harvard University classmates who helped found the huge social network have moved on to other pursuits. Here is a look at the founders, a decade after the creation of Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg At 29, Facebook’s chief executive has firm control of the big social network, with some 29 percent of the capital and 56 percent of the voting rights, plus proxy rights for some other investors. Zuckerberg has become a high-profile member of the tech community, establishing a Washington lobby group called working on immigration and education reforms. His net worth was estimated by Forbes magazine at $19 billion as of September, making him the 20th richest in the United States. But with the recent jump in Facebook value, Zuckerberg’s net worth has shot up to $29.7 billion, according to the market intelligence firm Wealth-X. He and his wife Priscilla Chan have been active philanthropists, donating more than $1 billion to various causes, including a Silicon Valley foundation and public schools in New Jersey. Despite his fame and fortune, Zuckerberg is still known for wearing hooded sweatshirts. Chris Hughes The 30-year-old Hughes, who graduated

from Harvard in 2006, gained notoriety for heading the social media efforts of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, a key factor in the race. In 2012, Hughes purchased the magazine The New Republic “to help build a future for substantive journalism in a digital age,” according to the website of the magazine, where he is publisher and editor in chief. Hughes also runs a venture capital fund and a nonprofit social network service. Eduardo Saverin The 31-year-old Brazilian American gave up his US citizenship and moved to Singapore before Facebook’s public offering, a move that likely saved him hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes. He told a business conference last year that he plans to remain in Asia and hopes to make an impact as a technology investor. Forbes lists his net worth at $2.65 billion as of August, making him the seventh-richest person in Singapore. Saverin’s role was famously portrayed in the 2010 film “The Social Network”, in which he started out as a close friend of Zuckerberg and provided initial funds for the startup before they had an acrimonious split. Dustin Moskovitz Like Zuckerberg, Moskovitz is 29 and dropped out before finishing Harvard. In 2008, he left Facebook to form his own company, a

Web and mobile application called Asana aimed at fostering teamwork without email. His net worth is estimated by Forbes at $5.2 billion, based on his Facebook stake. Winklevoss twins Although not among the Facebook founders, twin brothers Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss claimed Zuckerberg stole their idea, and reached a 2008 settlement that got them and classmate Divya Narenda $20 million in cash and $45 million worth of stock. They later sued unsuccessfully to undo that deal, seeking to gain more after Facebook expanded. The twins, former Olympic rowers sometimes mockingly dubbed “the Winklevi,” used the funds to launch their own venture capital efforts. Last year, they filed a plan for an initial public offering for a Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust to allow investors to gain access to the virtual currency. Sean Parker He was not a Harvard classmate, but Parker, a founder of the original music-sharing site Napster, befriended Zuckerberg and became a mentor and adviser to the fledgling company. Parker was the founding president of Facebook in 2004 and brought in one of the company’s first big investors, Peter Thiel. According to some accounts, Parker recognized the potential for Facebook to have a big impact. —AFP

2004 JANUARY: Mark Zuckerberg, a 19-year-old computer whiz at Harvard University, begins working out of his dormitory room on an online network aimed initially at connecting Harvard students. FEBRUARY: is launched by Zuckerberg and three Harvard roommates and classmates: Chris Hughes, Eduardo Saverin and Dustin Moskovitz. MAY: Zuckerberg moves to Silicon Valley and decides not to return to Harvard for the fall semester. JULY: The new company receives its first investment: $500,000 from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. SEPTEMBER: “The Wall” is added to user profiles. 2005 APRIL: Second major round of funding: $12.7 million from Accel Partners. AUGUST: officially changes its name to Facebook. 2006 FEBRUARY: Viacom offers to buy Facebook for $1.5 billion but is turned down. SEPTEMBER: Yahoo also makes an unsuccessful $1 billion bid for the social network. Facebook adds the “News Feed” and opens up to anyone over the age of 13. 2007 SEPTEMBER: Facebook launches a $10 million fund to provide money to companies or individuals who want to build applications. OCTOBER: Microsoft takes a $240 million stake in Facebook, which has 50 million members. DECEMBER: Zuckerberg apologizes for “mistakes” in rolling out a new ad platform called Beacon that tracked purchases made by Facebook members and let their friends know what they had bought. 2008 FEBRUARY: A $65 million settlement is reached with twins Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss over allegations that Zuckerberg stole their idea for Facebook while at Harvard. Facebook launches a Spanish site. MARCH: Sheryl Sandberg, a top Google executive, is hired as Facebook’s chief operating officer. French and German Facebook sites are launched. APRIL: Facebook dethrones MySpace to become the world’s most popular social networking website. AUGUST: Facebook membership hits 100 million. OCTOBER: Facebook opens its international headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. 2009 MARCH: Facebook launches the first mobile application for the site. APRIL: Membership hits 200 million. MAY: Russian Internet company Digital Sky Technologies invests $200 million in Facebook. SEPTEMBER: Membership hits 300 million. Zuckerberg says the social network has become “cash flow positive,” meaning it is earning enough to cover operating costs. DECEMBER: In one of many privacy flaps, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Center for Digital Democracy and others ask the US Federal Trade Commission to look into Facebook privacy policies, claiming it had deceived users over protection of their personal data.

2010 MAY: Pakistan blocks access to Facebook over a competition encouraging users to post caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed on the site. JULY: Membership hits 500 million. Lady Gaga becomes the first person with 10 million fans on Facebook, breaking the barrier a few days ahead of US President Barack Obama. AUGUST: Facebook launches Facebook Places, which lets members use mobile devices to share their whereabouts. OCTOBER: “The Social Network,” director David Fincher’s movie about the origins of Facebook, hits movie theaters. The film written by Aaron Sorkin and starring Jesse Eisenberg and pop star Justin Timberlake is a box office hit. Nominated for eight Oscars, it takes three: best adapted screenplay, original score and film editing. DECEMBER: Time magazine names Zuckerberg Person of the Year for “transforming the way we live our lives every day.” 2011 JANUARY: A private share offering raises $1.5 billion from investors and values Facebook at $50 billion. FEBRUARY: Facebook announces plans to move from Palo Alto to a sprawling campus once home to Sun Microsystems in nearby Menlo Park. APRIL: Obama visits Facebook headquarters, taking questions from Zuckerberg, employees and an online audience. SEPTEMBER: Timeline pages are introduced that let Facebook users turn their profiles into interactive digital scrap books that tell the stories of their lives. NOVEMBER: Facebook agrees to tighten privacy policies and submit to external audits in a settlement with US regulators. 2012 JANUARY: Facebook files for an initial public offering. MAY: Some $16 billion raised in the richest technology IPO, giving the company a market value of $104 billion. A hoodie-clad Zuckerberg remotely rings the Nasdaq bell from Facebook’s California headquarters on the first trading day. Membership hits 900 million. AUGUST: Facebook closes its deal to buy the popular photo-sharing app Instagram. The purchase price was $1 billion when announced, but less at the closing because of a slump in Facebook’s share price. SEPTEMBER: Shares in Facebook slide more than 50 percent from the IPO price of $38 amid fears on growth and profitability, but the slump will prove transitory. OCTOBER: Facebook membership tops one billion. 2013 JANUARY: Facebook launches a “social graph” search engine to find posts on the network, in collaboration with Microsoft. APRIL: Zuckerberg forms a political lobby group called to press for reforms in immigration and education policy. The “Facebook Home” software suite platform for smartphones is announced. NOVEMBER: According to media reports, Facebook makes an unsuccessful $3 billion offer for the Snapchat messaging platform. DECEMBER: Facebook is added to the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, which represents the largest publicly traded US firms. Video ads debut in Facebook feeds. 2014 JANUARY: Facebook shares hit a record high ahead of the company’s 10th anniversary, giving the group a market value above $150 billion. Profit reported for 2013 jumps to $1.5 billion on revenue of $7.9 billion. —AFP


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

Vomiting bug shuts London restaurant LONDON: Top British chef Heston Blumenthal has shut his London restaurant Dinner, which has two Michelin stars, for a week after 24 guests fell ill with the vomiting bug norovirus, officials said yesterday. The closure comes five years after an outbreak of norovirus caused by contaminated shellfish forced Blumenthal to close The Fat Duck, his three-starred restaurant in Bray, west of the capital, for ten days. Westminster City Council, the local

authority, said 24 diners and 21 staff had been taken ill at Dinner, which was named the seventh best restaurant in the world in last year’s San Pellegrino awards. James Armitage, the council’s food safety manager, said: “Test results this week have shown that there has been an outbreak of norovirus at the Dinner restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge. “The operators have now temporarily closed the restaurant and we believe this

is the responsible thing to do.” In an interview with the Mail yesterday, Blumenthal said his decision to close the restaurant was driven by his previous experience at the Fat Duck. “I will always err on the side of extreme caution-as The Who sang, ‘I won’t get fooled again’,” the 47-year-old told the newspaper. He added: “My goal has always been to pursue perfection in the kitchen and to amaze our guests with taste sensations beyond their imag-

ination, rather than expose them to the risk of a really nasty couple of days of heaving.” Blumenthal was criticised for reacting too slowly to the 2009 outbreak of norovirus at The Fat Duck, when more than 500 diners reported falling ill. The Health Protection Agency said the virus was probably introduced via contaminated or undercooked shellfish. Dinner, which serves food inspired by historic British dishes, said on its website that it would be closed for one week

from Sunday. “We apologise for any inconvenience caused to those guests whose bookings have been cancelled,” a spokeswoman said. “However we understand how contagious this winter flu bug can be and will take every precaution necessary to protect our guests.” Noma, the two Michelin-starred Danish restaurant named the best in the world in 2010, 2011 and 2012, was hit by an outbreak of norovirus last year which made 63 diners ill. — AFP

Antioxidants speed up cancer progression New study of rodents NEW YORK: Smokers and other people at high risk for lung cancer could make matters worse if they take antioxidant supplements, a new study of rodents suggests. Antioxidants appear to accelerate cancer progression by short-circuiting one of the body’s key immune responses to malignant cells, researchers from Sweden report. Normal doses of vitamin E and smaller doses of the antioxidant supplement acetylcysteine increased the growth of tumors in mice with early lung cancer, the researchers reported in the Jan. 29 issue of Science Translational Medicine. “We found that antioxidants caused a threefold increase in the number of tumors, and caused tumors to become more aggressive,” senior author Dr. Martin Bergo said during a Tuesday news conference. “Antioxidants caused the mice to die twice as fast, and the effect was dose -dependent. If we gave a small dose, tumors grew a little. If we gave a high dose, tumors grew a lot.” Bergo, co-director of the Sahlgrenska Cancer Center at the University of Gothenburg, said the

findings are particularly concerning because acetylcysteine is used to improve breathing in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. Most people who have COPD are current or former smokers. Antioxidants are supposed to protect the body from disease by preventing cell damage caused by molecules called free radicals. “These radicals can damage almost anything inside the cell, including DNA, and DNA damage can lead to cancer,” Bergo said. But this protection backfires in people who already have cancerous or precancerous cells, the researchers said. When the body detects cellular DNA damage that can lead to cancer, it releases a key tumorsuppressing protein called p53. Increased risk In laboratory tests with mouse and human cancer cells, researchers found that antioxidants suppress the release of p53 by halting DNA damage done to cancer cells by free radicals. “By reducing the DNA damage, the antioxi-

dant actually helps the cancer cells escape detection,” co-author Per Lindahl, a professor of biochemistry and cell biology at the University of Gothenburg, said in the news conference. The findings suggest that people carrying small undiagnosed tumors in their lungs should avoid taking extra antioxidants, the study concludes. “If you have lung cancer, or if you have an increased risk of developing lung cancer, then taking extra antioxidants may be harmful and it could speed up the growth of a tumor,” Bergo said. While studies involving animals can be useful, they may fail to produce similar results in humans. However, this isn’t the first study to indicate that antioxidants are bad for cancer patients, said Peter Campbell, director of the Tumor Repository at the American Cancer Society. Human trials conducted in the 1980s and 1990s found that the antioxidants betacarotene, vitamin A and vitamin E substantially increased the incidence of lung cancer in smokers, he said. — AP

Meningitis vaccine approved for California college ST PETERSBURG, Russia: A bird of prey sits in its cage at the Leningrad Zoo yesterday. — AFP

Peru gas project approved despite concerns LIMA: The long-contested expansion of Peru’s main natural gas field has won final regulatory approval despite UN concerns that it could endanger Amazon tribes living in voluntary isolation in pristine jungles. The Camisea project, located just 100 km from Peru’s famed Machu Picchu ruins, has faced fierce opposition from environmental groups since it began in 2003, but strong backing from Peru’s political leaders as a vital economic lifeline. The approved expansion overlaps with an indigenous reserve populated by about 1,100 people, including an estimated 100 who avoid contact with the outside world. Peru’s Ministry of Mining and Energy gave the expansion a green light Monday, approving an environmental impact statement as the nation was focused on a World Court verdict that resolved a maritime dispute with Chile. Environmentalists, anthropologists and the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination had objected that the project could threaten indigenous groups by exposing them to diseases for which they have no natural defenses. In December, the UN’s special rapporteur for indigenous rights, James Anaya, visited Camisea, which is run by a consortium led by Argentina’s Pluspetrol S.A. and that includes the US company Hunt Oil Co. and the Spanish concern Repsol. Exhaustive study Anaya urged an exhaustive study of the expansion’s effect on indigenous communities in the concession as well as consultation with them before proceeding with a $480 million exploration phase. “None of this was done. There has not even been a serious study about the health of the population in the area since 2003,” said Vanessa Cueto, a lawyer for the environmental group Environmental Law and Natural Resources. The expanded Camisea project will now overlap with about 400 square miles (1,036 square kilometers) of the indigenous reserve in one of the world’s most biologically diverse rainforests, where the natives

live primarily off fishing and hunting. The environmental impact study says there could be Indians living in voluntary isolation in an area comprising just 30 square miles (8,000 hectares) of the overlapping area and says no drilling will occur there. But Paulo Vilca, who resigned as deputy culture minister for indigenous rights in July over the issue, says that claim has no basis because the government has never done a study to determine where the Indians live. Vilca was one of three ministry officials to step down or be forced out over objections to the expansion, which President Ollanta Humala has firmly supported. Peru has an estimated 12 trillion cubic feet (340 billion cubic meters) of proven natural gas reserves in two concessions held by the Pluspetrol-led group. Most of it lies within the 5,500-squaremile concession where the expansion is occurring. The concession, known as Lot 88, already supplies Peru with half its electricity as well as gas for industry, motor vehicles and some homes. The gas from Camisea’s other lot is exported. A Pluspetrol spokesman in Lima, Carlos Naveda, said the company had no immediate comment on its expansion plants. The consortium has said exploration could take at least 15 months. Initial contact The Associated Press sought an interview with the current deputy minister for indigenous rights, Patricia Balbuena, but she had not responded to email and telephone requests. The project is meant to include 13 wells, 1,800 workers, more than 3,000 underground seismic blasts and 90 helicopter landing sites, according to the environmental impact statement. Prior to his resignation last year, Vilca produced a highly critical report that said the expansion would “severely affect the life and health of the population in isolation, which is especially vulnerable” in its ability to resist disease. The report was almost immediately removed from his ministry’s website.—AP

FDA clears first drug for blindness sleep disorder WASHINGTON: US health regulators on Friday approved the first drug to treat a sleep disorder that mainly afflicts the blind. The Food and Drug Administration cleared Vanda Pharmaceuticals’ Hetlioz capsules for patients who have problems sleeping because they can’t detect light. The condition, called non-24-hour disorder, is estimated to affect up to 100,000 Americans, most of whom are totally blind. These people can find their sleep patterns reversed - sleeping during the day and being awake at night. Vanda said in a statement it would launch the drug in the second quarter.

The most common side effects of the drug include headache, nightmares and respiratory and urinary tract infections. The drug labeling warns that Hetlioz causes drowsiness and can interfere with performing basic tasks and mental alertness. Analysts estimate the drug could reap sales of more than $350 million annually. The FDA said it approved the drug based on studies of 104 blind patients with non-24-disorder. The trials showed that patients who took the drug had more normalized sleeping patterns than patients taking placebo. Washington DC-based Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. markets one other drug for schizophrenia. —AP

SANTA BARBARA: Health officials at a California university will start offering a vaccine against bacterial meningitis several months after an outbreak sickened four students. Officials at the University of California, Santa Barbara said Friday that federal health regulators have approved the vaccine for use on campus, 100 miles north of Los Angeles. The vaccine is licensed for use overseas but is not yet approved for general use in the United States. The school plans to hold a two-week vaccination clinic in late February for all undergraduate students to receive the first dose. Faculty, staff and graduate students who live in dorm-style residence halls are also urged to get the shot. Vaccines will be free. “Students, including those who receive the

vaccine, and other members of the university community are encouraged to continue to pay increased attention to personal hygienic practices,” such as not sharing drinking glasses, Dr Mary Ferris, executive director of student health services, said in a statement. The move comes after Princeton University last year received permission from the Food and Drug Administration to dole out the vaccine after seven students and a student visitor became infected. Nearly 5,300 people - or 90 percent of eligible students and staff at the New Jersey Ivy League school - chose to get immunized for the B strain of the meningitis bacteria. In both cases, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took the unusual step of recommending the vaccine for the campuses.

Last November, four students at UC Santa Barbara fell ill from a form of bacterial meningitis similar to the Princeton cases. Three recovered and the fourth had both feet amputated. No new cases have been diagnosed. Bacterial meningitis can cause swelling of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, and can be fatal. Survivors can suffer mental disabilities, hearing loss and paralysis. The illness can be spread through kissing, coughing or lengthy contac t. Symptoms include fever, headaches, sensitivity to light, neck stiffness and a blotchy rash. Dormitories and other crowded settings can make dangerous breeding grounds. UC Santa Barbara plans to offer the second dose in the spring for maximum protection. — AP

Anti-whalers claim ‘aggressive’ ramming by Japanese SYDNEY: Militant anti-whaling campaigners Sea Shepherd said one of their ships was rammed yesterday during “aggressive” and “unprovoked” confrontations with the Japanese in the Southern Ocean. Sea Shepherd said one of its vessels, the Bob Barker, was struck during a coordinated attack by the Japanese fleet’s three harpoon ships as they tried to drive the campaigners away from the factory ship Nisshin Maru. “The Bob Barker was hit by the Japanese whaling fleet’s harpoon vessel, the Yushin Maru No 2, as the harpoon vessel crossed in front of the bow of the Sea Shepherd ship,” the activist group said. “The assault is an attempt to deter the Sea Shepherd ships from their current position, blocking the slipway of the Nisshin Maru, preventing the whalers from loading whales poached from the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.” A Japanese fisheries agency official confirmed the collision, but said it was the Yushin Maru No. 3, not No. 2. He said: “We have confirmed damages to the Yushin Maru No. 3’s stern and the outer shell. The activists also threw rope at the Yushin Maru No. 1. The rope is now tangled in the ship’s screw.” He denied Sea Shepherd’s statement that it was a coordinated attack by the Japanese fleet. “That is totally unthinkable. They may have taken it as an attack just after the Japanese ships sailing before their eyes. But in all reality, they were the ones who threw the rope at the ship.” No crew members were injured and the Japanese ships were able to sail despite the damage, he said. Research loophole High-seas confrontations are common between Sea Shepherd and the Japanese, who hunt whales in Antarctica under a “scientific research” loophole in the moratorium on whaling. In 2010 a collision resulted in the sinking of Sea Shepherd’s speedboat Ady Gil.

SYDNEY: This handout image taken yesterday by the Sea Shepherd Australia Ltd shows Harpoon vessel cutting across the bow of the Steve Irwin in the waters off Antarctica. Militant anti-whaling campaigners Sea Shepherd said one of their ships was rammed during “aggressive” and “unprovoked” confrontations with the Japanese in the Southern Ocean.—AFP The anti-whaling group, carrying out its 10th annual campaign to harass the Japanese fleet, said their actions had so far produced a “disastrous” season for the harpooners. Sea Shepherd has three ships out this season, the Bob Barker, Steve Irwin and Sam Simon. The group said the Japanese had attempted to damage the fleet’s propellers with steel cables, had thrown projectiles including grappling hooks at the Steve Irwin and fired water cannon on the Bob Barker’s crew as they tried to cut the cables from a small boat. Bob Barker captain Peter Hammarstedt said the Sea Shepherd vessels were “unprovokedly attacked” by the Japanese harpooners in a “ruth-

less” fashion. “These harpoon ships came in heavy and hard. They hit my bow with about 300 metres of steel cable with the express intent of causing damage to my rudder and propellers,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “ Thankfully because of a lot of evasive manoeuvring I was able to avoid being entangled, but on one occasion one of the harpoon ships came so close that they ended up colliding with my vessel.” Hammarstedt said nobody was injured “but certainly the whalers were more aggressive than we have ever seen them before and I think we’re quite lucky that nobody was hurt.” — AFP

Irwindale spicing up suit against Sriracha plant IRWINDALE, California: A Los Angeles suburb is spicing up its lawsuit against a hot-sauce manufacturer it claims polluted the air with pungent smells. Stephen Onstot, an attorney representing Irwindale, tells City News Service that the small industrial city east of Los Angeles will add a breach-of-contract claim to its existing nuisance suit against the Sriracha plant. Onstot says the city will allege that owner Huy Fong Foods failed to comply with certain operating conditions, including not emitting foul odors. Defense attorney John Tate told a judge Friday that he didn’t object to the modification. Irwindale sued the company in October after nearby residents alleged that plant odors were causing asthma and other health problems. A judge has ordered the company to stop any operations that might be causing the odors. —AP

IRWINDALE: Sriracha sauce is produced at the Huy Fong Foods factory in Irwindale. A Los Angeles suburb is spicing up its lawsuit against this hot sauce manufacturer it claims polluted the air with pungent smells. —AP


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

Genetically modified monkeys created Ethical concerns remain over animal testing NANJING: Researchers have created genetically modified monkeys with a revolutionary new procedure that enables scientists to cut and paste DNA in living organisms. The macaques are the first primates to have their genetic makeup altered with the powerful technology which many scientists believe will lead to a new era of genetic medicine. The feat was applauded by some researchers who said it would help them to recreate devastating human diseases in monkeys, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The ability to alter DNA with such precision is already being investigated as a way to make people resistant to HIV. But the breakthrough is controversial, with groups opposed to animal testing warning that it could drive a rise in the use of monkeys in research. One critic said that genetic engineering gave researchers “almost limitless power to create sick animals”. The work was carried out in a lab in China, where scientists said they had used a genome editing procedure, called Crispr/Cas9, to manipulate two genes in fertilised monkey eggs

before transferring them to surrogate mothers. Writing in the journal, Cell, the team from Nanjing Medical University reported the delivery of twin female long-tailed macaques, called Ningning and Mingming. Five surrogates miscarried and four more pregnancies are ongoing. The Crispr procedure has been welcomed by geneticists in labs around the world because of its enormous potential. Unlike standard gene therapy, Crispr allows scientists to remove faulty genes from cells, or replace them with healthy ones. It can even correct single letter spelling mistakes in the DNA code. Genetic faults The Chinese team, led by Jiahao Sha, said their work demonstrates how Crispr could be used to create monkeys that carry genetic faults that lead to diseases in humans. But the same could be done to small pieces of human organs grown in the lab, and used to test drugs, or to monitor the progress of serious diseases. Nelson Freimer, director of the centre for neurobehavioural genetics at

the University of California in Los Angeles, said that while researchers often use mice to study human diseases, brain disorders are particularly hard to recreate in the animals because their brains are so different. “People have been looking for primate models for a whole list of diseases, but in the past it’s been either completely unfeasible, or incredibly expensive. This is saying we can do this relatively inexpensively and quickly, and that is a major advance,” said Freimer. But Freimer added that the use of monkeys was likely to remain a last resort. “It’s going to be really critical to define the problems for which this is used, just as you always do with animal research. You want to use all the alternatives before you propose animal research. This will be reserved for terrible diseases for which it offers hope that cannot be gotten any other way,” he said. Tipu Aziz, who has used primates in his work on Parkinson’s disease at Oxford University, welcomed the new procedure. “If we can identify genes for neurological disorders in a clinical

setting and transpose those into a monkey it would be of massive benefit. I don’t know that it’ll lead to a rise in the use of monkeys, but it will lead to more focused studies,” he said. New therapies Robin Lovell-Badge, head of genetics at the MRC’s National Institute for Medical Research in London, said that genetically modified monkeys could be valuable to check new therapies before they are tried in humans. “Mice are fantastic models for some aspects of human physiology, but they are not always perfect, and it’s good to have alternatives,” he said. “If you are trying to develop a stem cell therapy and want to graft cells back into the brain, it’s difficult to know how it will work in a complex brain, and mice or rats are not suitable.” With Crispr, scientists could perform far more subtle genetic tweaks than is possible with other methods, he added. George Church, professor of genetics at Harvard University, has cofounded a company, Editas Medicine, that aims to use Crispr to treat a number of human diseases. While mon-

NANJING: The twin cynomolgus monkeys, Ningning and Mingming, born at Nanjing Medical University in China. —AP keys had a role to play, he said another approach was to grow human “organoids” or small clumps of human organ tissue in the lab, and use Crispr to give them genetic faults that cause disease. “This is a really big moment, because if you think something has a genetic component, you can prove it with Crispr, and then improve it with Crispr, or other therapies,” he said.

One idea in trials already uses genome editing to remove a gene called CCR5 from human immune cells. Without the gene, the HIV virus cannot get into immune cells, so patients could be cured of the disease. In future, the same procedure could be used on healthy people at risk of the disease to make them resistant to infection.—AP


W H AT ’ S O N


ajan Daniel, Vice-Chairman of the Indian Community School Kuwait receives the Pravasi Bhartiya Shiromani Puraskar from Kapil Sibal, Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Government of India at Taj Mahal Hotel, Man Singh Road, New Delhi. The award was presented at the NRI Global Summit organized by the Institute of Economic Studies.

Announcements TIES Center - Where cultures meet IES Center cordially invites all those interested to the following events: Qur’an Quotes and Tafseer class: today Februay 3, 2014 we we will focus on Surat Al-Qadr (The Night of Honor and Decree) at 7 pm. After listening to the recitation of that Surah, I (Hassan) will explain the various connotations of some words and phrases to show the literary beauty and miracle of the Qur’an. The class will involve an open discussion in a casual setting with the aim of reflecting and pondering over the verses of that Surah. After that, we will focus on the lessons that we learn from that Surah. If you are intereted, TIES Center is the best place to visit today Monday February 3, 2014 at 7 pm. Lecture on stress: Lecture entitled, “Can I Love an Alien?” by Suzanne Rechlin. Learn to get the love and support you want by learning to understand the innate difference between men and women in how we communicate, think, and handle stress. Bridge the gap between you and your significant other and discover a variety of new and practical ways to create a lifetime of love and harmony. If you are interested in the topic, TIES Center is the best place to visit on Tuesday February 4 at 7:00pm. Susanne Rechlin is a preschool principal by profession who likes to see individuals and couples be the happiest and most content they can be through understanding each other’s differences and makes those work for them instead of against them. She believes that many challenges in a relationship may be overcome by not expecting the other person to behave according one’s own pattern. Albanian Cultural Day: In cooperation with the Albanian embassy, the TIES Center will be hosting an Albanian cultural day. The activities will include a presentation about tourism and life in Albania, recitation of poetry related to the country’s rich traditions, a gallery of photos, and some delicious traditional food. This event promises to be exciting, educational, and entertaining. When? Thursday, February 13 from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm


Annual associate celebration held at Kuwait Marriott Hotels


s part of its annual associate felicitation, Kuwait Marriott Hotels recently held a cultural night extravaganza for its associates and their families. Around 700 associates from the JW Marriott Hotel Kuwait City, the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel Kuwait City and the prestigious Arraya Ballroom attended the grand celebration. As every year follows a new and innovative theme, this year’s gathering enjoyed a ‘Black and White’ theme and was based on honoring Marriott’s diversified ethnic employees, dedicated to fulfilling Marriott’s mission of promoting a successful, value-driven organization. More than 27 different nationalities represented Marriott Kuwait in an outstanding effort that showcased the unique diversity of these different cultures within the company. Some truly inspiring per-

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 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:

formances were held at the ceremony, ranging from various dance and musical performances by different associates along with several sport games for all the associates and their children to provide an engaging experience. Through the efforts of the Associate Relations Committee (ARC) and the management team, the event was a resounding success and was met with acclaim from all. In an effort to commend the employees for their years of hard work and commitment, George Aoun, General Manager of Kuwait Marriott Hotels, handed out coveted awards, medals and certificates such as Associate of the Year, Supervisor of the Year, Manager of the Year and Department of the Year. In his speech, he acknowledged the efforts that everyone has contributed to ensuring that Kuwait Marriott

Hotels has stayed as the preferred choice for guests within and outside Kuwait as well, and appreciated their on the level of service, vigilance and care that each associate awards to its guests and visitors. A grand raffle draw was conducted with hundreds of exciting and valuable prizes were distributed to the associate’s while a world-class buffet was served by the Marriott’s team of expert chefs. The annual associate celebrations are held to recognize the associates’ continuous efforts and uphold the company’s enduring principle that ‘taking care of its associates first, will undoubtedly reflect in their world-class hospitality towards guests’. This has led to the long lasting legacy that Marriott has created while promoting such rich globalization within its ranks.


Najla Al-Naqqi Forum hosts Iran consultant


he Najla Al-Naqqi Forum hosted an event in honor of Dr. Taiba Mahrozadah, a consultant of Iran’s Minister of Science, Research and Technology, during her recent visit to Kuwait. Social and feminine activists attended the evening where the discussion focused on women’s cases in both countries and their role in social activity, among other topics.



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Zeeba Rafiq releases new book


eeba Rafiq is an aesthetic beauty specialist, nutritionist, trainer, writer, member of International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and of Kuwait Journalists Association (KJA). She has written several books and informational pamphlets geared towards raising public awareness about general health and beauty. Recently she has released two labors of love, so to speak, focusing on her homeland and place of origin. “Arth Abi Al-Tahira”, the first introductory book about Pakistan in Arabic, and “The Poet and the Leader”, a book about the relationship between great Pakistani poet Mohammad Iqbal and Mohammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan. So about your first book “Arth Abi Al Tahira”, what drove you to write it, being that you’ve only ever written about health and beauty? My father, Mohammad Rafiq Kamboh, came to Kuwait in 1954 and although his Kuwaiti friends pushed him to get Kuwaiti nationality he refused because he realized he would not be able to keep both nationalities

and his deep love and appreciation for our mother land kept him from that. In 2000, after 50 years of residence in Kuwait, he decided to move back to Pakistan for he felt that his time was up and wanted to die and be buried in his homeland. In 2002 he passed away. With this book I wanted to honor my father and his strong love for our nation. My book is about Pakistan, the landscape, traditions, folklore, literature, architecture and cuisine. In what way does this honor your father or his ideals? My father lived and worked in Kuwait for 50 years, a country he came to love dearly, but in all this time he stayed faithful to his homeland and never forgot his origins, a quality seldom found in others. This faith and love was what he ingrained in me growing up. Loving both Kuwait and Pakistan I’ve always wanted to share the beauty my father saw with the nation I grew up in and the friends that I have made. My father’s holy land. Your second book, “The Poet and the Leader”, follows the relationship between

visionary and poet Mohammed Iqbal and Pakistani founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah, as well as the creation of Pakistan. Why

did you choose to write about this? It all sparked after the release of my first book, a colleague of mine came to congratulate me, and he told me how much he enjoyed the section on Iqbal but disliked the one on Jinnah. I realized that many people were quite misinformed; they didn’t know much behind the creation of Pakistan, the political and societal atmosphere that sparked it or the correspondence between the Quad-e-azzam (great leader) and Iqbal, whom I regard as the spiritual leader of Pakistan. The book was aimed at informing the public and showing Jinnah in his true light. In the process of researching and writing the book, however, it turned into something so much more; looking around myself I realized that the story of Pakistan’s birth is one of great importance, it serves as an example for the world today. Pakistan was born out of struggle and strife but survived and became a haven for minorities and people otherwise discriminated against. Jinnah provided this haven because he believed everyone was equal and deserving of a voice. Favoritism and discrimination destroys us.


W H AT ’ S O N

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


—Photos by Joseph Shagra

Landmark Group announces winners of ‘Art Olympiad VII’


midst all the buzz and excitement that took place during the seventh Art Olympiad competition, Landmark Group awarded the artistic talents of eight students. With each passing year the competition which took place for students between the age group 9-11 years and 12-14 years got an overwhelming response from the fifteen participating schools. Landmark Group organized the event for the seventh consecutive year, as it falls in line with the company’s corporate social responsibility strategy to uplift the capabilities and skills of youth in Kuwait. The event is seen as a grooming platform for these students by helping them improvise their flair and encourage their innovative ability through art. The paintings were judged by famous Kuwaiti artists Asad Bunashi and Maha AlMansoor. A total of eight winners were selected at the end of the Olympiad on the basis of creativity, workmanship, overall impression and relevance to the Theme. The paintings of the young talented artists offered the judges to choose the

best of the best. This year’s competition themes which the students could select from were; my family, nature and dream for the 9-11 years category. For the 12-14 years category it was design your room, festival of Kuwait and Kuwait in 2050. There were also two special prizes for the most colorful painting and the most creative painting. All themes brought out the unique talents and skills of the participants. Saibal Basu, Chief Operating Officer of Landmark Group Kuwait said, “The artworks of these talented children impress us with their outlook towards things around them. Once again we are proud with the number of participating students, every year the Olympiad proves to be a great accomplishment; it only gets bigger and better. Our heartfelt congratulations to the winners as well as all the other participants who made this year’s judging challenging as well as exciting.” “We are really pleased with the winning artworks and we think that they look absolutely brilliant. I would like to thank our esteemed panel of judges Asad

Bunashi and Maha Al-Mansoor who have helped make this event bigger and better year after year. I would also like to thank the teachers for their efforts and for encouraging such talents. With such an overwhelming response we are definitely looking forward to preparing for the eight Art Olympiad next year.” As always, Landmark Group is keen on maintaining an excellent rapport and creating awareness about relevant issues among the youth with constant activities and events, while setting a platform for approx 120 students from schools of repute across Kuwait. Children were provided with a craft pack that included a drawing sheet and a variety of art materials such as paints, pencils and crayons. The participating schools for this year’s Olympiad are: Ajial Bilingual School, Carmel School, Canadian Bilingual School, Fahaheel Al-Watanieh Indian Private School Ahmadi, Indian Educational School Jleeb, Indian English Academy School Don Bosco, Kuwait American School Salmiya, Salmiya Indian Model School, The English School Fahaheel, Indian Central

School, The English School Salmiya, and Dasman Model School. The winners received a prize, certificates and trophies. The schools were given a plaque of appreciation. All students who participated in the Olympiad were provided with gifts and participating Certificates. The winners for Art Olympiad 2014 from senior’s age group 1st place: Devika - Indian Central School 2nd place: Catherine - Indian Educational School 3rd place: Joe Alex - Indian English Academy School The most creative award was won by Jessica Wilsch - The English School The winners of Juniors age group 1st place: Emily- The English School Salmiya 2nd place: Noor Al-Hadad - The English School Fahaheel 3rd place: Phalaneshwar - FAIPS The most colorful award was won by Megna - Indian Educational School

Australian College of Kuwait kicks off Spring Semester


ustralian College of Kuwait’s (ACK) 2014 Spring Semester commenced yesterday for new and returning Business, Engineering and Aviation students. ACK’s “Student Service Center” welcomed new students to the campus over a 3-day consecutive period, from January 27-29, for orientation sessions leading up to the first day of classes. The new students were introduced to the college’s structure, departments, as well as various services and programs offered. The students were also given an extensive tour of the campus to get acquainted with the college’s numerous facilities. ACK is continuously working towards offering the highest learning standards to Kuwait through its diploma and degree programs, thus enabling students to achieve valuable practical skills and knowledge integral to the development of their future professional careers.



EMBASSY OF SOUTH AFRICA South African citizens, who are out of the country who are not already registered and wish to apply for registration to vote in the upcoming general elections, are hereby invited to apply for registration. Registration is open daily during working hours from 08h30 to 15h30 at the SA Embassy at Villa No 3, House No 91, Street 1, Block 10, Salwa. The last day for registration will be 7 February 2014. In addition, special registration will take place on Friday, 24 January 2014, from 09h00 to 13h00, for those SA citizens who are not yet registered and cannot come to register during normal working hours. To be eligible to register at the SA Embassy, a person must: l Be a SA 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 SA passport; and l Submit in person the application form, (available from the IEC website or at the Embassy), the identity document and a valid passport. NOTE: If you are already registered to vote in SA but are now living abroad, you are NOT required to re-register - please check your registration status on For any further enquiries, please phone Tel: 25617988 during working hours or visit the IEC Website at Special Registration Officers at the Embassy are: First Secretary, L van der Walt and Third Secretary, MC Kekae. nnnnnnn

SPDK hosts free medical camp he Society of Pakistani doctors in Kuwait (SPDK) held its biennial free Medical Camp at Pakistan National English School (PNES) in Hawalli on January 24. The SPDK has been holding such camps for the last six years for general public to give them professional health advice and guidance on common health problems. The camp was held from 1:00 pm to 7:00 pm and more than 600 men, ladies and children from all walks of life visited the camp. All individuals were screened for their blood sugar and blood pressure level and advised accordingly; selected patients were also screened for hepatitis. A wide range of doctors covering all

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: S.No. Type of visa Duration No. of entries Revised Indian Visa fee in KD(*) w.e.f 01.01.2014 (i) Business 5 Years Multiple 63.500 (ii) Business 1 Year Multiple 38.500 (iii) Tourism 6 months Multiple 13.500 (iv) Medical 1 year Multiple 38.500 (v) Student Period As required 24.500 of study (*) In addition, a service charge of KD 3 will also apply for each visa service provided w.e.f 17.12.2013. 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

major specialties, medicine, general surgery, cardiology, pediatrics, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, ENT, eye, chest, allergy and dermatology, were available to give professional health advice to the patients. The patients were also offered free medicines. All administrative tasks, advertisement, patient registration and patient flow control was managed by various Pakistani Organizations like Hala Pakistan, Pakistani blood donors in Kuwait and Pakistan Employment Forum Kuwait. The ambassador of Pakistan Syed Abrar Husain and Hamoud Hamad Nasir Al-Hamdan, member Kuwait National

Assembly also visited the camp and were much impressed with the organization of the camp and admired the noble cause of Pakistani doctors in providing such an important public health service to the general public across all nationalities residing in Kuwait. They also distributed appreciation shields to all organizations participating in this activity. Later, Dr. Shuja Ud Din, President SPDK, on behalf of all SPDK members thanked all doctors and organizations for participating in the camp and extended special thanks to Majid Chauhdry, director PNES for providing all logistic facility in his school campus.

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 +965-2227-1673). 5. If you need to change or cancel your appointment, please do so 24 hours beforehand, as a courtesy to other applicants. For more information, please visit the US Embassy website - - as it is the best source of information regarding these changes. nnnnnnn

EMBASSY OF 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 00:00 My Family 00:30 Tough Guy Or Chicken? 01:25 Tess Of The D’urbervilles 02:20 Stella 03:05 New Tricks 03:55 Him & Her 04:25 My Family 05:00 Me Too! 05:20 Nina And The Neurons: In The Lab 05:35 Bobinogs 05:45 Boogie Beebies 06:00 Garth And Bev 06:10 Poetry Pie 06:15 Me Too! 06:35 Nina And The Neurons: In The Lab 06:50 Bobinogs 07:00 Boogie Beebies 07:15 Garth And Bev 07:25 Poetry Pie 07:30 The Weakest Link 08:15 Only Fools And Horses 08:45 Blackadder The Third 09:15 Walk On The Wild Side 09:45 Doctors 10:20 Casualty 11:10 Last Man Standing 12:00 The Weakest Link 12:45 Only Fools And Horses 13:15 Blackadder The Third 13:45 Walk On The Wild Side 14:15 Doctors 14:45 Casualty 15:35 Last Man Standing 16:25 The Weakest Link 17:10 Eastenders 17:40 Doctors 18:10 The Fat Fighters 19:00 My Family 19:30 Only Fools And Horses 20:00 New Tricks 20:50 Spooks 21:40 Moone Boy 22:05 Tess Of The D’urbervilles 23:00 The Weakest Link

00:05 Cash In The Attic 00:50 The Hairy Bikers: Mums Know Best 01:40 Come Dine With Me 02:30 Come Dine With Me: Supersized 04:05 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 04:50 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 05:35 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 06:20 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 07:10 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 09:30 Masterchef: The Professionals 10:15 Come Dine With Me: Supersized 11:50 The Hairy Bikers: Mums Know Best 12:40 Gok’s Fashion Fix 13:30 Fantasy Homes Down Under 14:15 Antiques Roadshow 15:05 Homes Under The Hammer 15:55 Homes Under The Hammer 16:50 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds 17:35 Cash In The Attic 18:25 Antiques Roadshow 19:15 DIY SOS: The Big Build 20:10 Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: London 20:40 Come Dine With Me 21:30 Come Dine With Me 22:20 Antiques Roadshow 23:15 Bargain Hunt: Famous Finds

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Ice Cold Gold World’s Top 5 World’s Top 5 World’s Top 5 World’s Top 5 World’s Top 5 World’s Top 5 Mythbusters Diamond Divers

07:50 Robson Green’s Extreme Fishing Challenge 08:40 Fast N’ Loud 09:30 Border Security - Series 6 Specials 09:55 Auction Kings 10:20 Baggage Battles 10:45 How Do They Do It? 11:10 How It’s Made 11:35 Fast N’ Loud 12:25 World’s Top 5 13:15 How It’s Made: Dream Cars 13:40 How It’s Made: Dream Cars 14:05 Border Security - Series 6 Specials 14:30 Auction Kings 14:55 Baggage Battles 15:20 Flying Wild Alaska 16:10 Fast N’ Loud 17:00 Ultimate Survival 17:50 Dirty Jobs 18:40 Diamond Divers 19:30 Sons Of Guns 20:20 How Do They Do It? 20:45 How It’s Made 21:10 Auction Kings 21:35 Baggage Battles 22:00 Gold Rush - South America 22:50 Gold Fever 23:40 Ice Cold Gold

00:40 Curiosity: Can We Survive An Alien Attack? 01:30 Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger 02:00 NASA’s Greatest Missions 05:25 Cosmic Collisions 06:15 The Gadget Show 06:40 The Tech Show 07:05 Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger 08:00 How The Earth Works 08:50 How Tech Works 09:15 How Tech Works 09:40 The Gadget Show 10:05 The Tech Show 10:30 What’s That About? 11:25 Futurecar 12:20 Scrapheap Challenge 13:10 Cosmic Collisions 14:00 Ways To Save The Planet 14:50 Bigger, Better, Faster, Stronger 15:20 The Gadget Show 15:45 The Tech Show 16:10 Space Pioneer 17:00 Cosmic Collisions 17:55 Prototype This 18:45 Superships 19:35 What’s That About? 20:30 World’s Top 5 21:20 Super Volcano 22:10 The Gadget Show 22:35 The Tech Show 23:00 World’s Top 5 23:50 Super Volcano

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00:15 Eat Street 00:45 A World Apart 01:40 When Vacations Attack 02:35 Chefs Run Wild 03:00 Street Food Around the World 03:30 Eat Street 03:55 On Hannibal’s Trail 04:25 Don’t Tell My Mother 05:20 Scam City 06:15 Street Food Around the World 06:40 Eat Street 07:35 Eat Street 08:05 A World Apart 09:00 When Vacations Attack 09:55 Chefs Run Wild 10:20 Street Food Around the World 10:50 Eat Street 11:15 On Hannibal’s Trail 11:45 Don’t Tell My Mother 12:40 A World Apart 13:35 The Witch Doctor Will See You Now 14:30 Eat Street 14:55 Eat Street 15:25 Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled 16:20 When Vacations Attack 17:15 Deadly Arts 18:10 Bondi Rescue 18:35 On Hannibal’s Trail 19:05 Banged Up Abroad 20:00 Deadly Arts 21:00 George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces 22:00 Don’t Tell My Mother 22:55 Kimchi Chronicles 23:20 Eat Street 23:50 Food Lover’s Guide To The Planet

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World’s Toughest Fixes Breakout Mystery Files Mystery Files Salvage Code Red Aftermath Prehistoric Predators Salvage Code Red Megacities World’s Toughest Fixes Breakout Mystery Files Mystery Files Salvage Code Red Cruise Ship Diaries Britain’s Greatest Machines Salvage Code Red Stonehenge Decoded

‘Blackadder’ debate shows Britain still at war over WWI


ne hundred years after the start of World War I, Britain has been gripped by an unexpectedly bitter argument over the legacy of the conflict, focusing on the television comedy “Blackadder”. Comments by the education minister Michael Gove about the war this week have sparked a fierce debate that, despite its historical origins, goes to the heart of present-day questions about British identity. Gove, a horn-rim-spectacled hawk from Prime Minister David Cameron’s centre-right Conservative party, said in a newspaper article that “left-wing” myths about the “Great War” belittle Britain and absolve Germany of blame. He wrote in the right-wing Daily Mail tabloid that programmes such as the much-loved “Blackadder” had distorted history by depicting the war as a “misbegotten shambles-a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-oftouch elite.” The four th and final series of Blackadder, first broadcast in 1989 but still shown as part of history lessons in some British schools, stars “Mr Bean” actor Rowan Atkinson as Captain Edmund Blackadder, an officer in the trenches of Flanders in 1917. It mocked the British military leadership of the time, particularly in the figure of a pompous general played by Stephen Fry. But it ended on a poignant note as Blackadder and other characters went “over the top” to their deaths. Like many other European countries and Commonwealth nations such as Australia and New Zealand, Britain has planned a series of events to commemorate the terrible human sacrifice of World War I.

AGE OF HEROES ON OSN MOVIES HD 16:00 Mega Factories 17:00 Predator CSI 18:00 Street Monkeys 19:00 Somewhere In China 20:00 A Traveler’s Guide To The Planets 21:00 My Dog Ate What? 22:00 China Circus 23:00 World’s Toughest Fixes

00:00 Web Therapy 00:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 01:00 The Colbert Report 01:30 Saturday Night Live 02:30 Louie 03:00 Arrested Development 03:30 The Simpsons 04:00 Seinfeld 04:30 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 05:30 Seinfeld 06:00 Raising Hope 06:30 Friends 07:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 08:00 Seinfeld 08:30 Seinfeld 09:00 Arrested Development 09:30 2 Broke Girls 10:00 Two And A Half Men 10:30 Friends 11:00 The Tonight Show With Jay Leno 12:00 Raising Hope 12:30 Seinfeld 13:00 Seinfeld 13:30 Friends 14:00 The Simpsons 14:30 2 Broke Girls 15:00 Two And A Half Men 15:30 The Daily Show With Jon Stewart 16:00 The Colbert Report 16:30 Last Man Standing 17:00 Late Night With Jimmy Fallon 18:00 Arrested Development 18:30 The Simpsons 19:00 2 Broke Girls 19:30 Trophy Wife 20:00 Whitney 20:30 Web Therapy 21:00 The Daily Show Global Edition

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C.S.I. New York Supernatural House Of Cards Franklin & Bash Suits C.S.I. New York Burn Notice Body Of Proof Suits Franklin & Bash Emmerdale Coronation Street Body Of Proof C.S.I. Emmerdale Coronation Street The Ellen DeGeneres Show Body Of Proof Betrayal Revenge The Blacklist Strike Back House Of Cards

Beverly Hills Cop Beverly Hills Cop 2 Sultanes Del Sur Arctic Blast The Man Inside Battleship Shadow Conspiracy Nick Of Time Battleship Darkman Nick Of Time Graystone

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Love Birds-PG15 Toys-PG The First Wives Club-PG Who Framed Roger RabbitThe Ringer-PG15 The First Wives Club-PG The Great Outdoors-PG15 Baseketball-18 The Angel’s Share-PG15

The Forger-PG15 Shelter-PG15 Love Finds A Home-PG15 Resistance-PG15 The Forger-PG15 Departures-PG15 Taken Back: Finding HaleyBeneath Hill 60-PG15 Beware The Gonzo-PG15 Hideaways-PG15 360-18 Yelling To The Sky-PG15

Surveillance-18 Being John Malkovich-PG15 Nobody Walks-PG15 Encounter With DangerThe Perfect Man-PG The Wish List-PG15 No Surrender-PG15 Falling In Love-PG15 The Wish List-PG15 Krach-18 Internal Affairs-18 Jakob The Liar-PG15

01:00 Age Of Heroes-PG15 03:00 The Wishing Well-PG15 05:00 A Christmas Kiss-PG15 07:00 Wild Card-PG15 09:00 Steel Magnolias-PG15 11:00 Dead Lines-PG15 13:00 Pitch Perfect-PG15 15:00 American Girl: McKenna Shoots For The Stars-PG 16:45 Steel Magnolias-PG15 18:45 The Next Three Days-PG15 21:00 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, SpyPG15 23:15 Resident Evil: Retribution-18

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Today’s Special-PG15 The Expendables 2-PG15 Nacho Libre-PG 3 Holiday Tails-PG Hotel Transylvania-PG A Christmas Story 2-PG The Expendables 2-PG15 Smooch-PG15

16:00 Hotel Transylvania-PG 18:00 What To Expect When You’re Expecting-PG15 20:00 The Awakening-18 22:00 Why Stop Now-PG15

02:00 Futbol Mundial 03:00 PGA European Tour 07:00 LV Cup 09:00 Top 14 Highlights 09:30 ICC Cricket 360 10:00 PDC World Darts Championship 13:00 PGA European Tour 17:30 HSBC Sevens World Series Highlights 18:00 Trans World Sport 19:00 PGA European Tour Highlights 20:00 PGA Tour Highlights 21:00 LV Cup 23:00 Golfing World

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Futbol Mundial NFL Road To Superbowl NFL Game Day Live Super Bowl Pre- Show Live NFL Super Bowl XLVIII WWE This Week Trans World Sport PGA Tour LV Cup Trans World Sport Top 14 Highlights Futbol Mundial Golfing World NHL Super Bowl Pre- Show NFL Super Bowl XLVIII

00:00 Chelsea Lately 00:30 The Dance Scene 01:25 Style Star 02:20 THS 03:15 Extreme Close-Up 04:10 E! Investigates 05:05 E!ES 06:00 15 Remarkable Celebrity Body Bouncebacks 07:50 Style Star 08:20 E! News 09:15 Scouted 10:15 Married To Jonas 10:40 Chasing The Saturdays 11:10 What Would Ryan Lochte Do? 12:05 E! News 13:05 Extreme Close-Up 13:35 The E! True Hollywood Story 14:30 Style Star 15:00 Kourtney And Kim Take Miami 17:00 The Drama Queen 18:00 E! News 19:00 E!ES 20:00 Eric And Jessie: Game On 21:00 Keeping Up With The Kardashians 22:00 Party On 23:00 E!ES

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Killers Born To Kill Evil Up Close Britain’s Darkest Taboos Killers Born To Kill Curious & Unusual Deaths Snapped: Women Who Kill Prenup To Murder Beyond Scared Straight Born To Kill I Killed My BFF Prenup To Murder The Ken & Barbie Killers Curious & Unusual Deaths Private Crimes Homicide Hunter

In Britain, World Wars I and II are still widely seen as high-water marks of national courage and reminders of a more glorious past. A century on, those memories seem particularly salient as Britain faces something of an identity crisis. There is a referendum on Scottish independence in September and a possible vote on EU membership in 2017, all set against the drab background of continuing austerity measures. The row that erupted over Gove’s comments showed that the “Great War” remains a sensitive issue. One of the first to take exception was actor Tony Robinson, who played Blackadder’s dim sidekick, Baldrick. “I think Mr Gove has just made a very silly mistake,” Robinson, a vocal supporter of the opposition Labour party, told Sky News. “To categorize teachers who would introduce something like Blackadder as left-wing and introducing left-wing propaganda is very, very unhelpful.” Labor education spokesman Tristram Hunt accused Gove and the government of a “crass” attempt to use the commemorations to “rewrite the historical record and sow political division.” Meanwhile Gove won few friends with his comments about Germany being to blame for the war. The minister wrote that it was “plainly a just war”, and that the “ruthless social Darwinism of the German elites, the pitiless approach they took to occupation, their aggressively expansionist war aims and their scorn for the international order all made resistance more than justified.” As education minister, Gove has helped rewrite a national history curriculum that once heavily relied on critical accounts of the 1914-1918 conflict, such as those of the “War Poets” like Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. But his comments opened up yet another rift in the increasingly eurosceptic Conservatives’ coalition government with the centrist, pro-European Liberal Democrats. Lib Dem Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who is half Dutch and whose wife is Spanish, said the commemorations should be sombre and avoid “finger wagging”. But Cameron’s official spokesman backed Gove, saying Britain should commemorate the war “without being afraid to say it was right for Britain to respond to aggression”. While the political row is new, it mirrors decades of debate among historians about the causes and conduct of World War I. Historian Richard Evans, who was singled out for criticism by Gove in his article, wrote in The Guardian that the minister was “playing to the gallery” instead of properly considering the evidence and sources. But British historian Max Hastings, whose recent book “Catastrophe” traces the origins of the conflict, said Gove was “largely right” and accused the left of trying to “make an ideological argument out of World War I, as it does out of almost everything else in history.” —AFP

Classifieds MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2014


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MATRIMONIAL Marriage proposal invited for Kuwait resident, Pakistani Muslim family daughter, age 18 tall smart Hafiza, student BSc. Chemistry, from matching status boy through parents. Email:

I, Asger Ali Vadliwala, holder of Indian Passport No: J4442606, hereby change my name to Ali Asger Vadliwala. Address: Mohammediya Golony Galiyakot Dist. Dungarpur, Rajasthan. Pin 314026. (C 4630) 28-1-2014

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Directorate General of Civil Aviation Home Page (


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s ta rs CROSSWORD 448

STAR TRACK Aries (March 21-April 19) ARIES Tension of a psychological or political nature may be present. Issues could become emotional but you may be able to transport yourself into a listening mode. Create answers by removing your emotions from the subject matter. Listen for the positive and work toward a compromise that can make everyone happy. This is a time for imagination and creativity when it comes to ideas and thinking. Coupled with the ability to put your thoughts into words, you are able to captivate and spellbind. If someone were to ask you to step in and help with regard to a family situation, you could. This is a perfect time to help others. You have all the energy you need and it should be easy to channel. The path is open and clear and there is a lot of desire to accomplish goals.

Taurus (April 20-May 20) Your life takes on a kind of mystical quality at the emotional and instinctive levels. Dreams and illusions arouse deep feelings. Your conversations tend to move along the lines of mysticism and you are able to enchant others with your ideas. With an attitude that follows such an evolved line of thinking, your common sense and day-to-day reasoning may seem to be missing. Hectic emotional energy could be present. While all of this is very enlightening, if you do not participate in a grounding activity you could find yourself susceptible to falls or find yourself running into things. Take a moment to hug a tree or hold a stone and if you choose a crystal, make sure the point is toward the ground for grounding purposes. Enjoy laughing tonight.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

ACROSS 1. Colloquial British abbreviation. 5. Having lips or parts that resemble lips. 12. A unit of length of thread or yarn. 15. The 8th letter of the Hebrew alphabet. 16. Relating to or like or divided into areolae. 17. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 18. Wild sheep of northern Africa. 19. A family of Sino-Tibetan languages spoken in southeastern Asia. 20. Disposed of as useless. 22. Out of fashion. 23. An agency of the United Nations affiliated with the World Bank. 24. Realistic Norwegian author who wrote plays on social and political themes (18281906). 25. Closed with a lace. 27. The basic unit of money in Nigeria. 28. An actor who communicates entirely by gesture and facial expression. 31. (Babylonian) God of storms and wind. 33. Tranquilizer (trade name Ativan) used to treat anxiety and tension and insomnia. 35. The cry made by sheep. 38. A doctor's degree in theology. 39. A condition (mostly in boys) characterized by behavioral and learning disorders. 43. (Babylonian) God of wisdom and agriculture and patron of scribes and schools. 45. Measuring instrument in which the echo of a pulse of microwave radiation is used to detect and locate distant objects. 47. English scholastic philosopher and assumed author of Occam's Razor (12851349). 49. Having only superficial plausibility. 50. Small tropical American tree bearing edible plumlike fruit. 51. Fleshy spore-bearing inner mass of e.g. a puffball or stinkhorn. 53. Plant bearing very hot and finely tapering long peppers. 55. Testacean rhizopods. 57. A river in north central Switzerland that runs northeast into the Rhine. 58. The capital and largest city of Yemen. 67. City in northeast Pakistan. 69. United States neoclassical architect (1847-1909). 71. The sense organ for hearing and equilibrium. 72. French revolutionary who was prominent in the early days of the French Revolution (1749-1791). 75. A federal agency established to coordinate programs aimed at reducing pollution and protecting the environment. 76. The cause or intention underlying an action or situation esp in the phrase "the whys and wherefores". 77. A sheath for a sword or dagger or bayonet. 78. An anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions. DOWN 1. A boy or man.

2. Queen of the Olympian gods in ancient Greek mythology. 3. A genus of Strigidae. 4. The third month of the civil year. 5. A popular tourist area in northwestern England including England's largest lake and highest mountain. 6. A self-funded retirement plan that allows you to contribute a limited yearly sum toward your retirement. 7. A tricycle (usually propelled by pedalling). 8. Filled with a great quantity. 9. A Greek epic poem (attributed to Homer) describing the siege of Troy. 10. Unknown god. 11. Rod-shaped motile bacteria that attack plants. 12. A girl or young woman who is unmarried. 13. Someone who consumes food for nourishment. 14. A particular environment or walk of life. 21. A port city in southwestern Iran. 26. A public promotion of some product or service. 29. A college town in central New York on Lake Cayuga. 30. The middle of the day. 32. Relating to the abomasum (the fourth compartment of the stomach of ruminants). 34. American professional baseball player who hit more home runs than Babe Ruth (born in 1934). 36. Lower in esteem. 37. Genus of East Indian trees or shrubs. 40. Formerly the chief magistrate in the republics of Venice and Genoa. 41. Relating to or containing acetic acid. 42. A very young child (birth to 1 year) who has not yet begun to walk or talk. 44. With rapid movements. 46. Any organic compound formed by adding alcohol molecules to aldehyde molecules. 48. Being ten more than one hundred forty. 52. Of or relating to or containing barium. 54. A state in southeastern United States. 56. Sacred writings of Orthodox Judaism. 59. An Indian nursemaid who looks after children. 60. (used with singular count nouns) Colloquial for `not a' or `not one' or `never a'. 61. Voluntary contributions to aid the poor. 62. A Chadic language spoken south of Lake Chad. 63. An Arabic speaking person who lives in Arabia or North Africa. 64. The content of cognition. 65. A native American tent. 66. (Islam) The man who leads prayers in a mosque. 68. A form of entertainment that enacts a story by a sequence of images giving the illusion of continuous movement. 70. Large brownish-green New Zealand parrot. 73. A small pellet fired from an air rifle or BB gun. 74. A colorless and odorless inert gas.


You may find this morning a little out of sync with the rest of the day. The confusing energies you may be feeling can be eliminated with the creation of a list for your plans. Being guided by a list, you will feel that you have accomplished quite a lot by the time the afternoon rolls around. This could mean you are into a creative frenzy, decorating a room or painting a picture. If this work affects others, make sure they are included in the decision making. Take a little time after your noon meal to walk a bit or do a little different exercise. Make sure that if you received help with your work, everyone is included in a bit of celebration when the work is complete. Support those that help you by treating the group to a movie or meal away from home.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) You find yourself talkative and quick-witted this sunday. Your ideas are clear and easy to come by. Your heart will tell you the wise thing to do and time will confirm your heart’s desire. The need for stability may be what spurs your thinking at this time— make sure any compromises are worth the objectives. Everything points to your taking the initiative in family matters. You create a sense of harmony with those around you today and feel a sense of support for your efforts. There is genuine charity in your heart and you look for ways to serve others. A study of different opportunities to serve others may take you to volunteering in the zoo or possibly helping in a nearby school. Tonight you serve a great meal from very little at hand.

Leo (July 23-August 22) Your duties take you in a different direction from your friends and this could cause you to feel a bit lonely. However, since this is short-term you might consider a book on tape, music or just enjoying the different surroundings, especially if you are driving. You are appreciated for the contributions you make with regard to family. Find ways in which others could help so that you are not taking on all the responsibilities. This could concern an elderly person or the birth of a child or children. You could enjoy making your own way and finding solutions to whatever problem you have; however, there is a tendency to do too many things. Easy does it! Plan a shopping trip for next week and look for pastels that help you to create a calming effect.

Virgo (August 23-September 22) Community activities may become a large part of your day. This could include activities with young people or within your place of religion or perhaps inside a community meeting place. Contact with others about matters away from work is a change you welcome and enjoy. You and others can make a positive difference around your neighborhood as you interact with the needs of the population. Why not start a newsletter that will inform and update peoplematerial things and the whole concept of value take on more importance for you later today. Financial security will bring you to reassess your position in the work field. Now is the time for an upgrade or a change of employment if you so desire. Hugs come from friends this evening.

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Libra (September 23-October 22) The activities today are toward doing and planning many things . . . Perhaps, too many activities in such a small time span. This can cause you to be unfocused. Enjoy the people around you and take a relaxed attitude with perhaps, a small amount of planning where the basic necessities are concerned. Getting in touch with the mystical and the spiritual gives you a sense of satisfaction and completeness—meditation gives you creative insight. An exchange of ideas becomes a topic of fun conversation this afternoon. Neighbors and brothers or sisters may play a role in this; young people figure more prominently in your life. You understand those around you and you want to have a special time with someone you love. You decide to make a movie.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21) Your goals are admirable but your efforts in reaching your goals can be slowed by your own self-criticism. Make it a point to write out the path along which you think you must travel to reach your goals and listen to the suggestion of an outside party. This will give you focus and encouragement. You will become excited as you get close to your goals. Planning and self-talk make up most of this day. Others encourage you better than you encourage yourself so make friends with industrious and achievement-oriented friends. You enjoy being with friends this afternoon. Perhaps a game of chance is going your way. Focus on what it is you want because you can be most persuasive with others at this time. Your sense of humor is highly contagious.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21) Friends or groups you associate with have an element of mystery or idealism about them—perhaps an aura of the mystical or psychic or perhaps, a certain amount of deception. You may become involved with causes that you believe in strongly. A healing process is at work in your life: you isolate what doesn’t work, eliminate it and go on from there. There is a longing for a soul mate or a yearning to save the world; it could mean carrying a torch, as well. Fighting for friends and ideals may even mean struggling with certain difficult issues. You become actively involved on a social level, taking a bigger part in collective events and developments. You have little patience for people who do not live up to their principles. Easy does it; there is a lot of energy available.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19) You may decide to expand your business this year. Think about what makes the business profitable and why you think the public will want what you have to sell. Taxes are a consideration as well. Do not rush, but walk your way through this; timing is everything. Use this day to make plans or to discuss with a friend some of your plans. Try to instill a balance in your responsibilities and your own personal progress. Lovers, children and other people or things dear to your heart are emphasized at this time. Missing time with your loved ones can be hard. Keeping on schedule and making time for one-on-one communications will help bring people together. A wedding could be in the planning phases at this time.

Aquarius (January 20- February 18) You have a creative mind when it comes to finding ways in which to treat someone you love to a special day. Many of your creative expeditions can be truly soul stirring. A child or lover may have difficulty distinguishing fantasy from reality. You may find yourself helping to guide this person. Although most could throw things out of proportion, you stay focused and make good progress in all areas of your life. As you look back over your life, you will see that life has gotten better over the years. Lessons learned from past mistakes have been taken seriously and you have changed or adjusted because of them. Independence, freedom from past patterns and a daring readiness to innovate are the paths of achievement now. You choose peace over conflict.

Pisces (February 19-March 20) Commitment to move forward and accomplish your goals seems more evident now. High-level differences of opinion or outlook represent an important area of change in your life. This extends to fundamental religious or philosophical beliefs, which cry out for reexamination in the light of new information and influences. Don’t be too surprised to see religious groups represented through computer networking—and they are. Your intuitive abilities come into play today as you remember your dreams or events unfold that feel suspiciously familiar. Listening and taking the advice of your inner consciousness today will prove beneficial while making choices. You can enjoy dinner out or a good movie with a friend or loved one this evening.

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lifestyle G O S S I P

Emma Roberts carries a skipping rope everywhere

Example could be a father soon


he ‘American Horror Story: Coven’ star always exercises during down-time on-set, although she always keeps wipes handy in case she gets a sweaty face. Emptying the contents of her bag, she said: “I have a jump rope for exercising on location and Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Wipes for afterward, when I don’t have time to wash my face. They’re lifesavers.” The 23-year-old actress - who recently go engaged to her co-star Evan Peters - is also a horror fan off set, and is currently


he 31-year-old singer-songwriter married Australian TV presenter Erin McNaught last May and he has now admitted that he’s lining up as many gigs as possible for this year because after that the couple will probably start trying to have children. He said: “This year’s going to be crazy because I said to my manager at the end of last year, and my agent, just fill up this year with gigs because I know Erin’s going to want kids soon.” Example, whose real name is Elliot Gleave, admitted that the couple’s parents think they’ve already started trying because they both had a lot of time off in Australia over Christmas and New Year. He laughed: “We just had a month off so everyone was like ‘I bet you’re trying, I bet you’re trying’ and her [Erin] parents were like ‘we’ll just leave you guys alone for a few hours!’” The ‘Say Nothing’ hitmaker wants to do as much performing as possible this year because he doesn’t want to be away if and when Erin gives birth. He told KISS FM UK’s ‘Rickie, Melvin & Charlie in the Morning’ show: “I figured I don’t want to be abroad whilst... I don’t wanna miss the birth of a child you know so it’s kind of hard ‘cause I’m on tour this year nonstop. “This year’s going to be very busy. We’ve got about a hundred gigs already lined up all over the world.”

Beyonce sacks her manager reading a Steven King classic. She added: “I use my iPad for looking at scripts, but I refuse to read books on it, so there’s usually a novel with me. Right now it’s ‘ The Shining’.” And a much less scary addition to the actress’ handbag is a Spice Girls key ring because it reminds her of her childhood. Emma explained to Us Weekly magazine: “Hey, they were my childhood! Baby Spice Emma Bunton was always my favourite because we have the same first name!”

Kids change Mollie King’s life


he ‘Drunk In Love’ hitmaker and Jay Z are now in total control of her career after ditching Live Nation executive Faisal Durrani, although her husband doesn’t hold an official professional position. A source told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “Jay has been heavily involved in Beyonce’s career for years, and was instrumental in organising the ‘Mrs Carter Show’ World Tour. “But he isn’t officially regarded as her manager -

she really is independent.” The change in focus is to make sure her career is handled with her family in mind, and with the couple reportedly keen to give their two-year-old daughter Blue Ivy a sibling in the future. The insider added: “Now the couple have Blue, she wants to make sure her family come first at all times, especially as there’s talk of them adding to the brood. “The best way to do that is to make sure all managerial decisions are

made by her and her husband - together.” A spokesman for the star insisted Jay Z isn’t “involved in her management”, and claimed she has been in control herself for four years. They explained: “Beyonce has managed herself since 2010 under her company Parkwood Entertainment. “Faisal Durrani worked for her as general manager for a very short time. Jay Z is not involved in her management.”

Heidi Klum breaks up with boyfriend


he model has reportedly decided to call time on her relationship with the bodyguard a few weeks ago, after a year and a half of dating. The couple had initially got together shortly after Heidi, 40, had split from her husband Seal in January 2012 after seven years of marriage. A source told “Martin was there for her during a challenging time in her life and it was something she will always be grateful for. “Life is about timing. He was incredibly supportive and they were there for each other, but they’re moving on now.” Heidi - who has Lou, four, Henry, eight and Johan, seven from her marriage to Seal and Leni, nine, from her relationship with Flavio Briatore - has also cut professional ties with Martin, 41. When the couple initially got together, Heidi said of Martin: “He’s been helping me for four years now, and he takes wonderful care of the kids. He plays with them, he protects them. I trust him.” He was also on hand when to help saved Henry and two nannies from a riptide in Hawaii which could have drowned them in early 2013.


ollie King says her life has changed now that her bandmates have kids. The ‘What About Us’ singer has no kids of her own but insists she enjoys “the best of both worlds” since Una Healy had daughter Aoife Belle with Ben Foden in March 2012 , Rochelle Humes and husband Marvin had Alaia-Mai in May 2013, and Frankie Sandford welcomed Parker with fiance Wayne Bridge in October last year. Mollie told the March issue of Cosmopolitan magazine: “I’ve been up to the hospital each time after Una, Rochelle and Frankie gave birth. The babies were literally a few hours old when I saw each of them. Aoife is a year-and-a-half now and it’s amazing seeing her grow up. “It totally changes your life and I have the best of both worlds - I can play auntie but not have to do all the nappy changing! The 26-year-old beauty is in a serious relationship with her American producer boyfriend Jordan Omley but says she is under no pressure to have kids. She mused: “One day I would like to have loads of kids, but I’m not quite ready for it yet.” Mollie - who is also joined in The Saturdays by Vanessa White - felt “really protective” of her bandmates when they were pregnant and wanted to shield them from criticism of their changing shapes. She said: “I feel really protective of all the girls especially while they were pregnant. The press can be really hard on women and their pregnancy bodies. She’s carrying a human inside of her, what do you expect? A woman’s figure is going to change. I’m so proud of what great mums they are.”

Goldie Hawn happy without marriage G

oldie Hawn has had an “incredible ride” with Kurt Russell. The 68-yearold actress has been in a relationship with the actor - with who she has 27-yearold son Wyatt - for 30 years and though they are very different people in terms of their personality, she thinks they have stayed together for so long because they want the same things from life. She said “Relationships are always challeng-

ing because you’re living with someone and two people are very different but it really is about, ‘What are your core values? What are the things that matter to you?’ “Kurt’s quite different in many ways to what I am, and vice versa, but we want the same things out of life and so it’s been an incredible ride with him. “There’s nobody like him. He’s one of a kind. He’s true blue and everything he says he means. You might not like it, but he

sure does mean it. He’s not political, he doesn’t play games. I just have a lot of respect for him.” Goldie, who was previously married twice and also has children Kate and Oliver Hudson with second spouse Bill Hudson, thinks though marriage is “nice”, it has never been particularly important to her and Kurt. Asked by talk show host Jonathan Ross why they have never married, she said: “I don’t know, we just didn’t get married.

The relationship itself is a big deal. Marriage is a ceremony, which is nice, and it’s a promise, which is nice, but you make that promise every day....”Marriage does not necessarily mean that you’re going to stay together and it really has to do with your will to be together, your devotion and your ability to listen to each other.”


lifestyle G O S S I P

Selena Gomez is feeling ‘crushed’

Gwyneth Paltrow,

Getting beaten changed DiCaprio’s life

Chris Martin’s house for sale


elena Gomez is “crushed” that Justin Bieber took Chantel Jeffries on holiday with him. The ‘Spring Breakers’ star was thought to be getting back together with the ‘Never Say Never’ singer in January a year after they initially broke up - before becoming upset with his partying and dumping him, but she is still annoyed he took Chantel on a break to Panama with him earlier this week. A source told “Selena is sad but she’s also angry. She feels like Justin played her because just when she was getting some closure and strength he convinced her to come back to him and made all kinds of promises. But it turns out they were all lies and now she’s back at square one.” The 21-year-old star is also upset bad boy Justin - who currently faces legal problems in the US and Canada - has changed so much since first started dating in 2010. The source added: “In a way she’s mourning because she’s realized that he just isn’t the guy she fell in love with anymore.” Another of Justin’s ex-girlfriends, Milyn Jensen, has previously claimed his cannabis habit is out of control. She said: “It’s no secret that Justin loves his weed - there’s probably not a moment in the day when’s he’s not got a buzz on. “He’s surrounded himself with the wrong people. He didn’t want to be the cheesy popstar anymore and has gone way too far the other way.”


eonardo DiCaprio claims getting beaten up when he was 15 changed his whole life. The actor was brought up in a tough area of East Hollywood, Los Angeles, but won a scholarship to University Elementary School in a better part of town, which meant he was in for a shock when he later returned to standard schooling. He told the Los Angeles Times newspaper: “When I went back to the public school system it was like - boom - this is reality. I got beat up the day I arrived because I had the attitude of everyone living harmoniously with one another. That was the motivational thing that happened to me in my life. I was 15, and I said to my mom, ‘I want to be an actor. Please take me to auditions.’ Because I had to get out of that public school system.” ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ star Leonardo, 39, also said his upbringing in an area where there was “a major prostitution ring on my street corner [and] crime and violence everywhere” meant he has never had the desire to take drugs. He added: “Never done it. That’s because I saw this stuff literally every day when I was 3 or 4 years old. So Hollywood was a walk in the park for me... I’d go to parties and it was there and, yeah, there’s that temptation. Hollywood is a very volatile place where artists come in and they essentially say they want to belong. It’s incredibly vulnerable to be an actor and also get criticism at a young age when you’re formulating who you are. We’ve seen a lot of people fall victim to that, and it’s very unfortunate.”


wyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin are selling their £7 million London home. The couple are moving out of the upmarket area of Belsize Park in North London after a series of arguments with their neighbors, who are upset by constant modifications to their property. A local told the Daily Star newspaper: “We have had years of their building works. They have taken down trees so they can park their flash cars in the driveway and they put a huge swimming pool in the back garden.” Another neighbor added: “The trouble is that it will probably be a similar sort that moves in and we’ll have this all over again.” ‘Iron Man 3’ actress Gwyneth and Coldplay singer Chris - who have Apple, nine, and Moses, seven, together - bought their home ten years ago for £2.5 million from actress Kate Winslet. They then bought the neighboring property for £3.1 million as well as another house on the other side and combined all three to make a huge 33-room mansion. They are thought to be selling the house and downsizing because they don’t spend much time there after relocating to Los Angeles last year. A source added: “They are looking at flats in Regents’ Park to use as a bolthole when they visit London.” The power couple also have a warehouse penthouse in New York which they bought in 2007 for a reported £3 million.

Brad Pitt is ‘kind and humble’

movie business, he doesn’t see himself as a traditional actor. He added: “I love acting, but I’m not a thespian. I want to be a man’s man, not a glitzy pop star.” Naturally, Scott has asked his father - star of ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ and ‘Dirty Harry’ as well as director of ‘Gran Torino’ - for advice, and he told him to follow his gut. He added: “My father taught me not to overthink things, that nothing will ever be perfect, so just keep moving and do your best.”

he up -and- coming ac tor Scott Eastwood - son of screen legend Clint Eastwood - worked with Hollywood hunk Brad on new World War II drama film ‘Fury’, and was moved by his kindness and humility. He told Town and Country magazine: “[Brad is] a kind and humble person, which is everything in this world. He’s a great actor, but because he’s proactive about developing material and getting stuff made.” Although Scott, 27, is breaking into the

Jenni ‘JWoww’

Farley is ‘freaking out’ about her



Cavallari is

going to have

another boy

Zac Efron in talks to appear in ‘Star Wars: VII’


he ‘That Awkward Moment’ actor has met with movie bosses about a role in the new episode of the sci-fi franchise, which has recently been acquired by Disney. Asked if he’d take a part in the movie, he told MTV: “Yeah, I just went and met with them. So I don’t know. It would be cool. I love [the ‘Star Wars’ movies], but... who knows?” ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ will be directed by J.J. Abrams and actors linked to roles include Michael Fassbender, Michael B Jordan, Saoirse Ronan, Jesse Plemons, Adam Driver and Hugo Weaving. It has also been rumoured many of the actors from the original trilogy - shot in the 70s and 80s - such as Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker could reprise their roles. Carrie Fisher, 57, also recently told how she’d like to play her character, Princess Leia, again, saying: “I’d like to wear my old [cinnamon buns] hairstyle again - but with white hair. I think that would be funny.” JJ has yet to announce any firm cast decisions, but recently said the film’s script is complete. ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ is tentatively scheduled for release in December 2015.

ng ore’ star is expecti he former ‘Jersey Sh e Roger Mathews, nc fia le a baby with her d and co-star Nico and her close frien t too happy about no she’s ‘Snooki’ Polizzi says o a 15 ig ht . Sn oo ki - wh “She’s : ga in in g ba by we ws Ne E! ld to o renz nt to month-old son, Lo wa n’t es g out, she do definitely freak in y - she’s da a ice tw t ou ing get fat. “She’s work m y bo ok ve he r a co py of in sa ne . Bu t I ga egna nc y pr r he w ho t ab ou [‘B aby Bu m ps’ her. And ing lp my book’s he changed her], so sh e ca n s ow kn e sh s e ha any qu es tio ns sh ays here for her.” While alw come to me. I’m o having forward to Lorenz that if g kin loo is Snooki re su t no with, she’s someone to play let them date when they e’d going Jenni has a girl sh d: “I feel like they’re get older. She adde ins, because Jenni and I us to be more like co it would be weird if they ink are like sisters. I th e to raise rted dating. I’d lik is also hooked up or sta , 26 ki, oo cousins.” Sn s she’ll them like they ’re ink th d an lle Va i La engaged - to Jionn wn the aisle. She added: do be the first to walk because she’s pregnant. e m be ly ab ob dding, “It’ll pr have a summer we other She was going to an e’s going to wait but now I think sh e first.” m co ll wi year, so mine



he former ‘The Hills’ star and her husband Jay Cutler found out the sex of their second child over Christmas, and weren’t initially planning on telling anyone, but found they couldn’t keep it a secret any longer. Kristin wrote on Instagram earlier today: “We decided to announce that we’re having another boy!! We couldn’t be more excited!” The 27-year-old star, who also has Camden Jack, 17 months, with her NFL star husband, has previously said she would be

happy with either gender of child. She said: “Of course I want a little girl, but another boy would be a ton of fun too, so I really don’t care either way. There’s great things about both.” Kristin - who is now a fashion designer - has said she has been craving plenty of sugar and carbs with her pregnancy this time around. She said: “I’ve been eating a lot of English muffins, and I’m in a tomato phase, so I’ve been making tomato soup and eggplant parmesan.” —Bang Showbiz



‘Her’ and ‘Captain Phillips’ win big at WGA awards T

he films “Her” and “Captain Phillips” won top awards in America’s annual Writers Guild Awards ceremony Saturday. “Her,” a futuristic love story featuring Joaquin Phoenix falling for his computer’s operating system, which has the sultry voice of Scarlett Johansson, won in the category of best original screenplay. Director Spike Jonze, who wrote the screenplay, beat out “American Hustle,” Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine,” “Dallas Buyer’s Club” and “Nebraska” for the award. “This is a high honor coming from writers,” Jonze said as he accepted the award. “Her” has five Oscar nominations, including best film and best screenplay for Jonze. “Captain Phillips,” based on the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates and starring Tom Hanks as the cargo ship captain, won in the category of best adapted screenplay. Billy Ray wrote the screenplay based on “A Captain’s Duty,” a recounting of the hijacking ordeal by Richard Phillips, the real captain. “There are a lot of wonderful writers in this room tonight and honestly my wish for each of you is that once, just once, you can know what it feels like to have the luck that I had with this movie: to have your work realized by a director as brilliant as Paul Greengrass and an actor as courageous as Tom Hanks,” Ray said as he accepted the award. The other films nominated in the category were “August: Osage County,” “Before Midnight,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Lone Survivor.” In the television category, the most-talked about series of last year, “Breaking Bad,” won best TV drama category, “Veep” won in best TV comedy series, and political thriller “House of Cards” won in the category of best new TV series. The WGA awards is one of the last major award ceremonies ahead of the Oscars, to be held on March 2. — AFP

Michael Barker, Co-founder of Sony Picture Classics, Richard Linklater and Ethan Hawke are pictured at The 66th Annual Writers Guild Awards on Saturday, Feb 1, 2014 at The Edison Ballroom in New York. Isaball Quella (left) and Brad Garrett — AP photos arrive.

Sam Simon (left) poses in the press room with Jennifer Tilly and his Valentine Davies award.

Dylan Farrow resurrects Allen molestation claim

This file photo shows director and actor Woody Allen at the French premiere of “Blue Jasmine,” in Paris. —AP


ylan Farrow renewed molestation allegations against Woody Allen, claiming the movie director sexually assaulted her when she was 7 after he and actress Mia Farrow adopted her. In an open-letter to The New York Times posted online Saturday, Dylan Farrow commented about the 1992 incident. In a letter to op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof, she said she was moved to speak out because of Hollywood’s continued embrace of Allen. “That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up,” wrote Farrow. “I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to be near other little girls.” The New York Times reported that Allen declined comment. Also, representatives for Allen and for former partner Mia Farrow also did not immediately return requests for comment Saturday from The Associated Press. Allen, who attended Saturday night’s New York Knicks game, has long maintained his innocence. In the letter, Dylan Farrow claims that in 1992 at the family’s Connecticut home, Allen led her to a “dim, closet-like attic” and “then he sexually assaulted me.” Farrow didn’t specify Allen’s actions, but described other abusive behavior. Farrow said Allen would have her get in bed with him, and at other times “place his head in my naked lap and breathe in and breathe out.” “For as long as I could remember, my father had been doing things to me that I didn’t like,” said Farrow. “These things happened so often, so routinely, so skillfully hidden from a mother that would have protected me had she known, that I thought it was normal.” Allen was investigated on child molestation claims for the alleged 1992 incident in Connecticut, but prosecutors elected not to charge him. The handling of the investigation was criticized after Litchfield County state attorney Frank S Maco said in a press conference there was “probable cause” to charge Allen, although he chose not to. A disciplinary panel found that Maco may have prejudiced the thenongoing custody battle between Allen and Mia Farrow by making an accusation without formal charges. The 1992 allegation came shortly after Allen became involved with Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn. Allen, then in his mid-50s, was not the adoptive father of Previn, who was about 19 at the time. The two married in 1997 and have two adopted daughters. Though many fans never forgave Allen for his romance with Previn, the director’s career was largely uninterrupted. He has continued to release a new film almost every year, with his latest, “Blue Jasmine,” earning three Academy Award nominations, including a screenwriting nomination for Allen. Dylan Farrow’s open-letter was precipitated by Allen being honored at the Golden Globes with the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award. Allen didn’t attend as he largely abstains from awards shows. But during the telecast’s tribute, Ronan Farrow tweeted: “Missed the Woody Allen tribute - did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7 before or after Annie Hall?” Ronan Farrow is the lone biological child of Allen and Mia Farrow, though Farrow has said her former husband Frank Sinatra could be his father. Ronan Farrow is estranged from Allen. A rebuke followed last week when Robert Weide, director of the PBS “American Masters” documentary on Allen, argued in a lengthy account on the Daily Beast that many were unaware of the facts of Allen’s relationship with Previn and that the incident with Dylan Farrow was unproven. Dylan Farrow, who said she now lives happily married in Florida under another name, urged people not to forget her side of the story and lamented “a world that celebrates her tormenter.” — AP

Stana Katic arrives.

Spanish theatre a crumbling symbol of Tangiers’ rich past A

century after it was built, the Cervantes theatre in Tangiers, once a symbol of the famed Moroccan city’s cultural vibrancy, is derelict and risks disappearing altogether, eclipsed by flashy new developments. The 1,400-seat playhouse, just a short distance from the old port, is a masterpiece of early 20th-century Spanish architecture in the once-international city that in its heyday hosted a wealth of colourful characters and communities. But today the blue and yellow plasterwork and magnificent frescoes on the ceiling are crumbling, the dust-covered seats unoccupied since 1974, the year the curtains fell for the last time. “You have to imagine how Tangiers was at the time. A census in 1919 registered a population of 40,000, including 26,000 Muslims, 5,000 Jews and 67,000 Spaniards,” says Bernabe Lopez Garcia. Last month, the Spanish historian organised an exhibition to celebrate the theatre’s centenary. But it was also a plea for help in restoring this cultural treasure, now more of a wreck at the end of a sidestreet, near to but also a world away from the new luxury marina being built on the city’s Mediterranean seafront. “It’s like a theatre of shadows.... You make me come back, but I do so reluctantly, because each time I feel bad,” says Rachid Taferssiti, president of Al Boughaz, an association dedicated to preserving the city’s heritage. “I find it sad that a multicultural space like this is allowed to fall into such a state.” The building was commissioned in 1911 by a rich Spanish merchant, Manuel Pena, who dedicated it to his wife Esperanza Orellana, a passionate theatre-goer. Inaugurated in 1913, its history charted the Spanish presence in Tangiers, a city clearly visible from and sharing a tangled history with Spain. During World War II, the city was occupied by Spain from 1940 until 1945. Spanish forces in the city disliked the building’s modernist appearance, and planned “to convert it into an imperial theatre in the neo-classical fascist style”, says Lopez Garcia. “Fortunately they didn’t have the money.” Loaned for a dirham The theatre’s activity peaked in the 1950s, when the Spanish community grew to around 30,000. But the city on the crossroads between Europe and Africa, the Atlantic and Mediterranean has long captivated the imagination of foreigners and attracted a diverse mix of visitors. It was something of a hotspot for French

This picture shows the playhouse of the Cervantes theatre in the Moroccan city of Tangiers. — AFP Spanish cultural body. painters in the 19th century, while a number of celeShe admits the building is in a “pitiful state”, adding: brated US writers settled in Tangiers after its designa“If you want to redo it as it was in 1913, show us your tion as an international zone in 1923, notably Paul millions!” On top of the cost itself, estimated at four Bowles and William Boroughs. million to five million euros, the theatre’s location in a Artists who performed at the playhouse include neglected corner of the city remains another obstacle. legendary Italian tenor Enrico Caruso and Spanish“But you often find examples of a restored cultural site born opera star Adelina Patti, as well as Flamenco leading to the transformation of the area around it,” troupes and Arabic ensembles. “The theatre group Al Fernandez Suzor says optimistically. She suggests the Hilal, composed of local Moroccan actors, played theatre could also serve as a training centre for stageOthello in 1929,” says Rachid Taferssiti, whose own related professions. “We have our role to play, but the father performed in various plays. solution lies with the Spanish and Moroccan governSince it closed, the Gran Teatro Cervantes has been ments,” says Taferssiti, pointing to the huge changes in loaned to Morocco for a symbolic dirham per year the form of government-funded projects taking place ($0.12, nine euro cents), while remaining Spanish state outside Tangiers. property, with the neighbouring countries unable to Indeed, the authorities rarely waste an opportunity agree on a renovation plan. “I think the Spanish govto publicize the planned economic transformation of ernment would like nothing better than to be able to Morocco’s second industrial city, driven by a vast restore it. But with the current crisis, it’s impossible for industrial development program launched in them to address the issue,” says Cecilia Fernandez September and expected to cost $1 billion. — AFP Suzor, the director of Tangiers’ Cervantes Institute, a

‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ creates stir in Italy D

utch Master Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” is going on show in the city of Bologna in Italy next month but the arrival of

the celebrated painting of a young beauty is already causing a stir. “There is an incredible fever surrounding this painting,” the director of the exhibition,

Journalists pass by the painting by Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) entitled “The Girl with a†Pearl Earring” during a preview of the exhibition “The Myth of the Golden Age, From Rembrandt to Vermeer “ at Bologna’s Palazzo Fava. — AFP

Marco Goldin, told AFP-TV at a press presentation. “Clearly we are expecting a big success. In just a few weeks we have already sold 100,000 tickets,” he saidfor an exhibition opening on February 8. The masterpiece is considered one of the most famous paintings in the world along with Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”. The show on the Golden Age of Dutch painting at Palazzo Fava in Bologna is being organised together with the Mauritshuis museum in the Hague and runs until May 25. Mauritshuis, which is under restoration, is also loaning Vermeer’s “Diana and Her Companions” and works by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Ter Borch and Claesz. “Girl with a Pearl Earring” is finishing up a world tour after being taken to Japan in 2012 and the United States in 2013. Bologna will be its only stop in Europe, before it is returned to the Mauritshuis. “This is the first time it comes to Italy,” Goldin said. He explained that thanks to his relationship with Mauritshuis he had “managed to capture the painting against competition from many other museums”. The painting’s fame has grown in recent years after it inspired a book and a film starring Scarlett Johansson. Goldin warned it should not be seen as a “pop icon” but as “a sublime representation of beauty in art”. —AFP



Academy cites integrity in pulling Oscar song nod

All-stars face off with global upstarts at Berlin film fest

T Bear trophies for the upcoming Berlinale film festival wait to get finishing touches on January 30, 2014 at the Noack foundry in Berlin. — AFP


ew movies from Wes Anderson and Richard Linklater will go head-to-head with upstarts from Europe, China and Latin America for the Golden Bear top prize at the Berlin film festival starting Thursday. The 64th Berlinale, as the 11-day event is known, marks the first major European festival of the year and serves as a launchpad for Hollywood fare and risk-taking independent movies from around the world. US producer James Schamus (“Brokeback Mountain”, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) will lead a jury including double-Oscar-winning Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, Hong Kong star Tony Leung and French filmmaker Michel Gondry awarding the main prizes among 20 contenders on February 15. The sprawling festival will screen more than 400 films in cinemas across the snowy German capital, and many of the hottest tickets are for movies outside the main competition. George Clooney is due in town to present “ The Monuments Men”, about a team of art experts who fought to protect precious artworks from the Nazis during World War II. The picture also stars Matt Damon, Bill Murray and Cate Blanchett. Jan Schulz-Ojala, chief critic for Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel-who has been covering the festival for two decades-said that anticipation was also building for a director’s cut of Danish provocateur Lars von Trier’s new sex epic “Nymphomaniac Volume I” starring Charlotte Gainsbourg. “It is 30-35 minutes longer than the version already running in Denmark and other places and so it’s of very special interest for cinephiles,” he told AFP. “What was cut out of the cinema version-is it explosive or superfluous? I’m really curious.” However, he noted that von Trier was not expected to appear in public in Berlin following a disastrous stop in 2011 at the Cannes film festival where he was ignominiously booted out for making a Nazi joke about himself at a press conference. “You’ll essentially have a red carpet for an invisible man,” Schulz-Ojala said. ‘Indy films set far from glittering cities’ On opening night, Anderson will unveil his keenly awaited “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, starring Ralph Fiennes, Adrien Brody and Tilda Swinton, about the

escapades of a crafty concierge between the two world wars. Linklater, who brought his now Oscar-nominated “Before Midnight” to Berlin last year, will show “Boyhood”, made over more than a decade and starring frequent collaborator Ethan Hawke as well as Patricia Arquette. Academy Award-winner Forest Whitaker teams up with Harvey Keitel in Rachid Bouchareb’s “Two Men in Town”, about an ex-convict who has converted to Islam. The French-Algerian director is best known for the 2006 drama “Days of Glory” (Indigenes), about north Africans serving in the French army during World War II. Schulz-Ojala said he was also intrigued by entries from Argentina and China, “two strong countries for cinema”. The drama “History of Fear”, set in a gated community in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, is director Benjamin Naishtat’s first feature. And Celina Murga’s “The Third Side of the River” tells the story of a respected doctor who lives a double life with separate families. She is one of four women vying for prizes. China will be represented by the thrillers “Black Coal, Thin Ice” by Diao Yinan, Ning Hao’s “No Man’s Land”, and the novel adaptation “Blind Massage” by Lou Ye. “These are independent, genre-inspired films, set far from the glittering cities,” festival director Dieter Kosslick told reporters. Peruvian director Claudia Llosa, who captured the Golden Bear in 2009 for her harrowing drama “The Milk of Sorrow”, will present her English-language debut, “Aloft”, featuring Jennifer Connelly and Cillian Murphy. Austrian filmmaker Feo Aladag, who picked up prizes on the festival circuit in 2010 for “When We Leave”, about socalled “honour killings”, will unveil “Inbetween Worlds”, about a German soldier in Afghanistan. Iranian-Austrian director Sudabeh Mortezai will present a docudrama about young refugees in Vienna called “Macondo”. The festival will also honour veteran British director Ken Loach, 77, with a Golden Bear for lifetime achievement and a retrospective of his work. The Romanian family drama “Child’s Pose”, about a growing cleft between rich and poor since the end of communism, took home the top prize last year. The event will wrap up on February 16 with screenings of its biggest hits. — AFP

he decision to rescind the Academy Awards original song nomination for “Alone Yet Not Alone” from the small faith-based film of the same title is due to integrity, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a statement Saturday. The academy revoked the song’s Oscar nod Wednesday after it discovered composer Bruce Broughton, a music branch executive committee member, emailed 70 members of the group to alert them of his submission. “The Academy takes very seriously anything that undermines the integrity of the Oscars voting process,” motion picture academy said in the statement. “The Board regretfully concluded that Mr Broughton’s actions did precisely that.” The academy said Broughton created the appearance of an unfair advantage. During the nomination voting period, 240 members receive a DVD of film scenes along with the eligible songs. This year, 75 songs were eligible. The nominating process is meant to be anonymous, but Broughton identified to fellow music branch members the song he composed. “When he identified the song as track #57 as one he had composed, and asked voting branch members to listen to it, he took advantage of information that few other potential nominees are privy to,” the academy said. “Mr. Broughton should have been more cautious about acting

in a way that made it appear as if he were taking advantage of his position to exert undue influence. At a minimum, his actions called into question whether the process was ‘fair and equitable,’ as the Academy’s rules require.” In the 86-year history of the awards, this is only the fourth time an Oscar nomination has been rescinded. The film “Alone Yet Not Alone” follows two sisters who are captured by Allegheny Indians during the French and Indian war in 1755. It was released in only 11 theaters, though a wider release is scheduled for June. Broughton told the Los Angeles Times earlier this week that he was trying to get the independent film attention. Movies like Disney’s “Frozen” and Universal Pictures’ “Despicable Me 2” “had previews and parties and huge promotion,” he said. “We had no budget. There’s no Oscar campaign. All there is is this really stupid email that went out to about 70 people saying, ‘Please look at my song.’ I’m getting something taken away from me when these other studios have been skirting on the edges of proper behavior for months, backed by huge troughs of money. I don’t like my reputation being taken down like this.” The original song category will have only four honorees this year. No other project will fill the slot originally held by “Alone Yet Not Alone.” Oscar voting begins on Feb. 14, with the winners announced March 2. — AP

US man buried astride beloved Harley motorcycle


motorcycle-loving man’s family has fulfilled his dying wish to be buried astride his beloved Harley-Davidson encased in a seethrough casket. But it wasn’t easy. The project required an extra-large cemetery plot to accommodate a Plexiglas casket for Billy Standley and his hulking custom-painted 1967 Electra Glide cruiser. Five embalmers worked to prepare his body with a metal back brace and straps to ensure he’ll never lose his seat. Standley’s family said he’d been talking about it for years and liked to take people to the garage to show off the unusual casket his two sons had built for him. He told people he didn’t just want to ride off to heaven, he wanted the world to see him do it in the big see-through box. “He was a quirky man,” daughter Dorothy Brown said. “But when it comes to us kids, he loved us, he raised us well and, of course, we wanted to help him.” The Dayton Daily News ( ) reported that Standley, of Mechanicsburg, west of Columbus, died of lung cancer Sunday at age 82. He was buried Friday. Newspaper photos of the prepared casket showed Standley with

The body of Bill Standley secured to his 1967 Harley Davidson rests inside a plexiglass box during his funeral service in Mechanicsburg, Ohio. —AP his eyes closed astride the big bike. He was dressed in black leathers, a white helmet and glasses, his gloved hands grasping the handlebars. Standley told his family his motorcycle helped him retain his sense of adventure after he settled down to raise four children, which was quite a compromise for the man who made

his start at 13 as ranch hand and rodeo rider. He started the project himself, buying three extra burial plots next to his wife, Lorna. His sons, Pete and Roy, fashioned the casket out of Plexiglas, reinforcing the bottom with wood and steel rods to handle the extra weight. —AP

New Year

A giant dragon is carried through a street of the Belleville district in Paris.

People perform in the Lions parade in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A performer prepares for Sydney’s Chinese New Year Parade for the Lunar New Year yesterday. — AP/AFP photos

A performer entertains the crowds during Sydney’s ChineseNew Year Parade.

US man buried astride beloved Harley motorcycle



Thousands of New Yorkers visited the Mountain Dew Kickstart Virtual Vending Machine at Super Bowl Boulevard in New York’s Times Square. — AP

Brands vie to stand out amid Super Bowl chatter I

f it’s on TV, it’s on Twitter, at least when it comes to blockbuster events such as the Super Bowl. Advertisers, in particular, are ready to capitalize. “What advertisers have realized is that Super Bowl advertising doesn’t just take place on TV, with your 30-second or 60second spot that you paid millions of dollars for,” said Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst for research firm eMarketer. “You really need to have a broader presence.” Last year’s Super Bowl was interrupted by a 34-minute power outage - luckily, for one advertiser at least. Oreo seized on the opportunity and tweeted “you can still dunk in the dark.” It was retweeted and mentioned on Facebook thousands of times. Every brand wants to be this year’s Oreo. Brands are setting up social media “war rooms” so they can respond to memorable events as they happen be it another blackout, a snow storm or a wardrobe malfunction - with clever, retweetable quips. Volkswagen has set up a studio in Los Angeles to create quick, catchy video responses, said Jennifer Clayton, media manager at the automaker. There will be about a dozen people in the room, from creative and production folks

to community managers in charge of monitoring chatter on social media. Once a video is shot, it’ll be sent to Volkswagen’s lawyers for approval and, within 20 minutes, posted on Twitter. “We are taking advantage of all the conversations going on out there and making it even more impactful,” she said. “We’re taking a 30(or) 60-second spot and turning it into a campaign that’s multiple days and multiple screens.” The game is a big day for Twitter, too. The company will have its own employees in the “war rooms” of some advertisers, helping them identify what people are tweeting about the most and helping them develop quick, clever reactions.

Tweets take spotlight Beyond advertising, people will be conversing with fellow fans, using Twitter hashtags such as #Seahawks, #Hawks and #12s for the Seattle Seahawks and #Broncos, #Denver and #UnitedInDenver for the Denver Broncos. There will be #SB48 for the Super Bowl and #AdScrimmage to vote for your favorite Super Bowl ads. People have also created unofficial ones - such as #PotBowl - a reference to the

fact that the teams hail from states that have legalized recreational marijuana. Advertising, though, is where a lot of money is at stake. For every Oreo, there are dozens, perhaps hundreds of tweets that fall flat, even if they were conjured in a room full of social media experts and marketers. During last Sunday’s Grammys, “a lot of brands tried to do it but only one stood out,” Williamson said. That one was Arby’s. Singer Pharrell Williams showed up at the awards show wearing an oversized, puffy brown fedora. It quickly got its own parody Twitter account (with more than 18,000 followers), not to mention all the Twitter mentions. The fast-food chain known for its big cowboy hat logo quickly tweeted “Hey @Pharrell, can we have our hat back? #GRAMMYs.” It went over well. Arby’s tweet got more than 83,000 retweets and a response from Williams himself: “Y’all tryna start a roast beef?” “Brands need to have the perfect storm of the right opportunity, the right message and most critically, a relationship between your brand and whatever it is that you are trying to connect about,” analyst Williamson said. “If it’s forced or if (it looks) planned, it’s going to come across negatively.”

‘Win the night’ Admitting that the right moment may never come up, some brands are taking a different approach. M&M’s marketers plan to use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the video-sharing app Vine to distribute short animated videos made from peanut M&M’s. The clips will include commentary from the legendary retired quarterback Joe Montana. Seth Klugherz, senior director for Mars Inc.’s M&M’s brand, said in a statement that the brand is “not simply hoping to ‘win the night’ with a single post or tweet” but add to viewers’ experience throughout the night. Elsewhere in candy land, Butterfinger plans to riff off its brand name, which is slang for someone who tends to drop stuff - such as a football. “The idea of a Butterfinger moment, organically, the name of our brand will come up,” Butterfinger brand manager Jeremy Vandervoet said. “We can’t predict it but we’re going to be ready to respond. We don’t know how it will happen.” Even without a blackout, Sunday’s game is likely to be the most tweeted, Facebooked and Instagrammed-about Super Bowl, simply because more people - and brands - are tweeting, Facebooking and Instagramming

A street performer dressed as the Statue of Liberty holds a US flag while standing in front of a tent where the Vince Lombardi Trophy is being kept. — AP than a year ago. There were 2.8 million tweets about the 2011 Super Bowl. That grew to nearly 14 million in 2012 and more than 24 million in 2013. Not wanting to be left out when it comes to public chatter about big events, Facebook recently introduced its own take on trending topics. The feature is starting to come to users in the US, UK and elsewhere. It lets users see what topics others are talking about, whether that’s the Super Bowl or their favorite commercial. Still, Williamson said it’s still unproven how effective all this real-time marketing is. People might be tweeting about Oreo and Arby’s, but are they eating their cookies and roast beef sandwiches? — AP

Music a big focus in Super Bowl ads M

companies are turning away from controversial or “gross” spots that might offend. By focusing on music, experts say advertisers will be able to reach a wide swath of people. “Advertisers are following the lead of what really spreads culturally,” said David Berkowitz, chief marketing officer of Publicis’ digital ad agency MRY. “The conversation around the

usic is taking center stage at the Super Bowl - and not just during the halftime show. Bank of America will have rock band U2 sing a new song during a commercial break. Pop band OneRepublic jams in a Bud Light ad. And the legendary Bob Dylan’s

(From left to right) Drummer Rick Woolsterhulme, Jr, singer Johnny Rzeznik and bassist Robby Takac of the Goo Goo Dolls perform during VH1’s “Super Bowl Blitz: Six Nights + Six Concerts” at St. George Theatre in the Staten Island borough of New York City. — AFP

Ashanti is seen at DIRECT V’s Super Saturday Night Party. — AP

Nicky Hilton attends DIRECT V’s Super Saturday Night Party on Saturday, Feb 1, 2014 in New York. — AP

1966 hit “I Want You” will appear in a Chobani yogurt spot. The focus on music comes as many advertisers look for ways to engage the 108 million viewers who are expected to tune in during the Super Bowl. With each 30-second spot costing an estimated $4 million, many

Dave Grohl of The Foo Fighters performs at The Bud Light Hotel in New York. — AP

Grammys and the VMAs keeps getting bigger. If you look at the most followed celebrities on places like Twitter its people like Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga.” U2 singing: The biggest music stunt of the night includes U2 singing a new single, “Invisible,” during the break between the first and second quarters for Bank of America. The bank is promoting its partnership with AIDS nonprofit (RED). The song will be a free download on iTunes during the game and for the following 24 hours and Bank of America will donate $1 each time it is downloaded to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS. Bob Dylan: Folk singer Bob Dylan lends a track to a Chobani ad running in the thirdquarter that shows a bear ransacking a smalltown store until he finds the yogurt. There are reports that Dylan also will be making an appearance in a Chrysler ad. OneRepublic: Bud Light also will lean heavily on music. One ad will debut a new song by

DJ and producer Afrojack, “Ten Feet Tall,” that will be available for a free download after the commercial. Another ad shows a man being led on a spontaneous adventure after he accepts a Bud Light from a stranger and ends with the man on stage during a concert with the pop band OneRepublic. Ellen Degeneres: Beats Music makes its Super Bowl debut with an ad starring comedian Ellen Degeneres doing her take on the fairy tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears: she dances to different people’s playlists until she finds one just right for her party. Whether the focus on music will help brands stand out remains to be seen, but Tim Calkins, marketing professor at the Kellogg School of Business in Northwestern, said the key will be connecting music back to the brand. “The risk with music is you don’t want the song to overshadow the brand,” he says. “As advertisers embrace music, you’ve got to make sure the brand doesn’t get lost.” — AP

3rd Feb  

Kuwait Times